By this time viewers know the drill. When "Lost" returns on Thursday evening it will treat its audience by answering a few of the mysteries that have been mystifying it for so long. Of course, the answers will only lead to new questions, and new mysteries will develop.

It is this endless enigmatic cycle that drives viewers to follow the show with precise obsession, pouring over each detail of an episode like Sherlock Holmes. It is also the reason why a site like ranks in the top 5,000 most visited sites in the world.

What the creators of "Lost" have done is truly a marvel. They've built on precedents set by previous mystery-based series like "Twin Peaks" and "The X-Files" and kept it fresh by introducing so many smaller mysteries that fans never become bored or frustrated waiting for the larger outcome.

Like all other things, some of these have become over discussed an overanalyzed while others have been inexplicably ignored. Here are the three most underrated and overrated unsolved "Lost" mysteries.


3. Why Do The Pregnant Women Die?
This really isn't a mystery worth discussing. All the pregnant women on the island die, and the reason why they die is completely immaterial. The only thing the viewers ever really needed to know is that women cannot get give birth on the island and that is why The Others are so obsessed with capturing the castaways' children. Eventually the reason for these deaths will be revealed, but does that reason really matter?

2. Walt's Psychic Powers
Walt has been out of the picture for a very long time, but the question of his psychic powers is still up for much debate. The only question remaining is: Why? At first it seemed that Walt could make animals appear (the polar bear, a bird), but this was certainly discredited in the case of the bear, and the bird was never elaborated upon any further. The Others have constantly called Walt "special" but have said nothing beyond that. Aside from a few brief appearances that were possibly hallucinations, Walt has been largely out of sight and out of mind since the end of season two. It's entirely possible that the powers of Walt may even end up being nothing more than a scrapped storyline that made its way in before the creators had figured everything out. Whether it is or not, Walt remains a decidedly peripheral character with attention lavished on him from fans like he's Jack or Locke.

1. The Smoke Monster
Enough already with the Smoke Monster. "Smoky" has become "Lost"'s version of Cancer Man from "The X-Files." At first you were excited when he appeared in an episode, then you kind of said, "Oh, him again," until you finally just wanted to hear his whole back story or never hear from him again. The Smoke Monster started out as one of the coolest riddles of the island, especially after it made mincemeat out of the pilot in the series' first episode. Ever since the producers decided to show the audience what it looks like, it's just become an annoying mystery that we all want solved. Apparently it makes mechanical noises and has some black-and-white TVs inside. Whatever. The producers have stated that the mystery of the Smoke Monster won't be solved until the end of the series. Here's hoping they just ignore it until then.


3. Why Does Jacob Hate Ben?
This is a mystery that is so underrated nobody even talks about it. Maybe because it's personal theorizing, or maybe the heading is simply an oversimplification of Ben's relationship with Jacob, but all the elements are there. Jacob can apparently cure cancer, but Ben needs Jack to remove a tumor from his back; Jacob says to Locke, "Help Me;" Jacob is supposedly all-powerful yet has allowed his Island infiltrated by a group of outsiders hell-bent on capturing Ben. Another smaller clue lies within the "Room 23 Video" used to brainwash Karl (another underrated mystery that didn't make the list) where a title card saying "God Loves You as He Loved Jacob" is shown. Why the past tense - could Ben be trying to brainwash Karl out of a devotion to Jacob? Either way, it's very clear that Jacob is at odds with Ben, yet their relationship has warranted nearly zero discussion.

2. What Happened to the Tailies That Were Taken by the Others?
All we've seen so far is a glimpse of the survivors of the tail section's life with The Others. This was a small scene during which Cindy, the Flight Attendant, and two children addressed Jack with smiles on their faces as he was held in a polar bear cage. The fate of these tailies is a key to one of "Lost's" bigger mysteries: are The Others good as Ben has repeatedly claimed or are they bad as has been assumed? If those captured made a willing transition into the Others' camp than it can certainly be determined they are good. Why this out-of-sight, out-of-mind, mystery gets no attention despite being far more compelling and integral to the overall mystery than the attention-lavished riddle of Walt's powers is as puzzling as any other riddle on the show.

1. Who Are The Hostiles?
Well, it has been revealed who they are. They're a group of people indigenous to the island who were here before the Dharma Initiative arrived. For some reason, this was an adequate enough explanation for many, and discussion quickly turned back to a number of other show mysteries. Why is this? The Hostiles are the most intriguing group of people on the show. How long have they been on the island? How did they get there? What's their relationship with Jacob? The questions are endless for this group, especially since Richard Alpert is their only confirmed member and it is never revealed exactly how expansive their membership is. The origin of The Hostiles is the key to the entire series. They probably know more about the island than anyone, including Ben. Once their backstory is revealed, the entire mystery will begin to unravel. Yet people remain more concerned with clouds of smoke and the mental prowess of a preteen.

Now that is a mystery worth exploring.

Make sure to check back on Friday for a rundown of the most underrated and overrated sports movies of all time.

Story by Andrew Payne
Starpulse contributing writer