Review. In a word – wow. We finally got resolution (somewhat) to the two major storylines from the season (The Hatch and Michael / Walt / Confrontation with the Others) – resulting in an episode that kept tensions high for two straight hours. There was action, suspense, romance, and a dash of humor – everything one would want in a TV show. I still don’t have my brain wrapped around this episode enough to say if it was a really great episode or just a really confusing one – but I guess time will tell on that. It seemed that minute after minute there were things jumping out at the viewer that seemed “odd” that we were supposed to take note of – as if the creators were randomly throwing pieces of the puzzle at us. In the end, we’re left with a lot of pieces to fit together in order to understand the big picture.
Let’s get cracking.
Desmond. So Desmond’s real name is “Desmond David Hume“… as in the philosopher David Hume? Looks like it’s time for another philosophy lesson!
Historians most famously see Humean philosophy as a thoroughgoing form of skepticim - the limitations of knowledge, obtaining knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing, the arbitrariness, relativity, or subjectivity of moral values, a method of intellectual caution and suspended judgment, and a lack of confidence in positive motives for human conduct or positive outcomes for human enterprises. He was largely influenced by the philosophies of John Locke.
Whoa. What does that mean?
Basically, his philosophy is one of doubt and testing to prove anything, rather than making assumptions about things and believing them.
At first it might seem ironic that Desmond became a puppet in the Swan Hatch, blindly entering the numbers since his namesake is that of a skeptic… but look at his experiences.
He saw what happened when the Numbers weren’t entered, and it sure looked like all hell was breaking lose – that would be all the information I would need to continue pressing the buttons for as long as possible.
But after a while, this confined lifestyle would make you absolutely insane. However, through his confrontation with Kelvin, Desmond learned that there was no sort of “sickness” outside the Hatch – the biological suit wasn’t necessary. So wouldn’t Desmond continue to make trips outside the Hatch to explore the Island (and run into our Survivors)? Although, maybe he did when the Periodic Ration Drops occurred, every 6-8 months.
Yet he still continued to take the 4815162342 Medicine (and this was the first and only thing he grabbed when he fled the Swan), perhaps thinking that this is what allowed you to travel outside the Hatch without fear of being “infected”.
Now that he’s spent some time outside the Hatch, he seems to have given up on the Medicine (as evidenced by his discussions with Claire about not giving it to baby Aaron). Did he run out and see that nothing happened to him? Or did he simply become so disgusted with life on the Island that he was willing to take the risk?
It’s interesting that Ethan, Tom (formerly Zeke), and CFL all seem to be believers of this “sickness” – they were all inside the Staff Hatch, injecting Claire and Aaron with it - but Desmond and our Survivors think nothing of it, who are going on 65 days without any Medicine. Per CFL, the “sickness” should have started showing itself at this point – but I’ve seen no evidence of infection in any of our Survivors. (If anything, I think the strange activity is coming from people who have injected themselves with the medicine. Case in point – how strange Charlie – the only Survivor who has injected himself – acted at the end of the episode, like “Oh? Locke and Eko aren’t back? That’s weird…” Does the medicine somehow sedate you / keep you from going crazy given the wackiness of the Island? Does it keep you from questioning what is going on around you?)
So what does this all mean? Aside from “CFL is living up to her namesake, and is really CRAZY”, it means that “The Others” are believing a lie. It means that The Others aren’t “all knowing” (read: in charge) of things on the Island.
More on this later. Back to our boy Desmond:
So he apparently was in “Her Majesty's Army” – crazy British term for their military – but was dishonorably discharged for “refusing to follow orders”. I think we are to assume this disobedience led to the prison sentence he was wrapping up as the episode began. But I wouldn’t rule out him being setup for some “crime” by Charles Widmore (more on him later).
What about his book?
Dickens. “Our Mutual Friend” by Charles Dickens is about a young man who is about to receive a large inheritance of money… if he marries a stranger. I actually hear it’s a terrible book, but the base theme sounds like a classic tale of money vs. love. We all know who wins that battle (“With $1,000, we’d be millionaires! We could buy all sorts of useful things – like love!”).
See the symbolism? Desmond is basically faced with a similar situation. Fresh out of jail without a future, he’s offered a large sum of money to turn away from the woman he loves… and he takes it, convinced by Widmore that his daughter is better off without him.
The other funny thing is that in the book, the young man doesn’t end up getting the money because the authorities find a body in a river that looks just like him – and everyone assumes he is dead.
Seriously, if this “Bad Twin / Clone” theory is all just a red herring, they’re pitching it pretty hard.
Kelvin. Did you recognize Kelvin?
That’s right – it’s the same military person who taught Sayid how to torture people, and left him with the mysterious “You’re going to need this skill in the future” speech. However, back in Iraq his name was Joe Inman. On the Island, he’s going by Kelvin Inman… just like Dr. Marvin Candle / Dr. Mark Wickman – what is going on?!
Are they twins? Clones? Or does Dharma simply require that you assume a “new name” that has some internal meaning to them when you join their organziation (like some freaky religion)?
In this case, it seems that it’s none of the above. In listening to the podcast, Damon and Carlton mention that they were required to give the character a name during the “One of Them” episode since it’s printed in previews and credits. Since calling him “Kelvin” at that point would have given the secret away, they just named him “Tom”. Officially, his name is “Kelvin Joe Inman”. (However, this still doesn’t explain the Candle / Wickman stuff – the clone / twin theories linger!)
Kelvin references that he used to be in the military but quit (“because men followed my orders”) and joined Dharma (mocking their “Namaste” greeting – way to stick it to the man!). The strange thing about Kelvin is that he seems “outside” the Others’ circle of trust. Unlike all the rest of the Others (who clearly have access to at least one boat / ferry and are not attempting to leave the Island), Kelvin is trying to get off the Island by repairing Desmond’s boat. This makes it seem like Kelvin was a “Low Level Dharmite” – he’s been told enough to keep injecting himself with the 4815162342 Medicine (and believe it’s doing something), but not enough to know the full story about the Island…which would explain why he (and the Swan Hatch test subjects before him) began painting the Blast Door Map.
Blast Door. So my original theory was that the Blast Door Map was created by “Rebel Dharmites”, but after what we learned in the Season Finale, I think it’s time to revisit this theory. (Brush up on my original views here: http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2006/03/insane-lockdown-analysis.html )
I originally envisioned these “Low Level Dharmites” as knowing a piece of the Island puzzle, but not the whole thing – which leads to their frustrations and propencity to going crazy. However, it might be that there isn’t some huge group of “Rebel Dharmites”, but it only consists of those who have been inside the Swan Hatch.
This explains why portions of the Blast Door Map noted things like “incompatable with 108 Timer” – as the Swan Hatcher would only have so long to “explore” before he had to rush back to his duty of entering the Numbers. There also must have been some periods in the past (in addition to when both Desmond and Kelvin were in the Hatch) where multiple people were there, so that one could travel farther away and document the other Hatches.
The only thing that contradicts this theory is the amount of knowledge on the Blast Door. If it really has only been worked on by people inside the Swan Hatch, how did they get such vast knowledge of the various projects going on and their history? It seems to indicate not only knowledge of what is going on, but why it is going on, and why other experiments failed. I find it very hard to believe wandering around the Island (even if they made it to all six hatches – doubtful) would have given this information. Think about how little information (or none) is given in the Swan, the Pearl, the Arrow, and the Staff. How could they be commenting on things that actually don’t even exist (such as certain sites being unsuitable for certain experiments) unless they were somehow a part of the master planning of the Island Experiments?
Think back to the Orientation video for the Swan. Remember all the weird cuts and jumps in the video? Remember when it was spliced back together, it turned out the missing portions were emphasizing to NOT use the computer for any other purpose?
Radzinski. Or some spelling like that. I’m thinking Radzinski was the original Dharmite tasked with working the Swan Hatch (post incident – roughly 1980). Per protocol, he probably had a partner – but based on Kelvin never mentioning him, I’m assuming his partner put a gun to his head long before Radzinski did due to the insanity of the mission.
Per Kelvin, the Blast Door Map was “his brainchild”.
Radzinski was a smart dude. He was probably military, like Kelvin (brought in and tasked with this mission because he would blindly follow orders without questioning) – only Radzinski did question.
If you’re doing experiments on the “unique electromagnetic properties”, you would probably have a computer. In order to transfer this information from the Swan Hatch to your fellow scientists, you’d need to be networked up, don’t you think?
We’ve seen that Radzinski was smart enough to know how to trigger Lockdowns – I’m thinking he was also smart enough to use that 108 Computer to hack into the Dharma computer network… and learned the full story of what was going on the Island.
This is how he had such knowledge for the Blast Door. He was documenting what he found. Why paint it invisibly on the door? He probably found the cameras in the Hatch, watching his every move. Post-Dharmatel Network Hack, he probably knew he was being watched very closely – and any “Rebel” actions might lead to punishment / death.
This is why he spliced the Orientation video (removing the parts about “not using the computer for any other purpose”). He wanted future Swan Hatchers to do the same.
Everything on that door is written by two people – Radzinski and Kelvin. Our “Rebel Dharmites” if you will.
Magnetism. The Orientation video states that the original aim of the Swan Hatch was to study the unique electromagnetic properties of the Island, then “the Incident” occurred. Okay. Stop right there.
So the Island already had these “unique magnetic properties”. Dharma scientists did something to cause an “incident”. Based on what we’ve seen in the Hatch, it looks like they dug a little too close to the source of these magnetic powers and punched a whole through the rock layer that prevented the magnetism from being too strong.
It looks like when that happened, they boarded up the hole they made (with the huge metal door we saw everything flying towards once the timer expired). But apparently that wasn’t enough. The magnetism was still too strong. So they implemented the 108 Timer to somehow let the magnetic energy build up, then slowly release it – or something along those lines, and thus started the new, never-ending mission of the Swan Hatch.
The intriguing thing is that they added the failsafe. Why? If they could “neutralize” the uber-magnet, why not just do it now and play it safe?
The magnetic powers must be providing some benefit (making crippled people walk, curing cancer and infertility, for example?) that they needed it to stay magnetized.
Now that Desmond has flipped the switch, it will be interesting to see if Locke suddenly can’t walk or if Rose’s cancer starts to return. I can’t even imagine what “experiments” might have been affected by this action. Will the Island no longer be cloaked in the Harry Potter invisibility cape? Will it no longer pull hot air balloons, boats, and airplanes to it?
Out of everyone who had “worked” in the Swan Hatch, Desmond was the first to have the courage to pull his finger out of the damn and see what happens. (This is a reference to “The Legend of Hans Brinker” – the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the damn to prevent a small hole from becoming bigger and flooding his city – also referenced quite hilariously back in the day on Buffy where she quips “I’m like the little boy with his finger in the dike.”)
This also finally explains why HGI lied to Locke during the Lockdown. He wanted the torturous experiment to end, but didn’t have the courage to do it himself. So he enters the Numbers and tells Locke that he didn’t, hoping that will cause Locke to stop pushing the button in the future (after he’s escaped, I’m sure HGI hoped) – that Locke will perform the action that he couldn’t.
So with that, the central story of Season Two – The Swan Hatch – is complete. Yes, I think the Hatch will still be there at the start of Season Three. But it will be in shambles. It will no longer be the luxury resort to our Survivors… and the 108 Numbers are done.
Hostiles. So if our “Rebel Dharmites” merely consist of Radzinski and Kelvin, who are HGI, Alex, and “The Others”? Loyal Dharmite followers? Hardly. They’re not Dharma at all.
Kelvin was Dharma and he called them “Hostiles”. Also (and this is something I can’t believe I missed up until this point) check out the utter lack of anything Dharma on everything The Others wear and have – a stark contrast to the Dharma logo infested Swan Hatch. Kelvin and Desmond had Dharma ghostbuster suits. When Claire was taken to the Staff Hatch, Ethan and the other “scientists” wore plain white, Dharma-free coats.
(Note: there have been a few things – such as Ethan’s cannister of "water" – that did have the Dharma logo on them, but I’m assuming this is simply a product of the Others needing the object and stealing it from a Dharma facility.)
This explains why they would build a Dharma door leading to a wall.
They wanted our Survivors to think they were Dharma – when in reality they’re not. Just like Walt warned us – “they’re not who they say they are.”
So who are they?
They’re “the good guys”. They’re either a band of misfit toys who all ended up on the Island through various means (crashes) and chose to “Live Together” rather than “Die Alone”, or (more likely) a combination of these people and former Dharma test subjects / employees. They are working against Dharma.
But clearly they have a boat – so why don’t they just leave? Either they feel some superhero duty to take down Dharma or they’ve tried and discovered that they can’t. Desmond noted that “we’re all in a bloody snowglobe”, but one wonders if this is just because compasses don’t work because of the magnetic mojo (which, ironically, is now gone – just as Michael is trying to leave – intrigue!).
Why didn’t they just come out and tell our Survivors about who they were in the beginning? I’m not sure. There’s still some pretty big weirdness going on with The Others. They clearly are doing some sort of experiments (stealing kids, performing tests on them) in hopes of finding a way off the Island. They also only seem concerned with saving “the good ones” out of all our Survivors – so they’re clearly not humanitarians. (I guess the fact that they’ve killed some people would also tip you off to this fact). I think we all assume that “good one” is not referring to morally upright or not at this point – but what it actually does mean is yet to be seen. Whatever it is – Kate, Jack, and Sawyer apparently fit the bill… which is why they were taken.
What about the disguises? Well – if you think about it, only Tom seems to have one. This seems to indicate that he was a former Dharmite and is using it to “disguise” himself from their watchful eye. (Oh yes, they’re all being watched). My favorite “tie it all together without being too out there” theory is that he, and he alone, was part of some Dharma cloning experiment – and uses the beard to distinguish himself from his evil Dharma twin.
I can’t wait to see The Others’ true camp (which should be Act 1, Scene 1 of Season Three).
Libby. JJ Abrams clearly likes his girls in a variety of wigs. First Alias, now Libby – who has now been in three different flashbacks, with three different hair styles. So what gives with this girl?
The timeline seems to be Married to “David” à David dies à Libby goes crazy à Libby gets out of mental institution à Libby gives Desmond David’s boat.
Did David ever exist? It’s a bit odd that he has the same name as Hurley’s imaginary friend. But it would explain what could have put her in the Mental Institution in the first place.
A very popular theory puts Libby as a member of Hanso, which carries some bit of weight. For starters, there is one member of the Board of Directors on the Hanso website that doesn’t have a picture – a “Liddy Wales”, which is just tantalizingly close enough to “Libby” that it makes you wonder. People have gone so far to say she was never on Flight 815, was on the Island all along, and masterminded putting both Desmond and Hurley on that Island.
I’m not sold on it. Why? Well first, Libby was supposed to have a flashback this year. Her death wasn’t originally planned. I guess they always could have shown us a lame Charlie’s-band-making-diaper-commericals-esque flashback, but I think if she was Hanso, her flashback would have tipped the cards big time. I also think if she was Hanso, she’s far too important to the storyline to just kill off to “add emotional impact to Ana-Lucia’s death”, as the writers put it.
I could buy that she was a pawn in the Hanso game, instructed to meet Desmond and give him her boat, for example – or to monitor Hurley in the mental institution to see how far the Numbers had spread. This might help explain how she ended up on Flight 815 in the first place. Hanso used her, and then wanted to eliminate her, so they put her on that particular flight.
Or I could simply go with the easy explanation of “she was following Hurley because he was responsible for her husband David’s death” (thus the evil look she gave him at the end of “Dave” and her obsessive angry look in the Mental Institution) – and her chance meeting with Desmond was another of Lost’s wacky flashback character interactions.
Either way, it’s clear we’ve still got a lot to learn about this chica – and since flashbacks are the only way we’ll learn – she had some interaction with some other people on the Island in the past.
Penny. Speaking of chicas on the show, we were introduced to what seems to be our first “main character not on the Island”, that being Penelope Widmore. (She's kinda a hottie!)
As she told Desmond in the past, when she met him at the stadium Jack was running at, “if you have enough money, you can find anybody.” She clearly loves her “Des” and has been frantically searching for him since he disappeared years ago. She’s dropping the coin to put two Brazillians (speaking Brazillian Portuguese) in the Antarctic (an assumption on my part) – neither of whom are Matthew Fox or Lenny from Hurley’s Mental Institution, by the way – sorry clone theorists - listening for electromagnetic anomalies, after all!
The real question is – how did she know to be looking for electromagnetic anomalies in the first place? How could she know that would lead her to Desmond? Cue daddy dearest…
Charles Widmore. Whoa whoa whoa – Caleb Nichols is behind this all?! Talk about a shocker (that’s an “O.C.” reference for those of you who don’t enjoy teenage dramas acted out by people in their mid-thirties). Finally an explanation for the whole “Widmore” thing that’s been lurking in the background this season (billboard in Charlie’s flashback, Sun’s pregnancy test) and referenced in “Bad Twin”, or so I’ve heard. (I start reading “Bad Twin” TODAY!)
Widmore seems to have some connection to Hanso – a corporate partner or sponsor perhaps? Clearly he has the money for it. While the Widmore role in the whole “Lost storyline” is unclear at this point – it could be as small as being referenced a few times and providing the impetus for the “Penny searching for Desmond” storyline or as big as being the criminal mastermind behind the whole thing! – I think it’s clear how Penny found out how to search for Desmond.
She asked / forced it out of her dad. I’m thinking that Widmore has knowledge of the Island, even if it’s just a general “Hanso has an Island with weird magnetic mojo”, and that when Desmond went missing, Penny forced knowledge about this Island out her dad.
However, due to these weird magnetic properties, you can’t find the Island (“once you leave, you’ll never be able to get back here”, as HGI puts it). In a beautiful love-story twist on everything, Desmond having the courage to use the failsafe (because he’s loved by Penny!) is the very thing that could lead her to him (oh, and save everyone else on the Island… and maybe bring down Dharma – but whatever, it’s a love story!).
Did Charles orchestrate Desmond’s crash on the Island? Perhaps. That would explain how Charles would know that’s where he “crashed” to tell Penny about how to search for him. After all, it was his boat race that he was in. He probably created some sort of race route for it (coordinated by Dharma to swing by their Island so they could pick off fresh meat if need be?).
Now we just need the introduction of “Paik-Heavy Industries” and we’ll be able to put a face on all the corporate players in the story.
Resolution. Switching gears, we finally got our promised “resolution” to the Walt / Michael storyline… kinda. Father and son reunited, sailing off in the sunset as happy music plays. But sailing where? It’s very open-ended. Michael could come riding in with the calvary (and Penny!) at the end of Season Seven, saving everyone and redeeming himself for the murders of Ana-Lucia and Libby. Or they could end up right back on the Island next season, confirming that Desmond was right – they are in a snow globe.
However, based on HGI’s comments, they could find a way out by following bearing 325 – a critical piece of information Desmond lacked. Of course, HGI could be lying. After all, his name isn’t Henry Gale, and he did enter the Numbers in the Hatch, despite what he says.
My gut is that the writers leave this hanging. It’s a potential storyline in the future, but if they never touch it again – it’s wrapped up pretty cleanly. Either way, I think it will be quite some time before we see Michael or Walt again (aside from in flashbacks, of course…)
Ancient. That’s the best word I could come up with to describe the Hurelybird and Four-Toed Foot this episode.
They existed to remind us that this Island existed prior to Dharma landing there (circa the 1970’s). There are crazy animals here that are either extinct on the rest of the planet or have evolved wackily due to the Island’s magic – such as the Hurleybird. No, I don’t think it actually said Hurley’s name. It appears to just be a running gag after crazy Internet Lost fans (of the non-blogging variety, of course – because I’m not crazy) swore that this bird in the first season said Hurley’s name:
What about the foot? The first thing I thought of was the “Colossus of Rhodes”, allegedly this giant statue that the ancient Greeks built to worship their god de jour following some war. It straddled an inlet and was one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The Lost Foot could be the same sort of deal. Ancient Island-dwellers built it to honor their non-Christian god.
What about the four toes? I can’t believe people are going so crazy about this without looking at the obvious. Hi, I’m the TV Show Lost – everything here is in Numbers of 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, or 42 – have we met? Having an 8 toed statue is crazy – because it’s twice as much work as a 4 toed statue. Don’t even get me started on using any of the other Numbers.
This just goes to reinforce that the Numbers and the Island have always been tied together, even before Hanso, the Swan Hatch, or the radio transmission CFL heard. They’re like peanut butter and jelly.
Dates. Speaking of ancient history, a quick look at the Lost history shows some glaring errors on the part of the show’s creators. Now that we finally have a firm date for when the plane crashed (September 22nd, 2004 at 4:16 – the day Lost originally aired!), we can view other dates with a cricical eye and try and get a timeline together… or at least we can try to, and then find discrepancies that will drive us mad.
For example, one of Jack’s flashbacks showed an x-ray with a date of November 2005… after the plane crashed. That’s unpossible.
There are dates on the Blast Door Map that seem to reference past incidents in 2001 and January 2005. Huh? Unless Kelvin was predicting the future (which might be cool, since that would be about Season 5, by my count), it doesn’t make sense.
I guess we can chalk these up to production team error, or intentional red herrings to keep the “they’re in the future and the rest of the world is gone!” theorists happy, but now that we’ve got a date and seen the outside world, a lot of the wackier theories about the very nature of Lost are put to rest (purgatory, all inside someone’s head, time warp).
Deaths. So the burning question in the hearts and minds of Desmond, Locke, and Eko fans everywhere has to be – “Whoa whoa whoa - did they all just die?”
Not likely. Although some have argued (quite convincingly) about their storylines finding completion (Locke finding fault in his ways and saying “I’m sorry”, Eko “sacrificing” himself to try and continue his religious penance of pushing the Button, Desmond being a hero and saying “see you in another lifetime, brother” again), from a storytelling perspective, it doesn’t make sense.
We now have Penny on the outside looking for Desmond on the Island. How anti-climatic would that whole search be if Desmond is already dead? Also, as mentioned in the Podcast, they basically brought Desmond back and put the very important Season Finale on his shoulders and dedicated two hours to telling his story and developing his backstory – only to immediately kill him? Locke and Eko’s relationship just got interesting with the conflict between them and you kill them? We never find out about Eko’s encounter with Smokey or how Locke lost his ability to walk?
Nope. Breath deeply everyone! Even on the Podcast, Damon mentions that some of the flashbacks for next season include “how Locke ended up in a wheelchair” (along with “the meaning behind Jack’s tattoo” and “Kate’s marriage”). Libby aside, you can’t do a “how Locke ended up in a wheelchair” flashback if he’s dead. If Locke survived, it goes to reason that Eko and Desmond also survived.
Remember, it looks like the Failsafe just switched the magnetism of the Hatch. Instead of pulling things towards the metal door, it pushed them away (like the Hatch door, that landed on the beach). This really only affects things made of metal. Granted, there’s a high potential for sharp or heavy things to hit you, but you should be able to make it out of there alive.
(Plus, with Jack, Sawyer, and Kate gone – who is going to lead our Survivors? Obviously Locke, Eko and Desmond!)
Future. So what’s next? Well, first the good news. ABC has finally taken a cue from Fox and learned its lesson. Having nonstop seasons of a show is the way to go! Next season we’re going to get six episodes in the fall (late September – early November would be my guess) and then seventeen episodes in the spring (January – May). NO REPEATS (just a two and a half month hiatus over the holidays – honestly, you should be spending time with your family anyways).
So we’re looking at two mini-seasons. The first six episodes should deal with The Others. Where is their camp? What is their mission? Who are they? Why did they take Jack, Kate, and Sawyer? Then we’re due for a cliffhanger – finally meeting “the enemy”, Hanso / Dharma People on the Island in the ? on the Blast Door Map, perhaps?
I’m pretty excited. I think it’s fascinating (and unprecedented) to have a show like Lost, which is a critical and fan favorite, yet we have no freaking clue what the show is even about yet. I mean, fundamentally, we don’t know if this is going to end up being an action show, a sci-fi show, or a procedural crime drama (kidding – because there aren’t enough of those on TV already).
Season One we were trying to make sense of this mysterious Island full of weirdness.
Season Two we were trying to make sense of the mysterious Hanso Foundation and Dharma Initiative, and what role our Survivors played in it all.
Season Three, we’ll probably finally get some answers about both of the above, in addition to learning about the Others and what the “end game” of the show is going to be. Escaping off the Island? Bringing down Dharma? Achieving eternal life through Rambaldi?
I can’t wait.
(Footnote: I totally forgot to mention one important fact in the lengthly blabbering above - THE CRASH OF FLIGHT 815 WAS AN ACCIDENT. It wasn't planned by Dharma, our Survivors weren't hand-picked and placed on the Flight (unless you want to play the "psychic could see that the plane was going to crash card" for Claire / Eko). It happened as a result of Desmond deciding, randomly one day, to follow Kelvin out of the Hatch. Totally random that Flight 815 happened to be off course and passing by. So, looking back at all the character interactions in the flashbacks - they seem to just be chance encounters. JJ Abram's new show "Six Degrees" seems to carry this theme a bit further, about "how six New Yorkers' lives interact without them knowing it".
Now, this isn't ruling out the whole "fate" element of things. Maybe our Survivors were "destined" to be there, but it wasn't carried out by Dharma Plan. Desmond? You could argue that he was intentionally brought there by Hanso / Widmore. But for our Survivors, we need to re-examine things like Eko's plane and Kate's horse being on that Island. Because they were not part of some master plan.)