Sunday, May 28, 2006
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.)
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Some initial thoughts to get your brains working:
- Crazy huge bird. The first bird we've seen on the Island (which many have noted is pretty odd), and it's some prehistoric looking beast. Odd.
- Giant stone foot with only four toes. Is this Atlantis? Does such a statue indicate that this place has been here for centuries (since building giant stone statues of people went out of fashion sometime around ancient Rome).
- Is the Hatch destroyed? If so, the Blast Door is gone forever...
- Desmond dead? Maybe. It was a fitting death.
- Locke and Eko dead? No way. Too many unanswered storylines. Plus, with Jack, Kate, and Sawyer gone - what leaders do we have to try and rescue them? Sayid and Jin? No - they'll need Eko and Locke.
- I'm not sure how I feel about the shift from everything taking place on the Island to seeing things happening in the real world - it takes some of the mystery away from it all. I'm curious to see how they handle this next season. But my gut instinct now seems to tell me that the show is going to end with our Survivors (at least some of them) actually being rescued - something I never thought possible before tonight.
- How did Penny know to search for an Electromagnetic Pulse? We'll have to work through that.
- So we really just need to find a link between Kate, Jack, and Sawyer. Thoughts?
- If anything, I think this episode strengthened my theory that there are Rebel Dharmites and Corporate Dharmites. Maybe they're not clones or test subjects, but if HGI refers to them as "the good ones" there must be "bad ones" somewhere!
- New Dharma Website: http://www.hansocareers.com - I hunted around and nothing jumped out at me initially. But rest assured I'm going to be sending in my resume for a few of those jobs and see what happens...
Full post soon!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Episode Title: "Live Together, Die Alone”
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: This is it. The last time I'll have deep thoughts until the fall. So I guess it’s good to see the Lost creators gave me such a meaty episode title for the last one of the season. This one could be as small as describing a single character, as large as describing everyone on the Island, or as heady as describing mankind in general. Let’s start small and work big…
Desmond is back.
I don’t know when I became Henry Ian Cusick’s #1 Fan, but I’m wanting him to join both “Lost” and “24” as a series regular next season. His appearance on Lost single-handedly turned the entire premise of the show on its head. His disappearance left us with more questions than ever about the nature of the Hatch, the experiments, his connection to our Survivors, and the entire state of the world.
Remember, when we last saw him he was running through the Jungle with a backpack full of 4815162342 Medicine, sure that another “Incident” was about to occur due to the 108 Computer being damaged.
So why is he now back?
Because he realized that you either “Live Together” or “Die Alone”.
Perhaps he doesn’t realize it – maybe he’s looking at it from a strict survival point of view. I’m sure whatever supplies he had in his backpack have run out in the month he’s gone, and needs to return to our Survivors to restock on supplies. Maybe he’s encountered some of the dangers on the Island (Smokey, Others, CFL) and realized the strength that lies in numbers (no, not those Numbers…). Maybe he’s formulated a plan to overtake the Others and now needs some help to carry it out. The point remains the same – he needs our Survivors.
Keep in mind this is also a Desmond flashback episode (which, by the way, is second only to an “Island flashback” on the “Flashbacks I Want Most” list… that and a "Vincent Flashback", of course). Think back to what we know about his past – he crashed on the Island all alone and met Kelvin. On a strange Island by yourself, you join the only other person there and hope you survive... even if they convince you to enter a series of Numbers on a computer every 108 Minutes to save the world.
Desmond has decided to “Live Together”.
Unfortunately, Michael seems to be headed in the opposite direction of Desmond. As I briefly mentioned before, finding out that there was no edict from the Others to kill Ana-Lucia or Libby makes his murder of them even more inexcusable. It might have been difficult, but there could have been some other way to get HGI free that wouldn't involve killing. Once the Survivors find out about what he did (which they will, since Sayid is already suspecting him of being shady - just wait until he walks Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley into a trap!) there is no chance of him returning to the Survivor Camp.
Michael made a decision - he could have told the Survivors about the ultimatum the Others gave him and worked with them to find a solution that would get Walt back. But as we've seen before, he's liable to get a little crazy when it comes to saving Walt (PS - I totally forgot about how he knocked Locke out to steal the gun when he initially went out in the Jungle after Walt - why in the world did ANYONE trust him the second time around???). He has effectively said "Walt is more important than any of the rest of you", which isn't a good example of "Living Together" if you ask me.
So is he destined to "Die Alone"? Perhaps. I still haven't come to a firm conclusion on how the Michael-Walt saga is going to end, but I definitely have it narrowed down to two choices:
- Michael is going to be killed. The Others used Michael to free HGI and bring the Flight 815 Four (Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley) to them, and his usefulness is used up. He becomes a liability and is killed. This would be known as the "sad ending".
- Michael and Walt are going to be sent off the Island. The Others are people of their word, and upon capturing the Fantastic Four they give Michael the boat he wanted all along. Michael takes Walt and hops on board and the two sail away (David Gray style). As a viewer, we are left to wonder what will happen to them. This would be known as the "mystery ending".
What happened to the "Michael becomes an Other and starts living with them" choice? Well, after reading this episode's title, I decided it would be impossible.
Because I think our Survivors are going to band together with the "Others".
Shocking you say? I agree. But the more I thought about the episode title, the more I thought about everything that's happened so far - it makes sense to me. Check out this quote from Damon Lindelhof about the main theme of next season: “Us versus Them. But who’s the ‘us’ and who’s the ‘them’?”
If I was writing this show, the ‘Us’ becomes our Survivors and the Rebel Dharmites. The ‘Them’ are the Clean-Cut Dharmites we saw in the Staff Hatch earlier this season. Throw out your favorite theory about what separates these two groups (cloning, test subjects vs. scientists, other crash survivors vs. Dharmites), but I am more sure than ever that there is a clear distinction between the Others, and that there has been a “battle” between the two of them going on long before Flight 815 crashed on the Island.
The “good guys” in this battle are the Rebel Dharmites (Zeke and Co., living in huts and wearing rags).
The “bad guys” in this battle are the Clean-Cut Dharmites (Beardless Zeke, Ethan, etc. living in some more-developed area on this Island wearing khaki pants and collared shirts).
Our Survivors are going to be faced with a decision – merge with the Rebel Dharmites to rage against the Clean-Cut Dharma machine, or try to go it alone.
Once again, we’re looking at a “Live Together” or “Die Alone” situation. I think our Survivors will be smart enough to chose “Live Together”.
More on this later…
Back to Michael, to finish up that thought. If the Survivors join the Rebel Dharmites, there is no way that Michael could still be around. Hurley or Sawyer would kill him. If Michael is to survive the finale, it will be on a boat, leaving the Island.
TV.com Description: After discovering something odd just offshore, Jack and Sayid come up with a plan to confront "The Others" and hopefully get Walt back. Meanwhile, Eko and Locke come to blows as Locke makes a potentially cataclysmic decision regarding the "button" and the hatch. Lastly, Desmond returns and he sheds some more light on his experience on the island in the three years prior to when Locke came down into that hatch.
TV.com Breakdown: The "something odd" just offshore is clearly the boat we saw at the end of last episode (sorry to break the hearts of the "Underwater Hatch" people). The real question is whether Desmond is actually on this boat or if the boat is abandoned. If Desmond is on the boat, it reasons that this is his boat he was using on his race around the world - somehow repaired from his crash into the Island. If the boat is abandoned, it reasons that this is the boat Michael requested in return for freeing HGI and delivering the Flight 815 Four. It would serve as a sign to Michael of "Hey, we're serious about our promise to you… if you carry out your half of the bargain."
The bad news for Mikey is that Sayid seems to be on to his hijinx, and has probably convinced Jack of a way to play along with Michael’s plan until the last minute - and then turn the tables. How? I’m not sure – maybe let Michael lead you to the Others, then at the last minute turn on him - possibly having Sayid trailing a few hundred yards behind you with some sort of cavalry.
Meanwhile, the other big storyline is Locke vs. Eko in the battle for the Hatch. It’s so ironic how this storyline has turned both characters completely 180 degrees from where they started. The whole 108 Computer started as a “greater purpose” for Locke on the Island, but has now turned into a matter of faith for Eko. When we last saw Locke, he was walking away by himself on the beach. Did he go off soul-searching? Was he simply heading back to the Hatch? Unclear – but by the looks of things, John Locke has made his decision – that it’s time to take an axe to the 108 Computer.
Will he succeed? No. Eko is far too strong and dedicated to let the weaker Locke destroy his mission. But will the timer run out this episode? Absolutely. We’re going to have some scene of Eko, Locke, and Desmond (and possibly Charlie) inside the Swan Hatch debating whether or not to push the button. I’m betting that Locke finds a way to lower the Blast Doors (possibly from Desmond), trapping Eko away from the 108 Computer. This sets the stage for a dramatic scene with Eko imploring with Locke to press the button as the clock continues to tick down.
Then what happens? As I’ve said before, logically nothing should happen. But even though all the evidence says the 108 Timer is one big Skinner Box Experiment, every fiber of my being tells me that when the timer goes off, something happens that causes another plane to crash. Why?
We’ve been told that we would learn a few things in this episode:
- What happens when the button isn’t pressed.
- What caused Flight 815 to crash.
- Resolution to the Michael / Walt storyline.
It’s not like the Lost writers to give away a bunch of answers, even over the course of a two-hour episode. I’m thinking the first two are tied together. How else could we possibly learn why Flight 815 crashed? There are only a few possibilities:
- The Rebel Dharmites divulge the information (but could we trust it?)
- The Pearl Hatch contains video showing the plane crashing (doubtful since all the cameras seemed to be inside Hatches)
- Desmond tells them he saw the plane crash (possibly in flashback form – but it’s doubtful, remember the whole “Quarantine” thing Desmond seemed to believe in? Also – what could possibly cause a plane to crash other than Smokey or some sort of laser-y pulse beam?)
- Our Survivors do something to cause another plane to crash, like not pushing the button and Desmond reveals he didn’t push the button once a few months ago.
More reasoning? Damon said the season finale is "a battle between faith and reason on the same playing field where it all began.”
Where did it all begin? On a plane.
What does reason tell us? Not pushing a button can’t cause a plane to crash
What does faith tell us? Even though we can’t explain it, the button didn’t get pressed twice – and twice planes crashed.
There’s also this picture from the preview:
(PS - note the pile of Pearl Hatch tubes in the background! They go nowhere!)
In my mind, this can be one of three things.
- Jack looking to the sky in horror as another plane crashes.
- Jack looking up at a developed city area, home of the Clean-Cut Dharmites.
- Jack looking up at Smokey.
Claire covering Aaron with Bernard looking to the sky in horror? Yeah, that seems to indicate debris falling from a plane exploding, don't you think?
Lastly we have Desmond returning, providing us with the details of the three years he spent on the Island pre-Season One Finale. Here’s hoping for a healthy dose of Kelvin, some revelations about the Supply Drop, and Blast Doors! But I worry that Desmond is as much a pawn in this game as our Survivors, and may be asking the same questions himself…
The Flight 815 Four. For the life of me, I can't come up with a unifying factor between Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley.
- Jack, Kate, and Hurley all had "visions" - but Sawyer didn't (and what about Locke, Eko, etc.?)
- Jack, Kate, and Sawyer might be genetically "chosen" based on their physiques - but not Hurley (and what about Sayid, Jin, etc.?)
- Jack, Kate, and Sawyer all had "Daddy Issues" - but Hurley didn't (and what about Sun, Jin, etc.?)
- Jack, Kate, and Sawyer might be seen as "leaders" - but not Hurley (and what about Sayid, Locke, etc.?)
- Jack, Kate, and Sawyer all met "Zeke" - but Hurley didn't (and Locke did)
- Jack, Kate, and Hurley all went to the "Black Rock" - but Sawyer didn't (and Locke did)
Ms. Klugh was very specific about these four, and these four only - but why?
It seems to indicate that the whole reason for the crash of Flight 815 was to bring these four individuals to the Island. Is everyone else just along for the ride? People who luckily survived the crash? Or was the point to bring a group of people to the Island and then pick out the four "best" ones for whatever experiments are being carried out?
With all the flashback connections we've seen, there have been some among the Flight 815 Four, but nothing significant…
Jack --> Jack's Dad --> Sawyer --> Kate's Mom --> Kate
…and I can't connect it to Hurley, no matter how hard I try - unless Libby or Desmond somehow provides the missing link between these four individuals.
The other really intriguing thing is that if the Rebel Dharmites are good, they aren’t leading The Flight 815 Four into a trap at all – so why did they only need these four? They must possess some sort of traits (Hurley’s seeming-invincibility, Jack’s medical knowledge, Kate’s hot body, Sawyer’s hilarity?) that the Rebel Dharmites value, or be somehow more trustworthy of learning the secrets than the other Survivors.
The intriguing (and frustrating) thing is that this detail could possibly blow my whole “merge theory” out of the water, even though all other signs seem to be pointing that way.
The Key. What in the world is this?!?
I can’t think of anywhere on the Island where there is a glowing orange pedestal. I also can’t imagine where the Survivors would get a Goonies-style magic key (From Desmond? From the Rebel Dharmites?) – but something tells me it reveals something big. A passageway to the Clean-Cut Dharmites’ lair? A doorway to the mechanical underbelly of the Island? The ignition to the super-boat that will lead Michael and Walt off the Island? No idea – but it excites me.
The Hatch. Season Two opened with discovering the Hatch. My bet is that Season Two ends with destroying the Hatch. If you think about it, The Swan Hatch makes life too easy. Running water, showers, a seeming endless supply of Dharma-approved food and drink, shelter from Smokey – it’s like the Real World House in the middle of Survivor!
It will also serve as a cleansing of sorts – for the deaths of Ana-Lucia and Libby, for the Skinner Box Experiment they were all slaves to, and the symbolic freedom for Desmond to escape the Hatch and start living above ground, unafraid of the “sickness.” It also lends some necessity to the merge with the Rebel Dharmites – from a strict survival perspective, rather than just a strategic perspective.
Did the preview hint at this destruction here?
Boats. Here’s another puzzle – if the Rebel Dharmites have a boat (or multiple boats, counting the boat that appeared at the end of last episode, the tug boat that kidnapped Walt last season, and the ferry referenced in the Pearl Orientation video), why aren’t they off the Island? There are two possible explanations:
- They want to be on the Island.
- They know they can’t get off the Island.
Why would anyone want to be on the Island? Perhaps they’re in the same boat (pun intended) as Desmond, thinking that the rest of the world has been destroyed, and this Island is the only place left. Perhaps they think that the genetic experiments the Hanso Foundation was carrying out led to a worldwide genocide, and the Island is the last “clean place” on Earth (which might explain why Alvar Hanso would go there to hide). Or maybe they just like the climate and laid-back lifestyle.
On the other hand, maybe they have these boats, but know that they can’t get anywhere with them. Perhaps there is some sort of magnetic force that prevents you from getting too far away. Perhaps Smokey launches out of the water and eats you when you get a certain distance away from the Island. Or maybe they know you would just hit a wall, a la “The Truman Show”.
If they are indeed giving Michael a boat as he requested, they must be certain that he’ll either return to the rest of the world and find it a wasteland, or that he’ll perish in his journey. Either way, it eliminates him from being a potential problem in the future.
But what about Walt?
Are we really to believe that they would give up Walt after they were so steadfast about kidnapping him? It’s clear that they’ve been doing some experiments on him (the creepy “room” Ms. Klugh referenced that shut Walt up right away), but perhaps they found that he wasn’t the prodigal son they were looking for after all. Maybe they’ve “drained” whatever magic juice Walt had and now he’s just a shell of his former self. Or maybe they were just lying to Michael all along and have no intentions of releasing Walt. But that would leave the writers with the pesky situation of Walt growing up way too fast for the show’s measured pace.
Prediction Time. Enough blabbering. So what do I think is going to happen?
The Flight 815 Four will seemingly be “captured” by “The Others”, only to learn that they are “Rebel Dharmites” and are actually the “good guys”. They decide to band together in attempt to take down the Clean-Cut Dharmites and get off the Island.
Locke will be alone in the Hatch, secured by Blast Doors all around, watching the 108 Numbers expire as Eko pleads with him to reconsider.
A second plane will crash. This time, there will be no survivors (because it would feel like a rehash of this season’s Tailers storyline).
Michael and Walt will sail off into the sunset, their fates left up in the air.
I have to say, I’m pretty excited for this finale. Part of me hopes all my predictions are wrong and I can joyfully enjoy the twists and turns of the finale I never saw coming (and that way I didn’t just ruin it for all you readers out there). But another part of me hopes they’re all right, because I think it would make a freaking sweet finale and set the stage for an unbelievable third season.
Enjoy the show.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Now the good news: there really isn't that much to breakdown.
This somewhat served as a "setup" episode, and I was somewhat letdown by it - mostly because our predictions came true. Here are some discussion points for you guys while I'm gone:
- Charlie has taken the 4-8-15-16-23-42 Medicine. What will be the reprecussions of this?
- He mentioned it says to take the Medicine "every 9 days". Quick math. 9 x 24 = 216 (or, double 108!)
- Did the Others send the boat to Michael, as he requested? Or will we find Desmond on the boat as I predicted this week?
- When "Ms. Clue" (PS - are you kidding me? Who came up with that name?) said "Have you ever seen Walt somewhere where he wasn't supposed to be?", was she referring to the Ghost Walt apparations we saw earlier this season (shout out to Currin on deducting this).
- When Walt said "they're not what they seem!", it seemed to lend credence to the "only one set of Others, they just act like they're derelict" theory. But I still don't buy it.
- Michael didn't have to kill Ana-Lucia or Libby. That sucks (for him, and Ana-Lucia and Libby).
- So, should we assume the whole reason Flight 815 crashed is somehow tied to Hurley, Sawyer, Kate, and Jack? What makes them so important? (Besides the fact that they're probably the most popular characters on the show, of course).
- The previews for next week? Holy finale of Grey's Anatomy proportions! Did you see the Dharma Key, the explosions (in the Swan Hatch?), Locke taking an axe to the 108 Numbers computer, the pile of cannisters from the Pearl Hatch, and Desmond running through the woods? We watched it about four times on slow-mo. Good, good times (DMB style).
- Why didn't Eko tell Jack about the Pearl Hatch? What is the matter with these people?! Where did Locke sneak off to at episode end?
- New Hanso Website: http://www.letyourcompassguideyou.com (this time sponsored by Jeep).
Full Season Finale preview coming early next week!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Since I'm about to hit my 100,000th visitor (which boggles my mind more than the game Boggle), I thought now would be an appropriate time to find out who all you weirdos are who read my insane ramblings each week.
It's quite simple. Just post a comment letting me know where you are, and how you found this little corner of the Internet. During last year's census (which was taken via Email, back in the pre-Blog days), I think the most distant reader I had was in Kansas. Something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore. (That's not a terrible joke because it's an obscure reference to a bad joke in the movie "Swingers", thus making it funny - I think...)
Watch, I'll even go first!
Invented Lost and Gone Forever by stealing the title of a Guster CD.
Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: I've run the gamut on this one. There are a number of situations I've run through my mind where I could see the "three minute" timeframe coming into play…
- The length time that HGI left Locke when he was under the Blast Doors. That seemed about how long HGI was gone, didn't it? Now that Eko and Locke have discovered the Pearl Hatch, it's possible HGI's actions can be determined by looking through the logs that Eko collected (I am of the opinion that they can't just "rewind" the video that was showing of the Swan Hatch since recording nonstop for the assumed multiple camera angles would require an ABSURD amount of tapes / data storage - probably not readily available back in 1980). However, since this would "prove" if pushing the button did anything or not, it seems unlikely. It will be much more fun to learn what happens when the button isn't pressed live, after an Eko / Locke struggle, don't you think?
- The amount of time you have after the 108 Timer runs out before the serious bad news starts (electro-magnetic pulses shooting into the sky knocking out planes!). I mean, we've seen it get as far as flipping to the hieroglyphics (about 20 seconds), but what happens if you wait longer? It doesn’t look like we're going to get resolution on the Numbers before the Season Finale next week (boo), so this probably isn't the case either.
- The amount of time the Others gave Michael to decide if he would help them out or not. This is a Michael flashback, from the period he ran off into the jungle with a shotgun to find Walt until the time he stumbled out of the jungle half-dead a few weeks back. During that time, I can picture a scene with the Others marching in with Walt at gunpoint saying "You have three minutes to decide if you want to help us or not" and flipping over a giant hourglass. Michael must make the incredibly difficult decision of saving his son or his fellow Survivors. Heavy.
- The amount of time the Others gave Michael with Walt, when attempting to convince him to help them / join them in their plan against the Survivors. This is the most popular theory on the Internet, and I don’t know whether people have read spoilers and are now "guessing" this is going to happen, or if really is just the most obvious answer. If it is true, it opens the door for a big-time emotional scene between father and son, weighing the morality of potentially killing a large group of people just to save a single life (Walt). Perhaps it's not quite that drastic, and is more of a "Lead everyone else into the trap and we'll give you your son back.", but even still - it's quite a pickle. WWJBD? Kill Walt, eliminate the variable, and then systematically take out the Others and free himself. But I think Michael is no Jack Bauer.
As I've said before, I think the important thing here is that the deal between Michael and the Others has to include some sort of "out" for him. They're not just going to give him Walt, as he's too important to them. Michael can't just return to the Survivors, since he's murdered two of them and betrayed them all. So there are two options:
- Michael becomes an Other.
- Michael is killed.
By "becomes an Other", I mean he is assimilated into their society, allowed to live among them (with Walt). This would make Michael happy (gets to be with Walt). This would make the Others happy (get to keep Walt).
By "is killed", I mean he is killed. It's pretty straightforward. The Others use him to lure our Survivors into a trap, he thinks they're going to give him Walt back - but instead they give him a knife / bullet in the back.
There is one other possibility, but requires a few assumptions. That possibility is that the Others have used Walt for whatever they needed him for, and will ship both Michael and Walt off the Island. If you assume that the Dharmites are in some control of everything on the Island and are voluntarily there (with some means of getting off the Island), it would make sense that the easiest way to deal with Michael and Walt, and keep the "experiments" going on is to remove them.
There gets to be a point when they know "too much" and become a variable that would ruin the experiment. This is what I term the "happy ending" to the Michael / Walt situation because it's the only way to keep Michael from becoming a "bad guy" by joining the Others (although, since he's killed two people, maybe that ship has already sailed - and yes, I meant to use the term "ship has sailed" on purpose) or from getting killed.
Lastly, as always, I throw the episode title in Google and see what obscure movie / book references come back - usually it's pretty interesting. This week is no exception. The first two search results?
The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe
The Last Three Minutes: Conjectures About the Ultimate Fate of the Universe
Whoa. Talk about both ends of the spectrum! We've seen there are Dharma experiments working towards creating a "master race", but how about creation of a "master universe"? (Not Masters of the Universe - but that would be awesome too. By the power of Grey Skull...) On the other hand, could the Swan Hatch actually be preventing an "incident" that would bring about the end of the world, like Desmond believed?
Probably not - but it's fun to think about.
TV.com Description: A determined Michael convinces Jack and several castaways to help him rescue Walt from "The Others." With Jack away, Locke is left in charge of the hatch and must decide if he should believe Henry and not push the button, risking everyone's safety. Meanwhile, the events that happened to Michael after he left are finally revealed. Meanwhile, Charlie struggles with Eko's decision to discontinue building the church.
TV.com Breakdown: Last sentence first. As predicted last week, Eko no longer feels the need to build the church. Why? It was something he was doing to have purpose on the Island and to give thanks and praise to God for giving him Yemi back. But now he now has button-pressing, which comes with its own pros (out of the hot sun!) and cons (carpel tunnel syndrome!). This leaves Charlie on the outs. We’ve seen Charlie’s flashbacks – he’s a generally religious fellow – and probably thought that building the church was a good deed he could help perform on the Island. It’ll be interesting to see if he blindly follows Eko in his new 108 Number ambition, or if this disruption finally forces him to patch things up with Claire and the other Survivors.
Back to the beginning. I doubt Michael had to do much convincing to go after the Others after everything that happened in the Hatch. The interesting thing will be how forceful he is in how the rescue should go down (i.e. – leading them into a trap). From the looks of the commercial, Sayid sees right through his scheme, while everyone else is blindly following. So this is why we’re having such problems in Iraq – they’re clearly much smarter than us!
With Jack away, Locke is finally in charge of the Hatch and decisions inside (after a precarious “partnership” between he and Jack that often seemed to have Jack making all the decisions). Of course his first decision is going to be to not press the button. The way the preview words it, it truly sounds like not pressing the button would cause some sort of danger – although reason (and analysis of past episodes) tells us this is not the case. Lucky for the Survivors Eko is now on button duty, and could easily overpower Locke and press the button, despite the best of Locke’s protests.
Lastly, in what might be the most anticipated flashback this year, we find out what exactly happened to Michael when he was gone. By the looks of it, he made a lot of new friends…
Others. It seems with each passing week, my interpretation of the Others and the power struggle between the Dharmites and Rebel Dharmites changes slightly. Last week was no exception. It all started when I saw this picture in the preview for this week:
There's our buddy Zeke, sporting the fake full-on beard which Kate found in the Staff Hatch. But that beard looks pretty darn good, doesn't it? Especially in this "action shot?" Which got me thinking - what if that's a real beard?
But wait! We saw him beardless in the Staff only a few weeks ago! Or did we?
Let's recap. So far, we've had mystery twins on Zeke's ship in the Season One Finale and mystery doctors who look awfully similar in the Orientation videos.
What if Zeke is also a twin / clone?
Think about it.
I’ve struggled with an explanation about the fake beard from the beginning. The best I could ever come up with is “tricking the Survivors into thinking they are weak / disorganized / powerless instead of letting them know they’re running the show.” But I was never fully happy with that.
How about this. There are two Zekes on the Island. There’s the clean cut Khaki Zeke we saw in the Staff Hatch with Ethan. Then there’s the rustic Derelict Zeke we saw on the Boat kidnapping Walt / in the Jungle confronting Sawyer / Jack / Locke.
What about the fake beard? It would allow Khaki Zeke to infiltrate the Derelict Others’ camp and possibly trick them into actions that benefit the Dharma experiments.
It’s just a thought – but this would go a long way in explaining the “Rebel Dharmite” vs. “By The Book Dharmite” division I’ve long suspected. It’s a bit Gattaca, but it would be an interesting development. The “clones” or “genetically engineered Dharmites” are outcasts / rebels, whereas the original Dharmites are the scientists running the show (Fancy Pants Dharmites).
Think about what we saw in the Staff Hatch – clean cut Dharmites in nice clothes, carrying out scientific experiments, seemingly in charge of the show. Compare that to the scenes we see from this week’s previews.
There’s clearly a class difference going on here. Okay, so I gave you my latest theory (Gattaca Cloning), here’s a recap of the other potential breakdown between the groups we’ve discussed previously:
- Experiment Test Subjects vs. Scientists.
- Rebel Dharmites Who Have Lost the Faith vs. True Dharma Believers
- Survivors of Other Crashes vs. Dharma
Lastly, there is always the possibility that my original lame theory of “tricking them into thinking they’re weak” is true – but not even close to as much fun as any of the theories above.
This week should serve to gives us some clues to the nature of this particular group of Others, as we look to get a glimpse of their camp, how they live, and how they act. Speaking of their camp, what’s that I see on the door?
That’s right – it’s a Dharma Logo with a canister in the middle – just like the canister that Locke put into the bank-drive-through-lane-air-powered-shooting-thingy (scientific name) last episode! Who wants to bet this is where those canisters all ended up? Who wants to bet that no one has ever read a thing that was sent?
Could this be the “C3” from the Blast Door Map, the last of the Six Circular Hatches? (Arrow, Staff, Flame, Swan, Pearl, Bank-Drive-Through-Lane-Air-Powered-Shooting-Thingy). Or is this not a full-fledged “Hatch”, but just a storage shed for the Pearl Hatch?
Walt. Remember how I said there is no way we would see Walt again, due to his rapid-aging (as seen on My Name is Earl)? Well, after seeing this week’s commercial, I’d like to change my opinion:
So here’s my question – are they going to slide Walt in and hope we don’t notice how much older he looks? Or are they going to introduce some sort of “rapid aging Dharma experiment” or perhaps hint at the strange time effects we’ve seen on the Island already?
My gut tells me this is indeed a “one-time only” appearance – a quick visit before he (and Michael?) are gone forever, and they’ll try to gloss over the change in his appearance using dark lighting and far camera shots.
I guess looking at it from a story-telling point of view, you really have to have some closure to the Walt story – and I don’t know how you could do it and leave the viewer satisfied without having the big Michael – Walt reunion.
I’ll allow it.
Surprise. Finally, in what looks to be the last scene of the episode, we have this shot of the preview:
A few things jump out at me. First, they appear to be looking out to the water (since the Jungle is behind them). Second, they all have an expression of shock and awe (but not fear) on their faces. Third, they seem to be facing something that is bright – or they’re looking directly into the sun. The lighting is just weird.
So what’s going on?
Sea Monster? No, no fear in their eyes.
Second Plane Crash? No, I’m saving that for the Season Finale when they stop pushing the button…
A Boat? Bingo. Not just any boat. But a ferry, as referenced in the Pearl video. But after all these months of secrecy, why would the Others come out and show themselves in broad daylight to the Survivors? I’m thinking that the Others aren’t driving the boat, but rather an old friend, who coincidentally is due up for flashbacks in the Season Finale next week…
Fade to black.
(How? I don’t know – Desmond beat up some Others and stole the boat, maybe. Or, maybe his boat wasn’t truly destroyed in the crash on the Island, and he’s been off this whole time repairing it - I don’t really care how, but it would just be the coolest thing ever to see Desmond rolling up at episode end, full of information, a plan, or needing our Survivors’ help.)
Friday, May 12, 2006
Well, this episode held true to its title.
Here’s the sheer irony: most of what I predicted ending up being pretty accurate… or so I thought. The location of the Hatch, the information inside exposing the experiments, Libby hanging on to life and then dying – all played out the way I saw it in my mind when I wrote my preview post.
But this was one of those episodes that the more you think about; the more you look at what happened, the more puzzling it becomes. There were things on the surface that seemed very simple, but when you look a little deeper, don’t add up – which is why I took me a little longer than usual to get my recap together. But, after a second viewing (this time with pen and paper to jot stuff down and draw maps – you laugh but it’s true), I’m ready to type away. You’ll see how many portions of the episode seem to contradict each other as I go… I anxiously await your comments to help set me straight.
First off, I thought this was a great episode. The storylines definitely advanced, we had another major character death, and the stage is set for what will surely be the final storylines of the season. Also, it was nice to see the flashbacks feel like they fit in with the story, unlike some other recent ones. So why was this episode so hard to write about? Because it touched on some things that are fundamental to the underlying point and purpose of the entire season (and possibly series). Understanding them is tough (note how much I have to type about each episode, week in and week out). But that’s also what made the episode so great. It was meaty.
So what happened? Here we go… Be prepared for incoherent gibberish ahead!
Visions. This is one part of the episode that really confused me initially. We’ve now had multiple visions from the different Survivors on the Island. Are the visions good? Are the visions bad? What causes the visions in the first place?
Let’s break down the visions that our Survivors have had thus far:
- Jack had visions of his Dad, which led him to the Caves and water, which was needed by the Survivors post-crash. Survey says: Good Vision
- Locke had visions of Bloody Boone and the Beechcraft crashing, which led him to Boone’s death. Survey says: Bad Vision
- Boone had visions of Shannon being eaten by the monster, which turned out to be pretty inconsequential. Survey says: Neutral Vision.
- Claire had visions of Locke telling her “You gave your baby away. Everybody pays now” and a Bloody Crib, which led her to be somewhat paranoid about her baby. Survey says: Neutral Vision.
- Shannon had visions of Walt, who may have been trying to warn her about the Hatch and the Button, but ended up getting her killed. Survey says: Bad Vision.
- Sayid seemed to have the same vision of Walt, but didn’t really take any action on it. Survey says: Neutral Vision.
- Charlie had the creepy religious vision telling him to protect Aaron, which led to him freaking out and getting outcast from the other Survivors and ruining his chances of hooking up with Claire. Survey says: Bad Vision.
- Hurley had visions of Dave from the Mental Institution, who tried to get Hurley to jump off a cliff and kill himself. Survey says: Bad Vision.
- Eko had visions telling him to get Locke to find the ? from Dead Ana-Lucia and Yemi, which led to Eko finding the ? Hatch, which gives him faith in pushing the button. Survey says: ?
- Locke has visions of Eko falling when he climbed vines, which led to him to the ? Hatch, where he learned the 108 Numbers were the part of one big experiment. Survey says: ?
If you look at that track record, it would seem that more visions have led to bad things than to good things – but look more closely.
It’s not fair to classify the visions as being good or bad based solely upon the outcome because there is still the human action involved, the free will to act upon these visions one way or the other. In the case of things like Locke seeing the Bloody Boone, he could have seen that as a warning that bad things were to come, but instead chalked them up to the Island demanding Boone’s sacrifice. Walt could have been trying to help Shannon and warn her about danger, even though his appearance unintentionally led to her getting shot. Hurley’s vision of Dave isn’t really attributable to the Island since he was having them prior to coming to the Island. Once you start looking at the visions from a purely objective point of view, they don’t seem so sinister anymore – even though they sometimes show disturbing visions.
So if this is the case, the visions in this episode would seemingly be a good thing. It’s a good thing that Locke and Eko found the ? Hatch. It’s a good thing that Eko is going to continue pushing the button, as Yemi told him in the vision. But if it’s all an experiment, as the Second Orientation Video claims, why?
More on that in a bit.
But what is causing all these visions? A good theory (that a lot of you have brought up) is that they are somehow tied to Smokey, who seems to be able to “read” the people he encounters on the Island (and then pass judgment on if they live or die).
The problem is, Smokey hasn’t come face to face with anyone else on the Island besides Eko and Locke (and the Pilot), so it doesn’t quite work.
Another good theory is that the kidnapped kids (like Walt) are being plugged into some machine that taps into their innate psychic ability, and the visions are all an attempt to lead the Survivors to where they are being kept, in an attempt to free them.
The problem is, although we’ve seen Walt having powers – these visions were happening long before he was kidnapped, and I find it hard to believe that every child (the Tail children, Alex, etc.) all have the power to do this.
A variation of that theory is tied to the Dharma Accelerated Remote Viewing Training Experiments, where it’s regular people who are “trained” to use these powers. That could explain how these visions were happening almost as soon as Flight 815 crashed.
The problem is, the very definition of “Remote Viewing” sounds like it’s about seeing things going on somewhere else or predicting it, rather than drawing out memories from people and projecting them upon them.
What about the easy answer? The visions are simply coming from the tortured souls of our Survivors. We’ve gone over time and time again how everyone on the Island has a very checkered past with a lot of demons and baggage – it’s only natural that one’s subconscious would continue to bring up these images until the person comes to terms with them and gains release.
The problem is, our people are sometimes seeing images of things that are in no way from their past (Locke seeing the Beechcraft and Yemi, Eko seeing the ?). As much as I hate to buy into the “collective subconscious” theory that Entertainment Weekly posed (way too “sci-fi”), it would go a long way to explaining these visions.
So you see my dilemma. I can think of all sorts of possible explanations for the visions, but none seem to fit quite right. I almost begin to wonder it the visions are just a technique the writers are using to advance storylines in a “mystical” sort of way, as if the Island itself is causing them.
Let’s move on for now.
Numbers. Regardless of what is causing the visions, the end product of them this episode is that Locke has given up on entering the 108 Numbers in the Hatch and Eko is now convinced they need to continue to enter them. So our question mark becomes, is this a good thing or a bad thing? It all goes back to the fundamental question of “What would happen if you didn’t enter the Numbers?”
Forget everything we learned this episode and think back to “Lockdown”. Locke is trapped under the Blast Doors and the 108 Timer is about to go off. HGI goes through the air duct and the timer resets. He tells Locke that he did nothing. There are only two choices here:
- HGI is telling the truth. He did nothing.
- HGI is lying. He entered the Numbers.
The problem is, if not entering the Numbers caused something catastrophic to happen (“the incident”), why would HGI lie to Locke about it, seeing as telling Locke this would cause him to stop entering them? If HGI’s purpose is to make another incident occur, he could have done it by not entering the Numbers during “Lockdown”. If HGI’s purpose was to get the Survivors to continue entering the Numbers, why would he tell the biggest believer of entering them (Locke) that entering them does nothing? Doesn’t make sense.
The only logical explanation is that entering the Numbers does nothing – it’s all part of the experiment. Not entering them causes no “incident”, and they just reset. But if this is the case, then the vision that Eko’s vision of Yemi is trying to mislead him… but not hurt him (remember, he specifically said “bring your axe”, without which Eko would have fallen while climbing the vines)… unless…
Visions (Revisited). Wait a minute – this means the visions must be caused by Dharma – someway, somehow. The purpose is still a little fuzzy, so maybe Dharma doesn’t quite have full control over whatever is going on (which would make sense given everything we seemingly know about them and their experiments in the Lost Experience). They’re not only giving the Survivors glimpses into the future (perhaps this is an unfortunate side effect they can’t control), but they’re also keeping them in line with the experiments that wish to carry out (pushing the button). Now the only question is… how? No explanation for this yet, per the reasons we went through above.
Anyone have any fresh suggestions?
Pearl. Here’s the other big question mark of the episode for me. According to the map on the Blast Door, there are SIX Hatches surrounding the big question mark is the mysterious middle of them all. Locke’s sketch seems to confirm the same. The question mark is not one of them.
Thus, it makes sense that there would be SIX Orientation videos, one for each Hatch, explaining the experiment that needs to be carried on inside. The Swan Orientation Video was labeled “Station 3 of 6”. The Pearl Orientation video was labeled “Station 5 of 6”. Excuse me? Back up.
If there is an Orientation Video, you are inside one of the Hatches, one of the places that experiments take place. Need proof? How about the fact that there is a camera inside the Pearl, to watch the people who are allegedly watching everyone else. It’s all part of another experiment.
Locke and Eko are not inside the ?. They’re inside “C4” on the Blast Door Map.
Remember that Eko was following a map that was basically scribbled out based on what Locke saw for under ten seconds. He mentioned that they crossed a wavy line. Check. Note the words “The Pearl” written just to the right of C4 on the map. This stays true to the style of the Map, where “The Swan”, “The Flame”, and “The Staff” are all written just outside the octagon where they are located in the exact same fashion. Think about the fact that when you’re done, you move to a ferry to take you back to the Barracks (more on that later). Wouldn’t that mean you would need to be near the beach, not in the middle of the Island? Seems more like C4 than the ?, doesn’t it?
When you think about it, tricking Eko and Locke to think they found the ? instead of just another Hatch was as simple as clearing a small circle of plant life and throwing down some salty dirt.
But why trick them? It makes Locke think he has found the key to it all, and give up his search for the real ?.
But how did they know Locke was looking for it in the first place? Given the cameras inside the Pearl, they’ve been watching (and hearing?) everything going on inside the Swan. I’m assuming the Rebel Dharmites are smart enough to have drawn their map on the back of the Blast Door (away from the camera), but I’m also willing to bet that some camera picked up a shot of Locke drawing his little map with a big ? in the middle. The cigarette but shown on the table inside the Pearl suggests that someone has been there recently – even though it looks like the place has been abandoned for years… just like the Staff Hatch and the beard – interesting…
(I’m so tempted to go back to the theory that there is some weird time-warp stuff going on, but I won’t rehash it again here. More important stuff to get to…)
So what’s the experiment?
Remember the Orientation Video told them to record everything that they saw. Remember that the Video says Karen Degroot said “Careful observation is the key to awareness”. Remember that camera sitting behind the two chairs that is observing them all along.
The experiment seems to be a test to see how close one can pay attention to what is going on. The Video mentions “8 hour shifts”. EIGHT hours, as opposed to the months that subjects spend in the Swan Hatch? Seems strange. I’m thinking the Pearl Hatch is used as a testing ground - a place to see how “worthy” the experiment subjects are, how well they do what Karen Degroot thought was such an important trait – carefully observing.
Perhaps a “passing grade” elevates you higher through the Hanso Organization (again, I’m picturing crazy Scientology levels), whereas a “failing grade” dooms you to mediocre Dharma tasks… like restocking the Swan Hatch. A system like this would go a long way in explaining the development of Rebel Dharmites… those who could never advance and got frustrated with the entire Dharma organization.
But here’s the other thing – in the video, the viewer is told to carefully monitor the STATION. Singular. Not “stations”, just “station”. We see that they are clearly monitoring the Swan Hatch:
Is that the only one?
If you think about it, we’ve seen the inside of The Staff (which seemed to be purely a medical facility with no discernable experiments going on inside) and the Tailers initially set up shop inside The Arrow (pretty desolate in there too). Is it possible that the only remaining experiment on the Island is inside the Swan Hatch? We’re getting closer…
Orientation Videos. The Swan Video was on an old film reel, while the Pearl Video was on a VHS tape. What’s up with that?
One could surmise that the Pearl Video is newer than the Swan Video – but both feature the same copyright date of 1980. The only reason I can think of presenting the videos in two different formats is to give the impression that the Swan Video is older than it really is. When you think about it, this ties in nicely with the hieroglyphics that displayed on the 108 Timer upon expiration – it all gives the allusion that this “activity” is an ancient one, one that has been going on for a very, very long time – one that is important enough to keep doing in the future.
But wait, there’s more. The Swan Orientation Video featured “Dr. Marvin Candle”. The Pearl Orientation Video featured a very similar looking “Dr. Mark Wickman.” The cute naming similarities (Mark and Marvin, Candle and Wick…man) hint that they’re similar, but not quite the same.
I immediately thought of the Season One Finale. Post-episode interviews revealed that the two men cloaked by darkness on the boat with Zeke were identical twins – a fact that the cast was surprised wasn’t shown in the televised finale, since it was supposed to have some meaning behind it.
Sounds like we’re venturing down the path of some cloning-type experiments going on in the Hanso Foundation as well…
One last thing – Wickman says “the test subjects believe what they are doing is of the utmost importance.” Note the word BELIEVE. If pushing button actually was important, I think he simply would have said “the test subjects are doing something of the utmost importance”, don’t you?
Printout. Back to the Pearl. Remember the “log” that Locke printed out (and Eko kept)? I’m sure we were all expecting to see our favorite numbers there – but instead were treated to these:
What gives? These aren’t displays of what was entered on the computer in the Swan Hatch, but rather when it was entered. By the looks of things, each entry is an increment of one hour and eight minutes. The weird thing is, if you do the math – 401,602,122 hours (as shown on the printout) is roughly 5,000 years. While having the experiment going on for 5,000 years would help explain the Hieroglyphics inside, it doesn’t quite mesh with the whole “computer needed to enter the numbers” or “mechanical countdown clock.”
Very odd. Again trying to give the impression this experiment has been going for centuries?
The other big question is – will Eko be able to read through the log and see failed entries occurring in the past? Or will they be able to determine if HGI entered the Numbers or not? Figuring out the timeline will be the key.
Psychic. More question marks here. The psychic in Eko’s flashback is the same psychic from Claire’s flashback, that warned her she must raise her baby. Since that was over a season and a half ago, let’s refresh our memories…
Claire and her friend go to see a psychic, thinking it will be fun. The psychic seems legitimate when he asks Claire about her pregnancy, which no one else knows about. However, he refuses to go on with the reading when he sees something blurry in her future. With a look of panic on his face, he asks Claire to leave.
Claire re-visits the psychic, offering him more money and requesting that he continue her reading – and that she’s going to give her baby up for adoption. But the psychic tells her that it's crucial she raise this child herself, warning her that great danger will befall her if she gives it up. Claire runs out. But the psychic is persistent and calls her on the phone. He offers her money and a plane ticket to Los Angeles to meet a couple with whom the baby will be safe.
You know the rest.
Compare that with the speech the psychic gave in this week’s episode, telling Eko “I’m a fraud, I gather intelligence and exploit miracle seekers. But there are no such things as miracles… at least not in this world.”
His actions with Claire seem to contradict this 100%. For one, if you’re exploiting people, wouldn’t you want to take their money? He refuses Claire’s, even when she offers more. If you’re just tricking people, would you frantically call them at night, begging them to listen to you as you give them money and a plane ticket? No.
So why did he tell this to Eko? Simple – to get Eko to drop his investigation. Painting himself as an anti-believer paints his wife’s actions to try and prove a religious miracle seem more of a personal marital squabble than a true religious matter.
His daughter clearly recognized Eko as soon as he approached, from her “Vision” with Yemi when she was “between places”, and was about to talk to him before The Psychic came out and rushed her into the house. Remember, her talk with Eko at the airport was being done “without her father knowing she was there.”
Were his intentions to get Eko on Flight 815? Or was that just an unfortunate coincidence? Either way, it’s clear The Psychic didn’t want his daughter to give her message to Eko… but why?
It’s very easy to assume The Psychic is a Dharma / Hanso Employee working off the Island, and his job is to specifically orchestrate getting certain individuals onto that Island – but very hard to logically come up with explanations of how or why.
Michael. I found it interesting that Michael seemed to express both sorrow for what he did and worry that he would get found out when he learned Libby was still alive. They’re definitely painting his character as a tortured one, who had to make some tough decisions – rather than a mindless robot sent on a mission from Dharma. I’m leaning towards Michael agreeing to a “free HGI and kill Ana-Lucia (since she killed two of us) and we’ll give you Walt” arrangement now much more than any sort of brainwashing / drugging of Michael. I think the shooting of Libby was an unfortunate consequence that he honestly feels sorry for.
Locke. Locke’s faith-scale ran the gamut the past few episodes. He went from a man who fully believed his greater purpose was entering the Numbers (and believing he was saving humanity by doing so) to thinking he had no purpose (when HGI told him entering the Numbers did nothing) to finding new purpose (the ? – note how he insisted that he get to enter the alleged ? Hatch first – as if he was “chosen” to find it), to realizing it was all a sham (not wanting to watch the Pearl Video again vs. saying “We’re going to need to watch that again” after the Swan Video).
He’s back to rock bottom now, as evidenced by his speech that his whole life he’s been a nobody. This makes his character extremely dangerous, in that he’s due to do something stupid and irrational (like preventing the much bigger and stronger Eko from entering the Numbers, for example?).
Eko. Eko’s rationale for continuing to enter the Numbers doesn’t make much sense, until you look back at his history. He was a drug-lord who repented for his ways, and took up his brother’s path in life of becoming a priest. However, he remained a skeptic when it came to faith – the very reason he was assigned to the “Miracle Resurrection” case. If Eko believed the case, anyone would. After meeting with The Psychic, Eko was convinced it was a hoax, and remained his skeptic self. Then he had the encounter with the Semi-Creepy Looking Girl:
The fact that she knew about Yemi, and told Eko he would see him soon (which he did, even though Yemi was dead) clearly gave Eko his faith back. He went from being a skeptic to being someone who blindly follows the visions he sees in his dreams.
So why continue to push the button? Well, I think it touches on his religious side. He says “It is work. We are being tested. You shouldn’t do it because you are told to do it, but because you believe in it.” Eko sees this as a test from God. God gave him his brother back on the other side of the world after two plane crashes (a miracle?), and in return, he is going to do his penance by pushing the button.
This is why Eko was building the church. Not because he felt the Island needed a place to get married and score some free wine, but because it was work that he could do as a way to pay back the Island (and God) for giving him his brother. Well, look for that building of the church to stop – Eko has new work to do.
"I believe the work being done in the hatch is more important than anything," he told Locke. "If you will not continue to push the button, I will."
His life on the Island now has meaning and purpose, even if it is just as a pawn in a 5,000 year old experiment…
Ending. I think the last thirty seconds of the episode were quite symbolic of what’s coming up in the next two episodes. The two major storylines, beautifully shot and edited together.
Michael, standing alone in the Hatch with the beeping of the 108 Timer going on.
Both will be resolved in the next two weeks.