Saturday, March 24, 2007

"The Man From Tallahassee" Analysis!

I remember back to the Season One finale, when it ended with Locke and Jack peering down the Hatch, but not revealing what was actually inside of it. I remember thinking, "Wow, we're really on the threshold here of defining what this series is actually going to be about - it's no wonder that they didn't want to actually show what was inside, since it could potentially disenfranchise a huge portion of the audience." You see, up until that point, Lost could have been about whatever you wanted it to be about. There theories that it was a "religious" show about redemption with people living in Purgatory, a "land of the lost" show with Dinosaurs lurking in the background, a "government conspiracy" show about people who were actually test subjects in crazy experiments, or any number of other theories that you could make strong arguments for. The main thing was, Season One of Lost was everything to everyone. The writers were careful to hint at things without ever fully showing their hand - which I think is part of why the show became so popular. In Season Two, we began to finally start seeing what the show was really about, introducing the Others and the Dharma Initiative as the underlying backbone of the Island mystery - but the writers carefully remained pretty vague about what was really causing all the crazy stuff that happened on the Island. Throughout the season, you could chalk the strange appearances and coincidences on the Island up to anything from fate to a magic Smoke Monster, and pretty much anything else in between.

Where am I going with this rant? Well, the ending of this episode potentially marked one of those moments where we finally get a reveal that knocks a lot of theories out of contention and further reveals what this crazy show called "Lost" is really all about. The appearance of Locke's Dad (Anthony Cooper) at the end of the episode could mean that all the visions we've seen thus far are manifestations of Smokey, wishes of people on the Island coming true, or simply evidence at the unbelievable power and reach of the Others. I don’t know how to put this, but it's kinda a big deal.

But there is a lot to discuss about "The Man from Tallahassee" besides the potential show-shifting final scene, so let's start at the beginning. It's a very good place to start. When you read, you begin with A-B-C… so I present to you, my analysis of this episode in alphabetical order:


Alex. Something tells me that Alex is going to play a pretty critical role as the show goes on. She's always been a bit of a "rebel" within the Others, but could also get away with it by playing the "I'm Ben's daughter" card whenever someone questioned her. We've seen it work to help out Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and Juliet in the past, and I don’t see any reason to think it will stop in the future. To add fuel to her rebellious fire, this week she learned from Sayid that her mother is actually alive. You could argue that Alex has no reason to trust Sayid (he's a foreigner!), but she seems like she's already built up a good amount of distrust for her fellow Others (Ben even comments that she kinda hates him), so I'm thinking she believes it.

What does this mean? To Alex, this means that her "dad" has been lying to her for her entire life, which should make her start to question (if she wasn't doing so already) everything else that Ben has told her about her past and even the ongoings on the Island. At the very least, I would expect her to try and sneak in some more conversations with Sayid to get more information from him. Taking it a step farther, she could potentially help our Survivors escape the Barracks, leaving with them to get an alternate perspective on Island life and what's really going on. If you want to get really crazy, how about Alex being the person who brings the Survivors and Others "together" by exposing Ben's lies to the rest of the Others and revealing the truths about the Island to our Survivors? I've always thought that the easiest way to get the two groups unified (which has to eventually happen right? We can’t keep this “split screen time” act forever) was to introduce a common enemy to them (The "Experiment Rejects" for example) - but it might be just as easy to unite them with the goal of getting off the Island, now that they're all pretty much trapped there.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Ben. Which brings us to Ben. One of his many fantastically interesting things Ben revealed this episode was that the sub keeps up the illusion that people can come and go as they please. The key word there of course being "illusion", as if the people can't really use it. We've already learned that Juliet was promised a short trip to the Island and then was forced to stay - but I assumed that she was the exception and not the rule. When you factor in Ben's other line about being "one of the few that was actually born on the Island", you start to view the majority of these Others as a group of people who were brought to the Island for various reasons - and then found themselves unable to leave. Over time, they start to buy into the mission (either voluntarily or through brainwashing) and eventually willingly stay there, going so far as to defend it with their lives. I wonder if, given the chance to leave, how many would actually take it.

It also makes you wonder who else besides Ben is a "native" to the Island, because it would seem that they would be the ones who would be the "higher ups" that have the power to actually use the sub and leave the Island, such as Alpert and Ethan - who we've seen on both the Island and in the "real world". I would wager these are the people that actually know the full story – know what’s going on on the Island and understand the importance of keeping it secret. Well, these people and John Locke of course.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Remember that Ben made a comment to Locke that he “doesn’t understand why, but (Locke) has a communion with the Island”. It’s something I’ve recently been calling “Team Island”, thinking that Locke was “working” for the Island to prevent people from leaving and attack the Others. Now I’m somewhat re-thinking it, because based on Ben’s comments he’s also a member of “Team Island”, and I think all the “native Others” are as well. The way Ben talked to Locke, it was almost as if he understood that Locke shared this spiritual connection with the Island, but didn’t understand how an “outsider” could have gained access to it. This connection seems to give the person some sort of “special powers” or enlightenment. Locke is a newbie to this power, and doesn’t understand the “why” behind it as Ben does – but he’s definitely experiencing the “how”. We’ll touch on the “Magic Box” later, but potentially only those who enter this “communion” with the Island gain access to its powers.

The important thing is, thanks to Locke, Ben got out of an impossible predicament. As he said, if he didn’t let Jack and Juliet go, he would be seen as a liar, and would lose the respect of the Others. If he did let them go, not only would the Submarine be gone forever, but he would be viewed as “helping an inferior person” in escaping from the Island – also losing the respect of his people. Thanks to John Locke, he got “an out” which allows him to keep face with the Others, securing his position of power among them.


CFL. As for CFL, this episode confirmed for me that she is NOT a part of the Others. The scene with a teary eyed-CFL seeing Alex for the first time from the shadows? That’s a sign that she hasn’t seen Alex in 16 years – and you have to think that if she was an Other, she would have had the chance to do so… it’s not like the Others have multiple cities around the Island (or do they?! I’m just kidding, I don’t think they do…) However, still open are theories that she entered some sort of “pact” with the Others, is working with ulterior motives, or is lying about her knowledge about the Island – but as for being an Other, that theory is blown up like an Other Submarine.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Jack. What about Jack? Is he an Other now? No – it turns out that with all the theories we had about why Jack was playing nice with the Others, the simplest answer was the correct one. He was playing nice with the Others in order to get a one-way ticket off the Island. However, he retained his “hero” status by confiding in Kate that although he was going to leave the Island, he was going to form a search party and come back to rescue everyone else. Ever-logical Jack realized his freedom was the best chance that EVERYONE had for actually getting off the Island, and he was ready to take it. Unfortunately, along came John Locke to destroy that plan. Two seasons ago, Jack told us we were going to have a “Locke problem”, and boy do we ever have one now.

The big question is – what now? Ben seemingly was going to let Jack go (although it certainly is debatable if this really would have happened), but now that the Sub is gone, does Ben let Jack return to the beach with Sayid and Kate? Or does he keep him captive. I think the answer to this hinges on the question of how much Jack actually knows. I’m not going to lie, when Jack started into his “the kids are safe” speech with Kate in the gameroom, I immediately thought “Oh great, he’s brainwashed like Cindy” because the two speeches sounded so similar… and both were so void of any real information. However, I think it’s safe to assume that Jack was kept in the dark on the majority of “secrets” of the Others – finding out only as much as was absolutely needed for him to spend a few days at the Barracks – and therefore could theoretically be released with the other Survivors. I mean, EVENTUALLY Jack has to return to the beach to have verbal spars with Sawyer and have awkward moments with Claire, right?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

But who’s to say (what’s impossible) that Kate, Sayid, and Locke would even be released? If you remember, Ben’s quote was “I’ll let your friends go as soon as you leave this Island.” We’ve seen in the past that Ben, while sneaky and conniving, seems to be a man of his word. But with Jack not leaving the Island, he doesn’t technically have to release the Search Party. But again, I feel like the writers (and the audience) have had enough of the “Survivors kept prisoner by the Others” storylines, so I would expect a conditional release of Jack, Kate, and Sayid. What about Locke? Well, if he’s a member of “Team Island”, that puts him in the inner circle of the Others, and I think he would stay. It certainly gives him the “greater purpose” he’s been looking for since he arrived at he Island, and Ben seems awfully eager to find out how Locke gained such favor with the Island so quickly. Plus, if Jack got his hands on Locke, he would literally kill him for blowing up the Submarine.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Juliet. On the other hand, Juliet seems to be in the opposite boat. She’s pretty much demonstrated that she hates the Others, is tired of their antics, and just wants to go home. I find it hard to believe she would fall back into the role of a mindless Other following Ben after all she’s been through. Also, how could we have the Jack and Juliet potential romance blossom if the two are separated? No way – TV writers love geometric love stories (love triangles, rhombusi, pentagons – things like that). By introducing Juliet to the Jack / Kate / Sawyer mix, it guarantees that they can string along the inevitable Jack and Kate romance for a few more seasons. My money is on Juliet being dishonorably discharged from the Others and leaving with Jack, Kate, and Sayid.


Locke. I would have never expected John Locke to deliver a comedic line on “Lost”, but he surprised me this episode with his “You aren’t going to start talking about the Magic Box again, are you?” line to Ben. But this was just one of many insanely interesting conversations between the two characters. Based on Ben’s conversations, it seems that John Locke somehow got “instant communion” with the Island once Flight 815 crashed – something that apparently takes years to achieve for outsiders (if ever?) – something that only “native Others” seem to have had in the past. But why? What made John Locke so special? As we saw in his flashbacks, he definitely had the crappiest life up until the plane crash, which might mean the Island just took pity on him – or saw him as a weak personality looking for purpose in life that could easily be convinced to perform the Island deeds.

It almost seems like the Island used to be BFFs with Ben, but has ditched him for the “new guy in town” John Locke. Remember how Locke mentioned to Ben, “you’re in the wheelchair and I’m not”? This screams “the Island likes me better than you now”. But why? Well, also recall that Locke called Ben a hypocrite for using electricity and guns, whereas Locke is embracing the “au natural” route of Island life. Hunting. Gathering. Living in underground hatches. You know, the usual stuff.

How about this for your crazy theory of the week? Ben and his Native Other cohorts lived in total communion with the Island for centuries, and thus received its favor in terms of protection (Smokey), wishes being granted, and power. The Island liked them because they lived simple lives and ate, drank, and were merry. But then, along came the Dharma Initiative, and introduced our Others to things like electricity, guns, and Dharma beer, among other vices (a very Native Americans being polluted by the White Man sort of theory). Suddenly these Others were no longer living the way that the Island wanted, and it was pissed. It crashed Flight 815 to get some new blood on the Island that could take over, deeming Locke the leader of the group and zapping him with instant communion. Locke doesn’t fully understand it, but realizes that he has this power and omniscience over things happening on the Island. The Island is almost telling him what to do and then making it happen – which explains his destructive actions against the Others and anything that could provide escape from the Island. The Island is pissed at the Others and wants them gone… but it also wants to ensure that our Survivors stick around and re-settle the Island. Aaron becomes the first sign of the “next generation”, along with baby Sunjin (explaining why she could suddenly conceive – the Island needs babies!).

Absolutely crazy? Yes. But if this is the case, then Ben understands that his communion with the Island is slipping, whereas Locke’s seems as strong as ever – making him NEED Locke to keep control over the Others. There was an article in the Los Angeles Times this week which mentioned that Locke (and Locke’s Dad) wouldn’t be appearing on the show again until near the season finale (boo!). While we should take this with a grain of salt (you can’t trust the liberal media), it might also open the door for an insane reveal near the end of the season, as our Survivors again encounter the Others, only to find John Locke their new leader. Tell me that wouldn’t make for great TV!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Locke's Dad. Speaking of great TV, it seems that the folks at Lost have learned their lesson from the Season One finale, where they opened the Hatch but didn’t show us what was inside, leading to riots in three US cities and hunger strikes by thousands of Lost fans worldwide (one assumes). Thankfully, this episode showed us what was behind door #1 at the end, what “the Magic Box” created, what John Locke apparently wished for – none other than a bound and gagged Anthony Cooper, his father. We’re through the looking glass, people.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

What does it all mean? Well to be honest with you, I haven’t decided yet. You might find it hard to believe, but typically when I start writing each post, I have no idea where it’s going to take me or what theories will spring up in my head as I write (for example, that crazy one above? No idea where that came from). This is one of those cases. I could easily see Locke’s Dad being a product of the Island granting wishes, Smokey, the power of the Others, or just another example of crazy coincidence / fate. So I’m just going to argue each point and see what sounds the best to me in the end. Kids – this is not a recommended method of “proper writing” – don’t try this at home…

Anthony Cooper is another crazy example of coincidence and fate on the Island. It’s definitely the “cleanest” of the explanations, albeit the least fun. The detectives in the hospital told Locke that his father “disappeared to Mexico” shortly after throwing him out the window, and then didn’t know where he went from there. It’s possible he decided to charter a boat on a trip to the South Pacific (far away from the long arm of the law) and ended up crashing on the Island. Hey, it happened to CFL and Desmond, right? What are the odds of that? Not great. What are the odds that the Others would find him and keep him captive for just this moment, knowing his relationship with Locke? Even not greater. But if you are one of those “I hate science fiction stuff and want everything on Lost to be explained very logically”, this is a good theory for you. This would also be the theory you would want to apply to Eko’s plane, or Jack and Claire ending up on the same plane, and all the crisscrossing characters in flashbacks.

Anthony Cooper is a product of the Others’ power and reach around the world. This is actually a better theory for those “realists” out there than the first – because it takes a lot of the “coincidence” out of everthing… but it also means that the Others are almost Dharma-like in their power and influence around the world, able to kidnap someone and bring them to the Island within the course of a few days (I guess technically they could have taken as long as 80 days) just in case they ever needed them to be a pawn in a psychological game with someone on the Island. Or maybe it’s just like Survivor where the Others brought a family member from each of our castaways to the Island just in case they ever needed leverage over them. This would also mean that the Others constructed a fake plane (with fake corpses!) for Eko, set loose a black horse for Kate, and had Charlie’s guitar conveniently hanging in the trees for him to find. It works… except that we’re supposed to believe that the Others are NOT Dharma (note: in a recent Podcast, Damon and Carlton confirmed that Patchy was telling the truth – the Others are NOT Dharma, but wiped them out in a “purge”)… and how would a group of Islanders gain this sort of power? It’s a pretty big hole if you ask me (that’s what he said?).

Anthony Cooper is a manifestation of Smokey. You’ll notice in the first two theories above I didn’t reference Jack’s Dad, Hurley’s Dave, Boone’s Shannon, or Shannon’s Walt. It’s dangerous to group every weird occurrence together on the Island and try to find a unifying explanation for all of them, because it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, I have always chalked up Hurley’s Dave to Hurley being crazy – not a product of anything on the Island. Hurley was having visions of his imaginary friend long before he arrived on the Island, so why should we think his visions on the Island are any different? Likewise, I would easily chalk Jack’s Dad up to a “dealing with the death of a parent” traumatic hallucination and nothing more. Walt seemed to always have special powers, even the ability to “appear somewhere that he wasn’t supposed to be” as Ms. Klugh said, so Shannon seeing him isn’t necessarily tied to Smokey. Even Boone’s Shannon, that Locke asked “is that what the Island showed you?” could just as easily be tied to the drug-laced goo that Locke smeared on this open wound rather than a manifestation of Smokey.

So when we talk about Smokey, we have to be very careful to throw out these examples and focus on the hard evidence. In my mind, this really just leaves Eko’s visions of Yemi as the only hard evidence of Smokey taking on the form of another person. At least, until this episode. In my Instant Reactions, this was the first thing that sprung to mind. Remember that the only two characters that have really had a “face to face” encounter with Smokey are Eko and Locke – and in Eko’s encounter we saw Smokey “scanning his memory for images from his past”. It’s easily rationalized that Smokey would later take on the form of these images (Yemi for Eko, Anthony Cooper for Locke) in order to achieve some goal.

But what is the goal? Well, remember that Eko and Locke both survived their encounters with Smokey, whereas the Pilot did not – so there must have been something special about them. They were both religious, they both were unafraid, something. Perhaps Smokey intended for them to both be a part of “Team Island”, but needed to “test them” to ensure that their intentions were true and they were “worthy” of gaining access to this great power. Smokey appeared as Yemi to test Eko, to try and get him to repent for his sinful past – and Eko was unwilling to do so, resulting in his demise. Maybe Smokey is now appearing as Locke’s Dad in order to test Locke to see if he forgives him, or takes out revenge on him (you can’t forget that Eko told Locke, “you’re next” – maybe he’s the next one to be tested?)

Also, remember those weird red flowers that were around Yemi when he appeared to Smokey (that some have theorized are always around whenever Smokey appears)? Well, check out the flowers that appeared with Cooper in the flashback:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The problem of course is that Yemi appeared and disappeared, was seemingly visible only to Eko, and was in total control. Cooper appears to be very physical, very tied up, and totally out of control (although this could all be part of Smokey’s act to see how Locke reacts). It also raises a lot of questions about the relationship between Smokey and the Others that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around. Are they working together? Do the Others know that Cooper is actually Smokey? You could make this theory work if you wanted to, but the details would require a lot of explanation down the road.

Anthony Cooper is a product of the Island granting wishes. Which brings us to the last theory, the most out there, and potentially the most game-changing. Although Ben was clearly speaking in metaphor when he told Locke to imagine a “Magic Box” (since he worked a Box Factory, Ben probably thought this was a concept he could relate to), the underlying message was that the Island can grant the wishes of the worthy.

Here’s where you have to ask yourself – is Lost a show about a Time Traveling Scotsman and an Island that grants wishes, or is it a show about people finding redemption through dream sequences and hallucinations that are encouraged by a super-powerful organization on the Island? There’s a big difference there.

While I was never a big believer in the “time travel” theories with Desmond, somehow I’m finding myself buying into this theory about the Island making dreams come true. I know the show is rooted in science, and it couldn’t possibly explain this – but it would be the lynchpin that holds this show together and explains soooo much. This could be that “secret” that I’ve referenced that the Others are clearly willing to die in order to protect. This would explain why it’s so important to keep the Island a secret. Can you imagine this power falling into the wrong hands? Speaking of the wrong hands, this could explain why the Others only want the “worthy” Survivors to join them. How is Ben able to get the Others to follow his orders? Because he’s the magic man that has a communion with the Island, and he’s dangling the carrot in front of them that they could have this power as well.

I know, I know – it’s crazy talk. But after typing out each of the other possibilities above, it’s inexplicably the one that makes the most sense. There are a lot of holes with this theory of course – like it’s scientifically impossible, or why wouldn’t Locke wish for a scantily clad Helen, or why Ben couldn’t just wish his tumor away, etc. But if you believe that Ben and the Others have slowly been falling out of favor with the Island, it would seem to fill in a lot of them.

I can just see the creators never offering a formal explanation about how any of this is possible, and hinting at all the different alternate explanations that adhere to science – but having the “true believers” like Locke simply believing that the Island is magic. Heck, the fraudulent book “The Secret” has been hawking the notion of “believing in something makes it come true” and has been featured on Oprah twice - which is basically the same theory. If all those millions of people who mindlessly follow anything Oprah says believe it, why shouldn’t we believe a similar concept on Lost?

As I said in the beginning, I’m not 100% sold on any of these explanations, which makes me beyond excited to find out the truth… but for now, feel free to mock me for coming down on the side of “Island Magic”. I know I would.


Oz. An anonymous poster echoed my thoughts about this below, but it was something my friends and I discussed via Email earlier this week as well, so I wanted to throw it out there for everyone to chew on… I don’t think there is a "Jacob".

Instead, I think that Jacob is closer to the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz (another Wizard of Oz reference? Come on!) - that being an imaginary all-powerful figurehead that keeps people in line (an Island god?), but doesn't exist in the flesh and bone. The more we see about the Others, the more convinced I am that Jacob either was one of the original Others, who discovered this “communion” with the Island, or is a fairy-tale figure that is used to convince non-Native Others about the power of the Island.

Throughout all Ben’s conversations, he never mentioned fearing Jacob – just that he was afraid of losing power… as if he was the one who was ultimately in charge of all the Others. If Jacob existed, shouldn’t he have been saying stuff like “Jacob is going to kill me for letting Jack escape” or “Jacob is going to be very upset that I’ve lost the faith of my people” – but he wasn’t.

Just something to think about…


Submarine. Lastly, I wanted to address some of the questioning about the submarine that I read in the Comments to the Instant Reactions – sorry to tell you, but it was the submarine that blew up. If you watch the episode closely, you can see the sub still sitting there in the background right before it blows up. Locke didn’t move it and then swim back to the dock (even though he was wet – maybe he slipped and fell when getting off the sub?) – the submarine is gone. However, that doesn’t mean that the Others are now all stranded on the Island either – remember that fancy ocean liner they took from Alcatraz to the Main Island? That still exists, along with Desmond’s sailboat. Maybe the submarine was needed to “escape” the electromagnetic pull of the Island back in the day, but now – post purple sky – I would think that either of these two remaining vessels would provide a way to get back to the real world without having to follow any specific bearing (like Michael and Walt).

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Okay. I’m exhausted. Quick update on the “Control the Blog” Contest and I’m out of here:

I’ve received a lot of interest, and there are some definite front runners. I think I’ll take the advice of many of you and split up duties by episode, giving multiple people the chance to write. I’ve also gotten some tips on how to setup more of a “message board” structure for the Comments section, which would make it easier to navigate, read, and respond – which I think would be awesome. Due to my lack of technical know-how, I’m relying on FOBs to help make this happen, but it’s something to look for in the future that I think is very exciting for the Blog. If anyone has any other suggestions or wants to throw their name in the running to Control the Blog, shoot me an Email at controltheblog@hotmail.com . I’m still not sure how the winners will be selected (again, suggestions for this are also welcome), but I figure I’ve got another week to figure that out.

50 comments:

Rebecca said...

I like the "Native Americans poisoned by the white men" theory, and I do think it would be a great angle for the show to take. However, it has to be asked why there would be white people living in the South Pacific, where most people are darker skinned (like Mrs. Klugh perhaps?) and/or of Asian descent. So how did Ben's ancestors arrive on the island? Certainly not naturally I am to assume.

Rebecca said...

Perhaps the island could have been settled by British people, like Australia? Just a thought.

annie said...

bravo, brian! another solid analysis... much to chew on until Weds.

for your contest... i would suggest selecting a longer list of finalists for loyal readers to choose from. each finalist would have submit a paragraph about why they love lost & why they want to contribute to your badass blog.

btw... safe travels!

rutkowskilives said...

Solid.

joe d. said...

Once again, Brian, you give us a wonderfully fantastic analysis to help us digest what we saw. Bravo, brother.

I don't know about you, but I really hope that Mr. Locke will appear again before five weeks from now. We get an awesome Locke episode, and the producers just take him away for five weeks. There is good news, however, if this does turn out to be true. Check this out:
"Now that Locke has blown up the submarine, it seems all of the castaways will have plenty of time for introspection. And fans will have lots of time to ponder. It will be five weeks before viewers see Locke and his father again, but when they do, the results will be an intense set-up for the season's climax, Lindelof said."

Source: LA Times

That sounds very exciting to me. Let me ask you a question, Brian. What are you three favorite episodes thus far from season three? I'm just curious. Also, how do you compare "The Man From Tallahasse" to "Walkabout"? Which one did you like better? Personally, I still liked Walkabout a little better, but they are very, very close to me.

Once again....Excellent analysis.

singhy said...

Big fan of the "Others lived without technology for millenia, then Dharma arrived and died, then the Others moved in and starting living a Western lifestyle because electricity /photos/pool is so great" theory. Perhaps they then had conception problems so they started shipping in recruits e.g. Russians like Mikhail.

But just something worth mentioning - Rose's cancer was also cured/halted by the Island, so does that mean she also a chosen one?

singhy said...

ooh another quick thing:

- I agree it's probable weird appearances on the island are a mix of factors as you say, but Locke's dad might have been brought to the island by the Others whilst Yemi actually crashed there (fate/coincidence). I think I am part of the "I hope Lost is logical" camp as I prefer this theory, but then I don't see the point of applying logic in order to work out what's happening unless we believe the show is also logical!

Brian said...

joe d. - I think Walkabout will remain my favorite Lost episode for quite some time because it was really the episode that showed what Lost could be. It's one of the great ending twists I've ever seen on a TV show, and will always hold a special place in my mind.

As for the top episodes of this season, I think it would have to be "The Cost of Living" (Eko gets killed by Smokey), "Enter 77" (Sooooo many long awaited reveals), and "The Man from Tallahassee" (Potential game-changer).

singhy - Good call on Rose. Maybe we chalk her up to "the magnetic properties of the Island cured her", tying back to the theory that unique magnetic places on Earth cure different problems differently, as we learned during her flashback? Also, since cancer sometimes appears and disappears without medical reason, we could always chalk it up to that either - it's not as "magical" as suddenly being able to walk in my mind.

Brian Leonard said...

Brian, I really, really hope you're wrong and the show is not about "a Time Traveling Scotsman and an Island that grants wishes". If it is, it will end up like The X-Files, which would be a major disappointment.

I also suspect there *is* a Jacob, or at least a governing force who is being called Jacob. Both Patchy and Ben (back when he was HGI in Season 2) talked about a Great Man as a leader. Maybe there is no "man", but a force--the Island, or
Smokey--which "leads" The Others in an overall sense.

Actually, I'm beginning to put together my own Grand Theory of Lost. I think you are absolutely right about the end of this episode being a big deal. Maybe by the time you get back I'll have the whole show figured out =~>

Brian L.

Justin said...

I tend to agree with Brian Leonard in that there almost HAS to be a Jacob but that it might be some sort of governing body. I don't buy the "Others were the Island natives who adopted western lifestyles" theory because it wouldn't explain how remote island natives would, in the last 30 years, amass incredible resources and connections to the outside world where they can discover just about anything about anyone on the planet (see Ethan recruiting Juliet and Ben's file on Jack). The Others might not be Drama, but they are connected to something in the "real" world that is just as powerful and this something might be the Jacob (or J.A.C.O.B.?) that we keep hearing about. Either that or the Island puts all this together for it's chosen people.

Anonymous said...

Great Analysis!
Just one thing. Does anyone think that Locke could be the "unknown figurehead" Jacob?

Maybe the Others do not know him, nd Locke soesn't know he is. But with his power now conceivably greater than Ben's with the island, could Locke bo Jacob?

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Random thoughts;

1. How would Ben (and Ethan) become educated if they spent their whole lives on the island? It would be hard to believe how Ben is just innately smart with no formal eductation.

2. Locke's dad is a different thing than Yemme. Nobody saw cryptic Yemme other than Ekko. Locke's dad was sitting there, in front of Ben and Richard, tied up and gagged. I strongly suggest the reason Richard was in this episode was cause he is the 'recruiter' (and confident) somehow....just as when he was introduced in the Juliet episode in Miami. Somehow, I submit that the OTHERS have this vast reach and amazing resouces as compared to the theory that the island grants wishes....at least as it relates to Locke's dad being there...in the flesh. We have NO evidence to believe Yemi was there in the flesh and more reason to know he was there, somehow, in spirit only.

adam said...

Thanks Brian,

Your "It’s a pretty big hole if you ask me (that’s what he said?)." line made me cough up the coffee I was drinking.

Anonymous said...

The idea that the island holds some great power that the Others know about could also explain why the Others purged Dharma.

What if Dharma people somehow found out about this power and came to the island to research it so they could make use of it. I can see Dharma wanting to use it for the good of humanity, or for their own gain. I think most likely, considering the kind of research they seem to have been conducting, the Dharma scientists at least started with a noble goal.

So, in order to keep the power of the island from falling into the wrong hands, or perhaps to keep it a secret from humanity for more selfish reasons, the Others had to purge Dharma from the island (may be it happened at the point where Dharma was getting too close to solving the island's secret).

By the way, I think Rose's cancer being cured happened for the same reason Lock was able to walk. Rose also seems to have some connection with the island - remember, she knew her husband was alive. She also seemed very spiritual, not fighting her fate, not questioning the reasons for what happened to her, but just accepting things as they are, and having faith, so to speak, a lot like Locke and Echo.

Amber said...

The only reason we have to believe that Rose is "healed" is her saying it. It's not like she's had tests done. I'm not saying she's not healed, I just think we shouldn't treat it as a fact. She could just be in remission, or maybe she just feels better in the fresh air of the island. Just an observation...

Anonymous said...

just a thought..

since this show is supposed to rooted in reality and not science fiction, how do we keep talking about Locke and "Team Island" as if the Island is a person or something. Basically, how does the Island "talk" to John? Wouldn't this be impossible in "reality"?

Stef said...

Great analysis, Brian.

I think I'm open to either a logical/scientific or supernatural/mythic explanation to the show - I just hope that at the end of it all there *is* a grand overarching theory that explains things, and that holds up when we go back and look at past seasons. (Like how you can say "oh yeah, Bruce Willis really was dead the whole time! Now I see it!")

To that end - I do like the drunken time-traveling Scotsman perspective, and over the last season I've come to really hope that at the end of it all we'll all see that LOST was a grand epic romance about Desmond and his Odysseus-style wanderings before he could be reunited with (saved by) his beloved Pen.

Also, I'm really liking the "Ben as the man behind the curtain story" that there is no Jacob. I just have a hard time imagining Ben submitting to anyone. Michael Emerson was really at the top of his game in this episode!

Snow be gone said...

Good job Brian.. just the thing I needed to aid me in my procrastination of doing laundry..

My favorite line of the night was when Locke asked Ben, how they got electricity, and Ben replied "We have two giant hamsters in our underground lair"... cracked me up.

chris said...

long time lurker, first time commenter. great site, great analysis as always Brian. my "Lost" experience isn't complete each week until I get my RDA of your thoughts on the episode.

I was thinking the same thing concerning the "Native Americans being polluted by the White Man" theory, but would like to add my two cents just to tweak it a little...I think the Others once lived in harmony with the Island - the Island took care of them, healed them, protected them, etc in return for the Other's worship and allegiance. Then along came the Dharma Initiative with their high fallutin' computers, guns, and firewater. The Others maybe tried to get along with Dharma at first, possibly picking up on some Dharma ways, but push came to shove which eventually resulted in the "Purge". Rather than let all that neat stuff go to waste, they reasoned, why not move into the Barracks, play some ping pong, and take advantage of the fact that food falls from the sky every so often! What could it hurt? They began acting like Dharma, using Dharma resources, and in so doing, the Others' allegiance shifted to someone else other than the Island, and the Island was not happy. But it couldn't do anything due to the fact that it's power was being dampened or kept somewhat in check by the Pearl station. Then along comes Flight 815...

The Island was somehow able to determine that Locke (and maybe Rose) had a capacity for faith or a desire to believe in something, and that it might be able to use this. As an act of "good faith," it healed Locke to see if it was right. In the Bible, whenever Jesus healed someone, it was always necessary for the person being healed to believe that Jesus could do it - there was a faith component involved. In fact, there were times when Jesus could not heal someone because there was a lack of faith. (Who knew reading your Bible could be useful to watching Lost?)

The same holds true in this case also, I think. If Locke was ungrateful, the Island could just as easily take it back. But instead, Locke believed in the power of the Island. To increase his faith, the Island gave Locke a glimpse into it by looking at Smokey, which Locke described as "beautiful." By contrast, Locke lost the use of his legs because his faith weakened and he began to doubt the Island when he couldn't get the Hatch opened.

I think Ben used to be part of "Team Island" (great label BTW), but lost faith during his experience with Dharma. The Island went and found itself someone else who would pay it the attention it felt it deserved and was worthy to wield its power - Locke. A great example is the exchange between Ben and Locke when Locke says that Ben isn't healing as fast as the thought he would, in fact, why did he get sick in the first place? Ben doesn't have a response. He has taken the Island for granted, that's why he is in the wheelchair and Locke isn't. The Island is backing someone else.

Acting as the Island's agent, Locke has either consciously or unconsciously destroyed the Pearl, the Flame, and the sub. All are things that have been used to either control the Island or maintain contact with the outside world, and the Island is moving to destroy and sever anything that controls it or has access to it. Locke is more than happy to comply because it makes him important, powerful, useful, and gives him purpose - all things he didn't have in the outside world.

Sorry, didn't mean to be such a long poster. Like all Lost theories, I know this has holes in it, so talk amongst yourselves. Brain, I wish for you good fortune, for the wind to be at your back, and safe passage that will eventually bring you safely home. Peace.

chris said...

by the way, is anyone keeping track of how many times Kate has been captured while on the Island? Five? Six times? I've lost count. Seriously...how did she evade capture for so long out in the world?

Alec said...

Chris: Hahahahaha! It's true about Kate! A buddy of mine once sent me a bunch of VHSs (yes, I'm old as the hills) of a 50s serial called "Panther Girl of the Kongo". In it, in every episode, there's a fight between the good guys and the bad guys; and, in every fight, Panther Girl gets knocked out immediately by one of the baddies, leaving the good guys (that's literally guys -- Panther Girl was the only gal involved) to save the day.

I guess sexism still rules the roost in Hollywood. Kate is Panther Girl of the 21st Century!

Chris B. said...

"Panther Girl" ...is she anything like Cheetara from the Thundercats? Anyone? ....anyone?

Anonymous said...

Less comment, more question: What about Rose? She is the forgotten survivor who was healed by and recognized the 'special' power of the island.

Not only did she recognize the power, but also knew of John's paralysis.

If you recall, she was the first to reject the modern conviniences of the hatch - telling Hurley that she would rather wash clothes by hand, find food, etc.

Any thoughts on this? It seems that Rose, not John, is a true example of having made communion with the island.

An interesting side note: all of the tailies were killed sans Bernard. All of the survivors are pretty seriously flawed other than Rose, who at worst lied to her husband about feeling well.

This was just a passing thought and probably not as articulate as it could be. I'd love some feedback.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me if someone mentioned this prior - but Anthony Cooper is NOT Locke's father - if you remember back a season or two - he is a con man - the con man that conned Locke out of his kidney. He even told Locke he was not his father but just wanted his kidney.

Akysten said...

Remember, Lockes mother claimed that he was immaculately conceived. Could the real father be the Island?
He used investigators to track down his biological father.
The father claimed.. it's fuzzy, but didn't A Cooper claim he put him in contact with his mother to get him to investigate the subject, so that he would find him, and give him his kidney... believing that it would be his idea?

Also.. remember that Locke has a history of being manipulated. In 'further instructions', didn't the undercover agent say they chose him because he was trusting, not a killer and easy to manipulate? And we all know that his dad got him over and over again... and Ben got him in this episode... as well as in the hatch in season 2... not to mention being manipulated by the Island.

Oh.. which reminds me of something. Remember Locke's vision in "further instructions?"... Remember Desmond 'helping himself'. How about Kate and Jack(being scanned by Ben) 'can't help them.. yet...' And Claire, Aaron and Charley "they're OK.... for now".

Maybe this vision should be revisited?

Anonymous said...

Where in the bible does it say that Jesus couldn't heal someone who didn't believe? I don't recall that. I'm not being critical, if it happened, I'd curious to know the story.

smacky said...

Things I believe, with absolutely no proof provided:

(1) Rose IS cured. It has nothing to do with remission, or "fresh island air." She was as spiritual as Locke. I think it's yet another case of "If the actress playing Rose were available more often, she'd appear in the background more often." (As you recall, "real world" reasons are why Eko died (actor wanted out), why Ms. Kluh didn't appear again before "Enter 77" (actress was not available), and (if you believe it) why Ana-Lucia died (one season contract for actress was ending)). The show is filmed in Hawaii, and the actress that plays Rose has other opportunities beyond appearing in the background for 10 seconds each episode. Remember, she doesn't want to leave the island any more than Locke. (If she's not on the others' list, their list is incomplete because Ethan died before finishing it.)

(2) Cooper is really there. I can't accept the others have a relationship with (or control of) smokey. That would make them accomplices in the deaths of the pilot and Eko, and Ben said they don't kill, and we're still supposed to believe the things Ben says (however they're open to interpretation).

(3) The Dharma/Others relationship is still troubling. How much are we supposed to believe what we know about the history of Dharma? Did they arrive on the island in the 1960s? What about the others? When did they first arrive on the island? Ben is a white man who speaks English with no accent, and he's supposed to be one of the few natives. When did his family arrive on the island? If all Dharma employees were killed in the purge, why do the food drops continue (Ben had Dharma food)? How much did the Others know about the Swan hatch? If Ben allowed himself to be captured to learn more about the hatch, who recruited the Clancy Brown character to the hatch (some time in the '90s, after the first Gulf War)? It had to be someone from Dharma, right? Unless the Others in fact DID know all about the swan hatch. But if that's the case, and their goal was to have them STOP pushing the button, why did they allow Desmond to stay in the hatch for three years? Why not just kidnap him and let the timer run down? The Clancy Brown character could not have been in contact with the Others, because he was fixing Desmond's boat, and the Others didn't know about the boat until it was sighted during the rescue attempt. So either the Clancy Brown character was an other who kept the boat a secret, or he was a Dharma employee recruited just before the "purge" and the Others didn't know he was in the Swan hatch (which implies the Others did NOT know about that hatch).

Jason said...

Ok so this is my first time posting but I was rereading some of brian's theories and the one about a third group on the island kind of got me interested. Then while browsing the internet for any info about the upcoming expose I found this

"LOST was renewed for a fourth season this week, who didn't see that coming? Despite being cast as ailing, (in fact, the drop off in viewers was about what ABC had predicted for the time change), LOST's twisty-turny plot continues to dominate water coolers as its story begins to unfold in some exciting new directions. Time travel, other 'others', and now Locke's dad mysteriously appearing on the island? Where is all this going? How will it end? Read on for our best guesses at what LOST season four might look like!

First the setup. What do we know. In the recent ABC podcast, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof told us that 'Jacob' is 'him'. So Jacob, who made some mysterious master list, is the defacto leader of the others, or is he? Maybe he is a leader of the other 'others'. Getting confused yet?

New characters are scheduled to begin appearing on the island who are neither others nor plane folk. It has been alluded to many times that this third group is far more terrifying in nature than the monster, and probably more powerful than our others."

There was more to the story found

http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2007/03/23/lost-season-four-predictions


Anyway Brian I guess you were right again!

Anonymous said...

I like the idea that the island is pissed at the others (Ben) ... This all starts when Ben finds out he has a tumor. Wishes for it to be gone and bam Jack falls out of the sky.

Ben thinks this is a curious way for the island to cure him but ok ... it will work.

The events happen and Ben starts to realize he has fallen out of the islands favor and now as Brian mentioned Locke is the new favorite of the island. Ben now is forced to work with Locke. I would even go as far as the island gave Ben the tumor in the first place.

This really puts "rooted in science" out there but it also makes the center of the mystery the island which I tend to like a lot more than just human issues.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the others ever controlled the Swan.. I think that stayed under Dharma control.. until Des.

Pat Gaughan said...

We must not forget that the "Others" do have some kind of power. We have a clear link with Juliet and Alpert (is that his name? I forget). I'm not saying they are Dharma or anything, but we shant forget about that. Or maybe the Others don't have power, but the inner circle of Ben and Alpert and Ethan are connected to some power. Enough rambling for now.

joe d. said...

"Forgive me if someone mentioned this prior - but Anthony Cooper is NOT Locke's father - if you remember back a season or two - he is a con man - the con man that conned Locke out of his kidney. He even told Locke he was not his father but just wanted his kidney."

Cooper NEVER told John that he wasn't his father. Go back and check. He never said it. In Orientation, Cooper said you needed a father figure, and I needed a kidney...and that's what happened. It was never said that Cooper wasn't Locke's father. Cooper IS Locke's father.

nettie said...

If Locke's father HAS magically materialized on the island due to the powers of the "box" - why do the Others need recruiters at all? Why did they bother to expend resources trying to convince Juliet to come to the island if they could just "wish" her there?
No, the only explanation that seems logical (hah!) is that Smokey is at least partially in league with the Others and is now masquerading as the Man from Tallahassee.
But that doesn't make much sense either. I really hope the writers have a SATISFYING explanation for it all.

heliopath said...

awesome post brian

some of the Locke could be jacob but doesnt know yet theory smells a bit too much like Neo/Matrix for the lost writters to consider it seriously

anyway another thought!

island pursuaded locke not to push the button, in however cunning indirect fashion. sky goes purple, no communications and the island is smiling at its clever doings

joe d. said...

nettie:

Here is a more logical explanation. Cooper was not "wished" to the island. Also, he is not a manifestation of Smokey.

Remember last season when Ben, then Henry Gale, was caught by Danielle? Later, while in captivity, he told John that he was coming for Locke? Well, perhaps they went out into the outside world and picked up Cooper and brought him to the island. It's totally plausible. Think about it. Ben knew that Locke was paralyzed before the crash and that as soon as he crashed there he was cured. He knew that Locke had some sort of special connection with the island. Having this knowledge, Ben needed something on Locke. He needed an edge, so what does he do? He kidnaps and brings to the island John Locke's biggest weakness. He had his people....headed up I'm sure by Richard Alpert....find Anthony Cooper and bring him to the island. They stowed him away somewhere on the island until they had a use for him....which is Now.

Another possible explanation...a litte more far fetched but not nearly as far fetched as the "magical box" theory....is that when Cooper fled the United States after trying to kill Locke he crash landed on the island. The detectives told Locke that Cooper hopped a flight to Mexico, but he could be "anywhere in the world by now". He could have gotten on a boat or a plane for some island destination in the South Pacific and ended up on the island a la Desmond, Danielle, and our beloved Losties.

There is no "magical box". Ben was simply speaking in metaphor. He used the "box" because of John's experience in the box industry. "You know something about boxes don't you, John?"

The reason I don't think Cooper is a manifestation of Smokey is because I do not think that Ben and his people have any kind of control over Smokey. I think Smokey operates on its own for the island itself. Ben seems a bit disenfranchized (Sp.?) from the island at the moment. I don't think that he has the ability to use smokey as he wants.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is a repeat; I haven't read all the comments...

Did anyone notice that Anthony Cooper's fiance's son told Locke that Anthony told him that he was from Ontario.

Isn't this where Ethan said he was from when Hurley was writing up the passenger list?

Weird.

4kids4me

Anonymous said...

I think Joe D. is entirely right on with his post. Cooper was found...captured....and brought to the island for an ideal time to use him as leverage with Locke. There is no "magic box" or mythology involved in Cooper being on the island.

cooper said...

michael and walt didnt get off the island though, if you look closely you can see that Michael is one of the OTHERS who storms into Jacks guest house to capture Kate. So I guess that tug boat wasnt able to make it off.

Anonymous said...

"if you look closely you can see that Michael is one of the OTHERS who storms into Jacks guest house to capture Kate".

HEY....ARE YOU TRIPP'N?

Nick Spangler said...

COOPER - You got me excited for a moment, but I went back and looked, and there is no way that the black guy storming into Jack's house to bust Kate is Michael. There are only quick shots of him, but it's definitely someone else.

And don't you think Jack wouldn't have trusted The Others to send him home if they had told Michael the same thing and he turned up back on the island anyway? And surely Kate would have noticed him as well.

Jason said...

No that wasn't michael who stormed into the house when they captured Kate and Jack together. Though I agree they did look similar. If it had been him I'm sure Kate and Jack would have been looking at him quite confused and asking him what he was doing there.

Jason said...

Oh and also just because Ben was born on the island doesn't mean that his parents we're. They could have crashed on the island at some point or moved there to escape the confines of society and intermixed with the "Native Islanders" which may be why they speak english. Since that could only have been roughly 40 years ago.

The ironic factor is that if they moved there to overcome the evils of society they failed because, The Others clearly follow some sort of segregational ideas keeping the good from the bad. Plus they use force to change beliefs via brainwashing so while they seem to believe they are the good ones they have lost the path they started out following, now they will do anything to accomplish their goals even by using the evils they appear to be trying to avoid.

Plus as mentioned they now use electricity, running water, and have leftovers curtesy of Dharma instead of being one with the land. However Locke is by no means a pure individual he appears to simply be more content to do whatever the island tells him which may lead to him "purging" the island and then being discarded by the island in the end leaving the island pure.

joe d. said...

HOLY CRAP!!!

Brian:
We are the same age, so maybe you can appreciate this. I don't know about you, but when I was a young boy I was a HUGE fan of TRANSFORMERS. I watched the cartoon....I had the toys....It was one of my absolute favorite cartoons...along with G.I. Joe, Thundercats, and HeeMan.

Transformers: The Movie comes out in theaters on July 4!!

Sweet!!!!

joe d. said...

I just thought it was cool that they were bringing back Transformers.

Robin L. said...

Someone please explain Alex to me!! I thought that she was on board the ship with CFL when she crashed on the island - that CFL shot everyone on board her ship (because they got 'the sickness') and that Alex was taken by the others.

So how the heck is she Ben's daugther? If Ben is an island native - am I wrong and Alex was born on the island and CFL slept with Ben? Or is Alex his adopted daugther?

This is killing me- please someone shed some light. Thank you!

hope said...

CFL was pregnant and had Alex on the island. Ben being Alex's father is just a theory not a fact.

senor feesh said...

I know this is more off-topic, but have you seen what they've DONE to the transformers? Seriously, check out Prime's new paint job <_< every re-make of things I loved as a kid so far has sucked. (Note I have yet to see TMNT).

eric said...

CFL was pregnant when they crashed on the island she then killed her entire crew when they got "sick". After she gave birth Alex was stolen by the others, apparently she was raise by ben, leading her to believe her mother died in child birth and he is her father.

Robin L. said...

Thank you, all. I thought I remembered that CFL was pregnant when she crashed. Glad I'm not going nuts. So it sounds like we can all agree that Ben is not her biological fater (unless some crazy island voo doo is at work)

joe d. said...

senor feesh:

I haven't seen any previews or anything for the Transformers movie. I only saw an add for it on MySpace. It figures they would ruin it. I loved Transformers, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, TMNT, HeeMan, and GoBots(anyone remember GoBots??). I thought that the original TMNT cartoon series and movie were far, far superior to any of the other sequels and remakes. The new TMNT just looks like too much.

Sorry for the off topic chat.