Saturday, August 11, 2007

Comic Con Analysis!

Before we start, it should be noted that some of you are going to flip out about this post and cry, “These are spoilers! These ruin the entertainment value of all future episodes of Lost for me! I hate you Brian! I’m never going to read this Blog again!” These people should probably stop reading now, and return to their sensory depravation chambers until February, so as to receive the most full and pure Lost experience.

For everyone else, hear me out. Everything I’m about to comment on comes directly from the mouths of Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. The logic here (put to vote on the Message Board, where literally 100% of voters told me it was okay to discuss this) is that if the show’s creators, who are extremely spoiler-averse, are willing to talk about these points – then why shouldn’t we?

I’m talking of course about the big annual nerd-fest of Comic-Con, which has somehow gone mainstream to the point where all sorts of non-comic book things are discussed there, like TV shows and movies. Although cameras were illegal at the event, somehow the full Lost press conference ended up on YouTube. Since we’ll be discussing it, I thought it might be good for you to watch it before going any farther. If not, my thoughts can serve as a sort of “Cliff Notes” for it, saving you an hour of you life.

The Others. One of the first questions was related to The Others, and the possibility that they might be good guys. As you know, this has been one of my favorite theories since the early days of Lost. In fact, my earliest predicted Series Finale of Lost involved our Survivors finally overcoming the Others only to realize that they’ve just doomed themselves / the world. Pretty upbeat, right?

Well, initially Damon and Carlton seem to confirm that The Others will NOT turn out to be good guys. In fact, they almost go so far as to hint that we might be done with The Others, with the death-filled Season Three finale “showdown” serving as the exclamation point on the conflict. I find this a little hard to believe. Ben will clearly still be a big part of the show, and there are still some big questions concerning The Others (more on this later).

But then when you listen a little more, maybe The Others aren’t so bad after all. We’re reminded that we root for the Survivors because they’re pretty. When Sawyer is beating someone up, we think he’s dreamy. When Tom is beating someone up, we think he’s a monster. So are The Others really the bad guys? Or are they just the “other guys”, which we force into a “bad guy” role since we refuse to believe that our pretty Survivors could be anything but good? Or, are we, the viewers of Lost, the “bad guys” for judging people based on looks? So many social commentaries, so little time.

Michael. The big news was actually broke a few days prior to Comic-Con by ABC President Steve McPherson – Michael will be back on Lost as a series regular next season. How? When? Why? Here’s what I’m thinking:

According to the Lostpedia Timeline, Michael and Walt left the Island on the world’s shoddiest boat on November 27th. At the end of the third season, it’s December 23rd. For me, that doesn’t seem like enough time for Michael to make it back to civilization, gather a rescue party, and return to the Island. So that leaves one of two options:

1. Michael has been going around in circles, similar to what Desmond reported, because they are all inside a “snow globe”, and finally gave up and came back to the Island.

2. Michael ran into another ship along the way, and is coming back to the Island with them.

Smart money is on Michael being onboard Naomi’s Crew’s Ship (the SS NCS). But keep in mind, it’s not as though he just happened upon some random ship. No, the ship was clearly searching for the Island… or someone on the Island. The ship is outfitted with a helicopter, futuristic iPhone, the picture of Desmond, etc. In fact, it Michael might not have even found the ship – what if the ship found him?

Assuming that they were heading for the coordinates revealed by the Hatch Implosion, they would be in the general area of the Island, looking for anything. If they saw a ship come up on their radar (very similar to the way this same ship showed up on Sayid’s radar on the Raft during the first season finale), they would head for it – possibly assuming that the ship was coming or going to the Island. They could have picked up Michael and Walt, gotten information from them, and brought them along for the ride.

The other thing to keep in mind here, is that if the SS NCS isn’t Penny’s Boat, and is possibly an enemy of the Island / Dharma / the Others, Michael might think he’s doing a good deed, but in reality is doing a very bad thing by attempting to “rescue” everyone.

However, since Damon talks about Michael’s storyline being about “redemption”, I don’t see how he gains it without actually saving everyone – unless it’s through some sort of self-sacrifice. Keep in mind that he’s killed two people. The only way I know of to achieve redemption for such a crime is by dying to save someone else. I’ll go ahead and put Michael on the top of the Death Watch 2008 List right now.

It should also be noted, this brings up an interesting thought about the Walt that we saw during the Third Season Finale. If Michael is back, isn’t it possible that he’s already back on the Island, and that could have been the real Walt, rather than Island Spirit Walt? Yes, it’s possible – but not likely. Recall how cryptically Walt talked to Locke and the fact that Michael wasn’t with him. So will the real Walt return, along with Papa Mikey?

I don’t really see how Michael could return without Walt unless the two actually did make it back to the mainland, Michael dropped Walt off, and then formed this search party for the Island… but if that were the case, you would think the search party would be some sort of government / military operation, and the SS NCS definitely appears to be something more sinister.

But with Walt back, the producers will again be forced to deal with the rapid aging of the actor over the course of one month Island time – and I would think that if he was back, they would have made an announcement about that as well. Very interesting. I’m not sure what the logical way to write Walt out of the story and bring Michael back to the Island is – but I’m excited to find out.

Flashforwards. We finally got our confirmation that Lost will feature both flashbacks and flashforwards next season, confirming my hope that the storyline would continue progressing from the point we left off, with the SS NCS arriving. As Damon and Carlton mention, the intriguing thing is going to be who gets the flashforwards and who doesn’t (which would seem to indicate who lives and dies), as well as how far forward. It also turns out Lost isn’t going to end, timeline-wise, with the super depressing Jack and Kate’s airport scene wrapping up the series (boo!). While I don’t think this means that we’re going to have some “Jack returns to the Island” flashforward, as many readers had hoped for, maybe Jack will find some sort of peace in his post-Island life… even though I’m rooting against it.

The Flashforwards remain one the most genius writing ideas ever – allowing each character to receive a full story arc while saving the most exciting parts of the story until the end. I’m very excited to see the post-Island portion of the story, especially since it will save us from yet another Jack flashback. Tip of the hat.

Siblings. Apparently Jack and Claire will find out they are brother and sister in Season Four. How? I have to assume this information will come from the Others or from the SS NCS, both of whom have a wealth of information about our Survivors. I could do without this storyline. Here’s hoping it doesn’t eat up a full hour of our remaining 48.

Ben. On the other hand, a storyline that I would gladly devote a full hour to is the story of how Ben got caught. Apparently, it was an accident, totally throwing my previous theories about his actions inside the Swan Hatch out the window. Damon promises that we’ll learn why Ben was heading across the Island – but hopefully we then also get some understanding surrounding his actions regarding the 108 Button.

Remember, he entered the code, but then told Locke that he didn’t. Maybe Ben is forward-thinking enough to realize that this would plant the seed of doubt in Locke’s mind, eventually leading to the Implosion (once he was safely away), which he could then use as a front for why communication broke down, helping to keep the potentially wayward Others in line behind him – but if he’s smart enough to figure all this out, wouldn’t he be smart enough to avoid the trap in the first place?

Rachel. For the Lost Experience nerds out there, Rachel is not going to end up on the Island. What a wasted question. Wag of the finger.

Richard Alpert. I’m not sure exactly how we go about doing this, but we need to bring down the upcoming fall show “Cane”. Since Nestor Carbonell is on the show, as long as it’s on, the odds of us seeing Richard Alpert on Lost are pretty slim, especially since the shows are on different networks. This is especially crushing since Alpert is the only confirmed Island Original that we have, and was one of the most intriguing characters on the show. I also don’t know how the writers will explain his absence among the Others, but I’d bet they quickly introduce some other Island Original to explain the whole “lack of aging” storyline that Alpert introduced.

Still, I’d much rather just have Alpert back, so we should all begin spreading vicious rumors about “Cane”, and telling all our family and friends to boycott the show. Pray for the show to fail. I plan on hanging the following signs all over town. I encourage you to do the same:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Questions. One of the more genius questions from the comic book nerds was “What questions are we not asking that we ought to be?” Apparently these things:

Who’s in the coffin? Harold thinks it’s Michael – which makes a ton of sense (the black neighborhood, having a teenage son) – but suicide isn’t quite the “hero’s death” I would think required for Michael to get redemption... and why wouldn’t any of his family or friends be there? Was he shunned when his actions on the Island were revealed?

Who’s on that freighter out there? What do they want with the Island? This is my biggest question for the next season, and has the potential to dramatically shift the show the same way that the Hatch did in Season Two, opening up even more of the mythology of the show. I’m still leaning towards this setting up the “Battle for the Island” with our Survivors caught in the middle.

Kate and Jack got off the Island – did anyone else? The answer here would seem to be “yes”, unless all our flashforwards are Kate and Jack-centric, but as I mentioned, it will be interesting to see how the writers handle the flashforwards. I would think it would have to be very cautiously, to ensure that we have the high drama in the on-Island action with lives hanging in the balance that we had at the end of last season.

What about the skeletons from Season One? Said in a slightly punny manner to the hardcore fans in the audience, we’ve been told they are proof that the writers actually had this story planned from the start – but after the season finale, I don’t think many are doubting this anymore. As for the answer, your guess is as good as mine. I don’t think we have enough clues to even start guessing at this point.

Is Penny going to be on the Island? Penny is a puzzle. I was counting on this for most of the third season, yet at the end of the season, we found that she wasn’t on the Island or on the SS NCS – but if she got the coordinates from the Hatch Implosion, you would think she also would be actively searching for the Island and Desmond. Maybe her ship will show up as a sort of “Deus ex machina” during the “Battle for the Island”. I would also like an explanation as to how she just happened to show up on the video monitor inside the Looking Glass during the finale… aside from “it was necessary for the storyline”.

Libby. The intention is to wrap up Libby’s storyline this year. I’m not sure how this theory gained so much traction, because there really weren’t that many clues pointing towards it – but people are thinking she’s somehow tied in with Dharma – which would make her donation of a boat to Desmond all the more mysterious. I’m racking my brain trying to think of what other character’s flashbacks she could show up in to fully explain her storyline, and I can’t come up with any – so perhaps our Survivors stumble upon some information about her through the Others or SS NCS, in the same way they find out about Jack and Claire being step-siblings.

CFL. Although we’re going to get a CFL flashback eventually, it didn’t sound overly-promising for that sometime to be this year. Rather, next year is looking more likely. Carlton mentions that there are some very important things revealed in her storyline that need to be synched up first. After seeing the puzzle pieces fall together with the wire on the beach / Looking Glass / Radio Tower in the season finale, I know exactly what they mean.

SPOILERS. Be on the lookout! By the time the fourth season premieres, the first 10 episodes will already be complete… which means there will be an unprecedented amount of spoilers this spring. I urge you to err on the side of caution and avoid any “fringe” Lost websites that might inadvertently spoil you. I’m hopeful that after the backlash from the season finale spoiler, the Lost community will come together and realize that spoilers are the devil’s TV Guide.

Smokey. When asked what we should call Smokey, Damon and Carlton said that Radzinski and Kelvin called it Cerebrus Vents, which was Dharma’s name for “the Monster”. I like Smokey better. They also confirmed that we will definitively receive satisfying answers of what it is, who made it, and what motivates it… but I’m guessing those are at least two seasons away.

Finally, they ended the panel with a video – an Orientation Video for “The Orchid” station. Initially, I took this to be a joke – but some people on the Internet seem to think it’s legit, so we’ll analyze appropriately:

Narrated by Edgar Halowax (i.e. Marvin Candle / Mark Wickmund), we learn that “The Orchid” station is used for animal testing. However, due to the highly volatile, potentially dangerous nature of the tests, those who work there lie to their family and colleagues, who think the tests surround botany. There are some weird scenes with everyone freaking out over a numbered rabbit (just like Ben’s), and then the video cuts out.

Why do I think it’s just for fun? Well, we’ve seen no mention of the Orchid before, and it wasn’t on the Blast Door Map. There’s also an air of humor throughout the video, like it’s an outtake from a real Orientation Video. But the one interesting thing mentioned is a “Casimir Effect”. I had no idea what this was, but after doing some research, found something quite interesting:

In physics, the Casimir effect or Casimir-Polder force is a physical force exerted between separate objects, which is due to neither charge, gravity, nor the exchange of particles, but instead is due to resonance of all-pervasive energy fields in the intervening space between the objects. This is sometimes described in terms of virtual particles interacting with the objects, due to the mathematical form of one possible way of calculating the strength of the effect. Since the strength of the force falls off rapidly with distance it is only measurable when the distance between the objects is extremely small. On a submicron scale, this force becomes so strong that it becomes the dominant force between uncharged conductors. Indeed at separations of 10 nm — about a hundred times the typical size of an atom — the Casimir effect produces the equivalent of 1 atmosphere of pressure (101.3 kPa). The van der Waals force between a pair of neutral atoms is a similar effect. In modern theoretical physics, the Casimir effect plays an important role in the chiral bag model of the nucleon; and in applied physics, it is becoming increasingly important in the development of the ever-smaller, miniaturised components of emerging micro- and nano-technologies.

A similar analysis can be used to explain Hawking radiation that causes the slow "evaporation" of black holes (although this is generally visualized as the escape of one particle from a virtual particle-antiparticle pair, the other particle having been captured by the black hole).

What does all that medical mumbo-jumbo mean? Well, it just might be an explanation for what Smokey is (explained by pseudo-science!) – which might mean that this Orchid station is responsible for Smokey’s creation (an experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong – just like we all hoped!), and it would help explain why at least some of the Others (Juliet) don’t really know what Smokey is – since the experiments from the Orchid were kept secret.

In the end, I come down on the side of parody for the video. But with Lost, even parodies can contain little hints of things to come.

Dru already started a thread to discuss this on the Message Board. Way to make my life easier, Dru!

All others, the comment section is now open.


My name is Patrick. said...

The little flash of text about half way through says "God loves you as he loved Jacob" for those interested...

Anonymous said...

Re: rabbits.
Aren't both rabbits numbered 15? Maybe different instances of the same rabbit due to some freaky time distortion business?

cr said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU for the post and the interpretation! We've missed you around here! Glad you have you and your insights back!

A.J CR said...

good job my friend! I miss Lost and checking out your blog so much :P

Cant wait for the new season!

Heather's Brain said...

thanks for getting around to this! I know you were being very VERY diplomatic...but it being your blog I FELT YOU SHOULD HAVE SAID THIS AGES AGO.

Anyway, I also wanted to say I di not agree with one comment you made about SMOKEY. I didn't see that it was said that way in the video...maybe I misread how it was stated? I thought the question came from an audience member that maybe we COULD call smokey CV. and Damon and Carlton said...anyway, splitting hairs maybe?

I felt the video was a fun stab to keep us going this summer, (mainly becuase it was not indicitive of previous films...they cursed even!)but then again NOTHING IS WITHOUT FUNCTION on Lost!

So i am done for now, THANK GOD WE HAVE MORE TO DISCUSS!!!!! Thanks Brian for posting...this is why I check back DAILY!

Jennie said...

Brian, thanks for the analysis, I need them just to follow the LOST shows!

I am also wondering how Walt will be explained as well as the loss of Alpert.

Any connection of the rabbits to Fenry? (can't think of his name right now) I'm sure there has to be some reason white rabbits were used by him earlier in the season. Sorry if this has already been mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Brian.

Eric said...

I'm pretty sure that the way they will explain Walt's aging has to do with the "time not being a constant" thing. I think that months, possibly years, have passed in the outside world since Desmond turned the fail-safe. This will explain Walt's aging and Michael could easily have made it back to civilization as well.

tonysee200x said...

When I first heard that Michael was coming back, the posibility I thought of was he was not going to be on the island at all, but just show up in flash forwards.

Has it been confirmed that Michael will be back on the island?

Myriam said...

Totally agree with CR and Heather, I check the blog everyday like a kid waiting for a gift.

Thanks :)

Chris B. said...

Ok....I am now BACK in LOST mode, pumped up and ready to go!!!

Anonymous said...

Will be a real shame if Richard Albert does not return to LOST. Let's all join in and boycott the dopey show he is to be on!! I agree that Alberts' character was one of the more intriguing characters ever to appear on LOST.

Heather's Brain said...

I can not boycot the show as I absolutely love Jimmy Smitts. Sorry, i just hope they are able to work out something...the guy who plays Alpert was also on House when he was on LOST so what is the big deal? Maybe he was not a reocurring character?

Sawyer's Optician said...

OK, where to start? Loved watching, thanks for putting these up. I wouldn't have looked at them, had I seen them anywhere else.

My first coment is: Michael - Walt = boring. Michael's story surrounds Walt. Why would the island, or others or who ever is in control want Michael back without Walt? There is the ever present Father/child theme that is significant in much of the action on and off the island. Michael's identity is -- he is Walt's dad. Let's not forget Walt's "specialness" . Also, any mention of Walt was suspiciously absent from the comic con comments.

My second comment is about Walt's growth. Kids grow, get over it. Walt could have had an unusual growth spurt, kids do. I have a friend who swears that his 12 year old son woke up one morning and nothing fit him that he wore the day before. And as Heather's brain said, it's a TV show. We know Walt is supposed to only be a month or two older than when he was kidnapped. We have inmaginations, we can believe it. We believe that 40+ people survived a horrific plane crash for the sake of the story.

And last -- I really want to know more about Richard Alpert. Lets hope his personal/career choices allow him enought Lost time.

amber said...

I'm sure this has been mentioned somewhere, but I only thought of it yesterday. Wasn't Ben's bunny #8? and the bunny in the video #15? the numbers...

Joey D. said...

I think that Michael will come back to the island....but I'm not so sure about Walt. It would make sense to only see Walt in flash forwards because of his rapid aging.

jabbadoo said...

Yaaaaaay thanks for the update Brian!

Heather's Brain said...

I psted this on the forum, but for those that do not got there...

for those still wanting to know what EXACTLY was on that orientation film...I found this!

taken from Lostpedia
This transcript is based on the video found on For a transcript of the preceding interview, including the introductory information for this video, see Official Lost Podcast transcript/August 2, 2007.

Note that "... the fuck?!" is censored to "... the hell?!" in the version of this video on the ABC website.

[A cue card with a DHARMA logo is held up as indistinct mutterings are heard. The film jerks and clarifies to show Marvin Candle. A woman is applying make-up to his face.]

CANDLE: I'll never get used to wearing make-up.

MALE VOICE: You look great! It takes away the shine.

CANDLE: Who cares if I shine? I'm a scientist, I'm not a...

[Film jumps to show a rabbit on a table. A female assistant lifts it up and passes it into Candle's arms.]

MALE VOICE: Turn the rabbit around, please.

[Candle does so, revealing a painted number 15 on the animal's side.]


[Film jumps again; an image of Gerald DeGroot is shown for a brief moment.]

CANDLE: Hello. I'm Doctor Edgar Halowax, and this is the Orientation Film for Station 6 of the DHARMA Initiative. As you [the Narvik building overlaps for a brief moment] have no doubt surmised, Station 6, or "the Orchid", is not a botanical research... [cut, image of building in swan orientation film when "social engineering" is mentioned can briefly be seen] We apologize for asking you to deceive your family and colleagues. This is, of course, in the interest of their own security. The unique properties of this Island created a kind of Casimir effect, allowing us to...

[A shot of the Room 23 film is very briefly shown, reading "God loves you as He loved Jacob". The film resumes with Candle holding the rabbit again.]

CANDLE: The field you have been selected to study is highly volatile and potentially dangerous. But, over the next few minutes we will demonstrate the elaborate safety measures that have been put in place to ensure... [a laboratory flask falls from a high shelf above Candle with a loud crashing noise] ... the hell?!

[On the shelf above Candle is another white rabbit with the number 15 painted on its side. Several people start shouting, and the assistant runs past Candle.]

MALE VOICE: Hey, what is that?! What's going on...?!

ASSISTANT: Oh God, it's fifteen!

CANDLE: ... the hell?! Don't let them near each other! When did you set the shift?

ASSISTANT: Negative 20!

[A recorded female voice counts backwards from ten, cutting off at "three".]

CANDLE: How long?

ASSISTANT: Nine minutes, but we're still learning how to...!

CANDLE: [looks at camera] Why is that still running?

MALE VOICE: He told me to keep the camera running...

CANDLE: Turn it off. Turn it off!

[The camera cuts briefly to an upside down frame of someone riding a bicycle through the Barracks. Candle's voice can be heard very faintly, mentioning "harvesting". The film then cuts back to Candle without any alarm or chaos.]

CANDLE: Hello. I'm Doctor Edgar Halowax, and this is the Orientation Film for Station 6 of the DHARMA Initiative. As you have no doubt surmised, Station 6, or "the Orchid", is not a botanical research unit.

[The film cuts off.]

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Others may have mass murdered hippies (and one of them personally killed his father), but they're only bad guys because they're "ugly"

They lie to everyone about everything, but that would make them good guys if they weren't so "ugly"

The Others kidnap, brainwash, torture, and attack without provocation, and if they weren't "ugly" then we would praise them for these good deeds

Pretty boy Goodwin snapped the neck of a guy to throw suspicion off himself, and if he wasn't such an "ugly" pretty boy, then I might have cheered him on

Oh well, I guess I'm really prejudiced against "ugly" people, but maybe that's just me

Maybe the Others really are good people who only seem bad because they're "ugly"

Heather's Brain said...

great and excellent comment ANON!

Anonymous said...

Do you hate us Brian? Please feed our addiction. Make something up if you have to.

Brian said...

Don't worry, I don't hate you - I've just kinda lost interest in doing the "Lost Rewinds", so I haven't had much to post about lately.

The good news is that I am currently watching the screeners of upcoming Fall TV shows in preparpation for my big Fall TV Preview, where I tell you what to watch and how to plan your life for the next four months.

New TV Season is right around the corner! Sure, it might be lacking Lost, but we'll see what we can put together in some sort of weekly post about the other shows on TV...

smokemonster said...

It is hard to maintain the interest with no lost content for another 5 months. Last year we had the ARG and those little teasers to carry on the buzz.. oh well.. I hope this game is good.

I'm lookin forward to your fall season preview..

Anonymous said...

Thanks Brian. I figured the Lost Rewinds idea had died. At least I know now that I don't need to check the blog every other day. Take a vacation because a lot of appreciative people expect you to be on top of your game in a couple months.

andi said...

I have been catching up on great TV I missed via the happy medium of the internet / DVD.

Friday Night Lights
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

have all been entertaining me whilst I wait for the next season of Lost. Remember folks, just because its old, doesn't make it weak.

Anonymous said...

"It's my dick in a box!"

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering about the "Flash Forwards" vs. Flashbacks.

What is the current time reference? Was the season finale a "forward" and "now" is still "Jack just get off the radio from the ship"?

Myriam said...

Brian, I still check in every work day. Can't wait for your Fall Preview reviews :)

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the YouTube version and they mention that you "would learn more about Dharma at 5:50 pm".

is there a web thing?

Jennifer said...

What, no post about Terry O'Quinn winning an Emmy???

The Mad Hatter said...

This is sort of an odd place to post this comment, but I didn't think you'd mind. I've been watching that new show "Chuck", and truthfully I haven't totally decided whether or not I'm going to keep following it.


I thought you'd like to know, that during the second episode which aired this past Monday night, there's a scene where Chuck is shown still images and starts spouting off the classified information in his head. In amongst the details he spills:

"Oceanic Flight 815 was shot out of the sky".

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