I have no idea.
I have no idea where this post is going to go, because frankly – I’m still fairly puzzled by a lot of the Freightor-centric happenings of this week’s episode. Hopefully, once I start writing something will start making sense, but I make no promises. I’m just going to attack this thing as logically as possibly and hope for the best.
This could be a Blog disaster.
Cabins. But let’s start with something simpler (read: non-Freightor-related) – our boy Jacob. One of the very interesting things early on this week was when Locke mentioned he needed to make a detour to a cabin. Hurley responds that they are heading in the wrong direction, causing both Locke and Ben to do a double-take.
What does this mean?
Well, in the season premiere, it seemed reasonable enough that Hurley stumbled upon the same cabin that Ben and Locke visited last season, but then had a vision of that cabin when he turned around. It seemed logical because we assumed that Locke would have gone back to this cabin after his encounter with Taller Walt, and that’s where he ran into a lost Hurley wandering through the jungle.
But now that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Now, it seems as though Hurley imagined / saw a vision of BOTH the cabins last week, including Christian Shepherd and the Freaky Eye inside. The repercussions of this could go one of two ways:
1. The Island Spirit has decided to start sending Hurley these images for yet unknown reasons, and Hurley was not at the true Cabin.
2. The Cabin doesn’t really “exist” anywhere, and only appears in the eye of the beholder.
Both options have their issues.
For the first option, it’s unclear why the Island would call out to Hurley. It seems as though Locke has been appointed the “chosen one”, and the one who could free Jacob from his volcano ash prison, if that really is the case. It’s especially puzzling as to why the Island Spirit would choose to appear in the form of Christian Shepherd to Hurley, someone who means nothing to him.
The second option doesn’t really hold up much better, in part due to what we saw during “The Man Behind the Curtain” last season. If the cabin itself were a sign that the Island Spirit / Jacob was communicating with someone, Ben would have freaked out when Locke saw the cabin – not when he heard Jacob speaking.
So it seems as though the first option is the best guess – and perhaps a sign that there is a lot more to Hurley than meets the eye. Maybe it isn’t as clear cut as Locke vs. Ben for the title of “Jacob’s BFF”. We’ll keep an eye (pun intended) on this development as the season progresses.
Now on to the fun.
Freightors. I think the most logical way to try to understand who the Freightors are is to break them down one by one. So we’ll go through them as they appeared in the episode, then try to tie it all together at the end.
Daniel Faraday. The first Freightor we met was Daniel Faraday, a physicist seen crying as he watched the news telecast of the discovery of the Oceanic Flight 815 wreckage. Naomi later refers to him as a “headcase”. It should be noted that Michael Faraday was the name of an English physicist who studied electromagnetism and developed “Faraday Cages”, which are used to block radio and electromagnetic waves. Coincidence in the naming of this character? I think not!
The first question you have to ask is “why was this guy crying when he saw the wreckage?” The easy answer would be something like he knew someone on board, but when asked why he is crying, he responds with “I don’t know”. I have to think that if you knew someone on board, you would answer that question differently.
So if he didn’t know anyone on board, what could be the cause?
Well, later we see Faraday on the Island, seemingly off in his own world talking about how the light on the Island “doesn’t quite scatter right”. Granted, based on what I’ve read on Wikipedia, this could very well be true since the scattering coefficient increases with the application of a magnetic field (smartest ten words ever written on this Blog!), but who notices that sort of thing?
To me, Faraday seems like an overly sensitive person – one who notices the little things (like light scattering), avoids conflict (trying to diffuse the gun situation between Jack and Miles), and is probably really, really smart (I don’t remember seeing a lot of physicists hanging around the bar in college, unlike business majors). I’m not trying to be overly simplistic, but is it possible he was simply crying because of the loss of human life he was viewing on TV? Even if the crash was “faked” at the bottom of the ocean, the bodies down there looked pretty real (which brings up the question of what 300 people were killed to stage this thing!), which still makes it a tragedy. I could easily see Faraday being some weirdo who “feels the pain of others” and starts crying upon thinking about the death – which would fit in nicely with Naomi’s description of him as a “headcase”, wouldn’t it?
I know – simply deciding that Faraday is a crazy sensitive person seems like a cop out analysis, but I don’t see any other evidence of a Faraday connection to the Island. I’m thinking his flashback served as a way to show the viewer the news report of the fake wreckage more than give insight to a Faraday connection to the whole thing.
Miles Straume. I’m not going to lie, I’m not a big fan of this “Ghostbuster” storyline. I’m not sure why I’m totally okay with our Survivors seeing weird images of dead people on the Island, but feel like Miles seemingly communicating with dead people is cheesy and unrealistic, but that’s where I stand right now.
I’m also afraid that the introduction to this character is merely a cheap plot device used to explain the truth about Jacob / Christian Shepherd / any other dead person on the Island. Shouldn’t our Survivors have to figure this stuff out on their own through working with Ben and the Others rather than have this quick and easy answer from a character that didn’t even exist in the Lost universe for the first three seasons of the show? Maybe I’m way off – and let’s admit it, the show’s writers have never let me down thus far, so I should have faith – but I’m a little unsure of this storyline.
But what else do we know about Miles? His flashback didn’t reveal much (no, that wasn’t Eko / Yemi’s house) aside from confirming his weirdo ghost whispering skills and proving he’s in it for the money, not the drugs. He claims that he studies soil (which seems to be a lie), seemed to work for himself pre-Freightor life by ridding homes of unwanted spirits, and is the most intense and mission-oriented of any of the Freightors. He’s probably the one we need to worry the most about.
Charlotte Staples Lewis. Out of all the Freightor flashbacks, Charlotte’s was the most interesting. She’s an anthropologist (studies cultures) – but more specifically looks to focus on archaeology. Apparently she’s reading every article she can find on the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. Upon arriving on the Island, she seems to generally want to help rescue our Survivors and actually seems surprised that they exist and don’t want to be rescued.
But the big question surrounding Charlotte is the polar bear skeleton she finds in Tunisia, complete with Dharma collar. How in the world would a Dharma polar bear end up half-way around the world, in the middle of a desert. Furthermore, how did Charlotte know exactly where to look for this skeleton, and why did she only seem concerned about the Dharma collar?
Let’s lay some background. Dharma started in 1970. Oceanic Flight 815 crashed in September 2004. Based on the Flight815 ARG, the “fake wreckage” was found around Christmas 2004. Add it all up, and the polar bear skeleton can’t be more than 35 years old (which would match Charlotte’s comment of “you’re off by a few million years” to her cohort when asked if it was a dinosaur). The good news is that left outside in warm or hot weather, a polar bear carcass would become a skeleton in far less than 35 years (I couldn’t find this specific information on the Internet, but for comparison – a human body would take two to four weeks to become a skeleton in a desert). I know a lot of people are pointing to this skeleton as evidence of Dharma time travel / funky time, but based on this information, the skeleton proves neither.
However, there’s still the pesky question of how a Dharma polar bear went from the Island in the Pacific / Indian Ocean halfway around the world to Africa before dying in the middle of the desert. The one thing we can assume is that this polar bear started out in the Hydra Station on the Island (since it bears the logo of the station). For me, this doesn’t indicate funky time – but funky space. If you think back, this has really always been the case with the Island. From the Black Rock to Eko’s plane, things seem to appear on the Island that should be far far away in the world. I’m reminded of some of our discussions a long time ago about the concept of “vile vortices” – Bermuda triangly places that act as worm holes from one area of the earth to another.
Sure, the African vortice isn’t quite in Tunisia – but a concept like this could help explain how the polar bear got halfway around the world, then quickly died without food / water.
But what about Charlotte? The important thing to remember is that she sought out this dig site – she didn’t just happen upon it. She also immediately went for the collar, not thinking twice about the fact that a polar bear skeleton was in the middle of the desert. This seems to indicate that Charlotte was somehow affiliated with or researching the experiments of the Dharma Initiative, and was sent on a retrieval mission to confirm if their experiment worked. Maybe Dharma was messing with a power they didn’t fully understand, and have spent years scanning the globe to find out where the polar bears they pushed through the worm hole actually ended up.
I should mention there’s always a chance that Charlotte has no idea what Dharma is - but as an archaeologist has found polar bear skeletons with Dharma collars around the world over the years. That could make her merely a curious scientist who is working to find other Dharma collars, and is working to try and understand what it means.
But if not, this puts Charlotte as someone “in the know” about Dharma. Either she works for Dharma, used to work for Dharma, works for a rival organization of Dharma, or has spent some time studying Dharma.
Does that narrow it down?
Frank Lapidus. Frank is already in the running to be a big fan favorite. He seems like the kind of rational, laid back hippie drunk who we’d all like to be friends with. Apparently he used to work as a pilot for Oceanic Airlines, and was supposed to be flying Flight 815 before being replaced by Seth Norris (finally our Pilot has a name!). He and Seth must have been the best of friends in the world, because he recognized a fake body as soon as he saw it on TV due to the lack of a wedding ring – and perhaps foolishly immediately alerted the authorities of this. On the Island we learn that he has memorized the entire manifest for Flight 815, and immediately calls Juliet out as being an outsider.
Based on this, we can make a few assumptions about Frank. He’s in no way connected with Dharma / the people who faked the crash. He’s perhaps the only Freightor that would have a logical connection to the Survivors / Flight 815. He seems to be the only person skeptical of the fake crash. If you were going to argue that the Freightors were “destined” to be on the Island (as fate has always been a big theme on Lost), Frank is the proof.
Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be anything overly weird or strange about Frank – at least yet.
Abbadon. As Sully puts it “that guy with the weird name just took Ben’s place as the creepiest guy on Lost”. I couldn’t agree more. He seems to be the mastermind behind the Freightor operation, hand-picking the aforementioned people for “specific reasons” much to the objection of Naomi… which means he knows more than Naomi, and probably more than any of the other Freightors combined. They seem to be pawns in his game.
This also seems to confirm (as I had guessed) that when he asked Hurley “are they alive?”, chances are he was asking about his team of Freightors – not so much about the Survivors. Although we probably shouldn’t trust anything he says, it’s worth noting that he assures Naomi there are no survivors. He might be tricking her into thinking the mission will be easier, or he might believe what he has been told by the news media / his company (Dharma / Hanso / Maxwell / Other). But something tells me that isn’t the last we’ll see of ol’ Abbadon (or Abby, as his friends call him).
The Rest. Finally, heard but not seen this episode were Minkowski and Regina. Both are apparently still on the Freighter, and when talking Faraday, Minkowski asks “am I on speaker?” like he is going to tell a secret he doesn’t want the Survivors to hear – but later “can’t come to the phone” even though it’s an emergency. Unlike Frank, there is plenty of fishy stuff going on with these two.
Okay, now that we know the players, let’s turn to the game. What the heck are they doing there?
Benjamin Linus. In the words of Miles, they’re there for Ben. Rescuing our Survivors isn’t their primary objective, their primary objective is to find / capture / kill / hug Benjamin Linus. But why?
Well, this causes my mind to spin off in a ton of different directions.
If the Freightors wanted to simply kill or capture Ben (revenge for the purge, perhaps), they wouldn’t have brought the motley crew of Faraday, Linus, Charlotte, and Frank – they would have brought some enforcers with names like Knuckles, Tiny, and Bubba. On the other hand, if they were simply Dharma reinforcements coming in to continue the original missions of the organization (which would kinda make sense based on each of their backgrounds), I don’t see why Ben would be so afraid of them and claim that they were going to kill every living person on the Island. So we’re left with something in between – where they need Ben for information about the Island, but then intend to purge everyone on the Island (note the gas masks that Jack came across). So who would want this type of information? Again, we’re finding ourselves back at Dharma Rival Organization. This would explain why they couldn’t find the Island until now, why Ben is so afraid of them, and why they aren’t there for a rescue mission. They are there to kick start the research that Dharma started, with Faraday taking over the magnetism work, Charlotte taking over the animal work (or studies of the Island history), and Miles there to work on the more mystical work with the Island Spirit. As for Frank? I guess he’s either there for comic relief and his pilot skills… or sent on a suicide mission to ensure he won’t continue talking to the authorities about the “fake crash” at the bottom of the ocean.
But how do these Freightors know about Ben in the first place? They’ve even got a hilarious picture of him!
The picture appears to have been taken years ago, featuring a younger Ben decked out in an awful late 70’s early 80’s outfit working in a very bland looking office area… which means one of two things:
1. The photo was taken on the Island, where Ben has spent his entire life.
2. The photo was taken off the Island, when Ben was on a “recruiting mission” a la Alpert to Juliet.
If the first scenario is true, that would mean that whoever the Freightors are, they have access to Dharma Information. This could be a photo from the personnel file on Benjamin Linus or a grab from a security camera – but since it was taken on the Island, it would have had to come from Dharma. If this is the case, the Freightors are either Dharma, someone who took over Dharma, or a group that infiltrated Dharma for information.
It would also mean that they knew Ben was the only Dharmite left on the Island… which actually opens the door to all sorts of complications.
If Dharma knew that Ben was the only one alive, they would know he was responsible for the purge. Since Ben wasn’t any sort of “leader” inside Dharma, but rather a “workman”, there would be no reason for the Freightors to target him if Dharma was still alive and well, or if Ben was still tricking Dharma into thinking everything was fine.
However, if Ben killed all of Dharma with the purge, how would they know that he was the only one left? There would be no one else on the Island to report about what Ben did, and it’s unlikely he would do this himself… unless the purge effectively wiped out Dharma altogether and made them give up on the Island. Then, it’s quite possible that they would know Ben was responsible but not want or be able to do anything about it… and Ben would know this, and have no problem bragging about his role in the purge.
The second scenario is far easier – remember back during last season’s “The Man Behind the Curtain” where Ben claimed “Most of the people you see? I brought them here”? Well, maybe he was being literal in that claim – hand selecting people to come and become the new “Others” on the Island. If this is the case, all it would take is for someone to get suspicious during one of these “recruiting missions” when someone starts talking about a “magical place” to snap a picture and start investigating what it really means.
Again, based on the age of the picture, it would indicate that this search has lasted for many years (which brings up the question of who is funding the operation and how they got any hard information on the Island in the first place), but maybe everything is finally coming together for this new group to find the Island (the combination of the Hatch Implosion / the Looking Glass being shut down / Jack’s call).
Recap. Okay, so putting all those pieces together, here’s where I’m coming down – exactly where I started (what a waste of 3900 words!), with the Freightors being part of some Dharma rival organization that fully intend to purge the Island, and start over, picking up where Dharma left off. None of the Freightors have ever been to the Island before, but they’ve clearly got some information about it through research – because they’re sending in a very precise team to be able to deal with all the funkiness there. Looks like the theory will last for at least one more week.
Ben’s Man. One last item before we go (I know this post is getting ridiculously long) – at the end of the episode, Ben saved his life by spouting out tons of information about Charlotte and her crew, ending with “I have a man on their boat.” Who is this man?
Well, everyone and their brother on the Internet are calling for it to be Michael, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Yes, Michael is slated to return to the show this season, so that makes sense – but nothing else about it would. Michael left Lost Island on November 27th. We’re currently at about December 24th (almost Christmas!). That’s less than a month, so it’s not possible that Michael went back to the real world and became a “mole” in Abbadon’s group to get on the Freighter before it left – so he must have ran into it after it set sail.
But even if before Michael left, Ben gave him some sort of satellite phone and gave him coordinates to rendezvous with the Freightors, why would Michael “work” for Ben by gathering information for him? He’s already paid a huge price for escaping with his son (killing two people), what else could Ben possibly have to hold over his head? I can’t think of anything unless Michael somehow discovers that the Freightors really would kill all the Survivors and siding with Ben actually is a chance for redemption by saving them – but that’s pretty far out there.
For me, it’s more likely that “always two steps ahead of everyone else” Ben probably had a few bodies back in the “real world” to be on the lookout for anyone that gets too curious about the Dharma Initiative, their experiments, or a Magic Island. That means that Ben’s man on the boat is probably an Other that we haven’t met before – since he’s been off-Island since the series started. But if Ben really does know all this, why was he surprised when he learned about Naomi landing on the Island last season? Wouldn’t he have known this was a possibility given the roaming Freighter in their area? Almost from that point forward, Ben has basically been in contact with our Survivors, not leaving him with any alone time to be talking on the phone to his “mole” – which again points to him having this information prior to Naomi’s crash landing.
I’m a big fan of Ben’s man on the boat being Minkowski – the guy who had a private conversation with Faraday early in the episode, but then was “unable to come to the phone” later in the episode… perhaps because he was discovered to be a mole. As for who Minkowski is, I’ve got no answer.
Okay, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I’m not sure that I feel any more confident about understanding this episode or not since I basically ended up where I started, but at least I thought through and ruled out a lot of things. Sometimes the Blog is like that.
Oh – one point of clarification – there wasn’t anything in the trailer per se that indicated who the next member of the Oceanic Six is – except for the fact that they said the next member would be revealed. If you think about it, that probably means whoever is episode centric next week is the next member of the Oceanic Six, since we would have to see them in flashforward to know they get off the Island… and we’ve known the answer to that for weeks now.
Okay – now that’s really all. Your turn to talk!
Message Board Post (especially handy for those who are unable to reach the Blog from work): http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=247.0