Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lost - "Confirmed Dead"

Episode Title: “Confirmed Dead”

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Before we get to the deeper meaning guess, we have some catching up to do. You see, in the haste and excitement of the season premiere of Lost last week, I totally forgot to post about the conclusion to the Lost Find815 ARG that started about a month ago (coincidentally, this is the same ARG that was hinted at by the Oceanic commercial during “Eli Stone” last week – what a waste of watching that show for an hour!). At any rate, last week, while we were all counting down the minutes and seconds until Lost returned, a funny thing happened at the end of the ARG – they came upon the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815.

For those too lazy (or smart?) to waste your time playing through the ARG, here’s exactly what happened at the conclusion:



Granted, that doesn’t give a whole lot of details about the wreckage – but instead provided some brief images that seemed to be enough to convince our fearless crew of the Christiane I that the Oceanic and all its passengers had succumbed to a watery fate.

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Why do I mention this now? Because I think it’s the far more intriguing choice of “deeper meaning” to this week’s episode title. Remember, both Anthony Cooper and Naomi have made reference to the fact that all on-board of Oceanic Flight 815 were presumed dead once the wreckage was found at the bottom of the ocean. Naomi provided even more details that seem to corroborate the ARG storyline, mentioning that Flight 815 was found in a four mile ocean trench, using cameras and robots to survey the wreckage. Hmmm – sounds an awful lot like the video posted above, doesn’t it?

So what does this mean?

For me, it really ramps up the whole “conspiracy” aspect of Lost – an aspect which, up until now, one could largely dismiss due to lack of evidence. Yes, the plane crashed and the Island is freaky – but as we learned at the end of Season Two, the crash was an accident, not a pre-meditated act by some ultra-powerful organization. So how do you explain the “fake” plane full of “fake” bodies at the bottom of the ocean? Even if they didn’t plan it, clearly SOMEONE wanted to hide the truth after it happened, and I think finding out who or what that someone is will introduce the chief antagonist for the remaining seasons of Lost.

Think about it – whoever went to the trouble of planting a fake crash site clearly wouldn’t want that hoax to be uncovered. They clearly wouldn’t want our Survivors getting back to the “real world”, blabbering about the Island, and exposing the truth. For me, this premise goes a long way in explaining the current state of the “Oceanic Six”.

What I’m predicting is a “battle” of sorts – maybe not a full fledged “guns and grenades” war, but some struggle of power between our Survivors, the Others, and the Freightors. One side (Team Rescue) wants to get off the Island. One side (Team Island) wants to keep the Island to themselves and keep it secret. One side (Team Freightors) wants to overtake the Island and keep it secret (or possibly turn it into an amusement park). Clearly, if you wanted to keep an Island secret, you need to keep people from scanning the ocean for a wrecked airplane – thus the fake wreckage!

As you can see, the goals of each side are in direct opposition with those of the other two. The really interesting part is that by having three participants in this battle, it opens the door for a number of different alliances, Alias-esque double-crosses, and overall distrust among all parties.

Using this as a background, it’s not much of a stretch to picture an end-game where Jack, Kate, Hurley, and three other Survivors somehow wind up finding a way to secure a one way ticket off the Island. It’s actually quite similar to Jack working out a way to get off the Island by performing surgery on Ben – only this time, the only thing they have to do in return is adhere to a well-crafted script that corroborates (is that the second time I’ve used that word in this post? I think that makes three total times I’ve ever used that word in my life!) the fake crash of Oceanic Flight 815. That means saying that there was no Island, no other Survivors, and no Dharma / Hanso Foundation / whoever the heck the Freightors are! Meanwhile, representatives from all parties involved are searching for clues, information, and help – ranging from the Island Spirit in the form of Charlie / Jack’s Dad to the uber-freaky Abaddon, and our Oceanic Six are stuck in the middle, slowly going crazy as their sub-conscious eats away at them with the guilt of leaving everyone else behind.

We’ll see how this theory holds up over the next few weeks, but right now it seems to be the best “catch all” theory I can come up with. The funny thing is, I’m getting way ahead of myself and this episode probably won’t delve into any of this stuff – instead, it will focus on introducing Team Freightor… that, and possibly confirming the existence of the fake plane crash… and with it, the fake confirmed dead on board.

Like I said, a reference to the fake plane crash would be the far more intriguing meaning behind “Confirmed Dead”. But it’s not the only option. The far more likely (and boring) option would be that the Freightors (some possibly still operating under the assumption that Naomi is alive and well and “gathering firewood”) come to the Island to try and save her… only to confirm that she is already dead. Sure, this might lead the Freightors to flip out and start accusing / attacking our Survivors, but it still wouldn’t be as cool as a tie-in to the findings of the Lost ARG, would it?

I think this seems like the best opportunity to finally address some of the “you are all dead” comments we heard in passing last season, giving the topic sufficient attention to make our Survivors ask themselves the big questions we’ve been asking for a while (“Who would fake a plane crash? Why? Are we all really dead?”)

Here’s hoping.


ABC Description: The survivors begin to question the intentions of their supposed rescuers when four strangers arrive on the island. Guest starring are Ken Leung as Miles, Jeremy Davies as Daniel Faraday, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau, Tania Raymonde as Alex, Blake Bashoff as Karl, Marsha Thomason as Naomi, Lance Reddick as Matthew Abaddon, Jill Kuramoto as female anchor, Necar Zadegan as translator, Azure McCall as Mrs. Gardner and Kanayo Chiemelu as African/Tunisian man.


Episode Breakdown. Wow, not a whole lot to go on this week... but that’s honestly just the way I like it – much less chance of the episode description totally ruining the episode this way! All we have to work with is one short sentence which basically confirms what we’ve all known was coming since last season’s finale. But we’ll see what’s in there to breakdown…


Guests. Once again, by simply looking at who is included in the episode, you can start to piece together where the story is likely to go. The first thing that jumped out at me is the inclusion of both Naomi and Abaddon again this week. Assuming that Naomi is definitely “confirmed dead”, if she’s appearing, it would seem to confirm the “Freightor-centrality” of the episode. But since she is dead in the present, she’s ruled out from being the central flashback character of the episode. Instead, I’m guessing that this week’s episode will unfold similar to “The Other 48 Days”, where we learn bits and pieces about all the Freightors – possibly through the form of individual flashbacks for each character, or possibly through vignettes of their travel to the Island together.

The inclusion of Abaddon is also particularly revealing. If he is included in an episode centered on the Freightors, it would seem to indicate that he is actually one of them. Based on his conversations with Hurley last week, he has no idea what happened to the Freightors, and basically asked Hurley if they were dead or alive. This puts an even more intriguing spin on the Oceanic Six storyline. If they didn’t come back with the Freightors, who did they come back with? Were they really just sent out on a floating airplane wing in the middle of the ocean and have someone happen upon them by chance? I’m beginning to think they aren’t so innocent after all, and somehow totally screwed over their fellow Survivors, the Others, and the Freightors with their escape. It’s no wonder that they have this intense feeling of guilt and are so concerned about each other spilling the truth – they might be directly or indirectly responsible for the death of any number of the other people on the Island, making the Oceanic Six the true “bad guys” when you look at the big picture. (Hey, my original idea for the series conclusion to Lost – with our Survivors turning out to be the real “bad guys” - might come true after all!)

But what about Abaddon? His inclusion in the episode pretty much confirms the flashbacks will go back to before the Freightor set sail in the Pacific. But where did it come from? Check out some of the other guest stars…

Conveniently, a number of the guests this week are native Hawaiians. For example, Jill Kuramoto (who plays “female anchor”) is actually a Hawaiian news anchor.

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Azure McCall is Hawaii’s “preeminent jazz singer”. Could it be that the series will finally pay homage to its “home base” by having scenes set in Hawaii, rather than having Hawaii stand in for some other locale on planet earth? It seems logical that a Freightor sent out to find the Island would leave from a Hawaiian base, so I think there’s a good chance.

Finally, we meet the other three Freightors referenced in the title. Last week we got our first glimpse of Daniel “I can’t say that rescuing your people is our primary objective” Faraday. This week, we meet Miles (who, if you’re like me, you’ll recognize but not be able to place where you know him from – the answer is “he was Uncle Junior’s mental institution friend / bitch on Sopranos”), Charlotte, and Frank "I look eerily similar to Jacob" Lapidus.

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Freightors. And that really brings us the big question of this episode – who are these Freightors and what do they want? Well, let’s go back and review what we actually know.

According to Naomi, she was part of a rescue team hired by Penelope Widmore to find Desmond. However, this proved to be inaccurate based on last season’s “Not Penny’s Boat” finale. This makes it even more puzzling that Naomi was in fact carrying around a picture of Penny and Desmond… a picture that you could argue was only in the possession of Penny and/or Desmond.

According to Naomi, they were just given a set of coordinates in the middle of the ocean and her helicopter went crazy when flying over the Island. This story seems pretty accurate, especially after we saw Farday’s helicopter acting erratically while flying over the Island at the conclusion of last week’s episode. The unique electromagnetic properties of the Island seem to be alive and well post-Hatch Implosion.

Based on the high tech equipment Naomi was carrying (a third generation iPhone) and her obvious military-esque training (talking in multiple languages upon crashing on the Island, surviving a knife to the back), it’s clear that the Freightors mean business. They’re on a very specific mission, with very specific instructions, and were probably individually selected to go on this mission for very specific reasons. But what are those reasons?

Well, back at the end of last season, I thought through the most likely scenarios – and in looking back, not a lot has changed since then. Here’s what I originally mused:

I think the easiest answer is that Naomi’s Crew are Dharma, coming back for some serious revenge on the Others that killed their brethren on the Island years ago. But there are two big holes with that theory – one that Dharma has continued making the Periodic Ration Drops on the Island, so clearly they know fully well where it is, and wouldn’t need Jack’s phone call to track the coordinates. Two, it doesn’t explain why Naomi would have a picture of Penny and Desmond among her belongings.

The next easiest answer is that she is working for some sort of “rival organization”, looking to pick up where Dharma’s research left off on the Island in hopes of succeeding where they failed (perhaps in hopes of saving the world after all). Based on some assumptions from “Bad Twin”, Dharma has close ties to Penny’s father’s organization, Widmore Corporation. It’s reasonable to think that this rival organization would have tried to dig up as much information as possible about the Island from Widmore (assuming that Dharma no longer exists) – and in doing so, just might have come across Penny / Desmond’s friend Donovan, who just might have mentioned that Desmond once crazily talked about being stranded on a mysterious Island (during his flashback / time travel episode earlier this season). The rival organization carries the picture of Desmond (stolen or copied from Penny), knowing that if they can find him, they can probably find the Island.

It’s a stretch, but it’s the best we’ve got at this point.

I know there is always the “easy way out” answer that Penny is a rich heiress, and wouldn’t actually know Naomi or personally be on the boat searching for Desmond. Although her reaction seemed to indicate total surprise, as if she didn’t have any sort of rescue team out looking for Desmond – this doesn’t make much sense either. Based on last season’s finale, if Penny had people sitting in the Arctic constantly monitoring for electromagnetic anomalies, she most certainly would start combing the ocean for that anomaly once it happened. Heck, you could even hypothesize that this crew was sent by Charles Widmore, not Penny, in a race to find Desmond first as part of some massive scheme to keep Desmond away from his daughter. But that seems a little out there.


So nine months later, is there anything to add? Actually yes – one potentially very important thing: The Maxwell Group.

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This is another entity introduced through the Find815 ARG, and we don’t know a lot about them. They have a website that even the best of the Internet nerds have yet to crack (http://www.the-maxwell-group.com/ ), they are a division of Widmore Corporation, they funded the search for the Black Rock which turned up the fake Oceanic crash, and their employees seem to know a lot about EVERYONE.

For me, all these pieces seem to fit in rather nicely with the second option from my original analysis – that the Freightors are actually working for a “rival organization” to Dharma – and that organization is none other than the Maxwell Group. We’ve had bits and pieces of information from various mediums that connect the Black Rock to Magnus Hanso to the Hanso Foundation to the Dharma Initiative to Widmore Corporation to the Maxwell Group back to the Black Rock. They all seem to be fairly interconnected, and rich and powerful enough to pull off something like a fake plane crash.

The biggest question, as I mentioned originally, was why the Freightors would need to find the Island, since Dharma should know precisely where the Island is – and in fact made a food drop there as recently as two months earlier. The only explanation I can think of is that somewhere along the way there was a “split” in this organization (perhaps coinciding with Mittelwerk forcing Hanso out of power – an event documented in “The Bad Twin”). Hanso refused to give up the information about the Island, and had already prepaid some trustworthy outside organization to continue the ration drops in perpetuity. Widmore / Maxwell, learning of the potential and power of the Island, began their search for it. Through Widmore, it’s easy to get to Penny Widmore, which would explain Naomi’s picture of Desmond, his time traveling adventure noted by Donovan, and then piecing together that he vanished during a sailing expedition around the world. By following the general route of that course, they could have stumbled upon the Island without even knowing it.

Is it convoluted and way out there? Absolutely. Is it the best that I’ve got right now. Yep. So we’ll go with that for now, and let this week prove otherwise.

The other fun possibility if this storyline holds true is that now Penny knows that Desmond is alive and that some ship (and some girl named Naomi) are claiming to be rescuing Desmond in her name. This could open the door for a huge confrontation between Penny and her father to find the truth, and set her out on her own mission for the Island – but we’ll leave that theory for another day. First, let’s first see how far off we are on this first step.


I’ve got high hopes for this episode, and really think it will serve as the impetus for the remaining episodes of the season. I’ve also cautiously optimistic that this blasted writer’s strike will end this Saturday, and we’ll be able to squeeze out four more episodes of Lost in May to help wrap up the story arc of the season – but only time will tell.

(Fun Fact: This would also conveniently put Lost on a month and a half hiatus to coincide perfectly with my upcoming nuptials. Thank you, writer’s strike!)

Happy Lost-ing!

Message Board Comments: http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=244.0

14 comments:

Eric said...

Excellent post, thanks! One small quibble though -- does the discovery of Flight 815 at the bottom of the ocean have to mean a conspiracy? Seems to me that there is also the divergent timeline theory that could explain it. That would leave our Freighters as having somehow crossed over into the Island timeline from another timeline in which the flight crashed in open water. Not sure what the implications of that would be, I suppose they could really be salvagers or something. Can't wait to hear the response to Jack's question So what is your primary objective?

Ryan said...

I played the find815 game and I got the impression that Talbot knew the whole time what Sam was up to. I think the voyage was set up so that Sam (the most fervant seeker of the truth) would find the crash. Having him find it would mean a lot more than if a Maxwell employee found the crash.

Cathy said...

Is it possible to salvage the rest of this season? Have they said they can still get it filmed?

Brian said...

eric - based on everything we've seen with the flashforwards, I think it would be hard to explain the divergent timelines... and very complicated. But we've had a few hints of "funky time" in the past, so it's not out of the question.

cathy - Jorge Garcia made some comments that if the strike was resolved in early February, he thought they could finish the season. Most major media outlets say from that once the strike ends, it will take six weeks until new episodes will hit the airways.

If everything went perfect and the strike was resolved next week, there could theoretically be episodes ready by the middle of April. I think the bigger question will be how the networks want to handle all these suspended seasons. Will they stretch into the summer, past the normal May sweeps? Will they prefer to scrap the spring season and have an early start to the fall season? Only time will tell.

Jabbadoo said...

Ooooh can't wait for the pace to really pick up.

Brian.. on the nose.. I WAS thinking "Where do I know that guy fr...ahhh yes, Uncle Junior's wackadoo byotch"... heh

Eric said...

That's a very good point about the flash forwards being hard to reconcile with different timelines. The only way it would work is if the island is spatially somehow located in a different stream of time or something, so that when (if? not sure how one leaves ...) you return to the old timeline somehow. Brings up all kinds of paradoxes, as time travel is wont to do!

davis said...

I still think the Freighters could be Dharma.

What if all of the Dharma Initiative weren't on the island in the first place? I mean we already know that becase of the ties to the Hanso Foundation that not everyone who is aware of the Dharma initiative would have been on the Island at the time of the purge.

What if it went down like this:

Ben tells his friend Annie (that is her name right?) That she needs to leave the island because something is about to happen. She leaves and probably stays quiet for a while regarding what Ben told her. The food drops continue since Patchy was still manning the communication station. Remember the food drop procedure books in that hut? So the Others could have been putting on a ruse and making the Dharma people on the outside think everything was okay and continuing to order food and such. I mean assuming Ben was pretty high up in the Dharma ranks (he'd been there since childhood)the Dharma people that aren't on the Island wouldn't have thought anything of it if they only were communicating with Ben.

So why are the freighters coming now? Maybe Ben's friend finally spilled the beans. Maybe after a while they just started looking after not hearing from the Island folk for a while.

As for the two reasons they couldn't be Dharma:

-Food drops continue: They haven't had a drop since the sky went purple have they? Meaning they lost contact a couple of months ago and havent been able to find the Island for any reason since then. Perhaps when the Island went off of radar the guilt got the better of Ben's friend and she told them he was doing something on the Island. At that point they have to use other means to find the Island and they do need the phone call.

-Desmond photo: Why wouldn't Dharma have a picture of Desmond? Im sure at some point in the Hatch Desmond said his name. Since the hatch was on camera they could easily have done their research on him...tracked down Penny, etc.

Blah..I know that all was kind of confusing but feel free to help me build on it. For some reason I just don't see the freighters being some totally new third party. I'm not sure of all the explanations of the details...but I think it is Dharma coming to get revenge on Ben for killing all of those people.

That would also explain why Ben didn't want them there. Not because they'd kill EVERYONE, but because they'd kill HIM. And we all know how selfish that man is. Saying they'd kill everyone is the same way to save his own life. Team Island still doesn't want them to come either thought but for different reasons - they dont want the Island to be used for experiments or studied that way.

RIP Posts said...

Not only did I miss LOST, I also missed reading your analysis weekly. Thank goodness we have something to do for the rest of the winter !!

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, but I'm thinking that these people are near the wreckage of 815 when they 'drop' to the island through some sort of rift. If they were looking for the black rock... and found 815, that would mean that they are very close to the 'portal' to the island? Maybe 815 DID crash... and we have an alternate reality, or alternate dimension, or timeline or something! Maybe they are all dead and it's not a hoax?

Come on.. Black Rock wreckage in same location at 815? Too much for it to be cooincidence.

susa said...

What makes you think that Abbadon meant the Freightors when he asked "Are they still alive?"??? My first thought when I saw the scene was "He means the rest of our survivors". Could it be like that?

Brian said...

susa - absolutely. After last week's episode, I thought Abbadon could have been asking about any group on the Island. But with him listed this week as a guest star along with all the Freightors, it seems more likely that his connection is to them.

Of course, maybe he really is searching for the Survivors, and is seen this week questioning the Freightors about their journey through the Pacific - always a possibility.

Becca said...

Anonymous- In the ARG they were looking for the Black Rock, however I got the impression that this was just a cover up, a sort of wild goose chase to help explain why the Christiane found the "Oceanic 815 wreck". Even Talbot may or may not have realized the purpose of the mission was to discover the hoax and make it seem believable. Also, if there was a time rift there, wouldn't the Christiane have been sucked in? I wouldn't doubt if the Maxwell group knew the Black Rock was actually crashed on the Island.

Jeff said...

Freaky Abbadon-his name means destruction, also means "Angel of the Abyss"

Not sure if this means anything but interseting anyway.

Abaddon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article is about the Hebrew word. For other uses, see Abaddon (disambiguation).

Abaddon (Hebrew אבדון Avaddon, meaning "destruction"). In Biblical poetry (Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11), it comes to mean "place of destruction", or the realm of the dead, and is associated with Sheol. Abaddon is also one of the compartments of Gehenna.[1] By extension, it can mean an underworld abode of lost souls, or hell.

In Revelation 9:11, it is personified as Abaddon, "Angel of the Abyss",[1] rendered in Greek as Apollyon; and he is described as king of the locusts which rose at the sounding of the fifth trumpet. In like manner, in Rev. vi. 8, Hades is personified following after death to conquer the fourth part of the earth.

Abaddon is one of the infernal names used in LaVeyan Satanism, and is first in the list—only as it comes first alphabetically—and means "the destroyer."

Venom original drummer Tony Bray chose Abaddon as his nom de plume after having read it in LaVey's The Satanic Bible.

[edit] Identification of Abaddon

Many Biblical scholars believe Abaddon to be Satan or the antichrist[2][3][4][5]Others have stated that he may be one of the lesser demons of hell, or even a dark angel.[6]One source, The Greater Key of Solomon by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, stated that Abaddon was powerful enough to be used by Moses as a way of invoking the terrible rains of the Plagues of Egypt.[6]. in many places, Abaddon is pictured as a human sized locust, and is known as the lord of pestilence. Jehovah's Witnesses originally also considered Abaddon a demon, but now identify him with Jesus.[7]

According to them, there are several proofs in favor of their concepts, including Apocalipsis chapter 20, which reads that "the angel with the key of the abyss and a large prison in his hand seized the dragon (Satan the Devil) and threw him down into the abyss, and closed it on him (Satan)", meaning that the 'angel of the key' had power and authority superior to that of the Devil himself. Therefore, from their standpoint, Abaddon, "the angel with the key of the abyss" (Apoc. chapt. 9) and "the ancient serpent", "the dragon", Satan the Devil, must not be both the same person.

Jana said...

It just hit me the other day - the book Naomi carried with the pic of Desmond and Penny in it was in Portuguese. And the guys who called Penny from their arctic station at the end of Season 2 were speaking Portuguese. Is it possible the Freightors intercepted those guys, found out what they were up to, took the book and picture, and disposed of them? It would fit.