Normally, I take a few weeks after the season finale of Lost to digest the season, figure out the “twists”, and hypothesize where the next season will take us. Historically, this usually results in me getting around to writing my full “analysis” of the finale somewhere between three weeks and three months after the episode aired, at which point everyone on the Internet has already discussed it to death, and no longer cares about my wacky theories and comparatively simple analysis. But this year, I decided to throw caution to the wind and sit down and start typing about the episode the next week without really knowing where they will take me. What resulted is a post so long that it actually took me over a week to complete anyways, so I’m not sure if it defeated the purpose or made any difference. For those who want to save themselves a few hours, I can post a Cliff Notes version of the post next week. For all others, here goes nothing…
Death and All His Friends. When all is said and done, this episode will likely go down as the most death-tastic episode of Lost ever. From Keamy and his Commandos, to an unknown (but seemingly large) number of Freightors, to the potential deaths of three regulars since Season One, anywhere from ten to thirty people might have fallen in these two hours. But as we’ve seen with Lost, death isn’t always as “final” as it is on most TV shows. For the large, undetermined number of “red shirts” (some geeky Star Trek term for random background characters on TV shows – as I’ve never seen a single episode of Star Trek, I prefer to call them “extras”), they are likely dead and gone forever. But for the more “main” characters on the show, each death is worth analyzing.
Keamy. For some deaths on Lost, one could argue that the character somehow, miraculously survived. But it’s hard to argue with bleeding to death while two people try to save your life… and then having a bomb triggered by your heart stopping. Keamy, while a total badass and great villain, is absolutely dead. His character served his purpose from a storyline perspective – providing a clear antagonist and “danger” element to the Freightors to offset the “are they good or are they bad?” mysterious motives of some of the others (Faraday, Miles, Charlotte, and Frank), killed CFL and Alex, pushing Ben to the edge, and leading him to determine that he must “move the Island” in order to save it. With these missions complete, Keamy has no reason to be on the show.
Michael. The second “easiest” of all the deaths, it’s also pretty air-tight. We had a scene of Michael standing next to a large pile of C4 a split-second before it exploded, receiving a fitting farewell message from Ghost Christian Shephard of “you can go now”, and the actor complained to the media after the show aired that the Lost writers are racist for killing him off so quickly after bringing him back – rather than giving him a “happy ending” (totally ridiculous). After making statements like that, it seems unlikely he could even pop-up as a ghost or flashback in the final two seasons.
But although Michael’s death seems to be confirmed, there’s still one very big question about it – why? What overall purpose did his character’s return have on the show?
In the end, it seems that Michael’s mission, the reason why the Island wouldn’t allow him to kill himself, was to delay blowing up the Freighter to allow the Oceanic Six to escape – and in doing so, eliminating the threat of the Freighter to give Ben time to “move the Island” before Widmore could send more reinforcements. But if this was the only purpose, why didn’t Ben allow Michael to blow-up the ship earlier, during the “Meet Kevin Johnson” episode? Remember, Michael actually tried to detonate the bomb, but was met with a “Not Yet” note and told him that Ben was “one of the good guys” who wouldn’t kill the innocent people on the Freighter? Quite a difference from the Ben of “There’s No Place Like Home” who murdered Keamy knowing full well it would mean the end for all the people on the Freighter.
So what changed?
Ironically, if you look at the people who came aboard the Freighter between “Meet Kevin Johnson” and “There’s No Place Like Home”, it might hint at who Ben considers to be an “innocent” and who is Britney Spears-style “not that innocent”.
- The Freighter lost Miles, Faraday, and Charlotte – who are now on the Island.
- The Freighter (temporarily) gained Jack, Kate, Hurley, Jin, Sun, Aaron, Sayid – via the helicopter.
If you follow this logic, it would mean that Ben basically gave up Alex (who died as a result of Michael waiting to blow up the Freighter, which allowed Keamy to come to the Island) in return for saving Faraday, Charlotte, and Miles (who lived as a result). All those who want to theorize that Charlotte is really Ben’s biological daughter (and I’ll get to this point later), this might be some serious ammo – Ben giving up his adoptive daughter for the sake of saving his biological one? Heavy stuff.
On the other hand, it seems like in the grand scheme of things, Michael’s “purpose” should have been simply to save our Survivors – as a way to atone for his past sins of killing two of our Survivors… and he somewhat accomplished that goal. By staying behind and freezing the C4, he definitely gave Desmond, Frank, and the Oceanic Six the time they needed to get off the Freighter just in time… but again, had he blown it up before any of them even got there, he would have achieved the same goal – in addition to possibly saving Jin (coming up next) – thus maximizing his atonement, right? Wouldn’t this have been the optimal solution and penance?
The only thing I can think of is Ben originally intended to take the high road – to keep the “Others Code” and spare the Freightors and simply “outsmart” them without the unnecessary taking of life. I think back to “The Shape of Things to Come”, where Widmore and Ben meet and reference the fact that neither can kill the other, as if there is some pre-existing arrangement between them. It’s reasonable to think that such an arrangement would have extended to include family, at the very least – if not anyone deemed “innocent” by the Island.
But once Keamy killed Alex, the rules changed.
Once he was captured, one of the first things Ben asked Keamy was if Widmore told him to kill Alex. I’m guessing this would indicate some type of “breach” of their “contract”, which Ben took as justification for not only killing the Freightors – but also for going after Penny.
Once the code was broken, Ben no longer cared about saving any so-called “innocents” but instead was solely focused on killing them and protecting the Island… and getting his revenge on Keamy – which would explain why he mercilessly killed Keamy and replied with a cold “so?” when questioned about what he just did. In the end, Keamy may have inadvertently caused a lot more trouble than he ever intended, escalating some longstanding feud between Ben and Widmore into an all-out war.
I suppose you could use this theory to explain why Michael’s return was necessary and why his death needed to be delayed until the finale – because without him, there would be eight more characters’ deaths to analyze this episode, but it still seems a little hollow to me. Michael got his redemption, but the fact that it had to come with last minute heroics where there were numerous Survivor lives at risk seemed a little unnecessary (albeit making for an exciting storyline).
Jin. Last but not least, we have Jin. Immediately after the episode, I was pretty certain that Jin also died this episode – all the foreshadowing was there for a tragic death (forgiving Sun for cheating on him, being a “hero” by staying with Michael until the last minute, promising Sun he would get her off the Island, narrowly missing rescue)… but without getting firm visual evidence, the writers seemed to leave the door cracked slightly open – leaving the slim possibility for Jin to have survived, no matter how improbable.
First, the obvious reasons why Jin died - he was last seen on the deck of the Freighter right before it exploded and the shots of the explosion and aftermath didn’t feature a visible Jin. Given the rushed filming and finishing of the season finale, we could chalk this up to quick and dirty CGI – but the writers were also careful to include the scene of Jack and Sayid scouring the water from the helicopter looking for Jin (and other survivors) of the explosion only to conclude that there were none. If Jin isn’t really dead, the writers definitely wanted us to think he was.
The second logical explanation? When the Island “moved”, the nearest vessel to it was Faraday’s Zodiac Raft. (Keep in mind that there were at least a few minutes between the Freighter exploding and the Island disappearing. Since the explosion of the Freighter was visible on the Island, Faraday surely would have seen it on the Zodiac Raft, and likely would have turned around and headed back towards the Island. Given the quick trip back and forth, it’s logical to think he was pretty close to the Island when it “moved”.) The helicopter was somewhere between the Freighter wreckage and the Island, and assuming that Jin was somehow alive, he would have been floating closer to the Freighter wreckage than the Island.
So a best-case scenario for proximity to the Island would be Wreckage --> Jin --> Helicopter --> Zodiac Raft --> Island. Since the raft seemed to be “sucked in” with the move (since Frank’s Helicopter didn’t see it after the Island disappeared, and the Oceanic Six didn’t stumble upon it while floating in the ocean before being picked up by Penny), but the helicopter didn’t, logic would tell you that the chopper was outside the “suck radius”. Since Jin was even farther away from the Island than the helicopter, he would be way outside this radius, ensuring he wouldn’t be sucked in with it. Even if he survived the blast, but didn’t get sucked in, he would be left floating in the water for days without food / water / toilet. Given that Penny’s Searcher came upon the Oceanic Six, but not Jin – even if he had survived the blast, he sure didn’t get rescued.
On the other hand, there is only one argument you can make for Jin being alive. Since we don’t know much about the science behind the suck, you could argue that the suck encompassed a much larger area of the water around the Island, but none of the sky around it. This would allow it to suck in everything from nearby the Freighter wreckage (including Jin’s mangled body), but not the helicopter. Given the “healing power” of the Island, Jin could have somehow awoken in the water and swam to the shore perfectly fine, unsure how he survived the blast in the first place. It’s a stretch – but so is the fact that our Survivors all lived through a plane crash on the Island in the first place without so much as a scratch. If the Island doesn’t want you to die, you just don’t die – and maybe with all Jin’s heroics, it deemed he was worth saving.
In the end, Jin’s fate all comes down to what you think is the better storyline going forward – because based on his fate, Sun’s storyline (and the storyline of Widmore and Ben racing to find the Island) goes in two very different directions.
First, let’s assume Jin is dead (the logical choice!). This would give deeper meaning to Sun’s mourning at the tombstone and angry confrontation with her father – she blames him (along with Jack or Ben, most likely) for Jin’s death, and she is more than pissed about it. This would mean her encounter with Widmore where she talks about “mutual interests” indicates that she’s decided to side with him in the “race for the Island”, since she now hates Team BenJack.
Sun joining forces with Widmore and becoming a possible “bad guy” (depending on your point of view) would be a great twist for her – and would further the character development we’ve seen from Sun over the years. She’s gone from a meek submissive woman (a “glass ballerina”) to a bitch-slapping, hostile takeover-ing, strong-minded woman who gets what she wants no matter what the cost. If she wanted Team BenJack to pay for what happened to her Jin, the best way to punish them would be to deny them the one thing that they want the most… returning to the Island.
On the other side, if Jin is somehow magically alive and on the Island, the story takes a totally different twist. It would instead feature John Locke (aka Jeremy Bentham) visiting Sun post-Island, informing her that Jin actually survived the explosion and ended up “moving” with the Island, where he is alive and well… but dealing with the “very bad things” happening there. Once she finds out, she becomes determined to find the Island – and since she is unaware that Ben is alive and off the Island, goes after the only person that she thinks could help her – Charles Widmore. After all, he’s the one that found it once, why wouldn’t he be able to work the same magic and find it again? From here, the story could get very interesting as Team BenJack confront Sun to try and convince her to work with them to find the Island, even though she hates them with every fiber of her being. Sun could then totally go Alias on us and secretly double-cross Widmore to get information out of him while secretly relaying it to Team BenJack. In this scenario, Sun becomes the “hero” and could end up being the key to finding the Island… and gets a sappy reunion with Jin.
So with two pretty solid storylines available, which way will the writers go?
For me, the first scenario is far more intriguing, and actually sets up some “sides” and conflicting interests / moral ambiguities in the search for the Island, rather than it being “Team Widmore vs. Team BenJack” in a more traditional battle of “Good vs. Evil”. Although the second scenario would allow for the tearful reunion of Sun and Jin (who admittedly didn’t get a very fitting death given his character’s importance to the show), and provide the motivation for Sun to join Team BenJack’s mission to return to the Island, I still prefer Scenario One (sorry Jin lovers). Then again, I’m also the guy who thought Ben was going to be the one in the coffin since the end of last season, and we all saw how right I ended up being about that one…
Locke. Or should I say, Jeremy Bentham! I have to admit, no fiber of my being was thinking that John Locke was going to be in the coffin until the very last seconds of Season Four. Even after we saw Ben hiding in the darkness, my initial thought were closer to “it’s going to be a Ben Twin!” and “the Ben in the corner is simply Ghost Ben!”
There was some logic behind my thinking, of course. Put simply, Locke is arguably the most important character on the show – destined to become the leader of the Others from birth, chosen by the Island, un-killable, and still on his “spiritual journey” that started in the first season. The most likely way that we, as the viewers, are ever going to see the inner-workings of the Others and learn the history of the Island is through the eyes of John Locke… so his death poses quite the problem. Or does it?
We’ve seen that the Island doesn’t allow people to die until it’s damn well ready for them to die (Michael, Jack) and that there are rules allowing who can and can’t be killed (Ben, Widmore) – I have to think that John Locke would fall into at least one of those two categories - if not both. His death must be part of some greater plan – either to serve as the event that leads to the formation of Team BenJack, sparking the motivation to round up the troops and return to the Island… or to have Locke take the last step in fulfilling his destiny.
It’s more than a little out there, and is super heavy on the Jesus symbolism – but I have to think that Ben and Jack aren’t dragging Locke back to the Island to recreate “Weekend at Bernie’s II” and bury him in his most favorite spot. Instead, I think Locke’s return to the Island will result in his return to some sort of “life”. That’s right, the savior of the Island that the Others have been waiting for leaves them, dies, and then returns from death to save them all – man, God should be suing the Lost writers for copyright infringement of the Bible!
But since Lost is a show based on “science”, I don’t actually see Locke truly coming back from the dead. Instead, I see him becoming more Christian-Shephard-like in appearance – someone who died off the Island, yet whose likeness is somehow moving about the Island (and elsewhere), interacting with characters – even on a physical level. I feel a tangent coming on…
Ghosts. I think it’s time to re-evaluate the various unexplained “ghosts” we’ve seen on the Island. While it’s easy to chalk up some to being manifestations of Smokey (Yemi), others like Jacob and Christian don’t seem to fit the mold. The other strange thing is that after Jacob’s first appearance last season, Damon and Carlton told us that “Jacob is more of a question for Season Four than Season Three”, as if we actually would learn more about him this past season rather than just seeing his eye appear in front of a window for a second time.
But maybe we did.
Christian says that he “isn’t Jacob, but can speak on his behalf” when Locke entered Jacob’s Cabin earlier this season. In fact, the only words that we have ever heard from Jacob himself are “help me” – said to Locke much to the surprise of Ben last season. At that time, Ben was allegedly the only Other who could communicate with and get orders from Jacob, which made him the de facto leader of the Others (recall Alpert’s excitement and shock when Ben started talking about seeing his dead mother in the Jungle?). Now, Locke is suddenly getting orders from Christian, just as he is stepping into his rightful place as the new leader of the Others. Remember the weird scene in the first episode of Season Four where Hurley stumbled upon Jacob’s Cabin, where Christian and Jacob were seemingly hanging out and gossiping about cute girls? I think that scene actually represented a transfer of the “Island Spirit” from one (Jacob) to the other (Christian).
Did Jacob’s “help me” plea to Locke mean that he was somehow “dying”? Or that Ben was keeping him captive (by that circle of volcanic ash around the Cabin?) Perhaps each leader of the Others has its own embodiment of the same Island Spirit. Ben had Jacob. Locke has Christian. And maybe the next leader of the Others (cough cough Aaron cough cough) will have John Locke.
I still don’t know who Jacob was originally – or if Ben was attempting to control him, or if he and Ben were actually on the same page and Jacob died simply as a result of Ben’s time as ruler coming to an end, or if he was a grizzled old pirate from the Black Rock - but I think this “transfer” theory could go a long way in explaining why Christian suddenly has become so prevalent on the show – and why Jacob was curiously absent from this season, even though there were ample opportunities for another appearance.
(Note that I am still curious how the writers are going to explain all of this using “pseudo-science”.)
End tangent. Back to Locke.
There’s still one last twist to the death (and future resurrection) of John Locke. Did you ever stop to think about how he actually died in the first place? Locke’s death was officially ruled a “suicide”, although Sayid seemed skeptical of this fact, hinting that he was murdered. But who would murder Locke? His only potential “enemy” on the outside world would be Widmore or Ben – but there’s no motive there. If anything, the two of them should have captured Locke and used him to lead them back to the Island. Furthermore, if we assume that whatever “power” protects Ben and Widmore from being killed also would protect Locke from being killed, neither would attempt to do so, knowing it would be futile… and unless Locke seriously fell out of favor with the Island over the past three years, even if they did try to whack him – it wouldn’t have worked (a la Michael).
This leaves us with only one possibility:
Locke killed himself.
It’s ironically the only explanation that makes any sense. Perhaps the Island Spirit told Locke that in order to fulfill his destiny, he had to die and bring back the Oceanic Six. So Locke returns to the real world on a mission – paying visits to each member of the Oceanic Six, delivering his final pleas – and then kills himself, taking the ultimate leap of faith that his plan will work and they will return his body to the Island.
Why take such a crazy risk? Maybe it’s the only way to save the Island… or maybe once his body returns to the Island, he’ll not only come back to life – but live forever.
Viva La Vida. This could be the one link that brings a lot of the mysteries surrounding Ben, Widmore, Alpert, the Others, the Island, and Locke together – the concept of eternal life. Man, I just keep getting further and further away from realistic, scientific explanations, don’t I?
Exhibit A, Richard Alpert.
Up until this episode, there were a number of possible explanations for the Others travel to and from the Island – everything from the mundane (submarine) to extraordinary (worm holes through space and time). But with “There’s No Place Like Home”, we confirmed a few things:
1. The only confirmed method of traveling through time and space is the “negatively charged exotic matter” underneath the Orchid Station.
2. Dharma built a station around this “exotic matter” in the early 1980s and began conducting experiments.
3. The biggest mysterious unexplained appearance on the show (Ben landing in Tunisia) was a direct result of Ben “moving the Island”.
This seems to confirm that (as far as we know right now) there aren’t “warp zones” across the globe that the Others are using, but it’s much more of a one-way, one-time, random move as an unintended byproduct of moving the Island. It also means that even if the Others figured out some way to harness this power, they would have been cut off from access to this “exotic matter” during the Dharma Era, from 1980 to 1992ish… and haven’t used it since, given that Ben had to blow up the vault in the Orchid to reach it in this episode… which means events like bringing Juliet or Locke’s Dad to the Island must have occurred through quite normal means.
Maybe the Others aren’t the “masters of time and space” that we had previously thought, but have a quite limited power resulting from the “exotic matter” – and a power that is unpredictable and dangerous.
With this new understanding, it also means that Richard Alpert’s lack of aging can’t be explained by simple time travel. Instead, we’re looking at the much more complicated concept of eternal life.
But instead of just magically being able to live forever thanks to the Island, I think Alpert falls into a similar category of Christian Shepard and John Locke – someone who died, and was brought back to life… and in being brought back to life, would no longer age. This would explain not only his appearance, but comments in the past like “you do remember birthdays, don’t you Richard?” – and may explain some of the animosity between Ben and Jacob / the Others.
Tangent Number Two!
Unlike Alpert, we’ve seen that Ben does age – which to me, means he is less important / special to the Island. What if Ben was simply a “placeholder” leader in between whoever came before him and John Locke – keeping the seat warm while Alpert and the Others anxiously awaited Locke to be ready. Alpert was so disappointed when Locke failed his “test” as a child, and continued to pursue him throughout his youth – why? Because he was the chosen one, and without Locke – the Others were leaderless. They reluctantly accepted Ben as a temporary substitute (since he sorta saw dead people – close enough?), but since he wasn’t a true “chosen one”, he wasn’t granted the same opportunity to live forever that a true leader of the Others would have – and as a result would be pretty upset about it.
This could easily explain a strained relationship between Ben and Jacob – where both need each other, but hate each other beneath the surface. Jacob views Ben as unworthy but necessary in the short-term to do his bidding. Ben views Jacob as the key to all his “power” over the Others and knowledge of the Island, but knows that his destiny is to be replaced by someone else as soon as possible. It also explains why Ben’s aims for the Others (the heavy focus on baby-making and secrets) weren’t so well-received, and Alpert was so willing to help Locke along his journey (like finding loopholes to kill his father).
I like it a lot.
I always wondered what could be so important and special about the Island that so many are willing to die for it, willing to protect it at any cost, and view it with such reverence. The answer is eternal life – something granted to the cream of the Others crop.
Widmore. Where does Widmore fit in to all this madness? I don’t see him living forever like Alpert… mostly because the existence of Penny - who would probably notice that her father didn’t age over the course of her life, and his involvement in business - where colleagues would likely notice the same thing. Instead, I put him in the same category as Benjamin Linus: someone who knows about the Island, but was never actually a “chosen one” to reap the benefits.
In fact, I think back to Widmore’s comment about Ben “taking everything he ever had from him”, and am more sure than ever that we’re going to see that Widmore was on the Island back in the Dharma days. As I’ve mentioned before, I see Ben representing the “faith” side of the Island, and Widmore representing the “business” side. Both were probably working angles to take full control of the Island’s power – and Ben won out (at least temporarily). Through the Purge, Ben killed all Widmore’s Dharma workers before he was able to exploit the true power and wealth of the Island through the ongoing experiments. Still, as it’s likely Widmore was providing the financing needed for the establishment of Dharma (with a partnership with Hanso), he views the Island and its power as his own in a legal sense, and Ben took it from him.
This still doesn’t explain the “rules” that are preventing them from killing each other (maybe the Island is like Santa Claus, watching the two to see who is naughty and nice, and will only let nice people return to the Island? Or maybe both are working on doing enough good for the Island that they will be granted eternal life in the end?), but it’s as good of a theory as any I’ve got for now.
Phew. I feel like I’ve written a ton, yet haven’t even started to talk about the vast majority of action from these episodes. Let’s try to wrap this section of ridiculous rambling theories up with the last piece of the Island mythology puzzle – Aaron.
Aaron. When Jeremy Bentham visited Jack, he told her that the only way to keep Kate and Aaron safe was to return to the Island. When Christian visited Jack in the hospital, he told him that Jack wasn’t supposed to be raising Aaron. If you play Kate’s phone call from the finale backwards, it says, “The Island needs you. You have to go back before it's too late”.
It all seems to point to Kate and Aaron returning to the Island, where Aaron will be raised by Claire (as the psychic demanded way back in Season One) or the Others on his way to eventual “chosen one” status. Did you catch the parallels between Locke being a “miracle baby” in his flashbacks and Kate calling Aaron being fine after the helicopter crash “a miracle”?
However, in a dream Creepy Claire tells her “Don’t bring him back, Kate. Don’t you dare bring him back.” Yet this is the same Creepy Claire that calmly chilled with Christian in Jacob’s Cabin and said Aaron was where he was supposed to be – and that wasn’t with her, but on his way to being rescued along with the rest of the Oceanic Six.
So who are we to believe?
Actually, I think all of them. I think everyone is looking out for the well-being of Aaron, but in different ways. Locke’s message to Jack was warning of the danger of Widmore’s assassins (who Sayid is currently picking off one at a time). Christian’s message to Jack was alluding to Aaron’s rightful place on the Island as future leader. Ghost Claire’s message to Kate warned of the current “danger” on the Island. If there really is some sort of battle / civil war taking place there, it certainly isn’t a place for a child… or it could mean that Ghost Claire is well aware of Aaron’s fate on the Island – being killed so that he can come back from the dead a la Locke.
At any rate, the storyline is going to struggle on Kate’s internal struggle to determine what she should be doing with her adoptive child. Is he safer in the “real world” in the middle of the Widmore / BenJack battle for finding the Island or safer on the Island where “bad things” are going down?
Very Bad Things. Sometimes I love how the segues from one topic to another just naturally come up. I suppose now is as good a time as any to analyze what “very bad things” are happening on the Island that would drive John Locke to leave it and implore the Oceanic Six (and others?) to come back. Here were the full details of the conversation between Team BenJack at the conclusion of Season Four that gives us our only hints:
Ben: “Did he tell you that I was off the Island?”
Jack: “Yes he did.”
Ben: “When did you speak to him?”
Jack: “About a month ago.”
Ben: “And Kate?”
Jack: “Yeah, he came to see her too.”
Ben: “What did he say?”
Jack: “He told me that after I left the Island, some very bad things happened. And he told me that it was my fault for leaving. And he said that I have to come back. Why are you here?”
Ben: “The Island won’t let you come alone. All of you have to go back.”
Jack: “I don’t know where Sayid is. Hurley is insane. Sun blames me for… and Kate she won’t even talk to me anymore.”
Ben: “Perhaps I can help you with that. This is the way it has to be. This is the only way. You have to do it together, all of you.”
Ben: “I have a few ideas. Jack – I said all of you. We’re going to have to bring him too.”
(Aside: do you love how clever the writers were to have Jack say “Sun blames me for…” and then trail off? He could have just as easily said “Jin dying” as “Jin being stuck on the Island”. Way to keep it vague and the viewers guessing / assuming!)
Let’s review what happened to the Island this episode. The Freightor Commandos were all killed (assumedly). Most of the Survivors left the Island. Locke claimed his rightful place as Pope of the Others. The Island “moved”, once again hiding itself from Widmore and the outside world.
Based on these events, everything seems to be coming up Team Island. Where are the “bad things” again?
I think the key is Jack’s comment that the bad things happened after he left… and that they were his fault – which sound contradictory… unless you think deeper about it. Let me remind you of Locke’s final plea to Jack this episode to stay on the Island:
“You’re not supposed to go home. Crashing here was our destiny. You’re here for a reason. If you leave this place, that knowledge is going to eat you alive from the inside out until you decide to come back.”
Again, I think it was an extremely key scene – one that represented more than Locke looking out for Jack’s best interests. He was also looking out for the best interests of the Island.
From the start of the show, Locke has represented the “faith” side of the Island. Jack has represented the “logic” side. It’s a delicate balance – but a required one. Living on 100% faith would result in a hippie utopia with no food or societal infrastructure. Living on 100% logic would result in a cold, rigid, efficient Island with no smiles. You need the balance. Yin and yang, light and dark, black and white. This sounds strangely similar to Ben and Widmore, doesn’t it? Ben representing “faith” and Widmore representing “logic”. Could this be the reason why they can’t kill each other? Because they somehow know that they NEED each other to balance out Island life? Ben to rally and lead the people, Widmore to provide the ration drops, funding, and fake passports? Weren’t there some theories about the Others running out of food last season when we saw Ben saving the chicken carcass? Maybe he had already moved too far away from Widmore’s “logic” and the Others were already suffering!
Wait, where was I going with this?
Oh yeah – so the “very bad thing” happening on the Island is anarchy. No food being rationed, no Doctor Jack to keep people healthy, no Kate to provide eye candy (although Juliet is a nice substitute), no contacts on the outside world to keep a steady supply of supplies, books, and the latest Hollywood blockbusters on VHS – it’s only a matter of time before people would go crazy and resort to Lord of the Flies-style society.
The only loose end with this theory is why the Island requires EVERYONE to go back to the Island along with Jack – and who EVERYONE actually means.
We Have to Go Back. It seems clear that at the very least, Jack must return to the Island with the other members of the Oceanic Six – but what about Desmond, Frank, and Walt? They were all on the Island at one point or another – all spending varying amounts of time there – but all back in the real world now. So who will Jack need to round up?
I’m thinking everyone.
You could argue why only a few characters would be needed to restore order to the Island – but if you take into account the concept of “fate” that has surrounded the show from the start, you can also assume that each character was supposed to end up on that Island for one reason or another. None of them were ever supposed to leave, but it wasn’t until the mass exodus of the Oceanic Six that things really fell apart.
This would add characters like Walt (who Locke visited, which seemingly confirms his inclusion), Desmond, and Frank back into the equation in addition to the Oceanic Six, which brings up the other reason why I think they’ll be included: because it’s going to make for some great storylines.
The way the stage is set, the storylines almost write themselves!
We’ve got Team BenJack needing to find Desmond… who swore he would never return to the Island… and swore he would never leave Penny’s side… which is precisely what he is going to need to do. Conveniently, he’s currently hiding out with Penny… who Ben has vowed to kill as revenge for Alex’s death… so Jack’s search for Desmond could unknowingly bring about the death of Desmond’s true love. What’s more important, going back to the Island or saving Penny? Or is there some way to achieve both? Intrigue!
We’ve got a full-grown Walt who is now able to be a character on the show again since his age matches up with the storyline… who thinks that he’s going back to the Island to reunite with his dad (per Hurley’s lie)… but is really heading right back to the Island where he was kidnapped and experimented on. Will we finally find out the true strength of Walt’s weird “powers”? Is he actually the next “chosen one” on the Island? Or are the Lost writers racist like Harold Perrineau thinks, and Walt will be the “dark side” to Aaron’s “light side” in the next generation of Lost? Tons of potential!
Finally, we’ve got Frank… who has the ability to provide helicopter / flight services to everyone else and provide some comedic relief. Serviceable!
I’m sure Ben will have some better reasoning for Jack to explain precisely why everyone is required to go back to the Island – something about the Island not allowing itself to be found unless everyone is there, or maybe he’ll tie it back to the fate explanation I referenced above… but the truth behind it might be something much more sinister – what if Ben is actually lying about all of this?
Ben. Although he’s been effectively excommunicated from the Island for going on three years, it seems clear that Ben is still fighting for the Island and is acting perfectly aware of what is required to return to the Island, why Locke left in the first place, and the “very bad things” happening there. But how?
Keep in mind that when Ben turned the wheel and moved the Island, he instantly jumped ten months into the future in Tunisia. We have to assume he hasn’t been back to the Island since. So he’s been living for the past three years on his own in the “real world”. Where is he getting all his resources to fund Sayid’s International Spy Escapades? If the Island really did “move on” to Locke, wouldn’t his connection also become weaker, leaving him less omnipotent about everything that is going on?
I suppose it’s possible that the Others had bank accounts and contacts setup all over the world to access during their periodic travels away from the Island, and Ben would probably be aware of all of them – so maybe he’s been getting along just fine in the real world in his fight against Widmore. And maybe he’s still getting visits from Island Ghosts, just like Jack, Kate, and Hurley – clueing him in on what’s happening on the Island.
Or maybe he has no idea.
Maybe he’s convincing Jack that he needs to bring everyone back to the Island as a way to “contain” any potential information that could be revealed about the Island. By bringing everyone back to the Island, he could then destroy whatever means they used to travel there and “trap” them on the Island, ensuring that they would never spill any Island secrets to the rest of the world, ensuring the Island’s isolated safety in the future. What is this is all part of Ben’s master plan to get back in good graces with the Island and prove that he is a better leader than Locke? He’s already partially proved himself up by actually moving the Island to protect it, what if he took it a step further by ensuring the protection by eliminating anyone with knowledge of the Island from the outside world (aside from Widmore, I suppose).
It’s an interesting thought, and one I wouldn’t put too far past Benjamin Linus – who always seems to be one step ahead of everyone. Helping Jack return to the Island seems almost too altruistic for him, doesn’t it? Helping Locke return to the Island and come back to life seems like the last thing he would want to do, given that Locke effectively “replaced him”. But if it’s all part of a master plan to get exactly what he wants (back on the Island, back in favor with the Island Spirit, ensuring that Widmore will never find him / the Island), then it seems like it would all make sense and be totally Ben-like, wouldn’t it? Of course, before Ben can get everyone back on the Island, he’s going to need to find it…
The Island. (Note: apparently Damon and Carlton referred to the wheel that “moved” the Island as the “Frozen Donkey Wheel”. It’s a fun name, and easily abbreviated as FDW, so we’ll use that from this point forward.) So what exactly happened when Ben turned the FDW? When or where did the Island go? What are the repercussions? How many times has the Island “moved” in the past? We’ve got a lot to discuss…
It seems crazy, but with this new concept of the Island moving, we may have some new, very logical explanations to things like the Black Rock, the Dharma Polar Bears, and even Eko’s Drug Plane being on the Island! It’s really quite simple. At some point in the past, the Island moved – and wherever / whenever it moved to, it came up right underneath the unknowing Black Rock, which ended up right in the middle of the jungle. Likewise, as Dharma came to the Island and discovered the “exotic matter”, they conducted experiments on what would happen when turning the FDW using the Polar Bears (which would explain the polar bear skeleton that Charlotte found in Tunisia featuring a Dharma tag) after the first Dharma scientist to turn the FDW (Widmore?!) mysteriously disappeared. Let’s assume they moved the Island a number of times before fully understanding the repercussions of their actions – at one point ending up much closer to Africa, allowing Eko’s Drug Plane to crash on it, before “moving back” to the current Pacific location (I think this timeline would roughly match up). Dharma then decided that it would be better to try and harness the power of the “exotic matter” by building the Orchid Station near the FDW where they would get the residual power, but eliminate the pesky side effect of the whole Island moving in space and time – which is super annoying for those Periodic Ration Drops and giving directions to the Island for friends visiting from out of town.
So although it seems as though the Island has moved multiple times in the past (the hieroglyphics and rickety ladder indicate the FDW has been there way before Dharma, probably in the same era as the four-toed statue), the Orchid station on top of it confirms that it hasn’t been moved for the past fifteen years or so.
But what happens when it moves? We really only have two facts:
1. The Island disappears from where it once existed.
2. The person who turns the FDW moves in space and time.
When Ben turned the wheel, he ended up halfway around the world, ten months in the future. Based on his comment about moving the Island being unpredictable and dangerous, I’m guessing this isn’t always the case – even though the fact that both he and a Polar Bear ended up there indicates that there is some level of consistency in the FDW side effect warp.
But since Ben moved in both space and time, I have to think that whatever turning the FDW actually does (there are some far nerdier websites than this one attempting to explain it scientifically - http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/4266335.html and http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/4266329.html?series=6 are good places to start - so I won’t dare touch it here), it did the same thing to the Island – moving it in both space and time. If the Island moved only in time (but stayed in the same location), it wouldn’t be hard for Widmore to find it. He’d just need to stake out the same location that he sent the Freighter for the next few years and wait for the Island to magically reappear. However, if the Island moves in both space and time, it makes it significantly more difficult… but still not impossible. Keep in mind that by the end of the season, the Island was in plain view to the Freightors – there were just a number of other obstacles keeping them from docking their ship there (like Keamy’s Dead Man Switch jamming their signals). Even if the Island moved in both space and time, in today’s high-tech age, it would only be a matter of time before it was spotted by a satellite, a passing cruise ship, or a curious turtle, right?
I’m thinking that when the Island moved, it “recharged” or “re-established” its unique magnetic properties to full strength in addition to moving in space and time. So not only does Team BenJack not know when or where the Island is (although ten months in the future is a good guess), even if they stumbled upon it, it would be masked by the same storm clouds and magnetic bubble that seemed to make it so hard to find before Desmond turned the Swan Station Failsafe.
Clearly, Team BenJack have their work cut out for them to find the Island, even if they can round up all the necessary troops. At the end of the episode, Ben told Jack “I have a few ideas”, making it sound like he wasn’t entirely sure about how to accomplish this goal… but if you remember back to the end of the previous episode, Ben clearly told Locke “how many times do I have to tell you? I always have a plan!” which makes me think Ben knows precisely what needs to be done to return to the Island. Once again, he’s one step ahead of everyone.
Charlotte’s Web. When everyone was planning on leaving the Island via Faraday’s Raft, Miles quipped “after all that time you spent trying to get back here” – with back here being the key phrase. I’m not sure when Miles’ powers went from communion with ghosts to mind-reading, but she was visibly taken aback by it, which seemed to indicate that she indeed had been on the Island before. During her heartfelt goodbye with Faraday, she mused “would it make any sense if I told you I was still looking for where I was born” – leading the Internets to run rampant with speculation that Charlotte is a former Dharmite, a former Other, or even Ben’s love child with former childhood flame Annie.
Yet when Ben “called her out” earlier this season, he rattled off a life bio that included being born in Essex, England, growing up in Bromgsgrove with her parents, and studying at Kent and Oxford. If she actually fit into one of the other categories, shouldn’t Ben (former Dharmite, former Other, former lover of Annie) know who she is?
Keep in mind that everything Ben knows about the Freightors came from Michael providing the information to him – and as Miles told Michael when he first boarded the Freighter, everyone on-board had secrets. If Charlotte provided a fake life story to the crew of the Freighter, Michael would have reported this fake life story right back to Ben, who wouldn’t have known any better.
Much like Claire’s mother talking to Jack about her pregnant daughter being on Oceanic Flight 815 without realizing her grandchild was being held right next to her, could it be that Ben attempted to kill a former Dharmite, Other, or even his own daughter without even realizing it? This could mean that it won’t require a Richard Alpert or Island flashback to get more of the “history” of the Island. We could simply see things through the eyes of Charlotte in a flashback!
So now we see the writers’ purpose behind each of the four major new characters introduced at the start of this season. Miles will explain the “ghostly” aspects of the Island. Faraday will explain the “science” behind the Island. Charlotte will help reveal the “history” of the Island. Frank will help expose the “conspiracy” aspect of the fake plane crash and possibly Widmore’s intentions with the Island. One could argue that these four characters are more important than any others on the show!
Desmond. Well, almost as important – I still have a special place in my heart for the Desmond and Penny storyline… which I didn’t think we would have a chance in hell of seeing coming to a conclusion anytime before the final episodes of the series. Yet inexplicably, the Lost writers decided to give the audience the one thing it wanted more than any other – Desmond and Penny finally finding each other! However, once my schoolgirl giddiness subsided after seeing the two warmly embrace, I started to think about the repercussions of the reunion.
For one, Jack made it very clear that the Oceanic Six would have to lie to protect the Survivors still left on the Island from Widmore. This meant fabricating the elaborate Oceanic Six storyline about the crash and separating themselves from Penny, Desmond, and Frank – who would also have to keep up the same lie for the same reason. Ironically, even though they weren’t on Oceanic Flight 815, keeping up the lie is far more difficult for these three thanks to one man – Charles Widmore.
Widmore knows that he sent a Freighter out to find the Island, and may know that Frank was a member of that crew. He may know that Desmond ended up shipwrecked on the Island during his “race around the world”. He may also know that Penny was monitoring the seas looking for Desmond all these years, or that she set off on a rescue mission to the Pacific shortly before the events of the season finale. In summary, he may know enough to piece together the true events surrounding the return of the Oceanic Six to start a new mission to find the Island.
What does this mean for Desmond, Penny, and Frank? It means that they need to disappear… at least from the far-stretching eyes of Widmore. I have visions of the three of them hanging out in Frank’s dilapidated shack in the Florida keys, spending their days drinking Coronas and eating fish – no contact with the outside world, no worries in the world, and no pants on most of the time. But that peaceful existence comes crashing down when Team BenJack show up with a crazy notion about returning to the Island.
Storyline. This seems like the logical point where Season Five of Lost will kickoff – with Team BenJack getting the old band back together for one last gig… a trip back to Lost Island. But precisely how this storyline is going to work has me a bit puzzled. After this past season introduced the “flashforward” story telling technique, I’m looking for the last two seasons of Lost to return to the traditional “flashback” style. Why? Because timeline-wise, we have finally caught up to the current storyline. The events from this point forward until the end of the series are the “current” events for the Oceanic Six. To flashforward from this point forward would get dangerously close to revealing the ending of Lost, taking away some of the excitement and surprise factor.
The whole reason that flashforwards worked this season was because we were in the middle of the storyline, and they still left us thoroughly confused as to not only what happened before the flashforward – but also wondering what would happen after the flashforward, knowing that there were two seasons of the show remaining. So it stands to reason that from here on out, we’ll see the “current” action taking place from Jack meeting Ben in the funeral home forward, with flashbacks filling in the gaps of what happened to each member of the Oceanic Six in the prior three years as they work to return to the Island.
But what about the characters still left on the Island?
As I’ve said before, Lost will always heavily feature the Island as a backdrop for its action. It’s the iconic imagery of the show that has existed from the start, and it’s the scenery we expect to see week in and week out. So although it seems possible that the storyline for Season Five will focus entirely on the Oceanic Six’s return to the Island, and Season Six will focus on what happens when the Oceanic Six finally get there – it can’t be that simple. Not only would this deprive the audience of the sand and sea visuals that gets the Midwest through the cold winter months, but it would also mean we wouldn’t be seeing characters like Juliet, Sawyer, Faraday, Miles, Charlotte, or Alpert until Season Six – which is totally absurd.
However, the writers seemed to set the table for the big “mystery” of the next year to be not only how the Oceanic Six will make it back to the Island, but also what the “very bad things” happening there are. It would only seem logical that the Season Five finale would feature the Oceanic Six finally returning to the Island where not only they – but the audience as well – learn just what Locke meant by “very bad things”, and what has happened to the Island they once knew and loved. It would also seem logical that Season Six would feature flashbacks to reveal exactly how the Island got to this point, told through the eyes of those who were left behind.
So here’s my best guess:
Season Five will feature the events of the Oceanic Six attempting to return to the Island, with flashbacks to fill in such storyline gaps as Locke’s visits to each character, what Walt has been up to since he left the Island, etc. It will also feature what happened to those left on the Island three years ago, moving forward in time from the point of the Island disappearing – but stopping right before of the start of the “very bad things”, leaving the audience to wonder how things got so bad. Storylines could include how the group coped with the loss of so many people, the potential merge of the remaining Survivors with the Others, Locke’s hilarious first few days as leader of the Others, etc. Flashbacks could center around the new characters of Charlotte, Miles, Faraday, or even Alpert (if we’re lucky). The finale of the season will feature the collision of these two storylines, jumping forward in “Island time” by a few years, after the “very bad things” – leaving the last season to explain exactly what happened and exactly what needs to be done to restore the Island… which, if you think about it, is a perfect opportunity to reveal a bevy of Island secrets in the process!
Well, I’m absolutely drained. That’s the total amount of Losty goodness remaining in my brain and fingers. I’m going to need these next six months to recharge and prepare for the next season! Hopefully I’ve given you enough material here to discuss, debate, and analyze for the next week or two, at which point we can move forward with the various “…and Gone Forever” Blog posts of the summer and fall… and maybe even have some Lost-related discussions thanks to the Lost Book Club that is starting up on the Message Board here: http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?board=40.0
You can disagree with my analysis and tell me how writing this post was a waste of a week of my life here: http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=332.0
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