In many ways, Lost is like college.
It started out pretty easy in the beginning, and we were just focused on getting to know the people. Over the next few years, they slowly started to introduce some pretty heady concepts and hinted at things much more complex that would be coming down the road. Now that we’re in the fifth year of Lost, it’s like graduate study time. Really complicated stuff that if you weren’t paying attention for the first four years, there’s no way you’re going to understand it. But for those of us who have put in the time and dedication, it’s going to pay off big time – in what I anticipate will end up being “the greatest story ever told”.
Now, let’s get down to analyzing the first two episodes of the season…
Ground Rules. Before we start, we need to lay out some ground rules. Now that Lost has officially opened the door to some degree of “time traveling” on the show, it brings all sorts of crazy theories out of the woodwork – and you could also probably drive yourself crazy (like, Minkowski nose-bleed-brain-scrambled-style) by asking too many “what if” questions concerning with time travel. As Faraday said, he would have a hard time explaining what is happening to another physicist, let alone normal people like us (I apologize to all the physicists who read this Blog – you might be normal, but I’ve just never met one to prove it one way or the other).
Instead, he gave us simple, easy to follow rules:
“You cannot change anything. You can’t. Even if you tried to, it wouldn’t work. Time is like a string – you can move forward, or reverse, but you cannot create a new string. If you try to do something different, you will fail every time. Whatever happened, happened.”
So although it’s going to be difficult for us to accept, because like most people we were raised on the time-traveling principles of “Back to the Future” where any little thing you do will change the future – that isn’t the case on Lost. We could debate for hours about what happens to the people in the past that Locke killed at the end of the episode, or if Ethan would suddenly have memories about Locke once the plane crashed – but at the end of the day, I guess it doesn’t matter – because nothing can change.
(Note: there seems to be at least one exception to this rule, but we’ll get to that later)
On to the episodes…
The Opening. Great opening, in the vein of the Season Two opening with Desmond – featuring an unknown character starting their day, leaving the audience confused as to when and where we are, only to reveal it all as someone we know, someplace we knew, in a time we knew – but had never before seen. Well done.
However, there were a number of big questions raised during the brief three-minute opening…
Baby Chang. The first question many have asked is “who is the Pierre Chang's baby?” The Internets were all aflutter immediately after the episode with people predicting that the baby was none other than ghost-whisperer Miles, which would potentially tie another character to the
The other question for me is how was Mrs. Chang able to have a baby on the
At the end of the day, there’s not enough information to confirm or deny any of these theories yet, but we’ll keep them in the back of our minds as we progress through the season. We have bigger things to worry about from this episode…
The Orchid. This episode confirmed that when Dharma arrived, the FDW was buried behind a lot of rock underground – meaning that the Others were not actively using it for quite some time. They might not have even been aware that it existed. It also confirmed that the wheel itself was not a Dharma invention, but one that has existed for ages (maybe since the Black Rock days? It has a pirate wheel-esque quality to it). But since it’s so buried, how did Dharma find out about the energy contained in the first place? How did Chang know that if harnessed, they would be able to manipulate time?
Time for a crazy theory.
Did you ever wonder how the Black Rock journal ended up back in the “real world” for Widmore to eventually buy it at the auction? If the Black Rock ship ended up in the middle of the
At some point, a person carrying the journal must have turned the FDW / fallen into the exotic matter (or they just chucked the journal through it in hopes that someone would find it and come to rescue them) – and that journal ended up in the hands of Alvar Hanso, who would go on to found the Dharma Initiative.
Once they arrived at the
(The conclusion to this story, of course, is that eventually Hanso dies, the journal goes up for auction, and Widmore buys it as a way to find the Island, which he intends to use for financial gain.)
But back to the scene we actually saw – Daniel Faraday, dressed in full Dharma garb, inside the Orchid Station around the year 1980.
There are only two possibly explanations for this scene:
1. Faraday was originally a member of the Dharma Scientists. This would help explain how he knows so much about Dharma Initiative. It’s possible that Faraday could have been the first Dharma Scientist to test the FDW, which shot him forward into the future a few years (similar to what happened to Ben). From there, Faraday settled into a nice little job at Oxford University – secretly dabbling in how to manipulate space-time since he knows that it’s possible thanks to his experiences on the Island.
The cool thing about either theory is that they would indicate that Faraday had some prior knowledge of the
Personally, I’m hoping for the second theory. Not only does it seem the most logical, but it has the most potential to be an amazing storyline.
The problem with the first theory is Daniel’s appearance. Faraday doesn’t seem to have aged much from his “Dharma Days” in the early 1980s to 2005, so unless at some point he jumped forward a
On the other hand, the second theory would indicate that Faraday is attempting to take matters into his own hands to stop the “skipping” and save our Survivors – way heroic and exciting, and it would totally be Lost’s style to have Season Five open with a “flashforward” of an upcoming scene that will actually be a “flashback” on the overall “timeline” of Lost. Tricky!
Skipping. I guess this is as good a time as any to address the skipping that is happening on the
Since our Survivors have been on the
Per Faraday, “The record is skipping. Whatever Ben Linus did at the Orchid station, I think it may have dislodged us from time… Either the
Locke: “How did you know there was a bullet in my leg?”
Alpert: “You told me… you will.”
Locke: “When am I?”
Alpert: “That’s all relative. When the sky lit up, I didn’t go anywhere. You went. You’re going to be moving on soon. You need to clean out the wound; the
Taking all that into account, it would seem as though our Survivors (non-Island Originals) are skipping – but the
Like Alpert said, it’s all relative. For an Island Original, they would be experiencing our Survivors suddenly appearing and disappearing, but they just keep traveling along the same timeline that they always have. Even if the Island’s physical location around the world changes, they may be oblivious to it since the Island seems to have its own unique weather patterns and protective bubble around it keeping it hidden from sight.
On the other hand, for our Survivors, they have become dislodged from the timeline, and are skipping from one point to another. If they appear to Island Originals at a point after their crash (2004), they will know them – like when Alpert recognized Locke to clean his wound. If they appear to Island Originals at a point before their crash (pre-2004), they will not know them – like when Ethan shot Locke in the leg.
A question that a lot of people are asking is “wouldn’t Ethan recognize Locke in 2004, since he shot him and talked to him pre-2004? Wouldn’t Desmond recognize Faraday in 2004 since he talked to him multiple times pre-2004?”
It’s pretty confusing, but I don’t think so – because that would change the past, which may change the future, which you can’t do. I think that the easiest way to understand it is to think about “The Constant”. Desmond’s consciousness was jumping between 1996 Desmond and 2004 Desmond. When he jumped from 2004 Desmond to 1996 Desmond, the 2004 Desmond didn’t disappear (a la “Back to the Future”). Instead, it was almost like both Desmonds existed simultaneously.
So – 2004 Ethan wouldn’t recognize Locke because he doesn’t shoot him until after Locke starts skipping in 2005. Perhaps, 2005 Ethan would suddenly have a memory of Locke from pre-2004 (if he were still alive) – but he didn’t start having that memory until that moment… just like Desmond didn’t have a memory of talking to Faraday (pre-2004) until after Faraday started skipping in 2005.
Does that make sense? It does in my head, but it’s really hard to put into words!
Back to the skipping.
I have to assume that the current skipping situation is an accident. Although it would be a sweet defense mechanism for the
Instead, I think that the FDW is “stuck” between spokes, and that is causing the skipping. I think the intended result of the turn was to permanently move non-Island Originals into the past or future, where they would be stuck for good. Did Ben screw up by not turning the wheel properly? Maybe – or maybe he’s actually so smart that he did this on purpose…
What if Ben knew that this would happen? He would know that the only way to stop the skipping would be for someone else to turn the wheel back to where it was, or at least solidly onto one spoke, instead of being stuck in between them. Perhaps he knew that Locke would be the one to do this (since he’s the only one of our Survivors who truly knows about it, thanks to visiting it with Ben in last season’s finale). This would send Locke off the
If Ben turned the FDW properly, the
However, by not turning the FDW properly, if Ben’s plan works, the Island will still be protected, Locke will eventually return to the Island to be leader (assuming he comes back to life in some fashion), but this way – Ben returns to the Island along with him.
Is Ben this smart? Who knows – but he’s outsmarted us all in the past, so it’s possible.
The other option would be for Faraday (the only other character who is skipping who has at least some knowledge about the Orchid) to turn the FDW to stop the skipping… which is precisely what we may have seen with the opening scene of the season - Faraday, having recently skipped back to 1980 sneaks down into the Orchid to try and stop the skipping.
Pretty cool stuff, either way.
So when have our Survivors been so far? Here’s my best guess:
Skip One – back to when Yemi’s plane crashed on the
Skip Two – after the Swan hatch imploded. Most likely this was back to “the present” (2005) since Alpert knew Locke, and referenced him skipping
Skip Three – the biggest clue here is that Locke looks up and Yemi’s plane is still smoking, which would make you think it was the same time period as Skip One (late 1990s). However, after the scene break, we see a flash from the Sawyer / Juliet / Faraday perspective – which appears to be the same flash. We then see the Desmond-Faraday scene. Since Desmond arrived on the
Skip Four – as Faraday is telling Desmond the name of his mother, another flash occurs. The only evidence we have for this timeframe is that none of our Survivors’ supplies are on the beach, and there are some new soldier-type people on the
Soldiers. So who are these mystery men who temporarily capture Juliet and Sawyer at the end of the episode? They’re wearing uniforms with names on them (Jones, Mattingly, and Cunningham), but have no Dharma logos on them. They have guns and talk with British accents. Their propensity to cutoff hands reminds me that Pierre Chang (who had two functioning hands when we saw him in this episode) did seem to have a prosthetic hand when we saw him in the Swan Hatch Orientation Video.
So if they aren’t Dharma, and they aren’t Island Originals (since guns and nametags don’t seem like their style), who are they?
I suppose anything is possible, but if I had it my way, they would be Widmore’s men – on their first attempt to takeover the
Maybe back during the Dharma days, they were not only under attack from the Island Originals, but also from Widmore’s men trying to claim the
It’s a fun thought – and one we hopefully should be able to confirm or deny with next week’s episode. As for Widmore, it seems as though he has recruited Sun to his side in his quest to takeover the
Compass. One of the other items this episode that caught a lot of fans’ attention was the compass that Alpert gave to Locke, saying “Next time we see each other, I’m not going to recognize you.” Most people remembered the scene from “Cabin Fever”, where we saw Alpert visit a young Locke and lay out items for him to chose “which are his”. One of the items looked like this very compass, leading to a lot of speculation about some connection between Alpert giving Locke the compass this week.
I don’t see it. For me, it’s a fun easter egg-type item showing storyline consistency, but not one that holds any huge deeper meaning. Remember, 1960s Alpert wouldn’t even “know” Locke yet (which is why he warned that he would not recognize Locke the next time he saw him), and in the end – isn’t the compass actually Alpert’s? If you rewatch “Cabin Fever”, you’ll also see that Alpert isn’t overly excited when Locke goes for the compass – but rather when he goes for the “Book of Laws”.
I think the curious thing here is that Alpert seems to know where Locke is going to “skip” to next, which may indicate it’s not as random as we all are assuming. From what Faraday told us, it’s a pretty random process, which is why he needed time to figure out “when” they were. But if Alpert knows that he won’t recognize Locke, he must know that they are going to skip back to the past, rather than the future – which is way more convenient for us, the viewers, since it means we’ll get more insight into the history of the
But does this mean that this skipping has happened previously? So that the Island Originals know how it works? Or is this another example of Jacob / Christian Shephard / The Island Spirit telling Alpert something that he otherwise would have no way of knowing? I’ve got no good answers for this one… yet.
- We saw a Dharma worker bleeding from the nose and “freaking out” after drilling too close to the FDW.
- We saw Desmond bleeding from the nose and slowly becoming “unstuck in time” after leaving the
Island. We saw Minkowski bleeding from the nose, becoming “unstuck in time”, and dying on the Freighter. We saw Horace Goodspeed bleeding from his nose when he appeared to Locke in a dream, telling him that he’s been dead for twelve years. We saw Faraday becoming visibly upset about not being able to remember three cards.
Is there a common thread between all these?
I think we can throw out the Horace Goodspeed example because all the members of Dharma who died in the Purge seemed to be bleeding from the nose as a result of whatever the toxic gas was that was released on the
But what is the cause? Here’s my best crazy theory, so far:
It all has to do with the bearings used to come and go to the
- Desmond felt the effects because his boat crashed on a different bearing than 305.
- Minkowski and friends were taking the Zodiac Raft to and from the
Islandto get a closer look at it while docked offshore on the Freightor, taking random bearings each time.
was born on the Charlotte Islandand left at some point, it may have been a different bearing than when she returned to the Island.
If you are someone who has been exposed to high levels of electromagnetism or radiation, not only could it make you go crazy – but also become unstuck in time... which is where the whole “having a Constant” thing comes into play. If you are a normal person, who doesn’t mess around with wacky science experiments or play around the nuclear power plant, you simply go crazy and die. Faraday, knowing that he had a high level of exposure to radiation over the years, had a Constant before he went to the
So if you only go to the
Here’s the big hole in this theory – upon finding out that
“You’re the only person who can help us because the rules don’t apply to you. You’re uniquely and miraculously special. If the helicopter made it off the
Remember, Faraday has just told all of our characters that they can’t go alter the future by changing the past. Likewise, he showed no urgent concern for their time skipping until
Ms. Hawking. I have to say, I didn’t see this coming in a million years. I always thought Ms. Hawking would be one of those “throwaway characters” that we wouldn’t see again, even though we never really understood who she was or why she knew so much. For those who don’t remember, she was the woman working in the jewelry store during Desmond’s trippy “Flashes Before Your Eyes” episode in Season Three. She told Desmond that he wasn't supposed to buy the ring for Penny, because not buying it would lead to his original fate of ending up on the island and turning the fail-safe key. She also states that "if you don't do those things, Desmond David Hume, every single one of us is dead."
Now, she appears to be working in the basement of some church – using the world’s oldest computer and a series of pendulums to determine when and where the
It would make some sense. She was feverishly writing on a chalkboard; just like Faraday would do and she seemed like a big science nerd. Also, she’s probably the only person that would make sense visiting to save the Survivors on the
But who is she? How could she have appeared to Desmond within his flashes? How is she able to find the
God Help Us All. This phrase was uttered twice in the Lost season premiere, once by Chang at the beginning of the episode (“There are rules. Rules that cannot be broken. Risk releasing that energy – if that were to happen, God help us all.”), and once by Ms. Hawking at the end of the episode:
Ben: “Any luck?”
Ms. Hawking: “Yes.”
Ms. Hawking: “Really. What about you?”
Ben: “I’m having some difficulties.”
Ms. Hawking: “Well you better get busy – you only have 70 hours.”
Ben: “What? No – that’s not enough time.”
Ms. Hawking: “What you need is irrelevant. 70 hours is what you’ve got.”
Ben: “I lost Reyes tonight. What happens if I can’t get them all to come back?”
Ms. Hawking: “Then God help us all.”
So here’s the thing – we’re not simply concerned about the fate of the Survivors left on the Island, or the Oceanic Six, who have miserable lives since leaving the Island. There’s something much larger at play…
Desmond. How important is the character of Desmond? Well, if he's the only person that can actually change the past - he could have the power to save lives, stop Hitler, and make the world a better place… he’s a wild card. The rules of space and time apparently don’t apply to him thanks to his extra large blast of electromagnetism when he turned the failsafe key in the Swan Hatch. I don’t think Faraday wanted to resort to using him, but found himself “forced” to do so when the girl he likes was in trouble… and this is a very bad thing.
Remember how pretty much every movie / television show that has ever dealt with time travel has told us about how risky it was? How the slightest wrong move could rip apart the fabric of time, ruin the space-time continuum, and pretty much bring about the end of existence? I don’t think Lost is any different.
If we believe what we have been told, the universe will course-correct itself, which means it will get the Oceanic Six back to the
Unfortunately, with the
As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts in play here – and a lot of big bad consequences if they don’t all work out perfectly. So who are characters like Abaddon and Ms. Hawking? I think they are characters who understand it all – maybe former Island Originals now living in the “real world”, people who have mastered time and space, and are now doing everything in their power to make sure that people don’t screw it all up and accidentally end the world. They’ve been putting the pieces in place for years – putting the thought in Locke’s head to go on the walkabout, making sure Desmond didn’t propose to Penny so he would turn the failsafe key, and helping Ben to get the Oceanic Six back to the
…and this is why Lost makes my head hurt. Okay, let’s wrap up this insane theory. In summary:
It’s really important for everyone that the Oceanic Six make it back to the
Faraday, in trying to save his girlfriend (who isn’t even that cute), might accidentally destroy all of existence.
Phew. I think I’m spent. Discuss the insanity below! I must say, I’ve been super excited by how intelligent the conversations and discussions have been so far this season. Keep up the good work!