I have to admit, this one was a tough episode to break down. A lot of stuff happened, but a lot of it was pretty tough to analyze – not because it was confusing, but because it didn’t “fit” with things that we have seen over the past few seasons. But here’s my best attempt!
Time. Once again this week, we better start with the question of "time" on Lost, specifically in regards to the jaw-drop-tastic ending. Here is what we know:
- Fact #1 - At some point in the past, Locke turned the FDW, sending him off the
- Fact #2 - When Jack, Kate, and Hurley return to the
Island, Jin is wearing a Dharma Jumpsuit, driving a Dharma Van, and listening to Dharma Music.
Shockingly, outside of those two details, it's all conjecture. So everything from this point forward is based on assumptions and guesses on my part - but could be totally wrong. We just don't know enough. The writers have cleverly left out large chunks of the storyline, allowing the viewer to slowly discover them over the next few episodes. My guess is that next week's episode ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham") focuses 100% on Locke's time off the
Assumption #1 - Our Skipping Survivors moved in time when Locke turned the FDW. There was a bright flash of light that accompanied Ben's turning of the FDW, and we all know that caused the first skip, so it seems logical that Locke turning the FDW would cause another skip.
Assumption #2 - Locke not only turned the FDW, but "fixed it". He got it back on its axis and properly aligned. I'm guessing that the reason for the repeated, sometimes rapid skips through time were a result of the FDW being off its proper axis, wobbling between spokes instead of staying on one.
Assumption #3 - This would mean that our Skipping Survivors had "one last skip" that sent them back in time, but have experienced none since then.
Assumption #4 - Since we saw Faraday on the Island when the Orchid was being built, and now Jin on the Island in a new-looking Dharma Van, this skip sent them back to at least the 1970's, if not earlier.
I feel pretty confident about all those assumptions, even though any could be incorrect. But based on the facts and assumptions above, here's my theory:
After Locke turned the FDW, the remaining Skipping Survivors (Sawyer, Jin, Juliet, Faraday, Miles) end up in the late 1970's.
Yes, I know that you could argue that they went back thousands of years, which could conveniently allow these characters to see things like the four-toed statue being built and the Black Rock arriving on the
Instead, if you have them end up in the late 1970's, it could coincide with Dharma first showing up on the
I know that last week I proposed that Faraday would become the "big bad" of the rest of the season by messing with the FDW to try and change the past to save
To take it one step farther, you could even have the Skipping Survivors spend three years living on the
The Oceanic Five. Luckily, there are all sorts of questions about the Oceanic Five. Before we analyze, let me get one thing out of the way...
I didn't realize it when I wrote my Instant Reactions Review, but Ms. Hawking actually used the phrase "leap of faith" when describing what was required for Jack to return to the Island - and that's exactly what is required for the viewer as well. It's pretty funny, but as comfortable as I am with accepting things on Lost like Smokey, Skipping Through Time, or Non-Aging Alpert, when Ms. Hawking started talking about recreating the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 as closely as possible, it came across as cheesy and ridiculous, and as a whole just didn't sit right with me.
There's no way it can be explained with science, which is fine (although we were promised at the start that everything would be "pseudo-science") - but I would have much preferred some generic reference to "fate" bringing them back rather than Ms. Hawking's attempt at an explanation. When Jack shouted "this is ridiculous", that's exactly what I was thinking, and was glad to hear a character voice my opinion. I know a lot of people are trying to find ways to correlate Ajira Flight 316 to Oceanic Flight 815, but I'm going to intentionally overlook them because I'd simply rather put this part of the storyline behind us, and in my head, I'll pretend that Ms. Hawking just said "there's no way to explain it, Jack. That's why it's called a leap of faith." Tell me that wouldn't have been a thousand times better?!
(Note: this is also how I pretend that Seasons Four and portions of Season Five of Alias never happened, and have a totally different story in my head to replace them)
But I digress. We're moving on! The important thing is that the Oceanic Five ended up on Ajira Airways 316, which allows the story to move forward. As with the Skipping Survivors, it's easy to make assumptions about what happened - but in reality all we know for sure is that Jack, Kate, and Hurley ended up on the
We saw that they started to experience turbulence on the plane, followed by a bright light similar to when a skip would happen on the
Note: the suck must have a lot more height to it than it does width, since the Oceanic Six were on a helicopter fewer than 30,000 feet from the
However, this still doesn't explain how they ended up on the
There’s also the pesky detail that their arrival on the
We've verified that Jack, Kate, and Hurley end up on the
As many have point out, if there were random, one-off guest stars, they probably wouldn't have names - and Caesar wouldn’t have talked to Jack this week (in what was a pretty awkward scene)… which kinda makes you think they are going to end up on the Island as well. For those who watched the preview for next week, you already know the answer to part of this question - since it appeared to feature John Locke talking to Ilana on the beach. Her inclusion is actually pretty easy to explain. We have seen that whatever our Skipping Survivors are in contact with skips with them - and if she was sitting next to Sayid, they very well could have been touching, and she would be taken along for the ride. However, Caesar was sitting by himself on the flight, so this explanation wouldn't apply to him. And what about Ben?
Much like the Oceanic Five, I think there has to be some unifying element that ties all three of these characters together. Assuming that they skipped, but everyone else on the plane stayed, they must all have something in common that made them unique… and the most likely explanation is that they have all been to the Island Before.
Outcast Others. Say hello to my new character grouping title for this week. I'm going to call Caeasar, Ilana, and Ben "Outcast Others". Although I think it's possible that some characters voluntarily left the Island to "serve it" from the Real World at various Dharma Stations around the world (like Ms. Hawking), I think it's just as possible that there is another group of Others who didn’t want to leave in the first place, and would do anything to go back to the Island. These Outcast Others have been told that they can never go back to the
My wacky theory of the week is that Caesar and Ilana are Outcast Others who have been working for Ben (a fellow Outcast) to help get the Oceanic Five back on this particular flight, possibly even helping him keep the Oceanic Five safe over the past three years (from Widmore / The Economist). It's likely that In return for doing so, Ben has promised to take them back to the
This would provide an explanation for how Sayid ended up on the plane. Ilana, who has been working for law enforcement ever since she left the
In fact, if Ben is orchestrating all of this, he most certainly knew this, which explains why he said "who cares about them" when Jack asked about the other passengers on Ajira 316. It wasn't that he was cold and heartless, but that he knew they would be fine.
I think the more worrisome part of this is that we have been told that once you leave the
Ben. Speaking of "not good", it's not looking good for sweet Penelope Widmore. Ben told Jack that he "made a promise to an old friend of mine" (Charles Widmore, when he promised that he would kill Penny since Widmore's men killed Alex), followed by "tying a loose end that needs tying up" (which might be literal, if he tied her up and threw her into the ocean), concluded by Ben calling Jack from a pay phone at Long Beach Marina (where Penny and Desmond likely were, since they were living on a boat). If you think about it, Ben has been working for years to orchestrate this plan of getting the Oceanic Five back to the
How about Desmond suddenly showing up at Ms. Hawking's church, which suddenly tells Ben that Penny is close. The next scene with Ben shows him "praying" in church, but I think it was more of "soul searching", as he's wondering if he can go through with his promise and kill an innocent Penny to get his revenge.
The fact that Ben was bruised and bloodied gives me hope that Desmond was able to fight off Ben and save Penny… but Ms. Hawking's statement that Desmond "isn't finished with the Island" without going into any detail makes me worry. Note that she didn't say "The Island isn't finished with you", but rather "You aren't finished with the
After making numerous promises to never return to the
Lamp Post. This week also showed us the first (and I’m guessing ONLY) off-Island Dharma Station, “The Lamp Post”. Apparently, The Lamp Post was created by Dharma as a way to find the
Well keep in mind that Dharma didn’t arrive on the
I’m guessing that Charles Widmore will once again prove to be the key to all of this. He was kicked off the
I don’t think so. Charles Widmore is a lot of things – rich guy, powerful guy, grandpa on the OC – but I don’t think mathematical/science nerd is one of them. Even if he did spend a good deal of time on the
The problem is, thinking through the cast of Lost characters available to fill this role, I’m having a hard time coming up with anyone that would be able to figure this all out. It could be someone we haven’t “met” yet like Valenzetti, Alvar Hanso, or a totally new person, but the only person I can think of that we already know on the show is Daniel Faraday, which doesn’t make any sense. Or does it? Maybe, in his heroic / foolish actions to get our Survivors back to 2008 / save
Note: I don’t love this theory since there are too many holes in it, but that’s my best guess for now.
Moving. Although there are definitely still big questions surrounding the creation of the Lamp Post, the bigger question for me is Ms. Hawking’s insistence that the
Let’s remember that the reason that the Freighter was stationed anywhere between five and eighty miles off the coast of the Island for over a month – with crew members of the Kahana taking multiple trips to see the Island, helicopters coming to and from the Island, etc. If it was “always moving”, none of this would have been possible. In fact, everything we saw last season – from the fake Oceanic 815 wreckage in the Sunda Trench to the Oceanic Six ending up on Sumba and Membata during their return to the “real world” all take place within the same general area, which happens to be pretty close to the path that Oceanic Flight 815 was taking from Sydney to Los Angeles in the first place.
All of these details seemed to confirm that the
It’s a stretch for me, but you could argue that Dharma used the Lamp Post to predict where the
I guess this is logical enough for me right now, although it still seems like an inconsistency. Stupid Ms. Hawking, you caused a lot of logical trouble this episode!
Wrap Up Thoughts. Quick and dirty (that’s what she said!)
Jin. So it looks like Jin is some type of “Dharma Sheriff” based on the five-point star on his jumpsuit. I wonder what “jobs” our other Survivors have? I’m guessing Sawyer is “Official Dharma Nickname Giver”.
Suicide Note. How did Ms. Hawking end up with Locke’s “suicide note”? I’m guessing that Ben is present at Locke’s suicide and passes it along to her… but then why wouldn’t Ben give the note to Ms. Hawking directly? Or did Locke pay a visit to her pre-death as well? And what does it mean? Is it simply Locke saying “I wish we didn’t have to go through all this hassle thanks to you not listening to me about staying on the
Ray. I find it hard to believe that the Lost writers would have introduced Jack’s grandfather Ray for no reason. Although I won’t go as far as some people (who have wacky theories about Ray being a “future version” of Jack), it wouldn’t surprise me if he had been on the
Kids. When Jack asks Kate why she changed her mind and where Aaron is, she tells him to never ask her that question again. I think easy explanation here is that Kate gave Aaron back to Claire’s Mom. She told her the truth about Aaron, and now has to “run” back to the
Episode Previews. There’s one last thing we need to discuss. Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a lot less enjoyment from writing the episode previews than in previous years. We’re getting a lot less to go on (see this week’s episode description of “Locke's fateful mission off the island as Jeremy Bentham is revealed.”), which means I have to do a lot of “guessing” about what is going to happen in the episode. This results in one of two outcomes:
- I’m correct. Which kinda sucks, because then there’s no surprise in the episode.
- I’m wrong. Which sometimes sucks, because sometimes I liked my ideas for the storyline better than what actually happens.
Either way, it takes some of the enjoyment out of the episode for me – and with so few episodes of Lost left, I’d like to enjoy each as much as possible.
So, for this week we’re going to do an experiment. No episode preview, only Instant Reaction and Episode Analysis. The good news is, these are clearly the two most popular posts each week based on site hits and comments, so most people probably won’t care. It’ll also make all those people happy who complained that I spoiled episodes by guessing what would happen correctly.
If no one misses them, we’ll make the episode previews a thing of the past. If enough people complain that they really love them and want them back, we can discuss again next week
So – until Wednesday night’s “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” Instant Reactions, Happy Losting!