An episode analysis already? What's come over me? I'm actually ahead of schedule for the first time in forever! It's a beautiful day, so let's get right to it so that I can get on to more important things like drinking beers on my deck!
Faraday. It seems fitting to start the analysis with the "bombshell" of the week. Daniel Faraday is back on-Island, after apparently spending some amount of time off-Island. Logic would tell you that he left on the submarine that was the morning after our time-skipping Survivors ended up in 1974 - reason being, if Faraday had actually spent even a few weeks on-Island, I would think Pierre Chang would recognize him when he stepped off the submarine and be like "wait a minute - you're one of LaFleur's friends from three years ago!" However, if Faraday snuck off-Island the day after arriving at Dharma, the chances are good that he could have avoided most Dharmites... and wouldn't have interacted with any enough for them to remember him. That means that Faraday has spent the past three years off-Island. How did he fill that time?
Think back to Faraday's state of mind in 1974. He was a mumbling, bumbling mess, torn up over the death of his almost-girlfriend
I'm guessing Faraday left the
I mentioned Faraday's state of mind in 1974 for a reason. Contrast that with the confident Daniel Faraday that stepped off the submarine in 1977. What would cause such a dramatic change in demeanor? Simply being three years removed from the death of a loved one? Maybe... but I'm guessing that Faraday succeeded in his mission - he used those three years to figure out a way to change the past (queue
Pierre Chang. Wow, Lost wasn't kidding when they said "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" back in Season One. I guess we can add Miles to the list that includes Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, Sun, Jin, Kate, Penny, Ben, Claire, Walt, Locke, Alex... wait - actually, maybe it would be easier to just list the characters who don't seem to have any issues with their fathers - but that list would mostly include characters whose fathers we haven't met yet like Juliet, Desmond, Frank, and Vincent. Odds are, if we ever do meet them, they'll also have issues. The important takeaway here is that the Lost writers apparently all hate their dads, and still have all sorts of pent-up rage inside them from their youth. He can't hurt you anymore, Lost writers! Take off the black eye-shadow, play sports, and join society!
However, in the case of Miles, I think his daddy issues are somewhat misplaced. Sure, according to his mother Pierre "never cared about us, never cared about you, kicked us out when you were just a baby", and "didn't want anything to do with us" - but I'm guessing this is more of a case of "tough love" that actually saved their lives rather than Pierre Chang "being a douche".
Why? Because I think Pierre Chang knew that the Purge was coming, and knew that forcing his wife and child to leave the Island was the only way to save them.
I'm guessing that at some point over the next four episodes, Faraday is going to approach Chang and start talking - telling him exactly how the Orchid needs to be constructed, how it will work, and some of the potential dangers. I don't know if he'll actually come out and admit that he's from the future as well - but if not, Chang is going to figure it out. From there, he's also going to find out about the Purge and his unavoidable future nickname of "Lefty". How do we know all this?
Remember this video from Comic-Con this past summer?
Me neither, so I went back and read my post from earlier this year when I first addressed it (which is actually worth a re-read, if for no other reason than to convince you that you should stop reading this Blog immediately because I basically spoiled the entire plot for Season Five in my pre-season guessing... or maybe I'm really a writer on Lost after all): http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2009/01/destiny-calls.html
Revisiting the video now, a few things jump out:
- Chang is sending the video from roughly 1977-1978, right around when our Survivors are still living among Dharma. That's roughly 15 years before the Purge will take place - yet he has already determined that there is nothing he can do to prevent it. The only way he could know this is from someone else telling him that "whatever happened, happened"... like Faraday.
- Chang looks down at his arm (not yet prosthetic) and seems sad. It seems that he knows he's going to lose an arm - what a double whammy of depressing news from the future. No wonder he is so defeated.
- Chang begs the viewer of the video to rebuild the Dharma Initiative and try to find a way to change the past... which means that even if Faraday thinks that he has found a way to change the past, he hasn't revealed that information to Chang.
Many have speculated that in fact, it's Faraday himself filming the video.
Having said all that, what is the purpose in filming the video in the first place? The only thing that I can think of is that Faraday knows that Dharma is going to be wiped out... but that doesn't mean that its intentions for the Island were all bad. During his three years spent with Dharma in Ann Arbor, perhaps he actually started buying into the underlying purpose of Dharma (which was to make the world a better place... and prevent the end of the world by manipulating the Valenzetti Equation). Even though his main concern is to save Charlotte - or possibly our Survivors - he also eventually wants Dharma's work on the Island to continue. The world still needs saving, and this magical Island might be the best way to do it. Even though the ARG involving Dharma recruiting people and starting back up failed miserably, without real ending, that doesn't mean that the plotline is dead. Perhaps Chang sending the video is the first step to a "hopeful future", that even if Lost doesn't address this storyline in its final 21 episodes, we can hope that someday Dharma will rebuild and return to the Island to continue their research to prevent Armageddon.
(Queue the forthcoming terrible fan-fiction that will start popping up after Lost's Series Finale involving Dharma returning to the Island!)
So, based on all this information - I could very easily see Chang deciding that although his fate seems sealed, perhaps he could save Lara and Baby Miles by getting them to leave the Island as soon as possible... either by telling them the truth about the future and the Purge... or by acting like a jerk and getting them to voluntarily leave. But either way, I think we saw the true Pierre Chang reading his book to Baby Miles.
Back to the Faraday. So what's his next step? I think we saw it in the first scene of this season. However, he's actually not "sneaking into the Orchid" - he's Dharma, probably fully able to move around inside their various stations without question. This opens the door for Faraday to have access to a lot more than I first suspected. However, it's also probably time for us to start thinking about what precisely he is going to do.
Initially, it seemed logical that Faraday would simply turn the FDW again to get our Survivors back to the proper time period... but based on what we know about the FDW, one would think that turning it again would not only skip our Survivors to a different time period, but also any other "non-Island Originals"... which would include all of Dharma. We know this can't happen because Dharma is on the Island in 1992 when they get Purged. In fact, we know that the FDW still exists as "normal" in 2007, and that Dharma has built a full station around it where they are studying its properties. So any theories about Faraday "blowing up the Orchid" seems to be out of the question as well.
The next thing that comes to mind is doing something in the Swan Hatch. Perhaps Faraday has found a way to tap into the huge pocket of electromagnetic energy behind those thick concrete walls of the Swan that could get people back to their proper time period. It would make sense that "the Incident" take place near the Swan Hatch, since that is where the new procedures about pressing the button every 108 minutes takes place. This would assume that the FDW is somehow "tied into" the same electromagnetic energy that is in the Swan Hatch, since both result in time travel. Since the Orchid and Swan are a good distance apart, this seems unlikely - unless the "core" of the Island is where this electromagnetic energy resides, and the Island has a really, really thin "crust" that only requires digging a short distance down before you hit the core.
As you can see, based on everything we know right now, there just doesn't seem to be an easy explanation with how this is all going to happen without introducing some new concepts about how and why this time travel stuff works - because neither the FDW or the Swan Station seem to be able to logically accomplish what needs to happen - getting our Survivors back to 2008.
But here's what I'm thinking... what if Faraday attempts to "go Desmond"? Meaning, he intentionally exposes himself to the unique electromagnetic properties of the Swan Hatch to make himself a wild card. We know that he can't implode the Swan Hatch like Desmond (since it still exists in 2004), but what if "The Incident" involves him blowing a hole into the pocket of electromagnetic energy below the Swan and jumping in? It seems like this would cause "The Incident", require Dharma to cover the hole with a TON of concrete, and maybe even need to release that pent-up energy every 108 minutes to prevent another huge release of energy. But more importantly, this would potential allow Faraday to become "The Variable" (the episode title of the next new episode in two weeks) that could actually CHANGE THE PAST.
Whatever happened, happened be damned! Faraday could suddenly start doing things that would change the past! What would be the first thing that he would do? Aside from gambling on sports and buying every share of Apple stock, it's saving Charlotte. Oh boy, here comes a crazy theory...
From the start, I've theorized that having the ability to change the past would make the space time continuum tear apart, bring about the end of the world, and generally be a really, really bad thing. But all the sudden, I'm thinking crazy thoughts like maybe it won't quite be so bad. If someone changed an event from the past, what if the universe would simply "course correct"? Remember that theory from Ms. Hawking a season ago? Basically, it's "whatever happened, happened" with a twist. Whatever end result happened, happened - but the details along the way are variable, and can change. (Yes, this immediately brings up the question of "what determines an end result vs. just a step along the way that can be changed?", but pretend you didn't think of that and stick with me here).
Let's just pretend that Faraday does something that creates a paradox. How would the universe course correct this action? I don't have the logic or details worked out in my head yet, but perhaps the universe would do something like "resetting" everyone back to where they are supposed to be to prevent them from causing any more problems. Then, it could resolve the paradox without fear of the "wild card" interfering again. It's crazy talk, I know - but it's the best I've got right now. In summary, I'm thinking Faraday causes the incident, becomes a wild card, and messes with the past... and somehow this causes everyone to get back to where I belong. I think we'll have a lot more information to flesh out this theory after the next new episode, which is Faraday-centric. But for now, I'll go with this.
Wow, that was a tangent. What was this episode about again?
Miles. Oh yeah, this guy. This week gave us some great insight into Miles' powers to communicate with the dead. He needs to be in close proximity to the body, ashes don't talk as well as bodies do, he mostly seems to be able to pick up what that person was thinking and doing at the time of their death, and to him, it's like they are actually talking to him. But the episode failed to answer the biggest question - how did Miles get these powers in the first place?
I can't help but assume it's tied to Miles being born on the Island. We have seen very few people actually be born on the Island, which would explain why we haven't seen more people with "special powers" - but I think back to Aaron being born on-Island, and how the Others were so concerned about that, thinking that he would be "special" for some reason. On the other hand, you have Ethan being born on-Island, who never really demonstrated any special powers (other than potentially being able to perform surgery without any real schooling) - and Aaron really doesn't seem so special anymore, at least not compared to someone like Walt (who clearly has some magic mojo, despite not being born on the Island). Still, it would be a heck of a coincidence for Miles to just happen to have these powers when he was born on an Island full of mysterious powers. Oh, and there's Bram's comment to Miles: "There's also Bram's comment to Miles: "You'll know who you are, Miles - why it is you have a gift - and most of all, you'll know about your father."
Bram. Damn. Sidetracked again! But I can't logically complete my Miles analysis before first diving into my Bram analysis. Who is this guy? If you recall last week, I theorized that The Shadow of the Statue (which currently includes Ilana and Bram) either had to be working for Widmore or not working for Widmore. Pretty specific, huh? After this week, it looks like the second theory is the correct one, but now there's another contender:
- They are Island Ancients (pre-Other Others).
- They are Dharma.
The second theory came out of nowhere, but seems to have some strong supporting documentation. Bram tells Miles that he has the ability to tell him about his father - the most logical way for him to know this information would be if he had access to old Dharma files, or knew people that knew Chang. Also, remember Chang's video (to someone in the future) that asked for Dharma to be rebuilt? What if Dharma did get that video and decided to return to the Island? They could have spent years building up forces and strategizing how to "take the Island back" so that their research could continue. The continued existence of Dharma would go a long way in explaining things like why the Periodic Ration Drops continued on the Island years after Dharma left... maybe they did stop, but started back up again in preparation for a Dharma return. You can almost make this theory work... almost.
But the first theory still makes more sense. I talked about it pretty extensively in last week's episode analysis, so I won't rehash it here, but I still think it's viable one week later. It's an easy way to introduce a "bad guy" for the final season, give the audience a door to the more ancient history of the Island, and show us that the current "battle for the Island" isn't something new, but something that has been going on from the start. Bram is clearly not working for Widmore since he tries to talk Miles out of joining his "team", which means he's either working for Ben, or a third party.
I suppose it's possible that The Shadow of the Statue are working for Ben, but it doesn't seem probably. When Ilana tells Sayid that she doesn't recognize Ben on Ajira 316, she seems earnest about it. One would also think that if Ben had all these "henchmen" on the Island, he would have used them to help him kill Locke again (which he wanted to do, as confirmed by his Smokey visit), or at least provide leadership to them. I have a hard time believing that Ben would have gone through the trouble of being judged before Smokey if he had all these Shadow of the Statue reinforcements already. It's more likely that Ben went through the Smokey Judgment as a way to win back the favor of the Others, not as something to kill time before he and The Shadow of the Statue engage in battle with them.
That only leaves a third party, and the only third party I can imagine knowing about the Island is someone who has been there before... the Island Ancients.
Revisiting Bram's comments to Miles, one of the last things he said to him was "all the money in the world isn't gonna fill that empty hole inside you, Miles". It's a very spiritual comment, one that would come from someone who believed in the power of peace and tranquility that comes from being "one with the Island". When Bram says that he'll learn the truth about his powers and his father, it isn't because he has some dossier filled with this information - but that he can help lead Miles on the path to "enlightenment" that comes from being "one with the Island".
Miles Part II. Where did Miles' ability actually come from? Perhaps it is tied to being born on the Island, but maybe he was just lucky and born "special", similar to Walt. I don't know that we'll ever get a firm scientific explanation for it, but I'm okay with that. We did learn that the reason why he was recruited by Widmore / Naomi wasn't to communicate with Jacob (which was my theory last season), but instead to simply help track down Ben, who had killed a lot of people on the Island - all of whom would probably have information that would be useful in tracking and capturing him. When Miles told Ben "I know who you are" and demanded $3.2 million dollars to not turn him in, it didn't have any deeper meaning - it simply meant that Miles knew that Ben had killed a LOT of people by listening to the dead... and the $3.2 number was simply twice the amount that Widmore paid (the same amount he requested from Bram). Miles is a money man.
The other juicy tidbit we picked up thanks to Miles' powers this week was that someone named Felix was killed on his way to deliver papers, pictures of empty graves, and a purchase order for an old airplane to Charles Widmore. If you recall, we've heard two sides to this story. Tom told Michael that Widmore was the one who dug up the empty graves and planted the fake Oceanic 815. Captain Gault tells Desmond and Sayid that Ben was responsible for doing it, and must have "a lot of resources" to be able to pull off such an operation.
Does the information from Felix tilt the scales in one direction or the other? Not really. I think it's equally likely that he was delivering the information to Widmore to prove that the job he paid for had been completed vs. delivering the information to Widmore as proof about what Ben was doing. The question is, was Felix gathering information on Ben's actions for Widmore or gathering confirmations for Widmore of his own actions? I don't see anything conclusive either way.
In addition to learning about Miles' powers this week, he also proved that it's possible to see one's self in the past without causing the world to blow up. However, he stopped short of actually having any real interaction with himself in the past. Again, I can't help but remind you of the video we saw of Chang freaking out when time traveling rabbits got too close to each other:
So even though we've proved that a person could see themselves in the past, we still don't know what would happen if they were to interact with themselves (which sounds dirty). Hmmm - I wonder if the "paradox" that Faraday creates is having Miles baby-sit himself? Could that cause some seismic universe course correction that gets all our Survivors back to 2008 before Miles can undo existence?
Alvarez. Lastly this week, I wanted to touch on Alvarez, aka the dead body that Miles had to take from the Swan to the Orchid. I don't know why there was such confusion about what happened to Alvarez, because they flat out explained it in the episode. But for those who missed it, here were the important lines:
Miles: "His name's Alvarez. He was digging a hole and thinking about some chick named Andréa. Then he felt this sharp pain in his mouth, which turned out to be a filling from his tooth being yanked right out of its socket and... blowing through his brain. Then he was dead."
The ol' Death By Filling. Gets 'em every time!
The bigger question for me was why the body needed to be taken to the Orchid. We got hints from Horace during his conversation inside the Security Station:
So it wasn't so much that the body needed to be taken to the Orchid to be "resurrected" or as a test subject for the FDW - but rather, it was simply where Pierre Chang was, and he needed to investigate if it really was electromagnetism that caused the death of Alvarez - both in order to protect other Dharma workers from suffering the same fate, but also to potentially gauge just what kind of electromagnetic power they were dealing with (from a science perspective) to help refine their experiments on the Island.
This concludes the episode analysis for "Some Like It Hoth". Please remember to tip your waiter.
As a Blog Service Reminder (BSR), I'm around through Wednesday of next week, then on vacation out west until Thursday. Why do you care? Because it means I'll be posting my "The Variable" preview THIS WEEK since I won't have time to do it before the episode next week, which means you'll have over a full week to read my predictions about the episode and get extra jacked up for it... setting you up for what will surely be a huge disappointment when the episode doesn't live up to my hype. Or, you could display some self-control and wait to read the episode preview until the day before the episode (like usual), to only have normal-sized hype built up. It's really up to you.