Remember back in the day, when the storyline for most episodes of Lost were very straightforward, slow-moving, and methodical? We'd learn a little tidbit about a character's past, the Survivors would march around on the
I was thinking about how little of that "peripheral analysis" stuff has existed for the past two seasons. The Numbers have basically disappeared, the flashbacks are mostly done, and the backgrounds of the scenes have had a lot less stuff in them that requires pausing, zooming, and image enhancing to see some Easter Egg. It's almost like the Lost creators put all that stuff in the early episodes to get people to obsess about their show and over-analyze it, knowing that someday, they would need these skills in order to grasp the main storyline. We've been conditioned to use 100% of our brainpower each week when we watch, looking for minor details and then jumping on them with such gusto that each episode can lead people to totally change their opinions about what actually happened in almost every previous episode in the series.
So now, instead of worrying about what a billboard in the background of a flashback said or meant, we're worrying about what the main storyline action on the show means in the grand scheme of things, leading people to develop new theories that stretch back to the start of the show just as much as theories about where the show is going... and I love it.
On to the analysis...
Time. Something tells me this is going to be a common start to the weekly analysis, at least for the foreseeable future. After last week, I had my mind set that the "skipping" on the show would work a certain way - where characters would suddenly have memories of their interaction with our Skipping Survivors in the past - but this week totally turned that theory on its head.
Whatever happened, happened.
Let me make sure we're all on the same page here. There aren't two timelines, one where Locke shows up and talks to Alpert in 1954 and one where he doesn’t. There's just one - the one we saw - where Locke shows up and tells Alpert about Jacob, that he will be the future leader of the Others, and the date of his birth. Even though we didn't know about this interaction until this episode, it's always been there. Alpert has known about it since we first met his character in Season Three. The confusing part here is that it brings up a tricky "chicken or the egg" scenario in my mind that seems to create an infinite time loop. Here's what I mean:
- In 1954, Locke tells Alpert information about his birth and that he will be the leader of the Others.
- Because of this, Alpert monitors Locke from his birth, and is in effect "waiting for him" to arrive on the
Island(you could even argue that Alpert sent Abaddon to put the thought in his mind about going on the Walkabout).
- Because of this, Locke ends up on the
Islandand becomes leader of the Others.
- Because of this, he visits Jacob's Cabin and finds out about moving the
Island, relaying the message to Ben.
- Because of this, Ben turns the FDW which causes him to skip in time.
- Because of this, Locke visits Alpert in 1954 and tells him about his birth.
If you think about time in a straight-line fashion, similar to the "string" example that Faraday used in the season premiere, this initially sounds impossible because the first step in this timeline can't exist without the last - and the last can't exist without the first. If we were robots right now, smoke would start coming out of our ears.
However, if a person thinks about time as more of a loop - where there is no beginning and no end, this would make total sense - of course the events are circular. The end becomes the beginning and the cycle repeats, which means there isn't any problem with having an "infinite loop" like this.
But let's not get caught up on these deep, philosophical questions about the nature of time and space. Just like I wrote on my Philosophy 101 Final back in college, "the smartest men in the history of the world have been debating these questions for centuries, without coming to any overall conclusion. What is the point in my feeble brain thinking about it for a few hours? I'm pretty sure I'm not going to come up with anything better than their best theories." (Note: this probably explains the B I got in that class). Instead, let's focus on what this means for Lost.
For one, it opens up a lot of super tantalizing possibilities for Lost, the first of which were hinted at during the preview for next week's episode. As I mentioned in my Instant Reactions, it looks like our Skipping Survivors have skipped to roughly October-November 2004… which just happens to coincide with Season One of Lost. Why is this a big deal? First, it will give us the chance the opportunity to see past events on Lost from a different perspective, which may shed some new light on things (Note: this is actually what I was hoping for with the Nikki / Paulo flashback from Season Three, but never really got). It could also suddenly reveal new things to our Skipping Survivors. Suppose Sawyer stumbles upon a formerly "secret" conversation between 2004 Locke and Boone at the Hatch, or Juliet learns that Sawyer used to be an absolute jerk when he first landed on the
Even crazier, what if we suddenly see a scene from Season One, only to realize that it's actually Skipping Sawyer or Locke in the scene rather than 2004 Sawyer or Locke. Remember how Locke always gave those cryptic speeches about the
However, I don't know that the writers will go to such great lengths due to the risk involved. As we all learned in Back to the Future, if your future self were to meet your past self, it might tear apart the space-time continuum and bring about the end of existence…or something. All I know is, Marty was able to make out with his mom, help his dad, inspire Doc Brown, and invent Rock and Roll - and that was all good… but if he came face to face with himself in Back to the Future II, it's the end of the world as we know it.
So assuming those same rules apply to Lost (which, they might not), as soon as our Skipping Survivors realize that they are in the same time period as themselves on the Island, they will realize they need to avoid them at all cost, lest they risk running into themselves. I know that the preview also showed the Skipping Survivors on a canoe paddling away from the Island - perhaps headed to the secondary
Enough about time travel. Let's move on to space.
Space. I mentioned it last week, and I'll mention it again this week, because I still don’t quite have a firm grasp on it and no one else seems to be talking about it. This week's episode seemed to confirm that only our Survivors are Skipping - none of the other people on the
Ms. Hawking's wacky pendulum computer confirmed that the
So many questions. Not many answers.
If you go along with this theory, it would mean that the
Island Originals. I've used the term "Island Original" for quite some time on this Blog, basically referring to anyone who was living on the
So who is Alpert?
The "out there" answer is that he's some sort of physical embodiment of the
Of course, this raises the question of how characters like Ellie and Widmore ended up on the
Ellie. As I mentioned in my Instant Reactions, a huge bombshell was revealed during the normally idiotic "enhanced" version of "The Lie" that aired before "Jughead". Normally, the pop-up words on the bottom of the screen provide such worthwhile information as "This is Juliet. She is talking to Sawyer" - you know, things that you could understand yourself by just watching what was happening on the screen. But at the end of "The Lie", they said "This is Eloise Hawking".
Maybe I missed something, but I believe this is the first (and thus far, only) confirmation we have about Ms. Hawking's first name… and it came via a pop-up during a Lost repeat. Incredible. Of course, once we met "Ellie" during "Jughead", sporting a similar bun-style haircut as Ms. Hawking, and Faraday made his comment about her "looking familiar" to him, all the pieces started to fall together…
Ellie = Eloise Hawking = Faraday's Mother
(also, = Faraday’s Rat, but that’s less important)
Last week, people were debating whether or not Ms. Hawking could be Faraday's Mother. It seemed like the obvious choice - too obvious for some - but could definitely help explain how all the storylines were going to come together. After this week, it seems to be all but a lock. It would explain how Ms. Hawking would have knowledge about the Island, how she would know how to find it, how she might know how to save the Skipping Survivors, and provide Faraday with his "tie" to the Island that would explain why he was chosen for Widmore's mission. I agree that it's obvious for my liking – but so was Michael being Ben’s mole on the Freighter – and that turned out to be true. In the end, it just makes too much sense, and helps all the pieces of the story fall together, for it NOT to be true.
But Ellie wasn't the only familiar face we found among the Others. In the most jaw-dropping moment of the episode, we found out that Charles Widmore himself used to be an Other.
Widmore. I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming. I’ve always pictured Widmore as a true “businessman”, so when he said “That island’s mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again”, I thought he meant so in more of a financial sense – like he found it first or successfully developed it through Dharma, giving him the “rights” to the
In 1954, Charles Widmore was a hot-headed tough guy who seemed to be a card carrying Other through and through. Heck, he was willing to kill a fellow Other who risked leading our Skipping Survivors back to their base camp, which reminds me of Ben’s comments about “how far” the Others would go to protect the Island. Killing one of their own? That’s pretty far in my book.
But the thing is – he clearly wasn’t the leader of the Others in 1954. Alpert, the person responsible for choosing the next leader of the Others, didn’t seem especially fond of him, or to be treating him any differently than the other Others. So where does Widmore get off in saying that the
There’s still the question of how Widmore ended up on the Island, but there’s also the question of how he ended up off the
1. He got kicked off. Based on what we saw, it’s the most likely scenario. He seemed to be a bit of a loose cannon, quick to judge, and not particularly fond of Alpert’s decisions. You could easily see where he does something to anger Alpert, causing him to be banned from the
2. He accidentally left the Island, through turning the FDW or leaving the Island on some Others’ mission (picking up supplies, recruiting new Others) and having the
3. He voluntarily left the
Of course, this opens up an interesting thought – if you can’t change destiny, would any of this matter? Even without Ms. Hawking talking to Desmond or Abaddon putting the thought of the Walkabout in Locke’s head, wouldn’t they have eventually ended up on the
4. The fourth option is perhaps the wackiest, but one that a lot of people have been discussing on the Internet this week. What if Others have NEVER been able to have children on the
This line of thinking has sent people down some pretty outrageous paths, since it might mean that Faraday and Penny are brother and sister – or step siblings at the very least. My biggest problem with this theory is that we’ve already got it on Lost with Jack and Claire. Would the writers repeat the same storyline twice? I doubt it.
The other thing we have to keep in mind is that Widmore knows who Benjamin Linus is, and that he seemingly “took over” the
Here’s where it gets tricky.
Penny is roughly 30 – 40 years old, meaning she was born in the 1960’s. This would mean that she was either born on the Island (which is a pretty mind-blowing thought, that would explain why she might end up back on the Island due to her tagging along with Desmond – although you would think she might have mentioned her “childhood on some Island” to Desmond over the years), or that Widmore was off the Island shortly after we saw him in 1954 so that he could meet Penny’s mother (which opens a whole new round of questions and theories that I won’t get into here) and start a family. The other thing to keep in mind is that Widmore is the successful owner of the Widmore Corporation when Desmond talks to him in 1996. Although it appears that there are some ties between Widmore and Dharma, Paik Industries, and Hanso – I think the employees there would ask questions if Charles suddenly showed up and said “I’m running the show.” What I’m getting at, is it’s likely that Widmore built that company from the ground up – probably using the resources of the Others to succeed very easily – but still putting in some time there to get to where he is today.
One last thing to keep in mind is that when Widmore sent the Freighter to the Island, he instructed them to get Benjamin Linus and then kill everyone else there / “torch” the
Longtime readers – who remembers my “Cowboys and Indians” theory from a few years ago? This could very easily tie into it! Once Ben took over, he started doing things wrong – things the
Maybe he’s not the evil capitalist that we all thought he was (that one’s for you FOB Freedom!) - but that’s just a lie that Ben told Locke to ensure he would stay on his side instead of realizing that Ben is the one who doesn’t have the Island’s best interests at heart.
Lots of things to think about – but as many have pointed out, it doesn’t seem that there is a clear distinction between “good” and “evil” on Lost – and Widmore might be the latest case of this. Up until this point, it was very easy to view him as the “Big Bad” (and I have called him that more than a few times on this Blog) – but maybe he’s really just the opposing force to Ben – and we’ve only heard Ben’s side of the story thus far.
One other note – you know how we all wondered why people like Charlotte, Faraday, and Miles were chosen to join the Freighter team? How about because Widmore saw that they were on the
Ms. Hawking. One more question about Ms. Hawking, who may or may not be Daniel Faraday’s Mom. Widmore knows where exactly she is, and tells Desmond that she’s “a very private person.” Ben is working with her to find the
But to tie it in with an earlier theory – maybe Ms. Hawking and Abaddon are truly just ambassadors of the
Okay – that’s enough big thoughts. Time for some small, quick ones to wrap this up:
- Although it looks like
might die in the first moments of next week’s episode, I don’t buy it. We haven’t learned enough about her character yet to lose her quite yet. Charlotte
- As much fun as this skipping through time is, I really hope that it wraps up mid-season. Likewise, I hope the Oceanic Six return to the
Islandby mid-season, rather than having the 70 hours until the world ends last for the entire season. Part of me is really not excited to spend extended periods of time with the Oceanic Six off the Island in next week’s episode, and I think the quicker they get back to the Island, the quicker we’ll get all the characters into the “Grade A Storyline”.
- I don’t think the Jughead in this episode ends up in the Swan Hatch or the Orchid. Nuclear bombs don’t need to be diffused every 108 minutes, and if you imploded them, I think a lot more than a flash of bright light would have happened. The Orchid didn’t exist until Dharma, and the Others had to deal with the Jughead in 1954. I hope that it does tie into another storyline down the road, but am afraid it will be similar to “The Tempest” Dharma station, which served no greater purpose than providing drama for an individual episode.
- I think Juliet knows more than she is letting on. She seems overly calm about all this “skipping”, and even went so far as to interrupt Locke this week before he could tell Sawyer about Ethan shooting him in the leg. I’m thinking that Ethan reported back to the Others about his experience with the Others, and they were all aware of the skipping in time – and Juliet just accepted that she is going to go through it thanks to people like Alpert telling her that he saw her in 1954. In effect, Juliet might know exactly how all this is going to end, but isn’t telling anyone.
That’s it for this analysis. Let me know what you think, or if there is anything I missed.
Until next week!