Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Jughead" Analysis!

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 Island and have conversation, and once in a while there would be some heavy "action". We would spend most of our analysis of the episode picking out minor details in the background, references to other episodes, and any mention of the Numbers. Don't get me wrong, Lost was still a great show back then - but it's nothing compared to how great the show is right now.


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 Island and 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 Island. Something like that could definitely affect the relationship that our Skipping Survivors have with the other characters on the show moving forward - especially when they all eventually reunite in the same time period (which is inevitable, right?)


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 Island to Jack back in the day? Well, what if it was because it was Skipping Locke actually talking to him! That would be absolutely insane, and prove to me that the writers on Lost have known exactly what they were going to do all along. Once you open the door to our Skipping Survivors interacting with the 2004 Survivors, it might force us to go back and review episodes from Season One in a new light. Like I said, if the writers go to this length and pull it off successfully, it will easily be the most ambitious plot device ever seen on television - one that took 5 seasons to develop.


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 Island with the Hydra - which would be a foolproof way to ensure that these interactions don't happen. I guess I’m hoping the writers at least give us a little of this potential interaction before our Skipping Survivors realize the danger, just because it opens the door to so many fascinating possibilities.


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 Island. However, we saw the Island itself disappear in last season's finale. So each time that there is a skip, does that mean that both our Survivors move in time AND the Island moves in space? Or did the Island only move once, but our Survivors have moved multiple times? If the Island is skipping around in space each time we get a flash, that would go a long way in explaining why the Island is so hard to find. Even if the US Military knew where the Island was in 1954, shortly thereafter there was a flash - and the Island moved to a totally different location, taking their Jughead along with it. But if this were true, what would it mean for the Island Originals, the people who aren't skipping? Would they feel it? Would the climate on the Island change? Could they leave the Island one day in the Pacific, and have it move to the Atlantic tomorrow? Do they have a feel for the "schedule" of the skips, to know how long they have in any given location? Or is that why the Looking Glass so important, because it provided Dharma with a beacon for them to find the Island, no matter where it ended up in the world? If the Island is moving around so much, how is it possible that Dharma could schedule Periodic Ration Drops of supplies to the Island?


Ms. Hawking's wacky pendulum computer confirmed that the Island has at least moved in space ONCE. The fact that the Black Rock and Yemi's Beechcraft are located on the Island prove that it's moved a few times. But is it constantly moving along with these skips? Remember- whatever happened, happened. So if the skips in space are tied to the skips in time for our Survivors, that would mean the Island moved in 1954, 2001(ish) and 2005 - at least. Is that why it is so hard to come and go from the Island?


So many questions. Not many answers.


If you go along with this theory, it would mean that the Island wasn't truly "hidden" initially - it was just randomly moving all over the place. It also makes me wonder if Dharma actually had a "stealth shield" around the Island that made it invisible… or if it was just in a new location every few months, making it hard to find. Personally, I'm leaning towards Dharma adding the bubble around the Island in the 1980's, courtesy of the Swan Hatch, making the Island near-impossible to find, at least until the Hatch Imploded. But that would also mean that from the beginning of time until the 1980's, all you had to do was be in the right place at the right time to stumble upon the Island… and that's exactly what happened.


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 Island before Dharma. But how many people are truly "original"? Where did they come from? How long have they been there? As time goes on, it's looking like there might be just one Island Original - Richard Alpert. I think that everyone else who joins him is a transplant to the Island - someone that stumbled upon it at some point in their life, spends some time there, and eventually dies / leaves / goes back to work as a butcher in the "real world". If the Island is so hard to find, stumbling upon it may be viewed as "fate" or "destiny", and Alpert is able to smooth talk people into becoming believers in the power of the Island - something worth protecting, something worth dying for, and something worth keeping secret. Think about how he "recruited" Ben and convinced him to kill everyone in Dharma. I have to think if he could convince Ben to commit mass murder, he could convince most people into sticking around on the Island.


So who is Alpert?


The "out there" answer is that he's some sort of physical embodiment of the Island. He's responsible for picking leaders, making sure people stay in line, and providing a consistent presence as other Others come and go over the years. As Juliet said "Richard is always there"…. But from now on, I think I'm going to go back to calling them "Others", at least until we get any evidence that there are other Island Originals besides Richard Alpert.



Of course, this raises the question of how characters like Ellie and Widmore ended up on the Island. Both seemed to have English accents, which is unique among the other Others we know… and may indicate that they knew each other before ending up on the Island, or crashed on it together in a plane / hot air balloon / boat / flying saucer. We may never find out how they ended up on the Island in the first place, but how they got off and who they became is what I'm interested in…


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 Island over Ben. It never dawned on me that maybe he actually was ON the Island before Ben as a full-fledged Other. Suddenly, his comments about the Island take on a whole new meaning. First of all, they seem totally incorrect based on what we saw in 1954.


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 Island was “his”. Not only “his”, but “always his”. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t his in 1954!


 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 Island. If he was so in love with the Island, why would he ever leave it? I think there are a few possible choices:

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 Island.

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 Island “skip” in space while he was gone, leaving him unable to return. Since then, he’s been doing everything he could to try and find it again so he can return – like buying the Black Rock Journal to try and figure out where the Island might be.

3. He voluntarily left the Island. This brings up a new concept about the Others that I’ve started kicking around in my head. Protecting the Island is all well and good, but in order to do so, it might require having some people on the “outside” to be working for the Island’s interests as well. What if a commitment to the Island means that you do whatever is required of you to protect it, even if it means that you get “stationed” back in the “real world” to make sure no one else uses it for testing nuclear bombs or starting wacko scientific Dharma-esque experiments. Widmore, Ms. Hawking, Abaddon, Butcher Jill – they all might be former Others who were sent out to the rest of the world to make sure that Desmond ended up on the Island, Locke went on his Walkabout, etc.

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 Island anyways, because of some other reason? Doesn’t the universe have a way of “course correcting itself” to ensure “whatever happened, happened”? I really like this theory – but this represents one big hole in it for sure.


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 Island? If Widmore and Ellie ended up hooking up, and Ellie got pregnant, the two might have left the Island in order to give birth to their child… Daniel Faraday.


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 Island from him. Since this didn’t happen until the Purge in 1992, that would mean Widmore was either still on the Island in 1992 – or at least aware of what was happening on the Island up until that point.


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 Island. We can debate whether or not the Freighter was REALLY sent by Widmore, but if it was, he’s seriously pissed at everyone on the Island and wants to kill them all and take it for himself. This brings into question who the 2005-era Others actually are. We saw that Ben was recruiting some folks (like Juliet), but are most of them newbies that Ben brought to the Island once he “took over”? Or are there still a bunch of Others that have been there since the 1950’s? Aside from Alpert, it’s hard for us to tell – but I have to think that if Widmore really wanted to kill them all, most of them are “new recruits” from Ben that Widmore views unworthy of being on “his Island”.



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 Island didn’t like. The Others slowly started to get away from their roots, lose their “spiritual relationship” with the Island, using electricity and the Dharma Barracks, having Book Club and drinking Dharma Beer instead of living off the land and listening to Jack Johnson music. Widmore is willing to destroy the Island to give it rebirth, to get it back to where (in his mind), it’s supposed to be.


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 Island in 1954, and KNEW that they were going to end up there. He was fulfilling destiny by putting them on that boat. Whoa.


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 Island. Yet Ben and Widmore are sworn enemies. You would think that Ms. Hawking would fall on one “side” or the other, rather than playing both.


But to tie it in with an earlier theory – maybe Ms. Hawking and Abaddon are truly just ambassadors of the Island, working for the greater good of all… or to make sure that the world doesn’t come to a crashing end thanks to the hijinx of Ben, Desmond, or the Oceanic Six. They’ll work with Ben when needed (to get the Oceanic Six back to the Island), they’ll work with Widmore when needed (assembling the Freighter team to send them to the Island), but stay out of the overall “debate” about which side is right and which side is wrong. They’re just making sure that both sides are able to continue to fight it out, by existence continuing.


Okay – that’s enough big thoughts. Time for some small, quick ones to wrap this up:

  • Although it looks like Charlotte 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.


  • 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 Island by 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!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Jughead" Instant Reactions!

Brian's Four Word Review: Time and Mind Bending

So, I think I understand how the skipping all works out now... and it's exactly how Faraday told us originally. Why didn't I listen to him?

Whatever happened, happened.

  • Why was Alpert present when Locke was born? Because Locke told him when it would happen, and Alpert went there as a way to determine if Locke was telling the truth. This must have semi-blown Alpert's mind, since he continued to visit Locke over the course of his youth - and this helps explain why the Island Originals all thought he was so special... because he is a freaking time traveling, future predicting "old guy"!
  • But does this mean that Locke really isn't that special or "chosen"? If the Island Originals only think he's special due to his time skipping, is he really the best choice for the future leader of the Others?
  • This also means that Desmond must be an exception instead of the rule, since he just had the memory of Faraday visiting him at the Swan Hatch in 2008 instead of always having it?
  • Did you catch the scenes from the preview from next week? Showing Locke seeing the light shooting up from the Swan Hatch (the ending scene from "Deus Ex Machina"!) as well as Sawyer stumbling upon Kate helping Claire deliver Aaron (the ending scene from "Do No Harm"!) Time to go back and re-watch some Season One episodes!
  • What this means pretty much blows my mind though. Does that mean that Sawyer could run into himself? Wouldn't that rip apart the space-time continuum, a la Back to the Future? Remember this video from last year's Comic-Con where Chang is freaking out about two #8 Rabbits running into each other?! Mind = Blown.

  • My mind can't quite wrap around what this means for characters like Locke, Sawyer, and Juliet. Do they have the memories of 2004 from two perspectives now? Or since they are the ones "skipping", do their minds travel in a single, straight line? That seems most logical (and easiest to explain). The Island Originals would have all these memories from the time skippers visiting them in the past, but it wouldn't force us to re-evaluate everything that our Skipping Survivors did on the Island, taking into account the things they learned in the past when they started skipping. I'll try to explain this again using real words in the analysis, since I'm sure that made no sense!
  • Remember what Faraday told Desmond when he started to become "unstuck" in time? He asked if Desmond had been subjected to an intense does of radiation or electromagnetic energy. Clearly, Desmond had been exposed to the later in the Swan Hatch, and he needed a Constant. But Daniel also had a Constant. Why? Well, guess who was just exposed to a high does of radiation in this episode when inspecting the Jughead? 
  • Speaking of which, of course the "Deeper Meaning" of the episode is something totally literal - but at least we all knew what a "Jughead" was now!
  • CHARLES WIDMORE USED TO BE ON THE ISLAND. But was he an Island Original? Did he start to age once he left the Island? Or do only some Island Originals not age (like Alpert)? And how did he leave the Island? Was he kicked off? Why does he think that Ben "stole it" from him? It sure didn't look like he was "owning" it when Richard was bossing him around. Maybe he simply views Ben as "ruining" the Island once he started running the show, and Widmore doesn't so much want to turn the Island into a theme park, but wants to restore it to its natural, pre-Ben order when they were able to have babies and lived peacefully. Or is the reason Widmore got booted because he wanted to go commercial on the Island? Lots to think about here.
  • Did you guys watch the "Enhanced" repeat of "The Lie" beforehand? Guess what they said Ms. Hawking's first name was? ELOISE. Just like Faraday's rat. It looks like she is definitely going to end up being Faraday's mother. Also, who names a rat after their mom?
  • Here's something else to think about. Is the Girl Soldier on the Island Faraday's Mom as well? Remember how he said she looked familiar to him? Well, if Widmore is off the Island, it would stand to reason that she could have left the Island as well. It would be a possible explanation for why she knows so much about the Island and how / where to find it. Once again, mind = blown, and I need to think about this more.
  • Discuss!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lost - "Jughead"

Episode Title: "Jughead"

Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: After two pretty straight-forward episode titles to start the season, we now find ourselves with one of the more mysterious ones in quite some time. "Jughead" isn't a commonly used word (at least not in my lexicon), but it does have two official definitions in the dictionary:

  1. Noun (slang) - a stupid or foolish person.
  2. Noun - an acronym for Jonzy's Universal Gopher Hierarchy Excavation And Display.

What the heck does that second one mean? According to the Internets, Jughead is a search engine for Gopher sites. Apparently, a “Gopher” is a system that pre-dates the World Wide Web for organizing and displaying files on Internet servers, presenting its contents as a hierarchically structured list of files. Over time, as the Web became more popular, many gopher databases were converted to Web sites which can be more easily accessed via Web search engines.

So - it sounds like it's a Google for old fashioned websites.

A quick Google search also reveals the most popular “pop culture” reference to “Jughead”…

Forsythe Pendleton "Jughead" Jones III is a fictional character in Archie Comics, first appearing in December 1941. In the earlier comics, Jughead's real name was a running gag mystery, and many episodes involved various characters trying to discover his real name, and Jughead thwarting their efforts. He is named after his ancestor who is an American hero. Jughead started to use his given name for a brief time in honor of his ancestor, but after learning that he was married nine times, reverted to his nickname.

Lastly we have Wikipedia informing us that "Jughead" is a 19th century slang term meaning a mule - or the nickname for a Mark 17 Nuclear Bomb.


We're clearly all over the map with the episode title. None of the options I found really jump out and grab me, but I could easily stretch some into a pseudo-logical reference to something currently going on in the Lost Universe. For example…

  • In Faraday's eyes, someone like Sawyer could be called a "jughead" since he's not as brainy. Or, this could easily be some nickname that Sawyer would use on another character… but that's not very deep. I doubt they’d pull the episode title from that.
  • Ms. Hawking's crazy "search engine" for finding the Island might be called "Jughead", as it could be sorting through Gopher site information that pre-dates the good ol' WWW… more relevant to the current storylines on the show - but that seems a little nerdy, even for Lost.
  • Desmond himself could be a "jughead", a nickname for a nuclear bomb, because with his time-traveling abilities, he could accidentally destroy the world - just like a nuke… but that seems to be a bit of a stretch, even for me.

In the end, the best comparison might be to the silly comic book reference. The fact that "Jughead" in Archie Comics wasn't the character's actual name, but was used to hide his real name could easily be applied to a character on Lost. Remember, we spent all of last season wondering who “Jeremy Bentham” was before finding out that it was John Locke. Last episode, we had the reappearance of Ms. Hawking - who might really be Ms. Faraday if some of the Internet theories prove true. Once again, the Lost writers may have been using a fake name as a way to disguise who the character really is for a few episodes.

That’s a decent deeper meaning guess, but I think I’ll take this same concept one step further.

If you recall during the preseason commercials, there were definitely some shots of what appeared to be Penny giving birth to a baby. The preview clip for this week's episode again featured the scene, and by the looks of the guest stars, and the way "The Lie" ended, I'm guessing this episode will be very Desmond-centric, even if true "centricity" of episodes no longer exists in Season Five.


As skilled as Desmond is, I don't see him being able to deliver Penny's baby by himself on a boat floating around in the middle of the ocean. I would think they would need the help of medical professionals. Unfortunately, since they both went undercover to keep "The Lie", their reappearance would draw the attention of Widmore and possibly the wrath of one Benjamin Linus, who promised to Widmore he would kill Penny - although it's unclear if Penny and Desmond are aware of this. So, if they are going into the “real world” to deliver this baby, they would likely need to use fake names at a hospital… just like “Jughead”.

Wow – this is a stretch, even for me. I’m not proud of this work. But I think this is the best “deeper meaning” I can come up with for this week. I'm sure it will end up being something that there would be no way of predicting ahead of time - or it might even be one of those episode titles we don't understand after it airs (like "Eggtown"). But I did my due diligence and gave it the old college try.

However, this does raise a more interesting question - when is Penny pregnant?

If you look at the scene of Penny from last week's episodes, she seemed very non-pregnant (and mega-hot):


And as Lisa pointed out in the Comments section of last week’s analysis, this scene was taking place three years after getting off the Island (2008). Given that we have 70 hours until the world comes to an end (or something), I don’t think it takes place after last week’s scene, which means it must have taken place between 2005 and 2008 – were Desmond and Penny living on a boat with Baby Jughead? It would add an interesting dynamic to Desmond’s decision to try and save the Survivors back on the Island. He already promised Penny that he would never leave her, and told Jack that he would never go back to the Island – but if he is going to save the world, would he also have to leave his newborn child? That’s a pretty tall request, even for our hero Desmond.

This would also mean that Lost is kicking it up a notch in complexity, and this episode might feature the Survivors on Island in pre-2004, Desmond flashbacks to 2005 – 2008, as well as “current” scenes of Desmond and the Oceanic Six in 2008. Whoa. That’s just what we needed.

Episode Description: Desmond goes in search of a woman who could be the key to helping Faraday stop the island's erratic movements through time, and Locke discovers the identity of the unknown forces who have been attacking the survivors.

Guest Stars: Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Sonya Walger as Penelope "Penny" Widmore, Alan Dale as Charles Widmore, Rebecca Mader as Charlotte Lewis, Tom Connolly as Jones, Alexandra Krosney as Ellie, Imelda Corcoran as Abigail, Matthew Alan as Cunningham, Dan Hildebrand as custodian, Mary Ann Taheny as Moira, Raymond Ma as Efren Salonga, Sarah Farooqui as Theresa and Tuli Roy-Kirwan as secretary.

Guest Stars Breakdown: Not a lot of surprises here. We’ve got Penny and Widmore for the Desmond storylines, Alpert for the Locke storyline, and a slew of new characters who will probably be featured in minor roles.

The two most interesting characters are probably Jones and Cunningham, two of the soldiers who attacked Sawyer and Juliet last week before getting ambushed by Locke. Here’s hoping that we find out some answers about who they are. As I theorized in last episode’s analysis, I’m pulling for them to be a part of Widmore’s original crew to takeover the Island. That would be a pretty interesting development. Some others have guessed that they might be CFL’s original crew, pre-sickness – but their lack of French accents makes that seem unlikely. The only other option for these two blokes would be for them to be honest to plain ol’ Island Originals or Dharma. But the combination of wearing uniforms with names (un-Island Original-like) but without Dharma logos (un-Dharma-like), makes both options seem unlikely.


Episode Breakdown: Well, this episode preview seems to confirm that Desmond decides to follow Faraday’s advice and find his mother in Oxford. It also seems to confirm that somehow, someway she is going to hold the key to stopping the Island from skipping. I have to say, this puts a lot more evidence in the “Ms. Hawking is Faraday’s Mom” column – since I can’t see any way that Faraday’s mother would know what is going on with the Island… and Desmond doesn’t either – he just knows there is danger. It would be nice and neat – and quickly get Desmond back into the fold with Jack’s mission to return to the Island – but I’m still not sold.

Let’s pretend that Ms. Hawking does end up being Faraday’s Mom. After his freaky encounter with her in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, wouldn’t Desmond turn around and run away immediately after meeting her? Or wouldn’t she try to kill Desmond on the spot, if he really is a “wild card” capable of destroying the world by changing the past? It just seems like it would be too easy to have it all tie together like that. But if it’s anyone else, how could they possibly be able to help with the Island skipping through time? And if it is Ms. Hawking, why isn’t she listed as a guest star this episode? I could understand leaving her off last week (for shock value), but now that we know about her, I would think she would be listed if she were guest starring in the episode.

Your guess is as good as mine at this point. We do have a few other guest stars who could end up being Faraday’s Mom – Abigail, Moira, or Theresa (all of which sound like they would go well with a last name of “Faraday”), but there’s nothing that points to one any more than the other.

The other portion of the episode preview deals with Locke discovering the identity of the “unknown forces” that have been attacking the Survivors. As I mentioned above, the Soldiers seem like likely candidates to be working for Widmore… however, the flaming arrows raining down on our Survivors last week? That certainly smacked of Island Originals, since the Soldiers had more advanced weaponry. We also see a brief clip of the potential arrow-firing culprits in this shot from the episode preview:


I think the ideal situation would be for Locke to find out about both. Discovering that the Soldiers are working for Widmore would confirm how long he’s been working to capture the Island, and the lengths that he has gone to, solidifying his place as the “Big Bad” of the show. On the other hand, finding out that the Island Originals are attacking would provide the next step in understanding the Island skipping – since it could present Locke with a chance to show Alpert the compass and prove to him what is going on. Maybe at that point, we as the audience can start to get some answers about how the skipping is working as well.

…and that’s it. No mention of the Oceanic Six or their antics, although I’m sure we’ll get at least one or two scenes with them. Pretty short and sweet post this week – but something tells me that the episode analysis will be anything but.

One final note – a big shout out to Molly and the Digital Team at Empower MediaMarketing for making this sweet Dharma Cookie Cake for the Lost Season Premiere. I wish my co-workers were this fun. An even bigger shout out for sending me the delicious Dharma-y center of the cake to eat. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you out there. If you want to make the Blog, all you have to do is provide me with delicious foodstuffs! Or cash, of course :)


Happy Losting!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Because You Left" and "The Lie" Two-For-One Analysis!

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 Island. I think the timing would work – Dharma was building their various stations around 1980, and Miles looks to be about 25 years old. It might even explain why he has the weird ability to communicate with the dead – some residual Island power? But there are also questions – why is his last name Straume instead of Chang? How did he survive the Purge? Or are we all being racist by that he must be related since both Chang and Miles are from Asian decent?


The other question for me is how was Mrs. Chang able to have a baby on the Island? Is it simply because Baby Chang was conceived off of the Island? Or is the inability to have babies on the Island a more recent development that suddenly started after Ben took control of the Others after the Purge? Or maybe Island Natives could never conceive babies, but Dharma people had no problem with it?


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 Island, the journal would have been with it at that point. What if the Black Rock Crew kept up with the journal, describing all the weird events that they experienced and everything they discovered on the Island – including an ancient tunnel that led to a frozen subterranean area under the Island. Maybe they were clever enough to figure out how adding a wheel to the wall could control it, maybe the wheel was there before even they got there – but either way, they documented it in their journal.


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 Island, they began digging to find this FDW area, which had since been filled in by rocks / land thanks to a volcano eruption on the Island / errant stick of dynamite tossed nearby. Thus, they knew exactly what they were dealing with and where to look.


(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.


2. The Island will eventually “skip” back to 1980, and while in that time period Faraday sneaks into the Orchid facility in a Dharma disguise to try and stop the skipping / bring them back to the proper “present” timeline. When he does this, perhaps it transports him off the Island, into the future a few years (from 1980) – where he could again settle into a nice little job at Oxford University and continue his life.


The cool thing about either theory is that they would indicate that Faraday had some prior knowledge of the Island and Dharma when we first saw the character introduced in the 2004 timeline last season – which could provide the explanation for why he was crying when he saw the footage of Oceanic 815 on the news.


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 LOT of years due to the FDW, it wouldn’t make sense – and even this isn’t really a possibility since we know that he was working at Oxford in the 1990s.


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 Island. Again, it’s best to approach it as logically as possible to try and figure out what’s going on. Here’s what we know:


Since our Survivors have been on the Island, it had not previously “skipped” until Ben turned the FDW. This means that Desmond imploding the Swan Hatch was something totally different, even though the sky went crazy with both.


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 Island is, or we are (moving through time). It’s just as likely that we are… (We’re) either in the past, or the future. We can’t stop it.” When asked who could stop it, we shifted scenes to Locke (a hint?).


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 Island will do the rest. Next time we see each other, I’m not going to recognize you. I wish I had more time to be sensitive. The only way to save the Island is to get your people back here. The ones that left. You have to convince them to come back. You’re going to have to die, John.”


Taking all that into account, it would seem as though our Survivors (non-Island Originals) are skipping – but the Island and its original inhabitants are not. However, we saw in last season’s finale that the Island itself did appear to move as well – maybe not necessarily in time – but definitely in space, since it vanished before the eyes of the Oceanic Six. Also, when you think about Yemi’s airplane (that left from Africa) crashing on the Island, it must have been located in the Atlantic (rather than the Pacific) during that time period for it to be possible.


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 Island (turn the FDW and any non-Island Originals will spend the rest of their lives skipping around through time!), I think if this had happened in the past, we would have seen characters suddenly appearing – being all confused – and then disappearing within a few hours or days. I also think there is a risk that these skipping people could be dangerous. If Keamy and his soldiers were still alive and started skipping through time, they may suddenly appear in the middle of an unexpected group of Island Originals – and kill them all before they have a chance to react. I don’t think so.


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 Island, but if his destiny is truly to be on the Island, then Ben would be able to help him return to the Island, and tag along for the ride.


If Ben turned the FDW properly, the Island would have been protected, Locke would have been the leader of the Island Originals, and Ben would have spent the rest of his life off the Island.


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 Island (roughly late 1990s)


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 Island in 2001, Yemi’s plane crash might have actually taken place in the early 2000s instead of late 1990s.


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 Island who threaten to cutoff people’s hands. So it could be anywhere pre-2004.


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 Island from Hanso / Dharma back in the 1980s. Remember, Miles said that Widmore had spent “20 years looking for the Island”, which would be around 1984. Since he told Ben that he stole “his Island”, it makes me think that either he has been there before, or he has sent his mercenaries there before. It would also help explain how he knew so much about the Island (giving Keamy the “Secondary Protocol”).


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 Island for themselves. Remember, Chang was very generic during the Arrow Station Orientation Video when he said “the purpose of this station is to gather intelligence and devise defensive strategies against the Island's hostiles.”


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 Island. Their meeting in the airport showed that they shared a common interest – killing Benjamin Linus – but Sun’s later meeting with Kate showed just how far she had gone. Remember the Sun we met in Season One? The meek girl who would do whatever her husband said? Suddenly, she’s manipulating her former friends (the meeting with Kate – probably about 75% lies) in an attempt to exact revenge upon the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death… and has pretty much become a cold hard bitch. It could be that Widmore’s first two attempts to claim the Island failed (in the 1980s and 2004), but now that he has a partner in Sun, his odds just got a lot better.


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 Island!


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.


Charlotte. As for Charlotte, her nosebleed and memory loss these episodes were strangely familiar to symptoms we’ve seen from other characters over the years.

  • 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 Island. But all the rest seem to be variations / varying degrees on the same overall symptoms.

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 Island. Faraday kept emphasizing to Frank how important it was to fly on the 305 bearing, or else there would be “side effects”. Perhaps it doesn’t matter what bearing you enter the Island on, but you have to leave on the same bearing you came in on – or else there will be consequences ranging from nosebleeds, to memory loss, to becoming unstuck in time.

  • 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 Island to get a closer look at it while docked offshore on the Freightor, taking random bearings each time.
  • If Charlotte was born on the Island and 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 Island (Desmond). Unfortunately, he didn’t know that Charlotte had been to the Island before, and thus is surprised when she starts to exhibit the nosebleed symptoms.



So if you only go to the Island once, or only leave the Island once – you appear to be fine. But coming and going multiple times is what requires you be very careful about the bearings involved, or else the unique electromagnetic properties of the Island can mess you up in a variety of ways.


Here’s the big hole in this theory – upon finding out that Charlotte is in trouble, Faraday bangs on the Swan Hatch backdoor and talks to Desmond, telling him:


“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 Island, you made it home. My name is Daniel Faraday. Right now, me and everyone else you left behind are in serious danger. Go back to Oxford University, where we met. Find my mother – her name is…”


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 Charlotte got the nosebleed. So the question is – is Charlotte simply the first to show the symptoms, and all our Survivors on the Island are doomed? Or, is Faraday sending Desmond on a mission to simply save Charlotte – and if all the others end up being saved along with her, added bonus? And who is Faraday’s mother? And how could she possibly be able to help the current situation?


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 Island is going to appear again. Seeing as she was the only new older female character introduced in the episode, a lot of people are assuming that she is Faraday’s mother.


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 Island, since she seems to be one of the few people who actually knows what is going on with the Island. Even though Daniel told Desmond to go to Oxford to find her, we saw this week that she was currently meeting Ben in Los Angeles. While at first this seems to be a problem, I think it’s more of a great plot device to have Desmond travel to Los Angeles and reunite with the Oceanic Six. He goes to Oxford, finds out who she is and where she is, and then travels to America. If we go with the theory that Faraday, Charlotte, and Miles each have some connection to the Island, it would also provide Faraday’s connection. I’m not sold on her being Faraday’s mother – but it’s the best guess we’ve got at this point.


But who is she? How could she have appeared to Desmond within his flashes? How is she able to find the Island? I’m putting her in the same category as Abaddon – someone very mysterious, who seems to know a lot more about EVERYTHING than anyone else, Ben included, and who is working for some greater purpose.



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.”

Ben: “Really?”

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 Island. Apparently Locke was right – it was their destiny, their fate, to be on that Island – and them being off the Island is “breaking the rules”.


Unfortunately, with the Island “skipping”, it’s much harder to get them back to the Island – maybe making it so hard that even the universe can’t course correct it… and unless Ben is able to get them all back when the event window is opened in 70 hours, they won’t get another chance. It’s kinda like in the movie “Dogma”. If you prove God wrong, existence undoes itself. If you prove universe can’t course correct, God Help Us All.


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 Island.


…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 Island.


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!