Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lost - "LA X"

The phrase “most excited ever” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Here we stand, less than one week away from the start of Lost’s final season. I can’t think of any storyline – in any medium – that has held onto its secrets as long as Lost has. We’re going on seven years of debating the mysteries of Lost Island and its characters… and after all that waiting, it’s finally time to get some payoff (or a disappointment so big that it will send the globe into a worldwide depression the likes of which we’ve never seen).


Let’s do this.


Episode Title: “LA X”


Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: Lost Season Six has been under more lock and key than all other seasons combined. Sure, the creators of Lost have always been super secretive about their show, but never to this extent. They went so far as somehow convincing ABC to not air a single frame of Season Six in any of their previews – which is pretty much unheard of for promoting a television series.


(Note: or at least they were supposed to. Eagle eyed viewers noticed there was a single new frame of footage snuck in with the latest Lost commercials, featuring this shot of a gun-toting Claire:

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Curiously, this frame has since been removed from the commercial, as if they realized the error of their ways and / or got a stern talking to from the Lost writers.)


What could be the reason for all this uber-secrecy? Per Wikipedia:


Season six is the first and only season of Lost ever to not feature any kind of preview or official promotional material such as sneak peeks and promo pictures for future episodes since the Lost producers consider any single frame from the first episodes to be too revealing. According to Lindelof, "even a single scene from the show would basically tip what it is we're doing this year, and what it is we're doing this year is different than what we've done in other years".


If that doesn’t make you giddy like a school girl, you should probably stop reading the Blog right now. Your kind isn’t welcome here.


The thing is, Damon is totally right. As I mentioned in my “Top 10 Unanswered Questions on Lost” post (below), the storyline for the final season of Lost could go off in a number of very dramatically different directions, all depending on what exactly happened when Juliet detonated the Jughead. If they’re doing “something different than what they’ve done in past years”, it may indicate that we’re done with all the flashbacks and flashforwards. If that’s the case, and we’re finally going to have all the action take place in the “present”, showing a single shot of our Survivors could very well reveal what happened to the audience. If we saw our Survivors clean cut and back in the “real world”, we know that they were able to change the past. If we saw a single shot of our Survivors in Dharma suits on the Island, we would know that it didn’t work.


Here’s the thing - I’ve spent more hours thinking about and analyzing Lost than 95% of the world’s population, so you would think I’d have a hunch about what’s going to happen in Lost’s final season… but you would be totally wrong. I have no freaking clue what the final season of Lost will hold. It’s equal parts maddening (“I should be smart enough to figure this show out!”) and exciting (“It could be anything!”), but above all else, it makes me truly appreciate all the lengths that the show’s creators have gone to in order to keep it a surprise.


Which brings us to the season premiere, intriguing titled “LA X”. It’s our first (and as you’ll see in a moment, the ONLY) clue about both the first episode of Lost’s last season – and the direction in which the show is heading.


Most people know that “LAX” is the airport code for the Los Angeles International Airport, which of course, is where Oceanic 815 was originally headed on September 22, 2004. Is the episode title our proof that Juliet was successful in changing the past? That she prevented the Swan Station from being completed – in turn preventing Desmond from needing to push the button – in turn preventing Desmond from failing to push the button while off killing Kelvin – in turn preventing Oceanic 815 from crashing onto Lost Island? Will the final season of Lost will focus on what our Survivors do with their new lives, as complete strangers, having never been to the Island?


Hell no.


As I’ve said before, although the writers have teased us with the concept of doing a “reset” and changing the past and future, it’s the ultimate cop-out because it wipes away all the stories, emotional attachment to the characters, and character development that we’ve watched over the past five seasons. So it can’t be that simple.


It’s also important to note that the episode title isn’t simply “LAX” – it’s “LA X”, with a space between the “LA” and the “X”. So it’s not simply a reference to the Los Angeles airport, although I do think that’s a piece of the puzzle and not an intentional misdirect.


In researching the episode title, I discovered that the Los Angeles International Airport wasn’t always called “LAX”. Back in the day, it was simply referred to as “LA”. But as the country added more and more airports, the abbreviations were expanded to three letters. “LA” changed to “LAX”… but the “X” actually has no meaning or symbolism. Weird, right? Could this mean that the episode title also has no meaning or symbolism?


Double hell no.


This is “Lost” we’re talking about, and with the exception of a few lousy episode titles over the years (I’m looking at you, “Eggtown”), they almost always deliver – summarizing a key theme or moment of the episode while offering a double meaning for the obsessive among us.


While I think the reference to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is intentional, and not simply a red herring, I think the bigger deeper meaning comes when you read the episode title as Los Angeles X. To me, it makes me think of an “alternate” Los Angeles… which is exactly what I think we’re going to get in the first episode of Lost’s final season. But before we break it down any further, let’s see if there are any additional clues from the rest of the episode information…


Guest Stars: NONE.


Guest Star Breakdown: What is this? For the first time in Lost history, are there really no guest stars this episode?!? Nah – something tells me that if the Lost writers were able to convince ABC to not air any scenes from the sixth season in their promos, they’re also able to withhold the traditional listing of guest stars in the press release.


Again, I love their decision to go this route, as the guest star listing can often provide a good deal of insight to the storylines of an episode. But with none to analyze, we’re simply left with the season’s regular stars. In case you were curious, and since we don’t have anything else to discuss in this space, here they are:


"Lost" stars Naveen Andrews as Sayid, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Emilie de Ravin as Claire, Michael Emerson as Ben, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Matthew Fox as Jack, Jorge Garcia as Hurley, Josh Holloway as Sawyer, Daniel Dae Kim as Jin, Yunjin Kim as Sun, Ken Leung as Miles, Evangeline Lilly as Kate, Terry O'Quinn as Locke and Zuleikha Robinson as Ilana.


The interesting thing here is that Alpert and Ilana have been “promoted” to series regulars in Lost’s final season. Given that these two characters exist in the “current” storyline on the Island, it already eliminates the possibility that Juliet and the Jughead prevented Oceanic 815 from crashing – otherwise these characters wouldn’t be around. It also reminds us that after a full season on the sidelines, Claire is back (and apparently packing heat!) along with all the questions that surround her character’s fate and connection with Christian Shephard on the Island.

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(The most noticeable absent character is Desmond… which is sad – since he’s such an awesome character, but also happy – since his life is pretty much perfect right now, meaning it has nowhere to go but down if he gets involved with the Island again. Stay away for your own good, Desmond!)


Episode Description: The aftermath from Juliet's detonation of the hydrogen bomb is revealed.


Episode Breakdown: I love it. The only thing this episode title tells us is that Juliet did indeed detonate the Jughead at the end of last season (which wasn’t really being debated, was it?), and that we’re going to find out what happened (thus answering Lost Outstanding Question #10 on my list!) It leaves the rest up to the viewer to wonder and ponder (two words that look like they should rhyme, but don’t) the mysteries of Lost for one last time.


So that’s all we get. From those few morsels of information, I’m supposed to come up with some genius, coherent theory about what “LA X” is all about. Yikes. Here goes nothing…


Here are the few things I’m confident about:


  1. The Island will remain a prominent player. From the start, I’ve said that Lost can never really stray too far away from the Island. More than just being a character on the show, it’s probably the most popular and important character on the show.
  2. The most interesting and important storyline on the show right now is the Jacob / Anti-Jacob storyline. It’s the storyline that will move story forward from an overall timeline perspective (it’s the one that takes place in the “present”), and it’s the one that will yield the most information about all Lost’s great mysteries. We need to get all our characters into this single storyline as quickly as possible.
  3. Whatever happened, happened. This still holds true – because without it, you can’t continue with the “present” storyline with Jacob and Anti-Jacob. It would be totally different and potentially eliminate the “loophole”. Also, as mentioned earlier, changing the past cheapens everything that’s happened for the previous five seasons.


So where does that leave us with “LA X”?


Somehow, against all odds, and against all the things I just said I’m sure about, I fully expect the season to start with Oceanic 815 successfully landing in Los Angeles. More specifically, I’m expecting a shocking opening scene where we see Oceanic 815 flying over the Island – and not crashing. It would just be a shockingly powerful and puzzling moment, and leave the audience wonder WTF (why the face).


But it’ll all be a tease.


Here’s where I struggle reconciling all this in my head. I’m expecting the writers to tease us with the notion that Juliet and the Jughead did change the past, even though we all know there is no way that could happen. I just can’t figure out how exactly they’re going to do it – because even the best explanations I can come up with still leave me wanting more.


The best I’ve come up with is the Lost version of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. So for an episode or two, perhaps we’ll be treated to an “alternate reality” of “what could have been” if Juliet and the Jughead did change the past – only to find out in the end that it really didn’t work.


Initially, this seems like a cop-out and waste of time. Unless you approach it from the view of the audience realizing that the crash on the Island was the BEST thing that ever happened to our characters. The “alternate reality” or “Los Angeles X” scenes feature things like Jack spiraling out of control with drug abuse, Kate rotting away in jail, Locke going back to a miserable life at the Box Factory, and Boone becoming a vampire. Then when we finally realize it’s all a tease, we realize that even though it’s been a rough journey along the way, the Island is truly a “magical” place that changed all our characters’ lives for the better.


So that’s one option. Here are the other two I kicked around that were even worse than that:


1. A play on the concept of “The universe has a way of course correcting itself” that we’ve heard on Lost in the past. Even though Juliet and the Jughead temporarily changed the past, somehow everything still shakes down the way it always was supposed to be. The universe found a way for something else to bring down Oceanic 815, Desmond did something different with his time on the Island, etc. In the end, all our characters end up in the exact same place, even though some of the details in getting there have been changed. So even though detonating the Jughead threw a big rock in the stream, eventually, the stream found a way around and back down the path it started down.


2. A play on the Desmond flashes. When Desmond was involved with the implosion of the Swan Station, he ended up naked and gained the ability to see the future. What if when Juliet detonated the Jughead, something similar happens – but our Time Traveling Survivors see the “alternate reality” future in flashes (and – fingers crossed – Juliet and Kate end up naked).


See what I mean? Each of them would technically work, but none of them are great. And I’m expecting (read: hoping for) something much greater from Lost.


The bigger problem that we haven’t discussed yet is the pesky issue of getting our 1977 Survivors back to 2007, where they need to be for the main storyline to continue in the present. I see two options available here:


1. Quite simply, the detonation of the Jughead “zapped” them back to their true time. Heck, maybe you even tie this in with the whole “Universe Course Correcting” thing. Maybe the Universe doesn’t want our Survivors to change the past, and in order to prevent it, it flashes them forward to 2007 right before the Jughead detonates.


2. Jacob touching the Time Traveling Survivors in the past effectively “activated them” to be called upon if / when he dies. Ben stabbing Jacob and pushing him into the fire “calls” our Survivors to Jacob, even though it means pulling them through time. Kinda “magical”, but Jacob seems like a magical kind of guy.


See how crappy all these theories sound? I told you this season is impossible to predict! Those crafty writers!


At any rate, those are the two major storylines you should be thinking about for the next week – getting all our Survivors back together, and figuring out how they’re going to trick us with the “Los Angeles X” alternate reality. Or you could just sit back and relax, knowing that we don’t have enough clues to make any really good educated guesses, and just enjoy the surprise.


Also, you might want to start saving up all your brain cells and analytic abilities for immediately following the Season Premiere. Check this out:


Lindelof finally conceded that "by the end of the season premiere of season six, you will have pretty much all the fundamental building blocks you need to put together a hell of a theory as to what it all means and where the show [will] end."


Translation: after the next two hours of Lost, I’ll have no excuse for not being able to figure out how Lost will end and how all the mysteries and storylines will tie together.


Yikes. That’s a lot of pressure. And it all starts this Tuesday.


Programming note!


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND, 2010

8:00 – “Lost: Beginning of the End” (clip show)

9:00 – “LA X, Part 1”

10:00 – “LA X, Part 2”

11:00 – Visit “Lost and Gone Forever” for the group freak-out session


Until then, Happy Losting!



http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=488.0

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36 comments:

Jason said...

Yay! First comment of the new season! WOOT!

Other options for the meaning of "LA X"

1. LA for the city and X for X marks the spot like a treasure of some sort. Tangible or intangible.

2.) LA for the city and X for the Roman Numeral 10 maybe something to do with them flashing forward 10 years into the future or maybe for the 10 people who were on the LA bound plane who the series will circle around as it winds up.

Alec said...

let's try this again: clickety linky link to the forums!

Brian said...

Alec - Good work, friend. The post has been updated with the link as well!

PHG said...

LOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jeff said...

Brian, I've been reading your blog since season 2, and it has become apart of my LOST experience. I'm really excited that the blog is back and sad that the end is here.

VictorC said...

Wow, less than a week! Can't wait!

Jeff, I haven't been part of this blog quite that long, but I feel pretty similar.

Rebecca said...

SQUEEEEEE!!!! You're back {with regular LOST posting}! LOST is almost back! aksdjlfkjsdfj SO excited. I didn't know there was a space in LA X until reading this - interesting! Maybe for a moment we think they landed safely because someone hits their head during the explosion and has a short 'dream'...but then comes to & is on the Island and all is right with the {our} world again. I can't believe we'll learn SO much in two hours, wow!

Bobb said...

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.....Lost....I have missed you so! My initial thought of "LA X" was that the X stood for 10 people. But any further than that and my brain just started thinking about cookies.

Salvar said...

We know that Juliet detonated the bomb, and the expectation is that the chain of causation will then lead to 815 not crashing on the island. But... have we thought about where else that chain of causation would lead? Maybe they do change the future--but in a way they didn't expect. But how? If the nuke neutralizes the island's powers, that could have a huge effect on the Dharma initiative, the other people looking for the island, and perhaps the world itself! (Valenzetti equation, anyone? :D)

Gib said...

Glad to see you back Brian.

Over the hiatus I've re-watched all of Lost and also re-read all blog posts on here.

To be honest, its pretty amazing how spot on you are with your theories.

Keep up the good work.

J-Bos! said...

I'm ridiculously excited about the premiere. I think the 'X' in 'LA X' might just refer to a variable (like a math equation) with LA being the variable. It sounds a lot more disappointing in terms of deeper meaning but it could just mean that whatever happens in LA, tells us what happened with the bomb (which is kind of what the episode description is anyway)

gail said...

i have never commented but wanted to tell you that i really enjoy your blog and look forward to all of your writings about lost. i'm super excited for this season and looking forward to the 'group freak-out session' :)

Gerbs said...

I, too, am a voyeuristic long time viewer of your blog since season two, and hardly comment. However, as the last season is upon us, I feel compelled. Aaaaaaaaah FREAK OUT!
That being said, anyone heard the theories floating around that Anti-Jacob=Smoke Monster?? I thought that's interesting.

Dave Harty said...

I like the idea of the X in LA X referring the the variable X. I also thought that the X could stand for 10, as in the year 2010.

Here's a theory I haven't thought all the way through yet, but what if the original crash was the "course correction" the universe needed?

In other words, exploding the H bomb sets off a chain of events in the past that prevent the Lossties from coming to the Island on their own and the only way they can get there is through the crash of 815. It might explain the contact some of the survivors had with each other (and Jacob) prior to coming to the island.

jj said...

Heh, why the face. When Modern Family started, I thought "Brian from LAGF would like this show". Look what Lost has done, brought people from all over together that wouldn't normally have any reason to be.

Rob Rose said...

I'm thinking we get a short couple of minute shot of the Losties arriving at LAX (Mostly likely from Jack's perspective to mirror The Pilot) very Desmond, Flashes Before Your Eyes-like. Confused knowing something was wrong, and then something triggering their minds to start freaking and to have a ton of different scenarios playing out, until somehow Jack's on the ground on a tile floor looks around he's alone... until its revealed he's in a Dharma station, and the show picks up from there... I'm thinking its solved and the main storyline is on its way by the time LOST comes accross the screen

Sam said...

My thought is that the opening scene is everyone back in Sydney about to board the plane, but those who were touched by Jacob now have their previous experiences in their memories, and are debating whether to get on the plane. We see all the old favorites who have since died interacting with the main characters, and Jack convinces the touched that it they have to board the plane and see what happens - destined to be on the island or could they control their own fate by detonating the bomb? Then they land in LA. And the X is the mystery that awaits them in LA.

I know I am completely wrong about this, and I love that! I can't wait until the beginning of the end!

jack said...

after watching LOST all these years, we all must know anything is possible. i have NO clue what will happen Tues but can't wait for the fun to begin!

Ricardo Reyes said...

"La X" means "The X" in spanish :)

Obviously they want us to think of LAX as Los Angeles Airpot code, but I think the title should also be read in spanish, as in "the x marks the spot", or "the x in the equation"

hi cbones1979 said...

So for "LA X" it could mean "The Variable"

Hobbes said...

I think it's like an episode of Family Feud.

"Name the top five places the survivors could be after detonating a nuclear bomb over a pocket of highly concentrated electromagnetic energy?"

-smack on the buzzer-
"Is it 'LA'?"

- "Survey SAYS!!?? Is it?... LA "X"


Actually I think Brian's right about it being the Desmond Effect tied in with what happens, happens.

The timeline continuity is completely maintained. Richard Alpert’s line to Sun “I saw all your friends die.” When Sun asked him if he knew what happened to them pointing to the Dharma picture. To Richard, after the nuke, the survivors ARE presumably vaporized. And Dharma still builds the hatch to study this energy source.

We saw what happened when Desmond turned the key. This presumably detonated a bomb to quell the surging release of EM energy as a catastrophic result of not entering the numbers.

I assume however the Desmond Incident and the Dharma Incident differ in that Desmond’s Incident was more controlled and only resulted in his Flashes. The smart folks in Dharma learned from their Incident, which fair to say, was a little less controlled. I'm guessing because the official “Incident” was much more powerful of an event in relation to the Desmond event, that it propels the Losties (minus Juliet - but I'm hopeful) back to the future (cue the music); on the Island, not in LA.

“What happens, happens” will be challenged but just not by Faraday. I think that’s the whole AJ motivation loop-hole story line for control of the Island. But Jacob’s last line “they’re coming” seems to be a loop-hole to the loop-hole. Possible "candidate" tie in.

From the survivors point of view. It’s interesting to look at that Daniel was a part of it the whole time. He is the cause of it all. He didn’t have a hope in hell in changing anything. It was his desire to prevent an accident that subsequently gives Dharma the whole hatch/numbers button protocol. And because of Daniels "say so" (funny what apocalyptic warnings from the future will do to you) to Dr. Chang, the hatch residence really-DO-believe they are saving the world by pushing a button.

Happy Losting and Freak-Out Follow-up.

Mark, Dana and Lila McMurray said...

Anyone else think the bomb going off is "the incident"? Miles even mentions this in last season's finale.

Dave Harty said...

Whatever happened to "Whatever happened, happened"?

I'd find it hard to believe that the explosion we anticipate would not have killed Dr. Chang and even Richard.

But obviously those two 9and maybe more?)survived past that date in history. And it clearly affected Chang because we see him with a damaged arm in the video.

So could the explosion have had the desired effect Jack and Daniel expected without killing Chang and maybe Richard too?

fabdub said...

well you are right about the flight landing ... the videos are all over abc.com !! so Jack thinks it worked out ..

Lynda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
falcon said...

C'mon gang - how about some commentary on the amazing video now at abc.com (in addition to the trailer that was on DH last night).....I'm overwhelmed with the new information and waiting for ya'll to help me make sense of it!!!

jack said...

http://abc.go.com/shows/lost

Like Falcon said....what does everyone make of this? Not a spoiler given it appears on the offical LOST website. Appears like #815, following the incident, didn't crash, at least as or when it originally did.

Sam said...

I just re-watched the finale from last season, and the scene of Jack in the OR caught my attention. It is the scene where he counts to 5. In this scene his dad stops him and makes him count to 5.

In the series premiere, Jack first mentions this incident to Kate as she stitches him up, but Jack said at the time that HE stopped and counted to 5. There was no mention of his father - like he was doing some heroic act by himself.

I don't know if this was discussed, and I can't remember if Jack later retold the story the way it really happened.

I thought it was interesting.

That is all.

Rebecca said...

TONIGHT!!! :D :D :D

Dave Harty said...

Sam - it looked like Jack stopped and counted to 5 again before he dropped the bomb into the hatch.

Hobbes said...

Sam – LOL I noticed that too and asked myself the same question. But I chalked it to pride and necessity. When Jack was trying to get Kate to sew him up, what he needed was to tell Kate a story that would calm her down enough to help him. He didn't need to give the embarrassing details of Christian humiliating him to his surgery team.

Jacob/AJ – re-watching their beach scene with the arrival of the Black Rock (I’m guessing the potential arrival of Richard Alpert). AJ says to Jacob, “You are still trying to prove me wrong aren’t you.” “Nothing changes they come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.” “Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?” “One of these days, sooner or later I’m going to find a loop-hole.”
Jacob replies, “When you do I’ll be right here.”
This cat and mouse banter got me to thinking how when Ilanna and her crew went to Jacob’s cabin and he wasn’t there. So Jacob must have been hiding out at the cabin. Was the circle of ash protecting Jacob from AJ/Smoke monster until the circle of ash was broken? When the ash was broken did Jacob flee to the base of the statue to hide out? But did this allow for AJ/Smoke Monster to then use the cabin to manipulate events via Christian and Claire. Fooling Locke by saying he speaks for Jacob. I guess I’m wondering which side the “dead” people are playing for. Also did Jacob know how it would all play out regardless (in the end) and did he know that AJ would eventually find his loop-hole and their showdown would be there? “When you do I’ll be right here.”
So is season six simply about how Jacob has a counter-move (love the Chess commercial) to AJ’s loop-hole and ultimately proves AJ wrong about whatever it is they are in conflict about (control of the island)?

Dragos "Poetru" Nica said...

The fact that we are shown in the season finale that Jacob had a close connection to Ilana/Locke/Jack/Kate/Sawyer/Sayid/Hurley/Jin/Sun seems to make it much more likely to me that "they're coming" refers directly to those people he touched. He also talks about having a choice and free-will and it is an ongoing theme throughout the finale last season.
It seems to me that Jacob does not believe in the "whatever happened, happened" and that that is AJ's way of thinking and he is trying to "prove him wrong" because like he says, "it only ends once, everything that happens until then is progress".
With this new loophole being found, it seems like that is the end that Jacob was referencing but that he had a countermove in using the people he touched to come back and fight for him.

Also want to add that when the bomb doesn't go off originally Sawyer says "this doesn't look like LAX" which struck me as important, maybe some foreshadowing to the plan not working out exactly like they thought it would.

Dragos "Poetru" Nica said...

P.S. Excuse my language but OMFG LOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for all the blogging man, always very insightful and always makes me so excited for upcoming Losting.

Brian Leonard said...

Catch up here, quick!!!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eJ3IC0Rkw0

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