Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Everybody Loves Hugo" Analysis!

To kick things off this week, I’d like to address a question that my wife has gotten from a few people this week (strangely enough, none of my friends ever really ask me about the Blog – or read it):


The question is this:


“How does Brian feel about Lost ending? Is he happy? Sad? Worried that his life will lose all meaning and purpose?”


What might be surprising is that I’m actually really excited about Lost ending – because it’s going to finally offer the payoff that I’ve been waiting for since the summer of 2004 (yes, I watched Lost illegally before it originally aired – so I’ve been waiting longer than almost anyone in the world). I understand those who don’t want Lost to end, because when something is really good you want it to last forever - but you have to realize that unlike almost every other show on TV, Lost was never intended to last forever. In that way, it’s much more like a book than a TV show. A book has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You wouldn’t want the middle of a book to just keep getting longer and longer to prolong getting to the ending. You want the middle to be important and to matter to the story, but also to serve its purpose – which is to get you to the end and conclude the story.


On the other hand, most TV shows have the ability to live forever. They can reinvent themselves from season to season, or at least introduce and close a new storyline each season. Usually it’s the audience losing interest or the writers running out of ideas that result in a TV show ending. Lost isn’t like this. While it has had “sub-storylines” that were introduced and wrapped up most seasons – it’s really been one big storyline from the start.


It needs to end.


Back in Season Three, the fans and the writers both realized that an end point was necessary to ensure that the story didn’t end up spinning its wheels, wasting our time on trivial storylines that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. At that point, by taking the unprecedented move of setting an end date for a series that was still immensely popular and profitable, Lost accepted that it wasn’t a normal TV show.


Will I miss the show? For sure. We’ll see how things wrap up, but it’s definitely a contender for my favorite television show of all time – and without a doubt it’s going to be the television show that I spend the most time with over the course of my life. I haven’t kept track, but doing some rough math I would estimate that I’ve spent over an entire month of my life watching and writing about this show, and that doesn’t even count all the time I spend thinking about, reading about it, or discussing it with others.


While it’ll be nice to have all that extra time back in my schedule, it also introduces the big question for the Blog – what the hell am I going to write about once Lost is over? People are hoping that some new show comes along that is worthy of in-depth analyzing, but you never know – even if one did come along, what if I don’t like it? Lost was the perfect storm of a show I loved that also required a lot of time, effort, and thought to fully appreciate. Who knows if that storm will come again? Do I just start writing about random things? Do I just write about TV, music, movies, politics, or whatever else inspires me? That I don’t know – but I’m more than open to suggestions… because at the end of the day, I like to write when it’s something I’m passionate about. On the other hand, writing about something that my heart isn’t totally into (like some of the Blog posts over the years) is torturous, and results in craptastic results.


But back to Lost – I’m pumped for the ending. I’m excited to see what the writers have in store for us, and I’m excited to go back and revisit old seasons with the newfound understanding of the big picture. I’m curious to see how well the old seasons hold up after you know the conclusion – what mysteries seem less interesting, what hints there were along the way, and whether or not all our time and effort that we’ve put into this show was worth it all along.


So there’s your answer. If there are any other burning questions, feel free to post them in the Comments and I’d be happy to address them.


On to this week’s episode!



Flash Sideways. I have to start with the part of the episode (and season) that has occupied my mind the most this week – the bane of my existence, the Flash Sideways. The way that Hurley’s epiphany played out was somewhat predictable – he recreated a moment from Reality #1 that held intense emotional connection to him – his picnic with Libby that never quite happened, complete with a little smooching. If you think about it, that seems to be the common theme that leads to these epiphanies: emotional moments in Reality #2 that mirror moments from Reality #1. It sounds like for Charlie and Faraday, it was more of a “love at first sight” thing – and maybe part of that has to do with the fact that both are actually dead in Reality #1. But for both Desmond and Hurley, it was the recreation of a moment that triggered the connection.


Which brings us to Desmond running over John Locke at the conclusion of the episode.


Based on the same logic that we applied to Charlie and Faraday, Locke should be in the same boat. He’s dead in Reality #1, but alive in Reality #2. If he were to experience a moment that had an intense emotional connection to him, he’d probably have his epiphany and see the truth. Since his relationship with Helen was pretty strained in Reality #1, his time with her didn’t trigger it the way it did for Charlie-Claire and Faraday-Charlotte, even if perhaps the two of them were truly in love in Reality #2.


Which raises the question – what was the most emotional moment for John Locke in Reality #1?


I would narrow it down to three events:

  1. Getting pushed out of the window by his father, breaking his back.
  2. Crashing on the Island and magically gaining the ability to walk.
  3. Encountering Smokey for the first time on the Island.


While it’s possible that Locke could gain his ability to walk in Reality #2 (thanks to Jack, perhaps) – or encounter a vision of a black pillar of smoke (from something burning) that would trigger Locke’s epiphany, both of those events would take at least another episode or two to occur. Whereas with option number one, it could have already happened, allowing the Flash Sideways storyline to keep zipping along.


Desmond running over Locke with his car accomplished the same thing as Locke’s father pushing him out of the window – it was an intense physical moment, one where his life hung in the balance, one where he was lying on the ground, bloodied and looking towards the sky for answers. Heck, if you look at a screen shot from the two events, they even look like mirror images of each other!

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If this is the case, John Locke just had his epiphany.


It also gives us some new “rules” for these epiphanies – most notably that they don’t have to be events that occurred on the Island, so long as they occurred at some point in the life of the person in Reality #1. It would also establish that they can be “close” to the event from Reality #1 without being an exact replica, so long as the emotional connection is the same… which you think would make things a lot easier for the remaining Survivors in Reality #2 to experience them.


However, it also raises one very big question: now what?


Desmond said that he had “something to show” some of his fellow passengers of Oceanic 815 at the end of “Happily Ever After”. Well, he helped Hurley get into a position to “see the truth” – but upon seeing that Hurley had his epiphany, he didn’t recruit Hurley for some bigger mission or give him any further instructions. Instead, he just drove away. Hurley has no way of getting in contact with Desmond, and Desmond has no idea where Hurley will go or what he will do with this newfound enlightenment. Unless Desmond is suddenly magically “all-knowing”, or Hurley is going to use his deep pockets to track Desmond down, the chances of the two of them reuniting in the Flash Sideways seems pretty slim right now. It was as if seeing the truth was all that Desmond cared about. With that done, Hurley is checked off his list and he could move on to John Locke. With John Locke done, he can move on to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Sun, and Jin.


So assuming Desmond accomplishes his “mission” with each of these people, what is the end result? Each of our Survivors realize that the lives they are living in Reality #2 are fake and…


  • …attempt to get back to Reality #1? I don’t see how that would be possible. It’s not as though they could detonate another nuclear bomb or create some other cataclysmic event. There’s not enough time, and without the magic electromagnetic properties of the Island it would probably just kill them all.
  • …appreciate the second chance at life that Reality #2 offers them? They appreciate the sacrifices of their friends and learn from the lessons on the Island, and vow to live their lives to the fullest, truly living “happily ever after”? What about someone like Jack, who has a “fake son”? Does he love him less? What about the characters who died in Reality #1? They magically come back to life? Seems pretty cheap and after-school-special-y to me.
  • …the collective “waking up” of all the Survivors causes Reality #2 to vanish, whoosing them all back to Reality #1? But what would that even mean? Our Survivors in Reality #1 don’t seem to have any notion that Reality #2 exists – so were it to vanish, would they even know? Would they care? I don’t see how this would tie back to the main storyline at all, and would make all the time we’ve spent in the Flash Sideways this season a horrible waste of time.


So I’m stumped. I can’t come up with any logical way for things to conclude in Reality #2 without seeming like an enormous copout – which is why I keep coming back to my best theory from last week, where Reality #2 is all some elaborate hoax put on by Anti-Jacob to keep our Survivors out of his way while he attempts to carry out his mission. The problem with this theory is that as the weeks go on, it seems like Anti-Jacob isn’t as all-knowing and all-powerful as we once thought… at least not powerful enough to create an alternate reality and put our Survivors into a Reality #2 coma.


So instead of thinking about the big picture explanation, I’ve tried to go about this another way – to think about some of the individual little scenes that could give the conclusion of the Flash Sideways dramatic weight and emotional importance. I can picture things like:


  • Locke “sacrificing” himself in Reality #2 by accepting that he needs to return to Reality #1, even though that means he will die.
  • Juliet and Sawyer getting one more day of happiness in Reality #2 before Sawyer says goodbye to her for good.
  • Jack understanding that if he had the chance, he could have been a good father, then returning to Reality #1 where it will never be possible.


The common thread in all of them is a return to Reality #1 driven by our characters choosing to give up something better in Reality #2. I hate to go back to it, but this all starts to feel like my “deal with the devil” theory from earlier this season. Maybe that’s still the best option available.


The characters are given fantastic imaginary lives, and all they have to do in return is accept them and let Reality #1 go to hell. But since they have all grown as people over the past five seasons, they take the high road and sacrifice themselves to do the right thing – to give up their pseudo-perfect lives in Reality #2 for the sake of the greater good for the rest of the world of Reality #1. That seems very Losty to me, and would leave me satisfied (that’s what she said!) with the Flash Sideways… but I still can’t quite figure out how the story would get to that point. If someone else could figure it out for me, I’d greatly appreciate it - because I keep trying unsuccessfully.



Motivation. Similarly, the other thing I’ve been trying to figure out this week is the motivation behind the different characters on the Island. What’s their end game? The only character with a clear motivation right now is SmokeLocke. He wants to get all the Candidates together, go to the Hydra Island, get onboard Ajira 316, and leave the Island (allegedly – the whole flying Ajira 316 off the Island seems a little outlandish to me, but I digress). How about everyone else?


A lot of the characters have general motivation right now – like Team Alpert wanting to stop SmokeLocke by blowing up Ajira 316… but then what? Being trapped on the Island forever with a pissed off Smokey who could kill them all in an instant? Some characters clearly want to leave the Island – like Sawyer, Sun, and Jin – but the motivations of the rest seems less clear. Miles had a chance to leave the Island in Season Four, but stuck around. Jack had a terrible life off-Island. Would he really want to go back to it? I guess what I’m getting at is that even though our characters are approaching this big “battle for the Island”, I don’t know what they’re actually working towards achieving in the end. Restoring the order to the Island and staying there forever? Destroying the Island and leaving it for good? Saving the world, even if it means sacrificing themselves?

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I know the writers are intentionally keeping the specifics of what SmokeLocke, Widmore, and Desmond are attempting to accomplish secret to allow for maximum surprise at the payoff, but I have to fault them here for not building up the motivations of all the other characters better. We’re moving towards a big battle between the key players on the Island, but without knowing what each individual Survivor is hoping to see in the outcome of that battle, it has taken a lot of the drama out of the individual Survivors actions and decisions on the Island. Hopefully that turns around this week with most of our characters finally getting together.


As for this week’s episode, the one character’s motivation that I’m most intrigued by is Michael… or Ghost Michael. He says that he’s come to stop Hurley from getting everyone killed. He then tells him that since people are listening to Hurley now, if everyone gets killed, it’s going to be Hurley’s fault. Really? Let’s analyze.



Whispers. I wish there was a tag for “saying something like Brick on the Middle – head down and whispering” – because that’s totally how I just said “whispers” in my head when I wrote that.


This week finally offered the big payoff to one of Lost’s longest mysteries – the mysterious whispers that we’ve heard on the Island:


HURLEY: Hey, you around? Michael? You're stuck on the Island aren't you?

MICHAEL: 'Cause of what I did.

HURLEY: And... there's others out here like you, aren't there? That's what the whispers are?

MICHAEL: Yeah. We're the ones who can't move on.


Was it heavy handed and anti-climactic? Absolutely.

Was it what we expected all along and what makes the most sense? Probably.


I’m fine with the answer. From what I’ve read, the purpose of the whispers actually changed over the seasons when the concept of the Others changed. Time for a history lesson!


Originally, the Others were going to be a more primal people on the Island (notice how they appeared in ragged clothes, barefoot the first few times that we saw glimpses of them on the Island). Although the writers later tried to cover this up with the lame “we’re wearing costumes” storyline (looking back, seriously?), the truth is that the changed their original concept for what the others would be.


It seems to me that originally, the Others were going to be more of a primitive “tribe” on the Island that worshipped the Island, were “one with the Island”, and were semi-spiritual and mystical. The whispers were going to be their mysterious semi-supernatural way to communicate amongst each other. Somewhere along the way, the writers decided it would be much more interesting to have the Others be normal people that were brought to the Island. So the concept of the whispers had to be changed along with them.


What’s curious is that even after the concept of the Others changed, the writers continued to use them much in the same way as they did at the start. The appearance of the Others continued to signal the arrival of Others all the way up to the start of this season, when our Survivors were grabbed by the Others outside the Temple. I might have changed that philosophy and hoped that people just forgot about the details surrounding the Others in the first season by the time they were revealed in the sixth season – but it’s not my show.


Back to Michael – whispers aside, his conversation with Hurley paints the picture of a “trapped soul” on the Island. Someone who “can’t move on” because of what they did. You’ll also remember that he said the following:


MICHAEL: And Hurley, if you ever do see Libby again, tell her I'm very sorry.


We can take this one of two ways:


  1. The “ones who can’t move on” are only the ones who did bad things on the Island, and it results in their souls being in a sort of “purgatory” on the Island to atone for their sins.
  2. The souls on the Island can’t interact with the other souls on the Island, and are leading a really, really lonely existence there rather than it being a soul Island party with random hookups and all night soul keggers.


Since the transcripts of the whispers often indicate a conversation between multiple people (even after the concept of the Others changed), I’m going to vote for Option #1. If you are a bad person and you die on or around the Island, your soul gets “stuck” there. If you’re a good person and you die on or around the Island, you’re free to go. (Note: but if you die off the Island, you’re free to visit the Island if you’d like. See: Isabella).


Of course, the other option is that the Island truly is a purgatory for any “lost souls”, and everyone who dies – regardless of where in the world - as a “bad person” is trapped there until they atone for their sins. This would literally make the Island purgatory – but a purgatory that also exists as a physical Island in the real world that you can visit. I don’t think the writers will go that far, although with some of the talk of Anti-Jacob being “evil incarnate” it’s not out of the question to start viewing things like Smokey as the conglomeration of all these evil, lost souls angrily roaming the Island – and wanting to be free.


The other thing that is curious is why Michael decides to step in and help Hurley now. If he’s been on the Island since the end of Season Four, why didn’t he step in and help out any of the people who have died on the Island since then? Or given them some “tips” to help them along the way? Was this just a case of giving the character of Michael a curtain call on the show, or are things at such a critical state that it’s imperative that he assist our Survivors to help prevent the world from ending? Or is he just trying to use this action as a good deed he can put on his resume to prove that he has atoned for his sins in hopes of being able to finally leave the Island?


I think we’re all hoping for Option 2 or 3, but something tells me that Option 1 is the most likely.



Ilana. “There she was - handpicked by Jacob, trained to come and protect you candidates, no sooner does she tell you who you are, then she blows up. The Island was done with her. Makes me wonder what's gonna happen when it's done with us.”


Ben’s comments this week remind us that even though we’re talking about Jacob and Anti-Jacob as the “god-like players” in this game, they’re really not. Remember my business / religion metaphor from earlier this season?


Mystical Island Power – governing body of all those on the Island, the creator of the rules. It’s the unseen, unexplainable force that keeps order. (If you want to go religious, he’s “God”)


Leader – Jacob, the CEO of the Island, in charge of the “big picture stuff”. Creates lists and messages that he sends to his employees (the Others) to keep things running smoothly. (If you want to go religious, he’s “Jesus”)


Security System – Anti-Jacob / SmokeLocke / Smokey. The “muscle” on the Island that exists to take out trouble makers and judge those on the Island to make sure they are “worthy”. (If you want to go religious, he’s “The Holy Spirit”)


Secretary – Richard Alpert. The connection between the Leader and the employees (the Others). He takes lists from one to the other and provides necessary information to both sides. The Leader uses a Secretary like Richard Alpert to accomplish the same goal. (If you want to go religious, he’s “The Pope”)


The Employees – The Others. People who were brought to the Island and deemed worthy, allowed to be let in on some Island secrets, given some sense of purpose and happiness in serving the Leader, and getting a sweet life in paradise in return. (If you want to go religious, they’re “Followers of the Religion”)


I think it still holds true – although maybe we should now add a footnote that says “all employees are pawns in the game, and are only as good as carrying out their role in the master plan”. If this is the case, then our remaining Survivors are still in store for “big things” and will have a major role to play in the remainder of the season. This gives me hope for characters like Miles, Frank, and Ben, who haven’t really done much this season aside from a key scene or two – but it also seems a little crazy to think that the moment that the Island is done with you, it kills you. Sure, that seems to have been the case with Ilana and Michael – but what about all the other people who died, many senselessly on the Island? Was the Island “done” with Libby when Michael shot her? No. Was the Island “done” with all the Others in the Temple that were slaughtered by Smokey? No.


Maybe we should look at this from the other perspective. The Island doesn’t kill you when it’s done with you (which would make it a malevolent force). Instead, it PROTECTS you while it still needs you (which would make it a benevolent force), but after that you’re on your own. You can accidentally get shot. You can get eaten by Smokey. You can toss around unstable dynamite and get blown up. That’s on you. Not the Island.


The Island is fundamentally good. But that doesn’t stop people from being bad, killing, or just being plain careless.



Wells. Aside from the whispers, the other big Island mythology reveal concerned the wells on the Island. For one, the well that eventually became the Orchid, that houses the FDW (Frozen Donkey Wheel, the thing Ben / Locke pushed to “move the Island”) deep within isn’t the only one. Per SmokeLocke:


LOCKE: They were looking for answers. A long time ago places like the one we're standing at right now made compass needles spin. And the people holding the compasses needed to know why, so they dug.


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To me, this makes total sense, and I like the way it starts to give a logical explanation for something totally mysterious like the FDW. It makes you wonder if there are other FDW on the Island, or if the FDW well was the only one that they actually dug deep enough to reach the gooey magical core of the Island. It’s clear that this particular well doesn’t go so deep – since the preview for next week shows Desmond sitting in the bottom of it. So why did SmokeLocke throw Desmond down the well, if it effectively accomplishes the same thing as keeping him tied up to a tree, which is how he started the episode?


Thankfully, SmokeLocke told us just a few seconds later:


LOCKE: You're out here, middle of the jungle, with me, not a person on earth even knows you're here.


Keeping Desmond tied up in the Jungle, just a short distance away from Team SmokeLocke, increased the likelihood of him being found – especially since we already have seen that Team Widmore knows where that camp is (since they abducted Jin from it just two episodes ago). SmokeLocke thinks that throwing Desmond down the well is a way to keep him out of the picture… something he definitely wants because he doesn’t quite understand Desmond – and doesn’t like that he isn’t afraid.


But as I mentioned in my Instant Reactions, this is going to be more of an all-time backfire than betting a kiss on making a hockey goal from mid-ice, because Widmore is actually looking for these pockets of electromagnetic anomalies on the Island. He’s got a map and he’s got Jin, who made the map. It looked like there were only a handful of these pockets on the Island… so it’s only a matter of time before they find him once they start looking.


As for Widmore himself, SmokeLocke once again brought up the “most likely” explanation for his involvement with the Island – that he’s only interested in the power that the Island could bring him (and, in my mind, the monetary gain that goes along with it). Widmore’s been coming across like a “good guy” in the past few weeks – but this comment was a nice reminder that the most likely motivation for Widmore is probably still something less than 100% altruistic.



Jack-ob. Lastly, the episode dropped a pretty big hint that Jack is going to be the “next Jacob”, if there is going to be one. I know he’s probably been the front runner all along (heck, Jacob even took him to the Lighthouse and let him sit and stare at the ocean for a few hours to try and make him see how important he is), but a lot of people have been theorizing that maybe it’s going to be Hurley. But for me, this statement pretty much seals the deal:


JACK: Ever since Juliet died - ever since I got her killed - all I've wanted was to fix it. But I can't. I can't ever fix it. You've no idea how hard it is for me to sit back and listen to other people tell me what I should do...but I think maybe that's the point...maybe I'm supposed to let go.


In short, he’s realizing that he needs to let go of his past mistakes, stop trying to fix everything, and stop trying to make decisions for other people… kinda like Jacob, who was pretty adamant about letting people make their own decisions – right or wrong – in hopes of eventually proving that they are fundamentally good. Sure, he might give a little push here or there, but he’s a “hands off” kind of leader – and that’s exactly what Jack is becoming before our very eyes. If he can keep himself alive for the rest of the season, I think the job is his.


Phew. That was a good one. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually pretty happy with the way that Blog turned out. But you tell me. Am I crazytown? Right on? And what should I be doing with this silly little Blog after Lost ends?


Discuss!


http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=538.0


Also, http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=117661664917077


(PS - what's the protocol there? Do I become a fan of my own group? Or is that kinda conceited?)


29 comments:

Dragos "Poetru" Nica said...

The only thing I can give to help you in figuring out the end of the Flash Sideways storyline is this: it makes me think of the end of The Stand, a book which the creators have repeatedly said is a huge influence on the show (like when Alpert is freed from his chains by MIB in Ab Aeterno).

The end of The Stand (SPOILER ALERT)starts off after an unexpected explosion resulting in the death of 3 or 4 main characters in the novel. After that, another 4 main characters go on a mission to go to the camp of the "evil man" and basically all but one sacrifice themselves and detonate a nuclear bomb in order to destroy the evil camp.

After that, the character still alive is saved by someone who is receiving help through the form of visions of one of the characters dead in the explosion (much like Hurley). In this scenario, Hurley would then save Jack while several of the other main characters die in order to destroy reality #2 or to destroy SmockeLocke in reality #1. This could also be the storyline just in reality #2 where all the characters (like you said) sacrifice themselves for the good of the entire world, much like in The Stand.
I think this is pretty likely, as I don't believe Damon and Carleton will be shy in killing off main characters in the next few episodes. Hurley's death would certainly be a tearjerker.

Sam said...

I would be surprised if any of the Oceanics remain on the island at the end of all this. I think they came to the island for redemption, and once redeemed, they need to take this new self and apply it to their 'real' lives off-island, or else the redemption wasn't worth much.

How good is redemption if only applied to Fantasy Island? Unless, this is purgatory and they need to move on to a better place.

I am guessing that reality 2 is where they will all end up, but with the memories of reality 1 unlocked (no pun intended). These memories will serve them well to be better people in their new reality, and remind them of the love that is possible and the pain they had to overcome (their redemption).

In the end, Jacob will be right that these people did prove that they are good and can learn -that progress leads to a better life.

Arbor said...

I think that Locke knows about both realities, so he took revenge on Desmond for running him over. Desmond in reality #2 remembers Locke pushing him in the well, so he ran over him. Like a Catch-22 :)

stephenf44 said...

A job well done with this weeks analysis.

FWIW: I started watching Lost this summer when it came to Netflix streaming, so I haven't invested nearly the time or energy you have. After watching, I decided to check out the blogs to see what I was missing (a lot, as it turns out).

Re: the flash-sideways timeline:
I agree with your analysis -- it's a real puzzle how the Lost writers will connect the two timelines in an interesting and compelling way.

I've been playing with this idea, based on that Eloise Hawking speech to Desmond back in Season 2:

1) The major events in the characters lives are "fated" to happen -- eg. meeting your true love or facing your death.
2) With 2 timelines, the same fated events will happen to the characters in both the flash-sideways and the island-timelines. Let's call those mirror events. Example of mirror events: Kate helping claire with Aaron, Locke in a wheelchair, Desmond falls for Penny, etc.
3) But what is a fated event? Is it dictated by some higher power, and both timelines have to comply? Or is something like: a major event occurs in one timeline, so it has to occur in the other timeline, because the universe enforces a mirroring principle? I think the concept of course-correction applies here.
4) The mirroring between the two timelines isn't simultaneous -- there's a 3 year lag between the flash-sideways and island realities. So maybe that's why Eloise knew the man in the red shoes was going to die back in Season 2 -- it happened earlier in the flash-sideways timeline.
5) Can our characters create their own fated events? Maybe the characters in the flashsideways do something noble, heroic, self-sacrificing which gets mirrored by the Island timeline fight against Smokey.

I suppose this could all fit in with the idea that "alt-Desmond hit Locke to get at Smokey" theory. I have a darker possibility in mind: the "real" Locke is both an attempted murder victim by his father and a real murder victim by Ben. Was alt-Desmond mirroring one of those events?

Anyways, just some Lost thoughts. Thanks for the blog.

falcon said...

Brian, I agree that flying the Ajira plane off the island seems "outlandish," and I've finally focused on why it's bugged me the whole time it's been a topic. If it was so easy to simply power up the plane, turn it around and fly out (even with the help of some sort of crazy push by SmokeLocke in non-Locke form), why wouldn't Lapidus and some subset of the passengers (those who weren't all that interested in the island) simply have stayed with the plane to try to do that from the get go? Or is it some sort of Flight of the Phoenix scenario where they have to modify the plane? Or is it just a feint by SmokeLocke to get everyone over to Hydra for a big reveal? I'm inclined to think it's the last of those choices, but Hydra has never really been all that key before so I'm not sure why it would start to be now.

timcourtois said...

I'm starting to buy the theory that *neither* Jacob nor anti-Jacob is really "good"; they're both just manipulating & controlling things, and in the end, our characters have to start to take some self-responsibility for their choices... maybe?

Anyhow, I think this week bolstered the theory that reality #2 is the final destination: Everybody gets their "moment of enlightenment", and then Desmond pushes up his sunglasses and drives off into the sunset.

timcourtois said...

oh, p.s. - a friend pointed out: If there have been grenades & stuff back at the barracks all along, then isn't it kind of comical that we've been messing around with horribly unstable dynamite?

"Quick, we need to blow something up, let's go to the old pirate ship... Wait, pirate ship is gone now?... Then I guess we'll have to settle for the super high-tech rocket launcher I have stashed here. Did I not mention that before?"

Steve said...

So the Island protects you until it's done with you.
Sounds like "Blues Brothers" bring on mission from God.

Steve said...

I had to share this somewhere it would be appreciated.

I was in Philadelphia last week when I distictly heard the smoke monsters 'clicking' sound. It was the sound dead on.

I looked around and saw i was coming from a passing taxi with the window open(being that it was moving make the effect more.. real)

In a podcast a couple years back, Damon and Carlton was asked about this and they confirmed that the sound WAS from a Taxi receipt printer.

Tell you what.. for a split second, I thought I was being judged!

Caralyn said...

I agree that Lost should have an ending...if Prison Break had committed to, say, only two seasons, it would have been a lot better. :)

I'd like to see you write about the books that Lost featured...maybe committing to one a month (like a book club!). You could write about how the content of the book did or did not show up in the show. Or we all could rewatch ALL of Lost once it's over, now knowing the end. Just a thought! Having said that, you do deserve a break but a big hearty thanks because I've enjoyed your blog over the years. It's a highlight of my week.

eckleburg said...

Well -- yes, Brian, such a thorough analysis. And since at this point, I'm relegated to "letting go" and allowing you and the Others (followers/commentators of Lost and Gone Forever) to lead, I'll gladly admit to being completely Lost.

Thus, my greatly appreciated reference to the Office's "that's what she said."

See you all next week.

Jack Elder said...

I find it ironic that I am deeply involved with 2 shows that are both heavily influenced by Christianity and were supposed to end at the same time: Lost and Supernatural. In fact, the actor that plays Jacob in Lost is Lucifer in Supernatural. Both shows are leading to a "judgement day", with a super baddy about to win the day while the good guys seemingly have no chance pull out a happy ending. I'm as anxious for the Oceanic 815 survivors as I am for Sam and Dean Winchester. How do you defeat Lucifer when God said 2 weeks ago it's not his problem? Brian, I do hope you find other shows to blog about, because visiting your blog for the last 5 years has been an integral mainstay in my life. If you don't, then thanks for the LOST experience!

Caralyn said...

I wonder with the war that will come to the island...will Rose and Bernard be a part of it?

Brendan said...

One thing that's been sticking with me; Jacob's last words. "They're coming." (Oh, Jacob, ultra-cryptic to the last.)

So, who's coming? I'm thinking it might refer to the Sideways Survivors "coming back" to the Island reality. We've seen a lot of hints at a bleeding together of the two realities - the mirrors, Sun losing the ability to speak English, literal bleeding together in the case of Locke, Jack's scar, etc. I just get the sense that those two worlds have to merge somehow, and when it does, it's trouble for SmokeLocke.

Think about what has hindered our main characters from the very beginning:

1) a lack of knowledge - about the Island and their purpose there, and

2) a lack of self-awareness - about their own character flaws, i.e. Jack's need to fix things, Locke's desperate need for parental approval, Sayid's violent nature, on and on.

Now think of the two realities/storylines.

1) On-Island the Survivors are finally gaining some knowledge about the Island, why it's important, and what they have to do there.

2) Sideways Survivors are finally gaining some insight into themselves and choosing to snap the vicious behavioral cycles they've got themselves in to (well, not Sayid obviously, but I'm thinking he's just gone for good).

BUT, now the Sideways Survivors are also being reawakened to their Island purpose, uniting their two character arcs into one whole story. It's kind of a grand metaphor for their character developments; neither reality makes the characters whole by itself, but the two together create whole characters with deeper insight into themselves AND a sense of Island purpose. Once again, put those things together, get all the Candidates together with that knowledge and that singular purpose, and Bad News for SmokeLocke.

Rob Rose said...

I think the shot that the writer's were looking to parallel was the infamous shot of Locke waking up on the island and wiggling his toes, finding out he can walk

mark said...

life after LOST for brian...

i like the idea of reading and reviewing some of the books that have influenced damon and carlton, and that have been specifically called out during the show. i've thought about going through that list and reading some of them but never did. maybe that's what i'll do after LOST ends.

or maybe i'll just go back to season 1 and watch ALL of it ALL over again... ;)

mark said...

I totally agree with Brian's analysis of why Illana blew up, versus Ben's pessimistic explanation. I think she got careless. She had fulfilled her main purpose, and as such, the island lifted it's protection from her.

MAYBE she was protected by the island before, and knew it, just like Jack did earlier. and maybe she thought she was still protected and couldn't die from a random event until she completed her purpose, not knowing she already had...

i'm also finding myself very curious about the final overall stories of some of the secondary characters. like frank and miles for example.

lapidus and miles have become two of my favorite characters on the show. both have some awesome one liners...

- "we're not going to guam are we?"
- "weirdest damn funeral i've ever been to."
- "i don't think hurley can track anything unless it's been covered in bacon grease..."
- "that douche is my dad."

both characters have a LOT of unanswered questions, and seem to be very important, but don't seem to have contributed much to the overall plot this season.

I really think Frank is also a candidate, he was brought back to the island not once but TWICE.
All of the Oceanic Six that returned were candidates. If he's not a candidate, then what does the island want with him?

And I can't imagine there's not a really important reveal coming for how AND why Miles has his abilities. Any ideas on this Brian?

Blu said...

Hi!! If you love this blog as much as I do, please join this group to get Brian to talk to the show creators!! He made our lost experience so MUCH better he really deserves it!!

Dont be shy and join!! Ive created a facebook group here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=117661664917077

mikehaf said...

I am working this week on Oahu. I walked out the front of my hotel and ran into Naveen Andrews. He was with a returning cast member that I won't reveal (no spoilers!!!). I said hi, then left them alone. I felt like a kid (and a little foolish).
Great start to what I hope will be a fun week of work.

jack said...

I hope we find out the back-stories of characters like Illana. Why was she in the hospital in Russia? What was her connection to Jacob?

How about Farraday? Do we have greater insight now ito why he was weeping several seasons ago while watching coverage of #815 crash?

As for you Brian, it may be interesting, at least for a while, to do a more comprehensive post-mortem on LOST, after its' conclusion, than just a single "Analysis". Viewing earlier episodes from the lens we will all have after the story has been told may make for something of interest to write and read about.

fatemeh said...

one thing i dont get in your post is that you are mentioning locke being thrown out the window as one of the things that desmond might be trying to make locke remember, even though that happened before the crash and locke is still on a wheelchair in reality #2, do you mean it happened differently?

Adam said...

I like to idea of the review of the overall story of lost after it's done. Maybe going season by season and seeing how our perceptions or thoughts are changed now knowing what the ending is and pointing out any interesting hints or foresights thrown into old episodes.

ps - also enjoy the Happy Gilmour reference with the kiss/shot from centre ice. haha

Adam said...

I like to idea of the review of the overall story of lost after it's done. Maybe going season by season and seeing how our perceptions or thoughts are changed now knowing what the ending is and pointing out any interesting hints or foresights thrown into old episodes.

ps - also enjoy the Happy Gilmour reference with the kiss/shot from centre ice. haha

kelly said...

One thing I noticed this week was that it seems as though Desmond knew Locke was going to throw him in the well. And Locke knew he knew. That's why when they arrived, Locke said, "Let me guess. You want to know how deep it is?" and then later, "Why aren't you afraid?" Just a though. Also, 10 points to you Brian for the oh so subtle Happy Gilmore reference. Love it.

Maggie said...

I'm sure some of this could be proven wrong, but I figure I'll give it a go. Most of this has been taken from you, but this is just simplified.

The characters will have a choice at the end of season.

The Choice:
Reality 2 represents the characters’ choice to have never come to the island, to never form most of the relationships that occurred on the island, and to potentially let the “evil” off the island (this part hasn’t been witnessed yet).
BUT they get a parting gift: what they really want in life. Anti-jacob offers them each a deal- his freedom for what they want.

Kate- to be free (although she is still running from the police)
Jack- to prove that he is NOT his father; example is how he actually cares about his son
Hurley- to be with Libby
Charlie- to be with Claire
Faraday- to be with Charlotte
Claire- to raise Aaron
Sayid- for Nadia to be alive (here is a twist, she is alive but they are not together)
Desmond- the approval of Charles, or still to be with Penny (with Charles’ approval?)
Jin and Sun- ? to be together (remember they are still apart on the island) or to raise the baby together (this isn’t looking to good seeing as how she was shot in the baby maker)
Sawyer- ? to stop chasing “Sawyer” and start living life (maybe the next few episodes will reveal what he truly wants- perhaps to be with Juliet)
Ben- to have a redo with Alex and finally do something that benefits her
Locke- not so sure on this one, being with Helen, having a dignified job, just being able to be alive
(the only problem with this theory is how do those that are dead have a choice- they are dead. Unless by their fellow friends making the choice for them they get what they want by association)

----or

Reality 1: this is what we are witnessing on the island. At some point these characters will be given the choice to choose another life where they will be “happy” or they will have to self-sacrifice in order to save the world. This sacrifice will either be death when fighting anti-jacob (to kill him or keep him from escaping) or after fighting anti-jacob they will just to continue their lives but keep all the losses. They will live life knowing that they could have chosen a life where they would have never come to the island. They would have to live with the fact that those who are dead are dead where as if they had chosen the other reality- those who died would have come back to life (some of them might not even have died yet in reality 1, but will be witnessed in future episodes).

So looking at the big picture:

If reality 1 prevails then Jacob was right all along. FREE WILL. You give people a choice, then they are going to do the “right” thing even if it means dying or losing someone. In this reality anti-jacob will be defeated, good will win, and someone will take over the island to contain evil.

If reality 2 wins then Anti-Jacob was right all along. DESINTY. No matter how many chances you give someone, they are going to disappoint you. People will make the same mistake over and over again. The mistake is selfishness. In this reality anti-jacob will no longer be contained to just the island and is free to tempt and manipulate everyone in the world.

We shall see

Dave Harty said...

So with all this "good vs evil" and "free will vs. destiny" action, where does Widmore and Dharma and the Others fit in?

I wouldn't be surprised if it ends with the survivors/candidates making a choice that validates Jacob's or Anti-Jacob's theory. But that makes just about everything else on the island meaningless.

Rob Patterson said...

well, here's hoping that this week with the Band all together, they have a good conversation and we can finally figure out what smokey is going to try to do. At this point it would certainly seem that there is nothing standing in the smoke monsters way of acomplishing his goals. All the candidates are together (except possibly jin), widmore's weapon is for the time being at the bottom of the well, at best, he is a few destroyed Widmore pylon's away from doing whatever he wants. And even those pylons probably need just a little barracks grenades to destroy... oh wait, looks like that is happening for him too.
Brian, anyone, can you think of anything on the island preventing smokey right now? Is he waiting for anything?

Melinda said...

My theory is that DESMOND is the "new" Jacob, not Hugo or Jack. Maybe "candidate" will be defined in a different way than we think. Most people think "candidate" means they are a possible replacement for Jacob or Anti-Jacob, but maybe they will fill a completely different role. I think that when Desmond was in the wooden room being blasted with massive ammounts of energy, that energy allowed him to have an epiphany, allowing him to be "all-knowing". Now he knows what the future holds for the island, the survivors, Anti-Jacob, the world, etc. and now knows how he must intercede in the lives of the "candidates" in their flash-sideways to better ensure the correct final outcome in the end.

I am still in the process of developing my overall Lost theory, which I would love to bounce my thoughts off of others, but for some reason I can't register on the forum :( My theory is based on alot of research I have done on Buddhism. My basic theory (without going into great detail) is that the island is kinda like "purgatory", but like the writers have stated it ISN'T purgatory. I believe it is "Bardo". The word Bardo means literally "intermediate state" - also translated as "transitional state" or "in-between state" or "liminal state". I believe the survivors are in a state of "Samsara" (Buddhism) - (From Wikipedia - defined as - uncontrollably recurring rebirth, filled with suffering and problems. The term Samsara has been translated many ways which include but are not limited to endless suffering, cyclic existence, perpetual wandering, and transmigration. Many believe that when one goes through the process of rebirth that they are the exact same person when they are reborn. This however, is not true. They bear many similarities with their former selves but they are not the same person.) Thus explaining the flash-sideways and how the survivors look like themselves, but their lives and circumstances are somewhat different than in Reality #1, how they come in contact with people they should know, but can't remember, and have sudden moments where they remember people/events from their previous time on the island, etc.

Anyway, that is just a intro to my theory, but it gives ya'll an idea. Let me know your thoughts!

If you are interested in reading more about Samsara and Bardo check out these websites...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsara_(Buddhism)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desire_realm

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/buddhism01.html

John said...

So you really think that Desmond was simply trying to give Locke a "moment" by slamming him with his car??

I've been suspicious of Locke in Reality 2 for a while. His interaction with Jack at the airport seemed odd to me, very self assured.

Locke's gentle push for Ben to seize control of the top job at the school also seemed out of place.

I'm wondering if Locke #2 is actually Smokey.
He might need the candidates to submerge themselves in the new reality where they almost have everything they thought they wanted, but for most of them, there's a cost.

If Smocke can keep them duped in Reality #2 and deal with them all in Reality #1 (get them off the island? kill them? get them to kill each other?) then perhaps he will be free in Reality #2.