Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lost - "The Incident"

This is it. The final two hours of Lost in 2009. The thrilling conclusion to a Fifth Season that has without a doubt been the most confusing, audience-polarizing, and complex season of Lost ever. The Lost writers have basically asked the audience to juggle a six-front storyline with nearly twenty characters taking place over three or four time periods. It's insanity, but in a way, it's exactly the way the obsessive among us would want it.


Still, with the Season Finale staring us in the face, something is a little different about Season Five. I can't help but think back and compare it to the first four seasons of Lost. In each of them, you had a pretty good basic idea about how the season would end because most of the season had been spent slowly building up to it.

  • In Season One, we had the efforts to open the Hatch.
  • In Season Two, we had the repercussions of not entering the Numbers.
  • In Season Three, we had the attempt to contact Naomi's people.
  • In Season Four, we had the impending battle with the Freighters.


In each case, we were introduced to this "obstacle" around the midpoint of the season, and then worked towards overcoming / defeating / discovering it by the end of the season.

But what about Season Five? What has it all been building up to?


Logic would tell you that it's our 1977 Survivors getting back to 2008... but surprisingly none of our 1977 Survivors seem overly concerned about doing this - nor have they discussed how they would do this. If it happens in the Season Finale, it's going to be by accident - or as an unintended side effect of doing something else.


With the way Season Four ended, you might think it would be about Locke returning to the Island, coming back to life, and becoming the Leader of the Others… but this storyline has really been self-contained within a few episodes, and somehow feels like a "secondary storyline".


I suppose fittingly for this season, the big issue, the big event, the big question that needs to be answered is quite simply "can you change the past"? Did "whatever happened, happened", or is it possible to alter the past, thus changing the future? It's an interesting theme for the Season Finale because it seems as though we've already answered this question numerous times through events like Sayid shooting Young Ben, Jack refusing to help Young Ben, etc. Yet the writers are dipping back into the same pool one last time, with our characters making one last attempt to affect some type of change… and with Jack and Sayid trying to detonate a nuclear bomb inside the Swan Hatch, this time they aren't messing around.


One way or another, this attempt to change the past is going to result in "The Incident". Even though it was actually referenced for the first time this season by Faraday two episodes ago, we learned about The Incident way back in Season Two. Some (me) have been theorizing that Season Five would conclude with The Incident for quite some time. But even though it promises to be a pretty major event in the history of the Island, the build up for this event hasn't been anywhere close to the Season Finales of the first four seasons… because we still don't know what the heck it means. Will The Incident involve the Jughead? Will it play out the way that Faraday foretold, simply by drilling too close to the Island's gooey center at the Swan Station? Or will it be something totally different?


In a way, it's this uncertainty that makes this season's finale one of the most exciting ever. Although we haven't been anxiously awaiting for this event to happen all year long (like in the first four seasons), we also haven't been subjected to the inevitable "teases" that accompanied many of the first four seasons (I'm looking at you the many failed attempts to open the Hatch, and people ALMOST letting the 108 timer expire multiple times). Dare I say, this could be the most surprising episode of Lost ever? There are a lot of very interesting variables (no pun intended) on the table - all of which could factor in to these final two hours. The Swan Hatch, The Incident, The Jughead, Jacob, The Shadow of the Statue, and Time Travel could all come together in a jumbled, frantic conclusion that leaves us puzzled, enlightened, or furiously screaming at the TV in the end.


I have no idea what's going to happen next, and I absolutely love it.



Having said all this, I debated just totally skipping this week's episode preview. There's something really appealing to me about going into the finale totally clueless - it's a feeling I haven't felt on Lost since the early days of Season One - and there's always the risk that over-analyzing this episode will somehow reveal something that gives me new expectations for what I expect to have happen in the episode, thus opening the door for disappointment. I was close to ending this Blog right here, moving on with my life, and anxiously awaiting Wednesday night to roll around.


Close, but I couldn't go through with it.


I suppose I have a job to do, and that job is to get you prepared for the episode. However, I beg you to stop reading right now and go into this week's finale in the dark about the details. I kinda with that I could, but having already done my prep work for this post, it's too late for me. I already know too much! But you can save yourself. I implore you to show self-control, turn back now, relish the unknown, and maximize your blown-away-ness of the episode!




Still here? For shame. Well, even if you couldn't resist reading on, I'm going to try and make this Episode Preview as brief and high level as possible in an effort to keep me (and hopefully you) from over-thinking about what's about to happen. But as you know, keeping things simple and succinct really isn't my style so I'll probably fail miserably. Let's see how this all works out...




Episode Title: "The Incident"



Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Although there are a few "The Incident"s on Wikipedia (ranging from events in British History to 1960s movies) that I could pull obscure analogies to Lost from, let's not waste our time. We all know exactly what this episode title refers to - The Incident that took place on the Island in 1977. Here's a quick reminder of what we know about The Incident so far, courtesy of Lostpedia:


During the Swan Orientation Film, Dr. Marvin Candle mentioned that there was "an incident" which resulted in the creation of a protocol that required a code to be entered every 108 minutes. He issued a strict warning not to use the computer for communication with the outside world. He went on to say that failure to comply would compromise the integrity of the project and could result in another incident. Candle also seemed to indicate that the incident occurred shortly after the Swan station began operations.


Daniel Faraday explained that during construction of the Swan, the workers drilled into the magnetic force, causing a catastrophic discharge that required the protocol to be enacted. The protocol was created so that the magnetic anomaly could be discharged every 108 minutes, thus preventing an electromagnetic catastrophe. Failure to comply with this protocol leads to a system failure.


It is worth noting that, apparently counter to what Pierre Chang alluded to (that the station was "originally" a laboratory used for research), the Swan's protocol was established during the construction of the Swan itself due to the workers drilling into the magnetic energy field. This would seem to suggest that there wasn't even a brief period of time that the Swan was used for its original research purpose. However, it's not clear yet whether or not this is the same mythical Incident that Chang spoke of.


As I said, this episode (and this season) all comes down to one big question - "Can you change the past?"


If you can't, then The Incident will be exactly what Faraday predicted. Easy.


If you can, then there's no telling what The Incident will be. Complicated.


If Jack is successful in carrying out Faraday's gameplan, he will neutralize the magnetic anomaly and prevent the need for the pushing of the 108 Button. His actions may become "The Incident", but they certainly won't be the same Incident that Chang mentions on the video - because that video will never be made. There would be no need. Instead, The Incident would simply become an event for the Island History Books - one moment in time when the funky electromagnetism under the Island was neutralized, forever changing the future of the Island... even though those living through it wouldn't realize it at the time.


Whatever The Incident is, it's going to carry large repercussions. On one hand, you could have the rock solid proof that "whatever happened, happened" and Faraday was wrong in his hopes that people were Variables that could change the past. It would neatly tie up all our Survivors' time traveling adventures (assuming they end up back in the present) and squash any hopes of changing the events we've seen over the first four seasons, or the future that we are currently facing on Lost (the battle for the Island). On the other hand, if it is possible to change the past, Faraday was right about people being Variables and there's no telling what would happen. The events of the first four seasons of Lost would be thrown out the window, new doors would be open, or the repercussions would boggle the mind.


No matter what happens, it's pretty clear The Incident is going to be kinda a big deal.



Okay - this is your last chance to turn back. In my opinion, the Guest Star listing for this episode is so insane and revealing, I wish I hadn't read it myself.


I promise you won't miss out on anything good for the rest of this Blog post if you quit now.


Look, I'll even end it like a normal Blog so that it tricks your brain into thinking it's the end….


Happy Losting!


















That didn't work?


I'm very disappointed in you.



Guest Stars: L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Sam Anderson as Bernard, John Terry as Christian Shephard, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Francois Chau as Dr. Pierre Chang, Patrick Fischler as Phil, Eric Lange as Radzinsky, Zuleikha Robinson as Ilana, Brad William Henke as Bram, Jon Gries as Roger Linus, Alice Evans as younger Eloise Hawking, Andrea Gabriel as Noor "Nadia" Abed Jaseem, Kevin Chapman as Mitch, Mark Pellegrino as man #1, Titus Welliver as man #2, Emily Rae Argenti as young Kate, Tanner Maguire as young Tom, George Gerdes as Mr. Springer, Agnes Kwak as Aunt Soo, Amy Stewart as mother, Rylee Fansler as young Juliet, Savannah Lathem as young Rachel, William Makozak as Captain Bird, Daniel James Kunkel as anesthesiologist, Sonya Masinovsky as Russian nurse, Keegan Boos as young Sawyer, Colby French as Uncle Doug, John Pete as prison clerk, Michael Trisler as father, Sally Davis as woman and Adam Bazzi as cab driver.



Guest Star Breakdown: Holy crap. With a whopping thirty-two guest stars (which I believe is a Lost record), it’s pretty clear that there is a LOT of story packed into these final two hours. Basically, any on-Island guest star from the entire season (that is still alive) is back – Others, Ajira 316ers, and Dharmites, oh my!


But of course, the big news here is the return of Rose and Bernard, suspiciously absent since the second episode of the season – back when the skipping through time began. Although a lot of people have theorized that Rose and Bernard died, and became the Adam and Eve statues in the cave from Season One, most struggle to come up with an explanation of how they could still be alive – living on the Island for three years potentially alone. The only explanation imaginable is that these two were somehow “adopted” by the Others – and have conveniently been at some other Other campground each time our Dharmite Survivors interacted with the Others. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I think it’s the best we’ve got at this point… unless Bernard was really hiding some sweet survival skills all these years.


The other big surprise is the inclusion of “Young” forms of various characters – Kate, Tom, Juliet, and Rachel. Traditionally on Lost, the character with the flashback is the character most likely to die – which means we should all be very concerned about Kate and Juliet. Tom is safe this week since we know he will eventually be killed by Sawyer on-Island in 2004 – hmmmm… maybe “safe” isn’t the right word. Similarly, Young Rachel (Juliet’s sister) lives at least long enough to be cured of her cancer by Jacob (allegedly), but the lack of an Adult Rachel guest star means that her character will only appear in flashback form, alive and well.


But this raises the question – what is the connection between all these Young Characters? Or are we due to receive flashbacks for each that are in no way connected? (Also, Tom - really? Did anyone think we’d ever hear from him again? Was anyone clamoring for more Tom back story?) Aside from the these guaranteed flashbacks for Kate and Juliet, the inclusion of Nadia means we’ve got a Sayid-flashback coming our way as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if this episode unfolded similar to Season One’s “Exodus”, where we got one flashback per major character in the episode. The problem is, in “Exodus” we had something to connect them all – the boarding of Oceanic 815. What overall theme / event could possibly connect such a wide variety of characters, some of whom are in their youth? 


How about “Man #1” or “Man #2”. Initially, guest stars without names are simply throwaway background characters who don’t need names. Sometimes, they are an example of the Lost writers disguising the true identity of a character who fans would recognize if they saw the name ahead of time. Whenever I see one of these type of names pop-up, I do a Google Image Search on them to see who they look like. This time, the results were shocking.





Ladies and Gentlemen, say hello to Jacob. I have to assume that if we’re going to have flashbacks that go so far they require child actors to play Kate, Juliet, and Tom, we’re going to likewise require two actors to play Jacob. Man #1 is Jacob back in the day. Man #2 is quite obviously a “modern day” Jacob that lives in a Cabin. Do a side by side comparison – it seems like a good match, right?



I guess there are two possibilities here. One is that we see Jacob in 1977 (as Man #1) and 2008 (as Man #2) – both on-Island, offering a nice parallel reveal to our two major storylines this season. The other, way more intriguing theory, and actually what I predicted would happen in the Season One finale (go back and read! http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2005/06/lost-recap-memo.html ) would be that our Survivors have been watched – tracked – for the majority of their lives. The Others knew that eventually they would arrive there (thanks to their future time traveling hijinx) and began spying on them, gathering information on them, preparing to use them once they arrived on-Island. Much like Alpert was creepily watching Locke’s birth, what if Jacob were keeping tabs on Kate, Juliet, and Tom? It would be fantastic, open up all sorts of theories about whether or not it was “fate” or “arranged” that our Survivors ended up on Oceanic 815 (remember those debates from the first few seasons?), and prove that Jacob has been a much larger part of Lost than we ever realized – even if we’ve only seen him for three total seconds over the course of the series.


Or maybe “Man #1” and “Man #2” will just walk by in the background while Young Kate and Young Tom play in a sandbox at the park. Either way, sounds exciting to me!



Episode Description: Jack's decision to put a plan in action in order to set things right on the island is met with some strong resistance by those close to him, and Locke assigns Ben a difficult task.


Episode Breakdown: All this and we’re just now getting to the episode description? I should be getting paid double for this Blog post! Fortunately, the episode description is short and sweet, just like it should be for a Season Finale. Let’s finish this up so we can get on to counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until the Finale starts… you know, doing something productive.


Jack’s decision to put a plan in action = using the Jughead (and from the looks of the episode preview, this also includes killing a bunch of innocent Dharmites along the way. Seriously, when did Jack go crazytown?)



I could also see Miles and Jin coming down on the same side as Jack. To Jin it might mean reunion with Sun, which is his number one priority. To Miles, it might mean saving his father (who he now understands and loves) from the Purge.


Strong resistance by those close to him = Kate, Sawyer, and Juliet (at least) will be opposing Jack. Kate’s already voiced her disagreement – and if you think about it, why would Sawyer and Juliet want Jack to erase the past? That would mean the two of them would never meet, fall in love, and spend a magical three years together in the swinging 1970’s on a hippie Island.


As for Hurley, he could go either way – but setting off a nuclear bomb doesn’t seem like something he’d be cool with. So I’ll throw him in the “Resistance Camp” for now. Which means, we’ve got:


Team Crazytown = Jack, Sayid, Jin, Miles

Team Resistance = Sawyer, Kate, Juliet, Hurley


Nice and even – just the way I like it.


The other half of the preview is a little more mysterious. What “difficult task” is Locke going to assign Ben? The first thing that comes to mind, and the thing that seems most likely at this point, is that Locke will make Ben kill Jacob. Why? Well, it serves a few purposes. For one, it’s Ben’s chance to “prove himself” to Locke, to follow Smokey’s demand to follow him. For two, it’s Locke’s chance to potentially discredit Ben in front of all the Others by having him kill their God. For three, it offers a nice parallel to when Ben demanded that Locke kill his Father to keep face among the Others. The tables are turned, and now Ben has to do the killing – in a potentially lose/lose situation. If he kills Jacob and Jacob turns out to be a good guy, he’ll be hated forever. If he kills Jacob and Jacob turns out to be a bad guy, he’ll still be guilty of killing someone, which may carry some negative connotation in the Religion of the Others.


Or perhaps Locke will simply turn to Ben and say “explain this season in thirty words or less.” Although, that might be “impossible”, rather than “difficult”.



And there you have it, ye of no self-control. Everything you need to know (actually more than you need to know) about “The Incident”. It’s the last Lost for the next seven months or so – so be sure to sit back, breathe it deep, and enjoy it. There will be plenty of time for over-thinking, researching, and debating the episode between now and 2010. For now, just enjoy the show.


For the last time in 2009, Happy Losting!


Laura said...

OK Brian, I admit it, I read to the end! I'm a bear of very little brain, so reading your posts before the show helps me follow it a little better.

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Sarah Clarke Stuart will be offering a series of "Lost" seminars for the general public this summer, centered on theory and literature. For more information and updates, check out her course site at www.Lostandlit.wordpress.com.

BloodyGamebreak said...

Brian, I'm thinking that Young Tom is Kate's childhood friend Tom, and not Other Tom.

Brian said...

BloodyGamebreak - Hmmm - that makes way more sense. I knew no one cared about Other Tom anymore!

dj (David Jones) said...

I don't think young tom is the 'other' tom that sawyer kills. I think it refers to Kate's childhood sweetheart. His name was tom I think. Other than that, great post!

aaron said...

Remember that there are two Sawyers, Kates and Juliets in 1977. I'm not sure what implications a meeting between past and present selves might have in the lost universe. But I seem to remember a video in which Dr. Chang was freaking out about a time traveling rabbit being close to its other self.

Could be quite an incident...

glf said...

End of season huge thanks for your blog Brian. I especially love the Previews - only you do them and you do them so well.

And yes- who knows with this finale - this season I have absolutely no ideas at all.

My only prediction is that we'll probably need the whole of the 8 month hiatus to get our heads around how they've ended the season??!!

Cheers until 2010

jack said...

Aaron - Locke met himself on the Island with no implications. But certainly us seeing Dr Candle freaking when the rabbits met was shown to us for a reason.

TheycallmeVic said...

Awesome preview, Brian.
Thanks for trying so hard to make us not read it, but seriously, did you think it would work? that's what we came here for! :)

Crazy theory on Ben killing Jacob, though that'd be awesome to see.

Can NOT wait! and I can't express that enough in typed words, lol.

Unknown said...


You said this was your last "Happy Losting." Does that mean you won't be doing an instant reactions and analysis of the finale within the next week or two?

Also, a comment you posted at some point prompted me to watch all 5 seasons of ALIAS. You said you would have re-written most of season 4 and all of season 5. Do you mind sharing with me (and the rest of your LOST audience) what you would have wanted differently from that series?

Only 10 hours and 47 minutes until LOST!

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

In a USA TODAY article this morning, it said "if viewers don't quite know what time it is, they should have a better sense of where the show is headed — about 90% worth — after Wednesday's two-hour season-ender (9 ET/PT, with a season recap at 8), the executive producers say."

Blaze Danielle said...

I think it is interesting that there is a young Kate, young Sawyer, and young Juliet. What do these three have in common? They are all on the submarine.

Do you think they may stay on the sub, and go through a certain time pocket, and end up young together? Or the incident may backfire Jack's plan?

It sounds improbable, but I do find it interesting that the three are together right now. :)

Hobbes said...

Great Brian, simply Great!

Although I've been thinking Jacob is like the time skipping survivors but somehow more stuck (or is that un-stuck) than anyone else has ever been. Trapped in a frequency of time that does indeed make him very difficult to come across. Possibly Jacob has control of this but I doubt that.

aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aaron said...

jack - did Locke actually touch another Locke without un-Locke-ing(sorry) himself, or are you referring to the last episode where Locke made Richard do all the work while he observed from a safe distance.

The rabbit scene seems to suggest that in the Lost universe "the same matter cannot(or should not under any circumstances be allowed to) occupy the same space". But even if it can't the rules may be flexible.

Based on the rate at which living organisms replace atoms and cells, the minute apart rabbits would be crossing-the-streams-level bad, 3 year apart Lockes would be iffy, but 1977 past/past Sawyer and 2007 present/past Sawyer should be able to play pattycake without devouring space and time.

I mostly wanted to point out having younger versions of characters doesn't necessarily mean flashbacks.

Caro said...

You keep mentioning young Kate, Tom, Juliet and Rachel, but there's also young Sawyer in there...

Unknown said...

I was watching The Variable again last night, and I'm now not convinced that Daniel's story is over.

Think about it - he disappeared for quite a few episodes, and it turns out he was at the Dharma research facilities for 3 years. When he comes back, it becomes obvious he has spent those years researching time travel and how to change the past. It doesn't matter - he is dead within hours of arriving back on the island and the show.

But the really interesting thing is this - he must have known his mother was going to kill him. Why? Well, because the writers went out of their way to show us that Daniel knew the events of that day right down to the exact time that Dr Chang would arrive at the construction site. As he and Miles are sitting in the jeep, Miles asks "Are we waiting for something/body?" - Daniel, referencing his journal, sees Changs van arrive and says "right on time". How could Faraday know the exact time that Chang would arrive, and not know his mother was going to shoot him in a couple of hours?

The first time I watched, I was also struck by how out of character Daniel seemed when he stormed the Others camp and asked to be taken to the bomb. He had only just asked Kate for a "beginners" gun, yet here he is wielding it at a large group of "hostiles".

Then there is the pretty nonsensical idea (Daniel's idea, no less) that he can prevent one catastrophic release of energy with what could be an even bigger one ... it would just seem a bit too dismissively tragic for Daniel not to have planned this a whole lot better than it seems he did.

PHG said...

So glad I didn't read this!!! Can't wait for the instant reactions!

Unknown said...

Jacob and the other guy are supposed to be GOD and the DEVIL!

And "Locke" in this episode is actually the DEVIL guy!

Bob said...

I think there are three Egyptian pieces here. One is Anubis, one is Osiris (died and was mumified by Anubis and is now judge of the dead = smokey) and Seth (guy who killed osiris and likely battles Anubis for control of the underworld). Just a thought.

نايف العريفي said...

hi .

I’m really admired your work and me and my friend have been asking from where you got the pic of the man 2# ?

please replay soon .. we’r waiting ?

( I just sign to be able to comment )