Friday, February 05, 2010

"LA X" Analysis!

I really wanted to call in sick for this Blog post.

After last season’s mind-bending, time-traveling escapades, I thought this was supposed to be an “easier” season of Lost… but apparently not. At least not yet. Mark your calendars because as of this very moment, I’m as confused about Lost as I’ve ever been in the history of the series.

Because of this, I’ve been absolutely dreading this analysis. Thoughts about Lost have been consuming every waking moment of my life for the past few days – and the most frustrating part of all, is that after all that hard work, I still don’t have a great “all encompassing” theory about how the different timelines are going to tie together, or how Lost is going to end. So if you’re only reading in hopes of finding that, I’ll save you the time. Better luck next week. For everyone else, let’s soldier on. This is why they pay us the big bucks.

In all honesty, “LA X” wasn’t my favorite episode of Lost. It was good – but it wasn’t great… at least not yet. It was dense with information – but since I don’t really understand or appreciate any of the Off-Island storyline (again, at least not yet), I found myself continually wishing that the action would shift back to the On-Island storylines whenever we left them. I’m hoping that once the Off-Island stuff makes more sense, I’ll be able to revisit the episode with a newfound appreciation. For now, I’m just taking it all in and trying to make some sense of it.

Off-Island. Before we start, let’s get the semantics out of the way. A lot of people are calling the scenes involving our characters on an Oceanic airplane an “alternate reality”. But in reality, we don’t know when or what this storyline is. It seemingly takes place in 2004 (as opposed to the On-Island action which is apparently taking place in 2007ish) – but it could be the “original 2004” a “new 2004” or a “parallel 2004”. For now, I’m just going with “Off-Island” and “On-Island” to describe the various scenes. If the writers are cruel and add any additional timeline and location wrenches to the mix, we’ll adjust accordingly.

One reason why analyzing this portion of the storyline is so difficult is that we have no idea how to establish this timeline. Yes, there were differences between this flight and the original Oceanic 815 – but without knowing how to frame those differences, how do you pull meaning from them? It’s frustrating, at least for me.

Lostpedia has a whole page dedicated to these differences (, but here are some of the more intriguing highlights:

- The flight is never actually identified as Oceanic 815

- Shannon is not on the plane.

- Sun and Jin are not married.

- Hurley has nothing but good fortune.

- Christian Shephard is missing.

- The Island is underwater.

- Desmond is on the plane... maybe.

- Jack has a cut on his neck.


So what do these all mean?

Before we go off the deep end coming up with different theories for each of them, it’s probably best to look at some of the potential explanations for the Off-Island timeline – and then see which one fits these “differences” the best. Over the course of my intense thinking (that’s right, it’s not a typo – I said “thinking”, not “drinking”) for the past three days, I’ve come up with these three scenarios:

Scenario One – The “Off-Island is a Parallel Universe” One

The easiest, and the lamest. It’s the one where Juliet detonating the Jughead didn’t change the past – it created a brand new timeline that is running parallel to the “original storyline” we’ve watched for the past five seasons… and the two never cross paths. In this storyline, anything goes. Initially, I was thinking that if Oceanic 815 never crashed on the Island, the storyline would only change going forward from that flight – but the more I think about it, the more I realize that things before the flight would change as well. If the Island blows up in 1977, Eloise Hawking, Charles Widmore, Richard Alpert, and Benjamin Linus probably all blow up with it. Without their influence on the lives of our characters, things would be drastically different. Penny wouldn’t be alive. Faraday wouldn’t be alive. Juliet would have never gone to the Island. It’s like the butterfly effect – small changes causing big ripples in what happens to the rest of the planet. I could go on, but I won’t – because I don’t think there’s any way this theory holds true.

This is the cop out explanation, the “choose your own ending to the series” explanation, and Damon and Carlton are far too smart to end the show with something so cheap. The storyline that we care about, the storyline that we’ve invested years of time and energy into, is the On-Island storyline. To start a “new story” in the final season of the show to show us “what could have been” makes no sense.

While it’s the easiest to explain all the differences between Oceanic 815 and the flight we saw in “LA X”, I’m ruling this one out.

Scenario Two – The “Off-Island is the Future” One

This theory seems to be gaining popularity on the Internets these days – it basically states that what we are seeing in the Off-Island storyline is really a flashforward, to what will happen after the On-Island storyline. It means that our Survivors continue the action On-Island, and after they finish their work there (killing SmokeLocke, saving the world, finding the secrets to all life’s mysteries, etc), some mystical power whisks them back to 2004, on the Oceanic flight, for them to live out the rest of their lives as their reward.

The main draw of this theory is that it allows the “action” on the Island to be the main focus of this season, but then also give us a view into the “happily ever after” lives of our Survivors after the action is over. But there are a lot of problems with it as well.

For starters, it brings dead characters back to life (like Charlie) which cheapens his heroic death on-Island. It also assumes that our characters will have some sort of “happily ever after” if they went back to their pre-Island lives. SmokeLocke was right – Locke was the only one smart enough to know that his pre-Island life sucked. Do you really want your final images of Kate to be running from the law? Or Charlie as a drug addict wanting to kill himself? Or would you prefer them to earn their redemption on the Island and better themselves from where they were pre-Island? I think that’s an easy question. Also, isn’t this technically a “flashforward”, which Damon and Carlton told us we were done with?

Like the first scenario, it’s an easy one to use to explain the differences, but from a bigger, overall storyline perspective, it doesn’t work either.

Scenario Three – The “Off-Island is the Past” One

To tell you the truth, I was pretty depressed thinking about this Blog because neither of those first two ideas excited me in the least. In fact, I’d go so far to say that if either of those first two scenarios prove to be true, I’d be disappointed with the writers, and would walk way from the Lost experience with the feeling that I should never have faith or trust in anyone else ever again.

But then this idea popped into my head.

The reason why I hate those first two scenarios so much is that they’re in the “future” from a storyline perspective, and seem to take some of the “importance” away from the On-Island storyline that I love so much. So what’s the alternative? Have the Off-Island storyline take place in the past – but not the same past that we’ve already seen through prior season’s flashbacks – the past of a different “loop” of time.

Whoa, I think I even lost myself there.

Let’s think back to last season. Jacob and Anti-Jacob sat on the beach, and had this conversation:

Anti-Jacob: “Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”

Jacob: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”

At the time, I took that line to mean that Jacob and Anti-Jacob have played out this game of “testing humanity” on various visitors to the Island over the years – Egyptians, Black Rock People, our Survivors, etc… and Jacob would continue to bring these people to the Island until he got it right. But what if it actually means they’ve been playing out the entire timeline multiple times? The Egyptians, the Black Rock, and our Survivors are all leading up to the result, rather than each being their own self-contained attempt to reach the result. Perhaps, each time Jacob realizes that the current attempt isn’t going to reach his desired result, he “restarts” the timeline and makes some changes – like a guess and check approach to math. We’ve seen his influence on the lives of our Survivors in the past, so it seems likely that he could have just as easily let Sayid get hit by the car – or not given Hurley the guitar case in a prior attempt, but he found out that both were needed.

Let me try to simplify this a bit more.

Attempt One: everything happens just as we’ve seen in Seasons One through Five. Ancient Egyptians build temples on the Island, the Black Rock crashes on the Island, our Survivors crash on the Island, the Oceanic Six make it off the Island, they come back to the Island, they time travel, they detonate the Jughead, they end up at the Temple with the Others – but Jacob didn’t give Hurley the guitar case with the Ankh, he just assumed that the Others would listen to our Survivors because they referenced Jacob’s name. But instead Dogen (the Japanese Other) orders them to be shot.

Jacob thinks to himself “crap, that didn’t work out like I wanted” and starts the whole process over… from the very start.

Attempt Two: everything happens the same as Attempt One, but this time, Jacob pays a visit to Hurley when he is let out of prison and gives him the guitar case.

The thing is – I don’t think we’re on Attempt One or Two, we’re probably more on Attempt 4,815,162,342 (I was just going for a really large number there, but how cool would it be if “the numbers” were actually the iteration for how many times Jacob has played through this “game”?). Again, the smallest change can have the biggest impact in unforeseen ways – and Jacob has been fine-tuning these changes for a really long time.

You with me?

Now think back to all the weird stuff we’ve seen with the Others over the years. They didn’t travel in time with our Survivors. They all seem to know more than they let on, and are all interconnected. I’m guessing that the Others act as the “workers” for Jacob. They help get the pieces of the puzzle in place according to Jacob’s gameplan. Remember last season, when Eloise Hawking told Penny “For the first time in a long time, I don't know what's going to happen next.” That’s because Jacob told her exactly what she had to do for his plan to work – including not preventing her from killing Daniel, but now we’re in the “present attempt” for Jacob – so even he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.

Why is this theory great? It keeps the On-Island action in the “present”, and its outcome could be anyone (including Jacob’s) guess. Maybe it’s all going to end great, maybe it’s all going to end terrible – but we’re about to find out. There aren’t any “all-knowing” beings in the game anymore, everyone is finding things out together, for the first time, which is a refreshing change from all the withholding of information we’ve seen in Lost’s first five seasons.

What does any of this have to do with the Off-Island action we saw in “LA X”?

What we are seeing is a failed attempt – where Jacob tried to do things differently, and they didn’t work out. Initially, this seems like something pretty uninteresting, except that by seeing these scenes, we’ll begin to understand exactly how much work (and interference) Jacob and the Others have had in our Survivors’ lives. It will provide a way to answer the “destiny vs. fate” question we’ve had from the beginning, as well as understanding how all these characters are connected, and why each one is important to the Island.

The big hole in this theory? The underwater Island. It seems that even if Jacob was messing with some variables, to totally sink the Island underwater wouldn’t be one of them. Unless the Off-Island action actually represents what would have happened if the Jughead had detonated – Jack’s plan would have “worked”, they would have been thrust back on the airplane in 2004, and the Island would be destroyed. Jacob sees this, and realizes that this is something else he has to meddle with – so he simply flashes our Survivors (including Juliet) to 2007 right before she has a chance to full detonate the Jughead. This makes “the Incident” everything that happened during last season, but even though it looks like Juliet made the Jughead explode – she didn’t. The others throw a boatload of concrete down the Hatch, stop the Incident, and proceed on with events as we’ve seen them.


A bit of a stretch, but it’s the best I’ve got.

So what does this mean for the differences we’ve seen between Oceanic 815 and the Off-Island action in “LA X”? If Scenario Three is true, it doesn’t seem like we gain a lot from over-analyzing the details of a prior “Attempt” by Jacob. Although I’m quite intrigued by things like Sayid suddenly being from Iran instead of Iraq, I think the main point of the Off-Island action is to reiterate to the audience how going to the Island was the best thing that could ever happen to our Survivors, and to show us how orchestrated all the events were that led to them arriving on the Island in the first place.

Note: this theory will probably be disproved by the end of next week’s episode, but for now, it’s the only one I don’t absolutely hate – so I’ve gotta go with it.

Enough with the Off-Island stuff, let’s focus on what’s important here – the events On-Island!

Juliet. It’s appropriate that the season premiere aired on Groundhog Day, since we were treated to Juliet dying not once, but a whopping FOUR TIMES (if you include the recap episode before the premiere). Brutal! But with Elizabeth Mitchell on “V” this season, it’s not a surprise to see that Juliet indeed died during “The Incident”. But the interesting thing is what she said to Sawyer. Initially, she seems upset, stating “It didn’t work, we’re still on the Island” then later pulls the oldest trick in the book by saying “I have to tell you something really important…” right before dying. Luckily, we’ve got Miles around to finish her statement. According to him, Juliet said “it worked”.

So in one moment, we’ve got Juliet saying “it didn’t work”, followed by her saying “it worked”. What’s up with that? It would be reasonable to argue that she was jumping between two “worlds” of some kind. Initially, she was lying in a hole in the Island dying – but maybe as she began slipping away from the land of the living, she had images of her and Sawyer happily living off the Island, going out for coffee.

Or maybe between those two statements, she had a Desmond-like flash, where she saw Sawyer living off-Island. Again, Juliet being so close to the “unique electromagnetic properties of the Swan Hatch” is pretty much the same thing that happened to Desmond when he turned the failsafe – so it would make sense that the effects would be similar. The only problem is, Juliet suffered fatal injuries during The Incident, so she only had these powers for a minute before dying.

Remember, she tells Sawyer that the reason she detonated the Jughead was “to make it so you never came to this damn island”. It wasn’t so much about the two of them living happily ever after as it was Sawyer never coming to the Island. Maybe in her “flash”, she saw Sawyer living in one of the previous “loops” of Jacob’s Cycle, maybe even the one we saw in the Off-Island scenes this episode, giving her the false idea that it all worked out.

It would make sense that Jacob’s ability to create these timeline “loops” would be tied to the unique electromagnetic properties for the Island, which seemingly exists outside of time – so perhaps getting too close to those electromagnetic properties gives you the ability to get brief glimpses into different loops – or something. I feel like these concepts are all related somehow, it’s just putting them together in a way that makes it sound logical, and not like some bad sci-fi movie that’s the problem.

Ugh – I feel like I’m 0 for 2 on Blog topics this week. Let’s move on…

The Temple. At long last, we see the Others’ Temple. Up until this point, we’ve seen numerous shots of the wall that surrounds the Temple, but this is our first glimpse at the main structure itself. In typical Lost fashion, this answers one question (what does the Temple look like?) while raising a ton of other questions. Such as…

Why do the Others at the Temple look and act differently than the Others in the Barracks? Are they two different subsets of Other culture – one that lives like religious monks, sequestered away from the world and living a simple life at the Temple, and one that has things like TV, book clubs, and running water at the Barracks? If there was a split like this, it would explain the differences in appearances the Others have had over the years, potentially explain the whispers, and explain why Ben was never in favor with Jacob – because he was living with the wrong “sect” of Others.


What is the pool of water inside the Temple? Apparently it’s usually clear, but was running red this week (because Jacob died?) Does that mean it’s lost its power? Is this the fountain of youth that has kept Richard ageless all these years?

The Others are seemingly afraid of SmokeLocke. They’re spreading ash and supporting the walls of the Temple to “keep him out”. Yet, didn’t we see that Smokey actually lives underneath the outer walls of the Temple? So, couldn’t he just come up through the same tunnels that our Survivors took this episode? Or does that still only get him to the inner-outer walls of the Temple?

Why did the writers feel the need to make Dogen speak Japanese, basically making every scene with him take twice as long as needed? We’re in the final season! Stop wasting time! Thankfully, Lostpedia provided the translation for his statements, so we can see where Lennon (his translating bitch) made some alterations:

DOGEN: They should not have come here. Seeing this place is unforgivable. Shoot them!

LENNON: Shoot 'em.

DOGEN: Have you encountered Jacob?

LENNON: He wants you to prove it.

DOGEN: He must tell a lie! Shoot them!

DOGEN: All right! Let's go! Bring the injured Jarrah. We're going to the spring.

LENNON: The water isn't clear - what happened?

DOGEN: I don't know what happened.

DOGEN: I'll try as much as I can, but it'll come with risks.

LENNON: If we do this there are risks

Again, nothing major – but is this really necessary?


Sayid. This brings us to the debate about Sayid. In my Instant Reactions, I wondered if Jacob could be inhabiting Sayid’s body, much like Anti-Jacob is inhabiting Locke’s body… but the more I think about it, the crazier that becomes. For starters, Anti-Jacob isn’t actually occupying Locke’s body. Locke’s body is lying on the beach while SmokeLocke kicks ass and takes names. So you would think that Jacob could just take the form of Sayid if he wanted to. Plus, that would totally cheapen Sayid’s redemption, which I have to think is just around the corner (his almost death scene with Hurley where he questioned where he would go when he dies was a sure giveaway). But with all the pain and baggage Sayid has in his life, how is he going to find his redemption on the Island? Didn’t he basically give up on life last season, going crazy, shooting little kids, and not really caring what they did to him in return?

Exactly – which is why this plot device is so genius.


The whole scene was pretty rich on religious symbolism – you have the pseudo-baptism, Sayid dying and being reborn into new life, and being carried out of the water with his arms outstretched, as if on a cross. But remember what happens when the Others take someone to the Spring – they lose their memory and their innocence, and are “forever one of the Others”. Perhaps this is just what Sayid needs to forget about the past. Instead of losing his innocence, maybe he’ll lose his self-loathing. And maybe becoming one of the Others will provide him with the purpose in life that he’s been looking for. I’m guessing that Sayid is going to play a big part in the upcoming “Battle for the Island”, and I’m guessing that’s why it was so critical that he remain alive.

Jacob and SmokeLocke. Which lastly brings us to the two most important and mysterious characters on the show – Jacob and Anti-Jacob, who I am currently calling “SmokeLocke” because it looks like a fun name. In case there was any debate about if Smokey = Anti-Jacob, that was laid to rest by Damon and Carlton on Jimmy Kimmel and their podcast. He is.


Looking back at all the things Smokey has done over the years, it’s interesting to revisit them knowing that it’s Anti-Jacob all along. It’s actually surprising how many of the encounters make total sense, knowing what we do about Anti-Jacob. He has little faith in people, so it makes sense that he would judge people and kill the ones deemed “unworthy”. But if you recall, Smokey was also known as the Security System for the Island, which must mean that Anti-Jacob does love the Island. This would explain why he came to Ben’s call to wipe out most of the Freighter Soldiers, and occasionally randomly kills those who wander upon his Island, like a cranky old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

The other thing I found interesting this episode was when Jacob explained his death to Hurley by saying “I was killed by an old friend who grew tired of my company.” Even though Anti-Jacob seemingly hated Jacob, maybe it was more of a sibling rivalry than a good vs. evil sort of thing. Anti-Jacob hates Jacob for all his experiments with people (and forcing him to relive all of humanity countless times during his “loops”), but deep down inside, they’re brothers and both love the Island where they live.

You could also play the whole “Dogma” card here about Jacob and Anti-Jacob being fallen angels with very different ideas about how to live out their lives away from “heaven”. But I’ve gone over that one before.

What about Jacob’s Cabin? Let’s revisit some of those details while we’re at it.

We first encountered Jacob’s Cabin when Ben took Locke there, upon his demands. Inside, wacky stuff happened, we saw a weird eyeball, and it was super freaky for my wife. There was apparently a complete circle of ash around the Cabin at this time. Who was living inside of it? Given that Smokey was out running amok on the Island at the time, it seems logical that it was Jacob inside his Cabin. Or does it?

Every time we’ve seen Jacob, he’s looked like Jacob (or Rita’s abusive ex-husband on “Dexter”). On the other hand, Anti-Jacob has taken many shapes and forms. The weird eye that we saw in the Cabin? Didn’t look anything like Jacob.

Ben – the person who had never actually seen or communicated with Jacob, brought Locke to the Cabin. Isn’t it possible, that he knew full well that it wasn’t actually Jacob inside, but Anti-Jacob, and he was doing this as part of an elaborate scheme to get rid of Locke, who he hated?

Contrast this with Alpert, who actually is in communication with Jacob. When Locke asked him to see Jacob, Alpert marched them directly to the Four Toed Statue, without making any reference to the Cabin.

What about the circle of ash outside the Cabin? It’s logical to argue it was just as likely keeping Anti-Jacob “caged inside” as it was keeping Jacob inside protected from Anti-Jacob… but that makes no sense since we know that the only way Anti-Jacob could have hurt Jacob was through the loophole. So why would Jacob need the ash protection?

Then, you have Ilana and Bram, who visited the Cabin first, but immediately realized that Jacob hadn’t been there in a long time. They freaked out when they saw the ash, perhaps because they realized that the ash was there to cage Anti-Jacob, and it was broken.

It seems as though there are a lot of contradictions in all these facts, right? In the end, my gut tells me that the Cabin was originally Jacob’s, who somehow tricked Anti-Jacob into coming over for dinner while the Others sprinkled ash around the outside, trapping him inside. At some point before Oceanic 815 crashed, the circle of ash was broken – and Ben just didn’t notice it when he brought Locke there the first time. So Anti-Jacob has been running amuck ever since Lost started. But like everything else I’ve stated in this Blog post, this is subject to change once we get some more information.

Finally, there’s the question of where SmokeLocke’s “home” is. I suppose it could be the Temple, though if it was as simple as that, I don’t know why he wouldn’t have just went into Smoke form and snuck into the Temple while the Others were dragging our Survivors in. There’s the possibility that he wants to leave the Island, but if he is protecting it, you would think he kinda likes it there. Then there’s the “Dogma” theory that he wants the cycle and loops to be over and just wants to get back to heaven – or wherever Jacob and Anti-Jacob came from, and in order to do so, he needs to end Jacob’s endless meddling with humanity.

Given what we know, that one seems the most likely, but it’s also the most ridiculously outrageous.

Remember when everything on this show was going to be explained by pseudo-science?

Phew. I’m beat. That’s gotta be the hardest, crappiest five-thousand word Blog post of all time. No wonder I don’t get paid to do this.

So who wants to straighten me out with some better analysis and answers? The Comments Section awaits!

(Four more days until all these theories get thrown out the window!)


Greg said...

Brian, I think that this is a valiant effort. Watching and reflecting on this episode, I found myself content with the ambiguity until we get further in the season. Rather than trying to come up with a theory that explains the Off-Island and On-Island stories and ties them neatly together, I'm ok waiting until they develop further. I know this sounds blasphemous given our obsession to date, but there you go. Maybe it's part of my attempt to cope with the end of Lost coming.

Pazazz said...

Maybe the off-island is the original timeline and previous 5 seasons are the alternate reality.. create by the lostie in season 6 off-island event

The island are the course correcting and want go back home.. underwater.. so do weird stuff for 5 seasons to recreate the original timeline

The on-island event on season 6 will be the fight against the Losties and the island's protectors to avoid course correcting to happen

What you think about that Brian ?

Diary of a Lonely Alcoholic said...

I still think that they're in purgatory.

Sam said...

I would like to go back and see all the times we have seen Smokey. Brian said in the meeting with the freighter folk that Smokey was protecting the island. But, I think Smokey was protecting Ben, since Ben was part of Smokey's master plan on how to achieve the loophole. So, maybe all of Smokey's visits were like this. Kill those who might endanger my master plan (Eko, Frenchies) - don't kill those I need (Ben, Locke).

The cabin - maybe Ben brought Locke there the first time b/c Richard told Ben that is where Jacob is, knowing full well that Jacob was in the statue. Richard didn't want Ben going anywhere near Jacob or to have that information.

As for the overall theme. In last year's finale, Jacob consistently mentioned 'choice' (to Ben, Hugo). Maybe these two parallel time lines will meet up and the Losties will have to choose which one to go with. Does Charlie want to be an addict or die heroically? Do Rose & Bernard want to live there lives alone & cancer free, or with others and with cancer (perhaps)? Sawyer will probably have an easier choice - off-island with Juliet (sipping coffee) or on-island (maybe with Kate)? Some choices could be very dramatic and heart-wrenching.

Anyway - that is just a thought as to the direction of the show.

ps - the security woman called Sun, "Mrs. Paik" so I think they are married still.

Pickle said...

When Jacob died, he whispered "they're coming." Who's "they"?

dj (David Jones) said...

Well, I personally don't like the third scenario you have there. I think it's an awful waste of time to AGAIN go through a season of flashes to show us that they're off island lives are crap. We all know that from the Oceanic 6 experience.

The loops sort of make sense in relation to what Jacob and SmokeLocke discuss when the black rock was coming, but there is one problem I have with it. They were discussing the black rock folks. Why not just loop them over and over and over to finally get things right?

You do great work, and I love the blog. Still, I hope that isn't the answer to all of this. I think somehow we wind up in one timeline, one reality, and everything we've experienced up to this point is still valid. I just think it will be the sideways-flashes that we're getting now.

I think maybe they have to die to fulfill their purpose and get back to that moment. Maybe Juliet was really having coffee with Sawyer sometime after they land. They're in 2007, and I think when the story of the plane landing catches up to the on-island story that we'll have our answer.

To be honest, the writers will probably come up with a scenario better than all of the things we've discussed. I just can't put my finger on it now. In a few weeks, we'll have a better guess I reckon.

Brian said...

Pazazz - I don't think I fully understand how it would all work out, but if you're proposing Season 6 Off-Island --> Seasons One Through Five On-Island --> Season 6 On-Island from a timeline perspective, I'm with you. I just used the silly "Jacob Loops" theory to get there.

Sam - Great point. I guess you could even stretch this to Smokey's encounters with Juliet and Kate (necessary for the Incident?) although I don't see how that really helped or hurt Anti-Jacob's plan at all.

Sean - It would make all our lives so much easier, but Damon and Carlton have flat out said it's incorrect. Sigh.

Pazazz said...

Imagine that all the flasback, flashfoward, island events.. all 5 seasons.. was the consequences of something big to happen in the normal timeline where the plane never crash

Jacob said...

You got some really good stuff here and a lot of it jives with what I've managed to come up with.
I've also thought of a couple other things:
Did we see desmond on the plane because the Island is flashing him through time to show him the consequences of his actions (or rather non actions like not going back to the Island).
Yes? No?

Has the Island been sunk before in other loops?
For instance, in 2004 Kelvin Inman takes a walk on the beach but he slips on the rocks and dies. In this loop Desmond wasn't on the Island so nobody was there to push the button and thus the Island sinks.
Round 2. Desmond arrives on the Island and now in 2004 he's there to push the button after Kelvin dies.
Great news except that a few weeks later Desmond decides to kill himself. He has no reason to live and he has no hope so commits suicide leaving the hatch unmanned and thusly allowing the Island to explode because nobody was there to push the button pushed the button.
But of course we know that his suicide could have been stopped if a certain somebody started banging on the Hatch in despair.
However, that person, Mr John Locke, was actually dead because shortly Desmonds suicide Locke was inside an beechcraft plane that fell off a cliff. An unfortunate death for Locke that could have been avoided if say, ummm, I don't know, let's just say that if his legs magically stoped working then somebody else would have had to go into the plane and die (a sacrifice the Island demanded).

I could go on and on but I hope you were able to follow me.

Now one last thing regarding Smokey and the Temple.
The first time Locke encountered Smokey he had a very pleasant experience. The second time around, not so much and smokey actually tried dragging him down to the temple.
Why? Because the first smoke monster he met was actually Jacob and the second one was notJacob.
Two smoke monsters and they both guard the Island and the Temple but as long as Jacob is alive nonJacob has no way to access the inner Temple. Jacob temple-blocks him so to speak.

Sam said...

other thoughts:
Widmore - he seemed so important before, and now he seems like an afterthought. I hope he comes back to play an important role.

Desmond - maybe he becomes the trigger (or 'constant') for everyone's deja vu in this off-island timeline? And as we see each one interact with Des, their deja vu becomes more clear, and they are drawn together for some purpose?

Heidi said...

why do you think that sun and jin are not married?

TheycallmeVic said...

I really like that third theory, I like it a lot more than the second one.
We'll see what happens.
Don't beat yourself up, man. Everyone is struggling with LOST right now.

Erik from the Eighties said...

Off Island = Not touched by Jacob, or possibly Touched by Non-Jacob. This could be Non-Jacob's turn at the "loop".

BTW: The reason why polar bear remains, Ben and Locke wind up in Tunisia is because it is approximatly at the opposite side of the earth. I think your boody is flung through the magnetic core of the earth when you move the island.

Unknown said...

I’m not ready to commit to any theory until I have at least one more episode to draw from, but I do have a few lingering thoughts that I’d like to share and pose to you all.

1.) Like most of you, I was puzzled by seeing Desmond on the plane, but what I found more surprising was that he and Jack couldn’t remember meeting each other while running on the stadium steps in season 1 or 2. Brian, you mentioned the possibility that the bomb went off and killed Whidmore, Ellie etc, so Penny was never born. This would explain why Desmond and Jack hadn’t met (Desmond wouldn’t be training for the sailing race to win Penny back) but it wouldn’t explain why Desmond is flying from Sydney to LA either – not that there has to be a reason, but I don’t understand his inclusion in the story if it’s seemingly random.
2.) Didn’t catch why people thought Sun and Jin were not yet married, so I need a brief reminder on that, but if, as someone said, Sun was referred to as Mrs./Ms. Paik, then that would be referring to her father’s name, not Jin’s, although in many cultures, married women retain their father’s last name and the name of their husband for creating a surname – anyone know common practice on this one in Korea?
3.) Minor note, but Shannon was not on the plane because, according to Boone, “she didn’t need saving (from her presumably shitty relationship).” Whatever changed to bring the passengers together on the plane, that change also caused a change that led Shannon to not take the flight back. What/why?

Unknown said...

4.) Nikki/Paulo were not on the flight either and while their characters aren’t central to the story, neither were Frogurt nor Arzt, so I’ve been trying to add up if there’s any reason for this. Thoughts?
5.) I keep hearing that the writers have often mentioned that understanding who the “Adam and Eve” skeletons are from season one is crucial to understanding the entire story line, so I’ve been trying to think of who they might belong to and why that pairing would be so illuminating. I’m inclined to believe it’s a male/female combo since the writers could’ve referred to them by a common male pair’s name instead, but I don’t remember if the characters say anything about the skeletons being specifically male/female. Anyone remember? Assuming they’re not necessarily a male/female pair, I like the idea of Walt and Locke together somehow, as both skeletons are holding either a small white or small black object (a bead I believe), which could slightly mirror the conversation that Locke has with Walt about black/white good/evil when he’s trying to explain how to play backgammon works in the first season. I even remember him saying something like “It’s one of the oldest games ever and no one really knows the origin.
6.) I thought the way that Smokey knocked Bram out of the ash-circle was kinda weak, but if nothing else, it made me doubt that Smokey was trapped inside the cabin, inside the ring of ash because it seems like Smokey would be too badass to not cause a tree to fall or something else that would allow him to break the ash. BUT, when Locke and Ben first go to the cabin together, Locke hears the words “Help Me,” which seems more appropriate to hear from Anti-Jacob than Jacob so I still can’t make sense of the cabin.
7.) Lastly, I’m still confused by the outer-temple/inner-temple issue because, as Brian mentioned, it seemed like Jack and co walked right over the hole that Ben fell through before he met the smoke monster to be judged, yet they are apparently only steps from the real temple. Why would the temple-folks be so alarmed and at the ready to protect against Smokey if he had been living next door the entire time? Also, the temple wall didn’t appear to be 200 feet tall, which is what it would seem to need to be in order for the Losties and everyone else to have never caught a glimpse of it the entire time they were on the island. UNLESS, when they approach the entrance to the outer temple at the crack in the base, they are in fact in a different era when the temple had already been torn down. When the Losties are plucked out of the outer temple, they enter into an era when the temple was still in full glory. Not sure about this, but it just really seems like there is a strong disconnect between the two temples.

Unknown said...

What about Ben accusing Widmore of not playing by the rules (when Alex was killed) last season? It seems like both Ben and Widmore are aware of some sort of iterations (the #3 theory?) where a certain set of rules is obeyed. This leads me to think that Alex getting killed was part of anti Jacob's loop hole.

Rebecca said...

I'm holding out theories until we get some more info - hopefully next week! I hope Jacob isn't 'living' via Sayid now...they're two very different characters and I don't think Jacob would/could commit death by dishwasher. I like your theory about him much more. Though I will be sad to see him go and it will probably be soon given the scene with Hurley.

C&L referred to the off-island stuff as a flash-sideways...which makes more sense than an alternate reality and could go with your theory.

Sam said...

I just went back and watched Sun & Jin. Brian's right... Sun was referred as Miss Paik, not Mrs. And there doesn't appear to be a wedding ring on either one. Maybe he is escorting her to the US?

Anonymous said...

I want to think that Penny could exist in the off-Island world.

She's about Faraday's age right? And they referenced Ellie being pregnant (with Faraday) before they blew up the bomb. It just depends on when Widmore started traveling back and forth and started his non-Island family. If Penny was already in the works when her dad died, she would be safe.

TheycallmeVic said...

Jon, Jack did indeed remember Desmond from their first meeting in the stadium. Desmond was the one who didn't remember him.

Also Jack mentioned that one of the skeletons was female.

As for the temple, it's surrounded by that large outer wall. I think the reason you can't see the temple from outside the walls is because there's a body of water from the wall to the temple, and then it's all surrounded by trees.
They've never shown it, but how I picture it is you have to walk through the walls and then outside through trees. Then you get to that body of water in front of the temple. So basically, past the outer walls are more trees encircling and covering the temple. I don't think the outer walls are that close to the temple and could explain why AJ never got to it.

janelo said...

When Kate stumbles out of the plane bathroom, she bumps into Jack and palms his pen out of his jacket pocket. (You don't actually see this.) That is the pen she uses to try to unlock her handcuffs when she is in the airport bathroom. When Jack is resusitating Charlie he searches for the pen and remarks that he had one in his jacket pocket. What to make of this? How did Kate know that Jack had a pen ... if you rewatch this scene, she's too smooth. It just couldn't be her hunch that whoever was standing outside the bathroom door would have a pen?

eagle44 said...

I think sometimes LOST makes us really over-analyze things... I think that the scenes on the plane are simply what would have happened if the bomb never went off. They could be from one character's perspective, they could be from Jacob's perspective, hell they could be from the island's perspective, but I think they are simply what COULD happen. Jacob has said over and over that it's all about choice, what makes a person good or evil are the choices they make. Also, don't get too hung up on the discrepancies between the original flight and this one; I don't think we can even begin to imagine the enormous changes that would take place with just a small event taking place or not taking place in the past. All of the differences are easily acceptable as results of something tiny being changed in the past; i.e. the bomb not going off. The important thing is that somehow, these people are still together on the plane. (most of them, anyway.) Also, Brian, I LOVE your analysis and dedication to this blog, but I absolutely hate theory 3. Jacob is this somewhat all-powerful creature who has been around forever but he has to keep messing with things over and over and over again until he gets it right? weak.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else COMPLETELY Unable to hear Sayid's accent at the end of the show?

Anyone believe he will be reborn with Naveen Andrew's british accent? lol

eagle44 said...

Also, not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but next week's episode is called, "What Kate Does," which means we have definitely not seen the end of the "flash-sideways" (god, I don't like that term,) and they might even run through the entire season. If done properly, they could "flash-sideways" (ugh) through the entire season, showing the LA X group spiraling out of control badly, while the island group fights smokelocke on the island where they belong... and in the end, someone or something, has to make a choice as to which path to follow. I'm betting Jack, as the show began with him, I think it's gonna end with him... Oh, and if anyone's interested, there is a great preview of the upcoming season on that shows some pretty crazy stuff coming... I can't wait...

Unknown said...

Two things I like:
*The trial-and-error theory sounds very promising. Explaining it, though, would involve iterating over several different tries, which would definitely take more than a single season.
*Multiple smoke monsters? Probably not true, because Smokey always seems to have the same personality... but it would explain the huge discrepancy between Smokey's free range of motion and SmokeLocke being caged in the cabin (the most likely scenario, I think). Plus nobody would see it coming.

Boston Jon said...

Brian, I love your theory that the Losties have been coming to the island over and over again and that Jacob is concentrating on "progress" . . . I think the Black Rock "people" are the Losties we all know and love: Jack, Hurley, Sayid, etc . . . I would bet anything that, somehow, when Jacob is sitting on the beach with MIB watching the Black Rock come to shore that those characters will be part of the crew (or slaves of some sort . . .).

Boston Jon said...

By the way (I am the above "Jon" who made the comment about Jack and co. being on the Black Rock when it arrived on the island); changed my name because I noticed there are alot of Jon's around here . . .

My wife and I were really into the Stephen King's the Dark Tower series. We all know that the Lost writers referenced many of Stephen King's works . . . I think that if you know how the Dark Tower series ended then you pretty much know how Lost will end. "Ka" is a wheel . . . it keeps going around and around and around.

The main Lost characters (the 815 passengers) have been there since the beginning of time . . . and this time they will "make progress".

Boston Jon said...

Last comment: Lol.

Anyone notice that the foot of the statue changes from the right foot in Season 2 (I think) to the left foot in the Season 6 Opener?

Mirror images have always been a common metaphor on Lost: we could only see Jack's wound in the mirror on the plane . . . you would have to go "Through the Looking Glass" Dharma Station to get to the island, etc.

Wonder if one time frame is MIB "winning" and in control of the island and the other when Jacob was in control? Mirror images. (would explain Jacob's cabin and if Smokey kept inside or outside with the ash . . . could be both - one for when MIB was in control . . . one for when Jacob was . . . just a thought.

Ryan71 said...

I had the same thought about Juliete crossing over to the other timeline when she was dying. There are some other possible examples on this also throughout the series....

Remember when Charlotte was dying while they were flashing through time (so I'm assuming they were back in time somewhere) and while she was crossing over she was talking like a child.. so if they were in 1977 or so.. she would be crossing over to the alternate timeline as a child.

When Sawyer was in the hatch and Kate was taking care of him after he almost dies.. he says to her "why did you kill me?" Does this mean Kate is going to kill Sawyer in the alternate timeline?

jack said...

Why did the "temple" people go into 'lock-down' mode ONLY after they were made aware that Jacob is dead? Evidently, they knew of some sort of protective role that Jacob had over the smoke monster. Any thoughts on why the smoke monster wants to harm or destroy the temple people?

jack said...

I propose also that Boston Jon's (and Brian's)stated theory is spot on. The central characters on LOST have been coming to the Island for many, many years. Somehow, it seems that Jacob is manipulating or tweaking fate/destiny to achieve "progress" (however that may be defined in the show ultimatley).

Boston Jon said...


Especially since we have seen Smokey come out of the hole that Jin brought the Losties to that enters the Temple. Apparently, the Temple people allow Smokey to get very close to the Temple (unless in the other "reality" Smokey was allowed in because MIB was in control . . . mirror images.

And . . . thanks! for the complement. Bet money on it - Jack and co. will be on the Black Rock. I am convinced.

Diary of a Lonely Alcoholic said...

Brian, just to clarify my original post, I was joking. I just wanted to be "that guy."

Anonymous said...

OK, I went and read the more detailed analysis. I'm still Lost. :-)

But one thing I would like to mention (and I'm not sure if this has been discussed before, so forgive me if I'm repeating)...I noticed that Jacob was reading a book; couldn't see the title of it. I had clicked on the statue picture in the thread, and was scrolling through the pictures and saw the Jacob picture:

So I Googled Flannery O'Connor. It seems one of her short story books was called "Everything that Rises Must Converge." ( )

Wikipedia's entry for the book says "The book's title is a reference to a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard De Chardin titled the "Omega Point": "Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge."

So that description seems to tie in with Brian's Theory #3...that each attempt by Jacob to "make it better" uses the same Losties - they've been doing this over and over again just to "get it right".

Again, sorry if this is repeating something mentioned years ago. Just brain-dumping here...and I'm not as good at it as many of you are. :-)

jack said...

I think our collective hard work and high wattage brain power is paying off! Seems like we're getting somewhere in speculating that the overall story arc for LOST involves Jacob experimenting with humanity (our LOST group) to "get it right". The idea of time always course correcting itself will remain a central theme and even in the parallel time-line we see, the 815 survivors, Desmond and others will be unable to change the outcome of key past decisions.

jon. said...

Good start episode, good writing to get our speculations going! Lots of info, much to think about and stimulate our imagination with. It is really hard to get to grips with where the story is going now and how the two parts fit together. Intentionally, no doubt. Brian, I think you're on mark when it comes to the centrality of the on-island characters. They're the ones we know, have bonded with and seen develop. They will be at centre on to the very end, definitely. So the off-island story must serve some secondary purpose, either giving the viewers hints/insights or somehow impacting on the on-island storyline later. I have a vague theory of its function, and actually what it means to how the whole show will end, but I need some more time to flesh it out... **cliffhanger**

Heat said...

This may be just a minor detail, but Brain, why do you say Sayid is now from Iran instead of Iraq? I went back and looked at the scene on the plane where he was looking at the picture inside his passport, and I could have sworn the passport said Iraq.

Sondra said...

But wait....SmokeLocke grabbed Alpert on the beach and asked him how it felt to be free from his chains. Doesn't this suggest that Alpert and Jacob are perhaps the bad ass evil satin characters? Ohhhhhh....that's a different thought.

Jason said...

Brian, you mentioned that it was appropriate that the episode aired on Groundhog Day because of the number of times Juliet dies. But your best-guess theory is the Groundhog Day movie itself - playing the scenario over and over, tweaking each time until you get it right. And I can't believe that the inner core of Lost is simply a reversioning of Groundhog Day. Lovin' the blog.

Unknown said...

Howabout Desmond always saying "see you in another life, brother"? Seem to tie in with theory #3 a bit, especially with desmond's weird alternate-reality stuff happening during the swan explosion.

I might remember this wrong, but wasn't there an episode ages ago when Jin was in some kind of alternate reality...he's running to buy a bunny for a baby and we think it's sun's, but she isn't even around. Or am I mixing that up with an older back-story of him?

Dave Harty said...

I didn't see the D&C interview about the smoke monster, but is it possible that while alive, Jacob controlled or was the smoke monster, but at his death, AJ then assumed that role?

Sam said...

another part that may prove theory 3 right. Jack only gets 1 bottle of booze for his drink on the flight instead of 2 in the original. Maybe he is improving on his alcohol dependency. Damon & Carlton said this was important on Kimmel.

Will we see the flight again, and Jack is drinking water?

Jill said...

The loop makes sense, much like Steven King's The Dark Tower series....

Shawn Writes said...

Long time reader, first (or maybe second) time poster. I just wanted to expand on one of the theories you had this week. It's something I've been saying for a while now and more so since this premier.


Okay so Ben takes Locke to the Cabin thinking they're going to see Jacob because if you think about it, Ben have NEVER had contact with the real Jacob.

Let's take a step back and let me sorta-kinda create a history:

-jacob and anti-jacob on the island. Anti-Jacob gets the temple.

-something happens that causes Anti-Jacob to break into two forms: smokey and creepy rocking chair/eye-guy in the cabin.

-Circle of ash around cabin to trap in the "more powerful" of the two parts. Smokey is controlled perhaps by the rules of it's form (it can only appear as the dead, it must judge you, etc)

-years pass. Island natives such as Alpert and New Asian dude and John Lennon guy are all chillin' like villain's.

-Dharma arrives. Jinkies!

-At some point the circle of ash is disturbed and the stronger perhaps SMARTER part of anti-jacob is free. He looks around his island and goes, "WTF, Jacob, where did all these outsides come from with their tech and computers that go click-clack?"

-Young Ben arrives on island, sees his dead Mom (smokey/anti-jacob) she tells him it's not time but soon. This causes the eventual purge of Dharma.

-Now Anti-jacob has ben's ear and cause he knows the "rules and superstitions" of the island people he can manipulate things so Alpert believes Ben is choosen by Jacob. Since Jacob is more faith based and doesn't communicate directly with his people (just like God. God laid down the rules and then stepped off) Richard believe in Ben who is following the word of Anti-Jacob (who is pretending to be Jacob). This explains why Ben took Locke to the Cabin but Alpert bypassed it completely. They know only of Jacob as the God the statue represents.

-now the plan is in action. Everything we've seen in the series has been Anti-jacob's doing and manipulations all the way up until...


-Here is where the good guys start to rally. Elosise who realizes something is a miss. Now Jacob starts to move his people into place. At this point HE even makes his journey around the world touching our losties, making sure they reach the island.

whew. I hope that makes some sense. if not I'll check back to clarify anything I might have screwed up on in my rush to get it out and not be late for work. :)

jack said...

Sondra -- why do you think if Alpert was in chains he'd be one of the bad guys himself?

jack said...

very funny nods to LOST

falcon said...

Not sure if this has been commented on before, but sure did enjoy the Lost shout-outs during the Super Bowl yesterday - Dr. Chang as an astronomer in one commercial, and then of course the Budweiser spoof on Lost (although I thought the "human bridge" was the funniest Budweiser commercial). Now if Brian can only tease out what those commercials indicate about the future course of season 6, all will be well in the world!

Unknown said...

Thats some great thinking Brian but I think its going to end up being what Eagle44 wrote. The other day Damon Lindelof wrote on his twitter dont think too hard.

-Parallel Brian

RockStar Jones said...

In Korean culture the woman retain their fathers surname/family name and do not take on their husbands surname/family name. Sun and Jin are married!!!

CNote72 said...

Hey everyone!
I've been reading the blog for a few seasons now, but have never joined in the discussion before. However, I really think Brian's theory #3 could be pretty solid. I appreciate that it doesn't make the flash-sideways scenes irrelevant, like they would be if they were simply a, "what could have happened," alternate reality. The theory also provides us with a truly meaningful reason for the numbers, i.e. what number loop we are currently on. I think that would draw an interesting parallel with the scene early on in the series when Sayid, Shannon, Charlie, etc. first hear Rousseau's transmission, and Sayid determines that the numbers at the end are a counter of how many times the transmission has played. Good stuff, keep up the discussion everyone!

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the comments, but I thought I'd enter a possible new idea.

What if the reason that Sayid needed to live or be taken to the temple was so that Jack would try to revive him. What if Jack is meant to be Jacob’s replacement. Jack has been shown to be a healer throughout the show just as Jacob has been shown to be a healer. What if Jack has been groomed to be Jacob’s replacement. Maybe I missed this, but what’s Jack’s real name? If it were Jacob, that’d be kind of cheesy…but possible?

Just a thought I had.

Anonymous said...

Aldo and Ethan are in this episode. (William mapother (Tom Cruises brother)

Matt said...

I still think that we do have an alternate reality going on. But what we are going to see is that destiny always wins out and by the end of the show, the two realities will have merged to the same result. We can see this already occurring in some of the events after the "non-crash" of the plane. (Jack looking for his dad, Locke looking for his knives, Jack saving Charlie's life) The same events took place on the island in a slightly different way.

Sondra said...

I have seen heavy biblical parallels, and the statement Anti-Jacob made asking Alpert how it felt to be free from his chains reminded me of Revelations 20. Athiests and Agnostic's stop reading now: "Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon-that old Serpent, the devil, Satan- and bound him in chains for 1,000 years, and threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked, so that he could not fool the nations any more until the thousand years were finished. Afterwards, he would be released again for a little while." "When the thousand years end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations of the world and gather them together, with Gog and Magog, for battle." So...think about it. Alpert always has dark circles under his brown dark eyes. Even though he seems kind in words and actions, I think he could be Satan (being his deceptive self). I've become confused if Anti-Jacob is another demon, or perhaps he is the opposite of what we think. He could be God, who locked up Satan. Revelations is a book in the bible that tells us about the release of the devil for 1,000 years, when we will be deceived. This precedes judgment day, when it will be revealed whose name is written in the book of life.

These thoughts are mighty deep, and obviously religious in nature...but I can't ignore how similar the story is to Revelations.

We'll see.

TheycallmeVic said...

Sondra, I can't really agree with that. Because first, Richard has dark eyes naturally. Google Nestor Carbonell (the Actor) and you'll learn that's a natural trait of his.

Second, if Richard is Satan and AJ is God, then who is Jacob? in the Bible Satan serves nobody but himself, and in LOST Richard serves Jacob, so it doesn't really add up.

I think the chains reference is simply that Richard was a slave in the Black Rock and Jacob freed him. Brian also proposed this possibility.

Sondra said...

I don't doubt that much of what I just posted could be disproved. Something tells me that like a good novel, there will be a several times that we think we know where everything is headed, then then it'll take a different spin. My first instinct was to assume that the guy in white is good, and the guy in black is bad. I just have a funny feeling that some of what we think is obvious is intentionally pulling us off track on purpose. Unlike my friends, I hope this ends up paralleling biblical teachings. It's just my humble opinion :D

TheycallmeVic said...

Sondra I too agree that given the history of this show, we'll most likely end up in a different way than we're expecting to now.

And if you want Biblical parallels, the show does have aspects of good vs evil. Shown in the pilot episode with the game of backgammon, white vs black.
Dogen said there is "darkness" in Sayid. Obviously that is relative, Dogen perceives AJ to be the evil one, but in the end it could end up being Jacob.
We'll just have to wait and see.

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