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Friday, February 05, 2010

LOST: LA X Recap | Abridged and Updated

For the benefit of . . . anyone who values their time but also is into LOST, I've trimmed and refreshed the Lost tome. It's still long, but a bit more manageable. Here you go:

I liked this episode, though I wasn’t so sure at first.

First question: Did Juliet’s bomb-bashing, future-changing experiment work? Yes, it did. The island was underwater, the plane never crashed, and this whole series never happened.

Before I continue on with the story of the uncrashed airplane, I want to comment about this crazy little turn on the show, the alternate reality (AR) running concurrently with (though 3 years behind) the original reality (OR). There are basically two schools of thought with time travel. 1) If you go back in time and change something, you won’t really change anything—the future you were trying to change was actually the result of your efforts in the past, and 2) If you go back in time, you can change the future, but it’s dangerous, cuz you could screw something up. Read More

This twist was, at least to me, a new school of thought. If you go back in time and change the future in a way that compromises the timeline that brought you to the past, you will a) create a never-before-seen reality for a new you, and b) kick the old you back to the future from whence you came, unchanged and unmoved. The great thing about it is, they’re telling us both stories. This is genius.

Did the atom bomb go off and prevent the domino effect that led to Flight 815 crashing? Yes. Did that get the Losties off the island? No. Their future didn't stop. The paradox was avoided by skipping their needle back to the appropriate part of the record.

Before examining the events on the island, I want to stick with the AR storyline so we can look at what changed by imploding the island. Let's take it character by character.

For Jack, the only significant change is that his dad's coffin isn't found on the plane. In the original sequence, Jack was able to find his dad's coffin . . . just not his body. So why would the island disappearing cause a switch here? Because of . . .

Charles Widmore
One thing I'll still hold onto is that in the alternate reality (AR from now on) you can pretty much equate Oceanic Airlines with Charles Widmore. If the island did go kerplunk in 1977, that doesn't necessarily mean Widmore was on it. He had been known to leave the island from time to time during his times as Chief Other, so my assumption is, he’s alive. My guess: he's still working to find the island again, and he's using Jack and his father's body as a tool, possibly under the direction or influence of Jacob's Unknown Foe/the Man in Black/the Smoke Monster. New abbreviation: MiB

Rose and Bernard
They looked so happy on this episode, so it breaks my heart to have to say that Rose is sick. She's dying. And if she never visits the island, she never gets better.

Boone (sans Shannon)
This is one of the more disturbing twists, because the change seems random. Boone went to Australia to get Shannon to come back with him, to persuade her out of another bad relationship. In the original OR, Shannon swindled Boone out of a lot of money, was then taken advantage of by her boyfriend, Bryan, and then had a drunken, step-incestuous hookup with Boone before leaving on Flight 815 the next morning. So why would the island's demise change that story? My only guess is that somehow Bryan, a previously frivolous character, might prove to be connected to the island's story somehow. Could he be an Other? A former Other? A descendant of an Other? Pure guesses, but something has to account for the change. Stay tuned.

Poor John Locke. No walkabout, no walking. Nothing but a vivid imagination. His encounter with Jack is much more touching in the AR, and I read one comment that his and Jack’s roles of faith vs. science/reason seem to have switched. Makes sense since they never went down the rabbit hole, so up never changed places with down. Also, Locke's suitcase full of knives was on the plane in the OR, but in the AR it went missing. This meeting with Jack has been carefully orchestrated (or at least expertly predicted/manipulated) by some very powerful people.

Was Jack imagining him? (Maybe.) Was he a figment of Jack's OR-aware subconscious? (No.) Don't forget that Jack had met Desmond before the island, when the two were doing a Tour de Stade and Desmond was training for his global circumnavigation yacht race. But in the AR, the island never drew Des off course, and there's no reason for him not to be on a flight from Australia to LA.

He did sort of appear and disappear abruptly, though, didn't he? I won't eliminate the possibility of supernatural forces at work here, but my money is still on Charles Widmore. I'm guessing Desmond got tossed into the plane's underbelly luggage storage, but that's just me. I will give Desmond this: he was most definitely right when he told Jack, "I'll see you in another life, brother."

Hugo still won the lottery, still bought Mr. Clucks (and, presumably, the box company employing Locke), but without the numerical insanity. There were no numbers being broadcast ad infinitum. He may have been in a mental institution, but Leonard, his connect 4 buddy, didn't know jack about 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, or 42. Hugo won big, and his luck changed. Most notably, his plane didn't crash. He was, however, still naive enough to inform Sawyer of his easily swindled millions.

Sawyer is still Sawyer, though his ability for generating hilarious nicknames may have been a product of the power of the island. He made his intentions for conning Hurley smirkingly evident, and then he helped Kate beat the heat. Yeah, he hasn't changed a bit, for which I am strangely glad.

Kate's still on the run, and still really good at it. Poor U.S. Marshall still gets his head beaten in, only it's a bathroom counter instead of a Halliburton briefcase. As far as I can tell, there's really not a thing different about Kate or her situation.

Michael and Walt
I understand why we didn't see Walt on the flight. Malcolm David Kelley would be a tad too aged to make the scene convincing. But still, these are pretty important characters to the story, and it wouldn't have been too hard to show they were on the plane.

The only explanation I can muster is that Walt's animal-summoning skills were influenced somehow by the existence of the island. He seems connected to that force in some way, so I wouldn't be surprised to find that the course of his existence changed remarkably enough that he didn't make it on to Flight 815. Maybe his mom didn't die. Maybe he just didn't weird out his step-dad so much. I don't know.

I feel for my boy Charlie. His life was cut short by the island, improved by his experiences there, and then, in AR, it was extended into unknown misery by the life-saving efforts of Jack Shepherd. I wish him luck in the AR.

Ben (for the fun of it)
Ben's most likely dead in the AR. Somewhat ironic since he was carrying a book called, "Separate Reality," when, as a boy, he approached Sayid with a sandwich and an earnest desire to become an Other.

Claire (and Aaron)
She’s on her way (in a hijacked cab) to give her yet-to-be-born baby up for adoption. Who knows where this goes.

Back on the Island, Life in the OR

Juliet and Sawyer
Sawyer blames Jack for the explosion attempt not working, but he's wrong. Juliet dies from the injuries she suffered from falling down the shaft, but not before she has a chance to reconnect with Sawyer. After she died, she told Miles “it worked,” but before she died she was rambling about grabbing a cup of coffee and going dutch. I think Juliet tapped into her AR consciousness and saw herself meeting Sawyer for the first time . . . again. At that point, I'm guessing, she realized that it worked.

Living Locke / the Man in Black / Jacob's Unknown Foe / the Smoke Monster / Christian Shepherd / Maybe Every Dead Person We've Ever Seen on This Show / MiB . . . and Hurley
In the flashback to predate all flashbacks, when we saw Jacob and his frenemy talking on the beach about the state of human existence, MiB said he was trying to find a loophole to kill Jacob. Last season ended with MiB using Ben to jab a knife repeatedly through that loophole into Jacob's nebulous chest. Quickly we learn MiB is the smoke monster. For whatever reason, he can't go through the sonar fence or a circle of strange powder (gun powder? human ashes? pixie dust? dunno.) though he's quite adept at finding workarounds for that little gimmick.

MiB also has the capability of taking the form of dead people whose bodies are on or around the island, though, as evidenced by John Locke's remains chilling outside Jacob's lair, he doesn't indwell the body, but he does appear to know about the person's personality, feelings, and memories (he was able to tell Ben what John was thinking when he died). I don't think Hurley can see dead people. I think MiB has been appearing to Hurley in the form of people who died on the island and timing his appearances in such a way as to make Hurley think he's the only one seeing them. Maybe MiB is capable of hiding his appearance from some while revealing his existence to Hurley, but I don't think that's the case either. From what I can remember, Hurley's visions of the dead disappear when other (living/sane) people approach or regain consciousness. Either way, I think Hurley is being tricked by MiB into thinking he possesses an ability he does not.

The strongest evidence is that Miles can commune with dead spirits, but he doesn't actually see them or dialog with them (at least not in the way that Hurley does). But the real give away is the trust that Hurley has in these visions. Throughout the course of the past few seasons, Hurley has been easily manipulated by the advice given to him by friends he lost on the island. I believe that to be the work of MiB.

I also believe MiB is working in concert with Charles Widmore (and Oceanic). Think about it. Remember when Widmore crony and professed Oceanic rep Matthew Abaddon visited Hurley at the mental asylum? Hurley refused to listen to him. But shortly after, Hurley was visited by Charlie, who essentially completed the same task. MiB.

The big question is, when Jacob appeared to Hurley on the island, was it Jacob or was it MiB? And is Sayid dead and reanimated by MiB? Or by Jacob? Or is he really alive?

One more thing: Mib said he wants to go home. I don't think that means he wants to go off the island. As the Others seem to expect, I think he views the Temple as his home, and I don't think he's been allowed there in quite some time, hence their preparation for his coming .

Wait, another question: when Jacob’s dying words were, “they’re coming,” what did he mean? Maybe he was referring to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Hurley, and anyone else who may have been propelled back into their original place in time. Oh, and Richard . . . maybe he was a prisoner on the Black Rock, hence MiB’s “chains” remark?

My last point for understanding what’s going on is just always remembering the theme of Science/reason/controlling your destiny vs. Faith/sacrifice/interpreting the signs. This is played out on a number of levels. But the two sides, while running in opposition to each other, aren’t cleanly separated into black and white. In fact, the sides often run right alongside each other in a race rather than a head-to-head battle. Another theme: Manipulation and lies/vs. truth and unselfishness. It’s very rare that anyone on this show is who they claim to be. The only truly positive developments come from telling the truth. Look for that to win out.

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