Saturday, April 23, 2011


The image above is a picture of Rousseau's map. It just occurred to me that the shape of the island contours as represented on it as two human spines. Adam and Eve resting in the cave, which would represent Crazy Mother and Jacob's brother, the separation of the island guardian and the smoke monster island protector. The theme of division has always been strong in the LOST story arcs, including the two worlds division contained in The End.

One of the least discussed aspects of The End was the drop-kick revelation that the sideways world was a created after life realm for the island characters to re-group and move on together.

Just about every new character that was introduced to the island came as a result of a death or near death transportation: shipwrecks, plane crashes, even Juliet swallowing an overdose of pills to get on the submarine . . . why? If one takes Jacob's statement at face value, he was the one who brought "everyone" to the island.

But what really is the island? It was not merely a location, but TPTB and fan base concluded that the island was a character in itself, a conscious being of unknown power.

World One: The Island

The Island is the geographic location of LOST castaways, covering a period of at least 2000 years.

The Island has healing powers and cured John Locke of his paralysis and Rose of her cancer. It also functions as a "cork" that suppresses a dangerous force from escaping. At the Heart of the Island is a bright light, the source of "life, death, (and) rebirth" that needs to be protected. The current protector is Hugo Reyes. The protector also brings others to the island for various purposes, such as becoming the the new protector of the island.

The Island was apparently inhabited by Egyptians and possibly Sumerians and Southeast Asians in the distant past, and also was home to a village of Latin-speaking people who were shipwrecked there in the early first millennium. The Island periodically moves its physical location, as it took significant calculations to find since it is hidden from plain view. The Island was in the South Pacific Ocean in 2004 but could have been in the Mediterranean Sea at some point in its history. At the end, the island seems to submerge upon the passing of Jacob and MIB.

According to Jacob, the Island acts as a cork, holding back a malevolent force that would destroy the world if released. When the Man in Black made contact with the site of this suppression, the Heart of the Island, he transformed into a smoke monster that plagued the Island for thousands of years. A protector guards the Heart of the Island, the source of life, death and rebirth. Despite the Heart, or possibly because of it, not all who die on the Island move on - some remain, whispering. Other apparitions of unknown origin also appear, often confronting people with images from their past.

The Heart of the Island manifests itself as electromagnetism concentrated in specific pockets. The Man in Black's people dug wells at these sites, and the Dharma Initiative built stations, including the Orchid and the Swan. Lostpedia states that from at least 1977, when scientists penetrated a pocket, this energy has healed sickness, including cancer, paralysis, brain damage and male infertility, but it causes pregnant women to reject embryos, killing both mother and fetus. The electromagnetism also affects navigation, hiding the Island from the outside world (thus the reason rescue almost never came), drawing back those who leave the Island, moving the Island and even transporting travelers through time.

World Two: Sideways Realm

Lostpedia concludes that the Season 6 "sideways world view" was merely a new narrative technique - the flash sideways. Like flashbacks and flash forwards, flash sideways intercut into episodes' main action a secondary storyline, which covered the centric characters at a different time. The series finale revealed the nature of the world the flash sideways portrayed: it showed the characters meeting after death. As such, the flash sideways are in a sense Flash-forwards.

Lostpedia believes the sound cues reveals the difference and the connection between the two world/time periods: In "Happily Ever After", Desmond Hume transitioned between the original time line and the flash-sideways time line with the absence of the flash-sideways sound effect, in similar fashion to the way in which his story transitioned between present and past in "The Constant" without the flashback/flash-forward sound effect. However, the sound effect was used at the end of the episode, when he transitioned back into the sideways time line, indicating that this last flash was a normal flash-sideways, and not consciousness-travel, as the main body of the episode was.

Lostpedia concludes that the sideways world was merely a FLASH FORWARD in time to where all the Island characters were dead. The problem with that conclusion is that could not happen in a linear, chronological time line in one plane of existence.

Jack died on the island 14 days after Flight 316 crash landed on the island. That flight was around late October-early November of 2007, after John Locke is killed, which would make Jack's death on the island around November 14, 2007.

However, Jack awakens in the sideways church and is told he is dead, only a week after Flight 815 lands in LA, around September 29, 2004. On that day in the original island time line, Jack is trying to get people on the beach to move to the safety of the caves. During one trip to the caves, there is a cave in on or about September 29, 2004, which traps Jack (who is rescued with only a separated shoulder injury).

There is a significant continuity issue at play. If Jack was awakened in the sideways world time only AFTER he died on the island, then his death would have been as a result of the cave collapse on Day 8 after the crash of Flight 815 in 2004, and not Day 14 after the crash of Flight 316 in 2007.

Even if one accepts the concept of non-linear time (time is a meandering stream), there is still a problem of Jack having a separate sideways (flash back) existence in the sideways time than the reality of the island (present and flash backs) time line.

September, 2004 island time line: Jack is alive on the island.
September, 2004 sideways time line: Jack is dead in the church at his father's funeral.
November, 2007 island time line: Jack dies on the island.

In order to sync to the sideways time stamp of September 29, 2004 as Christian's funeral, Jack would have had to "die" in the cave collapse on Day 8 after the 815 crash. So how did Jack's body continue "on" in the island time for at least another three years?!

One could right off time as being immaterial to the LOST story, like Christian's lame explanation of the here and now in the sideways world not being the past or the present. But if "time" is irrelevant concept in the LOST mythology, why was it so critical to many of the story lines of Daniel, Desmond, the time skippers back to 1974 Dharma? One would have thought that the time frames from the island and sideways worlds would intersect at the same date in the End.

But as the island had two spines in topography, why were not the two different time periods fully explained in LOST?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SS6: Number 1: The Smoke Monster

Coming into the final season, the biggest, baddest question to be decided in fan's minds was "what was the Smoke Monster?"

The blast door map noted a "Cerberus," a security system, guarding the island. The mysterious black smoke monster had a chilling sound (some believed it to be mechanical). The monster appeared to have only base, violent instincts. It killed the 815 pilot. It created a sense of horror throughout the jungle to survivors. But throughout the seasons, we did see contradictions. Kate and Juliet were saved by hiding in a banyan tree (though Juliet was "scanned.") Banyan trees are said to be home to "good spirits," implying that the monster was a "bad spirit." Ben used his secret closet and opened a drain to send water underground to "summon" the smoke monster, who arrived at the barracks in a rage to kill everyone there (Ben stated he had no control over it when they ran into the jungle). The monster also showed intelligence to take on other forms from character's memories, like Eko's brother when Eko refused to repent for his past sins.

There were always questions of what the smoke monster was made of; and what could repel it (the sonic fence? the rain? water?)

In Season 6, we learned "who" was the Smoke Monster, but not "what" it was.

Jacob was appointed by Mother to be the new island protector in a simple ceremony outside the Light Cave. This was done because Jacob's brother's actions. Jacob's brother left their home to be with the Others, shipwrecked members of his real mother's crew. He learned that there was a place beyond the island, his "real" home. He lived with the Others and learned a way to leave the Island (by building the unexplainable FDW). In a rage, Crazy Mother killed all of the villagers so as to keep her sons on the Island. In response, Jacob's brother killed Mother, who had turned "mortal" through the transfer of the guardianship to Jacob. Her rules still applied to them: they could not kill each other. Jacob, finding that his brother had killed Mother, threw an unconscious MIB into the light cave - - - and as a result, the violent smoke monster rushed forth, leaving only Jacob's brother's dead body (for which Jacob buried in the caves with Mother as Adam and Eve.) It is unclear whether the Light Cave itself killed MIB, "awakened" by the man's presence or combined with Jacob's brother to form this new being. In any event, Jacob found a "loophole" to kill his brother; and his brother's alter ego, the Smoke Monster, spent centuries trying to find his "loophole" to kill Jacob.

As the Smoke Monster, it could manifest itself in many forms, including deceased individuals, most frequently as Jacob's brother (MIB) and in the end, the deceased John Locke (Flocke). As a mind reader and manipulator of matter, it is clear that the Monster was a dangerous force. The dynamic between Jacob and MIB continued to be one of sibling rivalry, an enlarged game of human senet.

The creation of the Smoke Monster is not clear. Some have suggested that Crazy Mother herself, was the Smoke Monster, who was really the immortal guardian of the Island. It was not explained how throwing a man into the Light Cave, the source of life, death and rebirth, would create a monster. We saw that the Light Cave contained skeletons of men, who apparently died trying to figure out the mystery of the light source. We also saw that once Desmond uncorked the stone, the Island went into chaos, and once Jack replaced the stone, the Island returned to normal but the Smoke Monster as Flocke suddenly turned "mortal" (as did other "immortals" such as Richard). How did this Island "re-set" button change the fundamental physical properties of MIB-Smoke Monster? And why did the immortal Jacob "die" before this Island re-set inside the Light Cave? Was Jacob also a smoke monster, with powers equal to MIB? If that is true, then why could Jacob leave the island but MIB could not? Was it just one of Jacob's own "rules?"

The majority of LOST fan base is probably satisfied with the knowledge that the Smoke Monster was part of the Jacob-twin brother back story. But a minority probably view the Smoke Monster sage as a lost opportunity to fully develop a sci-fi basis for the entire Island mythology.

We think we know who was the Smoke Monster (Jacob's brother's spirit), but not was never confirmed as fact. We all can agree that we don't know "what" the Smoke Monster was except a homicidal chameleon in MIB's form. We don't know if there were other smoke like monsters on the Island (but we know that trapped souls/spirits remain like whispers as Hurley found out in his last encounter with dead Michael). We don't know why the smoke monster was created or viewed as a security system by Dharma and the Others. We don't know what they thought it was protecting besides the island itself. And finally, we don't know "how" the smoke monster formed, transformed, lived and died (cease to be immortal).

SS6: Number 2: The Polar Bears

What is the deal about the Polar Bears?

The polar bear question surfaced in the pilot as a puzzling mystery when a survivor's scouting party is attacked by one (and Sawyer pulls a gun and kills it). The polar bear is last seen in Season 3 episode, "Further Instructions."

Since it was one of the first "shock" revelations in the series, fans continue to hark back on the polar bear question to try to find some deeper revelation in the underlying LOST mythology.

Why were polar bears on the island begs Charlie's question, not where but "what is the island?"

According to Dharma information, polar bears were brought to the island for experiments. On the Hydra Island, they were kept in cages. They learned to get out fish biscuits from a complex puzzle machine. Dr. Chang in a film indicated that the bears were used for studies in electromagnetic research. The bears were used to test the frozen donkey wheel chamber, and were transported to the desert of Tunisia, where Charlotte found the remains of one with a Dharma collar tag. Ben and Locke also wound up at this exit point after turning the FDW.

For creationists (those who believe the island is the mental creation of some one or group), Walt was reading Hurley's comic book which contained a picture of a polar bear. The theory is that Walt's mental abilities created the polar bears on the island.

Another explanation was contained on the Blast Door Map. The Latin name for "polar bear", Ursus maritimus, is mentioned on blast door diagram, implying that the bears were used during experiments on the Island as follows: "STATED GOAL, REPATRIATION ACCELERATED DE-TERRITORIALIZATION OF URSUS MARITIMUS THROUGH GENE THERAPY AND EXTREME CLIMATE CHANGE. Valenzetti theorists would conclude that polar bears experiments to change arctic animals behavior and adaptation of harsh climates was an attempt to change the variables in the doomsday equation for humanity.

Alien theorists (those who believe aliens or alien technology was the root of the Island powers) thought this description was for the cosmic constellation of Ursus Maritimus, as an origin or nexus point in time space to the Island and its creators.

The science or science fiction aspects of the reasons why polar bears were on the island faded away but remained a gnawing mystery in some fan's minds. After the purge, why were the polar bears let out of their cages? Why use large, dangerous animals like bears to conduct experiments when the closest human counterpart is monkeys? Or in Ben's case, he directly used human subjects in his experiments to find a solution to the fertility problem.

The use of polar bears roaming a tropical jungle island was an absurd and strange hook in the pilot episode. It could be viewed now as a symbol or metaphor that the Island was not a real island, but a different place or realm where our notions of reality are not the rules.

SS6: Number 3: The Numbers

Oh, The Numbers. The six numbers that haunted LOST fans for Six Years. Those pesky numbers kept on showing up on props, signals, odometers, cave walls, lighthouse dials, lottery tickets, flight numbers, the hatch door, computer screens, computer read-outs, and numerous theories.

The Numbers. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

Was there any final conclusion to what the Numbers represented?

I guess it depends if you think the Numbers were important.

Hurley thought the Numbers were important: as bad luck, a curse or a bad omen, every time he encountered them. Danielle must have thought the same thing, as the signal repeating the numbers led to her coming to the Island.

Many fans speculated that the Numbers had to deal with Dharma or some unknown group trying to change the values of the Valenzetti Equation. That theorem is a 1970s equation that attempts to determine the end of humanity. Dharma was conducting various experiments to either create, change or modify life in an attempt to change the coefficients of the equation to save the world. But that does not explain why the numbers were broadcast as an island location beacon; why they were on the hatch serial number; or why those numbers had to be put into the Swan computer in order to avoid a release of electromagnetic energy.

The fans really, really, really wanted an answer to the Numbers. They wanted the Numbers to be foundational to the whole story line. They have to be disappointed.

We found in the lighthouse and in MIB's cave, the Numbers allegedly represented potential Candidates.T he Numbers represented the last six candidates to succeed Jacob as island protector:

4 was John Locke, who was killed off the island, and his body taken by MIB to create Flocke.

8 was Hugo Reyes, who feared the Numbers the most, and wound up the guardian after Jack.

15 was James Ford, Sawyer, who never wanted to take responsibility for anything until he time traveled with Juliet.

16 was Sayid Jarrah, who was taken over by "The Darkness" and MIB.

23 was Jack Shepard, who defeated MIB and became the island protector for just a few short hours, until Flight 316, piloted by Frank, allowed Sawyer, Kate, Miles, Claire and Richard to leave the island.

42 was for Jin Kwon, who never left the island, who killed himself to stay with Sun in the sinking submarine.

Were the Numbers critical to the final explanation of the show? Or were the Numbers merely a clever plot device, a red herring, to keep fans watching intently and discussing the meaning of them from week to week? (I really liked by Periodic Chart of the Elements Theory). The conclusion, as written, the Numbers were basically used as immaterial bait to keep fans interested in the show. The function of the numbers being so coincidental throughout the seasons is an easter egg not found and left to rot in the yard. The idea that the Numbers were merely symbolic placeholders in Jacob's still convoluted plan to maintain the Island special powers seems disappointing, especially to die hard sci-fi fans looking for a deeper explanation. There is little elegance in the Numbers being merely a scorecard.

Considering the lighthouse contained hundreds of names and numbers crossed off during the centuries, the LOST numbers appear just to be random footnotes. And in the vetting of these final Candidates, there are very little cohesion or moral values between the actual characters. In fact, three had violent or criminal pasts (Ford, Kwon, Jarrah). Two were real life losers (Locke and Reyes, until he won the lottery then began to lose his mind). So by default, Jack winds up as the least flawed person on this list, if you exclude his personal life and drug addiction. In fact, none of the final Candidates had high moral standards to protect something so important as the Light and Island, the source of life, death and rebirth. I guess it is true, when your number is up, your number is really up.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SS6: Number 4: Adam and Eve

In 2004, Jack, Kate and Locke were chased into the caves by a swarm of bees. Inside, they found the remains of two bodies. Locke called them Adam and Eve. Jack, being a doctor, stated the bodies must have been dead 40-50 years based upon the deterioration of their clothing. Jack found black and white stones, but failed to tell Locke of his discovery.

In 2007, when Jack and Hurley went to the caves, Hurley thought that the skeletons might belong to two of the Flight 815 survivors as a result of time travel.

In the Jacob-MIB centric episode, "Across the Sea," we learn the identities of Adam and Eve: Jacob's brother and their crazy, adoptive mother. Jacob placed them in the cave after his brother killed Mother in a rage, and after Jacob threw his brother's body into the light cave, killing his mortal soul. From that point forward, Jacob used black and white stones to represent him and MIB.

For some, the revelation of the names of Adam and Eve was a non-event. It also showed that Jack's assessment of decomposition was off by thousands of years.

The cave of Adam and Eve was one of four burial rituals shown during LOST. The concept of laying out bodies in caves as a funeral rite goes back thousands of years in the Middle East. But it begs the question, how did Jacob know of that custom if he was born on the Island and separated from the Others?

The other known grave was the pit where Ben had the Others toss the purged Dharma members.
This mass grave is representative of warfare.

For the Others, we saw Colleen's ritual to be a Viking-style funeral pyre. It was apparently done to avoid that person's body being taken by MIB. The crash survivors used cremation of the deceased passengers from the plane in a beach funeral pyre.

Afterward, the 815ers buried their dead in a graveyard. The Tailies also did the same during their separation from the 815ers.

Who were Adam and Eve? Jacob's brother and his adoptive crazy Mother.
Why were they buried in the cave? Jacob did it out of respect and/or grief.
What role did Adam and Eve play in the resolution of the LOST story? A footnote in Jacob's back story.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SS6: Number 5: Richard Alpert

Who was the ageless Richard Alpert?

We received a one episode miniseries on Richard's epic background story, in "Ab Aeterno."

In 1867, Richard was married to Isabella, who comes down with a fateful disease. He rushes far away to get medicine from a fraudulent chemist, who refuses to give him the medicine because he has not enough to pay for it. In a struggle, Richard kills the man. He rushes off with the medicine to his home, but finds his wife dead; and the posse comes in shortly thereafter and arrests him for murder. His whole life is ruined; and his quest for a cure for his wife was for naught.

He was convicted for murder. For some reason, Richard, a peasant, learned English through reading the Bible. He sought a priest's forgiveness for his crime, which was coldly denied. Then later, as the gallows were prepared, Richard's life was "spared" by being sold by the priest into indentured servitude on the Black Rock crew. But that ship did not reach its destination, as a storm took it from its Caribbean destination to the Island (which we assume is in the Pacific). We believe it is the ship that Jacob and MIB talk about on the beach; where MIB claims Jacob's brought people to the Island.

The Black Rock is shipwrecked on the Island. A fellow slave looks out of the cracks in the ship and tells Richard he sees land. He then sees the Tawaret statue and yells that he sees the Devil and guesses aloud that the Devil protects the island. The ship is carried up to the crest of a gigantic wave and thrown against the head of the statue.

Only a few crew members survive. An officer comes below deck and begins to kill the slaves to conserve resources. Just as he is about to kill Richard, the Smoke Monster appears on the deck killing the crew. It then takes the officer and rips him through a grate to his demise. Then Smokey comes down and comes face to face with Richard (apparently reading his mind) and leaves. Days probably pass and Richard is in and out of consciousness. Then, he sees a vision of his dead wife, who tells him they are both dead. Then the noise of the monster returns, and Richard yells at her to flee, and is led to believe she is destroyed above deck. More time passes, and MIB shows up as a "friend." He explains that this is Hell. And that he has a job for Richard: to kill the Devil.

The Devil was Jacob, who easily stops the attack.
Richard explains that the Man in Black said that the only way he could see his wife again was if he killed Jacob. Jacob says the person he saw was not his wife, that he is not dead and he is not in Hell. Richard remains convinced that he is dead so Jacob drags him into the sea and submerges him four times, asking if he still thinks he is "dead."

On the beach the two sit together. Jacob says that he is not the Devil. He also explains that he brought the Black Rock to the Island. Jacob explains to Richard why he brings people to the Island by using a wine bottle as a metaphor for the Island. The wine is evil, malevolence; the bottle is containing it because otherwise "it would spread". He explains that the cork represents the Island, holding the darkness where it belongs. Jacob says that the Man in Black believes everyone can be corrupted because it is in their nature to be bad and that he, Jacob, brings people here to prove the Man in Black wrong. Richard asks whether or not Jacob has brought people to the Island in the past and what happened to them, Jacob replies that he has, but they are all now dead.

Jacob says he wants people to know the difference between right and wrong without being told. Richard says that if Jacob won't help these people then MIB would step in. Jacob thinks a moment and then offers Richard the job of being his representative, an intermediary to the people he brings to the Island. When Jacob can't or won't intervene, he proposes Richard can step in on his behalf. When Richard says that in return he wants his wife back; Jacob admits he cannot do this. Richard then asks to be absolved of his sins, so that he will not go to Hell. Jacob says he cannot do that either. Richard then asks to be granted immortality and to never die. Jacob says that he can do this, and touches Richard on the shoulder.

So Richard apparently becomes the ageless go-between for Jacob to the Others for 130 years.

Richard's backstory, however rich in history and drama, creates more conflicting representations in the overall story line. There were many references and situations of Richard's own death prior to being released by MIB. The shipwreck could be considered a metaphor for Jacob being the ferryman into the afterlife, bringing lost souls to the Island realm. Forgiveness and resurrection were Season 6 themes attached to Richard's story. But those ideas conflict with what Jacob said to Richard that he could not bring back the dead to life; but we believe he did when Locke was pushed out the building by Cooper. Jacob said he could not absolve sins; but he never stopped anyone on the Island from sinning through he wanted to prove people should know the difference between right and wrong. In the end, Richard's immortality ends with the death of Jacob and the re-boot of the Island cork.

The mystery of Richard turned out to be a simple one: he was an earlier version of the lost souls from Flight 815; caught up in the debate of man between Jacob and MIB.

Monday, April 18, 2011

SS6: Number 6: Widmore vs. Ben

There was always an intense hatred between Charles Widmore and Benjamin Linus. The open question was the reason behind this blood feud.

We knew Widmore was a former leader of the Others. He was on the island in 1954 when the time skippers, including his son Daniel, arrived to deal with Jughead. At that time, Eloise appeared to be in charge or the co-leader. Richard followed her lead more than Widmore's as time passed and their roles changed. The Others were clear followers of the word of Jacob. At some point, Eloise left the island (possibly to give birth to Daniel?), leaving Richard to scheme to find a replacement.

The Widmore-Linus rivalry may have started when Ben was recruited by Richard to join the Others. Widmore had ordered Ben to go kill Danielle and her child. When Ben got to his mission, he changed it. He kidnapped Alex and told an angry Widmore that Jacob had told him what to do. It was a lie. But the statement bolted Ben, even as a boy, up the Others leadership ranks. The finale coup de tat in the Others hierarchy was Ben's execution of the Dharma collective. The killing of his own father for the sake of the Island was held in great esteem by the Others. He had trumped Widmore. Shortly thereafter, Widmore was conned or "exiled" from the Island by Ben. The reason was unclear, but it could have been Widmore leaving the island and having another child, Penny. Widmore vowed to return after his banishment and reclaim his role on the Island. Another mystery was how did Widmore, a brash lad on the island in 1954, suddenly become a super-wealthy industrialist? Did he leave the island and take over all of Dharma's assets to become an instant millionaire?

For unknown reasons, Ben claimed that he was unable to kill Widmore even when given the opportunity, and that they both knew it. This relates to the Rules governing the two’s dispute, which he said Widmore "changed" upon his mercenary killing Ben's daughter Alex. But if the Rule was that family could not be killed, Alex was not Ben's real daughter (a loophole). As a response to this, Ben told Charles that he would find and kill his daughter, Penny.

Concurrently, Widmore was plotting to indirectly kill Ben by using Sun's anger against Ben to Widmore's advantage. It is unclear whether Ben's use of Sayid as an assassin was the counterbalance to Widmore's plan of killing Ben.

In 2007, Widmore finally returned to the Island in a submarine after claiming to have been invited by Jacob, who “convinced [him] of the error of [his] ways.” At this time, Ben's leadership role in the Others was gone. MIB/Flocke had taken control (under the threat of death). Ben became a weak follower, his vision of his future as Island leader, lost. It was under the vague promise of Flocke that if MIB could leave the island, Ben could have it. The only way that could happen was that if Ben killed Jacob, which he did.

Widmore claimed Jacob told him everything he needed to know to stop MIB from leaving the island. He brought Desmond back with him, as a last resort in case all of Jacob's Candidates died. Widmore was eventually shot to death by Ben in front of MIB/Flocke. Ben broke the Rule against killing Widmore directly. But it apparently had little consequence in the final end game of MIB's quest to leave the island.

What was the intense Widmore-Linus battle about? The power or control of the Island? But that was Jacob's role. The control of the Others? They both had leadership command, but it was not absolute. The island survivors were merely left over pawns in the game between Jacob and his brother. But the big build up of the Widmore-Linus "war" in Season 6 fizzled.

Was this blood feud supposed to symbolized something else? The Widmore-Linus dynamic of needing to return to the island in order to control it is the mirror opposite of the Jacob-MIB dynamic of the brothers wanting to leave the island at some point to move on.

Widmore's return to the island and his death had no impact on his life in the sideways realm. Widmore's death on the island did not trigger any awakening in the sideways realm, where he is the dutiful husband to all-knowing Eloise.

Ben's fall from leadership of the Others in some ways led to the death of Alex and Danielle. His acceptance of a role as second in command under Hurley's apparent island guardianship because he had no place to go. This second island term may have caused Ben to stay behind to make amends with Alex and Danielle in the sideways realm, but only after he was "awakened" by Desmond hitting him with a car.

It is debatable whether the Widmore-Linus story arc was an important aspect of the LOST mythology or merely filler.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SS6: Number 7: Claire's Disappearance

Claire was one of the central early mysteries whose story arc suddenly dropped to no relevance. The initial conflict between Ben and the Others and the 815ers centered around the Others inability to conceive children to term. Juliet was held on the island to solve the pregnancy issues that no child could be born on the island. The reason was never truly explained. When Claire arrived on the island pregnant, she was kidnapped by the Others, tested in the Swan station against an unknown infection. We would later learn that children had been born on the island before: Jacob and his brother, and Alex.

Everyone had an interest in Claire's baby except Claire herself. It was only after the relationship with Charlie did Claire feel comfortable with her child.

In season 5, Claire is living with Kate at the Barracks. When freighter mercenaries attack, Claire is blown up in her house. Sawyer digs through the debris and finds her, but she thinks he is dead Charlie. Following her rescue, Ben summons the smoke monster to attack Keamy's men. Claire is horrified by the monster's violence. She escapes into the jungle. Miles strangely stares at her during the march back to the beach. This is a clue that something is wrong.

During the night, she wakes up to find Aaron missing. She finds him in the arms of Christian. "Dad?" she says. When Sawyer asks where Claire went, Miles says she went off to the jungle. Sawyer only finds Aaron. When the crew rejoins Jack and Kate, they ask what happened to Claire since Sawyer is holding Aaron, Sawyer says "we lost her." This is when Kate assumes responsibility for Aaron and leaving the island.

Claire is next seen by Locke in Jacob's cabin. She is an apparent odd, drug like state. She has no concern for her child. She is with him (Christian, or the image of her father). After the O6 leave, Claire comes to Kate in a dream scolding her not to bring Aaron back to the island. Instead, Kate vows a personal quest to bring Claire back to Aaron.

For the three years of time gap in the O6 return, Claire has apparently been living the life of Danielle Rousseau. Living in the jungle, fearful of the Others at the Temple, hiding and setting traps. In one of the stark, gross and crazy props of the show, she is caring for a Dead Squirrel Baby as a substitute for her own child, which she was wrongly told by Flocke was being held by the Others at the Temple. It seems that during the three years in the jungle, Claire had continuous contact with "her friend," the image of Christian, which in reality was Flocke (MIB). Dogen said that she had become infected with "the darkness" and turned into a murderous, vengeful being.

When Claire is in the temple pit singing "Catch a Falling Star," Kate comes to apologize to her, and to rescue her. Claire is upset and angry at Kate. Then suddenly, the smoke monster attacks inside the Temple, nearly killing Kate.

If the sickness was code for being "put under a spell by MIB," then Claire's three years alone on the island only served his purpose of harassing the Others (Jacob's people). She was never a candidate, and she served no useful purpose except as self-pity baggage during the long meaningless jungle marches of Flocke.

For those who believe that Claire was killed in the freighter attack on the Barracks, then Claire's "disappearance" was no more than MIB creating another zombie killer as a tool on this island purgatory, just as he did with Sayid. Just like in her real life, Claire was discarded when something better came along (in Flocke's case, the weapon called Desmond who he'd throw down the Light cave). If Christian's words in The End were true, that her time on the island "was the most important thing in her life," then Claire's life was a miserable void.

So what happened when Claire disappeared into the Jungle with Christian? If she was alive, she replaced Danielle as the Island's crazy woman. She was an Other attacker and murderer. She became mentally unstable. She became a follower of MIB, who may have been the devil himself. For three years, she lived in the darkness; the pitch black evil of spiritual existence.

Friday, April 15, 2011

SS6: Number 8: Why is Walt Special?

There were many LOST characters who had special gifts or talents, like Charlie and Daniel who had musical talent. But there were very few characters that were directly told that they "were special."

From recollection, these characters were once called "special:"

Claire was told by Aussie psychic Richard Malkin that Aaron was special.
MIB was told by Crazy Mother that he was special.
Ben told Locke that he thought he was special, as an island protector just like Locke thought of himself as having a special destiny to protect the island. Both men never wanted to leave the island, but did so in a time of crisis by turning the FDW.
Locke was told he was special by his Mother, because he had no father (immaculate conception).
Locke was also told by Richard Alpert that he was special when he was being recruited for a school.
Desmond was called special by Daniel because of Desmond's ability to mentally time travel and harness the island's electromagnetic properties.
Walt was called special by Tom and the Others who kidnapped him. Also, Walt's step father called him different (and dangerous) from his psychic abilities which included killing birds.

One could argue that "miracle babies" would be classified as "special."
Ben was born prematurely in a forest, far away from any medical care or treatment.
Locke was born after a car crash, and miraculous survived in an ICU chamber.
Aaron survived a plane crash to be born on the Island.
Jacob and his brother both survived a shipwreck to be born on the Island.
Alex survived a shipwreck to be born on the Island.

But Walt had none of background of the miracle babies.
Until he literally outgrew his role, Walt was the focal point for the Others.
He had some power or ability that the Others, including Ben, wanted to test or harness.

Walt had psychic abilities as a child. Some believe they were premonitions. Others thought
that he could control events, and cause death (such as various bird deaths). His step father was so afraid of him, he dumped him off to his father, Michael. "Sometimes when he is around, things happen," Brian told Michael. Example, he stopped the rain in order to search for Vincent in the jungle.

Walt also appeared as an apparent apparition: a) his imagine leads Shannon into the woods, who is then shot and killed by a startled Ana Lucia; b) he appears before a dying Locke who was shot by Ben and tells him to get out of the Dharma mass grave because "he has work to do." Now, this could have been the work of MIB taking the form of Walt in order to get the 815ers in motion for his "loophole" plan to kill Jacob (for which MIB may have needed Walt off the island -- through Michael shooting Ana Lucia and making a deal with the Others to leave with no chance of returning and then having Locke become his patsy to con Richard, Ben and the Others to lead him to Jacob for his revenge.)

Many theorized that Walt was supposed to be the new guardian. There is no conclusive evidence to support that theory. Walt's name did not appear in the Lighthouse as a Candidate for Jacob's replacement. Jacob never "touched" him.

Some theorized that Walt's psychic kinetic powers would be a weapon the Others could use against Widmore. He Walt thought about something, his mind could make it really happen. Like after reading a comic book on the plane about polar bears, a polar bear attacks the survivors.

But all speculation led to a dead end. Walt was written out of the series.

Was Walt "special?" In the first four seasons he was deemed special in the story lines. But in Season 6, his role brought no insight into the Finale. Walt only appears in archive footage with Locke in the End. Walt's character had no role in the events that led to the church conclusion.

But the mystery leading up to the last season was Why was Walt special? What was the reason or purpose for Walt special traits? Like many LOST questions, we really do not know.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

SS6: Number 9: Man in Black

The set up for Season 6 included the mystery surrounding Jacob's apparent rival, the Man in Black.

Non-canon references aside, we never learn this man's name.

In Season 6, MIB was the haphazard Island tour guide marching groups all around the Island in circles waiting for the final showdown. It is unclear whether Jacob kept MIB from leaving the Island, or whether the immortality of the Smoke Monster form kept him trapped by the Light cave cork.

The Man in Black lived with the original Others, the other survivors from his real mother's shipwreck. By living with these survivors, he believed that the Island wasn't his real home. He learned to question things by living with the survivors. Over time, he developed knowledge on how to leave the Island by creating the Frozen Donkey Wheel, to harness the power of the Light. He was correct, since the FDW did transport people from the Island to Tunisia. Crazy Mother thwarted his plans and killed all the ship survivors in his village. He, in turn, killed Crazy Mother with a dagger in a rage. Jacob took revenge by casting him into the Light Cave, which transformed him into the Smoke Monster.

The brothers spent the following centuries in conflict, drawing people to the island to test their nature. MIB grew weary of the humans Jacob brought to the Island. (It must have been just as Crazy Mother did, to find a replacement for her island prison). One would have thought that after centuries of humans being brought to the Island, MIB would have found a clear path of escape. The 815ers as a group were not that different or brilliant. They never solved the mysteries of the Island. They never answered Charlie's basic question, "what is this place?"

Though their mother had prevented them from hurting one another, the Man in Black eventually killed Jacob indirectly by assuming the form of John Locke, the Others lost new leader, and convincing Ben to kill Jacob with a dagger, just as MIB had done to Crazy Mother. The Greek tragedy mythology had come full circle. The Island could have been this family's sideways world waiting room to the final afterlife.

But, apparently, the killing of Jacob did not allow MIB to leave the Island. He then tried to kill Jacob's Candidates for Island protector role. MIB finally tried to use Desmond's unique power to destroy the Light Cave, thinking it would set himself free himself and destroy the Island. However, the disruption of the stone "cork" in the center of the Light Cave only rendered MIB mortal. A state of being that MIB himself did not realize until he was physically injured. Before the mortal MIB could leave the Island, he died falling off a cliff as a result of a confrontation with Jack, the new Island guardian, and Kate.

It is unclear whether the destruction of Jacob and MIB were necessary in order for the remaining survivors to leave the Island, or to "move on."

Who was MIB? Jacob's twin brother.
What was MIB? An immortal representation of Jacob's dead brother.
When did MIB arrive on the Island? More than 2000 years ago.
Where did MIB come from? Jacob's brother was born from shipwrecked Roman mother, Claudia, who was killed on the Island by Crazy Mother. MIB, as the personification of Jacob's brother, was created when Jacob killed his brother by throwing him into the Light cave.
Why was MIB important to the LOST story?

The last question is really the dead end alley in the previous Jacob post. For if the Jacob-MIB story line did not exist, there were alternative "conflicts" that the 815 survivors would have had to deal with in order for their characters to develop and grow together.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SS6: Number 10: Jacob

At first, Jacob was an unseen entity that the Others feared, followed or both. His words and commands held great weight with the leaders of the Others, who refused to question his authority. Since we did not see him, viewers did not know whether Jacob was a man, a god-like entity, a priest, or spiritual religious icon.

We find out that Jacob's name causes the Others to react. The Others follow him, but he is not a leader in their midst. He lives in the base of the Tawaret statue, weaving mixed civilization tapestries.

It is apparent that Jacob can summon people to the island, as with the case of the Black Rock. It was an open question of whether or not he brought Oceanic 815 to the island or whether it was Desmond's failure to put in the Numbers into the Swan computer that led to an electromagnetic energy release.

The beach conversation between Jacob and the Man in Black was supposed to be the Big Clue as to the nature of the Island and the long, dynamic conflict of those trapped on it:

JACOB: I take it you're here because of the ship.
ENEMY: I am. How did they find the Island?
JACOB: You'll have to ask them when they get here.
ENEMY: I don't have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?
JACOB: You are wrong.
ENEMY: 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.
ENEMY: Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?
ENEMY: One of these days, sooner or later... I'm going to find a loophole, my friend.
JACOB: Well, when you do, I'll be right here.

And here is the set-up: Locke's backgammon analogy in practice. One white player (Jacob) against one black player (MIB).

In Season 6, "Across the Sea," we learn that Jacob and his brother, MIB, have been on the Island for more than 2000 years. They are somehow "immortal" beings, caused by the psychotic criminality of the Island's protector, Crazy Mother, who killed Claudia, their real Roman mother shortly after childbirth. Crazy Mother made the rule that the brothers could not harm each other. From a mythos, this relationship is a truce among equal Greek or Roman gods. A governor on some special powers that the Island gives its protectors.

In their childhood, MIB finds an Egyptian game, Senet, on the beach. MIB explains that it is a game and that he "just knows" how to play. He agrees to play with Jacob, but only if Jacob doesn't tell their mother because he believes she will take the game away from them.

Mother tells MIB that he is "special." She says that it was she that left the game for him. MIB says that he thought it may have come from a place not on the island, but "across the sea." She tells him that there is nowhere else, that the island is all there is.

MIB asks where they came from, to which Mother replies that the brothers came from her and she came from her mother, who is dead. The boy asks what "dead" means. His mother says that it is something that he will never have to worry about.

Later, MIB and Jacob find hunters on the island. They asked their Mother who these people are, and she replies that they are not supposed to interact with the Others. But later, Jacob makes a choice to stay with Mother while MIB disobeys goes off to the Others to determine if there is a world beyond the Island.

And this break within the family makes Jacob inherit the Island protector role from Crazy Mother. MIB stays with the Others, but tells Jacob that they are greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy and selfish. He explains he stays with them as a means to an end, that is, to leave. He has found knowledge of the Island's light source, and is constructing a wheel in a well in order to leave the Island. But it was always Mother's rule that they could never leave the Island.

It would seem that after Jacob's brother killed Crazy Mother, and Jacob found a "loophole" that killed his brother (throwing him into the light cave), Jacob was filled with remorse and pain. Whatever family he had was gone, and he was left alone on the Island with the Smoke Monster, the evil spirit of his brother.

As a strange means of penance, Jacob brings people from "across the sea" to the Island for the benefit of his dead brother's spirit, who can never leave the Island. It must be because his brother lived with the shipwreck survivors that Jacob thought that bringing other people to island would somehow comfort MIB. It did not. In fact, some would infer that the bringing of other people to the island was the physical manifestation of the boys game of Senet, but with human beings as game pieces.

Jacob, himself, has left the Island in search of suitable "candidates" for Island service, including the Temple priest, Dogen, and the Oceanic 815 survivors he visits in his flashbacks, along with other characters:

Kate and Sawyer are touched by Jacob as children.
Jack, Locke, Jin, and Sun are all touched several years before Flight 815.
Hurley and Sayid are both touched by Jacob after having left the Island.
Ben is touched after stabbing Jacob himself.

Though being an "immortal," Jacob fell upon the tiresome role of Island protector just as his Crazy Mother did in her final days. He needed to escape the physical bond of the Island. He allowed MIB to trick Ben into the statue. He allowed Ben to stab him. The result was that Jacob was transformed into a fully spiritual being like MIB (Hurley would think of him as a ghost). This was Jacob's end game from the beginning: to find a way his brother could kill him so they both could move on, away from the metaphysics of the Island realm, possibly to join their real mother in death.

So what was Jacob's true role in the tale of Flight 815?
It is still unclear. Was he necessary in order to bring the characters of Flight 815 together? His "touch" of the 815ers were made at various times, including after some left the island. So it was not a requirement that Jacob touch them before they could arrive. Did his "touch" actually significantly change a person's character or life choices? No. Was Jacob the Wizard behind the Curtain, manipulating all the characters actions? No, the concept of free will and choice were too strong.

So by the show's conclusion, we did find out about the character Jacob. We learned about his back story with his brother who transformed into MIB. We found out some generalizations about his role, but not about his true powers. Or why he was chosen over his "special" brother to be the island's sole protector of the light source. Or why the Others worshipped him while the Dharma leaders tried to kill him or confine him. And we did not find out the correlation between the imagine/ghost of Christian in the cabin and Jacob himself. Was it MIB manifesting himself or was it Jacob manipulating his candidates?

Who was Jacob? The Island protector.
What was Jacob? An immortal being.
When did Jacob arrive on the Island? More than 2000 years ago.
Where did Jacob come from? A shipwrecked Roman mother, Claudia, who was killed on the Island.
Why was Jacob important to the LOST story?

The last question is really a dead end alley. For if the Jacob-MIB story line did not exist, there were alternative "conflicts" that the 815 survivors would have had to deal with in order for their characters to develop and grow together.

Set-up Season 6 (SS6)

In surfing the minefield of the Internet, one comes across the abandoned tombs of Lost fans and bloggers. Prior to Season 6, there was a strong consensus of the Top 10 LOST Mysteries. For five seasons, TPTB created story lines that led viewers down various paths with questions. Questions people wanted answers because of the importance placed upon them for five years.
The creators had five years to set up their conclusion for the LOST series. How did they do?

As a matter of housekeeping, the ten main unsolved mysteries before the final season:

1. The Smoke Monster
2. The Polar Bears
3. The Numbers
4. Adam & Eve
5. Richard Alpert
6. Widmore v. Ben
7. Claire's Disappearance
8. Why is Walt Special?
9. Man in Black
10. Jacob

It may not be a list that you or I would have made before the start of Season 6, but it is fairly straight forward. But over the next ten posts, I will examine them in the context of Season 6 and the finale.