Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The final episode of each season left us with a mystery or major event to consider in the whole mythology of the show.

At the end of Season 1, "Exodus," we had the Others take Walt from the rescue raft and blowing it up while Hurley panicked at the sight of the Numbers on the Hatch cover as Locke was ready to explode it open. We were left with the view of the Hatch shaft, which Locke believed was the key to their destinies.

At the end of Season 2, "Live Together, Die Alone," we had Desmond turning the Hatch's fail safe key causing the explosion-implosion at the same time Michael and Walt get on a boat for freedom after Michael double crossed the survivors. At the end Penny gets a message from the listening post, "I think we found it." They found the Island.

At the end of Season 3, "Through the Looking Glass," Charlie dies but writes on his hand NOT PENNY'S BOAT to Desmond. It ends with a new flash forward of suicide Jack on his binge of self destruction at the airport, yelling "Kate, we have to go back!"

At the end of Season 4, "There's No Place Like Home," the freighter is destroyed as the helicopter is running low on fuel; Ben turns the frozen donkey wheel and the Island vanishes. The Oceanic Six are rescued by Penny's boat, who fake a cover story, and leave Penny and Desmond who says, "see you in another life brother" to Jack. In the flash forward, it is revealed that Jeremy Bentham is dead John Locke.

At the end of Season 5, "The Incident," the Island is split between 1977 and 2007. In 2007, outside the statue, it is revealed that inside Ilana's crate is John Locke's body to the horror of Richard. Inside, Ben kills Jacob for Flocke, but Jacob's last words were "They're coming." In the 1977 time, Juliet is ripped down the drilling hole with Jughead bomb. The episode ends with Juliet pounding a rock on the warhead, leaving the viewer wondering if it exploded in a white flash.

If cliffhangers are supposed to be the most important story elements, were they in LOST?

Season 1: Escape by the raft foiled and the Hatch the new mystery found.
Season 2: Escape granted to Michael and the Hatch is destroyed.
Season 3: Escape is foiled because Not Penny's Boat and Flash forward tells Jack needs to get back to the Island.
Season 4: Escape is granted for Oceanic 6 and Flash forward tells Jack that Bentham is dead John Locke.
Season 5: Escape is granted to Ben by the FDW but death for Jacob and Juliet, who tries to detonate the bomb to reset the Island time.

As a key plot element, escape or rescue from the Island was foiled, achieved but in the end a non-factor because many of the survivors never left the Island or the twist was those who did escape wanted to return.

The Hatch was supposed to be a critical element in the survival of the 815ers. It was only a holding device to drumbeat the Numbers are being a key role in the Island mysteries (which turns out to be not true).

The battle for the control of the Island between Widmore's freighter crew and Ben's Others was a non-issue for the controlling entities were Jacob and MIB.

It was inconsequential whether Jughead exploded or not. Time patterns, the FDW, Faraday's scientific observations and what was the Island remain without a real explanation.

None of the driving cliffhanger plot points: escape, the Hatch, Jughead, the Others, the frozen donkey wheel, had any impact in the final season as solutions to the nagging questions about the Island.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The Los Angeles Times reported today that physicists at the Hong Kong University of Technology and Science have just proved that no machine will ever allow a person to travel through time because time travel is flat-out impossible. Not just unlikely, or we don’t have the technology yet, but, TIME TRAVEL beyond the limits of the physical laws of the universe.

Several years ago, Stephen Hawking wrote an article where he thought that limited time travel was a remote possibility, if one would only go into the future, through a wormhole using a massive particle collider and a super fast spacecraft. In sum, unrealistic and impossible to pull off.

Some scientists began to believe time travel might actually be possible when superluminal -- or faster-than-light -- propagation of some specific medium were discovered. It was later found to be a visual effect, but the idea that a single photon could exceed the speed of light lingered, and with it, the possibility of time travel.

But in a study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Physical Review Letters, Shengwang Du and his team measured the ultimate speed of a single photon and showed that it cannot move faster than the speed of light.

"The results add to our understanding of how a single photon moves. They also confirm the upper bound on how fast information travels with light," Du said in a statement put out by the Hong Kong University of Technology and Science.

"By showing that single photons cannot travel faster than the speed of light, our results bring a closure to the debate on the true speed of information carried by a single photon."

So Time Travel is impossible. The scientific basis for the science fiction application of the literary format of the genre is for naught. The light, from the Cave or the Frozen Donkey Wheel, could not have created the LOST characters from time traveling in our physical world.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


If LOST will have a lasting legacy, it may be not the one the viewers craved the most;
for it appears the format-formula-mystery style is being rebooted in the new JJ Abrams
series, Alcatraz.

As at least one Deadline Hollywood reviewer of the sneak trailer panned, " the show has qualities I’m not sure are admirable, or even enjoyable anymore – namely, the teasing of a mystery that will be revealed in a very contrived, gradual way for as long as the audience will allow. What do I mean when I say contrived? Well for example: Sam Neill’s character clearly knows more than he says, it’s obvious to every character in the room, yet nobody forces the issue, nobody asks obvious questions, and nobody demands non-enigmatic, clear answers (blame Lost for making this acceptable: Benjamin Linus invented this game). Personally, I find characters not asking obvious questions any normal person would ask simply because it’s too early in the season to ask them a lazy way to write; others are more tolerant of it: the show seemed to be play well and got enthusiastic applause in the end."

Characters who do not force answers to their questions but go along for the ride style of television is not good for drama or mystery shows. To call it misdirected is one thing, but to call it LAZY is a true bitter indictment of the past use of the LOST genre.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


In "Power Play," a Star Trek:TNG episode, the Enterprise encounters a old distress signal coming from a lifeless moon. They trace the signal to a 172 year old lost star ship. The counselor feels that there is life on the surface. The moon's surface is covered by violent ionic storms. So the crew cannot transport down to the surface. The shuttle craft crash lands. The landing party sees a strange electromagnetic storm coming upon them. Just as they are getting rescued, energy beings invade three members of the crew before they are beamed to safety.

In this one hour story, we have various elements of mystery and science fiction intertwined in physics properties:
1. A lost star ship must have crashed on a foreboding, stormy moon.
2. A landing party trapped in the midst of a strange, electromagnetic storm.
3. A strange electromagnetic energy invades a human host and suppresses their character and memories with a new personality.
4. Once returned to the Enterprise, the EM hosts take hostages and try to seize control of the ship. They claim they are the conscious minds of the lost star ship bridge crew who seek to rescue their fellow ghost crew members to take them back to earth "to rest."

This quick and simple story "fact" structure is easily understandable and in sci-fi terms, reasonably believable. This is the base line for the character interactions, violent interactions,
and the ultimate climax twist of unraveling of the true identities of the EM beings as being prisoners exiled on the moon penal colony.

What LOST lacks in end game analysis is an initial, simple story "fact" structure from the beginning of Season 1 which would be reasonably believable through to the ending story climax.

Did the EM burst from the hatch that Desmond forgot to press the Numbers actually "cause" the crash of Flight 815 or actually "save" the souls by entrapping their spirits in EM beings to re-inhabit their bodies post-crash? The latter could be the jumping off point to tie the Light Cave and energy source of the Frozen Donkey Wheel Cave as life-giving EM, whether as a physical property or as its own intelligent being. If the island EM was combining its life force and intertwine its intelligence with dead souls who came within contact with the island, whether as an experiment, or to stop boredom of a trapped being, that would make a sound sci-fi base.

It could also explain why Desmond and the others who should have been blown away by massive EM energy bursts (from the Hatch and the Widmore experiment) did not die because if they were already part EM energy, the EM would not "kill" itself.

Throughout the series, many people thought the island was its own "character." But in the end, the island was merely an island with unique properties. Nothing in the final episodes told that the island had any controlling influence over the characters. Which is probably a shame since that could have easily bridged to the sideways world "holding tank" created not by the characters (human beings) but a higher intelligence in a EM created world (like program bytes running on a computer hard drive).

From a writing perspective, TPTB could have created a known sci-fi "fact" base early on in the series, and layered conflict and twists to come to a reasonable explanation that would have tied the island events and sideways world together. But for whatever belief, they decided to keep everyone in the dark.