Saturday, June 29, 2013


If the Island is a living supernatural being, it may have always needed one thing: a mother.

If we look back at the disjointed time line of the Island, we find that a mother figure is prominent. First, we have the Tawawet statue which was probably created more than 4,500 years ago. It was probably created for an Egyptian goddess who was the Island guardian. Second, we have Crazy Mother from the Roman era. She is the one who was alone on the island until she kidnapped Jacob and his brother. Jumping to near the end of the linear time line before the Flight 815 crash, there was another motherly presence, and Other named Amelia.

On the day of the crash, Amelia arrived early to Juliet's for the book club meeting. Seeing Ethan working outside on her way in, she jokingly chastised him for taking so long to fix Juliet's plumbing. Inside, Amelia noticed that Juliet was upset about something, and pressed her to know what it was about. Juliet then requested that Amelia not tell anyone what she was about to show her. As Juliet was about to reveal Ben's X-rays, they were interrupted by the doorbell; presumably other book club members had arrived. 

During the book club meeting, Amelia seemed amused with Juliet's argument against Adam, regarding her book choice, Carrie.  The meeting was interrupted by the commotion of Flight 815 crashing on the Island, an event that Amelia was present to witness.

Why should any importance be given to such a minor background character.

There are several clues which fans have stitched together to form a theory. 

Amelia is of German origin, and its meaning is "work of the lord." For those who tend to believe the purgatory premise to the show, she could represent an authoritative or guiding presence for any island visitor, such as Juliet.

She shares a first name with famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart, whose plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean in July 1937. In 1937 she engaged in an attempt to fly across the world, but on July 2 of that year, she and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in the Pacific. Her remains have never been officially confirmed to have been found, but she was officially declared dead on January 5 of 1939.

There is another connection to the LOST story line and this event. As with the 815 wreckage being discovered, in 1937 a pilot searching for Earhart  was lost near the Sunda Trench off coast of Sumatra.

Further, he name of the airport that is shown to be used by Mittelos Bioscience in "One of Us" was Herarat Aviation; "Herarat" is an anagram of "Earhart."

Theorists speculate that Amelia could be Annie's mother. On the very last page in the book Carrie that they are reading in the book-club, there is an excerpt from a letter sent by a woman named Amelia to her sister. She explains that her daughter, Annie, seems to have telekinetic powers. However, it is more likely that Annie could have been her granddaughter. The person from the island past and present with the most "knowledge" of the Island and other people's thoughts or actions was Eloise Hawking. Young Eloise in the 1950s flash would have been in her late teens if she was born on the island in 1940.

It is possible that Amelia was Amelia Earhart, who was lost over the Pacific just like the survivors of Flight 815. It is possible that Amelia herself, could have been the cause of the Oceanic plane crash. If Earhart crashed on the Island, she and her co-pilot could have been the second Adam and Eve. Earnhart would have 107 years old in 2004. The Island's healing powers and alternative time dynamics would make her age irrelevant. 

So if Amelia was Amelia Earhart, the lost aviator, what does that mean to the LOST universe?

The balance of the island needs to have a motherly temperament in order to balance out the mood swings of children. The one thing that Jacob truly regretted was the death of Crazy Mother. Ever since that moment, the Island was put into a long, grueling pitched battle of "corrupt" humans trying to fill that void. There was a long stretch of peace during the Amelia time frame, such that the Dharma Institute built huge improvements and stations. But that all changed when Ben, who had no mother, possessed the anger to purge the Dharma members and put the Island back into a state of chaos. 

At that point, change may only come through the magic box. If one had strong enough feelings and experience to create their wish to materialize, who else could know about and survive a plane crash than Amelia Earhart. She could tell from the book club that Juliet had terrible news (the Island was no longer healing people) and that the Others themselves were turning on each other with their arguments over trivial matters like books. At that moment, Amelia thought of drastic change - - - and her subconscious experience brought down Flight 815 to set off a chain reaction toward a new island peace with the removal of Jacob and his game of human pawns with MIB.

Until that happened, Amelia's motherly feeling that children should not be born on an island in turmoil led to the infertility problems.  We do not see her again in the series. We do not see her perish. We do not see her at the Temple. We do not see her as a Flocke follower. This means that she may have been more independent and above the politics of the island groups which shows that she is older, wiser and more cunning than those who believed they were in charge. If so, she would have been the power behind the curtain, not Jacob. 

There is nothing more powerful than a mother's love; she will fight for, defend or give up her own life to save her children. The maternal instinct is strong. It is a calming influence for those who are scared, upset, hurt or lost.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do. — Johann Von Goethe

One of the main plot themes was the apparent conflict between faith and science. However, science was never explained and faith had no true religious context.

Locke was a drawn as a man of faith, but he did not practice any organized religion. He wanted or desired to be a different person. As a boy he did not want to be a student scientist but a jock. It was not his faith in any particular thing that moved along his life. It was more fate, a predetermined pathway which one has no control over. Destiny is a meaningful end to a journey involving fate, but Locke's end was not heroic or meaningful. As in life, as in his death at the hands of Ben, he was a pawn, a follower, an anti-hero.

Even those who expressed beliefs were not true believers. Eko was posing a priest because it was a means to save his own hide from the authorities. He may have been despondent that his criminal actions caused his brother's death, but he did not have a conversion to a religious man to make amends for his sins. It was a cover that could not contain his anger.  He had no qualms about killing the Others who attacked the Tailies camp. 

If there is a lesson, it is that people really do not change. Sayid may have said his morning prayers but he did not bow to commandments of his religion. He used the aspects of his religion not for faith but as a means to try to keep his own Iranian identity that had been taken away after the war. His desire to be an independent person was lost when the U.S. military turned him into a spy. He was not independent on the island either; he turned into Ben's henchman, then later when darkness consumed him, a follower of MIB/Flocke.

After the crash, Rose knew things would be okay. Some would think it was faith, a wish, a hope. Others would think that she knew because she knew herself - - - when the pains of her cancer left her body, she knew she did too. It was not a religious revelation, but an acknowledgement or realization that she had passed on.

This may be the context of character beliefs in the series.

Instead of the back stories (the flashbacks) being about each character's past, they may have been actual flash forwards of what each person's life "could have been" if they had not died at a young age. The unbelievable coincidence that the main characters would wind up all together in Sydney is more palatable if they were being sorted into groups at some cosmic soul factory.

We have discussed previously the idea that the main characters were dead souls making a harsh journey through the afterlife. We also have discussed previously the concept that the main characters "died" before Flight 815 took off. For example, when Jack was severely beaten by the school yard bully and hit his head, at that moment, Jack could have died (there have been numerous examples of punching deaths in Chicago area in the last few years). Or, when premature Locke was born at a rural hospital in 1950s, he was not a "miracle" baby but actually died because medical science could not save his life. Kate could have been hit by a car when she was fleeing the dime store with the stolen lunchbox (or even blown up in the house explosion). Sawyer's father could have killed his entire family (which is also a current trend in even quiet suburban homes today). And Hurley could have been one of the two people who died in the porch collapse.

What happens when a person's life is cut short?  Maybe certain souls get a chance to "live" a fantasy life before crossing over. For example, Hurley dies in the porch collapse. His life is cut short with serious issues left unresolved, including the abandonment by his father. As a result, his one true wish to have his family back together again can only been done if he magically "wins" the lottery. In his fantasy back story, he wins the lottery but such joy is tempered by unintended consequences (probably brought on by his deep emotional childhood issues). Even with money, his father's return, Hurley's second life is not fulfilling because he is still shy, naive and without self confidence. At this point, the cosmic sorting machine brings together other lost souls with unresolved issues and places them together in the final act of the second lives, the island world.

So what happens when these lost young souls come to the island as the final leg of their underworld journey? Some find their own answers, like Hurley, who experiences love with Libby. Some need some form of reformation or acknowledgement like Jack by his father. Others, like Michael, are not ready to move on because they have compounded their spiritual issues or in some ways want or need to be further punished (Michael being imprisoned on the island for killing Anna Lucia and Libby) in their own mind. In this way, there is no religious context to any character's journey. It is one of self discovery and self-fulfillment. In Michael's case, he wanted, desired and demanded that he be punished for his actions. In Sawyer's case, he wanted, desired and worked to change his con artist ways into a normal family situation with Juliet. The island gave them the means to put their desires into action so they could learn what it takes to become who they wanted to be in their lost real lives.

So what about Locke? His resolution in the church was a lonely one. He had no one to cross over with - - - except if one looks at what was missing from Locke's death at an early age, he had it in the church: friends. Locke had found friends, some as close as siblings, so in the end he had what was missing in his life: a family. 

In one respect, everyone in the sideways church embodied the concept of family. An extended family created by the extended second life in the spirit world for lost souls who died early, without the opportunity to experience the ups and downs of being a part of a family unit.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was an old theory about the show that believed that the events were all part of one large experiment. There was a great deal of scientific exploration on the show, from Daniel's maze rat time consciousness experiments, to the various Dharma stations which were tied to various educational disciplines.

The DHARMA Initiative built a series of stations on the Island and at least one off island in Los Angeles. The different stations had different purposes. Some stations were for research into various scientific subjects but other stations provided communications infrastructure. According to the Sri Lanka Video, they were created to help scientists "save the world as we know it" via research in various fields such as zoology and psychology. 

After Ben's Purge, the Others began using some of the stations for their own purposes while others were left abandoned.

Station No. 1 was The Hydra, which studied zoological research.  It included an underwater aquarium section, a number of animal cages above ground, and multiple large above-ground buildings. In the past, it held animals such as sharks, dolphins, and polar bears for experimental purposes. The Others controlled the station and did unspecified work at the location. The station was on a small island off the coast of the the main Island.

Station No. 2 was The Arrow, which was found by the Tail Section survivors. It had a
Quarantine Marker. It's possible function was to develop defensive strategies, and intelligence gathering.  In 2004, the station was largely empty except for several boxes, one containing a glass eye and copies of the Bible. Its name and symbol were noted on the blast door map. As in the Swan station "QUARANTINE" was written on the inside of the door. The station still had power and light, operated by some kind of switchbox. No Arrow-specific Orientation Film was found, but an aborted take was shown being filmed. The tail section survivors lived here before merging with the middle section survivors.

Station No. 3 was The Swan, or "the Hatch" as Locke and Boone called it when they found it. It also had a Quarantine Marker. It appears to have been created to conduct Electromagnetic Research and later to contain it. According to its orientation film, the Swan was originally a laboratory "where scientists could work to understand the unique electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from this sector of the Island". However, after an "Incident", a protocol had to be followed in which two people would take shifts pressing a button (inputting the Numbers into a Computer) every 108 minutes for 540 days, at the end of which time replacements would arrive to take the place of the previous inhabitants. It was located in the southern region of the Island, about a mile inland of the crash of Flight 815. There was a fail safe switch, when activated by Desmond the station imploded following the massive EM discharge.

Station No. 4 was the The Flame, a communications facility. The Flame was the name of a DHARMA initiative communications station. Its name and symbol were depicted on the blast door map, but the location was describe as "alleged." The station itself existed in three parts. The outside was a paddock for cows; inside was a living area, some storage, and a computer room. Underneath a rug was a door to a lower hatch area. This hatch contained DHARMA paperwork and more storage. The Flame was also rigged with a self-destruct feature consisting of C-4 explosive wired throughout the lower level. Patchy and Klugh were apparently living there when Locke, Kate and Sayid stumbled across it with Rousseau. Sayid looked for information and found a few manuals. Locke found a computer and began to play a game. When Locke entered the code "77" into the Flame's computer, the self-destruct sequence was initiated and the Flame exploded soon after Kate and Locke left.

Station No. 5 was The Pearl. On the  Blast Door Map it was shown as "The ?" in the middle.
It's function was Psychological Research and/or Observation. The Pearl was a DHARMA Initiative station and was first discovered by Nikki and Paulo and later by Locke and Mr. Eko. The task of this station, according to its Orientation video, was to monitor the Swan station and other stations via a Remote Viewing system. The orientation video also stated that the inhabitants of the Swan station were unknowingly part of a psychological experiment and the Pearl's occupants were to record their every behavior. However it is presumed the work the Pearl staff was conducting was in fact the real psychological experiment, since the notebooks they were asked to fill ended up at a dump. ("?") DHARMA Initiative staff members delivered food and supplies to the Pearl from time to time.
There was also a hidden camera present in the Pearl, indicating they and not the Swan residents were the subject of the experiment. The station consisted of a corridor with an octagonal tunnel leading down by ladder to the outside and one large, octagonal room, in which nine television sets were fed live surveillance pictures. There appeared to be damage to this station: missing panels in the roof, loose wires, boulder in room. There were no living quarters for the Pearl's personnel, as they only served in eight-hour shifts. However, there was a still-working toilet in a room placed left in the station.

Station No. 6 was The Orchid. On the  Blast Door Map it may have been the "Crossed-out station."
It was a facility on Space-time manipulation research, disguised as a Botanical station. It had a greenhouse on the surface, which had a secret elevator that led down to a short corridor with several doors along it. At the end of the corridor was a large room which housed the Vault (the time machine). Behind the wall of the vault was a dirt tunnel which led to a frozen cave with a large wheel sticking out of part of the dirt wall.

The Staff was an unmarked station. It was found by Claire, Kate and Rousseau. It looked to be a medical facility. Claire was taken here after being abducted by Ethan. Presumably, the fully operational staff was preparing her for a forced birthing, to deliver Aaron into the clutches of the Others. After her escape (assisted by Alex), the station was abandoned but was still powered with equipment. The station was later revisited by Claire, along with Kate and Rousseau. It was also visited by Juliet and Sun when they went to find out the date of Sun's conception and again at Juliet's request by Jin, Sun, Charlotte, and Daniel to gather medical supplies for Jack's appendectomy.
According to the station's position in the blast door map, it appeared to be located in the western portion of the Island. No Staff-specific Orientation Film was found, and unlike the Swan and the Arrow stations, there was no "Quarantine" warning on any of the doors of the station.

The Looking Glass was an underwater station with a moon pool and signal jamming equipment. It was connected to the mainland via a Cable. Ben Linus told The Others that the station was flooded but this was untrue. Two Others were stationed at the Looking Glass in secret by Ben as guards. At the end of Season 3, the Others had lost control of the station and it was partially flooded. It was here that Charlie made contact with Penny and wrote on his hand in his last moments "Not Penny's Boat" to a frantic Desmond.

The Tempest was a Toxic Gas Research and Production Facility.  Charlotte informed Juliet that she and Daniel went there to disable the station for fear that Ben might try to "use" it again. Charlotte may have been alluding to the fact that Ben had used this station to initiate the Purge that killed all of the DHARMA Initiative members and that he would do the same to everyone currently on the Island. It contained computers with security protocols to stop the release of toxic gas, but it also had a clear fail safe switch near the enterance which the visitors failed to use.

The Lamp Post was a station built in the basement of a Los Angeles church. There was a large pendulum over a world map connected to banks of old mainframe computer systems. The station was used by Eloise Hawking to determine the Island's location at a certain time. It was at this place that Ben brought the O6 people to try to convince them to return to the island.

A common thread in each station was a behavioral test of its workers in critical situations. Each station was monitored by a bank of TV screens by Ben at the Hydra compound. It could mean that Dharma's main function was to conduct research on human behavior, by studying animals in unusual non-natural situations (polar bears in the tropics) to people in boring to stressful situations.

Further evidence of this behavior study would be the modification of people. Room 23 was not a station, but a laboratory designed to inflict noise, sound and images to a strapped in person to alter their mental patterns. Mind control. Punishment. It would seem that after the Purge, the Others continued to use Room 23 (with its cult like passages to Jacob) just as Dharma probably used it on its own people.

As such, one could conclude that one cult merely replaced a previous cult on the island. Dharma was run with the hierarchy of a cult leader directing his followers to serve a greater man (Jacob) under the philosophy of "saving the world." The Others also believed in Jacob. They believed that they were "the good guys" whose work and protection of Jacob and the Island was their paramount mission in life.

Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that's where you will find success. — Thomas J. Watson

But even the Others, including Alpert, grew weary of Ben's sidetrack experiments such as fertility issues and more outsiders with weapons coming to the island. The original Others probably were more content with the simple life of worship and peace at the Temple than Ben's Others taking over the Dharma barracks and a new set of marching orders. 

If the island was merely a place of intense experimental research, why did have strange occurrences and intense battles for its control? It may have been one of those situations where one event triggers a series of unforeseen, unintended consequences.

First, the people brought to the island may believe that they were there to serve a higher purpose. However, they may have been merely brainwashed to serve an egotistical master, Jacob, who enjoyed the voluntary imprisonment of his subjects. Second, the people like Juliet thought that the island was a place for true research into serious problems like infertility. The island's unique electromagnetic properties were the catalyst for research in various possible applications, including medical cures.

However, the tapping of the EM pockets could have been a mistake which altered the balance on Earth and/or the universe. The disruption of the EM light force could have opened a portal to a different dimension, parallel universe or a gateway to the after life (as depicted by the large amount of Egyptian death ritual symbols). 

There are viewers who believe that the LOST world seen upon the show is existentially different from our own world, such as that a  scientific experiment which opened or created a real Pandora's Box that would reform time, space, energy and matter by intense human thought waves, or now a more popular theory that the show depicts characters in purgatory or some "in between" place between the real  and the spirit worlds.

Just as people can debate the "place" of the characters, there are many psychological theories to explain the premise of the show. The psychological appeal, usually maintaining that either the events on the Island or those in flashback (or sometimes both), are inherently deceptive. The main motivation of those in power is to manipulate and control other people. They use rewards, cruelty, captivity, "deals," and threat of death to get what they want - - - behavioral change or submission.

What is notable that this concept of mental control can occur in reality or within a person's mind. In either situation, the person experiences the same vivid reality of the events. So the Island and its events on the characters could be a large social experiment to determine how people react to stressful situations or a conditioning experiment to induce dream states or hallucinations in order to correct anti-social or psychotic behavior in mental patients.The characters are exploited by their handlers to find the truth, in their actions or their feelings, in order to "move on" in the real life (to cure a social ill, to rehabilitate a criminal's behavior, to manage anxiety or anger, to bring coma patients back to life).

The idea that the show was merely a large laboratory experiment on human behavior could be justified since many of the characters had the same issues or problems (daddy issues, abandonment issues, criminal behavior issues, etc.) Whether all the missions, conflicts, choices and misery the main characters endured actually made them better people in the end is also debatable. For example, was Locke's murderous death the real answer to all his prior psychological problems? Perhaps Locke's life merely a prop situation for Ben to come to terms with his murderous rage issues (and in that situation, he failed that test.)

One thing is pretty certain: Jacob was the zookeeper of the island. Whether he was immortal or whether he was the one true mental patient with a vivid but cruel imagination is another mystery yet to be solved.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


There were a few absolutes in regard to Jacob.

1. He was immortal.
2. He was the island guardian.
3. He was the only person who brought people to the Island.
4. He had the ability to spy on people throughout their lives.
5. He had the ability to go off the island and touch his "candidates."
6. He gave the people brought to the island free will to make their own decisions.

What purpose did Jacob truly serve?

Most of the main characters in the series had no religious consciousness. Most were not devoted or true followers of any faith. Many, like Charlie and Hurley, grew up in religious families but had waned on their observation.  Many, like Eko and Sayid, referenced religion in the daily routine but acted in the opposite manner in their real lives.

LOST could have tackled the idea of sinners without religious observation by the background character of Jacob.

What if Jacob was not just the island "guardian" but a guardian angel?

Jacob dressed in white, which is symbolic of angels.  Instead of the scythe of a grim reaper, Jacob used a lighthouse and the touch of of hand to guide lost souls into eternity.  He may have been one of the spirits entrusted with guiding the souls of the no longer living to the other side.

Unlike the devils in literature who approach their grim duty with detachment or even malevolence toward sinners,  Jacob may have tried to "save"  those about to cross over.

He did not give solace and sympathy to those he brought to the island, but an opportunity to resolve lingering issues in a person's life,  or even a chance to make amends. He does not directly lecture these lost souls but gives them a complex environment in which to re-live their troubles in a different setting to see if they can resolve them.

Jacob would give the island visitors the opportunity to believe in something, including themselves, in order to reconcile their confusion and pain attributed to their lives on Earth.

It is not purgatory, but a diversion program toward the afterlife. 

As we learned, there are people who did not find what they were looking for on the island. They became trapped souls (the whispers) like Michael. In Michael's case, he may have been brought to the island to reconcile his abandonment of his son. But in the end, he made things worse by killing innocent people in order to get his son back. Michael failed to reach his afterlife.

Those people who reached the sideways church did reach their afterlives. They may have reached the church because they fulfilled something missing in their lives, such as true friendship or love, which only came about due to the events that Jacob created on the Island. Each found a new purpose and reason for living by passing the island challenges. In a clever way, Jacob allowed each person to help themselves without sermonizing their faults. That is what Clarence did to Jimmy Stewart's character in It's A Wonderful Life.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


"Meet Kevin Johnson" was one of those strange episodes that started a twisted plot arc but turned into a braided contextual nightmare.

The character of Michael started off as a man dispossessed of his new born son. It was a contrast to the other characters "daddy issues" when in fact Michael at least tried to have a relationship with Walt, but his mother and her career separated any normal family setting. As a failed artist and kicking around from job to job, Michael could not stand in the (economic) way for Walt to have a better life. It is clear that Walt resented the fact he grew up without his "real" father. But Walt never understood that it was his mother who pushed them away. It is also clear that Michael "regretted" that he gave up with parental rights to Walt.

Walt grew up moving from country to country. It appears he did not make friends. When his mother died, his adoptive father abandoned him (which legally and morally he could not do) back to Michael, who assumed the responsibility to take care of his son, though he had no legal or moral obligation to do so. This sets up the odd relationship for Walt: two fathers, two prior abandonments, and an uncertain future.

So when Michael is bringing Walt back the the United States, both are on edge. Both do not how to communicate with each other because they were strangers. So what better "bonding" experience than surviving a plane crash and camping on an island with deadly smoke monsters and murderous Others?

Michael's overriding obsession is to get off the island and rescue his son. He does it by building a raft, but that leads to Walt being captured by the Others. He does it by making a deal with the Others to get Ben out of the Hatch prison in exchange for safe passage off the island. In executing the deal, Michael kills Ana Lucia and Libby. When he arranges for a posse to get their "killer" and to save Walt, Michael betrays his own people (Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley) and gives them up to the Others.  At the dock, Michael is rewarded with a boat and passage off the island. To the stunned silence of the 815ers, Michael receives instructions from Ben to take the boat and follow a bearing of 325, so both he and his son can find rescue. They leave the island and their "friends" at the hands of a recently tortured Ben and his group.

The structure of Michael's sub-plot story followed the traditional literary paths. There was a beginning, conflict, a middle, a reunion, then heartbreak tearing a part, then a dangerous climax to the resolution Michael had hoped for - - - getting off the island with his son. Michael's story and role in LOST should have ended there, in Season 4. His character did change: from anguished father letting go of his son to a murderous protector of his son against adverse odds. In Michael's mind, the ends justified the means, which was standard operating procedure for many of the Island's characters. People may not like what Michael did, but there was some logical basis for his actions.

The end of Michael's island time did give us a few key points. First, apparently Ben is a man of his word. Since Mrs. Klugh made a deal with Michael, he would honor it. (Or would he?) Second, despite Desmond's claim that the Island was in "a bloody snow globe" and there was no way back to civilization, Ben told Michael to use bearing 325 to get home. Third, there is a foreshadowing of the importance of "lists," especially in the realm of Jacob's candidates. The four 815ers brought to the dock as payment for Walt were all candidates. It is unclear whether Ben ever knew who were candidates or what Jacob's grand plan for everyone, but it could be that Ben took his captives to "test them" on behalf of either Jacob or MIB. Could they be corrupted?

So the end of Michael's island story end gave us several important clues into the Island, the ability to leave the island, and the militaristic honor among the Others.

But then the reincorporation of Michael into the series led to major story structural problems.

One could understand Walt's rejection of Michael once Walt was told the cost of their freedom (two lives and four friends being held captive). But it does not explain Michael's need to return to the Island.

Once rejected by Walt, Michael goes on a downward spiral (much like Jack would do when he leaved the island with the O6). He is distraught and cannot live with the fact he killed two women. He is now estranged from Walt because of those actions. He writes a note to Walt, gets into his car, and at very high speed crashes into a shipping container. Instead of dying, he wakes in the hospital only to find that his nurse is dead Libby. He screams, and then truly awakens but refuses to answer anyone's question of what happened to him. After his release, Michael trades Jin's watch for a hand gun. He goes into an alley to shoot himself, but is interrupted by Mr. Friendly. Michael demands that Mr. Friendly, Tom, shoot him. But Tom replies "the island is not done" with Michael. Tom says Michael "still has work to do" (which is the same line Tall Walt gives a shot Locke when he is lying in the purge mass grave). A short time later, Michael tries to commit suicide in his apartment but the gun does not work. We are lead to believe that it is the Island intervention. Then Michael sees a news report that the remains of Flight 815 was found with confirmation that all 324 passengers and crew had perished in the crash.

Michael goes to see Tom. Tom explains to Michael that the television report was wrong. Widmore had created a fake crash site in order to keep the island to himself. Michael demands proof, and Tom calmy shows him files of exhumed graves, plane receipts and official looking documentation (which has the eerie vibe of a Sawyer con job). Michael is told that Widmore's plan is to send a force to the island and kill everyone on it.

Tom gives Michael an offer. He can get on the freighter as a crew member and stop Widmore from killing everyone on the island. Michael asks why he should do it, and Tom reminds him that this would be a chance to redeem himself for the actions he took on the island. Tom says that Michael will not return to the island, but destroy the freighter and everyone on board. He is handed a passport and an alias, Kevin Johnson.

In this set-up, we are led to believe many improbable and impossible factors. First, that Ben and the Others kept minute tabs on Michael after he left the island. There was no reason to do so. Michael was never going back to the island, or disclose its location because that would admit his guilt in two murders. If Ben thought Michael was a threat, then he should have let Michael commit suicide. Problem solved. Second, that the Island is a supernatural power that intervenes to stop Michael's numerous suicide attempts. How? Why? So in Season 4, the TPTB basically tells us that the Island and its premise was just one big McGuffin? Third, how gullible are Michael and the viewers to believe that a detailed oriented man like Widmore who could fake a plane crash would not check every crew member on his freighter's mission to seize the Island? It is not credible that Ben could "sneak" his own agent on board Widmore's freighter. Fourth, we were told that no one could find the island so why would Michael believe the freighter could? Also, there were more "loyal" soldiers in the Others camp to be the saboteur than Michael.

Once on the boat, Michael realizes that Widmore's crew is filled with soldiers who plan on killing the island inhabitants. This is not a rescue mission as helicopter pilot Frank told him. Back in his room, Michael opens his crate and finds a case in it. He takes the case to the engine room and finds a bomb inside. Michael inputs the combination for the bomb, but hesitates to push the EXECUTE button to set off the bomb. Suddenly, he hears the same Mama Cass song he was listening to in the car when he tried to commit suicide. He sees another vision of Libby who tells him not to do it, and then disappears. Michael says, "I love you, Walt" and pushes the button. The bomb's 15-second timer expires, but the bomb doesn't explode. Instead, a flag pops up with a note around it which reads "NOT YET."

This scene adds another thick layer of disbelief. It should never matter where the freighter exploded so long as it never reaches the island. The non-explosion was a mean trick on the viewers to add suspense then not deliver (in the hope of adding more filler).  The scene also adds to the growing visions of dead people within the series. It strengthens the evidence that the characters are not in the real world but in supernatural place where dead souls reside and interact.

We are then included into another layer of a con. When Michael is taken to the radio room to take a call from "Walt," Michael rushes in to speak to his son (even though we know Walt has no idea where Michael is or how to contact him). For some reason, Michael thinks Walt is on the line. Ben informs Michael there are innocent people on the freighter, and that the plan was never to kill them all, because Ben isn't "that kind of person." He says he gave the fake bomb to Michael to show that unlike Widmore, he does not want to kill innocents. Ben then orders Michael to get him a list of everyone on board, report the list back to him, and then disable both the radio and engine so that the ship cannot get to the Island. Michael is obviously shaken up, but Ben tells him that he can now consider himself "one of the good guys."

We know Ben is a master liar and manipulator. We can tell that Ben is using Michael to do his dirty work. But if Ben truly wanted no one to reach the island, then he should have given Michael those instructions to disable the freighter from the beginning instead of the fake bomb. And the need for a freighter list seems to be an excessive-compulsive waste of time. It gets further unnecessarily complicated when the helicopter lands on the island, and Desmond and Sayid go to the freighter. In the simple scheme of not allowing anyone on or off the island, Ben has made a huge mess of it. Unless, Ben himself is being manipulated by Jacob who really wants to bring new people to the island for his game with MIB. (Which would make some sense since we were told ONLY Jacob had the power to bring people to the island.)

Later, Sayid and Desmond find Michael in the engine room and confront him about why he is on the boat. Michael tells his story about being Ben's "man on the boat." When he learns Michael is working for Ben. Sayid grabs Michael and drags him into Captain Gault's room, revealing Michael's true identity as the saboteur, a spy, a traitor, and a survivor of Oceanic 815. This action pushes two sets of dangerous dominoes into motion. It disrupts Ben's plan to thwart Widmore's forces from getting to the island. It also sets into motion the safe passage of the soldiers to the island to confront Ben.

Ben has to give up his secrecy when his plan begins to fall a part. Locke takes a leadership role.
Locke holds a meeting with everyone at the Barracks to share information. Miles confirms the people from the freighter are after Ben. Sawyer suggests they just turn Ben over to the freighter people. Ben says the orders of the freighter people are to capture him, then kill everyone else on the Island; Miles does not deny it.

Ben persuades Alex to go to a location he calls "the Temple" with Karl and Danielle, and tells her the rest of the Others are already there. He provides them with a map. Ben tells Alex she is in danger because the people who are coming to the Island will use her to get to him. He assures her that her mother will protect them. He is dead wrong.

Some time into their journey, Danielle, Alex, and Karl take a break. Sudden gunfire erupts from the jungle and Karl is shot in the chest. Danielle and Alex hide behind a tree and quickly decide they need to make a run for it. They get to their feet, but Danielle is immediately hit by gunfire and falls to the ground. Alex stands up, puts her hands in the air and yells, "I'm Ben's daughter!"

This episode is one where everything goes wrong from its stated purpose. Michael's voyage of redemption has turned into a savage murderous spectacle. Michael's failure to stop the freighter (which was part of Ben's disjointed plan) caused the deaths of many more innocent people. The fate of the innocent were sealed when Sayid betrayed Michael like Michael had done to the 815ers. Michael was played for the fool by everyone.

From a failed artist, to construction worker, then to sailboat builder, to freighter engine expert to finally alleged bomb detention specialist, Michael's skill set continued to grow beyond belief when the story line needed some authoritative explanation. The more grand Michael's expertise grew in the series, the more the show stumbled toward pure fantasy over even science fiction. Especially in the end, when ghost Christian, speaking as the Island, allows Michael to end his life by allowing the jury and scientifically inaccurate bomb device, to blow up the freighter.

The last thing Kevin Johnson gave the story was the ghost meeting with Hurley near the end of the series. Michael tells Hurley that he is a whisper, a ghost, trapped on the island. Michael accepts his fate to be trapped as a lost soul on the island. However, this conclusion runs contrary to what happens to Ben. Ben did more heinous things on and off the island than Michael did, yet Ben was "rewarded" by continuing to live on the island and then later going to the sideways world to being his after life.

It is one of the great problems with LOST. It set forth canon about "rules," but never explained them or even followed them consistently from character to character. The uneven application of the rules weakens the story foundation for the series. Why would Michael have to remain a ghost on the island for eternity while Ben and other evil people get a second, third or fourth chance at redemption?

The idea that Michael was not "ready" to move on is also suspect because Ben himself states the same thing Hurley outside the church. The concept that Michael needed to re-connect in his own sideways world with Walt also has no basis because Michael was not a part of the sideways world. We are not shown any tangible proof that Michael had the  ability to create  his own purgatory realm. He may never had a chance because Hurley was going to shut down the island operations. Just as Walt was abandoned by his fathers, Michael's character was abandoned by the writers. And Michael was not alone in the inconsistent treatment and altered resolutions of many characters.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain. — 
Vivian Greene

Adversity builds character.

 In a show that was "all about the characters," did they truly handle adversity head on and defeat it?

Jack may have been the most complex character. He was a skilled spinal surgeon so he had to overcome many different human barriers such as intelligence (to get through med school) and pressure (life and death surgery on patients). Despite what his father told him as a child that Jack did not have the make-up to make life and death decisions, or be a leader, Jack was a leader of his team in the operating room. He turned out to a be miracle worker on gravely injured patients like Sarah. So Jack's journey to the Island was not about any discovery or challenge to meet the adversity of leadership or life and death decisions.

Kate may have been the least complex character. She was a single minded, self-absorbed person. She was reckless and sought the easy way out of her problems. She used her cuteness to get people to cover for her mistakes. She never had to account for her damages. Her single minded solution to any stressful issue was to run away from the problem. She ran away from her mother after destroying her home. She ran away from her bank robbery gang after using them to access a safety deposit box. She ran away from her Florida husband when the marshal tracked her down. She ran away from Jack, including after her final battle against Flocke. Kate could have gone back to Jack once she got Claire to the Ajira plane, but she did not. She feared any sort of commitment - -  that is why Jack died alone on the island.

Sayid may have been the most pigeon-holed character. From an early age, Sayid was not afraid of pleasing authority. He would kill a chicken at a snap of a finger. His life embraced the dark side including death. As such, he did not fear it. Instead, he manipulated it and projected it towards others, including his torture victims. As a result, Sayid was constricted into a set of twisted, personal honor (almost Klingon in stubbornness). As a result, Sayid isolated himself from the normal world. He kept friends at a distance; he could not make lasting relationships. He repressed his emotions to the state of being a hollow man, a soldier of misfortune. On the island, Sayid's purpose did not change. He did the dirty work for the group. He was the good soldier. He was never comfortable being part of the inner circle. He was never seen as a leader, but more as a ticking time bomb or a threat. He kept his distance in all matters, including relationships. Sayid's character did not change when he sacrificed himself with the submarine bomb; it was not a moment of redemption but a grave error in judgment (he could have isolated the bomb blast by closing the section blast doors).

Sawyer may have been the most cursed character. When Cooper the con man takes his parents for their life savings, his father kills Sawyer's mother and himself. As a bitter orphan, Sawyer vows revenge against Cooper. He is told by his uncle to move on with his life, but Sawyer does not (with the slightest help by Jacob giving him the pen to write his angry note of revenge). So Sawyer became the man he hated; a criminal who used people, toyed with their emotions, and left their lives in shambles. He was no different on the island. He was the smooth talker con man who used his devious skills to make his life better by hoarding valuable resources. When confronted with his lifelong evil, Sawyer does not change his behavior but strangles Cooper to death. Afterward, for a short pause, Sawyer did actually change. First, subconsciously he must have felt that he could have a better life if he was on the side of the law (i.e. his creation in the fantasy sideways world.) Second, consciously he must have felt the same way because the Island granted him his "wish" by transporting him back to 1974 to become the Dharma sheriff. Sawyer would not have wanted or needed to leave this fantasy world, but it was disrupted and destroyed when the O6 people returned to the island. So, indeed Sawyer did change to have a normal job and home life (something missing in his real life), but as a pure fantasy can anyone say that was true character development?

In certain respects, the Island merely reinforced the deep personality traits of the main characters. Their personal survival actually depended upon each of them enhancing their prior motivational behavior in a self-serving manner. The adversity of the island life did not significantly alter the main characters perspective, values, or behavior.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


One of the great unexplained aspects of the series was The Magic Box.

“Let me put it so you'll understand. Picture a box. You know something about boxes, don't you John? What if I told you that, somewhere on this island, there is a very large box and whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be in it when you opened that box, there it would be? What would you say about that, John?” --- Ben to Locke.

Ben then went on to show Locke a bound and gagged Anthony Cooper who Ben claimed came out of the magic box.

When Locke pressed Ben for more about the box, Ben snapped back that "the box is a metaphor, John." Despite this, he continues to maintain that by some agency things that people on the island want or need show up. Later, when Ben and Locke entered the Orchid, Locke marveled at the mysterious technology and asked if this was the magic box. Ben retorted that it was not.

J.J. Abrams often explained his love of "the unseen mystery," using the metaphor of a mystery box. TPTB admitted that the  "the magic box" was symbolic;  stating that "the entire island is a magic box."

It would appear that the creative team drew upon the 1967 novel, The Third Policeman for the concept of their magic box.

In the novel, an unnamed protagonist and narrator is orphaned as a child (though he only states that his parents have more than "left" later on), and is sent to boarding school where he first becomes acquainted with the work of the bizarre philosopher, De Selby.

De Selby is a natural skeptic of all known laws of physics, who casually dismisses the evidence of human experience. He contends, for example, that "the permanent hallucination known conventionally as 'life' is an effect of constantly walking in a particular direction around a sausage-shaped earth, and that night results from 'accumulations of black air."

Obsessed by the philosopher's somewhat odd theories, the protagonist sets out on a catastrophic quest to publish a definitive commentary on the philosopher. He shares some of his writings on De Selby with John Divney, an unsavory man who has served as reluctant caretaker to the narrator's parents' farm and public house since their death. Divney devises a plan to murder and rob a local rich man, which he convinces the narrator into going along with, because Divney explains it is his responsibility to publish the works on De Selby - with fair backing or not.

The narrator and Divney murder their chosen victim, but Divney hides the money box. The narrator then begins spending every moment with Divney in order to discover the box's whereabouts.
The protagonist finally gets hold of the money box only to discover that the box does not contain money, but “omnium," a substance described as the essential inherent interior essence which is hidden in the root of the kernel of everything, and which is literally everything one desires. The substance called omnium therefore can create anything the beholder desires.

After finding out about the power of the magic box, the narrator has grand visions of his future omnipotence, but begins to experience strange and hallucinatory  events involving a bicycle, a robber, two policemen and a strangely elastic sense of space and time. However, the narrator learns that things created by his will and the omnium cannot be removed from the labyrinth and taken back to the outside world.

The parallels to LOST are quite clear. The Island is isolated from the outside world. It contains a supernatural energy in the light cave. It is a force that is never understood or explained by the people guarding it. The people who arrive on the island experience strange and hallucination events, many based upon their past lives. Some people seem to be re-living aspects of their lives hoping for a different result. But the infinite power of the island force creates and corrupts human beings into murder, deception, kidnapping and mind control.

If anyone could tap into the island's magic box, it could create a chaotic world.
If the power of the magic box was true,  it would help explain why the children were taken by the Others, why Walt was abducted, and why children are so seldom seen at the Barracks. Assuming the Island works like a genie: if you want something bad enough, the island will create it for you. If that is the case, then island protectors don't want children running around all the time, imagining things like dragons, giant robots, fairies, unicorns, and even polar bears.

Walt was reading a comic book which contained a polar bear before the crash. He was "special" which may mean he had an active imagination.  This would explain Ms. Klugh's comment to Walt about going back into" the room," which is believed to be the mind control Room 23 where Karl was brain washed by Ben to stay away from Alex. If Walt had a particularly active imagination that made him even more dangerous, that may be why the Others let him go off the island with Michael instead of trying to be contain or control his thoughts in Room 23.  The reason that children are not seen around the Barracks could be simple: their imaginations are a threat and danger to everyone on the island.

The concept that life itself is one large hallucination was also referenced in LOST. The prime example was when Ben was trying to get the O6 cast back to the island. In the marina, there was a boat called Illusion. The O6 had desired to leave the island, to be rescued, to get back to their lives in the mainland, only to find that their lives hollow or meaningless. The theory that the Island would draw them back could be true but it could also be that the O6 never actually left the Island itself if everyone was part of a layered and complex group hallucination.

We still don't know how the magic box actually works. What would trigger Cooper being in a car crash then suddenly transported to the island? Cooper believed he died and was sent to Hell. Locke's deep emotional desire to confront his father? To kill his father, or make him suffer? If the trigger is such raw emotion, why did Kate in a melancholy state imagine her horse? Or were all the Dharma food drops really caused by hunger pains by the Hatch crews? And how did Alpert arrive at the island when he was headed to the gallows? It is hard to believe that Jacob knew about him and desired him to be transported to the island like the Cooper situation.

The whole magic box theory does not explain Jacob's need to bring anyone to the island in the first place. If he was all-knowing, he could create anything he wanted by using the island's power. Perhaps, everything about the LOST experience was created in Jacob's mind. He is the lonely, alien, godlike being trapped protecting a supernatural element in order to keep the universe in balance. However, as a child, he had an imagination and need for friendship, adventure and sense of purpose. He created all the conflicts, all the characters, and all the events in order to occupy his mind so he would not go totally mad. Over time, he imagined a crazy mother and a brother. He imagined a conflict with them. He killed his brother but in his guilt created a smoke monster who sought revenge and escape. (If MIB was real, it could have tapped the magic box and easily "escaped" the island at any time without the help of the candidates). But it seems that the island as a child's playroom was a self-contained, padded cell metaphysically isolated from the rest of the universe.

The magic box may be the only explanation for the sideways world. When Christian said to Jack that the sideways world was created by his friends, we could not conceive how mortal human beings could create a purgatory waiting room in another dimension of time or space.  If those characters truly believed and desired to "die together" and move on in the after life as a group, then the island could have their sideways world. But it would seem that it was the characters subconscious that desired the sideways world since the characters did not know about it until they were "awakened." The whole concept of the sideways awakening still does not make much sense. If you can control your after life by not knowing you are dead, why can't you continue to live out in the fantasy purgatory instead of going into the unknown white light?

If the entire LOST experience was the fantasy world of Jacob, then the sideways world becomes even more problematic. Can an imaginary person have a fantasy life such as to create a sideways world existence?

Then what of Jacob? Did he really die by Ben's hand and MIB's cremation? Apparently not, since Jacob continued to roam the island in physical form as an adult and as a child. This gets us to the possibility that Jacob was never real. It was the Island that created Jacob. The Island itself is a intelligent being that receives the thoughts, desires, and dreams of people. As the key to "life, death and rebirth," the Island could channel those strong emotional waves back into the world. For example, if a couple is infertile they could wish and dream hard for a miracle, which may in turn be granted by the Island. The Island could also be thought of a "prayer collector," where people ask their god for intervention, forgiveness or guidance. As a supernatural being, the Island could grant those prayers. These ideas would fit into the theory that the Island was one large metaphoric magic box.

When Christian said everything was "real," in the context of a pure fantasy world that could be correct. If the Island pooled similar desires of people and gathered them in one place to interact and find what they most desired (ex., friendship), then the fulfillment of those wishes would absolutely seem real whether the person was alive, dead or a spirit seeking closure on life's regrets.

This is all well and good, but if true, the magic box execution was inconsistent and possibly flawed. With the main characters, did they actually have their dreams fulfilled by their Island experiences? Was Jack's sole wish in life to prove his father wrong about Jack not being a leader? Was Locke's sole wish in life to kill his father? Or being a outback adventurer? Was Kate's sole wish in life to stop running away from her problems and settle down? In the end, we cannot conclude that either Jack, Locke or Kate got what they truly desired; Jack was reunited with his father but the slate was cleaned, Locke's life did not end well and he was broken in the fantasy sideways world, and Kate wound up with Jack but we don't know what happened to them next.  In some ways, the sideways world was what the main characters truly desired in their miserable real lives. If that was the case, then none of them would have wanted to "move on" in the church. It would be counter-intuitive to end what you truly wished for or what the Island's magic box gave you.

There is another explanation of the "magic box" situation. Magic box could be code for hypnotic control. Room 23 was devised to alter the thoughts of individuals, apparently to love Jacob. In any cult, the control of the followers is key to the leader's power. Brain washing can occur in many forms. It could be the filter to find out who was "good" (as in easily manipulated to the island cause) or "bad" (unworthy of Jacob's good graces). That is why the Others always called themselves the "good guys." They truly believed it.

By manipulating the minds of their subjects, leaders like Ben or Widmore could get people to do criminal things in the guise of a higher calling. For example, Ben's minions could have caused Cooper's car crash and drugged him in the ambulance to transport him to the Island so Ben could "shock" Locke into becoming a loyal Other. That would not be "magic," but a complex criminal scheme of kidnapping, drugs, brain conditioning, and forced loyalty. The same plan was used to get Juliet to the Island. She was literally kidnapped, drugged on the sub, conditioned to believe her work on the Island was so important, and that she could never leave the island.

Of course, the last option is the least favorable explanation. The magic box could have been a literary trick to put in unexplainable plot twists into the story line in order to fill time from season to season. Who did not think WTH? when Ben revealed to  Locke "his gift" of a bound and gagged Cooper, the man that had caused Locke so much physical and mental pain?!

The Magic Box, whether it was real, symbolic of the leader's power or authority, or the will of a supernatural being, will never be fully known.

Friday, June 21, 2013


One of the most consistent background props in the series was the Apollo candy bar. There were many examples of the word Apollo in the series.

When Hurley's father left him, he gave Hurley a candy bar (which may have been the root cause for his later weight problems tied to daddy issues.)

On the airplane, Rose kept an Apollo bar for Bernard because he had a sweet tooth.

Juliet's former doctor-husband was killed by a bus which had an Apollo advertisement on it.

Ben was given an Apollo candy bar by Annie when he first arrived on the Island.

Jack is in the hospital vending lobby trying to get an Apollo bar when he is interrupted by the ghost of his father, Christian.

The Dharma food pantry on the island was filled with Apollo bars.

The story of "Apollo" is one from Greek stories.  One of the 12 Olympians of Greek Myth, Apollo is the god of light, youth, beauty, and prophesy. One of Apollo's great deeds was the killing of the serpent Python, the feared beast residing in the hills near Delphi. Apollo came down from Mount Olympus and with his silver bow and golden arrows, he slayed the beast in one shot to save the people of the land. To remember his glorious deed, Apollo created the Pythian Games, held every four years which is now the summer Olympics.
Apollo is also well known for his big mistake in mocking a fellow god. One day he made fun of Eros, saying he had no archery skill and was too small to have much significance. Eros then shot an arrow at Apollo, making him infatuated with the sea nymph Daphne. He then shot another arrow at Daphne which made her unable to love anyone. Apollo continuously pursued Daphne until she finally called for help from a river god and she was changed into a laurel tree before Apollo could get to her. This is why the laurel is his sacred tree.

There are very few fan theories tied to Apollo. One is that the LOST saga is a mere vague re-telling of the Apollo myth. The 815 survivors are new Olympians whose survival is dependent upon them defeating the challenges of the island, including the slaying of the smoke monster just as Apollo did with the python. The missions the main character went on were tests of intellect and physical strength, but not many ever resulted in a reward or rescue. The final event did not result in Jack being rescued, but in his death, which does not seem to be a sporting outcome.

The main characters did often mock each other skills or plans. They did sabotage each other in both direct and indirect ways. The man and woman relationships were quite see-saw in their love to hate dynamics. Jack and Kate had a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. But it does not seem that an outside force was manipulating the characters' feelings toward each other. 

Another theory would postulate that the Apollo references were merely a clue to the setting of the show. In American history, Apollo is reference to the 1960s space program which landed astronauts on the Moon. The Apollo program is linked to technology, space travel, adventure and danger.

From a background perspective, the island's main stations were based upon 1960s Dharma and Hanso ideas. The focus on the exploration of science on the island is similar to the Apollo program's focus on exploration of space. Both had goals of finding new information about the world around us.

 It is not disputed that the Island is a unique place. It was found to be moving away from the freighter. It could disappear. It had strange electromagnetic properties. The Island could be many things: a space ship, a portal to new dimensions, a parallel world out of synch with Earth, a wormhole to a second Earth. It is clear that the Island has spacial properties that defied our understanding of physics. However, in a different world or different universe, those spacial properties could make sense.

What else could the Apollo candy bar symbolize? With any candy, it is a guilty pleasure. It is also an ironic when we learn that Bernard, the dentist, has a sweet tooth. The consumption of the bars could represent the repression of guilt the characters had for their past actions. Hurley blamed himself for his father leaving the home. The candy bars continued to repress his feelings of guilt. Jack's taste for the bar could represent his guilt for turning his father for gross medical negligence which sealed the divide in their relationship. The candy bar was one of the advertisements on the soccer field when Desmond was watching the soccer game in the bar. At that time, Desmond was having flashes which could be tied to the guilt of his past mistakes, especially with his relationships with his former girl friends (the lack of commitment). 

As we had discussed previously, many of the characters had repressed feelings of guilt over their past actions. Some were more consumed with their past faults than others. For example, Hurley blamed himself (his weight) for the porch collapse that killed two people even though he was told it was not his fault. He sheltered himself in the institution to avoid having the tragedy repeat itself. He kept that burden on him until he got to the Island. 

However, one cannot say that the Island events released anyone's past guilt or forgave their past transgressions. There was little judgment or resolution on the Island for their past bad deeds. 

It may have just been a convenient prop. But one could hope that it had bigger meaning like the Apollo program itself, where men risked their own lives for a noble cause to increase the knowledge of mankind.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


The lead actor of the cable television hit show, The Sopranos, has died. The Sopranos, which ran from 2001-2007) was an iconic show that lifted HBO from a movie repeat channel to one of edgy, original series programming. Critics believed that this series opened the door for shows that pushed past the four major networks standards or practices.

It took the standard mob boss and gave him normal family and interpersonal issues and faults that the character recognized and tried to overcome. The series had a devoted following of fans. And it came to a controversial-crashing halt.

 The main character is sitting a New Jersey diner with his family. The dark mood of the drama increases as mysterious people come into the diner. But suddenly, and without warning, the screen goes black. The series ends with no resolution but a cliffhanger of what the heck was about to happen?  It lead to mass speculation, fan outrage, and insider admiration that such a popular series would just let the viewers make up their own ending to their show (in their own minds). (It was reported at the time, TPTB on LOST really liked the Sopranos ending.)

There were some cross-over themes between the series.

One was Faith and Reason. The mob boss had religious teachings, but did not believe in his faith. He rather lived by his own code of conduct. He knew that it was not reasonable or rational to front the piety of faith to family and friends but at the same time do terrible things in the name of honor.

Another was that guilt is a true motivator of actions. Tony Soprano did feel guilt. He did have personal issues that he wanted to resolve. Those conflicts led him to bare his soul to his therapist.  In the LOST world, regret probably bound the main characters together more than simple guilt. The same internal depression of knowing that you are doing something wrong but have no will power to change it has to wear down one's soul over time.

If you combine the internal conflict between one's raised beliefs to one's actual criminal behavior which brings about repressed guilt, you have a simmering "war" within one's self. Which could be the symbolic mystery of the LOST grave warning that "a war is coming" to the island. It was not really a massive conflict between Ben and Widmore over the control of the island, but as some fans accept, the vague notions of Jack accepting his role as a leader to resolve issues he had with his father.

In the Americanization of the mob life, it is the background of the ethnic neighborhoods, the culture, the economic factors and the lure of the lifestyle of being a gangster. the question was always present whether did Tony choose his own path or was his fate to lead a crime family. In the backgrounds of the LOST main characters, there was little connection in ethic, culture, education or economic factors that would have bound them together by fate to come to the island, battle smoke monsters, or allegedly save the world. TPTB may believe that everything and everyone is connected spiritually but in the mob world it was respect and honor among thieves was an overriding connection between gangs.

For the LOST main characters, they appeared to get some form of blissful relief or salvation in the church when the doors opened and they were engulfed in white light. Some have speculated that they were being transported to the next level of the after life or heaven. Tony Soprano's era on TV ended with a black screen. Viewers don't know whether he was seconds away from being riddled with bullets, or served a federal grand jury subpoena, or given a briefcase full of cash. But in both situations, the series did not wrap up with any clear, redemptive moment of truth. For cutting edge shows that wanted to push the characters and story lines to new places, the vague endings still cause pause.

I still believe cutting edge shows need to make a final statement to wrap up the tangled story lines from previous seasons. A great drama has an action packed climax (resolution) and not an inconsequential tangent that leaves the audience wondering . . . .

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


 Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself and be lenient to everybody else. — Henry Ward Beecher

Now that J.J. Abrams is about to mark Star Wars with his re-boot version, it is interesting to note that LOST had many Star Wars references and common themes, including Hurley trying to write from memory the original film during his time travel back to 1974. 


LOST's main characters were filled with parental issues. Locke was told by his mother that his father was dead. He later learned that Cooper was alive and stole a body part from him. Luke thought his father was also dead. He later learned that Darth Vader was his father, and during a battle lost his hand by laser sword.

Jack and Claire also had father issues. Jack could not get along with Christian, and Christian was not there for Claire when she was growing up in Australia. Luke and Leia were also unknown siblings who struggled against evil forces without knowing their true relationship.


Many people believe that good and evil can be symbolically represented by the colors white and black. In Star Wars, the dark side was cloaked in black, while the good rebels wore white. On the island, the Senet playing pieces of Jacob and MIB's game were black and white. The stones representing them were black and white. There were clearly dark forces on the island such as the smoke monster and murderous Ben. But even the "good guys" had sinful or bloody confrontations. LOST was not truly a story of good vs. evil.


The Force was stated to be a measured, scientific energy that could be manipulated by a Jedi master's will. The unique island electromagnetic energy field had scientific explanation, but also tinted with a religious context of being the source of life, death and rebirth.

Han is comfortable in his dependence and use of technology to get himself out of trouble. Luke learns to rely on the faith and teachings of his masters to confront evil.


Throughout his life, Luke was told about his destiny even though fate had him stuck on a water collection station with his aunt and uncle. Obi-Wan tells him that he must find his own path. Darth Vader and the Emperor tell him to fulfill his destiny by joining them on the dark side of the Force.

On the island, the candidates are sought to have "free will" to make their own decisions (something that neither Jacob or MIB could control). However, the candidates never truly had free will because they were brought to the island against their will; they were marked by fate to become pawns in the game of corruption manipulated by Jacob and MIB. Fate is something a person cannot control. In LOST, none of the main characters truly was in control of their lives.


Obi-Wan conceals Darth Vader's secret identity from Luke. Both Darth Vader and the Emperor try to manipulate and deceive Luke into killing the other in order to gain power. Han spent his life conning people out of valuable property, such as Jabba.

The con artist theme was stronger in LOST. Cooper and Sawyer were both successful con artists. Ben manipulated and conned people with convincing lies. The main characters concealed their personal secrets in order to be perceived as different person.


Star Wars was the epic struggle of life and death. The Empire was set to destroy any rebels. It was the battle between the Emperor and the few surviving Jedi masters. It came down to which group controlled the Force would win the war. It was a battle to remain alive.

On the island, whoever was the guardian apparently controlled the light source which somehow would allow the destruction of the smoke monster. However, we were led to believe that the "war" was between Ben's Others and Widmore's invasion force. But nothing came of that story arc except a rising toll of red shirts. LOST ended with a reunion of everyone in death.


Star Wars had numerous body part destruction:
  • C-3PO lost an arm falling off a cliff.
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi severs an opponent's arm in the cantina at Mos Eisley.
  • Darth Vader severs Luke's right hand in battle.
  • Count Dooku severs Anakin Skywalker's right arm in battle.
  • When bested by his former master, Darth Vader looses his left arm and both his legs. 
In LOST, Locke lost the use of his legs because of an encounter with his evil father. In the Dharma medical facility, many women lost their lives because of the pregnancy issues. The marshal dies a slow death from the plane crash injuries. Boone dies from a fall from the small plane. Claire loses her mind in the jungle when she is separated from the time skipping group.

From a writing standard, these themes are common in many dramas. The juxtaposition of two elements can create compelling situations and conflicts. Star Wars concluded each episode with a resolution to the main plot line while LOST ended each season with a cliffhanger and unanswered questions.

TPTB in the LOST universe were great admirers of the Star Wars trilogy. George Lucas had fashioned a complex Greek tragedy in a science fiction world of deep space. It is still debatable whether LOST ever reached that standard.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


In the previous post, we outlined an alleged show insider's statements on the meaning of the LOST series. We are not convinced that that person was an insider, but we published his or her theories and explanations. Now, we examine this fan theory:

It is the difference of opinion that makes horse races. ”
— Mark Twain

The counter-points:

1. "It was real."

That is one premise to the show. The other premise is that the characters were already dead and their survival journey was not on Earth but through the Underworld. There was never broadcast clear evidence.

 2. The Island's role was to balance good and evil.

The show being about “good and evil” may be the greatest myth of the show. Good people died. Evil people prospered. Bad behavior was rewarded. There was no morality in the story line or in The End. For example, Ben was never punished for his sins. He killed the entire Dharma collective in his purge. That open pit contained more than 40 bodies. He put Sayid into assassin mode during the O6 story arc. He kidnapped, tortured and lied to everyone he met. But in the end Ben alone got to decide his own fate. He chose to stay in his fantasy sideways world playing house with Rousseau and Alex (two people who died because of his decisions).

The island as a balance point between good and evil does not stand scrutiny either. There were more evil actions, pain, suffering, anguish, fear and death on the island than good moments. The concept of “free will” seems inconsequential. All the candidates were brought to the island against their will. They were trapped like lab rats in an experimental maze. Their actions had very limited effect or consequences to Jacob or MIB.

Also, the concept that the island was the sole mechanism to balance good and evil on Earth makes little sense. It would mean that the island emits some form of elemental wave of both good and evil into the world. It would mean that mankind’s concept of individual freedom and free will is a fiction. Man’s soul is being nourished by both good and evil spiritual energy.

If that is the case, then the island is a self perpetual machine. There would be no need for a “protector.”  And there is no evidence that the island was “out of balance” that either Jacob (good) or MIB (evil) had the upper hand.

3. The problem that had to be solved was the Man in Black.

The idea that the Island was the stage for Jacob’s plan to bring candidates to the Island to do the one thing he couldn’t do: kill his brother, the Man in Black. The fallacy to this argument is simple: Jacob’s brother was already dead. He was buried in the cave next to Crazy Mother.

MIB was the release of some supernatural demon, the smoke monster, caused when Jacob killed his brother (and his body somehow “uncorked” the island’s light cave to allow for smokey to roam the island, corrupt humans and cause time travel). There was nothing “super human” that actually ended MIB’s reign of island terror.

The problem that really needed to be solved is the inconsistent, tangental and mixed up story lines of the characters which was not tied to a solid science fiction mythology fact set.

The problem could be that Jacob was conned into being the external jailor for the devil. The only way he could “move on” was to have MIB destroyed by someone not from his world. But that would negate the concept that the island was “real” on Earth, and the characters were on Earth battling for their lives.

4. Dharma was brought to the Island to kill MIB

The idea that Dharma was brought there by Jacob as part of his plan to kill the MIB also has huge flaws. We never saw any indication that the scientists were actually studying the smoke monster. In fact, all evidence points to Dharma being deathly afraid of the smoke monster by creating sonic barriers around the barracks.

5. Ben was a pawn of MIB and not a servant of Jacob.

The theory that MIB was aware of the Dharma plan to kill him so it sabotaged the plan by “corrupting” Ben is also speculative. There is nothing in the story lines to show that MIB corrupted any individual to the dark side. All the characters came to the island with a fully developed individual belief and moral compass. The island events did not alter their basic instincts, personality traits or motivations. In most cases, the events reinforced those elements.

In Ben’s case, he was influenced by Alpert, who was tied directly to Jacob as his liaison to his candidates. There was never a direct offer of power, wealth or immortality given to Ben by either Jacob, Alpert or MIB. Ben himself was manipulated by his emotional strings being played like a violin by MIB when Ben confronted Jacob for the first time in the Tawaret statue. It led to Ben treacherously stabbing Jacob and MIB burning his body.

6. The one variable was free will.

The theme of “free will” is common in the series, but if is nebulous concept in practical terms. The characters had the free will to make decisions, but the deck was already stacked against them. Their decisions had no bearing on the resolution of the Jacob-MIB conflict. They did not have the “freedom” to leave the island. The candidates were all marked, kidnapped and captured on the island.

The key question posed is fate vs. free will.  Fate presupposed a predetermined set of personal events to one conclusion. The universe will course correct you to the final point. This concept excludes free will if it is already predetermined what your destiny will be in the end. There is no science in a universe that predetermines the final outcome. There is also no faith to change the outcome by prayer to a higher being if the universe is one of pure destiny.

7. Jack's role and destiny was defined by the first episode.

It is acknowledged by TPTB that originally, Jack was going to be killed off early in Season 1 to increase the dramatic effect and horror of the island. The show was going to focus on Kate as the leader. But many fans were emotionally drawn to the Jack character, so TPTB kept Jack as the focus. So it is incorrect to state that Jack’s role was defined from the pilot episode to the end scene.

In addition, Jack never “saved” anyone in the church.  Jack never saved Locke. In fact, Jack’s total disgust and disregard of Locke and his position led to Locke’s demise. Jack never saved Kate from her running away from her problems or commitments. Jack never saved Sawyer from his lying and conning ways. Jack never brought Bernard and Rose back together; they found each other when the Tailies were reunited with the beach camp.

8. The sideways world represents a humanistic religious philosophy.

The sideways world is not a mix in of theology and metaphysics. Even if the show's creators were proposing is that we’re all linked to certain people during our lives (“soul mates”), the writer’s explanation of the sideways world literal nonsense. The people in the church made up a vast and complex fantasy world because they shared  “the most important moments of their lives?”  The explanation is that subconsciously, everyone created the “sideways” world where they exist in purgatory until they are “awakened” and find one another.

Well, how can one create a subconscious purgatory existence without first being dead. As I have theorized for years, if one takes the ancient Egyptian beliefs of the after life, a person’s spirit is separated into a ba and ka, who separately journey through the after life, to be reunited and reborn in either paradise or darkness. The characters only met each other within their journey to the purgatory sideways world by banding together their lost soul in their underworld events after their deaths on Earth. This clearer explanation defeats point number one, that everything was “real.”

9. The spiritual premise of the show was throughout the series.

If the LOST story is a spiritual take on various religious doctrines, then there are problems with that explanation. If one could not “move on” without making amends for their sins, like Ben, then the church members never atoned for any of their transgressions. Murder, fraud, lies, adultery, kidnapping, stealing, and deceptions were never judged and the characters never punished for their deeds. In fact, the series had no moral compass at all. People who did bad things actually got rewarded with control, power or wealth.

And the statement that all the main characters were “supposed” to be together on the plane seems disconnected. There were other people on the plane. They were all basically strangers except for family members traveling together. Unless this is a take on Albert Brook’s concept of passage into the after life (Defending Your Life), where individuals dream of their own means of their demise (plane crash, etc.)

10. Each new island mystery was a piece of a larger plot mosaic for each viewer.

The idea that everything stated on the show one was puzzle piece in a giant mosaic is a fine goal, but it would appear that the box was missing thousands of pieces because there is no complete, unified theory to LOST that everyone can agree on. There are still more unsolved mysteries than solid answers. If a writer’s job is to create series of plot mysteries, it is the expectation that the writer will reveal the answers to those mysteries by the end. The ending in the sideways church did not definitively answer anything. It caused more questions to be raised by the fans.

11. Season 6 sideways world was to contrast the island events.
Season 6 was the most messed up season of the series. Some fans lamented that it appeared that TPTB were creating wild tangents so characters could have a new “show reel” for future auditions. The creation of a sideways world (purgatory) made no sense in resolving any of the island characters main personal issues. The purgatory sideways world did not judge, punish or redeem any of the island characters.

 12. Those who made it to the sideways world were linked by mutual destiny.

Further, the link to the main plane survivors is tenuous at best. They were not the most important people in their lives.  Example, Juliet. The most important person in her life was her sister. She had devoted her work so her sister could conceive. She also was in love with a colleague who was killed by a bus. On the island, her only strong connection was Goodwin. She was in the church only because of the unexplained time travel arc and her hook up with sheriff Sawyer. Penny had no connection with the church goers except through the small window of the O6 rescue. She had stronger ties with her father (Widmore) than any islander. Desmond also did not have a deep connection with the 815 survivors. He had one brief encounter with Jack while running stadium steps. How that became the most important person in his life (since Jack is alleged the most important character in the series) is a stretch.

How all the characters were “supposed” to be on the plane pre-supposes that there is a grand finite plan for the entire universe and in inhabitants. The main characters had no connection with each other. They had families. They had friends before boarding Flight 815. But all of the back stories are erased to irrelevancy by the statement that the characters were eternally linked from the very beginning to move on in the afterlife together.

If the one lesson was supposed to be “live together or die alone,” the series failed to make that point in the end. In life, everyone dies alone. Each person’s human spirit is unique. The sideways world takes a mirrored or opposite view of that statement. In the sideways world, it is “die together or live alone (in the afterlife).” I don’t think that is a philosophy that would hold much water with American viewers.

13. Ben could not move on with the Flight 815 survivors.

In the final scene, Ben “could have moved on” with Hurley, but Ben chose to stay. So it is a specious argument to say Ben could not move on because he had no connected with his own group that has yet to awaken to their island time. The people who Ben would connect with would HATE him! He murdered his own father. He kidnapped Rousseau’s daughter. He got Alex killed by Widmore’s men.
Unless you take the tact that all the pain, suffering and blood shed by Ben was all “make believe” like kids playing combat on the school yard, there is no way that group of people would state that knowing Ben was the “most important” thing in their lives.

14. The reason Ben was excluded from the Church scene was because it was written with the pilot episode.

The idea that all the church characters were linked from the first episode is also false.  Juliet, Desmond, Ben and Penny were not season 1 characters so the statement that the church scene was written with the pilot does not hold water. Ben was only signed for a three show arc. But his performance and fan reaction made TPTB keep him on as a regular. Further, each person in the church had long standing links with their pre-island friends and family members. The prime example of this deep pre-existing bond was Juliet and her sister. That bond was unbreakable. But in the end, Juliet’s sister was not part of Juliet’s after life.

15. LOST was an important show that dealt with big themes.

LOST may have dealt with big themes, but had big problems in meshing those themes into a rational overall premise. It was chunky and vague in giving us a clear explanation of the writer’s viewpoint on  faith, the afterlife, spiritual questions, and sci-fi elements of the show. The biggest problem with the ending to LOST is that it did not explain itself and what TPTB wanted to show us about ourselves. Instead, it jumped off a writer’s crutch cliff to the perceived happy ending with the reunion in the purgatory church. That turn led many to wonder out loud what about the time travel? What about the island? What about electromagnetic energy? How was everything interconnected? Who knew what and when? And was the conflict with Jacob and MIB even relevant to the conclusion? 

The problem with raising big themes even in a television show is that the writers need to deliver big explanations by the show’s conclusion.  If you pare away every element of the LOST saga to just see what was truly necessary for the reunion in the sideways church, it would come down to this: everyone died on the island. Even if the show revealed that Jacob was a reaper bringing dead people to the island to find some form of redemption or friendship, the vast majority would accept that premise and still enjoy the show (and understand the church conclusion). But the writers never dealt with the big themes in such a way to adequately conclude the show.

The previous post does not stand up well to cross examination. If the show's writers' idea was let the viewers draw their own conclusion episode after episode, character event after character event, then writers were not writing a narrative but tossing scenes against the wall to see what would stick in the hearts or minds of the fans. The bottom line that the show is "what each viewer thinks it is" is a white wash. If the writers' had a grand, unified metaphysical explanation to all the show's mysteries, then why not just come out and tell us by the end of Season 6?