Friday, February 28, 2014


This is a Jin theory, but not a character based one.

Ancient cultures had beings called jinns who bridged between the human realm and the spiritual realm. They were described both as beneficial and evil. But in most instances, they came to people as messengers.

In Arabian and Muslim folklore jinns are ugly and evil demons having supernatural powers which they can bestow on persons having powers to call them up. In the Western world they are called genies. 

Legend has it that King Solomon possessed a ring, probably a diamond, with which he called up jinns to help his armies in battle. The concept that this king employed the help of jinns may have originated from 1 Kings 6:7, "And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought there, so there was neither hammer nor axe nor and tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building." 

In Islam, jinns are fiery spirits (Qur'an 15:27) particularly associated with the desert. While they are disruptive of human life, they are considered worthy of being saved. A person dying in a state of great sin may be changed into a jinni in the period of a barzakh, separation or barrier. 

The highest of the jinns is Iblis, the prince of darkness, or the Devil. The jinns were thought by some to be spirits that are lower than angels because they are made of fire and are not immortal. They can take on human and animal shapes to influence men to do good or evil. 

They are quick to punish those indebted to them who do not follow their many rules.

In the "Arabian Nights" jinns or genies came from Aladdin's Lamp. 

There are several myths concerning the home of the jinns. According to Persian mythology some of them live in a place called Jinnistan. Others say jinns live with other supernatural beings in the Kaf, mystical emerald mountains surrounding the earth.

There are many traits of genies in the show:

1. the smoke monster could represent a fire spirit and in the end, MIB was not immortal.
2. the events on the island were important to bridge the character's sideways lives, so the island could be considered a barrier world where jinns would occupy and help humans.
3. jinns don't follow rules and neither did the characters or the show's writers.
4. characters made several references to the Devil in the show, including towards Jacob.
5. the smoke monster could take on human and animal shapes like a jinn.
6. the island characters such as Jacob, MIB, Alpert, all tried to shape the castaways to do good or evil.

Throughout LOST, there were messengers in the form of flash back visions of things on the island, dead people giving characters information or direction, but at other times the past visions turned violent like with Eko's talk with his dead brother, Yemi, who turned into the smoke monster.

In Western fairy tales, a Genie in a bottle could mean a smoke like creature with intelligence and magical powers to grant wishes. The island could have been that bottle. It's "cork" was released and then re-set to capture the smoke monster apparently in human form. And the island in many respects did grant the characters wishes - - - such as Locke being able to become an outback hunter and leader; to Jack reconciling with his father. The island could have been one great second chance granted by Jacob, a jinn, to his candidates.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Trust was a major theme of the series. Characters constantly asked each other whether they trusted them in a decision.

But what is trust? National Geographic Channel decided to investigate the human mechanics of trust.

Trust is part of your brain’s default setting, but the feeling may not be as noble as your teachers made it out to be. Neuroscience has an explanation that relies on a lot of fascinating biochemistry.

In one study, scientists asked 49 participants to play a two-person game of trust. One participant had to act as a broker while the other worked as a trustee. Working together, the two built up a pot of money by investing in each other. But to amp up the risk—and the trust—there was one major caveat: One of the participants could steal all of the money at any moment.

Before playing the game, some of the participants snorted a nasal spray laced with oxytocin. Best known for being the “love hormone,” the scientists suspected that oxytocin also had a hand in making us trustworthy. It seems they were right. Participants who sniffed the oxytocin spray ended up investing more money than those who had inhaled a placebo. It seems the burst of oxytocin had increased their trust.

But the takeaway isn’t so warm and fuzzy. As participants trusted each other more and more, a brain area called the caudate nucleus—one of the brain’s pleasure centers—lit up. As their trust solidified, the caudate became active earlier and earlier. That is, they started taking the benefits for each investment for granted. The researchers concluded that we don’t trust people because it’s some universal moral force. We trust people because it rewards one of the brain’s pleasure-seeking centers. Our brain simply likes getting that oxytocin-laced caudate kick.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


What we do comes out of who we believe we are. — Rob Bell

Jack believed he could be as good a "leader" as his father, especially in life and death decisions.

Kate believed she was saving her mother from an abusive relationship, but she was wrong.

Charlie believed he could get his one-hit wonder band back together, but he was wrong.

Sawyer believed he could revenge for his parents deaths, and he did but at a great personal cost.

Claire believed she could give up her baby for adoption, but fate did not allow it.

Hurley believed he was cursed by the Numbers, and he was right because Desmond failed to input the Numbers in time.

Locke believed he was an outdoor hunter, and on the island he had his chance to become one.

Locke also believed he could be a great leader, but he was wrong and it cost him his life.

Rose knew after the crash that everything was going to be fine with Bernard, and she was right.

Boone believed that he was Shannon's protector, but he was wrong.

Shannon believed that the castaways would be rescued, and she was wrong.

Sayid believed that he would be reunited with his love, Nadia, but he was wrong.

Sun believed that she could leave Jin, but she could not.

Widmore believed that he could return to the island to rule it, but he died instead.

Ben believed that he could rule the island, but he betrayed Jacob and lost his power over the Others.

Artz believed he was the man of science, but the science of unstable TNT killed him.

Dr. Chang believed that he could use the unique electromagnetic properties, but he caused The Incident.

Juliet believed that she could leave the island to return to her family, but she was wrong.

Desmond believed that he would be reunited with Penny some day, and he was right.

Christian did not believe that he could reconcile with his son, but he was wrong.

Eloise believed that she could manipulate people to keep from "awakening" her son Daniel in the sideways world, and she was correct.

LOST viewers believed that we would receive the answers to the big questions and island mysteries . . . .

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


If one believes that the entire series was a symbolic representation of the ancient game of backgammon between Jacob and MIB, then this is how the board must have looked at the beginning of the game. Jacob's candidates would have been white pieces and MIB and his evil converts the black pieces.

But if we go to the End Game, how did the pieces finally land on the board?

Everyone who died on the island would have been put on the center board (death). Only Sawyer and Kate would have traversed the island sections to leave the board at their finish. Hurley would have remained on the island as the new guardian, along side Ben.  In this representation, Widmore and Eloise would remain in their former heavenly positions of manipulating the candidates around the board.

This final position leads to three separate conclusions. It could represent that Hurley would be the new Jacob and Ben the new MIB, the actual players controlling new pieces that would have to be brought to the island. Or it could represent that the original immortals, Jacob and MIB, would merely re-set their board for another game. Or it could represent an actual end, as two white pieces actually escaped the confines of the board, with no other white pieces (other than Hurley who assumed a new role) left on the island. In the centuries of contests, this result may have been the first time that any candidates were able to escape the island, making Jacob the ultimate victor. What that victory meant is unknown. It could mean that Jacob finally got to die and move on to internal peace. Or it could mean that Jacob had to start all over again (on the island or someplace else) if he was the jailor of the evil spirit, MIB, who was finally defeated in this game.

Monday, February 24, 2014


In life as in the dance, grace glides on blistered feet.. ”
— Alice Abrams 

The ability of a drama to convey the sense of danger and personal perseverance is key to a complete story.

 One of the strange issues with the LOST story was the apparent lack of pain and suffering the characters went through during the series. Granted, there were a few characters who showed real pain from their injuries, such as the Marshal, Boone's fall, and the various gunshot wounds. But all in all, there was very little physical pain or suffering shown on the show.

For example, we never saw the survivors collapsing due to dehydration or lack of water.
We never saw the survivors starving or having the painful symptoms of malnutrition.  
We never saw the survivors catch serious tropical illnesses, exhibit high fevers or infections from
animal bites that would be present in long term tropical environments.
In fact, the harsh setting of an isolated island did little physical harm to the characters. In fact, the fourth wall was brought down when someone asked why Hurley was not losing any weight after weeks on the island with limited resources.

The pain and suffering was mostly emotional stress and psychological manipulation. 

There is a gap between expected physical wear and tear on the characters and the actual scenes in the series. Yes, it was a television show on regular sets and the cast was not subject to the real rigors of being stranded on a tropical island. But one would have thought that common sense drama would have been more front and center in show, especially when it was actually discussed in the original writer's guide.

Was it the island itself, with its unstated (but selective) healing properties that kept the pain and suffering down to a minimum. Did the candidates get special immunization just by being candidates? Or was it a conscious choice by the producers not to have the "downer" scripts too long to the PSA's about starving children in Africa that run during local late night TV commercial breaks. It was probably the latter.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


In the vain of Hurley's fall, let us look into an important event in Jack's childhood, the school yard fight.

As a teenager, Jack intervened in the school yard when a bully was beating up his best friend, Mark Silverman. Jack tried to save his friend from injury, but Jack himself got the brunt of the abuse.
Hearing what happened, his father told Jack of his ability to take in the consequences of life and death decisions. He advised Jack to avoid being a hero because he didn't have what it took to cope with failing.

It is really an odd statement by Christian to his son about a school yard fight to put it into terms of making "life and death decisions."  For a few, it was a clue to a theory, like Hurley's Fall, that the story of Jack we saw in the series was not true at all.

Various threads of theories can be woven into a composite theory on this incident: that children don't directly go to heaven, they have a chance to live a new life in an alternative world view of their choosing; that Jack's fight ended one life but began a new one; that the incident and his father's words traumatized Jack into a mental state where he fantasizes that he is the man his father wanted him to be; that Jack's back story was all an illusion, a made up story in a place of make-believe; that Jack was Christian's "David" in Christian's own sideways world life.

With all the childhood struggles of the main characters, the alternative theory that they all died as children but were granted a true-to-life experience with angels without wings is an appealing concept. It throws away all the inconsistencies and continuity errors because it is fantasy. But as a fantasy, it creates its own problems, mainly the initial stated premise of the show itself.

If Christian's harsh assessment of Jack, that he could never be the hero, was the most important thing in Jack's mind, that fault could have been etched in Jack's conscious. Jack's entire life was to reach hero status - - - but one cannot call oneself a hero. It is a titled earned from recognition from other people.

On the island, did anyone really call Jack a hero? Jack lost more fights than he won. Many of Jack's decisions led to disasters such as communicating with the freighter. Jack lost more lives during his time on the island than lives he saved . . . which is not the resume of a hero.

And it is not necessarily heroic to die. Jack's last fight was with Flocke. Jack was beaten badly. It was Kate that ended it. But instead of Jack going back to Hurley, the new island guardian who could have saved his friend, Jack went to the bamboo jungle to die. For a man hellbent on survival for six seasons, this seemed wrong. His sacrifice was not meaningful nor served a purpose. It is almost self-delusional to cast oneself as the martyr in a cause that is already completely over. This tends to make Jack more important in Jack's own mind. It also tends to think of the story more coming from Jack's own mind than reality.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Back to reviewing what actually happened in the show, we look back at a key moment in Hurley's backstory.

There is no question that the porch collapse profoundly affected Hurley. He blamed himself for the death of another person as a result of his overweight presence on an overcrowded deck. This was a major issue that the doctors at the mental institution wanted Hurley to come to terms with as part of his treatment plan. However, Hurley never does. In fact, Hurley resists the treatment plan - - - and refuses to discuss or come to terms with his fatal fall.

From this traumatic event, there are several theories that have been proposed about the show.

First, and most profound and hard to believe, is that Hurley was actually the person who died in the porch collapse. The entire show is Hurley's soul in denial - - - running away from the tragic event that ended his life. We know that Hurley was introverted but with a vivid pop culture, comic book imagination. It is possible he created his own virtual limbo to avoid acknowledging his own demise.

Or, more likely, Hurley survived the porch collapse, but caused the death of another person. We are never told the name of the victim, but there are two intriguing possibilities. One, is Hurley's imaginary friend, Dave.  Dave appears to be Hurley's best friend. It appears they have known each other for a long time, since childhood. Dave is more outgoing and adventurous, so it is possible that it was Dave who pushed Hurley to go with him to the party. Or, two, the person that died in the porch collapse was Libby. Now, we saw Libby briefly in the day room at the mental institution, so Hurley should have recognized her when they met on the island (but he did not). That was always a strange situation. Hurley, being the most normal and comfortable in the facility, would have known everyone in the day room. Perhaps, that Libby was a ghost from Hurley's past there to subconsciously haunt him or save him, as Libby did on the island when Dave tried to get Hurley to jump off a cliff to "wake up" from his dream.

Yes, it has been theorized that LOST was all an elaborate dream inside Hurley's head . . . a creation of his subsequent mental illness, or as a result of his injuries from the fall such as being in a coma.

There is one key plot element in Hurley's story, and that is coming to terms with this incident. The only closure gets to this life event is finding peace and happiness with Libby in the after life (sideways world). So if one works back from that moment of resolution, we can track back how Hurley viewed himself. In the sideways world, he was a confident millionaire lottery winner who still had a void in his life, no soul mate. Tracking further back to the island world, he was an insecure millionaire lottery winner who believes he was cursed and never could be loved. Tracking further back to pre-flight 815, Hurley was an insecure loner with few friends and no real future in a career or in love. His best friend stole the girl he had a crush on. And if we roll back a little further, we have the story of Hurley and the porch collapse which traumatized him so much he had to be institutionalized in order to get treatment. It is at that place, Hurley learns of the numbers . . . which he uses to win the lottery in a miracle change-of-life fairy tale. But was that even real? Would his guilt cause all the curses after his good fortune (like his grandparent dying, the meteor hitting Mr. Cluck's, etc.). It could be that Hurley's deep neurosis kept turning his fantasy dreams into nightmares, culminating in the Flight 815 story.

It makes some sense that in order for Hurley to heal himself from the guilt of the porch collapse, he had to make it up to the one person he hurt most, that being Libby, the person killed in the accident. The means of accomplishing this resolution would be that Hurley's soul would have to search the underworld to find her, then make a connection - - - a strong bond - - - to find her again as her soul passed through the various levels of the underworld (as represented in the Egyptian rituals incorporated into the LOST sets). It was only after Hurley realized that death does not end life, but there is a rebirth with the ones you have lost, is when his fairy tale dream came to a conclusion in the after life church.

The Hurley dream theories are some of the most viable "unified" story structure theories in the LOST fan universe.

Friday, February 21, 2014


If one looks back at the original writer's guide as the story outline for the series, it is clear that there would have been many different connections to explore amongst the various groups.

The proposed island inhabitants would include four groups plus the smoke monster:
1. The savages who attacked Vincent;
2. The others who would attack/abduct 815 castaways;
3. The survivors of Flight 815; and
4. The submariners, a military group, that runs ashore at the outer reef.

All these groups have the following common traits:
1. The will to survive.
2. Territorial protection of the island.
3. The need to gather, store and consume necessary resources.

There are three basic grounds proposed in the guide:
1. The 815ers beach camp;
2. The jungle; and
3. A vast underground facility which would be found later in the series.

The inference is that the underground facility has been abandoned, so the castaways would move into it as their home base on the island. This also means one of two things: the facility had a prior island group that was wiped out (like the Dharma story line), or the Others abandoned their facility to live on the land.

I like the idea that the island has multiple groups competing against each other for survival. I like the idea of a band of island savages, a primal group that would seek to cut off expansion of any new group on their island. I could see this primitive group worshipping the smoke monster for protection.

The Others on the other hand are a mixed bag. They could be other people who shipwrecked on the island like the 815ers, which would put them into same mindset as the castaways (as allies). However, the story lines indicate that the Others would be attacking the castaways, so is this island group the remains of a failed scientific research facility, abandoned military outpost or some other group such as prisoners sent off to rot on a penal colony?

The submariners add the twist of adding a group with the actual means and skill set to leave the island with modern technology. It could be that they could team up with the 815ers to use the underground facility to manufacturer and repair the submarine for seaworthy rescue. Or, the submariners could be a trap to confine, enslave or wipe out all people on the island to reclaim it as their own secret base. As indicated earlier, we don't know who these military men are because the uniforms are different (leading to the possibility that they are even time travelers, for whose existence must be kept secret from the rest of the world.)

One could imagine the various branch story lines from the interaction between these groups. The 815ers and Others could be at odds, but there could be some castaways, led by Locke, who could splinter off and join the Others. Likewise, there could be some in the castaway group who would want to try to communicate, trade and find peace with the savages, especially as a means to acquire the island power to fight off the Others' attacks. The submariners could be the wild card, playing each group off each other to achieve their own goals.

The key to control of the island appears to be the underground facility. Whether it is functional, operational is an open question, but it would provide the best secured location on the island. Once it is found, it could lead to a siege by the other groups who want or need it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Even after reading and digesting the LOST's writer's guide, there was still no clear path in story direction. What was going to be the point to LOST?

Was it going to be purely a castaway show, where the characters settle in with no real chance of rescue like Gilligan's Island?

Or was it going to be an action-adventure show, where the characters would fight, claw, battle and innovate a way off the island to a climatic, series ending emotional rescue at sea?

Either one of those alternative endings would have been fine.

Can you build and sustain an island community with 48 plane crash survivors? Sure.
Can the viewer feel "invested" in their struggles to find food, build shelter, and protect themselves from the dangers of the island and its other tribes? Sure.
Could they have build a new home and lived out their lives on the island? Sure.

In addition, there are several key forks in the story road to consider before running blindly down them.

Was LOST going to be a survival story? The stories would be self-contained on the island, and the drama would be the day to day struggles for the basic necessities for life.

Was LOST going to be an adventure story? The stories would be broader and more full of active dangers, threats and physical altercations, something almost all the main characters had no experience with during their pre-Flight 815 lives.

Was LOST going to be a science-fiction story? Would the story of survival include elements of science fiction such as advanced technology, hidden worlds, or time travel? If this was the case, then the island was not merely an island, but a portal for unbelievable change in how the characters would perceive their world and themselves.

Any one of those story paths would have been fine.

But when the writers began to mix and match elements of those paths into a lumpy porridge of conflicting plot lines, many viewers themselves got lost amongst the growing jungle vines of intersecting and story strangulating questions.

In the alternative of what was guide's story outlines, there could have been crafted a four-person chess match over the island. Four distinct groups of people on the island would want to control it for their own safety and survival. The savages, the native people, who have a spiritual bond with the island - - - and worship its guardian spirit, the smoke monster. The Others, scientists or explorers, who build a vast, secret underground station to monitor the unique properties of the island.  The 815ers, who have crash landed on a place foreign, mysterious and dangerous - - - people who actually don't want to stay but for some reason they cannot leave. And the submariners, a mysterious group of military men who also have crash landed on the island.

The series could have easily gone down the sci-fi path with the introduction of the submariners. It could be the premise of Philadelphia, where a military vessel goes through a time vortex into the past. But in LOST's case, the unrecognizable uniforms stated in the guide could mean that this sub was from the future. As a result, and following the laws of literary time travel, the crew would not want to create paradoxes or reveal the future of anyone they come into contact with . . . which would create intense friction especially if the crew knows what the Others were doing on the island.

The series could have gone further into this realm by the appearance of a mysterious parachutist. One could imagine that this parachutist was a famous person from the past - - - like Amelia Earhart. That would confirm to the castaways that the island is not what it seems - - -  that there is a time vortex that threatens their very existence. In order to solve this sci-fi premise, everyone on the island would need to gather information on how to solve the problem to get back to their real time lines.

The series would then lead up to a final solution on how to get the time lines back to normal so the castaways could get rescued or leave the island.

This simple outline leaves little open ended fragments in plot points. And it was not that difficult to extrapolate from the writer's guide's notes. It would have eliminated many of the bitter fan disputes that continue to haunt the series: that the characters were alive, that they were on Earth, and that they had to work together in order to solve their most important problem, how to get home. Instead, we got seasons filled with ghosts, candidates, immortals, shape shifting monsters stealing memories and dreams, a parallel reality in the after life, and the characters being clearly all dead in the end.

In the past five or so years, I have seen many movie and television reviewers take hard lines on the entertainment they have seen . . . it is not necessarily snark, but an opinionated dissection of the show, the characters and plot. I continue to read reviewers who keep writing that the show or episode was disappointing because "it could have been better executed" based upon the prior episodes, the characters, writers or reputation of the producers. After reading the guide and looking back at the totality of LOST, I have come to the conclusion that yes, LOST could have been a better series. It could have had long lasting staying power if the episodes were self-contained stories (so it could be readily accessible in syndication). It could have had a more clear main story line focus, especially if it kept on one story path, one genre. If that was true, then the last season would have had a coherent story line to realistic conclusion instead of a deus ex machina plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problems are suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object.

It is still unclear to this day what the original meetings had in store for LOST as a series. What was the goal? Where was the story finishing line? How was the series going to end, or was it supposed to just fade away if it was cancelled abruptly by the network? You can throw as many strange plot twists, unexpected deaths, new devious characters and sci-fi elements into the show so long as they make sense in the main focal story line of the show. But LOST along the way lost its main story line focus. And that is the point between the discussion of what LOST was and what it could have been.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


In the LOST writer's guide, the producers proposed a different character alignment that what was actually filmed and shown in the series.

The guide outlined what one could call a "pair system" to the main characters. Two characters would be closely connected, with other characters attaching themselves to that pair bond in tangential ways.

The main pairing was going to be Jack and Kate. They would become the group's leaders. Jack would be the analytical leader and Kate would be the practical leader. This would lend support for balance if the group was going to create a new community on the island. Under the guide plan, Charlie would be accused of murder, and Kate would defend him. Jack, in the mean time, would probably treat Charlie for his withdrawal symptoms and therefore back Kate in the island trial. As a result, Charlie was supposed to become Jack's assistant. At the same time, Locke would be an adversary against the Kate-Jack leadership group.

The next major pair would have been the Sawyer and Shannon relationship. There pairing would be the show's first island hook-up. Shannon has a lazy golddigger's spirit, and Sawyer was the hoarder of material goods so he fit her profile. Boone, her brother, would always be her protector, so much so that he would be at odds with Sawyer. In the guide, the two have a vicious fight but don't allow the group in on the reason for their dispute. Later on, they have to work together to rescue Shannon from kidnappers.

The third major pairing was going to be with Sun and Michael. Sun was to have a more assertive and active role in the camp, as an alternative medicine healer. She was to be Claire's nurse maid during Claire's pregnancy. Since Sun was estranged from her husband Jin, there was supposed to be a long flirtation between Michael and Sun. Jin would be jealous of this, but had no means to communicate his anger. So he has to forge an alliance with Walt in order to learn English. It is not mentioned, but it is possible, that if the back story of Sun and Jin contained the infertility issue, then it would make some sense that Sun would gravitate toward Michael, a single parent, in order to form a family bond with him and his son. Likewise, Jin could also have the same feeling about having a family, and he could gravitate toward Claire and her new baby. Such as rotation of bonds and emotions could lead to several story lines on how each of them would cope with their new suitors and situations.

Though not put together in the guide as a team, it would seem that Hurley and Sayid would become good friends because each of them were practical problem solvers. The guide had Hurley's character being an international repo-man who could charm the collateral from debtors. Sayid was supposed to be an independent man who fled his country on a mission to find his true love. It would seem that these two characters would work well together as mediators between the group's potential factions.

It could be said that the original guide's character relationship road map was better plotted out that what actually happened in the series.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


One of the major points gleaned from the leaked writer's guide is that the original vision of the LOST saga was going to be different than what was actually filmed during the series. In more a Survivor tribal vibe, there were going to be at least four other major groups on the island.

When the 815 survivors begin to settle down in the beach camp, the first signal that they are not alone is when Vincent is found with a human bite mark on his ear. This evidence would lead anyone to believe that there are savages on the island. This would immediate raise the tension level in the camp because there is a now a known threat (beyond the smoke monster) in the jungle.

Shortly thereafter, two young men would be seen in the jungle. We suspect that they are from The Others, another group of people on the island. The guide did not flesh out who the Others would be (friend or foe, scientific researchers or utopian hop-heads). But having another "organized" group on the island could lead to conflict over "scarce" resources (one of the early themes in the guide outline). There is also a potential plot point in the guide about abductions by the Others of Kate and Locke, so we can assume that this group would be hostile at some point to the 815ers.

Later, a body washes a shore and the castaways see a submarine has been beached off the coastal reef. They will launch a salvage operation as the submarine could be the means of rescue, but would quickly find out that the sub is not abandoned, by staffed by military men in unrecognizable uniforms. The question is who are these submariners? Are they friends, foes, lost souls or even time travelers?

Lastly, there is sighted a parachutist who lands on the island. When the castaways find the parachutist, all the guide says is that they find a "unique visitor." It does not say whether he/she/it is even human. Depending on who or what fell onto the island, the main story line could have multiple tangents.

The idea of give or more groups interacting on the island does lend a "game like" story engine.

The 815ers have to interact with these new people in one of two ways: fend off attacks or go seek them out (as in rescue missions).

Then, like a deck of cards, these groups could have been shuffled during the series into different alliances. Each element brings its own unique skill set to the island party. The 815ers are a diverse group, but none seem to be the skilled outdoorsman. The savages would have been long term inhabitants of the island, who know it better than anyone. The Others could be considered interlopers by the island natives. They would have brought some technology and protection to the island in order to stay. The submariners would bring military skills and weapons. The parachutist would be an open-ended wild card twist.

Each group would have its own agenda. The 815ers would first want rescue, which would be similar to the submariners. The Others would want to keep their island "secret" so they would attempt to sabotage any means of escape. And the savages would want to rid their island of everyone, possibly using their island god, the smoke monster as the means to that end.

This alternative puzzle from the writer's guide would have made it easier for writers to mesh story lines in a coherent manner. But for some reason, the writers decided to pare back the island features to that of the Others against the survivors, and the survivors against themselves. Later, when running low on plot twists, the writers added Widmore as the Others main foe. And when that was not promising to involve the main cast members, the story of Jacob's candidates for island guardianship was thrown in as a attempt to resolve everything.

Though the guide does not state this, having multiple groups compete for control and peace on the island seems to have been a given. The inference that the main characters would have to build a new society on this mysterious island was the cornerstone pitch to the network. What better conflict point would be having neighbors who can't stand you?

Monday, February 17, 2014


He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past. — George Orwell

The loudest and most polarizing debate point between LOST fans to this day is whether the passengers on Flight 815 actually survived the crash.

It goes back to the very beginning when TPTB stated that the characters were survivors of a plane crash on mysterious tropical island. Viewers believed what the producers said. This was further confirmed in a way by Damon Lindelof in a 2006 interview where he said "When a character dies on the show, they’re dead. The only time you’ll see them again is in someone else’s flashback."  The writers initially claimed Lost would feature no actual resurrections. However, that was clearly not true as the series went forward in time. Sayid clearly died and was resurrected at the temple. Some viewers believe Alpert died in the hold of the Black Rock only to be revived by MIB as his pawn to kill Jacob. Jacob himself was resurrected in both adult and childhood form after he died in the statue. And Patchy died apparently several times in front of the castaways but returned to life.

Now some people believe that any magical island resurrections were just mere manifestations of a shape shifting smoke monster. 

On the other end of the opinion spectrum, many see The Island as afterlife, in the context of being a place of rebirth. It has been strongly suggested that the original crash killed the main characters, based upon human experience and what was first shown in the pilot episode. Additional evidence came in the form of the plane's discovery in Season 3 with 324 dead bodies aboard fueled this belief, as well as Naomi’s claim that everyone on that plane died. Later, the Widmore story line said he “faked” the wreckage in order to keep the island’s location secret, which in some respects makes no sense since he did not know where the island was located at the time.  An early episode script featured Kate jokingly referencing this theory to Sayid's annoyance, and the producers repeatedly dismissed it in interviews. The produers claimed that the characters eventually left and returned to the island, proving it existed on no separate plane of reality.
However, it was pervasive that characters kept saying the opposite.
Early seasons portrayed life on the Island as the characters' experiences following a metaphorical death.  As Jack told Kate early in the first season, "Three days ago, we all died." Many characters reinvented themselves on the island, attempting to redeem themselves for old mistakes.Jacob in the final season eventually revealed that he brought people to the island to specifically give them a blank slate. 

Some characters believed the island was their literal afterlife. MIB convinced Richard that the island was hell, and Richard reverted to this belief years later, even though he'd left the island numerous times. Cooper also thought the island was hell.
In “The Brig” Cooper found the island "a little hot for heaven." 

Off-island, Hurley believed Jack's perfect life - in love with Kate, raising a child - meant that they'd died and gone to heaven. He was wrong, but they later experienced an afterlife that was, for some, too good to be true. 

Characters also referenced heaven and hell separate from the Island.  Charlie once tried to baptize Aaron, and later Claire  asked Eko to baptize her and Aaron together, so they could reunite after death in heaven. According to Isabella, if MIB escaped from the Island, it would send them "all" to hell.  Lostpedia states that the script for the finale referred to the Heart of the Island, with the Light off, as the "cavern of hell," where things have "literally gone to hell."

And then there was the ghosts. Hurley and Miles could speak or hear the dead. Dead Charlie and Dead Ana Lucia had physical contact with Hurley. How could that be? Unless of course, Hurley was in the same plane of existence, i.e. he was also dead but failed to recognize or accept it. Acceptance of death was an underlying theme of the series. When Rose realized that the pain of her terminal cancer was gone, she knew she was dead. That is why she was at peace. That is why she knew she would be reunited with Bernard because they were both dead in the afterlife. And when the whispers were explained by dead Michael, that his spirit was trapped on the island and could not move on, it made sense why he was not shown in the sideways world.

There is also another way to look at the show: as a series of life times. Some Eastern religions believe that a person is reincarnated into several different lives in order to learn and attain enlightenment. One could perceive the characters as having several complete "lives" during the series: their pre-815 lives; their island lives; and their post-island lives (many contained in the afterlife of the sideways world). As easy as it was to suspend belief that the main characters survived a high-altitude fuselage separation, it is just as easy to believe that the characters were already dead and working their way through various second, third or fourth lives in the after life. 

So if one wants to start an immediate argument today, just bring up the fact that the 815ers died in the plane crash. Then also mention that the credibility of the story line told by the producers of the series is in doubt, especially after reading the original writer's guide. In any debate, there will be no final answer. Any plausible reasons and explanations were lost in the final season.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. — Mae West

 It does appear that in the original writer's guide, there was no mention that the island's location was some fore hell, cosmic limbo or the underworld. However, it never said that it was not. It was all cloaked in the vague title of being mysterious.

There was also no mention that everyone died in the plane crash. The presumption is that the main characters we saw in the pilot episode survived the crash. We saw people who died as a result of the crash, or died shortly thereafter due to their injuries. And this suspension of belief that people could survive a high altitude midsection separation plane crash was clearly what the network executives wanted when they said they wanted a "real life" version of Survivor. 

So, in some literary aspects, the main characters did get a "second" life . . . a means to change their prior lives as they tried to rebuild a new life on the island. This could have been the keystone to the entire series: new lives by building a new community.

A more convoluted character survival story emerged in the show. It was more about individual character reactions than a group dynamic to solving problems. Flashbacks took precedence over the fundamental daily survival issues mentioned in the guide.

In fact, several characters had more than one life on the island. Patchy seemed to have been killed multiple times. Sayid was reincarnated at the temple. Flocke was stabbed and did not die. Jacob, Alpert and MIB were immortal beings. Physical ghosts wandered the jungles. Whispers were trapped souls of spirits. Those elements shaded gray the actual black and white concept of either life or death in survival terms.

If survival was going to be the cornerstone theme of the series, the LOST lost its way at some point in Season 1 after the original story ideas dried up or were discarded by the writers. Instead of the survivors banding together to fight common issues like food, shelter, safety and security, it splintered into smaller groups and alliances which acted independently of a common cause. The background characters quickly turned into a malaise of unimportant plot point fodder such as red shirt deaths, picked off one by one when the danger meter ran low.

As LOST progressed, it had very little to do with "how" you lived your new island life. Bad people like Ben were not punished (by not going to the sideways world heaven). Even good people like Helen and Walt were missing in the end.

LOST could have been a once in a lifetime show. However, since its conclusion, its staying power in American culture continues to wane. When people mention LOST today, there is a negative connotation to it - - - based upon the final season. At comic culture conventions, people are not clamoring about in LOST costumes - - - like other high profile franchises like Star Wars or Star Trek which had their classic high runs more than 30 years ago. LOST itself does not appear to have its own "second" life renewal like those star franchises. It seems like the LOST universe is collapsing upon itself in its own black hole. Which is a shame because some fans rode the LOST bandwagon as the time of their lives.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I just finished watching fanmade episode 01x1, Across the Sea, on facebook/chrolost.

It was something I thought years ago somebody should try to do - - - put LOST in chronological order.

It was brilliant.

In certain respects, if this was the pilot, it would have made the series premise clear from the very beginning; why the island was special and magical.

But there was still the distraction of the time travel arc. It doesn't work when scenes are put in the right time line. The jumpy around for brief moments with characters is disjointed to the story and to the viewers.

However, after this first 49 minutes of the series, including the earliest time skip to the full Tarewet statute and Charlotte dying of nose bleed time skip, by pure accident there were some key points. First, the nose bleed. When Jacob and his brother were kids, Jacob got in a fight when his brother wanted to leave. That left him with a nose bleed. It would be symbolic of his future demise.

Second, Crazy Mother told Jacob's brother he was special because he was a good liar. And that she wanted him to take over as guardian, but he rejected that because he believed he could leave the island. She said no one could ever leave (which probably was the reason as a child she refused to answer his question "what is death?")

Third, the boys lived and grew for 43 years on the island, until Jacob's brother found a way to make the frozen donkey wheel and "leave" the island. Crazy Mother stopped that plan, and killed all the villagers. We always assumed that she did it because she was a smoke monster. But she had given the guardianship already to Jacob at the light cave, saying "you are now like me" to Jacob. Did the wine ceremony give Jacob the full knowledge of the island and the light cave - - - stopping his aging to become an immortal smoke monster.

Fourth, Crazy Mother was stabbed to death only because she did not see it coming or spoke a word to her killer. This is what Dogen would tell reincarnated Sayid to do to Flocke, but Sayid failed in his assassination attempt. However, this "rule" was not followed when Ben stabbed Jacob. They had a long conversation before Ben killed Jacob (or did he?)

Fifth, it is still unclear whether Jacob killed his brother and dumped his body into the stream or whether MIB died when he fell into the light cave. The result was that MIB turned into a smoke monster, flying out of the light cave and dropping Jacob's brother's body down stream. Crazy Mother said that Jacob should never go into the cave, because the result would be "worse than death." If a person goes into the light cave and turns into a smoke monster, then why did not Desmond or Jack become one in Season 6? The "resetting" of the stone cork in the light cave somehow made MIB mortal so he could be killed - - - but that procedure was not in effect to kill Crazy Mother, who was still an equal (smoke monster/immortal).

Sixth, the "special" guardians of the island have the dark or evil streak in them. Crazy Mother killed Claudia in order to secure her successor. Ghost Claudia came to young MIB to tell him about a way to go "home." If Claudia was a messenger or angel from heaven, she was trying to lead her son out of the island darkness to rejoin her in heaven. But it took 30 years of work and pent up rage in MIB, who agreed with Crazy Mother that the villagers, the humans, were greedy, corrupt and selfish but he only stayed with them as "as means to an end."

Seventh, when MIB and the Roman villagers were killed, the frozen donkey wheel chamber was not complete. However, in the next time frame, Locke is in the completed FDW cavern during the Egyptian island period. Lostpedia cites Claudia's death at 1 AD. This means that the Egyptian island period was the early Greco-Roman Egyptian period after the dynasties had come to an end. (However, this may still be a writer's continuity error). Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire when Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII were defeated at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The conquest of Egypt and its incorporation into the Roman empire inaugurated a new fascination with its ancient culture. Obelisks and Egyptian-style architecture and sculpture were installed in Roman fora. The cult of Isis, the Egyptian mother goddess, had an immense impact throughout the Roman empire. But this begs the real question: who finished the FDW and who built the statute and temple?

Eighth, both Crazy Mother and Claudia state that they came to the island "by accident." That if any person tries to take more of the life source, it could go out. And if it goes out, then everyone's life force goes out. But it must have been Jacob or those he brought to the island that completed the FDW and built the monuments on the island. It was part of the "game" that Jacob created with MIB/smoke monster now that his brother was dead (now Jacob could make the rules). As such, Jacob also fell into the trap of being selfish, corrupt, and dark - - - by trapping people on the island for the sole purpose that he could find his successor. As in the cycle of life, there appears to be a cycle of successors with similar stories to guard the light cave.

Ninth, MIB as Christian in the FDW with Locke means that smoke monsters can also time travel with the island. Which means that Jacob could also time travel with it. How or why the island can time travel is never explained, but MIB tells Locke to see Eloise Hawking for answers. Likewise, on another part of the island, Daniel tells a dying Charlotte that he told Desmond to find his mother so she could help them. 

Tenth, since the island was the place of life, death and rebirth, it is possible viewing this chronology episode to see that Crazy Mother could have been "reborn" as Eloise. That is a new twist, which could really explain why Eloise knew everything about the island. If Crazy Mother was reincarnated for another life, then to Jacob and his brother would be in line for that promotion once the island was restored with a new guardian. The island was then not really a cycle of life, but a cycle of death.

Friday, February 14, 2014


In the LOST Writer's Guide, which attempted to outline the first season of LOST, there were several clear pairings of main characters that would be part of the foundational story line of the show.

Jack and Kate were paired as the original leaders of the group, with Kate slowly becoming the more practical leader amongst the group. Off to the side, Locke would take his chance to be the leader of the group, mostly through his hunting skills. He would have a run in with both Jack and Kate, especially when she defends a drug-withdrawing Charlie on the charge of murder. Charlie would become Jack's island assistant.

The first romantic relationship mentioned is a Sawyer-Shannon connection. This makes some sense because both characters have a back story of "using" other people for profit. There would be a kindred spirit between the two - - - just do enough to get by on looks or charm. It was described as Boone having a violent relationship with Sawyer; the two brawl over an unknown issue.

The second romantic relationship mentioned is a Sun and Michael flirtation. Sun is supposed to become an independent woman on the island, free of the control and Korean traditions of Jin. Since Sun speaks English and has herbal medical and nursing skills, she becomes a valuable member of the group. As such she takes care of Claire. In the mean time, since she could not have children, she may be drawn into the Michael-Walt family dynamic. The Michael-Sun pairing will have a negative impact on Jin and Michael, since Jin is still her husband. The guide indicated that Jin would have to get back his standing by learning English - - - so he turns to Walt for lessons.

The other pairing is one of practical problem solvers. Both Hurley and Sayid are described as problem solvers - - - men who have experience getting things done after evaluating the situation. They would be more likely to be neutral in the politics of group leadership, thereby enduring themselves to most everyone in the group. Hurley repo negotiating skills could turn him into a valuable mediator and mission leader, and Sayid has the drive to seek rescue, including taking the plane raft out to see to find help in the shipping lanes.

These initial pairings are quite different than in the actual show.

Instead of JACK and KATE, the first seasons have JACK andLOCKE in the leadership box.
Instead of SAWYER and SHANNON, it is SAWYER and KATE who get it on.
Instead of SUN caring for CLAIRE, it is CHARLIE.
Instead of SHANNON with SAWYER, there is a brief fling with SAYID, who retains his problem solving role.
There is only the brief SUN and MICHAEL flirtation which amounts to very little in the series.
WALT does not connect at all with JIN.
And BOONE winds up as LOCKE's handy assistant.
But the biggest change is HURLEY, as he is paired with no main character, in romance or skill set. His biggest contribution is humor and levity.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


One thing is clear from reviewing the LOST's Writer's Guide, the creators and network executives had some doubts whether the idea of lost survivors could be a sustainable series. It is also clear that the producers of the show DID NOT have the main story line set in stone from the very beginning, including the end.

Even after the grand, cinematic pilot episode was finished, the producers still had to sell the network to green light an entire series. How could TPTB maintain the survivors' stories? How could a diverse ensemble of characters sustain the stories over several seasons? And the unanswered question: what would be the payoff to the viewers?

There were many things in the writer's guide that I found good and interesting concepts or story ideas.

Fans today have a wishy-washy opinion on Kate. We now know that Kate was supposed to be a stronger character in the series. But Kate's role changed from a co-leader to a wishy-washy secondary player/love interest. Even her revealed deep, dark secret of murder was blotched by poor writing and unbelievable plot twists. Instead of the spunky Midwest girl-next-door character, Kate turned into a loathsome cardboard figure to some fans.

The same holds true with Hurley. The original Hurley character was supposed to be an international repossession man, which means that he had well developed problem solving skills and social charm to be the top in his profession. Instead, the writers downgraded Hurley to a meek, loner with mental problems.

Also, instead of dancing around the mental issues floated during the series, the original guide had us headbutting with a more developed character of Boone, a dangerous schizophrenic off his meds. The original Boone would have been headstrong, confrontational, abusive, and paranoid, which would have immediately set him off from the other characters. It would have created a major predicament for the survivors camp unable to handle a deranged mental patient - - - what to do with him? Banish him (and lose Sawyer's stash of supplies since he was to hook up with Shannon early in the show), cage him like an animal or kill him? The latter would hark to elements of Lord of the Flies, and the harsh judgments in places where there is no civilized law and order.

Even Shannon was supposed to have a bigger role. She was going to be the "it girl," the one the island men would want to be around. She would use her good looks to play them off each other. In the pilot, Charlie was immediately enamored with her, so much so when she went on the first mission he joined in even though he had nothing to contribute. If Shannon was to hook up with Sawyer, that would have caused more tension in the beach camp - - - the means of creating splinter groups within the whole community. People having to take sides would have brought out more character development.

Even the undeveloped concepts of a new visitor no one expects to parachute into the story, or the human bite mark on Vincent's ear, or the mysterious fruit orchard and cocoons, or the Others, or the military submariners, do lead to possible interactions, clashes or alliances of the 815ers with other islanders. The guide actually points to numerous groups on the island besides the Others: the submariners, the primitive inhabitants who attacked Vincent, and a flight path for potential smugglers, drug dealers, explorers, etc.

What the guide does not extract is the supernatural elements that found their way into the series. In fact the more supernatural elements that were brought into the show, the more the show started to come off the rails because there were no plausible explanations presented to explain the diversion from original concept. In fact, the use of supernatural elements (such as time travel, immortal beings, magic, smoke monsters, shape shifting, and unique light force energy) opened the door to criticism of the entire premise of the series (including it being all in the after life, to it all in Hurley's head.)

What was really lost from the guide's original proposed story line is the sense of building a new community on the island. All the elements in regard to re-creating a new society, a potential utopia, were discounted and disregarded by the writers. It seemed that the writers fell into a format of throwing something strange at the main characters to just get a reaction. There was no practical application of action to build a better settlement, to instill a moral code or rules on their own behavior, or a sense of community to work together to solve problems. It was all individual decision making that moved the stories forward with no touchstone of community belief. So nothing that was done could truly be deemed right or wrong.

Also, many of the story ideas in the guide had the group muster themselves "to action" such as salvaging a reefed submarine in the hope that it could lead to rescue. But in the story format that was in the actual show, the characters merely "reacted" to things happening around them. Initiative, questions, demands for answers, and open problem solving discussion were sparse to non-existent in the group.

Another thing that led LOST off its story rails was leaving the island. No one should have EVER LEFT the island. In retrospect, all the off-island stories were sub-par to unbelievable. If the goal of the show was to have a sense of community building along with the hope of rescue, rescue should have never been accomplished because the "returns" to the island by characters made little to no sense.

Many people had no doubts when the producers told the viewers that they had "everything" worked out to the climatic end of the series. Well, there is no evidence that is true. Instead of building a solid foundation of characters and continuity facts, the show began to meander its own course, especially in the realm of not resolving mysteries from episode to episode. The biggest failure of LOST was the fact it did not follow its original network mandate: self-contained episodes with a beginning, middle and end. By stringing along mystery upon mystery, the writers were only stringing along viewers to continue watching the show. If the writers had doubts on whether they could answer the questions or mysteries they posed in the series, then they should not have done it. But I guess the overriding concern from TPTB that LOST had to have its own edge, and constantly be "unexpected." As a result, you have a series of edgy plot points that never got resolved or at best, abandoned, contradicted or lost in continuity errors.

The recent weeks of posting the writer's guide with commentary was to further explore the show which most fans never really get to see: what the insiders themselves were thinking about at the very beginning. With that insight and with hindsight of the actual series, there is no doubt in my mind that there were several core concepts that the writers did not use that would have made the series much better.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The conclusion to the LOST's Writer's Guide is entitled "The Hard Sell." It really is a summation to the network executives on why ABC should pick up the series and let TPTB create LOST.

The guide was the means of selling the show, its elements and concepts to the network in order to get a green light to produce the series. It was critical that what was said in the guide was truthful and useful to the network in its decision making process.

The guide concluded:

LOST is a unique animal in the television landscape. When we first considered bringing this idea to life just three -months ago, our knee-jerk reaction to what is - at its purest level, a castaway show- well, quite frankly, we didn't think it could be done.

We've changed our mind.

There is a show here. Not just a few episodes, but a real series. 

Hopefully, we've answered some concerns. The story ideas really are limitless- in fact, we've had several conversations about what a second and third season might look like. We've discussed ways to have characters recur and how to figure out limited arcs that don't infringe on our "self-contained" episodic mandate. Please remember, this format is just a SUMMARY of all the work we have done in the past nine weeks. 

We really believe that LOST is unlike anything we've seen before on television. From the unbelievable setting to the unique cast made up of mostly new and exciting faces (not to mention the largest ensemble of any show on the air), LOST offers something for everyone - a show tailor-made to appeal to the broadest audience possible.

Hip. Frightening. Funny. Mysterious. Romantic. Cinematic.

But more than anything, unexpected.

We thank you for your time. Your consideration. 

And again, the opportunity. Hopefully, we can all get LOST together. 

There are a few key statements to pull from this conclusion:

1. The writer's guide took 9 weeks to prepare.
2. TPTB admit that they had a network "mandate" to have "self-contained" episodes.
3. The story ideas, while limitless, were not fully fleshed out in the guide summaries.
4.  TPTB admit they had their own doubts about showrunning a purely castaway show.
5. TPTB state that they have only had "conversations" about what the second and third season might look like.
6. Everyone wants to appeal to the "broadest audience possible."

The credo for the show was stated as being hip, frightening, funny, mysterious, romantic, cinematic and unexpected (which must mean out-of-the-blue plot twists). Those are lofty goals, but used to help sell ABC on buying the LOST franchise.

There really is nothing contained in the guide that shows that the producers could actually pull off three seasons of LOST. To the contrary, it seems that the sales pitch was more on general expectation of greatness than a solid foundational mythology and direction for the show. The producers made their hard sell and won. But did the hard sell actually meet fan or network expectations in its story execution?

After 9 weeks of guide preparation, the producers found only 30 story ideas in which to cull a first season. For some reason, that seems kind of sparse. One would have thought it would raise a red flag that the producers had "doubts" about their ability to carry a survivor in lost paradise story for more than a season. But they only had ideas to bolster their own view that they could pull off something unique to television (what that unique aspect of the show was never addressed in the guide itself). The guide could have sprouted brain storm ideas with the network or other writers which would shape the first season, but that would seem to defeat the point of creating the plots in the guide. The network wanted to see a truly full formed series before green lighting the project. There were several good story ideas and character traits listed in the guide, which would be the foundational starting point to create a deep and layered continuity book, but for no apparent reason many of those elements were quickly abandoned or changed by TPTB. 

From a historical perspective, some of the ABC executives who were initially in on the LOST presentations left the network. There were new people who inherited the project, and may have either dismissed the prior briefings or decided it was best to give Abrams carte blanche to create the series he wanted to make (since he was the hottest talent in Hollywood at the time). But Abrams would soon not be a hands on producer for the show - - - he had bigger fish to fry in the movie world. So it could have been the timing of network approval, and schedule shifts and new production staff which caused LOST to lose its original guide outline focus to spin into supernatural tangents and character changes as the seasons progressed during the show.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The final four story ideas contained in the original LOST writer's guide are below.  They bring into play more dangerous elements to the original story of survival.


Hope flickers when a small plane flies over the island- but moments later it bursts into flames. Before it crashes into a mountainside, a SINGLE PARACHUTER leaps from the plane. Despite vast distance and impending nightfall, a rescue party immediately organizes,  but what they find when they reach this new visitor is the last thing anyone expects. 

In these final ideas, a very strong theme of "hope" emerges as a means of churning the rollercoaster of emotions for the survivors. In the actual series, hope faded quickly after two weeks on the island.When Jack made his speech to live together or die alone, it was pretty much settled that the idea of rescue was fruitless (even though Michael would build at raft and try to leave). The small plane may have been a means to introduce a new character (or a "rare" guest star) that would cause the group to take sides or distrust one another. The guide does not state who this parachuter would have been or why he crashed on the island. This idea does house the multi-season run of group "missions" through the jungle where anyone who wanted to go do something, did. The question asked in this story line is what was the last person the group would expect to jump out of a plane? But the story does not say it is even a person! "This new visitor is the last thing anyone expects." It could have been many things that were later tied to the Beechcraft: the parachuter could have been the priest, Yemi, who would have suddenly tried to impose religious morality on the group. Or it could have been Eko, a drug dealer, who could have corrupted addicts like Charlie into his fold of new island criminal gang. Or it could have been an animal - - - like another polar bear! If the series was going to go weird, that would have been major league weird. The parachute drop feature was used in the actual series with Naomi's arrival, where she told the group that everyone on Flight 815 was dead. Maybe fans saw that episode, DOA, as confirmation that the major series premise was that the characters were in some sort of hell or after life limbo. But this story idea or the guide does not make reference to any change in reality or realms as being the location of the island.


The castaways find the FLIGHT DATA RECORDER from the cockpit. After undergoing a massive technological journey just to listen to it, what they ultimately redefines everything they thought they knew about what caused the crash. 

Now, one will have to suspend most facets of belief that the castaways could actually get information from a flight recorder. After finding the black boxes, investigators take the recorders to a lab where they can download the data from the recorders and attempt to recreate the events of the accident. This process can take weeks or months to complete. In the United States, black-box manufacturers supply the NTSB with the readout systems and software needed to do a full analysis of the recorders' stored data. If the FDR is not damaged, investigators can simply play it back on the recorder by connecting it to a readout system. With solid-state recorders, investigators can extract stored data in a matter of minutes. Very often, recorders retrieved from wreckage are dented or burned. In these cases, the memory boards are removed, cleaned up and a new memory interface cable is installed. Then the memory board is connected to a working recorder. This recorder has special software to facilitate the retrieval of data without the possibility of overwriting any of it. So in reality, it would be nearly impossible for the castaways to retrieve any flight recorder data because the airplane does not contain the the readout systems or software necessary to retrieve the data. How the castaways would have "massive" technology journey (no one was viewed as an expert in the field) and since they may not have found the underground bunker system, would make this story line implausible and unbelievable. It would have detracted from the show. Further, the pilot told them that they were off course due to an electromagnetic issue. Unless the FDR information shows location coordinates in outer space, or under the ocean surface, what would drastically change the survivors perception of where they are? Lastly, the black box was used in the series as a prop in a con on Widmore's boat to give the survivors false hope. Again, it is not possible that a private party would have in its possession the black boxes from an airline crash.


The shores of the island yield yet another mystery when a body dressed in an unidentifiable military uniform washes up on the beach near the fuselage. The gruesome discovery turns into a new hope for the castaways, who spot a SUBMARINE run aground on the barrier reef. Realizing the sub represents potential salvation, a group of our survivors cross the treacherous reef to find that it is not quite abandoned... 

The submarine as a vehicle was used in the series, as a Dharma transportation vehicle, and the last minute escape plan by the remaining 815 survivors at the end of Season 6. And the image of a washed up person on shore was used in the freighter arc to show the time distortion from the boat to the island. But this submarine plot is more straight forward. The idea of a grounded submarine with new people on board (military perhaps) adds to the confusion and danger the castaways have to meet head on. Unidentifiable uniforms could hark to the future - - - that the submarine somehow time traveled back to the island. Or it could mean that the survivors are actually in a different dimension, a parallel universe, after their plane went through an electromagnetic portal. Or, this could be a fuller introduction to the Others, not being the wild inhabitants of the island, but a military order. Again, this story line pushes the group into "action," as a means of maintaining their hope for "salvation." But this story line was never used in the series.


No longer able to agree about the simplest of things, our group is on the verge of splitting into two when dark clouds appear miles off the coast. It soon becomes clear that a massive hurricane is heading their way, threatening not only the makeshift settlement they've worked so hard to build, but their very lives... 

 This is probably the most realistic story line in the guide. The fierce aspect of nature causes the group to react to a threat that is totally beyond their control. It puts life and death front and center. It defuses hope if their settlement and its coveted resources are destroyed. This panic situation would have created the drama the guide promised to the network. But it was never used in the series. Instead, a weaker version of the group "split" occurs in haphazard fashion. Locke tries to break the group along ideological lines. Later, Flocke (MIB) divides all the groups into followers and enemies.  But most of the 815 camp splits are issue to issue, with characters changing sides all the time. There is no cohesive structure of camp life that actually brings about a true "split." The community on the beach turns more sheepish than proactive. There is no formal structure to their routine. No one wants to build a long term community, yet they have lost all hope for rescue. One could consider this mass depression or surrendering to fate. But the original guide had the group being more assertive, hopeful, and taking action to change their situation.

Besides the black box story idea, the other three concepts would have made good shows. And each one of those mysteries or events could have been concluded in an hour format.

Monday, February 10, 2014


The LOST Writer's Guide continued with more story ideas for Season One.


Coming to grips with the reality that she's actually going to have her baby on the island, Claire finds herself getting pre-natal preparation from an unlikely source when an emergency forces her into a CAVE with Sun and Jin, a couple now at war with each other. 

This would have been a normal, human interest story, and jumping point for a Claire flashback on how she got pregnant and her internal struggles whether she would keep her child. It would make sense that some of the castaway women would be drawn by their maternal instincts to "help" Claire. Again, Sun was supposed to be a second doctor (with more holistic, Eastern philosophy) so Sun caring for Claire would make sense in that story line. The "emergency" that forces her to a cave is unclear - - - was it a safety issue from the beach camp and threats of attacks from the Others, or was it a medical emergency to keep her sheltered from the elements? It would seem it was more an outside danger if Jin was assigned to help "protect" her. But if that is the case, why would not the entire camp seek the safety of the caves? The viewpoint of Claire into the marital strife between Jin and Sun could have been the contrast to her own back story with her boyfriend. This story idea makes more logical sense than what appeared in the series. Jack gave Claire no pre-natal instruction. The only person who gravitated toward her was Charlie, in order to find what he was looking for in his life, a sense of family. But it was Kate, by accident, who would deliver the baby in the show, an entirely different outcome than originally proposed in the guide.


Sayid salvages a package from the debris field that could change the lives of the survivors: a fully- functional inflatable escape raft from one of the plane's exit rows. While some argue that the raft would be an invaluable addition to the survivor's camp (as waterproofing or a device to collect water), Sayid announces his intention to get off the island - hoping to drift into a shipping lane and initiate a rescue. 

Again, another "common sense" story idea. If major parts of the plane fell to the island such as the fuselage, then there would have been one or two life rafts among the plane debris since the crew and passengers had no time in which to evaculate the plane. When the survivors scavenged the plane for food, clothing, medical supplies, why did they not find the life rafts? I never thought about that until now - - - and it is such a head slap that it hurts. The castaways should have found the rafts, or at the very least looked for them. So the writers had the vehicle for an island escape already thought out - - - but for no apparent reason totally changed the premise. Instead of Sayid drifting off to the shipping lanes for rescue, the show had Michael suddenly becoming a ship right to build a raft. The Sayid adrift idea may have been recycled into the Desmond back story (to a point), but there was no real reason why the Sayid raft story was not used in the series.


A patch of wild berries used by the castaways is found stripped clean and it soon becomes clear that the island is being subjected to a marching swarm of ravenous SOLDIER ANTS (this is not the "Arachnophobia" treatment, the ants are microscopic). With their own society in its most fractured state, Kate emerges as the clearest thinker, establishing herself as a true leader when the alpha- males of the island are unable to resolve their differences. 

Again, another common sense them of the survivors battling nature in order to survive. The idea of a swarm of tiny ants invading the camp is one of those Saturday afternoon B-movie monster films from our childhoods. But it would be the type of real life conflict that survivors would have to deal with on a strange island. The theme of society building was also part of this story idea - - - that there would be a split among the group: male dominant posturing versus practical woman ideas. How Kate would have solved this problem is unclear, but the writers were going to continue to elevate Kate as a co-lead character with Jack. In the actual show, Kate never reached the leadership role that TPTB originally envisioned for her.


Having lived quite comfortably in a world free of firearms, Sawyer and Sayid both discover that their respective pieces of the gun - divided between them by Kate in the pilot - have been stolen.
Although the two immediately suspect one another, they eventually team up to find the culprit. 

Drawing up an actual scene in the pilot, the stealing of the gun (and its associated power) would have been a group conflict of suspicion, betrayal and mistrust. Again, the guide appears to want to show two characters who dislike each other put into a situation where they have to cooperate and resolve their differences, at least temporarily, to solve a problem. In this case, the lost gun would have been a real problem to solve in order to maintain some standing in the new community. And which person actually took the gun would have something to answer - - - why. If it was Jack or Kate, they could claim they needed it to protect the group. If it was Locke, he could claim he needed it to hunt. But if it was someone else, a lesser character like Charlie, or a dangerous mad man like Boone who was paranoid about everyone around him, that could have led to greater conflict. But the series did not use the gun or any other object as a touchstone to create a dramatic story line. Once the Hatch was opened and the arms locker found, the idea of one person having a weapon was moot. Originally planned, the gun would have symbolized power amongst the group of survivors desperate for safety and security from the island's elements.

Each one of these four story ideas had real merit. Again, why the writers failed to follow through on any of them is another puzzling mystery.