Alright, the way I see it we’ve got two possibilities here. The first, and most likely, is that we’ve just been handed one of the failsafe keys to unlocking the overall mysteries of LOST. Then again, the possibility always exists that the writers are playing sick, twisted mind games with us. But this late in the game? Not a chance. I think for once we got solid answers. Things I Noticed:
I am your Density!
It’s hard to notice stuff when your jaw’s lying on the floor, but this episode was really that good. Watching Desmond’s consciousness catapult back and forth across eight years of his life should’ve been confusing… it should’ve been way too crazy to follow, way too far out to make much sense to people. Yet when you think about it, the writers of LOST have been gently herding (Shepharding?) us along, building us up, preparing us for this exact moment for over three years now. All of the answers weren’t just thrust upon us simultaneously in one season (cough… Heroes!… cough…) as if we, the audience, were a bunch of eager simpletons impatiently banging the table for immediate answers before switching over to 24. No – the writers and producers of LOST really took their time telling this story. They told it with great sets, beautiful scenery, incredible writing, and deep characterization. And this is why it so totally rocks the balls off any other television show.
That said, I’m not going to go into the metaphysics of inter-dimensional time travel, wormholes, or any of the technical crap we might’ve seen on Danny’s blackboard. Everyone else can do that. I’d get the science part wrong anyway, and discussing the theory itself is much more interesting. I’m also not gonna point out the ultra-cool painting and origins of the Black Rock (which I loved by the way), how Penny’s dad needs to buy the ledger in order to track it to the island, or the really great scene between Desmond and Penny that was a much-welcomed relief from all the Sawyer/Kate/Jack stuff. You all saw the episode, you all noticed it too.
Good night, future-boy!
The Lawnmower man is one hell of a pilot. I barely hold my heading over the Long Island sound on a clear day but Frank’s laser-locked onto 305 through towering thunderclouds culminating in a nasty time storm. But it’s not the storm; it’s the dusk-to-day landing wigs Sayid out. Looks like 31 minutes is out the window here. When Sayid finally does get the chance to speak with Jack, they’re speaking live but about a day apart (island time). It seems the definitive answer is that time does move slower on the island than in the real world. But is there a day-to-day (relative) difference? My gut instinct is no. I tend to think that no matter how long they spent on the island, they would’ve arrived back to the freighter at about the same time they left. Watch the crewmember’s reaction after Frank exits the chopper: “What are you doing back?” – almost as if the chopper team had just departed. Which makes sense, because looking for a black island against a black ocean (which was when the Naomi’s team showed up) would be a lot less sensible than launching such a mission in the light of day.
In either event, Desmond goes Marty McFly, and that’s the real story. This time we get to see a reverse trip as a very confused past Desmond is launched into his future situation. The “only the consciousness goes” part was extremely clever, but even more revealing. If examined closely and open-mindedly, this one phenomenon can decode almost every inexplicable part of the show. More on that in a minute.
The biggest shock to me was how innocuous the freighter turned out to be. The crewmembers weren’t bristling with guns, nor were they even overly hostile. In fact, there seemed to be a complete lack of discipline or direction on the ship. My opinion of Minkowski turned from evil overlord to strapped-down radio operator in the blink of an introduction. I saw no chain of command. You’d think if someone from (drumroll…) The Island had made their way back to the ship, there would be some kind of serious interrogation. Instead there was a perfunctory examination of Desmond’s pupils and a general dismissive feeling overall. Even Lapidus seemed to get into it, tossing an obligatory Baghdad reference along with the satellite phone to Sayid.
One point twenty-one gigawatts!!!
Desmond and Elouise aren’t the only ones trapped in a time fart. Daniel himself is skipping around, as foreshadowed by doc Ray’s exclamation that “Faraday can’t even help himself!” Later on we learn that excessive radiation (or electromagnetism, how convenient) lends to the problem, of which zap-happy Daniel has no shortage. Eventually we see that he’s even got an entry in his own log referring to Desmond as his constant, which means that up until he came to the island he was still searching for that one thing or person (wonder where he got that idea from?) to ground him. He found that thing upon meeting Desmond the morning the chopper took off, and was pretty sure that would be the end of his ‘problem’… but upon playing cards with Charlotte that night he still hadn’t made any progress. Perhaps the act of helping Desmond reach his own constant, Penny, will finally ‘unstick’ Danny once and for all.
Also skipping through his lifetime is Mikowski, who’s virtually an expert by the time they find him. I found his “I was just on a Ferris wheel” line interesting, because like everything else in LOST a Ferris wheel goes round and round and always comes full circle. Mikowski threatens the same thing will happen to his crewmates when they “go back to that island”.
And you know who else got a nasty case of the jump-through-life crazies? Rousseau’s entire crew. This could very well be the ‘sickness’ she referred to so early on in season one. Look at how bat-shit nuts Desmond went in the chopper – now imagine Danielle’s entire crew acting like that while she’s trying to “shhh!” them as the smoke monster stalks the jungle and the Others pick off whomever they feel are on Santa’s list. Kinda puts a new spin on that whole scenario.
While we’re at it, let’s think back to Juliet’s arrival by sub. Was it coincidence they knocked her out for the trip through the time barrier? Or by relieving her of her consciousness as she passed through did they save her from any of Daniel’s so called ‘side effects’? As Ethan said, it’s a hell of a ride. Totally Jauntish, if that’s the case, but then again I’m a firm believer you can draw a Stephen King reference to your morning stool if you looked hard enough.
But hey, let’s lock a really misshapen piece of the puzzle into place: Hurley’s friend Leonard. Could it be that he time-skipped his way into the mental institution after being stationed a little too close to the island? Imagine him living pieces of his life over and over again, in loops that get geometrically (Daniel’s wording, not mine) smaller. Now picture those loops getting smaller and smaller… until all that’s left is a tiny 10 or 15-second flash of time he has to relive over and over again: the radio transmission. The numbers. 4,8,15,16,23,42… hiccup!... 4,8,15,16,23,42. Wow, shoot me now.
And finally, let’s consider what a genius intellect with a rational approach would do with the near-infinite knowledge gained by such looping trips through time. Is Ben the ultimate product of the island’s abilities? Instead of being stuck like Dan’s mouse or quantum-leaping around at random, is it possible Ben was taught how to harness, control, and utilize these gifts? If so, are all his well-laid plans merely nothing but him molding and shaping future events the way Desmond did to prevent Charlie’s death a few times?
Yeah, well history is going to change!
This brings me to my own personal conclusion: LOST history has got to be alterable. Because if it weren’t, Ben (and now Locke) wouldn’t be going through all this trouble to finally get the event scenario correct. If whatever happens is truly going to happen anyway, regardless of what is done to prevent it (course correction), then wouldn’t Ben just grab some a box of Dharma wine and go fishing? I mean why bother, right? If the future can’t be changed, just what the hell is Ben doing?
I’m going against Ms. Hawking here, and maintaining that things CAN change. The very nature of her meeting with Desmond seems to prove this. Why’s she trying to convince him so adamantly that he’s got to dump Penny and head on over to the Swan hatch? According to her own course correction theory, wouldn’t the button still get pushed by someone else? But her insistence and general pissy attitude make me think she’s worried. Look looked hella-worried, and to me that translates into one thing: Desmond can mess things up. In a way, he’s not a constant at all – Desmond is a wild card.
Why don’t you make like a tree… and get outta here!
Dan’s reference to his mouse being ‘stuck’ this episode was extremely important. Desmond and Mikowski might’ve been stuck too (well, maybe not anymore), but the one person who’s really, really stuck is Jacob. His creepy “help me…” was an otherworldly call from beyond (Time? Space? Does it matter?) with his cabin representing the epicenter of some sort of temporal disaster that stranded him where he is now. Remember his magically re-constructing lantern? “Time is broken here” – Lara Croft.
Tearing a single page out of Dan’s book we now see mention of three events: A, B, and C. I’m willing to bet that two of those events pertain to both times Desmond failed to push the button; once at the crash of 815, and once when he turned the failsafe key. The third event we don’t know about or it hasn’t happened yet (the end event?)
I believe each event triggered an alternate timeline, and is responsible for the ‘rebirth’ of everyone involved (physical and spiritual healing included). This is hinted at multiple times throughout the show with “See you in another life”. But now, when we begin to factor the time hiccups into the equation, we’re not only looking at concurrent timelines. We must now also consider timelines where someone’s consciousness (and only their consciousness – that part’s important) is derived from their past or even their future. From the beginning, the producers have hinted that where flight 815 crashed wasn’t nearly as important as when it crashed.
Taking this into consideration, what if the plane crashed before September 22nd 2004? We’ve seen time differentials of 31 seconds and even a whole day now – who’s to say it couldn’t span a week or more? As we saw with Desmond, the consciousness is transferred but the body stays the same. So what if (and get ready to be totally creeped out here…) what if the plane crashed during a period in time when Christian Shephard was still alive?
What if the only place his consciousness had to go was into his current body, tucked neatly away in the coffin that turned up empty on impact? Could this explain why Jack kept seeing him? Could this explain why Jacob looked like him for that brief instant, yet still looks like an embalmed corpse? Yikes.
I guess you guys weren’t ready for that, yet… but your kids are gonna love it.
Okay, listen - I’m 99.9% sure I don’t subscribe to the Christian-corpse-consciousness theory I just hammered out. It’s 4am and I’m getting pretty loopy. Looking at it again, it kinda sucks. It was just something that occurred to me that needed to get thrown out there, because I can’t see any other logical reason for Hurley seeing Jack’s dad in that chair – especially since Hurley has never seen Jack’s dad before (unless it was in a time loop, and I’m not taking that ride again just now).
But it sure would pave the way for the LOST zombie season.