“What if everything that happened here happened for a reason?”
The inspector shook his head, stopped under a tree, and took a swig from his water bottle. He trained his gaze on the bald man whose words had disturbed the silence. His eyes narrowed into a frown and he sighed. “I heard you say that in this same spot, seven years ago. Maybe there was a reason, but none of it made any sense.”
The four of them stood in silence while the inspector drank his fill. The young woman leaned her rifle against the tree, reached up with both hands and worked her hair into a bun. The man of olive skin and dark curly hair focussed on the bald man then peered at the inspector.
“Sense can be hard to find,” he said with his thick Iraqi accent, “when everything is chaotic.”
The inspector fastened the cap on his water bottle and returned it to the holster on his belt. He nodded and smiled at the Iraqi. “Finally, a man who knows it was all nonsense.”
The bald man looked into the sun and squinted. “He means everything made sense—you just have to look at it the right way.”
The inspector laughed. “I’ve heard that one before, too. ‘Not intelligent enough. You have to try harder, do more research’—or my favourite: ‘It’s about the characters. It wasn’t supposed to make sense.’” He laughed again. “I have a bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s in business adminstration, and you think I’m not smart enough?”
The bald man shrugged. “I don’t have a degree in anything. I figured it out just fine.”
The inspector pursed his lips and stared daggers at the bald man.
The young woman, her brunette hair wrapped in a bun, took a step toward the inspector. “You’re smart enough. We all are. And it was always about more than just the characters.”
The bald man pulled a mango from his pocket. “Says the woman who never watched television.”
“I watched ‘North of 60.’”
The bald man frowned. “That what they got for entertainment in Iowa?”
“It’s about a town in Northwest Territories.”
“What’s that got to do with our Island?” He pulled the knife from the sheath at his belt and began skinning the mango.
The Iraqi folded his arms. “Strong women, men who fought over stupid things—‘North of 60’ was chaotic, too.”
“Didn’t make sense either, huh?” the inspector asked.
“No,” the dark-skinned man said, “it rather made perfect sense.”
“You see,” the inspector fumed, “that’s why I never understood Lost. It didn’t made sense, no one agreed on anything, people said things that—”
The Iraqi pointed to the woman. “Show him your tapestry.” He motioning toward her daypack.
She pulled out the strap over her left shoulder and dropped the daypack to the ground. “It’s not a tapestry.”
The bald man rolled his eyes and cut a slice of mango. “Jacob wove tapestries, she weaves—”
“I make embroideries,” she said, withdrawing light-coloured fabric from her pack. “They’re not woven.”
The dark-skinned man frowned at her. “Does it make any difference that—”
“No.” She unfolded the white fabric. An aimless array of different coloured threads appeared, scattered across the surface of the cloth. “It’s just that he’s the one—with his ‘faith in the Island’ and ‘sacrifice the Island demanded’—he’s the one who caused more grief in our lives than anyone else.”
The Iraqi man laughed. “Great White Hunter over there is dead. Seems like you came out of this with a much sweeter deal than any—”
“Jack’s dead, too,” she said, gritting her teeth. “You think being a widow is some kind of picnic?”
The bald man pointed to the cloth in her hands. “Just show him the tapestry.”
The dark-skinned man exhaled noisily. “Whatever.”
The inspector stared at the cloth, trying to discern some pattern in the dense collection of random threads. “What does it mean?”
“It’s chaos,” the former torturer said.
“Is that the only word you know?” the inspector asked. He frowned, stared at the fabric, then glanced at the young woman. “How long did you work on this?”
“Two years,” she said.
He looked at her with questioning eyes.
The bald man threw the pit into the tall grass and wiped the knife on his pants leg. “She’s a widow. She has time.”
The former soldier stared at the bald man and shook his head. “And they said I was the heartless zombie.”
The inspector grimaced. “Two years?”
She nodded. “I worked on it every day.”
The inspector’s eyes scanned the embroidered surface from one end to the other, along the edges, through the middle, top to bottom. He pursed his lips and looked into the young woman’s eyes. “I don’t know much about embroidery, but I don’t see any pattern here. And I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I think I could finish something like this in a couple hours. It certainly wouldn’t take two years.”
“I watched her,” the bald man said. “Last few months, anyway. She worked hard on it.”
The Iraqi took a step forward and pointed to a violet thread, then drew his finger to a pink thread. “You see, it’s not the individual threads that make any difference—it’s their relationship to each other—the way they’re connected—that makes the composition beautiful.”
“Beautiful?” the inspector squealed, his eyes bulging out of their sockets.
The woman nodded. “He’s right. It took two years to understand the relationships between threads.”
“You people.” The inspector shook his head and laughed. “No wonder I never understood Lost.”
The soft-spoken man from Iraq made a circular motion with his hand. “Turn it around. Let him see the other side.”
Still grasping the fabric, the young woman passed one hand over the other, revealing the opposite side of the fabric. The inspector gasped. The young woman smiled.
“Wow.” The inspector stared, stunned into silence by the design.
“That, my friend,” the former torturer said, “is an aperiodic, scale-independent, iteratively repelling complex polynomial fractal quotient in the Julia set.”
The bald man returned the knife to its sheath. “You coulda just said it’s a chaotic design.”
The Iraqi nodded. “Yes, but I did not want to hear him tell me again that I know only one word.”
The young woman, still smiling, shifted her gaze to the bald old man. “I hate to say it, but I agree with you.”
The old man snorted and laughed.
She turned to the inspector. “He’s right. You don’t need a degree in anything to understand Lost. All you need is an open mind. You just need to be open to looking at things from a fresh point of view.”
“What she’s sayin’,” the bald man said, “is that you’ve been lookin’ at Lost the wrong way. You have all the information you need—you just need to put it together differently.”
“I don’t need to watch every episode five times?”
“No,” the young woman shook her head. “I haven’t even watched every episode once.”
“This guy,” the old man said, pointing to the Iraqi, “never watched it. Still figured it out.”
The inspector’s mouth dropped open.
“Death due to C4 explosion on a submarine tends to bring new perspective to things,” the dark-skinned man said.
The young woman led the way down the well-worn path toward the caves. Her stride was fast but seemingly effortless, and the inspector had a difficult time keeping up with her. The old man and his Iraqi sidekick were far behind them.
“So,” she asked, not breaking stride, “you’re from the University of Michigan?”
“Yes,” the inspector said, raising his voice so she could hear. “Ann Arbor campus, Department of Modern Literature.”
She looked back, her brow knitted into a frown. “Not the Economics Department?”
He shook his head. “Literature. They’re lookin’ to add Lost to the curriculum, but only if I give it the thumbs up. They told me if I understood, anyone could understand.”
She laughed. “They insulted you and you agreed to help out anyway?”
He smiled. “It wasn’t the worst insult. Seems they talked a pharmaceutical chemist into writing the book they’re gonna use for the course.”
“Must be a smart guy.” The young woman bent a branch forward so it wouldn’t whip back in the inspector’s face.
“They said he’s dumb as a bag of rocks. Doesn’t know anything about literary theory. He’s got weird ideas about ‘metadrama’ and ‘strange attractors’ and ‘identity.’”
The young woman pointed to a puddle in the path and the inspector jumped around it. The path took a turn east and they began the approach toward the caves.
“Well,” she said, “Sounds like he’s got it right, even if he’s not so smart. Identity’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?”
“Identity?” he said, his voice an octave too high.
The young woman stopped and turned around. “Yes. Identity. The show’s called ‘Lost,’ remember? It’s about people who don’t know who they are. They find out on the Island.”
“What do you mean ‘that’s it’?”
“I just thought it was more... complicated than that.”
“And you think identity isn’t complicated?”
The inspector brought his hands to his hips and frowned and squinted at her. “Everyone knows who they are. You don’t need to crash on an island with mysterious powers to figure it out.”
“No,” she said. “You need much more than that. That’s why it took six years to tell the story.”
The inspector shook his head and snorted.
“Look,” the woman said, “You say you’re an inspector, from Ann Arbor. Literature Department sent you. Well, I don’t mean to be flip, but—so what? Being an ‘inspector’ is not your identity. What you believe, why you believe it, the way you express your beliefs in relationships and actions—that’s your identity.”
The young woman nodded.
The inspector shook his head. “There you go again with that ‘it’s all about the characters’ crap. We’re back to saying the mysterious Island was meaningless. They might as well have been trapped in an elevator for six years if it was ‘all about the characters.’”
She looked down to the brown dirt, smiled, and exhaled. “That’s not how it is.”
“And how is it?”
“The Island was the most important character in the show,” she said, peering up at him. “All of it mattered, just like Jack said. Everything we did on the Island was important. The story could not have been told without the Monster and Widmore’s mercenaries and the green pill and everything else.”
Life, Death, Rebirth
“The green pill?”
“In the Temple. Dogen gave Jack a green pill for Sayid, remember?”
“Oh, right. The poision pill—to kill Sayid.” He laughed. “The guy writing the book talked about the green pill—said it was the symbol of ‘life, death, and rebirth.’ Completely bonkers.”
“No, he got it right.” She grunted. “I’m going to have to read that book.”
“Wait a minute.” The inspector frowned, bit his lip, opened his mouth, then closed it again. He looked around in the trees and finally returned his gaze to the young woman, a deep frown embedded in his face. “How could a little capsule full of poison symbolise ‘life, death, and rebirth’? It makes no sense. The pill could only kill—it couldn’t give life or birth or anything—just death.”
“So, then, if Sayid knew it was poison, and he swallowed it, he would die?”
“Well, yes, of course.”
“Yes!” His voice was so loud he must have scared a bird in the tree above them. It screeched and flew off toward the ocean.
“I suppose if he had a stick of dynamite in his hand and lit the fuse he also would have died?
“Yes.” His eyes grew big and his brow wrinkled. “No! I mean... wait! This is... he was a Candidate. The dynamite wouldn’t have killed him because he couldn’t commit suicide—it was one of Jacob’s rules.”
“So, if Jack gave Sayid the pill, and Sayid knew it was poison, and he swallowed it, he would die, right?”
The inspector gazed down into the long grass, frowned, then laughed and looked into her eyes. “How did you do that?”
“It’s all about the way we look at things—and the way the characters perceived things, too.” The woman turned around and began walking again. The inspector followed close on her heels. They were only a few metres away from the entrance to the first cave. “If Sayid knew the pill was poison, and swallowed, the pill could not have harmed him, because he was not allowed to commit suicide. But if he believed the pill harmless and swallowed, he would have died a long, agonising, painful death.”
“It’s an interesting idea,” the inspector said.
“It’s all about perception—like my embroidery. Just as Locke said, you have all the information you need—you just gotta look at it in new ways, and you’ll understand.”
“You mean I can understand every single mystery—just by thinking about it in different ways?”
“But how does the pill symbolise ‘life, death, and rebirth’?”
“Jack could tell you... but didn’t you say you read that pharmaceutical guy’s book? Isn’t the answer in there?”
“Yeah, I suppose, but—” The inspector heard the swishing of a branch behind him and he jumped and pivoted around.
The old man and the Iraqi stood two metres behind him. The old man’s face wore a sheepish grin.
“Sorry,” the bald man said. “We were trying to be quiet.”
The dark-skinned man turned to the young woman. “Where are you taking him?”
“I thought I’d show him the casket.”
Two Players. Two Sides.
The four of them stood at the foot of the dark mahogany casket, Its brass handholds gleaming in the light of the bald man’s torch.
The inspector stared at the casket. “I thought Jack smashed his father’s coffin to pieces after—”
“After he chased the White Rabbit,” the bald man said. “Jack’s father led him to water... ‘he leadeth me beside the still waters... Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death—”
“Oh, please,” the Iraqi fumed. “Get it right. It’s ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,’ not ‘through the shadow of death valley or—”
“Those aren’t the words I used. The old man crossed his arms over his chest. “I said—”
“Whatever,” the former torturer said. “You didn’t get any of it right. The waters here are not still, as you can see. They’re fed by a waterfall, and it’s a moving stream, not a still pool. But that’s beside the point.”
“And what is the point?” the bald man asked.
“The point,” the Iraqi said, “ is that it wasn’t Jack’s father who led him here—it was the Smoke Monster, and he was trying to lead Jack off a cliff, not to water.”
The young woman shook her head. “That’s not what Jack said happened.”
“Oh?” The former soldier peered into the young woman’s eyes.
The inspector reached down to the top of the casket and pulled it up. The door creaked on its hinges as the inspector gently brought it up and around, opening the coffin to their eyes. The cream-coloured linen inside was uncreased, as if never used. The casket was empty.
“No,” the young woman said. “He told me this was the Island’s greatest mystery—that it had to do with the light and dark stones. That’s why the casket ended up here, near Adam and Eve.”
“That’s right,” the inspector said.
Everyone looked at him. The Iraqi man, in particular, seemed perplexed. “And just how do you know this?” he said, staring at the inspector.
The inspector grinned and crossed his arms. “It’s the only thing I remember from the book I read—the one they’re gonna use at the University of Michigan.”
“The one the drug company guy wrote?” the young woman asked.
He nodded. “It’s the greatest mystery. The empty casket is due to ‘two player, two sides.’”
The old man frowned. “Jacob and the Man in Black?”
“No.” The inspector laughed. “Not even close.”
“Who, then?” the Iraqi asked.
The inspector, a broad, silly grin across his face, turned to the young woman. “Do you wanna tell ‘em?”
She laughed. “Sure.”
They sat down around her, and she spoke. Her tongue did not fail her, even as the light outside the cave grew dim, as the crickets chirped. She spoke well into the night, into the morning, until dawn broke in the east and bathed the jungle in light.
You can read every word she spoke—every mystery revealed, every question answered—in this book. Best of all, in reading her words, you will gain fascinating new insights—new conceptual tools—to understand not only LOST, but any other complex literary work.
LOST is the most challenging, enlightening work ever brought to television. Let us labour together to unlock its fascinating secrets. The adventure begins on the next page...
LOST HUMANITY, my first book on LOST, will be published in the next few weeks. Until then, thank you. Namaste. And good luck!
9 March 2011
Posted by DarkUFO at 3/09/2011 11:06:00 pm 19 CommentsPearson Moore