Monday, March 15, 2010

LOST: theory and revelations in "Dr. Linus"

6.07: "Dr. Linus"

I'm bailing on a recap of outside-the-snowglobe events from "Dr. Linus" (you can check out my inside-the-snowglobe recap here, tho) and running with a ramble on how revelations big and small from the episode impact and inspire some theories as to what's next.

First, to give you some of my chosen LOST groundwork...


There aren't two complete realities. There's reality inside the snowglobe (the Island's pocket dimension) and reality outside the snowglobe. The Incident on the Island changes reality outside the snowglobe, but due to cosmic rules governing cause and effect, not inside it. So...
  1. Everyone, inside and outside the snowglobe, shares a common history until the Incident in 1977.
  2. Everyone inside the snowglobe shares a common history from 1977 to 2007 in which Oceanic 815 was knocked out of the sky over the Island on Sept 22, 2004.
  3. Everyone outside the snowglobe shares a common history from 1977 to 2004 in which the Island sinks sometime after 1977 and Oceanic 815 arrives safely at LAX on Sept 22, 2004.
So far in season 6, we've been observing events inside the snowglobe in 2007 and outside the snowglobe in 2004.

I refer to the Monster as the Monster, Esau (of the Bible's Jacob and Esau), or sometimes (less and less now), when he's wearing Locke's skin, Lockesau. Until we're given a name or nickname by a LOST character, I'm gonna stick with those options.

Okay. Now a survey of how events in this last Ben-centric episode fill in some blanks in what we know and hint at what may come...


We got some info about the Island timeline from Ben and Uncle Rico's discussion about their time w the DI. They were part of the DI and they made it safely off the Island, thus, the Island did NOT sink immediately as a result of the Incident. There was time enough for surviving DI and Others to make their way off the Island before it sank.

Ben was shot, taken to the Temple, healed, and likely in the Other recovery tent when the Incident occured. No doubt he was returned to the DI soon after. What effect did the Losties' mucking about have on Ben's life? When Ben recovered from the dip in the Temple spring, he couldn't remember what had happened to him (that Sayid had shot him). Also, the experience of nearly losing his son turned Uncle Rico into a more understanding and sympathetic father. That change in behavior and attitude on his side is reflected on Ben's side, too. He's a better, kinder man for it. Altho, we do see that he still has at least the kernal of his skills at manipulation and leverage. He just chooses to apply it for more selfless causes when challenged.

Alex's arrival on the outside-the-snowglobe scene helps narrow down the above-sea-level lifespan of the submerged Island. It sank sometime between 1977 and 1988. (It's possible it happened after 1988, but I'm gonna go with before.) Inside the snowglobe, Rousseau and her team are shipwrecked in 1988, drawn in by the Numbers transmission. However, with the Island underwater, well, no Island, no radio tower, no transmission, so Rousseau and her shipmates go about their sciencing, never get shipwrecked, and move on with their lives. I guess something happens to her relationship with Alex's father (corrupted by some addiction perhaps?), or maybe he dies, but in any case, Danielle ends up giving birth to Alex and settling down to raise her in Los Angeles.

The way Alex talks about her mom working two jobs to make ends meet makes me wonder at Danielle's outside-the-snowglobe CV. That almost cliched bit of personal infoshare screams blue collar stereotype, right? So... From research scientist to... bartender and stripper? Wah wah wah!~ I guess her high seas research was not the career-booster she'd hoped? Or maybe she was a professional (and/or relationship) casualty of the "motherhood penalty." Blerg.


Widmore's in a sub, inside the snowglobe, Island in sight. He ignores the people on the shore and tells his captain to proceed as planned. I see two likely destinations—the Hydra station on the small island or the dock at Dharmaville, the very same one from which he left the Island, banished by Ben. I think that he's brought his family with him. Remember, Ben called Charles to let him know that he was about to make good on his promise, a daughter for a daughter. He told him that he was looking at Our Mutual Friend while on the phone with him. Between the ship's name and Ben's gloating about returning to the Island, it would be a simple matter for a man of Widmore's means to track Ben, and thus, Penny, Desmond, and little Charlie, to Los Angeles, and then, when a report on the gunfire and incident at the marina is filed, to the hospital, where he encounters his ex, Island royalty, Eloise Hawking. I believe that Widmore knew that there would be a window of opportunity to return to the Island, and possibly that it would be the result of an event that would rewrite reality. The only shelter from the forces of this cosmic rewrite: the Island in the snowglobe. So, ostensibly, he shows up in L.A. to make sure Penny's safe. Maybe it's the first he learns of little Charlie? More to fight for, more to save. In any case, he's also really there to preserve his family and reclaim his throne, as leader of the Island. So, he rounds up the fam, packs up the sub, and sets off for the Island. Who better to navigate than custodian of the Lamppost herself, Eloise Hawking, right?

It certainly seemed like a Rule that, once banished, by decree or by turn of the Wheel, no Other is physically able return to the Island. It's a restriction mysteriously enforced by the Island in the way that those in service of the Island, such as Michael, Richard, and Jack, cannot kill themselves. True, Widmore's freighter made it to the Island, but Widmore himself did not put himself on his own boat. He knew that his very presence would have doomed his expedition from ever reaching the Island. However, he is convinced by something in Ben's gloating that there would be an exception to that Rule, allowing Ben's safe return, via Ajira 316 at a particular time and place. I'd guess that with Eloise's help, Widmore took advantage of the newly fixed and relocated coordinates of the Island to slip in via the golden heading (or a new one, for the new location?). Or, maybe Eloise and the Lamppost mapped out a window of opportunity that coincided with the 2007 echo of the 1977 Incident—the return of Hurley, Miles, Sawyer, Juliet, Jack, and Kate. A serious EM event seems unlikely, tho, unless Widmore or Paik industries developed a way to harden a submarine's electronics against its effects.


Once he's back on the Island, who is he going to fight for?

I think Charle's ambition and pride know no bounds. The only things or beings in the world that might humble him are the Island and its protector, Jacob. Even so, he risked his power and home on the Island by mucking about in the off-Island world, even starting a family with an outsider. If he's returning to the Island, it's to save it and/or rule it.

I know that he's ruthless, but I wanted to believe he was earnest in his dedication to the Island when he spoke to Locke after he turned the Wheel. Widmore enables Locke to begin his quest to round up the Sixers and return to the Island. Widmore tells Locke that he will do everything that he can to help him because a war is coming, and if he's not back on the Island in time, the wrong side will win.

Pretty frickin ominous. Looking back now, his desire to see Locke returned to the Island reads harshly when you wonder if he silently adds "dead" or "alive" in his head, eh? In classic LOST style, Locke no doubt hears Widmore's words one way, but Widmore might mean them the other. If Locke returns to the Island alive, he's one of Jacob's top Candidates and potential protector of the Island. If Locke returns to the Island as a corpse, he's the perfect tool for Esau's plans.

At the time, I thought and kinda space nazi-ly hoped he might mean something like a world war, maybe in the past, an altered past, y'know? The more LOST-conventional thought was a war between Island factions, Ben vs. Charles, and since they've been revealed, Jacob vs. Esau. For a while, before this season kicked off, I thought it might be a war between realities, different versions of key figures, either for survival or for control of the unique, singular, Island. I'm not so much about that now, altho I would like for a major player or players that we've already met to be revealed as being from another reality.

The War, it seems, is going to be played out on the Island, between the followers of Jacob and Esau. If those are our options, well, I guess that I want Jacob to win, cuz I'd rather my TV friends not die, even if they are leaving me in 8 weeks. Bleah.

Still, the ideologically/metaphysically "best" outcome would be a very STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES scenario in which the lowly humans get to cast off the yoke of destiny dropped on them by these manipulative superhuman backgammon players and take the Island and its gifts for themselves. Mighty Apollo (Bar), anyone? =)

But, of course, who's to say that's not part of the Jacob's plan in the first place, right? It only ends once, and everything until then is progress.


Not a huge revelation, but let's list just how this freshly minted reality delivers our Candidates' and Infectee's hearts' desires.

Locke. Is engaged to Peggy Bundy. And with her help, he's learned to leave behind his anger and obsession and apparently drop the don't-tell-me-what-I-can't-do chip from his shoulder.

Jack. Has a relationship with a son that his father never encouraged with him. He can stop trying to prove himself to his now-dead-father and move on with his son.

Kate. Saves / "reunites" Claire and Aaron. And in Claire's eyes is judged "innocent."

Claire. Keeps / "reunited with" her baby, Aaron. In this reality, the trauma of her adoption plan falling apart accomplishes what the 815 crash initially does—getting her to commit to raising her child, so that Aaron won't be raised by another.

Sayid. On paper, wish fulfillment doesn't seem like the order of the day in Sayid's life outside the snowglobe, but look a little closer, and maybe a little more coldly, calculatingly. Do the math. I think he's essentially the same man we've watched for 5 seasons, a born killer, and with that, for a Good man, comes the guilt, so, he would have to live with that even in the best of all possible worlds. But, what we see happening to Nadia, Omar, and himself in 2004 goes a long way to fulfillment of his our Sayid's wish. Now that Omar's shady dealings have been outed, Nadia's certainly not gonna stick with him. Disgraced, he's gotta get the boot. Creating room for Sayid to step in, respectfully, and—one-stop-shop—he's got his happy life with Nadia and—bonus!—two little rugrats who adore him.

Ben. Father issues resolved, or at least, way less bitter and volatile. Ben and Roger both appear to have gotten past the loss of his mother (which is what leads little Ben down the Other path in the first place). And, doing right by Alex. It's a remarkable set-up that leads to Ben receiving proxy forgiveness from Ilana. Ilana's forgiveness or absolution or acceptance or whatever was really well choreographed, with both Ben stories reaching a crisis point at the same time and setting Ilana up as a proxy for Alex... Jacob was like a father to Ilana, the way Ben was to alex... Had me fantastically wondering if she might be an alternate reality orphan herself, plucked from a previous timeline by Jacob to be his daughter and agent.

Hurley. Blessed with good luck as opposed to cursed. Details TBD. Could the catalyst for this luck be the same Numbers that we've seen inside the snowglobe? Did this Hugo ever check himself into a mental hospital? Was Libby there? Did he also hang out with her dead ex-husband Dave? Maybe he still possesses his ability to speak to the dead, and they are the key to his good fortune?

Ford. TBD. Gotta wonder if he dropped his Tom Sawyer vendetta when he had his gun to the head of the wrong guy (he doesn't know it at the moment) in Australia and realized he's not a killer. Still, doesn't mean he can't out-con the guy, perhaps at his son's wedding? Or, maybe he'll set his sights on the guy who gave him the bad info on his mark in Australia. Keamy, anyone? =)

Sun and Jin. TBD. Both had plans to escape when they left Australia, Sun to leave Jin, Jin to leave her father's employ. Seems like Sun's dad was never going to let Jin go, and set him up for a "mugging" or death by delivering that watch in L.A. I'd like for Jin's original plan to succeed, now w Sayid's help, and for the couple to meet with Dr. Juliet, who tells them that they are strong candidates for her procedure, which would help them to get pregnant. Somewhere in there, maybe Sun saves Jin's ass, or stands up to her father, and shakes Jin's chauvinistic husband-domineering attitude.


I will be unhappy with any series wrap-up that involves wiping memories and re-inserting the Losties into the rewritten reality outside the snowglobe. Astral projection comes in as a second in the unhappy ending race. The orchestration of the lives and events that result in the Incident in 1977 creates a world of realized wishes, potential rewards for those who serve the Island. But how can anyone on the Island actually experience and enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice?

Alas, I think that the best form of a reward that Jacob can offer is what he offered (and delivered to) Dogen. Dogen's wish was for his son to live, and Jacob says he can make that happen if Dogen agrees to work for him and never see his son again. This catch-22 is built in to all of the "rewards" that Jacob has arranged via string-pulling that led to the Incident. I have a feeling that Esau, less concerned with disturbing the spacetime continuum and actual human lives, is offering Jacob's delicately crafted rewards (tapestry woven of hand-made thread, anyone?) to his own recruits, but as his own, and without the catch. Meaning, if any of his recruits survive the coming "war," being a Monster of his word, he'll simply kill the version of the recruit living the happy life and replace him or her with his tainted version.

I don't know how to explain the cross-reality recognition and deja vu just yet. A mind wiping theory WOULD be a good explanation of that, unfortunately. Altho... Juliet's apparent vision/hallucination would be an exception. I'd think that the "direction" of deja vu would flow from the new reality to the old, and not vice versa. Rewritten lives could flash "back" to overwritten lives, but not the other way round.

What I would like to happen in the end is for the Losties to be given a choice of remaining or leaving and they choose to remain, content to know that a version of themselves is Out There living out their wishes. Perhaps they NEED to stay on the Island to preserve and protect the lives of their doppelgangers.

Lame, but maybe there's even a way—a magic box, perhaps?—for them to ride shotgun in the lives of their happier selves, a more visceral reward. A more immersive Lighthouse mirror experience? Yeah. Lame.

Yeah, so, I'm still uncommitted to a final endgame, altho I have thought about just what Esau might need to do to win and toyed with some clues to his defeat (click here =).

Before this season started, I believed that those touched by Jacob might need to be reunited with Locke's body to perform a Vulcan Katra ritual to restore Jacob's soul into a suitable body, but...

Actually, no. I don't see any problem with that. I still REALLY like that idea. =)

Keep on keepin on~

No comments: