Friday, May 21, 2010

LOST: no alternate reality—they're plugged into an Island Matrix...

OK. I don't love this, but I think it's a real possibility. An explanation of the nature of LOST2 as a shared hallucination.


There have been discrepencies in the meshing and sync of individual character storylines in LOST2. I've been working/thinking around them, believing them to be reconcilable, but this concert business in "What They Died For" is just too much. We're meant to believe that the concert that David and Miles and Desmond refer to is the same benefit arranged by Eloise and Daniel Widmore on the day that 815 landed. Of course, they might have rescheduled and we just haven't been privy to it, but added to a list of other confusing and inconsistent synchronicities, it's all just too much. I cannot believe that the meticulous story weavers who have been at the helm for five seasons have made so many chronological offenses within the supposedly consistent reality of LOST2.

What am I talking about?

How many days pass for Jin and Sun after LAX when they are abducted by Keamy and Mikhail and taken to Keamy's restaurant? They check into their hotel the same day as they land, right? They spend the night together. Then Keamy shows up looking for his money. Jin gets taken to the restaurant, Sun is escorted to the bank. That's the day after they land.

How many days pass for Sayid after LAX when he is abducted by Keamy's men and taken to his restaurant. He shows up at Omar's home the day he lands. That night Omar asks Sayid to "talk" to his loan shark and his enforcers. The next day, Omar is "mugged." That night, Nadia gets Sayid to play nice and watch the kids. The next day, after seeing the kids off, Sayid gets picked up by Keamy's men and taken to the restaurant. That's two days after he lands.

Now, how many days pass for John Locke after LAX when he gets hit by Desmond? He goes home. The next day he gets fired from BoxCo. The next day he meets Rose at Hurley's placement agency. He apparently makes an effort to fake going to work for a day or two so that Helen doesn't know he was fired. He gets placed as a substitute teacher and works at least one full day before Desmond hits him. So, even if everything went as quickly as possible, he gets hit three or four days after landing.

And... How many days pass for Desmond after LAX when he goes turbo on John Locke? He reports directly to Charles, who sends him on his Charlie babysitting assignment, which leads to Charlie triggering the "Not Penny's Boat" flashover, which lands them both in the hospital, and ultimately sends Desmond looking for Penny. He confronts Eloise and meets Daniel Widmore on the day of their benefit concert, which, rescheduled (and relocated?), I suppose is the one mentioned this week. That evening, with Daniel's help, Desmond tracks Penny down at the stadium. That is all on the same day that he lands. Between that evening and the day he Hot Wheels Locke, he does the whole cupid thing and the Hurley and Libby story unfolds. That's a night for Hurley's award ceremony, that's a day for Hurley's blind date, that's a day to each chicken and run into Desmond, that's MAYbe the same day to track Libby down at the hospital, and a day for their first date at the beach. That gets us to at least the fourth day after landing, right?

The thing is, Sayid frees Jin and Sun gets shot on the same day that Sun is taken to the hospital and arrives just as Locke arrives. The days don't add up.


I KNOW that part of the point of following the safely landed 815ers in LOST2 is to demonstrate that they were all destined to become parts of each others' lives, but there is a quality to the uncanny, serendipitous crossovers, and their timing, that I could only describe, suspiciously, as "dream-like."

Early this season, I turned over the idea that LOST2 was not an Incident-created divergent reality, but rather, a MATRIX-like simulation based on that idea, a virtual world created by someone, perhaps Esau, perhaps Jacob, perhaps Widmore, into which our Losties have been plugged. At the time, this annoyed the frickin heck out of me. It seemed to involve way too much tech and resources that we'd never had a clue about. I could imagine that the DI might have had another station dedicated to a much more sophisticated version of Room 23's b-mod technology, advanced enough to create a shared programmed experience. But, I figured that that was a huge reach, even for LOST, in the final short season. So, I rejected it, honestly, as much out of spite as out of LOST illogic.


Now, tho, a dozen episodes later, I believe that we've met entities or devices capable of just that. Able to engineer a MATRIX-like scenario where our players are plugged into the same fabricated reality, living in it for days or months or years or lifetimes, or if not that actual experienced time, then with implanted memories of that time. I'm now willing to say that a smoke monster would be capable. And if not a smoke monster, then the Heart of the Island. And, if not the Heart, then maybe thru the pooled concerted effort and power of the Island's Whispers, perhaps in a gambit supporting the Candidates in the eleventh hour against Esau.

SMOKEY. Locke-ness can't kill the Candidates, but I'll bet he can still scan and read them. We've seen him do some funky stuff once he's read a person. There's Eko's confrontation with Yemi; Ben's "judgement" by Alex; and perhaps Isabella's clunky ghost appearance to Ricardo on the Blackrock.

MAYbe, in a last ditch attempt to keep the remaining Candidates from killing him, or preventing his escape, he rushes them, swallows them up in his smokey self, and uses a variation on his scanning ability to create this shared hallucination for all of them. Not to kill them, but to stall them from doing or completing something they were just about to do that would have defeated Locke-ness on the Island.

Yeah. That sounds kinda lame, I know, but I hafta say, it no longer seems impossible, or even unlikely. In any case, I ask that you roll with the idea that our Losties are plugged into an Island Matrix, and that's what we're experiencing when we see their apparently alternate selves living life in LOST2. The Non-Player Characters within the shared virtual reality are constructed from the Losties' memories of them as well as the actual memories and experiences of anyone who's dead on the Island. The Monster has access to that. It doesn't seem like a stretch to me to say that the Heart of the Island, the spark of life, the source of all life, could draw on all of that as well to conjure up a seamless constructed and believable reality.

Given that, Desmond's zap in the generator shed was not a reality-jump, but another time-jump, a jump forward to when he's swallowed by the smoke monster.

And Juliet, caught at the heart of the Incident, also experiences a flash forward into her virtual NPC self in the Island Matrix. What she sees in that flash leads her to believe that, "It worked." Unfortunately, before she can describe her flash, she dies from the trauma of her physical injuries and perhaps exposure to the EM energies without Desmond's resistance.

THE HEART. Okay. If that's way too much power to give the Locke-ness smoke monster, it might be a vision conjured up by a dip into the Heart of the Island, but whose? Could it be all the surviving Candidates together? And why and how would Eloise set herself up as the nemesis in a bogus dream world? Perhaps because that's what you get when you use everyone's combined memories of her to construct her virtually, from scratch. She could be constructed based on her interactions with Charles, Desmond, Ben, the Losties who went to the Lamppost, and sadly, Daniel, whose body expired on the Island in 1977.

SMOKEY x THE HEART. Or maybe, when hardened-against-EM Desmond rassles Locke-ness into the Heart of the Island, the collision of a smoke monster with the energy that spawned it triggers the spontaneous creation of this what-if world that everyone on the Island experiences, subjectively, for their entire lives, but objectively, for just a moment. A moment in which Esau enters that world and lives a normal happy life as Claire's baby Aaron, leaving behind a vacant Locke-shaped vessel, ready for a John Locke Island Whisper to move into!

Yeah, a bit of crazier crazy talk at the end there, but I really am seeing this MATRIX-life scenario as a serious possibility now. It's not the awesomest thing, but after "Across The Sea" I think it's possible.

Oh, I forgot to address the Whispers as a possible engine for the Island Matrix.

WHISPERS. Magic. Done. =)

Tell me the unfolding of events and crossovers in LOST2 don't seem dreamlike and unreal. I dare you.

Ninja torturer-killer Sayid, tripped up by a garden hose? C'mon!


That cut on Jack's neck that keeps bleeding. That's a virtual manifestation of an actual injury. He's been seriously wounded in that spot and nis body's nervous system is breaking thru the hallucination of the Island Matrix to try and snap him out of it, to let him know that he is hurt.

Reflections of oneself within the Island Matrix are psychologically confusing. On some very fundamental level, each Lostie expects to see his or her real self looking back at them, but instead, they see this other version, like themselves, but as a costume. The reactions within the Island Matrix range from confusion to enlightenment.

The Island Matrix also seems to take steps to distract the immersed Losties from such inconsistencies and glitches, using NPCs (many constructs, but perhaps also actual Whispers) and coincidental events to do it. For instance, Miles is trying on his suit at the police station. Not unheard of, but a little conspicuous, enough certainly to prompt Detective Ford to ask if someone's died (aww... poor Sawyer), and Miles tells him about the concert, and is very insistent about how he's mentioned it all week. I guess those mentions were just edited out of our experience, eh? And when Jack wakes up and becomes preoccupied by his bleeding cut, his son David seems to make a point of getting in his face and space about making breakfast.

Keep on keepin on~


zorknapp said...

This is all way too dense for me to process now, but I do think that the Lost2.0 is not a *real* reality.

Maybe there is a way to *kill* SmokeLocke using the people in the 2.0 reality, and that is what their purpose is...

I'd have to watch from the beginning of season 6 again, to catch anything about timing. Lost has never been the most linear show in the world anyway, so it's possible that some things that we've seen in individual character eps are not really in the "right" order, to make it seem a bit off.

By the way, the Lost event last night was fun.

cabinboy said...

Well, we got the explanation of the dream-like quality of time and synchronicity in LOST2. Not exactly what I thought or wanted, but good to know that the inconsistencies were scripted. Like I figured, these storytellers pay too much attention to that sort of thing to have let such discrepancies slide. I shouldn't have defended them as such for as long as I did. Denial, donchaknow.