Monday, April 12, 2010

LOST: Schrodinger's reality and "Happily Ever After"

6.11: "Happily Ever After"

[A summary of some of my jargon... LOST1 is the original show reality. LOST2 is the new, season 6, alternate reality. The snowglobe is the pocket dimension of the Island, and as far as we know, all the people we've met in the snowglobe have their origins and histories in LOST1. This is sort of another POV / follow-up on an earlier post.]

Science nerds, please forgive me while I play fast and loose with concepts as I try to explain...

Schrodinger's cat. There's a cat in a closed box with an infernal device that may or may not release a poisonous gas that would kill the cat. So, from our position outside the box, we don't know if the cat is dead or alive within the box until we open it up and observe it. Until we do that, the cat, according to quantum mechanics, is both dead and alive. This is not how you create a zombie cat (as far as I know, at least), but meant to illustrate the weirdness of quantum mechanics using an easy-to-imagine everyday scale (as opposed to quantum scale) scenario.

OK. Let's do some imperfect substitution. It may be more metaphor and ideaplay than science, but give it a chance.

The cat = reality, off the Island.

Dead or alive = LOST1 or LOST2.

The box = the snowglobe, bigger on the inside than the outside, as from our perspective, it "contains" all of reality off of the Island.

Poison gas = the events unfolding in LOST2 and LOST1 on the Island.

Opening the box = an anti-Incident, or Incident 2.0.

Reality outside the snowglobe has been in flux since Sawyer, Juliet, and company returned from 1977. The off-Island world is in a fuzzy probabilistic state, a question mark that will resolve to LOST1 or LOST2 (or maybe even a re-wound, re-writable LOST1) once an upcoming Incident-like crisis point in one or both realities occurs.

I think Widmore and the nerd commandos know this.
DESMOND: You take me back! You take me back right now, you hear?!
WIDMORE: I can't take you back. The Island isn't done with you yet.
I think all of us focus on the final classic LOST remark in that exchange, right? But what about the line Charles delivers right before it? To me, the way it's delivered struck me as tho it could have been all he originally meant to say—"I can't take you back."—meaning, the reality we came from isn't there right now.

(It may not seem to fit given the pace of events in the show, but remember, time in the vicinity of the snowglobe is quite fluid. So, timing-wise, Widmore and his AIM henchies submarine into the snowglobe just before the time travellers' return. I'm thinking that Charles gave everyone the "we're through the looking glass now, people" speech to his operatives even before he meets Eloise outside Desmond's hospital. Probably soon after he gets Ben's taunting phone call. And if we believe in the Rules forbidding the return of an exile to the Island, Jacob's death apparently annuls it.)

Granted, it would be the most callous thing, even for Charles, to leave his daughter and grandson behind, off-Island, to blink out of existence if they fail (I originally thought that Widmore would save his family, including Eloise, Penny, and Charlie), but think about the sacrifice that Charles plans to ask of Desmond. What better motivation could Widmore give Des than the salvation of his family? His constant.

The sacrifice in that case would be his own life for his family and reality.

What about a harsher sacrifice? The existence of his son? If Widmore can get Desmond to somehow restore LOST1, but rolled back to a point in 2004, his son would not have been born yet, but a lot of tragedy that befell the Losties, could be avoided, and perhaps Penny could beat Charles to the Island and rescue everyone, just the way Desmond envisioned in his Charlie-dies-in-the-Looking-Glass-flash way back when (that's always bugged me and I'm hoping that the creators haven't written it off/out).

Fun-story-wise, I have a suspicion that the LOST1 Good Guys will tragically fall just short of the win in LOST1 on the Island, but, through Desmond's action/intervention in LOST2, the LOST2ers will save the day. So, the Monster's victory in LOST1 on the Island (which would resolve off-Island reality to LOST2) actually plants the seeds of his retroactive defeat. Crazy talk? Perhaps, but hey, it's LOST. =)

Keep on keepin on~

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