Friday, November 19, 2004

Literally Reborn: My Unified Theory of Lost

I've posted these thoughts elsewhere. But I wanted to see if I could pull everything together into one coherent theory.


I believe there is at least one powerful alien presence (and possibly more) that has been on the island for some time. This presence isn't good or evil, per se, but it is terribly lonely and bored. Perhaps, like the castwaways, it is even marooned with little hope of rescue. As such, the presence eagerly awaits other crashes of boats, planes, and whatever else, all of which bring human beings to the island. It may even keep Rousseau's distress call running as a lure.

The alien presence craves human company as a source of entertainment, scientific insights, or possibly both. Maybe its original mission was even to study humanity. Regardless, the presence clearly wants castaways to want to stay on the island. It seduces them by manifesting their subconscious desires, and it punishes those who want to leave by manifesting their subconscious fears.

Our Castaways

I strongly believe that everyone died in the crash. At this point, Jack's statement that "we all died three days ago," coupled with Sayid's speculations on the improbability of any survivors, are simply too conspicuous to ignore. Then there's the strange fact that we never saw any of the survivors emerge from the wreckage. All of the dead bodies we've seen were belted securely to their seats. Only the survivors seem to have been thrown from the plane.

The reason is that they aren't survivors at all. Rather, the 48 in question were either revived using the alien entity's superior technology, or cloned from samples taken from the mysterious missing hairbrushes. Those who were cloned were then implanted with the memories of their original selves. If so, this may explain why Locke is so susceptible to the island's charms. Perhaps he literally was a blank slate as a clone, and the implanted memories of the original Locke provide less protection than real ones.

So how did the entity choose which of the dead to revive/clone? Well, if it has the power to manifest their fears and desires, then it obviously has access to their thoughts. My suspicion is that the entity revived/cloned those castaways it believed would be most likely to want to stay on the island. In practice, this probably meant choosing people with shady/pathetic pasts - they would have the least incentive to return to civilzation.

Danielle Rousseau

My sense is that Rousseau was, in fact, marooned with fellow scientists the way she desribed. Much like our own castaways, they initially held out hope of rescue, building a temporary shelter and holding on to whatever technology (batteries, lights, etc.) they could salvage. Over time, however, the scientists presumably split along the lines we're currently seeing: some wanted to stay and embrace the island, while others (e.g., Danielle) remained adamant about leaving.

This is the mysterious "sickness" Danielle keeps mentioning. It's not some literal virus or bacteria. It is, rather, a state of mind akin to an addiction - i.e., a kind of desperate desire to stay and be gratified by the island. I suspect that all of the scientists except Danielle eventually became possessed in this way. They may have even sabotaged her efforts to be rescued - much as I suspect Locke did by hitting Sayid over the head. Danielle freaked out, killed them all, and has spent the years since losing her mind in solitude.

What This All Means

As I say, I think the "sickness" Rousseau refers to is simply a metaphor, albeit a useful one. Even if there is no literal virus, it still helps to think of the castaways as being in various states of infection. Those on the beach are in the earliest stages - they still cling to hopes of rescue. Those in the caves are in an intermediate stage - they 've tentatively embraced the island but would still leave if rescued. Then there's Locke, who is pretty much terminal.

Since the sickness is metaphorical, there is no cure. The conflict between those who want to stay and those who want to go will become even more central to the show. Perhaps this will be one more signficance of the white vs black dichotomy.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Has anyone considered the possibility that the "surviving" castaways were actually resurrected?

Lots of folks have suggested that everyone died in the plane crash and that the survivors are in purgatory. I think they're partly right--everyone did die but a select few have been brought back to life somehow for some as yet unkown purpose.

Think about it. It explains Locke's miraculous recovery from paralysis. It also explains why there are so many survivors of a plane crash that, by the look of the wreckage, should have killed everyone. It gives added significance to Jack's statement that they all died three days ago. It also plays into the new testament symbolism of 40 days that's been noted by the writers themselves.

There are at least two problems I see with this theory. First, why were they resurrected? I don't honestly know. My best guess is that it's some kind of alien experiment--primarily because aliens appear in Walt's comic book. Maybe all the survivors share some commonality that makes them valuable to the experiment. Or maybe these were simply the least damaged of the survivors. Note how they all have fairly superficial wounds.

All, of course, except for the Marshal, which brings me to the second problem. If Locke was cured of his paralysis, why wasn't the Marshalcured of his shrapnel wound? I confess I don't have a good answer beyond speculating that maybe the Marshal lacks some quality the other survivors share. I realize that's not very persuasive at this point, but who knows?

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Island Is Manifesting Their Fears

I was skeptical at first but am increasingly convinced the island is manifesting the passengers' own fears. I believe this not only explains each strange occurrence so far, it also fits neatly into the Lord of the Flies influence that hangs heavily over this show. Consider the following:

At least least some of the characters (certainly Rose and possibly Jack) are afraid of flying. Perhaps hitting turbulence, combined with their resulting fear of crashing--both of which presumably took place in the proximity of the island--was what caused the crash in the first place. Similarly, it's been noted that someone (Rose?) says the forest monster sounds familiar. Maybe she had something specific in mind--which is what led to its creation in the first place.

Then there's the polar bear in the comic book that has been mentioned. If the island (or something on it) is manifesting things, then Walt need not be magical at all. The same is true of the rain stopping when Walt and Michael are talking. Some take this to mean that Walt controls the weather. I think it more likely that the island stops the rain in response to Michael's obvious terror at the thought of going into the jungle to look for Vincent.

And what to make of Shannon's centrality to the French distress call? Ive heard it suggested that maybe the voice is hers from the future. I think it more likely that the call was manifested in response to her fear of not being rescued. Remember, she is almost irrationally adamant that they will be saved. This suggests to me that she secretly fears they won't. She also has a complex about her french--just a coincidence?

Aside from these points, I'm attracted to this theory because it ties into a larger influence that's been mentioned on these boards: Lord of the Flies. Everything about the show suggests an ironic play on this book. The characters are stranded by a plane crash. Here, however, the voice of civilization is named Jack (in the book, Jack embodies the opposite impulse). His nemesis is the blond Sawyer (in the book, civilization's representative is a blond boy named Ralph). There is a Piggy and (reportedly) wild boars. Most importantly, the theme of fear of the unknown is central to both.

The survivors don't know it yet, but the island is manifesting their fears. Look for them to divide up based on how they deal with their inability to comprehend what is happening to them.

PS: Does anyone else think Jack's drinking problem may be linked somehow to another crash or accident involving planes in his past? I really think it's significant that he mentions to Kate that he tried flying but it wasn't for him.