Sunday, May 06, 2007

Smokey Is a Symbiote...


Just in time for Spiderman 3, a quick speculation regarding Smokey, Mikhail, and the sonic fence. One of my favorite Spidey storylines involves an alien symbiote named Venom, who also figures prominently in the film. Venom survives by physically and mentally possessing hosts, who receive enhanced physical abilities in return. Spiderman originally encountered Venom as a black liquid that flowed over his body, actually forming a new costume as it merged with him. I think Smokey may be similarly symbiotic, seeding hosts like Mikhail with its constituent particles and enhancing their strength and health at the cost of mental slavery.

The big clue to this scenario is Mikhail's fake "death" from the sonic fence in Par Avion. Recall that Mikhail thanked Locke for pushing him through it -- a trip that apparently left the former unconscious but not dead. Perhaps Mikhail was merely happy that Locke had provided him with the opportunity to escape our Losties and whatever fate awaited him (and them) in Otherville. I suspect that's partly true but that the full truth is more complex. In Spiderman, the Venom symbiote is sensitive to sonic disturbances, which is how Spidey ultimately purges it from his system. In one memorable scene, having been tricked into re-merging with Venom (comic and movie spoilers -- highlight to read) Spidey uses the sound of ringing church bells to force a separation.

If the example of Venom is any guide, the sonic fence may actually have purged the Smokey symbiote from Mikhail's system, freeing him from the Island's hold and explaining his gratitude. Perhaps this is also why Mikhail was so intent on stealing Naomi's radio -- he senses this is his chance to escape the Island at last. More generally, I like this theory because it links back to pre-existing speculations that Smokey is a body snatcher (e.g., of Christian and Yemi). It appears, however, that a significant portion of the Smokey symbiote is required to reanimate the dead. By contrast, I'm guessing that exposure to even a few microscopic particles can trigger possession of the living.

To clarify, I'm not necessarily suggesting that Smokey is an extraterrestrial, though I also don't mean to rule out that scenario. It's possible that a meteor or comet crashed into the Island, bringing with it the Smokey symbiote. Maybe, like Charlie cracking the hornets' nest in Season 1, Dharma unleashed Smokey in the Incident, necessitating the sonic fence. Still, the alien possession scenario has been done to death. In my opinion, a somewhat fresher angle would be a swarm of symbiotic artificial intelligence -- i.e., a dark take on technological singularity. Maybe Smokey became conscious from exposure to the Island's energies, possessing the dead and living alike in service of some agenda -- but whose and what?

Locke referred to Smokey as the "eye" of the Island (and Danielle described it as a security system) which I've always interpreted to mean that Smokey is merely a tool. I still think it's possible that some consciousness (e.g., Magnus Hanso's or the Fourtoe's) trapped in the Island's electromagnetic field has seized control of Smokey. But I remembered recently that many cultures believe the eyes are windows to the soul. In light of this speculation that Smokey is an artificially intelligent symbiote, I'm wondering if Locke meant that Smokey has merged somehow with the Island, perhaps by possessing most creatures great and small. Like an Old Testament deity, moreover, the Smokey symbiote seems highly judgmental, demanding total submission from its prospective hosts -- on penalty of death.


Me said...

This might explain the shifting eye color that is talked about so often.
I noticed it in the episode where Kate and Juliet are handcuffed together.
As smoky approaches Juliet after she is behind the fence. It looks to me like her eyes become extremely blue. To me it did not look like Juliet was afraid of smoky, it almost looked like she was communicating with it.
It also seems to happen when Juliet backs down Sayid and Sawyer at the tree. Her eyes seem to almost glow and the two men seem to be entranced. Could she have been accessing smoky for the info she imparted?

Bigmouth said...

Me: Most interesting! I hadn't noticed the eye color effect you're describing but will re-watch both scenes you mention with that in mind. Do you suppose the initial scan (i.e., at night) established contact?

Me said...

Do you mean the scene where smoky seems to trap Juliet and Kate in the trees?
That scene has always seemed odd to me. To me Smoky seemed either to be afraid of Juliet or
It was after Kate but when it scanned the trees and found Juliet it backed off.
Juliet says they have seen it before but don’t know what it is.
With the knowledge that Ben told her “if you get caught, tell the truth” (but only to a certain point) this statement seems to take on a whole new meaning. I would venture to guess that:
Yes, they have seen it before and No, they don’t know what it is, are very true.
But that does not mean they are not working with it or vice versa. I think it has been known to them for a long time and it plays a very big part in just who or what the Others are.

Does that make any sense?

cool_freeze said...

Hey Big, I like this idea.
Something has always seemed odd to me about a scene pictured above. The one where Ecko is grabbed by the smoke monster. If you look closely there are little white things that seem to be directing smokey. I don't know for sure what they or it is, but they are doing something and I'm sure they are there because of Smokey. They are in a swarm like. You can even see them faintly in the picture, above Ecko's head. I never got this and I couldn't find anyone that noticed it either.


P.S. You are now an official link in my blog!

Anonymous said...

Tons of questions from last night:
1) Unlike Jensen, I don't think Jacob is Locke. If anything, judging from the photo, it's Desmond. I think it's someone else. Perhaps it's a pscyhic split-off from Ben following "the incident."
2) Jacob, though aged, seems to be a child, from the way Ben was talking to him.
3) I think the ash or dust around the outside of the cabin could be metallic particles keeping the "ghost" inside.
3a) Does Jacob control Smokey?
4) Locke could very well be back. Perhaps Jacob will reanimate and/or possess him. Also, the producers have hinted at it. Notice in the Jensen tease the producers said the two words ("Help me") "change his life." If he died, it would have been more accurate to say "altered his fate."
5) Richard and his band may be descended from the pirate ship. But were they, at the time, the only people on the island?
6) People are speculating Rousseau is Annie. I'm not so sure. First of all, they probably would have found a darker skinned child to play her.
7) The wiping out of the Dharma Initiative happened recently. What has happened in the interim to account for Ben's ascendance? (His relationship with Jacob must be part of it.)
8) Is Jacob Alvar Hanso? We know from "Lost Experience" that he was imprisoned.
9) Jacob is clearly powerful, yet he is trapped. What's the story here and how is Ben both his subordinate and captor?

Bigmouth said...

Me: It does! I think, however, that Darlton mentioned in the podcast that she was probably lying about Smokey...

CF: Not sure what you mean -- could you explain a bit more? Also, I've added you as a link, as well!

cool_freeze said...

I really don't know WHAT I am talking about, I just see it there. I had rewinded the episode where Ecko was killed by the smoke monster again and again because I swore that I saw a cloud following him. Of course the smoke monster, but there was a smaller cloud of something as well. It looks like a swarm of mosquitos or gnats. I had forgotten about them until I looked at your picture of Ecko getting killed. I see them above his head. If you didn't see them in the episode, it is kind of hard to pick them out. I think that I just forgot about it because I thought I was seeing things.

The more I think about it, the more I think that that swarm was MEANT to be seen by the viewers. I'm not sure though.

Do you see it?

Hey I might be crazy.



P.S. THANKS FOR THE LINK! I truly do enjoy your blog! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

Bigmouth said...

CF: D'oh -- I still don't see it and unfortunately no longer have Cost of Living on my DVR. Looks like this mystery will have to wait for the DVD!