Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thoughts on Through the Looking Glass...

Memo to Heroes creator Tim Kring:

I sincerely hope you learned a thing or two from your buddy Damon last night, because Lost's brilliant Season 3 finale was pretty much everything Heroes' wasn't. Two taut and suspenseful hours, paced perfectly and filled with action -- just compare Peter and Sylar's anticlimactic showdown with the Others' ill-fated raid or Jack's bloody beat down of Ben. I dare say this was my favorite Lost finale thus far, surpassing both Walt's kidnapping and the implosion of Swan Station. And that's despite knowing what the huge twist -- the Snake in the Mailbox -- would be beforehand. I've been spoiled for all three finales, but this time the twist remained powerful despite my lack of surprise -- and perhaps in part because of it insofar as I was free to focus solely on the implications.

Let's begin on that last note -- what did you all think of the flash forward? Gotta say, add Foxy to the list of actors on this show who deserve serious Emmy consideration. I was actually a fan as far back as Party of Five, but his portrayal of a dude on a downward spiral was so credible -- Fox does drunk frighteningly well. The analogy that occurs to me is Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, another darkly compelling depiction of addiction. Anyway, I'm curious how many of you who weren't spoiled saw the big twist coming. Did you think at any point that it might not be a flashback? I could see someone putting it together when they saw Jack sitting in the room full of maps...

The implications of their getting off the Island are, of course, staggering. Before we go there, however, I want to highlight two brief points. First, did you catch Jack's repeated references to his father? Christian is alive! Second, and relatedly, was it just coincidence that a car accident occurred just as Jack was about to jump off a bridge? It's almost like something was keeping Jack alive to fulfill some purpose. I'm also reminded of Hurley's string of bad luck after using the Numbers. Something is drawing Jack back to the Island, and I submit to you that this something is Fate. His descent into misery is the course correction for his regretful decision to get them rescued.

And what was so wrong with this seemingly noble act? Part of the answer goes back to Christian still being alive. My suspicion is that this isn't the result of some miracle of science. Rather, Jack and Co. didn't return to the same reality they departed from when they originally left Sydney and crashed on the Island. The big things are no doubt the same -- Al Gore isn't President and didn't personally strangle Osama Bin Laden in this reality, which was created when Des time traveled into the past. But there are small but significant differences that suggest our Losties don't belong in the reality they now inhabit -- and Jack knows it.

So what will next season look like? Presumably a portion will depict Jack's efforts to convince our key Losties to return with him to the Island -- but how much? Part of the reason I love this development is that it opens up so many narrative possibilities. At the same time, if handled poorly, the move could backfire spectacularly. I think it would be a big mistake, for example, to jump the main story forward in time like Battlestar Galactica did. My hope is that they will continue along the same timetable, chronicling the rescue just as they have all other events on the show, but replacing flashbacks with flash forwards that detail certain characters' efforts to return to the Island.

That strikes me as an appropriate balance and great way to keep the show fresh since the flashback format could easily get stale with three seasons to go. I could then see the main story and flash forwards intersecting naturally at the end of Season 5. It's also possible, of course, that they won't alter the format at all, that the flash forwards in the finale were just a one-time thing. Either way, kudos to the writers for having the creative boldness even to raise this possibility, which I would urge them to embrace as the format going forward. Here are some other questions/observations that I had:

* Why was Ben so adamant that they not leave? Does he realize they don't belong in Naomi's reality? Or has he had a flash of the future regarding their destiny on the Island?

* Whose funeral did Jack attend? My first thought was Sawyer, since Jack seemed to be expecting Kate. If so, however, why didn't she show? I also wonder if the empty funeral was supposed to underscore their failure to belong in this reality...

* Do they all leave the Island? Locke obviously acted to prevent their departure and presumably remained behind. But would their rescuers let them? I don't fully believe Ben's characterization of what Naomi's people would do (i.e., kill everyone on the Island) but Penny's comments do see to suggest that their motives aren't pure...

* On that last point, did anyone else find it odd that the Looking Glass terminal tuned automatically to a channel that Penny Widmore answered? The only thing I can think is that it was a link meant for her father, Charles Widmore...

* Also, am I correct that the Looking Glass was jamming the Others' transmissions? And, if so, how long has this been happening? Was Tom wrong when he attributed the Others' communications difficulties to the purple sky? That would certainly explain why Danielle's radio transmission was unaffected. But it also opens a huge can of worms because it suggests the purple sky wasn't and EMP...

* According to Ben, Dharma had only 40 members at the time of the Purge. Does that strike anyone else as low?

* Hilarious seeing how much Walt has grown since we last saw him on the show. I kept waiting for him to launch into that Brady Bunch song about your voice changing...

* I'm assuming, of course, that Locke actually witnessed Jacob, not Walt, while in the Dharma pit. Does anyone disagree?

* If Mikhail is such a loyalist, why did he save Naomi's life? Just to deprive them of the satellite phone?

* Charlie's death was handled really well -- loved how he used the Sharpie to deliver his last message NOT PENNY'S BOAT...

* Who was the musician who programmed the Looking Glass? I have to admit, the whole premise of the code being Good Vibrations cracked me up. Made me think of the scene from South Park where the character Towelie tries to remember the code to the base where he was created:

Wait a second...that's it!

That's the code?

Naw, that's the melody to Funky Town! Won't you take me Funky Town...

LOL -- don't forget to bring a towel!

* Lastly, I'll be updating and substantially revising some of my favorite theories over the course of our upcoming long hiatus, starting with the Mind of Magnus, which will be ready shortly. So stay tuned -- there will be plenty to discuss in the dark months ahead!


ME said...

Charlie's death was superbly done.
I loved it so bitter sweet. I cried.
As for who the musician was.
(If we are speaking of another reality) I immediately thought Charlie
My major thought is this:
for the first 3 years of the show, what we have been lead to believe is, the real time is that of the island and when we see the flash backs. They are the past.
The flash backs always being one point of view. That of the character the FB is about.
Last nights episode we are lead to believe that the real time was of island Jack and that the island was the flash back.
If the above is true than why did we also get Charlie's story. If the FB are from the point of view of the character having them, how did Jack flash on Charlie's death?
Since he was not there he could not remember it and with such detail.
If it was a flash forward then why wasn't Jack able to see and pay attention to them?

As for Jack saying he was tired of lying, could he mean that they are now in an altered state of their reality and are tired of pretending that this is the way it should be. Christian is not dead, Kate is still married to ( what was his name). She never left him in this reality.
They have changed everything by leaving the island - that is why every single living person will die
Because the losties where not there to create them in the first place.
Does anyone get that LOL

I can see the end of the series is Jack and Kate going back to the island and becoming Adam and Eve
Locke becoming Jacob

Ernie said...

I questioned the "flashback" when Jack had a razor cell phone, but didn't realize it was a flash forward until kate was revealed.

Lolagrrl said...

"I can see the end of the series is Jack and Kate going back to the island and becoming Adam and Eve
Locke becoming Jacob"

Holy crap!
That just struck me with an unbelievably strong certainty that you are right... so much so that I'm almost mad at you for giving away the ending. (but I'm not really mad) =)

Does that mean that the whispers are the trace imprints of all the people that were there the first time around? I've read some of the the transcripts that people have deciphered... some of the whispers sound like observations. Is it possible that the losties are somehow in a "Dark Tower" type time loop and the "ghosts" of their corporeal selves are observing their past/present/future actions?

Splat! Ouch... that was my mind being officially blown.

Anyone remember what kind of clothing "adam & Eve" were wearing?

BTW - Jack broke my heart. He is the classic tragic hero. But seriously, can you blame him? How could he possibly have ever been able to believe Ben? And why didn't Ben even ~try~ to give him a reason to believe him?

I don't know how I'll ever make it to January!

neaux said...

You've mentioned the connection to The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne.

Is it possible that next season is similar to "In Search of the Castaways?"

Anonymous said...

I'm so dumb I didn't get it was a flash-forward until watching it a second time. I thought it was a flashback and was like, so Jack and Kate pretended not to no each other on the island?

Agreed: Walt was Jacob.

Overall, I thought the finale was awesome, but I'm ambivalent about this twist. First of all, while Fox's portrayal of Jack's misery was compelling, I'm bummed to see him become more pathetic, since I was hoping for a resurrection. Kate didn't even want to give the poor slob a hub.

Now, if the writers continue the flash-forward storyline and Jack gets another shot at redemption, that would be fine. But I'm hoping this is not Jack's outcome as a character.

It seems like signs are pointing towards Jack and Kate returning to an altered reality. But if they go back to the island, do they return to the same island or an altered island? Perhaps the island is the rock in the middle of these multiple dimensions and alone remains unchanged, as has been suggested. But the idea of too many parallel realities gives me a headache and I hope the writers stay away from it.

In the event they returned to the same reality: Who's keeping them silent and how (with what threats)?

The bottom line is I'm totally brainboggled right now and have no idea what to expect. I hope Lindelof and Cuse know what they're doing, because I would have been just fine with a linear narrative about the Losties on the island sans information about how things turn out in the future.

It's gonna be a long 7 months, waiting for next season.

(I thought Charlie's final moments were perfect, especially when he taunted the Looking Glass women while tied up and told them with smile that he was expecting to die.)

-- Aaron

Anonymous said...

In the flash forward - Jack in a scene at the hospital says something like "if you think I am drunk bring my father down here and see who is drunk" something like that...anyway until you realize it a flash forward the dialog of that scene leaves you thing flash-back because we know his father is dead....

Anonymous said...

First I have to say that I look forward to these blogspots ever since Doc Jensen gave you a shout out.
I totally agree with the fact that Jack and Kate could be in an altered reality. It certainly sounds like in this world Jack's father is not dead, Kate maybe didn't kill her stepdad so she's not on the run ....Something tells me that the majority of the Losties are dead since returning to this altered reality which could be why Jack is so miserable and tortured by the decision he made for everyone to get off the island.
As far as the funeral, my thought that perhaps it was Ben's funeral since Jack said he was neither friend nor family. I would think that he would consider any of the Losties friends given the bond they experienced together. Not hard to imagine Ben would have no friends or loved ones who would want to wish him well.
Can't believe we have to wait until January now but they certainly left us with a lot to think about.

James said...

I've come to a very similar conclusion about the alt-realities/timestreams. Here's the link if you're interested.

Btw, I linked to your post and added you to my blogroll. I look forward to reading this site next season.

Jeff Schiller said...

> If the FB are from the point of view of the character having them, how did Jack flash on Charlie's death?

The flashbacks (and flash forwards) are literary devices, not necessarily what is actually going through a person's mind. In other words, the flashforward was not precognitive ability on Jack's part, it was just a twist in the manner of storytelling.

I hadn't think of the "alternate timeline/reality" theory and I admit it's a distinct possibility (maybe the hatch implosion was when the island shifted to a new reality?)

Personally I just thought (as others in the blogs have) that Jack's rant about his drunk father upstairs was from a man so drugged out that he didn't know what he was saying (the chief of surgery gives him a look that one might consider quizical).

If it's not an alternate timeline, I think Season 4 will be about Jack rallying Kate and other survivors in 2008 to return to the island that they left 4 years ago. This might be an opportunity for Jin to speak fluent English, for Sun to be a mom and no longer pregnant, and for Walt to be a teenager now.

If it is an alternate timeline then it would explain the fact that Kate didn't end up in prison and perhaps why Christian is still alive...

Bigmouth said...

Me: Yeah, I got a little misty-eyed all over again, too. That's a very interesting thought about Charlie programming the Looking Glass -- my first thought was Jack who has played the piano at least twice that I can recall.

I actually had a similar thought regarding the flashbacks vs. flash forwards. It occurred to me, at one point, that all of the Island action might be Jack's flashback, with his flash forward being the main story-line. As you note, however, the problem is Charlie's story, which Jack could only have learned about secondhand.

BTW, I think your suggestion that Kate might still be married to Kevin (i.e., Nathan Fillion) is brilliant! Another possibility might be Tom Brennan, who's still alive in this timeline.

Ernie: Ah, good catch re the Motorola! If nothing else, that confirms this had to be a flash forward...

Me and Lolagrrl: Well, you both know my pet theory that Adam and Eve are Penny and Desmond. But I can certainly dig the Jack and Kate speculation given that Jack took the stones and Kate mentioned not wanting to become Eve.

Lolagrrl: I like your suggestion that the whispers are trace imprints of prior time loops Dark Tower style. But when you actually read the transcripts (and if you haven't I strongly recommend doing so) I don't get the sense they're past versions of our Losties. I do, however, wonder if at least some of them are observers from the past or future, transcending space and time to watch events on the Island.

Totally know what you mean about Jack and Ben -- I wouldn't have believed him, either. You almost wonder if Ben would have had a better chance if he sent someone Jack trusted a bit more, e.g., Tom. And tragic hero is a great way to describe Jack -- his intensity is his downfall.

Neaux: Great link! I think you're onto something with the In Search of Castaways connection. I have a feeling that Naomi's people have been searching for the Island by tracking the Black Rock generally, and Jacob/Magnus specifically. As a poster named koralis points out, part of the Lost Experience involved a joint venture between Mr. Paik and a mysterious dude named Thomas Mittelwerk to build a huge freighter (i.e., the Helgus Antonius) that would be used for precisely this purpose. Could Naomi's ship be the Helgus?

Aaron: LOL -- now I feel guilty for warning you not to read the spoilers! I know what you mean about being disturbed by the sight of Jack in such a pathetic state. As a professor of mine once pointed out, however, you have to go down before you go up. It's part of the tragic trajectory that protagonists have to first experience misfortune for their subsequent redemption to have any significance and power. But as you say, that assumes Jack's story going forward will eventually include some possibility of redemption. I'm confident it will...

I really dig your suggestion that the Island is a kind of rock between realities -- that strikes me as spot on. In fact, that may be part of the problem -- people and objects from one dimension are leaking into another creating paradox ala Donnie Darko. I'm personally skeptical that they returned to the same reality -- why not just kill our Losties instead of depending on them to lie?

Anonymous: Exactly -- the same is also true of the scene where he tries to use Christian's name to get more pills.

Anonymous: Thanks! I remain very grateful to Doc for the pointer and resulting readership. I absolutely love your speculation that Kate might not have killed Wayne in this new timeline. It occurs to me that the alternative reality angle also breathes new life into flashbacks that have already aired. Fans will go crazy trying to figure out what exactly has changed!

Your suggestion that the funeral was for Ben strikes me as highly plausible -- my friend MB said something similar after we watched the show. My only question would be why Jack thinks that Kate might show up for Ben's funeral.

James: Brilliant! I absolutely love your speculation that Ben knew Naomi was from a different timeline because she didn't come through the Looking Glass. My main question would be why the Losties aren't from Naomi's timeline since they didn't enter through the Looking Glass, either. Regardless, many thanks for the link on your blog -- I'll be adding your blog to my blogroll too!

Jeff: I agree with your take on the flash forward -- what do you think the flashback format will be for next season? You make an interesting point regarding Jack being so drugged up that he confused Christian being alive. One could also explain his reference to Christian being on vacation as Jack's attempt to exploit his father's death in Australia for drugs. Still, how long after do the flash forward events take place? Seemed to me at least a year, if not more. Would Jack really be stupid enough to submit a scrip for a dead and disgraced doctor?

I'm personally skeptical of a BSG-type jump forward in time. That said, you make a great point that this would allow Jin to speak fluent English, resolve Sun's pregnancy, and explain Walt's growth spurt. Now I'm torn!

Me said...

BTW, I think your suggestion that Kate might still be married to Kevin (i.e., Nathan Fillion) is brilliant!

If you keep calling me brilliant,
I just might start believing you

I love reading your Blog.

Bigmouth said...

Me: LOL! I call 'em as I see 'em...

James said...

I wondered how Naomi and Losties could come from different timelines also, but then there's the mention here about the island being stationed between timelines where other timelines leak through, as you said, kind of like Donnie Darko.

It's funny about DD because I've mentioned on my blog a few times that Donnie Darko should definitely be referenced on Lost (Surely there was a VHS copy in the swan hatch somewhere) considering that like Lost, it's full of time travel and rabbits.

James said...

And as far as Kate still being married to Captain Mal, perhaps she's holding out to return to the island on board Serenity.

Bigmouth said...

James: A Donnie Darko reference on Lost would be awesome -- how about a glimpse of someone reading the Philosophy of Time Travel? You and other posters were way ahead of me on this connection. Wasn't until I reread the DD wiki recently that I perceived all the parallels -- tangent universes, living receivers with special powers, artifacts, manipulated living and dead, etc. I think where a lot of theories go wrong is in assuming that the Island itself is the tangent universe. Remember how the creators called the Lost Experience the Alternative Reality Game? I think TLE reality is parallel to our own and the two are bleeding into one another via the Island conduit. I wonder if humanity's extinction will ultimately result from two tangent timelines collapsing into one. Anyway, stay tuned for my theory When Realities Collide, which will explain this in greater detail, including how it all actually links back to the Numbers!

LOL! If I'm right about the Island, even the crew of the Serenity couldn't find it without a little help. I also have to note the Mal has excellent taste in brunettes...

SorryGoFish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SorryGoFish said...

What was Mikhail's decision? To do as Ben asked? Then why did he let Desmond live? Why blow up the window after watching Charlie talk to Penelope - forever disabling the possibility of re-enabling the jamming equipment that Ben had interest in?

What does the cord do that connects the Looking Glass with the island? Does that underwater station really communicate directly with the outside world? What technology supports full resolution, high frame-rate video communication from wherever they are with wherever Penelope is, with no lag time, from under-water? If the Looking Glass doesn't communicate directly with the outside world and the cord somehow connects it to something crucial, then why not just smash / blow up the cord?

Why do the people in the ship let Kate go home and cover up for her? There's no way Jack could resume his life as a once-dead world-class doctor while Kate could resume her life and not go to jail unless the people on the ship help cover for her. It'd just be way too high profile.

SorryGoFish said...

Another thing I noticed is that the sonar is back on after Charlie enters the code. You can hear it hammering away, re-enabling submarines to find the island.

SorryGoFish said...

Maybe when Richard went to video tape Juliet's Sister, alive, he went to another time-line, in which she didn't have cancer.

SorryGoFish said...

The body is probably Michael since the eulogy mentions the victim having a teenage son:
"The body of John Lantham of New York was found shortly after 4 am in the 4300 block of Grand Avenue.
Ted Worden, a doorman at the Tower Lofts complex, heard loud noises coming from the victim's loft.
Concerned for tenants' safety, he entered the loft and found the body hanging from a beam in the living room.
According to Jaime Ortiz, a police spokesman, the incident was deemed a suicide after medical tests. Latham (sic) is survived by one teenaged son.
Memorial services will be held at the Hoffs-Drawlar Funeral Home tomorrow evening."

Source: losteastereggs

Bigmouth said...

SorryGoFish: I can't figure out Mikhail myself. I get the sense he saved Naomi solely for the satellite phone, which he presumably planned to deliver to Ben. At the same time, I can't shake the sense that Mikhail is serving some other agenda. Here's my crackpot theory about him -- let's see if you can nail this one like the TLE tail section speculation. I don't believe Mikhail's story about being brought there in the submarine. My suspicion is that he arrived on the Island around the same time as Kelvin, possibly even to perform the same mission, which was to find out what happened to Dharma. Somehow, Kelvin landed on the Swan side of the Island and made contact with Radzynski, whom the former joined in the Swan Station. Mikhail, however, ended up on the other side of the Island, where he made contact with the Others and renounced his mission. Or did he?

My guess regarding the Looking Glass cord is that it's some kind of antenna, perhaps to generate ELF waves. I have no idea if this would create the kind of interference that the Looking Glass seemed to generate, but I do recall reading about such ELF antennae extending into bodies of water. I'm not sure why they didn't just cut the cord -- that would certainly suggest my theory is incorrect. Perhaps Des and Charlie were concerned that not following the vision would somehow change the outcome. I wondered, for example, why Charlie didn't just open the door and leave after Mikhail's grenade shattered the porthole plexiglass. Then it occurred to me -- Charlie was embracing the vision to ensure that Claire got rescued.

I'm not sure why THF didn't kill Kate, though it may relate somehow to her actually belonging in TLE reality. But then why not kill Jack? I confess I'm not sure...

Great catch regarding the sonar -- you're the first person I've seen to point that out! Come to think of it, that makes sense considering the schematics suggest the sub was supposed to dock at the moon pool. Also, awesome speculation regarding Richard and an alternative reality in which Rachel has a child! I think you might be onto something...

I also tend to agree with your analysis of the full obituary, which I've cited myself in various posts. I note, however, that this text is actually from an anonymous source, not any analysis of what we saw on screen. So, until TPTB provide some confirmation, I'm leery of drawing too many conclusions...

Bigmouth said...

SorryGoFish: It just hit me -- those allowed to live in TLE reality (e.g., Jack and Kate) were NEVER ON OCEANIC 815 in TLE reality. Christian is still alive, so Jack never went to Australia. Kate never killed Wayne, so she wasn't on Oceanic 815 either. Makes me wonder if Ana Lucia is alive in TLE reality, too...

SorryGoFish said...

I was digging the "not on 815" idea, but then I remembered that they have "Gold Pases" or whatever, from Oceanic.

SorryGoFish said...

The fact that the sonar now seems to be working, and at least some other communications equipment seems to be working, makes me wonder exactly when Ben had the two women setup the jamming equipment. Mikhail certainly believed the purple-sky incident broke everything, so maybe Ben sized that opportunity to con his own crew.

The only thing I have to say about trusting what Mikhail said at the Flame is that I remember reading somewhere that the producers told us to believe what he said about how he got there. I'll look for a source later.

Still, it seems short sighted for Mikhail to kill himself just to kill Charlie. Especially when he sees that Charlie has disabled the jamming equipment, and sealed the door, two actions that Mikhail could easily have seen.

Bigmouth said...

SorrGoFish: I totally agree with your take on the sonar and true purpose of the Looking Glass. Although Darlton have stated in the podcasts that the Others had limited knowledge of Swan, I have a feeling Ben at least suspected what the purple sky meant (i.e., that the Island was now in phase with realities). So he sent the foxy Others to the Looking Glass to disable the sonar beacon and jam any transmissions, thereby preserving the illusion that the Island was still out of phase.

You're definitely correct regarding what Darlton said about Mikhail -- i.e., that we should believe everything he said except that he was ex-Dharma. I actually think they were referring to his description of the Purge and am skeptical that he arrived via submarine, as he claimed. I do believe that some of the Others (e.g., Juliet) came that way but am still not sold on Mikhail. BTW, the claim in question was made in a podcast, though I can't recall which one. As with most things, Lostpedia is the reference I turn to first for confirmation of such things...

Interesting point regarding the irrationality of Mikhail's conduct. I still can't decide if he was 100% committed to Ben's agenda at the end...