Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lost Time...

When Naomi Dorrit revealed that the wreckage of Oceanic 815 had been found with no survivors, my first thought was that 2 planes + 2 pictures of Penny = the Multiverse. I still think that would make a great line for fictional super-nerd Dwight Schrute, who has mentioned both the Others and the Dharma Initiative previously on the Office. But I've come to believe that the second Oceanic 815 was actually staged as part of a cover-up meant to cheat no less a force than fate itself. Oceanic 815 was supposed to crash in the Pacific, killing everyone on board. Against all odds, it crashed instead on the Island with numerous survivors. The second crash was thus faked to prevent the universe from course correcting -- perhaps even catastrophically -- for this significant change in events.

Naomi said two things in particular that really got me thinking. One was that the entire plane had been found with all of the bodies, as confirmed by robotic cameras. Leaving aside the question of how searchers even found the crash site when the plane was underwater and a thousand miles off course, it strikes me as improbably convenient that they accounted for every single body. Naomi's other intriguing comment was that discovery of the wreckage prompted a huge memorial for Charlie and the release of a popular greatest hits album by Driveshaft. Finding those bodies apparently affected a lot of people. Charlie's death was felt worldwide, but the same was undoubtedly true on a smaller scale for everyone else aboard. Funerals were held and folks moved on -- all thanks to the closure those bodies provided.

That reminds me of John Varley's science fiction novel Millenium, which was also made into a B-movie starring Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd. Two planes collide in mid-air, falling to Earth in a fiery crash that kills everyone aboard. When FAA investigators recover one of the cockpit voice recorders, they discover something strange. Even though the fire didn't begin until after the planes had crashed, a crew member is heard screaming that all of the passengers are already dead and burned. It turns out that time travelers from the future have been abducting people from doomed airliners and replacing them with dead duplicates. The cryptic comment on the voice recorder was because the passengers had been abducted and replaced with burnt corpses in anticipation of the crash.

The reason for taking people who are about to die is that the dead have no future. Changes to the past create temporal paradoxes that ripple through spacetime, causing future "timequakes" as the timeline shifts to compensate. Millenium's timequakes strike me as an interesting metaphor for course corrections, though I doubt the latter are similarly physical. My guess is that course correcting more closely resembles the effects of the temporal "Change War" in Frtiz Leiber's sci-fi classic The Big Time. The premise is that two time-traveling factions (the "Snakes" vs. the "Spiders" -- the rest of us are "Zombies") are locked in combat with all of history as their battlefield. They strike at each other by intervening to change the outcome of key events along the timeline. Here's how one character describes the Change War:
Have you ever worried about your memory, because because it doesn't seem to be bringing you exactly the same picture of the past from one day to the next? Have you ever been afraid that your personality was changing because of forces beyond your knowledge or control? Have you ever felt sure that sudden death was about to jump you from nowhere? Have you ever been afraid of Ghosts -- not the storybook kind, but the billions of beings who were once so real and strong it's hard to believe they'll just sleep harmlessly forever? Have you ever wondered about those things you may call devils or Demons -- spirits able to rage through all time and space, through the hot hearts of stars and the cold skeleton of space between the galaxies? Have you ever thought that the whole universe might be a crazy, mixed-up dream? If you have, you've had hints of the Change War.

The part about the "Ghosts" of people from timelines that no longer exist makes me think of Jacob and the Whispers, both of which have a ghostly quality. I could easily see them being the remains of people who were "erased" from history, perhaps by the original Incident. I'm also struck by the reference of "spirits able to rage through all time and space" -- many, myself included, have speculated that Desmond's electromagnetic "soul" time traveled into the past during Flashes Before Your Eyes. This jibes with the Others' brainwashing video, which states that "only fools are enslaved by time and space." It also fits with Ms. Klugh's question about whether Walt had ever appeared someplace he wasn't supposed to be. Unbeknownst to Michael, Walt had done so on at least two occasions, haunting Shannon with his apparition.

I think the fabricators of that second plane were afraid of becoming ghostly victims of "lost time" themselves. The failure of Oceanic 815 to crash -- and, more importantly, to be found -- threatened to send ripples through the timeline, profoundly unsettling the future. Yes, the universe would ultimately course correct, as it did in the case of Charlie. But the overall picture might still be fundamentally different, as Desmond's changing flashes of the future tend to suggest. So they staged a plane wreck off the coast of Bali and stocked it with duplicates like the ones in Millenium -- perhaps even cloned from those missing hairbrushes that Claire mentioned back in S1. Family members of our Losties gained closure and fans of Driveshaft got their greatest hits album. The rest, as they say, is history...


cool_freeze said...

I do not know what is more disquieting, the fact that I think this is the theory to overcome all theories, or that I think I have experienced Change War.


memphish said...

Great post. I love the idea that the people on the Island are trying to prevent course correcting. I guess that's why the Others are relatively indifferent to death as evidenced by Mrs. Klugh. As Sayid said to Ana Lucia back in Collison I believe it was, what does it matter if you kill me when I'm already dead. That could also explain why everyone on the Island would be killed as Ben stated before Jack made the phone call. But how does that jive with Jack and Kate and the man in the coffin being in LA in 2007?

capcom said...

Great post! I am at first struck by your idea that the Losties were supposed to be dead, I had never thought of that before. I only considered that if they were meant to crash, that they were to crash and be alive on the island. Not that, perhaps they were meant to be eliminated for some reason! Great idea. It could also be that they were meant to function on the island after the crash, and the only way to assure that would be to make them "dead" to the The World.

It is very odd that the "fake" crash site was so far away from the actual line of flight, even considering their off-course veer during the mechanical problems. I suppose all the better for being able to set up the dummy crash out of site from the media, if indeed the other site is fake and not an alternate-time-related manifestation. But even then, still oddly way off course.

The only justification that my head came up with for faking a crash site, would be for deflecting any discovery of the island whatsoever, by whomever wants to keep the island a secret at all costs. Thereby ending any further searching and accidental discovery, if that would be possible.

Boy, I remember that movie Millenium now that you refresh our memory! Very interesting comparison.

Dennis said...

Very interesting analysis!

You should watch the movie Freejack. It has a similar story of people from the future stealing people from the past who were going to die anyways.

Bigmouth said...

CF: Thankee-sai! I know what you mean about thinking you've experienced the Change War...say true! I actually suspect the show may be headed in a similar direction, with Jacob and the whisperers trying to resurrect a timeline in which they exist.

memphish: I'm glad you like it, and great catch on Sayid's comment about already being dead! I think Jack said something similar to Kate in Tabula Rasa when she wanted to confess what she did. To clarify, however, I'm not necessarily suggesting it's the Others who are course correcting. Truthfully, I'm not 100% sure who's responsible, though Ms. Hawking would be my first guess given her name. That said, I could certainly see the whole notion of conning fate being something that would appeal very much to a master manipulator like Ben. The main reason I resist that possibility is that my suspicion is that Ben serves the whisperers, who are the victims of "lost time."


capcom: Thanks! To clarify, when I say our Losties were "supposed" to die, I have something in mind like Whackadoo Theories 4 and 8. Let's say that, when Swan was in operation, the Island existed 108 minutes out of phase with our timeline. Oceanic 815 did indeed crash killing everyone on board. But System Failure opened a wormhole that plucked the plane out of our timeline 108 minutes before it crashed, changing the future so that the plane now crashes on the Island where some survive. The second Oceanic 815 crash was then staged ala Capricorn One to prevent a massive course correction.

I do think you're explanation of the location of the crash site makes a lot of sense. I could see whoever faked the second crash wanting to provide closure without risking discovery of the Island. Imagine the ripple effect from that!

Dennis: You're too kind! I did see Freejack a loooong time ago, but I didn't make the connection until you reminded me. Mick would make one hell of a Jacob! To clarify, however, my speculation isn't so much that our Losties were targeted because they were about to die -- that's the premise of Millenium. My point is related but distinct -- I think the second crash was faked to make sure no butterfly effect resulted from the failure of Oceanic 815 to crash.

Bigmouth said...

PS: Memphish, I've been thinking a lot about your question re the flash forward. The issue for me is, if they were all supposed to die, why are Jack and Kate allowed to continue living after their rescue? You would think the course correctors would want to eliminate any loose ends...

Then it hit me -- the flash forward takes place after Hanso has regained control of his Foundation. Maybe it was Mittelwerk who was behind the effort to fool fate, and Hanso has renounced the conspiracy.

memphish said...

Very cool idea Bigmouth, and of course that would be a huge payoff for those of us who slugged through TLE.

I also like your idea of "conning" fate. Cons have been a giant portion of the show and the idea of conning fate would be right up TPTB's alley.

I also know Ben's statement to Alex that he can't let anyone leave the Island has to be key as well, but I haven't quite worked out where in Carlton's mosaic it fits.

This has triggered a massive rabbit trail in my brain. What if Ben's primary mission is to keep Desmond on the Island? He can't permit any of the Flight 815 survivors to leave because they would tell the world about Desmond being there. I've got to work on that one now.

ME said...

You mentioned the hair brushes in S1.
It has often crossed my mind that maybe the bodies in the plane, at the bottom of the sea were the real passengers of flight 815.
Our losties are the clones.
A different take on the Millennium idea. They knew the plane was going to crash, so they made clones of them for future uses. That is why they need to stay on the island. By getting off the island they themselves would create a course correction in time that was never ment to be.

Synchromystic Librarian said...

dig the office/lost mashup, my 2 favorite TV shows!!

when the button is not pushed, the island creates multiverses so because Dez did not push the button in “time” another universe was created when the original plane entered the electromagnetic field around the island, with the 2nd plane really crashing, the island is in a sense an omniverse where multiverses collide and attempts to self-correct when mutilverses get too “close” to each other which could create havoc hence the situation in the Orchid video, I am convinced there are 2 Ben’s on the island, when mutliverses collide time is an illusion

Bigmouth said...

memphish: Verrry interesting point about Ben's unwillingness to let anyone leave the Island. I wonder if that's because so many of the people there are supposed to be dead. A poster named lucidity has suggested that Juliet was supposed to die in 9/11. That strikes me as a bit of a stretch, but I have wondered if you have to die in our world to get to the Island. Maybe that OJ Juliet drank was dosed with something stronger than tranquilizers. Add to that Cooper and our Losties, and a pattern begins to emerge. Anyway, that would indeed explain why Ben can't let them leave -- the outside world is convinced they're dead. Good thinking!

As for Ben keeping Desmond on the Island, I'm a tad skeptical mainly because TPTB have suggested that the Others had only limited knowledge of the Swan before the crash of Oceanic 815. Remember, Ben didn't even know about Desmond's sailboat. I also can't recall a single instance where any of the Others referred to Desmond. Can you?

me: The possibility that our Losties might be the clones intrigues me, too. Interestingly, that was the subject of my first post ever on the Fuselage! I've also speculated that they may have been cloned or resurrected by some powerful alien entity, which would fit well with comments by various characters that they're "already dead." Since making those posts, I've turned away from such speculations for lack of subsequent support. I have to admit, however, that recent disclosures could indeed be hinting at such possibilities once again.

SM: Your logic makes total sense to me -- I was thinking along similar lines when I suggested that 2 Planes Plus 2 Pictures of Penny = the Multiverse. The problem is that Darlton went out of their way to state in a podcast that the second crash was staged ala Capricorn One. I'll admit the Orchid Orientation seems to point back in the direction of the multiverse, but I'm still betting that's not the explanation for the second Oceanic 815. All that said, I love the idea of multiple Ben's running around the Island!

memphish said...

Bigmouth, I'm not sure what to think about what Ben and the Others know about the Swan. Since they were watching Jack from the Pearl, you think they would have watched Kelvin and Desmond from there as well. You'd also think in 3 years they'd have seen the boat, but I guess they were pulling a Rousseau during that time and saw nothing. Maybe they heard the boat? :o)

I'm also confused about Ben trying to get Locke not to push the button and his lack of surprise when the sky turned purple. Of course, Ben used it to his advantage by jamming transmissions from the Looking Glass. Just another case of Ben rolling with the punches or the magic box fulfilling his wishes? I don't know.

I haven't done much with my idea that Ben could be a time guardian whose job it is to ensure Desmond and Penny are not reunited, but I kind of like it. So far it's seemed that the time guardians are aligned against our Island Others. It would be a nice twist for that not to be the case.

cool_freeze said...

Here's a question...who on the island are the time guardians and who isn't?

If there were time guardians I would have to think that there is one amongst our A-LIST survivors.

Memphish:When I say there is one amongst our survivors I instantly think of those Kate posts of yours. How much of a CON is her life? Is she the one pulling the cons?

Yes, that does seem like rubbish considering the writers would have to do a lot of wrap around for that to be reached. :] Yet, if there was a time guardian I would think there would have to be one somewhere that survived the plane crash. maybe Locke...

Here is another question-How do we seperate all of the "Others" into "Hostiles" and "Others" and "Time Guardians" and such?


M The Alien said...

I wanted to mention that in the orchid video I noticed a red box on the shelf to the left of Candle. It just seems to me that all of the colors in the video are kind of dull, very "science-labish," but that box sure does stand out to me, close to the end of the video there is a quick closeup of the box, and when they show the inverted clip of the guy riding the bike, there's a red box on a wall near the rider. Anyhow, I dig the idea of Desmond and Penny being kept from eachother. I think it'd be pretty cool to find out that in some version of the future Des and Pen have a child that takes The Other's out of commission. Maybe his name was Jacob!

Cool_Freeze said...

wow. that is interesting.

I wonder if that will become another big mystery this upcoming season.


Very Quickly...I am letting all the lost bloggers know that I at least have the blog available now...if any of you are interested in becoming a moderator tell me. I would love to have it up and running by Season 4.


You can email me at

thanks! CF