Monday, December 17, 2007

I Am Not Alone...

Naomi Dorritt, we hardly knew ye...



When she first arrived on the Island, before regaining consciousness, Naomi muttered to Mikhail that she was "not alone." Like many, I believe she was referring to more than just the crew of Not Penny's Boat. Naomi had at least one partner -- maybe more -- with her on the Island. I further believe that she and her partner(s) were not the first such team to land there. That distinction belonged to Kelvin Inman and Mikhail Bakunin, two soldiers of fortune hired in 1993 by the backers of the Dharma Initiative (i.e., Hanso, Widmore, and Paik -- the "Hanso Group") to secure key infrastructure and discover the state of their investment.

But I'm getting ahead of myself -- our story actually begins in 1988, the year Danielle and her crew were shipwrecked on the Island. Though I once took her tale at face value, I now suspect Danielle knows more about Dharma than she's letting on. Maybe her scientific team was one of the "HG Delegations" mentioned on the Blast Door Map, sent to report on the progress of the Initiative. If so, I'm guessing they were also one of the last. Danielle's crew probably crashed on a part of the Island controlled by the "Hostiles" and were never heard from again. After that, further scientific delegations were deemed too dangerous and costly.



The Hanso Group, however, didn't realize just how dangerous things had gotten until 1992, when they abruptly lost all contact with the Island. This was presumably a result of the Purge, in which the Hostiles took control of nearly all Dharma's facilities, including the Flame. The big exception was the Swan, which the Hostiles didn't know about -- or simply didn't care. I believe the Flame, rather than the radio tower or Looking Glass, was the main line of communication with the outside world. With no one alive to answer the Hanso Group's calls, the only sign that things weren't completely FUBAR was that someone still pushed the Swan button.

Fearing the worst, the Hanso Group began recruiting and training covert operatives for insertion on the Island. The plan was to have them parachute under cover of darkness to the sites of two key mission objectives. One would secure the Swan Station while the other targeted the Flame. When these goals were accomplished, the operatives were to make contact with` the Hanso Group. For security reasons, neither operative knew the identity or objective of his partner. They were, however, given a prearranged question-and-answer so they could recognize each other as friendly: "What does one snowman say to another?"



The operatives chosen were Kelvin and Mikhail, who arrived on the Island in 1993. I've long suspected that Kelvin's name is a reference to the sci-fi classic Solaris, which features a character named Kelvin who's sent to investigate the fate of scientists studying a (possibly) sentient planet capable of manifesting one's subconscious. Our Kelvin's objective was the Swan, where he met Radzynski, the last surviving Dharma loyalist. The two pooled their limited knowledge and explored the remains of the Initiative, adding what they learned to the Blast Door Map begun by Radzynski. After Radz committed suicide, Kelvin continued this work alone, until Desmond washed ashore.

It's unclear whether Kelvin ever actually made contact with Mikhail, but the former apparently had some reason to believe the latter was still alive. When Kelvin asked if Desmond was "him," I'm guessing he was referring to Mikhail. Notice, as well, how Kelvin asks Des the snowman question immediately thereafter -- my suspicion is that the real answer isn't "smells like carrots," as Des was led to believe.* I think that Kelvin pretty quickly realized that Desmond knew nothing and that this ignorance could be exploited to help Kelvin escape. From then on, Kelvin rarely told Desmond the truth about anything, except when drunk. In vino veritas!



So what happened to Mikhail? Like the tailsection survivors, who crashed on the opposite side of the Island from the fuselage, Mikhail had a profoundly different experience. My guess is that he touched down near the Flame, where he may even have restored radio contact with the Hanso Group, but was apprehended shortly thereafter by the Hostiles. Threatened with death, Mikhail begged for' mercy, offering to tell his employers whatever story his captors wished about the purge of the Dharma scientists. Sensing Mikhail was sincere, and that he could be useful, Benjamin Linas spared his life. That's why Mikhail remained so incredibly loyal to Ben until the bitter end.



Mikhail was assigned to the Flame, where he helped create the illusion that Dharma wasn't completely dead. The supply drops promised in the Sri Lanka Orientation continued, but radio contact with the Hanso Group grew ever more infrequent. For the most part, the Initiative's backers were seemingly content just to forget about their failed experiment. The Hostiles, however, remained on the lookout for potential spies and prepared themselves for the possibility of an invasion someday to retake the Island. When a hot-air balloonist named Henry Gale crashed with Widmore markings on his craft, he was immediately killed -- no questions asked.



Now, of course, the Hostiles' nightmare scenario has materialized. The implosion of Swan, followed in quick succession by the explosion of the Flame, served as a summons that the Hanso Group could no longer ignore. Naomi and her partner(s) are advanced scouts for a much larger force sent to reclaim the Island. The moment Mikhail saw the satellite phone and heard Naomi muttering in different languages, he knew who she was and why she was there. So why not kill her on the spot like the Hostiles did Henry Gale? Mikhail realized it was even more important to escape with the sat. phone and relay news of the beginning of the end to Ben...

*The original sentence erroneously stated that we never saw Kelvin ask Des the snowman question. Thanks to 42ndFloor and Desmondisthekey for the correction!

18 comments:

memphish said...

Nice post. I think Kelvin, Radzinsky, Danielle and Naomi's multiple languages bolster your theory that they may be related to the same group.

But here's the thing that bothers me. If the Hostiles actively take out Henry Gale and turn Mikhail why do they deal with the 815ers like they do? Seems to me if you are protecting something so very precious and you have loyalists such as Pickett, Ryan, Tom, Mikhail and Klugh, why not either a) kill them all (and Danielle) or b) recruit them all. Mikhail is "good" but log carrying guy #3 isn't or can't be converted to "good?" Isn't everyone who comes to the Island either an ally or an enemy? Why leave these wildcards roaming the Island to become the ally or enemy of your enemy?

Anonymous said...

We do know the answer to "What does one snowman say to another?" Desmond spoke it to either Locke or Jack (I think), but I distinctly remember it in his Scots accent. "Smells like carrots."

capcom said...

Wow, these are awesome ideas! These disjointed links get connected very nicely in your theory.

I can see Kelvin thinking that this would be the perfect job for his skills as an ex-Spook. And the "Are you him" thing works well in your idea, connecting it to a partner who was supposed to be Patchy.

Your theory also works well with the weirdness of Patchy. His allegiances just seem all over the place, like the old saying, "He's on the side of whoever pays him the most", in this case, whoever lets him live. And your theory ties that up nicely. It kind of seemed that he knew a lot about Naomi, even more than it was obviously hinted at.

Poor Henry Gale. :-(

Great post!

capcom said...

P.S. I like the Solaris connection to.

hatchling23 said...

One thing I always wondered about is why Kelvin was wearing his Yellow Hazmat suit when he found Desmond washed up on shore. If he was alone at that point, and knew the sickness was a hoax, what was he wearing the suit for?

I agree about the real Henry Gale.
That was a slick idea using a hot air balloon to circumvent the electronic barrier. It worked. His
partner (wife) was either killed in the landing or by Ben and Company.

I don't understand why Radzinsky (if he were a part of Dharma) would paint the blast door map. Wouldn't he already know about the other stations and their purpose?

hatchling23

Paula Abdul Alhazred said...

Interesting theories! You tie everything together very well. And you totally called the SOLARIS reference . . .

In my theorizing I've been taking a much different stance. First, I don't think Mikhail was DHARMA, ever. Apparently Darlton confirmed that everything Mikhail said was true except the part about him being with the Initiative. That was a total lie. Plus, Mikhail says in "Par Avion" that Jacob brought him to the island, which implied to me that he was recruited by the Others from the outside world. (However, the presence of the glass eye and the edited Swan film at the Arrow might hint that Mikhail and Radzinski knew each other, possibly in an off-island connection or maybe they just had a little DHARMA/Hostile secret friendship).

I definitely think you're right that Kelvin was chosen because of his military experience. With the Hostiles and the necessity of protecting the Swan, it'd be important to have a well-trained person manning the station. It seems that DHARMA needed to keep that button pushed at all costs.

I have trouble fully believing that DHARMA/Hanso Group is coming to reclaim the island. Whether they knew about the Purge remains a mystery. The blast door map implies that DHARMA slowly fell apart over a period of years, and the Lost Experience contained references to all of the DHARMA scientists having disappeared. Not to mention, Mittelwerk flat out dismisses the DI, saying it "failed." So I think there might be some evidence to show that DHARMA/Hanso Group knew they had lost the island, but that they kept a skeleton crew there to remain isolated in the Swan, pushing the button.

I still suspect that the freighter characters represent something we haven't seen yet. Something bigger than DHARMA. I think the H.G. moved on from trying to use the island for their experiments. But there's someone else who hasn't. I'm guessing Naomi's people have been waiting patiently on a freighter outpost for the island to become accessible again. Ben knows they're there, and is on guard against them at all times. I also suspect Rousseau and her team were part of the same thing as the freighter characters. I don't think Rousseau really knew about DHARMA or the Others, but I think she does know more about the island than she lets on.

I love that we can we all watch the same show and yet come away with totally different interpretations!

Bigmouth said...

memphish: Great point about Danielle and Naomi speaking different languages! To clarify, though, what evidence do we have of Radz and Kelvin doing the same? That would be huge!

I think there are two main reasons the Others didn't just kill the survivors of Oceanic 815. For one thing, the sheer number of survivors made that difficult. For another, the Others could probably tell this was a legitimate plane crash, as opposed to attempted infiltration. With Gale, who was by himself in a balloon with Widmore markings, his innocence may not have been so clear.

Anonymous: I completely forgot about Desmond's comment to Locke -- d'oh! My guess, however, is that "smells like carrots" isn't the real answer to the snowman question. It's probably some non sequitur like "Happy 4th of July" or even "Namaste"...

capcom: Thanks! Yes, I really get the sense Kelvin was expecting some kind of contact or backup. Even if the Kelvin never actually communicated with Mikhail, the former could have seen the latter from a distance or found his glass eye in the Arrow.

Which actually brings me to the soldier of fortune comment. I think that explains Mikhail's lack of loyalty to the Hanso Group. But I feel something bigger is at work in his commitment to the Others and Ben. It might be simply that they spared his life, as I suggest in the original post. Mikhail may also have experienced some kind of miracle on the Island -- maybe even in the Arrow Station. Come to think of it, did one of the Others heal Mikhail like he did to Naomi?

hatchling: Great questions! Let's start with why Radz painted the map. My suspicion is that members of the Dharma Initiative were told only what they needed to know to fulfill their assigned tasks. Radz probably knew names but not locations or functions. As for why Kelvin wore the hazmat suit, my best guess is that he was prepared to con Des from the moment he washed ashore. I'll bet you Kelvin actually ran back to the Swan to get his suit before Des woke up...

Finally, a quick clarification -- I do *not* believe that Henry Gale was actually working for Widmore. My guess is that he was just a victim of misunderstanding and circumstance. Which reminds me: what do folks think about Nathan? Was he similarly in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or did Goodwin begin to suspect he was in fact an agent for the Hanso Group?

paula: Wowzers! Your cogent analysis has me questioning my own LOL! I actually agree with you that Mikhail was never Dharma -- neither was Kelvin. Remember, the Hanso Group is probably a distinct entity from the Dharma Initiative. Their partnership is symbolized on the Blast Door Map by the acronym DIHG.

When I refer to the Hanso Group -- and this is key -- I'm primarily referring to Widmore and Paik who I believe were major investors in the Dharma Initiative. They're the ones behind the freighter, especially Widmore. And as I've stated previously, I suspect the freighter's presence will be explained somehow by Desmond's conversation with Donovan in the past...

I know the podcast you're referring to and interpret it to mean that the info Mikhail provides is generally accurate -- just not as applied to him, specifically. There was a purge, but Mikhail wasn't around for it. Some people were recruited by Jacob, but Mikhail wasn't one of them. These recruits arrived by submarine, but Mikhail didn't. And so forth...

Bigmouth said...

PS: I think Mittelwerk's statement that Dharma ended in 1987 is a lie to provide plausible deniability for the disappearance of Danielle's crew in 1988. In fact, the Initiative continued for several years after that, slowly losing territory to the Hostiles, until the Purge...

Paula Abdul Alhazred said...

See, this is the stuff that's driving me crazy. Who are the people on the freighter??? I think there are three possibilites. 1.) It's DHARMA, who've just found out that the Hostiles have likely infiltrated the project, and have sent folks to investigate. Widmore and Paik could be part of this, too, considering their involvement with the Hanso Foundation. 2.) DHARMA is dead, and the freighter people are a new group consisting of people chosen by Widmore (and maybe Paik) to claim the island. Perhaps this is why Widmore became involved with Hanso in the first place: he tried to infiltrate DHARMA to locate the island, but wasn't successful until now. 3.) The freighter folks represent an entirely new faction we haven't seen before . . . maybe they are (from the perspective of the people on the island) from the future, and they possess an advanced understanding of technology and science. If that were the case, they could've been the peeps who built Smokey, assuming of course the monster is a type of AI and not a psychic projection.

Whoops, I am getting off on a rant here. Anyway, I understand the distinction you're making between the DI and HG. It's a good point. I think there is definitely a possibility that these companies would have chosen military types once the situation on the island became overtly dangerous. As for Mikhail, I agree that the events he was speaking of were general and not relating directly to him. It's very likely he missed the Purge entirely. Still, I'm more inclined to believe he was associated exclusively with the Others. But that's just my attempt to simplify things. Otherwise, my mind starts spinning in circles!

Anonymous said...

Great theories as always. Just a question: How do you keep all this information straight? Do you rewatch episodes? I had to forget about Lost for a few months to keep from going crazy waiting for the new season and it's hard to put all the pieces back together again.
-- Aaron

memphish said...

Bigmouth, You're right I don't know about Radzinsky's language skills. I think I meant to say Kelvin (he has at least Arabic in his repretoire); Mikhail (his exchanges with Naomi); and Klugh (her exchange with Mikhail.) I think language skills, either because of the desire to preserve those languages or because people with language skills learn a certain way, were important to the recruiters for these groups, whoever they are. After all, would you expect a helicopter pilot to speak at least 4-6 languages?

capcom said...

I guess it would depend on if the helo pilot/crew was ever in the military or not. If so, then possibly they would know a few languages.

Cool_Freeze said...

I now have one overall theory.

The freighter people are Dharma coming to reclaim the island like you said. This is of course because of the swan implosion and Locke entering 77.

The TIME cops..Mrs. Hawking..Libby..and such are all working for the OLD island people...they are the FACTION of Others that work on the outside..by outside..I mean..outside of time..they have manipulated ever so slightly the events so that they can fufill the island prophecy...or whatever that may be....

Ben IS a good guy..because he has taken this island on as his religion of sorts...he BELIEVES that this island is important for all of humanity..because it is the focal point..or the center of the universe..and the end justifys the means.

The Dharma people discovered this ancient island..and now are trying to capture it for their doing.

CF

Bigmouth said...

Paula: LOL! Rest assured, your rants are always welcome on eyemsick! I'm curious, have you considered the possibility that the folks on Not Penny's Boat are some combination of your categories 2 and 3? That is, they may be folks backed by Widmore and Paik, but accompanied by some "future" faction with access to advanced technology and special knowledge of the Island? It's always fascinated me that Ms. Hawking obviously knew Brother Campbell, who practically pushed Des into Penny's arms...

Aaron: Thanks! I do occasionally rewatch episodes, but usually it's much faster just to consult the transcripts and entries on Lostpedia, Lost Hatch, Long Lost List, and other such excellent repositories of Lost info.

Memphish: Aha! Good call with Kelvin's knowledge of Arabic. I've always thought the multiple languages signaled the international nature of the Hanso Group. As a poster named Black Lotus pointed out, there's also a wonderful cold war reference in Mikhail and Kelvin being the two representatives sent to secure the Island...

Capcom: That's an interesting point about military backgrounds. I find it odd that Naomi wasn't armed...something tells me that the folks who follow her will be.

CF: That's a great theory! To clarify, do you believe that Libby and Ms. Hawking are working with Ben's faction? Or do they represent some other faction that Ben's group displaced?

Cool_Freeze said...

I have to say that they are working WITH Ben's faction, if not over them.

Only fools are enslaved by time and space...

This would hint that they are on the same team.

That brings in the question of Jacob. Was he captured by the island natives so that they could more easily control the island without his interference? I am getting ahead of myself because I don't know who or what Jacob is.

Anyway, I don't know how Jacob plays into my theory.

CF

Paula Abdul Alhazred said...

bigmouth,

Funny you should say that. I am actually leaning towards a combination of theories #2 and #3. I recently made a post about this on my blog. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

Hey Bigmouth
Did you see Matthew Fox's interview in Entertainment Weekly? He said he believed based on a conversation with Lindelof that Jack was just talking crazy in the hospital when he demanded to see his father.

Wanted to get your take, because this is one point where we have a difference of opinion, because I think Christian Shephard is not alive in the flash forward.

On a related note though, I still don't know how to take Cuse's point awhile back that we should be "very interested" in why his body is not in the coffin on the Island.

If we take the producers at their word that he's dead, then what do we make of that? Something to do with Smokey and its ability to appear as dead people?

Also re Christian, in the trailer for Season 4 the image of Jacob, which seems somehow clearer than the freeze-frame from the actual episode, really looks like Christian.

But apparently they used a crew member or extra for that shot. And how would that jibe with Michael Emerson's assertion that the character or actor playing Jacob has been seen by fans but not heard?

-- Aaron

Bigmouth said...

CF: Good call re the "time and space" reference possibly connecting the Others to Ms. Hawking's faction! I wonder about Jacob, too. My sense is that he exists only as ghost and can only communicate via dream visions or when he "possesses" Smokey. Ben is so important because he can see and hear Jacob directly -- he's basically Jacob's mouthpiece like Aaron spoke for Moses. But I think Ben has betrayed Jacob, perhaps even by striking a deal with Widmore. My prediction, which I'll expand upon in another post, is that S4 will misdirect us by making us think Ben is a good guy -- or at least better than the folks on Not Penny's Boat. Ultimately, however, we'll learn he's the equivalent of the Cigarette Smoking Man on the X-Files -- playing both sides.

Paula: Forgiveness, please! I've been slammed by work since the New Year, but I've been meaning to post on your blog, which has some great stuff. Please keep up the good work!

Aaron: To clarify, I agree it's highly unlikely that Christian Shepard is alive in the flash forwards -- all the moreso after reading the EW.com article. As I've said before, I would estimate the probability of him being dead at 99.9%. I keep hoping against hope that he's alive (a) because I think such a twist would be insanely, brain-meltingly cool, and (b) I like referring ironically to the Christian Resurrection. As for the appearance of Christian in the S4 trailer, check out my most recent post The Star of Jacob for possible interpretation of its significance...