Friday, February 01, 2008

Thoughts on the Beginning of the End...

A big(mouth) welcome back to Lost generally, and Charlie specifically! I was never a Pace junkie like some, but as Judah Ben-Hur would say, it's good to see you again, old friend...



One of my first theories ever about the show was that the Island might be haunted by the electromagnetic "ghosts" of people who die there. I'm pleased to see that, with the Beginning of the End, things seem to be coming back around to this supernatural scenario. Nor should this surprise anyone given that ghost stories like Turn of the Screw have been featured on the show. Darlton have, in fact, told us that the answers to the Island's mysteries lie at the boundary of the paranormal. One wonders, therefore, if the Bill Murray movie most relevant to Lost isn't Groundhog Day but rather Ghostbusters.



There's something about the Island that records and enhances the souls of dead folks. Jacob was presumably a psychic who died there and imprinted his mind on the Island like a kind of natural EEG. His powerful consciousness dominates the place, but there may be others similarly suspended in the Island's energy matrix. As a poster named DJ reminds me, Ben warned Jack that the crew of Not Penny's Boat would kill every "living" person on the Island -- a curious choice of qualifier. And people who died there (e.g., Ana Lucia, Yemi, Boone, and now Charlie) have reappeared in dreams and visions.



Here's the thing -- we've also seen the ghosts of people who *didn't* die on the Island. Ben saw his deceased mother, prompting Richard wonder where she died. But we know that Emily Linus passed away just outside of Portland. Christian Shepard presumably died in Australia, but Vincent, Jack, and now Hurley have all seen him on the Island. Even Yemi, may have died on the Island, probably wasn't himself post resurrection. During their final encounter by the Pearl, Eko admonished Yemi for speaking "to me as if you are my brother," implying that Smokey was merely faking Yemi's form.

I believe that Christian, Yemi, and Emily are all examples of Jacob at work. In the case of Christian and Yemi, I'm pretty sure Jacob used Smokey to snatch their respective bodies, which is why each has turned up missing on the Island. I'm guessing as well that Emily's appearance to Ben, Jack hearing Christian on the Hydra speaker, and Sawyer hearing the voice of Frank Duckett, were all actually Jacob tickling the subconscious of receptive minds. So are the surrealistic yet prophetic dreams experienced by Locke, Eko, and Hurley, among others. No surprise that all three seem strangely drawn to Jacob. These are his attempts to communicate...

And that raises still more vexing questions. Are *any* of the ghosts we see who they're really supposed to be? Are they *all* simply manifestations of Jacob? Some Solarian combination of Jacob, Smokey, and the memories of the individual? Is *that* how Richard was originally created? Perhaps most importantly, was that really Charlie who appeared to Hurley in the convenience store and at the mental institute? Hurley didn't seem to think so -- I'm pretty sure he was referring to Charlie's visit when he said "it" (i.e., the Island) wants them to go back. Which reminds me, the Schizophrenic Theory of Lost is long overdue for a rewrite...

Here are some other thoughts and questions that I had about the Beginning of the End:

* I alluded above to Stanislaw Lem's sci-fi classic Solaris, in which scientists studying a sentient planet are visited by physical manifestations of their memories. Interestingly, Jeremy Davis (i.e., the bearded dude) played Snow in Stephen Soderbergh's 2002 remake. I know Gregg Nations prefers Andrei Tarkovsky's original, but I actually think the remake is more faithful to the themes and philosophical outlook of Lem's book. Regardless, the influence of Solaris hangs heavily over this show. My whackadoo prediction: there will be a scene where Jack encounters Christian in the cabin and kneels before his father...

* I find it creepy that Christian Shepard still appears to be wearing the same immaculate white tennis shoes as he did in White Rabbit...

* Some note that one of Hurley's fellow mental patients saw the ghost of Charlie, concluding that the latter's appearance was different from Dave's. Personally, however, I'm not so sure. I have a feeling that Dave was the ghost of Libby's husband, and that he and Charlie are both examples of Jacob speaking through visions of the dead. Note how Charlie wasn't captured by the surveillance video just like Dave didn't show up in the polaroid. Mental illness often goes hand in hand with accounts of hauntings, as stories like Turn of the Screw suggest. Maybe Hurley's fellow patient sees dead people, too...

* Where the hell was Lenny when Hurley was playing Connect Four?

* Looks like if my theory about Ben working with Widmore is correct, the former has betrayed the latter, as well. Ben was sure quick to vacate the rescue area, so there appears to be no agreement with Widmore for amnesty.

* On that point, did anyone else find it odd the way Jack just let Ben go with Locke? Earlier, when Danielle suggested they leave Ben behind, Jack made a big speech about not trusting Ben...

* I found it interesting that Naomi was so quick to accept Kate's explanation for what Locke did. It doesn't add up...

* Why did Hurley lie about knowing Ana Lucia on the Island? Is this linked to the cover-story concerning the Oceanic Six? Did they lie to protect people who wanted to stay on the Island? Is that why the Oceanic rep asked Hurley if they were still alive?

18 comments:

Caer said...

I do think that the other mental patient saw Charlie. Some people believe that children and animals are able to see ghosts/spirits that adults are not able to see because their eyes are still open to the wonder/mysteries of the world. They don't know that it's not "normal" to see these things.

A mental patient isn't going to be bound by normal behavior & therefore will express what they see around them - which is probably why he landed in the loony bin in the first place as the "normal" world does not see these apparitions.

Bigmouth said...

Caer: That's an excellent point -- I completely agree! For example, Turn of the Screw features a governess who may be mentally ill and children who seem to be channeling ghosts. I wonder, is this why Jacob and the Others covet the children? Can little kids hear Jacob more easily? Are Alex and Carl subconsciously channeling Jacob when they rebel?

Bigmouth said...

NB: I'm reposting this excellent speculation by DJ from the comments to another post.

Have a theory I'd like to throw your way.

I see that you, like myself, are very intrigued and excited about Christian making a reappearance in the mobisode. We all hoped and wished, and there it was. :) But what if it really isn't all that special?

This isn't fully formulated and a lot of the big things in LOST are missing (magnetism, polar bears, special people, good/bad people, etc), but... here are some things that seem to fit together in my head.

Seeing both Christian and Charlie really made me scratch my head. Especially with Charlie admitting that yeah, he's dead, but here he is. And one of Hurley's uhmm buddies at the institution saw him too, so it wasn't a Dave situation. Charlie was there because of course-correction. Poor guy's always getting thrown around to make the world go as its supposed to, and this was no exception. He's dead, but it doesn't matter -- he's an agent and he's being used to set things right. The Island, or whatever, simply set in motion and bam, here's Charlie telling Hurley to round up the gang (Oceanic 6) and head back.

So what about Christian? I don't know his full point, but it seems that he was used -- dead, sure, but tapped by the Island to get something done -- to bring Jack to the caves. Why? Plot progression, whatever, but probably to get the black and white stones. That's another thing I can't explain... no idea why those are important, and would love to know. Some people suggest they close some sort of time loop (like that's Jack's body there or something), but who knows.

Ever wonder why Ben says that "every LIVING person on this Island will be killed"? That's kinda weird. This is where I take it a bit far, but I think all the Losties, Others/Natives (Richard for example, who doesn't seem to age and doesn't seem to "remember birthdays"), and maybe some of the Freighties we're about to meet (though probably not, for reasons I can't explain) are all dead and simply... still existing because they're "supposed to", because they're part of some giant plan. They died. We saw Oceanic 815 at the bottom of the Sunda Trench courtesy of Mr Sam Thomas. That really did happen. Errm, another thing I can't explain -- how it can be down there AND on the Island. I think this theory allows for some really lazy writing and interpretation in some areas, hah!

Abaddon (sp) wants to know where the rest of the survivors (not the Oceanic 6 necessarily, but the people who apparently stayed with Locke?) are, so he's bugging Hurley about it. Because these people are important... existing but not necessarily alive? That's pretty valuable stuff, if you ask me. Again, no more answers down that path... too early.

Oh, one more thing. Birth on the Island! Let's see here. Suppose you really do have to die to arrive on the Island. Take Claire for instance. Both she and Aaron died, so having him on the Island wasn't dangerous. But for Sun to have a kid on the Island would mean creating life from death/just-existing. And that's kinda screwed up and goes against the rules somehow. That's why you can't have a kid if you conceive it on the Island. Conceived off is fine, because you both die anyway and it's not something-from-nothing.

Ah well... confusing, ridiculous stuff. I just like reading your posts, so I wanted to see what you think.

Bigmouth said...

DJ: I really like your suggestion that ghosts like Charlie are course correcting. It reminds me a bit of the ghost of Yemi who appeared to Charlotte Malkin during her near death experience. Does this mean Jacob is a good guy? I personally have trouble believing that when Juliet won't tell what the Others are up to for fear our Losties would kill them. I also find the building of the landing strip on Hydra highly ominous. It's almost like the Others are preparing for an influx of refugees. I wonder if Jacob wants to end the world...

I'm with you that Jacob used Christian to bring Jack to the caves generally and Adam and Eve specifically. And don't forget Kate's comment about not wanting to become Eve. It looks increasingly to me like they will become the next Adam and Eve. Like you say, there are those who believe this will involve a chronological loop. I'm not among them but find the possibility cool nonetheless. I believe that events are repeating themselves on the Island with new players every time. One analogy is a haunting, another is a game. Whatever the cause, all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again...

You raise a *very* interesting point re Ben's qualifier of every "living" person being killed by the Freighter Folks. I mentioned it in my post above, but didn't quite get what you meant until I reread your post. I agree the plane was supposed to crash killing everyone onboard. But I don't believe that's really Oceanic 815 in the Sunda Trench. I think the Island exists minutes in the past. When Des was late pushing the button, he sucked them through a wormhole, changing history. The wreckage found by Sam and Co. was staged either to prevent a butterfly effect, as I've suggested, or to prevent anyone from finding the Island, as a poster named qu4d believes.

I do think you're onto something with Abaddon wanting to find survivors besides the Oceanic 6 who are still alive. I'm not sure, though, that it will be those who went with Locke since that's what Hurley did. My sense is that the answer to this mystery will relate somehow to Ben, who makes it off the Island...

Interesting take on the pregnancy problem. I tend to think it's some kind of immuno-contraceptive effect because babies born on the Island represent some new transhuman species. The mothers miscarry because their bodies reject the fetus as a foreign body. Interestingly, as I learned from post on Jay's blog pointing me to The Time Traveler's Wife, the same premise apparently explains the fertility issues in that book. The problem is solved (MINOR SPOILER ALERT!!!) when they suppress the eponymous wife's immune system.

Caer said...

I do have a question to pose from an idea I read on another fan site: When Hurley approaches Jacob's house, a person with brown eyes peers through the window. I couldn't tell, I assumed that it was Locke peering out the window.

It was suggested, on this other site, that the eyes belonged to Jack. How sure are we that Jack is Jack's first name??? I have a friend whose name is Jacob but everyone calls him Jac(k).

Considering the Adam & Eve theory, maybe Jack is Jacob. Or am I reaching too far:)

DJ said...

At one time I did also wonder if it would be a giant conspiracy and that the 815 survivors would be killed specifically to cover up the fact that they survived. As if, perhaps, someone -- the Freighties? -- would more or less deal with them so that no one else would be clued-in to the Island's location. If the plane and all the bodies are found, it puts to rest the notion (to parties in-the-know) that maybe that airplane found the Island. So there's no reason to go looking out there, eh? Pack up and go home!

Makes me wonder about Talbot. He really seemed to despise Sam for some reason, but he sure looked smugly satisfied when Sam found "815"... and then he made that horrible statement on the news with fake sincerity. Sounds to me like Talbot's real job was to SAY they were after Black Rock, when in reality this was the Maxwell Group's most accidental way of discovering "815" and revealing it to the world so that Island-searchers would go, oh, okay, nevermind. Guess it really did just crash. Sam totally got used, if that's the case.

One other question off the top of my head. You say Hurley saw Christian?

Also, interesting notes about Dave (Libby's husband?) and Christian's shoes (I still don't get that)...

Caer said...

I had a chance to rewatch the episode on abc today & it looked to me like Hurley was on both sides of the glass. Peeking in from outside & peering out from inside with Christian. Even recognized the hair.

DJ said...

caer: I figured that was Locke, since he seems to be Jacob's buddy now?

Bigmouth said...

Caer and DJ: It's weird...my first thought was that Jacob just kind of jumped from the chair to the door. But watching closely, the guy with the eye seems to pop up from below the door.

I don't think it's Locke, who I could swear has blue eyes. However, I just read an interview over on Dark UFO's site where Jorge Garcia claims that *he* (i.e., Hurley) was in the rocking chair when they original filmed the scene. So, caer, maybe you're onto something!

DJ said...

Right, I always thought Jacob was in his chair and someone else popped up to scare Hurley. Unfortunately, while Lost does tend to pay a great deal of attention to detail, I don't think it would be worthwhile to pause the frame and examine the eye to see if it matches what we saw at the first Jacob encounter... There are just some things you don't bother to replicate in a show. Otherwise I'd be all over that!

Merrylegs said...

Bigmouth said
"Like you say, there are those who believe this will involve a chronological loop. I'm not among them but find the possibility cool nonetheless. I believe that events are repeating themselves on the Island with new players every time. One analogy is a haunting, another is a game. Whatever the cause, all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again..."

I tend to agree with you. At least at this point in the series. I have a feeling that this may be something similar to the Star Trek TNG episode "Cause and Effect"--someone else may have pointed that out before. In that episode, the Enterprise is caught in a causality time loop. Events keep repeating themselves and characters, particularly Dr. Crusher,keep hearing whispers. Once the whispers are recorded, Data determines they are over 1000 different voices, all of Enterprise crew members. Sound familiar?

Also, during the poker games which keep replaying, characters are able to predict what others will do and even what cards will be dealt. Sound anything like a certain Lostaway predicting rain and then it immediately rains?

Perhaps this is why Ben knows that the people on the ship are not who they say they are and that every living person will die. It may also explain how it is the others know so much about the lostaways in such a short period of time. That always struck me as odd that they could gather so much in depth information about 40+ people in a relatively short period of time. Has that bothered anyone else?

Glad to have Lost back and your blog Bigmouth

lisa (lost pezhead) said...

so is Walt dead then? if Jacob just uses dead bodies to communicate...Walt appeared to Locke after Ben shot him? I was hoping we'd run into Walt off island and find out some more answers...

Bigmouth said...

DJ: Good point re the difficulty of comparing Jacob's eye then and now. Another problem is that Jacob seems to take many forms, so it really could be anyone...

Merrylegs: Good to have you back as well, my friend! I, too, have been struck by the analogy to the Star Trek: TNG episode called Cause and Effect -- check out my speculation of the same name. The analogy is imperfect, imo, because I *don't believe that time is looping like in that episode. But I *do* think time is somewhat circular due to activation of the Fail-Safe, which mentally connected Des to himself in the past, temporarily creating a closed-timelike-curve. I believe this explains one basic mystery of Lost, which is why so many Island coincidences (e.g., the Numbers) appear in their flashbacks. Their thoughts and memories were blasted back in time, subconsciously attracting them to certain Island symbols like Mr. Data in Cause and Effect. They basically have post-hypnotic suggestion from events that haven't yet occurred!

There was a time when I believed some temporal loop might explain Adam and Eve, or that Jack might wake up again on the Island in the last scene of the show -- but no longer. I think it will be about Jack and Kate making their way back to the Island and accepting their fate as the next Adam and Eve...

lisa: D'oh! That's a tough question because I, too, believe we're going to see Walt again -- probably even this season. There are actually those who think Walt was in that coffin at the end of Season 3, but I'm not among them. Maybe Jacob manifests people from memories and subconscious, as well?

Amused2bHere said...

As far as Jack just letting Ben go with Locke:

Jack's original plan was to make sure Ben knew Jack had gotten everyone rescued, and then Jack was going to kill Ben. Sounded good to me!

But when Hurley and others chose not to leave, and the news that Charlie had said that the freighties were not who they appeared to be, sort of ruined that plan. So when Ben asked to go with Locke (and Jack knows how much Ben is insisting that going with the boat guys is a death sentence), he just gave in and said "he's all yours". I guess he felt all the crazies deserved each other.

Why would Locke allow Ben to come with him? After all, Ben just left Locke for dead in the dharma pit. The only reason I can think of is that Jacob told him Ben was to be spared, he has "work to do".

Bigmouth said...

Amused: Good point, but Jack's stated reason for holding onto Ben was to keep and eye on him. Why let him go with Locke, who has already almost derailed their rescue once before? Something still doesn't sit right with me about that, and and about Naomi's willingness to buy Kate's story. The only thing I can think is that she knows who Ben is and witnessed Jack beat him up...

Regarding Locke, I like the notion that Jacob/Walt told him Ben still had work to do. I could also see Locke wanting to bring Ben before his people for judgment...

DJ said...

Well Bigmouth, I may stand corrected. Looks like Ben's a popular guy. Hm.

Merrylegs said...

Thanks Bigmouth for pointing out that "cause and effect" post. I knew I had read a comparison somewhere--should have known it was you. I re-read that post as well. I'm still thinking that somehow all of this has happened before. It's the only theory I have, especially after our latest installment, "Confirmed Dead"--though I have to say my brain is really starting to hurt after each new episode of Lost!

wjs said...

i saw mi.... a lion time ago and i cant recall the specifics of the movie, other than that they were taking people from planes that were going to crash to save them for the future; im not sure why. i remember a giant room at the end of the movie with the "saved" standing, and i remember a quote that many years later translates to this in my head: this is not the end, this is not the beginning, this is not the beginning of the end, this is only the end of the beginning...

strange that the chapter should be named after this quote...