Friday, April 25, 2008

Thoughts on the Shape of Things to Come...

Well, now we know why Lost was moved back to 10pm. All things being equal, I prefer an earlier time slot. But if it means more episodes as intense as the Shape of Things to Come, I won't have any complaints. I can't ever recall seeing a parent watch his child get shot execution style on prime time network television. That scene was so brutally effective in large part because it's rare for Ben to be as surprised by events as we are. Whatever flashes he may have of the future, he clearly didn't see his daughter dying.

I was also moved by the tragic irony of Ben's insistence that Alex was merely "a pawn" and that "she means nothing to me," when the opposite was painfully obvious from his stunned reaction to her murder. Can you imagine having a loved one die with those words ringing in her ears? Let's hope Ben shares Miles's ability to see dead people and was able to correct the record before saying goodbye. I also wonder if he offered her body to Cerberus for later use.

Speaking of irony, I loved the image of Dr. Jack writing himself a prescription, even if only for antibiotics. The writers have always been adept at utilizing irony, but the flash forwards create so many fresh possibilities for dual meaning. Another intriguing example of irony was Hurley's comment that Australia is the "key to the whole game" in Risk. Obviously, the Island is of great strategic importance in the battle between Ben and Charles.

Australia is also central to the familial relationship between Jack and Claire, which brings me to a prediction of how the two will learn they are related. Jack will become sick and delirious just as he did in White Rabbit. Christian will appear once again, leading the two siblings to Jacob's cabin. As the rain pours down outside, Jack will kneel before zombie Christian in a scene that simultaneously references Tarkovsky's original film version of Solaris and Rembrandt's painting Return of the Prodigal Son. Dad...?

Here are some other thoughts and questions I had about the Shape of Things to Come:

* Ben wakes up in the African desert, presumably in the same general area as that Dharma polar bear skeleton that Charlotte examined in Confirmed Dead.

* Ben's parka sports a new Dharma symbol and the name Halliwax. As you may know, the latter was Dr. Candle/Wickmund's latest alias in the Orchid Orientation film, which is available on-line but hasn't yet appeared on the show. I suspect that's about to change, so I'll hold off commenting at length until we actually see the Orchid Station. Suffice it to say that Ben is almost certainly lying about escaping the Island via boat and plane, and he had very good reasons for double-checking the date. Here's the new Dharma symbol, courtesy of lostpedia:

* Was that Ben's flashback or flashforward? I clearly heard a "whoosh" right after Ben convinces Sayid that Widmore's men killed Nadia, which usually signals a flashback. My instinct, however, is that it was a flashforward with one important twist. From Ben's perspective, the flashforward takes place only days or weeks after the murder of his daughter, which is why his anger remains so fresh. In the very near future, Ben will escape the Island conflict by jumping forward in spacetime. I'm guessing he gets that nasty gash on his arm from one of Widmore's men.

* A poster named DJ has an alternate explanation for Ben's wound, speculating that it may relate to Dr. Candle's prosthetic arm and be a byproduct of Ben's jump through time and space. I'm intrigued by DJ's suggestion, which strikes me as highly plausible. Here again, however, the argument makes a lot more sense once you've seen the Orchid Orientation, so I'll reserve further comment until then.

* Ben claimed that it was "very important" that John "survive what's about to happen here." When queried on this point later by Locke, Ben explains that "we have to go to him together," presumably referring to Jacob. I think that's because Ben is desperate to get back in Jacob's good graces and saving Locke is the only way he knows how.

* Faraday mentions that "time is kind of a relative term" on the Island, which explains the paradox of the doctor being alive on the boat but dead on the Island. The question is, could someone exploit this paradox to save the doctor's life, or would the universe course correct to prevent such efforts? I've long believed that Oceanic 815 was supposed to crash in the ocean with no survivors. Jacob somehow exploited the time discrepancy between the Island and the rest of the world to change their fate.

* On a related note, I was struck by apparent invincibility of Sawyer and Claire. Keamy's men were brutally efficient at picking off Karl, Rousseau, and various redshirts at the Barracks. Yet Sawyer dodged whole clips of ammunition with little more than a picnic table and fence posts for protection, and Claire survived a direct hit to her house from a rocket propelled grenade. Their miraculous survival, in marked contrast with the redshirts, makes me think the two still have work to do for Jacob.

* I'm not at all sure Widmore's man killed Nadia. It's entirely possible Bakir was simply shadowing Sayid and left the scene of Nadia's muder in a hurry so as not to be implicated. I could easily see Ben exploiting the situation to manipulate Sayid by casting false doubt on Bakir.

* Keamy has precisely the sort of history of military and mercenary background that I imagine Kelvin had, as well. I could see the latter being recruited by Widmore, too, as I decribe in I Am Not Alone...

* Ben's panic room cracks me up -- the only thing missing was a little window slit for him to peep at Sawyer briefly before disappearing. I was tickled to learn that the secret room had still another secret room off of it. My guess is that the stone passage leads to some tunnel network utilized by Cerberus, which is why Ben was covered in ash when he returned.

* How creepy was that smile Ben gave after Sayid joined his war against Widmore? I kept thinking of the evil Emperor trying to seduce Luke Skywalker. To complete the metaphor, the blackjack Ben keeps handy at all times is basically his lightsaber.

* The Cerberus system reminded me more than ever of a raging thundercloud, complete with flashes of lightning. Smokey may primarily be an electromagnetic phenomenon, but it clearly operates as cloud capacitor, just like thunderclouds. It grabs people -- no joke -- using static cling.

* Ben originally claimed not to know what Cerberus was. When confronted with this obvious lie, Ben countered that Locke could "ask Jacob all about it when we go to the cabin." I take that to mean the Island's ghostly patriarch can communicate with, and perhaps even control, Cerberus to a limited degree. You can read more on my take on Smokey's origins and its relationship with Jacob in the Lost Bible...

* Ben's late night confrontation with Widmore reminded me of a scene from Alan Moore's graphic novel V for Vendetta where the title character creeps into the bedroom of one of the scientists who created him. Charles mentioned that he knew "what" Ben was. Is it possible the latter was a product of the Dharma Intiative in more ways than one? Perhaps Dharma and Widmore were betrayed by the same psychic test subject they originally sought to create.

* Charles claimed that Ben was the one responsible for Alex's death, and insisted that everything Ben has he stole from Widmore. I believe that Widmore was originally an investor in the Dharma Intitiative. As described in the Cancer Man's Con, Ben crossed Widmore twice, first by handing Dharma over to the hostiles, then again by falsely promising to deliver him the Island. Charles is saying Ben brought this on himself through all the cons and betrayals.

* Ben argued that Charles had "changed the rules" by targeting his daughter. Ben also stated that he couldn't kill Widmore, implying this was similarly against the rules. I believe the two are part of a larger fight for control of the future. The rule against killing one another prevents any fuzziness in the timeline that might result from major players dying. The rule against killing offspring prevents combatants from committing particularly heinous acts that might tempt one major player to kill another.

* So who enforces the rules of engagement? Up to a point, the players do themselves, since Widmore and Ben were apparently able to revoke the rule against targeting family by mutual consent. I suspect, however, that the real referees are Chronology Protection Agents like Ms. Hawking and Brother Campbell.

* When Ben threatened Penny, Charles seemed confident that Ben would never find her. Was he bluffing? Perhaps. I wonder, however, if Penny is actually on the Island with Desmond. One of my whackadoo speculations is that Penny will arrive on the Island before the end of Season 4, thereby fulfilling Desmond's vision. So what if she and Desmond stay behind on the Island? Maybe Widmore knows that Ben will have as much trouble as he does getting back. This will set the stage for some collaboration between Ben and other members of the O6.


Jason said...

Wow what a killer episode. I'll be honest, when I saw the episode kick off with Kate and the sensual music and then Jack creepily looking at her I almost considered turning the TV off as this was gonna be another terrible Kate/Jack episode. Fortunately I stuck with it, and they came back with one hell of an episode.

The main thing I noticed is the game of Risk being played by Hurley/Sawyer/Locke as a micro view of the game Ben and Widmore are playing (and have played before).

Great episode, can't wait to read your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Long time reader 1st time posting.
Last night episode ansewered some questions and gave me 20more. How did Widmore have control over the Island before? Why couldn't Ben kill Widmore? And I thought that Desmonds boat was blown up, obiviously Ben lied to Sayed but wouldn't Sayed know the boat was blown up?? Or did I miss something?

Lolagrrl said...

Ok... I've slept on it now and I ~still~ don't know how I feel about this episode!!! I've said it before... ~everything~ about season 4 feels ~wrong~ to me. I keep waiting for it all to be course corrected but as the season wears on, the thought of a course correction actually happening seems more and more like a "jumping the shark" moment (or should I say snow globe moment?) ;-)

I'm pissed that Rousseau is dead and we never got to see her "flashback" episode. I'm doubly pissed that Alex is dead b/c I still feel like there was no closure for her & Rousseau.

and lastly.... "He changed the rules." WTF? Rules? What rules?! There are RULES?!?!

.... Meh... I ~hate~ rules. =(

Capcom said...

I agree Jason, the Jack and Kate scene started to make me nauseous. Then just in time, we get the rest of the ep.

Smokey was awesome, like a giant Dune sandworm! Kleamy's the first one to call Ben's bluff and win. Miles probably pooped in his diapers when he was watching Smokey, his face was priceless. Sawyer can outrun bullets (but maybe the island didn't want him to die yet). Locke's as dumb as ever. Hurley is a good dad. And Dan and Charlotte are still telling lies (Miles will straighten them out when he gets to the beach). Great episode.

Anonymous said...

hello...gone for 5 weeks and no post yet? come on...weak!

mayfly said...

Interesting that the Island let Locke recover from the brink of death, but would not do the same for Alex.

Given the mobisode scene with Christian that you pointed out in your last post, I can't help but wonder if the reason why Locke can walk and is relatively impervious to harm is that he's ALREADY DEAD. He could have died in the crash and been reanimated by the Island /Jacob for its own purposes. His spinal cord might remain cut, and his physical body might retain damage, but the ghost is able to move its shell no matter what its condition, so long as it believes that it can.

This would explain why the Others thought Locke was some sort of chosen one.

Lolagrrl said...

One more thing I forgot to mention earlier... Is it just me or are TPTB getting desperate to "thin the herd" of 815 survivors?

I have to admit that during the gun battle, I actually burst out laughing at the scene where Sawyer comes under fire and he yells to a fellow survivor to, "Get back inside" only to see the guy fall in a hail of bullets... to be quickly followed by not one... but TWO more people who can't seem to follow his sage advice.
"Get back inside!"
"Get back inside!!"
*Bang Bang*

and there we have it. Three people who managed to live through a plane crash, smoke monsters, others, exploding hatches and camp raids only to run unarmed towards gunfire???

...but a little funny.

dj said...

Well here was what I posted below... I put it in response to your theory because you hadn't put this placeholder here yet. :)


I don't know what to say! So complex... but so right! In a recent interview, TPTB even said, for relevant reading, "keep reading your Bible..." so you must be on to something here.

Hey hey, when you write your analysis of S04E09... don't forget to mention how Ben's right arm almost got sliced off due to his uhh teleportation! After all, Mark Wickmund -- or whatever alias he was using at the time -- lost his arm, and we all assume he played around with whatever toy Ben just used... looks like Ben didn't make the same mistake?

I'd say more, but my mind's still blown. They're finally revealing things. It's so intense. This was the one thing I felt I could point out and not end up sounding like a dufus later! :)"


That being said, still -- WOAH. What is it about Jacob and these special folks? It's as if... first Charles had contact with him, then Ben did, then Locke got it, and then Locke was abandoned as well and Hurley picked it up instead. Why, then, does Ben need Locke anymore, if Hurley's the new contact? Hm.

MikeNY said...

Big —

Best Episode Yet. Period.

The sci-fi train has left the station, and I couldn't be happier.

Is must be nice to see your seeds sprouting.

On a side note: Do you think that's Ayers Rock in the mural?


Capcom said...

LOL, Lolagrrl, not to mention how Sawyer is impervious to any bullets. :-D

Now that you oint it out DJ, Jacob seems very fickle.

Wow, it does look like Ayers rock there! Maybe we can find some similarities in the mural to Ben's glyph door as well. There are fish, and stick people, a wave line, etc. Or, just a coincidence.

DJ said...

Capcom -- Sawyer may have work to do...?

Capcom said...

Exactly, DJ!

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Bigmouth and the gang: I think that at this point, because of the writer's strike and the 8 episodes into 5 thing, not a single instant was wasted in this episode. But why was Ben in Tunisia for such a short time? Is that another side of the wormhole? I realize he left after seeing Sayid on the television, and already knowing how to exploit him, but I really want to know more about why he went to that hotel. Is it owned by the Widmore chain? Bigmouth, you are always coming up with "wackadoo" theories, well, I have had one since Season 2. It might explain why Sawyer and Claire survived this episode. Hear me out. Throw the Valenzetti Equation out the window, I kept thinking on this and figured maybe the numbers represent certain people. I have no way of backing this up without sounding like Faraday (which I mostly do on a daily basis anyways), but if certain people seem impervious to harm, is it because of the number they have been assigned? Could these be the rules that have changed? Alex was a 4 or a 15 or a 23. All right, everyone is thinking I'm Minkowski by now, so I better get out while I can.

DJ said...

Your theories are really coming together! Really really. Good, provoking read. Hmmmm...

Particularly interesting, that perhaps Ben is a result of DI. Maybe Ben spent some time in Room 23 as a kid. Maybe Ben sends people to Room 23 now -- Walt, Karl even? -- in an attempt to create a new Contact for Jacob? Eh... but then Ben already knew about Locke, so that's not so likely. Ah well. :P

Oh and Wayne -- you could be right about the numbers and some of the cast being aligned with them. But I would think that there being an Oceanic *6* and *6* numbers isn't just a coincidence. Keep in mind Jack had seat 23 or something. Then again, I think a non-O6 had a "number" seat as well, which could throw that out the window. Still, compelling...

MikeNY said...

capcom —

A good shot of that glyph door:

Capcom said...

Thanks Mikeny. See? Stick people, a fish, wave/water sign. Maybe, but probably not. It just stuck out to me.

Interesting connection between Keamy and Kelvin, Bigmouth. Perhaps somewhere along the line, post- or pre-Purge, Widmore felt the need to place a mercenary in the Swan station just in case. I think that it could be a link there.

Ben could use some more time in Room23 if you ask me, DJ. :-)

Wayne, where Ben landed in the Sahara/Tunisia is near one of the global vile vortices. Some theories have put out the idea that the Orchid's wormhole type "apparatus" transports people to any vortex in the globe. Our island is in/near one also. If that's the case, then you would travel to the vortex nearest where ever it is that you need to go. So if Ben traveled to the Tunisia vortex before continuing to his destination in Iraq, he might just stay over at that hotel frequently. After seeing this week's ep, I'm warming up to the vile vortices travel theory.

Great post Bigmouth! :-)

Capcom said...

P.S Here's a link to a map of the vile vortices locations:

dj said...

Oh wow, fascinating! I wonder why they're "vile"? But yeah, holy crap, those locations could definitely be significant. Where were Mr Eko and Yemi, again..? Because there are two spots in Africa covered by the VV map here... and then there's one between Oz and California... one in India ("Namaste"?)... and the poles, of course, for teh POLAR BEARZ! ...and then what, Cuba? o.O Eh?

That's a very interesting tidbit!

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to digest the episode - so much happen that there are a ton of things to dig through.

I do believe, however, based entirely on Ben's smile that Nada was not killed but Whitmore but by Ben. I think he had her killed so that Sayid would begin working for him.

I wonder if Jack's illness (I actually think an ulcer) is what starts his eventual drug habit which spirals because of his guilt over whatever is about to happen.

One funny side note - I immediately thought of Harry Potter when it showed Ben's injury to his arm. In HP world, if apparition is used incorrectly you can splinch a part of your body... Maybe Ben's not a muggle after all:)

Capcom said...

From what little I've read so far about it, I think that "vile" just means incredibly strong.

I feel that way too Jennifer about the possiblity of Ben killing Nadia, it sure seemed that way. Of course, he could have just been happy to be using the situation to his advantage. But I'd have to ask, like Sayid did, why would Widmore kill her? What would be their reason and gain? So it looks as if more fingers point to Ben for now.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Capcom, thanks for the vile vortices map. I recall seeing a map of lozenge shapes in a Charles Berlitz book on THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE and a supposed siomilar one off the coast of Japan. Not the same as the vortices, but something that has been around in various shape and form. I'll bet the producers might have their own spin to it. Everyone seems to bring up Ben's arm injury. While he might have "jumped" to avoid some kind of attacj, I'm kinda wondering if he had to reach around something to activate the Orchid button and didn't get his arm back in position fast enough.

@Bignouth: your verification letters have become VERY difficult of late. No big deal, but I have cerebral palsy and its kinda tough typing in what looks like itqhh, but all the letters blend together wayyyy too much. Good thing I'm not typing this at the sonic fence...

Capcom said...

LOL Wayne, I used to read those Berlitz books when I was a kid, my dad used to have a bunch of freaky-phenomena books in his den, and I loved them (you know, frogs raining down, spontaneous combustion, etc.). If I'm understanding it correctly, I think that the triangles and the vortexes areas are basically the same thing.

I really like your idea about how Ben cut his arm. There are so many things that we could guess, but I like that. Although it kind of blows my theory that Dr.Candlewickwax lost his arm when the two anti-bunnies jumped together and blew up as he was holding one of them. :-)

BTW, if anyone wants to listen to the Rachmaninov that Ben was playing while they LOST-blog, it's here (played by the master himself):

P.S. I feel for you with the WVs, Wayne. Perhaps Blogger is making them harder after some viruses were showing up on blogs a couple weeks ago? They are tough, I can hardly read them myself lately.

dj said...

Aw, I thought I was being all sneaky and observant about his arm. "Surely, no one will notice this little thing when they're all trying to figure out everything else!" Le sigh.

Jennifer... possible partial ***SPOILER*** ahead, but I believe the preview in the credits Thursday indicated that Jack's appendix was giving him trouble.

Alex said...

I feel like a Jacob/Richard/or Black Rock type of flash back is coming this season. Can't wait till they get to that cabin for plenty of answers and even more questions!

Anonymous said...

What are the chances that Widmore was the captain of the Black Rock, and immortal, which is why Ben can't kill him. Did it not strike anyone as curious that when ben snuck into his room "like a rat" (perhaps a rat on a ship), that he had the aura of an Ahab like figure? Defiant, even in the face of his enemy? Even speaking to Ben in his "authentic" voice, and not some mask of a British accent?

Just an idea.

Great posts as of late. Really compliment the show.

Capcom said...

I think that you may be on to something Anon. Also, what if Ben can't kill Widmore because the island won't let him, as in how Michael couldn't die? So many people are assuming they can't kill each other because of some rules of the game. But what if they just can't...period?

Anonymous said...

Sup the the theories....i stummbled across this article and i think EVERY Lost fan should read it. It contains info straight from Darlton's mouth...pretty wild stuff

lil-beeyotch said...

I was surprised that Claire survived and this makes me think that her use is to somehow help Jack who gets sick in the future episode? Christian's importance in all the mobisodes points to his importance/existence on the Island...maybe he has some connections with Jacob and couldn't he therefore make sure his children were not harmed? Sawyer is linked to Locke since they were both conned by the same man so maybe Jacob was inclined to save Sawyer, Locke's link?

I did catch that creepy smile by Ben and while I was feeling sorry for Ben and was on his side in the entire episode, that one bit kinda made me think huh and erm okay...and after reading BM's thoughts its quite plausible that Ben manipulated Sayid into killing Bakir but why would Bakir follow Sayid? To see if there are people still on the island and if he had connections? Who knows, it might have something to do with the fact that Sayid was on the boat?

Which brings me to another point, I was slightly annoyed that they didn't show the boat at all or what happened now that the captain knows Michael is working for Ben...something must have happened for the boat crew to fly to the island and attack! But if they could do that why didn't they do it before? Or did they need Faraday to somehow find out the island loop or something, the door in the sky sort of thing.

I am quite intrigued by the rules Ben mentioned...when he told Widmore that they both knew Ben can't kill him, does that imply the rules or Widmore's immortality like Michael, some unfinished business with the island? Have to do their part, Widmore being a funder? He said he knew WHAT Ben was, maybe Ben is a robot and can't kill his creator lol I dno!

I was surprised how easily Hurley just agreed to come with Locke and Ben, maybe he knows more than hes letting on?

The whole Sayid/Ben thing can be considered a flashback since we saw the earlier flash forward of Sayid acting as Ben's agent?

The guy who acts as Widmore is actually American so it was pretty hilarious when he put on his accent to sound British :P

Why didn't Ben just use smokey from before? Are they ever gonna show the other others at the temple? Seems like they still have to contribute some to the story, what about all those kids? Why are the others so interested in children, maybe its like a Children of Men thing since they can't have babies on the island?

Also, what was up with the receptionist at the hotel in Tunisia? Its like when Ben told her his name she gave him a look? Who is she??

And why did it take Sayid 8 years to find his love? Is this 8 years after getting off the island or what?

Why did Faraday lie about the morse codes? I want to keep loving him! They should make Charlotte do these things, she just seems to be hanging out and generally being useless. It could be a code, the doc is alive? And not mean that hes actually alive on the ship?

Loved when Widmore gunned down Ben's inhumane eyes :P this might hint at something?? Also, Paik's right eye is dodgy, or his left eye seeing as he is oriental and his eyes are supposed to be small? Anyway if his right eye is dodgy does this have anything to do with Ben's right arm?? Just gossip :P I also loved it when smokey came and killed everyone and also when three people came out while Sawyer kept saying go back go back lol, oi they better not kill him though! This episode is one of the best out of all the season episodes! Maybe not THE best but defo in the top 5! So far anyway!

lil-beeyotch said...

Woah excuse the word vomit!

Bigmouth said...

I've disabled word verification in response to some complaints that the letters are getting too tough to read. I tried complaining to google but haven't had much luck. One related tip I've learned the hard way is to compose comments using a word processor or google docs, then copy and paste them into the comments window. That avoids the incredible frustration of losing a long comment because of some posting snafu.

Jason: I completely agree -- Australia is craphole Island in whatever game Ben and Charles are playing. My guess is that the two are locked in a fight for the future. The Island's location outside of spacetime makes it a point of great strategic importance.

Anonymous: Welcome! I'd be wary of taking Charles literally when he says the Island was always his. I think that just means he was a major investor in the Dharma Initiative. Remember, the Blast Door Map refers to the "Hanso Group," implying that Alvar had partners. I'm assuming they were Widmore and Paik. As for Desmond's boat, I believe it's still intact. Perhaps you're thinking of the Dharma sub?

Lolagrrl: I'm disappointed by Rousseau's abrupt death myself. I have a feeling she and Alex will live on as apparitions, but ghosts don't get flashbacks -- at least so far as we know. I'm hoping we'll still get a flashback of what happened to Rousseau's crew but from the perspective of Ben.

Capcom: Holy toledo! I completely missed the glyphs on the stone door! That certainly seems to suggest Smokey was a creation of some ancient civilization on the Island. I also agree 100% re Sawyer and Claire's mysterious invincibility -- they both still have work to do.

Mayfly: You may well be right about Locke being resurrected by the Island. In fact, my very first post on this blog was devoted to precisely that possibility. These days, however, I'm leaning toward the notion that Jacob can channel the Island's energy field to heal ailments like cancer and paralysis. That's why the Others correctly believe that Locke was chosen by Jacob.

Lolagrrl: I noticed that myself LOL! I suspect, however, that it was a deliberate choice meant to underscore that Sawyer and Claire can't die because they still have work to do.

DJ: Thanks for reposting, and as I mentioned above, great call re the connection between Ben's cut and Dr. Candle's missing arm! It's certainly possible Charles has had contact with Jacob, maybe on some visit as part of a delegation from the Hanso Group. But I don't take Widmore literally when he says the Island was always his. Jacob's relationship between Locke, Ben, and Hurley is interesting. I'm reminded of the fabled three blind men who examine the elephant, or the three wise monkeys who see, hear, and speak no evil. Which is to say, maybe each man perceives some aspect of Jacob the others can't, making all three necessary to find his cabin.

Mike: Have you read the recent Popular Mechanics article (available here) re the science fact and fiction of the show? And yes, the Mural does seem to evoke Ayers Rock, which is a great metaphor for the Island. Good call!

Wayne: That's a great point about the writer's strike forcing them to trim the filler even more than usual this season. I also think you've got the right idea associating Ben's arrival in the desert with a wormhole. But I don't think this was the same wormhole the freighter folks are utilizing. Like I said above, this will make more sense when we finally see the Orchid Station, which I suspect is a station devoted to wormhole research. As for the Oceanic 6 representing the Numbers, I think that's possible and highly plausible. But why throw out the Valenzetti Equation? What if each has some role to play in bringing about -- or averting -- the extinction of humanity?

DJ: Verrry interesting point re Ben and Karl both having spent time in Room 23. To my mind, this also implies a certain continuity in the missions of Dharma and the Others. They both use the same brainwashing film that refers to Jacob.

Mike: Thanks for the cap -- this is big!

Capcom: That's precisely what I'm thinking -- Kelvin was recruited by Widmore after the Purge. As for the vile vortices, has anyone looked for any correlation between specific vortices and the Numbers?

Capcom: I absolutely love the suggestion that Ben can't kill Widmore for the same reason Michael can't commit suicide! Great thinking!

Jennifer: I agree re Ben conning Sayid. The latter becoming a killer also fits with other members of the O6 falling back into their old respective ruts. Interesting speculation re Jack's stomach pain leading to his drug abuse. I suspect, however, that Jack is actually addicted to the Island. The withdrawal symptoms will manifest as a haunting by his father.


Alex: I would *love* a Richard flashback in which we learn he was a member of the Black Rock crew. My speculation is he may have been its first mate...

Anonymous: Thanks! I tend to think Widmore is just a really rich and powerful dude who covets the Island. If anyone were Magnus Hanso, my guess would be Alvar. But there is indeed an Ahabesque quality to Widmore's hunt for the Island. Could he be the reincarnation of Magnus?

Anonymous: Thanks for the kind words and the link! As I mentioned to Mike I have seen the article and agree it's most intriguing.

Lil Beeyotch: Wow...those are some seriously deep thoughts! I, too, think Claire's work relates somehow to Jack. I suspect they both will be present when zombie Christian reveals they are half brother and sister. I further believe that Jacob was a Shepard and Aaron's great great grandfather. As for why Bakir followed Sayid, I'm betting something catastrophic will happen to Widmore's freighter before the end of the season. That's why Widmore is still hunting for the Island in Ben's flashforward.

I, too, was a little surprised how willingly Hurley went with Locke and Ben. I think he realizes there's some connection between himself in Jacob -- that it's somehow his fate to go with them to the cabin. Many, myself included, think that was actually Hurley peeking at himself from inside the cabin, so it appears he will indeed go there at some point. At the same time, it sure sounds like Hurley regrets his decision in the flashforward. It's almost like he knows they have to go back to face down Jacob ala characters in a Stephen King novel.

Why didn't Ben use Smokey before? I have a feeling he doesn't fully control the beast. I also think Ben has some answering to do to Jacob, who has some connection with Cerberus. Also, in a recent interview, Michael Emerson mentioned some price being associated with use of Smokey. Is it possible he had to offer it Alex's body in sacrifice?

BTW, isn't Alan Dale a Kiwi?

dj said...

"Which brings me to another point, I was slightly annoyed that they didn't show the boat at all or what happened now that the captain knows Michael is working for Ben...something must have happened for the boat crew to fly to the island and attack! But if they could do that why didn't they do it before? Or did they need Faraday to somehow find out the island loop or something, the door in the sky sort of thing." -- lil beeyotch

I believe Keamy et al flew to the Island BEFORE Sayid handed Michael over to the Captain. It was planned the entire time.

And wow, hey... I'm still on about this Vile Vortices thing. Lostpedia says the Beechcraft contained maps of Nigeria and the Sahara region. And well... if they did end up flying into the Sahara from Nigeria, there's a VV there...

Capcom said...

Absolutely right about the VV near Nigeria too, DJ. There's also one near Florida, making their little trip to Tallahassee and Miami easier.

Here's the Lospedia entry on it that I just noticed tonight, in case someone hasn't seen it yet. I'd only read about it on blogs, and didn't know Lostpedia had covered it in such a great article!

MikeNY said...

One more observation...

Is that a germinating orchid seed or a worm in a hole?

Perhaps both?

dj said...

......WORM [in a] HOLE!! HAH! I get it.

dj said...

Oh, wow. Looks like people dun already gone and been der where I was goin'... =P

The VV looks... very convincing, I must say. They appear to have covered all the bases quite well.

They don't mention Amelia Earheart, though. I know a couple people have suggested that even she's part of this mess somehow. Long dead, of course, but still part of the mess! To be fair though, she's not mentioned in the show or anything, so I guess there's no reason she'd show up on that article.

Hooray for a good article!

Capcom said...

Interesting thoughts about Earhart, DJ! Take a look at this Wiki map of the location of Howland island where AE and Nooonan were meant to land:

Depending on how far off course TPTB want to make her, Howland is near enough the vortex off of Oz, so I wonder why it's not mentioned on Lostpedia, especially since they do have this:

But maybe they just haven't thought to include it yet. It's difficult to tell on the flattened map exactly where the Howland area falls, so I'm going to try to find a spherical map of the vortices. Heheh, this is more fun than science class. :-D

But on the subject of AE and the Amelia in the show, I wonder if that's one of the peripheral mysteries that TPTB might not ever bother answering. :-(

David said...

I think the reason Widmore and Ben know they can't kill each other is that the two of them, though warring, are still "discreetly" fighting, under the nose of Dharma. The food drops are continuing, and whatever is left of "Dharma" still thinks everything on the island is ok. I think Widmore knows Ben usurped everything, but perhaps his investor co-horts (Paik? anyone else?) do not, and Widmore figures he can pull a "Ben" and take over everything himself. This is what their war is about, and one killing the other would open too many doors of inquiry and bring in the outside players (investors) from the original Dharma.

Capcom said...

Wow, good points David, I like that.

machramm said...

A couple of random thoughts …

Regarding how Jack and Claire find out about their familial connection: Maybe Jack has a lot of blood loss due to his current medical problems and has a very rare blood type that as it turns out Claire also has being his sister and she saves his life.

Regarding Libby (yeah, I know, out of the blue): Maybe she was in the loony bin because she was shifting through time and appeared outwardly disturbed. Maybe Hurley is her constant.

Bigmouth said...

It's funny, I always figured the Island's wormholes would be similar to the vile vortices but have different entrances and exits. I have to admit, however, that the locations on the show are lining up quite well. Any chance there's a vortex just outside of Portland?

Mike: A wormhole -- I love it!

David: I don't believe that Dharma sets the rules of the game. I do, however, love the suggestion that Widmore somehow hid the end of the Initiative from Paik. I could see the latter being behind some faction that shows up at the end of the season and destroys Widmore's freighter. This would also explain why Sun is one of the O6.

machramm: I absolutely love the suggestion that Claire's blood will save Jack! Reminds me of a favorite theory on the fuselage by a poster named Black Lotus about how Jacob's List details people who are immune to the sickness. It's possible that Libby and Hurley were each others' constants. That might explain why Hurley can find Jacob's cabin -- both are adrift in time.

dj said...

Frankly, I think Ben "can't" kill Charles -- and they both know it -- because they have insider info into what happens when all this ends. Ever notice how Ben used to say stuff like "I can't do that" when someone wanted off the Island? Well, why can't you, Ben? Is that not how it goes?

He seems very set in his ways sometimes. Like needing Locke so badly right now... it's very important that Locke survive this? Why?

And how incredibly SHOCKED Ben was when Keamy executed poor Alex. As if he thought it was impossible. Maybe "The Rules" are something along the lines of... not changing the ebb and flow of time? Not pulling a Desmond and trying to interfere with fate (RIP Charlie). Killing Alex shot "the Rules" to hell. Nah, we're not following the script here anymore...

As always-- SHRUG!

Capcom said...

Keep the faith DJ!!! :-O

*m said...

I have been reading about gravitational waves recently and I thought I would share something because of a comment made by Daniel when he first came on the island.

Gravitational waves are generated by objects whose motion involves acceleration. They are the result of fluctuations in the curvature of spacetime and these waves travel outward from the moving object or objects. Normally we would have a difficult time observing them as a result of the fact that, by the time they would reach us from another moving object, they are at such a low frequency. These waves, the hope is, will help us learn about systems that we cannot observe with telescopes or other tools we have now, and the reason is that they can penetrate regions radio waves, microwaves, x-rays cannot penetrate. But what is interesting is that the majority of how we observe things now is based on light -which is limiting because it is only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Light can also be blocked, absorbed, distorted and that can impact what is being measured, while gravitational waves have the unique ability to pass/travel through any matter in its path and unlike light, it will not SCATTER. (Daniel observed that light on the island was not scattering).

Going back to observation of gravitational waves- two objects would need to have a significant mass, and be very close together, for the waves to register in a significant way. In a region of "flat" spacetime that is visited by a gravitational wave (perpendicular to the region) the particles of that region will oscillate. Imagine an elliptical "ring" of particles or dots, the ring would squeeze end to end, then stretch end to end- making time relevant to what part of the squeeze or stretch you are at. (Daniel indicated that time is irrelevant when the Morse code signal they received turned out to say that the Doc was fine even though his body was laying at Daniel's feet).

What am I getting at…
We know that there is a problem with the normal time line of this show, but it was given to us that the island time is simply behind "real world" time. I have never felt it was that easy and I think that some recent clues indicate that there is more to it than being behind as the Doc's death (should be) in the future assuming the freighter person answering the Morse code transmission wasn't lying. When the test rocket hit the island, the island time was behind. When the Doc's body washed up- it was the freighter time that was behind. Time in that region may be oscillating in the wake of the gravitational wave that was released by the implosion of the hatch.

If this means anything then it may tell us a lot about why "flash forwards" can include an (highly rumored) alive Christian Shepard if the gravitational wave that departed the island, at the point when Desmond turned the key, left a lasting effect on the areas in spacetime that the wave passed through. Up until that point the island time may have been simply "behind" and if Desmond turned that key in island time, prior to the point when Christian Shepard initially died (in the story as it has been told to us) - he may be able to be alive when Jack returns from the island. If I have this all right .... My prediction- we will see a lot of discrepancies between what happened and what we will experience, but it will be temporary as course correction will play its role. If Christian Shepard IS alive, he will have to die soon. He just has to.

Capcom said...

Interesting M. I too don't feel that the "island time behind the real world time" situation, indicated by the timer experiment, is constant. Or even exactly 31 minutes either way.

I do however cling tenaciously to the thought that the reason why the light didn't "scatter quite right", is because whatever magnetic force or shield surrounds the island, scatters it like a lens or other obstructing material -- mostly because that was the real Faraday's forte, so I'm just connecting the two Faradays with that theory. Could your oscillating wave fit in with that?

Bigmouth said...

DJ: I'm coming to a similar conclusion. Charles and Ben can't kill each other for the same reason Claire and Sawyer were impervious to bullets and RPGs. The "rules" protect peripheral figures like Alex and Penny who don't share this same protection by fate.

*m: Great post! I, too, have wondered if gravity waves are somehow relevant. One of the inspirations for Fixing a Hole was Larry Niven's short story Hole Man, in which an alien communicator generates gravity waves by vibrating a micro black hole with an electromagnet. I hadn't considered the connection to Daniel's statement about the light not scattering right -- very interesting!

I actually think his comment is a reference to HG Wells's classic the Invisible Man. The character renders himself invisible using a "four dimensional" potion that alters his refractive index. I think the Island is similarly invisible by virtue of being removed in higher dimensions. That's why it's so hard to find and of such great strategic importance in Ben and Charles's game.

I strongly agree that the Island's time differential fluctuates. I suspect, however, that this wasn't the case until the implosion of Swan, which served as a kind of anchor in time. Without that anchor, the ship will drift. Doc Ray's death is a real puzzle. As a poster named wesb notes, the dead Doc's cheek scar still has stitches on his corpse, even though we saw it almost healed on the boat. Check out the screencaps at Doc Ray's page on lostpedia.

I'll be curious to see how they handle Christian Shepard in the flashforwards. My best guess is that Jack is being haunted by the ghost of his pops, which drives the former to drink and drugs. With zombie Christian, however, anything is possible...

Capcom said...

Here's a pretty cool video of gravity waves affecting clouds over Iowa:

Buster said...

Regarding the Dharma symbol, at the risk of stating the obvious, it is clear its roots lie in I Ching.

The I Ching (often spelled as I Jing, Yi Ching, Yi King, or Yi Jing ; also called “Book of Changes” or “Classic of Changes”) is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. A symbol system designed to identify order in what seem like chance events, it describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is at the heart of Chinese cultural beliefs. The philosophy centers on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of the inevitability of change (see Philosophy, below). In Western cultures, the I Ching is regarded by some as simply a system of divination; many believe it expresses the wisdom and philosophy of ancient China.