Friday, June 04, 2010

Bigmouth's Big List of LOST Answers...

Recently, an amusing video of 100 questions supposedly left unanswered by LOST has been making the rounds online.  Much of the dissatisfaction with the show seems to revolve around its purported lack of answers.  But I maintain that LOST offered more explanations than detractors give it credit, so I decided to put my money where my big mouth is.  As suspected, most of the video's mysteries had fairly straightforward solutions, whether express or implied.  In my view, only a handful of the queries therein were left deliberately ambiguous in the sense there is no one interpretation that's clearly more plausible than the alternatives.  And even in that handful of cases, plenty of reasonable  speculations come to mind.  Here's the video by College Humor, followed by my answers.

Why did the monster kill the pilot?

Instinct.  The Monster was originally an automated security system, and visitors to the Island are a threat, particularly when they pop unexpectedly out of cockpit windows.

What did Locke see when he first saw the smoke?

This was left ambiguous, like the contents of Marcellus Wallace's briefcase in Pulp Fiction.  But my interpretation is that the Man in Black showed Locke light from the Source. 

What's with the polar bear in Walt's comic?

Walt had a special connection to the Island.  This connection gave him certain powers, including a limited ability to manifest his mind's eye.  When Walt read a textbook about  birds, he attracted a cuckoo in the vicinity.  When Walt saw a polar bear in the comic, he attracted one of the bears DHARMA brought to the Island.

Where is Christian Shepard's body if it's not in the casket?

Somewhere under the Temple, where the Man in Black took it to enhance the illusion he was Christian resurrected.

Why did the psychic say that Claire had to fly on Oceanic Flight 815 and why did he insist that her son had to be raised by Claire?

The psychic was a fraud, as he later confessed to Eko.  Richard Malkin's scam was to scare pregnant women like Claire into keeping their babies long enough for him to arrange an adoption for pay.  The part about Oceanic 815 was to create a false sense of urgency in case Claire had second thoughts.

Why did the Others want Walt so badly?

As stated previously, Walt had a special connection to the Island, which gave him certain powers. 

Who sent Kate the letter telling her about her mother being treated for cancer in the hospital?

Kate's childhood sweetheart, Tom Brennan, who worked in the same hospital.

How does Walt know about the hatch and why does he warn Locke not to open it?

One of Walt's special abilities is to see flashes of the future like Desmond.  That's also why Walt had prescient dreams of Locke on the Island surrounded by people who wanted to hurt him.  Walt didn't realize he was actually seeing the Man in Black in Locke's form.

Why does the smoke monster make mechanical sounds?

It's a Bad Robot.

How is Walt able to apparate before Shannon?

One of Walt's powers is the ability to project ghostly visions of himself from afar.  Ms. Klugh alluded to this when she asked Michael whether Walt had ever appeared anywhere he wasn't supposed to be.

How did Michael communicate with Walt using the Swan computer?

Damon and Carlton have suggested that Walt was able to interface mentally with the Swan computer.  But we later learned the Others had the Swan under observation from the Pearl the whole time, so it's possible that Ben forced Walt to communicate via the Pearl computer.

What was the deal with Kate and that horse?

Coincidence, or perhaps some variation of Walt's ability to attract animals.  We later learned there were horses on the Island well before Oceanic 815 crashed. 

Why are supplies still being dropped on the Island after the Purge and by whom?

The Swan was still active after the Purge, necessitating continued supply drops.  The LOST Experience mentions that Alvar Hanso contracted with someone to make such supply drops "in perpetuity."  The Mysteries of the Universe series suggests that these supply drops were connected with the Lamp Post.  Ms. Hawking manned this station as part of her penance for helping cause the Incident, which resulted in construction of the Swan.  However, it's also possible the drops were sent from the other side of the Island.  The Flame computer mentioned "pallet drop" as an option, and we later learned that the Swan was deep in hostile territory.  Perhaps air drops were safer than sending the supplies by van or boat.

What triggered the lockdown and why on earth would anyone design it so during the lockdown black lights go on?

The food drop triggered a lockdown.  The black light was Radzinsky's doing.  After the Purge, he assumed that the other DHARMA stations had been compromised, including the Pearl.  Radz used invisible ink as a safety measure in case the Hostiles were watching.  He installed the automatic black light to ensure that future button-pushers would eventually see the map no matter what if he died or was incapacitated before sharing the information.

What happened to the original Henry Gale?

The Others killed him the same way they killed people from the tail section of Oceanic 815.

What happens to the original timeline Libby between the mental hospital and getting on the tail section of Flight 815?

She recovers from the trauma of her husband David's death.  To find closure, she gives away his possessions.  These include David's boat, which she offers to Desmond.

Who built the four-toed statue?

The Egyptians built the statue to honor the Island's protector.

Why does only one specific bearing get you off the Island?

Because spacetime around the Island is warped such that there is only one safe exit. 

What are the hieroglyphics on the Swan countdown timer about?

Props to the Egyptians!

Why did Tom feel the need to wear a fake beard?

To make the Hostiles seem more savage and threatening than they were.

Who was Libby's previous husband who gave her a boat to give to Desmond?

Her husband was David.  Beyond that, we know nothing about him, suggesting his identity is irrelevant.  At one time, I believed that Hurley's imaginary friend Dave might be the ghost of Libby's David.   However, Damon and Carlton have expressly rejected such a connection.  It's left ambiguous, but my interpretation is that Hurley's "imaginary" friend Dave was actually the ghost of David.

Who were the skeletons in the polar bear cave? Where did the toy truck come from?

The skeletons were the remains of DHARMA recruits who died during the Purge.  The polar bear no doubt scavenged their corpses for food.  We later learned that children were part of DHARMA, which explains the toy truck.

How did Locke and Eko escape the hatch implosion?

The release of exotic energy from the Swan anomaly teleported them to safety, just like the same energy teleported the '77ers back to the future.

Why couldn't Locke talk after the hatch implosion?

He'd just survived a hatch implosion! 

Why did the monster kill Mr. Eko, and why didn't he just do it the first time they met?

The Man in Black thought he could manipulate Eko using his guilt over Yemi's death.  When Eko refused to repent, the Man in Black realized he couldn't be manipulated, so the Man in Black killed him.

What did Mr. Eko mean when he said "you're next" after he died?

He was referring to the Man in Black's efforts to manipulate Locke.

How disgusting was it when Hurley was eating from that tub of ranch dressing?

Meh.  I've seen much worse.

Why did Yemi's body disappear?

Same reason Christian's did.  The Man in Black snatched the bodies to enhance the illusion that he was the dead come back to life.

Why does Danny say Jack wasn't on Jacob's list when in fact his name was clearly written in the cave?

Presumably, the "Jacob's list" that Danny mentions wasn't of the Candidates.  However, it's also possible Jacob omitted certain names to protect them from the Man in Black.

Why can't women on the Island have babies and what does this have to do with anything?

Mother said the light at the heart of the Island was the Source of all life, death, and rebirth -- i.e., the life cycle.  The Incident damaged a portion of the Source, disrupting this life cycle locally, which is why there were pregnancy problems on the Island.  If the Man in Black had succeeded in destroying the Source completely, those pregnancy problems would have spread worldwide.

What was that Russian letter in Mikhail's typewriter?

His memoirs of Afghanistan.

Why was the supply drop menu hidden behind a game of computer chess?

Security to prevent the Hostiles from accessing it.

What was that weird mark Ben gave Juliet as a punishment?

Branding as punishment is as old as the Island.

And what's the deal with Jack's tattoos? Actually, you know what, I don't care about that one.

They foreshadow Jack's eventual ascension to the role of Island protector.

Desmond knew a monk. How did that monk know Eloise?

Brother Thomas Campbell was a friend or relative whom Eloise recruited as part of her effort to keep Desmond on course for the Island.

Why did Ben see his dead mother?

That wasn't Emily Linus's ghost.  The Man in Black projected a vision of her to manipulate Ben, just like he used a vision of Isabella to manipulate Richard.  Hence Ben's comment in the finale about the Monster "summoning me."

Who decided it was time to kill [DHARMA] in a Purge?

The Man in Black.  Using dreams and visions, he tricked Ben into thinking that Jacob wanted DHARMA killed.  Ben convinced the Others that DHARMA was a threat to the Source, triggering the Purge. 

What happened to Ben's childhood friend Annie?

She either left with the rest of the children before the Incident or died in the Purge.

Why did Desmond have a false vision of Claire and Aaron leaving the Island on a helicopter?

Desmond's vision wasn't false -- what he saw was supposed to occur.  The Man in Black changed the "picture on the box" of fate by claiming Claire, just as Desmond said his saving Charlie changed the identity of the parachutist from Penny to Naomi. 

How does Mikhail keep coming back to life?

He never actually dies until detonating the grenade.  Duh.

Why does Walt tell Locke he still has work to do?

Taller Ghost Walt was actually a vision projected by the Man in Black.  We know this because he used the same expression about "work to do" in a mobisode.  Locke's work was to serve as the Man in Black's loophole.

Whose eye appeared in the cabin window?

It's left ambiguous.  Jorge Garcia claims it was meant to be Hurley's eye, so perhaps the encounter foreshadows his ascension to Island protector.  But my belief is that it was the Man in Black, whose consciousness became trapped in the Cabin during one of his ghostly projections.  When the Cabin moved outside the ash circle, Smokey entered and reunited with the Man in Black, as symbolized by the change in Zombie Christian's outfit from formal to casual.

Where did Miles get that picture of Ben?

From Widmore.  Ben's capture was always the goal of the mission, so it's reasonable to assume that members of the freighter crew would have his picture.

Who is the R.G. on Naomi's bracelet?

Regina from the freighter.  She was probably Naomi's lesbian lover.

Why was there a 31 minute, 20 second difference between the time [of the arrival of h's rocket]

The rocket took the wrong bearing through the Island's spacetime barrier, creating a time distortion.  The amount of time (1880 seconds) is actually an Easter Egg.  Albert Einstein was born in 1880.

Who was the economist and why did Ben want him dead?

He was one of Widmore's associates who helped fund the freighter mission.  As such, Ben held him partly responsible for Alex's murder.

Why was Ben so surprised that they could kill Alex? What are the rules?

Ben and Widmore had an unwritten agreement that family was off limits in their war.  This is different from the Rules set by the Island's protector, which prevent Candidates from killing each other.  Obviously, if killing family members was against those Rules, Widmore would not have been able to change them.

If the smoke monster can't leave the Island and was Zombie Jack's-Dad, how does Jack's dad appear at a hospital in LA and on a freighter?

The Man in Black was able to project ghostly visions of himself from afar just like Walt could.  That's why Christian's appearance to Jack was preceded by an alarm from a smoke detector -- it's an inside joke.

How did the monster get into Jacob's cabin?

The cabin was never Jacob's, or if it was, he abandoned it long ago.  Through the aforementioned dreams and visions, the Man in Black tricked Ben into thinking it was still used by Jacob.  Later, the Man in Black used Claire to break the ash circle so he could physically enter the cabin and impersonate Jacob when Locke came calling.

Why ask Locke not to tell anyone that he saw Claire in the cabin?

So no one would try to rescue her, disrupting the Man in Black's loophole plan.

Why did Ghost Horace direct Locke to the cabin and tell him Jacob was waiting there, when it was really the smoke monster?

Ghost Horace was another dream vision sent by the Man in Black.  He said Jacob was in the Cabin to continue the aforementioned deception

Why did the Oceanic 6 named Charlie, Boone and Libby as the other three survivors?

It's left ambiguous, but I'm assuming it was arbitrary.

Why does Miles decide to stay on the Island?

Like Walt and Hurley, Miles has a special connection to the Island, as evidenced by his power to read dead peoples' thoughts.

What is the deal with the frozen wheel?  It combines light and water?

The Wheel moves the Island by releasing power from the Source.  The water was props to the Romans (i.e., for their aqueducts) or perhaps the Cherenkov effect, where light slows down when passing through water.

Why does Ben insist that the Oceanic 6, as well as Locke, have to return to the Island?

Eloise insisted it had to be all of them, and Ben feared he would not be permitted to return to the Island unless he fulfilled her orders exactly.

Why don't the rules of time travel apply to Desmond?

Exposure to the Island's exotic electromagnetism made him immune.

Who are the men that tried to capture Sayid and Hurley?

Widmore's people.  They were part of Ben's a "vast network of people and resources" off the Island. 

Ben asks his butcher friend who's watching Locke's body if Gabriel and Jeffrey checked in yet. Who are any of these people?

They were also part of Ben's off-Island network.

What was Ben hiding what he took something out of the vent and put it in his bag?

That was the mysterious package Sun received with the gun and surveillance photos of Ben.

When the gang was unstuck in time, who was that shooting at them from the outrigger?

It's left ambiguous, but my interpretation is that Ilana's crew shot at them in an effort to kill Locke.

Who sent Sun a gun and pictures of Jack and Ben?

Again, Ben.  He manipulated Sun's desire for revenge to get her to the Marina knowing she would reconsider upon seeing Jin's ring.

Who attacked Sayid at the hospital and why did he have Kate's address?

Again, Widmore.  My guess is that he was killing the Oceanic 6 in an effort to keep Ben from returning to the Island.  Again, Ben, who was rounding up the Oceanic 6 to return to the Island.

Why was the smoke monster at the Temple? When did the Temple become an anti-smoke monster fortress?

Smokey was originally an automated security system under the Island protector's control.  That's how Mother was able to massacre the Romans and fill the well.  This relationship is symbolized by the relief carving underneath the Temple showing Anubis feeding souls of the unworthy to Smokey.  But the Man in Black's merger with Smokey fundamentally altered this dynamic.  Smokey went from being a subservient security system to a malevolent antagonist.  After that transformation, the Island's protector no longer controlled Smokey, and the Temple became a refuge.

How did the producers of Exposé deal with the death of their two lead actors?

They hired Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro Tom and Arturo to take their places.

How did Eloise come to run the Lamp Post?

It's left ambiguous.  My interpretation is that she learned about the Lamp Post from Daniel's journal and knew she had to be there to ensure whatever happened, happened.  It's also possible she was visited by Jacob just like Charles.

How does the pendulum predict the Island's movements? Who figured that out?

It's left ambiguous.  When Eloise said the Island is always moving, I think she meant it orbits relative to the Earth.  This orbit may be through higher dimensions, different energy states, or both. It periodically brings the Island into phase with the Earth like two strings vibrating in tune. During these "event windows," the Island is accessible. The pendulum models the Island's orbit, creating a phase portrait that enables predictions about where and when the next event window will occur.  The "clever fellow" Ms. Hawking mentioned was one of the DHARMA scientists, presumably Gerald DeGroot.

Why do those returning to the Island need to recreate the circumstances of their first arrival?

To symbolize their leap of faith.  It's not supposed to make rational sense.

How did Jack, Hurley and Kate get from that Ajira flight to the 70's, and why didn't Sun?

It was one of the "unpredictable" side effects that Ms. Hawking warned about if they failed to recreate the crash of Oceanic 815 exactly.

How did Richard bypass the sonar fence?

He climbed over it just like Locke, Kate, Sayid, and Danielle.

How did Ethan go from the DHARMA Initiative to a member of the Others?

He was a Candidate on one of Jacob's lists.  Indeed, several DHARMA members joined the Others, including Tom and (possibly) Amy.

What's with all the hieroglyphics underneath the Temple?

They date from a time before Jacob and the Man in Black, when ancient Egyptians worshiped the Island's protector as Anubis, and Smokey as Amit.  The Temple was later constructed on top of the Egyptian shrine to Anubis and Amit.

Why did Widmore tell Ben to kill Rousseau and her baby, and why did he then let Ben keep the baby anyway?

This was part of Charles and Ben's power struggle for leadership of the Others.  Widmore wanted to make Ben look bad by having him kill a pregnant woman.  But Ben turned the tables on Widmore by challenging him to kill the baby himself.  At that point, Charles had no choice but to back down and let Ben keep Alex.

Why did Daniel leave the Island in the 70's and why does he tell Jack he doesn't belong there?

Daniel left the Island to visit Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he worked on his plan to change the future by detonating the Jughead's core during the Incident.  He said Jack didn't belong there because he believed the Oceanic 6's arrival in 1977 represented a change to history.  What Daniel failed to realize was that the '77ers were always the  cause of the Incident.  By detonating the bomb, they were actually effectuating history, not changing it.  What happened, happened.

Why does Richard think he saw everyone in the 1977 DHARMA picture die?

Richard saw the mushroom cloud from the bomb and assumed the '77ers all died in the explosion.  He didn't realize that energy from the Swan anomaly teleported them to the future a split second before blast.

Who broke the circle of ash around Jacob's cabin?

As explained previously, the Man in Black used Claire to break the ash circle.

Why can Jacob leave the Island but the smoke monster can't?

Smokey was originally an automated security system.  By merging with Smokey, the Man in Black became subject to its programming, which prohibited him from doing certain things like leaving the Island and directly harming the Source.

Jacob uses his last breath to say "they're coming," but who are "they"?

The '77ers.

What's the deal with the pool that brings people back to life?

The water flows from the Source, which is "life, death, and rebirth."

What is the infection? How did Claire get infected? How did Sayid get infected?

There was no sickness in the sense of a communicable disease.  The infection Dogen mentioned was more like psychic slavery -- i.e., being claimed by the Man in Black.  Claire and Sayid each became infected during their respective near-death experiences.

Why was the smoke monster confused that Sawyer could see young Jacob?

The Man in Black erroneously assumed that he alone could see ghosts of the dead.

What's the magic lighthouse about?

It was built by the Egyptians so the Island's protector could keep tabs on the Candidates via remote viewing.  Symbolically, it underscores the Candidates' lifelong connection to the Island.

How was Dogen's simply being alive keeping the smoke monster out of the [Temple]?

Jacob imparted a little of his magic to Dogen, just as he did with Richard.

What happened to flight attendant Cindy and the kids?

According to Sayid, they were either killed or scattered into the jungle by Widmore's mortar attack.

Why didn't Sun tell Jin to go just so their daughter wouldn't be an orphan?

It wouldn't have mattered.  She repeatedly told him to leave, but nothing she said could persuade him.

Where did Jacob and the smoke monster's mother come from? Where did Jacob and the smoke monster's OTHER mother come from?

Mother was part of a long line of sole Island protectors dating back to ancient times.  Claudia was a Roman whose ship was brought to the Island and wrecked by Mother.

Who finished the magic wheel that combines "light and water" and when did it became frozen?

It's left ambiguous.  My guess is that subsequent visitors from Rome (or perhaps Carthage) finished the work.  It was frozen to help stabilize the Wheel.

What is the nature of the light?

It's the Source of all creation, including the afterlife.  The Source is so beyond our current understanding of physics that we can only comprehend it in mythological terms

Magic wine...?

It's an allusion to the new wine of Gnosis.  "Across the Sea" is an allegory for the Gnostic myth of Satan's creation (i.e., Sophia and Samael).

Why does that Tina Fey lady want the electromagnetic map of the Island?

To triangulate the location of the Source.

How did Widmore's electromagnetic thingy send Desmond to the afterlife and back?

The same way the Swan implosion sent him mind traveling into the past. 

Wasn't Sayid's soulmate Nadia?

Apparently not.

Why weren't Michael, Walt, Lapidus, Eko or any of the other characters in the church?

Michael wasn't in the church because he was trapped in Island hell.  The rest simply had stronger connections to other people.  Remember, most of them spent a tiny fraction of their lives on the Island.  Eko presumably "moved on" with Yemi -- we see a flash of them walking arm-in-arm as kids when Eko dies.

Thanks to WASTE from LOST-TV for transcribing the questions
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