Lost: A tale of two timelines

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February 3, 2010

2:40 PM

This is it. The beginning of the end. Where to begin?

Let’s start with a simple recap. Ha. How can anything with “Lost” be simple? Especially after that mind-melting season premiere. But I’ll give it a go nonetheless.

So the beginning made us all believe that Juliet had succeeded. Jack and Rose are chatting on the plane about turbulence, the suitcases start falling but the plane keeps going. “You can let go. Looks like we made it,” Rose tells Jack. Desmond even makes an appearance on the plane, which he did not belong on, making us believe time has been reset. The camera even pans down from the plane into the water to a sunken island, barracks, four-toed foot statue and all. All signs point to a detonated bomb and a time rewind.

Then we get to the first commercial break and the show returns, in classic “Lost” fashion, with an eye. Kate’s eye. She’s on a tree, in the jungle, with ringing ears. After descending from the tree, she runs into Miles and they both discover their friends lying unconscious around the Swan site. Only its not 1977/H-Bomb/Hatch construction Swan site, its post-Desmond/Locke Swan hatch explosion. Sawyer immediately punches Jack, blaming his misguided advice for Juliet’s death.

The show then flashes back between the plane and the island. Some events on the plane indicate that things are the same, while others moments differ greatly from what we know. Jack runs into Kate on the plane, Hurley and Arzt meet, Hurley claims to be the “luckiest man alive,” Jin bosses Sun around, Locke went on a walkabout in Australia, Boone didn’t bring Shannon back with him, Jack saves Charlie from choking to death on his heroin, and Oceanic flight 815 lands safely in sunny L.A. and everyone walks off the plane — except Locke, who gets wheeled off.

In the meantime, back on the island, we find Hurley, Jin, and a very worse-for-the-wear Sayid hanging out by the van. Jin hears Sawyer and runs to the Swan site just as Kate hears Juliet faintly calling for help. Sawyer tells Kate he will kill Jack if Juliet is dead. They all work together to pull off the wreckage, using the van to pull away a heavy beam. Sawyer descends into the hole, knocking Desmond’s red exercise bicycle out of the way before reaching a barely-alive Juliet. She realizes the bomb’s explosion did not work and explains to Sawyer that she detonated it to save him. They hug and kiss before Juliet tells Sawyer she needs to tell him something very important, but she dies before she has the chance to spit it out. After crying, Sawyer emerges from the hole carrying his girl in his arms.

Sayid asks Hurley about his afterlife before Jacob approaches them. Jacob admits that he died an hour ago but tells Hurley to bring Sayid to the temple with Jin’s help. Jack comes along to help Sayid but admits that he can not help him, so Jin, Jack, Kate and Hurley put Sayid on a make-shift gurney all set out for the temple.

On the other side of the island, someone posing as John Locke cleans off the knife that Ben had just used to murder Jacob while Ben asks him why Jacob did not fight back. Locke orders Ben to fetch Richard but instead of following Ben, the ageless wonder throws Ben into Locke’s dead body. Bram (one of the Ajira passengers working with Ilana) then picks up Ben and forces him back into the statue so they can get some answers. Bram and his crew draw their guns on fake Locke, but he tells them they can go because, as Jacob’s bodyguards, they are free from responsibility since he is dead. Bram shoots fake Locke, but the bullet ricochets off of him and he disappears. Immediately, the Smoke Monster and his mechanical noises fill the room. It kills all of the bodyguards as they try to escape but before it makes it to Bram, he’s made a circle of ash around himself, making a light appear around him. Smart Smokey uses a rock to force him out of the circle in order to impale Bram on the giant loom, however. Smoke Monster disappears and — voila — fake Locke reappears, apologizing to Ben (the only one left alive) for having “to see [him] like that.”

At this point, the show continues to juggle the stories of the crew at the temple, the crew by the four-toed statue, Sawyer and Miles in the jungle, and everyone from Oceanic 815.

At the airport, Jack finds out the airline lost his dead dad, Kate kicks the marshal’s ass and escapes, Sawyer helps Kate slip by the airport personnel, Jin gets hauled away by customs for not reporting the wads of cash in his luggage (while Sun does not interject), Kate escapes the airport and gets into a cab with Claire, Locke offers Jack some insight about his father and Jack offers to consult Locke about his spinal injury.

Sawyer asks Miles to stay behind with them. They bury Juliet and Sawyer forces Miles to find out what Juliet wanted to tell him. Her message? “It worked.”

In Jacob’s statue lair, Smocke (Smoke Monster + Locke, nickname compliments of my brother Seth) cleans up the bodies and chats with Ben. He explains that he, unlike real Locke, wants to go home. He also mentions that real Locke was the only one of the bunch who realized how pitiful his pre-island life was. On the beach, Richard sees the flare before Smocke approaches him and immediately attacks him. “I am very disappointed in all of you,” he exclaims, before throwing Richard over his shoulder and walking away.

Sayid and crew arrive at the wall where Jin hung out with the French dudes. They slip down the hole into the temple cave. Kate follows voices, Jack follows Kate, and they all get kidnapped by some dudes in turbans and vests and thrown in front of… drumroll please… THE TEMPLE! Finally! At the temple, their deaths are ordered by the Asian leader of the pack, before Hurley invokes Jacob and the guitar case. Inside the guitar case, the leader finds a huge ankh (Egyptian cross), which he breaks in half in order to reveal a note saying that if Sayid dies, everyone is in trouble. The other Others push Sayid underwater (which has mysteriously turned from clear to maroon), despite his struggling and the survivors’ pleas, until sand in a huge hourglass ran out. They declared him dead. The crew drag Sawyer and Miles into the temple and Zach, Emma and stewardess Cindy, all Oceanic flight 815 survivors, try to feed them all. Hurley then tells the leader that Jacob is dead and the other Others go into a frenzy barricading themselves in for safety and setting signals into the air. Sawyer promises not to kill Jack, only because he wants him to suffer on the island still. The leader’s right hand man, who bears a resemblance to John Lennon, tells Jack to come talk to the leader by force or choice before they all turn and see Sayid sit up and ask, “What happened?”

My thoughts exactly. What the heck happened in those two hours?

For those of you still scratching your heads, keep in mind that we did learn some important details.

We finally caught a glimpse of the temple. They also showed us what in the temple heals people, although how it heals people could use some more explanation. We found out where Cindy and the kids have been hanging out. They showed us what was in the guitar case and we learned more about the Smoke Monster. They told us who Bram, Ilana and company were as well. “The List” also reappeared but we still have no explanation. Ash circles offer protection (no explanation offered, though). So while everyone is still talking about the big “WTF?!” of the two time lines, please keep in mind that it was not an empty episode.

Now onto the good stuff: the theories. I have to admit that my mind kind of hurts still but I will do my best to give it all I’ve got. Here we go…

Alternate realities. The h-bomb explosion created two different strands of time. The same people exist in both but neither have any knowledge of the either. My friend Monica posed the theory that everyone on the island would have to die one at a time until there was only one strand of time, the airplane, left. It’s possible, but I think the melding of the two time lines will be more complicated than that. It is “Lost,” after all.

On the other side, I’m also thinking it might fit into my previously mentioned cyclical theory. Basically I wrote that everyone will reset to the LAX flight and everything will happen the same way again, but differently. Perhaps the people on this flight will all make it back to the island in some way, shape, or form, go through their own crazy (and perhaps parallel) adventures, and then cause a catastrophic event (like a hydrogen bomb detonation) that reboots everything. And at that point, everything resets to the crew we saw at the Swan site hole. The more I write the less likely it seems but I am having a really hard time reconciling what I saw last night, so give me a break.

I woke up this morning with another epiphany as well. So remember season three’s finale? With the first flash-forward? Well I’m beginning to think that the two time lines are occurring at different times as well. As in, the plane stuff happens in the past, but also in the future. Bear with me here. So we saw them on the plane and we saw the island under water. We also saw that the Swan station was built and later exploded. Therefore, I am positing that the h-bomb’s purpose was to reset time and somehow harness the power of the pocket of electromagnetic energy. They succeeded in getting the record to skip back to the right period, matching up with Lapidus, Sun, Smocke, Ilana and all of them. Now they have to do something even more bad-ass in order to actually reset to the pre-crash plane to make it all go away as well as sink the entire island. So in a sense, what will happen to make them reset to the plane is still coming in the future, and what they do will send them back a few years in the past.

I have another theory. Maybe the whole plane landing part was just to remind the audience or the characters or both of their pitiful previous lives, as Smocke mentioned in this episode. I am not sure how it works in with the plot besides as a future as seen through a crystal ball like you’ve seen in other shows, but it is still a possibility.

A lot of people are discussing the possibility that Jacob is now inhabiting Sayid’s body. It would answer the question I posed in my last post about what Jacob’s power is if the Man in Black can shape-shift. Perhaps those two mysterious beings have the same powers but they are only harnessed when you are dead. I think it is possible (as my brother says, “What _isn’t_ possible?”) but because Sayid is my favorite character, and I really like people coming back from the dead, I want it to still be him. Nonetheless, that theory would then suggest that the Man in Black is dead and now inhabiting the bodies of dead people on the island or taking the form of black Smoke which begs the question of how he died (or, more likely, was murdered).

Now that I am writing the morning after and with a fresh brain, the theories keep coming to me! What if the Jacob seen wandering the jungle is not Jacob but the Man in Black? Since Jacob is dead, the Man in Black could have inhabited his body and given Hurley faulty advice. Also, we do not know how much the two timelines of the jungle action and the statue action match up so it is possible Locke could have smoked away while Ben was getting Richard or that it could have happened after he walked away (keeping that in mind, it would also be possible for the MIB to now occupy Sayid’s body, which kind of backs up this theory because maybe MIB knew that going to the temple would kill Sayid and he needed a new body).

Also, Smocke’s comment to Richard, “Nice to see you out of those chains,” might imply that Richard arrived at the island on The Black Rock slave ship. I think he did anyway, but I am not sure that the comment proves it. I think the comment refers more to a mysterious power Jacob exercised over Richard (like Richard physically could not betray Jacob even if he really wanted to) that is now over because Jacob is dead. You can choose what you think but I wanted to give you both thoughts that are floating around.

Wow, the possibilities are really endless. Let’s move on for now.

I also want to point out some elements that were integrated into the episode that I think might have some importance. Lost has a habit of dropping small hints and I try my best to note them when I see them — but please comment if you noticed some I missed.

Freedom. Smocke invokes this with Bram and Richard. I sense a tie to free will and the possibility that it does not exist for everyone on the island.

Interestingly worded comments on the plane. Rose to Jack: “You can let go. Looks like we made it.” Bernard: “I almost died in that bathroom.” Jack to Desmond: “Do I know you from somewhere?” Boone to Locke: “I wouldn’t make it two days without my cell phone,” and “This thing goes down, I’m sticking with you.” Charlie to Jack: “I was supposed to die.” The more I think about these comments, the more I’m wondering how much the survivors remember. I’m beginning to think they remember their experiences but will not or can not talk about them. For instance, remember how Jack recognized Desmond when he first met him in the Swan station? But he did not say anything. Perhaps they remember it all, and they are just putting on a grand charade because they are happy to have gone back, or they are bound by some inexplicable rules that forbid discussion of the ordeal. But their little comments let them connect with each other nonetheless. Just an idea.

Jack giving Sayid CPR parallels Jack giving Charlie CPR in season one. Except in season six he stopped when Kate asked him to while he continued until Charlie woke up in season one.

Also, I totally called the Smoke Monster inhabiting Locke thing! I think it’s pretty safe to equate the Smoke Monster with the Man in Black too, but if you think otherwise please let me know on the comment board.

Finally, let’s have a moment of silence for Juliet.

Alright folks, that’s about all I can handle for now. I am sorry I can’t offer you more insight but, despite my research and fanaticism, I am still as perplexed as you all. As always, please let me know what you’re thinking through the comment board below!

See ya in another week, brotha.

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