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Entertainment :: LOST 5.11 Follow Up
  submitted on April 2, 2009, 8:36 AM

Little early for a follow up post, isn't it?

One thing I forgot to mention was the fact that Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore are still on the island according to Richard. I think this means that Charles is running the show, and if I had to guess, I would say that he and Eloise are "together" in whatever sense of the word.

This also means that there must be a little Daniel running around on the island. Let's go one step further and think about the idea that you can't be on the island if your younger self is there. I still maintain that's the real reason Charlotte disappeared, not because she died. So what if Sawyer's cryptic answer to Jack's question about Daniel being on the island was due to the fact that Dainel was born some time in the past three years, resulting in his older self ceasing to exist?

What if the baby Dr. Chang had wasn't Miles, but what if he has another baby in the future, and that does end up being Miles. Perhaps Miles ends up disappearing as well. Just think about the idea of someone being brought into existence resulting in their future selves ceasing to exist.

I thought it was a cool idea, it was something my friends at work were throwing around. But that's not why I wanted to make this follow up post.

My blogger buddy Mr. Goat has once again outdone himself in his LOST recap this week, doing a fantastic job of discussing time travel and how it relates to the show in general. I encourage you to go check out his whole post, but I wanted to post the snippet about time travel here, because it's a must read, in my opinion.

"OK, you know what?

Let's really talk about the time-travel in this show. It actually is the opposite of confusing, and I'm going to prove it to you.

In fact, let me make a couple statements, and then we'll get to the proof.

1) This show has always been about time travel, and in fact has been time-traveling since the very first episodes.

2) If you've been watching, you have been subconsciously understanding all of this time travel / inevitability stuff all along, with zero confusion. I promise.

Let's unpack it.

First of all, consider the notion of time travel. Here you are, puttering about in the present, when suddenly -- whoosh! -- you are transported back 10 years, or 20, or five or three months. OK so far? What had been the present for you is now the future. What was the past is now the present. You check it out, see what you see, then -- whoosh! -- you are back to your old "present" day, and the past is past again. Future just became present. The whole thing lasted eight minutes. You are eight minutes older.

That is what a flashback is.

Consider a standard, Season 1 - 3 Locke-back. You are watching Locke in "present day" island action, he's helping Charlie find his guitar or something, maybe hunting a boar. Then -- whoosh! -- we are back ten years, and he is continuing his drama in the past with his con-artist maybe-dad, his girlfriend, his crap job, and the rest of it. So there are in effect two Lockes. Past Locke and present-day island Locke. Now, you have no problem with this. This happens all the time in movies and TV and books. It's fine.

But here's something else you have no problem understanding. Nothing is going to happen to this past Locke that will change present-day island. Locke. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. Anything that you see happen to past Locke, up to and including a possible life-ending injury, will and can only ever result in who and what present-day Locke is.

So, Locke can NOT die in the flashback. You know this. Why? Perspective. You've seen the future. Locke's alive in the future. Thus, he cannot die in a flashback, even if he seems to be dead even briefly, QED. What's more, I doubt any of you have had any problems understanding this on a very instinctive level.

This is exactly the position of our time traveling heroes. They are living a flashback instead of watching it, and that is the only difference. So, what had been the past for them is now the present. Since they haven't seen it before, these events are new to them. However, nothing is going to happen to change what they know the future was like. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. Anything they do, whether by action (Kate, Sayid, Sawyer) or inaction (Jack), will and can only ever result in the future that they've already seen.

Is it any wonder now that Jack seems resigned to fate? He's grasped this somehow.

The flashback structure that we've seen since the beginning is simply the illustration of the reality that was coming. Shadows on the walls of the cave, so to speak.

Now, let's flip it.

Imagine it is 2014, and Lost has been off the air for a while. Some enterprising young geeks have taken all the footage of the now-wrapped show and re-spliced it in precise chronological order. Now imagine that we are people who've never seen the show, and we watch THAT.

I don't know what is coming over the next 20 something episodes, but basically it would go like this:

We'd see some flashes of time jumping Locke/Sawyer/Juliet throughout island history. They'd be desperate, talking about people and places and situations with which we are unfamiliar. Interspersed with this we'd see whatever we are going to see of the origins of Jacob and Richard and the others. In the 50s, you'd see the U.S. Army come and the time travelers would appear again.

We'd start seeing events from the perspective of a very young John Locke. The first "flashbacks", though we wouldn't think of them as such. We'd see Dharma show up and whatever footage we are going to get of that.

We'd start seeing strange scenes of characters that we didn't know. A young Korean girl. A little Hispanic boy. Others.

Then the main action would get going in the late seventies. Some people would arrive. We'd recognize them from the time flashes. Time travelers. Sawyer. Juliet. Miles. Daniel. Jin. They'd have mysterious knowledge of the island inhabitants, and some strange knowledge of what was going on. They'd be waiting, but we wouldn't be sure what for.

Then, three years later, some more of them would just appear on the island. They'd claim they had been on a plane. They'd seem to think that they had been their before. Their relationships with the other time travelers would seem to be complicated and conflicted but generally friendly. A lot of things would happen (that's the rest of season 5 and perhaps season 6).

Then we would start seeing events from the perspective of these interlopers. Somewhat younger, strangers to each other, living their own lives . . . but in the mid to late nineties and up to and through 2004. Juliet will wind up getting recruited by the island people . . . who we would realize know her, even though they pretend not to, and even though she does not know them. We'd notice strange coincidences that seem to be drawing these people together, until they all wind up in Australia, and get on a plane from Sydney back to LA . . .

. . . at which point they crash on an island. They have never seen this island before. They know nothing about it. But the people that were on the island back in the seventies, they remember. And now, you have the perspective of Richard Alpert and Benjamin Linus. Of Ellie Hawking and Charles Widmore. They are the ones who have been watching this story in chronological order.

And they know that nothing can possibly happen to Jack and Kate and Jin and Sawyer and Locke and Juliet. Because these people haven't gone back in time yet. They will, because they have. They will do the things they are going to do when they get there, because they already did. But until then, it would be impossible for anything to happen to them that would change who they are going to be when they go back to the late seventies. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. Anything the "others" do, whether by action (Ben) or inaction (Richard, at least for a while), will and can only ever result in who and what Jack and Sawyer, etc. will become when they go back to the seventies.

Now, see the first four seasons of Lost through that prism.

I love it."

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