Hello my dear friends -
Something strange happened the night of January 21st after the Lost premiere ended. I actually heard my fingers speak. They cried out, "We have to do TWO write-ups within seven days?!? Noooooo!!!!"
Though it may not have been clear to everyone (or at least the people who aren't mega-mega-fans) tuning in last Wednesday night, the Lost premiere was comprised of two separate episodes, and so this post only covers the first hour. For my fingers' sake, I'm going to get right down to business. I think it's only appropriate to begin our analysis with a closer look at the opening scene of the season, don't you?
(Oh, and since in years past I was often asked to identify the various lyrics I use as section titles, I'm going to put that information in the comments section of every post from now on.)
Here we go!
YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND, BABY, RIGHT ROUND
LIKE A RECORD, BABY
RIGHT ROUND ROUND ROUND
When "Because You Left" kicked off, my friends and I thought we were seeing Future Future Sun in bed with Jin... or at least we were hoping it was Jin. "HE'S ALIIII-- oh, no, wait... damn." Alas, it was Mrs. Chang and her hubby Pierre Chang, also known as Dr. Candle/Halliwax/Wickmund from the DHARMA videos.
Like me, Chang is not a morning person and was all bitter about getting out of bed when his alarm blared at 8:15 (dun dun DUN!) AM. He puts on a little Willie Nelson ("Shotgun Willie" from 1973)... and in a not-so-subtle shout-out to the speech Daniel Faraday would make a few scenes later, the record starts skipping.
We then see a baby who we can only assume is the same baby that was crying off-screen in the video that aired at Comic-Con this past summer (which you really need to stop everything and watch if you haven't yet, because it's very much related to what's going on so far this season). In that video, Chang indicated that the infant was a boy, which made a lot of people jump to the conclusion that it must be none other than our favorite ghostbuster, Miles Straume. They contend that once Miles grew up, he blamed Ben for killing Daddy Chang in the Purge and is now out for revenge. But how did Miles himself escape the Island and the Purge? Apparently Chang is without his wedding ring in later videos (I have not been able to confirm this yet), so perhaps his wife divorced him and took their son with her -- assuming it was possible to even leave the Island.
If this theory about Miles is true, it would certainly give a whole different twist to the words he shouted at Ben in "Eggtown": "Do not treat me like I'm one of them... like I don't know who you are ... and what you can do!" I had sensed that Miles and Ben had some sort of history during that scene (the one that concluded with Miles demanding $3.2 million), however, despite all of that "evidence," I'm still not convinced that Miles is Chang's son.
Yes, Pierre and Miles are both Asian and yes, Miles has weird "powers," but since it's already been alluded to that Charlotte might have been born on the Island (and we seem to have gotten more evidence of that in this episode), wouldn't it be overkill if both she and Miles end up having that history in common? Don't get me wrong -- if Miles is revealed to be Chang's kid I will think that's kind of cool, but right now I feel like people are jumping to conclusions simply because both actors are Asian.
For now, I'm sticking with what I said this summer -- maybe we'll never find out who Baby Chang grows up to be because it doesn't matter; the only reason he was in the scene was to prove that, at one point, pregnant women gave birth on the Island without complications. Here's what I thought about this issue at the end of last season: "Perhaps pregnant women started dying on the Island in the first place because of Ben... because he stopped devoting himself completely to the Island and got too wrapped up in Annie. As a punishment, the Island made it so that no one else could ever have children and Ben would have to bear the guilt of that situation."
If we assume the opening scene was from the 1970s when the DHARMA Initiative was thriving on the Island (and Lil' Ben had just arrived), and if we also assume Baby Chang was indeed conceived on the Island, then there's more reason to link the pregnancy issue's origins to one Adult Benjamin Linus.
WALK WITH YOUR FRIENDS
BUT STEP TO YOUR ENEMIES
AND MAKE IT LAST WITH A MEGA-BLAST
Next, Pierre heads off to film yet another DHARMA video -- this one's for the Arrow Station. Back in Season Two, everyone on the message boards called this station either "Hatch Lite" or the "Ghetto Hatch" because it was totally beat down... remember that? Oh, how I miss those kinder, gentler seasons past and all of the funny nicknames they brought with them. Anyway, the tail section survivors used the Arrow for a little while as their shelter. Surely you haven't forgotten the weird box they found there -- the one which contained a glass eye (that better get explained one day), a Bible with the rest of the orientation film from the Swan hatch hidden inside of it, and a two-way radio (which Bernard used for his infamous "'We're the survivors of Flight 815'... 'No, WE'RE the survivors of Flight 815!!!'" exchange with Boone). I think we can now confidently say that at one point in time the Arrow Station was surely the Ghetto Fabulous Hatch!
Although both Goodwin and the glow-in-the-dark Hatch Door Map led us to believe that the Arrow was just used for storage, Candle's latest video insinuated that the Arrow was once used as a defense station. Might that be where Smokey was first developed? Many are convinced that Smokey was created by the DHARMA team as a security system to keep the Hostiles out of the Barracks, but then there was an "incident" that resulted in Smokey taking on a life of his own. Whatever went haywire with Smokey was most likely also what led to Chang losing an appendage (in later DHARMA videos, he mentions "the incident" and clearly has a prosthetic arm).
I have a feeling we're getting closer to learning more about this mysterious event, because the filming of the Arrow video gets interrupted by a workman who begs Chang to come to the Orchid Station. We see the Orchid all shiny and new-looking, and find that the DHARMA crews have encountered major issues while trying to complete its lower level. They have a printout of what lies behind an impenetrable wall... namely, the good ol' Frozen Donkey Wheel (FDW).
None of this seems to come as a surprise to Pierre, who's like, "Duh, don't you know about the überpowerful energy trapped behind that wall and how we can totally manipulate time with it?" And the other guy's all, "Say what? Like we could go back and catch Woodstock this time around?" and Chang goes, "As if! There are RULES, moron! Just stop drilling, OK?" and then runs off in a huff, almost knocking Faraday over in the process.
What the -- STOP!
Folks, we have arrived at the first "rewind" moment of the night: He Of The Skinny Black Tie trolling around in underground chambers with DHARMA, official uniform and all.
Which brings us to the on-Island events...
IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME,
IF I COULD FIND A WAY
Not too long after Ben "moves" the Island, we see the remaining 815 survivors (minus Locke), Juliet, Miles, Charlotte and Daniel reunite at the beach. Only Faraday is not shocked to find that their camp no longer exists. When Sawyer demands an explanation, Daniel says, "You have no idea how difficult that would be for me to try to explain this... this phenomenon to a quantum physicist. THAT would be difficult. So for me to try to explain whatever's happening... " and then is cut off by a smack to the face.
As I watched this scene, it became immediately obvious to me that the writers of this episode (who also happen to be the executive producers, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof) were trying to set expectations for us crazy fans. Daniel's speech was their way of telling us, "Look, people... there's no way that the remaining 34 hours of this show are going to make perfect sense, so just deal with it and enjoy the ride." I personally feel that this disclaimer of sorts was unnecessary, because the millions of people who are still watching this show five seasons in can clearly suspend disbelief with the best of 'em. Consequently, don't expect me to spend too much time picking apart the time travel stuff. I'll only do so when I think there are legitimate questions to be raised that don't fit with "the rules" that both Chang and Faraday clearly want us to understand.
The impression I'm under right now is that, whenever the FDW (or failsafe key) is turned, the island itself moves in some manner. That's why it seems to have disappeared to those on the helicopter, and why (as Miles whispered to Charlotte in this episode) Widmore hasn't been able to find it for the last twenty years. (Along these same lines, remember the Vile Vortices and Amelia Earhart theories?)
In addition to the Island shifting locations, its newest inhabitants -- the cast of characters mentioned above (and the stuff they were physically touching and/or had on their bodies when Ben turned the wheel) -- are now skipping through time... and voilà! We've got ourselves a way to piece together what happened on the Island before the Flight 815 crash. The story of Montand's arm can't be too far off, hooray!
DANIEL, YOU'RE A STAR
Three important things happened as our ragtag group moved through time in this episode:
1) Faraday stated that the main "rule" of time-shifting is that it's impossible to change the past. If something didn't happen the first time around, it can never happen...
2) ... However, then we see Locke encounter Ethan at the site of the newly crashed drug plane. How could that meeting have transpired? Wouldn't Ethan have freaked out when he sees Locke again at the Lostaway's camp after the crash in 2004? (A lot more on this one in the next section.)
3) Sawyer doesn't have any patience for Faraday's babbling (surprise, surprise) and proceeds to bang on the Swan hatch's back door. No one answers. Eventually, everyone heads back to the beach save Daniel. HE now bangs on the door, and HAZMAT Desmond comes out. Desmond clearly heard all the ruckus, but did not answer until Daniel was the only one waiting -- thus proving (in a roundabout way) the "rule" we learned earlier.
The short encounter between the two men gave us some compelling stuff to ponder:
- Daniel indicates that Desmond is "uniquely and miraculously special" and that "the rules don't apply" to him. This may mean that Desmond is the ONLY person who can actually change the past and therefore affect how things turn out in the future.
- As the next flash approaches -- Daniel tells Desmond that in order to save everyone, he must go find Mama Faraday at Oxford once he's escaped the Island.
I'll talk about the possible identity of Faraday's mother in my next write-up, so for now, let me ask you this: "How much does Daniel rock this season?" The answer is, "Even more than he did last season." Is there anyone out there who doesn't like Faraday? Might we have our first unanimously loved character? If Lost fans are able to come together and agree on just this one thing, then world peace is surely possible.
The last issue I want to bring up about Faraday is that, judging from the opening scene of the episode, it looks like he's either been time-jumping without the rest of the group, or has been able to break away from them for extended periods of time in order to sneak around with the DHARMA crew. I'm very excited to see how he came to be in the Orchid station in the '70s, aren't you?
KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU
Let's revisit the Locke/Ethan encounter again, because this short scene helped more pieces from the puzzle of seasons past fall into place (for me, at least).
When Ethan first saw Locke scrambling up the cliffside to check out the Crack Den Plane, he obviously didn't recognize who it was because he opened fire. Once Locke and Ethan were face to face and Locke proclaimed that Ben had designated him to be the new leader, Ethan was like, "Shut your mouth, fool!" and went to shoot him again, but then was foiled by another flash. That's all fine and good... but shouldn't Ethan have recognized Locke later on when he infiltrated the 815ers camp? Or more importantly, wouldn't Ethan have marched straight back to Ben and told him about the off-his-rocker bald dude he'd come across in the jungle?
Here's what I think is going on with all of this craziness. Bear with me through this section and the next, because I promise you, it's worth it:
1) Let's say that Ethan and Locke met at the site of the drug plane crash when it was 2001 to Ethan (don't get hung up on the exact year because as long as we agree this event took place before September 2004, it doesn't matter) and December 2004 to Locke's body. As we've seen in past episodes, however, time travel seems to affect one's mind in weird ways. To make any sense whatsoever out of this, I have to assume that even though Locke's body was still acting like it was 2004, his consciousness recorded his run-in with Ethan as if it actually happened in 2001.
2) When Locke meets Ethan again in October 2004 after Ethan has passed himself off as an 815er, perhaps they DID actually recognize each other, but kept it hidden from the rest of the Lostaways. I reviewed the second recap I ever wrote for this show ("Raised By Another" back at the end of 2004) and found this little gem: "I cannot believe that no one has brought up the fact that Ethan and Locke went to the jungle ALONE in the last episode, leading me to believe that Locke knows what’s up with Ethan."
That's right, my friends. In episodes nine and ten of Season One, Locke and Ethan spent a heck of a lot of time hanging out by themselves, supposedly hunting wabbits (shout-out to Elmer Fudd). I think it's very conceivable that they each remembered their initial encounter and were able to talk privately about it before Ethan made off with Claire. If Locke eventually comes to understand "the rules," he would know that he'd have to let everything run its course and couldn't intervene in either Claire's abduction or Ethan's death.
3) What about the possibility of Ethan reporting his Locke sighting to either Ben or Richard in 2001 -- wouldn't that have screwed something up? I have two possible guesses: 1) Richard intercepted Ethan before he could say anything to Ben. Richard tells Ethan that he cannot under any circumstances let Ben know about the bald guy in the jungle that disappeared into thin air. Ethan agrees, Ben never finds out, and the meeting of Ben and Locke unfolds as we witnessed it in the last half of Season Two. Or... 2) Ethan does tell Ben, but that's OK, because Ben has also time-jumped before (perhaps as a result of him coming back to the Island with the Oceanic Six) and therefore already knows that he'll eventually meet and then be replaced by Locke. No harm, no foul.
What I'm trying to say is that I think that Locke was still able to "remember" his meeting with Ethan from 2001 (at the drug plane) even though it technically hadn't happened in October 2004 (when they meet after the 815 crash) because he didn't start jumping back in time until December 2004 (after Ben moves the FDW). I believe Locke's mind was suppressing his memories from the time-jumps and filing them as having taken place in the year it was on the Island, not the year it was to Locke's body.
If you need more proof, read on... because I don't think Locke is the only character this has happened to...
DIDN'T I BLOW YOUR MIND THIS TIME,
Are you ready for some insanity? Too bad if you're not, because I'm about to unleash some insanity on you.
Who are the only characters left from Season One that remain on the Island in Season Five and are now drifting through time? Locke, Sawyer and Rose. There are reasons to believe that all three of these crash survivors had buried memories of their time-jumping experiences from the moment they landed on the Island.
(Yes, Bernard and Juliet were also on the Island during that timeframe, but we didn't get introduced to them episode-wise until much later in Seasons Two and Three, respectively. So I'm going to leave them out of this analysis because it's confusing enough as it is).
As the saying goes, ladies first.
In the pilot episode of our beloved series, when the Losties first heard Smokey in the jungle and saw trees swaying and crashing in the distance, Rose said, "That sound that it made, I keep thinking that there was something really familiar about it."
You may also recall that Rose was absolutely adamant that her husband was alive elsewhere on the Island. At the time we all attributed this to Rose's strong faith. But what if she actually knew about both the monster and the fact that Bernard would eventually be found because these memories were in her mind from the time-jumping?
Some of you probably remember me harping on and on over the years about an offhanded comment Sawyer made in "White Rabbit" (episode five of the first season). Kate tackled him because she thought he was hoarding the group's water. He replied, "It's about time -- I made this birthday wish four years ago."
I thought it was a totally bizarre line in 2004, and now I am absolutely convinced that it was there on purpose -- to prove the existence of either time travel or a time loop for the characters from the very beginning. (I'll attempt to explain the "four years" part later in this post.)
But here's the kicker: I don't think that either Rose or Sawyer were even conscious of these buried memories or the fact that they may have gone through certain events on the Island more than once. The comments they made in Season One that seem suspicious could be compared to when something comes out of your mouth before you had a chance to think about it too much. Obviously Sawyer and Rose would've acted much differently throughout Seasons One - Four if they were actually fully aware of what transpired during their time-jumps. But I can't be as certain about Locke...
Locke's the easiest one to explain. How many times has he known when it would stop or start raining? How many times has he told people what they were or were not "supposed" to do? Locke has shown multiple signs of having been on the Island before, so to speak. While I think he's always figured that he's been following some strong gut instinct, what may have actually been happening is that because he's more connected to the Island than Rose or Sawyer are, his time-jump memories are more accessible to him.
And yes, if you've inferred through all of this that I think the Lostaways are going to repeat the crash, or at least that those three characters will live through it again because of their time-shifting, then you are right -- that's what I believe. The Time Loop Theory will not die... not on my watch!
If you need one last bit of evidence that these "memories" could be affecting the characters' thoughts and actions before the events technically transpired, look no further than our first flashback of Daniel Faraday.
Surely you remember him sitting at home in his tired-looking robe, sobbing at the footage of the Flight 815 wreckage on TV. A woman in his kitchen asks him why he's so upset, and he replies, "I don't know."
But WE now know. Even though Faraday's body wouldn't start time-jumping for a few more months, Daniel's mind had already been to the Island and Lord knows where else in the past, all in the name of his time-travel research and DHARMA Initiative investigation. His suppressed memories were making him weep. And therefore I think we have good reason to believe that Locke, Rose and Sawyer were in similar situations once they landed on the Island.
IN THE DARK, FOR A WHILE NOW
I CAN'T STAY, VERY FAR
I CAN'T STAY, MUCH LONGER
RIDING MY DECISION HOME
OK, here's the last bit of time-jumpiness we have to discuss for this episode. When Ageless Richard removed the bullet from Locke's leg during one of the flashes, he confirmed some of what we'd already learned: Locke was skipping through time (but Richard wasn't) and in order to set things on the right path again, he was going to have to get the O6 back to the Island. To do that, Locke was going to have to die. Richard then gave Locke a compass, presumably the same one he'd laid out before him at age five, and told Locke to return it to him the next time they met because Richard wasn't going to recognize him.
There was something else that Richard said, though, that I think was pretty important. It finally clicked to me this morning (three days after the premiere aired). I'd been confused as to why, at the end of "Because You Left," Desmond popped out of bed with a "memory" of his exchange with Daniel at the Swan hatch. If Daniel's time-jumping started shortly after Desmond left the Island on the helicopter, why did it take three more years for Desmond to remember it? Shouldn't it have hit Desmond before he even reached Penny's boat at the end of 2004?
I couldn't figure this out until I watched the episode again and realized that Richard had given us a clue. Everything we saw go down on the Island in this episode seems (key word) to have transpired in only a matter of hours (at the most). Originally, I had assumed that during that same time off of the Island, the Oceanic Six, Frank and Desmond were floating on the raft at sea... or maybe had just been found by Penny's boat. Richard, however, told Locke that "they're already home, so you have to convince them to come back."
Between Richard's comment and Desmond's memory of his encounter with Daniel not kicking in for three years, I now think that everything we've seen on the Island between episodes one and two (and most likely the next episode) happened over the course of three full years in Outside World Time. As "The Lie" gave us more hints about how time on the Island is moving, I'm going to table this issue until my next write-up. But needless to say, it could help explain Sawyer's "four years" comment in Season One.
Aaahhh... We still have the Los Angeles events to cover, for the love of all that is holy!
NOBODY TOLD ME THERE'D BE DAYS LIKE THESE
NOBODY TOLD ME THERE'D BE DAYS LIKE THESE
STRANGE DAYS, INDEED!
MOST PECULIAR, MAMA
Because this post is already so long, and because I will focus more on the the off-Island events in my analysis of the second episode, let's just hit the two key things that happened in LA during "Because You Left":
1) At the end of Season Four, Sun told her father that he was one of the two people she blamed for Jin's death. From her conversation with Widmore at the airport, it seems that the other is Ben. We have yet to learn exactly what Sun and Widmore talked about during the rest of their rendezvous.
2) Before he gets darted all to hell, Sayid tells Hurley that he was working for Ben. As in, he had been working for Ben in the past but wasn't any longer. He goes on to warn, "Listen to me, Hurley. If you ever have the misfortune of running into him, whatever he tells you, just do the opposite." Clearly Sayid and Ben had a falling out since we saw them working off-Island together in "The Economist," and I'm hoping we get to see what their tiff was all about later this season.
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
[Sawyer slaps Dan across the face.]
CHARLOTTE: Oy! What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?
SAWYER: Shut it, Ginger, or you're gettin' one too!
SAYID: I'm not taking any risks after Bentham died.
HURLEY: You mean Locke.
SAYID: Yes, I mean Locke.
HURLEY: I need a cool code name.
RICHARD: ...You need to pay attention. Next time we see each other, I'm not gonna recognize you, alright? You give me this.
LOCKE [taking it]: What is it?
RICHARD: It's a compass.
LOCKE: What does it do?
RICHARD: It points north, John.
SAWYER [as the event begins to occur]: Son of a...
SAWYER [after it has occurred]: Bitch.
MILES: Hey! Where you goin?
SAWYER: Back door. To get us some supplies.
DAN: James, wait, not a good idea.
SAWYER: Sky can flash all it wants but I ain't startin' over, Dilbert.
JULIET: We should get back to the beach. It's been a long day.
MILES: Why are we going back to the beach if there's nothing to go back to?
JULIET: So stay here.
MILES (as Juliet walks away): That chick likes me.
I can't take it anymore, I must stop typing and go soak my fingers in ice (and ease my stress over the pending second write-up with ice cream).
If you think there's something I didn't cover, chances are I'll be mentioning it in my next post, so stay tuned...
Until then ("then" being sometime before the morning of Wednesday, January 28),