Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The box is still closed

I'd like to start of by commending the Swan for following through on what was a very difficult obligation of having to be the one to post the "first response" after last night's episode. The very first thing that crossed my mind at 10:00 CT was "Man, I'm glad I'm not first..."

I was also glad I didn't have to go first for the premiere because sometimes a good night's sleep does the LOST body good, and I feel as though I woke up this morning with a theory regarding the alternate timeline. As a matter of semantics, I'm going to refer to the timeline in which the plane does not crash as the "LAX timeline" as opposed to the "alternate timeline". I think it's important that one should not be fooled into thinking that just because that's the "alternate" doesn't mean that it's not as relevant as the island timeline. I envision that the LAX timeline hears itself called the alternate and says "No you're the alternate!" Anyways, I guess my point is that just because it's thought as the alternate timeline doesn't make it inferior to island timeline.

I was reminded this morning of a theory that I had heard before regarding multiple universes that I think is very relevant to what we're seeing on LOST. I went out and read the book that ABC's FlashForward is based off of, and it was a major theory in that as well. It's called the many-worlds interpretation, and it uses the example of Schrodinger's Cat to explain its concept. The idea is that you take a cat and put it in a box with an amount of poison, then close the box. There are two possible outcomes when you open the box later: either the cat has eaten the poison and died or it hasn't eaten the poison and is wondering why you put it in a box.

According to what you and I would think of as common sense, one outcome exists in the box and we don't discover what it is until we take the lid off. If the cat lives, then it's alive in that box while the lid is still shut, we're just unaware of the outcome. But according to the many-worlds interpretation, both outcomes exist in the box until you open the lid and discover one of the outcomes.

So translate that to LOST. When Juliet hit the bomb at the end of Season 5, there were two possible outcomes, and we began to discover what those outcomes look like last night. There's scenario #1: The energy of the bomb mixes with the electromagnetic energy of the under-construction Swan site, and the product is the white flash that catapults our friends forward in time back to 2007 and in sync with the rest of the island folk. Or scenario #2: The bomb works as Faraday said it would, and Oceanic Airlines still has a perfect safety record. My theory is that we're still in the state of limbo where the lid on the box is closed, and both outcomes are running concurrently. And that at some point before the series is over the lid will be removed to show what was the true result of Juliet's action. As to which outcome will be reality, I'd honestly put it at a coin flip. I'm pulling for the island timeline to be the outcome, but like I said, your guess is as good as mine. 50% of the time it works all the time.

So that's my theory of the many-worlds interpretation and how it applies to LOST. As for the episode, you basically had three storylines running at once, and here's my take on them:

1. LAX Timeline
This is the one we know least about, just because we've never been presented with the backstory of the plane actually landing. The first little subtlety that I think was important was Cindy giving Jack one bottle of alcohol instead of two like on the original flight. Given what we saw from Cindy back on the Island Timeline this just screamed at me that she knew all along that Oceanic 815 was going to crash and knew exactly what was going to happen. The extra bottle wasn't just a stroke of good fortune for Jack, it was deliberately given to him to clean out his wounds.

The next big reveal was a beautiful camera zoom down from the sky all the way to OH HOLY CRAP WHY IS THE ISLAND UNDERWATER? Honestly, and I hate saying this because you don't come to an analysis blog to hear this, but I don't know. I do think that the underwater scene, much like Desmond's appearance on the flight, was more of a clue from the producers that detonating the bomb and changing the past does much much more than just change the fact that the plane doesn't crash. To quote Damon Lindelof in EW: "God bless the survivors of Oceanic 815, because they’re so self-centered, they thought the only effect [of detonating the bomb] was going to be that their plane never crashes.” But they don’t stop to think, “If we do this in 1977, what else is going to affected by this?" To answer why the island is underwater, you would literally need to fill in the blanks of 27 years worth of implications and that's just information we don't' have right now.

And there was the little dust-up regarding the lost coffin and the lost knife luggage. My guess is that even though they managed to not crash their plane, some things did get to where they're supposed to go. Is it possible that there was a flash of light only visible to the things that were taken to the underwater island, much like how on Ajira 316 the 815ers were flashed to where they were supposed to be?

Other than that I thought the LAX timeline was a lot of fun for the obsessive LOST fans who loved all the easter eggs and subtle differences. I've got to give credit to my friend Chip at the watch party last night for catching this: but did you notice that while getting his ass kicked by Kate that Edward Mars suffered the EXACT SAME head injury that he did in the pilot episode? Might that be a clue that even though the plane landed safely this time that fate is fate and we'll see that theme play out in that timeline?

2. Island Timeline
So obviously the survivors have been launched to 2007, in sync with the Monster/Jacob/Alpert timeline and you can see the collision coming there. I don't know what to call the group of people inside the temple. The other others? Maybe some sort of inner council or something? I guess one of the things that struck me about this storyline is that I'm sort of at a loss for questions. This of course assumes that it was Jacob that has inherited the body of Sayid. I think that the temple is going to go a long way towards providing us some of the answers about the island and its inhabitants while we wait for the the ultimate collision between this storyline and the next...

3. Statue Storyline
I know it was the least shocking reveal of all-time, but it was nice to see confirmation that it's the monster that has assumed the body of Locke. My question now is "How screwed are the people that followed the monster to the statue at the end of Season 5?" They're defenseless against an angry monster right now. Will the monster make them join his army as he marches on the temple? And was I the only one a tad bit disappointed that we didn't get to actually see Locke shapeshift into the monster and back?

The line about Alpert not being in chains anymore might be a clue that he was on the Black Rock and that that's how he came to be on the island. Like the story at the temple, I actually don't have a TON of questions. I think that right now we're just waiting on the battle royale.

Overall, I give the episode a B+. I thought at times it was a bit incoherent but I guess that's to be expected when you're dealing with the issues of multiple timelines. But, I think we can tell that this truly is the beginning of the end.

As for my favorite line, I need to go back to the transcript to get it right, but it would have to be when the monster was explaining to Ben that Locke was the only one that realized just how pathetic his life was off the island.

- The Arrow


  1. It almost seemed like in the LAX timeline as you call it, that everyone was this extreme version of their former self. It also seems that what happened between them crashing and the bomb detonation effects their actions and interactions in this new timeline. Kate is maybe a little crazier. Of course their were just stark differences too like Shanon not being there and Hurley being lucky.

    My Lost reaction vlog:

  2. I live in Norway, and the premiere was tonight. Yeah, I came RIGHT here to catch up^^ But something I reacted to was.. How come I saw Locke/Esau turning into a bug, while everyone else saw him turning into a smoke-monster?!

    That is all. :p