Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lost Discussion Thursday

I want to just start off with What the F????

I didn't love tonights episode. I didn't hate it either. I was just completely confused about it. It doesn't seem to answer anything I wanted to know, and brought in the concept of time travel, which is way to weird for me to get a handle on. I'm used to being confused and accept that as part of the journey that is Lost, but tonights eposide had nothing fulfilling, except that maybe Charlie is on borrowed time. The only question the episode answered is "What happened to Desmond in the hatch after he turned the key?"

In thinking about this episode in relation to the previous episodes this season, there seems to be a dicotomy of how to think about the entire story. There is this alternate reality version, and then there is a more linear version. I'm having some trouble wrapping my mind around which way the writers are going, so I tend, in this particular post, to pose questions and then to answer them from another viewpoint. Just in case you thought I was time traveling or living in an alternate reality along with Desmond.

OK, so we are introduced an alternate reality in Desmond's flashback. Charlie is a street performer instead of being in a famous rock band and Desmond suddenly finds himself in his flat. He has not been in the military, and is in love with and living with Penny. So can we also assume the rest of the Losties are living in an alternate reality? Because I noticed a few things and some things just don't add up. Perhaps they were just driving the point home that Charlie was not that important a character. But then he is because his life is being saved. I'm not buying it though, Desmond hasnt only tried to save just Charlie. He was interested in the backstory with Jack. And obviously him running into Jack running steps at the stadium was probably him trying to change something about Jack having to do with the future. In fact if you go over past episodes, Desmond could quite possibly tie it all in. But that seems to be a red herring.

I was thinking of Desmond as the most obvious "butler did it" link but he was almost so non-important in the story. Perhaps on purpose. He was just there in the hatch while everyone else arrived there on the island. But then again, HE brought the plane down didn't he? Maybe he knew that not entering the code would do that. Maybe he knew that the plane was close enough to be brought down. Maybe somehow he was able to get all those extra people to the island so he wouldnt have to save the world. He is changing events but he isn't remembering how and why except in flashes. Possibly because he's overlapping past changes. So that he's only aware of what he needs to change each time to produce a different results. Know what I mean?

Tonight's Desmond flashback had to be at least a few years before his flashback in Season 2. In that flashback Desmond spent about 2 years on the island and a few more months in between getting out of military jail, meeting Libby and meeting Jack/Pen at the stadium plus the time he spent at sea. Jack told Desmond he was a doctor but was talking about the case that was very early on in his career, so maybe Charlie has to be a lot younger in this flashback and probably still turned out to be a rockstar later on.

Desmond's hopping about through time reminded me a bit of Hiro on Heros. Also, now he's got superpowers. Are the rest going to start developing these? I guess Locke and Rose already have superhealing, although they think that's the island rather than themselves. I wish they would keep the whole Heros stuff out of Lost. It's weird enough on its own without superpowers and time travel, imo.

Anyhow, Desmond turns the key and wakes up in his own body ("X" no. of years back), in a pre-determined universe that will have things its own way, come hell or high water. Thus, if you're destined to die, it seems you might as well take it like a man 'cause the universe will win out in the end, no matter what. At least this is what the shopkeeper intimated after the guy with the red Chucks bit the dust. (And didn't she look so familiar?)

Did Desmond go back to the same universe? Had he already met Charlie before he met him on the island? Well, going by Jack's initial encounter at the stadium, I would say yes. Don't know what that encounter with Jack has to do with anything, but the whole "See you in another life, brother" seems to be fitting. He may have not necessarily "met" Charlie before, but he existed in the same space, and had he not recognised him this time around, might have just walked past him again. But why did he recognize Charlie if Charlie was from the future and not the past? Too freaking confusing!

So are they all stuck in a time loop, where the only way out is ensuring that button gets pushed? Assuming Desmond remembers to keep pushing the button, if he can once again return to his old body, and re-sail the trip ?

Well, he jumped out of his old body before he really had time to change anything, so, presumably, his old self did everything pretty much exactly the same, and he still ended up on the island. He awoke with a whack to the head, and he exited with a whack to the head.

And are the other Losties a part of all this? Well in so far as Locke goes, it would seem so. He had to go on the walk about, didn't he? And thank God he was smart enough to bring all those knives with him. And then, of course, perhaps it wasn't coincidence that he seemed to know when to drop the flash light (where hope lies), and let's not forget the rain prediction.

So was this Desmond's first time back? The woman in the antique store seemed to think so. And what will he do the next time 'round, assuming he can find a way to get back into his old body? Can he break the cycle, or will the universe win out, and everyone dies, as pre-destined (in spite of his heroic efforts to save them)?

Me, I think it was his first time back. The way this show runs a couple of years before our real time, I think they are shooting for a catastrophic series ending cliffhanger where everyone is screwed because they messed up one opportunity to save themselves, and they will leave us with Desmond holding out on a secondary fail-safe...because he's been there before and knows what needs to be done.

I tell you, I've watched the episode twice, and this is a real brain burner to figure out. I have been sitting here, playing with different theories to see if I could find one that fits all we know. I have tried recursive nested embeddings (like those Russian dolls one inside the other). I have tried parallel timelines with no preferred order, and parallel timelines with a partial order, and sequential timelines with a total order (that's how deja vu is usually portrayed in things like
"Groundhog Day.") So far, nothing seems to fit well.

Other random ramblings I came up with this week:

If (as it looks like) the 'organization' that's in control of the island and therefore it's inhabitants are keeping them there against their will, maybe it would be safer if they all stayed on the island rather than have their lives put at risk if and when they return back to the outside world. More than likely if that were to happen, then they would possibly be all bumped off by the 'organization' to stop them revealing what's been going on over the last few years or more.

It seems to me that Juliet's husband was murdered (the infamous bus incident) because he was stopping Juliet from joining the 'organization'.

These 'bosses' seem to have absolutely no hesitation in killing anyone who might remotely get in the way of the progress of the 'research' on the island.

Another thought I had was that maybe the 'organization' has deliberately chosen this particular island for it's research because of it's strange characteristics, the main one being that the island is 'invisible' to the rest of the world and therfore no one would (hopefully) ever find out what's
been going on there. Also, it doesn't seem possible that anyone on the island can escape (another peculiarity of the island).

The other way to go is that there is no all powerful organization or why would they need these people anyways. Why all the subterfuge and hokus pocus. Just train your loyal people to do the tasks you want. More like they arent all powerful and are using social engineering and poker strategem to bluff people into doing this or that. Whispers behind the throne so to speak. If people did nothing. NOTHING, the highest ideal of buddhism, absolute nothing (or not doing in taoist terms) then they equations would change. Don't jump when your boss says jump. Say no to that guy that makes you think you can't say know to him. So what he blows your head off. Richard Gere said it best in that stupid movie red corner. "What are you going to do shoot me twice?"

Obey the others. Mind your own biz. Dont assault the camp. Tell everyone about the hatch. Get everyone in on entering the numbers with people supervising to make sure the numbers are added in. Share all the food and supplys. Use the computer to communicate with the outside world. Enter the numbers in till the next food drop comes. Do that 3-4 more times till you get an idea on the schedule. Try to get outside people to find the island. Smoke, light, whatever. Seriously people.

Inaction is an action. Why take some guys word at face value? Do nothing. What does someone have so much power need to manipulate people and situations so much. And why the rush unless they have a gun pointed at them and someone going "hurry"? Doesn't it seem obvious.

Did you notice that the blue kiosk Desmond passed just before he saw Charlie looked a lot like the TARDIS. I thought that was fun. I wonder if they greenscreened London or if they actually shot there. It was pretty damn realistic.

I'm not that wild about Desmond and Penny, but it beats the hell out watching Kate, Sawyer, and Jack yell, moan, and whine their way through their tiresome triangle. Juliet and Rachel beat that out too.

Desmond right now ties in a lot of the events. Up to a point. Then you have Charlie and of course, Hurley. We learnabout 3 secrets next week? Funny thing is we still don't know what this island is about and the others and Dharma project. Then again I hope this isnt the "cigar is just a cigar". Just an excuse to tie in all these people for one or two people that are in a coma and sharing an unconscious.

With that said, though, I'd like to see something more of the characters that drew me into this show. At least this time we got to see a bit of the losties and their beach encampment even if the show didn't focus on them.

Next weeks preview looks more promising but I've thought that before. They promise to answer some of the most pressing questions. I sure hope they do.

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Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I'm not completely certain that it was an ALTERNATE reality, rather than just 'the past'... Charlie was performing on the street, but I assumed that that was because the band had already dissolved (it seems to me that there had to have been quite a stretch of time between the time of his brother's flame-out and the disintegration fo the band and his brother's turn-around - remember, just before Charlie gets on the doomed flight he is visiting his brother and his *family*, now with young children.) So, Charlie's performing on the street because he's a has-been, and unemployed. And Desmond has not YET entered the military - we seem him consider a poster; it may be that he signs up immediately after leaving Penny (well, after recovering from his hangover.) I may be wrong - I just didn't think that it was clear that it was an alternate reality. In any case, the central point seems to be that no matter what you do, in whatever reality, you end up with the same fate. Which strikes me as a strange, and perhaps incongruous, view of fate and free will for the show to take...

15/2/07 7:39 AM  
Blogger barbie2be said...

i was terribly disappointed in this weeks episode. it was boring as all heck to watch. i am almost at the point of changing the tivo back to CSI: NY.

16/2/07 4:09 PM  

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