Saturday, May 31, 2008

LOST 021: Locke. Box.


OK then, I'm going to be on the mic for a while. I got more rhymes than J.D.'s got Salinger.

You know how every season of Lost has that episode before the finale, the one that pretty much sets all the pieces in place for the big blast at the end? Well, in terms of the over-arching storyline, this is the "episode before the season finale" of season finales. That crazy sound that the island made as Ben turned the frozen donkeywheel was the sound of a whole lot of pieces clicking into place for the endgame to come over the next thirty two or so episodes. But for all that, it wasn't without its surprises and moments of brilliance. It didn't top the total mindbendy reboot that was "Through the Looking Glass" at the end of Season 3, but then, how could it possibly do that? That episode threw such a curveball, that the last 14 episodes have really served mainly to deal with and to pay off the ramifications of what it had set up. Now we're there. The pieces are in place for our heroes and villains final battle in the war for the fate of the island and themselves (and, not insignificantly, for us to find out who the heroes and villains are). This is the jumping-off point for the climactic final two seasons -- and I do believe that all thirty-two episodes will serve as climax to this epic tale.

That's one long climax. Toe-curling, really.

So, this finale wasn't about blowing our minds, it was about confirming what we suspected. Really, in the end, there could have only been one of two people in that coffin: Ben or Locke. Even last May, the day after Season 3 wrapped, I wrote: "I'm thinking Locke is the most likely culprit" in regard to the mystery corpse. And there he is, old Locke, looking much more embalmy than usual. At least for now. More on that soon.

But first, let's remember what we might have forgotten. All of this is either stuff we know for a fact or can be reasonably surmised. I've made use of a little guesswork, but as little as possible and (when applied) all based on the most logical explanation for a given fact.

Obviously, a lot more will come to light. The idea here is put what we now know in context. And yes, I'm a crazy person.

And Now For A Brief Recap of Absolutely Everything That Seems Relevant

There's an island that exists between the cracks. It has extraordinary properties that put it outside of normal space and time, which seems to allow it to exercise its authority of destiny to an unlimited capacity, and which allows for extraordinary gifts of healing and longevity. Due to the nature of the island, it is hidden from the world, and can be found only by unusual circumstance or accident. Or, perhaps, only if the island wishes to be found. There's a spirit on the island (one suspects perhaps the spirit OF the island). His name is Jacob.

At some point, long ago, it is likely that another sentient species lived on the island. They were advanced enough to build huge statues, but not advanced enough for a fifth toe.

There have been people living on the island, for how long we don't know, but they have built devices in that time, which allow some of these raw powers to be manipulated. These devices are effective, but they are crude and unpredictable. One of them is a wheel in a cold room. Another is a key deep in the ground. There are others. These natives have been guided by Jacob through a chosen leader, and this leader does not get sick or age. They await the coming of a 'chosen one', a great leader to guide them.

At least one candidate to be the 'chosen one' was an young boy named John Locke. He was given a test, but was rejected -- though it is unclear whether or not he passed the test.

There is a creature on the island who appears to be made of smoke, and who can appear to people as ghosts of those who have died there. The creature can kill you like crazy, but sometimes it doesn't.

The island can move, though it is unclear whether it moves through space or time, or both. Likely homes for the island in the past include Tunisa and the Artic. How often the island has moved, and when, is not clear.

There is a magic box on the island, and anything can come out of it. Your guess is as good as mine.

It has been hinted often enough that the island may in fact be some sort of sentient being, that this now seems probable.

In the 1700s the island was discovered by a ship, or a ship was discovered by the island. The name of the ship was the Black Rock. The captain, one Magnus Hanso, got back to the mainland, or at least one of his descendants did, along with Magnus' journal. In our world, Alvar Hanso founded the Hanso Corporation, which funded an entity known as the Dharma Initiative, whose ostensible mission was/is the betterment of humanity and creation of a utopian society. The Dharma Initiative is currently operated in whole or in part by a businessman named Charles Widmore.

Widmore was able to procure Hanso's journal, and (perhaps thereby) the Dharma Initiative came to the island, setting up villages and building a variety of research "hatches" on top of the existing controls of the Natives. These hatches are meant to be utilized for various purposes, including chemical warfare, electromageticism, the mythical "Vanzetti equation" (a series of numbers which supposedly predict the end of the world), psychology, medicine, and time travel. For reasons that have not been made known, the Dharma Initiative brought members to the island via submarine, though it seems possible that this submarine is a decoy and the true path to the island is achieved by other means. It is for certain that one can sail off the island or fly off of it if one uses a precise compass bearing. It seems likely that Ben can move off the island in much more "secret door behind my bookshelf" sort of ways.

The Dharma Initiative came into conflict with the Natives, now led by a man named Richard Alpert. Alpert befriended a disaffected young Dharma boy named Benjamin Linus, who eventually betrayed Dharma, using its own chemical weapons to kill all of them and take the island back for the Natives. Around this time, Ben became the leader of the Natives and appears to have managed to successfully hide the island from Dharma, perhaps by moving it. The Natives moved into the Dharma village.

Ben has certain abilities, which may be common to the chosen leader or may be specific to him. They include being able to move on and off the island though hidden means and to communicate with or at least summon the creature. He also has been able to speak with and to see Jacob, when others cannot.

Somehow, automatic "air drops" from Dharma containing food and supplies continued to arrive on the island.

There is some sort of bond between Ben and Widmore, either one that is mutually agreed upon or one that has been imposed upon them by outside forces. These are referred to by them as 'the rules', and they involve (among other things) Ben's inability to kill Widmore, and Widmore's inability to kill any of Ben's family members.

The Natives, some of whom (such as Ethan, Tom, and Alpert) could move on and off the island founded a company known as Mittelos, which seems to have taken over some of the Dharma's bases and research work. Through Mittleos, Ben recruited scientists and others, much in the Dharma mode. Many of these people were kept in the dark about a number of properties concerning the island, including where it is. These people were also brought in a submarine, or made to believe that they had been.

One Dharma station appears to have been kept on with Dharma personnel. This station was known as "The Swan", and it required an operator to enter the Venzetti equation into a computer terminal at regular intervals to discharge heavy buildups of electromagnetism generated by the island. The operators were kept close to the hatch through 1) warnings of a (fictitious) deadly plague; and 2) the short amount of time between discharges. There appear to have been a series of Swan operators, and each appears to have been under the impression that the island was still under control of the Dharma Initiative.

The last of these operators was a man named Desmond, who had arrived on the island while on a boat race around the world. Desmond was in love with Penny, Charles Widmore's daughter. Widmore disapproved of their relationship, and knowledge of this disapproval drove a wedge between the two.

At some point, pregant women on the island began to have fatal miscarriages. This may have occurred around the time that Linus became Native leader, or it may have been a permanent attribute of the island's unique relationship with time/space. In any event, Ben Linus became obsessed with solving this problem. Through Mittelos, Ben recruited Juliet, a fertility specialist, in hopes that her research would solve this problem, but it failed, and Ben kept Juliet on the island for years against her will.

Four other events of note occurred before we reach the chronology of the show. First, a French research ship crashed on the island. The only survivors were a French woman named Rousseau, who believed that her companions had been killed by a plague of some kind, and her daughter, Alex, who was abducted, and adopted by, Ben. Second, a hot air balloon crashed on the island, killing the occupant, a man named Henry Gale. Third, a one-prop airplane carrying heroin and Nigerian drug runners crashed on the island, killing all aboard (given the range of a one-prop airplane, this would suggest that at this time the island was in some way near Tunisia). Fourth, Ben was diagnosed with spinal cancer, which was distressing to him because, 1) Cancer! Of the spine! and 2) it was a clear indication that Jacob, who had given him near immortality, was displeased with him in some way.

Finally, 108 days ago, commercial flight Oceanic 815 crashed on the island. Two groups survived; a main one and a smaller one from the tail. The main group included: Jack, a spinal surgeon; Hurley, who had won the lottery playing the Venzetti numbers; Walt, a boy who seemed to have special psychic powers, and his estranged father Michael; Sun Paik, whose father was a business associate of Charles Widmore's, and her husband Jin; Claire, a young pregnant woman who just so happened to be Jack's secret sister; Sayid, an Iraqi former torturer whose torture trainer was the Swan operative before Desmond came along; and a bunch of people who seem unrelated to this whole back story (though their destinies are intertwined with one another) named Charlie, Sawyer, Kate, Boone, Shannon, and Rose.

Also in this group was John Locke, the potential 'chosen one' of the natives. He'd been paralyzed by his father (?), a con man who totally pushed him right out of a twenty story window. Upon his arrival on the island, Locke was completely healed of his paralysis.

The tail section group included: Rose's husband Bernard; Ana Lucia, who was very annoying; Teresa, who had no lines and got abducted; Mr. Eko, whose name might have been Mistereko, a fake priest and former Nigerian drug lord whose plane had crashed on the island with all that sweet brown horse in it; Libby, who had been in the nuthouse with Hurley and who had just kind of showed up and given Desmond the sailboat he used to get to the island; and Biff H. Dudemeister, this guy who got killed so quick we don't remember him.

All these people proceeded to have so many damn flashbacks it was ridiculous.

Around this time, somebody sank a hoax plane faked to look like Oceanic 815, full of bodies. Whoever did this is probably a bad guy.

The Natives quickly infiltrated both groups; the main group by a man named Ethan, the tail group by a man named Goodwin. The Natives set about abducting people based either on Ben's orders or a 'list' from Jacob, or both. These were, the tail section's children (successful), Mr. Eko (crunch heads, dead, unsuccessful), Claire (temporarily successful) Charlie (unsuccessfully hung by his neck), and Teresa (who?).

Goodwin and Ethan were both killed for their troubles. Ben seemed cool with that.

Claire escaped with the help of Rousseau and Alex, who didn't know that they were related. Claire then developed amnesia, which was dumb.

Locke and Boone found the Swan hatch, but couldn't open it. Boone died.

Artz blew up good.

Michael and the main group attempted to sail a raft off the island, but instead some of the Natives abducted Walt and blew up the raft. Michael and company met up with the tail group. Michael yelled "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!!!" for about seven straight episodes. Ana Lucia was still more annoying. She killed Shannon. Pretty much everybody watching was OK with that.

Locke and Jack and Kate and Hurley blew open the hatch and found Desmond, who was like, "uh, you push the button." Locke and company became the new Swan operators.

Michael went looking for Walt and got captured by the Natives.

Ben allowed himself to be captured by the Losties, both to infiltrate them and also because he was really interested in the spinal surgeon, what with his spinal tumor and all.

The Others, who were feeding Walt human growth hormone, sent Michael back to bust Ben out. Michael killed Ana Lucia and Libby. Woah.

Sayid figured out that Michael had flipped. Jack allowed himself, Kate and Sawyer to be captured by the Natives anyway.

Locke stopped pushing the button and everything went Kerflooey and it looked like the world might come to an end until Desmond turned the 're-set' key under the Swan. This did a few things.

- It blew Desmond right through time's sphincter.

- It turned the sky purple.

- It destroyed the Swan station, which means no more showers.

- It did something. We don't know what, but it involves a) Penny and Charles Widmore each separately being able to find the island when they couldn't before and b) kept anybody from being able to leave the island.

- Given what we saw and heard in the most recent episode, it seems possible that it 'moved' the island.

- It failed to kill Mr. Eko. Yay. Then the smoke creature killed him. Boo.

After the purple sky event, Penny sent a boat looking for Desmond, and Charles Widmore sent a freighter full of total psychopaths with guns to kill everybody on the island and to capture Ben. A man of unknown affiliation named Abbadan placed five people on the freighter: a physicist named Daniel with memory loss and a specialty in time travel, and archeologist named Charlotte who's been to the island before; a sarcastic bastard named Miles who can speak to the dead; a pilot named Frank, and a special operative named Naomi. From this point on, Ben knew that the island was in danger, and its location was now known. His goal was to keep the island protected at all costs. He set up radio jamming in a submerged Dharma facility called The Looking Glass. He put Michael on board the freighter to sabotage it.

Desmond was unstuck in time and had flashes of things to come. This included Charlie dying, which happened, and Claire getting onto a helicopter, which didn't. He also had an interlude where he lived through his breakup with Penny again. This time he did it because a mysterious lady told him he had to to preserve the space/time continuum. This suggests yet another group at play, these acting as the preservers of time.

Jack removed Ben's tumor in exchange for Kate and Saywer's release. Locke blew up the submarine before Jack and Juliet could get off the island. Ben, grateful, took Locke to meet Jacob. Locke didn't see him, but he heard him say "Help Me." Ben realized that Locke had been chosen to take his place, so he shot him right in the kidney gap and left him for dead.

Widmore's freighter arrived. Naomi parachuted onto the island.

Charlie died to unblock the signal in the Looking Glass.

All the Natives with speaking lines besides Ben, Alpert and Juliet, totally got killed in ways that were awesome, by and large.

Ben sent his people off to a safe place and got himself captured by Jack's group yet again, this time to convince him not to contact the boat. Jack beat the living crap out of Ben. Jacob appeared to Locke as Walt and healed him. Locke killed Naomi and tried to convince Jack not to contact the boat. Jack contacted the boat.

The freighter people came and it was bad. Season 4 happened.

Alex was killed and that somehow breached the 'rules.' Ben moved the island on Jacob's command. Locke took command of the Natives. Three years later, he came back to the mainland. Apparently it got a lot worse under his leadership, which is weird because he's been so successful at everything he did in the past. Three weeks later, he was dead.

And here we are. It's all set up. First movement, Jack and Ben team up to convince the O6 to go back to the island, with various levels of success. Second, they get back. Third, battle royale (with cheese) for the island at the hub of time and space, with maybe the end of the world at stake.

Character Tracker

Off the Island (Alive Edition): Jack, Kate, Aaron, Sun, Hurley, Sayid, Walt.

Off the Island (Dead Edition): Locke.

Off the Island (Hiding Edition): Penny, Desmond, Frank.

On the Island Still: Locke, Alpert, the Others, Rose, Bernard, Juliet, Sawyer, Miles, Charlotte, lots of ghosts, Vincent, Claire, $mokkee.

They're Dead, Jim: Michael, Jin.

They're Totally Hosed, Jim: Daniel and the kids on the dinghy. Unless they were caught up in the wake of the moving island, that is.

New and Exciting Answers! New and Remaining Questions!

- Christian's a ghost, at the least not bound by traditional physical rules. He just appeared to Michael right before the explosion, and essentially gave him permission to die. Very ghostly of him. Or maybe he IS Jacob, posing as a Christian. If that's the case, you think he'd appear as Libby to give him absolution. But how do you explain the fact that he was holding Aaron by the campfire?

- Claire's probably dead, too. It would explain why she was hanging with Christian, and why she'd appear to Kate in a dream. Seems like in the past, that's what dead folks have done.

- Locke's in the coffin. Which means that the island let Locke die. But is Locke dead? I mean, he's dead there, but is that how it will finally end up? See, I have a certain feeling that when the O6 get back to the island, they are going to go back to change the bad that happened. In other words, back in time. When they come back, does that bring Locke to life? The alternative is that the bad times of the last three years will be the flashbacks of Season 5, and that's where Locke will appear. Muy mucho interesting.

- Locke's off the island. Does that mean that he moved the island?

- To go back, they ALL have to go back, including Locke. If that's the case, then I'm assuming that includes Desmond and Frank, and also Sun's baby.

- So, Jack's a junkie because of huge huge guilt. Not just for leaving Claire, but apparently for other huge tragedies. Also, his dead father keep appearing. Also, he's got a martyr complex you can see from space.

- Charlotte's been on the island before. She was born there. Consider the ramifications of that given what we know about pregnant ladies on this island. Suggests that it was a new development.

- Desmond and Penny 4Evah. Yay. Be interesting to see what happens when Ben shows up to kill Penny. How will the lines be drawn? Sun is teaming with Widmore. Is that to get near enough to kill him, or does she blame somebody else for Jin's death? If the latter, then who? My guess? Ben. Remember, Locke came back; I assume he talked to her, as well. He could well have told her who it was that got all stabby on Keamy down in the Orchid. Of course, there's plenty of blame to go around. Jack could get some. Frank could get a li'l. Even Kate was supposed to go get him and then didn't. Sayid and now Jack are aligned with Ben, and Ben wants to save the island, but Ben also wants to kill Penny. That is what we in the vengeance-killing business call a 'conflict of interest.'

- So why is it so cold in the wheel-room? It almost seems like that was a part of the island that was in the Artic. Or that when he blew up the time machine (and by the way, Ben piling the metal into the flux-capacitor microwave while Locke is listening to the warning? HILARIOUS) and crawled behind the wall, he pierced through the 'skin' of the island and was crawling around outside of it. Perhaps this is why you can't go back to the island if you move it; you're not on it and thus just get thrown through the time/space backwash.

- Where/when did the island go? I think given the fact that it is moved by a wheel found behind Dharma's time machine, we're looking at a movement through time. Makes sense if using Lost logic.

- What are the "bad things" that happen after the Oceanic Six scarper, anyway? All the bad guys are dead. Who is the antagonist left on the island?

- Why exactly is it Jack's fault in particular? Locke comes back and tells Jack it's his fault. How exactly does he know?

- What was the Purple Sky Event besides the name of my eventual funk fusion band? Huh? What what what what?

- Who is Jacob? I think we're going to find out he's Locke. Full circle. I also think that we're going to find out that the "Adam and Eve" skeletons from Season 1 are either Jack and Kate or Desmond and Penny. I just have a sense that we're going to have one of those full circle wheel of time deals.

- Seriously, Richard, shoot the crazy mercenary in the head, not the body armor. Doi.

- Keamy vs. Sayid: Awesome.

- What is it that makes Walt special? Are we ever going to follow up on that one, or will it just get abandoned out of necessity?

- What is Sawyer's request to Kate? That's an easy one, I think. It probably involves asking Kate to kill his daughter. Or help. Kill or help. One of the two.

- What's up with this "Jeremy Bentham" stuff? I hope we get a reason for this new name of Locke's, and the characters who knew him as Locke only calling him Bentham, other than "the writers wanted it to be a surprise that Locke is in the coffin."

- Can Jack make anybody come back to life by giving them CPR? Should he try it on Locke's corpse?

- Does Desmond's shirt even have buttons?

OK, that's all I got. See you in 10 long months.



KajaPoker said...

No man is an island. In this case I think the man is Irwin Allen:

Check out his credits:
The Time Tunnel
Lost in Space
The Lost World
Swiss Family Robinson
(aka Island of Adventure)

I'm on to something!

Tmo said...

You know what I kept wondering? Why not just leave Aaron on the boat with Penelope and Desmond? No one knew he existed, why bring him along and have one more awkward lie to tell? And why the need to move the island now that all the merchs are dead and the boat is blown to bits?

Julius_Goat said...


Yes, I wondered the same about Aaron, actually. It would seem that the baby would be much safer on Penny's boat. I meant to mention that in my post, but the island wouldn't let me.

I can only surmise that the Oceanic Six felt such a strong bond at the time that they couldn't bring themselves to part with the baby.

The island I think had to be moved because Widmore has more mercs. Many more.

Gunslinger said...

"Widmore was able to procure Hanso's journal, and (perhaps thereby) the Dharma Initiative came to the island"

We saw Widmore acquire the journal at the auction in 1996. However, the DI was obviously in place long before that, started by Hanso. Hanso had the journal, so he knew where the island was. The Widmore Corporation and the Hanso Foundation (and, it seems, Paik Industries) are all BFFs, so I was confused why Widmore needed to buy the journal on a somewhat open market to locate the island, as opposed to just using his contacts within the HF to get (or buy) it directly.

Definitely setting up for two final seasons of pure awesome.

Poker Brian said...


I dont think Jin died. I know I know, I'm crazier than the Aussie guy that gave Hurley the numbers, but hear me out.

I had it on pause during the RC so I was able to rewind and play a few times. The explosion happened in the back of the boat (obv!) and Jin was running toward the front of the boat after the Helicopter. It appears that the area where Jin was did not go up in flames simultaneously with the boat. Realistically Jin could have been thrown forward with the blast and pushed into the water. It makes for a nice reunion next season when Daniel picks up him up in the dinghy or something.

You forgot the part of the show where a bunch of losties got drunk and drove Dharma vans around and were voted off the island when they got DUIs.

More Juliet please!

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I find Juliet to be quite gross.

Great writeup as always.

And wasn't Claire admonishing Kate accusingly "don't you dare take him back there!" about her baby Aaron? So yeah I would say the plan is for them all to go back together just like Ben says.

I'm wondering if maybe Bentham is the "real" world Locke, while Island Locke is still alive and well on the island, doing all the bad things that happened.

I think they did a poor job of telling us what exactly happened that turned Jack so against helping Kate with Aaron. Finding out he is Aaron's uncle should only strengthen whatever bond he feels to him and to Kate already.

Poker Brian said...

Maybe I have low standards then, but for a mom (in real life), shes decent.

That, and the fact Kate has a rat face. Smokin bod, but a rat face.