Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP, Catcher I.T. Rye

J.D. Salinger, 1919-2010.

“I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetary. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.”


"What I like best is a book that's at least funny once in a while...What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."

Thanks to Wikipedia for the image.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dose Of Crawesome

Werner Herzog reads Curious George with German Expressionist spicing.

"Nothing in the brutal, primeval jungle could prepare George for the terrible vast uncaringness of the sea . . ."

Monday, January 25, 2010

LOST Questions

I found this fun new social media thing called -- well, to be precise, the Real Dawn Summers found it and tweeted it, and then I went there. As the RDS puts it, this application gives you the opportunity to field questions and act like you're president Obama in a press conference (for my Republican readers, you can pretend you are president Bush if it works for you, or dream big and pretend you are president Palin).

Anyway, somehow people got the idea I was into LOST, and I've been getting some very good questions, including some that I think expand and clarify points I've been making in these timeline posts. So here you go. All the LOST questions and other ones I found amusing.

Click here to ask about LOST or whatever else you like.


Is Jacob dead?

I'd say he's mostly dead.

How do a woman named Eloise Hawking and a man named Charles Whitmore have a son named Daniel Faraday? Any idea where that last name comes from?

No clue there. Maybe "Danielfaraday" is his first name. All one word.

Does ANYONE on LOST have a good relationship with their father?


Wait. Jin. But he is kind of embarrassed of him for just being a fisherman. But then he gets over that.

So, Jin. That's the whole list.

In Season 5, when they're evacuating the island, why don't they insist on everyone taking a "tranquilizer" before getting in the sub?

Correct me if I am wrong (I've only watched most eps. once) but I am pretty sure that OJ tranqs. are about to be administered to Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate right before they hijack the sub.

Is anything that's been attributed the Jacob so far ACTUALLY been Jacob? Or is it all the Nemesis and Jacob's just acting quietly behind the scenes?

I think you are basically correct in that assessment. I think that Jacob has been active but his influence is usually unnoticed. I think that the two people who have most wanted meaning and belonging, Ben and Locke, were also the two most susceptible to a Fake Jake.

Best superhero ever? And why is he/she better than Plastic Man?

The best superhero ever is Triangle Man. I'll prove it:

Triangle Man, Triangle Man.
Triangle Man hates Plastic Man.
They have a fight, Triangle wins.
Triangle Man.

Whose power is better: Miles' or Hurley's?

I'm going to say Miles, since he has a little control over it. Look at the results: Miles is cranky; Hurley thinks he's insane.

You can go back in time to change one thing. What do you change?

I, like Patton Oswalt, would return to 1988 and kill George Lucas with a shovel. Han Solo shot first.

Why doesn't this whole time travel thing confuse me at all?

Because you are from the future.

What's the #1 question you want answered on LOST?

What is the nature of the conflict between Jacob and the Nemesis, and how does that inform the various factions (Jacobians, Dharma, off-islanders, etc.) and their motivations?

Given that Christian was never actually ON the island when he was alive, why is he such a central character? And why does the Nemesis like to dress up like him so much?

I don't think we should be so sure, given what we know of the sorts of people that show up as "ghosts", that Christian was never on the island when he was alive. We have just never SEEN him alive on the island. I think we need to consider the very real possibility that he was one of the island-aware, off-island Jacobians, of one faction or another.

Why does Sawyer change his name in the past, but nobody else does?

I think it was a nicknaming malfunction. His nickname generator exploded and stuck LaFleur all over him.

Do you have a theory on why Sun didn't flash back?

No, I really have no idea. Every theory I had was invalidated by the end of Season 5. Maybe as I work through the story, something will occur to me. Right now, it just seems like a dramatic device to keep her and Jin apart, and to have at least one Oceanic on the island in "real" time at the end of Season 5. Crazy that Sun in the Sole Survivor. Where's her $1 million, Probst?

I miss Charlie. Is he coming back? Is there any chance that people who died aren't really dead? Say yes.

If my theories are correct, we'll see most if not all of the dead characters again.

I miss Charlie, too.

Which character from which book would you play in a movie?

Now that is a fantastic question.

I guess we'd have to break this down into two catagories: (1) Who would I WANT to play, and (2) which part would fit?

Who would I want to play? Hmm. I don't think it gets much cooler than Phillip Marlowe in "The Long Goodbye". Runner up would be Rabo Karabekian in "Bluebeard."

As for who I would best fit, I'm going to say I would probably do OK as Yossarian in Catch 22.

Remember how it was SO SO SO SO important that Aaron wasn't raised by anybody except Claire? Are they ever going to revisit that?

I actually have a theory on this. I'll flesh it out soon.

Top 5 shows currently on TV? (Not right this minute...this year.)

There are lots of great shows out there, I'm sure, that I'm not watching. However, the best on my radar right now are:

1) LOST. Uh, duh.

2) It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. The evolutionary "Seinfeld." So, so, funny. So, so, wrong.

3) The Office - I think it's extraordinary how much they've made us care about these insane people.

4) Parks & Recreation - Coming on VERY strong right now.

5) 30 Rock - Fading but still hilarious.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: I cannot believe I forgot "Mad Men", which would come in at number 2, easily]

Which Lostie would you want to be BFFs with - hang out, go to movies, eat lunch together, etc?

I think you have to first ask, "Is this person likely to kill me?"

I'd say Hurley is the only one where the answer is definitely "no," so I think he takes the prize.

Failing that, I'd go with Jacob, and hopefully he'd explain what was going on.

What are your kids like?

They are absolutely beautiful. Funny. Silly. Very smart.

The youngest is about the happiest two-year-old imaginable. It's eerie how good-natured she is. Also: hilarious.

Each twin is a really fun, intelligent, energetic little girl. One is extroverted, very take-charge, task and rule oriented, and loves all things princess and super hero, in that order. One is a little more introverted (though she still loves making new friends), I suspect more right-brained, and very very tall. She is a big fan of superheroes and princesses, in that order.

I think they are all great. I sort of love them a lot. think that Libby was a Jacobian?

I sure do!

Is Sayid a good guy or a bad guy? Is it bad that i totally love him even though he's a huge killing machine?

Sayid's a good guy to have on your side. He's one of my very favorite characters, so you have my permission to love him.

Who are you rooting for as a couple: Kate-Sawyer or Kate-Jack? Also, who would be the best couple of ALL the characters we've met?

I could care less about either couple. I guess Kate and Jack kind of deserve each other.

The best couple? Hurley and Charlie.

When Daniel dies on the island, he has the journal. Probably his mother, Eloise takes it. Let's assume she holds onto it. 20-some years later, when she buys the journal for Daniel, are there now two of those journals in the house?

You just blew my mind, man.

I would presume that she holds on to the old one and Daniel takes the new one. But that does mean that from that point, the journal exists in two places. So Eloise Hawking presumably still has it in 2009.

I wonder if that will become a plot point.

How annoying is Kate? I think she's as annoying as she is hot.

The way that the character of Kate makes no sense results in her being pretty annoying. Adding to it the fact that Kate is extremely self-interested, and it almost makes the hotness not worth it. Almost.

So the Others keep talking about how John is their leader, but then he dies before he actually does ANY kind of leading. Is he dead? What's the deal?

I presume you mean in 2009 when the Ajira flight returns to the island.

In 2009, the Locke they are following is the Nemesis in Locke clothing. The real Locke looks to be pretty dead, but the Jacobians have no way of knowing that.

As for why they follow him, I think it is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy. The Jacobians consider Locke their leader because he came out of time 55 years ago to tell them he was their leader. He's seemingly ageless, he has been healed by Jacob. Even though his path to leadership is unorthodox, he fits the bill. Also, their only other leader, Ben, has been AWOL for 3 years.

Add to that the fact that their shaman/whatever, Richard, is convinced through all of these Lockeish mysteries, AND the fact that Locke is in-tune enough with the island to know exactly where shot-in-the-leg Locke will be . . . I think they probably just see the hand of Jacob behind it all.

Of course, now that they see that Locke is actually dead, who knows what their reaction to Faux Locke will be? The Nemesis probably doesn't care, as he's already gotten his stab on.

And SPEAKING of things that make no sense...what's the story behind the hatch that seemed to exist only for the purpose of watching the Hatch and writing down what they did and then sending the notebooks into a big field?

The Pearl? It appears to have been a double-blind experiment. Or, perhaps, a triple-blind. The idea based on the training tape was to monitor the Swan activity. The people monitoring it were told that it was their work that was the TRUE experiment, and that the people working in the Swan were under the impression that the meaningless task they were performing was important.

We now know the reality, which is that the Swan work was extremely important, and the Pearl Station monitors were likely there in order to alert Dharma HQ if Radzinsky/Inman finally lost their bologna and stopped pushing the button.

Wait...i'm reading your LOST blog...When did they show up thousands or hundreds of years ago? I don't remember that leap.

It's the very last leap.

It's the one when Locke is going down the Orchid well and suddenly FLASH Sawyer is just holding a rope going into the ground. Locke falls, breaking his leg really bad, and finds himself in the time/wheel chamber. Meanwhile up groundside, Miles/Jin/Sawyer/Juliet look around and see the statue, fully formed.

It really could be anytime before the statue was destroyed and the well was built. I think we're meant to tie it to around the point in time when Jacob had his conversation with the Nemesis over by the statue.

It's probably a couple hundred years or so. Thousands just sound so much more dramatic.

Are you sick of all the LOST questions yet?

I think it should be clear by now that I have a tolerance for talking about LOST that approaches infinity.

Jack/Sawyer/John - Who is best?

John Locke, though Sawyer was really coming on there.

What's the story with Walt? They make a big deal out of his being "special" all the first two seasons, and then they just kind of dropped it. Did i miss something?

Nope, I think you described the Walt situation pretty well there. There's still hope that the writers will try to resolve it, but not much. It is pretty much doomed to be the largest unresolved plot thread.

What in the world was the purpose for the Others to have all those disguises and ways of sneaking around the island? There wasn't anyone else there for YEARS!

It's a very good question.

I really don't know the answer to that. I think it's one of those that has been, well, lost. It's not at all clear why they would want the Oceanics to think that they were a bunch of hobos, except maybe to allow Jack & Co. to underestimate them.

Maybe the island's unique time/space situation makes it so it is always casual Friday?

When you were at a Phish concert did anyone ever hand you an evangelistic tract?

No. But one guy promised not to steal my grilled cheese sandwich.

I don't think I am really stupid, but why is it that I don't ever really know what/who you are talking about?

I would have to know who you are before I could answer with any accuracy.

But it's probably because either I myself am really stupid, and/or am inside-joking with Lost freaks, Phish fans, and poker bloggers.

Airwolf or A-Team?

Serious questions only, please.


Airwolf, pshhhh.

Why won't hoy shut up about Avatar? It is really pissing me off.

You are asking the guy who's written 800,000 words on a single television show?

I guess you'd have to ask Hoy. I'm guessing James Cameron is paying him off. Otherwise, he might have really liked the movie a lot.

Who is the best hero ever?

Mr. T.

How long until computers become sentient? And would you download all of your thoughts into a computer?

Six years, seventeen days, four hours, fifty-nine minutes and three seconds.

I already have. I'm accessing this site through the Wayback Machine site. It travels through time now.

What made you happy as a kid?

Reading "Pogo" and "Tintin" with my dad. Playing soccer and basketball. Running around barefoot. Getting filthy. Scooby Doo, the Dukes of Hazard, the A Team, and the Superfriends. The way comic books smelled. Building dams in streams. Star Wars. Thinking about Star Wars. Monkeys. Reading good books. Forts.

Being a kid is pretty much awesome, right?

Does your attendance at a Phish concert mean that you're a hippie?

I doubt that I would impress anybody as a hippie, though I suppose everybody needs to define "hippie" for themselves.

What it primarily means is that I am into good, interesting, and diverse music that takes risks and manages to surprise and amaze..

Why don't people think I am as funny as I think I am?

I don't know who you are, so I can't possibly speculate. I guess it's probably because everybody else is wrong.

I know that when you went to see Phish you wanted them to play your favorite song "Julius". Did you see the irony in that they played it as an encore the night before your show?

Yes, I did make note of it. Sometimes your reaching just pushes it further away.

Why did it take so long for you to win a MTT?

It has a lot to do with my not being very good at poker.

Do you have pets?

An orange tabby who is 89% ass, a little black cat, and a very sweet mutt who thinks she is a cat.

How much of a jerk do you think Jack from Lost is?

He is a pretty big jerk, though I think he wants his heart to be in the right place. It seems like he does heroic things in order to feel like a hero, rather than because he cares about people. I like how long the show takes to come to the fact that he's a very broken person.

On the other hand, he is fairly resourceful, brave, and loyal. He's not all bad.

What's your favorite book? Movie?

That's impossible. Really. Maybe I could make a top ten. This will have to do: One of my very favorite books, and the one that today jumps to mind, is "The Brothers Karamazov." One of my very favorite movies, and the one that today jumps to mind, is "2001: A Space Odyssey."

I read that the big surprise for the series finale of LOST is going to involve Locke, Christian, Claire, and Charlie, to form up as Voltron, with the Smoke Monster as the head. Can you confirm or deny this rumor?

Yes, but sadly they will form the car Voltron, not the lion Voltron. Our childhoods are destroyed once again.

Who was blogger crusher?

I have no idea who Blogger Crusher was. But I do find it interesting that the smoke monster would always appear right around the same time as him.

Are vampires rock-hard and super-cool like Edward or really creepy and horrible like Dracula?

I think you mixed the adjectives up with the subjects in that question.

Anyway, vampires are neither. They are soulless fictional beings that can only be stopped by the Chosen One, like in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Why don't you ever do anything on Facebook?

Is there anything to do on Facebook? I hadn't noticed.

Is it true that someone must be dead before their likeness is allowed to adorn a note of U.S. Currency?

At the very least, they need to be totally passed out.

How did the Scottish King, William the Lion, acquire his nickname?

He won it in a craps game with T.J. Cloutier.

would you agree that the whole L O S T series is nothing more than an indictment on how ancient Egyptian history has been interpreted and then changed by Judea-christian leaders in order to sway the world that aliens never existed????

No. The whole L O S T series is actually a complex delivery method for the CIA's encrypted instructions to me, as I conduct my top-secret but critically important mission to stop the dentists from putting demons into our teeth.

Benjamin Linus. Discuss.

Benjamin Linus is a sad little boy who got shot in the chesticle and became a deeply creepy man. He's also the smoke monster's murder weapon. It was the Nemesis, in the Statue Plinth, with the Benjamin Linus.

What's your worst quality?

It's probably my absent-mindedness. It can often make people think I don't care. Otherwise, it is my total obsession with LOST. After that, it's probably my sometimes-unhealthy desire to avoid conflict.

OMG, your absent-mindedness drives me insane. Wait, that's not a question. Oh well.
I don't think you are taking this interview seriously.

How hot is your wife?

She's super hot. Actually, I think she's getting hotter. I figure by the time we are in our sixties, she'll have gone supernova.

As one might expect, I resemble a bridge troll.

How hot is your wife?

I don't know what about my previous answer wasn't enough for you, but let me tell you something, buddy, no matter how many times you ask how hot my wife is, you ain't getting nudie pictures.


Really smokin' hot. You seem more excited about this than even me, mystery caller.

Why did you marry your wife, besides her obvious hotness?

Because she TOLD me to.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

Any superhero. Wow, that's a wide range. I'd need to make a spreadsheet. I'm guessing that Superman has the most upside. On the other hand, if I had to BE Superman, like his personality, that would be dull.

I'll be Multiple Man. That ought to get the basement cleaned.

Are you a morning person or night person?

I am both.

How is LOST going to end?

Well, that really depends on [insert 500,000 word answer here].

Short answer? Dramatically and ambiguously.

What's the worst movie you've ever seen?

Wow. That's tough. I try not to see bad ones, and I tend not to remember the ones I do see.

Pearl Harbor.

What is your wife like? Is she as excited about LOST as you are?

My wife's hotness appears to have already been well-documented in this venue. Everything else is even better. She's very funny, extremely organized (which is good, because I am so not), an amazing and committed and loving mother. She likes good books and movies. I have more fun with her than with anybody.

She also introduced me to LOST. She is a healthy, well-adjusted person, so while she is as excited about LOST as me, she isn't nearly as obsessed.

How cute are your kids?

So cute. Really. It's ridiculous. You have no idea. Unless you do and you're just asking a question you know the answer to. What's wrong with you, anyway?

Why are you such a douchebag?

I am more of a douche nozzle. It's just as douche-y, but far more directed.

How do you think Obama has been doing in his first year as president?

I think he's been doing as well as can be hoped for, considering [insert 17 page rant here.]

Short answer? He's been what I thought he'd been when I voted for him.

Are you Astin?

No. There are differences, if you squint. (1) Astin is Canadian. (2) Astin can cook. (3) Astin doesn't ride public transportation dressed as Superman. That's about it.

It's a romantic interlude with the late Julia Child (she's not dead yet, and still looking fairly hot). She will make you one meal before treating you like a play toy. What do you order?

Julia Child looked hot once? Are you sure you don't mean Julia Stiles? Anyway, I'd ask for a bowl of Grape Nuts.

Do you want to be buried or cremated?

Are you KIDDING??? Neither!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LOST Prelude 03: Timeline, Part 2: The Dharma Incursion

As important as they clearly are to the larger story, we don't know much about the Jacobians. We know almost nothing about their rituals, their taboos, their mission/purpose (if any), their hierarchy of leadership, values, motivations, habits, or resources. We know that their leaders are typically groomed from a very early age. We know that they have a justice system of some sort, which allows for the death penalty, and which can be overridden by their leader. We suspect that they submit to the creature for ultimate judgment (though our source for this information is suspect, to say the least, in this case he seemed to be telling the truth). We know that Richard is unique among them in that he does not report to that leader, and he alone seems to have direct access to Jacob. We know that they express ultimate loyalty to Jacob, and that, in the near-constant absence of Jacob, this loyalty is given by proxy to their leader. We know that they tend to be mistrustful, if not outright hostile, to new arrivals to the island. We know that leaving the island is not something that can be done easily, nor is permission to do so given lightly, nor is interacting with the outside world encouraged. Having a child with an outsider appears to be a great taboo.

And we can make a guess as to their values, and their history, from the way that they interacted, and continue to interact, with the Dharma Initiative.

- -- - - -- -- -- - - - --

The Dharma Initiative arrived on the island around twenty years after John Locke spoke with Richard Alpert. There may have been early excursions in the mid-sixties, it was likely fully operational sometime in the early seventies. As far as we know, the Dharma Initiative were the first group of people to come to the island, not by accident, but with the express purpose of coming there, with a specific agenda, with some rather detailed knowledge about the island, and with the resources to carry out that agenda. We actually know much more about the Dharma Initiative than we do about the Jacobians, at least in terms of on-island leadership, structure, and motivation. However, what we know for sure is based mainly on the physical evidence we have seen by way of their buildings and their artifacts, as well as the fact that we have been privy to their on-island managerial structure. However, the real origins of Dharma are unknown, as is their actual mission.

Though we don't know this for sure, there are large hints that there is a gap between what Dharma says it intends to do, and what it actually intends to do. We know that many of their training films contained partial information or outright misinformation either for the sake of conducting double-blind experiments, or for purposes of security, or for other reasons of subterfuge that are unclear to us. Certainly, all but the highest-ranking on-island members during the mid seventies were ignorant of the true nature of the experiments that were taking place there, and most people who came to the island were made unconscious during the trip, and were therefore, I assume, unaware of exactly how to get there, or how to get off. They were made to believe that they arrived and departed by submarine. We have reason to believe that the submarine was just another layer of Dharma-issue deception.

Dharma was ostensibly founded by two married University of Michigan academics, Gerald and Karen DeGroot, along with primary backer and co-founder Alvar Hanso, an ancestor of Magnus Hanso. Magnus Hanso was the owner of the shipping company that owned and funded the lost Black Rock. Given that we know that the journal belonging to the first mate of that ship made it back off-island, it's not illogical to suppose that the Hanso family became aware of the island after one of their own returned from the island with that journal.

About the DeGroots we know practically nothing. However, it is clear that somebody (whose identity is currently unknown) discovered that the island was not in a specific location, but rather in motion. Somehow, he or she was able to calculate with a high level of certainty where the island would be at a given time. It is almost certain that this individual worked for Dharma, or at least that his/her work was used by Dharma, since the Initiative constructed a station in Los Angeles, code-named Lamp Post, which was based on his work. Lamp Post station allowed Dharma to predict the island's location, and bring personnel and equipment to and from the island with regularity, if not with ease. (It's not clear if the U.S. Army used Lamp Post to reach the island in the 50s, or, if not, how they managed to do it.)

As far as we can tell, Dharma was composed primarily of scientists. Their stated purpose was to harness the unique properties of the island for the betterment of humanity. Their stated goal was to bring peace to the world. Their stated goal was to turn the world into a utopia. They found themselves at war with the Jacobians.

We don't know much at all about this war. In fact, we don't really know for a fact that there even was a war. What we do know is that, by the early seventies, the Jacobians had entered into an unsteady truce with Dharma, and that truces usually indicate a war. It appears that in order to keep the Jacobians away, Dharma erected a sonic fence around the perimeter of their territory. This fence could be adjusted to levels between mild stun to nose-spurting fatality. It also seems very likely that the fence served to keep something else out. A creature, seemingly made of smoke, which seemed to Dharma to be under the control of the Jacobians. Given the size and power of this creature, keeping it out may have been the primary function of the security fence.

At the time of the Dharma/Jacobian truce, Eloise Hawking had become the leader of the Jacobians. It may be that she shared leadership with her partner, Charles Widmore. At that time, Dharma operatives of note included:

Horace Goodspeed - The operational director of Dharma's on-island efforts. He has jowls and long stringy old-man hippie hair. He also has Jacobian tunnels leading to a secret wall in one of his closets. That's weird, right?

Pierre Chang - A scientist working primarily with the construction of The Orchid, a Dharma Station meant to study a large pocket of electromagnetic energy which seemed to be one of the primary sources of the island's unusual properties. Chang's theories include the zany idea that this pocket of energy may be able to allow time travel. Also, he's a very cranky man.

Miles Straume - Pierre Chang's infant son. If you're sharp, you'll remember that Miles first came to this island hundreds or thousands of years ago in a flash of light, and then disappeared not long thereafter. He then showed up again with John Locke's party in 1954. Now he has been born.

Stuart Radzinsky - A scientist working primarily with the construction of The Swan, a Dharma Station meant to study a large pocket of electromagnetic energy which seems to be one of the primary sources of the island's unusual properties. Also, he's a violent asshole.

Roger Linus - A pre-island friend of Horace Goodspeed. Employed as a "workman", aka a janitor and maintenance worker. He was an angry man, a drunk, and emotionally abusive of his young son Benjamin. His wife died in childbirth with Benjamin, and Roger blamed his son for her death. Worse, he would tell him this. Repeatedly. On Benjamin's birthday.

Benjamin Linus - Son of Roger Linus. A very sad and lonely boy with enormous glasses. In another age, he'd be playing Harry Potter in the movies. Unfortunately, he was stuck on hippie mystery island.

Charlotte Lewis - A child on the island. If you've been watching or reading somewhat closely, you'll remember that Charlotte appeared as an adult hundreds or thousands of years ago, and died. After that, she appeared in 1954 with John Locke's group, and became very sick. Now she's a little girl whose parents work for Dharma.

Oldham - An interrogator and all-around weird fellow.

There are dozens, maybe hundreds, more on-island members of Dharma. They seem like good folk, by and large.

This would also probably be a good time to state that there is overwhelming evidence, to be unpacked throughout this timeline, that the Dharma Initiative, at least at its highest levels of operation, represented some kind of schism within the Jacobian movement itself. It is also true that, unknown to most (if not all) members of Dharma, the Jacobians' series of tunnels lead directly into the barracks of Dharma's director of operations. It seems clear based on the evidence at hand that, at the time of the Dharma/Jacobian truce, Dharma had Jacobian operatives within it, and that the Jacobian camp had Dharmic operatives or go-betweens. And this was even before the odd case of Ben Linus.

Ben was, as has been mentioned, a very sad and lonely boy, who found life with his miserable father to be unbearable. On a pre-truce night after a particularly disturbing skirmish between Dharma and the Jacobians (tagged "hostiles" by the Initiative), Ben looked out his window and saw his dead mother looking in at him, looking perfectly hale and hearty, though kind of spooky because of all the staring in through the window and also, you know, the dead. On Ben's birthday, his dad got him a drunken box full of "you killed your mother" as a present, and Ben, crushed and hurt, ran out to the sonic fence. On the other side of the fence, he saw his mother once again, who warned him not to kill himself on the fence.

The boy came back the next day with a deactivation code. He turned off the fence and passes through it into the jungle, where he met Richard Alpert. Ben informed Alpert that he'd seen his dead mother, and that his desire was to join "the Hostiles." Alpert told him that it might be possible, but that he'd have to be patient. We don't know Alpert's motivations were in meeting Ben, nor what he was doing out there, and we don't know why he was wearing hair extensions. It's not a good look for him. Given what eventually becomes of the relationship between these two, and how each factor's into the Nemesis' plan to kill Jacob, it's logical to suppose that Richard had been led to that place much in the same way that Ben had. In other words, let's consider the possibility that Richard had come through the jungle following some apparition of the Nemesis.

I say this because it is extremely likely that Ben's "mother" was, in fact, the Nemesis taking on her form. It is extremely likely that the Nemesis, when not appearing as a creature of smoke, can appear as the dead when it suits him.

Soon after this, the truce went into effect. It's unknown if the truce had anything to do with this nighttime meeting between Alpert and Ben.

About a year after this, the Others appeared once again in a flash of light. If you remember, they were: Jin-Soo Kwan, James "Sawyer" Ford, Juliet Burke, Miles Straume, and Daniel Faraday. If you are reading this, you know that they came here from about thirty years in the future. They weren't happy.

Burke, who thirty years from now was a semi-defected Jacobian, doctor, and fertility expert, was upset because all she wanted was to get off the island.

Ford, who thirty years from now was a con man, rogue, and nickname generator, was upset because the love of his life had made it off the island in thirty years along with his main competition for said love.

Kwan, who thirty years from now was an enforcer for his automotive-exec-cum-mob-boss father-in-law, was upset because his pregnant wife was about to give birth to their daughter in thirty years.

Faraday, who thirty years from now was a theoretical quantum scientist whose experiments had destroyed his memory, was grieving the recent death of Charlotte Lewis a thousand years ago. I'll let you take as much time as you need with that sentence.

Straume, who could detect the sensory memories of dead people with whom he was in immediate proximity, was upset because that's just how he is.

They all agreed that it seemed that the time-jumping had stopped because of something that John Locke had done. They were right. They had stopped jumping around through time because he'd put the wheel back in its place a thousand years ago. That was good, because the time jumping had been melting their brains, and had, in fact, killed Charlotte. That was less good, though, because it was 1974 and they were stuck there.

They also seemed to be in consensus that Locke had gotten off the island to bring back to the island more of their friends, who had found a way off of the island in 25 years. They also seemed to be in consensus that Locke had determined that it was desperately important that these people come back to the island, that these specific people had a great destiny to fulfill on the island. Both of these things were correct: Locke had gotten off the island in order to bring these people back, and Locke was of the opinion that it was desperately important to do so. Whether or not it WAS truly important to do so is a matter of some conjecture.

Ford had decided that he was going to stay on the island as long as it took for Locke to return with his friends. Well, mainly the lady he liked. The rest didn't seem so sure of what they wanted to do. (Rose and Bernard Nadler, and the dog Vincent, we presume, were also delighted to have the time jumping stop. They also decided they had zero interest in any of these crazy people. They also noticed that they were on a tropical paradise. They found a nice secluded place to spend the rest of their lives together. Good on 'em.)

However, the Others came upon a post-truce confrontation between two married Dharma members and two Jacobians. The Jacobians killed the man, but they were in turn killed by Ford and Burke before they could murder the woman. The woman, whose name was Amy, was extremely untrusting of these Others, but agreed to let them accompany her to the Dharma barracks. At least that's what she said. In actuality, she turned the sonic fence from kill to stun, and took them all prisoner when it KO'd them.

The Others awoke as prisoners in the Dharma recreation room. Goodspeed came to interrogate Ford, who, thinking quickly, constructed an alibi for them all. He introduced himself as Jim LaFleur, and claimed that they were on a salvage ship searching for the Black Rock that had floundered here, and that the rest were his crew. This story was apparently detailed enough yet non-threatening-to-Dharma enough to appease Goodspeed. However, the Dharma director had another problem: the truce had been broken and two Jacobians killed. That night, Alpert walked into the Dharma camp to demand answers.

Ford managed to make Alpert go away without bloodshed, in perhaps the only way that anybody could have. He mentioned a day in 1954 when a man named John Locke strolled into Alpert's camp. Alpert's motives in allowing a group of people with direct knowledge of Locke to stay with Dharma is unknowable, though strange. However, that is what he did, taking only the body of the dead Initiative member, Amy's husband, with him as a token of fair exchange for the lives of his people lost.

It should here be mentioned that Amy's murdered husband had an ankh necklace which appeared to be of great value to his widow, as it was the one memento from his body that she took with her. The possession of this Egyptian artifact, coupled with the fact that there was no good explanation why Amy and her husband were outside of the Dharma perimeter, meeting with Jacobians, combined with the fact that Amy soon thereafter married Goodspeed, moving into his house, coupled with the fact that we know that the Jacobians had a tunnel which led directly into Goodspeed's house . . . well, look. I'm not saying that Amy and her husband were Jacobian double-agents. But I am saying this: Amy and her husband were Jacobian double-agents.

In the end, Ford managed to prove his worth to Goodspeed, and he and his people were initiated into Dharma. Ford rose through the ranks, to become the highly-trusted head of security. He was assisted by Straume and Kwan. Burke, in her previous life a skilled doctor, worked in the motor pool. Faraday became a Dharma scientists, eventually leaving the island to go work in the home offices in Ann Arbor. As these three years passed, the Others waited for their friends, and the three in Dharma Security made rounds of the island, searching for signs of them . . . but they also made new friends, and established roots within the Dharma Initiative. Burke and Ford fell in love, and these two particularly seemingly began to think of the island, and Dharma, as home.

In the three years that pass, a number of things happened.

• Amy and Horace Goodspeed gave birth to a son named Ethan.

• Eloise Hawking became pregnant with Daniel Faraday. The father is understood to be Charles Widmore.

• Miles Straume was born to Pierre Chang and his wife. This was very weird for non-baby Miles Straume, who was on-island at the time.

• Off island, a man who called himself "Sawyer" bilked a young James Ford's parents out of all their money. With young Ford watching, his father killed Ford's mother, then himself. At the funeral, Jacob visited Ford, offering him a pen. Ford used the pen to write a letter of revenge to "Sawyer", and pledged himself to a life of vengeance. "Sawyer's" real name is Anthony Cooper. He is the father of John Locke. Naturally, none of these people are aware of these connections.

Not long after these things happened, and on the day that a group of new inductees were arriving by submarine (or "by submarine"), some more Others arrived on the island in a flash of light, the people that Ford (and, to a lesser extent, his friends) was waiting for. Their names were Jack Shephard, Kate Austin, Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, and Sayid Jarrah.

Let's bend minds. Thirty years from now, they had been on the island before this, and had believed themselves to have been "rescued" from it. Their previous time on the island had been a horrible, violent one, which had really made for some great television. Now, thirty years before they left, they were coming back. They had been on an airplane to Guam in 2009. They had received information, given to them by Eloise Hawking, who in 2009 was using the Lamp Post station, that had convinced them that it would return them to the island. They had been convinced to return, against their better judgment, for a number of reasons.

Austin, and ex-con and all around mess, had been protecting a baby when they escaped the island. She'd raised that child as her own, but now was searching for that child's mother. She'd left the child behind to keep him safe. Also the mother had appeared to her as if a ghost, commanding her not to bring the boy back, which totally got her attention. The mother's name was Claire. The child's name was Aaron.

Reyes, a nice guy who'd won the lottery, was there because Jacob had appeared to him and given him a gift from a dead friend, which had in some unknown way convinced him to come. One could speculate that the true gift that Jacob had given him was reassurance that he wasn't crazy. Reyes had been under the impression that he was, you see, because he often saw and spoke with friends of his who were dead.

Jarrah, an ex Iraqi special agent and interrogation expert, was there because he had been brought against his will by an off-island Jacobian agent who had been contracted by Jacob to do so. That agent, however, was nowhere to be found.

Shephard, a skilled surgeon, was there in part because he was wracked by guilt for those he'd left behind. In particular, he'd recently discovered that Claire, the mother for whom Austin was searching, was his half-sister. But Shephard was also there in part because John Locke had convinced him that he had a destiny to fulfill back on the island. Locke had convinced him by mentioning Shephard's father, as this was the guise under which the Nemesis had appeared to him by the wheel. Locke had also convinced him by dying.

There was no evidence of wreckage of the plane they were on, nor of any of the plane's other passengers or crew. Also, there was no evidence of the year 2009. This was a problem, because those of them who had come back voluntarily had done so under the impression that they had critically important work to do in that year. Also, it was 1977. You never expect to get sent to 1977.

As a brief aside, one finds it interesting that the person who was using the Lamp Post, a Dharma station, to bring these people back to the island, was Eloise Hawking, the one-time leader of the Jacobians. I present it as further evidence of a closer tie between Jacobians and the Initiative than might be initially evident. Though, perhaps, it would be unwise to read into this that Hawking was to become a true and loyal member of Dharma after leaving the island. Let's not forget that the trademark Jacobian strategy of warfare appears to be that of infiltration. Add to this the fact that Jacob himself seemed to be playing an active role in ensuring the return of these people to the island. Pretty messy, right? Back to 1977.

On patrol, Kwan found Shephard, Austin, and Reyes, and reported his discovery back to Ford. Ford was able to use his position to initiate the three into Dharma. Shephard was made a workman alongside Roger Linus, Reyes was put in the kitchen, and Burke, who knew full well that Ford had been in love with Austin, and waiting for her, saw to it that her rival was put in motor pool along with her.

Jarrah had been separated from the rest upon his arrival in 1977, and was captured by Dharma, leaving Ford with quite a conflict of interests. His Dharma associates assumed that Jarrah was a member of the "hostiles", and interrogated him as such; but when the truth drug was administered by Oldham, Jarrah merely spewed "nonsense" about how he'd been on the island previously for 100 days, long after every member of Dharma had been killed. Unfortunately for these gentlemen, they did not believe Jarrah, who was telling the truth: in eighteen years, the entire on-island Dharma Initiative would be murdered and thrown into a pit. Unfortunately for Jarrah, the drug also caused him to reveal his knowledge of a number of key Dharma facilities, including the Swan, which was only now preparing for construction under the direction of Radzinsky.

Radzinsky, never the most trusting or gentle of souls in any instance, presumed that Jarrah was a dangerous Hostile spy, and in a meeting of top Dharma leadership, argued that the prisoner should be killed immediately. Ford was against this, and Goodspeed was leaning his way, until the argument was swayed Radzinksy's way by Amy Goodspeed. You know, the one who is in no way a Jacobian plant. Ford, realizing that his friend was in mortal danger, tried to arrange his escape, but Jarrah refused, much to Ford's consternation, claiming that he had a greater destiny that he had only recently realized. Jarrah had recently made the acquaintance of the young Ben Linus, you see. Linus, like everybody else in Dharma, presumed that Jarrah was a Hostile, but unlike the rest, Linus saw this as an opportunity, not a threat. Jarrah, for his part, had known Linus well thirty years later, and considered him directly responsible for most of the awful things that had happened to him and his friends in the future, and which had made for such excellent television up to this point. Among other things, Jarrah held him responsible for many on-island deaths, the murder of the entire Dharma Initiative, the death of Jarrah's wife (probably), and the exploitation of Jarrah's admittedly bad-ass killing abilities at the expense of Jarrah's very soul. I would like to point out that while Jarrah has excellent rock star hair, he would probably be a real bummer at cocktail parties.

Thus, when Linus freed Jarrah, in exchange for passage to the Jacobian camp and an opportunity to join them, Jarrah accepted. They went out into the jungle, where they were discovered by Kwan. Jarrah incapacitated Kwan, took his gun, and shot young Ben Linus right in the chesticle, and ran off into the jungle until the plot needed him again.

Kwan brought Linus back to the Dharma facilities, but unfortunately the medical personnel were not up to the task. Linus was dying. Austin and Burke called upon the one man who could save the day: Jack Shephard. Jack refused flatly, shocking Austin, who seemed to trust him implicitly. Burke, who had been a Jacobian, revealed to Austin that the "hostiles" could still save Linus. Austin convinced Ford to take her into Jacobian territory. Once there, they met Alpert, who warned that if he took Linus, the boy would have no memory of what had happened. More ominously, he told them that the boy would have "lost his innocence." I expect it doesn't mean anything janky, but come on, Alpert. Pick your words better.

Alpert took Linus into the temple, and it is almost certain that from that moment on, Linus was officially recognized by Jacobians as one of them. For the next eighteen years, Linus would live a double life, halfway between Dharma and the Jacobians, but loyal only to the Jacobians. If the Jacobians hadn't had a plant inside of Dharma before this (they did), then they did now. And Benjamin Linus had begun the path that would lead him, in the future, to Sayid Jarrah. Jarrah's hope had been to change the future he knew and found unacceptable by removing a key component of the past. The effect had been to make that future happen. You might want to remember this theme. It's going to come back.

Things at Dharma all happened very quickly after this. The prisoner escape, coupled with Ben Linus's injury and subsequent disappearance, had set the entire camp into severe suspicion and alert. Radzinsky in particular was tense, as the experiment which was to be the culmination of his Dharma career was about to take place. He was about to drill into the large pocket of electromagnetism, study it, measure it, and then begin construction of the Swan station to monitor and and conduct experiments with one of the most potentially exciting sources of energy on earth. Let's say he was prepared to deal harshly with distractions. Shortly after Ford and Austin's return from Jacobian territory, Ford's non-Dharma dealings were discovered by one of his security team. Ford incapacitated the man, but the endgame had begun.

That day, Daniel Faraday returned to the island from Ann Arbor, with a very long "to do" list. Faraday knew about Radzinsky's Swan operation. He also knew what would be the result. An "incident", which had caused a mass exodus of all non-essential Dharma personnel, which had nearly destroyed the entire island, and which had resulted not in the Swan station of Radzinsky's plans, but of a containment device over a deadly force of unimaginable power. This Swan station had been instrumental, thirty years from now, in bringing to the island Reyes, Austin, Shephard, Jarrah, Ford, Kwan, and many others. Faraday, who heretofore had been of the unwavering opinion that time is a fixed thing, which cannot be changed, had now reversed course. His belief seemed to have become that, if he could in some way prevent the Swan Incident from occurring, then the chain of events that had led to Charlotte Lewis' return to the island, and subsequent death, could be prevented. He drove to the Orchid site, where the construction crew had almost reached the central chamber holding the time-wheel, and warned Pierre Chang to evacuate the island immediately. When Chang refused, Faraday revealed to Chang that he was from the future. Somehow, Chang did not take this revelation from a bearded, sweaty, jittery man as substantive proof. Pushing the matter, Faraday informed Change that Straume was, in fact, (1) also from the future, and (2) Chang's son. Chang appeared to be troubled but unconvinced.

Returning to the barracks, Faraday informed the gathered Dharma-infiltrated Others that he could get them back to where they needed to go. However, he needed their help to get to the Jacobians. More specifically, he claimed, he needed to find the leader of the Jacobians. Who, he knew, was Eloise Hawking. Who was, Faraday revealed, his own mother. This normally would have big a big reveal, but most of them knew that already, having already been told this by Hawking herself in thirty years. (I will never get sick of the quantum past tense.)

Sawyer was sick of helping people at the risk of his own sweet Dharma gig and demurred at all the twitchy crazytalk from Faraday, but Juliet coughed up the code to the sonic fences, and Faraday, Austin, and Shephard were off. Unfortunately for them, this involved a shootout at the motor pool with Radzinsky and company, which wounded Faraday slightly, and put the entire Initiative on the highest of high alert. Ford and Burke's subterfuge was discovered, and they were captured and scheduled to be expelled from the island. Jin Kwan, Hugo Reyes, and Miles Straume managed to remain at large.

Once past the sonic fences, Faraday revealed the rest of his plan. What he wanted to do, he claimed, was no less than to change the course of history, to wit: He wanted to take the hydrogen bomb that he had seen on the island back in 1954, and had instructed the Jacobians to bury, and he wanted to detonate it inside the Swan dig, thus preventing the Incident, and perhaps destroying the island, and thus hopefully insuring that none of them would have to experience all of the wonderful television programming that had traumatized them so much. They would never have come to the island.

Now . . . it seems possibly that this is what Faraday, grieving over the woman he loved, hoped would happen. But it also seems just as likely that Faraday, whose entire career had been devoted to exactly this kind of time travel, and to quantum mechanics, understood that the combination of the bomb detonation inside the electromagnetic singularity would create the Incident just as it happened, and that it further needed to be created for some much larger reason then the misery of a few lives. And that perhaps, just perhaps, Faraday was talking about the possibility of modifying the future in order to give the people whose help he required the motivation they needed in order to make the future happen unchanged. Let's just consider that as a possible motive for Faraday, since it's very very very likely that this was the result of the Incident, and it's also likely that Faraday would know that.

In any event, this was enough motivation for Shephard, who desperately wanted to save everybody who had died on the island, and who desperately wanted to turn back the clock since he had screwed things up so badly with Austin, who he considered his one true snuggy-poo. Actually, let's ignore that second reason. It's so dumb. Austin was unconvinced, in large part because she had become a mother as a result of her island experiences, but also in no small part because the island had prevented her from being jailed for the rest of her life for murder.

Anyway, to get the bomb, they needed to find it, and the only people who knew where it was were the Jacobians, and so that is where they went. Upon reaching the Jacobian camp, Faraday went in by himself, brandishing a gun at Alpert, and demanding to speak with Hawking. However, Hawking, in hiding, shot and killed Faraday. As he died, he whispered to her, "You knew."

Austin and Shephard were taken prisoner and questioned by Hawking. Shephard told Hawking who they were, and what Faraday's plan was. In Faraday's possession was a well-used journal, full of everything he knew about the properties of time travel, and, I suspect, much regarding the unusual timeline of the island. Whatever was in that journal was enough to convince Eloise Hawking that she had killed the son that she still carried inside of her. Though Hawking's motives are among the most mysterious of anyone we will consider, it seems very likely that her actions over the following day were, like Shephard's and Jarrah's, born directly from a desire to change history and prevent an unendurable tragedy.

Hawking decided to assist Shephard. She was opposed by Widmore, but (interestingly) was able to overrule him. I would suggest this to be evidence that, at this point in time at least, Hawking was the primary leader of the Jacobians. She was accompanied by Richard and one other Jacobian. He didn't have a name, so you know he's about to die. Austin wanted nothing to do with the plot to detonate the bomb. She announced her intention to return to Dharma to warn Ford and the rest in order to stop them, but was stopped at gunpoint by the Jacobians. The standoff was broken when Jarrah, coming out of the jungle, shot the redshirt Jacobian, giving the Others the upper hand. Jarrah, informed of the bomb plot, was greatly distressed to learn that his own attempt to change the future by shooting Linus had failed. He agreed to accompany Shephard, and Austin was allowed to return to Dharma.

At Dharma, Radzinsky had taken control of operations from Goodspeed. Chang had returned to speak with Reyes and Straume, and had finally been convinced that Faraday's warnings had been real. As Chang began to evacuate all non-essential Dharma personnel and family, Radzinsky began preparing to drill into the electromagnetic pocket and begin the Swan program. Austin found herself on the last submarine to leave, along with Ford and Burke. After explaining what Shephard was planning to do, Austin convinced Burke to help her hijack the submarine and return to the mainland to stop the bomb.

Alpert and Hawking led Jarrah and Shephard through their tunnels to the bomb. Jarrah removed the fissile material and the detonator, and, as they now needed to make their way back within the Dharma perimeter, carried it in a backpack as they made their way to the secret wall in Goodspeed's house. At that wall, Alpert incapacitated Hawking, to prevent her from taking any further risk, and sent Jarrah and Shephard on alone. These two came back into the Dharma camp in the middle of the frenzy of evacuation, and tried to pass unnoticed through the confusion. Unfortunately, Roger Linus recognized the man who had shot his son, and shot Jarrah in the stomach. Shephard and the badly injured Jarrah were rescued from the ensuing gunfight by Reyes, Kwan, and Straume, in a commandeered van. As the five Others drove to the Swan site, they found their way blocked by Ford, Burke, and Austin.

Despite the necessity of the situation and Jarrah's injuries, they stopped for a chat. After fisticuffs with Shephard, Ford was convinced to join the bomb plan by Burke, because Burke didn't think Ford wuvved her no more. Yep. I will have to assume that there is a better explanation, because otherwise that's a very weak moment in a great story. Let's please forget about that. Shephard convinced Austin to join him by pointing out that, if they were successful, Claire would be reunited with her son, albeit in utero.

Off they went. Jarrah, dying, showed them how to arm and detonate the bomb.

At the Swan site, Radzinsky had begun drilling over Chang's objections. Shephard, once again trying to carry a bomb unnoticed past Dharma personnel, totally got noticed. Dammit, Jim, he's a doctor, not a ninja. Everybody firefight! The gunplay ended with the Others in charge of the site. Chang tried to stop the drill, but the bit had punctured the pocket of electromagnetic energy, and was stuck.

Jack dropped the bomb down the shaft.

Nothing happened.

It was at this point that the pocket started to make the sky scream (now, that's unnerving) and Radzinsky began a long long drink of comeuppance. The pocket began sucking everything metal, including the large industrial derrick, into itself with an astonishing and frightening power.

A bunch of things happened now, all at once, like.

A lot of people were killed by flying machinery.

Pierre Change was pinned against the drilling rig, but was rescued by Straume.

To James Ford's grief, Juliet Burke was sucked into the hole. At the bottom of that hole, badly injured and dying, she saw the bomb. She picked it up and began slamming the detonator against a rock, until it exploded.

The bomb's blast did something. What it did is one of the greatest remaining mysteries.

Juliet Burke, James "Sawyer" Ford, Jack Shephard, Hugo Reyes, Jin-Soo Kwan, Miles Straume, and Kate Austin disappeared. I think. At the very least, nobody from that time period appears to have any memory of them post-Incident.

I will stop at this point to make a supposition. Remember that wheel over by the orchid dig? Remember how it existed in some kind of time/space situation separate from the island itself? Remember how a wheel could be put off its axis in 2004 and then fixed hundreds or thousands of years later? I would like to suggest that the Swan pocket was similarly extra-dimensional. In other words, instead of puncturing into a pocket of energy that existed, like itself, in 1977, the drill bit punctured into a place that existed everywhere throughout the island's timeline. I would also like to suggest the possibility that maybe, perhaps, puncturing that pocket was epically, even cosmically dangerous. That, if left unchecked, it would create a cosmic singularity. Which would be a Friggin' Black Hole. Which would mean the end of the solar system as we know it. I am really speculating hard here, but let's just say that it seemed like the danger of what the Swan site had started doing might have been more far-reaching than a few pennies zipping like bullets through the air and a ruined experimental dig.

But consider, now. The bomb went off in a place that I suppose to be outside of the island's time and space. What would the effect of a nuclear blast in such a place be? What if the effect of the bomb didn't take place in 1977 specifically? What if it was like that wheel, where something that happened in 1977 would still be going on centuries before? What if it took place throughout the island's time? Instead of being a specific mark at a specific place, like an axe-blow to a tree, it would pour throughout the timeline, like water through ink.

This is hard-core speculation now. But my operating theory is that the bomb blast in this unique place is what actually causes the island to have a unique situation in time and space as compared to "our" world, and that it is the mechanism which resets time, causing these endless loops of the timeline in which Jacob conducts his experiments of incremental human improvement. The detonation of what Dharma would come to call "The Incident" reverberates throughout all of time, backward and forward. And resets time. Continually.

We still don't know when the island's timeline ends. But I do think it is possible that the Jacobians are sitting on a nascent black hole, triggered by a nuclear blast within a pocket of quantum energy.

I think it is very possible that this phenomenon would be represented in some way by the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42.

We don't know when somebody on the island began transmitting those numbers via radio. But it may well have been around this point.

OK. That's some wild theorizing. We don't know if that's true. That's the best I can fit it, though.

What I think we can assume with a fairly high degree of certainty is that the Incident, which caused Shephard and the rest of the Others to come to the island, and which Shephard and company were trying to prevent, actually WAS the bomb going off in the electromagnetic pocket. The bomb could not have prevented the them from coming to the island, because if that were the case, then they wouldn't come to the island, and thus they would never have returned in 1977, and would never have set off the bomb . . . which means that they would eventually come to the island. And so on. Also, if none of what we've been watching for five years ever really happened, that really would make for bad television.

I am going to progress as if the bomb is, was, and always has been a part of the 1977 historical island event known as The Incident. You think differently, hey, that's your right. We'll know soon.

We know that Dharma was aware of some level of radioactivity, because they built the Swan with a Chernobyl-grade thick concrete wall between it and the pocket. Instead of a laboratory, the Swan became primarily a containing facility, buried beneath the ground with a door on one side of the mound, and a hatch on the top (by the way, if you are planning on starting to watch LOST from the beginning, here's a helpful summary of Season 1 and 2. Hatch hatch hatch hatch hatch. Also, stop reading this! What is wrong with you?). However, the pocket produced far too much energy to simply hold. Every 108 minutes, the electromagnetic/radiation reached dangerous levels, which threatened to create another incident. Thus, a computerized mechanism to release the energy was devised. Because the ramifications of a system failure were too great to contemplate, a human monitor needed to be appointed to watch the system and manually expel the energy. Since he'd made the mess, Radzinsky was chosen. Or, perhaps, because of his interest in the electromagnetism, he volunteered. Either way, suck it, Radzinsky.

Beneath the Swan's living quarters, right on the breach itself, a fail-safe key was installed. Turning the key would release all of the energy at once. It's not clear why somebody would want to do that. But somebody clearly thought it might be necessary. We don't know how Dharma got a lid on the Swan dig and managed to build on top of it, or how they devised the release mechanism. However, the presence of Egyptian hieroglyphs on a warning sign that would appear past minute 108 lead me to believe that the Jacobians may have had to lend a hand. And, again, that Dharma is tied more closely to the Jacobians than we might have previously believed.

After this, Dharma continued operations. The Orchid site was successfully finished, and short-range time travel experiments with rabbits were eventually successfully carried out under Chang's direction. Other stations were built (though admittedly some of these were around pre-Incident):

The Arrow was a military hub, used by security.

The Staff was a medical facility.

The Looking Glass was an underwater facility with a dock for the submarine. It is ostensibly how Dharma staff came to and from the island. At the very least, they were led to believe this was the case.

The Pearl was a station with closed-circuit television monitors which observed the other stations. It appeared to have been a part of some double-blind experiments involving the Swan.

The Hydra was a zoological facility located on a smaller island (but still part of the unique time/space situation as the "main" island). Among other animals, polar bears were studied here. There is also an underwater component to the Hydra, and a large aquarium.

The Flame was a communications station, which appears to have equipment specially designed to communicate with the outside world. It's also rigged with a lot of explosives. Or, perhaps, it will be.

The Tempest was a station which developed and stored toxic gas, along with a delivery method that would allow it to be administered quickly and lethally across the entire island, or perhaps just the portions controlled by Dharma. Many of the hatches had ostensible functions hiding their true purpose (the Orchid doubled as a botanical lab), but it is the Tempest in particular that shows the extent to which Dharma leadership may not have been totally on the level with their employees.

It would appear that Chang maintained a leadership role. Goodspeed remained on the island, though his role is unclear. It is known that Roger Linus remained on the island, as did his son, Benjamin, recovered mysteriously from his wounds. Ben worked with his father as a Dharma workman, but in secret, he was a Jacobian. It isn't clear precisely when he inducted young Ethan Goodspeed into the order, or even if it was he who did so. Nor is it clear when Ethan changed his last name to Rom.

Eloise Hawking gave birth to Daniel Faraday and left the island, though not necessarily in that order. We know little about Hawking's activities for the next 30 years, but we do know that something happened to create a great change in her. Rather than working to change the past, as she had with Shephard and Jarrah on the day of The Incident, she actively began working to insure that her son fulfill his destiny, to become a quantum physicist, to make breakthroughs in time travel. She discouraged any activities or interests, save those related to his studies. She bought him the journal that he would eventually fill with notes. She dedicated her life to preserving the timeline. She appears to have joined one of the island-aware groups living off island. We know that she was acquainted with a priest who cased some good wine and ran a monastery. At some point, she was entrusted with knowledge and access to the Dharma station Lamp Post.

What changed Hawking's mind, what convinced her to sacrifice her son, is one of the greater remaining mysteries of this story. Did she find something in Faraday's book? Was it the result of the Incident that convinced her? Did she realize, as perhaps her son had, that it was the effect of the bomb going off inside of the Swan site's quantum singularity that had prevented a black hole from swallowing the solar system? Was she visited by Jacob? Manipulated by the Nemesis?

Well. Whether or not she was manipulated by the Nemesis, we can be quite certain that Benjamin Linus had been. The Nemesis wanted Jacob dead, but he was prevented from doing so by rules of some kind (whether rules of nature or rules set by some greater power, we do not know). Thus, he needed somebody willing to kill Jacob. However, Jacob was inaccessible to all but the leader of the Jacobians. Thus, the Nemesis needed a leader of the Jacobians who was either willing to kill Jacob, or who was willing to bring another who would kill Jacob into Jacob's presence. A lonely boy with a pathetic desire for belonging and a nascent edge of ruthlessness fit the bill.

Also, whether or not Hawking had been visited by Jacob, we know that Jacob visited others in the years following the incident. He saved a young girl named Kate Austin from the consequences of shoplifting. He visited a spinal surgeon named Jack Shephard after a surgery. He came to a man named John Locke. Locke had been raised in foster homes and had grown into a lonely man desperate for meaning in his life. As an adult, Locke had begun to have interactions with a man claiming to be his father, Anthony Cooper, a sociopathic con man, who robbed Locke of a kidney, caused Locke's one romantic relationship to fail, and then, when confronted, had pushed Locke out of a eighth-story window. Jacob came to him seconds after Locke had hit the ground. It seems highly likely that Locke was dead when Jacob touched him, reviving him. At the very least, Jacob's touch seems to have been responsible for Locke's miraculous survival. However, Locke was left paralyzed from the waist down, stranded in a wheelchair.

It can be assumed that Jacob visited other people as well, and it's probably safe to say that through these visits, Jacob drew these people to him. To the island.

Upon Hawking's departure from the island, Charles Widmore appears to have taken sole leadership of the Jacobians. He was certainly the sole leader during the next notable arrival of people to the island: A French scientific expedition, including a pregnant woman named Danielle Rousseau. crashed just off the island, and were drawn into the island's orbit while floating in their dinghy.

While floating along, they came upon a nearly-drowned man named Jin-Soo Kwan. Kwan joined them on the beach, and seemed to be acquainted with the island. As they walked through the jungle, they were attacked by the smoke creature, who threw one of them against the ground, killing her, then dragged another under the temple. His friends tried to save him, but the creature pulled the man away with enough strength to leave the others holding nothing but his arm. The horrified Frenchmen then heard their companion calling for help. It is very likely that this was the Nemesis mimicking the recently dead man. However, his companions all followed him down to help, except for Rousseau, who was dissuaded by Kwan. Kwan then disappeared in a flash of light.

We're not exactly sure what happened after this, save that all of Rousseau's companions exhibited signs of what she would go on to call "The Sickness", and she was forced to kill them all. From what little evidence we have, it appears that she killed them in self-defense. It's also quite likely that the Sickness was her name for the fact that they no longer acted like themselves, but rather behaved violently toward her, and that the reason that they behaved in this way is that they were not themselves, but rather the Nemesis in disguise. The last man Rousseau killed was the father of her unborn child. At that point, Kwan appeared again in a flash, and Rousseau, nearly mad, tried to kill him, but failed as he once again disappeared. Rousseau did not see Kwan again for a very long time.

Not long after, Rousseau gave birth to a daughter, who she named Alex. We don't know exactly when the statue of the fertility goddess Taweret was demolished. But, given that sometime not long after the successful birth of Alex, all island pregnancies resulted in fatality for both child and mother, we could imagine that it happened after this point. Fertility goddess, you know. Soon after, acting on Widmore's orders, Benjamin Linus, assisted by Ethan Rom, snuck into to Rousseau's tent to kill the surviving Frenchwoman. Surprised to see an infant, Linus found himself unable to go through with it. He did see fit, however, to steal the infant, warning Rousseau to never show herself. Also, to run from whispers.

Oh yeah. The island is full of the sound of strange whispers. I have no idea.

Linus returned to camp claiming to have killed Rousseau as instructed, and to have brought the infant, about whom had known nothing, and about whom he was awaiting instructions. He was chastised by Widmore for not killing the infant, also. Linus refused, presenting the baby for Widmore himself to kill. Widmore demurred, and ordered Linus to raise the child. Thus, Linus became adoptive father to Alex Rousseau.

It's worth stopping here to point out that Linus was still working for Dharma. How he managed to get away for this excursion is difficult to say, but it does give us a glimpse at how closely he'd become entwined with Jacobian life. He had a rich life and now even had a child in the "native" camp, which was where his true loyalties lay. How Avatar of him. Rousseau took this opportunity to go totally insane, a brew which she fermented over the following 15 or so years. At some point she found radio tower I assume belonged to Dharma and set a message that "everybody was dead", and other Chicken Soup for the Crazy Soul, and left it playing on a loop.

Nothing much happened for a handful of years. Horace Goodspeed built a little cabin for he and his wife to use as a retreat. That's about it.

Then, in 1992, for reasons we don't understand, somebody killed almost every on-island member of the Dharma Initiative. That somebody was acting with the knowledge, and perhaps the assistance, of Benjamin Linus.

Who it was that set off the toxin deployment system of the Tempest, and for what reason, is another of the great remaining mysteries. If it was the Jacobians, it is unclear why they waited as long as they did to act. If it was Linus acting alone, it's unclear how he set off the Tempest's poison, or why he chose to do so. It is clear that he relished watching his father die, though, so at least that is creepy. However, though Linus was to later claim it was his decision, he was nowhere in the vicinity of the Tempest at the time of the Purge.

There are really only a couple of clues that might point to what was happening. First, it was very shortly after this time that Charles Widmore was expelled from the island for breaking Jacobian rules, and Benjamin Linus installed in his place. Specifically, Linus was not the only man leading a double life. Widmore had been leaving the island regularly, and had even had a child with an outsider. Both of these are, presumable, Jacobian crimes. This "child of an outsider" is generally understood to be named Penelope Widmore, though she has yet to be identified as such. If this child is in fact Penelope, it would give us an indication of how long these infractions had been going on, as "Penny" would, in 1992, be a teenager. Widmore, we know, has ever since blamed Linus for his ouster, and viewed him as an imposter and a thief. Upon leaving the island, Widmore became a very rich and powerful man; though, since he'd been regularly leaving the island, perhaps he already was one.

I would like to theorize that the reason the Jacobians decided wait to destroy the Dharma Initiative in 1992 is because it was at this point that they discovered that their own leader, Charles Widmore, was behind its creation and arrival on the island. It's a theory, but the Purge and Widmore's expulsion happening almost simultaneously beg this interpretation, which is only further bolstered by Widmore's later direct involvement with Dharma off-island.

Secondly, have evidence that the Nemesis at some point took up residence in Horace Goodspeed's cabin, and that Linus believed that he had met Jacob in some way there (though he claimed Jacob had never spoken to him). So, it's possible that the Nemesis manipulated Ben into thinking that he was Jacob, and into finding and providing information to the Jacobians regarding Widmore's doings? The result? A new leader of the Jacobians under the thrall of him, the Nemesis. The secondary result? The killing of the entire Dharma Initiative. Can't make an omelet, etc. What's interesting about this is that we have some fairly compelling evidence coming that Widmore was also in thrall to the Nemesis. It's pretty likely that, much like Ben Linus, he thought he was following Jacob.

I have no idea why the Jacobians were convinced to promote Linus upon the removal of Widmore.

Among the dead were Roger Linus and Horace Goodspeed. It is unknown whether Chang was on-island at the time. Radzinsky they kept alive, down in the Swan hatch. Push that button, Radzinsky. The Jacobians apparently continued to allow Dharma to access the island occasionally, by plane, to drop supplies for Radzinsky. There is evidence that Radzinsky believed that the poisonous atmosphere continued to be a problem outside of the hatch, and was unsafe to move around without a bio-suit on.

Linus moved the Jacobians into the Dharma barracks, and began using them for various experimental purposes. It seems that this was the cause of a rift between Linus and Alpert. Or, perhaps, Alpert simply wished to stay in the old camp of U.S. Army tents to await the return of John Locke. Linus began to raise Alex, to participate in the daily life and rituals of the Jacobians, and to wait for that day, which he expected to come soon, when Jacob would summon him, when he would stand in the presence of his great beloved leader, when he would finally find purpose.

That day failed to come. Jacob did not call him through Richard. He refused to come to the cabin. A deep hurt and resentment grew in him. The Nemesis had his knife, and was sharpening it.

Meanwhile, all the women had begun to die in pregnancy. ALL the women. This was a major problem, and, though we don't know this for sure, it's likely that Linus saw such a problem, on an island that has the ability to heal all sickness and grant unending life, as a rebuke from the unseen Jacob to him. Linus employed Alpert to travel off-island to recruit a fertility expert named Juliet Burke to try to solve the problem. Burke came to the island, and Linus fell in love with her. This was not requited, however, as she began an affair with a married Jacobian named Goodwin, and Ben's overall resentment and jealousy grew. Meanwhile, Burke, who had come to the island under the pretense that she was free to go, discovered that she was, in fact, Linus's captive. Further adding to her discontent, she was unable to discover what was causing these prenatal fatalities. Burke became desperately motivated to get off of the island.

Sometime during this relatively quiet decade following the Purge, a small yellow Piper Cub airplane carrying a Nigerian priest and a bunch of Nigerian drug runners crashed on the island, landing precariously in a large tree near the Pearl Station. The aircraft had a cargo of statues of the Virgin Mary filled with heroin. Rom was sent to investigate and found a strange man already on the scene and climbing up to the craft. Rom shot him in the leg, and the man fell to the ground. Questioned at gunpoint by Rom, the man identified himself as John Locke, claimed to be the leader of the Jacobians, and asked to speak with Benjamin Linus. Before the conversation could go further, the badly injured Locke disappeared in a flash. The Jacobians opted to leave the airplane in the tree along with all of its contents. It is unknown if Rom communicated his strange encounter to anyone.

Off the island, Charles Widmore grew in wealth and power, obsessed with finding and regaining the island. He built monitoring stations at various locations known to him to be points of contact between our world and the island, including one in Tunisia and one in the Arctic. It is interesting to note that, while leader of the Jacobians, he was able to come and go from the island without his followers being aware, now that he was banished he seemed unable to do so. It's difficult to say if this was because he was unaware of Lamp Post Station, or if the Lamp Post had ceased to be functional for some reason. What his involvement was with the off-island Jacobian and island-aware entities is also not known. However, a group of off-island Jacobians with whom Eloise Hawking was affiliated arranged for a fateful meeting between Widmore's daughter, Penelope, and a young Jesuit priest-in-training named Desmond Hume. Hume had just been released from the order after being found unfit, and caught a ride back with Penelope. They began a relationship and fell in love.

Widmore appeared to be violently opposed to the match. He appeared to believe Hume to be an unfit suitor for hs and made his feelings known to the younger man. It is possible that this was the cause for the rift between Widmore and Penelope. On the verge of proposing marriage to Penelope, Hume lost his nerve. Falling victim to feelings of inadequacy, he broke off with Penelope and joined the Scots Guard, presumably as a way of proving himself to Widmore.

It didn't go well. For reasons that Hume had trouble remembering, he went AWOL from the Guard, traveling to Cambridge to meet with a professor named Daniel Faraday, and then to an auction house, where he found Widmore successfully bidding on the first mate's journal from the Black Rock. Widmore, oddly (given his alleged feelings about Hume) agreed to provide Hume with the address to Penelope's apartment. Once there, Hume begged her to keep her current phone number and wait for him to call her on Christmas Eve in eight years.

After this incident, Hume was put in the brig for desertion. When he came out, he was met by Widmore, who urged him to stay away from his daughter. Widmore dropped broad hints that he didn't think Hume was man enough to care for her, and even broader hints that he, Widmore, associated real manhood with a sailing race around the world that he was sponsoring. He offered Hume a large sum of money to stay away from Penelope for good. It's unknown if Desmond took the money, but he took the hint, and resolved to train for the race. One trouble: No boat. Since he wasn't sure how to get the boat, we'll have to presume he didn't take the dough. Not long after that, a woman named Libby Smith (whom, given her actions, must be assumed to be an off-island Jacobian) approached Hume and offered him a fully rigged sailing boat appropriate for the race.

While training for the race, Hume had a brief encounter with a man named Jack Shephard.

During the race, Hume was knocked unconscious during a storm and woke up on the island. Not just on the island; in the Swan hatch. Radzinsky had long since killed himself. The current resident was a man named Kelvin Inman, who told Hume the following:

(1) He was a member of the Dharma Initiative.

(2) There was a dangerous radiation or poison or infection or something out there.

(3) They needed to push a button every 108 minutes to save the world.

(4) There was a fail-safe underneath the hatch. Turning the key would release all the energy, all at once. Inman called it "the big reset."

Hume spent many years with Inman, pushing the button and losing his mind a little bit. Inman, incidentally, was a U.S. veteran of the Gulf War, and had been involved in special ops. During that time, he had trained some members of the Iraqi army in "enhanced interrogation techniques." One of these had been a young soldier named Sayid Jarrah.

Hume's meeting with Shephard and his unknown connection to Jarrah cannot, at this point, be seen as coincidence. We have evidence of dozens of odd connections between people that have had contact with the island, usually in ways that the people themselves are entirely unaware of. We must assume that there are many more. It seems evident that it was in this way that Jacob "called" people to the island.

One day in 2004, back on the island, Benjamin Linus was diagnosed by Juliet Burke with a tumor on his spine. The tumor was inoperable by any medical personnel on the island. Burke estimated that Linus had a few months to live. On an island where unending life could and had been granted by Jacob, Benjamin Linus took this as the ultimate rejection and rebuke. It is safe to say that the Nemesis' knife was growing very sharp, indeed.

And it was now that Jacob chose to call a new group people to the island.

In Australia, Oceanic Flight 815 took off on its way to Los Angeles.

The Others were returning. The Others were arriving for the first time.


Next: Timeline, Pt. 3: The Oceanic Endgame

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