Overthinking Lost: Season Five

Overthinking Lost: Season Five

We made it, guys! Season five! We’re here! I finally finished watching all of Lost. I am officially caught up.

Throughout these five seasons of Lost, many conflicts have been set up: light versus dark, Good versus Evil, fate versus free will, progress versus cyclical time.  Today, I want to look back and what I had thought was the most important conflict of all in the show: the conflict of science versus faith.

If you look back to my very first post from so many weeks ago, you’ll see that I thought at the very beginning that the final conflict in the show would turn out to be between Jack and John Locke.  This Sunday (Sunday, Sunday), the Ultimate Showdown!  The Man of Science versus The Man of Faith!  Of course, the season finale just changed everything.  Now it seems like the big conflict is going to be the conflict between these two heavy hitters, Jacob and his mysterious evil-looking friend.  As time travel has gained importance over the past two seasons, fate versus free will has arguably overtaken science versus faith as the main question of the show.

But does that mean that the science/faith question has been answered?  I’d argue no.  To see that, we’ll have to take a closer look at Jack and John Locke.

Running around with a bomb core. This is normal.

Running around with a bomb core. This is normal.

Let’s start with Jack.  Jack is the Man of Science, but what does that mean?  It doesn’t only mean he’s a doctor, of course.  It means he’s (theoretically) rational, logical, empirical.  He believes in what he sees and what he tests.  He doesn’t just believe for the sake of believing like some other people John Locke!

Rational, logical, empirical: Jack Shephard was all these things… back in season one.  Back then, Jack got a lot right.  He was right about “live together, die alone,” and I still think he was right to move everyone to the caves.  He wasn’t right about everything, but back then it was clear that he was at least making mostly-sensible decisions based on the facts on the ground.

Well, that’s changed.  Consider Jack in the first half of season five.  He wants to get back to the Island; that much is clear.  But why?  Because he’s depressed?  Because Kate dumped him?  Because John Locke told him leaving was the wrong thing to do?  Whatever the answer, it’s clear that season five Jack isn’t thinking rationally.  He’s being led by his emotions and by his selfishness—and he’s calling it “destiny.”

When he gets back to the Island, Jack gets worse.  He decides to blow up a nuclear weapon, which will either kill hundreds of people, including his friends, or reset the show completely.  His desire push the reset button could be seen as noble—after all, it would mean Charlie, Boone, Shannon, and lots of other people wouldn’t have died—but it also would have meant that Aaron would be given up for adoption, Ji Yeon and (probably) little Charlie would never be born, Kate would be in prison, Sawyer and Juliet wouldn’t hook up, and no one would have their Islandside redemption.

Jack doesn’t think about any of these things.  He just thinks, “If I stop the plane from crashing, maybe I can get Kate back.”  And aloud he says, “This is my destiny.  I can feel it.”

As Kate says, “Where have we heard this before?”  Jack has basically turned into John Locke.  The Man of Science has lost his rationality and become The Man of Faith.  And, like John Locke, Jack comes to believe he has a destiny.  Actually, he has to believe it.  It’s an emotional, not logical, need.  Locke needed to feel he was special to make up for his miserable life, and Jack now needs to feel he is special so he can fill the Kate-shaped hole in his heart.

Jack’s also stopped asking questions, too.  That’s what a Man of Science would do, ask questions.  But when he gets to the Lamp Post, does he say, “Hey, Eloise Hawking, who are you?  How do you know about this place?  How did the Dharma Initiative know to build it here?  How does it work?  How do you know Ben?  Why is Desmond here?  Are you really Dan’s mother?  How do you know John killed himself?  How did you get his letter?  And what do you know about the Island?”  No.  Jack does not ask any questions.  He just rolls with it, because he has faith.  “Take Ajira flight 316?  Okay, if you say so.”  Season one Jack would never be so trusting.

And that’s a bummer.  I would have like the answers to some of those questions.

Once again, Locke was wrong.

Once again, Locke was wrong.

Okay, Jack’s turned into the Man of Faith.  Now take Locke.  Locke was always the Man of Faith, but what does that mean?  Well, faith meant a lot of things over the five seasons of Lost.  Locke had faith in himself, that he was special.  He had faith in the Island—after all, it healed his legs.  He had faith in the Dharma Initiative, and the timer… until he didn’t, and then it blew up.  Then he had faith in it again.  He had faith in Jacob, and in Christian Shephard, that they were telling him the right things to do, and that they had his and the Island’s best interests in mind.  And, like the philosopher of the same name, John Locke had faith in humanity.

But where is John Locke now?  It turns out Locke’s faith was wrong.  He wasn’t “special,” in a good way.  He was only special enough to be used as a pawn by a (probably) evil deity in some sort of mystical chess game.  He had faith in the Island, but the Island didn’t prevent his death.  He had faith in Jacob in the cabin, but that may have been Esau in disguise, tricking him.  Christian Shephard, too, was probably either Esau or one of his evil minions.  Locke had faith in humanity, but then Ben Linus tricked him and strangled him to death.

Turns out John Locke’s faith was wrong, wrong, wrong.  If he were still alive, I’d bet he’d become an skeptic and start looking at the world in a darker, if more realistic and logical way.  In other words, he’d become Jack.  In other words, he’d become the Man of Science.

The first five seasons of Lost, therefore, show two arcs that mirror one other.  Jack starts out an unbeliever and turns into a believer.  Locke starts a believer and then is proven wrong, wrong, wrong.  So which side will ultimately win: science or faith?  Here are some (insane) theories on what might happen next:

36 Comments on “Overthinking Lost: Season Five”

  1. Nateiums #

    “Faraday runs to the Others, demanding access to Jughead, and then his mom, who is pregnant with him, shoots him in the heart. Worst. Mother. Ever.”

    Not quite.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGJ94wVaUdU

    Reply

  2. Bill Brown #

    Regarding their seeming inability to distrust Ben for longer than a couple of shows, I have to say that Merlin Mann put it best:

    “_LOST_ video game should involve Ben shooting you, inexplicably regaining your trust, then repeatedly shooting you again. Forever.”

    http://twitter.com/hotdogsladies/status/690914632

    Reply

  3. Prest #

    Mlawski, you really should check out the video of this year’s Lost panel at Comic Con. It’s not very spoilery; actually the whole panel is Damon and Carlton more or less hosting a series of comedy sketches featuring themselves and several castmembers.

    Reply

  4. dock #

    I also believe the bomb worked, and reset time, except the Oceanic 6 will have their memories and no one else will. If that is the case, poor Hurley will suffer again. Obviously he would be thrilled to see Charlie and Libby again, except…they have no idea who he is. Kate is on her way to jail-with her memories (ooh, thats the worst screwjob of all), Michael and Walt still dont get along (does Walt return to young Walt?) and while Boone Shannon Paolo Nikki and all the dead people come back to life…(i guess)…all redemption is reversed, and everyone starts over. The wildcard is John Locke. Does he remember? Does he care? Can he walk?

    Reply

  5. Kevin #

    @mlawski: how spoiler-free are you staying for S6? They’ve already announced the name of the first episode, what actors are negotiating to return, and so on… are you totally in the dark? Or do you want to know whatever you can?

    There’s so much important stuff in S5, I’m going to have to post bits and pieces throughout the week as they occur to me…

    – Two things regarding Jacob:
    1. why was it important for Jacob to physically touch Jack, Kate, Sawyer, etc. in the flashbacks? I assume he imprinted some kind of supernatural “gift” to each of them — was it so they’d survive Jughead’s explosion? Or so they’d keep their memories post-reset, if a reset in fact occurs? Or my favorite: the “Star Trek” plot point, where he’s somehow left a piece of his spirit in each of them to be retrieved later? (Which also makes me sad that Jacob never touched Miles or Juliet… poor, poor Miles, who might have become my favorite character in S5)
    and
    2. what did Jacob’s last words (“They’re coming…”) mean? I assume he means everyone who “died” in The Incident… we’ll see how that plays out.

    – Regarding the “evil brother” of Jacob: Cuse and Lindelof say he’s NOT “Esau,” strictly speaking… though we aren’t far off.

    – So did “The Incident” always play out the way it was shown in S5, with Jughead exploding? Somehow I doubt it…

    More discussion points as I think of them…

    Reply

  6. Glenn #

    I’m strictly against the widespread belief that there can be some sort of “half reset” in which the reset works but everyone still has their memories. Think about it like this: For all intents and purposes let’s just say that Jack is born in 1966, like Matthew Fox. Now that means when the nuke goes off there are two Jacks. There’s one 40-or-so Jack on the island, and one 10-or-so Jack off the island. If Jack’s plan works, 40 year-old Jack is now DEAD. 10 year-old Jack grows up to be a doctor, goes to Sydney, gets his dead dad and boards Oceanic 815. At what point are original 40 year-old Jack’s memories implanted in him? The events on the island in the ’70s will have never happened to him.

    Reply

  7. stokes OTI Staff #

    How’s this for a time-slipping metaphor:

    “It’s like God is watching the movie of all of our lives on his Tivo, and God’s cat keeps jumping up on the table and stepping on the ‘skip 30 seconds’ button on the remote. If we can’t figure out a way to shoo that cat away, and fast, it could mean the end of life as we know it!

    Reply

  8. Jss #

    I didn’t see you mention this, too me its the biggest question I had at the end of the season:

    Is Jacob’s Enemy the Smoke Monster?

    Reply

  9. Kevin #

    @Jss: in a related question (which mlawski refers to in her recaps) — is Jacob in fact the “good guy”, or could Esau, a.k.a. “unLocke” (the best nickname I’ve seen for him yet) ,actually be the real force for good? I think strict good/evil descriptors don’t quite apply to them.

    Also, now that we’ve seen a NEW group of “islanders” — call them the “Shadow Hunters” — what the hell is their relation to all of this? Is it a splinter group of Hawking acolytes who know more than anyone else?

    Now, the WORST part of S5?

    I think all of us Desmond fans — and really, who DOESN’T like Desmond! Nobody! — got shortchanged after the first few episodes… I mean, it’s like, what, ten episodes or so where he and Penny (and little Charlie — awwwww) go M.I.A.? For a character who Hawking says is vitally important to everything that’s going on? Come on! (The cynic in me fears it had something to do with the crew member who brought a sexual harrassment suit against actor Henry Ian Cusick last year… I hope that’s not the case)

    What other S5 tidbits have I forgotten about? Besides how totally awesome Hurley was trying to write his version of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to give to George Lucas?

    Reply

  10. A man of science #

    I absolutely loved “Overthinking Lost” and may comment on the philosophical and literary points later, but for now I have a minor technical nitpick.

    “So… the dynamite they found on the Black Rock was more volatile than A FRIGGING NUCLEAR WEAPON?”

    This is entirely realistic. It is in fact quite difficult to get a nuclear weapon to detonate. Why do you think the Manhattan Project took so much time and money? Granted, the show established that Jughead was in a hazardous condition, but (in real life, at least) that would be more about leaking radioactive material than exploding.

    Of course, Faraday and the Others seemed to be at least as concerned with detonation and with radioactivity, and Juliet did manage to set it off with a rock, so perhaps within the established reality of the show it’s a bit implausible that it fell that far without exploding. Anyway, just thought I’d raise the point. Keep up the great work, Mlawski!

    Reply

  11. Gab #

    I’ll be like Kevin and spout stuff a I recall it.

    Another Smokey thing: I have wondered if maybe Smokey IS unLocke (I like that name for him, too, Kevin), somehow partially under Jacob’s control.

    That guitar? I think it’s Charlie’s.

    I don’ think Faraday was supposed to be Charlotte’s constant. In fact, I thought she died because she was never even told she needed one.

    Large source of irk: Rousseau’s backstory. For the life of me, why the heck does she not give any trace of recognition when she meets Jin in the future? I thought it was neat to see what happened to her when she first landed, but it didn’t fit with what she had said (and until I saw that backstory, she always seemed straight-forward enough to tell them the truth), nor do I think enough detail was given (it would have been cool if she and Jin had found the radio tower or whatever, for example). It left me feeling even more dissatisfied with how they dealt with her character (her abrupt and awful death were also a result of a request to be written out, btw… again, these writers just don’t do well when it’s under pressure, do they?).

    Why Frank? Yeah, he was *supposed* to pilot the flight, but there can be difference between what is “supposed” to happen and what actually does- is this the Island/Fate’s way of making up for it?

    I have a feeling Richard was on the Black Rock. I’m really hoping we get some sort of backstory episode for him.

    Reply

  12. TheMagician #

    “It takes a very long time when you’re making the thread”, indeed, Jacob has been weaving the threads of their lives since a very long time ago while Mr. X has been manipulating them on the Island to his advantage. Majority of fans believe that Mr. X is the smoke monster; He was able to take another person’s physical appearance like smokey (Yemi: “You speak to me as if I were your brother” and then we see and hear smokey, Alex) and when Ben summons the smoke monster (“what’s about to come out of that jungle is something I can’t control”) unLocke comes out of the jungle and not only that, but when Ben goes to be judged, unLocke mysteriously disappears (and appears as Alex: “You will listen to every word John Locke [unLocke AKA me] says, and you will follow his every order”) and appears at the right time. And this battle between light (Jacob) and dark (Mr. X) was even hinted at in Season 1 pilot by Locke: “Two players. Two sides. One is light … One is dark.” When you go back and re-watch all the episodes you can clearly see how Locke has been molded into a perfect candidate through his whole life for Mr. X to use as his loophole to kill Jacob (life full of failures, is paralyzed, crashes on an Island, is healed, thinks the Island is special and obeys its every command), because he doesn’t want him to bring people to the Island anymore. He’s a pessimist and doesn’t believe that humanity can change (“they come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt, it always ends the same”) while Jacob on the other hand does believe in change (as he replies to Mr. X: “you’re wrong”) and in free will (to Ben: “you have a choice”), but many don’t seem to believe so, what’s your theory?

    Jack’s conversion was also hinted at in the Season 1 finale in the discussion between Jack and Locke (Jack: “I don’t believe in destiny” Locke: “Yes you do, you just don’t know it yet”).

    In two posts you’ve also mentioned “paradoxes”, but there are no paradoxes. “You cannot change anything; you can’t. Even if you tried to, it wouldn’t work… Whatever happened, happened.” The only known paradox is related to the compass that is passed from one person to another in different time periods, which was intentional by the writers, they wanted to plant this paradox into the show where an object doesn’t have a beginning.

    There’s so much to talk about it’s impossible to write a comment with everything in it, but between who do you think the war will be (Widmore to Locke: “There’s a war coming”)? What do you think the LOST image at the end of the Season 5 finale with inversed colors mean? What do you make of all the egyptian mythology, hieroglyphs and the statue of Taweret? There’s a theory that Jacob has been bringing people to the Island since thousands of years ago and the egyptians built them. It’s actually quite fascinating how much you can explain with egyptian mythology (especially with texts of Osiris and Anubis, IIRC) all the way from S1 to S5. Do you have a theory about the Whispers (google “lostpedia whisper transcripts”)? How about do you have a “grand theory of LOST”? Darlton said we’d be able to figure out one based on Season 5 finale and Season 6 premiere. What do you think Frank is a candidate for? What do you think the cabin was used for? Also, how about ya go and read up about the Numbers and Dharma Initiative (google “lostpedia valenzetti equation”). And then how about ya go and read every article on LP, I’d start with “recurring themes”, great read.

    Treat from the Philosophy article: “12th century scholar Honorius Augustodunensis, also known as Honorius of Autun, was a popular Christian theologian and philosopher. His work, De Imagine Mundi, contains a passage that reads:

    There lies in the Ocean an island which is called The Lost. In Charm and all kinds of fertility it far surpasses every other land, but it is unknown to men. Now and again it may be found by chance; but if one seeks it, it cannot be found, and therefore it is called The Lost.”

    If something else comes to my mind I’ll be sure to post another comment.

    Reply

  13. TheMagician #

    I only now just read the options how LOST might end in your opinion, good stuff, here’s how Matthew Fox described it: “[LOST will end in] an incredibly powerful, very sad and beautiful way. I think it is going to be pretty awesome” and “I think it is going to be very satisfying and cathartic and redemptive and beautiful.” Darlton have also described it as being a disappointment for fans and that fans are going to be extremely mad about it. Whatever that means, I’m trusting Matthew that it will be satisfying and awesome, because so far it has been. My theory is that because every fan has their own theory on how LOST will end and because none of those theories is correct, everyone’s gonna be disappointed and mad.

    I also wanted to ask about Hurley, it’s been theorized since he’s never done anything bad, he has never sinned so he has a pure soul unlike everyone else, so in the end he is the only one who can change things, he cannot be judged, that’s why Mr. X tried to make him sin by exploiting his vulnerabilities, first there was the lottery win, then all the food in the hatch and when neither worked, he tried to kill him as Dave, but that failed too. I don’t remember what else was thrown at him, maybe all the seven deadly sins were, I can’t remember, but he never sinned, never did anything bad.

    And now that you’ve seen 5 seasons, has it been worth it?

    By the way, there are no spoilers in Lostpedia unless you go to the “spoiler” section in the forums, so it’s totally safe to read.

    Reply

  14. Tom P #

    The only problem I had with season five was that it took Miles until the finale to say “Hey dummies, what if what we’re doing is what causes the incident?” Like — that never crossed Farraday’s mind? Or anyone else’s mind?

    @Gab: Why Frank? Yeah, he was *supposed* to pilot the flight, but there can be difference between what is “supposed” to happen and what actually does- is this the Island/Fate’s way of making up for it?

    Course correction. The Island can clearly influence events in the real world. It kept Michael alive when he was trying to kill himself. It had Christian visit Jack in the hospital. If anything, it explains why the monster (outside it’s usual pattern) killed the first pilot with no provocation.

    @TheMagician: I also wanted to ask about Hurley, it’s been theorized since he’s never done anything bad, he has never sinned so he has a pure soul unlike everyone else, so in the end he is the only one who can change things,

    I’ve always thought Hurley was supposed to be the avatar of us, the viewer, in the show itself. Trying to follow along with everything and going a little crazy doing so. This is why he’s always the guy that nothing really happens to, that he can see dead folks, why he has the crazy monologue to describe what happened to his family like us trying to explain the show to non-fans.

    Reply

  15. Neil H #

    @TheMagician: Thanks for bringing up the whole light vs. dark duality between Jacob and Esau/anti-Jacob. For some reason, that scene in S1 where Walt and Locke play Backgammon always stuck with me, and it came back to perfect clarity after this finale.

    I tend to agree with TheMagician on a lot of these points; I feel that there are two forces fighting for control of the island: light and dark, or, more accurately, life and death. In this interpretation, Jacob is a force for life. I think that his ‘touch’ in the finale will allow those characters to come back next season remembering what happened, in essence, granting them life after death (from the bomb).

    Esau, however, only seems to be able to manipulate the dead to do his bidding. Remi, Dave, Christian, Alex, unLocke: all of these characters’ images appear to seemingly aid Esau’s agenda. I really liked TheMagician’s interpretation of Dave’s influence on Hurley. Remi helped move Eko towards his death, Christian told Locke that he had to die (so that Esau could control him as unLocke), and Alex made Ben become subservient to unLocke. Also, I think he’s the smoke monster, too, which means he has the power to kill.

    Clearly, Jacob got the short end of the stick in godly powers, if this is the case.

    What struck me as the MOST IMPORTANT PART of the episode was the opening scene. Now forgive me, as I haven’t watched it since it aired, but IIRC, Jacob and Esau are talking on the beach about some sort of cycle; Esau mentions that nothing is different, but Jacob says something like ‘there’s always progress.’

    Now, if you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, this might sound familiar. One thing’s for sure, the creators of the show are huge fans (Stephen King has been references quite a few times in the show), hell, J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof are all attached to the upcoming Dark Tower film project. So it’s not surprising that there’s a big link between the two works.

    ANYWAY, HERE THAR BE SPOILERS OF THE DARK TOWER SERIES!



    The way the series ends, with Roland starting over right back at the beginning and getting a second chance at his quest, but this time with a gift that might make the outcome different (the Horn of the Eld), seems very similar to what Jacob was saying; in this case, the whole story of Lost gets a reboot, but this time, the people Jacob touched will have that little extra something that will make things different this time around.

    SPOILERS DONE!

    Anyway. Regardless of the outcome of the show, this has been a great series of articles so far and I’m looking forward to Overthinking Season 6 once those episodes start airing! Only 16 more episodes to go.

    Reply

  16. mlawski OTI Staff #

    All right! Great comments, everyone. Let me try to answer as many as I can before I get back to work.

    @Bill Brown: Hilarious.

    @Kevin: I’m going to try to stay in the dark re: season 6, but that might change as the months go on.

    @Glenn: Good point, but what if the bomb went off AND there was a time flash at the same time? Then the reset would happen AND Jack and his friends will still be alive and on the Island in the future.

    @Stokes: I love it.

    @Jss: Every time I try to speculate about the smoke monster, I’m wrong, so maybe I shouldn’t speculate on this question. However! It seems pretty likely that Jacob’s enemy and Smokey are at least in cahoots. On the other hand, what if Jacob WANTED to die (again, Dumbledore-style), and HE was controlling the Monster to make sure Ben would be his killer? Kind of a convoluted theory, but then Lost is a convoluted show.

    @A man of science: Oh! Thanks for the correction. I was an English major back in college. Science confuses and frightens me.

    @The Magician: Re: the paradoxes. The compass isn’t really the only paradox. Take Eloise Hawking for instance. She treats her son in an assholish way so he’ll grow up and become the physicist who will go back in time so she can shoot him. But this, too, causes a chicken and egg problem. Daniel couldn’t have come back in time first, because if his mom hadn’t been an asshole to him, he might have grown up to be a pianist or something. But Eloise being an asshole mother to him his whole life couldn’t have happened first, because she wouldn’t have known to do it without first A) shooting Dan and B) getting his journal. One of these things had to happen first. There had to be a first iteration of events in which Dan DID come back in time and get shot but older!Eloise didn’t have the journal. (Does this make any sense?)

    Re: “After 5 seasons, has it been worth it?” Yes, but I was disappointed in the first half of season five. I’ll probably explain it in my post next week.

    @VAroh: Neat video, thanks.

    @NeilH: Yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Dark Tower, too. My only problem with the “the show resets but everyone keeps their memories” solution is that, if that happens, does that mean Jacob never died? Because if the show resets and the plane didn’t crash, Locke wouldn’t have come to the Island in the first place, and Ben would still be hanging out in New Otherton with his alive daughter. No one would be around to kill Jacob, so the last bit of the season 5 finale would be meaningless. Then again, maybe that’s why Jacob said, “They’re coming.” Maybe he meant, “Jack and friends are coming, which means I’m going to come back to life through the power of time travel. So suck it, Esau!” We’ll see.

    Reply

  17. Kevin #

    One of the fun things to speculate on is a connection between Seasons 3 and 5, which may (likely?) inform Season 6:

    Recall “Through the Looking Glass.” The woman in the station, after she explains the code to the jammer is “Good Vibrations,” explains that “It was programmed by a musician.” Hmm… I always thought that was an odd-but-specific thing for the writers to have mentioned…

    …until two years later. Now recall “The Variable” in S5. Daniel originally wanted to become… a musician. He still practices the piano in his spare time. If it weren’t for his mother, he would have become a concert pianist.

    So is it possible that we’ll finally visit the Dharma HQ (for lack of a better word) in Ann Arbor of the 70s, during Daniel’s work there? And somehow, he knows the code will need to be entered someday by a fellow musician (whether he knows anything about Charlie himself or not), in order to turn it off — so that the correct chain of events happens as planned?

    I cannot WAIT to get to S6… though I have the nagging fear that a lot of little issues (like this one) will be left unexplained.

    Reply

  18. Kevin #

    Also, speaking of whether or not we’ll “reboot” next season:

    If they DO reboot, I think a large majority of the viewers will immediately cry “FOUL!” (my wife among them). Because think of what it means: the first five seasons that they’ve invested SO MUCH time in are now undone, and effectively never happened. I think the “Incident-survivors-retain-their-memories” theory is the fan’s way to make sense of how a reboot could work without pissing everyone off — sure, the events have no longer “happened”… but the events STILL inform the lead characters that we care about. They don’t revert to losers again — they are still changed by what happened.

    This actually came up at ComicCon this year. I won’t say what spurred it on — you can do the necessary searching online if you care (hint: they’re videos… very interesting videos). But it led to the following exchange between Jorge Garcia and Cuse/Lindelof:
    C/L: “We know that the fans would be upset if we just say that everything that happened over five seasons was just undone… but we have something REALLY cool planned that people will love. Trust us.”
    J: “You mean like the time you told us Nikki and Paolo would be really awesome for the show?”

    My own pet theory: parallel universes. Detonating Jughead actually WASN’T “The Incident” as had always played out before, and somehow it’s caused those characters to be able to shift between those parallel universes. Or maybe it’s just the ones that Jacob touched — I almost forgot about that. (The big argument against this theory is, it’s a little too much like S5 — instead of jumping around between time periods, we’ll be jumping between universes. Not to mention it’s been done before on TV in Sliders, Stargate, etc. But it could work.)

    Reply

  19. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Kevin: As long as the first episode of season 6 doesn’t start with a flash-forward of a bearded Jack saying, “Kate, we have to go back to 1977! We weren’t supposed to blow up the Swan! We have to go back!” I’ll be happy. But really, the writers put themselves in a difficult spot. If they do reset, the first four seasons meant nothing, but, if they don’t reset, most of the fifth season meant nothing. That’s why I’m expecting some kind of semi-reset.

    Reply

  20. Wordsworth #

    Personally, I can’t imagine a reset. Logistically, it’s too big a problem. 18 episodes are hardly enough time to conclude the major mysteries AND deal with a massive plot twist (ie. reset). Even the Jacob-touchees retaining their memories or somesuch still causes a dilemma: if they reset back to Flight 815 and land in LA, we’re going to end up with yet another “We have to go back.”

    RE: Season 5 meaning nothing if there’s no reset. I wouldn’t say that’s the case. The time travel was a clever tool used to reveal some of the Island’s past without having to resort to flashback. But with the time travel thrown in, everyone’s wondering about the chaos theory. Good Lord, Locke! Don’t step on that butterfly! Introducing the variables was a way to solidify the show’s time-space rules. Of course it would cross the Losties’ minds to try to change history, and we have to see how that option plays out. Having them merely accept that they can’t do anything about change would only irk viewers. Should season 6 open with nothing having changed, it’ll be a hard lesson that YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST. WHATEVER HAPPENED, HAPPENED.

    And, correct me if I’m wrong, there’s a whole bundle of evidence for WHH, and next to nothing for You Can Change The Past. Even what’s done in the name of changing the past only brings about the future. Had Jack and co. not tried to set off the bomb, Pierre Chang would never have had his arm crushed, and would never have needed the prosthetic seen in the orientation videos. But I think the notion of “course correcting”, as mentioned by Eloise back in “Flashes Before Your Eyes” is going to have a lot more meaning than we’d imagined…

    Anyway, that was a bit more of a thoery post than an overthinking, but I suppose they can be one and the same at times…

    RE: The actual post. I like your comparison of the man of science, man of faith switcheroo. I’ve really enjoyed this series of articles, and am looking forward to your thematic analysis!

    Namaste.

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  21. Genevieve #

    Wow, where to begin?

    OK, here we go. I completely and utterly disagree with you on your analysis of the man of science, man of faith issue, and the evolution of Locke and Jack. I also disagree with your assertion that the show failed to resolve the science vs faith dilemma. Here’s what I see:

    The question of science vs faith is a false dichotomy. You allude to this in one of your theoretical endings. The show does, indeed, resolve the “dilemma” by giving evidence to that effect. Jack is the perfect example. He did not, as you put it, *become* the “man of faith.” Rather, he was destroyed (mentally, emotionally, whatever) because his FAITH in science was shattered. The events on the island were so beyond his ken, so outside of his understanding of science, that he let go of ALL of it, and was blindly floundering for something, ANYthing, on which to cling. As you point out, he doesn’t *actually* have faith in destiny; he’s acting solely out of selfishness, and simply *calling* it destiny. Jack doesn’t gain faith, he loses it.

    You speak of Jack’s empiricism, but Locke is just as much of an empiricist. Jack just doesn’t have all the facts. Locke is walking. Before he crashed, he couldn’t. If Jack had been immediately confronted with that fact, I think he would’ve gone batty much sooner. In fact, I think the whole “science vs faith” question could be much more authentically phrased as “those who see the world as it is” vs “those who see the world as they wish it to be.” A lot of people in the modern world caustically and cynically cast all scientists in the first category and all mystics in the second, but that really just doesn’t hold true. Jack desperately WANTS for everything he encounters to have a logical explanation that fits into his worldview. He only sees what “is” when it falls in line with what he wants to see.

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  22. Genevieve #

    Anyway, I have a goal now. I want to sit down and watch “The Constant” immediately followed by “The Variable.” I hadn’t thought of the connection before now, but there has GOT to be something to that naming pattern.

    Also, I think the paradox you describe with Daniel and Eloise isn’t as paradoxical as you make it out. I’m pretty sure she would’ve been much the same mother as she was, regardless of what had happened. It was part of her personality. The writers and actresses did a pretty good job of indicating that controlling nature all along. I don’t think she pushed him JUST because she knew his “destiny.”

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  23. TheMagician #

    @Genevieve: I always thought The Variable was directly related to the Valenzetti Equation. Faraday just achieved what Dharma Initiative had been trying to achieve since it was established by the Hanso Foundation in 1970.

    @mlawski: What’s your theory to this question that was presented in The Variable: “What does Faraday mean when he says that Jack doesn’t belong there?”

    Another thing popped into my head that supports the Hurley theory: when he’s almost late from the flight 815, another indication that Mr. X doesn’t want him there.

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  24. stokes #

    @Genevieve: “the way the world is vs. the way they wish it to be…” That’s a nice way of phrasing it, but I’d change a couple of things. First, “the way the world is” is a little too dogmatic. It implies broad sweeping assumptions. How about, “people who believe things they have evidence for vs. people who believe things they want to believe (or perhaps, have been taught to believe).” Second, science, properly considered, is nothing more than “believing things you have evidence for.” A scientist who stubbornly refuses to believe evidence is acting out of faith, not out of science. Thus Ptolemy, the astronomer and mathematician who came up with one of the most consistent geocentric models of the universe, was motivated by a scientific impulse. The astronomers and mathematicians who clung to his model after Copernicus blew it out of the water simply because Ptolemy was an authority, were not.

    I take issue with the second part of your comment, because it leads to things like so-called “Creation Science.” In the real world, the evidence is on scientists side. This isn’t because scientists are good and mystics are evil, it’s because scientists will slowly wander over to whatever side the evidence happens to be on. If we start digging up trilobite fossils holding little scrolls that say “FYI – we are totes fakes planted by God, LOL” scientists would… well, they would be extremely resistant to the idea, and try to prove that it was a hoax. But any that are worthy of the name would eventually come around.

    At the beginning of Lost, Jack is set up as a man of science, but the writers kind of stack the deck against him. There are smoke monsters. Locke’s nerve damage gets fixed. These are the equivalent of the trilobite scrolls I mentioned above. Also note that he doesn’t learn about these things firsthand for a long time. What would it have been like if Locke had come up to him the first day on the Island and said, “Hey, you’re a doctor, right? Let me ask you about my back…” science-minded Jack would have come up with a theory that fit the evidence. It wouldn’t have started out with “ok, the island is obviously magic,” but as the evidence piled up he probably would have come around. Instead (assuming I remember right), all this evidence is kept from Jack so that the viewer can sit back and say “oh, look at the man of science, his worldview is so blinkered, there are more things in heaven and earth than in his philosophy, Horatio,” and so on.

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  25. Gab #

    What if Jacob touching those people was his way of sort of testing them to see if they’re appropriate for his agenda? I’m thinking something like a pseudo-Dr. Manhattan power for him, meaning when he touches a person, he can see their fate, or their possible fates. So by touching them, he sees how they could, potentially, react in whatever situations he puts them in. Or perhaps not that he necessarily sees, say, Kate using Sawyer in an image the way we do, but that he gets a deep enough look into their, uh, soul (?) to “see” (i.e. gain an understanding/get a feel for) whether they will be suitable for his little games. (Hm, it actually sounds kind of pervy, like he’s a Peeping Tom or pedophile. Although, he has sort of been stalking each of them for years, eh?)

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  26. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Stokes: Well said. I’m also sad Jack’s replacement Man of Science (Dan Faraday) got killed by his mom, because he seemed like the kind of guy who would have continued to be scientific to the end, even when it came to describing the seemingly magical phenomena of the Island. At this point in the game, Jack’s so broken down by everything that he’d probably believe “2+2=5” if some Island authority figure told him so.

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  27. TheMagician #

    I’m thinking that Jacob’s touch is related to his tapestry he’s been weaving for a very long time. Maybe that tapestry has certain destinies woven to it, which he passes to these certain people by touching them. Someone should try to study egyptian hieroglyphs and try to translate what’s on that tapestry. For example, the hieroglyphs which were on the countdown timer in the hatch (Swan station), translates to “underworld”, which is clearly connected to egyptian mythology (someone on Lostpedia found this): “In order to reach the realm of the gods [Locke], the Egyptians believed a person must first travel through the Underworld [Swan station, the Hatch, pushing the button], where their heart is weighed on a scale by Anubis (son of Osiris and Nepthys) and Thoth (Kinnaer 2) [Jacob and Mr. X?]. All of a person’s good and bad deeds would be considered [smoke monster’s judgment]. If a person had committed an excess amount of bad deeds, a monster known as “Eater of the Dead,” or Ammit [smoke monster], with the head of a crocodile, would eat the hearts weighed down with sin.” Who knows, that tapestry could hold some serious information regarding all the mythology in the show that hasn’t been revealed yet.

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  28. Kevin #

    One thing to clarify re: Jack being the “Man of Science” and Locke being the “Man of Faith” —

    I think this was brought up in previous comments (perhaps for the S2 recaps?), but the title of the S2 opener, “Man of Science, Man of Faith,” was confirmed by Lindelof on the DVD commentary to strictly refer to Jack, not Jack vs. Locke (as most people, including myself for many years, assumed). In other words, Jack is a man of BOTH science and faith — but it’s a question of what he has faith IN, and how that faith changes over time (both from his flashbacks to pre-island life, to the first few months/TV seasons on the island, to his post-island life).

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  29. Genevieve #

    Stokes – I don’t see how my words imply an acceptance of “creation science.” What I meant to say, and perhaps I didn’t do so clearly, was that both the ACT of science and the ACT of faith hold rigorous questioning as a fundamental value. The only difference is that when science questions, it seeks externally for the answers (through research and experiment) and when faith questions, it seeks internally for the answers (through meditation and prayer.) (keep in mind, we’re talking about faith, not religion – this is something that most modern religions have completely f’d up. Judaism, from what I understand, post-fundamentalist Christianity, and Buddhism are the ones I know of that seem pointed in the right direction)

    Thus, they each have separate applications (hence the oxymoron of “creation science”), but both are valid and pertinent, and they are complementary to each other, not mutually exclusive.

    However, there are people on both sides – more on the side of faith than on the side of science, sadly – who don’t bother with rigorous questioning. People who blindly follow what they’re taught. It’s my contention that Jack is one of these. He appears to be a “man of science” simply because he accepts the conclusions that science brings to the table, and doesn’t bother with the study of the interior world. However, he is not a questioner. He rejects things that he doesn’t already understand, and he clings to the promises that science makes until they are ripped out from under him.

    Locke, on the other hand, IS a questioner. He is always seeking answers, or trying to. Hell, he lost the love of his life because he couldn’t stop stalking his father, just to ask him “Why?” He asks questions, and he gets answers… but the viewer and the other Losties tend to reject that, because he’s been asking questions of faith, not questions of science. He’s asking the sort of questions that are answered through meditation, or prayer, or staring into the heart of the smoke monster.

    If the definitions we’re going to be using here must equate science with rigorous questioning and faith with blind acceptance, then it’s Locke who’s the “man of science” and Jack who’s the “man of faith.”

    mlawski – I take issue with the idea that Faraday is Jack’s replacement. Faraday is the consummate questioner, the Seeker. He is a man of both science AND faith, disparaging neither in his search for understanding. (probably why they named the character for a man with an institute in the UK named after him for the study of, you guessed it!, the connections between science and faith) I was sad when he died, too, because I am firmly convinced that the one thing that would make this world a better place is not widespread peace and understanding, but more hot physicists. Yup. Better place for me, at least.

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  30. Eric #

    My prediction for what happened with the bomb: the flash was a time flash, and Juliet was actually transported to some time in the ancient past – similar to when Locke fell down the well and landed in the cave in the distant past with the wheel and Christian. The bomb detonated, and is actually the cause of all the “powers” of the island.

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  31. Kevin #

    Okay, this just came to me last night while I was watching “There’s No Place Like Home” from S4… but it was, in my opinion, the big flaw in S5.

    It’s the “Jeremy Bentham” problem. The identity of Jeremy Bentham was supposed to be a big, important mystery as presented in S4. We suspect it’s an alias — whenever someone wants to mention his REAL name, there’s always a character there to interrupt them and warn them to never speak that name. So it’s something serious… and then we find out it’s Locke. Wow… so Locke’s visits must have been *incredibly* important.

    And then we get to S5 and see the visits themselves. Which… are pretty uninteresting.

    Personally speaking, I think the “Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” — the final scene excepted — is the worst ep of S5. Well… the most *disappointing*, anyway. All the mystery about why Locke supposedly gave up his old life and “became” Bentham? Strictly because that was the name on his fake passport from Widmore. Sure, he had to change his name when returning to the “real world” — because as far as anyone else is concerned, John Locke died when Oceanic 815 crashed. But the O6 *refuse* to use the name Locke, and only stick to Bentham, because Locke supposedly insisted on it. (Which you never actually see in his visits to them.)

    It’s like the writers forgot about all the threads they left hanging about this from S4. The warnings Walt told Hurley that Locke/Bentham gave him? According to what we see in “Life and Death…”, they never happened. (And speaking of that… the Walt/Locke reunion is hugely underwhelming.) Locke’s visits to the O6 aren’t all that compelling — they lack any specificity about what happened after they left the island. (I WILL say that Locke’s scenes with Abaddon are pretty great, though I wish we knew more about Ab before Ben takes care of him…)

    Usually the Lost writers are more skillful, and cover up their tracks and tricks (and holes) with good scripting. But it’s clear from S5 that the ONLY reason “Jeremy Bentham” was made so mysterious in S4 was to make the audience wonder who it could be, before the “shocking” reveal that it’s Locke… because frankly, it wouldn’t have made ANY difference whatsover if they had just come out and called him Locke.

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  32. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Kevin: Unfortunately, I must agree. I also was really disappointed in Locke’s meeting with Walt. Didn’t Locke say back on the Island that he was taking orders from Walt? And now they’re just having a nice, meaningless little chat? And Walt doesn’t make any mention about birds falling dead from the sky whenever he’s angry? And Walt doesn’t seem to give a crap about his dad’s fate at all? And he doesn’t even ask about Vincent? WHAT ABOUT VINCENT? Don’t you care about your dog, Walt? Don’t you care?!

    Yeah, the first half of season five underwhelmed me.

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  33. Kevin #

    Well, having said that — on a whole, I rank S5 up near S1 as my favorite season. There are some missed opportunities, but overall I enjoyed it a bunch. Particularly “Jughead,” “Namaste,” “Some Like it Hoth” and “The Incident.” But even the lesser eps had a lot going for them… except for “Jeremy Bentham,” which should have been their stand-out episode but fell short on most levels.

    Come to think of it: the ones I really liked were in the second half of the season. So I think you’re on to something!

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  34. Gab #

    Erm, I had been suspecting it was Locke in the coffin/obit all along. So I was pretty disappointed by the “Bentham” episode, too.

    And yeah, some sort of explanation about the weird bird stuff with Walt would be quite welcome in the final season.

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