The Super Fun Kids' Graphic Novel Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


There’s No Place Like Membata

How many times do I have to tell you, John? I always have a plan.


You can almost hear the writers in Ben's voice, letting the audience know that something big is coming. With the extra hour added for the finale, it seems the job of "There's No Place Like Home, Part 1" is to finish setting up everything that will be overturned in the next couple of hours.

We see how the Oceanic Six make it off the island — we're not sure how they got on the Coast Guard plane to begin with, but we see them edgy and getting their stories straight during the flight. The Oceanic representative, Karen Decker, has the story all set to present; they made it to a nonexistent island south of Sumba, Indonesia, called Membata. Membata-bata is actually the Indonesian word for "ambivalent," a perfect adjective to describe the O6's demeanor after rescue. None of them seem too convinced about what they're doing, and the press are pretty dogged about getting to the bottom of their story — and that's how you know this is fiction; if this were the real world, the press wouldn't have worked to ask such tough questions, and whatever Decker said would be good enough for them. One thing we do know about the story: They claim 316 passengers initially died, eight made it away, and two of those died. We still don't know who those two supposedly were, or how they supposedly died; (DHARMA) shark attack?

One of the least convinced of the O6 acts with the most conviction. After the survivors disembark and are reunited with their families, Sayid and Kate stand out for not having anyone there to greet them, but Sun stands out for not even looking at her father, Mr. Paik, until she informs him later on in the episode that she's bought a controlling interest in Paik Heavy Industries. She blames Mr. Paik and one other for the death of Jin. Her claim raises some questions: Who is the other person she blames, did that person work with or for Paik, and why is she willing to become a corporate raider for the man she was about to leave four months earlier? Sun seems to know something Paik and the audience don't, but here's a suggestion: The Orchid Station and Paik Heavy Industries logos are rather similar. Both have a tripartite structure in the center that winds out into a spiral. It'd be interesting to learn if some of the equipment used down in the Orchid Station was made in Korea.

If this is indeed the case (and who can really tell such things this early on), it suggests Sun could be an important figure in getting the O6 back to the island. After all, she would now own some of the technology that was used on the island itself, and probably would have some access to pretty interesting information.

As for the Orchid Station itself, the possibilities of why lies beneath are mind, space, and time-bending. Faraday's notes on the station said something about "Space Like Factors," which is vague enough, but also has an odd drawing of what looks to be an ant, but with too many legs.

Given Faraday's intellectual pursuits, the fact that the station is needed to move the island, and that doing so is "both dangerous and unpredictable," what lies beneath is whispering "electromagnetic" and "nuclear." We also know form the Orchid Station orientation video that the station is meant to make use of the Casimir effect (a real thing) created by the island's unique electromagnetic properties, which has wormhole/spacetime implications. Could an island be moved via wormhole? And what happens in the wake of some large-scale implementation of the Casimir effect? Is that one of the reasons Faraday wants to be far away from there? And since it seems to have something to do with the doubled rabbit in the Orchid Station orientation video, does it have something to do with the walking, talking Dr. Ray being on the freighter when the slashed and dumped Dr. Ray washes up on the island?

The Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Lion are on there way to the Orchid Station right now to get things rolling, if they can get past the guards. When Ben tells Locke that he always has a plan, think back to the 1939 MGM film of The Wizard of Oz, when the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Lion attempt to break into the Wicked Witch of the West's guarded castle in order to free Dorothy: The Scarecrow is the thinker; Oz gives him an honorary PhD in Thinkology — that's Ben. The Tin Woodsman, Oz tells him, will be judged by how much he is loved by others — that's Locke, our man of the forest who is trying to be loved by the Others. The Lion has his moments of bravery and moments of cowardice, but as Oz tells him, he is plagued by disorganized thinking — definitely Hurley, the dissociated survivor who ends up institutionalized, twice. The Scarecrow telling the Tin Woodsman and Lion not to worry, he has a plan, is exactly what Lost's thinkologist says before their own infiltration.

It will be interesting to see how far the writers take the Oz allegory, because of its rich layers of meaning. Beyond the theosophical resonances, there's the 1890's political debate about whether or not money should be based on both ounces of gold and ounces of silver, bimetallism. (It should be said that while there is overwhelming support for these allegorical readings, Baum himself would never accede to the book being anything more than a children's story.)

After the Civil War, a number of silver mine strikes were found in the American west (which back then pretty much began along the Mississippi River). Western interests wanted to peg U.S. currency pegged to both silver and gold; this would make cash more available to spend in the silver-rich West and help farmers pay off their mortgages, because more people could then buy the farmers' goods. Eastern banking interests, however, wanted to keep currency pegged to the gold standard; they were in no hurry to see their clients pay off their debts.

In the 1870s, one coalition that emerged around bimetallism were farmers and industrial laborers — scarecrows and tin woodsmen (which also recalls the Jacob and Esau herder/farmer and hunter dichotomy). In her book Roots of Reform: Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1877-1919, Elizabeth Sanders covers this coalition well: The farmers wanted to be able to sell their products, and unemployment was high in iron and coal-producing regions of the Midwest; both groups found common cause in bimetallism as a way to increase the amount of liquid cash available for their regional economies. Republican William McKinley was supported by wealthy eastern industrial interests and elected president in 1896 in part to peg U.S. currency on just gold. (McKinley rewarded some of his wealthy industrialist supporters, like Andrew Carnegie, with government appointments.) Introducing the gold standard had the effect of driving down the price western farmers could sell their crops; silver was prevalent in the west, but the gold was out east, so few in those western regions had enough cash to buy what the farmers had in give.

McKinley was assassinated in 1901 (by an unemployed factory worker from Michigan), and his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, took over; Theodore and Dorothy are the same syllables mirror-twinned: The-oh-dor and Dor-oh-thea. Oz is also short of ounce, and at the time, a dollar's value was worth so many ounces of gold; we have the yellow (gold) brick road, and in the book, Dorothy had silver slippers, not ruby; the Wicked Witch is said to represent the eastern owners and bankers who wanted to maintain and expand their economic grip; and the Emerald City recalls the color of the greenback, and the city was of course run by a humbug. But in the book, the city wasn't green at all — it only looked like that because the people of the city wore green-shaded glasses for so long they actually believed the city was something it wasn't, rather like having false faith in the strength of the currency. Farmers like Henry Gale, Dorothy's uncle and Ben's early alias, suffered when the dollar wasn't pegged to silver, and as a South Dakota newspaper editor, L. Frank Baum would have been very familiar with the subject.

It's fascinating to think of that period, with people stuck in cycles of bad debt, given today's subprime mortgage and banking crises (with lending institutions like Bear Stearns and Countrywide essentially having value only if you wore green-shaded glasses). It's hard to say how much the political undertones of The Wizard of Oz were playing in the minds of the writers, since the allusions started before the crisis, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have recouped the theme, especially with industrialists like Widmore and Paik still running around.

One odd and symbolically loaded scene from "There's No Place Like Home" may be a riff on some of the political undertones of Baum's book. When Hurley returns home in one of the flashforwards, he finds the front door ajar and hears Other-like whispers. He picks up a golden statue of Jesus and gets ready to clobber whomever he may find. When he's surprised by his friends and family, his mother says, "Jesus Christ is not a weapon."

McKinley's main pro-bimetallism opponent, Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan, made a famous speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention where he compared using gold as a socio-political weapon against the working class in very New Testament terms: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold." Today we don't see too much political speech that recruits the passion of the Christ for economic effect; we just get political speech openly recruiting biblical themes and their representatives as a kind of litmus test for political fitness. Religion is the socio-political weapon of our time, despite the Constitution. Given the recent months of wall-to-wall Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the upcoming Pastors John Hagee and Rod Parsley smackdowns, perhaps that symbolically overloaded scene was a something of a commentary.

With regard to the farmer-labor / scarecrow-tin woodsman / Jacob-Esau dichotomies, recall the Locke flashback in the third episode of the third season, "Further Instructions." Locke was living on a farming commune that also had a greenhouse, where they grew marijuana. Locke inadvertently brings a young undercover FBI agent, Eddie, into the commune; Locke believed Eddie to be a lost drifter. Locke introduced Eddie to the commune sweat lodge, where Eddie could "figure out what to do with your life — you know, what direction to take — go on in there and figure out if you're a farmer or a hunter." When the other commune members suss out Eddie's identity, Locke takes him out to the woods to kill him and take care of the problem he introduced. When Eddie tells Locke that Locke's a farmer and won't hurt him, Locke responds, "Nope, not a farmer. I was a hunter. I'm a hunter." But of course Locke doesn't shoot. Talk about ambivalence; Locke is both the hunter and the farmer, and can't figure out which is which.

The Wizard of Oz may not be the only text that's being brought into play. Orchids have a long rich history. They're one of the oldest plants in existence; orchid fossils date back to the Cretaceous Period, so they were growing alongside dinosaurs. Orchids are firmly connected to reproduction in Greek culture; the Greek word orkhis means testicle, and we all know how important reproduction is on the island. But what about the twinning, since that's a fundamental theme to everything Lost?

Writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze have collaborated on a number of projects, including the 2002 hyper-self-referential film all about orchids and twins, Adaptation. The story is based on Susan Orlean's book The Orchid Thief, the nonfiction biography of John Laroche, a self-taught horticulturist who convinced some Florida Seminole Indians to hire him as a nursery manager. Laroche was making treks into the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve to steal samples of the rare ghost orchid, in the hopes of cloning it and making a mint.

Kaufman's self-reflexive adaptation of Orlean's book features Charlie himself (played by Nicolas Cage) being hired to write the screenplay of The Orchid Thief, but he gets nowhere as writer's block and his boorish twin brother Donald move in. Donald attends seminars of a hack screenwriter and wants to help Charlie by introducing more sex and car chases into his screenplay, which all end up occurring in the film itself. I'm not willing to say there's anything more to this as of yet, but the coordinates of twins, orchids, and self-referentiality are suggestive.

Lost has been toying with self-referentiality for some time, repeating scenes in new contexts and bringing in dialog that seems to speak for the audience. In "There's No Place Like Home," we see yet again another Hunting Party-type scene, when Alpert emerges from the jungle, startling Sayid, and Kate, and the survivors train their guns on the Other. Alpert tells them repeatedly to put the guns down, and when they don't, a number of Others appear from the jungle, surrounding the survivors. We've seen this move three times now, in "The Hunting Party," "Confirmed Dead," and now "There's No Place Like Home." Another point of self-referentiality occurs when Sawyer tells Jack, "Well, you better hope it ain't Sayid, 'cause if he's with those animals that just blew up half of New Otherton, you do not wanna tussle with them." New Otherton is the writers and fans' name for Ben's old home, the village of the Others, but has never been mentioned by a character until now.

New Otherton used to exist beyond the writer/audience wall, and it sits on a non-existent island whose name means ambivalent. That's been their home for 100 days, and there really is no place like it. But home off the island doesn't quite seem like home either; the dead still walk the earth, and Hurley just can't escape those numbers.

Not to worry; the writers always have a plan.

Last Thing | Time Thing: In the post for "Cabin Fever," reader Liz points out that there seems to be a problem with the flashforwards. The end of season three, "Through the Looking Glass," introduces the first flashforward, and Jack is long into despair and the bottle. Since then, the flashforwards in season four have seemed to be moving backwards from that point: We see Jack a wreck, and each Jack flashfoward he's a little bit better until we see how he started down that path in "Something Nice Back Home." We see Sayid working for Ben long before we see Ben recruit Sayid to work for him. The flashfowards seemed to be working backwards to converge with the point when they got off the island. So it seems that flashforwards from previous season four episodes should be taking place after flashforwards in later episodes.

Except for one scene. In "Something Nice Back Home," the one where Jack and Kate are playing house with Aaron, Jack visits Hurley at the Santa Rose Mental Institute, and Hurley tells him Charlie has been visiting him. When Jack tells Hurley that he and Kate fed the baby, Hurley says, "I thought you didn't want anything to do with her," and Jack responds, "I changed my mind after the trial." But "Something Nice Back Home" is the tenth episode of season four; Charlie supposedly first visited Hurley in the first episode, "The Beginning of the End," and the trial was in the fourth episode, "Eggtown." This one scene from the tenth episode seems to upset the flashforwards-moving-backwards idea. Question: Is this just a continuity error as a result of compressing the season due to the writer's strike? Or are the flashforwards not in any particular order? Or could Charlie have been visiting Hurley before "The Beginning of the End," and could there have been some other trial that we don't yet know about? Or is this a meaningful anomaly planted for some narrative purpose that we haven't yet come to?

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Orchid Thief
    Used Trade Paper $5.50

J. Wood is the author of Living Lost: Why We're All Stuck on the Island

114 Responses to "There’s No Place Like Membata"

    john norris May 17th, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Two and a half quibbles with No Place Like Home:

    Half-quibble - Sun's purchase of controlling interest in Paik, allegedly with her Oceanic settlement and (judging by her figure) not more than 3 months after leaving the island. It's unlikely that the entire capitalization of Oceanic would suffice to take control of Paik. Bad economics, or misdirection?

    Full quibble 1 - Claire disappears and Sawyer, by his account, has been looking for her all day. Yet Aaron isn't howling with hunger, and no one seems particularly concerned about him. SuperBoy?

    Full quibble 2 - Travel to and from the island is fraught with electromagnetic disturbances and the risk of coming unstuck in time. But Sayid cruises from the freighter to shore without apparent incident, and Faraday is running what amounts to a ferry service for Lostaways, puttering sun-dappled across at least 5 miles of open water to the ship. Can you have it both ways?

    chinadoll May 17th, 2008 at 7:01 am

    The swirl of the Orchid symbol reminds
    me of the film's Yellow Brick Road,
    where it begins in Munchkinland...

    Intriguing thoughts, as always. Thanks!

    viking May 17th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    JWood said: "when Alpert emerges from the jungle, startling Jack, Sayid, and Kate..."

    It was only Sayid and Kate that were confronted by the Others -- they had not yet caught up with Jack and Sawyer.

    One thing you didn't mention that I found curious is that the Others have reverted to their old, ragged clothing, and not the nice, neat clothes they wore at New Otherton when last we saw them. There doesn't seem to be any logical reason (yet) for them to have done so.

    sosolost May 17th, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Fascinating info on the possible political / historical meanings behind Oz.

    The gold/silver connections made me think back to Henry Gale and his balloon that landed on the island (and who's identity Ben used)...

    From Lostpedia:
    "In Henry's wallet was a Minnesota driver's license and a $20 bill with a note to his wife written on it. The balloon was sponsored and/or manufactured by Widmore Corporation and a Minnesota Metallurgy & Mining Co."

    "Henry may have been the owner of Minnesota Metallurgy & Mining Co, since Ben's story to Sayid as the fake Henry Gale included former ownership of a company that mined 'non-metallic minerals.'"

    Phutatorius May 17th, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Well, J., you’ve succeeded again in adding interest to what initially appeared to me to be an uninspired and lack-luster episode. Eternal repetition of the same, long anticipated scenes of reunion and discovery, and a sense of ennui on the part of the cast and the writers seemed to typify this episode. As though getting these scenes out of the way was a sort of unpleasant housekeeping chore. I’m thinking, for example, of Juliet’s telling Jack that he can’t go running off into the jungle because he’s just had surgery and Jack’s predictable response. Also Jack’s discovery that Claire was his sister, and our first sight of yet another Dharma station (is this finally the ultimate one?) are further examples. Of course if the cast were to have been coached to display that sense of sleep-walking through events for some narrative purpose, that would be a different matter.

    I think one mystery is now solved, however. We can easily guess that the Black Rock wound up stranded in the middle of the island during the last risky island-moving event. One moment you are sailing along with no land in sight and the next moment an island appears beneath you! In Vincent Gaddis’ (no relation to Wm. Gaddis) pulp paperback titled “Invisible Horizons” there is a chapter named “Vanishing Islands.” It discusses reports, by mariners, of islands (including Easter Island) that have seemed to come and go. I’m still waiting to see if we learn any more about the significance of pushing the button every 108 minutes, and the significance of Desmond’s use of the fail safe key as it may relate to the Orchid station and moving the island.

    taffy May 17th, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Who thinks that Claire's mom was
    really her mom? I get the feeling
    that she was planted there by the
    powers that be...Claire's "mom
    reminded me of
    an older, disguised Penny...but maybe
    it was just her voice that made
    me think of Penny.

    Love the posts...can't wait to read
    them every week. thanks J.!

    Johannes at Oberlin college May 17th, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Another great analysis. If I had the time to read all of these referenced books I just might do it (and now that summer is here I might have that time). I do have a question. The writers have seemed awfully cavalier about death this season-people are dropping on the boat like flies and Danielle was killed rather abruptly after Carl. Plus the red shirts during the new Otherton assault, who I'm not sure were ever mentioned outside of the scene where they actually died (and it was almost funny, watching them go over like bowling pins). Do you think this is the writers only caring about the main characters? Or is there something deeper at work here? All I know is that it's bugging me that Danielle got dropped so easily, and that the only references to the attack have been about Claire and whatnot. Great season otherwise.

    Jeffrey May 17th, 2008 at 9:01 am

    In the last post, Jason made a point of "Lost" being tied in with The Beatles and although I'm sticking to my Pink Floyd theory "No Place" possibly has some Beatlemania incl. a very Beatles at JFK press conference/Oceanic Six and Sawyer's "broken record" comment which could allude to all the record breaking in myriad forms The Beatles inspired but also the backwards technology and early looping. Maybe the whipering voices are saying "Paul is dead".
    Back to Kubrick: Hurley's house looked like the heavenly abode Dave Bowman (hunter) winds up in before tranforming into the Starchild. That panning camera and ominous piano chord from "Eyes Wide Shut" has to be an homage.
    The "P" in Paik's logo resembles a tidal wave which could be the infamous tsunami to come and would tie in Oz's (the continent) aborigines in Peter Weir's "The Last Wave". Is this what will occur with moving the island and will Sun's efforts reverse the process and bring the rest home?
    Now that we know that Jack knows Aaron is his nephew his comment to Kate in "Something Nice" has even more resonance. He already knew Aaron's ID when he chided her with "You're not even related to him!" I guess now we know why he initially wanted nothing to do with him. But does Kate know?
    And on a sidenote, I found it intersesting that both Veronica Hamel and Michelle Forbes - two very cool yet sultry actresses from "Hill Street Blues" and "Homicide" - were in the same episode. I'm really stretching the allusion (when don't I?) but do Oceanic's lies tie in with the Shepard family's secrets?

    Markus May 17th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Regarding the 8 survivors who (according to the cover story) survived the initial crash. If baby Aaron is one of the O6 and he was born on the island, that would mean that there were 3 others who survived the impact and later died. And Sun confirmed that Jin definitely wasn't one of them. I have to wonder why they even needed to work additional survivors into their cover story...

    Perelandra May 17th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    In this episode, Hurley refuses to drive his restored car for fear of The Numbers. Yet he was driving it the day he firsrt saw Charlie. Why did he change his mind? Necessity.

    The shape of the orchid on the station emblem resembles the white orchids that Jin gave Sun, first while courting and then at the airport when she was planning to leave him. In China, orchids symbolize love, beauty, and fertility. Confucius said that the orchid represented the Perfect Man. (The flower symbolism is probably the same in Korea which received a large dose of Confucian culture from its neighbor.)

    It may well be incidental, but the word Dharma's position on the logo covers one broken (yin) line of the bottom trigram. Mystically, this spoils the balance of the structure. Is this possibly a nod to women's fertility problems and men's enhanced fertility on the Island?

    "Dorothy" and "Theodore" also mean the same in Greek: "gift of God."

    nate embrey May 17th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    hey j! first time commenter...

    i have a few things here. first, i love your recaps...they are my favorite to read after i process the shows. keep up the awesome work!

    second, as far as the flashforwards-working-to-island-time idea is concerned, i have never believed them to be reverse-chronological only. this may be the general direction they move, but even as seen in the recent jin/sun episode, the directors aren't opposed to throwing in some flashforwards with flashbacks and i don't think they're too scared of mixing up the order of either, either. :)

    and lastly - one thing i think you're missing about the doc and his alive on the ship/dead on the shore situation. i believe this is very simple and is totally explainable by all of the crazy time issues we have on the island. even if we don't have an "absolute" equation to help us figure out what the differences are between island time and off-island time...we know time on the island moves considerably faster than it does off of it. sooooooooo....what i absolutely believe the writers were doing was giving us another glimpse into how this works.

    the doc washes up on shore, dead as a door nail from a knife slashing to the throat. then we see (approximately at the same time or shortly thereafter boat-time) he is still alive. however, within a few minutes/hours mr. doc gets his throat slashed, by commander keemy (sp?), presumably the same wound he was just found having on the shore of the beachies.

    what i believe happened is that the doc was only killed once, obviously, and subsequently thrown overboard where he drifted to shore...again...once. what we're seeing is the difference in time moving at faster/slower paces in different locations. i believe it to be a sort of throw-back to faraday's experiments he performed upon arriving on the island with the flares (or whatever they were...i forget) and radioing the the ship to find the differences in time between it and the island. also with the day/night/time differences between copter flights to and from the island.

    the doc was killed on the ship and what would have taken days for him to reach the shore FROM THE SHIP only took hours (or something comparative) ON THE ISLAND. in other words, even though he was killed say.....2 days ago boat-time, he showed up on the island say....only 2 hours later because time moves so much faster there. this allows us to see the aftermath of something on the island that from the island's perspective....hasn't happened yet off of the island.

    hopefully this makes sense. to me, it was fairly simple, but that could totally be because i'm missing something. i'm just a 25 year old photographer who spends too much time watching a tv show. i'm no daniel faraday. lol.

    let me know what you think, j! again. love the stuff.

    laterrrrrrr, thanks!

    Leah May 17th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    What about Hurley's car? Isn't that the car he was driving the first scene of this season, when jack saw the car chase on tv and it was essentially hurley running from charlie in the convenience store? It did appear that it was the first time Hurley had seen Charlie. And Hurley wanted nothing to do with this car because of the numbers. Then he's driving it around town (when he first sees Charlie)?

    I'm trying to map out the FF according to what we know... it seems maybe they are not in order at all. There are (seeming) flashback episodes sprinkled in, and the ben/sayid interactions are hard to place in the context of Kate, Aaron, Jack, and and Hurley.

    Some of it is up to interpretation, but we have a few hard dates gleaned from the FFs... I trust someone will let me know if any of this is wrong.

    *Bearded Jack is in April 2007 (newspaper clipping)

    *Hurley's car chase and (apparently) his first sightings of Charlie. anybody have a solid date on this one?

    *Sayid all over Europe, already working for Ben (do we have a date)

    *Kate's trial (date?). We know it's before May 2007, when she and jack live together.

    *Sun's baby. I date this sometime in August/September 2005. Anybody else have a more accurate conception date? Hurley seems to have it all together here.

    *Sayid starts working for Ben. This one is solidly dated late October 2005.

    *Jack and Kate living together. Jack sees a newspaper headline that has dated it to May 2007 (right?). The confusing thing is that if that's the case, this one comes after bearded, suicidal jack FF.

    So here's the order I've got:

    1. Rescue/Homecoming
    2. Sun's baby
    3. Nadia dies, Sayid works for Ben
    4. Hurley car chase: first Charlie sighting
    5. Kate's trial
    6. Bearded, suicidal Jack
    7. Jack and Kate engaged

    It still doesn't make sense to me that Jack was bearded before engaged, because he seems to be spiralling during that time. Any thoughts?

    john May 17th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Maybe this is more mirror twinning.In last year's fianle we had Karl come warn the losties that the others were coming "right now!" and this year we have Sayid arriving on the beach via a boat, much like Karl did, and warn the losties that the frieghter people are coming. We also have Desmond once agian trying to shut off a signal that is broadcasting and preventing rescue of the losties. He did this last year in the Looking Glass Station.

    warplayer May 17th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I got a little confused with the last part of the blog. Basically what you were saying is, we were led to believe the Flash Forwards were in reverse-chronology, leading back to them getting off the island, but Hurley's story is moving sequentially in the FFs, right? Like, Ep1=Before Trial, Ep4=Trial, and Ep10= After Trial.

    Sorry, this does seem significant and I just want to make sure I understand the point you are making.


    John May 17th, 2008 at 1:39 pm


    Great call with the Orchid/Paik visual similarities. I also wanted to point out that Operation Greenhouse was an American nuclear test series conducted circa 1951 in the South Pacific, and tested principles that would lead to developing the hydrogen bomb.

    Now I am certainly no physicist, but putting my "inter-web" skill to the test this is what I found.

    Exotic matter (that is any material which exhibits unusual properties or is difficult to produce like ... wait for it... metallic hydrogen) with negative energy density is required to stabilize a wormhole. The quantum mechanics of the Casimir effect can be used to produce a locally mass-negative region of space-time, and that negative effect could be used to stabilize a wormhole to allow faster than light and/or time travel.

    Metallic hydrogen requires immense pressure (in excess of millions of atmospheres) to be created. For example, it is thought to be present in tremendous amounts in the gravitationally compressed interiors of Jupiter and Saturn.

    One of the things that has always bugged me is the idea that if you don't push the button every 108 minutes then the world explodes. Ben and the Others knew about this and still left it's upkeep in the hands of unpredictable men (Radzinsky shot himself for God's sake and everyone we knew about who dealt with the station ended up cracked in some way). As we can see, when the Swan blew up, the sky tuned purple (or rather a paler "orchid" color, if you will) and Desmond began to shift in time. That is the only real repercussion of the Swan's absence. The world, in no way, ended.

    Sooooo, what if in reality, the the Swan was meant to be a contained high pressure generator needed to create the appropriate levels of exotic matter that could stabilize an Orchid created wormhole?

    With the destruction of the Swan, no more metallic hydrogen or other exotic materials can be produced, so we have a finite amount that may be good for a full island spacetime shift.

    Leah May 17th, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    About Sun, does anyone find it interesting that she seems to have a totally different personality in Korea than on the island? Maybe it's cultural influence, but on the island she's quiet, introspective, and down-to-earth. In Korea she's a pampered princess, cheating on her husband and threatening her husband's supposed mother. On the island she's strong, no doubt, but the Korean persona is different. Now she is standing up to and threatening her father (like she threatened Jin's alleged mother), and weilding power like she's done it all her life. I just thought it was interesting.

    John May 17th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    No one here seems to have brought up the interesting new timeline caused by Horace's announcement that he has been dead for 12 years. That puts the purge in 1992. However, it looks like the island was bustling with activity until right up before the purge. Rousseau seems to have had run-ins with the Others but not DHARMA. Odd since she was a comfortable walking distance from the Swan. Did she simply assume that DHARMA and the Hostiles were that same thing? More damning is the fact that Alex is 16 years old in 2004. Ben indicates that he is responsible for taking Alex from Rousseau. Are we to assume that he, along with the help of the Others/Hostiles raised her in secret for 4 years before the purge? If that is the case, why Alex? Were their other children on island with DHARMA at the time of the purge? What happened to them? I am wondering if Karl was a purge survivor.

    If these timeline implications prove to be true, it reveals interesting character dynamics that I look forward to seeing in the next seasons.

    the puma May 17th, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    I think it was interesting you brought up the wormhole as a possible mean of moving the island. I was watching the National Geographic Channel regarding black holes in space. A question was brought up if it was possible for wormholes to exist on earth. The Bermuda Triangle has electromagnetic charasterics similar to black holes. Scientist also states there is an area southeast of Japan that has similar characteristics as the Bermuda Triangle. It is possible that these two areas are connected by a wormhole that cuts through the earth. Connected by some electromagnetic source. The island has the same characteristics. Some one mentioned in an earlier posting that the island could have been Atlantis before the move. This could explain the foot statue. I know this is unlikely but just a thought.

    Perhaps I should just watch American Idol and American Funniest Videos like the rest of America.

    oren May 17th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I think Liz was looking too much into the sequence of the flash-forwards. They were simply shown out of order. Chronologically, first, they all get off the island and we see the flash-forwards from "There's no Place like Home." Then Hurley goes into the institute and first sees Charlie in the first episode of the season ("The Beginning of the End"). Then the trial happens; the trial is after Hurley enters the institution because otherwise Hurley probably would have known Jack changed his mind about Kate after the trial. Then we see Jack living with Kate and he visits Hurley again. Some time afterwards, the flash-forward from the season three finale takes place.

    faramir73 May 18th, 2008 at 4:55 am

    The flashforwards were shown in reverse chronological order until 4x07, then in no particular order. So we have:
    January 2005, 4x12: rescue
    July 2005, 4x07: Ji Yeon is born
    between july and october 2005, 4x04: Kates's trial
    October 2005, 4x09: Ben in Tunisia and then in Iraq
    after october 2005, 4x03: Sayid in Berlin
    after that, 4x01: Hurley arrested and then in Santa Rosa
    September 2007, 4x10: Jack and Kate engaged
    much later, 3x23: Kate and bearded Jack at the airport
    The date of this last event has long been believed to belong to April 2007, based on the date of the real LA Times which the newspaper clipping was inserted in by the prop department: we can now assume this date to be fanon (fans' canon), thanks to the article about A-Rod which is of August 2007 for sure. I think the first ff is taking place in 2009 or even 2010, based on two facts:
    - the text of the newspaper clipping talks about a building, as of today, yet to be completed;
    - the authors might want
    to end the series on the day of its real-world broadcasting, just like the pilot
    (September 22nd, 2004): it'd be safe to assume that Jack wants to go back no much earlier than may 2010.

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 18th, 2008 at 7:45 am

    john norris: I can't speak for hungry babies, but I've been thinking about Sun's money, and I wonder if it isn't all from Oceanic; maybe she's being funded by some thinkologist.

    As to zipping back and forth to the island, they made a point of reiterating how they had to stay on a bearing of 305 in order to avoid any nastiness; Gault also gave Sayid a compass and told him to stay on a heading of 305.

    Something about that "Cabin Fever" scene that stuck in my craw: The boat (the ship's tender) is called The Zodiac.

    Phutatorius May 18th, 2008 at 7:46 am

    The timeline on and off the island seems hopelessly confused at this point. The apparent inconsistencies continue to multiply. I really hope the writers do “have a plan,” but I’m beginning to wonder. I just finished Julian Barbour’s book “The End of Time.” His thesis is that time has no ontological reality, that it’s just an illusion created by our mental processes. What exists instead, according to Barbour, is a (very large) collection of configurations of matter. These configurations aren’t even organized chronologically, because chronology does not exist. Anyway, there’s one configuration that I think all LOST viewers are awaiting: the configuration in which the Oceanic Six and only the Oceanic Six come together in one place at one critical moment. The writers seem to be playing a game, and it’s a pretty clever game, of scattering the Six all over the place, frustrating all our efforts to guess what decision, what critical factor, what bit of serendipity do the Oceanic Six have in common.

    Patton McGinley May 18th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Well, I thought I was going swear off commenting this week after my off-topic blather from last week.

    J., "zodiac" is a name for rigid-inflatable boat or rigid-hulled inflatable boats. They were first manufactured by the Zodiac Group, a French company that started out as airship builders. This use of "zodiac" has become an example of a genericized trademark. My recollection of it's early usage was in reference to the boats that Green Peace used to disrupt various activities.

    Patton McGinley May 18th, 2008 at 8:56 am

    The Puma, your mention of the possible worm hole between the Bermuda Traingle and the Devil's Sea (or Triangle) in the South Pacific references the "vile vortices" concept posited by Ivan Sanderson. There are actually more of these regions throughout the globe in what Sanderson argued was a grid-like pattern.

    This could all be a red herring but I seriously think the theory is at play here -- and not just with moving the Island. Given that 815 was supposed to be heading from Sydney to LA, we can strongly suspect that the Island was in the South Pacific vile vortex. I THINK that when they move the Island it will shift to the Indian Ocean vortex. This will put the O6 in the perfect position to wash up in Indonesia -- conveniently close to the (possibly) hoaxed wreckage.

    That brings up the conundrum of someone knowing before hand that the Island is going to shift and where it will shift to. Otherwise, placing the fake wreckage near Bali makes little sense. It's the opposite direction of the way 815 was supposed to be heading. Whether the wreckage was the work of Ben or Widmore, it seems to suggest that they knew the Island is going to move.

    The other possible clue to the use of the vile vortices concept is the habit of things from the Island popping up in North Africa. Although the North Africa vortex isn't quite in Tunisia it is practically next door. As we've seen, Ben and a bear have wound up in this region. I think this could indicate that there's some sort of smaller worm hole accessing device that is used for single body teleportation -- that, or the Orchid can be modulated between shifting the whole Island or just a single organism.

    Finally, all of the vortices mentioned have some connection to "lost" civilizations, just as the Bermuda Triangle can be connected to Atlantis. The South Pacific area would make it a likely candidate for Mu. The Indian Ocean one would be Lemuria. The North Africa vortex could connect it to any of the mythic and "pseudo-" and non-pseudo archeological notions of civilizations existing in the Sahara prior to it's current period of desertification (starting around 3400 BC).

    leah May 18th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    nate embry:

    for sure, the anomaly with the dead/alive doctor has something to do with the time weirdness surrounding the island. The strange thing is, however, that with Daniel's experiment, he was talking to the freighter people as the object was launched and was supposed to have landed. it did not arrive until way AFTER that. So according to that model, the doctor should not have washed ashore early, but way late. But who knows; maybe different entry points to the island cause different anomolies (or, as someone somewhere suggested, maybe it has to do with altitude; maybe the submarine wasn't affected at all).

    John: I like the idea that the station in the hatch was working to keep the island hidden as some sort of generator that allowed the island to be moved at will. If that were the case, however, it seems doubtful that Ben and others would allow such an important task to be undertaken by people they themselves didn't trust. They did have a surveillance of the hatch, but it wasn't monitored constantly, and they didn't save the hatch when it finally did implode. I'd like to hear Ben's or Richard's take on the implosion and its implications.

    Someone last week mentioned this timeline weirdness, also mentioning that Alex would have been 4 at the time of the purge if Horace is to be believed. I'm wondering where we're going with this. I don't think it could be a mistake: the writers deliberately had him say 12 years when they just as easily could have said 17. So I hope it will all be coming together.

    As far as Aaron goes, the suspension of disbelief has been required for quite some time with regards to him. It's probably hard to work with babies and get them while they're quiet, especially when you have to get a different baby for almost every episode (they grow so fast, and he's supposed to be 5 weeks old at rescue, never mind he looks like he's 3-4 months). I have a small child, and I just try to ignore the glaring impossibilities of Claire and this baby the way it's portrayed. She traipses off into the jungle for more than one day at one point and leaves a 2 week old with Sun. She's up, skinny and taking walks a week after birth. Yeah, the island heals, but... it's a stretch. And babies can't go without food for more than an hour or two. Chalk it up to entertainment.

    Ginny May 18th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Great recap, J! I loved the comaparison of the orchid book made into "Adaptation". Twinning again! I agree with whoever mentioned the fact that Sayid and Daniel are able travel in the small life boat to and from the island and the freighter without any disturbance. That was my first thought when I saw the scene. Claire's mother's appearance at Jack's father's memorial service made me think of miraculous recoveries by people in the past who were on their deathbed...Claire's mom and Kate's mom.

    And I also thought about the timeline for the purge...12 years ago or 16 years ago. And when was Alex kidnapped, before or after the purge? If after the purge is that what also killed Danielle's science team when she was pregnant with Alex? If so, why did she survive? There are still too many questions unanswered regarding Danielle, Alex, Karl and Ben that make me think we have not seen the last of Danielle, Alex & Karl.

    Deedee May 18th, 2008 at 9:28 am

    The scene where Hurley gets spooked by the numbers in the car and starts running down the street reminds me of the Cowardly Lion, after being spooked by the Wizard, running down the corridor and diving through the window.

    Do you think the writers (apart from having a laugh) are drawing a parallel between the numbers and the Wizard? Are they trying to tell us that the numbers may not be as menacing and cursed as Hurley thinks they are? Will they turn out to be much more mundane (like coordinates), just as the great and powerful Oz turns out to be a balloonist from Kansas?

    Also, do you think the farmer/hunter thing has any significance with regard to the women on the island? Sun is a gardener and Kate is a tracker.

    John May 18th, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Re: john norris

    It may not make much of a difference, but the encounter between Sun and her Father could have been many months after rescue, rather than three. a prior flash-forward scene has Jack at his Dad's funeral stating that "10 months ago" he was sitting in the Sydney airport trying to think of what to say as a eulogy. Sun's Paik Industries takeover could have been perpetrated a year or more after their rescue.

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 18th, 2008 at 9:35 am

    viking: The fix is in on the Jack, Kate, and Sayid error; he'll be out of that line soon enough. But I'm not clear on why they Others wear those rags whenever they're in the jungle.

    sosolost: One thing I didn't get into in the post, but your comment suggests is more relevant than I initially thought, is that the farmer-labor coalition really took off and still exists in Minnesota. It's called the DFL, the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. The Iron Range runs from northern Minnesota across Wisconsin over into Michigan, and is big mining country (I'm from there; it's actually how Wisconsin came to be called the Badger State -- we hardly have any badgers, but the miners would dig burrows into the mountains to camp in, like badgers). This is exactly the sort of folk who made up the DFL base.

    But given the Emerald City being a front and being linked to paper cash in the political analysis of Baum's book, maybe we're heading towards something about the Widmore Corporation just being a network of shell companies hiding something else.

    Phutatorius, I think housekeeping is the right way to put it. There was an extra hour added to the season in just the past few weeks, so some of this material may have been edited out before, and brought back in to help set the table for a two-hour bonanza. But the island popping up under the Black Rock, that makes a lot of sense.

    Johannes, one thing that they've been able to do with the later time slot is introduce some more violence (used to amazing effect in "The Brig"), but they've also shown that death doesn't mean a whole lot in the scheme of the narrative. Given the flashes, and the fact that the dead don't always stay dead in the sense that we know it, we can bet we'll see some of these dead people again. Lindelof and Cuse have talked quite a bit about a Rousseau flashback, which I think is coming next season, so she's not done. But it also makes me think of the narrative being like the Dreamtime again, as a place where ancestors and the dead still interact with the living (or with the audience).

    Speaking of Dreamtime, that's what Peter Weir's "The Last Wave" is about (which Jeffrey brings up). Phutatorius suggested that the island appeared under the Black Rock, but it might be just as possible that a tsunami shoved it into the middle of the island.

    And by the way, your suggestion about The Beatles sent me straight to Revolution 9, with the broken record sample and the backwards masking. I'm not going to run with anything yet, because that's a dense piece to work through, but I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in the Lost soundtrack next to Three Dog Night. (Number 9, though, was the episode "The Shape of Things to Come," where we see Ben's revolution.)

    Perelandra, I went back to the Orchid Station orientation video, and can't see any Orchid Station logos, but I want to confirm that the word DHARMA is upsetting the balance of that bagua. The one place we saw the logo outside of press materials (like the one I grabbed) was on Ben's parka in the Sahara. It's very hard to tell from those scenes if the bagua is interrupted or not.

    nate embrey: The point that there's a time difference is well-taken, but it begs the question of what's causing the time discrepancies and overlapping points in time in the first place. This very well may have something to do with the Orchid Station, since we saw something very much like Dr. Ray being in two places at once in the Orchid Station orientation video with the rabbits.

    Jill May 18th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    John...Very interesting theory you had regarding The Swan. You say had to push the button every 108 minutes or the world would blow up. When they did not push the button, you say the world did not blow up, however, you're overlooking one thing. Desmond with great risk to his life, TURNED THE FAIL SAFE KEY! That's why there was no other repercussions other than what actually occurred. Leah...Sun is a very complex character as most of us are. She showed great strength on the island as well by standing up to Jin, letting him know that she was his equal and not some victorian ideal that he was raised to believe that women are. Also, when her affair was portrayed, it was shown with great sensitivity. She was very hurt and confused by Jin's behavior and with great reluctance, fell into the arms of her teacher. I believe that in the "future" we will see great things from Sun. Don't forget before she laid it on her father that she had controlling interest in his company, Paik's men were telling him that the money for the buyout came from 5 separate accounts. Oceanic 6 anyone?

    Kamama May 18th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    While we are on the subject of orchids and the Greek root, go take a look at an anthurium.

    Jeffrey May 18th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Talk about catchy branding: The Fab Four meet the Oceanic Six.

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 18th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Patrick, didn't you set me straight on the symbols on the hull of the freighter as well? Do you have some nautical background?

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 18th, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I have more to say soon, but I have to go to a graduation party (a buddy of mine just made it out; only took 22 years), and want to get a few things down before the comments start piling up and something I wanted to respond to goes unanswered.

    First, I'll be getting back to John's theory about 108 and the Swan Station. Briefly, on the blast door map, there's a mention of heavy water; that's used in nuclear reactions. I'm still tracking some of this, but a Hassium is a synthetic element, and is number 108 on the periodic table; I'm not yet sure of all its uses, but if it can be a component of heavy water, we may have something.

    As far as this finale starting to mirror last season's finale, I think that's dead-on. I've been waiting to see the Hurley Bird again (thunderbird?).

    But as for the timeline: I'm trying to track if/when/where it was actually officially stated that the flashforwards were moving in a backwards order, or if that was just observed by the audience.

    I'm going to work on this over the two weeks, and maybe get a post up trying to organize the flashforwards. warplayer suggests Hurley's moving forward in the flashforwards while the rest are moving backwards; I like that, but it still leaves the problem of the trial seemingly occurring before and after Jack's visit to Hurley in the hospital.

    But BUT -- Something Lindelof said in a podcast sticks out: If you did something in the past that you didn't do before, the universe has a way of sort of swooping in and setting things straight. Could this work in the future as well?

    Okay, hang with me a second: I've been suggesting for some time that when Des saved Charlie, he was changing the past/present/future, not just the future. This is because we have all kinds of evidence suggesting we're dealing with Minkowski spacetime, where there is no past/present/future, just related coordinates in a field of time (rather like geographical points on a map). Change one and you're changing the map, basically. I tried to point out evidence of this -- Charlie swimming, eight episodes of Kate missing freckles and Sawyer not calling her "freckles" (which all returned right after Charlie died), the picture frames changing on Mrs. Gardner's stairwell, Hurley going from unlucky to lucky (when playing horseshoes), the painting of Emily changing, etc.

    If we're dealing with spacetime, and the past can alter due to some time-bending event, why can't the future change as well, since there's no distinction between past/present/future in spacetime? Maybe these anomalies are things that require some kind of course-correction, and that's one of the reasons Jack is so set on getting back to the island at the end of "Through the Looking Glass."

    Puma, as for the Bermuda Triangle/wormhole idea, you might want to check out the post for The Constant, particularly the part about the vile vortices. There's a number of Bermuda Triangles around the world (including northeast Africa), and one theory (outside of Lost) is that they function as sort of wormholes to each other -- which could explain something like Yemi's plane leaving Nigeria and popping up on the island.

    john norris May 18th, 2008 at 11:45 am

    John (not me) wrote:

    "the encounter between Sun and her Father could have been many months after rescue"

    I estimated the deal went down 3 months after leaving the island based on Sun's apparent degree of pregnancy: Looked like maybe six months to me. I only guesstimated that Sun was 3 months along when she left the island.

    Someone more versed in the timeline should be able to supply the date of conception, and someone more versed in pregnancy may say more persuasively how pregnant she looks in the flashforward.

    In any case, she looks a ways from delivering when she climbs the stair to give her old dad the news, and I'm curious how she put together this complicated deal quickly.

    Definitely I agree with Leah that Sun seems a different person back in the world. They all do, and the flashforwards (if that's what they are ...) have a peculiar dreamlike quality.

    Joe Hogan May 18th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    J, another great commentary. I particularly loved your association of our three intrepid friends and their Orchid assault with the Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man.

    As far as the Orchid logo is concerned, to me it clearly incorporates an image from an old short lived TV series called The Time Tunnel, from 1966. Carlton may just be old enough to remember this show.

    The show was about a secret government project to explore time travel and the central set was a very large tube with black and white concentric circles, the Time Tunnel itself. A Google Image search for the title will bring up many views of the Tunnel. If, as most assume, The Orchid has something to do with time manipulation, then this reference would be particularly apt.

    Thanks also for reminding us of "Adaptation" in connection with the Orchid Station. The twinning and self-reflexive essence of that brilliant film seem to make it a perfect source for this Station's name. Charlie Kaufman, the writer, even went so far as to give an actual co-writing credit to his fictional twin Donald. The screen writing "hack" in the film that you mentioned is called Robert McKee, which is the name of a real screen writing guru who conducts lectures which he calls Story Seminars. Much of what this character, brilliantly played by Brian Cox, says is taken directly from the real McKee's writings.

    In Lost context, I am particularly fond of one of his lines from the movie, "Find an ending, but don't cheat, and don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina." Happily Damon and Carlton have ignored this advise, even going so far as to give Episode 1x19 that name.

    Perelandra May 18th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Aha! Someone else is wondering why Dnaielle survived "the Sickness." She shot the other members of her scientific team (including Alex's father)apparently because "the Sickness" had made them dangerous. We would now think that they must have been time-tripping. But why wasn't she? Does she have a constant? If so, who could this be?

    Alex and Aaron were conceived elsewhere but born on the Island. Sun's daughter is the reverse. Alex and Karl were friends from childhood and both have "conqueror names" (Alexander the Great and Karl der Grosse). So what's his origin? What's his last name? Why doesn't Karl's name echo Charles and Charlie?

    I do hope we get to see more of

    People on Doc Jensen's blog have said that the date in the newspaper in which Jack reads the mysterious obit was a prop error and should be ignored.

    Patton McGinley May 18th, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    "Patrick, didn't you set me straight on the symbols on the hull of the freighter as well?"

    I guess that's to me since I'm not seeing an actual "Patrick" posting. (I'm plain old "Patton;" and, not that it matters, no, I'm not named after the general. It was a surname of a family that married into my father's family. Prior to the generalissimo's fame, someone thought it would make a cool first name and my Dad got it.)

    Nope, I'm not the one who set you straight on the symbols. Also, no nautical background here. I guess I got zodiacs stuck in my mind mind from a fascination with active disruption of capitalist apathy... and reading Neal Stephenson's Zodiac -- a sort of anti-techno thriller whodunit featuring a jaded ex-Green Peacer.

    And since I'm being "chatty" like last week -- and there's no good reason to post this one either -- when I read your bit about the doodle of the ant my mind jumped to my favorite Cambrian Onychophora, Hallucingenia. Must have been something to do with the odd number and asymmetrical appendages. I gave up on making the connection and then, the synchronicity machine twitched. I was eating lunch and decided to watch The Man Behind the Curtain with the commentary track on. At some point they mentioned that they had asked Michael Emerson to fill in some pages of a composition book to serve as a prop for the scene where Ben is in a tent writing a journal entry. Emerson said he just "went with it" and wrote what he thought Ben would have been writing, never considering that fan's would focus in on the words.

    So, the point is, we never can tell when this minutia is planned and coming straight from the über-mind of Darlton Cuselof or just pops in from the prop department end of things. Obviously Faraday's notebook page was important to the shot; but they may have just asked Jeremy Davies to write down some equations and the Orchid logo and anything else he thought a nutty professor with possible memory problems would write or draw.

    Given this and a poll on DarkUFO's SPOILER page I'm starting to strongly suspect my "Michael is in the coffin based on the intelligible portion of the obituary" theory is dead wrong.

    faramir73 May 18th, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    For the record:
    * 3.05 am is the time when Penny received the call from the portoguese-speaking man in the listening station;
    * 3:05 are the numbers (perhaps a Biblical quote) carved in Eko's stick near the phrase 'Lift up your eyes and look north'
    Not a coincidence...

    Annie May 18th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Perhaps they're going to move the time? Just a thought.

    leah May 18th, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    J, when you're talking about minkowski spacetime, and how the future might change with all of the course-correction... did cuselof say that the ff were true future? because, even if it is changed, by the time it occurs, it will have already changed. i'm not sure how to say this clearly, but for example, desmond saw possible futures that could be changed. if, as you're suggesting, we are seeing only possible futures, then we are now in the role of desmond, and nothing is certain. but if the writers said that the ff are really what happens, then we can't be seeing possible futures, because they're telling us that what we see is what actually happens (not something that could possibly happen).

    if we are seeing possible futures, the writers would be acknowledging the audience as a member of the cast, a participant in the story, because we are the only ones seeing those possibilities (not any character, as with desmond). i hope that's clear.

    Maureen in Mukilteo May 18th, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    John said: "Ben and the Others knew about this and still left it's upkeep in the hands of unpredictable men..."

    According to Damon & Carlton the natives did not know about the Swan station until the Losties found it. The rest of the DI was probably told the program had been discontinued after "the incident" and that is all Ben would have known. The men who manned the Swan did not live at the barracks. They lived hidden underground for some reason and that was the only reason they survived the Purge. And not pushing the button would have destroyed the world. Again Damon & Carlton said Ms. Hawking was telling the truth when she said if Des didn't push the button they (the world) would all die. What prevented that dire prediction from coming true was the failsafe key. There is a reason Des and predecessors did not turn the failsafe key before then (D & C again) but we don't know what it is. Des certainly looked he was sure he was going to die. I thought of the Swan like this- The DI built a dam, too much pressure built up behind the dam causing "the incident" so a little water has to be allowed to flow over the top every 108 minutes. The failsafe key removes the dam and returns the island to its native state.

    John said: "No one here seems to have brought up the interesting new timeline caused by Horace's announcement that he has been dead for 12 years."

    To me that was one of the biggest reveals of S4. It answered so many questions and shed light on so many facts that hadn't made sense to me. We know Hanso stopped funding the DI in 1987 so who funded them after that? (coughwidmorecough) The same company that built that poison gas factory? Now I understand why the DI was involved in activities not related to the Valenzetti equation, which was the only reason Dharma was there. I think the focus of the DI changed to something sinister when funding changed; sinister enough that a large number defected to the natives (Locke estimated 100 DI members while Ben says something in the forties were killed). The natives thought those who remained with the new DI (aka "the bad people") were contributing in some way to a project so heinous that they deserved death and many of the people they had lived and worked beside for years agreed. At least that is how I am filling in the holes in this unfinished mosaic.

    John said "Ben indicates that he is responsible for taking Alex from Rousseau."

    Only when he was trying to talk Keamie out of killing her. In a deleted scene from S3's TMBTC, John & Ben are on the way to Jacob's cabin and John tells Ben he knows he kidnapped Alex from Rousseau. Ben says: I did not kidnap her. I was only the person who raised her. Given that Alex was 4 at the time of the Purge this is likely very true. I think a Dharma team took Alex from Rousseau fearing for the child's life. I mean the first time the kid got a heat rash Danielle would have killed her. That time Claire was worried about Aaron because he had a rash and slight fever, Danielle told Claire she hoped she had the strength to do what needed to be done. Rousseau had "the strength to do what needed to be done" enough times to kill her entire science team. People keep forgetting there is a reason Alex didn't have a daddy. So Alex was probably being raised by a Dharma couple and so would have known Ben. After the Purge Ben would be the only face a frightened Alex would recognize and she might have clung to him (ever try to get a 4 year old to let go of you when they don't want to?). Ben might even of had a prior relationship with little Alex and formed a friendship with her. The two of them, now alone in the world, might have clung to each other.

    Leah said "Paik's men were telling him that the money for the buyout came from 5 separate accounts. Oceanic 6 anyone?"

    Don't forget Sun would have received Jin's settlement and probably one for the baby so she had triple the others. And she would have known how to put together a syndicate of people interested in changing how Paik operates. Paik is involved in this either as a friend or enemy of Widmore's.

    Deedee, the numbers have already been explained. They are the core values of the Valenzetti equation. Read more at Lostpedia.

    Want to add a bit more on Aaron's size. Most parents would be too protective of their tiny 5 week olds to let them be used as props on a TV show. But, if it were me, at 4 months old I would think it would be great fun for both of us. I don't know how they found someone willing to let their newborn be used for Ben. As to the feeing issue, this is a true matter of suspension of belief. When I was breastfeeding my 5 week old, he was on me like a pastie on a stripper. No exciting jungle treks for me! And plenty of bottles (and diapers!!!) for the babysitter when I left him to co-habitate with Christian and Jacob (the no sex prohibition being lifted at 6 weeks). The story could not be told realistically although I would cherish the picture of Miles left by Sawyer to wash poopy diapers all day in a stream.

    Messenger88 May 18th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    J, great call on the links to Oz and Adaptation--as much as I loved the movie, I probably wouldn't have seen the obvious links without your post. In regard to the speculation on the show's chronology: Occam's razor. While it seems that viewers are split between trying to map it out or declaring the existence of continuity errors, the writers have written that "only fools are bound by time and space". Besides that, you can work on a chronology until the cows (mu) come home, but try explaining Michael's wreck, recovery and return to the island within a logical framework built off what we, the viewers, know so far.
    As for Sun's surprising move, if Sun saves the island through her newfound power, perhaps Sun and "Son" will be the final "mirror-twin" as she becomes the saviour. However, "Jesus Christ is not a weapon", so if Sun is bent on revenge, I suspect another heavily symbolic scene points us in the correct direction: at the end of the episode, Ben LITERALLY passed John the baton...!?

    sosolost May 18th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    As the timeline continues to be discussed -- here is link to Lostpedia's "post-island timeline" -- it's pretty extensive and might help clarify some things --

    J. Wood - interesting tie-in to Minnesota - thanks for sharing that.

    Could it be a nod to the most likely underground tunnels on the island? I believe past theories have posited that those tunnels might have been created by Widmore. In a flashback from seasons past (maybe Charlie or Desmond), we saw a Widmore logo on London Underground construction work.

    Could Widmore=Industrialists / Others and/or Dharma=Farmers?

    Jeffrey May 18th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    One more time with the Fab Four:

    "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" - Maxwell Edison - Maxwell's Demon and that Menlo Park dude.

    The rock band in the Pynchon novel "The Crying of Lot 49" are the Paranoids which is the fake name of the Beatles' alter egos "Los Paranoias". Maxwell's Demon figures in this novel.

    I'm sure it means nothing but the Beatles Anthology was a big hit on ABC a decade ago.

    And of course who but the Beatles introduced Eastern (Dharma) philosophy to the Western pop culture? The DI surely was aware of their influence.

    Kyle May 18th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Helgus Antonius, anyone? Sun having a role in the business operations of Paik Industries made me think immediately of the construction and launching of the Helgus Antonius, which set (sets) off for Sri Lanka in summer 2006. See: The LOST Experience.

    Jeffrey May 18th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Also, in "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" the Alfred Jarry concept of Pataphysics is cited. It is "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributed the properties of objects, described by their virtuality to their lineaments." It takes the concept of metaphor further which could be ascribed to "Lost".

    Eadem mutata resurgo

    Ginny May 18th, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    leah...I agree with you about the ff's being possibilities and not exact. They seem dream like to me and I've maintianed on other blogs that some of what is happening in the ffs could be changed by things that are changed in the past and present.

    Jeffrey May 18th, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    To clarify, eadem mutata resurgo means "Although changed, I shall arise the same". This is the epitaph of the Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli who advanced the ideas of alternative proofs of known results, the probability theory to games of chance (Hurley's lotto), numbers theory, and spirals (Paik, Oceanic, Orchid). There is even a lunar crater named after him (2001: A Space Odyssey).

    Deedee May 18th, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    "We may never know what the Numbers mean."
    -Damon Lindelof, quoted on Lostpedia

    the puma May 18th, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    jw thanks for the information on my previous posting. Another thought occurred to me. The last time we saw Dr. Marvin Candle of the Dharma initiative, he was apparently teleporting the rabbit but it seemed to be in two places at the same time causing major concern before the screen went black. There were two scenes with a rabbit foot. The first one with the co pilot on the rescue plane. The second was when Hurley’s father gave him the keys to his car there was a lucky rabbit foot on the key chain. Could it be a subtle hint that the Oceanic 6 were in two places at the same time? Maybe many different timelines are running concurrently.

    leah May 18th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    sosolost: thank you, thank you for that lostpedia link on the timeline. i will rely on it, since i really wanted to know but did not want to dredge through every episode looking for clues. Great resource.

    I guess I'm relieved that bearded, suicidal Jack is in fact preceded by engaged Jack, though it is unsettling that they would make that kind of mistake.

    I wonder sometimes how thoroughly someone on the LOST team is combing through these blogs to find ideas for what to write (and what not to write) in future episodes. Wouldn't it be funny if in all of this speculation, we are working the plot and storyline out for them? I think maybe we should be paid. Anybody want to start a union?

    J Wood (Post Author) May 18th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    That post-island timeline will help; I'm planning on doing a specific sort of timeline showing how the flashes are related to the episodes, but we'll see. It's probably already done and out there someplace. But something like that may help situate us for some of the other questions, like Horace being dead for 12 years, Alex being 16, etc.

    My brother just reminded me that the sponsor of Henry Gale's balloon, "Minnesota Metallurgy & Mining Co.", is pretty close to 3M, the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. (he works for them). This might be in part because Eddie Kitsis, one of the writers, is from Minneapolis, and 3M is huge there.

    Faramir, season 3 episode 5 is also the one where Eko was whomped by Smokey, and we learned that Smokey could take human form (Lindelof confirmed that Yemi was Smokey). If nothing else, it was one of the first episodes that revealed a good chunk about Smokey.

    Leah, I'm not sure that we're actually dealing with possible futures -- at least not in any straightforward sense. I listened to the official podcasts again recently, and Cuse was pretty adamant about how the future we've seen is set and won't change -- but he often emphasizes the "we've seen" bit. So I don't think that anything will be able to be fixed and the future they experienced will have changed, because that introduces the plague of paradox.

    However, if the O6 realize something is off, perhaps getting back to the island and enacting some sort of course-correction would put things right from that point on, but not change the future that's already been (ouch -- brain sprain).

    Cuse and Lindelof were just very cagey about how this stuff about time and paradox was phrased -- very pro-time-bending, but very paradox-averse. This is one of the reasons I want to get a clear sense of the flashforwards in relation to the episodes and when they occurred. I have a suspicion having something like that will help answer any possible paradox questions (and is something Cuse and Lindelof stated they hoped the audience would put together).

    Monica May 19th, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I haven't seen anyone suggest that perhaps a source of Sun's funding has come from a Hurley who publicly disavowed anything to do with his lottery winnings...

    Monica May 19th, 2008 at 7:28 am

    We saw Hurley and Sun together shortly thereafter (while everyone else was conspicuouly absent) after the birth of Ji Yeon.

    Lenard May 19th, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Back to the Sun purchase, it may have been alot of money, but he did say the money came from 5 banks. Could it have been from Sun's bank, Hurley's bank, Jack's bank, Sayid's bank and Kate and Aaron's bank? Hurley could still be worth over 153 million, even if he paid Walt his backgamon winnings.

    Paul May 19th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Re: Sun's funding to get controlling interest in Paik industries, I doubt that the O6 are in this together. I find it hard to believe that within a couple of months of getting off the island, still suffering from the loss and guilt associated with their escape, Sun would have been able to persuade the other Losties, also mired in guilt and loss, to pool their funds to gain a controlling interest in the company. What would be the motive for Jack or Kate or Sayid to do this? At that point things had not yet detoriated for them. Instead, I suspect that there is a silent partner out there that is anti-Widmore, perhaps in cahoots with Ben. One might imagine that if Jin is still alive, someone with such resources might have been able to persuade Sun that the only chance to get back to the island is to gain control of Paik in order to build a new freighter to find the island.

    Leah asked whether the writers are sensitive to blog comments about the show. People have complained here and elsewhere about Michael's compressed post-island timeline - he did an awful lot in a short amount of time under very difficult circumstances that stretched our willingness to suspend disbelief. So, it was very interesting to here Michael tell Sun and JIn that he and Walt made land two days after leaving the island, sold the boat Ben gave them, and hopped a ship back to the mainland. Perhaps Darlton do indeed pay some attention.

    J - regarding your comment in the blog about doubting that the media wouldn't hound the O6 for details. I respectfully disagree. I would think that if something seemed off to a reporter, something that just didn't fit, she would pursue it. Imagine what being the one who broke the O6 conspiracy would do for her career.

    Finally, if Michael still has work to do, can the C-4 on the freighter go off?

    kkinser May 19th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    It seems to me that the flashfowards should sync up with:
    1. rescue
    2. sun buys paik and has baby
    3. christian's funeral, jack knowing aaron is his nephew

    5. the engagement
    6. hurley is committed
    7. jack visits hurley and gets charlies note
    8. jack finds kate doing favors for saywer
    9. jack starts drinking and spiraling out of control when he is filled with doubt about aaron, seeing his dead father, and kate's secret favors.
    10. the trial ends
    11. jack and kate meet at airport

    i went back and forth about the trial end date being number 4 or 10. But by the age that Aaron is from when they get rescued to how old he is supposed to be at the end of the trial... It also appears Kate was living in the house and had the nanny all during her trial so she must have had some sort of freedom probably due to her infamy, where is she going to go that someone wouldn't recognize her right? also maybe he did not want to have anything to do with her after they were rescued because maybe he was pissed at her for using Aaron to get off the island in the first place. I could see how that might rub Hurley the wrong way as well.

    Regina May 19th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    It seems to me that the flashforwards have indeed been shown in descending chronological order, when viewed from the standpoint of the main protagonist of the flashforward. For example, this week's ep was a Jack-centric flashforward. Yes, we'd seen him at Kate's trial, but that was a Kate-centric flashforward, so it doesn't count for Jack's timeline.

    John Moustache May 19th, 2008 at 11:15 am

    The money issue was one factor that took me out of the episode for a moment. It seems a little unlikely that the settlement could be enough cash for the purchase of a controlling interest in Paik. Especially when one considers that a settlement must have been paid for each of the passengers, not only the O6. The entire worth of an airline, spread over that many people, would likely not be enough money to take over a company like Paik. Unless Paik is a lot smaller than we realize. Also, a "controlling share," or however Sun put it, might only be a plurality of available shares, depending on how the company shares are structured. Furthermore, if Paik is in some sort of financial trouble (over-extended on research and expenditure in island-related tech that has no real-world marketability?), it may be actually fairly easy to get such a share of the company.

    So, I guess it's possible after all.

    A note on the Orchid Station logo: The funny thing about it is that everyone is commonly referring to it as a spiral. Take another look. Unless my eyes deceive me, there is no spiral after all. Three concentric rings enclose the middle figure figure of a whale tail or wave shape. The rings also appear compressed on one side compared to the other, which evokes to me a depiction of the Doppler Effect, in which waves are distorted by motion, time, and perspective.

    So it appears at first glance that it is a spiral which is open to the outside as long as you follow the path from the middle. In fact there is no way out, and the regions of the logo are completely bounded.

    PF May 19th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Anyone read "The Third Policeman"? In the book the protagonist is led through a dense forest path to a mine-like elevator. The elevator takes him to a room where every wish is granted - he wants a bar of gold, he gets a bar of gold. The stipulation is that he cannot take anything from the room back with him. This reminds me of the room Ben talks to Locke about last season (I think) where anything he wants will appear. In the book, one of the people leading the man to the room is a very portly, red headed policeman (Hurley?). If you haven't read the book and don't want the ending spoiled then don't read the following: In the book the protagonist is dead and destined to keep repeating his life in the otherworld over and over again. Oh yeah - and he can "break through" and appear to people close to him. Given that some people think the Losties are already dead this could be relevant.

    faramir73 May 19th, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    The exact carving is John 3:05. In a metanarrative way, this could mean that John (Locke) was supposed to read on Eko's stick on episode 3x05.
    In my humble opinion, Lostpedia's timeline is wrong, at least in placing Kate's tral so late. Anyway, you might want not to visit Lostpedia these days, because of trolls editing its pages with spoiler about the frozen monkey wheel. I'm entering 'radio silence' for the next ten days for the same reason.

    Janet the Schmanet May 19th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Johannes from Oberlin! I agree. Gratuitous violence with characters dropping like flies represents a real cave-in on the part of the writing staff. They killed off Rousseau without so much as a fare-thee-well. They killed her, killed like they killed who-the-hell-are-Nikki-and- Paulo last season. I've watched Rousseau ever since the first season and no fan has ever written an outraged who-the-hell-is-Rousseau e-mail, yet she didn't even get a decent burial. They gave who-the-hell-are Nikki-and-Paulo a service at sunset with Hurley saying a few ameliorating and sly words about how no one knew who they were really but they seemed OK. Granted, the characters did inadverdently bury them alive. What did they write for Rousseau, the French Woman? What did they write for this strange and warrior-like creature? What did they write for this wonderful fictional character? What a sad failure. For a series that relies on the huge mystery and beauty of the human heart, gratuitous violence is an ominous sign.

    Doctor Slop May 19th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I try to resist trotting out theories, but J opened the door above by mentioning that Smokey could take human form. Can Smokey also take the form of inanimate objects, I wonder? A couple years ago I theorized (to an underwhelming response) that the rope bridge in "Numbers" was a Smokey manifestation. You may remember that the tricky rope bridge supported Hurley's weight only to give way under Charlie. The dialog between Charlie, Jack & Sayid (I'm working from memory) included a curious discussion about who made the bridge that may have been dubbed in because the camera wasn't on the actors faces when we heard it. It went something like this:
    How did this get here?
    Maybe that THING (referring to Smokey) built it.
    Or Ethan.

    I mean, we saw Smokey turn into a rope and attempt to drag Locke down a hole back in S1. Why not a rope bridge?

    DS9Sisko May 19th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Jay, another outstanding recap. I was going to post this days ago (and haven't read all the posts, so forgive me) but Sun's money and her conversation with her father are a lot more simple than people are making it out to be.

    At the airport reunion, Sun does not look at or acknowledge her father when she greets her parents. Later...

    Immediately prior to Sun entering her father's office, Mr. Paik is having a heated conversation with some Paik's executives. He pointedly says that money is being moved around using different accounts/banks (if memory serves). Sun, then walks in and he tells her that the company is in trouble.

    Sun THEN basically says she leveraged her Oceanic settlement to buy controlling interest in Paik and she blames two people for Jin's death.

    Add it up: Sun apparently learned something about her father and his connection to what happened to Jin while she and Jin were ON OR ABOUT TO ESCAPE THE ISLAND. This explains why Sun was cold to Papa Paik upon her return.

    She also used her Oceanic settlement to buy controlling shares of Paik Industries, a company that is ALREADY in trouble. The moving massive amounts of money around inside Paik accounts means that someone is helping Sun from the inside.

    The question to ask is not WHO is the other person that Sun blames but rather WHY does she blame her father? One might say it's because Mr. Paik "turned" Jin into a thug and if that hadn't happened then Sun would not have run away, Jin would not have found her and hopped on 815, and Jin would still be alive. While that is true, it is also a bit of a stretch....

    Sun's anger is fresh and we have no reason to believe that she harbored such ill will specifically toward her father. So she had to have learned that Paik is connected to the OTHER person who Sun would hold directly responsible for Jin's death: Charles Widmore.

    Of course, in order to battle Widmore she would need as much power as she could muster against him: her father's company.

    Who would clue Sun into her father's connection with Widmore? And who would be person responsible for helping her manipulate the finances of Paik Industries, buy up stock and take over her father's company in a war against Charles Widmore? None other than the man behind the curtain: Ben.

    There is no reason to assume that Sayid is the ONLY person Ben has recruited in his war against his archnemesis.

    Bill May 19th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Great Stuff about OZ. We may have The Tinman, The Cowardly Lion and The Scarecrow, but who is DOROTHY? The only woman character who has been fixated with "going home" is Juliet.

    Also, I liked Sawyer's line to Jack: You don't get to die alone.

    sosolost May 19th, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Do we know who Alex's real (biological) father is? Was it supposed to be one of the other scientists on the ship Danielle arrived on?

    Not sure if it's important but parents (esp. fathers) are obviously important on Lost.

    And, as far as we know, Alex and Aaron are the only ones to have been conceived off the island but born on the island.

    Thomas May 19th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    This is the kind of episode that must be seen in context with Lost: a novel written as television episodes instead of chapters, versus a standard TV series. By itself, it’s not the strongest episode, but it filled in several blanks missing from the prior flash forwards, and even threw in a full explanation of the Oceanic 6 cover story with a map. I also suspect that this is where they compensated for the shortened season, by taking character moves that would have been done over 2-3 episodes and merging them into one.
    I will say that I believe that if you’re tying the Wizard of Oz to Lost, I think that the man behind the curtain is the mystical, all powerful Jacob. He’s been hiding behind Ben to the others, and was hiding behind whatever the being that looks and sounds like Christian Sheppard is to Locke and very possibly Claire. I remain convinced that we’ll eventually learn that Jacob’s been manipulating things from the background all along.

    Nan May 19th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    J. - A great review. Thank you for the update on the actual book and I love your picking the characters.
    One of the best things about Lost is our ability to use our imagination. Every now and then I hit something right but for the most part, I get things wrong.

    On the second time I watched it I noticed something. When the reporters are questioning Jack and asking him what the crash was like and he answered, the reporter then asked Jack if they swam to shore. Jack said no, they had seat cushions and some had life jackets and they were in the water for over a day until the current finally took them them in and by then, there were "only 8 of us left." Jack made it sound as though more than 8 got out of the plane. But going with the lie, when Kate got out of the plane she was "just pregnant" - Aaron would not have been counted at that point in time as one of the 8. Two died according to the story and leaves to me, one unaccounted for. I think that one might be Jin and I think that is why Sun was having a hard time answering. She did not want Jin going undercover. Hurley got a settlement too - he had already given his millions from the Lotto to his parents and Hurley was the only one who visited for the birth of Sun and Jin's baby. Hurley's money along with most of the money from the other 6 would put a dent in Sun being able to buy controlling stock in Paik Industries.

    I know it's a stretch and most likely just a writers error since everyone was talking about 8 survivors but two died.

    99 May 20th, 2008 at 8:36 am

    "Every living creature on earth dies alone." -Regina Sparrow

    Paul May 20th, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Some have complained about gratuitous violence and the death of Rousseau, chiding the writers for this approach. I would argue that the violence we have seen so far is not gratuitous-in fact, it is integral to the narrative on three grounds. First, violence has always been a central theme in the show - it shows up in the back stories of Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Anna Lucia, Ben, Jin, Eko, and others perhaps. It has shadowed the survivors since day 1 on the island, when the monster killed the pilot and Sawyer and Sayid fought viscously on the beach. During season 1 we saw Ethan hang Charlie, Ethan killed in cold blood by Charlie, Walt kidnapped at gunpoint, the others attempt to kill Sawyer, Michael, and Jin, In season 2 we saw the others forcibly take tailies, Shannon was killed, Goodwin killed Nathan, he was killed by Ana Lucia, and so on. Season 3 saw Ben prepared to kill all the losties who got in the way of the beach raid, 10 others killed instead after the raid went wrong, Mikhail kill Bonnie and the other Looking Glass woman in cold blood, Locke knifed Naomi in the back. In short, the notion that the show has suddenly devolved into an orgy of violence downplays its violent history. Second, given that the mercs are very nasty people bent of capturing Ben at all costs, literally at war with him, it makes sense that many folks would be killed - that is what happens in war. Nor are brave, courageous bad-asses like Rousseau immune. Again, that is what happens in war. Finally, I think that the mayhem and death caused by the mercs underscores the complexity of Ben's character. Although he has done many awful things in the past, he does not seem to have been hell bent on indiscriminate killing, one could argue that his actions have not risen to the level of carnage inflicted by the mercs. (I'm not ignoring the purge and his potential responsibility, merely suspending judgment about who ordered it until we have more info).

    Patton McGinley May 20th, 2008 at 10:02 am

    I have to agree with Paul regarding the place of violence in the entire series. The second half of this season has been particularly dark but not gratuitous. I mean, there are freaking mercenaries on the Island!

    I also have to say that the death of Alex was one of the most... honest (?) portrayals of murder on any television show. There wasn't all the typical ridiculous dramatic build up to the event. We watch Ben start to attempt a bluff and we get a cold horrible gut feeling and... it just happens. That's pretty much how it goes down in "reality" and I think the writers and producers are to be commended on handling it like that particularly in a culture with so much desensitization to and mythologizing of violence, weaponry and war.

    leah May 20th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    sosolost: pretty sure Danielle told us in the beginning that Alex's dad was one of the scientists travelling with her. Sounds like she killed him along with the others when they got the "sickness." Still no idea what the "sickness" is, unless it's the time-travelling nosebleeds, but that doesn't make people dangerous, and it seems that Danielle killed them because they were dangerous and changed.

    I'm wondering if Danielle's death is important for something coming up, because we've heard there will be a flashback or something with her, so maybe her death and that episode will clue us into the answer to some of these dead/undead people mysteries (like Jack's dad).

    leah May 20th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Also, though there has been a lot of emphasis on daddy issues with our adult losties, Aaron's (and Alex's) daddies have been hardly mentioned on the show. In fact, the psychic said that Aaron's daddy would not be a part of his life.

    Asilgrass May 20th, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Just wanted to agree with Paul that the violence hasn't increased since the beginning of the show. I think what viewers are really seeing is that the characters no longer seem as affected by it, but that too is completely in keeping with the reality of the show. It's like Sawyer said way back in season one "Folks down on the beach might have been doctors and accountants a month ago, but it's Lord of the Flies time, now." Their numbness to violence is showing how far they've progressed from the "losties" they were, to become the "others" that they are. This is now their way of life.

    Jeffrey May 20th, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    My 2 cents on the death of Rousseau:

    Although she has been a peripheral (in more ways than one) character, she has been the true Rambo that Locke aspires to when not conflicted by his daddy issues. So, it is difficult to see such a force of nature die so arbitrarily, but as Paul mentions, that makes it more real. It is the subversion of the myth (John Domenic Crossan's definition of parable) that shakes us out of our expectations. Some of the great parabolic films have killed off or severely neutralized the so-called hero allowing for the everyman (woman) to shine. Think of "Alien" with Capt. Dallas one of the first to bite it or macho Burt Reynolds in "Deliverance" reduced to a crying baby with a broken leg. Yeah, it's easier to kill her off than Sawyer but that doesn't take away from the impact that anything can happen. BTW, what did lessen that impact in this last episode was that at the press conference, only the same three reporters were asking the questions. I know you have to pay them more than extras wages but come on!

    Tresbien May 21st, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Another way to look at the violence is that it may be affecting us, the audience, more because we've increased our investment in the characters.

    In regard to Sun buying controlling interest in Paik, we should consider that Sun might have already owned shares in the company. Can't wait to learn more about the money and her motivation.

    One thing about Jacob, whom we always think about in bibical context. I have to wonder if it's only coincidence that it's the middle name of JJ Abrams. He is the ultimate man behind this curtain. (chuckle)

    hjortron flicka May 21st, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Excellent commentary this week,
    J Wood!

    Regarding this statement of
    J Wood's:

    "Today we don't see too much
    political speech that recruits the
    passion of the Christ for economic
    effect; we just get political speech openly recruiting biblical themes
    and their representatives as a kind
    of litmus test for political fitness. Religion is the socio-political
    weapon of our time, despite the Constitution."

    The odd thing is that those on
    the right in religious communities
    only ever seem concerned about
    morality when it comes to matters
    in the personal sphere; (e.g.
    abortion, gay marriage, etc.) even
    though Judiasm, Christianity and
    Islam are very much about issues in
    the social realm, too (personal vs.
    corporate sin.) But I think you were very astute to pick up on the exchange
    between Hugo and his mom re: Christ
    as a weapon--"progressive"
    Christians are largely invisible
    when faith and politics are being discussed in the political arena,
    though the concerns in this
    community are focused far more on
    economic injustice, the earth and
    sustainability, active non-violence
    etc., all of which have strong roots in the Torah/Talmud, Bible and Koran
    from the perspective of religious
    folks on the left...

    I think the commentary by J Adams on
    the lack of critical journalism in
    the real world (vis-a-vis the
    fictional LOST world reporters
    regarding the Oceanic 6) is also
    spot-on; this is the reality
    today--very dangerous in a democracy;
    I'm glad to see some of this
    returning to the fore in LOST.

    GREAT insights about the connections
    between the Land of Oz and the LOST universe, and the historical info
    about the farmer/hunter and silver/
    gold. Thanks, J Wood!

    Jason May 21st, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Watching the episode again, I noticed that the Oceanic logo itself looks a lot like the Orchid logo and similar to the Paik logo. I'm wondering if Oceanic was involved with Ben or Widmore. Thoughts??

    Virginia74 May 22nd, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Hi, I'm Virginia74 from Italy. This is my first comment.

    Yesterday I was thinking about Orchid Logo. The logo has a spiral form and reminds me a spiral shell. Some species of greenhoods are commonly known as shell orchids.

    Moreover, the logo could be a spiraliform labyrinth (Locke, inside the Station, has to do a limited way in order to find the switch. Such as in a labyrinth).

    Above the logo Faraday drew an insect. It seems to be an ant.

    Greek mythology tells a riddle about a spiral seashell and an ant.

    Minos, king of Crete, presented a spiral seashell and asked for a string to be run through it.

    Daedalus, a most skillful artificer (he created the famous labyrinth in Crete), solved the riddle.

    He tied the string to an ant which, lured by a drop of honey at one end, walked through the seashell stringing it all the way through.

    So the Orchid could be a labyrinth? The ant could be a sort of clue in order to walk through the Orchid?

    Paul May 22nd, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Jason, along the lines of how Oceanic might be linked to the other big players, one question that lingers is how Abbadon, Naomi, and Widmore knew (or why they suspected) that 815 survivors were on the island. If you go back to Confirmed Dead this season, Namoi asks what to do if there are survivors, and Abbadon assures her there are none. Why would they suspect that the Losties were there? Also, why would Widmore stage a fake wreckage unless he was absolutely sure he knew where the real plane was, that it would never be found? You'd think Oceanic would be interested in really getting to the bottom of things about the crash unless they're involved with Widmore.

    leah May 22nd, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Along the same lines as Paul’s questions, how does Penelope and Desmond tie into all of this? Did it just so happen that Desmond, in love with Widmore’s daughter, is visited by Widmore and told to get lost right before he enters Widmore’s boat competition and gets stuck on an island Widmore is trying to find? I also wonder how much Penelope is involved in her father’s endeavors. In “The Constant” she says she knows about the island. What does she know about it? Does she know more than we do? More than Widmore does? Does she know Desmond was on her father’s boat?

    Also, in that scene where Naomi asks if there are survivors of 815 and Abaddon says no, it sounds like it could be a command (like, if you find any, make sure there aren’t any). But Abaddon has been trying to get John there…. We still don’t know how all of these players are connected, so it’s hard to speculate. Still lots of questions.

    I’ve also been wondering about Oceanic. If that airplane and the lady that brought the O6 back were really part of Oceanic, they are obviously in on the cover story. So how much do they know? How much have they been responsible? Again, a lot of unknown connections are surely there. And wasn’t that scene where they landed in hawaii and opened the plane’s “hatch” interesting? It looked like a classic space ship scene, from the inside. Like they’d been on another planet (“abducted”?) and now were returning to earth.

    Daniel M May 23rd, 2008 at 4:03 am

    This'll only be interesting to people who think the last half hour of Adaptation is the most ingenious and daring and bravura half hour of any movie ever. But it might have inspired one thing from Lost. I mean, because Yemi is to Eko as Charlie is to Donald, except in Lost it's spelled out and in Adaptation it's not. Of course, if the last half of Adaptation left you feeling left down, then ignore what I've said.

    DocH May 26th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    It doesn't seem like too much of a longshot that Sun could take over Paik Industries. Hurley doesn't want his millions, Sun could use her settlement money and cash from the other survivors. Heck, she may be getting millions from the families that didn't survive... families that want the truth she promises she will bring them. Linus, Alpert, Widmore and Corp X may be throwing big money her way to get control of Paik too.

    Sun may not need 'billions' either. In total, Paik Ind. may consist of dozen of subsidiaries - worth billions - but the central corporation (nucleus) that runs the show may be just a very small core group of CEO's, CFO's and family. Very few shares on the table AND she convinces the CEOs from the big subsidiaries to back her play to get dad off the job. I bet if you walked into Enron, the day before the 'bad thing' happened. You could have bought the place out for next to nothing.

    Scott May 26th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I found Ben's description of entering the Orchid Station interesting. He asked Locke to listen very carefully in order to know what to do, but told him very little before passing him the baton. His description immediately brought the Myst computer games to my mind. A bit of looking on the internet showed me that others have seen these connections before (isolation on a mysterious island, parallel worlds, different stations with different functions, sketchy information on previous island inhabitants, struggle for control of the island, a sense of island events having far-reaching consequences). I will nonetheless try to make some fresh comments.

    Ben told Locke to turn down a hallway and to look for a hidden lever that operates an elevator that takes one down to the real Orchid Station. Ben gave Locke no clue as to what he would find once he got there, or what to do in order to move the island. Will it be some kind of puzzle Locke will need to figure out on his own, as in the Myst games? As I imagine Locke entering this hallway and getting to the underground station, I imagine the familiar Myst visuals and echoes and soundtrack.

    Will the actual moving of the island involve using a mechanism that reminds us even more of Myst?

    The greenhouse section of the Orchid Station would seem to be some kind of decoy hiding the nature of the underground station. The Myst games often use such decoys, and the player eventually finds out that the true apparatus lies underneath or possibly above the place that seemed to be the destination.

    The various similarities to the Myst games (levers, secret entrances, elevators, puzzles, decoys, having to figure it out as one goes along) are all very much like the experience of both the Lost survivors and the audience (us). One notices some things but fails to see all the details until looking again; one often needs to figure out what to do while lacking much potentially useful data. Appearances are deceptive. What seems to be the best reaction to events, or the best strategy to follow, often ends up being ill-adapted to what is really going on. Time and experimentation slowly yield more knowledge of what is really happening beyond the initial appearances.

    This all helps me to understand how I find the Myst games and Lost, and life, so compelling.

    I invite other thoughts on connections between Lost and Myst.

    John May 26th, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    J. Wood,
    I have been rading your recaps for some time now and you often mention how Des saving Charlie made him become a grea swimmer when his flashback had shown otherwise. I think maybe charlie said he was a great swimmer in high school so that jack and co. would be reassured he could get to the looking glass. Maybe you thought of this already, you probably did, but it couldn't hurt to share some thoughts.

    stevebrocks May 27th, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I'm not sure if someone has mentioned this yet, but there is a Japanese "monster" called an Enenra. Enenra is a smoke monster that lives in fires and when it emerges it takes a human form. That sounds very familiar. Also as part of the myth it can only be seen by the pure of heart, that seems to be a LOST theme as well, what with the others and their lists. Also Dharma seems to have some Eastern themes so the Japanese monster fits there as well.

    AndrewJ May 28th, 2008 at 6:48 am

    A recent rainforest trip reminded me that orchids are often epiphytes ( organisms that grow on another organism. If the Orchid is a particularly significant station as it seems to be this idea could tie into the nature of the island: a place that lives on top of another place (Earth) or another organism if you subscribe to the Gaia hypothesis.

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 28th, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Galzethron. I'm just sayin'...

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 28th, 2008 at 10:48 am

    John, on Charlie swimming: It's a lot more than just his swimming (and it's been beaten to death on some of the other posts). In short, taken with the other changes that occurred after Des started saving Charlie, it's more likely Charlie's past had altered in order to make sure he swam down and died than not -- it's the way, as Lindelof describes it, of the fabric of the universe swooping in to fix something that occurred in the past that hadn't occurred before. (Check out the painting of Emily for a great example of that sort of change.)

    S.Avatar May 28th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    If time is an element of space and vice-versa (i.e. they are co-dependent or part of the same essence), then when the island is moved, this may lead to doubles when time speeds up or slows down -- a dead Claire and a living Claire. Where she is living and how much living she did before Locke showed up to encounter her and Christian is hard to say. But her demeanor is "knowing," as from someone who lived the future and is now in the past.

    DocH May 28th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    re: ... a dead Claire and a living Claire. Where she is living and how much living she did before Locke showed up to encounter her and Christian is hard to say. But her demeanor is "knowing," as from someone who lived the future...

    Nice. Claire "knowing" reminds me of the movie "2010" and a quote "Something Wonderful Is About To Happen".

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 28th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Hey everyone,

    I've put together a kind of map of the season four flashfowards.

    There are a few versions of the same out there, but they're hard to verify. What I tried to do was look for evidence of dates, something to locate each flashfoward at some point in time.

    The top grid shows the flashforwards in the order that the episodes occurred, and the bottom grid tries to order the flashforwards themselves chronologically. There are a couple flashes with no real date distinctions whatsoever, so I had to go with other things -- Jack's beard length, when the O6 got back, etc.

    One thing that might be worth noting is that there's about a two-year gap between the immediate details after the O6 return and when Jack starts to go off the rails. There are also two other supposed survivors of the crash who didn't make it to Membata.

    The one thing I'm not certain of is if some of the events of one flash overlap events from another flash, but I think that would introduce a kind of complexity that Cuse and Lindelof aren't willing to introduce (like have the beginning of The Economist occur after the rest of the flash in that episode).

    Please let me know if there are any errors, and I'll try to get it changed. I'm also going to try to respond to as many questions on here as I can Thursday before the finale airs.

    lennyp May 29th, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Have you read James Kugel's The Ladder of Jacob: Ancient Interpretations of the Biblical Story of Jacob and His Children? I've skimmed it after seeing the title and wondering whether Jacob's dream of a ladder carrying heavenly beings up and down seemed to have some resonance in Lost- the island as the ladder. Again, the book deserves careful study, but here's one excerpt from p11 - Kugel quotes Philo "Perhaps as well [Jacob] caught a glimpse of his own [future] life in this visionary laddder ... The affairs of men are by their very nature comparable to a ladder because of their irregular course. For a single day (as someone well put it) can carry the person set on high downward and lift someone else upward, for it is the nature of none of us to remain in the same circumstances, but rather to undergo all manner of changes..."
    Perhaps a useful between-season exercise, which I will recruit my bible scholar wife to help with, is to chart the Jacob story and note plot points of comparison with Lost. Thanks.

    Patton McGinley May 29th, 2008 at 10:13 am

    I'm going to indulge in some very questionable speculation. As far as I can tell there has been NO mention of the 12/26/04 tsunami within the "world" of LOST. I went back and watched the first half of the last episode to be sure of what Decker said at the press conference: "a typhoon washed up the remnants of an Indonesian fishing boat."

    According to Lospedia's timeline the current date for the people on the island is 12/30/04. What I'm pondering is if "moving the Island" refers to moving it in space (somewhere southwest of Indonesia) AND time (12/26/04). If the Orchid creates a stable, traversable wormhole there may be a potential for the wormhole to act as a time "machine." (In theory this might happen if one mouth is moving at a different velocity than the other... I think.) The "move" may take the Island to the Indian Ocean back on 12/26 and somehow effect the tsunami: maybe causing it or disrupting it.

    Aside from vague speculations my only semi-legitimate clues are: A) Ben checking the date after popping up in North Africa, presumably via the Orchid; B) all of the coy uses of the term "seismic" that Darlton Cuselof has made regarding future events in the show.

    leah May 29th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    J: that chart looks great. Thanks for organizing it. I didn't notice any patterns; it definitely seems they're in random order. You think?

    lennyp: i'm psyched about your analysis with the Bible and Jacob. I'll look forward to the input from you and your wife during the break.

    Patton McGinley May 29th, 2008 at 11:04 am

    J: Where do you think the flash forward from Through the Looking Glass fit into the sequence of Season 4's flash forwards? As far as I understand, the newspaper and the obit Jack tore out of it are not canon.

    DocH May 29th, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Flashforward map = I would ADD episode Zero - Looking Glass as the farthest forward.

    J. Wood (Post Author) May 29th, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Just a quick note on Through the Looking Glass:

    It definitely occurs well after There's No Place Like Home; Jack has a couple inches of beard growth by then, so we're talking maybe six months or more. I'm actually wondering if we'll see more flashes that will occur between Through the Looking Glass and There's No Place Like Home.

    leviathan1 May 30th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    hey all. not sure if everyone noticed, but in the repeat of part 1 for "No Place Like Home" which aired before the finale they added some new footage. in the Oceanic 6 press conference Jack is asked who the other survivors were who didn't make it and he responds that they were Boone, Libby, and Charlie.

    i found this significant in that the writers/producers are demonstrating through direct involvement with the viewer how the past and present are in a process of perpetual self-correction through nuanced modifications that often go unnoticed (freckles, painting of emily, charlie swimming, etc.)


    Henry Bemis June 1st, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Plausible deniability?
    Boone, Libby, and Charlie are three characters to which he is CERTAIN that they are dead. In the case that any other 815ers may resurface per chance...he has (flimsy) plausible deniability as to their existance.


    Janet the Shmanet June 1st, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Leviathan1: Yes, I agree! The story changing in the retelling might be a commentary on story telling and the effects of retelling. The new footage is like the children's game of "telegraph" where a message morphs as it is whispered(whispered, wink) from child to child until it becomes completely different from the original. But I really think you're right. It has some richer indication about the possibilities of revisiting former bad choices and imagining other outcomes. I'm sure it's all connected somehow to a deep understanding of quantum physics. Isn't every truly compelling story that way though? Don't they all push us to a deeper, more humane understanding?

    suzie June 1st, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Has J woods posted his review of the 2 hour finale? I can not find it.

    Snowden June 2nd, 2008 at 4:43 am

    It's also a brilliant way to get fans to start watching reruns.

    the puma June 2nd, 2008 at 6:38 am

    just a random thought where are all the children?

    Nathalie June 2nd, 2008 at 6:48 am

    no review yet. this wait is taking forever! there better have been another power outage. i'd take 10 percent fewer insights for these things to move 10 percent faster.

    leah June 2nd, 2008 at 10:24 am

    the episode was twice as long as usual, with tons of heady information involved, at least as far as the show's mythology goes (I was thinking while watching that there must be fewer references in such an action-packed show, but i'm sure J.Wood will turn that notion on its head). So with the show being twice as long and at least twice as packed with information, I was expecting the analysis to take a little longer. I'm sure it will be out soon... and remember, we've got another 6 months until the next one, so compared to that, this one will come quickly.

    Vicki June 2nd, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Face it -- J has got us all hooked!!

    Take your time, J, we'll be here when you are ready.

    Brockman June 2nd, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Don't lose hope, Losties! I've just received word that J will have a post ready by tomorrow (Tuesday).

    Savor the anticipation. After this, we have to wait 'til next season...

    David June 2nd, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    To leviathan1:

    I think a more likely scenario in this particular case, was that the show gained back an extra minute or two, since it wasn't following Grey's Anatomy. Generally, Lost begins at 10:02 pm due to Grey's running over, but this time, they owned the entire three-hour block for the finale. Revealing the other three survivors didn't move the story forward - it was interesting for sure, but it wasn't so crucial and could have been cut by the network.

    Chris June 2nd, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I eagerly anticipate J Wood's postings as much as an episode of Lost. TPTB want to make a solid last seasons? Hire J Wood.

    Liz June 2nd, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Just wanted to say that I was psyched to see my comment spark the end section of last week's blog, as well as some great comments and helpful timelines!

    Janet the Shmanet June 2nd, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Right, adding new footage IS a brilliant way to viewers to watch reruns!

    Eduardo Burger July 4th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Nomina si nescis, perit et cognitio rerum.

    Such where the sayings of Carl Linneaus...

    ...I wonder if Benjamin Linus owes him a name or two...After all, in the season finale and in a quite pivotal, chapter, he h enacts a point of no return ritual in a botanical station that is also a hidden time-travel or dimensional shifting artifact, a laboratory of silly experiments that is a cover-up for antique and very serious technology, a frozen donkey wheel announced by writers under a superficial tropical jungle filled with rumors, a hybrid that, for auto-referentiality´s sake, is called the Orchid Station, LOST between fact and fiction or the multiple versions of itself.

    Ever wonder what an Orchid seem s like through the looking glass?

    Ask Dolly the Sheep what biology and time travel have in common.

Post a comment:

Get Your Gravatar

  1. Please note:
  2. All comments require moderation by staff.
  3. Comments submitted on weekends might take until Monday to appear.
PowellsBooks.Blog uses Gravatar to allow you to personalize the icon that appears beside your name when you post. If you don't have one already, get your Gravatar today!
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at