Thursday, May 25, 2006

What the heck just happened there?

I'm talking about the Lost season finale. Like most episodes of that show, it answered a few questions, but for every question it answered, it asked two or three more. I'm going to attempt to do for Lost what I did for 24 earlier, but I'm afraid this is going to be much more toward listing questions asked than astually formulating hypotheses. Spoilers, of course.

First, something I figured out. Think back to the "Lockdown" episode. Locke and fake-Henry are trapped in a section of the hatch during the lockdown so that they can't access the computer. Locke is stuck under the blast door. He tells fake-Henry that something terrible is going to happen if he doesn't type in the numbers before the countdown reaches zero. So fake-Henry crawls through the ducts, and a few minutes later, the countdown resets. Fake-Henry tells Locke that he didn't do anything, that he didn't type in any of the numbers. However, we now know this to be a lie. Very bad things happen inside the station (and off the island, too) when the button is not pressed. Therefore, fake-Henry has to have pressed the button. He then lies to Locke, telling him that the place is a lie.

The most obvious theory is that fake-Henry has every idea what happens when you don't press the button, he didn't want that to happen when he was inside the station, but for whatever reason he didn't want Locke to think that pressing the button does anything at all. How does fake-Henry know this? Another theory is that fake-Henry doesn't actually know the effects of not pressing the button, he wants to find out, but he doesn't want that to happen with him in the hatch. So, he manipulates Locke into doing it for him.

Now, questions that were raised from the season finale, and ones that still linger from earlier:

The big one: what in the heck is going on with the Others? We found out that Mr. Friendly's name is Tom, and that Mrs. Klugh's name is Bea. They aren't in charge of the Others, but they both have some measure of authority. We also now know that fake-Henry is more important than either one of them, but whether fake-Henry is the "He" in charge of the Others, or if fake-Henry merely answers to "Him," we don't know.

Why do the Others have a Dharma hatch mockup at their camp? Furthermore, is that really the Others' camp? Walt says the Others aren't who they say they are. Tom has been wearing a fake beard for months (apparently at the suggestion of fake-Henry). So there is evidence that the Others are faking things; maybe that entire camp is a fake.

How did the Others get the boat (and fuel for it)? How do they know about the Pala ferry? Where does the Pala ferry go (more on this later)?

Are Michael and Walt off the show now? What's significant about compass heading 325? It's not a permutation of any of the Numbers; it's not an exact directional heading (315 would be exact northwest. 325 is approximately northwest by north.) Are they actually going to be rescued? The Others have made several bargains in the past and kept them all, so I see no reason why they won't be rescued.

Where's Sayid at this point? Last we saw of him, he opened the mockup of the Dharma station door. If the Others ever return to that camp, they're not going to be very happy to find a gun-slinging Iraqi there...

What's up with the four-toed statue? This is a nicely obtuse reference to the Numbers... but where did that thing come from? Who built it? Is it broken or merely unfinished?

Where's Cerberus been lately? Assuming the general theory of "island monster=Cerberus=black smoke" is true, we've not seen it much at all lately, since it appeared to Eko earlier this season. On the Blast Door Map, does "CV" in fact mean "Cerberus vent," as has been speculated? What was the Cerberus malfunction that the aforementioned map referred to?

How extensive is DharmaTel? Are the shutdowns that are mentioned on the map on some sort of schedule? It would seem like this is the case, and that's what Locke experienced in "Lockdown." Does the supply drop coincide with the lockdown?

How can Radvinsky be traced back to the original Dharma Initiative? Were he and Kelvin part of the Initiative? Or did Kelvin make his way to the island in some other manner, and he was added to the staff in the same way that Desmond was when we arrived? For that matter, was Radvinsky even part of what was originally going on there? Why did Radvinsky edit the orientation tape, and why did he hide part of the tape in another hatch?

Widmore. Shady as hell. First, we've seen that the island isn't just a snowglobe as Desmond claims; observers from outside the island can and do notice what's going on there. How deeply is Widmore connected with Hanso and Dharma? Already we've seen references to Widmore (Widmore Construction and Widmore Labs). I'd be willing to bet that Widmore knows something about what's going on on the island. Penny Widmore evidently knows to look for a magnetic anomaly, and the only way she'd know that would be through Dharma and Hanso.

Remember the power cable that goes off into the ocean that was discovered in season 1? What ever happened to it?

Desmond, Locke, and Eko. Dead or alive? Keep in mind that we don't actually have any idea what Desmond's turning the key did. Can we assume that it caused the magnetic fluctuations to stop permanently? Maybe Dharma actually built an electromagnet at the site of the Swan? I don't think so much involving Desmond's backstory (including Penny, the Portuguese guys, and Widmore) that may have an impact on season 3 would have been revealed had Desmond not lived.

My theory for what's going on here:

The Others are tied, somehow, to the original Dharma Initiative project. This would explain the Pala ferry and the fact that fake-Henry seems to know the consequences of not pressing the button. Their real camp is in a Dharma station (one of the stations whose name we do not yet know, but the symbol is probably a door). According to the Blast Door Map (which we now know to have been worked on by Desmond, Kelvin, and Radvinsky), things started to go badly for the Dharma Initiative in the mid 1980s. The "AH/MDG incident" occurred in 1985, and Cerberus "malfunctioned" sometime around then as well. We also know that the Hanso Foundation stopped funding the Dharma Initiative in 1987 (which is, coincidentally, when Rosseau showed up on the island). So, the "incident" made the Dharma stations stop working--we know the Staff, at least, was abandoned at this time. Maybe the Swan was the exception to this abandonment? Someone must have been pressing that button since 1985. Radvinsky?

Either way, the people who we now know as the Others stopped participating in the Dharma Initiative's research, banded together, and formed their own weird little civilization. Between 1985 and 1987, Hanso and Dharma tried to get it under control, but failed; this ultimately led to Hanso stopping funding Dharma in 1987, and Hanso trying to distance itself from Dharma and the island. Now, fake-Henry thinks that they're the "good guys" because only they know the truth about how evil Alvar Hanso is.

So how did Hanso come to fund the Dharma Initiative at all? Magnus Hanso (whose "resting place," according to the Blast Door Map, is the Black Rock) was Alvar's father; he was the captain of the Black Rock. Alvar first came to the island while he was looking for his father. At this time, he became aware of the strange electromagnetic fluctuations coming from the area around the Swan. Hanso decided to fund the Dharma Initiative to study those fluctuations.

At any rate, it's going to be a great 3rd season, if in fact season 3 continues the great quality and suspense that season 1 and 2 had. The only downside? Four months of no Lost.

Currently listening: "Los Angeles, I'm Yours," the Decemberists

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