Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ironically, my last post was number 108

The irony here is that this is yet another Lost-themed post. 108 is of course immediately significant to fans of the series as the sum of the numbers. At this point in the series, a mere two weeks before the season 4 finale, I feel the need once again to summarize some theories I've had about the show's intrigue and mysteries. As usual, I can't take credit for all these theories myself, but I've compiled existing theories and added my opinions.

About the Monster, aka Cerberus:
  • The monster, as we know, is named Cerberus, an allusion to the three-headed dog that guarded Hades in Greek myth.

  • The monster can, and regularly does, appear as a cloud of black smoke. This is one of Cerberus's "heads".

  • The monster has also appeared to Mr. Eko as Yemi. (This was confirmed by the producers.) This suggests that the monster can appear as people. This is the second of Cerberus's "heads".

  • In a podcast, the producers referred to both Yemi and Christian Shepherd as "undead".

    • But they've also referred to Christian Shepherd as "dead".

    • We know for a fact that on Lost, if you die, you're dead. The island can heal you miraculously, but even it can't resurrect.

  • So the Christian Shepherd that we've seen is another Yemi-like manifestation of the second of Cerberus's heads

  • Maybe this explains some of the mystery behind Richard Alpert, too. If the Richard we see is a manifestation of the monster, then there's no reason that it would ever get any older.

Questions raised and unanswered by this theory:

  • We've seen Richard Alpert three separate times, as well as Christian once, off the island. This would suggest that the monster can escape the island, which we have no evidence of it being able to do.

  • Can the monster only appear as dead people? As humans? As one thing at a time, or more than that?

    • The producers also referred to Kate's horse as "undead"; is the horse another manifestation of Cerberus's second head?

  • What is Cerberus's third head?

    • Maybe this is what Locke saw when he "looked into the eye of the island" way back in season 1?

  • We've seen that Ben has apparent control over at least the "smoke monster" manifestation; can he control either of the others?

  • Does the sonic fence stop all three heads or just the smoke monster one?

    • Maybe Mikhail's mysterious return at the end of season 3 was a smoke monster manifestation?

  • How in the hell did this thing get on the island, and who put it there? Why?

Theories about Widmore and finding the island:
  • We know that Widmore is looking for the island. Also, we know that Widmore and Hanso have collaborated in the past through the Widmore Corporation.

    • Widmore may have had some connection with the DHARMA Initiative specifically; chances are good he at least had heard of it.

  • Additionally, Ben tells us that Widmore wants the island for his own. He is currently looking for it by means of the freighter.

  • Widmore has probably looked for the island before.

    • The boat race around the world and whatever Widmore did with the Black Rock's ledger were almost certainly his prior attempts to find the island.

    • Rousseau's science expedition and Henry Gale's balloon flight could be other efforts by Widmore to find the island in the past.

      • According to the producers, Ben and the real Henry Gale "had words". If Ben knew Gale was from Widmore, he would react a lot more hostly toward him.

      • And remember, Henry Gale's balloon had a Widmore logo on it.

      • Why would Ben be so interested in raising Rousseau's daughter as his own? So he could have some leverage over Widmore.

  • The only reason that this expedition, as opposed to any Widmore had sent over the last 25 years, was successful, is that the electromagnetic anomaly surrounding the island and controlled by the hatch is not in play anymore.

Questions raised and unanswered by this theory:
  • What exactly does Widmore intend to do with the island?

  • What prior history do Ben and Widmore have? And what are these mysterious "rules"? If the theory concerning Rousseau is anywhere close to correct, then the relationship has been hostile for at least sixteen years.

Theories about the freighter and the wreckage:
  • There exist two similar, but non-identical and mutually exclusive, sets of orders for various teams on the freighter:

    • Keamy's team of mercenaries is to apprehend Ben Linus and kill everyone else.

    • Naomi's team is supposed to extract Ben Linus.

  • Overwhelmingly, the evidence points to Widmore as sending Keamy's team.

  • Matthew Abaddon sent Naomi's team; before the introduction of Keamy's men, it made sense to assume that Widmore was the man behind Abaddon's team also.

    • But it doesn't make sense for Widmore to have sent both teams.

  • So it appears Abaddon is working for someone else.

  • It makes sense that that "someone else" is DHARMA.

    • DHARMA knows about the Purge, and wants revenge on Ben Linus for orchestrating it.

    • It's "metagaming", but we know that both the Initiative and the freighter people (Faraday, Charlotte, and Miles) are going to be increasingly important in Season 5.

    • This explains Charlotte's excitement at finding the DHARMA polar bear in Tunisia.

    • Perhaps Faraday, Charlotte, and Miles (possibly Naomi and Lapidus, too) are themselves former DHARMA as well:

      • That explains why Abaddon would select a "ghostbuster" and a "headcase" for the mission: they know something about what's going on, if only a little.

      • This also explains why all the freighter people are so dismayed to see that the wreckage of 815 had been found: it suggests proximity to the island, and DHARMA sure doesn't want knowledge of the island to be floating around.

  • Alternately, Abaddon could be working for Oceanic Airlines:

    • This could be off-base, but I seem to remember the guy Lapidus spoke to on the "Oceanic Hotline" as sounding a lot like Abaddon.

    • Oceanic would have a lot to gain from being able to manage nicely exactly where the plane went and who survived.

      • That's also a motivation for Oceanic to have staged the wreckage in the Sunda trench.

  • Tom seems to think that Widmore placed the wreckage in the trench.

  • That's plausible, but Widmore doesn't want knowledge of the island to get out any more than DHARMA would.

Questions raised and unanswered by this theory:
  • How far is the Sunda trench from the island? The closer it actually is, the less likely Widmore was to have put it there.

  • If Abaddon works for Oceanic, why does his team know about and care so much about Ben?

  • Regardless of who Abaddon works for, how did he get his team onto the freighter that obviously had different orders?

  • How does Abaddon know to speak to Locke about the Walkabout?

I won't bother trying to speculate on the Orchid, because all of that will be revealed in a couple of weeks anyway. Finally, if you want a ridiculously detailed and comprehensive conspiracy theory about time travel on the show, then check out the time loop theory. (I had no part in making this.) A lot of it is very convincing, and it does touch on a variety of the show's mysteries. My only criticism is that it talks a lot about "fate" as a motive force, which seems awfully abstract compared to the rest of the show's very real--if unexplainable--circumstances. And that I really, really hope time travel doesn't play this huge a role in the overall mythology--that would just be a cop-out.

Currently listening: "March" from Second Suite for Military Band, Holst

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