Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lost Speculations and Observations, "Everything That Rises Must Converge" Edition

And here are five plots that, in my mind, have risen and must converge before the series finale next May.

1. The Richard Alpert backstory. Who is he, what’s his allegiance, when and where does he come from, and why is he ageless? Of all the recurring characters, Alpert is by far the most compelling—actually, I find him more interesting than half the main cast—and the one whose mystery is most central to the mythology of the Island. I’d absolutely love to see a Richard-centric episode in season 6, and I think it’s entirely possible. Even though he’s a recurring character, we’ve had recurring characters have centric episodes before (Rose and Bernard), and it’s clear that Alpert is way more important than those two.

Current theory: Richard, in addition to being the “Panchen Lama” of the Others, is also the high priest of whatever supernatural power is venerated at the Temple. More and more, I like the idea that we shouldn’t consider Richard an “Other” per se at all, or at least not a member of the Others’ hierarchy. Instead, he’s a mediator between the Island and its people, or an emissary from the Island to its people. Therefore, while he’s not one of the Others, he has a great deal of authority in what they do and license to ignore their leadership.

Timeline of reveal: The Richard flashback episode, if we get it, is likely to be a mid-season 6 episode. That way, Richard’s goals and motivations are set for the battle in the grand finale. Or, he might pull and Eko and die in his own centric episode, and precipitate the events that lead to the last battle.

2. Structures of the ancients. Most intriguing are the Frozen Donkey Wheel, the Statue, and the Temple. We’ve visited the Wheel twice without knowing really anything about how it works or who put it there. The Statue is production gold: it has no lines, can be represented easily with a scale model, and has shown up a total of three times in a hundred hours. But it has spawned more theorizing and discussion than probably half of the main characters. And we’ve seen around, outside, and under the Temple, but never the structure itself.

Current theory: These structures all seem to have been built by the same people, with the shared hieroglyph motif, general ignorance about their origin, and apparently ancient construction. There’s quasi-canonical evidence that the Statue is Taweret, which I’ll conveniently ignore, continuing to believe it’s Sobek, until Carlton Cuse tells me otherwise. The Wheel, I’ve got nothing.

But I’ve heard an interesting theory on the Temple that unfortunately I can’t take credit for. What if we’ve been thinking about the Temple’s time frame all wrong? We think it’s very old, mostly because the wall around it is designed to look very old. But we also know that the wall and the Temple itself aren’t necessarily related at all. Maybe the Temple is actually very new, or even futuristic? Then, the wall isn’t to protect the structure from outsiders at all, but to protect people from seeing what they’re not supposed to see of the future. There’s little evidence on the show to support this, but I love the theory because it turns so many assumptions on their head.

Timeline of reveal: The Wheel is a series finale issue, I’m sure of. The Statue has probably been “revealed” to the extent that it will be, but I believe we’ll revisit it. The Temple I can see being revealed mid-season 6, possibly serving as the setting for some of the series finale action.

3. Resurrection. What are Christian Shepherd, John Locke, and for that matter Alex Rousseau and Yemi? Who does the Island choose to resurrect, how does it happen, and why? When you’re resurrected, are you actually alive again, or are you in some sort of limbo-undead state? What sort of abilities do you gain? We know that Locke and Christian both seemed to know things they had no idea of after the Island brought them back. Finally, can you be killed (again) if you’ve been brought back?

Of course, the confirmation of Locke as a manifestation of Jacob’s enemy raises yet more questions. Can you be resurrected at all, or does this mean that every instance of resurrection or “I see dead people” is actually the Enemy?

Current theory: Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have more or less directly—as directly as they’re capable of, at any rate—confirmed that Christian and Yemi are actually manifestations of the Monster. Add that to the decidedly Smokey-ish noises when we saw Christian at the Barracks, and that theory seems good. The idea of why you’re “resurrected” is more interesting—and far tougher to explain. If we know for sure that Locke is Jacob’s enemy, and we know for (somewhat) sure that Christian is the Monster, then maybe all those entities are one and the same.

Timeline of reveal: Explicit confirmation of “Locke” as Jacob’s enemy should come pretty early on. Christian, and all the other supposedly dead people, might come further along, but I doubt that we’ll get the final Monster reveal until the very end.

4. Cataclysm. We’ve seen hints of a volcanic eruption for several seasons, and now there’s the looming threat of a hydrogen bomb. Several season finales have been described as “seismic” or “explosive”, and yet nothing until Juliet detonated Jughead’s core. Even that didn’t necessarily destroy the Island, especially if you believe “whatever happened, happened”.

Current theory: I find it entirely plausible that the volcano already exploded, sometime way in the past. But I think there’s going to be something equally as disastrous that happens at the end of the Island’s timeline, say in 2008, that kills everyone on the Island and destroys the Island… unless, of course, Desmond saves the day.

Timeline of reveal: The first half of season 6 might be about the cataclysm happening, and the second half about Desmond and company working to prevent it.

5. Desmond saves the future. There’s been a whole lot of emphasis placed on Desmond being “special” and being able to change the future. Desmond’s unique talents are the Chekhov’s gun that has to be used before the end of the show. Eloise said so, Faraday said so, and the failsafe key pretty much said so too. We don’t yet know exactly how he can manipulate past events, but that would seem to imply that Desmond has a bit of time travel left in his future.

Current theory: Desmond keeps his promise to Eloise and stays off the Island… until something very, very bad happens there. Then, because he’s such a stand-up guy, he returns per Eloise’s prediction to set things right.

Timeline of reveal: I can see at least the first two thirds of season 6 being about what Desmond is doing to try and prevent something terrible happening in the Island’s future, setting up the events for the series finale. Desmond might not even be in the first ten or so episodes of the season, only rejoining as a regular toward the end.

To wrap up this year's Lost coverage, what are your thoughts on episode titles for next season? I like "... Love" for the Sun/Jin centric reunion episode, "Progress" for a mid-season revelatory episode, "The Candidate" for a Lapidus-centric, "The Equation" or "The Numbers" for the Desmond-centric episode that finally establishes the Valenzetti equation as Dharma's mission on the Island (ie, another follow-up to The Constant), and "It Only Ends Once" for the finale. But my most brilliant suggestion--one that might actually come to pass--is "... At Sea" for the (possibly Richard-centric) Black Rock episode. You heard it here first.

Currently listening: "The Sun and the Moon", Mae, from The Everglow

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