'Lost': Letters from the Flame, 'Jughead' edition
You guys are quite the inquisitive bunch once again, asking a staggering amount of excellent questions about the most recent, mindblowing episode of Lost. Some I answer below, and some Diana and I answer on our podcast. We couldn't get to every question, but we tried our best. On with the questions!
Why Des couldn't carry anything as he was traveling through time in "The Constant," and the Losties move through time, with their hands tied, Locke with its compass....any ideas?
Evie: in "The Constant," only Des' mind moves back and forth through time. Now, the Lostaways are moving body AND mind through time, along with anything they happen to be carrying/touching. So, in essence, had they given their camp a big bear hug when Ben turned the wheel, they'd still have a camp.
If Ellie is Mrs. Hawkings ... how the heck did she get to the real world and not stay on-island? and if Ben is working with her, does that mean she wants to return to the island too? And how is her relationship with Widmore? Seeing he still knows her whereabouts? But does he know she is working with Ben?
I'll ask my question in the form of a haiku ...
ryan do you think,
young miss Ellie and Widmore
were doing the deed?
First off, more questions need to be in haiku form. That seems to me a must. Secondly, there's been a ton of speculation about this since the episode aired, with the requisite "Faraday and Penny are related!!!" deductions made by pairing Widmore and Ms. Hawking (if you're nasty) together.
I think it's quite the opposite, actually. These two are naturally antagonistic. Look at the first exchange between them in "Jughead":
Ellie: Outnumbered, eh?
Widmore: Shut up, Ellie.
This sets up a world of information for us, the viewer. For one, Widmore's a straight up liar. Two, Ellie knows this. Three, their snippy dialogue shows tremendous sarcasm, if not outright loathing, between them. So, they weren't exactly sharing a tent down there in the valley.
Does he know she's working with Ben? I'd have to say "no," in that he wouldn't overtly send Penny directly towards the man that swore to kill her. Then again, why should I assume that? He more than likely knows how unique Desmond is, and needs the Scotsman to affect some endgame he himself cannot. Should Penny die in the crossfire, would it be worth it to Widmore if Penny dies in the process?
This is what I am confused about...if Daniel Faraday knocked on the door to the hatch shortly after the island started jumping in time, which was right when the oceanic 6 tried to come back, then why did it take Desmond 3 years to remember it? Shouldn't Desmond have gotten that memory right after Daniel relayed the message? Does that mean that 3 years have passed on the island without them even realizing it?
Why did Ms. Hawking go visit Des when he was about the buy the ring? If she trusted in the inevitability of fate, she wouldn't have needed to interfere. Does she know that Des is special, when it comes to changing the past? What is her motivation to make sure Des lands on the island?
Because Desmond is "unique," and time is relative on the Island versus the real world, all you need worry about is the fact that Desmond possesses the unique ability to change the past. Doing so indirectly means he can change the future as well. So, essentially, when Ms. Hawking talked of course correction in "Flashes Before Your Eyes," she was misleading him. Course correction DOES exist, but doesn't necessarily apply to Desmond. So the first time through in the Swan, he doesn't meet Faraday. But when Faraday goes back post-donkey wheel, he does. That's something new, and violates the "If it didn't happen, it can't happen" rule.
I wonder if we'll see a scene between Ben and Hawking that FINALLY explains why The Swan was left alone post-Purge. Something like her saying, "OK, I need you to leave Mr. Hume alone, we need him in the long run," because it's long bugged me that The Others took over everything except that station. Clearly Ben's not above handing out super boring assignments (hi, Bonnie!), so why not place his own people in there to push buttons every 108 minutes? I can only assume he acted under her orders at this point, which only reinforces why he only went to the Swan after Des left.
I was interested in hearing your theories on what happened to Widmore to get him sent off the island. He was an other who lost his position with the group and somehow can't get back, even though other other's such as Richard and Ms. Hawking (and maybe Ben though we are not sure) can travel back and forth from the island.
I'll be answering this in longer form later in the week, but I don't think it's via FDW. That's an act of great courage and sacrifice performed by someone with the Island's best interest at heart. I don't think Widmore has that in him. But ask yourself this: why was Richard the highest in command (aside from Jacob) in 1954?
When Faraday is talking about fixing the bomb problem, he says, "I have to render it inert", which makes me think of the 'Tempest'. What if the Others or Dharma opened it up and tried to contain the chemicals, until Ben got his hands on it and used it for the 'Purge'?
Three things people want to suddenly claim now: the Widmore/Hawking relationship (nope), baby Charlie either grows up to be Charlie Pace or Charles Widmore (Lord, nope), or that Jughead is related to either the Incident/Purge. While the bomb might eventually play a role in the end game of the show, it's not related to the Incident/Purge. That sucker blowing up would destroy the Island, pure and simple. Given the seemingly limitless funds that powered the DI, they would have easier ways of obtaining lethal chemicals than digging up a hydrogen bomb.
In addition, I'm not even sure this is scientifically possible. The Hostiles/Others wore gas masks, suggesting an aerosol-based weapon. But gas masks alone wouldn't prevent radiation poisoning. So, the two are unrelated, so near as I can tell. Jughead may have a part yet to play in the show, but it's non-Purge related.
If Theresa Spencer's mind is traveling through time the way Desmond's did, couldn't she use her sister, Abigail, as her constant?
She can't for reasons related to Ben's uncertainty of when he is after turning the donkey wheel: the results are unique and unpredictable. Theresa reacts differently than Des than Faraday than Minkowski. Their minds are like snowflakes, apparently. I think this is why the 70-hour window is so important: it's their one shot at reasonably guessing when/where the Island is. After that, the equations devolve into chaos.
I got a lot of questions, but the one I want answered most is also the one I dread getting the answer to, because it's sorta killing the heart of the show; do you think that, besides Locke telling Richard to visit him as a child, are we going to find out that ALL the Lostaways are going to do things that somehow created their own destinies/futures?
I thought the thing with Locke instructing Richard to go visit his baby self (thus indirectly creating his own destiny) made Locke far less interesting as a character because now it's not the Island choosing him, it's just a repercussion of time travel :(
Reader Deb posited this theory/suggestion over in the recap comments, so I wanna give props to her for putting it so succinctly and effectively. Basically, is the show full of magic, or predestination? Is Locke The One, or just a pretender to the throne who survived a fall from a building only because he has to go back and time then die at a later point due to time travel wonkiness?
Then there's the catch phrase for all Season 5 promotional materials: "Destiny Calls." I hate the word "destiny," in that it can all too easily take actions of out of the hands of individuals. Locke can't kill Widmore in 1954, because we know he's alive and well in the 21st-century. Michael can't commit suicide, because he's destined to die on the Kahana. So forth and so on. You could make an argument that no one's in control of everything, because it's all pre-scripted, much like say a television show, and therefore the inevitable steps towards a fixed finish line.
HOWEVER, in Desmond, we have direct refutation of that type of scenario. In addition, never underestimate the power of individual will as it applies to so-called destiny. You can look at the show (or life, really) and see that things could have only happened one way. If you take that position, then you're a puppet, pulled along by history. But that also means you remove any type of personal will/desire from your life. And I don't think that's the correct way to look at things.
To go personal: I met my wife 6 years ago at a party in New York. But we're not married because we met at that party. We're married because of everything we've done in the meantime, things that were unrelated to any master plan but informed by mood, meaning, and will. So we're here in Boston not due to fate but the 400,000 things we've done and decisions we've made and, above all, the conscious and repetitious choice to make this work. And it's that choice that matters in the Lost universe.
To use the Back to the Future analogy: Marty KNOWS his task is to put history back to normal. The characters in Lost, aside from a choice few, don't know the effect of their actions. While Locke tells Richard to go visit him at his birth, he's not doing so because he remembers Alpert from his childhood and needs to say that to keep things in line with the way they always happened. He's telling him this because he needs to leave the Island, saving both it and the people upon it.
Destiny would imply he's always meant to get off the Island, but we can see what a struggle it is to do so. So it's Locke's choice to die, coupled with his will to find out how to leave the only place he's ever felt at home, that determines the ultimate outcome. You can look at a few hundred instances in which things would have gone horribly wrong had important players not chosen to do something at that moment. Putting this all another way: it's less important if destiny calls than if you answer that call. And shifting that importance from the former to the latter is key in watching Lost from here on in.
Later this week: the history of Others' leadership, and what the novella The Little Prince suggests about upcoming events on the show.
Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude, then peruses Zap2It's Guide to Lost Facebook group. He also encourages you to subscribe to the Zap2It's Guide to Lost Twitter feed.