Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lost, "Because You Left" & "The Lie": Uh-oh, Zoot skipped a groove again!

Spoilers for the "Lost" season five premiere coming up just as soon as I heat up a Hot Pocket...

"Everyone I care about just blew up on your damn boat. I know what I can't change!" -Sawyer

"Look, everything's going to make sense. I promise." -Hurley
"It better!" -Hurley's mom


If, as with "The Wire," the opening scene of each season of "Lost" tells you all you need to know about what's to come, then the series' penultimate season is going to be about time travel, and about what happens when a beloved old record starts skipping a few grooves.

When Daniel Faraday invokes that old-fashioned needle-skip phenomenon, he explains what's happening on the island in layman's terms, as well as providing greater symbolic weight to the way three season (including this one) opened with characters listening to their favorite vinyl selections. In this case, what Dr. Chang (aka Marvin Candle / aka Mark Wickmund / aka Edgar Halliwax) is playing Willie Nelson's "Shotgun Willie," but these episodes as a whole play a little like "Lost's Greatest Hits."

Not only does the time-travel phenomenon lead to return appearances by Ethan, Yemi's plane (and its cargo of dope-filled Virgin Mary figurines) and a younger version of Desmond still waiting for his replacement to arrive ("Are you him?"), and not only does the second episode feature a ghostly (or hallucinatory) appearance by Ana-Lucia and the return of Desmond's time-travel guru Ms. Hawking, but the two episodes are filled with all of the things that can make "Lost" so addictive -- and, depending on your tastes, maddening.

These episodes offered up cool action, like Sayid having a brawl involving pots, pans and a rogue dishwasher, as well as the harrowing sequence of Sawyer, Juliet and the remaining Lostaways trying to survive a flaming arrow attack. They offered strong character moments, like Sawyer's confession of just how much he's hurting, or Hurley finally coming clean to someone about the island. (Much more on both of those in a bit.) It offered more clues -- and, in some cases, plain answers -- about what's going on on this bizarre island, as well as tantalizing new questions like... soldiers? With flaming arrows? And British accents?

But back to that opening sequence, set in the glory days of the Dharma Initiative, before The Others took over, before Chang/Candle/Wickmund/Halliwax lost his arm, before all that unpleasantness -- what is Faraday doing there, and how did he get there? Is this another instance of the current time-skipping problem, and he just happened to wind up temporarily stuck in the island's Dharma era, or does this tie back into his own time travel experiments and the fact that Desmond is supposed to be his Constant?

Whatever he's doing there, it's clear that twitchy Dan is going to be a crucial part of this season, and that Desmond (who really only appears for a few minutes in both these episodes combined) could be almost as important, as the show finally makes explicit what's been speculated on for years: among the unique properties of the island is an ability to bend the laws of physics to send people, things, and even the island back and forth through time. If that's really happening, then not only will the Lostaways need a quantum physicist and an unstuck-in-time Scotsman to save them, but we'll need Dan just to put things in layman's terms, which he does quite nicely with the record analogy.

Now, are the Lostaways moving through time (and possibly space) or is the island? That may be an issue of semantics, or it may be the key to all of this. To get my full comic book geek on, I think of Guardian from Alpha Flight, who had the ability to make himself immune to the Earth's rotation. The planet would keep moving, and Guardian would stay in the same place, but to the observer (who was, in fact, moving right along with Earth), it looked like he had flown away at an astonishing speed. We know that it looked, from the Oceanic Six's perspective, like the island blinked out of existence, and maybe it did. Maybe it goes from place to place, time period to time period, and that's how Yemi's small plane made it all the way from Africa to the South Pacific (and seems remarkably well-preserved years later), how the Black Rock wound up at the center of the island (and how the ship's first mate's journal wound up in Madagascar), how the polar bears wound up in Tunisia, etc. Maybe, in fact, none of these things would have wound up on (or off) the island if Ben hadn't moved the frozen donkey wheel and made the record start skipping. Maybe Locke didn't travel back in time to witness the moment when Yemi's plane crashed, but rather was there at the moment (in relative island time) when it originally happened.

And now as I re-read that paragraph, I wonder if I'm just writing in circles, which is always the danger of time travel stories: even when they make sense to the quantum physicists like Faraday, or the comic book nerds like me, they can still make your head hurt. And to someone without a PhD or a bookshelf full of sci-fi paperbacks, it can be a complete turn-off.

But what made all the time-bending of "The Constant" work so brilliantly, and what makes these two episodes work almost as well (they're trying to move forward a lot more plot than "The Constant" had to deal with, so the focus is by nature not as tight) is that they never lose sight of the human element. Yes, insane things are happening, some of which make sense if you stop to explain them, many of which don't make any sense at all, but there are recognizable characters at the center of them, reacting in a way that seems right to them, and that's moving in some way.

Sawyer's stuck on the island as it skips from era to era (or as he skips from era to era, or however you want to parse it), but he's also trying to process what he thinks is the death of Kate and Hurley and his other friends -- and maybe, though it's never said outright, the guilt that if he hadn't jumped out of the helicopter ("for her"), it might have gone in the ocean (where they could have swam away) instead of landing on the soon-to-explode freighter. Sawyer was pretty marginalized last season, but as Sawyer tries to deal with all the time jumps and his own grief, Josh Holloway does an outstanding job of reminding us why he was such a vital character from the start, and of making Sawyer's anguish clear well before he comes right out and says it to Dan.

Hurley, meanwhile, is on the run from the cops, and Ben, and whomever's been following him and Sayid, and maybe from ghosts (or else just more examples of his own mental problems). As the alliances in the real world ebb and flow and threaten to become as cryptic as the time mess on the island -- What did Ben do to make Sayid break away from him? Does Sun really only blame Ben for Jin's death, or is she plotting some righteous vengeance on Kate and Jack as well? -- Hurley, as he so often, blessedly does, brings it all back down to earth.

Despite his mental problems, Hurley has always been one of the most rational characters "Lost" has. (Ditto Sawyer, which makes them appropriate centerpieces for these first two episodes.) Hurley's the only one who sees from the start that the Oceanic Six lie is going to be more trouble than it's worth, and as we saw when he charged through a mine field to ask Rousseau about the numbers, it matters an awful lot when he can find people who believe him when he speaks the truth. So the scene where he finally comes clean to his mom and gives her a summary about what happened on the island -- sounding totally insane even to those of us who watched all this stuff go down -- and she believes him because he's her son and he wouldn't lie to her... well, that provided more than enough emotional ballast to the rest of it. It can never be said enough how wonderful Jorge Garcia is at showing Hurley's vulnerability, and how valuable Hurley's perspective on things is to keeping this whole bizarre enterprise from flying off the rails.

With these episodes -- really, going back to last year's three-hour finale -- the show has changed up its narrative format once again. Rather than the simple structure of intercutting events on the island with one character's flashback, or flashforward, we now have two parallel narratives -- one on the island at the end of 2004 (or did the new year begin before the freighter blew up?), the other in the real world in 2007 -- that are both constantly moving forward. This late in the series, this kind of global plotting is necessary, as it allows all of the stories to advance each week, rather than waiting for, say, Kate's spotlight episode to fill us in on what's happening with her and Aaron and these shady lawyers (working for Claire's mom, maybe?) who want a blood test to prove maternity. Yet despite having much more forward momentum than all but a handful of episodes from previous seasons, both "Because You Left" and "The Lie" still manage to find an emotional anchor (first Sawyer, then Hurley) so that they can feel like original-recipe "Lost" while dabbling in time travel, espionage, mergers and acquisitions, and all these other new elements.

Needless to say, I am very, very happy with where we're at with the new season. And next week's episode, which I got to see on a big screen back at press tour, may actually be the best of the three so far.

Some other thoughts and questions to ponder:

• In case you missed it yesterday, I did a long interview with Damon Lindelof when I was in California last week. In it, we discuss not only the new time travel theme, but key elements from season four and from the series as a whole. If you don't have time for the whole thing, I'd suggest scrolling down to the parts about "Stranger in a Strange Land" inadvertently saving the series, and about how the master plan relates to Michael Emerson being promoted from day player to central character.

• Another link you might have missed: Isaac Spaceman's recap of the previous four seasons. It's a bit longer than Hurley's, and doesn't have the pathos, but it's wicked, wicked funny.

• Interesting that, in the end, Hurley takes Sayid's advice (no matter what, do the opposite of whatever Ben suggests) over Ana-Lucia's (no matter what, don't let the cops catch you). Given what we know about Ben, Sayid's was probably the wiser piece of advice, and it's rare to see Ben as thoroughly foiled as he is in that moment -- which only made my Hurley love grow more.

• What exactly is going on with the pendulum in Ms. Hawking's office? And why does she have a computer that looks to be the same vintage as the one from the hatch?

• In addition to the Willie Nelson song, the most notable tune playing over these two episodes was Cheap Trick's "Dream Police," which was the Muzak playing as Hurley bought a t-shirt at the gas station.

• One more thing to ponder about what's moving and why on the island: The Others -- at least, the native Others (as opposed to an immigrant like Juliet) -- don't seem to be traveling when the Lostaways do. One minute, Locke's in the jungle with his flock, and the next he's in the pouring rain by himself.

• And speaking of The Others, one of the benefits of the deal to end the series after next season was it gave Cuse and Lindelof the ability to sign people like Nestor Carbonell to firmer deals. We don't need to worry anymore about Richard disappearing again from the narrative because Carbonell (who apparently is not wearing eyeliner) got cast in another series.

• The compass Richard gives to Locke -- to give back to him at their next meeting in Locke's future and Richard's past -- would seem to answer the question of which item the young Locke was supposed to recognize that he already owned during the '60s flashbacks from "Cabin Fever," right?

• While Dan has jumped to the center of the narrative, the other surviving freighter folk are still around to varying degrees. I'm not sure if we'll be seeing Frank again past the flashback to the origin of the Oceanic Six lie (which was hatched while he was still hanging with them and Desmond and Penny), but Miles gets to prove that Locke isn't the only guy on the island who can catch boar (though, admittedly, John had the tougher task of doing it with living ones, where Miles just uses his psychic powers to find already dead ones), and Charlotte appears to be more profoundly affected by the time travel than the rest of the gang, judging by her nosebleeds, memory loss and Dan's obvious concern for her.

• Carlton Cuse has brought in a bunch of supporting players from his "Nash Bridges" over the years, whether it's Cheech as Hurley's dad, Daniel Roebuck as the amazing exploding Arzt, and now Mary Mara as Jill, Ben's contact at the Others-run butcher shop. (Those Others, always diversifying: they run a butcher shop, and a biotech firm, and a time-traveling island, and...)

• Like father, like son: Cheech also enjoys the occasional episode of "Expose."

• Between Keamy's assault force, the explosion of the freighter and now the fire arrow attack, Cuse and Lindelof have now gotten rid of most of the anonymous remaining passengers (or, as the producers call them, The Socks) of Oceanic 815. As Lindelof put it, half tongue-in-cheek, at a press conference last week:
The last character that anyone ever asked us about was Frogurt, and you saw how we dealt with his reintroduction. The show is now moving into a phase where the presence of The Socks was no longer directly necessary. So we killed them with arrows. And that’s just what you do.
• Getting back to the rules about time travel, how do you feel about Dan's assertion that Desmond is "special," and therefore immune to all the rules? Interesting idea that makes one of the show's most popular characters even more important, or a magical get-out-of-jail-free card for whenever the writers paint themselves into a corner over these last two seasons?

What did everybody else think?

148 comments:

J said...

MOAR PLZ.

Jennifer J. said...

W-O-W.

Me = speechless, but thrilled.

Anonymous said...

i only wish there had been just a few more commercials...

MB said...

1. I wish that so much of the pre-season press (such as your article the other day) didn't play up the time travel angle so much. I think that otherwise the opening scene with Marvin Candle might have been a lot more shocking; instead knowing how prominent time travel will be this season made it feel more like "ok this makes sense with what I know will be important this season".

2. I'm a bit worried as to how well this time travel story will play out. I love this show, and "The Constant" is one of the greatest episodes of this series, but I'm wondering if the writers are taking this show way, way far into scifi territory (and frankly I found the first episode a bit confusing), and I just fear they've gone so far that external forces might force them to tone it down.

3. Can someone remind me what the story is with Desmond's and Ben's white-haired lady friend?

Stef said...

I loved it! Or them, I guess. And I knew you'd pull a great Hot Pocket reference! :-)

I thought Mrs. Hawking was in the basement of a church - it looked like she came up/into the sanctuary where Ben was lighting candles. Was that right?

During the scene in the jungle right before Sawyer and Juliet are captured by those soldiers, a friend and I both had the same thought -- what if our "unstuck in time" Lostaways are actually the whispers we've been hearing all along??

Alan -- was that your quote that was used first in the Patrick Swayze/The Beast promo? Awesome!

Mrglass said...

I remember when Lost was pretending to be semi-scientific, now it has jumped to Heroes-levels of silliness. Flaming arrows from Englishmen and random time-jumps affecting only humans? Sure, why not. If only the actors realized they are in a campy SciFi show and not a Shakespeare play, and went along with the cheesiness.

The only thing more baffling than the erratic plot (Off the island! Back to the island!) is the devotion this visually pleasant but average show still gets from obsessive fans and critics.

Jordan said...

I thought the time traveling bit was well handled, especially the Hitler paradox reference. I was thinking the other day that I can only remember one movie about time traveling that handles it right (12 Monkeys), and Faraday seems to subscribe to it's rules.

Jordan said...

Also, I just assumed the arrows are from the earliest Hostiles/Others

Chris said...

is Mrs. Hawking Daniel's mother? or is that too easy?

Rachel said...

I am still processing but wanted to point out my favorite line: when Miles corrected Sawyer that it's "Mr. Wizard." Love those two smartasses together.

christy said...

Can someone remind me what the story is with Desmond's and Ben's white-haired lady friend?

HAS to be Faraday's mom, right? As soon as he said go find my mom in Oxford, I thought of that woman from that early Desmond ep.

Anonymous said...

I saw this movie called "Liar Liar," and the message was *don't* lie. And that was a smart movie.

Devin McCullen said...

I figured she was Faraday's mom, but if she's in L.A., how is Desmond going to find her in Oxford?

Also, while I'm wondering stuff, wasn't Jack such a mess that he was suspended from the hospital or something? But he's able to get an unconscious Sayid in there, get a room to himself, and access to whatever drugs he gave him to wake him up.

It was still damn good, though.

"What does it do?"
"It points north."

Chip Chandler said...

My watch-party buddies and I figured the attorneys who showed up at Kate's house were sent by Widmore to get Kate back on the island so that he would have a way to find it again. And then, after her scene with Sun, we figured that Sun was allied with Widmore in making that happen.

brian said...

The only miscue was the hot pockets. Hot pockets are cooked in a sleeve and are supposed to sit in the microwave for 1 minute after cooking. Hurley would have burned his mouth. Ha, this bothered me.

I thought that Mrs. Hawking had figured out a way to detect when and where the island would be in the "present" day for a limited amount of time.

Jennifer J. said...

Devin and Rachel you have two of my fave quote moments. I love seeing Miles and Sawyer interact. :)

Maybe...just maybe...one amongst us (b/c I want to be polite) is a "Hostile"?

Writing a thought-provoking show off after 2 episodes of a new season and equating it to Heroes levels of silliness...well, for me personally that doesn't seem to be a fair shake for what these artists are trying to create for us. Some artistic things do need time to come to fruition.

That said, I'm happy to baffle you as an obsessive fan. I love the show. I am obsessive about it. I get great joy out of watching it an d being on its ride. I saw nothing cheesy about this evening's 2 episodes. I think Lost is an amazing and entertaining show on many levels. It gives what you give to it. Harshing our buzz, no matter how politely put, isn't very nice or fair.

But, then again, everyone is welcome to their opinion as you are to yours.

Adam said...

Alan,

What do you think about the theory that the Daniel Faraday running around with Sawyer, Juliet, etc is actually a younger Faraday from what we have previously seen of him? Do you think he has more control of when and where he goes than he lets on? That might explain his first appearance in the premiere. My roommate commented that all of Jeremy Davies' gray hairs seem to be gone (thanks HD) but I don't have a previous ep to go back and check for myself...

Alan Sepinwall said...

What do you think about the theory that the Daniel Faraday running around with Sawyer, Juliet, etc is actually a younger Faraday from what we have previously seen of him?

Not sure I see how that's possible. He gets off the Zodiac with the rest of the Socks he was with at the end of last season, and he doesn't seem to appear or disappear in between.

Or do you mean that the Dan on the island (throughout seasons 4 & 5) is younger than the Dan that Desmond met in 1996 in "The Constant"? Could be, I guess, but I don't think so.

Chris said...

Excellent premiere! They actually moved the plot forward unlike Battlestar premiere which while good was too slow and didn't move the story along too much. Anyways, the frogurt joke was hilarious, I love how these writers can find humour in what is a very crappy situation for the characters.

Alfred said...

About Desmond, I think it all goes back to the constant
Desmond has a constant so he will not be affected by the time traveling flashes the same way the rest of the cast will.

Fernando said...

Good balance of the first hour positing all the time travel/sci fi elements of the show (which honestly hurt my head but I would have my Lost no other way) and having the second show slow down a little more and deal more with character.

Lost has always given us questions to think about and ponder over the plot but that first hour was so question/plot anaylsis intensify. Usually there would be something at the beginning of an episode to ponder about, then the character elments would kick in and maybe a question or 2 more during that hour. This hour was just mind blowing revelation after another that kept you guessing, to the point where when Ana Lucia showed up in the second hour, I thought she had somehow been resurrected lol.

Imma stop before my brain hurts.

P.S. Is anyone else's mind still kinda blown at the sight of Jack and Ben working together.

P.P.S. Don't really know what to think of Sun right now. I would be amazing to have arguably the sweetest/meekiest person at the start of the series be the big heel by the end of it.

james said...

loved the first half more than the second but loved loved loved both. fave moment:

"it's a compass"

"WHAT DOES IT DO?"

"it points north John"

Chris said...

I hated on-island jack but I am loving off-island Jack. Does anyone else think offisland Jack = cool? Who else wanted to punch Hurley when I surrendered himself to the cops?

@ Alfred: Well, Faraday has a constant too (Desmond) so the same should apply to him as well.

Omagus said...

Thoroughly confused.

Thoroughly entertained.

Sun is still hot.

Sayid is still hardcore.

Sawyer still gets the best lines.

chrissie said...

I'm already anticipating lots of "I [Heart] My Shih Tzu" T-shirts at Comic-Con this year. In that size.

Anonymous said...

MB:

Ms. Hawking was the woman Desmond talked to in the UK when he started having his "unstuck in time" moments. She was the one who told him he couldn't change things and marry Penny, that he had to go to the island and press the button otherwise the world was doomed (rough paraphrase). That should help you put her appearance here in context.

-----
mrglass:

I remember when Lost was pretending to be semi-scientific.

Lost has never been semi-scientific. See "smoke monster". It was also never a Shakespeare play, and it has always had an "erratic plot" if by erratic plot you mean two storylines in a single episode separated in time and space.

Let's not get sloppy in our complaining now. You've come so far with it.
-----
Miscellany:

I don't think she is Daniel's mother.

When does Jin emerge from the water? Fishermen are good swimmers, you know.

Number Five said...

I think they've pulled off the time travel very well so far, and I welcome the deepening sci-fi element, which is what the show has been going towards for several seasons now. They never seriously went into how a band of survivors would realistically deal with being stranded on an island with crazy things happening to them (this isn't a criticism of the supernatural/sci-fi elements, it's about the way the characters on the show reacted to them). And as awesome as the various revelations about Penny's scientists, the real world existing, etc, were, they marked the point where the essential mysteries of Lost were gone. So the time travel should be fascinating.

I've accepted that the show is one where the redshirts (the original article of clothing describing extras!) don't exist for any purposes other than to be killed in meta-comedy moments we're meant to laugh at, but it still bugs me when they do that, and it shows how many opportunities they've wasted.

On the other hand, I agree that Hurley is a great character because he's the most affected by what happens and actually asks questions and thinks about what's going on. The combination of someone who has flaws but is decent and humane to the core, while also being terrified about whether he is sane or not, is very compelling. It made the second episode very powerful, especially when he finally confessed to his mother. (as opposed to Sawyer in the first episode, which didn't work very well). And Faraday is another great character - I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with him.

They have to find some way to lessen the proportion of dialogue that consists of Character A, who knows more than we do, talking mysteriously and condescendingly to Character B, who is in the dark with us. Generally this also involves A repeating B's name to them. (try the repeated name as a drinking game...you won't last long!)

I think they have a good, not-because-it's-destiny explanation for Desmond's special status, and that's his proximity to the hatch when it exploded. I would think that makes him less stable, hence his original time skipping, but you could also argue it makes him different than everyone else. I agree they did it because Desmond's popular, but it makes sense too. And as the original time traveler, Desmond has been a key character for awhile now.

Withnail said...

my call is that Ms. Hawking turns out to be Faraday's mother.

Myles said...

I honestly didn't pick up on Sawyer's role in the episode when writing my own review, probably because I was so used to his very background role last season. You've pointed out, quite rightly, that he's now the alpha male (presuming Locke is a step above that) on the island and his pain is very real in the broader sense of the series.

Really enjoyed the two episodes, and felt that the change in structure and focus was very well handled with the crazy theories having a very human side to them, with Hurley in particular.

Mo Ryan said...

Lindelof addresses the "maybe Desmond is special" issue in a piece I just posted on my site:

http://tinyurl.com/bx9wme

Garnet said...

I didn't see the episode, and am more of a DC guy than a Marvel one, but ... doesn't Guardian's power only grant him the ability to rocket due west (like the Sun)? It's more than I can do, but still ...

Chip said...

Alan the Constant took place on Christmas Eve so it's probably 2005 (or at least it was) and I think its supposed to be 2008 in the mainland scenes. Now for theories: Ms Hawking = Faraday's mother??

Roger said...

I followed most of the time travel stuff, except for one thing. If you can't meet someone you hadn't met before (that's what Faraday said) how come Sawyer and Juliet were able to interact with the Dharma Initiative? That's "making a new street" is it not?

Anthony Foglia said...

I hope you're right and the next episode was better, because these two were mediocre, which is a let down from previous season premieres. Time travel can be done well, but I fear this won't be one. I don't want a season of Sawyer, Juliet, and Locke constantly skipping through time intercut with Jack trying to get the old gang back together. The remaining islanders are interesting enough that letting them stay together and put roots down would be rewarding.

Plus the time travel stuff doesn't make sense: The island's moving, so why do the people on it also have to move?

Still the stuff with the Oceanic Four looks good. (Four, because Kate and Aaron seem boring.)

I just hope they aren't hoping to stretch just these two storylines for the entire season. 8 or 9 would be fine, but 17 is going to drag.

TeamJoisey said...

I've got a question/observation/anomaly to bring up. Maybe, just maybe, I missed a teeny bit of what was going on... or maybe I saw something interesting.

When Faraday spoke to Desmond outside the "hatch" station, all the characters were three years in the past, before the crash and subsequent construction of the camp.

The skip in time interrupts that "find my mom" conversation, and Faraday is presumably transported elsewhere (or more correctly - "elsewhen").

Sometime later in the broadcast, Faraday catches up with Sawyer & Co., who are clearly still back in the pre-crash time frame. The make the point that Daniel's been missing for two hours.

So... where was Faraday? WHEN was Faraday? Was he the only character to "leap" at that moment outside the hatch? Did he intentionally "leap" back to the Sawyer & Co. time frame? Can Faraday time travel at will? Is imprecise aim to account for the two-hour difference?

Do I need to get more sleep?

dez said...

I was at turns baffled, thrilled, and touched (Hurley needs a hug). I also wondered if Hurley's mom really believed him, or if she believed he believed in what he was saying.

Loved "Dream Police" playing in the background while Hurley was at the store (the dream police do live inside of Hurley's head). Now that Ana Lucia came back, will Libby be far behind?

Tyroc said...

Hey Team Joisey,

I don't think there was another time jump between Farraday talking to Desmond and his heading to the beach to meet the Sawyer and the others. The viewers zipped back to the future (well, 2007) to Desmond waking up from his dream/memory and deciding to go to Oxford. But Farraday was still at the same point (with Desmond in the hatch having just popped out for a second to talk to Farraday.) Or do I already remember it wrong?

I'm more confused about how come our group on the island (Locke, Sawyer, Juliet, etc) are popping around time but not other less permanent members of the island population. I could believe that the others are now part of the island having lived there so long, but not the other temporary inhabitants (like the brit soldiers.)

And I too go with Mrs. Hawking being Farraday's mom.

And Sun was EVIL.

Stylist Mick said...

So Mr. Chang had a baby on the island with a woman... that grew up to be Miles? Just a hunch. Chang seems like a douchebag. Miles is an extreme douchebag. If the shoe fits...

BigTed said...

I liked this episode, but it didn't have the "wow" factor of the best season openers (such as the one when we first meet Desmond in the hatch, or the Others' book-club meeting). The unstuck-in-time plot was engaging, but how many times have we seen that sort of thing before? (Hey, "Journeyman.")

Maybe it's just that "Lost" has been on so long that returning to its recurring themes and plot points doesn't do much for me anymore. I'm sure there will be a lot to enjoy this season, but I won't be unhappy when the show finally comes to a conclusion.

Jennifer said...

I SO enjoyed the look on Hurley's face when he ran out to get arrested. HAH HAH! Probably not a good idea to go against what Ana-Lucia the Friendly Ghost said, but man, I enjoyed it anyway. I hope Hurley uh, still enjoys it next episode, though.

Really, Ben should have figured out by now that nobody (other than Jack, god help him) would want to follow him back to the 7-11, much less the island for ever and ever...stuck with HIM.

Medusa said...

I loved almost everything about this episode. One scene stuck out for me, though - when Kate visited Sun. The mini-flashback to their conversation on the freighter seemed out of place, shoe-horned in because someone thought viewers weren't smart enough to recall it on their own maybe? It just felt really awkward.

And then I didn't quite understand where Sun was coming from. She started off as if she were blaming Kate, and you could really see the terror on Kate's face, and then abruptly announced that she wasn't blaming her at all. Was she just playing Kate? Does she really blame her and, as someone else suggested, is now working with Widmore against Kate? Or was that just simple red-herring writing to build a moment of suspense for the viewers?

I also was wondering how Sun could blame Ben for Jin's death. We all know that he killed the-crazy-soldier-whose-name-is-escaping-me-now, thereby allowing the bomb to go off, but how does Sun know this? Only Ben and Locke do. This came up in the finale too, and it bothered me then, but more now that she explicitly told Widmore it's Ben she blames. I guess this is something we have to assume Locke told her when he came back to recruit her, although it's a pretty emotional scene to have to only imagine.

Stef said...

This episode reminded me how much I didn't miss Ana-Lucia.... ugh. But I love the idea above that Miles might be Candle's baby! And I'm really looking forward to figuring out Charlotte's backstory, too. Why is she having a more extreme physical reaction -- is it because she's time-traveled before?

Stef said...

Also- any ideas on why Ben only has 70 hours to make this all happen?

Anonymous said...

Agree that Mrs. Hawking id Dan's mother. But when she cam upstairs, did Ben call her Penny Locke?

kathy said...

Line of the night:

"Maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn't have to go around killing people."

Anthony Foglia said...

TeamJoisey wrote, Faraday catches up with Sawyer & Co., who are clearly still back in the pre-crash time frame. The make the point that Daniel's been missing for two hours.

So... where was Faraday? WHEN was Faraday? Was he the only character to "leap" at that moment outside the hatch?


When the island skips, everyone (who was on the island when the Ben turned the wheel) skips together, so although there was a time flash when Daniel was talking to Desmond, Daniel, Saywer, and the other Losties all skipped to the same point. So when Sawyer says Daniel's been gone for two hours, it's two hours according to his and Daniel's timeline, not necessarily in island time.

One problem if Mrs. Hawking is Faraday's mother: She's not in Oxford. Unless Ben is willing to spend some of his 70 hours on transatlantic flights, or still has access to mystical island travel powers, she's got to be in LA.

Lizbeth said...

I still love Lost but the time-shift thing is making my head hurt a bit. There's too many little ways their theories don't make any sense. For example, if you can't change the past, then how did Ethan shoot Locke in the shift to the past? If it didn't happen the first time, it couldn't happen according to Faraday.

As for the soldiers who attacked Juliet and Sawyer, could they have been Rousseau's team of scientists?

Ok, I'm going to try not to nitpick too much with the time-shifting and just hope the writers don't shoot themselves in the foot like the writers on Heroes.

kevin89065 said...

Regarding Charlotte, you didn't mention it but she had the same affliction (nose bleed) that the guy who was drilling too close to the core of the island had. You see him being taken off on a stretcher with a bloody nose as the man from the Dharma films comes to investigate.

Also one criticism I have of the time travel is Faraday says you can't go back in time and change anything, but what does "anything" mean. By simply going back and moving your hand to the left, something has changed. What are the things that can't be done, the things that constitute going to a "new street"? It seems like it's going to be made up based on what the show needs (as others have noted with the interactions they've already had).

ev said...

Am I missing something? Why have those on the island given up on Claire and assumed she's gone? Is that consistent with these characters at all? Wouldn't Sawyer immediately dart off into the woods after Miles says she walked off into the woods with someone she called, 'dad?'

This seems like such a sloppily incongruous over-sight... Anyone got an explanation I'm missing?

Lane said...

great episode
I actually live blogged it on my site and had SUCH A HEADACHE from trying to keep up with all of the action and remember the plot lines from seasons past where they interract. Really great though.

Funny thing about why the internet rules, in the blog, I referenced the SNL episode from like 20 years ago when Michael J Fox was on in the elevator "gonna go back in time...." and someone actually used those keywords and landed on my blog.

Lane said...

also, do you think like there are a ton of kids being born around the world given the names "Barack" or "Michelle" there are going to be a generation of shih tzu's named Hurley or Hugo? I hope so.

Undercover Asian Man said...

I'm pretty sure this time-travel thing is going to be the crucible that finally separates the even mildly skeptical from the truly devoted. All time travel stories are fraught with inconsistencies. One just has to ask a few basic questions and the logic falls completely apart.

Like if the flaming arrows were fired by people from a different time, how come they killed some present-day redshirts? They just said the past can't change the future (or vice versa), but then we see past Ethan shoot present Locke, and present Locke throw a knife and kill a (presumably) past soldier. How is this not changing things? And why couldn't you kill Hitler then?

And if the island jumps into the past, shouldn't everyone who knows they will exist in the future act pretty much as if they were immortal, knowing they will survive to fulfill that future? So Sawyer and Juliet shouldn't need Locke to come to their rescue, they couldn't be killed according to Time Law.

And why are inanimate objects like the camp affected by these jumps, but things like their clothes aren't affected. I know Juliet spouted something about things they are touching come with them through time, but that's a cheap explanation that really isn't one. Why is the basic unit of time-traveler always a human and his clothes?

What happens if the island jumps you well into the future, and the place you are standing is occupied by an inanimate object, like a new mountain or plane wreckage or a new amusement park conquering aliens build on the island? Do you die instantly?

As I've said many times before, I'm a big believer that the producers are in POST-FACTO mode of trying to assemble some kind of explanation for all the random things they indulged in in the past. No surprise that they are going the old time travel route, as they need as many reset buttons as possible. I think many will finally call "BS" this time around as the time travel explanations become more ludicrous and inconsistent, and I predict "Lost" will be under 8 million viewers by the end of this season.

Alan Sepinwall said...

They just said the past can't change the future (or vice versa), but then we see past Ethan shoot present Locke, and present Locke throw a knife and kill a (presumably) past soldier. How is this not changing things?

Because maybe that's always the way that soldier died? It's a loop, like in "12 Monkeys": (relatively) old Richard hands Locke the compass to give to an earlier version of Richard, and Richard knows he should do this because he remembers Locke giving it to him and explaining why.

Or, to quote what Ms. Hawking said to Desmond in "Flashes Before Your Eyes," about the futility of trying to save Charlie, or the man with the red shoes:

Because it wouldn't matter. Had I warned him about the scaffolding tomorrow he'd be hit by a taxi. If I warned him about the taxi, he'd fall in the shower and break his neck. The universe, unfortunately, has a way of course correcting. That man was supposed to die. That was his path just as it's your path to go to the island. You don't do it because you choose to, Desmond. You do it because you're supposed to.

That seems to be the show's philosophy about time travel: the past and future can't be changed, and anything you think you're changing is really causing something that was destined to happen.

You may not like it, and you may still believe, as I used to, that Cuse and Lindelof were making everything up as they went along in the early seasons, but they've been pretty consistent on this point for a while now.

Bryan said...

Terrific I thought - I love "good" time travel but it's so hard to do well. I think (for all that's worth) they're pulling it off so far. A couple quick thought I don't think anyone else has brought up yet. That swinging thing at the end when Ben went to meet Faraday's mom(?) was a Foucault pendulum I think.

Lock's predicament makes me now think it may have been himself he saw rocking in the chair at the shack.

And lastly - I can't help myself - I just have to make one comment to the confoundingly negative mrglass and his snarky Shakespeare reference - you ever heard of "A Midsummer's Night Dream" smartguy? You might want to google it. No Shakespeare would never write something this silly.

Anonymous said...

These were good episodes, entertaining for the most part, even if most of the time travel stuff...well, the people who defend anything that happens on the show no matter what will make sense of them somehow. The rest of it is a convenient excuse to take the plot in whatever direction they want through that device. I don't agree with the "Heroes silliness" comment, yet anyone other than a Lost obsessive
(I realize that's who is posting here) has to admit---it's the first two episodes where there's a heavy focus on and discussion of the "time jumps". After 10 or 12 of them, we might be at the Heroes level of nonsensical plotting. So we'll see.

Bryan said...

Just to comment on Undercover Asian Man's about people behaving "as if they were immortal" - I definitely will concede this time travel stuff will be hard to pull off in the long term (but I have faith they can do it) - the thing is, and the creators and Alan have touched on this, it's about the people and how they behave. You may think the sci-fi aspect is ridiculous but if people were actually put in this situation how would they react? I believe even if they know for sure they will survive (ie, be "immortal") psychologically they coudn't understand it and act accordingly. Especially as fast as it was all happening.

Anonymous said...

Lizbeth said...
I still love Lost but the time-shift thing is making my head hurt a bit. There's too many little ways their theories don't make any sense. For example, if you can't change the past, then how did Ethan shoot Locke in the shift to the past? If it didn't happen the first time, it couldn't happen according to Faraday.
-----------------------------------
Wasn't there an episode in Season 1, though, where Locke was right in that area with Boone, and did suffer some type of injury to his leg, and couldn't walk?

Anonymous said...

I haven't read everyone's comments yet,so apologies if someone already said this - but given the clothes he wears and the influence he seems to have and the people in "high places" he seems to know -

Wouldn't the lawyers be exactly Ben's way of getting Kate on the run - and therefore much more amenable to consider returning to the Island? We've seen her completely closed to the idea - and she seems to have some simmering unresolved issues with Sun - but she was on the run and went running immediately to Sun ...

And another question - if they only have 70 hours, will Sun bring Ji Yeon with her to the Island?? Or does their return mean others cannot?????

Wow - and to think I was happy yesterday they'd finally started answering some questions.

BTW - I know this comment's getting long, but I recently started watching BSG - and found one thematic in common which makes both shows great - I like that they do keep explanations for things simple, rather than some convoluted, 6-degrees thing for some very critical elements. Simple makes it better ....

Anonymous said...

OK, so I may be over-thinking things, but I got confused on something.

When both Desmond & Kelvin were in the hatch, Desmond was under the belief that he needed to be in the full hazmat suit when he left the hatch. Eventually, Desmond realizes that Kelvin is lying & the hazmat suit isn't needed, which is when he kills Kelvin.

So when Faraday knocks on the door of the hatch, either Desmond has already killed Kelvin (in which case he would know that the suit isn't needed) or Kelvin is still alive (in which case Desmond would wonder how this guy is still alive without a suit on), right?

dez said...

In addition to the Willie Nelson song, the most notable tune playing over these two episodes was Cheap Trick's "Dream Police," which was the Muzak playing as Hurley bought a t-shirt at the gas station.


I can't check because the show is sitting on my DVR at home, but I think they were playing the actual song, not a Muzak version.

Are Richard and Locke each other's constants now? Admittedly, time-travel stories my head feel explody, so I could be way off.

debbie said...

Probably someone said this already, but I'm thinking Charlotte is affected worse by the time flashes because she doesn't have a constant. I still need to rewatch "The Constant" episode again to remind myself of the concept.
Someone else asked, but I'm going to ask again, who is Ms. Hawkins? Where did we see her before and what did she do?
I'm really confused if Hurley's visions of past Losties are because of his borderline insanity or an effect of the island. I hope this gets explained at some point.

Steve said...

- I have so much admiration and respect for Damon/Carlton/JJ. At this point, LOST will only suffer from attrition as the plot has become incredibly complex with the time-travel, and with no background of the show, it will not be watchable. Yet, they would rather remain dedicated to creating a masterful series for its loyal viewers. I can't thank them enough.

- I loved these episodes, and I love the direction of the series... I guess these are the "flash presents."

- Alan, you are spot on. Time travel can be a death knell, and can be so hard to do well, yet LOST always handles it well. It makes it as comprehensible as possible, yet keeps the human elements at the forefront.

- Jorge Garcia has chops. He had some great scenes.

- I'm going to love the Sawyer-Miles interactions this season.

- Great opener with Marvin Candle.

- FROGURT

debbie said...

Just read someone else explaining who Ms. Hawking was. Please ignore my previous question.

youcandoit said...

I was watching Leverage the other night and they the exact some shot of a hot pocket. Seen from the back of the microwave, no plate, and no cardboard sleeve. That character reached in and grabbed it right away too.


Yeah, time travel never makes sense once you really start to think about it. Since the whole island vanished, then shouldn't the whole island, and everything that was on it at the time, be skipping through time? On the other hand, If they went to the future, which Farraday said was possible, would they just end up in the middle of the ocean, since the island isn't there anymore? Also, I agree that the idea that if they are touching something then it joins them in the time shift is silly and a cop out to avoid naked Lostees running around the island.

christy said...

For example, if you can't change the past, then how did Ethan shoot Locke in the shift to the past? If it didn't happen the first time, it couldn't happen according to Faraday.

Who says it didn't happen the first time? We know Yemi's plane crashed before 815, so let's say it was 2003, right? 2005-Locke skipped back in time to 2003, saw the plane crash, and got shot by 2003-Ethan. It didn't happen in the past for Locke, because that's 2005-Locke. He wouldn't remember it in 2004. But Ethan probably would--but he's an Other. We wouldn't know if he remembered it or not because we don't follow them, plus they lie and hide what they know about the island. It's not like we'd have a scene with Ethan in 2004 seeing Locke and saying, HEY that's that guy I shot last year! He was too busy being deceitful and kidnapping pregnant ladies.

And if the island jumps into the past, shouldn't everyone who knows they will exist in the future act pretty much as if they were immortal, knowing they will survive to fulfill that future?

Fulfill what future? Landing on the island? The 2005-castaways have already done that. Then later (in their lives) they went back in time and got shot at with fire arrows.

It's not that I'm such a LOST fan that I'll find a way to understand everything even if I don't. It's the same time travel device used in 12 Monkeys and (forgive me) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I understood it in those movies, and I wasn't some crazed fan when I saw them.

And why are inanimate objects like the camp affected by these jumps, but things like their clothes aren't affected. I know Juliet spouted something about things they are touching come with them through time, but that's a cheap explanation that really isn't one.

Actually I agree with you that this one is pretty weak.

What happens if the island jumps you well into the future, and the place you are standing is occupied by an inanimate object, like a new mountain or plane wreckage or a new amusement park conquering aliens build on the island? Do you die instantly?

That's a good question. The problem with it is that they can probably just tell this story without that ever needing to come up.

One problem if Mrs. Hawking is Faraday's mother: She's not in Oxford. Unless Ben is willing to spend some of his 70 hours on transatlantic flights, or still has access to mystical island travel powers, she's got to be in LA.

Well, another possibility is that Mrs. Hawking moved from Oxford to LA and Daniel is mistaken about her current location (whatever "current" means in this context, given that 2004-Faraday was telling hatch-Desmond to go find her at some unspecified future time after leaving the island), or that she'll go back to Oxford before Desmond gets there, or Desmond will get to Oxford and someone will be like "oh her? She's in LA" and he'll go to LA. Maybe Ben can't move that fast in a few hours, but she can move around within the course of several years, surely. Also we've seen her in Great Britain before. It may not be the same lady, but I don't think her being in LA rules it out.

Regarding Charlotte, you didn't mention it but she had the same affliction (nose bleed) that the guy who was drilling too close to the core of the island had.

Also Horace when Locke sees (dreams?) him chopping the tree down over and over again.

The funny thing is that when I was looking up info on Yemi's plane, I saw that Locke had had a "vision" of seeing the plane crash before. I have a feeling this will relate to things like child-Locke drawing the smoke monster and Richard expecting him to know which objects belonged to him. And also Faraday's (and Charlotte's?) memory problems.

Finally...I'm intrigued by the idea that Faraday is secretly time-traveling separately from his companions. We do see him on the Zodiac, but then later we just see him running up to Sawyer and them. Then he's alone again when he comes out of the woods. On the other hand, Faraday's presence in the Dharma station might just mean that our castaways end up sharing some time-space with the Dharma initiative at some point, (which would be awesome) and Daniel does some snooping.

MB said...

Alan said...

Because maybe that's always the way that soldier died? It's a loop, like in "12 Monkeys": (relatively) old Richard hands Locke the compass to give to an earlier version of Richard, and Richard knows he should do this because he remembers Locke giving it to him and explaining why.


What confuses me about this kind of theory is this - how does the loop start?

Someone has to kick this loop into action. But if you can't change anything in time, then isn't the initial action of Richard giving Locke the compass the very first time (or Locke giving it to Richard, whichever perspective you take) itself changing the stream?

christy said...

Also it's all related to the new tagline for the series, "Destiny Calls." Everything is already decided. You make your own decisions, but you can't change anything because you're already destined to make each decision the way you will make it.

It makes me think of Calvinism, but I'm going to choose not even to think about that right now.

christy said...

Just one more thing!

My favorite line of the night was...

"I think you need a time out, NEIL."

Heart Rose.

David said...

I enjoyed the first two episodes, and I'm glad they're not doing flashbacks on top of the split story lines. I have no real complaints.

On things that I am wondering about, and I know this has nothing to do with the story, but ABC airs the show in full-screen, while syndication and DVDs are shown in widescreen. So, is ABC chopping off the sides or the others chopping off the top and bottom?

Linda said...

Regarding the 70-hour time frame -- is this the amount of shows left before the series ends?

And a little snark. I like the actor playing Charles Widmore but everytime I watch the opening credits and see his name I can't help reading it as Alan a Dale. Sort of takes the menace off Widmore when I think of his portrayer as being one of Robin Hood's Merry Men.

Michael Cowgill said...

I'm happy they've found a new plotting mechanism. For me, the flashbacks became a drag on momentum somewhere in season two, and those few times they varied the pattern instantly made episodes better. This one, so far, seems more energetic while allowing room for character moments.

Oddly, Faraday's record skipping analogy didn't make a lot of sense to me. I understand what's happening to them, but I pieced that together on my own. Granted, there wasn't much time to parse his analogy.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"I definitely will concede this time travel stuff will be hard to pull off in the long term"

There is no long term. There are, what, 32? 33? episodes left.

Beebo said...

My local ABC affiliate is showing the widescreen hi-def version on their Digital channel and a cropped version on their old Analog channel (channels 707 and 7 on the Time Warner NYC cable box, respectively).

Linda said...

Sorry, me stupid. I think the time travel paradoxes has made my head hurt so I'm confusing "Lost" and "24."

BTW, I'm a scifi semi-geek and time travel/alternate universe is my favorite sub-genre.

Carmichael Harold said...

[i]That seems to be the show's philosophy about time travel: the past and future can't be changed, and anything you think you're changing is really causing something that was destined to happen.[/i]
This is exactly the thing that I had a problem with regarding the time travel. If the future can't be changed, then were does the dramatic immediacy come from?

Either they are going to save the world or not, but what the characters choose to do is irrelevant, because circumstances will conspire to reach the end goal anyway. The only way I can see out of this is that Desmond (b/c of his magic deus ex machina powers) is the tool to change a bleak future.

However, if that was the case, you'd think all the people in the know (Alpert, Jewelry Lady/Farday's mom, etc.), would be focusing their attention on Desmond and ignoring the Oceanic Six.

belinda said...

Wow. I really enjoyed the premiere. Of course, now my head's all filled up with theories, queries and more. :D

Anyway, I do think they did a really good job of explaining the whole time travel thing as simply as they could, while balancing out all the sci fi awesomeness with just the right amount of character developments. The premiere is at the very least, some indication that the Lost team really will be able to explain most of it in a logical manner. I can't wait for the ride.

Some things:-

- Since the island/sawyer's group of people is now unstuck in time, does that mean they'd continually be jumping back and forth in the past and future with the white flashy thing for the rest of the season? That's going to be quite tough living like that on the island.
- Now I'd like to rewatch the first time (that is, in the order that we watched the episodes) Desmond met Daniel. Did he mention anything about him being familiar?
- Same with Ethan and Locke.
- I thought exactly that when we saw Ms. Hawking that she could be Daniel's mother. Though I suppose we'll see soon enough.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've seen this mentioned yet...while he was patching up Locke after Ethan shot him, Richard told Locke that he (Locke) has to die in order to save the island.

Any thoughts on why?

Lane said...

Alan or others..

was that Fin D'Trolio who was the hard hat that interrupted Dr. Marvin Candle's taping in the opening scene of "Because You Left"?

Bryan said...

"There is no long term. There are, what, 32? 33? episodes left."

32 eps, 2 years? I'd consider that long term - especially in tv world. In my mind any themes or plot devices that last more half a season would be long term.

Anonymous said...

@ David re widescreen:

ABC chops off the sides for the pan/scan version.

Jordan said...

Here's how the loop works, and this contains spoilers for 12 monkeys, so if you haven't seen it yet, what's wrong with you? It's a great movie and came out like a dozen years ago.

There is no beginning or end, that's why it's a loop. It always happened in the past and will always happen. You can't change the past but you can change the future, just from the present, not from the past (this takes into account going back in time and returning, not so much going forward, since to you that hasn't happened yet and doesn't exist).

Bruce Willis sees the shooting at the end of the movie as a child. He always saw it as a child even though it future Willis had not gone back yet. I know that's kind of head-hurting because you want to say that they had to go through once without it, but for the sake of argument, this is the way it always happened. They don't want him try to stop the outbreak, because they know he can't. They just want to find when in started to get an unmutated sample (the person in "insurance" on the plane) to take back to the future, which was their present, so as to try to make things better in their future.

SImpler explanation. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. At the beginning of the movie, Ted's dad can't find his keys. We'll find out later that future Ted travels back a steals them, but he can't find them even before the idea of time travel is introduced. Later in the movie, when it looks like things are turning south for our heros (or north for Ted), Bill tells Ted to steal the keys and hide them in the bush. As Ted begins to walk away to go fail the project, go back in time and steal the keys, Bill bends down and finds the keys there, since they've been there since before the movie began (in the timeline we're seeing).

Hope this helps.

Caroline said...

Hmm, maybe the remaining survivors (Juliet, Sawyer, Locke) are the hostiles that Dharma kept/keeps referring to? We were not really introduced to them (except for Alpert), and with their time-skipping, it seems plausible to me.

Peter said...

"Like if the flaming arrows were fired by people from a different time, how come they killed some present-day redshirts? They just said the past can't change the future (or vice versa),"

That isn't changing the past. The people (from 2005) are killed in their present (which happens to be in year X). Their present happens to be the relative past, but they aren't getting killed in *their* past.

"but then we see past Ethan shoot present Locke, and present Locke throw a knife and kill a (presumably) past soldier. How is this not changing things?"

'Cause that is what always happened. Locke was *always* present when the plane crashed. And Ethan always shot him in the leg after the plane crashed. It is Ethan's past, but not John Locke's. Nothing is changed. That is always what happened.

"And why couldn't you kill Hitler then?"

'Cause we know how Hitler died. He wasn't killed by a man from the future. If he was, we'd already know...

Anonymous said...

Charlotte's nosebleed. If you posit that Charlotte was born on or lived on the Island at an early age, she probably lived through the Incident, and was therefore subjected to high amounts of radiation. Becoming unstuck in time like Eloise or Desmond then is deadly brain hemmorrage deadly, the rest of the survivors not having taken such a high dose(but probably have gotten some exposure during the key turning) probably will exhibit the symptoms in time. Charlotte is like the canary in a mine shaft. Daniel while starting the Desmond Constant loop with his vist to the hatch, is setting Desmond up as everyone's Constant not just himself, because he wants to save Charlotte.

Puff

Anonymous said...

Will the conclusion of the series be Oceanic flight crashing on the island? "Destiny Calls"

Anonymous said...

I am still trying to digest those two episodes.

For some reason, the drilled holes in the wall and the fact Ben needs to get them back reminded me the story about the little Dutch boy trying to stop the leaks in the dike.

And surprisingly, I was able to understand and accept the time travel aspects because I remembered everything I learned from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure! :)
No, seriously.

Jordan said...

I think the Hitler paradox, at least the way I understand it, is (additionally) that if you go back in time to kill Hitler, then he's dead pre-WWII, and in the future you have no reason to go back to kill him, so you do not go back in time, in which case you didn't kill him, etc.

Bryan said...

Like it or not (I do) this is what a good time travel story will do- bring up all these questions/ raise all the possibilities. And they haven't really got to the wrinkle that SPACE travel throws into the mix. (Bruce Willis at least knew where the aiport was).

One thing we (or at least I) keep forgeting when thinking about this is the island's will. There's been enough talk about it for us to know that "the island" has a will and wants certain things and if that's the case these jumps aren't random - they are intentional we just don't know why.

Anonymous said...

"Will the conclusion of the series be Oceanic flight crashing on the island? "Destiny Calls" "

Or might it be Ben successfully sending all the Losties back to Sydney pre-Flight 815 and somehow making sure the flight does NOT take off, thereby NOT crashing, and thereby saving his precious island?

christy said...

I don't think I've seen this mentioned yet...while he was patching up Locke after Ethan shot him, Richard told Locke that he (Locke) has to die in order to save the island.

Any thoughts on why?


Not really, but maybe it has something to do with Christian also getting there as a corpse and then...well, whatever mysterious thing happens to him after that?

Beebo said...

Oh, come on! Anyone who's ever seen "Romeo and Juliet" or "Much Ado About Nothing" knows exactly what's going on with Locke's so-called death.

MB said...

I think that maybe Richard thought the only way Locke could convince the Oceanic 6 how dire the situation was on the island is if somehow he died.

It might just be necessary to convince them.

Dan said...

I thought the comment about the whispers being the Lostaways traveling through time was pretty interesting. No one commented on that...

I'm far from a sci-fi guy, so I'll leave that theory up to you all. But I just wanted it to resurface to see if anyone has any follow up thoughts.

Mark Madel said...

There are two 'logic-consistent' models (perhaps that's not the correct phrase for it - but it's the best I can do in a pinch) to make sense of the idea of time-travel.

The first is that each moment in time occurs like a continually elongating string - rather like a hair growing. The only time that a moment can have an effect on the following moment is when that moment is the present moment (i.e. the current end point of the string/hair). Once the following moment happens, the last current moment is fixed forever - so if someone were ever going to travel back in time to that moment, they would have done it then (when it was the current moment). In this model, the past can affect the future, but not the other way around; AND it would be impossible to ever travel into the future - only the past (because the future doesn't exist yet). Ethan shoots Locke in Ethan's present moment (Locke has traveled back to the past) - so he affects Locke's future, but it has always been a part of Ethan's past.

The second model is the idea of Einstein's that time is rather like a block (or sphere) - just like space. In this model, ALL time (past, present AND future) has always existed - everything that has or will happen has already done so. You can think of it like a novel that is already written - with everything and everyone playing their scripted roles - each of us experiencing time as if each new page were fresh and passing moments; instead of the inevitable next one which follows. In this model, it's theoretically possible to move either forward or backward in time - but it's not possible to change things in the past OR the future - since any time-travel (or changes made while doing so) would already be part of the script (as in 'Lost').

Of course, this would bring up the age-old debate of fate versus free-will - with most humans finding this hard to swallow and instead opting to believe in something in-between (i.e. a bit of destiny mixed with a dollop of choice).

Anonymous said...

Okay. This is a long shot. It's been hinted that Charlotte was born on the island. What if Faraday is her father or he somehow facilitated her departure from the island when she was a kid. Now that we know Dan is skipping around in time and has infiltrated the Dharma group in the past, it has to be a possibility right?

Darren

Erizu said...

I'm pretty sure the British gunmen and the Flaming-arrowers were two seperate groups.

Perhaps Widmore was part of a British WWII team that crashed on the Island?

Charlottes nosebleed seems to suggest to me that the way the Losties' brand of time travel works has an opposite effect on the way that Desmond's conciousness brand of time travel worked. As it has been hinted at, Charlotte was probably born on the Island, therefore, her conciousness has been on the Island before. Now she is one of the unstuck-in-time Losties, there are two Charlotte-conciousness' floating around the Island's seperate-from-the-rest-of-the-world-time-sphere of past/present/future. So her unstuck-in-time self keeps flitting in between conciousness'. As she has no singular, grounding conciousness her body cannot function (nosebleed), whereas the nosebleeds from The Constant were as a result of they're conciousness not having a physical grounding point (the titular constant).

Anonymous said...

Re: Killing Hitler, best quote from Tom Cruise:

"I've always wanted to kill Hitler. I hate that guy," said Cruise, who was born 17 years after Hitler's death."

Brilliant.

Z said...

I can handle the time skipping. Desmond is my favorite character, so I am fine with him and Farraday being so important. I also like the Richard/Locke stuff and how it ties into Cabin Fever.

But I have one fundamental flaw with the new direction.

JACOB TOLD LOCKE TO MOVE THE ISLAND.

Locke asked Christian-as-proxy, "How do I save the Island?" Move it.

Now, Locke had Ben physically do it, because Ben was being punished (banished) and Locke had to stay on the island. But they did what Jacob told them to do.

Yet now things are even more screwed up and Richard is telling him the only way to save the Island is to get the Oceanic 6 back.

We assume the Island has moved before (the polar bear's moved them, at least the one that ended up in Tunisia). So why did moving the Island this time cause such disasterous results?

Just cuz the Oceanic 6 were out of the Island-moving radious? Or did Jacob just give Locke really dumb advice?

I don't need the show to answer this immediately, but I hope there's a good answer, otherwise something's off.

Anonymous said...

I think moving the island was the only way to save the island from being discovered.

Mark Madel said...

We assume the Island has moved before (the polar bear's moved them, at least the one that ended up in Tunisia). So why did moving the Island this time cause such disasterous results?

Actually, anything that's happened in the past that was caused by a future event - could theoretically happen at any moment (of the present). So it's completely possible that this is the first and only time that the island has ever been moved - and that EVERYTHING that we think is related (e.g. the polar bear, the Black Rock, etc) happens because of this one move.

In other words, if the island is moving right now in space/time; and then jumps to a particular part of the ocean and the 18th century (or where/whenever the Black Rock was from) - so that the ship crashes there - it' a direct result of this move.

So it's feasible that the Others/Dharma knew of this capability (and that it would be done in the future) but never risked trying it before now.

Joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joshua said...

the polar bears were wearing leather harnesses with dharma logos when we saw them in tunisia. is it possible (since the donkey wheel room was kept at subzero temperatures) that the polar bears were used to move the island? That could explain why they were found in the middle of the desert, like Ben was after he moved the island.
Just a thought.

Hyde said...

This may seem like a mundane concern, but one thing has been bothering me ever since the introduction of the Oceanic Six: why do they feel any sort of obligation to go back? To "save the island"? Or to save their friends? With Claire in a sort of limbo and our knowledge that Locke himself leaves the island in the "future," the number of people the Oceanic Six actually care about who are still on that island has dwindled considerably: basically now just Sawyer, Juliet, Bernard, and Rose. Seems to me they would need more motivation than that to ever want to go back.

Anyway, this probably bothers me more than most. It's still a great show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

why do they feel any sort of obligation to go back? To "save the island"? Or to save their friends? With Claire in a sort of limbo and our knowledge that Locke himself leaves the island in the "future," the number of people the Oceanic Six actually care about who are still on that island has dwindled considerably: basically now just Sawyer, Juliet, Bernard, and Rose. Seems to me they would need more motivation than that to ever want to go back.

Well, Kate sure cares about Sawyer (and would want to reunite Aaron with his mommy if possible), Jack was tight with Rose (and now knows that Claire is his sister), Hurley's compassionate in general and was probably friendly with all the redshirts like Frogurt (who he doesn't know is dead), etc.

On top of that, with the exception of Kate, their lives have all been pretty miserable since they got back to the real world, and Jack and Hurley have both started wondering if that's the result of their having left the island -- that the island somehow has the power to cause them all this misery. And the only way to end that is to go back.

So they're going back for whatever friends they left behind, but they may also be going back for themselves.

Anonymous said...

"Who says it didn't happen the first time? We know Yemi's plane crashed before 815, so let's say it was 2003, right? 2005-Locke skipped back in time to 2003, saw the plane crash, and got shot by 2003-Ethan."


ok. but how do loops explain the other existence of 2003 locke? we have seen through flashbacks that locke was working in toy stores, giving up a kidney, falling off thing... he had a life before his island experience.

let's say he was working in the toy store on that day in 2003. when 2005 locke went back to the plane crash in 2003, what happened to toy store locke? do two lockes exist at that point? one in the toy store and one on the island on that day in 2003?

how do loops account for the preexisting locke in the toy store?

this is the part i can't get right in my head. any help would be appreciated.

Alan Sepinwall said...

2003 Locke on the island doesn't erase 2003 Locke at the box company. (The toy story job was earlier than that.) Again, if you look at "12 Monkeys" as the model for this kind of time travel, the movie climaxes with the child version of Bruce Willis witnessing something that happens to the adult Bruce Willis, with both of them in the same place at the same time.

Anonymous said...

When Sun was at the airport, did I see an Oceanic logo in the background? Was she using her Oceanic "Golden Ticket" to fly to LA? And when Widmore said that the men were doing what he told them to do, did that mean that Widmore owns Oceanic Airlines?

Anonymous said...

thanks alan!

i can see i am going to have to watch 12 monkeys before the next ep of lost...

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, 12 Monkeys isn't the place that originated that particular school of time travel theory, but it's the most obvious, easy-to-view example.

OldDarth said...

Now that's how to kick off a season! A most excellent start to the season.

Hurley was gold this episode. His recap of what happened on the island to his mother was hilarious. ie "Yeah the 108 minute thing. I never really got that part."

And his line to Sayid, 'You know if you ate more pleasure food maybe you wouldn't need to kill so many people.'

Plus he is the emotional heart and conscience of the show. He helped Sayid even when he told him he would not back on Penny's boat.

The time travel stuff is being handled well too. An object lesson for other shows. Heroes, nudge, nudge. Lay down the ground rules and stick to them.

The show continues to entertain, delight, and touch emotional chords. So glad its back.

Mark Madel said...

It appears as if one or the other theory must be true given the current information:

A) In order to time-jump, a human (and perhaps also other living things) can only have been on the island for X amount of time when the time-jumping BEGINS. This means that Juliet would have to be the measuring stick since she is the longest island dweller of the group which we've seen jumping. But is that true (considering the group that was with Locke)?

B) The Others (the ones we've never seen being recruited to the island) are fundamentally different in some way than the ones we know were brought there (e.g. Ben, Juliet)

Anonymous said...

"2003 Locke on the island doesn't erase 2003 Locke at the box company."


so now there are two lockes.

each iteration of locke moving forward in time. one at the box company and one on the island. same for all the rest of the 815s on the island.

i hope they figure out how to stop this thing, because we must have shifted 3 or 4 times last night. that island is going to get crowded real quick. and imagine the fun when they all eventually run into each other!

or when jack returns to the island to be confronted by 20-30 lockes of different ages. that will blow his mind.

Undercover Asian Man said...

I've read all the comments and the ones that answer my queries about time travel only hold up if you fixate on the perspective of the Lostees. But why should their time stream be more important than other humans' time streams? For example:

I said: "Like if the flaming arrows were fired by people from a different time, how come they killed some present-day redshirts? They just said the past can't change the future (or vice versa),"

To which Peter responded: "That isn't changing the past. The people (from 2005) are killed in their present (which happens to be in year X). Their present happens to be the relative past, but they aren't getting killed in *their* past."

Peter's explanation works if you are fixated (i.e. have a camera on) the perspective and timestream of the redshirt (like Screaming Neil for example). But what about the perspective of the arrow shooter? In year X, I, the arrow shooter, look through my binoculars and get a clear view of the face of someone I've never seen before, and my instructions are to kill anyone I don't recognize. So I kill that loudmouth yelling on the beach (Screaming Neal) with my flaming arrow. The kill haunts me and I will never forget that man's face. It occurs (for example) in the year 2004.

I make it my mission to apologize to his family, and spend my days trying to find them. In 2005, I find Screaming Neil alive and obsessed with building fires in HIS timestream on the Island. What?!? Why is my timestream able to be violated? Why is Neil's timestream judged to be more important than mine and he is allowed to exist in 2005, even though I shot him in 2004?

I agree that the mechanism of time traveling as a story device will allow anyone to find an explanation in their own mind for things that are going on if they want to, like a show-loyalty Rorschach test. My example above about a time stream violation can be explained using "magic properties of the Island" or "another exception like Desmond". But if they play enough with time, there are going to be more and more things that don't hold logic, especially if you are willing to NOT just fixate on the perspective of our Heroes and consider the perspective of others. It is in the perspectives of the many where time travel always falls apart.

I think that, if they make time travel the focus and jump around a lot for just 4 more episodes or so, they will cause enough illogic and frustration in even the most loyal viewer that I won't need to give current examples. And thus my prediction that viewership will crash this year.

I will go watch 12 Monkeys though and see if I change my mind about this, but I do hold doubts.

Erizu said...

I really don't think there are two Lockes.

Only the Island is time travelling. Yes, Locke went back to 2003, but if he were to somehow get off the Island, he would jump forward to whatever time the shifts started at (so his characters place in the world would be corrected). Remember Faraday said "we must've been in the radius" - Everything that wasn't in the radius is still on the normal timeline. Including the freighter, and hopefully JIN!

Erizu said...

Additional:

Perhaps the date Ms Hawking set is the date that the Island-time shifts land and directly correlate with the present-day time.

Toby said...

There must be some way to immunize people from the effects of the time bounce, because otherwise Cindy the flight attendant and the two kids would have been left behind with Locke as well.

Jordan said...

UAM-think of it as points on a string. Time moves left to right with three points 2004 on the left, 2005 in the middle and 2006 on the right. From Frogurt's view, in 2005 he gets bumped back to 2004, where you kill him with an arrow and his timeline stops. In YOUR view, with no time traveling-so you are just moving straight across the string, left to right, 2004 comes and you kill this guy on the beach. So you go looking for his family or whatever and see that he's still alive. This freaks you out, but then in 2005 he disappears (since he traveled back in time) and you don't see him again, ever. When you get to 2006, he's not there, since his linear time line was stopped when the 2005 version of himself went back to 2004. Does that clear it up?

Mark Madel said...

Toby said...

There must be some way to immunize people from the effects of the time bounce, because otherwise Cindy the flight attendant and the two kids would have been left behind with Locke as well.


That was my point from my previous post... are you absolutely certain that Cindy and the kids were present in Locke's group?

Because then it wouldn't make any sense that Juliet was jumping through time as well - and it would be a rather large hole in the writer's 'time-travel logic'.

Chris said...

"Peter's explanation works if you are fixated (i.e. have a camera on) the perspective and timestream of the redshirt (like Screaming Neil for example). But what about the perspective of the arrow shooter? In year X, I, the arrow shooter, look through my binoculars and get a clear view of the face of someone I've never seen before, and my instructions are to kill anyone I don't recognize. So I kill that loudmouth yelling on the beach (Screaming Neal) with my flaming arrow. The kill haunts me and I will never forget that man's face. It occurs (for example) in the year 2004.

I make it my mission to apologize to his family, and spend my days trying to find them. In 2005, I find Screaming Neil alive and obsessed with building fires in HIS timestream on the Island. What?!? Why is my timestream able to be violated? Why is Neil's timestream judged to be more important than mine and he is allowed to exist in 2005, even though I shot him in 2004?"

This does not make any logical sense at all. I have read this post three times and it is clear that you are just running in circles. Neil died in the past because it was his present at that moment in time. If the guy who killed him saw him alive in the future it would not make any difference at all. If the guy tried to kill Neil in 2004 he would not be able to, if he wanted to neil about his death his death at his hands in the past he would not be able to he would not able to due to what Mrs. Hawkings said about course correction in FBYE. And in 2005 Neil would disappear because he never existed in 2005 and the guy would be like wtf. So at the end of the day everything would go on as normal. It does not make anyone's timeliness more important than the other because it ALWAYS happened that way.

"And thus my prediction that viewership will crash this year."

Give yourself a pat on the back for that. This happens every season and will most likely happen again. At the end of the day the show is gonna get another season so it irrelevant. As long as people who are watching the show like it (as they apparently did with this episode) that's all hat matters.

Chris said...

There must be some way to immunize people from the effects of the time bounce, because otherwise Cindy the flight attendant and the two kids would have been left behind with Locke as well.

Maybe that is the reason that they were taken by the others and the other losties were not? They brought Juliet to the island out of necessity not because they believed she could be a part of their group, whereas the tailies who were taken by the other were taken because the others felt they were worthy for some reason. So perhaps that is why juliet is in the same boat as losties

Chris said...

Proof that the writers knew what they were doing in Season 1 : Remember in season 1 episode Locke has a dream of drug plane crashing, then he has a vision of Eko falling from the cliff (just like Locke fell this episode), also his legs stop working in the episode he finds the drug plane. What if all of these were not visions but soft memories from time travel?

Andy said...

"Heroes" has ruined all time travel stories for me.

gina said...

Stef: During the scene in the jungle right before Sawyer and Juliet are captured by those soldiers, a friend and I both had the same thought -- what if our "unstuck in time" Lostaways are actually the whispers we've been hearing all along??

I think this is a fantastic theory!

Alan, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on last night's show. Great write-up. And I love reading through all of the comments - they help to clear away some of the confusion for me.

todmod said...

UAM, I really enjoy your Dexter posts, but the superior sounding "the show's ratings will tank once everyone realizes it's terrible like I've been saying" is just irritating.

Lost is definitely not for everyone, but its large devoted fan base gets a huge kick out of it. There's plenty of reasons to love it, and reasons to hate it. You've picked yours - it's clear.

christy said...

I've read all the comments and the ones that answer my queries about time travel only hold up if you fixate on the perspective of the Lostees.

No, they don't. Your example is logically flawed. If a 2004-soldier killed 2005-Neil in 2004, then continued to live his life, then ran into Neil in 2005, Neil wouldn't be screaming on the beach. That happened in 2004. He'd be in the zodiac with Faraday. Then he would promptly disappear, because that's when he went to 2004 (or whenever--not the actual dates, obviously). The solider would remember Neil, but Neil wouldn't remember the soldier (because he hasn't gone back in time yet, and he won't get shot until he does). Neither of their timestreams would be "violated" (whatever that means) any more than the other.

I think perhaps the problem is that when you're talking about time travel, there are two things that we call "time." One is a large, cosmic idea of time, in which all history occurs in a certain order, and then you have time as each person perceives it, when they live their lives one event after another, and even if one of those events is a time-jump, they remember things in the order THEY do them, not in the order they occur in the larger concept called time.

Of course there are paradoxes in time travel, but it doesn't mean humans aren't capable of understanding the basic concepts. If it's actually so hard to get that fewer people watch...well, then it'll still have many times the viewers that most of the shows I watch have. But I suspect most people will just go along for the ride, they way they have for every other popular time travel story written throughout history.

so now there are two lockes.
each iteration of locke moving forward in time. one at the box company and one on the island. same for all the rest of the 815s on the island.


Yes, there are two Lockes in that moment in 2003--2003-Locke (working at the box factory) and 2005-Locke (with his knives on the island)--but they don't go on living in parallel forever and ever. 2003-Locke will eventually become 2005-Locke, who will go back in time.

It's been hinted that Charlotte was born on the island. What if Faraday is her father or he somehow facilitated her departure from the island when she was a kid.

I don't know about that, but I do think we'll find out that more people are blood related than we know of so far. And I really hope we'll find out more about Charlotte's earlier time on the island.

Lane said...

is something wrong with me if I can suspend the disbelief and go with the flow instead of analyzing the time stuff until one's head explodes?

That Dude Over There said...

While watching this tonight and being as amazed as ever by Jorge Garcia, I had what I thought was a brilliant casting idea: Garcia would be perfect to play the part of Ignatius Reilly in the film version of Confederacy of Dunces.

But I checked Google and, well, I'm not exactly the first person to make that connection: Matt Seitz made that very suggestion nearly three years ago on The House Next Door, and it's been repeated by a couple of bloggers since.

Still, new idea or not, I think it absolutely, positively must come to pass.

Anonymous said...

No one mentioned Hurley's best line: when he asked Sayid if he wanted a french fry (singular).

Raz Cunningham said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Dr. Chang's baby in the opening turned out to be Miles.

Anonymous said...

"is something wrong with me if I can suspend the disbelief and go with the flow instead of analyzing the time stuff until one's head explodes?"


now where is the fun in that?


"Yes, there are two Lockes in that moment in 2003--2003-Locke (working at the box factory) and 2005-Locke (with his knives on the island)--but they don't go on living in parallel forever and ever. 2003-Locke will eventually become 2005-Locke, who will go back in time."


@christy. you are getting me close. but how does "2003-Locke will eventually become 2005-Locke" work??? 2005-locke is chillin' on the beach one day in 2004, biding his time on the island since he popped into the year 2003) when ol' 2003-locke drops from the sky off 815. and they merge somehow? how does that work? do you know?

because the show so far has been from the perspective of 2003-locke (with some fuzzy visions of 2005's island time.)

did i miss a flash of white light in the pilot ep or something?



and if frogert does "promptly disappear" in 2005 because he was killed in the past after his time movement, doesn't that violate the "kill hitler"/you can't change the past rule?

were candle and faraday wrong about the rules of time travel?

xyz said...


and if frogert does "promptly disappear" in 2005 because he was killed in the past after his time movement, doesn't that violate the "kill hitler"/you can't change the past rule?

were candle and faraday wrong about the rules of time travel?


No Candle/Faraday were right. Hitler and Frogurt situation is not analogous. Hitler died in 1945 that is set in stone, if Tom Cruise was to build a time machine to go back to 1920 and kill Hitler, according to Lost's rules Cruise will fail no matter what he does. Hitler had already gone down the string of time and gotten to the end of his life before Tom Cruise decided to go back and tried to kill him and obviously he failed. But Frogurt has no future beyond 2005, as he goes down the string of time when he reaches 2005 he disappears back to 2004, now when he is in 2004, 2004 becomes his present and he is fair game to die as so far there is no future set in stone for him beyond 2005. So, to someone on the island who was unaffected by island jumping time (say Richard Alpert) it would appear that Frogurt disappeared in 2005 and never came back whereas the characters who survive potentially will join the timeline at some point. If you want a better analogy with Hitler, it would be if Tom Cruise was alive during Hitler's reign and he built the time machine in say 1935 and in 1936 he tricked Hitler to walk into his time machine and sent him back to the dinosaur age where a group of dinosaurs ate him. That way history would be different because Hitler "disappeared" in 1936 never to be seen again. This was only possible because Hitler's future ended in 1936. This was only possible because time-travel was used to manipulate the present, not the past. The situation is same with Frogurt.

Folks, let's not pull out hairs over time travel, listen to the newest official Lost podcast where Damon & Carlton hint that they will be dealing things kinda similar to those mentioned in these comments in future episodes.

Anonymous said...

@xyz,

sorry for being ignorant here, and many thanks to you and all other posters ("others!!!") for helping me get to that "eureka!" moment. what you have forgotten is that "until you know, you don't know" thing about the human mind. i appreciate all of the help. and trust me, you are helping a lot of other people reading this understand that which you know that we don't know.

so your contention is... once you die... your existence is "set in stone" and can never be changed by time travel back from the future. death makes your future unchangeable.

ok. that works i guess. so frogert is subject to a previous termination and therefore a future sudden disappearance because he was still alive when he went back in time. ok.

(i'd like to know where these rules of time travel come from. it didn't come from lost. do you scifi/comic book folks have a wiki someplace that explains these things? help a brother out? link?)

but that still leaves the question of the parallel lockes. per alan, 12 monkeys showed (apparently) that two (or more) bruce willis' could exist in the same place at different times in their lives as different entities. and poster @christy above stated that the "parallel-ness" of their lives could/would/perhaps intersect at some point and become one again.


xyz, my man! going back to our previously made up timelines, how does 2003-locke, falling from the sky, hook up and combine with the 2005-locke, lazing on the beach in 2004 from his time travel from 2005 to 2003? there are decidedly two lockes in existence at this time.

how do parallel lockes combine?

or just give me a link to that time-travel scifi wiki with all of the rules and i will figure it out for myself.

thank you xyz. thank you all. this has been the greatest of discussions.

and my apologies to alan for having to read all of this crap. (you get the emails, right?) so nice of you to give us a forum to discuss all of this. my left eye just twitches when i don't get the concept they are pushing... and that makes it hard to watch the show.

Moski1213 said...

Alan,

Not only is 12 Monkeys a great example of closed-loop time travel, but so is The Terminator.

In that movie's future, John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to "protect" his mother. This occurs because John knows that Kyle is his father, and the only way he can exist at all is to send Kyle back in time to *become* his father, and thus fulfill his role in destiny.

On the same token, Kyle was sent back AFTER Skynet sent the Terminator back to kill Sarah Connor, which creates the chain of events leading up to Skynet itself's creation: The arm and chip from the destroyed Terminator are eventually reverse-engineered to become the main research at Cyberdyne Systems, which eventually gives birth to Skynet the self-aware machine.

So within the context of ONLY the first movie, the time travel and all its paradoxes are completely contained within this predestination loop. The events caused by the time travelers were always SUPPOSED to happen. John teaches Kyle "No Fate" because he knows Kyle says it to Sarah who will eventually teach it to young John. And the reason he does this is because he remembers it all, as related to him by Sarah. And so on.

Again, this only applies to the FIRST Terminator movie, as the later movies and The Sarah Connor Chronicles each open up that loop a LOT more and more, in order to have room to tell their stories.

I think the Lost guys have chosen the best theory of time travel to tell their story. Faraday's explanation of time being a string, and that we could never create a new string by interfering, makes perfect sense to me, as does the 12 Monkeys time travel. If the time travel in Lost was all butterfly-effect, Back-to-the-future-style time travel, then no events would have any dramatic weight or resonance; they could simply just be done over by some other twist of time.

This is fun. I had a similar debate in December with a fellow SCC watcher, and it was a blast 'cause she believes each change in the past creates a new future, something I have ZERO interest in as a viewer.

--Ray

Moski1213 said...

Also, back to Terminator again:

If the Terminator was to successfully kill Sarah Connor in the first movie, then John would never have existed to send Kyle Reese back to help Sarah destroy the Terminator. If she never destroyed the machine, then Skynet itself would cease to exist because of its own interference in the past.

Basically, the whole future would collapse under the weight of the Terminator's success.

But with Skynet being a machine and possibly only calculating odds and probabilities and all that, maybe it doesn't realize that it can never win the future war, because it has to lose in order to be desperate enough to send the Terminator back in the first place. Kyle said in the first movie that the humans won the war but Skynet tried one last Hail Mary play to cheat its own destiny. Skynet could never be successful with all its time mucking about, because all those events have already happened in its own past, and in John's past too.

Of course, predestination theories don't really work for The Sarah Connor Chronicles because they have to pad out an unknown number of episodes, but I think all the time travel on that show cheapens the experience a bit. People come and go like ridin an Amtrak.

--Ray

Anonymous said...

Fr those still confused, push the 2003-2005 Locke thing to the conclusion.

The 2003 Locke exists for two more years... and now it is 2005 and he's still John Locke. All this time there's a parallel JL existing as well. But, at the right moment, one of them vanishes back into time, becoming the 2003 Locke. And the other one continues on to become the 2006 John Locke.

In this way, as someone else intimated, if the record continues to skip there can be a very large number of John Lockes in existence at one time.

Anonymous said...

ha! yeah!

i get that there are two lockes. and then in 2004/5 timeframe these two lockes converge.

but every explanation on this thread is *poof*, they just do, now there is one locke.

wait, what? "one of them vanishes back into time???" one of them just vanishes back into time? bullshit!


my problem is, and what i have been asking for all day, is an explanation of the *poof*!!!

perhaps i have not been making myself clear. or there is a secret you don't want to divulge. or there is an answer you don't know.

i will accept any answer. yes, we know... no, we don't... we're just messing with you... all acceptable.

question: parallel john lockes exist. our "2003" locke, and our "2005" locke. HOW EXACTLY DO THESE TWO *POOF* AND BECOME THE ONE JOHN LOCKE IN 2004? (or whatever year, you know we are just messing with the years here)

and please do not answer "of course they do, we all know and understand that."

i don't know and understand that.

most of the viewers of lost don't know and understand that.

so if you happen to know and understand... would you please be so kind as to give the rest of us a clue? you would be doing this show and it ratings a HUGE favor by explaining what you know and understand. so viewers don't abandon this fine show and mess up its ratings.

again the question: how do the two lockes *poof* and become one?

anybody?

Matthew L said...

question: parallel john lockes exist. our "2003" locke, and our "2005" locke. HOW EXACTLY DO THESE TWO *POOF* AND BECOME THE ONE JOHN LOCKE IN 2004? (or whatever year, you know we are just messing with the years here)

They don't. rather than thinking of them as "2003 Locke" and "2005 Locke". So it's 2003, and current Locke works at a box factory. In 2004, current Locke finds himself on the island. In 2005, current Locke travels back in time to a point in the past. He's still current Locke, but somewhere in the world there is now a past Locke who is two years younger. And what past Locke does is fixed, no matter what, because that is what current Locke did two years ago. And if nothing else happened, there would be two Lockes existing until either (a) current Locke time travels again, and jumps back to a different time period, leaving just past Locke who will eventually arrive on the island, (b) current Locke dies somehow in 2003, leaving past Locke blissfully unaware that somewhere his decaying corpse already exists, or (c) if current Locke stays around for a couple of years, past Locke finds himself on the island, eventually time travels back to 2003, leaving just one current Locke, who is however two years older than he otherwise would be because he lived through an additional two years.

The problem if they just somehow merge into 2004 Locke is that Locke would cease to exist without dying. Current Locke would just be POOF absorbed back into his past.

It actually is very simple and logical, there is no time-travel wiki, you just need to think it through. If Locke travelled back to 1900, there would be only one Locke in existence - current Locke who happens to be in the past. So why should there be a problem if Locke happens to travel back to some time when he does exist - especially if currnet Locke never meets up with past Locke.

The key thing is the fact that time is a dimension, just like length and width and height. If I exist on one spot, and then take a step to the left, I'm actually moving in one dimension or another. Doesn't mean I suddenly cease to exist. Similarly, according to the show, Locke can now move through time, but that's just a different dimension, he's just stepping to the left but through time. This doesn't mean he suddenly becomes immortal somehow (sorry UAM) nor does it mean that he will cease to exist somehow. He'll just carry on like normal, dying if something happens to him that would kill him, but never just ceasing to exist.

Time travel in stories is complicated enough without trying to overthink it - all you'll do is confuse yourself. Just watch the show with the perspective that the Locke, Juliet, or Sawyer are current Locke, Juliet, or Sawyer. They can choose to do whatever they want. But anything they did in the past is fixed, because it's already been done.

And please, watch 12 Monkeys. It really is one of the best presentations of the "everything is fixed" view that Lost is presenting.

Mark Madel said...

Anonymous, there is no secret; you just haven't quite grasped what we're saying yet. The two Lockes (or however many) are NEVER going to meet because we've never seen them meet. In other words, if Locke was going to meet a second Locke, for example, when he was pounding on the hatch back in season one, we would have seen them meet THEN (although there might have been a second Locke watching from the bushes we didn't see).

Let's try it this way instead; as two possible scenarios:

1) Suppose you invent a time machine 1 week from today and decide to go back exactly 1 week. Once there, you decide to hide somewhere in your house and only observe the other version of yourself (but NOT interact). So, you secretly observe your other self doing ALL the things you remember that you did, exactly as you did them, until the day that the other version steps into the time machine and goes back 1 week. Once that version has gone back in time, there is only 'you' left - the up-to-date, current version of yourself.

2) Now suppose instead that when you go back in time 1 week, you decide that you're going to introduce yourself to your past self. *Poof* - all of a sudden, out of nowhere, today, there is a second version of yourself introducing themselves to you, and telling you that he’s from 1 week in the future (and acting all cool and superior). You humor the second version of yourself (and the two of you hangout for the week) until the day when you climb into the machine and go back to meet your past self. When you meet, you act cool and superior (since, after all, you ARE the one who's doing the time traveling) - and you find yourself acting and speaking exactly as you remember the 'future' version of yourself doing - and the 'past' version is replying exactly as you remember doing at the time. You hangout until that version steps into the time machine, and then, once again, there is only 'you' left - the up-to-date, current version of yourself.

In both cases, both of your versions existed simultaneously for that week, but you existed only inside the head of the ‘current’ version – the one which was YOUR specific timeline.

BTW, if you understand relativity, you understand that time anomalies are not just confined to time-travel and science fiction - they are very REAL. The way anything experiences time is determined by where it is and how fast it's moving; so someone traveling fast will appear to age slower than someone who isn't - the twins paradox. If humans didn't understand this we would never be able to have accurate clocks in satellites, and things like GPS wouldn't work correctly (since satellite clocks are faster than earthbound clocks by 38 microseconds per day).

christy said...

Anon: I'm so sorry. I think my comment confused you unnecessarily. All I meant when I said that 2003-Locke would eventually become 2005-Locke is that time moves forward, and the Locke that works in the box factory will eventually go to the island then go back in time. So, even though there is a Locke on the island when there's a Locke at the box factory, there won't ALWAYS be two Lockes. Does that make sense?

Here:
http://img66520.pictiger.com/images/17701609/z/

It seems like you later figured out what I meant when I said that Neil would promptly disappear. It wasn't because he died in the past. It was because he WENT to the past. When he went from 2005 to 2003 (or whenever), he disappeared from 2005. Say, from the perspective of the Oceanic 6, who stayed in 2005 when the island disappeared.

James said...

My thoughts:

1. The lostaways are the only ones time-shifting, the Island moved geographically with what Ben did but is not time-shifting itself. That explains why the camp was gone.

2. If you can't change the past, how did Locke get shot by Ethan? Ethan shouldn't have been able to interact with Locke...

3. Could Daniel have time-traveled to the hatch shown at the beginning of the episode in the 2-hour span that he was missing? It seems plausible that while he was there with Desmond (his constant) that he may be able to directly control his own time traveling.

4. The flaming arrows came from the past right? The british soldiers were in the future.

5. I like the idea that the whispers could be the time-shifting lostaways.

6. Maybe the original inhabitants don't time-shift because the island is their constant? Or their souls belong to the island so they're bound to it?

7. Daniel Dae Kim was in the opening credits as a starring role, not a guest role so maybe he swam into the proximity of the island enough to get caught in the geographical shift but not enough for the time shift?

Mark Madel said...

James said...

1. The lostaways are the only ones time-shifting, the Island moved geographically with what Ben did but is not time-shifting itself. That explains why the camp was gone.


This doesn't make a lot of sense. If you know anything about the experience of time, it's DIRECTLY related to where you are (your 'geographical' location) and your speed of movement - you can't separate those things - and I hope the writers aren't trying to do that.

2. If you can't change the past, how did Locke get shot by Ethan? Ethan shouldn't have been able to interact with Locke...

People keep repeating this same question in different forms even though it's been answered already many times. Locke DIDN'T change the past; Ethan already had (and always will) shoot Locke at that moment in Ethan's own life.

3. Could Daniel have time-traveled to the hatch shown at the beginning of the episode in the 2-hour span that he was missing?

Possibly - but I'm guessing it was at another moment.

4. The flaming arrows came from the past right? The british soldiers were in the future.

It's unlikely that the Lost writers are going to imply that you can travel into the future, since the future (in traditional thinking) doesn't exist yet. My guess is that both events were in the past.

7. Daniel Dae Kim was in the opening credits as a starring role, not a guest role so maybe he swam into the proximity of the island enough to get caught in the geographical shift but not enough for the time shift?

Not sure what proximity has to do with anything - Ben was closest but he jumped in time, as well as Locke and Juliet.

Anonymous said...

Like if the flaming arrows were fired by people from a different time, how come they killed some present-day redshirts? They just said the past can't change the future (or vice versa), but then we see past Ethan shoot present Locke, and present Locke throw a knife and kill a (presumably) past soldier. How is this not changing things? And why couldn't you kill Hitler then?

Farraday's point is that the interlopers from the future were always in the past and helped bring about these events. There was never a past without Ethan shooting Locke, without Socks dying by flaming arrows, et cetera. Locke was always there when the plane crashed; the Socks were always there when the archers shot. There was never a time where they weren't there.

Andrew said...

Instead of 2003 Locke and 2005 Locke, let's think of Locke per his age.

In 2003, Locke is 51 years old, having completed 51 years of life and is now working at Hurley's box factory. In 2004, Locke is 52 years old and decides to go to Australia and ends up crashing on the Island. The day that he goes with Ben to the Orchid station happens to be his birthday and he turns 53.

After spending 53 years on Earth, either the island or the lostaways go all Billy Pilgrim and become unstuck in time, and the 53-year old Locke is there to see Yemi's plane bring that sweet, sweet heroin to the island. At that moment in 2003, 51 year old Locke is working in a box factory, but 53 year old Locke has travelled through time back to 2003.

From Richard's perspective, Locke comes to the Others after Ben turns the frozen donkey wheel, they have a conversation, the sky goes bright, and Locke disappears (to go back to 2003).

christy said...

Yes, age is a much better way of putting it, Andrew, thank you.

It's hard to type about this stuff because we don't really have precise vocabulary for it.

Larry C said...

I think Mrs. Hawking must be a Time Lord.

latenac said...

Wow I hope she is a time lord.

Locke=Jesus right? He has to die to save the island. He sacrifices himself off island and they have just under 3 days to get him back to the island for his resurrection.

The time travel stuff doesn't bother me. I think it's fairly well done. And Hurley was heartbreaking when Ben was talking to him. You could see he wanted to believe him so badly.

What does bother me is the OH NOES moments right before commercial breaks. I could see commercials coming a mile away. It's like reading The DaVinci code where every chapter ends with a cliffhanger.

And if most of this season is about the off-island people saying we have to get back and then saying no and flip flopping I'll be annoyed.

I am also happy that so much seems to hinge on Farraday and Desmond. I really like both of their characters a lot. I would also like to thank DVR and whoever invented it and the fast forward button.

Andrew said...

Im late to watch/late to post.

What's happening with the other survivors from 815. Are Cindy and the children (I think last seen in "The Brig") moving too. The only thing I can think of is being on Jacob's list saves them from this.

Also Alan despite Hurley's huge heart, Frogurt might be the only person he wouldn't want to save...

The Adventures of Hurley and Frogurt

treved said...

I've read all the comments, and watched the episode twice, and I still don't understand the following:

1) Why do the Oceanic 6 care so much about who they left behind on the Island? Other than Sawyer, Juliet, Rose, & Bernard, they've never shown they give a damn about anyone who is left. I know this was discussed above but I don't think the answer was very satisfying.

Still...

2) Why are they lying? I know the truth sounds absolutely insane (as demonstrated by Hurley with his mom), but the island moved - there's no danger of anyone finding it. Why the need to lie? I just don't buy it...