Thursday, May 11, 2006

The New Yorker proclaims today LOST Theory Day

Still not sure quite what to make of last night’s LOST. I could bellyache about how I wasn’t satisfied with Mr. Eko’s flashback, or complain that I thought that the pacing was too slow, but I have bigger fish to fry. Last night’s episode had some startling and perplexing implications about the larger mythology, and I'm in the mood to theorize.

Mr. Eko goes to visit the family of the daughter who has been miraculously revived, and has a conversation with the girl’s father, who also happens to be Claire’s psychic. Last season’s episode “Raised by Another” was one of the creepiest episodes aired to date. The insistence of the sinister psychic that Claire’s baby must not fall into the hands of “others,” and that she must raise it herself was unsettling to say the least. His sudden change of heart and urgency that she get on a plane to give her baby up in America, was disturbing when considering that the psychic foresaw the plane crash. As it turned out, she would be the one to care for the baby, which is what he had argued for in the first place. But last night when the psychic spoke to Mr. Eko, he confessed that he was a fraud, and much to the chagrin of his wife, fabricated his psychic readings.

There are a few different possibilities here.

1) The psychic didn’t know what he was talking about when he told Claire that if her baby fell into the wrong hands it could be disastrous. He told her that to frighten her, and then since he’s an unsavory character, he lined up some buyers for the baby in America, and was somehow going to get a back end fee for setting up Claire’s baby with the couple in the U.S. The fact that the plane crashed and the baby’s well being would later be endangered was all a coincidence. This is my least favorite possibility. The eerie premonition of the baby’s importance is completely deflated if it was all just some mumbo jumbo spouted by a second rate faux psychic. I suppose there is an argument to be made that there’s something still significant about the role that fate played in Claire’s trajectory. The psychic actually wasn’t a psychic, and didn’t know about the plane crash, but his suspicious actions led her to the island at any rate.

2) The psychic was lying when he told Mr. Eko he was a fraud. This, however, doesn’t seem like a viable possibility. There was no impetus for him to bring up his profession at all, no reason for him to lay himself out on the line to a priest he had just met. His confession of disbelief in miracles seemed like a genuine reflection of his regard for “otherworldly” matters.

3) The psychic does in fact have the gift of sight, but he does understand it or believe it, and chooses to be cynical about his abilities, chalking them up to lucky guessing and coincidence.

Whatever the case may be, this scene laid to waste the crux of a solid episode from last season. I like it when inexplicable and potentially supernatural elements converge via the survivors on the island. Claire’s baby has a loaded future, Walt has special powers, Locke was miraculously healed, people continue to have visions on the island, etc. But now more than ever the show seems to be leaning towards a more specific scientific reasoning for everything, which I find remiss because I liked the whole “magic island” feel.

Also in this episode, Mr. Eko and Locke discover the pearl station, another piece in the Dharma Initiative puzzle. There, the two men discovered a monitoring station which had active video surveillance of “The Hatch” and another Orientation video. The video, much like the first one found by Eko earlier in the season, detailed the tasks to be fulfilled at the Pearl station. The men on duty are meant to record what they saw in the hatch in simple logs and then send them (via messenger tubes) to a central command of sorts. The video instructions did not give much explanation for the purpose of their duties, only that they must be completed. To complicate things, the station looked empty and unused, as if no one had been working there for years.

Here are some of my theories.

1)The island was once the sight of some grand scientific experiment perhaps funded by the Hanso Foundation that went awry. The leaders of the Others were once the executors of the experiments, but after “the accident”, they run wild and crazed through the jungle. They have now also absorbed the former test subjects into their group, and order them to do their bidding. So contrary to what I’ve said before (but in agreement with certain talk backers here) the Others are in fact comprised of two groups of people. Those who used to run the Dharma Initiative, and those who were the Guinea pigs. Just what this terrible event was, I’m not sure, but it might be that they lost control of the elements they were trying to harness such as the electro-magnetic forces and the biological components.

2) The experiment is on going. The Dharma Initiative is bogus, and the pearl station was nothing more than a staging prop, something to make the survivors believe that they are at the site of a failed testing ground. The orientation video tapes and equipment were purpose planted with the intention of being found. The Others are all just actors who use costumes (see fake beard) and technology to manipulate the survivors into thinking there is some rhyme or reason to the things that they find on the island. Everything is a part of the facade, the Black Rock, the Hatches, even Rousseau is cahoots with them. They even kidnapped Claire knowing that she would eventually have flashbacks and remember exactly what they wanted her to remember. This is why the medical hatch was abandoned when Claire, Kate and Rousseau went back to it. It was nothing more than a fake set. The coincidences and connections among the survivors exist because…well, I’m not exactly how that would fit into it. Maybe they are all unique in some way, or are drawn to each other for a certain reason. Maybe it’s a six degrees of separation thing, or maybe their ancestors were all involved in some crazy WWII scheme, who knows. I’m not sure how I feel about the experiment within an experiment thing however. If one was conducting a behavioral study on humans in an enclosed environment, why would the cover up be so close to the actual truth? It could be considered reverse psychology, but I’m not sure.

That’s all I got for today. Anyone have a better idea?


Anonymous The Rodenator said...

New Yorker,
I am glad that we agree that the pacing of last night's episode was rather slow. I had an argument about that with CoenBros. this morning.

Did anyone else have a strange hankering for Sprite after watching last night's episode?

2:42 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Coenbros disagreed? How? Why?

What are your theories rodenator?

2:59 PM  
Blogger Scooter said...

Here's my psychic/Claire theory: The first visit was his usual hoax of a reading that he really does. Then he change his opinion after he was bought and payed by someone (The Others?) to get her on the flight to LA so she, and more importantly Aaron, would get on the island.

3:34 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Interesting. So you think the Others operate outside of the island and worked to get those specific people there. The head scratcher for me is why these people in particular...

3:39 PM  
Anonymous The Rodenator said...

Coenbros. and I disagred about the show's pacing. He thought it was fascinating throughout, while I thought it was rather slow and stated that the show really didn't do that much for me. I mean I can't say the episode was deeply flawed other than the pacing, but I just wasn't blown away.

As far as my theories go. I didn't really dwell on the episode too much. I was glad that one of the characters (Eko) finally revealled to another character how the Island might have supernatural powers. I don't know why it took him until now to point out that both he and his brother wound up on a tiny island half a world away from where they last saw each other. I can understand that some of the people might fear that if they reveal or talk about the oddness of what is going on on the island that that they might be deemed crazy, but there isn't enough discussion in my opinion. Biggest case in point, Locke hasn't told anyone that he was paralyzed. Nobody has discussed the polar bear or the island monster. Also why don't they ever have a discussion like, "Gee, I wonder what this hatch was used for. Who put it here? Why did they leave? Who are the Others? How did they get here?" etc. etc. You know basically the discussions that we are having. Wait a minute though, that is just my harping on the show rather than me putting forth any theories.

Do we know where Temi's plane was bringing the heroin? I want to think that they were making a drop on the island, as they were flying right over what Eko believes is a target, but I don't think that jibes with the episode when the plane took off.

New Yorker, I really like your tying the two groups of Others into the ones who ran the experiments and the subjects. I hadn't thought of that, but it is cool.

I was a little upset with last night's episode as it really led me and Locke to believe that pushing the button is just useless and part of some sort of obedience experiment. Why upset? Because wasn't that what many fans believed immediately when the button first turned up. Eko doesn't believe this though, and maybe that belief is too surface.

On the surface it seems that the survivors are completing tasks in an abandoned experiment. It seems that those who observed the original experiment were also being observed and perhaps studied. Or is all this stuff planted like the million year old dinosaur bones in Creationist theory?

I like your idea that the psychic is very cynical about his gifts. Maybe he is jaded and believes himself a charlatan. Maybe he fears his powers. Perhaps he has glimpsed some things that are so frightening that he would rather doubt his powers than believe his visions to be true.

I was a bit disappointed that Libby was killed before her story was really finished. Why was she in the psychiatric hospital? However I like the realism of that. People often die with loose ends hanging about.

Does JJ Abrams have an explanation planned that
will satisfy us?

Did anyone else notice the Sprite ad? Was anyone else frustrated by

At the risk of being crass, I will offer the following observation. At least Hurly's fantasy of Libby liking him gets to survive. The fantasy had to die or Libby did. Or maybe due to the fact that they were on a deserted island, his dreams were going to come true.

4:15 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Coenbros found it fascinating? What a fool? The thing about the whole discovery of the pearl station is that it almost felt too on the nose. Just as it does that the button is merely being pressed as part of an expriment. Yet it's a tricky thing, because I'm unsure of what the alternatives might be.

As for Eko's faith and the idea of the island being supernatural --it doesn't seem to be the first time that anyone has discussed it. I think people have alluded to it before (like Rose w/ Locke and the healind powers, or Jack seeing his father) but I feel that they've taken it beyond the point of no return. I used to believe the island was all supernatural and stuff, but now I think they've gone too much in the opposite direction with trying to create an explanation for everything in a scientific way, i.e. the Hanso Foundation. It would take a lot to convince me that the island was supernatural again.

I did not notice the Sprite ad, but after following your link, I WAS disappointed by that web site. I don't get it.

I'm really hoping they throw us a bone here before the season is over and done with.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I think the psychic is legit, but was lying to Eko for reasons unknown. I think the only reason he brings up his occupation is because it's convenient for the plot, but I would be very surprised if he was a fake, especially since he gave Claire's money back after making his prophesy last season.

I'm ambivalent about the idea that this is an experiment gone awry, or at the very least, hijacked by sinister forces. I still believe in the "magic island" explanation to the extent that the experiment on the island tapped into some psychic phenomena that has now been unleashed, i.e. the black smoke, the dreams, etc.

However, I think I'm gaining insight into the show by playing along with "The Lost Experience," which is the game they're running alongside the show. If you haven't played along, I highly recommend it. It's fun, kind of creepy, and a great tie-in - probably better than "Bad Twin." Having played along with the game for a couple days now, it looks to me like the experiment IS on-going, but that there are renegade people who WERE participants but have since had to go underground and try to disseminate information about The Hanso Foundation in any way they can. I suspect those people are loose on the island doing the best they can, in addition to those Others who are trying to maintain control.

I didn't have any problems with the site. The site is part of the game, and you have to click on the TV sets a certain number of times to get to the next clues. I'll let you guess the proper numbers.

4:58 PM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

I clicked on the TV's a number of times, but it just brought me the Hanso Foundation website.

Also I want to play the game, how can I?

5:02 PM  
Blogger The Coen Bros. said...

I really liked this episode. I guess I jaut really like Eko and Locke and was glad it focused on them. And while the flashback was weak sauce, there was so litte of it (yeah!) that it didn't bother me much.

I just love the island mythology stuff. I am so tired of "character" episodes that do little to explain what is happening that I really enjoy when the island is explored. And I loved that orientation video and all the odd little 1980 details and old moniters. As for what is going on? I have no theory, but I do not believe that whatever Hanso was up to is still going on. They need to push that button.

Would you rather have another Jack tries to save a life episode?

7:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

after clicking on the sets, it should give you a password that you use on the Hanso Foundation site. You put it in on one of the "Bios" pages.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Also, did you see this:

9:01 AM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Woah. Just saw the video on google. Is that part of the game? Leaked online by the producers I assume?

Also thanks for the tip on the pw, I will try it.

9:30 AM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Also is that code case sensitive, and is there a space b/w the two words? I can't get the damn thing to work...

9:41 AM  
Blogger The New Yorker said...

Nevermind, figured out the password thing.

10:12 AM  

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