Analysis: 5.10 He's Our You

I have been very clear in my thinking regarding timelines on Lost. You could say I subscribe to the Daniel Faraday point of view: Whatever happened, happened. That is, the process of going back in time does not allow the time traveller to change events in history that will alter the future. I’m not too bothered about the theoretical science about this in real life – I’ve just been a staunch advocate of such a perspective on Lost.

And then Sayid put a bullet straight into Young Ben’s chest and, abruptly, I am forced to question that perspective.

So Sayid shoots Young Ben in 1977. Does that mean that, say, the Ben we last saw lying in a bed in 2007 ceases to exist? Will his body simply vanish from existence? Well, surely not. The idea that Young Ben died means he never met Sayid when caught in a net, or did any of the other hundreds of things that eventually resulted in the Oceanic 6 leaving and then returning.

No. The paradoxes created are simply boundless. But, so the argument runs, that’s only if we stick to the idea of one timeline. In essence, Young Ben dying may produce an alternate timeline - a different future - and it may even be the one that Sun and Frank found themselves in, with the rundown Dharma facilities and so forth.

The argument is: When Ajira 316 crashed on the Island somehow it ‘jumped’ into this alternate timeline, one where Ben was killed as a Young Boy on the Island, and that’s just going to be one of the problems that Sun faces in trying to repair what has happened to get back to Jin. It’s a plot, I suppose, but it seems kind of messy to my mind.

And the thing is, if alternate timelines can occur just because Young Ben got shot, then why not occur for other such major instances where our Losties have travelled into the past and effected changes? Let’s take Jughead the Bomb as a prime example.

In the episode Jughead, we saw Sawyer and Locke and Faraday travel back to the 1950s to discover Alpert and The Others dealing with the bomb on the Island. Now Faraday stepped up and informed them that needed to bury the thing deep and that way they would be safe from the radioactive leak. If there are alternate timelines then that means there’s a timeline where Faraday didn’t change history, and didn’t tell them to bury the bomb, and radiation covered the Island with who knows what consequences.

It’s a mess, right? This one example is just one of many moments where alternate timelines could have been created and yet we have never seen, which is what reinforces my assertion that multiple timelines don’t exist on Lost. Young Ben got shot. The crucial point is that Young Ben always got shot by Sayid. It always happened. And, obviously, that means Young Ben surely can’t die. It wouldn’t be the first time someone got shot on the Island and survived.

Indeed, there’s a certain irony in the idea that Young Ben ‘miraculously’ survives due to the Island’s healing powers, the same way it allowed Locke to stand up and walk with a broken back. Or, alternatively ironic, the discovery of the seriously-injured Young Ben may require Jack to step up with his surgeon skills and save the boy’s life.

It’s not as if we’ve never seen Jack operating on Ben to keep him alive, right?

Imagine if this moment, for Young Ben, when Sayid shot him, is the last time he sees Sayid until that moment he is caught in a net and Sayid comes out of the jungle.

Can you imagine? The man that shot you close to thirty years ago suddenly pops up? That’d be cause for concern. And Ben was stricken with a spinal tumour at that time, too – the Island was no longer healing him! Sayid certainly gave Ben a hell of a beating back in that episode One Of Them - the question is did Ben know back then that he was going to get out of it alive? It’s feasible.

What’s perhaps more interesting is the idea that Sayid, in shooting Young Ben, forges the colder, more calculating man we have come to know.

Sayid, naturally, killed Young Ben because he was utterly oblivious to Faraday’s talk about “whatever happened, happened”. Sayid no doubt figured that killing Young Ben would mean that he would never be sent around the world, assassinating people. Paradox schmaradox. However, the very next episode is called Whatever Happened, Happened - so I am retaining my position that there’s one timeline, one history, and Young Ben will survive this gunshot to grow into the man we know.

That Sayid’s escape, and Dharma’s belief that he is a ‘hostile’, may be the reason the truce breaks apart and war between Dharma and The Others begins is just another potential irony. We don’t know exactly who propelled the flaming Dharma van into The Barracks. . .

. . . but it seems impossible to figure this was a coincidence. Young Ben must have at least one accomplice tucked away that engineered this flaming van, maybe even someone in Dharma (Mikhail springs to mind), to create the diversion. But now Dharma will see it as genuine hostility from these ‘hostiles’ and so begins the war. And we know how that turns out. Cue: patricidal Ben Linus. Cue: gas mask Alpert. Cue: ‘the purge’.

That spectre on the Dharma future still looms.

Quite where Sayid goes from here is anyone’s guess. Previously he had justified his torture and killing as acts he perpetrated against his will, against his choice. From being forced to torture Tariq in One Of Them. . .

. . . to being confronted by Amira, the woman he once tortured, during the episode Enter-77, where he literally broke down over what he had done to her. . .

. . . to even insinuating to Hurley, in the first episode of Season 5, Because You Left, that he had been doing terrible things Hurley wouldn’t want to know about, Sayid has constantly projected a sense of martyrdom over his nature. And yet as a child, when he killed the chicken, he was rewarded by his father proclaiming him to be a man.

Killing made him a man. Killing is the man. Sayid finally acknowledged this before he shot Young Ben and, we can be sure, Ben will remember this to, one day in the future, use Sayid as his personal killing machine, sending him around the globe to take out key people in Widmore’s organisation – he knows Sayid is more than up to it.

We learned that it was one such assassination – of Peter Avellino, as shown in The Economist - that brought Ilana to capture him. Sayid does have a habit of getting in with these seductive ladies that pull a gun on him in the bedroom. Elsa did it. Now Ilana.
If she’d lived long enough, Shannon would have probably done the same, eventually!

The interesting question about Ilana was that she sent by “the family” of Peter Avellino to bring Sayid back on the plane – Ajira 316 – to Guam. She just happened to be getting on the plane that was destined to go back to the Island? I think we’re back to the old coincidence vs fate. If it turns out that the people that hired Ilana are linked with Hawking or Ben, as Sayid implied, then conspiracy is apparent. Otherwise we just have to put it down to forces on a cosmic scale ensuring Sayid came back and fulfilled his part of Island history.

And speaking of returning to the Island, Kate almost revealed her reasons for doing so. The way the scene played, with her discussing it with Sawyer, certainly leant itself to the suggestion that Kate was going to tell Sawyer that he was the reason she came back. Now, whilst many ladies may extol the hunky virtues of Sawyer, I don’t think he’s enough of a reason for her to have abandoned Aaron – an act that clearly haunted her deeply. But if not Sawyer, then what? Why did she come back?

Frankly, I don’t know. At the harbour the thought of going back to the Island was utterly abhorrent to her, but then not long after Aaron had been palmed off somewhere and Kate was consigned to returning. It needs to be something pretty damn convincing. But then the same goes for Hurley who, working as a Dharma Chef, appears to be as happy as a pig in shit – but he must have had his reasons for returning and I don’t think it was to be serving Jack and Kate breakfast.

Still, it’s good to see the characters and their inherent mysteries have come to the fore. What will become of Sayid now – eyes opened to his murderous heart and running wild in the jungle? Don’t know. Wait and see. Same as with Kate and with Hurley. Same as with Sawyer and Juliet, who are coming to realise that their three-year Dharma idyll is coming to an end.

Unless, of course, Sawyer thinks he can stop ‘the purge’. Unless he thinks he can change history. Unless he wants to refute Faraday’s ideas of whatever happened, happened. Me, I believe he’s wasting his time on a futile endeavour. There’s only one timeline. One Island history. The Losties have had the benefit of cropping up at various points along it, but really they’re just fulfilling their part of Island history like filling in missing pieces of a jig-saw. It’s what the finished jig-saw looks like, and who will be a part of the last pieces, where the real drama lies.


Acharaisthekey said...

I am with you on the one timeline. I don't think Ben is dead (I'm actually quite certain of it) and I agree...Jack will be forced (or find himself in a situation) to save the poor young Ben linus. Who's anger in life is starting to take form...verbally and now physically abused as a boy from his father, shot by a person he was trying to help, etc.... It's all taking shape in what made BEN...well...Ben.

So a point I didn't see you touch on, that I wondered your thoughts....We knew that Darlton explained in a podcast that the home of Dharma is Ann Arbor. Mr. Radzinky blurts out to Horace (and with great effect) that he will have to call 'Ann Arbor'.... now, we also know Radzinky lives until at least some time after Kelvin gets to the island...which is presumably after the purge...and the swan remains free of the HOSTILE 'others' Takeover.... is it possible...ok, on to my it possible the leaders of Dharma ordered the purge? I know these are loose connections...but something isn't adding up about Dharma and the purge....and I think it's that the leadership of the island may in fact lead both Dharma and the OTHERS....this leading me to beleive, the Purge was ordered by 'ANN ARBOR'...

BennyTN said...

I think that Jack having to save Ben will be the beginning of a power shift from Sawyer back to Jack. Sawyer's plan is turning to crap and he is going to have to turn to Jack for help. Plus, why else would they have had Sawyer verbally smack down Jack about his leadership flaws if they weren't going to have it thrown right back in his face?

Corellian said...

Ben didn't die. Period.

Because if he did, man, it would be a huge mess. Come on, it´s Lost, it´s not Heroes with it´s thousands of improductives timelines. No, no, he'll end up alive...for sure he will...

As it goes for the Swan remaining free from the Hostiles, i believe it´s simply because they didn't know about it. After all, as Radiznky says throughout the episode, it was a top secret project...

Acharaisthekey said...

Corellian - Good point about the Swan being top secret, but would they have really just 'left' Radzinsky alone. He seems to be in the CIRCLE of Command there while Ben is growing up. We also know it exists on the island for around 12 years before the purge happens.....would Ben and the 'others/hostiles' really not know about something that activity on the island? I guess it's possible...but still not adding up in my head

Corellian said...

Maybe Radzinsky managed to escape the attack, and hide on the Swan. Maybe Ben really didn't a thing about the station when he was there.

Or maybe they knew about it, after all they had the Pearl with all those cameras, but just didn't know it's location.

In fact, maybe that's even why Ben needed to be capture, in order to get there.

A hell lot of maybe's...

Garett said...

Maybe Kate coming back to the island has something to do with what he whispered to her in the helicopter. Wasn't it something to do with a daughter? I think it will tie into her reasons somehow.

AngeloComet said...

I'm of the belief that The Swan really was kept a reasonably big secret from most of Dharma - and thus after 'the purge', The Others were oblivious to it. There's not much sense to have Radzinsky make such a song and dance about the secrecy of it, otherwise. (The point is they are building The Swan in 'hostile' territory - so it HAS to be kept low key.)

Garrett - Interesting point. Sawyer told Kate, in the helicopter, that he had a daughter. Now maybe Kate went and found that daughter - Clementine - and found out something very important that she needed to go back to the Island to tell Sawyer about. . . Again, like all my responses to Kate's return, it just needs to be a VERY STRONG REASON to have made her come back! Hope the answer proves worthy!

mmmmmmmmmmm said...

if jack can save ben because he is a surgeon, i dont like lost anymore. c`mon, the child has a bullet in the middle of his chest.
maybe its time for the smoke monster to repare the paradox.

Jacen said...

I'm a little confused by this whole time line "whatever happened happened" business...

Didn't Desmond change the time line when he saved Charlie from dying at the coastline?

Doesn't that then negate the issue?

On the other hand, Charlie then died in the looking glass, so maybe its a mute point...

Personally I don't think Ben is dead... or that Jack will save him.

Chilost said...


Whatever Happened Happened.....

Your example of Charlie being saved at the coastline can also be applied to Charlie being saved in the jungle after his near miss of taking an arrow to the neck or when Desmond fixed Claires tent.....other examples out there too.

The point is Course Correction automatically occurs so the end outcome will ALWAYS be the same although minor preventions can take place which only prolongs the inevitable.

Mrs Hawkings told us about our paths being set before us - i suppose this is correct.....we will all arrive at our destinations at some point in time but what route we take is optional and somewhat irrelevant.

Something i just thought about - Season 2 Sawyer wakes up having recovered from his shoulder Gunshot wound.
To Kate 'Why did you Kill me??'
Any ideas?
Such a comment could almost tie in with some of the current events!

Acharaisthekey said...

Chilost ..

The inference in Season 2 when Sawyer said that was that Kate was in fact having a conversation with Wayne (Her Dad) However, knowing now that Sawyer has travelled back, etc... This is a brilliant point.....what if in fact she was not talking to Wayne, and that for sure was Sawyer asking her that???

I like how it ties in with current events...nice pick up

Tyler said...

could you guys expand a bit about the episode and such regarding this convo b/w Kate and Sawyer...I am a bit befuddled and can not remember this instance. Thanks.

Corellian said...

One thing that always bothers me about Desmond saving Charlie is that, even though Charlie ends up dying in the end, "what should happen" definitelly changes!!

I mean, everyone is going to die eventually. So, if Desmond keeps saving charlie like forever, what kind of time correction is this?

Unless, of course, there is a "present time" in Lost, that is not the time we are watching (in fact, it´s ahead of it). And, from this moment on, there is "no future" yet. So, until this specific moment, everything has to happen somehow. When that time comes, Charlie must be dead. No matter how. And so it goes.

Another explanation would be that Desmond never saw the future in fact, but only visions that would allow him to act saving Charlie and making sure that he would die the way he was planned too. I mean, in that way, Charlie would have been always destined to die on the Looking Glass...

Acharaisthekey said...

Tyler - the conversation happened in the hatch when Sawyer was carried there by EKO because his wound was making him sick. Kate had 'sawyer' duty, and he started mumbling incoherent babble when he broke out, started yelling at KATE "WHY DID YOU KILL ME? WHY DID YOU KILL ME?" This happened in the episode WHAT KATE DID.

I am so liking this idea that Sawyer was not being Wayne (Or the island wasn't having him be Wayne) and that Sawyer was just having a memory/dream about something that hadn't happened in his life yet, but had happened on the island....I am almost thinking WHAT KATE 'really' DID was kill would be a nice tie into the show if they go that route.

Acharaisthekey said...

Corellian - Remember too that Desmond saw Claire getting on the heli copter to be rescued....I actually think what Desmond saw was further into the future then he realized (as it pertains to Claire getting rescued).

As for Charlie, I think Desmond did everything he could to save Charlie from the VISIONS he was seeing. However he was changing his visions or his FUTURE MEMORY so to speak by doing each of those actions. Remember, its the PAST that can't be changed, not the future.

So, with our LOSTIES Back in Dharma time, they can't change the future on the island because it's the past within there life. If you stay within those rules....I think it's ok.

Locke, Juliet, Sawyer, etc... haven't changed anything in the past of there lives...only the past on the it works.

Confusing but that is how it makes sense to me :)

Corellian said...

But is there a future defined? Because, when Desmond save Charlie changing HIS FUTURE, he changed everyone's future, after all, charlie didn't die. So, if there was already a future there, what happened to it?

Let's remember that the Losties, in theory, travelled to the future, when the Island was unstable. They saw the Ajiira bottle on the boat. So, it was THEIR FUTURE, lets say.

But what future was that, if they can change it, like Desmond changed once by saving Charlie?

Corellian said...

Hahahah, damn it, it´s pretty hard to make yourself clear talking about time travel and stuff in a foreign language...

Acharaisthekey said...

We don't know if he changed EVERYONE's FUTURE. But if he did that could explain why CLAIRE wasn't on the rescue copter that Desmond saw (instead of my FURTHER OUT IN THE FUTURE thought).

I would say changing the future is a constant thing. I for one am not of the belief that there is a defined future at stake here where all the losties are sitting and trying to ensure they don't mingle with the past. I think the timeline goes as far as the producers take us. Of course when Jack FLASHED FORWARD at the end of Season 3, NOTHING COULD CHANGE that. But that was different then a DEFINED future for everyone. They just forwarded the timeline.
So right now...the Crash and events of the AJIRA crash are as far as the future has been written. Everything after that can still change based on actions.

If I'm wrong...and the future is defined...then yes...we have a lot of holes for the producers to fill

Anonymous said...

Funniest part of episode was when jack and Kate are having breakfast and hurley can't stop staring at their food. Fat people crack me up, he was probably a little hungery.

Plus no way ben is dead, look close he is still breathing while face down. Also, never trust gunshot wounds on tv when there is no blood.

They are really laying it on with a trowel that sayid is a killer so with tv justice he will have to sacrifice himself either this series or next.

AngeloComet said...

Wow. Good to see such discussion here.

That notion of Sawyer and Wayne crossing over really being a voice of Dead Sawyer from the future, after Kate has killed him. . . Well, that's a heck of an idea! It would be cool, of course, but then it would also mean Sawyer would be dead. Which isn't so cool!

Desmond's capacity to envision an alternate future is always troubling if we try and stick to a consistent line of time. I don't believe that history can't be changed but the future can be. One is no more 'fixed' than the other. There is either one timeline, permanently. Or there are alternate branches both ways.

I prefer the permanent timeline. But, as stated, Desmond's flashes of the future kind of muddy that. There is a back-door get-out for Desmond, however, in that he is, as Faraday suggested, unique in how he can operate within the space-time continuum. I can live with Desmond, and only Desmond, being somehow enabled to effect change due to his experiences turning the Fail Safe.

Oh, and Anonymous, about the Sayid and sacrifice idea - my next post is based around the concerns I have about what the future now holds for Sayid. . . Good to see I'm not the only one that figures it very well may be looking bleak.

Tyler said...

When talking about time and timelines, you have to look at the clues they have given us about it. One in particular being the abundance of Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughter-House Five references. In that book it says that time is not linear that the way we look at time is not how it happens. All of time has already occured and in the book the aliens called Tralfamadorian's can jump to any time they want and that is what the protaganist Billy Pilgrim finds himself doing throughout the book. They know the beginning and the end of their lives, b/c it has all happened. I like to think that is what Lost is all about, they have said that whatever happened, happened, but if you expand on that to the references of Vonnegut, whatever happens, has and always will happen. You cannot change the future b/c it has already happened as well. Hopefully this makes sense b/c like most people this stuff makes my nose bleed.