Looser Ends

Because there’s not been much Lost on the. . .

. . . and instead I’ve been doing a lot of this. . .

. . . there’s not been much in the way of inspiration for posting. Or, more to the point, there’s not been much in the way of inclination. So those wonderful treatises I’ve been composing in my head about the parallels of Ben and Judas and what it means for the bug-eyed one, or plotting the precise backstory to Jacob and The Others’ misaligned belief in the figure in the shack will all have to stay on hold.

Instead I’ll gather up and muse over the previous posts’ commented suggestions over loose plot ends and mysteries Lost has yet to answer. Whilst they’re not the most obvious they still deserve resolution.

First up, an Anonymous commenter wondered about this:

Two fundamental questions abound about this thing. 1, What Is it? 2, Did it really speak Hurley’s name? The permutations about what it means if it did speak Hurley’s name do, of course, feed back into the question of what the hell it is. If this is some strange animal that was attempting to communicate with Hurley (the spirit of Libby!?) then it makes it all the more eye-opening than if it’s just a strange green bird happening to fly by (product of Dharma testing!?).

Worryingly, we’ve not seen it since the end of Season 2 (Live Together, Die Alone), which means not only has it long since been shunted to the backs of Lost fans’ memories, the creators themselves might have abandoned any attempt at an explanation.

A second Anonymous commenter wanted to know who the “him” was of the “Are you him?” question that Desmond first asked Locke, and that Kelvin first asked Desmond.

Presumably Desmond only asked the question because it was the first question that Kelvin asked him – and maybe Kelvin only asked it because it was the first question Radzinsky asked him. . . Like Russian dolls, this one, but the point remains: Who is the ‘him’?

Given that this question also came linked with the supplementary code question of ‘What did one snowman say to the other?’ I can’t help but envisage there was some kind of planned back-up information given to the people in The Swan, perhaps around the time of ‘the purge’, to give them assurance that assistance would be on its way.

Presumably this ‘him’ would be from Dharma. He would know what was going on and he would be able to answer the ‘what did one snowman say to the other’ code question to verify his authenticity. Only, of course, this ‘him’ never showed up because Dharma got wiped out. Or, at least, I think they did. . .!

Someone called Egg had issues surrounding Walt, such as his capacity to make birds die, his good luck, his knife-throwing skills (he was taught by Locke, to be fair – he was taught by the best!) and why The Others were so hellbent on capturing him.

Evidently The Others found something special about Walt that they wanted for themselves, but it turned out to be more than they could handle (the panic and the dead bird pile-up from the mobisode Room 23 is the brief illumination we’ve had on that matter). Thing is, that scene where Walt met up with Locke in Season 5 (The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham), where Locke elected to not bring Walt back to the Island, may have effectively been Walt’s goodbye to the Lost world.

It just felt like there was something symbolic, like a cutting loose, between Locke and Walt during this exchange – so all those nagging plot ends not tied up remain only to be guessed at and speculated about. Including this:

There is hope. Season 6 appears to be one where characters from way back when are all set to feature, so there is the chance that we’re not quite done with Walt yet and there’s some closure coming our way.

Corellian fired out a whole bunch of loose end mysteries – like why was Aaron deemed to be so special and why was it considered essential that he be raised by Claire?

So far, apart from being a key factor in the trial of the Oceanic 6 and making a fake mother out of Kate, Aaron hasn’t been responsible for anything particularly devastating. However, with talk of this upcoming “war”, maybe the side that Christian Shephard plays for is aware that the Claire and Aaron bond is a key factor and this was why he managed to lead Claire away. If it isn’t something along those lines then the whole thing has an air of anti-climax about it to me, but then if it is something along those lines it also sounds a bit, you know, stupid. . .

There was also the matter of this 'out of nowhere' conumdrum:

Where the hell did this food come from? And why was it continuing to be delivered to the Island after the apparent dissolution of the Dharma Initiative? I have had my own theory about it, how Dharma in the 1970s would have sent many food drop pallets into the future via The Orchid, which explains why they seem to drop out of the sky from nowhere (like Ben and Locke popping up in the desert), but my guesswork isn’t good enough! We want confirmation!

Also, who were these people shooting at Sawyer and the rest of the time-travelling Losties?

When this happened it looked like it was going to be one of those plots that we would see the ‘other side’ of before Season 5 finished. I mean, probably it was Ilana and her people, but until we actually get to see it (and have reason for why they were shooting at them) this, once again, looks like one of those neat ideas the writers had that got left by the wayside.

If a Season 6 episode shows this moment in the ‘previously on Lost’ recap, mind, we can be sure it’s going to get explained in that episode!

Corellian also raised the matter of what happened with this guy:

The real Henry Gale that ballooned onto the Island. Ben claimed The Others didn’t kill him but he’s a big liar so it means they probably did. Never-the-less, he did seem to be an innocent man marooned on a strange Island so why kill him and bury him? Give a guy a break!

Also, the old chestnut of why was Locke dripping wet after he planted explosives on the sub got raised.

This matter gave theorists plenty of mileage in the idea that Locke didn’t really blow up the sub and instead moved it somewhere else, secret, and then put something in its place and blew that up instead.

Yeah. People thought that. Despite it lacking no clear rationale (Locke wanted the sub destroyed because he didn’t want people leaving!) and pre-supposing that Locke could drive a submarine and stash it somewhere no one would find it. Evidently I’m a cynic; clearly the sub did get blown up! But the question of why Locke was wet remains.

Quick and easy answer is he didn’t plant all explosives inside the sub, rather he went for a dip and stuck some to the outer shell. And, besides, it just looked more dramatic that he was wet.

Another Anonymous commenter (sheesh, you’d think the internet was a place where people liked to keep their identities private or something!) raised the intriguing matter of why the Swan Orientation film was cut and a portion of it removed (and stored in a Bible with a glass eye no less!).

Again, this is another one of those questions formed from the lack of clarity about what exactly happened with the Dharma people during ‘the purge’. If there’s a common ‘black hole’ of information in Lost, this is it – and is perhaps all the more galling that we spent so much of Season 5 with the Dharma Initiative in the 1970s and gained very little useful information about the mysteries Season 2 had conjured up.

I fear that Season 5 was the best chance we had of finding out this stuff, too. . .

Meanwhile, in Season 3, there was this weird white robe funeral for Colleen happening.

Now maybe this was all some kind of ploy as part of Jack’s manipulation into wanting to want to do the surgery on Ben. It’s a pretty strange way of going about it if you ask me. Or are we supposed to assume this is how The Others go about handling their dead? And if so, why? Is there some special reason why they’d want to get a dead person off the Island?

Since dead people do tend to turn up on the Island then there may be something in that. But then dead people who aren’t on the Island also turn up. . .

. . . so that’s a line of logic that falls flat on its face at the first hurdle.

Meanwhile we’ve also got the matter of Annie. . .

Ben’s childhood sweetheart, that he still keeps doll presents he got from her with a melancholy air, suggesting there’s some untold history we’ve yet to learn of. Same goes for this. . .

Apparently there’s a volcano on the Island and, on a DVD commentary, Carlton Cuse made suggestion that it would come to figure as important. So far, so nothing.

Colour me cynical.

Let’s not get too jaded, though. There are potentially loose ends that the creators will surely have put out there with every intention of seeing them through. As another Anonymous commenter mentioned, there was that curious box Ben pulled out of the ventilation duct of his motel room.

I think it’s safe to say that there’s not a dead Locke in this box! But I’ve got no real clue about what is in there.

As commented by Fivestades, what about this curious moment during Miles’ first flashback in Confirmed Dead, when he went to exorcise the spirit of the drug dealer in his bedroom and the picture frames seemed to change?

Miles goes up to the room and there’s a blatant shot of the picture with a wooden frame. And then when he comes back down the stairs there’s another repeat shot of the picture and suddenly the frames have changed to metallic gold.

Personally, I come down on the side of it being a consistency issue. Or continuity error, as is the more technical term. If you ignore the matter of the frames, the close-up shot of the picture establishes who this person is that Miles is apparently contacting – and bookending the ‘exorcism’ with pictures of this guy establishes and confirms it. In short, it makes perfect sense that you would get close-up shots of this photograph from a directing point of view and it’s got nothing to do with the frames changing.

That the frames did change is, potentially, to do with it being a continuity error. Hypothetically the programme-makers dress the scene with props and scenery and the propmaster in question takes the picture of the drug dealer, sticks it in a photo frame and hangs it up on the wall. They shoot the scene. Then they break for lunch. Maybe they had to move the photo wall to get another shot. The pictures are taken down. Put away. But then the director says he wants to get another shot of the photos, and so the propmaster hurries back and gets the photo and sticks it in a frame (little realizing the fuss he is about to generate, he puts it in a different frame) and hey presto! Instant Lost theorist furore.

This, to me, is a perfectly likely explanation. Otherwise, what? Are we to believe there was some kind of parallel universe shift? Or that the values of the world can change and alter around our characters, subtly imperceptibly, and this is what Lost is actually about and this was the scene that hinted at it!?

Nah. I ain’t buying. It’s too obscure and too plain ridiculous. But it’s been fun discussing it. Yet mystery, and the sheer wealth of it, is what makes Lost fun. We know they’re not going to answer everything – it wouldn’t make for much drama if they did, and I’m not even sure they could convincingly cover every base anyway.

So we’ll probably never know how Juliet turned from a meek doctor into a ninja-skilled killer. Or how Dharma knew that sonic technology would repel the Black Smoke. Or even who figured out that a pendulum could track the positioning of a mysterious Island. There’s just too much crazy shit on Lost. To use an analogy from the show, the pursuit of any one mystery is like following a white rabbit down a hole – you just never know where you’ll end up, and even when you get there you’ll discover a whole new set of places to go wondering.

Little Loose Ends

Lost is full of big mysteries. I mean, if I ever happen to meet someone who likes Lost and they find out that I happen to know a fair bit about it, you can guarantee they’ll ask me questions like: What’s the Black Smoke? Who is Jacob? What’s the significance of the four-toed statue? Why do dead people keeping showing up? What are The Whispers? Where is the Island? And so on. The big stuff, basically.

Thing is, I’m fairly sure we’re going to get our answers to those questions. Probably they’ll be a crushing disappointment, too, but that’s by the by. What’s rattling around my brain are some of the smaller, perhaps even overlooked, mysteries. The answers to questions no one ever asks.

Let’s start off with a classic. What do The Others call themselves?

I’ll be honest, this used to worry me right around the time of Season 3, when we were starting to spend more and more time with The Others. The very definition of their collective name the others is based around the principle of their being apart and unknown. The more familiar they become the harder it becomes to define them as “others”. Luckily Season 3 and onwards has so far managed to preserve the title of “Others” on this group of Island dwellers by completely not having any of them talk about what they call themselves.

The question still remains, though. What do they call themselves? When they’re sticking posters up around The Barracks advertising the latest group meeting, what do they define the group as? Jacobites? Islanders? Junglists? Goodies (as in Ben’s affirmation that they’re “the good guys”)?

When this guy. . .

. . . introduces himself how does he finish, “Hi, I’m Ricky Alpert, I’m a. . .” This is definitely need-to-know information. How The Others define themselves ought to shed a great deal of light on what they are doing on the Island, so Season 6 better cough up an answer.

And speaking of The Others, what’s the deal with this chick?

I think we’re all agreed she probably wasn’t in with The Others before the crash of Oceanic. (Although those mad bastards Ilana and her team all happily crashed on the Island so maybe that certainty isn’t so certain after all.) And yet The Others snatched Cindy away and then she turned up all glowing and chilled out and talking about how she’s there to watch.

I want the reasoning behind that statement qualified. I want to find out whatever it was Cindy found out that quickly made her decide that the people that had been terrorising her before kidnapping her were actually an OK bunch and worth hanging around with.

I also mentioned Ilana, so it’s worth flagging up this question mark:

WTF? You’d wonder if it was some kind of flesh-searing burning incident, but she doesn’t bear any scars. So either Jacob healed her (despite tellingly never touching her in the scene where they met) or the bandages covered injuries that weren’t permanent.

If all these questions feel a tad too relevant, dare I even say essential, let’s throw out some real zingers likely to produce a shrug of the shoulders and a miffed expression. Like what was “the Tampa Job” that Sawyer and Hibbs were involved in that created such a rift between them?

And how did that small Beechcraft from Africa end up on the Island?

And how did Hurley get the nickname ‘Hurley’?

And when he once claimed to Walt that he was known as “something of a warrior” back home what the hell did he mean? Because Hurley and warrior are not two things that go together at all.

And was this mofo psychic or not!?

And what about Ms. Hawking? Did she actually work in that jeweller’s shop?

Or did she get a job there when she realised Desmond’s consciousness had flipped back to his own history and he was going to go and buy a ring in this version of events and she needed to be there to make sure he didn’t? (Insert brain meltdown here.)

And speaking of Desmond, what did he do to end up in prison?

Sure, it was a military prison but a prison none-the-less and he got put there for not following orders. But for some reason it seemed to give Widmore the right to call Desmond a “coward”. And considering fathers that have been somewhat rough on their prospective son-in-laws, how about Mr. Paik and Jin? What was the meaning behind sending Jin off to deliver those bloody gold watches around the world?

Fanciful theories have suggested the gold watches have a tracking signal inside which would allow Paik to pinpoint the location of the Island that he knew Jin was going to crash land on! Madness, I tells ya! Madness!

But then Lost and all its infernal questions will make you mad. Perhaps the biggest ‘small’ question for me is that perennial chestnut I always tend to keep coming back to: What’s the deal with the Swan Station computer?

Why the hell did Dharma make people enter a code rather than just automate the ‘venting’ of the electromagnetism? I’ve speculated elsewhere that it was a means of conducting further psychological experimentation, but it’s pure speculation. And what was with the hieroglyphs? Just another form of the psychological test, to panic the participants into thinking something terrible would happen if they didn’t push the button?

Trouble being, of course, that something terrible does happen!

Don’t even get me started on the head-banging, elbow-gnawing infuriation of trying to work out what would have happened had Desmond not turned the Fail Safe. . .

And how come Dharma were broadcasting ‘the numbers’ from the radio tower on a loop? When ‘the numbers’ were heard recently (Season 5, episode The Little Prince) there was the suggestion that it was Hurley’s voice reading them out! So whilst we’re on the matter of why broadcast ‘the numbers’, the identity of the man whose voice recites them could also use some clarification!

The list goes on, and if you happen to have some little questions that remain unanswered I’d be amused enough to hear about them. I might even try and answer them because, let’s face it, we’re probably never going to get a proper answer to most of them so I’m unlikely to run the risk of being proved wrong!