Monday, August 30, 2010

Paradox Regained

I recently watched "Happily Ever After," a sixth-season Desmond-centric episode of Lost.  I think it offers more evidence (which, admittedly, I'm seeking) that the altaworld is a real, physical place, created by Jack and Faraday's plan to set off the bomb at the end of season five.

This is the one where Widmore exposes Desmond to enough electromagnetic energy to kill a normal person.  Desmond survives (as has happened before--I don't know if Desmond was born special or gained this ability by being in the right place when he used the failsafe key) and has a vision.  Or is it a visit?  While he's out, he sees the altaworld.  Now maybe it's possible he's seeing something that happens after dying, as Juliet might have as well, but since he survives no worse for the wear, he didn't seem to be near death.  (Juliet was also exposed to a lot of rays of some sort as well, let's not forget.)  Furthermore, Desmond is the one person we know with the ability to become unstuck in time.  His consciousness can slip back and forth between real places.  This would suggest his trip to altaworld really happened, and it's a real place that exists as an alternate timeline (somehow out of time) and isn't just a vision of what will come after he dies.

In altaworld, the different-Desmond babysits Charlie Pace, who "awakened" on the Oceanic flight.  He forces Desmond's car off the road and
Desmond has a vision.  So far, same as always.  But then Desmond goes into the hospital after his accident and gets an MRI.  The machine gives him more visions.  Now if this were an immaterial world, what difference would an MRI make?  It has no special meaning to Desmond. He doesn't have loving memories of getting scanned.  But the magnetic field created would effect Desmond if it were in a real world.

Later, he meets Eloise Widmore.  Eloise is definitely awake.  She's met Desmond before as he traveled in time.  But if this were a conventional purgatory, why would Eloise know any more about what's behind it than anyone else?

She tries to keep Desmond from finding out about Penny, because he's "not ready." She apparently doesn't want him to blow the cover of this world, so, I'd guess, she can finally get to hang out with her son.  Which brings us to Daniel.  When he sees Charlotte, he's inspired to write equations he can't understand.  Equations that deal with imaginary time--not imaginary as in after death, but imaginary as in the square root of negative 1, as in a separate timeline created by something like a nuclear explosion.  You can't get a bigger hint than that.

Now I realize the producers may have been trying to mislead us so we couldn't figure out the ending. But you can't simply throw out everything that happened in the altaworld. Even if the question's never been definitively answered, I'd say there's enough evidence to believe that this is a real place created by The Incident.  What happened was the Losties made a world where they could meet one more time and work out their problems, before going out and resolving the time paradox.  And who knows, perhaps if Eloise had her way, that paradox would never be resolved.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

On the final DVD of the Season Six box set, there's a deleted scene in which Desmond tells Ben what he remembers from his vision of the Altaworld. This was cut from "The End", at the point that the MIB is leading Ben and Desmond to the Source, and Ben asks Desmond why he isn't terrified.

I don't know if this Deleted Scene would be technically considered canon, but since it was probably deleted purely for time considerations I think it does demonstrate what DL & CC were thinking.

But I can't say more because it would probably count as a spoiler.

(I'm 70% done watching all the bonus features. So far, only this deleted scene and "The New Man In Charge" are relevant to the quest to answer some more of the Unanswered Questions in the show....)

8:23 AM, August 30, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Watching the bonus features has made me appreciate S6 more.

But it has also made me think about another problematic issue: the Claire and Sayid "infection". I think that late in S6, the viewer was supposed to be gratified that each of them overcame their evil infection tendencies. But this didn't really affect me because I never understood the infection. Sayid contacted it in the pool, but how did Claire get it? In S6 we are repeatedly told that she felt abandoned by her friends and therefore began to trust the MIB as her sole companion, but at the end of S4 she had abandoned her baby, followed EvilChristian, and then was all smiles in the cabin. I don't understand the logic here. The normal Claire (S1-S3) protected Aaron, and the infected Claire (S6) wants to protect Aaron; so how do we explain the end-of-S4 Claire that abandoned him?

More on the Bonus Features: I love watching the stunts. The big water tank that Sayid was drowned in is the same water tank that held Charlie and Desmond in the submerged car. But when the car goes off the pier, that really is a car going off a pier -- but they have to first remove the engine, the gas tank, and anything else that the EPA forbids you from putting in the ocean.

8:31 AM, August 30, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Clarification: The deleted scene does not actually resolve our disagreement about whether the Incident was partially responsible for the creation of the Altaworld. It is merely one more piece of evidence.

By the way, your argument about Eloise is very persuasive.

8:39 AM, August 30, 2010  

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