Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Who Knows?

Following up on yesterday's post, here's a YouTube video of the top five most annoying unanswered questions from Lost:

I don't know if these are the top questions, or even if they haven't been answered.  I would think the top unanswered question, in any case, would be just what was the Island?  They explained somewhat (a place that holds a magical light that needs to be protected), but refused to give any clue as to its origin in the one episode that could best have dealt with it, "Across The Sea."

So here are the five questions with my comments.

1.  Why was Walt so important?

This wasn't so important to me.  Even if I ignore what I know from non-canonical sources, it's pretty obvious that the Others, for quite a while, had been flailing about, attempting various things under the leadership of Ben and before him Widmore, while Jacob did little or nothing to guide them.  They knew all about Walt and figured he could be of help, but presumably realized it wasn't working out.  Not the first time.  (And we do know a bit about what happened to Walt after he got off the Island.  Using the extra bit that was added after the series to explain things, which I do consider canonical, we also know he'd eventually return to the Island, where he always belonged, to help out his dad.)

2.  Who was shooting at Sawyer's outrigger?

While this isn't an important question, it is very annoying.  I have no doubt Cuse and Lindeloff knew where it fit (probably somewhere with Widmore's people), but chose not to show it because they didn't feel they could easily put into an episode.  Inexcusable.  You don't set up something like that and not pay it off.  Bad plotting.  Very unsatisfying.

Of course, it wasn't the only loose thread.  For instance, what about Annie?

3.  Who was behind the Purge?

It seemed reasonably clear that the Others were getting sick of the Dharma Initiative.  Relations had always been tense, so I suppose at one point they decided they'd had enough and it was time to deal with them.  The Others had cultivated Ben and he, at the very least, helped pull it off.  What specific individual first came up with it I don't know, and don't particularly care about, though it sure sounds like something Widmore would plan.

4.  Who was making the Dharma supply drops?

The PS film explained this, and it was exactly as I expected.  The Dharma people had outsourced the drops (and presumably paid well in advance) so they kept coming.

5.  How do you become a smoke monster?

This was explained in "Across The Sea," and in a very vague manner, so I can understand some confusion.  It does seem, however, that you can't have a bunch of smoke monsters--once it was released (when combining with the Man In Black, who'd just killed his mom), no one going in (even a nasty person) will repeat the experience.  (Imagine if it could happen.  When Smokey walked in, would he be Smokey Squared?)

5a.  What was the Man In Black's name?

Another annoying gambit from Cuse and Lindeloff.

PS  I chanced upon this page where an evangelical scholar gives his interpretation of the final season.  He believes the sideways world was a pleasant dream of the dead--a world where the plane didn't crash.  In the real world, the plane crashed, they all died, and the Island was hell. I don't think this theory can hold up to scrutiny.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Trying comments again... just in case.

I agree with your answers to all five questions. The question of exactly who ordered the Purge is, I think, equivalent to the question of the Others' command structure. And because it is certain that Widmore was exiled after the Purge, I think we can say for sure that at the time of the Purge, the Others were led either by Widmore alone, or by Widmore and Eloise. Richard occasionally goes behind the back of the Others' leader (we saw him do this at least three times in the series), but most of the time he just goes along. So he must have tacitly approved of the Purge as well.

4:29 PM, May 24, 2011  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I'm also very curious what happened to Dharma off the island. The Purge killed all the Dharmans on the Island (except for those who were in the Swan at that moment).

But off the Island they had training facilities, a base in Michigan, and their top leaders (Alver Hanso and the two De Groots), and a submarine base somewhere.... they never said where, but there's no way a submarine can reach Ann Arbor from the ocean, right? What happened to all these people?

Also, what about the Others' off-island infrastructure? It was huge: Mittelos Bioscience ran a sizeable building near Portland. Two Others were running a butcher shop in L.A., apparently spending their entire lives there in the off-chance that they might prove useful to a fellow Other someday. Were these jobs on rotation (i.e., does every Other have to spend a few months off the Island from time to time), or were these full-time non-Island-dwelling Others who were loyal to the Others' leader (whoever it might be at any given moment)?

6:22 PM, May 24, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

There were a lot of loose ends in the show (which I may discuss in an upcoming post, if I haven't done it enough already). After all the legendary backstory about the DI, I'm shocked we never had to deal with Hanso or the De Groots or Ann Arbor. My guess is the Purge was such a shock to them that the whole project collapsed in a welter of lawsuits (and not a little fear).

Perhaps the biggest seam that shows in Lost is The Others. They mainly appear to be fanatically devoted to Jacob, sharp, smart, strong and ready to die for Jacob's representative without a thought. This group of Others is mostly based on the Island--they've got a leader, an advisor, a psychologist, a doctor, a Sheriff, a Temple leader, etc.--but also they've spread their tentacles (and significant funds) across the world to protect the Island. Mittelos they have at all times, while they also have occasionaly side-projects as the need arises, such as the butcher shop.

But there are other versions of The Others. There's also the group that's practically homeless waifs, a mindless cult who can easily be led for practically no reason, ready to latch on to whatever leader tells them to do. When John Locke suggests they go to meet Jacob, this strikes them as a brilliant idea, but no one else would have thought of it. )Yes, this group is somewhat like the first group of others, but so much more hopeless.) Then there are the Others, like the ones building the tarmac, who seem like normal (if somewhat nasty) regular people who react normally to average motivations. Then there are the Others we met in the final season, where we discover many (most?) have made a deal with the Devil--that Jacob has them, but only because he was able to exploit there weakness. (Juliet is a little like this, but she was always different from the Others, and thus could change her allegiance.)

7:12 PM, May 24, 2011  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Good point about the different groups of the Others.

I would also throw in the mystery of where they came from. Where did Jacob's adopted mother come from? Who were the various groups who lived on the Island between Roman times and the 19th century (and presumably built the Statue and the Temple)?

When Richard was shipwrecked on the Island in 1867, it seems certain that he was the only person there other than Jacob and the MIB. By the 1950s, there is a large legion of Others who speak fluent Latin; the young Charles Widmore (who has an English accent) is a member. Where did all these people come from?

Jacob's M.O. seems to be to summon a bunch of people to the Island, hoping that one is a candidate to replace him. But surely not every member of the Others was a potential candidate. In fact, the Others we met in season three contained almost no candidates. Were they people who were accidentally shipwrecked there? That's a lot of people to be shipwrecked on a small moving island in the South Pacific! Or did Jacob summon a few dozen people in the 19th century to be Richard's companions, and then over the next century and a half they married and begat new generations of Jacob-worshippers?

3:31 PM, May 25, 2011  
Blogger LAGuy said...

It's true Jacob summoned people (360, I believe) to be candidates, and they were usually a few select people in larger groups. He searched for people around the world who had an emptiness that the Island would fill. It took him a long time to select them all, the those on the Oceanic flight were the last, so I guess he'd been bringing them along for centuries, perhaps at a regular clip. Jacob may have been desperate with the final group, since if MIB managed to have them kill each other, I guess he gets off the Island (and Jacob doesn't get a replacement?).

So those are some of the people who come to the Island. But even before Jacob was born, we know that people were naturally drawn to the Island, and the keeper had to regularly fight them off, one way or another. Presumably that's where some of the inhabitants of the Island come from.

Also, it does seem Jacob changed his MO when he allowed Richard to speak for him. Jacob seemed quite thrilled that he could communicate with others while allowing them their freedom, which was essential to him. And having a go-between would let him keep to himself and avoid being too obvious. The strange thing is it's late in the game--Jacob had been on the Island, learning mastery over its power, for more than a thousand years before Richard finally helped him out. He couldn't have figured it out before?

Anyway, perhaps once Richard is there he starts the plan to gather people--both those who come to the island and others from elsewhere--to build the Others. (Though Dogen might give you the impression most of them were brought there by Jacob who, in a way, took advantage of them.) It's also possible that Jacob didn't even consider the whole candidate thing until he had Richard as a helper.

4:49 PM, May 25, 2011  

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