Friday, May 1, 2009

Lost Thoughts - Is it all determined, or can "the variables" changethings?

Originally uploaded by GoatimusPrime
What a fantastic episode this week of Lost was. I watched it a day late, but the benefit of that is that I could immediately read all the other Lost bloggers' thoughts on the episode.

This week was mostly Farraday. We now know Widmore is his dad, that Ellie Hawking pushed him to focus on science at the expense of everything else, that not only is Theresa hurt in the time-travel experiments that he does at Oxford, he himself begins losing his short-term memory. Ellie Hawking manipulates him into going to the island, saying it would make her proud and that he would be healed. He eventually leaves the island in the 70's to get to Ann Arbor and continue experiments, and he comes back to find his mother and attempt to change the incident and stop the spiral of events that leads to the crash of flight 815.

That is really what was interesting. Up until now, the producers and the message portrayed on the episodes themselves is that "what happened, happened." You can't change it. It's been a deterministic, at times fatalistic mentality in this past season. The characters react to the thing that happen, but they can't really change things, at least not big things.

Farraday thinks this is NOT true. He says that maybe anything can happen because the variable in the constant of time is the free will of thinking people. Hmm. As someone with a background in theology, it of course just brings up the Calvinism and Arminianism debate.

The question is, where does the end of the episode leave us? The other bloggers disagreed on this. My sense was that Farraday really was dead, and therefore, despite his best efforts, he couldn't change his own future, or that of what would happen on the island. And perhaps, like Sayid, by his very attempts he manages to set into motion the exact things he was trying to change or stop. I think the episode just reinforced that the future can't be changed. What do you think?

Now, I totally can't claim these thoughts, but these are some great thoughts and theories from some great Lost bloggers.

Everyday Mom has a great theory about why, for the first time, Ellie has no idea what will happen next.
"I am thinking that after she shot Daniel, Ellie took his journal that was stuffed inside his shirt. This, then, gave her all of the information that she needed to understand time travel and all of the events that were supposed to happen in her future son's life. That is why she was so adamant that even as a child he needed to put his scientific brain to its best use.This also would explain why she made the statement that for the first time in her life she didn't know what was going to happen next. Up until the point that Daniel died, she had all of that information spelled out for her in his journal. But when he died, the journal ended.So, the big question now is whether the Oceanic 6 really will be able to change the past by stopping the leak in the power source and reventing their own plane from crashing in the future. And if they are able to do this, what will that mean for them?"

Devastate Boredom disagrees, and doesn't believe Ellie actually knew she was going to shoot Daniel. She thinks that things are shifting, bit by bit.

I don't believe Eloise-in-the-present knew she shot Daniel. She tells Widmore that, having sent Jack, Kate, et al, back in time, she doesn't know what will happen now. Dan hops a sub back to the island from Ann Arbor *because* she sent them back in time and he saw the photo, and the whole hydrogen bomb we-can-change-the-past thing goes from there. I don't think that the Eloise in the present knows that she shot him in the past. So, is the present shifting for Eloise even as we watch? As she drives away in the taxi, and simultaneously in Daniel's present he's being shot, is she suddenly aware of it as a memory? I'm thinking of Desmond encountering Daniel in the past, and waking up suddenly remembering it... Same thing, or no?

Rocks in my Dryer speculates that the 815 gang doesn't REALLY want to stop the plane crash.

Furthermore, would any of our Oceanic 815 friends really want for that plane to have gone safely on to Los Angeles? Think about it. If the crash never happened, Jack and Kate would never have met, and Kate would be on her way to prison. Jin and Sun would be back in their dysfunctional marriage. Rose would have cancer. John would be in a wheelchair. I hope, at some point in next week's episode, Jack realizes this. I hope he looks at Kate and says, "Wait a minute, I don't want to prevent the plane crash. Because if the only way I can know you is to have gone through grungy Hostiles and flaming arrows and creepy cabins and undead fathers and talking birds, then sweetheart, I'd do it all over again in continuous time-loop fashion for all eternity." THAT is how you woo a woman, Jack.
But if Daniel is right and they do change the past, wouldn't that be a curious final episode? Can you imagine watching Oceanic 815 touching down in LA, and watching Jack, Kate, John, Sawyer and all the rest simply disembarking quietly, as total strangers? Somehow that seems like a terribly unsatisfying ending, and I hope the writers don't do that to us.

My other question is - Ellie Hawking does so much to keep Farraday on track to fulfill his destiny... simply so that he does what she knows he did? Is she worried that if he DOESN'T do it, then something would be off-kilter? Because really, if what happens happens, then she wouldn't have to try to make it happen... it just would. I don't really understand her motivation. Both she and Widmore mentioned the sacrifices they have made with great emotion - what are they sacrificing for? The future of the island? The salvation of its inhabitants? Their own personal desire to take control and get back on the island?

Edit - one more question. Why doesn't Richard recognize Faraday? Didn't he meet him in the .. umm... 50's?


  1. Hi Kacie,
    Thanks for quoting me!

    You are so right that this episode brought up a huge theological debate. I hadn't thought of it that way. The show has so many religious parallels and here is one more.

  2. Why does Lost have to kill off all of the good characters? :o(

  3. Oh hey, I never thanked you for quoting me either... I got excited about that. ;P Even if my theory does turn out to be nothing... sigh.