Thursday, July 31, 2014

RELATIONSHIPS

It was explained by TPTB that LOST should be viewed more as a character study than anything else. The focus was on the characters and not on the mysteries.

And that is still a sticking point with some fans. As one blog commentator said long after the show concluded:



If the entire series turned out to be just about the characters and the relationships they/we build in life and how important they are, following us even into the afterlife, then what about all the relationships that Sawyer, Kate, Miles, or any of the survivors made AFTER they got off of the island? Reason I even bring this up is because of what Christian said to Jack in the church and what everyone else mentioned as well, “Some died before you, some died long after you”. So....we are to assume then that when Sawyer or Kate or any of the survivors died, whether it was right after Jack or 30 years after him, that NONE of the relationships that they built were important? What if Sawyer went on to get married and have kids. When he dies the ONLY person in his life that ever meant anything was Juliette?!! Also, a huge lesson we were all supposed to learn was to “let go” of the past. Well how the hell is having them all meet up in the church together letting go of that past?! Even in death they (whomever made it off the island and died sometime later) were still holding on to the experiences from the island, the past!!! 


The season finale is what it is and I can’t change that but I don’t understand any of the fans supporting or being okay with it. Makes me think that most people have no idea what’s going on in life and just skate through it blindly. 

Taking the writers words at face value was a critical viewing experience. Fans were led to believe that the show was a well crafted literary masterpiece of characters, action, drama and mysteries.

There is a valid point to what Christian told Jack about everyone in the church waiting for him died before and after him. If this is a true statement, and that the island time was most important to the characters that they had to reunite in the afterlife in order to move on to eternity, then

a) the characters like Sawyer, Kate and Claire left brutally lonely and unfilled lives after Jack died. Which is hard to believe considering Sawyer had a daughter he cared about. Claire had a son. And Kate had her freedom from the law. None of these characters would not have had any new relationships at all?

b) when did the characters who died long before Jack "actually" die? This may be one of those misdirected throwaway lines the writers used to get out of explaining what is happening in the story (equivalent of a fumble in football), but it seems to erase any "good" times that a character had before the island. For example, Locke had a great relationship with Helen. Why was that erased by the island time so that Locke is in the church alone? Boone had no one as well? How sad is that? Boone could not have been reunited with his mother or father? 

Since time was handled as a nebulous concept in LOST, when people died may be irrelevant to the analysis of Christian's final speech. 

For example, if this is a character study, it is just as likely it is a character study of lost dead souls than of human survivors of a plane crash. If the characters were already dead before getting on the plane (symbolic of taking the ferry across the River Styx), then maybe this was like a test of lost souls who really did not have any strong personal bonds to carry them through to the afterlife.

But since the writers failed to clarify what the sideways world represented in relation to the island world, viewer's personal answers to the gaping holes in the story line are just not as fulfilling as knowing what the show's creator's really wanted to express with the climax and ending. Taking from what the blogger said above, it was the writers who had no idea what was going on in their characters lives and just skated through blindly to the Season 6 ending. 

People cannot really disagree on the ending because the ending is obtuse. 

If TPTB came out and said this is what the ending means, then people can then accept it on face value or disagree with it. But leaving it open to speculation is a Soprano cop-out to conclude the show. Just calling it a show about relationships is another weak point. Every show is supposed to be about character relationships. Otherwise, the show would be about watching paint dry on a wall. 

And even if the crux of the show was about relationships, and finding lost soul mates, then no one can really defend why Sayid, who pined for Nadia for 6 seasons, would wind up with Shannon in the afterlife. If the island was the test for Sayid to give up his past (Nadia), and the way he passed the test was to get in the sack with Shannon, what sort of metaphysical-intellectual system are we dealing with here? 

And then the opposite was also in the church at the same time. Rose and Bernard did not purge their past in order to make it to the church. Quite the opposite, Rose and Bernard's strong bonds from the past kept them together through the island ordeals. So, on one level, they did not "let go" of their past in order to move on in their afterlives.

When you don't know what to say, you say things that are vague gibberish hoping that the listener will take those words and create their own interpretation and understanding. Politicians do this technique all the time in order to bolster support without saying much of anything. But LOST was not a political stump speech. It was supposed to be one of the greatest action-adventure-dramas in television history. 

Perhaps the lasting relationship of the series was that between the fans and TPTB. In some ways it is still a strong connection. In some ways it is still a simmering disappointment. In some ways it is like a parent who loves their child but knows he can do better. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

TRANSPLANTS

Medical science makes great leaps year after year.

One of the greatest successes has been in the area of organ transplants.

From a science fiction standpoint, would it be a great leap to have "mental" transplants.

The idea of reconditioning a person's brain function has been around for centuries. Ancient people bored holes into skulls to let out "evil spirits" who may have been causing seizures or dizziness. Electroshock treatments were used to try to alter the pathological condition of criminals in a means of rehabilitating them.

As a different explanation to the "smart drugs" post, there may be a day in the future where science will allow people to transfer, transpose or overwrite a person's brain and memories and implant new ones.

Brain washing has been used in the spy game. Emotional abuse has been seen to alter people's character and behavior (mostly for the worse). But those techniques and trauma is used to suppress and repress a personality and memories.  If one transplants an entire new persona, with "fake" memories that seem real, does a person believe in his or her new self?

Probably to absolutely.

Reformatting a hard drive is the closest analogy to this theory.

By altering the character's past, one can easily manipulate and control their future.

How many LOST characters could have been brain transplant recipients?  All of them.

As a few viewers remarked during the original run, many characters flashbacks did not line up exactly with the personality matrix of the island world, and clearly not with the sideways world.

Why would someone want to take a character and make a "new" Jack, a "new" Kate, a "new" Locke, etc.?  Because he could. And for some reason, it appears the likely source of that reprogramming is Jacob, who by his "touch" altered the lives of all his candidates and people brought to his island laboratory. Recall, Jacob and MIB's conversations about the humans coming to the island was couched in socio-experimental terms, that in the end no matter who came to the island, they would become corrupted and die. LOST could be seen as a rogue human experiment by attempting to alter a person's brain memories in order to see if the transplant could truly change the person's actions.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SMARTS

A BBC article indicates that medical research continues to focus in on using "smart drugs" to enhance brain function. Depending on the source, humans only use 10 to 20 percent of their brains. Some compare brains to supercomputers (even though human functions at faster speeds). In trying to tap the inner (and allegedly bigger) computing power of the human brain, chemical alteration is the research to increase cognition.

Cognition is a suite of mental phenomena that includes memory, attention and executive functions, and any drug would have to enhance executive functions to be considered truly "smart." Executive functions occupy the higher levels of thought: reasoning, planning, directing attention to information that is relevant (and away from stimuli that aren’t), and thinking about what to do rather than acting on impulse or instinct. You activate executive functions when you tell yourself to count to 10 instead of saying something you may regret. They are what we use to make our actions moral and what we think of when we think about what makes us human.

 In one respect, the last paragraph sums up many of the elements contained in the LOST story lines and companion theories. There was mental altering experiments, drug use, stress tests through various jungle missions, physical pain and emotional manipulations and the alleged "vaccine" that was given to various characters.

The idea that the characters were part of a group trial on a cognition "smart drug" protocol could help explain and tie in the various theories surrounding mental attributes such as hallucinations, fantasy, dreams or even game theories. No one knows what would happen if science unlocks the full potential of human brain power.

The trailers for the new movie, Lucy, portends that higher mental cognition would unlock and unleash the ability to alter gravity, magnetics and matter. A human with supernatural abilities (not unlike the powers of a smoke monster). This is not to say that this movie is a riff on LOST or its story elements.

But the power of the mind is an untapped potential which could lead an individual down a fictional  path that seems perfectly real and complex.  This powerful mental journey could explain either the jungle world or the sideways realm or both.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

INTERLOPERS

The cable TV ads have been hyping a new sci-fi series, The Intruders, in which the premise seems to be that undead spirits come back to take over bodies of real people in order to do no good.

Why spirits would need to take over human bodies to do their evil deeds is unknown. The classic ghost story has transparent forms causing havoc in people's minds. It is like when the smoke monster, MIB, took the form of dead John Locke. He really did not have to so it.  At the time, some speculated that it needed to have a dead body in order to reincarnate in its form. However, MIB/Smokey did it without a body with island Christian.

The premise could be an explanation of the two different worlds LOST created in Season 6.

In the sideways world, all the characters were dead. Dead for a long and short time. If this is the true point of beginning, that the characters were dead before the series began and dead before getting on Flight 815, then perspectives change.

If everyone was dead already, and living in a purgatory setting as boring and mundane as their past lives on Earth (which they have repressed including their own fates), how do dead souls dream?

One would expect that being spirits, their dreams may not be confined to a human brain in REM sleep but could be projected without physical limitations because spirits are closer to energy beings than humanoids.

Perhaps this collective spiritual dream state created the island story. (This is the exact opposite position that most viewers perceive the series based on how events unfolded over the years).

The island could be a fantasy island for the dead.  Think about it: the main characters did irrational, stupid, crazy things without thinking about the consequences. It was an adventure vacation for some. It was an intense emotional soul search for others.

Now could the spirits rematerialize as human beings in the real world? Perhaps.
Or would it have been easier to commandeer human beings and steal those bodies for their vacation fun?

The physical imagines of the characters are the same in the sideways and real world, but that is a matter of convenience. Sideways Jack spirit was someone else's ghost who just wound up in real world Jack's body. And the interloper theory helps explain why some characters had dramatic life shifts after boarding Flight 815. This would include the experienced pilots, who lost control of their plane. It also includes Jack, whose human body and mind would not have become the "leader" that spirit Jack wanted to be in the sideways world.

The main characters were kidnapped by sideways world spirits who needed to re-live some part of their lives in order to break the bonds of their purgatory.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

PREGNANCIES

One of the early serious plot lines revolved around the danger of pregnant women on the island. They all died before giving birth.  This was a serious story line, repeated twice in the show: first with Claire and her abduction, and second with Sun's "miracle" conception. (There is major flaw in the sideways arc that both women who gave birth in the island time-sphere gave birth to their daughters in the sideways after life.)

The reason why pregnant women died on the Island before they could successfully give birth was vaguely couched as an "infection." People, especially pregnant women, had to have shots in order to save themselves and their babies. But the cause was never explained. Ben kidnapped Juliet to have her investigate the island birth problem because she successfully got her infertile sister pregnant. Juliet was supposed to solve the problem, but did not. There was some aspect of the pregnancies that may have been tied to fetus "time skipping," but that was actually before the FDW was introduced as a deux machina device.

In Season 1 when Claire was pregnant with Aaron and got kidnapped and experimented on by Ethan, was a member of The Others who had a focus on children. They would later kidnap the tail section children.  Ethan was likely working with  Juliet to help Claire – he gave her injections, but those cause strange pyschotropic events in Claire's mind.  Claire was rescued Aaron was born on the island (something that was not supposed to happen). One explanation is that it was likely Aaron born on the Island without incident because Claire was already far enough along in her pregnancy before coming to the Island (just like Jacob and the Man In Black’s mother).

However, the pregnancy issue popped up again in Season 3 when Sun learned that she was pregnant (“The Glass Ballerina” & “D.O.C.” ) and was a the prominent focus of Juliet’s flashback arch (“One of Us“). If Sun conceived on the island, she was in mortal danger just like the dead Other women who could not come to term. One hard explanation was that Sun was pregnant before she arrived on the island, and that the baby was not Jin's. However, the baby problems occurred in island women in their third trimester, so both Claire and Sun would have been in danger. Another factor for Sun was that her daughter was born off the island which somehow saved the mother and child from the island's deadly "infection?"

One simple observation is that the motherhood drama was a story arc that fizzled out after Claire gave birth and Juliet was killed off.  It was filler drama because who is more at risk on a dangerous island than a pregnant woman?

However, in Desmond's island back story, we were told that everyone on the island was at risk. That Desmond had to take injections and not go outside because of the infection. We later learned that Kelvin was lying to Desmond. So it is possible that there was no island"infection," and that the pregnant women never came to term because of some other factor, such as poor prenatal care or individual risk factors (because at some point, there was a thriving community with Dharma, with children and a school).

One other explanation I had during the original series run was that pregnant women could not come to term on the island because the island was hell. In hell, sinners were not allowed to bring new life into a realm of punishment. A newborn has no sin to be punished so it would not be allowed to be born. And Ben, as a minion for Satan, was trying to get around that rule by finding a way to regenerate a new army for the devil himself (who could be the evil incarnate - - - smoke monster).

Likewise, there is a story problem with pregnant women in the sideways after life. If the sideways was purgatory or even a slice of heaven, why would dead women give birth to their already born children? That does not make any logical sense.

It would seem the infection of the island, whatever realm state it was, could have been a misstatement of some kind of dream-hallucination state that women with issues believed that they were pregnant and going to have a child. In the sideways world, in a similar vain, the reward for certain women was to give them what they dreamed about but did not achieve in the real human life: having a baby.

The fact that we never found out why pregnant women were dying on the Island still bugs a great deal of LOST fans. It is one of those sub-plots that was conveniently dropped but then later contradicted by other events.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE RULES

The island "rules" were a fast and loose term used by the writers to NOT explain critical points in their story.

The show runners played things fast and loose, hoping that the momentum of the characters’ story arcs and the whole “good vs. evil” showdown would be enough to appease most fans. But the promise of an intellectual drama was what most fans wanted to see.

One explanation of the island mythology has to be centered in "Across the Sea," the Jacob origin story in Season 6. The semi-explaination what the island was – a sort of container for a very important energy that seemingly links this world with worlds beyond... or something else.  There is a view that the unique "energy" is actually a form of light and water, and if that light goes out and the water stops flowing, so the world is basically end.

Everything magical or fantastic about the Island stems from this energy, and many of the technological oddities found on the Island (the Swan Station from Season 2) are a result of the Dharma Initiative trying to harness and control that energy (i.e., man trying to bend magic and mysticism to the will of modern science).

However, there are some things that were definitely left unexplained: Why did the Man In Black become a smoke monster when he was exposed to the light (was it a manifestation of his corrupted soul?); What is the nature of the “rules” that governed certain aspects of the Island – who could come and go, who could kill who, who was healed from injury (Locke, Rose), who lived forever (Richard). How were these rules established and maintained?

We were vaguely told that the island guardian made up his own rules, but what we came away with were a lot of vague pseudo- explanations. But if Jacob's rules controlled the island, he would never die because that was against the rules. And the randomness of who lived and died on the island, who was saved and punished by the smoke monster, also did not fit into any established rules. So why was MIB was obsessed with “finding a loophole” in order to kill Jacob? And since MIB was NOT Jacob's brother, who Crazy Mother said he could not kill, then Jacob could have destroyed the smoke monster long ago. If Jacob would not allow or could not kill the smoke monster/MIB, then how could Jack and Kate do it?  Some say that since Smokey was connected to the energy source, and when Jack had Desmond “turned off” that energy by re-setting the cork, Smokey "lost" his powers and was merely flesh and blood again. Except that does not make any sense. The cork was in the bottle and MIB still had all his powers. When the cork was removed, MIB still had his powers. Since we don't know how MIB was created in the light cave, nothing is canon.


If Jacob's final rule was "if I die, you can die," then that is not a dramatic loophole for the smoke monster. The smoke monster's statement that he wanted "to leave" the island mirrored Jacob's brother's, but since MIB was not human, where could it actually go if it was tied to the light source?


Without rules, one cannot have order. And with LOST's non-rules, the story is tangled in messy inconsistencies and legitimate questions.

Monday, July 21, 2014

WAKE UP DESMOND

There has been a difficult explanation of why Desmond was the one who would shepherd the Losties to the final reunion.


One of the biggest things people seem to be questioning is how Desmond was able to “wake up” from the purgatory universe and how he had the know-how to “wake up” the other characters. 

Desmond was not an original cast member. He did not survive the plane crash. He was never really part of the beach camp. He really did not care which side to take, Jack, Locke's, or anything else except to get off the island and back to Penny. In the story progression, Desmond's character began as arc filler, to add another piece to the Widmore story (that his daughter was involved with a loser).

To our knowledge, Desmond was not "touched" by Jacob to become a candidate. He was sent on his insane quest to show-up Widmore by winning a solo sailboat race across the Pacific. How a stupid and dangerous thing would make a rich girl swoon is another matter. But that was his plan. However, since Dez had no money and no boat, he had fallen back to his comfort zone (a depressed, self doubting existence of inner pain and regret). But out of no where, widow Libby gives him her late husband's boat. Too coincidental? Of course. That is the LOST tangled ball of strings story writing.

We can assume it was Widmore who recruited Desmond to get the boat and race across the Pacific. What better way to get rid of a problem then send him into the vast ocean? But for some unknown reason, Desmond shipwrecked on the island. How he got through the barrier is unknown, but if Jacob was to be believed, only he could allow people to come to the island. Of course, Jacob could have been lying - - - a Desmond got through because there is no evidence that Jacob ever knew Desmond existed until late in Season 6. So Widmore got rid of his problem. But at the same time, Widmore's other big problem was finding the island. He was working with Eloise to do that - - - and probably had spies try to tail Ben or his people when they went to the mainland (again, why would Jacob allow free passage by the Others since Jacob had no real "work" for them to do for him.)

Some fans believe that the first true love story of the series was the Desmond-Penny affair. It was that bond that led to the concepts of having a "constant" and being a "variable" in the island's time skipping equation. But Desmond was not the only one with a constant. Everyone has a constant - - - someone they knew or bonded with such as a parent, friend, spouse or child that they love and want to protect. But somehow, the writers tilted Desmond's relationship as special. The only difference between Dez and the rest of the characters was the likely fact Desmond was never supposed to be on the island. That may have been the wild card MIB was looking for in his own "loophole" theory.

In many viewer's explanation of the sideways reunion, it is Desmond (specifically through his past connection to Penny Widmore) that is the “constant” in the show. No matter what happens, when, or where, Desmond seems somehow immune to the Island’s energy (which has electromagnetic properties) and has a sort of awareness that can transcend space and time (his consciousness shifts seen in episodes like “The Constant“). These “shifts” and Widmore’s explanation that Desmond is special because of his resistance to the Island’s energies, imply that Desmond would even be able to “shift” his consciousness back and forth between this universe and the sideways purgatory one, catalyzed by Widmore’s team placing him in that huge electromagnetic machine in the Season 6.

Based on the show's apparent reasoning, that Desmond – after having his consciousness
“shifted” to the purgatory reality – would “wake up” after encountering HIS constant, Penny. It’s another fast and loose metaphysical explanation, but one that some people think works within the framework of the show. 

 Except, in the sideways world, other characters encountered their constants - - -  like Jin and Sun. Together, they should have awakened first especially with their traumatic ending on the island.

So if the island EM "blocks" memories of the past life, then why does it fail when Desmond starts rounding up the other cast members? Sayid instanteously remembers everything when he finds Shannon? But his entire life centered around Nadia - - - even in the sideways world. The major inconsistencies with the amnesia in the sideways world is baffling when one considers the quick cascade of memories flowing from one concert setting.  Worse, is the awakening of Claire and Charlie - - - and Kate - - - only by the "re-birth" of Aaron in the sideways world. If Aaron was alive in the real world, he could not be a fetus in the sideways world. He would have lived his life on Earth then died and gone to purgatory-heaven-whereever as an adult. The Aaron rebirth sequence calls into question whether there were actually two different dimensions at play.

The writers tagging Desmond "special" so he can get everyone magically back together was too convenient. The show had labeled other characters as "special" including Walt and Locke, but they really had no role in bringing the cast back together. It is hard to believe that the writers knew Desmond would be the final key when the show began since Desmond was not even written into the show until much later. And many viewers believe that Jack should have the key to the series and its resolution.