Friday, December 19, 2014

ALTERNATIVE LEADS

If one was going to shift the main focus of LOST to two different lead characters, then the "bad" chemistry between Boone and Shannon could have been a good alternative.

Through a roundabout way, Jack and Kate became the lead-romantic figures in the series. Jack was saved from being axed early on for dramatic effect (which ironically Boone would serve that role) while Kate was originally to be the lead lead character, but got downplayed to partial secondary lead (on the missions as surrogate for the fans).

Boone and Shannon could have leveraged their rich arrogance into strong willed aristocratic rule upon the beach survivors.  Shannon was quite the manipulative rich girl who was used to getting her way. Her wiles were downplayed in the series to only be a doting, spoiled, lazy brat. Her character could have been written in a more bold fashion. She could have used her sex appeal to bond loyalty with various male characters, such as Sawyer, Sayid and even Locke. Once she got muscle behind her, she could set herself up in island luxury (almost in the same mold as Ben).

Boone was smart enough to run a large business for his mother, he should have had the skill set to "manage" the castaways in an efficient manner where they would look up to him for their survival, instead of Jack. In fact, Jack was still afraid of authority figures due to his father's belittlement of his skills. Boone could have been the skilled politician who cut the deals to keep everyone in line.

Such a cutthroat couple was not foreign in the writers, since they used that concept with the misguided introduction of Nikki and Paulo, who conspired to kill a wealthy man for his diamonds and wealth.

A ruthless Boone-Shannon couple, linked by their dark secret of a sibling affair, would have added a new layer of darkness to the series. It could be used to keep them together, or later, pull them a part.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

THE LAND OF MAKE BELIEVE

Throughout human existence, mankind has been aware of a few absolute truths: people are born and people die.

It is how one perceives life is what has changed over the tens of thousands of years.  In the past, ancient cultures mostly saw their lives in the cycles of Nature. Every year, like the seasons, would follow birth, harvest, death and rebirth. But in modern societies, the view is that life is a linear plane where each year of existence is another marker on a ruler.

Also, it is interesting that ancient cultures believed that there were present gateways from their creator gods to themselves on Earth. Ancient people looked to the stars in the heavens as the source of their own lives, including seeing the Milky Way as a portal to everlasting life.  Modern religions have adapted some of those past beliefs into a system of morality, where the human spirit lives on after mortal death on Earth, to be transported to a new realm of existence (heaven or hell).

But in this modern view, there is debate on whether there are intermediate steps in the transition from human to soul spirit. The ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul is divided at death so one part has to suffer judgment through a long, dangerous journey through the underworld with the hope to be reunited with its other part in paradise. Modern theology tends to state that if a person is good in his or her life, they will be rewarded in some fashion: external bliss in heaven in angelic form or reborn as another person or life form on Earth.

It is the transitory nature of life to death to potential rebirth that keeps the human mind from going completely mad at the prospect of nothingness at the end game.

So how could LOST fit into this existence time line?  The island was supposed to be the place of life, death and rebirth. It did not have the physics of an actual Earth island, so it is assumed that it is either a supernatural place or overlaps into another dimension of time-space. In other words, the island could be the space between human life and death.

For some viewers, that intermediate place makes sense. The characters pre-815 back stories show edtheir lives, troubles and sins. The sideways world showed the waiting room in the after life. The bridge between the two different existences had to be the island. It goes to show then that the characters could still be "alive" on the transitional island realm, but not able to "move on" to the after life unless certain conditions were met.

If you then view the island as a land of make believe, not of Earth but its own unique sphere of existence, it is easier to gloss over the factual inaccuracies or inconsistent story plot points because none of those really matter in a place which has no normal rules.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BOONE DOGGLE

Locke is a hard guy to like . . . or be a true friend. On the island, Boone was the only character that had any empathy for Locke.

As stated previously, Boone had his own familial issues with Shannon. Boone tried to be helpful from the beginning of the post-crash CPR, which Jack told him he was doing it wrong. Boone tried to fit in to a fractured beach camp, but he never found any true connection.

It is probably because he was a loner, like Locke. Maybe Boone needed an older brother figure to cope with the stress of being a castway, estranged from his stepsister.

Originally, Boone was supposed to be a major presence in the LOST story. However, he got shifted to a secondary role after the emergence of Jack as the lead male character.

Still, Boone was involved in two key moments in the series (or so we thought at the time of original airing): finding the Hatch and finding the small drug airplane.

The Hatch was supposed to give us viewers the Big Answers to the current island mysteries. It would have been a window into what was the island, who were the Others, and why strange things were happening to the castaways. At the very least, it would have given the beach camp real shelter from the smoke monster, wild animals and the Others attacks (but strangely, that never happened).

The plane was supposed to help guide the viewer into the soul of the island, because it was physically impossible that an African small plane could have crash landed on a remote Pacific Island. The presence of the plane was either a) an illusion taken from Eko's memory; b) an echo of a parallel dimension or realm; or c) a magical trope to create faux drama.

Boone took it upon himself to go up on the cliff to investigate the plane for clues and a possible chance to be a hero, to find a radio and call for help. But the plane fell, and Boone was severely injured.

It was Boone's traumatic demise that got Jack to "let go" of a patient, for there would be no "medical miracle" on an island that allowed at least two big miracles: Locke being able to walk and Rose's cure for cancer. By Jack being unable to save Boone, some consider his death "saving" Jack from the haunting criticism of his late father.

Locke would justify the reckless behavior of his subordinate as "being the sacrifice that the island demanded." But we never get the sense that the island was a conscious being that needed human blood in order to survive. (This is a very ancient, pagan-primitive ritual belief system).  Why Locke made that assertion could only be to ease his own guilt for allowing Boone to do a dangerous task.

It foreshadows Locke's only senseless demise when he tried to be the hero (getting everyone back to the island). Perhaps self grandeur is why both Locke and Boone are alone in the sideways church. For some reason, they could never connect or find their own soulmates.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

EYES CLOSED

For those with a work ethic, a close family and bills to pay, the idea that one can shut out the realities of Life is impossible and reckless.

Life's challenges are multiple daily decisions that have ramifications, both big and small. Navigating the pot holes in the road of Life is something that is conditioned upon experience, upbringing, morality, culture, education, skill and common sense. Life is Hard.

But in many ways, Life was easy for the many of the main LOST characters.

Closing one's eyes to the problems around you so you don't have to confront them (or your fears) was symbolic of many relationship issues throughout the series.  When Jack opened his eyes in the bamboo field after the crash, it was symbolic of Jack going on a journey to deal with the problem he had put off until it was too late: reconciling his issues with his father.

Likewise, Kate kept a blind eye to responsibility and accountability for her actions. It seems she was never punished for her childhood transgressions. She learned that your cute charm could get people to do her bidding. She never seemed to work hard at anything because people, boys, would try to help her. Her eyes only opened when she uncharacteristically decided that she needed to help Claire, a stranger and fearful young mother, with the birth of Aaron and his later rescue to the mainland.

Hurley also had an easy life. His doting mother gave him a home and plenty of room for Hurley not to have to work hard. The safety net of his mother's love closed Hurley's expectations for himself. He was ashamed about himself. He had self-esteem issues. He was closed minded about his future (like working as a fry cook would be his career). He was self-conscious about meeting women because he lost the feeling of love when his father abandoned him. It was when Hurley closed his eyes and went into his dream world did he find comfort with his one true, but imaginary friend, Dave. Hurley avoided the need to make hard choices by being in a mental institution where he had no pressure to do anything.

Even if one went wide eyed into a new venture, it does not mean he would see the truth. That was Locke's problem: no matter what path he tried to take in his life, he would stumble and be made the fool.  He was blind to the fact that other people used his good nature against him. When he dreamed about himself, it was of a grander man that he could ever become in real life. And that image of himself haunted his daily life to the point where he went from meaningless and unfilled job after job with little responsibility or expectations for himself.

Many characters kept their responsibility meters off. They did not want to confront their own problems in such a way to be accountable for their own mistakes. They would rather wallow in self-pity than change. It was only by the basic instinct of survival did any of them actually have to come to terms with their closed minds to make some sort of personal mental redemption. One can skate through life with your eyes closed to the harsh realities of life, but in the end that is not really living.

Monday, December 15, 2014

GUILT & SHAME

One of the undercurrents in LOST was the troubled back stories of the main characters. One of the most pulp fiction background relationships was between Boone and his stepsister, Shannon.

In the category, the Rich have hard lives, this relationship had a creepy guilt and shame dynamic.

Boone Carlyle was Shannon's stepbrother. Before Flight 815,  he had been used by Shannon for money and as a result of this, his love for her was revealed and they had a one-night stand.

Boone Carlyle was the son of Sabrina Carlyle, and stepson of Adam Rutherford, a man who was killed in the auto accident in which Jack "saved" Sarah. When Sabrina and Adam  married when Boone was ten, and Shannon, who was two years his junior, became his step-sister. His parents frequently left him with a nanny when he was young, and Boone, angry at being left alone, called her to his room repeatedly without cause. During one of these calls, when Boone was six, the nanny fell and broke her neck.  This may be the impetus of Boone's character trait of helping Shannon throughout her life; guilt.

By the time he had turned 20, Boone was living in New York. After flying back to Los Angeles for Adam Rutherford's  funeral, Boone comforted Shanno by giving his underage stepsister some alcohol to mollify her grief. He told Shannon she could live with him in New York if it would help get her career as a dance instructor started. After Shannon got the job, Boone was then offered a job by his mother. He accepted the job as the Chief Operating Officer of the wedding clothing subsidiary and he had to move from New York. Shannon had asked him to ask his mother for some money, but he came back empty handed. He that said his mother knew why he asked for the money. Boone then offered Shannon some of his own money to get her started in New York without him, but she refused because she wanted to prove herself. Shannon would fail in her attempts (feeble at best) to be self-sufficient and independent. She was daddy's little girl, who got anything she wanted from him, but when he was gone she was mad that her life had been so disrupted by his death. She would be seeking out other men to take care of her. She polished a devious streak to get what she wanted from men.

Although he would not openly admit it to anyone, Boone was in love with Shannon and he would do anything to help her out of her jams.  He paid men to end Shannon's abusive relationships. Shannon would take advantage of Boone's feelings. He received a phone call from Shannon pleading for him to come and help her with her boyfriend, Bryan,  in Sydney. Boone flew to Australia and, although she initially denied there was anything wrong, Shannon showed him a bruise on her forehead discreetly, as Bryan kicked Boone out of their house. He went to the police station to file a report but the Detective was unwilling to help because Boone and Shannon were not blood related, and joked, they were not the "dating police." Boone decided to take matters into his own hands.

He tried to bribe Bryan to leave Shannon. He took the money, but when Boone came to pick up Shannon, Bryan was still there - - - willing to share the loot with Shannon. In other words, Boone was conned into giving Shannon $50,000. There was a fight, and Boone lost.  Later that night, Shannon appeared at Boone's hotel room and told him that Byran had left her, taking all the money. They had drinks, and the alone Shannon seduced Boone. Afterward, Boone felt confused and dejected when Shannon suggested that they return to LA and act if nothing happened that night.

Throughout his time on the Island, Boone would spend a lot of his time with Shannon before finally getting over his love for her and letting her go. He later became Locke's apprentice when the two discovered the Hatch and they formed a close friendship.  Unable to open the Hatch, they followed a dream Locke had and found a small plane sitting on a cliff. Boone climbed up into the plane but suffered severe injuries when the plane fell to the ground. Despite Jack's  best attempts to save him, Boone realized he was going to die and told Jack to let him go. After Boone's death, Locke described him as a "sacrifice the Island demanded."

Shannon's time on the island was not one of personal growth. She kept to her spoiled trust fund persona, rarely helping out. Boone's death did affect her deeply, but it may have been slightly more shame on how she treated him that deep affection. For Shannon, being totally alone, began to seek out company of someone to support her. That person was Sayid, but their relationship was very brief, as Shannon was killed accidently by Ana Lucia.  Sayid's grief over Shannon's death was much more than Shannon had when Boone perished.

So despite the close relationship between Boone and Shannon, they were not "together" in the after life reunion. For little apparent reason, Sayid was reunited with Shannon (and not Nadia). And Boone, like his friend Locke, had no one to sit next to during the final church sequence. Why Boone, who only tried to help his step sister throughout her life, was punished with a lonely eternity, is one of those major downers in the story. And Shannon, who used men to support her, and had little moral principles in doing so, was rewarded in the after life. Life is not fair.

Friday, December 12, 2014

THE FUTURE

It is a rare opportunity to see one's future and not act on it in the present.

In LOST, many of the main characters had a unique opportunity during the time flashes. When the crew was trapped in 1977 Dharmaville, they knew what their futures held for them . . . nothing really good on the island. Only one person seized the opportunity based on his future: Sawyer.

Sawyer took advantage of his future knowledge (being a prisoner of Ben's group) to leverage a position of power within the group (since he did not know whether he would ever return to his real time). He forged his position with his relationship with Juliet, which was non-existent in the real island time line. In fact, Juliet is the exact opposite of a person Sawyer would normally have gone after.

One suspects that this 30 year diversion was so strong a personal bond that Sawyer kept it in his heart until he died (and was reunited with Juliet in the sideways world). But if the characters were bouncing back and forth between time periods, both in the past and future, could Sawyer have actually known about Juliet's fate with the Incident/Jughead? "It worked," she said during the EM implosion - - - was that the final bond to her soulmate, James?

But then, it is fairly sad that Sawyer left the island and presumably lived a long life without Juliet AND a long life without another true companion. Sawyer would have been the type of man who needed company - - - both physical and mental challenges. (Which is why Kate, also a survivor, would have been his better match after leaving the island for the final time.)

It could be argued that Sayid was the one character who understood best what the flash back in time meant to changing the future. It was Sayid who met Young Ben before he turned into the monster dictator. So Sayid took it upon himself to shoot Ben in the chest, presumably killing him. By killing Ben, Sayid thought that the terrorism of the real island time would be extinguished . . .  but in all time travel lore, altering the past could have great repercussions on the future. For example, Young Ben was still naive child. But he may have found his true love in Annie or another girl, made childhood island friends, or even left the island for college and a more normal life. He may not have become the Ben who wanted to control the island.

It is more likely that Sayid's gunshot of Ben altered the course of history to actually create Evil Ben. Since the dying child was taken to the Temple by Alpert, who said he would be altered forever by the spring (as we saw in Sayid himself, an evil reincarnation). Sayid's actions in the past may have actually doomed Ben to the island maniac future, including the mass murder of the Dharma group.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

RE-BIRTH

It was a miracle when Aaron was born on the island. First, the baby survived a high altitude plane crash. Second, her mother was a stressed out bundle of emotions. Third, there were no medical facilities. Fourth, the Others "tested" and "injected" him during a kidnap of Claire. Fifth, no trained medical person helped deliver the baby in the jungle.

The next miracle was that Aaron survived on the island. There would have been pests, disease and malnutrition factors. The Others should have kidnapped him because the Others were obsessed with children. Claire would go through some crazy mom postpartum depression.

The next miracle was Aaron's escape from the island. He survived a helicopter crash into the ocean. He survived the blazing sun in the open seas without his mother. Once on the mainland, he survived under the care of the anti-Mother, Kate.

Aaron was one lucky kid. Luckier than even Hurley.

But does this all add up?

Since Claire left the island with Kate, to fulfill her own self-anointed destiny to reunite Aaron with his mother, one must assume that Claire did re-bond with Aaron.  We were led to believe that Claire's mother, Carol, was in an irreversible coma. Christian came to Australia to help pay for the extended care, when Claire berated her father with blame. But Claire was to blame for her mother's condition (the traffic accident). So after the escape from the island, a fully recovered Carol shows up at Christian's memorial service. Is this also a miracle? Or a bad plot device to get Kate thinking about doing something right and noble in her life?

Carol's reappearance does give us the undertone that something is not quite right in the LOST time lines. If she did not make it and her hospital care cut short and she died after Christian's demise (a likely possibility), then the O6 arc is not real but a surreal bridge to the sideways after life realm.

Because if Claire left the island and she was reunited with Aaron, then there was no reason why Aaron would have needed to be "reborn" at the sideways world concert. How can a living human being be reborn in the afterlife? Or was the whole island Claire story a tale of a dramatic false pregnancy? Or a delusion that masked the fact that Aaron died in the plane crash or at birth?

For if Aaron was born on the island, and lived a normal life off the island, he would have been an adult with his own family and not a prop in the sideways conclusion. He was not needed in order to reunite Claire and Charlie at the concert.

But since the pregnant Claire was in the afterlife in that state of unwed, the question is then asked whether the after life is merely a dream state. And if it is a dream state, would re-living a traumatic time in one's life (like emergency child birth) rekindle the "best" time of your life?

The re-birth of Aaron in the sideways world has always been a troublesome plot point. It makes him more a prop than an actual human being.

Or, an alternative explanation: hysterical pregnancy. Though rare in the United States, pregnancies rooted in the mind but entirely absent from the body do happen. Victorian-era doctors referred to them as "hysterical pregnancies." Today, the favored terms are "delusional pregnancy," "false pregnancy" or "phantom pregnancy." When a patient suffers from some or all the symptoms of pregnancy— stomach growth, cramps, loss of period, morning sickness—without a fetus actually being present, it's known as pseudocyesis.

The division between the physiological and psychological aspects of this syndrome isn't always clear. Essentially, the word 'delusional' means the person is ill with a psychiatric disorder of some kind. But pseudocyesis can occur without any psychiatric illness: you can believe that you're pregnant and have signs of pregnancy for any number of reasons. Certain drugs will do it. There have been cases reported where a woman gains weight, starts having other signs like nausea and she starts believing she's pregnant—but she's not mentally ill and she never has been, other than this one area. And so she'll have some trouble being convinced she's not pregnant. 

If Aaron's "double" births were merely vivid hysterical pregnancies of a delusional woman, was the whole series then a collective delusion?