LOST Theories - DarkUFO

I'd like to touch on a few different ideas floating around; ideas that seem to be coloring people's notions about where the show is finally going. Think of the following as the building blocks of more comprehensive theories, not a single cohesive theory in itself. Ultimately, I hope these concepts help drive people in a better direction with their theories.

The Unreliable Storyteller

We all know about the mistaken character: those whose perspective on an event or worldview taint the "truth" in a narrative. This type of storytelling is well employed in films like Rashômon and Courage Under Fire. It's dangerous; most viewers make the mistake to take a character's perspective at face value: "If they say it, it must be true."

For example, take Richard Alpert's claim the island is Hell. He might actually think that, or at least thought it to be true. I'm sure more than a few fans took this to mean it really was hell. Fortunately, the episode did well to dismiss the claim before it could fester into a mess of irrational theories.

Now, take that example as a wink and nod to the viewers. In essence it says "you don't have to believe everything a character is saying." So, we should extend this concept to a couple of misconceptions:

1. The Candidate will replace Jacob: Really? Though Ilana makes this claim, did she explicitly hear this from Jacob? We never heard him say that. He did tell MIB that if he was killed, he would get someone else to stop him, but I'm not certain that's what is going on here. Take, for instance, Ilana's sorrow at the death of Jacob. She probably didn't expect him to be killed (though I'm not certain about this). So, it comes as a surprise that she would "know" that the Candidates are there to replace him.

Just because Ilana says the Candidates are there to replace Jacob does not make it so. We might want to consider what other function the Candidates might play.

2. The Cork analogy and Jacob in general: Look, it's easy to fall in the trap of thinking the buck stops with Jacob. He's been built up for so long, that once we actually see and hear him, it's very difficult for us to question what he's saying and doing. The biggest reason for this is our never-ending quest for the ONE PERSON that has all the answers to this curse-ed show. When Henry Gale came along, we thought he was the one. When Richard Alpert showed up, we thought he was it. Widmore? Finally, he must have all the answers. But, guess what? None of them seem to know much more than we do! Why are we so convinced Jacob is any better?? Sure, he's probably been around the block a few times. He probably knows a lot. But what kind of luggage is he carrying? How has this "cork" perspective been established?

Again, just because JACOB says the island is a cork, it doesn't mean it's a cork. Maybe the truth lies with some variation on that concept, but I believe the truth does not end with Jacob.

One last note on this whole unreliable storyteller/character thing: the concept is turned on-end and refreshingly re-packaged for us through Jack and Hurley this season. They have both acknowledged their limited degree of "correct thinking." It's so bad for Jack, that he's given up (which will probably serve him well. He will be rewarded for this). For Hurley, he makes decisions, but begrudgingly. In the case of the latter, the concept is re-visited through Hurley's interaction with Michael, who again could be all wrong. Just because he's dead doesn't mean he's right (think about his answer for the whispers).

Story Elements

We should consider the creation and nurturing of story elements in Lost as a clue for end-game theorizing. Writers don't typically role out huge plot elements without them playing a more pivotal role in the climax of a story. In the case of Lost, I think Dharma and time travel are the missing story elements that will soon return.

First, why on Earth would the writers go through so much effort to create the Dharma Initiative (a story element so large to the world of Lost that it was the focus of much of the second and fifth seasons) if it was merely going to be forgotten as "a group of scientists studying the exotic nature of the island" or "trying to save the world" (if you consider the Valenzetti Equation as canon). And don't tell me "to facilitate Jughead detonation," because I'm not even sure that happened, or if it did, whether it played a big factor in the story (more on that in a minute).

No, I think Dharma plays a MUCH bigger role in the story. For instance, if we're to believe the real story lies with Jacob and MIB, then why didn't we get more time allotted to their back story or origins? All that time we could have been finding out more about them was wasted on this throw-away Dharma storyline . . . OR . . .

Maybe the Jacob and MIB storyline IS the Dharma storyline! I believe the real reason why we learned so much about Dharma is because Jacob and MIB are from Dharma. It's the only conclusion that makes satisfying sense: In any murder mystery, we have to be introduced to the killer before the big reveal. And we have to see a connection to motive tying the murder and victim together. It's a story element so fundamental, even Scooby Doo employs it.

Now, why the heck would the writers introduce this Jacob/MIB struggle so late in the story without tying them to larger story elements seen earlier? And "white rock/black rock" or Backgammon don't count. It's because they ARE tied to something bigger. They must be tied to some larger story element to satisfy us from a storytelling perspective. They know better than to pull an "autistic kids imagination" or "all a dream" stunt on us.

But how could Jacob and MIB be tied to Dharma if they're as ancient as they seem to be? Well, how about time travel? Take these points:

- Orchid station used as time travel device as shown in Comic-Con Halliwax footage (two bunnies).
- Donkey Wheel trips time travel.
- We've seen the outcome of time travel f**kery with Locke, Richard and the watch.

Blah, blah. We all know the time travel storyline. But take the three points above.

- The first one establishes Dharma's ability to send things through time.
- The second establishes someone's attempt at harnessing the power in a technologically crude way.
- The third establishes how time travel f**kery does just that: f**ks with time and reality.

Put them together with the significance of Dharma as story element and we get:

Jacob and MIB sent back (mistakenly?) in time by Dharma. Donkey wheel product of their attempt to get back to the future (Is it possible the Orchid station came first, followed by the donkey wheel?) Events playing out in end-game are necessary to correct this massive screw-up by Dharma.

Anyway, it's just a theory. What isn't a theory is the fact Dharma and time travel are HUGE story elements. Their significance is such that both must play some sort of role in the ultimate solution to the Lost mystery or else the show fails to meet the lowly standard set by a Hardy Boys mystery. In other words, big setup should equal big payoff.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

A post hoc fallacy (i.e. Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one) often creates illogical thinking. We do it all the time: we hand out condoms to teens, therefore teens are more likely to have sex. We get attacked by terrorists, therefore Saddam Hussein must be involved. Etc.

Why do I bring this up? Because I believe we're making a big assumption about the ATL. We're led to believe the ATL was caused by Jughead because the ATL followed the detonation of Jughead. But why should that be the case? As an exercise, remove Jughead and the climactic scene from Season Five; but keep the ATL in Season Six. How would our theories be changed as a result of this? It would be interesting to see what people would come up with as a cause of the ATL without Jughead. They'd surely be interesting.

If you're skeptical about this, look no further than the Locke storyline in Season Five for an example of Post Hoc assumptions. We assumed Locke rose from the dead because his "rebirth" followed his body's return to the island. But we were misled. As a matter-of-fact, MIB used the easy way we all fall for Post Hoc fallacies to realize his master plan. I see no reason why the writers wouldn't continue the device with Jughead caused ATL. And I also believe Daniel Widmore's claim of "already setting off an atomic bomb" to be yet another example of unreliable storyteller to further confuse matters.

I would be interested in extending the post hoc fallacy to other story elements. It's often the engine for many of the twists and turns in storytelling of this nature, and I'm sure there's more at play right now in Lost. I would love to hear your ideas.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.
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