Through the darkness of future past,
The magician longs to see
One chance out between two worlds:
Fire, walk with me.
As all great shows do, LOST’s Season 5 began last night and answered a few questions (that most already knew) and added a whole bunch more. So now, as great politicians do, I will pose questions for myself to answer:
Q: Why is Sawyer so tubby?
A: Despite the amount of ‘Suspension of Disbelief’ required for LOST fans, I’m still dismayed by how doughy Sawyer looks. That said, I guess I have to accept that Sawyer is played by a real human who is not stuck on a mysterious time-jumping island.
Q: Why is Sawyer obsessed with putting a shirt on for most of the episode, and why do they focus on him getting jabbed by a sharp bamboo stick?
A: My best guess is that Sawyer (who was stuck in a giant Skinner Box during Season 2), will now start living through Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Need” theory. In which shoeless/shirtless Caveman Sawyer can not become truly “self-actualized” until his base needs are met — Food, Water, Clothing, Shelter, Companionship… or as Sawyer would see it — mangos, beer, flannel, a tarp and Juliet(?). In fact, as LOSTwriters are prone to do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an unsubtle hint, like a character named “Maslow”, show up on the island.
Q: Did I catch LOST using both the titles “3 years Before” and “3 Years Ago” in the same episode?
A: I thought I did… bullshit right? It feels like they’re being aimlessly deceptive.
Q: Does the ability of all characters to jump through time and space revolutionize the show?
Q: Do Tell.
A: It’s a smart move on the writer’s part. Any loopholes that previous seasons have created can now be closed by depicting their preceding events (in the past) that haven’t been shown yet (in future episodes).
Also, it’s a great storytelling tool that allows the viewer to be sympathetic to a character’s implausible plight. In that way it reminds me of the film Memento, where moviegoers observe a hero with no long-term memory in scenes which run backward from end to beginning — thereby projecting the character’s brain issues onto its viewers.
Q: Intriguing. Please go on!
A: If you insist, good sir… by telling the stories of the “past”, “present” and “future” simultaneously, at some level the viewer will be rattled by revelations that the characters themselves are experiencing.
Also, if you care to geek out about physics even more so (like I occasionally try to), good ‘ol Einstein showed that all “time” really runs concurrently. (As well as fixed and unalterable as Daniel Farrady emphatically argues.)
So… viewing LOST in what David Lynch might call “the futurepast”, with all times going on at the same time, is actually just as valid as viewing a story from what we perceive, relatively, as the right way — beginning, middle, and end. Ohhhh, Science — fucking with my brain again.
Q: I feel dizzy and humbled by this new knowledge. Does this have any direct implications within the reality of the show beyond clever and overly-smart script writing?
A: Absolutely maybe! For the first two seasons we’d been watching (what we thought were) real-time events buttressed by compelling (and suspiciously coincidental) background stories that manifest themselves on the island.
The first twist was that Beardy Jack (and later other characters like Sun and Kate) were being shown in what we first thought were flashbacks, then concluded were flashforwards, but know now thanks to Season 5 (and Einstein, I guess) that the correct timing of events is all um…. Relative. I mean, it would be a flash forward or backward only if you view the Oceanic 6’s time on The Island as the “present”. (And now even that’s messed up.)
So, now that we know that they ACTUALLY JUMP THROUGH TIME AND SPACE, all the things that seem like ridiculous happenstance and coincidence could actually be an intricate and calculated set of events put into motion not by chance, but by necessity. (And, as a further mind-fuck, possibly set in motion by their future selves in order to set-right the only future that wouldn’t unravel the Fabric of the Cosmos). And now, if you’re keeping score, we’ve stumbled into Donnie Darko territory. Break out the emo eyeliner.
More on this later… some thoughts on the future/past, and maybe a sprinkling of mind/body and dream/reality concepts. So yeah, stuff you talked about while high, or in your Philosophy 001 class, or possibly both simultaneously.