How did Locke wind up in the coffin? Where did the Island go? And will the show get any Emmy love? Doc Jensen offers some final thoughts
By Jeff Jensen
Jeff Jensen, an EW senior writer, has been despondent since the cancellation of ''Twin Peaks''
MOVING THE ISLAND; MOVING ONIn which Doc Jensen offers some final thoughts on Lost 4.0; makes a bold, reckless promise; and then packs up his theory-making things and migrates south for the long Lost winter to come.
The aftermathThe fourth season is over, but the buzz from last week's finale rages. Indeed, I've noticed that many Lost bloggers took almost a full week to digest the two-hour opus that was ''No Place Like Home,'' and their thinking is better for it. I like J. Wood's heady analysis of the John Locke/Jeremy Bentham connection over at Powells.com. DarkUFO — whose scoopy spoilage of the finale set hardcore webbed-up Losties aflame with debate over the ethics of fandom — has in the past few days posted a smattering of deep, wide-ranging meditations. Meanwhile, I know a number of fans have been buzzing during the past week about a new theory, posted over at Lost Review. The author of this theory hasn't yet updated it in light of what we learned last week about the Orchid, but my hunch is that the finale will only better inform this intriguing bit of thinking. If you find yourself desperate for a Lost fix — and you haven't yet discovered these brilliant(ly mad) Lost scholars — I encourage you to check them out.
The Island moves...to San Diego?Meanwhile, it appears a new Lost alternate reality game designed to keep us occupied during the off season looms on the horizon. In the final commercial break of the finale, ABC ran a (faux) spot from ''Octagon Global Recruiting,'' promoting a new volunteer drive for — gulp — the Dharma Initiative. (Admit it: You all want to be locked up in your own Dharma hatch, don't you? Just don't ask for Frozen Donkey Wheel duty.) If you missed the commercial, go to the first website ABC has established for this endeavor. You'll find the ad playing on a loop. Pay close attention and you might catch the Easter egg embedded in the spot: Dharma I Ching symbols, inscribed in the revolving golden octagonal ring. What do you think they mean?
Those of you interested in one of Dharma's ''unpaid'' research positions are advised to go to San Diego July 24-27 — which, of course, happens to be the location and duration of this year's Comic-Con, the annual popculturepalooza, where Lost exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have traditionally broken their post-finale radio silence and given us the first hint of what lies ahead for the show. Last year, the always entertaining pair (and their spoiler alert bell) offered attendees an early look at a botched, rough draft version of the orientation video for the Orchid. It was here that whispers began that Lost 4.0 would be the time-travel season of Lost. It was also here that the producers formally announced the return of Michael to the show by bringing actor Harold Perrineau with them. (In light of recent events both on and off the show, it's probably very safe to predict that Perrineau won't be popping up at this year's Lindelof-Cuse powwow.) As usual, yours truly will be covering Comic-Con; I'll bring you details and analysis of what goes down there shortly thereafter.
Doc Jensen's Emmy pledgeThen comes Emmy. In light of the strong season Lost turned in, I would be shocked if the show doesn't garner nominations in at least three categories: Best Drama; Best Writing (for ''The Constant''); and Best Supporting Actor (for Michael Emerson, whose Ben was this year's MVP character). So strong is my conviction that Lost should be nominated for Best Drama that I'm willing to do something really drastic if it doesn't get nominated. My original plan was to swear here and now to pull a John Locke/Jeremy Bentham and...shave my head. But, surprisingly enough, this plan was not enthusiastically embraced by Mrs. Doc Jensen when I ran it past her just five minutes ago. So I'll have to come up with something else. Here's hoping I'll never have to follow through — but if I do, we'll make a video of it and post on EW.com.
SOME FINAL FINALE THOUGHTS(An expanded edition of my finale analysis published in this week's magazine.)
Where is the Island?Ben descended into an icy cave underneath a Dharma Initiative time-travel lab and pushed on an ancient wheel. The Island then vanished in a blaze of light and sound, much like an American Idol contestant, taking Locke, Juliet, and Shirtless Sawyer with it. THEORY The Island is located in another dimension, embedded in the space-time fabric of reality. Turning the wheel closed the portal to that realm; turning it again would open it back up. Which is all to say, I don't think the Island technically went anywhere; it is where it's always been. Another possibility that works similar turf: We know from ''The Shape of Things to Come'' that after pushing the wheel, Ben landed in Tunisia about 10 months in the future. Similarly, the Island skipped ahead in time — but unlike Ben, didn't change location. In other words, in terms of geographical coordinates, the Island is exactly where it's always been...wherever the heck that is. Another way to think about it: Like Lost itself, the Island has merely gone offline. When the Island comes back online, it'll be like no time has passed at all — at least, for the people on it.
How did Locke get in the coffin?Last seen on the Island, the boar-hunting baldie had become the jungle king of the Others. But, three years later, Locke was apparently living off-Island as ''Jeremy Bentham'' (another Lost philosopher reference), begging the Oceanic 6 to go back with him. He then allegedly committed suicide. THEORY Locke's death is a trick — part of the Island's plan to manipulate the Oceanic 6 into returning. When they bring Locke's body back, he'll be magically revived. About Locke's chosen fake name, ''Jeremy Bentham'': I strongly suggest you read about the real-life Bentham on Wikipedia. But also check out the Jeremy Bentham entry at LostPedia. The fans over there have made some provocative connections to another Lost philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and another loaded Lost name, Jacob. Check it out: It's revolutionary — and terrifying — stuff.
What did Sawyer whisper to Kate?With Lapidus' helicopter leaking fuel, Sawyer heroically chose to lighten the load by jumping ship — but before he did, he whispered a final request into Kate's ear, then smooched her. THEORY The con man asked his crush to check up on Clementine, the daughter he fathered with con gal (and Kate acquaintance) Cassidy. Or maybe he said: ''When you come back, can you bring me a shirt?''
Were the polar bears being trained to push on the frozen donkey wheel?We know that the cave where the Frozen Donkey Wheel is located is all icy and stuff. And we know that a polar bear was found in Tunisia, which is where Ben materialized after pushing on said Frozen Donkey Wheel. Putting two and two together, many fans have been asking: Was Dharma training its polar bears to operate the subterranean turnstile of destiny? DOC JENSEN SAYS Maybe. But you saw how tight and narrow that passageway was. And then there was that little ice-capped well leading to the ladder...how the heck would the polar bears get down there? Still: intriguing idea.
GOODBYE — FOR NOW
Another season of Lost has ended; another season of Doc Jensen comes to a close. As I've already indicated, I'll have another report by the end of the summer, and hopefully, more columns this fall, counting down to the season premiere. Truth is, the Lost part of my brain never really turns off; I always have some theory-crunching application running. I look forward to the crazy new ideas that await me in the months to come.
As always, big thanks to Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof for their teases and insight this season. And an even bigger thank you for your readership. I know this column can get weird and even downright infuriating at times, with my ill-considered digressions into fields of thought (political, scientific, literary, philosophical) better left to more intellectually disciplined and responsible minds. Thank for patience, laughter, and even participation. Stay in touch, will you? JeffJensenEW@aol.com is how you can reach me. I look forward to the correspondence.
Be well, folks. Namaste!