When Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse appeared at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con, they brought along a mysterious snippet from the Orchid Station orientation video. Fans didn't know what to make of the magically appearing bunny rabbit in the clip, but it all made sense nearly a year later after the season 4 finale aired. This year, the showrunners brought another video featuring Dr. Marvin Candle, and this one may be even more intriguing than the last. Instead of seeing another message from the shady DHARMA Initiative, viewers were treated to a rare glimpse inside Candle's personal life. Could this new clip also be filled with hints about what's to come in Lost's fifth season?
If you haven't seen the video, you can check it out here. Though seeing Dr. Candle in leisurewear comes as a bit of a shock, the first big surprise in the clip is that the doctor's real name is Pierre Cheng. Surprisingly, I couldn't find any real life philosophers by this name. Lindelof and Cuse love to name their characters after real people, but this time it looks like the name may be meaningless.
After learning that Cheng is a professor of astrophysics and has a crying baby at home, he reveals that he's broadcasting the video from 30 years in the past. He's also aware that he's going to die in the DHARMA purge, and glances down at the arm he'll later lose as if he knows what will happen to it. "This information has come to me from a source who has proven himself to be credible," he reveals. A familiar voice behind the camera tells him to hurry up and get to the point.
Cheng soon does get to the point. "This place, it has extraordinary properties," he says. "I'm begging you, no matter what's happened, it's imperative that the DHARMA Initiative be reconstituted. You have to continue to do the research, and you have to do it now. Time is not just of the essence, it is the essence. Perhaps you'll be able to find a way to save us, to change the past." The video comes to an end when the man behind the camera says that nobody's ever going to see the message and that it's all pointless.
I had to watch this clip a few times before attempting to grasp its meaning, and I'm still not sure I fully understand it. It seems obvious that Daniel Faraday is the man behind the camera, which provides an interesting twist for his character. We've all assumed that he's unstuck in time like Desmond, but this video seems to prove that he actually traveled 30 years into the past. If so, how? Has he been on the island before? Is he part of the group attempting to reform the DHARMA Initiative? If he's hanging out with Pierre Cheng, the answer is likely yes.
My theory, and I may be completely off my rocker, is that Faraday was part of the original DHARMA Initiative. Maybe he escaped the purge by jumping into the time machine, then went back to the past to warn Pierre Cheng about what would happen. At Saturday's Comic-Con panel, Cuse and Lindelof did reveal that we'll discover how Daniel knew about the poison gas in the Tempest Station that we saw in "The Other Woman." Could it be because he's already spent time on the island?
The video also seems to hint that DHARMA may be reforming in season 5. I wouldn't be surprised if that was a major plot point in the series next year. These annual Comic-Con videos may be mysterious and confusing, but they're also jam-packed full of clues.
Another thing that's interesting about the clip is that Cheng urges someone to attempt to change the past. The Lost producers have stated time and again that changing the past is impossible, and that the universe course corrects itself in order to keep things balanced. Was Cheng not aware of this, or will someone actually find a way to alter the past next season? We'll have to wait and see.