JACK'S BACK Scenes involving him, Hurley, and baby Aaron figure prominently in Doc Jensen's first big theory of 2009
By Jeff Jensen
Jeff Jensen, an EW senior writer, has been despondent since the cancellation of ''Twin Peaks''
The wait is almost over. The start of Lost's fifth and penultimate season — Jan. 21, 2009, at 9 p.m., to be very exact about it — is days away. Although in some ways, it feels like the show is already here, as the buzz machine is cranked to high. We've got revealing Lost teaser videos, a new alternate reality experience, and an increasing number of early reviews of the premiere everywhere. Check out these multiple blasts of enthusiasm from fellow Lost obsessive Doc Arzt, a.k.a. Jon Lachonis, co-author of Lost Ate My Life. I think the title of Doc's book also pretty much sums up his passionate, heady assessment.
The heraldic trumpeting will grow louder this week. On Jan. 16, exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof will hold court with journalists at the annual mid-season press tour. The very next day — Saturday, Jan. 17, from 2-6 p.m. — The Paley Center for Media in New York City will host a sneak peek of the season premiere as part of its month-long salute to Lost, co-sponsored by a certain publication whose initials, when pronounced, make the sound you might have made when you saw the scene in Borat where Sacha Baron Cohen got his face all jammed up in that large hairy naked guy's flabby ass crack. And via the magic of pre-recorded video, yours truly will conduct an interview with Messrs. Lindelof and Cuse, noteworthy for their revealing insight and my painful awkwardness. (I hope to God my laaaaaame attempt at mimicking Michael's famous ''WAAAALT!'' cry doesn't make the final cut.) Kinda makes you mad that it's only for those New York people, doesn't it? Well, maybe we can make it up to you some way. Stay tuned.
LOST SEASON FIVE PRIMER, PART ONE
What you need to know for what's to come
You may or may not know that I have seen the first two episodes of Lost's fifth season. I don't do early reviews, but I will say this: For hardcore fans — and if you're of the mad mind to be reading this column, my hunch is that you qualify — the two-part premiere event will reward your toe-tapping anticipation with bunches of capture-your-imagination, theory-inspiring (and theory-narrowing) developments. The cat is out of the bag: This season is about time travel — explicitly, unapologetically, sometimes dauntingly, altogether pretty ingeniously. To further prep for the quantum leaping and fragmented fun to come, I thought I would devote my first Doc Jensen column of the season to recommending the following past episodes for review.
''THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME (PARTS 2 AND 3)''
Otherwise known as the Season 4 finale. Even if it's still fresh in your mind, you might want to re-watch the Orientation Film for The Dharma Initiative's time travel station, The Orchid, as well as the scene when Ben crawls down into the ice cavern and cranks the frozen donkey wheel — good context for the season premiere's opening sequence. If you don't feel like digging out the DVDs, ABC will re-broadcast the episode on Jan. 14.
''FLASHES BEFORE YOUR EYES''
This Season 3 classic — which revealed how Desmond projected his mind back in time after The Hatch imploded — is the producers' choice for essential Season 5 prep. Pay close attention to all things Ms. Hawking. Timecop Granny is something of a paradox. On one hand, she tells Desmond that time can't be altered — that if you try to change the past, Fate will find some way to thwart you. On the other hand, she warns of catastrophic consequences if Desmond doesn't repeat all of his past actions. But if history can't be changed, why the apocalyptic angst? Knowing the producers, my guess this contradiction isn't an inconsistency, but rather exactly the question we should be asking.
This Season 4 stand-out built upon the Rules of Time foundation laid by ''Flashes Before Your Eyes.'' Viewers would be wise to bookmark a couple ideas: Island time travelers have a tendency to get sick, bleed out of their nose, and die; and said sickness can be at least temporarily slowed by fixing one's mind, heart and life to a single source of meaning — a lover, a passion, an ideal. A constant.
Perhaps the least essential of my five suggestions (at least at this point), but I put it No. 4 on my list because I sooooo loved this season 4 noodle-cooker, which chronicled John Locke's strange and sorry-ass early years, from his premature birth to his esteem-challenged adolescence. If there is one scene I think you should check out, it's the moment where ageless Other Richard Alpert shows up at Boy Locke's house and gives him The Test. Make note of the items that Locke touches — and the one he ultimately chooses. The premiere will reward your research.
THE PIERRE CHANG COMIC-CON VIDEO
Who is Pierre Chang? Well, if you believe last July, Pierre Chang is the real name of the mysterious narrator of all those Dharma Initiative orientation films, whose other aliases include Dr. Marvin Candle, Dr. Mark Wickmund, and Dr. Edgar Halliwax. The Chang stuff kicks in after the comical, now-irrelevant bit about the Comic-Con dude being brought to a Dharma recruiting booth. Listen carefully to the very end of this proverbial message-in-a-bottle SOS from the past. Doesn't the cameraman's voice sound rather Season 4-familiar?
DOC JENSEN'S FIRST BIG THEORY OF 2009:
THE AARON MISDIRECTION!
How Claire's creepy kid has been used to distract us from the sinister secret at the heart of Lost's epic saga.
Last season, two former castaway lovers — one dead, one maybe dead — reached out from the ethereal realms where they currently dwell to offer warnings for Island escapees Jack and Kate — warnings that seemingly pertain to that little bundle of jungle-born toddler trouble, Aaron. But watch them again and consider anew: How do we know for sure the ''him'' in question is really ''Aaron.''
Start with the scene from ''Something Nice Back Home,'' the one where flash-forward Jack decided to propose to flash-forward Kate, then scares her away with his paranoia and insecurity. Remember the moments where Jack visits an increasingly addled Hurley at the Santa Rosa Mental Facility? If you want to watch it, go ahead:
Or, I can just recap: In this unsettling sequence, Hurley tells Jack that he's been spending his days hanging with Ghost Charlie on the Santa Rosa lawn. He also says Charlie has a message for Jack: ''You're not supposed to raise him.'' We immediately get interpretation from Hurley — ''Do you think he means Aaron?'' Given Jack's intensifying anxiety about becoming a husband to Kate and father to Aaron, we are inclined to bite on Hurley's altogether reasonable analysis — just like perch chomping on bait.
Now, consider a similarly chilling sequence from the season finale. Kate is awakened in the middle of the night by a mysterious, garbled phone call. (According to Lostpedia.org, the message, played backwards, says: ''The Island needs you. You have to go back before it's too late.'') Kate then hears a sound. She grabs a gun and sees that Aaron's bedroom door is cracked open. She enters and finds Claire, last seen MIA on the Island, kneeling at Aaron's bedside, mooning over son. Kate freaks. Teary-eyed Claire gets in her face and yells: ''Don't bring him back, Kate! Don't you dare bring him back!'' And then Kate wakes up. Yep, it was a nightmare, though clearly, we are supposed to take it seriously as an omen. Again, given the context of both the scenes, it is sensible to assume that Claire is talking about Aaron. Or is she?
Two warnings from two spectral entities about a specific person never referred to by name, only the deliberately unspecified pronoun ''him.'' In both cases, the ''him'' would seem to be Aaron. But what if they were referring to someone else? Look again at the warnings, but ignore the ''he'' and instead note the verbs:
''You're not supposed to RAISE him. Don't BRING HIM BACK, Kate. Don't you dare BRING HIM BACK.''
My theory? Jack isn't being dissuaded from raising children. And Kate isn't being beseeched to keep Aaron away from the Island. No, both of these characters are being told the same thing: They are being warned against resurrecting a dead man.
You're not supposed to raise him ... FROM THE DEAD. Don't you dare bring him back ... TO LIFE.
Perhaps you think I'm nutty. Maybe you think I'm projecting onto the show instead of decoding the show itself. If so, well, what else is new? But if you think I'm onto something — or at least game to entertain this something that I'm onto — you may now be wondering, Okay, If Charlie and Claire were begging Jack and Kate not to facilitate a resurrection, whose resurrection are we talking about?
My answer... is coming next week.
This is all to say: Hello, friends. I've missed being crazy with you.