WHAT'S UP? The Doc doesn't know a lot about tonight's Lost episode, but hears much of it is built around Sayid
By Jeff Jensen
''He's Our You'' is the title of tonight's Lost episode. What does it mean? As I write these words on Monday morning, I can honestly tell you that I don't know. If I had to guess, I would say that the episode will forge a connection between one of the castaways and someone from the Island's Dharma Initiative past. My FOIL (Fellow Obsessive In Lost) Dan Snierson and I get a little more specific with the speculation in the new episode of Totally Lost, which you will find at the conclusion of this column. (Unless we're not totally done with it, in which case you should come back later in the day for it.) Hint: ''Is it safe?''
I just wish the episode was called ''She's Our Her,'' because then it would make for a slightly less awkward segue into our next segment:
THE SUN-FOR-CLAIRE SUBSTITUTION THEORY
In which I offer an explanation for why Ajira 316 passengers Sun, Lapidus, Locke, and Ben were sent to 2007, while Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were beamed back to 1977.
There are many unresolved bits of business on Lost, but one that many of you are fixated with — and I know this because I get e-mails about it all the time — concerns future-flashing Desmond's prophecy concerning the fate of Claire and Aaron. If you recall, the former accidental Island tourist said that if Charlie Pace would sacrifice his life by swimming down to the Looking-Glass Station and turning off the jamming device, then Claire and Aaron would be rescued. In fact, Des had a very specific vision about this: He said the Aussie mom and her creepy little kid would fly away in a helicopter.
That didn't happen. The conventional wisdom is that events in the Looking-Glass didn't proceed exactly as Desmond saw them in his head, so Fate decided to take things in a different direction — like turning Claire into an Island phantom. (Allegedly.) But it occurred to me recently that Charlie's heroism actually did yield a future in which a mother and child left the Island in a helicopter: Pregnant Sun and Baby Aaron.
My theory, then, is that Desmond's prophecy technically came true. He just got the identity of the mom wrong. And I think he got the ID wrong because the agency that gave Desmond the flashes — the Island — lied to him for the sake of motivating Charlie into a situation where he would finally just die already. What the Island wanted all along was to get Sun and Aaron away from its shores — maybe forever, but at least just for that one moment when Ben turned the frozen donkey wheel. Why? Because the Island didn't want Sun and Aaron to do the time warp shuffle with the rest of the castaways. The same can't be said for Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid. I think they were supposed to go back in time with Sawyer and the Left Behinders, but they threw a spanner into the works by jumping aboard Frank's helicopter, too.
Regardless, the Island now has almost everyone where/when they were always supposed to be — and where/when they were not supposed to be. Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid were beamed to 1977, because they were always supposed to be part of the Quantum Leap Crew. Meanwhile, Locke, Ben, Sun, Aaron, and Frank are not in 1977, because they were never meant to go back in time. Locke was supposed to turn the wheel and leave the Island. Ben was supposed to be removed from the Island by the freighter mercenaries. Sun and Aaron were supposed to have been transported off the Island in a chopper flown by Lapidus. Only the Mother/Child/Pilot portion of the plan came to pass. But Ben and Locke required some course-correction.
Notice that I said that almost everyone is where/when they're supposed to be. Desmond was also on the chopper, and as Eloise Hawking said in ''316,'' the Island is not yet done with him. Perhaps the former future-flasher was also never supposed to leave. Maybe he was. But he wasn't on Ajira 316, because unlike the other castaways, Desmond didn't come to the Island via airplane. Again, according to Eloise, the Island has a thing for symmetry; remember, she told Jack that the conditions of Oceanic 815 had to be replicated as much as possible in order to avoid unpredictable consequences. My guess is that when we see Desmond on the Island again — whether it's in 2007 or 1977 — it will be via shipwreck, not airplane crash.
Entertaining as always (I like how Sawyer calls Jack ''Bedpan''), but ABC's raucous recap-with-dolls doesn't even address the mystery that everyone is buzzing about...
A shout-out to Peter Quintiliani of Quincy, Mass., for bringing this to my attention: It seems that in the HD telecast of last week's episode, you could see someone hiding in the shadows in that dilapidated Dharma building where Christian, Sun, and Lapidus found the framed photo of Dharma's 1977 recruiting class. The figure appears to be a female with blond or strawberry-blond hair. Take a gander.
Given all the other freaky-creepy elements that were part of that sequence — Smokey's rattle, the Whispers, Ghost Christian — we must wonder if Phantom Girl was an Easter Egg intended to be discovered by Lost obsessives blessed with keen eyesight and very expensive television sets. What do I think? I think one of these following scenarios will be proven to be true if and when the truth is ever revealed:
A. It's Ghost Claire.
B. It's Ghost Charlotte.
C. It was a member of the Lost production crew that got in the shot by mistake.
As much as I like the idea of options A and B, I think C is more likely. The last time that Lost planted an Easter Egg for the HD set (see: the airplane in Charlie's weird dream in the season 2 episode ''Fire + Water''), there was a fair amount of ''Unfair!'' outcry from those like me who are less technologically fortunate. I know that I complained, and since Lost is actually — SPOILER ALERT! — the unfolding story of making me and ONLY me happy, I doubt the show would do it again. Because it would make me unhappy. And that's against the rules.
On a serious note, I like the idea of embracing C because it reminds us that not everything is a clue (though I sure like to have fun thinking that everything is), and that Lost isn't perfect. (See also: hullabaloo over Charlotte's real age.) Sometimes, s--- happens. Mistakes are made. Budgets get slashed. Storylines don't pay off as anticipated. Characters and/or actors are shed because ''things aren't working out.'' All of these things and more tend to complicate epic serials that we hope will ''all add up in the end.'' That's why I think it's important that storytellers pull back the curtain and concede errors, miscalculations, or ''s--- happens'' moments. Ultimately, the Lost story exists in our heads. Fixing a continuity error or eliminating an unwanted element is just a matter of using our imaginations. Yep, that does make me sound like a Pollyanna, if not a Lost homer. But since I'm totally right, who cares?*
*Doc Jensen reserves the right to change his mind at a moment's notice the minute that Lost does even the smallest thing to undermine his most precious theories.
''Hi, Doc! My initial reaction to the end of Wednesday's episode was less Harry Potter and more A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the third book in Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet series. I think the Oceanic 6 and Left Behinders have been sent back to stop Ben from becoming bad, thus averting all of the things that happened in the future.'' —Anthony
Kudos to Anthony for blowing my mind. I know many of you have long suspected a tie between Lost and L'Engle's beloved time-travel books, which began with A Wrinkle in Time. I must confess that this fantasy saga is one of my pop culture blindspots — I've never read the books. (Too busy reading comic books, I guess.) But the second I finish this column I intend to go to the local Barnes and Noble, because I'm now wondering if ''Namaste'' may have been trying very, very hard to nod in L'Engle's direction. Remember that aforementioned moment with Sun, Frank, and Christian in the old Dharma building? Remember that creepy moment when a gust of wind suddenly opened the door? As it turns out, the second book in the series is entitled...A Wind in the Door. Goosebumps, huh?
In the first of L'Engle's books, a group of kids travel to a distant planet called Uriel via ''tesseract,'' the titular ''wrinkle'' that allows them to travel through space and time. Apparently, Uriel is a Planetary Dharmaville, a Utopia that aspires to peace, love and understanding. Alas, Uriel is under siege by a Smokey-esque monster, dark and cloudy, called the Black Thing. In fact, the whole galaxy is being bothered by this mysterious menace, including Earth, where scores of enlightened philosophers, artists, and religious leaders have waged war against it for a very long time. The kids then travel to another planet, called Camezots, which is under the control of a psychic, disembodied intelligence called IT. (Jacob?) It seems that IT has kidnapped the genius father of one of the kids, and they have to rescue him. (See: Jack/Christian?) In the final book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the young hero must save his world from nuclear disaster by traveling to different points in time that are apparently flashpoints in an epic struggle between the forces of good and evil.
I could go on, but I think I should read the books instead of relying on external sources. Besides, I don't want to irk the Cult of L'Engle the way I irritated the Church of Narnia earlier this season with my bad research. And anyway, this sounds like some awesome literature that I would enjoy even if it had nothing to with Lost. So while I go and edify myself with Great Works of Art, I invite you to watch our soul-growing contribution to culture: The ''Namaste'' episode of Totally Lost. In addition to analysis and teasers, you'll also get a huge dollop of — get this — Totally Lost mythology! Plus, Dan and I have a few words to say about our archenemy's infiltration of Facebook. So enjoy. Next week in this space: More reader mail and No Prize winners. But before then, please, come back tomorrow for my recap of ''He's Our You.'' I promise you: Refreshments will be served!*
*No, they won't.