Sunday, October 12, 2008

LT135: Time Waits For No One

This blog has been exploring the Stopwatch Theory, so it might benefit you to go back and read the last couple of posts to get caught up.


The Survivors crashed on September 22, 2004, to a place that the date was 1984. When the plane crash scenes are carefully scrutinized by obsessed fans, many have notice a problem with the time of day and specifically, the sun. Based on departure time from Sydney, flight time in based on the pilot’s description, course correction, and so on…it should have been nearly night time, but it appears to be almost high noon.

Two possibilities exist…the producers at the time of the filming of the first episode may not have taken the care to line up the position of the sun into his filming schedule. The producers and writers likely didn’t know at the time how ravenous their fans would become. This is likely the best explanation. However, it doesn’t refute the Stopwatch Theory in that it might strengthen its argument.

If they jumped dates, why not time of day as well? They left the real world at 8 pm on the 22nd of 2004 and entered any day at noon in 1984.


Time does pass on the island. If the time is being reset to noon on a day in 1984, then why aren’t they reliving the same day over and over again? To be precise, why aren’t they reliving the same 108 minutes over and over? Shouldn’t it always be between noon and 1:40 p.m.?

In order to resolve this conflict we have to remind ourselves that some scouts have stopwatches that read 4.3 and others show 4.4 on the stopwatch…for the same event being measured.

We also can consider the theories behind the space-time continuum which basically says whatever can happen can. So, that provides a lot of liberty for the writers. But it throws a wrench into why Richard doesn’t age. If Locke’s beard and Sawyer’s hair grows then time is moving forward, but time isn’t moving. Yeah, hurts my head too!


I’ve always been curious on how they have nice thick files on the Survivors. We know when the plane went down they only then began to get a list compiled. The first time we see Jack have his file revealed was about two months top. How did a remote island with restricted communication get that much background information in 60 days? It appeared that had detailed information. That would take time.

And time is what they have for the island remains in 1984 as the Left Stopwatch keeps getting reset. The outside world, the Right Stopwatch just keeps on ticking. So the Others can jump into Left Time Machine in 1984 and zap to present day through the Right Time Machine. The Others could take ten years to research the passengers if they felt like it. Take 20 years, because when they are ready, they can zap back to the island in 1984 and act like they snapped their fingers and the files magically appeared.


This is how Cooper got to the island. When the passengers of Flight 815 dropped out of “real time” it was September 2004. They now THINK three months have past and in the “real world” it has. Time has kept moving forward. So, Ben jumps into the Left Time Machine and re-enters the real world in December 2004. Grabs Anthony Cooper and says, “You are coming with me.”

I propose this is how all people get to and from the island – with the Left Time Machine. It makes it easy to get another historical, like a World Series result and bring it back to the same frozen snow globe.

Another blink of the eye is that Locke can walk. Of course he could walk…in 1984.

Here’s another one: in a blink of an eye the Oceanic plane went down and everyone on board died just as seen on the news footage. That’s exactly what happened. As the plane goes down we have a twin plane enters a magnetic field that returns it to 1984.


Some people died on the “island plane”. Sure, time still marches on for anyone inside the island’s box. The calendar just doesn’t move. The Left Stopwatch keeps getting reset although passes.

This just means some passengers were going to die from impact. Nothing more and nothing less. Joanna can still drown. Boone can still bleed out. The Marshall can die twice.

But wouldn’t this still mean that the passengers who died on the island in 1984 also died on September 22, 2004? Yes. If these passengers had children in the real world, would they suddenly vanish because the parent had actually died in 1984? No, because the island doesn’t let you change the future. The producers have been clear on this point…what we have seen in flash forwards is what will still happen when that day is today…Jake isn’t going to change from what we have seen already.

And Desmond’s jewelry clerk, aka Mrs. Hawkings, aka Mrs. Time, confirms this. You can “course correct”, but you can’t go back in time and shoot your grandfather because that would mean you never happened. Again, the producers have promised to avoid those types of paradoxes.

But one more conflict comes up…why isn’t Richard aging if time is moving forward even though the calendar is not? Resetting the clock would seem to support eternal life, but contradicts everything we observe with life…aging is going on here. Sorry, can’t answer them all, but perhaps this contradiction when resolved will tell us. And do keep in mind that he is one of the rare examples of non-aging…I’d like two examples before we assume this is another rule written on the writer’s whiteboard.


Little has been said about the right time machine so far and for good reason. I have no clue to where it might be located. A good guess would focus on the cities mentioned in the show: Tallahassee, Florida; Ames, Iowa; London, England, etc. Portland, Oregon, is a real solid bet.

Perhaps the summer game, The Project, might help answer some of this background stuff on where the home office of Dharma Initiative resides.


We know time moves forward as the observer views things because Claire finally went to term and delivered a baby. I fully expected to see Sun showing in a few weeks had she stuck around. Life is growing on this island.

So why all the dead babies and mothers who conceive on the island? The answer is the same as to why the passengers of the second Flight 815 didn’t really die in 1984. The “real” 1984 was 20 years ago for the guy in Seat 3B who is still sitting in his seat at the bottom of the Sundra Trench.

What you do on the island – whose calendar is 1984 – doesn’t change the real world facts happening in the real world. And because of this the laws of science can’t allow a new life to be born on the island in this mirror year of 1984. Sun is indeed dead if she would remain on the island. Sorry, but you weren’t pregnant in 1984, so you can’t be pregnant in 1984.

Again, this is why John can walk because he could in 1984 – it works both ways. Rose is feeling much better not because the magic island is healing her, it is because she didn’t have cancer in 1984.

I can’t layout all the specific rules but hopefully you see the possibilities.


If we stay consistent with what we have laid out, then how the heck is Walt even on the island? He wasn’t even born yet in 1984.

Assuming the time machines were made operational in 1984, anyone under the age of 20 should not exist on the island for those who were on the Oceanic plane.

One explanation is that a “carbon copy” of plane and passengers were made, so that overrules any direct tie to 1984. The survivors simply wake up obvious to the real date on Mystery Island. Walt was on board, so Walt is on the island.

It is interesting to note however, that the Others pay so much attention to the children. All have been kidnapped. Notice the degree of concern isn’t so high that one, Walt, might be allowed to leave. I’ll have to give this some more thought…and ideas?

The Others called Walt special and we have supporting evidence of that. Perhaps the boy and girl with the teddy bear might end up also showing special abilities due to the fact they weren’t around in 1984. Was Karl under the age of 20, I believe so. One gets the feeling the Others believe they are protecting them as if they deaths would have a bad ripple effect. I once thought their interest was test subjects, but I’m liking the role of protector better now. It starts to explain why Ben really is one of the good guys.


I plan to wrap-up the Stopwatch Theory with plenty of examples of how this theory can help explain the rules of LOST. Some of the topics will include:

Why Locke couldn’t kill his father any more than you can kill someone who hasn’t had you yet?

Why polar bears make sense being found on the island?

Explorer how time moves when entering the box other than with a Time Machine.

What impact did the Swan imploding have on island time?

Why Ben had to ask the date in Tunisia?


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ncjl said...

Your paragraph about Course Correction, and not being able to shoot your grandfather really reminded me of the scenes where Michael couldn't be shot. Perhaps that's why, maybe someone fromthe future is flashing back, and since the Michael had to die on the freighter in that future, then there was no other way for him to die. The future was correcting itself.
I fiind these kind of things very hard to write about, but I hope that made sense.
- izi

KC said...


Yes, these are hard to talk about since they involve "rules" we are not aware of for sure.

As I posted today, I highlighted a heading that read, "The rules have changed" and that came to mind reading your post. If the writers of LOST do have a whiteboard of rules they follow...could Ben's line indicate the writers might have erased the board and started over with a whole new set of rules? They could easily point to say the island jumping as their pivot point or something and then we would be chasing TWO sets of time rules! Imagine the possibilites.

Thanks for writing,