Monday, April 6, 2009

LT240: Blinded By the Light


The past episode was short on Easter eggs and “Oh My!” moments. Most of it seemed to simply confirm things we strongly suspected in the first place. Everyone knew Ben wouldn’t die even if it was the trained, professional killer Sayid doing the shooting, right?

Item after item was resolved with solutions that were easily the favorite choice going into the show – such as Kate giving Aaron to Mrs. Littleton.

This episode even offered solutions that we didn’t need such as Ben losing his memory so he wouldn’t later remember being shot by Sayid.

This kind of episode always leaves me struggling to fill a week’s worth of postings. The good news is that we can mull over a few subtle points…


During my second viewing I began to notice things that were easy to gloss over originally. The show offered as a wonderful explanation of science and religion. It was almost a refresher course on the doctrines of LOST.

For example, consider the simple and funny line from Miles, "You're all free to leave whenever you want. But I'll shoot you in the leg." If anyone has ever struggled to understand the doctrine of predestination versus free will, then just consider Miles’ explanation. He states that free will exists, “You’re all free to leave”, but then explains how predestination fits in, “but I’ll shoot you in the leg”. Everyone has had moments like this in the life – at it usually involves parents: “You can stay out past curfew, but your bags will be packed on the front lawn”, sort of thing. Some choice, huh? The truth of the matter is that there still is a choice in there.

And we can consider that later Kate storms out of the house and Miles is caught off guard. Makes one wonder if this isn’t sometimes how God is thinking. “Hey, I give you perfect bodies, a perfect garden to live in, and still you make bad choices, Adam.”

This reminds me then of the basic tenet of the show which is philosophical musings. The greater question remains a mystery…who is this God or if you prefer, who is the man behind the curtain? If you’ve been following the TIDBITS LOST Review then you know I’m learning towards a scientific answer of a supercomputer. I’ve tried the religious angle and found it too convenient to blame everything on a being with “I can do anything and everything” powers. That explanation falls as flat as saying, “Oh, Ben won’t remember.” A little too convenient.


This latest episode really was a reunion of sorts. We revisited the theme of games.

Above we see Hurley and Miles playing Dominos. It was on the second viewing that my appreciation for this show began to grow. The idea behind Dominos being a chain-reaction was really brilliant. And it kept that common theme of games which must be difficult for the writers to keep in mind every theme presented.

And consider the beverages on the table. Drinks have long been a running theme of the show, so a tip of the hat to the writers for keeping the theme around. Give them a pat on the back for selecting Juice while Aaron is asking mommy for a juice box in the same episode. It even gives me flashes back to Hurley’s crazy Camaro ride which begins by knocking over a table of oranges.

It was really upon this closer examination that the full appreciation of this episode was realized.


Hurley and Miles even provided a confirmation of time travel. Actually, it was more like the writers telling us, “Yep, you have the basic premise figured out, but you still don’t understand it.” Spot on.

How the writers keep all this stuff straight is really quite a feat. At times it has gotten them into trouble. For example, I want to see how they explain Kate and Sawyer coming back to Dharmaville. Sooner or later, Horace is going to start putting the pieces together and someone is going to have to give him some answers. Personally, if I were Horace I’d march the group of “friends” out to Oldham’s tent and pump them all full of truth serum.

The more we examine “What Happened, Happened”, the deeper the meaning becomes. Consider Locke’s line, “Welcome back to the land of the living.” Oh, that’s right – Locke was dead. Just how numb have we become to this show. Or was this another theme reminder for us that involve reincarnation, spiritual rebirth and other religious themes?


When reviewing Season 1, our first major clue we get is Ethan. If you recall, Hurley was doing a census using the manifest from the flight and discovers no Ethan on the list. He was a tangible clue that there were other people on this island.

We learn that Ethan’s last name is Rom and he hails from Minnesota – at least, this is what he told Hurley. I think it is important to remember that every lie usually has some piece of truth in it. For example, Minnesota would eventually show up as Henry Gale’s home state. Odds are great then that Ethan was involved in the discovery and perhaps burial of the balloonist. And most likely, it was recent history for it to be on Ethan’s mind.

LOST is big on anagrams and when we take Ethan Rom and mix up the letters we get “Other Man”. We always have to be on guard about seeing things in LOST that aren’t really there, but it interesting to note that the word “Other” was being provided to us early in the show.

It might actually be his actual surname that is the clue, Rom. In computers this acronym stands for Read-Only Memory. When we consider our working hypothesis of a supercomputer, this clue fits like a glove.

Read-Only Memory is as the name implies as it can be read from its source, but not written or updated. We might call it “hard-wired” or “hard-coded” on a integrated circuit chip.

There are times when a descriptive name is assigned but over time it no longer applies. Great examples include how older people may say they like to play music “albums” instead of “CD’s”. Older folks might also like to play “pinball” when they mean “video games”. It is merely the terms we…er, I mean, THEY grew up with. Same with ROM. Over time, computers offered erasable ROM.

ROM is instructions hard-wired into a computer in order for the computer to have enough basic information to get booted-up. As improvements were made, a manufacturer may wish to update that initial set of instructions and erasable ROM make an oxymoronic term. But it served a purpose.

In order to update ROM chips the technology uses a bright light flash. The type of light is ultraviolet and it “burns” a new set of instructions onto the memory chip. The color of that light is purple.



While we may not have a super strong case to make for computers yet…we do have several circumstantial clues pointing us in this scientific direction. Now if we discover down the road that the island experiences some flash of light where the sky turns purple…ah, we have! More on this in the next edition of TIDBITS.


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