Wednesday, September 23, 2009

LT301: An Open Letter


Michael Emerson won an Emmy for best supporting actor in a drama last Sunday. Well deserved. In his acceptance speech he reminded us that he was asked to fly to Hawaii for a guest role. Now four years later he realizes he was given the role of a lifetime.


It might be of some interest to you to know that I've been reviewing all past seasons of LOST with a friend. There are plenty of websites doing that same thing, but most of what I read on those have been little more than a rehash with little new insight. So I haven't bored you with the same details.

There are times when something new does come along. Currently, my friend and I are on Season 5, Episode 3, "The Little Prince". She wrote to say that the episode left her totally confused. You should be aware that she shares about half the interest of the readers of TIDBITS in things we discuss. Well, maybe not even half. But bravo to her for the effort she puts forth.

Anyway, I wrote back to try and help explain it and found myself sort of revealing a new layer of Season 5 that seems to have been overlooked a bit. So I thought you might enjoy reading the letter here:


In short, this episode explores shifts in time happening on the island. The actual dates are secondary to the experiences they have. The Survivors have quickly figured out that this strange behavior is happening. Because of these “time jumps” they are able to view their lives and world as a whole from some unique perspectives – although they are mainly concerned with only themselves. Daniel seems to the one exception because he seems to know the dangers involved with the atomic bomb named “Jughead”.

This chapter then contracts the erratic life of the Survivors with the life of the rescued Survivors (the Oceanic 6). These people have been off-island for three years and have gone on with their lives. Oh, it hasn’t been easy for any of them, but they do live in a straight-forward and linear fashion. This is very different from the island Survivors who could wake up at any time.

One question that comes up then is, “Who is happier?” Would you say the island Survivors or the Oceanic 6 are happier? I think this question is similar to asking if a Lottery winner’s life actually gets “better” or not. It appears the answer is that neither side is very happy. The Survivors on the island live in a constant state of confusion while the Oceanic 6 seem cursed and life is always in turmoil. Funny, but I can’t help but think of the cliché about the grass being greener on the other side. The Oceanic 6 are slowly coming around to the idea that returning to the island might be the best thing for them. I’m sure the island Survivors are thinking life back home sounds pretty good right now.


The time jumps are a bit confusing and probably meant to be that way. Let’s examine one such challenge.

When we last saw Jin in late 2004 he was on the Freighter and it was exploding. We then see him next in the ocean as if he was blown clear of the exploding Freighter – so it should still be late 2004. But the French team that picks him out of the water happens to be Danielle Rousseau’s team from 16 year prior! I’ll admit that is very confusing to humans who only think in a straight-line of linear time.

The confusion might be cleared up when the next time flash happens and we get to observe Jin. Will he stay and time travel with Danielle or will he be left on the same schedule as Daniel and Sawyer and Locke?

One way you might think of all this time jumping stuff is to think of Forrest Gump. Remember how he was interjected into historical events? Jin just seems to have “fallen” into 1988 when Danielle’s life raft was passing by. Fate or coincidence?

Once the Survivors begin to figure out exactly “when” they are, they might be able to use this to their advantage. They can learn about past events. They can share secrets of the future with those in the past. When they return to the proper time, will events then have changed? Think of “Back to the Future” movie!


Another way to view this is to consider the standard way of telling a back story. In the first four seasons the writers would do “flash backs” to fill in the background story of the characters. This is similar but instead of someone sort of “remembering” what happen, this time they get to “live what happened”. How cool and freaky would that be at the same time?

Now might be a good time to remind you of what Danielle has shared about her time on the island. When Sayid was first trapped by Danielle she explained she was pregnant. She delivered a girl and named her Alex (or Alexandria to be precise). The baby was kidnapped by the Others. Her crew got some sort of sickness. One of the crew lost their arm. She was forced to kill them or be killed because the sickness was affecting them.

If Jin can remember these details he might be able to “change history”. Or is history already played out and there is no changing it?

Don’t dwell on whether time travel is possible or not (it probably isn’t), but imagine this from God’s perspective. God does not live in a world of time. He sees, knows and lives all points in time at the same time – yesterday, today and tomorrow. He knows of what we call a future and He remembers the past. If all events are not linear along a straight-line then this is how God might see events. This line of thinking then brings us to the debate of free will versus predestination. Are things already decided for us? Or are we deciding things for ourselves as we go through the present?

LOST is exploring these concepts.

Are these concepts religious in nature or scientific in nature? Scientists consider the possibility of time travel and then worry about the paradox of a man going back in time and killing his own grandfather – would he then die as well? Religious debate these concepts in order to understand how our names can already be written in the Book of Life and what the Bible means when it says the 144,000 have already been chosen.

This is what makes LOST so cool.

So enjoy the ride. Ponder the possibilities. And then dismiss them or your nose may start bleeding one day!


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And thanks for reading!


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