Archive for February 21st, 2009

Desmond, the Destiny Crasher

[To comment to my theory visit the main “Lost” theory site].

In the episode titled “316” we saw the protagonists “zapped” away from the plane, rather than seeing the plane actually crashing. On the same episode it was revealed that the Oceanic 6 must re-create the circumstances of the Oceanic 815 flight as much as possible in order to make it to the island.

What if the island was “pre-programmed” to search for certain “patterns” on flights that happen to fly above the invisible island? Just like the “grep” command on UNIX. In the flight 815 there were these few special people on it that the island expected them to arrive for a long time. The plan was to zap them out of the plane in order to have them fulfill their destiny on the island. Instead, the plane crashed. So, what happened?

Desmond happened.

The “expected” timeline was changed by the only person that is able to affect timelines, Desmond. By not entering the numbers on the computer in time, the island released a big amount of electromagnetism affecting the operational abilities of the island itself. This temporary interference disabled the “zapping” abilities of the island, and the electromagnetism broke the plane in pieces instead. The island only had enough time to make sure the safety of as many people as it could, hoping that among the survivors the special persons will survive too. In the series it was said that no one should have survived that crash, and yet, enough of them did. Because the island intervened just in time.

This theory also explains why the red-shirts Oceanic 815 survivors ultimately died. It’s because they should have not survived (or crash there) in the first place! This is also enforced by Ben’s “who cares?” in the episode “316” when Jack asked them what would happen to the rest of the people in flight 316. The island is not interested in them, and so it’s possible that flight 316 never crashed anywhere. The co-pilot took over when Frank zapped out of there along the rest, and no one noticed anything more than a temporary disturbance. This is what it should have happened in Oceanic 815 too, if it was not for Desmond.

Because more people than it was required survived, a different timeline emerged. The original plan might have been for the Others to pick up the people zapped in the island (people who were in “the list”, like in the case of the abduction of some of the tailees), give them a tutorial as to what the heck happened to them, and then let them fulfill their destiny (which according to some it will be a “saving the world” scenario). Instead, we had many survivors, they created their own little team, and combated the Others. Coupling this with Ben’s behavioral shortcoming to give up the leadership to Locke early on, the Others and the Losties created a scenario that didn’t serve anyone. The island right now is probably not happy with any of the two sides…

Some will ask why the island was pre-programmed to search about these special people, but given that time travel is possible on Lost, it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy plot: someone from the future (Jacob?) went back in time, in the ancient era when Egyptians colonized the island, and made sure the island knows about these special people that it needs to bring together when it recognizes some patterns in the sky. The island might just be a big computer (or a spaceship) of a sort. And Richard Alpert is the ageless keeper of the island making sure it’s safe, while it’s waiting for these special people to arrive and fulfill their destiny. Alpert and Ben do not know who the special people among the survivors are (except for the case of Locke), they only know what Jacob allows them to eventually know via “the list”.

However, if the destiny of these special people was just to be fulfilled as originally planned, we would have not had TV suspense. Every character would just do what they were meant to do and that would be that. But you can’t constraint a twisted TV show like “Lost” is to having the heroes just do what they were supposed to do. There has to be a twist, a twist that changes the rules, and brings chaos to “what was supposed to happen”. That’s the suspense that the show actually brings us: not a boring, canned version of what’s supposed to happen, but what actually happened. And Desmond with his timeline-changing abilities is the plot device for this twist. As in a Greek tragedy, Desmond unknowingly, but ironically, paid back the island –a place that he so much despises– with a huge platter of revenge for keeping him prisoner there for 3 years. This theory makes Desmond the “variable” to the “Lost” saga, another ironic reference as the direct opposite of the popular Desmond-centric “The Constant” episode. “The Variable” is also the title of an upcoming episode!

The beauty of all of it is that both science and faith are important to understand the mechanics of it all. Locke’s faith, and Jack’s scientific disbelief fit perfectly, as this theory entertains both the destiny/fate element in the show (that Locke’s so fond of), and the scientific/technological point of view that Jack will ultimately unveil as being behind it all. So both of the two lead characters are right. And both are wrong, by being blindly devoted to abstract notions (Locke), or disturbingly close minded (Jack).