Lost: Down the Hatch – And nary an Archie in sight
“Jughead” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Lost: Ben spins the big wheel and wins a free trip to Tunisia, while Daniel, Juliet, Sawyer and the gang get a free trip to the Twilight Zone. Speaking of Daniel, while he’s on one of the many jumps through time, he finds Desmond in the old Hatch and tells him to find his Mum in Oxford. Back in the present – OUR current present, and the present of the Oceanic 6 that got off the island, not the other survivors left behind because it’s actually three years earlier for them, well, kinda sorta since they’re skipping around through time … oh never mind – Desmond wakes up in a sweat next to Penny and suddenly remembers Daniel visiting him in the hatch. The chase is on.
This week on Lost: The left-behinders jump once again and find themselves eyeball-deep in trouble, as usual. Daniel, Charlotte and Miles almost get blown all to hell by some Claymore anti-personnel mines along a creek bed, so, naturally I think they’ve jumped back no further than the Vietnam era. Well, wrong, they eventually find out they’re in 1954, which is verrry interesting because the M18 was in VERY limited testing production at that time and it’s unlikely that some military engineers hanging around the asshole of the Pacific are going to be carrying ANTI-PERSONNEL MINES that are rarer than a three-dollar bill. But, you know, we’re dealing with a time-traveling island and a thousand-year-old man here, so I guess we’ll just let that one go.
Claymore mine. See that text on the front, there, that says “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY”? Yeah, well, that wasn’t on the M18 available to the military in 1954. Hey, I’m just sayin’.
Ahem, anywho, they all get captured by some early Others and taken back to a military camp lead by, who else, Richard Alpert. Meanwhile, Locke, Juliet and Sawyer capture some Others of their own. They’re speaking in a secret Other language, known as Latin. Juliet speaks it. Cuz she’s an other, natch. They extract a little info. Juliet demands to see Richard, and one of the Others jumps up and snaps the other guys neck and runs off into the jungle. Well, then.
In honor of this week’s episode, I present to you all a drink recipe that succeeds on two levels. First off, it honors everyone’s favorite beanie-wearing, hamburger-scoffin’, Archie-lovin’, Riverdale resident, Jughead. After all, that’s the title of this episode and this drink would go particularly well with a nice medium rare burger served up hot and fresh – sort of like Veronica.
On another level, this drink supposedly originates not too far from my favorite town of Chapel Hill, NC, so I like to give some props to the Old North State when I can. Remember with this recipe that with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t drink a couple of “Long Island Milkshakes” and drive. Believe me.
Long Island Milkshake
Throw the ice, sugar, creme de cacao and vanilla extract and creame or Half & Half into a blender, then mix for 5 to 10 seconds. Then add all the alcohol and use the whip button on the blender for 15-20 seconds, or until the ingredients are blended well without overblending the ice. Pour into a large Collins glass or a milkshake mug. Drink it on down, it’ll taste just like a milkshake, trust me. You can make this drink with ice cream, too – just substitute the cream, ice, sugar and vanilla extract with whatever flavor you’d like. Serve up with some fine hamburgers and don’t forget your beanie!
Back with Desmond and Penny, they’re in jolly old England now and, to make a long story short, Desmond goes to Oxford, gets some clues, finds the girl (Teresa) that Daniel fucked up with some time travel experiments, gets a bit fed up with it all and finally just goes and sees Charles Widmore like he should have done in the first damn place. Charles tells Desmond that Daniel’s mum is in LA – of course – and off Des goes. Oh yeah, and Desmond and Penny have a son now, named Charlie. It’s touching, really it is.
Back on the island, Daniel has convinced Richard and the others that he can help them with their little “problem” – an H bomb left on the island by the military, named Jughead. He goes off with Ellie, a spunky little blonde with a ‘tude and a rifle. He promptly tells her to bury it and her problem is solved. She queries and he tells her he knows because in 50 years the island is still there. Yup, he’s a time-traveler. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, blondie.
The neck-snapping Other has made it back to camp now and so has Locke, Juliet and Sawyer. Locke goes off into camp to confront Richard, where he promptly tells him his tale and shows him the compass given to him by Richard in the future. A whole big can of temporal worms just got opened up right there. Locke tells Richard that if he doesn’t believe him, he should come visit Locke when he’s born – two years from now. Cool. Oh, and just so you know, the guy that snapped the Other guy’s neck before running back to Richard? None other than Charles Widmore. Uh huh. Total Lost moment there. I got damn near giddy.
Before Locke can get Richard to tell him how to get off the island, there’s another flash and they’re in another time. Pretty soon, beautiful Charlotte is face down in the dirt and getting ready to dance the rumba with the Grim Reaper. Locke, meanwhile, has leaped into the body of an early-’60s lounge singer whose pantyhose is riding up something fierce and whose manager wants his cut and wants it now. Oh, boy.*
Cue the thonk!
A quintessential Lost episode, through and through, with lots of nice twists and turns and a lovely surprise at the end. My childlike, adventurous side was completely enthralled. My brain, however, was a bit more concerned with this episode’s introduction of some classic temporal paradoxes – and I’m not just talking about out-of-place Claymores.
I’M MY OWN GRANDPA
Unless you’ve never watched any sort of movie or television show that deals even remotely with time travel, or didn’t pay attention in philosophy class, you will have heard of the grandfather paradox. This paradox was popularized by sci-fi writer Rene Barjavel in the early ’40s and proposes the quandary of thought where one could travel back in time and murder their grandfather before they were born, thus ensuring their birth never happened, and therefore making it impossible to travel back in time to murder the grandfather in the first place. This is one of the most classic philosophical questions regarding the possibility of time travel, and a derivation of this paradox is in play on the island: Hedges Theory.
Hedges Theory states that time travel is impossible because if one were to have a reason to travel back in time, and one changed things to make a correction to the timeline, then there would no longer be a reason to go back in time to make the fix. Got that? In essence, any changes that may be made to the timeline in the past would affect the present time that the traveler experienced, giving them no reason, and possibly no means, to travel back in time. In some ways, this is happening with Locke and Richard in their exchanges. The more Locke shares with Richard in the past, the more it affects Locke and Richard’s timeline in the present/future. We can beat this paradox, however, with the Novikov self-consistency principle.
This principle is pretty much what Daniel was spouting off about in the season premiere. He explained to the left-behinders basically that “whatever has happened has happened, and you can’t change it.” Some call it destiny, but temporal philosophers call it sell-consistency. Here’s how Locke and Richard’s strings (if you will) are entwined in such a way to be self-consistent within their timelines:
- Richard gives Locke the compass sometime in the past/present/future (or at least sometime during “The Lie.”
- Locke, now back in the past before he was born, tells Richard about the compass and gives it to him. He also tells Richard that he is his leader and that he’ll be born in two years time.
- Richard visits Locke when he’s five years old (we look at this more closely in my recap/analysis of “Cabin Fever” last season) and wants him to choose among six objects which of them are already his. Locke chooses the granules of sand and the compass that Locke, himself, provided for Richard in the past. Locke also claims the knife, which was not a wise choice. Richard immediately knows that Locke is either not ready or not the chosen leader, after all. He grabs the compass and leaves. Sometime in the future, after the White Event and all the jumping, Richard gives the compass to Locke (1), and the pattern starts anew.
This temporal pattern is indicative of the self-consistency principle. Locke needs a certain push at a young age to search out his purpose and eventually find the island. The push is provided by Richard Alpert, along with some items, one of which is a compass. Years later, Locke comes across the very same compass and is provided an opportunity to go back in time and share his story with Richard. Richard takes his information and the compass and sets out to see if Locke is who he says he is, and monitor Locke’s progress and possibly offer a push when needed. Thus, Locke becomes the man he needs to be to find the island and become the Other’s new leader. Self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will. Or, destiny, by another term that Locke might prefer.
That issue seems to be all wrapped up snug and cozy, doesn’t it? Well, not really. The next question that should be coming into all of your minds is where did the compass come from?. If Richard gave Locke the compass in the “future” and Locke brought it back with him to the “past” to give to Richard so that he could use it throughout Locke’s life and then give it back to Locke in the future so he could bring it back to the past … where does the compass originate? Herein lies one of the greatest paradoxes inherent in some self-consistency scenarios. One possible answer is that the compass has always existed in the same time loop. That’s a pretty deep concept to wrap your mind around, and it won’t help you sleep at night, believe me. Another answer is that this particular thread of time has been evolving with each successive loop. Wait, what do I mean by each successive loop?. Well, that’s another rabbit hole I considered jumping down this week, but it’s getting late and that’s a major box that would make Pandora jealous. So … I will save that bit of temporal philosophy for another week, after I see more of the compass’s fate.
DECEIT LIES IN WAIT WITH THE YOUNG
So … Charles Widmore was once an Other. We all might have suspected as much. It’s no wonder that he wants to get back to the island so desperately. Obviously, Widmore was ousted from Richard’s timeless bosom at one point in the past, but for what we know not. I’m guessing his mean streak of snapping necks at a moment’s notice may have had something to do with it.
As for Miss Ellie – she of the golden hair, the ‘tude and the rifle – Daniel seems to think she looks like someone, someone he knows very well. Since she seems to be about the same age as Widmore while on the island, and Daniel is roughly the same age as Penny, my best guess is that Ellie is Daniel’s mum – which is more than likely Mrs. Hawking. I’d love to hear any other theories, if you have them, as this young lady was provided with far too much screen time and armaments to just be a throwaway character.
Oh, uh … hey gurrrrl. You’re way too pretty to grow up to be so damn scary.
THE CONSTANTLY CHANGING CONSTANT
Last week I posited my theory on the island being the constant for most of the left-behinders, and the Oceanic 6 filling in the gap for all the of the survivors to act as the island’s constant in return. I still have faith in my theory, as wacky as it may seem. However, I’m starting to entertain an alternative. Certainly, it seems as though Richard has become Locke’s true constant, as Locke is not concerned with jumping about since he knows there’s one person that will always be there on the other end. There is a possibility that Richard may act as the constant for the other left-behinders, as well. The reason Charlotte is not affected by Richard is probably because of her lack of knowledge of Richard. She truly is lost amongst the rest, and her personal story and journey to the island does not intimately entwine her with the rest.
Charlotte’s only hope, it seems, is Daniel. Daniel, obviously, has the greatest grasp of the temporal shenanigans going on, and, as evidenced by his appearance down in the Swan during its Dharma heydays, has done more than his fair share of jumping about. There is a small chance that Daniel will be able to jump outside the rules, as he stated about Desmond. In doing so, Daniel could harness the jumping to appear to Charlotte in her past and her future, thus giving her a constant. Of course, Daniel could also have another plan for all this involving his mother, which we may see unfold in a bit. Then again, Charlotte may just end up like all the poor Dharma bunnies, after all. Let’s hope not. She’s pretty.
DO YOU HAVE ACCESS TO LOTS OF CONCRETE?
And, lastly, Jughead. Where have we seen lots of concrete before on the island? Particularly concrete surrounding a large electromagnetic force that could either contain a large atomic blast or use its power to force open a temporal gate that sends the energy into a loop until it dissipates? Yup. As for how it all ties into what the hell’s going on, I’ve got nothing. Just yet, mind you. Give me time.
And that about wraps it up for this week. I promised some extracurricular studies for those interested in temporal theory from other media, but I will only give you a small taste and save the rest to sprinkle out among the other weeks. For now, the footnote I left here from above “*” should provide you with a good start, or if you’re itching for some good Dr. Who action, check out “Horror of Fang Rock” (available on Amazon for $14.99) which has a lot of ghost story overtones present in Lost, or, for more of an indepth look at being a Time Lord and the inner workings of a TARDIS, try “The Invasion of Time.”
Until next time, keep thinking those crazy thoughts, and if you come up with something profound, write and tell me something good. Namaste.
* Please, for the love all that’s holy, go buy or rent some Quantum Leap DVDs. You’re gonna love ’em.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. He is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.