Lost: Down the Hatch – Never let the bastards get you down

Chris Kirkman

Chris Kirkman

“The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” Recap and Analysis …

Previously, on Lost: Richard and John have a little talk. “The only way to save the island, John, is to get your people back here.” But you’re gonna have to die, though, says Methusaleh. No biggie. Later, John’s does some well-diving and is swallowed up by a white light. He ends up with a broken leg down in the Great Wheel chamber with Papa Shephard. Christian tells him to get all his friends together and find Mrs. Hawking. Oh, and you’re gonna die. No biggie.

Meanwhile, this week, at HoboTrashcan.com: Mr. Murphy informs me that Ol’ Benjamin Linus, Mr. Michael Emerson himself, did an interview with Comic News Insider in which he told the hosts that my little analysis column on time travel was “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Yeah, seriously! It’s all true, I swear. Here, listen for yourself …

I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that Mr. Emerson tells Jorge, who looks for himself, finds all my love letters to Elizabeth Mitchell (particularly that one from “The Other Woman” recap), and she has no choice but to swoon. Well, if not swoon, just a note to say hello would be perfectly acceptable. A guy can dream, right?

Sigh. What’s not to love?

Anywho, this week, on Lost: We open up on Caesar, rummaging around what I can only assume is the Hydra Dharma station. I say assume because, as of this point in the episode, we’re not supposed to know exactly where he is. At the end of the episode, we find out it’s the Hydra station because 1) he’s holding a file folder with the Hydra logo on it, and 2) it’s the only station on the island (well, secondary Island, really) that’s big enough for the Ajira survivors to find right off the bat and to accommodate the wounded. At any rate, Caesar comes across a flashlight, an old LIFE magazine, a folder full of some of Danielle’s papers, a copy of Ben’s Temple map and a copy of one of the pages from Daniel Faraday’s journal.

Caesar, the LIFE magazine from April 19, 1954 and a copy of Ben’s Temple map with a clear view of the hieroglyphics in lower left corner.

Caesar also finds a nasty little sawed-off shotgun, which he crams in his man purse before he’s interrupted by Ilana, the woman who was escorting Sayid to Guam. She’s suspicious of Caesar, but he lets it go because she has a little concern. They found a man standing out in the water in a suit. Hey, that sounds familiar! The two head out onto the beach to find a man wrapped in a blanket. The camera pans around to reveal … Locke! He’s looking rather chipper for a dead guy.

Later the next day, Ilana and Locke share a mango and a moment on the beach. Locke asks about the outrigger canoes, to which Ilana informs him that they were there when they crashed, that there were three, and that the pilot – Frank Lapidus – and a woman took the third one out to scout. She asks why Locke was dressed so nice, to which Locke replies that it’s his Sunday-go-to-casket clothes. The only thing Locke really can remember is dying. Good to have you back, John.

It’s time for a good, old-fashioned flashback, the red-blooded kind from Lost prior where we know that what we’re seeing happened in the past. Well, whatever past John jumped from and the kinda past that happened about a year ago, rather than three and … well, you know what I mean. In this flashback, Ben wakes up in the Tunisian desert …

Wait, that’s not right …

Oh yeah, LOCKE wakes up in the Tunisian desert …

… and he’s kinda hurtin’, what with all them bones sticking out of his leg and getting all sandy and such. Locke rolls over, tosses his Dharma cookies and writhes around in pain a bit before noticing a security camera on a stick not too far from him. He calls out to help, but it’s no use. Night falls. Lights form in the distance. An old truck comes rattling down the packed sand, straight at Locke. Luckily, they brake in time, or else it’d be one boring episode with him dying in the first 10 minutes. The truck occupants rush him to a field hospital where a doctor shoves some pills and a stick in his mouth and gets to being all medieval on Locke’s compound fracture. I couldn’t watch, it has horrible. Locke passes out from pain.

He wakes up to find ol’ Chuck Widmore by his bedside. They have a little chat and Widmore asks John how long it’s been since he saw Chuck last. John says four days. Widmore says it’s been 53 years for him, and ain’t that something? Widmore does a little song and dance about how he was the leader of the Others before being exiled by Ben, and Locke needs to work with Widmore because he needs to save the island and yadda yadda yadda. Chuck tells John that Locke is special and that the island needs him. Locke hesitates, but soon gives over to Widmore’s sly charm and they decide to work together. Charles gives John some documents saying Locke’s new name is “Jeremy Bentham” and that he’ll need to work hard to get all his friends together to go back to the island. An SUV pulls up to pick up John and inside is none other than Agent Phillip Broyles … I MEAN Matthew Abaddon. Excuse me, wrong show. Matthew brings out a wheelchair for John and they’re off on a globetrotting adventure!

Fine, then I’m just going to end it all.

No, no … allow me. Again.

I think Locke and Ben might have to break up if Ben keeps on killing John over and over. It just puts a strain on a relationship.

Flash-present, now. Sort of. Back on the island, at any rate, newly-resurrected Locke goes to see Caesar in the Hydra and goes over the whole Dharma spiel for initiation. Personally, I think he should have to watch the Orientation videos. Anyway, Locke confesses to being on the island before and Caesar just jumps past that little quandary to go straight to the more pressing one: how come the man he was sitting across from – Hurley – just up and disappeared in a flash of white light? Locke’s a bit befuddled by that one, too, but at least he knows now how he must have come to the island.

Locke asks about the other passengers and Caesar leads him into another portion of the Hydra. They walk around makeshift cots and unconscious people until they come to a bed in the back. There, sleeping peacefully amidst his murderous bruises and bashes, lies Ben, like a little, cantankerous island baby.

Have I mentioned the part where Michael Emerson talked about the column and called it smart?

Cue the thonk!

Again, this week’s episode was a bit of a gap-filler, but it was a good one. Any backstory about Locke is bound to be good. Terry O’ Quinn could stand there and act like he was painting a bus and it would still be riveting. It’s good to have Locke back on the island, alive and well, but the coming war between light and dark is worrisome. Is Ben, despite his murderous ways, really the good guy? Or is Charles Widmore? Or perhaps there is no good guy between the two – only shades of grey, believing in their own ways that they know what’s best for the island. In some ways, I think that’s why Locke’s destiny was set forth by the island long, long ago – the Island needs Locke and Locke needs the Island. He has taken on a very messiah-like storyline in the past couple of seasons, so perhaps he’s going to be the real leader that the Others and the Island needs to keep everything safe. That’s if he can sift through the lies and deceit that constantly surround him and find his true destiny.

Again, I believe this will all come down, just as Damon and Carlton once said, to be a love story. There are a lot of loving loose ends to be tied up by the end of next season, but I know we’ll see some resolution to heartbreaks, and many lifelong destinies and loves come to fruition. That’s the beauty of where the show is heading.

Now, enough with that mushy stuff. Let’s talk about …

So you know how when you turn the Great Wheel and everything gets all white and hazy and the Island does a little dance and whoever turns the wheel ends up in the middle of Tunisia? Well, I’m here to (hopefully) explain how that might work and how we can use that explanation to extrapolate the Island’s general vicinity at any one time. This will also lend more credence to the locations I explored last time in my analysis for “316” when I went over ley lines once again. Away we go.

Last week, I repurposed the ley line map to show the possible locations of the island.

On the map, I postulated that the Island, when it shifted back into a temporal space nearest the time when the Oceanic Six could reach, was probably around ley vertex #16. Remember that the farthest point to the right on the red line represents Los Angeles, and the red line follows one of the main ley lines on a possible trajectory toward Guam, if you were flying.

Now, as Lindsay and I watched the show, we got to talking about how everyone keeps coming out of “the Exit,” as Widmore called it, and how that could be possible. We talked a bit about my theoretical position of the island and how that could relate to Tunisia, a whole half world away. That’s when the idea hit and I remembered the basketball theory and how it could apply with both Locke and Ben. Before I go over the full explanation, let’s recount part of my explanation of the spinning basketball from the analysis to “The Little Prince”:

What makes even more sense is that the island is very unlikely to pop back into a timeline in the same place because the Earth is moving. I’m not going to delve too deeply into this one, as it’s a whole post in itself, but basically it would be like if you plucked a sticker off a ball that was both spinning and rolling around the room on a specified track. You’d wait until the ball came back around toward you and then plop the sticker on there, but it would probably be in a very different location than before. There were two variables – the rotation and the elliptical movement – that affected where the sticker would land. More than likely, it wouldn’t be far off the same axis of rotation of the ball, but there could be slight variations if the ball was rotating on, say, a tilted axis. Like the Earth.

To look a little closer at that, we have to get into latitude and longitude, specifically that for the center of Tunisia, just for starters. Tunisia is at 34°N lat. and the center lies along 10°E long.

Thanks, Google Earth.

Now, the Earth has an axial tilt of 23.44° and rotates counter-clockwise as you’d view it from the northern poles. It may be easier to imagine it as if you’re holding a ball in your hand. You would tilt it about 24° to the right and you could spin it in such a way that the the left side of the ball is appearing and moving toward the right. That’s how the Earth rotates, and it’s the reason why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Thinking back on the globe, now, we can know the exact geographic coordinates, and therefore, opposites because of the latitude and longitude lines (remember, latitude run around the spin axis of the Earth and longitude run through the poles). However, if we want to figure out how The Exit is occurring and exactly where the Island could be, we have to compensate for the spin of the Earth and its axial tilt.

Just to make it easy, I’m going to guess that our spot is exactly 180° around the Earth. In assuming that, postulate that an object hovering just above the surface of the Earth would have a degradation of around 11.72° when it reached 180° on the spin axis. That’s just 23.44° divided in half. Now, if we take that degradation and apply it to the latitude lines, we can postulate that the exact opposite spot on the globe, accounting for spin, would be around 22° N latitude and 170°W longitude. Some might say, “but what about gravity? It holds us to the Earth, wouldn’t that account for spin?” Ahh, yes, normally it would for something that spun with the Earth, but imagine something or someone that went from one time to another instantaneously, and was not affected by gravity or spin. They would pop out of “real” space-time and back instantaneously in the exact spot I described above. That’s assuming, of course, that you pop back into Earth’s space-time at a moment that coincides with it’s spot in the rotation around the Sun – and in an interval somewhere along an hourly track that matches a perfect 180° rotation. Perhaps that’s just how it would work out mathematically in order to ensure that you didn’t pop back into another time when the Earth wasn’t there and you’d end up floating in the ether. That wouldn’t be any fun. I’m not going to sit down and figure out how axial rotation AND solar orbits might play into all this – I am but a humble temporal theorist. Is there an astrophysicist in the house?

I proclaim now the location of the Island. Am I right? Probably not. But it’s fun to think about!

At any rate, the spot on the map above is a good location for the Island. It’s near the Midway Islands and Hawaii, so it would be a likely location for the US military to have happened upon it, leaving Jughead behind to be dealt with by the Others. It’s also near the Johnson Atoll – one of many that saw action during the years that the US had a love affair with atomic testing.

Now, I will note that my assumed exact geographic location in accordance with longitude does put the location of the Island just slightly off my #16 ley vertex, but who’s to say that’s the longitudinal spot? It could just as easily be around 145°W longitude, which would take up up a couple of degrees in latitude, as well, which would put it right on the money. As for now, I’ll stick with an opposite geographical projective, just for simplicity sake. After all, we wouldn’t want to get complicated. Yeah, I winked.

So, when Caesar went scrounging around the Hydra, he found a file folder filled with old copies of documents – some of Rousseau’s maps, the map to the Temple and, most importantly, a bit of Daniel’s journal. Let’s talk about that for a minute, shall we?

Does everyone remember in Back to the Future II when Doc was in the DeLorean and they were about to go back to 1985 and the lightning struck the car and the Doc was sent back to 1885? Marty was standing there in the rain, wondering what to do, when a Western Union representative showed up to give him a telegram.

“Doc … he’s alive! He’s in 1885 and he’s alive!”

Imagine, if you will, that these documents were gathered and left in the Hydra for a reason. Part of that reason could be research by Dharma, or Widmore, any other meddlesome force on the Island. They could, however, have been left by Daniel as a guide for someone – someone sent by his dear old mum. Someone like … Caeser, perhaps? It’s awfully convenient that Caesar just happened to be on that plane and sitting in first class, and now he’s snooping around a Dharma station, paying close attention to documents left behind. Then again, it could be innocent happenstance.

There is another, much more mind-blowing scenario regarding Daniel’s journal. Back in the analysis for “Jughead,” I talked a bit about Locke’s compass, and how he came to be in possession of it, and how later he gave it to Richard, who in turn later gave it to Locke, who went back in time and gave it to Richard, and so on, ad infinitum. My question in regards to the journal is, how did Daniel come into possession of the journal and how does it contain so many references to the Island and temporal phenomenon, etc? Theoretically, Daniel hasn’t really spent much time on the Island if our new “nosebleed monitors” are any indication. I still think that Daniel could be immune because he has a constant, but if we go by the nosebleed factor, Daniel has spent the least amount of time on the Island and yet he seems to know the most about what’s going on, at least temporally-speaking. Now, one simple explanation could be that the journal is his mother’s, full of careful notes she kept over the years as she lived on the Island. She does seem to be the temporal Queen in the Lost universe, so that would make a certain amount of sense.

This week’s recipe is a little different, mostly because it’s not a recipe, only a call for a tribute. I didn’t cover the death of John’s beloved Helen in the main column, so I thought it would be best to raise a toast to Locke’s one true love. They never got that final chance for happiness, but through Helen, John found strength and peace, even if it was for a small time. May we all be so lucky. So, pour a glass of your favorite – I’m going with a smooth glass of Jameson’s myself – and toast to life and death. Sláinte.

The really mind-blowing alternate theory, however, is that the journal truly is Daniel’s and he created it during his adventures in time on the Island. Think, if you will, that at some point in time, Daniel began to jump with the survivors. During that time, he noted everything that was going on, including his notes on temporal theory and places and things on the island. Truly finding himself stuck in the past somehow, he wrapped up the journal and had it delivered to himself by someone getting off the Island. Or, perhaps, he got off the island and managed to send it to himself. Whichever the case may be, Daniel has now caused a self-sustaining temporal loop, where an object exists solely because of the predestined time travel which occurred – much like Locke’s compass. Again, this is a loophole in the Novikov self-consistency principle, but it makes a warped amount of sense if you let your brain turn sideways for a moment.

Baked yet?

I’ll wrap it up there for this week, and let all of you chew on this temporal mayhem. I could go on and talk about whether Ben was predestined to kill Locke for the greater good and Richard knew it because Locke was talking to future Richard when he told Locke he was going to die. Or, I could theorize further on why some of the survivors – Kate, Hurley, Jack, Sawyer, etc. are jumping around together while others – Locke in particular – are not. I think I’ll let that particular sticky wicket percolate a bit more and revisit it in another week or so when there’s a lull. IF there’s a lull. We’ll probably also come back to talk about Locke’s resurrection and his apparent messiah leanings, so look for that in the following weeks.

Until then, keep thinking those good thoughts and if you have an epiphany, let me know. Oh, and did I tell all of you what Michael Emerson said this week …


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 ckirkman@hobotrashcan.com.

  1. Maureen March 6, 2009
  2. Chris Kirkman March 12, 2009

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