Lost: Down the Hatch – The Butterfly Effect
“Everybody Loves Hugo” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Lost: Chuck Widmore kidnapped Desmond, stuck him in a Velociraptor enclosure filled with coiled contraptions from the 2145 AD Radio Shack catalog and forced Des to do a little Doctor Who-like dimensional sidestep over into LA X where he learned, again, that it’s NOT PENNY’S BOAT and fell in love with Penny all over again. Oh, and Richard “Lashes” Alpert wants to blow some shit up.
This week, on Lost: Over in LA X, Pierre Chang put on a humanitarian slideshow for AlternaHurley, who, now beyond rich from his love of fried chicken, had just donated enough money to open a paleontology wing at the Golden State Natural History Museum. Hurley thought the trophy, a glass-shaped T Rex, was pretty cool. His mom agreed, saying everybody loves Hugo – everyone except women. Momma Reyes wants Hugo to date more, but Hurley doesn’t have the time. Uno momento por favor, says momma – she’s set him up on a blind date on the next night. Hurley doesn’t seem too sure of that idea.
Back on Island Prime, Hugo is up on Boone’s Hill, visiting Libby’s grave. A bird of paradise rests against the makeshift cross, Libby’s name scrawled down the vertical stake. Hurley tells Libby that a lot of people on the Island have talked to him since they’ve been, well, “gone” and it would be nice if Libby could maybe say hi once in awhile, too. Ilana interrupts, telling Hurley that they’re gonna trek through the jungle of mystery to the Black Rock and pick up some of that swell dynamite they got in there. Hurley doesn’t think this is a very good idea. Ilana asks about the grave, and Hurley recounts his brief relationship with Libby, saying that they were supposed to have their first picnic until she took an unexpected slug in the gut. We all wipe away a tear.
“I’m sorry,” says Ilana, as she walks away. “Yeah, me too,” says Hurley, solemnly. That’s when the whispers start up, and a lone figure walks up and says “Hey!”
Hey Mike, how’s it hanging in the afterlife? You do realize you’re standing on the grave of the lovely lady you murdered to save Waaaaaaalllllttttt, don’t you?
Hurley wants to know what the heck Kevin Johnson could possibly want, and Walt’s daddy tells Hugo in his usual impertinent manner that he’s there to keep them from all getting killed.
Cue the swirling Lost!
Michael and Hurley continue to have a staring contest, until Hugo asks why he should trust Mike since he’s a murdering bastard. Michael tells Hurley that if they go across to the plane that a lot of people are gonna die, and it’s gonna be Hurley’s fault. Mike tells Hurley that people are listening to him now. And … cue the Jack. “Hey, who you talking to, big guy?” No one, says a slightly stunned Hurley. Jack says it’s time to go in suitable Jackian fashion.
Back in LA X, Hurley is eating chips and salsa in what looks like the same Mexican dive where Metatron took the last Scion in Dogma. His blind date is late. Hugo sighs and picks up the Spanish Johnny’s menu for what is probably the 20th time, and hides behind it until a soft female voice asks “Hugo?” Hurley lowers the menu.
Holy frijoles, it’s Libby! I’ve never been so glad to be wrong in my life. Thank God you got to come back, at least for one episode.
Hurley is stunned by the blond beauty in front of him, and stammers, falling over himself trying to say hello. Hugo says that he wasn’t expecting someone so pretty, and that she doesn’t look like a Rosalita. Rosalita she’s not, explains Libby, telling Hurley that she saw him from across the room. Hurley wants to know how she knew his name, and she starts up with the usual mental health disclaimer from every other person who has ever been locked in a mental institute because they felt like they’d lived a life and had loves in another dimension. Then she asks Hurley if he believes in soul mates, to which Hugo subsequently asks if, indeed, he should. “You don’t remember, do you?” asks Libby.
Dr. Brooks interrupts and wants to know if Elizabeth is bothering the nice man. Hugo is suitably confused, but Dr. Brooks informs Hurley that Libby has just wandered off and that he’ll be taking her away now. Libby strains against the psychiatrist, pleading that Hugo believe everything that she’s told him and she meant it. She’s then escorted away.
Hugo makes his way outside and waves to Libby as she’s helped into a Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute van. Hurley smirks and shakes his head, obviously thinking to himself “figures.”
A distressed Hurley marches into his local Mr. Cluck’s and demands a bucket from one of his awe-stricken employees, then proceeds to down the whole thing, alone, at a table in the middle of the establishment. He soon pauses at a drumstick, noticing a man staring him down. It’s Desmond. “What?!” demands Hurley. Desmond quickly walks over and asks if he knows Hurley. Hurley explains that he owns the place, and offers Desmond a “Cluck it To You” keychain. Desmond insists that’s not the connection and they establish that they were both on Oceanic 815. Desmond sits down and notices all the chicken. Hurley says he eats when he’s depressed, and Desmond wants to know her name.
I want a Cluck it To You keychain, actually. And a bucket of white meat. Stat.
Hugo pushes away the bucket and tells Desmond his strange encounter with Libby. He thinks she’s totally awesome, but, unfortunately, she’s a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Desmond tells Hurley that all women are a little crazy. Amen to that, brother. Hurley says that Libby told him they already knew each other, but Hurley doesn’t remember. Desmond leans in real close and asks if Hurley believed her. Hugo pauses, then agrees that he did. Desmond tells Hurley to go with his gut and to seek Libby out. Then his order number is called – number 42, naturally – and Des excuses himself with a knowing smile.
With a renewed confidence, Hugo follows his chicken-filled gut over to Santa Rosa and asks Dr. Brooks if he can see Libby. Dr. Brooks doesn’t think it’s such a good idea since Libby doesn’t have a real firm grasp on reality. Undeterred, Hurley mentions that the rec room is looking pretty gnarly and, grinning, whips out his checkbook, asking Dr. Brooks what 100k might buy.
In the same rec room where Hurley from Island Prime had visited Leonard Simms while he played Connect Four and recited the numbers, he now waits to see AlternaLibby. She comes in, awestruck that he’s there, wanting to know if Hurley remembered. Sadly, he doesn’t. Hugo asks Libby from where, exactly, she knows him and she tells him it’s from memories of another life, with a plane crash and an Island and they knew each other and liked each other. Hugo still doesn’t remember her, and she’s says it’s okay, that she’s just crazy. Hurley says probably, but “we all got something, right?” Oh, Hurley, we love you so.
Hurley tells Libby that it takes a lot of guts to admit to someone that they know you from some bizarro, alternate universe. He always speaks exactly what us Lost geeks are thinking. Notice all the butterflies, by the way. Much more on that, later.
Hurley tells Libby that he’s often just nervous talking to a girl, and Libby tells him that he’s doing just fine. And then … Hurley asks Libby on a date. Libby says she’d love it. Awwww, go get ’em, Tiger!
Out on a small beach in LA X, Hurley spreads a blanket and he and Libby finally have that picnic that was interrupted by Mike’s murderous mishap. Libby mentions that it all seems so familiar, like a date that they never had, and remarks that it makes her sound nucking futs. Maybe a little, says Hurley. Libby asks him why he even wants to be with her, and he turns it, asking her the same. Libby says she wants to be with him because she likes him. Pretty simple, that. When Hurley tells her she’s delusional, Libby leans in for a gentle kiss and Hurley takes a stroll down alterna-memory lane, getting flashes of he and Libby’s bizarro selves slowly falling for each other. Hurley is understandably awestricken.
“Whoa … dude …” says Hurley, enlightenment crossing his face. “I think I’m remembering stuff.”
“You are?” asks Libby, exasperated. “You mean I’m not crazy?”
“No, I don’t think you are,” says a confused, but happy Hugo.
Forget the special ability to see through time, space and dimensions – I’m jealous of this guy’s amazing parking karma.
Just past the edge of the beach, by the roadside, sits a man in a sedan. It’s Desmond. Content that his cupidly matchmaking has turned successful, he pushes his fancy shades up with a finger and drives off to help another unwitting Oceanic survivor see the light – in a very brutal and unexpected way.
But first, Island Prime. On the beach, Ilana has returned with some very shady looking sticks of dynamite and says that it’s time get medieval on the Ajira plane. Hurley doesn’t think that’s such a swell idea. I’m gonna have to agree with Hurley on this one. Ilana never watched season one, apparently. Hurley says that he doesn’t understand how blowing up the plane protects them since they’ll all be trapped on the Island with a very, very angry, murderous smoke monster and, again, I have to agree. Ilana insists that Jacob told her that Richard would know what to do and Richard said that they were supposed to blow up the plane. Richard says: “Yeah, take that!” And Hugo is all, like, well Jacob never said anything about it to me, and Ilana is all, like, just shut up already, nothing is more important than stopping that thing from …
Hold that thought, Ilana. For, like, ever.
Back at Camp Black Hat, MIB/Locke is whittling. Sawyer walks up all sassy-like and wants to know if it’s gonna be a spear. MIB doesn’t know what it’s going to be like – when the time is right, it’ll tell him. “You talking to wood, now?” asks Sawyer with gumption.
Ahem, interjects Freckles, and she takes a seat. MIB wants to know what he can do for them. They want to know the plan, since Widmore and his Geeks have taken Jin. MIB tells them to be patient, that they’re waiting because the only way they can get off the Island is if all of the original castaways are on that plane together. They also need to wait because there are six episodes left in the series.
Sayid is back. Sawyer gets all up in his grill, too. Sayid ignores him and asks for a private audience with MIB.
Sayid and MIB take a little stroll and Sayid fills him in on all the shenanigans over at Camp Widmore. MIB wants to know if Sayid found what they were hiding in the submarine. He most certainly did, and pulls back some bushes to reveal Desmond, tied to a tree. Des calmly looks at Locke, and MIB cocks his head, a wry smile slowly spreading across his face.
Back on the beach, a distraught and solemn Hurley takes a look through Ilana’s things, finding a book and the pouch with Jacob’s ashes. He looks inside, considers it for a moment, cinches it and keeps it.
Записки из подполья = Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky (translation by my special lady/linguistics genius). And, no, I am not going to sum this one up for you; the library is a wondrous place, full of magicks.
Meanwhile, Richard and Jack are having a little pissing contest. Richard wants to get more dynamite, or else Ilana will have died in vain. Jack says that Ilana may have died as a message for them to stay the hell away from dynamite. God help me, I agree with Jack. What’s this show coming to??? In the middle of the argument, Hurley interjects, siding with Richard. It’s the only choice they’ve got, he says, urging Jack to trust him. Jack says okay, and off they go into the jungle of mystery.
Back with MIB, Desmond is still tied to the tree. MIB says hello and apologizes for Des being tied up, but he was afraid the Scot would run before they had a chance to talk. Des explains that he doesn’t have anywhere to run to, and MIB likes that answer, cutting him free. MIB wants to know why Chuck Widmore brought Des to the Island, but Des just calmly states that he was kidnapped and that MIB would have to ask Chuck. Des tells MIB about the electromagnetic experiment, and MIB wants to know how Des can be sure what he was blasted with. Well, there was that time you and I were down in the Hatch and I had to save your balding ass from getting fried because you broke the computer, replies Des.
“Do you know who I am?” asks MIB, inquisitively.
“Of course,” says Des, calmly, an almost-knowing smile spreading across his face. “You’re John Locke.”
MIB then gets a very curious look on his face. Confusion? Intrigue? Possibly a spark of fear? Perhaps constipation; after all, do ancient smoke monsters go poop?
MIB turns to Sayid and tells him to head back to camp, that he and Desmond need to take a little walk. Then the old, dark bastard takes Desmond by the hand and tells him he wants to show the Scot a little something. This will not end well.
In the Jungle of Mystery, Richard and company are trekking toward the Black Rock. For the first time in awhile, Ben starts talking, but, as expected, it’s pure gold. He says it makes you think – Ilana, hand-picked by Jacob himself to protect all the candidates, no sooner does she tell them who they are then she blows up. Ben remarks that the Island was done with her. It makes him wonder what’s gonna happen when it’s done with them. Ben, you are so awesome, and I’m gonna be very sad when you’re martyred.
The hapless crew soon approach the Black Rock, and Richard tells everyone to stand fast, that he is going in and since he is the resident Highlander in the bunch, only he can handle the sweaty dynamite. It’s about then that they notice that Hurley is missing. “Run!” comes a voice from the brush. “GO GO GO,” screams Hugo. KABLOOEY!
Now you see it, now you don’t. Good lord, the demolitions team had a field day on this episode.
Once Richard untangles his head from his butt from the shockwave of the blast, he proves a tad upset. Hugo brushes himself off and simply states that he was protecting them.
Hugo takes a seat on a log, enjoying the new ship-sized bonfire he had just created. Miles walks up and tells Hugo that a warning would have been nice. “I said run,” says Hugo, flatly. Miles presses, wanting to know why Hugo did it. Hurley tells him that Michael told him to – one of the people that comes back and yells at him after they die. Miles asks Hugo if he always listens to what the dead tell him, and Hugo, in one of the best lines ever, simply says, “Dead people are more reliable than live people.”
MIB and Desmond are on their little walkabout through the Jungle of Mystery. MIB says that Desmond was down in the Hatch, pushing the button for three years and now he’s back on the Island, ready for more punishment. The Island must really have it in for him, says MIB. The Island has it in for all of them, says Des. MIB has no choice but to agree with that one.
MIB looks quickly over Desmond’s shoulder and the Scot turns around to see a young boy off in the brush. Des wants to know who that is, but MIB tells him to ignore him. Des presses the point and MIB gets agitated, yelling to Des to just ignore him. The strange boy gives a knowing grin and dashes off into the brush.
Oh, creepy Island Young Matt Damon, I don’t know who you are just yet, but your kind really agitates Ol’ Smokey, so you’re all right in my book.
Back at the charred remains of the Black Rock, Richard’s agitated and isn’t satisfied with just a woman and a boat going kablooey – he’s got a taste of the arsonist in him and still wants to blow up a plane. He knows there are grenades and explosives back at the Dharma barracks, and asks who wants to join up with him on his explosive endeavor. Jack wants to talk, but Richard is tired of talking. Hurley says that he knows what they need to do – they all need to go talk to Locke. Whoa whoa whoa, there, Hurley – you had me on board with the no dynamite rule, and it was cool how you blew the hell out of a land-locked 19th century ship of the line, but I don’t think doing a dance with Ol’ Smokey is the best way to go about things.
Hurley insists that it’s what Jacob wants, though, and says that Mr. White is standing right there, dealing out orders. Richard calls bullshit and says that Jacob told him what the Island really is, and if Hurley can talk to Jacob, then Jacob will tell Hurley that secret. Hurley strolls up to Richard and tells the Spaniard that he can just shove it in his Hatch, and that’s that. Sadly, we don’t find out what the Island really is, and the team splits in two once again – Ben and Miles decide to follow Richard, and Hurley, Jack, Sun and Lapidus decide to meet the devil down in Georgia. Bring your fiddle, boys.
The torches are out, people, and Hurley and crew make their way through the creepy Jungle of Mystery. Sun writes on her little doodle pad, asking Lapidus if they’ve made a mistake. “Probably,” says the frazzled pilot.
Hurley expresses concern to Jack that he won’t know what to say to Ol’ Smokey when they get there. Jack tells him that he’s sure that Locke will do most of the talking. That’ll be a change, Jack – you’re usually the one full of bluster. Hurley, afraid of what might happen to everyone, comes clean with Jack, telling him that Jacob never appeared, telling them what to do. Jack knows, but he followed anyway. You see, ever since Juliet got killed, Jack felt responsible and was trying to fix it, but he knows now that he can’t. He says it’s hard for him to sit back and let other people tell him what to do, but that’s probably the point. Maybe he’s supposed to let go. Holy crap, people, it took six seasons, a bad beard, Bai Ling, some tattoos, a drug addiction and a room full of helpless, smashed mirrors for Jack to finally learn something. God help me, I almost like him.
Hurley is still unsure of his actions, but he doesn’t have time to elaborate because the whispers start up. Jack draws his rifle and everyone’s on edge, but Hurley tells them to chill out, he thinks he knows what’s up. Then he disappears into the brush.
Away from the group a ways, Hurley calls out for Michael. He’s there. Hurley postulates that Michael is stuck on the Island, and that there are others out here, stuck just like him. That’s what the whispers are. Yup, says Michael, matter-of-factly. They’re the ones that can’t move on, says Mike. And, just like that, after six long seasons, we finally learn what the whispers are. An honest-to-goodness revelation to a secret. It’s like finding a unicorn. Anywho, Hurley asks where Locke’s at, and Mike points down, toward a campfire. Thanks, says Hurley. Don’t get yourself killed, says Mike. Oh, he would also like to add that if Hurley sees Libby that he tell her that he’s really, really very sorry for ruining her picnic with a gunshot wound to the stomach.
MIB and Desmond are still on walkabout, but it’s nighttime now. They come to a clearing, and there’s a well. MIB leads Desmond over to the edge, asking him if the Scot knows how old the well is. Very old, replies Desmond, dryly. Yup, says MIB. So old, in fact, that the people who dug the well, dug it completely by hand, and they weren’t looking for water. They were looking for answers. That place is a place where strange things might happen and compasses would spin around and around. The people wanted to know why, so they dug down, looking for what might cause it. Des wants to know if they found what they were looking for. Negatory, replies MIB.
The reason MIB brought Des here, he explains, is because Chuck Widmore is not interested in answers. He only wants power and he brought Des back to help him find what he’s looking for. This is not the only well, MIB explains. Des rares back and wonders if that’s the only reason Locke showed him the hole in the ground.
“Why aren’t you afraid?” asks MIB.
Desmond doesn’t understand the question. Locke explains – Desmond is out in the jungle, with him, not a person on Earth knows Desmond is there, and he doesn’t understand why Desmond isn’t afraid. Desmond just grins.
“What is the point in being afraid?” Desmond says, knowingly.
MIB doesn’t much care for that answer, so he throws Desmond down the well.
Back at Camp Black Hat later, MIB has returned. Sayid asks what happened to Desmond. MIB simply tells him that he doesn’t have to worry about the Scot any longer. Sawyer strolls his cocky butt over and wants to know where MIB has been. On a walk, states the smoke monster. Sawyer begins to say something else equally vitriolic, but is interrupted by a torch-bearer coming out of the brush. It’s Hurley. Sonofabitch, says James.
Hurley sheepishly says hello, and tells MIB that he’s not sure who MIB is or what he wants, but they need to talk to him. MIB asks “we?” There are other people out there, says Hurley, and he wants MIB’s word that if they can just talk, there’ll be no shenanigans, like turning into a smoke monster and beating them against a tree. MIB pauses, looks at Sayid, then pulls his knife and hands it over to Hugo. MIB gives his word, and Hurley calls out to the others who exit the brush one by one.
Jack is last one out, and he looks over and sees Kate and Sawyer, standing in the distance. Freckles gives him a little “hey good looking” grin. “Hello, Jack,” says MIB, grinning. Jack just stares into the eyes of the man he once knew as Locke – the man he once waged an ideological war against in the name of the Island – and sees something very, very frightening.
Cue the … waitaminute.
Back in LA X, AlternaLocke wheels himself across the school parking lot. Desmond, in his rented car, watches from a distance. There’s a knock on the window – it’s Dr. Linus, wondering why the hell Des has been sitting here for a few minutes ogling school children. Desmond quickly covers, saying that he’s new to the area and looking for a place for his son. His name? asks Ben. Charlie, says Desmond, quickly. Desmond keeps his eye on John Locke, and dismisses Ben with a pleasantry. Ben is quickly on his way.
Seeing Locke approaching the open part of the lot, Desmond starts his car and peels out, accelerating quickly. It’s not long before Locke meets the grill of Desmond’s BMW.
Oh, John – you just can’t catch a break in any dimension.
Locke lies huddled on the pavement, and Dr. Linus rushes over, telling John that it will be okay, and yelling for someone to call 911. Locke lies there, bashed, beaten and battered once again, struggling to understand what is happening as he feels himself slipping away. Soon, very soon, John Locke will know much more about what is happening than he probably ever wished.
Cue the THONK!
This was truly a great episode, not only because we had a few long-suffering questions answered, but because we returned to the heart and soul of Lost – our fried-chicken-loving, geek-quote-spewing everyman, Hurley. Out of all the characters in Lost, Hurley is the one stalwart companion that we all wish we had on speed dial. He represents the voice of reason, the voice of innocence and the questioning voice of optimistic inquisition. In the midst of people being blown up, and smoke monsters running about, when great wheels are turned and temporal shenanigans beyond our comprehension dare to get the better of our sensibilities, Hurley brings it all back down to Earth and gives us solid ground on which to stand. As attached as I may have become to the Juliets and the Desmonds and the questionably-moralistic Bens on this show, Hurley is the one character that can always pull at my heart strings and I can unequivocally pull for, against all odds. Without Hurley, Lost would be, well, lost.
With that said, most of this episode was fairly straightforward, so there may not be as much analysis as all of you are accustomed. Still, there are some subtle themes I’d like to point toward, as well as taking a dip into the ol’ comment section and mailbag to dig deeper into some subjects from previous weeks. So, without further ado, let’s dive headfirst into the rabbit hole.
Many of you may recall my bringing attention to a certain insect fluttering about in “Ab Aeterno” a couple weeks back. That insect was, of course, the butterfly. In that episode, a single butterfly floats peacefully down into the Black Rock and past Richard, shackled in his chains of slavery, both to his former owners and to the future “owners” of MIB, Jacob and the Island.
Remember this? If you don’t, head on back to my analysis from “Ab Aeterno” and get reacquainted. It’s worth it, I promise.
Well, this episode proved to me that my notice of a tiny, fluttering symbol a few weeks back was not mere happenstance. This season of Lost has been filled with a running stream of symbology, as has been the norm in season’s past. The most subtle, and yet the most telling, to me has been the butterfly. In “Ab Aeterno” I mention relevant butterfly symbology from cultures throughout history. Here is an excerpt from that analysis:
In many cultures – the Irish, ancient Greeks and Chinese, to name a few – the butterfly has long since symbolized the soul. In some artistic representations of the Biblical Adam, his soul is symbolized by the butterfly, or depicted with butterfly wings. In an ancient Chinese legend, the butterfly comes to symbolize eternal love and the union of souls, as two spurned lovers are forced to commit suicide in order to be together forever.
In the context of that mythological symbolism, our little blue butterfly may be more than just a cinematic effect – it could be representative of Isabella’s soul, as she has been watching over Ricardo while he is on the Island. This is, by far, the most romantic and beautiful interpretation of the butterfly …
Beyond those specific symbols from cultures, the butterfly also embodies other symbols that have crossed cultural and ritualistic bounds that I believe are relevant to what is happening in this final season. The most obvious, of course, is that of the metamorphosis. Before the butterfly develops into its most beautiful and well-recognized state, it must begin life as a caterpillar – earth-bound and, by accounts of most sensibilities, quite unattractive. Once the caterpillar has fed and reached the end of its life cycle, it forms a pupa, or chrysalis, within which it will develop wings and metamorphose into the form of the butterfly.
As you can see, the butterfly is everywhere in the looney bin. Not only that, but it’s reinforced with the chalkboard drawing of the Island and a very telling, shadowy, crocodile-like creature drawn just outside the boundaries of the Island. Pretty cool, huh?
In relation to Lost – especially in its current incarnation – the metamorphosis points toward the developmental stage taking place in Island Prime, and how many of the survivors from that timestream (or dimension) have yet to realize their full potential. There is a point in this stage in which most of the characters have required a catalyst to jumpstart their full metamorphosis, a change in which they will reach their full potential. In this episode, Hurley is the greatest example; no longer is Hugo a slave to his inhibitions and “bad luck,” AlternaHurley has been free to use his wealth and enthusiasm to better humanity. His positive attitude and spirit subsequently brings him into contact and a second chance with his love, Libby. This sequence of events also ties closely into a theme mentioned from our first discussion about the butterfly – that of the long lost lovers. Libby and Hurley were separated in one life only to reconnect in another.
For this week’s episode-inspired recipe, I felt with all the lost love and butterflies and changes in attitude and optimism and all that feel-good stuff floating around that there was only one drink that would balance the scales. Hold onto your butts, it’s …
Gently, very gently, place the vodka, whiskey and juices in a shaker half-filled with ice. Ever so delicately pour in equal parts of orange juice and cranberry juice. Take the shaker in hand and then shake the ever-loving crap out of it. If you don’t explode, strain everything into a collins glass filled with two or three cubes of ice. Add the splash of grenadine for that color of danger to let everyone know that this drink means business, and serve. Repeat until brain asplodes. Enjoy!
Another bit of symbology that is prevalent through the butterfly is that of duality. For many cultures, the two sides of the butterfly represent a perfect and lasting symmetry – its body and wings being perfect matches for the dual sides of its body. Granted, the alternate realities inherent in Lost right now don’t necessarily represent perfect symmetry, but the seeming mirrored effect is still prevalent.
Finally, the butterfly has been used to represent the long-reaching effects of entropy, most commonly demonstrated by the “butterfly effect” – or sensitive dependence – prevalent in chaos theory. This effect is observed by small variances enacted in a system of any sort that may create large variances in another part of that system. The most common analogy is the idea that a butterfly flapping its wings in Taiwan could evolve into a hurricane on the Eastern seaboard. You can do some Internet research if you really want to know more or, better yet, read Jurassic Park. No, don’t just watch it, read it. Take my word on this one.
At any rate, in relation to what’s happening in Lost, this entropic variance can be related to time travel, or the rippling effect that one small action can have on multiple instances of the same timestream. In other words, if Jack stubs his toe and gets grumpy and loses coherent thought for a minute and suggests they go along with Faraday’s plan to set off Jughead, then the small action of him stubbing his toe may have created the long-lasting effect of the nuclear reaction creating larger reactions along the timestream, altering realities beyond that one singular moment when Jack lost his mind. Granted, this is a made-up scenario, but the course of events that led up to Jughead’s detonation could have been traced back to a single, insignificant happenstance or occurrence at some point in the timestream’s existence. Make sense? I sure hope so; I don’t want to have to explain that again.
A BREECH IN THE BROOCH
Last week, in my analysis for “Happily Ever After,” I delved into the significance of Eloise Hawking’s (Widmore in LA X) brooch, and how it may relate to her brooch in “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” In that analysis, I talked a bit about how the two starbursts could relate to alternate realities, as well as the symbology of a cataclysm – the smaller one representing the detonation of Jughead, and the larger one representing a larger, universe-altering cataclysm that is yet to come. Little did I know that such a small, subtle part of an episode would provide such rich discussion.
And, so, for this portion of my analysis I will unabashedly borrow some great thoughts from readers scattered across three Internet portals.
Mimi on HoboTrashcan.com mentioned a very intriguing aspect of the brooch symbols, as well as some insight into the test rabbit that Seamus coos before all hell breaks loose down in the Velociraptor paddock.
Well here is another one. The white rabbit, Angstrom. Anders Ångström was a Swedish physicist, mathematician, and astronomer who is widely considered the father of spectroscopy.
I have to leave for work, or else I’d LOVE to mull this one over. However, I want you to read the following paste from the above link. In thermal conductivity studies, Ångström devised a method to quantify temperature with respect to electrical conductivity. His 1853 research on electric sparks uncovered two superimposed spectra, one from the electrode metal and the other from the gas through which it passes. Ångström’s principle of spectral analysis states that incandescent gases emit rays of the same refrangibility as those they can absorb. He also studied geomagnetism.
Ok, now does that description of the superimposed spectra sound EXACTLY like the broach that Miss Ellie is wearing?
Yes, Mimi, that description does, indeed, sound exactly like what Eloise is wearing on her lovely lapel.
My column appears on three different websites, LiveJournal being the genesis portal for my column, and where my early ramblings (pre-season three) still preside.
LiveJournal user prattlingpeony had this to say:
Eloise’s brooch reminded me of the symbol on the floor when they were gathering all the people who needed to go back to the island, not necessarily an explosion of sorts .. but yes, I agree on the two realities theory of her brooch.
Peony is, of course, referring to the floor of the Lamp Post Dharma station, as seen in episode “316.”
Over on Twitter, my very perceptive buddy @powlsy recommended I refer to Juliet’s marks that were given to her in “Stranger in a Strange Land” in season three. Daniel on HoboTrashcan.com mentioned the same thing. Strangely enough, “Stranger in a Strange Land” was next on my viewing list, and I watched it recently, as I had just watched “Flashes Before Your Eyes” for last week’s episode. Coincidence? Perhaps not.
Juliet’s mark and Eloise’s brooch. Pretty darn similar, if I do say so myself.
The symbol in both episodes is the eight-pointed star. There are several mentions of the symbology of the eight-pointed star online, some religious, and some simply symbolic of a particular dynasty or family seal throughout history. The ancient Sumerians adopted the symbol of the eight-pointed star to designate something ethereal and related to ancient gods. This symbol was passed down from the Sumerians to several distinct ruling nations, most notably that of the Egyptians, who used the symbol on several statues representing different gods from the heavens. There were several American Indian tribes that used the symbol to designate power from several respective gods.
Most fascinating to me, is that the symbol in Christianity often signifies redemption or resurrection. This is interesting in relation to Eloise’s brooch, in that the LA X timeline represents a second chance, of sorts for our main characters. Their subsequent enlightenment, a la Desmond, can be signified as a light dawning, which can be tied in closely with the light that a star in the heavens might provide. Of course, stars have also been used as a guiding beacon – the north star for travelers, the star of David or of Bethlehem to signify the coming of a Messiah or important divination. In relation to the mark on Juliet’s back, the symbology has a minor corollary because although Ben placed the mark on Juliet’s back in “Stranger in a Strange Land” because of her negative actions, it symbolized a second chance – a reminder that she should seek redemption in the eyes of the Others and, ultimately, Jacob.
SPEAKING OF THE OL’ MAILBAG
Normally, my mailbox is filled with nothing but ads for male genitalia enlargement (I’m getting a complex) and offers to help a young Nigerian prince secure funds from his great inheritance (Mr. Eko?), but this week I got a really interesting email asking me what sort of music I listen to while I write these columns. Awesome question.
Normally, the first part of my column is filled with the soundtrack from whatever this week’s episode provides as I literally run through the entire episode while recapping. However, once the recap is done, it’s a free-for-all. My primary go-to is the Lost soundtrack from Michael Giacchino for season two. Strangely enough, when I need to write about poignant themes in the show, “Hurley’s Handouts” seems to magically play. Whenever I need to postulate on temporal mechanics or something really smart, “All’s Forgiven … Except Charlie” tends to play because I need something dynamic, yet relaxing. If we’re talking about murderous smoke demons, somehow “The Hunt” starts building up, and the tension ratchets.
Of course, I celebrate the end of every column with “Bon Voyage, Traitor,” which ends with the THONK and “End Title,” which has the building wwaaaaaahhhhhhnnn sound that signifies the credit roll for every episode.
If it’s not the Lost orchestral soundtrack, it’s usually The Rolling Stones or Ray Charles. Miley Cyrus seems to sneak in there from time to time, as well, but I haven’t quite figured out if that’s from my library or the library of my alternaself. With or without goatee.
THE RANDOM BITS
In this episode, Locke seemed to be carving a staff, much like Mr. Eko’s. Locke said that he wasn’t sure what he was carving, but that he would know when it told him. Just from this dialogue alone, it seems like there is more of John Locke in MIB than one might think. MIB may start to take on characteristics of the person’s whose body he is inhabiting.
Many of you may have noticed that Pierre Chang in LA X is the same age as he is in 1977 in Island Prime. Remember that the supposed year in LA X is 2004. What does this mean, exactly? I’m not sure – it could be a production error, it could be an artifact of the producers placing every significant character in the same timeline regardless of their temporal counterparts because of the close quantum entanglement that they shared due to the temporal shift of the main survivors, or candidates.
It’s very telling that Desmond said Charlie so quickly when Ben asked about his son. Either he has Charlie Pace on the brain, or he knows a helluva lot about his Island Prime life. Perhaps he’s privy to more of his alternative lifestyle than just what last week’s episode let on – just as Desmond of season three was able to get glimpses of the future, trying to save Charlie’s life, he is now able to get glimpses of the Island Prime timestream.
Poor Locke can’t catch a break. Regardless of Locke’s bad karma in both timestreams, it’s obvious that Desmond knew that running him down would create the same circumstances in which Charlie was able to view his parallel self. How much does Desmond X really know about what’s happening on the Island? Does he know his Island Prime self has been wiped out? Is Desmond able to leap back and forth between timelines, or did he witness everything he needed to witness with the first “leap?”
Hurley’s Man of the Year award is shaped like a T Rex. I find this hilarious, and a nice touch by the production team, since Hurley and the rest of the audience thought that the “monster” could be a dinosaur.
The whispers – why can everyone else hear them? Are there spots on the Island where the barrier between dimensions are thinner? Perhaps that explains Jacob’s cabin, and why only a select few people managed to see and hear Jacob. There may be need to take a closer look at the first encounter in Jacob’s cabin – was it MIB playing around with John Locke? We’ve speculated that may be the case, but this is something I am going to have to investigate further in order to make some sense of things.
Libby and Hurley’s connection – people can get in touch with the alternate timeline through a near-death experience or through love – something emotionally traumatic or uplifting. Since Charlie died in Island Prime, he is connected to that event in LA X. Locke is the same way – since he died at the hands of Ben, he is connected to that event now because of his rundown by Desmond.
Finally, who is the mysterious boy? He’s aged since the last time we saw him – or has he? The first boy had blonde hair, and this boy seems to be dark-haired. Is this just an artifact of filming? Could the boy be Jacob, reborn, and aging quickly because of the Island’s powers? It seems to remind me of Spock in Star Trek III, who died and was sent to the Genesis planet, where he developed. Could the boy possibly be Aaron, caught in a time loop of some sort? Maybe Jacob IS Aaron. This one is most definitely up for discussion.
That about wraps it up for this week. Great thinking out there, by the way. Keep at it – we’ve only got a month and a half left before our playground closes for good. I’ll be back next week with more ramblings and ruminations. In the meantime, keep thinking those thoughts, and if you have an epiphany, tell me something good.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman 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.
First of all, was I the only one who half-expected a Quantum Leap style bright blue light to engulf Desmond as he watched Hurley and Libby finally have their date on the beach? I think the writers could have easily had him inadvertently run down Locke with his car as he’s adjusting to his new location and, as he looks at John’s crumpled body, he let’s out a trademark “Oh boy.”
Okay, fine. That probably was just me …
Anyway, the one thing you only briefly mentioned that I would like to hear more about is why people have been able to see both timelines. Obviously, Desmond is a special case, but as you mentioned, everyone else who knows of the two worlds is either dead or in love (Charlie, Hurley, Libby). The dead seem to be inherently aware of the original timeline, while Hurley (and, to some extent Desmond) needed to make that connection to the person they are in love with in the LA X timeline (perhaps making that person their constant). I’m just curious if you have any theories on why these people can bridge both worlds. Also, why aren’t people like Jin and Sun aware of both timelines, since they have each other in both?
Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I’d really like to see you expand more on the alternate timelines and how they are going to converge. You did a great job early on providing the scientific basis for the two timelines and explaining how alternate realities might work.
Obviously, this show is beginning to leave scientific theory behind, but any insight on how the timelines might converge and how that would work? Will the LA X stream just close somehow and everyone in it will just disappear? Will Jack’s son have never been born? Or will there be some merging of the two timelines – a way where Charlie and Libby and others might somehow survive as their alterna-selves.
Thanks for pointing out the butterflies and the chalk drawing in the rec room… Remember how I keep saying the statue on the island is Sobek, well, Sobek is represented by a crocodile, so I think this may be further proof…
Also, did you get a chance to read up on light cones? Looking at the 8 pointed star again, it kinda looks like the cross-section of a light cone… just sayin’.
Another fun read,
I’m pretty sure full memory would exist after the point in which Desmond was in the MRI machine, not just the pieces we see.
I read an excerpt from another theory on another site that i believe pretty much explains the concept of the Island and why the two timelines exist and where they will lead. The new timeline we see now is the corrected one, the other timeline will cease to exist. I don’t believe they will merge as per some discussions. what ever happens on the Island this season will result in the new ALT timeline being the only one. The theory was based on the Tractates Cryptica Scriptura excerpt #47.
If I may say a little something here – while I am no Kirkman I do have a bit of analytical fairy dust tucked away for occassions such as these.
I think that the reasons behind those who have almost died experiencing this vision of the Island Prime reality is that they are closer to a transitioning state of consciousness. As is very typical in current reality we are taught from a young age that physical reality is the real reality, classical physics has created a universe full of laws by which everything must adhere to, and because we believe this we make it so. However, in those moments that these people are facing their own deaths, which launch us into an unknowable realm beyond current human comprehension, their minds are more open – they are not closed off to possibilties of existence like physical scientific laws determine.
I think that love is also capable of opening people up to greater possibilities in the universe. Love, real and true love is trascendental and unpredictable. The fact that Desmond and Penny are in love no matter what dimension they exist in definitely suggests a more deeply rooted cosmic connection perhaps mirroring a connection with god.
But if I were to guess as to why it is that only some of these people are having these “experiences” and not say – Sun and Jin, Kate, Sayid, and Sawyer, it would be that little turd of motivation we like to call Purpose.
Hurley, Locke, Desmond, and Charlie have all particularly fulfilled a greater sense of purpose in their connection with the island. Charlie sacrificed himself to save many (though he totally could have gotten out of that little room before he drowned), Desmond was the great 108 mintue protector and the survivor of an electromagnetic explosion that allowed him to see into the future and his consciousness to skip through time, Hurley has always had a connection to another realm of consciousness with his ability to see and speak to dead people which allows him to communicate now with Jacob thus positing him as a very important character in this game between Jacob and MIB, and Locke always believed in something greater and beyond himself and he also sacrificed himself for the island.
I think all of these characters we have seen experience this multi-dimensional awakening not unlike the enlightenment of the buddha after 6 years of meditation, are pivotal purpose roles as designed by the island’s creator. Everyone else existing in LA X as we have been shown have made decisions that have brought them down different paths in life, some good and some bad, but their existence on the island hasn’t demanded any greater purpose from them so far. Maybe it will though. Maybe Kate will finally be bearable and full of purposeful intent instead of constantly getting caught and ruining people’s plans.
Thanks for reminding me of poor old Sun and Jin in ALT. I wonder if they all just meet up in Jack’s operating room and desmond detonates a nuclear bomb LOL.
Seriously, I agree with the closer to death explanation, but not the one based on love. Not sure why, but just don’t think it’s really that important as part of their awareness otherwise Sun and Jin would have made the connection long ago.
Ok, hold up people – I’ll catch up tonight. You’re making my brain full, but I want to comment on all this, particularly in regards to Sun and Jin.
And lostfan – let’s not be throwing around drug-addled diatribes from Philip K. Dick all willy-nilly without some context. Also: the Greek name for a butterfly is psyche. Tag, you’re it.
The reapperance of MIB’s youthful agitator sparked something for me that had been brewing for quite a while. It really doesn’t have anything to do with this episode, but it is rattling around in my head and I thought someone else might be able to make sense of it all or tell me I’m a loon.
I know there has been much discussion of the now-rather-defunct plot point regarding mothers not being able to give birth on the island…how the show runners just sort of dropped it, whether or not it was just the spooky mystery du jour before the Amazing Technicolor Time Travelling Island really came into focus…
And while it is very possible that that mystery could be resolved with some simple hand waving or, worse, just not really spoken of again, I can’t help but remember Locke’s little speech about his crazy mother and how Aaron now has a crazy mother. I wonder if MIB’s or even Jacob’s origins have something to do with the pregnancy problem. This quandary is only reinforced by the fact that it is a child that seems to be plaguing MIB.
In addition, Kirkman et al. have pointed out that Sun and Claire were the first women to have successful pregnancies since the Incident. And of course, it stands to reason that it was the Incident that caused the pregnancy problem, but I wonder if that really is the progenitor of the problem. I can’t really recall if we have all that much information about pregnancies pre-Incident–I’m sure it there is a bevy of it in Juliet-centric plotlines and I bet others can and will fill in my blanks.
Regardless of whether or not these questions are on a direct train to Nutsville (just a few miles north of Eggtown, apparently), I still ponder the ramifications of not only Aaron’s role on the Island, but also Ji Yeon. They are nearly the same age, a male and a female, and all the talk about the island’s need for balance has me curious as to whether those two tots will come into play as a pair…or whether it will be just Aaron.
Sun and Jin didn’t fall in love on the island, but long before they crahsed there.
Yes, tld, but remember – so did Penny and Desmond. Of course, Desmond has a very unique way connecting to the alternate timeline that elevates him above the normal Island-dweller. Do you think that if Charlie had met Claire on the flight and they touched or somehow kissed that he would have seen the flashes, just as he did when he almost pined for the fjords?
I’m going to reverse what I said about Desi knowing all, obviously he didn’t know who Ben was. It feels like he was more going on the plane itinerary list.
This is true that they didn’t fall in love there. Perhaps proving that the consciousness altering experiences have to of occurred on the island, maybe establishing a deeper connection with the island itself so that they are capable of seeing their alternate life while in LA X.
lostfan – that would be my assumption, as well. That’s why Desmond needed the manifest.
Anyone feel that Desmond is kind of like Jacob in the alternate time-line? While Jacob ran no man over, he had his own means of suggesting what he wanted. Desmond seems to be doing the same thing, although his methods are a wee more aggressive.
I hope Desmond isn’t dead. A lot of people seem to have gotten all celebratory over Llana’s death and this episode but I found it all a bit lukewarm. It was a bit like Dogen’s death and the fates of all the Temple Folk. Why bother? Sure they moved the plot along but the amount of time given to them was ridiculous. And as of now, their stories have had almost zero bearing on the overall plot.
I don’t even know why Michael made an appearence and why they decided to reveal the mystery of the whispers so late (if at all). Both hardly seemed relevant and could’ve been resolved much much earlier in a few sentences.
Anyway, those complaints aside, it was a good episode. I loved the ending, not because of any wierd twisted thing, but because it sets up something exciting for next week.
And lastly, “Sadly, we don’t find out what the Island really is”
Yeah we do. It’s a cork on a bottle full of dark stuff.
Chris – I ALWAYS look forward to reading your intelligent in-depth analysis of our favorite TV show’s episodes. (Made more so this week by quoting me! lol.) Seriously, thanks for the shout-out. I consider it a great compliment coming from you. Alas, my eyes have been trying to close on me for over an hour now… working nights can have its perks and its pecks. But I’ll be sure to come back later to comment on this week… so much stuff to think about.
“What’s that Vincent… You say Desmond is stuck down a well?”
I’d love to take credit for that one but it’s from some screen name Miles. I read it on another blog. Too funny not to share tho!
I actually had the same thought about Desmond now being a Jacob-esque character. Where Jacob interfered and touched all the characters leading toward their inevitable appearance on the island, Desmond is suggestive selling over chicken, picnic stalking, and running people over. It’s gotta be tough to spread enlightenment.
Michael was significant because he is the one who killed Libby. The knowledge of the whispers is interesting because it adds to the mysterious metaphysical properties of the island as a place that exists outside of normal physical laws governed by reason and linear time.
Mimi – no thank YOU for being so darn smart. 😉 Oh, and the Vincent line is absolutely hilarious.
elrolito – I actually thought about Sobek (and you) when I noticed the crocodile shape. Oh, and I did check out light cones and they really can apply to the eight-pointed star… I meant to go into that line, as well, but my brain got full too fast and I forgot! Forgive me.
Amanda and Ivan: I thought the same thing, too. Watching from afar, giving people a little push, all that seemed very Jacob-like. And then he decided to accelerate that role and just squish Locke. But still, the similarity seems quite deliberate.
Hi Chris, i am from Brazil.
Considering that the sideways world was created with the explosion of the bomb in 1977, the changes in this new reality begin from that event on or its a whole new world?
I mean, if something happened in the original timeline before the explosion, lets say in 1976, is it still the same in the sideways?
I always thought that what happened before the bomb went off should be the same in both timelines , and time would split from ’77 on and so that would be the landmark for changes to happen.
For example, Sawyer’s parents killed themselves in the original timeline in 1976, so in the sideways they died the same way.
Ben and his father were on the island before ’77, so in the sideways they’ve been to the island too.
But something made me think.
Remember we’se seen Chang with a prostetic left hand in some dharma videos.
We found out that he lost or injured his hand during the drilling of the swan.
Well, it happened BEFORE the bomb went off, so he should still have a prostetic hand in the sideways.
But in this episode Chang appeared in the sideways with his left arm ok, what contradicts my understanding.
This could indicate that it wasnt the bomb who created the sideways, but something elese before that…
What do you think?
Congrats on the nice work as always.
Actually, Desmond has sort of been the anti-Jacob.
When Jacob encountered Hurley in the back of the cab, he bluntly told him he had to go back to the island. When Desmond encountered Hurley, he was much more empathetic and obtuse, allowing Hurley to find the path to Libby on his own.
When Jacob encountered Locke, he touched him to help him survive after Locke’s dad pushed him out of a building. He healed Locke. Desmond ran Locke down with his car, breaking him even more.
Just something to think about …
Jonathon – welcome! Nice detective work on your part; I totally missed the Chang hand connection. My opinion was that the alternate timeline diverged only from 1977 on, and that anything before that remained the same. It seems to be supported by the fact Ben and Roger had contact with Dharma and the Island before they left and the Island disappeared. As for how to explain Chang’s healed hand in this past episode, I don’t yet have an answer – nor can I answer why he seems to have not aged in 27 years. I’m going to have to think about that…
Altough they are in love, Sun and Jin have no memories from the island in the sideways because none of them died so far on the island.
After each new episode airs, I read a variety of recaps (including long live locke, nik at night, maureen ryan, jopinionated, docarzt, darkufo) over the following week.
The ones I look forward to the most are the following:
*”What’s Sepinwall Watching” and “Cultural Learnings” for the perspectives of television critics
*Ryan McGee at Zap2It for his Q&A discussions
*”Overthinking It” to see what kind of zany stuff they can think up
*”Down the Hatch” for Chris’s theorizing (the time travel analysis for season 5 was great).
Keep up the excellent work, Chris.
I was thinking that things pre-1977 could be changed in the alternate timeline because of the time traveling the losties did. I assumed for instance, that in the alt timeline, Richard never went to see baby or child Locke.
Chris – I’m totally blown away. I was sure when I watched the episode that Desmond had said his son’s name was “Johnny.” After reading your recap and before spouting my ignorance all over your blog and making an ass of myself, I had to go to abc.com and watch that last scene. Boy am I glad I did. OMG! Truly, Des said his son’s name was “Charlie.” Well knock me over with a Hurleybird feather. That has got to mean that Desmond has at least some self-awareness through both time lines.
A lot of readers are commenting and have been postulating why they think some individuals have awareness of both time lines. Here’s my two cents. Everyone is looking at time as a linear thing. That is natural as humans I suppose, because we experience time that way… MOST OF THE TIME!
But we know that time and space are not separate things, but one thing: time/space. (thanks Einstein) Most of the time we experience linear time as we go thru our days, our years and our lives. BUT I am willing to bet that almost all of us has had one of those moments when we have experienced time and space converging. I’m thinking about watching Baryshnikov dance and when he would leap he could stop and hover in mid air… defying the laws of gravity. Michael Jordon used to do it too. And in those brief seconds time stood still. I think that the people who are experiencing self-awareness in both time lines are having those moments, only a little longer than for a brief second.
Mimi- That’s deep, as usual. Brain hurt, too full, must purge memories of birthdays before 10 years of age…