Nice to get away from Chess for a bit and now that I've had time to sit back and think about Lost, I wanted to write a bit about it. I had a pretty lengthy conversation with one of my best friends who was disappointed about not getting the answers he felt entitled to. Most of the questions he still had were actually already answered on the show (maybe not to his/or others satisfaction). I was hesitant to put time into actually going over any of the answers since I've never felt that revealing them was a strength to the show, having mystery and developing characters, along with using unorthodox storyboard techniques were always Lost's strengths.
So I thought I'd take a thoughtful look at the so-called Answers. Keep in mind that one of the main goals of the writers was always to leave lots of ambiguity for you and me to have opinions on the reality of the island and the characters.
We'll take a look at the questions posed in Season One, first, and see where it leads us. But as was so perfectly inserted in the episode "Across the Sea" the woman caring for the Man in Black and Jacob cuts off endless questions with "Every answer will lead to more questions"; which is true of any type of knowledge, and in that way one of the more profound insertions of Season six, but getting down to business. Lots of my info is pulled from a collaboration of sources with the Lostpedia has a guide.
Why did the plane crash? A good place to start. Not surprisingly, with everything going on with the plane crash and the new island struggles, the reason for the plane crashing was a bit of an after-thought until the force of the new show started to settle in.
On September 22, 2004, Desmond Hume, who had been maintaining the DHARMA Initiative's electromagnetic station on the Island for the past three years, failed to enter the Numbers into the computer in time after having accidentally killed Kelvin Inman. This resulted in a system failure and an electromagnetic buildup. Although Desmond eventually managed to reset the Swan's countdown, the electromagnetic force had been strong enough to pull down the plane and cause it to break apart in mid-air. Desmond wouldn't come to realize his role in the crash until more than two months later. We find all of this out in the episode "Live Together Die Alone, Part One"
More interesting is that Jacob led these people(and the plane along with them) to the island as "candidates" to replace him as a protector of the island. Jacob didn't pick happy people; he picked people who lived a "lost" existence.
What is the Smoke Monster and what is his nature/properties? We find out near the end of the series that the so-called Smoke Monster is an evil remnant of a not so evil twin brother of Jacob. I will discuss the “Man in Black” as separate as I can from the Smoke Monster, as I consider them different characters. The Monster’s powers include the ability to turn into a cloud of smoke and have quite a devastating effect on the material around him. He has also shown the ability (as early as episode one) to take the form of those that have died, e.g. Christian Sheppard, John Locke, Alex Rousseau and even Richard Alpert’s dead wife. He also has been shown to have the interesting ability to see into the pasts of people he has met.
I like to think that the Smoke Monster’s purpose is relative to whom perceives it. Since many characters seem to have come up with interesting ideas about what the monster is up to. For quite a while we are content with “the Others” point of view that the Monster is like a security system for the island. The Dharma initiative felt it was enough of a threat to create a system of sonic fences to control its movement. While it appears that Ben Linus can summon it by special technique in his small home in the Dharma camp he is quick to tell us that he thinks the Monster actually summons him.
Ben and Mr. Eko feel that the Monster is a judge of sorts and that when he approaches people it can weigh whether the person deserves to die, as explained by Mr. Eko in Season 3’s “The Cost of Living”.
The Smoke Monster wants to leave the island and will stop at nothing to escape.
Why are there Polar Bears on this tropical island? Starting in the episode “lockdown” we begin to understand that the Dharma initiative was testing exotic animals on the island, and actually modified them to be able to live in tropical climates. A fantastic teaser was shown in the episode “Confirmed Dead” where the Anthropologist Charlotte finds Polar Bear bones and collar with the insignia of the Hydra station. The Dharma folks used the Polar Bear to see what would happen when they spun the wheel, which indeed sends you to a spot in the Tunisian desert.
Who recorded the distress signal and why is it still repeating after 16 years? The distress signal which we are presented with in the pilot episodes was created by Danielle Rousseau, a young scientist whom wrecked, along with friends on the island. It kept playing because she never got rescued.
What is the Black Rock (mentioned in the distress signal)? The Black Rock was a slave ship from the 1800s which was piloted by Magnus Hanso (an ancestor of the Dharma founder) taking prisoners/slaves including Ricardo (Richard) Alpert. A large tidal wave launched it towards the island where it destroyed the huge statue and came to rest deep within the islands interior.
Who were the skeletons that Jack and Kate found in the caves? The skeletons which were found in the caves belonged to “the man in black” and the one called “mother”. She was the protector of the source before Jacob and was attempting, after murdering Jacob and the man in black’s mother (Claudia) to be there mother, raising one eventually to take over for her and protect the source.
The man in black was disillusioned after he found out all the lies she had told him and that she had killed his real mother, he choose to live with the other people who crashed with his mother, many years prior. The man in black wasn’t evil, he wanted truth and to be free to see the world. He began working with the other people and found a way to harness the source, the eventual wheel, mother became upset and killed all the people and ruined they’re project. He soon after stabs mother and physically dies by Jacob’s hand, creating the monster.
Jacob placed the bodies in the cave with the two stones.
What is the purpose of the cable that Said finds leading into the ocean? The cable, apparently lead from the dharma station “Flame” to other stations on the island. Sayid found a cable which lead to the “Looking Glass” station, which was an underwater station which helped guide the submarines and also served as a communications station.
Who are the Others? The term “the Others” in Lost typically refers to the people whom conspired to kill the members of the Dharma initiative and control most of the island, for most of the show. The Others initially consist of Richard Alpert and any other people who are lead to the island by Jacob. It then included Benjamin Linus who lead the slaughter of the Dharma folks.
They then use the resources of Dharma to continue the objectives set form by Jacob.
What are the “whispers”? The whispers which would sometimes be heard by people on the island was a remnant of those that died on the island and weren’t able to move on. An example I found in Lostpedia was Libby whom would appear and also whisper, but was able to get through and be part of the spiritual reunion at the end of the show.
What do the “numbers” mean? This is one of the more complex and debated issues so I will try to leave this simple so as to allow people to form their own opinion. The numbers do represent values of the Vanzetti Equation, which was released as a canonical experience in between seasons of Lost called “The Lost Experience”. There were in fact little details, especially with the numbers, and some higher ups in Dharma which the Lost experience provided extra info.
Many Lost fans aren’t really aware of “The lost Experience” so aren’t especially pleased to know that there is quite a bit of canonic info outside of the actual syndicated show.
As far as the show goes we know that the numbers represent different degrees which Jacob must turn his wheel to view the candidates, in his lighthouse. The whole idea of the Dharma initiative was actually to alter the numbers of the Vanzetti Equation, to change the course of the earth’s ultimate destruction.
What is the significance of the Hatch? The fascination of the Hatch was a spectacular part of the show. The hatch is where the release of electro-magnetism occurred and using the computer to type in “the numbers” one was supposed to stop a large build-up of E.M. The very popular character Desmond Hume was left in charge of this task.
A very popular storyline revolves around whether the button pushing is real or a social experiment, and several characters disagree, often violently on what is the truth.
What is the explanation for the so-called Hurley Bird? This was never answered and actually when the question was posed to a producer of the show he declined to talk about this bird’s significance. For those that don’t remember, a huge bird flew by twice and says Hurley (even in the sub-titles). The resulting silence and lack of explanation has lead to intelligent speculation including the idea of “Altjira” an Australian Aboriginal God of the dreamworld, which just so happens to be a huge green bird! Interestingly, if you remove the l and the t you get ajira, which is the name of an Indian airline which the “Oceanic Six” take to get back to the island.
Well that’s at least a good starting point. Those were a lot of the main questions from the first season (and many of them lasted deep into the series). Hopefully it can lead to some ideas on the show for people and I plan on listing some more ideas for other seasons, more for me than anyone else. I kind of enjoy going through the episodes and trying to figure stuff out.