‘Lost’ (S3): Is ”Enter 77” a clue or another red herring?
You’ve seen ”Enter 77,” the biggest download of Lost mythology in quite some time. Or was it?
You have theories — because the answers provided by ”Enter 77” (The Dharma Initiative and the Others are completely separate entities! There was a war on The Island! There’s a power source buried in the ocean! And there are submarines — somewhere…) suggested a plethora of possibilities. Or did they?
And you have questions — because of course, Lost can’t solve a mystery without posing a couple more. You know, just like a mythic hydra — cut off a head, two take its place. (Wait — does that explain The Hydra Station?!) (Nah — that’s actually just a Marvel Comics reference.) (Oh. Hey, why are we speaking in parentheticals, you big dork?) (I don’t know. Because it’s fun?) (No it’s not. Can you just get on with it?) (Oh, okay….)
Listen: I want to hear your theories, all your questions, and yes, all your complaints about ”Enter 77.” So email me directly at JeffJensenEW@aol.com. And next week, I’ll post your Big Ideas — and maybe I’ll have an answer or two. Until then, here are my Instant Reactions to ”Enter 77.”
1. Now, more than ever, I am convinced that my ”Tricia Tanaka Explains It All!” theory from earlier this week really does explain it all — at least in broad, general strokes. In fact, I’m going to stake it in the ground like a flag, freaky and proud. Until further notice, ”Tricia Tanaka Explains It All!” is Doc Jensen’s official default explanation of Lost!
2. The Dharma Initiative is a new variation of an old idea: The Tower of Babel. Specifically, Dharma was an elaborate psychodrama in which unwitting participants were used as elements in a techno-magical neo-pagan ritual designed to save the world from death and destruction. In the coming weeks, I’ll explain exactly what the hell I mean by that.
3. Dr. Marvin Candle is/was a character in that ritual/psychodrama.
4. ”The Hostiles” to which the Candle referred to in the Flame Station secret orientation? NOT ”THE OTHERS.” Rather, ”The Hostiles” were fictional characters played by actors in the Dharma techno-magical neo-pagan ritual. Those hillbilly costumes that were found in the medical hatch? Props in the Dharma psychodrama blah blah blah that have been appropriated by the Others for their own use.
5. Who are the Others? They manage the legacy of this ”Garden of Eden”; you could call them The Order of the Flaming Sword. (My guess is that Smokey The Monster functions like one of the angels God appointed to watchdog this mystical place; see: Genesis 3:24.) Specifically, their job is to make sure that mankind once again doesn’t overstep its bounds. Their work is multifaceted, from removing from the world scientific miracle-makers like Juliet, to making sure that time-travelers like Desmond fulfill their obligations to destiny. However, there is discord among the Others — a schism between those who believe that man should be kept ignorant of forbidden knowledge and those who believe that some or all of these secrets need to be shared. The issue at stake is free will. Is ambiguity part of the price man has to pay for breaking the law of God? Would proof of the supernatural violate the posture of faith demanded by God in the wake of The Fall? I believe the Others are at odds over the answers to those questions, and that conflict is about to explode anew into war — and the castaways are caught in the middle.
Then again, I could be completely wrong.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: THE MYSTERY OF THE DHARMA ACRONYM ANAGRAM — SOLVED!
Several weeks ago, I told you that I had become convinced that the unfurled Dharma acronym — Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications — was actually an anagram that contained a clue to the mysteries of Lost. My theory was based on the fact that from those words, you could get both DESMOND HUME and PENELOPE — way too suspicious, in my book. Well, I was finally able to run this idea by executive producer Damon Lindelof recently, and as it turns out I’m wrong. At least, I’m wrong about the DESMOND HUME and PENELOPE part. ”Total coincidence,” he reports. However, he didn’t say that it WASN’T an anagram, either. Of course, I didn’t ask him flat out ”Is it an anagram,” because… well, Doc Jensen does like his delusions and seeing things in Lost that might not actually be there. And who’s to say I’m not wrong for doing so? After all…you can also get ”RORSCHACH TEST” from Dharma’s full name, too.
QUAKING IN THE SCHOLARSHIP OF OTHERS
In which Doc Jensen opens up his MAILBAG and discovers that his readers are far smarter — and maybe a little stranger — than he could ever hope (or want) to be.
SCAVENGING FOR BAKUNIN
Last week, I sent all of you on a Web hunt for a ”revolutionary” new piece of Lost mythology that was going to be contained in ”Enter 77,” but which ABC had intentionally/inadvertently leaked to the masses. Some of you played detective, while some of you just couldn’t be bothered — so much so, that reader ”dhyasyn1” sent me this breathless demand: ”what easter eggs what revolutionary stuff are you talking about i would like some insight.”
The answer, as we all now know, is the real name of Patchy — Mikhail Bakunin, who joins a growing list of characters conspicuously named after famous philosophers. (Also see: John Locke, Desmond David Hume, and Rousseau.) Kudos to Chris Julian, who took my ”Enter 77” challenge, and prior to the airing of the episode sent me a theory that remains very plausible:
”In the real world, Mikhail Bakunin is one of the fathers of modern anarchism. Patchy is on the island because he was one of the Others, but he began thinking like his namesake (Mikhail Bakunin). He tried to instill anarchy in the Others, causing a schism in their ranks. He was ostracized from the Others for his muckraking and exiled from the Others’ home base. Rousseau was involved with Ben at the time, but having an affair with Patchy. Patchy is the actual father of Alex, not Ben. When Patchy is exiled, Rousseau leaves also. Rousseau grew tired of Patchy’s anarchistic rantings and goes off to live by herself since the Others will not take her back.”
DOC JENSEN SAYS: In light of Rousseau’s suspicious wariness to explore The Flame, I find Chris’ contention that she shares a past connection — and child — with Bakunin very interesting. (More on that in a second.) Additionally, it seems the prevailing assumption is that Patchy was some kind of radical who broke ranks with the Others over… something. Chris seems to think it was a political disagreement. But I have another theory, one prompted by research that first came to my attention through a posting by ”My Two Cents” at one of my fave Lost fansites, LOSTcasts.com. It seems that the real-life Bakunin was fixated with Prometheus, the Greek god who gave mankind the secret of fire. When I read this bit of info, the following theory clicked into place for me:
1. The Others are an ancient brotherhood who guard the secrets of The Island.
2. The Dharma Initiative came to The Island to exploit its energies in order to save the world. At another time, we’ll explore how they intended to do this. But for now, let’s say Dharma wanted to ”save the world” by altering reality and forcing a form of ”enlightenment” upon mankind. In other words, like Prometheus, they wanted to bring ”fire” to the masses.
3. The Others were deeply divided over Dharma’s plan. Most opposed it, as it undermined human free will. But some like Bakunin, believed Dharma was right in wanting to share the secrets of The Island to save the world.
4. The Others fought among themselves — civil war. In the end, Dharma was ”purged” and Bakunin was defeated and imprisoned at The Flame.
5. However, there is currently a contingent of Others who are sympathetic to Bakunin and have been plotting a revolution.
6. By bringing Bakunin to Othersville — which is what Bakunin secretly wants — Sayid and company are playing right into the revolution’s hands.
Reaction? Email me at JeffJensenEW@aol.com!
A FAMILY AFFAIR?
An unlikely debate has broken out among Lost fans: Who’s Alex’s Daddy? We all seem pretty certain that Alex is the baby that was taken away from The French Lady by the Others; the season two episode ”Maternity Leave” seemed to suggest as much, and the conclusion of ”Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” seemed to confirm that. But throughout season three, we’ve been told that Alex is Ben’s daughter. It never occurred to me that this could be a source of theory fodder; I just assumed that after Alex was abducted by the Others, she was raised by Ben, her adoptive father (although clearly, Alex has never been told this). However, it seems that many of you have become convinced that Ben and Rousseau at one point actually knocked boots — that Alex is Ben’s biological daughter, too. If this is true, then it raises serious questions about the moment in season two when Rousseau notified the castaways that ”one of them” got tangled in her nets. Could it be that Ben cut some kind of deal with Rousseau — turn me over to the castaways, but don’t tell them who I am, and in exchange, I’ll let you have Alex back and get you off The Island? Interesting possibilities…
Into this debate steps Josh Thompson, with a completely different perspective on the situation:
”I know you’ve done your David Hume research and are familiar with his attempts to free people from making assumptions based on casual relationships and coincidence. In that light: Are you sure that Alex is Rousseau’s daughter? This has been a basic assumption…but this is based on three flimsy coincidences: 1. Name (a pretty common one); 2. Age (as reconciled with the estimations of a deranged recluse); 3. Proximity (the mother/daughter conclusion was drawn before we knew of multiple islands, and the Others’ interaction with, and relocation of people from, the ”real world”). Moreover, the idea that Ben would abscond with the daughter of a woman who lived on the same island as his people, and STILL call her by the name her mother gave her, runs counterintuitive to their clandestine ways. They seem to know what they are doing, and given their surveillance and knowledge of the island they surely knew Rousseau was still alive — so why in the world wouldn’t he rename a baby? It would bring an interesting twist to the Losties/Rousseau interaction if they were helping her get her daughter back only to learn it wasn’t really her daughter…”
DOC JENSEN SAYS: Consider me engaged by the possibilities. Here’s one: What if Rousseau is an ex-Dharma actor who never stopped playing her part in the world-saving psychodrama?
WITH READERS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES?
Finally, I bring you Phil Williams. A couple weeks ago, Phil sent me a series of emails outlining a very detailed, very provocative, very long theory. When I failed to mention his industrious scholarship, Phil got angry with me. ”well i look fourward 2 seeing what emails you privilege in this week’s sham column,” wrote Phil, who, as you can see, is one of those guys who likes using numerals 4 for prepositions and lower cases for Proper Nouns.
I shouldn’t reward Phil’s rudeness by giving him the attention he craves, but I’m doing so, anyway, because his harassment of yours truly suggested a new possibility for why viewers may be souring on Lost: the show makes people feel stupid for not ”getting it.” And when people are made to feel stupid, they get huffy, just like my friend Phil here. Charging the producers with being smartypants uppity — or in his words, an attitude of ”we are so smart that nobody can stop us, and if they try, we will ignore” them — Phil then threatens to drop a theory bomb on me that will ”deconstruct the whole pseudo-structure of this show.” Referring to the mythological codename of The Numbers, Phil concluded his love letter by saying: ”Hope you enjoy these last fleeting moments of intellectual superiority, cause it, like the valenzetti equation, are about 2 be solved, busta…”
After much deliberation, I have decided that perhaps the best way to respond to Phil is to share with you his theory bomb — you know, the one that can ”deconstruct” the blah blah blah of the show. So I asked Phil to find a way to distill his scholarship down to an easily digestible 200 words. He nearly met the challenge, turning in 219 words and suggesting that I could ”cut the swear words” if I needed to. But in order to get the full effect of Phil’s bombshell, I think you need to hear his voice in its entirety, complete with its unexplained references to the fan culture truncation of Ben/Fake Henry Gale (”Fenry”), electromagnetic pulses, comic-book characters (Dr. Manhattan), and ancient Greek myths. So here’s Phil’s theory, word for word, as he sent it to me. People: prepare to be mindblown.
THE PHIL WILLIAMS THEORY OF LOST
”Then a strange plane crashes in a seemingly random, strange island; then fenry needs a spinal surgeon and one miraculously survived; but fenry and his band of merry men can’t go 2 the part of the island where the spinal surgeon is located because of a certain incident and a rogue security system; soon however, the security system seems 2 get distracted by the strange, new survivors and seems 2 hibernate 4 a bit, thus allowing fenry 2 infiltrate the camp and try 2 manipulate a very wary doctor that he needs his help; meanwhile mr. hume has gone off in search of penny once and 4 all but he keeps going in circles; finally he comes home 2 the hatch and realizes he would blow it all up 4 penny; this unfortunately fused his mind with some serious emp s— and he became the new television approved dr. manhattan; now, lil desie seems unstuck in time and keeps going back 2 the past where the architect/oracle is clearly trying 2 get him 2 stop worrying about his damn pride so much and just go f—ing be with pen; but Odysseus is not home yet, there are still Circes 2 entertain so the show must go on; until desmond hume and Penelope widmore reunite and save the world, dharma style.”
To quote a greater man than me: ‘Nuff said.