EW ''Lost'' expert Jeff Jensen issues a new challenge to all you theorists out there. Plus: This week's top 6 mysteries, and a very impressive reader hypothesis
‘Lost’ (S2): A new challenge for all you theorists
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Now that I have your attention:
I recently found a novella that I am absolutely certain is being used by Lost‘s writers as a kind of creative Bible for their show.
Or not. Just a theory I have.
It’s called Flatland. Here’s a description.
And here’s my challenge:
Read it. Use it to construct a Lost theory in 300 words or less. All theories must be cool and stuff, but should also prove to me that you actually read the darn thing.
I’ll post the top three theories on May 24 — the day of Lost‘s season finale.
Winner gets a free subscription.
Serious. It’s coming out of my pocket — but I’m serious.
Now: Get to work!
THE LOST MYSTERY HOT SHEET
A weekly ranking of Lost‘s coolest watercooler mysteries.
1. THE MAP
LAST WEEK Not ranked
CRACKPOT ANALYSIS The mother of all Lost TiVo moments. But what’s more important: the contents of the Map — or how the Map was made?
DOC JENSEN LOST-O-MATIC INSTA-THEORY The Map = Lost‘s greatest red herring. It’s either part of the mindgame being played on Hatch occupants — or it’s a deeply flawed super-string speculation on Dharma’s island activities and history, as concocted by a former Hatch occupant over the course of several lockdowns.
ESTIMATED CHANCE OF DOC J BEING RIGHT 48%
I’m pretty wedded to the idea that there’s a large degree of sleight-of-hand/deception at work on the Island. (See: costumes in the Medical Hatch; Doc J’s ”It’s a Skinner box!” portion of the Evil Aaron Theory.)
2. THE DHARMA SUPPLY DROP
(Doc Jensen’s pick for Lost mystery of the week!)
LAST WEEK Not ranked
CRACKPOT ANALYSIS Like the Orientation Film or the Map or the Hieroglyphics, the Drop — those supplies Sayid, Ana Lucia, and Charlie found near the parachute last week — was one of those mythological developments that raised more questions than provided answers. But at least it was a concrete, tangible event witnessed and verified by multiple sets of eyes, instead of some subjectively perceived ”Is this real or all in my head?” Twilight Zone phenomenon (see: Charlie’s hallucinations, or tonight’s Hurley episode, judging from the promos), or some Blow Up/Blow Out/F for Fake bit of manipulation. And I say this as a big fan of hallucinatory experiences, ephemeral media, and, in general, having my chain pulled. So to speak. As for those questions that the Drop raised: How frequent are these nocturnal drops of food, equipment, and assorted Dharma-branded goodies? Did a Desmond-era drop bring the late-model washer and dryer into the Hatch? And are the drops meant to be found by the Hatch occupants, the Others, or perhaps an as-yet-unseen corps of Dharma operatives who service the experiment like unseen stage hands?
DOC JENSEN LOST-O-MATIC INSTA-THEORY The Drop was indeed intended for the Oceanic 815 castaways. Whoever is responsible for the Drop did so because they want the castaways to remain on the part of the Island where they are currently located; they don’t want the castaways leaving the sector to search for food or supplies and whatnot. If you believe the Film’s claims of the sector being suffused with ”unique” electromagnetic energy, then it’s most likely (at least to me) that the goal of keeping the castaways where they are is to study the effects of prolonged exposure to EM energy on humans — unless, of course, these folks know EXACTLY what those effects are, and are attempting to evolve/transform/just mess with the castaways. (See: Doc J’s EM/Grok and EM/Body Electric subtheories.)
Crap, kids, even I don’t understand what the hell I just wrote.
3. HENRY GALE
LAST WEEK No. 1
CRACKPOT ANALYSIS Knocked from the top spot because of last week’s meaty mythological developments. Burning questions: Did ”Henry Gale” input the code correctly? Did he do something to reverse the lockdown procedure? And how come the castaways aren’t making the Wizard of Oz connection like the rest of us are?
DOC JENSEN LOST-O-MATIC INSTA-THEORY ”Henry” isn’t stretching the truth as much as we think: The Henry Gale that’s dead and buried under the balloon really is the spouse of the fake Henry Gale. The two men were ballooning around the world on their honeymoon when they crashed on the island, and the real Henry died of the mysterious disease. ”Henry” lied to the castaways because he wasn’t quite sure how enlightened they were on the issue of gay marriage.
(But wouldn’t it be something if I was right?)
4. FLASHBACK CONNECTIONS
LAST WEEK No. 2
CRACKPOT ANALYSIS Last week’s Locke flashback did nothing to clarify everyone’s favorite new Lost debate: Are all the castaways connected in direct and/or indirect ways, or is the Island messing with their minds?
DOC JENSEN LOST-O-MATIC INSTA-THEORY The Island is messing with their minds. (Again, see: EM/Grok Theory)
I loves me the Grok Theory!
5. THE LOCKDOWN
(Doc J’s Headscratcher of the Week!)
LAST WEEK Not ranked
CRACKPOT ANALYSIS Why did Locke bother with trying to pry open the wall when he knew he could escape the lockdown via the ceiling air ducts? (For a possible answer, see No. 6.) Fan speculation is that lockdowns are initiated to keep the occupant(s) of the Hatch oblivious to supply drops and possibly even the restocking of the Hatch by Dharma agents.
DOC JENSEN LOST-O-MATIC INSTA-THEORY The lockdown had nothing to do with the supply drop. The event was initiated per the old, outdated programming of the Hatch (see: the History Theory of the Island).
Actually, whether I’m right or wrong, my hunch is that the lockdown has launched some kind of endgame for the Hatch — meaning I think the Hatch won’t be coming with us into season 3.
6. LOCKE’S NAIVETE
LAST WEEK No. 45 (Hot Sheet Gainer of the Week!)
CRACKPOT ANALYSIS Funny how pundits like me expect TV characters to think and act with the kind of all-knowing, coolheaded super-logic that none of us has in real life. And so maybe I’m being unfair in criticizing Locke (or Lost‘s writers) for not having the presence of mind to remember that he didn’t have to sweat the lockdown as much as he did. Moreover, we are talking about a guy who, despite the whole island-shaman thing and his great insight into other people, is prone to spectacular lapses in judgment (see: Boone, and everything to do with the father, and, most likely, his Hatch-is-God fixation). Still, if the thinking on Locke is that he’s susceptible to occasional bouts of big-time boneheadedness, it would have been nice to see him slap his forehead a couple times and realize his errors.
DOC JENSEN LOST-O-MATIC INSTA-THEORY Once he gets his legs back, Locke will pull a Michael and become the next castaway to disappear on us for, like, half a season, as he goes to explore the jungle.
Actually, I’m hoping he’ll take Mr. Eko with him so that ABC can build a Lost spin-off about their Hatch-hunting jungle journeys. (Please: no Brokeback Island jokes in the Talkback. I actually like this idea.)
LOST FAN THEORY OF THE WEEK
Say ”Namaste” to Leann from New York, who has cracked the secret of the Map:
”I saw the freeze-frame of the Lost map in the latest issue of EW and I just wanted to comment that the map is laid out exactly like a radial arm maze, which is used in psychology for learning and memory studies. There have been comments that the hatch is like a big Skinner box; the layout of [the Map] looks like another apparatus from psychology.
”In a radial arm maze, subjects (usually rats) are placed in the center of the maze and then they have to pick which of the 8 arms to go down. Usually one arm is baited with a little treat. Once the rats learn which arm is the ‘treat’ or reward arm, you can use this to test out different types of learning and memory.
”Also, when the doors came down on Locke, that’s very similar to the ‘doors’ in a radial arm maze — you can block off certain arms of the maze with sliding inserts. Just thought you guys might find that interesting.”
Not only did I find Leann’s theory interesting, but after some more research of my own, I came across the website for UCLA’s Behavioral Testing Core.
Many of you have e-mailed me various theories that are different permutations of the same idea: The castaways are test subjects in an experiment designed to ”fix” humanity by altering their memories or reshaping their consciousness. Perhaps the castaways are being programmed (or reprogrammed) with some kind of ideology or dogma or belief system. Or maybe Lost is a lot like the Michael Douglas movie The Game, in which the hero is plunged into an elaborate and even life-threatening psychodrama designed to get him to confront various troubling issues in his life.
Or maybe the answer is this:
In Lost, the psych experiment taking place on the Island is an inquiry into human curiosity, or lack thereof. Mysteries and intrigue are the treats and the bait, designed to lure us into an adventure of our own creation. In Lost, there is no destination — it’s all journey. The discovery is what we (or the characters) learn in the midst of the exploring.
Pretty deep. Pretty meaningful.
And pretty unsatisfying, don’t you think?
A NEW LOST MYSTERY HOT SHEET!
THE ULTIMATE LIST OF LOST LOOSE ENDS!
DOC JENSEN’S HISTORY OF THE ISLAND!
PART TWO OF THE REGENESIS THEORY!
…and my complete and total mental breakdown, spilled across your computer screen.
”All for you, Lost! All for you!”
[Free personalized Lost theory if you can tell me the reference…]
DOC J — OUT (of my mind)!