Our resident ''Lost'' expert comments on readers' theories about the Monster and more

By Jeff Jensen
Updated January 06, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
Lost: ABC

‘Lost’ (S2): Our latest conspiracy theories

Greetings, fellow Lostophiles. Doc Jensen here with your responses to ”Lost Conspiracy Theory, File No. 123.172.” (Don’t ask about File No. 4815.1623.42 — it’s classified.) Judging from the quality of thinking on display in the counter-theories e-mailed my way about the true purpose of Lost‘s tree-tromping, man-eating monster (Smokey for short), I have drawn these empirically provable conclusions: 1. I’m not the only one with a Ph.D. in Lostocology; and 2. I’m also not the only one who loves to think about this show wayyyy too much.

Before we begin, I must give credit where credit is due — specifically, to the modestly titled ”Ultimate Lost Theory.” If you are not yet familiar with Dr. Andrew Smith’s pioneering work in our field of research, check it out. (Know of any other provocative theories out there? Share the link! Here’s another one I recently discovered.

Down to business.

A majority of the responses/theories I received can be summarized in one word: nanotechnology. Many of you seem convinced that Smokey is actually composed of shape-shifting microscopic robots that either have developed independent, collective consciousness or serve the bidding of some unseen master. Rick Malano writes, ”The Dharma Initiative is experimenting with nanotechnology, borrowed straight from Michael Crichton’s book Prey.” Malano speculates that these miracle machines fixed Locke’s legs and that the numbers that must be inputted into the Dharma computer every 108 minutes somehow ”reset” these ”nanobots.” Phil Rose also makes the Prey link and makes one more provocative cult-pop connection: ”Given that it was described in one episode as a ‘security system,’ I conclude that Smokey is basically [a nanotech] upgrade of Rover, the giant white beachball from The Prisoner. They even howl/roar the same way.” Rachel Cassidy puts some practical meat on the nanotech bone: ”The area [where the survivors live] supposedly has a supreme magnetic core, as seen in the hatch when the key around Jack’s neck raised up and pulled toward the concrete wall. The ‘nano-bots’ are powered by this magnetic source.”

Nanotechnology makes a lot of sense — maybe too much sense, for me. Interesting how many Scullys out there need reasonable sci-fi explanations for Lost‘s mysteries. Few of you, in fact, put forth a theory that argued for the Monster as a natural phenomenon. Alex Knowlton comes kinda close, comparing Smokey to the ”smog creatures” in the PS2 vidgame Ico — ”pronounced ee-ko,” according to Knowlton, though he falls short of making the connection to Mr. Eko. Veronica Iannuzzi wonders if Smokey is like a virus: ”Maybe that big blog of smoke is the result of the ‘incident’ that we keep hearing about with Dharma. Maybe because people used that computer for other reasons besides punching in the numbers, [they] unleashed some sort of thing that’s now roaming the island. And maybe that’s why it says ‘quarantine’ on all the hatch doors: it’s to keep that thing out. Maybe that blog could somehow make you sick…like some sort of plague is roaming around.” Veronica’s theory could also be expanded to include such details as the recent revelation that the interior of the Hatch had been modified ex post facto with blast doors. Veronica’s choice of the word ”blog,” however, both confused me and intrigued me. Maybe her subconscious is onto something: Perhaps Smokey is a Rushkoffian media virus.

And then there are those of you who got all religious on me. And why not, given the stunning face-off between Smokey and the scripture-quoting Mr. Eko. Several of you jumped on Eko’s unique recitation of Psalm 23 — saying ”the shadow of the valley of death” instead of ”the valley of the shadow of death.” (A shout-out to my old high school friend Bil Hood of Seattle, who provided me with an analysis of the Bible references on Eko’s stick.) Maria Rotella summarizes the thoughts of many when she writes, simply, ”The island is purgatory, and the smoke is the devil.” Lynn Nagel elaborates: ”The black shadow reminds me of the movie Ghost. [It’s] the evil portion coming back to get you and bring you to hell” — kinda like what the Monster tried to do to Locke in the season 1 finale last year when it attempted to drag him into a hole. (Burning question: Why did the Monster let Locke live early in season 1, but try to drag him down later? My answer: Still processing.) Like many of you, Nagel believes that Smokey — be he/she/it natural, supernatural, or mechanical — thrives on fear. Amy Marquez puts it this way: ”Smokey is a physical manifestation of a person’s demons. Your willingness to face said demons determines whether or not you survive.”

I also received a fair number of theories that aren’t easily classifiable. For example:

Robert Reineke: ”The island is the real life basis of Prospero’s island of The Tempest, with the smoke monster being the equivalent of Caliban, or the Id Monster from Forbidden Planet. Eko has control of his id, so that’s why he’s safe from the monster.”

Rob Goyette: ”I think that the island is part of a secret cloning experiment, but the clones have never turned out properly. There is always some sort of mental defect, even though physically they are all fine. The clones have realized that they are not able to produce children though, which is why they are abducting the children but show no interest in the adults. The cloners can also be working on other animals, such as boars and polar bears. As for Smokey…maybe they tried to clone a chimney with mixed results?!?!?”

And then, there were the dozens of theories and questions I received about Lost‘s other big mystery: namely, the Others. But I have elected to wait on responding to them — especially since my Lost sources tell me we’re all about to get a big helping of Others mythology tonight. Until then, I offer my favorite Lost thought of the week. From Thad Wilkes: ”Eko & Charlie snuck into the secret stash and were trippin’ hard core. Peace.”

What do you think? Share your theories about the theories.