''Lost'': The mystery of Locke's handicap revealed, the 'bad plumbing' theory of ''Lost,'' and -- all crackpot theories aside -- Doc finally tells us what he 'really' thinks is going on

By Jeff Jensen
Updated March 21, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Mario Perez

‘Lost’ (S3): The mystery of Locke’s handicap revealed!


In which we ask the producers of Lost to give us one cryptic sentence that hints at the contents of tonight’s episode and totally activates our theory-making imaginations. Or at least, just mine.

The focus of this evening’s eagerly anticipated outing is John Locke — man of (misplaced) faith, wannabe Island hero, obsessed Objectivist oddball. At long last, we will learn what happened in Locke’s past that put him in a wheelchair.

I can tell you with certainty that the episode contains some truly stunning developments pertaining to the future of the castaways on the Island. I can also report that there is a lot of chatter about the possibility of a Big Twist, one that may involve everyone’s least favorite sexy people, Nikki and Paulo, that serves to set up next week’s allegedly game-changing episode that focuses on the controversial couple.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Your tease for tonight’s episode from executive producer Damon Lindelof is as follows:

”The final five seconds of this episode are my favorite five seconds of the season.”

Consider us teased!

Introducing Doc Jensen’s craziest conjecture ever.

This theory is dedicated to reader Joey Mills, who wrote this past week to remind me that Poops-A-Lot Paulo isn’t the first character on Lost who’s had a suspiciously irritable bowel. Remember Nathan, the Tailie falsely suspected of being an Others mole because he kept skipping off into the jungle for potty breaks? Nathan ended up being proven innocent when the real Other mole, Goodwin, killed him. Joey wonders if the castaways are about to make the same mistake with Paulo — or if this time, something smelly really is wafting through Lost.

Personally, I think there’s something rotten about Paulo — and I think the reason is an Other named Ethan. Here’s how I flesh (or is it flush) it out:

Paulo goes to the bathroom a lot. You might say he has some bad pipes. Maybe he’s got a parasite or something.
Meanwhile, in the season 3 premiere, we saw Ethan in Otherville, working under Juliet’s house, fixing her pipes…

Paulo could be incontinent. Curiously enough, ”incontinence” has another meaning — it refers to a philosophical issue in the larger area of Causality which the Greeks called Akrasia, which refers to an individual’s crappy sense of judgment and lack of self control.
Meanwhile, during season 1, Ethan certainly demonstrated bad judgment and a lack of self-control in the whole Claire episode, didn’t he?

A real hothead, that Ethan. Impatient. Itchy for action.
Hey — that’s Paulo, too!

And Ethan was a surgeon, too. Don’t doctors like to play golf?
Wait — Paulo likes golf, too!


These connections indicate that either Paulo is an Other…
or when Ethan died, his consciousness/soul nestled into Paulo’s body. Like a parasite. The Others… they’re body snatchers! Literally (see: the kids) and figuratively. Compensates for their inability to breed (see: the reason why the Others recruited Miracle-Conception-Drug Juliet). Another case of… bad plumbing!

In which the writer declares what he REALLY thinks is happening in Lost.

Last week, I received this e-mail from a lovely reader named Shelly Rogers from Tennessee. ”My first biggest question is this: When it’s all said and done and the series is over, are you going to lay out all your crackpot theories and show us how accurate or off-the-wall you were with each one? There are so many that I can’t keep up, and I would love to know how close you really came to the truth…”

DOC JENSEN REPLIES: I must say, I have become increasingly sensitive to e-mails such as this — not in a touchy way, but in a sympathetic way. In the beginning, Doc Jensen merely sought to mirror the fun, freaky, and very inspiring fan energy that Lost inspires. The idea was to reflect the kind of engagement and interactivity a show can have with its audience. The goal was to play. That remains the mission of Doc Jensen, though I do get more and more e-mails from people asking me: ”Okay, quit clowning around. What do you REALLY think?” Clearly, people want Lost to quit suggesting infinite interpretations, and start pointing toward a few, legitimate possibilities. I think it’s time Doc Jensen started doing the same.

So beginning this week, I’m going to include a segment called What Doc Jensen Really Thinks. To get things started, I’m going to offer my current thoughts on three big Lost mysteries — The Island, The Monster, and The Others. Next week, we’ll cover The Dharma Initiative, The Castaways, and John Locke. Then, after establishing my official positions on each of these six essential pillars of Lost Theorydom, I’ll update them each week, as needed, depending on new information the show gives us.

And so, with some trepidation, I reveal my true thoughts on Lost, as they stand right now:

It is what Harold Bloom would call a ”Global Brain” — and it is linked to every mind on the planet. Is The Island a real place? Yes. You know the ancient concepts behind the latest Oprah-endorsed self-help ”The Secret” — visualization, laws of attraction, power of positive thinking, etc.? The Island is a byproduct of those mind-over-matter dynamics, but on a global scale. It is a material manifestation of the collective belief that life has some kind of underlying meaning. Since there is a symbiotic relationship between The Island and humanity, it also reinforces this universal, foundational notion of meaning, too. During moments in history when meaning is threatened, The Island becomes agitated — and it acts out. It stands to reason that since The Island exists because we believe ”meaning” exists, then The Island would cease to exist if we stopped believing in the idea of ”meaning.” In other words: The Island is like a TV show. When we stop watching it, it gets cancelled.

It is the sacred spirit of The Island, or the physical manifestation of what the philosopher Rousseau would call the ”General Will.” Though mysterious and elusive by nature, it is guided by eternal truths common to all cultures. For examples, Smokey abhors pride — the oldest of all sins, and the one that cost Mr. Eko his life. Why did the creator of The Map in The Hatch refer to Smokey as ”Cerberus,” the three-headed dog of hell? Because he was an atheist, and judging from other notations like ”I think, therefore I suffer,” the dude had a very irreverent sense of humor. ”God” is ”dog” spelled backwards. The ”Holy Spirit” is the third head of Christianity’s triune god, and is also a gift from God to mankind — ergo, ”man’s best friend.” As Mystery Island was probably this guy’s idea of Hell, ”Cerberus” was a funny, fitting pet name of this pet protectorate. What is Smokey’s purpose? Smokey behaves like an Eidolon, which is a Greek word for ”astral double.” But I prefer the characterization put forth by author C.S. Lewis in his unfinished short story ”After Ten Years,” in which an Eidolon is a shape-shifting spirit whose job is to confront people on the false idols that they allow to rule their lives and obscure the truth of the world. For Mr. Eko, that false god was his craving for vindication for his past actions, represented in the form of his brother, Yemi. Because I’m feeling all literate and stuff… Check out the unfinished final sentence of Lewis’ unfinished final story:

And at once it came. Out of the darkness of the doorway.

Ominous. Mysterious. Downright spooky. Sounds like Smokey to me.

They are incarnations of The Monster that have gained autonomous existence. For some reason — perhaps because they have fallen out of favor with The Island; perhaps as a consequence of corruption by The Dharma Initiative — they have also gained mortality, or at least, the physical inability to perpetuate their species. Some have made peace with the reality of death and/or extinction. Some haven’t — and they’re desperate to find a way to avoid their fate. Why do the Others engage in so much trickery? Because they are actors, and acting is in their blood. HUH? Think about this. Smokey is an elusive changeling who assumes a variety of guises for the sake of embodying objective and subjective truths to the human beings that find themselves on The Island. The Others are Smokey’s offspring. Ergo: Like father, like sons. Why do the Others kidnap children? Because they are teachers, and teaching is in their blood. HUH? Again, they are merely acting according to biological imperative. Smokey, by its nature, reveals truth. It is a teacher. Like father, like sons… Why do the Others consider themselves ”the good guys”? Because like Smokey, they are fighting for a greater good: liberating mankind from the tyranny of self-deception. The big question currently facing the Others is whether the threat of their own mortality — which may be relatively new to their experience — has corrupted their character and compromised their holy mission.

Your feedback is coveted! Send questions, complaints, hate mail to: JeffJensenEW@aol.com

The John Donne meets Paul Simon theory of Lost.

All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated… As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness…No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. John Donne

I am a rock, I am an island
And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.

Paul Simon

(Read the lyrics or watch the video for ”I Am a Rock” for more insight.)

There. Lost, explained.

Coming tomorrow: Doc Jensen’s TV Watch of Lost.

Coming Friday (or Monday): READER MAIL!

Doc Jensen