'Lost' (S3): Shooting down three rumors
Returning from his post-season 3 hiatus, Doc Jensen gets to the bottom of three popular rumors, and breaks down theories about ''The Fly,'' ''The Prestige,'' and the Orchid film
‘Lost’ (S3): Shooting down three rumors
Nature abhors a vacuum. So do Lost fans. With no new episodes until February, Losties are filling the dead space with curious claims about the forthcoming fourth season. Because public service is just the way Doc Jensen rolls, I decided to investigate.
RUMOR: ABC is moving Lost to the notorious ”death slot” of broadcast television — Friday night, 9 p.m.
SOURCE: According to thetailsection.com, Damon Lindelof himself suggested that the show was on the move during his recent appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego.
WHAT DOES DOC J THINK? Friday, 9 p.m. is the stuff of legend in cult pop circles. This was the slot that launched The X-Files — and killed Firefly. Moving Lost to this day and time would be a tacit admission that the series is no longer a mainstream show.
THE PRODUCERS SAY: ”I cannot imagine in a zillion years that ABC would do that,” says Damon Lindelof, who can’t recall saying anything at Comic-Con that would justify this rumor.
RUMOR: The producers have offered Swedish thespian Peter Stormare — best known in recent years for playing marble-mouthed, throat-slashed, spiritually conflicted bad guy John Abruzzi in Prison Break — a role in Lost‘s fourth season.
SOURCE: Various fansites, citing a Swedish newspaper’s interview with Stormare in which he himself makes the claim that he was mulling the offer from Lost.
WHAT DOES DOC J THINK? I dug Stormare in Fargo — he was Steve Buscemi’s silent, psycho partner. And those crazy VW car commercials he made were hilariously weird. I once interviewed him on the set of Prison Break. Quirky dude.
THE PRODUCERS SAY: ”Not true,” says Carlton Cuse.
RUMOR: The producers have offered 2007 Best Actor Oscar winner Forest Whitaker a two-episode gig in the upcoming season.
SOURCE: Various fansites.
WHAT DOES DOC J THINK? Sounds cool to me. I once interviewed Whitaker on the set of First Daughter, the Katie Holmes movie that he directed. Nice guy, though he threw me when he likened First Daughter to Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. Then again, this was before my Doc Jensen conversion; now, I can probably better appreciate such insane — err, I mean, genius!
THE PRODUCERS SAY:: ”Also utterly false!” says Cuse.
Tune in each month for more Rumor Control. Who knows? Maybe someday, one of these tall tales will actually be true!
UPDATE: For the record, the sources for the Stormare and Whitaker rumors appear to be DarkUFO.com, which posted the scuttlebutt in its Rumours section. The rumors were then picked up by other fan sites. Moreover, thetailsection.com did not start a rumor that Lost was moving to the 9 p.m. timeslot on Friday. (I apologize for the bad reporting there.) What thetailsection.com DID report was that at Comic-Con, Lindelof allegedly made a comment that some people interpreted to be a subtle hint that the show might be moving to Friday night. The site — which acknowledged that it had no idea what Lindelof actually said — then polled its readers on what they thought of the possibility. The runner of thetailsection.com believes that this kind of activity should not be characterized as rumor-mongering. Regardless, Lindelof’s response stands.
NEXT PAGE: News, theories, and crazy talk!
THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW
News, theories, crazy talk — Doc Jensen is in session!
Q: Hey Doc! Back in May, you promised to post a new column in late July. What happened?
A: Oh, you know, the usual the summertime stuff. Family. Vacation. Assorted magazine assignments. Listening to the new Fountains of Wayne album incessantly. (”Well it was Saturday night and I was sitting in my kitchen/looking at some women on the Spanish television…”) Becoming increasingly obsessive about my hometown Seattle Mariners making it into the playoffs. (Stop laughing! It’s going to happen!)
Q: Have you been missing Lost the way we’ve been missing Lost?
A: Honestly? I think I needed more of a break than I realized. In the wake of recapping and decoding 16 straight weeks of Lost, my cult pop CPU was seriously overheated. I felt like flickering Jacob in the jungle ghost house: ”Help me….” And when it came time to tackle that promised July post, said brain curled into a fetal position and drooled large puddles of puddle puddle on the puddle-warped puddle puddle and WHAT IN THE NAME OF MIKHAIL BAKUNIN DID I JUST WRITE? See, I’m still not right in the head. Or maybe I just need more coffee. Yes, more coffee. Back in two minutes.
Q: On second thought (as we back away from the scary-smelly man in the corner), maybe you try again next month —
A: Nononono! Please, let’s do this! See? Coffee! Mmmmm — rejuvenating! Wanna hear a theory?
Q: Uhhh… yes?
A: This one just came to me, right after I typed that sentence about Jacob and ”Help me” — it reminded me of another famous creepy character famous for saying ”Help me.”
Q: Okay. Who?
A: The Fly! You know, from the 1958 movie The Fly starring Vincent Price, about the scientist who invents the teleportation machine and winds up getting spliced with bug DNA that transforms him into a fly-headed, fly-clawed freak? In the infamous final scene, Price hears a small, squeaky voice saying, ”Help me!” and finds a fly with a human head trapped in a spider’s web. Know what Uncle Vincent does next?
Q: He takes a rock and smashes the squeaky little man-fly abomination before the icky bitsy spider can snack on him — a total mercy killing.
A: Exactly! [Slurrrrrrrrp]
Q: What the hell was that?!
A: That was me sipping my coffee.
Q: Oh. So what does this have to do with Jacob?
A: Well…maybe Jacob was a Dharma scientist who was victimized by his own foolish sci-fi experiments. You know, real ”tampering with the forces of nature” stuff. It could be teleportation. Maybe even time travel. (More on that later.) Anyway, I’m thinking something backfired on poor Doc Jacob, and as a consequence, he’s stuck in his house on the Island, and the one thing he wants more than anything —
Q: — is for someone to come along and kill him, just like Vincent Price in The Fly?
Q: So what you’re suggesting here is that ”Help me” was meant be an allusion to The Fly and serve as a clue nodding to Jacob’s backstory and current agenda?
A: Sure! Works for me! [Slurrrrrrrp]
NEXT PAGE: What’s up with that Dharma Initiative orientation video everyone’s talking about?
Q: Ooooookay. Moving on: Have you seen that new Dharma Initiative orientation video that everyone’s talking about?
A: I did! And if you haven’t, some background: at their Comic-Con fan summit, the producers claimed they had found and edited together strips of film found inside a Hanso Foundation warehouse in Iceland. The footage is comprised of outtakes from a botched attempt to produce an orientation film for a Dharma facility known as ”Station Six, or The Orchid.” You can now find the clip in the Lost section at abc.com.
Q: Is it true that in the Comic-Con version of the film, Dr. Marvin Candle — or ”Dr. Edgar Halowax” as he calls himself this time around — dropped an F-bomb?
A: He did! It was pretty funny. In fact, the uncharacteristic expletive — combined with bits like Candle/Halowax complaining about having to wear makeup (”I’m a scientist!” he conspicuously insists/protests) and fastidiously smoothing the wrinkles his white lab coat — give this strange artifact the feel of being a parody of a Dharma orientation film.
Q: So what’s your analysis?
A: For starters, it would be inaccurate to call this thing an official orientation film. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this film was never finished because the Orchid project was abandoned due to the dangerous, unpredictable environment inside the station. (Could this station be the one that mysteriously ”divested” from the Dharma Initiative, according to the Blast Door Map?)
Q: By ”dangerous” and ”unpredictable,” we presume you’re referring to the part in the Orchid film in which Dr. Halowax freaks out over the mysteriously replicating bunny?
A: Bingo. At one point, we see Dr. Halowax holding a white rabbit with the number 15 inked on its side — and then, suddenly, unexpectedly, another bunny with the number 15 inked on its side appears behind him. Halowax starts to panic. He clutches Number 15 (No. 1) tightly to his chest, desperate to make sure that the twin bunnies don’t share the same space. Then he demands that the cameraman stop filming. The last thing we see is Halowax, now calm, stroking the rabbit and saying, ”As you have no doubt surmised, Station 6, or ‘the Orchid,’ is not a botanical research unit.”
Q: Yeah, that was weird. Got any theories?
A: Many. The Orchid could have been conducting time travel experiments. To wit: Number 15 (No. 2) is actually the Number 15 (No. 1) sent from the future. This would explain why Halowax got so spooked — according to sci-fi convention, lore, it would be catastrophic if someone/something touches his/her/its time traveled doppelganger.
Q: That’s an interesting conjecture when you consider the whole time-travel story with Desmond this past season. Any other ideas?
A: Wellll…maybe the Orchid was all about cloning. Or maybe the Orchid was an access point into alternate realities; I’m taken by the notion that the station could conjure doppelgängers from parallel universes. Or maybe…maybe this is Ben’s mythical ”Box,” the place on the Island where your deepest wish is made manifest; maybe what Number 15 (No. 1) wanted more than anything was a friend.
Q: You know, as you were talking there about all that weird stuff, I couldn’t help recalling your wacky theory about misguided scientists, teleportation, and The Fly.
A: Are my Orchid theories really that bad?
NEXT PAGE: Think about The Prestige
Q: No, not at all! It’s just — well, have you ever seen that movie The Prestige?
A: You mean, Christopher Nolan’s 2006 adaptation of the 1995 award-winning Christopher Priest novel starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as warring magicians?
Q: The very same. In that story, Bale’s character comes up with a magic trick known as ”The Teleporting Man” — basically, it’s a disappearing/reappearing act. Convinced that Bale is using cutting edge technology created by the famed Nikola Tesla, Jackman’s character goes to the scientist and demands that he do for him what he did for Bale. Turns out Tesla never did any work for Bale, but the curious genius accepts Jackman’s assignment anyway, and attempts to manufacture a machine that will literally teleport Jackman from one point to another. However, the best Tesla can do is make a machine that creates duplicates of whoever uses it — clones, if you will, that materialize out of thin air.
A: Fascinating! So are you suggesting that the Orchid functions like Tesla’s cloning/teleportation machine in The Prestige?
Q: Of course not, silly! Cloning/teleportation machines are totally implausible! What we’re suggesting is that Lost is zigging where The Prestige zagged — we’re suggesting that what we’re seeing in the Orchid film is totally bogus, a variation on the old bunny-out-of-the-hat magic trick.
A: Hmmmm. Well, I think we can both agree that the Orchid film re-energizes perhaps the oldest question about the Dharma Initiative: Was it a legitimate inquiry into fields of fringe science, or was it a massive psychology experiment — or was it a blurry blend of both? The Orchid film also embodies my long-held assertion that Lost is an ironic Postmodern text that explores the legacy of Postmodernism itself. In this sense, the Orchid film reminds me of the Nicolas Cage movie Adaptation — inspired by Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief — which also involved doppelgängers, self-conscious irony, and post-modern storytelling devices.
Q: Uhhh…huh? Adaptation was cool, but your essay on Lost and Postmodernism is infamous for being totally boring. C’mon, Doc! Play with us!
A: Fine. Fine! Here’s a thought: my pet theory of the moment is that Station 6: the Orchid doesn’t exist on the Island anymore because it imploded. Yep: I’m suggesting that the Orchid was the precursor to Station 3: the Swan!
Q: How do you figure that?
A: Follow the clues. Halowax is wearing a lab jacket with the Swan logo on the breast pocket. Why? Why wear a Swan coat when he’s making an orientation film for the Orchid? Maybe because the Orchid refers to a specific kind of orchid — namely, the Swan Orchid, known for the ability to mature quickly. Seems to be an appropriate allusion for a place where rabbits can magically breed like…magic rabbits. Moreover, there’s also the undeniable link between ”The Casmir Effect” (see: Orchid film) and ”unique electromagnetic fluctuations” (see: Swan film); did the mysteriously ambiguous ”incident” referenced in the Swan film serve as the catalyst for the station’s new mission and re-naming? And then there’s the fact that the orientation films for both stations were filmed on film, whereas the other orientation ”films” were puddle puddle puddle must send candy bars puddle puddle must return emails puddle puddle must finish Planet of the Apes/Hegel theory puddle puddle puddddddddddddd —
EDITOR’S NOTE: Looks like Doc Jensen’s brain has once again melted into mush. But we’re confident that by the end of August, our resident Lostologist will have pulled himself together to finish off his Orchid ruminations, plus address many other bits of (ahem!) unfinished business. In the meantime, send your theories about the Orchid Film to JeffJensenEW@aol.com or use the handy form below. Until then —