As my last three Lost posts have all begun with discussion of the Find 815 online game, so shall the fourth. It’d be hard not to, what with tonight’s episode giving us a direct link to it in the opening scene. We start with an underwater ROV happening upon the wreckage of “Flight 815.” I utilize the quotes because you and I both know that ain’t Flight 815. More on that later, but aforementioned ROV was piloted by none other than Sam Thomas, the star of the Find 815, the game that culminated with the discovery of the “Flight 815” wreckage by the salvage vessel Sam hitched a ride on, the Christiane I. Tonight’s footage had a bit more of a budget than Find 815’s.
It’s a nice little pay-off to those who’ve followed the game online thus far. Of far greater interest is the very fact that we know it’s not the real Flight 815. That begs the question, who would fake the crash site and why? Why would the conspirators feel the need to convince the world all souls on 815 were lost? What’s their ultimate objective? (Was that too heavy-handed?) It might be too early to determine that (clearly), but some safe speculation at this point is that those very same conspirators (represented in this episode by one Mr. Matthew Abbadon) assembled a rag-tag team of seemingly random individuals to search out and make landfall on the island, led by Naomi, the only one that seems to have any real survival combat training. That team’s objective, at least according to the team itself, is to find Benjamin Linus, our friendly Other commander-in-chief. The individual members of the team may have disparate objectives of their own, however, as I can’t quite figure the reasons a dilapidated pilot, a huckster-nee-ghost whisperer, an anthropologist, and a physicist would want to find someone who dropped off the face of the earth before he hit puberty years ago.
Then again, if that picture is any indication, Ben’s made a few trips to the mainland since his school days. Circa early 1980’s, based on his stylish threads. He may have pissed off a few too many people during his “vacation” back home. As Ben has maintained, though, he’s one of the good guys, and as evil as his actions have appeared, it’s always been hinted that his real objective is to protect the island and the people loyal to that cause. Anyone who’d seek to stop that would be subject to his often-deadly machinations. Come to think of it, why was the helicopter stocked with gas masks? Were they told about Ben’s betrayal of Dharma in The Purge? Does the four-man team think they’re working for the Dharma Initiative? (I love giving answers in the form of a question.)
So, if we wanna summarize what one might look for in the coming episodes is a clearer picture of just who our conspirators are, whether it’s the Maxwell Group (from the Find 815 game), Paik Heavy Industry (Sun’s dad), the Widmore Foundation (Penny’s dad), the Hanso Foundation (Alvar Hanso died in the first online Lost game), or some other multinational conglomerate bent on exploiting the island’s paranormal qualities–and just what they have to gain by finding the island. I’m sure there’s a power-hungry billionaire behind it all. And, of course, we’re all still pondering the final, all-encompassing explanation of just what (and where) the island is.
Before I get to the bullets, let’s take a look at our four seemingly-unrelated newcomers that make up the Naomi-led team contracted by the menacing Mr. Abbadon:
Daniel Faraday – Physicist
We’re introduced to Daniel at home in Essex, Massachusetts watching news footage of “Flight 815’s” discovery in the Sunda Trench, and his rather extreme emotional display when seeing the shots of the plane on the ocean floor. When asked why he’s so upset, he says he “doesn’t know.” He also claims not to have known anyone on the flight. Is his reaction somehow a manifestation of the island’s powers? Is he being called to the island? It’s no coincidence electromagnetism had its place there until Swan Station imploded back in season 2. In fact, Swan Station itself may have been a sort of Faraday cage, protecting the rest of the island from whatever electromagnetic anomaly lay within its concrete walls.
Faraday’s namesake and occupation is an obvious ode to the inventor of that cage, Michael Faraday, the “English chemist and physicist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. [Faraday] established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena.” What better place for Daniel to be than an island where its inherent electromagnetism results in sunlight that “doesn’t scatter quite right,” in his words.
Miles Straume – Ghost Whisperer
We meet Miles in Inglewood, CA as he agrees to rid “Mrs. Gardner’s” house of her murdered grandson’s ghost. As he unpacks his ghost detector/vacuum cleaner, it’s clear he’s a huckster exploiting the grandmother’s grief, right up until he appears to actually commune with that dead grandson and force it to show him where he stashed the drug money (and drugs) that likely got him killed. More than meets the eye, that Miles.
So, after he engages in a similar communal with Naomi’s departed soul once he’s on the island, it’s then time to question why he was sent there. To find out how many other ghosts are flitting about the jungle? He won’t have to look far, with Jack’s dad, Eko’s brother, Ben’s mother, and who knows what else inhabiting the place. His unique talents are well-suited to this island, just as Faraday’s expertise fits another facet of this strange place. (As far as Miles’ last name, Straume, all I come up with is the city of the same name in Norway. Didn’t the Hanso Foundation call someplace in Norway its headquarters?)
Charlotte Lewis – Anthropologist
The “Tunisian newspaper” clue from the Find 815 online game now makes sense, as we’re introduced to Ms. Lewis in Medenine, Tunisia, the site of German general Erwin Rommel’s counter-attack against the British, and an important trading center in pre-colonial times. (I threw that stuff in to augment the educational quotient of my weekly posts. You’re welcome.) She successfully bribes her way into an archaeological dig that’s in the process of excavating an ursa maritimus, better known as–wouldn’t you know it?–a polar bear. Not too many polar bears in the middle of the desert, are there? And probably even fewer that are buried with a collar bearing the logo of a Dharma zoological research station on a tropical island thousands of miles away (or is it?). The collar has a Hydra Station insignia, the station Sawyer and Kate were kept locked up in at the beginning of season three.
How in the world did the bear get there? This may speak to the true nature of the island and its paranormal properties. I haven’t done enough research yet to offer a fully-fleshed out theory on what this all means, so gimme a few weeks, but a newish theory about a “hollow earth” has been popular lately. The pertinent point of the theory is that the island is at the center of the earth and is accessible from all different, but hard-to-find, directions. Like I said, I haven’t done enough research on this yet, so give me some time to expound on that more in the coming weeks. As far as Charlotte, she seemed awful happy to touch down on the island, didn’t she? I wonder what she’s been told about the place–something that’s got her anthropological senses tingling?
Frank Lapidus – Pilot
Frank looks the part of a beach bum, and offers his services in Eleuthera, Bahamas as a airborne tour guide-of-sorts. Like Faraday, he too reacts strongly to the news of “Flight 815’s” discovery, going so far as to call the Oceanic Hotline at 888-548-0034 (yes, the # does work; feel free to call) with some new information. That information is that A) the Captain Seth Norris who piloted Flight 815 (and took a mortal beating at the hands of Ole’ Smokey in the series premiere) is not the corpse pictured in the news footage because Norris would never have been caught without wearing his wedding ring; and B) Lapidus was supposed to be the original pilot of Flight 815.
We don’t know the particulars of B, mainly why he didn’t end up on the plane, but his recognition and relaying of Norris’ misidentification in the footage to the less-than-warm Oceanic supervisor may be one of the reasons he was sent to the island. Obviously, his skills as a pilot are needed to get the chopper from the freighter to the island, but I’m thinking he was sent to the island to shut him up. The conspirators will stop at nothing to keep word of 815’s true fate from getting out. (Click here for some ultra-insightful analysis of Frank’s odd last name.)
So what are these four there for? An advance team to determine the island’s viability for exploitation, without them knowing it? None of them seem the “bad guy” type, so it’s likely they’re on the island under false pretenses, pawns of the ethereal “conspiracy.” Based on their apparel (most notably Faraday in a shirt and tie, and Lapidus in his Hawaiian shirt), they looked to have been abruptly pulled from whatever they were in the middle of back on the mainland and sent on their mission straightaway. And despite what Abbadon tells Naomi of her function on the team (to make sure no one gets killed), his conviction that “there are no survivors [of 815]” on the island makes his honesty questionable at best.
That last paragraph qualifies this post under for the “epic in length” category, so quickly I try to get through the Quick Hits.
- The guy on the other end of the sat phone, talking to Jack and Kate, is George Minkowski. Hermann Minkowski was a German physicist, who expounded upon Einstein’s theory of relativity to come up with “Minkowski space.” Minkowski’s concept of spacetime adds a “timelike” dimension to normal, three-dimensional space. Applied to our favorite TV show, it makes the prospect of an abnormal timeline a bit more plausible, as we all understand we can travel in different directions in 3-dimensional space (stay with me). If time is factored in as a similar dimension that can be traveled upon, it can play into our theories on how time operates on the island (there have been various allusions within the show and by the writers that time on the island doesn’t operate quite like it does on the mainland). More on this in the weeks and seasons to come, I’m sure.
- We hear the name of another of the freighter’s crew over the sat-phone: Regina.
- Sawyer’s back to his nicknaming ways, with “Colonel Kurtz” (Locke) and “Yoda” (Ben). I also liked “Taller Ghost Walt.”
Other Stuff from Other Sites
- I may have been a little too quick on the trigger in thinking the eye we saw in Jacob’s shack last week to be, well, Jacob’s. Compared side-by-side with Johnny-boy, it sure looks an awful lot like Locke, and that would help in explaining why Locke suddenly happened upon Hurley after he found the shack in that clearing.
So what is Locke doing in Jacob’s shack, meeting with the ghost of Christian Shepherd? [Various]
- Aside from the fantastic mustache actor Greg Grunberg wore for his comeback as Captain Seth Norris, the following picture is also notable for the object the fake Norris is holding in its hand. Is that a pocketwatch? Do we know anyone that’s worn a pocketwatch on the show? (I’m not being cute; I’m asking, really, do we know?) [Sledgeweb]
- Who is Ben’s “man on the boat?” Someone on a message board guessed Michael, and I immediately liked the sound of that. We still don’t know what coordinates Ben gave Michael before sending him off at the end of season two. If Ben somehow knew that freighter was on its way to the island, he could’ve sent Michael to intercept it. Michael might’ve thought he and Walt were being rescued when they stumbled upon the freighter, before realizing it was headed right back to the place he’d been so desperate to leave with his son. Who knows?; maybe he’s the reason the freighter was able to find the island in the first place. [credit to Blue Note on RM]
Despite the plot being pretty straightforward in the first two episodes, I’ve managed to write a crapload of stuff on it, a credit to the show keeping me captivated week after week after week. It feels very much like early season one, as if we’re discovering stuff for the first time. Until next week, folks.