December 31, 2006

A Theory of LOST

OK, I admit it: I've been completely sucked into the fictional world of the tv show LOST. When the first season was on broadcast TV, I dismissed it as a "Survivor" spin-off. But then we watched the first few episodes on DVD...and then the rest of season 1 and 2, and we were champing at the bit when season 3 finally arrived. Now that season 3 is on hiatus, I've taken to reading "lostpedia" online ( a truly guilty pleasure), which thoroughly documents every last detail of both the TV series and the various related interactive games and publicity stunts (including a fake novel that people say isn't half-bad!) I also read a couple of novels ("Island" by Aldous Huxley and "The Third Policeman" by Flann O'Brien) that are tied to the show. Anyhow, it seems that every serious fan eventually develops a theory of WTF is happening in the LOST universe. I've just started to form an idea: I call it "Spooks and Brats"... First of all, it's pretty clear by now that the Others aren't just regular folks hanging out on a tropical island. To me they resemble the motley crew of spooks in the "The Prisoner": they're smart, they're well trained, they live in a world of confusing, ever-changing loyalties and power hierarchies. Is Ben in charge or is "Jacob" in charge? Who is Number 1? Second, it's clear that on the Island there really is no distinction between Reality, Dreams, and Hallucinations. Someone or something is able to cause the main characters to have premonitory dreams and visions, able to pull private details of their pasts out of their memories and project them into Reality (e.g. Kate's Horse, Yemi's plane, Dave), able to make people appear on the Island who are dead (Jack's father Christian, Yemi). These are all manifestations of parapsychology, one of the stated research areas of the Dharma Initiative. So let's say the Dharma Initiative was successful at training people to exercise parapsychological powers, and perhaps figured out some way to use electromagnetic energy to amplify those powers. This would probably pique the interest of the spook world, who would probably try to infiltrate the Dharma Initiative and monitor the goings-on. Thus we get people like Kelvin Inman showing up on the Island. There are at least two "special' kids on the Island, both of whom seem to have some kind of parapsychological powers: Walt and Aaron. But they're probably not the only ones. My guess is that somewhere on the north part of the island, there's a bunker full of psychic kids wired up to machines that allow them to manipulate reality. The reason the Others are so insistent on keeping the main characters away from the north part of the island isn't because they're worried that their idyllic suburban Otherville will be sullied-- it's because they have a secret to protect. The Others monitor and maintain the Brat Bunker. The Others themselves are spooks who were sent to the Island by various organizations and have conflicting interests and secret missions. Thus the occasional scheme (i.e. Juliet vs. Ben) for regime change. As I said, the idea for the theory is still forming, but I think the key to understanding the LOSTiverse is Walt. From his backstory, it's clear he already had some kind of psychic powers before coming to the island. On the island, he demonstrated the most clear-cut parapshychological manifestations (e.g. appearing to Shannon twice, telling Locke "Don't open it" before Walt knew about the Hatch). He was also of great interest to the Others, who evidently performed tests on him and "got more than (they) bargained for". Of course, this entire theory will probably be shot down as soon as the hiatus is over and it's revealed that...the Island is actually Vincent having a doggie nightmare. Woof!
Posted by todd at 08:57 AM