Wednesday, February 3, 2010

LOST LA X, first thoughts


Wow.  Welcome back, LOST.  It has been too long.  Like, seriously way, way, way too long.
Remember way back after the Season 3 finale when I talked about Alternate Universes/Dimensions?  Guess what?  They’re heeeeere!  Today we’ll be looking at Alternate Dimensions and what that means for our LOSTies (primarily focusing on this season of LOST as compared to the film Donnie Darko written and directed by Richard Kelly), and we’ll be looking at Søren Kierkegaard (and connecting him to the Island, what’s going on, and another of my wild and crazy theories from the past), so if you’re ready, let’s do this, and as always…

Sorry, don’t know where that pirate speak came from.

Season 3 Finale Post-
If you’d like to read it, it can be found here

Sure, there’s a lot in there that turned out to be disastrously wrong, like Sawyer being in the casket (my next guess Michael was just as wrong, never saw Locke coming), but I did correctly predict time travel (a season too early), what appears to be alternate dimensions (two seasons too early), the presence of another sinister force (Charles Widmore, ladies and gentlemen), and right on time for the following season, the format of Flash Forwards (now an awesome TV show also on ABC) from the Island instead of Flash Backs.  Things in the post that seemed wrong before, but are going to get a second look, the idea that the connects are incredibly important as to why these people were on that plane, and the effects that will have on them because the plane didn’t crash.  Here’s how I put it in the Season 3 post if you decided not to go back and read the whole thing…
“What might happen if everyone were returned to before the crash?  Well, Charlie would still be addicted to drugs, and nowhere near the fame he thinks he desires.  Of course we know what he really desires, but we also know without the crash he doesn't really have any hope of achieving it.  And I think he was resigned to his death, he definitely didn't go into it blindly.  Which do you think he'd prefer, having died a hero and having known and loved Claire and Aaron, or continuing in his drug addled unfulfilling life as a former rock star?  Eko would still be a fake priest living with that guilt as well as the guilt of having killed his brother.  He came to terms with his past actions due to the Island, but I'm not sure he could have gotten there without it.  Rose would still have cancer.  Sun and Jin would still be in a horrible and unhealthy marriage.  Boone would still be helplessly in love with his step-sister, and she would still be using it to torment him.  I could go on and on, the point is that the experience of the crash has actually improved these people’s lives.  If they were placed back in those lives with no memories of the crash and their experiences there, they are right back into those awful situations.”
That works 100% right now, nearly three years after I wrote it, and that, ladies, gentlemen, and Smoke Monsters, is something that I am pretty proud of.
So, let’s move onto…

Alternate Dimensions-
So, let’s start with the title, since my buddy Justin made the connection before the episode even started.  Obviously, the title is referring to the airport code for the International Airport in Los Angeles, LAX, however, the title has a space in between the LA and the X, as in, this is LA-X, not LA-normal.  The reference that Justin made was to Dimension X from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and I can honestly say that I never thought I would be referencing TMNT in my LOST blog, but what can you do) both the TMNT Adventures Comics and the more well known 1987 cartoon series (both of which I freely admit to being a huge fan of as nine year old me would proudly attest to back in ’87, ten years after the year of my birth and our LOSTies foray into Dharma-ville, not to mention the greatness that is Star Wars.  Okay we’re getting a little off track, let’s get back to it, shall we…).  Dimension X was an alternate universe where some of the TMNT villains hailed from, most notably Krang.  Do I think that the title was making a reference to TMNT?  Not sure, but I definitely believe there are Alternate Dimensions (also referred to at times as Parallel Universes) at play here, so it probably bears mentioning, and I enjoy giving my friends shout-outs when possible and appropriate.
Now, what does the fact that Alternate Universes/Parallel Dimensions are in play mean?
For that, I turn to Richard Kelly and his fantastic film, Donnie Darko.  If you’ve seen it, this will probably make some sense to you, if you haven’t, well, um, good luck.  Let’s just say, I think that viewing this film will help with this season of LOST.
Donnie Darko puts forth the idea, explained better through its fictional book The Philosophy of Time Travel than it ever explicitly is in the film, that when an event that occurs messes up the correct time line, often through the appearance of an artifact that does not belong in the timeline, a Tangent Universe is created.  The Tangent Universe is inherently unstable and will therefore collapse in upon itself, destroying the Primary Universe in the process unless the artifact is returned and the Primary Universe is reestablished.
I know, confusing, but without you seeing the film, I think that that is as clear as I can make it.
According to the film, people are given responsibilities to see that this occurs, in the film’s case that task is given to Donnie Darko (played by Jake Gyllenhaal).  To aid him in this task, those that die at some point in the Tangent Universe, known as Manipulated Dead, are able to at least somewhat understand what is going on and communicate that fact to the one who is able to fix it.  In tonight’s episodes of LOST, we have Juliet and Jacob communicating from beyond the grave, with Juliet explicitly referencing the other dimension.
My theory, based out of Donnie Darko, is that one of the two dimensions is wrong and cannot survive and the LOSTies will have to somehow change it to whatever is broken in the primary universe is fixed so that the tangent universe will cease to exist.  This could mean a lot of things.  Looking at my paragraph from so very long ago, Season 3 to be exact, the LOSTies are for the most part not better off without the Island.  Some of the ones I didn’t mention three years ago, Locke doesn’t have the use of his legs and still has massive daddy issues, Sawyer is completely evil again and has no closure on his issues (not to mention that he hasn’t met Juliet and had the three years of bliss that he had in the seventies), and Kate is once again a fugitive.
If LA (with the Island underwater) is the universe to survive, all of these things will probably have to be fixed, and the interesting thing is, there is hope on a few of them, where we’ve never seen hope before.  Maybe Dr. Jack can actually heal Locke, sans Island.  Hurley is actually happy and lucky, since the Numbers don’t have the Island powering their evil mojo.  Maybe since the Island wasn’t around to siphon off the healing power of the Australia spot that Rose and Bernard went to, Rose was healed there instead of on the Island.  The point is it is possible for the lives of these characters to be fixed off Island, even if it was easier on Island.
These characters have had connections before they ever made it to the Island, and it might just be that the connections that they had and the subsequent gathering of these characters is more important than where that gathering took place.  They were meant to be together and their lives were affected by their getting together, but perhaps that can happen in LA just as it did on the Island.
A couple more things on this, where is Christian’s body (i.e. is it the Artifact using Donnie Darko terminology) and what was up with Desmond on Oceanic 815?  Part of me wonders if he was actually there, or is he Dr. Jack’s subconscious somehow connecting with the past/future he no longer has on the Island (i.e. is Desmond the Manipulated Dead again using Donnie Darko terminology, is Desmond “Frank the Rabbit”)?  Not sure, but at the moment I’m leaning towards the LA dimension being the correct one, and the Island being the one that has to go.  Could totally be off on that, of course.
Anyway, enough of that, there will be plenty more time for Alternate Dimension/Parallel Universe/Tangent Universe talk as the season progresses…

Søren Kierkegaard-
The book being read by the one-armed French man (and former shipmate to Rousseau) in the entrance to the Temple was by Kierkegaard, a Danish Theologian (born May 5, 1813, died November 11, 1855).  One of his arguments (and the one that most pertains to LOST which is why we’re all here) had to do with the idea of whether or not there was any such thing as objective reality.  Kierkegaard, in fact, argued that truth is actually subjective, because while a thing might or might not be objectively provable, it ultimately relies on our understanding of it and our relation to that truth, making truth ultimately subjective and not objective.  Going back for a moment to which of the two realities is the “true” one, Kierkegaard might argue that whichever one the LOSTies choose to react to as true will be the true reality.  Quantum Physics would probably agree, and that, I think, is as important to understanding what is going on as is Donnie Darko.
The other reason that Kierkegaard is so intriguing is that once again there is a harkening to my Author of Their Own Situation Theory.  Now there is really something to go along with that theory.  First, I’ll allow you to catch up on exactly what I mean when I say “Author of Their Own Situation”, it harkens back to a post that I wrote about a year ago, and then added to after last season’s episode Namaste.  Here is the original post for you to read (go ahead, I’ll wait)
and here is the paragraph (with a brief synopsis of the above post if you’re going to be lazy about it) from the post-Namaste post (see what I did there?)
“I remind long time readers of my “Author of Their Own Situation Theory” which I will go over again since we have some new readers as well.  Last season LOST went out of it’s way to have us notice two books, VALIS by Phillip K Dick and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  In each of those books, there is a character that represents the author (in VALIS it is Horselover Fat which with Latin loosely translates as Phillip Dick and in Slaughterhouse Five it is Kilgore Trout which is Vonnegut’s alternate reality version of himself who appears in many of his books).  LOST also claims to take as inspiration the fantastic series by Stephen King, The Dark Tower.  In The Dark Tower series, King is not only the author, but also an important character.  Interestingly enough, CS Lewis also was working on a book called The Dark Tower (although he never finished it) and in it he put himself as a character.  CS Lewis is, of course, an important author in the series as Charlotte Staples Lewis (may she rest in peace) is clearly named after author Clive Staples Lewis.  So, all of these instances of an author playing a critical role in the books and or series that they write makes me believe that a character (and possibly more than one, I’m looking at you Widmore) is the author of our LOSTies situation as well, primarily Benry Gale.”
If the idea that they can decide which reality is to become the true one, than Author of Their Own Situation is more strongly in play than just the idea that one person is authoring the whole of their situation (although both Jacob and The Man In Black that I like to call Esau seem to be doing something of the sort as well).
What does Kierkegaard have to do with this, you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  In much of Kierkegaard’s writings, he uses pseudonyms to make his philosophical and theological arguments.  In other words, in his books, there are fictional characters that are standing in for him, the author.  So, just like Stephen King and C.S. Lewis in their respective Dark Towers, Philip K. Dick in VALIS, and Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five, Kierkegaard places himself in his books.  He makes himself the author of his own situation.
I really like this idea of the LOSTies deciding which reality is the true or primary one.

So, that’s quite a bit for my first thoughts, I look forward to hearing from some of you on your thoughts on where we might be headed as this long and terrific journey begins to come to an end.  You know where to find me.
If you aren’t already, you should join the Facebook Group, LOST? Maybe This Will Help.  You can do so here
Until Next Time, where else are you going to read a blog post that talks about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donnie Darko, and Søren Kierkegaard?  Only with LOST.  See you next week.
Josh Man

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