Friday, February 29, 2008


Lost 4.05: The Constant
I LOOOOOOOVED this episode. Loved it. At every commercial break, I felt like Daniel Faraday, rushing online to look up names, try to put things together, checking old notes on Hawking, going, "Okay... no, I got it... okay if I just go here... oh, I love it... um..."
Last week's episode was more about old-fashioned storytelling and big gasp moments, but this week's was doing what Lost does best.
And it doesn't hurt that it's about Desmond. SWOON...

Let's discuss. I have a feeling Matthew, Brian, and my other resident physics experts will have a LOT to say. :)


Want to understand what’s going on in this week’s episode of Lost? Should have paid more attention in Physics class.

Previously on Lost...
To really get into the mood for this week’s episode, you must think back to the season 3 episode, “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” In this episode, we see what happened to Desmond when he woke up after the hatch imploded/exploded. He goes back to the time where he was about to ask Penny to marry him, and thinks he’s been given a second chance with her, that the island never happened, and now he can be with her. He runs into a strange woman when buying the ring, named Mrs. Hawking, who tells him that he must let fate run its course, and if he tries to change the past or the future, there will be a “course correction” that will happen to change things back. That episode led many fans (including myself) to read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, a book on Ben’s nightstand and a favorite of one of the Others, where Hawking discusses black holes and time travel. I’d recommend it to anyone trying to understand that episode, or the this one. (I wrote a brief summary of the book in Finding Lost — Season Three: The Unofficial Guide, pp 67-72.) I won’t pretend to know a lot about time travel and parallel universes and wormholes, but some of the readers on my blog know a lot about it, and we’ve spent the last week chatting about various possibilities. I was thrilled to see some of them seem to come true this week.

Episode Recap:
Mindblowing episode. This is the reason the hardcore fans love Lost. When Sayid, Frank, and Desmond are flying to the boat in the helicopter, Desmond suddenly finds himself in the Army in 1996. Just as he begins convincing himself the helicopter ride was a nightmare, his consciousness moves back to himself in 2004 . . . but that self no longer has any memory of anything that’s happened after 1996. Throughout the episode, Desmond tries to reconcile his two worlds and find a way to make his time travel stop, and his answer lies in finding a constant, something that is part of both worlds and means a lot to him: Penny.

Highlights:
• Faraday in 1996 . . . he’s almost as unhinged as he is now.
• Daniel putting on a radiation vest and Desmond saying, “So what do you put on your head?” (That suddenly explains a lot.)
• Daniel saying, “I’d be careful crossing the street if I were you!”
• The phone call at the end, and Desmond finally making contact. I was so scared that he was going to suddenly die, I was holding my breath.

Biggest “GASP!” Moments:
• Dan saying that their perception of time on the island is not necessarily the same as to those on the helicopter.
• Desmond not recognizing Sayid.
• Daniel telling Desmond to go and find him in 1996!
• The Black Rock journal.
• Penny and Desmond FINALLY making contact!
• Daniel’s mysterious journal entry. I guess now he and Desmond need to be reunited.

Hurley’s Numbers:
Desmond is travelling 8 hears back in time. Dan’s machine has to be set at 2.342. The Black Rock painting is auction lot 2342; the bidding opens at £150,000. Penny’s new address is 423 Cheyne Walk. The numbers in Penny’s phone number add up to 46, which is 23 x 2.

Did You Notice?:
• Frank’s “cheat sheet” says he has to go North bearing 305. Michael was told by Ben that he had to bear 325. I’m still convinced that he’s going to be Ben’s man on the boat.
• Sayid leans forward to chat with Desmond about what Charlie said (that it wasn’t Penny’s boat) and he’s talking to him as if Frank can’t hear, but Frank is also wearing the headphones, and can hear everything they’re saying.
• There seemed to be an inconsistency with what happens to Desmond when he moves from one time to another. In the army sequence, he’s standing and saying he’s not supposed to be here when his consciousness moves back. When he returns to his consciousness in the stairwell and the auction house bathroom, he’s unconscious on the floor.
• Daniel in 1996 says he’s going to “unstick” Eloise in time. That’s a reference to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, where the protagonist is “unstuck in time,” bouncing around to various moments in his life.
• At this year’s Comic-Con, Damon and Carlton showed another of the hatch orientation videos for the Orchid Station, and in the video Marvin Candle (going by yet another alias) is holding a rabbit with a 15 painted on it. Partway through filming something shoots by him, and he looks up to see the same rabbit sitting on a shelf above him. He cries, “Don’t let them see each other” and runs to the side of the room, as if it’s the same rabbit, one in the present and one time-travelling from another era. In this episode, it appears only Desmond’s consciousness is time travelling, but the rabbit was doing it physically.
• The painting at the auction is of the Black Rock. We already knew it was a slave ship, and that the Hansos had something to do with it (in the online ARG, The Lost Experience, it’s established that Magnus Hanso owned the ship; in the screen cap of the season 2 blast door map, we can see a spot pinpointed where Magnus Hanso is buried on the island). Now we know it had left Portsmouth, England, for Siam, and was lost at sea.
• As Widmore leaves the room with Desmond, you can hear the auctioneer say the next lot is a collection of Charles Dickens books, which is interesting since Desmond has read every book except one, which he’s saving for when he’s about to die. Also, Portsmouth, England (where the Black Rock departed from) is Dickens’ birthplace.
• On the calendar where you see the days marked off with X’s, there are no X’s over the dates October 20, 21, 22, or 23. The Boston Red Sox won the American League Championship Series on October 20, and went on from there to win the World Series. Could that have caused some seismic reaction in the world that made four days go missing on the calendar?
• Penny’s address and phone number were clues in the Find 815 online alternate reality game.
• At the end of the episode, after his consciousness moves back to 2004 and he’s talking to Penny on the phone, we see him in 1996 walking away from her apartment, rather than going comatose, which would suggest the zipping back and forth has come to an end because he’s found his constant. However, there’s a smile on his face, as if he actually has a “memory” of what is happening in the future.


So Many Questions...
• Does this mean Desmond’s starting fresh and won’t have any memory of his time in the hatch or any of the people on the island?
• Why is Desmond’s consciousness in 1996? In other words, why, by moving between the two time periods, does he have no memory of the future? In Hawking’s book, he says there are three arrows of time, and the psychological arrow is the direction in which we remember the past, but not the future. It’s in conjunction with the other two arrows, thermodynamic (entropy increases with time) and cosmological (the direction in which the universe is expanding, not contracting). If one arrow turns, it can turn others. I wondered in my book if, because Desmond had tried to go back in time to change his life, thus decreasing the entropy and turning his thermodynamic arrow, could he have turned his psychological one and that’s why he can remember snippets of the future? But in this case, things seem to have turned back, and now he can no longer remember that future. Interesting that in “Flashes Before Your Eyes” he could remember his time on the island when he went back in time, but this time around he can’t. Could it have something to do with the electromagnetic surge he was feeling during the implosion/explosion?
• What is in the sky that caused him to suddenly jump time, and why does Desmond’s exposure to the electromagnetic surge make him prone to it? Is there a wormhole surrounding the island, as I’ve suggested before, or one section of the bubble surrounding the island that is a wormhole, and the helicopter slipped through it?
• Why doesn’t Frank know why Desmond is freaking out? Charlotte and Dan both know about it, and on the boat everyone seems aware of it.
• George Minkowski tells Desmond that he was getting calls from Penny on his console and he was under strict instructions not to answer it. Why?
• George says to Desmond at one point, “You look a lot older now, huh?” Could this be the explanation for Walt? Maybe the Others exposed Walt to some radiation on the island, and then when he and Michael tried to leave on the boat, he began having the same experiences that Desmond is having. But . . . does that explain why he looks older to us? Hmm....
• Who opened the door to the sick bay. Could it have been . . . Michael?!
• How did Desmond know Mr. Widmore would be at the auction house? Why did he give Penny’s address to Desmond? He despises him.
• If it’s December 24 on the boat, does that make it December 25 on the island? The current timeline suggested the previous episodes were happening on Christmas Eve, so that would make it Christmas on the island. The episode moment I want to see: Jack drawing Locke’s name in the Island Secret Santa.
• So... if Desmond met Daniel in 1996, wouldn’t 2004 Daniel have a memory of it? Or could that be explained away by Daniel’s apparent memory problems? In last week’s episode, it appeared that Charlotte had shown Daniel three cards, turned them over, and then he could only remember two of them. Is he suffering from memory loss?

Next week: The action returns to the island, and Charlotte and Daniel appear to be risking their lives to reconfigure a computer. They also appear to be in the Orchid Station.

111 comments:

Brian Douglas said...

Did You Notice?:
• Frank’s “cheat sheet” says he has to go North bearing 305. Michael was told by Ben that he had to bear 325. I’m still convinced that he’s going to be Ben’s man on the boat.

I noticed that too. That could be explained by leaving from different points on the island. Both trajectories could take them to the same point, through the same hole. Either that, or perhaps Ben was directing Michael towards a different hole, perhaps one with less (or more, which would explain Walt) of a time shift

• At this year’s Comic-Con, Damon and Carlton showed another of the hatch orientation videos for the Orchid Station, and in the video Marvin Candle (going by yet another alias) is holding a rabbit with a 15 painted on it. Partway through filming something shoots by him, and he looks up to see the same rabbit sitting on a shelf above him. He cries, “Don’t let them see each other” and runs to the side of the room, as if it’s the same rabbit, one in the present and one time-travelling from another era. In this episode, it appears only Desmond’s consciousness is time travelling, but the rabbit was doing it physically.

I think he rabbit might be a quantum duplicate from teleportation experiments. I don't know why they wouldn't be able to touch though, or why the original wasn't destroyed like they are in actual teleportation experiments (yes, we DO have teleportation technology, though because of technological limitations, i.e. not enough power, we're only up to atoms; we are expected to be teleporting DNA-strands and viruses in the near future though, but I digress). Anyway, this is sci-fi, and not science fact, so the writers may not follow the laws of science exactly.

Also, I think the quantum duplicate theory also explains the Oceanic 815 wreck found in the Indian Ocean. Either they were quantum duplicates, or those on the island are.

• On the calendar where you see the days marked off with X’s, there are no X’s over the dates October 20, 21, 22, or 23. The Boston Red Sox won the American League Championship Series on October 20, and went on from there to win the World Series. Could that have caused some seismic reaction in the world that made four days go missing on the calendar?

I didn't notice that! I'll point out that Frank was aware of the Socks winning the series though.

• At the end of the episode, after his consciousness moves back to 2004 and he’s talking to Penny on the phone, we see him in 1996 walking away from her apartment, rather than going comatose, which would suggest the zipping back and forth has come to an end because he’s found his constant. However, there’s a smile on his face, as if he actually has a “memory” of what is happening in the future.

In "Flashes...," Demond's 2004 consciousness travelled back in time. In "The Constant," his 1996 consciousness travelled forward in time.

Also, I want to point out that in "Flashes..." he encountered Charlie in the past. Was Charlie his constant then?

• Does this mean Desmond’s starting fresh and won’t have any memory of his time in the hatch or any of the people on the island?

I'm very interested to know just how much 1996 Desmond remembers of the future: did he know what would happen during the boat race? Giving the happy ending with Penny, did he think that by going on the boat race he would end up with her?

• Why is Desmond’s consciousness in 1996? In other words, why, by moving between the two time periods, does he have no memory of the future? In Hawking’s book, he says there are three arrows of time, and the psychological arrow is the direction in which we remember the past, but not the future. It’s in conjunction with the other two arrows, thermodynamic (entropy increases with time) and cosmological (the direction in which the universe is expanding, not contracting). If one arrow turns, it can turn others. I wondered in my book if, because Desmond had tried to go back in time to change his life, thus decreasing the entropy and turning his thermodynamic arrow, could he have turned his psychological one and that’s why he can remember snippets of the future? But in this case, things seem to have turned back, and now he can no longer remember that future. Interesting that in “Flashes Before Your Eyes” he could remember his time on the island when he went back in time, but this time around he can’t. Could it have something to do with the electromagnetic surge he was feeling during the implosion/explosion?

Sorry, Nikki, but I think you're a little confused here. Entropy applies to chemical or physical reactions. Desmond did not reverse the thermodynamic arrow. If he did, we'd see things like gas spontaneously going into a bottle, the sea splitting into pure water and salt, and stuff like that.

• What is in the sky that caused him to suddenly jump time, and why does Desmond’s exposure to the electromagnetic surge make him prone to it? Is there a wormhole surrounding the island, as I’ve suggested before, or one section of the bubble surrounding the island that is a wormhole, and the helicopter slipped through it?

I think they travelled through a wormhole to get to the freighter. Notice Sayid remark that they left at twilight, and arrived midday on the boat. I actually think there is a shell of warped space-time around the island, and the bearing leads to an area they can travel through with relative safety. The wormhole theory doesn't explain why Desmond was traveling around in circles, or why they need to pass through a specific point to reach the outside world...well, maybe if there were many wormholes around the island, and the headings lead to the "safest" ones leading to the outside world.

• Why doesn’t Frank know why Desmond is freaking out? Charlotte and Dan both know about it, and on the boat everyone seems aware of it.

Well, Frank has said the physics stuff was way-way over his head. It might have also caught him by surprise as he thought they were safe given the heading Farady gave him. Also, I'm not sure just how much Charlotte knows about the flashes. She knows about the time shift, but they never exstablished she knew more then that. Daniel, however, would know more because of his experiments.

• George says to Desmond at one point, “You look a lot older now, huh?” Could this be the explanation for Walt? Maybe the Others exposed Walt to some radiation on the island, and then when he and Michael tried to leave on the boat, he began having the same experiences that Desmond is having. But . . . does that explain why he looks older to us? Hmm....

Um, I think that was just a remark that he, in 2004, looks older than his 1996 consciousness would remember.

• Who opened the door to the sick bay. Could it have been . . . Michael?!

Maybe. At first I thought it was Frank, but I realized they would have just shown it if it had been him as he was already being helpful to Sayid and Desmond with the sat-phone. Other possible candidates would be Regina (who was conspiculously missing) or Ben's spy (if it isn't Regina or Michael).

On a related note, could Minkowski be Ben's spy? He could have been lying about who sabataged the comm-room and why he took the boat. Could he have been running a message to Ben? Also, if he was time-flashing like Desmond, he might not remember that HE was the one who sabataged it, although he did seem to know of other things in the present, so probably not.

• How did Desmond know Mr. Widmore would be at the auction house? Why did he give Penny’s address to Desmond? He despises him.

I don't think Mr. Widmore despises Desmond, as he said in this episode. He doesn't think he is good enough for Penny, and he's a bit of a jerk by nature. I figure there are 4 reasons why he was helping Desmond:
1) He wasn't helping Desmond, and thought confronting Penny would only bring him more pain.
2) He realised how much Desmond meant to his daughter, and had a change of heart (yeah right, not on this show!)
3) He thought it would bring Desmond closure, and he would then move on and leave Penny alone.
4) He was manipulating Desmond like Ms. Hawking and the priest.

• If it’s December 24 on the boat, does that make it December 25 on the island? The current timeline suggested the previous episodes were happening on Christmas Eve, so that would make it Christmas on the island. The episode moment I want to see: Jack drawing Locke’s name in the Island Secret Santa.

Again, I don't think time is different on the island. The helicopter was shifted a day into the future by the shell around the island.

• So... if Desmond met Daniel in 1996, wouldn’t 2004 Daniel have a memory of it? Or could that be explained away by Daniel’s apparent memory problems? In last week’s episode, it appeared that Charlotte had shown Daniel three cards, turned them over, and then he could only remember two of them. Is he suffering from memory loss?

Daniel is definately suffering from memory loss as a result of his time travel experiments.

Roland said...

Very awesome mind bending episode!

Favorite moments:
- Penny and Desmond reunion on the phone…awww…extremely romantic and tragic, but not in a corny way
- The way they integrated the Black Rock and Penny’s phone number from Lost 815
- I’ve always loved the debate of free will vs destiny, and they brought this up in spades again in this episode a la Flashes Before Your Eyes

Questions:
- What happened between 1996 and 2004 to make Penny turn from Ms. Nasty to Ms. I Love You Desmond and Will Go To The Ends of the Earth to Find You?
- Is this time travelling the reason for Danielle’s crews “sickness” brought up a long time ago and the reason they had to be killed?
- Did Desmond of 1996 remember any of the 815 crew? If so, couldn’t he have warned them not to get onto that fateful plane in 2004? (they would have thought he was cuckoo though!)
- If Penny didn’t know about Not Penny’s Boat from Looking Glass, then why was she calling Her Not Boat?
- If there is a time delay between the island and the freighter, how come this isn’t true for the phone call between Desmond and Faraday?
- Where else has Faraday time travelled to? Obviously he had the need to find a Constant in Desmond, and to write it down, so he knew that he might have memory problems in the future

Loved your article Nikki!
One thing I noticed about the cheat sheet of Lapidus North bearing 305. I KNEW I saw that number from somewhere before. So I went back and it was on Eko’s stick! “Lift up your eyes and look north John 3:05” from “I Do”!
You will always be our Constant Nikki, keep up the great work!

bev said...

I am not really into all the physics. Way over my head also. All I know is this is the first Lost episode that brought tears to my eyes at the end.

fb said...

argh. i didn't like this episode at all. i found it really boring and confusing and disappointing. i'm not exactly sure why, which is even more frustrating!

all the hype and build-up to have fisher stevens on the show ... and all he gets are two lousy scenes and then he dies? that's the mysterious minkowski? meh. i was expecting more from his character, like he'd be a proper baddie or something. that felt very anti-climactic.

i feel sort of silly saying this, but could someone please point out the big significance of the reveal at the very end, with farraday saying that desmond would be his constant if anything went wrong? eh? why is that so shocking? is it because now we're to understand that farraday can time travel, too? wasn't that already pretty much established? i didn't get why that was so important that it was the very last shot ... i must be missing something.

i was frustrated that FINALLY, after 3 years in our time and 3 months in island time, two losties FINALLY got off the island onto a boat ... and spent the entire time either locked up in the sick bay, or calling penelope in the communications room. i was expecting more interrogation and interaction with the rest of the crew, or more conflict, or something. instead of introducing us to someone like regina, whom we already know, or bringing in michael (if he is actually on the boat) they introduced yet two more (albeit minor) characters.

i had a horrible jump-the-shark moment when farraday was showing desmond eloise in the maze. i thought for a horrible second, she was actually going to physically disappear (into the future) and reappear when she came back. and that, to me, would have been totally cheesy and snapped the limits of suspended disbelief i'm willing to endure for this show! thankfully, they didn't go that route, and only her mind went back and forth whilst her physical body stayed put.

as a minor, shallow aside, the actress who plays penelope widmore needs to work on her facial expressions. when she was on the phone to desmond and crying, to me, it looked like she was laughing!

overall, this episode didn't resonate with me as strongly as the other ones this season have. i did like the transitions between 2004!desmond and 1996!desmond, however -- like the way he'd hang up the sat phone in the present and it would cut to him hanging up the pay phone in the past. that was pretty cool. nice directing and editing.

Kristin said...

Okay, not only did Desmond's 1996 conscience move forward in time, but his 2004 conscience moved backward. Otherwise, he would not have been confused about who or where he was, right? Which means, when we see Desmond smiling at the end, he knows his 1996 self is back where it is supposed to be...?

One other explanation for Dan not recognizing Desmond right away...he looks decidedly different than his 1996 self...long hair, beard. And mind you, Dan only saw him that ONE day in 1996. Would you really remember someone that well after 8 years whom you only met once?

I think Dan's had time travel jumps as well, and is not seriously confused. Not until he hears from Desmond that he is having 'trouble' does he realize this is the right Desmond. The one from his past. And paging through the notebook only solidifies that. I'm hoping that means now that Dan is 'cured' and his mind will come back to him. But since it was the end of the episode, we have no idea...[

This was SUCH a good one! One of the best. The Desmond/Penny episodes are always excellent. And it was a love story told in 60 minutes across two different times. SO well done. I loved every minute of it!

fiveagainst said...

Great episode!


"I noticed that too. That could be explained by leaving from different points on the island. Both trajectories could take them to the same point, through the same hole. Either that, or perhaps Ben was directing Michael towards a different hole, perhaps one with less (or more, which would explain Walt) of a time shift"

What if Ben, our master manipulator, sent Michael in a direction that would propel him and Walt into the past? This would keep Michael useful to Ben, which supports the 'Michael-on-freighter' theory.

As for the dates on the calandar...what if the Freighter people are marking off the dates that they are aware of? What if they are using their boat to probe the area around the island, and some of these attempts have caused them to lose time?

I don't think I'm on board with the wormhole theory (mostly because I don't quite understand it). I think it is an area of warped space time as well...is that what a worm hole is?

I picture a deep crater of Space-Time...perhaps caused by the magnetic anomoly. A meteor that hits the Earth, creates an indented crater, which is surrounded by a circular ridge line. I think sometime similar surrounds the island. The bearing that Frank flew out on last night probably leads to a valley in this space-time ridge, which only causes a day to pass, rather than more (or less?) time.

Brian Douglas said...

Roland said...
- Is this time travelling the reason for Danielle’s crews “sickness” brought up a long time ago and the reason they had to be killed?

Good question!

- Did Desmond of 1996 remember any of the 815 crew? If so, couldn’t he have warned them not to get onto that fateful plane in 2004? (they would have thought he was cuckoo though!)

He would only have remembered Sayid as he didn't encounter any of the others.

- If Penny didn’t know about Not Penny’s Boat from Looking Glass, then why was she calling Her Not Boat?

Because she found out about it from Charlie, and then started calling it.

- If there is a time delay between the island and the freighter, how come this isn’t true for the phone call between Desmond and Faraday?

Because have I have repeatedly said, there isn't a time delay betweent he island and the freighter. It's only when you travel through the shell around the island that you get a time delay. Now why it doesn't affect phone calls, I'm guessing because the signals are massless, whereas the helicopter and payload both had mass.

- Where else has Faraday time travelled to? Obviously he had the need to find a Constant in Desmond, and to write it down, so he knew that he might have memory problems in the future

Could that be why he was sad when they found 815?

Brian Douglas said...

fb said...

- i feel sort of silly saying this, but could someone please point out the big significance of the reveal at the very end, with farraday saying that desmond would be his constant if anything went wrong? eh? why is that so shocking? is it because now we're to understand that farraday can time travel, too? wasn't that already pretty much established? i didn't get why that was so important that it was the very last shot ... i must be missing something.

Because he and Charlotte are going to do some time travel experiments next episode.

- i had a horrible jump-the-shark moment when farraday was showing desmond eloise in the maze. i thought for a horrible second, she was actually going to physically disappear (into the future) and reappear when she came back. and that, to me, would have been totally cheesy and snapped the limits of suspended disbelief i'm willing to endure for this show! thankfully, they didn't go that route, and only her mind went back and forth whilst her physical body stayed put.

No, the established that she time shifted BEFORE she ran the maze (Dan said "she's not back yet" to Desmond). However, I have a feeling we'll be seeing physical time travel in the near future...perhaps even next week!

Brian Douglas said...

Kristin said...
-Okay, not only did Desmond's 1996 conscience move forward in time, but his 2004 conscience moved backward.

No, only his 1996 conscience travelled in this episode.

-Otherwise, he would not have been confused about who or where he was, right?

He was confused because he first flashed to the helicopter.

- Which means, when we see Desmond smiling at the end, he knows his 1996 self is back where it is supposed to be...?

I think his mind got sorted out again at the end.

Brian Douglas said...

fiveagainst said...
- What if Ben, our master manipulator, sent Michael in a direction that would propel him and Walt into the past? This would keep Michael useful to Ben, which supports the 'Michael-on-freighter' theory.

That crafty bastard!

-I don't think I'm on board with the wormhole theory (mostly because I don't quite understand it). I think it is an area of warped space time as well...is that what a worm hole is?

A wormhole is a more specific instance of warped space-time. It's basically a tunnel where you enter at one point in space-time, and exit at another.

Paul said...

Hi Nikki,

I just discovered your blog and it's really a great read. One thing you mentioned is that there were certain days in October that were not marked out on the calendar, which I noticed as well. After the episode screenshots were up on Dac Arzt's site, in the easter eggs post, I took a closer look at the calendar and the days in question are in fact marked out, just with a yellow marker, making them hard to see.

Keep up the great work,
Paul

Nikki Stafford said...

Brian: Good observations! As for the entropy thing, I don't think I'm confused. Entropy is a scientific term, but it can also be used to describe disorder in our daily lives... it's been co-opted as a non-scientific term. I don't think it's a stretch to say the writers on Lost don't expect the majority of their audience to be physics scholars, so you can take entropy to mean disorder in one's daily life. You suggest the thermodynamic arrow can only refer to entropy in chemical reactions, but it can be stretched to refer to entropy in a more literary sense, which I think is what the writers are doing.

Nikki Stafford said...

Roland: "What happened between 1996 and 2004 to make Penny turn from Ms. Nasty to Ms. I Love You Desmond and Will Go To The Ends of the Earth to Find You?"

I think we can assume that all of the previously seen flashback material still applies, and therefore when Pen runs into Des at the stadium where he's running laps, that still happened. She spoke to her father and found out the rat bastard was trying to keep them apart, and since the meeting with her father happened just before he broke up with her, maybe she's put together that that's why he left her, and now she knows he really loves her.

"Is this time travelling the reason for Danielle’s crews “sickness” brought up a long time ago and the reason they had to be killed?"

Great question!!

Awesome observations all around, actually. LOVED your find on Eko's stick! BRILLIANT!!

Nikki Stafford said...

Bev: I agree... I was on the verge of full-on sobbing, mostly because I thought Desmond was going to die, which usually happens to characters after they've resolved their big trauma.

fb: Sorry to hear you didn't like it! I was wondering when I was watching it if this would be one of those big dividing episodes, with some fans head over heels in love with it and others despising it.

Nikki Stafford said...

Kristin: "One other explanation for Dan not recognizing Desmond right away...he looks decidedly different than his 1996 self...long hair, beard. And mind you, Dan only saw him that ONE day in 1996. Would you really remember someone that well after 8 years whom you only met once?"

True, but Desmond isn't just a guy he's passed in a hallway... he's a seriously important person, who proved to him that time travel could exist, and gave him the proper coordinates for his experiments. And remember: Jack and Desmond remembered each other instantly at the beginning of season 2, and they'd just met momentarily in a stadium.

So I think Dan didn't recognize Desmond on the island because Desmond hadn't changed time yet... or... does that work? Because if he changed it in 1996, then it should have already been changed. Hm. See, it's when we get into that territory that my brain says, "Please stop. You're hurting me." ;)

I don't know if you ever watched Journeyman, which was an awesome show, but every time Dan went back in time and then returned to the present, the present had altered based on what he did, but it hadn't altered until he went back to do it. So yeah... Ok, I think I'm back on track. If Des hadn't changed the past yet, then present Dan wouldn't know him.

Nikki Stafford said...

fiveagainst: Nice theory on space-time... I do hope at some point the show sort of illuminates all of this stuff for those of us who are just starting to "get" it, but still have a ways to go. ;)

Paul: Thanks, and welcome! Interesting about those dates being highlighted! I was thinking more about those dates and the Red Sox last night, and wondering, if Christian really is part of the group organizing this, could those missing dates have CAUSED the Red Sox to win the Series?

I bet the Red Sox hate Lost. hehe...

Roland said...

Hey Nik and Brian, thanks, I understand now about the Desmond and Penny thing, that makes sense, sometimes I have problems with arranging what happened and when with this show!

The way Minkowski died it with the nose bleed and the brain hemorrhage, it could have easily been construed by Danielle as an Ebola like infection. But I guess even if she didn't kill them, sounds like they would have died anyways, if they didn't find their "Constant".

On a sadder note, looking ahead, from the rumours, there will be a major death before episode 8 (I think this is pretty well known, if this is some kind of spoiler, feel free to delete Nikki, but I don't think so, its only rumour). I have a really BAD feeling Jin or Sun are going to bite the bullet after being rescued as one of the Oceanic 6, as they have flashforward episode 7. Damon and Carlton were mentioning this death would be different from all other deaths on Lost. I suspect its because they die in a flashforward and that leaves them open to be on the show until the 6th season, when the survivors go back to the island. Please don't kill them!!!

Brian Douglas said...

Nikki: So I think Dan didn't recognize Desmond on the island because Desmond hadn't changed time yet... or... does that work? Because if he changed it in 1996, then it should have already been changed. Hm. See, it's when we get into that territory that my brain says, "Please stop. You're hurting me." ;)

Darlton have said there are no alternate timelines or realities on this show. There is one 1996, and that's the one we see.

Also, after further thought, I now am convinced the Orchid now deals with temporal wormholes, time travel, etc. and not teleportation (and quantum duplicates!).

Emilia said...

Incredible episode this week! I can always count on Desmond episodes to blow my mind.

I think, based on last week's episode, that we can count on Claire to be the "major death" coming up.

Brian Douglas said...

Re: 305 vs. 325

Base on those maps posted (assuming north is up), there is no way a 325 bearing from Pala Ferry (where Michael left from) corresponds to the same point as a 305 bearing from ANYWHERE on the island.

Anonymous said...

George says to Desmond at one point, “You look a lot older now, huh?”

Agree with th eposter above. To the 1996 mind of Des, his 2004 self appears older. Minky2004 knows the feeling.

Why doesn’t Frank know why Desmond is freaking out? Charlotte and Dan both know about it, and on the boat everyone seems aware of it.

I think George's "side effect" happened while Frank was off the boat/on the island since it appears George was OK when Frank left the freighter to go to the island. So Frank wouldn't know the symptoms of the side effect.

- j.nc

Nikki Stafford said...

Anonymous: Oh, I absolutely get that 1996 Desmond looks in the mirror at a self 8 years older and is expecting to see the same guy, so obviously he looks older. What I was saying is that I wonder if it's ALSO an explanation for Walt. Something in there has to explain why he looks 16 (other than real-world practicalities of working with a young actor).

Roland said...

Anonymous: I look at myself sometimes and wonder why I look older than I should too! I feel for you Desmond! LOL

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that it was a red flashing light that Charlie pushed when he got Penny's call in the Looking Glass. Same red light as the boat? Are Penny and Ben connected and she contacted the boat "mole" to destroy the radio room? How does the boats being off the island connect to Penny's wintery research station that was seen detecting the EM pulse from the Hatch explosion? Does this relate to her father's interest in the Blackrock journal? Are they competing parties in the search for the island?

I think Desmond smiles when his constent is made because his memory of the future stops. Wasn't he having flashes before he joined the army? He was seeing the future on the island, could going off the island change the polarity of his travel so he sees his past instead and then contacting Penny brings him back to neutral?

I think Walt is the mole on the boat.

cartographer said...

Whoa. Great episode. This is why I watch, think, speak, share, and yes sometimes dream, Lost. I enjoy the time paradox storyline. Any Star Trek TNG fans out there? The "temporal disturbance" type episodes were always my favorite. Nikki, have you seen the movie PRIMER? That's one that will make your head say (Nik you crack me up) "Please stop" Hehe!

Thanks to Paul for pointing us to Doc Artz. I found something that really rang true for me...
"The problem with putting too much effort into forming any kind of relevant picture from all the high powered name dropping in this episode is that Lost is operating on its own set of rules for time travel. While all the physics may seem to make the mystery deeper, it may be there for the same reason additional leaves are dropped around in a scene, to further the illusion of legitimacy; to facilitate suspension of disbelief."

That just reminds me to acknowledge the detail-oriented craft that the creators are putting into this story, but remind myself don't be too distracted by the tangential: this is a story about people. Ultimately, I appreciate the show on many levels, I've been a fantasy/sci-fi geek for 20+ yrs, and I've come to realize that all my favorite stories illuminate our constantly evolving understanding of relationships, beauty, and Love. As much as this episode was steeped in fascinating "science" it also reminds me of the importance of understanding, the slippery slope of perceptions, and the importance of our actions. Just my $.02

Kristin said...

Wait a minute! We are completely forgetting that what's-her-face, the dead parachutist, had that picture of Desmond and Penny and knew who Desmond was. Which tells me that Dan *did* know the Desmond he needed was on the island. And perhaps this is also why he was chosen for the assignment??

To get his mind back?

Flipping to the page in the journal could have been for *our* benefit rather than Dan's.

When I saw that page, I assumed Dan had only just discovered it in his journal--like it had been newly added in the 'new' 1996. But now I'm wondering if that wasn't there all along and he knew about it and remembered it from the beginning. Showing Desmond's name in the journal as Dan's constant was only to inform us, the audience.

I wish I could read Dan better. But I don't know what is true confusion based on his condition and pretend confusion/innocence in order to hide information and their his reasons for being on the island from the Losties.

cartographer said...

Another thought/ Message from the softer side of Lost: We are all time travelers in a way... sent forth from the past... adapting to our present... Sometimes we all find ourselves: Here. Now. And it is only with our "constants," our family and friends, that we are able to bridge our past and present. A person with no "somebody" is a desperate person indeed. Lost continues to flirt with boundaries...

cartographer said...

Kristen I think the photo comes from Mr. Whidmore... I think at some point the currently independent pursuits of Dan and Mr. Whidmore will coalesce... Exactly how does Des get the notion to participate in the boat race??

Brandon / job: fan of LOST said...

Let me start off by saying that "The Constant" was another great episode, and season 4 is looking to be fast-paced from beginning to end. I think the storylines have really opened up to feature more sci-fi/time travel ideas for future episodes, and I'm interested in seeing where it leads. Here are my thoughts on "The Constant":



The symbolism was really strong at the end, where Penny saves Desmond's memory, literally saving his life, showing that Desmond cannot survive without Penny, and that love is keeping him alive (awww).

I enjoyed seeing George Minkowski, and am now wrong in my prediction that he is Ben's spy on the freighter. I was surprised to see that the time travel effects killed people, and I continued to fear for Desmond's life throughout the episode.



One of my favorite lines was when George tells Sayid and Desmond that they apparently have a friend on the boat who left the door open for them. My guess here is Michael, who is now becoming a high possibility of being Ben's inside-man.



Now for the most confusing idea from the episode : time travel (what a coincidence that I am currently reading "The Time Machine"). I view "LOST"'s timeline in a similar light to the "Terminator" film series'. In "The Terminator", Kyle Reese is sent back through time to protect Sarah Connor and ensure the birth of John Connor, who will eventually end the war between humans and machines. In the future, John Connor sent Kyle back to do this, therefore ensuring the birth of himself. Thus, the past cannot exist without the future, creating a sort of time paradox. I believe the same idea is at work on "LOST". Daniel Faraday would never have arrived on the island if Desmond had not gone to Oxford to find him, and Desmond was sent there in the first place by Daniel in the future. It make sense, but only if you think that there are always three planes of time: past -present - future, all co-existing with each other. How's that for deep thinking? Either that, or Daniel really does have some serious memory problems, but that still wouldn't explain why Desmond shows up at Oxford in the first place, so I believe in the "Terminator" -style timeline.



Judging by next week's preview, it seems that it is becoming more and more clear that the "rescuers" are there for more than just the survivors and Ben. Dun Dun DUN!!!

Steve gee said...

Is this why Desmond was dishonorably discharged from the army? In last night's episode when his 2004 consciousness wound up back when he was in the army 1996 didn't he start freaking out that he was on a boat near the Figi Island. He was asking his army buddy to believe him in what he was telling him. If he kept that up for awhile could you be discharged from the army?

I have to believe that Walt and Michael are the guys on this boat. The way that Walt can can appear as an apparition to people (Locke, Shannon, etc..). I'm assuming that's what Ben was refering to at the end of season two when he said to Michael about getting more than they bargained for with Walt.
I wonder if the tests that Bea Klugh had administered on Walt was to see how well he can use his gift and improve on it. The first time he appeared to Shannon he couldn't really speak to the last time we saw him appear to Locke and he was telling him to get up and that there is more to be done. Seems to have improved on that some.
My guess is that Walt has been appearing to Ben or Jacob with the information that he and his father have been getting on the boat. Keeping Ben one step ahead, maybe...

dansmot said...

Thank Goodness for you all, I thought I had followed last night's show just fine then I read all the posts and it made even more sense, about Eko's stick, Danielles friends, Michael and Walt's disappearance....all things I made absolutely no connection to before reading the posts!! I loved this episode, last week's, as someone said, apart from the obvious gasp moments didn't thrill me much, perhaps because I'm not a big Kate fan. I'm completely in agreement with Nikki about Desmond though, he's lovely, whether hairy and unkempt or with a squaddies haircut!! I'm SO hoping nothing horrible happens to him. I think Penny's actor portrayal was just fine, by the way. I think I would have been both laughing and crying if I had lost the love of my life, spent three years looking for him, and got a call from him on Christmas Eve, so I knew he was okay.
Nikki, I also loved Journeyman, and was really annoyed when it was cancelled.

lzimlich said...

About those October 2004 dates on the calendar. They have been crossed off, but with a yellow marker rather than the black, blue and red markers used elsewhere.

Is a yellow marker significant? There doesn't seem to be any pattern to the black, blue and red X's, so it may not mean anything that October 20, 21, 22 & 23 are in yellow.

Brian Douglas said...

I had a revelation today: the sat phones work in real time because the shell around the island, isn't a dome, but more donut shaped. So the by relaying the calls via they satlight, they avoid the warped spacetime.

This light bulb moment was immediately followed by...why didn't I think of this before?

Brian Douglas said...

Brandon: Since Darlton has said there are no alternate timelines/realities on this show, your comparison is correct. There is 1 past, 1 present, and 1 future here.

Jacqui said...

Well, its going to take me a day and half just to decipher these comments. Cant think this has anything to do with physics as my Husband is mathematical physic grad and he loves the show, without any of the usual comments. This season has been brilliant so far...can't wait for next weeks one.

Annoyed now though as I didn't know that Journeyman had been cancelled. I am almost at the stage of giving up watching TV as it seems almost every show I like gets cancelled. My favourites at the moment are Eli Stone and In Treatment. The 2nd will continue as its on HBO but ... network channels seem to give you 2 episodes and then CUT...

fiveagainst said...

http://www.livephysics.com/ptools/online-3d-function-grapher.php?ymin=-1.5&xmin=-1.5&zmin=-1.5&ymax=1.5&xmax=1.5&zmax=0.5&f=-%28abs%28cos%28x%5E2%2By%5E2%29%29%5E%281%2F8%29%29

I hope that link works. It is, what I picture the space-time area around the island looks like...kind-of...I couldn't make the edges as flat as they should be. It is doughnut like...as Brian suggests.

But in any case, the island is in the middle of that bowl. Desmond, when he tried to leave the island at the beginning of season 2, sailed towards on of the peaks that surround the 'bowl'. His straight line path away from the island became curved once he hit the warped space-time area, and thus he was reflected back towards the island.

The 305 bearing probably steered Frank, Sayid and Desmond towards one of the 'valleys' between the peaks, which allowed them to punch through the warped space-time. Regardless of which path is taken, energy is needed to climb the walls of the bowl...and that resulted in the missing time.

I don't know if I have the physics of it all quite right. But, if that link does work, it gives others a picture of what the area around the island could look like.

redeem147 said...

Close-ups of Sayid on helicopter sooooo pretty.

What? You thought I was going to talk about the science?

Nikki Stafford said...

Cartographer: I haven't seen Primer, but now I'm intrigued. :) And I agree with you completely. At the end of season 2, when Desmond turned the switch, I suddenly believed that all of this stuff about philosophy and political science and history and religion (the physics weren't playing a big part yet) that we'd learned took a back seat to what this show was truly about: Love. And what we'll do for love. And what happens to people who don't feel loved, like most of the people on that plane. You are so right.

Nikki Stafford said...

Cartographer: P.S. Did you see the map post I made the other day for you? How did the maps look to you?

Nikki Stafford said...

Kristin: Good thinking!! You're absolutely right. None of this explains why Naomi had his picture... back when the finale aired, I speculated that maybe Charlie misunderstood Penny. He says something about your boat, and then she says, "What boat?" She could have hired a special task force to head out, and assumed they were on helicopters and it wasn't registering with her that the freighter would be a part of that.

Of course, that wouldn't explain why Minkowski was under direct orders to ignore her calls...

Daniel fascinates me. I think I'll post a new post on him, just so we can use that thread just to talk about him.

Steve Elsley said...

The only thing that bugged me was, How long did it take Penny to answer the phone?!?!?!!

I mean, she knew he might call! LOL

I loved the episode, classic Lost style

PS love your site Nikki, keep up the good work

Nikki Stafford said...

Brandon: I was hunting around the other day looking at various time travel theories and hit one called "The Grandfather Paradox," which states you can't go back in time and kill your grandfather, because you wouldn't have existed to have killed him. A philosopher called David Lewis is one of the more recent ones to try to reconcile this paradox, and interestingly, Charlotte's father's name is David Lewis. :)

Seriously, I know nothing about physics (I took biology and chemistry, and not physics) but I LOVE this stuff.

Nikki Stafford said...

Steve Gee: Excellent point; I wonder if they thought he'd gone insane and discharged him.

You've brought up a point that made my brain go wonky again, so I'll need my time travel experts to chime in again: If there's only one timeline, and 1996 Desmond has been on a freighter and back again, zipping ahead and back 8 years, then does that mean by the time Desmond gets to the hatch, he already has a memory of being on the freighter? And does that mean he ALWAYS had a memory of being on the freighter?

Can you create a memory, the way I suggested was used on Journeyman? In other words, maybe prior Desmond didn't have a memory of being on the freighter, but 1996 Desmond will now have that memory? Could two Desmonds be existing on two different time planes now?

Anyway, back to Steve. Good point on Walt and Michael. Michael could be the man on the boat, and using Walt to astrally project the info to Ben on the island maybe?

Nikki Stafford said...

dansmot: That's what I love about this blog. My column is only the tip of the iceberg, and together we fill in the foundation of it.

Oh Des... it's hard sometimes to keep focused when it's a Desmond episode because I'm trying to think of all this time travel stuff, and then Des is on screen and then.... I'm sorry, where was I?

Yes, Journeyman. Freakin' fantastic show. And it was getting SO good.

lzimlich: Interesting about the highlighter... I still think there's a significance to those 4 yellow dates.

Brian: I'd TOTALLY had the revelation before, I just didn't say anything.

Okay. I'm lying.

Nikki Stafford said...

Jacqui: Totally off-topic, but I just got caught up with In Treatment today and I think it's amazing. I'm totally into that show. It's so addictive!

Steve gee said...

On a whole other subject, does anyone think that Richard and Cindy has four toes? Where are they and where is this temple anyway?

Nikki Stafford said...

fiveagainst: thanks so much for the visual! It actually sort of made sense to me, believe it or not. Pardon my ignorance, but where would the island be located in that? Would it be a tiny dot in the centre of it or would it be taking up most of it?

redeem147: I see your Sayid is soooo pretty, and raise you a Desmond is HOT, sssst!

Steve Esley: LOL!!! Oh my god, I can't believe you're the first person to mention that!! I thought EXACTLY the same thing. Guy tells you he's going to call you in 8 years, you search the ends of the earth for him, and he actually follows through and... what, you have to let it ring 15 times because that's one of Hurley's numbers? (Anyone count how many times it rings?)

Brian Douglas said...

More Physics Phun:

Note that the payload rocket takes about 30 seconds to travel to the freighter, while the helicopter takes 20 min. That is, the helicopter takes 40 times longer to reach the freighter.

If the time shift is a function of time exposed to the space-time warp shell around the island (as I suggested last week), then the time shift of the helicopter would be 40 times that of the rocket. Since the rocket time shifted 30 min, the helicopter would time shift...20 hours. So if they left the island, they would arive on the freither the next day...four hours earlier.

Since that is approximately what happened, I just have to say, in my best Stephen Colbert voice...

I CALLED IT!!!

Steve Elsley said...

I counted 14 times :-)

fiveagainst said...

"fiveagainst: thanks so much for the visual! It actually sort of made sense to me, believe it or not. Pardon my ignorance, but where would the island be located in that? Would it be a tiny dot in the centre of it or would it be taking up most of it?"

The island would be right in the middle of the visual, probably at the lowest point in the bowl. If we want to be precise, I'd think the lowest point of the bowl would be the point in the Hatch where the Magnetic Anomoly was the strongest.

As for how much of the bowl the island takes up...that's just a question of scale. So it would really depend on how far out Frank, Sayid and Desmond travelled before they ran into the storm.

Brian Douglas said...

Nikki: Don't feel bad about skipping out on physics. First-year physics is limited only to the classical stuff, that ends at the begining of the 19th century. It's all the normal stuff we see every day, an all of the weird, sci-fi stuff isn't gotten to until the second year or later, which is pretty much limited to only physics majors and the occasional physics geek like me.

As to Desmond, ideally he would have a memory of his time on the freighter. However, we don't really now what exactly happened in his head when he found his constant, so he might not remember any of the events in last night's episode, or only his actions in 1996 (including meeting Daniel) and have only vague notions of the future, or he might remember everything. Alternately, he might have written it off as him just having a crazy moment, and tried his best to forget about it.

Penny would certainly remember Desmond coming to her, although it's unlikely she believed him at the time. After learning about the island or that Desmond went missing (in either order), she might have changed her mind.

Steve Elsley said...

Just to throw some more numbers into the mix, (this may have been discussed before in previous threads, excuse me if it has!)

The helicopter reg is N482M
which is an actually registered to an aeroplane, an M-18C made by Mooney.

Does the number mean something?

Year built: 1950
Serial Number (C/N): 236
Mode S Code: 51370432
Aircraft Type: Fixed wing single engine
Amateur-Built: No
Number of Seats: 1
Number of Engines: 1
Engine Type: Reciprocating
Engine Manufacturer and Model: Cont Motor A&C65 SERIES
Address: Anchorage, AK 99515
United States
Region: Alaskan


Theres so much going on,
my head is beginning to hurt!

Matthew D said...

You guys have been busy! This blog is exploding! Half way through reading I started thinking "I got nothing...what the heck can I possibly add" but towards the end it hit me.

Can someone give me a good reason why the island and the freighter couldn't be hundreds or thousands of miles apart connected by a wormhole? All this talk about the warping of time etc is a much longer stretch then what seems to be a simple solution. The island and freighter are connected by a wormhole that takes just moments to travel through but moves you many time zones away.

The reason the rocket took 30 minutes and the helicopter took 20 hours is that the rocket was moving at a much higher rate of speed when it entered the wormhole.

Say the wormhole is like the moving sidewalks at an airport. Once on the sidewalk you can still walk. If you ran on the sidewalk, you'd arrive at the end of the sidewalk sooner than someone walking.

If the wormhole takes time to traverse but not nearly the time to actually travel the distance, it would explain why Sayid and others felt like it was a normal length ride but arrived many hours later. It would also explain why the initial helicopter ride took more fuel than expected, but they didn't run out of fuel flying for what seemed like 12-20 hours to the islanders.

This would explain why they could talk in real time from both sides, no different than someone calling China from the here. We're talking in real time yet it might already be tomorrow in China and definately a different time of day.

Where it gets difficult is why did it seem like it took so long to the Islanders? My guess is that it actually took the same time it would have taken had there not been a wormhole. What the wormhole does is shorten the perceived travel time and the needed fuel for the participants. Daniel did say 'perception' in his explaination. In the same way science fiction has always put people to sleep for long space travel and awakened them just in time for arrival, the wormhole simply makes travel easier.

If the island and freighter are on the same time, then the wormhole just moved them along lines of longitude. If they're now several hours ahead or behind, they didn't 'time shift' they're just at a different place in the world where its a different time. Several people seem to think they left on Christmas day and landed on Christmas eve. That could be a time shift with very difficult sceintific explainations but why can't it just be a place in the world where its still Christmas eve.

We already have the technology to fly somewhere and actually land before we ever took off. That's not time travel, it's just speed.

I think the freighter and 'hole' are in the South Pacific. My best guess for the Island is still somewhere in the artic surrounded by a bubble that keeps it tropical, hidden and actually only accessable in natural ways by submarine traveling under the ice.

I'm thinking snowmen, snowglobes, polar bears, Ho Hos and snow scientists again. Call me crazy but I'm putting money that the island is no where close to the freighter.

You can't find the island from any other direction because its not there. If it were actaully there just protected by this donut, weird things would happen all the time to ships traveling through there.

If its just a tiny wormhold accessed only on a very specific bearing then only a few lucky/unlucky folks (Amelia Earhart, Black Rock, 815, Desmond) would ever find it. My guess is that the energy blast from the hatch exploding sent a shock wave that traveled out through the wormhole, briefly exposing it to anyone looking for such.

redeem147 said...

Nikki, I find Desmond's story fascinating, but the man himself does nothing for me. Chacun a son castaway.

I'm not even going to try to figure out what's going on. Didn't do that well in physics. I was an English major. But I love that the sciency types are finding the episode so stimulating.

Since it's more in my line, I've decided to write Eloise/Algernon fanfic.

Brian Douglas said...

mathew: I agree. The island might not be anywhere near the freighter as we know it.

Brian Douglas said...

matthew said...
-This would explain why they could talk in real time from both sides, no different than someone calling China from the here. We're talking in real time yet it might already be tomorrow in China and definately a different time of day.

Um...are you saying that when we call China, we're calling the future? Because that's just an accounting difference--we're not actually calling tomorrow.

-Where it gets difficult is why did it seem like it took so long to the Islanders? My guess is that it actually took the same time it would have taken had there not been a wormhole. What the wormhole does is shorten the perceived travel time and the needed fuel for the participants. Daniel did say 'perception' in his explaination. In the same way science fiction has always put people to sleep for long space travel and awakened them just in time for arrival, the wormhole simply makes travel easier.

I don't agree with that. If it took the same time to traverse the wormhole as it would to actually travel the distance in normal space, that would defeat the purpose of using a wormhole. It's much more likely that the wormhole travels through space AND time.

Matthew D said...

Brian:
My point is exactly that calling somewhere in a different time zone isn't the future. I think someone had suggested that after the helicopter went through the hole they might have ended up hours into the past or future. Couldn't they just be in same time, but in a different time zone and that's what's throwing people off?

To your second point. Maybe I'm saying its not a wormhole then but more of a transportation device who's only benefit is to shorten the perceived travel time for the participants.

If they actually traveled through time then we'd have a problem with the boat now being in a different time. We've all struggled with how can they continue to talk in real time via phones, yet have this delay in travel which everyone seems to be calling time travel.

Imagine that the moment they hit the hole time freezes for them. Everything stops as though you'd hit the pause button on your DVR. Now, that paused image continues traveling at the same rate of speed on a defined path through a dimension that's not visible to the outside world. At the end of the path you hit the play button and they continue on their journey with no concept that they'd been paused.

I need to go back and watch again, but my guess is that at some point in the helicopter ride, the sky instantly changes to a different time of day. Most likely with the return from a Des flashback. Thousands of miles of travel with no perceived 'missing gap'.

pete said...

It's great reading all the intelligent, insightful commentary on this blogsite - and about this episode in particular. Although I'm a pinhead on the subject of physics, I may actually be learning something. My meta-analysis on the time travel business has to do with the subject of redemption, which a major theme on LOST. Being capable of moving back and forth in time, impacting one's own destiny, resolving misfortunes, understanding one's past; these are universal struggles, about which we can all identify. Don't we all have regrets and pain in our past? If possible, would we go back and change / correct our mistakes? Or should we? Obviously, tampering with past and future may have terrible consequences. The major characters on LOST all have serious issues in the past and on some level are seeking redemption. Was Eko redeemed? Charlie? Stay tuned.

Brian Douglas said...

redeem: Don't sell yourself short. You don't need to know classical mechanics to know about gravity. Behind the fancy languages, the basic concepts aren't that difficult.

Here's pretty much what you need to know:

-There is a shell around the island that makes reaching it difficult

-There is a hole in that shell, but when traveling through it, time moves more slowly. What appears to the helicopter to be a 20 min. flight is seen by the world as 20 hours.

-In "Flashes...," present Desmond's mind travelled to the past. In "The Constant," past Desmond's mind travalled to the present.

Brian Douglas said...

matthew: It's more than just an accounting difference though when taking about elapsed time. 20 min to me is the same as 20 min. in China, but 20 min. on the helicopter is 20 hours to the world.

Brian Douglas said...

More Physics Phun (redeem look away!)

Physically speaking, there is no reason that we cannot "remember" the present. If I close my eyes and walk across the room, I can't perceive the wall until I hit it, but that doesn't mean it's not there. We can't assume that just because we aren't able to perceive the future, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist yet.

Now when talking about time travel, are instinct is to apply linear time reasoning to events. We think that cause must preceed effect because that is how we perceive the universe. But in time travel, or nonlinear time, there is no reason we can assume that this will be the case. That's not to that it isn't, just that we really don't know what will happen in time travel cases.

In "The Constant," there appears to be a paradox. Present Daniel tells Desmond the number's to make his machine work, but Past Daniel only learns the right numbers because Desmond tells him so. Our linear thinking would see this as a paradox, but this may or may not be the case (and the writers/producers stance is that this is not a paradox).

Matthew D said...

Brian: I don't think you're getting what I'm saying. What I'm suggesting is that 20 hours on the island is also 20 hours on the helicopter, its just perceived to those on the helicopter as 20 minutes.

My theory may be more fantasy than 'sci-fi' but its simple and it explains everything. It explains the difference in payload to helicopter travel time, it explains how they can easily talk in real time via sat phones and it explains the length of time it appearantly took.

I think any theory involving the shifting of time between the island and the boat really makes for difficult explainations of everything. You probably hate the idea of it being fantasy vs. sci-fi, but these are creative writers we're working with, and while brilliant, they're not physicists. I have to think a simpler answer that expains everything is more probable than something only a few viewers could understand.

Just my humble opinion. I love the thought provoking discussion and as alwasy, my mind is wide open to anyone's ideas.

Brian Douglas said...

matthew: So are you saying that the people on it perceive it as 20 min, but the helicopter is actually flying (and using fuel) for 20 hours, and that's why it was low on fuel (and not, say, because of the storm that forced daniel, miles, and charlotte to bail out)? Or are you saying the it the helicopter is using 20 min. worth of fuel? Cause if its the latter case, then we're both saying the same thing (this case would be analogous to special relativity).

Re: The Sat Phones

That sat phones could work for two posible reasons:
1) By relaying through the satelite in orbit, they go up and over the shell around on the island
2) Since communications travel at the speed of light, and assuming that the time shift is proportional to the amount of time exposed to the anomaly which appears to be the case, then the time shift would only be 0.015 s. I doubt that would even be noticeable.

Re: The Daniel/Desmond "Paradox"

I want to follow up to my earlier post by saying that to each of the perspectives, time makes literal sense. To Desmond, he learns the numbers from Present Faraday and gives them to Past Faraday. To Faraday, he learns the numbers from Desmond in the past and gives them to him in the present.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nik,

Long time reader, first time poster, but I just had to add a couple of points that haven't been dealt with in the comments.

- Desmond's smile. Call me a romantic, but I'm certain that Daniel's smile at the end is because he realizes that there is still hope for him and Penny (Remember what Desmond says: "If any part of you still loves me...")

- Daniel Faraday. The first couple of episodes we see Daniel, he is so obsessed with the island it is no surprise that he doesn't make the connection with Desmond. It's only when Daniel learns of Desmond's side effects that he realizes that he has to direct him to Oxford.

- The journal entry. Taking for granted that there is one past, one present and one future, I took the point of the entry to be that even in 1996 (when Daniel presumably wrote the entry) he realized the importance of Desmond Hume.

- Grandfather Paradox. Brian Douglas point out that there is a form of the Grandfather Paradox in this episode as Daniel tells Desmond the settings in the future, which enables Daniel in the past to determine the settings. However, the Grandfather Paradox wouldn't apply to something Daniel would have figured out anyway (after all, he had the machine, he probably would have plug in coordinates until he got it right). Another suggestion: what if the coordinates that present Daniel gave to Desmond were precisely the coordinates that past Daniel was going to input that day? Remember, past Daniel assumed Desmond was set up by one of his colleagues, and Daniel's colleagues would know something about his research, so Daniel probably wouldn't have been surprised if Desmond could state realistic sounding coordinates, unless those were precisely the coordinates which Daniel intended to use that day!

Brian Douglas said...

Did You Notice?:

Frank exchange Sayid the sat phone for his gun just as Miles and Jack did in "Confirmed Dead."

The Chapati Kid said...

Great Episode, although I have a few questions:

Nikki: you said that until Desmond went back in time to 1996, then the present could not be changed. Therefore, Daniel would not know Des until he travels back in time to 1996. If that is the case, then how has Daniel written that Des would be his constant in his old journal entry? Does this go back to our Season 2/3 discussion about the cyclical themes of this show? (Remember the Hindu-ish funeral episode, the Dharma concept - also Hindu, the past-present-future fugue states of some of our characters, etc.) Perhaps the present and the past and the future are all intertwined, and not linear at all. And maybe the idea of constructing this narrative by using flashbacks, flashforwards, and present-time storytelling is to emphasize that the actions of our past, present, and futures are deeply interconnected with each other in a way that linearity cannot explain it. That's why Daniel has written about Des in his journal from 1996. Perhaps this is a fatalistic theory of mine, but there's a sense that Des's going back into the past was part of his karma, as were the circumstances of the crash and the desertion of the Losties.

Going back into the past may not change the future at all. It is just an act that must occur as part of the present circumstances. Or rather, for the present to unfold as it should. We see this in the Charlie-Des episodes. Despite Des being able to look into the future at Charlie's impending death, Charlie and Des know that C is going to die one day. Some time. Sooner or later. And that's why Charlie embraces his fate. Here, we see that even though he knows his future, he can't change his present circumstances at all. I know this line of thinking is completely different from the scientific speculation on these comments, but I thought I'd put it out here for what it's worth. I figure they haven't called it the Dharma Initiative for nothing.

Okay, my brain is all garbled from this philosophizing.

Walt: Do you think, that perhsps, just perhaps, there's no reason for his growing older other than he actually physically grew taller in real life in the time between appearing and they couldn't replace him with another actor for fear of confusing viewers? (He was at that sprouting age.)

Finally, Aaron and Kate. This is PURE speculation. The injections that Claire was being given for her pregnancy. (Did Sun get any of those? I can't remember.) Didn't they contain some radioactive makeup? Or do we not really know what the shots contained? Because if they did contain radioactive ingredients, it may explain why Kate has Aaron. And the whole Jin/Sun death speculation. Because Claire and Sun are...

Nikki Stafford said...

Brian: Re: the paradox. I took it to mean that Daniel probably eventually figured out the coordinates, like, say, in 2001 or something, but now he's telling Desmond to give the numbers to him so he'll learn of them much earlier. That was how I originally took the scene. But I see what you're saying, this whole cyclical thing where Dan wouldn't have figured out the numbers if Desmond hadn't told him, but Des only found out through Dan. Interesting. I watched it for the 4th time today, and when Des first shows up and Dan says, "Couldn't my esteemed colleagues have come up with something a little more original than this?" and walks away, he mutters to himself, "Time paradox, pfft."

Matthew: I'm going to have to go with you on this one. As I said a few hundred comments ago if you scroll above (har), while the physics experts in the audience are going nutzoid over this episode, as they should, and it's clear there's some knowledge of physics on the writing staff, at the end of the day they have to aim this audience for a general audience, and would probably end up taking a more literary direction, not a scientific one. So I think we can use physics as the base for this stuff, but they have to be allowed some leeway on it, as you say.

Nikki Stafford said...

Anonymous: Welcome! Glad to see you posting. :) I agree with you, I do believe the journal entry was made in 1996.

I mentioned earlier that watching Journeyman you get a sense of time travel and how it can affect the present, and it the idea of something being a certain way in 2004, but if you go back to 1996 and change something -- like kill Jack -- then when you come back to 2004, things are different, and Jack doesn't exist. And probably a LOT of other things would change.

In one episode of Journeyman (spoiler alert if you want to look away!) Dan goes back in time and accidentally drops his digital camera in the late 1970s. He comes back to the present day, and instead of a computer he has a "nano," which projects the computer image into the air. At first he figures, OK, cool, how will this affect me... until he goes home and he no longer has a son, he has a daughter. Turns out the night his son would have been conceived, the nanos had gone down at work, so he had to leave, and instead he and his wife conceived a daughter a few days later. He goes back in time to try to retrieve that digital camera in the 80s so that the technology never gets out.

So that's my thinking here. In the present, before Des went back in time in his consciousness, that journal entry didn't exist. But then he went back, he made the connection with Dan, Dan made the entry then, and now it's sitting there in his 1996 notes.

OR... they could also be using a different theory of time travel than Journeyman. Maybe that event always happened, always had to have happened, and therefore Dan is fully aware of having made that journal entry in 1996 when he first meets Des, because he already remembers the meeting as having happened.

Again, the two theories come back to one of the overriding themes on Lost, that Chapatikid refers to in her comment after yours: fate vs. choice. In Journeyman, we can choose to go back and change what happens to us, and continuing to go back and make different choices can change our present. In the other theory, everything is fated to have happened, and therefore Des was always going to go back, and there's only one way that could have played out, and therefore that entry was always there.

Nikki Stafford said...

Chapatikid: Hey you! See my comments to Anonymous... I was suggesting that maybe the journal entry wasn't there until Des went back and changed things around.

But as with everything here, it's a suggestion, and I could very easily be proven wrong. :)

Walt: I think the reason we're theorizing that he'll have to change his size is because, if by 2010, the writers don't address this, it will be the massive elephant in the room. I can't imagine a flashforward of Walt finally getting back to the real world and going back to Grade 7, but he's 18, 6'1", and has a deep voice and an Adam's apple. ;) It's just something they're going to have to address for practical reasons, and they must have known that going in, that their 12-year-old actor was going to age a lot quicker than they'd like.

And I know I'm missing something obvious, but what are you suggesting with Kate and Aaron? I'm really intrigued by where you're going with this. :)

Brian Douglas said...

chaptikid: I agree with your interpretation of events.

Re: Walt
Darlton has said that they took into account his growth spurt in their plans for the character of Walt.

Re: Daniel's Journal
Darlton has said they are sticking to a 1 past, 1 present, 1 future and avoiding alternate realities/timelines like on Heroes (or Journeyman for that matter, though they only refered to Heroes by name). They have repeatedly said that all the flashbacks we see are what happened, and the flashforwards we see are what will happen, and will not be changed (and in fact cannot be due to the "course correction" speach of Ms. Hawking). Since we have no reason to assume otherwise, I'm taking this to mean that the note about Desmond was always in Daniel's journal.

Yes, this show is sci-fi, but it is clear that the writers are familiar with modern physics probably on a level par with me. Although Nikki may call me such, I'm not an expert on physics. On classical mechanics, yes, I would qualify as an expert, but I don't think having a subscription to Discover qualifies me as an expert on modern sci-fi type physics. :-)

That said, I'll still cringe if I ever here the phrase "centrifugal force" on the show.

The Chapati Kid said...

Ah... I was just thinking that maybe there were radioactive materials in the shots that were given to Claire and Sun. So that when they cross through the wormhole/barrier they experience fugues like Des and Faraday. And Claire has no constant. So then bloody nose = death happens. Either that or Claire can't leave because her life is at risk because of the shots, and so she hands over the tyke to Kate to take back. This is really a stretch.

Oh, and I'm not sure I understand this thing about constants. Is this really a plausible theoretical idea, or is it just something the writers pulled out of their hacks... um, I mean hats, in order to give us a teary moment?

Finally, thanks for clearing up the Walt bit. I didn't know all the facts about it.

Dharma: signifies the underlying order in nature and life (human or other) considered to be in accord with that order. The word dharma is generally translated into English as 'law' and literally translates as 'that which upholds or supports' (from the root 'Dhr' - to hold), here referring to the order which makes the cosmos and the harmonious complexity of the natural world possible. As in the West, the concept of natural or divine law, has, throughout the history of Indian civilisation, governed ideas about the proper conduct of living. The symbol of the dharma - the wheel - is the central motif in the national flag of India. (My best friend, the Wikipedia.)

And Nikki... I may not be commenting all the time, but you can bet I'm reading!

Brian Douglas said...

chaptikid: As far as I know, the "Constant" is just mumbo-jumbo as science is concerned. Physicists can conjecture all they want, but we really won't know for sure what happens to a guy who time travels until someone actually does it.

redeem147 said...

The 'constant' idea reminds me of spotting while twirling in dance. The dancer picks the same spot to focus on during the turn so not to become dizzy.

Crackedout said...

It is seriously difficult to find something to discuss since everyone else has done a great job already with this episode (doesn't help that I missed it on Thursday and am showing up late to the party). Anyway, after reading most of the posts, here's what's on my brain!

Walt-I'm reading all this stuff about him astrally projecting himself and being older and being the inside man.....BUT......and I'm just thinking here.....what if the Walt that Locke sees at the end of season 3 isn't really Walt. What if it's just the island or Jacob or something using Walt's appearance in order to get John to do it's bidding. Follow me here, in season 1 Jack sees his Dad. He follows his Dad and is ultimately led to the caves and water. Thus aiding the castaways survival. In season 2 Eko's brother leads John and himself to the Pearl station. And then again in season 3, Eko's brother leads him to his death. Heck, John also sees Boone is season 3, telling him to save Eko (yes, yes…I know that John used that concoction). So maybe, Walt is just another one of these occurrences.

Michael-Anyone else find it funny that Harold Perrineau’s name has been in the credits every episode and yet there’s been no sign of Michael. I remember reading a TV Guide interview with the creators of Lost during the first season and in it, they said that they were introducing new characters and that Daniel Roebuck (Artz) would be a regular on the show. Then, in the very next episode, he gets blown up by dynamite!! Maybe the writers are just pulling our chains! Maybe it’s just another trick to get us to look one way while ignoring another. At this point I think I might actually be let down if Michael is the “man on the boat”. I love this show because it keeps me guessing and is always throwing curve balls. Michael is the obvious choice, at least to me, as being Ben’s rat.

Desmond-At the end of the “Constant” I got that same gut feeling as everyone else that Desmond was going to die. I was afraid he’d hang up then die. Or get shot. Or get stabbed. Something. Another aspect of this show that really hooks me is that I care about these characters and what happens to them. Through the entire sequence I kept saying, “Don’t kill Desmond. Don’t kill Desmond.” He’s become one of my favorite characters and I really hope that there’s going to be a happy ending for Him and Penny.

The Crash-My brother brought up an interesting point to me the other day and I’m surprised that I never thought of it. So we’ve seen the plane, 815, starting to shake and break apart in air. We’ve seen it falling from the sky. We’ve seen it after it has crashed. But what about during the crash? How do the survivors get to where are they are when the first episode begins? Most of them are running around, screaming or are hurt and in need of help. Jack wakes up and is lying in the jungle. How does he get there? Locke wakes up lying on the beach. How does he get there? Locke doesn’t realize he can walk until he wakes up on the beach so how does he get from his plane seat to there? How come we’ve never seen the plane as it crashes? Or immediately after it impacts? Why? Maybe this has already been discussed so maybe someone can shed a light for me here.

Nikki-This is a great site! I just purchased your two “Finding Lost” books and am eager to read them. Thanks for putting this all together.

Matthew D said...

I can't believe after 74 comments I have something to bring up we've not yet discussed but here goes...I'm confused...

I've heard several people say they now understand why Des got discharged from the military. He's acting wacky and they think he's crazy. Makes sense right...wrong?

Daniel makes it pretty clear that you can't time jump until you've been exposed to a high level of radiation. Des doesn't get exposed until he's been on the island in 2004. How then can he jump forward from 1996 to the island before being exposed? Several of us have been saying that this time Des jumped forward from 1996 while the last time in "flashes before.." he was jumping backwards from 2004.

If the writers are serious and not going to allow someone jumping back to change history, thus re-writing the present, then Des can't get kicked out of the military because of the time jumping we watched in the constant.

I'm even going to say, I don't think he could have jumped forward unless he's been exposed to some other high does of radiation. Since he couldn't have gotten exposed (2004) and then went back in time to get himself kicked out (thus changing history), maybe he just went crazy for an unexplained reason in 1996 and then the future adds the explaination.

I can buy this, but I can't buy that Desmond went to see Daniel at Oxford on his own. That event, prompted by the future, does change history. Daniel writes Des' name in his journal and while he obviously finally discovered the settings that work, Des gave them to him maybe years in advance.

How do we reconcile this paradox especially when the writers have said, there's no paradox?

My only explaination is that for Des, 2004 and 1996 are happening simultaneously. It would explain the smiles at the end of the show and it would allow 2004 Des to get exposed before 1996 Des goes crazy if the affects of being exposed jump with him.

Is this too 'out there'?

Matthew D said...

Or... do you think that Daniel discovered the settings on the same day that Des came to see him? Maybe the settings just popped into his head originally on that same day, and then again, the future adds explaination to the unexplainable.

I would love this to be the explaination.

Jason said...

Hey gang! It's been a bit of time since I have last posted, but I had a thought that hasn't show much evidence as of yet, but it's been on my mind for quite some time.

What if the island is a central hub for space and time? Is it possible that time and space has little meaning on the island? I started thinking this at the end of Season 3. It seemed to me that the climax of the final episode in Season 3 was exposing the climax of the series too early. It seemed to me that by letting us know that there were survivors that were rescued and that there were only six from 815 that they were giving us too much too quickly.

It also seemed like a colossal failure that only Jack, Kate, Hurley, Aaron, Sayid and X make it back to the "real world." This is not the ending anyone would have hoped for, nor is it what we would have expected. Certainly, there would be death, loss and sacrifice from members of 815, but just getting back six is wrong on so many levels. We know this due to last Season's finale. Jack knows something was wrong and that something needed to be fixed. That's why he wants to go back.

Think about that for one minute. I think we can all agree that Jack gave the impression that something is wrong. I also think that there's significant evidence that Jack wants to go back to right some wrong. The question that we have to ask ourselves is the following: What is it that Jack feels he can fix and how?

The options that we're faced with is either that everyone on 815 is dead other than the Oceanic Six, or civilization thinks everyone other than The Six died. The easy assumption is that everyone only thinks that they died and that Jack realizes that life was better on the island. However, I just don't buy that. I am sorry. The show has been about getting everyone back to civilization since Episode 1. So does that mean Jack wants to go back to convince everyone to return with him? That also seems silly, and I really think the writers are better than that. Given how much no one wants to leave once it's decided that s/he wants to stay, it just makes no sense.

What we're left with then is that Jack feels he can go back and fix something that went wrong. That means he had to have seen something that would lead him to believe that he can fix it - like time travel or a place in which time is stuck. Or time is all out of whack. Evidence to support time being out of whack would be some of the following:

Walt's significant change in age
Richard's inability to age
Rousseau's tape playing for 16 years on a loop
Desmond's jumps from 1996 to 2004 and back
Hurley seeing Charlie alive after Charlie's death
Locke seeing Boone alive after Boone's death
Eko seeing his brother alive after his brother's death

The list could go on. I think that the island has some power over time and space - or there is something on the island that allows for power over time and space. Dharma started to figure it out. People off the island started to figure this out too. There's a reason that the Black Rock's journal sells for close to $1 million pounds. Maybe Penny's father directs Desmond to her because he's seen something or been shown something that implicates Desmond's involvement with the island. Someone out there in civilization has figured out the potential of the island. Jacob's cabin might be a spot where time and space are jumbled all together and - what if - what if - Locke is really Jacob and Jacob is Locke from different times. If you say John Locke fast enough it could sound like Jacob. Again, I think Jack saw something that made him realize that he can go back to the island and undo what ever wrong happened. There's only one way that you can physically undo something that you have already done, and that's to time travel. That's why Jack wants to go back. He knows it, but Kate knows the dangers and she likes her life with a son… Hurley wants to fix it. Sayid wants revenge, but does he want to do this b/c Ben has shown him that by killing certain powerful interests, they could be free to reverse what ever needs undoing?

Brian Douglas said...

matthew: You're still thinking linearly. There are two theories on time travel: one is the alternate timelines theory, which Darlton has explicitly said that this show is not going to use. The other is the one timeline theory, which is consistent with Darlton's comments: there is one, and only one 1996 where Desmond flashesforward to 2004, and the events of the Constant play out. There isn't a version where this event doesn't happen. Faraday never came up with the numbers for his machine on his own, 1996 Desmond never went to see him without future flashes, etc. This seems counterintuitive since our minds are accustomed to thinking about time linearlly, but in any story invovling time travel, time is by the nature of the beast nonlinear.

Darlton has also said that in the Constant, it is 1996 flashing towards the future.

As to what causes the future flashes, does there need to be a separate incidient? Is it not conceivable that the present event pulls Desmond's 1996 conscious forward to 2004? Again we think 1996 has to happen before 2004 because that is how we perceive events, but just because we perceive things that way, doesn't mean that is the way they are. If I close my eyes, the wall across the room is still there even though I can't perceive it. Just cause we are blind to the future, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

Brian Douglas said...

jason: I think the survivors of Oceanic 815 may be quantum duplicates of a teleportation, and the crash found by the Christine I are the originals. If you recall back to season 1, none of them had memories of the actual crash (they all blacked out, except for Kate).

Crackedout said...

Hey Matthew. Who said that was the reason that Desmond was discharged? When he called Penny from the payphone he indicated that he had two days of leave and he wanted to come and see her. All he did was fail to get out of bed and stand up while doing sit-ups. Hardly seems like enough of a reason to discharge him. I'm not entirely certain where Oxford is in relation to his boot camp or to where Penny and her Father are but I'm going to assume that they're close enough together that all the events that take place in 1996 happened within a two day span. Faraday even said get on a train and go to Oxford which leaves me to believe it's not that they're not that far away from each other.

Jason said...

crackedout:

We found out in a previous Desmond flashback that he'd be dishonorably discharged.

Jason said...

brian:

It's interesting - no doubt. Why would Kate remember the crash and no one else? Where was the pilot's wedding ring? Why is Desmond experiencing these jumps in time - with a guide - no less? Is it possible that the reason that Desmond was seeing Charlie's death over and over is because he was jumping through time as he did in this last episode? Obviously he was able to change the outcome of Charlie's death time and again. One other thought is what if the time travel is more like Back to the Future or Journeyman as Nik implied. This does not mean there are multiple time lines. It just means timelines are changed and that those changes ripple throughout the one timeline. Now, I know 'ole Doc Brown explained it as tangents from the timeline that Marty knew, but the way the movies shook out never really seemed to match up with Doc explanation in BttF2.

all: Here's something we should not lose track of - and keep in mind this could be "He lies - Ben" talking out of his rear - but what's the "box that you can have anything you want?" You know this is the box that produced John's father... I think we need to think a little bit about this now - I have a feeling we'll be surprised by that old reference soon.

Crackedout said...

Hey Jason. Yeah, I know he was dischraged. The point I was trying to make was that I did think that the incidents that took place during this episode led to his discharge. I believe that he was dicharged for another reason.

As for this "box", I don't think it exists. I think that Ben, ever the manipulator, had John's Father kidnapped. This guy is always two steps ahead of everyone else. I think he anticipated John being a problem and had his Father kidnapped as insurance. I know his Father said he just appeared on the island but he could have been drugged or told to lie. It's all mind tricks and Houdini with Ben.

The Chapati Kid said...

Hmmm... here's some information on types of "time travel":
http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/?p=58

Also, not to say that this show is magical realism -- it doesn't fit the criteria, there is a co-existence of fantastical and real. The only downside is that the real doesn't accept the fantastical at face value. But the idea of time as cyclical is quite prevalent here. Or as nodular.

Brian Douglas said...

Jason: The course-correction prevents any lasting changes to the timeline, however.

As to the box, Ben himself had admidted that it was a metaphor. But then again...he lies!

Jason said...

brian: Course correction could fix anything changed in the past - I'll agree. However, what if it doesn't change minor events? Being that this is a fictional story, I'll continue to use BttF as my basis of the creative writing possibly being used here. Course correction certainly would account for things like people dying that were supposed to die and people living that were supposed to live. However, what if there are minor things that don't "get fixed?" Biff goes from being a dominant bully to a passive detailer of cars. George McFly goes from nerd in a dead-end job to successful writer. In Lost, Charlie had to die, but when he had to die was completely up in the air as long as it was violent and "unexpected." However - again - what if the island is a place where time doesn't have any laws or rules? What if things that happen in the bubble of the island can be undone? These are just a few of the thoughts that I had.

on the box: I know that he claimed to be using a metaphor later, but this was only after he had started to lose his faith (or grow jealous) of John Locke. Then, suddenly, it was a metaphor. Still, even if it was a metaphor, for what was it a metaphor? Sure, there may not be this magical box that anything you want can appear. However, what is it that can provide to you what you want the most? Could it be a place on the island that doesn't follow the laws of time and space? Sure, there was a boat and a submarine, but I got the feeling that those were for show. Is there someplace that allows you to travel through time and space? The teleportation theory is a good one imo.

Nikki Stafford said...

Whew! I had a very busy weekend and couldn't respond to comments, but I'm thrilled to see people kept making them. I'm noticing a few people on here trying to debunk a lot of other people's ideas and theories, but I'd rather this be a place where we could just throw out whatever theories we might have, and not be worried that someone else is going to say we're simply wrong.

crackedout: I think there's a very strong possibility that the Walt Locke saw was Jacob or the smoke monster (or both) taking the form of Walt. I think the reason most people are talking about Walt getting older is, his story was SO intriguing, there's no way the writers could just drop it. Why is he special? Why could he do the things he could do? What is the extent of his abilities? Why were the Others interested in him? All of these questions need answers, and the only way to do that is to bring back the actor, who will be noticeably older, and thus they'll need to address that.

I'm TOTALLY with your brother on the crash. It's always been a huge hole in the show, which means it's probably intentional, and I think I asked the question half a dozen times in my books: What exactly happened during that crash?!

Jason: Interesting idea about the island being a place where you can change things. That goes back to the purgatory idea (which, before everyone chimes in to tell me the writers have said is not the case, is still an interesting theory to discuss whether it's true or not) and the idea that this is a place where you can redeem yourself before moving on to the hereafter. Perhaps it's a sort of purgatory on earth, as you suggest, where you can resolve things before moving back into the real world.

Matthew: At the risk of Brian telling me I'm being linear, I agree with what you're saying. :) I just don't see how you can go back in time and change something and that does NOT change history. Perhaps that's the limit of my physics thinking, but the Back to the Future model works for me.

re: Desmond's discharge. I think people are suggesting that maybe it was his behaviour in this episode -- erratic, confused -- that eventually led to his discharge. But I'm thinking it was something bigger, since he later said to Penny he needed to get his honour back.

Brian Douglas said...

jason: The one hole in the teleporter theory though is that the original would have been completely destroyed. Of course, this may be an error on the writers part.

Nikki: Let me try a more metaphysical approach: Desmond's time travels don't change history because they were always destined to happen. Does that make more sense?

And don't feel bad if you think linear. That's how the world as we perceive it works after all.

Of course, as I've said before, this is all conjecture of how time travel works in the show.

Brian Douglas said...

...and until someone actually travels and does some experiments, etc. etc.

Matthew D said...

So, Dan & Des run the experiment with Eloise and Dan says that he wasn't going to teach her how to run the maze for another hour. So if Eloise jumps 1 hour into the future to learn the maze she must have been alive 1 hour into the future.

But... she ends up dead a few minutes later. How can this be? She never could have been alive an hour later to learn the maze if her destiny was to be dead 5 minutes later.

I'm thinking this is changing history? She never lived long enough to learn a maze she's already learned???

So, since Des is destined to be on the island in 2004 does this mean that he's invincible when goiong back to 1996? Would the past course correct to stop him if he tried to kill himself?

Unless everything you'd do and affect when going back was going to happen anyway, maybe just through other means, there's no way you can't change history. The butterfly effect would create millions of different changes even by changing one single event in the past.

Either there is paradox or destiny is just working itself out in different ways. I don't think you can say that Daniel wouldn't have figured out the settings on his own that day.

Nikki Stafford said...

Brian: When I was a kid, I always figured we'll never actually achieve time travel, or else someone would have already come back in time to tell us we did. What do you think?

Matthew: Excellent point! No one has thought of that one yet! When Desmond's consciousness travels to 2004 in that scene, and then he comes back, Daniel says he's been out for 75 minutes. So technically he could have taught Eloise how to run the maze in that time and then she died just before Des woke up, BUT... when he passes out, the chalkboard is empty, and when he wakes up, it's full. I hardly think he could have filled the board, taught a rodent to run a maze, had it die, and continued writing, all in the span of 75 minutes. When Des wakes up, there's no indication that Dan had been teaching Eloise about the maze.

This is a REALLY interesting point, Matthew!

Brian Douglas said...

matthew: Well, we don't know that Dan didn't teach her for sure, but good point. As to the butterfly effect, well, the "course correction" theory seems to run counter to that theory.

Nikki: I just read an article on this a week or two ago on the very topic. The leading theory states that time travel could be achieved by creating a temporal wormhole (don't tell emila I said it!) with one end in the present, and one end in the future (assuming the physicst creates the other end then too). Then he could travel back to the earlier wormhole, but not before then. This could explain why nobody has come out and said they were a time traveler. However, creating a temporal wormhole isn't exactly rocket science. We can do rocket science, after all.

Of course, if somebody did say they were from the future, they'd probably get a visit to a mental institution, but I digress.

Matthew D said...

Has any ever read Richard Bach's "Illusions". It doesn't have much to do with Lost but it does have quite a bit to do with reality, what in fact is the real reality and who can actaully see it.

In this great little story, the author pushes us to consider that maybe the folks that we lock up in mental institutions are actually able to see and do things we can't. We think they're crazy and to protect ourselves from possibly imagining the unimaginable, we put them away.

Bach spends more of his time discussing challenging mental abilities vs. scientific theories, but the idea is the same. Anyone who claims to be or be able to do something we can't understand gets labeled crazy. Whether its Miles talking to the dead or Des time traveling, none of us would give them much of a listen in real life.

Jazzygirl said...

Okay I've been crazy busy this past week so it's taken me literally days to read all these posts! And I can say with confidence that I cannot wrap my mind around some of the timeline/wormhole/temporal anomoly, etc. stuff...at least not in a few sittings. LOL
I am a science teacher but not physics. Not my strongest science. So I CAN follow what people are saying but absorption is another thing. That being said, I am just going to post my thoughts after just watching it for the third time. Some of this has already been said I think but I'd like to chime in too. :)
Okay, so someone on here said something like it's Desmond's 1996 consciousness traveling to the present. Whereas in the flashfowards, it's his 2004 consciousness traveling to the future. I didn't quite get that until I watched it again just now. This whole time I was thinking that he was starting in 2004 and was going BACK. But I don't think it's the case. This would explain why he no memory of the island or anything else...it hadn't happened to him yet. The story was told to us from that perspective but it wasn't what was really happening. It was his past self trying to help his future self. At the end, I'm not quite sure he remembers everything once he talks to Penny. At first I thought so, but he only says to Sayid "Better, yes, I think so." When he says Sayid's name after the phone call to thank him, Sayid's expression would imply that Desmond remembers him. But it could be that he just caught his name from Frank.
I could be TOTALLY off here but it just seemed to click to me when I watched it again.
PLUS, when Daniel says to Des at Oxford "So I'll remember you coming to see me here." Desmond says "No." Daniel seems momentariily perplexed by this. I think this is implying his memory issues rather than some crazy paradox timeline thing.
Here's something I caught: When Desmond asks if he's going to die, Dan says "Well the symptoms vary from case to case."
CASE TO CASE? What does THAT mean? It would imply he has acheived time travel, either with Eloise or something(one) else many times before. No? I hope I'm explaining this right.
I guess we won't know until the next episode how much Desmond remembers.
Okay, enough of that!
Other things that stuck out to me: I agree about the idea of a wormhole in terms of the island being in a different location (like the Arctic) and thus creates a different in time ZONE, not TIME itself. You guys were talking about a phone call to China. It's not time travel just because they are in a different zone. And, agreeing with Nikki in the fact that they cannot go in a direction where very few people could follow the physics of it, I think it comes down to time zones. The island is being hidden by some weird force and it's not located where they think it is. It makes it all make sense with the disrepency of talking in real time but the payload taking longer.
The guys on the boat: CREEPY!! The one called Kingsley (I think?)...I don't know who he is, but i think his acting is great. The way he talks to Des and Sayid...it's sneaky...like he's their friend...yet hiding something. He gives me the willies.
Funny moment: when Des asks for a radiatio vest. And I don't know why I thought this was funny but when he says to doctor "You're not gonna stick me with that, brother!" :-p
Phone call at the end...I'm sorry but I think it was one of the most moving scenes I've seen in TV in a while. I was crying when I first saw, and every time after. Yes, I was dying when the phone kept ringing...but clearly it's for drama and build-up. THeir emotion was SO raw and I think Penny's acress was awesome. Of course she's laughing and crying at the same time! It's incredulous to her that he is on the phone after all this time!! For some reason I did not fear for Desmond's life, like most people on here. Not sure why.
Lastly, I was a bit surprised that they killed Minksowski's character so quick. They built it up so that he was this mysterious guy calling the shots...but he wasn't. Ah well.
And I still haven't figured out the deal with Naomi carrying Desmond's picture.

Next week's looks to be good as well!

Jason said...

Nik:

Nice to see my favorite Blogger back (then again, you're the only blogger that I read). You know, I wasn't thinking of a purgatory concept - but purgatorys is a little BttF isnt' it? After all, isn't that 2 and 3 are focused around fixing what was broken from previous trips? That said, I don't think the island is purgatory, but I think something was built or created there that can fix things. Locke's legs, Ben's spine, Jin's reproductive abilities are a few to be named. So - why can't babies be born? I suppose we could start discussing the possibility that the island thinks of babies as a parasite and it tries to "heal" the mother and ultimately kills her as well as the baby. So, why was Aaron born? Hrm - feel like I am on to something that didn't even occur to me until I started typing now. Regardless, the island has something there that allows for things to be reparied or undone.

Does anyone like my Johnlockesaidreallyreallyfast = Jacob? See, that would be interesting to me. John is the ONE person insisting that he has to stay. We're getting into fate a bit - or are we? does he realize through intuition or has the island set him up because he's eventually to become Jacob - trapped in two times but coexisting? Think of the paradox that would be caused if John really is Jacob and he makes contact with - himself. I am sure that brian could tell us a thing or two about the paradox that would be formed from one meeting him or herself at a different point in time other than where you "should" be. (brian do you like Doctor Who)

I think that time travel is what I have always thought this show has been leading toward. Then again, I have a bit of a fascination with time travel. I've had fun reading/watching everthing from H.G.s Time Machine to Einstein's thoughts on it to urban legends like the Philadelphia Experiemnt or Montauk (makes for fun fiction). Maybe it's because I always thought Scrooge traveling through time was wonderful!

brian: Haven't you seen The Prestige? Your teleportation theory has been sitting with me for some time now. That's a keen way to keep Christian alive - it's really his double. What if the teleporter clones the dead back to life? Hrm - completely FiFi - no SciFi there.

The Chapati Kid said...

One thing not mentioned in any of these discussions... has Des permanently lost his "future memories"? It has to do with the Desmond episode being about him jumping forward. He has zero memory of the island on the chopper and on the ship when they land. He has forgotten everything that happened to him on the island because he is past Desmond in the present.(Unless the lightning storm thingie causes him to go into a fugue state and THAT's why he forgets). Sayid tries hard to convince him that he's a friend, but Des refuses to accept that until S. helps him call Penny. THEN, at the end, Des shakes his hand and calls him by his name, "Sayid." But I had the distinct impression that he still doesn't know him or remember him. He just acknowledges Sayid as a person by name because Sayid has helped him.

So what does this mean? Will Desmond have forgotten ALL about the island and what happened to him there? Remember, he doesn't even remember having radiation exposure. It's Jack who tells Daniel that. Might Desmond then play a pivotal role in Ben's release and Sayid's compromised status? If he doesn't know who's good and bad, he may no longer take the Losties' side.

I swear, this is the last comment I leave on this particular post.

Brian Douglas said...

jazzygirl: Good catch on the "case-to-case" comment It might be him trying to say he doesn't know without sounding ignorant, or he could refer to different possible theories, or perhaps he had achieved time travel before. However, given his excitement with Elouise runs the maze, it would imply this was the first time. Or maybe the writers just made a mistake.

Different time zones wouldn't change elapsed time though.

Jason: I do watch Dr. Who, and enjoy it very much. I never understood the paradox of meeting your past/future self (other than traditionally you can only be in one place at one time perhaps, but we've spent the past century proving that the laws of classical physics can be broken). Anyway, I've never seen anything outside of sci-fi about the mentioned paradox.

Yes, I've also seen the Prestige, and that could very well explain to two airplanes. Other than the fact that the original should have been completely destroyed (as in atomically), but then again, this is science fiction and not science fact...ion. :-)

Chapti Kid: They didn't establish if Desmond's memory was restored, but from the look on his face at the end, I think he's got his mind all sorted out again.

Jason said...

brian: Good to see another Doctor Who fan out there. I watched the orginal series as a teen-aged kid in the late Eighties and love the current series. The reason meeting yourself is a paradox is that there are those that believe that your unique make-up can not exist twice in one place at the same time - big bang stuff would occur. It's funny though because what's the scientific basis for that? It's simply what people believed.

I'll pose the question again - what do you guys think of the two thoughts - JohnLocke = Jacob and babies being a 'disease' to women that the island needs to 'cure?'

Brian Douglas said...

jason: Didn't Juliet say as much about the baby last season? She also said that it happened at conception I believe.

Almost to 100 comments!

Brian Douglas said...

100 Comments!

Oh, I should probably post something Lost related, hmm?

Um...new Lost tonight?!?

Nikki Stafford said...

Ta-Da!!! The 100th comment!! Most EVER on one post, you guys are so awesome. :) I have been LOVING this discussion, that a very, very small part of me wishes we had another week until a new episode just so we could continue to discuss this one.

Jazzygirl: Science teacher?! You've been holding out on us, girl!! You're like a cooler Arzt. heehee... The guy on the boat was named Keamy, and he's a Canuck like me, so I particularly liked him. :)

I wonder how many times Daniel has achieved time travel since 1996? If Des gave him the proper coordinates, he could use them now whenever he wants, and then he could have been telling people things that made them all think he's a nut ("Don't buy shares in Nortel! Seriously, it's going to fall apart!!!") and he was put into a home with a caretaker.

Jason: You know, when you typed John Locke = Jacob I said it out loud, and you're right. It'll be interesting to see where they go with that!

And I saw The Prestige and thought it was fantastic. :)

CK: I totally agree that's a huge question; it was the first question I asked in my column, whether or not this means Des has now lost all his memories. That would be rather unfortunate, because we NEED him to remember things -- he was the only person in that hatch for so long!

Nikki Stafford said...

Argh... curses on Brian for beating me to 100. ;)

Brian Douglas said...

Nikki: What can I say? I was bored :-)

Nikki Stafford said...

I think I just found the new tagline for my site.

Jason said...

"What can I say? I was bored."

brian: I don't remember Juliet saying that, but I missed some things here and there. Hey - here's a thought. What if there's really two Bens. Now that we're talking about clones or teleportation.

Here's another thing to think about - let's assume that I'm right about Jack wanting to go back and "fix something." It would be safe to say that if the island is a place that time doesn't really exist as we know it that it's a dead zone in time. What if Kate REALLY was the one to apply First Aid and pull people out of the ocean - but she did it in the time line that the Oceanic Six know - which is reality. However, the reason we have played so much in this series with flashbacks and and flash forwards is that all that stuff is really happening at the same time that _OUR_ Losties on the island are experiencing the time line as it has been told to us? Think Groundhog Day. We're only catching one slice of Groundhog day - but if we had the Groundhog Day version, maybe Jack becomes the leader and maybe Kate becomes the leader. Maybe Claire dies on the beach giving birth to Aaron and Kate promises to take care of her, and maybe she really gets on a chopper like Desmond said. It's all different slices; however, you do not have one central Bill Murray figure that is reliving them - at least not that's been exposed to us yet.

John Locke could be that Bill Murray (imagine John Locke played by Bill Murray - "...upon my death bed, I'll receive total and complete consiousness. So I got that goin for me.")

The only thing about John Locke being Bill Murray from Groundhog day is that he is not yet to the point where he's relived any of his days. Okay - I'll say it's way out there - but dammit something just isn't sitting right with Jack on the stand telling his lies. Who knows - maybe he made a promise to keep survivors that wanted to stay a secret from civilization. Still imagine John Locke played by Bill Murray.

Jason said...

One more thing - here's an interesting thought. Solaris - you know the SciFi movie about getting so close to heaven that people experience a twisted piece of their heaven...

In the remake, Jeremy Davies plays a narcissist who was on the space station that was close to this planet (which I interpret as heaven). His heaven - is another one of him... a clone that eventually murders the original - because the narcissist in him is too jealous of the other version...the original "more perfect version." ;) Hmmmmm. Yeah...

Jason said...

Hey Nik:

I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that you chose to tell me you liked the Prestige because - well you liked The Prestige. But by calling it "fantastic," is there a deeper meaning in there to another entertaining piece of media to which I previously mentioned... something with a Doctor and a Sonic Screwdriver? Fantastic is too much a coinsidence if you didn't intend to "wink" at me with that comment. (Fantastic is the word that the 9th Doctor says quite often - and how he refers to Rose and himself prior to his regeneration into the 10th). Hey know what? If you have NOT watched Doctor Who, Christopher Eccleston played the 9th Doctor - you may know him as Claude, the invisible man from Heroes. Fantastic!

Crackedout said...

I could be mistaken here but at the end of "The Constant" doesn't Sayid ask Desmond if he remebers him? Then Desmond responds by saying yes or nodding his head or something? Maybe this means he won't have any memory loss.

Here's something I'm not sure anyone has touched upon: what happened to Desmond's psychic flashes? I'm guessing that those, his little mind-trip and his "alternate reality" (for lack of better words)flashback during season 3 are all related to his exposure to the elcetromagnetism at the end of season 2. It's a wonder he hasn't already had a brain anuerysm!

Steve gee said...

jason: I'm still leaning towards that the remaining six were heavily compensated (with the exception of Hurley because of his past dealings with money)to keep the secrets of the real plane and what they saw Abbadon's people do or will do if they talk about the events that took place on island. Such as maybe kill off the remainder of Oceanic 815 survivors left on the island.

Maybe Jack needs to get back because there might be a chance Clair is still alive and he knows that thats his sister. He could be lying just because of that fact. Her life might be in his hands.

Maybe Sayid and Ben are working together for the same reasons. To take down Abbadon & Co. so that either they can get back to save the island and/or help out the other survivors.

Eh who knows...

Steve gee said...

To continue my thoughts on my last comment. Maybe it is these connections and why they have to lie in order to protect a loved one. As i mentioned ealier Jack has Clair, maybe Kate's is Sawyer, Michael's is Walt, Sayid's is Nadia (assuming she is on the island). Hugo is the only one and maybe that is why everyones afraid he might talk (He does get scooby doo'd quite easily). But there must be more to him if Charlie wants him to go back and help and he also one of the few that could also see Jacob's Cabin. Hmmm...

A.G.Wooding said...

According to the writers of the show Desmond's present time is 1996 and he is going back and forth to the future. Therefore he should not remember anything after 1996. However after making contact with Penny at the end of the episode Desmond is back to normal, which means he can remember everything that has happened to him up until this point in time. Also Daniel put down those notes in his book as a warning incase he started having side effects as well, but unlike most people believe, he is not travelling between his past and future like Desmond is. Likely he knew he would go to the island one day and realised Desmond was his only hope.