Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lost: Did Jughead Explode?

Hello everyone! Yes, I know I've been really lousy at updating my blog. I was saying to someone the other day, you can spend 3 years building up a big, loyal following, and you can lose them all in one week of not posting. Such is the Internet. I've been diligently working on my book; I've taken this week off to just write, and I'm averaging about 5,000 words a day (and hoping to ramp that up on the weekend when the kids go away to Grandma and Grandpa's!) I am finding that I'm checking in on my Facebook a little too often, so if you're looking for regular updates from me, my Facebook page is probably where you'll find them.

But! I think of my Lost readers often, and I keep thinking of things to post over here. And then I put them into the book instead. But I miss discussing the finer points of Lost with you, and decided to throw out something for you to chew on for a while (and I'll try to post a new idea here more often...) So... here's something that's been bugging me while working through the season 6 episode guide, and I wanted to bring it over here and ask your opinion:

Do you think the bomb actually went off when Juliet hit it for the 8th time?

Signs that it did: The screen went white. There was the sound of an explosion. Upon waking, Kate was in a tree and had severe tinnitus, as did Miles. Sawyer and Jack were unconscious.

But the thing that's bugged me since that episode is, wouldn't the island have been obliterated? This is a hydrogen bomb: it would have taken out the island and part of the Pacific floor upon explosion. And the radiation fallout would have killed them if the bomb itself hadn't (and standing that close to it? It most certainly would have).

I'm starting to think the bomb didn't go off at all. On the 15th knock, they time-jumped to 2007, which is why the screen went white (the sky went white every other time they time-jumped) and the bomb remained inert. That's why it never went off when it was on Sayid's back and he was shot, and it didn't go off when Jack dropped it into that long shaft. It didn't go off the first 7 times Juliet hit it, and I'd wager it didn't go off the 8th time, either.

I think what instead happened was they time-jumped. It's not clear why Kate ended up in a tree and everyone was momentarily knocked unconscious, except perhaps the combination of time-jumping and being that close to a site where an electromagnetic occurrence had just happened was the thing that propelled them some distance. Jin made a comment to Hurley that when he was time-jumping before, at the beginning of season 5, he got a terrible ringing in his ears each time, so that's why they would have had the tinnitus. The reason Juliet was covered in all that debris was because she time-jumped with everyone else, but into the same spot where she was previously... only in 2007, it was filled with all of the stuff that had been in the Swan hatch when it had exploded. I think Jack dropped the bomb in 1977, and it didn't go off, and the Swan was built around it and it probably just laid there. Something had rendered it inert and it just never exploded.

Some people point to the island being underwater as proof the bomb went off. BUT... that's only in the sideways world, not in the original timeline, and the sideways world is a completely different timeline and place. In that world Jack will never time travel to 1977 to find the bomb and drop it. In that world, something else has put the island at the bottom of the ocean... it could have been the bomb, but in that world, the bomb went off because someone else set it off, not Jack. We've seen from the look of the island underwater that the Dharma Initiative existed (you can see their houses and the swing sets, etc.) and we know that Ben and his dad were in the DI, but they left and weren't blown up by a bomb, so it must have happened after the 1970s.

Regardless of when it went off in the sideways world, I'm thinking it didn't actually go off at all in 1977, because if Island 1977 happened before Island 2007, then not only would that entire section of the island be gone, but most of the island itself (if not all of it) would have been taken out by it, too. Remember, despite jumping around on different spots on the timeline, they're still on the same timeline. That's why Sawyer put a wedding ring under the floorboards in 1977 and found it when they time-jumped back to 2007.

What do you think? Do you think that white light was the bomb or just a time jump?

87 comments:

R.P. McMurphy said...

I think it went off. Back in Season One, Sayid is crawling around under the hatch, examining all the concrete. He makes the comment that the only other time he heard of something like that was Chernobyl, therfore, I think Jughead went off and it was then covered in concrete.

Benny said...

[Wasn't it on the 8th hit?]

Well, that's really an interesting discussion that will only be solved by the writers' answer!

I want to start by saying that we're dealing with a more or less magical island... one with many pockets of ELECTROMAGNETISM! It's relevant because we don't know how such an island would react if a nuclear bomb was to be detonated right?

So any call we make will only stem from speculation loosely based on TV show observations.

If we take the arguments for detonation, they are all sensible. But the truth is, so are the ones against. So which one outweighs the other? I guess the hic for me really comes from this question:

"Why were they transported back to 2007?"

This question, coupled with the unknown reaction of the island in such a scenario, makes me lean towards the it did explode option. I believe that the detonation forced the island to project everyone back in 2007 to protect them. That's my answer to the question I asked.

Now as for the arguments against the detonation, I simply use the nature of the island to counteract this. It's not far-fetched to believe that the pocket of electromagnetism at the Swan site absorbed most of the detonation, therefore requiring heavy concrete pouring - as noted by Sayid. While there is absence of a true nuclear fallout, we can easily link the post purge pregnancy issues with the effects of a nuclear detonation.

I think that the argument in favour of detonation, coupled with the question: Why did they jump back to 2007 at that point? significantly outweigh the argument against, any lingering issue can easily be reconciled using the island's electromagnetic properties.

Lisa11171 said...

I totally agree with your theory about it not going off Nikki. Everything you mentioned is exactly what I was thinking. The white light and the flash were actually the time jump. And the island underwater would have been caused by Smokey if it really happened. I don't think a bomb would make the island sink. I think The Incident was really Radzinski's team drilling too far into the electromagnetism and then realizing it had to be contained, hence the Swan station being built.

Nikki Stafford said...

Benny: Thanks for the catch! I just checked my S5 book and yes, it was 8th.

RP: I think the concrete was actually to cover up the electromagnetic incident, not the bomb. Every time they came near that area, it acted like a giant magnet, which would be consistent with the incident of the electromagnetic energy being released.

The Question Mark said...

I think it was totally a time-jump. Just like how Jack knew the dynamite wouldn't explode as long as he was sitting next to it; the Island's forces are keeping certain things from happening, and the bomb being detonated is one of those things.

BTW, I'm in Los Angeles for two weeks! I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Hurley driving around wth an I Love My Shih-Tzu t-shirt, but so far no luck!

R.P. McMurphy said...

Whoops, I meant season two. The concrete didn't do anything to the electromagnetism. Man in Black could throw a knife against the stones and it would stick. The key around Jack's neck was pulled towards still pulled towards it. The bomb was detonated right on one of the main pockets of electromagnetism and didn't affect it at all. I think the Chernobyl reference was telling. I also think it could be a fitting explanation for the fertility/coming to term problems.

Erin said...

You haven't lost your loyal following, Nikki! I'm still here, and very loyal, I promise. Don't kick me out of Nikki's army yet, now will ya?

Okay, now I'm going to go read the rest of what you wrote...

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

I don't really know if the bomb went off, but I do think that thematically it is more interesting to assume that they "caused" the incident. It illustrates so well an endless cycle of cause and effect that the characters are metaphorically trapped in.

If actively adding the bomb into the mix didn't have some causal effect on their past (ie., the plane crashing/button pushing exercise) it becomes less interesting imo. So from there I can only extrapolate that the exploding/imploding bomb mixed with the exotic electromagnetic energy to create the future (their past) scenario. It also makes a fuzzy sense to me that the mixture of whatever that is caused the pregnancy problems.

I also think that whatever happened at the swan site immediately after must have been in a sufficiently settled down state for them to pour the concrete over and then set up the release mechanism. I imagine the electromagnetic energy sucking the energy from the exploding bomb into its pocket and then "gurgling" disturbingly as the Dharma folk scrambled to deal with it.

I don't expect this to make much sense outside of my head, but I needed to try and articulate it. :-)

Eric said...

Ooops, somehow managed to repost something from season 4 by trying to use my password manager to sign in!

Meant to say that while I'm not that confident of this, I tend to think that the bomb did go off. However, it was not jughead, just the detonator for Jughead -- a much smaller bomb. Probably big enough to kill them if the island hadn't jumped them in time, but not big enough to obliterate any of the island. I figure that the DI then went ahead and built the Swan. The smaller explosion, coupled with the release of the electromagnetic energy, might even have been the Incident.

Nikki Stafford said...

Scott/RP/Benny: Interesting theory that the electromagnetism would actually have an effect on the bomb itself, sucking the explosion in and making it an implosion. I have no idea from a physics standpoint if that's possible (any scientific takers?) but I like that idea, allowing the bomb to go off but not obliterating the island.

Nikki Stafford said...

Eric: LOL!!! I saw your original post and was about to say, "Wow, I REALLY need sleep because I understand the words, but don't understand the context!" Hahaha!! Thanks for clarifying that.... you had me worried I was losing my mind.

Since the amount I know about bombs could fit on the head of a pin, I thought the actual thing they took out of the bomb casing was some sort of plutonium core or something and the large part of the bomb was just a huge casing. So you're saying a plutonium core is just the thing that allows the detonation, and the real damage is caused by whatever's in the larger thing? (God I hope that question isn't as stupid as it looks to me!)

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

Yeah! Discussion about Lost! how I have missed thee...

Good luck with the writing Nikki! I figured you were just swamped with it right now :)

I'm not sure what I think about the bomb - the sunken Island (to me) has NO bearing on this issue because it's in the "after flashes" which aren't "real" in the sense that it wasn't a sideways universe, but an afterlife thing.

I kind of like the idea that it is a time flash instead of a detonation. hmmm... have to contemplate.

VW: pullBea - when you put Opie's aunt into a cart and drag her around

Kevie said...

I think Jughead detonated. Jughead and the incident cancelled each other out. To put it another way, Jughead acted as--wait for it-- a failsafe.

Jughead had the same effect as the failsafe that Desmond activated at the end of season 2 when the hatch blew up. (The failsafe was likely another H-Bomb.) It caused a big bang, released a tremendous amount of electromagnetic energy, and briefly caused the people close to the blast to have get a little mucked around in time and space. But it prevented something much worse: the destruction of the island.

To put it another way: Daniel and Jack were wrong about using Jughead to rewrite history, but they ended up accomplishing something greater. In their mad attempt to reset the timeline, they inadvertently saved the island in the past, THUS FULFILLING THE TIMELINE.

Here's the long version: Dharma (particularly mad scientist Radzinsky) thought they could harness the electromagnetism at the Swan site by drilling straight into it. Bad mistake. They set off a chain reaction which would have ripped the island apart (not unlike what happened when Des 'popped the cork' in the finale). This was the first stage of the Incident, where the magnetism went crazy and everything metal started flying into the hole. And it would have ended with the destruction of the island, Dharma, the whole shebang.

BUT when Juliet detonated Jughead, the incident and the nuclear blast somehow cancelled each other out (or contained each other), releasing the electromagnetic charge without blowing up the island. At the same moment that it neutralized the electromagnetism it knocked the time travelers back to their proper time--including Juliet, already mortally wounded by her fall.

Back in 1977, Radzinsky realized he had overreached by trying to directly access the EM energy. But rather than just leave it alone he created this elaborate scientific station underground (the Swan) to sort of keep the channel open, while releasing the EM buildup in a controlled fashion every 108 minutes. He understood that the H-bomb contained the incident, so he sunk another one into a concrete shell, activated with a key. He spent decades down in this hatch, figuring he could eventually find a way to tap and control the energy. Eventually he despaired of this and killed himself.

Fast forward to the end of Season 2. When Locke let the timer in the computer room run out, he basically caused a second incident. This also would have destroyed the island had Desmond not turned the failsafe (set off the other h-bomb). After the second incident there was no need for the hatch mechanism any more, because the channel that Dharma had drilled to the source of the EM anomaly had sealed itself back up in the explosion.

I came up with this idea because I had never been able to figure out what Desmond's failsafe was. Since the hatch blew up anyway, what was the point of him turning that key? He must have been preventing something worse from happening: the destruction of the island and everyone on it.

Luke Phillips said...

I took it as the bomb going off at the same time as the release of the electromagnetic energy. My feeling was that the flash sideways was created by this massive amount of energy coupled with Jack's subconscious desire to change history (i.e. not crashing on the Island) coupling with the fact that time cannot be changed so the Island’s energy had to course correct the bomb’s explosion. This resulted in a "pocket universe" or "limbo" for their souls to meet after they died as represented as an alternate timeline where they never crashed. The reason the Island is sunk in this "reality" is because this is the result Jack subconsciously wanted; The Island to be destroyed by Jughead so that he and his friends could be free from it.

The Island's energy was definitely released at the end of The Incident because Jack and everyone else time traveled to 2007. Plus some of them were physically moved; like Kate who was by the hole in 1977, then stuck in a tree in 2007. It reminded me of when Desmond turned the fail safe key and him, Locke and Eko were space traveled from inside the Swan to outside of it.

What is unclear is what was the immediate aftermath of the Incident in 1977. Did Dharma immediately go back to the site and plug the hole with cement? How did they implement the system that would release the energy every 108 minutes?

Kevie said...

Luke: I LOVE your idea that the sideways purgatory was brought into being by Jack's attempt to 'fix' history. It's a very beautiful explanation: not only was time and space ripped asunder by the incident, the afterlife was affected as well. It seems to me that the island and the sideways universe need to be connected somehow for the story to come full circle, and your explanation is quite elegant. Jack did create a new reality where everything was 'fixed', just not like he thought he would. Damn, that's good.

For answers to your other questions, please see my post immediately preceding and let me know what you make of it!

Kevie said...

Oh my God-- I just realized: that's why Miles received the phrase "It worked" from Juliet. We already know that Juliet was having visions of the afterlife in her final moments, by her "we can go dutch" remark. As she died she somehow grasped that the sideways world of second chances had been created by the incident itself.

GENIUS!!!!

Pamalamb said...

Wow, what fun this is! Please Nikki keep the discussion points coming!

I was thinking that Jughead did not go off but after reading some of your posts, I kind of like the idea that it did go off but it was a modified explosion. It did not blow up the island, but caused the strange electromagnetic catastrophe that required the swan and the venting with the computer ever 108 minutes to be set up. The bomb actually going off and possibly releasing radiation would also be a possible explanation for the pregnancy problems.

@ Kevie: I love the ideas you have come up with to explain this all -- It makes a lot of sense tying in the hatch, the original failsafe key and hatch implosion with the events of "The Incident." I think that the lost group being thrown through time to 1997 during the incident and Desmond seeing certain future events and mind time traveling in "The Consent" after turning the fail safe key, also show a connection.

Fred said...

@Benny:If we take the arguments for detonation, they are all sensible. But the truth is, so are the ones against. So which one outweighs the other? I guess the hic for me really comes from this question: "Why were they transported back to 2007?"

However we as the audience conclude whether Jughead exploded or did not, our decision on this matter will preclude certain narrative readings concerning LOST's overarcing narrative and the intentions of the writers for the show. Jughead exploding or not is not a physical fact, but a sign within a web of signs, and how you or I interpret this one sign affects how we will interpret the other connected signs in the larger narrative. Do all the signs in LOST point towards interpreting the show as science fiction? Or as spiritual allegory? The problem with LOST is that the narrative allows a Gestalt where the representation of images, dialogue and action afford multiple interpretations (in this case we consider two such) precipitate into 2 distinctive genres. And in many ways, the show runners' comments have not helped to resolve this dialectic or confusion (take your pick) of representations, because as naive viewers we base our interpretations upon the show (in other words, LOST is what we return to time and again to correct our schemas concerning our experience of the show; we simply do not throw up our hands and cede ownership of the intention of the show to the show runners once it has been finished). So to which genre does LOST belong? Or, possibly, which genre provides the greater effectiveness of interpretation?

Having quoted Benny, above, I find agreement in his rendering the question of Jughead down to the question of how Jack and company travelled to 2007, and what was the cause of this. (Here we might reduce the question to deciding which explanation produces the greater effectiveness of interpretation: this is not a matter of which is the most comprehensive, nor somehow productive, but I believe is the explanation which satisfies the chosen genre most successfully). Most television police dramas, such as NCIS, simply do not satisfy their genres successfully, and plot points are often wrapped up in ad hoc manners, so we might leave the option that LOST falls into such a category and that plot points (such as the one Benny brings up) is resolved by a short-circuit bit of writing: "it just happened."

Fred said...

continued ...

To say "it just happened" is to accord a sort of hiccup in the ongoing storyline, but such occurences of happenstance are not out of the ordinary (consider how frequently our survivors managed to bump into one another before coming to the island). So let us postulate Jughead did not explode when struck repeatedly by Juliet. In such a situation, Jack and company's time travelling to 2007 may be called a product of a deus ex machina device. Unless we can find frequent occurences of such a device in the show, it stands out as inconsistent with the narrative flow of the story.

Nikki has provided a consistent, well thought out series of clues to suggest Jughead did not go off, but no solution to the question of the deus ex machina. Looking about for such a device, we might have to consider the island itself as such. We have been repeatedly told by Locke the island brought them there, and Ben referenced through metaphor a "magic box." To consider things in this way is to consider the island as a participant/character in the overall story, a point many viewers simply do not want to entertain. Thus, the answer to Benny's question being "the island moved them forward in time," has to be regarded as a reproachable solution for such fans. (My own view is the island is significant as a living intellegent system (VALIS), and that dismissing it as merely "the Source" somehow reduces the allegorical value of the story, much akin to removing the existence of God from a religious allegory).

So did the island move Jack and company forward in time? Yes, this is a valid postulate given Jughead did not explode. Did they move forward to 2007, but the island had no part in it? No, the effectiveness of this interpretation is less than the previous one and smacks of the ad hoc plot resolutions found in programs like NCIS. In short, I believe better of the writers of LOST.

Fred said...

continued ...

Following on Nikki's insights, the inactive Jughead detonator might have been recovered by the Dharma Initiative to create the failsafe which years later Desmond detonated. The Incident, which we had heard so much of, would have been what we had seen: Radsinky's hitting the pocket of the Source as the drill dug into the earth. There is a simplicity in such an interpretation which affords doing away with much of the traps of "what if" and "how" that plagues more complex solutions. As I mentioned above, following such an interpretation allows us to reconsider LOST not as an example of the genre of science fiction, but spirtual allegory. The Dharma Initiative becomes an allegorical representation of greed and human pride, while Desmond's turning the key one of sacrifice. Time travel becomes an updated version of pilgrimage (a journey from the City of Destruction [L.A., Seoul, London, Tikrit] to the Celestial City [Sideways World]). Or you may interpret it as an instance of Joseph Campbell's hero's journey. The many references of Lucs' Star Wars hints at viewers making such a connection with Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces.

But from this point, let us postulate Jughead did explode on the 8th strike by Juliet, and that the white screen which framed the ending of the fifth Season represents the resultant effect of the island's electro-magnetic properties and the nuclear explosion of Jughead's detonator. LOST is known as a hyperdiegetic serial; that is, much of what we come to know of the story is infered and not directly told to us as viewers. Part of the dramatic nature of the personae of the characters relies on their natures not being fixed. Wolfgang Iser notes R. D. Laing's view that human relationships rely for their dynamicism on the fact that human experience is not directly experiential by each of us. The whole process of human interaction depends on gap filling, or interpretation. The whole of narrative depends on this sort of gap filling, and LOST has taken this to an extreme where we are asked to provide multiple layers of interpretation for actions taking place off-screen.

We might allow for such interpretations from a more pragmmatic point of view, that they are needed to further the plot. However, the writers have been good enough to organize the plot in ways that viewers do not always have to do such heavy lifting. It is possible to watch LOST in the present without the worry of backstory or peripheral plot points. Such an approach would simply ignore the question Benny raises, and sinmply go with the flow: "once Jack and company were in 1977, now they are in 2007; it simply doesn't matter how they got to their new time." This is a perfectly acceptable point of view, and, for such fans, Benny's question is a non-issue.

Fred said...

continued ...

But let us say Benny's question is an issue, for us, and interpretation of off-screen activities is demanded to resolve such a question. We might suggest a solution to the effect of Jughead's detonator exploding had been foreshadowed when Desmond turned the failsafe key (we might point out this is not an open-ended solution as the writers have on many occassions foreshadowed events which took on greater import later in the series). Foreshadowing, we also might note, is an opportune device for introducing narrative twists.

If we reexamine Desmond's turning the failsafe key in the Swan, what did happen? The general consensus is Desmond travelled back in time, allowing for a "do over" during which he did manage to change some tiny event (perhaps the picture of himself and Penny), but also preparing the audience for the "special" nature of Desmond--a foreshadowing which takes place in Season 6. (I shouldn't continue without noting there is some idea making the rounds that Desmond's experiences after turning the failsafe was actually in the Sideways World and not the past; but this hypothesis does not seem to hold to the general narrative logic). Desmod's experience also habituates the viewer to seeing alternate events as time travel inspired, setting us up for a narrative twist with the Sideways World.

However, there is some question of what Christian Shephard meant when he said to Jack "You all created this place" (i.e. the Sideways World). If we accept that LOST is firmly set within the genre of science fiction, and that various novums (in the sense that Darko Suvin uses the term) as plausible science-based innovations apply to LOST's universe, then the Sideways World has to be interpreted as just such a novum, and not as something that is extraneous to the genre. How then might the Sideways World have been created by those (Jack and the others)? Here we can take the explosion of Jughead as providing the necessary energy to form such a world, the release of energy from the explosion being absorbed by the Source and forming a "pocket" (a term familiar earlier in Radzinsky's dialogue) into which such a Sideways World could exist. The imaginings of the survivors would fill this world as they see or imagine it, and it would be one they were drawn into upon their death in the real world.

Fred said...

continued ...

There is some confusion in trying to grasp this idea, especially if the Sideways World is inside the Source, then how is the Source inside the Sideways World? The writers may have already foreshadowed such a possibility with the notion of the tesseract from A Wrinkle in Time. The tesseract is a hypercube, requiring four dimensions. I believe the novum of LOST is that the Source is actually a Klein bottle: a surface which has no inner nor outside sides, and as such has no baoundary.

Of course, seeing the island as a Klein bottle is merely a metaphor, but it allows understanding how the Source may be inside of itself and outside of itself. In our three dimensions, a Klein bottle as with a tesseract is a topological anaomaly; but it serves as a metaphor sufficient to the demands of the genre of science fiction. It also serves well the metaphor of "moving on" to higher dimensions, the sense of which we are given at the end of the show when Christian opens the doors to the Source. It may also be said to fit well the metaphorical freedom of the Source from its own confinement within the island (a sort of bodily form that must be given off; or a coccoon from which a moth must escape): hence, in the Sideways World we see the island at the ocean bottom(therefore there is no need to "logically" wonder how the island sank to the bottom of the sea).

To recap, if we assume Jughead's detonator did not explode, we must reconsider LOST as a spirtual allegory, taking the Sideways World as Limbo (or Purgatory). The spirtualism found in LOST accords well with Buddhist ideals than Christian (but that is another matter). On the other hand, if Jughead did explode, then that explosion created the Sideways World.

LOST affords the possibility of both readings concerning whether Jughead went off or did not. However you or I choose to see it, each reading leads us in different directions. If Jughead did not go off, then we must reread LOST through a more spiritual lens, or at least follow Joseph Campbell's notions of the hero's journey. If it did go off, then we have to ponder the science fiction implications based on the novum of an electro-magnetic island whose properties appear as magic to our eyes (to paraphrase Asimov, advanced science will appear as magic to us).

Susan said...

Nikki: "That's why it never went off when it was on Sayid's back and he was shot, and it didn't go off when Jack dropped it into that long shaft. It didn't go off the first 7 times Juliet hit it, and I'd wager it didn't go off the 8th time, either."

This sums up why I don't think the bomb detonated. After Sayid and Jack lugged it through the jungle, running here and there and getting shot at, then Juliet hits it half a dozen times, and only after all that happens, THEN it explodes? All scientific arguments aside, if this is true then it's crappy writing.

M9 EGO said...

Nik, Good to hear your voice again !. I think you have a good point, I personally had always thoght the bomb went off and caused the time jump. I am surprised about your comments about the sideways work and the Island beign under the sea...now we know the sideways world was infact a 'made up world' for the benefit of Jack, nothing we saw was really true. It makes sense that in jacks 'made up world' he would have wanted the island to be under the sea because he REALLY wanted that bomb to work , and believed it would work and reset the timeline.

M9 EGO said...

After ' The End' we know SW was not a result of the hydro bomb going off....

poggy said...

Welcome beack Nikki :) I have little to add except that your theory is also my theory, especially after knowing that the SW was more a place of the mind than an actual alternate timeline. even Kate finding herself over a tree, that's not very different from Desmond waking up in the jungle after turning the failsafe key (except that Kate got to keep her clothes).

Justin Mohareb said...

The magical magnetism has already been spoken for.

redeem147 said...

I wondered about the bomb, not because of lack of devastation, but of long-term effects of radiation. Surely it would have caused more than infertility and short-term pregnancy (though something did.) Some fascinating theories here; thoughts about magnets and all.

Magical magnetism, copyright Justin Mohareb, 2004.

Nikki Stafford said...

Kevie: Brilliant! (You have this all worked out on a napkin somewhere, don't you??)

Nikki Stafford said...

Fred: Wow, I think my head just kinda exploded. In a good way. You guys are amazing. You're making me rethink a section of my episode guide now... with quotes!! :) (See, every time I have a question I just need to jump on here...)

More to come... ;)

JS said...

thoughts:

1 - plutonium core requires a flux capacitor to activate
2 - flux capacitor can be replaced by large electromagnetic force, in a pinch
3 - plutonium + flux capacitor/ridiculously powerful electromagnetic force = time jump, almost in time to save Doc from the terrorists.

OK, ok, wrong story.

Seriously (srsly??) I think the bomb had the effect of causing the time jump, it worked similarly to the donkey wheel, moving them in time, but not location. I think the incident was the breech, and the bomb was detonated by Juliet (who died three times for goodness sake!) and the explosion was sucked in/canceled out/mitigated by the electromagnetic force of that spot of the island. So, they needed the bomb to move back to 2007. I still don't know why Richard said he watched them all die (he wasn't there, and they weren't dead), but I'll chalk that up to continuity error.

As usual, being late to the party, a lot has already been said that I wanted to say, and more eloquently, but I figured I'd put my idea out there anyway. I particularly liked your explanation @Kevie. That makes a lot of sense.

@Fred - I think the point the writers have made is that we cannot separate the science (fiction) from the spiritual drivers. The Losties were transported back to 2007 through the interaction of the bomb and the electromagnetic energy, and as @Luke put it, it also "caused" the flash sideways "reality, borne of Jack's subconscious. It had a physical and spiritual impact. This act was the culmination of him letting go, so, this sideways verse was his idea (to a certain extent) of the desired outcome of his acts, but in reality, he would have to actually let go of all his preconceived notions to fulfill his destiny on the island. We’ve talked about destiny versus free will, and we now know we cannot have one without the other. Jack had to make some very deliberate decisions and take specific actions in order to fulfill his destiny. So, the scientific and the spiritual go hand in hand.

I just re-watched the man from Tallahassee last night, and what is clear to me is that even though Locke may have spiritually brought his father to the island, because the only way he could move on was to stop running from him and to deal with him directly, Ben actually brought Anthony Cooper to the island, and probably arranged to have him brought as soon as his research on Locke was done. It wasn’t the magic box, it was spirit/intuition/combined motivation or other non-physical influence upon the physical – Ben taking the action to bring Cooper there.

Nikki, keep 'em coming. I enjoy having serious thoughts about LOST again.

JS said...

.

Kiki said...

Before reading other comments . . I think the bomb did go off at the exact same time there was a time jump. Keeps all our Losties nice, "safe" and alive. But also accounts for the wreckage we see when the come too. I know there is the 30 year thing, but. . .

Since the electromagnetism was pulling everything down, so maybe it pulled the after effects of the bomb down too -- I know, I know, I'm reaching! It just always seemed to me that the bomb did explode. Why? I don't know -- its Lost! I just go with my gut feeling until you all enlighten me! :)

Benny said...

@Fred: quite the interesting series of posts. It all make sense. I think that we many looked at all the coincidences as just that and a lot of plot elements were as deux ex machina. But I don't think that's right. We need to look at those coincidences as happening for a reason. In that sense, everyone traveling back to 2007 randomly (deus ex machina) does not fit the pattern. Things don't just happen randomly on LOST, they happen for a reason.

So taking my question as to why they traveled back at this specific instant - and I believe the white flash at the end would primarily be EM - then we are left with, in actuality, two answers.
1] Because Juliet's perseverance set off the bomb and the island needed to protect everyone; or,
2] because the island wanted to prevent the bomb from being detonated.

So it is, in fact, harder to resolve this question since we're lacking proper information, but it is feasible to build a simple argument for either case. I still believe that the bomb somewhat went off, just because nothing happens for a reason on LOST, and I don't see why else the island would move them back to 2007 at this particular instant.

Benny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kiki said...

Scott said -- I imagine the electromagnetic energy sucking the energy from the exploding bomb into its pocket and then "gurgling" disturbingly as the Dharma folk scrambled to deal with it.

Woohoo! Maybe I'm not reaching that far. Glad someone else thought this was possible!

Nikki Stafford said...

Benny: Re: why they ended up back in 2007. If they'd never time jumped to 1974, they would have still been in the 2004/5 era. The others lived 3 years and ended up in 2007 before jumping back to 1977. If the bomb did indeed go off and was simply sucked in by the simultaneous electromagnetic energy, then everything that caused them to go back to the 70s (could have been the island perpetrating things, since I've always believed the island actually has a mind of its own) now returned everything to the way it was, restoring everyone to the original timeline, which is 2007 (ok, it's actually 2008 but since the writers have insisted it's 2007, I just won't quibble this one). So in a sense it was course correcting, putting everything back in order.

I'm liking this theory a LOT.

Nikki Stafford said...

Back to the comment about how Desmond turning the failsafe key was a second version of this happening (and that it was actually setting off a second bomb... I like that idea!) I immediately wondered if that means Desmond was seeing a glimpse of the sideways world in Flashes Before Your Eyes. Fred later suggested that in his comment and thought no, but I'm not so sure. There's something unreal about the world that Desmond flashes to, where Eloise is there, all-knowing and all-seeing, and she's only that way in the sideways world. In the real world, while she knows a LOT, she can't see into the future once time moves past Daniel's journals. But in the sideways world, she's different.

Of course, the difference is that in the SW you don't actually remember your real life until you get a flash of it, so I don't think it was the actual SW per se, but an altered version of it.

Benny said...

@Nikki: I agree that the island is, in a way, putting things back together. But my question, expanded, becomes: Why did the island act at that particular moment?

The island could have acted when Sayid was captured and everyone was living in the barracks. Or it could have acted as soon as everyone got to 1977.

Why did the island move them from 1977 to 2007 at that precise moment when they were trying to blow up the bomb? I agree the island is acting (semi-sentient) but I am trying to understand its motivation to act now rather than earlier (or later)!


As for the Desmond failsafe... let me posit this for fun! What if the bomb was detonated but its energy contained within the EM pocket? The Swan could be a containment station and the failsafe would have acted as a way to release the bomb's energy... just throwing it out there.

Kiki said...

Kevie -- Wow! Love this!!!! Totally expresses some of my thoughts and bolsters them with indepth insight.

Anonymous said...

It went off. Richard said he saw them all die. He must've been referring to an explosion. Maybe it was far enough under ground that there was minimal effect on the the rest of the island?

If not, what was the Incident?

It really sucks there will be nothing new to discuss.

-Tim Alan

TM Lawrence said...

EM pit sucked bomb
force in not out, canceling,
for first Jules then Des.

Juliet's coil sprung,
those near flung through time and space,
ears ringing, treed, freed.

Else, what matter that
Juliet survive her fall?
The island demands ___.

Anonymous said...

Also - I like the idea of jacob somehow being behind the time jumps 1977-2007 rather than a sentient island.

ANytime I can't explain something I think he did it. Surviving the pland & helicopter crashes for instance.

Did he send them purposely back to 1977 just so they COULD cause the Incident?


-Tim Alan

Hah - my word verification is "hograg"

mgkoeln said...

My theory (right from the end of season five) always was, that Juliet's banging on the bomb actually triggered the time jump as this was the only way the universe could course correct and avoid a major paradox from the exploding bomb. Before Juliet could do that one final bang which would have led to the explosion and thus the Losties ever being there, the universe instead time jumped the them back to safe 2007.

So, Jughead didn't go off, but Juliet's banging did cause a major leak in the bomb, so the Dharama initative had to built the concrete around it. And the radioactivity might have als caused the infertility problem.

I also like Kevies theory a lot, incorporating the failsafe key detonating a second bomb. But where to get a second bomb?

Come to think of it, the failsafe key might have detonated Jughead after all these years, though. Dharma's idea behind it might have been to better destroy the island than sucking the whole universe into an electromagnetic hole. But fortunately the failsafe/Jughead effect turned out to be a little less dramatic.

redisadore said...

Kevie,
I'm with you. This makes the moist sense of anything I've heard.

Mama Lost

Luke Phillips said...

The theory that Desmond went to the Flash Sideways in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" is interesting, but I don't think that's what happened. Desmond was already with Penny and already experiencing a deja vu of certain events on the Island. The only explanation of why Eloise would have information about Desmond is because she had Daniel's journal which she picked up after she killed him in 1977. Supposedly the journal was filled with years of research Daniel did on Dharma plus his experiences with Desmond.

I have no real answer for why they went back to 2007 other then they were supposed to. They didn't belong in 1977 but there were events in that time that they were involved in that had to happen. Once they were done they were brought back to where they belonged. It's like when Locke turned the wheel and time traveled to 2007. Why that year? Because he was supposed. He was supposed to die to set off the chain of events leading to the MIB's death.

Now here's a question. What caused the women to die during pregnancy? Was it just electromagnetism if the bomb didn't go off? Was it radiation from the bomb if the bomb went off? Or was it something else? This was a question I wished they answered because it was such a huge subplot starting from Season 3 (Season 2 even, because they brought up why the Others were taking children).

Fred said...

@Susan: Nikki: "That's why it never went off when it was on Sayid's back and he was shot, and it didn't go off when Jack dropped it into that long shaft. It didn't go off the first 7 times Juliet hit it, and I'd wager it didn't go off the 8th time, either."

Susan, the reason the detonator did not go off when Sayid was carrying it and was shot was because he had not yet armed the system. Granted, Sayid did put up his hands warning Roger not to shoot, so there still seems some confusion as to whether or not the detonator could explode if shot.

But leaving all this aside, the reason the detonator did not go off, we learn, in Season 6, is for the same reason the stick of dynamite did not go off in the Black Rock. Both Sayid and Jack are candidates--in this case the island was simply protecting them. As Ben said about Ilana, following her death, "I guess the island was finished with her." We can believe the island wasn't done with Jack and Sayid.

But the point about why it didn't go off when it was dropped down the Swan shaft is a bit more puzzling. I can only offer the writers were postulating ideas from war movies, where artillery shells or aerial bombs do not explode on impact, only to have some poor smuck give them a kick which causes them to explode. I know it's not much of an answer, but something like this might have been in the minds of the writers.

Also, not having the detonator explode on impact provided a perfect means to exit Juliet from the story. We could believe in her mortal injuries all the while having something of tremendous game changing drama to conclude with Season 5.

One final point, I see Radzinsky's drilling into the pocket as the cause of the Incident. In fact his actions were extremely harmful to the Source (much as if someone stabbed a person). The setting off of the detonator released enough energy to heal the Source, somewhat (Radzinsky's patch of concrete also acted like a bandage over the wound), and in turn transported Jack and company forward to 2007.

Fred said...

@Benny: I think that we many looked at all the coincidences as just that and a lot of plot elements were as deux ex machina. But I don't think that's right. We need to look at those coincidences as happening for a reason. In that sense, everyone traveling back to 2007 randomly (deus ex machina) does not fit the pattern. Things don't just happen randomly on LOST, they happen for a reason.

I agree that "coincidence" on LOST often turns out to be less so than fated. What I had been trying to suggest in the posts is that 2 possible fans watching the same ending to Season 5 could come away with different interpretations of not only what transpired (bomb did not go off; bomb did go off), but that however they saw this they could then rearrange previous plot lines to accord with their interpretation of the ending of Season 5.

Personally, I think the bomb did go off, but then I follow the interpretation that LOST is first and foremost well rooted in the science fiction genre. This doesn't imply the absence of spiritual influences, as I need only turn to Ursula Le Guin to find such mixture of Buddhist thought in Fantasy genre, or to Philip K. Dick to find religious-philosophy added to a strongly sceince fiction genre. However an hypothetical viewer of the ending to Season 5 concludes, certain interpretive outcomes are reasonable to assume. The answer to the question of whether Jughead's detonator exploded or not proves to be a fork in the interpretive highway. Down one way, LOST becomes a story preoccupied with the genre of spiritual allegory; down the other fork, it becomes a story preoccupied with the genre of science fiction.

While such an accounting provides a basic structure to begin further analysis of the series, it does provide some insight into why fans divide over the Finale. Those fans who have shifted their understanding of the genre of the show towards a spiritual allegory are quite content to accept the remainder of the show as focusing on such spiritual signifiers. (In fact, they have gone back to earlier seasons and readdressed their understanding of what transpired through the lens of the genre of spiritual allegory).

On the other hand, those fans (like yourself) who acknowledge LOST is at heart rooted in the genre of science fiction are less willing to participate in seeing the Finale as solely spiritual in content. I recall earlier posts that you and Teebore brought to bear, productive interpretations of the Finale, that accorded well with seeing LOST as genre specific to science fiction. (Of course, those who do not see LOST as genre specific to science fiction see such interpretations as full of contradictions and errors; they see their own position as "natural" and well-established by the programme itself).

Anyway, by invoking deus ex machina I was not supporting it as true of the show, but simply offering up a postulate that some viewers might see it as such. I suggested if as a fan, one surmised the detonator did not go off, then the movement of Jack and company has to be accorded to some other power, hence a deus ex machina. I then went on to point out that: Unless we can find frequent occurences of such a device in the show, it stands out as inconsistent with the narrative flow of the story. I then suggested the only likely candidate for such was the island itself, regarding it as a intelligent system, much as VALIS, from the Philip K. Dick book. But this would only be one viewers' position regarding the bomb not exploding. I then went on to consider how an other viewer, who considered the bomb exoploding, might interpret the movement of Jack and company to 2007.

There is some question as to why 2007, not, say, 2010, 2015? There is no real answer to this, and we muct simply accept 2007 as the point of convergence between all the various characters.

Benny said...

@Fred: I definitely agree with what you say. And I must add that on a personal basis, I see the show as rooted in the convergence of science fiction and spirituality (though I never strictly excluded spirituality from science fiction).

There is definitely much to the show's story prior to the finale to see it as rooted strictly in one or the other (as per your 2 fans suggestion). But even any
presence of deus ex machina in Lost has had purpose, and not just simply a narrative trick.

Saying the bomb didn't go off and they were transported to 2007 at that moment simply because the story required it is just a useless narrative device. It would be like answering the question 'Why?' with 'Because!'

As I mentioned earlier, the only answer I see for a bomb not going off and consistent with the deus ex machina of the island and the narrative history of LOST is that they were transported to prevent the bomb from detonating.

Fred said...

@Benny:As I mentioned earlier, the only answer I see for a bomb not going off and consistent with the deus ex machina of the island and the narrative history of LOST is that they were transported to prevent the bomb from detonating.

Your last comment is quite a profound one, and one missed by a lot of fans. If I may couch it in other phrase, I see it as raising the issue of "human agency" in the world. If Jack and company were transported to prevent the bomb from going off, then they have become pawns in the hands of fate, and the nature of human agency is removed from them.

LOST from its very beginning was a programme about human agency: from Jack running into the wreckage to save people, to Jack trying to alter the course of history by exploding the detonator at the Swan site. LOST is realistic that not ever act of human agency is successful (and Jack even admits his continued failure), but the show has been consistent with the theme of human agency. To deny it at this most elemental moment with Juliet striking the detonator is inconsistent with the overall thematics of the show.

However, LOST also questions the limits of human agency. Jacob's rules is just one such aspect of this questioning, as is the theme of long cons. In this sense LOST is echoing David Hume's own understanding of human free will. Did Sayid have any choice in becoming a torturer? A Sartrian would say yes, even though this would lead to Sayid's death. But a more practical philosopher, such as Hume would say, Sayid acted within the confines given to him, a point Eko makes to Yemi's image on the island.

So there is a stronger argument given the theme of human agency in LOST that Juliet's efforts did set off the detonator.

@Benny:Saying the bomb didn't go off and they were transported to 2007 at that moment simply because the story required it is just a useless narrative device. It would be like answering the question 'Why?' with 'Because!'

I whole heartily agree with you on this point (excepting the bomb not going off). But we may have to concede that this is actually the case. Given the let down of narrative logic in Season 6 (Zoe and Ilana's deaths, the whole business of Widmore on the island), "because" may be the answer the writers are giving to some plot points. Disappointing? Yes, but the last Season had a hurried feel to it, and it may have begun early on with the arrival of Jack and company in 2007.

@Benny: And I must add that on a personal basis, I see the show as rooted in the convergence of science fiction and spirituality (though I never strictly excluded spirituality from science fiction).

This is why I referenced Philip K. Dick, whose writings include religious-philosophical issues within a science fiction format. Becausse at heart most science fiction is humanist, spiritual ideas or religious aspirations often crop up in the genre. Even stories by Philip Pullman, whose atheism shines through his writing, are essentially humanist, and so retain a tinge of spirituality.

Pamalamb said...

In my comments yesterday I said they transported forward from 1977 to 1997. I of course meant 2007 -- I must have momentarily time traveled to the 1990s :).

@JS: I think that when Richard told Sun he saw them all die, he truly believed they all died. He knew that they had taken the bomb to the Swan work site, and he knew there was some sort of big incident (explosion?) at that site, and then they were all gone never to be seen again (until of course they crash landed in 2004). I think he just figured they were killed by the incident at the Swan site. This however does not jib with him "seeing" them die. He may have be speaking figuratively, or perhaps he was watching all that was going on at the swan site from a distance. I have often wondered what Richard thought when these same people (the 1977 time traveling Losties) showed up on the island in 2004. I was trying to recall if Richard ever personally interacted with any of them in 2004. Even if he didn't, he must have seen Jack, Katie, Sawyer, and Hurley when The Others kidnapped them.

@Kevie: I really like your idea of Radzinski spending years down in the hatch trying to figure out a way to realize his original vision of tapping into the energy source (a vision that had to be abandoned after the incident). I had wondered why Radzinski would be doing duty as a button pusher for all those years. But the idea that it was his choice to spend his time there trying to figure things out makes sense and then eventually coming to the realization that his original vision would never come true was too much for him to handle and he killed himself. I imagine that he and Inman were not killed in the purge because they were in the hatch and the protective suits were originally thought necessary to protect themselves from any remaining gas or future gas attacks.

carson said...

I think you are misunderstanding the sideways reality by saying it is a completely different timeline and place. We found out it is not a place in the physical world. It was just where they were hanging out after they died before they moved onto the light (heaven). Now if we assume Hurley lived for hundreds or thousands of years and he is in the sideways, then that place is the far far far future nonphysical reality. It's not a separate physical timeline. I think what the writers did was give a glimpse of the island in the far far future after Hurley dies and several other future Jacob's die. Let's say its 3,000 years into the future. By then, most likely no one lives on the island and with the conditions of the Earth always changing (volcanoes & Hawaii was once under water), the island is under water in the far future. Now this does not fit tightly in with the sideways world being a nonphysical reality where the dead are, BUT I think showing the island under water was the most significant Hint that the sideways world was the place of the dead. The island under water was just a hint from the writers about the reality of the sideways world; The Losties are all dead in the spiritual world and when they are ALL gone from Earth, they show us the Losties in death in the Sideways world and show us what the physical world looks like in the far future. The island is under water:)

I think you may be right regarding the bomb not going off. I doubt the writers will address it, however it seems the writers intend was that it went off, but it makes more sense that they just time jumped.

yourblindspot said...

Well, dammit -- it totally figures that the first day all week I haven't checked the blog ten times like a drowning man searching the horizon for rescue is the one you choose to post something. And on LOST, too!

Personally, I think the bomb did detonate, that they were the ones responsible for "The Incident" as it historically occurred. I believe the show stuck to the same basic rule of thumb with the vast majority of answers it offered to questions of overall grand LOSTian mythology over the course of the last season, and the rule was that the simplest solution is usually the best one. That being said, I'd hope that it detonated... otherwise, Juliet's death sure would seem to have been for nothing.

Nikki Stafford said...

Re: The sideways world. I didn't express myself properly on that, and I apologize. Yes, I know it's not a separate timeline... right now I'm working on the first half of the episode guide, and because I write the books in such a way that I can't give away spoilers and have to be asking the questions we were all asking at the time, in my head I'm still in that place of speculation we were all in about 3 months ago. So that's why I referred to it that way. But yes, I'm perfectly aware of what it is; I was one of the first bloggers to clarify what it was moments after the episode had aired (and you can scroll back to see several blog posts on it) so yes, I know it wasn't a separate timeline. But there are some people still arguing that's what it was, and so I was saying it within that context. ;)

Wanda said...

Thanks for pointing out it was really 2008. The writers really did need calendars (3 years after rescue just after Christmas 2004)...always bothered me.

Along with Richard's line about seeing them all die. There's no good explanation for these, except to call them mistakes.

I did think the bomb went off. And always went off.
But even if it explains miscarriages, it does nothing to explain why infertile men like Jin were suddenly capable of fathering children.

And appreciate Fred's sci fi/spiritual interpretation dichotomy. Although I've never considered myself a scifi fan before.

Kevie said...

As to why the Losties ended up in 2007 following the incident: I assumed it was simply because that was their proper chronological time. They had jumped around in time quite a bit, but on some level they each had an internal 'clock' that was reading "2007" at that point. They were time-stamped, if you will.

The time-jumps were caused by the donkey wheel mechanism, which was a primitive method to crack time and space by releasing the island's electromagnetic energy in a controlled fashion. When the wheel was knocked off its axis the jumps started happening randomly until Locke fixed it, stranding the time-travelers in '77. The incident was a more profound release of the same energy, and had the effect of popping them back to their proper time.

This is related to why some of the O6 landed back in Dharma time after the Ajira plane crash. The island, for whatever reason, grabbed them and placed them chronologically with the members of their group who were already in that time period. They wound up there because the island 'grouped' them with their fellow candidates. (Hmmm... but why wouldn't Sun have been sent back there as well? Could it be that Jin was the 'Kwon' candidate after all?)

@Fred: Great analysis, too many brilliant ideas to even comment on. I really like the idea that the bomb didn't go off earlier simply because it would have taken out a candidate if it had. Now that I think of it, it even sheds light on Doc Arzt's death in season 1. At the time it seemed awfully convenient that he was the only one who accidentally set off the dynamite, with the merest of contact. But now we know that the others couldn't have died that way because they were candidates. Boy, Jack & Co. really could have saved themselves a lot of worry over the course of six seasons had they only known that the island wasn't going to let them die!

@Pamalamb: Brilliant to draw the connection between the purge and the hatch's gas suits. Just like everything else Desmond was doing in that hatch, he was doing it without the foggiest idea whether it was really necessary or not.

Regarding the question of why pregnant women were dying: is it possible that that was an unintended residual side effect of whatever awful gas was used in the purge? (Thus it was a problem that Ben had inadvertently created.)

Thanks @Nikki, @redisadore, @pamalamb, @kiki for supporting my 'second incident' theory! I worked that idea out over the course of several heated facebook arguments. I was happy to be able to use this venue to summarize it!

Anonymous said...

The bomb went off. If it did not, all there was was an EMP pulse (from electromagnetism). But we have seen the results of EMP pulses on the island before (hatch imploding), and nothing like the time displacement happened. People were thrown every which way, but no time displacement at all.

Something more must have happened this time. It was the modest nuclear blast from the cylinder that amplified the EMP pulse and kicked off the time jump.

The full white out is a pretty tell tale sign.

Bill

Nikki Stafford said...

Re: 2007: Yes, they were time-stamped to go back to their time, but that should have been 2008, I think. They were rescued in January 2005. They were away for 3 years. Technically they returned to the island in January 2008. NOW... the one thing working in the writer's favour here is that it by "3 years" it could be the same way in August 2009 you would say of something that happened in November 2006, "That was 3 years ago." It wasn't quite 3 years, but that's what we typically say. So, it's possible they were off the island until November or December 2007, and it was 3 years-ish, which puts them in 2007. That's why I don't gripe about it much, because it could actually still be 2007. ;)

LittleMo said...

Thanks Nikki - what a great thread you have started.

I'm no bomb expert either but I know you have to think of it like a match lighting a firework. You strike the match then use it to light the firework. Well a detonator is like a match and is used to light the main bomb.
What about the episode where Sayid and Jack and (was it) Richard and Eloise swam through the pool to the cave where jughead was hidden. Didn't we see a time period during that where Sayid worked on the bomb to remove the detonator and put that (only) into the back pack.
(and surely it got very wet on the swimso how come it still worked at all)
So I believe that it was the detonator that did/didn't go off not the whole bomb.

I don't have any particulare views on whether it was the bomb or a time jump that sent them back to 2007.
Surely Damon and Carlton have told us that they are not going to answer every question and allow individual people to come to their own decisions and interpretations.
so maybe this is one of those things where there is no right or wrong answer - just interpretation.

And that brings me back to the purgatory question - I am a strong believer that it is a parallel timeline for many reasons.
If Jack only just arrived there after he died on the island then how come he had lived there long enough to marry Juliet, have a son, and then separate/divorce from her before he got there. If that wasn't a parallel timeline then can someone please tell me what it was. And there are other examples - like Daniel didn't grow up to be a scientist but a musician. Sawyer became a cop not a villain etc etc etc.
So all these people must have spent time in 'this place' and so lived their two different lives.

Niki maybe that is an approach to your book. Don't try to give us right and wrong answers. Give us the alternatives and the points for and against them - and then let us make up our own mind.
If you try to be to conclusive and state that a certain thing is right well - you run the risk of being wrong and you may alienate a lot of people and go against the intentions of Damon and Carlton

Maybe we have to wait for the 'Official Lost Encyclopaedia' due out later in the year. If its truly official then surely its explanations should be definitives. Unless it is a cop out and describes just what happened and not why.

The Lost Goose said...

I'm surprised by the controversy. It didn't go off. We know the universe course corrects. The flash is just the pocket of light from the Source course correcting and taking them back.

Cris said...

The bomb did go off.

Juliet's greatest moment is NOT pointless.

She didn't die in vain.

She saved the island from sinking. The electromagnetism would suck everything. The island would sink.

Juliet saved the island from sinking. She saved the island. She saved the world.

Just like Desmond and Jack.

She is a hero.

Nikki Stafford said...

LittleMo: Nikki maybe that is an approach to your book. Don't try to give us right and wrong answers. Give us the alternatives and the points for and against them - and then let us make up our own mind.
If you try to be to conclusive and state that a certain thing is right well - you run the risk of being wrong and you may alienate a lot of people and go against the intentions of Damon and Carlton


If you've read any of my books you'll know this is exactly the approach I've taken in every one of the books I've written. Rarely do I say, "THIS is what happened and that's that" but instead I've always left things wide open to interpretation, giving people the questions they should be asking and helping them along by giving them the tools to come up with their own interpretations.

Since that's also the approach I've always taken on the blog, and the day after the finale I offered several different readings of the last 15 minutes to help people reach their own conclusions (and once again wrote this very post on the bomb in the form of a question) I'm surprised someone is giving me this as advice, when it's been my method of writing for the past 12 years. ;)

Re: purgatory: we only saw what happened after he got on the plane, so it doesn't necessarily mean he didn't go and do all of those things, but that we were just privy to watching those few crucial days that mean the most to us. Another possible explanation is that he was given all of those memories as if he'd lived it already, but didn't have to go through the actual 35 years or whatever it took him to get there.

And also, Christian says that time doesn't exist there. So that means everything is happening at once, in a sense. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but if you read Slaughterhouse-Five it might make more sense (a book referenced in S4; I outline it in my S4 guide). The idea is that all of time is happening at once. You could be 25 right now, but somewhere you are also 12 and 8 and 5 and still experiencing all of the experiences you had at those ages at the same time, but your primary consciousness is in the 25-year-old body. In "The Constant," Desmond's consciousness jumps between those two ages. They are happening and are always happening, but typically his consciousness is simply rooted in the one that is moving forward. It's a shock to his system when it breaks out and revisits a time from his past, erasing all of the future memories to make it more realistic time jump.

That probably didn't explain it very well (I'll do a better job in the book) but that's another possibility for why time seems so fluid in the SW.

The Lost Goose: I don't see it as controversy as much as a disagreement, but the reason the disagreement exists is simply because we all have different backgrounds and are interpreting the moment the way that best suits us, which is the way Darlton have set up the show to be watched. So as you can see from the comments, some people feel vehemently that that bomb actually did go off, and others that it didn't. I thought it didn't, but after reading this thread I'm convinced it did. :)

Eric said...

Hey Nikki -- I have to admit that I don't have any professional training in bombs, or anything like that, but I seem to remember that in Season 5 when Jack and Sayid into the underground tunnels with Richard and Eloise to get to Jughead, that Sayid said they didn't need to rake the whole bomb, just the detonator. My distinctly inexpert understanding is that the detonator is a small device the starts the nuclear reaction, and that the rest o the bomb is the plutonium or other fuel that creates the really big boom ... but I could be wrong! I'll have to go back and watch that scene.

LittleMo said...

Hey Nikki - thanks for such a long and comprehensive reply . You have made my day by reading it all and then taking the time to give a full answer. It wasn't meant to be an attack or lesson in any way - maybe just some helpful tips - that were unnecessary.
So..........
HUGE APOLOGY - I'm sorry. I wasnt' meaning to criticise your or your books in any way. I do in fact have them all (about Lost) and have read them all, but its a while ago now and the memory fades. I do remember them having great discussions of all points of view in - now I think back !!
Yes - I'll put slaughterhouse five on my reading list !
It was just the very black and white question you asked of - did the bomb go off yes or not with a very black or white answer (yes or no) - led me down the blind alley of thinking that maybe you were going to start to be black and white with things yourself and try to give definitive answers now that it has all finished. I'll know better next time !! :-)
And I'm looking forward to the book even more now.

Also thanks for the long answer about purgatory and parallel lives etc. I did understand it and it has helped me to understand about that whole sideways thing - so thanks for that too.

So now I just look forward to your next question and a lively debate about it. Keep 'em coming and keep up with the good work - we know you can deliver :-)

Nikki Stafford said...

LittleMo: No, don't worry at all! I didn't take that as criticism, just wanted to make sure everyone knew that I wouldn't change my method of writing on this book just because it's the last one. I've tried my hand at speculation, but it always seems to blow up in my face, so I do it my way instead and it works better. And makes me look less insane. (Well, just a tiny bit less insane.) ;)

And yes, definitely check out Slaughterhouse-Five. When people ask me if there was one book above all others on the show that helped illuminate the theories, I point to that one. ;)

Anonymous said...

Blow up / didn't blow up... It's irrelevant. You built up a fan base for a show that built a fan base that was interested in the twists and turns of the island and the characters on 815. The wrtiter really ignored that with the finale. I'm really surprised there isn't a huge amount of backlash. why did you watch this show all those years? because of what was going on on the island. In the end, all of it and the unanswered questions were glossed over and it was just a way to say the group bonded and are going to heaven together. all the millions of questions that didn't get answered is why the show lasted so long. and they were ignored in the end. I was very disappointed and we can debate things all day. but it's not in the show.

LT McDi said...

"As for the Desmond failsafe... let me posit this for fun! What if the bomb was detonated but its energy contained within the EM pocket? The Swan could be a containment station and the failsafe would have acted as a way to release the bomb's energy... just throwing it out there."

I really like this because it pulls the elements together nicely.

Dharma drills into an EM pocket causing uncontrollable "bleed" of that energy out with catastropic results. Juliette detonates Jughead which somehow staunches the EM "bleed" but the result is that the combined energy has to have a controlled release every 108 minutes which is way the Hatch and the button are designed.

The button continues to be pushed because Dharma isn't sure what the result of releasing the energy will be. (turns out to be purple sky) Then after the Purge..the only Dharma members left are the two the gas couldn't reach. And they just keep pushing that button.

Teebore said...

Well, I was out of town last week, and missed most of the discussion, but, um, what Benny said. :)

Gillian Whitfield said...

Hmm . . . I think that the bomb did not go off, it just created another time flash, and sent everyone flying. And since they were so close to the construction site, they were rendered unconscious.

Anonymous said...

At the end of season 5, Jacob's last words were "they're coming", meaning "the candidates are coming". The flash is what Jacob knew was going to happen - it was part of his plan to bring them to 2007 to replace him.
I think the bomb simply didn't explode when Jack dropped it because he waited too long, or he was too late. Radzinsky had already drilled into the energy pocket, and that somehow caused interference when Jack dropped it. Juliet tried in her weakened state to detonate it, but the flash interfered.
There is no evidence to suggest the bomb did explode. Anything we saw in the "sideways", does not exist "in time".

Sagacious Penguin said...

Wow! Can't believe I missed this! That's the question of the season for me!

I'm in the camp that say it did go off.

The combo of H-Bomb plus mad Electromagnetic Energy resulted in the Sideways timeline which was identical to the original prior to 1977. (Hence how Sideways Eloise could have possibly possessed original Faraday's journal and known so much since she had it in '77).

The Island course-corrected our heroes' huge time-threatening obstacle by shunting the majority of the H-bomb damage into its newly created timeline, which caused the island to slowly sink there, forcing Dharma to leave bit by bit until the Island was completely underwater in 2004.

In the original timeline our heroes were boomed back to 2007 and left scattered around on their backs much the way survivors have been rescued and scattered before from such things as the crash of Flight 815, the Hatch Implosion, and the Ajira Flight -- the will of the Island or perhaps Jacob at work.

So the original timeline retains "Whatever Happened, Happened," and perhaps Miles was right to some extent when he suggested Jack was about to cause "The Incident," and the Sideways time is created ("It Worked") by our heroes as a place for themselves to meet up again. But since the place is transitory and not as legit as the original timeline, they're able to "let go" and "move on" from it, remembering their entire original lives in the process. For everyone else in the Sideways, however, who never come to realize their other lives, the place is just as real. (Maybe they'll remember both lives after they've died and gone into the bright light).

That's how I see it all anyway :) I try to buy into the theory that throws out the least amount of plot points, and there were plenty throughout Season 6 that connected the H-Bomb to the Sideways world (Underwater Island, Faraday's memory, "It Worked"). To say all those things were just red herrings would really under-cut the overall narrative/drama for me. Far more interesting for the Sideways to be the direct result of our characters' actions/sacrifices (as indicated) than just an "ain't that neat" epilogue the way a lot of viewers seem to dismiss it as.

Rainier said...

First, I am so late to this party. I have been absent from this blog for some time, as I've been occupied with sorting out my personal life. But I am very glad to be back. I have missed this community greatly.

@Nikki: Regarding H bombs and the detonator -

The difference between an A-bomb and an H- bomb is that in an A-bomb (like the original nuclear bombs that were created by the Manhattan Project and that we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki)), refined uranium and/or plutonium is used to create a reaction the causes the atoms of uranium/plutonium to split (fission), which releases an immense amount of energy and radiation.

An H-bomb is a much more powerful reaction, in which plutonium is used to drive a reaction that causes hydrogen atoms (there is a dry fuel in the core of the secondary stage that produces some heavy isotopes of hydrogen) to fuse, forming helium, and releasing high-energy neutrons.

The fusion core of the bomb may in turn be surrounded and compressed by a layer of uranium-238, a material that becomes fissionable when bombarded with those neutrons. So what you get is a fission - fusion - fission reaction that is extremely powerful and very dirty; it produces a lot of radiation.

The bombs that were tested in the Pacific in the 50's were producing reactions up to 15 megatons - several hundred times the yield of the bombs dropped on Japan.

In order to set this fusion reaction in motion, an A-bomb is used as a trigger. The A-bomb, or primary stage, consists of a core of uranium and/or plutonium surrounded by high explosive, which is in a configuration that actually implodes, compressing the uranium/plutonium enough to cause it to go to critical mass - the point at which the fission reaction begins. It may also be "boosted" by a small amount of fusion fuel.

The bomb that they set off (or didn't, depending on your interpretation) at the end of S5 was this primary stage (trigger) of the H-bomb. An interesting note: it would appear on the show that this trigger is the wrong shape. In order for it to go to critical mass, the primary stage is a sphere, so that when the high explosive goes off, all of the energy is directed toward the center of the sphere, where the uranium/plutonium core resides.

The secondary stage - where the fusion happens - also contains a hollow core of plutonium, but it is in an elongated shape and cannot achieve critical mass without being compressed by the energy from the trigger. This core is surrounded by fusion fuel (essentially, heavy hydrogen).

SO - in order to detonate the atomic bomb, they had to detonate the high explosive surrounding it. How Juliet would have done this by banging on the case with a rock is beyond me. Most high explosive just is not that unstable; it should have needed to be triggered with some sort of detonator.

The primary stage for an H-bomb would probably, in and of itself, not have had that (relatively) great a yield. Remember, even some of the places where we conducted H-bomb tests - such as Bikini Atoll - are still around, if somewhat radioactive. So it would not have destroyed the island entirely in any case.

Add to that the effects of the mysterious island EM energy, and anything might have happened...even the time shift that brought the characters back to 2007.

Rainier said...

First, I am so late to this party. I have been absent from this blog for some time, as I've been occupied with sorting out my personal life. But I am very glad to be back. I have missed this community greatly.

@Nikki: Regarding H bombs and the detonator -

The difference between an A-bomb and an H- bomb is that in an A-bomb (like the original nuclear bombs that were created by the Manhattan Project and that we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki)), refined uranium and/or plutonium is used to create a reaction the causes the atoms of uranium/plutonium to split (fission), which releases an immense amount of energy and radiation.

An H-bomb is a much more powerful reaction, in which plutonium is used to drive a reaction that causes hydrogen atoms (there is a dry fuel in the core of the secondary stage that produces some heavy isotopes of hydrogen) to fuse, forming helium, and releasing high-energy neutrons.

The fusion core of the bomb may in turn be surrounded and compressed by a layer of uranium-238, a material that becomes fissionable when bombarded with those neutrons. So what you get is a fission - fusion - fission reaction that is extremely powerful and very dirty; it produces a lot of radiation.

The bombs that were tested in the Pacific in the 50's were producing reactions up to 15 megatons - several hundred times the yield of the bombs dropped on Japan.

In order to set this fusion reaction in motion, an A-bomb is used as a trigger. The A-bomb, or primary stage, consists of a core of uranium and/or plutonium surrounded by high explosive, which is in a configuration that actually implodes, compressing the uranium/plutonium enough to cause it to go to critical mass - the point at which the fission reaction begins. It may also be "boosted" by a small amount of fusion fuel.

Rainier said...

The bomb that they set off (or didn't, depending on your interpretation) at the end of S5 was this primary stage (trigger) of the H-bomb. An interesting note: it would appear on the show that this trigger is the wrong shape. In order for it to go to critical mass, the primary stage is a sphere, so that when the high explosive goes off, all of the energy is directed toward the center of the sphere, where the uranium/plutonium core resides.

The secondary stage - where the fusion happens - also contains a hollow core of plutonium, but it is in an elongated shape and cannot achieve critical mass without being compressed by the energy from the trigger. This core is surrounded by fusion fuel (essentially, heavy hydrogen).

SO - in order to detonate the atomic bomb, they had to detonate the high explosive surrounding it. How Juliet would have done this by banging on the case with a rock is beyond me. Most high explosive just is not that unstable; it should have needed to be triggered with some sort of detonator.

The primary stage for an H-bomb would probably, in and of itself, not have had that (relatively) great a yield. Remember, even some of the places where we conducted H-bomb tests - such as Bikini Atoll - are still around, if somewhat radioactive. So it would not have destroyed the island entirely in any case.

Add to that the effects of the mysterious island EM energy, and anything might have happened...even the time shift that brought the characters back to 2007.

Rainier said...

I side with those who believe that the bomb did detonate. I tend to agree that the interaction of the energy of the bomb and the energy from the island's electromagnetism either canceled each other out - to some degree - or that something else happened. I quite like Kevie's idea that the bomb acted as a failsafe, and that perhaps later another A-bomb was used as the failsafe triggered by Desmond. Very neat idea!

I particularly enjoyed Fred's extensive post on the relative merits of each side, and the split between the science fiction genre and the spiritual allegory genre, as well as the discussion of how these two may fuse.

It seems clear to me that the detonation of the bomb did, in fact, result in a fork in the path that the show took - and that the writers chose to explore both directions in the island reality and the FSW, respectively.

I remain disappointed in the finale. I felt that the entire FSW storyline wound up detracting from the series as a whole, and it did not have to be that way. I would have found the story far more satisfying if the FSW had remained an alternate timeline rooted in this plane of existence, and if the writers had paid off the discussions of quantum physics and so forth that might have resulted in a kind of "possibility travel" that did not end up relying on a strictly spiritual plane of existence. I simply would have found it far more interesting and intellectually satisfying.

Considering the statements that were made about the FSW representing "what would have happened if flight 815 had never crashed", I felt like the FSW ended up being a long con on the viewers. And while I admit that it was satisfying on a purely emotional level, that was never the reason that I loved Lost and became so invested in it.

Poltercow said...

Sagacious Penguin: "Far more interesting for the Sideways to be the direct result of our characters' actions/sacrifices (as indicated) than just an "ain't that neat" epilogue the way a lot of viewers seem to dismiss it as."

I always figured the bomb did go off, but like some others here, also figured the explosion "intermixed" in some fashion with the force that Radzinsky had drilled into. The thought of the "Sideways World" being a product of those actions in the "real world" is fascinating.

I also think it entirely plausible (and logical) that the Sideways World is much more than an epilogue device when you take Desmond's experience into account.

The other characters have their epiphanies in the Sideways World, remembering things that happened when they were alive. Desmond's experience is more complex. During Widmore's "electromagnetic experiment," Desmond "experiences" the Sideways World as the others do -- has his epiphany, remembers his life on the island and what happened there -- but then he carries that memory back with him to the "real" world, when he was still alive.

This changes the way Desmond behaves back in the real world. It has an effect. Causality is thrown for a loop (literally)!

We see Desmond become preternaturally calm in his responses to Widmore, Flocke, Sayid, etc. He stuns Widmore by agreeing to help him. Flocke is at a loss for words at the well when he asks Desmond, "Why aren't you afraid?" Desmond "remembers" that everything is going to turn out all right. He knows that he will "remember" what to do when he gets to the bright light.

But his memory is faulty. He was unconscious after pulling the rock out of the hole, then he spoke with Jack, but fell unconscious again for who knows how long after that. He recalled pulling the rock out of the hole, but like a trauma victim, doesn't get all the details right. He never saw Jack put the rock back in (in fact, nobody did).

Widmore told Ben that Jacob visited him and convinced him to come back to the island -- to bring Desmond back. If Widmore had not done that, it seems reasonable that Flocke would have simply left the island after he thought he had killed the candidates. But once Widmore told Flocke why he brought Desmond back, Flocke couldn't resist the opportunity to destroy the island -- "something I could never do myself." Desmond was indeed a weapon, as Jack surmised -- the rock had to be removed, and the light put out, in order for Flocke to become vulnerable and be killed. But it seems Desmond was also bait to hold Flocke on the island and give Jack one last chance to fix everything.

Seen in this fashion, the Sideways World does become much more than an "ain't it neat" epilogue device. It becomes a crucial element to the entire tapestry.

Poltercow said...

Sagacious Penguin: "Far more interesting for the Sideways to be the direct result of our characters' actions/sacrifices (as indicated) than just an "ain't that neat" epilogue the way a lot of viewers seem to dismiss it as."

I always figured the bomb did go off, but like some others here, also figured the explosion "intermixed" in some fashion with the force that Radzinsky had drilled into. The thought of the "Sideways World" being a product of those actions in the "real world" is fascinating.

I also think it entirely plausible (and logical) that the Sideways World is much more than an epilogue device when you take Desmond's experience into account.

The other characters have their epiphanies in the Sideways World, remembering things that happened when they were alive. Desmond's experience is more complex. During Widmore's "electromagnetic experiment," Desmond "experiences" the Sideways World as the others do -- has his epiphany, remembers his life on the island and what happened there -- but then he carries that memory back with him to the "real" world, when he was still alive.

This changes the way Desmond behaves back in the real world. It has an effect. Causality is thrown for a loop (literally)!

We see Desmond become preternaturally calm in his responses to Widmore, Flocke, Sayid, etc. He stuns Widmore by agreeing to help him. Flocke is at a loss for words at the well when he asks Desmond, "Why aren't you afraid?" Desmond "remembers" that everything is going to turn out all right. He knows that he will "remember" what to do when he gets to the bright light.

But his memory is faulty. He was unconscious after pulling the rock out of the hole, then he spoke with Jack, but fell unconscious again for who knows how long after that. He recalled pulling the rock out of the hole, but like a trauma victim, doesn't get all the details right. He never saw Jack put the rock back in (in fact, nobody did).

Poltercow said...

continued ...

Widmore told Ben that Jacob visited him and convinced him to come back to the island -- to bring Desmond back. If Widmore had not done that, it seems reasonable that Flocke would have simply left the island after he thought he had killed the candidates. But once Widmore told Flocke why he brought Desmond back, Flocke couldn't resist the opportunity to destroy the island -- "something I could never do myself." Desmond was indeed a weapon, as Jack surmised -- the rock had to be removed, and the light put out, in order for Flocke to become vulnerable and be killed. But it seems Desmond was also bait to hold Flocke on the island and give Jack one last chance to fix everything.

Seen in this fashion, the Sideways World does become much more than an "ain't it neat" epilogue device. It becomes a crucial element to the entire tapestry.

Poltercow said...

Damn. Sorry about the "double posting." I tried to hit the delete key, but nothing happened until the eighth time, then there was this white flash ...

Anonymous said...

Poltercow-enjoyed reading your posts. I still feel the hydrogen bomb did not explode. I guess there is one side that feels it did explode because that's what always happened, that they (jack et al) created the incident. However Daniel Faraday believed them to be the "variables", and if the actions of the variables were successful (bomb detonating), that event would be significant enough to not only negate the energy but would stop them from needing to build a hatch and would stop several series of events from ever happening including oceanic 815 from crashing.
We never actually saw 1977 again after the 8th bang by Juliet. We do know that they all flashed to 2007 and that the island looked the same as they remembered it when they were last there in 2004 (hatch was imploded, camp was still there etc.). So at least in Daniel Faraday's vision of it working, it didn't work. There was no "reset". The candidates plus Miles, Juliet, Rose, Bernard and Vincent flashed, probably as a result of Jacob bringing them right after Ben stabbed him he said "they're coming".
However there was still the incident as there always was, they did drill into the energy pocket, and they needed to contain it by building the hatch. Nothing changed.
I still also believe that the sideways world had absolutely nothing to do with the hydrogen bomb or the incident. At first I too wondered why Juliet said "it worked" as she was dying, but this was explained at the end by her saying "it worked" meaning unplugging the vending machine.
The sideways world does not exist in time. Unlike the flashbacks where we could see who the characters were in their actual past, the sideways world shows us who the characters became at the very "end". I don't feel one "incident" or one person could ever create this place. It exists based on everyone's experiences on the island, and how those experiences changed them. It was created by all of them as Christian said. I do not know "how" exactly a purgatory type of place exists or even if there is a scientific type of explanation for it, but it was not the "incident". Just my interpretation.
Linda

Rainier said...

@Poltercow: I think that your interpretation of the FSW is an intriguing one, particularly as it relates to Desmond and his sudden change of demeanor on the island. Nice piece of thinking!

And S.Penguin is correct that it makes far more sense that much of the energy from the detonation could well have been shunted into creating the FSW. But my question remains: why would that amount (and it would have been a prodigious amount) of energy have been used to create this other reality...only for it to reside on a strictly spiritual plane of being? Would it not have made more sense for the "pocket universe" thus created to reside in a physical plane of being - ie, a true alternate timeline?

Yes, I still want an explanation rooted in science. Sigh.

Sagacious Penguin said...

@ Poltercow: Your summation of the FSW's influence upon Desmond is spot-on, and I did note a similar connection in my blog write-up back when the episode aired. I suppose when I refer to the FSW as being an "ain't that neat" epilogue if it's not connected to The Incident, I mean that the FSW being "just the way life/death works" in the world of the show makes it seem too superflous to me, even if Desmond's FSW experience was crucial. It's not saying it would be unimportant w/o the Incident connection, it's saying it would be tangential and/or out-of-nowhere. This is a legit complaint many people have, but for me the oddity of it is lessend when one doesn't dismiss all the clues that linked the FSW to the Incident pre-finale. Also, when we're left with Christian saying that the characters created the FSW - we have ZERO clues on how this works or why OTHER than the Incident-related ones. So, for me it just raises too many unnecessary, unrelated questions if one doesn't go with the only available in-show suggestion and stick with the Incident being what started the FSW. But that's just my perspective on it :)

@Rainer: My take is just that it's not possible for the light to create another equally real place. In LOST there seems to just be the one true timeline, and the FSW is an imperfect creation of the Island's light/energy (the stuff that makes up life and death, etc). I think it was physically just as real as the original timeline for the folks within it, but because it was an offshoot removed from time, the memories (and neck injuries) of real-existence were able to seep through and change things (in the same way that our characters often interacted, even physically, with supernatural apparitions/visions and such on the Island). Hence David is only a physical being in the FSW, because he never existed in the original timeline, and seems to disappear after Locke reminds Jack he never had a son.

Rainier said...

@ S.Penguin:

I was really hoping that what had happened was that the bomb did explode, and that it worked in the sense of the reset that the lostaways had been hoping it would: that as a result of changes to the original Incident, and to the resulting Swan station, the Oceanic 815 did not crash. BUT, since in the OT, the plane did crash and the results were the 5 seasons of Lost that had already occurred,and since these event were necessary to put Jack & co. in place to detonate the bomb, a paradox would have existed unless, in fact, both timelines were somehow valid. As I have pointed out in the past, quantum mechanics may allow for this.

That such an event may have split off a second "universe" in which things were altered in fairly standard fare in speculative fiction. That the FSW was billed as "what would have happened had fight 815 not crashed" as well as the clues we were given in the form of Farady's notations on quantum mechanics seemed to point in that general direction, although it was admittedly contradicted by the fact that the showrunners also stated that it was "not a separate timeline."

Still, the fact that it ended up being a sort of Bardo or Purgatory in which the people who had encountered one another on the island created together and needed in order to resolve issues arising from or around their time on the island seemed to me to be quite a letdown in the end. It struck me as a rather sappy, feel-good non-solution to the series as a whole, which I still love...I just thought it might have ended in a more satisfying manner, particularly from an intellectual standpoint.

mgkoeln said...

Anyone still guessing? ABC.com now has an excerpt of the forthcoming "Lost Encyclopedia" (which has been delayed until autumn unfortunately) - and from the more than 400 pages they chose the entry on Jughead. The final sentence:

"Broken and bleeding at the bottom, Juliet found the bomb next to her and managed to grab a rock and hit the bomb, causing it to detonate."

So there we have it. The enyclopedia is supposed to be canon, so it's official: Yes, Jughead did explode! What happened next is still open to interpretation, though.

Anonymous said...

Why do people want 'scientific' explanations for the FSW?

This show has ghosts.

As in spirits...

Do you want a scientific explanation for that too?

Mark Balthazor said...

Don't know if anyone's still reading this, but since I did perhaps someone else will too.

I believe the bomb both did and did not explode. If the bomb exploded and neutralized the pocket of electromagnetism, as Faraday suggested, it would've caused a massive paradox, because if 815 never crashed then Jack & Co. never would've gone back in time to neutralize it. So when Juliet causes the bomb to detonate, it fractures the timeline into two. One, the "real" timeline, where the bomb did not explode and was at some point wired into the failsafe that Desmond triggers decades later. The other timeline is the "flash-sideways" timeline, where the bomb did explode and destroyed the island. Of course, the problem there is that without the island there's no magic light, and thus no life. So this new timeline can have no life, which is why the timeline is only populated by dead people. It's a way for the timeline to "course correct", allowing the bomb to explode without causing a paradox.

Additionally, it solves the problem of Locke destroying the hatch computer, which would've caused the end of the world had there not been a nuclear bomb wired into the hatch. In other words, if Jack and Co. had never gone back in time and dropped the bomb down the magnetic death hole, then the DHARMA folks would've built a hatch with no failsafe and decades later when Locke trashes the hatch computer it would've been curtains for humanity. But thanks to the wonders of time travel, there was a handy dandy failsafe there for Desmond to trigger and save the world.