Dying Together

Lost’s second season concluded last night, and what a season it’s been. We started with a Mama Cass-loving Scotsman doing the dishes in what we find out lies behind the object of season one’s attentions: the hatch. This season has given us a larger glimpse into that hatch and what it represents in the context of the island and the fate of all of the show’s characters. That fate seems to be more unclear than ever after last night’s season finale. I’ll try to make sense of it as best I can, but I don’t think there’s necessarily that much to hyperanalyze, as a lot of mysteries have been fleshed out a bit more, if not fully solved.

The most important–or longest-running, at least–mystery had involved just why the plane crashed on the island. We appear to have an answer, at least from Desmond’s point-of-view. And with that answer we also attain a level of understanding about just what the purpose of the all-important Execute button (and thus, Swan Station) is. When the counter reaches zero and goes to the hieroglyphs (which, we’ve long since determined translates to “cause to die,” or quite simply: “death”), the charge built up in the material/mineral behind the concrete wall reaches its saturation point and is said to kill everyone on the island by unleashing a massive electromagnetic pulse.

Hieroglyphs

The button’s purpose, as Desmond sees it, is to discharge the energy that’s built up in the inherently electromagnetic material and thus live on for another 108 minutes. But, as far past zero as we appear to get, I don’t think we ever truly see what happens if it’s left for even longer. Desmond appears to save the day by turning the SYSTEM TERMINATION key Kelvin Inman (I’ll get to him shortly) had in his possession and blowing up Swan Station.

Keyhole

Just before he turned the key, the sky had turned “violet” and everyone on the island fell prey to an unbearable, high-pitched whine. If that had gone further, I would have to guess they’d die, but we’re not gonna find out if Swan Station’s gone bye-bye just yet. So, based on the clearing filled with unopened pneumatic tubes seen later in the episode, Pearl Station was the true psychological experiment, not Swan.

Pneumatic Clearing

Anyway, all that basically means that the electromagnetic field or anomaly caused by the material in Swan Station essentially tore apart Oceanic Flight 815. That wraps that up rather neatly, eh? There’s one problem. Based on all of the flashbacks over the course of two seasons, the links between all of the castaways are far too numerous to ignore and dismiss as coincidence. They were all inextricably linked and set down a path that led them to this island. The plane was brought down by the electromagnetic station, but the question remains: what brought those specific people together on that flight?

Speaking of inextricable linkages, we have another with the re-introduction of Clancy Brown’s character Kelvin Inman, heretofore unnamed. We last saw him in the Sayid-centric episode a while back, as a CIA agent attached to the U.S. Army during the Gulf War; though he appeared then as “Joe” Inman. He forced Sayid to interrogate his former commanding officer in the Iraqi army. As he relates to Desmond, at some point he left the spook business and willingly joined the Dharma Initiative, and was sent to the island along with “Radzinski,” his partner in Swan Station. Pushing the button for all eternity wasn’t Radzinski’s idea of fun, so he blew his head off (“see this stain?”). We’re not given many more specifics, but he never mentions the Hanso Foundation or Widmore Industries. It appears he was told that he would be relieved at some point, thus the “What did one snowman say to the other?” question, which Desmond asked Locke at the beginning of this season. It looks like that relief was never going to come.

Kelvin & Sayid
Kelvin Inman

I think we’re starting to get a clearer (but still cloudy) picture of just who is behind the machinations of the island: Widmore Industries. Desmond is greeted by one Charles Widmore upon his release from prison, who just so happens to be the head of a multiconglomerate corporation that produces, among other things, pregnancy tests, hot-air balloons and sponsors sailboat races around the world.

Brochure

Who knows what else they make, but Desmond also happens to have a thing for the British industrialist’s daughter Penelope. Widmore seems bent on keeping Desmond away from his daughter, and pays Desmond enough to “start a new life.” See ya in another life, brotha.

Widmore

At the end of the episode, we see what looks to be some sort of snowbound monitoring station manned by two Russians (I think they were Russian, anyway). What they are monitoring for is up for debate, but it appears to be electromagnetic anomalies. Judging by their reaction when their instruments capture one, this isn’t the first time they’ve caught an anomaly, but it does appear to be the first time they’ve pinpointed it. They make a call to Penelope Widmore, Desmond’s love, and based on her reaction, she’s been trying to find him for quite some time, likely unbeknownst to her father. This presents out first, true confirmation that life is still going on outside the sphere of the island and that the people on that island have not been forgotten by the outside world.


Paired with Michael and Walt potentially escaping back to society, it looks like the outside world and the island’s world are coming to terms in season three. More importantly, if Penelope has two Russians sitting in a station monitoring for electromagnetic anomalies specifically, it would appear she may know something about the island. How is that possible? If Widmore Industries is financing the project, that would explain a lot.

On Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight, they had a Lost tie-in by having the Hanso Foundation’s “Hugh McIntyre” on via satellite from Copenhagen, Denmark (Hanso’s headquarters) to discuss the foundation’s 40-plus-year history, its ongoing projects and to disavow any link to the events of Lost, saying the show’s writers are using the Foundation’s name without permission. He went on to speak a bit about the Dharma Intiative, saying they had cancelled it in 1987. That would seem to be at odds with what’s been going on at the island since the plane crashed in 2004. Perhaps another organization has picked up the pieces of Dharma and continued the work: Widmore Industries. McIntyre also talked a bit about the defacement of the Hanso website at the hands of the mysterious “Persephone” I talked about last week.

Lastly, we get a pretty good idea of the hierarchy of the Others. While Gale said he was afraid of whoever was above him, he certainly doesn’t have any qualms about those below him, as he appears to be the leader of the Others on the island. Ms. Klugh’s (spelling courtesy of the official Lost podcast) real name is Bea, and Zeke’s is Tom, and both are next in the chain-of-command. Michael, before he departs, asks Gale just who the hell they are, and he answers with “we’re the good guys, Michael.” They’ve got a funny way of showing they’re the good guys. If they’re good, then it looks like they’re going to try to make Jack, Kate and Sawyer “good” as well.

Pala Ferry Dock

Quick Hits

  • It looks like it’s been about 2.5-3 weeks since the beginning of season two, in the Lost timeline. Locke tells Desmond they’ve been on the island since 9/22/04, about 65 days. Desmond left on his boat 2.5 weeks ago and ended up right back on the island, much to his drunken chagrin. This leads Des to believe that the world is gone; all that’s left is the island. Another theory to throw on the fire with Purgatory, They’re All Dead, It’s A Dream, and They’re All Clones. We’ll call it the Apocalypse Theory.
  • Speaking of Desmond’s boat: another link in the past with Libby. Desmond meets her shortly after coming to America, while preparing for his sailboat race around the world. It just so happens she’s got a boat on the market, after her husband David died. The boat’s namesake is hers: Elizabeth.

    Des & Libby

    The only other David/Dave I can remember offhand is Hurley’s imaginary friend “Dave,” who just happened to be in the same mental institution with Libby and Hugo. I think this may explain just why Libby was in the looney bin as well: she couldn’t get over the loss of her husband.

    Dave

    Perhaps she has some psychic ability, as Walt does, and project “Dave” into Hurley’s unconscious. That may be why she seemed so focused on him in the brief glimpses we had of her there.

  • Desmond’s full name: Desmond David Hume. Dishonorably discharged from the Royal Scotch Regiment of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Romantically linked to Penelope Widmore. Note that the picture in this episode features a different girl from episodes past. I attribute this to nothing more than last-minute casting, thus the change necessary to put the actress in the picture.

    Des/Pen 1
    Des/Pen 2

    Thanks to Google:

    David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian who is one of the most important figures of Western philosophy and of the Scottish Enlightenment.

    Historians most famously see Humean philosophy as a thoroughgoing form of skepticism, but many commentators have argued that the element of naturalism has no less importance in Hume’s philosophy. Hume scholarship has tended to oscillate over time between those who emphasize the skeptical side of Hume (such as the logical positivists), and those who emphasize the naturalist side (such as Don Garrett, Norman Kemp Smith, Kerri Skinner, Barry Stroud, and Galen Strawson).

    Hume was heavily influenced by empiricists John Locke and George Berkeley.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hume

    Desmond’s skepticism leads him to side with Locke against Eko and refrain from pushing the button, believing the entire procedure to be a sham. But, by episode’s end, Desmond realizes he is meant to save Locke and the others on the island by sacrificing himself, as he is the one that “loves them” and thus will save them. This is as Penelope Widmore is the one that loves Desmond and saves him by giving him renewed purpose in the course of staying alive. He saves the others by turning that key and blowing up the station. Desmond finally realizes his relationship to his surroundings, which is the very definition of a naturalist.

  • It’s still not clear whether or not the Dharma serum does anything. Desmond tells Claire he’d been taking it for 3 years without any noticeable effects one way or the other. As Kelvin Inman didn’t appear to need it and walked freely around on the island, it appears to be a placebo. At least it appears that way for now.
  • We see the “Pala Ferry” mentioned in the Pearl Station video. The Others pull up their small motorboat, but the dock there looks to be capable of handling a much larger vessel.

    Pala Ferry

  • Michael is told to follow a heading of 325° which, depending on where the island is, might lead to Japan and into the arms of Paik Heavy Industry perhaps? (That’s Sun’s father’s company.) Who knows if the “rescue” Henry Gale spoke of is the real world or something else.
  • I thought this episode had some really standout acting from everyone, and I got a lot more caught up in the characters this time, rather than focusing on every little detail plot-wise along the way. Of course, repeat viewings resulted in this mega-post, analyzing every little detail plot-wise.
  • “Our Mutual Friend,” by Charles Dickens:

    In the opening chapter, a young man is on his way to receive his inheritance, which, according to his father’s will, he can only claim if he marries Bella Wilfer, a beautiful, mercenary girl whom he has never met.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Mutual_Friend

    Sounds almost like Desmond’s situation.

  • We catch a glimpse of the giant bird when Jack’s crew is on their way to confront the Others. We last saw the bird in season one when the castaways were on their way back from the Black Rock. Hurley, for some reason, seemed to think the bird said his name. No one else heard this, unless you think Sawyer’s being serious when he said the bird pooped out some gold. (Where can I get a bird that does that?) I’m wondering if this bird is the product of one of Dharma’s stations, The Arrow, which I’ve surmised is the zoological research station. Perhaps the animals on the island have all been bred with certain enhanced genetic attributes, the bird’s being some sentient ability. In short, maybe it’s just a lookout-of-sorts for the Others.


  • We get a look at another ruin on the island (the other being the rock formation on the bluff above the Others camp), a giant foot with four toes. It looks like it had been washed up onto the rocks and was clearly part of a much larger statue. I’m not even gonna speculate on this until next season. For some reason, I immediately thought of ancient Rome when I saw it, don’t ask me why.

    The only common reference I found when searching online was to a Bible story in the Book of Daniel, telling of a dream Daniel has about Nebuchadnezzar’s (the king of Babylonia) statue. But, that statue has ten toes (five per foot). Strange and probably not a viable explanation, but here’s some more info:

    Nebuchadnezzar’s statue vision is a story from the Book of Daniel, chapter 2.

    According to this story, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia, is troubled by recurrent nightmares that he cannot remember. He threatens his dream interpreters with death and destruction of their property if they cannot tell him the dream, as well as the interpretation. When they cannot do this, the king then orders the destruction of all wise men in his kingdom.

    This apparently includes Daniel, who then goes to the king and begs him for a chance to tell him what his dream was, and the interpretation of it. This is apparently granted, for then the God of Heaven reveals the dream and the interpretation to Daniel, who thereupon explains it to Nebuchadnezzar as presaging “what shall be in the latter days”.

    This statue is normally depicted so that it always looks like the same figure, with arms crossed. The origin of this depiction is uncertain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebuchadnezzar’s_statue_vision_in_Daniel_2

  • The artist(s) behind the hatch’s fluorescent mural: Inman and Radzinski. While they can hotwire the hatch’s secure doors, they can’t turn on the fluorescent lights until there is an actual Dharma supply drop.

  • Rectangle Station appears to be just another part of the abandoned “stage” that is the Others ramshackle camp. Whether it was formerly an actual, functioning station is unclear, but if there was anything behind those doors, it’s been sealed behind a rock wall for now. If it is indeed fake, then we have six total hatches.

  • We get some more voices just before the four castaways are captured in the pneumatic tube clearing. All I heard was “Elizabeth,” but there were a few other things said.
  • I’m hoping this whole “Lost Experience” viral marketing game isn’t just a marketing campaign for an assortment of corporations. Last week we had a Hanso commercial sponsored by Jeep, which led us to the online directories of several Hanso employees, which include the man who appeared on Jimmy Kimmel last night: Mike McIntyre. In his folder are a few images and a short film clip, which just so happens to be a Jeep commercial.

Tonight’s Hanso commercial was sponsored by monster.com, and leads you to a Hanso Careers website, on which you can search various career opportunities with the Hanso Foundation.

Hanso Careers

Sounds more like a method of getting you onto monster.com than having anything substantial to do with the show. Time will tell if this online game goes anywhere significant. But there’s plenty to ponder with respect to the show over the summer.

Other Stuff From Other Sites

  • “Island,” by Aldous Huxley: Huxley’s utopia and final novel, set in the fictional Buddhist Island of Pala. Pala offers psychedelic drugs (“moksha medicine”) and tantric sex; but otherwise isn’t much fun.
  • The crew in the Arctic station were speaking Portuguese.

Until September, Lost fans.

Updated: May 25, 2006 — 6:14 am

5 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. I’m also guessing it was tough for Desmond to leave the island sailing due west using a compass next to giant electromagnet!

  2. That is a KILLER comment.

  3. The first magnetic “anomaly” was when the plane crashed, the second was last night’s.

    Also, I missed when and what Walt’s telekinetic abilities were, (perhaps the same night as Hurley’s freak out episode and/or Sayid’s torturing of Henry Gale?

    I think the four toes of the statue belong to a “bird” or a creature, not a human.

  4. great analysis gordo. I just got done watching the finale, and it was one of the better episodes of the season…especially the acting like you mentioned. there is no way that I could keep up on all of this without these posts. now go back to chilliwack.

  5. When they sailed passed the giant foot, I immediately thought of the colossus at rhodes. Anyone familiar enough with greek mythology to speak to this?

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