Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lost season 6 an explanation (obviously contains spoilers)

Yes, spoilers will abound from here on out. I will be unapologetic, so leave now lest I be forced to mock ye for not reading properly.

I went into this season incredibly late, but unspoiled, with the strong impression that this season wasn't very good. The mysteries were not, apparently resolved, and the show turned into a bit of a mess. So I was set up for disappointment, and as can sometimes happen with this preperation, I found myself mostly enjoying it.

For the most part, the mysteries are resolved, or at least a convincing narrative can be done to explain the mysteries. I've seen some blog posts which dismissively call the solutions magic, to which my response is

a)what scientific response for mystic numbers would make you happy?
b)magic is a fine solution as long as its relatively consistent.

Now I'm not sure the explanation entirely works throughout, but for most things its pretty good. So here's my impression of the answers behind the show.

Some time in the past, an island was created which was the source of good and evil for mankind. Whether it existed before humans did is not terribly clear. Still, once humans existed the island needed protection, because it (or its creator) knew that humans might want to abuse the source for their own gains. So a protector was appointed. This was potentially the mother, but it could have been someone before her. The protector was capable of setting rules for the island, was incapable of death by aging (and maybe by physical harm. This is not incredibly clear). The protector was not all knowing, but had an intuitive connection with the island which gave them an idea of what to do. In particular, they could certainly be wrong about things, too mean or mistrustful. The mothers attitude towards people is very different towards Jacob's for instance. When a protector felt that their stewardship of the island was coming to the end they could pass their powers on to a worthy succesor.

We skip to 44 AD, where the mother sees the chance to raise children who she believes she can make "good" (she is convinced that men are evil and venal creatures), and thus good enough to replace her. She favours the man in black, who is an extremely smart child. Jacob sees this, and is filled with sadness and jealousy. Eventually the man in black realises that his true mother was murdered by the protector, and he decides he wants to leave the island. He teams up with some men on the island, who have investigated the properties of the island.

While the source of the island cannot be accessed directly by anyone other than the protector, it has an impact on the island itself. In particular, the island is almost impossible to get to or leave, and has some crazy physical properties. In certain places the sources reaches up, causing massive electromagnetic fields. These can be harnassed to do various things- possibly giving free energy. The man in black has accessed one, and is planning to use it to move the island, which will presumably give him his freedom. The mother cannot allow this, and kills everyone in the camp (I'll note here that I'm not sure the man in black leaving the island is awful at this point, but accessing the source will be. Also, the mother is a leeetle crazy). The man in black kills her in response. Jacob, outraged by his actions, makes a massive mistake, and hurls the man in black into the source. Such an act, fueled by Jacob's envy and anger, creates a monster where a man once was.

For a time Jacob and the man in black coexist relatively peacefully, with Jacob trying to prove that man isn't as bad as his brother and mother believed, and his brother trying to prove him wrong. However, with the coming of Richard, the man in black actively tries to kill Jacob. Jacob realises that if he dies, its possible that the man in black (incidentally, thanks SO much for not giving him a name, show) could leave the island and cause much suffering. Jacob realises he needs to not just search for a replacement, but for someone who can finally kill the man in black. As a result, he recruits Richard to aid him in this, and to set up an active community of people who work for Jacob. He also hires some bodyguards to try and protect against obvious attacks on his life.

Fast forward, and the Dharma initiative has discovered the island. They intend to manipulate the island for its properties. They probe hard, and cause the incident by drilling into access to the source, which nearly destabilises and destroys the island, forcing them to set up the hatch. Jacob, at this point, appears to have become non-communicative, leading the others to sieze on to a new leader, Ben, who notices the obsession with Jacob and pretends to be able to communicate with him. Ben wipes out the Dharma initivative and changes the Others into a religion worshipping the idea of Jacob. The notion of lists comes from Jacob's candidates, but I believe that its basically a religious copy of the notion, without any help from Jacob. I'm not entirely sure why Richard doesn't step in here- presumably Jacob has stopped talking to him, or he's too busy doing research into the Oceanic flight passengers for Jacob to notice the others being subverted, and by the time he gets back its too late.

Meanwhile Jacob, who has gone through a long list, only has the oceanic passengers left. They are his lost shot at finding a replacement, and he directly inteferes to make sure they land all at once. Every time he has tried before the shadow monster has manipulated the candidates into turning on each other. And again, with the landing of the survivors, the smoke monster tries to do the same, and when that fails, endeavours to have them leave the island.

Then, with Ben, mad with jealousy, murdering locke, the shadow monster has an opportunity. Locke had been positioned by Jacob to replace Ben, who had corrupted the others, and as such was considered a prophet like figure by them. With his corpse to copy, the monster was able to finally engineer Jacobs death.

Events follow as on the show from now on, and are pretty straight forward for the most part. By depowering the island Jack depowers Locke, which allows him to kill the smoke monster, then save the island.

The only thing left is the flash sideways. Thats pretty explicitly explained on the show, but I have my own little pet theory. The explanation of it seems to take any agency out of the hydrogen bomb, which apparently didn't work at all. I prefer it to mean that the hydrogen bomb allowed the central cast to draw themselves into this meeting place before they moved on, a fantasy that they created together, to retreat to in death. If its just something we ALL go to, it hardly has any significance for the show, so this gives it some relevance. (hint, this was not my favourite thing about the last season)

So theres the explanation. Some thoughts on what I felt about the show in my next post. I think this explanation covers most of what needs to explain. There are a few holes

-why didn't Richard know Ben was faking it?
-The whole Claire's baby thing was apparently a red herring
-The infection nonsense makes no sense, and doesn't even seem to be true! (both Claire and Sayid act nobly in the end) I'll talk about this alittle more in my next post
-The numbers are technically not explained, but I think thats ok- they're just numbers with mystic significance. I'm not sure what explanation would suffice here
-I've skipped some points on Widmore and Juliette, but they're pretty self explanatory, I think.

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