“Get” Lost

entry #14, Dec. 12, 2009

Until now I've operated with restraint, but now in an effort to erase whatever remains of the competition, I resorted to my time machine and went back to early 2004. You know I'm telling the truth about this because my nose is growing bleeding. I made a record of the following conversation:

ROBERT ANTON STEVENSON: Seems a certain Goodman told these Lindelofs a few years ago what he considered the ultimate challenge in making fiction adaptations; he noted that many have been the dramas that've been played for laughs or otherwise adapted into comedies, but not vice versa. Do you think a way to convert a comedy into a drama would be to obscure from the audience the essential underlying comedic nature of the plot?

LLOYD OSBRAUN: What if the audience peered beneath the surface and started laughing?

ROBERT ANTON STEVENSON: I suppose that would pass muster as long as they didn't do so on first viewing.

LLOYD OSBRAUN: Could we adapt The Ebb Tide?

ROBERT ANTON STEVENSON: We can talk about that; some readers don't think it funny. I was thinking instead of The Wrong Box. The audience would have to be brought in slightly past where the ordinary explanation of the background would've been.

And suddenly it all made sense. The “if he's...then who's” reaction by the people dumping out the corpse of Jeremy Bentham recalled the 1966 movie adaptation of The Wrong Box, and who could read the description of the aftermath of the train wreck in Chapter 2 of the book without conjuring up the opening scene of Lost and its associated ostensible flashbacks and back story?:

Not many hundred yards beyond Browndean, however, a sudden jarring of brakes set everybody's teeth on edge, and there was a brutal stoppage. Morris Finsbury was aware of a confused uproar of voices, and sprang to the window. Women were screaming, men were tumbling from the windows on the track, the guard was crying to them to stay where they were; at the same time the train began to gather way and move very slowly backward toward Browndean; and the next moment, all these various sounds were blotted out in the apocalyptic whistle and the thundering onslaught of the down express.

The ostensible violent shaking of flight 815 and the story of its having turned back toward Fiji.

The actual collision Morris did not hear. Perhaps he fainted. He had a wild dream of having seen the carriage double up and fall to pieces like a pantomime trick;

The supposed blackout by witnesses and the slightly varying nature of their flashbacks, suggesting confabulation.

and sure enough, when he came to himself, he was lying on the bare earth and under the open sky.

Locke's (or Jack's) ostensible awakening.

His head ached savagely; he carried his hand to his brow, and was not surprised to see it red with blood.

Locke's forehead wound. I am led to believe now that this was the original inspiration for the Watchmen-style smiley look you gave Locke, and that his whole resemblance to The Comedian was motivated thusly. Could the casting of Mr. O'Quinn have been driven by something so trivial as wanting a bald guy so his face could be made up like the smiley button that went back ultimately to a character resembling Morris Finsbury? Does Ms. Webster have any idea? Does Mr. O'Quinn know?

The air was filled with an intolerable, throbbing roar, which he expected to find die away with the return of consciousness; and instead of that it seemed but to swell the louder and to pierce the more cruelly through his ears. It was a raging, bellowing thunder, like a boiler-riveting factory.

And now curiosity began to stir, and he sat up and looked about him. The track at this point ran in a sharp curve about a wooded hillock; all of the near side was heaped with the wreckage of the Bournemouth train; that of the express was mostly hidden by the trees; and just at the turn, under clouds of vomiting steam and piled about with cairns of living coal, lay what remained of the two engines, one upon the other. On the heathy margin of the line were many people running to and fro, and crying aloud as they ran, and many others lying motionless like sleeping tramps.

Morris suddenly drew an inference. 'There has been an accident' thought he, and was elated at his perspicacity. Almost at the same time his eye lighted on John, who lay close by as white as paper. 'Poor old John! poor old cove!' he thought, the schoolboy expression popping forth from some forgotten treasury, and he took his brother's hand in his with childish tenderness. It was perhaps the touch that recalled him; at least John opened his eyes, sat suddenly up, and after several ineffectual movements of his lips, 'What's the row?' said he, in a phantom voice.

Jack and Locke together among the crying, to-and-fro running multitude. Bloody smiley aside, their characters may not be distinguished exactly as per Morris and John Finsbury. Locke's first name is John, but the “J” names may be blurred.

The din of that devil's smithy still thundered in their ears. 'Let us get away from that,' Morris cried, and pointed to the vomit of steam that still spouted from the broken engines.

Just add one Engine Sucked Guy and stir. Or chop.

And the pair helped each other up, and stood and quaked and wavered and stared about them at the scene of death.

Just then they were approached by a party of men who had already organized themselves for the purposes of rescue.

'Are you hurt?' cried one of these, a young fellow with the sweat streaming down his pallid face, and who, by the way he was treated, was evidently the doctor.

Morris shook his head, and the young man, nodding grimly, handed him a bottle of some spirit.

'Take a drink of that,' he said; 'your friend looks as if he needed it badly. We want every man we can get,' he added; 'there's terrible work before us, and nobody should shirk. If you can do no more, you can carry a stretcher.'

And give the young man's lines to Jack, who, by the way he was treated, was evidently a doctor — but may not have really been one. Even the bottle of spirit came into play.

Other elements of Lost fit as well: Aaron in the piano, the description of Locke as “box man”, the dressing of a dead man to resemble someone, and the overall plot that dovetailed so easily with the Biblic story of Jacob and with It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and therefore its hoax-oriented precursor, A Mad World, My Masters. Lost and The Wrong Box also share at least one smashed statue. The 1966 movie was famous for its failure to matte out anachronistic rooftop TV antennas, and so Lost has several seeming visual anachronisms; they also share the use of intertitles, but they may have been an entirely functional feature in “The Other 48 Days” and afterward rather than an intended echo.

As to The Ebb Tide, I see possible invocations in the form of the island setting, infectious disease, a drunken sailor, one live and one dead guy in a tree, the assumed names, the partly painted-over ship's name, and especially Attwater as Benry and Herrick (Herr Ick?) as Locke (but also partly Desmond). However, because no one element stands out unmistakably from that novel in Lost, I really can't tell whether the resemblances are deliberate or the result of my imagination. I'm going to guess it's the latter.

It wasn't until the concluding episode of Lost season 5 that we got the aforementioned visual clue leading me to The Wrong Box. (Another element in that movie not present in the source was the murderous intention of one of those named in the tontine towards the other, and that too seems to have carried thematically into Lost.) But that installment of Lost also answered what I'd wondered for some time: how all, or at least most of, the lookalikes were produced.

The Details in The Devil

I'd previously speculated about identical twins, artificial clones, and simple recruiting of doubles, and I probably would've gotten around to considering pod people, but the clue was the scene of Ilana/Elana (whose name, John P. pointed out along with the resemblance to the other character, means “the Ana”) with her bandaged-over face: plastic surgery. Such reconstruction could be very extensive and include orthopedics, as in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, although it still required suitable starting material for, as your father got across, you can't turn Roseanne Barr into Meryl Streep. Actually you can on screen — I'd've bought it if they'd given Ms. Streep a double role as Mary Fisher and the remade Ruth — but you wouldn't want to introduce a [cough] fantasy or sci-fi element into Lost. Hence Ilana's consultation with those around while looking at Lapidus as to whether he was a suitable “candidate”.

That finding turned me to look for other allusions to She-Devil in Lost. Thematically it fit. Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Wrong Box, Jacob and Esau (which thru Benjamin can be considered to have been extended by Holy Blood), and She-Devil are each about either an individual or a party who/which feels their due as a member of a family has been usurped. (Of course the stories diverge enormously, even before counting their adaptations and derivative works, as to how the “wronged” party proceeds. A Mad World, My Masters has one family member swindling another, but without the sense of righteousness.) Well, the house that Jacob lived in appears to be the remnant of a High Tower on the edge of the sea after an operation to shorten it. (“I'm sorry, Ms. Hunter, but it appears we went a bit too far and cut off everything above...your ankle.”) Juliet burned herself and spilled the muffins intended for company as did Ruth in chapter 4. However, my subsequent search showed it was Hildy at The Fuselage who two years earlier found the first relevant connection, that of the name Juliet to Julie T. Wallace, who played Ruth in the TV serial.

There were also some fainter, fuzzier echoes in Lost of She-Devil. Bakunin's ostensible convulsion and “Thank you.” from the ostensible sonic fence recalled the She-Devil's sexual encounter with Carver in chapter 10; similarly to Carver, Bakunin had been ostensibly physically damaged in his past and left to take care of an outlying facility alone. (In my mind, Bakunin to fence: “Was it good for you, too?”) In 3:11 he likens himself to a lighthouse keeper, reinforcing the connection by invoking Mary Fisher's lighthouse abode. Paolo's ostensible turning against Zuckerman by Nicky reflects Garcia's being so easily swung against Mary Fisher by the She-Devil. The She-Devil torched a house “accidentally” and so did Kate in Lost, where several other buildings were deliberately burned down or blown up. The extended treatment on pp. 141-4 of the 1983 Pantheon ed. of peanut butter as an example of a trap in causal reasoning is the very sort of philosophic lesson Lost would have, but I wonder whether peanut butter's association with criminality critiqued in the book is an indication that Charlie and Claire are criminals. (See also the discussion of peanut butter in connection with Gelli below.) In a similar trivia-dropping vein was the unexpected mention of polar bears on p. 223. Cooper-Seward's watching “his” funeral from the car at the cemetery recalls the She-Devil doing similarly on p. 236 at the burial of Mary Fisher, whom she “replaced”, but there's a similar scene in 3:2. Brain-damaged Bobbo's difficulty remembering things on p. 237 is like that of Faraday, but Bobbo's condition also resembles that of Bearded Jack, whose correspondence to Bobbo is stronger (see below). There was Ruth's addiction to heroin, and her substituting Mary Fisher's mother's meds was like Hugo's stopping his drugs. And there was the motif of assuming various names and identities to operate behind the scenes.

The Juliet allusion goes deepest, including role reversal when she, as the star physician, like the writing celebrity Mary Fisher, stole Goodwin away from the psychologist, who was made out as a Ruth, down to a hairy facial mole. (You know I love the inverted allusions the best, as in the Gangs of New York movie, when Abe Lincoln “got even” by being on stage when somebody else got shot in the audience.) And Juliet was said to resemble Jack's ex, Sarah, and later romanced Jack.

Clue-wise, the most promise is held by lining up characters as either hunter (Marlene Hunter being one of the She-Devil's names) or fisher (alluding to Mary). The Molly Fisher brand candy Hugo had isn't much help, because I don't know whether “eating Mary Fisher” expresses antagonism or affiliation. By contrast, Jacob's residence in the High Tower and your showing him having caught a fish nails him firmly. One of the Lockes said, “I am a hunter, I was a hunter.”; combined with his killing of Jacob, that nails him easily too, while simultaneously working the hunter-farmer angle of Esau vs. Jacob in Holy Bible. I'm predicting that the pattern will hold true in putting one of the Jins and Bernard on the same side. With one of the Charlies, I don't know whether his lack of success spear fishing meant he's not a fisher — in that sense an anti-fisher — or whether attempts are supposed to count as as good as being an accomplished fisher like Jin or an avid fisher like Bernard.

In 5:16 Benry tells Locke facetiously he's a Pisces, rerunning Claire's asking Kate if she was a Gemini. If Benry's a fish, then whoever catches him is a fisher. It has been pointed out by theorists at The Fuselage that Hugo and Sun were also Pisces, and that Locke was a Gemini, but that last is obvious by now. Too bad there's no astrologic sign for The Triplets.

Still, the best use of the novel for enigmatic allusion on Lost was this passage on p. 152: “And indeed she stood blotting out the light, as the Statue of Liberty does in New York Harbor, or the figure of justice on the law courts in London: the law itself, taken solid form.” What a bizarro yet realistic image, blotting out instead of bringing light. How sneaky of you guys to use a passage that couldn't be found by a string search for “the shadow of the statue” and what stands there. “The one which/who will save us all” is the law itself? Please don't let the plot of Lost be resolved by a court case! Maybe a solid form will be a person.

But I realize now that none of this is how Lost originated.

Your Show's True Origin

It wasn't anything like the fantasy scenario I opened this entry with, nor was it just an excuse for you to dust off an idea you or any of your co-creators had been looking to adapt. When you sent me what you said was a “spec script” for a legal drama series years ago, I'd initially thought “spec” meant what it usually meant to me — specification — until I found out it actually meant “speculative”. I now see that Lost really was written to a specification, just as you and your publicity had said in advance — that it was to provide a fiction serial with the same rationale as the game show Survivor, to which you'd probably had exposure by your father, who enjoyed it so much. You may even remember that I also enjoyed the game show Lost, and with any legal problem having to do with the name having long since been disposed of, I can now flatter myself to think you purloined that name to entice me.

Survivor features a simulated stranding and survival scenario in which contestants, originally divided into two groups, slowly eliminate each other from the game, played out in a secluded location (typically a tropical island, although John & I have hoped some day for an Arctic setting of that game), until one remains to claim the grand prize. How could you possibly concoct a plausible rationale for such a story that would hold interest over many hours of vidding? Presumably you quickly disposed of a cannibalism story, even if only because ABC's standards still hadn't changed on that score in the 35 years since they'd nixed it on Rocky The Flying Squirrel. Did it include recipes, and did you manage to sell it to Warner or Paramount before their TV networks merged?

So you created a reason for two groups of persons to seek to eliminate each other. What if each one had a counterpart in the other group such that the world wasn't big enough for the two of them? If there were just one identity between the two bodies, that would do it. I never read The Seconds, but I did see the movie at the Whitestone Drive-In as the second of a double feature with my family, which means I was falling asleep, just as I had trouble staying awake thru that thematic marathon Valentine's weekend presentation by your father that included the two She-Devil screen adaptations and culminated in the game of Match Makers and Heart Breakers. Of Seconds mostly I remember my father's scoffing at passing off an old man's muscle tone as that of a younger man, followed by a brief token scene of physical rehab that allowed me to wank it away with, “See, they took care of that”, just as you similarly answered our complaints about the atrophy problem with Locke's bedside electro-stim device; and I remember the nude grape stomping scene about which my mother remarked that the song, “Drunken Sailor”, was the same as she used to sing while dressing or bathing me, and sure enough, your mother's chosen music to drown out the vacuum cleaner for Baby You made it into Lost. Anyway, the Seconds premise was that someone would have plastic surgery to step into a new, synthetic identity while a corpse was supplied to fake a death to account for the client's disappearance. But what if it wasn't a new identity, but rather one that belonged to someone else; and what if that someone else continued to live? You'd have the ultimate identity theft.

Next you needed a rationale for a bunch of persons to be induced to become someone else's double. Many viewers have remarked that the characters all seemed dissatisfied with their lives, which was the premise for the new identity in Seconds, but I don't think that's how it was with Lost. I continue to believe the back stories we've seen of the characters to be smoke screens to provide alibis and defeat tracing beyond a certain point. There are still too many clues in the show to dismiss a grand hoax scenario, so this must be how they were roped in. A bunch of people were led to believe they would perpetrate a grand hoax on the world, but their roles were not what they'd been led to believe. As the Season 2 slogan went, “They're not the survivors. They thought they were.” The cons were conned. Even better if each thought the other dupe (in the sense of duplicate) was to be the dupe (in the sense of pigeon), though I don't know whether that was the case. It's also conceivable that individual marks in the game weren't even told up front that their personality would be shared.

There are several ways you could locate good “candidates” as doubles for persons who are already involved. You could have one commit an ostensible crime, and put up “Wanted” posters with that person's photo on it and have either phony contact info on the posters or an insider in the Marshal service. You could have a child ostensibly run away and put the child's photo on milk cartons. To the extent foster child records are searchable, you could use a face recognition program to match someone to one you already have. Apparently in the case of the guy named John that Emily tracked down in the toy store in 1:19, the resemblance was so striking she couldn't stop staring at him, and wound up covering by acting crazy. Cooper-Seward says it was good she found him “while we still have time”; he just needed to lose his hair and a kidney. Presumably then the other guy had to be given a first name of John...or maybe they were just lucky there. Sometimes maintenance is necessary, as when Island Jack needed an ostensible case of appendicitis so he could get a scar to match one his double must've taken on; in 4:10, supposed Flashforward Jack looks feverish and sick, probably real appendicitis symptoms leading to an undisclosed (to us yet) appendectomy. Sometimes a rush job shows, as when Still Living Doc Ray's face cut looked fresher than Washed-Up Doc Ray's sutured facial cut.

Once you had a reason for eliminations, the reason for the remote location just wrote itself, and the basic elements of Survivor game play come along. Once the groups do become aware of what's going on, each group is vulnerable to infiltration and shifting alliances. You'd recognize your own double, of course, but how would you know which side someone else is on? This is the weakness of the whole scheme; as in the “Gemini/Schizoid Man” episode of The Prisoner, can you be so cocky as to think even Secret Agent Man/Danger Man isn't going to penetrate your deception and steal your signals?! Then you could settle for a modus vivendi by having one of you two withdraw from recognition in the world, playing dead (playing for a literal “second place”), or you could take care of things once and for all by actually killing your counterpart...and your counterpart's allies.

The only thing missing was the prize. I'm still in the dark as to how that was supposed to work. There are clues pointing to a tontine structure, which would be the closest fit to Survivor and Wrong Box, but they don't all add up yet, Cage Match of the Baby Messiahs notwithstanding. It could be viewed as a version of that hoary old plot of “whichever potential heir can survive one night in the haunted house gets the inheritance”, except that it seems they also have to have a baby while there. Charles Widmore implied to Benry that control of “that island” — i.e. continued operation (Of what?) — is the prize itself, but I can't help but see it as merely instrumental. The contending blood and institutional lines theme of the Priory of Sion seems more like the rationale for the phony hoax that was to con the cons than the actual goal.

Relating your plot to that of Seconds led me to the reason for there being all those philosophers' names on Lost. I've read of a movie I'd like to see some day, Suture, which was said to have been influenced by Seconds, and whose plot also relies on plastic surgery as it intersects with the hoary old (and still good) one of lookalike suspects in a murder plot. The plastic surgeon in Suture was named Renée Descartes. I don't believe any of the Philosophers on Lost to be plastic surgeons, but it's a nice shout-out. The name “Jeremy Bentham” was particularly chosen for the wax head the historic figure was given in death at Oxford, symbolizing both the perpetuation of the dead and the malleability of the face. Suture also used the gimmick of casting the lookalikes not even from actors of the same race (albeit of the same sex) so that acting alone would convey to the audience that Roseanne Barr and Meryl Streep looked alike in their world, but the only character I think you might try something like that with is Hugo.

You've conveniently supplied, in the form of Drive Shaft's hit, names for the two groups: “You all, everybody” and “those stupid people”, whom those in the first group are “acting like” and, in Hugo's more on point version, “wearing their clothes”. I've gotta believe you guys did a search that turned that up in a talk show transcript that you could “reference”. Of course the unflattering “stupid” identification is from the other side's point of view, and it seems they use the song in various ways. When it came on the radio as the band was changing tires in the rain, it appears to have been a “go” or “success” signal. When Charlie sang it to Greta or Bonnie by the moon pool, it must've acted as a recognition code, because she slapped him after telling him to stop, and he answered, “Right. You got it.” The overt meaning was that she got her wish of having him stop, but the covert meaning was his acknowledgment that they each got the message that the other was part of “you all, everybody” — provided, of course, that neither was a “stupid person” who turned out not to have been so stupid and usurped the sign! “Next time we have a sign, let's not make a slap in the face the counter-sign.” (It may be argued on another level that the real meaning was to get Mr. Monaghan to stop his falsetto bleating before everyone who wasn't watching a dubbed version turned the show off.)

Before season 5 I'd thought of the characters mostly as confederates in a single hoax who may have undergone a division, so I hadn't seen the natural, pre-existing strife between the doubles, and I'd counted many deaths as faked that I now think more likely to have been real. Benry summed up my dilemma in answering the question of how Sawyer would know rabbit #8 hadn't been really killed and substituted for, rather than its death's having been faked: “You don't.” Yet the clues still point so strongly to fakery in so many cases (not only deaths but other flim-flams) that I still believe those were faked, while in others a character was really killed and subbed for. I see three cases in which it appeared a character was set up as an easy target by expecting a fake death, only to be administered a real one — a venerable but still viable gimmick used everywhere from Tosca to mysteries where someone slips a live round into the stage prop pistol. However, faking a death under the proper circumstances (where the figure could plausibly have escaped death) could be a good way to draw out and eliminate an enemy double.

With all that in mind, I reviewed from the beginning, and once again there are chronologic notes that remain otherwise uncategorized:

1(1) at 10:12, Jack to Kate: “Did you ever use a needle?” Looking for a drug addict?

At 12:50, Sayid to Charlie: “We need help with the fire. Noone will see it if it isn't big.” For the camera?

Sayid & Hugo know “You All, Everybody”; Kate doesn't.

1(2) Shannon says not being allowed seats in 1st class saved their lives, but Charlie's flashback showed an ostensible Boone & Shannon in 1st class.

Kate says there's no girl exactly like her. Possibly means she knows she's among those who were made to be doubles, but that there was no original of her. That is, she's allied with the “seconds” but there's no “first” of her. Or it could just be irony on either her part or the writers'. Or she could've made sure her lookalike was dead, possibly by killing her herself — which on this show seems to be the only way to be sure!

1(4) Boone refers to Shannon's using someone to catch a “fish”.

1(5) Sawyer straightens Shannon's mis-parsing of “You're standing in my light, sticks.” As in, “They're not the survivors....”

1(6) Parallel to Shannon & Walt, Sun asks her co-conspirator (for escaping to America) to take care of her dog while she's gone.

1(7) Locke says Charlie makes excellent bait.

Charlie & Jack have a good laugh over the “hallucination” Charlie had in the jungle of Jack.

1(8) Why would Sawyer ask Kate to read the “letter to Mr. Sawyer” aloud unless it was being recorded?

Jessica & Sawyer acted their parts even when alone.

1(9) Nadia is from a rich family.

What really was written that Rousseau wanted to see on the back of Nadia's photo?

Sayid brought food to Nadia, like Goodwin to Nathan, Little Ben to Sayid.

Nadia says Sayid is pretending to be someone he's not.

Betting on Charlie in golf: Boone, Sawyer. Betting on Jack: Hugo, Kate, a “sock”, Boone hedging.

1(10) Among other things he says he wants for his “registry”, Hugo wants to know who's related to who.

1(11) at 3:21, Locke: “Sayid said that there were `others'.”

Jack: “Sayid said that we're not alone.”

Locke: “Semantics.”

1(12) This Sayid says he knows no French.

1(13) Hugo tells Jack that Hugo's refusal of a sea urchin from Jin made Jin react like Hugo had soiled his family honor.

At 32:05, Charlie tells Jack that if there's one person he'd have absolute faith in to “save us all”, it'd be John Locke. But maybe he meant the historic, real world John Locke.

Was that a different Shannon who was killed? Was it a different Boone who held her bloody body?

1(14) Walt goes away after MiKevin told Locke to stay away from Walt, like Claire with Sawyer & Miles.

What's really in the box of photos, etc.?

1(15) Maybe there's more to the silver box than its having been W. Churchill's. What's in it?

1(16) In “I Never...”, Sawyer characterized himself & Kate as being the ones who don't belong.

Christian tells Sawyer he should do whatever so he doesn't end up like him. Did Christian's not having what it takes result in his being killed in Australia?

1(18) at 2:38, 1st show we see Hugo watching on TV is square dancing: “Swing your partner, dosey-doe....” Indicating cooperation between doubles?

Hugo's mother ostensibly wanted him living with her.

Hugo tells Toomey widow that Lenny is “retired”, like Bernard & Rose. A code term they use?

1(19) Jack says Sawyer's quip, “My insurance ran out”, is a good one. Who was Sawyer's “insurance”?

1(20) at 4:06, MiKevin: “You've got to flip them or they'll burn, Walt.” Grifter slang?

Sarah wears “44”. Cf. Connect 4.

Just as MiKevin arrives, Sun does the same bloody diaper trick that made our friend Nadine faint during rehearsal of a play. Jin restrains Charlie as Aaron is born again.

1(21) Purpose of bullet catch: Shannon, Locke, and Jack testing Sayid to see if he would help Locke?

Did Sayid want to claim Essam's “dead” body because Sayid would then spirit him away alive? Or was it to make sure he was really dead?

1(22) at 17:22 showed a “load of bull” passing in the field of the supposed time capsule.

1(24) Claire: “I don't know what Aaron means.” That's OK, Claire, even I don't have that nailed down.

MiKevin, same line at conclusion of this as following season: “What's going on here? Who are you people?”

2(1) Why, really, did Hugo not want to blow the hatch and go in?

2(2) Lawyer calls MiKevin Dawson-Johnson “Mr. Dillon”. Honest mistake, or his real name?

2(4) Hugo lets Kate take shampoo & soap, tells Rose, “That's where it starts.” Cut to shot of Lotto jackpot ticket. That implies that there's supposed to be a jackpot at the end of this that they're all supposed to share in equally, but that they won't. Hugo, trusted but very manipulative, will be instrumental in the cheating of co-conspirators. Hugo's being caught on surveillance tape eating Cluck's chicken reinforces that clue, but is also a reminder of cameras' ubiquity.

2(5) at 3:17, the prominent background inclusion of a compact fluorescent lamp at Jin's bachelor pad with his friend may be an anachronism revealing how recent that scene really was.

We see just the feet of the passing Others, because showing their faces would've revealed doubles.

2(6) at 20:08, Mr. Eko appeared to wink after saying of cutting inland to get Sawyer home, “It's the only way, Ana.”

Shannon's revelation of her head wound to Boone was not an indication of abuse by her tennis playing boyfriend, but of a recognition sign for which side she was on. Lining everyone up according to which side their forehead wounds are on is still too simple & tedious for me when there's more interesting detective work to do, but I'll still note prominent placements.

2(7) at 1:38, Ana Lucia to Goodwin: “You couldn't find any matches?”

Goodwin: “Dry ones? You can ask around, but I couldn't find any. Going to get a signal fire going so they can find us.”

“Matches” is cute; “dry ones”, i.e. from land rather than the water. “They” means the “matches”. The Ana who asked the question had a wound on the left side of her forehead; the Ana in the water had a right side wound.

Ana's mention of 2 hrs. of flight time indicates the flight time to wherever they really are.

2(8) Dialog indicates the killing of Shannon — “one of them” — was a real accident, according to Ana L.

Kate to Jack re golf shot: “Wow, you really put it in there.” I think she's acknowledging this Jack as Aaron's biologic father.

2(9) Marshal to Kate: “Your mama gave you up, Kate.”

2(11) Discussion of whether Gabriella's father is “a candidate for surgery”. A spinal case as a cover for plastic surgery to produce a double. Jack tells Gabriella that her father could go back and lead “a normal life” for about a year. “Go back? Go back to where?” “A normal life” is also what Kate's friend Tom said she could live.

Jack to Ana L.: “Is it true that you killed one of them?”

2(12) Eko's marking of trees that he likes is symbolic of marking of persons you're allied with.

Was Tom's fake beard to resemble his double?

2(13) at 14:09, Locke to Jack: “If we arm up, we're just as likely to shoot each other as we are one of them.” Gun control advocates may have applauded that sentiment, but here it's because friends and enemies literally look alike!

2(14) In disposal of the noisy tree frog, Hugo and Sawyer symbolize the question of how to deal with unruly, talkative doubles.

2(15) Claire watching “another Claire” and Ethan...a “literal” scene, watching her double.

2(16) Ana Lucia, telling Benry she was wrong about the person's not being on the plane whom she threw in a hole she dug for him, I'm taking (by the principle of statements on Lost referring to someone other than we think, as often as you can do that) to refer to someone other than Nathan. We know Goodwin didn't get thrown in a hole, so she may have been referring to another character she killed and buried.

Benry: “It doesn't matter what I do; I'm already dead.” Does that mean a double has taken his place in the “real world”? Or just that he wants certain people to think so?

Charlie at 21:44 removes an unshown item from his pocket. At 22:10 he starts tearing something and dropping bits on his path.

2(17) Helen to Cooper-Seward: “Are you him? How could you? How could you do this to him?” Maybe “him” refers to the original (on the show, not real world historic) Anthony Cooper, twice.

2(18) at 25:27, Hugo re his appearance: “It's not like...I can't really do anything about it, right?” Delivered in the same tone of voice as when he indicates someone was just blown up or shot, or that the island disappeared unless they overlooked it. Locke may be The Comedian, but Hugo seems to always want to make those in the know around him crack up.

2(19) Rose raises issue of false hope, echoing Jack previously to Christian, a clue to a Seconds-like hoax.

Wish I knew what the doll as bait for the net was symbolic of. Closest I can guess is that persons have been baited into having babies to collect a prize, tontine style.

Is Island Rose a substitute for Sick Rose?

2(20) MiKevin says he counted 22 Others...the 2, 2 theme again.

Hugo: “This isn't what it looks like.” Yeah, the whole show.

I've got to believe “18 right, 1 left, 31 right” is a metaphoric word play for persons, “right” in the sense of correct (i.e. “politically” correct from their POV), and “left” in the sense of remaining.

2(21) The ring formed around Pearl by salting the ground suggests the ring around Horace's/Jacob's shack had a similar purpose as an aerial target. However, the ash in the ring around the shack indicates its relatively recent, possibly repeated, formation by fire, to be seen at night.

2(22) How did I previously miss the Watchmen allusion in Eko's story of the dog's having been beaten to death with a shovel?

The vaccine's instruction to use q 9 d is, along with Jack's pair, another 9 reference. Odinic?

What was on the other side of the paper with the “list” Ms. Clue gave MiKevin?

2(23) Locke at 1:09:34, “I just saved us all.” The one?

Claire parts Charlie's hair at 1:24:03, seeing which side he had a wound or scar on.

3(1) One of the Jacks seems to want the name of “the man who is with my wife”, i.e. the other Jack.

Are Jack & Juliet really repo men?

Juliet's description of the “fairly serious side effect” of “the drugs we gave you when we brought you here” would explain why characters have awakened mute, headachy, or hallucinating.

How many bears to figure out “complicated gizmo” = viewers of Lost exchanging info to solve it.

3(2) Mr. Paik needs Jin to restore their family's honor.

Jin tells Dae Woo the same thing Jack was told in Phuket: to leave the country and never return. Jin also says to start a new life and that he doesn't exist. Very Seconds.

3(4) Was Jack hooded so Kate and Sawyer couldn't tell which Jack he was? Probably not, but maybe.

Why did they try so hard to test and match Kate & Sawyer? And Jack & Juliet?

Juliet: “I'm a fertility doctor. I'm not used to death.” How about those 9, Juliet?

3(5) Juliet's ostensible showing to Jack of To Kill a Mockingbird (a breed known to imitate the calls of other birds) takes place in the same episode as Locke says of going to Pearl to find Eko and use facilities to communicate, “Two birds, one stone.” He elided the part about killing them.

Parishioner to Eko: “Those men will be replaced by Other men.” Hey, I can capitalize it if I want.

Eko to Not-Brother: “I did not ask for the life [i.e. role] that I was given....”

3(6) Kate's/Monica's role playing with Kevin symbolizes the staging taking place throughout Lost, e.g. fake arrests.

Kevin does paperwork on “fugitive recovery in Tampa”. But not Tallahassee.

3(7) Juliet says Jack will “never let a patient just die”.

3(8) Getting Desmond drunk so he can't anticipate Charlie's & Hugo's plan is like tachyon interference with Dr. Manhattan.

3(10) Is Cheech doubles?

3(12) Claire to Desmond: “You don't want me to catch the birds.” Code talk, as Cooper-Seward to Locke re catching birds?

Claire asked Christian why Carol told her he was dead.

3(13) Kate: “That's not Jack.” Locke: “It's Jack.” They mean it literally.

Locke: “No solicitors. I have a sign.” Sorry, I didn't see a cut on your forehead!

3(14) Sawyer-Hugo dialog re Eko's last words anticipate same in season 4: “That's not really better.”

We aren't shown in the same scene the contents of the inner matryushka doll that make Nicky say, “Razzle freaking dazzle!” I don't trust it to have been the supposed diamonds.

What country is Nicky from that she has Thanksgiving in mind and expects the same of Paolo?

3(15) Kate/Lucy describes the Marshal as “a bad guy”. Cassidy says the same of the person she fell in love with who conned her.

Juliet's instruction to Kate for fixing a subluxed shoulder wouldn't work. I've done the real thing.

Among things Juliet says she knows of Jack is his blood type.

3(16) Charlie's move to put a blood squib into Claire's mouth can be seen.

3(17) Sawyer plays table tennis lefty, Jack righty.

3(18) Jimmy Durante (Naomi) identifies herself as dead.

Discrepancy in Jin's story about when his father died (while Jin was in the army or when he was 16) suggests substitution of Jins. Or he just didn't have his story straight.

Bakunin asks how they could respect him if he didn't try to steal satellite phone. Like Benry telling Sawyer the only way to get a con man's respect is to con him; and Sawyer's telling Jack he had to try dealing from the bottom of the deck.

3(20) Roger to Horace on dock, ostensibly about Little Ben: “They don't say much.” They? Meaning Little Ben & Benry? People who've been KOed by ether or whatever stuff Juliet said makes the throat sore?

Little Benjamin removes shoes from sleeping drunk Roger, like Kate with Wayne.

3(21) White rocks for marking tents + “le rocher noir” = go stones.

That's definitely a recognition quiz Charlie's composing, including some manufactured events.

Kate to Jack and back: “Here we go again.” 2nd iteration of trek to transmitter?

3(22) Switch from water from left to right of line of march could be accounted for by doubles going opposite directions.

Bearded Jack gets stitches for cut on right side of forehead after “driving around at 2 in the morning”.

“Since when did you start calling me Kate?” Sawyer must know her real name & identity.

Dr. Hamill: “Dr. Shephard...the hero, twice over.” Wise guy. Then my recording caught an ad for Dr. Scholl's gel insoles that featured doubles of everyone, “jellin' jellin'”.

“Every living person on this island will die.” That means either the “living” and “dead” are cooperating, or that only the cogniscenti catch Benry's distinction.

4(1) Drawing on board behind Abaddon & Hugo: a fish about to eat the Sun in front of a sailboat.

4(2) “They don't know what Locke did to [Naomi].” Something other than mortally wounding her?

Maybe Lapidus is Seth Norris.

4(3) Mr. Aveline: “We are paying quite a premium for this privacy.” Could that be what it's all about? Assuming a previously-owned identity to escape one's old one?

4(4) Sawyer's expressing relief that Kate was not pregnant could be the reason she left him. Kate also doesn't want post-trial Jack unless he's willing to “see” the baby. Is there a cost or risk that comes with being the father of Messiah?

4(6) Juliet: “It's very stressful being an Other, Jack.” Or: “It's very stressful being another Jack.”

4(7) Was Bernard really talking to Jin about marriage, when he said, “Every decision that you make takes twice as long because you have to talk them into it.” Or did he mean one's double?

Sun calls to man in hospital hallway, “Jin!” Does she not know what her preferred Jin looks like at that time, because he either has not yet undergone the operation to make him look like the Jin we know, or has undergone surgery to look like someone else?

Jin to Sun: “I know the man I used to be.... And I know that whatever you did, you did to that man. His actions caused this.” I'm sure Jin's use of 3rd person was literally true.

4(10) I don't care what the fan transcripts say, I hear Richard Alpert at “Locke”'s house saying, “It's coming down like cats & dogs in here.” Like it's an indoor stage.

4(12) Juliet is concerned that if Jack moves too much, his scar won't look right to match the other Jack's.

Then came season 5, which, as the season of “reruns”, could be said to be the season of zombies, come early. More even than the repetition of themes we've already seen so much of, season 5 repeated in theme what had gone before, mostly in seasons 1 & 2. The effect was one of self-referential parody and condensation, which made me laugh a lot, similarly to “Exposé”.

5(1) “It happened because you left, Jack.” Or, “It happened because you left Jack.”?

What's with the choo-choo and the tunnel?

Kate doesn't want DNA testing to reveal she is Aaron's genetic half-match.

Why does Sawyer want Faraday's shirt? To check him for marks, or to furnish a double?

5(2) “Dream Police”, cute.

Aaron pressing buttons.

Butcher with cleaver parallels album cover as previously portrayed in Charlie's dream.

Miles finds a dead boar, as when Locke came back with a boar.

The impact of one of the arrows throwing a human target into the air and against a tree is such an exaggerated stunt that it must be evidence of rigging.

“Rerun” of barefoot Others, in the form of British soldiers appearing to Sawyer & Juliet.

Foucault's pendulum is obviously a useless device for locating something (except one's own latitude), but it's a nice reference to the book.

5(3) Satchel charge “reruns” bee hive or wasp's nest from season 1.

Others speak Latin, alluding to the Catholic church.

5(4) Jack: “Aaron is my family too.”

What was Benry's lawyer really doing with Ms. Littleton?

5(5) Jin = Bernard, Nadine = Cindy, Brennan = Ray Mullen, Rousseau = Kate

Grass cut out along path of Monster: evidence of recent cable burial.

Music box sounds like “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” in a scene connected with The Monster.

“Rerun” of rappelling into Swan.

“You had to move the island.” Singular vs. plural pronoun confusion. “Move the island” = find a new location to set up operations in.

5(6) Episode is a “rerun” with an internal rerun with discrepancies.

Benry is given a halo by parallax. (You've got a long way to go to catch up to Smallville, though.)

“We're all convinced sooner or later, Jack.”

Grampa Ray: “What would I do without my magic shows?”

Butcher in Simon's butcher shop is Jill. How's Jack going to break his crown? A metaphoric one?

Jack is warned that Bentham's body will be checked by security. Consider Charles Widmore's connections in airline security, as evidenced by detaining Sun. Access to Bentham's body is access to his clothes.

Great parody of Hugo's having to buy two seats on flight 815, buying all the remaining seats on 316, his “curse” being the perfect excuse to make sure it's a private flight. “Rerun” of flight 815 also echoes Vol 714 Pour Sydney in the way and where it lands.

I don't care what it is officially, the music in Jin's minibus sounds like “Love The One You're With”, which has great lyrics for an environment filled with doubles in romantic relationships.

5(7) More “rerun” hilarity. For the passenger list, “You'll have to talk to Cisar/Caesar.” That makes him another Sawyer, as well as making the Roman census allusion again.

Bentham vomits on awakening in Tunisia, typical effect of ether anesthesia. Another example of video cameras “in the middle of nowhere”.

Sayid as a carpenter in Santo Domingo — cute!

Hugo wears a “Superman suit” outside Santa Rosa.

5(8) Horace dynamiting tree demonstrates Monster technique.

Faraday claims C.S. Lewis's body disappeared.

Juliet demonstrates 2nd shooter technique with Sawyer, as per the polar bear, in what has become a running gag, Sawyer always beaten to the shot. “Paul is dead.”

“Locke said he'd save us.” “The flashes have stopped...we're already saved.”

La Fleur asks Horace to call him Jim (= Jin). He offers a flower to Juliet, like Jin to Sun.

La Fleur sees all time, like Dr. Manhattan.

Horace Goodspeed said he got into a fight over Paul's ankh, a non-metallic-looking pendant that Amy eventually took.

5(9) Another rerun in the cockpit of flight 316, even featuring a flashlight.

“John is dead.” What about George & Ringo?

La Fleur is looking for his baggy sweatshirt with a bulldog, an English symbol, on it.

Jack has one shirt flap out like Faraday.

Dharma induction features “Mystery Ship” music, “INNOCULATIONS” [sic], and prominent use of light blue & white, i.e. Israeli colors.

Rerun of prisoner role, this time with Sayid, who identifies himself as “one of them”, just as he had with the lady in Paris.

Christian to Jin: “Follow me.”

The shot indicated by the shutter click doesn't match closely enough the one in the annual photo. The way the subjects came together before the shot, followed by the showing of the film's being rewound, shows it was not one of two shots in quick succession.

Little Ben wears sneakers as he plays “Juliet” to Sayid's “Jack”.

5(10) Sayid childhood flashback with Esme and chicken reruns Eko's shooting the old man. Little Benjamin's chicken salad echoes the diner order.

Bacon in pan served by “Chef Of The Future” (who also says the dipping sauce “brings out the ham”, heh) forms a pattern distinct from that in 1:3 — 4 verticals, the 2nd of which is shorter than the others, surmounted by a cross piece. 4 people trying to support something, but only 3 of them are up to it?

Oldham is the name of “that psycho” and the former pharma firm in Russia. Opposite of Newton?

“He's our you” makes explicit the rerun nature of the portrayal, while also evoking RU Sirius.

Sayid, “retired” from assassinations, drinks MacCutcheon while meeting Ilana/Elana at bar, rerunning Christian with Ana.

Sayid to The Ana: “Are you afraid I'll get the wrong idea?” There's that apparent code language again. She has him remove her boot while she's lying in bed, a frequent trope on Lost.

La Fleur to Sayid, another frequent line: “Hit me.” But he doesn't.

What's the real significance of the vote about Sayid's fate and of his knowledge of the name of the Swan?

The Ana to Sayid: “Sorry about the handcuffs, but at least we're in business.”

5(11) Little Ben acts as Walt, setting things on fire and having his father act like MiKevin.

Miles “explains time travel” to Hugo, getting their story straight. One of them the brains of the op?

Kate sees another Claire in the store apparently taking Aaron away.

I don't care what other viewers imagine, in the mirror shot this Jack has no red volar tattoo.

Kate hands photo of Aaron folded to Ms. Littleton, who touches it with her right forefinger near the fold, then puts that finger to her mouth. I don't know what they're smuggling, but it's there.

Kate and nearsighted LaFleur took little Ben across the Styx; he may already be dead when handed to Richard Alpert.

5(12) Benry to Locke: “It's one thing to believe it. It's another to see it.” Yeah, it'll come to video.

Benry removes picture of self and Alex, so he'll have one to compare her with later. Meanwhile Benry and Locke get their story straight.

Hilarious “rerun” of Ana Lucia via The Ana (Ilana/Elana), with Benry noting his suspicion that Live Locke was already there, not on the plane. Pretty obviously an explanation that the issue with Goodwin and Nathan was doubles.

“Charles Widmore” who tells Benry to kill the baby is a double Benry dug up.

How has the electricity stayed on “all this time”?

Benry to drained drain hole: “I'll be outside.” Is it a speaking tube?

I believe it's the real Charles Widmore Benry escorts to the submarine. “I'll be seeing you, boy” again casts Benry as The Prisoner.

Unsubtle but hilarious gag, Benry about Locke: “What's about to come out of the jungle is something I can't control.”

Locke: “I assure you, Sun, I'm the same man I've always been.” Duh, a tautology any double can claim. How does he know where to go?

Cute way to fuzz it, naming Penny's boat Our Mutual Friend, so that Benry can claim to be looking at same while looking at Desmond, who really is Benry's and Charles Widmore's mutual friend.

Benry to Sun: “If I ever get off this island, find Desmond Hume and tell him I'm sorry.” Italicization added.

Benry shoots Desmond's groceries.

Sub-basement Monster passes thru a grate (something a mag-lev cloud couldn't do), preceded by wind that extinguishes Benry's torch, which reignites once the Monster recedes. Either this is a different, chemical Monster from the other one, or Benry's just pretending again.

5(13) It's a real flashback of the real Miles as a child. He finds the key to #4 under a bunny statue. “Hearing from the dead” may be a scam he was taught by his mother.

We learn that the feeds from the security cameras are tape recorded.

Miles to corpse: “Okay. So what really happened?” I think it got a bullet in the head.

Miles: “I want to know why I'm like this — how I do the things I do.” He means “how” morally, and “like this” means a scammer and blackmailer.

“Your father kicked us out when you were just a baby.” I don't think that refers just to a household.

“Where's his body?” “Somewhere you could never go.” Meaning Miles wasn't a good enough scam artist.

Roger Workman reruns Hugo and Jack, stomping out after learning Benry is gone, bumping the cart.

Why did Miles care so much about Mr. Grey's son Russell's body, which cost extra because he was cremated? What was on or in that body? Or was Miles just collecting corpses?

Hugo says sometimes he even plays chess with dead people; he means “plays chess with” metaphorically.

“You did say you were taking me out to dinner.” “No, I said I was taking you to a restaurant.” Moral: Take nothing for granted on Lost.

Miles's “audition” was Naomi's debriefing him on his sleuthing of Felix, who may have had nothing to do with the corpse.

The actinides row of the periodic table of elements was filled, which it wasn't in 1977.

Roger Workman tells Jack he thinks Kate (because of her inconsistent degree of concern about Benjamin) has “got something to do with this. I should go to Horace. Or Porter.” Clever how you've disguised one conspiracy as another.

Taco stand is named La Vida. Bram gives 2 finger salute to Miles.

“Do you know what lies in the shadow of the statue?” “No, can't say that I do.” That can also be parsed, “No, can't say that! I do.”

5(14) Faraday's annual photo matches the framed on, not the “Nama-what?” shot. Are they supposed to match corresponding characters in the photo in Watchmen?

Faraday's “making sure that [Miles's] father does what he's supposed to do” contradicts Faraday's ostensible fatalism otherwise.

5(15) I guffawed even the first time at Richard Alpert to Locke: “There's something different about you.”

“This journal belongs to _____” was left blank.

La Fleur and Juliet refer to “the real world”.

Rerun of the march to the radio transmitter.

5(16) “Stay the hell out of Push, Jim Prufrock.” How'd that get in here? Sorry.

Jacob's spinning wheel is symbolic of spinning/weaving a tale or plot, but also of skill in handiwork.

I've heard the New Kids On The Block lunch box is anachronistic, but it's already telling us that that wasn't really Kate as a kid, but a new kid. “As long as somebody pays for it, guess there's no harm done” reminds us of what LeShade said (“He will pay.”) about the Cobra, which is a near anagram of Jacob. If he was the Cobra, sure looks like he paid by this episode's end.

Richard Alpert to Locke: “I'm this way [unaging] because of Jacob. And if I had to guess, he's the reason you're not in that coffin any more.” With his skill in handiwork, looks like Jacob himself was their plastic surgeon. All he's missing is a philosopher's name.

Bram to Ilana, looking at Lapidus: “What, do you think he's a candidate?” For plastic surgery.

Lapidus asks if “friends” would hit someone with a rifle butt (which wounded the right side of his forehead), etc. Ilana: “Only the ones we like.” Marking them, like Eko marking the trees.

La Fleur shot the radio as Desmond shot the computer.

Benry has both sides of his forehead scratched up.

Nadia, laying in the street, has a cut on the left side of her forehead. She was crossing toward a currency exchange. “Take me home.”

“Rerun” from season 1 of delicately extracting an explosive and dropping it down a hole.

Bram: “We're the good guys.”

In recovery from plastic surgery, Ilana's face was bandaged. Jacob says to her in English that he needs her help, seeing if she speaks it.

Ilana finds the “gone to Croatan” tapestry and burns the shack to deny it for reuse as a prop.

The Locke that Jacob walked up to after his ostensible fall had a cut on the left side of his forehead.

Benry “admits” to Locke that he pretended to be Jacob in the shack.

Sun finds “DS” ring in the cradle.

Sun at her wedding: “I'll love the man you will become.” Good one!

Sayid winks after telling Jack he can modify Baby Jughead to detonate on impact.

La Fleur, scarred on the right side of the forehead, fights Jack, scarred on the left. But Jack emerges with a cut on the right side too.

Christian tells Jack to count to 5 to “fix” the dural sac, or he'll have to “fix” it himself. La Fleur's remark that the candy machine needed a little push seems to apply to Jack.

Juliet says she changed her mind to get La Fleur not to stop Jack. Or did they switch Juliets?

Miles wonders if Jack is producing the “incident” he seeks to “prevent”.

Rachel's & Juliet's parents say they still love each other but don't belong together. Juliet repeats that sentiment to La Fleur.

Rerun of cable drag with a chain instead of black smoke following the magnetic field, explosives thrown down hole, and Juliet as Locke.

Rerun of Desmond's discharge scene, letting Hugo out of jail, Jacob as Charles Widmore.

Nestor Carbonell with torches looks enormously like Jeff Probst on Survivor. Phil does Don Knotts.

Also Uncategorized, but Non-Chronologic

Might as well acknowledge here two factual errors I made in past entries. Jack's winning poker hand was a pair of 9s, not two pair; this is an indication of 9 sets of doubles. And the “letter to Mr. Sawyer” was on a single sheet all along; I'd mistaken the envelope for another sheet of paper.

I've noticed two more joke opportunities you missed besides the “feeling blue” one about MiKevin. One occurred twice in season 4, the first time being in 4:2 where someone looks at a radio locator device and says, “That's Miles.” The reply should've been, “No, it looks much closer.” (The second setup was very similar.) I even wonder whether that's why that's the character's name, and that you guys chickened out on the line. The other missed chance was failure to do something in season 5 about Hugo's being Chef of the Future, a Jackie Gleason character. Or was that one so obvious we were all supposed to make it in our heads?

There are strong indications that “Others” is a term acknowledged by the group of people whose identification we first took from Rousseau. For instance, in 1:3 Sayid tells Jack the “others” are getting upset about the Marshal's health. Indications are that this is an alternate term for “you all, everybody”, but one may be only a subset of the other — a “circle of trust”, to use Horace Goodspeed's phrase.

But who can you trust when you're among the “stupid people” once you realize what's going on? For that matter, once the mutual infiltration has started, the same can be asked of “you all, everybody”. In 1:24, Claire gives an indication of awareness, saying nobody's punishing them (for engaging in a hoax) and that there's no such thing as “fate”; I'm guessing the stupid people were familiar with Watchmen and had been told their ringleader, whom they've never seen, was (code) named “Veidt”, pronounced the Dutch way, and she knows (by then) there's no such person. This is why an episode concluded with a song asking, “Look around you...[at the other people]. Are you sure you're where you want to be?”, although Miles and Benry each later answered in the affirmative. This is why characters hold back info, insist on going to the bathroom in pairs, and spy and pry in other ways. This is why Jack didn't want general anesthesia for his phony appendectomy; who knew where he would wake up? If someone while out of your sight can be replaced by a lookalike, what other precautions can you take? For one thing, you can burn Kate's clothes (as Mr Friendly informed her they'd done) or otherwise destroy or dispose of clothes to prevent what Hugo sang about “wearing their clothes”. But in 1:23-4, Shannon retained Boone's clothes, which is a strong indicator of replacement of Boone.

Four seasons apart, we got Jack's and Kate's ABO-Rh blood group, O-, universal donor. Just on Chekov's principle of the gun on the table, it's a cinch Aaron will be revealed in season 6 to be O-. We may even get an indication of Kate's getting an injection of RhoGam while she was pregnant in Australia. Boone's type's being A- apparently was just an excuse to get Jack's type.

Double, Double...Toil and Trouble

I was wrong about some things in season 4 because I'd mistaken some skullduggery for flim-flam and for different skullduggery. The odd-looking sequence of events regarding the Doctor from the Freighter was not a deliberate attempt by characters to simulate time distortion, but a product of doubles from one faction trying to infiltrate the other. Doc Ray2 must have snuck aboard Kahana, found Doc Ray1, slit his throat, and thrown him overboard. Then Doc Ray2 gave himself a cheek cut to match the partly-healed and sutured one Doc Ray1 had, but had nobody to suture him, and probably wasn't a real doctor himself so he couldn't do it in a mirror. (Didn't seem to be a problem for Kate with Jack, though.) This was the “Doc” who “examined” Desmond. The blood stain he found on the wall in 4:7 may have been from the other Doc. When Keamy got word radioed from shore that “the doctor” had washed up dead on shore, he and those around him knew that the one still in their midst was not the one they'd started with, and not on their side; for if in their encounter Doc Ray1 had come out as the survivor, surely he'd've told of the attempt on his life, rather than keeping it a secret and then saying the people on shore were nuts because, “I'm the doctor.” So, as Keamy said, “Sorry, Doc.” And the way he did it in front of Lapidus indicates that he at least thought (correctly in my judgment) that Lapidus was an accomplice.

Could the replacement Doc have instead at the first opportunity told everyone around that he'd driven off his attacker? That option might've been available on shore in season 1 for a replacement Claire, for instance, to report that “her attacker” had run off in the night, and have the incident written off as a nightmare. (I'm not saying she was replaced at that time, only that it could've been done and I don't have enough evidence or reason to say otherwise.) Presumably, however, there were few enough places to hide on Kahana that such an alibi was thought reasonable; better to count on not being so unlucky as to have the body wash up where it would be found so soon.

Another mistake I made: some of the “codes” I'd discerned weren't. We see now what Miles's $3.2M was about: he really is an extortionist and really was willing to sell out for double (heh) what he'd been promised. He does warm reads for money, but the real payoff is blackmail. “I collect soil samples.” A cute way of saying he collects “dirt” on people. The person behind the wall (in the style of the Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Empty House, not Norwood Builder as I'd previously written; they were back to back in my bound collection) at Ms. Gardner's is one of the “replaced” persons who has to hide out while hir double is about in the world. The package Miles received was for a similar purpose as the bribe he tried to get from Benry: to say the person was not there and had died. Miles simply wasn't interested in the drugs, only cash, but his advice to the unseen person not to hang around further in that location was probably sincere. I hope it turns out to be a character we've seen. It's probably someone on Benry's side, because Benry is also Dean Moriarty. The real question my friend Alley raised is, what keeps Miles alive? Do the people in this story follow such a strict moral code that they can't deal with a blackmailer in the usual way? Or does he have an insurance policy we're yet to learn of?

“305” really was a heading, not a code. But not the heading to Kahana from shore. The Freighter had a double. Not an exact duplicate, of course, it's just that there was another boat off shore, and Faraday gave Lapidus the instruction on how to find it. That boat was at a much greater distance than Kahana, which as previously discussed was much closer than the distance stated by Naomi. This is what Charlie meant by “NOT PENNY'S BOAT”. It was at so much a greater distance that for all practical purposes its bearing from shore and from Kahana were the same, 305, which solves that problem. Occam's Razor says this boat was Penny's boat, the one we saw at the season's conclusion. That boat was the place to switch Desmonds and have Sayid's memory of being there wiped out, which would account for his perplexity at the missing time...unless that was a replacement Sayid making a joke. In 4:7 when it was said Lapidus had flown off on an errand, it was “facetiously” asked whether he had someplace to land other than the island. It is possible that the Doc Ray switch had also taken place on Penny's boat, with Lapidus ferrying one out and the other in on a previous trip; however, I think they would've done a better job on his cut. Maybe Lapidus just snuck the replacement on and the murder of the replaced one took place on the Freighter after all.

Theresa must have been an early experiment in what might be called extreme hypnosis (which may involve drugs and physical treatments) by Faraday, of which one of the Desmonds was the eventual product. This Desmond thinks he's really time traveling when he responds to the hypnotic trigger, although as shown by his shining the penlight in his own eyes, he did come to recognize one of the triggers, just not its real effect. They must've switched Desmonds again at the hospital in 5:14. C.S. Lewis's brief ostensible amnesia & unconsciousness after the ostensible time jump in 5:4 is consistent with some such kind of treatment, so I think she too is naïve to what's going on. The nosebleeds allude to Pinocchio's lying (you couldn't very well have had their noses grow, although Charlie's did look awfully big in one scene I previously pointed out), but they are also a byproduct of this neurophysiologic buggery, another of whose eventual byproducts can be death as shown. Maybe the Will Smith character in the MiB movie was right about repeated use of the neuralyzer! (John Keel told me he'd been told the Mssrs. J & K in the comic book were initialed after him.)

Also in 5:14, Faraday has a copy of Wired, and tells Widmore he tested on himself first (heh, that kind of wired) and would never hurt Theresa. Faraday's either a good actor or he had a double he tested on. Faraday's lab shown in 5:3 was always fake, with no formal connection to Oxford, but just a private arrangement with their maintenance personnel, so there'd be no record of it.

Goodwin's death was real, not simulated as I'd thought. But how did Ana Lucia know he was the “wrong” Goodwin? At first I thought that after one Goodwin marked himself on the forearm (explained in 4:6 as an accidental chemical burn, though I'm sure it was no accident), Juliet had gotten word to Ana Lucia to look there. However, examination of the scenes in “The Other 48 Days” never shows his left forearm, and although it's possible we just weren't shown what Ana Lucia or a spy saw, no such clue was given when she appeared to make up her mind about him. I even explored the possibility that the knife that passed between them reflected a view up his sleeve, but it didn't. Now I'm wondering whether his burn was not to produce a mark, but to cover up a tattoo or other distinguishing mark.

Jeremy Bentham was Charles Widmore's bid to reinfiltrate The Island. The reason Bentham never remarked to Abaddon that he had been his attendant in rehab was that Bentham was not the same guy. I think it's no accident that Abaddon's death came soon after he voiced what I took to be his suspicion by saying that was something Bentham could not have failed to notice (had he been the same guy). That was the reason Bentham had them drive to the cemetery, where he already knew the real Helen Norwood (whom none of the Lockes ever met, the Katey Sagal character having simply used her name) was buried. Abaddon had been suspicious too of the instruction to “find” her, that not having been on their original itinerary, although not as supicious as he would have been had Bentham just told him where to go. We saw his suspicion was justified, for that's where the assassin was stationed. Bentham was not targeted, although he was at some risk of accidental injury from both the shooting and the arranged “car accident”.

“La Fleur” refers to the fleur de lis, a symbol of Frankish royalty that is equally Carolingian and Merovingian. He referred to his name as creole, though it would've been more interesting to call it Cajun, i.e. Acadian. He was shown in 5:8 wearing glasses to read, as Sawyer did, and again in 5:9, taking them off to look at Jack a few feet away; but in 5:11, as La Fleur drove up to where Kate was, he was wearing glasses, and then he took them off when he got in her face. Since nobody goes as an adult from farsighted to nearsighted, we can be confident that the La Fleur in this scene was not Sawyer. The question is when the switch was made; La Fleur may have been wearing fake reading glasses previously. There may be symbolism too in Sawyer's being farsighted and La Fleur nearsighted.

Faking Fake Deaths

I was wrong to abandon my previous hypothesis about Cooper-Seward's death. It really was real, and he really did mark his preferred Locke with a real bite, and he did expect a phony death at Sawyer's hands. Unbitten Locke, working with Richard Alpert, used the same m.o., getting someone else to kill his victim as he used in a later scene when the victim was Jacob. Therefore I infer that Jacob too expected a phony death, which is why he coöperated so well, and it would've been phony had Jeremy Bentham been there instead of this Locke. Tabulated comparison:


sent/goaded by


Victim expected a fake death?

Victim offered sea food to somone who wanted to kill him?

Unusual indoor setting?


Hibbs, plus encouragement from Christian

Sweet Shrimp Guy

not that I can tell




Unbitten Locke

Southern Accented Cooper-Seward





[Probably the Same] Locke



yes, in another scene



nobody I know of





The death and “resurrection” of Jeremy Bentham deserve special treatment. I didn't notice the allusions to the death of P2 conspirator Roberto Calvi until they were pointed out, and neither did John P., whom I'd've thought might've caught them without prompting. Calvi was found hanged by an orange rope under circumstances that caused it to initially be ruled a suicide but quickly determined not to be, so you had Bentham use an orange power cord. The white shmatte he wore and the absence of a pant leg over Bentham's cast are said to be typical of Masonic rites, and his “There is no help for me” was a fair parody of a Mason initiation pledge. He also made what I take to be a Masonic hand signal by extending his right arm sideways and making a “pistol” or “square” sign with his hand. At the beginning of the episode, the “resurrected” Locke was hooded in black, something like a friar, reflecting the Blackfriar Bridge that Calvi was hanged from. A fake death and resurrection is a common theme of Masonic and other initiation rites, and a black robe and hood is also frequent garb of initiates.

So with Bentham representing Calvi, Benry.... His name Gale is reasonably close to Gelli, which also goes well with peanut butter, the choice of criminals everywhere according to She-Devil. Benry's multiple passports under different names fit with the practice of Licio Gelli, and the team sent to get Benry from The Island fits the enormous paramilitary operation that was used to get Gelli from Switzerland. And like Gelli, Benry always seems to slip out of trouble and into a position of power.

Not that that was the only symbolic theme on display. There was also Christian allusion as in the way his “JL” signature initials on the suicide note resembled “JC”, and the power cord was from Angels hardware store. His pose while hanging “completed” the picture of Dr. Manhattan given in fragments by successive wordless frames in Watchmen, especially when the next shot on Lost was that of the Moon. A cartoon pose of someone walking does have a weirdness in its frozen nature, and having someone hanged is the only even halfway realistic way to reproduce it. And so yet another Lost character “is” Dr. Manhattan.

Even though he was tailing Bentham and others, there's no way Benry would've known to break into his room at that time unless it'd been arranged. What, like carrying a bag from a hardware store would indicate suicide? As Nathan with Goodwin, something about Bentham must've tipped Benry to the fact that he was the “wrong” Locke. Close inspection of the scene indicates it wasn't a mark on the back of Bentham's head or neck, as I'd guessed as a possibility about both him and Nathan (and now have rejected about both). So it was something they said. John P. thinks Benry's tip might've been Bentham's referring to Eloise Hawking by that name instead of “Ellie”, the same way La Fleur was said to have hated being called James. Or maybe it was just treating her name as if Benry would not have known her, when the “right” Locke would've known Benry knew her.

On the subject of Nathan, I don't know that he had a double. Not everyone who was on one side or another had to have one, but there would still be a problem telling sides, especially of someone one hasn't seen at least a picture of. That was the clue given by Locke's inability to find a landmark at Orchid according to Benry's directions, which required that he know what a certain name of plant (heh) looked like. However, Locke had more than his share; he was triples (at least). At first I thought a pair would be enough to cover, but now I'm taking the pair in 5:15, of which Benry remarked that Locke's timing was impeccable, to be contemporary with the dead Bentham in the box.

I'm calling it that the Alex who threatened Benry under Temple was the original whose death was fake, not another bunny with an 8 painted on her.


The machinations about convincing people to “go back” were both complicated and simplified by the doubles. If one character can't be convinced, maybe hir double can, which would allow for some of those rapid changes of mind whose explanations were weak. That's also how the scene at the docks could be “rerun” with changed dialog (“...or him...”); it was two scenes with some different characters who looked the same. Same with “We have to go back, Kate, we have to go back!” one time with, another time without, the jet overhead. Oh, well, Bearded Jack, as long as you asked twice....

What got me laughing the most in season 5 was Jughead. How'd you get so lucky as to unearth an actual historic hydrogen bomb (which would undoubtedly have been blown up on a Pacific island had it been tested) whose name puns so well with “Jew's head” and “Jehova”? A being of immense destructive power that various factions have contended over ownership of, it will eventually destroy the world. Yahweh is not known for having been buried for a long period, but similar gods are; for instance in Odinism, Balder is dead and buried but will arise alive again after Ragnarok. And then, in a hilarious parody of vaginal delivery by Jack as “obstetrician”, Jughead brought forth a Baby Jughead to “save everyone”, as foretold by the Book of Daniel (Faraday). Thrown down a deep shaft, Baby Jughead might have been forgotten, but Juliet (representing by name a diminutive of Julius Caesar, hence his successors the Caesars, hence the popes) would keep “banging on it” until it “caught”. Christ, that's funny!

In the case that Jacob gave Hugo to take on his flight (rerunning Charlie's guitar) was video recording equipment. That's what “going back” was about, because “if you can't make a record”, who needs it? That skipping record early in 5:1 set the season's theme by that slogan. If you can convince people of your version of the story because you'd gone back in time and recorded it, you win. Time travel gives you a plausible reason to have been recording on scene, otherwise people would be suspicious. When someone presents evidence that contradicts your version of the story, you can say that happened in a different world — that the bomb knocked them out of the world where they died on flight 815 and into ours. Those bodies on the bottom of the Sunda Trench? Those were our counterparts in the other world, which was very much like ours.

So there really was antagonism between two factions, as represented in season 5 by actual real bullets shooting, etc. As I'd surmised before about the Good Guys and their opponents, each was perpetrating a hoax, but one faction would have it come out one way and one faction another. One intrigue disguised as another. This was not the first time the conflict had manifested openly, hence Dr. Chang's and Hugo's reference to the “Korean war”, which Hugo tried lamely to deny knowledge of. Hugo had already betrayed his knowledge of a conflict between representatives of the factions located in Korea when he asked Sun in season 1 whether she was from the good Korea or the bad Korea. One faction uses that word “good” in referring to their “guys”, “people”, and even Koreas, while the other faction uses less judgmental words such as “light” and “dark”. (Hey, dark rum is the good stuff!) So it now seems that at least some of Mr. Paik's strong arming of persons by Jin and presumably unshown others was for real, not put up jobs, as part of this “war”. The person Jin was shown sending a message to had nothing to do with Mr. Paik's automotive business, but his “business” connected to the competing hoaxes; however, I still think his identification as a government minister was phony.

Flight 316's number stood for not only the oft-quoted Biblic John (as in Locke) verse 3:16, but also Lost 3:16. That was the episode in which Jack, Sayid, and Kate ostensibly “went back” along with an ostensible saboteur or infiltrator, Juliet. The flight itself had a greater resemblance to that of Vol 714 Pour Sydney than did flight 815, leading me to believe the initial resemblances of Lost to the Hergé were unintended, but that you deliberately put them in on flight 316 in response to the fans' research. I can only imagine now that flight 815 got its number from your intention to show it landing at LAX in episode 15 of season 8; that will now happen in 6:1. (It will happen again in 8:15, but the passengers and crew will all be zombies.) 316 really landed as shown on an island in the Pacific made up to resemble the place in half a world away where the smuggler's flight from Nigeria landed.

Hugo and Miles weren't the only ones concerned with getting their story straight. Juliet and Kate worked out that the delivery Juliet performed could be considered to have happened before the conditions that supposedly caused the plague of obstetric deaths at her hands.

I'm calling it now that the facilities at one of the island settings (Bioko, not where 316 landed) were really installed by something like the Dharma Initiative (though not necessarily by that name), who really did experiment on polar bears and had a synchrotron partly built. They had a guy do at least one instructional film that Pierre Chang was later picked as a double for (with plastic surgery if needed), and they went away with a whimper, not a bang of poison gas or anything dramatic like that. They probably just lost their funding.

From their dialog, Jacob and the other guy on the beach opening 5:16 I'm taking to stand for Jehova (a reasonably close name to Jacob) and Satan in Job. I'm not going to conclude that Lost was all about a bet, but I do anticipate that when we get the unnamed guy's name, it will as likely be a diabolic allusion as Esau. That fixes Jacob as Mary Fisher yet another way, because she too was opposed by a Devil.

But what was the point of the 1950s island scenes with Richard Alpert? I saw no “time traveler” carrying portable video recording equipment or with any chance to conceal it, and it would not have been plausible to say that video cameras had been installed then. Simone5p at The Fuselage has broached a line of reasoning that I took to suggest that Richard Alpert was the mark, which would mean that he'd been put thru a time travel scam to convince him of John Locke's specialness. That would be an attractive explanation for Alpert's presence at times in the ostensible (but not real) John's childhood. However, I'm convinced the mark was C.S. Lewis. Charlotte Staples-That-Wasn't-Easy must've been put thru a lot of the Faraday treatment to program her with a phony past. Maybe her programming included convincing her that she really knew Korean, French, Klingon, and Latin, when she was given just enough to respond to what the shill “Hostiles” said! But all that work went for naught when their intended witness wound up dying (unless...Faraday did say her body disappeared, so...nah) as a side effect of the treatments that got her there. That foreshadows the conclusion of the serial, when a character will ask what happened to their reward, and the slide answers: “LOST”.

Best Wishes,