"Get" Lost Inning 21

Oceanic Six, Candid Eight

Feb. 20, 2021

We See The Condonation of Obscure Clues and Evil Mindedness

When my housemate Steve Mason died in December 2017, his daughter Millie was going to throw away his books, but I saved his paperback of The Manchurian Candidate, which I'd never read, though your father had shown me vid of the movie. It being the classic fiction on the topic of brainwashing, I gathered it was required background to fully “get” Lost, and I see I was right. The movie too had a connection, in that it was considered part of director Frankenheimer's paranoid trilogy, of which one of the others, the movie of Seconds, we've seen already referenced on Lost thematically and visually.

In line with the naming of other characters, Sawyer on Lost is a near-anagram of Ray Shaw from Condon's novel, and Sawyer's character fits Shaw's misanthropy and bookwormishness, along with his ostensible willingness to sacrifice all for his one love. Maybe there's something to Sawyer's familiarity with diamonds in that connection, maybe not. (Commentary on The Manchurian Candidate interprets Jocey's wearing of a Queen of Diamonds costume as accidental, but this seems counter to Condon's style. Why is there not more suspicion of her, and how she appeared out of nowhere to treat Shaw's snake bite? You'd never let that be a mere coincidence on Lost.) There's even a geographic connection, as illustrated by the graphic I made for the “Get” Lost index page, Manchuria's adjacency to “Bad Korea”, and the area's having been served by Northwest Orient Airlines, which the title of North By Northwest was said to have meant to plug. The Korean War also got mention on Lost.

The setup was similar too: A group of people ostensibly yet improbably survive a situation in which many die, but none of that actually happened. Aside from Sawyer, not much striking in terms of name references: Sun and Jin from Chunjin, Ben Linus from Ben Marco, maybe not even intended and don't seem to be either direct or reversed character allusions. But in case we missed the other clues, we got the Queen of Diamonds as one of the cards laid out by C.S. Lewis for Faraday ostensibly to test his memory, and to call our attention even more strongly, you made that the one he ostensibly forgot. Lostpedia says a Queen of Diamonds was also visible in a painting on a wall.

This changed my thinking about what it means on Lost to be “a candidate”. It's not about candidates for plastic surgery; instead the characters are using it as cute code for “brainwashee”: a Manchurian Candidate. “Think he's a candidate?” was trying to evaluate, or joke about, Lapidus's condition of mind as they turned him over from his snooze; like saying, “Maybe he’s waking up from having been knocked out and given a brain-wash?”Candidates” are those who have been made to believe they actually are the personae they say they are, rather than knowing identity thieves or their shills. It sounds nicer than “zombi”.

Jason Wyngarde came to my attention by chance as well, this one not requiring anyone's death, although Peter Wyngarde did happen to die right around then. Once I'd turned you on to Department S, it would've been natural for you to find the Marvel Comics character drawn in his likeness and combining the actor's name with that of the character Jason King. That must have been what inspired you to put illusory “time slips” by that name (although Vonnegut used the term as well) into Lost, which means they were planned very early in the creative process. So I started writing this entry in 2018, but got sidetracked, and by now I have much more to write about.

As to the mechanism used for all this manipulation, I recall your Pop’s great interest in the work of Michael Persinger, which I understand advanced considerably in the intervening time. But why did we not see apparatus on the island like that shown by Faraday to Desmond at Oxford? Maybe it was “everywhere”. Whether “The Circle” was actually a working title for Lost or not, it was a clue you wanted to give us in the publicity, bearing great importance to the plot. Where have we seen a large circle? In the buried ring of coils that was apparently adapted from the prior synchrotron installation on the island. Could the entire ring have been actuated for Persinger-inspired “magnetic resonance imagining” as well as mag-lev? If so, would it have been able to target individuals, the same way the Smoke Monster was able to do fancy tricks? Or would it have had to simultaneously affect everyone within a wide or even enormous area? In the latter case, were the shills equipped with some kind of shielding or grounding, or did they have to suffer the same programming as the marks, with the same risk of brain hemorrhage, and just deal with it by knowing what was going on?

Reinforcing the circle clue, Lost presented several circles or rings in the form of Jack’s jewelry, burned-out rings of grass, and rings of ash, but none of them seemed to convey the idea of having power over persons, instead being more about landmarks, tokens, and protection except for one that was only alluded to: the power ring in Mystery Tales #40. Until now I’d thought the only connection that comic book made from Lost was via its cover art to “The Lost Special”, and that the story inside was a red herring. Now I see that a story about someone’s wielding the power of a ring (a ring which had been bequeathed in the manner of the synchrotron installation) would be a fair allegory for the plot of Lost. Similarly the season 5 story of Jughead, as an abandoned device of atomic energy, functions not only as the hilarious parody of Jehova and Jesus I saw at the time, but also as another allegory for the synchrotron ring at the heart of Lost.

We Find the Heir A Parent

Though I’ve long had motive figured out ($), and thought I knew the source of the dough (Hanso’s business, which however now looks to me to be illusory), I’d been at a loss when it came to nailing down the method to pry out the prize. Presenting an impostor as Alvar Hanso himself looked too hard to put over, and merely having someone vouch as to Hanso’s express wishes also looked too flimsy to build a scam around with such high stakes. Years ago, during Lost’s run, John’s and my friend Alley said it would behoove us to study up on classic swindles. With all the lengths the “survivors” went to to set up Sawyer as a witness to Aaron’s supposed birth (“Sure, I saw yer baby’s birth.”) to Claire, it had to be worth a lot. (Someone on YouTube put up a comparison of Kate’s lines in the birth scene that Sawyer “traveled back in time” to re-witness, showing by the “error” that it was acted out again for Sawyer’s benefit. For those who missed the umbilical cord clue, it’s also further evidence the birth was faked.) That’s how I hit on a classic con of the long variety, the “lost heir”. Not only would it provide an alternate (to “The Lost Special”) derivation of your show’s title, but it also fit better than most with all the hints and parallel stories given on the show to plots of usurpation: Jacob and Esau, The Wrong Box, “The Brazilian Cat”, the Merovingians’ derailment by the Carolingian line, and others I might not remember before I post this entry. The beauty of lost-heir cons is that they can work by either bilking the estate directly or, as is more common these days, bilk others by the seeming promise of access to riches. Thus, a lost-heir scheme could work whether Alvar Hanso ever actually existed or not, just as the Priory of Sion hoax could bear fruit even if there was no root to that tree.

Thus impelled to research prominent lost-heir swindles, I learned of Arthur Orton, alias Thomas Castro, pretended heir of the Ticheborne estate. I see he was from England, the son of a butcher, and was living in Australia in the appropriately-named Gippsland (“gyps-land”, in the vein of your “Gainesville” and “Eggtown”) when he started pursuing his scam. So now I see why you made Charlie an English butcher’s son. It would appear his brief employer Mr. Heatherton was in a band called The Protestant Reformation to reflect the baronetcy of the Tichebornes, which originated out of service to King James.

Since as John said, “Lost does everything twice — at least”, it contains mutually reinforcing plots, so we can conclude that the purported birth motherhood of Rousseau to Alex (alluding to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s notorious distancing of his children) was a phony story paralleling that of Aaron, wherein someone (in Alex’s case, Benry) pretended to pretend (about which motif, more below) to have been the baby’s parent, when in actuality the pretenders were probably the real parents. (This aligns with George Sand’s hypothesis that Jean-Jacques’s children were not genetically his either.) This explains why shortly after, “I’d like you to meet your mother,” Rousseau was conveniently gotten out of the way by a fake fusillade, which we (but not Alex) knew was fake by the lack of the exit hole in the water bottle. This means my initial supposition of Rousseau’s having been a shill, which I’d come to doubt, was correct after all. She may have acted crazy like Amleth in Gesta Danorum, but it wasn’t for her safety, it was just to further the illusion. The whole B612 story, Robert, her years on the island, all made up jointly with Benry. Many viewers have pointed out the unlikelihood of the story as is, but if they’d realized the island was so far from the Pacific they’d’ve caught on for sure. (I’d always known that arrival story was phony, but hadn’t ruled out its being a cover for some other innocent origin for her.) Since she hadn’t even had to interact with Juliet, she needed to arrive only shortly before the “survivors”, nearly as short a time as it took Ms. Furlan to prepare for the role in real life. Of course this also gets Widmore off the hook for wanting both Rousseau and Alex dead, though I never believed Widmore and Benry had been on the island in the capacity depicted anyway, but it may be allegory for some similar guilty desire or Benry’s projecting guilt onto Widmore for something.

Still, the above alone does not rule out the possibility that Rousseau’s a [Manchurian] candidate, programmed with a false memory of having arrived from Polynesia long enough ago for Alex to have grown up and the automatic counter at the radio station to have counted up from iteration 1. That alone could make her pretty crazy. And then she could be triggered to play dead when she thinks she’s being shot at, or when her water bottle springs a leak. However, my hunch is that Benry doesn’t work with the “candidates”, though he does use other mind manipulation techniques as evidenced by Room 23. I think Widmore’s the only one with access to “magnetic resonance imagining” via Faraday’s technology.

Meanwhile by the same token that Alvar Hanso doesn’t need to have existed as a real person for a lost-heir scam based on him to work, it’s also possible for more than one “lost heir” of Hanso’s to strike it rich from the suckers, as long as the marks don’t learn about the other claimant. This must be how Sun suddenly found herself able to command the resources for a leveraged buyout of Mr. Paik’s firm: She too had a baby who could be proffered (on the same evidence as Aaron, whatever that is) as the basis of such a claim. (Her story of using settlement money from Oceanic Air and Jin’s insurance is of course not credible as regards the amount of credit required.) The beauty of that is that the deceit need only be temporary. Since it was debt for equity, she wasn’t stealing from anybody, just getting temporary command of credit, so if the marks ever found out about Aaron (or Alex, if she too was to be used in such manner), it’s not as if they’d been swindled out of anything, because they could be paid back in good paper or stock in Paik.

But the goose does not provide an endless supply of gold eggs, which is why there was such contention both on and off island over who would be allowed to have babies on the island. Ana Lucia doubtless wanted to run that scam, and so did the pregnant patient of the Shepherds, and they were both prevented from doing so. Ana Lucia is lucky to have survived. Whoever got the blame for killing the patient, we can be sure that both Christian and Jack wanted her dead; both doctors may have been stewed to the gills for all that mattered. “At the end of the day, I’ve got what it takes,” ― ruthlessness.

On Quora.com there was a question about Aaron’s baptism that turns out to be of symbolic importance to Lost: whether a baptism by a phony priest like Mr. Eko counts as baptism. The answer is that under canon law, it does. The metaphor is that Aaron’s being anointed falsely an heir to the Hanso fortune would have force, of a kind. Presumably you knew the rules and intended this metaphor, and if not, lucky you.

This all raises the question, is anybody on Lost the offspring of who they say they are? We know Aaron is not Claire’s (but probably is Kate’s), neither of the Lockes is Cooper-Seward’s, Alex is not Rousseau’s. Is Jack’s Christian’s? Well, maybe one of the Jacks is, just as maybe one of the Kates is an Austen. Is Walt MiKevin’s? Is either of the Charlies a Pace? Is Ji Jin’s? Claire...well, who knows where she comes from? Benry’s parentage looks like a fairy tale. It would be foolish to rightly ascribe Hugo to Cheech. Between characters of unknown origin and the many who despite screen appearances didn’t even exist, “lost” is again a description as well as title.

But why the double reverse, the “pretending to pretend” that Aaron and Alex were not born to the mothers that they were really not born to? That’s a great stroke in a swindle. The best way to lie is to tell a truth that won’t be believed. The best thing to hide is a nothing. You make it appear you’re hiding something, when that something is actually false. Suckers will hold onto the bait that much harder when the suckers think you’ve been hiding it from them. “You weren’t supposed to see that.” Sure you weren’t. Great alibi building.

Nobody Does It Better

For a long time I’d been trying to reconcile what appeared to be separate plot elements, yet each seeming to be the fundamental scam to the plot of Lost: on one hand, phony survivors claiming some connection with a big business magnate; on the other, phony biologic motherhood. Although now I see them as united in a lost-heir scam, for a while my speculation took me in another direction: What if the plot had been the result of a trade of help in two separate scams? I wound up researching the book and movie said to be the classic of that sort of mystery crime plot, Strangers on a Train. In somebody’s analysis on YouTube of the movie, I saw two scenes reminiscent of Lost. In April of 2020 I had another heart attack, and while I was in the hospital after my coronary stenting, TBS had a railroad-themed day of programming, so I finally got to see the movie of Strangers on a Train, though I was distracted by technicians during the climactic carousel scene. Still, viewing the entire film was no better for my analysis than the scenes I’d previously seen in that YouTube study. One scene was Hitchcock’s cameo entering the train with the double bass, which was echoed on Lost as Charlie’s difficulty getting his bass guitar on the plane, about which more below. The other was Miriam’s giving the “wrong” answer to Bruno’s question, resulting in his immediately strangling her; we saw that echoed twice on Lost. But that wasn’t how I wound up looking at this YouTube study of the movie; rather, I hit it in a search for the intersection of “Hitchcock” and “doubles”, which I was looking for for more clues to Lost after seeing them in Psycho and North By Northwest. This YouTube said Strangers on a Train harped a lot on the theme of doubles.

Anyway, now that I’ve satisfied myself that the connections were visual, I probably won’t go on to read the Highsmith novel. Still, whether it’s via the books or movies, isn’t it a bit eerie that both of these 1950s thrillers referenced by Lost (The Manchurian Candidate and Strangers on a Train) converge on the “lesson”, “Don’t get romantically involved with a U.S. senator’s daughter.”? At least neither of them were Scientologists!

But the most important clue I got from Strangers was to think about the Hitchcock cameo allusions on Lost as not only thematic allusions to the movies’ plots — indeed I no longer think Lost involved any trade of crimes let alone mere jokes (though they are funny), but as specific clues to the characters. What does it mean to liken a Lost character to Hitchcock? You’re saying the character is a director: someone who did, or tried to, direct the action. You’re telling us Charlie was one and that Mr. Eko (booted from the smugglers’ airplane like Hitch having the bus door shut in his face in North By Northwest) at least tried to be another. This led me to consider “Hitchcock cameos” I’d previously missed thinking of as one. I’ve decided Hugo’s appearance on the TV in the home of the man Mr. Paik was having Jin “deliver a message” to was a Hitchcock. It doesn’t concretely resemble any particular scene in a Hitchcock film, but it’s the type of appearance that now stands out in my mind fitting that motif; Hitch would be in a photo or some similar indirect appearance that fits the way Hugo showed up there in spirit. Therefore Hugo was a Director; but I’d known that for a long time. No shots of Locke with “Requiem for a Mockingbird”* playing, though, so I guess I’ll have to keep looking. So we have characters who are [Manchurian] Candidates, characters who are Directors, and plenty who are Dr. Manhattan; any other “types” in the clues?

The allusions also provide one more reason for the name “Alvar Hanso”: Besides the near-anagram of Ralph A. Voss, the near-anagram “ha salvar nos”, the resemblance to Hamlet, and the resemblance to Andrew Heywood and Anthony Harvey, it sounds even closer to “Alfred Hitchcock”.

Continuing to review classic scams, I came across a particular description of The Spanish Prisoner. As common as this con trick is my friend Jeannie would’ve fallen for it had her husband Bob not gotten her to phone her relative to ask if he really needed money I wasn’t used to seeing it by that name and its most florid description, as at http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/001509.html :

Lord Whatever has been taken prisoner in Spain. He has withheld his name and condition from his captors, lest they torture him for military or diplomatic secrets; and so they think him a common soldier, worth only a paltry ransom, and hold him in conditions of great misery and want. He cannot send to have his ransom paid out of his own vast estates, since to do so he must perforce reveal himself. The man who could supply the trifling sums needed to ransom him, and bring him home safely to England, would have Lord Whatever’s eternal gratitude, and be rewarded many times over.

. . .

What’s wonderful is that not only is it not necessary that Lord Whatever exist; it isn’t necessary that Spain exist. All you need is the piece of Secret Inside Information about an immeasurably rich prize, which for some odd reason needs to be extricated from its current situation, and which can be had for a very little money.

This struck me by its similarity to Herbert de Lernac’s blackmail letter in “The Lost Special”. The scam’s being centuries old, Doyle would of course have been familiar with it. Did he expect his readers to see thru the ruse? If this form of the blackmail was to be used, then Caratal, Gomez, and Moore would all have been working together, and the highly protected valise would’ve contained nothing. The lost special would have been found, just as the blackmail letter said, at the bottom of the Heartsease mine, but the absence of human remains would not have been suspicious, and they would not have been looked for thoroughly, since they would be expected to have been nearly obliterated if not immediately then after 8 years, and in any event would not have been of persons of lasting importance. There would have been just enough rumored about Caratal’s and Gomez’s past in Central America to satisfy the inquiries. Since de Lernac didn’t name names, every powerful person with an embarrassing secret and the resources to make a substantial payoff would’ve been a target! I get these shotgun-sent e-mails all the time, trying to extort from me for videos of me masturbating to pornography — even though, most of that time, I haven’t even had a computer with a video camera.

In all the discussion I’ve read of “The Lost Special”, the possibility that it was all such a swindle was never discussed. Am I missing something, or were they? One possible objection is that the blackmail letter demanded immediate assistance, presumably in getting out of jail, and that therefore de Lernac would have to have actually existed and actually have been in jail. Audio adaptations of the story are based on that understanding, including a recent one in which Sherlock Holmes visits de Lernac in jail to gloat. However, the letter was not that specific in its demands. Another objection is that since the letter mentioned no other means of payment, and promised to name the names in the “second edition”, he would have no means to receive any benefit if the real writer were elsewhere. But this does not preclude the possibility of another confederate as bag man. It could then be objected that since a scammer would not have known who was being targeted (since there was no actual secret and it was really about “everybody”), there would’ve been no route for a bag man to ply. But surely Doyle would’ve expected readers to fill in these details. Not only that, but the persona telling the tale could have been an interested party as well, helping to sell its authenticity.

If I’m seeing this while others didn’t, did Alan Moore? Probably further study of Watchmen is called for, but your own story (Lost, not your Watchmen for the time being) is my primary interest, and I conclude that you, at least, did understand “The Lost Special” this way. It answers the question about Alvar Hanso’s existence that I first thought of in relation to North By Northwest. He never existed. My objections on that point dissolved once I learned Jacob’s last name. The above-quoted source linked to a story about the Jacob Baker estate, probably the biggest inheritance con in history. The fact that Jacob Baker never existed did not keep an estimated half million marks from being bilked out of payments to help secure their shares. For the same reason a Hugo Reyes can pose as the winner of an enormous lottery prize because nobody who needs to know explores whether he is one, a vast business empire in the name of Alvar Hanso can exist in the minds of persons without ever existing in actual assets. In fact it’s better to base a scam like that on a nobody than a somebody, because the facts can always be found out about a real somebody. Similarly, the best secret to hide is a nonexistent one.

You Scratch My Back, I’ll Stab Yours

The death of Alex gave us the clues we needed to sort out the relationship between Widmore and Benry. Proof that the death of Rousseau was faked was provided as described previously: no water bottle bullet exit hole. Alex was the only possible witness of that, save the possibility of viewers via surveillance camera. I discount that last possibility because of the way events subsequently played out, and because the other examples we were given seemed to call for witnesses on the spot. It seems that Benry was expecting, and getting, cooperation from Widmore up to the point where Widmore’s agent Keamy killed her.

If Alex had been expected by both Widmore and Benry to be killed, then it would have made no sense to fake the death of Rousseau, but we have proof that one was faked. Kill the witness of what you’re faking? Ridiculous. Then we weren’t shown Keamy actually plugging Alex, and we have a later scene between Alex and Benry, so there’s superficial reason to think Alex’s death was faked, but that doesn’t stand up to analysis. If Alex was to play dead, then it would’ve made no sense for her to witness Rousseau’s faked death; Alex could simply have lied about it if she herself didn’t need to be convinced. So Alex was really killed, and we can be sure it was by Widmore’s order, and her appearance to Benry later was either by a double, a ghost, or just in Benry’s mind. A double wouldn’t’ve convinced Benry, and it would’ve made no sense to have one in the wings given what we know about what characters knew. A ghost? Why would she have a real one when all the others on Lost were fake? So she was in Benry’s head, and he sure has compelling visions, because Dead Alex was kickass!

So now we know why Benry had such a strong facial reaction to Alex’s death. He was expecting a play, but the one he got was Tosca. Which means he was just finding out that Widmore had betrayed him. Widmore must have wanted to clear the field of another possible “heir” to the nonexistent fortune. So Benry’s anger at Widmore and vow to kill his daughter were exactly as laid out to us, in one of the few cases on Lost where character motivation was transparent! We see by this that the versions of the story of Benry and Widmore as having been working together on the island decades earlier were purely allegoric, showing us a parallel timeline to the one in the real story, rather than having occurred long ago. I’d already understood the dating of these events to have been faked for us, but the timing of when we see Benry wake up to Widmore’s perfidy nails it down.

So how did Locke know about the “backgammon teams”? The Locke who showed this to Walt could only have known it was that serious between Widmore and Benry if he was Widmore’s agent. The other Locke (or one of the other Lockes, since I’m still not clear on how many there were) was probably on Benry’s side. Mr. Eko was on the other side from one or the other of the Lockes. Given Hugo’s line in Saïd’s presence, “Checkmate, Mr. Eko,” we can infer they were on the opposite side from Mr. Eko, so we can infer that Eko was on Widmore’s team along with this “other Locke”.

Further, we have a general understanding of the state of Benry’s knowledge at the opening of the exposition of Lost. It’s obvious from the extent of preparations that he expected help from Widmore or somebody similarly placed to know about the operation, and that things as they unfolded were generally going according to plan, but that there were some troubling details that made Benry suspicious. Widmore had been expected to play the villain, but not actually to be the villain, yet he was turning out to be so. And so preparations that had been made to further the setting-up of the [Manchurian] candidates were diverted by Benry into Hamlet’s Mouse Trap.

Was there a bifurcation of partners on the outside? Was there someone else who Benry expected help from rather than Widmore’s intervention? Mr. Paik, perhaps? The subsequent leveraged buyout of Paik by Sun looks from this perspective like another allegory (although it was for real, not just a fairy tale along the model of season 6’s tellings) of what turned out to be the struggle between Benry and Widmore; as off the island, so on the island. This view fingers Sun as either an agent of Widmore or as a rogue who cashed out and went her own way. However, her ostensible post-island relationship with Hugo would seem to cast her as on Benry’s side, which would mean Paik’s “help” had not been expected by Benry.

Concert or Movie? Why Not Both? And Further Entertainment

Kate’s leitmotif turns out to be an especially close parody of the music from the movie serial adaptation of The Lost Special. Yet I’ve returned to thinking the resemblance of either that leitmotif or some other Lost music to the opening theme of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was deliberate too. If character names can be sculpted so as to allude to more than one precursor, why not music too?

Continuing the allusions from major 1960s motion pictures with similar plots, the Oceanic Air logo is a pastiche of the opening credits artwork of Ocean’s 11. The opening theme music of that one is so simple that Mr. Giacchino might have hidden it anywhere or everywhere on Lost. And I’m guessing there are still more musical allusions therein besides those from Department S. Had the story of Engine 115 not existed to tie in, would it have been Oceanic flight 11 rather than 815? Or would “Oceanic 11” have been too obvious a clue? That was another movie I saw as a child with my parents and would now have to go back and study for resemblances between those 11 and the scammers on Lost.

Meanwhile the world of Lost exegesis has changed considerably since the days of high traffic at The Fuselage and alt.tv.lost. It’d already changed a lot by the last season or two during Losts run, then the finale seemed to harden everyone’s position (and throw me off mine for a while) because those who thought something was hidden therein assumed it would come out in a denouement. Now there are people analyzing the show online again, asynchronously, many of whom hadn’t seen it during its run but have been mostly binge-watching it, and a few giving it a close read but coming to conclusions without much discussion with others. One analyst I’ve discovered recently, Chris Huth, has a YouTube channel, The Huth Truth, conducting a “Getting Lost” series very entertainingly; you should look at it, Kid. He’s very perceptive, catching some things I’d missed, probably with less viewing than it took me, and he’s a good analyst. Had he been your friend like me, I’m confident he’d’ve “gotten” Lost so fast he wouldn’t’ve needed the extra time I’ve taken but instead would’ve penetrated it in close to real time. Unfortunately because he’s a stranger, he’s been limited to relatively shallow theorizing that turns up some nuggets close to the surface (as well as some false ones, as we’re all suckers for); I think he suspects there’s more deeper, but has no idea how fundamental the surprises are. Another YouTube channel, Lost Thoughts, started its series of analyses with “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Island”, but the analyst there seems to have no idea how close that title came, apparently by accident, to the truth. Just as I doubt you would’ve known about Department S had I not raved about it to you, most of the “kids” analyzing Lost these days aren’t old enough to have caught the references therein to the various 1960s movies.

The resistance I see to my revelations when I put them online is now giving me an idea why you didn’t finish Lost with a denouement. Seems the audience more readily accepts a shitty production with continuity and script errors and an idiot plot with “a wizard did it” explanations than they’ll accept that there’s an intricately plotted, meticulously executed production that they simply didn’t understand. For instance, even the brilliant Chris Huth says he’s not prepared to swallow an understanding of Lost that requires this much of what seems to have happened or to have been character motivation to have been faked or exist only in a character’s mind. Know who does readily accept my explanation? People who weren’t much into Lost, or didn’t even watch it, to begin with. They’re not invested in a certain idea that they spent years absorbing and putting into place in their minds, so when they hear it, they think it’s cool.

So there it stands. I’m going to have to add an “oops” back side revision to the index card at the top of the index page to “Get” Lost, now that I know Alvar Hanso didn’t exist. I still can’t rule out the possibility that Widmore, Kate, and various other characters who appear to be co-conspirators in a lost-heir scam are actually victims of a Jacob Baker-style swindle being perpetrated by Benry. That would fit a lot of thematic clues about “sugar” diamonds, how “they keep coming”, Priory of Sion, and so on. But I think I’m very close now to the Final Solution, and when I get to it, then I can view your more recent work.

Best Wishes,

Dr. Suds

* I meant “Funeral March for a Marionette”. added in proof March 6, 2021