“Get” Lost — entry #3: Mar. 17, 2006 (RMG)


Dear Damon,

As you read this in 2018, Lost is a distant memory to you, coming somewhere between Wasteland and the spectacular renaissance of Petting Zoo. You haven't had a writing credit on Lost in 6 years and have been satisfied with your income from it as co-creator while working on other projects. For the past 2 years Disney-Sun-Siemens AG has been milking what remains of Lost's audience with the show now set in the convenience store where Hugo bought his lottery ticket, with occasional visits by old cast members in “special” episodes. It had been a crime-oriented series until fans who'd never worked in convenience stores objected that it was unrealistic that a single store would be robbed so often, and is now an ensemble sitcom dealing with the wacky types who frequent the place late at night. Since the failure of HDTV and the destruction of a direct broadcast satellite by Islamic terrorists disturbed by Howard A. Stern's content, the show has been distributed almost exclusively via the Internet, which somebody's finally figured how to make money off.

Your last rude reminder of Lost came 4 years ago after the series had reached its obvious “natural” conclusion – which was actually the fifth ending you'd planned on – and a disgruntled fan started threatening your children. And you thought that giving them their mother's last name would be enough to shield them! (Had all those years of mystery writing and plots involving fanatics taught you nothing?) Now, as you prepare to move, you've found these dusty envelopes labeled “Get Lost”, and it all comes back to you. OK, about a third of it comes back to you, mixed with your lines from 12 Angry Persons from high school and a commercial jingle you can't get out of your head, but can't quite place either; why would a diaper ad be memorable, you wonder? So you cast your mind back to the winter of 2006 to chuckle at how your father's old gaming and catastrophist friend, who finally blew himself up in 2011, could've been that far off in interpreting all the clues you dangled before his eyes & ears in Lost.

“The Other 48 Days” (Tailies episode) seemed to have terminated with extreme prejudice my midsection-only hypothesis of the “crash”, derived from “One Of Our Aircraft Is Empty” (Dept. S). With as many passengers as that removed from the tail section, for months I saw no way to have the rest fly on to LAX without calling even more attention to the project. However, as events developed they revealed so few “marks” among the Tailies that that scenario became feasible again. Ana Lucia and Mr. Eko must've been sitting in rows surrounded by shills, and were removed along with the Middies while the shills and unconscious innocent passengers took off again and landed at LAX. The shills from the tail section then continued their trip to rendezvous with the marks on Bioko. Presumably the tail section was dropped from a great height by heavy-lift helicopter. The shills assisted in the water with waking up Ana Lucia and Mr. Eko.

I find it useful now to organize most of my remarks by character. John called my attention to Paradise Lost as additional source material. I hadn't read it, so he lent me Cliff's Notes to it.

general remarks

Watchmen cx

Paradise Lost

The Island: Well, it's practically a character, right? By now it's obvious that it's not just near Fernando Poo, it is Fernando Poo (Bioko) – specifically its southern or southwestern shore area. See enclosed CIA topo with hand markings. “Craphole” -- Poo!

The smuggler's plane wouldn't've flown far with somebody shot in the chest aboard. The French radio distress call is from Cameroon, with VHF line of sight from partway up “Mt. Vesuvius”. The strewn sneakers were from a Chinese shipment for the shoeless residents a few years ago. Because the Losties aren't where they think, instead of monsoon winds they're transitioning from the wet to the dry season.

So how'll you work in an Ingolstadt allusion?

There was a tropical island where people were secreted under false pretenses.

Craphole includes Hell and Earth. The cable Sayid found is like that by which Earth is suspended from Heaven.

Smokey: Particles of metal or conductive lampblack suspended, transported, and made to dance by magnetic levitation from buried cables, such as the one Sayid found. The wave motion as Smokey is quickly transported is a clue, although I first considered other techniques. The Hanso Foundation film's mention of unusual magnetic properties of that sector is a cover for the magnetic compass anomalies they knew Sayid (or someone) would find, which are actually caused by the rigging.

One form Satan took was of a dark cloud.

Jack: Snagged by the same criteria as Hugo, the Island Powers were looking for lucky people. Sarah's accident, Sarah's cure, and Jack's initial meeting with Desmond were not rigged. Jack just misestimated Sarah's condition and misjudged how well she would do, hence the miraculous cure; in a big world, such things just happen often enough. Once it happened, Jack became known as a miracle worker, as evidenced by an episode in which someone traveled from Europe to be operated on by him.

The Island Powers learn of Jack. Easy to find Sarah, considering they got married. The vehicle crash is a public record, leading to Shannon & Boone. Christian is easily found. How they got Desmond, I don't know; maybe Desmond looked up Sarah.

Story opens with Satan awakening on his back near a lake of fire. Satan organizes an army of rebellious angels. Satan sneaks into Eden.

Swan bunker: Hatch had an electromagnet to pull in the batteries in the flashlight Locke (as directed by “inner voice”) tossed to Boone.

Dome room like Veidt's Antarctic HQ.8

Garden of Eden. Blast doors instead of flaming swords.

Hugo: You ramped up his “curse” by adding a meteor strike to the chicken joint. Presumably this was a mortar round, and was followed by a visit by an “expert” who “verified” that it was a meteorite and then took away the specimen for “further examination”.

Mammon sought to improve Hell, as Hugo built a golf course.

Shannon: “Netted” with Boone for their connection to Sarah and thereby Jack. Island Powers manipulated her father's estate so she'd wind up going to France and learn enough to translate the French distress call.

Belial argued for doing nothing, like Shannon's waiting for rescue on the beach.

Rose and Bernard: They're plants. I had them pegged as such long before Bernard was introduced.

Named for news vendor and dead wife Rosa.

“Desmond” translates approximately as “of the world”, befitting the Swan bunker's representing Earth as did Milton's Eden. Together with Marvin Candle they parallel Raphael, who's been criticized for being elliptical in his instructions to Adam. But “Candle” also evokes “Lucifer”.

The events in the Swan bunker at the beginning of season 2 illustrate Kate's ability to improvise when necessary. Desmond was supposed to tie up Locke, and then Kate was supposed to hit him so he'd “accidentally” discharge his gun and cause the terminal “malfunction”. But Locke threw a monkey wrench with his argument that Kate should be the one tied up, and Desmond couldn't ad lib quickly & convincingly enough. (Sure, the fans on alt.tv.lost pointed out to me plenty of things Desmond might've thought of, but just because he could doesn't mean he would on the spot. You've probably had plenty of improv practice in your studies, and of course you've thought of better lines afterward.) So Kate had to go through that whole ductwork escape act. The music Desmond put on, besides echoing Straw Dogs, probably functioned as a signal, as well as giving her an excuse for Jack's not being able to hear her.

Jin alludes to Dr. Manhattan so many ways...

...that I wonder if they could all have been intended. It hardly ever works so well on purpose like that. When I explained the Jin-gin connection to Nadine, she suggested that since gin was your father's favorite drink (preferably in the form of a Gibson), Sun (who was supposed to take the ticket off flight 815 arranged by her father) may be named after ******** -- “married to gin”. Lately ******'s taken to thinking Shannon might've been based on her, from her French connection, though I doubt you were even aware of it, and Libby is about the 4th character I've hoped was based on me...libertarian (“libbie”), med school dropout. Yeah, Libby's a plant too, to get Claire to recall her time in the medical bunker.

Shortly after my remarks about John Locke in entry #2 I realized he was indeed unaware of his implant. They gave it to him when he thought he was donating a kidney, the kidney donation being a complete sham although he probably is missing a kidney now. Near as I can figure, the device sits along his spinal column and when turned on remotely, it blocks nerve transmission to and from his lower extremities. It also receives voice signals which he hears faintly thru his cerebro-spinal fluid. That's why you show him sitting and staring when he's receiving; he has to be very quiet to hear the voice. Whether the device also transmits I don't know; the Island Powers may have so many other spies and listening devices, they don't need him for that. But fans are blaming you (supposed writing inconsistencies, or deliberate “resets”) for Locke's changes in behavior, when they should blame those voices in his head.

Some time after the device was implanted, Locke started hearing “voices”. He probably didn't tell anyone about them, but soon the voices started making predictions which tended to come true – as arranged by the Island Powers. So he came to trust his “intuition” or “psychic power” strongly. Therefore when he began to suffer paraplegia, he trusted his “inner voice” that told him to see only Dr. X about it, and not Dr. Y or Z. Dr. X told him he was incurable, and of course “overlooked” his implant. (Sarah's case is entirely different, as explained above.) Meanwhile he was referred to a psychotherapist, who would be handy for implanting a post-hypnotic suggestion of a Beechcraft crashing.

I've written separately to you about my belated noticing of how you used a bloody cut over & under his right eye to go with Mr. O'Quinn's bald head to evoke the red-stained smiley of Watchmen. You couldn't make his whole face yellow, so the closest you could come was his orange peel smile. Elsewhere I noted punning references to Watchmen in the promo voice-overs in the summer of 2005: “...brought together by fate [Veidt]”, “Oceanic...taking you places you never imagined.” (“Veidt brings you bodies beyond your wildest imaginings.) I'd've had no idea the creative team had any input to advertising for the show, otherwise.

Locke's being dragged over the ground toward a hole I think was another accident. He got caught in the mag-lev field by which Smokey was retreating. Whether the “hook” was a metal shoe shank, part of his implant, or something else, we're still going to have to cut you a lot of slack in believing that coils designed merely to manipulate metal dust would have force enough to drag a human body. “Magnetic Resonance Imagining” indeed! Kate had a spare stick of radio-controlled simulated dynamite, so she used it. Not that it would have any effect on a wave in a buried mag-lev cable, but it made it look like she was doing something to Smokey.

I think Mr. Eko has figured out approximately what Smokey is, and that certain trees along the cable path are rigged to blow up. Marvin Candle's “explanation” that this “sector” has peculiar natural magnetic properties was a cover story for the DC fields from buried cables which were deflecting Sayid's magnetic compass.

Since discovering Kate's general function in entry #2, I could write pages about my findings related to her. Actually I already did so in The Fuselage (which by now has been renamed The Slush Machine to comport with the show's theme since 2016) and alt.tv.lost. She's one of two principal candidates for Veidt (her name rhyming if you pronounce “Veidt” that way), the other still being Mr. Paik (whose name is close to “paix”, French for “peace”); it's probably not a 1:1 correspondence, because her remarks also echo those of Laurie Juspeczyk in feeling so bad about having a certain despised person's gene's “in her” via fatherhood.

I previously underestimated the function of the toy airplane. It could not be a mere token, because I caught Kate's sleight of hand in slipping a copy of it under the cap in the “time capsule” that she and Tom Brennan had buried. It was important to her at the time that Tom think it had been there all along, yet after Tom was apparently killed, it was unimportant enough that Kate left it in the car with the other chatchkas. Therefore that must've been the copy, and the one she has on Craphole-Poo is the real thing. It must be one of the “keys” referred to in the French distress call: “Brennan a pris les clefs”. That Brennan was presumably an adult relative of Tom's who secreted this valuable object by giving it to him, ostensibly for having flown to Dallas unaccompanied. If this turns out to have something to do with John Kennedy's assassination, I'll be a bit disappointed, even if it does give you more excuse to allude to Illuminatus! So was the plane ever in the lunch box, or did Kate even as a child use a sleight to fool Tom? The audio cassette has his remark indicating it was at least temporarily in her hands before it was buried. More importantly, anyone seeking the real key would find that audio tape and the decoy Kate left in the car. Tom wasn't supposed to have gotten killed in the process. His is just one of many deaths Kate feels very sorry about, but Wayne's was not one of them. Wayne and The Marshal share partial correspondence to The Comedian.

I'm saying now that at the earliest shown encounter between Kate and the Marshal, there was no conspiracy between them, and the dark horse just showed up. The dark horse's appearance on Poo was a surprise present to Kate, who must've told that story to her co-conspirators at some time. It was their way of winking at her; the horse wrangler's gloved hand caught by wide-screen viewers wasn't part of the deal. Some time between then and the events depicted as later in flashbacks, Kate and the Marshal had become co-conspirators along with many others. On flight 815, when the Marshal tells Kate that maybe people would believe “your story”, the “story” he was referring to is whatever the Losties will have foisted on them. That is, we are seeing her “story” unfold on Poo, it being what they want the marks to believe.

Knowing that Kate knew everything gave me an entirely different perspective in viewing the season 1 DVDs. The audience hears her asking innocent-sounding questions of the marks in the pilot episode and beyond, when she's actually probing for leaks. If Jack is not afraid because he knows, if Charlie remembers having seen her elsewhere in disguise, if Sawyer had another way of knowing a marshal was on the plane – they're dead, like the Marshal, by “accident”. Kate's probing continues in season 2, reading the messages in the bottle that Sun found, looking for signs that somebody knows too much. (I also wonder whether Sun's reappearing ring was a result of some Kate prestidigitation, that being a common magic trick.) Kate's biggest fear may be that Jack's death will have to be ordered.

John has remarked, “Lost does everything twice.” To which I add, “...at least!” In fan fora I was constantly amazed at how few viewers posting on the subject generalized from your mammoth clue showing Kate's bank job, to figuring out her posing as a captive with the Marshal and with Desmond. Finally a segment of viewers woke up when she repeated the act yet again with Mr. Friendly. Yet even most of them won't apply the lesson retroactively to her scenes with the Marshal and with Desmond. And although many discerned her manipulation regarding tickets aboard the good ship Raft #2, they don't figure out her motivation. There was no way she'd've gotten onto the raft herself, because she needed to go down the Hatch.

Claire's recent recollection and adventure was part of her preparation as a Lostie. Like others, she's being tested regarding sacrifice. Would she, as Rousseau suggested, be willing to sacrifice her baby, like Abraham with his son? Of course it's already been established that she was willing to part with Aaron for money, and then to part with him for less money; now how about killing him for no money, but just for the health of others?

Speaking of kids, the easiest agent to put in place was Walt. All he had to be was the right sex & race to convince Michael that he was the same kid he'd last seen at age 3. A classic lost-offspring con. Looked to me as if his appearing-disappearing acts before Shannon (except for the last, and possibly next to last) were accomplished simply by having him hang from wires (he looked like he was suspended by the waist the first two times), by which he could quickly be reeled up into the trees. Christian had to duck behind a bush. Some fans can't see how a neurosurgeon could be fooled by his father's playing dead, but it's easy when you have someone in the morgue paid off and your son has no reason to check.

I've yet to figure the motivations of all the shills. How many are true believers in The Cause, how many merely mercenary, how many think the Losties are all actors (The Three Amigos) or contestants, and how many are there under threat to them and/or their loved ones? Henry Gale, for instance, had to know he was going to take an arrow, and was saved from death more by deus ex continuity error than by Jack. (Was that a joke about the discrepancy in the record of the location of the bullet hole in JFK's back, as your father pointed out?) Maybe Rousseau wasn't acting when she practically invited Kate to shoot her, but was commenting on her disgust with having to fool Claire! And I still don't get what went down between Nathan and Goodwin (What should Nathan have said on his release from the pit by Goodwin?). And why would Goodwin have gone off with Ana Lucia if he knew he'd probably have to kill her? As my friend Alley points out, we're now in the era of the suicide bomber, so there's no need to explain fanatics willing to die; but some of these circumstances are more complicated than that.

Cindy had to disappear when she did to avoid meeting Charlie. “Didn't I see you in the forward part of the plane just before the crash?” Only thing worse would be their tuning the shortwave to a station that gives universal time – or maybe worse, the date!

Promos for the season I'm now watching had said, “They'll find out they're not the survivors they thought they were.” I forgot who pointed out that that could be parsed, “They'll find out they're not the survivors; they thought they were.” As in, from The Prisoner:

“Who is Number One?”

“You are Number Six.”


“You are, Number Six.”

That seems to mean that by the end of the season, the Losties will have found out there was no airliner crash, while in The Prisoner, #6 didn't find out he was #1 until the waning minutes of the series. How the Losties could find out and still be the subject of manipulation, I don't know. So I'm guessing the TV audience will be hit over the head with it, while the Losties themselves will remain ignorant – except for those among them who've figured it out and realize that if they don't continue to play along, they and their friends are dead. That means Sayid and Mr. Eko.

Meanwhile, I did find a line from season 1 that constitutes a hilariously punning prediction: Charlie's telling Kate in reference to Drive Shaft's popularity, “When I come back, it's going to be insane.” Kate just nodded! I don't know how his recent hallucination was induced, but he's on his way.

Yours Truly,