“Get” Lost entry #8 (RMG) - April 22, 2007

Dear Damon,

Episodes continue to come without a break, and I sense that they've been heavier on the clues lately, so to keep from being scooped by anyone else who may be playing this ridiculous game — which I realize now I'm doing partly to make up for my abysmal performance in figuring out Harlequin the time your Pop showed it to us — and it seems some of his competitive nature (plus maybe that of Andy & Ken) rubbed off on me — I'm putting in this entry now rather than waiting for the summer break. Yet if I judge by what I read in alt.tv.lost and the 'Lage, I shouldn't have such a concern. Indeed I'm increasingly alienated from other theorizers, even my friends John & Alley, by “seeing” so much that either isn't there at all — in which case all I'll have done is to have written a fanfic “treatment” for Lost based on my own warped sense of humor and paranoid approach that I've projected onto you, without even getting paid like the recappers at Television Without Pity — or is buried so deeply that only someone who followed your career from Teaneck HS had a shot at uncovering. Yet even where it rubs the edges a bit, it still fits so poetically that I'm completely sold, and I gotta believe that if one or more of your other friends is playing this, they're either hot on my heels or in front, and may have already lapped me.

Everything I see now tells me the two Prime Marks of Lost — the ones thru whom most of the bunco is funneling, and who presumably will be the ones primarily needed to “sell” the rest of the world — were the eye openers of seasons 2 & 3: Desmond & Juliet. That being the case, I've decided Juliet's sister (who some viewers think was her brother) was among the scammers rather than scammees. She was never really sick, and I don't know if she was ever really pregnant. They're taking advantage of her ambition and desire to do good, which are both useful characteristics to the Island Powers.

This means there's a convergence of operations on Juliet by two teams, which I'll name for their principals: Jack & Benry, and Locke & Benry. It suggests that Benry's contretemps with Locke about his letting the doctor call all the shots may not have been only for the benefit of Juliet, who would've been monitoring by video link. There may be some professional rivalry between Jack & Locke, and Benry may be one of those jerks who gets a kick out of stirring up office politics. So the scenes “read” two ways, with Jack & Locke pretending to be rivals while actually being rivals, and Ben pretending to arouse ill feeling while actually arousing ill feeling. I can hear Ken Freedman blustering, “The double reverse!” I also foresee the slash fanatics working furiously on that triangle with an intensity that'll make Jack-Kate-Sawyer seem tame. Gay community $DVD$!

Review of the scene between Locke and the private investigator he hired to “find his father” reveals two-way dialog whose hidden interpretation is, “Here's the phony paperwork you wanted to establish a paper trail for your `father'. I do this a lot for cons and it never turns out well.”

I'd like to think Juliet will turn out to be a bunco investigator, but I don't think you'll go that way as per Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The network made him do that, and I don't think Dizzy's going to do similarly, although I think it'd be delicious as your final stroke, the con to top all cons.

Desmond has always been tough for me to figure. I've presumably lost points for misplacing him first here, then there, as a Mouse Trap piece. Episode “Catch 22” finally gave me what I needed to categorize him. Simply put, he's what I'd long thought John Locke to have been. As shown by my previous entry, I've gone back to close to my original conception of Locke as a knowing operator, and now I see that Desmond is the person who's been led to believe he's clairvoyant, and without need of implants — though I'm afraid he may still suffer from the head scarring.

Desmond must've been worked on for a very long time. This is shown not only by the time marks he's given, but by the names several of the con artists have chosen. I can hear the meeting:

“The pigeon's name is Desmond David Hume? OK, then I want to be John Locke.”

“If you're John Locke, then I must be Anthony Cooper.”

“Can I be Rousseau?”

“Well, I wasn't going to comment on your looks, but I guess you could pass for a Jean-Jacques...”

“No, I mean a lady Rousseau. I'll pick a first name that works in French.”

And so on with Edmund Burke. The Philosophers apparently were early among the Island Powers. Maybe they are the Island Powers. The Shepherds apparently are operating (heh) under their real names.

When I first heard the monastic bit, my first impulse was to drift back from Desmond as the Scottish Bilko to thinking he was very dedicated knowingly to The Con. (I also wondered whether it was a shout-out to Andy Breckman for his Monk.) But now I'm just hoping they used some more humane method to put him out than the whack on the head that works unfailingly on TV but in real life is liable to produce brain damage if Desmond got as many “booster treatments” over the course of his life as indicated. They get him into a hypnotic state where, possibly with the aid of such equipment as we've seen Carl hooked up to, they act out scenes that they later reproduce in real life, so he comes to believe that if he acts in just exactly a certain way, things come out one way, while if he deviates from the “script”, the universe changes acausally. This is clearly a script writer's fantasy, which is one of the reasons I'm taking it over the alternative explanation that, as in Watchmen, you've got one super-powered essence-of-human in a world of mere mortals. So the resemblance you've made between Desmond and Dr. Manhattan I'm taking stops at appearances.

This means that in order to reproduce their Flash-&-Superman dialog, Hugo and Charlie at least must be operators. Charlie was a cinch already, but only recently has Hugo made obvious his skill at confidence, which makes his remark early in the episode about his ability to cajole Jin ironic in a double-reverse way. And now we see why Hugo had to be “captured” by Benry et al. only to be sent back. On the trip back, he can report the ground's having shaken without need to install earthquake simulators everywhere, and he gets to stop at Swan, where he can work with Charlie (and presumably Jin) on “the future” before a stupefied Desmond. (Or maybe they diverted to Abu Grab if the facilities were better.) To make the picture (heh) complete, Penelope would have to have been there too. My mere conjecture from the end of season 2 as a formal possibility turns out to be real: the Portugese workers at the cold weather station were marks, “confirming” an “electromagnetic anomaly” detectable worldwide as “caused” by Desmond's mishandling of Swan equipment.

Somewhere in southern Iraq or Kuwait there must've been a mock-up of Swan where Kelvin similarly “performed the future” for Desmond. And another back in Britain, but there the props did not match exactly, which is how Desmond figures the universe, although “course correcting” (not a bad metaphor for a sailor), has altered its details slightly. He probably also thinks he can reverse the causality suggested by the guy who mustered him out of the army, by delaying reading the last of his Dickens so he can defer his own death. Somewhere along the line he must've been shown his death in conjunction with the last page of Our Mutual Friend, which I haven't read either. And somewhere he must've been shown something really outrageous he's going to have to do to get his Penny back from the gum ball machine that is Lost.

But what could be more outrageous than faking paralysis, heroin addiction, murder, miracle cures, or...pregnancy and childbirth? Yes, on reviewing Claire's stories I see that's what it was. Two-way dialog suggests her boyfriend was going to be part of the con, but chickened out. Malkin the fortune teller probably thought he was pretty good following the false info she'd planted. I should've known that early indication of a con was too easy — that it'd turn out to run the opposite direction, the ostensible mark being the con and vice versa.

Then on to adoption services. Was the lawyer/official in on it, or does Claire just know how to hold a ballpoint pen to make it appear inoperable? I think the former, because Claire didn't try to use the pen offered by the adopting couple. Or am I thinking more than your staff about this detail? In that case, let's just say it was rigged thru the office supply delivery man, and you can use it.

Then on to labor & delivery by sleight of hand artist Kate, who brought in the baby in her bag (which is why she was apprehensive when she fell and apparently broke only a bottle of alcohol) and swapped it for Claire's pregnant belly prosthesis. It was one of those scatter-and-misdirect-them episodes, what with Boone's fake death going on too.

This affords us the most elegant explanation of how Caduceus, the medical bunker, was cleaned out and its furnishings transported thru the jungle so quickly & easily. It's easy when it was never furnished to begin with. After all, all we have is Claire's word, via “recovered memory” with Libby, about what supposedly happened there. And Juliet had Ethan's word.

And now Claire's sick act. No remote-controlled implant necessary, of course, but nice technologic misdirection by your & Benry's invoking one. Neither did Charlie have to fool Claire by palming the rescue note as he did; of course she had no intention of putting one on a seagull anyway.

Reviewing Mr. Eko's scenes, I've gotten a better idea of when he “got it”. When he told Jack, “I know”, it meant more than that he knew there was a prisoner in Swan. He'd figured out at least that the kidnappings weren't real, which meant that he'd killed two people unnecessarily that first night. Mr. Eko was skilled at simulation, such as when he'd simulated slitting the throats of two people for the benefit of the young guy who would be the witness. But he clearly was not in on all the goings-on on Poo itself, and had to infer them from observation. So he made a combination apology and threat to Benry: “I'm really, really sorry I killed two of your people tragically. It wouldn't've happened if you'd told me how things are being run here. But if you continue to get in the way of the aims of my own game, I can kill again, this time in malice.” But it was only when he tried to act on his threat, by butting in on the Swan action re Desmond, that he had to be eliminated. And that really was “Yemi” there, and he really isn't his brother, any more than “Walt” was related to Michael, Locke to Cooper-Seward, or Turniphead to Claire.

I also have a better idea of the extent of Kate's involvement with The Marshal. It started with her phony murder of Wayne, by a method that conveniently incinerates the body. Phony fugitive, all the way.

Certain indicators we got from scenes and Juliet's dialogs have finally allowed us to answer the issue of the time lag between the outside world and Poo. Depending on whose math I use, Craphole time is 14 to 17 days behind the real world's, occupied by unconsciousness on the part of those who aren't in the know.

The picture is also forming of the object of the con or cons. I'm entertaining the possibility that a mercenary goal is involved with the con on Juliet, namely selling real estate on some island in the Pacific they'll say is the magickal cure-all place we know is really on Bioko and in the Crowleyan sense only magical, not magickal. However, remarks by Locke indicate the object to be or at least involve getting the world to adopt a religion and/or a lifestyle. It may parallel Hugo's conning Sawyer to act nice.

What's still not clear is what object or objects Kate, Charlie, and Penelope are, and Mr. Eko was, pursuing. Penelope's con on Desmond may tie in somehow to the con on Juliet (to which Sayid can also be a witness). Maybe carrot & stick: be nice, get healed; lack diligence or faith, destroy the world. Or depopulate it if pregnancies all result in death. But we don't know yet what crazy stunt they're still setting Desmond up for. Maybe the really big payoff is when the “dead” rise. I think now even the Medusa spider business was a cover for the real paralysis drug. They don't need breathing apparatus, they just crawl out while they're shrouded and dummies get substituted, which means that those who are paralyzed have to take care to assume the pose their dummy is in. Or there's a tunnel under the grave site; but I think you'd prefer dummies.

Meanwhile Kate, Charlie, and Eko were working on something involving one or more tokens, and I still haven't a clue what that leads to. But I'm letting ride my guess that Charlie is The Cobra, and that he snuck in somehow and was more successful than Nathan.

If, as I'm reading, season 4 is going to be run by ABC without a single break, I'm going to be really frazzled by this game a year from now, nailing down the final details. Maybe if I think I'm close enough, I'll just sit back and let it all ride.