I keep up on the theories of Lost more than some but certainly less than others. But I do not recall seeing someone approach the show like I will in this blog posting. While I do care about why the events on the island are occurring I will leave the meaning of these events to my betters. I want to take a different approach to the show.
Years ago when Lost started I would casually think about how this can possibly end. And here we are getting to the end of the show. It dawned on me recently that this has to end one way.
Let us assume two things:
1) The Flash Sideways (FS) will be used for something. The show won’t end with the FS being just a wasted 30 minutes of each episode. Or that we could have ended the season with 8 fewer episodes or whatever…
2) I don’t think the producers will be throwing us for a twist at the last minute. In other words we won’t get to the final 30 minutes of the show and find out Ben was a woman, gave birth to Jack and the story was all in Kate’s head. The show will end in a reasonable and normal story fashion.
So how will it end? No idea… lol.
Ok…Let’s assume we had to write this show ourselves. We need to do one particular thing. We need to keep people watching and entertained until the very last minute. What we cannot do is have the audience be bored and change the channel. Moreover, the ending cannot be so easy that the audience can figure it out before hand and then sit there just waiting for the inevitable ending. Furthermore we cannot spend time on the aftermath. If the producers learned one thing from Lord of the Rings it will be the ending cannot drag on and on. Even though I will argue LOTR:RotK’s ending was just tidying up the storylines in a proper fashion the reality of TV is that people will turn the channel if Lost ends at 8:15 and still has 2 hours left.
So, the show needs to do a few things:
1) Keep people watching in a dramatic fashion until the very last minute.
2) Make the story be complex and interesting enough that the audience does not completely figure it out before the show ends.
3) And somehow the show must be able to show the aftermath of the events without forcing the audience to stick around for an “extra” episode or to read ancillary material (comic/novels etc).
Given all of the constraints of a final show here is what I see as creatively having to happen. The FS will be reality. The show, sometime near the end if not the very ending, will have some mechanism to cause the events we have seen not to occur. In other words the show will reset like the end of Season 5. Will the mechanism be killing Jacob in the past? Maybe…but it does not matter. The actual mechanism does not matter to the creative question of HOW to produce the show. It only matters to the actual plot and I won’t bother trying to figure that out.
So my point is, somehow in the past something will occur that resets time so that the events we think of as real life (RL) do not happen. And the FS is the result of this event. The audience will have seen the aftermath of what occurs in the shows climax.
Ok…so now we know the ending will be making the FS “real”. However many years ago, in the producers “real life”, when they came up with the ending they had to have known it could not be just thrown at the audience. They needed to set this up somehow…so they figured they would need about 3 seasons to tell the story properly and set up the ability to do this. First they have to set up the Flash Forward in time (end of season 3?). Then establish the ability to go back and forth in time (Desmond’s cool episode). And finally they show that they can actually jump in time (Season 5).
So the producers take the ending they need to have. A story of Jacob and whomever else. And creatively they work backwards trying to figure out the bullet points of where the story needs to go. So they figure X number of episodes to pull this off. And finally they decide with ABC to end the show and that they will have time to pull this off. So now they can start all the weird stuff we the audience need to see so that in the last episode someone (the last candidate?) goes back in time or causes an event back in time to occur and thus Flight 815 never crashes and everyone’s lives go on as we see in the FS.
Is this possible? Why not. Is there a lot of loose ends; like people need to do things in the future etc? Not really. Let me say that all of the RL we have seen will happen. People got off the island….things in the future happened. Things in the past happened etc… Life moved forward and gets to a point where something in the past gets changed. Just like Back to the Future the things in the future AFTER that event will change. Is there a paradox in that the future event does not happen so the triggering event could not happen? I don’t think so. I believe the timeline can move forward and the RL future does happen and the events lead to the triggering event and that changes everything afterwards. And after that, people that were dead could now be alive. Some people could die that were alive. Anything can happen. But the key thing here is that “What happened, happened”. In other words even though it cannot happen again it DID happen at one time.
Of course there are tons of questions to be answered. But I am solely discussing the creative mechanisms around how they can write and produce the show. I have no special insight on the story that causes the trigger, the meanings behind any of it, the metaphors etc. This is strictly just supposing the show will have some event that causes something so that the FS will be the aftermath and the new reality.
I also want to say that I don’t think the FS has any special meanings. People are analyzing the FS for every bit of meaning between the RL and the FS changes. Could there be meaning and ideas at work here? Certainly. But I laughed at the final reveal of the Numbers. For years people have analyzed the Numbers and sought meaning behind them and they meant nothing. They are just a list of numbers that go with the Candidates. Nothing else. As I said, I laughed at this because I saw the producers sitting there giggling as they wrote it….”How about we have the Numbers mean nothing? lol….Won’t that be hilarious after all the years??? LOL”. Seriously…even though I was shocked at this; it made sense. Had they tried to place more significance behind the numbers than they did it would have likely been disappointing. As it is now, the Numbers mean nothing but do still have a very significant purpose. I feel the same about the FS. Ultimately it has no meaning and it will just be the new reality.
In writing this someone post mentioned the producers denying the FS is a parallel universe. I agree with this. The end of season 5 did NOT cause a split. These two timelines are NOT running concurrently; in parellel. They are merely a dramatic device used by the creators in order to give the audience a very satisfying ending. In this I mean that at the end of the show, the trigger will occur and the FS is now the new reality. And we, the audience will have seen close to 8 hours of aftermath and will know how the lives of most, if not all, of the people on the show end up. And they did it by not wasting one moment of the last episode to show this. And moreover, they did it by giving the audience massive amounts of information to discuss while watching the season and afterwards.
I want to mention some other things. In the last broadcast episode, Ben and his father discussed being in Dharma. And leaving them. It is clear to me that the triggering event was a LONG time in the past but that the island still existed. Dharma went there and did things. Built their village etc. Ben and his father left for whatever reason and possibly left the Dharma. The Dharma continued drilling and caused some event that probably caused the island to sink as we saw in S6 E1 cut to commercial scene. And since Ben and his father left Dharma they do not know what eventually happened and thus the conversation they had speculating about their future if they had stayed in Dharma was just the writers having fun with the new FS “reality”.
And about the cut island sinking scene, what that scene did not show is what timeline that was but I think it was part of the FS. The producers claim some evidence is in that scene but to my understanding no one has found the evidence yet. Maybe after reading this we can see something in it…
I also want to point out a couple of flaws or inconsistencies in my theory. I do mostly claim the triggering event that cause the FS will be the last thing we see. That could be wrong. For all I know it could happen in tonight’s episode. And the rest of the season will be more future from the point of view of everyone in the FS stories. What I am saying is that this could happen at any point between now and the end of the series. I just claim that for creative purposes as stated at the beginning of this post that the FS will be the new reality. When this occurs I have no idea. But I think due to it being too obvious at some point it won’t be the final thing in the show. Moreover, I do not think it will be too early. If they end the Jacob storyline sooner than later and we then have to see multiple episodes of the FS future, I am not sure where the story is that will make the episodes dramatically sustainable. Of course they can do anything so it is impossible for me to speculate where the story can go plot wise…
Also wrong with my theory is ….lol….after all this writing I lost my train of thought. Maybe I will think of it later tonight… 🙂