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Author Topic: LOST Thought Experiment
Raymond Arnold
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So I've been thinking about the Finale, and about the show in general. There's a lot of things I think could have been better, a lot of things I would have done completely differently, but I don't think the way they chose to execute either the show or the ending were inherently wrong, just different than how I wish they had done it. And there's plenty of discussion on that in the main Lost Season 6 thread.

What I'm wondering about, and which I felt the need to start a new thread regarding, is this:

From the very first season, the Island itself has been established as a character. Many people throughout the series (most notably Locke and Be) mistake both Jacob or Esau to be the island, but ultimately both of them are just individuals who had plenty of flaws. They finally get a flashback episode, which gives us some insight as to their motivations, but tells us nothing about the island itself, which is what a lot of people actually wanted.

So I'm thinking, is it even POSSIBLE to do a flashback (or, hell, a normal present day scene) in which the Island is a character we can empathize with? I think this is something that, if done right, could have made the show a lot more successful on its own terms (i.e, keeping it a show that's ultimately about characters and faith, where the point of the mysteries turns out to be "seriously, stop obsessing with the mysteries.")

So, leaving all we've seen so far intact and canonical, can we think of ways they could have included flashback scenes that emphasized the island itself, establishing it as something that HAD motivations without breaking down the mystery completely? I thinking along the lines of taking the second to last episode (The one where Jack becomes guardian), and removing the flash sideways scenes (condensing them so they fit in other episodes). Then replacing them with scenes that show the history of the island.

1. A series of panning shots across the island, where the camera is kept low to the ground. We see various animals, but no people. This lasts about two minutes. Ideally it'd show significant natural landmarks that we recognize from earlier, but with no buildings. It starts out by showing the cave with the light. The mood/music is very tranquil. It ends with a small boat crashing into the island and a small group of people (very primitive, basically cavemen) getting out (camera is still low to the ground, so it's clearly not from any of their POV). The camera cuts back to the cave with the light, which flickers ominously. We hear one of the signature lost creepy music sounds.

2. I feel like the full details of the "origin story" of the islands relationship with people is something that isn't necessary to tell (I liked Jacob's mom's statement "any question about my origin will be met with another question."). So I guess the next series of flashbacks would be about Jacob's (and Smokey's) first interaction with new arrivals, but with camerawork that establishes we are not watching it from Jacob or Smokey or the castaway's POV. Ideally it would also introduce a few random ghost characters (possibly including a ghost from the small group of primitives who arrived at the end of the first flashback)

One of the last flashbacks would be one of the newcomers finding and turning the donkey wheel. I think that that act should be physically painful for the island. It should have a sort of fingernails-chalkboard sound that reverberates throughout the landscape (with the camera moving quickly to show how far reaching it is). We hear a groaning sound coming from the rock itself that sounds painful. To emphasize what is happening (because, well, empathizing with rock is hard), we also flashes of the ghosts as well as Jacob cringing in pain. We should the Man in Black smiling slightly and stroking his beard, not quite sure what to make of this but thinking about how to use it in the future.

Possibly have one followup flashback that shows Jacob killing the other humans (or otherwise dealing with them. Since it's his first time dealing with it he should be crude about it).

The final flashback shows Jacob sitting by the cave with the light, resting his hand on a rock, apologizing for letting it happen and promising never to let it happen again.

I think I could work out something better if I had more time, but I already spent way more time writing this than I expected to, and this is a pretty big Wall O' Text anyway. So that's it for now.

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Raymond Arnold
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Additional note that I felt should be kept separate from the initial post:

In my mind, there was an original bunch of people who the Island itself tried to "befriend," allowing them to see the light. At first they worship it, but eventually one tries to take the plug and is killed by the light. (Also possible and more plausible, is that originally there was no plug, just a rock embedded into the island, and that the plug itself was carved out by people who wanted to take the rock for themselves). In the end, the people become angry, and all but one dies fighting over the light. The last one sacrifices herself to return the plug. Those people all become the first ghosts.

But most of that doesn't make sense to show prior to the finale, since it gets too specific and also gives away the finale ending.

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BandoCommando
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It strikes me that this would be an excellent idea for the written medium but would be so incredibly difficult to portray visually. I'm interested to see if others have suggestions for how this could be done.
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Raymond Arnold
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I feel like I've seen a movie that did justice to this idea, but I can't remember how. I think it may have hinged on having a humanish character that was empathetically linked with the earth. (Avatar, the movie not the show, did a kinda good job with this when the trees were coming down).
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The Rabbit
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Hmmm, the idea that the Island was a conscious entity with motivations is not something I'd ever considered. I don't remember Locke or Ben considering Jacob or Esau to be the island's avatar. I'm not saying it couldn't work, its just something that never occurred to me. To me the island was always a place, never a character. It was a very unusual place, a place with extraordinary properies, maybe even a sacred place, but still a place not a conscious being with motives.
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Raymond Arnold
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Really? People talked all the time about "what the Island wants" and how "The Island isn't done with you yet." When SmokeLocke says to Sawyer "It's JUST an ISLAND!" I thought it was clear that he was lying, implication that it's more than just an Island. (Obviously, being more than an Island does not equal being a person, but I thought there was enough evidence that there was a godlike force at work, which the island was at least connected to even if it wasn't the force itself.

Edit: Also, I didn't mean people literally thought Jacob and Smokey were the Island, but rather interpreted their machinations to be the machinations of the Island itself. Locke in particular is guilty of this. I think Ben was somewhat guilty of this when he trusts Smokey's manifestation of Alex.

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The Rabbit
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I agree with Bando, this would be extremely difficult to portray in a visual medium. The only way I can think of would be for the island to have an avatar with human form and that would be extremely difficult to do well.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Really? People talked all the time about "what the Island wants" and how "The Island isn't done with you yet."

I remember Widmore telling Desmond the island wan't done with him yet, but one or two instances is not "all the time". I don't remember anyone talking about what the island wanted. Can you give me some specific examples because they obviously didn't make an impression on me.
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Raymond Arnold
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I'm pretty sure Locke says a lot about it back in Season 1. I intend to rewatch soon and will see if it's as clear as I remember. I guess it's not really "all the time," but I deal with a lot of sentient rocks in my writing so the first time it was mentioned it stuck with me and made the latter times easier to notice.

I will note that none of the instances are definitive: they're all made by people acting on incomplete information. The Island easily might not have been a character at all, but I think the show is more interesting if it is and if they had succeeded at portraying that it would have given the last few episodes a "dude.... woah..." moment that would have taken them from "pretty good" to "great."

The episode where Jack becomes guardian in particular was lacking any oomph. It was pretty much what we knew would happen. I get that giving specific details about Jacob's powers would have kinda ruined it, but getting us to empathize with the island itself would have been an interesting enough achievement to make up for it.

See my edit above, by the way, in case you missed it the first time.

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Raymond Arnold
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I'm really frustrated right now because I'm pretty sure I've seen a movie where the earth was crying out in pain and I felt empathy for it. But the only one I can think of that didn't anthropomorphize it was Avatar, and I didn't feel all the strongly about the Earth God in that one anyway.

I think the character-ness could have been reinforced by having Jacob and SmokeLock both talk about the Island as if it's a person in the last few episodes. Jacob when he's talking to Jack at the end, SmokeLock saying "Kill the Island" instead of "Destroy the island" when he's talking to Ben.

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Geraine
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How was the island created?

Once upon a time, under the sea, there was a young volcano with nothing to do........

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docmagik
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I'm really frustrated right now because I'm pretty sure I've seen a movie where the earth was crying out in pain and I felt empathy for it.

That was Unicron. He was totally all like, "You . . . cannot . . . destroy . . . my . . . destinyyyYYYY!"

I cried a little.

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Tresopax
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I like this idea.... On that note, here's how I would have personified the island, and rewritten the final scene:

<SPOILERS BELOW... sort of>


CHRISTIAN: Hey kiddo.

Jack turns to see his father.

JACK: Dad?
CHRISTIAN: Your father has moved on, Jack.
JACK: Then you are....

Flash to previous scene of MiB explaining that he took the form of Christian Shepard

CHRISTIAN: No, he has moved on too. You killed him. And you saved him.
JACK: I don't understand.
CHRISTIAN: He was lost, long before you ever were, and he too entered that cave. When he did, I gave him a choice. Stay, or let go. His decision became a curse, until you freed him from it.
JACK: Then you...
CHRISTIAN: I am the island, Jack.
JACK: But how are you here right now?
CHRISTIAN: [sighs] How are *you* here?

Realisation dawns on Jack.

JACK: I died.
CHRISTIAN: That's okay. That's okay.

JACK: Are you real?
CHRISTIAN: [laughs] I sure hope so. Yeah, I'm real. You're real. Everything that's ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church - they're all real too.
JACK: They're all - they're all dead?
CHRISTIAN: Everyone dies some time, kiddo. Some of them before you, some long after you.
JACK: Why are they all here now?
CHRISTIAN: Well, there is no 'now' here.
JACK: Where are we?
CHRISTIAN: You, too, were given a choice. So was Desmond, when he turned that key. So was Juliet. You all were given choices. This is a place that you chose to make together, so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That's why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone Jack - you needed all of them, and they needed you.
JACK: To do what?
CHRISTIAN: To remember. And to let go. I believe that is my purpose, Jack. To help you find the light of one another.
JACK: Kate... she said we were leaving.
CHRISTIAN: Not leaving, no. Moving on.
JACK: Where are we going?
CHRISTIAN: Let's find out.

[ June 01, 2010, 10:49 AM: Message edited by: Tresopax ]

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Geraine
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I went back and watched the Desmond time travel episode in Season 3.

I noticed that when Desmond went to get a ring for Penny, Eloise was there as the shop owner, and she said "This is wrong. You don't buy the ring. You don't go through with it."

At first I thought "Hey! This is the first time we see the post death sideways bizarro universe!" But if that were the case Desmond would have already met Eloise at the party before meeting Penny.

There was something about Eloise that we never learned. She recognized when Desmond was time traveling, and knew how things were supposed to happen. She also knew about the afterlife universe.

Any theories/ideas? She always seemed to know waht was going on and knew exactly what was supposed to happen.

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