Best LOST Theory

ABC’s LOST: the ultimate theory and explanation

DESMOND IN THE HATCH, JACOB ON THE ISLAND

The hatch is a symbol of the island as a whole….  Desmond (hoping for a replacement) was trapped in the hatch pushing the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 to save the world similarly to how Jacob (hoping for a replacement) was “trapped” on the island pushing the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 (metaphorically pushing their buttons) orchestrating the events that would ultimately save the world. Desmond was constantly battling time trying to hold off the past in the hatch just as Jacob had spent his entire life battling the past and that gets old after awhile. 🙂

Jacob wants a replacement as every Father Time before him and every Father Time after him wanted. Yet with Dharma and the “Others” constantly resetting time, Jacob needed to clean up some messes in time (namely the monster he helped to create). Using time to his own advantage Jacob begins to choose candidates to replace him. These candidates all had a flawed past. They all had reason to dislike the past which would work in Jacob’s favor because Jacob needed people that were willing to battle their past (figuratively and also in reality).

See me weaving the tapestry of time?
Look at me… I am weaving the tapestry of time.

Jacob orchestrates events that bring people to the island that might be good candidates to take the role as “Father Time” or protector of time, Jacob can see the candidates through the mirrors in the Lighthouse which reflects images from any point in time. Ultimately what Jacob wants is for somebody to uncork the island releasing all the pent up time and then to have somebody place the plug back in properly so that time can flow normally and the past (at least to that point) can be “let go”. In a way, Jacob is being merciful to the MIB by orchestrating events that allow the MIB to become mortal again and then be killed so that he is essentially released from his duties just as Jacob is being replaced by Jack and eventually Hurley. Why doesn’t Jacob do the job himself you might ask? Well, after seeing his brother get merged into the smoke monster he certainly didn’t want the same fate. Therefore Jacob sets into motion a series of events that will prepare Desmond to do the task for him.

In the sideways world the past and the future and in balance as indicated by Widmore's paintings.
In the sideways world the past and the future are in balance as indicated by Widmore’s paintings.

The future and the past need to be in balance for the fabric of reality to flow properly. Thinking of the future as the white rock on the scale and the past as the black rock on the scale they should be of equal weight keeping all things in check, yet our island was dramatically out of balance. It seems like the past, AKA the smoke monster, was winning the battle. He was tipping the balance of time into his favor and he knows it and demonstrates it by tossing the white rock in “Jacob’s cave” out into the ocean telling Sawyer this was an “inside joke”, this also explains why the water in the temple was going dark, as the future was in jeopardy of being consumed by the past.

Yet Jacob was not going to go down easy, Jacob drank the “time Kool-Aid” that Mother gave him and therefore Jacob has light/time inside him similar to the MIB being merged with the past. Therefore Jacob is the embodiment of the future and when he touches people he can pass a bit of that light/time on to them (when you are time… you can travel anywhere in time that you want). This is how Jacob’s powers worked, he could place aspects of time into other people. He couldn’t absolve Richard of his sins nor bring his wife back to life but he could make Richard not age because that was within Jacob’s powers. Jacob eventually places these powers fully into Jack, who in turn passes them on to Hurley. Jacob wanted to die and move on just as “Mother” wanted to die and move on. Yet Jacob needed to get his replacement set and also attempt to get the balance of time reset and in proper working order. Jacob ultimately achieved his goal with the help of all of our Losties but most notably Jack and Desmond by their flushing the past down the cosmic toilet and then resetting the hourglass so that time could flow in a balanced way as it was intended.

STARTING TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS FROM THE PAST

Don't be consumed by your past, just ask Mr. Eko, Nikki, and Paulo.
Don’t be consumed by your past, just ask Mr. Eko, Nikki, and Paulo.

Knowing that the smoke monster represents the past, it’s no wonder that the sounds that the smoke monster made were a mix of sounds from clocks (chains of winding a grandfather clock, a distorted ticking sound etc.) as well as sounds from the past of our LOST characters (Locke’s adding machine from work and Christian Shepard’s cash register purchase from his final drinks, etc.). Another sound that the smoke monster made was that of a receipt machine from a taxi cab which I believe symbolizes the moment you have to pay for your past.

This also explains why the smoke monster can only appear to people as things from their past: Jack’s dad, Kate’s horse, Ben’s mom, Richard’s wife (in the Black Rock), Mr. Eko’s brother, Yemi, etc…

In the Season 6 episode "The Substitute" Smokie asks Sawyer who he thinks he is, Sawyer says... "I don't care if you are the Ghost of Christmas past." Smokie smiles in amusement as if to say... you are very perceptive!
In the Season 6 episode “The Substitute” Smokie asks Sawyer who he thinks he is, Sawyer says… “I don’t care if you are the Ghost of Christmas past.” Flocke aka the Smoke Monster nods and smiles in amusement as if to say… you are very perceptive!

This brings us to a very interesting point about the smoke monster. Think back to the very first episodes of the show LOST, where in flashbacks we find Kate running from her past figuratively (as a fugitive) and also literally as she ran from the smoke monster (the past) when she, Jack, and Charlie hiked out to the front piece of the plane to find the transceiver. Charlie, on the other hand, ran from the smoke monster (the past) but was slipping and sliding and getting stuck in the mud similar to what his actual past was like as we saw in flashbacks with his drug addiction. Yet, in that scene they never once show Jack running from the smoke monster, instead a few episodes later (White Rabbit) we see Jack chasing after his father, not just in a real life flashback, but also on the island… Jack is chasing his past while Kate is running from it. You can look at all the characters from LOST and see the same types of connections when we view the smoke monster as the past the story on the island makes even more sense.

Here are just a few examples…

– Jack: chasing his past and refuses to let go (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Kate: Running from her past (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Sawyer: searching to kill a part of his past he ultimately finds out that his lust for revenge was misplaced (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Locke: manipulated by his past, his father manipulated him out of his kidney and the undercover cop manipulated him into revealing the pot growing operation in a flashback. Locke is also manipulated by the smoke-monster/the past on the island.
– Charlie: Made a mess of his past and now it haunts him, his dark past (drug addiction) keeps trying to make a mess of his life over and over again (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Mr. Eko: attempting to get redemption from his past but ultimately is consumed by his past (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).
– Sayid: his past turned him into something he never wanted to be yet in the end he redeemed himself (flashbacks and island action reveal the same story).

I'm not judging you! (really I am not)
I’m not judging you! (no, really I am not)

THE FUTURE ISN’T ALWAYS BRIGHT AND THE PAST ISN’T ALWAYS DARK

One thing that many folks battle with regarding LOST is they mistakenly assume that the light is goodness and the smoke monster is pure evil which seems confusing because they can’t figure out why sometimes it seemed like Jacob was bad and the MIB wasn’t so bad. For instance, Jacob distracted Sayid which caused Nadia to be hit by a car and killed, how could the guardian of goodness do such a thing? Conversely the MIB seemed to have a legitimate beef regarding being trapped on the island, he was a man of his word, and even a caring father-figure for Claire, how could someone like that be pure evil??? The answer is this theory I am presenting in this blog post. After all… the past isn’t always dark, and the future isn’t always bright.

Furthermore, many folks (myself included) believed that the smoke monster was somehow judging people when it would confront them in the jungle, for instance if you played your DVD player frame by frame you could see images from their past flashing through the smoke monster when it would confront people on the island. Yet now knowing that the smoke monster WAS the past we can deduce that the smoke monster wasn’t judging our losties but instead our losties were merely seeing their own past within the cloud of smoke that was the past.

This, of course, also explains why when Mr. Eko looked into his past what he saw was very dark indeed and it eventually consumed him, yet when Locke looked into his past, what he saw was beautiful. Locke’s past wasn’t as dark as Mr. Eko’s was, but more importantly, the past was manipulating Locke because the MIB/Smoke Monster/The-Past saw a vulnerability in Locke which was his innocence, naivety, which led Locke to being manipulated so many times in his past. Therefore the past showed Locke what Locke wanted to see to gain his trust and begin to manipulate him.

FORBIDDEN PLANET – FORBIDDEN ISLAND

After watching all six seasons of LOST twice, I began to watch it a third time with my sister and her husband and early in season one I asked them what they thought the smoke monster was. My brother in-law, Gordon, said he thought the smoke monster was like their “id” similar to the monster in the classic 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, and he was more right than even I realized at the time. In the movie Forbidden Planet Dr. Morbius has unknowingly created the monster that is trying kill them all from his own conscience. The monster, who is kept away by a force-field fence can only be killed by killing Morbius because the monster is an extension of his conscience. Similarly, the smoke monster in LOST is an extension of our characters because the smoke monster is their past and therefore in a very real way they are battling an extension of themselves.

Where’s Robbie the Robot when you need him?? 🙂

Have a monster problem? Just put up a fence!
Have a monster problem? Just put up a fence! The id monster from Forbidden Planet is stopped in it’s tracks by the force-field fence similar to Dharma’s sonic fence.

Continue…

432 thoughts on “ABC’s LOST: the ultimate theory and explanation”

  1. Loved this theory, it connects a lot of missing dots and solves a neat puzzle. However, there are still many questions left unanswered like why did the MIB take Locke’s form? Why did it manipulate Claire into staying? What was Richard’s final purpose (he didn’t do a very good job on the one that was supposedly assigned to him)? Why does the MIB not chase certain characters like Hurley, Desmond, Jin and Sun…? They all had troublesome pasts. What meaningful thing happened when the button was not pushed (I know what you said, but there’s gotta be something more relevant other than simply catching up on time)? Why do only some characters have “superpowers”? And John, the enigm I will never understand… And maaaany more.
    Which makes it all more fun 😉 I once read a comment from a mystey novel that said that the answering of a few questions only leads to more questions. Some are better left unanswered, which is great!! Anyway congrats, hope there can be some debate on the subject…

  2. Very thoughtful and beautiful theory. Watching Season 6 it gives me much to think about. Even if the producers didn’t have your exact idea in mind, they certainly played with it in various forms.

    In an interview early in season 6 they said they were interested in showing us both what had happened if Juliet’s actions worked and didn’t work. But remember they are writers, and really played with this idea throughout the season.

    I get a lot of meta out of the ending because I think we have to let go and move on in time just as the Losties do. Ironically, the beauty of the work that is LOST makes it precious in the eyes of fans, and make LOST itself very hard to let go.

  3. Oh my god! This makes so much sense! Just watching it all for the 2nd time and it all clicks now! Thanks!!!

  4. This is pretty strong work, Eric, thanks for this. I have one immediate question (and possibly more to follow. I just finished watching the series for the first time last night):

    If the very first attempt by the Egyptians to manipulate the flow of time from the light cave resulted in its being made into an island that’s untethered to the rest of the universe spatially and temporally, it seems like there’d be no real reason for it to have to have a “protector.” Right? Wouldn’t this mean that any attempts to use the cave to change “our” reality only result in changes occurring on the island itself? Seems like it. I’ll offer the fact that Widmore’s freighter was able to anchor a relatively small distance offshore and avoid the anomalies as one example.

    In this sense, the cave wouldn’t control the flow of time everywhere, it would be dependent on it until separated from it. Manipulating it doesn’t alter the universe, it just separates the cave from the rest of space-time.

    It’s kind of a tough way to think about the story, because from that point on, the rest of the story of the island, including all the pain and suffering endured by the Oceanic 815 survivors, boils down to an incorrect assumption by paranoid and murderous Ancient Times CJ Craig. And it would mean that Jack did, in fact, die for nothing?

  5. Jennifer, Tunisia was a remote place in relation to the characters in the story. Remote as in… distant, faraway, far, etc. Heck, Canada was remote in relation to the Losties. Furthermore in a very real way all of humanity was remote in relation to our characters as they had become disjointed from the normal existence that the rest of us enjoy.

    That being said… if this is the worst criticism of my article then I am happy.

    Thanks for taking the time to read it.

  6. Only an American would say that Tunisia is a remote place! It’s on the north coast of the continent of Africa, what the hell is remote about that? The Cook Islands are remote, not Tunisia! Sorry dude, it’s hard to respect your opinion on Lost after you’ve said such an ignorant geographical thing.

  7. I’m still lost, I’m very confused about the end of the show. It showed them returning back from that flight living very different lives, so all that was not real? Or was that real but Desmond had to gather all the people together so they could let go as they said in the show to move on because they all died?

  8. Luv’d it! Seeing it again next week for 2nd round 1 – 6 Seasons!

    By the way, what happen with the dog, Vincent?

  9. ChelD asked “why does the SmokeMonster/MIB want to leave the island so badly?”

    Been a very long time since I’ve seen the show, but I think he simply wanted freedom for its own sake. He was imprisoned on the island by the will of others or the “will” of the mysterious island itself. He was rebelling. Lost was pretty much a mish-mash of a bunch of different religions or religious ideas thrown into a blender. One could see MIB as a fallen angel type figure rebelling against the rules of God, or rebelling against Nature itself. Or, very much like the Force from Star Wars, both good and evil, light and darkness, have their place. But there must be balance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *