Call it my #BCE post. Since I started re-watching LOST I’ve been considering two options that I’d been thinking were mutually exclusive:
- Whatever Happened Happened (#WHH) – Can’t change the past, whatever happened happened, one continuous timeline, and even though Daniel, Sawyer, Miles, Juliet, Hurley, Jin, Kate and Jack are in 1977, they still have memories of time that happened after that (before they jumped back in time in 2004 or 2007)
- Bomb Changes Everything (#BCE) – This comes from Daniel’s revelation about focusing on the Variables, and that their actions can change the past, that if he can negate the magnetic anomaly then that changes the future.
But, what if I’m wrong? What if they’re not mutually exclusive. What if we can do both, whatever happened, happen while negating the magnetic anomaly and changing the need for button pressing to keep the massive magnetic field at bay, and the resultant accident that caused Oceanic 815 to crash on the island?
First we need to backtrack a bit, along these time-jumping soaked theories. We were first introduced to the concept of time travel from the effects that turning the failsafe key had on Desmond. He’d become a bit detached from time, his consciousness returning to the key moment where he’d tossed his ring in the river, and left Penny and joined the army, setting down a path where he’d enter the sailboat race to win Penny’s heart (or at least give him the assurance that he deserved Penny) which brought him to the island. In that same story (Flashes Before Your Eyes) we were introduced to Eloise Hawking, who told Desmond that the Universe had a way of course correcting, she could have saved “red shoes” life that day, but he’d only die the next. Trace that down the line and we get Daniel’s assertion that whatever happened, happened.
Desmond experimented with this line of thinking, setting his goal to save Charlie’s life, and if he could continue to do that, by his thinking, then we could change his future and end up with Penny and live happily ever after. In The Constant we saw the culmination of this story, when we saw Desmond make a call from the freighter and reconnect with Penny (his Constant) and sets down the path to being saved from the island with the Oceanic 6 and going into hiding with Penny on their sailboat.
Desmond is special. I think Desmond IS the constant, by turning the failsafe key (at some point in the future) his being/consciousness is a constant which we can glean a nugget of proof from when Daniel made contact with him while hopping through time at the beginning of Season 5. Daniel was able to get a message to ‘present day’ Desmond to seek out his mother (Elosie Hawking). Odd cross-timeline communication.
Break for a second, and consider a scene from Fringe. In the scene, Olivia was investigating the Observer August, and some lab flunky was explaining time, and poured water through a tube, to demonstrate how we usually experience time, one-way, first-in-first-out. He then stopped up the tube, and filled it with water, then stopped up the other end, and said, I think these people experience time like this, all at once.
Okay, end break, and consider an explanation from time from LOST University, where spacetime is considered a landscape of events. If we laid out all the events that are possible on a sheet of paper called space time, we could arrive at different places on that landscape by drawing a line (time) to travel between events. Consider that time travel is ‘cheating’ by bending space time (the paper) and moving between two events not in a line (time) along space time, but through a space (from one side of the paper to the other) backdoor.
In that sense, and as I’m trying to understand it, everything happens at once, the concept of time is how we travel through space time. But we only experience time as we move through it. So as far as we’re concerned whatever happened, happened, along the line we’re traveling.
There have been hints of this that we’ve observed in Season 5. Sawyer witnessing the birth of Aaron, just as we saw it in Season 1. Locke telling Richard to tell past Locke that he’d have to die in order to bring the others back. Sawyer remembering that his parents died while he was stuck in 1977. This dual presence might even explain Christian Shepherd wondering around the island like he owns the place.
Consider the Variables (my team name for Sawyer, Juliet, Kate, Jack, Miles, Hurley and Jin) explode the bomb like Daniel (is he team Variable, or is he dead, because he was always meant to go back and get shot by his mom) told them to, thus creating (or really shifting to) a new timeline where the Incident never happened, no emergency sarcophagus for the magnetic anomaly at the Swan Station, no need for a failsafe, and no need for button pushing. BUT, all those things have already happened, and they have always happened. But our people have shifted lines at the point of the incident from the one where all the safety procedures were necessary to one where they are not needed.
So, what changes? Sawyer is still an orphan (that already happened) and he’s now synced with his future self along that time line, but can recall the memories (as if a dream) of the past timeline only it’s 2004 and he’s back on Oceanic flight 815, maybe having lived out all the things that he did the first time. Same with all the characters on that flight.
Who is on the island in 1977 (for real, not a Variable) that could have changed thing for people on the mainland? I can’t think of anyone. Remember the popular theory is that the Swan hatch with Radinzsky, Kelvin Inman and later Desmond was unknown to the hostiles (Widmore, Eloise, Benjamin) even up to the purge. Danielle’s research team didn’t come to the island because of the magnetic anomaly, so they’d still land to investigate the signal and be attacked by Smokie just as we saw in Jin’s journey through time. Ben would still be a part of the purge, then make Widmore an outcast.
Some of my own pushback. Eloise is pregnant with Daniel, perhaps, so Daniel is yet to be born, and this is a paradox, he’ll be born on a timeline where the magnetic anomaly has already been negated, and his life would be totally different, maybe a concert pianist. But if he did that, then how did the Variables ever get the idea to explode the bomb. Well two Daniels, just as there are two Lockes, two Christian’s…
I’ll need to ponder this more, but wanted to share it with the scads of people that want to read this! 😉