As promised, I’m going to look at the biggest topic to come out of the "Lost" Comic-Con panel last weekend: the concept of alternative time lines in Season 6. If you’ve followed their past Con appearances, you know that the show’s producers like to use the event to highlight a theme in the upcoming season. It appears their final appearance there was no different.
Before delving into what the videos shown at Comic-Con meant, it’s helpful to understand what they DON’T mean. Primarily, we shouldn’t be looking at these videos as literal previews of Season 6 events. Nothing shown at Comic-Con will actually appear in the final year of the show. As I outlined last week, these pieces are related thematically but must be considered non-canon in terms of actually having occurred in the “Lost” universe. That doesn’t mean the topics addressed won’t end up being played out in the show; it’s just that you shouldn’t hold you breath waiting for an episode in which Hurley gets a vision quest concerning a chicken combo meal in the Australian outback.
Confused about the reference? Guess you missed my Comic-Con rundown yesterday, which included three videos I promised to address today. For the sake of ease, here they are again.
Couple that with Jorge Garcia appearing after their original airing in Hall H to question the implications of these videos, it’s fair to say that Darlton want us thinking about the implications had Jack been successful in his plan to fulfill Faraday’s “Operation: Time Warp” mission at the end of Season 5. Apparently “whatever happened, happened” isn’t really set in stone after all.
Let me say two things before going forth. One, the writers have earned our basic trust. Two, I’m terrified. But as I’ve said before, the terror is entirely on my part of being unable to see how this could play out in the 18 hours that will comprise Season 6. Darlton implored Jorge (and by extension, we the viewing audience) at Comic-Con to trust them with inserting an alternate timeline into the final act of our favorite show. So maybe we should be like Charlie learning to swim in Butlins. Darlton’s asking us to jump in; so let’s jump today for their sake.
As I stated before, I’m at a loss as to how the show will use this technique come Season 6. But that doesn’t mean I have a few ideas as to how they MIGHT employ it. Using other instances in pop culture that have tried to pull this off, here are a few ways in which they could do it.
The Big Red Ball of Doom Theory
The gist: Culling this theory from the recent “Star Trek” movie, the Incident created a new timeline in which everything we’ve seen still happened, but those touched by Jacob keep their memories intact as they shuttle forth to the 2007 in which notLocke kills Jacob. Problem is, the 2007 they enter is different than the one they left.
The likelihood: I wouldn't rank this at the top in terms of possibilities. “Star Trek” dealt with a future being erased, not a past, which allowed for the television show and previous films to exist intact while allowing the new cast to have different adventures. But not impossible, given the Numbers being played on the Ajira 316 radio as Lapidus crash lands.
The 1.21 Jigawatt Theory
The gist: The show will use a movie overtly referenced in the show (“Back to the Future”), but ignore the first film in favor of the second, in which a singular event (Biff getting the sports book) creates a parallel universe in which he’s corrupted the city with his winnings. In this scenario, The Incident in which Juliet detonated Jughead was NOT the Incident described in the Swan orientation video, and thus set off a new timeline from that day forth.
The likelihood: Given Jacob’s penchant for personal choice, I think this has a good shot. While I didn’t enjoy the way in which the finale forced characters to make completely random decisions in service of the plot, it’s nevertheless crucial to realize all those people had a chance to walk away and didn’t. Personal will is paramount in the show, and Juliet’s active desire to reset things combined with the bomb combined with the dark exotic matter of the Island could have produced a new timeline.
The Anyaka Theory
The gist: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans will get this reference. In the show’s 3rd season episode “The Wish,” one character unwittingly creates a world in which Buffy Summers never comes to Sunnydale. Only she retains her memory of the former world, and has to try and convince those in this new one that it isn’t the “correct” version of how things should be.
The likelihood: In “Lost,” this would take the form of Oceanic 815 landing safely, or the majority of the characters never getting on the plane at all. But one or some people get the sensation that something’s…wrong. If this is how it plays out, I see only bad things happening. Now, if they get sent back to the CRASH of Oceanic 815 on the Island, this could completely and totally work. (Instead of saying, “Live together, die alone,” Jack says, “You all, everybody!” and then everything’s fine.)
The Age of
Aquarius Apocalypse Theory
The gist: In a popular "X-Men" saga, a mutant with Daddy issues (Legion) goes back in time to kill Magneto in order to spend more valuable bonding time with Papa Charles Xavier. However, Legion jumps back to far, into a time in which Magneto and Xavier are friends. Xavier dies to save Magneto's life,
which in turn allows big baddie Apocalypse to take over the world. In the end, another mutant (Bishop) goes back in time to save Xavier, thereby erasing an Apocalyptic world from existence.
The likelihood: Well, the daddy issues angle is compelling. But the "Age of Apocalypse" story line plays too much like a "What If? type tale for my liking when applying it to "Lost." Imagine if the show ended with Ben Linus watching reality around him fade, rendering a good chunk of the show's struggle lost and gone forever. You're already tempted to throw your remote at the TV, aren't you?
The "Manni the Gunslinger" Theory
The gist: Named after the moronic boyfriend in “Run Lola Run,” this takes the butterfly effect notion from that movie and applies it to Jacob’s line from “The Incident”: “It only ends once; everything else is just progress.” It also takes its name from the end of “The Dark Tower” series, for reasons I don’t want to spoil since I think it’s a series every “Lost” fan should read before Season 6. In this theory, the alternative timeline looks and feels like the “normal” one, but with just little teeny tiny changes. Like, say, a man going out with his wife to dinner instead of going home. But those small changes have massive implications.
The likelihood: Rather than take a Bizarro Universe approach to an alternative timeline, in which night is day, up is down, and Bai Ling is not annoying, something like this seems like a good possibility. It’s the Anyaka Theory but more broadly applied, in which an army of people, not just one, realize what they should have done the first time through. In this light, only through their mistakes can these people ever hope to reach their potential. And that potential will save the Island.
These are all vague constructions, I realize, and can be played out in multiple fashions. But it’s as good a start as any as we try to reconfigure our “Lost” minds in lieu of the info dropped at Comic-Con. So which one sounds the most plausible to you? Leave your thoughts below!
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