So yesterday, I started re-examining one of the central mysteries of “Lost“: the near 100% mortality rate suffered by women who get pregnant on the Island. The first part of the thesis suggested that the Island has two landscapes: a geographical one and a psychological one. Both intrinsically affect the lives of the others. While the geographical land provides both sustenance as well as danger, the psychological one acts a bit like The Force. Only in this case, the Force doesn’t merely bind all living things together, but can actually affect physical change as well. And lately, the psychological landscape is incredibly sick.
Why? First off, let’s assume that a statue as large as Tawaret, Goddess of Fertility, does not simply crumble that violently in less than the two centuries that transpired between the opening scene of “The Incident” and the final flash that lands Sawyer and company in 1974. Given that ginormous, relatively intact edifices are found in archeological excavations all over the world, let’s assume some type of catastrophic event caused the statue to fall like Justin Guarnini’s career after Kelly Clarkson beat him to become the first “American Idol.”
Let’s assume, for funsies, that catastrophic event was, say, a volcanic eruption. There are volcanoes on the Island, after all. Ben learned all about them in school. The destruction of a statue dedicated towards fertility would have a profound impact upon the faith of those on the Island, to be sure. But it also would go deeper and potentially impact, on a physiological level, those biological means by which children are produced.
But let’s assume that the destruction of a statue celebrating the goddess of fertility didn’t completely deal a psychic deathblow that in turn transformed the physiology of those exposed to the Island’s combination of physical and mental state. Let’s assume that while the statue toppled, that energy stood teetering: wounded but still upright. It would only take the grief of a single individual, if properly calibrated, to send the whole thing over the edge. The grief of someone who was important to the well-being of the Island. The grief of someone potentially lined up to lead it. The grief of someone so close to the Island’s heart that all he had to do was subtly lift his arm to stab it.
The grief of Ben Linus, due to the death of Annie in childbirth.
For years, I’ve awaited Annie’s return to the show. And I hope, in the show’s final season, we’ll finally learn the real reason behind Ben’s obsession with childbirth. This obsession, which so angered Richard Alpert that he sought to usurp him with the man who “never seemed particularly special” to him, John Locke, stems from the mysterious X-Ray shown by Alpert to Juliet in “Not in Portland.” That X-Ray, in my hypothesis, belongs not to a no-name Other but Annie herself.
You could also argue that while Annie is important to Ben’s psychological make-up, it’s in fact his own traumatic birth which feeds the Island’s wounded psychic energy in order to promote a literal atmosphere in which childbirth always and ever ends in death. While the Annie option appeals more to me personally, the Emily Linus option is clearly in play in this configuration. In either case, the following is true: the greatest of scientific advances would never, ever overcome the accumulated mental weight pressing down on the inhabitants of the Island.
Furthering this either/or situation? The words of Harper, who cryptically noted that Juliet “look[ed] like her” during one of their mandated sessions. The “her” is question is still up in the air, but no matter which side upon which you come down, I think it’s a clue that feeds into my theory that Ben’s relationship towards childbirth intrinsically affects the ability of others on the Island to give birth. On top of that, due to this element of Ben’s life providing perhaps one of the only weak links in his overall emotional armor, it’s entirely possible that Ben has NO IDEA that he’s the cause of the malady he so badly wants to fix.
Problem is, Ben’s a guy. And like all guys, he thinks every problem has a solution. (All the ladies are reading this and nodding vigorously.) But in trying to fix the problem, he’s in fact compounding it. And if it sounds like I’m talking about Jack, not Ben, then you’re getting the point. Ben is going to have to learn to stop actively trying to maintain control, mimicking the journey that Jack started last season. Will he? I sense he will. The words “tragic hero” are already tattooed on his forehead when I look at him in my mind’s eye. You might not like that outcome, but it’s hard not to see this coming in some fashion in Season 6.
How to take a despicable, albeit charismatic, character and make him a tragic hero? Atoning for his past through a selfless gesture. And at some point, Ben is going to have to stare down the woman/women of his past that helped make him the man he is now. And if his grief over them could cause a psychic rupture that spread throughout the Island, then his acceptance of that pain could likewise heal the Island’s mental eco-system and help push both the Island and the show itself towards its endgame.
What’s your take on this theory, and the issue of childbirth itself on the Island? Leave your thoughts below!
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