. That much we learned in my last entry, and it’s a jolly good thing to learn, indeed. If you all had volunteered to push the button that would send the lot of them to Kingdom Come, well, I’d worry about your fandom, to be quite honest. (And I’d also add an extra padlock to my front door.) Like you, I don’t think the show will go that way, but unlike many of you, I couldn’t rule it out, either. But that’s all in the past, which brings us to today’s scenario: time.
Time, a famous philosopher once said, could have been so much more. (And time is precious, he knew.) I see you all cringing, worried I’m about to wax poetic for 2,000 words about time travel. Don’t fret, I won’t go crazy with notions that The Orchid runs on 1.21 jigowatts of electricity or anything, but clearly something’s at play when it comes to nonlinear passages of time on the show. So, today’s scenario posits that the reason the Oceanic 6 cannot go back is that the Island exists on a temporal plane no longer accessible from ours.
Now, all this "temporal plane" jargon is insanely geeky and esoteric, so let’s break down what we know about the Island, what happens when you go back and forth from our plane to the Island plane, and what could happen to eradicate that unstable boundary between said planes. We good? Good. Let’s do this in sexy list fashion. Here’s what we can safely say.
- It’s insanely difficult to locate and leave the Island.
- It’s surrounded by, and perhaps infused with, unique electromagnetic properties.
- Moving from the "real world" to the "Island world" causes one to experience the passage of time in a way different from the relative perspective of a person on either side of the electromagnetic barrier.
For a while, many, such as myself, came up with elaborate schemes in which days on the Island were months in the real world, but everything in Season 4 suggests that 24 hours on the Island is 24 hours in the real world. The crazy kooky stuff only occurs when moving between the two arenas. So, while you may need all sorts of safety procedures and specific pathways to get between the two, it CAN be done, so long as you’re super careful and don’t find the concept of Daylight Savings Time to be the most annoying thing this side of NIkki and Paolo.
It’s useful, I think, to consider the Island as an ideal location for the Dharma Initiative precisely because of this unique electromagnetic energy. Not only does it provide useful cover from the world’s eye, but it also allows one to tap into sources unseen in the rest of the world. In at least some aspects of their research, members of the Dharma Initiative not only accessed but depended upon these unique properties for their experiments. Marvin Candle all but confirms this in the Swan orientation video, but there’s no reason to think it was the only station that took advantage of the locale "climate" in order to produce results unachievable in the real world.
All of this leads us to the Orchid once again. Yesterday, I posited that this supposedly three-story structure was used to not only move one’s consciousness between two different times, but one’s body as well. In Desmond Hume, and others such as Minkowski, we’ve seen the affects that extreme exposure to the Island’s electromagnetism leads one to hop and skip their way through time, albeit only through their minds. Someone in the Initiative must have taken the next logical step and sought a way to send the whole package tripping the time fantastic.
But the Dharma Initiative, much like the writers and fans of Lost, knew this was both exciting and incredibly dangerous. Huge geeks, those DeGroots. So much in the way that precautions were established for moving on and off of the Island, even more stringent precautions were taken while constructing the experiments inside of the Orchid Station. In the comments yesterday, reader Jeff mentioned that he thought the different levels of the Orchid represented different levels of security within the Initiative, with each level more "need to know" than the last. That makes sense to me, in the same way that the Tempest was thought by some to be a power plant while others knew its true purpose.
Not only was this research dangerous for the participants, but indeed, for the Island itself. And here’s where we get to the crux of things: the "Incident" mentioned in the Swan orientation video was potentially a barely contained version of what’s to come, which is a fundamental shift in the nature of the Island’s electromagnetic properties. Fans of "hard" sci-fi can digest this version of time travel, as it’s based in a semi-realistic setting (electromagnetism) slightly tweaked beyond the norm (Electromagnetism Gone Wild!!!!!). By using the properties of the Island within its experiments, the Orchid Station stands as one of many potentially destablizing force, one that could forever sever the already tenuous link between Island and the real world. No 305, no 325. No submarine, no helicopter. No way to get back.
That means at some point between now and then, whether caused by the Orchid, natural disaster, or Hurley performing another ill-advised slo-mo cannonball, the Island’s unique properties break down, leaving those left behind in isolation. They might live perfectly well, but they can never return, nor can the Oceanic 6 ever return to rescue them.
The biggest hole in this theory? Why would there still be a war after all of that? If the Island’s simply lost and gone forever, then all that happens afterwards is one-upmanship on behalf of Team Linus and Team Abaddon. It’s no longer about the Island, it’s about retribution for the events to come. Now, it’s certainly POSSIBLE that this is how it plays out, and the loss of the Island drives both sides towards revenge against the other. But it doesn’t account for Abaddon’s encounter with Hurley: why would Abaddon care if "they" were alive if they were unreachable? And more importantly, it doesn’t account for the Island’s pull on the 6, especially Jack and Hurley. Maybe the Island can reach across the temporal planes, but an island that could do that could also reopen those passages thought lost.
So where does that take us? Well, into tomorrow’s third and final scenario, naturally. But all that in good time.
It’s currently time for you to mull over, pick apart, and generally comment on anything and everything above. Is the Orchid going to be important or merely a red herring? Is the above scenario simply too sci-fi for the show’s audience? And what type of event could possibly trigger such an alteration of the Island? Leave your thoughts below!
Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude.