It’s here, but also in other similar stories, that two parallel tracks start to get revealed. One is strictly plot. What people do, how the story develops and ends. Another is thematic and about abstraction. As to squeeze “meaning” or “purpose” out of a story. Some kind of message that is supposed to reach you. The first track, about the plot, in this show is about the medium that carries the message.
In my previous post I explained my theory about Lost: it’s empty of meaning because it may represent the triumph of form over meaning (metalinguistic study). They show you the power of storytelling but it’s nothing more than that. Power without purpose or moral. The plot is convoluted around the medium and hides a secret core that in the end will be revealed for what it is. A fraud.
I explained the reasons for this theory in that previous post. What happens here instead is that Lost writers may have a far greater ambition. One that, if revealed as true, is staggering and awesome. Maybe Lost has a point, and it’s something quite powerful and that I admire. This new perspective & interpretation is revealed in that article I linked, and the problematic part is that the idea, if proven false since at this point it is as reliable as fanfiction, risks to be way cooler than what Lost actual writers have planned for the show.
That theory was written after the second episode of this last season. Now we are at episode eight. The theory still holds, maybe also because not much is happening even if time’s running off. But it’s still a theory that is consistent and coherent with everything else, little subtle aspects that make sense.
What’s this theory about? It is about the relationship between the two timelines. We all expect that they are going to connect plot-wise soon. That one will collide with the other in some way, but the relationship, see above my reference to the two parallel tracks, may be entirely thematic. Consider this: I’ve said this show is a display of competency in the use of medium, and that the show may be a study done only to refine it. One of the most obvious methods used in the show, as a medium, is the flashback, flashforwards, flash-sideways. These are methods of screenplay. How you tell a story. Pacing and so on. If you analyze how flashbacks are used in the show, you notice that they are very carefully placed to maximize tension and curiosity. Obviously they aren’t random, but till this season they worked simply as well placed insights into some character. What if this season changed the rules and the relationship between the two timelines lies right in the way they are connected? The thematic purpose linked to their use as a medium. The two timelines are related thematically in how and when they appear.
The Sideways world story line very clearly mirrored the Island world story line. Kate chases after Sawyer; Kate chases after Claire. Is there a physical, cosmic connection between the two realities?
is Lost doing this just to be all fancy-pants literary, or could it be that Lost is trying to tell us something? Could it be that the creative design of Lost’s sixth season, embedded and suffused with past episode resonance, is a clue to resolving the mystery of its seemingly split reality?
I am wondering — and perhaps you are, too — if these corresponding events across parallel realities are meaningful synchronicities. It’s almost as if no matter the world, these people are destined to intersect and to play out variations of the same essential drama.
That’s the suspicion. Here’s the theory:
Now here’s the crazy thought I had — an alternative to past-life/reincarnation theory. I submit that when Kate saw Jack at the airport, she established a psycho-spiritual circuit with her doppelganger self on he Island, and specifically the moment between Jack and Kate in Temple. This circuit facilitated a transference of psychic energy that flowed from Island Kate to Sideways Kate — or rather, from Redeemed Kate to one of her Fallen Kate selves in another world. That energy? Strength. Selflessness. A sense of sacrifice. A sense of ”You All Everybody” idealism. All qualities that Kate embodied in her Island story — and all qualities that Kate gained during her Sideways story.
In fact actors trigger these flashes with more active acting than usual. Flashes don’t just happen between a scene and another, placed carefully, but they are “acted” as afterthoughts. As if the character is influencing or being influenced by the transition. They are fluid. What happens in a timeline kind of flows into the other, and not by mere thematic association, but concretely with meaning.
What I say (or mostly who wrote that article) is that we use to think to these flashes structured by a third party narrator. We got someone who’s putting the story down for us in a way that is compelling. So scenes are placed following a “screenplay” that was made by this hidden narrator. But the story in the flashes is, like, real world. As if you go dig in a attic, find an old toy, and start remembering some past scene that involved that toy. In the real world your past DOES influence what you do in the present. So something that you remember can influence what you decide to do. Maybe it’s not a case, to underline something special is going on, that these flashes’s influence goes backwards. The 2004 timeline seems influenced by the 2007’s one. There’s something new that goes on there. The link is made plain and can’t be ignored or considered normal as previous flashes. These characters seem to communicate to their alternate version. Arguably, we could also consider the 2004 timeline like some kind of improvement. Implying an idea of “progress”. Let’s say human betterment.
So here’s the thematic meaning:
To put it more simply: Island Kate inspired Sideways Kate. Bottom line: The Sideways-Island relationship is a metaphor for our relationship to fiction. It’s about how fantasy redeems reality.
What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true? Lost answers, They teach us how to make the real world a better place.
And that’s how everything may come together. I theorize that Lost is all form and execution. A wicked study on how you can manipulate an audience. An cynical experiment not unlike Dharma’s own. But here, if this other theory is true, we get to see the other side of the moon: what is fiction ultimately about. A soul. Something that tries to reach out and actually tell us something that is TRUE. Especially in a show (see 8th episode) where everything is a trick and deceit. The possibility is that once all layers of this onion made of lies are peeled off, we get to something that is truthful.
Fiction, like every form of culture, makes us better and strive for progress. The only concrete aspects that makes us different from all other animals and living things of this world is that we have language (whose most peculiar function is, interestingly, metalinguistic, so about the medium itself), and so culture. In this war against nature, culture’s the only weapon men have. And its use, a choice (another theme of this show), is what makes the difference. It’s about us.
Let’s hope the smoke monster saves us (but this will be explained at another time).