Monday, July 27, 2009

Lostaholics reWatch: s02e03-06

Lostaholics reWatch of ABC's TV show, LOST. The inaugural reWatch podcast hosted by Lostaholics and Nancy Drew along with her old crew from the Black Rock, StephanyMac & LostLindsey . This group of podcasters, bloggers and fans revisit these episodes with season 5 eyes to see if there is any new meaning to be found in these past episodes.



Mitchell said...

Curt, I don't see any major inconsistencies between the story we hear in the orientation video and what we see in season 5. It seems like your main problem is that you don't think they actually did any experiments before the incident, if we call the whole thing with the drill being pulled down, Jack throwing the bomb down, the magnetism getting out of control, and Juliet detonating the bomb, the incident?

When we see the Swan construction site at the end of season 5, we can see down about twenty feet, maybe, down to where they're working. It looks like there are two holes sticking up out of the gravel, one for the the drill, and one, I would guess by its shape that is for the hatch lid, which we see them mark in "Some Like it Hoth". (It is odd that we don't actually see the numbers on the hatch lid later, though. It's not unexplainable, though.) The whole area is filled with gravel.

The fact that the area is already being filled up with gravel and the top of the hatch is being constructed indicates to me that the living quarters and the dome have already been completed and are underground. We saw that they did already have the plans for them in "Namasté". There could already be scientists down there taking basic measurements and doing simple experiments, while they're preparing for the large experiment of drilling down there to the pocket of energy, as well as finishing concealing the station underground to prevent the hostiles from finding it.

So, the statement "Not long after the experiments began, however, there was an incident." seems consistent to me. I don't see anything else in the film that would seem inconsistent.

I think it was Nancy Drew that asked how they were supposed to use the hatch as an escape hatch if the ladder didn't go all the way down. Since the ladder looked broken, not just constructed to be that length, I would guess that it originally did go all the way down, but at some point over the 27 years since the construction of the Swan, it broke.

Curt, as to your question about what would happen if they entered the incorrect numbers, I guess there are two possibilities. If the numbers are just a security code to ensure that only DHARMA personnel are able to contain the energy, then it seems like if the incorrect code is entered, it would have no effect, and the timer would continue to count down. However, if the numbers are somehow setting parameters on the machinery that contains the energy, then perhaps if the numbers were entered incorrectly, the energy would not be completely contained, and there would be more magnetic buildup. Perhaps we see something like this in Eko's dream sequence at the beginning of "?" where Yemi types something in, yet the room starts to shake and hum.

Curt said...

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. For the record, I said this prior to any knowledge from ComiCon.

You seem to infer a lot, I try to stick to 'direct' narrative. IMO, I feel we have been privy to 'two' narratives along the way. Suddenly all of those 'continuity' errors are clues.

Curt said...

I should add that under no circumstances should you let me dissuade you from your line of thought. I am grateful to anyone who is willing to enter into the debate. I think we all know that the it won't be until the end when we 'know' and then I'm sure we'll discover many of us were partially correct and mostly wrong ;-)

Mairuzu said...

Since it seems to be such a running theme throughout this show.. what if the orientation video is just simply riddled with lies? Even the video from the Pearl hatch pointed out that they had to lie for some better good.

Mitchell said...

Fair enough. But if your story is that the orientation video and what we saw in season 5 are irreconcilable, I think you're inferring more than I am. To be clear, I'm not arguing that there's definitely just one timeline. I'm arguing that there could be, and if there is just one timeline, "Not long after the experiments began, however, there was an incident." is not necessarily a lie. In fact it's not a lie, since what they were doing with the drill and the pocket of energy was experiments. I think on the podcast you asked if it was possible to reconcile what we saw in season 5 with what we saw in the orientation video, and I'm just saying that it definitely is possible.

And I'm not sure that we necessarily will have everything like this explained by 'direct' narrative when it's all over. Hopefully we'll know with complete certainty whether there's just one timeline or if there are more, as well as what the major forces involved are, what they want, and how they operate, but I'm sure we'll still have to fill in a lot of blanks ourselves.

Nancy Drew said...

Wow! One minute there's no one on the dance floor and the next minute we find that we're in a mosh pit!! LOL!!

Mitchell, I do tend to agree that there are a few inconsistencies to what we saw of the Swan in Season 5 and what we've been told in the orientation video, but, just like what was said prior to this by using the Pearl video as comparison (and maybe noting that the Orchid video also has elements of deception in it), I think the video for this hatch wasn't 100% forthcoming about it's purposes. This is the direct quote from Lostpedia:

"The Swan originally was designed to be a laboratory where DHARMA scientists would study the "unique electromagnetic fluctuations" emanating from this sector of the Island. However, after a mysterious "incident", a special protocol was instituted. Two individuals manning the station would take shifts pressing a button (entering the Numbers into a computer) every 108 minutes for 540 days per shift."

Note that it says there are two individuals manning the station, but that doesn't mean that Dharma didn't intend for scientists to be there conducting their experiments, too. It also doesn't say that there were any experiments actually conducted there, but that it was the original intention of the hatch to have those capabilities. It's hard not to infer certain aspects because we haven't gotten a lot of concrete evidence about what this station was designed for. To say that they were experimenting with the electromagnetism of the area is very vague and for all we know they could have been manufacturing refrigerator magnets......hmmmm, Tom did refer to the Losties entering the Swan as "reaching into another man's refrigerator"..... But my point is that the orientation video for the Swan was designed for the TWO PEOPLE MANNING THE STATION to view, and not for the scientists who were/would be conducting any experiments.

When looking at the big picture and what we know so far of the Swan, if we'd have seen the orientation video made for the scientists of the Swan, we might not be recognizing any inconsistencies, but because we, the viewers, are seeing the "Desmond" side of the Swan, we are forced to question if we've been told the truth through this video.

The inconsistencies occur, for me, when Dr. Chang says things like "using the computer for other reasons could lead to another incident" and when we realize that the Swan is pretty much built and, for the most part, not damaged by the "incident" that we see at the end of season 5. Granted, there is a huge section that has "Chernobyl" cement poured into it, but wouldn't you think that whole hatch would have been damaged by a nuclear weapon and the magnetic cave-in??

Knowing that we've heard deceptions told in other films, though, I'm definitely going to have pay close attention to the full orientation video and see if I can figure out what is lie and what is truth about the Swan.

Mitchell said...

Heh, I guess I maybe should have started leaving little comments earlier, but I wasn't really motivated to until I heard some things that I really disagreed with.

If you're going to quote something from Lostpedia, it's probably better to go with the transcript (only one more click away) rather than the fan-written article. (the transcript is just fan-transcribed ;)

You're definitely right that there is deception in the videos, especially since we know the Pearl was fake, and Chang uses fake names.

It actually did say that there were experiments conducted there if you check the transcript, or just my quote above. I think that was Curt's point of contention during the podcast.

It's an interesting idea that there might have been scientists using the Swan even when there were button-pushers manning it. They could have even been using it remotely for experiments. We don't really have any evidence either way suggesting whether there were more experiments after the button-pushing protocol was established or not, though.

Referring to Chang saying that using the computer for another reason could lead to another incident (we don't hear this until they splice in Eko's part in "What Kate Did") is important. It could easily make sense, though, if you think it through. If the incident was some sort of magnetic energy buildup that went out of control, we know that another incident could happen if the button isn't pushed (and Desmond doesn't happen to be on the scene to save the day with the fail safe key). So, maybe Chang didn't want them screwing up the computer or IM'ing people who would lure them away, or other security situations like those. For whatever reason, Ben seemed to want Locke to stop pushing the button, so perhaps the Others / Hostiles actually did want another incident to occur.

You're of course right to point out the big season 5 cliffhanger as a potential inconsistency, although, of course, we didn't see how that turned out. Since that is such a pivotal plot point for the entire series, though, I think it's really more up to what else the writers want to do. If they need it to not be an issue, I'm sure they can make the whole problem null and void with some contrived physics. If they need it to blow up the entire island, I'm sure they can make that happen, too.

In terms of the content of the orientation video regarding the Swan, I'm not really sure what can be a lie, at this point. The partners are definitely there and will be for 540 days. The station was constructed to study electromagnetism (we heard Radzinsky say it himself). Shortly after the experiments began, there was an incident (see my explanation at the top of the page). They did set up the described protocol (self-explanatory). Isolation might tempt people to use the computer to communicate. It might compromise the integrity of the project just by having them talk to the Pearl people and compare notes or something similar. It could lead to another incident if all that is required to cause an incident is to not push the button (words can be powerful). And that's it. Chang doesn't even attempt to really give an explanation for what would happen if the button weren't pushed. I'm not sure what could be a lie in that part of the film. The big question in season 2 was whether the whole thing was real or fake, and we found out that it was real in the finale.

Anonymous said...

I think I still may believe that the video has inconsistencies with the "The Incident" of season 5. That said, I find the idea that the main part of the Swan is already constructed in the linked pic, very interesting and possible. Now that you discuss about how there are supposed to be experiments going on down there, and that is separate from the men manning the station, it leaves me with a big question. Where is the lab? I see living quarters. I see a computer room, that is ONLY to be used for entering the numbers (not for experiments). I see a weird hole with a lot of concrete, with the buckets left there in the hole. I see no space that screams "please conduct experiments here".

I will leave you with a VERY cool theory. I wish it was mine, but alas I heard it from a caller on the Jay and Jack Show. The caller pointed out that the film, even with the added footage that Eko brought, still had jump cuts. He submitted that perhaps the pieces of film were removed because they showed footage of 74-77 D.I. Losties! Can you imagine Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, or any of the rest of the time travelers in the orientation film? Mind blowing...

Mitchell said...

Thanks for your reply to my comment, Stefany.

Right, if you see a big hole in the ground with a floor about twenty feet down covered with gravel, with parts of a structure coming up, that means there's something underneath. It really doesn't make sense to me any other way.

But then there's the question of what's underneath. I suggested that for all we know, there might have been people in there doing experiments. That's all purely hypothetical, we have no evidence for that. But that real possibility means that there is a possibility that the orientation film is not lying about experiments having started.

But it's even simpler than that to see how that line about "shortly after the experiments began" is not a lie. Drilling into the pocket of energy seems like a perfectly valid experiment to me. They want to understand this strange magnetic pocket, so they insert an instrument and take measurements. That's an experiment all by itself, and I'm not even making any assumptions in calling it an experiment. We saw it happen.

Then we have to add in that we know that the plans for what seems to be the structure of the interior of the Swan station as shown in season 2 have already been made.

Your question "Where is the lab?" is valid, but you're describing what you see in season 2 in the interior, which isn't necessarily what was there originally or what was planned to be there. The Swan could have originally be intended just for experiments and not for living at all. They could have added furniture and sealed up that door with concrete after the incident. We have no reason to think that Radzinsky designed the Swan so that there could be an accident forcing men to live down there and push a button to stop a catastrophe, including himself, causing himself to commit suicide. In fact, I think the only thing we can assume is that the Swan was originally designed for experiments and after the accident, the incident, they were forced to use the structure they had built in a different way.

Here's how Faraday describes it in "The Variable":

"In about four hours, the DHARMA folks at the Swan work site—they're gonna—gonna drill into the ground and accidentally tap into a massive pocket of energy. The result of the release of this energy would be catastrophic. So in order to contain it, they're gonna have to cement the entire area in, like Chernobyl. And this containment—the place they built over it—I believe you called it "the Hatch." The Swan hatch? Because of this one accident, these people are gonna spend the next 20 years keeping that energy at bay… by pressing a button…"

What he says that differs from my attempted explanation is that they built the Swan over the hatch over the area, so maybe there's just an empty hole down there and they haven't actually gotten a chance to build the structure in the plans, yet. Either way, I'm not seeing the inconsistency.

And if there were an inconsistency, what are you suggesting that that implies: an alternate timeline or just an insignificant continuity error, like so many others.

That theory you mentioned is cool. But the orientation film had to be made after the incident, so I don't see how they would fit it in to season 6 to have them stick around and actually be accepted by DHARMA enough to be included in an orientation video, especially a final cut, since in all the other videos, Dr. Chang is the only person shown. I guess it could be an off-screen comment, or handing him something, but I'm not sure how that would fit in, or why someone would cut that part out.

Anonymous said...

It's a good point that orientation film was made post incident. I believe the copyright date was 1980. However as I recall there were films that had other people in them besides Chang. I thought that new incoming recruits saw nameless other D.I. recruits milling around in background, of a Chang video shown in D.I. welcome building. Also the Swan film had lots of non-Chang footage in it. Experiment examples of all the D.I. pursuits:pychology, paranormal, zoology, magatism etc. We saw Ann Arbor, the DeGroots, Alvar Hanso etc. But you are right, it would have to be past footage if they had shown the losties in it. Also in the last Chang film shown at the 2008 Comic Con, Chang yells at "Lafleur" who is off camera. This was long before we even knew who Lafleur was. It was also admitted that Jeremy Davies did in fact speak the role of the camera man for that film. Though admittedly this film has since been declared non-cannon. Had time allowed I think it was meant to be cannon. As for why they would cut them out, my guess would be that someone figured out they were time travelers. But on that note, we still haven't figured out why they cut out the first splice.

Mitchell said...

Better evidence than the copyright date is the fact that Chang mentions the incident in the video.

You're right, I did not think of some of these other possibilities of how our time travelers could have ended up in the Swan orientation video or other orientation videos that we've seen.

The new recruits / barracks video we saw in "The Man Behind the Curtain" and "Namaste" couldn't have shown the time travelers, since Ben saw it when he first got to the island, which he let Sayid know was over four years before 1977, placing it before 1974, when the first time travelers arrived.

I would say that maybe Faraday could have been seen in some of the Ann Arbor scenes in the Swan video, except there weren't any noticeable jumps in that portion of the film.

The Pearl film appears to be made after the construction of the Swan, since video of inside the Swan is shown on a monitor, so I don't see an opportunity there.

The Orchid orientation film appears to be made after the incident, since on the day of the incident, the Orchid had not yet been completed, so I don't see an opportunity there, either.

There could have been videos of the time travelers that we just haven't seen, of course. Maybe there was a security orientation film with LaFleur, or a motor pool orientation film with Juliet.

Moving away from video to just evidence of them being there, I think that new recruits photo containing Jack, Hurley, and Kate, was pretty important.

About the 2008 Comic Con video, I'm pretty sure Chang says Lara, as in his wife, not LaFleur.

From what the producers said, it didn't seem like time was why they cut that out, but rather, they originally thought the plot was going to go one way, but they chose the way it actually ended up, as seen in "The Variable," instead.

You're right that we still don't know why a portion of the Swan orientation video was cut out and left in the Arrow.