Decoding the New ‘Lost’ Theories Online

Photo: Courtesy of ABC

Whew! After last week's episode of Lost, our heads are still spinning. What could the sudden revelation of Desmond's Faraday-influenced time travel mean for our favorite mysterious island? Luckily, the busy bees of the Lostosphere have been picking the episode apart for clues, and in preparation for tonight's new installment we combed through the fan sites and message boards to see what the best minds of the Internet think is going on. Because, uh, we sure don't know.

• Last week’s episode made it pretty damn clear that the island influences time perception, which suggests that the Oceanic 815 survivors have no clue of how long they’ve actually been there. In related news, in an interview with TV Guide, producer Carlton Cuse remarked, "There are some growth issues when you go on or off the island." Does this mean characters suddenly age when they leave? If so, it might explain why Walt looked older to Locke and why baby Aaron wasn’t exactly a baby anymore. [TV Squad]

• Many viewers were thrown off by Desmond’s ability to remember instructions from the present when he jumped back to 1996, even though he couldn’t seem to remember anything else. Doc Jensen’s theory on being "unstuck in time" is that Desmond’s present consciousness temporarily vanished and was instead replaced by his 1996 consciousness, which spent the majority of the episode bouncing back and forth between time periods like an LSD-addled college student. Conveniently, once he made the phone call to Penny, his present-day consciousness seemed to step back in. Also, Desmond is totally modeled after Billy Pilgrim from Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. [EW]

• Long-winded theorist J. Wood thinks Desmond’s two consciousnesses swap places, which addresses the question of parallel universes in Lost by suggesting that there aren’t any. Instead, 1996 consciousness and 2004 consciousness are jumping all over space-time. Apparently there are some books on this topic, none of which we’ll ever read. [Powell’s]

• An ontological paradox occurred in the show when Faraday gave Desmond the figures for his machine, since it’s not clear how he would have come up with them on his own without Desmond to travel back in time and tell him. And since the producers claim to be paradox-averse, this forebodes some significant twist in future episodes. You know, something that’s no big deal, only the TOTAL ELIMINATION of everyone affected by said paradox. [Fuselage]

• The Lost mirror-matter moon theory predates "The Constant" by years, but knowing its central conceit that the island functions like that theoretical moon — that is, it rotates faster than the earth and thus distorts time — makes some sense of the time weirdness, if you want it to make sense anyway. [Mirror Matter Moon]

• Still, perhaps viewers should ignore the idea that time on the island functions differently, since the freighter’s calendar matches the amount of time that’s passed since the plane crash, and Penny’s three years of searching make sense given when Desmond disappeared at sea. [Dark UFO]

• If all this gives you a Minkowski-esque nosebleed, you’re hardly the only one: “I absolutely adored this episode! I am, however, a little concerned that they’ve depicted time travel in a way that complicates things unnecessarily.” Truer words were never spoken. [EYE M SICK]
—Michael Alan Connelly