Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reviewing the IGN Fifty

Back in November, the IGN website created a list of fifty loose ends that need to be addressed on the television series Lost. It was a thorough article, and it really hit home the fact that the writers of the show really posit a lot more questions than answers.

The article was printed shortly after the sucky six episode mini-season had finished and the ratings began to drop. The writers responded by saying that the second half of season three would answer a lot of questions, and so we waited to see if they were pulling our chain.

The result? Well, now that season three is over, let's hit the fifty points again. And for clarity's sake, I put the questions into four categories: "Solved", "Addressed (but not Solved)", "Conjecture" and "Mystery". Let's start with the good stuff.


#49 (Who Is the Guy with the Eye Patch?) - His name is Mikhail Bakunin. He is an Other with specialties in Communications, First Aid and Self-Resurrection. He is presumed dead, but don't count on it. That Russian is apparently a descendant of Rasputin.

#48 (Getting to the Prison Island) - The Others travelled back and forth from the Island via a mini-submarine. I use the past tense because, well, crazy old Locke done blowed it up. They also have at least one other boat besides the one they gave to Michael and Walt.

#47 (The Quote on Eko's Stick: John 3:05) - Locke interpreted it as a direction they needed to go to find answers. Whether that was the purpose of the quote or not, they found plenty on that little excursion, so we'll stick with Locke's explanation.

#45: (Why Were All the Guns in the Hatch?) - We got more information on the war between Dharma and the Others, which went on for a while before most of Dharma got gassed to death. We even see a Dharma elementary school teacher whip out a rifle when an alarm bell rings, so it's not much of a jump to say that the Swan hatch was just preparing to defend itself from a long siege.

#44 (The Cable) - This was an anchor cable that was attached to a underwater hatch called the Looking Glass. It still exists as of now, but it is inoperable.

#36 (Who Is Christian's Daughter?) - That would be Claire, which has been theorized for awhile. Lucky us, we got a whole episode dedicated to this question!

#30 (Ben's Always Lived on the Island) - Not quite true. He arrived on the island with his father when he was around ten years old. He was originally part of Dharma before he killed them all (his Father included) and defected to the Others.

#41: (The Radio Tower) - The tower is finally shown, in all it's glory, at the end of the recent season finale. Rousseau's looping distress call was cut off and they were able to use the satellite phone. What the ramification will be from this action will have to wait until next year. Argh.

#20: (Aaron) - It seems any woman who gives birth on the island dies in the process, and the Others were conducting experiments to try and solve this problem. This is why Juliet was recruited and Claire was kidnapped. Fortunately, Claire conceived her child off the island, which apparently makes all the difference since she's still alive after giving birth to Aaron. Not so good news for Sun, who conceived her child with Jin on the island, which means a possible death sentence for her.


#50: (The Others and the Outside World) - The question is why don't the Others leave the island if they have contact and transportation to the outside world. Well, first off, some of them do leave occasionally for assignments (Richard Alpert) but they come back. Why? Because they have some deep understanding of how special the island is and how important their work is. From the flash forward in the finale, even Jack will come to realize this later on. However, since we still don't know all the details to the Island's properties, we'll leave this question in the "Addressed but not solved" category.

#39: (Why Didn't Ben Take Jack Earlier?) - It's a damn good question. Ben explained to Jack that he wants Jack to want to save his life. That's fair enough, but it still doesn't explain why he didn't kidnap him earlier when the circumstances were virtually the same. He had specified that he wanted Jack, Kate and Sawyer, and all three were at the mercy of the others during an earlier episode. Frankly, I think it's a matter of the writer's hadn't completely figured things out yet, but we may be proven wrong in the next season.

#38: (The Significance of 108 Minutes) - Frankly, this is one of the questions that I think the guy's at IGN put in there so they would have an even fifty. Of course the fact that 108 is the sum of the six numbers isn't a coincidence. Duh! Now, this leads back to the significance of the numbers themselves, which is a whole separate question on the list. Hey guys, no double dipping.

#29: (Where Was Desmond Hiding His Boat?) - In the earlier seasons, the Others had a mystique of being all-knowing and all-powerful. Though they are very resourceful, they aren't invulnerable. It's clear that the Others don't concern themselves with every square inch of the island, so the boat being hidden from them is not too big a logical leap.

#28: (Survivors Captured by the Others) - We finally do see the survivors, both the adults and children. Jack sees them outside of his cage and Locke, during a brief stint travelling with the Others, actually works alongside them. So we know they're alive and OK. What we don't know is why they are going along with the Others so willingly and happily. They may have been brainwashed by the "Clockwork Orange" set up we saw the Other Karl hooked up to, but we have no absolute way of knowing as of yet.

#23: (Desmond Can See the Future) - We soon learned that Desmond's flashes were specifically geared to Charlie. He would see how Charlie is killed, so he would then have an opportunity to save him. Charlie is eventually killed anyway, by his own choosing, when the result of his action brings them closer to rescue. But does this mean Desmond's flashes will stop now that Charlie is dead? We won't know for sure until next season.

#15: (Why Do the Others Want Children?) - Well, given that all pregnancies end in death for both mother and child on the island, the best guess is that the Others want youngsters to continue their work after they are gone. Of course, they could just as easily convince children to come to the island like they did Juliet. But perhaps these children are special because they are on "The List". And since we still don't have an answer about that, this one is still up in the air.

#9: (The Healing Powers of the Island) - We got more mentions of the island's healing powers this season. However, we still don't know why the island can do this. One interesting point that IGN points out is that since the island may only heal "Good" people, perhaps the emergence of Ben's tumor is a sign that his reign is near an end. Locke would then be the heir apparent, which is why Ben feels so threatened by him. We don't know for sure, but this makes a lot of sense.

#8: (Locke's Legs) - Half of this question was how Locke lost the use of his legs. To that, we got an answer: His mean old Daddy pushes him out a window. As for how he got the use of them back, that ties into the point just mentioned.


#46: (The Four-Toed Statue Foot) - We now have two more pieces of evidence that there was a past civilization on the island long ago. The pillar that Anthony Cooper was tied to looked to be very old, and Ben mentions in the finale that the Others should go to "the Temple", which I'm guessing is from the same period.

#42: (The ? Hatch a.k.a. "The Pearl") - I would guess that purpose of this hatch was exactly what it was said to be in the tape Locke saw: to observe the actions in other hatches, mark them down in notebooks and send them through the vacuum tube. The purge that took place kept the notebooks from being gathered up by Dharma workers since they were all dead. I'm also guessing that the hatches were cut off from communication from Dharma so that they didn't know about the purge until much later, thus the continuance of the notebook procedure way after the purge had taken place.

#35: (Where Is the Pearl's Crew?) - To continue from the previous point, they probably either were infiltrated by the Others and killed or they came outside and were killed (or possibly even converted to the Others). It's clear from Ben and Juliet's visit to the Pearl that they already know plenty about the hatches.

#12: (The Others' Master Plan) - Well, we learned about their experiments with pregnancy this season. However, there are other things afoot, for sure. Richard Alpert admits to Locke that they were wasting their time with fertility experiments on the island, which means that he and other Others have a much larger mission. Again, "The List" probably ties into this, but we don't know for sure yet.

#10: (The Disease) - I'm guessing that the Quarantine signs tie somehow into the gassing of all the Dharma personnel by the others, but I don't have much more than that to tell you.


#43: (Compass Bearing 325)

#40: (The Skeletons in the Cave)

#37: (How Long Have the Events on the Island Been Going On?)

#34: (Black & White Symbolism)

#33: (Jack Tossed from the Plane)

#32: (The Supply Drop)

#31: (Why Couldn't Desmond Leave?)

#27: (The Dharma Shark)

#26: (Libby)

#25: (The Black Rock)

#24: (Michael & Walt)

#22: (The Hatch Implosion)

#21: (Christian's Body)

#19: (Voices in the Woods)

#18: (Eko's Death)

#17: (The Others' List)

#16: (The "Good" People on the Others' List)

#14: (Surviving the Crash)

#13: (Christian Symbology)

#11: (What Hides the Island?)

#7: (Dead Characters Appearing)

#6: (The Polar Bears)

#5: (The Unusual Connections Between Castaways)

#4: (The DHARMA Initiative)

#3: (Walt's Powers)

#2: (The Monster)

#1: (The Numbers)

And there you have it final tally:

Solved - 9
Addressed - 9
Conjecture - 5
Mystery - 27

Overall, not a bad breakdown. We got a decent number of questions answered and/or addressed. We also got some new mysteries to worry about (Who or what is Jacob? Who does Naomi really work for? Are there any fans of the show that really give a rat's ass about Jack's tattoos?), but the progression of answers are now moving along at a nice clip. At any rate, I'll still be watching come 2008.

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