If you are a devotee of time travel...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lost New Questions: 1. How Far in the Future?

So many great new questions were raised in Lost's finale last night, I thought I'd start a series of blog posts about them.

Let's begin with this - how far in the future was the action with Jack and Kate in Los Angeles?

It's clear that it's at very least not just a few days or even weeks since Jack and Kate (and whoever else) got off the island. Kate had a lot of make-up on, which did make her look older than her fresh-faced frecked self on the island, and in the flashbacks.

Jack looked a little older, too.

His words to Kate in that great last scene tell us he's been flying around, week after week, on that golden pass - but that could have been for months, or years.

Just on the strength of that scene, I would say the time is less than years and more than months - maybe 15 months?

There was nothing in the Los Angeles environment that gave us a date-stamp - nothing obvious like Barack Obama or Hilary Clinton or Rudy Giuliani or Ron Paul on the television as President. We do know from earlier in the series that the castaways were aware of the Red Sox winning the series (Ben showed Jack a clip) (a baseball event as amazing as the electrical event on the island), so we know that the time on the island is roughly in the present.

A complicating factor is that people seem to age differently on the island - Richard seems to have aged very slowly in comparison to Ben. So, possibly, Jack and Kate have been off the island not that long, but have aged more quickly off the island...

And my last thought, for now ... babies. If Claire got off the island, too, it would be very helpful to see how old her baby is - is Aaron a toddler, or just a few months old....

Whatever the answers to these questions, Lost has broken out of the pod of the island, and made the whole world its centerpiece. The possibilities are intoxicating...

Useful links:

Lost New Questions 2. Who's In the Coffin? ... 3. Who's Waiting for Kate? ... 4. Who Is Naomi's Boss? ... 5. Is Mikhail Immortal? ... 6. What Constitutes Reliable Evidence? ... 7. Are the Flashforwards Desmond's Flashes?

Lost Season 3 Finale ... Flashforwards

Lost: Keys to What's Really Going On


And see also Lost's Back Full Paradoxical Blast: Season 4 Episode 1






The Plot to Save Socrates


"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

29 comments:

Mykee said...

Well, considering the island time is 2004, chances are the flash-forwards are set somewhere between 2005 and 2010 (when the show ends). I have a feeling they're going to end the show along the same timeline as our own timeline.

William_Tuzik said...

Just to clarify the losties were not aware that Boston won the world series. They Crashed in sept. before the world series which is why Jack cried when Ben showed him the clip

Paul Levinson said...

You may be right. And, if so, a nice touch will be subtly putting in references to our reality, as it and the show progress. For example, in two years, shot of whoever is then President.

With the question now still being - is the flashforward we saw last night from 2010 or 2005 (or 2007)? If from 2010, then there already is a new President - to use that example - and we may see him or her on a television screen in a scene that takes place right after what we saw last night...

All fascinating. (My wife feels strongly that the scene we saw last night was in the further future - at least a few years after Jack amd Kate left the island - or more in the 2010 vicinity.)

It would be wild if that scene that we saw last night is the very last scene of the very last show of Lost...

Paul Levinson said...

My previous comment was to Mykee (not William)...

But William - thanks - you're right... I'll correct in my post...

Anonymous said...

First time reading your blog. I found this quote to be the most thought-provoking thing I've read all morning, while pouring through all the speculation all across the internet about the finale.

"Just to clarify the losties were not aware that Boston won the world series. They Crashed in sept. before the world series which is why Jack cried when Ben showed him the clip"

I think it's interesting to think that time on the island moves slower than time "in the real world." Such as in space, etc. I can't really elaborate on that, but it just struck a fond chord with me, and I thought I'd mention this again to see if anyone has any thoughts.

Personally, I don't buy into the time travel stuff. It's just way too obvious for me to believe that the island is some sort of time travel machine. That quote though, really makes me feel like there could be some sort of flaw in time going on though.

Only time and Carlton & Co. will tell!

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks for coming by, anon. Yeah, I think the possibility that people age differently on the island (because time moves more slowly) - as evidenced by Ben v. Richard - is intriguing, and has some good potential...

Much as I love time travel, I pretty much agree with you, and hope the final resolutions, whenever they happen, do not invoke any kind of time machine... (I'm happy to stay with the time machines - actually time chairs - in my novel, The Plot to Save Socrates....:)

Anonymous said...

There was a reference on another site (can't remember it right this second) that stated that the newspaper that was handed to Jack on the airplane was an LA times, April 6 of this year.

I'll see if I can find that reference / evidence. It appears that our Flash Forwards are present day.

Anonymous said...

Come on, how can you care about such a tiny simple rather pointless thing?
What matters is what happens in the island, and that sneak peak of the hypothetic future is just a trick, a game.

modsuperstar said...

One of the thing I keyed in on was the cell phone. Can anyone offer any insight as to what phone model was being used and when it was introduced in the US? That might give an idea of when the scenes took place. As the timeline goes I think the island is set in roughly December 2004. I could easily see the flash forward to be set in present day 2007.

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks for the info, Dave - April 2007 would be 2+ years into the future from the last we saw of Jack and Kate on the island, so the timing would be right ...

By the way, you have an excellent site - scifi-guy.com - anyone who blogs about Jack McDevitt and Michael Kube-McDowell is alright by me. (I've reviewed their novels, and worked with them both when I was President of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Jack and I are also good friends - one of the nicest people in the business - he's written some wonderful blurbs for my novels, too.)

jamesI: I always cared more about the people on the island, who they were and how it affected them, then about the island itself...

jamesII: I saw on a board somewhere that the phone was ID'ed as a September 2006 model.

So we're triangulating pretty well on the present...

Unknown said...

I believe the cellphone is a Motorola V3...I just got one, they're the 3rd generation phones that are being marketed now.

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks, Lucifer.

Anonymous said...

Anyone curious about the comment Locke's Dad, the man from Tallahasee said about "don't you know where we are" Perhaps Pergatory!!!!!

Paul Levinson said...

I think that was just a joke for the fans ... the same as Juliet's alien crack in the finale...

Purgatory made and still makes a lot of sense as an answer to everything - but it would be far too easy and therefore disappointing an answer...

Unknown said...

It would be wild if that scene that we saw last night is the very last scene of the very last show of Lost...
i have a feeling abt that 2
and nice discussion on LOST man
and it was kinda sad, the final moments, that every1 is rescued and he wants 2 go back
ppl who were so much bonded 2gether just broke up...

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice how in the "flash forward" Jack asks the doctor to go and get his father and he's drunker than Jack is then the doctor could fire him? But Jacks father dies pre-season 1, any ideas?

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks, muneeb - that last scene was really heart-rending ...

Jimmy - I think Jack was just using his father's name to try to get the drugs ... he backed off pretty quickly when he was challenged on it...

Anonymous said...

Not when he was buying drugs but later on in the episode when the doctor wanted to talk to Jack in his office he mentioned his father again. It could just be Jack going a little bit crazy though

Paul Levinson said...

Jimmy - yeah, I think that's what it was ... The more strung-out Jack gets, the more he thinks of his father...

Anonymous said...

Here is what I believe the answer to the last episode and the next season:

1)Lost will never tell you the end b/c it goes against everything the show stands for

2)Jack made contact with the freighter which means they can now be found. (otherwise Ben would not care if they make contact)

3)The people on the boat do not kill everyone on the island, as is evident by the fact that Jack and Kate get off the island.

4)Lost NEVER shows the future as it goes against the principles of the show.

5)Jack's flashes are in tandem with most previous flashes on Lost:
I.E. A) He is depressed off the island/Ben tells him he has nothing to go back for,

B)He wants to go back to the island (perhaps to right some wrong?)/Ben tells him the people on the boat are bad and something bad will ensue.

Therefore I propose that the last episode's present is not on the island but off the island.

The next season will start with them being off the island and the flashBACKS will show you the events leading up to their departure.

In the present the story line will be how Jack gets back to the island and saves it from the hands of the evil ones etc..

Please comment, shred, and rip apart this theory,
thanks

Paul Levinson said...

Jeffrey - yep, that's pretty much it, and what we've (and fans all over) have been talking about...

I would just add/clarify that our present (Jack in LA) is the island's future (from when the action was taking place in the finale), so the flashforwards on the finale were future from the point of view of the island.

Karen said...

I don't think anything TPTB do on this show is "by accident." They're too clever (and they know the fans are too clever) for that.

They clearly showed a page from an April 2007 editon of the LA Times. Given how obsessive Lost fans are about screencaps, I would say we should take that at face value and conclude that date is real.

If they didn't want us to know the date, they would have mocked up a fake paper where the date was not visible.

According to the Lost wiki's timeline, Through the Looking Glass occurred on Thursday, December 23, 2004. That's approximately 2.5 years before the flashforward.

When exactly were they rescued? Well, it's been long enough for Kate and Jack to have established a secret meeting place; Jack's back at work; Jack's developed a drug addiction and a drinking problem; Kate's settled down with someone and bought a car; they've been given "golden tickets" by the airline and they talk about that like it was a while ago.

I'd say the rescue took place at least a year or year and a half before the flashforward, which would put it around January-June, 2006.

Anonymous said...

About the newspaper: It wouldn't be the first time they used an actual item for a prop and left the date on by accident. Remember that Jack episode in season two (the name is escaping me now) where Sarah left Jack? Well in that opening scene, they used an actual XRay and left the date on (by accident) that said it was 2005 (or 2006?). That one xray had everyone all up in arms over the flashback actually being set in 2006 when the props guys just forgot to omit or blur the date out.

That newspaper just seemed to be not that important...

Anonymous said...

i think the scene with jack and kate(when jack talks about wanting to crash) is actualy set in the past before the crash BUT they have been brainwashed by the dahrma anititive into thinking they dont know each other so they can see the results (just like big brother

Karen said...

That one xray had everyone all up in arms over the flashback actually being set in 2006 when the props guys just forgot to omit or blur the date out.

But see, that makes me suspect that they'd be more careful about things like dates - particularly if there was an uproar about it in past.

Unless they're just sloppy, which is possible. But they seem so tuned in to the fans, and the obsessive nature of the fans, that they put in deliberate clues that can only be spotted in screencaps. It's just hard to believe they didn't use that newspaper deliberately.

Someone pointed out, however, that in Jack's apartment - when he's got all the maps spread out on the floor - you can see the Honolulu Advertiser in the mix. Now, if he was living in L.A., he could conceivably get the Advertiser mailed to him, but it would be rare. I suppose if he was very, very interested in the South Pacific, he might subscribe to a Hawaii paper - but it's a bit of a stretch.

Paul Levinson said...

:) I love this discussion: it always gets down to whether a detail in a scene was put in deliberately, or left in by accident. That's why, in the end, I always go with I. A. Richards' advice - in his book from 80 years ago, Practical Criticism, that the creator's intentions don't matter - all that counts is the "text".

But if I had to bet, I'd go with Karen - hard to believe that Lost's producers at this late stage would get sloppy with a detail like that.

gunshyne said...

I was glad to find this blog, you seem to think along the same lines as I do about the show. Except for the part about Jack's dad.At first I chalked it up as him being high, but I got to thinking about how Kate wasn't locked up either, so maybe they went to an alternate time.

But then again the writers would know alot of us would think his dad is alive.

Whats your take on Jacob?

Paul Levinson said...

Welcome to Infinite Regress, gunshyne...

I'm not happy about Jacob.

First, because I honestly saw nothing on the screen in the Ben & Locke scene with Jacob, and I'm distrustful of things I need freeze-frames and enhancements to see ...:) (See my What Constitutes Reliable Evidence...)

But, assuming Jacob is real, he's likely connected in some way to the recuperative powers of the island, the black smoke, those kinds of things for which we no clear explanation at this point.

Going further, I like the idea of Jacob being a future Locke ... but that's going out on a pretty long limb...

Anonymous said...

Well, I got into lost late in the game and watched seasons 1 and 2 on dvd. I loved the show so much and just recently realized I could watch season 3 on the ABC website. Well, I just finished the finale and it brought up a lot of questions (the reason I am here).

As far as the time frame goes for the flash forwards of Jack it has to be sometime after September of 06. The phone he uses is the K1M or KRZR - a slimmer version of the RAZR. This phone wasn't released in the US until September of 06.

If the show wanted to be accurate I assume they wouldn't look over this detail - we do see Jack on the phone a lot in the flash forwards.

Just my 2 cents.

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