Last night's season premiere finally provided solid answers to some of Lost's biggest mysteries…only to boggle fans with more questions. But Jack pondering his reflection in the airplane bathroom hinted that—through the looking glass—there's an alternate world.
So, as the show's producers promised, this season will contain no flash-forwards or flashbacks. Instead, there are two separate storylines: one picks up where (but not when!) the Losties left off on the Island; the second shows Oceanic 815 landing safely at LAX. But are these stories concurrent?
The episode is titled "LA X." The space is intentional, duh. Psycho Lost fans—like me!—like to believe that even the stroke of a space bar has So. Much. Meaning. But for real, this most likely does. My guess? It's a reference to Earth X, Marvel's alternate universe (and comic book series of the same name). The interesting—and applicable—device here is retroactive continuity (or "retcon" to comic book or RPG geeks), wherein previously established facts are changed to suit the story. Typically, retcon is utilized in a sort of cheap way, to restructure the story to suit the writer's needs. However, in Earth X, retcon was applied not to rewrite popular characters' canonical histories, but to demonstrate that they are living an alternate existence.
This would explain why Hurley feels that he's the luckiest guy in the world, rather than cursed (his fried chicken joint appears to not have been struck by a meteor, but is actually a widely-known and successful chain); Rose is the calm one on the plane, reassuring Jack that the turbulence is normal (a reversal from the pilot episode); Sawyer warns Hurley about being taken advantage of, rather than conning him; Locke actually went on his walkabout; Arzt isn't a grump; Charlie isn't nice; Jack is into Locke's spirituality spiel; Shannon didn't get on the plane (and neither did Christian's coffin). Things are similar, but not exactly the same. Situations are reversed, but not completely opposite. Just like Through the Looking Glass mirrors Alice's Adventures in Wonderland—this new version of Oceanic 815 has the same characters, but tells a different story. (BTW, Through the Looking Glass also contains hidden codes that reference Lewis Carroll's favorite number: 42! Side note: What's the point of having a favorite number?)
OK, so that brings us under the sea.
Despite the fact that it's not even trying to be more realistic than your average Pixar movie, there were some awesome Easter eggs in that sequence. Like this shark, stamped with a Dharma logo.
Was that one of the test subjects from the Hydra Station, or just a little wink at the audience?
Also, Dharmaville is there. I'm no scientist, but shouldn't that have been completely destroyed in a nuclear blast detonated next to a pocket of electromagnetic energy?
And then there's the four-toed statue. Look closely to the left at that arc-like structure, half-buried in the sand.
Another angle has me thinking that it's totally the ankh that Taweret was holding.
The ankh was not part of the ruins of the statue in previous episodes. Its presence would suggest that the Island—in this alternate universe—was not sunk by the nuke, but met its destruction and submersion in some other (alternate?) way.
That brings us to Desmond. He wasn't an original passenger on Oceanic 815 (because he was living in the hatch at that time). However, with no Island, and no hatch, he's walking around, doing his thing, reading yet another book that might provide some clues as to what the hell is going on. In previous seasons, Desmond was seen with The Third Policeman and Our Mutual Friend. This time it's a children's book: Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories.
Rushdie wrote the novel after completing The Satanic Verses at the request of his son. Haroun and the Sea of Stories is set "in a city so old and ruinous that it has forgotten its name," and the protagonist is a young boy, Haroun, who has issues with his father (a recurring theme of Lost), is filled with "a sense of hopelessness and failure," and needs some inspiration. Additionally, in the novel, is the Ocean of the Streams of Story, described as:
[T]he biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories.
Totally Lost and totally retcon.
Another book from last night's episode? Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, which Hurley found at the entrance to the Temple, next to Montand's one-armed skeleton.
Yes, the book is about faith and God and morality and all that junk that's totally referential to the spirituality and mysticism of Lost, but more importantly, those topics are addressed through the alternate retellings of when God tested Abraham's faith when he asked him to kill his son Isaac. (Which, as a Catholic schoolgirl, I always thought was a dick move on God's part.)
So yeah, enough with the plane and the books, let's get back to the Island. Juliet dies (again! ugh! more on that in a bit) and Sayid is in the process of dying in Hurley's arms when Jacob appears, telling Hurley to bring Sayid to the Temple to save his life.
And we finally get to see the Temple.
And we finally learned what's in the guitar case: Prince's guitar!
Psych! It's just an ankh, with a note from Jacob hidden within.
And how 'bout those Others/Hostiles who live at the Temple? Their Haight-Ashbury-meets-East aesthetic totally reminded me of when the Beatles and Mia Farrow and her sister were hanging out with the Maharishi.
I like how Cindy is still offering the Losties food and beverages. Old habits die hard. But not as hard as Sayid.
He's apparently some kind of zombie now after the Others dunked him in their dirty holy water. If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down, man. Stupid hippies.
This ritual seems to be (in the words of big Edie Beale) terribly successful, meaning he's alive but it might be really terrible. So do you think that Jacob has possessed Sayid? Or maybe Juliet? Hmmm...
The only good thing that's going to come out of any of this is that Sun and Jin are finally back in the same time and place, and will hopefully be reunited. However, nobody seems to be safe with Fake Locke (FLocke)—who is confirmed to be the Smoke Monster—walking around. It doesn't matter if you have a circle of ash around you, either, as Bram demonstrated.
Also, now we get the sense that Richard was once a slave from the Black Rock. But why is FLocke disappointed in everyone?
And now, with those giant revelations there are so many more questions to ponder:
Like, why did the van and the guitar case time travel with Hurley and the gang?
And is the discrepancy between the shots of Sayid holding his passport and picture of Nadia a continuity error or intentional? In one shot, his infamously long fingernails are intact.
In the second shot, his nails are short, and his passport indicates that he's from Iran, when we all know he's from Iraq. (Click image to view larger version.)
What's up with Jack's neck? Shaving? Hickey? Vampire?
Lastly (for now, anyway) Miles communicated with Juliet after she died. She said, "It worked." We can assume this means that they were able to change things so that the plane never crashed (creating the alternate reality). But how does she know!? Did her consciousness drift over to her alternate life as she was leaving her original one? And is that what will happen for the rest of the Losties? Will they realize that and eventually kill themselves, giving a new (and far more significant) meaning to Desmond's catchphrase of "See you in a another life"?
If they do commit a mass suicide, I wouldn't be surprised, since they're obviously in the company of a crazy religious cult. Are they all going to need shoes, like Locke did, in order to cross over? When did this turn into Heaven's Gate?
Basically, what this all comes down to is Locke's final thought right as Ben was killing him: "I don't understand."