Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pondering About Lost: Red, the Third Symbolic Color???

If you look up black & white at, there are a lot examples of the use of black & white. But, some examples introduce a third color... Red.

  • There’s the joke Michael's nurse tells, “What’s white, black, and red all over?”
  • There are three cars, one of each color, in Locke’s dad’s driveway.
  • In a Desmond flashback, he & Eloise Hawking witness a man in red shoes getting killed. The man’s other clothing was black & white.
  • I don’t remember this, but according to Lostpedia, Ben’s kitchen is red, white, and black.
  • There are numerous examples of one character in a scene wearing black, another white, but sometimes a third character in the scene is wearing red.
  • The creators of the show obviously make a big deal out of white & black, but as an homage & in-joke, they have also adopted the Star Trek tradition of “red shirts” being easily killed off.

So, what does the red mean? It could represent yet a third major entity, like Jacob & Smokey, that we still haven’t met yet. It could represent the blood that will be shed in the conflict between the two opposing sides. It could represent the survivors of Oceanic 815 being the variables in an equation that has constants on either side.

On another of my favorite shows, Babylon 5, “understanding” is one time described as a three-edged sword -- your side, their side, and the truth. I believe that’s what’s going on in Lost.

Smokey is angry, jaded, alone, single-minded, obsessed with getting home. He justifies his actions by advocating free-will. Jacob is entrenched in the island, paranoid about its protection (warranted or not), willing to observe & manipulate the lives of hundreds of innocent people and entrap & endanger them over his own beliefs. He’s set in his ways, and he’s brainwashed the Others with his philosophy. They’re the black & white, but I don’t think it makes either of them right.

I think our main characters represent the color red, the third edge of the sword, the truth. They represent a mix of good & evil, a mix of fate & free will, a mix of faith & rational thought. They are caught in the middle. And, either that means they will bring compromise & balance to the island, or they’ll be forced to choose sides in a battle that will end the conflict once & for all -- and only half will survive.

...Or, maybe, red in Lost doesn’t mean anything at all. :(

Pondering About Lost: Light & Dark May Not Equal Good vs. Evil

A common theme on the show has been black & white, dark & light. Here are just a few examples:

  • the colors of backgammon pieces
  • the white & black stones found beside the “Adam & Eve” skeletons in the caves
  • the keys on a piano, played by several characters in the Lost universe (including Jack & his fiance, Daniel Faraday, and Jack’s alternate timeline son)
  • the colors in the Dharma logo and the Lost title screen
  • Rose & Bernard
  • appearances of animals or stuffed animals that are black & white including: stuffed panda, stuffed whale, polar bears (which have black skin but appear white because of their translucent fur), white rabbits with black numbers on them, etc.
  • the black & white rocks on the scale in Jacob’s seaside cave
  • *numerous* examples of characters in the same scene wearing clothes of opposite colors -- one character in black & another in white or one character wearing something that has both white & black in it

One might automatically assume that this theme implies a conflict of good vs. evil. That is definitely a possibility. However, I have a hard time seeing any character in this show, even Jacob and the Smoke Monster, as being completely good or completely evil.

Some assume that Jacob is the good guy and that Smokey is the bad guy. But, Jacob has also encouraged the Others to do some awfully dark things through his cryptic lists. It’s still unclear whether he sanctioned the Others to commit kidnapping, torture, and murder, but he never stopped them either. When face-to-face with Ben, he totally dismissed Ben’s work & devotion, but if he didn’t approve of Ben’s leadership, why didn’t he ever intervene to expel Ben from power? I’ll agree that Jacob seems to have better intentions and is the lesser of two “evils,” but his hands are *not* clean.

Some assume that the opposite is true, Smokey could be good, Jacob could be bad. Smokey has killed a multitude of people. Even if you could argue that some of his kills were done in self defense or were acts of justice on behalf of others, I keep thinking about his ruthless slaughter of Mr. Eko. Had Mr. Eko committed some atrocities? Yes. But, he had turned his life around. He redeemed himself. So did Sawyer & Sayid, and Smokey hasn’t killed them -- yet. How could Smokey possibly justify killing Eko?

So, what’s the deal with white & black, light vs. dark? I think the theme implies two diametrically opposed philosophies. I don’t think it’s good vs. evil. I think order vs. chaos would be too much of a ripoff of another favorite show of mine. I think fate vs. free will is close but not quite it (I may speak to that in a separate blog entry). Regardless or what it is, I think the colors represent two sides that are equal & opposite, regardless of what their motivations are. But, I don’t think either side is completely good nor completely evil. The conflict is about something...else.

Pondering About Lost: How Can The Island Sink?

Regardless of whether Jughead really did explode and regardless of whether it directly caused the splitting of the timeline, I am *not* convinced that the detonation of Jughead is the reason the island is at the bottom of the sea in the season 6 premiere. Here are the two main reasons:

  1. An island, like any other land mass, is still attached to the sea floor. It’s like a mountain in the ocean. Much of the mountain is underwater, and the part we think of as the island is just the dry land portion that is exposed above sea level. Sinking the island would be like sinking a mountain.
  2. If a bomb was powerful enough to “sink” an island, it would also be powerful enough to damage (if not obliterate) the Dharma/Others barracks, the security fence, and the Tawaret statue foot, all of which are relatively intact when we see the island underwater.

So, how is the island underwater? My only guess is that the island was moved, as Eloise Hawking said it could be and as we saw in the season four finale when Ben turned the frozen donkey wheel. Only, in its last move in the new timeline, it landed in a location where the sea floor was deeper than usual so that none of the island could be exposed above sea level.

Some fans online have theorized that this is how the Black Rock shipwrecked in the middle of the island. It could be that the ship sunk over a submerged island, came to rest in the middle of it, and became landlocked the next time the island was moved to a higher elevation.

The only other way the island could move and/or sink is that the island is free-floating, not attached to the sea floor at all. I’m not sure that is geologically possible. Plus, if the boundaries of the island were finite, I would think all the sand would eventually erode off the edges.

So, why is the island underwater & intact at the same time? If my theory is wrong, I can’t wait to see how Damon & Carlton will explain this new mystery.