In the Shadow of the Statue

THEORIES FOR THE LOST FINALE: the Shadow of the Statue group and its ominous metal box are re-staging the Incident, the way Flight 316 re-staged Flight 815. They probably work for Eloise, who as a former leader of the Others might be in a position to know what lies in the shadow of the statue. Just as the Eloise-arranged Flight 316 unstuck Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid in time, the Incident (which Eloise witnessed 30 years ago) will unstick all the time-travelers from 1977, and the Statue group in 2007 provides them with a place to land. Locke doesn’t seem to care about reuniting the castaways, because it isn’t his job. The Statue people are going to do it. And when they do, it will spark this mysterious apocalyptic ‘war’ we’ve heard so much about, because when the time-travelers come back to the future, they bring a paradox with them.

There have been a number of Season 2 parallels in Season 5, and at this point I’m pretty sure that both seasons end with an explosion at the Swan Station that affects the nature of time.  Remember, the destruction of the Swan first introduced time travel to the Lost universe. Detonating the failsafe is what unstuck Desmond in time. It also neutralized the electromagnetism at the Swan, which is what Faraday thinks can be done with Jughead.  When Jughead was introduced, there was lots of speculation that it was buried under the Swan, and I was partial to the idea that when Desmond turned the failsafe at the end of Season 2, he was detonating the bomb. If you buy that we already saw Desmond detonate Jughead at the Swan, then another way to think of Faraday’s plan to change things is that he wanted to execute the Swan’s failsafe mechanism 27 years earlier than established history.

What that presents is a very weird situation where Desmond initiates time travel by detonating Jughead at the Swan in 2004, resulting in a time warp that ends with Jack detonating Jughead at the Swan in 1977. Paradox much?

My theory is that The Incident, from the perspective of the time-travelers, DOES involve blowing up Jughead and neutralizing the electromagnetic energy, erasing the future that sends the time-travelers to 1977, and thus creating a paradox. The time-travelers flash out of the DHARMA era and wormhole through time to 2007. But from the perspective of those who belong in 1977, the moment of paradox disappears along with the time-travelers, so that Jughead and the electromagnetism remain intact, but there is still a cataclysmic Incident: the time-travelers have punctured spacetime to create this wormhole. So the time-travelers appear to die in a terrible Incident, a la Alpert’s comment to Sun, but from the 1977 perspective, no time paradox occured.  The Hatch gets built as fated, using the electromagnetic energy to plug the wormhole (aka “contain the Incident”).  Pressing the button and venting the energy keeps the wormhole stable but closed, so that building pressure doesn’t suck the entire universe into it (as we saw it start to do in the Season 2 finale). However, Jughead is installed as a failsafe, and by detonating it, Desmond removed the energy plug, making it possible for the paradox (and the time-travelers) to leak out of the wormhole and back into our universe, negating reality and causing the apocalypse (as I predict we will see happen in the 2007 half of the Season 5 finale).

In this theory, the Incident falls under the category of “Whatever Happened, Happened,” but at the same time, it is the one event that violates the rule. It is the exception that proves the rule (an exception proving a rule is, naturally, a paradox).  Thus, a paradox was created in 1977 and always was, but it doesn’t appear in the timeline until 2007, on the other end of a time-flash, when the fact of it pops out the other end of the wormhole in spacetime with the time-travelers.

With all future interlopers gone from 1977, Eloise Hawking can use the future knowledge provided by Faraday’s journal to make sure that Faraday becomes a quantum physicist and Desmond Hume winds up in the Hatch, so that the events of 1977 will come to pass as they already have.  This is why Eloise tells Penny that it is Daniel’s fault Desmond got caught up in this mess: she forced Des not to marry Penny in the ’90s (in “Flashes Before Your Eyes”) because Faraday’s journal demanded she do it.

Also based on what she learns from the journal, Eloise might realize that the time-travelers didn’t die, but actually created an opening through which the timeline can be changed and fates re-written, as Faraday believed.  As such, she fulfills her own tragic destiny and sends Daniel and the O6 to the Island in the belief that whenever the time-travelers are released from the wormhole, the timeline will be up for grabs, and Faraday’s death might be changed.

And she’s not wrong: although many events between 1977 and 2007 are very strictly fated, the timeline is still somewhat fluid, or at the very least becomes fluid after Desmond detonates the failsafe and becomes uniquely unstuck in time. Throughout Season 3, Des keeps seeing visions of the future, with circumstances changing depending on how Charlie Pace meets his inevitable end. Desmond tells Charlie a noble death will result in Claire & Aaron leaving safely on a helicopter. Charlie dies so that this prophecy might come true, but it doesn’t– unless the timeline we’ve seen gets changed, a la Jack & Faraday’s plan.

Which brings us back to the mysterious climactic “war.”  The final piece of this theory is that Faraday’s vision of changing the timeline and the ominous Ben/Widmore war are the same thing.  Jack & Faraday’s pet paradox manifests on the 2007 end of the ‘back to the future’ time-flash, and this negates the timeline. But the universe doesn’t ‘course-correct’ itself this time: the “real world,” as Sawyer referred to it in “Follow the Leader,” ceases to exist, Marty McFly-style, fading away into a chaotic void. Only the victor in the war for control of the Island will have the power to heal the timeline and course-correct the universe, essentially ressurecting reality in their preferred image, Biff Tannen-style. This is why the war is constantly ‘coming,’ and has never arrived: it is a war to change the past as well as the future, and it can only take place outside of time.

Since the Island is some sort of Underworld that exists within its own time bubble, it and everybody on it still exists even when the outside universe collapses.  The Island actually has a role in creating and maintaining the outside world, like a dreaming God, and so when somebody wins the war, they gain the power to course-correct the universe, resurrecting it in their preferred image.  The destiny that everybody is fulfilling is actually bringing about the end of the world, so that Good and Evil can fight a war over the nature of its rebirth.  In Season Six, the answers to the Island’s deepest mysteries will be uncovered by the warring sides as a consequence of the race to wield the Island’s power for good or ill.

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