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The Variable/Theories

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Main Article Theories about
The Variable
Main Discussion
 Theories may be removed if ... 
  1. Stated as questions or possibilities (avoid question marks, "Maybe", "I think", etc).
  2. More appropriate for another article.
  3. Illogical or previously disproven.
  4. Proven by canon source, and moved to main article.
  5. Speculative and lacking any evidence to support arguments.
  6. Responding to another theory (use discussion page instead).
  • This does not include responses that can stand alone as its own theory.
  • Usage of an indented bullet does not imply the statement is a response.

See the Lostpedia theory policy for more details.

The Two Sides

  • Widmore and Eloise are fighting for one side as evidenced by their conversation outside the hospital where Penny, Desmond and Charlie Hume were. Their side must preserve the timeline and coerce and manipulate people.
  • The war happens in 1977, or at least starts there. Eloise does not work so had to make the inevitable happen because it will certainly happen, she does it because she wants what happened to happen again, because HER side won the war, DHARMA was eventually purged from the island. She cannot be sure what happened will happen, even if she does believe that, so she works to make sure it does happen. This is not to protect time, but to protect the outcome she prefers. She's not on "time's side", she's on Eloise the other's side.
  • Faith versus science. Eloise as the chief proponent of science (nothing can be changed). Desmond & Locke are definitely on the side of faith, Jack is a recent recruit, etc. More specifically, faith: try to believe something can be changed and people are the ones to do it , or science: believe that the way to fix the problem is to let things go the way they are 'supposed' to go. But as Daniel has pointed out, people are the variables and therefore letting things go the way they are 'supposed' to wont fix anything because people are effecting outcomes and events all the time.

Desmond as Ultimate Cause

  • If Desmond had not saved Charlie's life the three times he was supposed to die (drowning, lightning, arrow to the neck), Charlie never would have turned off the signal jammer in The Looking Glass station. This led to the enabling of the sat-phone, which led to the freighter's arrival, which led to the arrival of the science team/Keamy's men, which led to the turning of the wheel, which led to the Island skipping through time, which led to Locke stopping the flashes while the Lefties were stuck in 1974. We will discover that the O6 cause the Incident which leads to all of this futility repeating in an endless loop. It is this situation that will set up Desmond's ultimate opportunity to change things as the true variable.
  • If Whatever Happened Happened and there is a loop, then the signal jammer would have been activated by some other course events, in the same way that even though Desmond prevents Charlie from dying of lightning, he then dies trying to catch a seagull, and if not then, he dies in the Looking Glass. But, as stated below, like Daniel said: if Desmond had never failed to push the button/turned the key at the Swan, 815 never would've crashed and etc etc. If there is a loop, where is the beginning of cause and effect?
    • The death of Charlie is what was "supposed" to happen, and Desmond changed it three times. However, when Charlie shut down the signal jammer, this contributed to the time loop, as the O6 never would have left. But since we know the Losties were always in 1977, therefore it seems that even Desmond's status as the future-changer only served WHH. If Desmond returns to the past, perhaps he will truly change things.
  • Daniel Faraday was only partly right when he said that they where all the variables and is abrupt death was a a clear message that he could not change anything. The real and only variable is Desmond because he is the only one who can see when things are "updated". He is the only one that can in the end make a change. Eloise is either ignorant of the fact or was purposely lying to him to make sure he does not try to change too much things.
    • Right. It is now worth to consider that Daniel was proved to be an unreliable source, proably speaking more in wishful thinking than in actual knowledge of the facts. After all, even if he is a physics genius, the Island is practically a totally different world with its own physics.
    • Daniel was still correct in his understanding of WHH that he explained not only in word but proved in deed. He just wasn't able to place himself within the context... he failed to realize only Desmond was exempt from WHH.
  • Daniel meant that everyone who came from the future was a variable. Dan has been studying this and understands it all now, that is why he went away. Everything else is constant, if left alone, but the variables which can affect this is anything that was not meant to be there.

Charles Widmore had an Affair

  • While off the island, Charles had an affair with another women who would eventually give birth to Penny. Eloise's discovery of this led to their estrangement and contempt toward one.
  • Ellie and Widmore were simply an "on island" couple, never married. Ellie left with Daniel (born or pregnant). Widmore stayed on- obsessed with "his island", then was cast off by Ben. He neglected to contact Eloise, and then started a family to which Penny was born. Widmore was never there as a father for Daniel (just money). This is what made Eloise slap Widmore.
    • The course of events in this theory are invalid. If it happened that way Penny would be younger than Alex, who was already born when Charles was banished.

Eloise giving birth to Daniel

  • For some reason Ellie gave birth to Daniel off the island. He was raised by friends (perhaps Others living off the island as spies), the Faradays, for a time but with full knowledge that he was 'adopted'. Eloise later returns, perhaps after the shooting of the man who claimed to be her son and stays off the island. Daniel alludes to Eloise's absence at his graduation. Daniel's off island birth could also be why he never had nose bleeds like Miles, Charlotte etc. He was never on the island before.
  • Eloise became pregnant, but the Others soon realized that the Incident somehow caused Pregnancy problems on the island, the ones we still see today. So Eloise left the island to give birth, but for unknown reasons she never returned back to the island.


Why they sent Daniel back to the Island

  • Daniel's death will help prevent the 'wrong' side from winning the 'war'. Jack will find Daniel's journal and try to prevent the Swan incident from occurring, but will fail and instead cause the incident himself.
  • Daniel was NOT sent back by his mother to prevent the "incident," he was sent back to preserve causality and "save the world." The evidence is that she is obviously visibly saddened (piano scenes) to have done/be doing this to her son but knows that the universe depends on it - tragic.
  • They are not in a "time loop" as referenced by Hawking responding to Penny's question about Desmond, that for the first time in her life she has no idea what will happen. Daniel was sent back because his death at her hands is a tragic necessity to the timeline. It always happened.
  • Daniel was not sent back to stop the Incident. Whatever he was doing in Ann Arbor was important. Eloise would not have sent him back knowing she would kill him, just because WHH. He did something else important in his three years there and being killed by Ellie was just an unfortunate side effect.
  • Daniel's contributions to DHARMA in Ann Arbor were the reason he was sent back. He is the "very clever fellow" that added the pendulum to the Lamp Post station, enabling DHARMA to predict the islands various locations in time.
  • Hawking sent Daniel back because she knows that he is the one to save the island from Jughead by telling them to bury it. She sacrificed her son in order to save the island.
  • Daniel came back because he was meant to restore the time loop ie no O6 crash, by stopping the incident. But by attempting to do this, he died, which was actually what happens within this time loop, and something else will change this, probably being Des.

Eloise "Ellie" Hawking's knowledge of the future

  • Eloise's belief that she needs to obey the future is what causes her to send Daniel to the island, knowing that "past" her will shoot him. She believes that not obeying the future will cause the world will end. Her acting out her belief that she can't change the future, is what has always happened. This is in contrast to Daniel who believes that he can change the future which is what causes him to seek Eloise which is what puts him in the situation of getting shot by his mother.
  • When she enters the room when young Daniel is playing the piano, it is almost immediately after the Incident. It causes mental time flash (like Desmond's), and she is thrown into the near future. She is visibly shaken when she enters the room, realizing for certain that the man she killed was her son, and yet her son is playing piano.
  • Eloise is a tragic character, like Daniel; she is bound to obey the rules of the universe regarding causality (i.e. paradoxes are impossible). This is why she emphasizes to Desmond that he can't save people. She is visibly distressed in both "piano scenes" when having to put the world ahead of her son. It defies every motherly instinct she has and she is visibly disgusted with herself for it when Daniel asks "will it make you proud of me," and she replies "Yes, it will."
  • Eloise 'sends' Desmond to the island (in part) to help her son and make up for killing him. She aquires his journal after shooting him and reads "if anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant" and so makes sure the two will be in the same place/time.
  • Eloise can't see into the future and has no knowledge of events after the last group was sent to the island. She met Jack and Kate after shooting Daniel and so knew that everything up to their being sent back was destined to happen. Also, she knows Desmond was supposed to go to the island because she was told that he will be on the island in the future. Therefore she is as lost as anyone now because flight 316 was the future-most event in this chain of events - which she learned of after shooting her son. In her scene with Penny in 2007, she said it's the first time, in a really long time, she doesn't know what's coming next.
  • Eloise "knows things" because she experienced them. The "...then God help us all" is a reference to the fact that if what she experienced wouldn't come true, then the whole history would change as she knew it.


Daniel's Journal

  • Eloise gives Daniel a new, unused journal, but just like the same brand and model she took from Daniel in 1977 after she shot him. The "original" 1977 journal might be kept somewhere in Eloise and Daniel's "present day", i.e. when she gives Daniel a brand new journal, she already has the one she got in 1977 from Daniel, but kept it well hidden (especially away from Daniel). She uses the Journal to know what is going to happen from the day Daniel graduates to the day she sends him back to the island to die
  • Daniel gets the journal after graduating, he then begins his research with Eloise the rat. A good scientist writes down all of his scientific observations in a notebook or journal. He sends Eloise's mind to the future briefly, and she knows how to run the maze. Then he starts experimenting on himself. He sends his mind to the past on the island (DHARMA time) and writes his observations in his journal. He does this many times, and has a journal full of bits and pieces from the past on the island. He experiments on himself too many times and fries his memory.
    • Yes - Daniel says his journal contains "everything he's learned about the DHARMA Initiative." He had this information BEFORE he came to the Island on the freighter. (See his notations about The Orchid in Season 4 as an example.) That means he must have traveled there previously, sending himself back in time during his experiments. How else would he know that the Incident was about to occur that afternoon? It doesn't appear that Eloise gives Dan the journal with the notes. She gives him a blank journal that he then fills with notes about the DHARMA Initiative as he conducts his experiments, but he then forgets what he learned and must continually refer to the journal for guidance.
    • This scenario is only possible if Daniel's been to the island in a previous instance we don't know about. Remember, when people's minds time travel, there are visible bodily effects. If Dan's mind were to time travel he would need his body at Oxford to initiate the experiment/time travel, but he would also need a body on the island, an analog future-Daniel for his mind to travel to. As far as we know, he hadn't been to the island pre-Kahana. Also, because you go catatonic when your mind time travels, we'd probably already have seen Daniel mind traveling if that were the case.

Daniel's Memory Issues

  • Daniel tested his theory on himself before Theresa. He started having the same displacement that Desmond had and actually had his mind at different points go into the past and the future and thus that is why he knows odd information he shouldn't. Perhaps he knew about Flight 815 at the time that saw the faked wreckage on the news, but the knowledge was 'in the back of his mind' and he didn't remember he knew about it, causing the weird reaction. Some of his theories and such are based on other skips but he had forgotten about the act of skipping. When he meets Desmond on the island, it seems like his memory issues are less than before so perhaps the whole thing was happening very slowly and stopped when he encountered his 'constant'. With Theresa they used a higher level of energy which put her in the coma but not so much that it killed her.

The "energy" in the Orchid

  • The energy is based on anti-matter. Daniel hopes (hoped?) that detonating the hydrogen bomb would generate enough energy to counteract the "anti-energy" emanating from the anti-matter. There is only one problem. The bomb is broken. Its casing was fractured and special nuclear material (SNM) was leaking out. The result of that is an inability to condense enough of the SNM to create a critical mass. No critical mass, no bang. Daniel is/was a physicist, but he did not spend enough time studying nuclear physics. Whether Daniel is alive or dead has no effect on events to come. The incident will occur as expected in four hours minus. If we assume that the bomb could be detonated, the two timed releases would result in a huge exothermic reaction. One might call that "torching the Island."

Widmore's Fortune

  • Widmore has Daniel's journal. The data in that book is from 30 years into the future, and allows Widmore to control, influence, and gain massive wealth from that information, which results in his power and wealth in the present. Therefore, he is of course more than willing to spend any amount necessary to guarantee that Daniel, and Oceanic 815 earlier, make it to the Island, or that they are undisturbed in the process of going back in time. Daniel may have written an account, as he understands it, of the Island in the future, and both Widmore and Hawking are using this account and their own experiences after to insure that "whatever happened happened."

Desmond is "THE variable"

Faraday talks about people with free will being variables that can change the past. However the name of the episode is singular "The Variable". I propose that Desmond is the Variable, the one who can change the past. Support for this theory:

  • Though the episode is Faraday-centric the opening scene focuses on Desmond.
  • In that same scene Eloise says that for the first time in a long time she doesn’t know what will happen next. That’s because Desmond is the Variable, a wild-card whose past and future are uncertain.
  • Faraday speaks of constants and variables. In "The Constant" Desmond chose Penny as the Constant. It would be a nice parity if therefore Desmond is the Variable.
  • In "Because You Left" Faraday himself tells Desmond that he is unique and that rules do not apply to him.
  • When dislodged in time in "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Eloise had to personally make sure that Desmond does not get engaged to Penny. Though ultimately Desmond did break up with Penny it was not in the way that Eloise described to him in the jewelry shop.
  • After returning to the island from his flashback he is able to foresee the future, specifically the many probable deaths of Charlie, yet he is able to prevent most of them. He could not save Charlie the final time not because of some sort of destiny or “course correction” but simply because he was physically unable to.
  • Daniel proved not to be "a" variable as he theorized, when his actions proved to be just part of history.

Daniel shooting Richard

  • Richard is so powerful that he never needs to take aggressive action; the island will take care of him as long as plays peacefully and by the rules. Richard did not fear for his life at all when Daniel was pointing the gun at him. He was trying to calm Daniel and asking him to resolve the issue peacefully, and his line "You don't want to do this" seemed to me to be a kind of warning that if Daniel tried to kill him, something (he might not even have known what) would prevent it, tying into the nature of Richards immortality... or that another Other would shoot him first (like Eloise did).
    • This is further backed up by the fact that after Daniel Faraday was shot, instead of being grateful for his life being saved, he yelled "Why did you do that!? He wasn't going to shoot me, Eloise!!". Doesn't seem like something someone would say to the person who just saved their life. He seemed more upset by the fact that Daniel, the man was pointing a gun at him, was shot. Alpert knew his life was not in danger.
    • Alpert knows his life is not in danger because he repeatedly meets people from the future which know him (e.g. John in Jughead). He knows that in 2004-2007 he will be alive.

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