- On day 3 after Jack, Hurley, Kate and Sayid come to 1977, Daniel Faraday returns to the Island.
- On day 4 (the next day), he convinces Jack and Kate that they aren't meant to be in the past, but that they have a chance to set everything straight--by "preventing" the Incident with the use of the hydrogen bomb. As we saw, this idea greatly appealed to Jack. To note is that this is the first time Faraday has ever contradicted his own, previously concrete, "Whatever happened, happened" theory.
- On this same day, minutes after explaining his full plan to Jack and Kate, Daniel is shot and killed by his own mother, Eloise Hawking. This event always happened, and we know this because of Daniel and Eloise's story told through flashbacks:
- "Her foreknowledge of future events based on her encounter with her time-travelling son gave her a somewhat omniscient air in her guidance of her son." (from Eloise's article on this wiki)
Those are the straight facts told through the show, but here's what else we can derive:
- If Daniel always died in 1977 under these circumstances, then all of the events surrounding his death also always happened, such as:
- His discussion with Jack and Kate before his death,
- His mother leading them to Jughead after his death,
- Most importantly, Juliet's detonation of the bomb at the Swan site just hours later.
- We know this, because if Daniel hadn't suddenly decided that the future could be changed, he never would've marched into the Others' camp in an attempt to locate the bomb, getting shot by his mother in the process. He always came to this realization in the timeline we've known and therefore always told Jack and Kate about his plan to detonate the bomb, setting the rest of the day's events into motion.
- Since Daniel's death in 1977 always occurred, all of the events surrounding his death also always occurred, including the detonation of the bomb at the Swan site.
- Since the bomb at the Swan site always detonated, the Incident has not been prevented--it has been caused.
And some additional theorization...
- Daniel undoubtedly has the best understanding of time travel out of all characters in the story, having successfully studied it himself for a large part of his life. For this entire period of time until shortly before his death, he stood by the stance that "Whatever happened, happened." So what made him change his mind?
- Perhaps he didn't change his mind. Perhaps he felt not only that the timeline couldn't be changed, but that he had to help act out what was supposed to happen in order to preserve the timeline, therefore preventing a paradox. This paradox would've occurred if the hydrogen bomb wasn't present at the Swan site to counter the effects of DHARMA's drilling, because the effects of the pure unleashed electromagnetic anomaly would've been catastrophic to the point of killing everyone on the Island, therefore unraveling the timeline of the future (Eloise would've been killed, therefore Daniel never would've been born, etc.).
- If that is the case, Daniel came back to the Island from Ann Arbor once he knew when the Incident was supposed to occur in time, because he knew he had to set the wheels into motion by manipulating Jack into thinking that he didn't belong in 1977 and could prevent the Incident.
- If that is the case, one might even speculate the Daniel had this plan in mind all along, including when he first told his mother to bury Jughead two decades earlier in 1954, so that it could eventually be used to cause the Incident. [Okay, this one's highly unlikely; see comments. -CapitalQ 20:01, January 23, 2010 (UTC)]
That's my whole theory (and the first one I've ever contributed here). I think it's pretty solid, so please tell me what you think or if you enjoyed reading it. Can't wait for season 6, less than a week and a half left! -CapitalQ 15:01, January 23, 2010 (UTC)