About a week ago, I posted a brief blog about my confidence that as far as the LOST timeline goes, what happened, happened and there won't be any kind of restart. In the comments, U2hmtmkmkm challenged my thinking, with some pretty fair and reasonable logic of his own. So I decided to share my full thinking - hope you don't mind.
In S5's episode,Whatever Happened, Happened, Miles and Hurley get in to a spirited debate on whether or not the future can be changed. Ben Linus has been shot, and Hurley begins to stare at his skin, wondering if he'll begin to fade away like in Back to the Future. Miles quickly jumps in, explaining to Hurley that Ben can't die, because in the future they'll all traveled back from, Ben is alive and well. This thought goes over Hurley's head, and they begin to argue. Things come to a head when Hurley points out to Miles that when Ben first met Sayid, Sayid tortured him. If the future cannot be changed, than Ben should've remembered Sayid as the guy who shot him. Miles becomes perplexed by this as well. Later on in the episode, once Richard Alpert takes Ben, Richard tells Kate and Sawyer that Ben will have no memory of what has transpired...
While we can't know what's in Darlton's heads, and I have no substantial spoiler information to back it up, this scene and others like it are clear indications of the true nature of the plot, and of the show: the future cannot be changed. Rather, the survivors of 815 are simply playing out events they were always destined to. There are a number of similar examples all throughout Season 5.
The most prominent one is the death of Daniel Faraday. In The Variable, as he lays on the jungle floor dying, Faraday realizes that his mother has always known, since the day she gave him his journal, that he would die on the Island, and that she would be the one to kill him. He realizes that in spite of this knowledge, she sent Daniel to his death and didn't do anything to try and stop it. Why would a mother send her own child to die, by her own hand, if she had a choice to stop it? The most likely answer is that Eloise knew she had to send Daniel to die, so that she would be motivated to help Jack and Sayid take the Jughead to the Swan - in fact, she calls Daniel a "sacrifice" at the end of the episode, a sacrifice to ensure that whatever happened after the explosion, would indeed still happen, allowing fate to continue on its intended course. In his realizing that his mother sent him to die, by extension Faraday must also realize the future cannot be changed - instead, he has just been playing his role. His destiny was to become a scientist, to go to the Island, to end up in the past and study with DHARMA, thinking he had found a way to change things when all the while he was just following his fate.
How could Eloise remember an alternate future, especially when for the Eloise that we see in this episode, that alternate future obviously never happened. One could try to argue that Eloise, somehow, has the ability to travel from timeline to timeline, as implied from her appearance in Flashes Before Your Eyes. The problem with this argument though, is that in this same episode, she tells Desmond that the universe "course-corrects" itself to keep people on their fated path. Indeed, Eloise appears to be acting as that agent of fate, there to make sure Desmond makes the choices that will inevitably lead him to the Island. So it stands to reason that even if there was some kind of split in the timeline, it would be temporary, and something(s) would happen to get things back on course. However, considering Eloise sacrificed Daniel's entire life, from his childhood to his adulthood for the sake of Fate - so things could go right the first time - it's more than likely such a thing won't happen.
Without taking the time to explain them all (I'm lazy, sue me), here's a list of similar scenes that I believe act as clues to the true nature of the show - that the future can't be changed:
- In The Incident when Miles says that maybe Jack's plan is already apart of history and they should all sit back and do nothing.
- In the same episode, when Jacob tells the MIB that "it only ends once." If there's multiple timelines, wouldnt it end a whole bunch of times? Ok, so just kidding with that question, but seriously, it only ends once, people.
- In Dead Is Dead, Widmore tells Ben to kill baby-Alex. Ben spares her life challenging Widmore's leadership and trust in the Island. As he's being banished, Widmore tells Ben that one day he will have to choose between the Island and Alex's life. He says Alex is supposed to die and that Ben is only delaying the inevitable. Widmore is proven right when Alex is taken hostage and Ben refuses to leave his house at the Barracks, in an attempt to protect his leadership on the Island. Alex is murdered on his front lawn.
- Want a multi-episode big clue? Try the story of the Oceanic 6. All of them left the Island for one reason or another, only to return to it years later, almost as if they were destined to be there. And if you read that statement and thought to yourself, 'Well duh, of course they were destined to be there." Then how could you ever even entertain the thought that the writers would create a string of episodes, let alone an entire Season, that showed a world where the characters were not destined to be there?
These are the main reasons I don't think there will be a Lost Do-Over, or anything like it. I agree, as many bloggers here have said, including U2hmtmkmkm, that a restart or alternate vision could add to the depth of the show by enlightening our characters on why their lives were so rich to begin with. However I don't think the writers would spend a lot of time on this type of 'What If' storytelling. A major theme of LOST has always been the unknown - the mystery and the ambiguity of life. That's why there are so many unanswered questions, why the characters never seem to be too sure if what they're doing is right, and why all the ARGs have been featured some kind of clue/mystery/suspense piece to them. Even the Monster lacks true, finite, clear definition - that's why, metaphorically speaking, it's made of smoke. LOST isn't about seeing everything from multiple sides and being able to be sure the choice you made was right, LOST is about being unsure, and having to make due. Remember, it's called "lost." I don't think the writers will abandon this theme for even one episode. Lord forbid they did decide to do something like that, I don't think they'd do it for more than one episode. By Ep. 2 of S6, we'll be back in the regular timeline.
So, here's my full and final drawn-out theory for Season Six. The first episode will either pick-up where the last one left off. All the Losties in '77 will find themselves back in the present, right smack in the middle of a battle over the fate of mankind. The MIB will emerge from the statue, still as Locke, everyone will be somewhat confused, Ben will be all torn up and and all kinds of crazy shit will start to hit the fan. Illana and her crew will reveal their true allegiances, and the battle Widmore warned Locke about in The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham will begin.
Thanks for reading, and for anyone who's curious, here's my theory on how the show will end.
Final Scene: Jack, Sawyer, Sun, and Jin are all dead. Either Hurley, Kate, Walt, or Ji-Yeon and Aaron as a team, sit on the beach near the Stature, or whatever remains of it. This person, the new Jacob, is sitting there looking out toward the horizon. Then MIB will walk out, similar to how he did in The Incident. He'll have assumed the body or appearance of someone close to the new Jacob, probably Jack, and say something slick like, "It's not over. I killed Jacob and I'll kill you too." And the new Jacob, hopefully Hurley, will say something like, "Shut up dude." And they'll both watch the tide roll, as a plane or boat brings a new set of people to the Island, and the show will fade to black (yes, Black not white, because at that time, things will be put back to the way they are supposed to be).