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I love this show. I love theorizing and talking with my friends about what everything means and discovering the pieces of the puzzle laid out along the way. I like how Lostpedia has a theories page for everything, but I do get annoyed when I read some just plain bad theories. What makes a bad theory? Read on (and no, this isn't about theory policy).
I'm all for "bad theories" when they're just for fun (see my last blog), but I guess that's the problem with the internet; you can't tell the intent behind the words. If you have a serious theory, there's some things to consider:
1) Common Sense. Common sense is an oxymoron these days (it's not so common), but let's try to apply some to our theories. For example, when people were speculating about Flocke's comment to Richard "Good to see you out of those chains" one common thought was that it was symbolic. Since Jacob was dead he was no longer a slave "in chains" to him. Really?
Apply Common Sense: Flocke, just two minutes earlier, said the exact same thing to "Jacob's bodyguards". Except that time he said "you're free". Why would he suddenly switch to metaphor when talking to Richard? It wouldn't make any sense unless he had a big conversation with Richard about him being in chains in slavery to Jacob and made a big point about Jacob now being dead. Common sense would tell us that he actually, physically, saw Richard in chains in the past, especially since that comment made Richard recognize him (and Flocked knew it would).
Okay, I'm kind of harping on that example (I mentioned it last week, too), but it's a good, clear example. Another example could be the theory that Jacob is actually black/evil and MiB is good/white.
Apply Common Sense: MiB tossed out the white stone, a clear reference to offing Jacob. So Jacob = white in their little conflict. By way of elimination, MiB = black. Black/White has been used throughout history as symbolic of Good/Evil, however this show has brought into question our traditional concept of clearcut good and evil. So if Jacob is not also good to MiB's bad, then they both have elements of good and evil in them. We've seen MiB lie and manipulate (to Sawyer and Claire, at the very least, also Ben & The Others) for his own purposes, whereas everything we've seen of Jacob shows him to be pretty caring and looking out for our main characters. Now, there's also the Free Will vs. Fate question in there and importance of the island, which very easily explains some moves of Jacob's that seems to not be in their best interests.
So, not a definitive answer, but commons sense will tell us that MiB isn't going to be the great good hero in the end, and I'm certain Jacob isn't going to be the nasty bad guy.
2) Writer's Direction. This, I think, is important. The question of What Would The Writers Do? helps us direct our theories very well, I think. The Lost writers have shown us what kind of writers they are. For one, they don't pull a Dues Ex Machina to suddenly answer questions in a way that makes no sense whatsoever. They bring up more questions when they provide answers, but there's always been some groundwork laid. Also, the answers have been satisfying so far. As in, we can look at the answer and go "oh, that's how it happened/works" instead of "that's completely stupid; they totally pulled that out of their rear".
From this we can answer the following: It wasn't all just a dream. That would be a total reversal that would be completely unsatisfying. I don't think Damon Lindelof would feel that that would be a satisfactory ending. Also, it won't be purgatory, heaven, other planet, etc. "Aliens" didn't swoop in with their spaceships to "automagically" create The Lighthouse, The Temple, and The Donkey Wheel. This leads us to our 3rd point...
3) Based on evidence. If there isn't sufficient information to make a coherent theory, the rest is speculation, not theory. If we have a theory, we should have some evidence. For example, "Richard was on the Black Rock" is a decent theory, because we can back it up with "we see him dressed in old clothing when talking to Ben in Dharma times. That's not conclusive, but he doesn't age like we do and MiB mentioned seeing him in chains, so it's possible he was either a slave (probably not likely) on the Black Rock or thrown into the brig at some point".
Something that wouldn't be good is "I think David Shepherd will be Jack in a later time loop because they both have black hair. That would mean he did his mom, eww, gross." Intentionally humorous, the example shows the very tenuous and not even supporting "evidence" to the theory.
4) Logical Flow. A good theory will flow logically from what we already know in the series and not take a drastic, sudden tangent.
Again, not to discount funny off theories. :D I do them, too. But let's get some good theories down, too. --Dretzle 18:18, March 1, 2010 (UTC)