An Alternate to the Alt Timeline Theory (Part two)…

Here goes, this is my theory about why the writers will choose not to use an alt timeline.

First I’ll go over the evidence for an alt timeline (but i’ll be brief since it’s been shown in many other places). The alt timeline theory (as I understand it) Essentially begins with Jughead being detonated at the Swan site. At that point a parallel universe of sorts spins off, and in one of the timelines, the bomb does not go off, 815 never crashes and all of the Losties safely landed at LAX. The other timeline is the one that we have seen, where 815 does crash and the Losties end up going back in time to detonate Jughead. In season 6 the timelines will be merged and then the war that we know is coming can be fought with the Losties from the alt timeline being in good condition and understanding what it is they are fighting for. The evidence (in brief) is given in the fact that Dharma-ville appears to be different from the time that the Others lived there and appears instead to be the same as when the Dharma Initiative lived there. The numbers are heard over the 316 radio as it is landing, and the two Lockes. Also, it is theorized that the whispers are in actuality the sounds of people in the other timeline. This all implies that the island is special, which is obvious, we all know it is special. This theory however points to the island being special because it is a place where two timelines can exist at once, and can if fact, merge.

I’m going to point out the specialness of the island, but not as it relates to science and alternate realities. Before I do this however, I want to remind you of some of the happenings in our story so far.

1) Remember Locke and Jack’s conversation on the way back from the Black Rock before they opened the hatch, and also when they started pushing the button. It was a debate and a comparison between Jack, a man of science and Locke, a man of faith.
2) Science and faith have been at odds throughout the entire story, from season one on our characters have had trouble deciding between the two. Is the island special and is it their purpose to be there, or is it simply an island and they need to go home? It is a rift that has plagued our characters from the moment Charlie said, “Guys, where are we?”
3) Apparitions of people who are supposed to be dead have been appearing to our characters. And here’s the interesting part, they don’t only seem to appear as themselves. Remember that when Sawyer was shot and the wound got infected (season two) he seemed to become temporarily possessed by Kate’s father that she killed, and he chokes her and asks her why she killed him. Also, Eko when he was injured by the polar bear, seemed to become possessed by the cop that infiltrated Locke’s weed farm (we don’t know if he’s dead, but it is a possibility) (on a side note, did anyone else pick up on the “See/Speak/Hear No Evil reference in those few episodes after the hatch imploded? I thought it was kinda neat).
4) There seems to be an importance with dead bodies on the island, thus why the Others seem so interested in them.
5) Miles can “sense” the dead and what they were thinking before they died.
6) The apparitions of the dead most often seem to appear when we hear whispers, and when our characters are in some sort of distress.
7) Everyone is miraculously healed on the island, until they do something objectionable, and then they don’t just get a cold, they get a life threatening ailment, i.e. Ben’s tumor, and Jack’s appendicitis.

It may be obvious by now, but what I’m trying to say is that the island is special in it’s relation to life and death. I believe that the island is a place where somehow the barrier between our world and wherever the dead go, is a very thin barrier, and the dead can affect the living world through the island, and certain, special people. Thus why they appear in times of distress and only to the main characters (Niki and Paolo or Arzt never heard or saw anything of the dead, because they were not important or special)

I believe that the island has extremely special qualities regarding life and death, and that those qualities originate from the island itself and its massive pockets of energy, perhaps it even has some form of a consciousness that is so vastly different from our that we can’t understand it. Thus how it knows which people to bring to it, and it tries to keep them from leaving (Jack), and it corrects them if they do wrong (Ben).

Now, I realize that in some ways this theory sounds a bit silly, but I also have some evidence from outside of the story itself.

1) As Tas said, in every season so far there has been a three act setup; in the first act we look at how things have changed, then we see how the characters adapt, and finally we are shown a new potential change. Each act takes about 6-8 episodes.
2) The executive producers have said that for the first third of the new season (first act), there will be a new form of narrative used rather than flashbacks or flashforwards for a certain character.
3) In the season finale of season 4, we had our first flashforward. In the first act of season 5, we had plenty more flashforwards. In the season finale of season 5, we had a series of flashbacks that don’t all relate to one person, but instead show a connection between many of our characters (Jacob’s touches).
4) The writers aren’t scientists and aren’t going to be able to thorough explanations for everything. So it would be easier for them to chalk up some things and some aspects of the show to faith rather than science.
5) There have not shown many things as of yet that need to be explained away by faith alone, and yet it is a MAJOR theme in the show.
6) One of the commercials for the sixth season is even titled, “Do You Believe” as shown on the abc, LOST site.
7) For a series finale they will have to go with very emotionally charged subject matter in order to “go out with a bang” in a sense, and while the writers could use the love stories and the coming war for emotional material, I feel like the science behind the alt timeline theory may detract from the emotionality that could be possible.
8) They use the scene of Locke and Jack arguing over belief in the specialness of the island in many if not most of the promos for season 6, which hints (at least to me) that the science of timetravel and electromagnetism will not be taken out of the show completely, not by any means, there will still be more explanations as far as that is concerned, but the science will take a backseat to the faith aspect of the show.
9) Faith is an easy subject for the average audience member to understand, while relativistic physics and theory, is not an easy subject for the average audience member to understand, and has in fact already driven away a significant number of viewers just from season 5 because the time travel became to confusing for them; at least that’s what some polls show.

It simply seems to me that there has been much more evidence of this faith based theory, than there has been of the alt timeline theory. Though I will be the first to admit that this theory does not cover all, for instance, the differences in Dharma-ville, and the numbers coming over the radio on 316.
But need I remind you that there have been hundreds of small mysteries like these before in the show, that end up gettign explained in ways that we don’t expect. Like Boone hearing Bernard’s voice over the radio in Yemi’s plane, or the light coming on in the hatch when Locke is pounding on it, or even how Roger and the Dharma van ended up in the middle of the jungle. Thus, I am confident that the writers can find a way to explain the changes in Dharma-ville and the numbers in 316 without committing to the alt timeline. Whereas, the explanation of the importance of dead bodies, the apparitions of the dead, the whispers, the possessions of Sawyer and Eko (and possibly the boar that “attacks” Sawyer), Richard never aging (seems like potentially something to do with life and death to me), Jacob reviving Locke after his fall from the window, Charlie being revived after hanging from the tree, the reason babies can’t be born on the island, the reason that young Ben’s life was saved in the temple when Juliet, a surgeon (albeit not a trauma surgeon), couldn’t fix him, and so on and so forth could all be linked to the specialness of the island concerning life and death. Also it will bring the entire show together and wrap it up, whereas the alt timeline seems to reduce the importance of the first few seasons (I realize that it does not ERASE the first few seasons, but all that happened in those, all that the characters learned or saw will be matched by whatever the alt timeline characters learned or saw thus they can merge timelines and the characters will be knowledgeable and ready to fight in the war, except that the alt timeline characters will have about six episodes to learn everything they need to, while the other characters [most of whom die in the bomb blast, according to the alt timeline theory] will have had approximately four and a half seasons…)

Also, in closing The writers have said that season 6 will mirror season 1 in many ways (as Tas pointed out) and while I’ll admit that the alt timeline theory would in fact do that, I think that the writers can pull it off without that. I think that the different narrative tool that they will be using for the first “act” of the season will be showing flashbacks of many different characters in each episode, and that they will focus on showing the connections between all of the characters (which has been another major theme throughout the entire show). Also, showing all of the connections is one thing that they have promised will happen, this provides the perfect way for them to do so.

All of this being said, please realize that I am not a religious person, and I am not coming up with this theory because of religion. I came up with the theory for all of the reasons I’ve stated above. Also, I am not saying that the writers will say that the island IS purgatory, or Eden, or Duat, or some form of Nirvana, or Heaven or Hell. Quite the opposite, I think they will say it is special and somehow connected to the relationship between life and death, but the will NOT attribute it to a specific religion.

If you managed to read all of this, congratulations (especially if you read part one too)! You deserve a prize… I’M not going to give you a prize, but you certainly deserve one…

Thank you for reading…

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I'm a 22 year old that just graduated with a Bachelor's in English(Writing) with a minor in Religious Studies. I'm a huge fan of Lost, Flashforward, Battlestar Galactica, and a few other shows.

20 thoughts on “An Alternate to the Alt Timeline Theory (Part two)…

  1. Big read with obviously heaps of thought going into it. What I agree with is that thematically faith and science have played a huge role in the show and I’m sure will continue to drive the final season. I really feel that it also plays a huge part in the relationship between MIB and Jacob, I tend to have a different take on their conversation from a lot of people. I think they are arguing over the island (not the people on it). I think Jacob wanting to bring people to the island is to use the science of the island whereas MIB wanting the island left alone – let the people who love and appreciate it’s value just be, without dealing with those who want new technologies (the Black Rock was a highly commercial slaving ship). So yes, I think the war is about science and faith, from a thematic perspective I really agree with a lot of what you are saying.
    The area I’m going to disagree on is from a narrative perspective, I still don’t feel as though you’ve answered some of the plot development questions I have about no alt timeline, for example the losties haven’t actually learnt anything about the war in 4 1/2 seasons so something drastic has to happen from a plot perspective to get them that knowledge. Even you said that the writers are going to use a different approach, they’ve done flashbacks and flashforwards – they haven’t done flashsideways. But flashbacks they way you describe still can’t give us or the losties extra info about what, why, who about the island or the war (or they’d already know about it). That’s above and beyond the physical evidence in the show that seems to be leading strongly to a change of some sort.
    I think ideas of science and faith fit just as neatly into an alt timeline. I want Jack and Locke to fight for what they believe in, to choose a side and commit and sacrifce for science or faith. But first they need to know what they are fighting for and to choose to jump into this war with their eyes wide open. I think this can be achieved quickly and easily through an alt timeline. Because they’ll have different experiences and because I think the island will allow certain people to know of the split timelines, they can be given the knowledge through people like Jacob, MIB, Richard possibly even Eloise and Widmore. They aren’t going to listen to any of these people in the original timeline beacuse a relationship of distrust has already been built, but a fresh start in an alt timeline means the relationships and passing on of knowledge can be different and targeted.
    An alt timeline doesn’t contradict what you are saying, I think it actually balances the spiritual themes and the needs of a sci-fi show quite well.

  2. tas, they ARE in this war, alt timeline or not. they are all more aware of whats going on, but obviously not totally aware as to not reveal too much to the viewers.

    not only the science/faith aspect, but the writers said the locke vs jack dynamic will come to a head this season. I believe it will end with either Jack taking a leap of faith at the end to save everyone or jack and locke switching sides on this argument.

    also, the life/death connection might be connected to the islands time properties. perhaps once dead on the island, you can exist if you are alive (in some way) as long as you were alive at some point on the island.

  3. Thanks for the comments… and Tas, I actually agree with you on the conversation between jacob and nemesis, I think they are arguing about the island, one wants to use it, the other wants to protect it.
    as for out disagreement on the narrative things, well there’s not much i can debate there. you have valid points, i disagree, but you know my points and theories, and i know yours… so we’re sort of at a stand still here. I suppose we’ll just have to see when the premier starts, hopefully it doesn’t get bumped by obama’s speech, i don’t want to have to wait another week on top of what i’m already waiting…

  4. LilBoy Blue, yep I think we’ll just have to wait and see.
    Josh, I think we are now seeing a merged timeline and that the peope on the Ajira flight were from the original so I can’t see aprinpem with the runway.
    Eko, the losties (apart fromLocke) know less about the island Han we as viewers do. We can’t even decide with months of discussions what the was is about, who is on what side or how it may play out. How then can any of the characters take an active, knowledgable step with no info at all pretty much. I don’t just want to see them running around inthe jungle just reacting to events that seem quite random to them. I’ve had 5sasons I that I want something new for he losties, for them to be able to havv the big picture and work with it. Even the soldiers on the front in WW2 had more understanding of what they were fighting for than charaters who need to take a much more important/ leadership role in Lost. They need to know stuff, so how do they know it?

  5. I cannot agree with your theory. Unfortunately a lot of your arguments can be said this way : You don’t trust that the authors are capable of telling an alternate timeline scenario. Well Lost writers have impressed me so far and I couldn’t think of a thing that they CAN do. They succeeded in bringing a mainstream audience into an extremely complex past/present/future storytelling, going back and forth with multiple characters. This has never been done on this level before, and the authors have said in the past that they appreciated the way they found how to tell a story with time jumps without losing the audience. I do not think that they will stop there; I think they will want to show us even more of this type of innovation.

    Anyways, you forget to mention the best argument that supports the alternate timeline. Every single communication from the authors to the public during the summer and fall have given hints that there would be an alternate timeline. At comic con, they presented videos where Oceanic Airlines people were bragging about a ‘Perfect Safety Record’. And in FlashForward, broadcasted by ABC, a poster of Oceanic Airlines has been seen with the inscription ‘Perfect Safety Record’ on it. It is only at this moment that people here started publishing lots of theories of alternate timelines; the alternate timeline theory was much less popular before these infos got out. There was also the revealing of the first episode, LA X, which is clearly a reference to the possibility that they will land safely at LAX, altough we still don’t understand why there’s a space between LA and X.

  6. It’s not that I think they aren’t capable of writing it, trust me when I say that I have the utmost faith in the writers, they’ve done amazing things already. It’s that I don’t think the audience is capable of following them there, and I think the writers know it.

    They temporarily lost a lot of viewers during the time jumps of last season… while all of us here are still avid fans, we make up a TINY percentage of the lost viewership, the majority of which have never read the all of the books that all of us are continuously using for reference on here, and are not willing to do the research, and have no conceptual understanding of theories of relativity or time travel.

    So trust me, I know the writers could do it, I would be shocked if they do do it though because of the danger of losing viewership. Meanwhile, religion is something that is, in general, understood by the majority of people.

    And I don’t think the alt timeline is necessary to explain anything. Like you and I have both said, the writers for this show are great, and I have every confidence that they can take what they already have and end the series in a brilliant manner without having to introduce even more complicated science and relativistic theory.

    As far as the “Perfect Safety Record” thing goes, I wasn’t aware of that. Perhaps it does point to an alt timeline, or maybe it was a publicity stunt for Flash Forward (a show that I love almost as much as Lost by the way)… Still, thanks for pointing it out to me, I’ll have to look further into it.

  7. Also, don’t forget that the Lost production team have become experts at misleading the viewers, that’s what keep us watching it. We can’t figure out what is going to happen next, because they drop hints, and everything seems to be leaning a certain way, the die-hard fans like us become certain that we know what is going to happen, and then they completely blind-side us with things that we never expected. So don’t be too shocked if no one on this site (including myself) is right. After all, the writers are immensely better than us at this kind of stuff.

  8. Ive got to have a go at you over those last comments LBB, that’s really quite condescending to the viewers, but the writers have done what you’ve said cost them viewers before, why not again. But it doesn’t matter, viewership is only an issue if they wants Lost to continue- it’s not. They can do whatever they want and be completely self absorbed in the writing this season cos is got an end date.
    Your comment on religion really upset me. Religion is the one thing that people can’t understand and agree upon. Religion has been the justification of most of the major wars, genocides and racism throughout human’s history. How do you possiblyturn a sci-Fi show into one about religion without marginalizing and isolating massive amounts of people. General ideas sure, but anything more that. That is the one thing that would have me never watch anything done by these people again. Religion is not universal.

  9. Ok, don’t take this the wrong way LBB, but I’m not sure what it is that you’re arguing here. It reads more like a series of observations than a theory per se. I guess what I’m asking you is how do the thematics preclude the inclusion of splintered time?

    Some of the comments above coincide with my own thoughts – that there will be a Desmond-style mind state where they’re consciousness-flashing. I think that will be the extent of the dreaded “ALT”.

    But there will be some dark and poignant themes played out, no doubt in an ironic way. Especially in the way characters will be placed in situations where they are forced to make tough decisions. After all, Lost is just as much film noir as it is sci-fi. And we know good old noir just loves to reflect on the dark side of humanity (or at least the grey areas).

  10. Jj23.
    You bring up a really good argument. Im very anti-alt. timeline so i always look for holes in the theory of it, and the only thing that concerns me with what you said is that the writers said that they are not giving out any spoilers of any kind (which is why the promos contain footage from previous seasons other than S6), so why would they show the hurley and kate videos (symbolising the alt. timeline) if they dont want to give spoilers? It all seems a little to obvious..

  11. Tas: I can’t blame you for taking that hit at me, but I feel I should clarify the comments I made earlier. I wasn’t trying to be condescending to the viewers, saying they are dumb or anything. Quite the opposite, the majority of them are middle-aged, middle-class people that have a family and a nine to five job. Basically, they don’t have the time nor the will to look up any further research or or try to understand the advanced theories behind the show. Instead, they just want to sit down and watch the show for one hour a week and be entertained by the story (not the science), and then not have to think about it again for another week. Because they have other things to worry about, much more important than Lost.

    Also, on the religion thing. Trust me I couldn’t agree more on the fact of religion being extremely divisive. But like I said in the theory, they will not pick one religion or show major religious themes, when I said that “religion is something that is, in general, understood by the majority of people” I meant faith. It won’t be used in a divisive manner, they won’t claim that god is involved or that if you sin bad things will happen to you. Instead they will just use general faith as in, “Do you believe?”.

    Yojimbo: No wrong way taken, this is why I wanted your opinion, your alt timeline theory seems to differ from other people’s just slightly and doesn’t necessarily contradict anything I am saying. Which for clarification is; I think the writers will use everything that they already have at hand as far as the story is concerned. I don’t think they will introduce an alt timeline, because it is unnecessary. I think that they already have plenty of material, things to explain, and the ways to explain them without any alt timeline.
    I guess what I am trying to argue is that they are going to avoid bringing very much more science or scientific explanations into the show. There will be a few more scientific explanations, for smaller issues, but the main subject matter of the show will not revolve around science.
    That’s why I like your alt theory more, it doesn’t imply a lengthy scientific explanation as much as other theories I have read.

  12. For a good example of why I think the science of the alt timeline will be a bad decision read Roland’s latest theory, “Timelines converge”. He gives his theory on how the timelines are already converging, but even he, a person that has gone and just for this purpose, looked into alternate timelines and theories about how they work, is confused and has trouble understanding it. So imagine what it will be like on someone who is not willing to devote more than one hour to the show a week…

    And Tas, I forgot to point something out in my last comment… the writers need to to an even better job of keeping viewers on board for the final season, quite the opposite of now being able to do whatever they want. If they lose massive amounts of viewers then ABC loses massive amounts of money, and the show will be canceled even before the finale. And not only that, but no network would hire those writers or that production team ever again if that happened. If they did something that lost so many viewers of Lost that the network canceled the show before the finale, they had all better go pick up job applications at the local mall, because none of them would ever work in network television again.

    Admittedly, even with an alt timeline, they won’t lose that many viewers. They would have to do something amazingly drastic or terrible to get the show canceled. Still, they need to end this show on a high note, and with very good ratings not for the sake of the viewers, but because of network pressures and for the sake of their own resumes.

    Remember, network television is a business before it is an art.

  13. I’d like to add something to what I said. You say that religion is more easily brought to emotionally-charged scenes than sci-fi, alt timelines and time travelling. I think you should listen to Flashes before your eyes or the episode where desmond finds his constant by calling Penelope on Christmas Eve. These are among the most emotionnally-charged parts of Lost and they are based on time/consciousness travelling.

  14. Good point, other emotionally charged parts include:
    Eko finding his brother’s body on the island, then finding that it is gone, and then trying to give his confession to “Yemi” only to be killed.
    Also, Charlie willingly sacrificing his life to rescue everyone.
    Sun believing that Jin died on the freighter.
    Rousseau finding out that Alex is still alive and well.
    The argument between Jack and John in the hatch about faith and science.
    The reunion of Rose and Bernard even though he thought she was dead, but she knew him to be alive.
    Claire and Aaron being baptized by Eko.
    Shannon being told that Boone died.
    Sayid having to bury Shannon, the woman he loved.
    Michael trying to offer up his own life in exchange for Walt.
    Michael trying to commit suicide multiple times but not being able to (how is that explained by an alt timeline?)
    Hugo finding out that Libby was killed.

    Should I go on? Because every single one of those and many others revolve around the relationship between life and death, and most of them involve faith more heavily than they involve science…

  15. Lost is a science-fiction show. That’s what it is. The people who are still watching now know and understand that and that’s why they are watching. Up until the end of season 5 I was one of those people who watched and enjoyed it each week for what it was and really well done, thought provoking science-fiction show. I didn’t feel the need for huge lenghty explainations of the time travel aspects, as a viewer I was happy to buy into that without needing to understand every detail. But I also understood that the fiction part of the genre I was watching gives the writers some flexibility, everything doesn’t have to be scientifically doable right now. I think the people who are still watching will have absolutely no trouble understanding that Jack succeeded, things changed and the use of Des-like flashes to have the losties ‘know’ that all is not as it seems. Yes, if these guys completely bomb it, they’ll struggle to get another job. The one thing that will do that is moving away from the sci-fi aspect to religion or faith (even faith is not constant and universal). As an example, I quite enjoy Star Trek, started watching Battlestar Galatica when we got it over here, missed a bit but then decided NOT to go back to it once I found out about the religious, spiritual overtones it ended on. I watch sci-fi for the sci-fi, I love the interpersonal relationships and the depth, but I am not buying into a faith based show (I’d watch 7th Heaven for that ;))

    I’m going to end on the same point I started with, Lost is a sci-fi show, you can’t negate the viability of an alt timeline because it is sciency, that doesn’t make sense, use other reasons, but not because of science.

  16. @LBB – Yep. I agree in certain ways – mainly that I can’t see them making an “alt” reset kind of thing in the way others have been envisioning it. If they go in that direction, it would be to do something less obvious, but still in a way that ties in to the existing things they’ve established. Which is why my money is on Desmond- style consciousness travelling – episodes where we have ALREADY seen producers give us visions of alternate realities; and people shouldn’t forget that. And where were the Losties at the end of S5 – at a massive EM incident, even bigger than the one that caused Des’ flashes.

  17. Tas: Sorry to hear you stopped watching Battlestar, it’s my favorite show. So what I think we have here is simply a difference of perspective. While I like the strong science aspect of sci-fi, I’ve always preferred the less “sciency” stories. My example would be books, if given a choice between a run of the mill sci-fi book or a run of the mill fantasy book, I’d choose fantasy 100% of the time.

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