Course Correction…Take Two

I’ve seen that not everyone fully understands whats going on in this season with the alternate time-line. It should be noted that calling it an alternate time-line is not necessarily accurate considering it takes away from the idea that this time-line is as real as our original time-line we watched. But it makes it easier to talk about when you have a name for it. Anyways, this article is to help clarify some of these concerns hopefully regarding this alternate time-line. I wrote an article on Course Correction last season but it has been lost since then. This one is a little different and delves into this season’s aspects of Course Correction and time-lines.

It is my opinion (and has been since the first episode of this season) that the point of this season is to show us how course correction works on large changes. That’s right, that little thing that Ms. Hawking brought up WAAAAAAY back in season 3 (Episode: Flashes Before Your Eyes). Basically what happens is Desmond goes back in time consciously and makes a different decision than the first time he lived this. He buys the engagement ring. Well Ms. Hawking can’t let this fly. She takes Desmond out and and tells him that he’s not supposed to buy the ring. She points out a man in red sneakers whom dies moments later. When Desmond asks her why she didn’t save him, she replies that it wouldn’t have mattered, that the universe has a way of course correcting, and that he would’ve died soon anyway. Since this episode they showed us course correction of something small through Desmond’s attempts to save Charlie. The universe just kept putting Charlie in situations where he had to die and Desmond kept saving him until Charlie accepted his fate.

Since the Charlie Incident the writers have mentioned course correction zero times and the general consensus on how changing things works is that since it didn’t happen you can’t make it happen now. Something must’ve prevented you from doing it because it was never done in the first place. This directly conflicts with the concept of course correction. Course correction implies that you can make changes but that they won’t remain for very long due to the universe’s balancing act.

Now the writers have reached this season and have asked the question, “Well OK the universe can course correct something small like someone living who was supposed to die. But, what would happen if something big were to occur?” For instance someone detonating an f-ing hydrogen bomb. Well here’s where it gets a little bit trickier. Obviously this will greatly impact more lives so more tweaks have to be made to get the altered time-line back on track.

The easiest way to describe Course correction would be to explain time as a line (as most do). Now let’s say that this line is our time-line or the series of events that are supposed to occur.

(Our happy little unaltered “all-is-good” time-line…YAY!)

We can think of each of those dots as an event that is supposed to occur, due to fate. But what would happen if I went back in time and now knowing how these events are supposed to play out, I do something different? Well this wouldn’t alter the line of things that are supposed to happen especially considering in some sense they already have happened (at least for me). So they can’t just disappear into nonexistence. So how do I explain these new different actions happening? Well, what happens is a separate time-line splits off from the fate-accurate time-line (graphically shown below).

_____Altered Event
__________/————————–> (Ahh shit world’s gonna end Time-Line)
———————-/—————————————————-> (Fate-Accurate Time-Line)

According to course correction the universe doesn’t like it when this happens. In fact it will do whatever it can to purge this new time-line. It does this by merging the two time-lines at some point. In the case of something small such as Charlie Pace being alive in one Time-Line and not in the other it’s simple. The universe just has to kill Charlie Pace.

_________/————————\(—Course Correction
——————–/————————–\————————–> (Back on track Time-Line)

The problem now is that something has happened on a large scale that has impacted many peoples lives greatly. It’s much more difficult to merge these two time-lines now. In fact, I don’t see how they’re going to do it but hey they’re Lost writers and I’m not naïve enough to think I can anticipate any aspect of this show.

An important thing to note is that these two time-lines are one and the same time-line until an event is altered. Thus, the events that happen up until the H-Bomb goes off in the Fate-Accurate Time-Line are exactly the same events that happen in this Altered Time-Line. It might be easier to understand if I draw the time-line like this:

_____/———————> (Altered-Event Time-Line)
_____\———————> (Fate-Accurate Time-Line)

This just makes it harder to see that there is a series of events that are SUPPOSED to happen.

Hopefully this cleared up some questions about this season. Most likely, though, it raised even more. I didn’t dive into the issues with Hawking and Desmond being able to see the events that are supposed to happen like I did in my past post but I didn’t feel that necessary for now. If those issues come up in the comments so be it. Feel free to critique my post. I didn’t really do much proofreading and this was mostly stream of consciousness of what I know course correction to be.

Questions? Concerns? Statements?


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14 thoughts on “Course Correction…Take Two

  1. You did a good job explaining it. You could relate this idea to many things.

    For example: Let’s say that instead of eating this week, you decide to literally starve yourself. By the end of the week you now have quite a few health problems. A lot of “tweaks” now need to be made to get your health back to a normal level.

    The longer you put something off, the more “course corrections” need to be made in order to bring it back to normal…ness.
    There’s a balance to the universe just like everything else I guess.

    Good post

  2. Lostfan – Some things are going to be a bit off for awhile, not everything can get course corrected at once. It’s just a matter of time until Locke hates his dad again. I predict within the next few weeks something happens between them. Good point though.

  3. Benhamine, you have provided us with a brilliant explanation, which is easily understood.

    I fully appreciate the hard work and effort you have placed into your theory.

    Top Notch Job!

  4. while i fully agree with your logic and explanantion…i read somewhere that the season will not progress with the two “alternate” realities for much longer. it would be difficult to bring the alt timeline back to the main one in only a few episodes.

    only time will tell for sure though. good thoughts

  5. Ok well first of all, thanks for all the positive feedback. I just went to lunch and came back and now I fixed the time-lines so they look more aesthetically pleasing. The underscores are just for lining up the stuff.

    Another point though that I thought of is that we have already seen signs of course correction going on in this alternate time-line or at least implied course corrections. Consider the point that you made lostfan108 about Locke liking his dad in this time-line. Well in the original time-line Locke was paralyzed and found Helen all because of his father. If his father doesn’t betray him (at least yet) then this means that somehow the universe/time-line course corrected to have John Locke Paralyzed as well as have him meet the love of his life. Unfortunately for Locke, this implication means that we’re probably going to see Helen die soon and his father will most likely betray him again.

    @ekolocation- I understand what you’re saying but it just seems to me that this is how they want to show this. Somehow this alternate time-line is going to be purged. I’m not sure how. Like I said in my original post, I’m not naive enough to anticipate how they will do it. I just believe that they will.


  6. I think this is a great theory and the first I have seen with diagrams so extra points there 🙂

    @lostfan108 what was the year that John Locke was pushed out of the window by his dad?

    If I understand the theory correctly, if he was pushed after 1977 then it might of played out differently due to the butterfly effect of Jughead. Meaning he was never pushed out of the window by his dad and became wheelchair bound a different way.

    If it was pre 1977 then yes he would of still be pushed out of the window and there fore should still hate his dad.

    Unless he was still pushed pre 1977 and then due to the butterfly effect after 1977, Locke’s dad has a change of heart and tries to make it up to him.

    I think that’s right? ah confused lol

  7. There won’t be two timelines all season, they will merge around the halfway point, I believe we’ll get a look at each important losties live’s in the alternate reality ie Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Kate, Sun and Jin, Hurley, maybe Claire and Charlie, and i’ve read Ben will have an episode also. Then once thats all done they’ll merge

  8. Nice read. Faraday’s pic kinda explains the alternate time lines and how they merge via course correction. It will likely take a big event to course correct this time around if the bomb indeed went off. I’d like to think that someone like Eli turned the donkey wheel right before the bomb went off last season.

  9. All my comments and my “just for fun” post were deleted since last night. Maybe I was never meant to sign up for this forum and the moderator is course correcting 😛

  10. @username- Well, something happened and now the island is underwater. How the universe is going to correct this I have NO idea…wait for the island to jump somewhere above water?

    @ian- it appears they’re following the same order as season 1. Premiere (mixed people) episode 2 (Kate) episode 3 (Locke). This would imply the next episode is Jack centric. Then Sun or Jin, and since Charlie is after that (of which I don’t think we need an episode for since he’s dead in one timeline) they might take that opportunity to do a Ben episode there.


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