'Six in Six': How the time reboot might work in the final season of 'Lost'

matthew-fox-lost-s6-320.jpgIt's "Six in Six" Week here at the " Lost" blog. We haven't revisited this series in a while, having been distracted by DVD releases and the nearly two-week look at fate versus free will in the show. Now, did I MEAN to spend two weeks writing about it, or was it my DESTINY? I ask, you decide.

In any case, as a refresher: the "Six in Six" series is all about looking ahead at the final season of "Lost." Each time out, I pick a specific topic and list six ways in which said topic might play out in Season 6. Ergo, "Six in Six." I know. Clever. If you want to see past topics in the series, visit the "Six in Six" page to see all past entries. Today, we're going to look at possibly the biggest question going into the final set of episodes: did Juliet manage to change the past by detonating Jughead?

If you'll remember my recap of last summer's Comic-Con panel, the producers showed a few videos that heavily hinted that Faraday's plan actually worked. Go back and read the whole recap, or just rewatch the following videos.







Pretty provocative stuff. Now, I'm not here to argue for or against a time reboot/alternative history/historical do-over in "Lost." At the very least, we have to come to grips with the fact that the producers are going to deal with these topics in some way, shape or form come February 2010. What's left is not to debate IF they will do it, but HOW they will do it. Luckily, for you, I have six ways in which they might do it. Come Season 6, we'll probably see one or more of the following happen onscreen.

We follow the lives of the Lostaways after Oceanic 815 lands safely.

If you know the title of the first episode of Season 6 (click here if you want to know), then you know this is a possibility. But even if you don't know the title, you know that Faraday convinced Jack to carry out his plan to detonate Jughead by painting a picture of the future in which Oceanic 815 reaches Los Angeles safely. We might see Sayid meet Nadia, Edward Mars escorting Kate to prison, Sun fleeing her husband, Claire meeting the "good people" awaiting the arrival of Aaron. So on and so forth.

Those that land are haunted by the past that no longer happened.

Suppose they all land. Maybe they are happy for a while. Or maybe, from the moment they land, they realize something's...off. Sort of like a splinter in their brain. Maybe ghosts from History That Is No More beckon them to rectify the mistake that was made. Maybe they find themselves mysteriously drawn to the strangers on Oceanic 815. Or maybe a miraculously unique individual works to get the band back, brutha.

We learn the new history of the Island post-1977.

In this formulation, The Incident in "The Incident" was actually different than the one alluded to on the orientation tape for The Swan seen by everyone in Season 2. The butterfly effect that started from the day Jack and Co. stormed the Swan build site led to the Island as Ajira 316 experienced it. The new timeline not only causes slight changes to Dharmaville as we know it, helps explain the mysterious fact that Richard Alpert claims to have seen Jack and Co. die in the past, but also in fact might be the very loophole that The Man in Black has been looking for all along.

Using the alternative timeline instead of flashbacks/flashforwards.

From Day One, "Lost" has asked us to imagine why these people were called to this Island. Throughout the show's history, various characters have asked others why they are so anxious to get back to life off the Island, a life that held either little promise or great heartbreak. A glimpse into various "what if" scenarios could function in lieu of the traditional flashback/flashforward structure, in which characters either experience what life would have been like or we as audience members have sole insight into that alternative.

We return to the crash on September 22, 2004, but with a twist.

There are many dirty words in the "Lost" universe. "Paolo." "Nikki." "Bai Ling." To that list we can add "Via Domus," the video game that almost made me hate being a "Lost" fan. And while it's not in the show's canon, it nevertheless had a very provocative ending that might finally make sense in the wake of Season 5. In short: the game follows a photographer named Elliot that interacts with known "Lost" characters and iconography. All the while, in flashbacks, we learned that he caused the death of his friend Lisa in Australia before he boarded Oceanic 815. Elliot manages to secure a boat to leave the Island, but as he does so, the following happens.



Again, this isn't canon. (For one thing, the real John Locke doesn't sound like the villain from a Scooby-Doo cartoon.) But think about all the shots of people's eyes over the years, waking up suddenly to some form of seemingly new awareness. Has the show been giving us more than a simple narrative motif? After all, the tease for Season 6 right after "The Incident" ended with another close-up of an eye suddenly opening. Imagine a Jack Shephard with a chance not to land safely at LAX, but to right every wrong decision he made on the Island. How would things have played out, knowing what he knows now?

"Flashes Before Your Eyes, Part II: Electric Boogaloo."

A "dying" Jacob told his nemesis, "They're coming," just before being kicked into an eternal flame (of the non-Bangles variety). In this configuration, those at the Swan experience a lifetime of experiences in the moment of Jughead's detonation. We as an audience member won't realize this is what's going on for an episode or two or (God forbid) more, but in essence, the alternative history is what these people experience as the combination of hydrogen bomb, the Island's unique energy, and Jacob's touch allows them to flash to the present right after Jacob's "death." While flashing between times, they experience life as it could have been, and are forced to choose to come back to the Island.

Those are my six takes: which one seems likeliest to you?


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Photo credit: ABC