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Friday, April 13, 2007

Lost - Who's Side Is She On?

(Warning: spoilers)

So we learn at the end of this week's episode that Juliet is a plant, sent by Ben to infiltrate the camp for a week. An elaborate ruse makes Claire sick and allows Juliet to save the day to gain their trust. But to what end? What does Ben aim to accomplish?

And whom is Juliet truly loyal to? Has she taken to Stockholm Syndrome, or will she turn on the Others?

Mittelos' motives appear straightforward: there's a mysterious cure for cancer on the island (that works on everyone except for Ben). There's big bucks in cancer cures.

The linked Wikipedia article notes an apparent continuity error, which probably isn't an error:

Even though it is claimed by Juliet in this episode that Claire was the first person to give birth on the island, it is claimed in past episodes that Danielle gave birth to Alex after being stranded on the island, when the other members of her party had died. Ben also tells Locke in The Man from Tallahassee that he was born on the island, which would suggest a successful birth in the past.

Juliet story seems consistent with the flashbacks. Ben may have lied about being born on the island. Juliet may not know Alex's true history. If Alex was born on the island, that would make her extremely valuable to the Mittelos project.

The only alternative is that Danielle Rousseau was less than truthful about her presence on the island - that would be a bombshell. But why? Was she originally an Other, or maybe a refugee from the DHARMA project who fled when the Others deposed DHARMA? The latter might explain why she is so certain that the Smoke Monster is a security system. Could she have made such a definite conclusion simply from sixteen-ish years of observation?

In comments to my post on last week's episode, Walrilla speculated that Smokey is "a swarm of Nano-bots." (Lostpedia has a more extensive article on the Monster.) That theory has already been dismissed by the show's producers. What do we know about it? As mentioned in the previously linked article on Smokey, we know that it makes mechanical noises, usually appears as smoke, and appeared as a light to Locke.

The producers said Smokey appeared on the show in yet some other form ("The May 26 2006 official Lost podcast claimed that viewers have seen the monster after "The 23rd Psalm" without realizing they were looking at it"). Fans are convinced that Smokey is responsible for the various visions on the island - Hurley's imaginary frinds "Dave," Kate's horse, Eko's brother, John's hallucination of Boone, perhaps even Desmond's visions after the destruction of the Swan hatch.

If all the visions are really the Monster, it has different agendas for different people. It spared Eko once and killed him on another occasion. A dream of Ana-Lucia and Yemi told him that Locke had "lost his way," and led him to discover the Question Mark hatch. It spared Locke once and tried to drag him underground on another occasion (but for what purpose we don't know). "Dave" tried to talk Hurley into suicide in order to kill him (or as some sort of test). The hallucinations of Jack's father led Jack to discover the caves and the nearby fresh water. An imaginary Boone tells Locke to "clean up his own mess" and leads him to search for Eko, and thus find the walking stick clue to the Others' Village.

We know one other thing - that it has some sort of telepathic property. (Or that telepaths operate it from some installation.) The first clue is in The 23rd Psalm - it displayed video images of Eko's past, the source of which could come only from Eko's mind. Telepathy also dovetails with the theory that the hallucinations are really the Monster. For instance, only Hurley has ever seen what "Dave" looks like. Telepathy would appear to be necessary for the dream visions.

The Lostpedia article tosses another consideration: that there may be multiple Monsters.

Juliet may have revealed another fact about the Monster: that she lied to Kate about the Others not knowing what it is - that the Others are indeed in control of the Monster (or one of several Monsters, as the case may be). Sawyer didn't tell anyone that he specifically murdered a man before leaving Australia - but Juliet knew. (I bet his spidey senses are tingling.) If the Monster reads minds, it's not a stretch to guess that the Others are able to tap into it. Consider that parapsychology is specifically mentioned in the DHARMA mission statement.

Update: Thinklings has an image from the inside of the sub that brought Juliet to the island three years ago - the guy in the foreground resembles Michael.

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