Ian Rogers’ Oceanic Update: Whose Reality Is It Anyway?

Let’s talk about time travel.

“Lost” time travel isn’t the same as “Heroes” time travel or “Back to the Future” time travel, for one specific reason: there are no alternate realities.

What’s an alternate reality? you may be asking. Well, did you ever see the TV show “Sliders”? It’s like that. Imagine someone went back in time and killed Hitler as a child. Such an event would’ve changed history, resulting in a very different world from the one we’re living in today. That’s an alternate reality.

But if you’re worried that Sayid shooting Little Ben at the end of last week’s episode, “He’s Our You,” is going to muck up the future, you needn’t concern yourself. I promise you that Little Ben will be just fine. If Juliet or one of the Dharma docs doesn’t patch him up, I’m sure Richard Alpert and the Others, or maybe the island itself, will step in and take care of things.

I’m not worried because the producers of the show have been quite adamant that, in their version of time travel, the future cannot be changed… except maybe by one person (he’s Scottish, he’s intense, and his name rhymes with “smesmend”). They’ve said as much on the show, as well. In the first episode of this season, a Dharma construction worker, upon hearing from Dr. Pierre Change (aka Dr. Marvin Candle) that the power of the island will allow them to manipulate time, asks if they’re going to go back in time and assassinate Hitler. Chang tells him such an idea is absurd, that there are rules that cannot be broken. Daniel Faraday puts it even more simply: “Whatever happened, happened.”

The reason people have started to wonder if the Losties might not be creating their own distinct time period isn’t just because Sayid shot Ben, but also because earlier in the episode, Ben gave Sayid a sandwich… and a book. The book was called “A Separate Reality.” Subtle, eh?

Now, while the writers have dropped a number of Easter Eggs like this throughout the show, it’s important to note that the ones they’ve given us via books almost always turned out to be red herrings if not flat out jokes. For example, in the second season, when Desmond is packing his stuff preparatory to leaving the Swan station, we see a copy of the book The Third Policeman on his bunk. Without giving away any spoilers about the book (which is worth the read if you can find a copy), I can tell you that the ending features a twist that was also theorized to explain the mysteries of “Lost.” This theory has been debunked many, many times by the show’s producers and writers, which makes one wonder, why bother including the book, then?

Because they like messing with us.

Speaking of being messed with, how twisted is it that the Dharma Initiative has their own torturer? And did you notice the actor playing him? Let’s just say I was waiting for him to introduce his brother Daryl and his other brother Daryl. And his name, Oldham… did we see it somewhere else in this episode? We did. The building Sayid is leaving after killing the man in his flashback says 32 Oldham Pharmaceuticals in Russian. Not a huge surprise. The DI’s Oldham seems to have concocted his own truth serum, so it would make sense that he had his own pharmaceutical company off the island.

Not a lot of trivia for this episode, although it is worth mentioning that, in the scene when the head honchos of the Dharma Initiative vote on Sayid’s fate, Radzinsky threatens to call Ann Arbor. So, who’s in Ann Arbor? Well, if you recall the very first orientation film we ever saw, way back in the second season, we learned that the Dharma Initiative is the brainchild of two doctoral candidates from the University of Michigan, which is located in Ann Arbor, named Gerald and Karen DeGroot. I’m guessing they’re still running the whole show, even though they’re off-island.

And, you know, I love Sayid. He’s a bad-ass, neck-breaking, human lie-detector, but boy, that guy is a sucker for the ladies. First it was Ilsa in Germany, then it was Iliana in L.A., both of them femme fatales of the first order. And did anyone notice the Scotch Sayid was drinking, MacCutheon, is the same expensive brand Widmore prefers, the one he said Desmond wasn’t good enough to drink? Yeah, I notice these things.

Oh, and Sayid, here’s a few helpful suggestions. Lay off the booze, stop shooting kids who cannot die, and if you’re gonna go cruising, either bring a wingman to cover your back, or pat the ladies down for weapons before you take them to your room. Seriously, dude.

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