Tuesday, February 20, 2007

as long as i'm talking about lost...

So whenever people talk about Lost with me they always ask, "Hey Jon, how did Michael and Walt boat off the island and Desmond couldn't?" I'll now provide the answer even though nobody has actually ever asked me that question.

I've provided a quick sketch of the island below. On it you should see icons representing the two pieces of the plane, Rosseau's house, the hatch and the Others' dock. More importantly, be sure to identify the large mountainy hill in the center of the island, Michael's boat and the black lines representing the electro-magnetic pull emanating from the hatch.

Feel free to click on the image to embiggen it during the following explanation. Desmond could not leave the island because some sort of force, like gravity, kept bringing him back. I assume that this force is concentrated at the hatch. We saw the full potential of the "hatch-pull" when the button on the hatch was not pushed. The pull was strong enough to bring a jet plane crashing straight into the island. Although the effects of the hatch pull are alleviated by the pushing of the button, its reach still has considerable power. While it's not bringing down jet planes, it is preventing boats from escaping. The hatch-pull effects aren't noticeable on the island itself (unless the button isn't pushed, in which case stuff goes flyin' everywhere), but are very noticeable for someone trying to escape. The hatch-pull, like a puddle ripple, actually gets stronger before it dissipates. This is shown on the drawing by the solid black semi-circle outside of the dotted semi-circles. Escape is possible, once outside the influence of the pull.

I used to play a really fun video game called Starcontrol that used a similar phenomenon. In the game you'd pilot a spaceship engaged in one-on-one space battles with an enemy. You and your nemesis always fought around some sort of gravity well, a moon or planet. Every once in a while you tended to get stuck in the planet's gravitational pull and needed to struggle to overcome it. This often brought your ship to a helpless halt while your enemy pretty much destroyed you. As I got better at the game, I discovered that when I could more easily get unstuck out of the gravity well if I thrusted in a parallel direction from the planet rather than perpendicular to it. When I got really good at the game I could actually use the planet's gravity to slingshot me away at a much greater speed than my ship was normally capable of. The Voyager Probe used a similar strategy when it traversed our solar system.

Okay, stay with me a little. Sailors are often in a similar situation when it comes to wind. They can't just sail against the wind, they need to tack sideways back and forth to head in that general direction. It's not necessarily gravity or wind, but I imagine a similar strategy would need to be used in boating away from the effects of the hatch-pull. Most of the hatch-pull could very well be strong enough that this strategy wouldn't work, but its effects might not be absolute over every location. This is where I theorize a large mountainous hill near to proximity to the hatch interferes with the hatch-pull ripple. The force of the hatch-pull still extends beyond the mountainous hill, but its effect is weakened. It might be just weak enough to allow Michael to tack alongside the weak force enough for his escape from the pull. I imagine if he boated directly away from the island, there would still be enough force to bring him back.

Desmond may have tried to tack with the island from time to time, but he would have been unsuccessful unless he did so at the perfect position in line with the hatch and the mountainous hill. Since The Others have control of that area, there is no possible way to boat off the island.

Does this mean that Michael and Walt are alive and well and back in the real world? Not likely. The Others couldn't let him get away and lead anybody else to their location. They at least need to keep tabs on him.

Will we see Michael and Walt again? Yes and no. Michael still ought to face those he betrayed. The kid who plays Walt is probably armpit-deep in puberty right now so they can't bring him back without another plot twist explaining how the kid suddenly became a teen-ager in 40 days. The plot twist would be reviled by the the viewership because it would be obvious that they invented it just because of the inconvenience of the actor's age. So if we hear of Walt again, it will be of his death.

This may all be moot though since the hatch imploded. Maybe that means there is no hatch-pull anymore and Michael got away for THAT reason. It would be hilarious if the hatch implosion actually aided Michael's escape and The Others suddenly have no idea where he and Walt went off to. That also means that the Oceanic passengers can now escape... if only they didn't get their boat taken away.


Anonymous Abel said...

As for Michael and Walt, the creative minds behind LOST say we won't see them again until Season 4. See the first question here.

February 21, 2007 7:48 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

wow- you were really busy last night! Nice sketch of the island and the force fields or whatever. I agree about the Michael and Walt storyline. For some reason, I wouldn't mind too much if Michael was found dead as well. I do hope that he has to deal with his cowardly ways though.

February 21, 2007 1:17 PM  

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