"Lost": It all makes sense now. Does that mean I'm crazy?
After this week's Desmond-centric episode of Lost, the show's big picture all seemed to fall into place for me. Givent that the plotline has become so complicated, this was a major CLICK. This is a spolier-iffic speculation, so if you are a fan of the show, make sure you watch it before reading on.
In "Flashes Before Your Eyes" Desmond reveals that when the hatch blew, he was transported back in time and space, off the island, back to his old life. The episode becomes a meditation on fate and destiny, choice and pre-determinism. A mysterious woman tells Desmond that "the universe has a way of course-correcting," so that if dying is "your path," no matter what you do, or how you are warned, you'll die. You don't do things because you choose to but because you're supposed to. Despite his attempts to change his fate, he ends up more or less on the same path he was on, when he is hit on the head and wakes up again on the island after the explosion.
Post-explosion, Desmond has the ability to see the future. He says that when the hatch blew, his life flashed before his eyes, and those flashes are still happening, sometimes including future events that can't be changed--though he's still trying to make a difference by saving Charlie, who seems doomed to die.
My theory is that "Flashes before your eyes" is the key to the entire puzzle. Each show is full of flashbacks, which the audience has interpreted as narrationn filling in character backstory. And what happens when Smoky, the island monster, scans someone--remember Eko's life flashing before his eyes in the smoke? And what to make of the recurring images of close-ups on eyes?
I think it all comes together this way:
The Island is set apart from normal space/time. Pushing the button in the hatch "lets off steam" from the anomaly in a safe and controlled way. [Don't ask me how this got set up originally or who the Hanso foundation is or who the Others are.] So Desmond pushing the button really was saving the world. The first time the button didn't get pushed on time, when Desmond was away too long, the anomaly started to rupture. This brought Oceanic Flight 815 crashing onto the Island. Now this was a colossal mistake in the grand scheme of the universe. So there must be some wiggle room in the way events unfold for the button to not get pushed, but it created a huge problem. This plane wasn't supposed to crash and these people weren't supposed to die or get stranded on an Island.
The Universe has a big problem now and the rest of the show is about the "course-corrrection." The character flashbacks are a review showing how each person fits into the world, the destiny cause and effect chains they are linked to. I think Smoky the monster is actually a micro-version of the anomaly/the hatch blowing up. I think that Smoky can bend time and space, and when it appears that a person is being killed by the smoke monster, it really means that they are plucked from the Island's space/time limbo and being re-inserted back into their proper place in the world.
Smoky then becomes like God, scanning people, looking into their souls and destinies. I am not sure what level of intelligence or consciousness is involved in this, or just natural laws doing their thing. The space/time anomaly can explain the strange appearances of Jack's father and other strange visions in the Island, such as Hurley's friend Dave. Just about anyone from any time could show up.
I believe that in the final analysis, Locke is the one person whose true destiny is to be on the Island. Perhaps he'll end up being the next caretaker of the anomaly.
Going back and forth between the Island and the Real World is apparently possible but perhaps distruptive or difficult. I think that Juliet essentiallly told Jack that she'd come to the Island on September 11, 2001--the most disruptive day in our history. Cause or effect? When "the sky went purple" after the hatch blew up, the connection to the real world may have become disrupted or shifted to a different frequency. Mr. Friendly seemed to start to say that after the sky went purple they could no longer escape from the Island.
One final idea, Lost has a fair number of Star Wars references--Sawyer as Han Solo, for sure (James Ford. Harrison Ford was a carpenter, by the way, aka a "Sawyer"). The idea of fate being determined and everybody being connected sounds a lot like The Force. Lost has so many literary and philosophical references, from Stephen King to Dickens, Dostoyevsky, a Clockwork Orange, and everything in between. So maybe in the end the entire delicious journey of Lost will be a shout-out in honor of pop culture and a liberal arts education.
Unless otherwise referenced, these new ideas are my own! Looks like maybe I've got a Lostpedia article in the works.