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The Dangers of Over-Analysis

By imfromthepast,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 61

Lost is replete with little hidden clues and Easter Eggs, and we all know it so we look for them. However sometimes what we find is not always an intentional clue, but instead an error.
One that comes to mind was the Juliet episode a while back when Ben told her that Jacob could cure her sister’s cancer. He gave her medical records to show that her sister’s cancer had returned.
The medical recedes listed her sister as a male.
Instead of recognizing this as an obvious prop goof, some fans actually ran with it and produced a theory that Juliet’s sister really was a male.
Ok, I think we can agree that was taking sleuthing a little too far. But I think some of us may be getting carried away again. To what am I referring?
To Claire’s sonogram. It has been pointed out that Claire’s sonogram is dated 10-22-04, and therefore it is being assumed that in the Flashsideways flight 815 flew over the Island a full month after the flight 815 we have come to know and love.
I say it’s a prop error. The sonogram should have read 9-22-04.
Why do I say that?
Because of this bit of dialogue from The Substitute:

JOHN: Look, Randy… I’m really sorry. Why don’t we just call it my vacation week?
RANDY: I thought you wanted that vacation week in October. You know, for your wedding.

Why would Randy say that if it was October 23? If it was October 23 and Locke’s Wedding and subsequent honeymoon for which I assume he was taking vacation for was supposed to be in October, Helen is being extremely lax on her wedding planning.

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From TVFrenzy:

  • Josh

    I understand what you mean about over analyising, but didn’t the producers already say this was an error?

  • Matt

    Yup, totally agree! When I saw people speculating about that on here after the episode, I had a feeling it was just a props error. Seems like a pretty big error though, when everyone that is a LOST fan knows the date of the crash is 9/22/04… you’d think the writers of the show and props people would also be pretty clear on the date. But you never know what could have been the cause of the goof. Could have just been a typo, or wherever they got the sonogram prop from had that one as the closest to the date… who knows.

  • Dan

    THANK YOU, people are sometimes so crazy with this kind of stuff. Like assuming every black person in last weeks flash sideways was Walt. Use your brain, people.

    • Jack’s Sidekick

      The only other person I’ve pointed to be Walt was Abaddon because of the way he talked to Locke. “Do you believe in miracles, Mr. Locke? You should; I had one happen to me once.” The miracle being 815?

      • heythereyourself


  • Vincent_is_Jacob

    On February 10, Gregg Nations admitted to it being an error on the fuselage:

    • Zonker

      Nations’ admission wasn’t exactly straightforward, was it? But the Darlton podcast yesterday did finally put this one to bed– a prop error. But they gave their version of a No-Prize to the fan who suggested the in-story explanation was the sonogram operator was just having a bad day and typed in the wrong date!

      I do think Nations was a bit more forthcoming in stating that Sayid’s Iranian passport is just a prop error as well. Apparently the passport used for him in shooting Season 1 was also an Iranian one, and they just re-used that same prop for LA X. This was well before anyone expected people to be analyzing the show frame-by-frame.

  • jamesepowell

    I would gleefully make fun of people who do this were it not for the fact that I do it myself. Part of what makes the show so special is that it invites close and repeated viewings which are followed by energetic, some might say fevered, speculation. The constant theorizing is so creative and so earnest that it is almost as entertaining as the show itself.

    Damn, I am going to miss it when it’s gone.

    • Jimmy Zer0

      True that, old son.

  • dp2

    The really funny thing about over-analysis is that people are convinced that Lost has proven it to be worth doing. It hasn’t. I honestly can’t think of a time where the important clues didn’t have neon flashing “CLUE!” arrows. The date on the ultrasound. The changing background in the Dave photo. Hurley’s comic books. The random dude in Christian’s recruitment center. I suppose they still have fourteen hours to make something of those, but they’ve been nothing but wastes of time so far.

    • dd

      Most of the things were listed were production errors. They are wastes of the viewers time because they don’t mean anything.

      It’s like the dude who popped his head above the backboard when Jack and Hurley were shooting hoops. Are we supposed to take that as a clue?

      A person wouldn’t notice a lot of these things if it hasn’t been for the culture of screen-shots and believing everything is a “clue.”

      • dd

        “Most of the thing listed were production errors…..”

        • MisingS

          Is the missing “s” supposed to be a clue you found ?


          • dd

            It’s the Smoke Monster, obviously. Or my keyboard doesn’t register every keystroke. I’ll let you decide and then we can argue about it being a filler post or an important step towards resolution.

      • dp2

        That’s what I mean. The culture of screenshots has no basis for existing. None of those things has ever proven worth analyzing. Real clues are obviously clues. Anything you need freezeframe for is almost certainly not a real clue.

        • Zonker

          Well, there was the whole Blast Door Map of the island from Season 2– that certainly warranted some screen-shot analysis.

          Also, the various anagrams for Flashforward and Reincarnation.

          • And what exactly have we learned from the Blast Door map that is important to the show?

            Hell, if anything it created a continuity error in saying that Radzinski drew it and yet later we found out that Rad should have known all that stuff in the first place.

            Nope. I’m afraid the one and only purpose to the show that the Blast Door map served was the “?” which led to the Pearl Station. And guess what? The freaking “?” was front and center and didn’t require a screencap and magnifying glass to find. It was even commented on and recognized by a character in the show.

            Once again, Over-Analyzing FAIL!

          • dp2

            But that was clearly something worth looking at. It was an obvious clue, even if nothing came of it as IFTP says above me (I’m not sure I agree there were zero clues on it. For one, it gave us the names of some of the hatches that hadn’t been revealed at the time. It also gave us the name Cerberus for Smokey, for what that’s worth).

          • I will concede the names of the Hatches. Although their value as information is debatable. I will not concede Cerberus as we have yet to hear him called that anywhere else in the show, not to mention the link between “Cerberus” and the Smoke Monster is tenuous at best, especially considering the total and utter lack of DHARMA era Smokey appearances.
            All that being said, I did enjoy studying that map.

          • dp2

            They aren’t valuable info to the extent that we understand the show better for seeing them. But they added something to the ultimate reveal of those hatches. Like finally seeing the Black Rock or Jacob.

            But as I said, in agreeing with your original premise, the map was obviously something worth stopping and looking at, while nothing about the ultrasound picture cried out “Look closely at this! This MEANS something!”

          • dp2

            I’ll agree on the “flashforward” anagram, while also pointing out that the thing it hinted at was revealed at the end of the episode. You’d be one mad anagrammer if you figured it out in time.

            I’ll reserve judgment on the “reincarnation” one until someone gets reincarnated

    • Iwantmykidneyback

      and don’t forget the obituary in the season 3 finale. everyone went crazy over it.

      • dp2

        Yes, that’s another prime example. Over-analysts will tell you, “This is Lost! They don’t make mistakes like that! They know how closely we’re watching! The smallest detail is always important!” Baloney, they’re *never* important. Even small details that *do* seem important, like the “Magnetic Resonance Imagining” sign, have not proven to be real clues.

  • Zedman2

    Maybe the date is correct, but it is the baby’s due date and not the date the sonogram was taken.

    • heythereyourself

      I think this is a good point even if it was a faux-poo. She was 8 mths. when they crashed so that is very possible. They should have used that for a cover-up instead of saying it was an error.

  • clueless1der

    Ehh… My first thought was that nothing’s not there that isn’t supposed to be there. (excuse my grammar, but that totally made sense in my head then I thought I’d leave it for pure entertainment value…haha) I know a lot of the numbers are off and whatnot. I’m willing to suspend disbelief and just go with it for now. 🙂

    I guess even LOST isn’t perfect…. *hides from large lightning bolt that is on its way to smite her*

    • If that sonogram date is accurate, then Helen is the worst wedding planner ever.

  • notsoshaggy

    TOTALLY agree. It’s just the nature of the show, though. When so much can hinge on these little details, we go a little crazy looking for clues.

  • I still point to the fact that the picture frames were wood when Miles went up the stairs to expell the ghost from the grandmothers house and metal when he came back down as evidence of a visit to the “Sideways” reality back in Season 4. NOT a Continuity Error!

    • Ladies and Gentleman, case in point.

    • dp2

      Why just that instance, then? Couldn’t we say that *everything* that looked like a continuity error was an intentional clue to the alternate timeline? Convenient plot device, that.

      Frink: “In Episode BF12, you were battling barbarians while riding a winged Appaloosa, yet in the very next scene, my dear, you’re clearly atop a winged Arabian! Please do explain it!
      Lucy Lawless: Uh, yeah, well, whenever you notice something like that… a wizard did it.
      Frink: Yes, alright, yes, in episode AG04-”
      Lucy Lawless: Wizard!

    • dd

      it’s a prop error.

    • jinq2

      Gregg Nations said it didn’t mean anything. He said something to the effect of (sorry, I’m working right now and no time to find the link – I can look for it later if anyone needs it) a bunch of film was accidentally x-rayed by the TSA that season and they didn’t discover it right away, and a lot of stuff had to be re-shot, resulting in continuity errors.

  • dan

    just another reason why “What Kate Does” was a crappy ep

    • heythereyourself

      Everyone says this episode was crappy, I don’t agree it wasn’t the best episode ever, but it wasn’t even close to the Nikki and what’s his face episode. We found out how the Others brought back Ben after he had been shot by Sayid. In the episode Richard just brings Ben into the Temple we don’t see what actually happens, now we know he was dead they dipped in the pool and he was “clamied.” Looking back on another episode when young Widmore first talks to younger Ben, I didn’t pay any mind to this before, but he was covered in drops of water so, that means Ben was dead and that he was claimed. Right?? Think of Lost as a movie and not just an hour long drama and there is no such thing as a bad or uniformational episode at least since the mid-way point through Season 3.

      • heythereyourself

        Also that episode was sandwiched between two of the best episodes ever, that’s like watching Larry Bird in the dunk contest right after Wilkens and before Jordan. Pretty hard to live up to.

      • jinq2

        Maybe I missed something, but I don’t remember anyone saying you *had* to die to be healed. You just had to stay under until the hourglass ran out, right? And if you happened to die, oh well.

        Plus, we don’t *know* Ben was dead, do we? When they brought Ben to Richard, he told them he would never be the same, and he would lose his innocence – but I think we have to presume the water wasn’t polluted then, since Dogen and Lennon were so shocked that it was polluted when they brought Sayid in. So Ben was changed and lost his innocence, but not claimed – but Sayid was claimed.
        Unless the possible “claiming” had nothing to do with the polluted water. Because after Dogen cut his hand and tested the water and saw it didn’t work, why did he bother putting Sayid in at all if he knew there was a possibility of him being “claimed” (because Claire was) and that is supposedly such a horrible thing?

        Also, any thoughts on what kind of poison requires a person to take it willingly in order to work? Or was that just a mind game to see if Dogen could manipulate Jack, or a test for Jack?

        Last thought (sorry for rambling) – I don’t see how it could possibly be the Man in Black/Smoke Monster who is doing this “claiming” – how many places can he possibly be at the same time? And the Others (and even Ilana) have said that the Temple is the safest place on the Island, and they’ve pulled out all the stops to keep him away. It must be a much older power on the Island – something that drew Jacob and MiB there in the first place?

      • dan

        you are right… the bad episodes stick out a lot more when you’re watching week-to-week. they seem a lot better in marathon watching sessions…

      • Hexonxonx

        The events heythereyourself described in his post happened in 601-602, not 603. The premiere was a good episode, in part because of those events. What Kate Does had very little to redeem it.

  • kaptan36

    Oh man, I love the show, but you could write a whole book about all the continuity errors and errors from dropped plotlines and such. Someone should put up a post of the top 20 mistakes/errors in Lost continuity history. The whole Michael off island stuff and Ethan’s timeline would def have to be at the top of the list.

    • No kidding. If J.R.R. Tolkien can spend 20+ years writing Lord of the Rings, and still have continuity errors, then surely an episode of LOST produced under such frenzied conditions cannot expect to be flawless.

      • dp2

        But….but….they know how closely we watch!

      • kaptan36

        Where to begin…. 1.) Jack’s beard timeline in season 4-5: Minor, I know, but when Locke visits Jack off island in the hospital, Jack has roughly 2 weeks worth of facial hair. Locke is killed roughly a few days after this, and then his funeral must be within a few days after that. When Jack goes to the funeral parlor he has 6 months worth of beard if not more, not to mention that the week in between he some how manages to take quite a few flights hoping to crash, becomes addicted to pills and booze, loses his job, tries suicide, saves a crash victim, gets visited by his ex wife, etc., etc….. There is just way too much of a problem with this timeline for me to explain here, but if you go back and watch this, you will agree major timeline screw up.

        2.) ETHAN’s timeline. They reveal in season 5 Ethan was born in 1977. Flight 815 crashes in 2004. You mean to tell me that when he infiltrates the camp, that Ethan is only 27??? Really? C’mon man! And where did he get all of this medical experience if no one is allowed to leave the island? In a deleted scene, Ethan even tells Jack that he had a wife who died during childbirth; while this could’ve been a lie, I don’t think that was the intent, what with him working to cure the fertility problem and all. The only reasonable explanation for this would be some kind of off island accidental time travel and he aged when returned sorta thing, but that’s a huge stretch.

        3.) Michael & Walt’s off island adventures: The timeline between when they leave and when Michael returns is absolutely absurd, not to mention all the stuff that happens in between. So if you do the math, only 2 weeks, maybe 3, pass between when Michael & Walt leave and when Naomi parachutes onto the island from the freighter, which Michael is on. Now keep in mind that it probably would have taken a week for the freighter to even get to the vicinity of the island from California, where I am guessing they must have left from; not to mention the day of flying Michael would’ve had to do to get there, because I believe he lived in New York. Anyways… In that time frame, Michael & Walt steer their crappy little boat to rescue(which they never explain), or if you find it more plausible, let’s say in a day’s time they manage to hit another island. Okay, then how with no money or passports do they get home? They couldn’t have taken a flight or any legitimate means of travel without the red flag of flight 815 survivors going up. So you would assume that unless there was some help from the Others(which would be totally contrary to the story), then they would have probably had to have stowed away on a freighter or something just to get back to the states undetected. Which in itself is ironic, because the best way to have explained the whole thing would have been for them to have been picked up by Widmore’s freighter, Michael just simply tells them he’s a flight 815 survivor and about the island, they hold him against his will onboard to help them find the island and take Walt (via helicopter) off the freighter and to the nearest island (since the actor was now a teenager and couldn’t be on camera). Maybe even the boat Michael had taken off the island had instructions from Ben about the freighter and what he would have to do and say when they picked him up, and I’m sure the writers could have found some way Ben could’ve connived him into doing it. I am an amateur writer, and that is a way better explanation and would have also been easier and cheaper to film, but this is what we got; In 3 weeks Michael & Walt manage their implausible journey back to the states undetected. Michael drops Walt off with his mom, and manages to get a job, an apartment, and car, without accessing his own bank account(once again, red flag) and tries to kill himself a few times, and is visited by Mr. Friendly, who also if you do the math out, should have been killed at this point by Sawyer. There is no way, Mr. Friendly could have left the island, met up w/ Michael, and gotten back in time to be killed by Sawyer. Ugh… Man I’m getting exhausted just thinking of every angle in which this plotline was god awful. Once again if you wanted to see what I’m talking about watch seasons 3 & 4, do out the math of the days, and everything that happens and you’ll see what I mean.

        There are many other huge plotholes and problems with the continuity; some which are the faults of the writers (like the setup of Pierre Chang to be the Montand who is missing an arm Rousseau talks about in season 1, and he shows up w/ a prostetic arm in season 2, but never actually loses an arm and the 2 are never connected?!?!); and some which weren’t the fault of the writers, sorta(like most of the religious overtones and the church that never gets built, because at the height of his fame the actor who plays Eko, decides to leave the show to make and star in an autobiographical movie about his own life which then becomes a straight to dvd movie released only in select countries, mostly 3rd world. Way to go with the career choice there buddy).
        Now I know it sounds like I’m bashing the show and the writers, and maybe I’m bashing the writers a bit, but for a show that relies so heavy on continuity and purposely has the audience looking for little things that tie the story together, these things that I’ve mentioned are just major plotholes that could’ve been easily avoided if more care was taken. Having said that, I still love the show, and I will even go as far as saying I think it is the best sci-fi show and primetime drama of all time, with an amazing cast; but you take the good w/ the bad, and this is just me pointing out the bad.

        • dp2

          Oh, now I take off my Overanalyzer Basher hat and put on my Justifier/Explainer hat!

          1) While the elapsed time is not made clear, Lostpedia’s timeline indicates that Locke dies several months after visiting Jack.

          2) While Ethan may have looked older, and where he got his degree may be in question, it is feasible, and not unreasonable, to be a surgeon and father by age 27.

          3) No excuses from me on the Michael timeline. It was severely compressed.

          As for the arm, I’m not sure what your complaint is. They didn’t do something that seemed obvious to you, so they screwed up? It’s not even certain Marvin Candle’s arm was fake, he just doesn’t move it.

          • kaptan36

            1.) So Locke was off the island for a few months? Really?

            2.) William Maypother is the wrinklest 27 year old I’ve ever seen.

            3.)Bull@#*%! his arm aint wasnt fake, and it’s so obvious that was the intended plot. Why it was dropped,we’ll never know.

          • dp2

            1) Yes, he was. I acknowledge fully that they did a poor job of conveying that. Ironically, this is established using dates on newspapers.

            2) Some people are just ugly. Cousin Cruise got the looks there evidently.

            3) Sorry, I don’t see it. It’s not in the least obvious to me that that was the intended plot. How do you propose that would even work?

        • Josh

          really? you’re going to complain about continuity with beard props? Get over yourself, all shows have errors such as these, and to hold any show accountable for bloopers and continuity errors is ridiculous.

      • kaptan36

        I don’t expect the show to be flawless, I expect there to be some minor flaws with the continuity, but some of these flaws are huge, make no sense, and could have been easily avoided.

        • dd

          Or you could just stop being a blowhard and not worry about it.

  • rtd2

    This coming from the guy who writes a thesis on time travel on this site…good point, from anyone but you.

    • I fail to see your point.
      If an observation is good, it is good regardless of who makes it. Are you insinuating that because I wrote an article on time travel on a site dedicated to a show that featured time travel this somehow invalidates my point, which you admit is a good one?
      Please explain yourself because I am sure you’re not as ignorant and prejudiced as this post made you sound and I for one want the world to know exactly what you meant without your ill-chosen words confusing the issue.

      • Casey

        Imfromthepast is one of the more logical and consistent posters here. He doesn’t throw out crazy video game simulation ideas like Marc Oromaner and he doesn’t over-analyze like Fishbiscuit. In fact, he doesn’t post just for the sake of posting weekly, but rather to make logical points or clarify huge misconceptions among the readers here – like the time travel stuff.

        So…basically, I read his posts and see his logic, whereas the others I take with a grain of salt. So Rtd2, I would say that yes, Imfromthepast has a good point, and it shouldn’t matter where it comes from. He’s proven to be logical in the past, and his time travel posts were great.

        So why the hate?

        • Thanks Casey.
          I think rtd2 was trying to point out the irony of a person who dedicated so much time and energy into time travel articles criticizing people who dedicate so much time and energy into analyzing props.
          While I agree and appreciate the irony, I don’t get how the source should somehow invalidate the subject.
          Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

        • You mean Marc “Lost episode 6.4, “The Substitute,” has so many parallels with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory , I am convinced that the movie can be used to reveal Lost’s endgame” Oromaner?

          • Casey

            That’s the one. 🙂

            He also thinks the whole thing is the Matrix.

          • That guy lost me when he suggested the Phantom Menace was the cause of the downfall of Western society.

      • rtd2

        really no hate, I truly admire and appreciate alot of the talented people who dedicate to this site or I wouldn’t keep coming back…but of course there’s a but, you kind of made my point with your reply:
        “I am sure you’re not as ignorant and prejudiced as this post made you sound and I for one want the world to know exactly what you meant without your ill-chosen words”
        It reeks of the arrogance that alot of your posts have…Its almost as if you are talking down to the rest of us…Your premise was we ignorant people shouldn’t be fixated with the details, but you overanalyzed time travel to death – which is cool, its your thang, but even when u did that it was explaining it all to little minded, “ignorant and prejudiced” people…..Again, I think your point was valid, but watching for little clues is what makes lost fun for alot of people, so why hate on that!……Hey, I may be way off base, you may be a humble guy who likes to give hugs, its always a bad idea to judge somebody in print only, but I feel like thats what you do to alot of people. Anyway, no hate, keep posting, I’ll keep reading… thing we can agree on, I will always read your posts over Oromaner.

        • Let it be known:
          rtd2 is my friend. No one say anything bad about him. I employed sarcasm in print, which never comes across unless you know me personally, which none of you do, and despite me coming off as something of a douche, rtd2 was gracious and chose not to get his feathers ruffled. I respect that a lot.
          I do come off as arrogant, because I am arrogant, and for the most part I do think I am smarter than most other people. That’s just who I am. Just roll your eyes and move on.

          Oh, and just so we are clear, this comment is sincere and NOT sarcastic.

    • dp2

      This article is about fixating on near-invisible details. It is not about theorizing.

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