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Alternate Reality Rumble

By Koobie,

  Filed under: Lost Theories
  Comments: 67

Season 6 came off to a great start while pumping us full of more questions than ever before.  It feels like we are back in Season 1 with all the new mysteries popping up.  It seemed the most intriguing mystery of the premiere was all the different timelines that were running in parallel to each other.  But just how many different timelines were there? Two? Three? Four?  Here is a quick rundown on how many alternate realities appeared to coexist, all given a greek letter.

Alpha – 815 Crash Timeline – Approximate Date: 2004

This timeline is the Lost we know and love; it started with a crash and ended with a crash.  Although, it was only alluded to by Cindy once the Losties met up with the others after they assumed Jughead failed.  “These were the people who crashed on the first plane.”  How many more planes were there?  We didn’t find out until the end of the episode, but more on that later.  So after Jughead was perceived to have failed, the Losties were returned to their original timeline.

Beta – Jughead Timeline – Approximate Date: 1977

This pivotal timeline was only seen in this episode’s “Previously on Lost” segment.  It was one of two destinations that the Oceanic 6 found themselves in after their second plane crash.  The successful detonation of Jughead appears to bring about our alternate realities, but could this all have started with the Ajira crash?  As shown before, the Losties who are near the detonation travel to the reality Alpha.

Epsilon – Underwater Timeline or “Mermaid Lost” – Approximate Date: 2004

The first scenes of the episode depict this timeline, as the losties find themselves on a still-airborne 815.  A few things are different: Jack is nervous, Rose and Bernard are clam, Desmond is on the plane, Hurley is the luckiest man alive, and Sawyer’s hair is long.  However, some things never change: Kate is a convict, Charlie is a drug addict, Jin is hard on Sun, Sayid is looking for Nadia, and Boone will still wants to follow Locke to his grave.  They eventually land in LA X without a scratch-well besides that cut on Jack’s neck, what was that about?  It seems as if the Jughead detonation put the island “under the sea.”

Gamma – Ajira Timeline – Approximate Date: 2007

Lying in the shadow of the statue, where doppelganger Locke convinced Ben to kill Jacob, is the other place some of our Oceanic 6 end up after coming back to the island.  At the end of the episode, this timeline is revealed to be the same timeline as the 815 crash.  The others at the temple send up flares to warn their people about Jacobs death, and these same flares can be seen at the beach.

So what pairs with what?

At the end of the episode it seems that only two timelines remain, Alpha Gamma and Beta Epsilon. If we squeeze in any more greek symbols, we might have ourselves a fraternity.

Alpha Gamma

The Flight 815 crash and the Ajira crash are tied together based on Cindy’s words and the flares seen from the Temple.  The Losties are pretty sure that Jughead didn’t work, but Juliet’s words from beyond the grave told Sawyer and Miles otherwise.  Will Sawyer believe the last thing she wanted him to know?  Could knowing that Faraday’s plan worked allow them to travel to or merge with the other reality?

Beta Epsilon

The Dharma Initiative timeline and the underwater timeline fit together because of one thing, Jughead.  The underwater island didn’t seem to have much damage done to it from a nuclear explosion, but it seems like a pretty effective way to sink an island.  It will be interesting to see how the island-less world unfolds.

And Then There Were Two

Could these two different realities have two completely different sets of survivors?  Or does Jack’s confusion hint that they may be one in the same?  These two realities may be destined for a collision course.

From TVFrenzy:

  • rick

    Ezra James Sharkington made it back for season 6!

  • Kevin James John

    As soon as I saw Ezra I rejoiced.

  • Shelb

    I don’t think we can say for sure that Jughead caused the island to sink. It’s possible that the underwater island/alt 815 is part of a completely seperate timeline than the original (ie; the island sank for a completely different reason altogether).

    • Since Juliet says “It worked,” let’s assume that Jughead plus Swan energy pocket (did this pocket of energy power the island?) equals sunk island. Maybe it lost the ability to travel around the meridians and therefore sank.

      • Shaun

        Darlton seemed to say otherwise on Jimmy Kimmel’s show Tuesday night. I think Jughead changed the timeline on the island, and that caused something else to happen that sank the island at a later date.

  • gmgmill

    Are we sure the Alpha timeline is in 2004? Cindy has clearly been with the Others for some time at this point, the children are visibly older and most importantly Richard et. al. (who are in 2007) saw the flare sent from the temple.

    • Yes, the “Alpha” timeline is in 2007.

  • Ted

    Isn’t it really beta-alpha-gamma or beta-epsilon?

  • Koobie, I think you need to look up the definition of the word “Timeline” because you are clearly confused.

    • Maybe, but not necessarily. Kind of a “Back to the Future” timeline thing here. As if time is a line and not a circle.(i think its a circle, i guess he thinks its a line)

      • Koobie

        Ah, I just mixed timeline/reality/universe together. I’ll correct it in a bit.

  • GeigerCounter

    I don’t see what the confusion is.
    One reality: The one we have followed for five seasons. 815 crashed, Oceanic 6 left, Oceanic 6 returned, got split up between 1977 and 2007, and now they are back together. When Cindy said they were from the first plane, she ment 815 as opposed to the second plane, 316.

    Second reality: One where no of the island stuff happened. Presumably Jughead sank the island. 815 flew over it safely and landed.

    I don’t see a point in naming them alpha and gamma and whatever. This isn’t geometry, this is Lost.

    • If you can’t blind them with brilliance, baffle them with greek letters.

    • Things have changed in the Second Reality though, Desmond is now on the plane(maybe), Hurley is lucky, Shannon doesn’t return…

      • dp2

        Changed from what? They’re *different* than the timeline we’ve been following for five years, but they haven’t changed.

        • Changed from Boone bringing Shannon back on the plane to not having her on the plane. Carlton and Damon talked more about it on both Jimmy Kimmel and in podcasts yesterday before the show. It must have been awesome to be at Jimmy Kimmel because they revealed that the monster was Locke way before the episode aired, granted most of us already knew that the monster was Locke anyway.

          • dp2

            Maybe I’m being pedantic, but I think this season it’s going to be *very* important to distinguish “change” from “difference”. These are two separate timelines. Nothing changed; things are different.

          • im a little confused. what causes a difference between an event happening once and then again? something changed…?

          • dp2

            But it’s not an event happening once and then again. We (apparently) have two different timelines that coexist. If I have twin kittens, one with spots and one without, and I look at one and then the other, nothing changed; they’re just different.

            “Change” would imply that the flight 815, the crash, etc., had all replaced by this new timeline, but that’s not what happened (based on what we’ve seen).

          • Lycanthropist

            yeah I gotta agree with dp2 on this…

            we cant think about it as “changing”.

            This is a whole different timeline. They are not reliving it. We are seeing the same characters in a different reality that is running parallel to our original story.

  • Let’s clear this up right now, shall we?
    This is what happened (based on what we know now. The details may change later):
    Timeline A:
    The Black Rock comes to the Island. Jacob visits some of the O6. All the traditional flashbacks from Seasons 1-3 happen. DHARMA comes to the Island. Sawyer and Co join the DI. The O6 show up and Juliet bangs on Jughead.
    Presumably the timeline diverges at this point and presumably the Island sinks for some reason.
    At this point Timeline A continues as it does leading to the Purge, Ben stealing Alex, Widmore getting exiled, etc. Basically all the post 1977 flashbacks we’ve seen. then 815 crashes and all the episodes we’ve seen so far happen as they happened, in timeline A.
    Meanwhile, totally separate from timeline A, timeline B, presumably birthed in 1977 from Jughead diverges and carries on to 9/22/2004 where due to the lack of the Swan the plane does not crash. All other differences are due to the butterfly effect where one event, Jughead, can have cascading, cumulative consequences, for instance Desmond being on the plane.
    Meanwhile back in timeline A Ajira 316 lands and Ben kills Jacob. Immediately after this event, the Jughead crew pops into the jungle near the Swan hatch. They get caught by the Others and meet Cindy, and send up a flare that Richard’s crew sees.

    End of story. It is that simple. There were only two timelines.

    If you’re still confused just chalk it up to lingering brain melting from Season 5.

    • Ed Holden

      Agreed – this post confused me more than Lost. The events in 1977 are identical between the timelines, which is why they showed them twice. At the moment of detonation there was a split.

      In one timeline the islandhas sunk for reasons related to Juliet’s detonation of Jughead. Oceanic 815 does not crash, but it is different than it was in the original timeline. Jack seems vaguely aware that something is wrong – perhaps it’s that his hair is longer than it should be, or perhaps he realizes Cindy should have given him two vodkas instead of one. Shannon is absent.

      In the other timeline the characters return to 2007 and everything is as we left it, including the death of Jacob. Juliet, like Jack, seems to be aware that something is wrong. She mumbles words from either another time in her life (like Charlotte did) or from another timeline where she never came to the island.

      Questions: What the heck is Desmond doing in that Oceanic 815 seat, and does he have Jack’s other vodka? Did he disappear so Jack wouldn’t take it back? Will Sayid remember the other timeline like Juliet may have? Or is Sayid not really Sayid? How many Others are there at that temple? Hundreds? Dozens?

      • GeigerCounter

        btw (sorry for double-posting) Do we know who Desmond was sitting next to? Maybe the person who snored was Penny?

    • GeigerCounter

      imfromthepast, you kinda just said the exact same thing as I did, only it sounds way more complicated 😉

      • that’s me, making the succinct and terse sound more complicated than needed

    • Hexonxonx

      imfromthepast nails it here, along with a similar post above. My take is that the “splitting event” is whether the Swan pocket (a) absorbs the Jughead blast or (b) is destroyed by it. Case (a) causes the Swan energy to throw our characters back to their proper time (early 2008?), necessitates the building of the Swan hatch, and creates the perfectly consistent timeline we’ve seen so far. The timeline is knotted with time travel, but every effect has a cause.

      In case (b), the island and everything on it is wiped out. Jacob never subtly influences the characters, Hurley is never “cursed” by the numbers, and Desmond is able to complete the race (or maybe never runs in it). Case (b) is somewhat problematic, as it involves an atomic bomb going off without reason– Jack and company never travel back in time to detonate the bomb, so how did it go off?

      So I’m open to a third possibility, which is that we are seeing the reality that will eventually be the only one at the end of the show. I can’t quite fully explain it here, but I’ll post more later. Oh, and I don’t think there’s anything “special” about the first scene with Jack on the airplane, other than it lining up with the beginning of the show. Timeline (b) didn’t start there, it has been running continuously since the bomb went off.

    • dp2

      I agree with you except for timeline B being birthed in 1977. We don’t know enough yet to know if that’s correct. But the only way we can know for certain is if we get evidence of something before 1977 being different (not *changed*, but different. Important distinction). For example, if Sawyer’s parents aren’t dead or Locke’s mother didn’t give him up, this timeline existed before 1977.

      An idea I had when I predicted this scenario is that the energy punched a hole between the two realities and they influenced each other. The hole may have been closed when Desmond turned the key. Alternately, maybe the Swan was keeping the hole closed and Desmond opened it.

      • Hexonxonx

        I think it’s likely that in timeline B, it really was Jughead that sunk the island. Given that we see the sunken island with the DHARMA swingset and construction site, the island seems to have collapsed in 1977 or later. And you’re right, maybe something was different before 1977 to cause these two different outcomes.

        I think that this season is working towards some resolution in which one of these realities “wins out”. It might be that some event at the end of the show causes the alternate reality we’re seeing in these flashes. Maybe it’s a result of the MIB getting his wish? This storytelling technique is their way of showing us the characters’ ultimate fate will be without having it be anti-climactic or sacrificing everything we’ve put into the “main” story.

        • dp2

          As a friend of mine put it last night, “Everything that rises must converge”

    • dp2

      IFTP, I look forward to any time travel/alternate reality essays you will be writing for this season.

  • Funback Joe

    This was not only inaccurate, but also poorly explained. We’re off to a good start! At least we have the comment section to clear things up.

    • Koobie

      Lol, sorry guys. This post was a bi-product of sleeplessness, at least we have some discussion going 😉

      • Funback Joe

        haha I have a notebook next my bed filled with mad scribblings like your stuff above. The last moments before sleep can provide for some pretty wacky thoughts.

  • Dominick

    Something’s missing if there are only 2 timelines:
    According to the 2 timeline theory, Jughead detonates then:
    (A) island sinks, 815 is safe, season 1-5 never happened.
    (B) 1977 turns into 2007 and returnies have memories of 815 crashing, hatch, etc.
    The problem with (B) is that if jughead detonated, then there never could have been a hatch (and EM release causing 815 crash, etc.) that everyone remembers from 2004 on.
    So there has to also be a:
    (C) jughead didn’t detonate, and 1977 continued to 2004 with purge, hatch build, etc.
    The paradox is that if the 1977 losties changed the past (no purge, hatch build and subsequent 815 crash) by detonating the bomb, they can’t return to a future where they remember experiencing those same things that never happened.
    B just doesn’t make sense

    • Dominick

      I forgot to add that if (C) is correct something besides a detonation sent the 1977 losties back to 2007, something like the donkey wheel being turned.

      • Brant

        All of this assumes that the detonation of Jughead directly caused the sinking of island. That’s an assumption, not a fact yet.

        Assuming the Dharma Shark isn’t in its 30s, suggests that blowing up Jughead may have created a second timeline, but not necessarily sinking the island. Other events that followed that may have sunk the island.

        So your B could have happened.

        • Dominick

          B has no part in sinking the island. If the island sinks as some later event after the detonation, it still remains that the losties can’t crash on a sunken island and return in 2007 to remember events that never happened.

          I agree that there are 2 timelines, but B cannot be one of them for the reasons I already stated. I’m proposing the Schroedinger’s Cat event is Jughead detonating or not detonating, resulting in (A) bomb goes boom, island goes glug-glug, 815 flies over, or (C) bomb goes fizz, white light flashes 1977 losties back to 2007 (as white light has carried some through time already), purge, hatch, etc happens so everyone remembers what DID happen, but (B) has a paradox that can’t happen, remebering events that never occured.

          • dp2

            The problem here is everyone is focusing on what happens to the Losties based on the explosion. You need to ask: what happens to the *energy* they’re trying to neutralize if there’s no bomb? I contend (and I credit others in this thread for thinking of it first) that the energy unleashed by Radzinski’s wanton drilling is what sank the island. In our familiar timeline, Jughead going off *saved* the island. And hey, that’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do, isn’t it?

    • dp2

      I believe you have it backwards. In the reality with the sunken island, there was never a Jughead. In our familiar reality, Jughead was the Incident which resulted in the Hatch being built, etc etc.

      • Ed Holden

        There was a Jughead, and it was detonated, causing the Island to mysteriously sink.

        The reason we’re still seeing the original timeline, in which the 1977 Losties have returned to 2007 and Jacob has just been killed by Ben, is because of a paradox.

        If Oceanic 815 doesn’t crash, the Losties will not end up on the now sunken Island, so they will not time travel to 1977. That means they won’t follow Daniel’s plan to detonate Jughead, so the Island will not be sunk. And that means 815 will crash.

        It’s a causality loop. A similar treatment of temporal paradox is in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, which was a major inspiration for Darlton.

        • Except that in The Dark Tower it mentions how he gets closer each and everytime, which makes sense in Jacob’s “it only ends once, everything else is just progress” comment.

          • dp2

            I think Ed is referring to Jake’s story in the third book.

          • Ed Holden

            Indeed, I meant Jake’s story as it was resumed in The Wastelands. The paradox led to two Jakes, one dead and one alive, and conflicting memories for the main character Roland. He solved this by bringing Jake into his world a second time.

      • David

        dp2, I believe the same as you. I think we are to assume that Jughead causes the second reality where the crash doesn’t happen, when it is in fact the original reality.

        Dharma drilling at the swan site causes the island to sink, but the introduction of Jughead negates it and starts the chain of events of the show. Now how this new reality starts is the question….

        • dp2

          I like the idea that the island was sunk by the drilling.

          As for how this reality started, I suggest there are really infinite timelines. Why we’re concerned with this particular one is the question.

    • of course what you’re missing is the Schrodingers Cat equation(which many people are bringing in). what if the bomb is simultaneously detonating AND not detonating?

  • Josh

    My thought would be the island sank because Kelvin turned the key in the hatch. Desmond wasn’t there to stop him from doing so as we saw Desmond was on the plane. Could the turbulence on the plane have been from Kelvin turning the key, which sunk the island?

    • GeigerCounter

      that sounds more than plausible

    • Dominick

      If the island sank at the instant that Kelvin turned the key, and causing turbulence as 815 was flying over, why would the island look like it has been underwater for so long?

  • dp2

    Alpha, beta, and gamma are all one timeline/reality/universe. Epsilon is either its own timeline/reality/universe or also shares beta with the first timeline/reality/universe.


    rose and bernard are “clam”. lol

  • Great post Koobie!

    I’m with Imfromthepast though, just 2 simple timelines.

    However, Dominick’s theory is the best. Jughead both detonated and failed to detonate. – Schroedinger’s Cat
    We won’t know till the box is opened on May 23, 2010!

    btw: if someone could do a chart, or graph or timeline, that would be great! I’m more of a visual learner 🙂

    • Koobie

      I was trying to show how the episode pieced the events we were seeing together into two timelines, but I made it more confusing along the way. hehe

      I really like the Schroedinger’s Cat idea. You could apply Hugh Everette’s interpretation to it (from wikipedia) – “In the many-worlds interpretation, both alive and dead states of the cat persist after the box is opened, but are decoherent from each other. In other words, when the box is opened, the observer and the already-split cat split into an observer looking at a box with a dead cat, and an observer looking at a box with a live cat.”

      Which makes us some kind of super observer to see both outcomes, lol.

  • calebrwhaley

    i look at this way: when they are in 1977, there is 2 sawyers, jacks, hurley, etc. Because they already experienced the crash, they cannot change their past. But now that they set off the bomb, they can change the future for the sawyer, jack, etc in 1977 that are about 7 or 8 years old or whatever. Everything has changed for the younger lostees, but the ones we have seen for the last 5 seasons are still on the same path. They still have work to do

  • SaiyaGin

    It would be too cool if John Locke (Flocke) is not himself on the airport, and that means that the MIB left the island and is now in Los Angeles.

    What do you mean??

    • SaiyaGin

      Is that possible with all that timeline and timetravel things??

    • Oh that would be a great cheesy spin-off! Maybe Jack Bauer could try and stop the Smoke Monster from terrorizing LA!

  • Cutter XXIII

    Every episode is its own reality, obviously. Can somebody chart that out for me?

    If you run out of Greek letters, use Zapf Dingbats.

  • Great episode, I’m happy that Lost is back, and we’re finally getting more answers. Of course there are new questions to answer, and sadly, Lost is concluding, but it’s nice to see everything come together. It’s been nice reading the thoughts of others, and I’m finally thinking about all the possibilities. At 1st, I was confused about the time period, but it became obvious after seeing the fireworks. As for Jack’s neck, it’s the wound from the bullet that grazed his neck in the previous episode. It was when Jack, and Sayid, were escaping from the Dharma barracks. As for the significance of it, I’m not sure, but it probably has something to do with the 2 alternate realities we’re dealing with. Like others have theorized, maybe these 2 realities are connected in some way. I’m sure we’ll get the answers eventually. It’s to bad Faraday’s not around to explain it.

  • arrow

    I’m not so sure Smoke Monster Locke is all bad. I dug up some info at tvovermind on an interview Jon posted lasted year – how Damon signed a copy of Half blood Prince and said Locke was very similar to Snape. If I remember right Snape was following Dumbledores’ orders even up to the point of killing Dumbledore. Could Jacob have wanted to find a way to be killed? IS this why he is now free to leave the island to connect with people?

    • Alain

      Agreed. No sure MIB/Flocke is bad and Jacob is good. Might actually be the opposite – of they might be 2 players in a game with no one better than the other. Proof of that would be Jacob taking Sayid’s appearance.
      Outstanding show. What will life be after May 23rd?

  • Jack’s Sidekick

    If you think about it, the second alternate reality seemed a bit familiar, as in the episode “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” (Season 3-episode 8)where Desmond went through a very similar situation. I think this alternate reality might be the same as the one Desmond witnessed, maybe a bit different though.

  • rubyfox

    This thread is great because my husband and I were trying to figure this out last night…. BUT… I have a question… I think it might pertain only to the 70’s period of the show… Does that count as an alternate reality? or just ” Time Travel ” because there is that period of time after the hatch explodes where they shift through time a few different times… but I don’t know that I would count those as alternate realities… because it is still them… just time travelling in different times… not a different version of them living in a parallel reality????? any thoughts on that???

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