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What Nikki Noticed: 5.09 “Namaste”

By Nikki Stafford,

  Filed under: Lost
  Comments: 53


Another brilliant episode!


So I’ve waffled on what exactly to talk about this week. On my blog post for “Namaste,” I focused on Radzinsky (yay!), the origin of the runway, Ethan being Amy’s baby, and the difference between Jack the Leader and Sawyer the Leader (sorry… LaFleur the Leader).


Today I’m going to talk about why Sun is the only survivor to remain in the present, and the idea of fate versus free will in season 5.


A big discussion we’re having on my blog today is, why the split? If the Oceanic 6 (or 5) were required to return to the island, then why were Sayid, Jack, Hurley, and Kate sent back to 1977, but Sun stayed in 2007 or 2008 or whenever she’s supposed to be?


One reason could be that Ben had to stay in the present, simply because he exists in the DI camp as a boy, and the two cannot cross paths. One of the Oceanic survivors maybe has to stay with him, and Sun is the obvious choice because she’s the only one who made a deal with Widmore. (Does the island really hate Ben so much that it kept Sun in the same time period to ensure Ben’s Beaning by Oar?) Lapidus is still in the present because the island only needed certain people to return to the past, and Frank needed to pilot that plane in the brilliant way he did.


One of my readers suggested that Sun, Ben, and Lapidus ALL exist in the Dharma camp in 1977, Sun as a baby, Ben as the 12-year-old we’ve seen, and Frank slightly older. Therefore none were allowed back for the reason Ben couldn’t return.


Season 4’s brilliant episode, “The Constant,” was one of those episodes that seemed very separate from those around it, but it had to have been important. Jin and Sun could be each other’s constants, and of all the people who need to be reunited, these two would win the prize. Jin longs to return to 2008, and Sun needs him to do so, so he can be back with her, get off the island, and finally meet his daughter (I don’t think she’s quite figured out the how’s of that last part yet).


Or maybe it hinges on Sun and Lapidus heading to New Otherton. The appearance of Christian would ONLY have worked with Sun: Of the Oceanic 6, she’s the only person who wasn’t at Christian’s memorial service. Therefore, she’s the only one who wouldn’t immediately recognize him as Jack’s father. He can remain Jacob’s mysterious mouthpiece without having to answer questions about why he appears to be Jack’s dead dad.


It’s not clear whether that was the real New Otherton or a place that’s as ethereal as Jacob’s cabin, but it’s definitely not the barracks we’re used to seeing. Why does New Otherton look like that? We see the swinging sign of the Processing Centre and the Dharma symbol on all of the buildings. The Dharma symbols were all taken off the doors after the Purge (at least… I’ve never seen one). Locke blew up the sub, so most of the dock should have been missing, but instead it still looked pretty long. Is it possible Daniel was wrong? Can the past really be changed? Is it possible the Oceanic 4 are back in 1977 to prevent the Purge, they succeed, and what we see in the present is simply the abandonment of the village?


As I’ve said many times in my books, the show comes down to one all-pervading theme: Free will versus fate. So far this season, because of Faraday’s long explanation about “whatever happens, happens” or how they’re not able to change the future, we’ve tended to believe him, and think there’s only one possible timeline, and nothing can be changed. (The producers have also said there’s only one timeline, but then again, Damon also said a few years ago this show wouldn’t contain any time travel.) Sawyer was always going to go back in time and save Amy, and she was always going to make it back to the camp, fall in love with Horace, and have Ethan. There’s no timeline where she was captured. But what if there was? What if, in an alternate timeline, Sawyer didn’t go back? She WAS captured by the hostiles, she hooked up with one of them, had Ethan, and he was raised to be the Other we know and hate?


Christian believes in fate. Jack believes in free will, and that anyone who believes in predestination is just making excuses for their irresponsibility. Locke believes he was fated to lose the kidney (or else Ben’s bullet would have killed him). Kate believes in choices. Desmond believes that Charlie was meant to die, and he couldn’t save him or the universe would course correct to kill him anyway. Hurley once believed the numbers cursed him, but in “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” he believed you make your own luck. Sayid mocked Locke’s belief in fate, angry that Locke was going to go north simply because of the way the light hit a bible verse on Eko’s stick.


The survivors who are back in that camp all believe in free will. Will they be able to change the destiny of the Dharma Initiative?

Nikki Stafford is the author of the Finding Lost series of books, which offer episode-by-episode guides to each season. The guide to season 4 is now available at She posts regularly on her television blog, Nik at Nite.

From TVFrenzy:

  • m-lost

    great thought about Ethan being born into the others in the first timeline! I believe the same, sawyer and gang are changing history in many ways.

    • Charlie’s Ghost

      they may be changing the smaller events in history, but the larger ones are unavoidable. ala course correction. you can try and change history, but ultimately you can’t change what happened. what happened, happened..per Daniel.

      • mistaL

        whatever happened happened. we have free will but the time line has already been changed. What we have experienced watching lost’s first 4 seasons is the already altered time line. same would happen in real life time travel. if you changed something and alter your past your memory of that alternate past would be altered to reflect the current history.

  • hyperRevue

    I like the idea that the O5 are in 1977 and changing the future, which is why New Otherton is all abandoned and boarded up. Sort of like Back to the Future II, when Marty changes the future and Hill Valley becomes a big slum.

    (I wonder where Alpert and the rest of the Others are in 2007/08).

    • m-lost

      exactly my thought were is everyone? And how does Sun get to Jin?

      • hyperRevue

        And what’s really cool is that Alpert exists in both time periods.

        So, he could serve as a portal. Like, if they were to meet up, Jin could tell 1977 Alpert, “Tell Sun I’m okay,” and 2007 Alpert would conceivably suddenly remember that happening (a la Daniel and Des) and pass the message to Sun.

        It wouldn’t work the other way, obviously.

        • Maybe Richard is the Island’s constant.

          • Beena

            Or rather, the island is Richard’s constant.

            I think the island is Locke’s constant, too. If the island is their constant, they would be free in a way everyone else isn’t.

    • grayslostgirl

      I think that it’s boarded up because it was mostly destroyed by Keemy. His crew had blow up a lot to bits including Claire’s house

      • Heidi

        no, it would not have had all of the Dharma signs and the new recruit photos on the walls, it was abandoned sometime after 1978 (For sure we know that there is a recruit class photo of 78 when Christian is looking for 77) and before it turned into Ben in charge of the others living area.

        • dolce

          Besides, who would have gone through the trouble of boarding it up?

  • BAK2530

    If Ben couldnt go to 1977 because he was already there doesnt that shoot a hole in the theory that Miles is Changs son

    • Maybe Sun is Chang’s daughter?

      • veryinformedaboutlost

        Chang said in the Comic con video that the baby was a boy….not a girl…he says something along the lines of “can you take HIM outside” while he and daniel are doing the video (atleast i believe it’s daniel)

    • Of course Chang’s baby hasn’t been born yet. We saw a flash forward from 1977 in the season opener. That baby could be Miles, and he dies and is born in a future episode.

      • Heidi

        We saw Changs baby do we know what year they were building the Orchid?

        • The Orchid is station 6 of 6 and I don’t think Radzinsky mentioned them calling in to report anything. Also the Swan hasn’t been built so if this is 5 of 6, the Orchid is built after 1977. Chang hasn’t had little Miles yet.

          • JRAN

            Also, if the nose bleeds were any indication that you have been on the island the longest. Miles has some nose issues right after Charlotte. So that would make the most sense that Miles was Chang’s child.

          • brent

            The swan is 3/6. I don’t know the reason for the numbering but it seems likely after “Namaste” that the Swan will be figuring heavily the end of this season.

            The year of Sun and Lapidus is really a mystery right now. I think everyone has been assuming that it was 2007/8 but I don’t believe it is. I also don’t believe it’s some alternate ethereal time/place that exists only in Smokey’s mind. Or whatever. Remember, when 316 was flying it was night in 2008… they flashed… it was daylight in a mystery time. They have never said when it was they crashed.

          • neoloki

            The time is 2007! as stated during episode. The time in the barracks was not in any definite time that we know of, or at least that is my guess. But to assume the plane crash landed in a time period other than 2007 is just dead wrong.

  • Jay Long

    Sun wasn’t born until 1979 according to another episode

  • Carlos

    I’m pretty sure that has to be the reason, as i posted in the sound off. I believe the reason why Sun and Ben do not go to 1977 is because they already exist there. After seeing Ben there as a kid, which was a logical thing if the timeline was correct, i thought that the baby of the start of the season, Pierre Chang’s kid, has to be Sun.

    In this case, Frank would just be another “passenger” of 316 like the others who don’t flashback either or he also has a past on the island, which i don’t think he has. If Frank would have been the original pilot of the 815, then he would have had to flashback too (is a guess), but he only got to the island with the freighter crew.

    • Chad

      This can’t be the case. If Ben and Sun couldn’t go to that time period because they were already there then Locke and Sawyer would not have gone back to when the light from hatch appeared and when Aaron was born. They were already there so it wouldn’t make sense for that rule to only apply to Ben and Sun.

      • dolce


        • neoloki

          Yes, too!! this has already proven to be wrong. Locke and Sawyer were in the same time period as themselves.

    • Heidi

      We saw Sun’s parents in previous seasons. You think her dad is an aged Pierre Chang? Pierre told us in the comic con video that he dies in the Purge. Also, my guess as to who flashed and who crashed has to do with who John Locke visited and he did not go to see Sun. Ben saw (and killed) Locke but he must be different. Where exactly was Ben when the plane crashed? Frank comes out of the cockpit, struggles to Sun and then Ben magically appears behind Frank. Almost as if Ben was not on the plane and then came back on.

      • Henry Holland

        I think Ben was in the bathroom by the cockpit. Remember, just before the flash of white light, he walks up the aisle so that Jack can read John’s note in peace.

  • Calichusetts

    Two people can exist in the same time. I don’t know how people dont understand this:

    Sawyer saw Claire and Kate giving birth, the other he is in that timeline as well.

    Locke sees the hatch light go on and orders everone around as not to meet himself, clearly two lockes in same time.

    Please stop with the stupid old school sci-fi cliches

    • Calichusetts

      Also, Juilet is with Sawyer, she is also on the island somewhere else, please people, understand, this isnt the “if they touch they explode” type of sci-fi.

      • hyperRevue

        Two people can exist in the same time, yes, but we don’t know what happens if they come in contact with each other. Think of the Chang video with the 2 rabbits. It seemed pretty serious

        • Exactly. I agree with you, Calichusetts, that two people could exist in the same timeline (obviously, since baby Jack exists in 1977, just not on the island) but I wonder about what would happen should they encounter each other. Perhaps the island knew (yes, I make the island a living thing but that’s because I believe it’s controlling everything) that Sawyer wouldn’t meet himself, because he was off reading Watership Down on the beach or something, so it was OK for him to end up in that space. Same with Locke: he wasn’t going to be in that timeline very long, and wouldn’t encounter himself. And, the record was still skipping. But it’s stopped, and if you end up in 1977, you’re staying there (for now). So there’s almost a 100% chance of Ben encountering Ben, and therefore, not good. And as hyperrevue points out, we saw Chang freak out when the two rabbits were in the same timeline. We weren’t shown that scene for nothing.

          • neoloki

            That is way to nit-picky to be a reason. sorry it is just over thinking the issue.

      • BAK2530

        I never said two people couldnt exist in the same time I just said for those who believe that theory cant believe that Miles is Changs son.

    • horselover

      Yeah, clearly people can exist in the same time. Actually, even in ’77 there are, for example, two Jacks. One is a kid is LA and the other is 40 and on the island.
      From that abandoned Orchid video thought, there is some danger of them coming in direct contact.
      The only theory I have (aside from random explosion) is that the future version could give information to the past one, which could cause a contradiction. For example, Faraday would have naturally told Charlotte not to come to the Island, but now that he knows he’s supposed to he said he wouldn’t do it (I know he didn’t contact himself in that instance, but the odds of giving info are way higher if someone meets themselves).
      Not sure how that links to rabbits though. I’m sure there’s some way a rabbit could give info to another.

      • Beena

        I’ll bet dimes to dollars that Ben has done it!

        I think that corrupt older Ben has visited his younger self. Maybe he isn’t with him now, but I think he knows how to travel back to his younger self if he wanted to and has done it before. I think Richard did his time traveling thing in recruiting younger Ben, and Richard ended up spilling the beans to Ben so he now knows the secrets of it.

    • MedusaSpider

      It’s not so much that they can’t be in the same time, they just can’t interact. John didn’t go towards the hatch light because he knew he shouldn’t. Sawyer stopped short of interacting with Kate and Claire because he knew, at some level that he shouldn’t. I would argue that neither of them could possibly have done otherwise. It can’t happen, so it didn’t happen.
      Contrast this with Sun and Ben being among the Dharma folk. Knowing that young Ben is there, and that it’s possible Sun is also there (or will be; remember the speculation about Mr. Paik being in cahoots with Widmore), I would think it would be inevitable that they would meet. They might not explode matter-antimatter style, but I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of characters interacting with their young selves. I think it’s the sort of paradox-producing nonsense the writers would want to avoid.

  • Shaun

    I think it’s entirely likely that the past was changed… After all, we clearly heard the recording of “the numbers” when the Ajira plane was going down. The same recording that Rousseau supposedly recorded over for her own message (which was subsequently turned off at the end of season 3). For that to have happened, SOMETHING had to have changed.

    • horselover

      I agree. Hearing the numbers is the conclusive proof that something changed. The dock and the barracks don’t seem quite how we’d expect (don’t remember the dharma signs still being there), but those are minor details that don’t really say much on their own.
      But, the runway is there. That means 1) it is at least early 2005, and 2) the building of it still happened. I’d assume that means the Others still built it under the direction of Ben, but I guess it’s possible there is another explanation.

      • I wouldn’t call the numbers conclusive proof of a change in the timeline. Someone could have started broadcasting them again during the three-year interim. Richard and the Others were still on the island during that time.

        • chad

          I don’t remember hearing the numbers when 316 went down.. Only hearing them for Russo’s team. (And lot of people thought that it was hurley) Which would be a cange, because it was Hurley’s message of the numbers that brought Russo and also maybe that’s what Leonard heard. Which he inturn taught Hurley the numbers. So if it was Hurley saying the numbers then there is some sort of loop happening.

          • horselover

            Listen again. The numbers are definitely there when 316 goes down.
            And yeah, I guess I should say “strong evidence” rather than proof. It’s possible someone put them back, but I think Dharma were the ones who started playing them in the first place and they aren’t around.

        • Not necessarily a loop. Hurley is in the 1970s and could record the numbers back then, which were then heard by Rosseau’s crew about 10 years later.

      • neoloki

        This is just crazy people the show said it is 2007 so IT IS 2007!! Their are any number of reasons for the numbers being heard. For one it could be similar to season 1 when hurley and syaid pick up a radio signal on the beach and hear a broadcast from earlier in the century. Entering into the zone of the Island could have sound waves bouncing around its event horizon from different periods in time, so to speak.

        • dolce

          I agree.

  • longlivekingnick

    I was so convinced that Ben wasn’t at Dhramaville during the time period that Sawyer is the head of security. Once I saw little Ben show up with that sandwich, I started to think. What if Faraday tells Sawyer that they do that the power to change the future. What if that is the reason that Sawyer, Miles, and most importantly Juliet never do anything harmful to him or his father.

    Juliet would have the most motivation to harm Ben after everything he has put her through. Maybe the are going to attempt to change him, or stop the purge from happening completely.

    I didn’t re-watch the episode when the sub blows up, but IMO the dock was pretty messed up. Then there was old smokey in the background, just chilling, doing his/her/its own thing.

    Did anyone else notice a bunch of smoke enter the room when Sun and Frank were talking to Christian?

    • nick21989

      Yeah, I saw the smoke come in as well. I wonder if the “dead” people have to do with the smoke. Like, the smoke is their spirits traveling around the island or something crazy like that…either way, I think Christian has something to do with the smoke.

  • raffadizzle

    Okay seriously i haven’t read anything about this yet, but what the heck happened to EVERYONE else on the island??? not just the main cast. does the fact that three years have past mean that all of the other survivors are dead??? or what the heck is going on >_>??

    • horselover

      They’re in ’77. According to what we know, everyone alive travels together (except the Others).

      • The two people everyone on my blog keep asking about are Rose and Bernard, and that’s an excellent question. The writers wouldn’t have let them get killed off-screen in the flaming arrows scene. But we haven’t seen them since. Could they have gone off alone and lived together, and eventually become the Adam and Eve we saw in the cave? I miss them. 🙁

        • dolce

          I miss them too. I’m kinda leaning toward the Adam and Eve solution also, but I’m still holding out for a suprise return. *Rose and Bernard stumble out of jungle* Sawyer: “Where have you guys been for the past 3 years? The geriatric Blue Lagoon?”

  • ubermensch

    Did Faraday say “Whatever happens, happens?” OR “Whatever happened, happened?” Big difference between the two. One ends in “s” and one ends in “ed”. If you’re going to write a long article about it, would be nice to have the correct quote.