Season 5 has certainly started off with a bang, and it is not lacking in the answers department. We were thrust directly into the result of the island’s “move” and the ripple effect that it has caused. The events were then tagged with a short explanation by Lost’s greatest physicist, Daniel Faraday. But what does he mean by a “skipping record”? And why is Desmond able to circumnavigate the “string of time” and alter it? Sit back, relax, and prepare to have your mind blown.
In the past, the island has shown properties that echo those of a closed timelike curve. Faraday’s explanation of how the island was moving adds more plausibility to the theory. The “record” Faraday was talking about was the island’s CTC. An excerpt from Wiki: “One feature of a CTC is that it opens the possibility of a worldline which is not connected to earlier times, and so the existence of events that cannot be traced to an earlier cause.” The first part of that statement relates to how the island moves, and the latter I’ll save that for our second CTC.
It became apparent that the island was moving through time in the beginning scenes of “Because You Left”, but it was not until the end of “The Lie” that we learned the island was also moving through space. The space that Ms. Hawking, who I also believe to be Faraday’s mom, observed was the Earth’s space (by that I mean the island’s space is shared with the Earth’s). However, what was not observed in either of the episodes is that the island’s time and the Earth’s time is not shared. Meaning, one can be in a completely different time as the other.
State of the Time Floaters
Let’s say two identical runners (A and B) are running down a straight track at the same speed and distance. If someone were observing the race from the side, A and B appear to be the same runner. Now, allow the fact that runner A has been wearing a jet pack the entire time enter your mind, and launches into the air (note: this does not change his horizontal speed). The same observer who saw one single runner, now sees two.
Now replace the track with worldline, runner A with the island, runner B with the rest of the world, and the first observer with those left behind on the island (let’s call them the Time Floaters). The island is fluctuating inside of its own time while still running along with the rest of the world, the Time Floaters can see both times and are able to perceive the differences between the two.
To sum it all in one bite size line: the only thing traveling through time is the island’s state, everything stays in the current time.
For example, let’s say everything starts in the year 2004. The island “skips” to 1974, and the Time Floaters observe the “skip”. The island and the Time Floater’s are still in the year 2004, but the island is in it’s 1974 state.
The Third Runner
If that is not confusing enough, enter Desmond as a third runner and he also is wearing a jet pack, but this time it is oriented side to side (pretend he does not collide with A and B). He is able to cross between the other two runners paths while creating his own direction. Desmond is in his own CTC which was dislodged from the worldline in “the Constant” (much like the island is disconnected now), and was reconnected with Penny (turn the jet pack off and run in the same plane as everything else).
Recall the Wiki quote, “..and so the existence of events that cannot be traced to an earlier cause.” Desmond is able to make changes to the worldline because he is lightly connected to it and can violate the laws of causality. Explaining why Faraday would dub him “special”.
Oh, the Twisted Paths we Weave
Even with all this theory it is still not clear how much time there is between the island jumps, will it be three years for the Time Floaters or is time condensed for them? And what are the rules of getting into a CTC, such as why would Ben only have 70 hours to get inside a particular island “skip”? But what we do know is that the prolonged effects of island “skipping” may have dire consequences. In the words of Candle and Ms. Hawking, “God help us all.”