In an instant expert analysis for PM's Digital Hollywood, Lost geek Adam Savage traces the chemistry of those 500 pounds of C4, and explains why the space-time continuum from last night's Season Four finale changed his theories on the future of our favorite sci-fi show.
By Adam Savage
I'm a huge fan of Lost, but sometimes my schedule keeps me from being able to watch all the episodes on time. Yesterday, after a 6-hour Lost marathon (I had no idea how far behind I'd gotten!), I was finally ready to take in last night's season finale. And after watching it, all I can say is: Holy crap.
First things first: the explosives. We blow a lot of things up on MythBusters, so I know from experience that last night Lost missed the mark. The 500 pounds of C4, that whole movie thing about "dummy triggers" and fake tripwires—it's all a load of crap. Nobody does that. At least that's what my friends at the FBI tell me. Would you want to set up explosives so that pretty much anything you did would make them go off? It's just like guessing and cutting one of the wires in the movies: Nobody would survive using that technique for very long, including Keamy and his crew. The whole training of a bomb tech is to work safely with explosives, not dangerously. There are too many ways to mess it up. Also, I'm pretty sure that C4 isn't conductive, which it would need to be to set up its wiring as a resistance feedback loop that could tell if you started to pull out the detonators. And if freezing the battery works, why not just disconnect it? Oh, right, the monitored feedback loop. But wait, C4 isn't conductive ... never mind.
Though the explosion looked about right in terms of size, it was a bit slow—high explosives happen at over 20,000 ft. per second. Plus, any explosion that you would survive happens silently—you see it before you hear it. But movies and TV never do that. Plus, C4 lets off with a much more concussive ka-whump than they ever are able to show in the movies.
As to what the heck is going on: I used to think that the survivors were in purgatory, mostly because of "The Man in Tallahassee"—the idea of Locke's father showing up on the island was too bizarre. But after last night's space-time-travel extravaganza, I've given up on the purgatory idea, 'cause you can't get a compass heading out of purgatory—or else the Vatican would have had a cruise line running it eons ago.
We know that the island has some "interesting" properties regarding time and space. We know that dead people—hello, Christian Shepherd!—can appear for real there. So how about the soul? It's kind of like trying to look for the physics of being in love. (Speaking of which, I loved that Desmond and Penny finally found each other!) Perhaps the writers posit that the island exists on a plane between both space and time, and that this plane, this rift (that causes the weird temporal anomalies, and the polar bears, etc.), also taps into certain sensitive peoples' psyches?
Then I think about the numbers, and the black smoke, and Eko's brother's plane and I think, "I hope these guys know what they're doing ..." The writers, I mean. Because if this show ends its run with just more questions, I'm going to be pissed.
We also finally got to see who was in the coffin that had Jack so torn up in last season's flash-forward finale. It was Jeremy Bentham—named for an 18th century philosopher who managed to preserve his head after he died (he did, I swear—just Google his name!). This mystery man had visited Walt, Jack and Kate before he ended up in that funeral home and was actually John Locke, who was of course named after another famous philosopher. My wife—we're both crazy fans—thinks that there might be something clued into the shift from Locke to Bentham ...
My guess is that the island "move" put Locke and Co. into the proximity of—or at least the neighborhood of—some hostile folk, and that Locke had to leave the island to urge the others to come back to set things right. Also, even though you had a few old unfamiliars on the island, there still could be factional violence between the now Locke-led others (who are really "Others" now, right? They don't age? Why do they need a leader?) and the three new castaways, plus Juliet and Sawyer (he really does get all the good women, doesn't he, Jack?).
So, yeah, I love this show.