Thursday, July 3, 2008


Four years into the magical mystery tour that is Lost, I think it's safe to say, if we're at all honest with ourselves, that there isn't a one of us who has any idea what the hell is going on. There are so many clues in play now, so many images, mysteries, themes, characters, symbols, all swirling around our heads like the chickens and bicycles in the twister that took Dorothy to Oz. We get a sense from time to time that we're glimpsing the secret behind it all, and then just like that, it's torn away from us again and we're as confused as ever before. What none of us know yet, is whether or not Lost is ever going to make any sense. It spins us around in a big whirlpool of pictures and slogans and icons and books and maps and drawings and numbers and faces. It's only natural to wonder sometimes if we're just being dazzled with bullshit.

The bare bones of this mini season's plot don't take long to thumb through. As expected, Jack's phone call to the freighter was the worst! idea! evah!

The barbarian hordes were unleashed.

They came, they saw, they slaughtered.

It was not a good season for redshirts.

Not a good season for lots of characters.

The freighter seemed to have been commissioned by Widmore, who also may have staged a fake crash site for Flight 815.

Jack didn't SAVE EVERYBODY, as he spent the last four years promising he'd do. He did, however, manage to save himself.

And we got to watch him have a three year long nervous breakdown. In fact, everyone who escaped the Island ended up pretty miserable.

Except Kate...who just went back to being Monica.

When the shit hit the fan, Sawyer did the far, far greater thing.

The boat blew up. The Island went poof.

Ben jumped off the sinking ship to a life raft ten months into the future.

Penny found Desmond.

Somehow, Locke turned up in a pine box in L.A.'s most anagrammatically accurate funeral home.

And Jack finally accepted Ben as his AA sponsor.

That was pretty much it for the story this year. the season recedes, we're left on the deserted beach to pick through the flotsam and jetsam floating around in the tide pools. Where to start? Even the most mensa ready minds in this fantasmagoria of a fandom can't seem to come up with a comprehensive theory, so who are we to try and compete? But let's give it a shot anyway. Because Lost is, if not a game show, a show that is a game.

Think of it as a kind of Picture Tic Tac Toe puzzle, where we try to synthesize random bits of cultural trivia , both classical and pop, into some great transcendent jigsaw puzzle. I think it's clear they want us to follow these breadcrumbs. Otherwise they wouldn't have the primitive symbols of sun-fish-tree-boat, first seen on the Hatch mural

repeated on both Hurley's loonybin chalkboard

and Kate's gleaming simonized refrigerator.

It really doesn't matter which point we choose to leap into the whirlwind so let's just pick a theory, any theory. Like this one:


A casual fan looks at this picture and they see a big burly curly haired bear having a panic attack. But the keen eyes of the Lost obsessive go straight to the tinker toys in the background, oh so coincidentally arranged in the shape of an H (the 8th letter of the alphabet) and an O (the 15th letter of the alphabet.) Add in the episode's prior references to ghosts among the Ho-Hos

and Hurley going up by H-O against Jack Shephard at Horse

and who among us doesn't think immediately of the rare earth element Holmium? Come on! Tell me that’s not the first thing that popped into your head! ... And what is Holmium? Not that it isn't common knowledge, but our tricky wiki defines it most concisely this way:
Because of its magnetic properties, holmium has been used to create the strongest artificially-generated magnetic fields when placed within high-strength magnets as a magnetic pole piece (also called a magnetic flux concentrator).

You hear the word Magnet and your Lost infused mind races instantly through the places the puzzle pieces might fit. The timey wimey wonkiness! The crazy cracked out compasses! The vortex of swirling electromagnetic forces that make our island invisible to the outside world! Maybe you don't understand it (psst....neither do I) but you don't really need to.

Look! Here's a nice magnetic clue - Faraday! (Never neglect the clue power of namedropping on Lost.)

I haven't been able to verify if the 19th century Faraday had a thing for skinny black ties, but he definitely knew his way around a magnet. One of his lesser known accomplishments was that "If a bar magnet is set spinning, the differential in velocity, down the radius, of each turning magnetic element, sets up a magnetic vortex....At a certain threshold of angular velocity, the magnetic vortex sets up an inter-dimensional energy portal through a vortex resonance." And no, I don't know what the hell any of that means, but I'm seeing my clue words in there - magnet, spinning, vortex, inter-dimensional energy portal!!! By George, I think we're on to something! But....uh, what?

It is possible to imagine that a powerful electromagnetic force field exists around the Island, which bends light in such a way as to make the Island appear to be invisible, like some cosmic magician's sleight of hand.

Maybe the Island is surrounded by a violent moat of electromagnetic turmoil, a vortex of forces, a whirlpool, a maelstrom of force lines, all distorted in such a way that matter attacking the vortex can only enter at one specific point of entry, on one precious say, North 3:05,

the bearing Faraday ordered Frank to follow in order to escape.

Or North 325, the bearing Michael ran away on and the angle of this arrow in the Swan Hatch painting.

But, without trifling over these petty continuity errors, let's just assume we've got a hellacious swirling vortex of electromagnetic bitchery surrounding the Island, ok? And maybe this force field is generated by the Island itself, ok? From someplace deep in its bowels, like where the big frozen wheel was. With the way the hatches started magically multiplying this season, I'm not going to be surprised next season if they've got a freaking exotic matter generator hidden down inside that thing someplace, something to feed the maw of the interdimensional wormhole that uses the Island as its portal.

"Science fiction deals with improbable possibilities, fantasy with plausible impossibilites." - Miriam Allen deFord

The thing about Science Fiction , seems to me, is that it has to be intelligently constructed enough to intrigue the kind of people who actually do understand stuff like inverse tachyon pulses and chronoton particles and fermions and bosons and mirror matter (known alternately as Alice matter) .... yet still amuse those of us whose scientific accomplishments extend about as far as using magnets to find all the paper clips we dropped under our desk. But since there are probably about 10,000 of us paper clip picker uppers to every one quantum physics hobbyist out there, I'm operating on the proposition that whatever scientific principle is found to underly the great mysteries of Lost, it's going to be something any ten year old could grasp. So I'm not sweating the small stuff here.

Perhaps the electromagnetic forces will someday explain the mysterious "sickness", that seemed to also afflict the unfortunates who signed aboard the doomed Kahana. It might explain the "wellness" as well, the fact that certain chosen beings have their illnesses and deformities reversed by the Island's power. It could explain the killer pregnancy phenomenon....although I kind of think they decided to forget about that one.

We've been familiar for some time with the two tone retro 60s lab techs of the original Dharma Initiative,

but the depth and breadth of their hatch building was truly a revelation this season.

Seems like there was a new hatch discovered each week!

Makes Locke's Season One walkabouting seem a bit incompetent in retrospect, doesn't it? But now's no time for quibbles. This season brought a new batch of inquiring minds,

dealing with improbably possible and plausibly impossible things, from time dilation to interdimensional communication, so the avenues for new dropped plotlines in future seems wide open.

But we shouldn't cling to any one theory. Not when there are so many other possibilities...


You know what else is magnetic? The North Pole, that’s what! The Tibetans believed that the North Pole was a portal to a mythical kingdom within Inner Earth, ruled from the holy city of Shambahla.

Shambahla is also the seat of power in Willis George Emerson's 1908 science fiction story, "The Smoky God", where a Scandinavian sailor enters the portal of the North Pole to find a land ruled by "The Smoky God, the great pillar or mother cloud of electricity".

Legends of Hollow Earth describe a race of Other-ish immortals,

called "Old Ones", who steal children, and have built elaborate systems of temples, palaces and underground tunnels.

Sound familiar? You thought they were making this stuff up, but really they're just cribbing off dime novels from the days of Teddy Roosevelt and the rantings of crackpot dystopians.

An imaginary photograph of Hollow Earth even looks a hell of a lot like this image isolated from the famous Hatch Mural

(though some say it's just an eye...or a boob). The symbol is also reminiscent of the boy scout tracking sign for "Gone Home", which in certain unfortunate circumstances can also be used as shorthand for "Dead Boy Scout".

And this image of Hollow Earth,

made by the astronomer Edmund Halley (of Comet fame), brings us back to circles...inside circles image we've seen again and again on Lost, most recently this season on one of it's magically materializing hatches, The Orchid.

And then there's this picture.

From The Inventio Fortunata, a famously Lost Book, allegedly written by a 14th century friar from Daniel's old stomping grounds, Oxford,

who drew this map of his travels to the North Pole, describing it as a magnetic black rock, The Rupee Nigra,

surrounded by a great whirlpool, and further surrounded by four islands separated by channels. The book was lost but recreated by Jacob Cnoyen, then...uh, lost again. The mythical mystery of a black rock persists, in the legend of the Chintamani Stone, whose powers are many, not least of which is its being the key to all futures, all destinies, a kind of "nontechnological quantum vortex".

And when it comes to rocks, black or otherwise, we can't leave out the famed Philosopher's Stone, allegedly created and then lost (again with the losing!) by Albert de Groot, a/k/a Albertus Magnus, a medieval alchemist who claimed his black rock contained the Secret to Immortality. He made a lovely Puzzle Box for it, covered with arcane geometric patterns

which seemed to be related to the kind of things Daniel liked to sketch in his free time.

Alas, that no fun mopey pants, St. Thomas Aquinas, destroyed de Groot's magical creation, deeming it blasphemous and diabolical....and so it is lost to time and space. The images of lost worlds and lost books and lost secrets whisper half heard in the background of our story. One of the most famous of all lost world myths is the story of Atlantis, a mythical island kingdom that, according to Plato, sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".

Some of the proposed locations for the site of the mythical Atlantis are the Caribbean,


and Antarctica

all locations a good Lost geographer would find instantly familiar. The mirage of a mythical lost world is a not inconsequential echo throughout the story. A Brigadoon, a Shangri-la. Maybe even the ultimate wishful fantasy land...


A forceful new story stream was injected this season with the battle of wits...and guts...between Benjamin Linus and Charles Widmore. It turns out we're not so far removed from reality that rich old white guys aren't still controlling it all behind the scenes. These two were locked in a balletic pas de deux of jealousy and murder, all played by the most gentlemanly of rules. What are they after exactly? And why are their innocent daughters being caught dead in the middle of it all? We learned that Ben has never been bound by time and space like other mere mortals.

And neither, apparently, has Widmore. But we got no meaningful clue as to what these two old boys are fighting over. Perhaps it's the healing properties of the Island, the thing that gave Locke back his legs, that cleansed Rose of cancer, that keeps Richard looking so mahvelous from decade to decade

and perhaps even deeper back into some infinite antiquity. There's not much meat here for us to chew over with speculation yet, but one thing we can be sure of. If the Island does have some precious resource to be exploited, you can be certain there will be cutthroat capitalists willing to disembowel one another to keep it all to themselves.

And speaking of men and throats to be cut, perhaps....


It's a man's world, baby. Especially on Lost. Not content to choose one manly archetype to carry its story, the writers have instead composed a kind of Heroic Opus, told in four voices. There's the Romantic Hero, the social outcast and rugged individualist,

whose dark side always threatens to overwhelm him.

Typically, he is also unconventionally intelligent.

The Romantic Hero was described by Lady Caroline Lamb in the 18th century as "mad, bad and dangerous to know."

200 years later, we call him "the bad boy".

He is an erotic figure.

He's passionate, impulsive and dangerous.

But his passions have a purity that pull him towards the light.

Ultimately, the bad boy's inherent goodness triumphs.

He does the right thing without ego, without navel gazing, without seeking praise.

And that's why, in the end, the Romantic Hero is the one who finds true love.

He's Han Solo, which the writers never fail to remind us...

...and without a doubt, the coolest kind of hero to be.

Not to take any glory away from the Classical Hero, who is born of a virgin and raised by surrogates,

who flees from a murdering father figure,

only to return in time to the land of his true father,

to embrace his true destiny,

by performing great deeds of magical heroism,

only to die mysteriously,

though not, perhaps, irreversibly.

There's Campbells Monomythical Hero, whose convolvulated description was best summarized by the author himself: "In the monomyth, the hero begins in the ordinary world, and receives a call to enter an unknown world of strange powers and events.

If the hero accepts the call to enter this strange world,

the hero must face tasks and trials,

either alone or with assistance.

At its most intense, the hero must survive a severe challenge,

often with help earned along the journey. If the hero survives, the hero may achieve a great gift or "boon."

The hero must then decide whether to return to the ordinary world with this boon. If the hero does decide to return, the hero often faces challenges on the return journey.

If the hero is successful in returning, the boon or gift may be used to improve the world."

Hmmm, well, I guess we'll have to wait and see about that last part.

But what about the guy who never answers the call to adventure,

the guy who spends his last ounce of energy refusing to answer the call,

the guy who returns to the world - not with any magical boon - but with a nasty drug habit instead.

The Aristotelian Tragic Hero is distinguished by his noble birth.

Often he is literally the son of the king...which is, as he usually finds, a dubious honor. The Tragic Hero is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a bad guy. But he is inevitably, and hopelessly, undone by his fatal flaw

- most typically, the sin of excessive pride, of hubris.

His flaw can be something as innocent as an unwitting error in judgment. It can even be a well intended action, performed in ignorance, that results in great disaster. The folly of the Tragic Hero in this story is his egotistical belief that his will supersedes that of fate. Come what may, he never takes the hint that maybe, just maybe, he's not the one in charge here.

There's no way this kind of hero gets out of the story alive. He's trapped.

Step by step,

no matter how hard he works to avoid his inexorable fate,

the tragic one is drawn, by his own actions, often against his own will, to his inevitable doom.

From Hamartia through Catharsis, the arc of the Tragic Hero grinds relentlessly through the merciless gears of his destined destruction. All things considered, even factoring in the perks of post mortem glory, this is by far the suckiest kind of hero to have to be.

Sorry, Jack.

All these manly heroic archetypes tend to be trapped in bitter battles with their dear old dads, so The Island of Bad Dads makes the perfect backdrop for their sagas. But whether or not the story is actually presenting these four dudes as a heroic quadrant is just another theory. Maybe it's even simpler than that. Maybe...


Too obvious? Maybe. But think about it. A hell of a lot of things get displaced around here. Like plotlines, for instance.

And logic. Like, what happened in between Jack mocking the concept of miracles (after he saw the Island disappear) and his sudden lifetime commitment to selling the Big Whopper of all inconsistent lies? Why didn't anybody notice that his cavalier lies at this press conference

differed on material points of fact with his even more confident perjury at Kate's clowny trial?

Why didn't anyone question that Sun, based on the whopper, would have been pregnant for like a year? Or that Kate had somehow nursed a chubby, oversized infant with milk free boobs? Or that Jack disembarked from his raft trip with a fresh, neatly sutured surgical wound? How in fact did the lie protect them from anyone wanting to cover up the 815 hoax? And what on earth possessed any of them to believe it was protecting any of those they left behind?

I know, I know, don't be a nitpicky party pooper. I get it. We blame stuff like this on the Island. The Island doesn't want this lie to be questioned. Case closed....but still. Things do get lost very easily when the Island is involved. When our Island disappeared, during its single day and night of misfortune, it created a maelstrom, a whirlpool in its wake from which only a few souls were tossed free. And they carried with them this melancholy spirit that pervades the story, the theme of constant loss.

Hurley has lost his mind.

Sun has lost her husband.

Sayid has lost his soul.

Jack has lost his dignity.

Aaron has lost his mother.

And Kate has lost her….


All vestiges of original flavor Kate were lost this year. The last traces of the wily, guilely, frecklefaced tomboy murderer were subsumed into an antiseptic, synthetic Stepford mommy-bot whose sole function to the plot seemed to be blowing smoke up the ass of Dr. Druggy.

But it wasn’t only Kate whose personality was lost. Women in general were the Lost Gender of the season. If they weren't being murdered,

they were being marginalized.

It's far worse than I'd imagined it could ever become when I wrote my piece on Lost Women almost a year ago. I think the boys in the writers’ room need to get their heads out of medieval monasteries and 19th century pulp fiction and start reacquainting themselves with some grown up women. This was a good start.

This was even better.

(gif courtesy of susan14509 and Helena)

But it's all about the follow through, and honestly, we’re not holding our breath. Perhaps we’re being too harsh. Maybe it wasn’t only the women who were lost. The real loss of this season was the loss of humanity in all our characters. Too often, characters were pushed around like chess pieces on a board, without coherent motivation, without the kind of heart and soul these characters used to make us feel. In this ever clever world of Byzantine plots and puzzles, maybe characters are only meant to be seen as another set of clues. Maybe Kate’s farcical trial, for instance, wasn’t intended to be an insult to our most basic understanding of simple American civics. Maybe it wasn't meant as a sign that female characters don't deserve anything more than the cheapest of rushed, crappily written bargain basement style redemptions.

Maybe it was just meant to remind us that, like Alice, when we passed Through the Looking Glass, we ended up in Wonderland, where trials like the one in Eggtown make perfect sense.

"... `For instance, now,' she went on, ... `there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all.'
`Suppose he never commits the crime?' said Alice.
`That would be all the better, wouldn't it?' the Queen said ...

The trial in Eggtown seemed like the low point of the season, but perhaps we just missed the obvious point. Maybe....


I'll admit it. I thought the rabbit imagery last year was a signal that pregnancy was going to be a featured theme this year. But pregnancy is so ... girly. And we know how much these writers hate that stuff. The rabbits had a more practical storytelling purpose.

They're the soul brothers of this guy who keeps chasing time down the rabbit hole.

The world where everything is upside down

and backwards.

There were persistent hints about reversal, from C.S.Lewis

and her Narnianesque journey back to the forgotten land of her childhood, to Kate's midnight backwards phone call, to Locke getting this close to the secret of Island driven time travel before the tape rewound on him. But the biggest reversal was in the fortunes of those who managed to escape the Island's thrall. Having traveled through the looking glass, for the Oceanic Six, everything is wrong.

Mirrors, as we know, don't just reflect reality. They reverse it. And from the minute Hurley's car crashed into a parking lot of mirrors,

mirrors were most definitely one of our signal clues of the season.

Strange as it seems, the real world that the Oceanic Six so desperately wanted to return to is no longer a reality where they belong. Just like Jack was never meant to raise Aaron, Sayid was not meant to find Nadia, Hurley was not meant to ever put the Camaro on the road, Sun was not meant to leave Jin and Kate was not meant to putter around suburbia picking up the drycleaning for Sarah's workaholic husband. The world beyond the looking glass is the opposite of everything these people were meant to do. And we know this is true, because Sci Fi history tells us so.

The beard is the dead giveaway.

Mirrors are also a symbol of vanity, of the kind of narcissism and egomania that might cause a doctor to try and micro-manage his own unanesthetized gut surgery, for example.

But mirrors can also be helpful. When a person is ready to stare honestly into the looking glass, they may find they are able to face their True Self, and that's when it's possible that the soul can finally awake from its delusions of addiction and insanity and lies.

"Make truth your island,
make truth your refuge;
there is no other refuge."
- Buddha


We've known for some time that clocks and compasses and measuring devices don't work properly in the Lostverse. But this was the season Time Travel came out of the closet. Not very coherently, it's true, but they stopped pulling their punches. First there was Daniel's packet that arrived 31 minutes later than it was received.

Then there was the ship's doctor who washed up dead two days before he was killed.

Then Desmond's consciousness did a nifty zig zag between 1996 and 2004

that ended up reuniting Odysseus and Penelope about 32 episodes earlier than expected. And then for the grand crescendo, Ben did the actual deed down in the frozen belly of the beast, and definitively moved his adorable corporeal self in both time and space. 10 months forward, and about 90 some degrees of longitude to the West. (Always like to keep track of the numbers.)

Now time travel has a tendency to short out our logical thinking. There's paradox, which our creators have sworn to avoid, but which really can't be avoided. If you go back in time to kill your granny, you can't ever be born to go back in time to kill your granny. But if you don't kill your granny, then you can be born...which means you can go back in time and kill your granny. I mean, if you're into that sort of thing. But then again, if you kill her, you can't ever be born to go kill her. It can make you seasick just thinking about it.

It's an endless loop, another circle, another spiral, another big sucking vortex.

“The future is only the past again, entered through another gate." - Arthur Wing Pinero

It's all well and good as long as all the time travel moves in a forward direction, but the minute a traveler to the future returns to his own past, granny needs to start fearing for her life. So when Desmond went back to the future to learn what he had to teach Daniel about how to zap Eloise so that Daniel could get to the Island to teach Desmond from the future how to go back in time and teach himself....You see the problem here?

"Hold to the now, the here,through which all future plunges to the past" - James Joyce, Ulysses

Any time past and future start mingling their bloodstreams, paradox happens. One way to conceptualize yourself out of the paradox is to go all Billy Pilgrim with it and try to think of all moments in time as coexisting. Everything that ever has or will or is happening is always happening all the time right now. Imagine an infinite past, an infinite future, an infinite present and your consciousness just rolling around on it like a big wavy beach blanket made of Timespace.

It sounds kind of fun in a way, except that it pretty much proves you don't have any free will or control over anything since everything that will ever happen is the same as everything that has ever happened. It's kin to the great concept of karma, of inexorable cause and effect, where the concept of human will is nothing but a comforting illusion to helpless fools like us.

This irrevocable chain of cosmic causality feels dark and nihilistic at times. But the concept of an Infinite Present is beguiling. Is it such a stretch to think that maybe....


A person asked Buddha:
"Are you a God?"
Buddha's reply was
"Are you an Angel?"
"Then what are you?"
"I am Awake."

As in past seasons, religious symbolisms and inferences bobbed to the surface of the story at random points in time. Locke's teenage birth mother didn't name him without calling our attention to his special destiny.

"His name is John!" was a direct reference to the words spoken by John the Baptist's mother. So Locke is the precursor. To who? To Jesus, the Shephard?

Then why is Locke the one in the tomb, being brought back for resurrection?

And speaking of muddled Biblical references to precursors,

who is the Moses that Aaron is preparing the way for? Is Jack supposed to be Moses and Jesus?

If so, he's like the most all purpose Biblical superhero ever!

My favorite name drop of the season was Abaddon,

a name that pops out at us from the eerily numbered passage in Revelations 9:11:
"A king, the angel of the bottomless pit (whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon, in Latin Exterminans)."

And Abaddon's abysmal kingdom is described thus
"And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit arose, as the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit. "

I hope Lance Reddick's got a flexible contract on his new show, because I'm interested in where his story is going.

The images and languages of the Bible don't seem all that helpful in following this story's trajectory most of the time.

The Eastern religions seem more appropriate. And more pervasive. The work the Island needs done is dharma , which translates roughly as dutiful observance of the natural laws of the universe. The Swan hatch is marked by a stylized yin/yang.

All the hatch logos are modeled after the Taoist bagua,

with the binary designs within the trigrams correlating to patterns in the I Ching. Maybe the elephants in Aaron's room,

and on Aaron's blanket (below the clue-pointer, Number 1),

are reminders of the white elephant that announced the birth of the chosen one, the Guatama Buddha.

Or maybe Kate's just raising him as a Young Republican.

Even the ladybug cutouts aren't just cheery good luck wishes popped into hopelessly grim surroundings. They're marked with the 8 dots of The Eightfold Path.

Eastern religions interpret good and evil differently than Western ones. Where the religions of Abraham all insisted on a world where good must triumph over evil,

Eastern philosophy teaches that such duality is an illusion. There is no dark without light, no truth without lies, no life without death. It was a great tragedy that created Kate's joy in her E-Z bake motherhood

and more tragedy is where it will lead. Just like Sayid's new life was really the beginning of Nadia's afterlife.

Like how Hurley wouldn't be going insane, if reality wasn't always so painfully clear to him.

Nothing exists without its opposite.

"The wheel goes back and I shall live again,
But the wave turns, my birth arrives and spills
Over my breast, the world bearing my grave."
- Muriel Rukeyser

There is no reason to fear death, or cling to life, because it's an illusion to think of them as two separate conditions. Take Christian, for example. He's dead, in a way, but he's actually just gone on a different kind of doctor's retirement, coasting around in The Jacob's Cabin, visiting the grandkids,

making new friends.

The dead are every bit as real in this story as the living.

Maybe the Island is a kind of Shadowland, where the last divisions between the dimensions of life and death are removed. And there are some times,

like the day and night when Sawyer was escorting a dying (?) Claire to the crossing point, where the line between them doesn't exist at all.

It isn't death that we need to escape from. The only thing that causes death in the first birth. What we really need to escape is the suffering that comes from being born again and again into that same endless loop. Samsara, the endless round of birth and death.

The Hindu book of hymns, Rig Veda, describes the process of recovering the Lost Sun, also known as "The Eternal Truth of Being and Becoming".

We're talking cosmic solutions here.

But that doesn't mean we should overthink it.

"The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose; do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear to you. Make a hairbreadth difference, and Heaven and Earth are set apart." – Seng Ts’an

The way to transcend duality, to escape the vicious cycle of birth and death, it turns out, is the simplest thing in the world. Accept the turnings of the eight spoked Dharmic wheel. Free yourself of the illusion of ego. Submit to your higher power. Become a man of Faith. Open your eyes and face your true self, without blinking.

The recurring theme of Eyes, along with the occasional hieroglyphic design schemes, brings to mind the Eye of Horace

....I mean Horus

- another symbol of the Sun,

but also a representation of our six senses, with which we can perceive the truth of our existence, if we have the courage.

The Tree of Life, a symbol of immortality, is also a symbol of unity. Unity between the spirit world and the material world, between heaven and earth, between death and ever regenerating life.

And it was underneath the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha, after all his struggles to attain enlightenment, finally...and simply....awoke.

I've got to wrap this up now, so I'll end with my own personal favorite theory. I stole it off of Lostpedia, but only because it really does seem to fit so many of the clues I've gathered.


I don't know why they titled it as VILE vortices. Makes it sound like a bad thing. Maybe a different name, something happy sounding like Whacky Whirlpools. Or something more epic, like Multidimensional Maelstroms. Is it important that the semi-official name for these hotspots anagrams out to EVIL?

The theory itself sounds neutral on the matter.
It is surmised that the Island is a "central dumping ground" - the "middle of a spiders web" to which boats and ships are drawn to through the Vile Vortices. As the Island is ostensibly a tropical Pacific island it is located spatially near the Fiji Vortex - but in another dimension. The Vortices are enterable if approached from certain bearings or positions. Alternately, passing vessels and objects may succumb to a Vortex if it is agitated or inflamed by an electromagnetic surge, such as a discharge emanating from the Island. Such a discharge would also be enough to alert the 'outside world' as to a disturbance via the electromagnetic grid lines.

It could certainly explain a polar bear from the Hydra hatch ending up in Tunisia. Maybe he went for a swim on one of those days when the Island decided to take a hike?

This theory pulls together the greatest number of clues - the geographic locations of hidden worlds, the whirlpools, the wormholes, the portals. A Vile Vortice theory reminds me of the way this story is being told to us - clues and references and symbols and images, collected from every culture and every genre, all sucked down into a funneling maelstrom where they're reconstituted into this one of a kind story. It doesn't explain everything, of course. Some questions remain. Such as...

Is Jin dead?

Now that Kate has stopped groveling and has kicked Doctor Oxy to the curb, is it too much to hope that she might finally become a character self-respecting women can root for?

Did Miles get a chance to change his underwear after someone freed him from Locke's dungeon?

Since it's been shown that the Island has the power to overrule individual free will, might the Island itself be a sentient being, a godlike superpower with its own Consciousness and Will?

Is it possible that Charles Widmore was once the King of Lost Island and that he's just like Ben, trying to return to a place he exiled himself from by turning the wheel?

Given the prevalence of loops in the story, is it possible that Christian Shephard started drinking himself to death for the same reason his son Jack did - because he couldn't find a way to return to an Island he never should have left?

If all of the O6 are experiencing grievous loss, what does this portend for Desmond and his joyous reunion with Penny? Is Penny a goner?

How quickly is Team Ben going to make it back to the Island? Because, if they're taking Jeremy Bentham with them, they'd better hurry, or they're going to run into an odor problem.

If Jack isn't meant to raise Aaron, and if Claire is dwelling in the underworld these days, who exactly is meant to raise the little orphan?

Will there ever be a bigger JackFace bonanza than Season Four?

Is there any truth to the rumor that the show may be renamed next year?

We'll have to come back next year for answers to these questions, and more. But in the meantime, here's one last theory to chew over.



You know, something like that. Maybe, in fact, they are dazzling us with bullshit. Maybe it's all a shell game, where we play along and work out the clues, and in the end it's just a big joke they've played on us. It's definitely possible. But it's still fun to play. And it is always, no matter what, so very, very pretty.


Julep said...

Fantastically written and highly enjoyable. Thank you!!

Sanna said...

Wow. Just wow.

I dont know how it’s possible but it seems like you are just getting better and better with!! You’re a freaking genius, Fish so dont ever stop writing these reviews, keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

OMG.... is it possible to top that?? That has to be the best LOST essay I've ever read. That has to be the best fandom essay I've ever read. I am in serious awe right now Fish. Are you a psychologist or something?? Because you GET this show. Nothing goes unnoticed to you, and the way you describe and dissect the characters is brilliance. Never stop being amazing!!pluckt

Anonymous said...

That was just brilliant!!! I always learn something when I read your recaps, Fish. You must spend such a long time researching everything to gather all these scientific and religious facts together which coincide with what happened on the show.

I enjoyed reading about the HO standing for the chemical element Holmium which has magnetic properties, the hollow earth theory, the dots on the ladybug, the Vile Vortices theory (I like that one), and the Chintamani Stone, which I read about from your link and found this interesting:

Similarly three black stones were venerated by the Muslims in the Ka'aba at the great mosque in Mecca. There are several traditions associated with the stones but all agree on its celestial origin. Muslims say that the stones were originally white but turned black after absorbing dark or evil thoughts.

the theme of constant loss.
Hurley has lost his mind.
Sun has lost her husband.
Sayid has lost his soul.
Jack has lost his dignity.
Aaron has lost his mother.
And Kate has lost her….

So true, and funny at the end!

all moments in time as coexisting. Everything that ever has or will or is happening is always happening all the time right now. Imagine an infinite past, an infinite future, an infinite present and your consciousness just rolling around on it like a big wavy beach blanket made of Timespace.

I never understood the time traveling, but if it’s all happening at the same time, the way you worded it, I understand it now!

The Jackfaces are always good for a laugh!

Another awesome recap! I hope you never stop writing!

Anonymous said...

Amazing, You deserve a standing ovation Fish, I agree with every word, about the characters, what went down this season, and even your pet theory. After I saw the polar bear, I thought the vortex thing could be a plausible explanation. Thank you for your brilliance. :D

Henry Holland said...

Great stuff, as usual. I, for one, would have NO problem with the show being renamed BEN, but alas, all those boring original cast people need to be catered to. Damn.

I especially like how you rip the (mostly male) writing staff for their portrayals of the women. Kate, in particular, gives me storytelling whiplash: fine, I can accept that she can be playful Freckles AND come *this* close to blowing Aldo's knee off when they're rescuing Karl, but still.

Thank you brightening up this damn endless hiatus.

Anonymous said...

Great as always!!


Anonymous said...

Absolutely one of the most interesting and thought-provoking threads of all times. Keep up the great work! -- Lisa

surfmadpig said...

wow. bravo, that was an amazing read.

Also, using the screenshots makes it so much more pleasant and funny :D

I especially liked the part about the hero types. When you wrote about "the classical hero" - |Locke, the photo that followed the "true father" line - Alpert at his birth, gave me chills. I'd never thought of that. yikes

and, you really hit the nail on the head about Jack. He has been committing hubris for a while. Now that I'm putting lost into a classical drama mold in my head, Ben seems even more of a key figure. I think he's both an actor and the chorus, commenting on other's actions and straighforwardly feeding them hard truths.

wow. anyways, bravo again :D

Anonymous said...

If Fishbiscuit doesn't know where the show is going, we're doomed. ;) Seriously, though, it's hard to believe that we're 3/4 of the way through the story and still don't have a good fix on what this whole thing is really about. And hard to believe that they can really tie up all those loose ends--four-toed statue, anyone?--in the remaining 34 episodes.

Still, I always enjoy your recap. Really hadn't thought about casting Ben, rather than Jack or Locke, as the hero of the Hero's Journey--some very interesting thoughts there. And brava, again, for pointing out how much the female characters got the shaft. The whole season was spotty as far as character motivation and development went, but as usual the female characters really were just pieces to be moved around the board willy-nilly to serve this week's plot twist.

Ah, well, here's to more FB recaps and better days on the character front. If the episodes don't enlighten, the recaps help.


Anonymous said...

Good recap.
The only thing that irks me about your writing is that it has a self-important air in that the sentences all run into each other making it seem very epic and grandiose. Can get a bit tiresome but sorry for nitpicking. I just thought you needed some criticism after all this praise : )

Dr Mum said...

Love it but not so jovial as usual was it?

Anonymous said...

Four seasons and you'd think we would have some idea on where this tall tale is going, but alas. I guess that's one of the great things about the show if it isn't also equally frustrating. The distinction between the different hero types on the show was laid out well. Glad you pointed out not just the spotty characterisation and their motivations, but how poorly the women of Lost were handled this season. Pantless and ready for the plucking. Openly carrying on affairs with married men, or being dumped by ones who seem to think they are. Griefing at the speed of light to move on to the next plot. Being gunned down or watching their husband go down in flames. Here's hoping next season is better for the women, and they'll get to play hero too...or at least get to keep their pants on.

Anyways...great review as usual.


Anonymous said...

These words for me sums it up, can't think of a better way to put it for this show: "clues and references and symbols and images, collected from every culture and every genre, all sucked down into a funneling maelstrom where they're reconstituted into this one of a kind story." I LOVE this recap more and more every time I read it. There really isn't any part of it that isn't worth the read. So much to think about and all of it seems so relevant to the show -- and the season.

My favourite theory is the Whacky Whirlpools theory too! I'm going to call it that from now on! (",) Love your analysis on the different types of heroes too, my favourite being the Romantic Hero of course since a certain bad boy fits the bill. ;)

Thanks for the thought-provoking read Fishbiscuit. Already looking forward to next year's installments and your take on it all! Your entries are as much of a "must" every week when the show airs, as watching the show itself!

~ Midnight

Anonymous said...

Pathetic. You're waaaaaaaaay off.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic. You're waaaaaaaaay off.

Why are Fishbiscuit's critics always such illiterates with nothing to offer other than their mindless disdain? It seems like Lost has attracted, in addition to brilliant fans like Fishbiscuit, a weird subcult of hero-worshipping idiots who insist on seeing this intensely complicated show as just The Story of Jack. If you insult their god, they just lash out and expose their own stupidity.

I have to reread this review a few more times, because there's so much in here. Thanks for all this but I really have to wonder. Why are you throwing your pearls before the swine at Dark UFO? It's nothing but a sewer of insecure fanboys and drooling Jaters over there. They can't possibly appreciate all the levels of Lost. It's wasted on them, just like your awesome work is.

NiCoLaS said...

that was great!

isabelle said...

Brilliant as usual fish! keep it up! and don't listen to the patheitc jaters/jack fans who can't see past "dr druggie" (love the nickname fish) being the be all and end of things. they don't appreciate your writing but don't worry cos the rest of us do!! :) :) :)

can't wait til season 5 so we can get another fish review!

Anonymous said...

Great recap! I too will need to read it again in order to truly savor it, but I really liked your examination of the four hero types. I think you're spot on!


shar said...

Wow, that was an amazing essay to read! I'm glad I'm on summer vacation so I had time to read it. I enjoyed it so much I've forwarded it to some friends and have been reading your previous posts from this year. In reading these I realize that you are into the shipper thing, which is fine with me. I actually like both aspects of LOST. I don't really have fav ship, but Sawyer is one of my fav characters. I hope you will continue to blog during the hiatus, to give me something else to read regarding LOST.
Great job and thanks!!!

tina_nettles said...

If I send a link to this essay (and I will) to everyone I know, does that make me a fish-monger or a fishbiscuit dispenser?

alvar_hanso said...

I like this recap, the ability you have to weave the imagery into the dialogue gives your essays a certain flow that others miss. Your analysis of the various hero archetypes is original (i think) so congrats on that. Also you nailed it the women got shafted this season, Kate especially was disappointing. I'm hoping they really step up next season especially Juliet and Charlotte. Also is it too much to ask for more Rose?
We do disagree on one thing though, I loved pantsless Kate and I don't think it cheapened the character, the stepford mom thing and wonky trial did.

On the other hand you seem to attract the riff-raff of lost fans, anyone who would talk down to darkufo, by far the greatest Lost fan site has their head up their own ass. Disclaimer, im no "Jater" or for that matter Jack fan, but it does get tiresome listening to some fans endlessely blabber on about how much they hate the character. Its a downer, for example when Charlie was alive I always hated him, but I wouln't post just to reinforce it, cause why bother? Lots of people were huge Charlie fans, no need for me to hassle them. Also just to note its likely that Jack will end up being the "hero" type guy in the end since the writers use him as the lense for the audience, i hope lots of Jackhaters don't think poorly of the show (which is brillant) if that happens.

Anonymous said...

Personally I LOVE that people take the stuffing out of Dark UFO. Is his site by far the greatest Lost site? I don't know. He steals spoilers from everywhere, betrays the show in the way he has now spoiled TWO great finales, and he prints media people send him, often without crediting the source. I guess there's other nerdy stuff there, but those are the only parts I've checked out. Frankly the only thing about his site that interests me is that he publishes Fish's reviews, though I'm not sure why she bothers.

Will Jack be the hero in the end? Can we ever hope to have a hero that isn't rich, white, and male? You may well be right, but if Lost sticks to that kind of uncreative path, it WILL get criticised and rightly so. We all expect more from Lost than same old same old.

talliann said...

Brilliant review. All the theories, the character and analysis of the different scenarios is simply amazing. Very well structured and written.

Logic and misteries mixed and separate just to show us a new vision of the facts.

Thank you Fish for that fantastic review

"Now that Kate has stopped groveling and has kicked Doctor Oxy to the curb, is it too much to hope that she might finally become a character self-respecting women can root for?" I'm wondering and hoping for this too.

Anonymous said...

What I love so much about this reviewer is that she is the only one I've ever come across who sees the show in a holistic fashion. She sees the whole show. I know she supposedly has this shipper bias thing, but I don't see one place that it effects her insights. Fanboy types only see the geek things. Jack fans insist on seeing some Jack Show that never existed. Only Fishbiscuit seems to see the whole picture. The characters, the sci fi, the philosophy, the artistry. I think TPTB would endorse this reviewer over any other. I really do, because no other reviewer looks at the big picture the way she does. She's probably off on a lot of things, but at least she's trying to find all the connections, and I don't think anyone can understand Lost unless they try to find those.

So great! I'm going to read you here and not subject myself to the moronic comment section at Darkufo any more. I hope you keep it up and ignore the idiots.

- Carrielynne

Anonymous said...

Brilliant...BRILLIANT stuff Fish. You continue to entertain and amaze me with every post.

And I have to say that I am pleased that alot of people are coming over her from DarkUFO to read you here now. Separate fromt he environment of hate, envy and blind Jack-worship that he seems to have created and encouraged over there.

Keep doing what you do!

Anonymous said...

LOL, how can the Fish's fans be the riff raff of fans? Because they don't worship DarkUFO? It's not the Fish fans writing nasty comments about how her work sucks, even though they don't read it. It's not fish's fans that ruin commments sections with slobber about their Matthew Fox fetishes.

Fish's fans are among the smartest Lost fans there are. Just the fact that they are fans of this kind of writing tells you that. Plus grovelling hero worship is for dogs, not people, whether it's worshipping a phony hero or a website admin.

alvar_hanso said...

Some great points about Darkufo letting out some major spoilers, lots of people were pissed about that, I wasn't one of them. If you don't want to read spoilers, then don't.

Carrielynn, what exactly is a holistic perspective to watching a tv show? This one's new to me. I think fishbiscuit is one of the top 3 reviewers that I regulairly read, I also like Erika and Vozzek69.

Also to that last blogger, lets all put away the weapons and slowly drop our hands....
I don't care about dark ufo at all, whoever he is. But his site rules when I want to join LFL, character and episode cup which is very entertaining, also I get to see summaries of connections, books, whispers, etc. that are hard to find elsewhere. Plus the rumours and spoilers sections are unparalleled. On the other hand the forum is whatever, same with chat and there is like 12 other headings that I've never used. But it beats the other lost sites that I view regularly (ODI, doc artz, lost forums, theories, and the j.wood reviews) by a handy margin. By the way, last time I checked reading a site was not akin to a politcal allegiance, its lost for gods sake, you should relax. lol

Food for thought, going to lost fansites to chat about these things makes us all fanboys or fangirls.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand where you are coming from Alvar_hanso.

There are some aspects of DarkUFO that are you mentioned the Character Cups and various Hiatus activities that are held over there. But even in these things you can see a bias which makes it less fun.

The atmosphere of hate that I speak of is mainly in the comments section. Comments that the administrators over there allow to stand even though they are inflammatory. And the blatant bias that exists in the people in charge, has made this quite clear:

1) If you are not a Jack fan, you're the stupidest person ever.

2) Shippers are not welcome, because shippers are stupid

3) An exception to rule 2, would be shippers who like JACK (and Kate, only because she is the other half)

4) You must not like Sawyer, or if you do, you must not express it.

Spoilers and such can be gotten elsewhere. I don't need to put up with what's going on over there.


Anonymous said...

Holistic means as a unified whole, alvar hanso, One of my frustrations with other Lost reviewers is they come at it from a very limited mind set. Like they may be great with the sci fi theories or the fantasy theories, but all the rest of it, the book references or the religious images and so on, they never seem to really integrate them into their interpretation. They're like pretty little "easter eggs" (hence the nickname I guess) but they're not really meaningful, except as decoration.

I like this review because it gives equal credit to the philosophical and religious and character connections.

If a fan enjoys games I can see why Dark UFO is a fun place, but you can get more and better information at lostpedia, and without the sneering contempt that Dark and his minions have for Sawyer fans. I realize it's mostly the jealousy of insecure boys and of threatened shippers, but it's still incredibly insulting how blatant the unequal treatment of fans is. It wouldn't bother me if I got something else out of the site, but I find the games silly, so that isn't a selling point for me.


LostTvFan said...

I’m sorry, but when you title your own site DarkUFO - The No.1 Fan Site for the TV Show LOST IMO you may have gotten just a little too full of yourself. Especially since Dark appears to have no direct connection to Lost or the show runners and simply acts as a collector of information from other sources. That said, he often belittles those sources; E!Online's Kristin for example, while still posting the tidbits, spoilers, interviews or videos that were actually given to the very people he is dishing. People who have an actual connection to TPTB. I find that a little ungracious. I am troubled by his dismissal of the female audience (who he identifies as shipper) and who make up almost one half of Lost’s fanbase, somewhere between short sighted and misogynistic.

But enough of that. I am happy to see so many Lost fans coming directly to The Fish's blog to read and comment. She is by far one of the best reviewers and I will have to read this again to absorb it all. The four types of heroes was an eye opener; although I have always felt it was short sighted of Damon and Carlton to keeping touting Jack as THE hero as, at different times, almost all of the characters have done heroic things--EVEN the women!

Speaking of women, I went back and read The Women of Lost, one of The Fish's best essays. Like so many other female fans, I am hoping for better things from Lost based on the potential storylines for Sun, Kate, Juliet and Claire. The Fish is the one of the few Lost reviewer who has pointed out the sad lack of strong women on a show where they started out as a staple.

Bravo Fish, I hope you have some other 'words of wisdom' or just continue to bring the 'funny' throughout the long hiatus!

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT dissertation/essay.

...but YIKES. Where did the Lost Diaries go?! I keep getting a 404 on the actual parent web page. I can't think of any another place where the visitors might actually know the answer..

Anonymous said...

I see there's a bit of bashing of DarkUFO here. At first I thought it was shocking, but then I remember how Dark UFO never defends Fishbiscuit when his fans bash her into the ground on his site. I guess what goes around comes around.

Dr Mum said...

DarkUFo posted Fishbiscuitland on his site for his readers. I for one, would not of seen her stuff at all, if wasn't for him!?
He does occasionally cut a comment but mostly it is a 'hands off' approach. I read selectively so I am not able to deduce any bias. Who reads 100% of it anyway?
There have been some excellent, not in the least moronic, theories posted there too. I really don't understand some of this commentary.

shar said...

I agree with Dr. Mum. I don't usually even read the comments. I have lately because I'm on vacation. I find it kind of silly that people are arguing about something that we all love LOST. I usually just read the parts of many sites that I like and don't worry about people who have different opinions from me. I read some parts of DarkUFO and also found Fishbiscuitland from his site. So if it wasn't for Dark I wouldn't be enjoying all of her blogs.

PsychedelicRelic said...

Did you realize that the wheel Ben is turning is the Dharmic wheel -- 8 spokes?

Anne said...

Yeha, that's pretty cool about the Dharmic wheel. I think the Fish pointed that out in the recap of the finale. Or was it one of the other episode recaps. Anyway, she did bring it up.

I do like that the Lost writers draw from many religions to enrich their story.

Anonymous said...

This is a great review as usual, except for one thing - your Jack bashing has become really tiresome. I get that you don't like him, and prefer Sawyer (And i REALLY hope it isn't for "shipper" reasons) but you don't need to constantly blindly run him down. As the "lens" of the show, as someone rightly said, Jack in a way represents us as the viewers, and if he turns out to be a "worthless Dr Druggy" in the end, then that'll be a let down for the viewership.

Some facts:

1) I am a huge Jack fan
So now most people will have written me off as some sort of mindless "jater", who from what I have seen on internet sites are moronic and illiterate.
2) I am a huge Kate fan
Further proof, if it were needed, that I am a lowlife JATER.
3) I think i MAY ACTUALLY be in love with Josh Holloway/Sawyer
WHAT?!?! How is that possible??? A Jack/Kate fan who also loves Sawyer? From what I've seen on sites and comment forms like this one, such a thing is rare to nonexistent. What sort of weird creature am I?

I am not a shipper (although if I was I'd be a Mater (me and Kate ;)). SHIPPERS, from what I have seen, and what I have seen is far too much, ARE BAD FOR THE SHOW!

Something Nice Back Home - A GREAT EPISODE. Some great twists, a plot that emphasises one of Jack's major flaws, great flash stuff, and the plot was moved forward. Excellent. However, on the msg boards for that week, you couldn't MOVE for the shipper comments. OK, it was a Jater episode, that has been coming since she sewed his wound in pilot. I loved it. I Do - A skater episode, that had been coming since Sawyer stole a kiss in "Confidence Man" - I loved it.

Shippers - you're only hurting yourselves! I really can NOT understand how a LOST fan can watch such a mindblowingly good show and dislike it because of a meaningless relationship squabble. This is not what Lost is about. Kate could end up with Jacob for all it would affect my love for the show.

In a forum chat recently I was talking to a girl about Matthew Fox. She "despised" him for being arrogant, selfish, the usual stuff. When I pushed her on why this was, she started talking about Sawyer, and Skate. When I said I wanted to hear about Jack, not Jate, or relationships, but JACK, she left, complaining that I "couldn't understand". On that note:

CHARACTER bashing: Stupid, but tolerable
ACTOR bashing: Pathetic, and worthless

Sadly I see insults heaped at "Matthew Fox" and "Josh Holloway" all the time, when the posters beefs are with Jack and Sawyer.


Sorry to talk for so long. Being dismissed as a Jater (and in a derogatory way) just for defending Matthew Fox struck me as so stupid that I had to vent somewhere.

Shippers, enjoy your ships. But they aren't the be all and end all of Lost, never has been, and never will come close. The petty fights between Jate and Skate are nothing short of annoying.

Like I said Fish, it is a FANTASTIC article, I just wish you weren't so one sided in your treatment of Jack.

MyHanh said...

Fivebretz, I agree with you this is an awesome article, but what I don't get is - where's the jack bashing? He IS Dr. Druggy, is he not? If you love Jack so much, you must realize he's a fairly despicable character much of the time.

I think Fish is maybe the only reviewer who sees Jack as he's intended. I have no idea where the Jack lovers are coming from most of the time. Loving a fictional character doesn't have to mean being blind to his actual characterization. The mainstream press seems to have no problem with the real Jack, as a despicable, selfish jerk. I don't see what's wrong with Fish expressing her very educated opinion about him. She should call it like she sees it, not try to placate irrational jack worshippers.

Anonymous said...

Now that I've read the rest of this blog, I actually want to disassociate myself from it, just forget I was even here.

lostieforever said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Fabulous essay, Fish. I think this is one of your best yet. The first two years of LOST found me scrutinizing and researching everything and jumping in on any and all speculation. I've lost that enthusiasm for the most part, but when I read your gems it gets me excited about the show again.

So much time goes by and things get forgotten but you bring it all back and then some. Always indepth, intelligent and humorous. Crazy good.


Watch Lost said...

Yeah, it's definitely a joke that the writers are making with us. There is no way that they will reveal all of the secrets that we are interested in knowing about the Lost universe. It just isn't possible...