Friday, September 11

Too Much Information 5: Mirrors and Delays

TMI 5: Mirrors and Delays

Welcome back to "Too Much Information," the companion column to "Lost: The Rewatch" at

In this edition I'll be briefly reexamining two aspects of "Lockdown." You can read my initial column for the episode at Chud. Just follow the link in the last post from Thursday. Once you've done that, come on back and let's get obsessive!


I've spent a lot of time during the rewatch pointing out instances where events, characters, or themes have acted as mirrors to reflect and/or distort other events, characters and themes. One of these mirrorings occurs in "One Of Them," with that episode serving to reflect Sayid and Ben's characters between Season 2 and Season 5. You can read my ramblings on that instance of mirroring right HERE.

It only occured to me after I'd already written up "Lockdown," but there's another possible mirror in that episode that's in the same style as the Ben/Sayid mirror I wrote about above. Let's consider Ben and Locke.

In "Lockdown" we're shown John becoming literally and figuratively isolated, both in flashback and on the Island. That isolation is mirrored in the Season 5 episode "The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham."

In "Lockdown," Locke's isolated space is the section of the Swan that closes around him, locking him in. It's both literal and figurative, in that Locke's Swan isolation can be seen as an extended metaphor for how Locke becomes isolated and cut off in his flashback. In "Jeremy Bentham" that space is the motel room John has rented out. He's become isolated and cut off in his efforts to reunite the Oceanic 6.

In "Lockdown" Ben comes to John's rescue in that space. In "Jeremy Bentham" Ben appears to come to the rescue, and instead murders Locke. Interestingly (and this is the point where you call the men in white coats for me), "Lockdown" is the seventh-to-last episode of Season 2. "Jeremy Bentham" is the seventh episode of Season 5.

What does this mean? It means that I've fallen prey to psychosis, most likely. But in a broader sense the mirroring I'm talking about is very much present throughout this show, and I suspect that there is a thematic and/or structural reason for the writers to so consistently reinforce this across the seasons. If you go back and read the Season 2 columns you'll see that I've attempted to point out some instances of this mirroring. What I'd love to hear are theories about the purpose of this. Why do you think Lost is attempting to do something that's simultaneously difficult/ambitious and obscure/strange?

If I were to float an idea about this, I'd suggest that the effort at mirroring is meant to represent and to strengthen the show's internal preoccupations with notions of 'The Other,' with reflection (meaning reflection upon one's life, the ways in which people can reflect each other, and the way in which events can reflect other events) and with Apophenia, which is the compulsion to find order or meaning in the random/meaningless.

Like Seasons 2 and 5, I suspect that Seasons 3 and 4 will also mirror one another. I'll point out potential instances of this phenomenon as it pops up. But you already know too much about what I think. What do you think?


In my write-up of "Lockdown" I speculated on how and why the Dharma food pallet got to the Island. I suggested that (a) delivery was automated, (b) Dharma wasn't aware of its operations becoming compromised, or (c) were aware, but continued to make necessary food drops because of the importance of the Swan.

Chud commentor 'Francis Wolcott' (whose name makes me fear for any Ladies Of The Night in his general vicinity, but who seems decidely non-sociopathic in his posts) noted that there's another possibility I didn't mention and that, in retrospect, should have been obvious (or at least worth bringing up):

The unique time corridors that apparently surround the Island and make traveling to or from it such a difficulty and a hazard may have caused a significant lag between when the food was dropped and when it arrived on the Island. That makes a lot of sense (in terms of the rules of this show at any rate - it probably sounds like unhinged crazy-talk to anyone who doesn't know how far off the map of relative normalcy Lost has gone over the past two seasons) and I thought it was worth pointing out.

Also worth pointing out: two of this blog's commentors have floated ideas about the food drop in the blog post for "Lockdown," and they're worth a read.

Next week will hopefully bring three new Rewatch columns, which I intend to start in on this weekend. If you're reading and enjoying this blog and/or the columns I encourage you to forward them on to friends, to give me free advertising on the web sites you frequent, and to tattoo your backs with the Back To The Island web address.

Catch up on Too Much Information!

Too Much Information 4: Gods and Musicians - How The Mythologizing of The Beatles Helps Us Understand the Reality of the Dharma Initiative

Too Much Information 3: Loopholes and Prison-feet

Too Much Information 2: Who is the MiB?

Too Much Information: Stimulus/Response and Control Theory, or How I Learned To Start Behaving And Love Course Correction


  1. The mirroring could have a more literal symbolism as well, that of a time loop in the making, if indeed there has been some sort of reset that has occurred as a result of Juliette and Jughead.

  2. Interesting thought, Greg. I'm definately getting a "Dark Tower"-ish sense of events being repeated over and over. I'm wondering now if Lost won't choose to end itself similarly to how the final 'Tower' novel ended.

  3. "The Man in Black fled across the island, and the spinal surgeon followed."