So, how did I get from Lost to Star Trek for this particular post? Well, it had to be Next Generation’s “Skin of Evil,” an episode I started thinking about when Lost fans started talking crap about Jacob after the Lighthouse episode. I’ve always talked crap about him. I thought he was a manipulative jerk but suddenly people started wondering whether he was the good guy everyone thought he was or something else?
While refreshing my memory of Skin of Evil by looking at the final draft of the script I saw Picard’s line in a final conversation with the adversarial alien Armus. He said, “Nothing in the universe is the same as anything else. But everything has light and dark.” Though the line didn’t make it into the final cut of the episode it did make me think of this:
The iconic shot of Locke that started the debate: Dark vs Light or Good vs Evil. Though lately this debate has morphed into something else entirely as people realize Jacob isn't so much good as he is kind of an prick.
This lead me to start looking at how Star Trek might have influenced Lost and not surprisingly I’ve found quite a few similarities. Sure, some were obviously unintentional but others made me wonder… And I’m getting to the point though where I’m about to just say it… Lost, is basically Star Trek on an island. There. I did it… I put it out there. But am I so far off? Am I hopelessly lost in the Delta Quadrant drifting around with my Warp Core leaking radiation or have I just stumbled upon the wormhole home? Oh wow… I didn’t think I was nerdy enough to ever write that last line but sheesh, there it is. Okay then… moving on.
Please enjoy this list I’ve put together. This is only part 1 of a 2 or perhaps 3 maybe even 4 part blog. Oh… and if I’ve messed up any of my Star Trek mythology or technology, I apologize… It’s been years since I’ve watched anything from the franchise. Despite all those Trek conventions I attended in the 90’s, I’m a little rusty.
Now then… Shall we begin?
10 GENERAL COMMONALITIES LOST SHARES WITH STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION AND BEYOND.
LOGIC DEFYING LOCATION:
Every Science Fiction show needs a mysterious and dangerous environment to throw its cast into and on Lost, it was the island. Wait, what? Is that you thinking, “Hey, wait a minute! Lost’s creators insisted that this show was not SciFi!” Yeah, right people… if all along this show has been anything other than SciFi, then I’m really JJ Abrams writing this blog just to talk shit about my underlings, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. But I digress… The island is the hangout of seemingly omnipotent beings from which they spy on humans and where they bring them to make them dance for their supper.
The undressed Lost set in Oahu. Looks a little familiar... cut down those trees and add a few dozen tumbleweeds and it could pass for part of the Q Continuum.**
On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager there was the Q Continuum. Explained as an extra-dimensional plane of existence the Continuum is parallel to countless other dimensions. From there, a race of aliens know simply as Q observe other races and in particular tune into the human race as if they were watching a soap opera. These Q are omnipotent beings who occasionally bring unsuspecting humans to the Continuum and make them dance for their supper.
Here we see a part of the Q Continuum... shown here in the only way humans can comprehend it: as a country gas station.
AN OMNIPOTENT ONE:
These are the guys mentioned above and for the purposes here I’ll focus on just the two big kahunas. Jacob and Q. In either case, their intentions never seem to be they’re entirely good but they seem to want humans to succeed… It’s just that most of the time, they just have a really crappy way of showing it.
Lost’s Jacob can manipulate people, time and space. He’s got a magic mirror, a trans-dimensional light house beacon and a temple with healing waters. He can also catch fish with those cool basket traps thingys. If he put up a personal ad it would probably read something like, “SWM into Weaving, Egyptian Archaeology and Chess ISO: SMD, AB, B/D, BDSM,BHMBi CF, FA, IRS, FSHLSLDR oh screw it! ISO: anyone interested in being stalked, shot at, tied up, manipulated and possibly killed. If you’re interested in personal growth with a hint of cult-like devout-hood, I’m the one you seek. To respond to this Ad check yourself onto Flight 237 on Air Tahiti Nui on May 13, 2011.”
Jake even looks like a smug ass when handing out candy in the hospital.
While Star Trek’s Q is immortal, omniscient and omnipotent. He can teleport, travel through time and instantaneous transform matter-energy. He’s been known to move entire asteroid belts and stars, create alternate timelines and affect universal states of nature like the gravitational constant. I don’t think he knows how to fish with a basket though. Well, he might know how but I doubt he’d be able to it in practice. If he put up a personal ad it would probably read, “Q ISO… does it really matter? If I’m interested in you I’ll just pop in and bend your will to mine anyway. Only respond to this ad if you have been intimate with Jean Luc Picard.”
The original pompous time bending jerk, Q, accentuates his smug look with a flying, gold encrusted throne as he points fingers at lowly humans.
MAIN CONFLICT CENTERING ON THE NATURE OF MAN:
Jacob and his ol’ buddy The Man in Black (MIB) have an seemingly endless sissy fight about the human race. Can people change? Are they stuck being brutal savages? Jacob thinks they will figure out ways to make good decisions but MIB thinks the continually make the same mistakes and never learn anything.
MAN IN BLACK: I don’t have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you? JACOB: You are wrong.
MAN IN BLACK: Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.
JACOB: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.
Though, originally it was Q who thought that humankind had never learned from their mistakes and were still an immature life form in need of extermination. Picard on the other hand thought that humans had made, “rapid progress.”
- Q: But you can’t deny Captain, that you’re still a dangerous, savage child race. PICARD: Most certainly I deny it.
Everytime there is some kind of jump in time or the island moves, there is a blinding flash:
Blinding Flash was seen by the Oceanic 6 when, under orders from Jacob, Ben moved the island.
Bright flashes of light occur anytime Q appears or disappears.
This blinding flash occurred on the Starship Enterprise when Q decided he needed a wardrobe change. A little dramatic just to change clothes? Yes, but that is Q.
On Lost The DHARMA Initiative referred to the “natives” on the island (that we had come to know as The Others) as The Hostiles.
Kate is captured by a Hostile in a fake beard. He is seen here taking his hostility out on her (Is he mad that she is in his territory or over the shoddy manufacture of that beard?)
On Star Trek: TNG the Starship Enterprise was being pursued by what the crew called: The Hostile, who is actually Q.
Worf and Data monitor the progress of the Hostile.
On the island the group of ‘hostile’ natives mentioned above is also known as “The Others.” Danielle Rousseau, a booby trap loving woman with a thick French accent* is first to mention them.
DANIELLE: We were coming back from the Black Rock. It was them. They were the carriers. SAYID: Who were the carriers?
DANIELLE: The others.
Meanwhile, when her shuttlecraft crashes on the a remote planet called Vagra II, Troi is held captive by an alien entity called Armus. She uses her crazy empathic abilities to read Armus and utters the term “others” when referring to the people who had left him on the planet all alone.
- TROI: You were really surprised they came back. ARMUS: Yes.
TROI: Why? Because the others did not?
ARMUS: What others?
TROI: You can’t hide the emptiness from me. The others. The ones who hurt you.
DEAD HEADS (OF SECURITY):
It’s never a great idea to sign up for a security job when you live in an unforgiving enviorment full of danger. But these folks did and they paid dearly.
On the island, the DHARMA Initiative left their security up to Paul who was killed by a few hostiles while he was trying to picnic outside of the DHARMA sonic security fence.
In the episode "La Fleur" Paul, DHARMA's Security Chief lies dead on the slab.
On Star Trek: TNG Tarsha Yar’S impatience with a really grumpy alien entity named Armus lead to her demise.
Tasha Yar, Chief of Security on the Enterprise is killed on an away mission and lies dead in sickbay.
BLACK SHAPE-SHIFTING MURDEROUS MONSTER:
Speaking of Grumpy monsters… On the island there is a big old pillar of smoke that rushes around the island killing people. We don’t know much about him other than he can take human form, alleges that he was once an ordinary man and in his own words from LA X part 2: “I want the one thing that John Locke didn’t. I want to go home.” Most recently in the episode titled: Sundown, the smoke monster is referred to as, “evil incarnate.”
SAWYER: What are you? LOCKE: What I am is trapped. And I’ve been trapped for so long that I don’t even remember what it feels like to be free. Maybe you can understand that. But before I was trapped, I was a man, James. Just like you.
On Star Trek: TNG Deanna Troi is held captive by a black sludge monster in the “Skin of Evil” episode. We don’t know much about him other than he can take humanoid-ish form & enjoys being cruel. Troi, using her empathic ability deducts that he’d like to be reunited with the people who had discarded and abandoned him.
- ARMUS: I am alone. Abandoned. TROI: Who deserted you?
ARMUS: Creatures whose beauty now dazzles all who see them. They would not exist without me.
TROI: You were together?
ARUMS: They perfected a means of bringing to the surface all that was evil and negative within. Erupting, spreading, connecting…In time, it formed a second skin, dank and vile.
TROI: They discarded you and left.
Later, while talking to Picard, Armus calls himself the Skin of Evil and states that the former inhabitants of Vagra II were a race of titans who thought that if they rid themselves of him (the evil skin) they would be free from the bonds of destructiveness. (And in my words now) they shed themselves of this negative skin and left, leaving Armus a slimy glob of despair, evil and all things cruel and lonely. Picard also says that true evil would be to submit to Armus. To surrender their freedom and dignity instead of defying him. But that, to me, sounds as if he is describing how the Others have let Jacob control their lives. Hmmmm…
& NOW, PLEASE ALLOW A QUICK BREAK TO TALK THEORY:
So, I’m just gonna throw out the idea here about how Lost’s Smoke monster came to be? And it has to do with “the sickness” Think about it for a second. Remember what Danielle said about The Others? “We were coming back from the Black Rock. It was them. They were the carriers.” This is going to sound CRAZYTOWN but bear with me… this is a fun one. When we saw the Man in Black before the Black Rock got there, he was chillin’ all human style with Jacob on the beach. They had their argument that seemed to be a rehashing of a long-going disagreement. But MIB seemed pretty cool and level headed about it. What if, when the Black Rock got there they weren’t carrying a sickness but just a lot of anger and darkness? And what if by landing on Jacob’s healing island they managed to shed that dark, angry skin and it somehow glommed itself onto the nearest negative nelly, the MIB, turning him into some sort of negative, killing smoke machine? So now, this “sickness” as they say could be just negativity, hate, anger, despair, etc that is shed by people when they are healing on the island and it is just flying around with nowhere to go until it finds an despairing person who is the perfect ready vessel or empty sad sack available to be filled up with cloud of evil. Taking it one step further, what if the healing waters of the temple had healed one too many people and the scales were suddenly tipped? So you have all of that negative energy the water had washed away now floating around in that murky spring ready to enter an empty vessel, say a dying/dead person? What? This blog isn’t called “My Crazy Lost Theory” for nothing. Okay… moving on.
A LITTLE MORE ON BLACK MONSTERS:
Both Monsters are impervious to weapons. It’s almost as if using a firearm against them makes them stronger:
Just after FLocke deflects a bullet shot by one of Ilana's men, he transforms into his smoke form and kills four men as if it were child's play.
RIKER: The creature attacked us. Lt. Yar is down. DATA: It seems to feed on our phasers.
RIKER: We had no effect on it.
BLONDES WHO DIE MORE THAN ONCE:
Not only were Lost’s Shannon and Star Trek TNG’s Tasha the first female regular cast members to die on their series, they are also have multiple deaths on their respective shows.
On Lost, Boone has a drug induced dream that his sister Shannon dies at the hands, er, sooty grips of the smoke monster.
Boone cradles the body of his sister during his dream of her demise.
When Boone dies, Shannon falls in crazy love with Sayid. Then she actually dies when Ana Lucia accidentally shoots her.
Sayid is the one to cradle Shannon after her real death. I'll just say that it was much more sad and way less ooky watching Sayid mourn her death than Boone.
Star Trek’s Tasha was not just the first female regular, she was the first regular to die of the entire franchise:
A just about dead Tasha after getting a little zap from Armus.
She died shortly after this screen cap. There was a big memorial service on the Enterprise and everyone was very sad… but she did come back and die two more times during the TNG series:
Briefly, the Enterprise encounters a rift in space-time while on a routine mission. They encounter another ship and Tasha falls in crazy love with the ship’s captain. Later Guinan advises her to request a transfer to the this other ship because she’s from an alternate timeline (as is the ship). She transfers and later in the series we find out that she died trying to escape from the Romulans.
Guinan telling Tasha to go back to her alternate timeline.
And even more briefly, in the series finale “All Good Things.” Tasha also dies in a spatial anomaly.
Jeeze Hollywood… Do blondes really have to die (repeatedly) so often?
So, there you have it. 10 things Lost has in common with Star Trek. I’m currently working on compiling lists based on Character similarities, Time Travel scenarios and Literary and Pop Culture references. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking and yes… I’m just that geeky. Until then though… just one more thought….
*A FUN NOTE ABOUT ACCENTS:
The two women who first said the word “others” have a little something in common regarding their speechin’ skills. On Lost the older Rousseau as played by Croatian actress Mira Furlan and noticeably (to some) speaks with a strange French accent, those who understand french have noted that her pronunciation of certain French words is poor.
While on Star Trek: TNG Counselor Deanna Troi is played by Marina Sirtis, who was born in England to Greek parents. Her accent has been the topic of debate among Trekkies who note that her Betazoid mother Lwaxana Troi had no accent and Deanna herself had little contact with her human father, deceased Starfleet officer Lt. Ian Andrew Troi, and very little exposure to planet Earth culture. So, where did she get that accent?
The first person to find something notable about Jacob’s personal ad will get to option of writing a guest blog about your lost theory or win an authentic autographed photo of Q. Please leave your guess in the comments.
HINT: There are two possible answers both Lost related, and both obscure.
**Photo Credit, Oahu Lost Set shot: http://jesharris.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/24-hours-in-lost-land/
Until Next Time: “That douche is my dad”