I remember the exact moment my relationship with Lost changed from giggly enjoyment to full-on brain-crush obsession. It was the very first scene of season 2, which indirectly introduced elements that would come to define the show – Desmond, Dharma, the Swan, the Island’s mysterious energy, an occasional fascination with the music of Mama “Cass” Elliott. The second season of Lost felt like a deep-dive into all sorts of upper-stratosphere stuff – philosophy, quantum physics, implications of alternate universes and mysterious forces, yeesh, maybe even time travel. Fortunately for obsessives like me, EW’s Jeff “Doc” Jensen started writing regular Lost columns that year, relentlessly postulating brain-teasing theories regarding the show’s multiplying mysteries. Next week, just in time to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Lost’s controversial series finale, Doc Jensen will at long last deliver his long-promised final Lost column. To get you psyched, we decided to dig back into the encyclopedia-sized Jensen archive to re-examine Doc’s theories. What was your favorite Doc Jensen theory? Here are mine…
Some of them were far off the mark; some of them were surprisingly on the money; and at least a few of them made quite a bit more sense than the show’s actual answers. That’s part of the fun about writing (and reading) about TV shows: You’re on the journey right alongside the show’s creators, with plenty of detours (Hydra Island!) along the way. Here are three of my favorite Doc Jensen theories. Now tell us yours!
The “Evil Aaron” Theory: An oldie but goodie from one of Doc’s first columns, this early attempt at a unified theory of Lost proposed that the Dharma Initiative had engaged in the human testing of test subjects who possessed psychic powers (a strongly implied plot point back in the days before the actor playing Walt grew too tall too quickly). One of these test subjects, a man named Aaron, had died as a result of electromagnetic testing, but his radioactive corpse was stored inside of the Swan station. Aaron’s ghost haunted the island, seeking a new body – and he found one, in the form of Claire’s unborn baby (whose name, “Aaron,” he psychically suggested.) You could actually argue that elements of this theory were surprisingly spot-on – the Man in Black was, after all, a dead being seeking a form of resurrection.
The “Grandfather Pair ‘o Docs” Theory: In the middle of season 5’s “316,” we were randomly introduced to a new character: Jack Shephard’s grandfather. The scene stuck out for a lot of reasons – especially considering Lost’s obsession with father figures – and it led Doc to theorize that Grampa Shephard was, in fact, an older time-tossed Jack, sending his younger self off on a great adventure.
The “Henry Gale is Gay” Theory: The best thing about Lost in the early days was that, because we knew so little about all the characters, we were free to assume literally anything about them. That was especially true of Michael Emerson’s “Henry Gale,” the mysterious man captured by the castaways. “Henry” claimed to have crashed on the island in a balloon on a honeymoon adventure with his wife – who was buried under the crash site. At the crash site, Sayid found a buried body… but that body was a man named Henry Gale. Doc’s theory:
“The Henry Gale that’s dead and buried under the balloon really is the spouse of the fake Henry Gale. The two men were ballooning around the world on their honeymoon when they crashed on the island, and the real Henry died of the mysterious disease. ‘Henry’ lied to the castaways because he wasn’t quite sure how enlightened they were on the issue of gay marriage.”
Way off? Sure, but man, that would’ve been awesome!
Your turn, readers! What were your favorite Doc Jensen theories, postulations, and solutions?