Doc Jensen

'Lost': Checking the Time

Is there a wormhole on the Island? Doc Jensen's thoughts. Plus: what to know for tonight's ep

Jeremy Davies, Lost (Season 4 -- Episode 3: The Economist) | ROCKET SCIENCE Doc asks his Magic 8-Ball: If Daniel Faraday did his experiment again, would the time differential be bigger, smaller, or even nonexistent?
Image credit: Mario Perez
ROCKET SCIENCE Doc asks his Magic 8-Ball: If Daniel Faraday did his experiment again, would the time differential be bigger, smaller, or even nonexistent?

THE TEASE!
Do you REALLY need one after last week's massive download of coy hints and contextual info for all of season 4 from exec producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof? Of course you do!

DOC JENSEN: Last season, you touted the Desmond-centric episode ''Flashes Before Your Eyes'' by saying that it ''uses the flashback device in a way you've never seen before — and will never see again.'' Does tonight's Desmond-centric outing, ''The Constant,'' uphold that pledge?

DAMON LINDELOF: '''The Constant' upholds that pledge, unpledges it, then repledges it. Also, there's a really cool auction in it.''

An auction scene? With the nifty numbered paddles? I'm there!

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TIME DIFFERENTIAL: THE MAGIC 8-BALL SPEAKS!
In which Doc Jensen shakes his magical Orb of Knowing at a burning question for the sake of edifying Lost theorymaking.

According to Daniel Faraday's rocket experiment, there is a 31-minute time differential between the Island and the freighter. However, we have seen the freighter folk communicate with their ship in real time via satellite phone. Many fans want to know: Is this a continuity error?
MAGIC EIGHT BALL: No.

How do you explain it?
MEB: How do YOU explain it? You're going to have to work a little here, ''Doc.''

Harrumph! Well...could it be that there are certain frequencies that aren't affected by whatever forces account for the time differential?
MEB: Ding! Ding! Ding! See? These Lost mysteries aren't so mysterious! Try another one. How about the time differential? What's your theory on that?

Oh, great. We're really going to show the world just how weak-ass my physics game is. Okay: Clearly, we're dealing with Einstein/general theory of relativity here —
MEB: Oh, ''clearly.'' You don't know what you're talking about, do you?

How come you're talking like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men now?
MEB: ''Now''? Now is not a time. Sigh. Doc, have you ever tried just thinking about these mysteries more — oh, I don't know — simply? Let's start with the most interesting thing about the time differential scene, which wasn't the differential itself — it was Faraday's reaction to the differential. Remember what it was?

I remember he wasn't exactly happy.
MEB: If that's how you want to characterize it, fine. Now, what might that suggest?

That he got a result that he wasn't expecting?
MEB: Go on.

That maybe the time differential isn't ''constant,'' to use the title of tonight's episode. Like, maybe if Faraday did his rocket experiment again, the differential would be bigger, smaller, or even nonexistent.
MEB: Very good. Now, I'm not going to tell you which of those three possibilities is correct. But...all three point to one idea about the Island that all Lost theorists should keep in mind. Can you figure it out, ''Doc''?

Why are you mocking me? Don't mock me! I didn't invent you as a storytelling device just so you could make fun of me, Magic Eight Ball! We can just as easily never do this again and then you wouldn't exist anymore!
MEB: So my current status is highly...''unstable''?

Damn skippy! As unstable as Jacob's Shack! As unstable as the Hatch! As unstable as...as...all the varied forms of Dr. Marvin Candle! Yeah! You're a flickering candle, Magic Eight Ball, and I'm going to snuff you out! Your wick is dwindling! Even now, the wax of your existence is pooling in the saucer of my — WAITAMINUTE! Is that what you've been trying to tell me? That the Island flickers in and out of existence like my candle analogy? That the laws of physics themselves are in constant flux on the Island?
MEB: As always, you get ahead of yourself and make everything so much more complex than it needs to be. Just keep this one word in mind: unstable. Now let's go grab a taco.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

A man and his son reenacting Lost episodes with action figures!

NEXT PAGE: The episode 5 cheat sheet

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