Before moving forward, let's talk about Jughead for a minute. In light of the Sideways = Purgatory revelation, many of you find yourselves confused anew about the significance of the Incident. Your questions:
Did the bomb create the Sideways world?
My Interpretation: Absolutely not.
Theory: The Sideways world is a timeless realm that actually may be part of a larger ''Purgatory'' that has always existed, or it may be a pocket universe that began to form over time as the castaway soul cluster began to connect. It may have begun growing when Jacob began touching the Oceanic 815 subset of candidates. It may have begun forming even before the castaways were born, if you believe they were always destined to be together.
Did the bomb go off?
My Interpretation: No.
Theory: The Lost producers always insisted that they were ''anti-paradox'' when it came to their time travel story. The detonation of Jughead wasn't part of the fixed ''whatever happened, happened'' timeline. When the castaways attempted to reboot history by producing paradox, Jacob or perhaps the self-regulating force of time itself (''course correction,'' to use the show's jargon) prevented the detonation from occurring and brought the quantum leaping rule-breakers back to their proper era.
So why was The Island in the Sideways world at the bottom of the ocean in the season premiere?
My Theory: The Sideways world is a manifestation of the castaway soul cluster's collective yearning. They wanted a world where they never crashed on The Island. They wanted a world where The Island had no sway over their lives. Ergo, their purgatory paradise reflects that yearning.
More Prosaically: I have also seen The Island as a symbol for a world with objective meaning. Truth is ''out there;'' it can be sought and found, even if it ultimately requires individual interpretation. The destroyed Island in Sidewaysabad is a symbol for subjective, meaning-challenged world where the only things that are truly real the Island-world souls of the castaways are literally submerged and lost in the murky depths of their Sideways avatars.
In part one of the recap, I asked ''What did the Sideways world mean?'' and ''Was it truly dramatically necessary to Lost?'' We've asked these questions all season, but they're even more pertinent now that we know that the parallel world was a long con. To help answer these questions, let us first consult the literary reference that Lost gave us in the opening minutes of the season premiere: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. We saw Desmond reading it on the plane the Desmond that was wearing a wedding ring that went mysteriously MIA when he landed in Los Angeles. (Not a continuity error a clue, I think, to the unreality of the Sideways world and one more example of its dynamic, creative interconnection with The Island world.) The book poses a question that goes to the heart of the Sideways conundrum: ''What's the use of stories that aren't even true?''
NEXT: No hope, no love, no glory; No happy ending...