Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lost Theory: The Count von Count Hypothesis

As Locke so brashly demanded of Ben in the last episode (Confirmed Dead), "What is the Smoke Monster?" One of the most obscure mysteries of the LOST series is "smokey," the nebulous smoke monster that creeps around the Island. Smokey has kept many of us intrigued, confused, and inordinately discombobulated at the end of many an episode. So what is this "thing" that doesn't like electric fences, mystics with Big carved sticks, airline pilots, or dynamite?

Locke doesn't know. Jack doesn't know. Palo doesn't know. Vincent doesn't know. Ben says he doesn't know. Nobody seems to know! However, after a recent brainstorm, I've conjured up a hypothesis that I submit for peer review.

Background: The theory begins at the beginning. In the first episodes, Kate walks by as Jack is crocheting his side back together. He needs Kate's help, but she is hesitant, partly because she's nervous about being around a grown man crocheting, and partly because she's afraid. To ease her mind, Jack tells her a moving story about being scared in the operating room. To quell the fear of failing, Jack begins to count, and his fears go away. This convinces Kate that Jack is legit, even though he knits.

Later, Jack, Kate, and Charlie go to the cockpit of the plane and find the pilot. Enter Smokey. The monster violently Jurassic Parks the pilot out of the plane. Kate is terrified. What will she do. She remembers Jack's sweet story and begins to count, 1-2-3-4-5. The terror subsides and she is able to face her fear of Smokey.

For a long time, this "counting motif" disappears from importance as the show catapults onward. Until this season. The season premiere, "The Beginning of the End," is Hurley-centric. In this episode, Hurley has several disturbing encounters with the forces of the Island. In two of these key encounters, Hurley employs "the counting" counter-offensive.

At one point during the episode, Hurley, grieving the loss of Charlie, falls behind on the trail in the middle of the dark jungle. After being alone for a few seconds, he begins to panic and starts running to catch up with the others. All of a sudden, he sees an old cabin (that we assume is "Jacob's cabin"). He peeps in. Someone peeps out. Hurley gets creeped out and bolts, only to have the cabin reappear in the exact opposite direction (think Desmond trying to leave the Island on his sailboat but sailing right back somehow no matter which way he turned). At this point, it's clear to him that he is seeing some sort of Island-induced apparition. However, he makes the cabin disappear by counting, 1-2-3-4-5. Poof. No more cabin.

Later, we see a flash of Hurley in the future. He sees Charlie, who tries to convince him to go back to the Island. Hurley is having none of it, and He wants Charlie to stop slapping him and Vamoos. To make him go away, Hurley once again begins to count. 1-2-3-4-5, and Charlie's gone.

Interestingly, while Hurley is convinced that, "The Numbers are Cursed," he uses numbers to combat the forces of the Island.

The Count von Count Hypothesis: Here's my theory. The smoke monster is the distant cousin of another legendary monster, namely, Count von Count. The Count, you will recall, had a powerful ability of influence that resonates well with Island happenings. In his glory days, "following a counting session, the Count would laugh maniacally, "AH AH AH AH AH!" as thunder roared overhead and lightning flashed, and as the total of the number appeared on screen. He also possessed hypnotic powers and could stun people, and he wouldn't let anything get in his way of counting" (via).

Smokey is the black sheep of the family and was banned after he suggested that they should work the alphabet into their act a little more. While most of the Count von Count clan embraces numerology, Smokey, on the other hand, fears these numbers. He is undaunted in every way except his terror of the well-placed integer.

This perfectly explains why Kate could avert him at the plane, and Hurley could escape him at the cabin and at the mental institution. They pulled out something he never counted on. When someone begins to count, you can count on "Smokey"/the Island bending to the given counter's will. Note: this theory conflates the smoke monster with every other force on the Island. As the final seasons progress, this phenomenon will surely develop.

At this point you cannot decide if I'm actually being serious, or if I've Lost it. Thus, you can't decide if you should concur with my stellar deductions, or remain convinced you have needlessly Lost 6 1/2 minutes of your life reading this ridiculous post.

1-2-3 . . . Ah, Ah, Ah . . .

4-5-6 . . . Ah, Ah, Ah . . .

Mixing insight with absurdity

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