Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lost Theory Question #6: The Real Henry Gale

Today we're off to see the wizard!

There are a lot of flashbacks I'd still like to see on the show: Danielle, Richard Alpert, Marvin Candlewickhead, more Ben. Unfortunately, two of the flashbacks I'd like most to see involve dead characters: Libby and the original Henry Gale.

Libby's backstory we're supposed to get through the eyes of another, yet undisclosed character. However, there are currently no plans to tell Henry's tragic tale. And that, to me, is a shame.

Despite him being just a pile of bones underneath a bright happy grave marker, we actually know a good deal about Mr. Gale. First off, his driver's license:

We know he hails from Minnesota and would have been 40 years old at present island time. Also, given that his license expires in 2003 and assuming that it was current, he must have crashed prior to that year. Lostpedia also says that since Minnesota has a four-year license renewal period, it seems likely he crashed between 1999-2003.

Of course, provided it's not a prop error, it's possible Henry crashed only a year prior to the rest of the Losties. The $20 bill that he wrote his farewell note to Jenny on was issued in October of 2003, meaning his license could have been expired and that he crashed sometime either late 2003 or early 2004.

And speaking of the note, it read:
Well you were
right. Crossing
the Pacific
isn't easy.
I owe you a
beer. I'm
hiking to one of
the beaches to
start a
signal fire, but
if you're reading this,
I guess I didn't make it.
I'm sorry,
I love you Jenny,
always have,
always will.
So Henry crashed in the valley, wrote a note on a bill and stuffed in his wallet, then hiked to the beach. The question now is what happened in between? Did he die of natural causes or did the Others kill him?

Obviously the Others at least found his body and buried him, but Ben (under interrogation) seemed to know an awful lot about Henry Gale:

Sayid Tell me about this balloon.
Henry GaleWhat?
Sayid This balloon that brought you here with your wife. Tell me about it.
Henry GaleWhat do you want to know?
Sayid Everything.
Henry GaleShe's 140 feet high, 60 feet wide. And when she's up in the air 550,000 thousand cubic feet of helium and a 100,000 thousand of hot air keep her up. And if you could look down on her you'd see a big yellow smiley face on top.
Sayid Why would you travel in that way?
Henry GaleBecause I was rich. Because it was my dream. And Jennifer thought it would be neat.
Sayid You were rich?
Henry GaleI guess I'm thinking of things in the past tense now. How's that for optimism?
Sayid What did you do to become so rich?
Henry GaleI sold my company.
Sayid What kind of company?
Henry GaleMining.
Sayid What did you mine?
Henry GaleWe mined non-metallic minerals. I know, everyone wanted to talk to me at cocktail parties.
Sayid Give me your hands. Give me your hands!

Ben could have made up the balloon facts and gotten Jennifer's name from the note in his wallet (I'm sure Ben knew of the note, he just didn't think Sayid would dig up the grave - or a least he hoped he wouldn't). But the fact that he knew Henry Gale was rich, that he sold his company and that they mined non-metallic metals is awfully personal.

But Ben didn't have to interrogate Henry to find out everything about him. If they can have files on all of the Losties, they could have easily found out everything on Mr. Gale. How? Well, his balloon gives that info away:

His company is the "Minnesota Metallurgy Mining Co.," a company likely inspired by 3M, and the two ads on the side are from "Mr. Cluck's" and "Nozz-A-La Cola," the latter being a brand prominently featured in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

Now I've spoken about how I think the Dark Tower fits into Lost before, especially in the context of the season finale. But the fact Nozz-A-La is on the side of Henry's balloon is especially interesting. In Book 4 of the Dark Tower, Wizard and Glass, the heroes of the book end up traveling through a "thinny," basically a portal to another dimension, and end up in the version of Topeka, Kansas found in "The Stand."

They eventually come to a great glass palace, which one of the characters from our world recognizes as a twisted version of the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. In W&G, the wizard that the group finds within the city is King's version of the devil from all his novels, the evil being who relished the decimation of humanity in "The Stand," and the evil royal advisor from "Eyes of the Dragon," Randall Flagg.

It makes me wonder if Mr. Henry Gale came to the island from another dimension, perhaps even from Stephen King's world. And since he owned a mining company maybe really didn't crash heer accidentally - maybe he was really looking for this very island in the first place. Maybe he was even employed by the same people who sent Naomi, perhaps one of the first scouts sent out to find it.

And maybe - this woudl be sooooooo cool - the head of whatever evil group Jack radioed is the Lost version of Randall Flagg. Dum, dum, DUM!

Regardless, I'd still LOVE to see Henry Gale's story. Obviously it would have to be through someone else's flashbacks - either Ben or Richard on the island or perhaps someone more sinister off-island.

What do you all think? Is Henry a simple travelin' dude, accidentally caught in the Others' nefarious net and killed? Or did he have an agenda like Naomi and was purposely purged by the Others like DHARMA was?

Addendum: Of course, after I post this I remember yet another crucial point - Widmore Labs also sponsored Henry's balloon trip. Charles Widmore = Randall Flagg? Discuss.


Missie said...

Didn't Hurley also buy a Mr. Cluck's after he won the lottery. Maybe he was part of Gale's financing as well, and his attached curse is what brought the balloon down. (Obviously I'm suggesting Hurley as a financer in a benign fashion, not some evil genius type of way.)

Jay said...

Actually, yeah he did. It was the one that was hit by a meteor (or meteorite, technically). :)

Hannah said...

oooh. Good post. I love that you think of all this stuff.

I never would have thought of that.

capcom said...

Wow, great thinking on this topic! I love how we can think collectively about the show, with all of our brains and blogs creating a big huge brain that tries to figure everything out. :-)

I think that it's very plausible that Gale could have been actually searching for something on the island rather than, or else including, ballooning for fun.

Carly said...

Hi Jay! Wasn't there a mention at Comic-Con about Ben knowing more about Henry Gale then he let on? I thought I heard that somewhere, or read it. Hmm. I kind of agree, I have a feeling that there was more to Henry Gale then an innocent balloon trip. However, does it seem to you like the Others would take the care to bury him like that? It just seems a little personal to mark a grave of someone they didn't know, or even killed themselves if they believed him to be part of the Other Others. They did just leave his balloon, didn't try to hide it or anything. Will hopefully find out more about it. Everything on Lost has a point to it.

Jay said...

If they mentioned something at the Comic-Con about Henry, that would be really cool. Anyone else hear anything?

And you're right, if the Others killed Henry, it would seem weird to have buried him the way they did. Unless Ben buried him there before he set out for the Swan so there would be a grave to correspond with his story.

memphish said...

At Comic Con in response to the question "Did Ben kill Henry Gale?" Damon fudged and said something like "killing is such a harsh term; Ben and Henry had words." That's not an exact quote, but a pretty close paraphrase. Audio of the entire panel including the clip from the S3 DVDs about the others is in the current Official LOST Podcast.

Yessifer said...

one of the first scouts sent out to find it I never thought about that, but he could have been the first scout. Where is his wife? Did she go with him or stay on the mainland?

Jay said...

Thanks Memph! So it does sound like Ben and Henry at least spoke to each other - here's hoping for a Ben flashback with some Henry Gale goodness! :)

Yessifer - From the note, it doesn't sound like Jennifer came with Henry. Who knows, maybe she's working with Penny now, since both their men disappeared in the same area.