Note: I'm immersed in thesis writing right now. Posting will be slight for a little while. Management thanks you for your understanding. Yes, that means you, Missie.
One of the unanswered things Memphish's latest question brought to mind was the capsule dump. Along with the statue, it was one of the weirdest happenings in the Season 2 finale. The fact that the dump was a dump, i.e. a tube that emptied into the middle of nowhere rather than another station suggests DHARMA really didn't care much for their contents. This further suggests that the Pearl inhabitants were in the station for something other than simply monitoring the inhabitants of other stations.
In "Live Together, Die Alone," Desmond suggests it was the Pearl inhabitants who were the subject of an experiment:
|Desmond||Tell me about this other hatch you found... this Pearl.|
|Locke||What do you want to know?|
|Locke||The Pearl is a psychological station full of TV monitors. And uh... 2 men sat in viewing chairs and filled notebooks with observations on what happens in here. And then they put the notebooks in pneumatic tubes and send them back to their headquarters so they could evaluate us... as an experiment. What?|
|Desmond||What if you've got it backwards?|
|Desmond||What if the experiment wasn't on the 2 men in here, but on the 2 men in there? I want to see that tape, John?|
|Locke||No, you can't. There's no way to see it down here.|
The dump seems to corroborate that assertion, but what was the experiment? An examination of note taking abilities? A trial run for the Swan to see if they get cabin fever? It just seems like an odd set-up to me.
Furthermore, the computer in the Pearl that was connected to the Swan does seem to suggest DHARMA was making sure the button was being pushed. But perhaps the note writing was merely cover. In other words, DHARMA didn't want anyone to know what was going on in the Swan, but they needed it monitored, presumably by underlings. So they concocted a phony story about the Swan inhabitants being the subject of an experiment so the underlings wouldn't suspect anything. The Swan gets monitored. The unsuspecting underlings get nothing but writers cramp. Win-win all round.
Of course, why they chose to have the capsules dumped in the middle of nowhere is still very odd. They certainly could have had them sent to a station so they could be destroyed or something. Seems awfully trashy for a bunch of hippie scientists, doesn't it?
So whatcha think? Do you agree, or do you have a totally different take?