Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lost Theory Question #8: Kelvin Joe Inman

I love Clancy Brown. He's got one of the best voices in the business and a calm, menacing presence on the screen. His Kelvin is one of the most enigmatic characters of the entire show - all we really know about him post-Iraq is what he told Desmond while they were in the Hatch together. However, since we also know he was just stringing him along so he could steal the Elizabeth and escape, how much of what he said to him is really true? Let's first take a look at what he told Des in the Hatch:

Kelvin Are you him?
Desmond What?
Kelvin What did one snowman say to the other?
Desmond What are you talking about? Who are you?
Kelvin I'm Inman. Kelvin Inman.
Desmond What... what happened to my boat?
Kelvin I found you washed up on the beach. There was no boat.

[The alarm sounds and Kelvin enters the numbers]
Desmond What was all that about, then?
Kelvin Just saving the world.

[Shot of Desmond watching the Orientation Film]
MarvinNot long after the experiments began, however, there was an incident. And since that time the following protocol has been observed. Every 108 minutes the button must be pushed. From the moment the alarm sounds you will have 4 minutes to enter the code into the microcomputer processor.
Kelvin How many times are you going to watch that thing?
Desmond Why are there missing parts?
Kelvin Radzinsky made some edits.
Desmond Who's Radzinsky?
Kelvin He was my partner?
Desmond And what happened to him?
Kelvin Just make sure you put that back behind Turn of the Screw when you're done with it.
Desmond Why do you wear that suit?
Kelvin So I don't get infected out there. Give yourself a shot of this every 9 days. You were out there a while before I found you. Hope it's not too late.

Later we see Kelvin working on the Blast Door Map:

Desmond How do you even remember where you left off from?
Kelvin Slowly, Des. Very, very slowly. You should have seen Radzinsky do this. He had a photographic memory. I mean, this whole baby was his idea.
Desmond Yeah, right, Radzinsky. Radzinsky figured out how to fake a lockdown. Radzinsky created this great invisible map. More and more tales about your former partner. Yet for some reason, you never want to tell me what bloody well happened to him.

[Kelvin walks over to Desmond and points to a spot on the ceiling]
Kelvin See that brown stain, there? That's Radzinsky. He put a shotgun in his mouth when I was asleep. The bitch of it was I only had a 108 minutes to bury the poor bastard.
Desmond Well, if you don't want me to go crazy, next time let me go out.
Kelvin Well, you want to go out there with the quarantine and the hostiles?
Desmond I haven't been outside for 2 bloody years! Yes, I want to go. I was in the army for God's sake!
Kelvin Oh, right, Her Majesty's Army, correct? Tell me, Desmond, why'd you leave that nice old lady's army? Oh, I remember now. You got kicked out because you couldn't follow orders.
Desmond And why did you leave your army, Kelvin, huh?
Kelvin Because men followed my orders. Ah, but then thank God I joined the Dharma Initiative. Namaste, thank you and good luck.
Desmond Please, Kelvin. Let me go out. Huh? Just once?
Kelvin Sorry, Des. You stay here. You push the button. That's an order.

So what can we glean from this?

1) Radzinsky - I think Kelvin's probably telling the truth when he says Radzinsky edited the Orientation Film and made the map with a photographic memory, but I bet he's lying about how Radzinsky died. On one hand, you would think he wouldn't want to kill him and be trapped in the Swan. On the other, maybe Radzinsky was planning on abandoning his partner, much like Kelvin was planning to do with Desmond, and Kelvin shot him before he could go through with it.

It seems to me that at some point we're going to have to hear Radzinsky's story. He obviously pre-dates Kelvin, but the fact he was making a map of stuff he knows about DHARMA suggests he was really kept in the dark about everything. Furthermore his notations on the map also suggest he was in the Swan 1) Post-incident and 2) Post-Purge. Thus he may have been someone DHARMA recruited after the purge to keep the button pushed. While Kelvin says he joined DHARMA voluntarily after the CIA, maybe both he and Radzinsky were abandoned by DHARMA in the Swan. The Snowman Joke certainly suggests Kelvin was waiting for his replacement. Either way, it does seem that for some reason, DHARMA failed to send anyone else, even though the food drops continued. Maybe the Food Drop Station (Symbol: Apollo Candy Bar) failed to get the memo. :)

Memphish recently asked who the heck "Him" was and why were they making the map in the first place? It seems to me that Kelvin and Radzinsky were recruited post-purge and abandoned by DHARMA. They were kept in the dark about a lot of things except for the Swan station, where they were essentially kept prisoner by the button. Remember that, according to Darlton, Ben had no knowledge of the Swan until Locke uncovered it - DHARMA wanted to keep the station secret. It stands to reason that DHARMA really wouldn't tell any of their recruits any more than they absolutely needed to know. I imagine once their replacements failed to show up, they started venturing out to see if they could find out why and, hopefully, someone they could get to replace them.

From the Blast Door Map, we know they knew about the other stations (although they didn't seem to know their location) and they seemed to know the computer could be used to talk to other stations. Eventually they must have decided to head out and explore as much as they could, in the process discovering the sickness was a fake. They made the map in black light just in case there was a hidden camera watching them. I have no idea if this works - you have to imagine the writers tested it, right?

The big question for me here is why did Radzinsky edit the Orientation tape with regard to using the computer to communicate? Was this part of his plot to abandon Kelvin?

2) Kelvin's men - This sounded genuine to me too, genuine guilt. We know he forced Sayid to torture people so he's certainly capable of making underlings do horrible things. But is there more to it than that? Kelvin sounds an awful lot like all of our Losties here - a sordid, possibly murderous past from which he's running away.

Now we get to the fail-safe. There are two separate flashbacks that address this:

Desmond What is this?
Kelvin This is the only other way out, partner.
Desmond What are you talking about?
Kelvin Failsafe. Turn this key and this all goes away.
Desmond What's behind that wall, Kelvin? Huh? What was the incident?
Kelvin Electromagnetism, geologically unique. The incident... there was a leak. So now the charge builds up and every time we push the button it discharges it before it gets too big.
Desmond Why make us do it... push the button? If we... if we can just...
Kelvin [Laughing] Here's the real question, Desmundo... do you have the courage to take your finger out of the damn and blow the whole thing up, instead?

Then we flash-forward to Desmond confronting Kelvin outside the Hatch.

Kelvin Well, gosh, I didn't think you had the stones to come after me. I was a spook for 10 years, Des. I know when I'm being followed.
Desmond What are you doing with my boat?
Kelvin I'm fixing it.
Desmond You were leaving?
Kelvin Well, I mean, not yet. It's still about a week away. You wrecked it pretty good, Des. What do you think? Want to come with me?
Desmond Come where? What about the button?
Kelvin Screw the button, man. Who knows if it's even real?
Desmond That's not what you said when you were going on and on about dams and electromagnetics and failsafes!
Kelvin Well, I was drunk.
Desmond Why did you lie to me?
Kelvin I lied to you because I needed a sucker to save the world after I left.
Desmond You crazy old bastard! You stole my life!
Kelvin Oh, come on.
Desmond What else did you lie to me about huh?! What else? Tell me?!

First off, what do we learn here?

1) The Sickness is a red herring - Kelvin confirms this here. And you have to wonder if Kelvin and Radzinsky discovered it the same way Desmond did - "Oh look, an errant hole in the biohazard suit. Hmmm.., I haven't gotten sick. Let's go out without one and see what happens."

2) The Incident - The incident is real and the magnetism is real. Kelvin obviously believes in it or he wouldn't still be there pushing the button. However, after Desmond catches him, he dismisses the button as a possible hoax!

This, to me, is incredibly perplexing at face value. From the first flashback, Kelvin sounds like he's genuinely scared of the button. In the second, he not only disses it, he even suggests that Desmond abandon it after spending three years scaring him into staying! The only thing I can think of here is that he was just trying to calm Desmond down and get him to lower his guard.

But what exactly was DHARMA doing with the electromagnetism? Why didn't Kelvin blow the fail-safe earlier? Did he know the Swan would implode? Was he told that the world would be destroyed if he turned the key? We still don't really know what the ultimate consequences of the Discharge are going to be, however I can imagine they're not going to be good for anyone on the island.

Now I'm going to ask the big question: Is Kelvin dead? Let's take the two possibilities:

1) He's dead - In this case, I imagine the Monster scavenged his body like it did with Christian Shepherd's and Yemi's.

2) He's alive - If he's alive (which is what I hope), then where is he and why didn't he take the Elizabeth? If the Others found him in the harbor, they would have found the Elizabeth too. It's possible he might have been captured on the way back to the Swan, bloodied and disoriented from his fall. But even saying that, where have the Others been keeping him? The Temple? He wasn't kept in either the Barracks or the Hydra, that's for sure.

Occam's Razor says he's dead, but the reasons I think he might be alive are because 1) It just seems like a stumble on some rocks is an awfully cheesy way for a major CIA spook to die and 2) His flashbacks seem to be greatly important.

We have a dearth of information from the Purge up until Kelvin arrived on the island. Ben is certainly going to get another flashback and fill a bit of that in, but I doubt he could fill in all the blanks since he didn't know about the Swan. I, for one, would welcome Kelvin Inman running around the island again. Just wait until he sees what's left of the Swan. :)


capcom said...

Wow! Very thoughtful post!

I agree, Clancy is super awesome. I've liked his acting ever since "Highlander".

#1) I kind of agree, it sounds suspiscious. Maybe Rad went crazy and Kelvin had to shoot him to keep Rad from killing both of them? Or Rad wanted to just let the whole thing blow.

I like the idea of them venturing out to find out what was up after their recplacements not showing up, etc.

#2) Yeah, I get the same feeling. Kelvin got tired of telling people to kill people play war "games". But that didn't make him an entirely honest person, ergo his tricking Dez.

I get the feeling that the euphemism of "the sickenss" is kind of left over residual from the Purge poisoning, or whatever. Now they know it's gone (as iin dissapated), but it's still a good way to keep underlings in step if they fear going outside. So, Kelvin uses it to control Dez as long as he can...or till he gets away.

#3) It kinda seems like Kelvin was doing some backpeddling there and trying to maybe buy himself some time, while he worked on his plan to get away and leave Dez.

And I hope that he's alive too! Oh what bug-eyes on Sayid when he spots old Kelvin!

capcom said...

Sorry about all the typos. :-(

memphish said...

So if there is no sickness, and I agree, there's not, where did the bio-hazard suit come from, and especially how did it get to the Swan? It appeared that the gassing in the Purge acted and stopped acting quickly -- in the amount of time it takes to walk from the VW to Othersville.

2nd question -- do you think Kelvin was giving himself shots every 9 days too or telling only Desmond he had to since he'd been out there exposed? Or is it the case that being that close to the magnet did mean you needed the shots?

capcom said...

Didn't TPTB or some rumors lately tell that the Dharmaville poison was different from what Ben gave his dad? I can't remember where I read that, but it came out last week. Maybe from the S3 DVD extras?

Jay said...

I think the biohazard suit was just part of DHARMA's deception. They put it there with all the "vaccine" in order to scare the Swan inhabitants into staying.

I think Kelvin initially DID give himself the shots, but stopped once he (and maybe Radzinsky) realized they weren't getting sick at all.

I'm very sad that Kelvin is really dead, even if it was the most logical conclusion. :(

I don't know about the Dharmaville poison, Capcom - there didn't seem to be anything about it in the Access Granted info.

memphish said...

I've been thinking about those shots, the fact that they were connected with the Swan and what happened to Claire in One of Us. I think that what was in those shots was designed to offset the effects of being so close to that electromagnetism. I'm too lazy to go wiki the topic, but I believe I remember that prolonged exposure to electromagnetism can cause all sorts of health problems, none of which we've seen manifested in Desmond or Kelvin. I'm wondering now if the "device" implanted in Claire was electromagnetic and thus the shots of Swan serum would counteract them. Just a thought in this brain of mine which seems incapable of not thinking about LOST.

capcom said...

Interesting theory Memphish. I wonder if that could really be possible, and not just in a Scifi Universe. There are lots of theories about how all the EMFs from concentrated powerlines in Long Island have caused so much of the higher breast cancer in that area. But then they also had many wartime government manufacturing sites there too that mis-used and mis-disposed toxic chemicals.

Let's try to look up and find any instances or theories (whacky or not) that might hit on this. Like, what if EMFs can attract the iron in your blood and mess up the flow, or something weird like that.

Of course then I can REALLY imagine the cure being worse than the disease in that kind of application!

memphish said...

Absolutely Capcom, like Supersperm, but aging uteruses?