Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lost Theory Question #9: Smokey and the Others

Last week's show brought up a few questions about the Others and Smokey that have been percolating around in my brain for some time now. When Locke asked Ben what the Monster was and Ben blatantly said he didn't know, I immediately thought he was lying. Dog, new tricks, etc.

Of course, I thought the exact same thing in "One of Us" when Juliet said the exact same thing to Kate. However after thinking on this the past week, I've come to doubt myself somewhat, especially since Locke also didn't seem to know what it was and he's now Jacob's newest BFF. So who's telling the truth here? Let's go through a couple current Smokey questions based on the little we know about him/her/it:

1) Did DHARMA bring Smokey to the island?

According to the Blast Door Map and the Lost Puzzle Clues, Smokey is called "Cerberus," served as DHARMA's security system (what Danielle called it in "Exodus" too - why doesn't someone ask her how she knows what the heck it is), underwent a "catastrophic malfunction," and pops up around the island through certain "Cerberus Vents."

This all seems to suggest DHARMA brought Smokey to the island to protect the Initiative, but then it went crazy and they had to construct the Sonic Fence to protect the Barracks. But you'd have to think that Ben, who's been with the DI since he was very little, would have to know something about the Monster. After all, even if DHARMA tried to keep the Monster a secret, once it went insane and they had to erect a giant fence for protection, you would think they would have had to tell everyone something about it for their own protection. Sure, they could have said the fence was to protect everyone from the Hostiles, but I can't believe everyone would have kept the DI's freakin' security system a classified secret like the Swan.

And any way you cut it, you have to figure Ben knows more than he was letting on. If the Monster was a DI creation, Ben should know something. But if the Map is wrong and Monster is actually something indigenous to the island, Ben should know something about that too given how chummy he's been with Jacob. Bottom line: Ben, at the very least, has to be lying somewhat. But it is possible that even he doesn't know what the Monster's origins are or how to destroy it. He and his father were mere work men, after all.

2) Whose side is Smokey on?

All evidence seems to suggest its own. Smokey has attacked both the Losties and the Others, tried to convince Eko and Locke (as Yemi in their dreams) to keep pushing the button for its own purposes and really seems to have no affection whatsoever for anybody but Locke.

I'd really love to see a Ben/Smokey stare down sometime and see what happens. Might not be pretty. :)

3) What is Smokey's agenda?

Again, it seems unclear. On one hand it seems to have some sort of moral code, judging people through its freaky, smoky mind reading trick, trying to get them to repent and redeem themselves. I think this might be why it spared Eko upon their first meeting because, at that time, he was honestly trying to be a "good person."

On the other hand, it desperately wanted the button to be pushed. Was this for self-preservation (maybe it didn't know the failsafe was a possibility and it didn't want to get sucked into magnetized oblivion) or was the Monster really looking out for the best interests of the island?

Regardless, while part of me now kinda believes Juliet may have been kept in the dark, I really think Ben knows a lot more about the Monster than what he's letting on. What do y'all think?

Addendum: As Shelly points out below, the fence was already up and running when Ben came to the island for the purpose of keeping out the "wildlife." This certainly makes it more likely Ben was kept in the dark about Smokey since the fence really seems to be tailored to keep Smokey out. And if the Monster was originally DHARMA's security system, that would mean it likely went crazy long before Ben arrived on the island.

But what I really can't wrap my brain around here is that Ben lived with DHARMA from childhood to adulthood. Assuming Smokey was on a rampage that entire time, I have a hard time believing Ben never was able to find out any information on it from anyone nor anything from all the binders and manuals of info DHARMA left behind. It's one thing to keep your underground bunkers a secret, but crazy, giant Smoke Monsters? Really?

Eh, maybe I am totally off base here. The more I seem to write, the more I can see how the DI wouldn't want to tell their scientists the Monster is a DI creation gone horribly wrong (provided it really is a DI creation - Danielle said the Monster protected the island, after all).

Anyway, maybe my gut reaction that Ben is always lying got too carried away with this one. =)


Shelley said...

I don't see where you're getting your ideas that Ben knows.

The video that talks about the fence says explicitly that its built to keep people away from the island's "wildlife" -- this seems to imply that Dharma DID keep smokey a secret, and that would also imply that Ben definitely doesn't know anything about it.

Just because he's been here a long time doesn't mean that he knows about Smokey. Thats a fallacy, and you've got no evidence.

Jay said...

Okay, I forgot about the video Ben watched when he came to the island.
So the fence was already up previously, likely before the Monster went berserk.

And you're right, I have no evidence that Ben knows about Smokey, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. Even if the fence was built to keep out wildlife or the "Hostiles" that doesn't mean Dharma kept it's security system a secret from everyone, especially after it underwent a "catastrophic malfunction."

All I'm saying is that it's easy to conceal underground bunkers, it's a bit more difficult to hide a rampaging cloud of smoke that likes to kill people. =)

Shelley said...

fair enough.

I believe that our biases contradict each other here. You've got a gut instinct that Ben is always lying and I've got a gut instinct that Ben is not nearly as smart as he thinks he is about anything.

Capcom said...

I agree with you both...Ben is always lying, AND he has way too much confidence in himself and his wiley ways. :o)

Carly said...

Well my gut feeling is that it is part of the amazing properties of the island, and maybe Dharma did try and control it somehow but it backfired on them and therefore they had to make the fence, to keep their people safe. I don't see that it was something they came up with in their labs back home that can actually display a conscience thought. So if it came from the island then, what about Richard (eyeliner guy)? He has to know something about it too and therefore Ben does. Maybe not all the Others like Juliet, but maybe the original hostiles know a little more. SO, to me Ben either doesn't know exactly how absolutely everything on the island works (shocker) or he isn't telling because Smokey is part of the bigger island secrets he isn't sharing with the Losties. And if he is protecting the island, then he's keeping that a secret until his grave if he can. So he instead gave Locke information that would put himself in danger, not the island.

someGirl said...

DR JAY: (I feel like saying that the way the little boy selling sodas does from Jack's Phuket flashback)...How likely is it, do you think, that Hurley's 'bad luck' is what gets the Oceanic 6 back on the Island?? They make such a big stink about Hurley having bad luck and I couldn't figure Hurley's importance to the story...than I thought, his bad luck is what makes the plane crash when the O-6 decide to "go back"....thoughts?

Jay said...

Hurley's bad luck is certainly something the writers have neglected since Libby was shot, Ana. It would be kinda cool to see them tie it into the ultimate solution of the show. =)

And, yeah Carly, I suppose the easiest way for the writers to keep Smokey a secret until the very end is to make them all ignorant as heck. But at least they're starting to ask the right questions now, right? Right? ;)

Yessifer said...

The thing about Ben is that he tells half truths. So I think he might not know the origins of the monster, but he does know about it.