Tuesday, April 7, 2009

[Lost] Can they change the future?


No. Faraday says quite clearly at the beginning of the first episode of the fifth season that you cannot change the future. He goes so far as saying that attempting to change time will always fail. He says in that episode that what ever happens, happened.

The survivors who are currently in the Dharmaville barracks in 1977 are only simply watching a scene unfold. While they are participants, no matter what they do, young Ben will have always been taken by Richard to the Temple. Ben eventually loses his innocence and becomes the amoral killer we know in 1977, and that happens no matter what the survivors do. Not even Sayid shooting young Ben will alter this fact. It's now simply a reason why he had to go the Temple.

That said, Faraday also says that Desmond is the only person that the rules don't apply to, as he is uniquely and miraculously special. Unlike everyone else, Desmond remembers in his present whenever something alters his past. This is because the past and future can potentially be changed around Desmond.

Even so, the universe will course correct around any attempted changes around Desmond. Remember, he couldn't save Charlie from dying, no matter what he did

Desmond did prevent Charlie from being electricuted, drowning while trying saving to save Claire, and being killed by one of Russeau's traps. While Desmond ultimately couldn't stop Charlie from drowning in the Looking Glass station, the universe ultimately did "course correct" in order to insure that Charlie died and that the timeline was restored. Despite that, Desmond was able to change the future, as Charlie wasn't never electrocuted.

That is the extent to which the future could be changed. This means that the our survivors can only make negligable changes the future at best, if they are able to make any changes at all.

As they cannot change the past, they cannot create an alternate timeline. There is only one timeline, and it unfolds the way it has always unfolded. If there are any discrepancies, then it's like as Miles said, we just haven't experienced how it all turns out yet.

Now, it's possible that Faraday is wrong and everything written up above could off base, but I think Lost spelled out exactly what's going on with time travel in the very first episode of the season.

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