Saturday, April 18, 2009

Deconstructing: Fake Oceanic Flight 815

And we're back... for another epic deconstruction blog, and this time we'll hit a true answer with an almost 100% certainty. Today's post deals with the question: who faked that plane wreck at the bottom of the ocean? I remember last year when we first heard Captain Gault say Ben did it, I remember when Tom told Michael how Widmore did it. Most of all, I remember my utter confusion over who to believe (which recently prompted another post about whether there truly was a good/evil side when it came to the Widmore-Linus divide). But this week saw what I now consider to be a categorical answer to the question: Widmore faked the plane wreckage. Let us begin with the scene in which Miles "reads" Felix, the dead guy Naomi shows him:

MILES: His name's Felix. He was... on his way to deliver something to, uh...

[Whispering continues]

MILES: A guy named... Widmore.

NAOMI: Deliver what?

MILES: A bunch of papers, photos, pictures... of... [whispering continues] empty graves. A purchase order... for an old airplane.

Is this conclusive enough? Of course, some people (including myself for a while) would argue that it is still not 100%. How like LOST. It's true - Felix could have been taking documents to Widmore that actually implicated Ben. We've all now kind of realised that Felix was probably killed by Tom, who would later show Michael the same documents in order to recruit him as "Ben's man on the boat". Michael never questioned the documents he saw, and our first piece of evidence in this post is that the documents were written out to Widmore Industries (see screencap). Thus, unless Tom forged the documents he presumably took when he killed Felix - the evidence speaks for itself that Felix was delivering Widmore receipts for his order, NOT results of any kind of private investigation. Might seem obvious, but it's good that we can clarify it all once and for all.

Our next main bit of evidence comes from Find 815. Now I know what you might be thinking - "I didn't play that sucky excuse for a LOST ARG, it was non-canon". And you are quite right. Find 815 was not canon. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were involved in the concept, and from what I've gathered researching on the InterWeb they gave Hoodlum (the guys who made the ARG) the premise of the Season 4x02 episode opener - that a salvage ship called the Christiane I was going to find the wreckage of Flight 815. From there, Hoodlum devised the entire ARG story, including backstories for any characters they created including protagonist Sam Thomas. Now if you view Find 815 as completely true, Sam was contacted through mysterious emails, seemingly sent from someone at a company called the Maxwell Group. Following the trail of the emails, Sam was led to the Christiane I, a salvage vessel searching for the Black Rock. After being literally given a specific set of co-ordinates by the mysterious emailer, Sam ends up finding the not the Black Rock, however, but the wreck of Oceanic Flight 815. Along the way, he meets Oscar Talbot, the expedition supervisor who also works for the Maxwell Group. Furthermore, after snooping in Talbot's room, Sam discovers that the Maxwell Group is in fact a division of Widmore Industries!!!

This all seems to fit in with the "Widmore faked the wreck" argument. It makes sense that the Maxwell Group might have been tasked with getting some sap to find the wreck their parent company planted. Playing to Sam's emotion (he lost his partner on Flight 815) - they trick him into making the discovery and make it seem like it was a remarkable "twist of fate" that the wreck had been discovered. Of course, though, this is all useless as it is non-canon, right? Well, consider what Damon Lindelof said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. After explaining how the ARG had been non-canon, he did admit:
I'll sign off on this idea: The Christiane 1, which in the show was responsible for finding Oceanic 815, was in fact looking for the Black Rock. We established that in the show — but the people who owned the ship may have been up to a little bit more than just looking for the Black Rock.
As a matter of fact, I don't think they did really establish that on the show conclusively - all they said was that the Christiane I had been quote " in search of the remains of sunken trading ships". But Lindelof's remark does furthermore fit in with the picture we're painting of how Widmore faked the plane wreck, and how he exploited the discovery. My first observation here was, OK, it sounds like this Christiane I is owned by Widmore (as per the non-canon ARG interpretation where Widmore had financed the ship's salvage mission) - but why would Widmore be looking for the Black Rock when he should already know it's on the Island? This can be easily answered though. As Lindelof said, "the people who owned the ship were up to more than just looking for the Black Rock". They were there to pretend like they had suddenly stumbled across the wreck of Oceanic Flight 815 while on an innocent salvage operation - when in fact they were hired by Widmore. It's likely that the majority of the ship's crew weren't complicit in the scheme as, judging by the reaction of the ROV operator in 4x02, they were genuinely surprised to discover the plane wreck. But it seems clear as day to this little blogger that Widmore not only staged the wreck, and also orchastrated another elaborate lie by slyly pushing the Christiane I (whether you believe my evidence or the Find 815 information) into finding his handy work. Indeed, what are the chances otherwise that a boat looking for the BLACK ROCK (thereby already making it dodgy without the Lindelof comment that they were up to more than that) should stumble upon FLIGHT 815?!

And there we have it - my conclusive proof and deconstruction that Widmore obviously faked the plane wreck and controlled its discovery. The writers likely intended the Naomi and Miles scene to categorically clear up this debate, and I hope I've helped along the way by picking off any remaining fans who still have their doubts. I also think my take on the Christiane I strengthens the writer's message, and gives a little bit of backstory that we were probably supposed to work out about Widmore orchastrating the wreck's discovery. As a fan, I'm much happier that it is now cleared up that Widmore did it - the notion that Ben was the one behind the lie never felt right - despite the fact that Ben and lying are seldom that far apart in a sentence. Moreover, I like that it has now also somewhat legitimized and given depth to the Find 815 alternate reality game. In hindsight the narrative cooked up by Hoodlum now actually seems to work really well within the mythology of the main show (though I never thought I'd compliment Hoodlum after the epic fail that was the recent Dharma Recruiting Project).

Were you always / are now 100% satisfied that Widmore faked the plane wreck? How did Widmore know TO fake the plane wreck (well he had met Locke in the 50s, so could have worked it all out...)? What was the whole point of Captain Gault's rouse in Season 4 with the black box? As ever, let us know your comments :)
blog comments powered by Disqus


This fansite is NOT in any way, shape, or form affiliated with ABC, Bad Robot Productions or Disney.
All trademarks and copyrights belong to their respective owners, and are used here under the terms of Fair Use.
LOST is a trademark of Disney.

Links to the left may contain spoiler content. Lostpedia is not responsible for the content of these sites.



    follow Lostpedia on Twitter