[SPOILERS AHEAD] Tonight’s episode of LOST is pulling a closer and closer to the heart of a tangled knot of interconnected time-loops. Ben has met Sayid for the first time, but because of what has happened since Sayid first met Ben in the future, Sayid will now react to him a certain way in the past. The Oceanic survivors are in the Dharma Initiative, and presumably Hurley will fill in the requisition for the ranch dressing he’ll eat later. And so we face the conundrum that the survivors turn out to be the cause of much that they have experienced “earlier” on the island – earlier for them, but in the future. Perhaps this is why the Lost Experience gave us the message “Let Your Compass Guide You“: the compass which John Locke gives to Richard Alpert, which Richard Alpert gave to John Locke, becoming an artifact without origin.
We have received hints that there are forces aware of these interconnections and helping to bring things about. Juliet joked that they were building a runway so the aliens could land their spaceship, then admitted that she hadn’t been told why they were building a runway on the smaller island. Now we know. The runway would be needed so that an Ajira airlines flight could land there. But who could have known that?
The same people who knew that a nuclear bomb would be needed on the island. There was a military manifest in the Lamp Post Dharma station. Presumably the bomb “Jughead” was dropped because it will be needed to cause “the incident” (which we’ll see in the season finale). The incident at the Swan station will, I am guessing, turn out to have been caused by the time travellers (perhaps with advice from physicists Pierre Chang and Daniel Faraday) as a way of shifting themselves back into “the present”. Perhaps when that portal is opened, we’ll learn at the start of next season that other Dharma Initiative people from the past escaped through it too. And then the war between the two sides will continue, entangling temporal lines in a way that becomes even more complex. Or perhaps, as some have suggested, the “war” is staged in order to motivate the time-travelling pawns to do what they do – but if so, to what end?