Bruce's Pendulum Theory

Lost's Desmond as a Pilot

This is a theory by Lost Blog reader Bruce:

The last 15 to 20 episodes I believe have put in place the foundation for how Lost is going to end in 3 or 4 years. The ending I foresee leaves the show with endless possibilities for character development and twists. More importantly, any great series ending needs to:

  • Address the producers’ respect for the mythology of the island
  • Be true to its characters
  • Be original

In the simplest form, I believe that one of the more dramatic shots of the series will be the Oceanic plane traveling above the Others’ camp and passing without incident. Pretty simple. From that point, however, the storyline layering will begin. The plane is passing over the island because Desmond has not yet pressed the button. This time, however, Desmond presses the button on time, so Oceanic does not crash. Desmond presses the button on time because through a series of time travel flashback episodes over the next 3 to 4 years, we are going to see Desmond get closer and closer to the focal point of the whole show…his failure to press the button before crashing the plane.

Contrary to what many have written about Desmond’s experience in “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” Desmond was not seeing his past experiences at the same time. Instead, the producers have beautifully set up a very simple time pendulum affect. He sees into the far away past and the far away future (e.g. saving Charlie repeatedly). The pendulum is swinging, and saving Charlie has in effect become his test for something bigger. If my guess is correct, we will see Desmond continue to save Charlie’s life until Desmond realizes he does not need to save Charlie’s life in order to really…save it. See below.

The layers of the final show continue. The magic of the series ending show really starts, though, on the Oceanic flight as it passes peacefully over the island as the Others watch. If the producers are truly courageous, we will see manifestations of all the characters’ back stories come to fruition on the plane. Will you see John Locke walking? Will Boone be alive and talking with his sister? Is Kate still in custody? Are Jack and Claire talking about the death of their father and then realizing they are related? What makes this possible ending so interesting is that the producers can make us to see the characters on the plane reflect the life they led while on the island in the prior 6 or 7 seasons. What would be far more interesting, though, is if the characters remember what they experienced. The producers could creatively weave in the principles of faith and science. Almost anything is possible.

I do not know how the producers would play out this great moment. In many ways I really do not want to know…that is what makes this show so unforgettable.

But, what about Desmond? Remember, the pendulum has gone back and forth in time and now it rests on the focal point of so many lives — pressing the button before the plane crashes. You might ask if the pendulum was swinging during this time, why not tell Penelope about his duties in the hatch and the affects of the electromagnetic anomalies. I believe in a future episode he is going to do just that but she is not going to believe him until he turns up missing on the boat trip. In the show’s second greatest twist (after Locke’s “Walkabout” episode), we will see that Penelope’s last scene in the final episode of Lost Season 2 did not take place at the time of the hatch implosion, but back in time to the electromagnetic anomaly leading to the Oceanic crash.

Now Penelope is looking for the electromagnetic anomalies and Desmond will realize the benefit of giving her the “bread crumbs” to find him while the pendulum swings. What a great ending it will be to see our hero rescued by Penelope.

If the Lost producers are seeing an ending similar to this, the character story lines are endless and how they are perceived in the end are not predetermined. In other words, there is great artistic license.

If I am correct, I expect Charlie to die before the end of this season or early in the fourth. Charlie’s death will serve a critical purpose to the long term plot. Desmond met Charlie in his last flashback episode, but Charlie did not remember him on the island, despite Desmond’s hysterics on the street in front of him. This plot device makes no sense unless we find out that Charlie never meets Desmond in the future. I believe Desmond will realize that as the time pendulum swings, he does not have to save Charlie’s life every week in order to….save his life. Desmond only has to make sure the plane passes safely. In effect, Desmond will realize that Charlie is really slowing him down in getting to the point where he can reunite with Penelope.

This is really exciting.
Bruce

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48 Responses to Bruce's Pendulum Theory

  1. Sivan Cotel says:

    great theory! this would be a very interesting way for the producers to wrap up everything; in essence, it would demote many of our current questions to a level of significance subsumed by the larger time-travel/pendulum phenomenon.

    if this is what happens, I hope the writers don’t cop-out and avoid explaining any of our current mysteries by simply saying “eh, it didn’t matter, because it never happened after all, because desmond pushed the button, and the plane never crashed.” that would be a huge disappointment.

    one issue with your theory, though, where you discuss the penelope scene looking for electromagnetic anomalies: the chess-playing scientists manning the station mentioned something about missing it “last time” or something to that effect. I think that fact pattern would fit with the scene we saw occurring at the same time as the hatch implosion, and the “last time” would have coincided with desmond’s failure to push the button and the plane crash.

  2. Hammer says:

    Excellent! I have been thinking ever since Pen’s people found the anamoly that Lost is really about Desmond’s adventures more than any of the other characters. Desmond’s visions and his apparent time travel had reinforced it for me. But, you have put the icing on the cake with your theory. I like it.

  3. chewap says:

    hmm, that’s a great one! but what’s up with adam and eve? are they des and penelope?

    -There were certain things we knew from the very beginning. Independent of ever knowing when the end was going to be, we knew what it was going to be, and we wanted to start setting it up as early as season 1, or else people would think that we were making it up as we were going along. So the skeletons are the living — or, I guess, slowly decomposing — proof of that. When all is said and done, people are going to point to the skeletons and say, “That is proof that from the very beginning, they always knew that they were going to do this.”-

  4. Jocco says:

    This is a good idea, and could be part of the story, but where do Dharma/others/hostiles come into it?

  5. Hammer says:

    Good point chewap. Bruce’s theory likey isn’t the exact story. But, he is IMO definately onto something here.

  6. Tina says:

    three cheers for a job well done!

  7. Hammer says:

    [quote comment=”45810″]This is a good idea, and could be part of the story, but where do Dharma/others/hostiles come into it?[/quote]

    I think the point is…Dharma/others/hostiles are just part of the story(what is happening until Dez realizes he can change things). Maybe, in the end, what Dez does actually changes a factor(s) in the Valenzetti equation that save the world from Pen’s evil father(Jacob?).

  8. rejus says:

    Bruce’s image of the final scene of the very last episode is awesome! This theory is a turning point.

    It’s not clear to me how this “time pendulum effect” actually works and how the writers could explain it during the show.

  9. Jocco says:

    Could it be that Dharma and the Hostiles had their split because the Hostiles want to prevent the V equation from being changed? This could make Desmond an actual enemy of the Hostiles in future episodes.

  10. Hammer says:

    Good a thought as any. IMO there will be a division of the Losties. Those that empathize with the others and those that don’t. So I think Dez may actual become the leader of the group that doesn’t.

  11. MKS says:

    “…we will see that Penelope’s last scene in the final episode of Lost Season 2 did not take place at the time of the hatch implosion, but back in time to the electromagnetic anomaly leading to the Oceanic crash.”

    I must be missing something. If Dez doesn’t let the plane crash by not pressing the button, then how would an electromagnetic anomaly register with the guys Penelope hired?

  12. sukotto says:

    i like the idea of desmond saving the characters, even using them to make sure they never need to be saved in the first place.

    But the idea of nullifying all the story and consequence of the time spend on the island would be a waste in my eyes. Yeah its purpose would be to help desmond save the world but in the process it would ruin the viewers story.

    All the weirdness, intrigue, viewer participation etc etc would just end up being a way to nullify what we were intereted in the first place. hmmm i dont know….

    interesting theory tho

  13. AnotherOther says:

    I think its cool that the series is more and more centered around Desmond even though he wasn’t even known in the beginning. Most TV critiques hate that idea but I think its great and I really like the Desmond character. Hope Pen can save him.

  14. XtraCripsy says:

    MKS makes a good point. If Dez presses the button in time, the airliner doesn’t crash, no emp is released that Penny can detect, but also…

    the admonition from the psychic to Claire that no one else should raise her baby falls apart, she just proceeds to California and gives up the baby.

    Kate goes to jail.

    Locke is still paralyzed, and doesn’t fulfill his dream about doing the walkabout.

    Sun never gets pregnant.

    Rose dies of cancer.

    Michael goes on raising Walt who has some psychic ability that is never explained.

    This is not much of a payoff for characters you think will be followed over a course of 6-7 seasons.

    I think the plane crash is not what it appears to be. How did the Losties survive a mid-air breakup? Why was Ben so confident that Ethan and the other Other would find survivors?

  15. mikec says:

    its a good idea but it fails on one of your own premises of what makes a good tv ending, its not original, its basically donnie darko, donnie being desmond, goes back in time and makes sure the plane is in the right spot for everyone to survive. Soz mate

  16. L0st says:

    So…are we to assume that if your theory is correct and the plane does in fact fly over the island without incident, that the pilot will somehow be able to get back on course to LA. Remember…they were 1000 miles off course before they crashed…there is more signifigance to the story other than Desmond not pushing the button or pushing the button and setting things right. How does pushing the button and not having the plane crash save the world?? Is there some catastrophe waiting ahead between the Losties and Others that will have dire consequences for the outside world? If so, then your theory would plausible. If it boils down to Desmond pushing the button, avoiding the plane crash, and saving the world, they better tie up all the loose ends and explain all the mysteries before it ends.

  17. soularheart says:

    Interesting reading, thanks! One thing I do not understand is how such a theory can explain the almost divine yet reluctant “saving the world” mission of Desmond? How on earth is he going to save the entire world (as the jewellery lady suggests) by saving the plane from crashing? It somehow doesn’t add up …or does it?!

  18. soularheart says:

    ooops I missed the similar post above mine! sorry!

  19. Hammer says:

    Extra – The story of how and why these things happened to the character still needs to get played out whether Bruce is right or not. I mean, we still haven’t learned why they happened. Who says the healing effects of the island were permanent anyway?

    Also, I don’t think the ending is going to be exactly like Bruce predicts… he’s just onto something.

  20. Hammer says:

    Sorry submitted too early…I meant to say that Bruce’s penndulum theory to me is more plausible than his ending of the plane never crashing. I think he somehow saves the world, I just don’t if saving the plane is how he does it.

  21. Lindsey says:

    Best theory I’ve heard yet. And I actually LIKE the way it would end, should this be the case.

    But can I wait a few more years to find out? I don’t wanna!

  22. jbdean says:

    This is a great idea/theory, Bruce. Only one problem. When the men in the ice station saw the anomaly they commented that there had been a time before when they’d missed it. So, unless there was another instance that the button was not pushed prior to the crash, it has to be from the Swan’s implosion. The only other “incident” we know of was the one Dr. Candle spoke of on the Swan Orientation film and that one happened too long ago for Penny to appear near the age is was with Desmond.

  23. XtraCripsy says:

    Hammer: Dez will end up being a hero along with the other Losties. Somehow, some way Kate won’t go to prison.

    We don’t know the mythology of the island yet, but I think we can guess the moral of the story: the Losties’ get redeemed.

    Each of the Losties are flawed, which made their lives in the real world problematic. (I think we have the seven deadly sins well represented by the bunch.) But here on the island it works to their advantage. Jack’s pride and arrogance ruined his marriage and his relationship with his father (and probably mother, too), but it helps him stand up against the real evil of the Others/Hostiles. Kate is a person of action. We have seen how she’s the first to volunteer for the each dangerous mission on the island.

    I think the whole time travel or alternate quantum dimension travel opens up too many possible plot lines.

  24. Erin says:

    I love this theory! Desmond will prove that he is not a “coward” like Pen’s dad said he was, and he will indeed become a great man. Des is an intriguing character, one of my favourites, considering he didn’t even appear until the beginning of series 2. I can’t wait to see more about him.

    I can, however, definitely wait a few years to find out what happens… I don’t want the show to end. Then what will I do on Wednesday nights? And what will I talk about all day Thursday?!

    I have complete faith in the writers and producers. Lost will go down in history as one of the great tv mysteries. One that will end in a most satisfying way. I don’t think we should worry about that at all…

  25. lostbc says:

    very cool theory

    i agree with xtracrispy…in a sense i think if the plane didnt crash and the losties continued on to their destination many of them would be worse of in many ways. they all seem to have been “healed” in some way since being on the island…whether its physically, emotionally or by repairing a significant relationship. even shannon, boone and ana-lucia made their peace before dying on the island. it would be almost MORE tragic to have the plane not crash in the finale, and to have all of these characters not resolve all of these issues that they had pre-flight 815.

    sidenote: i’m really excited for the eventual, full-circle, pen-dez reunion.

  26. Maurice Tift says:

    After the “Flashes Before Your Eyes” episode, Damon Lindelof said that the flashbacks may actually be something more than we have so far been led to believe. He said that “some of these bad decisions that people have made in their lives are potentially reversible in some way.”

  27. Matt says:

    The only reason that the plane passed over the island is that Desmond didn’t push the button on time. You’ve forgotten that they were WAY off course because of Desmond. So there’s no scene of the plane passing over Otherville if Desmond pushes the button on time.

  28. Mr Ecko says:

    Whoever brought up the idea that Desmond and Penny are Adam/Eve…that was VERY interesting!

    How would it work though? Wouldn’t Desmond have to be dead in the present to be dead in the past (like Back to the Future, space-time continum)?

  29. MKS says:

    I think that maybe the characters will be able to go back to some of the major turning points in their lives, like Des was able to. They’ll be able to make a different choice, i.e. change the course of their own life. But, in order to be able to do so, they’ll have to overcome their own fears, doubts, insecurities, etc. Des went back to a point where he could have changed the course of his life, but because he still could not believe in himself, because he could not be happy with what he had, he was not ready to stay and change. Maybe all characters will evetually be able to go back to those crucial points and make the right choices- Claire will not get into an argument with her mother and keep Aaron, Jack will pay more attention to his wife and accept his father for the flawed man he is, Kate will not kill her step father, John will take the help offered at his meetings, Saiid will not becomea torturer, etc.

  30. sukotto says:

    The idea of the characters being ‘fixed’ by the island and sent back (or on) to redeem their mistakes is an interesting thought. Changing the cahracters flaws could be equated to changing the numbers.

    But wouldnt that be a bit of a letdown overall for the series? ‘the island is one giant positive karma machine, now be on your way and live happily ever after’

    are the lives of these people so important that all these events are happening just to help them be better human beings?

    I suppose saving the characters could be the key to saving the world.

  31. Eric says:

    Desmond is the key. Have always thought this. Still believe the Losties are in an “eternal now.”

    New thought on Desmond and the equation. Not a countdown. Redemption and Reconciliation, makes me think of Clive Barker’s Imajica. Each number greater than the one before, but none sufficient.

    Desmond is a savior, the 7th piece, the 7th number in the equation, which is incomplete (unpublished or unknown or unknowable to Dharma). When do you most often obsess or repeat a number sequence?

    When you’re trying to figure out what comes next?

    Dharma wanted to assemble savants (Walt and others like him) to dream the number. Dharma brought Juliet to bring a miracle creation for the same purpose–to produce a Desmond. Fate always seems to trump intervention.

  32. joe says:

    i love this theory too, and i think would be extremely gratifying to see it played out – but i do think that, if we are to believe what damon/carlton have said, we haven’t yet seen enough ‘game changing’ episodes to see the full scope of the show yet.

    a crucial part of this theory is that desmond will be able to continue to go back and adjust things, which i’m not sure will be possible if we believe what damon/carlton have said about ‘flashes before your eyes,’ that they were doing something with the flashbacks they’d ‘never do again.’

    it’s because of this that i’m holding to my theory that this one trip back in time caused enough of a ripple for penny to eventually put pieces together and begin her quest for des.

    it’s a major story thread, but i don’t think it’s the ‘key.’

  33. esser says:

    “I must be missing something. If Dez doesn’t let the plane crash by not pressing the button, then how would an electromagnetic anomaly register with the guys Penelope hired?[/quote]”

    Perhaps Dez’s decision to press the button (thus saving the Oceanic passengers) will be his ultimate act of sacrifice. In other words, he’ll forgo any chance of being saved by Penelope by pressing the button earlier. This decision would be consistent with Dez’s messiah complex — his determination to save Charlie, Claire, etc.

    Under this theory, I also wonder if Dez intentionally did not press the button on time the first time in order to bring the Oceanic passengers to the island. . .

    Very cool theory.

  34. Bobbi says:

    I was just on abc.com bored, looking around. And they had this clip of when Jack first met Desmond running up the stairs. When they sit and chat, Desmond seems to know things…this would really fit in nicely with this theory. He asks Jack “what if u did fix her” about Sara. And his coy mention of “see u in another life”. Which then makes me wonder–when he says “bit of advice, u got to lift it up”. What is he saying? Is it future advice for the island?

  35. mr jones says:

    here’s a thought that my roommate just had about the pendulum theory. What if desmond goes back…changes everything. However, what if the final scene is not all of the losties on the plane, flying over and not crashing on the island. But, instead we see the plane flying over the island, we think everything is okay and then…all of a sudden…BOOM, the plain crashes. However, we notice that it is an entirely new group of losties because desmont went back and changed everything so this group of people weren’t on the plane, but the crash was inevitable….let me know your thoughts!

  36. barbarella says:

    [quote comment=”46552″]I was just on abc.com bored, looking around. And they had this clip of when Jack first met Desmond running up the stairs. When they sit and chat, Desmond seems to know things…this would really fit in nicely with this theory. He asks Jack “what if u did fix her” about Sara. And his coy mention of “see u in another life”. Which then makes me wonder–when he says “bit of advice, u got to lift it up”. What is he saying? Is it future advice for the island?[/quote]

    Oooh, well this one just gave me goosebumps. Good recall! This ties in nicely to Desmond’s “flashes”, both past and future. I know the producers have said they likley won’t do that kind of thing again with flashbacks, but they have clearly identified that Desmond is stuck in some kind of time pendulum (as note at the beginning of the thread). These comments make perfect sense now. I’m inclined to go back thru all the Desmond eppys to see if there are other clues like this.

    Thanks!

  37. Hammer says:

    [quote comment=”46552″] Which then makes me wonder–when he says “bit of advice, u got to lift it up”. What is he saying? Is it future advice for the island?[/quote] My memory fails, but isn’t that what Jack needed Tom to do when Jack needed help during Ben’s operation? Hold something up? Might be a stretch.

  38. Rita says:

    First of all, Bruce, this is an awesome theory. And even if it turns out not to be correct (or only partially correct) it has totally satisfied my own yearning for an explanation of the Lost mythology.

    Desmond, I believe, says “see you in another live” twice to Jack. The first time when he and Jack run up the stairs in the stadium. The second time, when they meet again on the island and Desmond asks about Sarah (how the surgery turned out). Just before they part, Desmond says “see you in another live”.

    Is it too farfetched to think that Desmond is in the process of becoming “aware” or “enlightened” (in the buddhist sense) and experiencing the awakening of his senses to the true nature of the universe? [Per wikipedia, Dharma or Dhamma is the underlying order in nature and human live and behavior considered to be in accord with that order… beings that live in accordance with Dharma proceed more quickly toward Nirvana].

  39. Robbie says:

    I believe!

    We know every scene and easter egg by heart, so when we see a small difference, we’ll know it’s “not quite right”.

    I think Nikki and Paulo have taken Rose and Bernard’s place due to some small change that happened when Desmond “went back”. We’ll see tomorrow…

  40. lost chicka says:

    i have my own theory about the end of lost.
    There really was a plane crash and Jack will wake up in a hospital from nikoma (or however they spell it) and we’ll all realize it was just a dream. The survivors of flight 815 were all just the last faces he saw & the others plus desmond and danielle are all just people from his past. I like that theory better than the snow globe one.

  41. Meg says:

    [quote comment=”48040″]i have my own theory about the end of lost.
    There really was a plane crash and Jack will wake up in a hospital from nikoma (or however they spell it) and we’ll all realize it was just a dream. The survivors of flight 815 were all just the last faces he saw & the others plus desmond and danielle are all just people from his past. I like that theory better than the snow globe one.[/quote]
    The Lost authorities have already said they arn’t going to cheat us of a good ending with something like that. No snowglobe, no “it was all in so-and-so’s head”

  42. TimmyD says:

    Under this theory, I also wonder if Dez intentionally did not press the button on time the first time in order to bring the Oceanic passengers to the island. . .

    Very cool theory.[/quote]

    Dez’s not pressing the button the first time was not intentional. If memory serves, he was confronting Kelvin at the discovery of his boat, had the fight resulting in Kelvin’s death, grabbed the override key, and then had to scramble back to the hatch quickly only to find it in “system failure” mode.

  43. harrold says:

    4 + 8 + 15 + 16 + 23 + 42 = 108
    where 1=A , 2=B etc
    Makes : A.H.. –> Alvar Hanso

  44. Michael says:

    Wouldn’t the presence of “42” negate the brilliant Rosetta-stone “A = 1, B = 2, C = 3 ? “

  45. Oriana Offermann says:

    I think Charlie is not going to die. Desmond’s flashes about it is just a flash from the past, from the chapter when Charlie was hanged by the others and die but then was brought to life by Jack.

  46. Bryan says:

    I like Bruce’s theory but cannot get past my own feelings that the producers and writers have not yet figured out how they are actually going to end this show. With every twist and unexplainable event that occurs on this island, they have left themselves limited solutions to actually finish this show in a way that would be acceptable to viewers. I do not think we should get our hopes up that everything will come together in the end and make sense. There will still be many unanswered questions that i dont see being explained, such as the black cloud that mysteriously comes out at random times and kills or scares the islanders. Regardless, im intrigued.

  47. lost chicka says:

    i like bruce’s idea but i really like the final episode idea that the Losties will all slowl become one of the Others. if the last episode is them on the plane & they don’t actually crash, for me it would be like i wasted 1 hour of every wed. night for ? years. i want there to be a bigger twist that nobody sees coming, everybody dying or everybody slowly turning into Others. or them finding out that this was the ultimate survivor show & them all suing the show =)!

  48. Box Trailers says:

    Very cool theory…

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