I am calling this “Apos: Q and A.” Maybe this will become a weekly segment, or not, depending on whether or not Apos cooperates. Regardless, Steven brought up some interesting points in his response to my “What Kate Does” post and so I thought I would just make a whole new post out of them. Here’s Steven’s (Apos) comment (italics) followed by my response (bold).
Seeing as I got a shout out in this post I'll take the initiative to be the first [comment]. I've been speculating and theory crafting on several issues. One of which you jumped on too, I'm pretty convinced that Richard came to the island on the Black Rock.
I also think the Claire issue needs to be looked at much more closely. She is said to be "infected" now, does this mean that the stories we received from Rousseau about her husband and crew were in fact inaccurate? Could it be that Rousseau was the one that was "infected" and in her craze killed all of her crew members. I'd say its a good guess. I also think something of Claire's condition has to be directly linked with the fact that she is no longer with/taking care of Aaron. I say this of course because of the several clues we've received throughout the series stating that 1.) "You must raise the child" and 2.) the numerous visions to Kate that shes not suppose to raise Aaron. I'd also like to point out the obvious similarities between Claire and Rousseau: Claire looks like Rousseau, Claire is placing traps and seems bewildered, and of course we can't forget the fact that both were separated from their children.
As for the Dogen comment, the possible reasoning for the poison reaching his "heart" could be that many ancient civilizations such as the Chinese and Japanese believed the mind was an essence of the heart (life force), not the brain. I also question the whole Ben never being the same issue, because if being healed by the Spring had some negative effects why would Dogen so willingly plunge his hand into the water. Yet again, I think that there was definitely something about Ben's revitalization that caused him to be as ruthless and cutthroat as he is.
There's plenty of other crap I've thought of and would like to discuss, but its getting late and honestly I can't keep all my thoughts straight in this tiny little box, so we'll continue this later. (P.s. the island is actually Atlantis - am I being serious? Who knows).
I think most LOST theorists agree at this point that Richard came on the Black Rock, though most theories I've seen have him as the captain of the ship (implicit racism perhaps at work), but in light of the chains comment by Smoky it might very well be that he was one of the slaves. I think we will find out much more about Richard and his relationship with Jacob and Smoky in the weeks to come.
You make some interesting points about Claire. You bring up some parallels with Rousseau that I hadn't thought about (specifically about them both being separated from their children *though under somewhat different circumstances*). I’m not sure if that parallel is important or not, but I will keep an eye on it for future episodes. As to Rousseau perhaps being the one infected I would have to disagree. If you remember the episode in question (“This Place is Death”), the other members of her expedition crew follow the Frenchman into the hole, but Jin stops her from going in saying, “you don’t follow.” Later we see her in a faceoff with her baby’s daddy (Robert) and he talks her into lowering her gun before he pulls the trigger. If she were the one infected I doubt that she would be persuaded to lower her weapon, and the fact that he pulls the trigger tells me that obviously he has changed if he is willing to kill his own child and wife/baby’s momma (that’s not something normal people do). Also, Dogen says that the infection changes everything you once were, but on several occasions we saw Rousseau, even years later, profoundly impacted by the loss of her daughter (something I don’t think we would see from an infected person). The physical similarities between Claire and Rousseau could be explained by the simple fact that they both have been living alone in a jungle (one would expect them to get a bit dirty), and that both were/are a little bit insane (maybe as a result of both losing children, like you said). As for the trap making, it’s not hard to imagine that Claire would use similar traps, after all she has been living alone on the island now for several years and would undoubtedly have come across many of Rousseau’s traps that she had setup all over the island while still alive.
About Aaron; I too have questions about his role in all this. It has certainly been hinted at that he is an important character in the larger story that LOST is trying to tell, but I almost wonder if the writers of the show have decided to go in a different direction and left Aaron somewhat out of it. We were led to believe that the psychic who told Claire to raise the child was a fraud (he admitted as much himself to Mr. Eko in episode 21 of season 2, “?”). That doesn’t necessarily mean that he is actually a fraud (he could have been lying to Mr. Eko so that he would drop the investigation), or that what he told her isn’t significant; they definitely made it seem like he had some knowledge of the future, and he had no clear motive to lie to her (even refusing to take her money/buying her a plane ticket). I don’t think we ever had a vision to Kate saying she shouldn’t raise the child (if you can recall specifics I will go back and look it up), we had a vision to JACK saying that he shouldn’t raise the child, and we had Claire appearing to Kate telling her, “don’t you dare bring him back, (presumably meaning to the island)”. It just seems to me that Aaron has become less and less of a factor as the show has gone on. He may very well come back into play in a major way, but it wouldn’t particularly surprise me if he doesn’t.
I wasn’t trying to argue that Dogen didn’t know that the brain is responsible for personality and not the heart, as some ancient civilizations believed. My point was more a question of whether Dogen meant to imply that the ‘infection’ was spiritual and not physical. Is it actually affecting the heart (in a spiritual sense, aka the soul or life-force) or is it affecting the brain (heart here used metaphorically to mean the personality aspect of the brain). That’s all I meant by it.
On the issue of Ben, I guess what I was unwittingly implying was the he had somehow been healed by the smoke monster (which now thinking about it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense). My idea was that if the smoke monster “claimed” him as he did Sayid, then it would explain his dramatic change in personality (changing everything he once was, as it were). But we now know that there’s no way that Richard would enlist the smoke monster for help, so that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I guess the spring healing him is the only logical alternative, but I don’t know why that would take away his innocence. Thinking about this has brought to mind an interesting point though, if Ben is working for Jacob, and Jacob and the smoke monster are enemies, why would the smoke monster allow itself to be “summoned” by Ben to kill off Keamy’s soldiers? He told Smoky (who we thought was Locke at the time) back in season 5 that he only knew how to “summon” the monster, he didn’t actually know where it “lived”. Why would Smoky allow himself to be summoned by a pawn of Jacob? Unless maybe he was somehow being forced to do so… interesting. I’ll have to think more about this.
I don’t think the island is Atlantis (since Atlantis was a city and the island clearly has no cities on it), though it might be from another planet and/or dimension.