Time travel on Lost has always bee surprisingly logical.  Despite all of the time jumping in season 5, there were clearly defined rules and a set timeline.  However, the weird altverse created by the flash sideways has torn the fabric of time apart.

I’ve been operating under a simple assumption.  I thought that the bomb detonating on the Island created a separate timeline and that, even in the altverse, all events prior to the explosion were identical to those in the original timeline.

To explain, here’s an illustrated diagram of my theory.  The blue line represents the original timeline seen in the first five seasons.  The yellow line represents the timeline in the altverse.  The green portion is an overlap of the two, and the giant black dot is the detonation of the bomb in 1977, the event I thought caused the rift in time.

However, the arrival of Ben in Locke’s flash sideways as a European history teacher threw a monkey wrench into that theory.  When the bomb detonated, young Ben was on the Island being cured by the Others in the Temple.  Since Ben is apparently alive in the altverse, this disproves my theory.

I’ve tried scrambling my brain to come up with an alternate theory, but that’s not happening.  Somehow the altverse must have a different timeline prior to 1977, one in which Ben didn’t come to the Island.

For every step forward, Lost takes two giant leaps back, answering one question only to have three more pop up in its place.  Trying to understand the precise timeline of the altverse is a Herculean task, one that may not even have an answer.  For now, I will defer to astrophysicists, fanatical Lost theorists and the writing staff of the series, because every time I think I have the right answer, they pull the rug out from under me.

How do you explain Ben’s appearance in the altverse?  Or have you also given up trying to explain how it all works?

(Image courtesy of ABC)