Watching Lost makes me wish I had pursued a degree in physics, or that I’d at least put a little bit more effort into my high school science classes. It also makes me wish I had read more books like Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five or Philip K. Dick’s Valis, both of which are now on my short list of must read novels. Surely I could have fit in such literary classics earlier in my life, instead of reading, say, that tie-in novel to the movie Jason X. In other words, Lost makes me feel uneducated while simultaneously filling me with the desire to learn more about topics I previously had no interest in. Episodes like last Thursday’s time travel mind-boggler “The Constant” may fly a bit over my head, but that doesn’t mean I can’t come up with some interesting theories about what is happening on and off the island.
Today I have Daniel Faraday on the brain. Is he really a time traveler, or is he merely going mad?
From what we witnessed at the end of last week’s episode, Daniel Faraday appears to be unstuck in time much like Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) is. When we were first introduced to Daniel, he was in tears while witnessing the wreckage from Oceanic Flight 815 on the news. When asked why he was crying, he claimed he had no idea. Is it possible that, being unstuck, he was crying because he had met the 815ers in the future and was now seeing them presumed dead?
If Daniel is a time traveler we have no idea how often he jumps, but we do know that he’s done it enough to lose pieces of his mind. In his introduction he was being looked after by a caretaker, giving the impression that he wasn’t able to take care of himself for some reason or another. There’s also the fact that he had trouble remembering the cards that Charlotte was testing him on a couple episodes back. It’s possible that Daniel was exposed to too much radiation during his tests with Eloise the mouse, giving him the ability to time jump. If so, then perhaps Desmond actually is his constant as he flits back and forth through time.
However, what if Daniel isn’t time traveling at all, but merely thinks he is? High doses of radiation can do many things to the human body, and most of them don’t involve time displacement. No, high doses of radiation usually leads to things like tumors, decay, sprouting extra limbs, gaining a third eye, developing superpowers, etc. What if Daniel simply has a brain tumor? He may think he’s jumping around the space-time continuum and may believe that Desmond is his constant, but he could also just be losing his mind. That would also explain the caretaker and the memory loss.
It’s also possible that Daniel brought his brain problems on himself. We witnessed the scene where he put a vest over his chest to protect from radiation during the experiment, but he neglected to put anything over his head. It’s possible that Daniel hoped for the doses of radiation to give his consciousness the ability to jump through time. If that was his ultimate goal, it may have backfired and left him with nothing more than brain cancer.
If Daniel does have a tumor, it’s possible that’s his real reason for coming to the island. We know that the island has healed the likes of Locke (Terry O’Quinn) and Rose, and if Daniel somehow knew of the island’s healing properties of course he’d want to make the journey. That could be why Charlotte was expecting improvement when asking Daniel to memorize the cards. Maybe the island is working its mojo on him, but it hasn’t worked it enough to fully restore his brain just yet.
Daniel Faraday: time traveling physicist or tumor inflicted cancer patient? Maybe he’s both or maybe he’s neither. With Lost, just about anything is possible.
– Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of ABC)