Wednesday, May 7, 2008

'Character' Spotlight: The Black Smoke Monster


Since the Black Smoke Monster (Smokey) is a prominent player in the game of Lost, I thought it was time to highlight its appearances thus far, and question just exactly who or what it is.

SEASON 1
Pilot Episode, Part 1 (Jack-centric)

We didn't see it, but the survivors from the fuselage section of Flight 815 on the beach certainly heard it on the first night after the crash. Smokey emanated a distinctively mechanical sound, which Rose commented was familiar. Then Jack, Kate and Charlie went to find the transceiver in nose of the plane, and found pilot Seth Norris injured but alive...until Smokey grabbed him out of the cockpit, thrashed him around and left his body atop at tree.

Walkabout (Locke-centric)

Locke was out hunting when he encountered Smokey. Apparently Smokey liked what it saw, because Locke was not harmed. He later told Jack that he looked into the eye of the island (Smokey), and that it was beautiful.

Hearts and Minds (Boone-centric)

After Locke applied his homemade island hallucination paste on him, Boone had a dream that Smokey killed Shannon.


Exodus, Part 1 (multiple characters; flashbacks prior to boarding Flight 815)

Jack, Kate, Hurley, Rousseau and Dr. Artz were going to find the dynamite in the Black Rock ship when Smokey appeared and chased them. This was when Crazy French Lady Rousseau first referred to Smokey as the island's "security system."

Exodus, Part 2 (multiple characters; flashbacks prior to boarding Flight 815)

After retrieving the dynamite (at the expense of Artz, who blew up), Jack and co. were heading back to camp when Smokey appeared again. It was the first time that we actually saw it as black smoke. Locke, feeling overconfident that Smokey was his friend, did not run away. So Smokey knocked him on his ass and dragged him into a hole, and Jack had to save Locke from Smokey's clutches. Of course because Locke is crazy, he asked to be let go, because he wanted to experience Smokey. But then Kate threw dynamite in the hole and Smokey took off.


SEASON 2

The 23rd Psalm
(Eko-centric)

While out in the jungle with Charlie, Eko came face to face with Smokey but he did not run. Smokey seemed to circle and examine Eko, and images from Eko's past appeared within the black smoke.

SEASON 3

The Cost of Living (Eko-centric)

Smokey manifested itself as Yemi, Eko's brother. Yemi lured Eko into a clearing and after Eko expressed no remorse for his past, Yemi said "you speak to me as if I were your brother." And then Smokey picked Eko up, threw him against a tree and discarded him in the jungle. This is the second time we witnessed Smokey actually killing somebody (pilot Seth was the first).

Expose (Nikki & Paulo-centric)

Although we didn't see Smokey, we heard it when Nikki threw the paralyzing spider at Paulo. Additional spiders appeared after the noises and stung Nikki, which could have been Smokey manifestations.

Left Behind (Kate-centric)

After Juliet and Kate awoke handcuffed together in the jungle, Smokey appeared and seemed to scan them using flash photography, which was a first (unless you count Locke's previous description, seeing a 'bright light).

The next day, Smokey reappeared and Juliet used the sonic fence to keep it from attacking her and Kate.

SEASON 4

The Shape of Things to Come (Ben-centric)

After witnessing Keamy murder his daughter Alex, Ben went into a secret chamber and seemed to unleash Smokey, who arrived with great force like a locomotive. Smokey went after Keamy and his men, but only seemed to injure one man.

Who Has Smokey Killed?
  • Eko
  • Seth Norris (Flight 815 pilot)
Who or What is Smokey?
  • Christian Shephard
  • Jacob
  • A chemical creation
  • Modern technology
Smokey's Many Manifestations
  • Christian Shephard (Jack's dad)
  • Emily Linus (Ben's mom)
  • Walt (Michael's son)
  • Yemi (Eko's brother)
When Smokey Sings

...it has made many sounds, such as:
  • dragging metal chains
  • train/locomotive
  • old-school calculator printouts
  • camera flashes
Questions About Smokey:
  • Is the line of ash around Jacob's cabin related to Smokey's abilities?
  • Is Smokey controlled by Ben, Jacob or the island?
  • Does Smokey kill people that aren't on Jacob's list?
  • Why has it only killed the pilot and Eko?
  • How does it distinguish the 'good' from the 'bad' people on the island?
  • Did it only flash scan Juliet because she was an Other? Are Others programmed in and deemed 'safe' or 'good' in Smokey's database? Has Smokey ever killed an Other?
  • Did Smokey exist before Ben oversaw the Dharma purge, or did he somehow create it?
  • Is the Tempest station (toxic gas) home base for Smokey? Is that what Ben had Goodwin working on before sending him off to the Tail Section?
  • Is Smokey physically unable to cross over or through the sonic fence? Could that be related to its chemical makeup?
  • Why is it that simply hiding at the base of a bunch of trees keeps Smokey at bay?
  • When Smokey manifests itself as a person (i.e. Walt or Christian Shephard), is it programmed to do so?
  • Was Smokey designed to set boundaries on the island, to keep specific groups of people away from one another (the Dharma folks, the Others, Danielle's crew, etc.)? If so, why?
  • When Desmond and Locke imploded the Swan hatch, did the electromagnetic pulse have any affect on Smokey?
  • Did Smokey intend to merely scare Keamy and his men? Why spare their lives? Did it like what it saw after scanning them? His team seemed to have prior intel about the island, so is it possible that they knew how to survive Smokey? And if so, did they obtain that key information from Widmore and his original Black Rock journal?
  • Is the Temple a Smokey-free zone? Is that why Ben sent Alex there to join the remaining Others? Is that also why Keamy and his men were at that location?
  • Is Walt the only living person that Smokey appears as on the island?
  • Can Smokey leave the island? Is it or the technology able to appear in the real world? Does it show up as Christian Shephard to haunt Jack? It is Charlie too?
  • Why does it seem that Smokey only manifests itself in human form as relatives to those on the island?
  • Do the whispers work in conjunction with Smokey, or are they operated by the same person/technology?
  • Does Smokey ever take the form of an animal? What about Kate's black horse, Mikhail's cat, etc?
  • Will Miles the Ghostbuster confront or contact Smokey and be able to read or hear it?
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All we know for sure is that the Black Smoke Monster remains one of the only lingering mysteries from all four seasons of Lost thus far.

There are plenty of questions I did not touch upon, and other instances I'm forgetting about. By all means, enlighten us with your theories about what/who Smokey is...

2 comments:

Dube said...

GREAT recap of Smokey! I always wondered why Smokey didn't kill Eko the first time, but decided to later.

leahsodyssey@yahoo.com said...

I think smokey found Eko weakness (his brother) and used it to get to him to kill him. Eko was spirtual and smokey is evil and a threat to him (smokey).