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The Others is a group of fictional characters who inhabit the mysterious island in the Americanmarker television series Lost; most serve as the antagonists to the series' main characters, although more recently they've become less hostile toward the survivors and have allied themselves with them to overcome greater threats. According to the character Sayid Jarrah, there are at least 50 living in the Barracks. Wizard magazine rated them the 98th greatest villains of all time.

In the storyline, the term "The Others" is coined by the character Danielle Rousseau and adopted by the survivors of Flight 815 to describe the often antagonistic group of island dwellers seen as "the enemy," who have evidently been living on the island for many years, long before the arrival of the Dharma Initiative on the island in the 1970s and the 2004 crash of Flight 815. The Others do not appear to have a name for their group themselves, though Benjamin Linus has described them as "the good guys." The Dharma Initiative refer to the group as "Hostiles" or "Natives."

Outline

The Others are mysterious and secretive to outsiders, refusing to explain themselves to anyone. They will kill anyone they perceive as a threat to themselves or the Island if provoked. The Others are led by a single individual at a time, a "leader" (Benjamin Linus at the start of the show) who, in turn, takes orders from Jacob, an ageless, god-like being whose motives and origins are unclear. The seemingly immortal Richard Alpert acts as a go-between for Jacob and the current leader, delivering Jacob's orders when necessary, and acts as an adviser to the leader. At the series' start, the Others have mostly been recruited from the outside world, as pregnant women die on the Island before they can give birth. The cause of this is unknown, but it doesn't seem to have occurred before 1977 since Ethan Rom was successfully born on the Island.

In their early dealings with the Flight 815 crash survivors, the Others take on the guise of primitive but cunning jungle-dwellers, at least while on the Island. Part of this effect includes the wearing of primitive flax-sewn clothes, as well as not wearing any footwear, which became their trademark for a while. Richard Alpert has been able to travel to the United States since the 1950s, and seems to have formed Mittelos Laboratories by no later than the early 1970s, when he attempts to recruit John Locke while he was in high school as well as eventually recruiting Dr Juliet Burke. Former leader Charles Widmore is also cited as having left the Island on occasion and this is the stated reason for his removal from leadership of the Others. Since their victory over the Dharma Initiative, the group has become comparatively technologically advanced and for a time acquired means of regular contact with the outside world via submarine and live televisual link.

The Others are experts in stealth. They are difficult to track, leaving hardly any footprints and virtually no trail to follow. They are also able to conceal themselves quite effectively, moving within striking distance of their victims without making a sound as epitomized in season 5 when a group led by Erik (Sebastian Siegel), accosts Sawyer and Kate with young Ben. The character Harper Stanhope was able to vanish right in front of Jack and Juliet when the "whispers" began. This is followed by mysterious whispers, which sometimes heralds the appearance of the Others. In "LaFleur", Richard Alpert is able to somehow get past the Dharma Initiative sonar fence before being detected, claiming that their fence "may keep other things out, but not us." Similarly, Jacob was in Los Angeles just 24 hours before Ajira Airways flight 316 would leave, but was back in his lair on the Island just days later. It has been confirmed that the whispering is not necessarily something that is connected to the Others, though they are aware of it. In the season 5 episode "Jughead", it is revealed that the Others can speak Latin and use it to communicate in the presence of outsiders.

Motives

The exact motives of the Others remain unclear, save that they are fanatically dedicated to protecting the Island at all costs. From the point of view of the Flight 815 survivors, their interactions have regularly appeared malevolent and manipulative. They have kidnapped children, including Walt Lloyd, and tail section survivors Zach and Emma. The reasons for this are connected to the fact that the Others have not been able to successfully give birth on the Island, as the mother is always killed by her immune system reacting against the baby for an unknown reason. At least some members of the group visit other parts of the world and experienced outside lifestyles, cultures, and belief systems and still choose to remain on the Island for a reason that has not yet been explained. At times, some Others appear to be quite willing to sacrifice a lot for their cause, such as when Bea Klugh encouraged Mikhail to kill her rather than be held hostage.

The group are seen to be interested in those who are regarded as being "special" on the island: Walt, for example, who sometimes appeared in places he couldn't have been; and John Locke, who regained the use of his legs despite being previously paralyzed from the waist down. Both via mobisode and in his appearance in the episode "Three Minutes", Walt claims to have been subjected to some manner of testing by the Others, and it was implied that it was not pleasant for Walt. On several occasions, the Others have claimed that Walt was "very special," and Benjamin Linus claimed while captured and being held at the Hatch that "they would never give back Walt." This is reversed by the end of the second season, where Benjamin Linus claims that they had "gotten a lot more than they bargained for" in Walt, and so allowed him to leave with his father.

Recruiting

Those who are members of the Others have either been recruited, as in the case of Juliet Burke, or joined the group having been on the island already (by choice or by kidnapping). In the season 3 episode "The Man from Tallahassee", Ben told Locke that he had brought most of the Others to the Island. Some of the Others appear to be part of the mysterious forces on the Island, whereas those that have been recruited do not. A number of adult survivors from both the tail section and fuselage were kidnapped. During their encounters with the crash survivors, the Others have killed, or attempted to kill, several survivors. There have been frequent references in each group where a person from the other group is referred to as "one of them".

A major part of the Others' modus operandi is a "list". When Flight 815 first occurred, Ben ordered both Goodwin and Ethan to infiltrate the survivors and have lists ready within three days. By the first night, the Others apparently were able to kidnap at least three people as well as the attempted kidnapping of Mr. Eko, who killed the two Others assigned that duty. During this time, Ben ordered Mikhail to conduct full background checks on everyone on Flight 815 using the Flame's stations computers (and presumably, whatever sources they have in the real world), claiming "he wanted to know everything about them." Over a week later, the Others returned, this time with a list of nine specific people that they were to kidnap, that was written by Goodwin. It was later revealed that Jacob had something to do with this final list, and that Goodwin was lobbying "almost too hard" to have Ana-Lucia Cortez included in this list. In the season 3 episode "I Do", Pickett claims that Jack "was not on Jacob's list anyway".

Since that time, several of these Flight 815 survivors have been seen amongst the Others by Locke, Jack Shephard, and Kate Austen during their time with the Others. These survivors do not appear to have been harmed, seem to have complete freedom to move around, and have not asked for any help from the other 815 survivors, nor have they attempted to escape in their contact with the main characters. It has never been revealed how far Ethan was into making his list, or whom he was planning on putting on his list prior to his being exposed as not being on the plane. The question of why some members of Flight 815 have been taken and not others, has generally been answered cryptically, usually with the claim that they simply weren't "meant" to join them.

Residence

Buildings in "The Barracks".
At the start of the series, the Others live in the Barracks built by the Dharma Initiative to house their employees, which they took control of following the massacre of the Dharma members, an event known as the Purge. It is a rather pleasant suburban-like village of houses, complete with furniture, indoor plumbing, and even electricity. The Others have many conveniences of modern living, such as ovens, relatively new books, and CD players. The village even has a book club. The Barracks are surrounded by a sonic defense perimeter capable of generating a sonic pulse to ward away any intruders, including the Monster. The Others have occupied or utilized many of the Dharma Initiative's research stations. It seems that moving into the Barracks was Ben's idea, something which Locke is against, and since Ben's left the Island, the Others don't seem to have returned to the Barracks since it is in its ruined state from when the mercenaries attacked it. In addition, the Others have branched all over the world recruiting members, including Kievmarker, Canadamarker, and Miamimarker, and Los Angelesmarker. Eloise Hawking operates the LampPost Dharma Station, but it is unclear if she is still "an Other".

When not living at the Barracks, the Others appear to be nomads, making camp in the jungle and moving as necessary. In the second season, they use a primitive fishing camp on the coast, off-set by a pair of Dharma Initiative blast doors built into the side of a rock face, to deceive Michael Dawson. They are shown to have a secondary residence known as the Temple, which serves as a safe haven for their people. At the end of Season 3, Ben Linus orders Richard to take the Others there. The Temple is about a day and a half journey at a forced march pace from the Barracks, per Ben's instructions to Rousseau, his daughter Alexandra, and her boyfriend Karl. The Temple is apparently not used often; despite being raised her entire life by the Others, Alex had no clue the Temple existed until told of its existence. Only the outside wall of the Temple has shown, and appears to be ancient. The smoke monster's lair is located in a series of underground tunnels beneath it. Unknown hieroglyphs are inscribed on the walls, both in the tunnels and on the wall itself. Several large holes near the wall allow the monster to exit and enter freely. In "Whatever Happened, Happened", Richard takes a mortally injured 12 year old Ben Linus into the Temple to heal him, at "the cost of his innocence" and the promise that he will always belong to the Others.

Character history

The Others have apparently existed on the Island in some form for many years, dating back to at least the 1950s. At some point in the early 1970s, a truce of some kind was struck between the Others and the Dharma Initative. A set of protocols were put in place for any future dealings. There was a very strict "respecting of territories", indicating that there were parts of the Island under Dharma control and others under Hostile/Other control. This truce ended when Benjamin Linus helped to kill all the Dharma Initiative members, returning total control of the Island to the Others.

Not long after Flight 815 crashes on the Island, the survivors come into conflict with them. Hostilities mounted between the two groups, eventually resulting in armed conflict. During the course of the show, over a dozen survivors of Flight 815 have been taken by the Others, and have not appeared to be abused or harmed. Most of these came from the tail section of the plane, where Goodwin was able to complete his 'list', while Ethan was discovered before he could do the same. The hostility between the two groups has continued, leading to a battle at the survivors' beach camp which saw many Others killed and injured by the survivors, breaking their control over the Island. Since the end of Season 4, however, they have been portrayed as less antagonistic, since both sides wanted to defend themselves from the freighter people. John Locke is appointed the new leader of the Others after Ben was banished from the Island by using the Orchid.

However, the man that takes leadership of the Others is not Locke, but instead an impostor. He orders Richard to escort him to Jacob, and leads a pilgrimage to the Statue of Tawaret, where Jacob resides. The Impostor and Ben go inside, and it is revealed that the man posing as Locke is revealed to be Jacob's nemesis, a similar being with whom Jacob seems to be in a struggle. Jacob's enemy then has Ben stab Jacob to death, and Jacob is kicked into the fire.

References

  1. One of Us
  2. Wizard #178
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2wyIGLJPCw
  4. "Enter 77." Lost, ABC. March 7, 2007. Episode 11, season 3.
  5. "A Tale of Two Cities." Lost, ABC. October 4, 2006. Episode 1, season 3.
  6. "Through the Looking Glass." Lost, ABC. May 23, 2007. Episode 22, season 3.



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