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Cabin Fever - the compass is one of many items offered to Locke

Because You Left - Locke holds the compass handed to him by Richard

Cabin Fever - The compass from Cabin Fever

  • The compass is irritated by Electromagnetism generated by experiments in the Stations, namely The Swan.
    • The compass is irritated only in relative close proximity to The Swan. The effect of magnetic fields falls off proportionally to the cube of the distance from the source, unlike wave-effects (such as light) which fall off with the square of the distance from the source.
  • The compass is irritated by mysterious or mystic energies that originate from the Island.
  • The compass is irritated by large amounts of iron in the black rocks.
  • The compass heading given to Michael by Ben is the one heading that allows the compass-user to sail directly away from the Island and not circle back.

  • The compass given to John Locke by Richard Alpert was the same object in which a young John Locke was supposed to select in order to prove to Richard that he was the chosen one.
    • The compass is only the first of the objects from the test that Richard Alpert gave to young Locke; as Locke continues on his journey through time on the Island, Alpert will bestow the rest of the "correct" objects from that test to Locke.
      • When Richard interviewed the young Locke, he was upset that Locke picked up the knife. Locke has lived with the knife so far - now Richard, in giving him the compass, is saying "this is a point of change".
        • A compass is about direction but also discovery. It is used on the path to a location, not once you get to that location.
          • Young Locke would have been correct to choose the compass. He only chose the knife because Locke, young and old, has an affinity for knives. So, like a child, he simply chose the object he liked best, not the one he should have known was his in another life/time. This refusal to accept his past/future destiny is shown later in Cabin Fever when teenage Locke refuses the science camp.
            • Young Locke only picked one item, and it was the knife. He pulls a few items from the group including the sand, compass, and knife. After doing so, he ultimately chooses the knife - the only item he chooses.
    • The Cabin Fever scene will be shown again and John will select the compass. Richard will give John another clue.
    • The compass from Via Domus was supposed to point "the way home," not North as Richard stated.
      • Richard was humorously stating the obvious in order to get Locke to ask "the right questions".
      • or North is Locke's "way home"
      • Way back Sayid pointed out that the compass he had did not point to north as it was supposed to. Perhaps the way north faces points the correct course off the Island, which Daniel is currently trying to figure out.
        • But the Hatch was still around then and the electromagnetic pull of the station was distorting the compass bearing. Since the implosion compasses have worked just fine or at least have not been mentioned as inaccurate.
  • Clearly this is the same compass as in Cabin Fever.
  • Actually, if you look at the screenshot from Cabin Fever, you notice many differences between the two compasses!
  • Alpert gave Locke the compass in proximity to the drug plane. In Season 1, Locke was following an old compass, possibly the same compass, when he and Boone found the drug plane.
  • The compass has French indications (O for ouest, west). This could indicate that perhaps Alpert has some ties to Rousseau or her team.

  • Note that Richard told John that the next time they met, he "wouldn't recognize him" - not that he wouldn't know him, and there is a distinct difference. Many have wondered how Richard knew to visit baby John Locke in the hospital shortly after his birth. It could be that past Richard met future John, and thus knew that he was special and knew to look for him as a child. This would also explain why Richard said to John in Cabin Fever "No John, which of these belongs to you already?"
  • Richard gives Locke the compass so Locke can give it back, in some future time jump. This allows Richard to search for Locke, as in Cabin Fever, when Richard is visiting all children named John Locke, and showing them the objects.
    • Richard sets this all up to let his past self find Locke at a young age and train him, but it fails? This one is a bit of a stretch.
      • Locke didn't fail. Richard wasn't recruiting anyone. He was just trying to find out if that was the right John Locke. Locke succeeds by selecting all three of those. Richard's uses 'he's not ready' as his excuse for coming there, finding out what he needed, and leaving.
      • Per Jughead, Richard visits young John Locke at birth because Locke tells Richard in 1954 that he is born 2 years later, May 30, 1956 in Tustin California. Therefore, present Locke told past Richard to visit Future Locke who is in fact, Past Locke.
  • Locke going back to 1954 and talking to Richard led Richard to baby Locke, young Locke, and teenage Locke (and perhaps why Abaddon is seen with Locke later when Locke is in the wheelchair), thereby Locke established himself as leader in the past. This was accomplished when Richard gave young Locke a test for Locke to pick out which items were his. Richard gave the compass to Locke, meaning it then belonged to Locke, if only for a short time. Locke gives it back to Richard to solidify Locke's story, then Richard has it until he uses it with young Locke to see if Locke knows that it was given to him. And it came full circle.
    • Locke selected the sand in the vial also, which is supposed to represent the Island. If you go by this theory above then you could say that he selected the sand because the Island already belonged to him (as well as the compass).
      • And of course... the knife. (Was it the same knife used to kill one of the 3 "Others"?)

  • Compass, Latin , Via Domus, Locke - possible link??? Perhaps the game isn't quite as non-canon as the producers are letting on!
  • The strange thing is that at the point in time when Richard gave Locke the compass, Richard had already had all the experiences with Locke in the past--including Locke's failed test as a young boy. Therefore, when future Richard gives the compass to Locke in order for Locke to return it to 1950's Richard, it is sort of like ensuring that 1950's Richard will have certain expectations for how young Locke will react. In other words, future Richard is purposefully and knowingly setting up young Locke to fail.
  • I suppose that could be the case, but the way Richard acted the day after Locke couldn't kill his father at the Other's camp would seem to indicate that setting him up to fail at a young age would be a means to an end in driving him towards returning as a grown man, which would fit in perfectly with all of the events that led to Locke displaying a leadership potential (the excitement of a paralyzed man walking again, his survival ability, his oneness with the Island, his "don't tell me what I can't do" attitude, all key in his arrival and rise to power on the Island).
  • You stated perfectly what I was trying to say. I didn't mean so much that Richard is trying to preserve the timeline (as if it needed his help, which Faraday seems to think otherwise), but more along the lines of what you just said. Future Richard would know that Locke wasn't ready when he was younger, but that given time and the testing of the walkabout on the Island, he would be. This is all assuming of course, that the meaning of the compass is tied to the test that Richard gives young Locke. The only problem with that is that when Locke relays the story of the compass to 1950's Richard, Locke explained that the compass wasn't Locke's but that future Richard gave it to him. So 1950's Richard knows that the compass is NOT one of the items that belongs to Locke ("I gave you this?" "Yes.").
  • The compass may present an ontological paradox, meaning the compass may have no origin since it exists in a loop in time, with each loop starting over when Locke travels back to 1954 and gives it to Richard.
  • However, the mechanics of the compass' time travel may work like that of the characters' in the show, following a non-recursive path through time: The "younger" version of the compass is given to Locke in 2008. Richard either holds on to the time-traveled compass in 1954 (and two versions of it exist at the same time), or it gets destroyed; either way, the "younger" version will always be given to Locke.

The compass is a reference to the movie "Somewhere in Time"

The movie Somewhere in Time was about a young man in the present who is given a pocket-watch by a mysterious old woman. He later goes back in time to find and be with her, and during his visit to the past he gives her the pocket-watch as a gift. The pocket-watch, possibly like this compass, does not seem to exist outside of this time loop. The similarity is certainly note-worthy.