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The listening station

The Listening Station

Arcticsetting

Mountains are seen in the distance.

The Listening Station was introduced in Live Together, Die Alone. The station is operated by two Portuguese-speaking technicians (one looks like Jack but is in fact a different actor) who kill time playing chess. It is located in a cold, snowy place, a blizzard is seen outside and mountains are observed nearby. The station is also in direct contact with Penelope Widmore.

The apparent purpose of the station is to detect any electromagnetic signatures emanating from the Earth. The technicians missed a prior anomaly. When The Discharge occurred a console there displayed the numeric/text ">/ 7418880 Electromagnetic Anomaly Detected".

  • This is the first strong evidence we have been given that the world is "still out there."
  • At the end of the "Live Together, Die Alone" episode, one of the technicians says "We missed it again-". What he really said in portuguese was "A gente não percebeu de novo, eles vão matar a gente", which translates to "We missed it again, they will kill us". Later, the other one says "SHUT UP AND MAKE THE CALL!", what he really said was "Cala a boca e chama ajuda" which translates to "Shut up and call for help."

Terminal Output

At the end of Live Together, Die Alone we see the following on a computer screen in the station.

Delivery Subsystem 550 requested action taken:
> Received: by 10.48.24.11 with SMTP id m12mr1134482afg;
> Received: by 10.29.34.1 with HTTP
> Message-ID: Subject: AUTOMATED TEST
> MIME-Version: 1.0
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
> Content-Disposition: inline
>
AUTOMATED TEST -

1bbybby 77111790  ****systems normal**** 76555#722#0

zzzzzz330  7711345 ****system normal**** QX10022005#311

TEST COMPLETE

****************************************************

Delivery Subsystem 550 Requested action taken:
> Sent: by 10.28.224.18 with SMTP id m11mr1134484mfg;
> Sent: to 10.49.31.1 with HTTP


Theories

  • This could be a flashback scene. It's only an assumption that the scene takes place contemporaneously with the apparent destruction of the Swan; it may, in fact, have taken place before the crash (and even before Penelope's engagement). (Presumably there have been electromagnetic artifacts emanating from this island for years).
    • It's very unlikely this is a flashback. Although the producers set up puzzles by revealing things gradually, they don't have a history of playing tricks with cinematic convention. The placement of the scene in the episode suggests it is contemporaneous.
    • Furthermore, the day after the episode first aired, head writer Damon Lindelof had this to say in the New York Times: "People who believe that they're in purgatory or that they're subjects of an experiment are going to start reassessing those theories based on the fact that we are literally showing you the outside world." (emphasis added) That statement would have no meaning unless this was the outside world in the present, because we've been seeing the outside world in flashbacks all along.
    • Another reason this is unlikely to be a flashback is that if it were a flashback, it would be the first-ever flashback scene that didn't feature a character from the island.
  • Penelope founded the station to find Desmond. As she said, "With enough money and effort, you can track anyone."
  • Penelope's connection to the island might not have anything to do with Desmond, but simply with the fact that Widmore Labs clearly has ties to the island.
  • As it appears to be in a cold weather climate, it could be located far north (Russia, North Pole, Canada, Scandinavia) or far south (Antarctica).
    • The mountains visible nearby make it unlikely that the station is at or near the North Pole (which is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean), but more likely that it is either in Antarctica or a subarctic northern location. The operators speak Portuguese strengthening the chances of it being Antartica (South America is the nearest landmass to Antartica).
    • Specifically the location could be in the "zone of interest" claimed by Portuguese-speaking Brazil extending from 60°S to the South Pole and from 28°W to 53°W known as Antártica Brasileira.
    • The location could also be in the Himalayas as there appeared to be soft Indian (Sitar) music playing in the background.
    • As The Discharge occurs on Day 66, it is presumably late November, when it would be dark in the far north and light in the far south. It is bright outside when we see the window, so this also increases the likelihood that the station is in Antarctica, or at least not the far north.
  • The missed anomaly may be the same event that brought down Flight 815.
  • The missed anomaly may be related to Locke's failure to push the button before the timer expired in One of Them
  • The system failure and/or discharge that brought down Flight 815 was too brief to be detected, and thus the listeners cannot be faulted for missing it (we know the Day 1 system failure had to be briefer than the Day 66 system failure, because the Day 1 system failure did not last long enough to severely damage the Hatch). Although they acted too worried about missing it for them to not be accountable for it.
  • Is the same listening station where Sam Toomey and Leonard Simms first learned of the numbers
  • This station may be a just another hatch in the island. All snowy mountain panorama could be a just studio.

Images

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