This article describes the Hydra's Orientation Film, for other films, see DHARMA Initiative films.
Dr. Pierre Chang explains in the film that the station is used to conduct biological and behavior research on animals, like birds, sharks and bears, and he talks about the work that they're doing in the station, like the genetic alteration in the "hy-birds" and study the adaptation of this animals. Also, he explains the function of the polar bears in the Island, their adaptability and intelligence makes them the best candidates for the experiments of electromagnetism, when they are ready they're transported to the Orchid station for their next stage of the research.
In the station, humans are studied too, the workers of the DHARMA Initiative capture and sedate the indigenous people of the Island, and take them to Room 23, where security personnel of the DI interrogate them. The purpose of the research is to understand their way of life, their origins and devotion to Jacob, whom the Initiative believes to be a deity. Afterwards, they are drugged and subjected to a brainwash film to create an amnesia effect. They can't violate the truce between the organization and the Hostiles.
It is not known when Chang recorded this film, and the available information seems to suggest several different possibilities:
- Chang's discussion of the Orchid station in this film makes it clear that the chamber underneath the Orchid was already being used for experiments with polar bears when the Hydra film was made. This seems to indicate that the Hydra film was most likely made sometime after the Incident, because on the day of the Incident the excavation under the Orchid was fairly new and the frozen wheel had just been discovered. ("Because You Left") ("The Variable")
- On the other hand, Chang lost his left arm in the Incident, and in The Swan orientation film he can be seen with a prosthetic arm. However, in the Hydra orientation film his left arm seems to function fine. This seems to indicate that the Hydra film was most likely made prior to the Incident. ("Orientation") ("The Incident, Part 2")
- Chang warns the viewer at the beginning of this Hydra film not to divulge his name to others, as he would not want to resort to using an alias. But we know that in other orientation films he does use aliases (eg. Hydra Orientation was number 1, the Arrow was number 2 in which he used an alias - see "Because You Left"), so therefore this film was made before the others which we have knowledge of, although not necessarily every other film.
Moreover, since the film contains several splices, and Dr. Chang is wearing different lab coats in different segments, it is possible that different portions of the film were made on different dates. However, this by itself would not resolve the apparent contradictions in dating, since his arm appears to function perfectly well in all segments of the film.
As Ben first starts to play the DVD, he apologises for the quality, saying it is a, "...transfer from an old betamax". By this he means it is transferred from a betamax video tape cassette. Yet the video images show scratches and dust marks typical of an old celluloid film. In Season 5 "Because You Left", we saw Chang being filmed for an orientation film, using a film camera. Therefore this Hydra Orientation film was originally created on celluloid film, then transferred to betamax video cassette (possibly in 1980, as per the copyright seen on other orientation films), then recently transferred onto DVD. The image quality is likely due to frequent use of the original film, and then use and degradation of the betamax video.
Items in italics represent comments.
Here are some of the duties you may be asked to perform. Genetic alteration. These fascinating hybrids, or "hy-birds" as we call them, will be released and monitored to see how they adapt to the unique properties of the island... successful advanced studies in larger mammals.* Ursus maritimus, or polar bears, possess a keen sense of memory and adaptability. These traits make them ideal candidates for electromagnetic studies that will be conducted at a secondary site where their comfort in cold temp.. It's important when dealing with the bears that you do not show affection or become attached in any way. Also, do not underestimate their intelligence and cunning. These rules must always be followed. I repeat, the bears are not your friends. Rewarding the bear with a fish biscuit, once it has successfully performed a complex puzzle. After the training is completed, you will tranquilize the bear. Affix this tracking device around the subject's neck. At which point it will be transported to the Orchid station for the next phase of research. Remember, be sure to confirm that the female bears have not been impregnated before transport, as the electromagnetic levels at the Orchid have an extremely harmful effect on early term gestation.
As you've already learned, we do animal research here at Hydra. Unfortunately, one must consider the most dangerous animal of all, humans. And so, there is another more secluded test site, where we are conducting significantly more sensitive work. The island's indigenous population, some of you may have heard them referred to as "Hostiles", are acquired on the main island, sedated and brought here, to Room 23. Because the subjects are unwilling participants, security personnel should always be present during these sessions. Under no circumstances are you to engage subjects in conversation. The purpose of these interrogations is to better understand he Hostiles' way of life, their origins, and particularly their worship of an island deity they refer to as "Jacob". After the research team has concluded their tests, inject this into the back of the subject's neck. Then place these goggles over his or her eyes. Hitting this switch will commence the visualization while the drugs take effect. The dream-like quality of the film combined with the cutting edge pharmaceuticals will create an amnesia of sorts Any memory of his or her interrogation will be effectively wiped clean. While these interrogative measures may seem extreme, rest assured, they are vital...our temporary truce with the Hostiles is not violated. This concludes your orientation of the Hydra station. Do not discuss the nature of these experiments with other members of the Initiative. Enjoy your time here on Hydra Island. Namaste... and good luck.
The film ends
Items of note
- A block and tackle is shown hanging, indicating at times the staff need to lift heavy items (likely large animals) onto the examination table.
- As Chang mentions the tasks required, a man in a wetsuit with scuba gear walks past in the background, indicating some underwater jobs are nearby.
- The covered cage containing the "hy-bird" shakes and makes the "hurley" call of the Hurley Bird.
- As Chang warns about befriending the polar bears and not to underestimate their intelligence, we see an animal keeper lock the bear cage then turn to show his right hand is missing, amputated up to the lower forearm.
- Chang holds up the polar bear neck collar, saying it is a tracking device. Other than a metal DHARMA badge on the leather, there seems to be no tracking electronics upon it.