So, there's this line from Lost that's been bugging me since last week. When discussing the Others with Charlie, Desmond says "By my count, you've killed more of them than they have of you."
Why am I obsessed with this line? A lot of reasons. First, because I am developing this theory that Desmond is a plant, and has been since they first found him. And that's exactly the sort of line the Others use to get inside your head and stay there. Second, because even if it's sincere and Desmond is on the up-and-up, it's delivered entirely free of context; even if it's true -- about which see below -- it plays into the Others' simplistic, transparently self-flattering "We're the Good Guys" mentality by presenting death as if it's the ultimate wrong. If someone had said, "Say, Desmond, which side has kidnapped, tortured, beaten, lied to, attempted to kill, manipulated, experimented on, terrorized, and fucked with the other side more often?", he'd have gotten a different answer. And third, I'm not sure if it's even true. Let's see:
EVERYONE WHO HAS DIED ON THE ISLAND SINCE 09/22/2004
- Pilot of Oceanic Flight 815 & Mr. Eko (both killed by Lostzilla).
- 2 unnamed others (beaten to death by Mr. Eko).
- Nikki & Paolo (buried alive as a result of their own machinations).
- Libby & Ana Lucia (shot by Michael).
- Goodwin & unnamed Other (stabbed by Ana-Lucia).
- Nathan (neck broken by Goodwin).
- Ethan (shot by Charlie).
- Unnamed Other (shot by Sawyer).
- Colleen Pickett (shot by Sun).
- Edward Mars (Edward Mars (injured in crash, euthanized by Jack).
- Danny (shot by Juliet).
- Ms. Klugh (shot by Mikhail).
- Gary Troup (sucked into airplane engine).
- Barbara (drowned).
- Boone (killed in a fall).
- Arzt (accidentally blown up with dynamite).
- Shannon (accidentally shot by Ana Lucia).
- Donald & 3 other unnamed castaways (died of injuries sustained in plane crash).
- Anthony Cooper (strangled by Sawyer).
So that's a total of 26 dead on the island since the crash. And, yes, if you look at it extremely simplistically, the castaways have killed more of the Others than vice-versa: Nathan is the only castaway actually killed by a known Other, while the castaways have killed seven Others (eight if you think Anthony Cooper was an Other, which I do).
First, you have to consider: are the Others to be considered the same as the Hanso Foundation/the DHARMA Initiative? I think so, and if that's the case, you have to consider Lostzilla -- who killed the pilot and Mr. Eko -- as operating under their instructions. (It has attacked the castaways many times, but has never bothered the Others so far as we know.) That would bring the total of Other-caused fatalities to three.
Second, if you accept (a) that the castaways aren't already dead and (b) there really was a plane crash, ask: did the Others/DHARMA/Hanso cause the crash? I think they must have; the passengers were too closely tied, too interwoven, too perfectly selected to be pure coincidence. And if that's the case, if the Others or the people on whose behalf they work caused the crash, they're responsible for at least 271 deaths. (And however many people they killed to make the corpses found in the wreckage of 815...)
Third, consider the circumstances of the deaths: eliminating the accidents, they were of a very different character. Nathan, the one straight-up killing by the Others, was a cold-blooded, calculating murder, committed for no reason than to protect his own identity, to cover his own lie. Ethan, on the other hand, was shot by Charlie after kidnapping Claire and brutalizing Charlie and leaving him for death; the three Others were killed by Eko & Ana Lucia while trying to forcibly kidnap other castaways; Godwin was killed accidentally in a fight after revealing he was an nfiltrator and trying to kill Ana Lucia; the Other killed by Sawyer was trying to kidnap Walt; and Colleen was killed by Sun while Sun was trying to rescue her kidnapped friends. Libby and Ana Lucia were shot by Michael in the commission of a plan by the Others. Juliet's killing was likely sanctioned by ben, and Ms. Klugh beggged a reluctant Mikhail to kill her rather than grant the castaways a momentary advantage. Ana Lucia shot Shannon because she thought she WAS one of the Others. With the exception of Anthony Cooper's murder, no castaways have ever committed a voluntarily aggressive act of violence, while the Others have provoked and enticed all the way. Even this article (inspired by Damon Lindelof's Desmondesque comments that "our guys" have committed more evil deeds than the Others) ignores the overall context: the Others have committed far more crimes against consent (attacks, assaults, imprisonment), while the castaways' on-island 'crimes' have been almost entirely in reaction to the actions and provocations of the Others. Their refusal to tell the castaways why they keep fucking with them, likewise, is not in itself a violent act, but it's a HUGE provocation.
I don't know why this bugs me so much, other than that it's irksome and sets up a false moral conflict and a cheap 'out' for dramatic conflict. But if you're seriously setting up the notion that the side that seems the most aggrieved is truly the 'bad' side and the side that seems the most oppressive is truly the 'good' side, you have to do better than this.