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Fail-safe: Misc



Up to date as of February 07, 2010

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The fail-safe was a mechanism in the Swan which, when triggered by the turn of a key, would terminate the electromagnetic anomaly. The switch was located in a large crawlspace beneath the station accessible by one of a number of grates in the floor. Kelvin, drunk and looking for an escape from pushing the button, revealed the fail-safe to Desmond, saying that it was the only other way out, and that turning the key would make it "all go away". ("Live Together, Die Alone")



The fail-safe key on Kelvin's neck

On the day of the system failure coinciding with the crash of Flight 815, Desmond acquired the fail-safe key by ripping it off of Kelvin's neck, after having accidentally killed him. The key was imprinted with the Swan's logo, and Desmond kept it inside his copy of Our Mutual Friend. It is unknown how many DHARMA Initiative personnel were aware of the fail-safe, although it is highly likely at least Radzinsky, as the station architect, was aware of its existence. ("Live Together, Die Alone")

Desmond turning the failsafe key under the Swan station.


After Locke caused another system failure by destroying the computer, Desmond retrieved the key and triggered the fail-safe mechanism, finally terminating the electromagnetic anomaly. This action resulted in the events of the discharge, the complete destruction of the station and Desmond unstuck in time. ("Live Together, Die Alone")  ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")

An unofficial, common fan-made fail-safe key replica, a large number of which were once sold on eBay

The producers later clarified that the turning of the key by Desmond prevented a potential "global catastrophe." ("Lost: The Answers")

Cultural references

Fail-Safe is a 1964 film directed by Sidney Lumet about a fictional Cold War nuclear crisis, and the US President's attempt to end it. The catch line on the original movie poster reads, "'Fail Safe' will have you standing on the brink of eternity!" [1]

See also

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Fail-safe/Theories
  • Why didn't Desmond use the fail-safe when the computer was damaged in "Orientation"?

This article uses material from the "Fail-safe" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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