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Marc Oromaner’s Lost In Myth: Are You A Candidate?

By Marc Oromaner,

  Filed under: Lost In Myth
  Comments: 75

Wanna know why the Man In Black is really trapped on the island? It’s not because he’s malevolence, evil, or darkness, and it’s not because Jacob wouldn’t let him leave. It’s because he hasn’t overcome his issues. And what are his issues? Up to now, all we know is that he seems to be terribly frightened of adolescent boys. Hopefully, we’ll get a better answer next week, but as ridiculous as this might sound, I actually think there may be something to it.

If there is one theme that has remained, uh, constant on Lost, it is that all the Losties had major issues that were affecting their lives. The island presented them with opportunities to solve these issues, and once they did, they died. Charlie overcame his drug addiction, Mr. Eko released the guilt he had from his brother’s death, Shannon learned responsibility and selflessness, even Juliet finally came to understand that just because you loved someone, doesn’t mean they’re right for you—an issue that had been haunting her since her parents’ divorce.

In “The Candidate” we lose Sayid shortly after he decides not to kill Desmond for his own selfish purposes, we lose the Kwons after they are reunited and Jin promises never to leave Sun again—solidifying their love, and we lose Frank because, let’s face it, his only purpose this season was to fly the plane off the island. Once that plan was killed, so was Frank. But not to worry, if he’s anything like a character in a Burt Reynolds movie as Sawyer claimed, surely he’ll show up in the end-credit bloopers.

So, in words that are reminiscent of Willy Wonka, three nasty, naughty little children gone, five good, sweet little children left. Actually, strike that—reverse it. The ones left still have issues that haven’t been completely resolved. They’re very close now, but not quite there yet—except for Jack. I believe his on-island self has solved his need to fix everything and taken a leap of faith towards, well, faith. So, why hasn’t he died? Let’s look to our old friend mythology for an answer.

According to Buddhist beliefs, there is a very rare being who is so selfless, he or she not only reaches enlightenment, but postpones the infinitely pleasurable experience of Nirvana in order to stick around in the hell that is earth, just to help others. This being is known as a Bodhisattva. We’re talking about Buddhism here, the same religious philosophy that uses terms like dharma, namaste, and the 108 defilements which one must overcome to reach enlightenment. So, perhaps when looking to explain Lost, looking to Buddhism is a correct step on our dharmic path towards answers.

Mythically speaking, this season, Jack has taken on the qualities of a Bodhisattva by giving up his future in order to stay behind on the island. Again, this is a theme, and likely will never be overtly explained. Lost’s answer to the Bodhisattva however, is the candidate, which hopefully will be shown. The candidate is chosen, presumably, because he or she has qualities similar to the bearer of the position that is to be replaced, i.e., Jacob. So, the candidate to be chosen will be the one who is most like him. But there has been some confusion as to what his qualities actually are. On the island, we have two main archetypes—good and evil. It seems increasingly likely that the “good” is Jacob—he who has reached enlightenment but postpones it to help others do the same. Have we seen this? It sure seems that way.

The island has helped the lost Losties grow past their issues, enabling them to “die.” But nobody ever really dies on Lost. Even if they don’t get reanimated by the smoke monster, dunked into a holy pool, possessed by evil, turned into a zombie, revealed in spirit form, seen or heard by Hurley or Miles, or shown again in a flashback or time travel sequence, we have our convenient flash-sideways timelines to see everyone again. And as I’ve been saying, I believe that this timeline represents the Losties’ lives after their island experience—after their redemption. Sure, they still have their issues, but for the most part they are all in better shape than they were. This seems to be all thanks to Jacob.

So if the candidate must reach enlightenment but postpone it to help others, what must the “evil” archetype do? He must not only not reach enlightenment, but also try to prevent others from doing so. In “The Last Recruit,” the Man In Black admits to Jack that all he ever wanted to do was help the Losties get off the island. He says it like he was doing them a favor, but if the island is meant to help them, he isn’t. He’s preventing them from reaching enlightenment. He has not gotten over his issues so he doesn’t want anyone else to either. The Man In Black isn’t a prisoner of the island; he is a prisoner of his own inability to change. In fact, I do not think he is going to ever get off the island. I think in “The End” we are going to see him on the beach with Jack, complaining about how much he wants to kill him. This is where the show is leading us—at least in the original timeline.

In the flash-sideways, mirror world, Locke may be a candidate, but on the island, it’s Jack. Jack and John—they are two sides of the same person. They even have the same name since Jack is a nickname for John. Just like the yin-yang symbol though, each has a bit of the other inside of him. This was shown in this episode when sideways Jack unknowingly echoed Locke’s words to him: “I wish you believed me.” Perhaps then, the reason we haven’t heard Man In Black’s name is because it’s a nickname of Jacob—Jake? Nah, too anti-climatic. But I think this line of thinking may be on the right track.

Why else haven’t we heard Man In Black’s name? Could be because he’s really a woman. But no, he specifically told Sawyer that he was once a man. Could be lying, but then why not just say that he was once human which wouldn’t have given anything away? He could have the same name as someone we know. Perhaps he even is someone we know—someone who keeps getting reincarnated because he never gets it right—someone like John Locke. In other words, he really is John Locke. Intriguing but too complicated. Perhaps then the Man In Black and Jacob are brothers—but giving away the first name wouldn’t give that away at all. Well, what if his name could literally be Jacob’s brother Esau from the Bible? Maybe, but when it comes to religion, Lost usually sticks to the subtext so as not to alienate viewers. So, where else does that leave us? Hopefully we’ll find out in “Across the Sea.” And hopefully we’ll also find out about the boy.

Up until now, I’ve assumed that the boy that has taunted Man In Black was a rapidly growing Jacob—in the vein of Spock when he was reborn on the Genesis planet in Star Trek III. But what if it’s not Jacob, but Man In Black himself? The one person who can taunt him—is himself. His deepest demons lie within. Why the bloody hands? Well, we know he hated his mom. When I thought it was young Jacob, I assumed it was a stigmata, Christ-like symbol representing his resurrection. But the genius of Lost is that they often take advantage of the multi-leveled meaning of symbols and metaphors, enabling them to fool us. The young boy just might be Man In Black’s own projected conscience, nagging him to follow the rules of society. Rules he broke when he, say, murdered his crazy mother. As punishment, perhaps he was sentenced to a Panopticon-like prison (see “Lost In Myth: ‘Ab Aetern’-Cadabra! And the Island Is…A Cork??”) that is the island of Lost. An island meant to help him overcome his issues. Issues which, thousands of years later, he still hasn’t overcome.

But hold on, if the island is a rehabilitative prison of sorts, how can it be thousands of years old? I’ve been thinking of one way that I think would make a lot of sense as an ending—an ending that borrows from The Myth of Lost theory and then mixes it with one of the oldest theories of Lost—the one that takes us back to Atlantis.

Unlike the original theory, I don’t think that the island itself is Atlantis, but what if Jacob and his nemesis came from there. Actually, it doesn’t have to be Atlantis, just some ancient, yet advance civilization that completely predates all of mankind. Let’s just call it Atlantis because it fits the mythology we are already familiar with. Now, Atlantis was doomed—doomed by its own technology. Knowing this, a group of leaders decide to save some of the more representative members of their society to keep their species alive by bringing them to a “new world” (sort of like Jor-El saving his son who becomes Superman). But in order to prevent repeating the same mistakes they’ve made, they first create a testing ground that all new inhabitants must successfully go through before being released into this new world. This testing ground is the island—a place created not by magic, but technology of an ancient yet highly advanced civilization.

Jacob takes the Bodhisattva role as the guardian of this realm, with the Man In Black as his first prisoner/counterpoint. Over time, all new prospects for the New World are brought to the island where they must overcome their issues before being released there. As they solve their issues, they “die,” bringing them into the real world. While they do not remember their experiences from the island, subconsciously, they recall bits and pieces, and hence the mythology of all of mankind is created. The world they create is hence a reflection of their illusionary island experience: “as above, so below.” The island then is but an illusionary realm—a looking glass—that leads them to their new home (which we have seen in the flash-sideways parallel world).

Once this new society got rolling, people no longer had to take part in the island initiation since their souls had already been through the program. That is, until Jacob realized that his term was up, and it was time to find a replacement. He searched through many candidates—looking for someone who could reach enlightenment, but delay it in order to help others—another Bodhisattva. In a way, it’s all been a game, but it has been the game of life. A game that only ends once, but everything in between is progress. I may be completely off base, but this is an ending that would satisfy the myth that the show has created—a myth that helps us understand our own lives.

In The Myth of Lost, I wrote:

The law of Lost is that once you conquer your demons, you’re free to leave. And since the island is really an illusion, none of the characters who have died are really dead. Just as when we die in our illusionary, so-called “real” life, we don’t really die if you believe in a soul. The creators of Lost seem to, and that’s why the show is riddled with religious symbolism and meaning.

Regardless of the details of how the show ends—whether you love it, hate it, or are somewhere in between—the important thing to take with you are the show’s lessons. The island is a microcosm of our world. Just like the Losties, we have deep-seated issues that have affected our lives. On Lost, the island is the illusionary realm that challenges the characters to overcome their fears and bad habits to grow as human beings. And once they do, they can move on.

It’s the same in our world. We’re all here in this illusionary realm just to experience the challenges of life and grow from them. If we do, we get to move on to the next level—a realm beyond this one with different rules and challenges to help our soul evolve. If we don’t, we come back and play again. Even within one lifetime however, you get many, many chances to overcome your issues. Every time you fail, you are simply presented with a different version of the same life experience that will help you to overcome it.  It’s like Sawyer says to Kate as they are put into the cages again in “The Candidate”: “Feels like we’re running in circles.” While this was a subtle acknowledgement of the repeating themes and storyline of the show, it happens for a reason—it is reflective of how our world works. Through repetition, Lost is trying to get it through our thick skulls that the reason many of us and our society are stuck in this loop, is because we keep making the same mistakes and following the same patterns over and over. All we need to do is break the cycle to move forward.

Jack and Locke in particular have been doing the “I can’t let go” dance since Season 1. At the end of “The Candidate” both finally admit it. Locke can’t let go of his guilt about what he did to his father. In the original timeline, Locke couldn’t let go of the anger about what his father did to him. For Jack, in both timelines, he had trouble letting go of his need to fix everything. These two sides of the same coin are perfect for each other and will likely spend a few thousand years together on the island as its new guardians. Jack will continually want to fix Locke, and Locke will continually be bitter about his dad—or, as the Man In Black, bitter about his crazy mother. Either way, he doesn’t like being told what he can’t do, especially by Jack who tells him he can’t let go.

The message for us is so simple but takes an entire lifetime or multiple lifetimes to accomplish. All of that fear, guilt, and anger that we hold in inside…let it go. It’s living in your mind rent-free—evict it! Holding on to pain, hurt, anger, or resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. It poisons your own experience—explaining the life of most of the Losties who are really all of us. So let go of whatever resentment and anger you’ve been holding on to. The more you let go, the more room you make for new things to come into your life. These things could be good or bad, but as we learn on Lost the choice is up to you. You can chose dark, or you can chose light.

In reality, it’s not usually so black and white. You will always be influenced by these two forces. But that’s okay. You don’t need to be a pure Bodhisattva to play the role of one. If you’re going to help others deal with their issues, it can be good to still have your own, or else, how will you be able to relate to those you’re trying to help? You don’t have to be completely enlightened to help others find their own enlightenment. All you have to do is make the choice and do your best to follow through. That’s what it takes to be a candidate in our world. So, next time you have the opportunity, take what you’ve learned from Lost and help someone who could benefit from your new wisdom. That way, even if the show doesn’t provide a fulfilling ending, at least it won’t have been for nothing. It will have provided a way for you to bring about one less lost person in the world. Even if that person happens to be you.

Marc Oromaner
is a New York City writer whose book, The Myth of Lost offers a simple solution to Lost and uncovers its hidden insight into the mysteries of life. He can be contacted in the discussion section of The Myth of Lost Facebook page or on his new blog The Layman’s Answers to Everything.

The Myth of Lost is available on Amazon and

From TVFrenzy:

  • B.A.Y.

    The Smoke Monster reminds me of a nightmare I used to have. I began dreaming it when I was five and kept on dreaming it for about 30 years. The nightmare stopped when I “let go” in the dream, when I stopped being afraid, when I said to the monster: I can’t kill you. I’ve tried. I’ve shot you, turned flame throwers on you, thrown grenades, and fired at you with a machine gun. And, even, when you seem to be dead, you’re not. You come back to life. So, I said to the monster, I give up. I’m not running away from you anymore. Stab me, if you want. (The monster always had a whole bunch of knives, just like Locke had.) And, as soon as I gave up…poof! The monster left, never to return to my dream state.

    I wonder if the Smoke Monster represents fear of not being in control, fear of letting go, fear of death. Heck, over and over, the story of Lost tells us, through one character or another: You can let go now. Rose says it to Jack on the plane. Desmond, after being zonked by the electromagnetic thingees in the cabin, says “what’s to be afraid of?” Jack says it to Locke in the hospital.

    For all I know, J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse, or Damon Lindeloff had the same nightmare I did and he used that “material” in the Lost story. Isn’t every dream kind of a human theme, part of the universal consciousness? Especially when it’s a dream that repeats itself until you “get it?”

    Does anyone else out there think this is possible? That the Lost writers are working with dream material, ideas and fears based on universal human themes? And that the Smoke Monster will evaporate (like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz) when our Losties “let go” just as Desmond did?

    • Guliana

      I very much like this angle. Isabella said this to Richard, that he could “let go” and I think in The Candidate, that was a central conversation between Jack and Locke. And we’ve seen it throughout the show. Hurley afraid of the numbers, Jack afraid of his Dad, etc. I think you hit the nail on the head that letting go would be a central theme.

    • B.A.Y:
      All three of the questions you pose are brought up in “The Myth of Lost.” The book mentions how the smoke monster represents the dark side of the characters. It also compares all the main LOST characters to their archetypal equivalents in both Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. And it spends a whole chapter on how artists and writers are modern day shamans, who take messages from the collective consciousness and translate it for the masses.

      If you’d like to read the first four chapters of the book for free, you can do so here:

      The book doesn’t talk specifically about letting go, but the column, “Lost In Myth: The Message of ‘Recon’—Learning to Let Go” does and is posted on this site if you’re interested.

      • B.A.Y.

        Thanks, Marc. I appreciate the link and will definitely read your book.

    • shonangreg

      BAY, each monster in a dream might mean something different. I’ve had, and know of others having, similar dreams as you. Not the same monster, just the idea of letting go of preconceptions and fear and standing vulnerable before whatever is challenging you and having the problem *finally* go away and/or resolve into new challenges.

      You do not characterize your particular monster here, but I would say any surface similarity to Smokey is largely coincidental and irrelevant.

      And yes, the theme is a common theme. In lucid dreams, some advise us to go up to the monster and try to see or to ask it directly who it is or what it wants.

    • Mr_Rob

      I remember Locke saying to Jack, “you can let go it’s going to be ok” when the smoke monster had dragged John though the jungle and to the hole.

  • Hot! Pocket

    I think that not only will Jack become Jacob, and that Sawyer will become the MIB, but that they are caught in a game/loop where we can assume that every prior sighting of Jacob and MIB have been a Time-Lost Jack and Sawyer

    • sparafucile

      That’s perfect. Sawyer walks up to Jack, sitting on a log, and says “Do you know how much I want to kill you?”

  • DeSelby

    So did this episode help the Christian/MIB explanation? MIB was lying to Sawyer about his weakness to water as part of his long-con. That’s really the only thing I got from the “just get him in the water, I’ll take care of the rest” exchange with Jack, with no results. I’m thinking MIB’s desire to leave is deeper than leaving the physical perimeter of water around the Island; we’ll probably get some sort of explanation on that in a few days.

    • RandomZombie

      My thought was that being in the water prevented the MIB from changing into his smoke form. They might not be able to stop the MIB in any form, but he’d be a lot easier to get away from if he were stuck in human shape.

      • The Magician

        /\ this.

  • Best LOST as MYTH as LIFE essay that I’ve read in some time…and I think you’re spot on!

    Bravo Marc.


  • gohan

    “”””Holding on to pain, hurt, anger, or resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. It poisons your own experience—explaining the life of most of the Losties who are really all of us. So let go of whatever resentment and anger you’ve been holding on to. The more you let go, the more room you make for new things to come into your life. These things could be good or bad, but as we learn on Lost the choice is up to you. You can chose dark, or you can chose light.”””””

    dude, that really opened my eyes. Very, very insightfull. Thank you

    • Glad it was helpful. Namaste.

    • Casey

      I agree. That was a great bit of writing and thinking.

      • dharmalchemist

        Here Here!

  • tabletop1

    You hit another one out of the park, Marc. And I just bought your book! A little late in the game, but I can’t wait to read it.

    • Thanks for that and honestly I believe its never too late in the game. Even if the theory in the book is not what the writers envision, it still offers a way to apply the wisdom of Lost to our own lives. The finale is going to leave us with many questions and much to think about for years to come. I hope the book helps to make sense of the myth that the show is based on, which remains relevant no matter how the show ends.

      If you have any questions after reading the book, you may find answers on The Myth of Lost Facebook page discussion section: If it’s not already there, feel free to add your own question to the list and I’ll do my best to answer it.

  • minnie swirl

    “Holding on to pain, hurt, anger, or resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”

    That’s a powerful statement. The truth of the statement struck me like a load of bricks. I have to thank you for it because I’ll always remember it.

    • Glad I was able to play a role in bringing that statement to your attention, though while I adapted it to the point I was making here, I cannot take credit for the idea which I first hear from T. Harv Eker of Millionaire Mind (though, he did not coin it either). I was actually unable to find who originated it or else I would have credited them. It may be very old. True gems are able to make it through the ages I suppose. It’s stuck with me as well.

      • minnie swirl

        The wisdom of it is very deep no matter who came up with it. I’m just happy you implemented it into your analysis. I was just looking for insight to the show and came out with insight for life. 🙂

  • adam118

    Yeah but, before Sayid solved his problems, he had already left the Island. I’m kind of confused but get what you mean. Jack is being very selfless lately, buddavista, etc.

    • Markus

      Right, but Sayid – as the other Oceanic 6 – were “not supposed to leave”.

      • Markus


  • Bakedbob

    Nice post Marc..

    I really liked the Buddhist connection.

    Also nobody pointed out that when Sayid took the bomb he said to Jack how to find Desmond and Jack asked him “Why are you telling me all this?” Sayid replied “Because its gonna be you Jack” obviously referring to the new Jacob.

    I think that Jack will become from “Hero” to “SuperHero”.
    Meaning that Jacob had some certain powers. So if Jack will be the new Jacob he is going to manifest some powers.
    But how does Jack become “officially” the new Jacob troubles me.
    Is it when everybody is else is dead and he is the last one (faithful) left.?
    Or through some ritual in a past-time temple 1000 years ago.?
    We will see.

    “Across the Sea” will give major background story to the LOST island….i hope..

    • I didn’t think of that until my interview with Lazlo from 96.5 FM when he brought it up:

      At the time, I just thought Sayid meant that Jack was gonna need to be the one to get him out because Sayid was about to kill himself. While that’s what he SAID, what he meant was likely that Jack was going to be the candidate. It’s another one of those brilliant double meanings that the writers throw in.

      While I think Jack is the candidate, I’m not so sure we’re going to see the actual transformation. More like an epilogue beach scene or something that I described above with him sitting with MIB (as Locke). I do think everyone else will “die” on the island though. It’s just like backgammon. He’ll be the last one standing.

  • Beena

    While I do like your theories (and have loved reading them), and I’m sure you’ve nailed a big part of the underlying message of LOST, I know there’s more to it for a few reasons. While Jacob is clearly an evolved buddavista type, he is also clearly a warden of the MIB. When you “let go”, you have generally speaking, freed others to do the same and walk their own path toward enlightenment…it’s very different than what a warden does! We can argue that Jacob has “stayed behind” from some heavenly destiny to protect and help humanity by keeping the MIB from the world. But that seems to negate the very heavenly power and justness of a God behind it and in charge, that would allow just that. Jacob has been no more free than MIB. And while he has certainly been shown to have some supernatural gifts, I think Jacob is more of an entrusted guardian with a mission, than he is a super being. Or otherwise, how else could he even be replaced by a candidate or anyone else?

    Likewise, I do not think that even if it were possible and MIB came to terms with his issues that he’d be allowed to leave the island! Let’s face it, that one very flawed Ben Linus left the island…and talk about unresolved issues! So the same rules don’t seem to apply to everyone on the island, as they do to MIB. No neat little package to explain it all away. And I think that anyone looking for that neat little package to explain it all away in the ending of LOST is going to be disappointed. Because you miss something larger that has been right in front of you the whole time.

    If you want fulfillment, if you want to be satisfied with LOST…then do this: love the characters we’ve gotten to know over the years, as if they were your very own friends. Weep unashamedly at the deaths of Juliet, the Kwons, Sayid, and the like…even though they still exist in another reality! Let yourself “go”, to just enjoy the ride of LOST without analyzing it all to death ad nauseam! Have your questions, but be content, too, whether or not the answers come! Because with LOST,like life, there’s nothing else quite like it…so just enjoy without too many overblown expectations!

    Did anyone else find irony (and maybe some amusement) in the fact that this is the second sub that John Locke has blown up, even though he’s not acting as himself and is the MIB? That as John Locke, he blew up a sub so he wouldn’t have to leave the island, and now as MIB he’s blown up a sub so that he can do the opposite, and get off the island??!!!

    • B.A.Y.

      I did take note of Locke blowing up the sub for a 2nd time. Lots of irony in this show, lots of connections. Love it.

      As for your hit on people who like to analyze the show “ad naseum,” it struck me as funny. Because some of us are simply made that way. We like to seek out answers. It’s kind of our raison d’etre, our bag. Why not let go of your irritation with us over analytical people? We really can’t help it. Seems you see us as pains in the butt, I think of us as seekers of truth and meaning. We’re thirsty for that stuff. We would be denying ourselves a great pleasure in life by letting go of our natural inclination. How does it harm anyone to let us be ourselves?

      My husband, unlike me, says it’s silly to watch Lost as though it’s a map to the Holy Grail. But that’s him. And that’s ok. To view Lost as pretty much just a really good TV show with lots of mysterious angles is cool. But, for many of us, Lost is more than that. And we’re thrilled that it + the Internet has provided us analyzers and seekers of meaning in life a way to have a great conversation about life, theology, psychology, science, relationships, ad infinitum.

      • B.A.Y.

        Oops. Sorry for some of the typos in my comment. Was too eager to post. Should have proof read better.

    • Beena,

      Since Lost is like life I agree that its answers will not be wrapped up in a little package and I’ve come to complete acceptance about that. In fact, I prefer it because it means that the show will not leave us with the finale but allow us to continue to think about it for as long as we wish.

      I also agree that besides being a Bodhisattva archetype, Jacob is much more including a guardian/warden. I mentioned the Panopticon precisely for that reason since it is a prison and to date is the best confirmation of The Myth of Lost theory that the show has given.

      I have to side with BAY though concerning the analysis. Yes, it is important not to get so wrapped up in analysis that we don’t see the forest for the trees. There is a great story here that we just need to turn off our minds sometimes to enjoy. But there’s also something much deeper that is part of the Lost package that I think fans who get meaning from it should not be denied.

      I’m not so sure that any of your views really contrast with what I wrote. Mythology is not exclusive, there are so many levels of meaning and all of them can be right. Is the Biblical story of Adam and Eve about morals, the story of creation, the origin of mankind, the beginnings of our illusionary world of polar opposites and time, about the battle between the sexes, or temptation? The answer, of course, is “yes.” Yes to all of them. The beauty of myth and metaphor is that it is able to be relevant to all of us. That is what true art is all about.

      • Beena

        Very much like you, Marc, I am especially hoping the other fans walk away with something and aren’t too disappointed if every single question doesn’t get answered. Don’t you think there’s just too much there for that to happen? I know you do. And still, I’ve read some other boards with people whining about that, and it’s just a shame. This has been such a wonderful, beautiful show on so many levels. I just don’t get it that anyone could be disgruntled. That’s all I meant with my “ad nauseam” remark. It’s more precisely directed at the people who are already gathering with complaints about an ending that hasn’t even happened yet, about their questions that never got answered.

        • Ament

          How can you not see the bitter-sweet ending that is approaching. This episode clinched it. We already seen many people fall which is the “bitter” part and then two minutes later we see Jin walking down the hospital corridor to be with Sun which is the “sweet” aspect. I feel thats why some people may be disappointed in it’s direction. When Jin and Sun finally reunited they were taken away from us, yet as much sadness I felt from that scene I just know it’s not their end, which takes away the element of that surprise and squashed the power that the scene had. I love this show and it’s deep meanings, but along with others the “shocker” moments are kind of expected moments.

          You need to remember the first time you scene S1:Exodus Part2 and the scene on the raft. I specifically remember feeling something wasn’t right when “the others” showed, which is what I was talking about with expected moments, but when they wanted the boy…that was a freaking shocker because WHY? That is shocking “WTF” moments lacking this season. I don’t mean to criticize, just express an opinion to how other people may be feeling.

          I also know we have more to see, so I am not disappointed, just curious.

  • dksrox

    Thanks for another nice read, Marc.

    Any thoughts on the selfless act Sayid committed? By taking the bomb and dying, does he wipe the slate clean as far as his sins go? Saving the lives of others, by giving his own completely redeems what his character has become/what he has done this season – I mean, it’s not Vader throwing the Emperor down a hole, but it does keep people alive who may be able to take out the Island’s “Emperor”… And, in that sense, Sayid’s redeeming act may be the ‘most’ important redemption/death we’ve seen on the show to date, IMO.

    • Paul Escobar

      At this point, I don’t think we’re fully appreciating Sayid’s “selfless act”.

      I’d argue that it’s not just Sayid “taking the bomb & dying”…
      The real “selfless act” was dying WITHOUT ANY PROMISES.
      By saving Desmond & taking the bomb, he was refusing MIB’s beautiful promise. Sayid died knowing he might never reunite with his love.
      (Imagine if Eve rejected the fruit offered to her…)

      On a more basic level, we’re also not appreciating Sayid’s strength.
      This season, on a superficial level, Sayid looked depressed & weak.
      At the time of his death, we only began to see MIB’s intelligence & strength. When we fully understand MIB’s power, we’ll realize how strong Sayid was for having resisted him.
      (Again, imagine if Eve rejected the words of the serpent…)

    • Glad you liked it dksrox. I agree with Paul that part of Sayid’s sacrifice was giving up on getting back his love and saving Desmond. He had said in earlier episodes that without Nadia, he has no other reason to live. So his life sacrifice was the next logical step–similar to Jin’s.

      While it’s just a matter of opinion, I still see Charlie’s sacrifice as the biggest redeeming act in the series because he didn’t have to die. He easily could have walked outside the door and shut it from the outside. He died not because his love was doomed as Jin and Sayid did, but so that his love could live. He wanted Desmond’s prophesy to come true and for that, he felt he needed to die. Perhaps that helicopter scene with Claire and Aaron will happen on the island, but if it is to happen at all, it would seem more likely to happen in the flash-sideways.

      • dksrox

        I was going back and forth with myself over whether Charlie’s act was the ‘better’ one…I can’t help but think that the powers that be were doing there ‘mirroring earlier episodes’ bit by having Sayid go out the way they did – under water, “saving” people they love…

        That said, I think that in terms of the story itself, Sayid’s selfless act has a greater impact on the story, since now Jack can go on to become what he will become. Charlie’s sacrifice, especially now in light of what Claire has become, seems to have been lessened – it was great drama, but didn’advance the storyline, and unless we see Desmondos’ prophecy come true about Claire getting on a helicopter(which I seriously doubt we will), it was for little more than an idea (love). Sayid’s sacrifice, because of the impact it has on the story, and because he did it the way he did – telling Jack to save Desmond and then getting blown up – leads the story, and us, to an ultimate confrontation.

        The other element of Sayid’s sacrifice that I think bears some notice, is that by doing what he did, he also indirectly caused/enabled the deaths of Sun and Jin (and Jin’s sacrifice, if you fall into that camp). It’s like they took Charlie’s sacrifice, and doubled down on the same kind of drama in the sub, which I think they accomplished (though in a far different, far more action-y way that didn’t have nearly as much emotional poignancy as Charlie’s death).

        All that said, in this story, I still conclude that Sayid’s sacrifice (especially with his past), and the impact on the story makes it the most important redemptive death we’ve seen – though I will agree not the most poignant.

        • Beena

          How about Juliet’s sacrifice? As she lay there dying at the bottom of the station, she could have just as easily gave up the proverbial ghost without any hesitation about having to do any more in life. But because she detonated that bomb, we (in theory) have her to thank for the plane never crashing and an alternate reality which at this point looks less grim than things on the island! The death with the most far reaching consequences…even more consequences than when Jacob died. And so poignant, too! A real tear jerker.

          We hadn’t seen that better side of Sayid since before he tried to kill young Ben. I really hated it that he had become MIB’s “bitch” this season. So good to see the real Sayid finally emerge from that fog, but so sad how it played out.

        • Jason

          I think what made Charlies sacrifice so significant to the entire epic was the fact that it awakened Desmond to the artficiality of the sideways world. It always bothered me that Charlies death while heroic was basically for “nothing” as far as advancing the larger plot was concerned. When that car went under water and Desmond saw that powerful moment again I felt satisfied about his sacrifice, a pay off three years down the line. Cool.

      • B.A.Y.

        But Charlie did have to die. As Des told him, it was only a matter of time, a short period of time. The island tried to drown him twice before he drowned down in the music room. I think Charlie took that into account when he made his decision to close the music room door.

  • Jason

    Great theory and I think you have totally hit on the main theme running through the show, but I have one question… How do the Widmores and Desmond fit into this?

    • Glad you liked it Jason. While in The Myth of Lost I said that Widmore brought Desmond to the “island” so that he could protect his daughter from him, I now believe that he brought him there so it could toughen him up so he could be worthy of her. For the MOL theory, Widmore has a vested interested b/c he owns Hanso which started DHARMA. In other words, he wants the islands rehabilitation to be a success. For the tweak to that theory I’ve described above, I’d say he still may have stumbled upon the island and tried to profit from it, but he needs to keep MIB there in order to do that.

      As for Desmond, as the human “Fail-Safe key” (See the Lost in Myth from “The Package”) he will be the one to stop the MIB from leaving on the plane, perhaps by somehow getting the real Locke back to the island to reclaim his body or by changing the coordinates of the hole that you can fly through without the sickness.

      Actually, if Desmond were to cause MIB to get the sickness, that would cause his consciousness to go to another timeline. Without his constant–Jacob–he will die, enabling flash-sideways Locke to re-enter his body. Just thought of that now but makes sense!

      • B.A.Y.

        Oh wow. What a great idea–for MIB to get the sickness and not be able to come back into focus, so to speak, because Jacob is his constant. Brilliant, Marc!

  • Another good post Marc. You hit on some epically good points in this one. The only thing I want to mention is that you say “hopefully the Candidate will be shown.” He already has, Sayid said to Jack right before he died that “It’s going to be you.” It was rather hastily delivered and easy to miss. Also that part about him needing Desmond was cool. It seems Desmond has also risen to a completely different stage like Jack.

    • Thanks Sleepy. Yes, I commented on that in BakedBob’s post. Still, I think we need to see him officially as the candidate at some point, not just in the double meaning of what Sayid said.

  • OtherJacob

    This actually is a good theory. It also provides further explanation as to why the Oceanic 6 were “not suppose to leave”

  • Marc, thank you for your recap. I have always thought that the underlying theme of Lost has been rooted in eastern religion, specicifically Buddhism/Hinduism. The Losties needed to resolve their issues on the island in order for them to move on, otherwise they will continue to be reincarnated doing the same mistakes over and over until they realize that they are not moving on, i.e. looping over and over. Once they realize that they need to resolve their issues on the present world, only then will they reach Nirvana. Thank you so much for your great analysis. This is the first time I have felt the need to respond because it struck a chord with me.

  • Jonathan Weiss


    A question my brother and I were thinking about as it relates to your point about finding love and Jin/Sun…did you find any inconsistency with Jin choosing to die with Sun rather than trying to get out to be with their child? I would imagine a lot of viewers were thinking about this while Jin was making his choice and I’m curious to hear peoples thoughts on whether staying was consistent with the “learning to let go” hypothesis….thx.

    • My thoughts exactly. I kept waiting for Sun to say, ‘Go, you need to be with our daughter, don’t let her lose you again!” but now their little girl is stuck with grandma and no idea where her parents disappeared to.

      • maryanne

        I don’t understand why people feel Sun and Jin weren’t thinking about their child during their death. It wasn’t spoken, but I felt it was absolutely conveyed nonverbally between them. I think the lesson for Sun and Jin wasn’t only about letting go. I felt their journey was about commitment and in that sense their death poetically conveyed that theme.

        • Ament

          I agree completely. It wasn’t expressed in words but as Jin looked towards the exit when Sun said “go” that was the thought running though my head.

          • Jonathan Weiss

            but he didnt go…he made a choice…he stayed

  • Drew Lancor

    Great article, Marc! I look forward to seeing what fishbiscuit has to say as well. Chances are, the usual troglodytes will start trashing her, no matter what she says. It’s a shame–you two are so far ahead of the rest of the Lost columnists in terms of writing style, content, wit and insight, and yet readers can be very harsh and pigheaded at times. The very worst part of fandom tends to be the fans.

    • ((guada_lupe))

      i think marc and fishbiscuit are completely different

      • Drew Lancor

        Of course they’re completely different. I didn’t say they were the same–I said they were the two standout columnists.

        • ((guada_lupe))

          sorry i mean while you think they are both so far ahead of everyone else, i only believe that for marc.

          • imfromthefuture

            agreed.. fish in not in marc’s league

  • NSBZero

    Marc, a thought I had while driving after I read this post (no, I wasn’t doing both at the same time, heh): After watching this week’s episode, I’ve been thinking about the island as some sort of place for chosen people to work out their “issues”, and once they’re purified/redeemed, the Island lets go, and they move on to… the Sideways reality, another reality, Heaven, Shambala, Valhalla, Stovokor, I’m not sure, but it looks more like the first one.

    But this idea of a person willfully destroying themselves in “this” world for redemption in the “next” reminded me of another show’s finale episode: Star Trek: The Next Generation. In case anyone wants to watch the episode that hasn’t, ignore the next couple of paragraphs:

    Captain Jean-Luc Picard finds himself in a special situation: after examining an anomaly in space, Picard’s consciousness keeps jumping between three “places”: the “current” timeline, 7-or-so years earlier during the Enterprise D’s maiden voyage, and a few decades into the future. Of course, the omnipotent Q had a hand in Picard’s predicament, mainly just another test for “humanity” with Picard as the Job-ian representative. Picard finds that the area that was scanned in the “current” timeline had ripped the fabric of the space-time continuum, and the rip was much bigger in the “past” timeline, and didn’t exist in the “future” timeline until the Future Enterprise made the same type of scan the “current” one did.

    The result of this anomaly rip would result in the destruction of the Universe as we know it, as the anomaly envelops the whole sky when Q takes Picard to the Primordial Ooze on dawn-of-time Earth. Long story short: Picard realizes that in order to save the Universe, he’ll have to force the 3 Enterprises from the 3 different eras to be within the anamoly at the same place and time. This resulted in both the destruction of all 3 Enterprises, and the salvation of the Universe, with Picard and our “current” timeline coming out unscathed, as if nothing ever happened. And as mentioned before, it was just Q testing humanity through Picard again.

    I just thought that the Star Trek TNG ending makes a nice juxtaposition against some of the themes you’re theorizing here. Thanks.

  • GentlemanJack

    I really enjoyed this review, it was well-thought and deep. I have a question for you, something that no one has really addressed after this episode: What is up with Widmore?

    I really felt like I kinda understood the reason he was back. He is the (rightful, because Ben was seemingly never Jacob’s pick) leader of the Others who wants his island back. He has resented the fact that he was tossed out, and has spent all his time since working to reclaim it. So now he’s back, and my question is, is he working on Jacob’s behalf, or the MIB’s? Or is he simply so wrapped up in his self importance that he doesn’t care what happens, so long as he gets what he wants?

    This is my problem. I thought he was with Jacob, with the way he declared war on the MIB, and because he brought Desmond back, something that clearly frightened the MIB. Then I began to doubt his alliance to the white rock after the MIB so-conveniently found C4 in the plane, something I can’t see anyone but Widmore bringing.

    Back to Jacob’s side with his caging of the Candidates to protect them, and it was very obvious after that the MIB doesn’t care about the lives of the men Widmore brought with him, since he’s pretty much wiped out all of them. Because of this I thought he was helping Jacob, but then, at the end of the episode, not only were Widmore’s people set up sniper-like in the bushes around the sub obviously waiting on the MIB, but they shot at the candidates they just put in cages to protect! and don’t tell me they were purposely missing, because a lot of their people were dying around them. SO why would Widmore try to protect people, to the point of heavy losses, only to try to kill them?

    I think it’s because Widmore is on the side of the MIB. His men don’t know it, and all this we’ve been shown is part of the long con the MIB’s been running. Widmore doesn’t care how many of his people die (think about how Widmore acted with the electromagnets, and the poor initial guy who got fried), so long as he gets what he wants: the MIB’s promise that he will once again rule the island. Let me know what you think (and sorry this ran so long).

    • spacebender

      It’s not clear to me whether the C4 in the plane was planted by Widmore’s people or by Richard’s group, which after the destruction of the Black Rock went back to the DHARMA barracks to pick up more explosives.

    • Ament

      The Island is Widmore’s “precious”, I believe it.

  • Matt

    Very interesting read Marc, enjoyed it.

    I’d like your (or reasonable posters)thoughts on what I think is perhaps a big reveal. Accepting the dynamite in the Black Rock/C4 in the sub theory of MIB not being able to kill a candidate himself.

    Seems to me that ordering Sayid to kill Dez now means a couple of things.

  • Dan Berry

    I found a state of enlightenment over the last summer and have been gaining more and more knowledge about reality and the world we live in because of it. The problem is that when you attempt to address the issues of the soul and the balance of energy, others tend to scoff at you or resent you because they feel threatened by your presence and wisdom. They are afraid of their life as they know it vanishing, because what would we be without our jobs, or houses, or cars, or even our bodies? The creators of lost have been weaving an incredibly intricate tapestry from the beginning, in order to enlighten the world itself. Because through this process we have all gained something that has influenced our lives, our decisions, and in turn the people around us. Enlightenment can not be fed to anyone, it can not be brought up in conversation and attained by criticizing others’ present states of mind. The enlightened simply need to live enlightened. And through this process others are drawn to them, like me, and ask them of their perspective, and once the counterpart has agreed to listen by initiating the conversation, you have them in your hands. The best way to see this world in the enlightened state is to behave as if time itself has stopped. Because in the reality that we are constantly neglecting, TIME does not EXIST. This is perhaps why LOST executed the time travel scenario, in order to prod the viewer to question the nature of ‘time’ as we like to call it. In order to reach the enlightened state, one must understand that what we perceive as ‘time’ is simply the RATE at which our organic consciousness perceives reality in correspondence to the SCALE at which we live. Our bodies themselves limit our consciousness to this very fine tuned frequency of reality, allowing for the soul to be tested over and over again by uploading into brand new vessels of experience, with brand new hard drives- which we call brains. At any other scale, the ‘time’ we believe so deeply in and rely so frequently upon, is perceived to accelerate or decelerate based on the increase or decrease of the SCALE at which we see the RATE. If my consciousness were to expand to the size of say.. an star, I would perceive myself and my peers moving through space at a faster RATE than we perceive the stars from the ground. Expand to the SCALE of a galaxy and the stars would be flickering in bright collapsing and expanding supernovae in the form of a time-lapsed hurricane we witness through our own weather conditions. Expand even more and galaxies themselves would appear to veer to and fro upon the invisible sea of space, colliding and mixing and forming larger and more beautiful galaxies than before. All the while, our existence would have begun and disappeared within a fraction of a millisecond as we say on this SCALE. Delve further into the SCALE of the universe and we would witness our own physical representations frozen in grandiloquent poses and dramatic events. Our seconds would last years as we perceive. One reason for the misinterpretation of time and the illusion of progressing moments is the fact that we are all living organisms on a rotating planet at an axis, revolving around a star, which itself is revolving around a black hole at the center of our galaxy, which itself could be revolving or cascading upon a higher and more unfathomable influential force. The purpose for our almost ‘irrelevant’ SCALE is so that we may experience these minute details which are present on the beautiful surface we know as Earth. Our existence is literally frozen in time, peering out in the murky abyss, through which we find snap shots, frozen pictures of galaxies long extinct due to the speed at which light travels and the sheer vastness of space. It is quite a blessing to witness, or have the opportunity to witness, the absolute beauty of our universe on all scales, from the cosmic to atomic, in this bubble that originated from a single Big Bang and progressed into the void in the blink of an eye on the SCALE at which the ALL we participate in perceives itself.

    That is what LOST helped me realize. And I hope it means something to someone.

  • Mel

    I hate lost

    • Bakedbob

      LOST hates you too Mel…so its win-win.. lol

      • Mel

        I love you Bakedbob 😉

  • Rosie

    [. . .even Juliet finally came to understand that just because you loved someone, doesn’t mean they’re right for you—an issue that had been haunting her since her parents’ divorce.]

    Are you saying that Sawyer wasn’t right for Juliet?

    • spacebender

      I had a similar question. The “lesson” Marc derived from Juliet’s path is opposite to what I saw in it. Juliet overcame her fear of losing love, her fear of being doomed to repeat her parents’ relational failure. Sawyer was right for her because of the person he had become in love with her, and visa versa. And though Sawyer’s response to Kate triggered the full force of Juliet’s lifelong doubts, it was evident that at the end she overcame them and finally knew she was loved not merely circumstantially but by someone who was truly devoted to her.

  • Wow, that is some in depth write up!

    They (most??) are all there because they killed someone, either on purpose or by accident.

    Still think Jacob/Aaron and Smokey are the same entity. …er, kind of.

    Look forward to see how the shows winds itself up as I try not to think too hard about it. Can’t wait for books after the show wraps that really gets in-depth of explaining it all!

  • Dharma Chameleon

    We’re talking about Buddhism here, the same religious philosophy that uses terms like dharma, namaste, and the 108 defilements which one must overcome to reach enlightenment.

    108 defilements to overcome? Does MIB have to overcome the 108 (six candidates) to obtain his enlightenment?

    If MIB can sense that the Sub had sunk and that not all of the passengers survived/died, then how is it he doesn’t realize that Desmond is still alive?

    • BasiaK

      D.C: None of the rules apply to Desmond. He’s not a candidate. Lock can sense which candidates are still alive.

      • ErasedSlate

        which is probably why he fears Desmond. He obviously doesn’t know what he is. That is a good point catch.

  • arrow

    Smoke Monster Locke could be Jacks flash sideways son. In a kind of Star Wars way it would make sense. Everyone else seems to still have their kid. Claire, and the Kwons.

  • The White Rock

    “The Man In Black isn’t a prisoner of the island; he is a prisoner of his own inability to change.”

    Interesting/ironic choice of words since that’s all that character has been doing since Season 1 is change – change into the Smoke Monster and any number of other dead characters. And maybe, that’s what his core problem is, he’s not true to himself since he’s too busy altering his form and manipulating others for reasons we’re still speculating about.

  • barvo

    final scene of the series will be jack and sawyer sitting somewhere on the island waiting for another ship to arrive ( identical to mib/jacob scene ) not jack and locke > but i wonder how will they tie up the important loose ends without cliches
    i think flocke will die and sawyer will replace him
    same goes jack for jacob

    it makes sense

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