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What Nikki Noticed: 5.15 “Follow the Leader”

By Nikki Stafford,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 21

flsmallI’m not going to talk about the fact there’s only one more episode beyond this one for the season. I’m just not. It’s too depressing to think about, so I’m going to pretend we have 10 more… SOB…


OK, get it together, Niks. I loved last night’s episode, but it was definitely meant as a bridge between what’s been happening since the return of the Oceanics and the finale, and summed up a few things for us.


The episode was called “Follow the Leader,” and as I pointed out on my blog, there were several leaders (current, past, future) in this episode. But the main one, for me, was Locke.


So let’s focus on the Locke storyline for this week. I loved having him back, and seeing Richard Alpert in both timelines — looking exactly the same — was awesome. We’ve been discussing on my blog what Alpert’s position on everything is, and it seems unanimous that everyone wants Alpert to be the good guy, but last night he appeared to be a little darker than we were used to. My theory is that Alpert is someone who’s always believed that one day a messiah of sorts will come. He’s a supernatural creature who never ages and seems immortal and his position on the island, according to Ben (so, you know, take THAT with a grain of salt) is as the advisor. ‘Advisor to the Chosen One’ is what’s implied by that statement. It’s not clear if Widmore was once the island’s Chosen One. He seems to have more of a territorial desire for the island, not an inherent one. Alpert was his advisor, but Alpert probably realized early on that Widmore was not the guy.


So then Ben usurped him, and Alpert followed him. Here was a guy who could talk to Jacob, who cared about the island, and who had no desire to leave it. But Richard realized that Ben, too, was a charlatan who was never meant to be the island’s leader. He gave Sawyer’s file to Locke, testing him to see how he would deal with the incident in the brig, and thinking it might help draw Locke out, in case HE was the Chosen One.


We have no idea how long Richard has been picking leaders and being let down by them. Centuries? Longer? But I really don’t think he’s a bad guy. I think he’s given up hope. As I said on my blog, it’s like a Christian who has lived their life believing in God and Jesus Christ, but if their life started to fall apart, maybe they’d lose faith. And then to one day be faced with a miracle, that would make anyone stand up and blink as if they didn’t believe what was in front of them.


And I think that’s what happens when Locke strolls into the camp. Richard can’t believe it. This guy disappeared from the log, left the island, died, came back, and was resurrected. Richard has lived a life believing this could be possible, but has given up hope of ever seeing it through. And now, he’s finally face-to-face with his messiah. So why does he say to Ben that he’s starting to have doubts about John? I think it’s a ploy. He sees Ben as a conniving interloper, and he’s just feeding information to him so he’ll scuttle off and try to play them off against one another, when all along Richard is in awe of Locke and knows Locke is right. His hesitation in going to Jacob’s cabin is fear of the unknown; after all, he’s waited so long for this day to come, so… what happens now that it has?


And that brings us to Locke’s final line in the episode. He says he’s going to kill Jacob. Has Locke come back and is no better than Ben? I’d argue no. Sure, there’s a chance he wants to get rid of the only guy standing between him and supreme power over the island, but I don’t think it’s that simple. I believe that the only true contact he’s had with Jacob was seeing him sitting in a chair in “The Man Behind the Curtain,” and hearing him say, “Help me.” Locke has realized that he sees with a new clarity (or, as one of my readers put it, his bullsh*t detector has gone into overdrive), and that death and rebirth have been salvation to him. Maybe he wants to bring that to Jacob. Another of my my readers suggested that Locke has discovered that Jacob is evil, and he needs to rid the island of him (why else is there a line of ash around the cabin, as if to keep him in. Did Richard put that there?) But I’d like to think he’s trying to save Jacob.


And what of Jacob? We’ve heard him ask for help, we’ve seen his eye when Locke saw it, and we’ve seen him rocking in a chair. After that we saw his eye flash in the window of the cabin when Hurley saw it in “The Beginning of the End,” and Christian was rocking in the chair behind him. And in “Cabin Fever,” Christian sat in the cabin as Jacob’s mouthpiece, and Jacob wasn’t there (or, at least, he wasn’t visible). Until now, we thought that Jacob was issuing orders — creating lists of people who needed to be captured, instructing Ben on what to do next. But if Locke is correct, and Ben never actually heard Jacob, then it means all along those were Ben’s lists. He was never actually doing the bidding of Jacob, but was doing things on his own (dammit!! There goes my theory of Ben being the good guy… wah).  


Who is Jacob? Is it possible, as we’ve been discussing on my blog today, that Jack is Jacob? I’ve been thinking this is a distinct possibility ever since the time travel started to come fast and furious last season, and as of this season, it seems like an even more real possibility. Jack could do something cataclysmic in next week’s episode, and he’s locked in the cabin with a line of ash around him as penance for what he did. He looks like he’s about 60 in the quick shot we got of him in “Man Behind the Curtain,” and that would be consistent with Jack being in the cabin since 1977. Locke mentions Jacob to Alpert in 1954, and he knows who he is, so that detail could undermine the theory, but as one of my readers pointed out, if Jacob is like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five, then he could be unstuck in time, zipping around to different points. It would explain why the cabin is never in the same place.


So far we’ve seen Christian and Claire in that cabin — both Shephards. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Jack was one of them? And wouldn’t it be the ultimate showdown to have Locke confront Jacob/Jack, and discover that Jack finally believes in destiny and the island, just like Locke did the entire time? And that Locke would now be faced with killing this person?


Hm. You know, I’m terrible at speculation. I’m proven wrong almost every time, so maybe I just need to stop. I’m much better at analyzing what has already happened. But I’m hoping this idea, whether it’s right or wrong (knowing me, probably the latter), can open us up to a discussion of other possibilities. We haven’t really talked about Jacob much this season, but season 6 will clearly rest on his importance.


One more week. I said I wouldn’t mention it, but… :::sob:::

**UPDATE: It’s come to my attention that people are posting spoilers in the comments section below. I haven’t checked them, and now I’m worried about it (yes, I’m a spoilerphobe). Please don’t spoil us for next week’s episode. There are sections on the site where you can do that. This isn’t one of them. If you want to comment on this article but don’t want to risk looking below, you can comment at my own blog post here. I’m really sorry if anyone has been inadvertently spoiled. 🙁


Nikki Stafford is the author of the Finding Lost series of books, which offer episode-by-episode guides to each season. The guide to season 4 is now available at, and the upcoming season 5 book is now available for pre-order. She posts regularly on her television blog, Nik at Nite.


From TVFrenzy:

  • emu

    that was a great episode and i’m very sad that we just have 1 more episode in this season! what i’m thinking about is the storyline with sawyer or should I say Jim? are they are really going back to the states…or something different happens…

    2nd: what’s with that bomb…will jack do what he is supposed to do?

    there are so many questions I could ask right now…but there are too many of ’em.
    I need answers! Can’t wait for the next episode…but please…slow…it’s the last episode of the season…

  • lockeheart

    How is jack suppose to set of the bomb anyway. Its not like he can just rig it with charges like back in season 1 with the dynomite. Unless of course Sayid’s knowledge of all things mechanical extends to nuclear reactions.

    • longlivekingnick

      he is going to hit in with a hammer and make a big boom… something like Joe Dirt was planning before he found out he had a septic tank strapped to his back


  • horselover

    The idea that Jacob is evil reminds me of that old Twilight Zone episode, where the traveler hears someone calling for help from a locked room. He lets him out only to discover it is the Devil, then spends his life trying to capture him again.

    • Jessica Denise

      Great episode – The Howling Man. The TZ is my favorite show. haha

  • Ed Einstein

    This is such a great time of the year, finale coming up and it is such a sad time of the year, end of the season. We still have a few mysteries to be solved by the end of the season that were promised by Damon and Carlton like where the heck are Rose and Bernard and the big one, what was the “incident”? And time for some last minute wishing. Here’s hoping the final will be truly awesome, that those in 1977 get reunited with those in the future and that Hurley doesn’t die, knock on wood.

    Good musings Nikki!

  • oh i love the idea of the shephard family cabin!!

  • INawe

    My thougts about Faith Vs Science since the end of the previous seasons is that,

    In order for them to realize-believe and acomplish what they have to do in the beggining of their “Journey” (that being time-travelling to the past) they can only do that only through a Man of Faith (John Locke).. How else can someone accept that it was possible to do all those time-traveling to the past e.t.c.

    Now to get back from the past to the future, and what ever that implies,
    they need a Man of Science…

    The whole thing is not meant to describe specific characters like
    John Locke (Faith) and Jack Shepard (Science) and their differences but to describe something more of the “Mindstates” all of the characters needed to have a certain time in order to proceed..

    So perhaps the best (mindstate) is not beeing a Man of Faith , and neither A Man of Science,
    but somewhere in the middle..

  • Gripp

    It’s weird that this whole Jack/Jacob thing is popping up again. Watching last night’s episode, when Locke dropped the “I’m going to kill him” bomb, my first impression was that Locke killing Jacob would be an act of release. And now we know that Jack ’77 is about to set off Jughead, which really doesn’t seem like a very good idea. In fact, it seems like the sort of thing that a sentient island may want to prevent by say, trapping Jack in some sort of extratemporal rift. Add to that the Christian and Claire Creepy factor, and it seems very possible that Jacob is indeed Jack. And maybe Locke senses this now, and knows that Jackob is waiting for him and the sweet release of death.

  • icy_one

    “Until now, we thought that Jacob was issuing orders — creating lists of people who needed to be captured, instructing Ben on what to do next. But if Locke is correct, and Ben never actually heard Jacob, then it means all along those were Ben’s lists.”

    Not necessarily. The possibility exists that Ben is receiving orders from someone who says they are Jacob. It’s hard to tell how the timeline plays out, but consider this:

    Locke shows up in 1954 and tells Alpert that Jacob sent him. Alpert looks confused. What if Locke created this Jacob business? The myth circulates through the camp about this guy Jacob that no one ever sees, but Alpert keeps the myth alive with “Jacob wants this, Jacob said that.” Ben comes along and seems to be able to see dead people (his mother, at the very least) and when he sees someone he doesn’t recognize, he says “Are you Jacob?” The apparition (regardless of identity) says yes, lying to tap into the power behind the name.

    Ben thinks he’s doing the bidding of Jacob, but he’s not. Doesn’t eliminate the possibility he is doing the bidding of someone.

  • Chris


    I am not so sure Jack is Jacob. Months back I posted the following on the message boards…

    “Locke is walking through the jungle and sees the light coming from the hatch. He purposely avoids going in that direction knowing he will run into himself possibly causing some kind of paradox (as mentioned by Dr. Candle in the Orchid video) or problem in the timeline. He wants it to continue to play out. Why does that make him Jacob? Last season Locke goes to the cabin and meet Christian. He asks “Are you Jacob?” Christian responds “No but I can speak on his behalf” I believe this to be true. He is serving as the buffer between a future Locke (Jacob) and present Locke. This future Locke/Jacob would also be a reanimated/ressurected Locke after Ben and Jack return the body to the island simliar to how we see Christian now (post death and returned to the island). Who else was in the cabin? Claire. Remember her very cavalier attitude? She seemed almost amused at Locke’s presence and his search for Jacob. Is it possible she was laughing at the idea of Locke looking for himself? Which is also the overall story arch for Locke isn’t it? He has searching for himself through the entire series!”

    I wrote that before they even returned to the island. On now with Locke saying he is going to kill Jacob I think it makes it even more true. Anyone see the irony in Locke going to kill…himself? Even more ironic since that is exactly what he was going to do before Ben stopped him and then killed Locke himself.

  • i’m curious how they’re going to connect Christian to the island (whether he’s been there before or just that his son is important enough to force the island to use him as a manipulator).

  • INawe

    Just thinking while reading around…

    We gonna get totally blown away me thinks…

    And i go for Locke is Jacob for now… it makes more sense than anybody else..
    But.. maybe its not that obvious.. .

    we see next week…and then smack it up in our veins for a whole year !!! 🙁

  • El Yerbero

    To me it was quite obvious that Ellie was the leader of the others, not Charles. I think Charles only has defacto power over the other becuase he´s Ellies (or was) dude/love/squeeze etc.

    I think that Niki saying above that Ben unsurped Widemore and Alpert followed is a little off . . I think Ben and Alpert teamed up to unsurp Widemore.

    In more detail I think that Ellie, the leader, left the island abandoning her leader post, perhaps to give birth after the incident to her baby off the island. Charles then by osmosis became the leader he was never meant to be. He ruled for a while, until Ben and Alpert got him out. Ben, who was also never meant to be the leader, became the leader. . . now enter John Locke, the chosen and true leader. . .maybe.

  • loveslost

    I think that what we have seen so far implies that Locke “created Jocob”. The only reason that Richard went looking for the newborn Locke was based on a scenario that time-travel Locke set up! It seems they do have as Jack once stated “a Locke problem”. I also believe that the Incident is not the result of Dharma drilling into the Swan site but Jack’s 1977 attempt to set off the Jughead. The concrete the Lostaways found at the Swan reminded Sayid of Chernoble. Maybe it was not sealing in the energy but protecting the island’s inhabitants from Jughead that was buried there in 1977. In fact, Dr. Chang realized the danger of drilling into the energy when he stopped the workers from doing just that at the Orchid. He knew the danger and likely stopped the drilling before it ever started. I think Daniel (RIP) was wriong the Incident was caused by Jughead not Dharma’s energy drilling. It seems the story is looking more like the time traveling Losties brought their own plane down, completing a never-ending loop in time. The question in my mind is whether Desmond will be able to change that loop and if so, how.

  • kgear

    OK it’s time to figure this out. We have a whole lot of losties in the past, and a couple in the present. Both groups are on the Island. There are still two Oceanic survivors alive, and not on the Island, Walt, and Aaron. Now, Jack believes if he blows up the Island, and kills all the losties who are now in ’77.
    Then the Oceanic flight 108 will not have an Island to crash on.
    Problem is, not all the losties are on the Island in 1977. What about Sun, Locke, Walt, and Aaron who are still in the (relative) present. In their time frame, there is only one version of themselves, however in 1977, the people who time shifted, have two versions of themselves existing. So, if their time traveling versions of themselves were to die, along with the elimination of the Island, then when the original 1977 version of themselves finally get to 2004, their plane cannot crash on an Isalnd that was destroyed by a hydrogen bomb.
    So, they will continue to L.A. and continue on with their lives. This is not an appropriate end to this story. The writers and producers are more creative. So, look for some way for the past and future selves to merge, so, flight 108 can avoid the Island, and so, end the time anomaly (loop).
    Season five’s end will be very interesting, but season six, wow. The ability to change time will be granted to one of our heros. The person will be analyzed before and after he/she is revealed.
    I for one am looking forward to the fun.

  • treiviek

    “if Locke is correct, and Ben never actually heard Jacob, then it means all along those were Ben’s lists. He was never actually doing the bidding of Jacob, but was doing things on his own (dammit!! There goes my theory of Ben being the good guy… wah).”

    locke didnt say ben never heard jacob he said hes never seen him. So, it could have been jacob giving ben orders. but i think ben was half doing things for jacob and half on a power trip the whole time anyway. so he could have been coming up with things he wanted claiming that it was for jacob

  • you had me up until you started with the theory that Richard is playing Ben and Locke against eachother.
    Of course those are Ben’s lists! Well atleast some of them – the other lists are Goodwin and Ethan’s. Ben has that list because those are the 316ers from 1977 that he knows…the ones that came back…Kate, Sawyer, Jack, Hurley.
    I am also a fan of the Jack is Jacob theory but I totally disagree with him being Jacob in 1977 – Jack’s an idiot in 1977!! If anything, he’s Jacob in 2004…when he was awesome!
    I really, really, really looooove the Billy Pilgrim theory! That’s a great one!
    And if Locke goes to the cabin and sees Jack I will sh*$ myself!! That would be the greatest season finale EVER!! That would actually be worth this whole season.