It struck me after multiple viewings of the Lost Season 5 finale that (unlike the off-island visits to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Hurley, Sayid, Sun and Jin) when Jacob visits Ilana in the hospital, he is wearing black gloves and does not touch her.
My theory is that Ilana is a character intended to represent the Egpytian goddess Sekhmet.
Ilana is clearly in charge on the island, a strong female leader among her people, and Sekhmet was a warrior, protector and hunter. Sekhmet was commonly referred to as a lioness, and from a purely physical perspective, Ilana’s beautiful hair can certainly be described as a mane.
But Sekhmet is also known as both the Lady of the Flame and Devouring Flame, which is quite significant given that when we last saw Jacob, he had been kicked into the fire by Not-Locke/Mystery Man.
One of Sekhmet’s other designations was the Lady of Life, because she was able to cure illnesses and heal the wounded. Enter Jacob. He approached her at the hospital and asked for help, and we can assume that this took place before the events of 2007 on the island during the finale. If Jacob knew ahead of time that Mystery Man was going to take advantage of the loophole as Not-Locke and finally attempt to kill him, perhaps this favor he asked of Ilana involved protection from the future inferno, followed by her restorative powers. Further, I believe that Jacob was wearing gloves in the hospital because they had to avoid physical contact prior to the moment of salvation.
Before being tossed in the flames, Jacob told Not-Locke that “they’re coming,” and he very well may have been alluding to Ilana and her people. They were just outside of the statue, and I have a feeling that (at the beginning of Season 6) we will see Ilana rescue and/or save Jacob.
We are not privy to how, when and where Ilana sustained her injuries. But if Ilana is indeed an embodiment of Sekhmet, some of you might be wondering why she herself was susceptible to bodily harm. I would venture to guess that her gift may be activated or enhanced upon arrival on the island, which we know has unique healing properties itself.
Relevant side note: when you combine the names Ilana and Sekhmet, one of the applicable anagrams is heal mistaken.
In addition, there are some who believe that Sekhmet was the daughter of the Sun God RA, so it isn’t out of the question that Ilana could be Richard Alpert’s daughter. According to Alpert, he is ageless because “Jacob made me this way.” So if Jacob had the power to bestow eternal life upon a man, who’s to say that he did not also bequeath that man’s daughter with a predisposition for rejuvenation. That Ilana appeared to recognize Jacob in the hospital seems to indicate that they were already acquainted with one another, and it is logical to assume that she has been to the island before because she is more than familiar and comfortable with the layout of it.
There is great debate about exactly which Egyptian god or goddess is represented by the statue on the island, and Sekhmet may be a candidate; she has an Ankh in her right hand and a solar disc on her head. That being said, I am convinced that the infamous statue on Lost is an aggregate of several Egyptian idols rather than one in particular.
So there you have it. To be honest, at first I was trying to figure out if Ilana was injured after a turn of the Frozen Donkey Wheel and poor landing or reception in Tunisia, or if she herself was somehow the one who was kicked into the fire. But neither of these theories seemed feasible after analyzing the logistics of both situations.
I was hesitant to follow this path, to compare yet another character to a historical Egyptian figure. Because despite the obvious mythology that exists on the island, I am still optimistic that this lore does not explain the entire series. To be frank, I will be disappointed if that is the case.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to discuss and dissect this theory in the Comments, but please be constructive!
[For other theories and episode analysis, please visit Jo’s LOST blog]