While we are pulling the podcast together, I thought I would stop procrastinating and post a well overdue theory article. It should be a little taste of what Doc and I have in store for you in the next podcast (which should be really really soon).
When we found out that Jacob had an enemy, or maybe a better word choice would be rival, everyone was quick to call him Esau. But how much does the story of Jacob and Esau fit with this rivalry in LOST? When Michael Emerson was asked at the Lost panel at comic con, he gave an extremely cryptic answer, and told us nothing. Although, good ol’ Ben Linus probably only knows as much as we do at this time. If the creative staff is dodging these story parallels, why even use the name, Esau, to define unLocke? Let’s take a look at the story and analyze if unLocke deserves the name Esau.
Two Nations and Stolen Blessings
Isaac (the father of Jacob and Esau) was having some fertility issues of his own. His wife, Rebekah, was barren. So he went to the temple and summoned the smoke monster… wait nevermind, wrong story. He prayed that she would get pregnant, and what do you know? She did! Shortly after conception, though, her twins fought inside the womb, and this worried her quite a bit. Anyways, she prayed to God asking for help, and he gave her this interesting quote:
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
I’d like to back peddle for a bit, and allude to a game that John and Walt used to play, backgammon.
“Two players. Two sides. One is light… one is dark.”
Of course, in the case of Jacob and Esau neither one was exactly light or dark (unless you count Esau’s red skin). Anyways, Jacob was born after Esau, grasping firmly on his heel. Actually, that is how he got the name Jacob, which means “he grasps the heel” or more figuratively “he decieves”.
As they became older, Esau became a “skilled hunter, a man of the county” (a John Locke, if you will). Jacob liked to hang out with his mom back at the tents and became quite the little cook. After a long day of hunting, Esau came back to home base completely famished, and Jacob was praticing his Martha Stewert-like cooking skills on a lentil stew. Esau demanded some food from Jacob. Jacob agreed to give him the food, but in return Jacob wanted Esau’s birthright. Now the birthright is a pretty big deal. The eldest son gets most of the inheritance when the father dies and has the privilege of his family line to produce the Savior. (Could our Jacob and Esau be battling over the inheritance of the island and the power to save the cheerleader, and subsequently, the world?)
Well, Esau thinks he is about to die and decides his birthright is going to do him much good if he kicks the bucket (or he was quite hungry). Esau sells his birthright to Jacob, and Jacob does a little devious dance. (Ok, well that isn’t in the story, but I imagine him doing some kind of jig)
Years later, when they decided to send the legally blind Isaac to a retirement home, Isaac also decided that it was time to bless Esau. He told Esau to go out and catch him some wild boar to make a tasty meal. Once Esau did that, he would receive Isaac’s blessing. Rebekah, being the devious old codger that she was, overheard this, and told Jacob that he can get the blessing all for himself if he acts fast. So Jacob grabbed some goats, Rebekah prepared her own tasty eats, and covered Jacob with the goat skins (since Esau was a hairy guy and Jacob was, well, not).
Isaac, surprised at speedy service, and asked Jacob how he did it so fast. Jacob responded with something witty about working at a Jimmy John’s, and proceeded to show him how hairy he was. Now Isaac was pretty confused by all this and thought something was off when he heard Jacob’s voice instead of Esau’s. Isaac asked Jacob if really was Esau. Jacob lied to him and said he was, and unknowningly Isaac blessed him:
“May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.”
(This seems to be just like our Jacob, who is “worshiped” by the others) Jacob received the blessing and scurried off shortly before Esau came in with his boar stew. Esau was ready for his blessing, and told Isaac to grab some grub. When Isaac realized his mistake, he told Esau that Jacob stole Esau’s blessing and there wasn’t anything he could do to change that. Although, he did have a little bit of a blessing for Esau (If you can even call it that)…
“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.
You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck.”
(If we take this blessing literally enough, its seems like Esau could be the shapeshifter and/or the smoke monster.) Esau is pretty pissed off at this point and decided he wanted to beat the living crap out of Jacob–or to put it lightly–kill him. Jacob, with the help of his ever resourceful mother, escaped with his life and goes to live with his uncle, Laban (who actually deceives Jacob for a change).
This story, does in fact, have a happy ending (while Lost most likely will not). Some time after this event, Jacob finds out that Esau is coming for him. In a futile plea for his life, Jacob tries to shower Esau with gifts. However, when Esau sees Jacob, instead of a knife, Jacob receives a hug. In the end, Esau forgave Jacob.
Ok, now that you endured this strange rendition of the Jacob and Esau story, how can we apply it to Lost? I think it actually doesn’t shed that much light on our own Jacob and Esau–other than being a framework of the timeless story of rivalry. There may be some parallels we can draw from this story, such as Jacob’s dominance of Esau on the island. Jacob may have stolen the power of the island from unLocke, and this could be why unLocke tried (and succeeded) in killing Jacob. But our story doesn’t end there, it only faded to white…
An Interuniversal Backgammon Board
If we think of the island as one giant backgammon board, as Locke presented it in season one, we would only see half the picture. Jacob and unLocke have been at war with each other for at least before the time of the Black Rock. The pieces on the board are the manipulated lives of the castaways. As we saw in the finale, unLocke had finally found a victory over Jacob by manipulating Ben to do his will. This victory, however, will be short lived. Jacob had seen his death coming, and set in motion his plan to increase the size of the board by another universe.
Along with AstroJones, I’m pretty convinced that unLocke is the shapeshifter–or illusionist–that we have been seeing since season one. He may have not even been in his true form when we saw him briefly in the finale. This manipulative power comes with a price, unLocke cannot kill and may have limited access to the physical world. He had kept the losties under his sway by getting hold over their emotions, and ultimately manipulating Ben to kill Jacob.
Jacob saw that this was inevitable, and had a plan to keep unLocke from accomplishing his task. He manipulated the castaways in a different way, taking them back in time to cause a little fade to white that changes everything. (Ah yes, I know, a lot of people reading this just groaned and are completely against changing time. Don’t worry, I’ll explain how that will work out in my next physics article, trust me). By giving unLocke the pleasure of killing him (which will only keep him off for a while) and creating an alternate universe, Jacob wins this round. How the battle continues from there is anyones guess, but I’m thinking the pieces of the game will learn of their significance and start picking sides…
Speaking of picking sides, who is the good guy here? Throughout the series, we have only known about Jacob and it seems like he is the best choice for a protagonist. This could not be more wrong, Jacob is a murderer and is only in this for himself. He killed Sayid’s wife just to being Sayid back to the island. Although, you may argue that if we are changing time anyway, her life will be spared. Messing with alternate timeline stuff will be pretty tricky. We have no idea what is in store for Sayid and Nadia when this new timeline comes into play. They may have never met in this new timeline, and thus Sayid becomes an even more terrible torturer in the process. Although, it could easily go the other way and they live happily. This is just another reason why Jacob can’t be our good guy, since he is only altering the universe for his own good.
Since Jacob’s out, we turn to unLocke. Could he be our hero? Nope. This guy is also fighting only for his own good, and will happily take down whoever stands in his way. Remember Eko? He used the image of Yemi to manipulate Eko and further his plan along, and the smoke monster destroyed Mr Eko.
Both sides are only in it for themselves. Who should the losties root for? Their only hope will be to play the players, and cause this immortal struggle to cease with the destruction of Jacob and unLocke. I say, Locke will save them all. John came back on flight 316, John 3:16, its only fitting. That or I am just a really big Locke fan.
Of Dimensions and Rivers
I hope you guys enjoyed my little rendition on Jacob and Esau, and my take on Jacob and unLocke. I’ll will be back next week to talk about why its inevitable that we change time (while preserving whatever happened, happened), and a little bit of physics of how thats possible. As well as more promises of an upcoming podcast.