Better late than never, right? Real life intervened and delayed my writing, but I finally got caught up. Enjoy!
Remember back in the season one finale: when you knew that the show was about to end but you were waiting for that one final shot? They would pan down, you would see whatever was in the shaft, and then “LOST” would flash on the screen and you’d have all summer to consider the meaning of whatever it was that you saw. But that shot never happened (which, in retrospect, is amazing and brilliant.) The season five finisher was similar. This time though, as the clock ticked, away we knew that we didn’t have enough time to find out what was going to happen, so we’re left with everything to speculate about. Heck, we don’t even know for sure that the bomb went off.
There was so much going on in this episode that I’ve decided to break it down by character. I should start by saying that my thoughts are based on the assumption that, whatever does happen in 1977, 815 crashes on the island – because whatever happened, happened.
Sayid: The man with the most to gain if the bomb changes history, and the least to lose if it doesn’t, may be a goner. “Nothing can save me,” he said to Jack, and the look on his face said that he wasn’t just talking about his life. Sayid has lost everything that he has ever cared about, was tossed aside by the man who sent him on a bloody but purpose-giving killing spree, and in trying to destroy this monster, ended up creating him. I’d like to see him make it, and I’m not giving up hope – the island is powerful, and I’d like to think that Sayid’s purpose entails more than just shooting a child and rigging a nuclear device to explode on impact. When the time-travelers take their final flash through time I hope that Sayid isn’t left behind like Charlotte was. He’s much too kick-ass to be killed by a drunkard workman.
Kate: Even as a child she was causing trouble… And I thought that she might have been redeeming herself – she was the one voice of reason against setting off the bomb. Then a bloody Jack walks out of the jungle and she caves, even though the man is trying to nullify everything that they had together, and in doing so ensure that Kate spends a hefty amount of time behind bars. There’s one more season for this character to become, at the least, likable. Something drastic needs to be done.
Radzinsky: “Hey, Stuart? Remember that time that Dr. Chang asked you to stop drilling into that electromagnetic pocket, and you wouldn’t, and all hell broke loose and Phil got impaled and Dr. Chang lost use of his arm? Oh, and the gunfire and all those people dying? And you know how, because of that, someone has to live underground and push a button every 108 minutes or the whole world is screwed? Well, you’re new assignment just came in…”
Sun / Charlie / Claire / Hurley: When I was rewatching season three and saw that Charlie’s DS ring was left in Aaron’s crib, I knew that it was going to make a reappearance. Sun found it for a reason, and it’s a safe bet that, with Charlie dead, its use will have something to do with Claire. After all, Christian may be some form of apparition, but Claire is still Claire. As far as we know.
Or: Sun has the DS ring and Hurley has a guitar – two objects that a resurrected Charlie Pace would be very happy to see. It’s probably just wishful thinking, but the ring and guitar are there for a reason.
Rose and Bernard: Good for them! My only problem is that I was hoping that Bernard, as the last surviving member of the tail section group that joined the other 815ers, would have a greater purpose in the overall scheme of things.
Are they Adam and Eve? Probably not. For one, they don’t live in the caves. Plus, Jack estimated that the corpses had been there for forty or fifty years – Rose and Bernard are living only twenty-seven years before the bodies were discovered, and they looked like they had plenty of time left. Also, Jack found a small bag with two stones, one black and one white. If the bodies were Rose and Bernard, then the mystery of these stones would come to nothing.
Jack: He wants to detonate a nuclear bomb on an inhabited island because he and Kate couldn’t cut it in a relationship? Remember Jack the hero? Remember the man who brought Charlie back from certain death? Remember the live together, die alone speech? What the hell happened to this man? I have no doubt that they would only sink Jack this low so that he can rise back to his former glory in the final season. Many people believe that it’s Jack, and not Locke, who is the chosen one (I hope it’s Locke,) and no true hero can have his glorious victory without first descending to a point of misery. Odysseus was imprisoned on an island and thrashed for days by the sea after watching all of his comrades perish, a one-handed Luke Skywalker was reduced to tears in front of his terrible father before coming into his own as a Jedi, and Captain Malcolm Reynolds saw everything he knew on the brink of extinction before finally releasing the Alliance’s horrible secret to the ‘Verse. Jack will rise again. Will he be the new leader of the Others? Will he be the new Jacob? He has faith in Locke, and that may be the first handhold on his climb back to greatness. Whatever happens, I hope it’s worth the wait.
James: Not Sawer. Sawer was a product of James Ford’s unresolved issues with the man who ruined his family. Then he strangled this man to death with a chain. Sawer doesn’t need to exist anymore, even if the woman he loves (not Kate) is dead. All he wanted was to be left alone so that he could be happy. Then came Kate, the woman who he had fallen in love with, and who loved him back whenever Jack wasn’t around. It’s easy to forget that, prior to her leaving the island, he only knew Kate for about four months. He was with Juliet for three years. We’ve seen him as a loner con-man, then as a responsible and committed leader (and lover.) If Juliet is dead we’ll see another side of James. He’ll be angry, and not least of all at the woman who came between him and Juliet. But the positive changes that his years in the Dharma Initiative allowed to happen won’t completely abandon him. When it’s time to choose sides, he’ll pick the right one, and he’ll be determined and ready to inflict punishment on the bad guys. He won’t be quite so nice as he has been, and he’ll be one of the most dangerous forces on the island.
Juliet: That scene tore my heart out. You know the one I mean. James wanted to hold on to her, both physically and emotionally, but the forces acting on them were just too great. I don’t want her to be dead, but if she is, then at least she died in a moment when she was taking charge. She was lured to the island where she existed subject to Ben’s whims, then carried to a time where a reunion with her sister, the one person who she longed to see again, was impossible. But in her final moments she was finally in control of her destiny, and she chose to take action. If a touch from Jacob means protection or survival, then Juliet is truly gone. That sucks.
Richard: So we know that Jacob is the source of Ricardos’s lack of aging, but we still have no idea how long Richard has been on the island. I was half expecting to see him, at least briefly, on the Black Rock. Without that shot, however, it’s quite possible that he had been on the island long before the ship arrived, possibly along with a group of Others. And how did 1977 Richard know where to smash in the wall in order to enter the house in the barracks? This would suggest an intimate knowledge of the layout of the Dharma village as well as a deep familiarity with the temple. And if the temple is so near the island’s surface, how is it that construction of the barracks didn’t accidentally unearth the tunnels? Unless someone who designed the barracks was also associated with the Others – that would also explain the convenient proximity of the tunnel and basement. Could the Others have infiltrated Dharma? Possibly even before the Initiative began working on the island? Jacob brought the Black Rock, and possibly Oceanic 815, maybe he also brought the Dharma Initiative. Maybe the “very clever fellow” who built the pendulum in the Lamppost is the same man that leads the Others.
Ben: He never saw Jacob and doesn’t know why. It can be assumed that his intention once gaining leadership of the Others wasn’t to deceive them, but it became a necessity once Jacob refused to show himself. But perhaps he was chosen by Jacob, and his purpose all along was to deliver the fatal blow when they finally did meet. He was a perfect choice – such a brilliant liar and manipulator would be so confident in his abilities that he would never suspect that someone was manipulating him. He always had a plan, was always in control, and therefore made the perfect pawn. But, in the end, he performed his duty well, and may be rewarded for his years of loyalty to the great leader who refused to acknowledge him.
The real Locke: When Lapidus asked what was in the box, I jokingly said “Three spare John Lockes.” I had no idea how close I would be to the horrible truth. It was wonderful to see John confident and in charge, and then we find out that it wasn’t really him. The possibility that John Locke is gone for good is unthinkable, and it would royally piss off a whole lot of people – including me. But I don’t believe that he’s gone for good. The island healed his spine, and it looks like Jacob brought him back from the dead during their encounter after Locke’s fall – and that gives me hope. Jacob – who also isn’t dead – will need a general, and who better than John Locke? He will return to regain his identity, and though he probably won’t be leading the Others, he’ll have an important role to play in the events to come.
Ilana and friends: When Jacob visited Ilana in the hospital it was made clear that they were already acquainted with one another. If an “Other” is defined as a follower of Jacob, then there could be several branches. We know that there are Others off-island, and Jacob clearly isn’t confined to the island’s borders. Jacob knew that some stuff was about to go down and put Ilana on Ajira 316 because he knew that she, as well as Bram and the others with them, would be useful in the events to come. This also explains why she brought Sayid: Jacob knew that he needed to be back on the island and wouldn’t return by choice. After finding the “note” in the cabin, both Ilana and Bram recognized the statue, and at least one of them knew exactly where it was. Could Ilana be the off-island version of Richard? Not really a leader but someone knowledgeable about what’s going on and there to guide those who are in charge?
Frank: He may be a candidate. For what? Maybe for leadership of the Others. Ben was ousted and Locke is dead, so there is no leader. Jacob might have tasked Ilana with being on the lookout for a new leader. Next season we could be seeing Jacob the Great and Powerful instructing Leader Lapidus and General Locke. That definitely works for me.
Jacob and the Adversary: “They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”
“It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”
This has been going on for a long time. From the sound of it, whatever the survivors of Oceanic 815 are in the middle of has been going on long before the Black Rock made its way to the island. Jack, Locke, and friends came, did a lot of fighting, and their fare share of destroying. As for corruption, I guess that’s part of the bigger picture. The big question is: is this the ending, or just more progress? Considering that this is the only occurrence that a television series has been made about, I’d think it’s a safe bet that we’ll see the ending of whatever it is that these two mysterious characters are talking about. Someone is finally going to resolve things – probably Jack, but I hope it’s Locke. Or maybe they’ll throw us a curve ball and it will be James, or Frank… or Bernard.
Jacob brought the Black Rock to the island, and based on his appearance in the lives of our friends, he brought Oceanic 815 and Ajira 316, as well.
I can’t begin to guess just who these two men really are. They are probably very ancient, and more than likely not human. Gods, perhaps? Left over remnants of the Egyptian pantheon? Or ancient people who were given gifts and assigned the tasks of protecting/destroying something that the fading ancient gods could no longer influence.
The white and black clothing was intentionally obvious, saving us from debate over who is really good and who is evil – evidence that is supported by the rest of the episode. Not-Locke doesn’t seem very trustworthy, and they did all they could to make Jacob feel benevolent. His touching of the passengers of 815 was significant, possibly marking them with a type of protection. With the exception of Rose and Bernard, who escaped to find peace, and Claire, who has temporarily vanished, those that Jacob touched are the only ones from 815 alive and on the island. Or possibly he was marking them for a safe return, ensuring that Ajira 316 would go where it was supposed to.
I don’t believe that Jacob is dead. There was no surprise when the Adversary showed up in his home, and, knowing that Ben was capable of killing him, Jacob seemed to goad Ben into taking action. My thought is that Jacob’s treatment of Ben – his refusal to speak with him and the sacrifices that Ben made – were all done to ensure that Jacob was killed. What lies in the shadow of the statue? The answer translates to “He who will save us all.” That has a very prophetic feeling about it.
I think that maybe both Jacob and his Adversary are monsters. We’ve seen the black smoke monster many times, but in season two Locke described the monster that he saw (during season one) as a “beautiful white light.” Jacob wore white, and maybe the monster that Locke saw was actually Jacob, showing himself to Locke to help cement Locke’s faith in the island. The smoke monster we’re used to is the black-clad adversary, who took on several forms in order to accomplish his goal of killing Jacob: he was Yemi, and killed Eko so that Locke would receive the sign from Eko’s stick; he was Walt, to talk John out of the Dharma grave and into killing Naomi; he was Christian, accomplishing, among other things, making sure that Locke turned the frozen wheel; and he was Alex, ensuring that Ben would follow not-Locke and do whatever he said.
Ilana said that Jacob hadn’t been in the cabin for a long time – it could have been the Adversary that called “help me” to Locke – we don’t know when the ash line was broken, or what it’s true purpose was. Was it to keep someone in, or to keep danger out?
I just rewatched the scenes with Jacob and his “friend,” and got the idea that they could be working together. His friend says that he wants to kill Jacob, but maybe that’s what has to happen for the “progress” to turn into an ending.
There’s a loophole, though: Jacob can only be killed by someone who truly believes in him, and who follows his word, and this person has to do it of his or her own free will. Enter Benjamin Linus.
Jacob’s friend says that one day he’ll find a loophole. Jacob replies, “Well, when you do I’ll be right here.” And he found his loophole, which was the alienation and torment of Ben Linus. A chosen leader who was kept away from Jacob, and who had to sacrifice his daughter, and the island itself, for a man who would not even meet him. And Jacob was waiting patiently to die.
Jacob’s friend used the appearances of Alex and Locke to push Ben over the edge, making him want to kill the man who Ben told, “I never questioned anything. I did as I was told.”
Jacob made sure that it was Ben’s decision; “Whatever he’s told you, I want you to understand one thing: you have a choice.” When he said “What about you?” to Ben, it wasn’t said with malice, but almost with pity. He knew that Ben had been used – he wasn’t proud of it, but it was necessary.
Listen to the words and tone of the conversations between Jacob and his friend. They can easily be interpreted as sinister, but that’s what we expect when one person wants to kill another. There’s nothing overtly malicious. They could be two people working together to ensure that one of them dies. “They’re coming,” could have been a warning to his friend, who clearly understood who he meant, and, after he kicked Jacob into the fire (which was necessary to cleanse the body for whatever step comes next,) that look on false-John’s face could have been because of what was to come – whoever is coming means trouble.
I’ll end here, as this is getting a little long. My hope is to follow the viewing schedule set up by the good people at DocArzt.com and give my thoughts on any unanswered questions (as well as general complaints about Kate.) Thanks for reading.