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Marc Oromaner’s Lost In Myth: “The Incident”—Having Faith in Jacob and LOST

By Marc Oromaner,

  Filed under: Lost, Lost In Myth
  Comments: 65

1jacobs_tapestryJust as how the Others blindly follow Jacob, we Lost fans have invested five years of our lives blindly following a TV show that has become increasingly intricate. Will our commitment be worth it in the end? Those of us who have faith have stuck with it, but we’ve lost a lot of former believers along the way. What if the series finale is a disappointment and leaves many of the major questions unanswered? Will we question our blind faith to a show that we hoped would give us answers to its convoluted storyline, and beyond? Hopefully we won’t get to that point, but I have some thoughts just in case we do.

Much like Jacob’s tapestry featured at the beginning of “The Incident,” Lost has woven a story filled with symbolism, mythology, and mystery. As Jacob says at the end of the two-part episode, “It takes a very long time when you’re making the thread. But I suppose that’s the point, isn’t it?” Well, I guess it’s the point when you have a moneymaking TV show and you need to keep audiences involved long enough to get to syndication and sell tons of merchandise. But most of the best stories I know are brilliant in their simplicity. This includes most nursery rhymes, tall tales, fables, and myths. Of course, you also have your Lord of the Rings and your Alice in Wonderlands, so there is hope for Lost to stand the test of time. Just like these other complex stories, Lost weaves together many themes that have helped to make it so meaningful. This is especially true in its final episode of the season.

Once again, the main theme of the episode, the theme of the fifth season, and perhaps the theme of the entire show is that of fate versus freewill. Is life a constant, and “whatever happened, happened” or are we the variables, as Daniel Faraday came to believe, with the freedom to choose? Jacob seems to represent this freedom. He specifically reminds Hurley and Ben that they are free to choose their paths, bails young Kate out of her crime, doesn’t stop young James from writing his letter to Sawyer, tells the insecure Jack that sometimes things just need a little push, and gives his blessing to the tumultuous marriage of Jin and Sun. Does this make him good or evil? Based on his white shirt compared with his opponent’s black one, we are being led to believe that he is good. After all, he’s allowing the freedom to choose. But as with many of the characters of Lost, I don’t think that either of these two beings is good or bad. Like Ben and Widmore, they just have different beliefs — issues to be worked out, as Jacob said. These issues seem to set the seed level for every character in the hierarchy below them.

Regardless of whether Jacob is on the side of good or evil though, I would say that he represents the guardian angel motif. This guardian angel can look out for us like Cinderella’s fairy godmother or the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi, or, it can be a troublemaker like the trickster fairy, Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, whose mischief challenges us to become stronger. All throughout the flashbacks, we see how Jacob allows the Losties to choose their path, yet, he gives them little nudges along the way to help them stay on it — for better or worse.  By bailing Kate out of her crime, did he teach her that she could get away with it, or encourage her to avoid it with her promise? By pulling Sayid aside, he saved his life, but allowed Nadia to be hit by a car. By telling the insecure Jack that sometimes things just need a little push, was he easing the argument he’d just had with his father, or setting up his tendency to always push things too far? Really, it’s up to the recipient of Jacob’s help to decide because he’s allowing them the freedom to live their life as they wish. He’s just occasionally intervening to guide them in the general direction of their destiny. This is actually in line with my own beliefs about fate and freewill.

In my last column, I wondered if there’s, “a general path that life wants us to take, and when we drift, it nudges us back in the general direction we’re meant to go.” I later stated, “We have freedom of choice when it comes to the details. But ultimately, life will steer you [towards your destiny].”  I went on to say that we just might get to see this message played out during the fifth season finale. We did. But not in the way I thought we would. I thought we’d get to see it through the incident itself. This may turn out to be the case for season six. In this episode however, we saw the theme play out through Jacob.

At the start of “The Incident” we learn that Jacob has brought the Blackrock ship to the shores of the island in hopes of proving his adversary wrong. This adversary, who we’ll call Essau since he was Jacob’s adversarial brother in the Bible, believes that when left to their own devices mankind is evil. “They come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt — it always ends the same.” To which Jacob replies, “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”

Watching this scene, I was reminded of the film Trading Places, 2tradingplaces1where brothers Randolph and Mortimer Duke make a one-dollar bet over whether people are born bad, or if it’s a result of life circumstances. Using two unwitting characters (played by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy) as the pawns in their twisted game, the brothers manipulate the characters’ lives to see which of their theories is correct. Considering the opening scene of this episode, and all the times Lost has alluded to games, the insinuation seems to be that all the turmoil that has occurred on the island, and perhaps the world, is the result of a little game. A game played with human lives by two supernatural beings. Perhaps the reason the show is called Lost isn’t because the characters are physically lost or mentally lost, but because they are pawns in a game that will be won or lost with their lives.

So who are the two players of this game? Since Jacob lives within the four-toed statue, it seems that we are meant to think that this is him. While the identity of this statue, finally revealed in this episode, will probably be debated for the next nine months, 3asobeksvg2it definitely looked like it had the face of a crocodile.  Along with its Egyptian garb and two ankhs, the statue is most likely, Sobek, the Egyptian god of fertility and repairer of evil that had been done. Since Jacob appears to be attempting to repair evil, this fits him well. We also know that eventually his statue will crumble and that this likely coincides with the time when women on the island can no longer conceive. From this perspective, Jacob would appear to be good since babies and those who repair evil are good things. Speaking of which, isn’t this Jack’s MO — his obsession with fixing things? Could he be related? Perhaps Jack, Christian, and Claire are offspring of Jacob, explaining why the latter two were able to live in Jacob’s cabin — assuming it ever actually was Jacob’s cabin and the people Locke saw inside actually were Claire and Christian.

At the very least, Ilana, Bram , and Richard seem to think Jacob is good.What lies in the shadow of the statue? Some Latin phrase that apparently translates to, “He who shall protect (or save or watch over) us all.” But how do we even know 3bsobekstatue4that Richard and company are good? If they are all demons that are to be saved, that doesn’t speak well for Jacob. Even if they are good, Jacob lies in the shadow of the statue. Perhaps that phrasing is intentional. If there’s anything that Lost teaches us, it’s to never assume anything. We do get at least one other clue though — Jacob’s tapestry. At the top is a quote from The Odyssey in Greek which translates to, “May the gods grant thee all that thy heart desires.” Surely, it is a benevolent god that would wish such things. Then again, doesn’t the realm of desire belong to Satan? Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the point is, thanks to Lost‘s many plot twists, we really can’t know anything for sure. But we can speculate, and that’s half the fun on this show. Maybe Lost is tricking us with the white-shirted Jacob and his black-shirted killer and Jacob is the one who’s evil. Sure his followers claim to be the good guys, but as Frank Lapidus pointed out, usually those who insist they’re the good guys, aren’t.

Perhaps some insight can be gleaned by looking at Jacob’s opponent. Who exactly is this guy and how come Jacob didn’t mention his name? Well, if Jacob is Sobek, according to the popular vote on the Lost boards, that would make the other guy Seth — the Egyptian god of chaos and infertility. This would again explain the problem pregnancies assuming he comes to power after the statue crumbles. So, maybe Seth is actually the bad guy after all, or maybe they both are, or maybe it doesn’t even really matter. In fact, I’m not so sure that any of this will ever be spelled out for us, or if any of it is even relevant to the ultimate plot.  Like Trading Places, Lost is about the pawns, not the players. The pawns are who we are meant to relate to. We may all be a part of God, but in this illusionary world we live in, we’re just the characters playing out the game of life. The best we can hope for is to win.

4angels-demons-tsr-poster-is-fullFate, freewill, gods, and games, and I’ve only just scratched the surface of the themes in this episode. At risk of turning this into a tome, I’ll just quickly reference two more. The first is one I haven’t really discussed much before and that is the theme of science versus spirituality. Besides fate and freewill, there is a sub-question that this episode seems to ask: Is it the experiments of DHARMA and the advancements of science that moves humanity forward, perhaps even saving us as Radzinsky claims? Or is it the work of supernatural guides like Jacob and our faith in God that saves us? Yet another timely topic as this theme is explored in the book and film Angels and Demons that comes out this week. Specifically, the story asks whether science and spirituality are polar opposites, or, if they are in fact telling us the same thing. Just as with the yin and yang, faith and freewill, or Jack Shephard and John Locke, I believe each completes the other. This may, in fact, even be the lesson for Jacob and his killer. Neither of them is right or wrong.

The final theme I’d like to bring up from this episode, is one I’ve covered quite a bit and pretty much makes up the bulk of my book. This is the theme of redemption. Are we brought into this world to overcome our issues? According to the mythology of Lost, the answer is, “yes.”  This is how we win the game, or at least, get out of it. From the very beginning of the series, we’ve seen that all of the characters have major life issues. Through a series of challenges, the island helps them solve these issues, and once they do, they die. In this episode, it was Juliet’s turn to burn. Before arriving on the island, Juliet was timid, afraid to stand up for herself, and, as we learn from a flashback featured in this episode, confused about her parents’ divorce.  Her parents tell her that just because two people love each other, doesn’t mean they should be together. Young Juliet doesn’t understand but her mother promises that one day she would.

In “The Incident,” Juliet calls the shots on the sub, knocks out a crewmember which leads to her being able to escape with Sawyer and Kate, and then helps convince Sawyer and Kate to help Jack after all. She definitely solved her whole timid thing. Then she comes to terms with her relationship with Sawyer, realizing that love isn’t enough, fully conquering her remaining issue. And that’s when she died. Or at least, seems to have died. Again, you can never assume anything with this show. Still, looking at the arc of her character, her solved issues, and her red shirt, I think it’s a sure bet that in this timeline at least, Juliet is gone.

For the most part, Lost seems to be sticking with the precedents it established early in season one. However, I do question the personification of freewill and fate in the forms of Jacob and his opponent respectively.  Up until now, the writers have treated fans as though we are smart enough to pick up on these themes through metaphors such as time travel and through the choices of the show’s characters. To express them in the forms of ancient Egyptian gods seems to bring them closer to the realm of a fairytale. For me, this makes Lost‘s storyline less relevant to today’s audiences. Most of us cannot relate to the myths of Egyptian gods as well as we can relate to the mythology of say, The Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. So why go there? The idea that fate is a result of the rigidity of our timeline or the programming of a video game — I totally get that. The idea that it is the result of one Egyptian god killing his brother who had the opposite view, not so much. If anything, it seems to be taking a step backwards.

We already have tons of Egyptian, Greek, and Nordic myths that cover these themes. A good mythological story updates them so modern audiences can understand how they pertain to their lives. Even if Jacob isn’t a god, he’s still living in the statue of one, doesn’t age, creates hieroglyphics, and can resuscitate the dead. As fascinating as all this has been, I want to see Lost bring the story back to themes and characters I can relate to. I don’t care how fantastical the story becomes, as long as all the themes are consistent with one another. Egyptian god statues, Biblical names, creatures named after Greek mythology (i.e., Cerebus the smoke monster), time travel, ghosts, Buddhist concepts, book and movie references, and spiritual themes all seem to be a bit much. I know that mythology all borrows elements from one another, but they don’t usually take a little bit from everything and jumble it together. For me, the only way Lost can successfully navigate its own convoluted myth and come to a satisfying conclusion is if there is something bigger going on. Something else beyond Jacob — a twist that puts everything in perspective. While it seems increasingly unlikely that the show is going there, I’ve still enjoyed the ride and have definitely learned a lot.  Still, if I don’t get some major answers next season, I’m going to be disappointed.

Many fans point to how many answers we got this season — about Rousseau, DHARMA, and how the Oceanic Six got back to the island. Great, but none of that really has to do with the mythology. Even the mythological answers we got just raised more questions. Locke was dead, then alive, now dead again — but what’s the story behind this doppelganger of his? Ilana is working for Jacob. So, who is she exactly and why did she have bandages all over her face? Is she someone we’d recognize who’d gotten plastic surgery? We see the statue is an Egyptian god, but who built it, why, how did it get destroyed, and why does Jacob have to stay there? Is he that god, if not, how does he have powers?

There are still thousands of questions. I don’t expect Lost to answer them all, but I expect answers to the big ones, and I haven’t even mentioned the smoke monster, the numbers, Christian Shephard, Desmond’s time traveling, Walt’s powers, the food drops, the eyeball close-ups, everyone being connected, Kate’s horse, Hurley’s friend Dave, the pregnancy issues, the whispers, the polar bears, the Hurley bird, Libby, Mikhail’s revivals, the Black Rock, Henry Gale, the skeletons with the black and white stones in their pockets, and the basic origins of the island. To me, these are big questions and if they are not answered directly, I feel like I should be able to figure them out from the solution Lost leaves us with.

So, getting back to my original question, what if Lost concludes without meeting our expectations? Has it all been worth it? In the immortal words of Aerosmith I’d like to remind everyone that “life’s a journey, not a destination.” We’ve learned so much on this journey — that we’re all connected, there are no accidents, and the universe gives us clues to help us on our paths. Even if you don’t believe any of these themes, the show contains real wisdom that can help us with our own life challenges — wisdom we’ve learned through the perspective of the characters and through the lessons of the episodes. No matter how Lost ends, I believe that if we listen out for the whispers, overcome the smokey monster of self-doubt, and use our connections, we will succeed on our journey through life. Even if the ending of Lost leaves us more lost than ever.

 

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.

The Myth of Lost is available on Amazon and barnesandnoble.com.

From TVFrenzy:

  • Mark

    another mystery i had hoped to be solved this season was the outrigger canoe chase. i thought for sure we would see it from the perspective of the other canoe. i hope it gets covered next year, but how far into the future is this chase?

    • Michel

      Wow, you’re really impatient. I wasn’t all that eager to see the outrigger chase. I think it’s a minor thing, since it was so short and only designed to make us wonder who were on the offensive canoe. I care about it, but I can wait. I CANNOT wait to see if Jacob survived or not, which castaways will live and which will die. I rest assured that the canoe mystery will be addressed. I can’t say the same about the fate of Jacob, the real Locke, the time-travelers or the whole Island.

      • Mark

        im not impatient. i just expected a time travel mystery to be resolved in the time travel season. and i think most casual fans might forget about it, so when it is finally addressed they wont really remember what happened way back in the early episodes of season 5.

        • Alexandra

          Do you think flight number 316 has anything to do with Genesis 3:16:
          To the woman he said,
          “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
          with pain you will give birth to children.
          Your desire will be for your husband,
          and he will rule over you.”

          I think this is related to fertility God and this theme… Would like to hear your opinions.

  • Michel

    Great article, as always, but I think you’re completely missing the point of the Egyptian gods. jacob and his rivals are not supposed to represent the egyptian gods… the egyptian gods are supposed to represent them. Obvioulsy, the temple, the statue and other ancient buildings and landmarks are the legacy of an egyptian civilization that once inhabited the island, maybe even trying to colonize it. It probably was a sacred place to them. But Jacob and his rival were not part of this civilization, as their physiognomy and way of speaking proves. Maybe they weren’t even there when the egyptians arrived.

    It’s not about a fairy-tale becoming the core of the mythology. I believe Lost is trying to make a different point. There are themes and forces and constants in the universe. They have always been there. They change form with time, but they have always been there. The egyptians represented in one way, but the presence of egyptian mythology is just one more element in the large tapestry of religion that appears on Lost. After all, they say that the myth is just a religion no one else believes anymore. What you say is absurd, because it’s like saying that Lost has gone to the level of a fairytale because of its frequent christian subtext, for instance. It’s not like that. With Jacob and his rival, Lost is trying to make the point of how conflicting forces drive the life we lead in this world. These forces are superior to us, and they could be idelogical (political, religious, philosophical), metaphysical, pyschological or of any other kind. But this forces only can act upon by exploiting our own traits, our virtues and flaws, and our choices. They can influence us, but we are, most of the time, the causes of our own suffering.

    You should see the egyptian myths as another cultural reference, another tool used to spek about something much more relevant, universal and timeless than a “fairytale”. These ancient myths used archetypes, and Lost is developing itself into a big and modern mythological story, while it honors and employs those myths of earlier times. If you don’t think Lost has taken these archetypes, specially in this episode, and updated them for the consumption of today audience, we strongly disagree. I think it does it in a tremendous fashion, because it acknowledges that it’s standing on the shoulders of mankind’s cultural history, and tries to talk about the same timeless themes without stripping this legacy of its identity. I didn’t see it as a step backwards. Not at all.

    You said:
    “Egyptian god statues, Biblical names, creatures named after Greek mythology (i.e., Cerebus the smoke monster), time travel, ghosts, Buddhist concepts, book and movie references, and spiritual themes all seem to be a bit much.”

    I say: for a narrative that tries to talk about Life and the World, I don’t think they’re too much. And no, I don’t think it’s unlikely the writers will end up showing one element that ties everything together and that is beyond Jacob. Jacob and his rival are bound by rules, as we saw last episode. They also speak with american accents and a modern type of speech, like Richard does. There is some explanation for this, I’m sure. There is something at work here beyond their respective actions. I’m convinced we will see one unifying explanation. At least, a partial one. It’s quite sad to see that your faith is weakening, but hold on and you’ll see.

    • DarthBubba

      I’ve got to agree w/ you that many of the legends are based on the island and its orignal inhabitants, not the other way around. This ties in directly into my theory that the island is a remnant of the lost Pacific continent of Mu, which legends tell us led to the civilizations and religions of Egypt, South America, Greece, and India .

    • LockesDad

      Forget about faith. Faith in the writers of LOST will get you nothing but disappointment. They don’t or won’t have all the answers to most of the questions that they are leaving us with. Exercise your free will. Watch and enjoy this show for what it is, entertainment, or don’t.

      • Michel

        What a perfectly chose Nickname 🙂

      • I completely disagree that this show is just entertainment. Oh, and Locke’s Dad? “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”

    • Good point about your evidence for a unifying theory. Of course, since I wrote about one in my book, I am all for it. I have no doubt that a unifying theory COULD be used to explain the show. My question is whether the writers are going that route since they keep adding more and more elements to already convoluted story. Still, your points have renewed my faith, so I thank you for that.

      As for your point here: “…jacob and his rivals are not supposed to represent the egyptian gods… the egyptian gods are supposed to represent them” I would agree and said so: “Since Jacob lives within the four-toed statue, it seems that we are meant to think that this is him.” If that’s unclear, what I meant is that the statue is of him, i.e., represents him. I would disagree though that all the Egyptian remnants are necessarily from an Egyptian civilization that once lived on the island. Maybe, but not definitely.

      Concerning my “fairytale: comparison, I think you missed my point there. I’m not saying that it’s a fairytale because it’s referencing Egyptian mythology. I’m saying it because it is personifying heavy themes with character attributes. To make a comparison within Christian subtext, if Desmond were to come back next season as the personification of redemption, and everyone he touched solved their issues, I’d say the same thing.

      I also have to disagree with what you said that “they say”–that myth is just a religion no one believes anymore. I think mythology is an important part of every religion. I see your point though–like history is written by the victors. Assuming that quote refers to the definition of myths related to ancient religions, again, I see the point. It’s also like how a religion is just a cult with a lot of members.

      Finally, your point about LOST mixing together lots of mythology being important to convey the relevance of its message to the world, sure, that’s one way to look at it. And I think this could be a brilliant way to explore such themes. But in just randomly tossing out various mythologies without having any kind of template in place for us to see their relevance, I don’t think that message really comes through. I’ll wait to see where they are going with it before analyzing its effectiveness, but to me, it’s just all very messy while giving us an impression that there is all a logical explanation.

  • JB

    An exceptional analysis as usual! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts each week!! The parallels you draw between outside sources and themes raised on the show are extremely intelligent-I especially liked the trading places reference, as I’ve long felt this was all similiar to a larger game, and found myself last night watching the exchange between jacob and (esau-thats the name I too had been using!) I kept thinking that there was something rather familiar with what they were alluding to in their back & forth banter…then it hit me-Randolph & Mortimer Duke! A social-psych experiment! (I actually first thought of the final scene in Men in Black that pans up from earth, through the galaxy, and across the universe to reveal that it is all just marbles being manipulated by enormous aliens).

    After letting my brain process this episode today, I felt much better about it (my first reaction was to actually feel let down a bit given the information we had learned and some of the pieces that were filled in)…now after reading your post, I feel even better, so I thank you!

  • i think we are getting many of the answers without noticing we did. for instance – christian shephard – isn’t it quite clear now that he was another apparition of this smokey/anti jacob shape shifter? i’ll be surp[rised if they’ll try to explain it else how, but fans seem to expext straight answers, like one of the character saying it and i hate that, a show isn’t supposed to get to that part when the character says things just to explain it to the audience. they’ve been doing that too with some answers and it’s cheaky.

    • DezziesOtherLifeBrotha

      Agreed

    • I agree too. As I said in the article, “To me, these are big questions and if they are not answered directly, I feel like I should be able to figure them out from the solution Lost leaves us with.” I have no problem with those kind of answers. But at this point, knowing Christian wasn’t really the ghost of Christain doesn’t tell us much. I mean, why go through all the trouble to get Locke to die if he already inhabited the body of Christian. Those are the kind of answers I don’t think we can figure out for ourselves at this point.

  • A stupid person wrote this.

    Jacob isn’t a guardian angel, hes just setting up the losties who are going to reset his loop.

    • I never said he’s a guardian angel. I said he represents the guardian angel motif. In case anyone else misunderstood, I am referring to a theme that pops up in mythological storytelling. There is no question that Jacob is an example of this theme. He bailed out Kate, saved Sayid from being run over, and brought Locke back to life. No matter what his reasoning is for dong this, this is one of his archetypes.

  • cap10tripps

    I’m starting to think that Darlton/JJ at some point said, “What if there really was a god and a devil, how would we explain that in a realistic manor?” Then they say, “This island would have to be a parallel to the stories of Eden, Shambala, and maybe even a little Atlantis, but again we need to try to explain this in a realistic manor.” I really think they’ve come up with an original way to combine fantastic stories in religion with a more scientific edge to it. They are basically saying this place and these people are what the stories are based on…

  • striker95k

    This column has always been interesting, but it seems like it’s come to a point where the author (like many hardocre fans) has become one of those who has given up the fun of the show. He asks if the show will answer all the questions. Who cares, ultimately? There comes a point where someone can get so wrapped up in what they think should happen that any other outcome becomes a personal affront. I love this show for the ride, and I love reading much of the analysis and theories. But I hope that over the next long 8 months of waiting, that too many people dont set themselves up for disappointment.

    • Henry Holland

      I’m sitting here on a beautiful day in Los Angeles and I’m feeling kind of like Ben at the end of this episode: that’s IT? The two best characters on the show, Ben and John, were just plot devices, stooges really? I’ve been disenchanted with season 5 because they seem to have totally abandoned the whole “scientifically plausible” side of the show and ramped up the religious/mythic part, which I don’t care about at all and in the process they’ve made me feel like a sucker for caring about John and Ben. Why should I care about them or any of the other characters now?

      I mean, I can enjoy it for the comic-book aspects of it –those gunfights where the Losties can hit a guy 200 feet away while running but the Bad Guys can’t take out the tires of a VW bus are especially hilarious– but at this point in my fandom, I’m getting a little burnt out constantly being told by TPTB that the show is about the characters and then having those characters tossed around like rag dolls to fit their overarching plot.

    • There are a lot of fun elements to LOST. But I don’t think it’s the word I’d use to describe why so many fans are so devoted to it. Why do I care that LOST answers questions. C’mon. Anyone can write a story filled with tons of mysteries that have no answers. To me, the final reveal puts the entire show in perspective. I don’t need answers to all the questions. But whatever we learn in the series finale has to explain the major mysteries and create a template that makes the rest understandable. Don’t get me wrong, I still love watching the show. But this finale was not up to the level of the others. Going in, we already knew that there was a bomb that was going to be thrown down the pit. We also knew Ben planned on killing Jacob. Did we need 2 hours to get there? That being said, a disappointing LOST finale is still better than any other show on TV. It has just raised our expectations. However, LOST ends, as I said, I’ve enjoyed the ride. The question is whether stepping off of it is going to make me dizzy or exhilarated.

      As for Henry’s points, the producers have promised a return to the character focus next season. They also said awhile back that Locke would wind up a hero. That hasn’t happened yet, so I’m fairly certain his story is not done.

      • Henry Holland

        “I don’t need answers to all the questions”

        That’s a flaw in the way the show is made, the continual hyping of “This week on LOST! The answers you’ve been waiting for!” only to add three questions for every one answered. I have my own Ben-related questions (what happened when Richard took him to The Temple? What happened to Annie?) but I wouldn’t surprise me to not have those answered at the end, because, hey, we need yet ANOTHER Jackback telling us that he’s afraid of being a leader.

        “Going in, we already knew that there was a bomb that was going to be thrown down the pit. We also knew Ben planned on killing Jacob. Did we need 2 hours to get there?”

        Sure we did! We needed almost 15 minutes out of the actual 84 minutes of screen time to have two utterly stupid, risible gun battles –as my dad said, “DHARMA deserved to be purged, they have rifles and outnumber the Losties and can’t shoot a standing target 20 feet away!”– and a fist fight between Jack and James that should have taken place in season 2! Duh! 🙂

        I just find it kind of sad that after five seasons, the same storytelling things that bugged me in season 1:
        -the addiction to THE SHOCKING REVEAL!!!! in place of just telling the damn story
        -having someone stop before telling us something (Jacob did that when he didn’t reveal The Man In Black’s name on the beach)
        -having someone rush in to interrupt characters who are about to reveal a key plot point
        -having characters who normally won’t shut their cake holes suddenly go silent when pressed for an answer to something
        -the stupid love triangle–mein Gott, at this point it’s so dysfunctional and boring that to have it end with either Skate or Jate would be cruel
        -the role of women is solely defined by how the men in their lives react to them
        -the utterly inconsistent ways characters act, based on how they fit in to the plot points

        are still there. I realize a lot of it is that they’ve had to make changes on the fly (AAA not wanting to do Eko anymore, Paulo and Nikki), that going back and recreating scenes to explain something that happened in season 2 is tough and so on, but at the end of the finale, I felt like the previous 5 seasons were a sham, that most of what we saw, that the heart-wrenching deaths (Charlie) and separations (Nadia and Sayid) was irrelevant, because apparently they’re now going to introduce in the finale of the next-to-last season the characters that the show is REALLY about, Jacob and Esau, erm, The Man In Black.

        • You make some good points. Many of what has frustrated you has frustrated me as well. But it’s a kind of suspenseful frustration for me that’s part of the enjoyment of watching the show. However, if the final reveal doesn’t answer these questions, then like you, I will also feel like we’ve been bamboozled! I don’t think they’re going to do that to us though, and even if they do, I’m still glad I watched the show. I just won’t see it as being as brilliant as I do now.

          I also don’t think that the show will end up being about Jacob and “Esau” any more than Trading Places ended up being about Randolph and Mortimer Duke. Yes, they were key players to the plot, but not the main focus of the story. They initiated it, but our emotional connections were with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd ‘s characters.

        • CrimSon

          I enjoy Lost simply because it’s more intricate than any other drama on the otherwise wasteland of TV. Television — especially reality television — is ordinarily an insult to the intelligence. Lost, at least, tries to go beyond the usual infantile approach so prevalent in just about everything else. (And a bonus: It doesn’t “feel” like it’s constantly trying to be a soapbox for a current political position, names like John Locke and Edmund Burke notwithstanding.)

          Having said all this, I completely agree with your post.

          • CrimSon

            I was addressing Henry Holland. But Marc, I enjoy your posts, too.

  • Michael (not Michel)

    Just had a thought! a good one! ..possibly!

    What lies in the shadow of the statue? he who will save us all.

    …then they tip out Locke’s corpse, into the shadow of the statue.

    ………..booyakasha!

    comments?!

    • LockesDad

      It’s Locke’s eye that opens in the end credits.

      • DarthBubba

        That’s not correct. . . check out the thread in the episode forum.

    • JB

      Yes! It would be too obvious if it were jacob…and locke’s body is physically lying there, and the not-locke/smocke/esau/? is technically lying (as in telling lies) there as well-he is lying to Richard, Ben, Others about being locke

      • Michael (not Michel)

        mm, tho sadly im not sure that the pun (dual meaning of lies in english) works in latin….but it could have been a VERY clever pun a suppose :-/

    • Awesome Michael! I would love it if that were the case! It would be completely aligned with the mythology!

      • Michael (not Michel)

        whythankyou 🙂 now we have to wait and see though.

  • Sara

    I’ll admit up front that I really don’t want Juliet to be permanently dead, but regardless I find I have to disagree with the author on one point: I don’t think Juliet’s storyline has given us complete closure on her character. The desire to return home to see her sister and nephew drove her actions for most of her time on the show, and we didn’t see her really make peace with the possibility she never would. To me, that’s a fairly big thread they left dangling as far as Juliet is concerned, and I’d be very surprised and disappointed if it was left unresolved.

    • LockesDad

      The whole finale was kind of a goodbye to Juliet. I believe that she is done. She died a hero’s death.

    • Uncle Beaver

      Maybe they could show us this in a Sawyer flashback next season?

    • JB

      I think the red shirt is too obvious for them…all people have been saying throughout the series (and especially in the last few weeks) is beware of the red shirt…so I think (and hope) that this is what the writers want us to assume..she is dead because she was wearing the red shirt, jacob didn’t touch her in the flashback (perhaps he did visit her on another occasion, not seen yet?)…It would be such a welcomed surprise to so many fans-I don’t think it would fly if it would be other characters (e.g., kate), but if juliet is not dead, it would be totally accepted by most real fans!

      Also, Juliet this season finale’s Desmond…not one of the original 815ers, but extremely key in moving the story forward…she presumably detonates the bomb (whether or not that is a good thing is unclear) and brings about something big…like des in season 2 turning the failsafe key (pretty much in the same place these 2 events seemed to occur, no?)…desmond didn’t die in that blast (eventhough the hatch imploded and was destroyed-he remained untouched…he had strange future flashes side effects, but nothing else wrong with him)…maybe the same is true of juliet?

      either way, she started out on my list of most despised characters, and ended up being one of my all time favs!

      • ushkush

        Yeah, maybe Jules is Des’s mirror. There are always parallel events on lost and there haven’t been any other characters who had flashes except the radio guy on the boat. (Where is Des anyway?) I can see the opening scene of S6 with Juliet sitting in front of a microscope and looking at her own notations of the numbers 4815162342 in her journal (Mirror for Daniel’s journal) and not knowing how she got there.

    • Even if Juliet is dead, I’d only say dead from the island. I don’t believe that any of the characters who died there are dead “in the real world” as Sawyer kept saying.

  • Great article as usual, Marc!
    Just one note: the three-headed guardian dog of hell is CERBERUS, Cerebus is just Dave Sim’s aardvark!
    ;-P

    • Ha ha–how serendipitous! Yeah, there were actually a bunch of typos in this. I apologize but it was getting late and I just wanted to get this out. I managed to correct most of them before posting it on the other site I write for:
      http://whenfallsthecoliseum.com/2009/05/15/lost-in-myth-having-faith-in-jacob-and-lost/

      You can see Cerberus spelled properly there as well as Black Rock (two words), Esau (one “s”) and a few others. I would correct them here, but not sure if doing so would cause me to lose the comments. Luckily, nothing major!

  • pookiegus

    Good and Evil are a dualistic concept- When humanity humanity has evolved enough spiritually we will realizes that Good and Evil are two sides of the same coin (God/Creator) and they will both fade away. The two sides can’t exist without one another. They are like the poles of the earth or yin and yang. There is a push and pulling going one constantly.

    I agree that we can’t really think of Jacob and his brother(Seth,Esau) in terms of good and evil.

    Even though Jacob wears white – it doesn’t mean he is good- Jacob represents FREEWILL. Think about all the nasty things the others have done in his name. . . They’ve killed, tortured, kidnapped and brainwashed. This could be due to Mr. X’s long con though.

    Mr. X or Esau was wearing black represents FATE. All the nasty things that have happened to our losties on the island are probably due to his interveining.

  • Lebowski Achiever

    The thing that really bugs me is the fertility issue and the statue. Many think that the statue getting destroyed is the cause of the fertility issues on the island, but we know there was a birth in Dharmaland in the 70’s. For some reason I seem to think that the statue was down already by then. Some say the fertility issues could be from the radiation coming from Jughead, but you would think they would be able to test for and diagnose this pretty easily. Does anyone remember if we have seen the statue while (or lack thereof) while the Losties were in the 70’s.

    • DezziesOtherLifeBrotha

      They haven’t. Although I seem to remember the back of the statue disappearing after Locke turns the FDW. Thus, because it was visible in the distant past, just BEFORE Locke turns the FDW, and from Miles, Jules, Sawyer’s perspective it was no longer visible AFTER (1974) we can assume it was demolished before 1974. Also, unless the top portion melted, was vaporized, or carried away by helicopter or something, I believe the remnants would be too large to go unnoticed there lying on the beach or jutting out of the ocean. So I believe the demolishing must have occured LONG before 1974.

      Another point. Yes we saw ethan born on the island. But the doctor clearly said before that (in 1974) that the DI regularly took their women off-island for births. Why would they go to the trouble of submerging a pregnant woman and ferrying her some great distance away if there already wasn’t a danger in giving birth on the island???

      I think we were shown Ethan’s birth to confuse some of us into thinking that problem didn’t exist in 1974 and that something must have changed post 1974 but I disagree, I think that Ethan’s birth was an exception… not the rule. Why else would everyone be so spooked during Amy’s labor, and so relieved afterwards?

      Also, I think the constant reappearance of Ethan is related to this revelation (him being the exception to the rule) and not just merely some effort to add relevance to the character or give a shout out to fans looking for easter eggs…

  • Well, if jacob is Sobek, I’m afraid the other guy is Apep.

    • Nicole

      That makes sense. Him being Apep would explain the Smoke Monster: “It was thought that his terrifying roar would cause the underworld to rumble. Myths sometimes say that Apep was trapped there, because he had been the previous chief god and suffered a coup d’etat by Ra, or because he was evil and had been imprisoned.”

  • Shannon

    Great article! I pretty much agree with everything except for your assumption of Juliet. I don’t think we are done with her character. As many have notice, Bernard asked Juliet if she was sure she didn’t want a cup of tea. She smiled and held her stomach, then said no. That has been taken as a clue that she might have been pregnant. Also, earlier in the season, Amy asked Juliet when she and James were going to have a little one. Juliet alluded from answering.
    We know that Ethan was the last full term child conceived and born on the island. And both Claire and Danielle were new to the island in their third terms so they made it through labor. I think Juliet may have been pregnant and because of her death and the time period she was pregnant, that is the reason why women can no longer has children on the island That is why the women die early into their pregnancy as Juliet did. A mystery that she herself couldn’t solve.

    • DezziesOtherLifeBrotha

      That would be interesting…

  • kw

    There’s been a lot of talk of who Jacob might be, and it’s my theory that Jacob will turn out to be . . . well, Jacob. I think he’ll turn out to be a regular guy who shipwrecked on the island and the island gave him the ability not to age as well as some other powers. Most people think Richard is a crewman on the Black Rock but I think Richard has been on the island with Jacob the whole time–they arrived together along with the Man in Black. What if this group were split into two forces with Jacob being the leader of one group and the Man in Black being the leader of the other. He then dies. The man we see at the beginning of the episode is an apparition much like Christian Shepherd and John Locke and Charlie and anyone else who has died and appeared. Who takes on these life forms and manipulates events? That seems to be the real question. Maybe it’s the smoke monster and what the smoke monster represents–evil choices–fight, destroy. And now Jacob is trying to prove that entity wrong–that humans can make good choices–not fight, love. I think next season we will get several episodes that show:
    1. The hydrogen bomb’s explosion from Richard’s perspective at the camp with Eloise and Widmore, as well as from Jacob’s perspective inside the statue–maybe this is what destroyed the statue?

    2. The Losties do indeed alter their future and Oceanic 815 never crashes on the island. However, just because the plane never crashes doesn’t mean the other people who came to the island by other means–Desmond and Rouseau by boat and Juliet by sub are not there. These people will still be on the island.

    3. We will now see the lives of the people that Jacob touched–Kate, Sawyer, Sun and Jin, Jack, Sayid, and Locke in their new futures–three years after they landed in LA.

    4. We will also probably get a glimpse of Charlie–Driveshaft lives! and probably that soap opera with Nikki. Who knows maybe we’ll catch up on Frogurt.

    5. So now, three years after the plane landed in LA what are their lives like–miserable. Locke still paralyzed and at the box factory, Jack divorced, Sun and Jin unhappy, Kate in prison, Sawyer still a con man looking for the man who did him wrong, Hurly more bad luck–probably his dad will die. Sayid never finds Nadia so he’s also miserable. And then one day they all get on Ajira 316–or some other flight–and land on the island. Remember Jacob’s words to the Man in Black–They’re coming! Perhaps Miles, Daniel and Charlotte will be on this flight as well.

    Thoughts?

  • pastrynurse

    In the branch of Christianity I was raised in, we were taught that the fall of satan occurred because of a revolt in heaven led between him and Jesus long before men were placed on earth. Satan was a prince, if you will, much like Jesus, in the heirarchy of Heaven but he wanted mankind to have no free will in their devotion to God and Jesus wanted the opposite. Satan lost out and was cast out of heaven by God into Hell, taking a huge number of angels/souls who believed as he did with him, but still firmly believing that men shouldn’t have the freedom to deviate from the path. So, the moral of this story was that there was a huge chance that we would have never been able to follow our free will in our lives and we are fortunate that satan’s plan wasn’t the one picked BUT we still have satan’s temptations to contend with.
    I will declare now that I have not practiced that religion since childhood or any other for that matter but I find it a very interesting & entertaining story and similar to the story being told now. The eternal contest between “good” vs “evil” when perhaps “evil” wasn’t always considered that evil and was maybe a prince in heaven. And was cast into the depths of hell by “good”.

    • How do you know that we are able to follow our freewill? Just as with the “whatever happened, happened” theme, the characters only think they have the freedom to choose. The reality is that their “choice” was set in stone and exactly what needed to be done. Not saying I believe this id the case for our world. Just playing the devil’s advocate.

  • Ryan

    I don’t want to rain on everyone’s parade, but the Egyptian statue is of the goddess Taweret. How do I know you ask? I read it from the horses mount. See for yourself!

    Here’s an excerpt from the Lost episode recaps on ABC’s website.

    “The camera pulls back over the ocean, and we see they were sitting on the base of a giant stone foot. And next to the foot is another foot — and both feet have four toes. And as the camera pulls back, we see what we’ve been waiting to see since we first glimpsed that four-toed foot over three years ago… the towering, majestic statue of the Egyptian goddess Taweret.”

    Here’s the link:

    http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/index?pn=recap#t=162212&d=201648

    • pastrynurse

      No kidding. I just read it for myself. I have to say I’m a little surprised that the writers, or at least ABC.com, committed to saying who the statue represented. Good catch. Thanks.

    • Thanks for pointing that out, still I’m not so sure. The description is certainly not canon. And if that is Tawaret, then the creators are certainly taking liberties since she is usually depicted with a face and body of a pregnant hippo–she usually has hippo legs, not human legs like Sobek. Then again, I DID think the body looked female and thought the mini-skirt was a bit short!

  • Dharma Adept

    marc, i always look forward to reading your analysis. i appreciate the points you bring up from folklore and myth. but at this point the only thing that seems certain is that nothing is certain.

    good call on noting Set’s infertility issues. it’s said that his wife Nepthys fathered Anubis with Osiris. however, Set apparently was able to spawn Sobek despite his low sperm count.

    one problem with calling Esau Seth is that Set is actually Sobek’s father, in Egyptian lore. so instead of two equal opposites i.e. Lucifer/Gabriel, or Osiris/Set, or Loki/Baldr, you dont have fratricide but a father killing a son if you adopt that line of reasoning. that changes everything from a metaphysical point of view.

    i’ll also agree that ABC likely erred in calling the statue Tawaret. the statue is clearly male, as is the tapestry Ilana gets from the cabin. it clearly has the head of a crocodile in the screenshot of the cloth. therefore, it almost certainly CAN’T be Tawaret, although a merged Sobek-Tawaret is possible, since the headdress appears to be Tawaret’s. interestingly, Sobek is not only Set’s son, but Tawaret’s husband. i have no idea how this relates to Lost (or doesn’t), but i’m not even gonna try to speculate on what may not be speculatable at this point. i’m just gonna wait and see how it turns out.

  • rohit

    This may have been noticed but Let me try my luck anyway, If you realize, there were exactly two cases of “coffins” being on board a plane that crashed on the island. The first case is Oceanic Flight that carried “Christian’s body” and the second case is new flight that carried “Locke’s Body”… ! In both cases of the coffin after crashing into the island ; The dead person in it seem to come alive,.. Shepard is alive and moving about and so is Locke… so maybe Essau took Shepard’s form and Locke’s form…. ! So maybe thats the loophole,.. Any dead body that crashes into the island is available to take form by shape shifting or posses and come alive. .?! I don’t know am I making sense ?.. ! I need some additions.. !

    Also in both cases,.. The actual bodies inside the coffin remain untouched, if I remember in season one,.. Someone was swimming in a pond somewhere inside the island (I think it was charlie or sawyer).. and they found Christian Shepard’s Coffin underwater.. I think they found his body too.. ! And in the second case,..as seen in the season 5 finale.. Locke’s body is found in his coffin… But these people come alive otherwise ;… so maybe essau shape shifted into these dead people forms and …. I dunno… any thoughts on my loose observation ?

    • Thor

      Jack found the coffin in the caves, it was empty, and he destroyed right then and there!

      It was Kate and Sawyer who swam around int the lagoon, and they found two seats at the bottom with to persons still attached. Anyway, they were there to get the briefcase..

      This was so early in the show that I’m not sure if we can make a 100% similarity between Locke and Christian based only on the fact that they arrived on the island in coffins.

  • Andrew

    I didn’t read all the comments posted so I hope nobody else said this.

    Mark Pellegrino as Jacob reminded me of Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride.

    It’s funny to me then that his tapestry said “May the gods grant thee all that thy heart desires” – in other words, “As you wish”.

    Ahhh… only funny to me.

    [Side note – maybe Jacob’s house is the Magic Box.]

  • Jim

    It’s funny you saw Juliet’s story exactly the opposite of me. I viewed Juliet’s story as a complete capitulation to her fate, dying (if she is dead) unfulfilled and unredeemed.

    Her story or fate was sealed early by her parents, who told her that even amidst planning and love, you can’t have what you want in the long run. Her own divorce buttressed it. Even her career advancement came with a guilty conscience and strange foreboding. I wonder if it was coincidence that she took to stealing illicit moments of happiness with a married man, where there was no hope of long term happiness. Or, that her therapist acted as both real and figurative conscience even about that.

    We could go on with her story, but you get the idea. Then, on the last day of her life, after delaying her freedom from the island for three years, she gives it up again almost immediately, now becoming a truly tragic figure as she begins actively working towards her terrible fate and throwing her future happiness away. Staying true to her destiny, she then throws her lover away also, all because of a single look. To outward appearance, the decisions looked hypocritical. To her, they were a consistent admission that she knew her fate. She would never fight it. She was doomed to die alone in the dark, broken, bleeding, and actively beating forever on a bomb that deny her everything she ever dreamed for.

    That’s not redemption. That’s complete failure. I hope she’s alive, or we witnessed one of the most stirring tales of active failure by an outwardly strong and beautiful woman that TV as ever seen.

    • Jim

      What I’m trying to say is that Juliet never used the power of choice to write her own life story. Especially on the most fateful day of her life, she succumbed to her unhappy destiny at every step. In fact, I believe every LOST death has so far met that criteria. The only case one can make for Michael and Charlie, both morally weak and prone to make the wrong decision at every turn, is that their deaths find redemption as a sacrifice for others’ potential success. Nikki and Paulo circled each other in a lustful, greedy death trap. Locke died as he lived; a pigeon to be used. As the characters fall away, we’re still hoping for some small group to overcome the odds and break free of their pasts and meet their potential:)

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