Are you a man/woman of science or a man/woman of faith? This is one of the pervasive questions asked to the fans of Lost. Personally, I am both and it is my belief that the show requires all of us to become both in order to fully appreciate its depth. So, that being said, I have committed to become the resident man of faith. Weekly, I will bring a theory based on the spirit of the island. And it is my hope that, when Lost reaches its epic end, we will find the perfect marriage of science and faith.
Now, let’s get to my first theory: What is the monster?
4 minutes remaining in “Confirmed Dead” and John Locke asks the question we’ve wanted the answer to since the pilot episode: “What is the monster.” Even though we knew we weren’t going to get the answer, our mouths salivated as we hoped to hear a hint, a teaser. Alas, nothing. But wait, was the question that seemed out of nowhere actually more carefully placed than we thought. I have a theory about that.
The great smoke-like guardian: In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve are removed from the Garden of Eden, God places a rather intimidating angel on the east side of the Garden to guard the tree of life. This angel is fierce and has one objective, guard this tree no matter what. I look at the monster as something much like this angel. I believe with all my heart that the monster is the guardian of the island. It will do whatever it takes to ensure the island’s safety and to keep its purity. And if anyone or anything shows even the slightest threat to either of these…the monster takes action. I believe this is the reason for the unprovoked attack on Seth Norris (the pilot of 815). As far as the Smokey was concerned, some loud roaring monster (the plane) had landed on the island and a bunch of people poured out of it. If your mission was to protect the island, you would have made your presence known immediately as well. The killing of the pilot was a way for the monster to instill fear in these new arrivals and to let them know that they were being watched. Now that the monster has made known its ferocity, it can study the new inhabitants, and seek out who is truly a threat by studying their pasts and figuring out who they are. Smokey may report its findings to Jacob, who then makes the final decision on who lives or dies, or it may make a decision on its own, either way the threats are eliminated while those remaining are watched carefully. In fact, it may even help some of the promising ones get their lives back on track by manifesting itself as loved ones or someone who can help them. But, ultimately, its prime directive is to protect the island.
What makes me so sure this theory is valid? The writers wouldn’t have Locke ask a question like “What is the monster” for no reason. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this question was asked in “Confirmed Dead,” an episode wholly centered on the people who are a supposed threat to the island. Smokey: Confirmed Guardian.