I have to admit, before this episode, I was feeling pretty confident not only that I knew what was going to happen in “The Man Behind the Curtain”, but also where the storyline would go in the remaining episodes of the season. I was sure that Locke would expose Ben as a fraud, and become the new “leader” of the Others. This would lead to the long-awaited Jack vs. Locke battle (brewing since Season One!) as Locke leads the Others versus the Survivors in the season finale in an effort to keep the Island secret. Jacob wasn’t going to exist at all – he was going to be just like the Wizard from the Wizard of Oz… a lot of smoke and mirrors to keep people in line, happy, and believing in a greater purpose. Ben’s flashback was going to reveal a softer side to him, showing him as an Island Original (Other) who had to conjure up Jacob to keep people on the Island protecting its great secret (something about living forever) instead of being swayed by the glamorous technology and luxuries of Dharma. He was to be the last of a dying breed, a character we felt sympathy for, which was to lead up to Ben actually dying in the season finale battle, leaving the audience to wonder who we should be rooting for – the Survivors, or the Others.
So you can imagine my surprise when the storyline from this week not only proved my “The Man Behind the Curtain” predictions totally wrong (I told you I don’t have any inside connections! Or did I intentionally post something wrong to throw you off? Mwa ha ha ha!) – but probably blew my theories for the rest of the season out of the water as well. But to be honest with you, I couldn’t be happier.
One of the drawbacks of spending so much time thinking, analyzing, and obsessing over Lost is that you lose a lot of the “shock value” from the episodes. You start to foresee things like character deaths and the broad strokes of the storyline (the details are still often hard to predict). So when an episode like this comes along, I can’t help but tip my hat to the writers on Lost for coming up with huge surprises like this week, even when there are thousands of people around the world analyzing, predicting, and researching their every move. It’s episodes like this that humble you, make you realize you really don’t know what is going on with Lost (no matter how much time you spend on it), and it almost makes you want to stop thinking about it and just enjoy the ride. If they can pull out surprises like this week now, I can’t even begin to imagine what’s coming up in the season finale.
It almost makes you want to stop thinking about it. For me, until I get my head wrapped around an episode, I can’t move on to the next week. (Note: watching two episodes back to back once I got back from Europe was killer. I still don’t feel like I’ve properly digested them.) I keep thinking about the episode, wondering about it, trying to piece it together in a logical way. As I’ve said before, it’s really just a product of my arrogance telling me “you’re smarter than this TV show – figure it out.” Thus, without further pointless ramblings, let’s get to it…
Patchy. Who could have predicted the large role that Patchy would have had in the second half of this season? He’s now probably had more screen time than any other Other besides Ben (and Juliet, if you count her). This week, we learned that he survived the seeming deadly sonic waves from the pylons around the Barracks because they weren’t turned up to full power. As lame as this explanation is (medical experts out there, can you really survive blood shooting out of you ears? It seems like that is something fairly serious), I am thankful that we’re not dealing with a “the Island brings people back from the dead” storyline, where we would have to start wondering about the true fate of every character that has died on the Island thus far. If you think there are a lot of “Christian Shepherd is alive and behind it all!” theories out there now (which are all clearly wrong), they would be twice as popular if Patchy had somehow been brought back to life by the power of the Island. So we all lucked out there.
The other interesting thing is that when Locke started to pummel Patchy, Ben asked Richard and Tom to help, and both just sat by and watched. Even if they were sick of Ben and his baby-making endeavors and were tired of taking orders from him, you would think they would have jumped out to help Patchy, since he’s one of their own. While it’s possible they just hated Patchy and his weird reclusive ways - I think the more likely explanation is that they do not want to mess with John Locke.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve learned that the Others have a fascination with Locke due to his amazing recovery on and communion with the Island. Somehow he has seemingly been “let in” on Island secrets and powers that no outsider ever has… maybe even more so than Island Originals like Alpert himself - and that intrigues them. I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to think that they view him as some sort of savior, prophet, or leader – and he suddenly makes Ben’s alleged connections with the Island seem pretty weak.
This is why there was so much shock among the Others when Locke announced he was going to see Jacob – if Locke was able to visit and communicate with Jacob, it meant that Ben was no longer anything special – Locke would now seemingly have all the power of Jacob and then some. It symbolized a changing of the guard… one that the Others probably had been waiting for as they grew tired of Ben’s single minded-obsession. The only thing they needed was for Locke to come back with a message from Jacob and Ben would have been history. Unfortunately, Ben made sure this didn’t happen.
Ben. As I said earlier, I expected this episode to reveal a “softer side” of Ben, revealing a tragic past that would make the audience sympathetic and understanding of his ways (note: this would help go along with my long-running theory that the Others end up being good and our Survivors end up being bad. Remember Ben’s comment to Jack in last season’s finale: “We’re the good guys”) – and for the first half of the episode, I thought that was exactly what we were going to get. He had the no good drunk father blaming him for his mom dying and never remembering his birthday, he was haunted by a freaky image of his dead mom (more on this later), and to make matters worse, he was an uber-nerdy kid who didn’t really talk, which clearly would have led to many after-school wedgies. The stage was set.
But in his last flashback, we saw another side of Ben – a vengeful, conniving side. A side summed up in his speech to Locke at the end of the episode about “doing what needed to be done to not end up in the pit”. While this helps explain the character that exists today on the show, the shift from the quiet loser kid to the cunning ruthless leader means there are still some major questions surrounding Ben (the kind of questions that would prevent him from dying before he gets a second flashback, I would think).
Since Ben was born 32 miles outside of Portland (conveniently close to where the Mittelos Bioscience facility is! Which came first, the chicken (Dharma) or the egg (Ben)? I’m thinking the chicken), and not on the Island – it helps explain why he got cancer, but still could claim to Juliet, “None of the people on the Island has ever had cancer.” It seems to indicate that whatever “power” exists on the Island that cures people / makes them live forever / keeps them healthy is limited to Island Originals (like Alpert) and not transferred to outsiders, like Ben - no matter how long they may spend on the Island (it’s safe to assume Ben has been there for what, 30 years?).
This also sheds a little more light on why Ben sorta flipped out when he found out about the cancer – it was a reminder, thrown in his face, that although he was acting as leader of the Others, he wasn’t truly one of them – no matter how much he wanted to be. Want another reason why Ben hates Locke? The Island cured Locke the instant he arrived on the Island, while he has spent a lifetime there without receiving the same benefit. But this also brings up a huge question from the episode… how in the heck did Ben end up as the seeming leader of the Others?
Others. Three strikes. I’m out. Yet again, I was expecting a reveal about the origin / nature of the Others, once again I was wrong – big time. Somehow we made it through an entire episode featuring flashbacks of the Dharma / Others Era on the Island without learning anything substantial about the Others. Part of this is tied to the fact that Ben turned out not the be an Other at all, but instead a Dharmite… perhaps even a “Rebel Dharmite”? My theory from midway through season two finally resurfaces!
For the new readers out there, way back when we saw (and went crazy with analyzing) the Blast Door inside the Swan Hatch, my main takeaway theory was that there must have been two groups in the Dharma community – the card carrying goody two-shoes Dharmites, who blindly followed the rules and teachings of the organization, and the beer drinking, rock-and-roll listening Rebel Dharmites who were sick of the structure, questioned authority, and generally raged against the Dharma machine.
After hearing of “The Purge”, this theory kinda died off, because it seemed like the Others, not the Rebel Dharmites, were directly responsible for Dharma’s downfall. Also, it’s been over a year since we had any other new information that supported the theory. However, after this episode, I’m ready to resurrect it like a Patchy through the Pylons.
I’ll draw your attention to what Ben said at the end of the episode – “I’m ONE OF the ones smart enough to not end up in the ditch”. Maybe Ben was the mastermind behind the Others’ attack on Dharma, but he wasn’t the only one – which helps explain a lot, like how the Others could have overtaken the seemingly more powerful and better equipped Dharma soldiers, gotten through their pylon barriers, and had the weaponry to successfully “purge” them off the Island.
My thinking is that although we only saw the initial conversation between Ben and Alpert, there were many more over the years. These meetings eventually swayed Ben to the Others’ way of thinking, pointing out the faults and weaknesses of the Dharma society… and Ben recruited other Dharmites to his point of view. These “Rebel Dharmites” eventually planned a coup. They were willing to kill their fellow Dharmites in exchange for gaining access to the super secret club of the Others – and potentially the magical powers that went along with it.
I also think it’s a very real possibility that there was some sort of “initiation” for each of these Rebel Dharmites to officially join the Others – something symbolic to show that they were ready to “let go” of their past lives and start a new, fresh one. In Ben’s case, it probably meant killing his father (which he did). Is it coincidence that it happened on the same day as the purge? Is it coincidence that this was precisely the same request he made of Locke in order for him to gain access to the Others’ community? I don’t think so.
So based on all of this, the only true Island Original that we know of is Alpert. I think Tom could very easily have been a Rebel Dharmite, but it’s definitely open for debate. Given how much everyone seemed to listen to and follow Ben, there’s no real way to tell who the Original Others are and who the Rebel Dharmite Others are – but I’m guessing that will become more clear down the road.
The other thing that isn’t clear to me is why the Others felt the need to “purge” the Dharmites in the first place. The episode hinted that the two parties didn’t get along and couldn’t live in peace on the Island, but there must have been something more than that. Hey, I brought back my “Rebel Dharmite” theory this week – I might as well throw out my “Experiment Reject” theory as well – that Dharma eventually started recruiting / using Others as test subjects for their wacky experiments (perhaps trying to figure out why they didn’t age? More on this later...). This seems like something that would drive you to battle. The other possibility is that the Dharma destruction of the Island to pave roads / build stations and setup a society somehow was infringing upon the natural order of the Island, and the environmental hippie Others weren’t going to take it anymore. Either way, while the Others were the ones who eventually did the killing – it seems to me that they were provoked, and not acting aggressively on their own.
You could reason that the Rebel Dharmites could have kept in touch with their Dharma headquarters, keeping up the charade that all was well on the Island by living in the Barracks, wearing Dharma clothes, and keeping communications with the mainland – which may explain the continuing food drops and access to Dharma funds and resources. Heck, maybe a higher up at Dharma became a Rebel Dharmite himself (Hanso?) and willingly gave the Others all the power and funds they needed to ensure that their mission on the Island was able to continue.
Which brings me to something pretty ironic (don’t you think?). We were told that this season would be “about the Others” in the same way that the second season was “about the Hatch” and the first season was “about getting to know the Survivors”. However, here we sit with two episodes left in the season and we don’t know much, if anything about the Original Others. We’ve learned about Juliet… who is not an Original Other. We’ve learned about Ben… who is not an Original Other. If Patchy’s story is true, he was a recent recruit of Jacob’s, making him not an Original Other either. In effect, we learned about the people who recently joined the Others, but not a thing about the true nature of the Others, their history, or their purpose. All we really know is that Richard Alpert is an Island Original and he uses amazing skin screen (or perhaps isn’t aging).
Alpert. Which brings us to what should have been the biggest part of the episode (until the Jacob scene came along, of course) - Richard Alpert seemingly hasn’t aged a day in thirty years. This just might be it – that huge secret that is the underlying point of the whole series. Aside from my brief flirtation with “the Island grants wishes from a magic box” (which really, was pretty nonsensical in retrospect), this has always been the most likely candidate for the big secret of the Island. It’s the reason that the Others would rather die than have the outside world find out about them, the reason that time seems so funky on the Island, and the reason for Dharma choosing the Island as the place to conduct their experiments to prevent the end of the world – because they would have all the time in the world to perfect them. Recent episodes have seemed to eliminate the theories that time moves faster or slower on the Island, but it still leaves the door open that while time moves normally on the Island – the people don’t.
(Note: want another reason why this is such a strong candidate? Lost is the brainchild of JJ Abrams. The underlying storyline of Alias’s five seasons was Rambaldi – which in the end we discovered had found the secret to living forever. Think JJ wouldn’t repeat ideas from one show to the other? Watch season five of Alias, then Mission: Impossible III and marvel at how ridiculously close some of the major plot points are!)
Of course, there is always the possibility that I’m jumping the gun here. As some have pointed out to me, it’s possible that this was just a poor makeup job on Alpert in an attempt to make him look younger / older. It’s possible that it needed to be the same actor as current Alpert or else the audience wouldn’t have understood who he was in the Ben flashback… but I don’t buy it. There are just way too many hints that would indicate the opposite, such as Ben’s comment to Alpert “It’s my birthday – you remember what those are, don’t you Richard?” as if he hadn’t had one in ages, the Rave Room Video telling us “only fools are bound by time and space”, and the X-Ray of the twenty-six year old with the seventy-year old womb.
Want your explanation for why Alpert is allowed to travel back and forth to the mainland for recruiting purposes? For one, he’s an Island Original, so Ben knows he will always come back, unlike a recruit, who may be tempted to stay away by family / friends / non-Dharma beer back home. Two, because he’s an Island Original, on the Island he reaps the benefits of extended life that he wouldn’t get on the mainland. It all makes pretty good sense in my head except for one thing – how did Ben end up in charge of the Others?
If we are to assume that this eternal life / extended life / healing power is tied to a communion with the Island, it’s clear that Alpert (and Locke) have it, but Ben doesn’t. He got cancer. He doesn’t heal fast. He has been aging. What would make the Others decide that this “inferior” person should be the one to lead them? One reason could be that he was integral in helping coordinate the Others’ purge of the Dharmites, and became a “commander in chief” of sorts due to his cunning execution of the mission. But based on this episode, I think the more likely reason is tied to one very freaky, beardy, ghosty character – Jacob.
Jacob. Take a deep breath. We’re about to dive off the deep end.
Okay, this was the part of the episode that gave me the hardest time (clearly). I was simply totally unprepared for Jacob to actually exist, let along being some sort of being that was invisible, then appeared, then disappeared – so trying to wrap my head around what it all meant proved a challenge.
Initially, I wanted to think that it truly was all smoke and mirrors by Ben. He used Dharma technology to create this fake “Jacob” and tricked the simpler-minded Others into believing that he had a communion with this “all powerful being” on the Island – thus, his position of power among them. It would still support the “Man Behind the Curtain” theme of the episode, and give us a totally logical, scientific reason for what we saw. But that seemed like taking the easy way out.
So then I thought a little more spiritually, thinking that Jacob was actually the “spirit of the Island” taking a human persona for the purposes of communicating the Locke. Being the “spirit of the Island”, it would be all knowing about anything going on around the Island, have power over everything on the Island, and would explain the “help me” plea – as the Island might be afraid of the forthcoming search party for Desmond that would ruin the secrecy of the Island that seems so important. But that wouldn’t really explain why Ben (an outsider) could communicate with the Island Spirit but Alpert and the Island Originals couldn’t – so that didn’t quite sit right with me either.
The hard thing is, in the back of my head all along, I have the voice of Cuse and Lindelof telling me that everything on the Island will be explained by science or pseudo-science. It’s a promise they made to us long ago, have always stood by, and is part of the contract they’ve made with the rabid fan base of Lost who are continually trying to decipher the Island’s mysteries. So when I was thinking back about this episode, I realized that we are now talking, quite logically, about Smoke Monsters, Living Forever, and an Invisible Island Spirit. I think the audience would be willing to accept one “pseudo-science” explanation (such as Smokey being nanobots or the Island’s magnetism slowing down the aging process), but if we’re going to have multiple “sci-fi” explanations for every weird thing that happens over the course of the series, I think the writers would have broken the promise they made to the audience – which would come off as a cheap way to prevent us from figuring out the mysteries.
So in the end, I started thinking that there must be some unifying answers for all the strange occurrences on the Island – Jacob included. This would increase the likelihood of a logical explanation, or cut down on the number of “pseudo-science” explanations in the end. But how could Jacob seemingly appear and disappear, move objects, and communicate with Locke? In writing that sentence, it hit me – Jacob is just like Walt.
Think about it. Walt would freakily appear and disappear, often only seen and heard by select individuals. He would pass along cryptic messages that seemed to have deeper meaning. He had the ability to move / guide objects with his “mind’s eye”. Is what we saw with Jacob really any different than what we’ve already seen with Walt? I don’t think so.
From here, you can spin the analysis off in a number of directions.
Maybe Jacob is being held captive somewhere in a Dharma holding cell, just like “the Room” Ms. Klugh threatened Walt with. Perhaps the message to Locke of “help me” is quite literal – that Jacob is a real person who wants Locke to free him from captivity. It’s not hard to theorize that Ben is in power because he claims to be the only one who can communicate with Jacob because he’s the only one who knows how, based on what he learned from the Dharma experiments. Or, perhaps he can’t – but knows that Jacob has the same powers of spooky communication as Walt – explaining why he was so curious about Jacob’s message to Locke. Now he knows that Jacob is looking for help to escape.
Maybe there truly is something special about children on the Island, because they are the only ones who can communicate with “spirits” such as Jacob. Perhaps the key to Ben’s power over the Others is that initially, he was able to communicate with Jacob because he was the only child among the Others. This might tie into the Others obsession with stealing children (to find out who could help them communicate with the all-knowing, all-powerful Jacob). It could also explain why Ben didn’t hear Jacob’s message in the house – now that he’s old, he no longer has the connection, and has been “faking it” for the past few years… giving another reason why he had to shoot Locke.
Maybe all the images that people on the Island have seen – Walt, Jacob, Ben’s Mom, Jack’s Dad, etc. – are all the same entity. We’ve sometimes chalked it up to Smokey, but what if Smokey and these images represent this “Island Spirit”, whose main goal is self-preservation – keeping other people from discovering the Island? Jack’s Dad led the Survivors to the caves – away from the beach, where they were more likely to be discovered. Ben’s Mom indirectly led to Ben joining the Others and participating in the purge, killing the Dharmites who were constantly bringing outsiders to the Island. Heck, even Walt’s message about pushing the button might have been an attempt to get our Survivors to continue pushing the 108 Numbers to keep that “blip” from being detected by Penny’s crew when the failsafe was turned.
In this scenario, the “help me” could be a direct reference to Naomi’s crew, who will likely be discovering the Island very shortly as they attempt to rescue her. The Island is looking for Locke to prevent that from happening – which could tie in to my original theory of Locke and the Others vs. our Survivors in the finale!
What makes Locke special? The same thing that makes Walt special, and to a degree the same thing that makes Rose special – they don’t want to get off the Island. While Walt allegedly did leave the Island, don’t forget that he also set fire to the first raft that Michael built because “he liked it on the Island”. I’ll also point out that the writers did seem to want Michael and Walt back on the show before the end of the season, but were unable to secure the actors. I was always wondering how they would fit back into the storyline at this point without seeming totally extraneous to the main action – but if Jacob is just like Walt, it would have been the perfect time to have them return.
Depending on which scenario you choose (it’s like “Choose Your Own Adventure” don’t cheat when you end up getting eaten by a lion!), there’s a reasonable explanation for the sandy / chalky substance around Jacob’s house. It could serve as a warning to the Others to keep away, a spiritual “fence” to keep Jacob in, or even a magical “fence” to keep Smokey out. But we really didn’t get enough information about this to make any explanation more likely than the other either.
Phew. That was all sorts of crazy talk spewing out at once, and I apologize. It’s just really hard to nail down one theory as more or less likely than the others at this point. It’s like I can start to see all the pieces of the puzzle lying on the table, but can’t quite put them together into one cohesive picture. Unfortunately, I don’t really see us getting any clearer of a picture this season with so many other dangling storylines. But I’m guessing that when we do see Jacob again, we’ll have a much better understanding of who or what he is, and we’ll look back on this episode and think we were idiots for not seeing it in the first place.
Speaking of those “dangling storylines”…
Locke. Wow. I did not see this coming from anywhere (even though Terry O’Quinn recently sold his house in Hawaii). I could have reasonably made an argument for why almost any other character on the show could die in the finale, but not Locke. Lucky for us, there is no chance that Locke is dead. Why? Two major reasons:
- He is the spiritual leader of the show. If Eko was still alive on the show, Locke would have been much more expendable, because Eko could have taken over as the character on the show with the “spiritual connection” with the Island. However, with Eko out of the picture, unless the Others merge with our Survivors and one of them turns out to have the same sort of connection with the Island, we would have no way of ever discovering the spiritual truths of the Island. Based on the fact that none of the other Others can see / hear Jacob (Ben included), I don’t see how we could ever receive resolution to that storyline without Locke sticking around.
- We have never had the Locke vs. Jack battle that has been building up for three seasons. In the Season One finale, Jack warned that we “were going to have a Locke problem” and the two characters have been at odds ever since – the man of science versus the main of faith. Killing Locke before getting this confrontation would be a tragedy.
Sure, there are arguments about why Locke could actually die – his flashbacks now seem complete, as the audience knows how he was paralyzed, he finally got the curse of death “closure” with his father, freeing himself from his past demons, and Ben forebodingly warned “are you sure you want to do this?” before entering Jacob’s house – but I have a hard time believing the Lost writers have the guts to kill off one of the most intriguing characters on television without providing proper closure to his spiritual journey on the Island.
- The Island would cure him. Just like the bite to his hand and his paralysis, the Island will hook him up with another round of voodoo magic.
- Alpert / Alex were trailing Ben and Locke and will come to his aid. Neither one seemed overly trusting of Ben – and Alex even provided Locke with a gun, as if sensing the danger he was in.
- The gunshot will prove non-life threatening. At first I thought it might have hit where Locke had his kidney removed – meaning that the bullet would miss any major organs, preventing him from bleeding out. But upon closer examination, the shot seems a lot higher – almost in the lung region, which would spell trouble.
But then I thought of the best way – to not explain it. Having Locke suddenly reappear, much to the surprise of Ben (and the audience), would pretty much elevate him to godlike status among the Others, guaranteeing he becoming their new leader. It would also keep the audience guessing as to how he survived. Was it Island magic? Is he back from the dead? Was it something more logical and mundane? Eventually, the answer can come forth – but to tease us along for until the fourth season would provide great fodder for discussion over the long summer months.
Mark it – John Locke will appear again, alive and well, before the season finale.
Final Notes. Since this has already been insanely long (that’s what she said), I’ll try and wrap up a few miscellaneous points quickly.
Smokey. The Dharma video mentioned that the Pylons around the Barracks protected them from a “variety of wildlife”. I took that to refer not to polar bears or boars, but Smokey. If this is true, then Smokey takes on a much more “magical” explanation, rather than a scientific one that Dharma created it and lost control of it. (Unless it was one of their early experiments gone awry, and the Pylons were quickly added afterwards).
Wonderland. Some readers have already pointed it out (blast you for getting to type pithy one sentence comments instead of novel-length analyses!), but this episode featured some heavy “Alice in Wonderland” symbolism. From Ben’s Mom looking like Alice, beckoning him to venture beyond the Pylons (or “through the looking glass”) to Ben literally following his white rabbit across the field for the first time, these things stood out to me big time (mostly because I know that the season finale is called “Through the Looking Glass”, so I’m on the lookout for symbolism relating to it).
Emily. Speaking of Ben’s Mom, I know that earlier I mentioned that it’s possible that Smokey was responsible for all the visions around the Island. If you want evidence against it, remember this – Emily was standing right outside Ben’s window, inside of the Barrack Pylons designed to keep Smokey out.
Annie. It's way too convenient that Annie wasn't shown after the purge. Ben stumbling upon her dead body would have had way too much emotional power to just skip - and it also would have proven how dedicated Ben was to joining the Others. Therefore, it stands to reason that Annie died before the purge. Smart money is on she and Ben getting together, and then Annie dying while attempting to birth their child. It would add another level to the reason why Ben obsesses over babies. Some people want to think that Annie became CFL, and that Alex truly is Ben's daughter - but these people are crazy (why would Annie pick up a fake accent?).
…and I’m spent. You know, there have been a number of occasions when I thought we were about to go “through the looking glass” on this show (choosing that phrase intentionally, of course). If you remember at the end of the first season of Lost, I said that the finale was genius (not going inside the Hatch), because it meant the show was still everything to everyone. The writers were careful not to tip their hands enough to refute any theories, and gave just enough hints to give some justification to each. However, I thought once we found out what was inside the Hatch we would finally learn what this show was really about… and in a way, we did. In Season Two, we learned that there was a deep mythology on the Island (and show) that some viewers ate up… but I’m sure it turned some viewers off as well. At the end of the second season, we stood on the cusp of entering the Others’ world – and once again, I thought to myself “this is it! We’re finally going to understand what this show is about – what drives the Others, what is so special about the Island, and why they’ve acted the way they have towards our Survivors.” The answers to these questions would clearly eliminate some theories, and put the show in a new direction – one that may turn off more viewers, but would also give some answers to those that have been patiently waiting. But strangely, although we’ve spent almost the whole third season with the Others, it never happened. We’ve gotten hints, but for the most part they remain as mysterious as ever.
However, I think this episode was one of the episodes that could push the show off in another direction. There was something very symbolic about Ben and Locke entering Jacob’s house. When Ben asked Locke if he really wanted to go through with it, he wasn’t just talking to Locke, but also to the audience. For Locke, the decision would change his life forever. Whatever the repercussions of the visit end up being (Locke taking control of the Others, Locke dying, Locke going crazy, etc.), it’s clear that he won’t go back to being the same Locke he was before the event. But for the audience, it potentially was one of those “going through the looking glass” moments, where once we saw what was beyond the door, there was no going back for us either. While there is still some debate about what we actually saw, and what actually happened – it really felt like that event was a big deal, and I think we’ll look back on it as a true turning point for the series.
(Footnote: For all those out there trying to over-analyze the pictures of Jacob, I’d give up. Much like the first glimpse we got of Penny in Desmond’s picture (before the actress was ever cast), I would bet that the uncredited Jacob from this episode also has not been cast – and the image we saw of this episode was of some member of the cast or crew just standing in for a brief flash. The close-up of the eye looked pretty similar to Desmond, and as for the silhouette – well, how awesome would it be if Lost Island ended up to be the same Island that Michael and George Michael ended up on at the end of “Arrested Development”, and “Jacob” is no other than Oscar Bluth? You can’t deny the similarities!)