Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"The Incident" Analysis!

What’s this? A season finale analysis less than a week after it aired? This is a new record for Lost… and Gone Forever! Be forewarned, this is a monster of a post. You probably want to get a drink, plan on taking a break midway through, and have a pen and paper ready to take notes. Get ready to discuss two hours of television in an absurd amount of detail!


Before we get to the analysis of “The Incident”, we need to come up with a better name for “Man #2”. Technically, he was called “Man #2” on the Episode Description, but it’s kinda annoying to type a # each time I talk about him (because I suck at finding the shift-characters above the numbers on the keyboard without looking). We don’t know a lot about his character, but we do seem to know one thing – he’s the opposite of Jacob. He’s the yin to Jacob’s yang, the dark to Jacob’s light, the Seinfeld finale to Jacob’s Scrubs finale.


Based on all this, rather than make assumptions about a true name (like those going with "Esau" or "Samuel" – both fine names, granted) I’m going to keep it simple and call him Anti-Jacob, or AJ for short. Two letters vs. a name with a shift-character in it? Looks like someone just cut out hundreds of seconds on the time it’s going to take him to type this analysis. Booyah. Just call me Captain Efficiency.


With that behind us, let’s get down to business.


The Beginning. In the beginning, there were Jacob and AJ. From a timeline perspective, the opening scene of “The Incident” is the earliest thing we’ve ever seen on Lost. Granted, the existence of the Four-Toed Statue (which, by the way, is confirmed to be "Tawaret" in the ABC Episode Recap) in the scene proves that the Lost storyline could go back further to include the story of the people who built it, but for all intents and purposes, I think the opening scene was meant to tell us that from the beginning, Jacob and AJ were on the Island. They're the TRUE Island Originals. But who or what are they?


Well, if you follow the "Tawaret" path, you'll learn that in Egyptian mythology, Tawaret was originally the demon-wife of Apep, the original god of evil. Apep ruled the night, Tawaret ruled the day - but both were technically "bad guys". Tawaret, who had features like pregnant woman, was also viewed as a god of protection in pregnancy and childbirth. Since she was half-hippopotamus, the multi-purpose Tawaret was associated with the Nile - and all the good things that the Nile brought. So ironically, over time, even though she was still tied to the evil Apep, she was viewed as someone who protected the Egyptians against evil - and thus the word Tawaret means "one who is great".



It's easy to see the parallels between Tawaret and Apep vs. Jacob and AJ - except for the whole pregnancy thing… unless Jacob has a secret he's not telling us. However, while it's easy to find a lot of tie-ins from this Egyptian mythology to Lost (like the destruction of the statue leading to the pregnancy issues), I hesitate from taking it too far. Simply put, I don't think that Lost is going to easily boil down to a modern retelling of an ancient Egyptian story. There may be some parallels - but for me, Lost is a much bigger, more complex, and original story. I doubt the writers will ever come out and fully explain WHAT Jacob and AJ are (like how they don't age, yet can be killed by a knife) - as Damon and Carlton have said they aren't interested in explaining the WHY behind some of the more mysterious parts of the show (since it can't easily be done, would probably disappoint people, and would result in boring expository television). The moral of the story? I don’t think we should get overly caught up with these questions either. There are far more important things to get to… like WHO Jacob and AJ are.


We got a surprising amount of information on Jacob and AJ in the brief opening scene of "The Incident". Jacob is someone who has faith in mankind. AJ either never had faith in them, or has long since given up on them (“They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same”). Jacob continues to bring / lead people to the Island, whereas AJ views this as an annoyance. This fundamental difference leads AJ to hate Jacob to the point where he wants to kill him - but fortunately for Jacob, there is some type of “rule” in place that prevents this – even though AJ continues to look for a loophole to this rule.


Hmmmm – a rule preventing one person from killing another? Where have we heard that before? How about Season Four's "The Shape of Things To Come"?


WIDMORE: Have you come here to kill me, Benjamin?

BEN: We both know I can't do that.


Does this mean that Widmore and Ben are somehow a modern version of Jacob and AJ? Or are they all just followers of the same set of rules?


At the end of the episode we seemingly saw that it is POSSIBLE to kill Jacob – so even though Jacob and AJ haven't aged in hundreds of years, they aren't invincible. Heck, all it took was a few stabs from a knife and a little roll in the fire… what kind of god dies so easily? As much as AJ hates Jacob, you would think that if really wanted to kill him, he would he would be willing to break the rules to get it done long ago… unless there was some kind of serious negative repercussion to this act. This seems to eliminate the possibility that the "rule" is simply some moral obligation that the Others follow - because if AJ is following it as well, there's a bigger reason.


Given the apparent yin-yang nature of Jacob and AJ, it's entirely possible that if one were to kill the other, both would die. Without the bad, there's no good. Without the darkness, there's no light. This theory seems like a nice and easy fit for Jacob and AJ at first… but then I would think that it doesn't really matter WHO killed one of them, as long as one died, both would die - right? The loophole wouldn't help. Also, while this explanation seems logical for the mystical, all-knowing, never-aging, shape-shifting Jacob and AJ, it seems pretty absurd that the same magical rules would apply to Ben and Widmore, two seemingly normal people. Even if Widmore was a "true leader" of the Others, and received some special power from Jacob (the power of being a successful businessman?) - which resulted in having this magic "No Kill Rule" placed upon him, we confirmed this week that Ben was not. As previously theorized, he's never even seen Jacob. So I have a hard time believing that the same rule would apply to him.


The other explanation for the No Kill Rule is that it isn't a rule that is specific to Jacob and AJ or Widmore and Ben - but it applies to ALL the Others. Sure, they have no problem in killing "outsiders" (the 1954 Army, Dharma, our Survivors) - but have we actually ever seen them kill a fellow Other? The only ones I can think of are Patchy killing Ms. Klugh (but only after she told him to do so, so that might not count), and Widmore killing Jones (when he was about to reveal the location of the Others - so again, it might not count). Perhaps the No Kill Rule was simply something that was passed down by Jacob to the Others over the years as Island law. But back to our original argument - it has to be more than a moral code among the Others.


Think back to earlier this season - when Ben returned to the Island, one of the first things he did was to go "stand trial" in front of Smokey for his actions. Although initially I thought he was standing trial for all the terrible things he did (manipulating / killing people, generally lying about everything) - it actually all boiled down to Alex being killed. Was Ben responsible for her action? Or did he (like Widmore) allow her death to occur for the best interests of the Island? Apparently Smokey ruled in favor of Ben, which spared him from a smashy death. It seems to me that the consequence of breaking the No Kill Rule is a date with Smokey.


I know a lot of people have been theorizing that Smokey and AJ are one and the same, which makes sense. Both seemingly possess shape-shift-ability and we've seen Smokey "scan people", which would be a handy tool for AJ to impersonate someone (he did a pretty convincing job as John Locke, even pointing out the Swan Hatch and reminding Ben that was where they first met). On the other hand, almost every time we've seen Smokey, he's been accompanied by the clicking sounds, exploding trees, and general destruction. Sure, sometimes this is followed by a character impersonation (Yemi, Alex), but we've never actually seen Smokey morph into a person - only a giant hand. Maybe AJ just hangs around Smokey and shows up to pass along Smokey's message? I don't know. But assuming that AJ has been John Locke (and Christian Shephard) for the better part of the past two seasons, we haven't seen any of the normal Smokey signs… which makes me think that Smokey is actually a third entity - separate from Jacob and AJ. He's the Island judge, jury, and executioner. Jacob and AJ may be all-powerful, all-knowing gods, but they still answer to Smokey (who one could argue is the true "Island Spirit"). Smokey is there to ensure that EVERYONE plays by the rules, and this is what prevented AJ from killing Jacob for hundreds of years.


That is, until AJ finally found the loophole he was looking for.


The Loophole. It turns out, I was a week too early on my Dogma reference. It turns out that Jacob wasn't some "imprisoned God" like in Dogma… however, AJ was looking for a loophole to kill Jacob… just like Bartleby and Loki finding a loophole to get back into heaven! In Dogma, exploiting this loophole would bring about the end of the existence. Here's hoping on Lost, it isn't quite so dramatic (although how many times this season did I talk about our Survivors' time traveling escapades bringing about the end of existence?!). AJ mentioned how difficult it was to find and exploit this loophole, but until this analysis, I didn't quite put together all that was potentially involved in getting Ben and Locke to the ending scene of the season.


This is going to get complex.


Let's start with the assumption that Christian Shephard is AJ (which seems like a safe bet). When we first saw him on the Island (in a non-Jack hallucination setting), he was sitting inside "Jacob's Cabin" (more on that later) when Locke came to ask how to save the Island. Christian told him to move it. This single action put in motion all the events of this season - the skipping through time, Locke dying, our Survivors ending up in the 1970's, and the Oceanic Six returning to the Island. I think this was all part of AJ's plan - which just might be the most complicated plan of all-time… to kill Locke and get him back on the Island with a Jacob-hating Ben.


A concept that jumped out at me during the clip show that aired before the season finale was that there was a reason for each of the time skips. Damon and Carlton seemed to reference that our Survivors only stayed in each time period long enough to do something or interact with someone - and when that event was complete, they skipped again. Well, what if AJ was responsible for all the skipping? I went back and looked at what happened during each skip… and you could argue that each skip was a necessary step in his master plan:


Flash One: Ethan Rom shoots Locke in the leg. Before Ethan can kill him, a flash occurs.


Without Locke being shot, we wouldn't have had the necessity of...


Flash Two: Richard Alpert finds Locke and tends to Locke's bullet wound. He gives Locke a compass that he says Locke must return to him in another time. Richard tells Locke that the people on the helicopter are already back home. Richard also tells Locke that the only way to save the Island is to get his people back and that Locke will have to die to do that. At this point, the sky lights up again.


While we later learn that it's really AJ who told Alpert to tell Locke to kill himself, without this scene, Locke probably would have never had thoughts of suicide off-Island. Without Alpert giving Locke the compass, Locke would have never been able to convince Alpert that he was from the future and destined to be the leader of the Others…


Flash Three: Daniel tells Desmond that he's special and the rules don't apply to him. He then tells Desmond that if he ever gets off the Island, to go to Oxford and find Daniel's mother. The flash occurs before Daniel can tell Desmond the name of his mother.


This one stands out as seeming pretty important… but didn't actually lead to anything in AJ's master plan… which makes me wonder if perhaps Jacob was responsible for this flash, and it's actually important to his master plan (which we'll get to later).


Flash Four: Locke returns the compass to Richard and asks how he can get off of the Island. He tells Richard to visit him on the day of his birth on May 30th 1956 before he skips through time again.


Again, important to establish Locke becoming the leader of the Others - proving to Alpert that there was something special about him, which we will see Alpert continue to struggle with and eventually confirm in 1977 with Jack.


Flash Five: Locke convinces the group to head to the Orchid using the Zodiac raft to try to end the Island's skipping.


Locke continues on his mission to the FDW, convincing the other Survivors to go with him.


Flash Six: Juliet shoots someone in the Backriggers before another flash.


Something tells me this will prove important - either to Jacob or AJ's master plan - but for now, no idea how or why.


Flash Seven Through Thirteen: The CFL / Jin Flashes, and the ones that lead to Charlotte dying.


Unlike the Juliet kills a Backrigger flash, it's harder to see why these would be important - unless AJ just really hated Charlotte and wanted to kill her. Or perhaps it's to build a sense of danger for Locke, to drive his actions in getting the Oceanic Six to come back to the Island? Remember his speech about "terrible things" happening on the Island? Without these, he would have been like "time traveling is going on - but everyone is cool."


Flash Fourteen: Locke begins to climb down the well that leads to the FDW.


Think about how convenient it was that once Locke was far enough down the rope, a flash happened - this ensured that ONLY Locke would get to the FDW, and he alone would turn it. Good work, AJ.


Flash Fifteen: Locke turns the wheel and everyone ends up in 1974.


Why did the skipping stop? Sure, Locke got the FDW back on axis… but AJ also completed his mission. He used the time skips to convince Alpert that John Locke may be the future leader of the Others, got Locke off-Island with the thought in his head that he needed to kill himself, and left the rest of our Survivors back in 1974.


It already seems complicated enough - but it just gets complicateder (or some other word that is really a word). What about the Oceanic Six (Four) ending up in 1977, whereas everyone else on Ajira 316 stayed in 2007? Could this also be the work of AJ?


Enter the second part of AJ's master plan - setting up Benjamin Linus. Let's walk through the events that led to Bejamin Linus going through Nerdy Dharmite to Nerdy Leader of the Others:

  • Young Ben is shot by Sayid (couldn't have happened without Sayid being sent back to 1977).
  • Young Ben is taken to the Others to be saved (couldn't have happened without Sawyer already being in 1977, or Kate being sent back to 1977).
  • Alpert takes Young Ben, but warns "his innocence will be gone. He will always be one of us."


Let's stop there for a moment. Who or what saved Young Ben's life?


If it was Jacob, it doesn't seem to explain why "his innocence would be gone", assuming Jacob is the "good guy" in the equation. However, if it was AJ, it would make a little more sense. AJ brings Young Ben back to life, knowing that he would eventually need him to become the "loophole" in his master plan. It seems a little odd that Alpert, a seeming follower of Jacob, would have enough of a connection to AJ to know he could bring people back from the brink of death. It's also odd that AJ could do this, but Jacob couldn't - perhaps this is some power that AJ has, but Jacob lacks? And maybe Jacob has some opposite power that AJ lacks? Maybe.


I guess the important thing here is that this seems to officially make Ben an Other. Suddenly the No Kill Rule would apply to him. Maybe the loss of innocence is tied to being "marked" by AJ as a result of being saved by him. Maybe this is why Jacob refused to see Ben all those years. Although Ben lived his whole life in "service" to the Island, he was never summoned by Jacob. He never saw Jacob because he was now "dirty". No matter what Ben did, it was futile because it was too late. Alpert's warning was correct - saving Young Ben did have grave consequences. His Island Innocence was lost. He could never be "chosen" by Jacob, even if he was technically the leader of the Others - and AJ knew that this anger would consume Ben.


This brings us to the 2007 events on-Island. Locke is dead, stowed away in Ajira 316. Once the plane lands, AJ immediately begins impersonating him (note: apparently, AJ can only impersonate dead people - and only one person at a time). He is quick to forgive Ben for killing him (since it's all part of the plan!) and joins Ben on his mission to stand judgment before Smokey.  Along the way, they run into Sun (who, ran into AJ as Christian Shephard, that told her to wait and meet up with Locke). As Ben falls into the Temple, Locke leaves to find something to help Ben get out, allowing AJ to appear as Alex after Smokey allows Ben to live. To be extra sure that Ben acts according to his plan, AJ throws in a line about "do whatever Locke says or else I'll kill you" - knowing full well that this basically puts Ben 100% under control of Locke - er, AJ. From there, it's on to the Four Toed Statue, where Ben kills Jacob.


It was almost too easy…




Jacob. One of the first questions that came to mind after "The Incident" ended was - why did Jacob stand there and take it? Why did he seemingly egg Ben on to kill him? All Jacob needed to do was to tell Ben "you know what, you're right - I'm sorry. I should have talked to you earlier. Are you free for lunch tomorrow?" and all of AJ's master plan would have fallen to pieces. But instead, Jacob stood there and coldly replied "what about you?" which set Ben off and pushed him over the edge. Why?


Because Jacob had an even bigger plan in motion.



Somehow, Jacob saw all of this coming, and much like AJ, he’s been working on his own master plan counteract the whole thing. Like AJ, it seems like Jacob’s been putting the pieces in motion for many years. Clearly I’m talking about the flashbacks from this week, which featured Jacob touching (literally) Kate, Sawyer, Jack, Sun, Jin, Locke, and Hurley at some point in their lives. The interesting thing was that it didn’t seem like Jacob spent a lot of time observing or learning about any of our Survivors. In fact, most of his encounters with them lasted less than a minute. Instead, it seemed like his purpose was simply to touch them. But why?


Initially, there doesn’t seem a common thread between all the encounters. Some of those he touched went back to the past – but not all of them (Sun). You could argue that he “saved” some of them (most notably Locke and Sayid), but didn’t seem to have much effect on others (Jack). It makes me think there is something more mystical at play here.  Did Jacob “download” everything he needed to know about each of the Survivors through that brief touch? Was it his way of judging them to see who would be worthy? Did this create some sort of “bond” between Jacob and the Survivors?


I haven’t settled on a definitive explanation for this one yet. My gut tells me that each person Jacob touched was deemed “worthy” of becoming one of his followers – maybe even going so far as becoming some sort of “candidate” to eventually become the Leader of the Others… or the “new Jacob” on the Island. But I also can’t help but wonder what Jacob meant with his final words of “they’re coming”.


What if Jacob’s death is necessary to somehow bring all these candidates together – regardless of when or where they are? With only 17 hours of Lost left, it would be a pretty convenient plot device to serve to bring all of our Survivors back together, suddenly standing on the Beach in 2007 (and maybe finding out that Jacob also touched some people like Desmond and Walt back in the day, magically bringing him back to the Island too… please?).


If you buy into my earlier argument that some combination of Jacob and AJ were responsible for our Survivors’ skipping through time, it would make sense that with his final breath Jacob would use his power for one final, big skip – calling them to him for assistance in the “battle for the Island”, knowing that they would be battling without him.


Yeah, it’s a stretch. It still seems like an alive Jacob would be more important to have in the “battle for the Island” than our Survivors – but maybe this is how it needed to be. Remember, Jacob couldn’t kill AJ either. But perhaps, it is possible for our Survivors to kill AJ in John Locke form. Maybe it required Jacob to be murdered for the Others to rise up against AJ and “defeat evil”. Or maybe Jacob is such a benevolent leader that he’s willing to die in order to prove to AJ that mankind can do the right thing, defeat evil, and create an Island paradise without the corruption and destruction that each previous group on the Island fell victim to. This brings up another interesting question - what is the end goal of Jacob? Is it to prove the worth of man? To create a paradise-like heaven on Earth? Or just to prove to AJ that mankind isn’t all bad after all? Your guess is as good as mine – but I think it’s clear that our Survivors are all going to play a huge role in answering this question.



The Battle for the Island. I have to assume that the actions of “The Incident” setup the long-awaited “battle for the Island” that has been referenced for a few seasons now. Jacob’s death should be the spark that ignites the full-out battle between two sides (I hesitate to use the term “good vs. evil” since I think it’ll be far more ambiguous than that).


What are the sides?


There have been a few clues as to how certain characters shake down in this battle:

  • We know that The Shadow of the Statue are on the opposite side of Charles Widmore (since Bram tried to talk Miles out of working for Widmore, then told him he was on “the side that’s going to win”.)
  • We know that The Shadow of the Statue and Alpert are on the same team, since Richardus knew the proper answer to the question “what lies in the shadow of the statue”.
  • Given that the answer to “what lies in the shadow of the statue” is “Ille qui nos omnes servabit" ("He who will protect/save us all") – and Jacob lives in the shadow of the statue, it seems that The Shadow of the Statue are on Jacob’s team.
  • Charles Widmore told John Locke that a war would take place on the island, and that if John didn't return, the wrong side was going to win.


So on the one side, we have Locke / AJ and Widmore. On the other side, we have the Shadow of the Statue, Alpert, and presumably the rest of the Others. With Ben recently killing Jacob, I can’t see him ending up on Team Jacob, which will ironically put him on the same team as Charles Widmore (although, this makes sense since Ben was the one who actually killed Locke – a critical piece of AJ’s master plan).


How did Widmore, former leader of the Others, end up on Team AJ? Was he recruited by AJ after being exiled from the Island as a way to eventually get back to the Island? Was he always in the pocket of AJ? It seemed like both Widmore and Hot Ellie were co-leaders of the Others back in the 1970’s. Could it be that one (Ellie) represented Jacob’s side and the other (Widmore) represented AJ’s side? Is this what Alpert meant when he said their relationship was “complicated”?


Lots to think about – but the big question is – which side do our Survivors end up on in this battle? Logic tells me that they’re going to become members of Team Jacob, especially with Jack’s newfound “faith” in the Island. This would seem to overload Team Jacob with members vs. Team AJ – but AJ is a never-aging, shape-shifting, mystical being – so that’s a wild card. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before Widmore shows up with reinforcements, right? Only to be trumped by Desmond and Walt returning to save the day?


Ever since Lost started, I thought the best possible series ending would be to find out that our Survivors, thinking they were doing the “right thing”, would actually end up doing the wrong thing and turn out to be the bad guys. Given that everything seems to be hinting that Team Jacob is good and Team AJ is bad, this sets the stage perfectly for precisely that to happen. My fingers are crossed.



The Incident. Wow – I’ve already typed nearly 5000 words and haven’t even gotten to the title event from the episode. Let’s rectify that.


The fundamental question of Lost’s fifth season centered around the ability to change the past. Lost spent the better part of 14 episodes telling us that “whatever happened, happened” only to then start teasing us with the possibility of blowing it all to hell with the help of a nuclear bomb. But what exactly happened in Lost’s final moments? Did our Survivors succeed in changing the past? Or did they merely succeed in causing “The Incident”, right according to plan?


Let me start out by saying I am 100% opposed to being able to change the past. In fact, last weekend I was a good Lost fan and supported JJ and Damon by going to see “Star Trek”. It absolutely killed me when they introduced the concept in the movie of changing the past. I spent the last half of the movie hoping and praying it wasn’t foreshadowing for Lost. In my mind, this totally cheapens (and ruins) the first five seasons of Lost. It’s changing the rules, bringing people back from the dead, undoing years worth of earned emotion and character relationships all for the sake of telling a story two different ways. It’s cheap – you should tell the story the way it’s meant to be told, rather than letting the audience see multiple iterations and letting them pick which one they like the best. If Season Six opens with Oceanic 815 landing in LAX and all our Survivors walking off as total strangers, I will be furious.


The good news is, I can’t possibly imagine that’s going to happen for one simple reason: we already had our “getting back to the Island” season. With only 17 hours of Lost left, there is no way the writers will waste time in getting our main characters back to the Island. They’re going to be there from the start, soaking in as much Island scenery as possible, giving us “classic Lost” where there is mystery about the Island, the characters, and impending doom. We’ve already got Desmond and Widmore to offer the off-Island storyline. That’s plenty.


Note: this is why Jacob dying instantly bringing everyone to him is such a good plot device – it allows you to jump right into the meat of the story without wasting hours getting the characters in place!


So what happened when Juliet bashed the nuke to explosion with a rock? I’m guessing a big explosion – probably a Hatch Implosion style bright white light as the power of the bomb hit the funky electromagnetic pocket beneath the Hatch… but something big enough that a distant watching Alpert would look to the sky, send someone to investigate, and determine “they’re all dead” just like he told Sun. The explosion would bring down enough debris to plug the hole and allow the Others to cement the area in to prevent anyone from accidentally ever digging that deep again, and history continues as originally told.

What about our Survivors? Those that Jacob touched get pulled back to 2007, coinciding with Jacob’s death. That just leaves Miles and Juliet as the only non-touched Survivors in 1977.


Juliet worries me a bit. It seemed to me that the purpose of her flashback this episode was to show the audience that she didn’t get visited by Jacob, whereas all the other Survivors did (or to provide some background explanation for her “sometimes people love each other but aren’t meant to be together”). She also has a new series in the fall, which is usually the kiss of death for a character… and although the episode gave no evidence to prove this, I think she always knew she was going to die in the Incident.


Here’s a classic example of me thinking that the theory in my head is way better than what actually unfolded – what if Juliet, over the course of her time as an Other on the Island, came across notes / videos / information about The Incident. Included in this information were details about a woman who looked just like her, seen getting pulled into the hole at the Swan Station. What if Juliet knew that this was her fate? To make sure The Incident happened? It would explain why she convinced Sawyer to turn the submarine around and go back to the Island (to stop Jack), only to shortly thereafter convince Sawyer to help Jack. It wasn’t that she was a wishy-washy woman – it’s that she was just manipulating the events to make sure she was there when The Incident happened – because “whatever happened, happened”. I think she was hopeful that she and Sawyer could leave the Island and live happily ever after… but after stupid Kate showed up on the sub and told them about Jack’s plan – she knew that if she didn’t go back, someone else would have to make the sacrifice to carry out The Incident.


This gives all of her actions in the episode mountains of more importance, explains why she’s always seemed to know a little more than everyone else, and gives her character a proper, noble, heroic death – one that she deserves.


As much as it saddens me to say, goodbye Juliet. You have given all of us an unrealistic expectation for how hot a 39 year old can be. Well done.



Miles is a trickier situation. He’s had some purpose on the Island, but it seems like he could be quite the valuable asset in explaining some of the AJ / Locke stuff in 2007 – and there must have been a reason why Bram was recruiting him in the first place, right? The easy out would be to discover that Jacob touched him at some point – we just haven’t seen it yet. Or maybe Bram was able to give him a pseudo-Jacob-touch when they grabbed him and threw him in a van.


I’d like to see Miles back. I just don’t have an explanation for how quite yet.


If you’ve made it this far, I congratulate you. What a long and winding post this has been. Just a few final notes:


Jacob’s Cabin. Since the Shadow of the Statue initially went there looking for Jacob, he obviously used to reside there… but it seems as though it was turned into a prison for AJ at some point in time. I wonder who was responsible for this – and who broke the circle to set him free. Since the circle was intact on Locke and Ben’s first visit, but Christian Shephard was walking around the Island and the cabin was “moving” after Hurley stumbled upon it, it seems like Hurley accidentally breaking the circle of ash is the most likely option… unless AJ had someone else working for him on the Island during the events of Season Three…


Rose and Bernard. Equal parts sweet and cheesy. Remember during the episode preview when I wondered how they would be explained and said “unless Bernard is way better than surviving in the wilderness, they should be dead”? Well, I was totally kidding about that because it would be absurd… but it turned out to be true.


On the other hand, there’s something very real about Rose and Bernard deciding to stop worrying about all the drama and just enjoying their time in paradise together on the Island. It’s a life lesson for all of us, best summarized by 75% of Jack Johnson’s music.


Many are calling for Rose and Bernard to become the Adam and Eve skeletons from Season One – but those were allegedly 40-50 years old, according to Jack. 1977 is only 30 years ago. Maybe nitpicking – but we also haven’t gotten our explanation for the black and white stones. The Lost writers said when we learned the truth about Adam and Eve, it would prove they weren’t making this story up as they went along – which makes me think we won’t find out until closer to the very end, complete with an explanation of the stones.


I think this might be the last we see of Rose and Bernard on the show, leaving us to assume that they lived out their days on the Island and died peacefully sometime between 1977 and 2007.


However – we were promised that Vincent would live until the end of the show… so here’s hoping that Jacob pet him somewhere along the way, and he’ll end up back in 2007.


I would be perfectly happy with the final shot of Lost being of Vincent standing on the beach, looking out at the ocean, tongue and tail wagging as the sun goes down… and then maybe morphing into God and saying “I told you I was the most important character all along!” in a voice like Scooby Doo.






…and I’m spent. Here’s where I traditionally make some promise to keep the Blog active over the long summer / fall drought, only to have me totally fail on those promises within a month or two. Basically, when there are things I feel like writing about, I’ll write about them. I can’t predict how often that will be, but hope you’ll check back from time to time just in case.


Before we pack up Season Five and put it away for the season, let’s do one last post – covering everything I missed in this analysis, over the course of the season, or my thoughts for the future. You ask me questions in the Comments Section or on the Message Board, I’ll respond in my Season Five Wrap-Up Post.


Sound like a plan?


As always, thanks for reading, commenting, and giving me a forum to over-obsess about Lost. Somehow writing volumes about a TV show is totally socially acceptable when there are thousands of people reading it… but if I was writing all of this for myself, I would probably be Hurley’d by now.


Happy Summer-ing!




Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chuck is Saved!

Good news - looks like "Lost... and Gone Forever" will remain a Lost Blog, and won't become a Chuck Mourning Blog or a Brian Loses Faith in Humanity Blog! Happy Day!

In the battle of "Chuck" vs. the Network Suits, the geeky hero has prevailed.

NBC has granted Josh Schwartz's well-liked action-comedy another shot next fall.

The network picked up 13 episodes of the series from Warner Bros., which, in an across-the-board trend this year, made some budget concessions to secure the show a third season.

Fans pushed NBC very hard for a pickup, launching a "Save Chuck" campaign that included buying sandwiches at series sponsor Subway.

"Chuck" joins "Southland" and "Parks and Recreation" among the "bubble" shows NBC has renewed for fall. Given that 10 p.m. will be off the table due to Jay Leno's talk show, the network has considerably fewer slots than usual to fill.

Confidence has been pretty high that" Chuck" would return. Once Fox found a way to make the much lesser-rated "Dollhouse" work for fall late last week, "Chuck's" returning to NBC seemed almost certain. It also probably hasn't hurt that star Zachary Levi has been a team player for the network, often appearing in PSA campaigns, marketing promotions and events.

Though much attention was given to the show's ratings, "Chuck" performed fairly steadily this season, dropping only slightly in the spring. It averaged 6.5 million viewers this season, ranking at No. 78 not far behind "30 Rock (6.7 million).

Oh yeah, what about Lost? Well, now that we have this good news in hand, I can begin work on my analysis of "The Incident". Give me a few days. It should be up by Wednesday. To all those who signed the Chuck Petition, this one's for you. For all those who ignored my pleas and didn't sign the petition, you can be a real jerk sometimes!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The Incident" Instant Reactions!

Brian's Four Word Review That Is Also The Most Uttered Phrase By My Wife During Episodes of Lost: "I Don't Get It"

I feel like there were a lot of answers provided in that episode... but unfortunately I don't think we're to the point where we're able to understand them... yet. Let's get some discussion points out there as we muddle through the confusion...

Jacob. So Jacob and Man #2 have always been on-Island, and have been unable to kill each other - much like the "rules" that seem to exist between Ben and Widmore. Jacob has been visiting our Survivors throughout their lives, perhaps even "pushing them" along their way to ensure they end up on-Island. But why? It seems that the net result of our Survivors getting on-Island thus far is Jacob dying (in the grand scheme of things). Heck, he seemed to bring Locke back to life after he was pushed out of the window by his father (PS - how many of the flashback scenes were you able to "call" beforehand? It's sad how easily I recognize things like background shots from two seasons ago... ) and that definitely eventually lead to Man #2 impersonating him and killing him. Bad move, Jacob.

I'm also guessing that Man #2 was actually the guy we saw in the Cabin (since as I noted in my episode preview, he kinda looked like him), but "escaped" thanks to the gap in the ash around the Cabin. He was then able to impersonate John Locke to manipulate Ben and find a loophole to kill Jacob. So Man #2 is the "bad guy" and Jacob was the "good guy"... but unfortunately now he's dead.

Locke. Conversely, Locke is suddenly the "bad guy" on the Island. But it's not really Locke, it's Man #2, right? Turns out that "dead is dead" after all... and it was Man #2 who told Alpert to tell Locke that he had to die... so that Man #2 could eventually impersonate him as part of his master plan! Crazy.

It makes you wonder how Widmore fits into all this. He went out of his way to help Locke and get him back to the Island, which seems to put him on the side of Man #2. But without Ben killing Locke, the plan never could have worked out. Since Ben and Widmore seem to be enemies, I don't see him being in on the plan - but perhaps he was just a poor pawn in all of this wacky action. He was being used all along.

Alpert. What lies in the Shadow of the Statue? "Ille qui nos omnes servabit", which means "he whom we all serve." Alpert also said it was Jacob who made him "like he is" (never aging). So after one episode of teasing Alpert's true intentions, it turns out that Alpert isn't all knowing - but he is a servant of Jacob. If you consider that the "good guy", then he's on the right side.

Likewise, Ilana and the Shadow of the Statue are on the same side. So right now, pretty much every character we know in 2008 (I refuse to call it 2007 no matter what you say - check Lostpedia and do the math, it's 2008) is on the same side, except for Locke and Ben. Unfortunately, that side is also without their "leader" now that Jacob is dead. 

Who wants to bet that this opens the door for Widmore to return to the Island, setting up the "battle for the Island" between Widmore, Locke, and Ben vs. Alpert and our Survivors?

Survivors. Speaking of our Survivors, what now? We've been told that the "time travel" stuff ends with this season, which means they MUST end up in 2008 when Juliet causes The Incident - and it makes me wonder if that's what Jacob meant when he said "they're coming" as his last words... or was he referring to Widmore's men?

What about Juliet? Does she live or die? Logic would tell you that she would die... but the same logic would tell you that our Survivors (Jack, Kate, Sawyer) who were standing right above the Swan Hole would also be too close to survive either... and that doesn't even take into account Sayid - who unless the past is suddenly "undone" is now dead as well.

So I think there are four options:

  1. Juliet, Sayid, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer are all dead.
  2. Juliet, Sayid, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer are all alive and transported to 2008.
  3. Juliet, Sayid, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer are all alive in an alternate 2004 where Oceanic 815 lands in Los Angeles... and who knows where this puts Juliet.
  4. Juliet and Sayid are dead. Everyone else is alive and now in 2008. The past didn't change, but they did get transported back to the "present" as their work in 1977 was now done (note: this seemed to be a theme of the recap episode that aired before the finale - that they only jumped to time periods where they had something to accomplish... and then jumped out - interesting)

I will say that I was a tad disappointed in the character development in this episode. Juliet and Kate both seemed to change their emotions at a moment's notice, for now other reason than to extend the Love Rhombus further - even when it clearly should have ended with Juliet and Sawyer together, and Kate and Jack hating each other forever. It just seemed unrealistic.

So I guess that's it for Season Five. I need to reflect on the season and the finale a bit to see how I feel - but for now I stand by my Four Word Review. I don't quite get it yet - but clearly this episode sets the stage for next season.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lost - "The Incident"

This is it. The final two hours of Lost in 2009. The thrilling conclusion to a Fifth Season that has without a doubt been the most confusing, audience-polarizing, and complex season of Lost ever. The Lost writers have basically asked the audience to juggle a six-front storyline with nearly twenty characters taking place over three or four time periods. It's insanity, but in a way, it's exactly the way the obsessive among us would want it.


Still, with the Season Finale staring us in the face, something is a little different about Season Five. I can't help but think back and compare it to the first four seasons of Lost. In each of them, you had a pretty good basic idea about how the season would end because most of the season had been spent slowly building up to it.

  • In Season One, we had the efforts to open the Hatch.
  • In Season Two, we had the repercussions of not entering the Numbers.
  • In Season Three, we had the attempt to contact Naomi's people.
  • In Season Four, we had the impending battle with the Freighters.


In each case, we were introduced to this "obstacle" around the midpoint of the season, and then worked towards overcoming / defeating / discovering it by the end of the season.

But what about Season Five? What has it all been building up to?


Logic would tell you that it's our 1977 Survivors getting back to 2008... but surprisingly none of our 1977 Survivors seem overly concerned about doing this - nor have they discussed how they would do this. If it happens in the Season Finale, it's going to be by accident - or as an unintended side effect of doing something else.


With the way Season Four ended, you might think it would be about Locke returning to the Island, coming back to life, and becoming the Leader of the Others… but this storyline has really been self-contained within a few episodes, and somehow feels like a "secondary storyline".


I suppose fittingly for this season, the big issue, the big event, the big question that needs to be answered is quite simply "can you change the past"? Did "whatever happened, happened", or is it possible to alter the past, thus changing the future? It's an interesting theme for the Season Finale because it seems as though we've already answered this question numerous times through events like Sayid shooting Young Ben, Jack refusing to help Young Ben, etc. Yet the writers are dipping back into the same pool one last time, with our characters making one last attempt to affect some type of change… and with Jack and Sayid trying to detonate a nuclear bomb inside the Swan Hatch, this time they aren't messing around.


One way or another, this attempt to change the past is going to result in "The Incident". Even though it was actually referenced for the first time this season by Faraday two episodes ago, we learned about The Incident way back in Season Two. Some (me) have been theorizing that Season Five would conclude with The Incident for quite some time. But even though it promises to be a pretty major event in the history of the Island, the build up for this event hasn't been anywhere close to the Season Finales of the first four seasons… because we still don't know what the heck it means. Will The Incident involve the Jughead? Will it play out the way that Faraday foretold, simply by drilling too close to the Island's gooey center at the Swan Station? Or will it be something totally different?


In a way, it's this uncertainty that makes this season's finale one of the most exciting ever. Although we haven't been anxiously awaiting for this event to happen all year long (like in the first four seasons), we also haven't been subjected to the inevitable "teases" that accompanied many of the first four seasons (I'm looking at you the many failed attempts to open the Hatch, and people ALMOST letting the 108 timer expire multiple times). Dare I say, this could be the most surprising episode of Lost ever? There are a lot of very interesting variables (no pun intended) on the table - all of which could factor in to these final two hours. The Swan Hatch, The Incident, The Jughead, Jacob, The Shadow of the Statue, and Time Travel could all come together in a jumbled, frantic conclusion that leaves us puzzled, enlightened, or furiously screaming at the TV in the end.


I have no idea what's going to happen next, and I absolutely love it.



Having said all this, I debated just totally skipping this week's episode preview. There's something really appealing to me about going into the finale totally clueless - it's a feeling I haven't felt on Lost since the early days of Season One - and there's always the risk that over-analyzing this episode will somehow reveal something that gives me new expectations for what I expect to have happen in the episode, thus opening the door for disappointment. I was close to ending this Blog right here, moving on with my life, and anxiously awaiting Wednesday night to roll around.


Close, but I couldn't go through with it.


I suppose I have a job to do, and that job is to get you prepared for the episode. However, I beg you to stop reading right now and go into this week's finale in the dark about the details. I kinda with that I could, but having already done my prep work for this post, it's too late for me. I already know too much! But you can save yourself. I implore you to show self-control, turn back now, relish the unknown, and maximize your blown-away-ness of the episode!




Still here? For shame. Well, even if you couldn't resist reading on, I'm going to try and make this Episode Preview as brief and high level as possible in an effort to keep me (and hopefully you) from over-thinking about what's about to happen. But as you know, keeping things simple and succinct really isn't my style so I'll probably fail miserably. Let's see how this all works out...




Episode Title: "The Incident"



Brian's Deeper Meaning Guess: Although there are a few "The Incident"s on Wikipedia (ranging from events in British History to 1960s movies) that I could pull obscure analogies to Lost from, let's not waste our time. We all know exactly what this episode title refers to - The Incident that took place on the Island in 1977. Here's a quick reminder of what we know about The Incident so far, courtesy of Lostpedia:


During the Swan Orientation Film, Dr. Marvin Candle mentioned that there was "an incident" which resulted in the creation of a protocol that required a code to be entered every 108 minutes. He issued a strict warning not to use the computer for communication with the outside world. He went on to say that failure to comply would compromise the integrity of the project and could result in another incident. Candle also seemed to indicate that the incident occurred shortly after the Swan station began operations.


Daniel Faraday explained that during construction of the Swan, the workers drilled into the magnetic force, causing a catastrophic discharge that required the protocol to be enacted. The protocol was created so that the magnetic anomaly could be discharged every 108 minutes, thus preventing an electromagnetic catastrophe. Failure to comply with this protocol leads to a system failure.


It is worth noting that, apparently counter to what Pierre Chang alluded to (that the station was "originally" a laboratory used for research), the Swan's protocol was established during the construction of the Swan itself due to the workers drilling into the magnetic energy field. This would seem to suggest that there wasn't even a brief period of time that the Swan was used for its original research purpose. However, it's not clear yet whether or not this is the same mythical Incident that Chang spoke of.


As I said, this episode (and this season) all comes down to one big question - "Can you change the past?"


If you can't, then The Incident will be exactly what Faraday predicted. Easy.


If you can, then there's no telling what The Incident will be. Complicated.


If Jack is successful in carrying out Faraday's gameplan, he will neutralize the magnetic anomaly and prevent the need for the pushing of the 108 Button. His actions may become "The Incident", but they certainly won't be the same Incident that Chang mentions on the video - because that video will never be made. There would be no need. Instead, The Incident would simply become an event for the Island History Books - one moment in time when the funky electromagnetism under the Island was neutralized, forever changing the future of the Island... even though those living through it wouldn't realize it at the time.


Whatever The Incident is, it's going to carry large repercussions. On one hand, you could have the rock solid proof that "whatever happened, happened" and Faraday was wrong in his hopes that people were Variables that could change the past. It would neatly tie up all our Survivors' time traveling adventures (assuming they end up back in the present) and squash any hopes of changing the events we've seen over the first four seasons, or the future that we are currently facing on Lost (the battle for the Island). On the other hand, if it is possible to change the past, Faraday was right about people being Variables and there's no telling what would happen. The events of the first four seasons of Lost would be thrown out the window, new doors would be open, or the repercussions would boggle the mind.


No matter what happens, it's pretty clear The Incident is going to be kinda a big deal.



Okay - this is your last chance to turn back. In my opinion, the Guest Star listing for this episode is so insane and revealing, I wish I hadn't read it myself.


I promise you won't miss out on anything good for the rest of this Blog post if you quit now.


Look, I'll even end it like a normal Blog so that it tricks your brain into thinking it's the end….


Happy Losting!


















That didn't work?


I'm very disappointed in you.



Guest Stars: L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, Sam Anderson as Bernard, John Terry as Christian Shephard, Nestor Carbonell as Richard Alpert, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Francois Chau as Dr. Pierre Chang, Patrick Fischler as Phil, Eric Lange as Radzinsky, Zuleikha Robinson as Ilana, Brad William Henke as Bram, Jon Gries as Roger Linus, Alice Evans as younger Eloise Hawking, Andrea Gabriel as Noor "Nadia" Abed Jaseem, Kevin Chapman as Mitch, Mark Pellegrino as man #1, Titus Welliver as man #2, Emily Rae Argenti as young Kate, Tanner Maguire as young Tom, George Gerdes as Mr. Springer, Agnes Kwak as Aunt Soo, Amy Stewart as mother, Rylee Fansler as young Juliet, Savannah Lathem as young Rachel, William Makozak as Captain Bird, Daniel James Kunkel as anesthesiologist, Sonya Masinovsky as Russian nurse, Keegan Boos as young Sawyer, Colby French as Uncle Doug, John Pete as prison clerk, Michael Trisler as father, Sally Davis as woman and Adam Bazzi as cab driver.



Guest Star Breakdown: Holy crap. With a whopping thirty-two guest stars (which I believe is a Lost record), it’s pretty clear that there is a LOT of story packed into these final two hours. Basically, any on-Island guest star from the entire season (that is still alive) is back – Others, Ajira 316ers, and Dharmites, oh my!


But of course, the big news here is the return of Rose and Bernard, suspiciously absent since the second episode of the season – back when the skipping through time began. Although a lot of people have theorized that Rose and Bernard died, and became the Adam and Eve statues in the cave from Season One, most struggle to come up with an explanation of how they could still be alive – living on the Island for three years potentially alone. The only explanation imaginable is that these two were somehow “adopted” by the Others – and have conveniently been at some other Other campground each time our Dharmite Survivors interacted with the Others. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I think it’s the best we’ve got at this point… unless Bernard was really hiding some sweet survival skills all these years.


The other big surprise is the inclusion of “Young” forms of various characters – Kate, Tom, Juliet, and Rachel. Traditionally on Lost, the character with the flashback is the character most likely to die – which means we should all be very concerned about Kate and Juliet. Tom is safe this week since we know he will eventually be killed by Sawyer on-Island in 2004 – hmmmm… maybe “safe” isn’t the right word. Similarly, Young Rachel (Juliet’s sister) lives at least long enough to be cured of her cancer by Jacob (allegedly), but the lack of an Adult Rachel guest star means that her character will only appear in flashback form, alive and well.


But this raises the question – what is the connection between all these Young Characters? Or are we due to receive flashbacks for each that are in no way connected? (Also, Tom - really? Did anyone think we’d ever hear from him again? Was anyone clamoring for more Tom back story?) Aside from the these guaranteed flashbacks for Kate and Juliet, the inclusion of Nadia means we’ve got a Sayid-flashback coming our way as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if this episode unfolded similar to Season One’s “Exodus”, where we got one flashback per major character in the episode. The problem is, in “Exodus” we had something to connect them all – the boarding of Oceanic 815. What overall theme / event could possibly connect such a wide variety of characters, some of whom are in their youth? 


How about “Man #1” or “Man #2”. Initially, guest stars without names are simply throwaway background characters who don’t need names. Sometimes, they are an example of the Lost writers disguising the true identity of a character who fans would recognize if they saw the name ahead of time. Whenever I see one of these type of names pop-up, I do a Google Image Search on them to see who they look like. This time, the results were shocking.





Ladies and Gentlemen, say hello to Jacob. I have to assume that if we’re going to have flashbacks that go so far they require child actors to play Kate, Juliet, and Tom, we’re going to likewise require two actors to play Jacob. Man #1 is Jacob back in the day. Man #2 is quite obviously a “modern day” Jacob that lives in a Cabin. Do a side by side comparison – it seems like a good match, right?



I guess there are two possibilities here. One is that we see Jacob in 1977 (as Man #1) and 2008 (as Man #2) – both on-Island, offering a nice parallel reveal to our two major storylines this season. The other, way more intriguing theory, and actually what I predicted would happen in the Season One finale (go back and read! http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2005/06/lost-recap-memo.html ) would be that our Survivors have been watched – tracked – for the majority of their lives. The Others knew that eventually they would arrive there (thanks to their future time traveling hijinx) and began spying on them, gathering information on them, preparing to use them once they arrived on-Island. Much like Alpert was creepily watching Locke’s birth, what if Jacob were keeping tabs on Kate, Juliet, and Tom? It would be fantastic, open up all sorts of theories about whether or not it was “fate” or “arranged” that our Survivors ended up on Oceanic 815 (remember those debates from the first few seasons?), and prove that Jacob has been a much larger part of Lost than we ever realized – even if we’ve only seen him for three total seconds over the course of the series.


Or maybe “Man #1” and “Man #2” will just walk by in the background while Young Kate and Young Tom play in a sandbox at the park. Either way, sounds exciting to me!



Episode Description: Jack's decision to put a plan in action in order to set things right on the island is met with some strong resistance by those close to him, and Locke assigns Ben a difficult task.


Episode Breakdown: All this and we’re just now getting to the episode description? I should be getting paid double for this Blog post! Fortunately, the episode description is short and sweet, just like it should be for a Season Finale. Let’s finish this up so we can get on to counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds until the Finale starts… you know, doing something productive.


Jack’s decision to put a plan in action = using the Jughead (and from the looks of the episode preview, this also includes killing a bunch of innocent Dharmites along the way. Seriously, when did Jack go crazytown?)



I could also see Miles and Jin coming down on the same side as Jack. To Jin it might mean reunion with Sun, which is his number one priority. To Miles, it might mean saving his father (who he now understands and loves) from the Purge.


Strong resistance by those close to him = Kate, Sawyer, and Juliet (at least) will be opposing Jack. Kate’s already voiced her disagreement – and if you think about it, why would Sawyer and Juliet want Jack to erase the past? That would mean the two of them would never meet, fall in love, and spend a magical three years together in the swinging 1970’s on a hippie Island.


As for Hurley, he could go either way – but setting off a nuclear bomb doesn’t seem like something he’d be cool with. So I’ll throw him in the “Resistance Camp” for now. Which means, we’ve got:


Team Crazytown = Jack, Sayid, Jin, Miles

Team Resistance = Sawyer, Kate, Juliet, Hurley


Nice and even – just the way I like it.


The other half of the preview is a little more mysterious. What “difficult task” is Locke going to assign Ben? The first thing that comes to mind, and the thing that seems most likely at this point, is that Locke will make Ben kill Jacob. Why? Well, it serves a few purposes. For one, it’s Ben’s chance to “prove himself” to Locke, to follow Smokey’s demand to follow him. For two, it’s Locke’s chance to potentially discredit Ben in front of all the Others by having him kill their God. For three, it offers a nice parallel to when Ben demanded that Locke kill his Father to keep face among the Others. The tables are turned, and now Ben has to do the killing – in a potentially lose/lose situation. If he kills Jacob and Jacob turns out to be a good guy, he’ll be hated forever. If he kills Jacob and Jacob turns out to be a bad guy, he’ll still be guilty of killing someone, which may carry some negative connotation in the Religion of the Others.


Or perhaps Locke will simply turn to Ben and say “explain this season in thirty words or less.” Although, that might be “impossible”, rather than “difficult”.



And there you have it, ye of no self-control. Everything you need to know (actually more than you need to know) about “The Incident”. It’s the last Lost for the next seven months or so – so be sure to sit back, breathe it deep, and enjoy it. There will be plenty of time for over-thinking, researching, and debating the episode between now and 2010. For now, just enjoy the show.


For the last time in 2009, Happy Losting!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Follow the Leader" Analysis!

(Before we get started this week, I need to apologize. I think the Blog has been fairly sucky the past few weeks despite my best efforts. I hate to say this - but those crafty Lost writers may have finally stumped me. For the first time ever with this series, I'm having a hard time coming up with plausible all-encompassing theories to tie together the various storyline strands they've started. This means one of three things - either they really are way smarter than me, I'm getting dumber as I get older, or the storylines aren't going to tie together in a nice, neat, and logical way. Personally, I'm hoping for the first scenario which allows me to stay smart and Lost to remain smarter. Time will tell...)

Looking back on “Follow the Leader”, it was what I would term a pretty typical “setup” episode. I’ve probably used the same phrases for the penultimate (big word alert!) episodes of Lost for its first four seasons, but once again they apply… so I’m going to use them again.


Although one could argue that not a lot truly “happened” this week, the episode’s main purpose was to set the stage for the finale... and it did just that. All the characters are where they are supposed to be (with a whopping six major “groups” to track this year – the Jugheaders, the 2008 Others, the Ajira 316ers, the Submariners, and the Dharmites), the drama has been sufficiently ratcheted up a notch (Kate vs. Jack, Ben/Alpert vs. Locke, the Shadow of the Statue vs. All), there’s impending doom (we’re mere hours away from “The Incident” and have people messing with atomic bombs), and much like last season, John Locke ended the episode with a line of dialogue that shocks everyone. Last year, it was “he wants us to move the Island”. This year, it’s “so I can kill him”.


I guess that’s as good a place as any to start this week’s analysis!


Jacob. An in-depth analysis of Jacob is long overdue on this Blog, but he’s been sitting on the back burner for good reason – his character has been entirely absent from this season. Even if you argue (and we will) that Christian Shephard is some manifestation of Jacob, he hasn’t even been around since Locke turned the FDW. But out of nowhere, with a single line of dialogue, Jacob becomes one of the predominant storylines for the Season Five Finale of Lost.


There has been a lot of discussion over the last few days about the true nature of Jacob. Theories are ranging from the twisty (“Jacob is going to be a character we already know! Jacob is going to be Faraday / Jack / Sawyer!”) to the absurd (“Jacob doesn’t really exist – Locke is just going to kill the idea of Jacob”). But what do we really know about this supposed all-knowing, all-powerful, all-creepy character?


Surprisingly, not a whole lot. We’ve only seen fleeting glimpses of Jacob – once sitting in a chair, and twice extreme close-ups on his eyes. But this at least proves that Jacob exists. He might be a spirit of a ghost, or an undead Black Rock Pirate, but based on this, he’s not some imaginary boogieman invented by Alpert / Ben in an attempt to scare Other children and keep people in line.


Likewise, since we’ve seen him (and his Cabin) magically appear and disappear – and be visible to some characters but not others, Jacob also isn’t a “normal” person. He’s even weirder than Alpert – who may not age, but at least he’s flesh and bones, needs to walk to get from one place to another, and is visible to everyone on the Island.


So what is Jacob? And how in the world are the Lost writers going to explain him using pseudo-science (or did that promise to the viewers go out the window once we entered this time traveling season?) Let’s dive a little deeper…


We also know that at least two characters have seen Jacob – Locke and Hurley. Given Locke’s apparent “chosen one-ness”, his ability to see Jacob makes sense – maybe Jacob only is visible and audible to certain “chosen people” on the Island. But what about Hurley? The only thing I can think of is that Hurley being semi-crazy makes him sometimes see dead people – and if Jacob is “dead”, maybe he was able to find a loophole to see Jacob.


The irony here is that although Alpert and Ben have referenced Jacob the most over the past five seasons, we have no evidence that either one of them can actually see or communicate with Jacob. However, if you remember back to earlier this season, the reason that Locke was able to gain an audience with Alpert in 1954 was because he referenced Jacob’s name – which means that Alpert did know about Jacob pre-1954 (thus  eliminating the possibility that it was Locke referencing “Jacob” in 1954 that created the start of the Jacob myth in the first place – which would have been a cool closed loop theory – but unfortunately doesn’t work out).


This was part of the reason I always assumed Alpert was legit. After all, he had to have found out about Jacob somehow – either through personal interaction or through pre-1954 leaders of the Island who were able to communicate with him. But then there was his comment this week. Alpert said he was “starting to wonder if John Locke was going to be a problem” to Ben, as if the two shared a mutual understanding of how this whole Jacob-thing was going to work, and Locke could potentially ruin everything they’ve built up over the past twenty years.



But what had they built up?


The only words we have ever heard from Jacob are “help me” – told to Locke, but inaudible to Ben. As I theorized earlier this season, I don’t think Benjamin Linus could ever actually communicate with Jacob – he was simply clever enough to “work the system” by referencing Jacob to move himself into the position of “Leader of the Others” (partially thanks to Alpert’s lie about it being Jacob’s will when he saved Young Ben in 1977).


Remember back when we first saw Jacob’s Cabin? There was that line of ash powder around it – which the show’s creators have said was a controlling mechanism, such as a "magic circle". Someone must have put it there, and all signs point to that someone being Ben. After all, if he couldn’t really see Jacob, he would want to “cage” him to prevent Jacob from telling anyone else that Ben was a fraud (which would inevitably lead to Ben being ousted from a leadership role in the Others). This would also easily explain the “help me” comment from Jacob to Locke. He needed to be freed from that magic circle to help get the Island back on track (see: Cowboys and Indians Theory of how the Others fell out of touch with the Island).


(The only real hole in this theory is that Hurley stumbled upon a moving around Jacob’s Cabin at the start of Season Four – which one would think would be impossible if it was locked down inside the ash circle. No idea about that one.)


But if we’re following this path, it seems like Locke would want to help Jacob – to free him, to help the Others find their way back to Island Religion, to prove that Ben was a dirty liar for all those years, and have the Others at full strength for the forthcoming “battle for the Island”, not to kill Jacob.




I’m reminded of the Kevin Smith classic movie “Dogma” (highly recommended for anyone raised in the Catholic faith). In it, God would periodically take on a human form (to play skeeball). When in human form, he lacked all the super powers… until his human form died and he would return to being all Godly. Long story short – the bad guys in the movie put a comatosed God on life support to keep him from dying, thus “trapping him” in the human body, which prevented him from regaining all his power while the bad guys tried to bring about the end of the world. In a huge ironic Catholic twist, the protagonist has to “kill God” in order to free him (her) from the human body, which allows God to kick the bad guy ass and save existence.


That’s my best guess as to why Locke – Johnny Island, himself – would say that he wants to “kill Jacob” – the potential spiritual embodiment of the Island. Just like Dogma, Locke needs to kill Jacob in order to free him – maybe to have him at full power for the upcoming “battle for the Island’. Perhaps the “ash cage” around Jacob’s Cabin isn’t only keeping him trapped in one place – but is also somehow keeping the Island Spirit from leaving Jacob’s body and regaining all his magic Island powers. See you later, pseudo-science.


What about Christian Shephard?


Well, although we have no idea who Jacob is, he kinda seemed like a pretty crusty old guy. Perhaps when Christian’s body ended up on the Island, Jacob saw this as a chance to “upgrade” to a younger model. Even if Ben’s imprisonment was keeping him from going from crusty body to supernatural being, maybe Jacob still has the ability to jump from one dead body to another.


I still don’t have a good explanation for the appearing / disappearing act that Jacob and Christian have down – because even if they were a spirit occupying a body, that body should always be visible. Still, all-in-all, the Dogma Theory would allow Locke’s comment to be one of those Losty twists that actually means the exact opposite of what we’re thinking. Killing Jacob is the only way to save him… and the Island.


But even though I like the Dogma Theory, there’s one other possible theory to explain Locke’s comment – Jacob is actually big time bad news.


In this scenario, Jacob is somewhat similar to Smokey – a mysterious all-powerful being that kicks ass first and takes names later, working based on his own set of “rules” that may or may not be clear to those on the Island. In this scenario, the Others are simply peons living beneath a vengeful Jacob that doesn’t really care about them – Jacob is a vengeful God, and the Others better do exactly what he says or else they’ll feel his wrath. This would make Alpert and Ben the “good guys” who worked together to “cage” Jacob in order to free their fellow Others to live their own lives on the Island.


The thing that give this theory some legs is that it means the “Island Spirit” is a totally separate entity from Jacob… which would make sense given Locke’s conversation with Ben this week:


BEN: Your timing was impeccable, John. How did you know when to be here?

LOCKE: The Island told me. Didn't it ever tell you things?

BEN: No, John. And clearly it hasn't told you where Jacob is, or you wouldn't need Richard to show you.

LOCKE: You've never seen him.

BEN: What?

LOCKE: Jacob. You've never seen him, have you?


One would think that if the Island Spirit (that is telling Locke when and what to do) and Jacob were one and the same, Locke wouldn’t need Alpert to take him to Jacob – the Island Spirit could just tell him where to go. Rather, they seem to be separate entities (dare I say even “opposing forces” on the Island?). Locke has the connection to the Island, but not Jacob. The Island is asking him to kill Jacob to take 100% control of the Island and everyone on it.


(The big hole in this theory, of course, is that Christian Shephard, speaking on Jacob’s behalf, helped Locke turn the FDW which set everything in motion. If Jacob was anti-Island, this doesn’t make a lot of sense… unless both Jacob and the Island are “fighting for Locke” similar to how Ben and Widmore both have referenced needing Locke on their side in the upcoming “battle for the Island”.)


I don’t know. Chances are the explanation of Jacob is going to be something totally different from either of these theories. Just like Locke’s comment about moving the Island last season, I can’t come up with a 100% logical theory about how this is all going to work out. But let’s be honest, how many of us saw Lost morphing into a time-traveling show at the end of last season? I can’t help but wonder if we’re about to see a similar “game changing event” this season, one that no analysis would be able to predict, no matter how in-depth.


Let’s move on.


Richard Alpert. Aside from Locke’s comment about Jacob, the next most shocking line of the episode belonged to Richard Alpert, during his brief conversation with Sun in 2008:


SUN: These people... Jack Shephard, Kate Austen, Hugo Reyes. They were here with my husband--Jin Kwon. Were you here? Do you remember them? A--any of them?

RICHARD: Yes, I was here 30 years ago. And I do. I remember these people. I remember meeting them very clearly, because... I watched them all die.


If you buy into the “whatever happened, happened” theory, it means that all of our Survivors really did die in 1977… or at least that’s how it appeared to Alpert at the time. It seems that this could be easily explained by having them “vanish” (which will bring them back to the present, hopefully) – something that Alpert could easily have interpreted as them dying… especially if this “skip” coincided with some big explosion or “Incident” on the Island.


The only problem is – after seeing our Survivors appear and disappear in 1954, if it happened again in 1977 wouldn’t Alpert be catching on at this point? Shouldn’t his comment to Sun have been “they either died… or jumped to some other point in time”? Not only that, but it seems likely that Alpert had some knowledge of our Survivors in 2004 – after all, Jack, Kate, and Sawyer lived with the Others for a few weeks in Season Three – plus, he gave Locke a full file on Sawyer to manipulate Sawyer into killing Locke’s Father. At the very least, this means that once 2004 rolled around and Alpert saw these characters, he would have realized that these were the same people he interacted with in 1977 -  so in 2008, unless Alpert is a complete idiot, he should have been able to put together the pieces and understand that time traveling is going on.


What does all of this mean?


When Sun asks him the question in 2008, if there was any chance that our Survivors simply “skipped”, I have to think he would have referenced it (unless trying to be intentionally deceiving to Sun). So whatever happens to our Survivors, it’s gotta be something big – something more complicated than them simply disappearing – something that really made it appear to Alpert that they all died.


Let’s keep in mind the lesson of Daniel Faraday – it is entirely possible that all our Survivors could die in 1977… and they would be dead. Maybe the whole final season of Lost will be about Desmond going back in time and trying to save all their lives… but that would seem kinda cheap to me. Still, it would be incredibly ballsy of the Lost writers if they would kill off nearly all the “main characters” on Lost with this season’s finale.


So what happens to them?


The Incident. The most likely explanation for Alpert’s comment is that most of our Survivors are involved in “The Incident”. Right now, there are two obvious explanations for what The Incident is:

  1. A release of big energy caused by drilling at the Swan Station (as Faraday warned).
  2. The Jughead going off in an effort to neutralize that big energy at the Swan Station.


The problem here is that although the first scenario seems like it needs to happen (because “whatever happened, happened”), the second scenario seems like the only one that could cause our Survivors to appear to die to Alpert. Plus, it assumes that Jack, Sayid, Hot Ellie, and Alpert (the Jugheaders) are somehow able to get the Jughead from underneath the Barracks to the Swan Station – which is quite some distance away. Keep in mind the Jughead weighs 40,000 pounds. Assuming they find some way to get the Jughead above ground, would a Dharma Van even be able to carry something so heavy?


Based on my brief research on the Internet, the answer to this question is “hell no”. In fact, the maximum amount of weight that even modern vehicles seem able to carry is closer to 5000 pounds – about 35,000 pounds short of being able to lug around the Jughead.


So with less than six hours until the Incident happening, this would mean that the Jugheaders would need to somehow roll it miles and miles away to get to the Swan Station. I don’t buy it. Aside from a potential intervention by Smokey (turning into a giant hand and carrying the Jughead to the Swan Station), I don’t see the Jughead storyline factoring into the Incident – the timeline and locations just don’t seem to add up. Yet, all signs are pointing to the Jughead somehow being involved. Long story short, I think “The Incident’ is going to be exactly what we always thought it would be – digging at the Swan Station which puts into motion the events that crash Oceanic 815 (as Faraday laid out for us two weeks ago).


This isn’t to say that the Jughead won’t be involved in some huge tragedy on the Island, bringing our Survivors back to 2008, or making it appear as though they all died… it’s just I can’t figure out how. Let’s move on to some easier concepts before wrapping this week up…

- It appears as though this week moved Radzinsky from the role of “crazy paranoid guy obsessed with the Swan Station” to “crazy paranoid guy obsessed with the Swan Station who has usurped control of Dharma”. It looks like he is heading down the path of becoming obsessed with the mission of Dharma – which probably explains how he himself ended up being the guy locked inside the Swan Station… which may have saved him from the Purge, but also drove him crazy as he became one of the last people on the Island, shackled to the Swan Station to save the world, unable to do anything else with his life or his hopes and dreams for the goals of Dharma.

- As much as I would love for Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate to leave the Island – thus saving them from whatever bad news is about to happen on the Island, ensuring their safety and having their stories end as the three of them becoming millionaires in the 1970’s through the stock market and sports gambling, there’s no chance that three characters are major as they are will be sitting out the two hour season finale. Had Kate not entered the picture, I would have an easier time believing it – but with her around, it’s only a matter of time before she convinces Sawyer to go back to the Island and try to stop Jack from trying to change the past. I still have no idea about how they’re going to do this – since we know the submarine does end up going to the Real World with the rest of its passengers, but it’s going to happen… and it’s probably going to happen early on in the season finale to allow time for these three to join up with one of the other groups on the Island.


- Jack is an asshole.

KATE: And what about us? We just... go on living our life because we've never met?

JACK: All the misery that we've been through... we'd just wipe it clean. Never happened.

KATE: It was not all misery.

JACK: [Sighs] Enough of it was.


With the writers giving him lines like these, I can’t help but wonder if next season is going to feature a calm and confident Locke leading our Survivors against a crazy talking Jack, who has given up on life (and by “life”, I mean “ever hooking up with Kate again” – which are kinda the same thing).


- It looks like Eloise is pregnant with Faraday in 1977 (Widmore referenced “her condition” when she talked about taking Jack and Kate to the Jughead). This means that Faraday graduated from Oxford University when he was 17 years old (max). That’s pushing the timeline, but I guess I’ll allow it. I mean, if Doogie Howser can do it, Faraday could do it.



…and with that, I think I’m done for this week. As you can see, I’m probably as clueless about where Lost is going right now as I’ve ever been – which is somewhat surprising. You would think that as Lost winds down to its inevitable conclusion, things would become more obvious and we would have a feel for where the story was heading – even if we didn’t know the details. But as I sit right now, with two hours left in this season, I really have no idea. This should make this week’s Season Finale one of the more exciting – and potentially shocking – of the entire series.


I can’t wait!