Friday, February 19, 2010

"The Substitute" Analysis!

It’s story-telling time!


The more I thought about this week’s episode, the more epic my thoughts became. I found that whenever I started thinking about specific aspects of the episode – the images of the Creepy Bloody Kid, the Numbers, the “Candidates”, etc – it all kept bringing up “bigger questions” that reached much farther than this specific episode. So we’re going to try something a little different with the analysis this week.


What follows is my best guess as to the overall storyline on Lost. From start to finish, touching upon the big questions from “The Substitute” in the process. If I miss anything, I’ll do a little cleanup at the end. The best part of it all? I’m sure this entire theory will be thrown out the window by the end of next week’s episode.


Ready?


The Beginning. It’s only logical to start the story at the beginning – the very beginning, long before our Survivors arrived on the Island. In 1845, the Black Rock was lost at sea. My assumption is that the ship we saw during the opening scene of “The Incident”, with Jacob and Anti-Jacob on the beach, featured them looking at the Black Rock. This means that in 1845, Anti-Jacob had already grown tired of all of Jacob’s antics, and wanted to kill him… which seemingly indicates that the two had already been on the Island and played this game for quite some time.


We got a major clue towards the history of Anti-Jacob in this episode. He tells Sawyer that “I was a man, James. Just like you. I know what it's like to feel joy... to feel pain, anger, fear... to experience betrayal. I know what it's like to lose someone you love.” Again, I’m making an assumption here that he’s telling the truth – but based on the way he said it, it certainly seemed to come from his Smokey heart. So if Anti-Jacob was once a normal man who gained everlasting life / Smokey powers on the Island, it stands to reason that Jacob was once a man as well. They are “old friends”, after all.


A quick search of Wikipedia reveals that the first Europeans crossed the Pacific in the early 1500’s. So it’s possible that by the time we see Jacob and Anti-Jacob on the beach during “The Incident”, the two had already spent a few hundred years on the Island. Plenty of time for Anti-Jacob to grow tired of Jacob’s pro-humanity agenda and wish that he could kill him and break the cycle.


The other major clue towards the history of Anti-Jacob was the Freaky Kid that appeared to him during the episode. For the first time ever, we saw Anti-Jacob / SmokeLocke emotionally shaken and less confident. When the Freaky Kid ran away, SmokeLocke chased after him and showed weakness by falling during the chase. Clearly the Freaky Kid was someone familiar to Anti-Jacob, and someone close enough to him to have this sort of emotional impact upon him.


So here’s what I’m thinking. The Freaky Kid was Jacob… at the time when Jacob and Anti-Jacob first arrived on the Island.


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At some point in the 1500’s, Jacob and Anti-Jacob shipwreck on the Island. They’re both children at the time. Some of the people with them, potentially everyone else on their ship, die in the process. This explains the bloodied arms of the Young Jacob during his first appearance, and SmokeLocke’s line about “knowing what it’s like to lose someone you love”. Given that they’re kids, I’m guessing it’s a parent. At this point, there is already some other “Protector of the Island”, who may have been there in that role since the Ancient Egyptian time (you know, the Four-Toed Statue folks). Given the yin and yang nature of everything on Lost, there may have even been someone else playing the role of the “Security System” on the Island.


Seeing Young Jacob reminded Anti-Jacob about who he was – who he used to be. He was a man, not some unstoppable Smoke Monster. Much like the image of Alex shook Ben (and exposed his weakness), the image of Young Jacob shook SmokeLocke. It reminded him of the pain he’s felt and the trauma he’s been through in his life… and also touched on his weakness, which seems to be reminding him about who he used to be, which in turn makes him all the angrier that he’s still trapped on the Island. More on this later.


From there, the storyline for Jacob and Anti-Jacob unfolds eerily similar to what we’ve seen with our Survivors. Once Jacob’s Group crashes on the Island, Jacob and Anti-Jacob are deemed to be “candidates”. Even if there were other survivors from their crash, Jacob and Anti-Jacob would easily make the short list because they are children. Keep in mind, after the crash of Oceanic 815, Zack and Emma were on the list and immediately taken by the Others… who were also super obsessed with both Walt and the unborn Aaron. Kids are special on the Island for some reason. Maybe they have the innocence that is required to become the next “Protector of the Island”. Maybe they are easier to mold into good, card-carrying Others who do what they are told and don’t ask questions. I’m not sure – but the importance of kids is going to come back at some point in the storyline… and I think they were important from the start.


The Candidates. So Jacob and Anti-Jacob are “candidates”. What does that mean exactly? Again, per SmokeLocke, it means that you are in line to step up and replace the “Protector of the Island” should anything happen to them. The strange thing about it is that it’s seemingly really, really hard for something to take down the “Protector”. Heck, it took Anti-Jacob hundreds of years to finally find his loophole required to kill Jacob – who otherwise seemed to be pretty eternal. Perhaps there have only been a handful of Protectors over the course of the thousands of years since the first people arrived on the Island. But although Jacob doesn’t seem to age, it seemed awfully easy to kill him. A few girly stabs with a knife, a little kick in the fire, and poof – gone. On the other hand, bullets bounce off SmokeLocke and he has the power to morph into an all-powerful cloud of smoke to kick ass and impersonate the dead.


Why?


Because Anti-Jacob isn’t really “anti” Jacob. The two play two very different roles – but both are on the same team. We’ve been told that Smokey is a “Security System” for the Island, and I think this is absolutely correct. Wouldn’t you want your security system to be as invincible as possible? To have bullets bounce off them and be able to take out an army of mercenaries within a few seconds? Absolutely. On the other hand, it’s more important for your overall leader to be wise, make tough decisions, and remain calm under pressure. What’s stopping the Security System from taking out the Leader? A set of “rules” that prohibit one from killing the other.


Let me try to paint a picture. I think we’ve got the following management structure on the Island:


Mystical Island Power – governing body of all those on the Island, the creator of the rules. It’s the unseen, unexplainable force that keeps order. Remember when Michael wasn’t able to kill himself no matter how hard he tried? I’m guessing the same thing would have happened if Anti-Jacob tried to stab Jacob. It wouldn’t have worked. (If you want to go religious, he’s “God”)


Leader – Jacob, the CEO of the Island, in charge of the “big picture stuff”. Creates lists and messages that he sends to his employees (the Others) to keep things running smoothly. (If you want to go religious, he’s “Jesus”)


Security System – Anti-Jacob / SmokeLocke / Smokey. The “muscle” on the Island that exists to take out trouble makers and judge those on the Island to make sure they are “worthy”. (If you want to go religious, he’s “The Holy Spirit”)


Secretary – Richard Alpert. The connection between the Leader and the employees (the Others). He takes lists from one to the other and provides necessary information to both sides. Remember Dogen’s speech about the need for separation between a leader and his people? He uses Lennon and speaks Japanese. The Leader uses a Secretary like Richard Alpert to accomplish the same goal. (If you want to go religious, he’s “The Pope”)


The Employees – The Others. People who were brought to the Island and deemed worthy, allowed to be let in on some Island secrets, given some sense of purpose and happiness in serving the Leader, and getting a sweet life in paradise in return. (If you want to go religious, they’re “Followers of the Religion”)


Even though it doesn’t seem like it, everyone is a part of the same overall team – Team Island… at least they used to be.

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Back to the Story. So what happened to Jacob and Anti-Jacob (a name that seems inaccurate now) after they arrived on the Island? Somehow Jacob found his way into the role of “Leader” and Anti-Jacob found his way into the role of “Security System”. The details around how it all happened would be quite interesting – but aren’t overly important for this story. The problem is, after a few hundred years, Anti-Jacob grew tired of Jacob and the Island, and wanted to stage a hostile takeover… but couldn’t, because he was bound by the Island “rules”.


I’m picturing something like the Genie in Aladdin. Semi-phenomenal-nearly-cosmic powers, itty-bitty living space. The Security System just wants to stretch his legs and see the world! But he’s bound by the Island (in this metaphor, “his bottle”). Whereas Jacob is free to come and go as he pleases, the Security System has to stick around and guard the Island. Does he hate the Island? Not really – he still steps up and protects it when necessary (like in the case of coming to Ben’s aid against Keamy and the Freightors), but he would really like to get the hell off that Island and go back to his “home” – which is wherever he was born before coming to the Island. It’s the 1500s and Jacob has blonde hair and fair skin, so I’m guessing “Europe”.


…and so the story for the next four hundred years(ish).


Jacob brings people to the Island, in hopes of creating a perfect little utopia where everyone gets along and is in peace with the Island. It always ends badly, with destruction, corruption, and death, and Anti-Jacob says “I told you so.”


Until Oceanic 815 crashed on the Island.


Powers. At this point, it’s probably worth looking at what “power” Jacob actually has. I’m guessing that he was once a man, just like Anti-Jacob. The only real power we’ve seemingly seen from him is that he doesn’t age… and seems somewhat omniscient. But if you think about it, it’s possible that the only real power he has is his ability to jump around through space and time using the FDW (or some equivalent). Consider this riddle – did Jacob visit Young Kate and Young Sawyer because he knew that they would eventually end up on the Island? Or did he see Kate and Sawyer arrive on the Island in 2004, then use the FDW to go back in time to when they were kids and touch them so that he would build a connection with them?


If you listen to SmokeLocke, it’s the former. Jacob is “pulling strings” like our Survivors are puppets. On the other hand, the reason I mentioned Young Kate and Young Sawyer above (as opposed to the other Survivors Jacob touched) is that he touched them both at a very young age (that sounds terrible). How could he have known what they would become? How could he have known that these two little kids would eventually come to the Island? It would require that Jacob be some kind of all-knowing, all-seeing “god”, wouldn’t it? But if he really had all these powers, why would he even bother with having so many candidates listed inside his cave? Shouldn’t it just be one name? The one person that he KNOWS will eventually become his successor?


There’s something appealing to me about the second theory. It makes our Survivors more than simply being pawns in Jacob’s game, and gives more weight to the choices they’ve made in their lives, rather than simply being “pushed” by Jacob to arrive at the endpoint he wanted. The other thing? It limits the “funky Island stuff” that needs explaining. We’ve already seen that the Island seemingly exists outside of the space-time continuum, and has a FDW which can move it around through time. It seems like a logical extension of that (well, as “logical” as possible given the subject matter) that Jacob may have mastered using these “funky Island powers” to manipulate space-time for his own purposes. This could easily explain how he was able to visit our Survivors at different moments in their lives, knowing exactly where they would be… and might be the variation to my original “Jacob’s Loop” theory that makes more sense.


Maybe Jacob isn’t resetting the entire space-time continuum each time his mission fails – but instead is going back in time himself to alter events in our Survivors lives to try and obtain a different outcome. Perhaps he’s just an ordinary guy who doesn’t age and can time travel, rather than being something crazy like a “god”.


But we digress…


The Middle. The middle portion of the story picks up when Oceanic 815 crashed on the Island. These are the events we’re most familiar with… or at least we think we are. A lot of people are getting caught up by the different “lists” that we’ve seen on the Island over the years. Some point out inconsistencies between the “Candidates” in Jacob’s Cave verses the Survivors of Oceanic 815 that the Others took right away. In "I Do", Danny Pickett mentioned that "Shephard wasn't even on Jacob's list". In "Par Avion", Mikhail states that Kate is not on the list because she is "flawed"; Sayid is not on the list because he is "weak and frightened"; and Locke is not on the list because he is angry. Aside from Kate, we know this seems to be inaccurate.


Except for one minor detail – we’re talking about a bunch of different lists.


When Ben saw Oceanic 815 crash on the Island, he told Ethan and Goodwin to observe the Survivors and make lists within three days. Again, if you buy into the notion that Jacob isn’t an all-knowing being, this makes total sense. Ethan and Goodwin make their lists, they give them to Ben, who passes them along to Alpert, who passes them along to Jacob. He can then research and observe these new visitors to the Island – either in the current time or by visiting them pre-Island – to determine who is worthy and who is not.


The other thing to keep in mind is that there’s probably a big difference between being a “candidate” to become the “Protector” of the Island vs. being worthy enough to become an “Other”. Jacob lists a number of our Survivors on the walls of his Cave, but only lists four noticeable Others – Mattingley, Cunningham, Linus, and Burke. Mattingley and Cunningham were the Others who held our Time Traveling Survivors at gunpoint last season, and threatened to cut off Juliet’s hand before Widmore showed up. They were both young, strong, up and coming Others, so they were probably worth a look from Jacob. I assume that “Linus” is Ben – and that makes sense since he seemingly had some connection with the Island that allowed him to see his dead mother as a child… and he proved over the years that he was willing to do whatever was needed to protect the Island, including killing people. Then there’s Juliet. She was feisty, hot, and smart – what more would you look for in a Leader?


Notice who’s missing? Richard Alpert, Oceanic 815 Survivors (like Cindy) who were taken right away, and most of the high ranking Others we’ve seen over the years. It just shows that there’s some sort of caste system in play here. Just because you’re a good Other doesn’t mean you’re a good Candidate (Ben)… and just because you’re a Candidate doesn’t mean you’re a good fit to become an Other (our Survivors).


Looking at the list of names inside Jacob’s Cave, it’s clear that he’s been tracking these candidates for quite some time. The oldest name I can find is “Jones”, who was one of the US Army Soldiers on the Island in the 1950s… which actually makes total sense. In their 1954 flash, John Locke first appeared to Richard Alpert, talking about time traveling and referencing Jacob. This was Jacob’s first “tip” that there might be some weird stuff going on… weird stuff that Anti-Jacob might be using to create his loophole to kill him. This would be a good time to brush up on my theory that Anti-Jacob actually was controlling our Survivors flashes through time – for a very specific reason – that I talked about during my “The Incident” Analysis (http://lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com/2009/05/incident-analysis.html )


So Jacob began searching for his replacement. Over the years, he whittled down the list to five remaining people:


4 – Locke

8 – Reyes

15 – Ford

16 – Jarrah

23 – Shepard

42 – Kwon

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The Numbers. Something tells me this is our last, best explanation as to what the Numbers are. The writers have hinted that they’re not going to come out and say exactly what the Numbers are, since that would ruin some of their mystery – but I think we already know enough for me to be satisfied. During the Lost ARG a few years back, we learned that the Numbers are the core environmental and human factors of the Valenzetti Equation – an equation designed to predict the end of the humanity. Dharma was obsessed with finding a way to change the variables of the equation to prevent the end of the world… but they never could. There was a reason for that.


The variables weren’t actually environmental conditions that could be changed. They were “human factors”. They were our Survivors.


But how could our Survivors be involved in an equation that predicts the end of the world?


Because they are the Candidates the replace Jacob… and if they all die, we’re in serious trouble.


Remember what Alpert told Sawyer this episode? “He doesn't just want you dead, he wants everyone dead!” Anti-Jacob is playing Sawyer right now, but his end goal is to kill him, along with Hurley, Sayid, Jack, and Jin (or Sun). Once that is complete, and all the candidates are dead, without Jacob being around to recruit any new ones, Anti-Jacob will have accomplished his goal – and once that happens, he’ll be able to leave the Island… which probably is bad news for the rest of the world.


Say hello to our drama for the season.


I don’t know exactly why this would be the case, but I’m guessing that Anti-Jacob is bound to the Island and the rules of the Island so long as Jacob or the candidates exist. He provides the yin to their yang. With Jacob dead, if all the candidates die, it’ll be all yin and no yang, effectively breaking the balance of power on the Island, throwing the “rules” out the window, and setting Anti-Jacob free from his role as Island Security System. Heck, this cosmic change in the balance of power on the Island might even result in sinking the Island altogether.


Locke is already dead. That leaves five other people for SmokeLocke to kill before his mission is complete. As Young Jacob reminded him this episode, “You know the rules. You can't kill him.” Apparently I’m the only one who thought this referred to Sawyer, but I think it’s pretty obvious. Although SmokeLocke wants to kill Sawyer (and the other candidates), he can’t just do it due to yet another “rule” on the Island. I’m guessing it’s somehow tied into the essence of Jacob. Jacob touched each of these candidates at some point in their lives, perhaps giving them a hint of his essence. This acts as a protection from Anti-Jacob on the Island. A little bit of Jacob is inside each of the candidates, which makes them untouchable to Anti-Jacob. But that doesn’t mean they can’t die in other ways.


(Note: I also think this is the explanation for the ash that repels SmokeLocke – it’s got the “essence” of Jacob inside of it… or is literally the remnants of Jacob, if we’re talking about Ilana’s pouch. Jacob probably “blessed” the ashes from his fire periodically and gave it to the Others – hello Holy Water symbolism – as a means of protecting themselves from Anti-Jacob.)

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I think this is where SmokeLocke is taking things. He’s going to manipulate our Survivors into situations where they either get killed, leave the Island, or “refuse” the role of New Jacob. If this is the case, one would think he would have just let Sawyer fall to his death on the rope ladder this episode – but he didn’t, which must mean he needs him for something else. Tricking the other Candidates, helping him gain access to specific areas of the Island – something. Sawyer is getting played by SmokeLocke right now. Into doing what? We’ll see as the season progresses.


Back to the Numbers. Does this mean that Jacob knew what the Numbers meant all along? That even though he wrote down hundreds of names and numbers inside his cave, he always knew it would end up being Locke, Sayid, Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, and Sun/Jin as the final candidates? I don’t think so. I think he’s been assigning random numbers to the potential candidates over the years (which would explain why they aren’t in any way sequential, and our Survivors (who arrived on the Island quite recently) were assigned lower numbers than some of the people who were on the Island long before them. If anything, it seems like Valenzetti was the genius who somehow figured out that these Numbers would come into play in a major way to prevent the end of the world. The fact that Jacob happened to assign them to our Survivor-Candidates can simply be chalked up to fate… or destiny.


Keep in mind that the Numbers originated as the serial number for the Swan Hatch… and we were one smudge away from having the Numbers be 4-8-15-16-23-41 (or something else). It’s not as though the Numbers have always existed on the Island. The first record we have of them is in 1977. One would think that if they held some great cosmic power and relevance to Jacob, they would be all over everything the Others (his followers) did. But they’re not.


So in the end, the explanation to the Numbers accomplishes exactly what the writers wanted – we have an explanation as to what they are (variables in the Valenzetti Equation… which actually represent the Survivor-Candidates), without going into ridiculous detail about WHY and HOW they exist… and the best part of all is that they play a major role in the action of the final season, which helps prove that they really were important all along – just in a totally different way than any of us expected: the fate of our Survivors and the fate of the World.


The End. I think this brings the story up to speed, leaving us only with the ending. Although I’m not sure how the story is going to end (or maybe I am, but want to hold back that theory for another day), I think it’s clear where the story is heading, and all the pieces are coming together. It’s SmokeLocke’s mission to eliminate the Candidates through various means while our Survivor-Candidates determine if they want to step up and become the new Leader or not.


As SmokeLocke told Sawyer, there are three options:


  1. Do nothing and see how all this plays out. Effectively, stick around on the Island until you inevitably die.
  2. Accept the job. Become the New Jacob. Protect the Island.
  3. Just go. Get the hell off the Island and never look back.


Each of our Survivor-Candidates will need to make their decision between those three options.


  • For Locke, the decision has seemingly already been made. He’s dead. His name is crossed off. One down, five to go.
  • For Sawyer, he’s pissed off a the world and hates the Island since Juliet died. Right now, he’s going with Option #3… at least for now.
  • For Sun/Jin, it’s pretty clear what option they will choose – it’s Option #3, which allows them to get off the Island and back to their baby.
  • For Jack, in my mind he’s the most likely candidate for Option #2. But we’ll see what happens.
  • For Hurley, I could easily see him going with Option #1. He’s not a “take charge” kind of guy.
  • For Sayid, it brings up an interesting question. How in the hell does all this talk of “claiming” come into play?


Tangent. In keeping with the spirit of “balance” on the Island, I guess it only seems fair that since Jacob can leave the Island and give people his “essence” to protect them from Anti-Jacob, then Anti-Jacob should have some corresponding power to assist in his role as “Security System” for the Island. Based on what we’ve seen so far, that means claiming the dead on the Island as part of his undead army of soldiers.


The thing to keep in mind is that Anti-Jacob wasn’t always hell-bent on getting off the Island. So I’m guessing this wasn’t always an issue on the Island. Maybe way back in the day (pre-1800’s), Anti-Jacob didn’t “claim” dead people, because he didn’t see the need. Or, perhaps he did “claim” dead people, but they worked hand in hand with the Others on the Island – again, all working towards the same goal.


But recently, Anti-Jacob has started to get angry. He’s used these “claimed” people to attack the Others. It might even be another extension of his loophole. He can’t directly attack anyone who isn’t a direct threat to the Island, but his zombie soldiers can? The problem is that there are definite exceptions to this rule that we’ve seen over the years, and I fear that the writers are going to chalk to being “necessary to the storyline”. The only two Survivors that we have seen Smokey kill on the Island were the Pilot (in the first episode, to drum up some action / fear / mystery on the Island), and Eko (used as a handy way to allow the actor to leave the show).


I admit, it’s a hole – and doesn’t fit as nicely into my little story as I would like. I’ll keep working on it. Or we can just wait until next week, when all of this stuff is disproved, and we start from scratch…


Footnotes. Okay, what did I miss from this episode?


Alpert – I found it interesting that SmokeLocke told Richard that he wanted “what I’ve always wanted. For you to come with me.” Sounds like Anti-Jacob tried unsuccessfully for years to bring Richard over to his side. Maybe there was even a battle for Richard’s allegiance way back in the day, when Alpert first arrived on the Island. Jacob won, Anti-Jacob lost, and that’s helped Jacob thrive over the years and build his Island full of Others, while Anti-Jacob was relegated to claiming their scraps (the dead people). But as I mentioned in my Instant Reactions, it sounds like Alpert was little more than a conduit between the Others and Jacob, and didn’t really know the full game plan. It’s also interesting that the last thing SmokeLocke told him was “I’ll be seeing you, Richard – sooner than you think”, which makes me think there’s a big confrontation between SmokeLocke and the Others (with Richard) right around the corner.


Ilana - She’s the opposite of Richard. She knows a lot more about what’s actually going on than any of us ever thought. She knows about Jin, she knows about Anti-Jacob “recruiting” the Survivor-Candidates to try and talk them into walking away from the Island, she knows the importance of carrying around a bit of Jacob-ash in your back pocket. She also knows that Anti-Jacob is now “stuck” in Locke’s body.


Initially, this seems inaccurate. After all, last season SmokeLocke was walking around on the Island at the same time as we saw Christian and Alex on the Island, which most of us chalked up to being a manifestation of Smokey. But perhaps it wasn’t impersonating Locke for the first time that “stuck” him, but rather was the act of Jacob dying. With Jacob dying, maybe the “rules” change. In an effort to keep the balance of power in play on the Island, you prevent Anti-Jacob from changing forms – which might make it too easy for him to eliminate the Candidates. Or, if you assume that Jacob and Anti-Jacob are somehow connected to each other, perhaps Jacob’s death limits Anti-Jacob’s powers, removing the ability to shape shift into other people on the Island.


Or maybe it’s a convenient plot device. We’ll keep this one on the back-burner for now.


Off-Island - Lastly, we have the Off-Island action from “The Substitute”. I’m not going to continue to harp on the fact that I don’t understand or appreciate the Off-Island action yet, but I have a hard time dedicating a lot of time and effort to it until I know if it’s going to be worthwhile. Once we understand the Off-Island action, I’ll gladly go back and re-analyze more in-depth if it proves to increase our understanding and appreciation of the overall Lost storyline. For now, I’ll leave you with a few quick thoughts and observations.


As opposed to Kate and Claire, Locke seems to be a fundamentally different person in the Off-Island action vs. the original Locke we saw. This one doesn’t believe in miracles, accepts his fate, and is willing to settle down with a happy little life with Helen rather than looking for some bigger purpose. Ironically, this makes his Off-Island life much better than in his original flashbacks, where it was generally a “kick-Locke-in-the-nuts-a-thon” each time, as his life just got worse and worse the more we learned about it. If you’re keeping track at home, I’d say this is the score:


2 – Survivors whose lives are worse without the crash (Kate and Rose)

2 – Survivors whose lives are better without the crash (Locke and Hurley)

1 – Survivors whose lives are the same without the crash (Claire)


It’ll be interesting to see how this score changes as we see more Off-Island action, and if it lends any hints to the bigger picture.


Locke seemed to be on good terms with his father, which means he became paralyzed some other way.


Locke appeared to be standing in some of the pictures with his father, which means he still became paralyzed later in life.


As I mentioned at the beginning, this story has an expiration date of approximately one week – at which time it will appear hilariously wrong and not even close to the real overall Lost storyline. But it’s the best I’ve got for now.

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Until next week!

http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=504.0

28 comments:

Greg C. said...

Have you seen this website? I think this guy has it all figured out!

http://neverseenlost.wordpress.com

Eric said...

My thoughts:
Hurley is going to be the next protector. Everyone else is either too obvious (Jack), or too flawed. Seeing Hurley as a boss in the off-island stuff shows that he can be a good leader. And let's be honest - who of the candidates would you rather have as your leader besides Hurley?

I thought the kid was some sort of island spirit or pre-Jacob thing. It never occurred to me that he was a younger Jacob although that makes sense.

I think the whole Valenzetti thing is going to be dropped. I believe that Damon and Carlton have said that nothing not on the actual show is canon, and I have a feeling they weren't exactly sure how the story was going to play out at first. I think some of the earlier mysteries are going to be either glossed over or given convenient explanations. I think the "claimed"/"infected" thing is an example of this.

The off-island stuff is going to work out pretty well for most people. I think that its going to show that Jacob wasn't as good as he seems and had to ruin some lives to accomplish his goals.

The one thing I'm still confused about is what powers Jacob has and how he knew to set things in motion so early.

VictorC said...

Awesome, awesome theories, Brian.

Brian said...

Greg C. - Yeah, I've seen that website. Cute concept, but the author tries waaaay too hard, and clearly is super familiar with the show and simply acting like he's watching it for the first time to create opportunities to make jokes.

Probably would have been better if it was someone actually watching the show for the first time.

J/K said...

Extremely well stated theories. Nice work

Daniel J. DeLawter said...

Good theories. I really think its a mistake to ignore both Ben and Widmore completely, however. 2 seasons of them at each others throats (a shape of things to come?) should not be so quickly dismissed simply because the mythology is ramped up.

Ellis said...

Awesome. I think this is what makes it all so much fun. The speculation is better than the actual result, most times.

In re: the numbers. I made this guess earlier but maybe the significance of the numbers is tied to their association with the "candidates" on the list. Jack was a candidate, and happened to be listed as number whatever, and so that number became important because of Jack.
Jacob had prior knowledge of all the opportunities for outsiders to come into contact with the island, due to his ability to travel through time/space/whatever. These opportunities don't come often, so when he saw Oceanic 815 coming, he got his little list of potential people ready. Years in advance, so he could check everyone out.
He lists all the people on the ceiling of a cave, gives each a number, and keeps track of their lives.
I dunno how this would tie into the numbers being broadcast from the radio tower, or imprinted as serial numbers of the parts of the Swan hatch, but I can't shake the thought that the numbers are important because of the people, not the other way around.

Brian said...

Daniel J. DeLawter - Good catch. One of the problems with my stream of thought style of writing is that I don't plan ahead and sometimes miss out on certain points that I wanted to make.

Widmore and Ben is one of them.

They both make mention of the "rules". Are they bound by the same Mystical Island Power Rules as Jacob and Anti-Jacob? I don't think so. Rather, I think that Jacob has passed down his "Ten Commandments" of rules for the Others to live by. They may be the same sort of rules as the Mystical Island Power Rules, but some may differ.

The enforcer of these rules is Smokey, thus explaining Ben needing to stand before him for judgment last season.

In terms of sides, it's clear that Ben thought he was working for Jacob all along... but was duped into killing Jacob by SmokeLocke. As for Widmore, based on all that he did to help Locke get back to the Island, he's either working for Anti-Jacob (perhaps having been promised ownership of the Island once Anti-Jacob is freed), or he's also been duped.

I'm pretty sure this storyline will come back to play in the very near future. They won't just leave us hanging.

Boston Jon said...

Brian,

I don't think that Smokey killing the pilot and Eko were there just to create excitement and/or to get rid of a character . . . Especially the Pilot . . . definatley not a "hole"

The pilot was supposed to be Frank Lepedius. I think Smokey was pissed that, for whatever reason, Lepedius wasn't there. Perhaps "fate" . . . if Lepedius was there then he might have been killed. Perhaps he serves a much bigger purpose. He does say something along the lines "those who claim they are the good guys usually aren't . . . "

As for Eko . . . well he was building a church. Perhaps you are only supposed to worship the Island . . . and not bring Man Made other religions into it. He was a man of "mis - guided faith" and Smokey viewed him and his theories as a threat to the Island. (or the writers need a way to kill him that was exciting . . . lol).

timcourtois said...

Great theories....
2 thoughts:

1. Maybe Smokey got stuck in Locke's form when Locke got buried? That would explain the weirdness that Ilana was willing to go to all that trouble to help bury Locke, meanwhile all her dead friends who she was crying about were rotting in the open air back at the statue. If she knew Locke's body had to be buried for some cosmic reason...
2. Smokey attacked Locke once back in the day - tried to drag him down a hole. What's that about?

urbanlvr said...

I'm not saying this is important, but I did think it was interesting/ironic. "Shephard" was #23. Psalm 23 is "The Lord is my shephard"...

CJ said...

I thought Ilana was crying over what happened to Jacob.

And what about Desmond and Penny? How do they fit into all of this?

jack said...

Firstly, Brian you outdid yourself in this analysis. Clearly, this is an excellent example of how your naritive enhances our viewing pleasure each week (even if or when you are wrong btw).

Secondly, I also wonder how or if Desmond fits into the balance of this story? Has his role and purpose been played out?

Finally, no doubt curious how Whidmore and Mrs Hawkings work into this scheme?

RichB said...

This is very interesting and feel it is on the mark but I also feel is it is all about the numbers. The numbers start it and continue it so it is obvious that is ties to the answer. If you look at the work the user for the title "The Substitute" which is temporary or replacement until the actual replacement comes. Locke is the substitute teacher but he is also the substitute body of the smog monster. Everyone is looking for the replacement for Jacob but there will need to be a new replacement for the smog monster since he only wants to get out. The cave was not Jacob place because we all know he resides under the foot of the statue. So you would assume it belongs to the smog monster. Everyone sees Jacob as looking for the replacement but it that cave belongs to smog monster then he too is looking for his replacement. Then you need to look at the two characters of Jacob and smog monster. Only Hurley can see Jacob and smog monster is with Sawyer. Both characters are similar to the one they are with. Now if you look at the numbers they come up though the series in different areas. The numbers show up in Lottery ticket, serial number for hatch, computer password (also note the they had to put it in every 108 minutes which is the numbers added up) etc. Now if this is true then you know that everyone cannot be a replacements. So you would think it would come down to two. As in the universe, there must be balance (darkness and light, good and evil). So what this week told me is a question I have been asking myself, if the numbers that brought them together mean something why were they on Oceanic Flight 815. Now they assign names to numbers it comes to 8-Reyes (Hurley) and 15-Ford (Sawyer). If the are the replacements, that is where it would end and "Everything that happens is just progress"

Ryan said...

On the note that everyone is wondering if the kid is Aaron or child Jacob.. it made me think this..

Remember back in season 2 when they had an entire episode about making sure Aaron gets baptized? Why would that be so important if it wasn't something Jacob/AJ wanted to happen in the bigger picture?

Steve said...

Flocke seemed surprised that Sawyer could see the child. Alpert could not. Sawyer is 'special' in some way. Who else saw Kates horse, i can't remember if it was Jack or Sawyer.

Jack kept seeing his father, Sawyer could obviously see things. Ben could see his 'mother', Sayid saw Walt, and hurkey saw Jacob, and lots of all sorts of things. All these characters were touched by Jacob.

One other question, I don't remember, did Jacob touch Sun or Jin? that would explain which one is on the list.

I don't think that is smokeys cave. He seems sincere when he said he didn't know if it was Sun or Jin on the list. Jacob had many homes... at least 3 that we've seen.

Steve said...

Brian: Jacob has been on the island longer than you say. Note his papyrus/weavings. I don't know whether he learned this from who he inherited it from, or whether he ties back to those days.

Smokey is in hyroplyphs as well..

Red Khmer said...

Steve: If you watch the episode again, it's not that Richard can't see Bloody Kid/Little Jacob, it's just that he's disappeared by the time Richard looks.

Also, I think the point is that Jacob and Smokey have always existed on the island in some form, but their roles have been fulfilled by different people over the centuries. Jacob took over being Jacob from someone else, just as one of the Candidates will take over for him. I imagine the same is true for Smokey.

So the heiroglyphics show that Smokey has always (more or less) protected the Island, but I think he's been embodied by a number of different people over time.

Marec van Wareck said...

my guess to the bloody kid: it's smokey's son. the one he loved and lost (sometimes in the past).
smokey's been quite emotional in this whole episode, he tells sawyer about him once being a normal man (with a normal life? - a normal family?). the writers def want to give the character of smokey "more heart", a depth, want to establish him as a character, make him more human, so the audience can emphasize with him. easy way to do so, is to give the character a backstory wound, to make his actions understandable.
besides, why would jacob appear as a child instead of a grown man as he appeared to hurley.

just a wild guess, tho. =)

keep up the good work. ^^

Catherine said...

I'm still confused about exactly what is going on. So if Jacob is looking for a replacement (hence the candidates), why can't Anti-Jacob look for a replacement for the Security System role too (if he just wants to go home)?

Dave Harty said...

I'm interested to find out who determined and then distributed "the rules". As Brian points out, they must have come from someone above Jacob, Anti-Jacob, and anyone else we've seen. And how are they enforced?

Also, I don't think Jacob was using the FDW to move through space and time. Widmore had the "landing spot" staked out and would have seen Jacob, at least when he came back to see Hurley just before he got on the Ajira flight.

Theyab said...

Catherine,

I was thinking the same thing. Maybe he is tricking Sawyer into being his replacement so he can leave and Sawyer becomes Smokey. So Jack becomes Jacob and Sawyer becomes Anti-Jacob.

Catherine said...

Theyab,

Hmmm...interesting. Jack became the leader of the Oceanic survivors, and Sawyer was head of security for Dharma. If I were the mystical island power, I'd hire them!
And there is that rivalry between the two of them...

the said...

i like that idea of Sawyer taking over island security and the foershadowing of it...

as for jacob's replacement, i dig the idea of hurley... acutually, in the current off-island storyline, he already is directing Lock's life (and Rose?) and maybe well see him get involved with the other survivors off island too. plus he's rich like whidmore...

agree that jacob goes back way further.. i think brian came up with 1500 to explain the eurpoean physical features of jacob, but i don't think there is any reason to assume the island was always in the pacific, we know it moves.

reesee said...

EW: In last week’s episode, Ilana said that Smokey is “recruiting,” and we saw him go after Richard Alpert and Sawyer. Is his first order of business to recruit all of the castaways?
Terry O'quinn: There’s some recruiting that goes on. We’re doing an episode now called “The Last Recruit.” He has a purpose. As you know, all of a sudden, they’re establishing all these rules. “You can’t do this unless this…” It’s like a children’s game. We keep making up new rules [laughs]. So the recruiting has to do with fulfilling the rules.

robpatt said...

Great Analysis.
I like the idea of Sawyer and Jack eventually filling the roles of Smokey and Jacob. It seems to fit their personalities and the way we have come to know them. Interesting that Jack feels people's lives are in his hands. Right now Sawyer's mental state seems to be the same as Smokeys, but that assumes that Smokey has always wanted to get off the island.
Something interesting is looking at these same roles in the Ben and Whidmore conflict that also have "rules". Whidmore seems to want only to get back on the island and Ben seems to work to keep Whidmore trapped not on the island. Its almost the opposite of the Smokey Jacob roles.
The last thing i would like your thoughts on: We are nearing the end of the whole series so we are trying to guess the outcome. My only problem with what were coming up with is that the resolution is going to have to payoff for all viewers... not just to superanalytical types. That means fundamentally we are going to have to feel the characters got resolution to all their inner conflicts that the show has been incredibly concerned for. We get upset when there are episodes that are just back story to color the characters. Now this season seems to be all about the smokey / jacob conflict on the island and off island seems to be just about the characters lives without the island. Somehow the resolution can't just be jacob winning, or beating smokey, its going to have to come in the form of personal payoff of the characters lives. We are going to have to be glad that sawyer would be imprisoned as the new smokey, or that Jack can live on the island as jacob... similar to how we are satisfied with Rose just living out her days in paradise. We are going to have to have individual conclusions to a show that has been about individual characters. All that said that i don't know if the writers are chiefly concerned with explaining the stuff we want to know... they are going to have to finish telling these stories of the character's lives.

aa23278 said...

what about the two stones on the balance? the black and white one? and fake locke picks up the white stone and hurls into the ocean?
sawyer: "what was that about?"
Flocke: "inside joke"

Salvar said...

I don't have a screenshot, but I've got to point this out, because I know I can't be the only one to think it.

When AJ is trying to convince Richard to come with him, he says, fake-incredulously, "You mean you've been going along with it the whole time and you never knew why?"
At that moment, the beaten, sad-puppy look on Richard's face was just perfect. To me it seemed to represent all the die-hard Lost fans, and how beat-up and pitifully desperate for answers we all feel.
:D