The fundamental theme of Lost, from the very start, has been redemption. The series opened with a group of strangers – all of whom had pretty troubled / tragic pasts, ending up on an
In the comments for this week’s episode, I found a lot of people complaining that the Lost storyline we’ve been following for the past five seasons has been reduced to a battle between two god-like creatures – one of whom is “pure evil”, and that nothing in the first five seasons really matters. But they’re kinda missing the point. Lost has always been about redemption. The introduction of Jacob and Anti-Jacob has simply introduced physical manifestations for the “good” and “evil” we’ve always been talking about. Rather than our Survivors choosing to make good or bad decisions in their personal lives, they are now choosing to follow a good or bad entity.
Lost is still about what it has always been about – what happens to a group of flawed individuals who are given the chance to redeem themselves. Only now instead of just worrying about the personal outcome for each Survivor, their actions and decisions just might save or destroy the world.
Now that’s what you call “raising the stakes”.
In The Beginning. During my Instant Reactions, I jotted down a few examples of one of my long-standing theories about Lost – that although JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof claim they had the first five or six seasons of Lost planned from the start, they still wrote the first season in a way that they could wrap a shortened version of the same story up in one year, just in case the show was unsuccessful and not renewed for a second season.
What I did this week was go through an episode by episode review of Season One to find parallels between the first season of Lost and the last season of Lost – and I was pretty surprised to see how many there were. Why did I do this? I think a lot of us have built up a lot of questions and “Lost baggage” over the past five seasons, where the writers have created such a mountain of unanswered questions that we obsess over some of the more minor ones instead of seeing the “big picture” stuff we should really be caring about. By looking at Season One, I’m hoping we have a better understanding of Season Six – and if we’re really lucky, maybe it’ll even help us predict where this final season of Lost is headed.
Queue the Lost flashback whoosh…
In the first episode of Lost,
In the third episode of Lost, Locke encountered Smokey in the Jungle – and seemingly was never the same again. Would it have been so far fetched to have it revealed that the “real Locke” was actually killed and everything we saw with Locke from that point forward was actually SmokeLocke?
In the next few episodes, we would see Locke mysteriously knowing a lot more about the
- The Cave Group: Jack, Locke, Hurley, Sun, and Jin (along with some dead characters)
- The Beach Group: Kate, Sawyer, Sayid (along with some dead characters)
Look familiar? It’s nearly the same two groups that we have today!
It’s also not hard to see how the “whispers” from Season One could have become “being claimed” in Season Six. In Season One, we had CFL and Sayid hearing the whispers. Now we’ve got Crazy Claire and Sayid as the potentially “claimed”.
Characters aside, there’s one other big thing that jumped out at me in reviewing Season One: Rousseau points out that the Numbers “brought her to the
So if the Numbers became Jacob, what about Anti-Jacob?
Let’s think about the Hatch. Remember how Walt, who knew nothing about the Hatch, begged our Survivors not to open it? Knowing everything we know about Desmond and the Swan Station now, does that make any sense? No. But what if there was something evil inside – something “pure evil” that was being contained by a Hatch, instead of black ash? Then it would make perfect sense. Anti-Jacob is leading Locke on a mission to open the Hatch to release the evil.
By the end of the first season, everything was building towards a battle / debate between Jack and Locke about opening that Hatch. Jack was even making promises about killing Locke. We’ve seen that same tension bubble up on numerous occasions over the years, so it would make sense that we’re going to see it happen one final time as we speed towards the series finale.
In short – in the first season, we had two opposing forces on the
While the previous four seasons have definitely enhanced the storyline, our understanding of the characters (and the Island), added fantastic new characters and sub-storylines, and infinitely raised the stakes of the actions our Survivors take on the Island, in the end I think it all boils down to the same thing – our Survivors dividing up into two groups, each believing their side is “right” and then seeing how it all plays out when they make the decision to open the Hatch / blow up the Island / pop the cork (that sounds dirty).
Of course the only problem with this is that from the start, I have been calling for the finale of Lost to pull the rug out from under us and reveal that what we thought was “good” is actually “bad” and vice versa. For that to be the case in this final season, it would mean that Anti-Jacob is actually the good guy and Jacob is actually the bad guy… and I have a really hard time justifying that logic. But in the end, it’s gotta come down to Locke on one side and Jack on the other, with a big decision at hand… and potentially the fate of the world at stake.
Okay, that was a fun exercise. But wasn’t there a Lost episode this week that needs analyzing?
Jacob. I have to admit, I thought long and hard about exactly who or what Jacob is after this week’s episode – and I still have no idea. Here’s what doesn’t add up – it seems like he was on the
But what if Jacob doesn’t really have all the power that we think he does? What if he just knows how to “work the system” of the
They don’t. At all.
If you think about, the only supporting evidence we have to Jacob’s claims that he “brings people to the Island” (as he told Alpert this week) is that he touched our Survivors before they arrived on the
(The opposing argument here is that Jacob brought Dharma to the Island to build the Swan Hatch and Desmond to the Island to not push the button, which means he really was responsible for Oceanic 815 crashing – but that still doesn’t explain why he would bring people to the Island only to have them slaughtered upon arriving).
Similarly, this episode made it appear as though Jacob “granted” Alpert’s wish to live forever by touching him – but what if he really just sent Richard to take a dip in a magical Fountain of Youth pool that’s on the
I guess what I’m getting at is that we don’t have any proof about Jacob’s abilities – at least not yet. He might just be a guy using the magic of the
Anti-Jacob. Then there’s Anti-Jacob, with just as many mysteries surrounding him. We saw this week that he had the ability to quickly kill anyone who arrived on the Island – aside from Alpert, who he scanned, and then saw a chance to use in an effort to kill Jacob – so why didn’t he wipe out EVERYONE who came to the
Again, you could argue that it was all part of some huge, really complicated master plan – that Dharma was needed so that Ben would be on the Island, so that Anti-Jacob could eventually use him as part his loophole plan to take out Jacob – but if Anti-Jacob really was aware of the list of Candidates in his cave, why didn’t he at least kill them when they arrived on the Island? Maybe I’m missing some subtle influence that a character like Sun / Jin / Hurley had in the loophole plan, but it seems like he really just needed to keep Jack and Locke alive to reach the same result.
I think this is where the “Touch of Jacob” comes into play. Rather than the “Touch of Jacob” bringing the people to the
Earlier we established that Jacob must have been a child at some point who gained all these mysterious powers – but Anti-Jacob’s past is even more mysterious. Unlike Jacob, he’s actually told us a little bit about his past… but that doesn’t make understanding it any easier. Here are his claims:
- He was once a man.
- He knows joy, anger, fear, and betrayal.
- He knows what it is to lose someone you love.
- He had a crazy mother that gave him issues he’s still trying to overcome.
- He had his body and humanity taken by “the devil” (Jacob).
- He is trapped on the
Island, and just wants to go home.
The majority of his claims seem reasonable enough, and paint the picture of both Jacob and Anti-Jacob being on the Island together as normal people, living normal lives – but then at some point things changed and he became the yin to Jacob’s yang. Based on my previous “Jacob doesn’t really have magical powers” theory, Anti-Jacob probably blames Jacob for losing his body and becoming Smokey – but it probably wasn’t actually caused by Jacob touching him or snapping his fingers.
Instead, I’m envisioning some scenario where Anti-Jacob dies or is dying (maybe at the hand of Jacob) – and has his spirit claimed by Smokey – basically “becoming Smokey”. He’s alive, and he now lives forever like Jacob – but unlike Jacob, he’s trapped on the
This would go a long way in achieving my preferred ending for Lost – where our impression of good and evil are turned on their heads… but it would take away the established drama and importance of this final season with our Survivors trying to save the world.
In the end, I’ll just say this – Anti-Jacob is clearly a “bad guy”. We don’t know if Jacob is really responsible for bringing people to the
The interesting thing about Jacob’s analogy is that it doesn’t seem to be accurate. Based on the conversation between Jacob and Anti-Jacob it’s actually Jacob – or his replacement if he dies – that is keeping Anti-Jacob on the
This means that it’s really not a big deal that the
Here’s a thought – we’ve talked about our characters making a “deal with the devil”, represented by what we are seeing in the Flash Sideways – having their consciousness transferred to an alternate reality to continue living “happily ever after” even if things end super depressing on the Island in the first reality. I don’t really have the science or logic behind how this could happen, but I could totally picture an ending to Lost that features the last Candidate (and I’m picturing Jack) locking himself in some airtight place on the Island and intentionally sinking it as a way to forever trap Anti-Jacob on the Island and prevent anyone else from ever coming to the Island to help him escape through another loophole. Imagine how sad that final scene would be! Jack making the ultimate sacrifice of living forever, trapped under the sea with Anti-Jacob, in an effort to save all his friends… and the world.
Actually, that might be too depressing, even for me.
Richard Alpert. Finally, we should probably touch on the man of the hour – Richard Alpert. It’s somewhat fitting that after being told “the only way to return to God’s grace is through penance” – but he didn’t have enough time left in his life pre-Island to give enough penance… only to end up on the Island where he has spent hundreds of years in “hell”, doing what he thinks is serving some greater purpose against forces of evil. Sounds like plenty of penance to me. I think Alpert has one job left, and once that job is complete, he’ll get his happy ending – which is being able to die and join Isabella wherever she is (heaven?)… Alpert has to stop SmokeLocke from leaving the
When I first started this Blog, I had a theory in my head that Richard might be the only person capable of “killing” SmokeLocke. Why? Because Anti-Jacob actually touched Alpert first and made a deal with him. It took Ben, a follower of Jacob, to kill him. It would make sense that Alpert, who was initially, temporarily, a follower of Anti-Jacob, could kill him. But then I realized that this would mean one of our Survivors would then have to become the new “pure evil”, and I don’t see that happening, even to someone like Sayid who seems to have lost his soul.
Let’s go back to my super depressing ending. SmokeLocke and Jack sitting in some airtight room at the bottom of the ocean, forced to hang out with each other for all eternity. I hope one of them brings cards.
So where does Richard come into play? Although he didn’t know anything about the Candidates or the loophole, he probably does know pretty much every square inch of the
We’ve got three potential “teams” on the
Okay – I think that’s enough crazy for this week.
Until Tuesday, Go