Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Ab Aeterno" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Hell-o.

Wow. Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have our "purpose" for the season... and the series.

  • The "Man in Black" is the devil / pure evil.
  • The Island is a cork, keeping him trapped on the Island.
  • If he is able to kill Jacob, along with all Jacob's replacements, he'll be free.
  • If he gets free, it'll be hell on earth.

Oh hell yeah.

Richard Alpert. Wow - what a tragic existence for poor Richard. I was pretty surprised at how in-depth the Richard backstory was this episode. I was expecting it to "start" with his arrival on the Island, but instead we got his full life story, with a good half of the episode dealing with his life before ending up as a slave on the Black Rock (and Magnus Hanso). Initially, I was thinking "come on, get to the good Island stuff!", but in the end, seeing all of his backstory definitely made the episode far more powerful, moving, and fleshed out Richard's character more than I was expecting. His suicide attempt a few weeks back makes a whole lot more sense now. He's basically been in hell for the past hundred and fifty years.


Hell. Multiple times this episode, characters referred to the Island as hell - and that the people there are "dead"... but before you get all crazy with your purgatory theories (again), understand that it's all symbolic. The Island is "hell" because "the devil" is there. I've officially decided that there will never be a name for Anti-Jacob, because he is simply "pure evil". It doesn't have a name. Does this remind anyone else of the final season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"?

The interesting thing is that evil still exists in the outside world. It's not as though by keeping Anti-Jacob trapped on the Island, the world is free from evil. It still exists. But I guess this is part of the whole "balance" theme of Lost. God leaves people to their own devices. He wants them to figure things out for themselves without his heavy-handed intervention. On the other hand, the devil would gladly interfere, which would easily tip the scales in his favor. So somehow, God trapped the devil on this Island, and put a "guard" on the Island to be keep him there... Jacob.

So, Jacob isn't God - although he certainly acts like it with his "why do I have to get involved, people should be good on their own" attitude. However, his actions in this episode were full of religious symbolism. Baptizing Richard by dunking his head under water three times until he decided he wanted to live, having "communion" with him by sharing wine, and giving him eternal life in return for serving him.

Yet even though Jacob obviously has some powers (like granting people eternal life), he's like the Genie in Aladdin. There are rules. He can't bring people back from the dead. He can't make people fall in love with you. No wishing for more wishes. Okay, maybe just the first one... and he can't absolve you for your sins. It was interesting to see how angry Jacob was back in the day, compared to his current calm, mellow self.

In the end, if nothing else, this episode confirmed for me that Anti-Jacob is "bad" and Jacob is "good". It's easy to point out all the bad things that have happened as a result of Jacob's influence in the lives of our Survivors - but fundamentally, he's just trying to keep evil on the Island and prove the devil is wrong... and that people are fundamentally good. He's not perfect (again, he's not God), so there have definitely been some negative consequences of his involvement in people's lives - but on the whole, he's trying to keep the world from going to hell.


Loophole Number One. Anti-Jacob tries to get Alpert to stab Jacob (before he can say anything and "trick him", just like Dogen told Sayid about killing SmokeLocke!), but it fails. People have long debated about why Ben was able to kill Jacob so easily - but maybe anyone could have done it. It's just a matter of getting to Jacob and stabbing him. He clearly knew that he was mortal (telling Anti-Jacob that even if he succeeded in killing him, there would be a replacement for him), and we found out two weeks ago that he didn't want to die.

On the other hand, Anti-Jacob seems like a far trickier entity to destroy. How do you kill the devil? How do you destroy evil? Apparently Isabella thinks that Alpert has the ability to do it - but what makes him different?


Isabella. Isabella was never on the Island. The image that appeared to Richard inside the Black Rock was obviously a manifestation of Smokey (who earlier "scanned" Richard in hopes of using him to kill Jacob). But her appearance later, with translations from Hurley, was a little puzzling. Sure, it was convenient to wrap up Alpert's story - but up until this point, we've been able to explain almost all of the "dead people appearances" on the Island as being manifestations of Smokey / Anti-Jacob. This one was different. Can Hurley really see any dead "spirit", regardless of when and where they died, as long as they come to the Island? Or was she really just Jacob taking her form before talking to Hurley to help Richard overcome his crisis of faith?



Parallels. Finally, did you notice all the parallels and callbacks to previous episodes in "Ab Aeterno"? First, there's the way that Richard "accidentally" killed the doctor and how Desmond "accidentally" killed Kelvin? And the end result of both was being "stuck" on the Island. Or how about the parallels between Jacob's speech to Alpert about not letting the evil escape the Island with CFL's lines in SEASON ONE about "I had to kill them - can you imagine what would have happened if they would have left the Island?" There were the callbacks to SmokeLocke's "it's nice to see you out of those chains" from earlier this season.

Lots of good stuff.


So where do we go from here?

Clearly, Richard is the key. Jacob may have told Ilana who the 6 Candidates were (Jack, Sun, Hurley, Sawyer, TBD, TBD) and to get them to the Temple - but it sounds like his instructions end there. From there, it's up to Richard. He's overcome his crisis of faith and may finally realize what his purpose is. He's no longer the intermediary between Jacob and the people he brings to the Island. Now he's the guy to kill the devil and save the world... or at least help our Survivors to do so.


Phew. Lots of words. I feel like we're due for another "overarching storyline of Lost" post for my analysis this week. I also would like to compare the similarities between Season One and Season Six, in terms of how you can see how the writers could have wrapped up the show in one season if the ratings were low. There's a lot there:

Sayid heard the whispers in Season One, as if he was going to turn evil like CFL's crew... now he's Claimed.

Claire was crazy about someone stealing her baby in Season One... now she's Crazy Claire.

Locke was drastically changed after a Smokey encounter in Season One, and we thought maybe he was taken over by Smokey... and now he's literally a manifestation of Smokey.

There's a lot more where that came from. It wouldn't have been as "full of a story", but I really do think the key to understanding the final few episodes of Lost is to look back to the midpoint of Season One and see how the writers could have wrapped it up at that time.

At that time, we were building towards a big showdown between Jack and Locke. I have to think we're building to the same thing now.


Wow. That's way too much writing for an Instant Reactions.

Discuss!

92 comments:

Sheebs said...

Amazing episode . I thought Richard was older than that though. great analysis Brian as usual!

Jack Elder said...

When we had that season finale showing Jacob and Anti Jacob on the beach watching the Black Rock arrive, wasn't it calm weather? It sure wasn't calm weather this time. Additionally, the waves didn't see big enough to take the ship that far inland. Wouldn't it take a tsunami to get it that far?

Sarah said...

Jack, my husband and I were talking and we were thinking that ship must not have been the Black Rock after all, because of all the things you mentioned...

Chris said...

That's assuming the boat in that scene is the Black Rock. As he told Richard...there have been many people brought to the island before him.
I'm assuming those people didn't have planes or subs...since they weren't invented yet. So that ship on the calm water could be anyone really.

Jack Elder said...

Sarah, I had that same thought as well. If it's not the black rock though, it's a little late to introduce a whole new ship and storyline, isn't it?

Aliette said...
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Aliette said...

thanks Brian! I loved this episode and Richard's story! And I love the Buffy comment you made....my all time favorite show! So many don't know how amazing the writing was on that show as well!

Sarah said...

Yep, I'm with Chris...it could be any ship, since there had been so many brought to the island for hundreds (thousands?) of years...
I really want to see a Jacob/MIB flashback!!

Sheebs said...

I'm pretty sure I saw the words "Black Rock" on the back of the ship in the stormy scene.

Also, after this I suspect that Dogen was trying go kill fake Locke rather than get Sayyid killed. That looked like the same dagger and it came with the same instructions. (Of course it didn't work that time either ...)

Oh, by the way ... FIRST!!!

wgh said...

Best LOST blog, and it's not even close.

Chris said...

The big questions I have left:

-Where did the rules come from/who wrote them

-How long have Jacob and the MIB been there

-Is Jacob the first Jacob, or did he take someone elses place?

Hope said...

Two quick comments. Wasn't the guy that took Richard out of prison a Widmore? Also, Hurley saw dead people off of the island so I don't think he is limited by the island in any way.

Hope said...

Two quick comments. Wasn't the guy that took Richard out of prison a Widmore? Also, Hurley saw dead people off of the island so I don't think he is limited by the island in any way.

Peggy said...

Hurley can speak to dead people anywhere, he just doesn't control when. He spoke to Charlie off-island, even though Charlie died on-island. He spoke to Dave on-island, although Dave was off-island.

Liza Wimberley said...

I am puzzled by AntiJacob saying that he was once a regular man who was born to a mother, albeit a crazy one. I wonder how that fits in with him being pure evil, or the devil.

Vidya said...

How come Smokey did not try and escape from the Island when Jacob was away visiting the survivors off island?
Does this mean that the island should seize to exist for Smokey to escape?
Why did smokey not kill Ricardo in the ship? What's special about him?

Sam said...

Peggy - was Dave dead?

Brian - I love your idea of looking at the midpoint of season 1. I think you are dead-on there.

I think Jacob could have stirred up a storm pretty quickly and brought that ship to the island.

This was like watching a feature film - what a great great episode!

Shawn Writes said...

So....Dogen told Sayid to stab Locke with the same weapon Smokey gave to Alpert.

I think we're being told Dogen wasn't following who he thought he was.

Sam said...

A big question I have is: at what point do the people Jacob brings to the island prove him right? Because it seemed that the real John Locke was doing all the right things.

Also, are these really candidates to take over for Jacob, or candidates to prove Jacob right? And if/when someone does prove Jacob to be correct, there won't really be a need for a replacement.

Isaac said...

It did feel like a feature film and if it were I would of given Nestor Carbonell and Oscar! What an incredible performance.

I don't think the ship they watched from the beach was the Black Rock. I think we all assumed that because it was the only ship we knew of but as Chris said, the original ship could of been anyone. Its funny because I always had the thought, as I'm sure we all did, that the ship ended up on the island from a massive storm but last seasons beach episode changed my mind. Boy those Lost writers are sneaky!

And what a great revelation that all the ghosts we've seen on the island were always MIB. I don't think Jacob has that ability and it makes since the devil/anti-christ/"pure evil" Larry does. He's the ultimate poser & deceiver.

Jonathan said...

The word Jacob means"heel-catcher", "supplanter", "leg-puller", "he who follows upon the heels of one", from Hebrew: עקב‎, `aqab or `aqav, "seize by the heel", "circumvent", "restrain". Jacob is the real bad guy here. He never gives a straight answer and brings people to the island to suffer or remain captured (restraint).MIB just wants to go home. Lucifer=light bearer=white stone=Jacob. Being dress in black does not automatically mean bad...

Bob said...

To clarify, Isabella only stated that Richard had to stop the man in black from leaving the island. I think the point of Jacob bringing people to the island is to convince the man in black that people are good evoking the sort of epiphany in the man in black so he will realize that the world is better with him on the island and will no longer need a guardian. He would stay of his own choice.

Christine said...

MIB/Smokey/AJ has to be the devil. Only the devil promises you your heart's desire. He did not give Richard the cross out of kindness. He did it to tempt him. However, Richard promptly buried it. He dug it up and reclaimed it only when he changed his mind and decided to go to the Dark Side. Plus the Michael Giacchino score always sounds more menacing when it's a MIB scene.

I think the etymology of Jacob's name is a red herring. What's more important is the symbolism of the story. Jacob and Esau were twins and born rivals. Esau represents power and action, while Jacob represents thought and spirituality. Also Rebekah favored Jacob, so no wonder the MIB is bitter about his "crazy" mom. Interesting description about the story of Jacob and Esau and their reunion in the Messianic Era when the whole world will "come to recognize one God and live with one standard of morality in peace and brotherhood." Sounds pretty Jacobean, right??!! Here's the link: http://www.aish.com/jl/h/48930992.html

I sure hope that the filler episodes are behind us! It definitely feels like it! Can't wait until next week! I've never seen so many posts so early after an episode has ended!

Thanks for your blog Brian! I go to it as soon as I've finished watching the episode so I can see what you thought! Now I need to re-watch Season One, then watch it again after the season finale!

noemailformeadows said...

Christine I agree with you on that one, but Jonothan does have a point too... probably confused as hell for the first time in Lost.... I really think they could spin it into either jacob or MIB being the devil at this point.

Did the whole "black smoke is a security system" thing go out the window when we found out MIB was the smoke? Or is that still relevant?

Also would like to know how Jacob can win this game. What are those rules... real pumped about the rest of the season.

B said...

"I am puzzled by AntiJacob saying that he was once a regular man who was born to a mother, albeit a crazy one. I wonder how that fits in with him being pure evil, or the devil."

Well, he did say "The devil betrayed me. He took my body." while explaining to Richard how to kill Jacob. If that is the case, MIB might just be a poor man like Locke, probably killed and claimed as body for smokey.

robpatt said...
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Jonathan said...

I would say preying on people vulnerabilities and playing head games sounds more like Jacob. We saw a different side of him today. He totally kicked Richard's butt and seemed very angry and rough. I don't think MIB is necessary a good guy either. He is just a person trapped in Hell like everyone else Jacob brings to the island. All of Jacob's "gifts" have ended up being curses almost like his touch is the "kiss of death". What if the people that die in the island are "claimed" by Jacob and not MIB like we all believe it to be. Perhaps that is why we see some of this dead people appear off island as well as in the island. Who is the only one who can perform that trick (being off island and also in the island)? The answer is JACOB. Sounds creepy.....

robpatt said...

Brian,
i like the idea of revisiting the midway point of season 1, but that also assumes these writers would have wrapped up their whole story in a single season. That would make all of Dharma a pure add in. Which maybe we need to come to grips with... what is left from dharma that is important??? Ben? Miles' birth?
I remember early on, that i thought the others looked like pirates, but it was later that we would find out they were wearing the costumes... maybe it was a change to add in the whole dharma science? Looking back now, the whole dharma thing seems to be a red herring to the main story line. The weirdest thing, is richard and Ben killed all of dharma, we can addume on Jacob's orders. Does that mean the DI was going to somehow free the smoke monster? Then Ben took Dharmaville over, and richard recruited Juliet and others off island to be a part of "new others dharma". Dharma also brought us the knowledge that the island sits on a pocket of energy... is that still important. This week talked about it being hell, but i don't think any of them meant literal hell. How does the energy relate to it being a cork? hmmm im getting confused as i think about it. I guess we have to assume all of Dharma also was brought by Jacob and allowed to go back and forth by him since he brought all people, but then he decided differently?!?!?!

Really loved the episode. I don't think the writers are trying to fool us with who's good, who's bad. What else could they do to prove that smokey is bad? If he isn't evil then i don't know if we can t rust anything. It also seems that he lies profusely and everything he says needs to be evaluated.
Sure Jacob isn't batting 1.000 with his sucess, but it sounds like he is trying to bring someone who can prove him right. I like the earlier idea that maybe the candidate just has to prove him correct. I am hoping that all future episodes are this revealing. Sure they didn't come out and say some things, but really, that ain't their style.

And just to remember: We have no reason to read in jacob being from the bible... it might just be his name. I think lost is just kinda making up its religious symbolism as it wants.

robpatt said...

Here is a quick Biblical (protestant) view of hell for the purpose of our theorizing. The Bible uses a lot of metaphorical language about hell although it is a real place. It is described as weeping, gnashing of teeth, darkness, and fire. It is only a temporary place for the damned. Eventually, when Jesus comes Hell will give up everyone to be judged and those will be cast into the lake of fire.

I am not sure about how catholics define purgatory, but it doesn't sound like this island anyways. Alive people are coming to the island. Wasn't that Jacob's whole point of nearly drowning Richard?

here's my point... i don't think the island is hell. I think the island is hell in the same sense that "war is hell" and "life is hell" (matt groening). I was completely wrong from last week thinking they were going to get scientific, it sounds like they are heading spiritual. But i think like a lot of things that are spiritual, they are just picking and choosing stuff that works for them. You have a place meant to imprison evil to keep it from the world, and it has a guardian.
Apparently Jacob is in a role and can be replaced, but the function of the role must remain or will remain. It reminds me of the story from Warcraft 3 more then anything which is embarrassing to type.

Rishi said...

awesome episode!!!!

Hobnail_Boot said...

As a few others have pointed out, Hurley is seeing dead people both on and off the island. My biggest question with this is if he's seeing Jacob each time - that is, Jacob is a manipulative shape-shifter like Smokey.

..which helps answer Vidya's question Why did smokey not kill Ricardo in the ship? What's special about him?

Smokey looked into Richard and saw a way to manipulate him into killing Jacob. He confirmed this when he manifested as Isabella.

Great point also by whoever said that Richard was burying his temptation along with the necklace.

Brendan said...

I think it's safe to assume that the Black Rock and the ship seen from the beach in "The Incident" are one and the same. The Island is subject to violent shifts in weather, so that storm isn't such an improbability. Speaking of which - has anyone else noticed the distinct lack of drastic weather shifts on-Island since the Survivors returned last season? Remember how frequently that occurred in the first two seasons?

Someone termed DHARMA a red herring, and while that's true to an extent, I tend to think of it as an extension of the science vs. faith conflict that frames the entire show. Whoever encounters the Island realizes that it's special. People like DHARMA and Faraday look at it in a scientific way, while people like Locke and Richard take a more faith-oriented approach. I think it's clear by now that faith is the prevailing wisdom in the Lost mythology. And to add to Brian's point about the parallels between Seasons One and Six, it was pretty clear that faith was the better bet than science on the Island about as far back as when Locke got his legs back.

Finally, with the confirmation that Richard really doesn't know that much about the Island, I think we can understand now why the Others, Ben, Widmore, Eloise, et al never offered the Survivors much in the way of explanation about, well, anything - they didn't actually know anything either! Sure, they had ideas about potential calamity if something did/didn't happen, and I guess Jacob fed them little scraps through Richard, but the Others have been acting on near-blind faith the entire time (hello again, religious allegory!). I'm still not sure if this is a cop-out on the part of the writers or not.

Steve said...

I have to admit that after sleeping on it, I'd be a little disapointed if the island is just a 'cork' to keep evil in the bottle. Reason? It doesn't sound like it's the island that's the cork, it's jacob. I like the "cork" anaology better for the energy under the island. If this is just about keeping the smoke monster from the world, I would be disapointed.

What about the time ben 'called' the smoke monster? With the puddle in his basement? With the hyroglyphs that said 'for protection' what about cerberus? Shoot, what about the whispers? I either feel taken for the ride in the middle with the dharma stuff, or that they've taken an easy road out. I HOPE that there is more to this and at this point, I have some 'faith' that there may be more to the island than this. Shoot, the thing is moving.. it's got a donkey wheel!

Kristen said...

I think The Others saw Smokey as a "security system" because he was willing to kill anyone who came to the island (that they were trying to protect) but I don't think protecting the island was ever Smokey's purpose. It's fairly clear now that Smokey only spares those people that he can manipulate to further his own goal - going home. This is why Richard, Locke, Ben were spared, but Echo, et al died.

Kristen said...

Any symbolism in MIB breaking the wine bottle rather than removing the cork? Or just frustration?

Daniel said...

HOPE, the butthead on the ship was name Whitfield or something like that, not Widmore.


Steve, damn straight, what's with Ben being able to summon smokey to kill Keamey's men? Did smokey just want to protect Ben for his ultimate plan to kill Jacob?

Good point Kristen

Daniel said...

Whoever built the Blackrock did a hell of a job. The ship survives, but destroys a 150 foot tall stone statue.

abby said...

Richard, who "works" for Jacob, participates in the killings of the US army troops and wiping out the Dharma folks with Ben - how exactly does that make him and Jacob the "good guys"?

The more I see the MIB, the more I like him and cheer him on:).

abby said...

Furthermore Richard took Ben to be healed in the Temple pool and stated that Ben's innocence will be lost forever - again if Jacob is the "good' guy why on earth would this happen?

Adam said...

Why does Jacob continue to bring people to the island in an effort to prove MIB wrong?

If the rules prevent MIB from killing Jacob, and the only way for that to happen seems to be convincing someone else to do it for him. Why risk relasing the "pure evil" and causing "hell on earth" just to prove a point.

It seems like a waste of life (as everyone who comes to the island dies eventually) and a big risky game being played by Jacob (who is, at least in my mind the good one of the two) to risk seemingly the entire world to prove a point it seems MIB will never accept.

Jacob said...

Am I the only one who isn't convinced that Anti-Jacob is the devil?
I think there's a greater evil that is being kept at bay and Anti-Jacob just no longer cares if it gets out.

Justin said...

Big question for the Flash Sideways...
The island is sunk in the first episode of this season, so does that mean the flash sideways scenarios are happening with the "devil" escaping the island??

I think Ben has something to do with the evil side... if the smoke monster is truly the devil. wasn't he able to "call" the smoke monster in one of the episodes?

Last, I'd say that the island proector (once Jacob) is in no way perfect, but just someone who can comprehend and understand what they are there for. He was just trying to find a replacement for someone that could grasp that... they are clearly not perfect, as all of the survivor candidates have done some crazy things in their lives it seems.

jacqui said...

@ Kristen: As we were watching the scene where he smashed the bottle, thus releasing the liquid "evil" from it, it occurred to us that the Sideways world might be the result of all hell just breaking loose, as opposed to getting out the conventional way(which may or may not end up happening)and in the process, the island gets submerged, because the "cork" is no longer needed/useful. So in a way, the Sideways world is the potential aftermath. I hope that makes sense to other people...

noemailformeadows said...

One theme they revisited last night in the little fireside chat with Jacob and Ricardo was that "everyone gets a new start/life on the island" - which was hammered pretty hard in season one by multiple characters.

timcourtois said...

Everyone suggesting that Smokey isn't really evil is crazy! Did you see what he did this ep? He pretended to be Richard's wife, & used it to trick Richard into killing Jacob for him, making up some junk about "he's the devil, you're dead, the island is hell."
Jacob does some shady things, but at least they're ambiguous, not straight up deceptive and evil

jacqui said...

I also think that last night's episode encouraged me to think about Jacob and Anti-Jacob as really being 2 sides of the same entity. Especially because Dogen, keeper of the temple that seemingly is a safe-haven for Jacob's followers, has the knife that the MiB gave to Richard to kill Jacob. How did it change hands? or did it?

noemailformeadows said...

Something that just hit me, and confused the bajeeezis outta me:

So the first day Ricardo is on the island, his wife shows up and Jacob claims that was the Devil posing as her, Correct? So should we then assume that the whole - hugo interpreter scene was the Devil posing as her also??? And if so, why would the Devil-in-costume tell Hugo to make sure Alpert got the message that helping the MiB get off the island would send them to hell??? Doesn't seem like a very good play on his part if he's sabotaging his own mission....

Anyone have a theory here? I'm stumped

Living Way Church S.P.Y. Kids said...

Kristen said...

Any symbolism in MIB breaking the wine bottle rather than removing the cork? Or just frustration?

-----
If the island was truly what was keeping that evil from getting out, Larry smashing it and destroying the entire bottle seems to say he's willing to destroy the island and anyone on it in order to escape.

Jason said...

If MIB has a name, my guess is that it is Loki (which is pretty close to Locke). In norse mythology, Loki was once an assistant to the Gods but was eventually bound (trapped) by them. He is a shape-shifter. His mother's name, Laufey, means "tree island". Loki was given a prophecy that he would fight Heimdall - "the whitest of the gods" - at Ragnarok, in which a succession of natural disasters would submerse the world (island) in water.

Vidya said...

I also think that last night's episode encouraged me to think about Jacob and Anti-Jacob as really being 2 sides of the same entity. Especially because Dogen, keeper of the temple that seemingly is a safe-haven for Jacob's followers, has the knife that the MiB gave to Richard to kill Jacob. How did it change hands? or did it?

After Jacob beat the crap out of Richard he was holding the knife. So now the knife is in Jacob's procession and was passed on to Dogen at some point in time.

jacqui said...

@ Vidya-Ahh I missed/forgot that. Thanks!

noemailformeadows said...

Vidya. Pretty sure but not positive that a similar - silver-handled knife was used by ben to stab jacob was it not???

If so that would mean that there are 2 knives of this kind on the island.

tiffanie said...

if locke came back to the island dead - for the MiB to inhabit - why was richard the one who told him he would "have to die to save the island"?

Vidya said...

...and why would Ben kill Locke when he was following Jacob? Why did Jacob (through Richard) not stop Ben from killing Locke? So the question really is:
1. Are MIB and Jacob really on opposite sides or are they just pretending to be to con the rest of the people.
2. Are the survivors really replacement candidates for Jacob or are Jacob (and MIB) are looking for replacements for Smokey?

robpatt said...

jason (from about 4 posts up) i think that might be much closer to what were talking about in lost. Locke = loki... makes a lot more sense.

Someone else commented that the island isn't the cork... jacob is. That makes a lot more sense. Maybe in the analogy the island is the bottle, and the symbolism is that MIB found the loophole, not remove the cork, but to break the bottle or island. That does seem to imply that in the flash sideways MIB would be loose, and actually represents him wining.

another great point that maybe it is a matter of how you want to see the island, through faith or through science.

feels like the next big push forward in the story line is going to come through illana, how jacob raised her might be revealing.

noemailformeadows said...

@Tiffani - Richard was told by FakeLocke in season 5 to tell "Still Alive" Locke to go die off the island. At that point in time FakeLocke - everyone thought was real locke - was the leader of the Others so Richard was just doing as he was told.

noemailformeadows said...

@Rob: If the idea is that Jacob is the cork, then the loophole would be him removing the cork --- as the loophole = jacob is dead.

not saying that is what happened but i think you said it backwards in your post

Matt Bingen said...

I'm not convinced that MIB is the devil. I agree that he is deceitful and will say or do whatever he needs to do to get people to fulfill his wishes, but the Devil, I don't think so. To me, he represents the full embodiment of the corruptible nature of man kind. If he were free to run around in the world, people would fall prey to his words and actions. Mankind is corruptible in nature and without boundaries, would fall prey to such a man. The world is not a perfect place and there are still a bunch of bad people around, but with MIB being free, the world would be much much worse.

I think of the island more as a prison than as Hell. The MIB is the prisoner, Jacob is the Warden and everybody who comes to the island are the possible means of escape, like sneaking in a cake with a file baked into it. Jacob or MIB bring people to the island to see if people will do the right / wrong thing and avoid being corrupted by the MIB and if they decide to free him, then they are doomed for their mistakes. Much like Eve being booted from paradise for making the wrong choice and not following God's rule.

And there has been many great things to happen on the Island that would not make sense if it was indeed hell. What about Rose and her Cancer being cured? John being able to walk again? If it were hell, these people would not be fixed but made to suffer. Rose and Bernard are happy living on the island. From what I hear, hell is not a happy place. And why would the Dharma people be able to come and go via a submarine? Why would the 6 survivors been able to leave in the first place? Why has Widmore been able to get back twice? It just does not make sense to me.

And if everybody was already dead, then where are they going when they die on the island? Why can they die on the island? Dead is Dead, remember?

Ellis said...

My question: Why didn't Richard just use his feet to get the nail?

Brendan said...

To Tiffanie: Richard told Locke he would have to die to save the Island because SmokeLocke told him to do so, shortly after he returned to the Island. At the time, no one was aware that Locke wasn't really Locke, and since he had been crowned the de facto new leader of the Others, I guess Richard kinda had to do what he said.

To Vidya: Ben killed Locke for his own selfish reasons, because he wanted to clear a path to return to the Island as Head Other. It was only two episodes ago that Ben finally really came to terms with his own power-obsession and started (for real) to do things solely in the service of the Island.

noemailformeadows said...

Sorry but I can't get past the Appearance of Isabella at the end of the episode. A couple things:

Since it was Evil that showed up as her body to help MiB tempt Richard into killing Jacob when he first arrived - and Jacob apparently cannot shapeshift - we have to assume the same entity that appeared as her the first time for evil's purpose, was the same entity that appeared as her to talk to hugo and deliver the message "if you help him get off the island you all go to hell"

Add that to this: Have we seen any other dead people clones on the island since Ilana said "he's stuck in his current form of Flocke"?????

I don't think so. And honestly in the first few seasons, those dead people clones were extremely frequent, and since the death of Jacob - they have become non-existant. This is the first time we've seen a dead-clone on the island this season (besides baby jacob). Someone please correct me if I missed one.

I know Hugo has seen dead people before, like Brian said in the Isabella section - but on the island, who has he seen that didn't die on the island? He saw dave, but that was his imaginary friend and lived in his head to begin with. The rest of the people he sees (unless i'm missing someone) are people that died ON the island and he sees them OFF the island (except jacob).

I'm leaning towards a 3rd entity altogether. Unless there is just some overly obvious piece to this puzzle that I am missing.

Jason said...

Hey RobPatt - Loki is making more sense the more I think of it. He was originally the personification of fire and the hearth. He is a master manipulator. And after the world is submerged at Ragnarok, it resurfaces to be repopulated by 2 human survivors (there's the Adam & Eve connection).

Stephen said...

What about in Season 5 when Jin came back to the island with the Rousseau and the other Frenchies. The smoke monster seemed to "live" in the temple; remember it dragged one guy into the Temple and other guys arm was ripped off. But yet, in this Season, Smokey cannot get into the Temple until Dogen was killed? What does that say about this Temple? It seems inconsistent, but I hope not.
Also, how could Ben "summon" the smoke, but at the same time have the barriers to keep smokey out of the Dharma barracks?
It seems there are way too many inconsistancies that need to be answered in only a few episodes and with each new episodes there are more questions, not answers! I hope we are in for some big finishes, because if it keeps going like this, abc will have some very unhappy LOST viewers.

noemailformeadows said...

One last question about Isabella and I'm done thinking about it, but it's a good question...

You can hear the black smoke outside the Black Rock making its clicking ticking noises while Isabella is inside the Black Rock talking to Ricaaardo.

How is this possible --- Since we've seen that SMLocke pretty much has to morph into the smoke, and back into himself to talk --- as seen in the episode where he goes and spies on Sawyer and then goes back, and Re-Lockisizes to have the conversation with Richard. If he were able to be both Clone and Smoke at the same time, he would have.

steve said...

Ok guys I just made to me what's a pretty big discovery and it hasn't been mentioned yet. well there was a controversey back in the early 17th century and one of the persons who started preaching against predestination and starting teaching about free will
yep his name.....Jacob Arminius

ok could the lost writers be that smart?

it was an argument back in the early 17th century called the remonstrance and then something called the counteremonstrance and then something called the synod of dort where they said Jacob Arminius's teachings were apostate
ok that's probably to much info but it's interesting to me.. it will be interesting to see if this parallel is picked up by the bloggers
its too significant not to be

Anyone else observe this theme and parallel yesterday?

Stewart said...

What about Alvar Hanso? i guess the writers have given up his relationship to the island

noemailformeadows said...

What about Rose and Bernard? They were hangin out in the cool Tiki hut house by the beach before The Incident... None of the other 815ers disappeared off the island with the explosion. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't still be on the island.

Beerman said...

Daniel, the lower level of ships used to be packed with stones for ballast. With that tsunami-looking wave giving the Black Rock a lot of momentum, as well as hitting the statue at the very top, it could have realistically toppled it.

Rob Patterson said...

noemail... i did a really bad job stating my point. What i was thinking was that maybe his loophole wasn't to remove the cork... but to shatter the bottle. so in one reality the island is shattered (under water) and in our island reality jacob is removed, but it sounds like he is about to be replaced and knew that he could and would be replaced at some point. Im basing that on his conversation with MIB in the richard flashback.

CJ said...

I'm a fan of the idea that Jacob and the MIB are two parts of the same entity, like what Ged discovers about his shadow in Wizard of Earthsea (or as seen in The Dark Crystal). This could explain many of the parallels, the fact that with Jacob dead MIB is now stuck in Locke's body, and some of the other issues of which one is good vs. evil.

And call me naive (or blindly accepting/defensive of Hurley), but I tend to take Hurley's sightings of dead people as genuine (like Miles' ability to hear their last thoughts), whether on or off the island. For anyone else, they could be pure hallucination or a manifestation of Smokey.

Leadfoot said...

I still want to know why Jacob picked THESE people. What is significant enough about them to watch them their whole lives, visit and touch them, and bring them to the island not once, but twice? Why them!?

Meg said...

Definitely can't ignore the religion in this episode - and in the whole series.

So, Smokey is evil, Jacob is good, is Richard like John the Beloved? And I'm thinking Jack Shepherd may eventually become some sort of Savior figure? I mean, we can't ignore his last name. I'm guessing he somehow has to sacrifice himself to save everyone on the island. Perhaps he has to in order to beat Smokey in a showdown. I'm callin it.

I don't know. All I know is that I am loving season six. And I always love reading your analyses Brian.

Meg said...

Oh! And the final scene -

Smokey holding the bottle: since he can't get the cork off, he just smashes the bottle. So I take it he's planning to destroy the island.

timcourtois said...

Watching it again, I noticed Jacob never said that the MIB *is* the wine in the bottle. He just said the island is the cork that keeps evil from getting out. Sounds almost like it's referring to the electromagnetic properties of the island or something...

Rocket Science Mom said...

Ok, wait, so it was actually Smokey who was Hurley's "Dave" and tried to get him to jump to his death to take him out, because Smokey couldn't directly kill him.

Awesome!

This blog is the best Lost blog ever, and your commenters rock.

Love this show and the fans.

Vidya said...

...On second thoughts, I don't know if Smokey came as Isabella to talk to Richard i\on the ship. Cos when the 2 of them are in conversation, they hear the Smokey siren and tapping sound in the background. He cannot be present as Isabella and throw his arrival sound outside all at the same time.

göklemez said...

What if jacob was responsible for mib being black smoke too. For some reason mib wanted to be become the protector of the island and/or invincible etc. Jacob gave him what he wanted. Since mib in any condition has to protect the island, he can not leave.

And may be jacob's successor/replacement can take it back.

Just thoughts.

shakatany said...

Where the heck is this Island? Oceanic Flight 815 was flying over the Pacific Ocean heading to LA from Australia; Richard on the Black Rock was on his way from the Canary Islands to the Americas which means the Atlantic Ocean. Can The Island move across the world? OTH it makes a bit more sense to have it on the Atlantic and closer to where Egyptians might have come across it

John said...

@noemailformeadows

You're missing pieces with Isabella's appearances.
The first sighting is clearly faked. Smoke comes in, examines Ricardo and then Isabella comes in later. She appears to physically manifest for Ricardo, she claims to be dead, but she clearly is not a ghost.

All indications are that this appearance is put on by Smoke. How does the clicking etc. happen while Isabella is below deck? Well, as best as we know Smoke only has to transform between forms when he/it is "stuck" in a form as he is with Locke and as we assume he was as MiB. When Ben saw Alex, when Eko saw his brother are examples when there were both "smoke" effects and a "ghost" appearance at the same time.

Isabella's later appearance with Hurley as translator is different. Richard can't see her, it is only Hurley's "gift" that allows anyone to intereact with her.

There is nothing to indicate that the modern appearance of Isabella has anything to do with Smoke. I'm fairly confident it was Isabella not another deception.

John said...

@Stephen

The "temple" we saw Jin and the Frenchmen at seems to be nothing more than a distant outer court for the actual temple.

The Losties went through that entire area that Ben saw Alex/Smoke in before they came to the Temple that Dogen was protecting.

Stephen said...

This show is great, but it makes you kind of crazy too, which is probably why I think it is great.

Someone mentioned Jacob Arminus in post. That is a nice connection. I never heard of him, but did some research and where I think it is interesting that there names our the same, I don't think there is any relation spiritually. Here is why: Jacob Ariminus was a Calvinistic theologian, who disagreed with some of Calvin's basic tenets, most applicable to the show is the view of Predestination. Calvin's view was before you born, God already presdestined your eternity to either Heaven or Hell. There was no free will, so no matter what you did in your life, would not change your predestination.
Ariminius, disagreed with this tenet, arguing that God chooses people who He thinks will have Faith in Him, but his election is conditional, and one can lose salvation.

That is a very short summary of a centuries long debate in Protestant theology, so excuse me for the crib note version.

So our Jacob "chose" the candidates, not to be saved, but take over his job as protector of the island. Ariminus taught that God gives the grace, but that the individual must not "lose" the faith in order to be saved. So let's look at Jack. He never had faith until Locke dies. His faith though is not in the island's role as some "cork" to plug in evil; his belief in this island is it's role in changing his life; a redo. As far as the other candidates go, none have that faith either. Sawyer may came the closest in his belief that the island is his "home", and it would seem obvious that he fills the role of the MIB and Jack as his nemesis, fills the role of Jacob.

I don't know, but the comment on Arminus does raise some interesting points and I am sure Jack's "faith" will be further investigated in the coming episodes.

Stephen said...

John,

I know what your saying, but that seems kind of weak. I mean, that entry was "the" entry into the temple up until Kate and Sawyer seemingly walk out of the temple's front door.

Also, when Ben sees Alex, the smoke comes out of the "smoke vent" or whatever that is, like that is its home.

Maybe your right, it just seems hard for me to grasp, but I hope there is some clarification in future episodes.

noemailformeadows said...

John.

You're probably right about the 2nd Isabella being Hugo's gift. But in the Ben getting judged scene - wasn't it more of just the smoke swirling around him and he saw a vision of Alex in the smoke and not like an Alex clone walking and talking? I haven't seen that episode since last year so I dont know for sure.

If the Ecko/Yamin interaction you're referring to is the one where Ecko follows him out into the Jungle and in that field to "confess his sins" and then the smoke kills him, they were not present at the same time. he gives his confession, Yamin says "you speak to me as if i'm your brother", Yamin disappears, then you hear the smoke go apesh!t about 50 yards behind Ecko.

Smoke + Yamin weren't present at the same time in that scene.

Brendan said...

It has been shown a number of times that the Smoke Monster has some connection to the Temple, or at least underneath the Temple. But I don't think that's necessarily inconsistent with the Man In Black being Jacob's nemesis and wanting to leave the Island.

MiB is being held against his will (maybe because he's pure evil, maybe not, we don't know yet). He has obligations to the Island that he's sick to death of. It would seem these include acting as a security system. It makes sense to me that he was, at some point, given the "job" of Island enforcer - probably by Jacob (who offered Richard a "job" after all) - and has been bound to it somehow for ages and is chomping at the bit to get out.

This casts his words to Sawyer in a new light. MiB said to Sawyer "it's just an island, it doesn't need protecting." Perhaps he said this because as the vanquisher of every foe, friend, or potential exploiter the Island has ever had, for who knows how long, he feels pretty confident there's no more need for a security system. He's been there, done that, he wants out.

In big picture terms, the Lost writers have never taken the easy route in terms of pegging people as good or evil. I expect the MiB/Jacob conflict to be the same way. We're already seeing MiB fleshed out into something not easily pinned down. Here's hoping Jacob gets the same treatment soon.

Rob Patterson said...

i wonder if there is a connection to the Losties pushing the button at the Swan and the imprisoment of the Smoke Monster. Maybe by them destroying that system, it freed the smokemonster to do a few more things that allowed him to work his loophole?

i don't know. I am just trying to connect in all the major points from previous seasons into this seasons storylines, or else they were all just long detours. What's the sig of pushing the button, flashing through time, Oceanic 6 off & then back on island, if they have nothing to do with the overall storyline then they were just cul-de-sacs.

mark said...

a few interesting things i noticed after watching the episode again...

- when the priest visits richard in his cell and asks to see his bible, he opens it and the verse at the top of the page is luke 4v24

"I tell you the truth," he (jesus) continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown."

i'm wondering if this is a subtle reference to richard becoming not just a representative for jacob, but a prophet for the new jacob?

- I find it interesting that with richard's story the writers continue the theme of characters searching for redemption, but also that the priest tells him he must give penance to return to grace. many of the characters that have sought redemption have gone through trials and struggles that could be considered penance.. (jack, sawyer, sayid, jin, charlie..)

- when richard confesses to jacob that the MIB told him he was the devil, jacob almost smiles to himself, as if to laugh at his adversary's latest tactic.

- if jacob brought the black rock to the island, is he responsible for bringing everyone who's ever been to the island? not just our survivors, but consider who else he may have manipulated... danielle rousseau and her crew? the dharma initiative? ben's father? juliet?

- jacob tells richard that the island is the only thing keeping 'the darkness where it belongs.' this implies that it's not so much that the darkness belongs on the island, or that it's contained by the island, but something else.

mark said...

ok, one more thought..

the MIB confirmed that he can't leave the island as long as jacob, or his next replacement is alive.

what if widmore is on the side of the MIB, and that's why he ordered his mercenaries to kill everyone on the island? what if they knew how to find and kill jacob as well, which would set the MIB free?

totally random thought, and probably wrong i know, but had to share...

stephenf44 said...

re: is there a third entity besides MIB and Jacob impersonating the dead?

At least for this week, I tend toward the "yes" camp.

1) The whole "Isabella heard Smokey's clicking sounds from outside the Black Rock" analysis by Noemail seems compelling to me.

2) Crazy Claire clearly referred to two entities keeping her company for the last 3 years, her father and her friend. Her friend was MIB/Flocke. Her father was Christian.

3) Correct me if I'm wrong, but when Christian spoke to Sun and Lapidus at the abandoned Dharma camp, wasn't Flocke already moving around with other people at other parts of the island?

of course, it's possible that Smokey was imitating multiple people and moving around quickly in smoke form. (Aside: shouldn't people be smelling Smokey wherever he goes? What kind of black smoke leaves no odor?)

But if the island's some sort of prison or container, then it could be for multiple prisoners and not just MIB. It would give the whole "hell unleashed on earth" thing a little more weight.

Oscar said...

Remember a couple seasons ago when Smokey split into three separate clouds? I wonder if Jacob, Flocke and a third unrevealed character all have smokey abilities?

robpatt said...

my guess is that with smokey splitting, it is more about some of his abilities. Dharma did call him Cerebrus, on the Dharma Maps they had different areas on the island called Cerebrus vents. I am guessing that the cave he took sawyer was one of those vents. Cerebrus was a multi-headed dog that guarded the underworld (hell) in greek mythology. So in theory is that is who smokey is, he is a security system for the island. Where it breaks down is that it now sounds like he isn't defending the island, but is being imprisoned on the island.

Stephen said...

Who are the Candidates? There are 6: Are the Candidates the same as the Oceanic 6? Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun and Aaron? That would be very interesting. Also, Smoke Locke said something very interesting in the last episode concerning Aaron...but I cannot remember right now what it was@@@! I think it was just after Claire tried to kill Kate.

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.