Yeah - I didn't see that coming either.
What a weird episode.
Before this episode, I was hoping it would be the one that finally revealed the true nature of Jacob and Anti-Jacob, where they came from, and explained the "rules" between the two of them and the Island. In my wildest dreams, I didn't expect that it would also be the episode that explained the Frozen Donkey Wheel, the light behind it, AND finally reveal the identities of Adam and Eve.
So why did this episode feel so "meh"?
Sure, there were some parts that were a little hokey (the explanation about the light - and generally the special effects about the light) and some parts that were a little slow (the first twenty minutes featuring Young Jacob and Young Anti-Jacob) - but I guess the weirdest thing about this episode is that even though I now know the answers to all the aforementioned questions - it doesn't change any of my "big picture" views about Lost. It didn't reveal anything new that makes me understand or appreciate earlier episodes anymore - or suddenly give me a bunch of new theories about the direction the show is heading in its final three and a half hours.
What did we learn?
Timeline. Apparently all of the action in this week's episode took place BEFORE the Egyptians came to the Island - so a couple of hundred (or thousand) years before JC. I say this because there was no Tawaret statue visible, and it featured the "birth" of Smokey, who we see featured in the hieroglyphics around the Island. This provides us with an understand of just how long Jacob and Anti-Jacob have been on the Island, and how hard it really was for Anti-Jacob to finally find his Loophole to murder Jacob. It literally has taken him THOUSANDS of years. Crazy.
The Woman. So who was the "Woman" who was the pre-Jacob? How long had she been there? Why did she feel the need to murder Claudia as soon as Jacob and Anti-Jacob were born? Even if she wanted Jacob and Anti-Jacob to be her two "candidates" since they were unspoiled by all the bad things that people do, couldn't she have stolen them away Benjamin Linus style and let Claudia live? It seems a little ironic that she murders a woman in cold blood, and then gives her speech about how terrible mankind is because they come, they corrupt, they MURDER. Pot, this is the kettle. You're black. (That's racist).
It's also interesting that upon being killed by Anti-Jacob, she thanks him - as she finally gets her release from the Island, and the job of protecting it. In this way, it actually makes her closer to Anti-Jacob than Jacob, which explains why she had the affinity for him all along.
The Island. All along, I've talked about the "gooey electromagnetic core" of the Island - something at the heart of it that's the center of its power - and it looks like we've finally found it, in the form of bright, "warm" light emitting from various points around the Island. The Woman told Jacob and Anti-Jacob that it represented life and death, and that there was a little bit of it in each of us. She also told them that if people tried to take too much of it, it would kill them... so does this mean that the Island is God? I'm guessing this is going to be one of the items that the writers leave open to our interpretation - and based on your religious beliefs, you'll probably find some answers more meaningful than others. But I would bet any amount of money that the journey for Desmond in the final three episodes of the series will involve traveling to this core of the Island.
The Rules. One of the biggest disappointments of the episode was the lack of a real explanation of the "rules" that conveniently pop-up here and there. The illogical thing is that although The Woman never really told anything about the Candidates or Rules to Jacob and Anti-Jacob, they've been talking like they are experts on them ever since we met them. Heck, even Ben and Widmore seem to know some of these rules. Did people just pick them up along the way when they found limitations to what they could and couldn't do? Are they written down somewhere? It's a little bit funny that the only rule that we were explicitly told was that Jacob and Anti-Jacob couldn't hurt each other... and yet we saw that Jacob did hurt Anti-Jacob - in fact, he killed him - even though he became Smokey in the process, so technically he is "living on".
Adam and Eve. We were told that Adam and Eve represented proof that the writers of Lost knew what they were doing all along, and had a master plan in place way back in Season One. Having finally found out who Adam and Eve are... I don't know that it's a fair argument. Sure, Adam and Eve ended up being characters that we didn't find out about until - well, THIS EPISODE - but it seems like the writers found a way to explain Adam and Eve (while ignoring Jack's comment about them being dead for 40-50 years... instead of a few thousand) instead of using them to drive home any sort of major plot point that was relevant to the show all along. In the end, it's nice to know who they are - but does it change how we view the skeletons from Season One at all? No. Does it make me say "Wow - they really did have this planned from the start?" Absolutely not.
The Frozen Donkey Wheel. Here's the interesting thing - The Woman was so hellbent on Anti-Jacob staying on the Island, that she attacked him and killed all his people to prevent them from installing the FDW. (PS - how exactly did she kill all of them? Could she become Smokey?) Yet, in the end, the FDW ends up being installed anyways and we know that Jacob comes and goes from the Island as he pleases in his efforts to find a worthy replacement. The Woman kinda hosed Anti-Jacob on this whole deal, don't you think? It would also be interesting to find out who truly finished the FDW and tested it out for the first time. It seemed like Anti-Jacob was the man with the plan, so it's likely he manipulated some other people who came to the Island into completing the construction.
Anti-Jacob. It's also a little bit curious about how much Anti-Jacob knew about the inner-workings of the Island in general. He knew that if they cut a slit in the rock and inserted a FDW, it would help them leave the Island. Huh? How? I think we are to assume that some of his knowledge came from the Ghost of Claudia, but could she possibly have known all this? Do spirits on the Island become all-knowing about everything? If so, sweet perk of the after-life.
In the end, I guess I just don't see anything that was so huge in this episode that it needed to be shown as the second last episode of the series. While it was a nice little story, nothing major was revealed. Wouldn't this have fit a lot better early on in the season, rather than breaking up the momentum of last week's episode? I guess it would have ruined the mystery of Young Jacob running through the Jungle and tormenting SmokeLocke - but it also would have made us better understand his motivations all along.
Okay - it's way late. That's all I've got for now. Discuss!