Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Lighthouse" Analysis!

Lost is depressing.

This week, I asked a few friends a very simple question: “In your opinion, what would be a ‘happy ending’ for Lost?” Initially, it sounds like a pretty simple question. But once you start pushing further, it gets far more difficult. People would give the generic answer of “everyone getting off the Island and being happy”… which I would counter with “what about Sawyer? Could he ever be happy off the Island?” or “didn’t we see that the Oceanic Six weren’t really happy off the Island, which is why they came back?”

When you start looking at a character-by-character breakdown, and what would be their “perfect ending”, it’s pretty depressing:

  • Jack – finding his purpose and reason for being on the Island… and then what? Staying on the Island forever to become the new Jacob? Getting back together with Kate? Having a child and proving that he’s a better father than Christian?
  • Kate – realizing that she can’t bring Crazy Claire back to Aaron? Settling for Jack, who told her that she wasn’t worth all the crap that’s happened on the Island in last season’s finale?
  • Sawyer – I’ve got nothing. If Sawyer gets off the Island, he’s going to go on a drinking binge and be super angry at the world. If he stays on the Island, he’s going to go on a drinking binge and be super angry at the world. Maybe in time, he’ll get over Juliet, but it’s not like he has much to go back to in the real world… and I can’t see him ending up with Kate after it’s so clear that he loved Juliet.
  • Sayid – he might already be dead and “claimed” by the dark side – but if not, I guess he can go back and build homes for the needy in exotic Island locales?
  • Hurley – perhaps if he went back to the real world, he would no longer be haunted by dead people / the Island, and could live out a happy life – but would the Numbers still bring him nothing but bad luck?
  • Locke – he’s dead, right? So there’s no chance for any sort of happy ending for his super tragic life, unless his essence can overpower Anti-Jacob and he “comes back to life” through this copy of his body?
  • Claire – she’s gone crazy, might be possessed by the dark side, and her hair is a mess… but in theory, she might be able to be “cured” and reunited with Aaron off-Island.
  • Sun and Jin – actually, they’ve got a shot. Reunite, get off the Island, get back to Ji-Yeon. That’s a happy ending!

The point is, on the whole, things are looking pretty bleak for the remaining “core Survivors” of Oceanic 815… and we didn’t even get into all the characters that have died along the way (Boone, Shannon, Charlie, Michael, etc)… and all for what?

Last week, I took a “big picture” look at Lost as a whole, trying to piece together the overall narrative of the Lost storyline. Looking back on it, it’s shocking how much of it centers around Jacob and Anti-Jacob, two characters who weren’t even introduced until last season’s finale. Even more shocking is how it seems as though our Survivors are nothing more than pawns in their game, with the possibility that nothing they could have done in their lives would have made any difference because these all-knowing beings have been guiding them to a certain destination all along.

It’s depressing, right?

And what is the end goal? To find a replacement for Jacob, since he knew that Anti-Jacob would eventually find his loophole? Did Jacob bring hundreds of people to the Island over the years, knowing that most of them would die in his mission to find a replacement? I love Lost Island and all, but short of saving the world, I can’t think of any mission that is worth this cost.

The other thing is – from the start, we’ve been told by the Lost writers that the primary focus on the show is about the characters. The Island, the mythology, all the weird stuff that happens serves as background to the main story of the Survivors of Oceanic 815 – their lives, how this experience changes them, and where they go from here. In the beginning, it seemed clear that the underlying theme for each character would be redemption of some kind. The characters were “lost” in life, and their experiences on the Island would help them find their purpose, find their way, get their lives back on track – and they would leave the Island better than when they first arrived.

Now, it’s looking more like it’s a question of “who will be lucky enough to survive?” with the possibility that they’re all going to be stuck on the Island forever.

Happy Losting, indeed!

Why do I bring all of this up, and where in the hell is your “Lighthouse” analysis? It’s coming, I promise.

The reason I bring this up is because I think we’re looking at the season all wrong. We’ve become so focused on the big mythological on-Island storyline (revolving around Jacob and Anti-Jacob) that we’ve lost focus on the characters… to the point where most people (myself included) are completely ignoring the Off-Island storylines – storylines that actually offer some hope and happy ending for our Survivors.

The more I think about it, the more confident I am that the Off-Island, Flash-Sideways storylines are going to serve a very important purpose. I’m fully expecting a reveal on the same level as the original Flash Forward where our minds are blown once we understand what exactly they represent.

For now, they represent hope.

They represent the hope that no matter how depressing everything on the Island is right now, and no matter how many people have died along the way, that there’s a chance that this is all going to come together with a happy ending at the end of the day. I still don’t have a great theory for how the On-Island and Off-Island storylines are going to tie back together, but fundamentally I could see a scenario where the Survivors get to choose between two paths – a “happy ending” where they never crashed on the Island, or going through all the pain and hardship on the Island over the past five seasons – but maybe doing something pretty important in the process… like saving the world.

Maybe it’s going to boil down to a question of “was it all worth it?” At the end of last season, Jack told Kate that it was not. At the end of this season, I’m willing to bet that his answer will change.

But I digress. Wasn’t there a Lost episode this week to be analyzing?

For an episode written by series masterminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, “Lighthouse” was surprisingly light on Island mythology. It was a bit surprising, since it seems like Damon and Carlton are traditionally the writers of the “big reveal” episodes where they want to be sure that the Island mythology is presented exactly correct. But aside from the scenes at the Lighthouse, most of the story focused on the characters – both on, and off the Island. Given my earlier tangent about stepping away from the big picture and getting the focus back on the characters, maybe that’s exactly what we should do this week as well.

Jack. “Lighthouse” was perhaps the first episode of this season where the Off-Island action equaled the On-Island action for the central character to the episode. What made the Off-Island action so intriguing for the first time this season?

The episode starts with Jack changing his shirt and noticing that he has an appendectomy scar. Remember, Juliet removed Jack’s appendix on the Island in late December 2004 (Season Four). When we later saw Jack Off-Island, in 2007, sporting this very minor scar:


So over the course of three years, the scar basically disappeared.

In the Off-Island action of this episode, we see Jack sporting quite a larger scar – from a surgery that allegedly happened when Jack was “seven or eight”:


Even more intriguing is that when Jack sees the scar, he doesn’t seem to remember it, very similar to how he looked so quizzically at the cut on his neck while onboard the Oceanic flight in the season premiere.

What’s going on here?

I had a long, thought out theory about how it may mean that the split between the two realities actually occurred around the time that the Island moved (since that was the only major Island event occurring in late 2004 / early 2005) – and that even though we all assume that it was our 1977 Time Traveling Survivors that got thrust back into the 2004 LA X reality – that might not be the case. Perhaps the movement of the Island actually caused the creation of these multiple realities, and somehow our Survivors got split into two worlds in the process – thus explaining Jack’s fresh scar.

But then I deleted it in far of a much more logical explanation.

If the prop folks on Lost can accidentally put the wrong date on Claire’s ultrasound photo, how can we expect them to make a scar that matches one from two seasons ago? Maybe they intentionally made it more dramatic so that the audience (along with Jack) would notice it – since the other one is admittedly pretty tough to pick out.

The real question isn’t why the scar looks the way it does – but why LA X Jack doesn’t remember it. If you buy into the theory that once they save the world, our Survivors will be given the choice between their current lives (with all the depressing death and trauma) vs. having it all never happen, it looks like picking Door #2 results in wiping out and rewiring their memories – and there’s going to be a learning curve as their consciousness comes to grips with what is real and what is a seeming dream… the memories they have from their On-Island experiences. This may just make the decision all the harder for our Survivors, since it would mean giving up the friendships / love / lessons they learned On-Island. I forget, is it better to have loved and lost, or never to have loved at all?

If you think the “Choose Your Own Fate” explanation for the Off-Island action is lame, there’s another more interesting theory that may explain Jack’s confusion over his scar. Remember the Season Three Desmond-centric outing “Flashes Before Your Eyes”? What happened with Desmond turned the fail-safe key and imploded the Swan Station (which is pretty damn similar to what Juliet did when she set off the Jughead)? He woke up and re-lived his past, just like our Survivors.

The difference is that our Survivors blew up the Hatch in 1977, which meant that the world existed differently for nearly 30 years before they “woke up” on the Oceanic Flight landing in LA X in 2004. That’s a lot of time for things to work out very different, especially given how much we now know about each character’s connections to the Island / Jacob’s influence on their lives. Without 30 years of Jacob messing with our characters’ lives, it’s realistic to think they would be totally changed.

For Desmond, he blew up the Swan Hatch in 2004 and “woke up” in 1996 – which means he actually went backwards. That would explain why things progressed as they always did during his “flash” – because in 1996, he’s still 8 years away from potentially changing the future.

If you buy into this second theory, it opens up a number of really exciting possibilities – and a ton of questions. Eloise Hawking told Desmond that the universe has a way of course correcting itself – and if you found a way to actually change the past, it would kill us all (similar to the Dogma “prove God infallible storyline”). Well, it certainly seems like our Survivors landing safely in Los Angeles and living totally different lives changed the past – so is the end of the world approaching?

I could totally get behind this theory for two reasons:

  1. It might explain Desmond’s re-introduction to the storyline. He’s apparently the only one who exists outside the “rules”, and might be the one can figure out what is going on, and in turn, who has to save the world.
  2. It would be ultra-cruel (and totally something I would do) to show all our Survivors life happily ever after in the LA X storyline only to have it come crashing apart and rip them back to the depressing reality on their lives on the Island in order to save the world.

Even though I have some rough sketches of how this would all work out in my head, even I don’t really understand it – so I’m sure there are a ton of holes in this theory as well. But I think I’ve given up on my original “Jacob’s Loops” theory in favor of one of these two – either the “Choose Your Own Destiny” or “Flashes Before Your Eyes” explanation for the Off-Island action… for now.

Okay, enough about the Off-Island stuff for this week.

Back to the Island

Adam and Eve. Low and behold, after being referenced out of nowhere during the “Lost for Dummies” Repeat of “The Substitute”, Adam and Eve made a special guest appearance this week. While the die-hard Lost fans clearly remember these two corpses, those slackers out there who don’t read the Blog probably needed that refresher so that once their identities are revealed, they actually care about it.

Hurley wonders aloud if they might be Survivors of Oceanic 815 that have been sent back in time – which of course, is exactly what most people have been guessing for the past five years. But who? Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be any characters on the show right now that “fit” into the mold. Remember, Adam and Eve were one male, one female - with one black and one white rock. The inclusion of the rocks hints at them being part of the same Island dichotomy as Jacob and Anti-Jacob… but unfortunately the only characters involved in any of the “Candidate” or “Recruiting” talk have been males.

My best guess, right now?

If the “Flashes Before Your Eyes” theory pans out, I could envision a scenario where Desmond (and Penny) have to go back in time to prevent the Incident and end up getting thrown back in time during the process, allowing them to live out their lives on the Island and eventually die together in a cave. It’s a happy / sad ending for their characters, but would fulfill Ms. Hawking’s promise to Desmond that the Island “isn’t done with him”, and would make Desmond as important in saving the world as she hinted all along.

It doesn’t really explain the black and white rocks, though.

If not, then we’re definitely due for at least a little more time travel on the Island, because there is no other explanation for the age of the bodies that makes any sense or ties to any of the characters on the show. All the other options are either too old (anyone associated with Richard, Jacob, or Anti-Jacob) or too young (anyone associated with our Survivors). These are people that need to die in the 1940’s – and we just don’t have anyone that fits that bill… yet.

The Visitor. Jacob told Hurley that someone was coming to the Island, and the Lighthouse was needed to help them find their way. But was it all just a ploy to get Jack and Hurley away from the Temple? Or was there some truth to Jacob’s claim?


There’s a lot to think about here.

For one, we’ve only got thirteen episodes of Lost left, and a boatload of unanswered questions / dangling storylines. The introduction of any new character now is absolutely insane unless they are going to show up and answer all our questions. I don’t see that happening.

Out of the existing characters who could return to the Island, it’s a pretty short list that begins with Desmond and ends with Widmore. The problem is that Desmond has no intention of going back to the Island (at least not yet), and Widmore couldn’t find the Island if he tried.

Also, it’s not as though it’s easy to just stumble upon the Island. With it’s weird electromagnetic properties and surrounding storm, it’s always seemed like you had to head on a very specific bearing to find it in the first place – and the Island isn’t even visible until you pass through the stormy surrounding… at which point there would be no need for that Lighthouse.

So while I still have hopes about Desmond and Widmore returning to the Island, I can’t see the Lighthouse playing any role in their endeavors.

What about the Lighthouse itself?

Lighthouse. During my “big picture” analysis last week, I mentioned my hope that Jacob wasn’t some all-knowing, omniscient being – but instead was just an average guy who doesn’t age and can jump around the space-time continuum using the funky powers of the Island. To me, that would keep things more “realistic” (relatively speaking), and would require less explanation to understand how he was able to choose some of his Candidates so early in their lives.

Initially, it seemed as though “Lighthouse” showed that Jacob had indeed been watching our Survivors from the start, making him more of an all-knowing, godlike character than I had hoped… but the more I think about it, the less sure I am about that. After all, Jack (and Hurley) were both able to see the weird images in the Lighthouse mirrors – which may mean that the magical powers of the Lighthouse are simply tied to the mirrors / funky Island powers, and not to Jacob. Jacob is just the guy who hung out there and watched the action in the mirrors. With no TV on the Island, it was probably the next best thing.

But does this prove that Jacob has been watching our Survivors from the start? Did he know, in 1976, that Sawyer would grow up to be a Candidate on the Island, and touch him to ensure he “bumped him” towards the Island? Was he watching Sawyer before 1976 using the Lighthouse to determine that he would be a worthy potential Candidate? Or did Sawyer end up on the Island, leading Jacob to go back in time and examine his pre-Island life (both in person and using the Lighthouse) to determine if he was a worthy Candidate?


I still come down on the side of “Jacob isn’t all knowing”. If Jacob was truly all-knowing, he wouldn’t have “guessed wrong” on the first 354 names written on the Lighthouse Wheel. I think the Lighthouse was Jacob’s way of gathering information on those characters that arrived on his Island, and to see which ones had the best potential to become his replacement. As each died, he crossed them off his list… which explains why Kate’s name is written, and not crossed out on the Lighthouse Wheel – but not in the Cave (at least that we saw). Jacob spied on her, and since she’s still alive, she’s still on the Wheel – but in watching her, he determined that she wasn’t “Candidate-worthy” for some reason (being too hot?)

It’s also appears that the Lighthouse is something built by Jacob, that was only intended to be used by Jacob. Even before Jack went smashy on the mirrors, it didn’t appear as though there were any open slots on the Wheel, and outside of our Candidate-Survivors, he wasn’t picking up a mirror TV signal for any of the other names. So I’m guessing the Lighthouse was built by Jacob to be used by Jacob – and the Next Jacob is going to be on their own when it comes to creepily spying on little kids around the world.

In the end, I think Jacob brought Hurley and Jack to the Lighthouse for two reasons – to help Jack realize that he was indeed “chosen” by the Island, and has some greater purpose there – and to get them the hell away from the Temple, where very bad things are about to go down.

Crazy Claire. A few weeks ago, Dogen told Jack that Claire had been “claimed by the darkness”. Although we still don’t know exactly what this means, or what happened to Claire, a few things are clear after this week’s episode. First and foremost, she’s batshit crazy. Her makeshift baby might be the creepiest thing we’ve ever seen in Lost history:


So what do we know?

  • Claire explains that she hasn't been alone in the jungle for the past 3 years (and God only knows what happened to her during all the time traveling last season), but has a “friend” who told her that The Others have Aaron. She also claims her father corroborated the story.
  • The Others claim that Claire is crazy, and that the Others captured her (and apparently administered the same “test” as they did to Sayid, based on her hot poker scar on the shoulder) because she was “picking the Others off” in the Jungle.
  • At the end of the episode, Claire knows that SmokeLocke isn’t Locke – but is instead her “friend”.

When you add it all up, a story comes into view. Claire died in the Barracks Attack of Season Four. Afterwards she acted fairly normally at first – although Miles seemed to sense that something was off about her… we’ll see if he begins to sense the same about Sayid – but eventually was totally “claimed by the darkness”. This coincides with Claire walking off with Christian Shephard in the middle of the night, leaving Aaron behind.

Who is Christian Shephard? “Lighthouse” reminded us that his coffin ended up on the Island, sans-body. I’m guessing that Anti-Jacob “claimed” his body the same way that he “claimed” Claire and Sayid… which is quite different from what Anti-Jacob did with Locke, who he “cloned”. Why did Anti-Jacob go a different route with Locke vs. the other members of his undead zombie army? I’m not sure, but I am 100% certain that we’ll find out – and it may even provide a way for Locke to live on after all is said and done.

Anyways, it seems like “The Claimed” (oh – that sounds like a creepy horror movie title, I’m going to keep using it) retain some of their prior knowledge and traits. Claire is still obsessed with finding Aaron, just as she always was. However, there also may be some sort of transfer of knowledge from Anti-Jacob to The Claimed, since there’s no way in hell Claire would be smart enough to set traps / survive on her own / kill an Other without considerable influence from something else inside her. Maybe Anti-Jacob is only sharing the brain, or maybe it’s like the “Dark Passenger” from the Dexter novels.

The important thing is that Claire has spent the past three years killing Others, looking for Aaron, and sees SmokeLocke for who he is – her “friend” Anti-Jacob. You can argue the “good” vs. “evil” debate for Jacob and Anti-Jacob all you want, but there’s some pretty hard evidence here – Anti-Jacob lied to Crazy Claire to make her think the Others had Aaron, in an effort to trick her into killing them. Conversely, the Others clearly had her at some point (based on the evidence from their “tests” on her), but couldn’t kill her – just like they couldn’t kill Sayid, even after he failed the tests. In my book, killing people makes you more of a “bad guy” than those who refrain from killing… except in the case of Dexter, of course.

Jacob told Hurley that “someone bad” is about to arrive at the Temple. It’s gotta be either SmokeLocke or Crazy Claire. What they do when they arrive should go a long way in explaining who is really “good” and who is really “evil”.

Wow – what a strange, meandering, only semi-logical Blog post this has been! As you can tell, it looks like my attempts to understand Lost have finally fried my brain (or it could be the whiskey I started drinking mid-post).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I am still as confused about Lost right now as I’ve ever been. It makes for super entertaining episodes, but super frustrating Blog posts. To quote Damon from the latest Entertainment Weekly:

“All we can say is, Be patient. You’ve come with us this far…whether you like it or not, you’re in the car and we’re driving. If you’re feeling sick, roll the window down and throw up. But don’t get out of the car.”

Until next week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Lighthouse" Instant Reactions!

Brian's One Word Review: Solid.

In my mind, this week wasn't quite up to last week's standard, and I couldn't help but think the scenes in the lighthouse were a tad hokey - but overall, another solid episode that continued to move the big storyline of the season forward. What do we need to discuss?

Adam and Eve. For those who didn't watch the re-airing of "The Substitute" with the "Lost for Dummies" pop-up comments, they mentioned Adam and Eve - which seemed a little out of place at the time... but then became obvious foreshadowing for Hurley and Jack's return to the Caves, with Adam and Eve, during "Lighthouse". Although the pop-up comments are super annoying 90% of the time, in that other 10% they sometimes help remind the average viewer of plot points that happened long ago, but are about to be re-referenced on the show... and sometimes they flat out tell you what something on the show means which the Internet had spent the prior seven days analyzing to death. The moral of the story? We all should probably start watching the Lost reruns at 8:00 pm EST each week.

Speaking of Adam and Eve, the writers clearly realized that only the most die-hard Lost fans would remember these two corpses with white and black stones, which allegedly offer proof that there was a "master storyline" all along, and the writers haven't been making it up as they go. Although we didn't get any answers as to who they are, it was good to bring them back up, and have Hurley once again act as the voice of the audience, pondering the same questions we've been pondering all along ("I wonder if we'll go back in time again, and these corpses are actually us?")

Off-Island. Early on this week, I had high hopes that we were finally going to get some development of the Off-Island action, when Jack didn't remember his appendectomy (which Juliet administered on-Island... but his mom claimed happened in his youth). But then nothing else in the episode built upon that teaser, so we're not any closer to understanding the Flash-Sideways than we were before we started. Although with the inclusion of both Ben AND Dogen in Los Angeles, it's almost like the two realities are bleeding together, and Jack's confusion about his appendix is his memory not knowing which one is correct... or LA X is some dreamland that all the characters on the Island have been thrust into.

Still no solid theories here yet - still don't think the Off-Island action is worth over-analyzing. Disappointed the super hot Julie Bowen (Sarah Shephard, Jack's wife in the original flashbacks) was "out of town".

Also, it's a good thing that David is the only teenage kid in the world with his own answering machine in his room (instead of using a cell phone), or else Jack would have never been able to have that heartfelt reunion after his recital!

The Visitor. So is there actually someone "coming to the Island", as Jacob said? Or was it all a ploy just to get Jack and Hurley away from the Temple? Here's my only thought - there are thirteen episodes of Lost left. I don't know if there's time for some new faction to come to the Island at this point. Heck, I don't even think the "war" that we've been talking about for years is going to involve anyone other than the people already on the Island right now. There just doesn't seem to be enough time to expand the story and / or characters much more at this point... unless it's Desmond or Widmore. After all, we were told that "the Island isn't done with Desmond"... also I miss his character.

The Lighthouse. It's funny how I'm fine with some of the semi-supernatural stuff on Lost, but other things strike me as kinda cheesy. For example - Jacob's cave last week? Totally awesome. The Lighthouse this week? Not a huge fan. Apparently Jacob hung out in the Lighthouse and just turned the dial around to spy on our Survivors all their lives? This seems to indicate that Jacob indeed "picked" our Survivors from the start, rather than using time travel to go back and pick them after they arrived on the Island.

I did enjoy Jack saying the same thing I did in my episode preview: "How in the hell did we never see this before?" followed by an equally cool / spiritual response from Hurley of "I guess we weren't looking for it."

In case you were wondering, 108 on the wheel was a crossed out name of "Wallace"... which I can only assume means Braveheart himself, William Wallace. Actually, this probably confirms that Jacob was simply using the Lighthouse mission as a ploy to get Hurley and Jack away from the Temple - and that there isn't anyone else coming to the Island.

PS - all the scenes involving Hurley and Jacob are pure gold. Keep 'em coming!

Crazy Claire. So what's going on with Claire? Well, it's pretty clear she's been duped by Anti-Jacob / SmokeLocke / Christian Shephard, who told her that the Others stole Aaron as a way to get her to start picking off some of the Others. I guess the "Sickness" also embodied her with the ability to kickass and take names, and survive in the wilderness just like CFL. The big question I have is - does this confirm that Christian and Anti-Jacob are two separate entities? She said that her "Father" and "Friend" told her the Others kidnapped Aaron. Did she ever see both at the same time? It seems like regardless the answer, Christian is on the same side as Anti-Jacob, but it may raise into question exactly what Christian really is.

I think it's only a matter of time before a huge Kate / Claire battle on the Island... and it's looking like Claire, SmokeLocke, Sawyer, and Jin are on their way to the Temple. As Jacob said, "Someone is coming there. Someone bad." And unfortunately for our Survivors still left at the Temple, "it's too late". Looks like Jacob is banking on Hurley or Jack becoming his replacement!

"Jack is here because he has to do something. He can't be told what to do, he has to find it himself. Sometimes you can just hop in the cab and tell them what to do. Other times you have to let them look out at the ocean for a while."


Monday, February 22, 2010

Lost - "Lighthouse"

Episode Title: “Lighthouse”

Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: When I first saw this episode title, my first thought was to my imaginary “Lighthouse Dharma Station” that I first theorized about before Season Five started: . Back then, I wrote the following:

Maybe that “Lighthouse Dharma Station” exists off the Island, and provides a way to reach to it? Maybe this is also how people like Alpert travel on and off the Island (and in time).

While I was correct about the main concept of that Off-Island Dharma station (which just goes to show that you really shouldn’t read my episode preview posts unless you want me to ruin the show for you… some of the time), I was wrong about the title - it was called “The Lamp Post”, not “The Lighthouse”.

So if this week isn’t about that Off-Island Dharma Station, what is it about?

Well, In doing my normal Wikipedia research about the episode title, I learned a lot about lighthouses (oh, the things that Lost has forced me to learn about) – but most of it was pretty useless. There weren’t any good movie / music / book references to lighthouses that seemed to apply, and even though there were a ton of “famous” lighthouses listed, there was only one that stood out – the Lighthouse of Alexandria. It was built on the Island of Pharos in Ancient Egypt in 280 BC, becoming one of the tallest man-made structures on Earth… and also becoming one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Why does that sound familiar?

Remember back when we first saw the Four Toed Statue and everyone theorized that it might be a part of something similar to the Colossus of Rhodes? Well, that was also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Although since then we’ve learned that the Four Toed Statue was more of a giant ancient Egyptian Taweret, it still proves that it something big was built on the Island a long, long time ago.

Who’s to say that an ancient Lighthouse wasn’t built somewhere on the Island as well?

Although it seems a little suspicious that our Survivors could have spent so much time on the Island without seeing a lighthouse, especially given how many times they’ve taken the beach to circle around the Island instead of going through the Smokey-infested middle of the Island in the early seasons, I suppose there’s a chance that they haven’t actually covered all the ground – or that it’s the world’s smallest lighthouse that isn’t easily visible from afar, making it the world’s most ineffective lighthouse as well.

Also – we know that it’s nearly impossible to find the Island unless you head on a specific bearing and are in the right place at the right time, so what purpose would this lighthouse serve? Is it a “magic” lighthouse that actually can show the way to the Island? If so, why haven’t we seen any of the people on the Island (Dharma or Others) use or reference it? Is it an ancient lighthouse that was used before it was so difficult to find the Island?

I’m not sure. But unless in the Off-Island storyline, the “Lamp Post” is actually renamed the “Lighthouse” (in another example of things being “different” there), I think this is the best guess I’ve got.

Where’s the deeper meaning?

Lighthouses symbolize a lot of things, but the vast majority are positive things – safety, light, hope, truth. But they can also represent a lonely existence – or at least they did on that one episode of the Simpsons.


It kinda sounds like Jack, doesn’t it? He’s our “hero” on the show. The other characters seem to put their faith and hope in him, even though he’s flawed and hasn’t always been a perfect leader. Likewise, there was some foreshadowing towards the lonely nature of being the “leader” two weeks ago, when Dogen gave Jack the speech about needing to be somewhat removed from those you lead – just like the lighthouse keeper.

Just like last week featured both a literal and symbolic meaning to the title of “The Substitute”, I think this week follows suit. Jack is a “lighthouse” to the other characters on the show – perhaps even for both the Survivors and the Others, if he’s going to become the “New Jacob”, and we’ll discover that there is indeed a lighthouse on-Island… which hopefully contains as many secrets and information as Jacob’s Cave last week!

Guest Stars: Veronica Hamel as Margo Shephard, Mark Pellegrino as Jacob, Hiroyuki Sanada as Dogen, Dayo Ade as Justin, Dylan Minnette as David and Sean Kinerney as Japanese boy.

Guest Star Breakdown: Some familiar faces and some newcomers this week.

  • We’ve got Margo Shephard (Jack’s Mom), who will undoubtedly be featured in Jack’s Off-Island storyline.
  • We’ve got Jacob, who will likely appear in another vision to Hurley, providing him with further instructions.
  • We’ve got Dogen, who will hopefully continue to speak English to our Survivors to make the story as efficient as possible.
  • We’ve got Justin, the Other that was shot by Claire at the end of “What Kate Does”. Do they include you as a guest star if you’re just lying on screen, dead? If not, it looks like he survived his encounter with Claire, which is likely given that he seemed to be shot in the shoulder.

Then we’ve got two newcomers. Last week I went out on a limb and guessed that the young actor in the episode would be Locke’s son. I was wrong – but in a good way, since Young Jacob was far more interesting. What about “David”, the young actor appearing in this week’s episode?


The fact that he has a name indicates that he’s going to at least have some sort of minor role in the episode. But what if he’s actually somewhat important? I think there are two pretty tempting possibilities:

  1. He’s Jack’s son. Remember, in the original flashbacks, Jack was married for less than a year before his marriage fell apart and his wife moved on to Phil Dunphy. It’s possible that in the new Off-Island storyline they married sooner, had a child out of wedlock, or Jack is married to someone different. Plus, I was wrong about this hunch last week, so it would be cool if I was just one week off in my prediction.
  2. He’s Young Anti-Jacob. The far cooler of the two possibilities. Last week, we saw (or, I think we saw) the image of a Young Jacob on the Island. What if this week, we see the image of a Young Anti-Jacob… whose name is actually David? I’m not exactly sure how this could come into play, since it seems like the only person who would have a memory of Young Anti-Jacob would be Jacob… who’s dead and already appearing as some type of ghost to Hurley – but you have to admit, it would be pretty cool.

Lastly, we’ve got “Japanese Boy”, who is so famous that there aren’t even any pictures of him on the Internet. The coolest possibility for him would be to be a Young Dogen – but I think we’re stretching there. Again, I can’t think of any scenario where a flashback to Dogen arriving on the Island as a little kid would fit into a Jack-centric outing. I’m going to have to chalk this one up to a background character of some kind.

Episode Description: “Hurley must convince Jack to accompany him on an unspecified mission, and Jin stumbles across an old friend.”

Episode Breakdown: Another week, another brief episode description. This one is pretty straightforward, given the analysis of the episode we’ve already done. The fact that Hurley has to convince Jack to accompany him on an unspecified mission (which more than likely will be a trip to the lighthouse) indicates that he received more information from Jacob. I’m guessing Jacob appears to Hurley and tells him it’s critical that he take Jack to the lighthouse, with Ghost Jacob leading the way. Meanwhile, we return back to the Jin / Claire storyline, where we get some more information about what the heck is going on with her. Is she crazy like CFL? Is she overtaken by the “darkness”? Or is she just wondering what the hell happened for the past three years while everyone else left the Island / jumped around in time? I feel like I’ve already speculated enough about this episode, so I’ll leave things there. I’m not really sure what’s going on with Claire, but I can’t wait to find out.

… and that about wraps things up.

If you need a reason to get even more excited about this week’s episode, it’s this: “Lighthouse" was written by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. They’re usually the ones who write the season premieres and finales, and two of the few people who actually know exactly where the Lost storyline is heading, and most of the details along the way. If they’re involved, there’s a good chance we’re due for a heavy dose of Island mythology coming our way – or some pretty major reveals. Get giddy!

Until tomorrow night, Happy Losting!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ( )

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


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.)


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.


Until next week!