Thursday, May 14, 2009

L O S T -- Redux

This show is just so aptly named, isn't it? Because that's just what we all are, every time we sit down and watch an episode. And it seems, the bigger the episode, the more "reveals" we are given by the fanbois who insist that Season V has been all about revealing all this information we've been seeking, the more the mystery just grows larger.

I'm torn because I want to write a bit about the Lost finale here today, but I don't want to spoil too much for those of you who did not stay up till 11 to watch it last night. I will give it a try without spoiling too much, but we'll have to see how far I am willing to push it on that front. To be safe, if you haven't seen the Lost finale yet, and do not want anything ruined for you, then don't read this post until you've had a chance to view the finale episode that ran this Wednesday night.

First impressions (because that's all anyone can have at this point, having only had time to see the episode once at most since its airing from 9-11pm on Wednesday):

1. The Goat informs me that Richard's reply to Ilana's question translates to "he who will save us all." Thank you to Goat for that one. I won't go into more specifics on that at this point.

2. Kudos to me on my guesses yesterday as to the final scene of the finale, huh? I swear I should be writing for these clowns.

3. Is it me, or over the last two weeks, and then especially when Richard knocked out Eloise to protect "their leader" from danger, does he not seem to be a wee bit overprotective of Eloise, in particular of her pregnant state? For the first time last night as Jack prepared to take the bomb's plutonium core to the Swan station, I got the first indication that maybe Richard could be the father of Eloise's baby. Likely that is Daniel Faraday, but keep in mind they've never even told us if that is the case. Daniel could be a baby on the island already in 1977, and Eloise is carrying Richard's baby, which could for that matter be someone we know already, or a whole new character. Who knows.

4. And now the big one: Jacob. Well that one threw us all for a loop. huh? So Jacob is not one of the Losties, not an incorporeal form of someone who's been semi-reincarnated due to the island's magical properties. What he is, however, is a matter of extreme debate. I'm going to go ahead and give my working theory here for now, so skip this paragraph if you don't wanna know. I've spent about 4 or 5 hours sitting and thinking about the meat of the information we got about Jacob -- which really consists of the first scene of the finale, and the last scene. In the middle is just a bunch of examples showing that Jacob has been involved in the lives of each of the characters on the island, at key crucial points. He obviously knew Locke was going to be pushed out of that window, but did nothing to prevent it. Depending on your point of view, he either saved Sayid from being killed by a car, or caused Sayid's wife to get crushed by it. He helped Jack when Jack's confidence was at rock-bottom and his father issues were in full bloom. He made sure little Sawyer had a brand new pen to write his famous letter to the real con man Sawyer, he kept Kate out of trouble, he helped convince Hurley to return to the island, and presumably lots of other little things along the way.

It's unclear exactly what Jacob's motivation has been for all of these little interventions, but my working theory is that each and every one of them was designed in some small (or not so small way) to result in each and every one of the original survivors of Oceanic flight 815 to get on that plane and end up on the island. Without placing the fan of doubt in Jack's mind, maybe he never comes to the island in the first place. Without his wife murdered, there is little doubt that Sayid would never have returned. Hurley was not close to going back to the island once he found out Ben wanted him to, until Jacob came long.

One thing that's interesting is that Jacob appears to know everything that is going to happen in these people's lives, before it happens. And more than that, he can transport himself there, easily. Remember, he was there when Kate shoplifted as a child. Locke when he was pushed from the building as a young old man. Hurley in 2007. Sayid in 2004. And like Richard Alpert, Jacob never seems to age. He looked exactly the same back in Kate's childhood that he did when Locke and Ben went to see him at the end of the finale.

What kind of a being can appear as himself in any random time it chooses, and is completely omniscient about minor details in the lives of other people, and does not show any signs of age? I just can't escape the fact that Jacob, like I had originally theorized here about the smoke monster itself earlier this season, is some kind of a god. It could be the god, or just a god -- one of many in Egyptian mythology, for example -- or he could be a demigod of some kind. The point is, this guy has extra-human powers and existence for sure. He functions essentially as a good as compared to the Losties we have been following for the past five years of our lives.

That conversation at the beginning of the show I think is really the key to the whole big "reveal" of the finale. Jacob is hanging out, presumably on the island, and we see that he still uses a semi-primitive fish catch, and has to fillet and cook the fish, and that he still eats. So he's not a god in the sense that many of us might think of such a being. But he appears to be basically just chillaxing on the island, and then this other guy comes up, someone we presumably know nothing about so far, but who appears to be speaking with Jacob as an equal, so perhaps another demi-god of some kind. Let's call him Esau, for lack of a better name. Jacob is out watching a ship drifting closer and closer to the island -- presumably the Black Rock -- and Esau refers to Jacob having "drawn" them to the island. Jacob seems hopeful, like he has promise for the people on the Black Rock, but Esau seems very dark about their prospects on the island. In fact, Esau seems dark about all people's prospects, making some kind of a statement as I recall that "they always end up in-fighting, succumbing to greed", etc. or something like that. Jacob has apparently summoned to the island some humans, perhaps to test them and see if his more optimistic view of them might be right compared to Esau's fatalistic viewpoint.

At one point, one of the weirdest parts of an admittedly very weird story comes when Esau basically asks Jacob if Jacob knows how badly Esau would like to kill him. Jacob acknowledges it, along with the fact that Esau cannot kill Jacob right now, and then says he imagines that at some point in the future Esau will "find a loophole" and manage to off Jacob once and for all. Obviously this is very cryptic and we have not been given the information or tools to deduce what he is talking about just yet, but again my working theory is that the limits on Jacob's and Esau's demi-goddery include the fact that they cannot be killed by other similar demi-gods. Perhaps the "rules", such as they are, indicate that the only way one of these demi-gods can be killed is if a human does the killing at the direction of another of the demi-gods, or something like that. This fits well with the scene at the end of the finale, when Locke and Ben show up at Jacob's abode and Jacob says something like "Well, I can't believe you found me, I see you've found your loophole". So Esau seemingly has used the body/soul/spirit/likeness/aura/something of Locke to convince Ben to kill Jacob, and seemingly this works as we see Jacob bleeding all over the place and spilling to the ground.

I'm going to guess here that another of the rules of these demi-god types is that they can inhabit the bodies, or turn themselves into, anyone who has already died. This would explain the various times we have seen the smoke monster take the form of Christian Shepherd, Claire, Horace, Charlie, Alexandra, and various other dead people we have run into reincarnated for a time during the previous five seasons of the show. The working theory now is that the black smoke is behind all of those apparitions. Could Esau be the human appearance of what is otherwise known to us as the black smoke?

Taking the whole thing a step further, didn't Jacob seem to be sort of a nice guy in the whole story we were presented yesterday? I mean, clearly he has his own interests in mind as he "draws" people to the island, and presumably he does that "drawing" by simply jumping into the lives of the people he wishes to draw to the island, and uses that whole omniscience and omnipotence thing to do whatever he has to do in their lives -- without their knowledge or understanding of course -- to "convince" them that they want to come to the island on their own free will. But Jacob always apologized to each of the Losties whenever he was there and bad things happened to them (Locke's 6-story fall, Jack's problems at the operating table, etc.), and to me those apologies seemed genuine -- Jacob was sad for those victims. Similarly, Jacob had a couple of lines about free will, and how everyone (Hurley before he returned to the island, Ben before he killed Jacob) has a choice in waht they do. Try as I might, I just can't escape the conclusion that these aspects of Jacob make him seem kind of like god -- like, the god, the supreme force of good watching over these people.

Along those same lines, Esau just seemed bad, didn't he? He was the one talking about killing Jacob at the beginning, and then seemingly putting in place an elaborate lie and plan to ultimately cause the killing of Jacob. He seemed totally pessimistic about humanity in general with his comments at the beginning while Jacob was summoning the Black Rock to the island, and I just generally got a feeling of "darkness" about him, as compared with the "light" of Jacob. I know this is kind of out there, but it would not be surprising if Esau and the black smoke are related, if not one and the same.

The bigger question is, are the Lost writers going to do something rligious and grand, like make Jacob and Esau into Good vs Evil, the Egyptian god of life vs the Egyptian god of death, God vs Satan, or something similar? Haven't Ben, Charles and Eloise repeatdly referred to the ultimate struggle of good vs evil coming on the island, and how the Losties are a crucial part of that whole story? They certainly planted a nice seed in the finale this week that Bernard and Rose could prove to be the "Adam and Eve" skeletons that the Losties found near their camp in the first season of the show....But could Bernard and Rose prove to be theactual Adam and Eve? Would the Lost writers really try to pull something like that off? Could Jacob and Esau be the real Jacob and Esau from the bible, somehow empowered with the powers of god(s) themselves? They sorta seemed like brothers in their own way, one good and the other evil, and they did seemingly purposefully decline to give us Esau's name at all. My working theory right now involves some sort of answer like this, which we will have to wait until 2010 to find out. Grrrrr.

5. One other area to mention deals with the whole Jack / Eloise / Faraday plan to change the future. Despite some disagreement with some people on the girly on this point, it seems to me that the Incident was not in fact caused by Jack and his little hydrogen bomb, as I had suspected it might be heading into the finale. In other words, they drilled too far into the Swan station, hit the pocket of energy, and then Jack threw the bomb down the shaft. But it did not detonate. It just sat there, and meanwhile, where the bomb was not in effect, the drill tunnel in the Swan had that major electromagnetic malfunction, sucking the drill and all other metal objects along with it right down the shaft. They had some scary sounds, not unlike the purple-sky event after Desmond failed to push the button in the Swan a few years ago, and Dr. Chang's arm got mauled by the drill rig as it collapsed right down into the shaft itself, just like we knew Chang had lost an arm in the Incident originally from one of those videos we saw a year or two ago. And who knows what other effects that burst of electromagnetism would have had on the island and its inhabitants. But to me, that was the Incident. And only then did the bomb go off. So my working theory there is that the Losties have in fact succeeded in changing the past to some extent, by introducing the exploding H-bomb into the Incident after it was not originally supposed to be there.

Who knows what the ramifications will be of that bomb. In reality I feel such an explosion would destroy the island, but it's entirely possible that they decide to go a different route entirely and say that is just destroyed the tunnels, which would explain why there seems to be no mention whatsoever of any tunnels when the Losties first crashed on the island in 2004.

I will do some more on this later, after I have had the chance to watch the show at least one more time in its entirety, converse with others and read some of the other theories out there. But that's my take on where we stand now with the Lost story arc. I'd love to hear any different theories that are out there in the comments.

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