Friday, February 26, 2010

Lost Thoughts -- Episode 5

Tired of waiting for the Goat's writeup, it's time for me to get up my own thoughts on Episode 5 of Lost, another fun episode that had some interesting reveals, although as per usual for this show even the reveals still leave a lot of questions to be answered. Rather than summarize the episode and walk through everthing that happened -- which is available on various websites out there already -- I will once again keep my post limited to the few most interesting items or thoughts I noticed as I watched the show. Again I have waited until watching the episode for a second time amidst another major snowstorm in the New York area to formulate these thoughts, and again they are at best just guesses as to what is going on, but I think educated guesses if nothing else.

I will just start by mentioning once again how much of a manipulator Jacob is. Although there was about five seconds when I thought that Jacob might actually be the bad guy during this week's episode, that feeling quickly subsided and I was once again left thinking that this guy really could be Jacob, the Jacob from the Bible. Not only does he manipulate everyone for his own gain, but he really seems to enjoy doing the manipulating doesn't he? And more than that, just like the biblical Jacob, our Jacob really seems to have a knack for finding out people's vulnerabilities and then using those vulnerabilities for maximum bang for his buck in terms of the manipulation he is able to foist upon people. Using the "you have what it takes" line on Jack, playing upon his ultimate childhood insecurity in a very direct and overt way, was sheer genius and is not all that different from Bible Jacob waiting until Esau was desperately hungry after a long day in the hunt to get Esau to agree to give up his birthright in exchange for some soup. I still say it's more likely than anything else that we're looking at the real Jacob from the Bible here.

After manipulating Jack to make it up the lighthouse -- the structure they've never managed to see or hear about before, in a rare Heroes-like silliness of plot for Lost -- they have that cool scene with the magical mirror and the wheel with everyone's name on it. Much has been made of the fact that Jacob's instructions to Hurley were for Hurley to turn the wheel to the number 108, which lostpedia quickly posted in picture corresponded to the crossed-off name of "Wallace". Not only do we not know anything about anyone named Wallace, but the fact that this name was crossed off adds to my feeling that the identity of Wallace is not going to be germane to our story. Yes, I quickly realized that 108 also equals the sum of the Lost numbers -- 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 -- and that just adds to my feeling that Jacob merely picked the number 108 as a ruse, knowing only that a nice high number like that would require Hurley to make several pulls of the chain and several spins of the wheel. This I think was done by Jacob to ensure that Jack would have a good long while of staring at the mirror while it cycled by other names on the wheel, making sure that Jack would notice the abnormalities of the wheel and eventually flip out and destroy it all. So I'm not spending any time trying to theorize about this "Wallace" character, as I don't think he or she matters to the arc at this point in time. What might matter is that the wheel seems to be completely full of names, but almost all of them crossed off at this point except for our last four or five "candidates". Perhaps the fact that just about every spot on that wheel attached to the magical mirror has already been filled in and crossed out adds to the importance of our special group of Losties, and to the notion that some great, final battle is coming that will put an end to the need for magical mirrors pulled by mysterious wheels going forward.

The most interesting aspect to me of the whole magic mirror thing is not so much that Jacob was able to manipulate Jack into destroying it, but why Jacob would want to do such a thing. Let's posit some things about Jacob and his presence on the island, shall we? We saw this week in that scene between Dogen and Hurley deep within the Temple that Hurley can see Jacob, but Dogen (and seemingly just about everyone else) cannot. Just as we have assumed in the past about Christian Shepherd in his many appearances during the six seasons of Lost, I think it's a safe bet that Jacob is a "ghost", at least in the sense that he does not have a corporeal body here on the island. My guess is that he can't lift things, he can't open doors, and frankly if someone tried to bump into him right now you would walk right the hell through him. This seems to fit everything we've seen this year about Jacob -- pretty much everything we've seen about Jacob on the island all through the show -- and more than that is also helps to explain just why Hurley's presence is so crucial on the island. Hurley has always been the guy who can see ghosts, who can talk to the dead. Not only does not whole notion not freak him out because he's alreayd done it before, but perhaps it's also that Hurley's mind is "opened" such that he can accept the apparitions he sees for what they are. In a very real way on this island, Hurley can serve as Jacob's go-between, the way for ghost Jacob to appear and communicate with the Losties who need to work for him, and to get messages to the other Losties whose minds are not ready for whatever reason to see him.

So, my thinking is that having Jack destroy the mirrors is a little too grandiose and extreme of an action to just be done in order to "show Jack how important he is", as Jacob tried to explain to Hurley at the end of the episode. Jacob could have accomplished "wowing" Jack in any number of ways that did not involve destruction of the physical structure that seemingly enables Jacob to carry out his manipulations of the Losties' lives. No, I think there was likely more to it than that. My guess, given what we saw of the mirror contraption above in the lighthouse, is that the magical mirror is more than just a "window" for Jacob to observe the Losties in secret. I would venture to guess that the mirrors also enable Jacob to travel to the times and places he can see next to each candidate's name on the wheel. I would guess that he turned the wheel to Sawyer at his parents' funeral before being able to appear at the funeral to touch young Sawyer, and I would guess that the wheel is what Jacob used to be able to go back in time and place to each of the other Losties who he touched over time.

So to me, the mirror is more than a window. It's a time travel device. And now that Jacob has been killed on the island, he can only appear as a ghost on the island and is unable to use his time travel machine anymore since he has no corporeal body to use it with. But MIB, on the other hand, we have seen turning more and more into John Locke every week. Ileana revealed in last week's episode that MIB can no longer leave Locke's body, and my sense is that, for whatever reason, since Jacob's death the MIB is experiencing the exact opposite of what his counterpart Jacob is going through -- after years of living as an apparition of sorts on the island, MIB is finally starting to turn into a real man with a real body -- John Locke, of the "Don't tell me what I can't do!" sentiment. And in my theory, this means that, perhaps for the first time since the two have been on the island, MIB might actually be able to access the lighthouse and the mirror travel device. And that is something that Jacob cannot have, given his need to win the ultimate war of good vs. evil. So, my theory is that, once Jacob lost his ability to use the mirrors, he need them to be destroyed before Flocke could find his way there and use them to go back in time and affect other changes in history that could change the balance in advance of the ultimate fight that is coming this season. Not having a body of his own to use, Jacob could not destroy the mirrors himself, so he had to convince someone on the island who does have a body to do it, and they had to do it of their own free will as with so many of the things involving Jacob and MIB this year and last. So Jacob used his go-between in Hurley to give Jack the information he needed to ensure that Jack would see the strange properties of the mirrors and eventually choose to destroy them, thereby protecting the island from MIB being able to make nefarious use of the magical mirrors ever again.

The bigger question is what is Jack's big thing he has to figure out that he now has to do? Jacob told Hurley that's why Jack is here, but assuming it is true I really don't have much of an idea about what this is gonna be. Making Jack think Jacob is a manipulator, has been pulling Jack's strings ever since his young childhood, is designed to make Jack do something, but what would that be? Given what we (and Jacob) know about Jack, the only thing I can think of is that this knowledge about Jacob is going to make Jack want to check out, want to do whatever he can not to help this guy who Jack has just learned has been meddling in his life ever since he was born. That's what the Jack that I know would do upon learning he's been manipulated like this for year and had his life affected in some major way. He would do whatever he can do to remove himself from the entire situation and to fight against whatever it was that Jacob had planned for Jack's "destiny". How that plays itself out over the coming weeks is anybody's guess.

On an unrelated note, I found it very conspicuous that they never told us the identity or even the name of Jack's ex wife in the alternate reality timeline. Jack has this son, the whole story of which frankly I found forced and a little bit ridiculous, but they never told us who the kid's mother was, and I found the lack of detail on that point a little too conspicuous to have been an accident. My guess is that Jack was married to -- and had a kid with -- one of our females from among the Losties, and the smart money would have to be on either Kate or Juliet. Since Kate is currently still a fugitive from the law in that timeline, that would seem to vault Juliet to the forefront of the list, but I'm thinking there has got to be more to the story for the reason that they went so out of their way not to reveal even the name of David's mother. More on that to come I am sure.

My last big thought was inspired by Flocke's appearance at the end of the episode as Claire's "friend" who told her that the Others took Aaron from her. Basically, Dogen told Jack last week that Claire was infected by the same infection that is now growing within Sayid -- the same infection which Dogen planned to "treat" with his real-life poison pill, presumably to kill him off before the infection really took hold. And yet, the writers of Lost I think went out of their way not to present Claire as someone with a physical infection, don't you think? If anything, she was portrayed as someone who has been manipulated like so many others on the island, by MIB who apparently has appeared to her as both Christian (her father) and now as Locke to tell her the baldfaced lie that the Others stole her baby, when in reality Kate saved Aaron and took him off the island three years ago when the Oceanic Six first escaped from the island. But Claire does not seem "infected" to me, not by anything that can be fixed by a pill anyways. Emotionally infected by MIB's lies and deception, sure. But not with some disease. And all of this begs the question -- could Dogen and Weird Al Yankovic in the Temple be wrong about the nature of this "infection"? Could their idea to just administer poison and kill the "infected" patient in fact be some ancient Egyptian view of medicine without the benefit of modern-day technology and understanding of mental maladies? Could Dogen's attempt to kill Sayid with the poison green pill -- the pill that Jack straight-up saved Sayid from ever taking -- be a completely misguided attempt to cure a physical ailment that is not even a physical ailment at all? Could Jack really have saved Sayid from a certain, and yet totally needless, death?

There was a lot more in this episode but these are my main ideas after taking another view of the show. Love to know anyone's thoughts on the above or predictions for what is to come over the next several weeks on Lost.

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Blogger Julius_Goat said...

I think you might be onto something in that Jacob wanted the mirrors smashed to keep the Nemesis from them. But why not just have Hurley smash 'em? I think there was an additional level to it.

My first thought when I became aware of Wallace is that he may have been the previously successful candidate. Jacob Wallace.

It would be weird for Kate to be a captured fugitive on the plane and Jack pretty much totally unruffled by it if Kate were his ex-wife. Juliet, though? Yeah, maybe so.

I've pretty much assumed since Dogan explained the "infection" that it was to be understood as an infection of the soul, not the body.


1:58 AM  
Blogger jjok said...

Oceanic flight 815.

8 and 15

Hugo is 8. Sawyer is 15.

Those 2 are best buds....and they will turn and have a deathmatch to take over in the end.


2:19 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

A couple of thoughts:

1. Where the hell is Goat's write-up. Thanks for picking up the slack on this, and for shame on the Goat.

2. The actress who played Jack's wife in the original flashbacks was Julie Bowen, an actress on the new sitcom Modern Family. It could simply be that she was unable to appear on Lost because of other filming (Modern Family) or was too expensive since she is of higher profile now. I simple mean this as one potential reason why Jack's wife was not seen or mentioned in the sideways world.

3. I'm surprised you did not bring up the obvious clues that sideways world Jack has some inclination that things are wrong. For instance, he sees his appendix scar and freaks out to call his mother. He got the scar from the island, when the freighter people came. He was out of it for an episode or two while he healed, as you may recall. The fact that he flipped out when he saw the island scar in the sideways world is a huge clue, although I don't have it fully worked out. It could be that the sideways world is more of a fake fantasy world of sorts; Jack and the other original Losties on teh island may eventually be placed into a hallucinogenic state or even in a type of purgatory, heaven and/or hell (depending on who the person is and the circumstances of their life in the sideways world). I think there was another clue from Jack's sideways world scenes, but I don't remember it specifically.

2:21 AM  
Blogger Skramly said...

I finally read this awesome post -- you have some great theories there. I love the bit about the lighthouse being a time machine, it really makes sense. Can't wait to see what tonight's episode will bring.

3:34 AM  

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