L O S T
Wow. Sorry for the no post yesterday, but I have to admit then while I was watching this week's Lost episode on Tuesday night, my head popped right off of my neck and it took me an entire day to get it back on straight after all that new information. Well, some of the information was more confirmations of things we already more or less "knew" I suppose, but there was a lot of fodder in there as well, and I think the writers might be laying the groundwork for some more mindfvcks in the coming weeks.
For starters, I'll just mention that I thought the actor who plays Richard Alpert did a great job this week, pretty much for the first time all series long. He has come a long way from when he was seen running through the jungle all panicked and wearing those pirate clothes, hasn't he? While I could have done without the overdrama of the early scenes with Richard and Isabella from the 1850s, I thought the actor did a fine job near the end of the episode, in particular in the scene where Huge helped him to communicate with Isabella's ghost. I enjoyed it, and as a guy who has never understood the hub-bub about the guy who plays Sawyer (Josh Holloway), who I think is one of the most trite and boring actors on television today, I have truly enjoyed the acting jobs put in by both Richard and of course Terry O'Quinn this season as Flocke.
OK, putting past that, this was an episode where we learned a lot about the nature of the island, and a little more about the true nature of the Man In Black, whom we get to see in his "real body" (more on that later) for only the second time in the series, and this time for much longer than the first which was just briefly at the very beginning of last season's finale. One of the things that was "confirmed" in this week's episode -- and I use the quotes there because, with this show and all the mystery and the deception and really with how little we all still understand, nothing is every set-in-stone-decided I have determined -- is that, as explained by Jacob to Richard back in 1850, the MIB represents evil, entropy, darkness, chaos, whatever you want to call it, and that the island is like the cork that keeps the darkness bottled up, and ultimately what keeps it from spreading everywhere and destroying everything. This has been hinted at many many times during the arc of Lost so I do not think this was exactly earth-shattering to anyone who saw Jacob say it this week, but at the same time there is a certain satisfaction to having a fact like that "confirmed" by the deity Jacob in a context that makes it seem very believable and true.
Assuming Jacob can be believed -- again I think a dubious assumption given how manipulative and unforthcoming Jacob has been time and again about his true intentions -- he also confirmed another fact that has been widely speculated since that opening scene of last season's finale -- that MIB thinks human nature is essentially bad, and that Jacob repeatedly brings people to the island to prove that MIB is wrong that humans will always make the wrong choices due to our dark nature. Same thing really with Jacob's desire to have people make the right choices due to their own free will rather than Jacob getting involved directly and forcing it, which presumably would prove MIB's point more than his own. This explains why so much of what the characters on the island do comes down to free will, in particular Ben's decision in last season's finale to kill Jacob, with Jacob right up to the moment before Ben plunged the knife into Jacob's chest pleading with Ben that he did not have to do anything he did not want to do, anything he did not choose to do. For whatever reason, the rules (which rules still remain a complete and total mystery to Lost viewers -- What other rules are there? Who made the rules? Why?) forbid Jacob (and probably MIB as well, I would guess) to "force" the people drawn to the island to do bad or good, but rather the point is to allow the humans to show their true nature, with some (limited) influence from the island's all-powerful, all-knowing deities. Anyways, all this was nice to hear as I mentioned but something we had already pretty much put together given what we've seen over the last season or so, so nothing too earth-shattering in my view.
OK so then let's move on to some of the more interesting stuff -- the questions, the strange out-of-place things, and the other ideas I think these might be pointing towards.
For starters, I'm sure most of you Lost viewers out there were as curious as I was when MIB gave Richard the exact same speech about taking the knife and plunging it deep into Jacob's chest to kill him, and not to let him talk, that if he speaks at all it will be too late, Jacob has tremendous powers of persuasion, etc. I mean, it was like the exact same words that Dogen said to Sayid a couple of weeks ago about MIB before sending Sayid to "kill" Flocke. What is the significance of the fact that the exact same instructions were given to both of these people -- almost word for frigging word -- 150 years apart, and about the other guy (first with Richard it was said about how to kill Jacob, then with Dogen it was said about how to kill MIB/Flocke).
Another very strange fact that was specifically shown to the viewers just 30 seconds in to this week's episode was that Jacob was dressed head-to-toe in all black when he went to visit Ilana at the hospital when she was all bandaged up n stuff. I mean, I went and watched it again on abc.com yesterday just to verify, and there he is, clad in black boots, black pants, black shirt, black overcoat, even a black scarf and black gloves. I know that Ilana was seemingly in the real world, and in the real world Jacob has been seen wearing things other than white or off-white, but still are we really supposed to just dismiss this as pure randomness? The actor just happened to be clad head to foot in black that day when they shot this scene? Come on. At the least, it means nothing and the writers are throwing in a red herring just to get us thinking. It wouldn't be anywhere near the first time a show used such a device, but I just think this has more significance than that. Every single article of clothing was black, even the accessories, and what's more, the camera shot panned down first from his shoes, up his pants, and then showed the whole body, making sure it was very clear that he was all dressed in black. What are we supposed to make of the only time Jacob has ever been seen dressed in black like this?
The third item that really struck me most about this episode was something that MIB says to Richard just past the 30-minute mark of the episode, for those of you watching on abc.com. At one point MIB explains to Richard, "You're not the only one who's lost something, Richard. The Devil [talking about Jacob] betrayed me. He took my body, my humanity."
"He took my body"? Whaaaa? To me that was the strangest, least explainable and at the same time most interesting line of the entire episode, and something that I had to go back and confirm even was really said as I started to form my new Lost Theory of the Week here heading into the home stretch of the series. But he said it. MIB claimed to Richard that Jacob "stole his body" and betrayed him.
So here's what I'm looking at here. We've got instructions given on how to kill the MIB by Dogen to Sayid just a couple of weeks back, and those same instructions were given by MIB to Richard 150 years ago on how to kill Jacob. We've got Jacob showing up at Ilana's hospital room clad entirely in black from head to toe. And we've got MIB claiming that Jacob "stole his body" at some point in the past as well. I do not have all aspects of this theory crystallized at all in my mind right now, but something smells fishy about this whole setup to me after this week's episode. I am afraid that there is at least some chance that MIB at some point in the past was Jacob, or at least one or both of them occupied the other's body at some point in the past. I am maybe 10% concerned that it wasn't even Jacob who went to visit Ilana in the hospital to begin with, but rather was the MIB taking Jacob's form in some way or another. Perhaps this was related to MIB's claim that Jacob stole his body, I don't know, but it's entirely possible that maybe it was MIB who told Ilana to come to the island -- remember, it was Ilana who went and found Sayid and brought him against his will back to the island, the same Sayid who willfully killed Dogen and Weird Al Yankovic and who opened the Temple doors to allow MIB to enter and kill all the remaining Jacobians on the island, the same Sayid who is now set up to become the next MIB, and who "has the darkness growing in him". There could definitely be something there. Those three items I mentioned above I think combine together to suggest that there may still be much more than meets the eye to who these two deities are, and the evidence is growing that they were at least at some point in the past occupying different bodies -- even each other's bodies -- perhaps to the deception of others involved in the coming war on the island. And everything we've been led to believe about Ilana fighting for the "good" side this season could be turned right on its head -- either with or without her knowledge -- as more facts are uncovered in the coming weeks. But I say there was too much put out there for us to glom on to for this to just be dismissed without any further mention of the "body stealing" or the possibility that at some point, the MIB looked like Jacob, was Jacob, or something like that.
Also, one other question about something I watched again last night that I just simply do not get. Why can Jacob not bring Richard's wife back to life, at least on the island? They got real-life ghosts there, Hurley has seen several dead people appear on the island (that I do not think were supposed to be MIB, like many of the apparitions of dead people that we have seen), and we've seen a number of strange people appear magically on the island who were not dead at the time (Locke's father, for example, who Sawyer killed on the island). So why did Jacob say no to Richard's request to bring his wife back to life? Similarly, why can Jacob not absolve Richard of his sins? What would that even entail that would be so difficult? But then why is it that Jacob can grant Richard eternal life? Just what kind of a genie is this Jacob?
What an episode. Here's hoping for more of the same over the final two months of this millennium's best television series.