“The Incident” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Lost: Before he dies at the hands of his own mother in the past, Dan sets in motion a plan to change the course of the future by using a hydrogen bomb to blow the crap out of a hole in the ground that houses massive electromagnetic energy. That sounds even crazier when you read it out loud. People, we’ve come a long way since the days when we got all excited because there was a single man at the bottom of the Hatch.
This week, on Lost: We open on the eye … of a spinning wheel. A lone man with handmade clothes and sandals sits at the loom, inside a stone room, creating what we soon discover is a tapestry, decorated with the Eye of Horus and some notations in Greek. We cut to the weaver outside, on a beach, where he wades into the water and fetches a conical fish trap. A solitary fish is caught inside. Our mystery man takes the fish to a heated rock, where he prepares it for his lunch. He sits against a log to eat, and stares out into the open ocean where a large sailing vessel approaches on the horizon. The man, as we shall soon find out, is Jacob.
A man, dressed in black, approaches and the two greet each other. Jacob offers him food, but he passes saying that he just ate. The man in black, let’s call him Esau for now, sits down and the two discuss the ship that is approaching. Esau knows that it was Jacob that allowed the ship to find the Island, and he speaks his mind. Esau tells Jacob that it will always end the same, with people bringing fighting, destruction and corruption. Jacob tells Esau that it doesn’t end, that there is only one ending and that everything before that ending is simply progress. Esau squares his jaw and looks at Jacob. “You have any idea how badly I want to kill you? One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.”
Jacob looks back, calmly, “Well when you do, I’ll be right here.”
They say their goodbyes, and Esau stands and walks down the beach. We pan slowly back, past the two age-old adversaries, and a large foot is revealed followed by the rest of the Statue; its head seemingly that of a crocodile.
Cue the swirling Lost!
This first scene is not the last we’ve seen of Jacob in the finale; our mysterious man in white with ambiguous motives pops up in various flashbacks, having over the years helped to steer the lives and fates of many who came to the Island. Let’s recount those here, for ease of reading and to aid in my sanity in keeping this recap from dissolving into chaos.
A very young Kate and her future dead boyfriend, Tom, hatch a plan to steal the New Kids on the Block lunchbox that will later house their notes and Tom’s coveted toy plane. While Tom is on lookout, Kate puts the lunchbox in her backpack. On the way out, they are stopped by the shopkeeper and he says that he is going to call the police. A man offers to buy the lunchbox to keep the two out of trouble; that man is, of course, Jacob. He leans down and asks Kate if she is ever going to steal again, to which she shakes her head. We know, of course, that this is a lie, as she is always trying to steal the man that belongs to somebody else while on the Island. Jacob BOOPS her nose with the tip of his finger.
Oh, Kate … you’ve been wanting what’s not yours for so very long.
It’s the day of the funeral for the parents of James “Sawyer” Ford. He sits on the church steps and begins to craft his “Dear Mr. Sawyer I will kill you by strangling you with chains” letter. His pen runs dry, but a man approaches and offers him another pen. It’s Jacob, and he says that he’s sorry about James’s parents. When he leaves, one of James’s relatives – probably his uncle – asks to see what he’s writing. James hands over the letter. His uncle tells James that he should forget about vengeance and move on with his life, saying that “what’s done is done.”
It’s a sunny day in LA and Sayid and Nadia are walking along, talking about how to spend their anniversary. Nadia has misplaced her sunglasses, and starts poking around in her purse, trying to locate them. They begin to cross the street, but Sayid is stopped by a man asking for directions. That man is Jacob. As Sayid provides directions, Nadia has found her sunglasses and turns to tell Sayid. Unfortunately, they do not have streets in Iraq and so Nadia does not know that most drivers, especially those in the US, will not hesitate to run down beautiful women who stand in the crosswalk. Something very gruesome happens. Sayid runs to her and she asks him to take her home before she passes away, holding his hand.
In what seems like a military hospital, a woman with several layers of face bandages lies in bed. it’s Ilana. Her nurse tells her that she has a visitor. The visitor is Jacob. He tells her that he is sorry for not visiting sooner. He takes her hand and asks her, in Russian, if she will help him. With teary eyes, she agrees.
Outside a building on a sunny day, Jacob is sitting on a park bench reading a book of short stories by Flannery O’Connor. Behind him, a man falls to the ground with a thud. Jacob calmly gets up and walks over to find John Locke, after he has been pushed out the window by his loving and doting father, Anthony – also known as Tom Sawyer. Locke appears either comatose or dead, but when Jacob reaches down and touches Locke, he wakes up. Jacob says that he is sorry that this has happened to him. Sorry doesn’t cut it, mister – Locke’s going to be eating a big ol’ dirt sandwich after suffering like hell for a lot longer because of you.
In Korea, Sun and Jin exchange vows at their wedding. In the receiving line, Jacob approaches them both and tells them, in Korean, to always cherish each other and never let go.
Jack is in surgery – the same surgery he tells Kate about in the very first episode, in which he rips open a girl’s dural sac and must fix it. Of course, Jack didn’t tell the whole truth, and it’s actually his father, Christian, who must calm Jack down and teach him the “count to 5″ method. Later, out of surgery, Jack berates his father for making him look like a jackass in the OR. We’re pretty sure Jack has always made himself look like a jackass – he doesn’t need any help. Anyway, Christian says that it’s not him that doesn’t believe in Jack. Just before his confrontation, Jack had been trying to get an Apollo candy bar from a vending machine. As his father walks off, Jacob walks up with the candy bar in his hand and offers it to Jack. Jack takes the candy, along with a short touch from Jacob’s hand, and Jacob says that all it probably needed was a little push. As an aside, that might be one of the best moments of writing this season.
Hurley is being released from prison after he has confessed to three murders which he didn’t commit. As he leaves prison and attempts to enter a cab, he discovers a man already in the car. It’s Jacob, and he has a guitar case. Jacob asks Hurley if he wants to share a ride, and Hurley agrees. A little bit down the road, Jacob asks Hurley why he won’t go back to the Island, so Hurley assumes that Jacob is dead. Jacob assures him that he’s very much alive. Hurley tells Jacob that he can’t go back to the Island because he’s cursed, and everyone around him he cares about seems to die. Jacob tells Hurley that he should really feel as though he’s blessed, because Hugo can still see his loved ones, even after death. Jacob then tells Hurley everything he needs in order to get him on Ajira Flight 316 and exits the cab. He leaves the guitar in Hurley’s care.
Now, with Jacob’s instances of life guidance out of the way, let’s start counting down the events leading up to the toughest finale death(s) yet.
Back in 1977, Sawyer, Juliet and little Miss Demeanor are handcuffed in the Galaga, on their way back to the mainland and away from the Island. Kate explains how they need to get back to stop Jack from blowing the holy hell out of everything. Sawyer doesn’t care, but Juliet does, so she does what she does best besides look beautiful: kicks someone’s ass. They uncuff themselves and convince the captain, at gunpoint, to raise the sub so they can get off. He does.
Meanwhile, in the catacombs beneath Dharmaville, Jack, Sayid, Ellie and Richard are figuring out fun things to do with an H-bomb. Sayid has Daniel’s journal, which outlines in great detail how to dismantle the bomb and get at the explosive core. Of course it does.
Excerpts from: Care and Maintenance of Your 1956 U.S. Government-built Hydrogen Bomb. Chapter 1: No One Likes a Mr. Butterfingers!
Back in 2008, Locke has the Others on the move, and he ventures over to Ben to see how the ol’ murdering son of a gun is holding up. Turns out Ben’s just fine, and Locke finds out that Ben has been tasked with doing everything Locke says because Ben’s dead daughter, Alex, told him so or she’d kill him. Locke likes the sound of all that, and tells Ben that he’s going to be the one to kill Jacob when they get there. And why? Because, for all his service to the island, Ben was still treated like a red-headed stepchild.
Back in 1977, in Jughead’s lair, Sayid has removed the core and rigged the bomb so he can set it to detonate on impact. Jack asks Richard to guide them out of there, and they bust a whole in a masonry wall that leads into one of the Dharma bungalows. Ellie tries to lead them out, but Richard cracks her on the back of the head in order to protect her, and insists, at gunpoint, that Jack and Sayid go on without them. They scoot their heinies along rather quickly.
Once topside, the duo find a Dharma jumper for Sayid and just mosey out the front door. As they are attempting to escape the chaos that is ensuing at the Dharma camp, Roger recognizes Sayid as the man who kidnapped and subsequently shot his son. Sayid tries to warn Roger that there’s a thermonuclear device strapped to his back, but Roger doesn’t listen and shoots Sayid in the gut.
“Ow. Dammit, why does ‘don’t shoot, I’m carrying a thermonuclear device’ have to take so long to say …”
Jack turns from doctor to unlikely commando, and boom boom pows his way through several Dharma flunkies with guns. Grabbing Sayid, the two make a dash for it, but are soon overrun by Dharma dudes. Fearing the worst for our team (not really because it’s just Jack, after all), it looks like it could be doom for the dynamic duo … until Team Hispasian drives up in a Dharma van and rescues them. Jack throws Sayid into the van with a grin and they all zoom off into the jungle of mystery, and straight toward the Swan site.
Back at sea, Team Confidence has landed their raft on a corner of the Island they don’t recognize. What they do soon recognize is a familiar character running out of the jungle … Vincent!
Yay! Vincent! Good boy, that’s a good boy … it’s good to see one character that I still like that hasn’t been killed off yet … what a good dog. What … nice blonde hair blowing in the beach breeze, such a cute grin, with a lovely low-cut pink shirt … I’m sorry, what was I saying?
Team Confidence is soon joined by two more familiar faces: Rose and Bernard, who have been living out their retired existence in the jungle since all of them arrived with the last quantum leap. Sawyer asks them why they never joined up with them and the Dharma Initiative, and Rose tells them it’s because they had everything they needed and were done with all the drama. Kate tells them that the team is on the way to stop Jack because he’s got a bomb and the Island’s in peril … to which Rose responds: “It’s always something with you people.” Oh, Rose. Classic. Finally, Team Confidence asks the way to Dharmaville and Rose points the way, but not before she tells them that all that really matters is holding onto each other and then Sawyer looks longingly over at Scrunchy Face and Juliet sees him, and the whole house of cards comes crashing down. The team turns and leaves, and Juliet quietly falls in line in the back, resigned to her fate of losing the man she loves … to some flip-flopping floozy.
Back in the Dharma bus to Crazy Town, Sayid is bleeding from the gut like a faucet in The Shining and Jack is yelling about all manner of crazy shit, like the bomb he has in a pack in the back.
“Name’s Ash. Housewares.” This episode directed by Sam Raimi.
Soon, Hurley has to stop the bus because, in the middle of the road, is a group that’s almost as crazy as the bats in the back of his van – Team Confidence – and they’re well-armed.
They’re well-armed, and they’re all on their marks. Look at Kate’s left foot – hell, she’s standing on her mark.
Let’s not forget about Team Trust Jacob back in 2008 – they’ve made their way over to the main Island with Lapidus in custody, and Ilana and Bram have been going on about him being “the Candidate.” Frank hears all this and wonders what the hell is going on. They tell him that they’re the good guys, which he’s heard before and not liked the outcome from that encounter. They give him a peek inside Pandora’s Box, and he likes the contents of that even less. They set out across the Island and find Jacob’s cabin, the protective ash circle broken and the contents of the shack empty. Ilana finds a cloth note inside, and surmise that the cabin hasn’t been used in almost 30 years. They set fire to it, and set off to find Jacob at another location.
Meanwhile, Team Island has arrived at the old Oceanic survivors’ camp, abandoned for almost three years. They take a break, and Sun finds Aaron’s old baby crib, along with Charlie’s old Drive Shaft ring.
See? “You all everybody …”
After the break, Team Island make their way over to the remains of the statue and Locke decides that it’s just about time that Richard let him see Jacob, already.
Before we go on, there’s one final flashback that needs to be recapped here. A very young Juliet is sitting on a couch with her sister Rachel, listening to their parents discuss a divorce. Juliet is not happy. Her mother tells her that she and her father just aren’t meant to be together and sometimes love is not enough. She gets the line about how she’ll understand when she’s older. She doesn’t however, hear the part about how love can sometimes lead to fiery atomic death at the bottom of a hole after being dragged down by magnetic levitated chains. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Juliet storms off, and doesn’t want to hear any more.
Back in 1977, the Crazy Bus has parked, and Sawyer has asked Jack to step into the jungle for a little chat. They sit down and Sawyer’s all like what’s your deal bub and Jack’s all like I have a reason for being here and I’m gonna blow some shit up and Sawyer’s all like whatever, dude, what’s done is done and Jack’s all like shut your pie hole I wanna change things and Sawyer’s all like WTF? and Jack’s all like I like whores and Sawyer’s all like ohhhhhhhh yeah apparently me too but you can have her she’s right over there and Jack’s all like cool beans and Sawyer’s all like I’ll punch you in the face because you’re like Locke crazy. And he does. And they fight.
For a moment there it seemed like old times, until I remembered they weren’t fighting over a girl, they were fighting over a freakin’ atomic bomb.
Juliet finally breaks the silly boys up and tells Sawyer that he’s being a moron because of course they need to help Jack blow some shit up. Sawyer is understandably confused because Juliet has just activated the full-on 180° decision center in her female brain and changed her mind completely. Normally the realm of Kate, Juliet momentarily tapped into her estrogen reserves and turned the whole world on its head. At any rate, she tells Sawyer that it’s because she can’t have him and if she can’t have him then she wants to never have had him, because she can’t stand to lose him. Sawyer, of course, is all “whut?” like a dumb guy who’s been caught dreaming about the girl next door instead of his beautiful wife. He reluctantly agrees to help the woman that he loves with his rational side, and they set off toward the Dharma van to help.
Back at the Dharma van, Kate and Jack share a moment, reminiscing about episode one where she stitched him back up, and it’s kinda tender but whatever, I hate her because she’s about to be the cause of something that’s very, very unforgivable.
Jack grabs his thermonuclear backpack and sets off for the Swan, hoping to change the course of history and all of their destinies.
Meanwhile, in 2008, night has fallen at the Giant Foot and Locke is just about ready to see Jacob. He asks Richard to guide him and Ben into Jacob’s abode, but Richard hesitates. Richard says that that’s not how it works, to which Locke responds that he thinks they’re just making all this up as they go along. Nice little dig there to the doubting masses out in the TV crowd. Richard kinda just shrugs with his well-manicured eyebrows, pushes on a stone and opens a doorway into the base of the Foot. Locke asks Ben if he’s coming along, and they make their way inside. Locke asks Ben if he’s ready to do what’s needed, and hands him a knife. Ben hesitates, but eventually takes the blade.
Back in 1977, the remainder of Teams Boom Boom Pow, Hispasian and Confidence are all hanging out at the Dharma van when they see a Dharma Jeep tear-assing through a clearing on its way to the Swan. Realizing that Jack is about to be ambushed, they all jump back on the Crazy Bus and make their way over to the Swan site.
At the Swan, things are getting a little out of hand. Dr. Chang wants to shut everything down, but Radzinsky isn’t having it. They’re hitting the pocket of energy now, and Radz decides there’s no stopping progress at this point. Phil and his armed goons show up, just as Jack is making his way down to the site. Jack’s ninja training goes out the window as he’s soon spotted, and a mini-firefight ensues. It looks like Jack might be surrounded until the A-Team arrive in their powder blue van and open fire on the Dharma goons. The group manage to take down several of the Dharma folks and Sawyer maneuvers his way over to Phil to see if he can stop the whole thing.
It’s just like watching the A-Team, all over again. Only people actually got shot here.
Sawyer manages to wrangle Phil and convince the other Dharma crew members to drop their weapons. Dr. Chang tries to shut down the drill, but it has reached the electromagnetic pocket and there’s no stopping it now. Jack makes his way over to the edge of the drill pit with the innards from Jughead, and preps the bomb. He hovers over the edge for a moment before dropping the payload into the pit. Down, down, down it tumbles, and Juliet, Sawyer and the others grit their teeth and close their eyes, hoping they’ve done the right thing.
And then … nothing happens.
“Uhhhhhh, guys? We might have a problem here. Was I supposed to pull a pin or something? Is Sayid still conscious? Let’s ask him.”
And then … all hell breaks loose, and things will never be the same again.
The drill bursts into the EM pocket and everything metal around the dig site begins to be pulled toward the pit. A toolbox flies off a perch and knocks Jack out cold. A piece of the drilling tower collapses, trapping Dr. Chang’s hand, until Miles is able to free it. Radzinsky and his team try to escape in a Jeep, but it’s no use as it’s tipped over. Phil finds a gun and has Sawyer in his sights, until he is hit by debris and knocked to the ground. Several pieces of metal piping fly through the air, and one pierces the Juliet-abusing bastard right in the chest.
And then … the unthinkable happens. A length of chain swirls up in the grasp of the magnetic pulse and tangles around Juliet’s legs, dragging her helplessly over to the deep pit …
No, no no no … I knew it was coming, but I’m not ready …
Hang on, honey, please …
Sawyer! Sawyer has her!
Don’t you let go, you bastard … don’t you let go …
She’s saying she loves him … she’s saying goodbye … he’s losing his grip, no …
And then … Juliet is gone.
It’s 2008 again. The foot of the statue. I’m still numb as we see Team Trust Jacob make their way toward The Others. Guns are drawn. They ask to speak to Ricardus, and Richard steps forward. “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” she asks Richard. “Ille qui nos omnes servabit,” he replies. He who will save us all.
That’s good enough for Ilana, and they bring their big, shiny box over, opening the top and tipping its contents out into the sand. Richard moves around the box, and we see the slow reveal of what’s been inside all this time.
In an unprecedented one-two punch that has all of us reeling, it’s the body of John Locke, which means that Locke really is dead …
… and Ben is inside the base of the Foot with an imposter. The fake Locke, Focke if you will, and Ben head into the chamber, where Jacob is waiting. Jacob recognizes his old adversary despite the disguise, and mentions that it looks like he might have found that loophole. Jacob approaches Ben and tells him that no matter what he has been told by Focke, Ben still has a choice. Ben just rolls the word choice around in his head like a poison apple, until he asks Jacob why he was never treated very special. Ben lead for so long and as soon as Locke shows up, he’s lead up to Jacob like he was Moses. Ben just wants to know one thing: “What about me?”
Jacob looks Ben right in the eye and without an ounce of emotion or hesitation says: “What about you?”
Then Ben gets all stabby.
“… and I never got that pony when I was 11!!!”
Jacob falls to the ground, bleeding profusely and spitting blood, and in a final whisper tells Focke that “they’re coming.” Focke’s eyes get real big and he pushes Jacob’s body into the fire in the center of the room where he goes up like a cord of dry wood.
It’s 1977 one final time, and the Swan site is a picture of chaos. Metal is twisted everywhere and Jack is just coming to, in a daze, ears muffled, actions slowed. Kate pulls Sawyer off the wreckage of the drilling tower despite his furious protests.
We travel down, deep down into the pit now, past the crumpled remains of the drilling tower and the various tools and scrap pulled down by the electromagnetic pulse. Down here, amongst the twisted metallic remains, lies Juliet’s body, beaten and bloodied. In a more heartwrenching moment than when she first fell, we watch her eyes open and realize that she is broken … but she is alive.
The battered, but still painfully beautiful Juliet turns her head to see the H-bomb nestled in mud at the bottom of the pit. She pulls from her last remaining strength and rolls to her side, finding a rock and grasping it with all her might. With tears in her eyes and a soulful cry for everything to just be set right, she begins to bash the bomb …
After her eighth desperate hit, everything suddenly goes very white, and …
This week’s drink recipe is a simple one, filled with emotion for a fallen femme, most fine. I lost my beloved Juliet to a horrific, fiery, atomic death in this finale, and I intend to offer up a final toast to her with my own recipe, and spend a moment of silence in remembrance.
Gently place the rum, Limoncello and sugar in a shaker, and cradle it like a lover. Passionately mix the liquids and strain over ice into a cocktail glass. Add the ginger ale for that spice that makes for one tough dish. Garnish with the lemon wedge, to remind us all of her blonde beauty. Enjoy. Responsibly. She may be tough, but she’s also classy.
Well, here we are. The end of another season of Lost. The end of another arc of sometimes-incomprehensible plot twists, character developments, insane plans and, quite often, credulity-straining storylines. This season also marks the end of the story, for now, of more beloved characters. For me, the toll for this season was particularly harsh, as two of my absolute favorite characters were revealed to reach their end within minutes of one another. I dealt with losing Boone and Shannon, Libby’s demise was particularly harsh, but we had only invested half of a season in getting to know her. Charlie’s sacrifice choked me up a bit, despite my total disinterest in his character, and Charlotte’s passing was all so matter-of-fact.
This time, though, with the passing of Juliet, they finally reached into my heart and pulled something out. I feel the same way about Locke, honestly; whether anyone realized it or not, these two characters – with the exception of Hurley – had become the true heart of the show. Both were passionate people who led rough lives and only sought acceptance and redemption. The cornerstone of their emotion and dedication anchored the series in a way that I can’t imagine will be replaced in the final season.
Hurley will pull his weight, I’m sure, but we’re left trying to care about Jack and Kate, two characters who have always been on a collision course toward their own self-interests. Sayid is practically dead, but since the death of Shannon and now Nadia, he has had nothing to live for and not much drive to do much with the life he does have. Sawyer, too, found his peace and his heart with Juliet; now, without her, he’s likely to drift on the wind as he did before. Thankfully we have Sun and Jin, and their possible reunion, as a deeply emotional foundation. And, hopefully, we will see Penny and Desmond play a large role in whatever unfolds next season.
So, did I ultimately enjoy the finale? Mostly. It was big and bold and filled with heavy themes much like the other finales. Unfortunately, unlike the other finales, we weren’t left with that emotional punch in the gut that can only come from character. Unless that bomb really did explode and reset things, Juliet’s really dead. So is Locke. All we’re left with right now is this eternal struggle between “gods”… not people. In the first three seasons, all we had was people. We knew that the story of the Island was going to be far greater than the sum of its parts, but as it stands after the finale, it seems as though the Island really doesn’t need much from its parts. If everyone involved is just a pawn in a struggle that has been going on for eons, why should we care? We’ve stuck with all this insanity, through thick and thin, because we care about what happens to the people we’ve come to know and love – or hate.
Sure, I hate Kate, but I do care what ultimately happens to Kate because she is a flawed human like all the rest of us. Do I really care that Jacob died in a fire in the finale? Absolutely not, because right now his struggle is not mine. This is the ultimate conundrum for the writers next season, and the fine tightrope they will have to walk in order to make all this work. How can they bring this huge, all-encompassing theme back down to the level of the individual characters involved in the story? After killing off what seems to be at least the strongest force for the Island up until this point, how will they cope with the loss of Locke? Was Jack just being groomed for the role and that’s why his attitude has changed so greatly over the season? I won’t buy that, and neither will many other fans. The writers have their work cut out for them, and I do not envy them.
However, I will say this: they deserve that hardship after holding so much back from us all season, just to reveal amazingly big secrets in the finale. It almost felt like I was watching the pilot for another show for a little bit there.
Now, all of that is said and done, let’s move onto some analysis, shall we?
WHAT LIES IN THE SHADOW OF THE STATUE?
We got our answer to this question from Richard – or should I say Ricardus? Obviously Richard has been around for a long, long time, probably longer than the Black Rock, since Richard’s name is a latin derivative, and so is the phrase. The answer to “What lies in the shadow of the statue?” is “He who will save us all.” That refers, of course, to Jacob. Unfortunately, Jacob just died in a fire, so he’s unlikely to be saving anyone, unless things change – which I completely expect to happen.
What’s interesting to note about Jacob and this finale is how much it parallels the smaller-scale finales involving other thematic locations that involve a single man. In the finale for season one, we saw the Oceanic survivors trying to figure out “What lies in the shadow of the hatch?” To which their answer was a single man, Desmond. He had a phrase, as well “What did one snowman say to the other snowman?” Silly, maybe, but intriguing, for certain.
The single-man theme was evident in the finale for second season, as well, as Desmond was tasked with having to sacrifice himself in order to save others. On a much larger scale, Jacob has had to do the same thing in this finale. Jacob is seen going about from time to time and person to person, advising them, pushing them in one clear direction – toward the Island. In a manner of thinking, Jacob is exercising the ability to alter the course of an individual’s history – set them on a path toward something larger than themselves, namely the Island. Dan has stated that Desmond also has that ability – that he is a variable in the equation of things and can change the course of history. Of course, Dan could have been wrong. We won’t really know for sure until we see if Desmond’s story is complete. One thing we will know for sure in January of next year: if the bomb worked, if it triggered another jump, if it reset things somehow. If that happens, then Daniel will have been right about everything, and the fact that Desmond is able to change things will be moot.
At any rate, before we look more closely at Jacob, we should revisit the statue for a moment. We all got a much clearer view of the side of the statue in the first moments of the finale, and it was very telling:
The shape of the head and the teeth rule out Horus and most other conventional gods with the heads of animals.
The most likely candidate for this statue is that of Sobek, an Egyptian god with the head of a crocodile. Sobek assumed many roles in the history of Egyptian mythology. Some believed that he was involved in the creation of the world, bringing forth life from the primeval waters, and creating the Nile. He has been known to be the protector of waters, and of others. Throughout the life of worship of the god Sobek, he has been associated most notably with the gods Horus, Set and Hathor, whom we’ve talked about extensively in past analyses for “LaFleur” and expanded upon in “A Little Intermezzo.” In those same analyses, I speculate that the statue could represent that of Tawaret, and the head of this statue could, possibly, be a reference to that god, as well.
However, all that said, I believe that the statue, no matter its true identity, is simply incidental as a marker for Egyptian mythology. The foot of the statue was made with four toes to heighten mystery and suspense until more could be explored – the fact that the powers that be had a four-toed statue at this point dictated that they gravitate toward a god that could be depicted with four toes. Both Sobek and Tawaret could be imagined, convincingly so, with four toes. The much more simple thing we should all take away from this is the reference to ancient religious mythology, particularly that of Horus and his uncle Set or Seth. I talk quite a bit about all of this in the analysis for “Dead is Dead” (and also a bit about Ol’ Smokey, Anubis and such), so you can go there to learn even more.
What I really want to stress right now is that it’s clear Jacob and his adversary, whomever he may be, have been locked in a struggle for an untold amount of time, and that Jacob cannot die by the hands of “Esau” alone. This struggle is indicative of the same mythical struggle throughout human history in different cultures and religions. We have the aforementioned battle between Horus and his uncle Set, the Norse myths of Thor and his trickster brother Loki, and the animosity between the biblical Jacob and his elder brother Esau, who sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal of lentils.
In far greater terms, theologically as well as thematically, we have the battle between light and dark, and the conversation that Jacob and Esau have about the destruction and corruption of man. It’s this same conversation that conjures up images of God and Lucifer; God, believing in the ultimate attainability of redemption for man, saying that any failed attempts is only progress toward an ultimate, grand end; Lucifer in his contempt for man, seeing only their destructive ends because of free will, and always plotting for the downfall of God so that he could seek God’s throne.
Ultimately, it is the sum of these myths that will contribute to the overall mythos of Lost and the Island. I don’t feel as though it’s worth trying to pin these characters down to an existing structure; I think that everyone involved with Lost wants to create their own brand of larger-than-life mythical characters, and the same templates that have been used throughout human experience are being used here to tell stories in the same fashion as those in thousands of years past.
YEAH, YEAH, WHAT ABOUT THE TAPESTRY
Oh yeah, the tapestry. Well, on the tapestry that Jacob created was some writing in Greek.
I’m not sure if you all can make out the characters, but the general translation comes to two phrases, that seem to be derivatives from select portions of Homer’s Odyssey:
- “May the gods grant you all that your heart desires”
- “May the gods give you happiness”
Now, what does all that mean? If Jacob and Esau are truly “gods,” then it means that Jacob might simply like the reminder that he is doing good by his people. If they do not consider themselves “gods” in the traditional sense, then it’s possible that Jacob believes and serves a higher power than himself. Of course, it could also mean that Jacob likes Homer and the loom.
IF HE’S NOT A GOD, THEN HOW CAN HE HEAL?
Did you all notice that Jacob touched every single one of the main characters he interacted with before they came to the Island? His “healing” touch is best seen, albeit in a subjective manner, when he is there to pick John up from his fall from the eighth floor. Locke appears to be comatose or dead at that point, until Jacob touches him and John rouses. If Jacob does have a healing touch, then why was John only partly healed and left paralyzed? This could have been part of the overall plan to bring them all to the Island to serve the purpose of light or dark.
THE SERPENT WILL DEVOUR HIS OWN TAIL
Speaking of serving a purpose and the struggle, before I forget I should mention something that struck me about Jacob and Esau’s conversation. In it it’s clear that Esau cannot dispatch Jacob by his own hands, that there must be a loophole. Loopholes exist only in constructs that exist as part of a circular system or outcome. There is no clear beginning or end in such a circle, and in order to assure an end to such a thing would involve the use of a flaw somewhere within the system – hence, a loophole.
We talked a bit last week, and back in the analysis for “Jughead” about Locke’s compass and how it seems to be locked in an infinite temporal loop. The same could be said for Jacob and Esau – if the two are locked together in such a loop on the Island, and neither can change the outcome for the other. The only way to ensure a final end is to bring in the “variables” that Dan was talking about – the people, those that can make choices that will ultimately force you and everything else out of the temporal loop. Esau sees the people that Jacob chooses as incapable of bringing about a different end, and the loop will continue, much as it has for millennia. Jacob, however, has faith that they can bring about the ultimate and final end, and that every successive loop before that is a step closer for that.
The ancient signifier for such a loop is the ages-old legend of the Ouroboros – the snake eating its own tail. This symbol has been used for thousands of years to signify the cyclical characteristics of life and nature. Mrs. Hawking wears a broach that carries a modified symbol of the ouroboros. It is most clearly seen in “Flashes Before Your Eyes” when she guides Desmond back from his temporal leap and explains to him the immutability of time and destiny. What I find fascinating about her Ouroboros, however, is that the snake or dragon is actually not biting its own tail. It still signifies a circle or loop, but this particular temporal loop has a twist and a possible route for escape.
And, altogether now, just like the ouroboros itself, what key element ties together the potentialities of this particular thought and that of my discussion of the finale parallels above? That’s right – Desmond. Our ultimate variable.
Whew, I think that about does it. As usual, there are many more questions we can speculate about: Did the bomb really go off, or was the white light part of the electromagnetic pulse that Dan mentioned? Did it propel the survivors back to the future, hence Jacob saying “they’re coming?” What about Adam and Eve and the black and white stones from season one? All good questions, worthy of discussion. For now, I’m weary from an intense season and still reeling from the death of my beloved Juliet, so I’ll leave some questions unexplored. However, it’s quite a long haul between now and next January, and I’m sure many of you will be re-watching the DVDs, or even exploring some seasons for the first time. If you hit on something intriguing, drop me a line, and I might even make a few off-season “intermezzos” to address some popular topics.
As always, keep thinking those thoughts and if any of you hit upon an epiphany, write and tell me something good.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at email@example.com.
- Lost: Down the Hatch – Let’s get ready to rumble
- Lost: Down the Hatch – The summer of ’77
- Lost: Down the Hatch – A little intermezzo
- Lost: Down the Hatch – The Other Woman
- Lost: Down the Hatch – The Long Goodbye