Lost: Down the Hatch – Jacob’s Ladder
“The Substitute” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Lost: Sawyer cried over the loss of dear, sweet Juliet, Kate cried over Sawyer, Bram and his band of merry men cried over their broken bodies when Ol’ Smokey got medieval on their tushes, and Richard cried when Focke judo-chopped his trachea into next week.
This week, on Lost: The flash sideways action begins in earnest as we open in LA X, and see Locke coming home from the airport in his special van. Seeing some of the personal side of the real John Locke is always welcome, but I’m just going to cut to the chase and sum up this whole alternate reality real quick-like. Turns out that Alterni-Locke is still with Helen and they’re all awesome and getting married and stuff. What’s not so awesome is that Locke lied to everyone about his time in Australia. See, he failed to mention that he was really there to head into the bush on a Walkabout, and his douchey boss Randy found out and gave him the old heave-ho. Dejected, Locke runs into Hurley in the parking lot of the box company, which Hurley has recently purchased. Even though Locke pretty much tells Hurley off, Hugo just grins and gives Locke the straight line to a temp company which Hurley owns. Pretty soon, Locke has a job at a local high school as a substitute coach and health teacher, where he runs into none other than Benjamin Linus who is teaching European history. The two former nemeses smile and shake hands and make like they’re going to go off and build a tree fort together. And so sums up the alternative x-capades of John Locke.
From what I could see of the sign on the wall in the teacher’s lounge, it reads: “Live in the present, plan for the future.” The set designers on this show are beyond awesome.
Back on the Island in Earth Prime, Ol’ Smokey is buzzing about, doing some sightseeing. He pops in over at Dharmaville and hears some loud music coming from inside Sawyer’s old bungalow. He doesn’t enter, just turns around and zooms off into the jungle of mystery, soon assuming the form of Locke, once again. Now on two legs, Focke/Esau/Smokey/Cerberus/Man in Black (heretofore to be called MIB, because if I get another email asking me to call him that I’m going to turn the failsafe key and end it all) fetches Richard, who MIB has conveniently bundled up in a tree like he’s trying to protect his pic-a-nic basket from bears.
Despite having his throat punched in by a mythological creature, ol’ Ricardus seems to be doing okay. He can even talk, and he does, asking MIB what the heck is going on and why he looks like John Locke. MIB explains that it was the only way he could get close to Jacob because Locke was a “candidate.” Scratching his bruised and blood-soaked head, Richard went “huh?” MIB was shocked – nay, stunned – that Richard would know so very little of Jacob’s intentions and yet would still blindly follow the ex-Other’s orders. MIB offered Richard a chance to join him in kicking some Island butt, saying that he would have respected Richard a bit more than his nemesis, but of course Richard said nah, I got stuff do.
It was about this time that MIB stared off into the jungle of mystery and saw a little boy, his arms caked with blood. Richard, however, saw nothing.
“Paw, why’d you make me shoot Old Yeller?”
And then MIB high-tailed it out of there, telling Richard that he would be seeing him “sooner than he thinks.”
Back at the Statue, Ilana frets over the death of Jacob. She asks Ben about Jacob’s body, and Ben tells her that MIB kicked him into the fire. Ilana then goes over to the pit, grabs a handful of ash, and pours it into her little black mojo bag. So that’s where they’re getting the magic fairy dust. Either Jacob has died in a fire a few times in the past, or the ash in that bag belongs to some other unlucky “candidate” that happened to get too close to a kerosene lamp. Or … perhaps that ash has been passed around the block a few times like Locke’s compass, an artifact of an endless quantum loop (see analysis of “Jughead” and “Follow the Leader” for more on that spot of temporal shenanigans).
MIB saunters over to Dharmaville again and walks in on Sawyer who is busy blasting The Stooges (the band, not Larry, Curly and Moe) and getting stoned out of his gourd on Dharma whiskey. Sawyer looks up with a shrug and says, “I thought you were dead.”
MIB grins and says “I am.”
Sawyer pours a sloppy round for him and MIB and they get to jawin’. The long and short of their conversation is that Sawyer doesn’t really give a damn about anything, and he can tell that the man before him is definitely not John Locke anymore, because Locke was always scared. MIB is impressed, and makes James an offer he can’t refuse: come along with him and he’ll show Sawyer exactly why he’s on the Island. Sounds good to James and off they go into the jungle of mystery.
Back at the statue, Ilana tells Sun, Lapidus and Ben that they’d better come along with her to the Temple where they’ll all be safe. Sun says that they should bury Locke, first. And so they do, with Ben adding his own special eulogy where he says that Locke was a great man and that he shouldn’t have strangled him to death with a cord in a hotel room. Lapidus remarks that it’s the strangest funeral he’s ever attended.
Sawyer and MIB are traipsing through the jungle, and MIB is asking all sorts of questions, so Sawyer tells him to shut his bald face cuz he’s drunk and, well, Southern. Suddenly, the little blonde boy appears in the bush, and this time, someone other than MIB can see him. Shocked at the sight of the boy again, and the fact that Sawyer can see the little tyke, MIB tears ass off into the brush to chase after the ragamuffin. Somewhere along the trail, MIB trips and faceplants – an interesting moment of humanity considering he’s an ages-old mythical smoke monster. MIB looks up into the face of his tiny tormentor.
“You know the rules. You can’t kill him,” remarks the boy, eerily.
MIB gets to his knees and looks at the boy. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do,” says MIB, ironically. The boy stomps off, and MIB gets to his feet, yelling angrily after him: “DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN’T DO!” Awesome.
Since fake Locke has gone missing, Sawyer stands around yelling, which seems to summon Richard out of nowhere. Richard is scared, tired and urges Sawyer to come with him because that other guy is up to no good and wants everyone really, really dead. Really dead. Seriously. Richard hears MIB coming back and bolts out of there. Sawyer wants to know about the boy, but MIB just shrugs it off.
After MIB and Sawyer walk a bit, to fill some time (this show’s an hour long, after all) Sawyer has one of his usual stand-offs in the jungle with a gun and gives MIB a little Steinbeckian literary beatdown, asking what’ll happen if he puts a hole in MIB’s bald head. MIB doesn’t know, but asks if James wants to find out. Bluff called. Let’s continue.
The con and the monster finally arrive at their destination – a cliff face at the Island’s edge. A rickety series of bamboo and rope ladders leads down the rocky face. MIB wants them both to go down to the bottom. Seriously, these guys sure have a lot of weird hideouts, what with the creepy cabin, an ancient Temple and the foot of an old statue. They’re like something out of a nursery rhyme. Anyways, Sawyer and MIB do indeed make their way down the cliff face, but not before Sawyer slips and makes like Indy sliding down that rope bridge in Temple of Doom. MIB catches him, of course – after all, the dude needs followers AND he’s got some bitching exposition all planned down in the sea cave and stuff.
Nothing’s really easy on the Island. You’d think they could have just popped into the future and at least grabbed some escalator technology. That stuff ain’t rocket science.
MIB and Sawyer make it safely to the base and climb inside Jacob’s hidey cave. At the entrance is a table with various items, one of which is a scale, holding two rocks – one white and one black. Naturally. MIB walks over to the scale and picks up the white rock, tipping the scale in the favor of black, and then flings the white stone into the sea. Sawyer asks him what that was all about. “Inside joke,” grins MIB. Inside, indeed. We’ll talk about that in just a bit.
I thought the cinematographer did a fantastic job framing this shot. Each man is now equated with a side of the scale. Will Sawyer take Jacob’s place and become the other side of the scale against MIB? Why is Sawyer framed against the black rock, while MIB is on the side of white? Intriguing. Also intriguing is the return of the black and white stones, used to determine which side is balanced or “correct.”
MIB lights a torch and leads Sawyer further inside the cave. He points at the cave walls and tells James that this is why he’s on the Island. Sawyer takes the torch and walks around, illuminating chalk-like scrawls on the cave walls. Pretty soon, a pattern starts to emerge – the scrawls are names, and some of them are crossed out. And some of those names are recognizable: Kwon. Reyes. Jarrah. Heads go boom.
Jacob’s cave writing isn’t very neat. I’m just sayin’. By the way, one of the names on the wall there is “Troupe.” Could be a possible reference to Gary Troup, the author who penned Bad Twin before supposedly dying in the crash of Oceanic 815?
After Sawyer’s head stops spinning, MIB takes him on a little tour of the spectacle, explaining that this was the work of Jacob. Was, Sawyer notes. Yes, sez MIB – Jacob took a hot, fiery bath the day before and is no more. MIB makes Sawyer note that not all the names are crossed out, and shows him which ones he means, and the corresponding number beside each. Shepard, number 23. Reyes, 8. Jarrah, 16. Kwon, 42. MIB doesn’t know if that means Sun or Jin. Number 4 – Locke. And last, but not least, number 15 – Ford.
Sawyer wonders why his name would be on the wall since he never met Jacob. Ah, but MIB remarks that he’s sure he met Jacob, and that Jacob was pulling some strings, unbeknownst to James, pushing him to the Island. Sawyer wants to know why, of course, to which MIB explains that James was nominated as a candidate – someone who could take over Jacob’s job of protecting the Island.
MIB goes onto explain to Sawyer that he basically has three choices at this point.
First, James could simply do nothing and see how it all plays out, possibly having his name crossed off the list. MIB takes a really Locke-like cue and illustrates his point by crossing Locke’s name off the cave wall.
Second option is for Sawyer to accept the job and protect the Island. “Protect it from what?” asks Sawyer. Nothing, answers MIB – it’s just a damn Island, says he. The Island will be fine without anyone looking after it, and Jacob wasted a lot of people’s lives for nothing.
Third option? asks Sawyer. Well, says MIB, we can just get our frustrated butts the hell of this Island and never look back. But they have to do it together.
“So what do you say James? Are you ready to go home?” asks MIB, sincerely.
James squints his eyes, clinches his jaw, and utters an emphatic “hell yes.”
Holy crap, people, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover this week, what with the numbers reappearing, a mysterious Island boy playing havoc with MIB’s brain, another of Jacob’s “lists” and black and white stones that promise to take us alllll the way back to season one. So let’s get to it, shall we? I’ll warn you, though – this column is loooooooong.
HE’S MAKING HIS LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE
Okay, obviously the big mind scrambler that everyone wants to talk about this week is Jacob’s list of “candidates” scrawled on the cave wall. I downloaded a copy of this week’s episode at the highest resolution I could get my hands on, and went frame by frame through the whole cave scene, trying to pick out any familiar names or ones that might give us further clues as to what has transpired and what is to come. Here are the highlight screencaps I was able to take and enhance a bit. I’ll present a full list of names that I think I’ve extrapolated from the more obscure scrawls after the pictures.
42 – Kwon. We all know those two, and I’m betting that it’s Jin. We’ll get to why that might be in a second. 291 – Domingo. 10 – Mattingley. 222 – O’Toole.
A closer look at Kwon, O’Toole, Domingo and Mattingley. Also visible in this image are 317 – Cunningham, an unknown number – Reynolds, and down at the bottom, 71 – Straume. That’s Miles, crossed out.
16 – Jarrah. That’s Sayid, of course. 396 – Grant. 233 – Jones. 285 – Jenkins or Jennings.
8 – Reyes. Hurley, naturally. Number obscured – Goodspeed. That could be Horace, Amy or Ethan.
313 – Littleton. That could mean Claire, but it could also mean Aaron. Interesting that it’s crossed out. Also visible, but blurry, are 119 – Almeida, 90 – Troupe. I mentioned him earlier.
Some other names that I can make out in the wider shots are 115 – Dargas, obscured number – Henderson, and Garner, again with an unknown number. In the shot where we see 23 – Shepard, you can also make out a spot that says 20 – Rou? The question mark is part of that name, or at least it seems to be. It doesn’t look like any other letter, more like Jacob was questioning whether he should put this person on the list. Someone emailed me earlier today (with a spoiler, I might add – shame on you!) that they had spotted the names Linus and Burke on the walls, as well. It would make sense that Ben might be on there, but I’m not sure about Juliet. I’m not going to believe it until I see it, let’s put it that way.
If any of you have any more names – and have screencap proof! – send it my way. We’ll expand the list next week if I get some more in.
Now, other than the question of “what the hell does it all mean?” we’re also faced with the question of whether any of these peripheral names are significant. Other than the names of Goodspeed, Littleton and Straume, I don’t think so. None of those other names are tied in with any significant characters that we’ve encountered in the series, thus far. Could they all be part of the flight manifest of Oceanic 815? The addition of Goodspeed and Straume seem to indicate no, and that opens up the thought that these names could be people who were considered later by Jacob, and called to the Island separately from the Oceanic survivors.
This week’s episode-inspired drink recipe isn’t exactly a recipe as it is an assortment of recommendations. You see, when I see somebody like Sawyer swigging whiskey in an unmarked Dharma bottle, I start thinking about what might be in that bottle. I’m hoping, for Sawyer’s sake, that it’s some good, aged bourbon. This week, instead of the usual mixed recipe, I’m going to throw out three of my favorite bourbons, perfect for certain occasions.
Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – For your dollar, there is no better or more versatile bourbon on the shelf than the little bottle that might, at first glance, resemble Jack Daniels. This smooth whiskey is wonderful for easy sipping, and the price won’t make you feel guilty if you feel like throwing some cola or soda in your glass. Go ahead, I won’t tell.
Jim Beam 7-Year – One of the smoothest sipping whiskeys I’ve ever tasted, Jim Beam 7-year is my bourbon of choice. A lot of bourbons aged over five years can have a very intense, sometimes scalding sensation when drank straight. Not this Jim Beam. It hits the tongue light and doesn’t leave the back of your mouth on fire like some others in its class. It’s the perfect bourbon for on the rocks, and it also makes a great toddy. For that particular recipe, see last week’s column about The Crazy Hot Blonde.
Old Granddad This is the bourbon you want to break out when you’ve got somebody over that you’d take a bullet for; you know, that special friend who’d not only help you move, but help you move bodies. You don’t mix this cool, slightly oaky, vanilla-hinted bourbon with anything – you just sip it, straight, like a man. And if the buddy you have over refuses to drink what you’re pouring, I’d keep a wary eye on that one. Especially if he’s bald and supposedly dead. I’m just sayin’.
Another thought is that the numbers could signify some inhabitants that were already on the Island, those from far in the past, since Jacob has obviously been on the Island for awhile. This doesn’t seem to correlate with the numbering scheme, as we see Locke up at number four, and most of the main candidates from the survivors still in contention being in the lower numbers. It would help if we saw names on there like “Widmore” or “Hawking” that would point to previous generations of candidates, but unfortunately I haven’t found visual evidence of such names, or any other names that would indicate other generations beyond those directly involved with the current influx of survivors on the Island.
The next big questions are how does Jacob determine a candidate’s validity, and how has he known so much about those on the list and been following their lives for so long? Well, I’ve been milling that over in my brain and it comes back to the quantum loop theory that I’ve been spouting off about for so long. Perhaps Jacob’s string is entangled with all of these people because they have all been through this together before. Jacob may exist outside of the loop because he has stayed on the Island, much like Richard and MIB. What if Jacob knew what names to put down and knew so much about each person because he was one of the survivors? In that I mean, what if this loop has had several iterations of which he has been aware, and when most of these people began their journey on the Island, they were all entwined?
When this group originally came to the Island – and I’m not talking about when Oceanic 815 crashed – Jacob was one of them. The rest got off the Island, but Jacob stayed behind, assuming a role in the Island’s service. Since the Island’s temporal and quantum properties are in a different state of flux beyond that of the outside world, a whole new set of survivors from another time or dimension were posited on the Island to begin this iteration of the loop again.
Am I going too fast here? I sound like a crazy person, I know.
Let’s say, for instance, that Sawyer was to assume Jacob’s job as “protector” of the Island. He stays behind, while the rest of his friends somehow are ejected from the system – propelled into the LA X timeline, for instance – and they all end up back at the Island, only when the Island is in another state of quantum flux. Basically, for lack of a better or more “scientific” way to put it, a doorway to another dimension opens and allows the survivors from the alternate timeline entry onto the Island during this flux. Time passes differently on the Island, just as Faraday stated in his observations, so to Sawyer who stayed behind, many years may have passed, possibly with previous generations of Island visitors, as well as Other Island visitors, arriving and starting another cycle.
The trick to this whole theory is MIB. If the Island is stuck in a loop of some sort, MIB became stuck along with Jacob. This may be in order for the Island to maintain some sort of balance, whether it be light and dark, or simply “quantum constants” – beings of the same quantum frequency across multiple dimensions. In other words, mirror images of the same person or entity. If this “loop” or balance equation exists, Jacob may be systematically eliminating the survivors in groups so that he can find the right candidate – the counterpart to balance out MIB. Counteractively, MIB has been striving to break up this candidacy and end the loop for however long this has gone on.
Sound complicated and far-fetched? It probably is. But these are the thoughts that run through the haunted chambers of my mind.
A far more plausible – and more biblical – approach to this candidacy has to do with Urim and Thummim, the divination stones of the Hebrew Old Testament. We’ll get to that in a second, but first …
BUT KATE WASN’T EVEN IN THIS EPISODE
Yes, yes, I know – Kate was absent from the episode, and it was glorious, but we’re still going to talk about her.
Kate wasn’t on the list, but she was one of the few whose lives were touched by Jacob, as shown in the season five finale. I guess she didn’t make the cut. Probably had something to do with blowing up a house with a man still inside. Still, Kate’s name wasn’t on the “candidacy” list, but Austin made the cut several times before, most notably when they were all brought to Ben and the Others by Michael at the end of season two. It seems as though Kate’s been groomed for some sort of role in the grand scheme of things. Personally, I think it may have something to do with maintaining balance on the Island.
It’s clear that balance is very important to the mechanism that drives and sustains the Island. From the very beginning, the duel between light and dark, black and white, good and evil has been an overarching theme. What we’ve seen over the seasons, however, is that the line between those dualities is not always a straight one. Let’s think back to season one and consider “Adam and Eve.” In “The House of the Rising Sun,” Jack and Kate come across the skeletons of a man and a woman in the caves into which most of them eventually retreated. Remember that? I’m sure you all do.
Jack remarks that they seem to have died at least 50 to 60 years prior, considering the state of decomposition.
Long, long ago, many theorized that these two could be Jack and Kate, even though everyone thought that the idea of bringing time travel into the show was extraordinarily far-fetched. Oh, the benefits of hindsight and six seasons.
Adam and Eve had a little bag, too. Inside that were two stones – one black and one white. It’s been a long time since those stones have been mentioned, but way back then the producers and writers claimed that this was proof that the show knew where it was going from the very beginning. That remains to be seen, but it’s a very intriguing corollary.
Even if Adam and Eve have nothing to do with the survivors, it seems fairly obvious that they had something to do with a previous iteration of the struggle for balance on the Island. The stones point directly to that.
Of course, another thought is that women can’t be candidates, and the Kwon on the wall is Jin. That would leave both Sun and Kate in the clear, as far as candidacy. That’d be the most obvious idea. And the most boring. *shrug*
(BIBLICALLY) SPEAKING OF ADAM AND EVE …
Let’s get back to Urim and Thummim, shall we? This topic hasn’t come up in a long, long time, but way back in season one, after the stones were discovered with Adam and Eve in the cave, a good friend of mine and I had quite a lengthy, days-long discussion on the ancient use of divining stones. I’m not going to go into a huge biblical explanation of the origins of Urim and Thummim here, but suffice it to say that these divine seeing stones or artifacts date back to pre-Babylonian times and were used to answer “yes” or “no” questions from the gods.
Of course, in the case of the Hebrews, this equated to word from the one God, and God would answer his servants by passing down either the words of Urim and Thummim, which would be interpreted by a high priest who wore the sacred stones – encased in a “Tablet of Destiny” – in a breastplate. There were many accounts of foes who had vanquished the carrier of these Tablets tearing them from the breastplate of the fallen chosen one and taking them for their own. All you biblical and ancient scholars out there can just save your time and energy, because I know I’m butchering all this by not writing a four-thousand page tome with the full explanations and accounts.
The exact translations and meanings of Urim and Thummim are varied, but for the most part one meant “yes” and one meant “no,” and were used to divine various sorts of messages from on High. The Urim and Thummim are mentioned in the Books of Samuel in the Old Testament in the context of discovering the sinners and the chosen amongst a group of people. Here’s where Jacob’s little rocks step in.
Some accounts of the use of Urim and Thummim describe the process as “casting lots” – in other words, casting objects that held certain meanings into a marked area and interpreting their resting states as the answer to a divine question. In most modern interpretations as to the physical make-up of Urim and Thummim, they appear as white and black stones, sometimes with the sacred names scrawled upon them, but most commonly with just the colors to allow the user to define the meaning. The stones carried in the bags of Adam and Eve very closely resemble the modern interpretation of these divining stones, and we see the same theme brought full circle with Jacob’s scale. They are placed there to signify the balanced state between the two stones, and Jacob may have used the scale to interpret which command he was receiving as to the chosen candidates and those who had sinned and fallen short.
When MIB picks up the white stone and casts it into the sea, his “inside joke” is to defy the judgment that came from a source higher than Jacob. Perhaps that source was the Island itself, or an even higher power. MIB is pretty much biting his thumb or giving the bird to the system. For those who want to take this into a larger biblical realm, at least in the context of the Christian Bible, Jacob was God’s servant and MIB is pretty much Satan. When he says he wants to “go home,” he’s speaking, of course, of Heaven, since he was cast down when he defied God’s will.
Or, this could be the age-old battle between brothers, as I’ve mentioned before when I started calling MIB “Esau” in the first place (want more? Consult ye olde text from last season in my analysis for “The Incident.”)
Is that what’s really going on here? I don’t know, I just watch a show about a bunch of whiny people trapped on a time-traveling Island.
To complicate things further, biblically, I can’t help but at least mention Jacob’s ladder. The biblical ladder appears to Jacob in a vision in the Book of Genesis, chapter 28. This book details Isaac’s blessings upon Jacob, and Esau’s jealousy of Jacob receiving the family’s birthright. In this book, Jacob flees from his homeland, and from Esau, and stops in the wilderness to rest. While there, he has a vision of a great ladder that descended to the Earth from heaven, which allowed passage to and from God’s realm.
From Genesis 28:10-12
“Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”
Esau, on Jacob’s ladder. Now do you people see why I still call this dude Esau?
I’m not saying that this rickety, bamboo ladder is the biblical Jacob’s ladder, or that it signifies that the Island is heaven or something like that. I just wanted to show that at least the writers are having some fun with biblical significance, and this one was way too obvious not to point out.
LITTLE BOY BLUE
Alright, little boy – who are you?
We have the facts: this little boy appeared, scared the crap out of MIB, and only certain people can see him. Apparently since Sawyer is one of those people, only a candidate can see him. Is the boy a new iteration of Jacob? Perhaps he’s Jacob’s son? He’s blonde, so that narrows down our choices as to who he might be amongst the survivors. Sawyer looked a lot like this boy when he was young, but it doesn’t make much temporal sense to have young Sawyer gallivanting around the Island, talking about “the rules.” The boy could possibly be Aaron, from a little bit in the future.
Right now, I’ve got nothing concrete. The only thing that’s clear is that this little boy seems to be one of the only forces on the Island that could screw things up for MIB – and that’s going to be fun to watch.
The usual collection of afterthoughts and ponderings that I don’t have time to illuminate further:
In this episode, Ilana remarks that MIB can’t be anyone else – He’s stuck in John Locke’s form. Why, because he broke the rules, killed Jacob? Because he assumed the form of a “candidate”? What are everyone’s thoughts?
Jacob and MIB appear to have a very similar relationship to Jack and Locke. In the first two seasons, Locke sees purpose in the Island, and follows his “destiny” by blindly following directions, such as pushing The Button. Jack just wants to get the hell off the Island and isn’t buying all the Island mojo mumbo-jumbo that Locke had been spouting the entire time. Now Locke, in the guise of MIB, wants nothing to do with the Island’s crap and wants to go home. Meanwhile, Jack and some of the other survivors, have fallen back into Locke’s role of wanting to figure out what the heck to do with the Island, and even possibly protect it by taking up the mantle of candidacy. That’s a nice touch there by the writers.
So far, this season’s episode structure is just like that of season one – a two-part opener with many different flashbacks (flash sideways in current season), third episode focusing on Kate, fourth focusing on Locke. If it continues to follow this pattern, the next episode will be about Jack. Oh, goody.
The first two of the survivors to die were numbers 4 – Locke – and number 16 – Sayid. Take Sayid’s number and add the two and you get 7. Put those two together and you get 47, J.J. Abrams’ magical, favorite number. Of course, J.J. is off trying to save the galaxy right now and not that involved with the show, but I just got churning on numbers again. I’ve got a whole set of whacky number tricks I could show, but it’s all smoke and mirrors right now.
Finally, in a totally geeky aside, I watched this week’s episode on Hulu and half the show was covered with ads for the newest Warner Bros. animated film, DC Comic’s Crisis on Two Earths. I just thought it was a funny coincidence. Or was it? Cue the thonk!
The DVD goes on sale on February 23, and it looks pretty awesome. Maybe Joel Murphy ought to get on the stick and get to reviewing this sucker.
Whew, my brain is full and it’s definitely time to lay my weary head down. Until next week, keep thinking those crazy thoughts, and if you have an epiphany, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris – Thanks for another great installment. Just a couple minor remarks:
– The ‘balance’ being implied by the various opposing themes and objects in the show, especially most recently, are apparent and I agree with your interpretation of the stones and the Jacob/Esau dynamic. One must wonder, assuming a balance, an equilibrium of impact/effect/action on the parts of Jacob and Esau – Jacob’s actions and effects on the story and our characters are many and have been shown to us pretty clearly. What of Esau’s? If Jacob’s actions are supposedly balanced by Esau’s, there’s an awful lot we’ve yet to see in terms of the role he’s played.
– The stones from the pouch of Adam & Eve look remarkably like well worn, highly polished versions of the larger, rougher stones we saw in Jacob’s cliff cave.
– I am now convinced that the island is and always has been, some kind of being – a force with its own will and agenda. Indeed, in a very early JJ Abrams interview he talks about the island taking the form of a ‘character’ in the show instead of simply a ‘place.’ Further, I think the island can, and has at various points in the series to date, projected itself and it’s wishes by taking the form of various deceased characters. I’m certain this was what we were being shown by, presumably, young Jacob speaking to Esau. Assuming there is a ‘higher power’ to Jacob and Esau, what we saw was the island revealing itself to Esau in the form of young Jacob standing in a very biblical pose, bathed in divine light.
Some have been positing multiple smoke monsters to explain the appearance of various dead people on the island (and off). While there may well be more than one smokey, I believe many, though certainly not all, of the reincarnates we’ve seen throughout the series have been the island ‘personified’ instead of Jacob or Esau.
Lastly, on the issue of Kate not being (apparently) a candidate – we can’t have a succubus running the place…..duh.
Thanks again for the great column – JB
To me, the most fascinating part of the episode was when MIB was explaining to Sawyer that Jacob had visited before. The whole part where he said, “Choices that you thought you made were never really choices at all” really got to me.
That ties into the three options MIB presents Sawyer with and it seems to support what we talked about on the podcast – the idea that maybe in the end, they will all have to decide whether or not to get on the plane (the Quantum Leap finale idea).
Also, it made me really think about the timing of when Jacob showed up to everyone.
With Sawyer, it makes sense. Jacob shows up when he is at his most vulnerable. Also, that’s the beginning of Sawyer’s journey to avenge his parent’s deaths, which ends with him in Australia murdering the wrong man. On the way back, he ends up on the island.
Jack’s moment makes sense too. Jacob shows up when Jack is having his first big argument with his dad. Jack’s daddy issues are what make Christian drink himself to death in Australia. Jack goes to get his body and ends up on the island.
Same for Jin and Sun. He shows up at their marriage. Things go downhill shortly after and Sun starts studying English and goes with Jin to Australia to run away from him.
But the other appearances are a bit more tricky …
Look at Kate. For one thing, as you mentioned, she’s not on the list. Also, when he shows up, he helps her get the lunch box that becomes a time capsule (by letting her get away with shoplifting). He leads her on the path of killing her father (and killing her friend when she goes to retrieve the plane from the time capsule), which does perhaps tie into your idea that she is there for another purpose – balance, perhaps.
For Sayid, he doesn’t show up until after Sayid is off the island. He saves him from getting hit by the car that kills Nadia. Does this mean Sayid wasn’t a candidate before that moment? Did he only become important after Jacob had a chance to vet him on the island? Did he only show up the first time by chance?
Same for Hurley. Jacob shows up to convince Hurley to come back, but we don’t see him helping him to win the lottery or discover the numbers in the first place. Maybe it’s Hurley showing up on the island and Jacob discovering that Hurley knows of the numbers and can see his cabin that peaks his curiosity.
Then there’s Locke. A big part of last season was MIB tricking Locke into thinking he was chosen. We saw Richard show up multiple times in Locke’s life to vet him, ultimately ending up unconvinced that he is special. Jacob doesn’t show up to touch him until he’s thrown out the window and his back is broken.
Anyway, I’m not sure what it all means just yet, but I do think the timing of his visits is important.
James – Thanks again for the kind words. It looks like we’re of similar minds as to the balance that needs to exist, as well as the possible “sentience” of the Island.
Joel – You just blew my mind, dude. I hadn’t considered the timing of Jacob’s visits, but it’s interesting to think about it and then try and correlate that with the numbers. That numbering system is currently bugging the heck out of me, but I reckon it’s supposed to.
Your comments have my brain turning now on something potentially big, but I need to go back and do some research first before it can be fully-formed. I will hint, however, that you know how the DC and Marvel multiverses are numbered? Like Earth 616 is the core Marvel Universe… well, yeah. There’s a lot more to it than that, but after I look at a couple of episodes, I might be onto something.
Joel – Also, it’s totally going to end like Quantum Leap. You know it and I know it.
Some good analysis here, keep up the good work.
Regarding the miscellaneous names in the cave, we have seen a few previously. Mattingly was the name on one of the US army uniforms worn by an Other in the 1954 time-skip. Henderson was the maiden name of Rose. I’m now wondering if some of the names we’ve never heard before came with the Black Rock.
Did anyone else think “Jacob’s Ladder” when they were climbing down the cliff to Jacob’s cave?
Jeremy – I need to go back and watch “Jughead” again to verify this. And, yeah, Henderson is Rose’s maiden name, but she doesn’t fit a discernible pattern just yet. Still, it’s intriguing.
West Andrews – Um, yeah. *raises hand* Might wanna check the analysis portion…
The analysis is what made me look up Jacob’s Ladder on Wikipedia. I was just wondering what everyone else thought about that. I know the producers said the show had nothing to do with purgatory but…
West – Ah, sorry, I misunderstood your inflection, bud. All I can say is the producers also made a comment late in the first season, and again early in the second, that there wouldn’t be any time travel elements, either. Disseminating false information? Possibly. At this point, they may be having some fun with those of us who analyze the show for all the interesting tidbits, knowing that we’ll notice, follow the breadcrumbs down that particular rabbit hole, and either laugh or get hopelessly lost… 😉
Chris—I’m guessing the latter. If the MIB was officially named Esau and not Cerberus, than that would be a different story. Any thoughts on the name Cerberus and his Greek (four toed statue) connection?
I’m surprised you didn’t mention this in your biblically speaking section… Jack’s # is 23 and the 23rd Psalm’s first line (as we all know) is “The Lord is my shepard”
Personally, I think Mattingley’s # should be 23.
One more thing… in season 5 didn’t Ilana say they didn’t kill Frank because he might be a candidate?
I enjoy these recaps … mostly because I call up Lars and he reads them to me in his best Kirkman voice.
Great recap. Great stuff, especially like the idea of the iterations. I recall the writers once saying Jacob was in the pilot episode.
I think it’s key to remember what Jacob said to MiB at the end of lat season:
“It only ends once, anything before that is just progress.”
Jacob may going through the same thing over and over making little changes and finding out things. Trying to find out who to bring to the Island, who needs to live etc.
Maybe his current list is the final one?
Meaty – Yeah, it’s all very Groundhog Day, except not as funny.
Murf- It’s really the only way to get the full experience. I think that should be a feature – it’ll make all the “science” sound much less stuffy.
Mimi – All good points, particularly Mattingley. Hah!
I recall Ilana saying that about Lapidus, but we didn’t see his name on the wall. Very interesting….
When I saw Rou? I immediately thought of Rousseau. (And now spelling it i can see Esau…coincidence?) It bugged me all week that Kate’s name wasn’t shown and nobody else seemed to notice…I knew you would!
I love your analysis and look forward to it every week!
I’m going to holdfast to my thought that Adam and Eve are Rose and Bernard.