Jacob is Paul (Mark Pellegrino), Rita’s ex-husband from Dexter! He visited all the Losties at some point in their lives, thus weaving them into his grand island tapestry! Locke isn’t Locke?! Real Locke is dead in the cargo box, and not-Locke is manipulating Ben into stabbing Jacob?! Jack drops the bomb, but it doesn’t detonate. But wait, Juliet falls to her death at the Swan. But wait. She’s still alive and detonates the bomb herself! These were only some of the developments on the crazy good, fast-paced, fully loaded Lost season finale.
Making Sense of the Madness – I’ve divided my post into sections, based on the various threads of the finale’s plot: the flashbacks, the events of 1979, and the events thirty years later. For each section, I’ve tried to establish what we already knew, what we learned, and questions we still have.
In the beginning – In classic Lost fashion, the finale opened by taking us back to the beginning, at least the beginning of what we know about the Island. As the Black Rock approaches from a distance, we meet the mysterious Jacob, who seems to be an ordinary guy who likes to eat fish and weave fabric on a loom. He has a cryptic conversation with some guy in sackcloth about how he keeps bringing people to the island in the hope that one day things will end differently than with “they come, fight, destroy, and corrupt.” Jacob says that “if it only ends once, anything that happens before that is just progress.” At that point the other man turns to him and says, “Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?” Jacob says he does. The other man continues, “One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.” Jacob responds, “Well when you do, I’ll be right here.” The camera then pans up to reveal the four-toed statue in all its alligator snout, cat-eared glory. The exchange between Jacob and this man set up the theme of this whole episode, and gave a larger perspective to the series as a whole. Come. Fight. Destroy. Corrupt. That’s kind of what has happened over and over again, and now everyone is coming to some end point at which the cycle can either continue or be broken.
- What we already knew: Jacob is in charge of the island. The Black Rock is a ship that wrecked on the island, which has been referred to at various times during the five seasons of the show.
- What we learned: Jacob is real, not an apparition, and he apparently has the same anti-aging solution as Richard. Jacob “brought” the Black Rock to the island, as part of his plan. He weaves together the fabric of the island and its inhabitants just as he weaves his baskets and wall hangings. Not everyone loves Jacob – this unnamed man wants to kill him. And the giant statue was still standing when the Black Rock arrived.
- Questions we still have: Where did Jacob come from, and why is he conducting this social experiment? Who is the unnamed man, and why does he want to kill Jacob? How did such a huge statue get demolished?
The Flashbacks – This week’s flashbacks took us back to earlier times in the Losties’ lives, at the moments they encountered Jacob. I loved the shout outs to previous seasons in these scenes: Patsy Cline playing during Kate’s failed attempt to shoplift a NKOTB lunchbox, a young Sawyer writing his vengeful letter to the man who destroyed his life, Jack freaking out while performing the surgery he talked about in the pilot, Locke being pushed out of the window by his father.
- What we already knew: We already knew the circumstances in which we saw the characters – we just saw them from a different perspective.
- What we learned: It wasn’t just “fate” that led these people to the island – it was Jacob himself. Apparently, by visiting each of them at some point in their lives, and touching them, he made them part of his grand plan, and from that moment on they were attached to the island, and being woven into its tapestry. It was suggested that Jacob healed Locke by touching him, after Locke fell to an almost certain death. We finally learned how Hurley ended up on Ajeera Flight 316 – Jacob told him to get on it, if he wanted to. Jacob is all about free will and giving people choices. Not all of Jacob’s visits were friendly. He orchestrated Nadia’s death, and it’s horrible to know that Sayid witnessed her being hit by a car, when moments before they were happily discussing their anniversary.
- Questions we still have: Why did Jacob cause Nadia’s death? Was that the only way to get Sayid to return to the island? And what made each of these people so special that he wanted to draw them to the island?
Thirty Years Later – Locke leads Richard, Ben, and the Others on his quest to see Jacob, but only Ben knows that he plans to kill him. We should have known something wasn’t right when Locke lied to Richard, saying he only wanted to thank Jacob for bringing him back to life, when he had already told Ben that he wanted to kill him. Another clue that something was amiss was when Richard said he’s seen a lot of things on the island, but had never seen someone brought back to life. Add this to Benjamin’s statement from a previous episode that “dead is dead; there’s no coming back from that,” and we had major signposts that all was not what it seemed to be. Despite all of that, I was completely shocked when we learned what was in the cargo box!! But we had to wait until the end of the episode to learn that a very dead Locke was in the box. Leading up to that moment, we got some more hints about Ilana, Bram, and the other Ajeera passengers that were also on a mission to visit Jacob.
- What we already knew: Jacob is in charge of the island, and there’s a constant rotation of island leaders who answer to him, through Richard. These leaders have included Widmore, Eloise Hawking, Ben, and Locke. Until now, as far as we know, only Richard has interacted with Jacob, so not-Locke is bucking the trend by meeting Jacob face to face, and by bringing Ben with him.
- What we learned: The biggest revelation of the whole episode is that born again Locke isn’t Locke at all. He’s the man who was talking to Jacob at the beginning of the episode. Apparently he found a loophole and was able to return to the island, or at least jump into Locke’s body, so he could challenge Jacob’s position as island head honcho. Not-Locke made it into the foot of the statue, and easily convinced Ben to kill Jacob. Meanwhile, Ilana and the gang looked for Jacob at the cabin and determined that he hadn’t lived there for some time, and then continued on to the site of the statue. They called themselves the “good guys” and brought Frank along because he might be a “candidate.” Speaking of Ilana and her friends, it seems clear that they weren’t on Flight 316 by accident. Jacob probably told them to get on it. I suppose they aren’t crazy after all – they are just on a mission. We saw a brief flashback of Ilana, her face bruised and bandaged, and Jacob paying her a visit asking for her help. We’ll have to wait until next season to learn more about this newest group.
- Questions we still have: This part of the episode was interesting to me and suggested a few things. One, if Jacob hasn’t lived in the cabin for several years, who or what did Locke and Ben encounter on their visit there, when things were flying through the air and a disembodied voice cried out “help me”? Two, when Ilana arrived on the beach where the Others were camped out, she asked to speak to Ricardos. When she asks him what lies in the shadow of the statue, he responds in Latin, saying “He who will protect/save us all.” I still believe that Richard arrived on the island via the Black Rock. I am still hoping for a Richard-centric episode next season. Bram told Frank that what they (the Others) are up against is something a lot scarier than Locke’s dead body. So then, who is not-Locke, and why is he so scary? When not-Locke’s group came across the old Losties’ campsite, Sun found Aaron’s crib, and Charlie’s ring inside it. This reference to our favorite family trio suggests that Claire and Aaron will play a role next season, and that perhaps that Charlie’s death wasn’t pointless.
Back in 1979 – Sawyer, Juliet, and Kate easily made their way off the sub and back to the island, while Jack and Sayid transported the bomb through the Dharma village (with the ultimate goal of detonating it at the Swan, to change the future), but ran into some gunfire before they could make it into the jungle. Sayid got shot, but Hurley, Miles, and Jin showed up in a blue VW van to save the day. Several frantic moments later, Jack and Sawyer faced off and had a fist fight in the jungle. They were interrupted by Juliet, who changed her mind and decided rather than try to stop Jack, they should help him. Why? Because he was right. But I think more than saving the lives of hundreds of people in the future, Juliet was trying to save herself the pain of the rejection she believed she would receive from Sawyer eventually. I thought it was a pretty weak explanation, for her to say that she knew what they had wouldn’t last, just because of how Sawyer looked at Kate on the sub. But, I suppose the flashback about her parents splitting up was an okay explanation for her way of thinking.
- What we already knew: We knew that some sort of incident took place at the Swan around this time – we’ve known that since Season One, when Dr. Chang basically said as much on the Dharma Orientation video. We also knew that Daniel came back to the island to try to prevent this incident from happening, and that Jack wanted to continue his plan after Eloise shot and killed Daniel.
- What we learned: Thank you, writers, for finally letting us know what became of Rose and Bernard (and Vincent). It turns out they decided to “retire,” and they’ve been living happily in a hut just off the beach for three years, since the day that Sawyer’s crew fled the flaming arrows to join the Dharma Initiative. I liked their outlook – that their would always be something to worry about, so they just chose to let it go and be thankful that they were together. If only Sawyer and Juliet had shared their philosophy and taken that sub off the island… Instead, the electromagnetism pulled Juliet down into the hatch, where she survived long enough to detonate the bomb. (What a horribly sad scene it was when she let go of Sawyer’s hand.)
- Questions we still have: What happened when Juliet detonated the bomb?! The writers cruelly will make us wait until next January or February to find out. It seems clear that it killed Juliet, but did Jack, Kate, and Sawyer have time to get out of the blast radius? What about Hurley, Miles, and Jin? What will be the implications of the bomb? Is it going to change the future, or was the bomb the incident in the first place?
The Big Questions
- Not-Locke and Ben vs. Ilana, Bram, and the Others: Not-Locke promises Ben that things are going to change after Jacob is gone. The question is, how will they change? A more interesting question related to this one is, who is or will be on whose side in this battle?
- Ben – What if Ben was in on the plan to bring not-Locke back as Locke all along? Maybe that’s why he killed Locke. He reemphasized this week that he’s a liar, that that’s what he does. So it’s strange that he would suddenly be this naive, broken man. That being said, his speech to Jacob about his years of service to the island, was quite touching. Who can blame him, that when Jacob’s only response to his question, “What about me?” was “What about you?” he wasted no time stabbing him. Even so, I don’t think we can ever trust Ben, so maybe making a deal with not-Locke is his final power play after all the failed moves that came before. I’m not sure how his encounter with Alex and the smoke monster would fit into this equation, but it’s something to keep in mind.
- Richard – Richard is the advisor to the island leader, but since not-Locke isn’t technically Locke (who is the current rightful leader), and since Locke is dead in a box, who will Richard side with? Will he work with Ilana and Bram, will he support not-Locke, or will he branch out in his own direction?
- Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking – They have both spoken of the coming war. We can now assume they were referring to the war between not-Locke and Ilana’s group. So which side are they on? I need to go back and watch this season and last to refresh my memory on who told who to go back to the island, and why. That may give us some clues about the two sides.
- What happened after Juliet detonated the bomb? – Miles made a good point that perhaps by detonating the bomb, they would simply be causing “the incident” they were trying to prevent. However, they chose to ignore his advice that “maybe the best thing to do is nothing.” What does this mean for the final season? Here are a couple of scenarios:
- The bomb demagnetizes the Swan, but doesn’t cause a time flash – In this scenario, Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and the others who are stuck in the ’70s stay stuck in the ’70s. This doesn’t seem likely. I think the whole “stuck in the ’70s” story has been played out.
- The bomb caused the incident that led them to the island in the future – If this is true (that the detonation of the bomb was the incident), then Flight 815 would still land on the island, in which case perhaps when the bomb went off, they were time flashed back to the present, where they will meet up with not-Locke, Richard, Ilana, and everyone else about to go to war by the four-toed statue. I kind of like this scenario, and I think it’s the most likely.
- The bomb changes the future, and Flight 815 never crashes on the island – This scenario gets too complicated. Why? Because some of the Flight 815ers are still on the island in 2000-whatever. Surely the writers are going to show us how all of that resolves. It would be anti-climactic if we just saw Flight 815 land in L.A. and all the passengers go on their merry way. I mean, there are still 16 episodes left? The only way this scenario would make sense is if they had some memory of their past experiences, and were drawn back to the island. But if Flight 815 never crashed, then that makes most of what happened over the past five seasons pointless, which would be sad. Charlie’s sacrifice, Sawyer and Juliet’s relationship, Miles reuniting with his father, etc.
- How and when did not-Locke jump into Locke’s body? – This question could drive me crazy. I tried to think about it last night, but I got confused thinking about present Locke, time jumping Locke, etc. One thing that I think I understand is this: not-Locke had Richard tell real Locke that he had to die to save the island. We saw that scene again last week, where Locke was shot by Ethan, and then flashed into the future, where Richard came over and doctored his wound, and told him that he had to die. So, not-Locke orchestrated the circumstances of Locke’s death. What I can’t figure out is how there can be two bodies that look like Locke. Someone needs to explain this to me next season!
That’s all I have for now. Any thoughts, theories, disappointments, etc. that you’d like to share?