Friday, December 18, 2009

In Anticipation of LOST: Season Six

So when we last saw our lovable Losties, it was 1977 and the end of season five. Juliet detonated the hydrogen bomb, the screen turn white, and then … LOST. Meanwhile, well not really meanwhile, but in 2007, it was reveled that John Locke was actually some creepy dude possessing Locke’s body; all we know about that creepy dude is that he is very old (at least 150 years), he hates Jacob with a fiery passion, and he may or may not be the black smoke monster. And now he’s in Locke’s bald body, doing crazy things in a very confident way, culminating with the ‘loophole’ death of Jacob, who was stabbed by the emotionally fragile psychopath, Ben Linus.
Major questions as we head into season six include:

-What happened to the 1977 folks? Did they jump to 2007?
-Is Jacob really dead? What about Sayid? Any chance Juliet survived?
-What are Richard and Co. going to do now that they know that Locke is not Locke?
-And a related question, what’s the deal with Alana, Bram, and their friends?
-Who the heck IS the creepy dude in Locke’s body, and besides wanting to kill Jacob, what is his deal?
-WHO is coming? (Remember, Jacob’s last words before being kicked into the fire were “they’re coming.”

There are a lot of other questions, too many to count really, but things like Claire’s whereabouts and Desmond’s destiny will be answered as we go. For now, the show has finally boiled down into a simple conflict: Jacob against the creepy dude. And as it seems, good versus evil. As Locke explained to Walt in the season one pilot episode: “There are two sides. One is light. The other is dark.” And now, we FINALLY know who the two sides are. We thought it was the Losties and the Others … then we thought it was Ben and Widmore … but now I’m about 99% sure it is Jacob and …. well the only problem is, we still don’t know what the antagonist’s name is.

Frankly, I think it was too bold of a move for the writers of LOST to introduce a major, revolutionary, plot-shifting character in season five’s finale and not even give him a name. Lost fanatics like myself have spent the better part of a year highly curious about this dude who is completely nameless, calling him stupid monikers like Anti-Jacob and Black Shirt Guy. I saw one blog that refers to him as Esau (Jacob’s brother in Genesis). Other blogs call him ‘Dark’ and there is an unconfirmed rumor that his name will be Samuel. But how hard would it have been for Jacob to simply say, “Hello there Peter” and clear things up immensely. Is it really such a big cliffhanger, just waiting to hear the character’s name? Unless his name is Smokie or Island or Jack Shepherd, I’m going to be disappointed. My prediction: Julius. No reason why. It just seems right.

(If you don’t think this guy is as big of a plot-changer as I do, I’ll explain all that in a few paragraphs.)

Anyway, to answer the questions I posed earlier, I do not believe that any of our questionable characters are indeed dead. That includes the stabbed-and-burned Jacob, the bullet-wounded Sayid, and even the fallen-from-a-cliff-and-exploded-by-a-hydrogen-bomb Juliet. But when it comes to the strangled-and-sitting-in-a-casket character formerly known as John Locke, I fear he has been told what he can’t do for the last time. I just don’t see how the show can resurrect him at this point. If it does happen, I think it will happen in closing minutes of the series finale, in the very last scene of LOST. That would be pretty cool actually. But I don’t see Locke having a major part this season. The actor who plays Locke, though, (that would be the vastly talented Terry O’Quinn), should have a pretty busy season.

(Sidenote: I recently watched a 99 cent Blockbuster movie called Primal Fear, starring Richard Gere and Edward Norton. It was a pretty decent flick with a cool twist at the end, but the best part was watching a mustachioed O’Quinn play the hard-ass prosecuting lawyer.)

As a general rule in LOST, main characters survive the most unlikely of circumstances, while minor characters die like lemmings. Jin stood on a freighter when it exploded and was presumed dead for months, but he was just floating around harmlessly on a piece of debris. Locke fell out of a six-story window and was shot point-blank in the chest. Nothing. Charlie was hung from a tree. Desmond was shot. Little Ben was shot. Sayid was shot (by Elsa). They all survived. Heck, all these people were on an airplane that crash landed on a beach and they all lived. We have to believe the most optimistic scenario possible. Sayid, Juliet, Jacob … don’t count any of them out.

As to what happens to the Losties in the past, the most presumable explanation is that the bomb explosion catapults them into the future, back to ‘their present time,’ back to 2007. Thus, the answer to “who is coming?” could be Jack, Sawyer and the crew. That seems like them most logical explanation. This being the final season of LOST, I don’t think the Powers That Be will risk sending Jack and Co. back into some other time or playing around with the time travel angle anymore. They did whatever the island wanted them to do, and set about the events, or the Incident, exactly like they were supposed to. Whatever happened, happened, and now that their destiny is achieved, it’s back to 2007 for all of them. It makes perfect sense; Pierre Chang lost his arm (as we knew he would), and now Radzinsky will kill himself in the hatch, leaving Kelvin alone until 2001, when Des shows up and takes over the button-pushing. Meanwhile Ben and the Others purge Dharma, polar bears run wild for 25 years (you’d think they would have reproduced?) and Danielle Rousseau sets booby traps all over the place and goes insane. Then the plane crashes in 2004, with several of our Losties completely unaware that they inhabited this island three decades ago.

If our 70s folks did indeed travel back to 2007, we can expect season six to begin with the long-awaited reunion of Sun and Jin, who spent all of season five trying to find each other. This also puts Jack smack-dab in the middle of the Good-Evil conflict along with Richard, Ben, Jacob and the Creepy Dude inside Locke. All the folks who have been living in the past for three years (Sawyer, Jin, Miles and maybe Juliet, depending on if she survived) along with the members of the Oceanic Six who rode Ajira 316 into the past (Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid) will be reunited with the guys who crashed 316 and landed in 2007, (Frank, Ben and Sun), as well as Richard and all of the Others, and of course, Jacob and his nemesis. Confused yet?

It really gets interesting when Desmond, Penny and their son (who’s name, interestingly enough, is Charles Widmore) are entered into the equation, along with Penny’s dad, the original Charles Widmore, who still feels that he is the rightful leader of the Others and is closer than ever to finding the island. Claire and Christian Shepherd are still floating around somewhere, and there’s two other wildcard characters who may still have a major role to play: Walt, and Aaron. Both of them were described as ‘Special” in season one, and that’s not a term that’s tossed around lightly in LOST. My apprehension with Walt is that his inferior acting skills and general annoyingness will keep him from making a Season Six appearance, but there’s no question that Aaron will be important to the story, somehow.

What about Daniel Faraday and his red-headed love, Charlotte Lewis? Any more backstory on them now that they are both deceased? Sadly, I don’t think so, even though there’s a lot more to learn about them. The same goes for Rousseau, who’s mysterious story was partially told and has now come to an end I believe. What about Libby? Is her story closed? Will LOST’s most nagging mystery ever be revealed or will the writers continue to avoid the unmistakable fact that Libby was spying on Hurley in the mental institute before the crash AND gave Desmond a free sailboat so that he could ‘race around the world?’ Three seasons ago, it appeared Libby was an agent of Charles Widmore and she seemed to be the most obvious hint that somehow someone knew flight 815 was going to crash. Now that we know about the time travel capabilities of the island and we’ve seen Jacob mingling around in everyone’s lives, Libby’s story seems less important. But still, they need to say something about her, don’t they?

Will we ever hear from Eloise Hawking again? What about Rose and Bernard and Vincent? Does anyone care? I for one would be more than okay with putting all the time-travel to bed for good and focusing on the nitty gritty conflict resolution. This is the final season after all. There’s no time to waste (pun intended). This season is all about Jack, Jacob, and the destiny of the island.

Which brings me back to Julius. Or Esau. Or whatever you want to call him. I propose that he is in fact the central antagonist in all of LOST, and a character that will change everything we think we know about the show. Let’s look at the facts: right now he is inhabiting John Locke’s body, speaking and acting exactly like John Locke. How do we know it’s him? For one, because we saw Locke dead in the casket. And two, because Jacob says to him “You found your loophole,” a response to Esau’s comment 150 years ago: “One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole my friend.” That scene, which opened season five’s finale in what is believed to be 1845 (the year the Black Rock was launched), is the most important scene in the entirety of LOST, in my humble opinion. I’ll discuss the scene and the conversation in a minute. But back to Esay’s ability to inhabit Locke’s body. First of all, that’s a pretty impressive trick. Pretty superhuman. Think of all the times in LOST we’ve seen somebody appear to be alive on the island who was presumably either dead or off the island. Christian Shepherd. Walt. Kate’s horse. Boone. Ben’s mom. Walt again. And the most important one: Eko’s brother, who manifests into the black smoke monster right before Eko’s eyes and then pummels him to death.

We know almost indefinitely that the black smoke monster has the ability to manifest itself as characters, especially but not always characters who are dead and their corpses are on the Island. We saw that with both Christian and Yemi (Eko’s brother). We’ve seen the smoke monster taking photos of people’s thought and reading their minds. Remember when Ben went into the temple to “be judged,” and the monster turned into Alex and brought up all sorts of horrible memories from Ben’s tragic life? The smoke monster, which still remains the show’s greatest enigma, is capable of becoming people and knowing them inside and out, to the point where it can successfully make people think someone is still alive who is in fact dead. This makes Locke the perfect candidate. We’ve seen the monster, also called Cerebus, uproot tries, go in and out of holes, and drag people across the ground. Sometimes it attacks viciously; sometimes it just observes. It seems to be a being of higher intelligence and purpose, not merely a random killing machine.

In my mind, it seems almost 100% evident that Jacob’s nemesis, the man from that pivotal opening scene, is the man behind the monster. All this time we’ve been asking “What is the monster?” when perhaps we should have asked, “Who?”

Think about the other mysterious happenings in LOST. There are visions and hallucinations that have been partially explained by apparitions of the smoke monster, but what about all the dreams? Claire, Locke, Eko, Hurley, Charlie, Boone and others have had dreams that seemed too real to be dreams, and ended up being more like prophesies. What about the whispers, which have been heard dozens of times and seem to be from voices from within the island, saying things like “He’s coming. They’re here. Who is that?” The whispers have always been the one clue that, in my mind, makes the Island itself an actual character in the story and more than just a location. Is it possible that Esau (or whatever his freaking name is) is behind not just the monster, but the dreams, and the whispers? It’s entirely possible. I mean, the guy is at least 150 years old, so let’s not put it past him. Remember, this show has become science fiction and no longer needs to make sense.

Okay, so let’s move back to the conversation that has haunted my thoughts for months. It went a little something like this:

JACOB: Good Morning.
ENEMY: Morning. Mind if I join you?
JACOB: Please Want some fish?
ENEMY: No thank you. I just ate (Stares ominously into space).
JACOB: I take it you're here because of the ship.
ENEMY: I am. How did they find the Island?
JACOB: We’ll have to ask them when they get here.
ENEMY: I don't have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?
JACOB: You are wrong.
ENEMY: Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.
JACOB: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that … is just progress.
ENEMY: (pause) Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?
ENEMY: One of these days, sooner or later... I'm going to find a loophole, my friend.
JACOB: Well, when you do, I'll be right here.
ENEMY: Always nice talking to you Jacob.
JACOB: Nice talking to you too.

First of all, what a creepy thing to say to somebody: “Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?” Gives me shivers. Second, I love how they are so polite to each other and call each other “friend.” It’s brilliant. It remins me of Professor X and Magneto.

To clear up a few details, the ship is almost undeniably the Black Rock. It looks like the Black Rock. It has to be the Black Rock. Which makes this sometime in the late 1840s. Also, we see Jacob living inside the four-toed statue of the Egyptian goddess Tawaret (the goddess of fertility –also translates to ‘He/She who is great’). Remember, when asked “What lies in the shadow of the statue?”, Richard replied in Latin: “He who will save us all.” That’s Jacob. He was living in the statue in 1850, and there he is again, in 2007. Pretending to live in that crappy cabin for all this time, when there he was, chilling in a four-toed foot statue for two hundred years. What a rascal.

Back to the conversation these two fellows had on the beach. The key arguments seems to be about the nature of humanity. Whether people can be trusted. “They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt.” Those are the words of our black-shirted, scruffy-faced antagonist, who is angry at Jacob for “bringing” the ship to the Island. “It always ends the same,” he says. Jacob retorts by saying “It only ends once, anything that happens before that is just progress.” Boom! Jacob totally thumps him with superior wisdom. Jacob is a deep dude. The condensed point is this: Jacob believes in humanity. He thinks they are worth having around. The other guy does not. He is pissed about the ship. He sees humanity as an inconvenience. (I don’t know about you, but I’m offended by this.) And therein lies the rub.

So what are these guys, if not human? A popular theory says they are angels. Angel of death, angel of life, something like that. That seems possible. Others believe they are simply supernatural immortal beings who like to play God and use the Island as their personal domain. That makes sense too. I prefer to think that Jacob is simply Jacob and not some sort of mythological god or angel, but nothing would really surprise me on that regard. I have no idea about Jacob’s nemesis because we don’t have much data to build a solid theory around, but at this point I am about 94% sure that he is the black smoke monster, with a loose understanding of the word is. Did he create the monster? Did the monster create him? The fact that he wears a dark shirt and has dark hair support this idea, but the most obvious evidence is seeing him reside in Locke’s body like we’ve seen the monster do many times. The monster also showed a unique interest in Locke from the beginning. Could this be why? Did he know that John Locke was easily used and tricked into thinking he was special, when in reality he (and Ben too) were just pawns in a much larger game being played by larger figures?

Another theory that I don’t have a problem with is that Jacob and his enemy are brothers, hence the many folks who call the enemy Esau. I don’t hate this theory, but I don’t think it's correct. I also think it’s reasonable to believe that they are both at least as old as the Egyptian empire, which would be several thousand years. The island is absolute steeped with references to ancient Egypt.

Now let’s discuss the “loophole.” Obviously, we don’t know what this ‘rule’ is that doesn’t allow Jacob to be killed, but we can guess. It seems to me that neither character can be killed or die from natural causes, and also that they are unable to kill each other. Otherwise the Dark fellow would have killed Jacob himself. Instead, he becomes Locke, in order to manipulate Ben to kill Jacob. Perhaps the loophole is that Jacob must be killed by the leader of his own people? Or maybe it’s more simply, and he only has to be killed by a living human? My question is this: who made these rules? Is there a higher power? Did they make the rules together? Was there a time before they hated each other, when they lived peacefully together?

In season six, I hope and expect to find answers to these questions. I hope they reveal the origins of Richard Albert, and I suspect to see him aboard the Black Rock. I hope they reveal the origins of the Others, who may be descendants of the B.R., or may be indigenous Islanders, or may have some other derivation. I hope to learn about Jacob and his lists and his motivation and his connection with Richard. When Richard was asked why he never seems to die, his reply: “Jacob made me like this.” I want to learn more about Jacob’s enemy, starting with his name, and his origins, and his connection with Cerberus and the Island and the Others, as I said earlier, what his deal is.

But let’s step back for a second and remember something: this is still a show about 48 people who survived a plane crash on an island. The show began with Jack Shepherd, and it’s going to end with Jack Shepherd. We’ve been invested in these characters, in Sawyer’s personal struggles, in Sun and Jin’s marriage, in Kate’s commitment issues, in Sayid’s many romances, and Hurley’s mental health. Season six will still be about these people. Carlton and Damon (the producers) have shown us repeatedly that they’re not afraid to kill off main characters, even beloved characters like Charlie and Mr. Eko. This being the final season, I think everyone except for Jack is on the chopping block. It’s going to be epic. February 2nd can’t come fast enough.

And that’s enough on LOST for now. If you have any specific thoughts, questions or comments, please leave them below. If you don’t watch LOST, sorry I just ruined it for you, but you deserve it for not watching the greatest show of all time.


  1. Dave, if you won't take my advice, then I have to take my advice. I'll do a picks column and power rankings for Lost. So there.

    On another note, I like the thoughts. There are a few thoughts / ideas that I feel you're missing - what happens if the bomb worked and they land in LAX?

    I also think the biggest hint to Esau being the smoke monster is that the smoke monster told Ben to follow... Locke (Esau)! Self serving enough, right?

  2. Very well written and presented sleeze! I just watched the Finale again on good! Cant wait till FEB 2!!!!