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Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Lost" Quick Thoughts: What's Black and White and Dead All Over?

Sometimes there's just too much television for one Channel Surfing blogger to handle. And sometimes there's not enough time to talk or write about said television ... which is why we're opting for "Lost: Quick Thoughts," a condensed, rapid fire form of the day-after discussion you so love to dive into with your fellow "Lost"-minded friends. As you'd expect of a "Lost" season finale, "The Incident: Parts 1 and 2" provided several game changers before the sixth and final installment, none more appealing than the appearance of Jacob and his black-clad, unnamed adversary. Thomas Rozwadowski and Adam Reinhard may as well have been slammed in the back of their skulls with flying toolboxes, last night was so mind-bending. It hurts so good, though ...

* We finally meet Jacob and boy, it did not disappoint. On first viewing, it was hard to get the full impact of the first five minutes -- the emotionally direct conversation between two adversaries who apparently have no problem looking each other in the eye despite "the war" between them. Part of it was because we didn't know what we were looking at until the Man in Black calls the Man in White by his name -- Jacob. After a second, more thoughtful viewing, I came away convinced that it was one of the best (and probably the most pivotal) scenes in "Lost's" incredible history.

Man in Black: You're trying to prove me wrong.

Jacob: You are wrong.

Man in Black: They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.

Jacob: It can only end once. Everything before that is progress.

It would otherwise be preposterous to add two principal characters, two whose entire feud usurps everything we've seen at this point in the timeline (Ben/Widmore, Locke/Jack, Sawyer/Jack, Others/Dharma). Unless Jacob and the Man in Black represent Free Will and Fate, which is what "Lost" has been about since day one. The island is their chessboard; Man in Black actually accuses Jacob of summoning the ship (we'll presume The Black Rock) to the mainland. Quite a revelation: this is the war that has been referenced all along. Now we see the two physical manifestations of the island's great, seemingly endless conflict.

* The shades of black and white are, again, wonderful masterstrokes. The seed was planted on day one with Locke's backgammon game. Makes you feel as though -- despite the inherent wackiness of 1977 time travel -- Team Darlton had this master plan all along. Have to trust them for Season 6's end game.

* Obvious and unanimous observation of the day: Jacob touched everyone but Juliet in the flashbacks. It was initially alarming to see these occurrences happen at various stages of the castaways' lives: Sawyer and Kate as children, Jack and Locke as adults, Jin and Sun at their wedding, Sayid and Hurley after they'd already been on the island. But if you think about those moments and then begin to process the chess match between Jacob and his adversary, it would appear that the framework for each stage of his arrival is especially crucial to the character archetypes established in Season 1. How that impacts the show going forward is unknown to me (I'd love to hear your theories!), but it would appear that Jacob can ultimately win if the castaways make the "choice" to change their view of life from the point they were touched.

* "They're coming." Gotta be those touched by Jacob, right? Bizarro Locke looked like he was about to crap his pants.

* Perhaps Jacob had to die like a certain Biblical figure we know. That it came at the hands of Ben, all part of the master plan?

* Crocodile statue head? Has Lacoste been on the island? As Adam and I were discussing in person, I don't like to analyze this stuff to death. It's way beyond me, but I still enjoy the mythology. I may, however, go pick up Flannery O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge."

* How did Juliet not die on impact? How did the bomb not go off when thrown into the shaft? I think lazy writing is out of the question, so we'll have to go with some type of magnetic force allowing for a less-harmful face plant.

* The answer to "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" Alpert's (Ricardus? Ricardos?) Latin translates to "He who will protect/save us all."

* No Desmond. Boo.

* Worst part of the night: Jack's rationale for wanting to detonate the bomb. Kate? Are you kidding me? That said, the acknowledgment that he and Kate will be strangers if Oceanic 815 lands safely ... but if it's meant to be ... indicates a belief in something destiny-laden. That's new territory for Doc.

* Can't see a Season 6 opening in LAX. I just can't.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski, trozwado@greenbaypressgazette.com

* Two big callbacks to dearly departed Charlie Pace: Sun discovers his Drive Shaft ring (given to him by his slightly evil brother -- hint hint?), and Jacob supplies Hurley with a guitar case that, granted, we can only assume belongs to the former rock star. But while we're assuming, let's plow right ahead and say that the guitar case contains Charlie's immortal, glowing soul, a la "Pulp Fiction," and that his sacrifice back in Season 3 still has a pivotal part to play, whether or Dominic Monaghan reprises his role or not.

* I think we can all agree now. Rose and Bernard = Adam and Eve skeletons. (We can also agree that Bernard looks fantastic in that shaggy beard.) One nagging question, though: What happens to Vincent? Does he just curl up in front of their cave like Seymour in "Futurama"?

* So who, after all that build-up, was the "major death"? Can't have been Juliet, since she didn't, you know, actually die. Could it be Jacob? We only just met him as a full-bodied person last night, but he's definitely been a presence on the show since around Season Two. But we're more inclined to finally put the nails in the coffin (or take the nails out of the coffin, as the case may be) of John Locke. After tumbling out of the Statue Cult's ark-of-the-covenant box, we discovered that the walking, talking, mango-eating Locke who was having so much fun torturing Ben and plotting Jacob's death, wasn't Locke at all, but some kind of incarnation of Jacob's black-shirted nemesis from the first scene. Odds are Locke is gone for good, which is kind of sad in a way, since he was such a major presence throughout the series, and his presumed resurrection this season was all a trick -- he really did die at the hands of Ben's extension cord in that dingy hotel room. A sad end indeed..

* What is mercenary Statue Cult chick Ilana's relationship to Jacob? During her flashback -- where she's covered in bandages in what looked like the same hospital Locke was brought to after zapping into the Tunisian desert -- Jacob's talk with her betrays a certain level of familiarity. And what does he need her help with? Hmmm ... intrigue

-- Adam Reinhard, areinhard@greenbaypressgazette.com

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14 Comments:

New thoughts since the original post ...

* The sound of everything getting sucked into the Swan shaft was eerily reminiscent of the mechanical sounding Smoke monster. Juliet being dragged in further resembled Smokey's method of swallowing its potential prey.

* Should have touched on this before, but the Jacob we thought we knew -- in the cabin surrounded by ash -- was really ... a captured Man in Black?

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At May 14, 2009 at 3:48 PM  

The Jack/Sawyer brawl was a long time coming, but was pretty epic in its brutality. These frenemies have a lot of baggage between them, and they delivered those bags with their fists.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 14, 2009 at 4:38 PM  

Excellent point. That was straight up Island Fight Club. And while Sawyer certainly had tired of Jack's righteousness and leadership birthright, a lot of that was about Kate. Still, I thought Jack's reasoning about her fell with a thud.

A brutal fight scene, though, so much so that there's no way either one should have walked away from that so easily. Then again, Jack got up quickly after a toolbox slammed him in the back of the head. Dude's skull must be made of adamantium.

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At May 14, 2009 at 4:45 PM  

Still dwelling on this EP. Anyone think Rose's comment about "30 years back in time and still shooting at each other" confirms what the Man in Black has long thought of the island's purpose/destiny? Or at least how man corrupts everything. Is Jacob trying to prove that people CAN exist peacefully and find redemption/spirituality on the island ala Rose and Bernard's secluded existence? Or is that way too simplistic?

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At May 14, 2009 at 4:48 PM  

I don't understand why any of them want to erase the past three years. I didn't buy any of their reasoning. Also Jack tells Jin they might be able to reunite him with his wife? Pre-crash, isn't Sun hopping off the plane and leaving him? (I'm fuzzy on season 1) I love the Sun-Jin storyline so I couldn't let that go, especially since Jacob paid a visit to their wedding.

I dunno about the major death, but there were definitely two near/presumable deaths in line with your predictions.

By Blogger Eileen, At May 14, 2009 at 7:09 PM  

Eileen, that's a great point about Sun and Jin -- I didn't even think about that. Yeah, that's gonna suck for Jin if he just goes back to being a jerk whose wife leaves him. For that matter, Kate's going to prison, Sawyer will still be on a mindless revenge spree, Hurley will be still be "cursed" by the Numbers, and Locke will still be crippled.

I guess if you can accept that they'd want to bring all their dead friends back to life, it helps with the strain of credibility.

-Adam

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At May 14, 2009 at 8:19 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Antony, At May 15, 2009 at 7:25 AM  

I still think that the hydrogen bomb exploding at the hatch is what happened in the first place. Just like Sayid thinking he would change the future by shooting young Ben, only this led to Ben being BEN. It's what they were meant to do all along. Hell who knows, I just enjoy watching the show.

I think I need to watch 12 Monkeys again.

By Anonymous antony, At May 15, 2009 at 10:11 AM  

I'd agree with that assessment. Where does that place Jack and gang post-bomb, though? I would suppose that's the key question in determining how it all fits in Touched By a Jacob's plan -- "They're coming." That has to be the chosen few. But will they be the same exact people from 1977, or will Jacob's touch initiate some type of life change that could make them different people upon an island return (through time travel or otherwise once they arrive in say, LAX)? Is that the "progress" Jacob desires? Changing the variables? I dunno ... just spitting out some thoughts.

I also like the thought of Charlie and others returning from the dead, but from a practical standpoint, how could they get all those actors who've moved on back into the Season 6 fold?

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At May 15, 2009 at 10:16 AM  

Think back farther too about "The Chosen", Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley were the ones taken by Ben and the Others. All of them have been touched by Jacob and are playing a significant role in 1977. Kelly thought "they're coming" meant Ilana and the Shadow Clan but I think it meant that Jack and whomever were coming back to the right time.

I thought Eko was supposed to show up this season or did GI Joe eat up all his schedule. Something has to be brewing with Charlie due to the ring and guitar references. And the island isn't done with Desmond yet, at least I hope not.

One question I have is about Christian and whether or not he's been Mr. Man in Black the entire time. I think his engagements with Locke are obvious that he's puppeting Christian but how about when he's with Claire and Jack?

By Blogger Antony, At May 15, 2009 at 10:43 AM  

I'm with Antony; I'm pretty sure Mr. Black was also piloting Christian, who, like Locke, was a dead body that crash-landed on the island and started walking around shortly after. We could wonder if he was also appearing as Eko's brother, Yemi, another corpse crasher. Now, Undead Yemi implied that he wasn't actually Yemi ("You speak to me as if I were your brother"), but I'm pretty sure that Christian and Locke have actually been present along with Mr. Black in those two incarnations. Like Undead Christian ("Say hello to my son"), Undead Locke has spouted out a lot of Locke's memories, and I think an out-of-body amalgam entity composed of both Locke and Mr. Black (a la the DC Comics hero Firestorm) is more compelling than (1) Locke actually being dead (like Adam said, that's sad) and (2) Mr. Black being an all-knowing copycat.

But all this also begs the question of whether Mr. Black is actually Smokey the (Morphing) Monster, who has often appeared just before or after dead characters, like Yemi and Alex, each of whom appeared in a moment of judgment (Mr. Black likes to judge those pesky, flawed humans). Moreover, Undead Alex told Ben to do whatever "Locke" told him to do ... she, like Undead Christian, behaved perfectly in line with Mr. Black's agenda. There are obviously some issues with this theory, such as that BlackLocke was apparently outside the temple while Smokey was judging Ben, but the idea of Jacob living in an Old Egypt foot and his nemesis living in an Old Egypt temple is just too interesting.

A few other random ideas from my head:

(1) Richard Alpert said last week that he "watched them all (Jack, Kate, Hurley et al) die." He saw them explode when Juliet blew the bomb, however, Jacob (or whomever controlled the white flash that pulled them off Ajira 316) white-flashed them back to 2007 just as the bomb went off.

(2) Locke's dead body, which Illana's crew carried around in an actual box, actually came from the metaphorical "magic box" (which produced Anthony Cooper). The dead body is a hoax and BlackLocke is walking around in Locke's actual body.

(3) Jacob touched each of the castaways in the past so that he could be their Constant, possibly making them immune to the reality shift resulting from the bomb (if there is a reality shift ... I'm still weighing the producers' anti-paradox principle against the damage done by an actual H-bomb).

(4) Just as we might have known Mr. Black all along as Smokey, we knew Jacob (a white-wearing fish-eater) since episode 2 ... as the polar bear! Bwah-ha-ha!

By Blogger Andy Behrendt, At May 15, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

Interesting thoughts Andy. Another one that might throw everything out of whack. My wife Kelly found out on some Lost articles on the finale that the fish that Jacob caught and ate was a "red herring" so what does that correlate to?

By Blogger Antony, At May 15, 2009 at 7:33 PM  

Anyone know how C. Widmore fits into all of this? Just a pawn like Ben?

By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 18, 2009 at 10:34 AM  

Kinda hard to think how Widmore or Desmond fit into any of this since they weren't in the finale. I suspect they have important roles to play in the greater scheme, though.

I watched the entire episode again, and the Locke-Ben scenes resonate a lot more when you realize it's not actually Locke setting Linus up for that last scene in Jacob's lair. Also, as another site already pointed out, when Jacob visits Ilyana in the hospital, he's wearing black and has black gloves on. There seemed to be something sinister about his slight smirk at the end ... then again, I could have been looking for Jacob to be an impostor in that moment.

I think what's amazing about "Lost" is that there is significance to every scene, every word uttered. Even when Lapidus says burning the cabin is a bad idea because of the potential to light the entire jungle on fire ... that wasn't the case. It looked like a contained blaze that ate up nothing but the cabin. Why?

I also think Rose and Bernard were included for more than just happy send-off purposes. Rose's comments were particularly poignant ... which is why I'm leaning toward a non-altered reality at this point. I think as Miles said, the incident was always supposed to happen with Jack tossing the bomb and Juliet setting it off.

-- Tom

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At May 18, 2009 at 12:10 PM  

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