Thursday, May 14, 2009

Free Will Lost

The Caps got killed, Gokey's out, etc. Tonight is all about the season finale of Lost. I'll break it down by the four main entities/groups in the episode and then, with the producers saying that with this episode you can finally start to understand what's going on, take some overall guesses.

The Shadow of the Statue folks:
  • Now we know the answer to their question is something along the lines of "the one who will save all of us" and we know who it refers to. We also know that Elana and company are indeed with Jacob. So maybe they are the good guys, after all. Their big revelation (definitely the most shocking of the show) in the "Lockebox" very well might lead Richard to take some action to help Jacob's cause.

The Castaways:

  • Will the bomb set it all back? Probably not, because that wouldn't make sense for the sixth season. I wouldn't be surprised if it did mean that the season six opener mirrored the pilot episode.
  • It did end like The Stand! Ha! Juliet, the cast-off, never a true member of their group, was the one who set the bomb up to detonate. She was their Trashcan Man. Notice she was the only one that we didn't see Jacob visit.
  • We saw Pierre Chang's arm crushed, leading to his disability in the Swan orientation film.
  • I don't think we ever found out what was in the guitar case that Jacob gave to Hurley.
  • I guess Sawyer really did love Juliet after all. We don't know for sure that she's dead. She was laying next to a hydrogen bomb as it (probably) exploded, but it's not like Jack and company could have survived where they were. And we know they did, in some way.
  • Could they really go back to, in some way, when 815 first landed? I have to say no, since they wouldn't be able to have Walt, at the very least.
  • Bernard and Rose were awesome. They got the whole point of what Jacob was trying to do (more on Jacob later).

The Others:

  • I was a little surprised to hear Richard speak in Latin and be called by a Latin- or Greek-sounding name. Maybe we don't know what ancient Egyptian sounded like?
  • Very interesting that Ben was being used so badly the whole time, especially since we now know that Locke has been used his whole time on the island as well.
  • Think about it -- Locke is healed and is open to mysticism. The smoke monster appears to him and shows him things about the island. Ditto his vision in the sweat lodge. Locke decides he has a special destiny to lead and to save the island. So, at the behest of yet another apparition, Christian, he rounds the gang up and allows himself to die for the good of the island. All so Jacob's opponent can assume Locke's identity as the loophole to kill Jacob. I'll leave more for later.
  • Where does this leave Ben and Richard? I imagine they are the good guys, assuming Jacob is a good guy. Which he might not be.


  • By far, the most interesting character and part of the episode. At first glance, Jacob clearly represents free will. He calls the Black Rock to the island to see if they can overcome human nature and not kill each other. A forced Lord of the Flies-ish experiment. In the flashbacks, the word "promise" was very prominent and Jacob had to know that promises are made to be broken. In talking to Hurley in the cab and then Ben at the end, Jacob keeps insisting that the person has the choice to do whatever they want. However, in the beginning, Jacob is weaving, which is pretty reminiscent of the Fates in Greek mythology. Also, he seems to be responsible for Nadia's death, which forced Sayid to kill and eventually return to the island. So Jacob seemed to be a power of good and a power of free will except for a few occasions, which means he's a bit more complicated.
  • I'm not going to jump into saying that Jacob's opponent is Esau. That just doesn't seem to fit if you're at all familiar with the story in the bible. It's possible, but it's not a conclusion to which I'm willing to jump.
  • I think that the apparitions on the island, the smoke monster, the whispers, etc., work for Jacob's opponent. Notice that we have still yet to see the temple, but we know that Jacob doesn't live in it.
  • Did Jacob visit Sawyer, Kate, and Jack because they were going to come to the island? Or did they come to the island because he visited them? Was it all a test from the beginning and he brought them together to see if they had learned anything? They were, of course, the people on his "list".
  • Jacob lived in the statue of Sobek, the crocodile god. Sobek was the god of water, but, according to Wikipedia, people also thought he was the god in charge of putting right things that went wrong. Like the Ancient Egyptian Sam Beckett. But, as a crocodile, he was sometimes a bit nefarious in how he made things right. That describes a lot of people on this show, Ben (the original agent of Jacob, as advised by Richard) quite possibly being foremost.
  • My biggest question from the show, even more than will everyone survive the bomb (because they will, in some way): Who was Jacob referring to when he said that "they were coming"? Was it Elana, there to expose the fact that Locke was dead? Was it Jack, Sawyer, and Kate, the people on his list? With Locke toast, I think those three have a big part to play in how this war shakes out.


  • I'm sure I missed a bunch, so I'll check back in as I read analyses on-line and listen to the official podcast (this week with Michael Emerson instead of the producers).
  • In short, I think the island is a testing ground for an embodiment of the eternal fight between destiny and free will. As enticing as free will sounds, it's actually destiny that usually stands on the side of good. It comes from a higher power watching over us to make sure that everything goes well. Think the good (Order) versus the evil (Chaos) in Stephen King's Dark Tower series (which Lindelof and Abrams are adapting for the big screen when Lost is finished). In this case, I think Jacob is free will, specifically people's free will to overcome the usual evils of human nature, and he is good. Well, sort of. He's good in the way that he's hopeful that people will choose the right path. He's obviously willing to screw with people quite a bit to get there. Our castaway heroes just happened to get caught in the middle of this fight. Maybe like a Job sort of thing. While Locke trusted in his destiny so much that he was used by Jacob's opponent and killed, Jack and the rest are fighters. They haven't overcome their human nature, but they also haven't given in to destiny. Yet. Bernard and Rose, of course, are the examples of what Jacob wants and what Jack and company can achieve if Jacob is to win.
  • In closing, maybe Jacob's opponent is only limited to the island, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if next year's season premiere dealt with flashbacks where Jacob's opponent went to the castaways and led them to make bad decisions.


Marissa said...

The one thing I still don't get, is why/how does the island have "rules", and besides Jacob banishing you, what happens if you don't follow them.

Josh said...

It's a really good question. Are they the rules of this war between Jacob and his adversary? I would say that could mean you'd be free to not follow the rules, but we saw what happened when Michael tried to kill himself.

I also forgot to write last night that we got a very subtle answer to a mystery from season one: Kate's toy plane. She was holding it when her friend was killed in her flashback (I think it was Sean Astin's brother?) and we all thought it was a big portent of the coming plane crash; we saw last night that it was a toy that he had from when they were children.