I felt like “Lost” was speaking directly to me in this week’s episode.
“But you are so close, it would be such a shame to turn back now.”
Not that I ever contemplated turning away from my favorite show and, some may say, sole obsession, but after knocking the last episode for being unimportant and rather boring, I needed that nudge from Smocke (Smoke Monster-Locke, for those who have not been keeping up) to tell me that the answers are coming. And then there they were.
Finally, we got some insight into how everyone ended up on the island. After failing to convince Richard to follow him, Smocke tracked down Sawyer and lured him to a cliff-side cave with the promise of answers. Inside the cave, Smocke showed Sawyer a wall covered in names and numbers apparently written by Jacob. All were crossed out, with the exception of Locke (4), Reyes (8), Ford (15), Jarrah (16), Shephard (23), Kwon (42) — this apparently being the previously mentioned “list.” According to Smocke, Jacob approached each of the people at a weak point in their lives (that’s one point for Summer for correctly theorizing on that at the end of last season). From that moment on, Jacob controlled certain situations to bring them all to the island because they are all candidates for the job of island protector. Finally, Smocke and Sawyer show us where the rest of the season will probably be headed: a journey together to return “home,” as opposed to the other options of do-nothing-and-die or protect the island from imaginary dangers.
On the other side of the island, Ilana shed some — not much — light on Smocke’s intentions. She explains that he took Richard into the jungle for recruitment purposes and also that Smocke is stuck in Locke’s body for the time being. At Locke’s impromptu funeral, Ben also revealed to Ilana, Sun and Lapidus his guilt (and repentance) in murdering Locke.
In the flash-sideways, we also got answers about John Locke’s life sans-crash. He is engaged to Helen and apparently has a positive relationship with his father, two key differences from his pre-crash life. However, he is still the wheel-chair-bound box company employee who is bitter about being in a wheelchair and screaming about people telling him what he can not do. That changes when he comes to the realization that there are certain things he can not do and discovers that Helen will love him nonetheless.
Most importantly, Locke’s life features guest appearances by former friends Hurley (who owns the box company), Rose (who works at a temp agency, also owned by Hurley), and Ben (a middle school history teacher). Still the nice guy, Hurley also showed a confidence and stability missing from the flashback portrayals of him. Without the healing power of the island, Rose still has cancer on the mainland, but has come to terms with her prognosis and helps Locke do the same. And Ben’s appearance was short, but he was a seemingly normal middle school history teacher as opposed to a manipulative, cold-hearted pawn so that is probably a change for the better too.
But, as we all know, it would not be “Lost” if at least a few questions did not come up as well. Most notably, who the hell is that little kid? My brother thinks the resemblance to Jacob is uncanny, leading him to believe that it actually is a younger Jacob who lived cyclically (progresses from childhood to teen to adult to death back to childhood and repeats it all over and over). Because the kid referred to Jacob as “him,” not “me,” I am more inclined to peg the boy as a young relative of Jacob’s. Either way, his comment about rules reinforced to me the theory I formed at the end of last season about the connection between the rules and family lines. Still need more info clearly but I am very intrigued about who made the rules and who will punish Smocke for breaking them.
Also, where was Kate’s name on the wall? Jacob visited her too. Is she simply a pawn Jacob uses to control Jack and Sawyer? Why is she not a candidate?
Finally, where/when is Smocke’s home and how are they going to get there?
Despite the (numerous) questions still lingering, I have a few theories. I know I am probably beating a dead horse with this one but I really think I may be onto something with my “flash-sideways are really in the past that something in the future has to set up” idea. I’m thinking the island-sinking, time-rewinding something that has yet to occur sends everyone back to the moment Jacob would have touched them. It will not happen all at once, obviously, because they were visited at very different moments (also note: I am assuming here that Jacob visited Hurley and Sayid before the crash as well as after), but gradually one by one they will return to their lives at that point and live out their destinies without Jacob’s manipulation.
This leads me to another theory my brother and I are tossing about. Jacob represents determinism while Smocke represents free will. This season will deal with deciding which is better, or how to balance the two (hence the scale).
That’s all for this week. I really enjoyed this episode and hope that future ones will impress me as much as this one did with balance of questions answered, entertainment, and “Lost” style (i.e. raising more questions). Nonetheless, I am ready for everyone to be reunited once again.
And even though this is a little late, do yourself a favor and bookmark these Lost Valentines for next year. They may be outdated but they will still entertain any “Lost” fan.
See ya in another week, brotha!