There’s a famous quote by Anton Chekhov in which he says, “If there is a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it must fire in the last.” In the “Lost” Season 5 finale, “The Incident,” we found out the same goes for hydrogen bombs. In fact, the explosion of Jughead at the Swan site was such a cataclysmic way to end that season that it even caused the closing title card to change from black to white.
One of the many things I like about “Lost” is that even though the show strings us along in some ways, sometimes it comes right out with the answers, often when we least expect it.
I fully expected to have to wait until the final minutes of “The Incident” before we’d catch a glimpse of Jacob. But in typical “Lost” fashion, he’s the first person we see in the episode. He’s hanging out in a room with a firepit (which we later find out is underneath the four-toed statue), spinning thread for a tapestry, catching fish, and lounging on the beach catching some rays.
It turns out Jacob isn’t alone on the island. You can’t really call the nameless person who joins him a friend, but he seems to know Jacob fairly well. Well enough to want him dead (note: for the remainder of this piece I’ll be referring this character simply as “Jacob’s Enemy,” which is what they’re calling him at the Lostpedia). He doesn’t like that Jacob has allowed the Black Rock to find the island (it’s cruising through the water offshore as they speak), and says it will end as it always has, in fighting, destruction and corruption. Jacob says it only ends once and anything before that is just progress. His companion states that one day he will find a “loophole” which will allow him to kill Jacob. Jacob says he’ll be waiting for him. It’s like “The Blue Lagoon,” except with two guys, and instead of falling in love they want to kill each other.
Throughout the episode, Jacob popped up in the flashbacks of various characters. I was wondering how Richard Alpert could witness the birth of John Locke in the 1950’s if the Others didn’t steal the Dharma Initiative’s submarine until the Purge in 1992. Likewise I wondered how Jacob gets on and off the island. It’s clear they have some way of coming and going from the island, and I don’t think it’s that frozen donkey wheel. Air Miles, perhaps?
Jacob’s visits seem to have a bit more going on that Richard’s. I don’t know if he’s omniscient, but he seems to have known exactly when to show up in each of the characters’ lives. Can Jacob hop around in time as well as space? Or is there a more prosaic reason for how he knew when and where to go? Even though he’s dead now, I have a feeling we’ll get the answers to these questions in Season 6.
Did you notice that in every one of the flashback featuring Jacob, he made physical contact with each of the Losties? Some people have theorized that this physical contact is what caused them to come to the island in the first place. Unfortunately that theory doesn’t quite track as two of the flashbacks — Sayid’s and Hurley’s — took place after the crash of Flight 815.
Here’s my theory: Jacob, being the all-knowing entity he seems to be, knew that his enemy was eventually going to find a way to kill him. So he travelled through time and placed a bit of himself within each of the Losties. Did you notice that the people he visited just happened to be the same ones who are currently stuck in 1977? (Okay, Sun isn’t in the ’70s, and Locke is dead, but work with me on this one, folks). I don’t think that’s a coincidence. When Jacob whispered with his dying breath that “they” were coming, I think he was referring to Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and the rest. I think they will come back to the present and somehow revive Jacob with the pieces of himself they each are carrying. Maybe they’ll put his essence into Locke’s body since it’s not doing anything at the moment except rotting on the beach. That’s my prediction for Season 6.
(It might also be worth mentioning that Juliet’s flashback was the only one that didn’t feature Jacob. Was this to tip us off that she was going to die, or was the flashback merely designed to show a parallel between her relationship with Sawyer and that of her parents? More likely it was the latter, but you never know with this freakin’ show.)
It was made clear by the end of the episode that the Locke we’ve seen since his “resurrection” earlier this season is not the real Locke. He is in fact Jacob’s Enemy, who has acquired Locke’s identity/spirit/soul in order to carry out his long-time plan of killing Jacob.
It seems that this “loophole” involves more than just masquerading as Locke. I’m guessing his intention all along was to recruit Ben for the task of actually killing Jacob. I think Jacob’s Enemy required someone living, someone human to carry out the actual act. And as Jacob made a point of mentioning before Ben stabbed him, it had to be done of the person’s own free will. “Whatever he’s told you, I want you to understand one thing, you have a choice. You can do what he asks or you can go, and leave us to discuss our… issues.”
One mystery that’s been cleared up is the reason why Locke had to die. It turns out it never had anything to do with getting the Oceanic Six back to the island. Or not entirely, anyway.
Let’s go back and look at it from the beginning. Who told Locke he had to die? Richard Alpert, as he was tending to Locke’s gunshot wound. And who gave Richard this information? Locke from the future, watching from the jungle as his younger self limped into the clearing. Like the compass that Richard gave Locke who gave it to Richard who gave it Locke, this event takes place in a time loop. In essence, the person who tells Locke he has to die is Locke himself.
Except for one thing. The Locke who gave the original set of instructions wasn’t really Locke. It was Jacob’s Enemy, and what he was actually telling Locke was Hey pal, I need a dead body in order to kill Jacob, so you’re going to need to die before you come back to the island. Okay?
The real question we’re left with now is, what happened to the real Locke? Sure, he’s dead, but is he dead-dead, or is his spirit floating around somewhere? I find it hard to believe we’ve seen the last of Locke and that Terry O’Quinn is only going to be portraying Jacob’s Enemy for the remainder of the series, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
I think it’s important to point out that although Ben was leader of the Others, he has never had any direct contact with Jacob. At the end of the finale, he says Richard only ever brought him lists from Jacob, and that whenever Ben asked to meet him, he was told he had to wait. Jacob responds to none of this until Ben finally demands to know why he was treated this way. “What about me?” he cries. “What about you?” Jacob replies simply.
There’s a lot of spirituality on “Lost,” and you could say that the scene between Ben and Jacob is a parable to someone asking God why we aren’t appreciated or rewarded for all the things we do in our lives. I may not understand every little facet of religion, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how God works. I think Jacob’s cool attitude toward Ben is his way of saying, It’s not my job to make you feel good about yourself or give you reasons for all the crap you have had to endure. It’s called life. Suck it up.
Of course, Ben isn’t capable of doing that at the best of times, and ends up responding in his usual manner. He stabs Jacob repeatedly (he had some practice after doing the same thing to Keamy in last year’s finale), and then Locke/Jacob’s Enemy rolls the body into the fire pit. Exit Jacob.
I do see the possibility of a major role reversal for Ben in Season 6. Will he continue down the path of self-pity and self-destruction that Jacob’s Enemy has put him on, or will he redeem himself and fight with Richard and the Others to stop him?
Considering that he’s one of the most enigmatic characters on the show, especially when it comes to his personal motivations, I could see Ben going either way.
So who the heck is this guy, anyway?
There is an interesting theory floating around that Jacob is in fact the Jacob from the Book of Genesis, and that his nameless companion is his twin brother Esau. I won’t go into the specifics — you can read about it yourself at Wikipedia — but there is some very interesting stuff there.
There has to be something more to the whole business of Jacob’s Enemy taking over Locke’s identity. Could he have used any dead body? Not likely, considering that many people have died on the island over the years. There was clearly something significant either in the manner in which the body came to the island, or whose body it was. Are Jacob and his Enemy able to control and/or take over the spirits of bodies that arrive on the island and aren’t buried? Like Christian Shepherd, Eko’s brother Yemi, and now John Locke? Hmm.
This man’s motive seems to be strictly the death of Jacob. I don’t get the feeling he wants to take over the Others or bring about world peace. When we first met him, he gave the impression of not wanting anyone on the island. When he was masquerading as Locke, he told Richard that they will eventually have to take care of the Ajira folks, and I don’t think he meant fresh water and mangoes. Jacob’s Enemy wants them dead, and I don’t think he’s going to stop there. I think he wants everyone on the island dead, so he can have it all to himself.
This is the end of part 1. Come back in a few days to read the rest of my breakdown of “The Incident.”