Jacob and his Nemesis, all you need to know
Okay this is really long so I put headings on parts if you only want to read certain parts.
Jacob is finally revealed in the finale and he has a nemesis on the island. The final season of the show will undoubtedly expound on the history of the rivalry between the two. The nemesis has not been named. There are tons of questions about the nature of both of them, so here I go.
Jacob and his nemesis have a dialogue in which they both seem to know how ‘it ends.’ The nemesis asserts that it always ends the same way, to which Jacob replies that it only ends once. I believe they are talking about the end of humanity. The Valenzetti equation is a Lost phenomenon that is supposed to predict the ‘extinction of the human race.’ I believe Jacob and his nemesis have seen this take place. Some global catastrophe, probably human-caused, brought about the end of the world ‘save the island (which seemingly travels through time faster than the rest of the world, evidenced by what Faraday observed when he sent a clock on a rocket and its time was different than on his watch). Consequently, Jacob turned the donkey wheel to move the island back in time. This action created a time loop. Jacob would thereafter keep bringing people to the island to try to change the outcome of the world. He brings people with the hope that they will redeem their own souls and save humanity by changing the course of events that takes place on the island. His nemesis resents him for this and insists that the plan will never work and the world will end the same way no matter how many times Jacob tries to change it. Jacob and his nemesis were on the island when the rest of the world ended, and were unaffected due to the unique capabilities of the island. This paradox gave them the supernatural abilities that make them who they are now. The range and specific nature of these abilities are not totally clear. However, their powers and ultimately who they are can be slightly illuminated by the Ancient Egyptian deities used to characterize them.
A little light shed on Jacob
When Jacob turned the donkey wheel, he and his nemesis were sent to the times of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization. Jacob journeyed to Africa to bring his new batch of recruits to the island. The Ancient Egyptians were brought to the island, where they witnessed the powers Jacob and his nemesis beheld. Consequently, they believed both of them to be certain gods from their mythology. The creators of Lost proclaim that the 4-toed statue is the goddess Tawaret, but I believe this to be a ruse. Tawaret had the body of a very fat hippopotamus, whereas the statue was slender and masculine wearing a cloth over his pelvic area. Therefore, Jacob was believed to be Sobek, the Egyptian creator god. Sobek is believed to be a repairer of evil, restorer of the dead, and a protector of the living. He is depicted holding an ankh, the symbol for eternal life and one’s ability to undo evil. Similarly, Jacob does not age, has paranormal healing abilities, and seemed to have brought John Locke back to life after he died falling out of a building. He also has the ability to grant other people (Richard) some of his powers. So the Egyptians built a huge 4-toed statue in dedication to him where he could also live.
Who is the Nemesis?
Jacob’s nemesis was believed by the Ancient Egyptians to be Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead and ruler of the underworld. Anubis’s color was distinctively black to reflect the rotting flesh of the people he brought to the afterlife. For him, the Egyptians built the Temple, an underground chamber with a wall above ground to indicate where it is. Inside the chamber, there is an engraving surrounded by hieroglyphics of Anubis facing what appears to be the smoke monster. The smoke monster is distinctively black just like Anubis. Aside from being called a security system by the others, the smoke monster has judged the living and brought some of them to their death (Eko). Several times that the monster has appeared in the forest, the front of it has split into three ‘heads.’ On the blast door map that Locke was able to see in the Hatch during the Dharma food drop (when his leg got impaled by the door), the monster is described as the Cerberus system. Cerberus, in Greek mythology, was a three-headed dog who was the ruler of Hades, the underworld. The converging evidence from the season 5 finale and the reset of Lost leads me to believe that the Nemesis can reconstitute himself as the smoke monster. The large body of black smoke is all the ‘rotting flesh of the people he brought to the afterlife.’ The Nemesis can make people sick and disabled, like when he began slowly paralyzing Locke when he couldn’t find the hatch in season one. He can also take the form of the dead bodies on the island. This is evidenced by his appearance as Yemi, Christian, and Locke.
The question remains: what are they doing here?
They are on the island in the ultimate battle to save or not to save humanity. The Lost producers are huge fans of zooming in on people’s faces when what they are saying is important. In the first episode the show ever had, Locke was telling Walt about backgammon. All the things he said were a direct reference to the battle between Jacob and his nemesis. Locke called it the ‘oldest game in the world’ and said there were ‘2 players, 2 sides, one is light, one is dark.’ He also said that ‘their dice were made of bones.’ Someone else wrote a theory saying that line hinted at the use by Jacob and his nemesis of people in their battle, a good point. When he calls it the oldest game in the world, it is a reference to the fact that Jacob and his nemesis have been in this battle for almost as long as humans existed on earth. When talking about the thread he was weaving, Jacob says it ‘takes a very long time’but I suppose that’s the point isn’t it?’ Also, I think it is important to note that Locke didn’t call the 2 sides good and evil, because that isn’t the distinction the writers of the show try to make between the two characters. Jacob represents the light, evidenced by his always wearing white and his association with life and creation. He is, however, not devoid of evil, since he is the one who had Nadia killed by that car and had people on the island killed in his name. His nemesis represents the dark, evidenced by the black smoke and the bodies he possesses wearing primarily black. He is, however, not an evil force on the island. He wants to kill Jacob for his attempts to change the course of history; he does not want to destroy humanity himself. In fact, he wants to end the time loop because every time it ends the same, with destruction and corruption. The only way he can end the time loop is by eliminating the cause of it. He must kill Jacob. There are, however, rules.
The Rules & Loophole
Jacob and his nemesis are engaged in a ‘backgammon’ match of whether or not humanity can save itself. Jacob thinks it can, and brings flawed people to the island to redeem themselves and the rest of the world. His nemesis wishes it could, but experience has proved it never will and he just wants the cycle of destruction to end. But whatever happens, it will be the actions of humans, not the two of them, which determines the end. As a logical consequence, none of the events that will alter the future and potentially change the outcome can be carried out by either Jacob or his nemesis. Thus, the two cannot kill each other, though it doesn’t appear Jacob wishes to kill his nemesis anyway. But Jacob’s nemesis can get someone on the island to, through his own free will, kill Jacob. There appear to be more rules, however, and Jacob’s nemesis has been trying to find a loophole in them for at least a century, possibly for thousands of years. When Locke wanted to bring Ben in with him to see Jacob, Richard objected, saying, ‘Only our leader can request an audience with Jacob and there can only be one leader at a time on the island.’ We know that Ben only became leader once Widmore left, and Locke only became leader once Ben left. I believe Jacob told Richard that those were rules to be followed on the island so as not to allow his nemesis to exploit the apparent loophole in the rules between the two. I believe the rules between Jacob and his nemesis are as follows, and they are mostly speculation from minimal evidence from the show:
1) Neither one can kill the other.
2) Only the leader of Jacob’s people can kill Jacob.
3) Jacob’s people have to follow the nemesis as their leader.
The rules appear at first glance totally to prevent the nemesis from ever being able to kill Jacob. But Jacob and his adversary know there is a loophole. The loophole is that the nemesis has to get Jacob’s people to think he is their leader when he really isn’t. Ben was the leader of the others during the finale, since Locke was actually dead still. Richard and the rest of them believed, however, that Locke (actually the nemesis) was their leader. If these are the actual rules, then that is the apparent loophole and how the nemesis was finally able to kill Jacob.
The evidence from the show tends to support my theory that those were the rules, albeit it not very substantially. The nemesis would use Locke to get Ben to want to kill Jacob, and then would have Locke leave the island, and come back from dead upon his return to claim his stake as leader. Meanwhile, Ben would still be the actually leader and the nemesis would convince him, through Locke, to kill Jacob. I believe that the first time Locke encountered the smoke monster, in season one, it was then that the nemesis decided Locke would be the pawn he would use to kill Jacob. I’m not sure how the monster appeared to Locke, but he called it ‘the eye of this island’beautiful.’ So the nemesis now had someone who had unwavering faith and attachment to the island. Before that, he had to make the leader unhappy with Jacob. So he gave Ben cancer, something Jacob would not do and could prevent (Jacob brought Jack to the island in part to heal Ben). Furthermore, the nemesis knew that Ben, who was insecure and always searching acceptance from his dad who thought he killed his mom, would be personally offended and hurt by the fact that he never actually saw or spoke to Jacob. So he used Locke for seasons 2 through 4 to make him look more and more like the next leader and, at the same time, anger and put down Ben enough to make him resent Locke and be upset with Jacob. When the two went to Jacob’s cabin, where the nemesis had been for quite some time now, the nemesis exclaimed ‘help me’ to Locke to make Ben jealous and even more resentful of the fact he had never spoken to Jacob and now Locke has. The hardest part, though, was making Locke look like the next leader. He did much to convince Locke, like paralyzing him a little until he found the hatch and testing his faith in the island with the button-pressing. So, when the donkey wheel started skipping through time, Locke told Richard to come to him as a child and ask him a series of questions to see if he could be the leader. Then, he posed as Locke and told Richard to tell the real Locke, who he amazingly knew would be there at that exact time, that he had to die to save his friends. These, combined with Locke killing his dad on the island (which ne never actually did, Sawyer did) and other things thoroughly convinced Richard that Locke should be their next leader. Because, if you remember, Richard initially never believed Locke had what it took. He failed the test as a kid and Richard was always doubtful that Locke was truly special. Then, to get Locke off the island, he posed as Christian, whose dead body was also on the island, in the cabin. He told Ben that Locke had to move the island, which takes the actor to the Tunisian desert. Christian also told him that he would have to sacrifice himself, after Locke heard the same from Richard in the time flashes. Ben threw a kink in the plans when he actually moved the island himself, but his dedication to the island would bring him back to it anyway. So, when Ben killed Locke off the island and the two returned, Locke was dead for good (I know it sucks). But this was what the nemesis had been planning since Locke got to the island. Ben was the leader once again, but the body of evidence and events led everyone to believe that a reborn Locke was the unquestioned leader. Then, in the Temple, the nemesis appeared to Ben as Alex and told him to do exactly as Locke (the nemesis himself) says. Thus, he was assured Ben would kill Jacob. After that, all the pieces were in place and the loophole was exploited. Jacob was killed by his nemesis.
Season 6 will undoubtedly explain the rules and the loophole and, hopefully, it will resemble at least a little bit what I wrote here. I believe Jacob knew all that was happening, knew he was going to be killed, and was not afraid of it. After all, he put Sayid and Hurley on the plane the second time so that Locke and Ben could successfully get back to the island. Furthermore, he summed Ilana, who is somehow very familiar with him, to get her people and go back to the island. He was talking about her and the rest of his Latin-speaking friends when he said ‘They’re coming’ right before he got kicked into the fire. So Jacob being alive or not is not the most important thing to him I guess. I’m sorry this theory was really, really long. It probably leaves a lot of important evidence out and takes small observations from other people’s theories. But, without going through and watching all 5 seasons again, I hope it is good and well thought out.