On LOST. Reflections, Revelations, and Speculation After 5 Seasons.

I posted this article on my blog last week, but the site is very new and not really LOST-centric so I decided to post it here also. Please comment and let me know your thoughts.

“They’re coming.”

That was the last line of special significance spoken by a character on LOST prior to Juliet’s screeching whimper as she pounded away at a stubborn nuclear reactor that Mr. Fix-It, Sayid, promised would detonate on impact. Apparently, all it took was some good old-fashioned elbow grease to make the thing act right, despite a compelling fall from grace. It’s a good thing she let go of Sawyer’s hand, and I guess those frustrated with the quadrilateral love connection can at least take comfort knowing it was a necessary plot twist that would pave a path towards their expulsion from 1977. I’ll certainly miss our cultish, psychedelic Dharma ladies and gents, but it’s time to move the story forward. Cue the fade to … white?

That’s right, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof can’t take credit for pioneering the technique, but let’s at least pay homage to their use of a mere transition to advance the series into its final season, at the same time reminding us not to forget other television success stories that made excellent use of the effect, including the Sopranos and Six Feet Under. So, what does it all mean? We know for a fact that the creators of LOST have been dangling the black and white theme in front of our faces since John Locke first introduced Walt to the game of backgammon.

There was the discovery of Adam and Eve, when Jack found black and white stones among the possessions of two decomposed skeletons in the caves. Claire once had a dream about Aaron on the beach, with Lock staring up at her sporting black and white eyes and breaking bad news that the survivors would pay the price for her shucking responsibility and giving up the baby. Now, enter Mr. Black, literally. In the opening scene of “The Incident,” we meet Jacob face to face for the first time, and he has a friend. By design, both characters contrast perfectly, with Jacob decked out in a white linen shirt, and Mr. Black wearing, well, black.

Now, we have to assume these two are at odds with each other after Mr. Black tells Jacob that he wants to kill him, implying there is no simple solution to fulfilling this desire. That revelation doesn’t appear to be much of a surprise to Jacob, and you can almost picture a little GW floating above his shoulder and whispering into his ear, “Tell him to bring it on.” Of course, I’m approaching this conversation from the East when it really should be read from left to right. Let me find Richard’s compass.

Okay, after we see Jacob working diligently on weaving a tapestry to decorate the walls of his humble stone hideaway, he heads outside to catch dinner. Next, we see him fillet a fish, cook it, and plop down on the beach to enjoy the meal. He stares off into the horizon as the infamous Black Rock sails a few miles offshore, and Mr. Black walks up and takes a seat next to him. Then, throw in the main ingredient that we all come to expect after 5 seasons of LOST … complete and utter confusion.

Jacob: I take it you’re here because of the ship.
Mr. Black: I am. (pause) How did they find the island?
Jacob: You’ll have to ask them when they get here.
Mr. Black: I don’t have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you?
Jacob: You are wrong.
Mr. Black: Am I? They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.
Jacob: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that … is just progress.
Mr. Black: You have any idea how badly I want to kill you?
Jacob: Yes.
Mr. Black: One of these days, sooner or later … I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.
Jacob: Well, when you do, I’ll be right here.

Wow, this snippet of dialogue seems to suggest that these characters are at either end of a philosophical tug of war. One of them apparently has an advantage, and it’s the guy who presides under a larger than life four-toed statue of Taweret, the Egyptian Goddess of birth and rebirth. Meanwhile, I will take a shot in the dark here and say that Mr. Black is a representative of Anubis and Co., the Egyptian God of afterlife and the underworld. As we witnessed when Ben’s daughter accosted him in the temple, hieroglyphics adorning the wall revealed that the smoke monster and Anubis are acquaintances. So, friends, we just might have on our hands a classic battle between black and white, light and dark, life and death or, dare I say, good and evil.

To restate, it only ends once, and anything that happens before that is just progress. Okay, but progress towards what? If you take Mr. Black’s words at face value, the mates aboard the Black Rock are not the first Losties to reach the island, and they will not be the last. Still, let’s start with them. Apparently, they will come, fight, destroy, and corrupt until some sort of end-game scenario. I have a sneaky suspicion that the only person who could likely shed light on this subject, other than our beach bums, is the person whose job seems to be holding his tongue. After seeing Ricardo, or as we know him, Richard, set the sail of the boat in a bottle, it seems safe to assume that he was aboard the Black Rock when it finally landed, literally, on the island.

So, If Richard arrived on the Black Rock, maybe he knows how the statue came to be “destroyed,” and as far fetched as it might seem, maybe a nuclear reactor coupled with a spastic release of electro-magnetic energy just might be what it takes to thrust our Dharma infiltrators through time and space, and back to the day of Richard’s arrival. Maybe, just maybe, the incident thrusts the entire island physically through time, landing just beneath the Black Rock. Inconceivable! But is this Progress?

If you believe Faraday’s theory, humanity’s ability to exercise free will is what makes us unique, and this might just be the constant in life’s awesome equation for humankind. In LOST lure, our survival hinges on a bet between ancient adversaries who represent life and death, a wager that pits humans against themselves to see if they can overcome self destruction by making the right decisions. The island is our casino, and Jacob is the pit boss. As long as he is around to monitor progress, there is no limit to the amount of time the game can carry itself out.

If Jacob and Mr. Black are, in fact, light and dark manifestations of a single entity, call it God, Ra, Apollo, whatever, then they cannot kill each other. Like the yin and yang, they are one and the same. Humans, however, exercise free will, and possess a unique ability to choose between practicing good or evil, knowing right from wrong, turning left or right, going up or down. To be or not to be, kill or be killed, live together, or die alone are all choices we make. These options exist within the proprietary structure of the human brain, and our ability to choose between them makes us unique in the universe.

Jacob is confident that humans are destined for greatness, while Mr. Black ultimately believes doom is their destiny. The latter is no longer interested in entertaining Jacob’s failed experiment, and he decides to take matters into his own hands. He concocts an elaborate plan to take advantage of humankind’s weakness, their infallibility, doubt and insecurity, and use it against Jacob to finally put an end to the charade that exists between them. He constructs and employs the smoke monster to seek out the island’s inhabitants and catalog their memories. It documents their secrets, manipulates their emotions, and manifests itself as their darkest fears right before their eyes.

The smoke monster becomes Mr. Black’s eyes and ears, and John Locke becomes his most vulnerable and receptive target. Upon the arrival of our survivors, Black sets in motion a plan to become the unofficial surrogate father of Claire Littleton’s son, Aaron. Many believe that Claire actually died in the explosion back in Dharmaville. If so, it’s quite possible that Mr. Black and Smokey use Claire as a means to convince John that he must move the island to ensure its safety. Smokey’s manipulative capabilities are limited in scope mostly by its mechanical nature. Still, it obviously has the ability to utilize snippets it carries within it’s memory banks, like a digital camera, and manifest itself in other forms, which might explain Claire’s seemingly uncharacteristic behavior in Horrace’s woodland retreat.

Unfortunately, Mr. Black’s “Plan A” flies out the window the moment little Aaron makes it off the island. Then, to make matters worse, Locke allows Ben to knock the frozen donkey wheel off its axis, which eliminates the boat problem but regretfully sends the island flashing back and forth through time. Still, thanks to clever strategy, Black successfully manages to get Locke placed next in line to lead the island’s people, and then convinces him that bringing back his friends will stop the time shift. Oh yeah, John, and don’t forget that you will have to die to make all this happen because, well, your body is very important to me. Unbeknownst to you and everybody else, it will serve as a great mechanism in my plan to make Ben kill Jacob upon your return to the island. Luckily, he who “lies in the shadow of The Statue” also has an ace up his sleeve, and they share common ancestry. Their names are Christian and Jack Shephard.

If Mr. Black has the ability to infiltrate a human being, there should be no reason that Jacob can’t do the same. He finds his loophole in Christian, who’s body landed on the island the day Flight 815 crashed. Through Shephard, he knows Jack, and understands their relationship, regrets, and unresolved issues. Despite his selfish misguidance and irresponsibility as a father, Christian understood Jack to be a great man, capable of great things. He also introduces Jacob to Claire, who will now do everything in his power to make sure her child does not fall into the hands of Mr. Black. He cannot be raised by another, most notably the prince of darkness.

This is precisely why women cannot bare children on the island. With the forces that are currently at play, it would be too risky as long as Black is scheming to find a loophole. It would appear that Jacob manages to successfully hold Black at bay, safely exiled within the confines of the cabin, encircled in ash and powerless to leave. Hence, his need for Smokey, which becomes a sort of elaborate network of underground security cameras that aid in his search for a candidate. Of course, someone eventually breaks the line of ash, and we all saw good Mr. Locke disappear into the jungle while Ben awaited the arrival of Smokey with Sun and Lapidus. That sneaky devil.

Meanwhile, our friends in 1977 are poised to set off a nuclear bomb that will dissolve the island in poisonous radiation, all part of Jacob’s plan to ensure woman don’t get pregnant. Sun becomes the exception to the rule, which should be a red flag that Jacob’s plan succeeds, only after everything is finally said and, dare I say, done. Our Losties manage to eradicate the Black issue, which we are yet to witness, and in all likelihood, this brings back some of our favorite characters including Michael, Walt, Penny, Desmond, and Charlie. I would love to see Mr. Eko again, but his story has already been told, having stubbornly proven to Mr. Black that human beings are perfectly capable of using free will to determine their own destiny. No thanks, scary smoke monster, I have nothing to confess.

The haunting question that remains is how Jack goes about leading everybody to defeat the seemingly unflappable and cunning black crusader, and our clue lies in a simple fade to white. After all this time, it’s Mr. White’s turn to take the wheel. Jacob “lied,” or schemed, in the shadow of The Statue for a long time, planning the eradication of one Mr. Black. Now, in the show’s final season, we will learn how Hawking and Widmore became cogs in the massive wheel that is Jacob’s plan to get his variables to the island.

Jacob needed Mr. Black to accomplish his task, which explains why Eloise put Locke’s body on the plane. He recruited Illana to warn Richard of Black’s ruse, who will dutifully fulfill his role as adviser once “they” arrive. Jacob’s death becomes the culmination of a faithfully executed plan to set in motion events that, he hoped, would lead Jack and our free-will yielding variables to fight and win a great battle. The outcome of this battle serves as a stepping stone in humankind’s progressive journey towards nirvana. He, who will save us all.

In the end, Jacob clears the board for the next game’s pieces to be set and secures the human soul long enough for the next group of Losties to try their hand at fate within the confines of the great snow globe that is the island. Its original inhabitants, the “Hostiles” or “Others,” are simply those who came before, and the decisions they made permeate the jungle as haunting whispers, like memories of past mistakes that lay deep within the human subconscious. Thus ending a carefully concocted, highly successful, television series nod to the mythological story as described by Joseph Campbell in his book, “The Hero With A Thousand Faces.” Undoubtedly, Cuse and Lindelof will give the book the proverbial product placement that it deserves next season, offering up the same debt of gratitude to Campbell that George Lucas gave when he wrote Star Wars.

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Written by


Just a pop culture junky who invests more time into the LOST series than he likes to admit.

46 thoughts on “On LOST. Reflections, Revelations, and Speculation After 5 Seasons.

  1. Brilliant. Well written and very much along the lines of what I also think. Over the last while I’ve been putting something much like that into writing…I’ll be putting it up on the site soon. Just joined a couple days ago.

  2. Ben, this is extremely well written and presented!

    I agree with certain aspects you have discussed.

    I think the writers have been very generous when it comes to giving credit to the many authors, philosophers, scientists, books, movies, comics, music, etc., that have inspired them.

    IMO, they have drawn from many sources to successfully present their story, in addition to various mythologies, etc., to illustrate their point of view.

  3. dabiatchishere, absolutely! The entire series has been one big shout out after another. This is pretty much the point of Campbell’s book, the idea that the same mythological stories keep getting told over and over in different ways throughout human history. It’s what I love about LOST. The references to various authors, philosophers, mythological figures, and pop culture icons make it so relevant to the human experience. Hands down, my favorite reference is Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House-Five” in “The Constant.” What a spectacular episode!

  4. WebCommoner, please call me Dabs.

    Although, I have not read the book by Campbell, I am familiar with his work! I am thankful for the opportunity Lost has provided me with to learn.

    I have to agree that the style the writers are using, is very similar to that of Campell’s book, “the Hero with a 1,000 Faces”. It all seems to tie in, and perhaps that is their goal, in making the viewers aware.

    Quote from the above book: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man”.

    I am anticipating that we will see some ‘heroes’ in Lost, when it is all said and done!

    PS: I like your writing style!

  5. Thanks Dabs! You can call me Ben, or WebCommoner … either, or. I would like to say that I read the entire book, but I can’t. It’s a tough read, and I hope to get back into it now that the final season of LOST is approaching. Undoubtedly, the hero’s tale has continued since we first developed a knack for story-telling. Campbell simply pointed it out in a way that we can all understand.

  6. Ben/Webcommoner–Incredibly fantastic synopsis!! I thoroughly enjoyed your logical and fascinating take on the entirety of Lost–the forest, not the trees. I have held out hope since Season 1 that Jack and the Shepherd clan hold the key to redeeming the island and its inhabitants, and your theory does not disappoint.

    Just a couple of questions, that maybe stem from my misunderstanding, so please be patient! One, I’m not sure what you mean by Mr. Black wanting to be Aaron’s surrogate father? Is this because then he controls the future leader? And how does he try to do this?

    Two, in reference to “Jacob’s plan to ensure women don’t get pregnant” on the island. They DO get pregnant but can’t give birth and live. Is this what you meant? And if so, why?

    I’d love to hear more from you very soon!

  7. Sorry, I normally leave some ridiculously long comment on what I think, but Dabs and imisscharlie summed up my synopsis of your theory pretty well…

    Especially imisscharlie’s questions…specifically the first…I think you meant the second as she stated, unless you say otherwise…

    Very nice theory, and excellent job making me want to finish a long read…something hard to do with the mass amount of theories being released right now!

  8. imisscharlie, I have to admit, I have not read either of your theories yet, but if you write, the same way you comment, I will most likely be thrilled.

    The line “I thoroughly enjoyed your logical and fascinating take on the entirety of Lost

  9. imisscharlie, I will echo AES in thanking you for both kind words and an insightful analysis. After “The Incident” aired, I gave myself a couple weeks to digest the revelations Cuse and Lindelof offered up in the season’s finale, and realized it would be impossible to explain everything floating around in my head without taking a giant leap back and writing down what I saw from there. As you perfectly pointed out, I had to see the forest, or jungle in LOST-speak, and not just the trees.

    To answer your questions, I’ll first say that you nailed me on two of the more far-reaching ideas behind my theories. Regarding the pregnancy issue, you’re absolutely right. I should have said that women cannot give birth and live. My ideas stem from a premise that Jacob wants to avoid pregnancy all together, which is a difficult problem to approach given the Island’s electromagnetic properties and its ability to up the male half’s anti by increasing their sperm counts. I would say that Jughead provides an opportunity, and it solves the problem of avoiding pregnancy from a deterrent point of view. The fact that women don’t live through the process is an unfortunate side effect of the radiation, but can also be held up as a consequence to those who think they might be the exception to the rule.

    Now, for the potential “surrogate” status of Mr. Black, my idea follows a line of logic that says he can only occupy the body of someone who is dead. However, I think it’s safe to say that his motives are, at the very least, dark in tone, and that he might conjure up the idea that a child is his absolute best shot at defeating Jacob once and for all. Obviously, occupying the body of a dead child would not do him much good, but consider the possibilities if he could manage to get his grubby paws on a child and raise it through very manipulative and deceitful means. Locke might have even factored into that plan, given that he had a certain connection with Claire and the baby. Ultimately, though, I think that plan gets scrapped when Aaron makes it off the island and Locke returns without him.

    Let me know if this makes any sense, and thanks for missing Charlie. I miss him too, but am positive they will bring him back next season for a triumphant return!

  10. Makes a lot of sense. And I am sure that we have not seen the last of Aaron, the child who was not to be raised by an other (or another…whatever).

    As for the book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, I can say that I read it…but cant help but ackowledge the fact that it was long ago, and much of it (that actually sank in in my adolecence) has been long gone.

    But digging up the book, and skimming through, I notice a funny note that carries great importance in the story.

    A main goal, is to achieve what is called a “boon”, which is an ultimate gift of self revelation, and then from there, decide whether the world is actually worthy of recieving the very same gift, which would help to further the develpopment of mankind, and make the world a better place.

    I think of this in two folds…

    1) For fun, Boone (boon) is the title of a character from the first season who gave his life trying to better his friends and family on island, by getting the radio and hopefully granting them rescue.

    2) The great gift of self knowledge, offered in the show in general, is a way for the Losties to find redemption, and make up for their lives, and the lives of those who they hurt in their past.

    Again, great theory, and although there are some aspects that I disagree with (MIB as Smokey…), I believe that in general, we see the same respect for the writers/producers, and their goals of teaching the viewers moral lessons in regards to redemption.

  11. Excellent catch on Boone, AES. I always thought it a strange name for them to use!

    Regarding Campbell’s “Hero,” what I find most interesting about the parallel’s drawn between LOST and the hero’s journey are the people who accompany him or her along the way. Specifically, the mentor as guide. In modern mythology, this character is represented best by characters like Yoda, Gandolf, or Dumbledore. In LOST, it’s tough to say who best fits the bill, but I would argue that Richard, as “advisor,” takes first place and Locke (pre-death) comes in at a close second. Obviously, my prediction for our “hero” would be Jack.

  12. It makes sense for Jack to be the hero, and all who spend time stoning him to death because of his desire to fix things will hopefully be silenced.

  13. Also on the book, it, as many Lost references do, touch on many different religions and mythologies, creating an illusion of symmatry and peace between different people, all the while telling a fascinating story in the process.

    I cannot express how thrilled I am to see someone catch this.

    I used to be annoyed with myself for not seeing such things, and now just praise the ones who deservingly do.

    I would like to say I will read it again, but honestly, I have a laundry list of other books to read in the next 8 months, (about 20 on the backburner now), and feel I will not get there.

    So please, any other thoughts you gain from it, please post and let us hear them!

  14. I thank you both, AES and Webcommoner, for your feedback on my posts. I’ve commented before on many theories, and I’m usually ignored!

    Anyway, re the Aaron question, I like your answer about MIB wanting to control things through him. It’s pretty generally accepted that he’s very important and given that he’s Jack’s nephew, it furthers the idea that the Shepherds are indeed living up to their name, i.e. leading the flock. AES, I’m so glad that you agree with me about Jack. Remember in the episode in Thailand when he got his tatoos? Didn’t they reference his being a leader, and his “walking among us but not of us”? I took that to mean that he wasn’t meant to lead in the “real world,” but was destined to be an island leader.

    I’m still not sure about the pregnancy issue. Maybe I’m being dense, but why does Jacob want to avoid pregnancy altogether? He’s been around since ancient times, and the pregnancy problem only started after the 1950s, right?

    So now after reading both your posts, I MUST read Campbell’s book. The idea of the mentor/guide helping in the self-discovery/redemption process is an intriguing one, and I like Richard filling the bill on this one. While he’s been so mysterious for so long, he’s also been quite neutral, and could be seen in that role. (Although after rewatching “The Incident” this evening, he seemed genuinely as confused as us in the audience at times!)

    As for missing Charlie, I do miss him and many other characters from past seasons–Boone, Shannon, Walt, Claire, to name a few, and I hope to see them “resurrected” next year. (I hope the writers address the Libby-in-the-mental-hospital issue too!)

    The many references to various world religions and mythologies make for an incredibly rich and multi-faceted story line. I’ve read some comments that take issue with the religious themes, especially Christianity, but these allusions are a treasure trove of knowledge, and I enjoy all the research that many on this site have done and shared.

    On another note, I am thoroughly confused by the time travel aspects, and would love to hear your take on it some time!

  15. What boggles you specifically regarding the time travel…I think I have a fair grasp…I will try and help to the best of my ability…?

  16. imisscharlie, sometimes it takes a really good theory that you can sink your teeth into, to express your views and be heard!

    I think you found it, and sorry you felt ignored in any way! You are on my radar now! Keep expressing your thoughts and ideas!

  17. Ive actually been noticing you for sometime now…honestly, we dont see eye to eye on everything, but your responses are very intelligent and well thought out, and I respect your views based on your rationality.

    Forgive my ignorance, some take debate as an insult, obviously not the case with you…actually anyone tonight…and I love the debating that the theories here bring about. Especially with openmminded and creative individuals such as yourselves…

    Regardless, over the last few posts, I see there are minor differences that we have, but seem to be both headed down the same path of Jack being a hero of sort, with the Shepard family guiding/followinig him…and a few other ideas I will touch on the posts that they regard.

  18. All, your comments are humbling, to say the least. I’m glad that I chose to post here. As you know, trying to piece together this puzzle is both fun and nerve-wracking, and it’s great to have an outlet where people can bounce ideas off each other. These forums are yet another fortunate bi-product of the LOST legacy. Regarding Joseph Campbell, my interest in his ideas came mostly out of a love for Star Wars. I learned long ago that George Lucas said he owed Campbell a great debt of gratitude for giving him the mythological outline that his saga would come to embody. Unfortunately, I think Campbell’s work still rests far outside the radar for most people, and it’s fabulous that LOST is garnishing the book new audiences.

    On the matter of pregnancy issues, I’m going to lay my brains on the table and hope that you’re okay with wading through the mess. For me, it’s a matter of timing. From what I can recall, the pregnancy issues start post-bomb detonation. Juliet gets recruited while Ben holds the reigns over the Others, for the sole purpose of fixing the problem. We know that little Ben meets scruffy Richard outside the sonic fence before Sayid shoots him, and I’m going to make a bold statement here and say that Ben was speaking directly to either Smokey or Mr. Black, who apparently had a run-in with Richard sometime in the far away past but clearly had no sense of who the man resembled in present day.

    Little Ben becomes the 70’s equivalent of Mr. Black’s 2004 Aaron, his first plan to have a child grow up on the island that will do his bidding. When Richard approaches the temple after Sayid shoots Ben, he enters through the front door, which contrasts directly with Locke’s insistence that he and Ben enter from beneath. This tells me that Richard brought Ben to Jacob, who made him “one of them.” Despite this blessing, Ben still turned out to be a bad seed as he got roped in by Mr. Black’s influence over the years. So, this would lead me to believe that Ben is the reason Jacob sets in motion a plan to do away with newborns on the island.

    This all leads me into the last moments of “The Incident,” when Ben asks Jacob why he got passed over, which is eerily reminiscent of a scene between brothers Michael and Fredo Corleone in Part II of the Godfather. Fredo makes mistake after mistake throughout the course of their lives, and Michael tells his brother in this pivotal moment that Fredo was “stepped over” because it’s the way their father wanted it. Jacob’s response to Ben seems similar, as if to say that this was the way it was meant to be. Your destiny was decided the minute we made you “one of us,” Ben, so, “What about you?”

  19. WebCommoner, I finally found your theory and I’m very impressed by it. Your thoughts on the Smoke Monster were very insiteful and it never occured to me that Mr. Black may be the creator of the Smoke Monster. But what I really liked was how your theory takes Lost as a whole and presented it in a simple comprehensive synopsis. I believe you managed to touch on all the major issues, explain just about everthing, and point us in the direction that the final season may take. Your theory is one that I’m going to have to print out so I can read it again and get a deeper understanding of it. I have heard of Joseph Campball’s book but have never read it. After reading your theory I will put it on my reading list. I am currently reading “The Stand” because the producers and writers have said they are heavily influenced by it. That too is a story of Good vs. Evil. But isn’t that what every story told is basically about? I think your theory clears the fog that surrounds the story that is Lost. Thank you for pointing me to it.

  20. Hi Achalli. I figured you might enjoy the read, even though it’s a long one. I would certainly take into account the comments that have been posted here also. People have been receptive to some of the ideas, and definitely threw me a couple curve balls that needed to be addressed.

  21. Achalli, I too printed out this post, and have read it several times already! It really is a goodie!

    Now, to AES and his offer to explain time travel to me. First, let me explain my predicament. As I said previously, I am thoroughly confused by it, probably because I am a linear thinker, and the idea of a time loop or paradox, well, throws me for a loop! For example, if Jack’s detonating the bomb causes the Losties’ plane never to crash on the island, and they never have the experiences of the years 2004-2007, then how does Jack ever get back to 1977 to detonate the bomb? Also, so many people have suggested that Rose and Bernard are the Adam and Eve in the jungle. How can that be when they crash on the island and are alive in 2004? Those skeletons are about 50 years old, so Jack says. How does Eloise kill Daniel in 1977, when he is 35-40 years old, but live to give birth to him maybe a year later? How can ANY of them die in 1977 and still be alive in 2004??? It’s been explained to me that there are multiple time lines where the story plays out differently. I have a problem with this because I see a story as one, with a beginning, middle and an end. Multiple stories that contradict each other don’t seem to be able to present a coherent theme and message, which I really need a story to do. It’s just mind boggling.

    One of the ways I can deal with time travel is that the travelers go back in time and do something that someone else would have done anyway, so they really don’t change anything. Like in the episode where Desmond meets Eloise for the first time and she tells him that the man with the red sneakers was going to die whether she intervened or not. And (this really hurts) no matter how many times Des tried to save Charlie, he had to die eventually. I guess this puts me in the “Whatever happened, happened” camp, right?

    I welcome any comments.

  22. I’m very curious to hear answers to imisscharlie on the time travel issue. I think linearity is very significant, and I sit firmly within the “Whatever happened, happened” camp. Ultimately, I believe Faraday’s judgement was clouded by his love for Charlotte, and he pretty much got it wrong. Like Miles said, the Losties ended up causing the incident, but the true reveal here is that none of them considered the fact that they might time shift as a result. Somehow, and I’m very curious to see how they explain this, Dr. Chang and Radzinski survive the incident and go on to build the Swan station. Meanwhile, Jack and our Losties flash to a new time and the story continues in “their” present. Like imisscharlie pointed out, all stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and I don’t think there is any reason to believe that this story is different. The catch, though, is that the concept of time travel allows LOST’s single story line to travel in a circle, or loop. It follows a straight path, starting at point A and, thanks to time travel, will finish back at point A again. Okay, I feel a nosebleed coming on.

  23. Hey Webcommoner! Thanks for validating some of my problems with time travel. I can’t tell you how frustrated I’ll be if the end of Lost loops back to the beginning, i.e., the first scene of the Pilot, and then ends there. Some have theorized that this will happen. It would be such a copout, kind of like Alice in Wonderland, or The Wizard of Oz, where in the last scene the main characters wake up from a dream! I love both those stories, and read them over and over as a child, but it would be a very amateurish way to end the great show we know as Lost!

    My hope is that through the device of time travel the very flawed main characters do something that allows them to finally know themselves and be redeemed, thus moving to a higher human evolutionary plane.

  24. The way I see it, human progression is cyclical, and the only way for us to move forward is by learning from mistakes we made in the past. If our characters are, in fact, moving in a circle, then they should be learning as they travel around it. Therefore, if Jack and friends make the right decisions and successfully apply free-will to quell Mr. Black, it proves they are ready to take the next step forward. This likely happens at the exactly point on the circle where they started. This time, though, maybe Jack wakes up to an entirely new reality, one that is no longer bound by Mr. Black’s influence. Yes, this could potentially mean that Flight 815 doesn’t crash and Jack simply wakes up on the plane. Still, it should be evident that our Losties story was real and, thanks to them, humanity is prepared to take a giant leap forward in, as you put it, our evolutionary plane. Jacob can now reset the pieces for the next group of Losties to fight the next battle once human progression arrives at its latest challenge.

  25. This may help people with the time travel issue. Simply put, People can move to different places in time physically but can only experiance the flow of time in one direction. We can always remember what happened to us in the past but can not know what our future can bring. No matter where you are in time it is always the present for you. What ever happened in your personal past you will always remember regardless of where you are in time. I believe Miles said something similar in Season 5. I hope this helps.

  26. Very well put, Achalli. The exception, of course, is Ben. He cannot remember the moment he became one of “them.” I think this serves the story well because, technically, he never “met” Jacob, which is how Mr. Black is able to manipulate Ben into thinking that everything he does is ultimately “for” Jacob and the island.

  27. Thats good thinking with Ben people.

    In my recent theory “What about You….”, I touch on an idea that Christian Shepard is actually Christian Shepard, but if he is to be anyone posing as him, it makes sense that he could have been Jacob in disguise.

    If true, then the look on Bens face in “Dead is Dead” when Sun mentions the name “Christian” could mean that Ben has spoken to Christian and possibly Jacob and very well not known…

  28. OH, and on the whole time travel aspects boggeling you imisscharlie…

    I thought you meant just in general “island time travel”.

    The question you seem to pose is in regard to the loop and change debate that has been plaguing us as theorists, and although I am a believer in both in a way, it is a hard answer to give without having someone constantly find a way to say “Yes but…”.

    And it really works the same way.
    I have searched for evidence on either subject, in either direction, and it always still leads to debate.
    There seems to not be a conclusive answer, or a conclusive, non debatable piece of evidence, so it still remains a Lost mystery.

    Sorry for getting hopes up. But so you know, I am always open to such debatable conversation, but dont want to turn a good theory into a change/loop stomping ground, for it easaily takes away from the great original theory that WebCommoner has posted.

  29. I hear you AES. To be honest, I go back and forth constantly on the issue of loops, how the show will end, and what it all means. Obviously, everybody’s comments here have helped me through my line of thought regarding the theory, and it all seems to come back to Campbell for me and his ideas surrounding the mythological story. In fact, I just started reading it again last night! Almost immediately, he dives into the significance of symbolism, and the circle is one of its strongest themes throughout the history of human storytelling. Another symbol that is used often is the concept of color and, in LOST, the creators have been very blatant in their use of it to distinguish between different characters and ideas. I can’t help but think they put Christian in different sets of clothing and, more specifically, different colored shoes for a reason. I wracked my brain yesterday trying to figure out who would be the connection between Black, Smokey, and Christian, and AES seems to have figured it out for me. It’s Ben. I’m convinced that light shoes point to Jacob, and darker clothing points to Black or Smokey.

    On a separate note, I had a chance to go back and watch “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham,” and I cannot tell you how much easier it was to watch after posting my theory and reading your comments. It seems to me that Ben really is motivated by doing what HE believes is right for the island, and Widmore and Eloise are simply following orders that ultimately emanate from Jacob. At one point, Abadon asks Locke if he thinks his death is inevitable or if it is a choice, which tells me that he knows John might do something rash under the influence of Mr. Black and actually choose to kill himself, which would be a huge no no in Jacob’s eyes. Also, both sides, light and dark, stress the point that Locke is very important to the island. I’m pretty convinced now that Locke’s significance to Jacob lies in the fact that he needs to be back on the island to take his place once the ‘war’ is finally over.

  30. I so much thought the same about Widmore and Eloise…But after the scene with Alex, and Bens words to Widmore, regarding if it was “what Jacob wanted” or something to those lines, and actually offered Widmore the chance to kill Jacob, to which Widmore literally turned his back to, and walked away.

    This, and the tension of Widmore leaving the island and one other important seemingly small scene (we know there is no true small scenes on Lost)…

    When Miles is abducted by the Ajira team, and the man who eventually accompanies Ilana to the isalnd tell Miles a very strong thought to ponder after revealing that Widmore is the one who faked the 815 in the Sundra Trench…

    “You’re playing for the wrong team!”

    With these words, and telling him that Widmore is seemingly the “wrong team”, I feel that by MIB’s/Anti-Locke’s statement of “have to deal with the other Ajira passengers who brought me here” to Richard means that not only are the Ajira passengers carrying Lockes real body around on Jacobs side, that by “the wrong team” means that Widmore is on MIB’s side, possibly following orders from him all along.

    Sorry, kind of jumbled on that one, but the points being…

    -Ajira passengers play for Jacob…
    -Richard/Others play for Jacob…
    -Ben play(ed) for Jacob…
    -Widmore played and still plays for MIB…

  31. What doesn’t gel for me is the tension that exists between Widmore and Ben if they are both under the influence of Mr. Black. Why would Black banish Widmore from the island if he was already an established leader. It makes more sense to me that Mr. Black would scheme to have Widmore removed as the island’s leader, having cooked up a series of leadership rules to convince Ben that Widmore broke them and must be exiled as a consequence. Meanwhile, Ben manages to convince Richard that Jacob speaks directly through him, and Richard decides to go along with whatever Ben says or does.

    The concept of granting choice is obviously important to Jacob, and Ben seems to fit the bill for the one that got away, the person who let Mr. Black influence his decisions by inhibiting his ability to practice free-will. If my theory about the pregnancy issues is correct and the problems start after the incident, Miles is yet another baby that was born on the island before it occurs. Jacob, or the island, grants him a unique ability to communicate with the dead, which could likely be an advantage to either side, light or dark. Naomi’s audition in the restaurant seems to serve two purposes in my mind, the first being to test his ability and the second to establish the offer. It seems possible that, in Jacob’s grand scheme, or “lie,” he would order Widmore to offer Miles the gig AND also tell Bram to grant Miles the choice of going on the boat or coming with them.

    By allowing money to decide for him, Miles ends up on the boat and flashing through time with the others. It’s possible that this creates a series of events leading Miles to become a pawn of Mr. Black after the incident, which would certainly place him on the wrong team if Jacob was the one who initially blessed him. If this happens, it would make sense that Hurley ends up being the other team’s official ghost whisperer. We have seen that people get to the island in different ways, and I don’t think Oceanic 815, Ajira 316, or Widmore’s boat were packed full of one team or the other. Ultimately, the people who set sail on Widmore’s boat got on for different reasons, some selfish and others not. A prime example would be Lapidus, whose character seems destined to play for Jacob’s team.

  32. i would like to discuss a few points here, not to blatantly refute anyone’s theory, but to further the debate.

    WebCommoner, i find u to be quite intelligent, and that was a brilliantly written post. thats unrelated to this, but i just wanted to say.
    now ur theory that Jacob caused the pregnancy problem… im sure u know that Tawaret (the statue, in who’s shadow lies whatever) was the Egyptian goddess who protected pregnant women. the island has obviously been around and has been occupied for a very long time, seemingly by Egyptians. but im getting off the point. i do believe the Island was originally a haven for bringing life into the world, and for lack of better evidence i think its the Dharma Initiative/our ’77 Losties that messed things up. (Hence the Others wanted Juliet, etc. etc.).

    also, many people believe that the Monster is like a camera for Mr.Black. but Black has only been imprisoned for about 30 years if we assume he was imprisoned at all, and if so, then he was imprisoned only in the confines of the cabin, which would mean he was imprisoned there in 1977 or thereabouts. he and Smokey are “as old as the island itself”, which begs the question, why would he need a camera system? i think Black and Smokey are quite different. in fact, i think Smokey is independant of Black and Jacob, and serves only the island. i posted about this earlier, that according to the hieroglyphics Ben saw in the temple, the Monster is some servant of Anubis,and some judge of souls.

    if these things have been touched on, im sorry, im new and ive been reading these posts all day, so needless to say i forgot where i started and my brain is a little fried!

  33. @imisscharlie

    your confusion on time travel…
    im a huge sci-fi and action fan, and ive watched quite a few things that have to do with time travel, and they all have pretty different views and rules about how things happen.
    the thing about time travel is its a very tricky thing- in reality, and, so it would seem, in fiction as well.

    when you say if they die in 1977 how can they be alive in 2004, well, Miles did explain this. if Jack was 30 in 2004, he was 33 in 2007. then when he was 33, he went back in time to 1977. but hes STILL 33. (thats not his real age im sure, im just assuming data to explain it). so even though he TECHNICALLY hasn’t been born yet, it doesnt matter. if he dies, 33 year old Jack dies, it doesn’t matter if he’s in ’77 or in ’07. i hope that helps.

    this damn time travel argument could go on, and i dont want to distract too much from WebCommoners brilliant theories here. please check my post “My problem with time travel”, you may find it interesting.

  34. For those of you interested in Joseph Campbell but who cannot get through “The Hero With A housand Faces”you may want to pick up “The Power Of Myth” which is a conversation between Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers (my edition is by Anchor books, 1988).

    It is much easier to read and covers a lot of the same subject matter. Moyers plays the everyman asking questions of Cambell about his work and ideas.

  35. chaotixmm, many thanks for the comments and kind words about the post. You definitely have me grasping for further logic to back my ideas. To address your questions, the line of reason that I’m following presumes that, in the grand scheme of things, Ben is Mr. Black’s loophole. This is in the sense that Black can manipulate Ben to the point that he might someday use his own free-will to kill Jacob. While Jacob and Black’s issues have been playing out for an incredibly long time, I’m presuming that Black’s successful stranglehold on Ben in the 70’s is precisely what leads Jacob to sacrifice birth, at least long enough for him to get his variables there and set things straight by defeating Black. As for Juliet, I’m confident that Ben was the one who brought her to the island and, as you know, I’m of the opinion that anything coming from Ben is actually coming from Black.

    Regarding Smokey, if Mr. Black does not symbolize death and is not a representative of Anubis, my theory certainly crumbles at its core. I’m assuming that Black has sacrificed his job as judge for the sake of finding a loophole, which he finally gets in Ben Linus back in the 70’s. If Jacob is wise to the plan, he could imprison Black in Horace’s cabin while working up his own scheme to get the Losties to the island. Even if Smokey dates back to the island’s creation, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to imagine Mr. Black taking advantage of it for his own selfish means. Still, I simply can’t shake the idea that the producers of the show used blatantly mechanical, even industrial, sound effects to represent the smoke monster. There is also the sonic fence that it can’t cross and, at one point in the show, we hear Rose say that the sounds remind her of home, back in Brooklyn. It just seems likely that there’s some sort of modern magic at play.

  36. okay thanks for that, now i more clearly understand your idea. yes, thats very interesting that Jacob might have caused the pregnancy issue, and if the island is as we believe a haven for pregnancy and fertility, then it would take a lot of power to do that. in fact, if we view Jacob as the poster boy for Life, and Black as the poster boy for Death, then it seems almost logical that Jacob can, and might have caused it.

    yes, Rose’s comment about Smokey has haunted me since that first episode, and im sure the writers havent forgot. i just cannot begin to imagine the physical nature of the Monster (as opposed to his “spiritual nature” which has been discussed at great length). to me he sounds like a goddamn cash register printing out the reciept and everytime im in the line at the grocery store i can’t help but crack a smile.

  37. That’s precisely what it is! They even gave us the source for that sound effect in “Walkabout” when Locke is sitting at his desk using a calculator. It prints his calculations on to a receipt and, if I remember correctly, they used the sound to transition from mainland to island, adding a tad of reverb to really make it stand out. Visiting Barcelona one evening earlier this year, a taxi cab driver was dropping a passenger off at the curb, and imagine my surprise when I heard the guy’s credit card machine printing out the receipt. I did a double-take and thought, it’s Smokey! If the sound symbolizes the smoke monster, we might even take it a step further and say that it’s not just mechanical, but it represents the same sort of means for documentation that the printer traditionally employs.

  38. Andre7, thanks for pointing out the Moyers book. You can also get this in DVD form, called “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth,” which is the recorded interviews that Moyers did shortly before Campbell’s death.

  39. chaotixmm, another thought … I’m not completely convinced the island is as much a haven for pregnancy as it is a sort of microcosm of Earth, which represents a physical battleground where humankind struggles to progress through time. I say battleground because of the symbolism that we get from Cuse and Lindolof in reference to gaming … chess, backgammon, Risk, even golf!

  40. WebCommoner,
    Thanks for the interpretation, I think it’s very impressive. However, I have some doubts about the pregnancy issue. Well, if I have understood it correctly you argue that Jacob doesn’t want women to get pregnant on the island. How could this be if he represents the beginning/life/novelty etc.? Contrary to this point I would have assumed that he was trying to get the Oceanics back to the island in order to prevent the explosion at Swan. The whole plan was to make the whole group to go back to 1977; having Miles there was necessary to persuade his father; the physicist was also needed for the time travel etc. What I am trying to say that Jacob is the one who welcomes newcomers, visitors and children since for him they all lead to progress even if they cause some kind of destruction on the island. Mr. Black, on the other hand, is the one who tries to preserve the island and tries to prevent any invasions. For that reason, he sometimes manipulate some of the islanders (others, Dharma initiative, Oceanics.

    For that reason, I think there is no such thing like since the beginning Widmore was working for Mr.Black, or Ben was on his side. Since for being human, individuals sometimes chose the side of Black and sometimes of the White. Locke and Ben were used by Mr. Black at the end, but I think during the history of the island they also served for Jacob.
    Widmore was trying to go back to the island because the island somehow represents the Heaven or dunno maybe the Limbo. Those exiled from it, try to go back for the hope of change, of doing somethings differently this time and having another chance.

  41. eurydice, you make excellent points about Jacob and his Nemesis, and the whole issue of Black vs White.

    This is definitely something we should not ignore.

  42. I look at it as Jacob sacrificing some lives in order to save many. It’s a temporary fix to a potentially disastrous problem, and I think he brings Jack and Co. to the island because he knows they can thwart Black’s plan to find a loophole. If you believe that “whatever happened, happened,” the incident at the Swan is inevitable and I don’t think Jacob’s motive is to prevent it from occurring. In fact, the Swan’s construction is the very thing that leads to the crash of Flight 815, which is how Jacob gets them there in the first place. In the end, Jacob’s plan to resolve the issue should eventually lead to life thriving again. Preservation of the island as a motive for Mr. Black doesn’t seem likely to me considering the fact that he represents death. Ultimately, his motivation is killing Jacob through Ben, thus proving his point and ending the long game they have been playing.

    Black’s point to Jacob is that humans are flawed and easily corruptible, and his influence over certain characters demonstrates the fact that he can direct them in a manner that stunts their ability to choose between light and dark, black and white, right and wrong. In other words, he is the guy who calls their shots, and not the other way around. The genius of Black’s plan is that he manages to manipulate Ben into thinking the “choices” he makes on the island are for Jacob when they really serve Black. It’s precisely why Jacob tells Ben that he has a choice between Black’s influence or leaving in “The Incident.” Ultimately, Ben does what Black wants him to do, proving Black’s point, and Jacob’s death is the consequence. I think we will learn next season that Widmore serves Jacob, and his only reason for finding the island is to remove Ben and negate Black’s influence over its inhabitants.

  43. Thank you all for helping me to try and understand the time travel aspects of the show, and I do apologize if I’ve wandered away from the main topic.

    Fantastic thinking about suppressing pregnancy and birth, Webcommoner, as starting in the 70s when Black’s influence over Ben begins. This makes so much sense now. Widmore as the good guy, working for Jacob, is just the sort of twist I’d expect from Lost!

    As to the sound of the smoke monster, I remember Rose saying that it reminded her of something back home in the Bronx. If any of you out there are familiar with New York City, the sound is what the meter in a taxicab makes–many of my friends here in NY agree on that! What this signifies, I’m not sure, but taxis in NY have been making that sound for a long time now, as far back as I can remember (way back to the 70s, actually!)

  44. Dear WebCommoner,
    I do not have my own theory, so I cannot foresee what will happen in the next season. I just wanted to share my own doubt about your argument that Jacob

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