The bottle-wine-cork metaphor was just one of the great parts of Ab Aeterno. I loved the scene of the bottle being smashed open, a loophole of sorts, to get the wine out.
If the cork is the island, the wine is “evil” and it is contained in the bottle so it doesn’t spread. If the island is the cork that keeps it from spreading, then what does the bottle represent?
In my previous post on Water/Ash=Life/Death, a few of us contemplated the purpose of the water encircling the island. I’m not suggesting that water is the bottle.
My thought is that people are the bottle, and more importantly, the people that have been brought to the island.
If what Flocke (and in the past, MIB/Smokey) has done up until this point is ultimately destroy/kill people, he is in a way, destroying the bottle. Especially on his quest for a loophole.
At this point with the candidates, it gets tricky because he can’t kill them…but he can “break” them. If you look at the way that he manipulates people, cutting right to their weaknesses, and then exploiting it/them to do what he wants, it is a way of ‘breaking’ their will. Sayid and Claire are not functioning on their own accord at this point, and it is obvious he is strategically maneuvering with all of his conversations with Kate, Sawyer, Ben… and we’ll probably see soon enough a second try with Richard.
Back to the bottle…if people (and especially candidates) are represented by the bottle, it fits with how Dogen explained that everyone has good and evil in them. Even the subjectivity of “what is good and evil?” (as played out perfectly in Richard’s backstory) fits with this, too. A bottle contains the contents but is not defined by or ‘at one with’ its contents. I also think it ties together people’s connection to the island, as the bottle and cork would not be complete without each other. A cork without a bottle is pretty useless, as is a bottle without a cork.
Anyway, I have yet to re-watch Ab Aeterno, and it really is most deserving of a second/third viewing before going much further on the implications of the other parts of Jacob/MIB/Richard conversations. This one just made sense the first time around.