Key Points from "The Incident, Parts 1 and 2"
Season 5, Episodes 16 & 17
Episode Air Date: 05/13/09
Remember when season one ended and the masses got hot and bothered because all we saw was a deep dark shaft leading into the hatch?
That was nothing compared to this.
A flash of light ...
SEASON FIVE ENDED ON A FLASH OF LIGHT!
And God bless them for it. I know a part of the audience is going to deride the producers for going this route, but I applaud their marketing skills: we'll easily spend the next eight months mulling the enormous clues and questions presented in this episode. They unleashed a thought bomb. A big, honkin', I-have-no-idea-what-just-happened mind warp.
But before we dive into the season six conjecture -- and oh my, will there be conjecture -- let's hit the high points from the season five finale.
First up: Jacob.
We learn that Jacob (played quite well by Mark Pelligrino) is humanoid, lives in a basement apartment located beneath the island statue, is very, very old -- like older than Alpert, old -- and bears a passing resemblance to Stephen Baldwin (the island = Bio-Dome?). In his spare time he likes to weave tapestries with Egyptian motifs and insert himself into key moments in character backstories.
Speaking of those moments, the finale reveals Jacob's presence in the timelines of nine characters:
- Kate -- Jacob helps a pre-pubescent Katie extract herself from a sticky New Kids on the Block lunchbox theft by swooping in to pay for the nicked item. I'm guessing that Jacob's intervention prevented Kate from allowing the dark side of her genetic code -- i.e. the bad stuff she got from her daddy -- from turning young Katie into a full-fledged criminal. Or maybe Jacob just really loves NKOTB.
- Sawyer -- Appearing in 1976, just after the funeral for Sawyer's mother and father concludes, Jacob provides young James Ford with a pen. Little James was in the middle of writing "the Sawyer letter," which we know served as an important catalyst for Sawyer's eventual development as a con man. Had Jacob not appeared with a fresh new pen, little James may have never finished that letter.
- Sayid -- Sayid gets the pointy end of the Jacob stick. The mysterious islander appears in Los Angeles, in the post-Oceanic-Six period, and distracts Sayid on a street corner while Nadia wanders into the crosswalk and gets mowed down by an SUV. Presumably, we can trace a line through Jacob's appearance, Nadia's death, Sayid's recruitment by Ben, Ilana nabbing Sayid, and Sayid's eventual reappearance on the island.
- Sun and Jin -- Jacob appears at Sun and Jin's wedding and tells them -- in flawless Korean -- that their love is special and they must never take it for granted. I have no idea how this influences their island experience, so lets label Jacob a wedding crasher and move on.
- Ilana -- At some point in the not-too-distant past, Ilana was in a hospital recovering from some sort of trauma (Was she burned? Did she have a face transplant? Is she Michael Jackson?). Jacob visits her, and this brief scene suggests that Ilana knows Jacob -- or knows of Jacob -- and she's a card-carrying evangelist in the Church of Jacob.
- Hurley -- Jacob was partially responsible (perhaps wholly responsible) for Hurley being on Ajira 316. Hurley shares a cab with Jacob after being released from prison, and it seems like Jacob has a soft spot for the big fella because he assuages Hurley's fears about being cursed and he says Hurley's island return is completely voluntary. Sayid would have preferred this kinder-gentler approach, but such is life in the "Lost" universe. (Sidenote: we still don't know what's in the guitar case, but we do know it appeared at the same time as Jacob.)
- Jack -- Remember that story Jack told Kate in the pilot about slicing open his first patient's dural sac and then using that "count to five" technique to get through the fear (the story also served as a plot device in season three)? Well, Jacob crosses paths with Jack moments after that event, and he utters the telling line, "I guess it just needed a little push." Granted, he was referring to Jack's unsuccessful attempt at buying an Apollo bar from a vending machine, but it's still full of meaning and importance and nougatty goodness. Locke -- Jacob was the first person at Locke's side after he suffered that eight-story fall. Jacob touches Locke on the shoulder -- awakening him? resurrecting him? -- and says: "Don't worry, everything is going to be all right. I'm sorry this happened to you." I'm working under the assumption that Jacob's touch meant more than his words because I've seen Hallmark cards with deeper sentiment.
We also learn that Jacob has an adversary -- the yin to his yang -- who wants nothing more than to see Jacob's innards spread across the island's sand. We're introduced to Man #2 (that's how he's referenced on the episode's IMDb entry) in the episode's opening scene. This scene is set far in the past: the statue has all of its appendages (it's rumored to be the Egyptian deity Tawaret), the Black Rock has appeared just off shore, and Man #2 is displeased because Jacob has brought the crew to the island. The duo has clearly gone through this scenario many times before: "They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt ... it always ends the same," says exasperated Man #2.
But then Jacob counters with a line of dialogue that could dramatically influence season six: "It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress."
It would appear that "Lost" is incorporating a variation on the eternal return into its mythology ("this has all happened before, this will all happen again" -- "Battlestar" fans know this well). If we take this scene at face value, then we know Jacob has been bringing groups of people to the island for centuries. But why? Are the Oceanic Survivors the final group? Why are they any different from previous groups? Has each group contributed to a collective wisdom that will eventually culminate in some sort of "end"?
Remember how Locke seemed like a new man in last week's episode? There's a good reason for that: he is a new man.
We discover in the very final moments of the finale that the plan to kill Jacob isn't really Locke's. It's the plan of the dude who took over Locke's body.
I'm having a hard time putting this into words because we have very few details, but I think the gist of it is this: Jacob's long-time adversary -- Man #2 -- has somehow found a loophole that allowed him to inhabit Locke's "entity." Man #2 is now controlling Locke. Or he is Locke. Or he's in Locke's body but he's still Man #2. Regardless, Man #2's Lockian trick gives him a way to kill Jacob. This is a major development because the episode's opening scene made it clear that Jacob was virtually untouchable. That's no longer the case.
At this point, all we really know is that the mysterious metal case the Ajirans have been hauling around for half the season contains the very-dead, not-at-all-resurrected body of John Locke. So, we've got a dead Locke and we've got a living Locke. Dead Locke is innocuous enough, but living Locke ... well, he's going to be a problem because where Jacob was a laissez faire, roll-with-the-punches kinda leader, this new guy has a Machiavellian glint. Worse still, New Locke can manipulate Ben at will. The man who wields The Linus rules all he sees.
I'm guessing that season six will involve a showdown between the loyal Jacobins -- led by Ilana -- and New Locke (I hesitate to brand him "Evil Locke" because we don't know his intentions and he doesn't -- as yet -- have sinister mustache). This brings up a host of questions:
- Is there any chance Jacob survives, or was this a one-time appearance?
- Man #2 seems to have a distaste for Jacob's group experiments, so will he seek to rid the island of the unworthy?
- We learn that Jacob "made" Richard Alpert into an age-defiant consigliere, but if Jacob is gone, where does Richard factor in?
- What is the relationship between Alpert and the Ajirans? We see that he successfully answers the "what lies in the shadow of the statue" question, but how is he connected to them? (Note: Thanks to commenters mtncbn and Egyptian Guyliner for the translation of Alpert's response: "He who will save us all.")
- Which side is Charles Widmore on?
- Who will the Others follow? Is anyone going to alert those lazy Other bastards lounging in the Temple?
- Will Ben dutifully sit by New Locke's side, or will he try to seize ultimate power?
- Does Smokey know about New Locke? If so, is Smokey tied to Man #2?
Dear Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse:
Let me be clear. If the season six premiere does not show Dr. Juliet Burke striding from a Dharma condo with her health intact and a big smile on her face, I hereby vow to lock you in a viewing room and inflict the Karl treatment while "Stranger in a Strange Land" plays over and over and over again.
Thank you and enjoy the time off.
That powerless guy who writes the blog you don't read.
With that out of the way ...
I've been a fan of Juliet from the start. I vouched for her during those early Other days. I justified her random ninja moves. I even got on board with the ill-advised Goodwin affair. That's why Juliet's "end" was more gut wrenching for me than any of the previous dispatches, including Charlie's. Now, I know we didn't technically see Juliet die, and given the circumstances surrounding her final moments (big flash of light coupled with various time-travel/time-changing theories) there's a possibility she'll return, but this was an ending of sorts for Jules. Even in a reconstituted form, she'll always be on the outside looking in, and that kinda sucks.
But on the bright side, detonating a nuclear weapon on top of a volatile pocket of electromagnetism raises "blaze of glory" to a whole new level. So she's got that going for her.
The fate of the other circa '77 characters is also up in the air because, as I already mentioned, the season ended in a flash of light. We don't know if they're alive (I'm assuming yes), what time period they're in, if they're on the island, or if they're all together. Moreover, we don't know if "the incident" was averted or -- picking up Miles' logic -- if the bomb detonation was the incident.
Nonetheless, the closing 15 minutes offered an exhilarating collection of gunplay (how many people did Jack kill?), magnetic ruthlessness (RIP, Dr. Chang's arm), Sarlacc-esque danger, and rebar retribution (suck it, Phil!). And Josh Holloway unloaded a tragic reaction shot that's on-par with Yunjin Kim's scream from the season four finale.
I'm going to give the "Lost" crew a mulligan on Rose, Bernard and Vincent. While I find it hard to believe they've settled into a quiet "retirement" on the far side of the island (and have avoided Others and Dharma drones for three years), their decision to extricate themselves from all the running and shooting and nonsense their Oceanic comrades kick up does make sense. If the best I could hope for was an ample supply of mangos and a kickin' old man beard, I'd do the same thing.
That said, I get the feeling Rose and Bernard will pop up again. Perhaps they'll be revealed as the Adam and Eve skeletons, 30 years hence ...
A few closing questions and observations:
- Best Line: "I'm beginning to think you just make these rules up as you go along, Richard." -- Locke to Alpert.
- Second Best Line: "Oh hell no." -- Rose, upon seeing Sawyer, Kate and Juliet.
- Third Best Line: "I don't know, but his Korean is excellent." -- Jin, noting Jacob's fluency.
- Fourth Best Line: "If Jack wants to blow up the island, good for Jack." -- Sawyer, before everything goes to hell.
- Jack tells '77-era Richard Alpert not to give up on Locke, but little does he realize that the guy he'll be vouching for is New Locke. And perhaps Jack's endorsement causes '07 Alpert to push aside misgivings about leading New Locke straight to Jacob.
- Could this be the end of the road for Sayid? Or will he end up in the Temple infirmary next to young Ben Linus?
- I know the island is a giant tube of Neosporin, but Jack's recovery from Sawyer's epic beatdown (including that stomach-churning crotch kick) was truly remarkable.
- Were Rose and Bernard the only survivors from the flaming arrow attack? I thought a handful of other Oceanics made it through.
- And on a personal note ... thank you so much for all the fantastic conversations and insight you guys bring to this blog. I know I've said it many times before, but The Lost Blog would be nothing without you and I consider it an honor that you choose to spend time here. It means more to me than you can imagine.
That's all I've got!
Be sure to drop by the "Lost" Forum for stimulating conversation and conjecture.
The final season (?!?) of Lost will begin in early 2010.
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