Next: “Ab Aeterno” (Episode 6-09)

It was the best of episodes, it was the worst of episodes. A tale of two LOSTs came to us tonight, and the chasm between fans who liked it and fans who didn’t will probably never be wider. Perhaps “Ab Aeterno” was a breathtaking, deep, and daring voyage into the heart of a man and, therein, the heart of the whole series. Or, perhaps it was merely an extended flashback for a secondary character that ended with absolutely no forward momentum on the island.

We choose the former. We loved this episode.

If only for tonight, we forgot about numbers and vaccines and time travel, and immersed ourselves in the story of Ricardus — the rich Spanish settings, the lingering moments of terror and despair aboard the Black Rock, the eternal chess game between the Man in Black and Jacob, and throughout, Nestor Carbonell’s fantastic performance. When Richard is visited by the form of Isabelle, we were enthralled. We couldn’t believe this eerie scene was part of the same show that started with a plane crash five years ago.

Before we even thought about where the pieces fit, “Ab Aeterno” reaffirmed our love of the picture being painted. In the end, will it be incomplete, fragmented, and confounding? We have no doubt. But six seasons in, “LOST” is still taking chances, posing big questions, and for that, we still think it’s the best show on television.

Nonetheless, the puzzle pieces demand some study.

No, the island is not hell, nor purgatory… yet it is the closest thing to it, in both the corporeal and metaphysical sense. Indeed, Alpert’s early declaration that they’re all dead is not entirely untrue. Souls come to the island to be tested, and have so far unanimously failed. Sounds like hell to us. We also learn that the island is a “cork” that keeps malevolence and evil contained, and that our survivors are pawns in an epic battle between darkness and its captor.

So: Before the Man In Black escapes, can the last of the candidates prove Jacob’s case? Can they demonstrate that people can choose the right path?

That seems to be “LOST” in a nutshell. The players and stories are simply human. Jack, Kate, Hurley, a Kwon… Their pasts don’t matter, yet obviously inform their future. But stakes are huge. Biblical, global, and universal. It seems impossible for “LOST” to satisfactorily resolve these grand themes in the next seven episodes, let alone a million other frayed threads. We’re afraid vindication may only come after re-watching the series from the beginning, after seeing everything through Season Six eyes.

Interestingly, we saw a distinct parallel between Richard’s failed attempt on Jacob’s life and Sayid’s failure to kill the Man in Black. The fact that both sides may be intent on murder certainly muddies the “good versus evil” waters. Also, even though we still don’t know what rules are in force (and thus what “loophole” Ben stepped through to finally stab Jacob), I was surprised by the suggestion that Alpert was the first to try. Coming to the island in the 1800s, his story already began much more recently than I’d assumed. Which means that the conflict has only recently turned ugly, maybe as Jacob’s candidates have started to run out.

On the questions checklist, meanwhile, we can cross out both “what destroyed the statue” and “how did the Black Rock end up in the jungle” with the same stroke. The physics seem a little iffy, but then again, there’s also a smoke monster on this show. Speaking of which, it’s now clear that said smoke monster “scans” people to find their motivations and weaknesses, if not also their usefulness. Conjuring dead wives, or daughters (Alex), or brothers (Yemi) is a useful power to get people to do things for you, and it’s a power that Jacob explicitly admits tonight that he lacks.

He can, however, grant immortality. And I’m curious why Alpert became Jacob’s ageless intermediary, when all who came before and after him were merely candidates to test. I’m guessing Alpert was a candidate himself, explaining why was he the only person on the Black Rock that the smoke monster didn’t kill. But did he end up extra special because he was the first to come at Jacob with a dagger, demonstrating to Jacob that he needed a helper?

And now, decades later, Richard is weak and tries to join the Man In Black. His dead wife, through Hurley, puts him back on track. Like Ben, he’s nearly led astray, but sticks with Jacob’s team. But also like Ben, I now wonder what else is left for him to do. I don’t know who’s going to be the last man standing against the Man In Black, but I’m pretty sure it’s not either of them.

We’re glad “LOST” took us on a ride into the past this week. But next week, we better rack up some serious mileage on the island.

Notes and Notions:

  • Jen’s now fixated on Anthony Cooper. The man who appeared mysteriously on the island, and whom Ben prodded Locke to murder. With a knife. Quickly, before he had a chance to think. Was that whole scenario yet another “move” between Jacob and the Man in Black? And if so, who’s side did Anthony Cooper represent?
  • Alpert’s backstory was almost flawless. But the ease with which the greedy doctor was killed was a bit silly. Coupled with Kelvin’s noggin knock at Desmond’s hands, it seems skulls on “LOST” are especially fragile.
  • Now that we see even more significance and history to Alpert’s character, it’s hard not to think about some of the things he’s done in seasons past. The fact that he was merely a thug for Ben in “The Brig” seems ridiculous, as does his apparently pivotal role in “The Purge.” Was he acting in Jacob’s interests then? And how does that jive with his efforts to sustain a truce further back in 1977?
  • Richard’s devotion to Isabella was well acted, but I couldn’t help but think it was an interesting choice to motivate him with his love for a spouse, rather than for a parent or especially a child. With all the generational issues explored on “LOST,” hanging things on a husband and wife bond seemed almost quaint.
  • Some great, lighter moments: Richard’s almost girlish giggle when he’s asked what to do. Hurley telling Jack it’s not about him. And the look on the Man in Black’s face when Alpert hands him the white stone.
  • The captain of the Black Rock was one Magnus Hanso. Presumably related to Alvar Hanso of the nearly forgotten Hanso Foundation, which funded the DHARMA Initiative. I wonder if this one mention of the Hanso name will be all we’ll see in the show from the Season 2 ARG? Or will the arrival of Charles Widmore open the door to a little more Hanso/DHARMA backstory?
  • Lots of overtly Christian elements this week. God, the devil, a bible, a cross, sin, absolution and forgiveness, penitence… There was a lingering shot of Luke 4:24-29, in which Jesus asserts that prophets are often rejected in their own neighborhoods, and angers the people of Nazareth by telling them not to expect any special treatment even though he’s from their town. I’ll leave it to more qualified scholars to tease out how the passage applies to “LOST.” I’m also sure the nail Richard found on the Black Rock was symbolic, but don’t know how.
  • At the end of Season 5, Jacob and the Man In Black see a ship sailing on calm seas in the middle of a bright, sunny day. Yet we now know the Black Rock arrived on a stormy night… delivered by a huge wave, no less. Presumably the first ship wasn’t the Black Rock, but one of many other vessels that Jacob has summoned.

What did you think? We’d love your feedback! Share your thoughts, theories, and reactions to “Ab Aeterno” via a comment below, e-mail us at lost@hawaiiup.com, or call the LOSTLine at (815) 310-0808.

404 Responses to “Next: “Ab Aeterno” (Episode 6-09)”

  1. Rey says:

    I really wonder if Jacob’s earlier comment that it only ends once might be the key to the end of the show. It seems like Jacob is trying to get someone to make the ‘right’ choice without being compelled. To that end Jacob allows himself a certain amount of manipulation (so that people are put in situations where they must make a choice), but does not compell. On the other hand the MIB does compell. Maybe the show ends on the note that someone finally makes the ‘right’ choice even in the face of the MIB’s compulsions. If the show does end that way, then Jacob has been playing a multi-layered game the whole time — allowing himself to be killed (If Ben had not killed Jacob would that have ended the ‘game’) and then putting everyone in a position afterward of having to making a choice because the MIB is now ‘free.’ In the event that it looks like the ‘right’ choice will not be made, then Jacob’s back up plan is that there are other candidates to take his place.

    I would argue that the flash sideways is the result of someone making the ‘right’ choice, eliminating the need for Jacob and the island and putting everyone on their own paths.

    Of course, what trips up this line of thinking is the timeline…but….

  2. Harold says:

    That white rock Jacob gave through Richard to MIB, that was the rock on the scale in the cave that MMIBLocke hurled into the sea in victory. Maybe not the exact same prop man’s rock, but the representation of said rock.

    Again, MIB refrains from alcoholic beverages. Maybe he’s an ascetic of some sort, that is to say, no longer being a man, no longer knowing feelings or passions. he refrains from consuming things that alter mood or consciousness.

    I still wonder why Jacob was so particular about not letting Richard kill him in the 1867 but was quite sanguine and passive about it when Ben stabbed him. Afterwards, in converstation with Richard, Jacob clearly seems to have a change in his thinking, a realization, that he would do well to vie with MIB, not remain passive.

    MIB prepares meat, which he apparently does not eat; Jacob eats fish. Locke was always bringing boars back for BBQ. When MIBLocke first shows up on the beach, he exults about great that mango tastes. The first time in a long time he felt the goodness of the taste of food, I’ll bet. Nevertheless, later, with Sawyer, he tastes but refrains from drinking the scotch, so maybe I’m on to nothing.

    It looks like posters here like the mythology better than the plot development, and it looks like character development comes in second to character’s denouements.

  3. Annietoo says:

    I was amused to see the scenes on “Tenerife” – because if there is one place on earth that is the very antithesis of Hawaii – it would be the Canary Islands. Think DESERT island! I went there once for a week, and couldn’t wait to leave, they have maybe 2ins of rain each year so there is almost no vegetation, and the valleys between the mountains only look green a handful of days days per year. Just saying….could have filmed that part on the Channel Islands, or said that Alpert came from Madeira instead.

  4. Connie in Oregon says:

    Just a reminder: for us who are trying to remain “unspoiled”, please don’t say anything about what you have read or heard about upcoming unaired episodes. Thanks 🙂

  5. Steve from NYC says:

    @Eric in Sedona – Why didn’t I see that?

    Of course, given the time and place Richard was from, he’d be deathly afraid of hell, and would do anything to prevent going there, but it kind of makes sense I overlooked this, being the modern agnostic, non-believer, man of science that I am.

    Even some immortals can’t live forever though, as we’ve seem with characters in other stories. Maybe he’ll live forever, but sometimes, you just can’t change your destiny, or can you, given this show is all about redemption.

  6. Connie in Oregon says:

    @Christine-I agree with you that Jacob changed his tactics after Richard’s attempt to kill him. This was the closest MIB had gotten to killing him. Richard’s observation about Jacob’s passivity vs MIB vigorous interference was a revelation to him.

    @Bob from Oxford-You wonder why Jacob keeps going through the motions with MIB, year after year, when it is obvious that MIB is never going to “get” the point (that humanity can be good). Perhaps Jacob’s nature to to extend unending grace and he is prepared to keep up the game until MIB is converted, even if it takes forever.

    Widmore is part of some group (or descended from) that was brought to the Island by Jacob. His interest in Hanso or Dharma is purely research as a way to get back to the Island.

    I think Dharma may be a group that got to the Island on its own and was not brought there by Jacob. I know that it was founded/supported by a descendant of a Hanso, but I don’t think they were supposed to be part of the game after the time of the Black Rock. Perhaps this is why Jacob allowed a purge and Richard seemed to head it up.

    Finally, I think the Book of Rules was written by Richard on Jacob’s behalf as the major means to influence those brought to the Island. A new religion of a sort with Richard as its Patriarch/Prophet. This new body of believers is what eventually evolved into the Others.

  7. Michael says:

    He must not speak…if he does it is to late…

  8. Alex in MD says:

    OK. Let’s say there’s a God.

    Now let’s say that God takes an active role in judging mankind. Now let’s say that this God has decided that his creation (all mankind) has chosen to be evil and sinful and has judged that all should be killed and as punishment go to hell. God creates an angel, let’s call this angel, The Angel of Death. He casts this angel forth from Heaven and tells the angel not to return to Heaven until his mission to destroy all of mankind is complete.

    Now let’s say, there is another angel that finds out God’s plan. This angel believes that God is wrong. We’ll call this angel, The Devil. The Devil believes that mankind is redeemable and some will be good, given the chance. Therefore, all of mankind should not be destroyed and punished by banishment to hell. This angel believes that each person should have the choice to be good or bad and each individual should receive their own punishment or reward.

    The Devil discovers God’s intended method of damnation and devises a way to defy God’s will and prevent this from occurring. The Devil decides to somehow prevent this mechanism from destroying all mankind by creating somewhere special that has the ability to trap the Angel of Death there. The location must be able to move so that God can not find the Angel of Death.

    Ok, now let’s say that the Devil knows that he can not hold the Angel of Death forever, so he has decided that while the Angel of Death is trapped, the only way to prevent the A of D from performing his task is to convince the A of D that God is wrong, and that the only way to prove this is to find at least one person that chooses good over evil. If that good person can be found, then the A of D will have no choice but to abandon his quest to destroy all of mankind.

    So, if the Devil succeeds, mankind as a whole will be saved, allowing for each person to be judged individually when their time comes to meet their maker. But if the Devil fails and the Angel of Death can escape the island…uh, I mean, the special place, then the Angel can destroy all of mankind, sending them to hell and finally after eons trapped on Earth, can return home to Heaven.

    Go Team Devil, uh, I mean Team Jacob!!

    That’s my crack-pot theory and I’m sticking to it.

  9. tvscifi says:

    Jacob spoke to Ben before he killed him. Wonder why it worked that time? Because he was invited into the temple?

  10. Raul From Wayne,NJ says:

    I think the whole Evil vs Good story with a Devil and Hell that was told to Ricardo (Richard) was for his benefit due to the fact that the guy in black found the cross and knew that it was a concept that would be familiar to Ricardo. So in order to get him to kill Jacob, he had to make a bigger Evil that he would want to rid the world of. We all know that the man in black impersonated Isabella on the ship since he can only become people who are dead. The island can’t be Purgatory or Hell because I recall the writers promising it wasn’t. They wouldn’t tie it up in a neat boy with so many episodes still left.

    It was also interesting that almost word for word the man in black gave Ricardo the same instructions that the Samurai guy gave Sayid in handling Evil Locke.

  11. ytime says:

    The Canary Islands are in the Atlantic Ocean, off of N. Africa. Canary residents often moved to the “new world” of the Americas. I don’t think the Black Rock would have headed through nightmarish seas to the Pacific Ocean, to meet our island where the Losties found it. So, for the BR to have ended up on it, the island moved, or someone (likely Jacob or MiB) moved the Black Rock to it. If the former, that could explain why the seas changed and day turned to night from last season’s view of the BR in sunny skies. How they were able to view the BR across the globe (looking like it was headed to them) before moving the island is another matter.

  12. Coolpeace says:

    @ Chris in Durham and @ Carol from Boston: Before I continue with the comments let me lay a theory out about the intervening that Jacob is doing or not doing.

    True, by appointing Richard as his representative one would assume he is intervening by proxy. However, I give you the RULES! Perhaps that is where they come into play. Jacob does not want to intervene but asks Richard (who could be seen as only a man and not a deity) to control the “play” between MIB and Jacob and even the playing field for Jacob since we see that MIB has no problem intervening directly with the candidates.

  13. Melissa says:

    Another thought – if Jacob needs someone else to intervene on his behalf, why do we see him in all of the candidates’ backstories, doing just that? I don’t get it.

  14. John Fischer says:

    One thing that confused me is that I think we’re supposed to think that the Isabella that Richard saw on the Black Rock when he was in chains was the Smoke Monster. I think this is reinforced later when Richard could not see the real ghost of Isabella. The problem arises in that the Smoke Monster can only take the form of people whose dead bodies are on the island. If so, how did the Smoke Monster take on Isabella’s form?

  15. @John Fischer: I think it’s been proven with Ben’s Mom, Isabella, etc… that Smokey doesn’t need the body to be on the island. I think he waited to use Locke’s form until he had Ben back on the island. Locke’s form wouldn’t have been much use until it had manipulation value. Bringing Locke’s body back to the island probably had more to do with recreating the crash to get the plane to the island than Smokey needing the body.

    But that’s just a guess…

  16. Eric in Sedona says:

    @ John Fischer

    Didn’t the Smoke Monster take the form of Daniel the Altar Boy in “The Cost of Living?” He didn’t die on the island. He was absorbed from Mr. Eko’s memories.

    If Daniel was a hallucination instead of the Smoke Monster, then perhaps that Isabella was, too. They both seemed to be operating in the Monster’s interest at the time.

  17. Keith from London says:

    Lots of thoughts from this one. Loved the episode. Feel like it’s finally confirmed that Jacob is good and MIB is evil, at least for the purpose of the show.

    I’ve had an unofficial method of deciding what needs to be consistent, and where leeway should be given, and this is it: after the end date was announced, everything that happens should make sense, while before the end-date was announced, some poetic license should be granted.

    That’s why the biggest questions for me now are these: In the episode “something nice back home”, what is the significance of the scenes where Jack thinks he sees his father off island, and changes the batteries in the smoke alarm, if the MIB can’t get off the island – we know MIB can’t leave, so what is going on with Christian? , and what is the nature of the misdirection over the cause of the flash-sideways, as it’s clearly not as simple as that the bomb caused it.

    Loved the clarification of the differing powers MIB and Jacob have: reminded me of Star Wars again: the dark side is quicker and easier, more seductive, while the light side takes a bit more work.

    I suppose that also puts to bed the idea that Locke initially saw a Jacob version of a smoke monster, as has been speculated, as Jacob is apparently honest, and unable to take other forms.

    Really interested to see where it goes from here

  18. John says:

    A couple of point:

    On Richard being in a flash sideways. I doubt we will see this. The flash sideways seems to be based on a time divergence sometime in the 1970s. Richard had been on the island for a long time.

    I don’t believe it was Jacob who authorized the purge of Dharma. If Ben had been duped by MIB (see prior posts) he quite likely could have been acting on his behalf. MIB has shown that he wants to depopulate the island.

    Jacob told us this week what his approach is. He brings people to the island to prove that they can choose good. He refuses to intervene, because if he does they aren’t choosing, they are being manipulated toward good. MIB, however, has no such restriction and manipulates like mad. Jacob even kept his hands off approach when Ben was about to kill him. He didn’t try to defend himself but simply hoped Ben would choose good.

    Of course, I think Jacob anticipated this.

  19. Rus from Texas (Lonestare) says:

    This whole corked evil theory… I think the writers are screwing with us.

    Seriously though, S6 will be a huge disappointment if all five years have been dumbed down to such a predictable, simplistic plot.

    I wonder what secret Locke was going to tell Walt back in the first Pilot (over the Backgammon game). Locke leans in towards Walt and asks, “Walt, do you want to know a secret?”

  20. Harold says:

    Melissa – Jacob intervening in their back-stories: It’s once they arrive on the island that he leaves them be to decide to be good or evil by themselves, as he portrays it to Richard. Prior to that, he intervenes to bring people to the island.

    John Fischer – Adam Grapevine and Eric Sedona are correct. We have exceptions that refute the notion that the smoke monster can takes on the form only of people who died on the island, Isabella, Ben’s mother, Walt, at least those, I think there were others.

    The smoke monster can take on the form of anyone who’s mind he has scanned. That he can scan a mind is strongly supported by his knowing all this stuff about people he meets, such as Locke and Richard.

    What we know about the struggle between good and bad:
    Jacob portrays his struggle with MIB in two forms, first as a theoretical matter, then as a practical matter.

    First, the bottle and the cork:
    “Think of this wine as what you keep calling Hell. There’s many other names for it, too. malevolence, evil, darkness. And here it is, swirling around in the bottle, unable to get out, because if it did, it would spread.
    The cork is this island, and it’s the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs.”

    Then, the practical, Jacob versus MIB:
    “That man who sent you to kill me believes that everyone is corruptible because it’s in their very nature to sin. I bring people here to prove him wrong. And when they get here, their past doesn’t matter.”

    Richard asks if there were others and Jacob replies, many , all dead. “Well, if you brought them here, why didn’t you help them?”

    Jacob continues, “Because I wanted them to help themselves, to know the difference between right and wrong without me having to tell them.
    It’s all meaningless if I have to force them to do anything. Why should I have to step in?”

    First of all, in his theoretical, the wine in the bottle, unable to get out. He says why it’s unable to get out, “because if it did, it would spread.” That’s a fallacy, an example of begging the question, where the conclusion you want to prove is used in the proof. That it would spread without the island, the cork, is what Jacob wants to justify, but he merely reiterates the premise. Also, that latter statement does not follow from the first. Why would it spread if it got out, why would it not stay in one general area? So, there’s still something missing here.

    Next, in his practical explanation, Jacob mentions right and wrong, not evil as he mentioned in the first part. He states without justification that it would all be meaningless if he were to force them to act. He then asks rhetorically, “Why should I have to step in?”

    Why would it all be meaningless? What is the “all”? Why does he not want to step in? At least and at last we know Jacob sees the struggle as between control and liberty for evil, the darkness. I wonder why Jacob mentions sin. That’s a religious notion though he otherwise fails to mention religion. Glad there are still questions, yes I am.

    Did anyone mention the music? Go back and listen to the music during this long conversation between Jacob and Richard. Very moving and well integrated with the story. It changes to the more sinister MIB theme when Richard gives MIB Jacob’s white rock, to offset, hah! MIB’s Black Rock. MIB gives Richard the cross and the music reverts to the moving Richard theme.

    Richard cries while he buries it. Now in the present, Richard, digs it up. Hurley enters and the theme returns. Garcia did such a fine job acting in his last scenes here, he really played it well. so genuine. And the music continues, those strings, so moving.

    I thought “‘cos if you don’t, we’re all going to Hell” was going to be the thud, but they out-thudded it with the actual ending, MIB breaking the bottle. “Sooner than you think.” Yow. Tremendous.

  21. withadee says:

    I absolutely loved this episode. The MIB is such a complicated character…sure he’s capable of great evil. Yet, he really believes that his motives are pure. So now we have the metaphor: genie in a bottle! Just like in I dream of Jeannie, it appears as smoke! I’m still guessing that the genie got out of the bottle in sideways universe, and they are somehow recruited in sideways universe to go BACK in time and actually set things right. But I don’t really care, I’m enjoying the ride too much!

  22. JonY says:

    Another thing that occurred to me today –

    If Richard was so certain that all of them were in hell and dead already why did he try to kill himself? I would think you can’t kill yourself if you’re dead already.

    Tiny point, just wondering if there were thoughts.

  23. Ernie says:

    Before I read the synopsis or the posts I wanted to post my own thoughts while they are still largely my own.

    WOW. This is easily in my top five favorite Lost episodes if not my all time favorite. In a word the episode felt cinematic. In the best tradition of Lost is surprised me and defied my expectations. Far to many movies and television shows are formulaic and predictable. Lost frequently surprises me and that is one of my favorite things about this show.

    Some big reveals along the way about nature of the island and the conflict between man in black and Jacob and it adds up for one great episode.

    Michael Giacchin’s score was spot on tonight. Heartwrenching and moving.

    This was a great episode.

  24. Olympiakos says:

    Did any of you realise that – if this is the case (god/devil/good/bad) all the previous seasons we were watching just 2-3 groups (losties,dharma etc etc.) of people that jacob brought to the island and that they didnt have any meaning?

    If this is the case the previous 5 seasons were an extremely stretched romantic science fiction movie (with all the flashbacks/forwards) and now we are heading for a 10-episodes religious action movie.

    I, personally, am disappointed by the show and I cannot believe that everybody focuses in just one episode like it has nothing to do with the whole show.

    Just watch an episode from the 5 first seasons and compare it with the ones in the 6th season. A whole different show (and a bad one)!

  25. John Fischer says:

    Olympiakos – LOST has always been about good versus bad, black versus white, science versus faith, choice versus predestination, and most importantly about redemption. Can people redeem themselves if given another chance. We’re seeing some of that in the flash-sideways. For the Losties we have come to love and some we hate, the island is not a cork, it’s not a prison, it’s a place for possible redemption but even more a place for hope.

  26. NuckinFuts says:

    1. @ Carol from Boston Says: March 24th, 2010 at 2:24 am : “Some of the people who came to the island did get redeemed and when that happened they seem to die, doesn’t that redemption prove that man is good. Ana Lucia – chose not to kill, Shannon became a less selfish person. ”

    Good point here, Carol. In fact, this was one of the main reasons many people and myself included postulated that the island was purgatory in the 1st few seasons….If there pasts are forgiven when they arrive as Jacob says, then why did it seem that people who changed and became ‘better’ always died? Did the change have to happen ‘immediately’? Shannon was a ‘snob’ ( kindly put ) but really bettered herself…

    To me MIB & Jacob must be counting points for people. It’s ALL amusement and they BOTH test people who arrive on the island. Depending on the choices made by the person each of them ‘claim’ their ‘points’. Neither Jacob or MIB can grant or promise redemption from their sins in death, as pointed out directly to Richard because they do not decide that. They are not God.

    2. Emma in Oxford Says: March 24th, 2010 at 6:38 am “Does anyone think that when Smokey attacks people it sounds a bit like an elephant? I’m just saying…..”

    Emma, my brother and I were talking about the sounds. I have always wondered why sometimes we hear ‘footsteps’ for lack of a better word and we also sometimes see trees moving. Yet, clearly Smokey has shown a little more ‘finesse’ when moving through grates, and other things and in those instances we normally hear more ‘click, click, click’ only.

    We have convinced ourselves that MIB is Smokey, but Jacob is ‘something’ too. I feel like Jacob is in on this mischief at least some of the time. Last night MIB admitted he was ‘The Black Smoke’ to Richard, but also said that he tried to stop Isabella from being taken…(nosebleed coming) which we know was MIB trying to trick Richard….however I think that Jacob may have also been there due to the sounds…

    I’ve seen Smokey move some dirt blasting skyward, but I’ve never seen him move the trees like in the pilot episode and a few other times. Does it make more sense that Jacob may have the powers to do this or something as well?

    A side note: Does anyone think that MIB can not completely control himself when he is in full Smokey mode? Kind of like “The Incredible Hulk”?

    3. Harold Says: March 24th, 2010 at 8:37 am “I still wonder why Jacob was so particular about not letting Richard kill him in the 1867 but was quite sanguine and passive about it when Ben stabbed him. Afterwards, in conversation with Richard, Jacob clearly seems to have a change in his thinking, a realization, that he would do well to vie with MIB, not remain passive.”

    My two cents : Perhaps it’s because Jacob & MIB have been there soooo long and doing what they do. MIB at once liked what he did and probably liked Jacob and the argument/game. They obviously had a falling out, but up until the conversation they had watching the ship/Black Rock on the horizon MIB never actually said something like “Do you know how bad I want to kill you” and the rest of the loophole conversation.

    I don’t know if Jacob took MIB seriously until Richard showed up afterward carrying a knife is what I’m saying. This, perhaps, was a bit of a turning point in their relationship.

    4. Regarding several posts about “The Purge” & Richard/Jacob’s involvement. I found it hard to reconcile Richard being a part of the Purge at all after his concern over killing and going to hell. I guess after 100 years or so and knowing you will not die and go to hell you’re o.k. stepping out of that belief system a little. In either case, I think that Ben was the organizer, mastermind and leader. Perhaps a person of interest at one time chosen by Jacob, but we were seeing him fail…Ben was manipulative enough I’m sure to claim it came from Jacob although I’m pretty sure he did not interfere and thought “I should not have to tell you to be a better person”. Richard was, I’m sure, looking for the next leader not long thereafter.

    5. About DHARMA. I figure that several DHARMA people were ‘touched’ or invited to the island. They were undoubtedly candidates, and based on what their mottos were and their mission to bring peace to earth were probably thought to be some of the best candidates ever by Jacob. I think that their work with the island properties ( separate from Jacob & MIB ) led them to do what all others before had done. Corrupt, destroy, etc. We shall see…maybe…I hope…

  27. JonY says:

    I just don’t get it…

    Maybe the idea that the show is going to end in an epic good versus evil struggle is a new one…

    There are still several reasons why it fits with the show.

    1) We had to see all of this to realize who the good and evil sides might be, but more importantly-

    2) If there is an epic struggle the decisions made be our main characters must have an impact on that struggle. Now if that’s not the case then yes much of the show has been a waste but if it comes to that… To the decisions they make… Then we had to see the journey that would lead them to their decisions/actions.

  28. Fernando says:

    The questions I have are:
    * If the cork is the island keeping the darkness/wine inside the bottle, what/who is the bottle? Is it Jacob?
    * “he took my body, my humanity”… did Jacob cast MiB out of himself, therefore leaving him without humanity.

  29. Genevieve says:

    I haven’t read all the comments but my questions/thoughts

    I still don’t know if I fully believe Jacob = Good, MIB = Bad

    Did the bomb going off “uncork” the bottle? Will we find out for sure?

    Why don’t we know MIB’s name yet?!? There’s a lot of speculation that it’s Aaron. There’s also speculation that the boy Flocke saw was Jacob as a child… going with what MIB said last night, that Jacob took his body, is that when it happened?

    I thought it was a great episode! Great job by Nestor! I enjoyed seeing a darker, more out of control Jacob. Really interesting!

  30. Bonita in Atlanta says:

    btw: To those questioning how a little wooden ship could knock down a statue: Bonnie Covel at AboutLost.com speculates that MiB pulled the ship, so it is that additional force that brought the statue down. Sounds good to me. 😉

  31. John Fischer says:

    Bonita – Bonnie is a co-worker of mine at About.com and I love her LOST site at http://lost.about.com. I’m not sure that it was the MIB’s force, but instead the force of water itself. A tsunami wave can destroy much more than most of us can imagine. Water has a huge force in its own and when combined with a ship striking a relatively narrow structure, that structure will fall.

  32. Mattfromnd says:

    The ship did not knock down the statue. The giant tidal wave did. The ship just knocked it’s head off. Besides we don’t know how long its been there, maybe thousands of years, it’s bound to have some wear and tear that would have weakened it.

  33. Harold says:

    Redemption:
    No one has yet mentioned the redemption of Richard in this ep. His desperate return to MIB to resolve his loss of faith in Jacob and in the good is turned in a matter of minutes into a resurgent allegiance to Jacob through the intercession of Isabella via Hurley. He is overcome with emotion, he cries, he resurfaces, thanking Hurley with deep, heartfelt gratitude. No longer does he wish to die, he loves life again. That’s being redeemed, no mistake.

    Alex, MD, crackpot theorist – Pretty good as crackpot theories go. Takes a good stab at the underpinnings of the conflict, good work. Makes angels a lot like people, just super-powered, don’t agree with that.

  34. docjkm says:

    Twenty four hours may not be enough, but…

    Last nights Eternal Abs really knocked my proverbial socks off. I would call it the best episode of season 6, or maybe the whole thing, BUT it was backstory about a side character (important side character, and great backstory not withstanding). Carbonell is added to the fantastic acting ensemble this show has gathered. (Has he ever been wasted so far??) So please, give it up for the writers, directors, and creative talent at all levels.

    I will not my stance change. With the alt-island at the bottom of the sea, the real effect of the micro H-bomb as yet unresolved, Richard Alperts career as advisor/intermediary looking very schizoid now in the hindsight of last night, etc etc… to proclaim MIB as the evil to be contained, the bad guy, is just too trite. Jacob is the real enigma here. He wants to demonstrate that all is progress until the end. That ‘free will’ will ultimately come good in the end is a great PR stance but really… why why why is he luring people to the island? THAT, y’all everybody, seems the real question extant. I remain ‘Team Dark’, pondering that. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit team dark is an uncomfortable place right now, but to those who are so sure about it… just watch, eh?

    I think theories are fine. And entertain me in the hours I have spent reading them. There are many truly insightful and intelligent folks posting here, and I admire you all. But could I have an ‘amen’? Could someone posit something to my internal hell of WHY? WHY is Jacob culling people? To take his place? Is that it, is that all?

    That’s the only question burning me. The rest is all progress.

  35. John Fischer says:

    Harold – I think redemption is a key, perhaps the biggest key in LOST. Jacob has brought all of these people who have had major issues in their lives to the island and allowed them the chance to redeem themselves, i.e. to find the better path. I think LOST is all about HOPE, that these people can find their way from a life filled with despair to a better existence. Perhaps we are seeing that better existence in the flash sideways.

    Does anyone know that the original title for this show was “The Circle?”

    Somehow the circle of their lives must be broken and I think that is what we’ll see in the last 9 episodes. Many will die for sure, many whom we have grown to love, but perhaps in the parallel world they will find their redemption and live a better life. Perhaps their island experiences will come into play to influence the way the live those lives.

  36. Mattfromnd says:

    Just heard what the title of the finale will be. I won’t post it, but trust me when I say it reveals nothing. Biggest non-spoiler title in the entire show.

  37. Michael says:

    I notice that most folks accept Christian as being the MIB, but I don’t think so. When he refused to help locke turn the wheel, it seemed more Jocob-like to me as not wanting to do for people but to make them do for themselves. Plus Jack saw his father sitting in the chair at the hospital. MIB could not have left the island, so that had to be Jacob. Jacob can become loved ones too to manipulate. He might be the one talking to Hurley and pretending to be the dead. He needed to convince them to return to the island and didn’t want to reveal himself directly. Hurley never talks to his dead family members, only people from the island or their loved ones in order to motivate them.

  38. John Fischer says:

    Mattfromnd – I’m disappointed with the title for the finale. I expected something much more. I would have loved for it to have been the original title for the whole show, i.e. “The Circle” but alas it is not.

  39. John Fischer says:

    We have 9 hours left in LOST and many more than 9 characters whom we want to see resolved in some way. How can that happen. I suspect many, if not most, will die on the island. I hope that when and if Richard, Ricardo, Ricardus dies that he is reunited with his wife, but then that may be expecting too much.

  40. Rus from Texas (Lonestare) says:

    Let’s face it, almost every tv show and film has two opposing forces at work against itself. The key is “how” it is done. So far, this episode really dumbs this whole good -vs- bad theory down to a Pre-K level. Is this the best they have? Time will tell.

    Oh, I am quite sure that if MIB had a few bean burritos, he could certainly blast the cork off the bottle and let himself free.

  41. BostonNate says:

    ENOUGH already! What is “his” name?! I’m sick of MIB, Man in Black, Smokie, Flocke, etc. etc.

    At this point, this is almost my number 1 question I want answered now. I highly doubt that Jacob has been referring to him as “Man in Black” since the 1800’s.

    Still don’t know how to take this episode. I can’t tell if I loved it or hated it. I feel they could have done better for the first Richard centric episode, but that’s probably from all of the built up suspense.

  42. Carol from Boston says:

    @nuckinfuts – re: Jacob being a smoke monster – go back to the episode where Sawyer is in dharmaville, drinking and listening to music, crying over Juliet. Smokey looks in the window and the reflection of the smoke is not black it is a light grey. Why do we just assume that Jacob is so different from MIB, maybe they are both smoke monsters.

    @docjkm – though I am not officially on team dark anymore I still am not convinced that MIB is evil. Last night just sucked me back in a bit, the actor that portrays him is just so good and plays such a calm, logical MIB that I just can’t hate him. I am not saying MIB is good, I just think that there is some deception going on. Jacob looks shifty sometimes and seems to adapt himself to whatever the other person wants him to be. I am still offically on Team Sawyer. I think both MIB and Jacob are users and nothing justifies the loss of lives due to their games. I know there are logical theories out there about the motives of Jacob. But bottom line, no one would choose to go there and be tested, so even though Jacob claims free will, he doesn’t practice it.

  43. Carol from Boston says:

    As I read my last post again, I realize I am getting way too involved with this show, lol. I don’t want to overthink this and forget to enjoy the ride. I have to accept that my vision is not the writer’s vision. I just ask one thing of them, closure. I expect some questions, but don’t end it on a cliffhanger or add some crazy plotline at the last minute to make this all work.

    I also have to face the fact that I don’t like or trust Jacob. So if this is all about him, the whole 6 years is about what he wants to prove. I admit I will be disappointed. I guess the ending I would choose is that MIB and Jacob have an epic battle between the two of them and they both destroy each other and the island’s scientific properties send everybody back in time as if they never existed. Yup, I want the happy ending, which knowing Damon and Carlton won’t happen.

    After the last episode, Damon and Carlton will be on Jimmy Kimmel where they will open a locked box and reveal the ending they wrote several years ago to prove they had a plan all along. I can’t wait to watch it.

  44. Rich in Cleveland says:

    As obliquely touched on above, the island is the stopper in the bottle. However, I found the response of he who must not be named very telling. He didn’t try to remove the cork. Instead, his plan was to smash the glass. He will tear the very fabric of reality as a means of escape which seems to indicate that the incident and the flash sideways are the product of darkness’s design.

    @Yann
    On speaking Latin: I saw on Lostpedia that the excalibur blade is actually a Roman “pugio.” Perhaps Jacob & MIB, when they were once men, were Roman. The twin founders of that legendary culture were represented on the hilt. Bad Twin?

    @Cathy
    Jesus often compared paradise to a great banquet or wedding feast. This might represent the meaning of the expression “invited in” beyond the literal statue chamber. Also, perhaps invited into the fold.

    @KC BOB
    I always thought the ancient ruin/window made of rocks we saw near the others’ old fishing village was meant to symbolize a portal. They never went back to it though.

  45. Isaac says:

    I wanna see the first major DEATH of the season next week….its a Sun/Jin-centric episode….either Sun or Jin dies after they finally re-unite…..we know that one of the Kwons is a candidate but we dont know exactly which one yet….i dont think its Sun cuz when she left the island and then came back she was the only one that got stuck in 2007…..the rest of the candidates were stuck with the dharma initiative…..so if Jin is a candidate, I say he is the one that dies in next week’s episode….that would be sweet

  46. Rich in Cleveland says:

    I can’t believe no one else has jumped on the barrenness of the island when Richard comes for Jacob. It’s such a big clue, in my opinion. It’s like an A-bomb went off. If so, this could easily provoke a tsunami as well.

  47. John Harvey says:

    At some point, I think MIB poses as Jacob to lure people in. When Ben complains to Jacob right before he kills him, Jacob acted as if he didn’t care or know about Ben – which frustrated Ben into killing him. So maybe Ben was interacting with MIB the whole time. Remember, Ben knew how to summon him through the drain hole.

    In the bible, God allowed the devil to tempt Job to see if Job would remain faithful – In the same manner, I think Jacob allowed MIB to get creative which might explain why the purge happened or “The Brig” incident Ryan mentions at the beginning.

    my .2¢

  48. Victor says:

    As much I would like to say I enjoyed this episode, I didn’t at all.

    I don’t care about Richard. Certainly not now (with so few episodes left). I don’t care about MIB and Jacob’s opposing viewpoints on life. I don’t need speeches about good and evil and islands being quarks.

    Just plain dumb.

  49. Victor says:

    OH and wow what a great twist “The statue we never explained even being built was destroyed… uh uh… in a storm! Yeah, that’s it. A storm!”

  50. Rich in Cleveland says:

    Oops. That’s what happens when you get caught up in the moment w/out a rewatch. I guess the color just got all washed out in that scene. That’s why they call them crackpot.

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