Friday, August 21

Too Much Information 3

Welcome back to "Too Much Information," the companion column to the Lost Rewatch at I'm using this column to air some of my more speculative (and scattershot) ideas about the remaining mysteries on the Island, and about the basic structure of the show. Today's discussion point:

TMI 3: Loopholes and Prison-Feet

There's been much speculation following the Season five finale about the 'loophole' that the mysterious Man In Black (who, I'm theorizing, may be a manifestation of the Island, like all of the apparent apparitions we've seen on the show so far) exploited in order to kill Jacob.

The most obvious answer to the question of 'what is the loophole': The Man In Black had to have someone else kill Jacob since, being a 'ghost,' he can't do it himself. Instead, the Island/MiB needs to use visions/apparitions to influence those that come to the Island, either to goad them into helping him kill Jacob, or to eliminate those that could end up interfering with that goal.

But there are some problems with this, most notably the fact that we see 'ghost' Christian use a flashlight to illuminate the picture from the Dharma barracks in Season five and sit physically in a chair in Jacob's cabin in Season three, implying that Christian, at least, can touch physical objects.

So perhaps its more complicated than an inability to physically kill Jacob. Let's consider Jacob's cabin.

We know through Ilyana that Jacob used to reside there (S5 finale). We also know that he's since moved to the statue's foot. Why?

Well, presumably the Island/MiB has been trying to kill him, directly or indirectly, for longer than the three years that the Oceanic castaways have been on the Island. The line of ash around the outside of the cabin (first seen in season 3) may have been meant, not to keep Jacob or the MiB trapped within, but to keep the Island/MiB out. Presumably, this stopped being effective sometime before Ben first takes Locke to see Jacob.

Does Jacob's move to the statue's foot - which resides on the beach and away from Island-centric sites like the Temple and the barracks, about as far from the Island-proper as its possible to be without swimming away from it - represent a retreat of sorts?

If that's the case, if Jacob's move to the foot is an effort to sidestep the Island/MiB's increasing efforts to destroy him, then this helps to explain why no one but the leader of the Others gets in to see Jacob. It limits the ability of the Island/MiB and/or the people that it's influenced to kill Jacob. The statue's foot, like the Swan and the Bear cages, may turn out to be a prison of sorts - a prison that Jacob has confined himself inside to escape the Island's wrath.

And if the MiB/Island is attempting to influence the people who land on it, it helps to explain why the Others are trained the way they are - why they're sometimes required to undergo conditioning, and why they're living a life that's simultaneously free of past demons and Walden-ian in its respect for the Island. They've been trained/conditioned in order to be as free of potential Island influence as possible, and their respectful treatment of it helps ensure that they won't be attacked by it.

All of this seems plausible (in the universe that Lost inhabits at any rate), but there's one more factor worth considering: the 'ghost' of Claire.

This year's Comic Con confirmed for us that Jacob has never appeared looking like another person. Season 4 confirmed for us that Claire's 'ghost' is quite comfortable around fake-Christian (who I believe is, like the Man In Black, a manifestation of whatever intelligence is inhabiting the Island itself). This implies that both manifestations are originating from that same Island intelligence. In other words, the 'Claire' and 'Christian' that we've seen in Jacob's cabin are more Solaris-esque projections of the Island.

If that's the case, then it's the Island/the MiB that warns Kate not to 'bring him back' while wearing Claire's face. If Aaron turns out to be Jacob somehow, a possibility that I've brought up before, then 'Claire's' attempt to influence Kate into leaving Aaron behind may turn out to be the loophole in the end. By leaving Aaron behind has the Island/MiB succeeded in breaking some time-travel anamoly that granted Jacob seeming-immortality? Has the MiB rendered him 'mortal' just in time for the leader of the Others, corrupted by his own inability to move on and the influence of faux-Locke, to enter Jacob's prison sanctuary and exact revenge?

What do you think?


  1. Interesting analysis. I think the bit about Aaron being Jacob is very intriguing. The notion of the island being "wicked" to some degree would also explain a great many of the conflicting prophetic statements we've had on this show. The easiest example to cite is one you already have, with "Claire" telling Kate not to bring Aaron back, whiln the psychic Claire saw in S1 told her ominously that Aaron must never be raised by another person. These two prophetic/warning statements seem mutually exclusive based on what we know now, but if they support opposing sides in this conflict... I must admit, I got a little shiver when you said that by not bringing Aaron back to the island, Kate may have created the loophole needed.

    My favorite theory as to why the MiB can't kill Jacob requires you to assume that the MiB and the Monster are one in the same (another idea you've floated before). In this case, the Monster is presumed to be bound somehow (godly edict? programming?) in what it can and can't do. And while this still casts a rather wide net, if you assume that the Monster can only judge and kill sinful beings, and further assume that Jacob is a being/symbol/god-like entity of goodness, a being without sin, then the Monster cannot act directly against him. The best the Monster/MiB can hope for is to dupe someone into killing its nemesis for it.

  2. I've always assumed that the loophole was the compass that Locke gives to Richard Alpert. The MiB(disguised as Locke) gives the compass to Alpert and tells him to give it to John and to tell John that he has to die. John then in turn gives it Alpert in the past. This in turn is what makes John so vulnerable; the island has broken him. Without the meeting about the compass between Alpert and Locke/MiB, the MiB would have never been able to take over Locke. Thats my two cents.

  3. Huge fan of this blog. Just a few comments on this theory: Jacob was seen talking to Hurley just before their flight back, if aaron was so important why not talk to Kate just before the flight too? Not that anyone can answer it..

    I heard a theory about the compass that because it is in a paradox, a loop where it has no beginning or end in time, that this is the literal loophole that MiB needed. The theory suggests that by creating this paradox (which most of season 5 emphasized), the MiB somehow "broke" time, and stop it from course-correcting itself, giving MiB the opening to use Locke and influence the killing of Jacob.

    One of the more interesting things about S5 was seeing how the "legend" of Locke was entirely engineered by the MiB.

  4. Great comments, all of you. Thanks for taking the time to compose them.

    I agree, Kels. I loved seeing how the 'legend of Locke' was more-or-less reverse-engineered by the MiB. That element is making this rewatch even better.

    As for the compass, those are some interesting thoughts. If Kels and Jon are correct, the compass may have functioned in a way similar to what I suggested above - somehow 'breaking' the flow of time in such a way as to create a loophole (just as, hypothetically, the act of leaving Aaron behind may have done).

    Jon, I don't believe that the MiB 'took over' Locke. Rather, the MiB/Island just impersonated Locke in the same way that it impersonates the other dead folk whose bodies reside on the Island. We see the 'real' Locke's dead body in the S5 finale.

    I hope you'll all continue to drop by and comment!

  5. Wait what? Locke dies? I diddnt get to the end of season 5 yet. Damn it! You ruined it for me.

    Just kidding.

    Morse, I chose my words poorly (typing hastily while at work). You are correct, I meant to say that the Island impersonated Locked not 'took over'.

    I think its worth noting that my experience with Lost is different than most others. I started watching Lost in January of this year. That means that Season 5 episode 1 was my introduction to the series. I have since gone back and watched seasons 1-4 ( i just finished last night) and it is quite prolific at what the cast and crew have done.

    It has been a real treat to watch and see how the writers have placed clues and set up payoffs leading all the way back to Season 1. Even more amazing is that even though I was imparted with knowledge of who lives and who dies the episodes were still riveting. January cant get here soon enough.

  6. Hey "Season 4 confirmed for us that Claire's 'ghost' is quite comfortable around fake-Christian (who I believe is, like the Man In Black, a manifestation of whatever intelligence is inhabiting the Island itself)."

    At the season finale MiB and fisherman Jacob seemed like old buddies and due that I don't thin kMiB i some obscure Entelechy.
    Feral ;)

  7. Hey, Feral/Andres!

    I'm certainly not discounting the possibility that both Jacob and his MiB 'buddy' are simply regular people. Just presenting what I think is an intriguing option that I like. Jacob and the MiB definately know each other, but I don't know that I'd call them 'old buddies' based on what we've seen so far.

    Thank you for introducing me to the concept of 'Entelechy' - I wasn't aware of it, and its interesting to read about.

  8. I used it as synonym of "Construct" but now thanks wiki I realized the term suits better if you think MiB as a herald for the island.
    Thinking of MiB, since he seems like a manipulative guy, there are some human emotions behind him so there's a human blueprint in which "it" is based on.

  9. I agree that the greatest part about re-watching is following the journey of Locke, especially if he truly does end merely as a vessel for the MiB to exact his vengeance on Jacob. From the limited knowledge we have of MiB's and Jacobs relationship, it seems that their arrangement on the island centers around Jacob's desire to bring people there to serve his ultimate purpose while the MiB despises the intrusions and wishes that the island be left alone. In whatever agreement Jacob and the MiB have, the MiB must have created a clause that if Jacob is going to insist on bringing people to the island then Jacob can be made vulnerable to the hands of those people.

    I found the most enjoyable parts of season 5 were the last few hours as we watched the reveal of the MiBs manipulation of both Ben and Alpert for decades. I believe the core of season 6 will be that even though the MiB thought he had the master plan to kill Jacob, in actuality the MiBs moves allowed Jacob to finally achieve his ultimate goal. That goal is the big final "?", but the destruction of the island seems as plausible to me as any theories about all the main characters achieving a measure of salvation.

  10. The opening scene of the season five finale suggests that Jacob was living inside the statue way back at the time of the Black Rock. I think it's an oversimplification to think that he only moved there recently as a kind of "retreat."

    Also, one commenter said that the "legend of Locke" was entirely engineered by the Man in Black. This is not entirely true. As far as we know, the chronological origin of this legend was when Locke himself told Richard in 1954 that he (Locke) would one day be their leader. Granted, the MiB had done some work manipulating Locke by that point, but the fact remains it was Locke and his own (delusional?) sense of importance that got the legend started.

  11. Stephen,

    Thanks for your thoughts. I think you're right, in that Locke participates in the creation of his own legend. B I think that commenter had a good overall point. It's 'Christian' that has Locke turn the wheel, after all. Granted, we still aren't clear on whether or not he's an aspect of the MiB (though I'm guessing yes). If he is, then he's responsible for getting Locke to skip himself through time.

    As for the idea of Jacob 'retreating' to the statue, that's just plain, unvarnished theory on my part - an attempt to tie in the importance of the cabin, the knowledge (given by Ilyana) that at some point Jacob DID live in the cabin, and what we know now of the heightened security around Jacob and the statue. We don't know enough to draw real conclusions as of yet, but I'm very much enjoying playing guess-that-mystery as I'm rewatching.

    We can always use more smart watchers/commenters. Please let me know your thoughts on these sorts of things going forward. And, if you've got alternate theories to compare to my half-assed ones I invite you to share!



  12. Don't know if you're still looking at these old ones, but I'm just catching up on the rewatch - outstanding job on all of this!

    Here are my thoughts on a few things:

    I don't think that the cabin was ever Jacob's. I don't think he ever lived there. I think that the MiB, or at least a part of his "essense," was trapped there by Jacob's knights, the Others, as a way of protecting Jacob from the MiB's plan, which Jacob saw coming. Further, I think the MiB was fully freed by Locke when he broke the circle of ash.

    My reasons for this speculation:

    1) in the S5 finale Jacob visits Ilyana and asks for her help - he knows that the ash circle has been broken and that he is somehow vunerable.
    2) someone in the cabin asks Locke for help, and who has Locke been helping (albiet, without his knowledge)?
    3) when Ilyana and her crew show up, with Locke's dead body, and say, "He's not here" (or, he hasn't been here for a long time, or whatever they say) they are referring to the MiB, not Jacob, which confirms their fears about Locke's body. After burning the cabin, they make a bee-line for the statue.
    4) the "shadow of the statue" riddle implies, along with the beginning shots of the S5 finale, that Jacob has long, or always, lived on the beach.

    If my supposition is true, what does this mean for the characters/show? Well, for one, that Ben has long been visiting the MiB, and not Jacob. Even though he couldn't communicate with anyone in the cabin it would seem to suggest that Ben has always been on the wrong path to some extent, seeking his absent "father", Jacob, and being decieved by the MiB instead. Also, it would mean that Jacob has known about MiB's loophole for sometime, and has done nothing on his own to stop it, only influencing others to help him. Does this mean that Jacob is as powerless against MiB as MiB seems to be against Jacob?

    Any thoughts?