Monday, February 1, 2010

LOST Prelude 04: Timeline, Part 3: The Oceanic Endgame

No images this time. This thing is ridiculous.

If you haven't already, and you have an iron will, read these first:

Part 1

Part 2

I'm going to have difficulty writing this part as well, but difficulty of a very different kind. In the case of the Dharma Initiative, and, to an even greater extent, the Jacobians, it has been necessary to make logical guesses and wild speculation to fill in the long gaps between the joists of what we know. In the case of the Oceanic survivors, however, the problem is that we know so very much, including much that truly isn't necessary, like the origins of Jack Shephard's tattoos. We know a great deal about some people whose overall impact on this great struggle is negligible. Thus, the difficulty will come in cutting out as much as possible. Otherwise this is going to take as long to read as it would to just catch up on the show via DVD.

About the Oceanic Others: They thought they were there by accident. It is nearly certain that they were drawn there by forces of which they were ignorant. (Please don't be confused by my use of the term "Others" to refer to them. I'm well aware that the Oceanic survivors have been calling the Jacobians "The Others" since becoming aware of them, and that this is the appellation under which the Jacobians have been generally accepted by the viewers of the show. However, hopefully at this point it should be clear that a chronological reading makes these Oceanic survivors very recent arrivals to the island, and that the mysterious "jump in, jump out" happenings involving some of them would make them, from the perspective of the island's inhabitants, the true Others.)

The Jacobians have a saying. Or, perhaps, it isn't a saying. Perhaps it is something just one Jacobian has said at one certain time. In any event, it seems important, and it seemed to be taken as common knowledge by the Jacobian who said it at the time.

It is this: "The island won't let you die."

This could be taken a lot of different ways. It could be construed that the island itself is a living entity with the ability to bestow life (we might even think of calling the human manifestation of this living island "Jacob"). It's possible that it means that time iself is a fixed thing, and if you are meant to still perform certain specific and necessary functions within time, that fate will protect you from any danger or injury.

In any event, the meaning behind this saying might explain why so many people survived the horrific accident that was the Oceanic 815 crash.

- -- - - -- -- -- - - - --

1.

Though it is nearly certain that Oceanic Flight 815 was meant to come to the island, it's not at all clear that the airplane was meant to crash, or at least not in such dramatic fashion. However, on the day it came to the island two rather dramatic things were occurring in separate places. First, Juliet Burke had diagnosed the Jacobian leader, Benjamin Linus, with an inoperable (at least by her) spinal tumor. She had also recently discovered that Linus was in love with her and, as a result, was unwilling to allow her to leave the island (as it had been agreed upon her recruitment she would be allow to do).

Also, this was the day that Desmond Hume, still working with Kelvin Inman down in the Swan station, allowed his skepticism to get the better of him. Inman had been going out on excursions, careful to wear the bio-suit each time, never allowing the stir-crazy Hume to go with him. On this day, Hume followed Inman a short way and observed him removing his bio-suit. Clearly, Inman knew that the atmosphere was not dangerous, and had been lying to him all along for some reason. He followed Inman down to a cove with a rocky beach, where he discovered Inman's treachery Inman had found Hume's sailboat and was repairing it, intending to use it to escape the island while leaving Hume behind to enter the code and dispel the Swan's energy. Enraged, Hume confronted and then attacked Inman, accidentally hitting his head on a sharp spur of rock and killing him. Hume rushed back to the Swan, where the alarms were blaring. The energy had already built up to dangerous levels. Luckily, Hume was able to dispel the energy in time to prevent a full-blown Whatever The Hell, but the ensuing mini-incident caused a massive earthquake on the island.

It also had an effect on Oceanic 815, which had just entered island airtime/space. The effect was this: It pulled it through the air like a plaything, then tore it in three pieces, throwing the tail into the ocean, the middle onto the beach, and the cockpit deep into the jungle. This killed a lot of passengers, but not nearly as many as you'd expect. Here's a list of surviving Oceanic Others at each of the three wreckage sites, in rough order by importance to the larger story, from least to greatest.

IN THE MIDDLE SECTION

Nikki and Paulo.

Luggage.


Artz - A doctor. Not explosion-proof.

Shanon Rutherford - A spoiled American rich girl. Boone's sister. Not bulletproof.

Boone Carlyle - A young American businessman. Shanon's step brother. Prone to heavily stressing the "step" in the prior sentence. Subject to gravity.

Vincent - A dog. One of the Others who has been appearing and disappearing throughout the island's timeline.

Rose Nadler - A middle-aged lady with terminal cancer. Married to Bernard Nadler in the tail section group. One of the Others who has been appearing and disappearing throughout the island's timeline.

Michael Dawson - A struggling New York artist and architect, long estranged from his son. Able to look into the middle distance while screaming his son's name forever. Was in Australia to pick up his son after the death of his ex-wife.

Walt Lloyd - Michael's son. An interesting case. He seems to have the ability to make things happen. Those things are pretty vague, but they do seem to involve an ability to project himself across space (and possibly time) and to make things he imagine become real, or perhaps control animals. He doesn't seem to know this, and it's pretty damn hard for us to figure out either. He owns Vincent. Just recently was given into the custody of Michael, a father he hardly knows, following the death of his mother.

Charlie Pace - A former member of a one-hit wonder rock band and current full-time heroin addict. He had been in Australia visiting his brother, Liam, to try to get the band back together.

Claire Littleton. An actual real Australian. Nearly full-term pregnant, she has been told by a psychic (who is almost certainly an agent of one of the island-aware Jacobian factions) that her baby is extremely special, and that she must not put up her baby for adoption. The psychic has arranged for her to be on Oceanic 815, where she intends to give her baby up for adoption to a nice LA couple. Whether this couple exists or not, we don't know. But if they exists, I'm guessing they are Jacobians, too. Oh, and her dad is Christian Shephard. That's the person who the Nemesis chose to appear as when he appeared to John Locke all those many years ago. That might be important. In fact, it may be Christian Shephard that this Jacobian "psychic" was so keen on keeping away from Littleton's baby, if one is assuming that they were of different factions among the island-aware. Which I am not. Except maybe a little bit, I am.

Sun-Hwa Kwan - The scion of a Korean auto conglomerate, Paik Automotive. Her dad, CEO of Paik, also appears to be some kind of crime boss. She's estranged from her husband, Jin, who has been working for her father as an enforcer and teddy-bear delivery man. She was planning to leave him before boarding Oceanic and changed her mind at the last minute.

Jin-Soo Kwan - Sun's husband. He was sent on this trip to deliver an expensive watch to one of his father-in-law's associates. He can whup your ass, unless your name is Sayid Jarrah. He's been on the island before. A once and future member of the Dharma Initiative and present at the Incident. He hasn't done what he did yet, though, so he doesn't remember it. He is one of the Others who has been appearing and disappearing throughout the island's timeline.

Hugo "Hurley" Reyes - He's been on the island before. A once and future member of the Dharma Initiative and present at the Incident. He hasn't done what he did yet, though, so he doesn't remember it. He won the lottery using the numbers that have been transmitting from the island, and he believes himself cursed because of it. He's also spent a bit of time in a psyche ward.

Kate Austin
- A fugitive being brought to justice by a U.S. Marshall. She's been on the lam for killing her father. Believes herself innocent of being guilty, despite all the guiltiness. She's been on the island before. A once and future member of the Dharma Initiative and present at the Incident. She hasn't done what she did yet, though, so she doesn't remember it. As a child, she had a brief but (we assume) significant encounter with Jacob.

Sayid Jarrah - A former special-operations interrogator for the Iraqi Republican Guard. A tech/communications expert and all-around bad-ass. He'll torture ya, but only if you need it. He's been on the island before. Present at the Incident, thirty years ago he is going to shoot Benjamin Linus. He hasn't done what he did yet, though, so he doesn't remember it.

James "Sawyer" Ford - A con-man who had come to Australia seeking revenge against the con-man, also named Sawyer, who caused his father to kill his mother, then himself. A once and future member of the Dharma Initiative and present at the Incident. He hasn't done what he did yet, though, so he doesn't remember it. He is one of the Others who has been appearing and disappearing throughout the island's timeline, and is of particular interest to Richard Alpert, with whom he has conversed. As a child, Ford had a brief but (we assume) significant encounter with Jacob.

Jack Shephard - A gifted spinal surgeon, he came to Australia to collect the dead body of his father, Christian, and transport it back to the United States, along with his prize-winning Messiah complex. A once and future member of the Dharma Initiative and present at the Incident. He hasn't done what he did yet, though, so he doesn't remember it. His heroic actions saved many lives immediately following the crash, and branded him as the de facto leader of the survivors.

John Locke - A paraplegic who has traveled to Australia to take part in a survivalist "walkabout," an idea that was given to him by Matthew Abbadon, an agent of Charles Widmore who had been posing as an orderly. A sad, bitter man, who is desperate for destiny, abandoned by his parents and then badly used and crippled by his con-man father. Locke is given to almost manic bouts of hope. He is one of the Others who has been appearing and disappearing throughout the island's timeline, and is of extreme interest to Richard Alpert, who wonders if he might be the leader of the Jacobians. He is also of great interest to the Nemesis, who will meet/has met him, hundreds or thousands of years ago. He hasn't done what he did yet, though, so he doesn't remember it.


FROM THE TAIL

Nathan - A dude. Quite likely a member of one of the island-aware factions opposed to the Jacobians. We'll get into why later.

Zach - A little boy.

Emma - His sister.

Cindy - A stewardess on Oceanic. Very likely a an off-island Jacobian. We'll get into why later.

Bernard Nadler - Rose's husband. He'd been accompanying his wife to a mystic in Australia in vain hope that she would be cured of her cancer. He is one of the Others who has been appearing and disappearing throughout the island's timeline.

Mr. Eko - A former Nigerian drug lord who has been posing as a Catholic priest in a strange form of penance for his role in the death of his brother, Yemi. It was his yellow Beechcraft drug plane that crash-landed on the island years ago near Pearl Station. He doesn't know that the plane and his brother's corpse are on the island. He came to Australia to investigate a reported miracle; the alleged resurrection of a young drowned girl. This girl was the daughter of the psychic who had ensured that Claire Littleton was on Oceanic 815.

Libby Smith - Allegedly a clinical psychologist, we know that she spent some time in the capacity of "inmate" in the same psyche ward as Hugo "Hurley" Reyes. She gave Desmond Hume the boat that brought him to the island, so she's been working on island matters before now. I think we can say that, of all the Oceanic passengers who must be suspected to be a Jacobian or island-aware, Libby Smith is by far the most probable.

Ana Lucia Cortez - An ex-policewoman who brought her gun, her temper, and her drinking problem to Australia, providing the soon-to-be late Christian Shephard with bodyguard services as he visited his secret family (a daughter and a wife/babymama) and drank himself to death.

We should probably do a brief overview of Christian. He is Jack's father. He's also Claire's father. Claire and Jack are totally unaware of one another. Also, he brought Ana Lucia to the island to be his bodyguard, but he didn't seem to need a bodyguard. (I know what you're thinking, but he didn't try to give her the business, either.) Not only did he not need a bodyguard, but he seemed intently determined to drink himself to death, "Leaving Las Vegas" style. He is directly responsible for bringing Jack and Ana Lucia to the island, and we know he was also involved in Claire's life. He also met Sawyer briefly. Let's just say he was very involved in the lives of the Oceanics up to the point of death and (as we'll see) after. Given the preponderance of circumstantial evidence, I think we have to at least consider the idea that Christian Shephard was a member of one of the island-aware factions. Also, given what we have come to know about John Locke (we'll get to the specifics of this later), we should probably assume that Christian's posthumous appearances on the island are actually the Nemesis, taking his form.


IN THE COCKPIT

The pilot. He gets killed almost right away. It would appear that he was killed by the smoke creature/Nemesis, though we don't see exactly how it happens.

That's all.


Now, a few points of conjecture about Oceanic Flight 815, based on what we know. We know that there have been island-aware people living in "our" world for at least the last few decades. It is strongly likely that these people are in at least two opposing factions. It's worth at least speculating that one of these factions had at one time involved the U.S. military in their pursuits. At the very least, we know that one faction has gone corporate, and that this corporation's interests include the Dharma Initiative. We also know that there is a Dharma station that had been used for some time to locate the island, and that, three years from the Oceanic crash, it could and would be used again by Eloise Hawking for these purposes. We also know that among these island-aware are two former leaders of the Jacobians; the aforementioned Eloise Hawking, who seems to have left voluntarily for reasons surrounding the fate of her son, Daniel; and Charles Widmore, who has been banished by the Jacobians. We know that Widmore considers the loss of leadership and his banishment to be an act of betrayal and thievery by Benjamin Linus. (It is worth pointing out, that since we know Widmore is obsessed with finding the island, and since he has been unsuccessful, that either he has no knowledge of, or access to, the Lamp Post station, or that the Lamp Post has been, since the time of his banishment until the time of the Oceanic flight, non-functional. Given that we have strong evidence of Widmore's ties to the Dharma Initiative, it would seem that the latter is the more likely option.) Finally, we know that Jacob calls people to the island, both by subtle guidance, and sometimes (as we will see) by direct request.

So let's speculate.

It seems likely that the people who survived the Oceanic crash were "meant" to come to the island, and that most of them had encountered Jacob, much as we know Locke, Ford and Austin to have done, before their arrival. As has been mentioned before, the evidence seems to show that these people arrived on the island unaware of the significance of their Jacobian encounter, and believing themselves to have arrived by accident.

It also seems likely that a faction of island-aware Jacobians, including the Australian psychic, and possibly Christian Shephard, were working to ensure that these passengers were on the flight.

It further seems likely that the Oceanic flight, which "found" the island, was suspected by some to do so, and had as its passengers a number of island-aware plants of both/all factions.

Finally, it seems likely that the majority of the passengers were not island-aware, and were not "meant" to be on the island. Because they died. I guess the island gave them permission. And really, since their aircraft ripped apart a few thousand feet up, you can't blame them.

There were eleven other unnamed survivors from the tail section.

There were thirty other unnamed survivors from the middle section. Many of them were among the Others who have been appearing and disappearing throughout the island's timeline. Those of the thirty who are among that number will all eventually be killed approximately fifty years ago in a Jacobian arrow attack or by U.S. Army issue claymore mines.

What the destiny of these unnamed might have been is not really a part of this story. But it seems that the island "would not allow them to die", because they survived a crash that nobody should survive. Perhaps it healed them. It certainly healed Locke, who regained use of his legs, and Rose Nadler, whose cancer went into remission. Both individuals seemed to have been healed immediately upon coming to the island, and both chose, at first, to keep their pre-island conditions a secret from their companions.

One last note. It's worth repeating that there is one Oceanic survivor who we know for a fact was manipulated into being on Oceanic 815 by an off-island agent of Charles Widmore. That survivor is John Locke.

- -- - - -- -- -- - - - --

Driven from the former Dharma barracks by the earthquake caused by Hume's near-Incident, the Jacobians saw Oceanic 815 break apart. Ben Linus immediately sent two of his men to investigate the two main sections. Ethan Rom was sent to investigate the larger middle section, and Juliet Burke's lover, Goodwin Stanhope, was sent to the tail. The were instructed to infiltrate the survivors and to get a list of their names.

I would like to point out that it can be taken as informative of the Jacobian understanding of the island that Linus and the rest of the Jacobians took it for granted that there would be enough survivors at each crash site to compose a list. I personally would not presume survivors of a craft break-up at 3,000 feet or so. I would think something like this: "Woah. There aren't going to be any survivors of THAT."

About Linus' motives we still know little. However, we can surmise that his bitterness toward Jacob had grown during the continued fatal pregnancies of the Jacobian women, and most particularly at his recent diagnosis of fatal cancer. We do know that Linus had grown into a capable and highly resourceful, if manipulative, leader, with the ability to manage complex plans and to remain highly flexible in moments of extreme pressure. We also know that he had become a man who was capable of being extremely possessive, selfish, vindictive, and cruel. As a result, what we have heard him say may enter the public record, but only under extreme scrutiny.

It's clear that he was focused very heavily on the fertility problems among the Jacobians. We also know that he had taken residence in Horace Goodspeed's old Dharma house, the one with the secret passage into the Jacobian tunnels. It is evident that he had access to these tunnels, and some form of communication with the creature who is suspected to be the Nemesis. It's also evident that he was aware of Goodspeed's cabin, where the Nemesis had taken residence, and has at least claimed to believe that Jacob lived there. There is also strong evidence that he, like his predecessor Widmore, had begun to make trips off-island under a number of different aliases. It's likely, given what we know what happened to Widmore when his off-island activity was made known, that Linus made these comings and goings secret from all or most of his followers.

So, it seems likely from all of this (as well as information from the previous timeline posts) that Linus had been manipulated by the Nemesis from early childhood and throughout his life. I think we can observe, by way of ancient tunnels and by the way that the creature seems to be a part of the Jacobian spiritual life, that the evidence is quite strong that the Nemesis has managed to influence every leader of the Jacobians to some extent. It's unknown if Ben's intimate knowledge of most of the powerful functions and secret passages of the island came from the Nemesis or from Alpert's instruction.

Linus was clearly very interested to learn about the presence of children in both crash sites. He was, for reasons that are not clear, particularly interested in the boy Walt Lloyd. He was, one presumes, all the more interested in the presence of a pregnant woman who had conceived off-island. He was almost certainly most pleased of all by the presence of a surgeon with the exact skill necessary to remove his previously-inoperable tumor.

Goodwin Stanhope and Ethan Rom infiltrated their respective camps and brought back lists of passenger names. It has to be assumed that the names of John Locke and James Ford were of extreme interest to Richard Alpert, who had last seen John Locke in 1954, claiming to be the Jacobian leader, and who had last seen James Ford, a man who claimed to know Locke well, in 1977. It's likely that Alpert did not share his knowledge with Linus, since Linus later has claimed to not be aware of the Others time traveling ways, but Linus lies SO MUCH. He may have known. It seems likely that Linus could at least infer the high level of interest that Alpert (and any other Jacobians who may have been with him in 1954) would have had in John Locke, and that he most probably viewed Locke as a rival for his own position. I say this because Linus' behavior regarding Locke is consistent with extreme jealousy.

It isn't known why Linus took an approach with the Tail site survivors that was so much more aggressive than that of the Middle section. The most logical speculation would probably lie in one of two hypotheses. Either (1) the sensitive and valuable nature of the pregnant Littleton, the extraordinary Lloyd, and the surgeon Shephard (to say nothing about what Alpert thought of Locke and Ford), required a more circumspect approach, or (2) the Tail site may have had a very high number of island-aware individuals of both/all factions, who needed to be dealt with. Also, the Middles had in their number the US Marshal who had been transporting Austin. The marshal died of his injuries, but the Middles eventually found his guns. Ticklish situation.

In any case, the Tail site was attacked the first night, and two survivors (names unknown) were abducted. Eko killed two Jacobians in the altercation, which, it must be assumed, is what kept them away for the next two weeks. At the next abduction, they made away with another eleven survivors, including the two children. The whereabouts of the eleven (in all) abducted adults, and the Jacobians reasons for wanting to take them, are unknown (which is why I speculate -- rather wildly -- that they may have been either complicit fellow Jacobians from off-island, or hostile anti-Jacobians from off island). The children appear to have been adopted/abducted into the Jacobian order.

By the way, here's another reason I think there may have been some island-aware in the Tail site. After the children were abducted, Ana Lucia Cortez, the Tail site's own de facto leader, became increasingly paranoid about their having a spy in their midst. She was right about that, as Goodwin had successfully infiltrated them. However, she was began to suspect that fellow survivor Nathan was the spy, and was encouraged in this by Cindy. Once Nathan was imprisoned by Cortez, Goodwin murdered him, snapping his neck. Now, the Jacobians have done plenty of killing when they felt threatened, but simply killing an island-neutral member of an infiltrated group does not seem like their style. What was his motivation? Goodwin claimed that Nathan was "not a good person." This sounds like "opposing faction" type talk to me. This is also hint number one to me that Cindy is likely aligned with Goodwin-as-Jacobian, as it was she who encouraged suspicion against Nathan.

Meanwhile . . .

As the Middle section survivors wrestled with issues of rescue, survival, mistrust of one another, and fear of the creature in the jungle, they became aware of a number of important things. First, the island had unusual magnetic properties. Second, Rousseau's radio transmission let them know that they were not the island's first visitors. Thirdly, there were polar bears, so this was a for sure weird place. Fourthly, Jarrah discovered that the power cable leading from the jungle into the submerged Looking Glass station, as well as a crazy French lady named Rousseau. Fifthly . . .

Well, fifthly, we need to pull up a moment. This is probably very important. I say "probably" because we don't have much of an idea what happened beyond the basics, which are: Locke met up with the creature/Nemesis, and survived. After that, Locke told nobody about this. Also, Locke began to exhibit some strange behavior. For example, when Jarrah tried to create a radio broadcast to send out a distress beacon, Locke brained him with a stick and smashed the radio. Locke's talk about destiny on the island, which had been extreme before, began to sound even more like the utterances of a prophet or a homeless schizophrenic. Locke clearly understood the island to be a living thing in some way, with a destiny to provide.

We have to speculate about this. Allow me to propose that Locke, having met the Nemesis for the first time, began acting as though he were, in fact, meant to be leader of the Jacobians. And allow me to further propose that, whatever other communication may have passed between them, that this notion came to him from the Nemesis. In other words, the Nemesis came to Locke and told him that he, Locke, had a destiny here, that he was meant to be the leader of a tribe of people and a protector of the island. Locke, desperate for destiny and the recent recipient of a miracle, needed little convincing.

Whether I am right or not, I think it is safe to say that John Locke's loyalties were, even from this early point, not to the survivors primarily, but to the island. To the extent his actions were benevolent toward his survivors, they were so only because he hoped that they could be convinced to see and love the island as he did, and that when their interests crossed his perceived notion of what was best for the island and its people, he consistently turned on this tribe of Oceanic Others, to their great confusion and dismay. This was especially problematic for Locke's companions because Locke believed that it would be very dangerous for the island to have anybody leave, and all of his companions were primarily motivated by a desire to be rescued and to leave the island.

Stop to consider this. Richard Alpert believed Locke to potentially be the next leader of the Jacobians. He believed this because of Locke's miraculous time travel, and because of Locke's miraculous confidence that he was, indeed, the leader of the Jacobians. If this speculation is correct, then Locke's confidence, passed on to Alpert, was started here. And it was started by the Nemesis. This confidence in John Locke had the further effect of buttressing Linus' ever-increasing resentment against Jacob. Thus the Nemesis began to create the leader, Locke, that Alpert will trust and give access to Jacob. Thus, the Nemesis honed the weapon, Linus, that he would eventually use against Jacob. Thus, the loophole began to open.

So that's the fifth thing.

The sixth thing was that Christian Shephard, who (let's remember) was dead, appeared to his son, Jack. Jack was quite understandably upset about this, especially when he found Christian's coffin empty. Christian's body was never recovered. I think that coming events will make it abundantly clear how likely it is that "Christian" was actually the Nemesis taking on the form of the dead man.

Finally, a review of the Oceanic manifest let them know that the "survivor" Ethan Rom had not been on the flight. At the precise moment of this discovery, Rom kidnapped Littleton, with her boyfriend-wannabe Charlie Pace in pursuit. Shephard and Austin tried to catch up to Rom, but were slowed down when they came to the place where Rom hung Pace from a tree by the neck and left him to die. Pace survived; Rom escaped, taking Littleton to the Staff station, where she was kept heavily drugged for observation and eventual delivery.

Locke, who had become the group's chief hunter, went out trying to track her. During this search, Locke and his companion on the mission, Boone Carlyle, made the Other's first discovery of one of the island's major artifacts. It was the upper hatch into the Swan station. Locke and Carlyle became obsessed with finding out what was down there (hint: it was an increasingly depressed Scotsman), keeping the hatch a secret from the rest of the group. Again, Locke was big on secrets. I speculate that he saw this hatch as an important part of the island, and perhaps not to be shared.

The struggle for rescue and survival continued. There were lots of interpersonal dramatics that made for very good television and don't really matter very much for these purposes. They definitely add flavor, though.

Michael Dawson began to build a raft, assisted by Jin Kwan. James Ford was selected to join them when they pushed off in search of rescue.

Some time later, Littleton escaped the Staff station. She was assisted by Rousseau and Alex Linus. Alex, you'll remember, was Benjamin Linus' adopted daughter and a Jacobian. Alex didn't know that Rousseau was really her mother, but she was a rebellious teenager and conflicted about holding a pregnant stranger against her will in order to kidnap her baby (this is known as "normal person thinking"). Furthermore, she was angry and disillusion with her father. Linus had detected her affair with a young Jacobian named Karl, and, worried that Alex might become pregnant, and (shortly thereafter as a result) dead, Linus whisked him away for "reprogramming," a process that will be familiar to those of you who have watched A Clockwork Orange.

In any event, the result was Littleton's escape and return to the Oceanic group. As a result of the drugs she ingested, Littleton was confused and disoriented, unable to remember where she had been or why. This made for some very convenient television. Rom was really pissed about the escape. Also, he was probably in deep trouble with Linus for losing the one pregnant lady on the island with a hope of successful delivery. He came back and threatened Charlie Pace with violent and fatal retribution if Littleton wasn't returned. A day later, an Oceanic survivor was killed, presumably by Rom. The next day, Rom came back, and Pace shot him dead.

Now, this one is interesting. Walt set fire to the raft, an action very consistent with what we know about Locke's motivations. One has to presume he did it before Locke could. In any event, Walt didn't want to leave, either. Why he had come to the same conclusion as Locke regarding island escape is unknown . . . but it could be worth some speculation. Too bad I got nothing.

Around this time, over in the Tail site, Cortez discovered that Goodwin was a Jacobian spy. They fought, he died. This pleased Linus, and in fact seems to have been his hope when he sent Goodwin on this mission. He brought Juliet Burke, whom he wished to possess, to see her lover's corpse, and hissed at her, "you're mine." It's around this time that Burke really stopped liking Linus at all, and started . . . oh what's the word? Hate. She started hating him.

The Tailies left the beach and headed into the jungle, exploring, where they discovered the abandoned Arrow station. In the station they found edited footage from a training video featuring Pierre Chang, and a radio.

Locke and Carlyle, having dug a deep moat around the Swan hatch, went exploring in the jungle based on a dream Locke had, and discovered the Beechcraft. Locke sent Carlyle up into it, where Carlyle made brief contact on radio with the Tailies. Then the little airplane fell, and Carlyle died from the massive injuries. The death caused a major, and never fully repaired, rift between Locke and Shephard, as well as Locke's first major crisis of faith in the island's power.

The night of Carlyle's death, Littleton gave birth to a son, whom she named Aaron, and whom Pace named Turniphead. Also on this night, Ford, Locke, Burke, Straume, Lewis, Faraday, Vincent, Jin Kwan, and Rose and Bernard Nadler appeared on the island in a flash (except Jin, who was bobbing around in the ocean), and then disappeared a few hours later. Nobody saw these time travelers, though Locke, Burke, and Ford of the future/past witnessed Littleton giving birth, assisted by Austin.

Soon thereafter, Rousseau warned the Oceanic survivors, telling them that the Jacobians were coming to steal the infant, and recommending that they hide rather than fight. Earlier, Jarrah had discovered the existence of the Swan hatch, and had forced Locke show it to him and to Shephard. Shephard Jarrah, and Locke devised a plan to blow open the Swan hatch with dynamite in order to hide their companions inside. Rousseau then led Shephard, Austin, Locke, and Reyes to the Black Rock to get the dynamite. Then Rousseau went creeping back and stole Aaron anyway, in hopes that the Jacobians would return her baby to her. She's a little crazy, folks. Jarrah and Pace set off in pursuit, successfully returning little Turniphead to his mama.

Kwan and Dawson completed the raft, and pushed off with Walt and Ford also aboard. Linus sent one of his lieutenants, a man named Tom Friendly, to intercept them and abduct Walt. The Jacobians did this easily, shooting Ford, setting fire to the raft, leaving Kwan floating in the ocean (get used to it, bubba), taking Walt with them, and subjecting us to the first of 7,856 "WAAAAAAALT"s from Dawson. (Incidentally, it's unclear why the Jacobians disguised themselves in filthy rags and matted beards during these and other interactions with the Oceanic Others. The only thing I can figure is that Linus always appears to prefer to act from a position of greater knowledge, and to put his opponents in a position of less knowledge. Or the writers hadn't figured it out yet. Naaaaah . . .)

As they made their way back to the Swan site with the dynamite, Shepherd, Austin, Reyes, and Locke encountered the Nemesis, who grabbed Locke and attempted to drag him underground. Shephard saved Locke from this fate, and it is interesting to note that Locke was upset with him for it.

As if he'd been waiting and hoping to meet the Nemesis again.


2.

The dynamite successfully blew the door off of the hatch, and Austin, Locke, and Shephard descended into the Swan station, encountering Desmond Hume, who explained to them the work he was doing "to save the world," and showed them a heavily-edited training video by a one-armed Pierre Chang, with references to the Incident and instructions on entering the code to dispel the Swan station's energy build-up. Then, apparently considering himself relieved of duty, Hume ran off into the jungle and to his Inman-repaired sailboat.

Jack had no intention of pushing the buttons, believing that the whole thing was a sham experiment to see how long the subject would perform a meaningless task. Locke, unsurprisingly, believed that the task was in fact very important, and a part of his destiny. We happen to know that Locke was right; failure to push the button would result in Very Bad Things. Luckily, Locke prevailed, and the Oceanic Others began to take number-entering shifts at the Swan. Also luckily, the Swan was provisioned with all the sorts of things that this nice group of criminals and paranoiacs stranded on Mystery Friggin' Island would want. Food, water, shower, high-powered guns, a holding cell. Unfortunately for them, whenever they were in the Swan, they were observable from the Pearl, which is how Linus and the rest of the Jacobians kept tabs on them.

Entering the numbers in the Swan became the routine for a time, and during that time, the following things happened.

1) Kwan, Ford, and Dawson made it back to the island alive, where they met up with the remaining Tailies (that would be Cortez, Eko, Smith, Cindy, and Bernard). After convincing each other that they respectively were not the island hillbillies who had been abducting their respective children, they set off together to rejoin the Middle Section camp.

2) Shanon Rutherford (Who? Exactly.) was led by what appeared to be an apparition of Walt to the place where the Merged Tribe (copyright Jeff Probst) was traveling, just at the worst possible time. Cindy had just vanished, and Cortez was high-strung. How high-strung? Enough to shoot Rutherford right in the chest. Rutherford died. What the apparition of Walt was doing out there, or what it means, is beyond me. If it was the Nemesis, I believe this would be the only instance in which it has appeared as a still-living person. If it was Walt or Jacob, it was still a lousy thing to have done to a boring character. On the other hand, I suppose it should be noted that Walt or "Walt" seemed to be warning Rutherford away, though since he essentially led her out there in the process, he may as well have not bothered. In any event, Cortez made a spectacularly bad first impression upon joining up with the Middle section.

Oh, and the disappeared Cindy later turned up in the Jacobian camp, taking care of the abducted Tail children. When questioned by Shephard, she told him that they were better off there. So that's just about it for the "Cindy is a Jacobian" case. You make your decisions. I think Oceanic 815 was crawling with the island-aware.

3) Sun and Jin were reunited, at which point Jin took Sun back behind the middle school and got her pregnant.

4) The Nemesis appeared to take an interest in Eko, who, upon discovering his brother's body in his own drug plane, became increasingly convinced that the island was a place of destiny in a very Locke-ish sort of way. Eko became the second person to come face-to-smoke with the Nemesis and live. It is possible that the Nemesis was considering Eko as an alternate "leader" in his plan to kill Jacob.

5) Michael Dawson, during his shift in the Swan, was contacted through the computer by somebody claiming to be Walt, though it was almost certainly some other Jacobian operative. Dawson's conversations with this person, which included information on where "Walt" could be found, led Dawson to steal a gun and go running into Jacobian territory to rescue his son. He was promptly captured.

It is at this point that Benjamin Linus infiltrated the camp of the Oceanic Others. It's hard to conceive that Linus, who knew the island so well, would allow himself to be captured in one of Rousseau's booby-traps. However, there seems to have been absolutely no tactical advantage to his being captured by the Others, given that he already had dossiers on most or all of them, and was now able to observe them through the Pearl station. In fact, his capture appears to have put him in a great deal of danger without much gained in return. For this reason, we have to at least consider that he was accidentally captured.

We don't know if Rousseau recognized the man caught in her net as the man who had kidnapped her daughter. Having caught him, though, she gave him over to the most dangerous man she could sort of trust: Sayid Jarrah. Rousseau told Jarrah that Linus was "one of them", and Jarrah brought him back to the Swan brig for some questioning and light torture.

Linus, finding himself in this position (whether on purpose or no), made the most of his circumstances, claiming to be a balloonist named Henry Gale who had crashed on the island years ago. This was a good lie, since there actually had been a balloonist named Henry Gale, and the balloon wreckage was still there as corroboration to his story. Unfortunately for him, Sayid was a suspicious sort and did some digging, quite literally. He dug at the balloon site and found the real Henry Gale, with driver's license, buried there in a shallow grave. When he wasn't pursing his new hobbies of cowering in the Swan's brig and getting pummeled by Jarrah, Linus used his time to undermine Locke's faith in the island and in his mission at the Swan hatch, most significantly when a malfunction caused Locke to be incapacitated, and Linus himself had to enter the code. Though he did so, he claimed not to have done a thing, causing Locke grave doubts. I would guess that, as Linus seems to have understood the importance of the Swan mission that his intent was to undermine Locke, not the actual Swan operation. I would also guess that, since Linus clearly has encyclopedic knowledge of the island, the hatches, and their function, that this "malfunction" was engineered by Linus himself.

The Jacobians, meanwhile, had decided to use their leverage with the captured Dawson against him. They offered him a deal. They would let him return to the Other's camp, where he would free Benjamin Linus, and then return with Shephard, Reyes, Ford, and Austin. In return, they promised that he would be allowed to leave the island with Walt. Dawson returned, and, after being debriefed about what he knows of the Jacobians (almost all of which is nothing but a ruse), he found himself alone in the Swan station with Cortez, who had a gun and was trying to work up the courage to murder Linus. Dawson, claiming he was willing to do it for her, took the gun and shot Cortez, fatally wounding her. He then shot Libby Smith, who came into the Swan by happenstance. Dawson freed Linus and then shot himself in the arm to make it appear that Linus had shot everybody during his escape.

At this precise moment, Desmond came back in his sailboat, totally drunk. It appears you need to be on a very exact bearing if you are trying to leave the island, or else you just keep coming back around again. Desmond, drunk as a . . . well, as a Scotsman, opined that the island was a snow globe. As I've mentioned before, I think it's more like a moon. To-may-to, to-mah-to. Anyway, the Others suddenly had a sailboat. Sweet.

Meanwhile, Eko, led by a dream of his dead brother, brought Locke out to the site of both Locke's greatest island failure (Carlyle's death) and Eko's greatest interest (his old drug plane holding his brother's body). Once there, they discovered the Pearl station, along with evidence in the form of yet another Pierre Chang orientation film that the Swan was a sham, and that the true experiment was in watching the Swan subjects to see how long they would continue performing a meaningless task. Locke, his faith already shaken, was now totally lost and embittered. Eko, conversely, did not believe the Pearl revelation, and was instead convinced that the work at the Swan was of utmost importance. He was right, though it's difficult to see why he thought that.

Smith died from her wounds before identifying Dawson, but Dawson's inflexible insistence on attacking the Jacobians with only a precise group of people drew the suspicion of Jarrah, who shared with Shephard his opinion that Dawson had been compromised. For some reason, they came up with a really dumb plan, which involved:

(1) Letting Dawson take Shephard, Austin, Ford, and Reyes to a certain point of the island, where he (Dawson) had specified was the location of the Jacobian base.

(2) Where Jarrah and the Kwans would be waiting, having already sailed around the island to that point.

(3) Ha ha ha.

Unfortunately, though Jarrah was a sharp fellow in most cases, he didn't consider the possibility that Dawson, who he suspected had just committed double murder while lying about everything else, wasn't lying about where he planned to lead his friends. It turns out that Dawson was, in fact, also lying about that. Thus, Jarrah and the Kwans were on the far side of the island from where the abduction took place. Shephard, Reyes, Austin, and Ford were taken captive by the Jacobians. Walt Lloyd was released to Dawson, and the two were given a boat and the coordinates by which to leave the island.

Locke, meanwhile, had determined to end the Swan charade. With Desmond as his assistant, he decided to force Eko to stop entering the code in the Swan station. Since Eko was big and strong and dangerous enough to destroy them and five others like them, Desmond, using his knowledge of the Swan's mechanisms, accomplished this by lowering blast shield doors and cutting Eko off from the control room. Eko responded by getting Charlie Pace to help him carry some of that sweet sweet Black Rock dynamite back to the Swan to try to knock the blast doors down. The dynamite failed.

You might wonder why Hume would have wanted to help Locke, given that he knew that not pushing the button leads to earthquakes and scariness. Hume must have started asking himself that as well, as he began to argue with Locke about entering the code. Locke responded by smashing the computer. The numbers ran out and the Swan station began to buckle under the electromagnetic build-up. As the situation reached a critical level, Hume made his way beneath the Swan station with the failsafe key. He turned it, and something happened.

Whatever that something was, I would suggest that it was one of the most important events in the island's long history. It has been referred to as "the reset button", and I would guess that, if this island's timeline continually repeats itself, it is this moment that causes it to reset. Of course, this would require my assumption that the Swan's electromagnetic pocket exists throughout the island's timeline to be accurate. The fact that what happened to the Swan, while catastrophic, did not kill any of the people in or near it, supports the idea that whatever was going on was primarily extra-dimensional.

However or whatever happened, there were a few short and long term effects of the Failsafe Event that were observable.

1) The Swan station imploded. It was completely and totally gone, leaving only a large pit in the ground. The only thing remaining was the hatch door, which was blown all the way to the beach. By an implosion. I don't know. Magnetic opposing poles, blah blah blah look away.

2) For a few minutes, the sky turned purple and there was an earthquake.

3) Eko was left wandering and confused. Locke was left temporarily deaf. Hume . . . something very unusual happened to Hume. We'll get back to that.

4) It seems clear from what came next that, as a result of the Failsafe Event, the island had now become visible to various entities for whom it had previously been hidden, including Charles Widmore and his daughter, Penelope.

5) From remarks that Linus has made, which I think can almost be taken at face value, it meant that the traditional method for Jacobians coming and going from the island was no longer an option. What that traditional method was, I don't know, but it appears that Linus had kept up Dharma's charade that a submarine was used for these purposes.


From the events that followed, we can deduce that Benjamin Linus understood at least in part what the Failsafe Event meant. Even if he didn't understand the implications, if any, on a quantum level, he certainly knew that the island was now visible to Widmore. Linus was a man who needed to manipulate a man who hated him into performing life-saving surgery on him, shore up his power base, prepare for a coming invasion, prevent anybody among his recruits from knowing the truth of where the island was, get Jacob to finally speak to him, discredit John Locke, plan his wedding, kill his wife, and frame Guildor for it.

He was swamped.


3.

Linus and the Jacobians sent Reyes back to the Oceanic camp, to warn the Others never to come back into Jacobian territory. They brought Shephard, Austin, and Ford to the Hydra station on the small island. Hydra, I'm sure you'll remember, was a zoological research facility for Dharma. (What? You don't remember? But I totally mentioned it 700,000 words ago. Pay attention.) They isolated Shephard in an empty dolphin tank, and kept Austin and Ford in abandoned polar bear cages. Linus was aware of the fact that Ford and Shephard were rivals for Austin's attentions (by which I mean knockin' boots), and it appears that he was willing to manufacture events (including making Austin think that Ford was going to be executed) that would allow Shephard to observe Ford and Austin having sex in the bear cages. In addition, Linus offered Shephard conveyance off the island in exchange for the needed surgery.

What he didn't know was that Juliet Burke, whom Linus had sent to Jack to act as good cop to his bad cop, and who would be Shephard's assistant in the operating room, had secretly suggested that Shephard allow Linus to die on the operating table. Burke, let's remember, hated Linus really bad ever since Goodwin's death.

During surgery, Shephard pulled a double cross on them both, making a life-threatening incision and refusing to repair it unless Ford and Austin were allowed to go. Linus allowed it, but there were complications.

There have been, as I've mentioned, hints that Linus' hold on his people was becoming more and more tenuous, possibly because of the arrival of Locke-the-potential-leader; possibly because he was now known by some to have become ill on an island where such things just didn't happen, at least not to the chosen; possibly because in Linus' attempts to bring Shephard to him, he appears to have countervailed Jacob's direct orders (the available hints seem to suggest that he was meant to bring Locke, not Shephard & Company), perhaps even because Linus led them into Dharma-like, un-Jacobian ways.

When Ford and Austin were allowed to go free, the first sign of defection occurred. The Jacobians had stolen Hume's ship from Jarrah and the Kwans, but before they did, Sun Kwan shot one of the Jacobian boarding party and killed her. At least one Jacobian had also been killed by Austin and Ford in a skirmish before they were captured. And now the husband of the woman Sun had killed disobeyed Linus' orders, running off to execute the Others. Burke killed him. Ford and Austin escaped, guided by Alex Linus, who needed their help to break her boyfriend, Karl, out of reprogramming. Since Karl was only being guarded by Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, this was easily accomplished. Karl wandered off, not to be seen again for a while. Ford and Austin continued back to their camp, without Shephard.

Also, "Jarrah and the Kwans" would be a great name for a doo-wop group. Let's move on.

For shedding Jacobian blood, Burke was condemned to death, but her execution was stayed by Linus, who was recovering from a successful surgery. It's unknown if this put further strain on his connection to his people. Shephard shipped back to the Dharma barracks with the Jacobians, intending to ship out and bring a rescue party back to the island for his friends.

A large-scale chess match between Widmore and Linus was developing. Some of these things we know very clearly, in other cases we must surmise. But one thing was certain: Widmore was coming, and Linus both knew it and was preparing for it.

Widmore was by his own admission outfitting a freighter to go to the island. For the mission, he contracted a normal seagoing crew, as well as a group of extremely efficient and ruthless mercenaries. Their mission was to find Benjamin Linus and bring him back alive.

He also sent a separate scientific crew.

Naomi Dorrit was a mercenary recruited by Abbadon to protect the team.

Charlotte Lewis was an anthropologist who had lived on the island years ago as a child in the Dharma initiative. She was chosen for her existing knowledge of the island, and had decided to come because her life's obsession was returning to the island she had so suddenly been evacuated from in 1977. One of her missions was to shut down the poison gas delivery system of the Tempest.

Miles Straume was a specialist with the ability to sense residual memories of the nearby dead. Though he didn't know it, he'd been born on the island and evacuated by his father, Pierre Chang, while still an infant. He'd been sent to communicate with the dead on the island pursuant to finding Linus. He agreed to come for the money, and the chance for more money.

Daniel Faraday was a brilliant young physicist who had studied time theory and had become lost in his mind, with a kind of progressively degrading "time illness", which affected his memory and ability to distinguish one time from another. He was personally recruited by his father, Charles Widmore, and encouraged to go by his mother, Eloise Hawking. It's very likely that these two individuals had very different reasons for wanting Faraday to go. In fact, I'd propose that Eloise Hawking, who had come to possess Faraday's journal thirty years before, at the moment of his death and before he had been born, had intimate knowledge of exactly what would become of her son, and how desperately important it was that he do what he was fated to do.

Widmore's intentions are harder to read. However, it is clear that it was he behind the freighter excursion to the island. It's not as clear who procured an airliner, filled it with (hopefully already) dead bodies, and then submerged it. Fake Oceanic was for sure discovered, though, and it was presumed that all aboard had perished. It seems likely that it was either Widmore or Linus, as each has accused the other of having done the job. A fourth member of Widmore's scientific team, Frank Lapidus, was the pilot who'd been scheduled to fly Oceanic 815. He agreed to come because he was convinced that the Oceanic 815 that had been discovered was a phony. He may have been chosen because he was right about that, and Widmore found it best to keep him out of the way.

It should be noted that if you were to go by the "who is a conniving little weasel" yardstick, you'd do well to bet that Linus was behind this ruse. However, if you look at it in terms of motivation, it should be clear that Widmore had one and Linus does not seem to have; Widmore would have wanted the island to himself, and nobody else looking around out there, as well as the ability to instruct his mercenaries to engage in maximum deniability (that's "kill everybody"). Linus, on the other hand, didn't operate in "our" world (not as himself, anyway), and so making the world think that the people he had on "his" island doesn't seem like a necessary step for him.

Finally, I'd like to point out that if we are going by the dossier covers, Widmore's freighter excursion was a Dharma Initiative operation. So the whole "Widmore was expelled for being a part of Dharma" idea gains some steam with that.

Meanwhile, Linus sent Tom Friendly to New York City, to collect intelligence and to recruit Michael Dawson as a Jacobian plant on the freighter. It hadn't been going well for Dawson, who, crushed by guilt by what he had done, couldn't or wouldn't even live with Walt, who was being raised by Dawson's mother. He was in the middle of at least a second suicide attempt when Friendly came to him and informed him that the island "wouldn't let him die." The suicide gun malfunctioned, but only when Dawson attempted to harm himself. Semi-convinced, Dawson allowed the intel on the Fake Oceanic 815, along with the chance to help the friends he'd betrayed, to seal the deal. Dawson boarded the freighter as "Kevin Johnson."

It was likely somewhere around this time that Linus had Anthony Cooper, Locke's father, abducted and brought to the island.

It was also about this time that Linus told his people that the Looking Glass station had been flooded. This was a lie, presumably to keep the less-trusted recruits from leaving the island. In actuality, he stationed two trusted people down there, running a jamming device that would prevent any communication between the island and, for example, a freighter full of mercenaries offshore.

Unknown to either party, Penny Widmore had a contact within one of her father's monitoring stations, and had been alerted when the Failsafe Event had sent off an electromagnetic spike. She had also outfitted a boat with the intention of mounting an expedition. However, she had promised Hume that she would wait for a phone call, and so she waited.


Back to the Oceanic camp. The Nemesis killed Eko. There's not much to say about this, except to say that (1) Eko was defiant to the Nemesis-as-Yemi's entreaties toward guilt for his past, and Eko was defiant to the end, so perhaps the Nemesis realized he would not be manipulated and killed him, and; (2) it was way depressing, for verily, Eko was awesome.

Here's the thing about Hume. Hume could see the future. Or, to put it another way, Hume could see possibilities. After turning the Fail Safe, Hume found himself at the moment of his life upon which everything turned. The moment that led him to the island. The moment when he decided not to propose marriage to Penelope, and to run away. However, Hume was fully aware of what was to come, and decided to choose differently, to miss all the pain and horror that his life had become, and to get over his feelings of inadequacy.

He was stopped by the woman at the jewelry store where he was to buy the engagement ring. That woman was none other than Eloise Hawking, who told him that he could not change his destiny. That no matter what, the universe would course-correct. That, furthermore, he had a duty to fulfill his destiny, and if he didn't, all was lost.

I'd like to say now that this idea that Hawking had been operating off of Faraday's notes is starting to gain steam as well. It's also significantly more likely that Widmore's attitude toward Hume was more about getting Hume where he needed to be, and less about Hume's acceptability regarding his daughter.

Hume obeyed Hawking, and suddenly found himself back in the jungle after the Failsafe Incident, wearing no clothing, and all of the female viewers rejoiced.

Hume began seeing visions of Charlie Pace, dying. Every time Hume would act to save Pace, he would just find another vision of Pace dying in some other way. Often, he would see some vague consequence of that death. He kept saving his friend, but the toll of vigilance grew. Eventually, Pace became aware both of Hume's abilities and of the end that fate seemed to have drawn for him.

Austin, against his expressed wishes, organized an expedition to retrieve Shephard. Jarrah and Locke accompanied her, as did Rousseau for a time. They came upon the Flame station, now being tended by a Jacobian named Mikhail Bakunin, who posed as the last remaining member of the Dharma Initiative to get them to let their guard down. However, Jarrah never lets his guard down, and Bakunin was captured. Locke found a code on the computer that would self-destruct the Flame station, and he pushed it. This made the Flame, the only method of contact with the outside world, blow up real good.

Locke did this on purpose. He claimed it was a whoopsie. Let's remember what we suspect about Locke's motivations and allegiance. Also realize that, before he blew the Flame, he filled his backpack with C4.

Upon reaching the sonic fence, Locke threw Bakunin, who had made it clear that he knew some of Locke's secrets, through it. Bakunin fell down spewing blood from his ears, and the expedition left him for dead, making a ramp to go over the fence. Upon arriving at the Dharma barracks, they observed Shephard being distressingly friendly with the Jacobians. Nevertheless, they entered the barracks at night to break him free, but Jarrah and Austin were quickly captured and held prisoner in the same rec room where Ford would be interrogated thirty years ago by Horace Goodspeed. There, Shephard came to her, distressed, and told her that he was due to leave by submarine in the morning, that he had intended to come back for them, and that was why he didn't want them to come after him.

That's when Locke used his backpack o' C4 to blow the submarine to kingdom come. No escape for you! says the Escape Nazi.

Linus was actually happy about this development. For one thing, most of the major players were now under his control. More importantly, though, he no longer had to figure out how to renege on his promise to let Jack go without losing major credit with his followers. He made a plan with Burke: The Jacobians would retreat to their temple, leaving behind their captives, as well as Burke -- the implication being that Burke had been banished. Burke would use her rapport with Shephard to gain the trust of the Others, and when she had made note of all pregnant and fertile women, she would give Linus the sign. The Jacobians would grab all potentially useful Others before retreating to the Temple, where he hoped Widmore's people could not go.

Then he took Locke down into their brig, where they had his daddy. Locke was obviously amazed to see his father, still as evil and spiteful as ever. Cooper was of the opinion that he was in hell, and was just fine with it. It was this night, incidentally, that Locke encountered Richard Alpert for what was, to his perspective, the first time. We can imagine what the experience must have been like for Alpert. Ben promised to take Locke with him, and to let him meet their leader, Jacob.

The next day, when the Jacobians moved on, Locke moved on with them, acutely aware of the wonder and amazement with which the Jacobians appeared to be regarding him. Cindy (remember, she is the stewardess who was, come on, TOTALLY a Jacobian all along) tells him that they have "all been waiting for him." She doesn't add, "Because fifty years ago you showed up and said you were our leader." That really would have helped out.

In any event, Linus attempted to discredit Locke by offering Locke his father, Cooper, as sacrifice. It seems that, by Jacobian law, Locke needed to kill his father to show his worthiness. Locke could not, and Linus informed him that he would be left behind, and not to come back without a dead sack of dad over his shoulder.

Dead Sack of Dad would make a great band name.

Alpert then came to Locke and did something that can only be seen as an act of preference of Locke over Linus: He provided Locke with the Jacobian dossier on James Ford . . . which included the information that Anthony Cooper was the man that Ford's Six Fingered Man, the man he'd traveled the world for a chance to kill. So, Locke was left behind, but he locked Cooper in the Black Rock brig and then lured Ford in there, too. Ford, after initial confusion, realized who he was with, and strangled Cooper to death with a chain.

Locke came back to the Jacobian camp with a dead sack of dad, and Ben was trapped. He had to bring Locke to Jacob, but he had no idea where Jacob was, or how to reach him. He only had his access to the beast, and the cabin. He brought Locke to the cabin. The Nemesis appeared to them there, though only Locke heard what he said.

"Help me."

When Linus realized that the entity he believed to be Jacob had spoken to Locke when he would not speak to himself, he led Locke out to the Dharma mass grave, shot him in the belly, and left him for dead. Linus is cold, y'all.

Back at the Oceanic camp, meanwhile, Hume found himself in a crisis of conscience. He had seen Pace's death once again, but this time, that death resulted in the arrival of a parachutist and his being reunited with Penelope. He didn't necessarily want Pace to die, but he REALLY wanted to see his lady-love again.

On the way to the parachutist site, Hume saved Pace. The parachutist arrived anyway, but turned out to not be Penelope, but Naomi Dorrit. The freighter had arrived. Dorrit had been badly wounded in the fall, but she was saved when the group encountered and captured Mikhail Baukunin, who had only been mostly dead. The Russian exchanged his expertise as a medic in return for his liberty, and they made the deal. Then Bakunin hauled ass toward the Jacobian camp to warn Linus that the bad guys had arrived. By the time he arrived to tell Linus the news, Linus was already aware that Charlie Pace was being held prisoner in the Looking Glass by his operatives there. This is how that came to be:

Dorrit had an advanced sort of cell phone, but it was malfunctioning. Though they weren't aware of this yet, it was being blocked by a transmitter down in the underwater Looking Glass station. Dorrit claimed to be part of a search-and-rescue team. She also claimed to think that every person on Oceanic 815 had been found dead. This disturbed them all a bit, but they were willing to be rescued nonetheless. Hume was especially pleased to hear the name of the person Dorrit claimed was behind the expedition. Penelope Widmore, is what she claimed. I guess half right is better than nothing. Widmore, yes. Penelope, no.

Burke, meanwhile, had arrived in Others camp along with Shephard, Austin, and Jarrah. She had been met with some fairly predictable suspicion, given all the kidnapping and what-have-you. Shephard trusted her, but that actually redounded poorly upon the Others trust for their leader rather than favorably upon her. As a result, the parachutist expedition kept Dorrit a secret from Shephard, telling Jarrah instead.

But Burke had double-crossed Linus and told Shephard everything. Together with Rousseau, they had formed a counter-plan to gather the rest of the Black Rock dynamite, put it in the tents marked for abduction, and then blow them all to bits when the Jacobians came for them.

When Shephard relayed this plan, the parachutist-aware let them know about Dorrit. Burke told them where the jamming device could be found, and Pace volunteered to swim down to disable it. Hume volunteered to join him. The Oceanic group decided to travel to high ground, near the transmitter tower, leaving behind Jarrah, Jin Kwan, and Bernard Nadler to shoot the tent-amite and blow the Jacobians up.

Around this point in time, Locke was trying to kill himself. He was in a ton of pain. Walt Lloyd appeared to him, telling him that he still had work to do. We presume from Locke's subsequent actions that he also told him that the people from the freighter were not to be trusted. We must also presume that Locke was healed from this encounter. Based on these things, it is difficult to say if this truly was Walt, or the Nemesis, or Jacob. The trails of cause and effect and motivation are too tangled to even attempt a guess.

Pace and Hume headed off to the Looking Glass station. It should be noted that Pace was aware that Hume had seen him dying again down there, but that this time the result was the rescue of his friends. Hume claimed to see Claire Littleton and her baby getting on a helicopter. Pace decided that this was a death worth dying, and bravely went to it. He swam down, followed later by Desmond (who was fleeing Mikhail, sent by Linus). After being captured initially, Pace and Desmond broke free and shut off the jamming device. Pace made contact with Penelope Widmore, by methods that are unexplained, but Penelope made it clear that the freighter was not hers. At that moment, Mikhail used a grenade to blow out the porthole window near Pace. Pace sealed himself in the room, but before he drowned, he was able to pass on the true information about the freighter to Hume.

The dynamite scheme didn't go well. Jarrah, Kwan, and Nadler were captured, having only blown up one tent.

Desperate to prevent the Others from making contact with Widmore's boat, and thereby providing them with a fixed point by which to find the island, Benjamin Linus allowed himself to be captured by Shephard's group. With him, he brought his daughter, Alex. He warned Jack in dire but vague terms, and tried to persuade him by threatening to kill Jarrah, Kwan and Nadler. Jack called his bluff, and heard the gunshots over the walkie talkie. Assuming his friends were dead, Jack beat Ben into a pulp and headed on, unaware that the shots had gone into the ground.

Ford and Burke went to free the captives, but it was Reyes, driving a Dharma van right into the Jacobian leader, who made the biggest impact. All the Jacobians were killed in the altercation, except for Tom Friendly, whom Ford shot in cold blood immediately after.

The jamming frequency down, Dorrit prepared to call the freighter, when she was fatally wounded by Locke, who threw a knife into her back. When Shephard tried to make the call, Locke also threatened him with an unloaded gun. Shephard called the bluff, and Locke wandered off. The freighter answered the call, and said they were coming in, and the Oceanics got to think they'd been saved for about the next six hours. Ben Linus looked sick.

And now, a few words about Desmond Hume and Charlie Pace.

You'll recall that I am speculating that, perhaps as a result of the nuclear explosion within a unique pocket of electromagnetic energy situated in an other-dimensional pocket of space/time, that this timeline is operating on a continual loop. That, in fact, Jacob as an entity is attempting to "experiment" with the people that are drawn there, in order allow them to progress by making better choices, and in guiding them, not through direct intervention, but in gentle and subtle and undetectable ways, methods which honor the concept of free will. And, furthermore, that this is the bone of his contention with the Nemesis, who wishes to stop such tedious and (to him) pointless movement.

You'll also recall that Daniel Faraday believed time to be a fixed thing. This theory of time posits that time is a constant, that the past and the present and the future are all fixed objects, unchangeable; that it is only our limited perspective, which allows us only to experience one moment at a time, which gives us the idea of "time." "What happened, happened," he said, and though he eventually may have come to hope in a variable, it was the idea of the constant that ruled his life.

Eloise Hawking, who had Faraday's journal? She believed in destiny. "Time will course correct," she said.

Locke believes in destiny, too.

So, how can there be this time loop, in which things keep changing, and still have destiny, determinism, a constant and fixed time in which what happened, happened, and whatever will be, will be?

Let me suggest that it can be both. These turns of time's wheel? They ALL exist. They are ALL real. They are all fixed things. Each turn of centuries or millennia or eons. Each one exists. Each one is distinct.

How many are there? There are as many of them as there are individual choices.

Free will is the process of choosing which one you want to exist in. Each river may have the same bend in the same spot, but the water may flow over the rocks in infinite different ways. And some may be better than others.

Let's explore the unique and instructive case of Charlie Pace and Desmond Hume.

Charlie was marked by fate for death, and it seems that there was no turning that back. However, Desmond gave him a rare chance to choose between a long list of different deaths, with different results, because Desmond, having found himself on the nexus of all beginnings and ends, had the rare ability to perceive, though imperfectly, multiple possible choices. (The fact that Desmond has this ability is one of the major reasons I assume that the Failsafe Event is the trigger for the presumed time loop.)

And so, instead of being struck and killed by lightening, or being hit in the throat by an arrow, or any number of other different ways that Desmond kept Charlie from dying, Charlie had the opportunity to find the best possible death. Or, failing that, a much better one than many of the meaningless ones he'd have otherwise discovered.

I propose that Jacob is trying to do this, not only with Charlie, but with all of them. And, probably, with the island as well. To achieve, using free will, the best possible configuration within the unchangeable shape of time. And how many timelines would it have taken Charlie to find the one that he did with Desmond's assistance? Hundreds? More?

What Desmond is able to do is fast forward the process. In one move, he was able to jump Charlie x turns ahead of the game.

Do you see why Desmond might be important?


4.

And now, mein shprocketts, is the time when all hell breaks loose.

With Pace's news that the freighter was not as it seemed, the tribe was broken. One group, including Ford, Littleton and child, Reyes, Rousseau, Alex, Karl, and the captive Linus, went with Locke to the now-abandoned Dharma barracks. The rest stayed on the beach with Shephard awaiting rescue.

The freighter had been sabotaged by Michael Dawson and couldn't reach the island. However, its passengers did come, science team first. Faraday and Lewis quickly assimilated with the beach camp, and Straume found himself a part of the Dharma camp. Lapidus flew the body of Dorrit back to the freighter, along with Jarrah and Hume, who were concerned to find the boat crawling with mercenaries and the Murderer Formerly Known As Michael Dawson. Faraday did some experiments showing that the boat was out of chronological sync with the island, and he and Lewis were successful in their mission to the Tempest. With the poison release system disabled, the door was open for the mercenaries to hit the island as hard as they wanted.

The Jacobians had retreated to the Temple. Linus tried to send Rousseau there along with his daughter and Karl, but the arriving mercenaries found them. They killed Rousseau and Karl, and took Alex hostage, knowing her to be Linus' daughter. Arriving at the Barracks, the mercs slaughtered a bunch of Oceanic survivors, and blew up the house containing Littleton and Aaron. The head mercenary, a man named Keamy, threatened to kill Alex if Linus didn't come out immediately. Linus refused.

Now we come to a place of great speculation. Linus loved his daughter, but he also seemed to believe very strongly that his daughter could not be killed according to some "rules" to which both he and Widmore were apparently bound. What these rules are, or why they applied, is unknown. What is known, though, is that Linus was profoundly shocked when Keamy murdered his daughter in front of him, and not just for the obvious reasons. That act signaled to Linus some kind of changing of the "rules" that clearly changed many, if not all, of his assumptions.

From this point on, we may assume that revenge against Widmore and his associates became Linus' over-riding motivation. He immediately descended into his secret passage into the Jacobian tunnels and summoned the Creature in some familiar way. The Creature attacked the mercenaries, killing one, wounding the rest, and driving the whole team back to the boat. Once there, Keamy took charge of the mission, murdering the boat's captain and rigging the whole boat to a massive pile of C4, which was rigged to explode if the monitor he was wearing showed that his heart had stopped beating. Keamy dies, the whole boat goes up, was the idea.

Lapidus flew the mercs back to the island. Their new intention was to murder every human being that lived there. Shortly thereafter, Jarrah returned to the island to warn his friends.

Following the attack at the Barracks, Locke's group split up. Locke, Linus and Reyes went looking for "Jacob's" cabin, hoping for instructions. The rest, led by Sawyer, headed back to the beach to warn their estranged friends.

And now we come to a very odd moment for Claire Littleton. Christian Shephard appeared to her that night, and she disappeared, abandoning her infant son. Given that it is highly likely that Shephard is the Nemesis, and the unlikelihood that Littleton would simply leave her son in the jungle, we must consider the idea that she died in the mercenary attack. This is further bolstered by the fact that Straume, who has a sense about the recently dead, and who is a very stand offish person, took a particular and uncharacteristic interest in Littleton immediately before her disappearance. This does not take into account the fact that she was walking around, carrying her baby, and visible to all following the attack. Hey, I didn't say I had a theory about everything.

The remaining Oceanic survivors made a plan to evacuate the island, using the dinghy that Jarrah had used to return from the boat, and Lapidus' helicopter. Faraday took the dinghy with the first group of survivors, including the Kwons and baby Aaron. On the freighter, Michael Dawson led an attempt to keep the C4 from exploding by freezing it with a canister of compressed liquid nitrogen.

Locke, Linus, and Reyes arrived at the cabin, but Locke entered alone. There, he found an entity I presume to be Christian Shephard, and with him Claire Littleton, who seemed dazed but unconcerned, even euphoric. If she wasn't dead, she was on some serious drugs. Since the two seemed to share some kind of unspoken rapport, I think we need to consider the possibility that this was also Nemesis-as-Littleton. Nemesis-as-Christian claimed that he could speak for Jacob, and instructed him to "move the island." Locke didn't know what this meant, but Linus did. He led them to the Orchid.

They ran into Keamy and the mercenaries there. To divert them from Locke's mission, Linus gave himself up, but not before alerting the Jacobians, who arrived and prevailed over the mercenaries with the help of Ford, Austin, Jarrah, and Shephard. Linus, free again, rejoined Locke at the Orchid station. Outside the Orchid, Locke tried to talk Shephard out of trying to leave the island. Failing his, he warned Shephard about the fake Oceanic, and about Widmore, and told Shephard that, if he were successful, he'd need to lie about the island to protect those who remained from this ruthless man.

Locke and Linus descended into the Orchid, where Dharma had once conducted small-scale but successful time-travel experiments. There they were followed by the badly wounded Keamy, who at this point just wanted to kill Linus. He let Linus know about the bomb he had rigged in the eventuality of his, Keamy's, death, which put Linus in a real moral quandary. How could he pursue vengeance against his daughter's killer without sacrificing the lives of untold numbers of . . .

Oh who are we kidding? Linus stabbed Keamy to death immediately, without compunction. Ben Linus, y'all.

Over on the boat, the bad light on the bomb went off. This was bad, because the nitrogen was almost gone.

Linus accessed the chamber with the island's time wheel, telling Locke (1) That he, Linus, would move the island, because whoever did so would never be able to return to the island and; (2) Locke was needed here, as he was now the recognized leader of the Jacobians. Considering who we're discussing here, I hesitate to say this, but I believe that in this we gain a rare glimpse of the true Ben Linus, actually concerned with the protection of the island, even as he was consumed with a desire to get off the island and choke Charles Widmore until his eyes popped. Having accepted that his leadership of the Jacobians had been rejected, he relegated himself to his revenge. At least, that's my take. Locke stumbled up to join the Jacobians, and was welcomed sincerely by Richard Alpert, who had been waiting fifty years for this moment to come into fruition.

At that moment, Linus turned the wheel, and Locke disappeared in a flash of light. To which I can only imagine Alpert said, "Son of a BITCH!"

Meanwhile, a few minutes earlier, Faraday had been in the evacu-dinghy on his way back from the freighter. Lapidus had began to fly Shephard, Reyes, Austin, Ford, and Jarrah back to the freighter, but the helicopter was low on gas and unlikely to make the trip. Ford jumped out, sacrificing himself, and swam back to the island.

On the freighter, things had gotten even worse. The nitrogen had just about run out, leaving scant minutes to refuel. Jin Kwan stayed behind with Dawson as Lapidus took way way too many people on board, consisting of: Sun Kwan, Hume, Aaron, Austin, Shephard, Reyes, and Jarrah. As they took off, they saw Jin running toward them, and that's when the freighter blew right the hell up. Lapidus tried to steer back to the island, but that's when Ben turned the wheel, and the island just disappeared. Gone. The helicopter crashed into the ocean.

Jin Kwan was left to float, both in time and in the ocean, until he was finally picked up twenty years ago by Rousseau's expedition and rejoined the rest years and years ago.

As for the rest: Locke, Straume, Ford, Burke, Faraday, Lewis, Vincent the Dog, and the Nadlers were sent throughout the island's time and space, where they would eventually do all the things that have been recounted here, and which would confuse Richard Alpert to no end. Many of them would eventually be present at the Incident thirty years ago.

Lapidus, Hume, Sun Kwan, Shephard, Aaron, Austin, Jarrah, and Reyes were getting ready to die of exposure in the helicopter's little life raft, when Penelope Widmore's yacht, out searching for Hume, picked them up. Shephard convinced the rest to lie, as Locke had suggested, in order to protect their friends and themselves from Charles Widmore.

Thus, Kwan, Shephard, Aaron, Austin, Jarrah, and Reyes staged their rescue and became known as the "Oceanic Six", miracle survivors of the terrible crash. Lapidus quietly re-integrated with society. Hume stayed with Penelope, and the two had a son, who they named Charlie. You all, everybody. The Oceanic Six did not reintegrate as well.

Shephard developed a strong sense of crippling guilt over those he left behind, especially when Claire's mother appeared at Christian's funeral and unwittingly let him know that Claire had been his sister. He also picked up a really nifty pill problem. Also, he kept seeing his dead dad.

Austin still had to beat that murder rap, which she did through television magic, and began raising Aaron as her own. Unfortunately, she sometimes saw Claire, warning her to never bring Aaron back to the island.

Sun, mourning Jin's presumed death, gave birth to a daughter. She also had decided, for no good reason and somehow quite accurately, to blame Jin's death on Ben Linus. She also bought her father's entire car company using her Oceanic settlement money. Best not to think too hard about that one.

Hurley rejoined his family, but he cracked up again pretty quickly, because he kept seeing ALL of his dead friends, or at least the ones who's actors didn't have scheduling conflicts. He rather quickly found himself back on the psyche ward, where he was very happy to be.

Jarrah possibly had the most tragic path. He was reunited with the love of his life, Nadia, whom he'd been seeking for years. They were married for one short year before she was tragically killed by a hit-and-run driver. Whether this was a premeditated act or just an accident is unclear, but one thing that is clear that at the moment of the accident, Jarrah was giving directions to a man. The man was Jacob.

The other thing that is clear is that Nadia's death left Jarrah grief-stricken, aimless, and perfectly ready for use by Benjamin Linus.

Who had arrived from off-island.


5.

Linus had arrived in Tunisia, in 2005. The point of arrival was being monitored by Charlies Widmore, so Linus had to kill the men that Widmore sent to investigate.

At some point in here, Linus had visited Widmore, and they had had a very interesting conversation, in which it became clear that they were in some way prevented from hurting one another. (It is interesting, I think, that this rule parallels between the one that seem to be in place between Jacob and his Nemesis.) However, Linus promised Widmore to do something better. He would kill Widmore's daughter. He would kill Penelope Hume.

Linus had little trouble convincing Jarrah that Widmore was to blame for Nadia's death, and was coming after all of Jarrah's island friends. Jarrah proved himself most adept at slaying Linus' enemies, who I presume were island-aware members of Widmore's faction. When he was done, Linus cut him lose, and Jarrah was left with nothing but an emptiness regarding the murderer he'd become, and a deep hatred of the murderer, Linus, who'd made this of him. To his credit, he tried to make a difference, and found peace for a time building houses in developing countries.

This equanimity was broken, though, when Locke arrived to tell him he had a destiny back on the island, and that the friends he'd left behind would surely die.

Locke had just come from hundreds or thousands of years ago.

He'd just been instructed by Daniel Faraday that his mother, Eloise Hawking, would know how to bring him and all the Others back to the island.

He'd just met with Richard Alpert fifty years ago.

He'd just been told by Christian-as-Nemesis to turn the wheel.

He'd just been told that he needed to bring his friends back to the island.

He'd been told that in order to do this, he needed to die.

Locke had come back at the same spot as Linus had done. Unlike Linus, he had a badly broken leg and was captured by Widmore's men. Luckily, instead of the heavy doses of death Linus would likely have received, Locke received medical treatment. Widmore remembered Locke from fifty years ago. He told Locke that he, Locke, was desperately important to the island, and needed to return with everybody. He denied, however, that Locke should die. He sent Locke with Abbadon, whom Locke remembered, as personal valet and driver.

Locke delivered his message to Jarrah, who told him to get bent.

Locke delivered his message to Austin, who told him to get bent.

Locke delivered his message to Reyes, who did not tell him to get bent, because he's a nice guy. But he still said no.

Locke did not, for some reason, deliver his message to Sun Kwan.

Locke then visited Walt, just to see his old island buddy. Walt was OK. Still having vague displays of maybe-power, but that's about it. But that's when Ben Linus saw Locke, and I think we must presume that a plan began to take hold.

Linus killed Abbadon with a sniper rifle as Abbadon was driving Locke around town, and the resulting crash hospitalized Locke. It was Jack Shephard's hospital. There, Locke tried to convince Jack that he had a destiny back on the island, and Shephard tried to convince Locke that he was a sad, pathetic man who was better off dead.

They were both successful in convincing the other.

Remember how thousands or hundreds of years ago, the Nemesis somehow knew to appear to Locke as Christian Shephard? And said, "tell my son I said hello"? Well, that message, which somehow the Nemesis knew to deliver hundreds or thousands of years ago, is what finally convinced the already-obsessed Shephard that he really, really did need to return to the island.

This is why I kind of think that the Nemesis might have some kind of unique relationship to time.

However, Locke was also convinced by Jack Shephard. After being discharged, he prepared to hang himself with an electrical cord. He was interrupted by Linus, who told him a bunch of stuff about how important he was. He got Locke off the stool, and the noose off of Locke's neck, and then he found out how Locke intended to get back to the island. He got the name Locke had received from Faraday. Eloise Hawking.

And then Benjamin Linus murdered John Locke.

I think we must speculate now. Linus must have known, upon seeing Locke off-island, that a power vacuum had opened. He must have been aware, suddenly, that he himself would be able to fill it if he could get Locke out of the way. And he must have hoped that Locke would know a way back to the island. Once he had it, all he had to do was put Locke out the way, which he did. Then he went off to Eloise Hawking, who was keen on returning the Oceanic Six to the island, to inform her that he was the guy to do it.

That's as near as I can figure it, anyway.

In any event, Linus totally failed as well. The only person he was able to convince was Sun Kwan, by providing her with evidence, by way of the wedding ring he'd found in Locke's possession. The ring was Jin's. Sun, who'd found Linus with the intention of shooting him in the face, was suddenly faced with the prospect of finding the husband she'd mourned as dead. Sun was in.

Jack was already in. Locke's death had made him suicidal at the thought of the final door to the island being slammed closed. When Ben approached him in Locke' funeral home, Jack was a pushover.

Austin, Reyes, and Jarrah told Ben to get even more bent than they'd told Locke to get. They told him to get bent-er. Jarrah told him to get bent-est of all, threatening violence if he was approached again.

However, they all still somehow found themselves aboard Ajira 316, the flight that the Lamp Post had told Hawking had would pass through the island's orbit.

Reyes was there because Jacob had talked him into it. Somehow.

Locke's body was there. Shephard was transporting him. Hawking had been very clear that everybody was to go back, as was Ben. Given what we know about that decision, we should wonder about Hawking and Ben. Of course we should also wonder about Widmore. We should wonder about everybody. My head hurts.

Austin was there because she had come to the realization that she had, in selfishness, deprived Claire Littleton of her son, and resolved to rectify that wrong. She left Aaron in the care of his maternal grandmother, Claire's mother.

Jarrah was there because Jacob had found (and I presume healed) an off-island Jacobian named Ilanya to capture him and force him aboard.

Lapidus was there, too. He just happened to be the pilot. As if there is any such thing anymore as "just happened."

The whole plane was full of Jacobian agents, actually (this fact alone should make you really think about the strong possibility of Jacobians and island-aware among the passengers and crew of Oceanic 815). The ticket for Ajira 316 may have said Guam, but I doubt there was one person on that flight who was going anywhere but the island. As Ajira 316 passed into the island's space/time, Reyes, Jarrah, Austin and Shephard just disappeared right off of it, on their way to the Incident. This surprised the hell out of everybody else, island-aware or no.

I doubt that anything surprised Linus as much as what happened following Ajira's rough landing, though. John Locke had come back to life. This put a serious crimp in the "take back control of the Jacobians" plan of Linus, who began immediately plotting to make a third attempt on the life of John Locke.

We know, however, that this was not John Locke. Locke's body was still in the hold of the plane. This was the Nemesis-as-Locke. The Nemesis posing as the one man that the Jacobians would accept as their leader. The Nemesis finally about to be given access to Jacob. And along with him, a man who had been made to feel more bitterness toward Jacob than anybody ever. We know for a fact that the Nemesis had taken the form of Locke. Given that we now know that the Nemesis can take on the form of the dead, we need to consider the almost certainty that all apparitions (on-island, at least) of dead people have been the Nemesis. When you consider that every action taken by an on-island "ghost" seems to have either helped leverage Locke's position (through time travel, etc.) as a credible Jacobian leader, or else to have increased Linus' alienation and bitterness, this theory becomes all the more likely. Also, given the proximity of the Creature to most visitations of both the Nemesis-as-Locke and other "ghosts", I am assuming that the Creature and the Nemesis are one.

Locke, traveling with Ben and Sun, took control of the Jacobians. He cemented Linus' loyalty by appearing to him down in the Jacobian tunnels, first as the Creature, and then as Alex, threatening him with bad things if he didn't obey Locke in every way. He cemented his credibility with Alpert by taking him to visit a time traveling Locke by the Pearl Station. Locke had just been shot about fifteen years ago by Ethan, and was now bleeding to death. Nemesis-as-Locke told Alpert to give Locke the compass, told him to instruct Locke to give the compass back to Alpert upon their next meeting, and told him to instruct Locke to bring everybody back to the island, told him to instruct Locke that he, Locke, would need to die to make that happen, and finally told Alpert to tell Locke, when asked from whom these instructions came from, that they came from Locke himself.

Thus, the Nemesis gave Locke the message, through Alpert, that Locke was to bring everybody back to the the island, and that Locke was to die to ensure this. Thus, the Nemesis secured Locke's return as a corpse, and then later, hundreds or thousands of year ago, confirmed this as Christian Shephard. He further provided Alpert and Locke both with the very mechanism that would provide them both with a high level of confidence that Nemesis-as-Locke truly was the Jacobian leader. These are the levels upon which the Nemesis worked to find his loophole. This is how determined the Nemesis was to kill Jacob.

Locke then insisted that Alpert bring him, along with all the Jacobians, to Jacob himself. Despite the fact that this broke all protocol, Alpert felt compelled to do so. On the way, Locke informed Linus that they were on their way to kill Jacob. Upon arriving at the base of the ruined statue of Tawaret, Alpert opened the secret entrance and let the Nemesis-as-Locke into

At that moment, the Jacobian group from Ajira 316, led by Ilanya, arrived. They'd been to "Jacob's" cabin, which they recognized (I assume) to have been used by the Nemesis. They burned it down. Now they approached Alpert, giving the proper call and response for Jacobians. Then they showed what they had found in Ajira 316's cargo hold: The body of John Locke, still dead.

I'm speculating that this is what Alpert said at that time. "Oh shit."

Inside the statue, the Nemesis had come face to face with Jacob, having found his loophole. Jacob seemed unconcerned, merely interested. The Nemesis had given Linus a very sharp knife.

Jacob stressed to Linus that no matter what had come before, that he, Linus still had a choice.

Linus vented to Jacob for the neglect he had felt since a child, and his jealousy of Locke, who had been chosen.

"What about me?" he asked.

"What about you?" asked Jacob, and then Ben stabbed him and stabbed him and stabbed him.

"They're coming," Jacob choked out to the Nemesis, who looked very unhappy at that and kicked Jacob into Jacob's own fire.


So here we are.


The Nemesis is triumphant. The Nemesis has won. The good guys lose. Free will is dead.



The end.



6.

So, what's next?

Well, that all depends doesn't it?

The Nemesis wins. At least this time.

And what about next time?

"It only ends once," Jacob told the Nemesis, hundreds of years ago. "Everything before that is just progress."

I don't know what's coming for sure. But we may see flashes before our eyes of the next turn of the wheel. Variations. Iterations. What if Ben makes a different decision next time?

I've made a lot of guesses. Some of them will be proven wrong by the end of the first hour. I guess some of episode 1 has already leaked, so some of your spoiler happy may already know ten different ways I'm wrong. I suspect that even if anybody reads this monstrosity, we'll be halfway through the season before you get here. I certainly had no idea that it would grow this long, and would never have begun had I known. I need to get my head examined.

And who is it that's coming? "They"?




However, there's another thing we might want to consider, when we think of Jacob fatally stabbed and burning in his fire.

It's possible that the island won't let him die.


L O S T

6 comments:

lj said...

i can't believe i just read this whole thing. well done, as always. looking forward to tomorrow!

Mike Maloney said...

Any thoughts on the idea that dead people that the Nemesis tends to assume (Christian, Yemi, maybe Claire?), their physical bodies tend to disappear, whereas with Locke, his body is very much still present?

1Queens Up1 said...

/slow clap
Bravo sir. Excellent review and analysis.

rfranke76 said...

Thanks for the review. I never watched the first season so you filled in some blanks that I was missing.

Matt said...

I love you like Hurley loves Hot Pockets.

I'm curious to get your thoughts on this: Locke is guided towards the island by both Jacob and Widmore. This means one of two things.

A. Jacob and Widmore are working towards similar goals; therefore, Widmore and Jacob are, essentially, playing on the same team.

B. Jacob and Widmore are not working toward similar goals, yet both have motivation to get Locke on the island.

Nemesis tells Locke he must come back, but must die to do so. Widmore tells Locke he must go back, but doesn't need to die.

Locke dies, which sets in motion Nemesis' plan to kill Jacob.

I have a hunch we will see that Widmore is on Jacob's side, he is Jacob's pawn. Much like Jacob, Widmore nudges. His associate, Abbadon, nudges. Widmore understands what Ben has become - the Nemesis' pawn - and is working to rid the island of him.

I also have a hunch that Jacob knows all this. He knows exactly what will happen when they return; in fact, he nudges them toward the island as well (Hurley, Sayid).

Jacob is steps ahead of his nemesis. He knows that the others will return to '77 to do their thing. He knows that dead Locke will arrive, allowing the Nemesis to do his thing. He knows he is going to die.

The reason the Nemesis looks so frightened when Jacob tells him "they're coming", it's because he knows that, even by killing him, Jacob still has the upper hand. Whatever that is, I think we'll find out.

That's my guess.

(P.S. - if you and I ever end up at one of those December gatherings, I'll buy you a Dharma beer. Thank you for these writeups.)

PokahDave said...

Good grief Goat! This post makes a Hoy post look like a quick blurb...