Friday, February 26, 2010

LOST 043: Jack Hate Mirror! Jack Smash!

Hi. You won't believe this, but I have a few thoughts on this week's episode of LOST. I also lied to a samurai, but I'm a Candidate and can do whatever I want, dude.

L O S T


* OK, first of all, the big reveals. No, not that Jack has a son. I don't consider anything we find out on Sideways World to be a "reveal" until we understand why we are seeing it in the first place. I'm talking about the big picture stuff that we can logically infer:


(1) Jacob's still definitely got a plan, and his death may even be a part of it.

(2) He definitely manipulates them, but it's clearly being framed as a benevolent sort of thing, tied as it is to our Sideways Jack's awakening as a non-controlling father, who must give his son the room he needs to become himself and reach his potential. Did you see the paternal vibe Jacob was bringing?

(3) Among Jacob's children, Jack has great potential and one of the more important jobs to do for Jacob. Did you notice his compass name was larger than most? He's also rocking big number 23 on the dial.

Do you think it will be interesting to go back and find iterations of the numbers in the show, now that we have specific characters to tie to specific numbers? That'd be cool if it were so.

4) Jacob has a lighthouse with a compass dial. The dial has on it a list of names and numbers that parallels (as far as Lostapedia can figure) the names and the cross-offs, and their attendant numbers on the cave. This leads us to a couple main interpretations. Either the lighthouse is Jacob's and the cave belongs to his Nemesis, and they are BOTH calling Candidates (which the "infection" would suggest), or Jacob carves the name in one place and then schleps all the way across the island to carve it in the other place, in which case Jacob? DATABASE that junk. Single data source, bro.

5) The numbers now take on a bit more specific significance, as they refer to the compass heading by which Jacob "calls" his candidates. And the Nemesis hasn't smashed that mirror to littlebits, why? Wasn't it the Jackian bearing 23 by which Michael was allowed to leave the island? Is this perhaps the dimension of Jack Candidacy?

6) Somebody is coming to the island. Somebody who has 108 on Jacob's Magic Dial. Who? Mysterious. We don't know. But almost certainly Desmond.


* Kate was on the compass, un-crossed off. Her number was somewhere in the 50s. Just sayin'.

* Hey Jack, hey Hurley! You just left Sayid essentially alone in a temple full of people who want to poison him until he's dead again! Nice work. Though it would be funny if they poisoned him, he died, and then he just came back again. Dead or alive, Miles will have somebody to talk to.

* Come here, Claire wants to axe you something. Yeah, Claire's crazy. Not just regular-crazy. Brittney crazy. Crazier than Rousseau? Well, probably. Rousseau didn't have a "friend" . . . that we know of. But YIKES! Skeleton doll baby!! Desmond? Charlie's on the line. He'd like to chat with you about this "guaranteed" helicopter that Claire would get on if he died. Were you looking at parallel realities when you saw that? Oh. Actually, you probably were. Um.

* I still have no clue about the parallel realities, but Jack's appendectomy scar and his confusion over it (along with his confusion over his neck-nick) and all characters seeming moments of deja-vu as they contemplate other Islanders, is bringing me inevitably to the idea that this reality is not a parallel as I may have thought. Of course, Einstein theorized that even parallel lines do eventually meet, so suck it, math club. I still have no clue in what way they will be revealed to be related, though. I will scream "bull-pucky!" in the streets if it turns out that this is the endpoint of the show, which will almost certainly get me arrested. Neck nick neck nick neck nick.

* I will say that with the exception of Kate, all these people seem to be better-off emotionally than their island selves, if only slightly. Jack's still divorced, and he's still got daddy issues, and he's still spent his life as an over-controlling wad of jerk, but he's mellowing a little. Locke's got his girl, a relationship with a non-murderous dad, and is starting to make peace with his limitations. Don't know what that means precisely, but it's worth noting. Hurley is downright happy-go-lucky. Hell, Kate may not even be guilty this time out.

Oh yeah. Charlie. Well, maybe getting arrested will be the best thing that ever happened to him.

* So. Dogan is in sideways world, is he? Huh. Make sense of it, show. Make sense of it.

* Notice that we're getting Season 6 shows that parallel Season 1 shows? "What Kate Did" to "Tabula Rasa"; "The Substitute" to "Walkabout", and now "The Lighthouse" to "White Rabbit." This isn't accidental, either, as Jack is found reminiscing to Hurley about the events of that episode. I'm guessing that will make next episode a Sun/Jin episode, paralleling "House of the Rising Sun."

So. Not just parallel realities. Parallel seasons.

More news at eleven.

* I'm loving how important Hurley has become in the Nemesis World Order. Think of how screwed Jacob would be if Hurley had died at some point. He'd have to wait for Miles to come near his remains, or else he'd have had to have found Whoopi Goldberg. Doesn't it seem like Jacob has specific roles in mind for each of his Candidates? Hurley doesn't strike me as a potential replacement Jacob in the same way that Jack or Locke do.

* We now know that Dogan is outranked by Candidates, but doesn't want the Candidates to know it. He's clearly un-nerved by the Candidates among him. Why? He seems to pretty obviously be a Jacobian. Doesn't he want to help Jacob do his Jacob thing? What's the difference between a Jacobian and a Candidate? Are they the descendants of previously failed Candidates? Why won't Dogan explain things to the Candidates? WHY AREN'T THE CANDIDATES ASKING HIM MORE QUESTIONS????

Dogan: "Sayid's infected. He'll turn evil."
Jack: "How do you know."
Dogan: "Because it happened to your sister."
Jack: "I have absolutely no follow up questions. Now excuse me, I have to go find the key to my entire life's destiny and smash it, because I am an incredible idiot."

* The fact that there is an enormous friggin' lighthouse on the island that nobody has seen. They address it, but honestly? I think we need a more mystical reason than simply "I guess we weren't looking for it." I am not necessarily "looking" for the tallest building when I'm someplace, either, but I usually see it. They don't usually sneak up on you, right? So basically to quell my annoyance I am going to assume that this is the sort of place you only see if Jacob wills it, or something. Maybe Jack and Hurley only had Adobe Island Reader and, while in the temple, took advantage of a 50% off deal from Dogan and upgraded to Adobe Island Pro. Now they can also embed the whispers as an audio track, and fix all the dithering on their jpegs. Sweet.

I guess we are going to get a new location every episode.

Episode 6: Bus stop.
Episode 7: Starbucks
Episode 8: Exact replica of the Louvre.
Episode 9: Dharma skate park with half-pipe.
Episode 10: Not Yet Declared

* Not only did we get Jack recalling "White Rabbit" and being led by Ghost Christian, but we got the return of our two skeletal friends, Adam and Eve! Holy Season 1 callbacks! I'm so geeked I don't care that Hurley gave voice to my pet theory that Adam and Eve were time-traveling versions of already established characters, thus totally killing the theory. Adam and Eve are back, yo. We're very close to the moment when I just start to spew Biblical parallels. Not this week, sir. But soon.

* Remember back in Seasons 1 and 2, when we hadn't seen any "present day" action taking place off the island, and how that made it possible that the island was anywhere and anywhen? It wasn't until Desmond blew the hatch and Penny got a call from one of the Widmore monitoring stations that we could place the island in somewhat synchronous time/space.

Well, we're there again, aren't we? In Sideways World, the island is submerged. Not sunk, remember, submerged. But you know what? That doesn't mean that Main World's island hasn't been blown into . . . Sideways World.

Does it?

L O S T

Monday, February 22, 2010

Your Weekly Dose of Awesome

In case you've not seen this yet. Let's get small.

For bonus mind-blowing points, realize that it all goes just as far the other way on the subatomic level.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

LOST 042: All In All, We're All Just Names On The Wall, Or: I Have Become Comfortably Numbered

Wow, this was a mindbender. I've read that Mr. Lindeloff and Mr. Cuse stated that this would be a big episode for explanations, but I am not feeling that. It seems more that this is an episode that allows us to have a more finely distilled sense of confusion. We can ask better questions, perhaps, but we don't have a ton of answers yet.

The big reveals? How about the fact that there is a cave with all (or most) of the Losties names scrawled on the walls? How about the fact that each name has a number assigned to it? How about the fact that the numbers assigned to some of our Prime Losties (Sayid, Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, Locke, and either Sun or Jin) are THE numbers?

What does it mean? I don't know. Look at me. Now look at your man. Now look at me. Now look at this. What is it? It's Sawyer. Now look. He's with a man who could smell like your man if your man smelled like John Locke. Now he's smoke. I'm on a horse.

We're deep in the weeds, now. But we are so close. It would be a shame to turn back now.

What should we do this week? How about . . . a bunch of quotes and what they might mean? Good? Good.

But first, Sawyer, wise up. Friends don't let friend climb rickety death ladders drunk.

Come on, intro title card. Do your intro title card thing:

L O S T


". . . your dad . . ."

Oy. If the parallel story is meant to act as counterpoint to the main story, things just got muddied up.

Last week we saw that Kate's fate is essentially the same at best with or without the influence of Jacob and the pull of the island. This time out, however, we see an example of some Losties who seem to have found some better cards on the redraw. Our goodbuddies alternaLocke and alternaHurley seem at least somewhat better adjusted. Hurley Vista is actively engaged with the businesses he owns, full of confidence, and is a halfway snappy dresser with Wolverine Chops. But the real improvements are on display with Locke, who is still dealing with major denial issues regarding his paralysis, but who has managed to hang on to his ladylove, who helps him work through them.

And why is that? Why, because Locke has a nice healthy relationship with his dad, Anthony Cooper. Who apparently is not a bad guy and thus will not be stealing a kidney (may still have been donated) or breaking up Locke's relationship, or pushing him out a window and paralyzing him. Oh, and will also presumably not be leading Sawyer's parents to the inevitable murder/suicide, one presumes. So that's nice for Sawyer. Maybe he installs air conditioning units or something.

Oh yeah, and Ben Linus didn't die when the island submerged, even though he was in Others camp at the time. You know, if it was the bomb that "sank" the island while leaving all the structures on it intact. He's a middle school history teacher, and a bit a douche about the coffee filter.

Also interesting is that Locke, despite not having a murderous rampaging asshole for a father, remains paralyzed for some other reason. Time course corrects, it seems. And, despite all these differences, these people still wound up on that plane for some reason. And furthermore, we keep seeing this parallel universe for some reason. Whatever that reason is, I think it will help us sort out a nasty tangle's worth of confusion. At least I hope it will. I hope. I hope.

I just started talking like Morgan Freeman. Blame the commercials for the Olympics.

Last few thoughts about the parallel universe.

1) I think we need to consider the very real possibility that Season 6 is not the first time that we've observed scenes from a parallel reality. If there is one, there may be many. It was noted that the season premier was titled "LA X" with a space, instead of "LAX", the name of Los Angeles' airport. I am now taking as a possible reading that this is the tenth (as in the Roman numeral X) parallel iteration. LA. X. The one we are committed to is perhaps LA IX.

2) I think that the episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes", in which Desmond experiences the crucial moment in his life when he decides to leave Penny, tries to change it, and is intercepted by Eloise Hawking, is possibly one of these parallel realities, with the notable difference that Desmond had awareness of his other life in another reality. "See you in another life, brotha," indeed.


"Inside joke."

White stone and black stone on the scales in the cave. This was a fun callback to those white and black stones Jack found in the skeletons by the caves in Season 1. Remember those skeletons? They haven't yet been ID'd. But they're going to be. I betcha. Right now in the office pool I have my money on Benjamin Linus and his yet-to-be-revealed evil twin, Linus Linus.


"John Locke was a believer. He was a man of faith. He was a better man than I'll ever be. And I'm very sorry I murdered him."

Man, it is sad to see John Locke laid in the ground with a crab skittering on his head. Good thing I remain convinced he'll be back by the end. And I do think that Ben is feeling true remorse as he delivers what is without doubt the greatest graveside eulogy in the history of anything.

Ben's kind of been on the sideline lately, hasn't he? I bet that won't last.


"You mean you've been doing everything he told you all this time, and he never said why? I would never have done that to you. I would never have kept you in the dark. I would have treated you with respect. Come with me, and I'll tell you everything."


Here (and with the Nemesis' man-cave conversation with Sawyer) we get a nod to one of the more prevalent pre-season theories: That Jacob is actually the bad guy and the Nemesis is the good. Shocker! Holy white and black reversal, Batman! It's still possible, though I'm not feeling it, but that doesn't matter. One of my favorite things about this episode and what we are learning about the Nemesis is this: Whether or not Jacob is the good guy or the bad guy, the Nemesis really does think that Jacob is the bad guy. He really does feel badly treated by Jacob. He claims that he was once a man; I'm getting the sense that once upon a time, back when he truly was a man, Richard knew him.

Meanwhile, we discover that Richard, for all of his insider status, doesn't appear to know or understand about Candidates. And in true Genesis Serpent fashion, this is what the Nemesis offers him: knowledge. Knowledge that has been withheld. He may have been hiding his knowledge from the Locke-ness monster, but he truly seemed baffled, not just by talk of Candidates, but also by the very fact that the Nemesis could appear as somebody else. But Aldo and Justin, of the "Jin is one of them!"/"Oh come on, he might be one of them." / "Ouch all the bullet holes in our torsos!" conversation from last week . . . even they seem to know about Candidates. And so did Illanya and Bram, seen last season speculating whether or not Bram is a Candidate. Since they were speculating, I am guessing they hadn't seen the wall. But they knew the concept.

Speaking of Illanya . . .


"He's stuck that way."

Reeeeally? So old Smoke can't change from Locke to Christian to Ben's mom to Yemi no more? He's all Locke all the time? How come? Huh, show? Is it because Jacob is dead? I suppose we will have to wait and see, but I reckon that we can take this as fairly likely to be true.

While we're at it, check out the big brain on Illanya! She sure does love knowing stuff; stuff that even Richard Alpert with his Live4Ever line of bath salts doesn't know. Like Candidates. And at least a little something about the rules under which Nemesis/Locke operates. And apparently about collecting Jacob's ashes. I can't be the only person who saw that and thought about rings of Smokemonster containment ash. Is this the genesis of the containment ash? With parallel universes and time travel, such a thing isn't off the table. If, as I suspect, this has all played out many times before, that ash may have been Jacob all along. It certainly seems possible that the function of the island is to contain the Nemesis. Is Jacob in his death the very method of containment?

Here's the thing about Illanya that we know. Jacob has visited her, and identified her as such, which is a fairly unique occurrence. We've actually only seen the Nemesis and Hurley interact with him knowing it is him. (Well, Ben, but . . . stabstabstabstabstab.) She was in a burn ward, and appeared to be extra crispy. It probably isn't a huge speculative leap to say that Jacob healed her, and probably gave her some instructions and rather highly privileged information.

Such as . . .


"He's recruiting."

So, Nemesis tells Richard that he wants what he's wanted all along: For him (Richard) to come with him (Nemesis) off the island.

Richard tells him to blow. Nemesis seems OK with this. He just goes and snags Sawyer. So the Nemesis, who claims that Jacob is a right prat for recruiting other people to meet his own selfish ends, goes out and recruits other people to meet his own selfish ends.

But he's recruiting for . . . what?

We know that the Nemesis wants to get off the island and go home. We don't know where "home" would be. But it seems safe to say that he needs a willing person to help him leave. Does that person need to be a Candidate? Or just a warm body?


"You don't understand what you're dealing with, he doesn't just want you dead, he wants everyone dead."

So these are the stakes. The man who appears to know the Nemesis best, Richard Alpert, comes out of the jungle, with his perfect-form "don't shoot me" hands, and drops this line on us.

Who does the Nemesis want dead? Everybody. Everybody on the island?

Maybe.

Or, maybe, everybody.

Think he should get off the island?


"Don't tell me what I can't do!"

All right, you're the Nemesis. You've just arranged for the time travel of an island, the thrall and death of one of his Candidates, the thrall and murderous rage of the leader of his people, and a willing accomplice to get off the island.

Oops! Glowing Ghost Child!

Looks like you forgot to carry the 2 when you worked out the math in your murderous plan. Don't you hate it when that happens?

So what does Nemesis J. Smokemonster do when told he's in breach of Da Rules and is due for a celestial moving violation? He busts out John Locke's old catch phrase. Might be the writers getting cutesy. Or maybe there is more Locke in the Nemesis than he knows.

Hey, you got Locke in my Nemesis! You got Nemesis in my Locke!

Oh yeah, and while we're on the subject of "things Richard Alpert doesn't know" . . . he doesn't see the Glowing Ghost Child, though the Nemesis does. And so, interestingly, does Candidate Sawyer.

Who's the GGC? Smart money would seem to indicate it's a young Jacob, if only because this is the only entity all episode long that ever breaks Nemesis' cool. On the subject of cool, let's take our weekly bath in the awesomeness that is Terry O'Quinn's performance. Aaahh, refreshing! Let's move on.


"You know the rules. You can't kill him."

What does this mean? Who is "him"? Locke? Jacob? Ben killed them both. Besides, it's not "You knew the rules, you couldn't kill him," it's "can't" and "know." Present tense. Sawyer? Possibly, though we both know that Sawyer has a utility to the Nemesis for getting off the island.

Maybe that utility involves killing him at some point.


"There's NOTHING to protect! It's just a damn island."

If this doesn't make you suspicious about what the Nemesis says, nothing will. Just an island? Just a time-traveling, moving island with amazing pockets of electromagnetic energy.

Given what we've seen, though, I'm guessing that it's not that Jacob is protecting the island from the outside world. It's that Jacob is protecting the outside world from the island, and what's on it.

Is the island a prison? It's too early to say.

But yes.


"He wants you to replace him."

This is what the Nemesis proposes is Jacob's intention for Candidates, but let's keep in mind that the Nemesis has an agenda, and also definitely is the Serpent from the Garden of Eden (whoops, pet theory got off the leash again), and thus should be trusted to tell only enough truth to get the person to whom he's speaking to do his will.

But this is Jacob's cave, right? His names? His numbers?

He definitely calls them to the island. Nemesis isn't lying about that. We've seen it. In fact, it's quite likely that the Nemesis doesn't think he's lying about any of it. The Nemesis might be presenting the truth of Jacob as he sees it. How does the prisoner see the jailer? As a good guy doing a necessary job? Doubt it.

So, what is Jacob doing? Why is he writing all of his CaveBook friends on his wall and inviting them to join his Mystery Island network?

Let me make a speculation about repeating timelines. Let me speculate that in the previous Iteration of the timeline, there was also a cave. And a Nemesis. And a Jacob, but a Jacob who looked like a different person. And there were Candidates.

Let me speculate that one of those Candidates was eventually deemed suitable. And that Candidate was a man who looked exactly like the man we know as Jacob. And that man took on the totality of the Entity known as Jacob, and became him, while remaining himself in many fundamental ways. And this Candidate took his place as this Iteration's guardian. As this Iteration's Jacob.

How long has the Nemesis been trapped? Universes of time.

Let me speculate that one of these Candidates will be deemed worthy in this Iteration of the timeline.

Finally. let's speculate that, by the time we get to the end of this long story, we will see Jacob alive again, perhaps in a different Iteration of the timeline.

He'll look like somebody we know.

I'm guessing he'll look like John Locke.


L O S T


As always, images are property of ABC and arrive via the great Lostpedia.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LOST 041: Universal Katred

Let's get the uninteresting stuff out of the way. Sideways world was the Kate show this week, and let's say this about what might (hopefully) be the final Kate-centric episode: It was consistent with all other Kate-centric episodes. It made no sense, and it didn't accomplish much.

L O S T


What's left to say about Kate? She killed her father because she couldn't stand being the spawn of a wife-beating bubba, she ran from the law, she got her childhood boyfriend and countless others killed, and after all that she still maintains her innocence. She's an idiot, sure, but more than that, she's a vortex of nonsense, making not just her own actions but the actions of those around her completely ludicrous and impossible to justify. Let me just screenplay the whole drama out for you:

[SCENE: A parallel universe. INT. A taxi cab.]

Kate: [waving gun at CLAIRE] "You stay right here! Do not get out! Do not get out!"

Claire: [screaming] "Please let me out!"

Kate: [waving gun like a crazy person] "No! No! OK." [She lets Claire out.]

Claire: "Can I have my stuff?"

Kate: "NO TIME! NO TIME!" [She peels rubber out of there and drives to a garage. She gets out and points her gun at a MECHANIC.]

Kate: "I need a hydraulic flingnanger."

Mechanic: "No, you need a pneumatic angniplaxer, and you'll need my help."

Kate: "OK, will you help?"

Mechanic: "Well probably, but, and I hate to be a wet blanket, but . . .why the gun?"

Kate: "I a fugitive from justice, wanted for murder."

Mechanic: "Oh, well in that case, sure I'll help! I'll just stay calm, get your cuffs off, let you use the bathroom, and never even think of calling the cops or trying to apprehend you in any way. I'll just be as friendly as pie. Do you want some pie?"

Kate: "No thanks."

Mechanic: "Are you sure? It's apple."

Kate: "Just the bathroom, please. But I'm going to take my time. I've got a pregnant lady's stolen things to go through."

[KATE goes through the stolen things in a leisurely fashion. She sees a stuffed toy.]

Kate: "Oh my God. A toy. That means that that pregnant lady . . . is going to have a baby! Well, I didn't have time to let her take a half-second to grab her bags . . . but I probably have time to go back, pick her up, and drive her around all day. Maybe we'll even have time to sneak in an overnight hospital stay."

[KATE drives back to where she left CLAIRE. CLAIRE, who apparently has the problem-solving skills of cattle, is still just standing there.]

Kate: "Remember me?"

Claire: "Yes, you're the fugitive from justice who hijacked me, kidnapped me, threatened me with a gun, endangered my life and the lives of others in a high-speed chase, and then stranded me in the middle of nowhere. [Pause.] Let's be friends."

Kate: "Do you need a ride?"

Claire: "Sure do! Here's my credit card!"


Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you . . . the Kate Austin LOST experience. Claire trusts Kate because of course.

The only points of interest in this thread were: (1) Dr. Ethan Goodspeed is still alive and well, so we can presume that the Incident Dharma Evacuation went down. We can also sort of figure that destiny (and island-aware-types) has still been guiding these people's lives in some way; (2) the deadbeats that were going to adopt Claire's baby are pretty much nobodies in the grand mythology of LOST, albeit nobodies who totally Junoed her; (3) it is clear by now that Kate isn't very competent at escape, it's just that the federal Marshall who is chasing her is really really bad at his job, and finally; (4) Both Other Kate and Other Claire seemed to have these little moments where they appeared to be trying to struggle to remember what is wrong with their picture. Much like what we saw from Other Jack and Other Charlie last week, there seems to be some very vague awareness of another destiny. If they develop this (and I think this will wind up being the major development of Other World), then it might help explain some otherwise completely inexplicable character motivation. It will still be dumb, though. That said, it's Kate, and I'm with Sawyer. If the choice is between a life of pain and Kate, I guess I will just throw my Dharma issue engagement ring into the ocean and choose a life of pain.

OK, now for the good stuff.

MAC! That's right, Mac from Always Sunny in Philadelphia shows up and proves conclusively that it is impossible not to laugh while watching Mac. I kept waiting for karate chops. You want continuity? Aldo brings the continuity! BOOOOOM!

Infection. In every season, there are a few big revelations that recode the narrative, and explain very large chunks of what had heretofore been unknown. In Season 2, we had the introduction of Ben, Widmore, and the continued revelation that human activity on the island had been expansive. Season 3 brought us the knowledge of the Dharma purge, the flash forward, and the introduction of Jacob as a concept. Season 4 gave us the first confirmation of an unique time/space situation for the island and expanded the reality of off-island factions fighting a long and ongoing war. Season 5 gave us . . well, a lot. A LOT. But mainly time travel, Jacob/Nemesis and loophole, and the Jughead. Now in Season 6 I think this idea of "infection" is going to be one of these re-coding moments . . . once we understand what it is. For now, a few words about this untranslatable-in-English concept of "infection", otherwise known as "being claimed."

1) Before Sayid was drowned in the temple's pool, Dogan warned Jack that "there are risks." I would presume that "infection" is the risk, or one of them. However, the properties of the pool has certainly changed. Also, I think it is obvious that the Jacobians in the temple were not expecting Sayid to come back to life. Therefore, I am going to say that the Jacobians think that this is what happened to Sayid. I don't think it is clear that this actually is what happened to Sayid, though it is certainly possible.

2) Based on how torture-y and poison-y the Jacobians become at the prospect of an "infection," I'd guess that either it is a very horrible thing for the person (thus a mercy-killing is in order), or a very dangerous thing for the tribe (suggesting a Nemesis possession), or both. So . . . this is something that has been going on for some time, and in fact it is something that we have observed with Rousseau's team. Remember that it was Rousseau who first brought up the idea of a sickness (ironically to Sayid), which had claimed her team. In the time-travel last year, we saw that happen, following a Nemesis-attack. It appeared to make the French team very murderous toward Rousseau, and thus she had to shoot them. Also, you test for it by covering the individual with that anti-smokemonster dust (I think) and then administering two tablespoons of torture. All this would seem to point toward the "infection" being essentially the same thing that we've observed happening with Locke and Christian and Yemi and others, in which the Nemesis assumed their forms.

3) On the other hand, the Nemesisizing of Christian and of Locke and of Yemi appears to be of a different kind, in that there is (in the case of Locke or Yemi) an observable-yet-separate dead body concurrent with the existence of the Nemesis version of the person. In the case of Christian, the body was never recovered, but the man had already been dead for a while. In the case of Sayid, that's still Sayid. There's not Sayid-esis walking around, while Sayid's dead body is still lying by the pool. It's just Sayid. So it would seem that the "infection" is something distinct from what I'll call Nemesis Assumption.

Riggstad had a great suggestion during a chat yesterday, to the effect that one that is "claimed" or "infected" is available for Nemesis Assumption. Thus, their soul is essentially scooped out, leaving them in some sort of feral state, until such time as the Nemesis has need of that persona. They also wouldn't need to be alive for this to work. This would fit in well with the idea of a person being "claimed." It's both the Nemesis possession AND the soul zombie theory, and it seems to fit. We shall see. For now, I'm sticking with it.

If that is the case, is it possible that the cabin ringed by Smoke B Gone® dust was to keep the Nemesis out and the remains of some specific and important "infected" individual in?


4) I think given that we now know that "infection" is a previously-observable (if not common), we'd do well to think back over various characters of the island, and consider which of them may have been "claimed." Here are the main candidates.

Claire. I think this one is obvious, since it was baldly stated by Dogan to be the case. So when did she become infected/claimed? I would guess it was when she was killed in the mercenary attack upon New Otherton. The only problem was, the temple water clearly was not involved. Perhaps the whole water table of the island is Jacobish. Whatever "infection" looks like, we'll want to watch Island Claire closely. One thing that's clear: "infected" doesn't mean dead, and it doesn't mean you lose your ability to reason -- at least enough to set some pretty sweet booby traps.

Rousseau. The parallels between infected Claire and Rousseau have been so clearly and specifically drawn that it is hard to imagine that Rousseau wasn't infected. If that's the case, were her fellow team-mates among the infected, or were they trying to kill off her crazy dangerous infected self? Or, perhaps, they were all infected. This might explain why Widmore and the Jacobians sent Ben to kill her. If Rousseau was infected and her team wasn't . . . well, Rousseau was the only one who didn't go down to the temple following the Nemesis. Also, if Rousseau was "infected" then infection doesn't even mean losing your emotions or affection for those you love. It's getting confusing. We're missing something, but we are close to something big.

Ben. Richard Alpert warned Kate and Sawyer that, if Richard healed the boy, he'd "lose his innocence." Clearly, Ben got dunked in the pool. Was he somehow "claimed" at this point? If so, how was this hidden? WHY was it hidden? I think it is safe to say that the Jacobians aren't comfortable with a living "infected", much less one in leadership. But, you know, it would explain all the evil.

Widmore. What exactly is the nature of the schism between these various factions of Jacobians? Perhaps it is the infected versus the non-infected.

Locke. Locke's obviously been Nemesis Assumed at this point. However, presuming the Riggstad Corollary is correct, when was he "claimed"? I keep going back to Season 1, when Locke met the Nemesis and emerged, secretive and filled with purpose about the island, willing to obey what "the island wanted", even if it meant attacking his fellow survivors. It may have been then. Does Locke's "claimed" status explain why Christian-esis couldn't help busted-leg Locke down by the broken time wheel?


My final thoughts? This was a set-up episode. Move the pieces, set things up for something awesome. Miles is hilarious. Josh Holloway is an excellent actor. Kate is really dumb. And guilty.

Oh, and one other thing. When Lennon-glasses goes back to tell Dogan about Sayid's resurrection, he says, "It's" alive. Not "he."

It.


L O S T

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Let's LiveTweet LOST

Use hash #LOSTGoat to join in on this feed.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

LOST 040: We Are The Other People, You're The Other People Too

Wow. It's been a while. How've you been? Great, me too. Love what you've done with your hair. Let's get down to it.


L O S T

Wow, they just went and committed to a whole lot of very specific things, didn't they? Too bad we don't know what all those things mean yet.

Easy stuff first.

Appreciation. Terry O'Quinn was marvelous. I feel like we're going to see Real Locke again, but for now he's found the menacing gear. I'd also like to mention once again that Josh Holloway has been nothing but compelling as the writers transformed his one-note character to one of the most complex and fully-realized people on the show. Jack's pretty much too ruined and haunted now for the everyman hero thing. I'd also like to call attention to two quintessential LOST moments. First, Hurley's guitar case becomes yet another LOST mystery object that intrigues at first, then finally fades into "well, I guess they forgot that" obscurity before unfurling just at the right moment. Also, Juliet's final words could be the ultimate encapsulation of the LOST experience. "I have something to tell you. It's very important. [Dies.]" Unfortunately, there, it undercut what has been pointed out is the longest death scene ever, and what should have been a more poignant moment.

Locke's the Monster's the Nemesis. This had kind of been assumed by many of us over the hiatus, given the but it's nice to have it confirmed -- and so early, too! Thanks, LOST! So what does that mean? Well, it means that the majority of the "ghosts" we've seen on the island have been the Nemesis furthering his goal. And that goal has also been confirmed for what we thought it was. Manage to pose as somebody Alpert would accept as one of Jacob's chosen, and bring along somebody willing to kill for him. I'd say that the Nemesis also seems to have a favorite "skin" that he wears for a while. He's been Christian for a while. Now he's Locke. What's very interesting to me is that the Nemesis doesn't just take on his subject's appearance; he can actually access their memories. This is deeper than mere impersonation.

On the other hand, we know that not all ghosts are the Nemesis. I think Jacob's appearance to Hurley seals that deal. (I strongly doubt this is the Nemesis, by the way -- though we clearly must consider the possibility. I think the Nemesis, while able to appear as the dead, actually is a physical being and thus is not appearing in two places simultaneously.) Now, is this ability to still appear to some and walk around applicable to all island dead, or is it specific to Jacob. My guess is the former. I think that the dead are on the island, perhaps attuned in some way to the Jacobians (I'm done with calling them The Others). This would explain why the whispers seem to follow in the Jacobian wake.

Ben's remorseful. Look's like Jacob's own Judas is having a little bit of buyer's guilt with that stabbing murder he bought last season. Too bad the Nemesis isn't big on returns. I did think it was fun to see that Ben can't stop lying even after it is far too late.

Alpert knows the Nemesis of old. And as a slave, one presumes, given the "good to see you out of chains" comment. True, the Black Rock was a slaver, so it's likely that ship that brought Alpert in the first place. However, and not to put too fine a point on it, I must point out that Alpert doesn't much resemble the racial profile that you'd expect to see on an 1860s era slave ship, and, also, Egyptians also had slaves. So, we'll see. I'm guessing that the Nemesis was known to Alpert in his guise as the man in black you see talking with Jacob back in the day. I would also postulate that the man in black is just another "skin" of the Nemesis. Now, it's lucky for you that you are so ageless and stuff, Alpert, because that throat-punch may have been fatal otherwise.

We know what the Nemesis wants for Christmas. He, like ET, just wants to go home. But where is home, exactly. I'm not positive, but the Biblical, Miltonic, and Edenic hints have become so strong that it's hard not to imagine that this is the fallen Morningstar, trapped in his prison and hoping to claw back to heaven. I personally will be fine if it's not, and fine if it is. If you're one who doesn't want a spiritual mystical sort of story . . . I don't know what to tell you. It sure looks to me like that is the story they've been telling the whole time. If I'm wrong, that's fine as long as it all hangs together, but to NOT have it go that way at that point would be a bit of a shift. However, LOST is nothing if not ambiguous and genre/perspective-shifting. I'd be surprised if they presented it in such stark terms, rather than letting the audience draw their own conclusions . . . to an extent.

I can't cross through your burnin' ring of powder. So, here's the thing to remember about the island. If you're going to go there, be sure to bring Smokemonster Off brand Monster Repellant. That's right, only Smokemonster Off will stop a Mystery Island Smokemonster Attack every time, and with that smooth Off smell. It's Toasted! (Warning: Watch out for falling rocks.)

So. We now know what that powder around "Jacob's" cabin was. But to what purpose? There's really only two ways to read this; either it was meant to imprison the Nemesis within, or it was meant to keep somebody safe from the Nemesis within. Neither reading seems to fit. It certainly seems as if the Nemesis had been imprisoned there for a time. and it seems highly likely that it was he manipulating events within the cabin on both occasions that Locke visited it. However, the smoke monster was roaming the island the whole time. I guess we'll just wait for further hints for now, but the idea of keeping the Nemesis in a prison within the island prison is fun to consider, and might explain the "Help me" Locke heard from Fakob.

The temple is real. And it looks Mesopotamian. So maybe the ancient Sumerians were able to get in on this action after all. We've now seen the pool that almost certainly gave Alpert (and, I presume, most/all of the other Jacobians) eternal life, and which almost certainly saved young Ben Linus' life. However, it wouldn't ever cure death. Sadly for Sayid, the Jacob power just left the pool and it looks like they've been peeing in there for eons, and thus he dies of a golden drowning. Or "dies." For a little while. I imagine that will make Sayid a Jacobian for life. I hope they teach him the gang sign soon. What's not clear is how that made Ben lose his memories and his innocence, as Alpert claimed.

By the way, I believe that Jack's attempt to bring Sayid back represents the first time in LOST history that CPR didn't work its magic.

Sayid is alive! Isn't he? We really do have to be skeptical. The last person who miraculously came to life turned out to be the Nemesis. But you don't really think they're going to play the same trick twice, do you? And again, I don't buy that the Nemesis can be in two places at the same time. It certainly might be that Jacob took Sayid's body, but that doesn't really wash for me either. Jacob appeared to take his death as more of an irrelevance, perhaps even an inconvenience. I would say there is about a 1% chance that Sayid is the Nemesis, about 5% that it's Jacob, and I'll give the rest over to a true miraculous return to life. Let me break down why:

1) Utility of plot. Look here, we are not going to spend five years following John Locke's quest for meaning just to end up with him pathetically dead. The story practically demands the return of Real Locke, to fulfill his destiny. Remember, he was called to the island by Jacob as well as the Nemesis. Hence, there has to be a way to bring him back to life. Everybody in the pee pool!

2) Because Jacob died. But but but but dead is dead! Dead is dead! True. Ben told Sun that. I think he was being sincere. Certainly the Jacobians seemed amazed at Sayid's resurrection. I think Locke's re-appearance totally freaked him out. He'd seen the pool do amazing things, but never bring anybody back from the dead. However, that was before Jacob had died. I think perhaps the rules have changed now. If we really are dealing with the Edenic/Miltonian dialectic of good and evil (as I believe we are), then it would stand to reason that after the Christ figure dies, his followers can live again. And the Sayid drowning looked a lot -- a lot -- like one of those old-school, Oh Brother Where Art Thou type baptisms. So the pool of healing becomes a pool of resurrection. And I bet the Nemesis didn't know that.

Oh and if you're playing Edenic/Milton bingo, that's the pool of life. So were is the pool of knowledge of good and evil?

I think it is also clear why Ben, knowing Widmore's mercenaries were on the way, would evacuate his followers to the pool of ultimate healing on the other side of the ambush labyrinth. I also think it is interesting that that labyrinth was home to . . . the Nemesis himself. That's where he drug old one-armed Frenchie to snack on him. So just how close to that pool did/could the Nemesis get, anyway? Because MAN were the temple folks freaked out to think of him out there once Jacob was dead.


OK, now for the hard part.

We have a parallel timeline. I know some of you don't like it, but there it is.

We have a parallel timeline.

We have a parallel timeline.

I personally believe that we have infinite parallel timelines (or at least as many timelines as there are possibilities at every moment throughout all of the universes history), but never mind that. If you're interested in why I think this, listen to this great RadioLab podcast (pertinent part starts around the 20 minute mark). Then listen to ALL the RadioLab podcasts. If you are REALLY curious and want to know how this pertains to LOST, feel free to read my timeline posts. Take your time.

But never mind my infinite possible universes theory. Sticking to the evidence at hand: we have one parallel universe. At least one.

No, the Oceanics aren't going to figure out a way to negate the entire show, and thus we are seeing the results of that. If that happens, the show is, as Hoy put it so elegantly (while arguing the counterpoint, I believe) dead to me. First, that would erase everything we've watched, reduce it to nothing, and be the most disgustingly awful story-foul imaginable. Second, we've already seen some fairly clear indicators that this isn't the case. But let me unpack all this baggage.

1) Realize that having a parallel timeline is very dangerous, precisely because it risks so much. It risks negating the last five seasons we've invested in this show. It also risks not meaning much to the "main" timeline. So the first thing to realize is that this narrative wrinkle is a real tightope act without a net. They need to pay this off in a way that honors the story that has come before. Otherwise, why should we care? They must do this. They have chosen a very risky path to the end. Hats off to them. I hope they pull it off, and have reason to believe they will. They've been magnificent so far.

We need to ask the right questions to make sense of this. The question is not, IS this a parallel timeline, but WHY a parallel timeline? What function does seeing this serve the main story arc?

I have some ideas. They're half-formed. We really need to see more before we can tell exactly where they are driving.


2) The bomb sank the island! Didn't it? I say probably not.

Let's walk through our parallel timelines.

In one, Oceanic has crashed, we've had five seasons of running and shooting and destiny and time travel, culminating in a bomb detonating in 1977 due to the efforts of a few people, most of whom had first come to the island years later when Oceanic Flight 815 had crashed, or were there as a direct result of that crash. The bomb went off because of time travelers. Time travel happened because of a threat to the island, threat to the island came because of Jack's will to get his people rescued, and because the island became visible, island became visible because Desmond blew the hatch, Desmond blew the hatch because of Locke, Locke and Jack came to the island because of Oceanic. Right?

Within this bomb exploding timeline, the bomb exploders find themselves immediately back in their proper time, ears still ringing from the detonation, but apparently time jumped away right at the moment of detonation. The island is still there. The Swan was built. They came to the island after all. It's the same. And we even know they are still in the "main" timeline, the one with Alpert and dead Locke and recently broiled Jacob and the rest. The writers make damn sure we know this, because the beach Jacobians see the temple Jacobians' warning firework flare. That was a distinct choice on the part of the writers to tie our bomb-detonators with the beach scene. Thus, "main" timeline. In which a bomb exploded during the incident. Of course it did. The bomb is not an anomaly in the sequence that brought them to the island. It's an integral part of the process.

Jack was convinced by Faraday that blowing up the bomb would change events. I suspect Faraday had his reasons, but there's a fairly obvious paradox that Jack may not have grasped, but Faraday must have.

They detonate the bomb assuming it will keep the Swan from being built. No Swan, no button, no button no crash, no crash, no terrible woes, no terrible woes, no time travel, no time travel . . . no bomb. No bomb . . . then the Hatch is built. Then the button is pushed. Then Oceanic crashes.

The only way to resolve this paradox is if the bomb is an essential part of the whole sequence. What I'm saying is this:

It is not with the bomb that the island sinks.

It is WITHOUT the bomb that the island sinks.

Alternate timeline is indeed a timeline in which Oceanic never comes to the island. And, because they never come to the island, they never time travel. And because they never time travel, they never set off that Jughead bomb at the precise moment of the breaching of an electromagnetic singularity of unimaginable power. And so the Incident, unchecked, puts the island on the bottom of the sea.

Think I'm off? Look, I do not know how an island can be put on the sea floor with all of its architectural structures still standing, but whatever method accomplishes that, it's not an H-bomb. You ever seen those old stock films of the houses blowing over? You think that an earthquake caused by a submerged detonation would settle the surface of the island gently to the ocean floor?

Leaving the hopefully-to-be-explained physics of it out, we still need to resolve the paradox. This is the only way I can see.

Now, I can only begin to speculate why we are being shown this timeline. But here is my guess: Jack thinks that the main goal of all of this is still survival, a restoration of normalcy after the crash. These were the big questions of Season 1: will they get off the island? How will we get off the island? Will all the people be saved? How will they be saved? In a real way, that's still Jack's reasoning: How can I save all these people for whom I feel responsible? How can I make all this not happen?

We've left all that behind. If rescue from the island is the sort of resolution you're hoping for, I think this is going to be a very frustrating Season 6 for you.

I suspect that the real question now is not: How can we make this all not happen? or How can normalcy be restored? Rather it is, Why were these people brought here, and for what destiny? and Would normalcy be desirable?

I think what we will see with this parallel universe is precisely what Hawking tells Desmond, and what Desmond tells Charlie, and what Faraday tells everybody. You can't change your destiny. We see Desmond able to see many parallel universes for Charlie, and to help him choose a good one, one with purpose. But he can't change the shape of Charlie's destiny. Charlie's gonna die, brotha.

And he's still gonna die, brotha, despite Jack saving him this time. And Locke will still get to walk again. And Jack will still struggle with his issues. And so will all of them. The island is not the enemy. They themselves are their enemy. Their fate is their fate, and it will come. It may just be that what the island gives their fate is some kind of meaning. The comparisons may be stark. Certainly so far the Oceanics don't seem to be leading very happy existences.

Now, that doesn't mean that this parallel universe won't intersect in some tangible way with the main timeline. I can't imagine how, but it may happen that the timelines merge in some way beyond theme. The fact that Jack seems to be aware that something is wrong in his universe speaks to that possibility, as does Juliet's awareness upon death that "it worked" (for now I am assuming like everybody that she's seen parallel Oceanic fail to crash, or parallel Lost Island underwater).And, again, it is absolutely crucial for this parallel timeline to be more than just a cute little game that ultimately means nothing. Certainly it will be interesting to see what a world without the island since 1977 will be like. The Oceanics have no idea to what a profound extent the island shaped their fate before Flight 815, though we have a sense of it, and already we notice small differences between this world and that, which clearly extend far before Flight 815 takes off. What will become of the world without the island? What became of Desmond (no idea what he was doing on 815 at all - except we know that time/space is unique for him) without Jacobians running his life? What happens with Widmore and Hawking and unborn Faraday presumably dead and Penny presumably never born? What about Jacob?

And, in this brave new world, where did the Nemesis go?



L O S T

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

LiveTweeting Lost Tonight

Hashtag #LOSTGoat. I'll be pulling the hash into a feed on my blog. Join the fun, come one come all.

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