Lost Time

I apologize for the absence of a Lost post over the last few weeks.  Much has happened and we know much more than when I last posted.

My speculation that the show may flip and have Smokey be the good one and Jacob be the bad guy seems very, very  unlikely at this point.  That being said, I think it would be a mistake to see Jacob and Smokey as simply good versus evil.  They are not gods representing pure evil or good.  It’s clear that they are/were human beings with all of the complexity that human characters have.

What we know is that Smokey wants to get off the Island and Jacob is determined to keep him there.  Jacob says that if Smokey get’s off the Island some very bad things will happen.  He’s probably right, but we don’t know for sure.

The only way for Smokey to get off the Island is for Jacob to be killed and not replaced.  Jacob is already dead so now the issue is whether one of the 6 candidates will replace Jacob before Smokey can leave.  Smokey can’t directly kill any of the candidates but he can corrupt them or perhaps kill them through proxies. 

Smokey’s method of corruption is to know people’s minds and histories and offer them something they really want.  Often the thing he offers is to be reunited with a dead loved one.  Smokey can appear in the form of that dead loved one to tempt the person.  As I’ve suggested before, all dead people we see walking around the Island are actually Smokey.  The only exception to that is that Hurley has the power to see actual dead people, like Jacob and Isabella at the end of the last episode.  If only Hurley can see the dead person, it really is that person. 

Smokey probably needs some physical item from the dead person to appear as that person.  Most often the body of the dead person is on the Island.  But in the case of Isabella, he probably used her cross to appear as her.

Smokey has offered other things to corrupt people.  He offered Ben power to rule the Island after he leaves, but Ben refused.  He offered Sawyer transport off the Island.  Smokey appears to keep his word, but often his deals are less attractive than they seem.  Generally, what he offers is bad.

Just because what Smokey offers is generally bad and just because his escape from the Island may lead to bad things, does not make him pure evil.  First, Smokey has reasons for being as he is, which we will learn over the next several episodes.  We already know that he has a “crazy mother” and is still “working on” things related to that.  I’d be surprised if Smokey’ mom were someone other than a character we’ve already seen, since that would be introducing a major character very late in the story.  It’s possible that Claire is really his mother and he is Aaron.  Another possibility is Eloise Hawkins, but my money is on Claire.

Second, it’s not clear that Jacob is less manipulative than Smokey.  Jacob says that he wants people to be good without his intervention, while Smokey corrupts everyone.  But Jacob is the one who hands Sawyer the pen to write his revenge note.  Jacob is the one facilitates Kate’s running ways.  Just because Jacob does some of his manipulation through proxies, such as Hurley or Richard, doesn’t make him less manipulative.  Also, Jacob says that he believes in choice and free will while Smokey believes in fate.  Smokey says the opposite.  We don’t know exactly how this all will play out.

Third, while Smokey killed Jacob, it also appears likely that Jacob (or a proxy) killed Smokey.  We know that Smokey lost his body and had to take over Locke’s form.  Both Smokey and Jacob’s proxy, Dogen, sought to kill the other with a special knife before the person could speak.

It’s not clear how Widmore and Hanso (the owner of the Black Rock and the backer of the Dharma project and Sun’s father’s company) fit into this struggle between Jacob and Smokey.  I would guess that they are not on either side and are in it for themselves.  The Widmore and Hanso connection to the Island also goes back a long, long way (did anyone else notice that the man who took Ricardo as a slave was named Widfield — pretty close to Widmore?).

Someone or something is in the locked room on the sub.  I’m guessing it is Aaron or baby Kwon.

I also don’t know how the parallel world will merge with the Island world, but they somehow will.  The parallel world looks generally better and that is the one where the Island is underwater and the 6 candidates never went to the Island.  This raises questions about Jacob’s claim that the Island is a stopper keeping bad from the world.

Ultimately, I think we are going to learn that both Jacob and Smokey play necessary roles in the world.  There is a balance between choice and fate, good and evil, so both of them need to exist.  There is also a recurring theme about people needing to work out their issues.  The good people work them out while the bad people can’t let go of their problems.

Only 7 more episodes to go — until there is another 2 hour episode (and probably a movie sequel).

11 Responses to Lost Time

  1. Patrick says:

    The parallel world either tells us A) who is not the successor of Jacob, ie, have you noticed who is NOT in the parallel world? or B) I don’t really know, the island was sunk so no one could be left behind. Maybe baby Smokey ends up getting killed ending that entire timeline).

    I’m hoping Lost keeps up with the haziness of good vs. evil. Pure evil and pure good are very rare things, everyone has a motive to do things in their own interest and that may be good or bad for other people.

    I’m also glad we got to see Richard’s back story. Although I think it should have started a lot further back than 1867 (that ship looked like something out of the 17th century or maybe the 18th century for one). I’d be more impressed and sympathetic to a guy who was stuck on the island for 300 or 400 years

  2. The only people we have not seen in the parallel world are baby Aaron (not yet born) and baby Kwon (who was conceived on the Island therefore may not exist in the parallel world). Perhaps Aaron is Smokey/Smokey’s successor and baby Kwon is Jacob/Jacob’s successor.

    Also, the ship that Jacob and Smokey saw at the end of the last season may not be the Black Rock, since it arrived in a storm and the other ship was arriving in a clam sea. There may be multiple ships.

  3. Patrick says:

    I wondered about that two. Either there are different ships or different timelines. I’m still leaning to the notion that the island keeps repeating history over and over and all the people who have come to the island have been there over and over. At least that is the way I would have gone.

    We should also note that both Jacob and Smokey kill people. Jacob killed off the Dharma people and the U.S. soldiers.

    And I’m still not sure who represents fate and free will. Both say they offer it but do things to manipulate others or to suggest that they have a fate or destiny on the island.

  4. Patrick says:

    Just came to me. Dr. Greene since your Lost knowledge is vast maybe you can tell me if I’m on to something.

    Smokey and Jacob BOTH offer people something they want. Except Smokey lets people choose what they want (whether or not he can give it to them) and Jacob offers what he can actually give (everlasting life or healing for the living but he cannot bring back the dead). Jacob restored Ben and Locke. Jacob offered to keep that Japanese man’s son alive and Juliet’s sister alive…

  5. This sounds like Jacob offers life while Smokey offers things from the dead. Each of the candidates as well as Jacob and Smokey have “super-powers.” Jacob can offer life. Smokey can imitate the dead and can kill people as the monster. Hurley can see dead people. Jack can heal. Kate can escape. Sawyer can lie. John can lead. Sun/Jin can… I don’t know what. Maybe they aren’t candidates but baby Kwon is. Miles is not a candidate but he can hear the dead. Ethan is also not a candidate but he has super-strength.

    Perhaps the negatively charged exotic material gives these people their super-powers, which they then use for whatever their purposes may be. Jacob and Smokey just received their super-powers earlier and have set to manipulating the powers of the others.

  6. Daniel Earley says:

    I do find it interesting that Tunisia is somehow connected to the island and its geographical antipode happens to be located in the South Pacific, fairly close to the flight paths from Sydney to Los Angeles. The antipode for the pyramids of Giza isn’t too far from there either. Outside of watching the show, I don’t have time to follow it beyond Jay’s musings but 60 seconds tinkering with this mashup made the antipodes seem potentially relevant. http://www.antipodemap.com/

    If the writers chose to borrow from Egyptian mythology, Smokey and Jacob (unlikely his real name) could be intended as one of the common “pairings” of imperfect gods in that tradition. In order to make the island into a cork that somehow keeps Smokey bound, it may originally have been located at the antipode of Giza with a time portal directly connecting the temple to a matching one, perhaps a pyramid. Moving the island causes the antipode to misalign and have no temple exit on the opposite end, hence it imprisons Smokey. Instead, it points to random places near the pyramids like Tunisia and is guarded by Jacob on the other end.

    So, which Egyptian pairings of gods make for good candidates? With a bit of literary license, Osiris (god of death and afterlife) lost his body due to being fooled by his rival brother Set, but I’m pretty rusty on the mythology so perhaps another pairing matches up better. I’ll leave it to those who follow Lost more closely to explore, but these do seem like clues.

  7. Patrick says:

    Isn’t the statue on the Island the Egyptian god of fertility?

    If so, I find it interesting considering no one can be born on the island. An interesting result considering Jacob seems to be on the side of life.

  8. Greg Forster says:

    I just got caught up and can actually read all this now.

    Jay, I know I keep putting this out there, but just because Jacob and Smokey do similar kinds of things doesn’t mean they’re not good and evil. William F. Buckley used to have a great response to people who lumped the US and the Soviet Union together because they both had ideologies they tried to spread and both engaged in activities like spying and assassination. He said a man who pushes a little old lady out of the path of a runaway bus and a man who pushes a little old lady into the path of a runaway bus should not be lumped together as “guys who push little old ladies around.” Similarly, Jacob is manipulative, but we don’t know whether his manipulativeness is wrong until we know more about why he does it. If it saves the world, or ultimately benefits its subjects in ways we don’t understand yet, then it’s not wrong.

  9. Daniel Earley says:

    Great points, Greg. I also wonder if Jacob will reveal details demonstrating that what we perceive as manipulations did not, in fact, cause anyone to choose to make poor decisions, but merely presented opportunities to exercise their agency. After all, Sawyer ultimately remained just as free to use his pen to write down other feelings, and Jacob may actually have had nothing to do with the purge. We may yet learn that any character’s inclination to make Jacob a scapegoat may arise entirely from each person’s desire for justification.

    Then again, I’m failing on a regular basis to second guess these writers.

  10. Ellen says:

    On the Ancient Egyptian mythology side- the way I’ve been looking at the Smokey/Jacob (or Esau/Jacob if you like) relationship is that of Horus (son of Osiris* and Isis) and Set. Namely, that of order vs. chaos.

    Interestingly, in Ancient Egyptian myth, where Set represents the desert and Horus (sort of) represents the Nile neither god is permitted to totally destroy the other- because flood is just as destructive as drought, I think.

    I keep coming back to Jacob’s spinning wheel and loom. Those are pretty potent symbols for order.

    *Osiris rules over a happy place for the just so he’s not a Bad Guy like most western lords of the dead.

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