LOST: “The Incident” (Season 5 Finale)
Well, here we are: the final episode of the penultimate season of Lost. I’m pretty sure what we saw tonight qualifies as a “game changer.” Spoilers from seasons 1-5 below the fold.
Links and miscellanea
- If you are a student at the University of North Florida, you may have watched the season 5 finale because it was on the syllabus. Tufts has also offered a course on Lost in the past.
- According to this interview with Damon Lindelof, all character plotlines will be resolved by the end of next season, and if there is a movie, it will be in addition to the Lost universe, not an essential piece to the puzzle.
- Stuff from the final season 5 official audio podcast: the Locke-Alpert compass, actually is in an infinite loop (and this was intentional); the ComicCon video is not canonical and doesn’t really fit within the show’s continuity; this season finale gives essential information about the central mystery to the show.
- Here’s an interview from the Onion’s A.V. Club with Michael Emerson (Ben). And here’s one of Jorge Garcia (Hurley).
- This Locke vs. Jacob boxing poster is a work of considerable appeal:
- USA Today has an interview with Patrick Fischler (Phil).
- A Cuse and Lindelof interview at the Washington Post.
- This NY Daily News story discusses how the Lost production team keeps its many secrets. According to the article, JJ Abrams doesn’t even know spoilers. This Boston Herald piece strikes a similar chord, but also discusses the deceptive tactics involved.
- Here’s a nice feature on the complexity of season 5′s time-traveling plot.
Observations and speculations
- As the episode opens, Jacob is in his hovel home beneath the statue, at a spinning wheel, weaving a tapestry. Some pottery is in the corner. A fire ring burns in the center of the room, seemingly without any fuel. An Egyptian god, probably Maat, is painted on the wall above Jacob’s weaving nook. (Maat is the Egyptian goddess of truth, justice, balance, order and morality. It is Maat’s feather that Anubis uses when he weighs the heart of the deceased during the judgment in the afterlife.)
- Cut to Jacob on the beach, hauling in a trap with red snapper, which Jacob proceeds to grill on a rock by a fire. In the distance, we see (presumably) the Black Rock off shore.
- Another man (name unknown, pending season 6—at this point, all we know is that he’s Jacob’s nemesis) walks up and has a forced conversation with Jacob. He mentions how badly he wants to kill Jacob. This piece of dialogue is particularly significant:
[Referring to the ship] Jacob’s Nemesis: How did they find the island?
Jacob: You’ll have to ask them when they get here.
JN: I don’t have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong.
J: You are wrong.
JN: Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.
J: If it only ends once, anything that happens before that is just progress.
JN: Do you have any idea how badly I wanna kill you?
JN: One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.
So here we are at the end of five seasons, and it seems we’ve just now been formally introduced to two of the most important characters in the entire mythology. Apparently, everything that has happened, happened within the context of this struggle between two long-time island dwellers on a beach.
- We get another view of the statue from the back. It appears to be holding an ankh in each hand. We see a partial view of the face, and it appears to have the mouth of a crocodile. I’m going to suggest Sobek as a possibility for the identity of the statue. It doesn’t really look like Anubis, my previous best guess. Sobek is a god of power, protection and fertility.
- Next we see Young Kate in a corner store in Ames, Iowa, preparing to launch her life of crime. She’s with a childhood friend, Tom Brennan. (Some had speculated, based on casting information that leaked before the episode, that the “Young Tom” in the finale would be the Other Tom, aka “Mr. Friendly.” Not so.) Tom is playing with a small toy airplane. This is the same toy airplane that Kate would later rob a bank to retrieve from a safe deposit box, then later snatch from the U.S. Marshall’s Halliburton case found at the bottom of the island’s lagoon.
- Kate steals a New Kids on the Block lunch box. How funny is that? While she’s embarking on her life of crime, Patsy Cline’s “Two Cigarettes in an Ashtray” plays over the store’s radio. Patsy Cline seems to dominate any Kate flashback.
- We see Jacob’s first flashback appearance as he makes good with the store shopkeeper for Kate’s petty theft of NKOB merchandise. Jacob says, “Be good, Kate.” Kate is so making Jacob’s list. In fact, it looks like the passenger list for flight 815 was many years in the making, and not a coincidence at all, at least for some. It also seems that Jacob is ageless and can travel about freely and interact with all manner of folks.
- I’m sympathetic with Sawyer’s decision to “pass” on saving the island. He makes at least one fatal mistake though—he makes the decision for both himself and Juliet, and just assumes she’ll go along with him.
- Meanwhile, in a bomb chamber beneath Dharmaville in 2007, Sayid is studying the detailed instructions left in Faraday’s notebook. It’s just a good thing that Sayhid decided to come along because I think he’s a lot more technical than Jack. Faraday’s plan involves removing the plutonium core of the bomb, stuffing it in a backpack, then hoofing it over to the Swan site.
- Richard confirms what we suspected last week, that Eloise is pregnant.
- Over at the Swan site, Radzinsky and Chang are in a heated debate about whether or not to continue the drilling for the construction project. We learn that Radzinsky has been working on the electromagnetism project behind the Swan for six years, and that it will involve cutting edge science. Radzinsky came to the island, he says, to change the world.
- When asked by Sun about Jacob, Ben says that Jacob “is in charge of this island. … Everyone answers to someone, and the leader answers to Jacob.” Ben also reveals that he’s never actually met Jacob.
- Richard says that he does not age “because of Jacob.”
- Locke/Jacob’s Enemy says that after he sees Jacob, “We’re going to have to deal with the passengers on that Ajira flight that brought me here.” And yes, Richard, you know what he means. I’m assuming he means kill dead.
- Bram and Ilana have an interesting exchange about Lapidus, and suggest that Lapidus might be “a candidate.” For what, we won’t know until season 6.
- Bram, Ilana and the other shadow-of-the-statue people carry the cargo crate around like the Ark of the Covenant. Presumably, this is simply because it makes it easier to carry, but it does add to the mystery.
- The next flashback we see Young Sawyer at his parents’ funeral. He begins his handwritten note to the Real Sawyer (i.e., Locke’s dad), using a pen that Jacob hands him. Someone (an uncle?) discourages Young Sawyer from a revenge-fueled life, with the wisdom “what’s done is done.” Eventually, Sawyer comes round to this point of view.
- Juliet’s Other hand-to-hand-combat training comes in handy as she quickly dispatches the sub crew member passing out sedatives.
- Jack tells Richard in 1977 that he’s knows Locke and “if I were you, I wouldn’t give up on him.” This is strange advice, considering Jack thinks Locke is dead.
- The Monster seems to be aligned with Locke/Jacob’s Enemy. It convinced Ben, in the form of Alex, that he must do whatever Locke tells him to do. This apparently includes killing Jacob.
- Jacob intercepts Sayid on LaBrea Ave in Los Angeles, essentially causing Nadia’s death. I had assumed that Ben had arranged Nadia’s death, but apparently, Ben was getting a lot of help motivating the Oceanic Five to return to the island.
- Richard busts through from the Tunnels to one of the DHARMA houses. Jack offers to go first, but Eloise tells him, “Jack, don’t misunderstand who’s in charge here.” Richard pistol whips Eloise unconscious to keep the Other’s leader safe. I guess Richard has no misunderstanding. (At this point in time, Eloise and Widmore appear to be co-leaders.) Richard also says he’ll take her out “the way we came in,” but wouldn’t it be difficult to drag an unconscious body down an underwater tunnel without killing her or killing himself?
- The house appears to be Horace’s house. I wonder if this is the same house Ben later moves into post-Purge.
- Sayid’s plan of “hiding in plain sight” isn’t a terribly great one, as Uncle Rico spots him fairly quickly. Jack is pretty handy with a gun, and Hurley and Jin arrive just in time to provide an escape.
- Kate, Sawyer and Juliet arrive on a beach, then are greated by Vincent, followed by Rose and Bernard. Rose and Bernard have been living a quiet life in the jungle only five miles from the barracks. Bernard looks ragged and kind of native. They are “retired.” It’s all very sweet, but it was an odd little interlude. Rose has a couple good lines, “It’s always something with you people. … We traveled back 30 years in time and you’re still trying to find ways to shoot each other?”
- Bram says he plans to show the contents of the cargo box (i.e., Locke’s corpse) to someone, “so they’ll know what they’re up against. … Something a hell of a lot scarier than what’s in this box.”
- Bram tells Lapidus “we are the good guys,” echoing Ben’s words from season 2. I liked Lapidus’ response, “In my experience, the people who go out of their way to say they are the good guys are the bad guys.”
- Bram, Ilana and company arrive at the cabin and find the circle of ash has been broken. Was the ash meant as a protection, or a constraint? .
- We see, in a flashback, Ilana in a pretty nasty looking Russian hospital, convalescing with bandages on her face. She gets a visit from Jacob, whom she recognizes and says she is happy to see. Jacob asks her to do something for her. Presumably, it’s the mission that has just been interrupted by this flashback.
- The shack is definitely the same shack that we’ve seen previously, with the same junk and bad dog painting. Ilana says, he isn’t there, and hasn’t been for a long time, but “someone else has been using it.” Ilana then orders it burnt. She also hands Bram a woven cloth, something she found inside the cabin pinned to a wall with a knife, with the image of the statue by the shore of the island.
- If Jacob hasn’t been in the cabin for a long time, who has been? Who was the spirit that was present when Ben first took Locke to the shack? Was it the ghost of Jacob’s Nemesis? Recall that the last time we saw the cabin, it was being used by Undead Christian and (possibly Undead) Claire. Does this mean that the Claire and Christian apparitions are also manifestations of Jacob’s Nemesis, just like Resurrected Locke?
- Next, we see Jacob sitting on a bench in front of a skyscraper reading Flannery O’Connor’s Everything that Rises Must Converge, a collection of nine of O’Connor’s short stories, published posthumously. (One of her stories in the collection is titled, interestingly, “The Lame Shall Enter First.”) We soon see that this is the scene of Locke’s crippling defenestration.
- Locke/Jacob’s Nemesis leads the Others to the ruins of the Oceanic 815 survivor’s beach camp. L/JN has a conversation with Ben. It’s clear that L/JN has all the memories of Locke as he remembers the hatch door, “where we first met.”
- Ben: “So yes, I lied. That’s what I do.” Just to make it perfectly clear for all.
- Locke/Jacob’s Nemesis taking Ben to kill Jacob parallels Ben taking Locke to kill his father on the brig of the Black Rock.
- Sun finds, among the ruins, the crib that Locke made for Claire to put Aaron in, and also Charlie’s Drive Shaft ring. Cut to a flashback of Sun and Jin’s wedding. It’s an outdoor Western-style wedding in front of a Korean temple, and Jacob crashes the wedding, saying nice things in supposedly “excellent” Korean.
- Miles best line: (in response to Jack’s assertion that they’re not going back in time) “Right, because that would be ridiculous.”
- Jack and Sawyer have a rumble in the jungle that’s as pointless as it is satisfying. Juliet interrupts the fun to let Sawyer know that she’s changed her mind yet again. I know it’s reputed to be a woman’s prerogative and all that, but Juliet seems to be abusing her privileges a bit, and I can’t help but feel sorry for Sawyer.
- We also get a flashback of Jack as a resident, getting supervision from his father Christian. Christian teaches Jack the trick of counting to control his fear—the same trick that Jack teaches to Kate in the pilot episode after the 815 crash. At the time, however, Jack reacts badly, claiming that his father embarrassed him by putting him in time out in front of his colleagues. To add insult to injury, the vending machine fails to deliver Jack’s Apollo bar. You remember Apollo bars, right? That’s the candy bar that Kate finds in the Swan Hatch at the beginning of season 2. The Apollo bar is next to some other fictional candies, a “Humdinger,” a “Lindo’s” chocolate peanut butter cups, and a “Crisp-It” bar. Luckily, Jacob is there to free Jack’s Apollo bar for him saying, “I guess it just needed a little push.”
- Sawyer is something like a fatalist or a pragmatic determinist. He explains that he didn’t try to stop his father from committing murder-suicide because “what’s done is done.” Yet later he explains that he “doesn’t speak destiny.” Sawyer probably just likes where he’s at at the moment and doesn’t want to screw it up.
- We also see a flashback of Juliet and her sister being told by her parents that they were getting a divorce. I’m not exactly sure the point of this flashback, except that maybe it’s to explain Juliet’s commitment issues and her belief that people who love each other aren’t always meant to be together. On the coffee table is a book titled “Mysteries of the Ancient Americas.” This is the only flashback in the episode where Jacob does not make a cameo.
- Just beyond the perimeter of the Swan site, Jack convinces Kate that it’s okay to send Jughead down the deep hole to the electromagnetic pocket. It’s really amazing how quickly everyone gets onboard the “detonate an H-bomb” bandwagon.
- We next see Hurley getting discharged from the Los Angeles County jail. Jacob is waiting for Hurley in a cab, and he’s got the guitar case. There’s no chance, however, that we’re going to find out this season what’s in the case. It’s a MacGuffin. Jacob insists that he’s not dead and that Hurley’s not crazy. He soft-sells Hurley on getting on Ajira flight 316 and apparently it works.
- Before leading Locke/Jacob’s Nemesis to Jacob, Richard says, “There can only be one leader on the island at a time, John.” So maybe I’m wrong about Eloise and Widmore being co-leaders. Maybe Eloise was the leader.
- Stone walls on Lost aren’t nearly as heavy as they look. You just have to put your shoulder into them and they move.
- In the entrance to Jacob’s statue dwelling, Locke/Jacob’s Nemesis tells Ben, “I know it won’t be easy, but things will change once he’s gone. I promise.” I imagine that’s true. But he doesn’t say whether things will change for the better, or the worse.
- Miles makes a very compelling argument, I think. What if Faraday/Jack’s plan isn’t going to prevent the incident, what if it is the incident? What if what happened, happened, and there is not alternate past that doesn’t involve Jack dropping a plutonium warhead down a bore hole? I’m still clinging to the theory that Miles is exactly right. Just like Faraday inevitably scaring Young Charlotte with his crazy man rant, Jack’s actions at the Swan station were simply part of the island’s history.
- I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that the red toolbox that whacks Jack upside the head ends up being in the Hatch years later.
- We see how Pierre Change (Marvin Candle) injured his arm.
- Phil gets rebar through the heart.
- I found Juliet’s death scene to be heartbreaking. Really sad.
- When Ilana and her crew arrive at the statue, she asks, “Which one of you is Richardus?” Perhaps the shadow-of-the-statue people are from an ancient order of Others whose knowledge of the island is more theoretical than practical. Sort of a Templar Knights of the island.
- When Ilana asks Richard “What lies in the shadow of the statue,” he responds in Latin, “Ille qui nos omnes servabit.” Recall that Juliet said all Others learn Latin. The phrase translates, “He who will protect us all.” Presumably, this means Jacob.
- Ilana then shows Richard Locke’s corpse. Sun asks the obvious question, “If this is Locke, who’s in there?”
- Inside Jacob’s statue dwelling, Ben looks at the tapestry woven by Jacob. It looks Egyptian, but with Greek writing on it as well. UPDATE: In the comments, Kevin Barney points out that the Greek is most likely a quote from Homer’s Odyssey, 6.180: “may the gods give you everything that your heart longs for.” The longer quotation, reads as follows:
may the gods give you everything that your heart longs for;/
may they grant you a husband and a house and sweet agreement/
in all things, for nothing is better than this, more steadfast/
than when two people, a man and his wife, keep a harmonious/
household; a thing that brings much distress to the people who hate them/
and pleasure to their well-wishers, and for them the best reputation.
These are Odysseus’ words to Nausikaa after Odysseus washes up on her island during his journey home to his wife Penelope following the Trojan War.
- Jacob recognizes Locke/Jacob’s Nemesis immediately and says “You found your loop hole,” referring back to the conversation that took place at the beginning of the season finale on the beach. Jacob knows he may be killed, but he’s calm. He doesn’t even really resist it.
- Ben, monologing before killing Jacob, explains how he led the Others: Richard would get pieces of paper and “lists” from Jacob, and relay them to Ben. Remember the lists that Ethan and Goodwin made after Oceanic 815 crashed? Those really were Jacob’s lists.
- Jacob’s final words to Locke are ominous, “They’re coming.” Who? And what will they do when they get here? If Jacob was protecting the island, will the people who come do it harm?
- Juliet’s final act seems heroic, even if I’m not convinced that it changed anything. We’re going to have to wait about nine months to find out. For the first time in Lost history, we have a quick fade to white, rather than the usual Lost logo with the black background. Nice effect.
- During the credits, we were treated to this teaser for season 6, the final season of Lost:
- The question for me, then is: whose eye is this?
Is it Juliet’s? I hope so, but I’m not sure.
Wow. That was a lot to digest, and I’m pretty exhausted. Let’s discuss it all in the comments below.