"Two sides: One is light; one is dark," - John Locke
Pilot episode, part 2
And so here we are. The endgame. And it's all laid out in front of us, the forces that have been nudging the pieces around the whole time. We're introduced to Jacob and his nemesis (who the internet has dubbed "Esau") who seem to be engaged into some sort of game, using people as their pieces. Jacob believes people are inherently good. Esau, not so much. He also wants Jacob dead. So there's that.
We're shown Jacob moving through our castaways lives, meeting them at key moments in their lives (and physically touching them in each case). But to what end? Did this already happen (which, given that Hurley showed up on the plane with a guitar case whose contents are still a mystery), or is Jacob doing something like Faraday did with Desmond, which is to say inserting himself into their pasts and changing the course of their lives in the process? No clue.
We're led to believe that Jacob is benevolent, but while I was initially on board with that, I'm not entirely sold. I sent the following message to Huston:
"Okay, so I'm reading Doc's Lost analysis and thinking about Jacob & Anti-Jacob/Esau. what if Jacob and Anti-Jacob's relationship is like someone else's we've seen? What if their relationship is similar to what we've seen from Ben and Sayid? And what if, at the end of all this, those two are damned to roam that island in perpetuity? Can you see Sayid and Ben, sitting on the beach, Ben's munching on fish and Sayid looks over at him and says, 'Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?'"
Basically, Jacob's the good guy because he has Anti-Jacob doing all the dirty work, disposing of the people that don't fit with his idea of "progress," either through use of Smokey or something. Just thinking out loud. This show's full of evil twins, mirrors and repetitions, so it's not really all that far-fetched. I mean, just think about Rose and Bernard's (more on them shortly) reaction to the castaways plan when compared to Jacob/Anti-Jacob's outlooks. Hmmm?
Add that to Lapidus' comment that people who go out of their way to convince you that they're the good guys usually aren't, and you've got enough to cast a shadow of doubt on Jacob's righteousness.
Aaaand another thought re: the "Candidate"question: So if Ilyana and her group is, basically, a Jacob cult, and if Ben has - in theory and to the best of his knowledge - been following the orders of Jacob, then is this candidacy similar to the Others' "good person" list-making we've seen? And wouldn't that (sort of) put the Others and Ilyana on the same side with Widmore as a dissenting faction under the same umbrella? Did I just blow your mind?
And before we switch gears to the castaways, let's address the Statue. Was that a crocodile head? If so, it was possibly Sobek. Here's some stuff from that Wiki reference that caught my eye:
"...Sobek also came to symbolize the produce of the Nile and the fertility that it brought to the land; its status thus became more ambiguous. Sometimes the ferocity of a crocodile was seen in a positive light, Sobek in these circumstances was considered the army's patron, as a representation of strength and power.
"Sobek's ambiguous nature led some Egyptians to believe that he was a repairer of evil that had been done, rather than a force for good in itself, for example, going to Duat to restore damage done to the dead as a result of their form of death. He was also said to call on suitable gods and goddesses required for protecting people in situation, effectively having a more distant role, nudging things along, rather than taking an active part. In this way, he was seen as a more primal god, eventually becoming regarded as an avatar of the primal god Amun, who at that time was considered the chief god. When his identity finally merged, Amun had become merged himself with Ra to become Amun-Ra, so Sobek, as an avatar of Amun-Ra, was known as Sobek-Ra.
"In Egyptian art, Sobek was depicted as an ordinary crocodile, or as a man with the head of a crocodile. When considered a patron of the pharaoh's army, he was shown with the symbol of royal authority - the uraeus. He was also shown with an ankh, representing his ability to undo evil and so cure ills. Once he had become Sobek-Ra, he was also shown with a sun-disc over his head, as Ra was a sun god."
This Sobek doesn't have an uraeus though, he has two ankhs. Doubly able to reverse evil? Maybe. Very interesting, no?
If that's a hippo head, then it's some sort take on Tawaret, which is interesting if only because her husband is Apep, who was Ra's big enemy.
But yeah, Jacob. Got stabbed and thrown into a fire, which was pretty awesome. But not before sputtering out "They're coming." Who's coming? We all know, right? I'm pretty sure he's talking about our merry band of people who blow stuff up: the castaways.
So yeah, Jack & Co. are busy trying to blow some stuff up to avert a catastrophe which, as Rose points out, seems to be what they're always doing. Did anybody else really love seeing Rose, Bernard and Vincent? Cuz I sure did. (Also, I still have money on them turning out, somehow, to be Adam & Eve. Either them or Des and Penny. Who knows.)
Anyway, so they're gonna blow the Swan in hopes of negating the electromagnetic energy stored there which will mean that they will never crash there. Or at least not in 2004.
The way I see it, there are three ways this can shake out for our castaways:
1) It works. They manage to negate the EM energy which means there is no Swan station, hence no button, hence no neglecting to push the button, hence no crash of Oceanic 815. Which means the the castaways we've been following for the last half decade are, effectively, gone. Sort of like Marty McFly in Back to the Future, when he starts to disappear, y'know? Which is not to say that they all couldn't find themselves on another plane in, say, 2007 that crashes on the Island.
But this option has its problems. If they collapse this time stream, then how did Ben get back to the Island? His only brush with the castaways would be in 1977 (which, according to Richard, he wouldn't remember) because that castaways time stream ends in that year with the Incident, right? And John wold still be alive, right? It pretty much all falls apart with this option unless they Powers That Be make up some random magical explanation to fix the paradox. Seems too messy to me. You?
2) It doesn't work. Whatever happened, happened. As Mils points out, maybe what they're doing is causing what is referred to as "the Incident." In this option, Faraday lied and was just working to maintain the status quo. Which would explain why he waltzed into the Others camp waving a pistol and making demands: he knew he had to die and planted the "blow up the Swan," and "these dudes are from the future, you have to evacuate the Island," ideas into the heads of Jack/Kate and Dr. Chiang respectively, before getting capped by his moms.
In this scenario, our castaways will have to time-skip to the future somehow. Maybe the Incident is supposed to set this off? If so, it'll be some great pseudo-science to do so. This solution's a lot less messy and brings the castaways to the future with their experiences intact. This one makes the most sense, but we've got eight months to change our minds on it.
or, 3) Something nobody can foresee and is totally crazy but somehow works. I'm putting my money on this one. Seriously, why do I even try and guess where this show is going? It's not like Fringe, where every twist is mapped out in advance and comes at you like a drunken old man taking a swing at you: By the time he's followed through, you've dodged it and you're setting up for his next go, sort of laughing but having a good time. (Don't get me wrong, it's an enjoyable show, but it's not even in the same league as Lost. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.) Lost, on the other hand, totally blindsides you every single week, darting around the ring while you stumble after it, flailing your arms while you pray your vision stops blurring.
And so here we are, staring at the white closing screen, a perfect inversion of the ending of every other episode's ending. And we wait.
"Suddenly, everything has changed." - The Flaming Lips
Lets discuss. Leave it in the comments section, peeps.