One's wearing a white shirt, the other black. Is it a smackdown between Good and Evil? Macs and PCs? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Nope, it's the big Lost season five finale, with tons of spoilers ahead.
Well, they certainly crammed a lot into last night's double episode: The O6 getting touched by an angel, er, Jacob. What — and who — lives in the shadow of the statue. What's inside that case that Ilana and Bram have been lugging around. Where Rose, Bernard, and Vincent have been for the past three years. How Hurley got out of jail free and where he got the guitar case. How Pierre Chang lost his hand. And then there's Jacob and his nemesis. All that was great (and we'll talk more about some of it in a moment).
But Jack's vaunted "destiny" on the island comes down to detonating the bomb because he loved and lost Kate? Really? Her? And Juliet — strong, resourceful Juliet, who I really grew to like this season — flip-flops from wanting to stop Jack to helping him, because it would be better to never have met Sawyer than to have loved and lost him (when he makes it clear he's not going anywhere), all because she saw him "look at" Kate? Oooooookay. The resurrection of the love quadrangle as a plot device to get Kate, Sawyer, and Juliet to assist Jack with the delivery of Lil' Jughead only served to slow down what was otherwise a pretty descent season-ender, not to mention exasperate this loyal viewer. Miles' cynical commentary ("Has it occurred to any of you that your buddy is actually going to cause the thing he says he's trying to prevent? . . . I'm glad you all thought this through.") almost made up for it.
The Jacob plotline was my favorite of the evening. I loved the introduction white-shirted Jacob and his black-shirted nemesis (or "Jacob's Enemy" as the credits call him), sitting on the beach in Ye Olden Tymes, a ship looking suspiciously like the Black Rock on the horizon. Apparently, visitors to the island are nothing new — Jacob brings them — and the same thing happens every time. According to Jacob's Enemy, "They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt." But Jacob says there's only one ending, and everything until then is progress.
Who are these guys? Are they demigods? Chumps stuck in limbo? Brothers? There's a lot of discussion out there of the biblical story of Jacob and his twin brother, Esau, who vows to kill Jacob (after he gives Jacob his birthright for a bowl of lentils and Jacob tricks their father into giving him what should have been Esau's blessing) much as our mysterious Jacob's Enemy vows to kill Jacob as soon as he finds "a loophole." Does one represent Good, the other Evil-or is it much more complicated than that? After all, when Jacob — on what appears to be a mission to visit and touch all the members of the Oceanic 6, plus Sawyer and Jin — meets Sayid, Nadia is run over by a car. Presumably Jacob's interference saved Sayid from a similar fate — yet he allows Nadia to go to her death without hesitation. As some have noted, Jacob's white shirt and his Enemy's black one mirror the colors of the backgammon set that Locke and Walt played with back on the beach in one of the very first episodes. Are Jacob and his Enemy just playing a game with humanity at large? And all this time, I thought Ben and Widmore were the puppet masters.
Certainly Jacob's Enemy seems to have gamed Locke, whose big moment, after all that time thinking he was "special" and "chosen," turns out to be dying so the Enemy can inhabit his body. (I suppose Locke is chosen, just not in the way he imagines himself to be.) Not that the Enemy really "inhabits" the Locke's body — because that's what Ilana, Bram, and crew have been hauling all over the island. I have to admit I'll be sad if the end of Locke's story is that he has deluded himself all along — and that he never actually becomes the reanimated, ass-kicking Locke I was so pleased to see return.
This episode actually got me feeling a little sorry for Ben: ignored by Jacob for 35 years, then manipulated by Jacob's Enemy into doing his dirty work. Though, if Jacob's Enemy has been wanting to kill Jacob for centuries, why doesn't he do it himself? Is that part of the loophole? Jacob has known that his Enemy has been planning his murder all this time, why hasn't he done anything to stop it — or does his death finally signal the next step in the island's evolution? "They're coming," he says before he dies; perhaps his death is what allows "them" to do so.
Now that Jacob is gone or at least dead in the corporeal sense, will Richard finally start to age? I was half expecting Ilana's crate to contain Richard's rotting portrait, a la Dorian Gray. I loved her look of relief when "Ricardus" finally gave the right answer to "What lies in the shadow of the statue": per Lostpedia, a sentence in Latin meaning "He who will protect/save us all." (Also, after getting a better look at the statue, I'm putting forth Taweret as a possible subject. A goddess with human, hippo, crocodile, and lion characteristics, she's the patron of women in childbirth, though of course that doesn't seem to be an issue on the island until after the incident.)
So what do you think? Does the white flash at the end of the episode mean the injured Juliet has successfully detonated Lil' Jughead at the bottom of the shaft, thus negating the crash? Or, despite Jack's "destiny," does what happened before happen again, i.e., the explosion of Lil' Jughead is the incident and Flight 815 crashes? Does the white flash mean a good, old-fashioned time shift has occurred and when the gang returns in Season 6, they'll be in 2007 (with Juliet and Sayid safe and sound? O.r do they die in 1977)? Or does everybody die, just like Richard said — and next season will feature some kind of crazy alternate reality (I really hope that's not it). Will Sun have more to do than ask wide-eyed questions? Are the ones Jacob says are coming, the Losties returning from the past? There's a ton left to discuss; let's get to it in the comments.