Analysis: 5.15 Follow The Leader

Both of these men decided to take charge, and almost certainly one of them is leading out of a misplaced sense of purpose. Personally I think both of them may find their agendas won’t turn out the way they envisage. So which leader shall we follow first? Let’s start with the one whose plan appears to be the most glaringly dumb.

I can understand where Jack is coming from, where his intentions are rooted. Ever since he failed to rescue Joanna from drowning way back in White Rabbit he’s taken the fatalities personally. He was appointed leader and promised to get everyone off the Island and, barring a few people, failed. The pain of that has been scorched across his drug-addled, booze-soaked broken psyche. A chance to undo all that? To wipe the slate clean? To get that tabula rasa? He’s lunging after it with both hands.

Setting aside the paradoxical issues of changing history, there is Kate’s viewpoint to consider. Hearing that Jack’s intention was to erase their Island lifetime out of existence she resented the notion, stating that it wasn’t all bad.

The almost extinguished flame of Kate’s affection for Jack is still twinkling, it seems – though this may be an offshoot from Sawyer being shacked up with Juliet. (More on that later.) Of course from Kate’s perspective, without the crash and the Island life, she’d never have known Jack, or Sawyer, never been a mother to Aaron and instead would have remained clapped in handcuffs and set for a life behind bars. But bigger than that, Jack’s grand plan would erase everything - every event, every life-changing moment, every significant redemptive act our main characters have lived through.

If Jack had his way, everything we have watched from the very first episode would be wiped out. This fact alone ought to be enough to convince you it’s not going to happen. And then there’s the quagmire of paradox issues that this woman, at least, ought to know better about.

You could try to blame it on her ‘grief’, but come on! If Jack prevents the crash of Oceanic 815 then he doesn’t land on the Island to see Eloise shoot her adult son to persuade her to help him wipe out the past and therefore the past cannot be changed. History shapes the future. In Lost, the future has informed history. The two are inextricably linked. Sayid, of all people, once he heard that shooting Young Ben hadn’t killed him after all, should have realised that whatever happened, happened, for sure.

Whilst news of Ben’s non-death might somehow pacify the exiled torment of Sayid, I still wonder if he’s going to make it into Season 6. We have a season finale heading our way, after all – if a main character is going down in flames then Sayid strikes me as a potential candidate. There’s a sense of his soul having gone, his purpose abandoned. With nothing left to do but kill Others and see what happens next he either needs to find new meaning or there’s no further place for him to go. Joining Jack, Eloise and Alpert on the ‘Jughead mission’ might be his last adventure.

Ah yes. Jughead.

Ignoring that, somehow, this old leaking hydrogen bomb isn’t a radioactive death zone that shouldn’t have explosive capacity any longer, the riddle is: How did Eloise and The Others get the thing in the secret cave beneath The Barracks? They didn’t just dig a hole and bury it as it is contained within the labyrinthine tunnel network, of obscure Egyptian origin, beneath the Island. Perhaps Smokey, when not dispensing death and judgement, operates an underground freight service! It sure seems like it’s a long haul to take a bomb that big from The Barracks area over to The Swan – and they have what? Three hours left? I don’t think they’re going to be dragging it but I’m stumped for alternative solutions (use the Others’ teleporting skills!?). We’ll find out in the finale.

Alpert being on the ‘Jughead mission’ may lend itself to the idea the bomb does go off, near The Swan, and produces this catastrophic ‘incident’. I don’t think it’ll be a straight big blast though (can’t be, really, otherwise the Island Oceanic 815 crashed on would be radioactive, right?), since I’m sure mass amounts of screwy electromagnetism and bright white lights will be involved. Whatever the way of it, Alpert will witness enough to be convinced Jack, and the people he leads, all died. He’ll tell Sun as much in 2007.

Alpert might not be as trustworthy as we initially thought, though – but more on him later. First, let’s mop up some of the other dangling ends in 1977 set to factor in the upcoming finale. The big one is Sawyer, Juliet and Kate literally locked together on a sub destined for the real world.

Despite Hurley’s insistence that Sawyer would never leave his friends behind, and that he always has a plan, I feel certain Sawyer fully intended to leave with Juliet. Note the word “intended”. It looked reasonably unlikely, even from the moment Sawyer said his farewell to the Island (the key moment that informs my belief he intended to go because otherwise there was no reason for him to say goodbye) and was making plans to buy Microsoft. Then Kate turned up. There’s no way all three of them are leaving. Like Sayid, though, I think Kate’s presence definitely sticks Juliet on the ‘at risk to die’ list.

The fact must surely be that the submarine does leave. For one, the likes of Lara, Baby Miles and Young Charlotte are on board and we know they get off the Island. Secondly, we’ve seen the submarine in the 21st century, perfectly intact and functioning.

So the intrigue lies in waiting and seeing what happens en route – what potential spanner in the works or fly in the ointment waits to spring up. And with Sawyer linked with the two most significant women in his life, what potential drama contained for him to make a terrible choice between them? A choice that saves one at the cost of the other? Like I said, Juliet’s seriously on the ‘at risk’ list due to Kate’s presence and it could be one of Lost’s most gut-wrenching moments ever.

Oh yeah, I’d also hazard good money that Phil is not going to survive.

There’s no way he gets to smack Juliet in the face and have Sawyer threaten him and not see that come to fruition. Sawyer once threatened Mr Tom Friendly in the same way, and in the Season 3 finale he was true to his word.

Similarly at risk with Sayid and Juliet I would factor in Miles. He’s reconciled his daddy issues, having seen what provoked Pierre into sending away his wife and child (turned out it was Miles himself, vouching for Faraday – oh the irony!) and maybe now has no further character arc. Only his usefulness in communicating with the dead may prove enough justification to stop him from becoming as much.

I envisage Miles, Hurley and Jin will make their way to The Swan with Pierre to meet up with Jack – and somehow Sawyer and Kate (and probably not Juliet) will also get there, and so will occur ‘the incident’ and Alpert will witness whatever it is that happens that convinces him they died, but really they probably got zapped to 2007. That, in fast and loose terms, is how I see the finale panning out for those guys.

So. That brings us to 2007. And Alpert.

Given that Alpert has been described as an “advisor” that’s been around for a very long time, and there he was crafting a ship not unlike a certain Black Rock, then it’s highly tempting to consider it foreshadowing and assume, as I have for some years, that Alpert arrived on the Island on the aforementioned slave ship.

Indeed, I still think it’s so. Sometimes the painfully obvious is only so because it’s simply true!

The upcoming season finale is called The Incident. Now whilst this may overtly be referring to what happens/happened at The Swan, I wonder if there isn’t a dual meaning, and there’s another incident we’re going to learn about. Namely: What it was that happened to Jacob.

My long held belief about Jacob is that he, like Alpert, arrived on the Island on the Black Rock (I’ll keep the term ‘arrived’ deliberately vague, given their ship is in the middle of the jungle!). Something happened – an incident, no less – that rendered Alpert into an ageless state and trapped Jacob in some fashion where few can see or hear him. If I am even halfway right, and we’re all lucky, maybe The Incident (episode, not event) will shed some light on that notion.

It may be that Alpert could be directly responsible for what happened to Jacob. There may be treachery tucked away behind the eyeliner eyes. This advisor may be referred by other names. Call him Judas. Call him Brutus. Alpert’s concerns, how he is becoming threatened over Locke’s methods of handling leadership, might just bring out his nastier traits.

New and improved reincarnated John Locke is a man on a mission to ring in the changes for The Others. No longer threatened by Ben, quick to have his commands as the new Island Chief carried out, and somehow able (because the Island spoke to him) to know the most improbable things. I was pleased Ben raised the question of how the hell Locke knew when and where his injured self was going to turn up because, frankly, there is just no way Locke could have known.

And yet he did know. It’s impossible, and yet it’s true. And apparently the Island spoke to him. It may seem like a cop-out but in the face of the facts then it’s the only viable explanation. The important point here is: The Island does have some kind of force, or sentience, and it can communicate awareness to the chosen ones. In all the long years of Lost this staggering idea may be one we have become so used to we don’t really stop to question it.

An open-ended thought: If the Island has independent will it doesn’t necessarily follow that it operates benevolently. Maybe that’s a concept for Season 6. . .

The episode ended with Locke’s claim that he was going to “kill Jacob”. I don’t for one second believe that Locke meant this literally, and yet I do have the feeling he may – as I stated at the top – be a leader operating under a misplaced sense of purpose. He's not out to kill Jacob the Man, more kill Jacob the Myth. I believe that Locke believes that Jacob, this mysterious man that no one has seen or heard, is merely a cipher those in charge of The Others use to get their people to do whatever they want them to do.

Jacob said you need to go into the jungle and kill a French woman and her baby. Jacob’s made a list of people he wants kidnapping from plane crash survivors. Jacob wants you to build a runway. Jacob will cure your sister’s cancer if you stay on the Island. When presented on nothing more than faith and the say-so of your superiors Jacob’s will becomes a hard pill to swallow. And you know what, on that level, I think Locke is right to be suspicious.

It’s a good move of Locke’s to gather up all The Others and march them to Jacob’s Cabin to see if he can expose the man behind the curtain once and for all. If Alpert, and Ben, and whatever Island Chief has gone before, have always been using this idea of a ‘God’ Jacob to dictate terms then Locke has the potential to blow The Others, as a group, to pieces.

Where Locke may be misguided is in the sense that he has come to believe that Jacob doesn’t exist at all. He attacked Ben with the idea that he had never seen or heard Jacob (suggesting the encounter in the cabin, back in The Man Behind The Curtain, was a pure act of manipulation) and threw open such a suggestion to The Others as a group. Planting seeds of doubt and suspicion in their minds that this Jacob guy doesn’t even exist.

So: Does he?

Well, I think so. For one thing we saw this. . .

. . . and we heard that voice from beyond boom “Help me”. . . and Ben, all alone just before he turned the donkey wheel, actually addressed Jacob as though talking to God when he asked if he was happy now. . .

Furthermore if Jacob is a complete lie then it means Christian, in the cabin, who claimed he could speak on Jacob’s behalf, is also in on this lie. Seems like a bit of a stretch. Not to mention the very real phenomena of the cabin we have seen appearing and disappearing, that Hurley has also witnessed (and Claire is apparently inside!). No, whatever Jacob isn’t, there’s no denying that he exists on some level more than smoke and mirrors.

Again, my hunch is that Alpert may have been directly involved in an ‘incident’ that trapped Jacob in his cabin, in some bizarre netherworld, and so then used this strange ‘incident’ as a vessel to promote Jacob as a form of God-like deity to be obeyed no matter what. Hopefully, through following the leader Locke, along with The Others, off to see Jacob we may derive answers about this intriguing mystery. There are some major revelations that may have their lids blown off in this forthcoming season finale. Not before time. . . in both timeframes.


Acharaisthekey said...

I too beleive John thinks he is going to try and prove Jacob doesn't exist. He tipped his hand best when he asked ben "you've never seen Jacob have you?"

From Jacks' standpoint, the guy beleives he is 'back in time' for a reason...i think daniel just was the first thing he beleived was HIS makes sense to way is that the case. We know the incident doesn't kill everyone. It looks as if Pierre stays on the island, and we know he makes the swan video (and the swan gets built) after the incident. I'm thinking the bomb is a dud or doesn't go off and the incident still goes down....but it's a FAILSAFE like incident...throwing all our people (815rs) to the right place...the interesting part will be...what year is that.

I would love to hear your comments on why/who all these TEMPLE DWELLING islanders are? Alpert again..said and made mention of the people at the TEMPLE? Interestingly enough...Locke didn't even ask about them...but are these the LEADERS in the temple...or are there reasons for being in the temple that is different then the CAMP people?

Anonymous said...

does anyone notice that guy in the others camp that beats up on kate and jack in eloise's tent looks a lot like young tom friendly?..also its known that richard alpert does not wear eyeliner. he said in a interview he got teased as a kid cause he had dark eyes... i believe it... .... ....just to inform ya

Anonymous said...

AC- great post as usual. I too believe John is trying to prove Jacob is a rouse. But I don't believe that's the case, I believe Jacob is real just don't know who/what/where he is. John's newfound confidence and sense of entitlement sort of rubbed me the wrong way.
I feel like we may have witnessed the beginning of everything over the past couple episodes. I mean, the scene with Jack and Kate really made me feel as if EVERYONE is trying to change the outcome they have come to know, but that they all have completely different agendas. Jack's explanation of how he wants to change everything to erase the 815 crash - trying to fix everything, is now his only purpose. Kate got on the sub after the conversation with Jack - she decided to run. Perhaps this effort by each person to change the outcome of their past, present and future is what started the entire cycle in the first place. Eloise admitting she had met Faraday back when she was 17 and that he disappeared in front of her eyes leads me to believe that everything she has done since was because of that meeting.
I agree with you that Alpert will see everyone disappear on the finale, but that they may not end up in 2007. It will also be very interesting to find out how Faraday 'comes back from the dead' to make that video with Chang, and also if we are set up to find out more about the Black Rock. I am soooo looking forward to the finale!

Tim said...

Re: the nuclear bomb, Hiroshima's radiation levels were down to a habitable level after a few weeks, and although this bomb will have been more powerful since the technology rapidly advanced in the fifties I can't see any fundamental reason why the island wouldn't be habitable thirty years later. Vegetation was also quite quick to grow back in the case of Hiroshima. It could also tie in to the pregnancy issues (the tissue of foetuses is especially susceptible to radiation damage), although you'd think the Others would have worked that out. It would, however, give a good explanation for the destruction of the statue.

Who knows, basically!

Corellian said...

You know one thing that botters me? We´re almost done with Dharma time (well, at least I think we are), and there's still a bunch of questions that were left behind.

Like the food drops. Like Ben's girlfriend (Annie, right?). Like why the hells does Miles speak with the dead (maybe related to whatever happens to the sub and take sawyer/kate/juliet (or not) back to the Island?). Like why Locke once had that vision in which Horace was building a cabin for Jacob.

Well, all in all, great episode. Apart from the belief that the Losties will get back to the present because of the Incident, this season finale is absoluttely unpredictable...

(ps: I also stick with the idea that we´ll learn more about Black Rock and Jacob in this episode. I mean, come on, if they don´t take THAT chance to throw us more info about Jacob,then we´ll die before we know it...eheuAHeuaH...)

Anonymous said...

Reading this blog has recently become a part of my weekly Lost experience so I hope Angelocomet keeps this up next season too !

It's quite confusing that Kate, Sawyer and Juliet have left the island. Maybe they'll drop the other passengers including Charlotte, baby Miles and their mothers somewhere nearby and return to the island with the sub.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that Juliet's name alone doesn't put her at the top of the death list. We know that everyone's name on lost is not by accident, so I have just assumed since we met her, that Juliet was not going to have a happy ending. The introduction of the love story with Sawyer made it a lot more obvious for me, as well as both of them constantly reminding each other that they have each other's back. I'm not sure if this makes Sawyer in danger as well since Juliet commits suicide only after Romeo does. I do think that Juliet will have Sawyer's back and as AC said, it could be "Lost’s most gut-wrenching moments ever" when Juliet dies for him

Rasty said...

I also initially thought that the "killing" of Jacob would not really be a literal one.
Yet, once watching the episode over again, I've realized it may not be so.

In fact, just before dropping the "gonna kill Jacob" bomb on an afraid Ben, Locke stated that he's "not interested in reuniting with his people".
If that be the case, then probably he doesn't just mean to kill Jacob in a figurative way in order to gain strong leadership by discrediting the former leaders, or he wouldn't have said that.
On top of it, I'm pretty positive that:

- Locke has not forgot what happened the first time in the cabin, where he heard Jacob
- plus Locke actually has seen Christian more than once, and he was led to believe he's Jacob right from the start

So, I think Locke actually thinks Jacob's very real, and the intended killing could be likewise.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if, in fact Jack DOES set the bomb off, changing things, but the universe course corrects so that the stuff that needs to happen does happen but other minor details change. 'Cos otherwise all that exposition from season 3 will have been a waste...

universe said...

Enjoyable read.

My intial thought re: the black rock is that Richard has supposedly been on the island for a VERY long time, which I have always taken to mean a lot longer than 2 hundred years, which is when I assume the Black rock arrived.

Of course I think the only 2 people we have heard say this are Ben and Juliette, & we don't know the full validity of this yet.

I had recently watched 'Sphere' and initally they couldn't figure out how the spaceship crashed intact on the bottom of the ocean until one of them said:
"' didn't Arrived"

which of course it had, from the future.

So do you think the black rock crashed, or if as you write, and that Richard was on it, that perhaps it 'Arrived'?


AngeloComet said...

Achara - We know some of The Others in The Temple are the likes of Cindy and the other 'tailies', for one thing. The simplest explanation would be to think The Others with Alpert are 'veteran Others', and The Others at The Temple are relative newcomers (probably post-Dharma).

Anonymous1 - The guy that beat Jack up in the tent was subsequently shot by Sayid - so definitely not a Young Tom Friendly! (And I knew that about Alpert, but I still amuse myself by making quips about his eyeliner!)

Anonymous2 - Re: Faraday making the video with Chang, you might want to check out my previous post - The Darlton Rant - for discussion about that very matter. It's not good news. . .

Tim - I think the statue is long-broken in Dharma times (when Sawyer and co briefly saw it they must have been a LONG time ago, for just a minute or two, before returning to the 20th century where there has never been a full statue on the horizon). Fair enough about the bomb, I suppose, but would Radzinsky have survived for so long in The Swan after being so close to a nuclear blast?

Corellian - Yeah, if this really is the end of Dharma times then, basically, we've still missed out the most important era for answers and I don't see how we'd get to revisit it. Good old flashbacks, I suppose.

Anonymous2 - "Reading this blog has recently become a part of my weekly Lost experience so I hope Angelocomet keeps this up next season too!"

Aww. What a lovely thing to read. :o) Yeah, I'll be here during the break posting who knows what Lost-stuff right up until it all kicks off again for the final series. It's what happens AFTER that worries me!

Rasty - Locke claiming to be longer interested in 're-uniting' paves the way for that long-held belief that Locke is set to become the new Jacob! By 'killing' him he may just replace him.

Universe - I bet when they first dumped the Black Rock in the middle of the jungle the creators themselves didn't know how it got there. Since the Island can apparently pop in and out of space-time the best logic has to be that the ship didn't arrive on the Island, the Island arrived under the ship!