Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thoughts on The Man Behind the Curtain...

Holy guacamole, Batman, they fried my brain like a taquito last night! This was basically the episode that any theorist who ever speculated about the origins of Dharma and the Others has long awaited. And while it didn't answer all of the big mythological questions, I think we got enough to form some solid speculations about (as Marvin Gaye might say) what's goin' on. Some may say that the title of the episode is an allusion to illusion, and that Jacob does not actually exist. But, while I agree that Ben is lying mentally ill, I'm going to go out on a limb and say for the record that Jacob is 100% real.

More specifically, I think that Jacob is the electromagnetic consciousness of someone who died on Craphole Island. My guess is that He was a powerful psychic and the leader of the Others at the time of the first Incident, which probably killed Him. Maybe, like Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen, Jacob's body was obliterated but His electromagnetic "soul" persisted. Ben is presumably special because he alone among the Others can see and hear Jacob. That's where Ben's mental illness becomes relevant -- like Hurley or Tyler Durden, he has some combination of DID and schizophrenia. This brain structure makes Ben well suited to channel Jacob's consciousness and energy. Ben has become His mouthpiece, speaking for the dead. But who controls whom at this point?

My suspicion, which some of the Others (e.g., Richard) seem to share, is that Ben is holding Jacob's "ghost" prisoner in that remote cabin in the jungle, tapping His powerful mind to maintain power. That's why Ben is so threatened by Locke, who can also hear and see Jacob's ghost. That's also why Jacob's first words to Locke were "Help me" -- precisely what you might expect to hear from a prisoner. I once argued that the Lost Experience is basically a metaphor for the show. Recall that the main plot line involved a dude of dubious origins (i.e., Mittelwerk) taking control of the Hanso Foundation and imprisoning old Alvar Hanso himself. That's basically what's happening on the Island now. Ben has seized control of Jacob's foundation, holding Him prisoner and speaking in His name.

Here are some other things I noticed:

* What was that sandy substance that Locke stopped to inspect? Sure looked to me like a boundary of some sort. Could this be part of what keeps Jacob confined to his cabin? ETA: A poster named koralis speculates that it was a binding circle (used to conjure spirits) composed of the same material that messes with navigation on and around the Island.

* There was definitely a bearded figure in the room with Locke and Ben during the encounter with Jacob...

* How funny was it when Alex gave Locke the gun, then wished Ben a happy birthday? Makes me wonder if other Others have gone to see Jacob -- never to return...

* Ben may have lied about not being born on the Island but I thought it was interesting that he was delivered just outside of Portland -- i.e., Not in Portland, which was the name of Juliet's first flashback episode.

* Ben's teacher stressed that the Island's volcano erupted at some point in its distant past. My suspicion is that this eruption sealed the Fourtoes' civilization under ash and lava like Vesuvius did Pompeii and Herculaneum. Could this eruption have been the catastrophic course correction caused by the Fourtoes' efforts to manipulate fate?

* Has Richard Alpert aged at all since he first encountered Ben as a boy?

* Just how long had the Island's "original inhabitants" been living there prior to Dharma's arrival?

* Will we ever see the events mentioned on the Blast Door Map (e.g., the AH-MDG Incident) depicted on the show?

* Interesting how Ben's little girlfriend was named Annie, which also was one of Kate's aliases. I would say this is a stretch but that strange breakfast on the beach with Ben and Kate has always bothered me. Some connection would make sense, even if it seems improbable...


Anonymous said...

as far as the AH-MDG Incident, I get that AH might be Alvar Hanso, but what does MDG stand for?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this was done to throw Locke off but when Ben leaned down and told Jacob "That's enough" or something to that effect, it seemed like he was leaning down speaking to a child in the chair. Could Jacob be a child? the voice certainly didn't sound childish...

Lolagrrl said...

Woo hoo! I've been so busy today that I ~finally~ got the chance to share some thoughts with you! Hokay... ready?

First off, I DVR'ed the show last night and during the scene where "Jacob" throws Ben off him and ben smashes into the wall, you see a figure sitting in the chair for a nanosecond. I paused the DVR and froze it on that screen and I tell you... I am 99.9999% sure that the figure in the chair was JOHN LOCKE!!!
Of course, the face was in shadows and the man had long hair but the nose and the profile were clearly visible and the hair was the same as John's flashback episode when he was on the Marijuanna farm. I tell you... Jacob is Locke... or something Locke-ish ~that's~ why he has such a profound connection. That's why the "heart" of the Island is so beautiful to him... at least, I think. (One can never be sure when it comes to LOST!)

Secondly, I think "Jacob" directly relates to both the Smoke and the manifestations of dead people on the Island and I'll tell ya why... Ben's Mother TALKED to him! Jack's Dad and Eco's brother never spoke. The Island communicated directly with Ben and you could tell by the look on Richard's face that even he was shocked to hear that young Ben's dead mother ~spoke~ to him... Just as Ben now is shocked to hear that "Jacob" ~spoke~ to Locke!

My speculation for now is that Ben somehow harnessed some aspect of the Island (I also think that the powder on the ground was some king of "binding ring") and that power is also somehow related to Locke...

BTW - Something Ben said to Locke just before they entered "Jacob's" house keeps haunting me. He said "Like you, Jacob hates technology." Now, I'm not sure that Locke's "hatred" of technology in any way matches Jacob's... I mean, it was a ~flashlight~ fer cryin' out loud! So why make such a vague comparison? Unless, TPTB are trying to give us a clue about who Jacob is (sort of).

In all... GREAT episode! I was really freaked out to see Richard when Ben was a boy and completely freaked out to see the how the "Hostiles" disposed of the Dharma Initiative... but thee was no mention of Ben's sweetheart. Do you think he spared her somehow?

One more thing, If they destroyed Dharma, how come they still get food drops? Wouldn't the Hanso Foundation realize that something had changed?

Ok... That's all. Sorry about the long comment.

Danielle said...

Love the 'fried my brain like a taquito' line BigMouth! This was an amazing episode. I really felt sympathetic toward the boy Ben. Something major happened between the time he first encounters Richard in the jungle and the purge. I only hope we will get to find out what. That powder on the ground reminded me of a scene from the movie Skeleton Key where they used a similar substance to create a ring to keep people/spirits in or out. I don't think Locke has been done in either, though I'm afraid we may have to wait until next season to find out (that would suck!). Did anyone catch everything that Candle was saying in the orientation film?

Lolagrrl said...


I remember hearing Candle say something about the perimeter fence's purpose was to keep "some of the Island's unique inhabitants out of the area" ... or something like that. Was he refering to the "Hostiles?"

What I'm wondering though is how could young Ben see his Mom at the window when the fence stops "smokie"... Because personally, I think Jacob, the visages of dead people, the smoke, the whispers and the "Hostiles" are all one in the same.

Remember how Ben heard the whispers and then turned around to see Richard there?

Here are some other things that puzzle me:
If the "Hostiles" are the original inhabitants of the Island, then ~they~ are the ones that Russeau (sp?) refers to as "others," right?

Now, the hostiles have infiltrated the Dharma Initiative abd killed everyone but Mikael & Ben... right?

But the food drops continue.

and Ben still brings people to the Island (he told Locke that he brought "almost everyone" here)

But Tom told Sawyer that the Polar Bears figured out the Fish Biscuit puzzle in 2 minutes...
So did the hostiles continue the Dharma experiments or was Tom an original member?

And why was Mikael allowed to live?
And who/what was he so afraid of that made Ben have to announce himself so he wouldn't be shot when he'd approach the communication hut... especially if the hostiles and the remainders of dharma were one by then?


On another note... Did anyone else think that Jacob's little house conjured up images of Dorthy's house after it landed in Oz?

And lastly, Kudos to Bigmouth for keeping up the dialogue with us. I love your insights and the fact that you are open to sharing ours. This blog feels like a discussion among friends over coffee... as opposed to the flame-fests on the message boards. I know that the board moderators do their best to keep that low and to keep the volume of old speculations, debunked theories etc. low as well. But this seems more "civilized" ;D

BTW - Any readers out there who were members of the original OWA Miles club? Whatever happened to that group?

Me said...

I am late at viewing this episode.

M.E. Himself said that something is coming, that will make the Losties wish for a time when they were just fighting Ben and the others. (paraphrasing)

My thoughts: The Others needed Ben to Cage Jacob. Maybe The Island is a prison for the nephillium (sp?) Or some other ancients ( four toes- maybe those the ancient world thought of as God. The man that recruited Ben's father was named Horace)
Jacob was their jailer and their tormentor for eternity.
What ever special powers Ben has enabled him to contain this entity they call Jacob.
Ben uses that as a threat to shore up his power and hold over the Others.
I think Ben can see but not hear Jacob and Locke can hear him and not see him
I think very soon Jacob will be free of his prison and then all hell will brake loose, Literally!

Also an observation: I am not so sure Locke is dead. Why? because as my Son-in-law pointed out. The placement of the would would have been fatal - hitting a major bodily organ but since Locke does not have one kidney there is no major organ to hit.
Just a thought.

MikeNY said...

BM -- I'm dying at the Fuselage... I think I solved the show with superposition across two times... but no one seems to get it.

"Help me!"


Love ya man.


Anonymous said...

I posted this on the previous post, so will repost with a couple additions in response to the comments above.

I don't think everyone was terrified of Jacob until Ben came along, since they speak of him reverently. The real paradox here is that on the one hand Jacob runs the show, but on the other it seems clear that Ben has him imprisoned up there in the Friday the 13th/Psycho shack. So if Jacob is so powerful, why doesn't he kill Ben? The answer must be that he *needs* Ben because he's the only one who can see and hear him. Remember who Ben's reaction when Locke couldn't see Jacob: you're "limited." And remember how homicidally alarmed Ben was when Locke heard Jacob, meaning Locke had the capability to replace him.

So who is Jacob, what is his agenda, and how did this co-dependent relationship with Ben develop? That's the key question. I think Ben's ascendance with the Others is tied to this relationship with Jacob.

I don't think Jacob is future-Locke. If anything, judging from the photo, it's Desmond. But I think it's someone else.

Also, Jacob, though aged, has a childish aspect, judging from hsi tantrum and the way Ben gripped the chair and told him he'd had his fun. On the other hand, Ben referred to him as "sir" at one point.

I think the ash or dust around the outside of the cabin obviously traps the "ghost" inside. Could they be metallic particles? Does Jacob control Smokey?

I don't think Jacob explains everything, from the whispers to Smokey. Remember that in the transcripts of the whispers there's more than one voice. Also, they seem like children. Psychic disembodied children or ghosts who don't know they're dead? (They at times seem fearful of being detected by the people they're watching.)

I have a feeling that Jacob, whoever he is, has not been in that cabin for too long. Somehow he lost his corporeal form, perhaps in one of the incidents. Could he be Alvar Hanso? (We know from the "Lost Experience" he was imprisoned.) Could he be in Denmark right now, occupying two spaces at once?

Locke could very well be back. Perhaps Jacob will reanimate and/or possess him.

Richard and his band may be descended from the pirate ship. But were they, at the time, the only people on the island?

People are speculating Rousseau is Annie. I'm not so sure. First of all, they probably would have found a darker skinned child to play her. That would also mean all of her concern about her child etc. was an elaborate ruse. What's her motivation for that?

-- Aaron

Bigmouth said...

Anonymous: MDG could mean Magnus DeGroot or possibly MD (i.e., Medical) Group.

Anonymous: Well, we glimpsed Jacob briefly and he looked like a middle-aged to me. That said, I'm still intrigued by parallels to Solaris, wherein it's hinted that the sentient planet is a kind of infant god.

Lolagrrrl: Rock on with those great thoughts! OK, here's a link to the full-sized screencap of Jacob:

It certainly could be Locke with a wig and maybe a beard but I'm personally skeptical. The nose, for example, looks very different to me. But I like the notion that Locke is somehow related to Jacob -- a lost son, so to speak. I suspect, however, that we will ultimately learn that Jacob is actually a bad dude, who picks traumatized individuals like Ben and Locke to fulfill his vision. I'm beginning to think Ben has Him locked up for a reason...

Great catch regarding the parallel between the ghost of Mama Linas speaking to Ben and Jacob speaking to Locke! Another important clue along those lines was Richard's question whether Ben's mother died on the Island. If she had, then Ben might very well just be seeing her "ghost." Since she didn't Richard correctly inferred that Jacob was speaking to Ben in the form of the latter's mother...

I agree regarding Ben's comment that Jacob shares Locke's views about technology. I also think this is a reference to Ben's chicken specifically, and life in Otherville generally. For some reason, Ben is no longer on the same page with Jacob, which is why He's reaching out to Locke, who seems more like-minded.

As for the food drops, Dharma's backers probably realized something was up when Kelvin (whom they sent to check on the scientists) didn't report back. But they didn't realize just how bad things had gotten until the Swan and Flame were destroyed.

Danielle: Mmmm...taquitos -- LOL! I share your sympathy for little Ben -- reminds me of my similar feelings for pre-Island Locke, which I don't believe is a coincidence. Don't know about you, but I see a distinct pattern in the people Jacob picks to be His mouthpiece. You know what else? I think Ben completely surprised Jacob with his rebelliousness. BTW, you're the second person to point out the analogy to Skeleton Key, which I actually haven't seen. Is it worth a watch?

Lolagrrrl: I think he said it was a "sonar" fence meant to keep out the Island's unusual "animal life" out of the compound. Odd choice of words...

Great point re Richard and the whispers -- do you suppose they can they project astrally like Walt? I think you're right that the "hostiles" (plus Ben) were Danielle's "others." I think pretty much everyone in Dharma but Ben is dead. Radzynski was the last survivor of the original Initiative, while Kelvin was sent to check on the scientists. Those Others who weren't native to the Island were brought there by Ben, Richard, Ethan, and Co. They are a new species (homo superior) that will eventually supplant humanity, fulfilling the Valenzetti. The original Dharma Initiative was to determine whether regular humans could live in harmony with their evolved cousins. Turns out, they can't...

As for Mikhail, I think Richard deliberately set the fence on low. Ben wanted Locke to kill Mikhail, just like the former wanted the latter to kill Anthony. In both cases, Ben wanted blood on Locke's hands to taint him in the eyes of the Others. We already know that Richard intervened to help Locke -- and frustrate Ben -- in the case of Anthony. How much you wanna bet Richard was also behind Mikhail's miraculous survival?

BTW, your kudos are appreciated, but rest assured that it's great comments by all of you that keep me coming back!

Me: I totally agree re Jacob being a bad dude -- Ben is not lying about that. I like where you're going with the Nephilim angle -- what about this? Special people like Jacob are either direct descendants of, or the legacy of experiments by, the Fourtoes. (GREAT catch, btw, re Godspee's name -- I wonder if it's a reference to the Eye of Horus.) Ben started out as a meek little boy that Jacob thought He could readily manipulate. The problem is that Ben realized the truth and has been working to secretly frustrate Jacob's plans. In that regard, Ben reminds me a bit of Cigarette Smoking Man in the X-Files...

Brilliant speculation regarding Locke's survival -- I love the irony of the missing kidney saving his life!

Bigmouth said...

Mike: LOL! I've been a bit busy and am just catching up -- will see you there shortly!

Aaron: Thanks for reposting -- I was just going to ask if you wouldn't mind doing so That's a very interesting thought about Jacob being less terrifying before Ben showed up. Reminds me a LOT of the Alien X storyline in Walt's comic. But do you think Ben was the trigger specifically? My suspicion is that Jacob originally wanted Homo Sapiens and Superior to co-exist in harmony. Perhaps He was murdered by the Dharmies and became vindictive as a result. Maybe this was the Incident...

As I said above, I think Jacob chose Ben for the same reason He chose Locke -- both were meek and traumatized individuals who longed to feel special. Right now, Ben looks like the bad guy and Locke the hero. By the end of the series, however, I suspect we will look back on Ben as a good guy and see Locke's rediscovery of his mojo as cause for concern...

Totally agree -- Jacob is not future Locke. I also strongly agree that the ring of sand/ash was meant to keep Jacob trapped. That's a very interesting connection between the sand/ash and Smokey -- I, too, have wondered if Jacob controls it. That pile of Dharma bodies, however, also makes me wonder if Smokey snatched their bodies at some point...

Good point re the whispers having multiple voices. Like I said above, I think that people who die on the Island do remain trapped in its electromagnetic field. Jacob may just be one particularly powerful spirit among many...

I'm totally with you that Jacob probably lost his corporeal form in one of the Incidents -- very reminiscent of Doctor Manhattan's origins in Watchmen. It's certainly possible that He is, in fact, Alvar though my money would be grandfather Magnus if He's a Hanso. Remember, Richard hasn't aged at all since Ben was a boy, so it's possible that Magnus's body survived until recently. My instinct is that the Hanso storyline from the Lost Experience is a metaphor for what's currently happening on the Island. Do you suppose Locke is His descendant like Rachel was Alvar's?

Like you, I'm skeptical that Rousseau is Annie. But what about Alex -- could she be Annie reincarnated?

Anonymous said...

I just had an idea spurred by BM's hunch that Jacob is a bad dude: Jacob will approach Locke in the mass grave in the guise of ? and make an entreaty to him for help and/or help resuscitate him. (That shot looked awfully close to Locke's heart, but perhaps the powers of the island -- which may be tied to Jacob himself -- will be able to restore him.)

Then Locke will come up and free Jacob from his shack of horrors and it will be like the moment in "The Ring" where Naomi Watts tells her son she freed the girl and he tells her, "You shouldn't have done that."

Jacob's being unleashed fits with a) Locke's continued pattern of bumbling and being manipulated b) with an unfortunate spoiler regarding Ben that I read in a column by a woman who'd seen the finale.

That could be the "something" worse that's coming. By the way, "me said," where did you get that reference that "M.E. Himself" said something would be coming? Just curious.

-- Aaron

The Baker said...

There is definately a coincidence between the fact that Ben's mother died in her second trimester (Although Ben lived) and the fact that women die in their second trimester on the island... could Ben be trying to figure out how to save her, that is, if time travel is a factor... The producers said that the old lady who convinced Desmond to not marry Penny the second time could time travel in Doc Jensens latest post... interesting

Me said...

The M.E. quote about something worse coming is from an interview he did.
Maybe Eonline, not sure but it was in the last few weeks. I'll see if I can find it.

"Brilliant speculation regarding Locke's survival -- I love the irony of the missing kidney saving his life!"

Thank you but I can not take the credit as I said it was My son-in-law that pointed it out.

7 months pregnant is not the second trimester it is the beginning of the third trimester

Anonymous said...

pardon my ignorance, but who is M.E.? one of the actors?

-- A

Me said...

Michael Emmerson
that actor that plays Ben

Anonymous said...

Ah, gotcha. Thanks.

You know, the more I think about it, I believe in all modesty that you can take my prediction about what happens with Locke and Jacob to the bank.

-- A

Banana said...

Jacob has a twin.

Danielle said...

I would say that the Skeleton Key is worth watching if you enjoy Lost. It 's a psychological thriller more than a horror film.

Locke's missing kidney--I was just mentioning that theory to my husband this morning. That would be very much like DL and CC to do something like that--Locke surviving because Cooper stole his kidney. Especially when Ben almost died because Jack made an incision in Ben's kidney earlier in the season.

Bigmouth said...

Aaron: Love, love, love your suggestion that Jacob will appear to Locke in the mass grave!

Baker: As Me notes, Ben was born early in the third trimester, but I agree we're supposed to notice that parallel, as well as the one to Not in Portland. I still wonder, however, if there's some kind of portal to the Island in the vicinity of where Ben was born. Maybe, even though he wasn't born on the Island, his proximity to it created some mutation like the kids born near the Zone in Tarkovsky's sci fi classic Stalker.

Me: Great catch re the third trimester! BTW, happy belated mother's day!

Aaron: We'll see...your speculation strikes me as highly plausible!

Banana: Yep, that's a distinct possibility. Who do you think is the likeliest candidate? Alvar? Locke?

Bigmouth said...

Danielle: Awesome parallel between Locke's kidney and Ben's near death experience at Jack's hands!

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Locke is dead. The Others view him as a mythical figure almost in reverence. That's why Ben has been trying to prove how much more powerful he is than John.

If I'm not mistaken it should be approaching December. Most religious have a resurrection story related to the holidays around the Winter Solstice. John will no doubt will rise from the dead.

Bigmouth said...

Anonymous: A Locke resurrection story just in time for the Winter Solstice -- I love it! And I have a feeling he won't be the only one. My hunch is that Christian Shepherd is still alive in Penny 2's timeline. Snake in the mailbox anyone?

Anonymous said...

The "snake" is supposed to involve Jack and someone else, from what I hear. Wouldn't be surprised if his Dad showed up, though producers have said C. Shephard is dead.

Other possibilities?
Someone is revealed to have four toes. (Hard to see how that would qualify as shocking, dramatically, it's more creepy.)
One of castaways is an Other.
Jack is linked to Others somehow.
Something having to do with Jacob's escape from the Little Shack of Horrors.

-- Aaron

Bigmouth said...

Aaron: Have you seen the latest finale spoilers from If not, I'd recommend AGAINST reading them. Suffice it to say we're not even close. The Snake in the Mailbox, if true, will be one of the most shocking and remarkable moments in the show...


Anonymous said...

I feel like Stimpy being tempted with pushing the "world reset" button.
Did the spoiler you read totally ruin it for you? And can you give a tiny hint?

-- A

Bigmouth said...

Aaron: Beegmouth, you eediot! Sorry about that...

It did ruin the surprise, which is the main appeal of the twist. That's because the twist itself, like the Challah last year, is more about opening up new avenues for storytelling than answering questions. All I'll say is that it involves an ambiguous Jack flashback and will leave us with plenty of questions to ponder during the long break...

Seriously, don't read it. If it answered any questions, I might say go for it. As I said, however, the power of the scene lies principally in the surprise.

Bigmouth said...

UPDATE: I'm told has removed the post with the spoiler from its website, so it could very well be a foiler. So, hopefully that will further reduce the temptation to flash forward via spoilers.

Anonymous said...

Foiler = fake spoiler?

Bigmouth said...

Yep, and they've removed it from other websites, too, so hopefully this was a false alarm...

Allan said...

Hmm, great stuff...

Has anyone mentioned a similarity as to how Ben killed his dad, and how the others were expecting Locke to do the same, and were disheartened when he didn't?