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Recap: LOST 'The Incident, Part 1 & 2' (S5,E16)

Thursday May 14th 2009

by Paul Armstrong

This is Pa... I mean Jacob


You want answers or do you want the truth? I'm sorry, you can only have one or the other, and in the final, two-part season finale you get neither and both. Who is Jacob? What does he do? Well, you will find out but not really find out. You do get a snarky Jack, a timid Kate, a snippety Sawyer, a defiant Locke and a long-overdue fist fight. Be warned, spoilers ahead!


The Incident

 You'll live far from Earth's bounty,
      remote from Heaven's dew.
   You'll live by your sword, hand-to-mouth,
      and you'll serve your brother.
   But when you can't take it any more
      you'll break loose and run free.

— Genesis 27: 39-40

What we Learned

I'm not sure why I'm drawn to the story of Jacob and Esau, something about birthright and the island, blessings and cursing, lying and trickery all seem to make sense to me and interconnectedness of all these characters. In this episode we see Jacob going about to all our favorite LOST'ies (but what aobut Shannon, Boone, Charlie, et al? Where they hand picked, touched by Jacob too or just causaulties of fate?) and specifically intruded beyond very poignant moments in their lives (and touching them) as if they are lost members of his tribe. His family. His stolen birth right. On the flipside we have Locke, who is Esau, the jilted brother who was tricked out of what was rightfully his and who know is coming to back to make it all right. It's a stretch, to be sure, but it still has something that melds together.

  • Jacob has been around since at least the Black Rock (1800s?), and it seems that he has a friend (is it Locke, or whoever is Locke now?) who believes that eventually they will get it right, find a loophole, "You brought them here, you're trying to prove me wrong ... they come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt, its always ends the same -- if it only ends once, anything that happens before that is just progress".
  • Throughout their respective lives we see Jacob coming into contact with our survivors at very key moments of their lives.
    • Kate starts her life of crime and lying by trying to steal a lunchbox, when she's caught Jacob is there to bail her out
    • A young James is at the funeral of his parents and retreats to the steps of the church to write his letter to Mr. Sawyer, and is given a pen by Jacob
    • Locke gets pushed out the window of an office buidling (by his father), Jacob comes by and says "I'm sorry this happened to you"
    • When Sayid is with his long lost love, Jacob asks him for directions, wherein he turns his back of Nadia could get ployed down (you think that driver was someone we know?)
    • Hurley is released from prison for killing 3 guys (which he loves to make sure we know), there's Jacob, waiting in a car, and tells Hurley that he doesn't have bad luck, but incredibly good luck.
    • Sun and Jin are getting married, and Jacob shows up to congratulate them; in perfect Korean
    • Jack is performing surgery and argues with his father about how he was treated like a child in front of his staff, and frustratedly attempts to get a candybar (which gets stuck); Jacob comes by, unsticking the candy and hands it to Jack.
  • Back in the present(ish) Locke continues to take the people toward Jacob and tells Ben that he will have to kill Jacob for him; afterall, he's done so much for the man but never met him. Richard still doesn't know Locke's motives
  • Meanwhile in 1977 Juliet, Kate and Sawyer get off the sub to help Jack detonate the bomb. Sayid takes about the bomb to make it smaller, and to detonate on impact. As Jack and Sayid attempt to "blend" in to get to the "hatch" they are spotted and Sayid is shot; Hurley, Miles and Jin appear to rescue them. They all meet up at the Swan.
  • FINALLY Jack and Sawyer fight — man, has that been a LONG time coming.
  • What's done is done.
  • The new survivors take Frank to the cabin to see Jacob (who has moved on, leaving a piece of weaving showing the statue). They show Frank what they've been hauling around, but he's not too keen on what he sees.
  • Radzinsky continues his mean streak and ignores Chang and drills toward the core; but guess who shows up? And bang bang, they shoot at each other. Jack dangles over the edge, drops the bomb aaaaaand ..... nothing.
  • All hell breaks loose, metal starts flying down into the tunnel, a chain wraps around Juliet and pulls her in (after a sad exchange between her and Sawyer, she lets go and falls into the black).
  • Back at the statue Locke and Ben go inside; while Richard waits outside with Sun and the others, the new survivors appear with the crate. They ask for Ricardos and ask "What lies in the shadow of the statue"?
  • In Latin, Richard replies "Ille qui nos omnes servabit", which translates to: "He who will protect/save us all"
  • Inside the crate? A dead JOHN LOCKE!
  • In the statue pedastal Jacob and Locke have a familiar exchange (it must be the man from the beach, no?) and Ben asks "What about me?", Jacob replies "What about you?" which wasn't a good response because it made Ben stab him.
  • "They're coming" (Jacob muttered before Locke or whoever pushes him into the fire)
  • Juliet wakes up in the hole, bleeding and hurt only to see the bomb, she grabs a rock and smashes and smashes until.....



Juliet gets sucked to the depths


What We Don't Know

  • Who is this new Locke? It has to be the man from the beach; who is either actually Locke or embodied into Locke (but that just begs the queston of how would he be able to do that?)
  • Why does Jacob interviene in everyone's lives; are they merely wanders of the world, never meant to be there, but always meant ot be on the island (perhaps they came from the Black Rock?)
  • What will setting off the bomb do? My guess -- reunite everyone into one place (thus the "They're coming" remark has double meaning, not just that the people outside the statue are coming, but everyone else is coming too) and everyone once dead will be alive and put back to the correct time, after a lovely battle between Esau and Jacob for their birthright.
  • What about Christian? I'm still wanting to know who he is, what he is? And Claire? And all the other survivors who died, where they also visited by Jacob, or just collatoral damage?

Wherein we learned some things, we really learned nothing; other than what we always figured, that each person was picked to be there, on the island, for a reason; and that Jacob had something to do with it. We also figured that that wasn't Locke (unless since we're playing around with time, perhaps it is Locke). What did you think? There's just one season to go; can they wrap it all up and make sense of this mess?




Comments for "Recap: LOST 'The Incident, Part 1 & 2' (S5,E16)"

I've got tons to say, but just going to make one comment now, then more when I'm home from work later.

I totally think that Black Shirt (Esau?) from the opening is the finally revealed evil force that is harming the island. I totally bought into Jacob as the bad guy & resurrected Locke as savior...until those last few minutes last night.

Did you notice what Jacob was eating in the opening scene? A red herring. It was a little joke to tell us that we have all eaten several red herrings this season, and the tables were turned on us last night.

I now think that Black Shirt is the smoke monster. We've had numerous times that the smoke monster is able to take on the form of dead people, and then do bad things to others (Mr. Echo killed by his "brother") or cause others to do bad things (posing as Ben's daughter in order to manipulate Ben into obeying "Locke"). So I am now convinced that New Locke is Black Shirt/Smoke Monster.

I also think that Jacob allowed himself to die in order to save the island (the world?)'s my stretch...bring ultimate redemption to his "son" Benjamin. He stepped right up to Ben, said "You have a choice," and made no attempt to defend himself from Ben's knife thrust. It was Obi Wan at the Death Star.

And who are "they" who are coming? The Oceanic Six. They have been hand picked by Jacob to fulfill his mission after his death. Next season will be the epic final battle between the Six and Black Shirt/Smoke Monster/Locke. And I predict that Ben will die in a Gollum-like redemptive act that turns the tide against Black Shirt.

I finally found myself liking Ben and believing that he actually did do what was right. When we finally do see Locke not as Locke but as Esau/Black Shirt; then you have to wonder who is good or bad.

I think you're right, the Black Smoke becomes whoever it/he sees fit (though why does it always sound like a machine?) to manipulate; perhaps he was cursed to an existence of "ghosthood" or something.

It still begs the question of what is the island, why are they there, and who are they from?

By the way; thanks for contributing Mark (and for the Twitter re-tweets and such as what nots).

I agree with everything Mark has written. I have some other thoughts. I think Esau/black shirt/black smoke is Lucifer and Jacob is Christ.In the Bible, Jacob becomes Isreal and builds the nation. He seems to try over and over to get the nation built right but through free will opposed to Satan who destroys with lies and destiny. Lucifer falls from grace because he chooses to counter the will of God, so god banishes him and uses him to test us humans with free will. God doesn't want angels who are destined to love him but his images that choose to love him. In every flashback, Jacob stressed free will/choice. The characters that are drawn to destiny are fascinated with the black smoke and the will of the island (or Earthly things): Eko and Locke. I think that Esau/Satan can use the bodies of the dead that aren't buried (much like his use of the snake in Eden): Locke, Eko's brother... Christian is an interesting character... Is that Esau/Satan using him too? If so this will set up an intriguing confrontation between Jack and his "father." seems like Claire was easilly tricked.

I totally called Locke in the box or should I say Jeremy Bentham who in real life was paraded around in death in a glass box.

Loved the nod to Flannery O'Connor as Locke fell out of the window. The prodigal son story in that novel adds subtext. Also O'Connor was the master of symbolism and double and triple entendre.

I think Richard has not aged because in the Bible it says all believers will never die. I think Richard is the dedicated disciple of Jacob.

If next season opens with them landing in LA, the bomb worked, but I don't think it did. I think Miles is right. I think the bomb makes the Chernobyl like effect. Miles' father crushes his arm and in the videos his arm is in a sling. I think the bomb will trigger the 6 to the present time for a battle royal.

I love the evolution of the Benjamin character. Mother died in childbirth just like rachel did in the Bible. Jacob protects Benjamin in the Bible because of Joseph getting sold into slavery and Benjamin is wrongly accused of stealing from Joseph. In Lost, I think Jacob is disappointed that Benjamin doesn't "know" him.

Remember when the third group of people (that are apparently working for Jacob) went to the cabin, and the lady came out? She said something along the lines of, "Someone else has been using it".

I think she was talking about the smoke monster. I don't think black shirt guy is the smoke monster, but he's definitely controlling it... probably from before Ben was leader on the island. Maybe he even manipulated events to get Ben to be leader, who Jacob never wanted to be leader?

I think the island is sort of a 'paradise'... a place not quite on earth, but not quite not-earth. it's where the gods can go to get away from the people... mt olympus like? where the egyption gods would go in their after-life.

Good theories...

I want to know what Frank is a "candidate" for. New physical body for Jacob? In any case, I think he will play a more pivotal role in the final season.

After all, he was supposed to fly 815, and his last-minute replacement pilot was killed by the smoke monster (Esau?) shortly after the crash.

Also, I'm banking on closure to the Claire situation, possibly via Charlie somehow, given Sun finding his ring and Hurley ending up with what could be his guitar case.

JJ and crew have a lot of loose ends to tie up in the final season. I think there are some questions that will remain unanswered, leaving it up to the viewers to figure out, as we have struggled to do all along. I really wish it would start back up in the fall. Screw waiting 'til 2010.

Does anyone think Libby may have more to tell?

Also, if Locke is Esau/black shirt/black smoke/Lucifer/etc... then how come he sounds so genuinely surprised to hear that Ben was warned by his dead (non)daughter - aka the black smoke in diguise aka himself supposedly - to do everything that John tells him to do? Verisimilitude? Or is he simply not all those things at all?

Oh, and is there a link between Bernard and Juliet? I don't know about anyone else, but I found the end of that scene pretty weird.

Paul, sorry for all these little comments one after the other - but I love your recaps and they really get me thinking. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

The biblical references are getting stronger and stronger.. the most obvious hint for this episode was the Moses line Ben delivered about Locke being taken to jacob - "as if he was moses".. Bound to be something there. i think everything in this episode was very deliberate to have people thinking for the next few months..

I'm not sure of the significance, but whenever Jacob was meeting the oceanic group throughout time he touched them or gave them something, and it was really played up by the camera..

I think Miles was spot on a few episodes ago about whatever has happened, has happened, and there's no way around it. so whatever they do, was meant to happen.. which, as another commenter mentioned about, is why Chang's arm is in a sling..

as for who 'they' are, I thought it was pretty obvious that it were the people who were coming with Locke's real body, and when Jacob said this to Black Shirt/Esau, he looked frightened, or at least concerned, but I don't think that was Jacob's intention. It seems more like he was warning him.. he clearly was a good guy, and believed strongly in choice and freewill, so perhaps he was letting him know in good faith -- giving him a timely warning?

Who they are? Not sure.. If this is all a biblical referenced story, could they be angels? Coming back to clean up the mess? Or undo what shouldn't have been done? I'm not so hot in the Biblical references, so not sure if that fits very well..

as for the smoke monster, I'm not sure that black shirt would be the smoke monster, as Richard above said, as that doesn't seem right for lost..

One thing that's really peaked my interest is the loophole.. how is it that Ben is the loophole that is able to kill Jacob, when he is (guessing) so powerful? Is it because the smoke monster saved Ben earlier in the season, so now he has a special connection to the island and isn't like everyone else?

I'm pretty sure Jacob didn't get caught off guard by Esau's finding the loophole (we're calling him Esau, right?). He went willingly to his death because he's got an ace in the (loop)hole somewhere. This is a guy who can manipulate time and space, he's *got* to be a couple steps ahead of this antagonist.

my favorite moment was Crunchy Bernard, with the beard and the hair and stuff, coming out of the jungle with is sad, satisfied old man eyes.

So who was it exactly who said "Help Me" in the cabin to Locke, all those seasons ago? Jacob? Or Esau?

I love the idea of Charlie coming back for an 11th hour redemptive cameo next season. It would certainly fit with the recurring theme of death -- even one's own -- as merely a step in the process of redemption.

The Bernard and Rose thing still has me perplexed, what was the significance of it; merely to show that they are ok, and just closing out their story?

What's done is done, is true; unless what they're living isn't real. I always go back to Back to the Future and "string" theory of time; how altered events through time travel create alternate realities, but they're ultimately not real.

Jacob meant 2 things when he said "they're here", obviously about the Locke-ites (bringing his dead body) plus it happened in continuity with Juliet smashing the bomb and going to white -- the next season will open with her eye (up close, as is a recurring theme) and they'll be back, all together, where they ought to be.

What the battle is over, who knows. How does Widmore fit into all this? What about Desmond?

I think the loophole is very simple. Esau can't kill Jacob because Jacob is more powerful than Esau. So, Esau has to find a human to kill Jacob, but he has to do it using his own free will.

Over the summer I will be re-watching the Eko episodes as I believe Eko was Esau's first recruit. Then when his man of destiny didn't work out and was buried, he had to move on to Locke.

I also remember the scene where Richard visited Locke as a small child. He asked to show John something special, but paused when he notices a drawing Locke made of a stick figure being attacked by black scribbles (black smoke/Esau). He showed John several items and asked John which ones already belonged to him. After several moments John picked a knife (a knife that he gave Ben), which Richard quickly grabbed, irritated, saying it was not the right item. He left in a hurry, saying John was not ready to join his school yet.

I also am thinking about Locke's mother telling him that he was "immaculately conceived", paving the way for his special "destiny".

What you're saying is that the loophole is just another name for a variable, right?

Locke picked the compass, but I believe that Richard hadn't received it at that point yet (I can't remember what time period it was when Locked gave it to Richard, but I believe it was when Locke was a baby, not a 8 or so year old).

Interesting, so Esau is merely looking for someone else to reclaim his birthright - since he is cursed and cannot?

But why then did Jacob bring the Black Rock to the island? For what purpose, merely to prove mans sinfulness?

Re: Bernard and Juliet...

Could the purpose of Juliet's Jacob-less flashback be merely to show that her parents split up, and that Bernard, now married to Rose, could actually be her father?

@Zach -- oooh, interesting. Yeah, I had forgotten her lack of Jacob flashback. I'd have to go back to the Bernard flashback, he doesn't seem the type to have an affair, and I thought Rose was his first wife? Juliet is really a man, and she's really Christian Shepherd.

I think that the series' final moments will reveal that the entire story was a hallucinatory dream that Vincent the dog had after munching on the wrong mushroom in woods beyond the backyard.

I think Juliette's flashback was just to setup her decision that it was OK to leave Sawyer; her parents had planted that idea in her.

Rose & Bernard? Whatever other part they turn out to play (if any), I now definitely think they are "Adam & Eve," the skeletons Jack finds in the cave in Season 1.

Aside to Paul: you need to install some kind of comment subscription service on your blog. Never knew there was more discussion after my comment. Is this Wordpress backed? If so, I know some plugins for email subscription. Also I use Disqus on my blog.

@Mark; this is my own invention, and I can certainly add the functionality no problem. Consider it done (in about 2 hours).

Alright, that should work now .... please let me know if its not updating you to new replies (if you've selected to receive them). I have to add a "reply/comments" RSS probably too ....

I wonder if the whole Ben vs. Widmore battle really has anything to do with the overall conflict/war. Or has it all been a red herring?

I think it must have been Esau who said to Locke, "help me" in the cabin.

How do you all suppose Jacob has been traveling on and off the island? he left as long ago as the late 70s (i'm guessing?) when he saw Sawyer, and as recently as 3 years prior to his death, when he sent Hurley off to the Ajeera 316. Apparently he doesn't need the submarine... does he use the donkey wheel? or some other mojo?

Something I don't think that has been brought up is the clearer picture of the statue, which now appears to be Sobek - the crocodile god. Here's what WikiPedia says:

"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."

Excellent site, keep up the good work

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