BIG spoilers.  Like four-footed statue big.  Watch the episode before reading.

Lost Official Site

The Time:
Wednesdays, 9:00 PM, ABC

The Show:

Oceanic Flight 815 from Sydney to London went down somewhere over the
Pacific, the survivors of the crash found themselves marooned on a
tropical island.  But this is no ordinary island; it has
unusual magnetic, temporal, healing and seemingly supernatural
properties, and is fraught with constant danger.  There is
a mysterious black smoke-like creature, polar bears, and even
apparitions of the dead roaming the forest.  The island is
also the former secret haven of a group called the Dharma Initiative,
who were running experiments utilizing the unique properties of the
island via research stations that dot the landscape.  Now the
Oceanic survivors, led by Dr. Jack Sheppard, Kate Austen, James
“Sawyer” Ford, John Locke, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes, Sayid Jarrah and
others, seek a way to escape the island and its many dangers. 
But there are people, both living on the island and seeking the island
from outside, who are at war for control of it, and the Oceanic
survivors find themselves caught in the middle.  Told via
nonlinear fashion that incorporates flashbacks and flash forwards, Lost is one of the most unique and densely mythological shows on television.

The Stars:

•  Matthew Fox – Dr. Jack Sheppard
•  Evangeline Lilly – Kate Austen
•  Josh Holloway – James “Sawyer” Ford
•  Naveen Andrews – Sayid Jarrah
•  Terry O’Quinn – John Locke
•  Jorge Garcia – Hugo “Hurley” Reyes
•  Daniel Dae Kim – Jin Kwon
•  Yunjin Kim – Sun Kwon
•  Michael Emerson – Benjamin Linus
•  Henry Ian Cusick – Desmond Hume
•  Elizabeth Mitchell – Juliet Burke
•  Jeremy Davies – Daniel Faraday
•  Nestor Carbonell – Richard Alpert
•  Alan Dale – Charles Widmore
•  Reiko Aylesworth – Amy

The Episode: “The Incident

Jacob is finally introduced via flashbacks as he visits many of the Losties at various instances in their pasts, including right before the Ajira 316 flight.  He visits Kate and Sawyer as children, Jack right before his first solo surgery, Sun and Jin at their wedding, Locke right after his plunge from eight stories and Hurley after his release from Jail.  Jacob is first seen, though, camped right next to the giant statue on the island as he debates an unnamed man who comments that he desires to kill Jacob very much and he will find a “loophole” which will someday allow him to do so.  Meanwhile, in 1977, Jack, Sayid and the other Losties follow through with Daniel’s plan to detonate the H-bomb at the Swan site in an attempt to change history.  And in 2007, Locke continues leading the Others to the ruins of the statue to meet Jacob, and a shocking twist is revealed about Locke.

The Lowdown:

Wow.  Like…wow.  Monumental episode that delivers on a lot of levels, and frustrates on almost as many.  Major revelations, which raise even more questions.  The scope of the struggles on the island have been taken to an entirely new level with the unveiling of Jacob’s backstory and his history with the Losties.  And a (new?) villain that makes Widmore look like a choir boy is brought to light as an old acquaintance of Jacob’s.  The man is unnamed, but speculation has been lighting up the message boards on practically all of the sites.  Names like The Man in Black (MIB), Esau, Set, Anubis, Old Scratch himself and other biblical and mythological handles have been attributed to him. 

Not a stretch to say he’s probably some sort of supernatural being, presumably like Jacob.  Perhaps even his brother?  Whether that originates from the Old Testament, ancient Egyptian or something else entirely is complete up for grabs at this point.  One thing is certain though: this guy hates Jacob…enough to have apparently orchestrated a labyrinthine scheme to bypass rules that had previously prevented his killing Jacob.  And that scheme has seemingly involved anybody and everybody who has ever been on the island, past present and possibly even future.  From the looks of things, the entire run of the show has been a chess game between two higher (or one higher, and one lower) beings.

Jacob is revealed to be seemingly (using that word or a variant a lot here, which owes to the nebulous nature of the episode) a flesh and blood person, who is immortal.  He converses with (going to go with Esau as the MIB’s name here) Esau to open the episode at the base of the giant statue.  He eats fish (is that a biblical reference to Jesus post-resurrection?  Or was he just in the mood for seafood?) and looks out onto the horizon where a ship – the Black Rock is a safe bet – and they discuss how each iteration of people visiting the island always ends up with the same result.  But Jacob is optimistic that things can change.  Esau then mentions that he wants to kill Jacob, and someday he’ll find the loophole he needs. 

The flashbacks with Jacob were peppered throughout the episode.  The key ones being his first meeting with Locke and Hurley.  Did Jacob resurrect Locke after his high rise swan dive?  Sure looked that way.  And with Hurley, Jacob intimates that perhaps Hurley isn’t cursed, but blessed.  And that perhaps he isn’t crazy after all.  He also is the source of the guitar case with which Hurley gets on the Ajira flight.  Jacob also visits Ilana when she’s in a hospital and injured very badly, though no light is shed as to how she got that way.  She seems to know him and he asks her to go to the island for him.  Does she know him as just Jacob or does it have anything to do with her apparent membership in the clandestine island “Shadow of the Statue” group? 

The Shadow Cult (anyone got a better name?) seem to know a lot about Jacob.  How far back does their relationship with Jacob and the island go?  All the way back?  My thinking is that they are independent of both Ben and Widmore, Dharma and Others/Hostiles and that they do go all the way back.  Because not only did they know where to find Jacob’s cabin, but also the statue.  What was the deal with that ring of ash aorund the cabin?  Ilana and Jacob seemed to know each other when he visited her in the hospital as well.  Lot of questions just on that front alone for which we’re going to have to wait till 2010.

In 2007, Locke, Ben, Sun and Richard continue with the Others to find Jacob.  I’ve got to give props to the producers for pulling off the exact same shocking twist with Locke two years running, albeit under different circumstances.  Possibly the biggest WTF?! moment of the entire series.  I started to suspect right before the reveal, but I otherwise didn’t see it coming beforehand.  So with Locke, Esau has found his loophole, and it’s a doozy.  Since Locke is still dead, and Esau has been him, then of course the question immediately is raised?  Is Esau Smokey?  If not, is Smokey his pet?  His ally?  His servant?  Drinking buddy?  I tend to lean to the side of the argument that Esau is not Smokey, but that they’re definitely in cahoots.  One thing that leads me to go that way is that SmokeyAlex told Ben to follow Locke’s commands unquestioningly or be destroyed.  It very well could have been Esau, but he would have had to stop being Locke, be Smokey, then Be SmokeyAlex, then be Locke again pretty quickly when Ben was in the cavern to be judged.

Concerning Locke still being dead, if he stays that way all through Season 6, but Terry O’Quinn keeps playing this new incarnation, then what a sad and miserable life that’s going to be for Locke.  Nothing more than a patsy his whoe run.  There’s little doubt that Ben always intended to kill Locke and for him to stay dead.  And that all of that bullshit he was dishing about expecting Locke to return from the dead when Esau/Locke confronted him on Hydra Island when Ben awoke was just another example of Ben thinking quickly and manipulating the situation from jump street.  Ben said it himself, he lies, that’s what he does.  But as Locke was Esau’s loophole, maybe he’s also Jacob’s.  Because Jacob didn’t seem to be putting up too much of a fight when Ben had the knife on him.  I got the feeling that Jacob had some plan in the offing even as he knew how things were going to turn out.  He may have even wanted things to go that way, which is why he goaded Ben.  “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful…” and the like. 

One scene that also stands out considering the situation now is Esau/Locke telling Richard to tell the real Locke that he had to die in order to get everyone back to the island, thus providing Esau with his loophole.  I can see how he felt Locke was his man almost from the get go and how he’s manipulated things all along in order to get his opportunity through Locke.  The question is also raised then if Esau was the intelligence behind the island Losties’ time jumping, if he was directing it to set up everything.  There’s way too much to be speculated upon without having any concrete info, and this story tidbit in itself is going to bother me more than anything else for the next seven to eight months.

In regards to the 1977 doings, there was some good stuff and some not so good, the latter being the death of Juliet.  But even before that, it was more of the Sawyer / Juliet / Kate rigmarole of which I’m sure people are still thrilled.  What is it that both Kate and Juliet convince Sawyer to go back to the island to stop Jack and then both of them change their minds for their own reasons?  As for Jack, he’s been MIA for the last half of this season dramatically and it’s good to finally see him taking the lead on things again.  I was surprised that he was getting the upper hand in that throwdown with Sawyer before Sawyer fought dirty.  He also should think about joining the CIA or MI6 because he was pulling some James Bond shit at the Barracks and the Swan site with the gun play.  Seemingly a bit out of character, but that’s a nitpick at best.  Not too surprised to see Bernard and Rose, as I figured they weren’t dead.  Wondering now if it’s them that are Adam and Eve.  One of a thousand speculations.  The biggest of which is: did the bomb go off?  Did they change the future by changing the past?  What will happen to our heroes?

I dug this finale, and for the most part, the entire season.  Once again the producers manage to reveal a lot and yet leave even more unanswered.  Esau is introduced in one episode and it’s almost like he’s been there the whole time as we adjust our perceptions to realize everything he’s put into play, long before Oceanic 815 even crashed.  The final season has a lot to cram into its episodes.  I’m skeptical as to whether everything can be answered, and almost certainly not to the satisfaction of the die-hards. 

In terms of the time traveling this season, I may be in the minority, but I always appreciate a good time travel yarn when it’s done well.  I always like the causality arguments, paradox possibilities and how things can affect other things when time is out of sync.  What I didn’t like though is that, after a good part of this season, we still get little to no real insight as to the Dharma Initiative, their situation, who they were and what their end goals were.  Or at least nowhere near as much insight as I would have expected.  I figured Sawyer would have had the equivalent of detailed files after three years there and being the head of security, but apparently not.  Same with the Others.  There’s still a hell of a lot to learn about them, how they choose their leaders, Richard’s role, origins, etc.  And in regards to Jin, there’s got to be more to his and Sun’s story revealed in Season 6 to justify having them apart this entire season.  It comes off as a cheap ploy to keep them in the story.  Except for Jin’s side trip to 1988 to hang out with Young Rousseau, he was completely wasted this entire season. 

There’s way too much to go on about but one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a long off-season. 

Episode: 9.2 out of 10
Season: 8.8 out of 10