A JUG OF WINE, A LOAF OF BREAD, AND THOU

While watching last night’s ep of Lost, I was reminded of the time a friend of mine and I made a bet that we could live an entire day amongst ourselves and interacting with the world in our usual way, but saying nothing but quotes from Star Trek, Fletch, and Star Wars. Since that was sort of how we interacted with the world back then anyway, it was an easy bet for us to win. Manure spreader jack-knifed up on the Santa Ana; whew! You should see my shoes.

But it was when we were out for lunch (I had a Bloody Mary, a steak sandwich… and a steak sandwich) and I was a little queasy with the meal, my pal dropped some Trek on me: “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” And that’s how I felt about Richard’s flashback episode.

After three years of wondering what the immortal deal was with Richard Alpert, we’re finally given the answers we’ve been craving as audience members to find… that we had been pretty much right about things all along. Richard came to the Island as a slave on the Black Rock. OK. Richard is immortal because of Jacob. OK. Jacob thinks Man is inherently good; the Man-in-Black thinks Man is corruptible and tending that way anyway, and they’ve been proving this point to each other for a little while. Certainly longer than the 140 years spanning this episode, since Jacob admits that he’s brought many more people to the Island before Richard, and that they’re all dead. But it only ends once, and everything until then is progress. But me, much like I’m not really sure there is a “good” and “evil” side to this game, I’m not even sure there’s going to be an end to the game. This last season has ostensibly been about finding a candidate to replace Jacob…

But get this. While the missus was getting all dewy-eyed over Ricardo and Isabella and their Des-and-Penny-esque tale of star-crossed love, I was thinking this: The Smoke Monster kills, but discriminately so; Jacob does “good” but sometimes with “evil” means. The line blurs, the vision fades… but the Dichotomy of Man/Balance of Good-and-Evil thing I was railing about last week made me think this: what if Jacob and The Man in Black are the same guy? That this whole thing is a rumination?

Anyway, here’s some observations from last night:

1. JEREMIAH WAS A BULLFROG: If we can believe Jacob with his allegory of the jug of wine… that the island is the cork keeping the wine from staining the carpet, that means that the sideways world of Dimension X is the world where the cork has come undone, and like one that’s been pushed into the bottle (or, underwater, in the case of the Island itself), this is the world into which The Man in Black (Jacob’s Dark Aspect) has escaped. But, you know, it doesn’t look all that bad, to me. Neither good nor bad; just different. I’m not fully convinced that the Man in Black is even representative of Jacob’s Evil Side, because people are complex cats. Even mysterious people with obviously supernatural powers over reality.

2. I KILLED A MAN IN RENO JUST TO WATCH HIM DIE: And speaking of Jacob’s supernatural powers, even though we’d already deduced it was Jacob who had made Richard immortal, it was pretty cool to see that it was at Richard’s own request. That Richard was so afraid of going to Hell for killing a man (albeit deservedly if accidentally so) that he never wanted to die and to so avoid final judgment. I know that Team Darlton has long said that the Island was not Purgatory, and even tweaked that early fan theory with the “Gary Troup” Retcon Character, but come on. Redemption. Second Chances. Acceptance of Responsibility. Proof of Worthiness in exchange for… a ride out. An escape… to Heaven. Sounds like Purgatory to me.

3. DON’T HATE THE PLAYER, HATE THE GAME: Dorks whose big problem with last night’s episode was that Richard didn’t have a truly “Spanish” accent without taking into account actor Nestor Carbondell’s mostly-Cuban inflected Spanish are reminded that the Canary Island accent from which Richard hails is more musical and lilting than your more mainland Spain accent. Putting aside that they hung an entire episode on one guy’s performance and that that episode was fully half in Spanish, one would hope that the Peanut Gallery in Dork Court would have appreciated the effort instead of belly-ached about it. Failing that, haters are reminded that it’s a TV show; not a documentary. If anything, they should be all up-in-arms about the improbablility of a Spanish slaving vessel carrying a full load of dynamite a mere year after it had actually been invented, or that it had already been established in that Des/Penny ep “The Constant” that the Black Rock was said to have been lost at sea in 1845, twenty-two years before it hit the Island in 1867.

4. THE DAYTIME OF THE NIGHT: Speaking of stuff you have to explain, it was widely thought that the sailing ship seen at the end of Season Five was the Black Rock. It’s not. The pop-up video said it was “an 1880s trading vessel,” so whoever those guys are, it’s not Jonas Whitfield/Widmore and Ricardo and the boys.

5. “THAT’S THE BRAND ATTRIBUTE AT ADOBE WE CALL ‘INTEGRITY'”: Mimi’s colleague Simon Hunt’s pal Rick had a good one: “My name is Richard Alpert. You killed my wife. Prepare to die!”

6: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WELL, THE GOOD NEWS IS SHE CAN’T BE FIRED, AS THE SHOW’S MOSTLY SHOT NOW: I never was one to worry about spoilers. I figure if I’m looking up constellations to see if they match Dharma Station names, or wearing out the freeze-frame button watching for eye color changes (Richard’s contact lens was clearly visible in his eye close-up last night), I get what I deserve. But even I am not spoiling this one willy-nilly, although I will point you there: in an interview with my second wife Zuleikha Robinson, she tells us all Ilana’s last name. Which is kind of a big deal when you read it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

As always, remember to catch up wth EJ Feddes this week with his superlative LOST observations at Spunky Bean. I love how he catches stuff no one else does.

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Larry

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11Comments

Rick Wooten 24 March 2010

The parallels with the Princess Bride and the scene where Ricardo was heading to the beach to kill Jacob had me laughing.

EJ Feddes 24 March 2010

I didn’t realize the Black Rock date discrepancy until after I finished writing last night, and then it drove me crazy. What if the Black Rock was officially lost in 1845, but Hanso was out on his own and running slaves on a ship presumed to be at the bottom of the ocean somewhere?

After all, the fairly small number of slaves on board wouldn’t have really been cost-effective for the trip – is there any chance that he was putting them to work on something very specific, possibly involving dynamite? And where exactly was he bringing them in 1867? Just saying, the Black Rock might have gone down for insurance purposes in 1845, while Hanso and crew spent the next years doing something seedy. I just don’t trust those Hansos.

Sean Maher 24 March 2010

Damn, Larry, that’s two ideas in a row I’ve been puzzling through only to see them bubble up in your write-ups! First with “Jacob & MIB are Adam & Eve” and now with “They’re the same guy.”

One thing I think is curious is that “MIB is Smokey” doesn’t quite answer everything it appears to answer; when Richard pressed MIB, asking, “That was YOU who killed everyone?,” the answer was evasive: “It’s not ME you need to be afraid of, it’s HIM.” I feel like we’ve seen that evasion a couple times now.

Add to that the character arcs of almost everyone on the show: Sayid is a killer who wants (wanted) to redeem himself, Locke’s a loser who wants to discover his import, Jack’s a fearful servant who’s learning to be brave and assertive. Everyone on the show is two opposite personalities becoming one.

Me, I didn’t mind that the Richard reveals were mostly confirmations of what we suspected nearly as much as I object to the idea that the whole show is predicated on a magical version of The Tale of Job. “My nemesis thinks people are evil so I do bad things to them to prove him wrong” is a shitty, shitty man behind the curtain after all this time. I REALLY hope they spin that around, somehow.

Rich Barrett 25 March 2010

Great writeup as usual, Larry. I was actually going to tell you about the intriguing slipup in the Zuleikha interview but of course you knew about it already. I actually wonder if that is only her Sideways last name though.

John Ross 25 March 2010

Why does MIB/Smokey kill everyone if he needs them to kill Jacob for him so he can get off the Island. Seems the more he leave alive, the better his odds are…

Larry Young 25 March 2010

EJ: Yeah, I think that’s probably right, that the Hansos were up to no good for 22 years, Flying Dutchman/pirate style, and that because the first mate’s journal was found in 1852, everyone just assumed the ship was lost (“However, some seven years after the ship’s disappearance, the journal of the vessel’s first mate was discovered among the artifacts of pirates on รŽle Sainte-Marie, an island off the coast of Madagascar.”). I *do* think Jonas Whitfield is an ancestor of Charles Widmore for no other reason than that’s the kind of show this is. I hope we’re not done with Black Rock revelations, though, because it seemed a little short on resolution.

Sean: Thanks, man! I do agree they’re still playing fast-and-loose with the answers to direct questions. I think it’s more likely that it’s a Cain-and-Abel thing ([*Abel* was I, ere I saw Elba heh heh], what with Jack’s moving around from neck to forehead wounds this season) than a tale-of-Job thing, if they’re going down the biblical path.

Rich: Yeah, I had about ten or twelve emails from fellow LOST enthusiasts the first six hours that was up. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I think her sideways name is probably “Young.”

John: I think the Man in Black is just annoyed that Jacob keeps bringing people to the Island to prove his point. It’s like Hurley and Miles playing the endless tic-tac-toe game neither can win: after a while, the only way to tip the balance is to cheat of deliberately throw it. I think that’s what Jacob did when he pretty much walked his ownself into Ben’s Roman short sword. he threw the game to force an end.

Mysterious Don 30 March 2010

How is it even possible that, in seven episodes, we’ll get all our answers? What about Walt and Michael? And the eye-patch guy? And Desmond and Penny? And the scraggly-beard science guy with the journal who loved the red-haired girl? And White Oracle? And will we ever see real-Locke again? And Christian Shepperd? Darn it, he just has to be more than a body that Smokey walked around in for a while? And Pelt-Baby? Are you kidding me? What’s his story? Why was Locke’s Dad on the island in that room that one time? And Rose and her husband? And what are those numbers all about? Has anyone discussed those numbers and cross referenced them against the ceiling numbers?

I swear …I’m marching to Hollywood as part of the Million Nerd March if this stuff doesn’t get resolved. Dammit. Like a sonic fence that kills people is going to stop Smokey. Puuuuhleaze.

Larry Young 30 March 2010

Mysterious Don! I feel like EJ and I knew it was much more than a hunch; that this group would somehow form a family… hee hee

I’m with you, I do not know how this is going to get wrapped up in seven hours. Real Locke is dead-dead-dead, I’m sure, but I hope they deal with Walt and the kids somehow.

“Million Nerd March.” You’re awesome.

Betsy Warren 31 March 2010

I’m in on the march…’cause so far I don’t like how all this is going down!

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