The mystery surrounding Jacob has endured since his name was first uttered in Season Two. At first we wondered who he was, and then what he was and now we begin to wonder why he is. He often served as a protector and adviser, but his manipulations were driven by an unknown purpose, with occasionally fatal consequences. He is truly an enigma.
We met his fellow inhabitant of the island, known to us as the "Man In Black" in the Season Five finale. At the time, we didn't know his significance. Only that he had been there a loooong time and harbored ill will towards Jacob. An ill will that led him, in the form of a now deceased John Locke, to convince Ben to kill Jacob, an act we were left to assume he was not capable (barred by island magic?) to do himself. Since then, MiB, as Flocke or the Smoke Monster, has doled out one beating after another on anyone who stood in the way of his goal of getting off the island.
Throughout, Jacob has been seen as the positive or "good" force on the island, while the MiB has been the "bad." One fair, one brunette. One always clothed in white, the other black. Light and dark. Good and evil. Or so it seemed. With this episode, we are forced to rethink our previous ideas. Turns out, much like the weather outside here today, there's a lot of gray involved.
So let's get sussing!
The episode opens to the wreckage of a boat and a lone survivor clambering for the surface. She finds her way to the beach and we see that she is pregnant. Stumbling through the forest, she comes across a stream where she cups water to her mouth. Seeing a reflection in the water, she is startled to find a woman looking down on her. The woman seems kindly and helpful, bringing the pregnant woman to her camp where she feeds her and prepares poultices for her wounds.
As she is eating, the pregnant woman, who has introduced herself as Claudia, grimaces. The baby is coming. The kindly woman helps her deliver her child, whom Claudia names Jacob, and then wraps him in a white cloth and sets him aside. But Claudia grimaces and we realize that there is another baby coming. Twins! The woman helps deliver this baby, too, and she sets him next to his brother wrapped in a dark cloth. "I only picked one name," Claudia says. (I thought for sure we would finally learn his name here. RATS.)
But then the kindly local woman turned midwife apologizes to Claudia and BASHES HER BRAINS IN! Quelle surprise, no?
Teen in Black is sitting on the beach when his fake mama sits down next to him. A conversation follows that produces the following gems:
"Jacob doesn't know how to lie, he's not like you. You're special."
"There is nowhere else. The island is all there is."
"Dead is something you will never have to worry about."
Clearly, there is a special relationship here. Some favoritism, perhaps?
The boys chase a boar through the jungle when suddenly it is speared by an unknown man. The boys hide, watching these "others" that they have never seen before. The race back to their mother. "They're not like us," she says. "We are here for a reason." "What reason?" Jacob asks. "It's not time yet." She says. But when pressed, she says "come with me" and leads them through the forest. As she drags them behind her, blindfolded, she tells them that they come from another part of the island, she explains about the people. But when Teen in Black asks if they can hurt people, she stops and pulls down their blindfolds so she can look in their eyes when she says, "I've made it so you can never hurt each other."
"This is the reason we're here," she says:
"Light. The warmest, brightest light you've ever seen or felt. And we must make sure that no one ever finds it. A little bit of this same light is inside every man. And they always want more. They will try to take it and if they try, they could put it out. And if the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere. So I've protected this place, but I can't protect it forever. It will have to be one of you that takes over."
Playing the game he created, Teen in Black sees his real mama. Jacob can't see her. She tells him she's dead and leads him to a field overlooking a village. "They came from across the sea," Claudia says, "there are many things across the sea. You came from across the sea, too. I am your mother." (in her best Darth Vader voice)
Teen in Black wakes Jacob and tries to get him to come with him to go live with "their" people. When he tells Jacob that she isn't their mother, Jacob goes whackadoodle and throws Teen in Black to the ground, beating the tar out of him. Fake Mama pulls him off, but Teen in Black is not to be deterred, "We don't belong here, she killed our mother! Come with me." But Jacob says no. Fake Mom says "Whatever you've been told, you will never be able to leave this island." "That's not true," Teen in Black responds, "one day I will prove it."
Jacob and Fake Mama sit on the beach. He asks if she killed their mother. She admits to it, but says that if she had let her live, she would have taken them back to her people and they are very bad. She couldn't let him become like them. She needed him to stay good. "Am I good, mother?" Jacob asks. "Yes, of course, you are. Will you stay with me, Jacob?" How could he say no? And the seed is planted for Jacob to stay on the island.
After 30 years with the other people, the Man in Black thinks he has found a way off the island. He and the People have discovered that metal behaves strangely in certain spots in places all over the island. When they find those spots, they dig. And they've found something.
Fake Mama comes to visit the Man in Black as he works. He tells her that although he searched the island over, he could never find the Light again. So he thought. And he deduced that the light was coming from underneath. So he dug.
He shows Fake Mama the wheel he is building that will harness the power of the light and he will finally be able to leave this island.
"Then I suppose this is goodbye," FM says and approaches her adopted son. She reaches to him and pulls him into a hug. She holds his head as she looks into his eyes and says, "I am so sorry" and then she rams his head against the stone wall. That woman ain't right.
(After that I scene, I texted Shannon, HE'S one of the skeletons! I marvel at how Damon and Carlton pulled that back to this. This is one of those times where I wonder if they had that in mind all along or if they worked that back in to the storyline.)
Back to the show.
FM leads Jacob to the Spring of Light. What's down there?" he asks. "Life, death, rebirth. It's the source, the heart of the island. You're going to protect it now. Just don't ever go down there. You'd be worse than dying if you do." As she pours out a cup of wine (the same bottle it seems from when he described the island as a cork to Richard in "The Substitute"), she murmurs an incantation and hands him the cup. After a pouty bit, she talks him into it and he drinks the wine. "Now, you and I are the same," she says. Same what? Immortal? All-knowing?
At the People's camp, Jacob comes to with a nasty headache, only to find his well collapsed and all of the People killed. He finds his game box among the charred remains of the village. And now he's angry. You won't like Man in Black when he's angry.
Jacob leaves FM to go collect firewood in preparation for a coming storm at the behest of FM. She returns to her cave to find it in a shambles. Or more of a shambles, it is a cave after all. On the floor, she finds the game box and in it, two stones, one black, one white. Just as she picks up the black one to look at it, she gets stabbed through the stomach from behind. As she falls to the floor, bleeding and on the brink of death, she thanks MiB.
Jacob comes into the cave and finds MiB standing over FM. "She was crazy," MiB shouts as Jacob drags him along the forest, "You can't kill me, she made it that way." "Don't worry, brother, I'm not going to kill you" Jacob says as he throws MiB down in front of the Spring of Light. "You want to find the light, you want to leave this place, brother? Then go." Then Jacob throws him down into the water and he is sucked tout de suite down into the spring.
Within seconds, a rumbling erupts and an inky column of smoke emerges from the Spring, clacking and screaming as it pours out into the forest.
Crouching over the stream, splashing water on his face, Jacob looks over and sees the body of his brother washed up on a rock. He tenderly carries him to the cave and lays him out next to Fake Mama. Entwining their hands around a small sack containing the black and white rock. "Good bye, brother, good bye."
Questions and Thoughts:
- Why didn't Fake Mama age? She was clearly mortal, because she died. Was she "gifted" with the job of protection by a previous person?
- Was the ghost of Claudia real? Or was she the embodiment of the evil force on the island, that same force that later takes the form of Christian and Locke among others, doing what it had to do to drive a wedge between the boys?
- Clearly someone finished the wheel. Was it Smoky/Man in Black?
- Do you think the flashback at the end to Jack and Kate finding the skeletons was unnecessary?