Sunday, May 17, 2009

Deconstructing: Jacob's nemesis

Ah. Since the airing of the finale Wednesday night, I have posted four blogs. This will be the fifth since Wednesday, but the aftermath of the finale always poses questions that should be addressed rather soon.

The big question posed by "The Incident," revolved around the dynamic between Jacob and his as-yet unnamed enemy, who we met for the first time (or so it seemed) at the beginning of the episode, and was later revealed to have been a major character on the show since "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham." Talk about plot twist! It was easily the best moment of the show since the beginning of the season, and easily spurned the most questions/theories.

So let's start with the obvious: who is Jacob's nemesis? Well, that's the real question. Even though he's been playing such a huge part in the show since the midpoint of the season, we don't even know his name. He was known in casting as "Samuel," and has gained the fan monikers "Esau," "Flocke," "Un-Locke," and "Mr. X," though I will eat my hat if any of those names are actually correct.

What's more interesting to me is what is he. He's obviously a shape shifter of some sort, and is probably just as powerful (if not more so) than Jacob. Personally, I believe that he is the smoke monster. Why? Well, it's quite easy.

First of all, he changes shape, just like the monster. The monster has manifested as Yemi, Alex, and possibly many more. Each time, the monster only appears as someone who has died, and their body is on the Island. Now, one occurrence is hardly enough to make a trend, but the only person we've seen Jacob's nemesis manifest as is -- Locke, whose body was on the Island after the crash of 316.

My second reason is the monster's motivations seem to match those of Jacob's nemesis. The monster appears to be sort of a judge and jury of the Islanders, forgiving Ben but executing Eko for his sins. In the opening of "The Incident," the nemesis seems quite judgmental toward humanity, stating that it "all ends the same." This parallel between the monster and the nemesis seem to match up well.

Another parallel would be that if the monster manifests as Christian (which seems quite likely, considering that Christian obviously does not speak for Jacob as he claims), they have similar goals. Both Christian and the impostor Locke wanted to make it clear to the real Locke that he had to die ("That's why they call it a sacrifice").

There's also the Clark Kent/Superman dynamic between Locke and the monster. While Ben attempted to summon the monster, the Locke impostor wandered off into the woods. He later returned, stating he knew where the monster lived: the Temple. Once there, despite Ben's pleas, Flocke wandered off. It was only then that Ben met the monster, who strangely enough commanded Ben to listen to Flocke.

It would also explain the black/white parallels between Jacob and the nemesis in the first scene: Jacob was wearing white while the nemesis was wearing black. Does this mean that Jacob might also have a light form, if the nemesis has the black form? Didn't Locke see a beautiful white light during "Walkabout?" We'll investigate that later.

But what about this deadly game between the nemesis and Jacob? Why would anyone wait for two centuries just to find a loophole to kill someone? This loophole certainly reminds me of the rules established between Ben and Widmore in "The Shape of Things to Come." Did Widmore join the side of the nemesis, in order for the "rules" dynamic to be applicable between himself and Ben? Is Widmore to the nemesis what Bram and Ilana are to Jacob?

And what are Jacob and his nemesis competing for? My guess: to prove the other wrong. By killing Jacob through Ben, not only did the nemesis fulfill his wish to kill Jacob, but he also could have proven that humanity is inherently bad. Two birds with one stone?

Whatever the story behind the nemesis is, I want to see a backstory next season. A long, full-episode backstory between himself and Jacob. Titus Welliver, who portrayed him in "The Incident," was really quite good in my opinion, and it'd be a shame for us to see him only once (even though the character is in the overly capable hands of Terry O'Quinn).

So post comments, theorize, and be constructive! Until next time.
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