Live Together, Die Alone

I’ve unfortunately been following LOST since the beginning of the second season when all of the third floor Old East guys decided to get hooked together.  At this point, the only reason I still watch is because I feel like I have to know the answer after such a hefty time investment.  Thankfully to all the series followers, the opening scene of the Season 5 finale finally presented a preview of what the island may be all about:

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I’d given up trying to predict any major plot points after Season 3, but I want to write something down before the final season just to compare after all is said and done.  Jacob and his rival (commonly referred to as Esau by many fans due to the show’s frequent biblical undertones) seem to be immortal foes in an enigmatic battle that we really know nothing about yet, other than certain rules cannot be broken.  Although still extremely vague, this battle will undoubtedly act as the metaphor of all metaphors and an explanation for everything the viewers have seen up to this point.

Fan theories are being thrown out left and right regarding representations of good vs. evil, with Jacob’s rival believing the human race is doomed to destroy itself while Jacob feels humanity still has a chance.  I personally think it’s not so much about good vs. evil, but about free will and determinism.  Throughout the series, a theme of duality has emerged.  In the opening scene of this year’s finale, we see Jacob wearing a white shirt met by his black-shirted rival.  This scene reiterates Locke’s backgammon discussion with Walt in the first season regarding the two different colored pieces trying to win over the board:

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I believe the black/white symbolism is less about good and evil and more about opposing views.  Depending on the perspective of the viewer, each character can be characterized as “good” or “bad”.  Each character has been morally ambiguous from the first episode they were introduced.  We have even seen how once notoriously labeled “bad guys” like Ben and Widmore have seemingly acted in what they felt were the best interests of the island.  Everything is a shade of grey.

Revisiting the backgammon metaphor, neither side is right or wrong, only opposites, moving around the board in different directions acting for their own benefit.  Many of the show’s mythological and theological references are also ambiguous (i.e., the story of Jacob and Esau, Taweret and Apep, etc.) In the end, I believe LOST will leave judgement up to individual interpretation, based on our own moral code.  Right now, we generally see Jacob as good, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Season 6 tested viewer opinion as we learn more.  It should be noted that Jacob was eating a red herring at the opening of the Season 5 finale…

By using a variety of religions, mythologies, civilizations, and literary references, the writers are highlighting some of the famous proposals made in an attempt of trying to make sense of our world.  LOST can’t be about good vs. evil, because moral assertions are subjective.  We all possess “good” and “bad” qualities, and I feel that the show’s duality-focused imagery alludes to the unity between the two sides.

All that being said, here are some Season 6 predictions before the final EPIC season starts in 2010.  I think the writers want us to be rooting for Jacob’s side, because he wants humanity to be good to one another and work for a better world.  Various factions have fought one another throughout the course of the show.  At times, the audience didn’t even know why the groups were fighting.  When the sides truly unite and work together peacefully, we will see what Jacob has been trying to accomplish.  Rose and Bernard seem to be two characters that already understand this, hence why we saw their story wrap up in this year’s finale.

Redemption has always been a major LOST theme, so I expect it to be a big part of the endgame.  Will Jacob possess Locke’s body on the beach, resulting in two opposing Lockes on the island in Season 6?  When Richard answers that “he who will save us all” lies in the shadow, is he referring to Jacob or Locke?  I’d like to think it’d be Locke considering he’s seemingly been played his entire life up to this point.

Utilization of the free will endowed upon LOST’s main characters (which I see being most important among the characters Jacob met and touched in flashbacks) will be the determining variables in how everything ends.  Regardless of the outcome or how frustrating the plot twists have been over the past 5 years, I am thankful that a television show with this much popularity has the cojones to continually focus on complex philosophical and metaphysical subject matter instead of resorting to a dumbed down approach.  When the final credits roll next year, I hope that the characters’ search for actuality coincides in answers for its faithful followers that have stuck around over the years.

2 Responses to “Live Together, Die Alone”

  1. walthers2 Says:

    nice! i have always thought that sawyer was one of the better people on the island… in the early seasons he was always hording shit and being a jerk but he also always risked his butt to help people in need. and i have always though jack was always kind of bastard. again, i think its all about the point of view thing you were describing. i had a theory that bernard and rose were the two dead bodies they found in a cave in season 1 with the black and white pieces in their pockets (due to the whole time travel thing). i guess that got shot down, but maybe not? i think the ending will be pretty sweet. for years everyone has switched views on different things (dharma initiative is good, the others are evil, dharma initiative is evil etc) so it will be interesting to see how they wrap that up

  2. bp Says:

    nice post. I agree the ambiguity and reversal are the heart of the show, and look forward to the upcoming twists. If the writers/directors can conclude the show in a satisfying manner, but without being too pat (oh look, the truth was inside you all along!), it will be very impressive.

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