This week's episode of Lost, for all purposes, should be viewed like the mysterious lighthouse for which it was named, as a mirror and parallel to last weeks episode:
In last week's episode, Darth Locke apprenticed Sawyer in tracking down "Jacob's" big cave of baby names so that he could drop the bombshell that Sawyer had been guided and watched by that nefarious Jacob all his life in what amounts to a futile effort to protect the island.
In this week episode, Jacob - or should I say his surrogate and new BFF Hurley, guided Jack to Jacob's big lighthouse of baby names so that Jacob could prove to Jack that he really is special, and that he had been watching and guiding Jack all his life.
Without all the new alternate Jack off-island stuff, this episode was thematically exactly the same as the one previous, yet directly opposite. Like two black and white pieces on a game board, Sawyer and Jack have been led by our two players to the depths and heights of each other's kingdom. Sawyer, descended to the bowels of a Hell-cave to see what what Smokey had wrought. Jack ascended to the heavenly heights of the island and the lighthouse - where once again we see the names written in a wheel, most of which are crossed out. If we are led to believe that there are 1 name for each degree in a wheel, that means there could only be 360 deceased/potential candidates. What happens when those names run out? Also, wtf is with all the wheel imagery? Donkey-wheels, lighthouse wheels, the wheels on Locke's rusted out wheel chair? Time keeps rolling on I guess.
But back to the dueling deities; to me, this episode proves that wherever Locke took Sawyer, it was NOT Jacob's cave. More than likely, it was Smokey's himself (would literally fit him nicely), where either the names were a set-up for Sawyer to see, or in fact meticulous counter-espionage. Consider this, what if, like Jacob, Smokey is looking for a someone to take the mantle off his shoulders as island badass-security system (who better to groom than the former head of Dharma security than Sawyer?). Smokey seems to have taking a shining to a few (if not all) of the "candidates;" it could be that those who are being corrupted (even against their will) like Sayid or Claire, or shoe-ins because of their evolving conditions.
The Lighthouse (Off-Island)
- The big shocker in alternate Jack's life is that he not only has a son, but an angsty teenage one at that. Jack's son seems to be carrying on the Shepard mantle of trying to live up to his father's expectations while living in his considerably large (absent) shadow.
- Ironically (as even Hurley believes that Jack would make a great dad - much to island-Jack's chagrin) Jack really does make a great dad, at least in his intent. He seems to make the effort when he has the time, it's just that the time just hadn't been there.
- Speaking of time, why can't Jack seem to remember much of his past? It's as if on-island Jack, in body and redeemed soul, has been placed in this new reality with a clean slate and a memory wipe. Perhaps this alternate reality are the candidate's reward for fulfilling whatever task Jacob has for them. However, you get to keep your scars. Yay plastic surgery!
- We have the Samurai Dogen (love that line, as he was also awesome in The Last Sumarai) even making a cameo, subtly pulling at Jack's heart strings by questioning how long Jack had known his son was a budding musical prodigy. Turns out mommy (mysteriously absent) intentionally kept Jack in the dark because he was maybe too stage-parenty before (just like his dad in the ER in a way).
- In the end, this alternate story (like the others) came to a warm and fuzzy ending; Jack told his kid that he was good enough, and just wanted to be apart of his life (which was the opposite mantra of his father).
- Catch the line when Jack's (alcaholic?) mother offered him a drink? To his "no thanks," she responded with "good for you." Was that in spite of his father, or because he had an addiction problem in this life, and thus lost the relationship with his son?
- Hurley once again played surrogate ghost-partner to Jacob. They are slowly becoming my favorite all-time Lost dynamic-duo, as Hurley's no bullshit banter with Jacob is pretty priceless. One gets the feeling that Jacob is not only using Hurley as a means to further his goals for Jack and the others, but also showing Hurley the "tricks of the trade" as it were by sharing only with him why he does what he does and how he does it. If I was a betting man (which I am), I would put 2:1 odds that Hurley is already being groomed as Jacob's replacement.
- The Lighthouse - what is it? Lighthouses literally "sheparded" Lost ships who were too far out, or served as a marker for the way home. This lighthouse might have been that way for Jacob to constantly keep tabs on his candidates - to shepard these lost souls to the island. That is, until Jack hulk-smashed and got him and Hurley "7 years bad luck." He's such a wet blanket sometimes.
- Claire is creepy. She has that Danielle Rousseau act down pat, and likes to play with sharp things. Other than sharp things ,she hangs out with her father, and a person who she knows is not really Locke, but her "friend" anyway. Oh and guess what, if she finds out that Kate really had raised her baby in the wake of her...death/disappearance, well she'll kill her. Issues probably don't even begin to describe her. We did get some good tidbits of info from her ramblings:
- Her "father" told her that the others stole her baby
- She was captured at some point after hanging out with her father and "tortured" like Sayid. I'll go out on a limb and say she failed the test too.
- She befriended a guy.
- The guy is John Locke.
- She knows he's not John Locke.
- OK, I could have probably lumped 3 and 4 together, but I think it was important to make clear that she knows that her "friend" can appear as people he/it is not. With the blatant lie by "her father" about the others having her baby, we may be able to assume that Smokey has taken the appearance of Christian before, and slowly planted the seeds that have driven Claire mad with grief and rage over her lost baby. My guess, to use her as a weapon against Jack/Kate in coming fight.
- For some reason, Smokey as Christian brought me back to his appearance before Michael on the ship right before it exploded. Who else was on that boat? Oh right, a possible candidate in Jin. Could Smokey have been trying to pick-off candidates in this indirect manner before?
- It also needs to be pointed out that Jacob needed to get Hurley and Jack away from the temple, and whatever was to happen there. Once again, why not at the very least Hurley, Jack, and KATE? Her omission seemed strange last week, but now it feels as if Jacob perhaps really has no use for Kate even though she had been touched. Was her sin too great?
- Poor Jin. Bastard always catches the wrong breaks. Good thing he might get a reunion with Sun soon, even though it probably be as a hostage.