So I'm sitting here on my couch wondering when I was going to get around to posting today when I flipped over to the History Channel (NEEEERRRRDDD!) and started watching "Hell: The Devil's Domain." Cool, I thought. And then they started telling a story that really hit home when it came to this week's episode of Lost.
They told of the Biblical story of Job, who satan believed could have his faith corrupted if his plight became unbearable. So God allows satan to curse Job with the death of his family, the loss of his property, and finally really poor health. Yet still Job stayed loyal to God, pissing satan off. For his loyalty Job was rewarded with a greater life than he had before satan's test and went on to live for 140 years.
If you're thinking that I'm going to argue that Richard Alpert is Job, you're right. And I'll start with the fact that his story starts in the Canary Islands in 1867. 140 years before the current Island-date of 2007. Is Richard tempted by the devil (monster)? Yes. Does he finally show loyalty to the forces of good (Jacob)? Yes. Does the God-satan test of Job mirror the opening scene of the Season 5 finale, where Jacob and the monster discuss that people come to the island and corrupt but that "it only has to work once?" Yes.
Was I wrong in my initial statements that Jacob might be evil? Yes.
I didn't love love this episode, but it was certainly one of the best episodes of this season so far. This may sound stupid but after watching it I wonder if we actually needed a Richard Alpert flashback episode after all, or if all of his important stuff couldn't have been covered in a flashback of the monster and/or Jacob. But that's getting pretty nitpicky on what was a really well done episode. Plus it was nice to get to see Nestor Carbonell show off some acting skills besides just saying something cryptic and then giving us the Zoolander "Blue Steel" look.
Instead of being madly in love with this episode, I think I found it fascinating more than anything. Just because of where it was on this season's schedule put a lot of pressure on this hour. We're now officially halfway through this final season and so what better time to steer this car towards the finish line? I agree with Hydra's assessment that this episode definitely felt like we were watching the final season of Lost, although I had that same feeling after "Dr. Linus" as well.
But it was fascinating because I think that this show made the declaration this week that its ending will be deeply rooted in the theological roots of the show, which I'm down for. I loved the wine bottle metaphor, and the final scene where the monster shatters the bottle was spine-tingling good. It's more important that Lost build off this episode and get momentum towards the finish than ever before.
But as for some theories on this episode...
The biggest questions are whether they're all dead, and whether they're in hell. I'm not going to go back and find one because I'm guessing that if you've made it this far with Lost you've seen an interview with the producers where they have come out and said that "No they're not dead...everything that's happening is real." Of course they could by lying because it would not be a good business decision to have come out in Season 1 and said "Yep they're all dead. You got us." So I think the idea that they're dead is still on the table, although I won't necessarily endorse it. I think the scene with Jacob dunking Richard into the water might have put this idea to bed, but at this point I won't be shocked if they come out and tell us that they've all been dead all along.
I think that this episode may have explained why the island was underwater in the opening scene of LAX timeline. If the island serves as this holding place for the devil but it needs a sort of guardian (Jacob), then what happens if there is no one to guard the monster from being able to escape? Just before the detonation of the Jughead bomb Jacob had been killed and we were down to just those six candidates to replace him, but it had just been made where they would not go to the island (or died in the explosion). These two actions - the final scenes of Season 5 - made is possible for the monster to escape and "go home," which means that the island no longer has a purpose and it collapses into the ocean.
What the monster getting to go home in the LAX timeline means to the survivors is something that Lost has 9 hours to explain.
- The Arrow
P.S. Hydra, I got to see the final couple minutes of 2OT in the KState-Xavier game. Thursday is poker night for me and the curse of winning a 10-player game is that I didn't get to get home until about 11 that night. Fortunately the game was still on.