We got the first two episodes that pave the road for the beginning of the end, and I tried to parse the elements while ret-conning them to the considerations I wrote at the end of season 5 (part 1 – part 2).
To begin with, Lindelof own words:
We will say this: season 6 is not about time travel. It’s about the implications, the aftermath, and the causality of trying to change the past. But the idea of continuing to do paradoxical storytelling is not what we’re interested in this year.
I’m rather glad about the first part of the show because the plot at the moment is extremely simple, and, especially, it is coherent with what I had written a year ago when the series closed.
After the finale a year ago I wrote:
If I have to guess the anti-Jacob is also the smoke monster, who is also evil-Locke. Jacob enjoys messing with people, while anti-Jacob is the one who prefers being left alone and would like as well to get rid of Jacob and enjoy a quiet life.
I think this is going to be a theme important to keep in mind. It’s Jacob who messes with people, who calls the boat the first time and who gets the losties on the airplane the second time.
The anti-Jacob instead is the one who now wants to “go home”. Whatever it means.
We also know that anti-Jacob killing Jacob means that the island (2007 version) isn’t anymore in the balance of power. But. It’s also possible that Sayid is now possessed by Jacob the same way Locke is now anti-Jacob (what is sure is that Jacob wants to keep Sayid alive and has sent a message to his “Others” faction through the message hidden in the guitar case that Jacob himself gave to Hurley).
It’s also interesting because the way things went had the result of solving the time paradox they created last season. Me again a year ago:
But before they (the losties) can save themselves, they all have to die. Those in the past in order to complete the plan and let their copies live. Those in the future because they are orphans of a timeline (the island blew up, so Locke and Ben can’t be on it, timeline-wise those scenes happen BEFORE what we’re seeing in the past).
There’s a problem, though. Sun has a picture of them in the Dharma initiative, and there’s also a sixth season to fill. So this hints that, if the future is their future as that picture hints, they won’t succeed in blowing up the island.
We knew that the ending of the time travel season was going to be an attempt to reboot. And as a result, we [knew] the audience was going to come out of the “do-over moment” thinking we were either going start over or just say it didn’t work and continue on. [We thought] wouldn’t it be great if we did both? That was the origin of the story.
My theory at that time (before the end of season 5) was that the entire timeline would be erased, because that future (Lock revived returning to the island with Sun & Ben) was strictly dependent on the past going the way it did.
So, either that timeline was “true” (hence losties not succeeding exploding the bomb) or it was going to be erased, so that, in order to trigger the “better world” (what we now see as flash-sideways) all of them had to be erased from existence. Meaning that in order to have themselves in the future have a better life, they had to sacrifice all they lived till that point. Also meaning that the whole TV series would be basically erased because they were successful in preventing the whole thing and triggering the reboot.
We now know things didn’t go that way. The bomb did explode and the (arguably) better future was triggered, but the “copies” of the losties weren’t “erased” and now persist in another timeline that goes to overlap exactly with the old 2007 version from season 5. Where anti-Jacob kills Jacob and now probably wants to take over the island in order to take off and return to Mars.
The big question in this series is about how the alternate timeline (2004) is going to fit in the context. Either it is there simply thematically to prove a point (that the new life isn’t that better) or it will have to collide again in some way (Widmore maybe?).
Thematically the theme has been already highlighted. Locke revived in this episode talks with Ben about the former Locke and says:
“He (Locke) was the only one who realized how pitiful the life he left behind really was.”
And this kind of commentary is mirrored by something similar that happened last season, but that referred to the exact opposite situation (the life they lead after the crash):
“It was not all misery.”
“Enough of it was.”
We have now these two realities: the 2004 reboot and the 2007 as we know it.
A few important things to keep in mind:
– The main point is that it is JACOB who has caused the bomb to explode and the new 2004 timeline to exist (this inferred by the fact that it’s Jacob himself who persuades most of the losties to return to the island. And if he’s not manipulating them directly for his own will, at the very least he is the one who gave them the “choice”).
This may lead somewhere if things are considered that way. We do not even know that anti-Jacob is aware that his timeline (the 2007) is now somewhat secondary. Jacob at this point is apparently successful. Anti-Jacob may be the one tricked and now trapped not in the island, but in the surrogate timeline.
It’s also possible that the two timelines will be personalized: Jacobs has the “white” 2004 no-crash timeline, while anti-Jacobs has the “black” standard timeline where he’s now free.
Also, let’s work with two archetypes. Jacobs represents white and progress made of men, and the will of men to alter destiny and have a role, and decide their own life and try in spite of all misery and failure and whatever. It’s a kind of positive, merciful drive that often fails but always tries.
Anti-Jacobs represents wild nature. Unmerciful, cruel. That doesn’t tolerate men messing up. That wants the island untouched, and wants it back, away from men. That also represents destiny as a self correcting fixed thing that has its own survival as first priority.
We know Lost is built through dichotomies, and the dialogue at the end of Season 5 crystallizes the contrast between Jacob and anti-Jacob:
anti-Jacob: “Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you?”
Jacob: “You are wrong.”
anti-Jacob: “Am I? They come. they fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”
Jacob: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before is just progress.”
Which is also one of those broad themes about the human condition, and here’s a link to what Steven Erikson writes:
The Chain of Dogs had fallen at the foot of Aren. Pormqual’s ten thousand danced on trees. Leoman’s rebel army was destroyed at Y’Ghatan. It was clear — it could not be clearer — that for all there was to learn, no one ever bothered. Each new fool and tyrant to rise up from the mob simply set about repeating the whole fiasco, convinced that they were different, better, smarter. Until the earth drinks deep again.
This is where things stand now and the whole thing was fairly simplified as I expected. As for the last season we lack a lot: “motivations”. So the big mistery is how the two timelines are related, how they’ll resolve, and in particular what’s Jacob and anti-Jacob’s plan.