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Final Conclusions About the Others
"Do you want a job?" --Jacob
The Others were one of the biggest mysteries that I was most interested in as of the beginning of the final season -- who they are, where they came from, and what their purpose is on the Island. The final season didn't exactly give direct answers to these questions, but I do think the writers gave us plenty of clues to allow us to form our own conclusions, just as they did with many of the other major mysteries on LOST.
Even before Season 6, I'd already gotten the impression, by quotes from Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking, that the Others' main purpose was to protect the Island and its secrets. We just didn't know what those secrets were. Of course, now we know that the main thing that Jacob wanted to protect was the "Light", or the "Source", or the "Heart of the Island", or whatever you want to call it. The question is, with all the knowledge that the Others had about the Island, did they know about the Light? The impression I got was that only Jacob and his successors (and whoever else happened to stumble upon it in the process of transferring that knowledge) knew about the Light. The Others might have ultimately been protecting the Light without actually knowing it. They simply knew that they were supposed to protect the Island from the rest of the world.
Of course, it's also possible that the Others were protecting nothing important at all, since we do know now that the Others were a group of people that Jacob brought to the Island to try to prove (to the Man in Black) that humans can be inherently "good"... though I don't think the Others really fulfilled Jacob's purpose in that regard. But we do know that at least Dogen was hand-picked by Jacob to oversee the Temple, which was a major mystery that was merely talked about until we finally saw it at the beginning of Season 6. Clearly the Others who lived there understood the importance of the Temple as a safe haven against the Man in Black, as well as the powers of the healing pool inside.
Besides Richard Alpert, who we now know came to the Island as a slave on the Black Rock in 1867, and essentially became the first Other, the biggest clue as to how most of the Others came to the Island is Dogen's story. He had a normal job in the real world, suffered a tragedy, and was approached by Jacob with an offer to make things right (save his son from death), in exchange for coming to the Island to take up a new job. Dogen's quote, "I was brought here, like everyone else," seems to imply that his story is similar to that of most of the other Others. Some may have been former members of the Dharma Initiative like Ben Linus was, while some we know came from Oceanic Flight 815, like Cindy Chandler and the other tail-section survivors that the Others captured. In fact, the only Others that we know were born on the Island are Ethan Rom and Alex Rousseau. It's also interesting to note that if it's indeed true that most of the Others were brought to the Island, as opposed to born on the Island, then that would explain why Richard was not concerned with the pregnancy problem, like Ben was.
The Linus Regime
Ben Linus seemed to run things differently while he was the leader of the Others. I'm convinced now that Ben was usually lying to his people whenever he said his decisions were based on Jacob's wishes. Ben was the type of person who wanted things done his own way and used lying and scheming techniques to get things done for himself, and we know that he never even saw Jacob until the night that the Man in Black manipulated Ben into killing Jacob. Based on this, I believe that most of the Others who were a part of the Linus Regime, such as Tom Friendly, Mikhail Bakunin, Danny Pickett, and Bea Klugh, were people that Ben recruited himself (possibly with Richard's help) for his own purposes, just like he recruited Juliet to help solve the pregnancy problem. Taking over the Dharma barracks was also likely Ben's idea. Jacob merely allowed Ben to run things his own way, because he wanted to see what would happen without his interference.
The New Man in Charge
Things are sure to be different on the Island now that Hurley has taken over Jacob's role as the main protector of the Island. Since Hurley isn't trying to prove to anyone anything about the inherent nature of human beings, he can get as involved in the lives of the Island inhabitants as he wants. I can't wait to see what life on the Island looks like when the Season 6 DVD set is released in August, with the new 12-minute bonus feature, "The New Man in Charge", supposedly showing what happens when Hugo takes over as the Island's leader. I can just imagine him continuing to call his own people "The Others", as weird as it may be.
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