In Season 3, Episode 13 "The Man from Tallahassee," Ben presents Locke with a metaphor, saying that there is a Magic Box on the Island. And whatever you want or imagine, Ben says, will be inside the box when you open it. So of course when Locke sees his evil father Anthony Cooper tied up inside of an Other containment cell, Ben says that Locke must have wanted him there.
But just how did Anthony Cooper make it to the Island? If the Magic Box is not a physical thing, then how can one explain someone off-Island transporting on-Island in the blink of an eye?
I think the only clue we really comes from the words of Anthony Cooper himself, tied up in the Brig with Sawyer standing in front of him.
SAWYER: How did you get here? To the Island?
COOPER: Island? *chuckles* Alright. I'm driving down I-10 through Tallahassee when BAM, someone slams into the back of my car. I go right into the divider at 70 miles an hour and the next thing I know, the paramedics are strapping me onto a gurney and stuffing me into an ambulance, and one of them actually smiles at me as he pops the IV in my arm. And then... nothing. Just... black. And the next thing I know I wake up in a dark room, tied up, gag in my mouth, and when the door opens, I'm looking up at the same man I threw out a window: John Locke. My dead son.
SAWYER: So he's dead cuz you threw him out a window?
COOPER: No, he survived that. But it paralyzed him. Permanently. He's dead because the plane he was flying in crashed in the Pacific.
SAWYER: *chuckles* Well I got bad news for ya, pops. Cuz I was on that plane with your son. He sure as hell wasn't crippled. And we didn't crash in the Pacific. We crashed here, on this island.
COOPER: You sure it's an Island?
SAWYER: Well what else is it?
COOPER: Little hot for Heaven, isn't it?
[Later in the conversation]
COOPER: One minute I'm in a car wreck, the next I'm a pirate ship in the middle of the jungle. If this isn't Hell, friend, then where are we?
So its obvious that Anthony Cooper knew just as much about his appearance on the Island as John Locke did. In fact, Cooper was, like many audience members, thoroughly convinced that he was really dead (which strongly mirrors the old Purgatory theory that some fans proposed in Season One). Obviously, the fact that Sawyer was able to kill him again is probably strong evidence against such a notion.
So if the Island is not the afterlife, and Cooper didn't die in that car wreck, then what other way could Cooper possibly appear miraculously on an Island thousands of miles away from Tallahassee? My guess is that the answer is in Anthony's description of the paramedics:
COOPER: [...]the paramedics are strapping me onto a gurney and stuffing me into an ambulance, and one of them actually smiles at me as he pops the IV in my arm.
I'm wondering: could that smiling paramedic possibly be Jacob? With the recent Season 5 finale, it seems that Jacob came into physical contact with everyone who landed on the Island at some point in time. Maybe he had a hand in getting Cooper there as well. In fact, when I first heard the spoiler that Jacob would be appearing to various Losties throughout their off-island life, I half-expected that one of the flashbacks would show this very thing.
What are your thoughts? Will the metaphor of the Magic Box ever be explained? What part does Jacob (or did Jacob) play in its function?