An interesting and familiar discussion has ensued on the Re-watch blog for ’’The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham’’. Re-watching this episode was great in that it inspired me to rethink my thoughts about the connection between Jacob, MiB, Christian and Locke. Did MiB use both Christian and Lockes’ images to manipulate the Losties? In Season Six, we learn that MiB did use Locke’s image, but there was much discussion about whether it was MiB that used Christian’s image. Personally, I was convinced that MiB/Locke was lying to Jack when he indicated it was him that led Jack to the water source. However, upon re-watching this episode, and knowing what we do now, I was forced to really take another look at my thoughts. My journey has brought me full circle.
The scene that caused me some confusion about this point is when we see Locke’s image on the beach of the Island, after we know that he has died off the Island. On first watch, we don’t know, this is actually MiB until much later. However, now knowing this point, it caused me to see this scene much differently. On re-watch, I immediately thought of Christian also reappearing on the Island, when we know that he died off the Island. For me, it was a moment of ‘’Oh No! Please don’t challenge my thoughts about Christian being MiB! He can’t be MiB!’’ But the image was so compelling it did cause me to challenge my thoughts about this point.
When sharing my confusion on the blog, another epiphany moment occurred when the image of shoes came to mind. Yes, Christian’s ‘’White Sneakers’’and MiB/Locke wearing ‘’Christian’s Black dress shoes.’’ When writing about this image, the concept of Yin and Yang suddenly came to mind. And then, I realized, these shoes represent more than I originally thought. More than just the concepts of Black and White, the creators were giving us a clue to the concept of yin and yang within the story of LOST. And in the process, they are clarifying Christian’s image within this story.
Yin and Yang Symbol
You have the Wikipedia link for ‘’yin and yang’’ above for an explanation of this concept. Wallyp explains,‘’The way I look at yin-yang, is that the black and white is one thing. Black might represent bad and white represent good, but it is the symbol as a whole that represents the whole. Black and white in the same circle, with white inside the black and black inside the white...’’
To further articulate the yin and yang reference, we need to consider an example of ‘’Black and White.’’ Locke tells us when explaining backgammon to Walt. There are two sides, one ‘’light’’ and one ‘’dark.’’ I think we all will agree that MiB was the dark side with Jacob representing the light side. With yin and yang, we can also recognize that although MiB was the dark side, there were parts of MiB that were good and he was not entirely bad. The same holds true for Jacob, but in reverse. There is a common thread between them which is their brotherly love for each other. This is what brings them together as a whole.
To connect this to Locke’s description of Backgammon, and in simplified terms, the story of LOST is a game between Jacob and MiB, one light, the other dark, in determining the fate of the Island. Each side has chosen a different strategy for winning their game. One has chosen a faith in the free will of the candidates to make their own choices within the game. The other has chosen to use fear and confusion to manipulate the candidates for his purposes in the game. So, it is established there are two sides in this story. One represented by Jacob, the other represented by MiB. I think, we’re all comfortable with the idea of MiB using Locke’s image for his purpose. So, I won’t go into detail, other than to point out, MiB now occupies the body of the one person on the Island who had the greatest faith in the Island. Consider Christian’s black shoes on Locke’s body. We’ll revisit this image a bit later.
When you consider the scene that created my confusion, I realized there is a difference. The one glaring difference that came to mind is that when we see Locke’s casket. We actually see Locke’s body in the casket. You’ll recall, when Jack found Christian’s casket, the body was missing. Also, recalling Cuse and Lindelof’s comments that ‘’Locke is confirmed as dead’’ and ‘’Dead is Dead.’’ Their comments about Christian differ, in that they indicate he is undead.’’
This led me to considering once again the name of ‘’Christian Shephard.’’ The references of this name are glaring as well and cannot be ignored. For me, it’s one of the primary reasons, I cannot believe that MiB could/would use Christian’s image. Some of the clues within the story of LOST can also reaffirm the creators chose this name as a clue for us. The biblical reference is apparent, so again, I won’t go into detail about this point. However, I will point out, that Christian’s coffin being empty can be a reference to Jesus, empty tomb. But then a living Jesus reappears and is resurrected, providing hope and guidance for believers to find eternal life.
But, let’s take a look at some of Christian’s appearances in the story. We see his white sneaker hanging from a tree…he’s representing the light side, perhaps not just in the game between Jacob and MiB, but in the universal game of ‘’Life.’’ I think it’s interesting a tree was chosen for the sneaker to hang. This might represent many things. A few may be, the tree of life, family tree, hanging in the balance between light and dark, with the tree being dark against the light sneaker, it may also have something to do with longevity of life, eternal life if you will. We don’t know, but I do believe a tree was chosen specifically.
Also, in the Lost: Missing Pieces mobisode, So It Begins We see Christian telling Vincent to Go get Jack, he has work to do. It cannot be denied, that Jack did a lot of work to get to the point of having enough faith in the Island and in himself to sacrifice his life. Recalling the Island is the source of Light restraining the dark forces within. If this were MiB, he would have failed miserably in his quest to manipulate Jack. And although Jack has many vices, he does ultimately become the next protector vs. becoming a link to MiB’s loop hole. On a side note, within the So It Begins mobisode recorded on Lostpedia, it is indicated this scene is Christian as MiB. While Lindelof and Cuse have said these mobisodes are considered canon, it is a user interpretation that it is Christian as MiB. Lindelof and Cuse have never confirmed that this is the case. Therefore, I believe any user indications of this nature should be considered opinion and not canon.
Then, there is the White Rabbit episode where Jack chases Christian’s image and ‘’hangs in the balance’’ from the side of a cliff. Many use this scene as an example of why they think this is actually MiB using Christian’s image in an effort to kill Jack. But consider for a moment what is happening with Jack just before and just after this scene. There is a crisis ensuing with the Losties, as the water supply is diminishing. They are looking to Jack to tell them what to do. Jack resists becoming the leader, as echoes of his father voice remind him that ‘’he doesn’t have what it takes.’’ And as Jack hangs in the balance on the side of the cliff, Locke appears with hand outstretched and brings him to safety. If, it were MiB wanting to kill Jack, this would have been his opportunity. But it didn’t happen. Instead, Locke appears and rescues Jack and guides him to continue what he started. Subsequently, Jack again chases his father’s image and finds not only his empty coffin, but he finds a fresh water source and the caves where the Losties can find refreshment and shelter from the intense sun of the beach. Again, I ask the question, why would MiB, the man who wants to kill the candidates, lead them to the place that will sustain the very people he wants to destroy? In fact, Jack goes back to the Losties on the beach and gives his “If we can’t live together, we’ll die alone’’ speech and becomes a leader for the Losties. So again, the consequences of Christian’s image are contradictory to the purposes of MiB. Therefore, I contend, as a shepherd leading his lost lamb back to the fold it is the ‘’undead’’ Christian giving his son a wake-up call and guiding him to shelter and water to sustain him and the other Losties. Sometimes, it is in our darkest moments that the light can be seen. It is a story told many times to those of faith.
For a moment, let’s go back to the living Christian at an Australian bar buying a drink for Sawyer while he shares his story about his son. Christian confesses that he has a dark past and regrets how he has interacted with his son. He’s saddened that he may never have a chance to tell him that he is proud of him because he ‘’does have what it takes’’. We later see that Sawyer carries this message to Jack and in essence tells him what Christian wanted him to know. The previous illustration from “White Rabbit” is Christian’s chance to right his wrong. The yin and yang comes to mind here again. We can see Christian with the dark past, and the white sneaker representing the light inside the dark. Opposite of the yen and yang image referenced earlier of Locke with the faith/light with Christian’s dark shoes inside that light. Therefore, I see Christian’s image in opposition to the work of MiB in Locke’s image. But together, they are part of the bigger picture.
In the episode, Something Nice Back Home, both Claire and Jack see visions of their father. In the jungle, Claire awakens one night to see Christian sitting near the campfire holding Aaron, when she says, Dad? The next morning, Sawyer notices Claire is missing and asks Miles if he knows what happened to Claire. Miles tells him he saw Claire going off into the jungle. When Sawyer says, he can't believe Claire would wander off alone, Miles tells him she wasn't alone. She was with someone, she called Dad. They then hear the baby crying and find Aaron alone wrapped in a blanket near a tree. I know many, feel this was MiB luring Claire away from the other Losties and her baby. And part of the storyline seems to confirm this thought. This is the hardest example to explain as not being MiB for that reason. But again, we need to look at what is the motivation for MiB, as well as the ultimate result of the action. In The Cabin, we are given a clue that Claire is with Christian, who is speaking on Jacob's behalf. The only other reason, I can come up with is that Christian was making sure that what ever happened, happened. And he needed to separate Claire from her baby, so that Aaron can be part of the O6.
Then, later in this same episode, in a flash forward, Jack is at the hospital when he sees a vision of his father in the same blue suit and white sneakers that he wore on the Island. His father, calls out his name. Jack is distracted and when he returns back to see his father, the vision is no longer there. This vision, cannot be MiB, as MiB cannot leave the Island. It is more likely Christian, calling his son back to the Island.
Yet another image of Christian appears in The cabin with Claire. It is dark in the cabin as Locke enters on his third visit and he sees Christian sitting in the shadows and then Claire. When Locke asks if Christian is Jacob, he tells him he can speak on his behalf. When he asks Claire why she is there, she tells Locke not to worry as she is with Christian. As Locke gets distracted by his own questions, Christian refocuses Locke by reminding him of why he is there. Locke then asks, How do I save the Island? When Locke emerges from the cabin, he tells Hurley and Ben, that he was told that he needed to move the Island. This takes us to the next example of who would benefit most from moving the Island in the long term. What we soon learn is that Christian is guiding Locke in the pathway to his purpose. Again, this is further understood with the next example.
Now we, take a look at the image of Christian reminding Locke that his death is a sacrifice, while he is helping Locke to use the FDW to return to the O6. Again, some will say, this is evidence that it is MiB in Christian’s image, using Locke to bring back the O6, so he can kill them. But as Shambala108 says, ‘’ it seems a bit pointless, why not just leave them where they are and work on the Dharma Losties?’’ Afterall, the O6 have no intention of returning to the Island at this point. So, they should be no threat to MiB. However, if you consider this as the ‘’undead’’ Christian image, he has reason for wanting the O6 to return. Again as Shambala108 references, two of the O6 are ‘’future protectors of the Island…Jack and Hurley’’. Furthermore, Kate ends up killing MiB, Sun reunites with Jin (another yin and yang image for another time), Sayid sacrifices his life telling Jack he’s the one, Aaron, being the only O6 member to not return. However, he is the reason for Claire to leave the Island later. Again, why would MiB want to bring back the ones that will lead to his death later?
Christian helping the Losties Move On
And then, we have the final appearance of Christian in the flash sidways of The End. This episode confirms that it is Christian that has led the Losties throughout the story of LOST. In the final scene we see Christian walking toward the light, as they all move on together.
So there, you have it. There are many examples of yin and yang in the story of LOST. For me, the clues were not apparent in the first watching of LOST. And on re-watch, I finally understood the symbolism of yin and yang in the vision of MiB/Locke wearing Christian’s black shoes. My journey to clear up my confusion as a result, actually led me back to my original belief. Now that, the question of Christian’s image is more clearly defined with yin and yang, there are a lot of other discussions we can continue within the story of LOST.