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This page details what I believe are the most interesting takes and most likely answers to many of the mysteries that Lost has yet to explain. I am partially writing this to get my own hypotheses straight before the final season begins. I will address the Monster as little as possible because it, in my opinion, is the most complex and confusing mystery still unsolved. Because of that, I'd prefer to keep it a mystery until the show unveils its true nature. Everything else, though, is up for explanation.
On the Island there is an ancient statue. Its origins, identity, purpose and destruction are as of yet unsolved mysteries. There are only a few hard facts known about the statue: Jacob lives in its foot, it was whole in the mid-nineteenth-century, and it bears features resembling those of ancient Egyptians (its head, body and its ankhs) as well as Greco-Romans (its shoes and the style of the statue). We have seen it in only three episodes: The first time is in the Season 2 finale Live Together, Die Alone where we only see a four-toed foot from Desmond's boat The Elizabeth; we see it from the back in Season 5's episode LaFleur; and in "The Incident" we see it again in full form in mid-nineteenth-century, and then the foot alone in 2007. There are pictures of the statue in the order that we see them at the very bottom of this page.
There is more than one statue. There are four bits of evidence support this, the most compelling of which comes simply from what part of the statue remains.
- In Pic1, the left foot is the one remaining. In Pic4 it is the right foot. This seems to very clearly corroborate the thesis that the remains do not come from the same statue.
- If that's not enough, the way the statue stands is also different. We see the statue in full only twice: once from the back in "LaFleur" (Picture 2 below) and once from the side in "The Incident" (Picture 3). Pic3 shows the legs together and Pic2 shows the legs apart. Also, in Pic3 the left leg is clearly in front, whereas in Pic2--if either is in front of the other--the right foot is in front.
- A third piece of evidence is where the statue is located on the Island. In Pic2 we are clearly in the jungle near where the Dharma Station The Orchid will someday be built. In Pic1, looking from the sea, there are mountains behind it.
- Lastly, Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams has made it clear that "The" statue is Taweret, the Egyptian goddess of fertility. But based on research I've read on other pages, the statue resembles the god Sobek (which has the head of a crocodile) more than Taweret (which has the head of a hippopotamus and is usually shown "with child").
- Note: The differences in the statue could simply be careless continuity issues. However, considering how much careful misdirection is planted on the show and how many of our expectations are subverted, it would be disappointing if these glaring inconsistencies were merely errors.
- Note 2: Considering that in "LAX, Part 1" the foot of the statue is underwater, it could very well be that what submerged the Island is also the event that destroyed the rest of the statue. This seems to contradict the fact that in one of the narrative "Dimensions" the Oceanic 815 survivors are on the Island with the foot. To be continued...
Jacob is an oft-referenced character who does not appear in full-form until the Season 5 finale (The Incident, Parts 1 & 2). At different points we are led to believe he is non-existent, invisible or godlike. His exact origin, powers and goals are still are a mystery. Interestingly, the Season 5 episode in which he first appears is also the episode in which he dies--at least for the time being.
Jacob is villainous. Over several seasons Jacob is touted as virtuous, and throughout the show he is called a "great" or "powerful" man. He can see the future, imbue people (such as Richard Alpert) with the ability to never age, and--perhaps more important than anything--he can make countless people follow him without ever even seeing him.
In the Season 5 finale he is killed by Benjamin Linus at the behest of the Fake John Locke. This impostor is the embodiment or avatar of Jacob's Nemesis/Enemy, who threatens Jacob's life at the beginning of "The Incident". In this episode's opening scene we see that Jacob lives humbly, is patient, and remains calm when Enemy says he wants to kill him. More subtle hints of his heroic qualities are shown in his light clothes and light features--especially when we contrast this with Enemy's dark clothing and dark features. As the writers of Lost often do, we are misdirected into believing he is good and Enemy is evil. Just because Enemy wants to kill Jacob doesn't mean Jacob is faultless, godlike or a "good guy"; it just means he has an adversary. Further, when we consider Jacob's actions we can see that he is hardly heroic.
In the flashbacks of "The Incident" Jacob interacts with several of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. He seems to be good-natured and friendly: he wishes Sun-Hwa Kwon and Jin-Soo Kwon happiness in their marriage, and also gives Locke reason to get up after falling eight floors. However, Jacob's interactions only influence things for the worse. For example, Jacob's talk with Sayid Jarrah leads to Nadia being hit by a car; also, when Jacob lends James "Sawyer" Ford a pen to write his letter, this only fuels the boy's hate for the original Sawyer (Anthony Cooper); also, his "encouraging words" to Locke only enable Locke to do things that ultimately make Locke a slave to the Island before dying because of the Island. Considering that Jacob has such knowledge of time, it is ridiculous to think that these misfortunes--which Jacob influenced--were simply accidental.
Even if he is not a villain he is without a doubt not all-good. He certainly uses people in the service of a greater agenda, caring very little for their lives. When Enemy brings to his attention the fact that the Island makes people "corrupt", Jacob replies that it "only ends once" and that everything until that point is "progress". Also, when Ben--a person anointed to be a leader by Jacob--says "What about me?" Jacob disdainfully replies "What about you?" In this moment he appears as cold-blooded as any of the show's villains.
The perspective on whether Jacob is malevolent or not depends on if you subscribe to the philosophical belief that a greater purpose is more important than the people who die for it. But we can certainly see that Jacob's goals are not in the best interest of the 815 survivors, the Others, or even the leaders of the Others since harm befalls members of all of these groups eventually. At best, Jacob is uncaring, and at worst he is downright evil.
Richard Alpert is commonly referred to as an advisor or vizier to the group known as the Others or the Hostiles. His agelessness is apparent considering we see him at various points between 1954 and 2007 looking around 40. According to Ben, Juliet Burke, and others, Richard has been around a “very long time” and is a connection between Jacob and the Others’ Leaders. Because of how long he’s been around, there is a popular assumption that he is knowledgeable, powerful, or at least astute. However, through his actions (particularly those in Season 5) he appears to be anything but.
Richard is powerless. Jacob communicates with the Others through Richard, and Richard has been given everlasting life so that he can constantly hold this position. But this does not mean he’s an especially amazing man. Jacob picks people as leaders who can be manipulated—whether they are manipulative themselves like Ben (see Through the Looking Glass), or those like Locke who are easily--if not pathetically--trusting (see Further Instructions). Richard seems wise through his even-temper and quiet demeanor, yet there are hardly any occasions where he actually demonstrates any sort of skill, ability or competence.
As far as Richard’s abilities go, he shows none other than agelessness, which he concedes is solely Jacob’s doing. What seemed like foresight was shot down in Season 5 when we learn that Fake Locke has been manipulating Richard for quite a while. Over the course of the series, Richard has gone to see Locke at various points in his life; this happens a great deal in Cabin Fever. Richard is there after Locke is born and then visits him when Locke is five. When Locke is sixteen, "Dr. Alpert" sends an invitation for Locke to attend summer camp, which Locke declines. Richard also visits an injured Locke in Because You Left and then tells him he needs to bring back those who left (The Oceanic Six) and that he (Locke) must die. In all of these moments it appears as though Richard has a plan we aren’t privy to. However, in "The Incident" we finally see that Fake Locke has been the one masterminding all of these circumstances.
One of Richard's only actions that go against Jacob or one of the Leaders is in the episode The Brig when Richard confides in Locke that Ben put Locke in a situation where he would fail. Divulging this information to Locke is not in the best interest of the Island, Jacob or Ben—as it certainly goes against all three of those entities. In the end, this conversation enables Locke’s rise to power, which then aids Fake Locke, which then kills Jacob. It may seem enticing to believe that Richard and Jacob's Enemy are in cahoots, but Richard says "There's something different about you" to Fake Locke when he first sees him, which lets us know he doesn't know Fake Locke's identity.
Despite being likable, despite being old, despite being tall, dark and handsome, and despite his initials being RA, Richard has exhibited hardly any worth other than simply being an advisor. He does as he's told and he doesn't ask questions. He is a minion, an errand boy, and despite all his years on the Island he can certainly be fooled.
The Black Rock
The Black Rock is a slave ship that has, for reasons unknown, “landed” in the Dark Territory of the Island. The ship holds dynamite which is used several times by the survivors of Oceanic 815, most notably in Exodus, Part 2 when Jack Shepherd, Kate Austen, Hurley, and Locke blow open The Hatch on The Swan station. The ship is also where Sawyer kills Cooper, after Cooper is inexplicably “brought” to the Island. The ship is seen a mile or so offshore at the beginning of "The Incident, Part 1" when Jacob and his Enemy are talking on the beach.
Since the ship landed in the Dark Territory, we can guess that the Monster very easily could have killed the inhabitants, but many of them were left in their chains to die in one piece; this means that either the Monster didn't kill all of them (even the sitting ducks), and therefore some crew-members made an attempt at life on the Island.
There is a great deal of speculation about what the Black Rock was doing in the vicinity of the Island and whether or not its presence was intended. In Part 1 of “The Incident” we hear from Jacob’s Enemy that Jacob “brought them” to the Island. Jacob doesn’t deny this. There’s also been conjecture that Richard Alpert was a captain or first-mate. It also could be that he was chained on the island considering that Enemy says at the end of "LAX, Part 2" that it's good to see him out of chains. The most often-cited and widely-accepted belief is that the survivors of the Black Rock’s crash-landing were the original Others, who were chosen by Jacob to “protect” the Island.
It makes the most narrative sense for Miles Straume, a medium, to have some sort of interaction with the skeletons. We’ve seen Miles interact with ghosts both on and off the Island, and as showcased in one unaired clip on the Season 4 special features disc, Miles is seen listening to assumedly the dead who have unsuccessfully tried to pass through the Sonar Fence. If Miles can converse with the dead, it makes sense that eventually he will teach the audience something about the plights of those on-board. We can only hope.
According to the ship's ledger, we know that the Black Rock set sail from Portsmouth, England on March 22, 1845. However, dynamite wasn't invented by Alfred Nobel until 1866. Thus, the ship was doing something else for over two decades. This could be a glitch in the producers' storytelling, or it could have something to do with the time-travel phenomenon on the Island.
The idea that a tsunami brought the ship to the Island, or that the Island emerged--after one of its time-space reappearances--around the ship (explaining why the ship is not on the beach) doesn't work too well due to the fact that the boat is floating laconically out at sea on a perfectly clear day in Part 1 of "The Incident". However, considering that the beginning of "LAX, Part 1" shows the Island being underwater (in one of the so-called narrative "Dimensions") it very well could be that the Island's emergence or submergence has something to do with the strange location of The Black Rock.