"What They Died For"
Sorry for the lateness of this post. For this penultimate episode, I wanted to switch it up a bit. Usually I attempt an analysis of implications and significance, in which I take a shot in the dark about the show's core mythology and its relevence to modern life. In this post, I'd like to bring up some unanswered questions about the series, which I think are central to the show.
But First... A Brief Analysis
I thought Jacob avoided the question when Kate asked him "what they died for"—referring mostly to Sun and Jin. He proceeded to explain to her and the other remaining candidates that he did not pull them out of a happy existence—that they were flawed, they were alone. The Kwons, at least, had each other—for better or for worse.
Perhaps they died for no other reason than to prove Jin's promise that he would never leave her again. However, it seems like they died senselessly at the hands of the Man in Black—not directly, of course, but via Sawyer, who expressed his guilt only to be reassured by Jack that he was merely a pawn. According to Jack, the Man in Black could not kill them himself directly because it was against the rules.
What power is it that protects them from harm? Ben credits the Island itself as "being done with her" when Ilana dies ("Everybody Loves Hugo"), suggesting that the Island itself was protecting her. However, Michael is dismissed by Christian before the freighter explosion kills him ("There's No Place Like Home"). Current evidence all but proves this is the Man in Black.
Both Ilana and Michael carried with them an unfinished purpose. This purpose seemed to keep them safe, but—like the amulet of protection from the Sandman series—allowed the next most convenient death sentence to be enacted once the purpose was fulfilled.
Sayid died to save those that survived, but what of Frank and Richard? What final purpose did they fulfill, or are they still alive? If Frank is truly dead, then isn't the plane rendered useless? However, it is interesting to note that Locke said he had gotten his pilot's license in the flash-sideways ("The Candidate").
It was no surprise to me that Jack accepted Jacob's position as his purpose fulfilled. As Jacob literally passes the torch, we wonder just how much changed for Jack in that instant. The survivors in Jack's camp are tasked with killing the Man in Black—something no one is certain is possible.
Through Jack, we will hopefully learn a host of secrets in the finale, like how Jacob left the Island to tell Widmore about the "error of his ways," and what "exact purpose" Widmore was to be fulfilling before Ben killed him. What exactly was the error—the mercenaries, the freighter, or the ideology that inspired the mission? Was his purpose at long last to inform the Man in Black about Desmond? Because that was the last thing he did.
And speaking of Desmond, I can think of no other solution to these questions than that he is able to cause the Oceanic passengers in the flash-sideways to travel to the original timeline—in body or consciousness. Widmore seemed surprised at Desmond's sudden cooperation ("Happily Ever After"), which suggests this was not part of the "failsafe" he had in mind.
If this failsafe had something to do with destroying the Island—like blowing the dam at the Hatch ("Live Together, Die Alone"), then how is that not a threat but an asset to the Man in Black? Perhaps he expects to be transported off the Island the same way Locke was apparently transported out of the Hatch ("Further Instructions").
To be continued...
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The Sandman - This ten-volume graphic novel epic by Neil Gaiman follows Dream—one of the Endless beings—from his capture by occultists through his history to his "end" where he is replaced by a new Dream. The Sandman is to comics what LOST is to television.