May 14 2009 1:04am

Lost Round Table: “The Incident” Parts 1 & 2

We complete this season’s round-table discussions of Lost with Bridget McGovern, Rajan Khanna and Theresa DeLucci discussing the season finale, “The Incident” Parts 1 & 2. As always, spoilers abound, so stay away from this post if you haven’t watched the latest episode of Lost.

Raj: Wow. I. Wow.

Okay, the thing in the beginning with Jacob and his friend threw me. I don’t know what I was expecting, but not that. I think we’re seeing part of the big picture of the island, and truth be told, I’m not sure that I like it. Then to see Jacob appearing throughout the Losties’ histories compounded that.

I sussed on to the fact that Locke was really either that guy from the beginning or else a pawn of his which led me to believe that it was his body in the box.

So is this some kind of morality thing? Jacob is the voice of free will and choice? I noticed that he touched all of the characters in their scenes with him. Or at least I thought he did. The loophole idea clearly means that Other Guy can’t kill Jacob directly, but surely he’s had ample opportunities to convince other people to do so?

And poor Juliet. I can’t say I wasn’t expecting it. But I was sad to see her go, especially being stuck with Kate.

And Sayid dying, too? Would they really do that? People who do bad things tend to die on the show and that would fit in. It disturbs me, not just because I like his character, but because it’s another brown person they would be dropping from the show and I don’t like the implications of that.

It was finally good to see Rose and Bernard, and I liked the life they had made for themselves and the fact that they were no longer part of the whole cycle. I wonder if that means they are definitely the two bodies in the cave?

As to the Incident, I think that all they did was cause it, and this will flash the characters back to the modern day where everyone else is. That’s what Jacob meant when he said, “they’re coming”. So while they didn’t change the past, they at least did what they were supposed to and they also will be setting the timeline straight. That lends more credence to the theory that it is Rose and Bernard in the cave. 30 years would be enough time for them to die and deteriorate, I’d think.

While I enjoyed the episode, my main criticism was that despite the urgency and danger and time running out in the episode, there was a lot of standing around and talking. I know that things basically were supposed to happen that way, but it took away from the tension sometimes. I think maybe they could have handled that better.

I have to say I’m intrigued to see where they’re taking this, but I am a little worried. I’m starting to have flashbacks to the BSG finale. I’m sure what they end up will will make perfect sense and fit in well with what’s gone before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll like it. I will, however, watch up until the end.

Bridget: I see your “wow,” and raise you a “ZOMFG!” Okay. First: Jacob. Clearly, he’s a deity, or some other sort of supernatural being. I thought the opening of the episode was really fascinating; it reminded me of the genre of myths or fables devoted to gods in conflict, the kind in which the God and his adversary, the Devil make a bet, for example. Jacob, dressed in white, weaving tapestries, pleased at the site of an incoming ship bringing people to the Island, is contrasted by his black-clad interlocutor (the always excellent Titus Welliver), who longs to kill him and threatens to find “a loophole” in order to do so. The most obvious reading of this set-up is that the two men represent two opposing forces: Dark and Light, Good and Evil, etc--nothing new to the iconography of Lost, but interesting all the same.

At the same time, Jacob might be far more sinister than his manner suggests; all we can tell at this point is that Jacob is a fan of free will and human progress, where his opponent sees nothing but violence and corruption. Also, he speaks excellent Korean. The epic quality of the ending really appealed to me, with Ben Linus as a confused plaything caught between two forces he doesn’t begin to comprehend. For the last couple episodes, Ben’s been as detached as a character in a Beckett play—then suddenly he’s in some kind of fucked up Old Testament fable. I’m actually way more excited to see how this thread plays out than I am about the whole Big Bang.

Next: I loved Ben and Rose (and Vincent) living in the jungle as feral uber-hippies. They were so Zen, and so hilariously badass at the same time. Good for them. Now where the hell is Claire?

As for the action-packed Seventies’ plotline (which was surprisingly chatty, as Raj pointed out), I think I’m still processing it. Having just seen the new Star Trek, I have to admit that the giant drill at the Swan Station started giving me weird flashbacks--I kept thinking that Radzinsky would make a pretty great Romulan. You know I’m right. And then the Shootout at the Dharmaville Corral, followed by the Attack of All Things Metal...I thought it honestly felt a little silly. Apparently the awesome dramatic power of electromagnetism is wasted on me. Poor Juliet, though; I know I can’t be the only one worried about a return to the Hackneyed Old Love Triangle of Days of Yore. I know there are more important things to worry about, but there’s plenty of time for, until January. Sigh.

Theresa: Yeah, I kinda just stared at my TV for a few moments going, “What?” and then “2010?! Frak!”

Loved the reversing of title card colors. So will we see a universe where Flight 815 lands in LAX? I still don’t think it will make a drop of difference in the connections between the passengers.

I liked seeing Jacob (some may remember him as Rita’s abusive ex-husband on Dexter) touch each of the Losties at pivotal moments in their lives. Except for Sayid. Too many people get dramatically hit by cars on this show. It was not as emotional as I would’ve liked. But the idea of Sayid dying fills me with sad. I agree that Lost has a very bad history of killing off non-white characters. Also, Sayid is one of my favorite characters on the show. He can kill an man with his legs and he looks good doing it. But Sayid has been one of the weaker parts of the season for me. His character arc was practically non-existent. He disappeared for a few episodes and I forgot about him. But again, I’m hoping we get a new kind of reset and Sayid’s around for the final season.

I’ll also miss Juliet. Her doomed love for Sawyer was painful to watch. “If I never meet you, I never have to lose you.” Kind of a coward’s way out, I think. But I’m sympathetic to anyone who’s had to suffer through Kate continually ruining their romantic moments.

I have so many questions. Who was that man on the beach, the one hiding in Locke’s guise? I’m liking the idea of him being Destiny personified. Was that statue Sobek, the Egyptian god of fertility? I see how fertility relates to the problem pregnancies on the Island, but how does it relate to Jacob’s game? Raj - I love the idea of those skeletons being Rose and Bernard. It was so great to see them again.

My brain is just broken right now. I need more time to re-watch and think up more theories. I can’t say this has been my favorite season, but I really enjoyed this finale. Just wish we had a bit more of a tease of what’s going to be the big conflict in the final season.

Theresa DeLucci
2. theresa_delucci
For those keeping score, Titus Welliver is the fifth Deadwood alum to appear on this show. That man can slit a throat, by god. I can't wait to see more of him next year.

I will start a petition to get Ian McShane on Lost.
3. joten
Wow, quite a finale. Unsatisfying, but what happens on this show that isn't?

We're definitely getting a look at the big picture. Lost never spells anything out for you, but it looks like Jacob is responsible for bringing people to the island, and his 'friend' doesn't like it. So is that the motivation for his bizarre, overelaborate, shapeshifting proxy murder?

I'm not too worried about them pulling a reset to the plane never crashing, since that would make everything pointless. Juliet's death scene was just too sad for them to reverse it like it didn't happen, so I think she's gone regardless. As long as they don't use it to force Sawyer and Kate together, it was a powerful way to end the season.

On a side note, I found myself wondering if the characters are alive or dead until next season. Schrodinger's cat strikes again!

Well, show, see you next season.
R.I.P. Juliet, Sayid, Jacob, Locke, and possibly everyone else?
Bridget McGovern
4. BMcGovern
@ theresa

I will absolutely sign that petition, and also one for Powers Booth :)

A question I forgot to raise: Any ideas on what Lapidus might be a "candidate" for? It sounds instantly ominous to me. For the record, I really don't need to see Lapidus sacrificed to the Smoke Monster in some sort of crazy blood ritual...

Also, the more I think about Jacob, the less sinister he seems; he's certainly not disinterested in the actions of the people with whom he interacts, but seems utterly committed, or possibly bound by the concept of individual free will. Even at the end, he makes Ben aware that he has another option without attempting to influence his choice. The one incident that bothers me is his meeting with Sayid--does Jacob's intervention directly lead to Nadia's death, or does it actually save Sayid from dying as well? I can't decide how we were meant to view that particular interaction...
Rajan Khanna
5. rajanyk
I thought with Sayid and Jacob that he was saving Sayid from the car, but if he hadn't stopped Sayid, Nadia wouldn't have turned around stupidly in the middle of the road. So maybe both? In many of the cases he could be seen to be testing people - maybe seeing how Sayid would respond in the wake of Nadia's death. How Kate would act after getting caught for stealing. Who didn't we see him with? Jack?

I find myself wondering about the cabin now. Was it really Jacob's? Or was it instead that Other Guy from the beginning? That would make more sense if the person was trapped. And it could be he who is using Christian Shepard, who in turn motivated John Locke. If the ash was some kind of "seal", then it being broken would allow Other Guy to get out and do what he ends up doing and would be why they torched the island. Sounds like Jacob always lived beneath the statue. Which makes me wonder if a lot of Jacob's prior appearances were really Other Guy.

All of the thoughts I had about those two, by the way, run to the biblical or at least spiritual, so I think that's where my BSG-like fear comes in. Hell, they could end up being two angels in the end, though I think that would work more here than in BSG.
6. Cerwin
My guess as to what will happen next season...

Detonating the bomb did in fact sever the timeline and the plane lands at LAX. However, some of the passengers, likely those that were close the the bomb, or those that were touched by Jacob, retain their memories of the timeline as it would have happened.

Of course there will be a reason for this select group to go back to the island (e.g. for Sawyer to go find/save Juliette) which will likely lead to a confrontation with Jacob's unnamed nemesis.

It would be a reason to bring back old characters for a last bow, even though they won't remember what happened. Hurley will probably use his wealth to put Charlie in rehab and keep Kate out of jail.
Theresa DeLucci
7. theresa_delucci
@ Rajan

No! Nore more angels, please! I'd rather see them as personifications of philosophical ideas or something, just not angels. Sounds so corny.

We did see Jacob with Jack, at the vending machine, after Christian gave his son some helpful, calming, advice in surgery and Jack, in turn, acted like an ungrateful jerk.

Did anyone catch what book Jacob was reading when Locke fell out of the window?


Love that theory! Love the idea of seeing the original cast come in, too, and Hurley trying to prevent some deaths.
Rajan Khanna
8. rajanyk
Damn. I just lost my post due to a closed tab.

Interesting theory about the plane landing, but I still think that what happened, happened. And that was always the Incident and the way it happened. I also don't know if the show producers would be keen to revisit so soon the idea of people trying to get back to the island. I hope that doesn't happen actually because it would burn up a lot of the final season and would be another reminder of BSG (in how they paced the end).

Thanks, Theresa, for reminding me of Jacob and Jack and to the scene for reminding me that Jack's a colossal dick.

The book, by the way, was Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge.
Bill Siegel
9. ubxs113
Wow, so good!

OK, so apparently the answer to "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" is: "He who will save us all."

And the script on the cloth that Jacob was making is a line from Homer's Odyssey (6.180) which, in smoothed out translation, reads, "May the gods give you everything your heart longs for."

Source -

That certainly clears everything up! ;)
Rajan Khanna
10. rajanyk
Maybe Sayid is safe afterall. If they land in LA, then he's fine. If they jump to the future, maybe the island will heal him? Unless, of course, Naveen Andrews wants out.
Bridget McGovern
11. BMcGovern
@ 9 ubxs113

Oh, thanks so much for clearing that up! You just made my day. If I remember correctly, the line from the Odyssey is a wedding blessing, which is kind of interesting, given Jacob's appearance at Sun and Jin's wedding and the other currently unhappy couples on the Island (and in light of the happy couples--Desmond and Penny, and now Rose and Bernard). Or maybe it just means what it means...

And while I'm geeking out over literature, the use of Everything That Rises Must Converge is probably my favorite lit reference of the season, if not the whole series. Clearly, the tense, difficult parent/child relations often featured in O'Connor's work are a perfect fit with the Lost universe. Moreover, the title of O'Connor's collection (and short story) is taken from the work of philosopher/scientist/priest Teilhard de Chardin--given the confluence of science and mystical, pseudo-religious elements, Teilhard's theories (especially The Omega Point) make for some really fascinating possible connections.

And finally, the fact that Jacob's reading "Everything That Rises..." just as Locke is pushed out a window (by his father, natch), and falls eight stories seemed almost like wacky intellectual slapstick. Or maybe that's just me :)
Bill Siegel
12. ubxs113
When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers. - Oscar Wilde
Dave Thompson
13. DKT
Jacob had absolutely no interaction with Juliet. Which really concerns me. I want her to make it! And please don't kill Sayid!

I'm also very happy about the Flannery O'Connor shout-out. The episode "The Brig" where Sawyer kills Sawyer always had an O'Connor feel to me...

I really, really hope they don't land in LAX. But the show's been so good, I'd be willing to give it a shot if they did.

I was slightly bummed about Jacob's reveal initially. I really thought the Incident would cause Jack to become Jacob and would send him rippling through time, which is why Christian and Claire always show up around him. But I liked the way the actor played it, his little interactions with everyone except Juliet.

More than ever I'm thinking the Island is schizophrenia personified: Jacob on one side and the Smoke Monster/Esau (or whatever his name is) on the other. Which harkens back to Locke's backgammon game with Walt in season 1. Also the different reactions to the smoke monster Locke and Eko had.
Eugene Myers
14. ecmyers
That was incredible. Like Rajan, I was getting a BSG vibe, but I feel like LOST has earned it and set it up as a spiritual journey all along, instead of pulling it on us in the last five minutes of the last episode. I'd rather have Jacob and the other guy be some mythic gods or personifications of Fate, as others have suggested here, instead of angels--though Jacob reminded me a little of Rowan Atkinson's character in Love, Actually. I laughed when John fell out of that window behind him, though I remember being upset when we first saw it.

I was also upset at Juliet's death, but maybe just like in Romeo & Juliet, she isn't really dead. (Please?) I was half-expecting Sawyer to throw himself in the hole after her. And I'm also sad that the real John is still dead. This was balanced by seeing Rose and Bernard, happy and well and utterly zen about the whole thing.

I do think everyone will be all right, one way or the other. I suspected at first that they would end up on an alternate timeline with at least some of their memories intact, but given Jacob's previous interaction with some of the characters before they ever reached the island, maybe a few of them will still end up there, somehow. There also seems to be evidence to suggest that they're merely the cause for the plane crash, as Miles points out fairly late.

I hope I still have my enthusiasm for the show in eight months...
Dave Thompson
15. DKT
In addition to Jacob not visiting Juliet, Miles was the only pastaway who didn't get a flashback.

No more Juliet or Sayid would be very sad. No more Juliet and Sayid would be AWFUL. No more Juliet and Sayid and Miles might very well be intolerable!
16. AlphaShard
Raj: I think your being too sensitive to the race issue, there's a long list of white people who have died so I don't think there is any implications at all.

Just to list them:

Mitchell Downs
17. Beamish
@ #13 DKT: I also noted that Juliet had no interaction with Jacob in her flashback; it was purely a character moment to explain her reaction to Sawyer/Kate and her needing to leave Sawyer.

I think it was a hint at the misdirection of the conspicuous spoiler that went out earlier: someone was going to die. Once Sayid gets shot we all start nodding our heads thinking that he is the one to die - it would be karma for what he did to Li'l Ben after all. Juliet gets pulled into the shaft; but Sawyer is so adamant he will save her and we think we know Sayid the one to die we experience it as an action beat, not impending doom - we are waiting for the rescue...and she falls. That was fantastic writing to play with the emotions of the viewer and the super-fan who has been reading all the speculation, hints, theories and posting in blog threads. :-D

Yes, she does trigger the bomb - but I fully expect her to be dead now. Jacob tells Essau (I cannot help but think of this other guy as Essau - it fits in the most simple way) "they" are coming - and it can really only be the people he touched. Juliet's flashback was conspicuous by the lack of Jacob and so she is most likely the one to die; no Sayid.
Rajan Khanna
18. rajanyk
@16 I think the implications I mentioned are more about television in general. And I do mourn the fact that we started the show with three black characters and a South Asian and now we're down to one black character (granted Mr. Eko wanted off the show) and that one is a minor character at that. Yes, a lot of white characters have died, but of the black characters, all have died (Michael, Eko, Abaddon) or left the show (Walt) save one (Rose). One of the things I love about the show is its diversity - so I like to see that diversity maintained. It becomes a little more disturbing, to me at least, when I look not only at Lost, but at many of the other shows I watch, like BSG. But that's probably a discussion for somewhere else.

I will say that I don't think Sayid will die now that I've had more time for thinking about it. If they do end up in the future, he'll be saved. Or maybe the island will save him. And if he was going to die, he probably would have gone out in this episode.
Dave Thompson
19. DKT
@17 Beamish

That makes sense to me. But what does that mean for Miles? Him being stranded in the 70s seems like a waste. (Although on the other side, he'd get to experience life with his dad for a little while.)

Also, I really, really hope Walt comes back for the final season. Otherwise he'll feel like a very wasted character/mystery.
20. Slay-Tor
The Statue appears to be Sobek as pointed out by Theresa, but it looks like Sobek was (or became) more than a fertility Deity. From the Wiki write up, the following bit seemed like it might apply:

Sobek's ambiguous nature led some Egyptians to believe that he was a repairer of evil that had been done, rather than a force for good in itself, for example, going to Duat to restore damage done to the dead as a result of their form of death. He was also said to call on suitable gods and goddesses required for protecting people in situation, effectively having a more distant role, nudging things along, rather than taking an active part.

Also, Hurley's guitar might be Jacob's "Ace in the hole"
Mitchell Downs
21. Beamish
@19 DKT:

You are right - Miles is left kinda left out of that parallel. Perhaps we just cannot read anything into his lack of a flashback. Depending on how much "change" is wrought on the time line by the "incident" he might never have gone to the Island in the first place.

I also realized there are two time paradoxes out there. In the last podcast Darlton adresses the one many fans asked about: where did the compass come from? Richard gave it to Locke who gave it to Richard...who gave it to Locke. It has no "beginning".

But related to that is this: "Why is John Locke the leader of the Others?" Richard anoints him as the leader (We have been waiting a long time for you), but then we find out that it was Locke who told Richard in 1954 that he was to be their leader in the that is the primary reason Richard declares him as such. Then we see Richard tell Jack that he has visited Locke three times and sees nothing special - but Jack tells him to have faith.

By the time Essau/Locke appears - Richard is ready to follow him thinking he is their proper leader but he has never actually been selected...he was just given the title by yet another logic circle in the time travel paradox. So it looks like it has ALL been a big plot by Essau to find that loop hole and kill Jacob.

Does that make any sense?
Rajan Khanna
22. rajanyk
@21 Beamish:

I'm with you there. I was sitting at my desk yesterday trying to work it out, but yeah, it seems like Locke's destiny was basically forced. Engineered. It's cool, but it also leaves Locke as a deluded failure, really. He was never meant to be a leader, he died rather poorly, and he was little more than a tool for someone else who was pulling his strings.

I find myself thinking about the island a lot. There's clearly something to it - it can be moved through time and space, it has strange pockets of energy and magnetism, it clearly has secrets. But now with the introduction of Jacob and Other Guy/Esau, I wonder how involved they are with the whole thing. For example - what if the island didn't heal Locke's paralysis. What if it was Esau somehow? Setting him up for his purposes.

Or if it was the island, is it just a natural process with no intent attached? Does the island really care who serves it or not? Or is it just a natural force and any sense of intent or purpose has been imposed by Jacob and/or Esau?
Jason Henninger
23. jasonhenninger
Maybe this was already mentioned...but do you suppose the smoke monster is this guy we're calling Esau? Which would mean that resurrected Locke=smoke monster. In a body. Maybe?
Mitchell Downs
24. Beamish
The Dark Man/Esau could very well be Smokey - after all Smokey told Ben he had to follow "Locke" but we now know that was not Locke, so Smokey is at least complicit in the lie.

I think we run the risk of restricting our understanding of the narrative if we limit ourselves to "good" and "evil" - in fact that was probably Locke's downfall. WAY back in the Pilot Locke teaches Walt to play backgammon with the very conspicuous metaphor of "one side light the other side dark" - it is hard to have a more overt Good vs Evil metaphor.

However, I think we will come to realize that was a bit of obfuscation from day one: it is never as simple as "Good vs. Evil" - and truly along the way it has never been "simple". Juliet was first an "evil Other" but then she was Sawyer's partner for three years - was she evil and then good? Or was she simply a bit of both? Once again, Jacob is present in very overt white and black metaphor with his partner "Esau" - but that does not necessarily mean one is "Good" and the other "Evil" or that the Island itself has a vested interest in either of them.

So the Island did heal Locke - he had faith in it. But that was neither Good or Evil - it simply was. Locke's dying was not a refutation of or by the Island - it was the direct result of Esau's manipulation of events.

How far away is 2010?
David Lev
25. davidlev
Juliet was never evil. She was just somewhat cold, and then she warmed up
Gary Gibson
26. garygibson
Ben Linus does have rather a habit of killing his fathers, doesn't he? First he engineers the death of his biological father on the Island when he doesn't pay attention to him, then kills Jacob (read: father figure) when he doesn't pay attention to him.

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