Scene of the Week 5: Jacob & The Dark Man - The Incident
Jacob & The Dark Man
DARK MAN: "Morning."
DARK MAN: "Mind if I join you?"
JACOB: "Please. Want some fish?"
DARK MAN: "Thank you, I just ate."
It's perhaps LOST's most important scene so far. It was also the moment we finally got a clear-cut view of the gameboard, the game, and possibly the players themselves. Meeting the ever-elusive Jacob and his dark-shirted nemesis on that little beach left most LOST viewers awestruck, drooling, and comatose for the entire following commercial break.
In just one short scene, the writers tied together five whole seasons of mystery and wonder. Incredible stuff went down. BIG answers were revealed. And as we hung on every single word of this conversation, not a single line of dialogue was wasted.
Three, and arguably four of LOST's biggest, most long-standing mysteries were answered in rapid succession:
• Who is Jacob and what does he look like?
• How did the Black Rock get to the island?
• What does the front of the 4-toed statue look like?
• Exactly what (or who) is the smoke monster?
Inside the base of the statue, we first see Jacob weaving his tapestry. Slowly and methodically he adds the threads one at a time - a direct metaphor for how LOST's game has been played: move by carefully planned move.
The quote at the top of the tapestry translates from ancient Greek: May the gods grant thee all that thy heart desires. The phrase fits perfectly, considering what we know of the island so far. For five whole seasons, we've watched it bring or create a good many things that its inhabitants have wanted, desired, or sought after.
The wording at the bottom of Jacob's tapestry is even more interesting. Also translated from Greek, it contains the phrase: Only the dead have seen the end of war. Again, this pertains directly to what we've seen on LOST so far. Characters who've died have been removed from the gameboard or battlefield, and are no longer a part of the overall struggle.
You could also go a step further and take the phrase "the dead have seen the end" literally, meaning that these people now know how everything plays out. Considering ghost-Charlie's visit to Hurley during The Beginning of the End, he certainly knew something.
Another hidden clue that someone pointed out to me? The fire in the center of Jacob's chamber burns backwards, and this happens just as Jacob is leaving the room. If you watch the way the flames lick downward, the film is intentionally played backward to show a reversed effect. This is an obvious reference to the flow of time, and it's also very similar to the way time rewound itself and re-built the broken lantern - and put out the flames - when Locke and Ben first visited "Jacob's" cabin back in season 3.
After exiting the statue, we see Jacob trapping and offering his visitor some fish. Biblical references aside, this is mostly done to set up the Dark-shirted man's next line: "I just ate".
These words become more important later on the scene. As what looks to be the Black Rock sails into view, we're reminded sharply of the other times people have initially arrived on the island. The crash of Oceanic Flight 815, Danielle Rousseau's science crew... these new arrivals always seemed to trigger the smoke monster's immediate interest.
The smoke monster has judged, but it has also killed without judging. Seth Norris and Nadine were both quick victims, dying very soon after landing on the island's shores. Charlie was even prompted to write the song "Monster ate the pilot", and this was an interesting choice of words. So as the Dark-shirted man emerges from the jungle claiming he 'just ate'? It seems just too big a clue to ignore.
JACOB: "I take it you're here because of the ship?"
DARK MAN: "I am. How did they find the Island?"
JACOB: "You'll have to ask 'em when they get here."
DARK MAN: (Sighing) "I don't have to ask. You brought them here."
And with that one line, one of LOST's biggest mysteries is solved. We've known all along that something or someone has been responsible for bringing people and gamepieces to the island, and that person is now revealed to be Jacob. Desmond's failure to turn the failsafe key in time meant nothing: Jacob was directly responsible for Flight 815's arrival. Ditto for Rousseau's science team, Desmond's sailboat, Henry Gale's balloon... and now even the Black Rock.
The arrival of the incoming slave ship also puts the scene at over a hundred and fifty years ago. That, coupled with the way the Dark man sighs here, lends the impression that their 'game' has been going on for whole a lot longer. It's a timeless, ageless struggle between what look to be two immortals or demigods.
DARK MAN: "Still trying to prove me wrong, aren't you?"
JACOB: "You are wrong."
DARK MAN: "Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same."
JACOB: "It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress."
In another TREMENDOUS exchange, these two adversaries sum up the plot of the entire show. LOST has traditionally been a struggle between science vs. faith, free will vs. fate, changable events vs. inescapable destiny. Here, Jacob and the Dark Man choose up sides. We learn who believes that things will always end exactly the same, and who has hope for some type of ultimate resolution.
Jacob's line about progress also tells us something important: Although LOST's events may have happened over and over again with essentially the same results, each time through the loop progress can be made. After enough learning, and after enough progress? Perhaps the ending Jacob envisions can finally be fulfilled.
The Dark Man, of course, doesn't see it that way.
DARK MAN: "Do you have any idea how badly I wanna kill you?"
DARK MAN: "One of these days, sooner or later... I'm going to find a loophole, my friend."
JACOB: "Well, when you do, I'll be right here."
Coldly yet calmly, the Dark Man's intense hatred for Jacob shines through his facade. He's sick of the game. He's tired of playing. Jacob has kept him on the island for a long, long time, trying to prove his ridiculous point, and he just wants OUT.
For hundreds and maybe even thousands of years, Jacob has been bringing people to the island in order to break the loop and prove his point. And for just as long, the Dark man has been there to stop him, tiredly making countermove after countermove.
At the same time however, there are forces that prevent the Dark man from just killing his opponent and putting an end to the game. Just as Ben couldn't kill Widmore in his penthouse bedroom, both of these adversaries are bound by the same set of rules. This leads the Dark Man to look for a loophole. In his heart, Jacob is wrong; therefore the game will go on forever. If he can't figure out a way around the rules, he can never be free.
Two additional things are interesting here. First, listen carefully to the Dark Man's last line. The first time I heard it, I thought he said "We're in the final loop (slight pause) hole, my friend." Obviously this isn't the dialogue: by the end of the episode, Jacob concedes to his opponent "you found your loophole". But the way the Dark Man sounds so much like he says "final loop" definitely threw me for, well, a loop. It could be a veiled clue that we're watching the final loop or iteration of LOST's story, and that this time, perhaps something different will happen in the end.
Jacob's final line is also intriguing: "Well when you do, I'll be right here". It reminded me a lot of a scene in The Other Woman, where Juliet is warning Jack not to cross Benjamin Linus. "He knows where to find me", Jack smirks, defiantly. These words are also important later on in the episode, when the Dark Man has inhabited Locke's body in his quest to kill Jacob. True to his word, he's able to find his opponent exactly where he said he'd be, over a century and a half ago.
DARK MAN: "Always nice talking to you, Jacob."
JACOB: "Nice talking to you, too."
As the blonde man's name is finally revealed to be Jacob, the camera pans back to show us the rest of the 4-toed statue. Holding an ankh in each hand, the statue is a depiction of Taweret, Egyptian goddess of fertility, birth, and rebirth.
More importantly, the statue is intact. This means that sometime over the next century and a half, the statue is not only destroyed... it's blown into pieces so small that only a single foot remains. If the statue had toppled or crumbled, we would've seen large chunks or sections of it on the beach during past seasons. This lends to the theory that something BIG has to happen in order for the statue to be so thoroughly blown out to sea.
Overall, this whole scene was one big HUGE reveal. Two characters we've never seen before kept us absolutely spellbound for three straight minutes.
There's a good possibility we just saw the big players in LOST's game, and we learned what the stakes were as well. We waited five whole years to meet Jacob and his adversary, and the build-up was totally worth it. Revealed earlier on in the series, this scene wouldn't have had anywhere near the dramatic impact it did.