When the story of The Sopranos was closed with a jarring cut to black, fans were mad. Many embraced the art-house-esque conclusion as a brave statement that spoke to the raw reality of the show’s subject matter; corruption, family, even story are all archetypal concepts — they never end, only our perception of them ends, with death. Others were less overwhelmed. LOST‘s producers have promised us that the mysteries of the island will not remain mute behind a similar conclusion, yet last night we saw taskmasters Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof boldly demonstrate that they weren’t above using a similar technique, cut to white, for a cliff hanger ending to LOST‘s penultimate season finale; effectively leaving fans with no indication of what the future may hold for the series.
With another season remaining for LOST, it is clear that Jack’s plan will likely not come to fruition. In that version of the LOST verse, the initial event that is seemingly responsible for everything from Dr. Chang’s prosthetic arm to the crashing of Oceanic 815 is averted by Juliet’s sacrifice-slash-act-of-faith; effectively undoing the happenings of the last five years of the series. I don’t need to tell you how irate LOST fans would be if the last five seasons became an asterisk to a new season six story; since we can be reasonably sure the LOST producers know that as well, we can probably move on from that possibility.
Things will change, and they will change to accommodate a new playing board complete with new chess masters. Of course, if we learned anything last night, these new players are far from new — they’ve been there all along, in the finest details of the characters lives. Two forces: one, Jacob, a man of faith with a philosopher’s ideals on the carnage of mankind’s selfish pursuits; the other, the mysterious Man Number Two, a man of logic who sees the actions of the unenlightened — and enlightened to what? — as fundamental variables in the mathematics of self destruction.
Throughout the episode we see both of these forces at play. Jacob in the flashback portion of the show, touching each of our beloved LOSTies at times that have become character defining in their histories. Man Number Two is subtler, and my instincts tell me we’ve seen his plays more than any of Jacob’s. Man Number Two, as it turns out, has been using the guise of John Locke who is dead after all. Apparently, he may have also impersonated Jacob himself at one point, and probably Christian Shepherd, all in an elaborate ploy to kill the real Jacob, his optimistic opponent.
The subtle conflict mirrors that of Ben and Widmore. Ben cannot kill Widmore, for reasons we don’t know, and Man Number Two cannot kill Jacob personally, for reasons we do not know — and, like Ben, Man Number Two isn’t afraid to let his opponent know he’d love to do it.
Jacob’s dying warning ‘they are coming,’was an ominous tipoff to yet another force entering the LOST battlefield. Something else we will have to wait until next season 4. And then there is the fate of Juliet, Sayid, Jacob, and even the ‘˜real’John Locke. Did the detonation of the bomb save them? Tune in next year.