two sides: one light, one dark

although i had some issues with the pacing of “the incident” (along with a few questionable character motivations — mainly jack’s “i’m doing this for kate” tantrum), as i have had time to process the mythologies that it revealed, i am becoming more and more intrigued about “what it could all mean.” clearly the opening scene (my favorite moment) of the episode was important. i want to argue that it is the most revealing moment in the whole series. to recap:

oh, brother

oh, brother

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Morning.

BLOND MAN: Mornin’.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Mind if I join you?

BLOND MAN: [Shaking his head] Please. Want some fish?

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Thank you. I just ate.

[The gray-haired man sits down not far away.]

BLOND MAN: I take it you’re here ’cause of the ship.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: I am. How did they find the Island?

BLOND MAN: You’ll have to ask ’em when they get here.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: I don’t have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you?

BLOND MAN: You are wrong.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Am I? They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.

BLOND MAN: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.

[The gray-haired man stares at his compatriot.]

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Do you have any idea how badly I wanna kill you?

BLOND MAN: Yes.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: One of these days, sooner or later… I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.

BLOND MAN: Well, when you do, I’ll be right here.

GRAY-HAIRED MAN: Always nice talking to you, Jacob.

JACOB: Nice talking to you, too.

whoa dang. still get chills reading this. what is sort of outwardly displayed here are two forces: one is light and one is dark. jacob, with his sandy tresses and white linen and mr. nameless (although from here on in i will be referring to him as esau, jacob’s brother in the bible) with his dark, hairy demeanor and black shirt. two forces: one open, optimistic, progressive; the other angry, vengeful, pessimistic. oppositions are lost’s modus operandi, but it seems like all the point/counterpoint relationships we’ve encountered so far (jack vs. locke; ben vs. widmore; even kate vs. juliet) are mere blips on the radar compared with the two immortal collossi we have here.

for those of you who aren’t familiar/weren’t in a production of joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat in seventh grade, in the bible jacob and esau are twin brothers. (twins are a concept already embedded in the mythology of lost with gary troupe’s bad twin, a book that came out as a companion to the series; supposedly, the author was aboard 815 with his manuscript about a mystery involving the hanso foundation. click on the link above or the lostpedia entry to read more). when the twin boys were emerging from their mother, rebecca’s, wombthe first that came otu was the hairy esau, whose heel was being clutched by the wily jacob. jacob eventually steals the birthright that esau had earned for being the first born. having made jacob a ruler over his brothers, their father, isaac could only promise, “by your sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve; yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from upon your neck.”

resentment between them runs deep (esau vows that he will kill his brother), so they split and start two different tribes. eventually, jacob moves his family to egypt to avoid a famine in canaan. egypt, you say?

anyway, that is my gross oversimplifying of this historic brotherly feud. yet, we all know that lost likes to play with these traditional themes in its overarching theme: is man naturally good or evil? can oen change one’s nature? what is the effect of the environment upon human nature? the above conversation seems to indicate to me that we have two brotherly forces who have been engaged in this debate for eternity. one tries to prove one’s point to the other until both sides are proven correct — a positive plus a negative yields neutral results — and they are back to square one; back to “reset.”

and, i think, this is exactly what happened in the finale.

now that we know that “locke” has not been quite himself this whole season (let’s call him locke 2.0), we have to call into question all of the “apparitions” we’ve seen in the series thus far. i certainly think that the esau figure could be all the apparitions/visions of people we’ve seen before. thinking back on it, visions on the island have always manipulated people to do bad things, i.e. christian, kate’s horse, dave. and remember that it was “christian” that told locke to turn the wheel and locke 2.0 who sent richard to tell locke he had to die.  

 esau assumes he’s won by having ben kill jacob (ben would be the ultimate exhibit on jacob’s side; the son killing his father), but then, simultaneously, jacob wins with his juliet victory in the past. before the episode, i was in the miles camp and thought that what jack’s plan was going to cause was the incident (“whatever happened, happened”). now, with the “two brothers” plot, i am thinking that juliet’s actions have changed the course of history. like they always say in schmaltzy sci fi — you can predict everything except for human emotions. so because she loved sawyer and because she had the power of choice she changed things. essentially, her love for sawyer could save them all.

 thus with both a jacob win and an esau win (however temporary), we are back to square one. the brothers are in a constant stalemate. maybe. as i’ve said before, i am willing to roll with the punches as long as those punches are entertaining. i could make the complete opposite argument that jacob is the dark and his brother, the light. while jacob’s “touchy-feely” encounters with the losties in their pasts seems to indicate that they are the chosen (and may just save them), he also provided the means for many of them to destroy their lives. he kind of told kate it was okay to steal; he gave sawyer the implement to begin his revenge obsession; he allowed nadia, the person that was keeping sayid “good”, to die. the scenes are deliberately ambigous. what dreams may come?  bring it on, season 6!

and yet, the two opposing sides, the “light” and the “dark” have been around since episode one. as iconic as the opening scene of “the incident” was, we also have the following scene from “the pilot: part two” where two different sorts of players had a similar conversation:

the light and the dark

the light and the dark

LOCKE: Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. Five thousand years old. That’s older than Jesus Christ.

WALT: Did they have dice and stuff?

LOCKE: [nods] Mhhm. But theirs weren’t made of plastic. Their dice were made of bones.

WALT: Cool.

LOCKE: Two players. Two sides. One is light … one is dark. Walt, do you want to know a secret?

i can’t help but wonder what secret locke might have whispered in walt’s ear. what exactly did locke see when he looked into the eye of the island? and can the beautiful that exist there defeat the terrible, or will this cosmic tug of war last forever?

only time will tell.

namaste, friends. happy theorizing!

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2 Responses to “two sides: one light, one dark”

  1. I just had a crazy thought. What if “Esau” inhibits dead people’s bodies. Like what if Christian is actually Esau. Jack found his dead body. He is walking around. Charlie, Libby,, Analucia they all visit Hurly. Claire visited Kate. What if they were all Esau and he uses them to counteract Jacob’s influence on their lives.

  2. I just had a crazy thought. What if “Esau” inhibits dead people’s bodies. Like what if Christian is actually Esau. Jack found his dead body. He is walking around. Charlie, Libby,, Analucia they all visit Hurly. Claire visited Kate. What if they were all Esau and he uses them to counteract Jacob’s influence on their lives.

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