Who makes the rules? Esau is to Jacob as Ben is to Widmore

In the first scene of the finale, we heard Esau (the man in the black shirt) say that he wanted to kill Jacob, but he couldn’t. That scene reminded me of an earlier one, from Season 4, where we heard Ben say that he wanted to kill Widmore — but couldn’t:

Widmore: Have you come here to kill me, Benjamin?
Ben: We both know I can’t do that.

Ben told Widmore that he was going to kill Penelope, and that after she was dead

You’ll wish you hadn’t changed the rules

Here, again, is the opening scene from the Season 5 finale:

Esau: Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?
Jacob: Yes
Esau: One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.

Ben couldn’t kill Widmore, but he could (in theory) kill Penny. Widmore was able to kill Alex, but apparently only by breaking the rules. Esau needed a loophole to kill Jacob. A loophole suggests there is a law — a set of rules — that has to be circumvented.

A law or a rule may be natural: What goes up must come down. It may be written and enforced by an individual or institution that possesses power: a monarch, a warlord, a constitution, a legislature. It may be supernatural: a God or a strange electromagnetic force.

When we saw Ben and Widmore last season, they were the most powerful forces we had seen up to that point, appearing to control, between the two of them, almost everything that happened on the Island.

This season, it was as if a camera had pulled back and given us a wider shot, showing us the forces behind Ben and Widmore, forces even more powerful than they are. Jacob and Esau are now the most powerful people we have ever seen on the show.

But even Jacob and Esau cannot do everything they want. So there is someone or something powerful enough to make and enforce the rules that limit what Jacob and Esau can do. It may be a law of nature, it may be a person or group of people, it may be a supernatural force or being.

Perhaps next season, after we find out who or what it is, we will discover that it’s just another intermediate layer, and the camera will pull back yet again, to reveal the power behind the power behind the power.

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8 responses to “Who makes the rules? Esau is to Jacob as Ben is to Widmore

  1. Hmm.. You brought up a great point. Just what could be of greater authority to make the rules? Maybe there were people on the island pre Jacob/Essau who set out some kind of rule that the there were to be two main leaders, a Jacob/Essau, Ben/Widmore etc., and that those two could do no mortal harm to the other, nor to any of their children, but no rules regarding any followers of either leader. Somehow this gets passed down from leader set to leader set.

    Perhaps this is also why Locke did not die when Ben shot him in the gut – but then that begs the question as to how Locke was able to die via Ben off island. Perhaps Ben was no longer the leader, so he was able to harm Locke?

  2. That’s VERY interesting! It’s like a pact being passed down from generation to generation — a pact of protection extending from parents to their children, and also the special leadership role passing down from one generation of leaders to the next.

    Your comment just gave me an idea — think about how on Crazy Island, some of these people never age — I wonder if Jacob and/or Esau could be an ancestor(s) of Ben and Widmore. So then they would have passed down both the leadership role and the parental protection! Ha. How weird would that be? Then when Ben killed Jacob, he would really have been acting out his (great-great-great-great-grand-) Daddy issues.

    As for Ben not being able to kill Locke the first time, but killing him on the second try — that’s a brain twister!

    It could be what you said — when Ben lost the leadership role, he was no longer bound by the rules for leaders.

    Also there was something strange in the scene where Ben killed Locke, which as far as I know has never been explained. Remember how Ben talked Locke out of killing himself, but killed him right after Locke mentioned Eloise Hawking. Could Locke’s knowing Eloise Hawking somehow cancel out whatever protection he might otherwise have from Ben?

  3. I wonder, would Ben be descended from Essau then?

    That is an interesting thought, by Locke knowing about Eloise, he was taken out of the island’s protection. But … Ben knew about Eloise, presumably before he did the wheel turn and lost his leader role. And what about Ben with the cancer in his back? Would he have truly died if Jack hadn’t come along? Had he lost his leader status protection already, and just didn’t realize it?

    Ack! Questions begat questions begat questions and still more questions! 🙂 I love Lost.

    • LOL! Me too.

      Maybe the leader immunity is only protection from being killed by the co- leader (in the leader set you talked about in your first comment)? So, Widmore couldn’t kill Ben, but maybe cancer could?

      Hah — we’re starting to get enough material here to write a TV show of our own! 😉

  4. I’m guessing the loophole is that he gets Ben to kill Jacob, rather than doing it himself? Although I think it’s a pretty big loophole that he comes back to life as someone else…gah…my head is starting to turn to mush again! 😛

  5. Hi Val! Yeah, I think that’s the loophole too.

    But why does Esau need a loophole? Why couldn’t he just kill Jacob himself whenever he felt like it? <-- Just a few questions to help keep your brain at a pleasantly mushy consistency, in case it was in danger of resolidifying . 😉

    • I’m thinking something Very Bad happens to a person who upsets the balance and kills the other leader. I’m assuming this double leader is kind of a yin/yang thing, as illustrated by the white shirt/black shirt on our immortal boys in that opening scene?

      *looks for melon baller for brain scooping*

  6. White shirt/black shirt yin/yang — I like that! It’s a great image. And it fits in so well with Laneerg’s idea of the leaders always coming in sets of two! Wow — we may have really figured something out here!

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