I’ve been catching up on some of the official podcasts —
March 25 audio podcast
Darlton, punchy after having just finished writing a draft of the finale, rehashed Ab Aeterno, prehashed The Package, considered the possibility that Flocke was not evil — and revealed the title of the finale — on the March 25, 2010 audio podcast.
March 30 video podcast
In this short video podcast, Darlton answered a fan question about whether the fish that Jacob was cooking in the Season 5 finale, The Incident, was, ahem, a red herring.
I love the idea that it was a kind of visual pun, and in fact, someone left a comment on this blog back in September putting forth the “red herring” idea — an idea I found really funny at the time and still do. Alas, in this podcast, Darlton deny that was their intent. But the whole podcast is so jokey, I don’t know if they can really be believed:
April 1 audio podcast
Darlton briefly rehashed The Package, talked about who might win in a Flocke-Widmore showdown, prehashed Happily After Ever, and answered questions about Richard Alpert’s hair, the squirrel baby, and, of all things, grammar. April 1, 2010 audio podcast
April 8 video podcast
In this video podcast, Nestor Carbonell gave a tour of the set of the Black Rock. He talked about how they filmed the scenes there in Ab Aeterno — how they created the illusion of the smoke monster, and how they got the boar, who wasn’t hungry, to gnaw on a body (don’t worry, it was just a dummy). Very interesting!
Some slightly belated thoughts on the pop-up hints in the enhanced version of “The Incident” shown on Tuesday:
The Man in Black
A pop-up hint said the Man in Black is Jacob’s nemesis. You’re probably all thinking, “duh, no kidding,” but I had my doubts. I had been struck by how Jacob didn’t seem to mind that the MiB wanted to kill him, and I thought that the black shirt/white shirt contrast might have been a trick by the writers to fool us. But I was wrong. The MiB is definitely, officially, inarguably the nemesis of Jacob.
That still leaves the question of why Jacob seemed so calm when the MiB said he wanted to kill him. Could it be that Jacob had heard the MiB say the same thing so many times before that it didn’t even really register any more? Or, perhaps, did Jacob believe that it was his fate — his destiny — to be killed by the MiB, and therefore it would be pointless to get all worked up about it? Or was he so blasé because he thought the MiB was incapable of carrying out his threat?
The sailing ship
A pop-up hint said the ship was an early 1800s sailing ship. That would be consistent with it being a slave ship.
But another hint said the scene was taking place over 140 years before the present day. If by “present day” they meant 2010, rather than one of the many “presents” in LOST time, that would put the scene at approximately 1870. That’s a little later than the last known slave ship headed to the U.S.
Perhaps the ship was heading elsewhere, or perhaps it is meant to be the real last slave ship, unrecorded in the history books because it disappeared on the Island.
The hints told us that Jacob’s tapestry contained the Egyptian Eye of Horus, and that surrounding it was a sun disk representing the sun god Aten — a name that was new to me. The hint describes Aten as the symbol of life and prosperity.
There is some connection between the two. Wikipedia says “There is a possibility that Aten’s three-dimensional spherical shape depicts an eye of Horus/Ra.” Don’t know what to make of any of that, except that life, prosperity, and sunshine are all very positive, and Jacob seems like a positive kind of guy.
The Feud between Jacob and the Man in Black
The hints say that Jacob and the MiB have a long history between them, and that the exact nature of their feud has yet to be revealed.
My guess is that they are brothers, and that the fans who dubbed the MiB “Esau” were really on to something.
A transcript of the pop-up hints is available on Lostpedia.
You can watch the entire enhanced episode on abc .com
ABC has now confirmed it, very quietly, without any fanfare, just by mentioning it in passing in an Episode Recap on the Official ABC site.
… The Man in Black leaves and addresses the Man in White as Jacob. Yes, this is Jacob. The camera pulls back over the ocean, and we see they were sitting on the base of a giant stone foot. And next to the foot is another foot — and both feet have four toes. And as the camera pulls back, we see what we’ve been waiting to see since we first glimpsed that four-toed foot over three years ago… the towering, majestic statue of the Egyptian goddess Taweret.
So that’s it! All the debate on fan sites about whether the statue is Taweret (the hippo goddess) or Anubis (the jackal-headed god) or Sobek (the crocodile god) has now been resolved, not with a bang, but with … well, not a whimper, but certainly with less fanfare than I had expected.
Two screencaps, and a photo of a real Taweret statue:
The statue as seen in 5x08 LaFleur
Statue as seen in Season 5 Finale, The Incident
A real Taweret statue, in the Rosicrucian Museum of San Jose. Photo by Tom Fowler.
Editing September 22, 2009 to add: There is now additional official ABC confirmation. “Taweret” is the correct answer to the “placement-exam” question “The four-toed statue is believed to represent which of the following gods?” posted today on the ABC promo/ARG site LOST University.
The first several minutes of the Season 5 Finale, The Incident, were amazing. So many exciting things happened in such a short time — we saw Jacob for the very first time, we saw the Black Rock sailing off in the distance, we heard some puzzling dialogue, and we finally got a glimpse of all of the four-toed statue — all in the first three-and-a-half minutes.
Now, looking back, we can see that those short minutes were tightly packed with clues, hints, symbols, partial answers, and new questions.
I’m going to go back and look more closely at the opening sequence. I want to break it down and look at different aspects in different posts. So it will take longer than just today. But there’s no hurry, right? We have all the time in the world — eight long months (sigh).
Here’s the opening:
Jacob is weaving a tapestry in a room, with a fireplace in the center, that we now know is in the base of the statue. He goes out to the beach, cooks a fish (now we’ve seen fire inside and fire outside), and spots a ship which is too small, at this point, to see clearly.
He is joined by another man. They greet each other. “Morning.” “Morning.” They seem friendly, casual, polite, and evidently quite used to each other, as if this greeting were a part of their daily routines, like co-workers who greet each other every morning when they arrive at the office.
More small talk follows, and now we can see the ship, which has come closer. It’s an old-style sailing ship, most likely the Black Rock, and this is the first definite clue we’ve had that we are now centuries in the past.
And yet, something doesn’t seem right about the time period. There is something about the two men that seems like they belong in the 21st century, not hundreds of years in the past. Maybe it’s their hair styles and the way that they speak. That greeting they just exchanged — “Morning” — seems so casual and contemporary.
Now the dialogue, previously so full of comfortable small talk, gets weird:
Black shirt: How did they find the Island?
White shirt: You have to ask them when they get here.
Black shirt: I don’t have to ask. You brought them here. Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you?
White shirt: You are wrong.
Black shirt: Am I? They come. Fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.
White shirt: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, maybe the meaning of this depends on what “it” is. It always ends the same. It only ends once. What is it? Outsiders coming to the Island? What is the progress — what are they moving from and what are they moving to?
Now the dialogue gets even weirder … which means it is very weird indeed:
Black shirt (in a casual tone, as if he were talking about what he wants to have for lunch): Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?
White shirt (as if he were saying that he does want anchovies on their pizza): Yes
Black shirt (as if saying the pizza place might be crowded): One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.
White shirt: (as if asking Black shirt to save him a seat): Well when you do, I’ll be right here.
Do you have any idea how badly I want to kill you?
And then before we can make any sense of that:
Black shirt: Always nice talking to you, Jacob.
Then the camera pans up the statue.
Boing! Boing! Boing!
The pacing of this scene is very interesting. It starts off slowly with the scenes of Jacob weaving and with leisurely shots of him preparing the fish. Then there is that one-two punch at the end, which comes so quickly after the mysterious dialogue that there is no time to even begin to process the dialogue on first viewing.
Black Shirt, who appears only in this opening scene, is never named. While he says, “Always nice talking to you, Jacob,” Jacob simply replies, “Nice talking to you too.”
Around the internet, people have dubbed Black Shirt “Esau,” a clever reference to the Biblical story of the twin brothers. From here on, I will do the same.
So who or what are Jacob and Esau? What kind of beings are they who act so friendly and polite to each other, yet seem to take it for granted that one wants to kill the other?
Is it possible to come up with any theories, or will we just have to wait until Season 6 for more clues?
I like watching and listening to Michael Emerson in interviews. He is smart and well-spoken, has a nice subtle sense of humor, and speaks in the well-modulated tones of a stage actor.
This interview from TV Guide was done several weeks ago, after the Benjamin-Linus-centric episode Dead is Dead. Michael talked about some things that are coming up in the show. They are not actually spoilers — more like little teases.
He said that we haven’t seen the last of the Smoke Monster.
He called the Season 5 finale shocking and said it was packed with action, with many story lines coming to a head … a really big head. He said we will finally get to lay eyes on certain much talked-about characters who we have never seen before. And, he said, the ending of the ending is an “explosive” one.
Earlier, I posted clips of Evangeline Lilly and Michael Emerson at last month’s Jules Verne Festival. Now, here are some clips of producers/writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, starting with their walking out on stage to extended applause, and then being introduced to the audience:
They start to answer questions. Carlton talks about how being dead on LOST doesn’t mean you won’t appear on the show again:
The questions continue, and this is where they talk about the ending of the show, and where it gets really interesting.
Damon says that they’ve known, for a long time, what the very last scene of the show will be. Carlton promises that the ending will not be that it “happens in a snow globe,” or that it “all takes place in a dream in a dog’s mind” — and that they won’t just cut to black, the way The Sopranos did.
He says they have a very appropriate and legitimate ending for the show, and they are excited about it, even if they are already starting to feel nostalgic about the show coming to an end.
Damon says that they will answer all the mysteries “that we care about” in the final episode. They won’t make us pay to see a movie to find out!
They also discuss the show’s theme of faith versus science. Carlton calls it one of the central philosophical debates of our time. He says that he, who is Catholic, and Damon, who was raised Jewish, debate these issues between themselves, and then they put the debates into the mouths of the characters. He says that the ongoing nature of the debate is what gives the show its thematic power.
Carlton says that they will take the debate to a conclusion that is, hopefully, satisfying. Damon says that so far on the show, faith seems to be winning.
The questions continue. Damon talks about the Dharma Initiative, which he describes as a group of people who say they are trying to make the world a better place, but are probably more violent than anyone else we have met on the Island. He says there is still “much to learn” about them.
Carlton says that we will get some more answers about the Smoke Monster in this season’s finale.
Damon talks about how difficult it was to cast the character of Kate, how he and J.J. Abrams had to audition almost 75 actresses.
And here you can see them receiving the Jules Verne Achievement Award:
Here’s hoping LOST wins all the awards it deserves!