We finally got to see Jacob, the mysterious man in charge of the Island! In the opening scene, we see him living on the Island, in the distant past, cooking up a red herring.
The opening sequences of the first and last episodes of each season of Lost are usually the most telling, being summaries of where the story will go from here. So everything that we saw with Jacob seemed incredibly significant, as far as setting the tone and plot for the final season (for which we'll have to wait nine freaking months!).
First we see Jacob spinning thread on loom powered by his Jesus-sandled foot.
He's weaving together a tapestry, which immediately reminded me of the Angelina Jolie movie Wanted—based on the comic book of the same name—in which an ancient secret society of assassins who take orders from the Loom of Fate, a loom that identifies people they believe are destined to cause tragedy in the future.
According to fellow geeks at Lostpedia, Jacob's spinning is a reference to The Fates:
Three Greek mythological women who were the spinners of destiny. The first fate spun the thread of life; she determined the time of a person's birth. The second fate measured the thread of life; she determined a person's life span. The third fate was the cutter of the thread of life; she determined the time of a person's death.
But it might not be quite so literal as that. I saw it more as that all of this—as in, Lost—is a thread, or story, that Jacob is spinning. And he's weaving separate entities together to create this story, kinda like how the lives of everyone in the cast are connected, or weaved together in some way.
So then Jacob takes a break from his craft to cook up a meal, which he eats while sitting on the beach, watching the ocean, which obviously seems to be bringing the Black Rock to shore.
An as of yet nameless man sits down, and Jacob offers him some food, which the man politely refuses. The man is in black and Jacob is in white, a theme that has been present in Lost since the very beginning.
The fish that Jacob has prepared is a red herring, which is probably the biggest, most important clue of the whole episode, and likely the entire series.
The concept of a "red herring" is that it's a deliberate diversion. In literature, it's used to distract the audience from a more important event in the plot, usually resulting in a twist ending. And fans of Clue know that it's often used to throw suspicion upon someone or something (i.e."Communism is just a red herring"), when later, it develops that someone else is the guilty party.
So what (or who) is the red herring? Jacob? His enemy? Perhaps it's the entire storyline of the castaways' journeys. Or the battle between Widmore and Ben. Or the Black Rock. Or time travel. Maybe all of that isn't as important as we'd once believed, and the real meat will be revealed to us in the final season. (Or at least, it better!) Whatever it is, it would seem to revolve around that ancient statue.
After the conversation between the two men—in which Black Shirt tells Jacob that he wants to kill him, and he will do it when he finds a "loophole" (whatever that means)—the camera pans up and we get the best view of the statue so far.
It doesn't seem to be Anubis, as some initially thought. Considering the glimpse of it's crocodile face, it's most likely Sobrek.
In Egyptian mythology, Sobrek had a "dualistic role in the lives of his human subjects, not really taking the side of good or evil, but as a repairer of evil deeds. Sobek was also known for calling upon other gods and goddesses to help those in need, nudging things along distantly rather than taking a more active role."
It definitely sounds a lot like what Jacob was doing in the castaways flashbacks. Did you notice that he made it a point to physically touch them at pivotal moments in their lives?
He touched Kate when she was shoplifting the NKOTB lunchbox she ends up using as her time capsule with her childhood boyfriend/friend.
He touched Jack when he handed him an Apollo bar after that surgery in which he cuts open a some kind of gross sack and has to count to five.
He touched Sawyer after his parents' funeral when he handed him a pen to write the letter to the con artist who caused his parents' death.
He touched Jin and Sun at their wedding, and gave them a blessing to boot.
He touched Sayid right as his wife Nadia was hit by a car and killed.
He touched Hurley in a cab after he was released from prison. He also convinced Hurley to get on Ajira flight 316 to return to the Island, and left a guitar case for him to bring. (What's in that case!?)
And he touched Locke after he was pushed, by his father, out of an eighth-story window. An incident that ultimately crippled him.
While Jacob is waiting for Locke to fall, he is reading Flannery O'Connor's posthumously published Everything That Rises Must Converge. Given the themes of resurrection and rise to leadership, this could be considered a crucial hint.
But I'll get to that in a minute.
First, did you notice that when Jacob visited Ilana in the hospital, she was the only person he did not touch. In fact, he was wearing gloves—black gloves. And taking a seat in a white chair. Could this actually be Black Shirt posing as Jacob?
He asks Ilana for his help. She agrees, but looks frightened, even though she claimed to be happy to see him. Maybe she knows this is an impostor. This seemed important:
A lot of imagery in the Temple revolves around the Eye of Horus (including the tapestry Jacob was weaving in the beginning). It's an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from deities. The symbol is also seen on Horus' mother Isis.
Isis was the wife of Osiris, the lord of the underworld. And there's an interesting story regarding the two:
Osiris was a wise king and bringer of civilization ("You brought them here" makes sense now), and was viewed as the one who died to save the many, who rose from the dead. He was killed by his brother Seth—the god of storms darkness and chaos—who wanted Osiris' throne. Isis was into magic (circle of ash around the cabin, anyone?) and briefly brought Osiris back to life by use of a spell. Since he was dismembered by Seth, Isis went around the Earth, collecting pieces of Osiris' body to put him back together.
So, "Seth" seems to be Black Shirt, who has taken over Locke's body, and made him kinda evil.
It's true. Locke is no longer Locke at all. "Dead is dead" turns out to be true for Locke after all.
The "loophole" that Black Shirt seems to have found is Ben.
Whom he convinces to kill Jacob.
And then Black Shirt Locke kicks the dummy into the fire.
Initially Jacob cried when he saw them. Maybe because he's actually into the idea of free will, and realizes that Ben is not really exercising it.
But as he was dying, he said, "They're coming."
Are the "touched" castaways pieces of Osiris' "body"? Will they, together, be reincarnated carrying pieces of Jacob with them?
When Ilana arrives at the cabin, she seems troubled and kind of scared that the circle of ash surrounding it is broken.
I think she wasn't going to see if Jacob was there at all. I think she was going there to make sure that Black Shirt was where he was supposed to be, and became upset when she discovered that he wasn't. In paganism and witchcraft, these ash circles have different meanings, one of which is to hold deities within it. Another is to trap ghosts.
There was a note left there.
And she wasn't happy about what it said.
But we finally learned "what lies in the shadow of the statue"! When asked by Ilana, Richard responded to the riddle in Latin: "He who will protect/save us all."
My theory: I think that Black Shirt = Smokey
I think he was inhabiting the cabin, and can only take the form of dead people. I think he's the one who has been walking around as Christian, Claire, Yemi, and now Locke.
Think about it. The new Locke has never been in the same place at the same time as Smokey. (Like when Ben had to face the Smoke monster. New Locke waited outside.) And Smokey is the one who told Ben to do everything that Locke said.
But back to the cabin: What is the significance of the dog painting?
Speaking of dogs:
Vincent is happy and healthy!
After Kate, Sawyer, and Juliet got off the sub and rowed to shore, they finally found Bernard and Rose. I still think Rose is a bitch, and not the wise woman we're supposed to think she is. (She said, "Oh hell no," upon seeing her old friends for the first time in three years. How rude!)
The "retired" couple have been living in the jungle and staying out of castaway shenanigans.
They make it clear that they don't want to be involved in rescue missions or detonating bombs, and they don't care if they die. For me, the feeling is mutual.
But they did have a point. Juliet, Sawyer and Kate were on a suicide mission, especially because Juliet kept changing her mind about what the hell she wanted to do.
While I wasn't into the whole Juliet and Sawyer romance in the beginning, it really grew on me, and I found the scene in which she falls, presumably to her death, to be heart wrenching.
But she didn't die when she fell, just like the bomb didn't go off after Jack dropped it.
But Juliet, being in more emotional pain at the thought of losing Sawyer, than physical pain from the fall, decided to go ahead and set off the bomb.
Obviously important, I think this was to let us in on what we previously thought was black and white are actually the opposite of that. This marks a total change in the story of Lost as we knew it. So that means: more mysteries! Yay?
The biggest question is: Did the castaways change the future with the bomb, or play into "what happened, happened"?
Well, at least we know what happened to Dr. Chang's hand.