On last night's episode, we saw Locke—in both the original and alternate realities—fulfilling the role of "substitute." The mere fact that there are dual realities suggests that there is no reality, which is such a freaking mindfuck.
OK, let's start off where last night ended: Jacob's doodle cave.
So the names corresponding with the Numbers are as follows:
8 Reyes (Hurley
15 Ford (Sawyer)
16 Jarrah (Sayid)
42 Kwon (Jin or Sun?)
Lostpedia has started a list of names they claim to have seen, but I've studied these damn hi res shots of the cave and could only make out the ones I've listed above, as well as this one: Littleton (Claire or Aaron?)
I have a theory about why Kate's name wasn't seen on the wall (other than that Jacob, like me, finds her annoying), and this theory also corresponds to why I think that Kwon refers to Jin, Littleton refers to Aaron, and Lewis refers to Charlotte's dad: Patriarchy—and I'm not just saying that because I'm a feminist! It actually has to do with Jacob's Ladder.
Lost fans know by now how prevalent religious symbolism, scripture, and mythology are to whatever the hell is going on with the Island. In the Book of Genesis, Jacob (Esau's twin) had a dream about this ladder that leads to heaven, with angels climbing up and down it. Some philosophers have interpreted the angels as representative of souls ascending from and descending to bodies (reincarnation!), while the Torah has this commentary:
Only the fourth angel, which represented the final exile of Rome/Edom (whose guardian angel was Esau himself), kept climbing higher and higher into the clouds. Jacob feared that his children would never be free of Esau's domination, but God assured him that at the End of Days, Edom too would come falling down.
So MIB/Smokey is totally Esau, right? Also, who is the fourth angel? Could it be Locke, who was assigned the #4? Additionally, in Christianity, Jacob's Ladder has apocalyptic ties as the narrative was used shortly after the Destruction of the Temple, and interprets the experience of…Patriarchs! Essentially, Jacob's Ladder is a bridge between heaven and earth, aka purgatory. I know that the producers said early on that the Island was not purgatory, but they also said that time travel wasn't involved either. Hang in there, Sawyer.
Added to that, Jacob (from the Island, not the bible) is connected in some way, to the notion of fertility (what with all his ankhs and shit) and could possibly have some sort of idea about how women have their own power with their ability to give life, so let's leave them out of the candidacy. And that's soooo sexist. But he's from another time, I guess. So, yeah, no girls allowed. Anyway, did you notice how Locke, in the alternate reality, was teaching biology (man of science now?), and particularly, the human reproductive system, which, honestly, should not be material left for a temp to cover. Notice on the board behind him it says "The Beginning of the Life Cycle."
Which brings me to elaborating on the purgatory theory via the scale in the doodle cave.
Obviously, black (MIB) and white (Jacob) are supposed to be evening things out, leaving us with a whole lot of gray area. But the scale, which is in Jacob's cave, might be a reference to some Buddhist mythology, specifically Yama, the dharmapala, judge of the dead. Dharmapala is a type of "wrathful deity," which translates in Sanskrit to "Dharma-defender" and protector of laws. (Book of Laws, anyone?) So anyway, this particular myth involves the afterlife, karma, and most importantly, Bardo, or "transitional state." There are six Tibetan Bardos, the last three of which could actually be described as "death cycles," in which a person dies, experiences a paradise realm (and if they are not "enlightened," they won't even understand or recognize what they're experiencing), and finally gets reborn.
According to the myth, during the second Bardo—the paradise one— the deceased will experience judgment and punishment. The death judge deity will hold a scale on which black pebbles (evil deeds) and white pebbles (good deeds) are placed and weighed. Also, a Karma Mirror is held up for the deceased life to be reflected. The fate of the deceased (if they will remain in purgatory or go on to paradise in some form, possibly a human body) is decided from there. The thing is, that none of it—the scale, the mirror, the deity—are real. They're just thought forms while in this Bardo. That could be what Mocke was referring to when he told Sawyer that there is no reason for anyone to stay on the Island, as it's not even real. Although, he totally left out the part that they'll probably have to commit suicide in order to be reborn.
So that brings up the question of reality—in terms of Lost—of which we are currently experiencing two. And karma pops up in one of them, in the form of Helen's shirt:
I'm thinking that the Island is purgatory, and the alternate reality represents reincarnation, where the Losties lives are at least a little bit better than they were before the crash. For example, Locke is about to marry Helen. And his father is still in the picture—literally:
And that creates yet another question: How did Locke get paralyzed in this reality?
OK, let's move on to the mysterious kid.
I don't think it's Jacob as a boy. He's wearing snap buttons. Like Of Mice and Men is for MIB, snap buttons are way before Jacob's time. He prefers natural fibers and robe sandals. He's a crunchy old patriarch.
So is this kid Aaron? And why was he initially covered in blood?
And why can Sawyer see him, but Richard can't? And what are the rules?
Another theory: The MIB and Jacob aren't supposed to kill each other, or anyone else, but rather, influence the Island's inhabitants to make those choices (free will) once they've become enlightened, so that they can pass into their next reality. I also think this "candidacy" thing is bullshit, as Mocke described it. I think the candidates are people up for a new life, rather than up for Jacob's job, and that MIB and Jacob are supposed to battle it out, with Jedi mind tricks, to decide the fate of the candidate. Also, the people who are crossed out are the ones whose fate has already been decided. And this theory would discount my previous theory about women not being candidates. If I keep shooting these out, I'm bound to hit something, right?
Other interesting things:
Ben's existence in the alternate reality basically confirms that it was not the bomb that sunk the Island, since he was on the Island at the time that it happened, and would've just perished there. Also, I like that he's still an asshole in this reality, but in harmless kind of way (complaining about changing the coffee filter and stuff).
I could go into the significance of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, but you can just read the Wiki on that. It totally applies though! For now, I'll just leave you with an up-short shot of Sawyer, and say that I think that Mocke didn't know what he was getting when he "recruited" him. Sawyer said that he wants to join up with Mocke, but really, he's probably just conning him.