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Six numbers. Six people. John Locke, Hugo Reyes, Sayid Jarrah, James Ford, Jack Shephard, (Sun or Jin) Kwon. All brought to the island as potential protectors of the island, along with countless others over the years. Many, many names have been on the list, and they've all been scratched off, except for those six (Well, five now). It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, it's just progress.
A big piece of the puzzle was revealed to us this week, as we were shown a glimpse of what, exactly, this is all about. Why are our Oceanic survivors here. It's not just because they just happened to survive a plane crash. Their lives have been influenced by the island for many years, affecting them, drawing them to the island. The Nemesis tells us that it's because Jacob considered them to be candidates, candidates to take over as protector of the island. I would assume there's some amount of truth to that, but I would also assume he's not being entirely honest, either. The Nemesis is in the business of manipulation, doing whatever it is he can to help him achieve his ultimate goal of escape. And that means doing anything, or saying anything to anyone that will get him closer to freedom. What he revealed to Sawyer, he revealed for a reason. And the reason was not to enlighten Sawyer (or the rest of us) about the big secrets of the island. It's because in Sawyer, the Nemesis sees a way off the island, so keep in mind that anything he tells Sawyer, it's because he thinks it will help him leave.
So where does that leave us? The mystery surrounding the Nemesis gets a little clearer with each passing episode. He claims to have been a regular man at some point in time, probably back when he first arrived on the island. What he is now is not quite as clear, but we know he is essentially a prisoner of the island, unable to leave, unable to be "free". But he has a plan, a way to escape, to get off the island and go home, wherever that may be. We don't know what his plan is, but it involves Sawyer. I believe the Nemesis is possibly also looking for a replacement of sorts. Whatever his role is on the island, perhaps, like Jacob, there always needs to be someone to fill that role, and the only way for the Nemesis to escape is to find a replacement. Maybe he looks at Sawyer, a broken man who, like the Nemesis, has lost someone he loved, and thinks he can be manipulated into filling his shoes. Whatever the end game is for the Nemesis, I don't think the picture is as rosy as the one he painted for Sawyer. If the Nemesis gets its way, I don't see Sawyer escaping anywhere with him, and in fact, just the opposite.
On the other hand, we have our five remaining candidates. Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer, Jack, and either Sun or Jin (I find it interesting that the Nemesis doesn't know which Kwon is on the list). Sayid being on the list is curious, since he has been "infected", according to Dogan. We assume that the Nemesis knows this, since the infection seems to be his doing, and yet he wasn't crossed off the list, only Locke. So that leaves us with Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, and one of the Kwons. All four of them are currently on the island, although only Jack and Hurley are safely in the Temple. How will the final candidate be decided? With Jacob dead, who is responsible for maintaining the list of candidates? How does one get added or removed from the list? When a candidate is finally chosen, what does that mean for that person? For everyone else on the island? For the Nemesis? To be discovered later.
Some other quick hits:
-Richard's place in all of this continues to be one of the great mysteries of this show. The Nemesis seems to be almost, offended, that Richard has sided himself with Jacob, or maybe jealous, to the point that he openly mocks Richard for how Jacob supposedly treated him, and kept him in the dark. Ben referred to him as an advisor, and we know of him as someone that is in communication with Jacob, but the more we see this relationship between he and the Nemesis, the less I feel like I know about Richard Alpert. I will say that him looking as terrified as he was when he came upon Sawyer was shocking to say the least. No one on this show has been more level-headed than Richard. He's never lost his cool, and rarely looks surprised by anything that goes on on the island. But this, this was a brand new side of Richard. Scared, nervous, jittery, just a genuinely frightened man who wanted absolutely nothing to do with the Nemesis. Very surprising to see, I thought.
-Any thoughts on who the kid was? I would say that the knee jerk reaction would be a young Jacob, just because he's appearing to the Nemesis, and has light hair. I've heard Aaron's name thrown around as well, which is certainly an intriguing possibility, and not necessarily an unrealistic one given the fact that we saw Walt appear to Locke as a 27-year old after Locke had been shot by Ben. Whoever he is, he clearly has a copy of the mysterious rulebook that none of us have, and it definitely would have made our lives easier if they had just included a copy of it in the Season 5 DVD set. He reminds the Nemesis that he knows the rules, and that he can't kill "him". Which, you know, is helpful. At least if he had said her we could have narrowed it down to Kate, Sun, Ilana, Claire, or Cindy. Him? This does nothing for me. On a completely random note, according to this kid's IMDB profile, he once was on a show called "Ctrl" playing a character named Young Ben.
-Let's talk about the list some more. First thought probably on your mind: No sign of Kate's name anywhere. Fair enough. But that doesn't necessarily mean her name isn't on the wall somewhere, crossed off, we just didn't see it. Some other things to note, both the name Littleton and Rousseau were crossed off the list. This could be referring to Claire and Danielle, it could also be referring to Aaron and Alex. Could the name Kwon be Jin since the other names are all males? Does that have anything to do with this? Does a crossed off name mean you're dead? If your name was never on the list to begin with, and you still ended up on the island (ie. Kate, Rose, Bernard), does that just make you an unfortunate soul who just happened to get caught up in all of this drama? Is that what happened to people like Dogan or Lenon some years ago? Why is Kate not a candidate if Jacob visited her as a child? There's more to this Kate story, I'm sure her name was absent for a reason.
-The Nemesis seemed to be going out of his way to watch out for Sawyer, as evidenced by him saving Sawyer's life while they were climbing down Jacob's Ladder (get it?). I wonder what would have happened to Sawyer if he had tried to shoot the Nemesis. Seemed to me that Bram and his people weren't attacked by the Nemesis until they tried to shoot him. Random thought.
-Ilana took Jacob's ashes and put them in a bag. I know the Others have a steady supply of ashes available, but I have to think that Jacob's ashes might be a little bit more important.
-With Hurley and Miles absent from this week's episode the comic relief will be provided by Mr. Frank Lapidus.
-Best funeral speech ever? "He was a believer, a man of faith. He was a much better man than I will ever be. And I'm very sorry that I murdered him." I vote yes. To be fair to Ben, he did seem to be a little remorseful there, but that last line is just hilarious.
-I still don't have anything to add to the flash sideways for this episode other than to say that again, I think it was written very well, I really liked the integration of the characters into each others storylines, and I'm kicking myself for not recognizing Hurley's Hummer before he showed up. But, still waiting for this to play out and see what it has to do with the on-island storyline.
-How would you like to have Benjamin Linus teaching your European History class in school? I'm terrified just at the thought of it.
-I see the writers are going to drag out the Sun/Jin reunion for as long as humanly possible. Ilana tells Sun that Jin is most likely at the Temple because it's the safest place on the island, when of course Jin is out looking for Sun and is headed toward the beach, and I have no expectations of them randomly running into each other in the jungle. Jerks. They haven't seen each other in three years! Stop teasing me and just get them back together!
-Does anyone else find it incredibly inconvenient to keep a list of people on a rock in a cave embedded in the face of a cliff that is only accessible by some super sketchy ladders? I mean, would you ever want to go down there and update the list? Maybe that's why Jacob kept Richard around. "Hey Richard, I just don't feel like scaling a cliff today to add #457 - Arzt to the list, would you mind going down there and doing it for me?"
Alright, that's all of the inane commentary I can think of for this week. Fantastic episode, probably only second to Kate's episode as best episode of the season (Possibly). Thanks as always for reading, see you next week.
EDIT: My wife's friend Tim shared this with me, it's a list of all the names that were on the wall. I have no way of confirming this, but something to definitely check out: List of candidates