There’s an episode of Lost on ABC tonight, but I won’t be watching it. Why? Because I hate Lost. I just decided this. It’s stupid and silly and irritatingly pretentious with its pseudo intellectualism and shallow spirituality and allegedly cutting-edge extrapolation of theoretical physics that those nerdy crackheads at Wired love to slobber on about, and if one more mouth-breathing geeks asks me “What would you see in your flash-forward?”, I’m going to punch them… wait… oh. Oh! Sorry about that! I got my TV shows messed up there for a second. Lost! I love Lost! I’m obsessed with Lost! I write crazy theories about Lost! I write epic and incoherent recaps about Lost! But not tonight. The show is taking a breather this week in advance of its final four episodes in May, so tonight, we get a repeat of “Ab Aeterno,” the instant-classic that gave us the backstory of Richard Alpert and Jacob’s metaphor of The Island as a cork on a bottle keeping a toxic brew of evil from sloshing out into the world. If you haven’t seen the episode, then by jove, make sure you make time to watch it tonight, because it’s massively important, and there is absolutely no other way to see it anytime sooner or at any other point in the future. Then come back and read my recap. And as you do, treasure the experience. It will be the only time this season when you’ll actually find one of my recaps posted exactly on time and when you want it. (PS: That aforementioned Wired link will actually take you to the magazine’s insightful and geektastically fun tribute to Lost. Check it out when you’re done scanning these ramblings.)
Meanwhile, the rest of us will be counting the days until next week’s all new episode of Lost. I know the title. Maybe you do, too. If you don’t know and don’t want to know, then stop reading right here because the rest of this “Countdown To Next Week’s Lost” is all about the implications of the title. Okay? Okay. The title is called “Jack Loves Monkeys.” I suspect the episode will be 1. One of those “funny episodes” that Adam and Eddy write; 2. An untold tale of Jack’s season 3 Hydra Station incarceration chronicling his ill-fated bid to free Joop from his subterranean cage; or 3. The most controversial episode of Lost ever produced.
Just kidding. The episode is actually called “The Candidate.” Your theory bells should be ringing. When we speak of “candidates” on Lost, we think of the potential replacements for dead Island deity/protector/redemption hobbyist/reclusive wino Jacob. At present, we have been led to believe that one of the following could get the job: Hurley; Sayid; Sawyer; Jack; Jin and/or Sun. Will next week’s episode officially name Jacob’s successor? If so, which one will get the job? Doc Jensen gives you the odds:
You got the sense from “Lighthouse” that Jacob really, really needs Jack to get over his bad self and dial into his Island destiny. The safe money is that said destiny is to spend eternity eating fish, spying on damned souls with magic mirrors, and plotting intricate redemption narratives for Island visitors.
It’s a fake-out! Jacob’s master plan all along has been to groom Ben as The Island’s new supreme being—but first, he’s had to break Ben of his pride and purge him of his sin, not to mention protect him from the Man In Black’s assassination plot. Bringing the castaways to The Island accomplishes both tasks. The most flattering theory of bad guy Ben is that knowingly or unknowingly he’s been producing challenges of character designed to prepare the castaways for their final conflict with Smokey. Actually, the total opposite is true. Jacob brought the castaways to The Island to test Ben’s character, intended to shape him into the kind of man worthy of Jacob’s loom-of-fate stool. Also, by deceiving Smokey into thinking Jack et. al. were his candidates, Jacob has been shielding Ben from Smokey — and co-opting Smokey into his plan to refine Ben’s soul.
Next to Ben, he’s the best yarn-spinner on The Island. He’s a precise judge of character. He’s also extremely well-read; judging from his library, he has a great grasp on universal themes like redemption and damnation, faith and reason. He also has great motivation to stay on The Island, as he killed a guy in Australia and should surely go to jail if he ever got back the civilization. Then again, maybe that sin makes him unqualified for Island divinity.
It’s about time The Island was ruled by a woman, don’t you think? She’s got a great name for a god. Also, Sun’s got the will and stamina for long-term redemption projects, as demonstrated by her unflagging search for Jin, who per my guestimations will be allowed to remain on The Island as her consort. They’ll get to bring Ji-Yeon over to The Island, too. I also think they can make the most of Island life. He fishes! She gardens! They know how to keep warm during cold evenings on the beach! Happily ever after on The Island will be like one long honeymoon for them.
Maybe the guy least interested in the job — which makes him the most dramatically interesting candidate for the job and therefore makes him an irresistible choice. Even though my Sun theory allows for Jin to stay, I suspect that the Jacob job is probably a solo act, and I think being alone would crush Hurley’s soul. The again, he’s got plenty of dead people for company. And really, who wouldn’t want to spend the rest of time hanging out with Ghost Michael?
What are your thoughts on the candidate issue? Conduct your political debates in the message boards below. I’ll be back on Friday with a new Doc Jensen column. Next week: the return of Totally Lost — and the beginning of the end of Lost itself. You can e-mail me your questions and theories at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow me on Twitter @ewdocjensen.