With the airing of ‘Ab Aeterno’, it’s fairly safe to say that the pivotal focus of Lost has finally been revealed, having been hinted at through layers of obfuscation for years. Unsurprisingly, it essentially boils down to a conflict between good and evil, if a little more complex.
The Island itself is revealed by Jacob, speaking to Richard Alpert after the shipwreck of the Black Rock, as being a cork. It prevents a great evil from being loosed upon the world, which is more or les implicitly stated as being The Man In Black, and the evil itself is monitored and kept in check by the Island’s caretaker, in this case, Jacob. Judeo-Christian inferences have littered this season, and they were never more pronounced than in this episode. Jacob essentially baptises Richard into his service during their first encounter, later sharing wine in a pseudo-Communion. He eschews direct intervention in human interaction, preferring to work through intermediaries in order to preserve the idea of free will. He is the one responsible for bringing everyone to the Island, essentially the Creator of their situation.
By contrast, The Man In Black acts, more or less, like The Devil. He smashes the wine Jacob attempts to share with him. He is imprisoned by the Island, and what is Hell, if not a prison for the Devil? He himself looks down on humanity as being weak and flawed, eternally and naturally predisposed towards sin – and the biblical character of Lucifer was cast out of Heaven for refusing to bow before humanity. He works through temptation, much as Lucifer is depicted as doing, and he consistently lies to those he attempts to recruit. Furthermore, he has more than a little in common with the description of the Morning Star in Isaiah 14:12, who is cast into ‘Sheol’ (the land of the dead). The Man In Black takes on the personas and likenesses of dead persons, and after the death of Jacob, is locked inside the form, ironically, of Locke.
This, more than anything else, appears to be the central mechanism of the show, and it fits with much of what has happened throughout the last five years. The Island is Hell, figuratively speaking, and there is a power struggle between the Devil and his jailers. Or at least, that’s the way it seems. There are many questions left unanswered, of course, but it’s surprising and somewhat encouraging that the creators decided to get this into the open now, rather than in the final episode. Here’s hoping they continue with the level of skill and panache they demonstrated in ‘Ab Aeterno’.
So, what do you think, readers? Worth the wait? Or do you disagree entirely?