Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: A | Grade It Now!
Live Alone; Die Together
Analysis: I can't read any deep ulterior motive into this, which makes me think better of Jacob's interactions with the other characters. Of course, there's the obvious motive of making sure Sun doesn't leave Jin for her lover, which plays into them flying to L.A., which lands them on the island in the first place but I mean beyond that. Arguably, all Jacob's interactions with these characters marked them in some way, and occurred at key moments in their lives, and in some way Jacob meeting up with them was meant to assure they'd wind up on the island.

Gift: None, unless like me, you think he brought Locke back to life.
Touch: Firm grasp of shoulder.
Words: Tells Locke not to worry and that he's sorry this happened to him.
Analysis: I can't read any ulterior motive into this, either, except for the obvious one of making sure Locke survived long enough to get to the island. If Jacob brought Locke back to life once, will he do so again?

Gift: Apollo Candy Bar.
Touch: Their fingers brush.
Words: "I guess it just needed a little push."
Analysis: Is this a metaphor for Jack being the kind of guy who gets so bogged down with fear that he can't act? Did Jacob somehow give him a little push by rewarding him for telling off his father? I don't know. I can't make sense of this one.

Gift: Guitar.
Touch: On the shoulder.
Words: Jacob says the most to Hurley. He assures him he's not crazy and advises him to look at his ability to speak to the departed as a gift. Hurley's the only one Jacob talks to about the island and he encourages him to return, but he leaves the choice in Hurley's hands.

Of all the interactions above, I feel the worst for Sawyer and Kate. They were kids. If/since Jacob seemed to mark them at such a young age, and if he's a capricious or evil god, rather than a benevolent one (if he's a god at all) I can't shake this bad feeling about him. I want to like him and I want him to be a force for good, but I can't discount the other possibilities. At first glance, it seems to me like he marked his prey to make sure they'd end up on the island, where they could save his ancient ass. And yet, for the most part, most of these people were probably going to turn out the way they did, anyhow. The really harmful event in Sawyer's life was losing his parents in a murder suicide, and growing up however he grew up after that, and then choosing to be conman. Jacob only gave him a pen, something he could have found on his own, anyhow. And Jacob did tell Kate to stay out of trouble, so he didn't pretend there was nothing wrong with her stealing the lunchbox. She was far more scarred by her bio-dad than her benign meeting with Jacob.

What I'd really like to know is which of Ben's actions were done on Jacob's orders. That would be telling, I think. That could make this all so much clearer. And for that matter, if Jacob is good, why did Richard know that taking the wounded wee Ben of 1977 for some good old down-island healing was going to result in the loss of his memory...and his innocence? What's more, was the healing what disqualified Ben from being a recognized leader on the island, or did he do something (perhaps something like manipulating Charles Widmore's banishment) that tainted him in Jacob's eyes?

I also want to know who was behind any and all of the Christian Shephard apparitions we've seen. Were they all Esau? Were some Ben? Were any Christian, himself? Has Esau been behind everything? Is he evil because he wants to kill Jacob, or does he want to kill Jacob because he thinks Jacob is evil? The way Esau-Locke so casually told Richard that they have to "take care of" the other Ajira 316 survivors suggests there's real malice in his heart, but since those folks seem to be working for Jacob, until we know where Jacob stands, it's hard to say.

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