Where is Lost going?

Todd Hertz

After watching last season’s Lost finale a couple times, the opening conversation between Jacob and his unnamed nemesis have begun to remind me of the Book of Job. ThinkChristian blogger Jerod Clark wrote last year about how these figures seem like God (Jacob) and Satan (Man in Black). And when they vaguely reference a long-standing disagreement over humans, I am reminded of Satan's conjecture regarding Job’s faith and God's offer to allow him to test it.

"You're trying to prove me wrong," says the Man in Black.

"You are wrong," says Jacob.

In a season that turned Lost’s religious symbolism and blatant references up to 11, this wasn’t all that has struck me as I’ve rewatched those final two hours.

I’ve noticed how Locke (or more correctly the Man in Black in disguise) goaded Ben into murder with classic temptation tools of Satan himself: guilt, loss, arrogance, shame, sense of entitlement. Fake Locke tells Ben: "Despite your loyal service to this island, you got cancer. You had to watch your own daughter gunned down right in front of you. Your reward for those sacrifices? You were banished. You did all this in the name of a man you never even met." These feel like the kind of devious whispers that may have been whispered into the ear of a heartbroken, destitute Job about his faith in an absent God.

I also noticed that despite the claims Fake Locke makes, Jacob really isn’t absent and passive. Much has been made out of how Jacob touches each Oceanic Flight 815 survivor he visits, but his touch isn’t his only intervention. Instead, he plays a substantial role in the action each time he appears in a character’s story. He's no passive observer. If you remove him from each scenario, the events would play out very differently. Young Kate would have had to face the police. Little Sawyer’s pen would have died meaning that he’d never gotten his uncle’s pep talk that he later quotes as a life philosophy. Sayid would have also been hit by the car that killed Nadia. And Locke, it seems, would have died instead of being crippled.

Of course, as the final season starts tonight, we have no idea where Lost will take these characters of Jacob, Ben and the Man in Black. I assume this modern myth will continue to explore good versus evil, predestination and redemption.

But how? What do you make of the Jacob/Man in Black struggle? Is free will and choice a reality in Lost’s world?

What are your predictions on where the show’s religious themes are going?