From all the silhouettes, only one can be the candidate. And last night, it was revealed who. For me, last night revealed a lot more. Just as the entire theme and conflict of “Battlestar Galactica” can be summed up in Cavil’s (aka Cylon 1) monologue on why he doesn’t want to be human so too can “Lost,” on a thematic spectrum, be summed up in Jacob’s monologue on why the candidates were chosen.
Jacob told the candidates that it was their flawed characters, their loneliness and alienation, their insufferable searching for something they couldn’t define that appealed to him. He implied that such a search is a selfish journey and only when the very things they shun — selflessness and a sense of community — can the answer to one’s freedom even be hoped for. The island is where salvation is to be found and demons confronted. (Or, in the parallel universe, Desmond will make them find it, but dammit salvation shall be theirs!)
The Man in Black doesn’t believe in salvation; that “it has happened before and will happen again.” There’s no hope, no redemption. People suck. This also explains why when Kate became a mother, she was fulfilled and therefore, not a candidate…unless she wanted to be.
(This is a great elliptical add-on because most alienated-on-a-journey folks are men, like Jack Kerouac or Holden. Women do innately have a deeper sense of community and family especially because most must become mothers, but it’s great that now it’s a not a story taken for granted as a man’s journey alone.)
Jacob’s speec was a like a big DONG for me. It is the universal search for redemption. The island has been appealing to millions of fans for the same reason the characters are attracted to it: to be released from inner demons. To be forgiven for past mistakes. To be able to let go. And from that release, to discover who you truly are, not the sniveling coward that life has made of you; not the fugitive from your own dreams or justice or love; not crippled by guilt or anger but You if life did not deal a bad deck.
This can be true of almost everyone, which is why there are heroes. Heroes are equally flawed but they can take those steps and that defines The Candidate. When Jack took his step in one universe, in the other, he found — or came to terms with — his father’s body and really, his father’s memories, and was freed. (Spoiler alert coming up)
In a way, faith is also what “Lost” asks of its audience. After all, some answers will not be answered, like though Jacob gave a general why, he didn’t give a specific one nor did he answer how he came to know of these particular people out of the entire world.
In accepting this about “Lost,” it’s like you took a journey with the characters who had to just believe, just have faith. So, must the audience. We had all the same questions as the main characters — the smoke, the polar bear (which may forever be unanswered) — and reason will not explain it all. If Jacob is Good and the Man in Black, Evil, then it’s enough to show how their fall-out began but don’t ask from where they came or their Mother because no one knows. In Life and in Lost.
If the light is the Source then whether you believe in God and Satan’s fall or believe only in the laws of physics, both can lead to philosophical existential dilemmas if too deconstructed (if Big Bang created the Universe, what existed before that? etc etc). Same with Lost’s plot. Revel in the Unknown and at least understand the journey. That’s how you can enjoy the ride of “Lost” and perhaps the writers are trying to say, that’s how you can enjoy the ride of Life.
Which brings me to the parallel universes. Desmond can go between universes — and I think he is not “another” Desmond in a parallel universe but the same one going back-and-forth. If there are two, just as there are two of everyone else, then his specialness is unique in both. He still has a window to both worlds that no one else does.
The candidates all can be redeemed, but only in one universe or another. I don’t think they can live in both universes. Jin and Sun found each other but lived happily ever after only in one. Locke only lives in one, where he’s found redemption. Ben has made peace with his daughter only in one — he’s still living in both but only for now.
Whoever’s living in both are on borrowed time. This last episode will probably have much blood spilled until once again, it’s only The Good (a new Good) and the Bad facing off again in the eternal cycle battling it out, not to win, but to keep the world in balance.