Great line by Sawyer: We got caught by the Others again?
Kate: Yeah, only this time they're protecting us.
This time. Yet again, we circle back around with just some details changed.

Jack, like the new-2004 version of Jack we looked at above, can admit it and live with it when he can't "fix" Sayid. Raise your hand if you thought we were getting ready to see another "Jack won't give up until he literally punches the life back into Charlie" type scene with Jack and with Kate kneeling next to him by Sayid's body? My hand's up. But no. This Jack was able to let it go. Which in turn let the real miracle happen...

Once the Others learn that Jacob is dead, they go to full Defcon-5. Everyone to their posts, send up the flare, barricade the temple, pour the ash!

Why all the precaution? As the hippie-looking Other tells Hurley, it's "To keep HIM out!" So who's him? Well, we still don't know him by name, but we'll examine that immediately below. One thing I want to say though is that this ambiguous pronoun "him" has been used several ways on this show, including the time Kate had a dream of Claire telling her not to dare "bring him back." We assumed she was talking of Aaron, as she was standing over him. Did she mean someone else? Did she mean not to bring someone back from the dead? Was it yet another association of Aaron as possibly some child of evil spoken of in prophecy? One thing is sure, there are several identities on this show for which LOST has its reasons for keeping them from us (Libby's last name, anyone?). So let's look at what we do know...


Okay, so Who is The Man in Black / Smokey?

  • Jacob told Hurley he's "An Old Friend who grew tired of my company." (Kinda like how Lucifer was a favored angel until he tired of worship?)
  • He's gone through quite a lot to be there, ever since he found his loophole.
  • He's "not a what, I'm a who." (I spent some time in my past recaps looking at what role this question of identity has played in the show, and how often knowing "what" someone is superceded "who" someone is. But Smokey rejects that form of identification, probably because he views himself as not defined by his function or actions, but by a status or title).
  • When Bram's unit comes in, I find a discrepancy. They know enough about this entity to use ash to defend themselves, but they don't know his name, asking, "Who are you?" If they know about one, and if they know Jacob so intimately, mightn't they know the other answer, or at least have a pretty good clue?
  • Smokey offers "Good News" to Bram's group. If they were Jacob's bodyguards, they are now set "free"! ("good news" (i.e. gospel) and "set free" generally being the domain of the Christ figure, unless of course the concepts are being twisted)
  • Bullets pass through him. Even so, Richard is very adamant that nobody shoot this Locke-looking-entity. Does that just make him mad? Sure seems like it!
  • He's cunning. He can't get directly to Bram in his circle of ash, so he causes some debris to fall on him and push him outside it.
  • He's sorry Ben had to see him like that. But... Ben's seen him like that before, even if it didn't involve crushing people.
  • Ben calls him "the monster," he says "let's not resort to name calling," as if he could just as easily flip that term on Ben.
  • He says the one thing that made Locke - who was otherwise pathetic and "irreperably broken" - special is that "he was the only one who realized how pitiful the life he left behind actually was." (To be fair, this is a statement that, depending on context and tone, could be interpreted as coming from a deity like God or his nemesis like Satan).
  • He wants the one thing John Locke didn't -- to go home. Where is home? It's obviously not on the island. Might it be the bizarro 2004 universe? Or is that too weird?
  • He is "very disappointed... in all of you!" Again... is this a God statement, towards people who followed a false god and went their own way? Or is it a Devil statement, towards people who assumed one deity was more powerful than another and who acted like sheep in blindly following without seeing?

There have been "Angel of Death / Shadow of Death" analogies to this mysterious presence ever since "The 23rd Psalm" episode with Mr. Eko. We also know he has some kind of association with Anubis, an underworld god of the Egyptians (we know this from the mural Ben discovered beneath the Temple wall). We still don't know why this entity lets some live and some die (perhaps it knows of purposes to yet be fulfilled, which is why it let Locke and Juliet live?). The menacing nature, the plot to kill, and the fact he tires of humans and how predictable they are, lead one to think he is a most convenient Devil metaphor, even if a Paradise Lost-ish sympathetic one.