After posting those first thoughts about "The Incident" very early yesterday morning, I tried to sleep for a few hours (still haunted by the image of a certain blond on the precipice of her demise) and then watched the finale again. That resulted in a theory that I will explore in detail below.
"Everyone answers to someone, and the leader answers to Jacob."
- Ben Linus, The Incident
- Ben Linus, The Incident
Mystery Man (MM) knew that the only way to finally confront and gain real access to Jacob was to become a recruited island leader; that was the loophole.
Up until Ajira 316 landed on Hydra island with John Locke in a coffin, MM's spirit was being held captive in Jacob's cabin. The line of ash surrounding the cabin is from the fire continuously burning in Jacob's lair in the foot of the statue; it was mixed with salt from the sea to form the line that provided protection from evil spirits (a common practice of ghost hunters).
MM knew of Jacob's future plan to bring a select group of people to the island on flight 815. From that group, MM chose Locke for his future shell for his spirit, because he knew that Locke was and always has been 'amenable for coercion' (Further Instructions, episode 3.03).
MM observed carefully over the years as Jacob sent Alpert to be present at Locke's birth and then attempt to recruit him as a child while at a foster home. Though Alpert questioned Locke's abilities and Jacob's choice for their future island leader, MM never gave up hope in the man he would one day become. When Jacob literally brought Locke to life immediately following his fall out of the window, that sealed the deal for MM. He knew that Locke would be arriving on the island a broken man and spirit, but one who would be rejuvenated/healed by the island, making him the perfect....candidate.
Jacob finally managed to get Locke to the island via Oceanic flight 815. Through Alpert, Jacob assigned Ben the task of manipulating and guiding Locke toward eventual island leadership. Consider one of the first conversations between the two (Two for the Road, episode 2.20):
LOCKE: "I was trapped under that hatch door, helpless. You could have crushed my skull, but you didn't do a thing. Why didn't you?"For years, Ben had inadvertently assisted MM's long journey toward the acquisition of a new body for his soul.
BEN: "Because you're one of the good ones, John."
LOCKE: "What? Good what?"
BEN: "None of this matters. I'm dead anyway. The doctor is going to make a trade and we both know he'll come back empty handed and then I've lost my value. So either Jack comes back here and and kills me or my people find out where I'm being held and they do it."
LOCKE: "Why would your own people want to kill you?"
BEN: "Because the man in charge, he's a great man, John. A brilliant man. But he's not a forgiving man. He'll kill me because I failed, John. I failed my mission."
LOCKE: "What mission?"
BEN: "When that woman caught me in her trap, I was on my way here, John. I was coming for you."
First, Locke demanded to meet Jacob (in Season 3). Ben took him to what he thought was Jacob's cabin. In reality, Jacob had never lived there...MM did. His spirit was trapped inside, and MM took advantage of this rare opportunity to make contact with Locke, by saying "help me."
Second, Ben killed Locke off-island. MM knew that Jacob's rules dictated that flight 316 passengers recreate the circumstances of flight 815 in order to return to the island; that the recently deceased Locke would be placed in a coffin on the plane, as a proxy for the deceased Christian Shephard.
As soon as flight 316 and Locke's body arrived on the island, MM was able to finally leave the cabin; thus, the break in the line of ash. He made his way to the plane over on Hydra Island, and to Locke's coffin (don't ask me how; logistics are a bit blurry at this point but keep in mind that this theory is based upon a spirit rather than an actual person, and that we accept at face value that an island can move after the turn of a frozen wheel).
That being said, this portion of the theory may require an Eloise Hawking-inspired "leap of faith," so bear with me...
We know that the Orchid station was built over an energy source that was used to manipulate time and space. The Vault beneath the Orchid was used for such experiments, including Dr. Chang's rabbit displacement attempts. But the results were unpredictable, which is exactly the word that Hawking used to describe what would happen if the passengers of flight 316 were unable to duplicate the circumstances of flight 815 when returning to the island.
While preparing to descend down to turn the Frozen Donkey Wheel, Ben put in the Orchid Orientation film for Locke to watch:
Chang attempts to 'shift' a bunny forward in time, but Locke is unable to find out what happens because the tape rewinds at a key moment.
[Even though Comic-Con videos are not considered "canon"] I truly believe that this Orchid video is relevant:
My theory is that MM brought deceased Locke to the Orchid station in order to create a clone, because as we witnessed above, a white rabbit duplicated itself there. MM knew that he would be able to do just that at the Orchid.
The most fascinating aspect of this, if it is indeed true, is that Chang is quite frightened by the possibility that the duplicate rabbits go near one another. Because at the end of Season 5, MM/Not-Locke is in the foot of the statue, not far at all from deceased Locke's body on the beach.
Reflecting back to some of the dialogue in The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham (episode 5.07), there are a few clues that Real Locke is no longer himself, such as this conversation:
ILANA: "The pilot and some woman took one (referring to the outrigger)."MM inherited Locke's memories (or at least those that he overheard and witnessed over the years as both Alpert and Ben interacted with him), as well as his body for a shell.
MM/NOT-LOCKE: "The pilot that brought YOU here?"
ILANA: "Yes, that's right."
MM/NOT-LOCKE: "Do you have a passenger list?"
ILANA: "Nobody remembers you being on the plane."
MM/NOT-LOCKE: "Well, I don't remember being on it either."
ILANA: "What do you remember?"
MM/NOT-LOCKE: "I remember a lot."
In addition, it was MM/Not-Locke who brought Alpert and Ben to Yemi's burned out Beechcraft so that Alpert could give Real Locke the compass. And it was MM/Not-Locke who told Ben and Alpert that he intended to kill Jacob, and led the Others to find him.
So I would love to know if YOU think this is plausible. Feel free to agree or disagree with any or all points in the Comments section, but please be constructive and/or kind (I'm still mourning the loss of Juliet, after all).
Have a great weekend!