Hi. I’m a scientist. Still confused by LOST's series finale? Think there are too many questions left unanswered or that it was purgatory the whole time? Well, I "respectfully" disagree. Send me your questions and I will answer them. I will write in complete sentences and support my answers.
Try not to ask too much about Walt.
Namaste or Whatever,
In yesterday’s article, I mentioned in passing that Jack turns into the Smoke Monster. This bit didn’t seem to fit the conceit of the piece, but apparently I should have included it, because everyone’s asking about it. I’ve added it into the article in an addendum, and I’m putting it here as well. I’ll try to keep it “brief” and “simple”, citing only information we were given in the show.
The Mother was the Protector of the Island.
The Mother explained to her sons that going into The Source would result in a fate worse than death (i.e.- Becoming a Smoke Monster).
The Mother destroyed the Man in Black’s village in a most Smoke Monstery of ways, seen here:
What I’m getting at here is that, as Protector of the Island, Mother both had the powers of Jacob, and was a Smoke Monster. She split her duties and powers between her two sons, and made it so they could not kill each other. It would make sense that the Protector of Important Magic Island would be the incredibly powerful cloud of black smoke that can read people’s memories and kill them in seconds. Rousseau was right: The black smoke IS a security system. A very important one, meant to patrol the Island and protect it for as long as it can. Mother was this being, and she also had the power of Jacob: to make rules, to give others abilities, etc. Full-on Island Protector.
But she couldn’t decide which was deserving of the role. She loved them both. So she made it so each would get a part of her. The Gray Mother split herself into dark and light. The problem here is that The Man in Black became the Smoke Monster. He became a security system that wanted to leave its post. That was problem with the Broken Island for so long: One of its protectors had no interest in protecting anything. Both protectors wanted the other dead, but neither could kill the other. Thankfully, Oceanic 815 crashed and Jack was eventually all “Fine, I’ll save the world.”
So. How are Smoke Monsters made? They dip themselves into The Source. Into the Water and Light. Jacob tossed his Brother down and then his Brother cracked his skull, fell into The Source, and emerged as the new Smoke Monster. Later, Jacob found his body draped over a nearby rock and tree:
The Water and Light absorbs the essence of a person and turns them into a Smoke Monster. But they don’t need the person’s body. So The Source moved the body outside.
So what happened to Jack in the finale? He went down to The Source. Desmond unplugged the Island and was unaffected because of his Magic Time Brain. Jack had to plug it up again, though, and the Water and Light DID affect him. He sacrificed himself because he knew the Water and Light would kill him.
But the Water and Light doesn’t kill you. We’ve SEEN what it does. It turns someone into a Smoke Monster, into a Protector of The Island. The person needs to be dead, though, as The Man In Black was dead when he reached The Source. Then it spits out the body. So after Jack was consumed by Light and Water, where did we next see him?
The same place The Man In Black showed up. (Forgive the quality of the picture, I just screencapped an edited montage from YouTube).
The Source spit Jack out once it absorbed his essence for Smoke Monstering. But Jack wasn’t dead yet. He was stabbed and bleeding, but not dead yet. Not like the Man in Black already was when he fell into The Source. So Jack walked into the reeds, lied down with a dog, and died. His eye closed.
Then, however many yards away, a new Smoke Monster burst from The Source. And this time, it was a Security System thatwantedto stay. One that even needed to stay. Jack’s whole arc of the show ended with himneedingto stay on the Island and to do whatever he could to protect it. He believed in the Island, and he believed that he belonged there. Now he was even more correct than he thought. Jack could now happily float around in his new form, helping Hurley clean up Jacob’s mess, and protect the Island he loved, in the form of something he once feared. He did this for many many years, until Hurley’s reign ended and they could both pass off their power and position to Walt, the next true Protector of The Island.
Now let’s go to the Sideways, where Jack keptalmostremembering his life. Every other character had one moment when they remembered everything that ever happened to them. Jack, on the other hand, needed several. A moment with Locke, a moment with Kate. He kept not quite being able to remember. Now, one could argue that this is just because he’s Jack. He’s stubborn and resistant, and just needed a while. However, he wasn’t that way in the Sideways. That was one of the main points in that world. Everyone had evolved and grown in their lives, and they displayed the traits they’d developed in their time on the Island. Sideways Jack was not as stubborn as Real Life Jack.
SO. What’s my point? Jack spent we-don’t-know-how-long as a Smoke Monster on the Island. It could have been years or decades or centuries. Hurley lived a life just as long, but he never changed forms. Hurley remained himself. Jack, however, was Smoke Monster Jack. We saw what being a Smoke Monster can do to a person. As Mother said, it can be “worse than death”. You lose some of yourself. You take the form of other people, you float around asblack smoke. Yes, its essence is you, but much of you is lost over the years.
Jack needed those extra pushes in the Sideways world, because he was so far away from it. He spent his life as Jack, but then he spent X amount of years as another entity. He lost a bit of himself, and each time Locke or Kate touched him in the Sideways, he got a little closer to remembering his life before the Smoke. He needed a drastic wake-up call like his father explaining everything to him in order to truly wake up from his life.