Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thinking About Annie...

For me, one of the absolute most pressing mysteries in LOST for the past few seasons has been Annie, Ben's best friend in Dharmaville for an unspecified amount of time in his past. She was the second person to welcome Ben to the Island, the first being Horace. After the Purge, Ben walked among his fallen comrades and respectfully closed Horace's eyes. He seemed to be the only person in the Dharma Initiative for whom he had any real depth of feeling. We also saw him tuck the doll Annie had given him into his jumpsuit before he went off to kill his dad. That would seem to me an indication that Annie is gone - and I simply can't believe that Ben would have allowed her to be killed in the Purge, unless he really had no idea what was about to happen.

I've long insisted that Annie is an incredibly important character, but thus far, she has only been mentioned in The Man Behind the Curtain. If Ben is still treasuring her doll as late as 2004, it seems to me that she is still of great significance to him. But are we ever going to learn what happened to her? Where she went, and why? Whether she and Ben were still firm friends when she departed? I think she will have a major role to play in the sixth season, though I don't know if we will actually see her. I hope so.

But I was thinking the other day about Apollo bars, which stand among my favorite props in LOST, and how Annie welcomed him to the Island by handing him an Apollo bar, and it made me wonder if there might be a connection among the significant candy-bar-sharing moments the show has given us. There seem to be three: Annie gives Ben an Apollo bar, Hurley shares an Apollo bar with Ben and Jacob gives Jack an Apollo bar. And I suddenly got a wild and crazy idea. What if Annie is Jacob?

I think the chances of this being right are pretty slim, but I like to think about it anyway. After all, we know absolutely nothing of Annie's parentage. What if she is an independent entity, and she's in place in Dharma in the 70s specifically for the sake of guiding Ben along a righteous path? So far, Jacob has only ever appeared in the same form, whereas I get the impression that Esau is a shapeshifter who may not even have a true form that he can revert to at this point. But if Jacob could change his appearance too, this would show that he'd had a big hand in Ben's life at an important stage of his development but had kept his identity secret for reasons known only to him. At some point, Annie simply disappears, and no one knows why, but Ben retains the doll and keeps it close to him all of his life. As he remembers the dearest friend of his life, he unknowingly is demonstrating his loyalty to Jacob.

Which begs the question... Is there a flash of recognition when Ben looks into Jacob's eyes? Could "What about you?" have some kind of significance going back to a childhood conversation? My guess, if this totally off-the-wall theory has any credence to it, is that Ben, like Ellie, gets a slightly unsettled feeling just after doing the deed, but it isn't until after Jacob's death that the full reality of what he's done hits home - when he discovers, tucked into a corner of Jacob's cave, the doll in the likeness of himself.

This is probably completely ridiculous, but I'm getting so frustrated by a lack of answers on this front that I'm starting to entertain all sorts of wild ideas. And I like the thought of Jacob having this intimate relationship with Ben that Ben doesn't recognize as such. It seems more satisfying, anyway, than his having completely ignored him all his life, as he seems to have done.

This is all assuming, too, that Jacob is a Good Guy, which is not at all set in stone at this point. If he is as good as he seems, then I see a sixth season with many Lewis parallels, with Ben as Edmund/Puzzle, Esau as the White Witch/Shift, Jacob as Aslan, Jack as Peter, perhaps Juliet as Susan... Anyway, in this scenario, Jacob is Very Good, and he allowed himself to be killed, knowing of a Deeper Magic that will make everything right again, and counting on Jack and his friends to fight the good fight on his behalf.

There's also the Jacob is Bad scenario, which strikes me as smacking more of Pullman, with Esau winding up the hero for overthrowing this powerful figure and freeing everyone to live purely as they please with no interference from Jacob. In this scenario, we are meant to see Jacob as cold and manipulative at worst, ineffective and weak at best. Evidence for a Jacob is Bad reading: He brings people to the Island knowing that there's a good chance they will destroy each other. He lets Kate off the hook for her crime, so while he tells her not to do it again, his actions help ensure she will. He helps Sawyer become a vigilante by helping him finish his letter. Rather than saving Sayid, he actually causes Nadia to die in the car crash, since she is walking more slowly as she waits for her husband to join her. A negative interpretation is possible in every Jacob scene, I think, which is very frustrating, and the reversal of the colors at the end of the episode could be an indication that in the case of Jacob and Esau, who were wearing opposite-colored shirts in the opening scene, White is bad and Black is good.

I sincerely hope that is not the case, because I think it's setting us up for a really depressing ending espousing a distressing world view. Of course, there are many other conjectures we could make about Jacob that don't fit neatly into either camp. For instance, "God loves you as he loved Jacob" seems to suggest that Jacob is some sort of fallen angel a la Lucifer; clearly Jacob is still alive, so why the past tense? In which case, Jacob being evil doesn't necessarily carry with it any kind of anti-Christian sentiment. It would seem that this makes the castaways the good guys, and I prefer this scenario a bit, but it still leaves a bad taste.

So I'm sticking with Jacob is the Good Guy, and the sharing of an Apollo bar is an act that is almost holy. I think of Harry Potter here and the use of chocolate as a tool in counteracting the effects of Dementors. The Apollo bars are powerful symbols of friendship and faith in the face of despair. And the fact that Hurley shares one is so fitting, as I suspect that of everyone on Flight 815, his connection to Jacob is the strongest.

Of course, there's also the very big question of where Jack and the gang will end up and how that relates to the Jacob saga. Do they get zapped to 2007 and join right in the battle that will be shaping up between Esau and those still loyal to Jacob? Do they end up in 2004 and crash on the Island again, or in 2004 and land safely but still end up on the Island via Ajira 316? Do they get zapped back to the points at which Jacob touched them? Do they retain their memories of everything that has happened since 815 crashed? Do they stay in 1977 and bring about the rest of the events in the Island's backstory that have yet to happen? This is a really important issue, and I have no idea what will happen, though I hope that in any case, they do not lose their memories. I hope they can keep the progress they've made and the knowledge of the friendships they've forged, and this will be instrumental in helping them to ultimately win this war that Charles was talking about, the war in which he may very well be on the wrong side.

I hope that Jacob is a good guy, and I hope the good guys win.

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