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Across the Sea
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Smokey is the Island's Protector and Jacob Ensures he stays to protect

  • We have seen a lot of evidence that suggests the smoke monster is a security system, protecting the Island or something on the island. Remember "Cerberus vents" on the blast door map in "Lockdown" for example. Thus, the smoke monster is an unwilling protector of the island, and Jacob ensures he never leaves.
    • It seems unlikely that Jacob's purpose is solely to keep MiB on the Island. Jacob was charged with the protection of the Source and MiB has been trying to expose and use the Source for his own gains.
      • Incorrect, MiB has simply been trying to go "home."
        • This is assuming that Smokey really is MiB - what if he isn't? One thing we know for sure about Smokey is that he can take on the form of dead people. He also appears to take on portions of their personality as we have seen with him in the form of Flocke (becomes easily frustrated, shouts "Don't tell me what I can't do", etc...). It is possible that when MiB was drawn into the Source, that he merely released Smokey, and once dead, Smokey took on his form/consciousness - including MiB's desire to "go home", even though he is not meant to leave.

Jacob's mother warns him never to go down there, when he asks "will I die" she says "no, it would be much worse than that", which to me suggests something happens to you, not simply your death then releasing smoke monster. Plus the MIB told Richard that Jacob tricked him and stole his body. This is certainly implied here.

  • Why is it when Smokey emerged from the Source he took the form of MiB, even though MiB wasn't dead when he entered the cave. Maybe he was killed inside? But more importantly, if Smokey can take the form of the dead while he is "locked" in the form of his human MiB form, why can't John Locke's form change? Or has he? As we've seen in Across the Sea the Smoke Monster hadn't emerged yet and still the "dead" appeared. So maybe the Island has a bigger plan other then protecting the Source.
  • We have to assume that there are different ways for people on the island to see the dead. The Smoke Monster can inhabit a new body completely, as is seen in him switching from Jacob's brother to Locke. This is one way. Another way is for him to essentially show visions of the dead to people, as seen with Yemi to Eko, Alex to Ben, etc. This could possibly be him inhabiting their bodies for a briefer amount of time, it's debatable. However, Hurley is able to communicate with the dead in a situation in which the dead spirits are ACTUALLY talking to him. Isabella was not the smoke monster, Jacob was not the smoke monster, Michael was not, etc etc. So who is to say that Claudia appearing to Jacob's brother wasn't really her spirit?
  • As seen in Across the Sea, Jacob is the protecter because he took the drink?

Smokey is just a Tool


  • Ben summons Smokey to fight for him (and the Island).
  • Mad Mum also summoned Smokey to destroy the village and villagers.
  • Mad Mum was never worried about Smokey, she only worried that MiB might leave the Island.
  • Jacob ended up somehow fusing MiB and Smokie making impossible for MiB to leave (until he found the loophole).

The Smoke Monster's Origin

It was Mother's idea

  • Jacob/MiB's mother intended for MiB to get thrown into the light all along. She introduces the Light to both the boys, then tells Jacob that entering the light would be worse than death. She then provokes MiB to kill her (by murdering all the redshirts). MiB kills her, which gives Jacob a motive to hate his brother. Jacob obligingly throws MiB into the light, an action entirely precipitated by his mother.
    • The entire discussion or idea of "protecting" the source/the Island may have been part of the ruse.
      • Jacob figured this out soon after it all happened, which is why he later calls the Island a cork over a source of evil, and not a source of life and light. Mother, as smoke monster, thought that its plan would help itself get off the Island, but it failed to account for something that Jacob did that prevented it, or some previously unknown rule established by the Island.
  • She provides the game to introduce rivalry between the brothers, telling one son he was special. Jacob later perceives himself a second choice.
    • She lied about giving him the game. It was washed ashore from the ship and she didn't want him to think there was anything 'across the sea', so she told him it came from her so he doesn't get the idea that there's anything but the Island.

Claudia, the twin's birth mother.

  • It may be a little generous to say that her plan all along was for MIB to become the nemesis. She knew she had found a replacement, but she was unsure which brother was going to be that replacement. The game may have been a part of that, but it seems that originally she had chosen MIB instead of Jacob. Additionally, she seemed surprised that Claudia gave birth to twins, so it can't have been her plan all along.
  • She lies to her Son in Black that the Island is all that there is, nothing across the sea. This sets up his departure (as below) when Claudia's ghost/apparition clues him in, although it doesn't turn the brothers against each other.
  • The Island needs a balance of good and evil. When Mother kills the villagers out of love for MiB, the evil, corruptible side of the Island dies too. Therefore, MiB becomes the evil side, but only as a result of killing her (or perhaps her death is a punishment for disrupting the balance), and so Jacob must take up her role to once again keep balance and order.

Smoke Monster is the MiB

  • It was confirmed in the final official podcast that the Smoke Monster in this episode was the MiB.
  • If the Smoke Monster was not the MIB, this would imply that Jacob really killed his brother, something Mother said that could not happen. Not only that, Mother said death was something they would never have to worry about. Since we have seen the MIB's body, we can only assume he went on living in another form - the Smoke Monster.
  • Flocke was the MiB having a conversation with Jacob on the beach, this was basically established in The Incident. Flocke is also the smoke monster, this would seem to have been established several times since The Incident as well. Given this information we can conclude that Flocke = Smokey = MiB. The reasoning is also sound, Smokey wanted to kill Jacob so he can go home, which appears to be the only thing MiB wanted to do and the only thing that Flocke wants to do. Since the goal of all 3 is exactly the same, it seems to be sound reasoning to say that given the information we posses it would appear that all 3 entities are in fact one in the same, hence Flocke = Smokey = MiB.
    • Additionally, the following sequence of ideas is also logical. MiB was sent into the light and his soul was separated from his body, released as a column of black smoke, leaving his body an empty shell of a corpse. We know that The Smoke Monster can take the form of any corpse on the Island. MiB's corpse is on the Island. It's only logical that if MiB is The Smoke Monster, he would probably first (and most often) choose the form of his former body. The exceptions would be A) when reverting to his "natural" Smoke Monster form to scare/attack people and; B) when using the form of another corpse in order to manipulate people (such as taking Locke's form and using it to convince Ben to kill Jacob).
      • The reasoning looks sound, but I don't think that the three of them having the same goal is a solid and undeniable proof of the identity S = MiB. under the hypothesis that this identity does not stand, it's not unreasonable to think that "evil personified" has the goal of spreading all over the entire world and free itself from the prison that is the Island. Yes, they look similar, but are they the same? Maybe. Maybe not.
        • Having the same goal does not necessarily mean it's the same person. As we have seen with Smokey taking the form of Locke, he has adopted some of Locke's personality traits (easily frustrated, shouts "Don't tell me what I can't do" etc...). It is possible that when Smokey takes the form of someone, he also absorbs their consciousness. In this case that would result in Smokey wanting to "go home".
        • The fact that they all have the same goal is not the only evidence used. With all the information we've collected we can determine that Flocke = Smokey. And with previous statements from smokey like "He stole my body" the episode explained how Jacob "stole" his body, he was separated from it after being tossed into the cave. That being the case and due to another fact of Smokey can't kill Jacob or he would have done it already. All of this put together suggests that MiB=Smokey=Locke.
    • If Smokey is MIB and didn't exist before MIB, how do you account for the Egyptian-style iconography Ben saw in "Dead is Dead"? That would seem to suggest that Smokey predated "Mother", MIB and Jacob, but is certainly not conclusive.
      • Assuming the iconography predates these events, it suggests there was a smoke monster on the Island before, but not necessarily that it was the same one. Perhaps anyone that goes into the cave will come out in the same condition.
        • Good thought, but...it would appear that "this" Smokey has been around for what, a couple thousand years? Unable to leave? If there have been other Smoke Monsters...how did they cease to be? I accept this could still be touched on in the final episodes, but to me it seems more likely that there has only ever been one Smokey.
  • Maybe it's like Paulo, and the smoke just knocked MIB out, and Jacob thought he had died which made him bury him in the Adam and Eve cave, and so he was just buried alive which led to his death. Ironic, right?
    • No, not ironic. And he wasn't buried. The bodies were just left in the cave, like a tomb.
  • When talking with Kate about Claire, Flocke referred to "my mother." If the MIB was just one of many forms that the Smoke Monster had taken on over the years, he wouldn't have referred to her in this way. She would just have been the mother of one of his previous forms.
    • Who says that the Smoke Monster's "original form didn't have a similar sort of mother? It just seems like MIB can't be the smoke monster. If he was, why did MIB's body stay in the cave. It's the John Locke conundrum.

Smoke Monster Was A "Substitute"

The monster existed before Jacob threw his brother into the light, thus the episode title Ab Aeterno (which roughly translates to 'always existing'). The monster was the malevolence that Jacob referred to that existed under the Island. According to the Protector's Rules during Mother's term, Jacob and his brother could not kill one another. Even after she was dead, as long as Jacob hadn't made new rules, Mother's rules stuck.

Jacob threw his brother into the light and the radiation killed him. The monster finally had a body to replicate, granting him a physical form and freedom. The Man in Black effectively lived. The Monster IS who he replicates. That is why Flocke says "Don't tell me what i can't do!" and that is why Fake Christian refers to Jack as "my son." The Locke-centric episode is called the Substitute for a reason. The Island/fate can't tell the difference. Jack and Flocke fight to the death, just as Jack and Locke were destined to. If the Man in Black was the Smoke, why did his body wash out of the other side of the cave? The writers said that the Man in Black is the monster, but they mean it in the same way as Locke is the monster.

After the events of Across the Sea, Jacob avoids referring to the Smoke as his brother. They behave like rivals, not brothers.

Why wouldn't there have been an episode showing Jacob learn his brother was transformed into the Smoke? Why weren't we shown the Man in Black actually changing for the first time? Why did the Smoke appear to be escaping when it leaves the source cave?

A lot of clues are hidden in episode titles. Jacob and the nemesis were first revealed in the episode "The Incident" which also contains Dharma drilling to deep into the electromagnetic well. But there are two incidents in the history of the Island.

Jacob makes a mistake, allowing for the Monster to escape.

Dharma makes a mistake, allowing the radiation to escape.

Jacob has to bring candidates to eventually replace him.

Dharma has to bring candidates to press the button.

Jacob builds a failsafe. (The cork)

Dharma builds a failsafe. (The key)

Jack and (F)Locke argue over the Island.

Jack and Locke argue over the hatch.

Desmond activates the failsafe.

Desmond activates the failsafe.

If the Man In Black was the Monster, that would ruin this perfect pattern. When the cork was pulled out, it was collapsing the Island into the evil, sealing it, just like when the hatch imploded.

The Monster does not need the bodies to replace them, otherwise he couldn't be Ben's mother or Isabella. He could not get to Locke's body to dispose of it because it was locked in that huge box.

  • Seems Smoky is able to replicate other bodies via something which belongs to them. In case of Isabella, her cross necklace; and in case of Ben's Mother something which previously was in her possession that might had been brought to the island by Roger Linus (Ben's father).

This explains the only resolution we get between Jacob and the Man in Black being Jacob laying his body to rest.

Smoke Monster IS or WAS Mother

The Light transformed into the Smoke Monster

  • The Smoke Monster is the result of a hybridization between the Light and a human. Every human carries something bad/evil inside him, while the Light itself represents pure goodness. So the moment MIB came in contact with the Light, the Light lost its "pureness" and transformed into something new: Something corrupted, evil and powerful. So, the white Light (being pure goodness) became Black Smoke (being pure evil). Inheritance of abilities from the parent generation is common to all species.
    • The properties and abilities of MIB (not being able to kill his brother, being special), even his goals (wanting to leave) are inherited by the outcome of the hybridization (= Smoke Monster). This explains why the Smoke Monster is a lot like Jacob's brother, but still isn't him in person.
  • The light is still in the cave

    The light is still in the cave

  • If you cross two entities into a new one, the parent generation doesn't have to die necessarily. If the Light didn't transform into the Smoke, you can still say MIB transformed into a corrupted version of his own because of the Light.
  • The "sound" of the Smoke Monster is more than vaguely similar to the sound of the game box when it is moved with the pieces in it. When "Mother" picked it up in the cave before being stabbed, the rattle it made sounded extremely familiar - if that rattle was amplified, it might sound a lot like the rattling of the Smoke Monster.
  • The Electromagnetic forces on the Island have a unique property of being able to capture and preserve the patterns of human mind and consciousness. That's why people who die on the Island get stuck there and cannot "move on". They might think this happens because they "have stuff to do", but it may be happening totally indiscriminately. Some people, like Hurley, are sensitive to such electromagnetic activity and, as a result, can see those dead people. People who are not that sensitive can only hear whispers. The most dramatic manifestation of this phenomenon is when somebody enters the Source itself. Then subject's conciousness gets imprinted on hugely more powerful field and he is transformed into a "Smoke Monster". Being a Smoke Monster by itself does not necessarily make you a bad person.
  • Michael appears to Hurley, but Michael did not die on the Island; he died 80 miles off shore on Widmore's boat. So, Michael's spirit shouldn't be trapped on the island thinking it has stuff to do. Plus, some of the people who only hear whispers do get to see a person (Shannon sees Walt, Juliet sees Harper), so Hurley isn't the only one to see the dead after hearing the whispers.
  • Michael may not have died on the Island, but he died close enough to it. If he was farther off, the helicopter wouldn't have been able to freighter without the special bearing.
  • Anything that touches light casts a shadow from it. The light in the cave need not be so different.

The Original Smoke Monster Vs. Smoke Monster 2.0

  • Mother and the original Smoke Monster were guardians of the Source/Light. Mother could be compared to a guard while the original Smoke Monster can be compared to a guard dog (i.e. Cerberus). The original Smoke Monster had no personality/soul and was around before Roman Times - definitely around the time of Ancient Egypt as shown in the hieroglyphs below the Temple and Ben's Dharma house.
    • The Mother was not the original Smoke Monster. The Mother summoned the original Smoke Monster (much like how Ben did in Season 4) to carry MiB out of the well, to destroy the well and village and to kill all the villagers. There's no way the Mother could have done this all by herself. The Mother was a mortal who didn't age and had long life like Jacob and Richard - both confirmed mortals. When Jacob drinks the wine, the Mother says "now we are the same". We know that Jacob is not like the Smoke Monster. Also, we see MiB stab and kill the Mother. Sayid stabbed the Smoke Monster / FLocke with the same dagger but he was not killed.
    • As a result of going into the Source/Light, MiB's soul was separated from his body. His soul went into the Original Smoke Monster and now MiB will live forever restless without a body - a fate worse than death. Now Smokey 2.0 is an unwilling guardian of the Source/Light, is eternally obsessed with leaving the Island and is willing to do evil things to make it happen.
  • In the Smoke Monster's hostile encounters with 'redshirts' shown to date (perhaps coincidentally) the redshirts have always fired rifles first & escalated the confrontation into a rampage. The tribe of castaways included at least five women and two children. They had spears and knives. Mother does not deny her deeds to the Man in Black when accused, and admits so to Jacob. She is the Smoke Monster, or had a similar nature and powers.
    • Jacob's twin, although human, should not have been able to die. Nor should Jacob have been able to harm him. Mother is similarly indicated to be immortal, not least of which is her role as guardian. Yet all three prove to have a certain mortal vulnerability, and leave mortal remains.

Time Frame


This episode takes place in an allegorical time that is not representative of human history. The use of blown glass wine bottles with cork stoppers among people using Latin in the vernacular makes it clear this episode takes place in a fictional non-period. The closest match would be 5th to 6th century AD.


Roughly 2,000 years. The script, as noted on the Geronimo Jack's Beard podcast, said that "two millennia" passed between the events of the end of the episode and the discovery of Adam and Eve.

Roman Era

The Roman village on the Island


  • The knife that MiB has as an adult is shown to be magnetic (when it sticks to the stone of the well) so it must be made of iron.
    • It is interesting that MiB does not call this property "magnetism" as if he and the villagers do not have a name for it, since the term "magnetism" is introduced in 1600 by William Gilbert in his book "On the Magnet and Magnetic Bodies, and on the Great Magnet the Earth"
      • Lodestones were discovered in Greece and China around 800 to 200 BCE. Ironically, this discovery corresponds with the Axial Age. The roots of modern technology and contemporary spirituality/philosophy all emerged about the same time.
  • The knife is a Roman dagger with Remus and Romulus.
  • Both mothers speak Latin.

Claudia's people (Romans)

    • Claudia is the feminine form of Claudius.
      • Roman children were often named after Roman emperors. The first emperor named Claudius was Tiberius Claudius who reigned from A.D. 41 to A.D. 54.
        • Not quite right. Roman girls were not named, in the sense that we talk about it now. They were given a name that was the feminine version of their father's family name. One of the Julius clan would have daughters named "Julia," a man of the Claudius clan would have daughters named "Claudia," etc. When there were multiple daughters, they would all have the same name, but would be given different nicknames, so sisters could be Julia and Julilla ("little Julia"), for example.
    • Claudia gives her firstborn child the name Jacob, which suggests it to be after 300 AD. Christian names weren't given by pagan parents, so this has to be after Christianity became widespread over the Latin speaking culture area.
      • Jacob is the Latin form of the Hebrew name Yakov. Therefore the time period can predate the conversion on Constantine.
        • Romans didn't give their children "foreign" names, and certainly not a Jewish/Christian name. The date of the events has to be after the late 4th century, when both Latin (Claudia) and christian (Jacob) were used.
          • There are many alternatives that would not limit it to the 4th century. It was never stated that Claudia was an upstanding Roman citizen. She could just as easily have been Christian or Jewish, having the name Claudia for political reasons.
            • If she were Jewish, she wouldn't have been named Claudia. She'd have a Jewish name. She has a distinctly Roman name and is giving her child a distinctly Christian name. Also, if she were Jewish, Hebrew would have been her primary language and she and Mother would have conversed in Hebrew. She'd also be unlikely to be giving birth to a blond baby. Given Claudia's colorful outfit, jewelery and sandals, she's unlikely to have been a slave (and even less likely that a pregnant slave would be brought aboard a ship). Chances are, Claudia's shipwreck occurred during a period when Romans were giving their children Biblical names. I'd place it no sooner than 1st century AD.
              • Or maybe she just happened to know a Jewish fellow named Jacob and decided to name the child after him. There's far too little information available to sustain any timeframe beyond about 2000 years.
    • Jacob derives from Latin "Iacobus" and Greek "Iakobos". Jacob is the English version, as they do speak English to make it easy for us. It's not a distinctly Christian name at all. Just because it's well known in English to refer to the Biblical Jacob, does not mean the name root isn't from Greek and Latin, the languages spoken during that time.
      • It's the other way around: Jakub is a jewish name, which has been "translated" into Greek and Latin as Iakobos and Iacobus. Just like Yeshua has been transformed into Jesus or Ibrahim into Abraham.
    • it is hard to tell, but I believe that they are using (or trying to use) an older, pre-classical version of Latin, which would place the events before 75 BC, or so. in classical Latin -um and -us endings replaced older -om and -os.
      • Mother greets Claudia with "Olle quidae gravers?" but olle became obsolete during the transition from Old Latin to Classical Latin, being replaced by ille. Claudia responds to her offer for help with "Gratias ago tibi" where ago should go at the end of the sentence. Those are the only differences between the two.
        • "olle" was still used in colloquial Latin and didn't die out in 75BC. In Roumanian - the modern language closest to Latin - olle is still used. Also, the word order does not really matter in Latin, except if you want to stress a certain word. "Gratias ago tibi" is correct, in any time slot you place it. Think of the Latin mass, which has "Gratias agimus tibi" in the gloria. The first written text of the Gloria dates from 382AD.
          • Olle was still used in classical Latin, but not in day-to-day conversation. In much the same way, "thou" is still used in English, but rarely. She might as well be saying "Art thou hurt?" Old Latin was loose about word order while Classical Latin put slightly more emphasis on it. She would most likely speak like those who she was around, and the social norm was to put the verb at the end. But, the word order is not indicative of much, as every Roman writer/speaker had their own "style".
            • Mother may have been using antiquated speech. We don't know when she learned Latin, and she was apparently ageless. Mother's grammar isn't going to tell us very much.
            • 5x16 JacobGivingBlessing.jpg
              We also don't know how Jacob speaks fluent Korean or Russian, yet he does. Perhaps the protector of the Island gains the ability for language. We can then assume that what Mother spoke in Latin was exactly correct for the time period and for Claudia to understand her.
              • Greek was the lingua franca of the eastern empire, not Latin. Anywhere someone would have named their child Jacob before Christianity was probably Greek speaking.


  • The boards from the shipwreck Claudia clings to show a lapped-board construction, reminiscent of Roman and Greek sailing vessels.
  • The shots of the women in the village appear to show them wearing stolas.
  • The island at this time must exist in the Mediterranean or somewhere in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, Black Sea or very close to the coasts of Britain, France, or Spain or possibly near the northwest African coast, but most likely in the Mediterranean Sea. These were the waters of the "Known World" of the time for the people of the Mediterranean.

Replacing Jacob

Why MiB/Smoke Monster Kills the Candidates

  • MiB/Smokey keeps track of and kills candidates, because if a replacement is found for Jacob, he will return to his cave prison and at the very least would be unable to roam the island. Now that Jacob is dead, if MiB/Smokey can kill the remaining candidates, there is no power left to keep him there.
  • Except that Smokey was seen many times around the island while Jacob was alive. It seems more that he can't leave the island while someone is protecting it.
  • As theorized earlier on this page, the candidate may be replacing the MIB. If the MIB kills the right one they become the smoke and the MIB will be released and able to go home. Just like Jacob trying to kill the MIB when he became the smoke and security system for the island.
    • This is also confirmed when the submarine explodes and MIB says that it didn't work. He immediately knew he hadn't succeeded in killing everyone. Maybe the goal wasn't necessarily to kill everyone, but just the "right" one. If he had killed the correct candidate, MIB would have been able to leave the island immediately and the new candidate would take over as the smoke monster.
  • It is NOT the touch that makes people candidates, it is the GIFTING. Jacob didn't just touch Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and the Kwons, he GAVE them something. HE gave Jack the candy bar. He gave Kate the lunchbox, he gave Hurley the guitar case and he gave the Kwons a blessing. This is what makes them candidates. Jacob's mother gave him the wine. It is TOUCH that makes Smokey unable to harm them.
    • Jacob touched Locke - and we all know how that turned out. Touching does NOT make them susceptible to the Smoke monster.
      • Locke was killed by Ben, NOT the smoke monster, since Locke was dead when he arrived on the island, the smoke monster was easily able to take his body. He didn't harm him at all.
  • If Jacob is replaced, then the cycle will repeat itself. More people will be lured to the island, only to turn against each other and kill themselves. MiB wants to "stop pressing the button" and see what happens when nobody is left to protect the island. Perhaps he hates the island itself now and wants to destroy it, even if he dies in the process.
  • Jacob's game could (in theory) involve him giving MiB a list of names. The last person alive will become Jacob and the game will begin again. But if MiB can get all the people on the list (the candidates) to kill themselves he will be able to escape the island. Sayid said to Jack "it is you" (quote not 100% accurate) before he runs off with the bomb in the sub. This could mean Jack will be the "winner" of the game and be left on the island with Locke.
    • Actually, Sayid tells Jack to do something, Jack asks him why he is telling him this, and so Sayid says "Because it will be you." As in, 'It will be you who does it.' It could, however, have a double meaning, which would mean that the MIB either told Sayid what he knew, or Sayid naturally learned it by joining the 'Dark Side'.
  • Jacob draws people to the island to help Smokey leave. People have some of the light in them, and are greedy for more, according to Mother. Jacob loves his brother, and feels compassion for him being trapped against his will. Since, because of Jacob's actions, smokey does not have a body, and cannot leave the island. It could be surmised that the best way to protect the cave of light is rid the island of Smokey. Jacob is arranging both his and smokey's departure . When this episode ends, the only known living person on the island is Jacob. If Jacob is tasked with protecting the light from men, this explains why he would deliberately bring men to the island.
    • Jacob draws people to the Island to see if all people are bad, like his 'mother' said. That is why he watches his brother with the other people on the island.

Richard and the Wine

Jacob uses wine as a parable for the nature of the Island.

  • If you go back and watch Ab Aeterno, you will see that when Jacob is discussing the whole cork analogy with Richard, he gives Richard a glass of wine from the same bottle and in the same glass that he was given when he accepted his position as guardian of the Source. Perhaps this means that Richard has unknowingly become a guardian of the Island (hence his agelessness) and this is somehow part of Jacob's loophole?
    • If that was the case, Jacob would have made the consequences of drinking plain to Richard, just like Mother did with him. Also, why go to all the trouble to recruit candidates if Richard is suitable for the task?
      • Maybe because the candidates worked to motivate Richard? Remember, he had given up hope when the recruited candidates convinced him to sabotage Flocke's plan to leave the island.
        • If Richard is the replacement for Jacob - perhaps the 'candidates' are a replacement for Richard and his job of adviser.
          • I actually think that the wine is for mortality and not necessarily to signify the protector's job.
  • The cup itself must be special in some way, as part of this ritual. It appears to be a silver cylindrical cup, and we see Jacob offer it to Richard many years later. Being silver, and the fact Jacob's home in the base of the statue is by the sea, the cup would normally quickly tarnish and blacken with silver oxide. So it is special enough that Jacob keeps it cleaned and shiny.
    • The 'special' would much rather be in the cup than in the wine, as Jacob gives the wine to MiB, saying something along the lines of "Here's something to keep you occupied."
      • The wine is not from the island. That's why Jacob can give the wine to MiB mockingly. MiB, or rather smokey, is unable to eat or drink anything that is not grown on the island, by the Source. The wine is therefore not native to the island/the Source. Flocke is however perfectly able to eat an island-grown mango.
    • In this episode the drinking of the wine symbolized Jacob accepting the position of protector of the island. Maybe the scene with Richard was to symbolize his acceptance of the position of Jacob's representative.
    • Mother recited what sounded like a Latin prayer or spell which seemed to 'bless' the wine. We don't know that Jacob ever learned any spells, prayers or any further knowledge from Mother before her death.
      • Perhaps the prayer was part of the prayer for the wine in the Eucharistic Service of Holy Communion.
      • The implication was that drinking the wine is what made Jacob immortal. It's possible that it has nothing to do with becoming the Island's protector.
        • Jacob and MiB were immortal before that. Mother said something about them never having to worry about death.
          • Mother may have just been saying that to quell their fears. She also said that the brothers couldn't harm one another, but Jacob beat him up twice, and possibly killed him.
            • Mother was immortal because she drank wine. Then, she actually gave wine (off camera) to Jacob and MIB when they were younger. From that point, they became immortal : that is why she said that she made impossible for them to harm each other. Then Jacob gave wine to Richard who then become immortal.
              • They weren't immortal. Mother didn't give them the wine 'off camera' because there would have been some acknowledgment of this. She told Jacob's brother that he did not have to fear death because she initially thought he would be the protector of the island. Then, when he wanted to leave, she had no choice but to choose Jacob instead, which is when she gave him the wine and made him immortal

Reason for this Purge

We presume that Mother destroyed the village and the villagers. The question was why not do this earlier, immediately after she located them? Why let them survive and endure for 13 years for the twins to come into contact, and then for another 30? The theory here is that strangers to the Island are left alone unless are going to damage the Island or they gain knowledge of the Island's Source. As soon as MiB told Mother that the villagers had knowledge of the Light in the wheel well, she knew she would have to kill them all.

  • This is also the reason for the Purge of the Dharma Initiative. The DI's research had come too close to "touching the Light" (accessing the Source).
  • Still does not really explain why the villagers were just left alone, unless Mother expected them to die out from their own actions.
    • If someone is immortal, they would develop the view that all normal humans were short-lived.
  • Mother needs the villagers to corrupt MIB. The main debate during the enlightenment was over the nature of man. Is man naturally good (Jacob - as the philosopher John Locke believed) or is he corrupted by society (MIB - as Thomas Hobbes believed). Mother needs "man" on the Island to complete the decent of MIB
    • It's more like the show's writers needed a way to corrupt the BiB. Sometimes, incongruity is needed for plot advancement.

Mother Summoned the Smoke Monster for the Purge

  • How did she do this? How did she rebury the hole?
    • Now that's clear: She travelled through time, went to the Black Rock, got some freakin' dynamite, flew back in time and blew that whole dirty well-thang up.
    • Like Ben did when he needed help, she called on the Monster...she has knowledge of it and its purpose, she knew how to communicate with it and that is why she told the boys to stay out of the cave.

The Wheel

The Wheel was constructed as a means of leaving the Island. It was begun by MiB and others from Claudia's people. Construction was interrupted when Mother discovered the project. Construction was resumed either by MiB -- before he killed Mother or afterward by assuming the form of Jacob's brother -- or by another, later group who discovered the unique properties of the Island.

  • MiB probably went back and finished the construction but learned he couldn't leave the Island as long as Jacob (and any candidates) were alive. And MiB was barred from directly killing Jacob or the candidates.
    • And MiB needed a way to get a body.
  • The well could have been redug after it was destroyed in an attempt by smokey/MiB to leave the Island which inevitably failed because he can only leave when Jacob is dead possibly.
  • We know that turning the wheel can get you off the island (Ben does it). So that part definitely works. We do not know how much time elapsed between the destruction of the well and MiB murdering Mother. He could have done it himself, but it's likely that a group of Egyptians came to the Island after the Romans that Mother killed. MiB probably manipulated the Egyptians into helping him re-dig the well and finish building the wheel system, but when he tried to turn the wheel, it failed because he's unable to leave the island until Jacob (and all his replacement candidates) are gone.
    • This would be just about perfect except that the timelines don't mesh right. Assuming the wheel construction was started about 2000 years ago, and hieroglyphics would have already gone out of style by then. Now I suppose this could all be explained though some weird time skipping theory but that would just reek of a ret-con. The Dharma Initiative seemed to use hieroglyphics (Countdown Timer) so maybe they finished it. Unfortunately I get the feeling that the hieroglyphics were a production goof, yes there were Egyptians on the island, seems like it must have been when the Crazy Mother was making the rules, but the appearance of their writing all over some things just doesn't make sense.
      • The Egyptians were on the Island before Across the Sea. Mother is perhaps the last remaining person from that group, and therefore took on the role of protector.
      • I realize Season 5 is over, but we have to account for the idea that the island can travel through time. Even if the wheel was begun after a timeline that jives with Egyptians, nothing says the island didn't go back in time after that, to be inhabited by a group of Egyptians that finish the wheel, build the statue, etc.
        • When BiB finds the Senet game on the beach, Mother says that it came from her. Senet is an Egyptian game, and the game surface seems to show hieroglyphics. This would seem to indicate she had this Egyptian item prior to this episode's time period.
      • Hieroglyphics were still in limited use 2000 years ago; the Egyptians stopped using them around 400 AD. Thus, it is entirely possible that a group of Egyptians came to the Island after Mother's death and installed the wheel, along with building the Temple, the Statue and other ruins, probably by MiB manipulating them. Jacob stated to Richard that he preferred to take a hands-off approach, while MiB was more than willing to use arrivals to the Island as a "means to an end." First it was having someone finish the wheel, which didn't work, and then it was trying to get people to kill Jacob.
      • You're answering yourself: The hieroglyphics are just a motif: DHARMA used them, whomever finished the well (most likely someone under the instruction of MiB) used them too. They're no proof of actual Egyptian involvement, which most likely happened centuries before the events depicted in "Across the Sea."
  • MiB's frustration is that he has built this means of leaving the Island, yet cannot leave due to the fact he is Smokey. So all his efforts since then have been to find a way to be human again, and to be able to turn the wheel.
    • Appearing as Christian Shephard, he knew where the Wheel room was to tell Locke to turn the wheel. MiB is the only person who knows and understands the workings of the wheel.
    • This strengthens the theory that MiB plans in the current day to use the Wheel to leave the Island, not the Ajira plane or the Sub.
    • Christian directly states that he can't help Locke turn the wheel or even get up after he broke his leg. Seems to fit with the "can't leave the Island" rule.
    • The MiB can't leave the island by turning the wheel or else he would have already, for example when posing as Christian while talking to Locke in the season 5 episode This Place Is Death.
    • Only candidates can use the wheel, but they relinquish their candidacy. This was why Locke's name was crossed off and not because he was dead. This would explain why Linus's name was crossed out too (although this could apply to any candidate that leaves the Island, hence Austin being crossed out). By taking the form of Locke maybe now he can use the wheel because it somehow knows Locke can use the wheel.
      • I was with you until you mentioned "Austin" (Austen) being crossed out due to Kate leaving the Island... Jack, Hurley, and Sun all left the Island and were still candidates...
        • Austen's name was crossed out because she became a mother. Rest of them were still living a pissed off life, without any true love in their lives!

Theories about The Light

Main article: The Source/Theories

Mid-wife/Mother's death

  • She thanks him for her death because she had been guardian for a long time and was world-weary. Perhaps she had tried suicide even but nothing had worked. These two boys were her ticket to peace.

Remember when Dogen said that within each person a balance exists between light and dark. Perhaps, the Cave somehow absorbed the light portion of the MIB soul and expelled only the darkness.

  • She foresaw her death. After knocking MIB out and destroying the village, she woke Jacob and told him it was time. She took him to the Source and made him protector. She did all this because she expected MIB to come kill her for what she had done and she was ready. This is the same thing that Jacob did in preparing for his death. He expected MIB to find a loophole and accepted that he would die.
  • Once Mother passes on her duties to Jacob, she is now vulnerable to death.
    • That would mean that Jacob already passed his duties to someone before being stabbed by Ben. More likely, protectors and "strange entities" like Flocke can be murdered with that knife.

Jacob's New Rules and New Game

  • Remember that the reason Jacob brought people to the Island since he wanted people to know the difference between right and wrong without being told.
    • Yes, but why? It was not just to have people to know the difference between right and wrong , but it was so he could show MIB that people can know the difference between right and wrong. OK, why do that? Why is it important that Jacob demonstrate that normal people know the difference between right and wrong, and that they choose to do right, without being told? This is the crux of the story. The theory here is that, for as long as people continue to freely choose to do what is right/good, there is a purpose to the Source existing and being protected. And therefore, while there is a need for the Source to be protected, there will always need to be a protector. This therefore means that MiB can never leave.
  • MIB said that one day Jacob can make up his own game and then everyone will have to follow his rules. Bring people to the Island is thus Jacob's game since everyone on the Island has to follow his "rules".
  • As their mother told, the basic rule of the game was that Jacob and MIB can never hurt each other, so MIB cannot kill Jacob directly and needed to find a loophole in order to do so.
  • Mother seems to be able to create any rules she wants. Perhaps as the guardian of the Source, she's able to create rules for whatever comes from the Source. That's why she was able to declare them both immortal and prevent either from hurting each other.
    • By giving Jacob her gift, he now has this power and indeed takes up MiB's offer to create his own rules.
    • Notably, Mother said they would never be able to hurt each other, but they do in fact hurt each other. Jacob beats the living hell out of MiB before tossing him down the river towards the Source. Maybe "can't hurt" just means "can't directly kill."
      • That actually happened when she wasn't "in charge" anymore.
        • Jacob also beat his brother when they were 13, and mother was still in charge.
    • Perhaps Jacob just broke the rules. The first time, the punishment was that his brother would never come back (which is why Fake Mom was so certain he wouldn't). The second time, the punishment was his brother becoming the smoke monster.
  • Original Smoke Monster, the Mother and the Island were guardians of the Source/Light. The Mother (and now Smoke Monster / MiB) believed people were fated to be corrupt and evil while the Island (and now Jacob) has faith in the free will of people. That's why the Island sends ghosts to people - to give them the knowledge that they have a choice (i.e. original mother appearing to little boy in black). Jacob has embraced the Island's calling and not his Mother's or Smoke Monster / MiB's beliefs about humankind. As a result, Jacob has created a new "game" to find a new and worthy guardian of the Source/Light. Someone who discovers the difference between right and wrong on their own. Someone who knowing the sacrifice still makes the choice of becoming the new guardian. Jacob was not given a choice by his Mother - he only knew what his Mother told him when he became the new guardian. Somewhere down the line he realized what his Mother did to him was wrong and that his Mother was wrong about people. Jacob realized there is hope in people as long as they are given a choice and act out of their own free will. The goal of Jacob's new game is to find someone worthy of being the guardian and to not just dump the job on them (like how his Mother did to him). That's why it important for Jacob to tell everyone that they have a choice.
    • If this is true then Hurley never had much of a choice.
      • Hurley had a choice. Sawyer and Kate were still there on the Island, but he sacrificed to go with Jack. Now Jack was happy with the sacrifice he made, thus made him the new Protector!

Good and Bad people

  • This episode raises some doubts about Jacob/MiB's apparent morality dichotomy and almost asks the viewer to sympathize with MiB rather than with Jacob. While young MiB was smart, contemplative, independent, curious, and possessor of some kind of mysterious gift, young Jacob is shown as slow-witted, sheep-minded, prone to violent outbursts, with deep mommy issues and in the end, cruel and merciless. Time after time, MiB shared his plans and discoveries with Jacob and every time Jacob betrayed them to their mother or simply lashed out at him. Unsurprisingly, time after time, Jacob's followers (the Others, Widmore, Bram) have presumed of being the "good guys" while letting their actions speak louder the opposite. Interestingly, MiB shared his mother's belief in the inherent badness of people.
    • MIB's only crime was to try to leave the island. He was favored by his "mother", but sought "truth" and enlightenment even when it was painful (truth: your "mother" killed your bio mom). He was "special" as both he and his mother noted. He was not shown to be evil by his actions until he killed his "mother" after SHE had killed an entire village of people that had not harmed her in any way. He never tried to kill Jacob. Jacob did act the sheep, blind and ignorant. (This story reminds one of the biblical Jacob and Esau, only in this story, mom prefers "Esau"/MIB.)
      • Mother does not, in fact, prefer MIB. She loves them both differently, but if we're going to compare it to the biblical Jacob/Esau story, she seems to trick MiB and ultimate bless/gift Jacob, which is what happens in the biblical tale. As Esau was about to be blessed by his father, their mother tricks him and gets the father to bless Jacob. Likewise, in LOST, MiB is about to finally get to the Source and change things, so she hugs him, smashes his head into a wall and gifts/blesses Jacob.
        • Mother truly loves Jacob, he is honest and good and true. She does NOT want to put the eternal burden of protecting the Island on Jacob. She appears to favor MIB because her goal was to pass on the role to him. When he leaves she is forced to make Jacob her replacement.
  • This episode harks back to the 'Man of Science, Man of Faith' argument rather than simply good and bad people. Jacob blindly follows his mother out of faith, whereas MiB refuses and joins the progressive group of settlers who want to learn about the Island's mysterious properties.
  • "Mother's" protestation that she realizes that it was always supposed to be Jacob is correct. She brought the ship to the Island just as Jacob has done so many times knowing that there'd be a pregnant woman aboard and intending to take the baby and raise her own replacement. She did not know about the twin -- the MiB -- however. Watch her reactions to each as they're born. He's clearly a troubling surprise. No wonder she thought he was special. In the end, however, she comes to realize that the baby she intended to take before the ship ever came -- Jacob -- was indeed always supposed to be her replacement. MiB was, rather, the instrument of her release.

Free Will vs. Fate

Jacob was told by Mother that she had "no choice" but to let MIB go. She then takes him to the Source and tells him he does not have a choice and must become the protector. This is why Jacob later in life makes a point of telling people that they have a choice. He was not given free will and wants to change that for the people he becomes involved with, or a least in his eyes feel that he has let them exert their free will. MIB actively avoided the fate Mother had planned for him. His attempt to exert free will ended in his being tied to the island - the opposite of the fate he desired. He now assumes that all men are doomed to perpetuate their dark side and cannot avoid their fate. Both were influenced by how fate vs. free will manifested in their lives.

Jacob Controls the Flash Sideways Timeline

  • While playing the game with his brother, Jacob attempts to move a piece sideways, and his brother tells him that he can't do that, adding that when he's in charge of the game he can make his own rules. Jacob is responsible for the creation of the alternate timeline.
  • Jacob knew he was going to be killed. So he created the alternative time line. In this timeline he still lives. This is his loophole to get back to the normal timeline.
    • But what about the sunken island? Is Jacob alive under the sea, or is he living a 'normal' life in the flash-sideways?
  • MiB controls the Flash Sideways Timeline, as he promises other people to give them the life they want/deserve. In the Sideways Timeline, Jacob hasn't thrown MiB into the Source, but it's the other way around. This is against the rules and therefore the island sunk.

Similarities between 'Special' characters

We have seen how MIB was described as special by Mother. This is seen in his ability to simply know about things and how they work despite never having seen them before (the boardgame). Also this is seen in his ability to talk to the dead. We can now look at Walt, another child with mysterious abilities who was described by many people as being special. In extension we can notice that Hurley also has the same ability to converse with the dead as the MIB has/had. So then where does this specialness come from and how is its host picked? and for what reason?

Raised by Another We have seen the 'heart of the Island' in human form as Locke and MiB (Adam). Both were raised by another (i.e. not their biological mother). Great emphasis was placed on Aaron being raised by Claire (i.e. not an Other). By this logic, Aaron is a potential human form for Smokey.

  • Could you also add Ji Yeon to this list now that her parents are dead and will be raised by another? We know Kown was on the list of candidates... as was Littleton, even though Littleton was crossed out.
  • Could be Littleton was referring to Claire and Shephard refers to Aaron through his relation to Christian, perhaps.

Jacob's Lie

Jacob denied to his brother that Mother knew of their visits, demonstrating he has learned how to lie.

  • He goes so far as to say she never asks about him, a hurtful addition to the lie.
    • Jacob's anger over his brother's severing their family still smolders, a tell tale indication of his humanity. Mother was exaggerating.
      • Mother gave no sign that she was aware of the visits, Jacob assumed she didn't know about them, and she never asked about MiB because she has an intrinsic awareness of everything that happens on the Island.
        • Mother immediately asks "What did he say to you?" after Jacob says "You know where I was." They have discussed Jacob's visits before.
  • Mother has instructed Jacob to lie when asked, alleviating blame & supplying the "know how to" aspect via the "never asks about you" barb.
  • Jacob technically does not lie, but rather deflects the question with the statement "She never asks about you." We cannot determine this to be false.
    • Possible, though improbable, that prior to Jacob's talk quoted above with Mother she had never initiated any question about MiB's doings. For this to be true Jacob would always admit where he's been, and Mother would always drop the topic (or he would volunteer something). That being the case over time, it would also foster Jacob's bitterness over their severed family, again prompting him to say it with some malice.
      • While not a lie, answering MiB's question "Does Mother know?" in this fashion is a deception, assuming the probability Mother at least once prior to asking "What did he tell you?" continued a previous conversation where Jacob had revealed he'd been visiting his brother.


  • All these theories seem to imply a total understanding/awareness of the protagonists.
  • The 'Mum' seems to have made a lot of mistakes (and human foibles). We don't know her story, we only know the consequences of it.
  • Jacob was 'named'. MiB was 'her' child and she mistakenly hoped he would be the one to replace her.
    • Seems logical.

Who the fake Mother is

The twin's fake mother is a priestess of an ancient Egyptian God/Goddess, maybe Tawaret, who was brought to the island to protect the Source. She is immortal and could not kill herself, just like the immortal Richard. That's why she thanks MiB when he stabs her, because she was sick of being the guardian of the source, especially when she had to hurt her beloved favorite "son" to make sure he would not "harm" that source. She killed the twin's real mother because she was expecting her arrival as she needed someone else to take over her place, she wanted to raise the twins herself to make sure she influences them and "stuff" them with her ideas and thoughts. She said that she made "it" that way, that the twin would not be able to hurt each other, that's because she believed that they would someday fight over who would take her place and be responsible for the Light - which both were fascinated with -. The wine scene seemed like a wine ritual that only a priest/priestess would do. By doing that wine ritual thing, she was passing her responsibility to Jacob, giving him no choice because she knew what was going to happen, she knew she would die soon and that only Jacob would remain to guard the Source. She can summon the black monster whenever she felt it was necessary, she did summon it to do her the job of killing the men and filling the well, again, to make sure the Light is not "touched". She was doing her job all along since we met her till she was killed.

  • Maybe the whispers told her why she had to kill Claudia. She might also be the female voice heard in the whispers.
  • This theory makes a lot of sense, except the part about her summoning the smoke monster. The smoke monster in the episode has been confirmed by Darlton to be the MiB in a new form. Hence, she could not summon him since he did not exist yet. With that said, it is possible she herself was a smoke monster, who could exist in human from like the MiB. I think that makes some sense, since it would explain how she would know what would happen if a person went into the Source ("a fate worse than death") because perhaps she herself had done that. Only once she anointed a replacement, could she be killed..and only by a candidate (since MiB was technically a candidate).
    • It is not possible that Mother is a smoke monster herself, because this would render her unkillable in her human form; just like MiB in Locke's form, he could not be killed by stabbing or shooting.
      • Actually, it is possible. Dogen said that Sayid must stab Flocke before he utters a single word in order to kill him. He didn't do this. However, if you watch the episode again, MiB stabs his Fake Mother before she says anything. She could be the Smoke Monster.
      • Either that or, considering that the role of guardian was passed on, it took away her immortality. Another possibility is that she said the twins can't hurt each other, but nobody ever said they couldn't hurt her. The thought just never occurred to either of them until after she destroyed the well.

MIB's Death in the River

Seems to me that MIB died before going into the Source, when he hit his head in the water before floating into the cave. It could be that going into the Source when one is alive will lead to the 'Exit' in Tunisia, similar to turning the Frozen Wheel (which could be why Mother didn't want them to go in, cause it was indeed a way off the Island)... and maybe going into the Source when already dead causes the soul to become one with the island (ie, island protection/security). MIB may have been the only person to float into the source already dead, and his antagonism towards the Island and the fact that he is 'not good' might be why he still wants to leave, and kills. When he seems like a protector of the Island, maybe its Jacob he's trying to protect, and not the island. It could be the reason it didn't kill Eko on the first encounter, but did so later when Eko threatened Locke's plans at the Swan (which was part of the complex plan/loophole to get off the Island), as well as when it killed the Keamy team, as they could have altered the outcome of the plan. I don't know how MIB is back in his original human form at other points, or how he was no longer able to occupy his body even though it was rotting at the caves, however.

  • The Man in Black could not have died before he entered the cave because he can't be killed by Jacob.
  • But the man wasn't killed by Jacob, he indirectly died as a result of hitting his head on a rock. It'd be like someone trying to shoot you, then you falling and cracking your skull open.
    • Well, Jacob shoved the Man in Black down which is why he got knocked out, so I doubt he died then because it would have been Jacob's fault.
  • What about intentions? Can one kill the other when they don't intend to? For example, Ben killed Jacob, but for all intents and purposes, it was MIB's fault, he provoked Ben to do it. So maybe it wasn't Jacob's intention to kill MIB, but he did die anyway in the river before going into the cave. It was the 'rock he hit his head ons fault.
  • Really? We're going to blame this on the rock? So if I cracked your skull open with a rock in my hand then it'd be the rock's fault? Or if I threw it at you? I'm going to use this defense in court next time "It wasn't me who killed the Senator, it was the bullet's fault." Mother explicitly told them that she made it so they couldn't hurt each other. Jacob brought his brother to the Source with the intention of throwing him into it because he had been told that entering it was worse than death. If he can't kill the MiB, why not do something worse? Upon entering it, he was consumed by whatever is in there. Wonder if Miles could be able to hear the MiB's last thoughts before he died... Also, the Wheel doesn't allow you to step into the light, it manipulates it in some way. If it did allow you to step into the light, then instead of just seeing a bright light and then the desert, we would have seen a doorway of light appear and whoever turned the wheel would walk through it or something. MiB did not die. If anything, he never died, so to speak. His body was all that died.
    • It was his body that died, and by a way that was entirely against the rules, because Jacob hadn't learned all the rules, but - with his bro killing their 'mom' - he suddenly was the new guardian. He acted, unbeknownst to him at the time, against the rules/out of emotion rather than out of knowledge. This had never happened before and because of this freak accident, suddenly Smokey had been given a personality and a temper, the personality and the temper the brother had at the exact time he was pushed - unconsciously, I might add - into the Source. Because Smokey had been 'given' a victim rather than the usual command to go kill some, it is now an angry, murderous beast rather than it's original, obedient watchdog purpose.
  • MiB and Jacob can't kill each other permanently. Mum also said to MiB that he'd "never have to worry [about dying]". Obviously the Island can ensure this, as it resurrected Sayid long after he'd "died". And despite all the "owned" mumbo jumbo, he obviously was his own man in the end. MiB may have been unconscious or dead, however given a little time he would have been revived by the Island.
  • It was pretty clear MiB didn't die from this event. He suffered a "fate worse than death", which is exactly what Mother said would happen to anyone who went into the Source. His life entity was transformed into the Smoke Monster, leaving behind the empty vessal of his body.