Main Article Theories about
The Candidate
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Rules Regarding Killing Candidates

Though this episode inspired conversation about rules regarding killing candidates, the many theories about said rules are more appropriately discussed on the theories page of Candidates: Candidates/Theories, and have been moved there.

Who sabotaged the plane


  • He intended to kill just the candidates, and not MiB, for his own purposes.
  • He intended to kill MiB, but not the candidates. He did it because he thought the MiB would have already killed the candidates and been on the plane alone.
  • He intended to kill MiB AND the candidates. He was waiting to get all candidates and MiB in one place at the same time, as suggested by MiB.
  • He is working with MiB (who has promised him the island) and planted the C4 there for him to kill the candidates.


  • He did it in order to help convince the candidates that he was on their side.
    • MiB took the guy's wristwatch before entering the plane. This indicates he knew, or at least strongly suspected there were explosives on the plane.
    • MiB knew there was a bomb, but not exactly where (otherwise why would he need to look for where the wire lead). His expression as he found the bomb doesn't suggest that it was he who placed it.
  • He rigged the plane and armed the bomb to only explode if someone attempted to disengage the bomb, just as happened in the sub.
    • He rigged the bomb. When he got to the plane he was upset because he saw that Widmore had disarmed it already. So he went to his Plan B. He lied about Widmore to the candidates in order to gain their trust.
  • MiB instructed somebody else to get C4 and place it on the plane. That would explain why he had to look for it even though he clearly knew it was there.

MiB has no magical "claim" over candidates

  • MiB simply echoes Ben's approach to getting people to do what he wants - he finds out what they want and offer it to them.
  • Claire isn't be-holden to MiB - he just promised her Aaron back. Sayid wasn't be-holden to MiB - he was promised his wife back. Both have joined and betrayed MiB for their own reasons.
  • MiB can't be killed by anyone (whether he talks to them or not). He also cannot kill a candidate himself. He can only succeed or fail to get them all to kill each other - As Jacob said if only one man doesn't then he wins.
  • So when Dogen sends Sayid to kill the MiB in Sundown, he does it knowing fully well that MiB will not be able to retaliate and kill Sayid. Therefore, the MiB lied to Sayid when he explained that Dogen was hoping, "I would kill you (Sayid)."
    • Or killing Sayid would automatically result in MiB losing the game since he broke the rules. Dogen hopes he does. This is supported by what the Mysterious boy in the jungle says. He is well aware that MiB has the power to kill but also that this would break the rules and he reminds MiB of this fact.

Widmore's list

  • Widmore said Kate was not on his list. This suggests he copied his list from MiB's cave, based on the fact that Austen is not crossed out in the Lighthouse.
  • Zoe and some Widmore's men go to the caves and via a walkie-talkie she said Widmore the names who weren't crossed out.


  • Someone gave Widmore a list of 'important people' and doesn't care if anyone not on it dies. Sounds like MiB.


  • Widmore lied, they were no longer on the list.
  • Widmore says that he has a list, but does not say how many names are on it, just that Ford, Reyes and Kwon was on it. It is possible that he told Sawyer that Kate Austin was not in the list as a means of forcing Sawyer to believe he would shoot Kate. Widmore would also know that he does not have Jack Shephard or Sayid Jarrah, and that he would need some trap to lure them together, but somehow separate from the MIB.
    • MiB obviously plans things well in advance. Ensuring Sawyer believes Kate is not a candidate could have been planning in the event Sawyer learns that MiB cannot kill candidates.

What Man In Black knew

The Ajira Plane

  • MiB knew that Sawyer and the rest were not going to all leave with him.
  • He has been 'reading thoughts' or detecting lies and had to change his plans from getting them all off the Island together, to killing all of the candidates as he cannot get Sawyer and Jack to leave and therefore will still be trapped.
  • But if he was reading thoughts he would have known that Sayid didnt kill Desmond
  • He may have known that Sayid would be unable to kill Desmond (see the above confusion about who is allowed to kill who)
    • It was not a change in plans. It's just a matter of being a master manipulator. He knew what Widmore would try and what Sawyer would do and planned accordingly.
    • The only way he can leave is if all the candidates are dead, because then there is no one left to take over for Jacob. He didn't change his plans, he's doing what he has to do to leave.
      • This supported by what MiB said at the end of Ab Aeterno, that he would kill Jacob, to which Jacob responded that someone will just take his (Jacob's) place, and MiB replied that he would just kill them too.
  • MiB knows that there is a bomb somewhere on the plane before he enters it, and takes the watch in anticipation, to strap it to the C4
    • MiB also has knowledge of modern explosives and arranging a bomb with a watch timer. He has obtained this over time, from reading the memories of people like Kelvin Inman and more recently, Sayid.

MiB Knew That Candidates Survived the Sub Explosion

  • MiB didn't know that Desmond was still alive, suggesting his knowledge is unique to the survival of the candidates.
    • This is the most likely situation as MiB refers to the fact that he ws going to do what he "should have done all along"...which is to kill Desmond. Even if he thinks all the Candidates on the sub are dead he knows now that Sayid double crossed him.
    • MIB never says "should have done all along." He states, "I'm going to finish what I started." He is obviously referring to the survivors of the sub because when he told Claire the sub had sunk she stated "then they're all dead" to which the MIB replied "Not all of them." He knows they survived and he is going to finish what he started i.e killing the survivors of the sub.
    • Totally agree, the scene suggests he has a link to the Candidates and knows when they are dead, he knew some survived without whitnessing it which supports this.
    • He is refering to the fact that he should have killed Desmond... maybe when he threw him in the well or even earlier as Desmond has been on the Island the longest, he may have had the opportunity in the past.
  • MIB may not be able to kill Desmond because of Desmond's role on the Island.
  • MIB wanted Desmond under his control, and the survivors with MIB, yet he chose to imprison (or kill) Desmond rather than have him "escape" in the sub with the other survivors. Desmond has a very special role.
  • The Man in Black knew there were survivors from the sub because he tried to leave somehow (off-camera), and could not
  • MiB's comments indicated that the effect of all Candidates dying would have had an immediate impact on him. He waited out the bomb timer, and when this effect did not occur, knew that the Candidates had not died.
    • He would be able to change appearance again (not stuck as Locke)
    • He would return to his original human form (possibly the form shown when the Black Rock arrived)
    • He would immediately change to smoke form
    • There would be a loss of the current reality, being replaced by the flash-sideways reality
    • He can feel the power that binds him to the Island as if it were physical chains
  • For him to know the sub had sunk, and that "some" of the candidates survived, it would suggest that his knowledge is gleaned from more than simply not being able to leave the Island. He somehow has specific knowledge of what transpired in the sub.
    • MiB had to wait several minutes to decide his plan (to get a candidate to sink the sub) hadn't worked.
  • MiB seems confident the Candidates did not disarm the bomb and leave the island in the sub. That may imply that candidates leaving the Island would have had a different effect than them dying from the explosion, or surviving on-Island.
  • Since we have seen that the MIB gains the memories of those dead and unburied, when he gained the memories Sun, Jin, Sayid, and perhaps Frank but did not gain the memories of the others, he knew that there were survivors.

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