It Only Ends Once

9:28pm – After a season filled with all manner of time-bending, paradoxical hijinx and hilarity, I’m sure many are asking the question, “is this show ever going to make sense again?” One would hope the finale of Lost’s penultimate season will set things on a clear, straight path to mental salvation that will help us keep our sanity until 2010.

So, did the finale do just that? I dunno, it’s 9:30pm and I haven’t fired up the DVR yet. So, please, sit tight for a moment.

7 pages of furiously-scribbled notes and 90 minutes later…

11:05pm – ads;lkjasdgp;iupa8suf;galisgja; reitvaweei8uqpvw3oijs;lasijv;asdfkja asd;klja;sdlkujqa4w;5 paw43iuae;liajsd aes;alw34ik5234;8p845aw;lkaj baw basea; aslkijas;ditjasd;dlkjas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I need the break from writing these recaps each week, but hot damn! Is it 2010 yet?

white endcap

My mind’s a-racin’ and I’m not sure what I want to focus on, so let’s just go chronologically through the episode (as if the term “chronologically” could ever be applied to this show).

All of This Has Happened Before
They didn’t make us wait long to meet Jacob, manning a cotton gin as he weaves a tapestry of Egyptian hieroglyphs and perhaps some Greek text?


Exiting the humble abode to rustle himself up some lunch, the man in white sits back to watch the Black Rock arrive offshore, signaling to the audience that this is taking place sometime in the 1800’s.

black rock

He is soon joined by a man I think we should all start calling Esau, dressed appropriately in black. The black and white motif should be familiar from season 1. Recall the black and white stones found in the bag with the corpses of Adam & Even in the Caves in season 1. Recall Claire’s dream in which Locke has black and white eyes.

jacob and esau

Jacob and his twin brother, Esau, were born to Isaac and Rebecca after 20 years of marriage.

Rebecca was extremely uncomfortable during her double pregnancy and went to inquire of God why she was suffering so. The Midrash says that whenever she would pass a house of Torah study, Jacob would struggle to come out; whenever she would pass a house of idolatry, Esau would agitate to come out.

She received the prophecy that twins were fighting in her womb and would continue to fight all their lives, and after they became two separate nations. The prophecy also said that the older would serve the younger; its statement “one people will be stronger than the other” has been taken to mean that the two nations would never gain power simultaneously: when one fell, the other would rise, and vice versa. [Genesis 25]

That fits pretty well, yeah?

Jacob and Esau converse about the former’s apparent history of bringing people to the Island to do…what? Whatever it is, he’s at odds with Esau about it.

Esau: “You brought them here” (referring to the crew of the Black Rock). “Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you?”
Jacob: “You are wrong.”
Esau: “Am I? They come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.”
Jacob: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that…just progress.”
Esau: “You have any idea how badly I wanna kill you?”
Jacob: “Yes.”
Esau: “One of these days, sooner or later, I’m going to find a loophole, my friend.”

Have we just had the entire framework of the series handed to us? Is this exchange “The Answer” we’re all wanting to the “What does it all mean?” question? Jacob’s been bringing people to the Island (weaving disparate threads/castaways to create a tapestry/success) to accomplish some goal. That goal seems to be proving that the human race is worthy of salvation; that for all their faults, humanity is inherently good.

Generally speaking, it’s a battle of the forces of light versus the forces of darkness; good versus evil. Jacob puts all of his pieces together to accomplish that goal, while Esau is forced to serve his younger brother.


That doesn’t mean Esau is happy with the arrangement, however, as he continues looking for a “loophole” that’ll allow him to circumvent the prophecy I quoted above and vanquish Jacob so he can take over control of the Island (and whatever greater force it represents). It looks as if this is a chess match (or backgammon, if you prefer; we know Locke does) that’s been underway for countless years. And while Jacob’s attempted to prove Esau wrong many times, he’s apparently failed each time thus far. “It only ends once.” What does that mean? Does he have a set time period within which to win this war? Does he only have enough credits for 10 games of “Shipwreck Survivor?”

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16 thoughts on “It Only Ends Once”

  1. Great stuff!!! Loved the finale and all the questions it answered/raised. These writers have tied in so many different philosophical sources (The Bible, Mythology, Physics, etc)that it makes me think their IQ’s are off the charts. I don’t think we will be disappointed. Matthew Fox on Jimmy Kimmel thinks we will be very satisfied. Thanks, Jeff. Great write up!

  2. Well done! Love the Esau and Jacob connection – I didn’t think of it like that. I too got weirded out when “Esau” mentioned he had just eaten. Hmmmm…

  3. Richard’s answer to “What lies in the shadow of the statue” – “He who will save us all”

    via Lostpedia

  4. Many Bible parables…Prodigal son, raising Lazarus from the dead, allowing Zacheaus to “rise up and walk”, etc….I am wondering if each of the castaways has a correlated character from the miracles Jesus(Jacob) pulls from the Bible..water into wine, the widow at the well, etc.

  5. Hmmm… your interpretation for Jacob’s intervention in the castaways’ lives is quite interesting; I actually think the exact opposite: I’m not entirely sure that Jacob is quite as “good” as we’re being led to believe. In fact, with the exception of Jack, I understood he actually pushes all of them to take a certain step that will have a major significance in their lives, in a most negative way. Let’s see:

    • He gives James a pen so he can keep writing his letter. The same letter that James’ uncle or whatever makes look like a symbol for James’ unhealthy fixation with old Sawyer, a fixation that effectively prevents him from moving on with his life and ultimately corrupts him, turning him into the new Sawyer.

    • He pays for the lunchbox Kate and What’s-His-Name will use as a time capsule. Digging up that time capsule was the moment in which they sort of made the ultimate re-connection, so the time capsule might very well be to blame for What’s-His-Name death.

    • He stops Sayid from crossing the street with Nadia, therefore she needs to stop and turn around in order to talk to him, which puts her smack dab in the way of the car.

    Hmmmmm… come to think of it, I can’t quite “negativize” the rest of the encounters so easily. But still, I’m suspicious of that guy.

    You can’t trust a person who doesn’t change his hairdo in 200 years… ¬__¬

    Seriously, though, if we stick to the Jacob & Esau interpretation (which I wholeheartedly do), we might remember that as one story in which nothing is quite clearly white nor black. Jacob spends his entire life making all kinds of sneaky, dirty passes on Esau in order to rob him of all his firstborn rights (from the very moment of their birth), but then he’s actually making God’s will by doing that. In fact, as much of a sneaky bastard as he seems to be, he’s actually the patriarch of the 12 tribes.

    Point being, Jacob’s being sold to us as too good to be true, and suddenly I feel the entire point of making so many references to the black vs. white duality will be to ultimately show that there are a lot of greys inbetween…

  6. The last official podcast indicates that video should no longer be considered canon.

    They had some elaborate plans for their alternate-reality game on the Internet that would’ve incorporated that, but it got shelved by ABC because of the economy.

  7. I thought the same thing about Nadia getting hit by the bus….that Jacob wanted her to die more than he wanted to “touch” Sayid

  8. Just now watched the finale online – remarkable! And, Jeff, was most anxious to read your write up – as always, not disappointed and thoroughly impressed!
    M’comment: if we go with Jacob = Jesus; then all those he touched/brought to the island are the/his-Jesus’ 12 disciples.

  9. i’ve lurked you’re blog for the past few seasons, always fun and a great read & can’t wait until 2010 to ‘watch it go to fire’

    ps : i checked imdb’s long list of cast members and didnt see jacob listed anyone know the actor’s name? i recognize him from another role and it’s driving me bonkers


    According to the most recent recap at, the statue is in fact Taweret. I know, I know, many of you saw this from the very first moment we caught a glimpse at the back of the statue, so go ahead and use the comments below to proclaim your brilliance, cleverness, and aptitude for figuring out the mysteries of Lost, something I obviously suck at.

    And now, a little about Taweret. Wikipedia has this to say about the Egyptian Goddess:

    Her name means (one) who is great. When paired with another deity, she became the demon-wife of Apep, the original god of evil. Since Apep was viewed as residing below the horizon, and only present at night, evil during the day then was envisaged as being a result of Taweret’s malfeasance.

    As the counterpart of Apep, who was always below the horizon, Taweret was seen as being the northern sky, the constellation roughly covering the area of present-day Draco, which always lies above the horizon. Thus Taweret was known as mistress of the horizon, and was depicted as such on the ceiling of the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings.

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