Archive for Star Trek

The Enemy Within Jacob

Posted in Observations, Theories, Videos with tags , , , , on March 27, 2010 by Scott Copperman

I know the obvious interpretation of MIB and Jacob is that of evil personified and a guardian angel keeping the evil contained  on the island: a sort of villian/jailer analogy… and many people are making it very religious, going so far as saying it’s a devil and a god or an angel.

I don’t agree. That’s too obvious to me. I go instead with the interpretion supported by Dogen’s explanation of the good and evil within all men, the fact that we have not yet been told the name of the man in black, the fact Jacob and MIB cannot harm each other directly, and the man in black’s assertions that Jacob stole his humanity… Jacob and the smoke monster are two parts of a single man.

Suppose that Jacob was once whole…. a fairly ordinary man with hopes, loves, dreams, but like Captain Kirk in the TOS episode “The Enemy Within” (full episode viewable here)

If you don’t feel you can stomach Leonard Nimoy describing how he revolutionized the Spock character and invented the Vulcan Neck Pinch, you should at least  watch the first 2 minutes of Leonard Nimoy’s 7 minute commenatry on the episode in the video below:

Did you hear Nimoy say “telling us in effect, we all have a positive and a negative side, a light side and a dark side… and they can’t survive, one without the other” ?

If you have time, it’s worth watching the full episode. For all it’s glorious cheese, it’s classic Trek… and if you’re a LOST fan, it’s food for thought.

In the episode, we see the complete Kirk split into a bland, indecisive, although good at heart half, and a dark, evil, driven half.

Now, Kirk is still Kirk… and his “evil half” isn’t really evil per se, it’s more that he’s uninhibited… he’s carnal, ambitious, all the “darker” qualities of man… qualities which man needs to be, well, a man, but which without a filter … a conscience, a milder half to temper it appears evil and distasteful.

I posit that Jacob (willingly) allowed his darker qualities to be ripped from him and given a separate form (by his “crazy” mother?) as a martyr for all of humanity. Without his darker self, Jacob is mellow, kind of jerky for all his low-key ness… he lacks the everyday Joe charisma guys like Hurley and Sawyer and Frank have, because those qualities are removed from him and are now part of what makes up the Man in Black.

Is the MIB evil? No, he’s just the darker qualities which we all need to be men… and as Dogen said, it’s a matter of  balance.

Now, I don’t think it’s quite like the Kirk/Trek thing. Jacob is not incompetent without his dark side, he’s just vanilla. I’m just saying that I think that’s why MIB feels betrayed (cast out, ripped from his host… think of the original Spiderman comics version of Venom and how it learned to hate Peter Parker for rejecting their symbiotic relationship) and says he lost his humanity.

In one sense, it does make MIB “evil incarnate”… but he’s one man’s evil. And perhaps a necessary evil.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the resolution of LOST is the reuniting of these two halves and the acknowledgment on the part of Jacob and/or his “mother” that it is wrong to try to excise or separate the darker half.

I dunno, this is still a theory under construction, and I may not have articulated the thoughts very well. However, I think the parallels are clear and it’s a likely explanation of who MIB is. I’m very surprised by the lack of discussion of the “Enemy Within” parallels.  (well, up until now).

What do you think? Would you feel betrayed by this explanation and the introduction of a maternal goddess (maybe not introduction but identification of an existing character as the crazy parent) who thought this split was in the best interest of all?

-Scott Copperman-