The inspiration for this post came from Conan O'Brien. "If you have Passover on an overpass, you go back in time!"
Funny, but it got me thinking about this season of Lost, which follows a season in which multiple "plagues" and "sacrifices" led the Losties on an adventure through time and space. This season picked up where the previous left off, but presented us a mystifying paralell universe, which even the most crazy Lost theorists have yet to confidently attempt to figure out.
I think... No... Know I've figured it out.
Throughout this season, we've seen what Smokey/MIB/Fake Locke does when he wants someone to do something. Besides turning into smoke and killing them if they refuse. Like the banker in Deal or No Deal, he makes people an offer they'd be foolish to refuse. These offers have something in common: if accepted, that character's redemption, that character's path to making things right is cut short. They get what they want the cheap and easy way, a deal with the "devil," and they no longer have a need to reform the flaws and problems in themselves that caused their problems and presumably made Jacob bring them to the island in the first place.
The offers also have another thing in common. They go against the natural order of things. Cheating death. Cheating time.
Which leads me to this question. If Jack came face to face with Smokey, what would he wish?
We can assume Kate would wish to get off Scot free for her crimes, and go free. We can assume Hurley would wish... To be lucky after all the bad luck he had before (or maybe weight loss). Jack's wish doesn't immediately jump out, except for anyone paying attention last season.
Jack wants a do-over.
What if that's what we're seeing! A do-over! Jack and co weren't sent back to the plane in flight, but to the very beginning, "ab aterno.". They were sent back with a chance to live their whole lives over, and many made the same mistakes, some worse. Sawyer chose cop instead of criminal, but he still never sought counseling after his parents murder. Kate still tried to kill her father, but this time, accidentally killed someone else. Locke possibly never confronted his dad about the sham marriage con that led to him getting pushed out of a window and paralyzed. Everyone went back to the beginning, but, as the man in black theorized, they were all still prone to sin. They made different decisions here and then, but they didn't change themselves.
The sideways world has NOTHING to do with the bomb in the Swan shaft in 1977. That event happened exactly as it always did... Dharma called it "The Incident." And it led to all we saw the past five seasons.
I fear we're watching the results of Jack taking Smokey up on his offer. To give everyone a do-over. And if that's true, then in the "sideways world" the cork holding the evil back is most definitely broken (or, you know, sunk to the ocean floor). But not by the nuke. By Smokey upon his glorious exit.
The question left is: Without the island to spur these characters to their redemption, can any of them be saved? Can they change their lives without Jacob's help? Can they get to the promised land without ten plagues, the parting of the red sea, and other miracles leading the way?
I think we may find out.
Happy Pesach Everyone!