Ever since we were introduced to Jacob and the Man in Black at the end of Season Five, fans have been foaming at the mouth for more answers about their past. And with only two episodes until the series finale, it seems the writers have finally deemed us worthy of exactly that. Though it wasn’t as great as everyone was probably expecting it to be, tonight’s episode did fill in some of the gaps. In fact, along with shedding some light on the early lives of Jacob and MIB, it also explained why the latter is so damned obsessed with leaving the island… or did it?
Here’s what we do know. A pregnant woman named Claudia washed onto the island after surviving a shipwreck many years ago, and upon meeting another woman in the jungle, she gives birth to a pair of twin boys. The first is named Jacob, but because she wasn’t expecting to have more than one, the other is never given a name – and it remains without one after the woman kills Claudia and raises the two boys as her own. Flashforward to their teenage years and the unnamed child (who we now know as the Man in Black) finds a box on the beach containing white and black rocks that he fashions into a game to play with his brother, Jacob.
When the boys come across some other people on the island, however, they run back to tell Mother, who tells them that the visitors are evil. She later explains that the two of them are on the island for a reason, and that she’s made it impossible for either of them to hurt the other. She then takes them to a glowing waterfall in the jungle to show them just what they’re supposed to be protecting, and though she refuses to say exactly what it is, she warns them that the visitors will try to take the light, and if it goes out, it will go out everywhere. Of course, if MIB had been paying attention, he would have caught this slip-up, as Mother had previously told him that there was nothing else in the world beyond the island. Of course, that’s quickly remedied when the ghost of MIB’s real mother visits him in the jungle and leads him the other side of the island where the survivors of the shipwreck live. She also tells him about her murder at the hands of Mother, and although MIB tries to convince Jacob to come with him until he can figure out a way to leave the island, Jacob stays behind.
Flashforward again to their adulthood, and though they now live on separate sides of the island, Jacob and MIB still get together to play their childhood game. MIB even admits that Mother was right about the other men being evil, but he needs their help in order to find a way off the island. And as it happens, he’s done just that by digging into areas of the island radiating electromagnetic energy (or as he calls it, places “where the metal acts weird”), in order to locate the source of the glowing waterfall. But when Mother finds out about his dig site – one that includes the yet-to-be-frozen Donkey Wheel that will allow him to leave the island – she throws him against the wall knocking him out. And you wonder why the guy has been holding a grudge against her for all these years.