Jacob in the episode Lighthouse
|First appearance||"The Incident"|
|Last appearance||"What They Died For"|
|Portrayed by||Mark Pellegrino|
|Across the Sea"|
|Occupation||Protector of the Island|
|Relatives||The Man in Black|
Jacob (Iacob in Latin) is a fictional character of the ABC television series Lost played by Mark Pellegrino. Born in the 1st century A.D., Jacob has been the guardian of the island for close to two thousand years. He was first mentioned as the true leader of the Others by Ben Linus and was described as a "great man" that was also "brilliant", "powerful" and "unforgiving". He made his first appearance in the Season 5 finale "The Incident". He was killed in this episode, but continued to appear as a ghost, as well as in flashbacks in the episodes "Ab Aeterno" and "Across the Sea". Being an unseen character for much of the series, he caused all the events that take place, starting from the plane crash right to the end, in response to a conflict with his nemesis and brother, The Man in Black. In some of his appearances, Jacob has exhibited supernatural powers such as having and conferring immortality, healing, omniscience, and changing peoples' destiny to suit his goals. Through these powers, he has had an influence on the lives of several main characters including Jack Shephard, Kate Austen, John Locke, James "Sawyer" Ford and Hugo "Hurley" Reyes.
Early life on the Island
Jacob's mother, a Roman woman named Claudia, was shipwrecked on the Island sometime in the 1st century. She gave birth to Jacob and The Man in Black. She was then murdered by the female protector of the Island, who then raised the brothers. Jacob was clothed in light cloth, a trademark of his that continued into adulthood. They were told that there was no life outside the island and that it was just them. They were also told about a mysterious light that eventually one of them had to protect.
Eventually, the Man in Black discovered that their "mother" had lied to him and told Jacob that she was not their mother, but they belonged to a group of people who had arrived on the island with their biological mother. Jacob loved his mother too much and did not want to believe this. He ended up staying with his mother for the next 30 years, while the Man in Black lived with his people, though the brothers stayed in contact. The Man in Black and his people were about to discover how to tap into the light (which is revealed to be a source of electromagnetism) as a means of escaping the island. Their mother later initiated Jacob into becoming her replacement and proclaiming afterwards "now we're the same". After learning about the Man in Black's plan to leave the Island from Jacob, the mother killed all of the Man in Black's people. In a fit of rage, he killed her. In revenge, Jacob threw his brother into the cavern which emitted the light, an act which he was told by his mother would lead to a fate "worse than death". The Man in Black emerged moments later as the Smoke Monster, with a pained/angered shout mixed with the peculiar mechanical noises associated with the Monster; he was now trapped on the Island and unable to escape until he killed Jacob. However, Jacob and the Man in Black are not able to kill each other due to the machinations of their mother. The Man in Black soon began a patient, long-term plan to manipulate other people who came to the Island into killing Jacob.
Aside from making sure the Man in Black stays on the Island, Jacob brings people to the Island to further a philosophical debate that humanity is innately good while the Man in Black echoed their mother's belief that humanity is inherently corrupt. For several centuries, their debate has raged on with numerous casualties, as Jacob brings many people to the Island and the Man in Black usually kills most of them in order to protect the island as a "security system".
In 1867, when Richard Alpert was shipwrecked on the island, the Man in Black quickly manipulated him into attempting to kill Jacob. However, Jacob convinced Alpert to join him and granted him immortality, told him the true nature of the island, and made him his spokesperson. Whenever people crashed on the Island, Richard convinced them to come under Jacob's wing, thus creating the island natives dubbed "The Others". Richard was the leader at first, however it was eventually moved on to others like Charles Widmore, Eloise Hawking and eventually Ben Linus. The leader of the Others would converse with Jacob and pass on his orders to the rest of the Others (who were not allowed to see him). However, when Ben became the leader, Jacob refused to show himself to Ben and Ben had to get the orders from Richard, sparking a deepening resentment Ben had toward Jacob regarding his own importance. Over time, Jacob had Alpert recruit people from the mainland to become part of his group such as in the case of Juliet Burke.
For centuries, Jacob feared that The Man in Black would eventually kill him, so he chose candidates who would succeed him after his death. He recruited people who he knew had lost hope in life. He visited Kate and Sawyer when they were children. Specifically, he protected Kate when she was caught stealing and touched her. He then made contact with a young Sawyer when he was writing a threatening note to Anthony Cooper. He later visited Sun-Hwa Kwon and Jin-Soo Kwon at their wedding and touched them to give his blessing. He also touched Locke when Locke apparently died after being pushed out a window of a very high building. He then touched Jack after Jack was taught about the counting to five strategy from his father. He visited Sayid Jarrah and this leads to saving him from dying with his wife. Hurley was touched by him right before boarding Ajira Flight 316. He managed to make all the candidates attend the Oceanic Flight 815 so they could crash on The Island and succeed him.
The Man in Black finally found a loophole in the jaded Ben Linus. He convinced Ben that Jacob had neglected him and that he must kill Jacob. Jacob awaited his doom in a statue of Tawaret where he lived. As Ben came in, he made a final attempt to convince Ben not to do it. However, Ben stabbed Jacob several times and then The Man in Black kicked him into the fire. Jacob then returned as a ghost and guided Hurley and the rest of the survivors as to how to defeat the Man in Black. At some point in the past, Jacob compiled a list of 364 candidates (virtually everyone that has visited the island since at least 1988) on a glass dial in a derelict lighthouse that only he is aware of until he instructs Hurley to take Jack there in a successful effort to show how important the latter is to his plan. Jacob constructed the list in a way that could correspond to certain numbers, just as he did in a cave that had more recent revisions. The Man in Black later showed Sawyer this cave in his elaborate plan to kill the candidates. It is later revealed that the candidates can't be killed by the Man in Black due to Jacob's rules so the former improvised his plot by manipulating the candidates into killing themselves which became partly successful with the deaths of Jin, Sun, and Sayid. Jacob's spirit finally vanished after he had Jack succeed him.
The producers, particularly Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, have stated that the character was inspired by Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia, exemplifying his god-like powers and kind nature. Much like Aslan, Jacob serves as an almost eternal guardian of a fantastical realm—in this case the Island instead of Narnia. Lindelof also stated that he and co-creator J.J. Abrams had planned for the concept of light and dark to eventually be personified by Jacob and Man in Black, referencing the scene in Pilot, Part 2 where Locke explains the game of backgammon to Walt Lloyd. In addition, Christ can be seen as the prototypical model for the character of Jacob which was also the case for Aslan. In the episode, "What They Died For", Jacob appears before a burning bush and Jack accepts his responsibilities, mirroring Moses from the Book of Exodus. Another similarity can be attributed to Zoroastrianism where Jacob can be seen as Ahura Mazda and the Man in Black is that of Angra Mainyu ("the Angry Man"). Curiously enough, that phrase is used by Jacob's assistant, Dogen, who explains the nature of the Man in Black to Sayid.
- Paul A. Edwards (director), Elizabeth Sarnoff (writer), Christina M. Kim (writer) (2006-05-03). "Two for the Road". Lost. Season 2. Episode 20. ABC.
- Tucker Gates (director), Damon Lindelof (writer), Carlton Cuse (writer) (2010-05-11). "Across the Sea". Lost. Season 6. Episode 15. ABC.
- Jack Bender (director), Damon Lindelof (writer), Carlton Cuse (writer) (2005-05-18). "Exodus". Lost. Season 1. Episode 23. ABC.
- Tucker Gates (director), Melinda Hsu Taylor (writer), Greggory Nations (writer) (2010-03-23). "Ab Aeterno". Lost. Season 6. Episode 9. ABC.
- Jack Bender (director), Damon Lindelof (writer), Carlton Cuse (writer) (2009-05-13). "The Incident". Lost. Season 5. Episode 16 & 17. ABC.
- Jack Bender (director), Damon Lindelof (writer), Carlton Cuse (writer) (2010-02-23). "Lighthouse". Lost. Season 6. Episode 05. ABC.
- Tucker Gates (director), Elizabeth Sarnoff (writer), Melinda Hsu Taylor (writer) (2010-02-16). "The Substitute". Lost. Season 6. Episode 04. ABC.
- Jack Bender (director), Elizabeth Sarnoff (writer), Jim Galasso (writer) (2010-05-04). "The Candidate". Lost. Season 6. Episode 14. ABC.
- Jack Bender (director), Damon Lindelof (writer), Carlton Cuse (writer) (2010-02-02). "LA X". Lost. Season 6. Episode 1. ABC. DVD commentary
- CBR TV staff (September 23, 2010). "CBR TV: Damon Lindelof". CBR TV.com. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
- itsasickness staff (December 12, 2012). "Jacob is Ahura Mazda, MIB is Ahriman". Its a Sickness.com. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- Bobby Roth (director), Paul Zbyszewski (writer), Graham Roland (writer) (2010-03-02). "Sundown". Lost. Season 6. Episode 6. ABC.