Lost: Is Jack a Hero?

So, here we are, Losties: Last night, we watched the series’ last regular episode ever. (And am I the only one who felt like we got more commercials than show?) It felt strange and kind of wistful, and it was a much more satisfying experience than the previous two weeks of WTF. Finally, we can feel things coming together. Which is why it’s both unsettling and somehow appropriate that Damon and Carlton have us pondering the same question they’ve been tormenting us with since the show’s first season: Is Jack a hero? (Major spoilers after the jump.)

Of course, the reason we’re back to this quandary is that something very climactic happened last night: Jacob revealed to Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, and Jack that they’re the last remaining candidates to replace him as semi-eternal guardian of the great, glowing Tunnel of Love at the core of the island. (Apparently, the fact that he crossed out Kate’s name, because she became a mother, meant nothing at all. It’s only a line of chalk, he told her.) Instead of choosing, as his “mother” did, Jacob said he was leaving the decision of who would take over up to the group. Plus, he demystified his (by now sort of obvious anyway) criteria for selecting candidates: They had all been lonely and unfulfilled in their life outside the island.

For some reason, we assumed there would be some more discussion amongst the quartet about who should take over, or whether Jacob’s story about the all-important light was to be trusted. But before we had time to process any of that, Jack volunteered for the job, and no one objected. In fact, everyone seemed (understandably) grateful. Jacob wasted no time leading Jack to the secret cave and make him drink the water that flows through it. “Now you’re like me,” he told his successor.

And that started us thinking: Jack really is like Jacob, in many ways. Both are stubborn and loyal and righteous to a fault, with an overdeveloped sense of duty. The only thing that once separated them was Jack’s insistence on logic and evidence over faith; he was the “man of science” to John Locke’s “man of faith.” The biggest change we’ve seen in Jack over the years has been his slow realization that the island does have supernatural properties and controls his destiny. When he agrees to take Jacob’s place, he is relieved to finally know what so many years of chaos were leading up to.

But this isn’t quite a resolution. Last week, we wondered whether Mocke/Smoke Monster is truly the bad guy, or if Jacob and his “mother” are fools for having faith that the world’s fate rests on their protection of a light in a cave on an island that can’t be found on a map. We still don’t know the answer. Among the factual questions we want to see answered on Sunday’s finale, we hope we’ll finally know whether the character closest to being the show’s protagonist is also its hero.