April 21, 2010

Compounded, clipped, and blended: The Smoke Monster in LOST

FIRST, THERE WAS A CLOUD OF BLACK SMOKE RAGING THROUGH THE RAIN FOREST.


We used to know him as "Smoke Monster," or "Smokey." When Smokey gets furious, he/it turns into a force of destruction, killing everything in its way (such as the crew of the Black Rock). Unless it's hidden behind a sonar fence or inside a tree. Or unless one is John Locke, who survived an encounter with Smokey in Season 1.



THEN, THERE WAS A MAN IN BLACK CLOTHING SITTING OPPOSITE A GUY IN WHITE.

Then Smokey became "Man in Black" or "MIB" (because he's always dressed in black) or even "Esau" (because he's playing opposite of "Jacob," who may or may not be his brother), or rather, it became obvious that Man in Black was a shape-shifter and could turn himself into the Smoke Monster. We learned that Man in Black wants to get off the Island, but this won't happen as long as Jacob is around. MIB cannot kill Jacob himself, so he must find someone else to do it. (That someone else turned out to be good old Benjamin Linus.)

FINALLY, THERE WAS JOHN LOCKE. OR WAS HE?

For some reason, Man in Black took on the persona of John Locke (he previously also took on the persona of dead people, for example Christian Shepherd, but this time, he is "locked" into it. Ah, the irony!), to whom he refers as "a sucker" and "loser." Thist added a level of complexity to the question of how people should refer to the new John Locke on the show. He looked just like the old John Lock, but he was someone entirely different. Mostly, fan websites chose blended forms to indicate the double identity: Some call him "Smockey" or "Smocke" (Smokey + Locke), others refer to him as Faucke (faux/fake Locke), others use "Un-Locke."



There's bound to be an episode that gives us the back story on Jacob and Man in Black. Let's see which effect it will have on our naming the latter. Will we ever know his name?

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