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Wednesday’s “Lost” episode veered deeper into supernatural territory as Locke (and viewers) got their first glimpse of Jacob … or, more correctly, didn’t.

After forcing Ben to take him to see Jacob, the supposed Man behind the man behind the curtain, Locke was taken through the forest, into the night, across a mysterious boundary of volcanic ash, and then to the door of a small, crude wooden shack worthy of the label “haunted house.”

Ben then lead Locke into a sparse, shadowy room in which a plain table and an empty rocking chair were located in the middle. Then, in one of the creepiest and unsettling scenes shown on television, Ben approached the rocking chair and began to address it–or, rather, Jacob–with a mixture of fear and reverence as Locke looked on with increasing feelings of bewilderment, dismay, and rage. Feeling duped, Locke accused Ben of tricking him into believing Jacob actually existed; Ben pointed out Locke’s limited scope in being unable to see a man in the rocking chair.

The flourish and fanfare that Locke expected upon meeting Jacob seemed to dissipate until Locke turned angrily towards the door to leave. That’s when a low, pitiful moan was heard: “Help me.”

Turning around, Locke turned on his flashlight and the room began to shake violently, the camera panning back-and-forth between Locke, darkness, Ben, a mysterious eye, the empty rocking chair, and (to very quick, close observers) the outline of a man sitting in the rocking chair. Locke and Ben barely escaped, but Locke still remained unconvinced of Jacob’s existence–instead, accusing Ben of staging a magic trick.

For now, it’s difficult to say whether Jacob is real. Poltergeist? Invisible Man? An elaborate hoax? Or a man mysteriously held captive by Ben? Despite being a man of faith, does Locke still lack enough faith to see Jacob? Or, does Locke lack enough blind faith to take Jacob as he is? Or does Locke have just enough faith to be able to hear Jacob? Whether Jacob is real remains to be seen, but for now we root for the man of faith to survive Ben’s treachery and find his own way back to Jacob.

Until next time…

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