ESAU: Well that's the great irony here Ben, because I want the one thing that John Locke didn't... I want to go home.
RICHARD: You don't understand what you're dealing with! He doesn't just want you dead... he wants everyone dead! Everyone you care about! All of them! And he won't stop—
DOGEN: For years, he has been trapped, but now Jacob is gone, he's free. This man will not stop until he has destroyed every living thing on this island. He is evil incarnate.
Hyperbole...? Or detail? What if the only thing that keeps the Monster trapped on the Island is a rule that states that as long as it is inhabited, he must remain? He can only leave when there are no other human beings living on it.
WHAT IS A RULE?
I use the word rule to mean simply a condition of an agreement or perhaps an imposed sentence or duty. However, in practice, the enforcement of the rule might map to some kind of superscience-generated smart energy field, or system of devices, or a mystical spell/higher power's will, or maybe a pain-inflicting V-chip of some kind.
ESAU'S TO-DO LIST?
In order to wipe the Island clean of living human beings, Esau has to...
- Find a loophope and kill Jacob, removing the most powerful being from the Island and at the same time destroying the protection he gives to his baptized followers, the Others.
- Kill Dogen, the Other Shaman, who, while he lives, apparently powers the anti-Monster force field defined by the magickal ash.
- Thin the human herd. Keep some humans around, recruits, including the useful infected and any of Jacob's disgruntled Candidates.
- Manipulate the recruits into fighting and killing the other Candidates.
- Kill or transport/send off-Island any remaining humans or Candidates.
THE ODD COUPLE.
or... Can two grown men live together without driving each other crazy? =)
OK. Let's say that long ago, Jacob and Esau were charged with certain duties by some higher power or powers, assigned as partners in the protection of the Island. Their situation resonates with that of Kelvin and Desmond in regards to the Swan station. Given a job that is described as hugely important, with only the word of the higher-ups to back that up, eventually, they outlive their superiors, and at least one comes to doubt the importance of their job, takes up other, tangential pursuits as distractions, and ultimately seeks loopholes and replacements to extricate themselves from it.
Of course, I've got lots of ideas about the Jacob-Esau-Island scenario. They might have been stationed on the Island as an honor, or as punishment, or perhaps simply because it was their turn. Or maybe one is assigned to be the other's warden or caretaker. Perhaps they themselves are the higher powers, and made an agreement to watch over the Island, but the terms they subjected themselves to have persisted for much longer than they planned, or at least, much longer than Esau likes.
In any case, Jacob has taken to meddling with humans in the outside world and drawing them into their snowglobe and onto their unusual Island, while Esau has come to despise the Island, longing to leave and return home, a home that I suspect no longer exists, either because it is of a time that has long since passed (ancient Egypt, anyone?), or of a reality that has been overwritten.
Esau tells Sawyer that he was once a man. Could he have been Jacob's first Candidate? Identified and chosen as a Good man and drawn to the Island, gifted somehow, by the Jacob and the Island, with his Monstrous aspect, changeling abilities, and forked tongue. Couldn't Esau be the result of Jacob's first attempt at creating an apprentice or successor? An attempt to give one being the skills and responsibilities currently shared by multiple followers/Others, i.e. leaders like Eloise, Charles, Ben, and Locke, an advisor like Richard, a shaman like Dogen, and the various lieutenants and soldiers we've seen in both the Other and Lostie camps.
Jacob is able to observe the world outside the snowglobe. Jacob is able to leave the Island and visit that world. Jacob is gifted at manipulating human beings, nudging them with just the right words or setup at just the right moment in their lives. Jacob can apparently bestow gifts to certain human beings, gifts of health and superhuman and/or paranormal ability. Jacob does not wish to kill Esau. Wether he can is uncertain. Jacob can be harmed and killed by one of his own people.
Esau can change into his nigh-unbeatable Monster form. Esau can take the form, memories, and character of any deceased person whose body is on the Island. Esau can be repelled by a line or circle of ash. Esau can be repelled by a sonic fence/sonic weapon. Esau has a dark talent for persuading human beings to do as he wishes. Esau cannot directly harm or kill Jacob. Esau cannot directly harm or kill any of Jacob's followers, aka the Others, while Jacob is alive. Jacob cannot kill any of the individuals chosen by Jacob to be Candidates.
AFTERTHOUGHTS, including BEATING ESAU.
Here are a few more somewhat connected bits and pieces before closing up...
What up with Richard, right? Zany thought—Could he be Esau's brother? Esau's reaching out to him as a first recruit, even if it was just purely because of Ricard's potential value as an asset, was played as as if there might be a family-comes-first notion behind it.
Just a little less zany thought—If Esau was Jacob's first Candidate, maybe Richard was his second, and went thru a stage of doubt and even rebellion as well, perhaps on his own, or perhaps under Esau's influence, siding for a time with Esau in Island politics and/or war. Of course, he's since returned to Jacob's fold, but apparently after some suffering at Esau's hands.
I've rambled on Esau's steps to victory, but what about the key/s to his defeat?
Having been in the form of Candidate Locke at the time of Jacob's death, Esau is currently "stuck" with it. This seems like a vulnerability to be exploited (classic, in supernatural goodguy/badguy lore), altho we haven't been given a clue has to how. He can shrug off bullets (the bodyguards' attack at the Foot). A knife in the chest is an annoyance ("Hello, Sayid" *thunk*). And he can still switch to Monster when he wishes.
Maybe he can't be killed, and the only option is to trap him on the Island. Perhaps this has happened before...? Jacob's cabin and the circle of ash around it... The scenario reminds me of one of those double images, like the silhouette of the vase that is also the profiles of two people facing one another, or that line drawing of the young lady in the fashionable ensemble that is also of the old matron with the shawl...
You look at it one way, and the circle of ash is protecting the cabin and its resident from an outside threat. You blink, tho, and the circle of ash is containing the cabin, and the threat within.
I hafta say that I found it weird/interesting that when he switched while under attack in the Foot, Locke's form disappeared inside the chamber, but the Monster appeared and attacked from outside. Maybe the Smoke is a body that exists apart from Esau when he's walking around in a human skin, and requires his will to animate it? Maybe when we observed the Monster becoming Locke when returning to the bagged Richard from spying on Sawyer, there was actually a shedding of the smoke and a materialization of Locke, and not a one-for-one transformation?
Perhaps while he's in a human form, Esau's Monster body can be separated or blocked from him. Collected in a treated jar or box. Mixed with charmed cement. Surrounded by a circle of ash.
Or... Maybe he can be destroyed, astrally discombobulated, by removing Locke's body from the snowglobe. He can only wear the forms of dead bodies on the Island. He is "stuck" with Locke's form. Whaddyathink?
Or... Better-stroke-crazier, yet... Rob Esau of a human vessel by reviving Locke! Or or... —If this worked, it could potentially bring up some annoying technicalities—bring substitute teacher Locke to the Island. Would that tilt short circuit the snowglobe system that allows Esau to wear a human form enough to reject him and his Locke skin?
Perhaps Esau's weakness is a simpler, more familiar sort of technicality, y'know, when it comes to possessing or body-swapping someone. "Stuck" as he is with Locke's form, Esau is limited by the rules that bound Locke. Rules of Candidacy which Locke were never told, but on the Island apply to him nonetheless. Maybe if Esau had taken a different, non-Candidate form, he could, in fact, kill the other Candidates. Alas, his plan required that he be Locke in order to bring about Jacob's death.
Or, even tho we've only seen the slightest hint of this phenom ("Don't tell me what I can't do!"), maybe the longer Esau wears a form that is not his own, the more qualities or limitations of that form he himself takes on.
Zany thought—What if the mass of the Smoke is the mass of all the duped dead on the Island? So, with each death, he gets stronger/more massive?
Perhaps the fertility problem was engineered by Esau to keep the human population down and force Jacob and his people to recruit rather than reproduce.
Keep on keepin on~