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|The Man in Black|
|Name||The Man in Black|
|Alias(es)||Cerberus, The Security System, Black Smoke, The Smoke Monster, Jacob's Rival, Esau, Flocke, Unlocke, Evil Incarnate, Samuel, Adam|
|Mother|| Claudia (biological)
|Flashback(s)||Across the Sea|
|Introduced In||Pilot - Part 1|
|Played By|| Titus Welliver|
|First Seen In||Exodus - Part 2|
|Last Seen In||The End|
|Season||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
"The Man in Black", also known as "The Smoke Monster" or "The Monster" by The Survivors of Oceanic 815, and called "Cerberus" by The DHARMA Initiative, was a quasi shape-shifting entity that inhabited the Island for roughly 2000 years. He was born to a woman named Claudia along with his twin brother, Jacob. He was originally a normal human being, but was transformed after a physical confrontation with his brother, when he was sent into The Source which resulted in the separation between his spirit and his body. His body was laid to rest alongside of his adopted mother. His soul was physically manifest in the form of a smoke-like entity, and he could also appear in the guise of people. He assumed the form of the smoke to travel quickly, and to engage in aggressive behavior. When he was in the form of smoke, distinct mechanical clattering sounds and occasionally siren-like howling were audible. He has appeared in the form of several deceased individuals, including Christian Shephard, Alex Rousseau, and most recently John Locke. After assuming the form of John Locke, it was implied that he was unable to assume a different form.
He was highly contemptuous of humanity whom he opined will invariably "fight, destroy and corrupt". He also had an antagonistic relationship with his brother Jacob, explaining to anyone who would listen that he was once a man but had his body and freedom stolen by Jacob. He was trapped on the Island, kept there by Jacob who refused to let him leave. Jacob believed that The Man in Black was evil and would destroy the world if he were released. The Man in Black believed that if he could kill Jacob along with any designated successors that he would be able to escape the Island. During the series, escaping the Island was his sole motivation, and everything he did was directed toward that end. Jacob and the Man in Black are forbidden from directly killing one another, so the Man in Black used manipulation and deception to initiate sequences of events which he hoped would result in the death of his adversaries. In 2007, he was successful in having Jacob killed, when he convinced Benjamin Linus to fatally stab him. However, he was unable to destroy Jacob's candidates for succession, and Jacob's successor, Jack Shephard, managed to render him vulnerable and finally killed him after he was mortally wounded by Kate Austen.
BirthThe Man in Black was born on The Island, hours after his mother, Claudia, washed ashore after an apparent ship wreck. He is the younger twin brother of Jacob, born moments after him. Claudia, unaware that she was carrying twins had only decided on a single name which was given to Jacob when he was born. Before she could decide on a name, an unnamed island woman who was serving as her mid-wife murdered Claudia by bludgeoning her to death with a rock. The infants were seen wrapped in black and white cloths. She then raised him and Jacob as her own.
The Boy in Black
Young Boy in Black was intelligent and full of curiosity. At age 13, he found a board game washed up on the shore. He invited Jacob to play the game with him, claiming that he knew how to play it. Jacob chose to play with the white pieces while The Boy in Black chose the black. While setting up the pieces he asked Jacob not to tell Mother about the board game, saying that she would take it away.
Later, Jacob joined Mother at the caves and asked Jacob what him and his brother were doing at the beach. Mother approached the Boy in Black, and the Boy in Black immediately assumed Jacob told her about the game. She told The Boy in Black that Jacob didn't know how to lie and that, unlike him, the Boy in Black was special. The Boy in Black, curious about where the game came from, questioned his mother and was convinced by her that she left it for him.After he and Jacob discovered the other inhabitants on the island, Mother told them that the others were corrupted and that her, Jacob, and the Boy in Black were on The Island for a purpose,which, according to her, made them different than the others. After the Boy in Black requested her to reveal what the purpose was, she blindfolded them and led them to a cave with a bright golden light inside, which she referred to as The Source, indicating that it needed to be protected at all costs, and that that was their purpose on the Island.
Later while playing the game, The Boy in Black told Jacob that he couldn't make a move because it was against the rules, and that one day Jacob could make up his own game and everyone would have to follow his own rules.
The Boy in Black saw an apparition of Claudia, which Jacob was unable to see. The Boy in Black followed Claudia into the jungle, who informed him that he didn't belong on the island. She revealed that his mother had slain her moments after his birth, and she was trying to keep him on the island. She told him to join the other inhabitants of the island, whom he'd strictly avoided previously. He decided to join them, and then he tried to persuade his brother to join him.
Jacob furiously assaulted The Boy in Black, and opted to remain with his adoptive mother, despite the fact that she admitted to murdering his biological mother. Ironically, before his departure The Man in Black appeared to be the favored son of his mother; a fact noted with sadness by Jacob.
Life with the OthersFully grown and still anxious to leave the island, The Man in Black often met with his brother to play the board game. He once told Jacob over a game that although their mother was insane, she was absolutely correct in her negative assessment of people. He tells Jacob that his people were greedy, manipulative and untrustworthy. Despite not liking the people, he admitted that they were very intelligent, and they provided him with the means to escape the island. The Man in Black tried to persuade Jacob to leave The Island with him, but Jacob refused saying that The Island was his home.
The WheelUsing electromagnetic pockets located throughout the Island, he believed that he could find the Source through the undergroud, since trying to find it above-ground proved futile. The Man in Black and his people had dug a well where they where they assumed one of these pocket existed. After being informed about The Man in Black's plan to leave the Island, by Jacob. The Mother visited the Man in Black at the excavation site, where he had built a wheel. The Man in Black explained to his mother that he was going to build a much bigger wheel that could channel the energy of The Source and water, and when he turned it he would finally be able to leave the Island. The Man in Black claimed that he possessed this knowledge because he was special. Unhappy about the Man in Black's plan to harness the energy of The Source, the Mother cracked his head against a wall making him unconscious, and thwarted his plans by destroying his well and killing all the people with whom he had made a life, and burned their village to the ground.
TransformationThe Man in Black retaliated by fatally stabbing his mother with the Dagger, in the back in her own camp. The Man in Black asked his dying mother, why she would not let him leave. The Mother's final words were "Because I love you..Thank you".
Jacob who had already accepted the responsibility of safeguarding The Source, returned to the camp. Seeing what his brother had done, Jacob assaulted him, repeatedly punching him in the face, until he was unable to defend himself. Jacob then dragged the Man in Black to The Source he coveted and threw him inside. Moments later, The Man in Black, in the form of a massive pillar of furious Black Smoke, burst out of the cave and went out of sight.
Some time later, Jacob found the body that the Man in Black no longer needed, draped over branches tripped over in a stream. Seeing his dead brother's body, Jacob began to regret his actions and he burst into tears. Jacob carried the Man in Black's body and placed it in a small crypt with their mother. Jacob found two pieces of the Man in Black's game. He placed them in a pouch and placed it in the crypt, next to the corpses of his dead mother and the Man in Black. Then Jacob tearfully said goodbye to his brother (Across the Sea)
19th CenturyIn 1867, The Man in Black witnessed the arrival of the Black Rock with Jacob from the beach of the island, at the foot of The Statue of Taweret. Acknowledging that Jacob brought the ship to the Island, the two discussed the ramifications the new visitors would have to the island. The Man in Black claimed that new visitors only brought death and destruction the island, and always would. Jacob believed otherwise, suggesting that the people have a possibility for good. Dropping the veneer of polite conversation, Man in Black blatantly stated his desire to kill Jacob, and promised to someday find a "loophole" which would allow him to do so. Then he left. (The Incident)
The Black RockImmediately following this conversation, a tempest rose in the sea causing The Black Rock to be violently thrown onto the island by a massive wave, sending the ship careening through the statue, destroying it, and killing most of the slaves and crew. After an officer began killing the remaining slaves to conserve rations, The Man in Black, in the form of smoke, killed the remaining people on the ship, sparing only Richard Alpert (then called Ricardo). Then the Man in Black proceeded to scan Richard's memories.
Some time after, the Man in Black appeared to Richard as his dead wife Isabella telling him that they were in hell. Later the Man in Black approached richard in his original form and revealed that he had been on the Island long before the Black rock ship wrecked. He convinced Richard that Jacob had his wife. Richard asked the Man in Black to free him from the chains. The Man in Black gladly offered to help Richard telling him "I want to be free too.
Richard as the LoopholeAfter rescuing Richard, the Man in Black told him that they were in Hell and that to get out, Richard must kill "the Devil" who had taken his wife. Richard who had falsely assumed that the Man in Black wasn't the smoke monster, hesitated saying "How can i kill him? He's black smoke." The Man in Black revealed that he was the black smoke and the Devil made him that way. He handed over the Dagger to Richard warned not to let Jacob speak before killing him, as Jacob is very persuasive. Proving this to be true, Jacob convinced Richard that they were not dead, and went on to hire Richard as his spokesman. He sent Richard back to the Man in Black with a white stone to signify their alliance. The Man in Black tells Richard that his offer still stands and presents Richard with his late wife's necklace.
Shortly after this, Jacob visits The Man in Black to gloat about his acquisition of Richard, and Man in Black expresses his desire to kill Jacob and be set free. To "pass the time" until he can find a way to do so, Jacob gives him a wine carafe, which Jacob had previously used as a metaphor to describe the island to Richard: The wine in the bottle was Evil and it must be trapped in the bottle by the cork which represented the Island. The man in Black smashes the carafe agains the log upon which he'd been sitting. (Ab Aeterno)
The DHARMA Initiative
It is unclear how much interaction the Man in Black had with The DHARMA Initiative. There is evidence that there was some conflict. Most notable is the erection of the sonic barrier by the DHARMA Initiative around their barracks which repelled (their name for The Man in Black) (Left Behind). However,according to Pierre Chang the Sonar Fence was originally built to protect the Barracks from Island's wildlife.Oddly, there was a "summoning chamber" under Horace Goodspeed's house (The Shape of Things to Come), which Ben later used to call the Smoke Monster. (What They Died For) It is unknown, however, if Goodspeed or anyone else in DHARMA knew the significance of the chamber.
Science ExpeditionIn 1988, Danielle Rousseau and her science expedition would come into contact with The Man in Black, in his smoke form. The team was in the water caught in a storm and they found time traveling Jin-Soo Kwon floating on a wreckage. They brought Jin to the shore with them and asked him help them find the radio tower where the transmission of Numbers were coming from. While Jin was leading the team to The Radio Tower, they heard the Smoke Monster. Jin warned the team about the monster but shortly after the monster appeared and killed Nadine. Montand died after his arm was pulled off - the unfortunate result of Montand's body being pulled by the Man in Black trying to drag him beneath the temple, and the science team, assisted by Jin trying to prevent him from being taken. As soon as Montand was dragged beneath the temple, The Man in Black immediately assumed his form and tried to lure the remaining members of the team into the opening. Rest of the team went inside inside the temple chamber while Jin convinced Danielle to stay out.
Shortly after a Time flash occured, transporting Jin two months into the future. He found Montand's decayed arm next to the temple wall. Wandering around in the jungle, Jin saw a pillar of smoke and was headed towards the beach. Rousseau had killed the infected Lacombe and Brennan, and was found Jin to be holder her husband Robert at gunpoint fearful of his infection by The "Monster". Robert claimed there was no monster, but what they saw was actually a security system charged with guarding the Temple. Danielle lowered her weapon but Robert pulled the trigger of his gun. The gun failed to fire because danielle had removed the firing pin. Realizing that Robert was infected with the sickness, Danielle shot him in the head.(This Place Is Death) She later identifies the Man in Black as a Security System to the survivors of Flight 815. (Exodus - Part 1)
Oceanic Flight 815On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 crashes onto The Island, and immediately following the crash, The Man in Black appears to the dog Vincent in the form of Christian Shephard, whose body was on the plane. He sent the dog to wake up "his son" saying that he had "work to do". (So It Begins)
On their first night stranded on the Island, The Man in Black, in smoke form, awakes the survivors of the crash by knocking over trees. Rose Nadler, from New York, made a remark indicating that its loud machine-link sounds familiar. The next day, he killed Seth Norris, the captain of Oceanic 815, was killed after he was torn from the cockpit of the airplane and left for dead in a tree nearby. He pursued Jack, Kate and Charlie Pace through the jungle, but disappeared as they hid in the roots of a banyan tree. Charlie made the remark that he had "a certain gargantuan quality". (Pilot - Part 1)
Three days later, while hunting boar, John Locke saw the Man in Black in his smoke form. Locke stood his ground and escaped unharmed. He originally told Michael that he had not seen it, but told Jack, "I've looked into the eye of this Island... and what I saw was beautiful." (Walkabout)/ (White Rabbit) Locke later described it to Mr. Eko he as a beautiful bright light. (The Cost of Living)
The Man in Black later appeared to Jack as his dead father. Jack thought it was an hallucination, but followed him anyway. Eventually The Man in Black led Jack to The Caves and water. There were also some dropped items from the plane there, including Charlie's guitar, and Christian Shephard's coffin, although the body was not inside. (White Rabbit) Later, while fleeing a swarm of bees, Jack and Kate discover The Man in Black's body lain next to his mother, now horribly deteriorated. Locke nicknamed the bodies "Adam and Eve" (House of the Rising Sun)
After Boone was tied up by Locke in the jungle, Locke applied a salve to the back of Boone’s head where he had previously struck him with the blunt end of his knife to render him unconscious. While attempting to free himself, Boone hears Shannon screaming for help, and then the sounds of the Monster. Boone manages to free himself after reaching the knife and rushes to free Shannon. The two of them hide in a grouping of trees until the “Monster” had retreated. The Monster would however, return once again and grab Shannon up into the air and administer a series of slices and stabs similar to those found on Seth's body. Boone later finds Shannon’s body and returns to the camp where he attempts to murder Locke, but learns that what he saw was just a vision that the island provided him with. (Hearts and Minds)
While traveling to the Black Rock to obtain dynamite, the group is met once more by the The Man in Black. The group is warned of its presence by Arzt who is frantically screaming and running for his life. Rousseau, Jack and Kate hide in a gathering of bamboo, while Locke and Hurley remain perfectly still, and wait for it to proceed away. When Kate asks Rousseau what it was, Rousseau explains that it’s a security system designed to protect the island. The survivors first see The Man in Black's smoke form as they head through the Dark Territory back to the hatch with the dynamite they had retrieved. Kate and Jack witness the smoke quickly pass by, and then the group sees trees being uprooted and begin to run away. (Exodus - Part 1)
Locke stays behind, curious to see. When a tree near him is uprooted Locke is visibly frightened. The Man in Black then pulls Locke several feet and almost drags him into a hole but Locke is saved by Jack who grabs him. Despite Locke's admonishments to let him go, Jack does not let go, and Kate throws a stick of dynamite down the hole. The Man in Black emerges behind them, and quickly heads back into the jungle. (Exodus - Part 2)
Six days later, the Man in Black comes across Charlie and Mr. Eko. Eko caught his first glimpse of a wisp of smoke, but a few minutes later, The Man in Black returned, knocking down trees and moving as if to strike. Mr. Eko stood fast and faced the Man in Black as hit hovered inches before Eko's face and the two studied each other. Several images from Eko's past flickered within the cloud in a manner consistent with lightning. These images seem to symbolize things that he had great difficulty dealing with from his past, or instances which lead him to the island. They are also images which show the chain of events which caused Eko to follow his path to becoming a war lord in Nigeria, to the airport where Yemi was shot, and eventually on Flight 815 and onto the island. (The 23rd Psalm) Later, as a delirious Mr. Eko makes his way through the jungle. Immediately following the creature's appearance, Eko begins to hallucinate about people from his past. Later, as Eko is drinking from a stream, the smoke gathers over his head, but it quickly retreats when Eko turns to face it. Locke later questions Eko about what he saw, informing Eko that he has seen it too. Locke describes it as a very bright light. Eko tells Locke that this is not what he saw. Eko would then follow a vision of his brother Yemi to a clearing where he would refuse to confess to any sin. The Yemi specter grew angry, saying, "You speak to me as if I were your brother," before storming back into the jungle. Eko followed, only to be confronted by the black smoke, once again. (The Cost of Living)
The monster then picked Eko up off the ground and beat him repeatedly against several trees before slamming back into the ground. Eko lived long enough to warn Locke and his companions that they were next. (The Cost of Living)
The next known encounter between The Man in Black and the survivors was in the form of spiders, which bit and paralyzed Nikki, which caused her to be presumed dead, which led to her actual death as Hurley and Sawyer buried her and Paulo, not knowing they were still alive. (Exposé)Later, after a series of events that left Kate Austen and Juliet Burke handcuffed together in the jungle, they had two encounters with The Man in Black. Shortly after a fight, in which Kate dislocated Juliet's arm, they heard the noises of The Man in Black's smoke form, approaching. Kate sprang into action, dragging Juliet along through the jungle, eventually finding a clump of trees to hide in. The Man in Black followed them to their hiding place. A series of four bright flashes washed over the two women, and then the monster abruptly left. Juliet claimed never to have seen the monster before. The next day, while the two were walking back to the barracks, they heard him approaching a second time. This time, Juliet lead the way, bringing them to the sonar fence. Juliet urged Kate to go through, but Kate refused, remembering what the fence did to Mikhail. Juliet then unlocked their handcuffs and rushed over to the other side of the fence, entering in a code on a control panel that lifted away to reveal the power switch. Juliet warned Kate that she would want to be on her side of the fence. Kate crossed over just before Juliet turned it on. The monster arrived at just that moment and slammed in to the now active fence. Unable to get through, it retreated back into the jungle. Afterward, Juliet admitted to Kate that The Others had no idea what the monster was, but they did know that it disliked their fence. (Left Behind)
During this time, it is discovered that Charles Widmore wants to come to the Island and take it over. He sends a team on a freighter called the Kahana to prepare the way for this invasion. After various events surrounding this Kahana team the Man in Black is "summoned" by Benjamin Linus, which the Man in Black answers, and arrives to kill Martin Keamy and his band of mercenaries which he does in his Black Smoke form. He is later found by John, Locke in the form of Christian Shephard, in Jacob's old cabin with Claire whom he led into the jungle earlier to the abandonment of her son. It is unknown why he chose Claire, and why she so readily abandond her child to follow The Man in Black. But it is suggested that the comforting form of her father convinced her that Aaron would be safe without her. In the cabin, he told Locke that he could save the Island from Widmore by "moving" the Island. This advice was followed, leading to a series of "time flashes" that affected the remaining survivors and newcomers. (Cabin Fever)/(There's No Place Like Home - Part 2)
The Man in Black was there when John Locke entered the Donkey wheel chamber to turn the Wheel that Ben had accidently dislodged. The Man in Black in the form of Christian Shephard, asked Locke to "Say hello to my son", referring to Jack Shephard. (This Place is Death)
Ajira Flight 316
Following the crash of Ajira Airways Flight 316, The Man in Black assumed the guise of the deceased John Locke whose corpse had traveled on board the flight in a coffin. The Man in Black, apparently knowledgeable of Locke's real past, told the other survivors of the flight that the last thing he remembered prior to the crash was dying. The Man in Black furthered the ruse by locating an unconscious Benjamin Linus in a makeshift infirmary, and informing Caesar that this was the man who had killed him, prior to the crash. The Man in Black then waited at Linus' bed until Ben awoke, at which time he greeted Ben under the guise of a resurrected Locke. (The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham)/(Whatever Happened, Happened)
Ben feigned foresight of Locke's resurrection, despite being completely surprised at Locke's apparent ability to rise from the grave. Despite his incredulous tone with Man in Black, Ben secretly began planning "Locke's" murder once again, as he attempted to instill suspicion of Locke in the other Ajira survivors. Ben particularly expressed his fears to Caesar, to which the latter responded that he would support and protect Ben. However, as Man in Black and Ben prepared to leave the Hydra Island, site of the crash, for the main island, Caesar confronted Man in Black, demanding to know what his motives were. However, Ben took this opportunity to covertly steal Caesar's shotgun, and used it to murder the Ajira survivor. Man in Black and Ben then headed for the main island on a watercraft located on Hydra island.
Upon arriving at the island, Man in Black and Ben were met by Sun-Hwa Kwon and Frank Lapidus, who were concurrently exploring Ben's former house at the barracks. Ben had told Man in Black that his plan was to summon the monster for judgment. Using the secret passageway beneath his former house, Ben attempted to summon the monster, while Man in Black seemingly disappeared into the jungle. While unsuccessfully waiting for the monster's arrival, Ben informed Sun of the apprehension "Locke's" apparent resurrection caused in him, as Ben had believed that dying was permanent, even on this island. Man in Black then returned to the pair, and suggested they need not wait for the monster, as he knew its location and would take them to it. Man in Black then led the pair to the mysterious Temple, and insisted that they must go to the caverns beneath its entrance to meet the monster. Upon entering the underground structure, Ben fell through a weak section of the floor, and landed in a compartment further underground. Man in Black stated that he would find something to pull Ben out of the compartment, despite Ben's protestations that he not be left alone. Left to his own devices, Ben further explored the secondary compartment, only to be met by an apparent vent, which the smoke monster abruptly appeared from. Circled by a tornado of smoke, Ben witnessed visions of his recent life, and was then met by a vision of his daughter, Alex. This vision resolutely instructed Ben not to kill "Locke", and to follow every direction given to him. Ben, reduced to tears, promised to do so, and was then suddenly met by Man in Black, who offered his help in escaping the underground compartment. (Dead is Dead)
Following this encounter, The Man in Black led Ben and Sun to the beachfront camp of the Others to meet with Richard Alpert. Richard, seemingly noticing a change in "Locke", commented on the different stature of the man. Man in Black dismissed this notion by stating that he finally knew what his purpose was. The Man in Black then led Richard and Ben on a quest into the jungle, which turned out to be an encounter with a time-displaced version of Locke. As the three waited at a specific location, the true Locke appeared before them, shifting through time due to the island's temporal imbalance following Ben's moving of the island. The Man in Black then gave Richard a first aid kit, and instructed him to tend to Locke's wounds. While doing this, Richard was also to instruct Locke to gather all the members of the Oceanic Six who had left the island and bring them back. Man in Black told Richard that Locke was to accomplish this by dying. Following the completion of this errand, the three returned to the Other camp, where Man in Black demanded an audience with Jacob. Despite Richard's protests, The Man in Black promised to bring all members of the Others to Jacob, so that they may finally have the answers behind Jacob's supposed orders over the years. As the group journeyed to Jacob's location, The Man in Black covertly revealed to Ben that he was not confronting Jacob to find a way to bring his other, time-displaced survivors back to present day, but rather to meet him and kill him. (Follow The Leader)
While en route to Jacob's location, Ben revealed to The Man in Black that he had received a vision of his daughter, one which instructed him to follow Man in Blacks every word. On cue, Man in Black accepted this and revealed that he would not be the one to kill Jacob, but rather Ben would commit the act. Despite this brazen statement, The Man in Black continued to feign loyalty to Jacob, as he stated to Richard that his resurrection was due to Jacob, and his reason for meeting with him was to offer his thanks. While resting at the former beach camp of the Oceanic Flight 815 survivors, Man in Black coerced Ben into revealing that he had never met Jacob. Man in Black then questioned why Ben would not want to murder a man who had allowed him to contract cancer and endure banishment from the island. Later that night, the group finally arrived at Jacob's location, the broken four-toed statue. The Man in Black then demanded entry into Jacob's sanctuary, and demanded that Ben be allowed to accompany him. Richard objected, as only the leader of the Others may visit with Jacob, and Ben was no longer the leader. After Richard parted the stone blocks that formed the doorway of Jacob's home, The Man in Black and Ben entered. Promising that a life without Jacob would be a welcome change for Ben, The Man in Black provided Ben with a dagger to be used in killing Jacob. Upon meeting Jacob, who appeared as a youthful, ordinary man, Ben appeared to hesitate in committing the act. Jacob simultaneously saw through The Man in Black's deception, and identified him as his centuries-long adversary, and that Man in Black had finally found his "loophole" necessary to kill Jacob. Man in Black then commented on how long and difficult this task had been for him. Jacob then turned his attention to Ben, who had demanded to know why he had suffered so much to receive so little. Jacob seemed to dismiss Ben as insignificant, which caused Ben to stab him in a fit of rage, sending Jacob to the sanctuary floor. Jacob then attempted to speak, and when Man in Black moved closer to listen, he simply stated that "they're" coming. Unnerved by this, Man in Black kicked Jacob's dying body into a nearby fire pit, finishing him off. (The Incident)
Final Escape Attempt
With Jacob dead, the Man in Black sent Ben to bring Richard inside, however, Bram and Jacob's bodyguards entered instead. The Man in Black revealed that Jacob was dead, and there was no more body to guard. They opened fire on the Man in Black, to no avail. Immediately Man in Black converted to Smoke form killing everyone in the chamber, except for Ben, to whom he admitted to being the Smoke. He explained to Ben that his motivation is to get off the Island, ironically contrasting with the real John Locke's motivation of never leaving the Island. He then goes outside and confronts Richard, revealing his identity to Richard by repeating words he had said to him in 1867: "It's good to see you out of those chains, Richard". Satisfied that Richard knows who he is, he rendered Richard unconscious. He scolded the remaining Others saying that he was disappointed in them, and carries Richard into the jungle (LA X)
At some point later, The Man in Black travels through the jungle in his smoke form, visiting the DHARMA Barracks, and then returns to the place where he has Richard trapped in some netting between trees. He cut Richard down, and proceeds to apologize for the his violent capture of Richard. When Richard asked him what he wanted, the Man in Black responded that he wants Richard to follow him. Richard then asked why he had assumed the form of John Locke, to which he responded that in the form of Locke, he would have access to Jacob and because Locke was a Candidate. Richard was apparenly unaware of what a candidate was, and the Man in Black seemed surprised that Jacob had not shared this information with Richard, a man who followed Jacob's orders for over 100 years. He reiterated his offer to Richard, who does not accept, when an image of Jacob appeared, covered in blood, appeared. After this appearance, the Man in Black quickly departs Richard with a promise that they will meet again very soon. (The Substitute)
Returning to the DHARMA Barracks he finds James "Sawyer" Ford drinking heavily in his mourning over Juliet. In his drunken state, Sawyer accepts the appearance of a seemingly ressurrected John Locke in stride. Surprised at this, the Man in Black asked how Sawyer could respond like that. Sawyer indicates that strange things are so commonplace that he doesn't even notice any more. Sawyer then admits that he knows the Man in Black is not Locke, as Locke was fearful, and The Man in Black is anything but. The Man in Black convinced Sawyer to follow him by promising to reveal why Sawyer was on the Island. The Man in Black leads Sawyer to The Cliffside Cave. Along the way, the two encounter the younger version of Jacob, although Sawyer is able to see the apparition, much to the surprise of the Man in Black. The Man in Black gives chase to the specter, although he is apparently unable to catch and confront Jacob, because he soon returns to Sawyer and the two continue their trek to the cave. Upon reaching the cave, The Man in Black walks over to a balancing scale which has a black rock (representing himself) on one side, and a white rock (representing Jacob) on the other. He removes the white stone from the scale and throws it out the cave's entrance, indicating to Sawyer that was an "inside joke." Then he reveals to Sawyer all the names of the candidates written in chalk on the walls of the cave. He then crossed the name of John Locke from the wall with satisfaction. He explained to Sawyer - also a candidate - that the candidates were possible replacements for Jacob as protector of the Island, but quickly added that the Island did not need protection. To the Man in Black's appreciation, Sawyer agreed, and chose to escape the Island with The Man in Black. (The Substitute)
Claire reveals to Jin that she has been hanging around "John Locke". Claire's mental condition has seriously deteriorated and it appears that she has the "sickness" that Rousseau's science team came down with. (Lighthouse) The Man in Black had told her that The Others have kidnapped her baby. (Recon).
When the Man in Black learns from Jin that many of the Candidates have taken refuge in The Temple, The Man in Black plans a massacre. Dogan sends Sayid to kill the Man in Black using a ceremonial dagger, however The Man in Black convinces Sayid to return to the Temple and deliver a message. The message was that anyone was welcome to follow him, however anyone remaining in the Temple at sundown would be killed. Sayid was then to kill Dogan and his number two Lennon, which he does. True to his word, the Man in Black enters the Temple grounds at sunset, in the form of the black smoke, and kills all who remained loyal on the Temple Grounds. He also freed Kate and Claire who were being held together inside the temple. (Sundown)
The Man in Black then frees Ben who is found in shackles back at the original beach camp of the Flight 815 survivors, digging his own grave. Ilana planned to put Ben into that grave for his murder of Jacob. But the Man in Black offered Ben safety and a means off the Island. Ben initially accepts his offer, however, Ben who had been seeking redemption decides to remain with Ilana after she forgives him for murdering Jacob. (Dr. Linus)
Returning to his own camp, The Man in Black gets everyone moving. When confronted about what happened in the Temple, Locke answered that "the black smoke" killed everyone, while neglecting to mention that he was, himself, the black smoke. The group finds a clearing where they will make camp for a while, while the Man in Black plans his next maneuver. He sends Sawyer to Hydra Island on a reconnaissance mission, revealing that he knows Charles Widmore and a team of people are over there. (Recon)
Back in his camp, The Man in Black is forced to break up a fight between Kate and Claire, after the latter had attacked the former for "kidnapping" her baby. He is forced to slap Claire to settle her down, and he then places her in a "time-out" to cool off while he comforts Kate who is seriously disturbed not only by the attack, but by the state of mind she sees in Claire as well as Sayid who is showing signs of emotional deterioration. Sawyer returns from his mission to Hydra Island, and reveals that Charles Widmore is there, he has a submarine with a locked door inside and sonic pylons and the fact that Sawyer made a deal with Widmore to betray the Man in Black, which was apparently a ruse. The man in Black thanks Sawyer for his honesty and loyalty. (Recon)
Elsewhere, Richard Alpert who had left the Man in Black in favor of Jacob 140 years previously, was having a crisis of faith and expressed a strong desire to return to the Man in Black. In response, the Man in Black approached Richard. However, as he discovered he was too late to re-claim Richard. He looked on as Hurley - who could communicate with the dead - facilitated a conversation between Richard and his late wife Isabella. Through Hurley she told Richard that he must stop the Man in Black from leaving the Island. Richard appears to agree and leaves with Hurley. (Ab Aeterno)
Returning to his camp, The Man in Black has a discussion with Jin, in which he reveals that to get off the Island he and all the remaining candidates must leave together. When Jin reminds him that Sun, also a candidate, is not there, he tells Jin that he's working on that. Leaving Sayid in charge of the camp, The Man in Black goes across the Island to the beach camp to talk to Sun who has resumed care of her garden. He tells her that Jin is with him, but she does not believe him and flees. He returns to his own camp where he finds everyone unconscious. He asks Sayid what happened, and learns that they were attacked by Widmore's camp and they have taken Jin. The Man in Black then travels to Hydra Island with Sayid to get Jin back. When Widmore denies knowledge of Jin, The Man in Black declares war on Widmore. The Man in Black returns to his own camp, having left Sayid behind to see what's going on. Sayid discovers that Widmore has brought Desmond Hume back to the Island, (The Package) because Desmond seems to be the only person who can survive a certain threshhold of electromagnatism - a talent they want to use to save everyone. (Happily Ever After)
Later while the Man in Black is dealing with the camp's impatience to get moving again, Sayid returns with Desmond. The Man in Black goes to talk to Desmond who identifies him as John Locke. Sending Sayid back to the camp, the Man in Black takes Desmond for a walk. As they walk, they encounter the apparition of young Jacob again. The Man in Black tells Desmond to ignore the boy, but he is obviously growing more frustrated by his presense. He and Desmond approach a well, much like the wells he used to dig in ancient times with his acquaintences. Without being specific, he told Desmond that these wells were dug by people looking for the reasons for the magnetic fluctuations around the Island. Then he throws Desmond into the well and leaves him for dead. On his return to the camp, all of the remaining candidates unexpectedly show up to talk to him. (Everybody Loves Hugo)
He and Jack then have a conversation where Jack expresses distress at the fact that the Man in Black is wearing Locke's face, and that he doesn't know what The Man in Black is. He tells Jack that the reason he looks like Locke is because Jack brought Locke's dead body to the Island. He then reveals to Jack that it was he, in Christian Shephard's form, who led him to the Caves just after they crashed. (White Rabbit), and that all he's ever wanted to do was to help everyone, including himself, to get off the Island. He adds that they can all leave the Island, however, there is the condition that they must all leave together. The two start to head back to camp, when the Man in Black calls out to Claire who had been following them. He allows the two - who now know they're siblings - to catch up with one another. The Man in Black is visibly pleased that all of the Candidates were together and seemed to be on board with his plan of leaving the Island together. (The Last Recruit)
Soon after, Widmore's number two Zoe, enters The Man in Black's camp brandishing rifles, and demanding Desmond back. The Man in Black denies knowledge, and Widmore's team drops a artilliary strike as a warning. Immediately, the Man in Black tells everyone that they're headed to Hydra Island. He sends Sawyer to get The Elizabeth and to rendezvous with them at the beach. He sends Sayid back to the well where he had dropped Desmond to ensure that he was dead, using a promise to reunited Sayid with Nadia to keep him obedient. When Sayid returns and tells him the job was complete, he accepts it, although he appears suspicious that Sayid is lying (which he is). Arriving at the rendezvous point, The Man in Black and his followers find Jack alone, and Jack informs him that Sawyer, Kate, Claire, Sun, Frank and Hurley have taken his boat, and will not be returning. Missiles then start hammering the beach. The Man in Black carries Jack to safety. (The Last Recruit)
The Man in Black, Jack and Sayid then all head over to Hydra Island together. The other Candidates got themselves captured by Widmore and were locked in the Polar Bear Cages. Sayid disables the electricity powering the sonic pylons in the cage area which allows The Man in Black, in the form of Black Smoke, to incapacitate and kill the candidate's captors while Jack frees them and begins leading them toward the Ajira Plane, although Jack has expressed his intention of remaining on the Island, he is willing to help everyone else escape. Scouting ahead, the Man in Black reaches the Ajira plane before everyone else, killing two of Widmore's men. Examining the plane, he discovers that it's wired with C-4 and will explode if it's turned on. He then changes his plan to escape on Widmore's submarine. The group approaches the submarine and begin boarding. There's a brief fire-fight between Widmore's team and the Candidates and Locke. Although Jack did not plan to board the submarine, he is forced aboard as Kate is shot in the shoulder and he needs to administer first-aid. After the confusion, everyone except for The Man in Black and Claire are either dead or on the submarine. Inside Jack's backpack was a block of C-4 rigged with a timed detonator that the Man in Black had placed there. It is revealed that he never intended to have "everyone leave together", but it was his plan to kill everyone so that he could leave the Island at all, so he tricked everyone into a confined space with a bomb. Sayid, however, sacrificed himself to save everyone, although the submarine sank, killing Sun and Jin in the process. The Man in Black is aware that his plan was not successful due to his continued inability to leave the Island. (The Candidate)
Returning to the Main Island The Man in Black heads toward the DHARMA Barracks, which is where Charles Widmore was, as well as Miles Straume, Ben and Richard. Upon arriving at the barracks, Richard confronts the Man in Black who converts to smoke and slams into Richard without hesitation, sending him flying into the jungle. He approaches Ben who informs him that Charles Widmore and Zoe were in the closet inside. Widmore instructs Zoe not to speak to the Man in Black, at which point The Man in Black slits her throat, claiming that she was no use to him since Widmore forbade her to speak to him. He asks Widmore why he's there. Widmore promises to answer him provided Widmore's daughter, Penelope is unharmed after he escapes from the Island. The Man in Black agrees, but as Widmore is telling the Man in Black what he wants to know Ben shoots Widmore, explaining that Widmore does not get to save his daughter, since Widmore is responsible for the death of Ben's daughter, Alex. Regardless, the Man in Black got the information he needed, and he intends to use Desmond to destroy the Island. (What They Died For)
Upon arriving at the well where he dropped Desmond, Ben and the Man in Black discover that he's no longer there. Sawyer, also arriving to free Desmond remarks that someone had beaten both of them to the punch. The time for deception now past, The Man in Black freely admits his plan to destroy the Island and kill all the Candidates to Sawyer, who reveals that there are no more candidates as Jacob's position has already been filled. With that revelation, he lets Sawyer leave without pursuit. Having previously offered Ben the leadership position on the Island after his departure, he offers him instead a means of escape with him as the Island will be at the bottom of the ocean. The then two follow Vincent's paw-prints back to Rose's and Bernard's home where Desmond was recovering. When they arrive, The Man in Black threatens to painfully kill Rose and Bernard if Desmond doesn't follow him. Desmond agrees on the condition that The Man in Black never harms the two. The Man in Black agrees. The three men search for the ex-candidates and their new protector. When the Man in Black discovers that Jack was the new protector, he was somewhat surprised that Jacob would choose him, as he was "too obvious". Jack indicates that he wasn't chosen, he chose himself. He then indicated that he would follow the Man in Black to the Source and then he would kill him, but saved the "how" as a surprise. (The End)
The Man in Black, along with Jack, lowers Desmond into the Source. Using Locke's memories, The Man in Black banters about his and Jack's fighting over the button. Jack indicates disgust at the fact that the Man in Black is disrespecting the memory of John Locke by wearing his face, but assures him that he's not fooled by it. After Desmond did his job, and the light in the source turns red, Jack and The Man in Black get into a fistfight where a punch to the face by Jack draws blood. The Man in Black is shocked to see himself bleeding. He hits Jack in the head with a rock and flees, as the Island begins to quake. The Man in Black returns to the cliffs over The Cliffside Cave and gazes at the Elizabeth, his final chance of escape. As he begins his descent, Jack appears and calls Locke's name. As the two fight, the Man in Black appears to gain the upper hand and stabs Jack in his side. The two continue to struggle, and The Man in Black ends up on top of Jack trying to force his knife toward Jack's throat and he taunts him by telling him that Jack will die for nothing. At this point, Kate Austen appears and fires a bullet into his back. As the Island continues to quake he tells Jack that he's too late. Jack then kicks The Man in Black over the side of the cliff where his is confirmed dead. (The End)
Strengths and Weaknesses
The Man in Black is able to manifest himself as various deceased individuals and a form of black smoke. He is also able to mimic animals as well. It is unknown how he performs this transformations, and a transformation is never seen on-screen from one form to another.
The Man in Black also appears to be able to scan the mind of individuals. When he came face-to-face with Eko Tunde, various images from Eko's memory could be seen flickering within his smoke form. He also appears to have knowledge about Jack and John Locke's past that he wouldn't have access to, without being able to use the memories of Christian Shephard and John Locke.
On screen The Man in Black has manifested himself as the following.
| Jacob's Brother
The original Man in Black. Jacob's brother. This was his original form before he was "killed" by falling into the Source after a fight with Jacob. It is also the form he kept at least until 1867.
Ricardo's wife. The Man in Black appears in this form to Richard, as he was trying to manipulate Ricardo into killing Jacob.
| Christian Shephard
Jack Shephard's father. The Man in Black first appears to Jack and leads him to The Caves where Jack finds fresh water, and cargo that had fallen out of the plane. He also appears in this form to Claire, to John Locke, and to Frank and Sun.
| Father Yemi Tunde
The Man in Black appeared in the form of Yemi in order to manipulate Eko. He first appeared inside Eko's tent, setting it on fire. Later Yemi appeared to Eko at the Beechcraft and told Eko that he must atone for his sins. When Eko answered that he has not sinned, he has only done what he needed to do to survive, the Man in Black revealed that he wasn't Yemi killed Eko in his smoke form.
| Man in the Cabin
The Man in Black appeared briefly to Locke as Ben was pretending to talk to Jacob. He asked Locke to help him. Ben apparently did not see or hear any of this, despite the fact that he was standing right there.
| Walt Lloyd
The Man in Black appeared briefly to Locke as Walt, after he had been shot by Ben. The Man in Black implores Locke to stop Jack from allowing the men on the boat to arrive. The Man in Black's motive for doing so is most likely that he wanted either Locke or Jack to kill the other.
| Alex Rousseau
The Man in Black appeared to Ben in this form and bade him to obey every word of "John Locke". Locke, however, was simply another form that the Man in Black was using at the time.
| John Locke
John Locke. Became The Man in Black's primary form after the crash of Ajira Flight 316
| Medusa Spiders
The Man in Black took on the form of a Medusa Spider and bit Nikki, resulting in her paralysis, and death at the hands of the other survivors. It is unknown why he killed Nikki, as he usually only kills when there is something gained by the victim's death.
| The Smoke Monster
This is the first form we see of the Man in Black. It is his secondary form after falling into the Source.
The Man in Black - at least in his smoke form - appears able to read people's memories. While "passing judgement" on characters, their memories are sometimes visible within the smoke as he surrounds the one to be judged. When reading Mr. Eko's mind, a sequence of images appear, between flickers of lightning-like flashes. The images include:
A similar event takes place when Ben voluntarily summons the smoke monster to pass judgement upon him after he allowed Alex to die. Alex, along with Charles Widmore, appear in Ben's memories and visualized within the Smoke. It is unknown what criteria, if any, are used when the Man in Black passes judgement on individuals. Most likely the criteria are based solely on the individual's potential usefulness in helping the Man in Black escape the Island.
As well as reading the minds of others, The Man in Black appears to be able to project himself into people's dreams as well. He appears both to Locke and Eko in dreams (and hallucinations) to guide them toward The Pearl Station (?) He also appears in a dream to Locke as Boone after the implosion of The Swan Station (Further Instructions), and Horace Goodspeed who told him to locate Jacob's Cabin. (Cabin Fever)
The Man in Black is approximately 2000 years old during the main story arc of the series. He appears to be free of disease and signs of aging.
He is also invulnerable to gunshots and presumably stabbing weapons. He is shown several times to be impervious to bullets (LA X)/(The Candidate), and he has killed many armed people without sustaining damage himself (Sundown).
It is undetermined if The Man in Black possesses superhuman strength while in his human form. It is implied that he has ordinary strength, as Jack Shephard is able to engage in hand-to-hand combat with him without undue difficulty. It should be noted, however, that during this fight both Jack and The Man in Black were handicapped by the stone being removed from it's receptacle in The Source. This removal seemed to inhibit any special abilities which Jack or the Man in Black possessed before it was removed, and after it was returned. However, The Man in Black did not appear surprised by a loss of strength during this battle - although he was visibly shaken when Jack drew blood, which indicated that he was currently vulnerable. (The End)
In Smoke form, the Man in Black possesses strength that far surpasses any human strength. He can effortlessly uproot trees during pursuit and he can destroy victims by ramming into them, or by grabbing them and slamming them into other objects such as trees or the earth. It was in his smoke form that The Man in Black committed the Temple massacre (Sundown), destroyed Jacob's bodyguards (LA X), and killed Mr. Eko (The Cost of Living). Similarly he threw Richard Alpert hundreds of feet through the air with no apparent effort. (What They Died For).
The Man in Black, however, is far from omnipotent. He is faced with some major limitations and/or weaknesses.
The Sonic Fence
The Man in Black cannot cross the plane created by the sonic barrier that surround the DHARMA Barracks. During a pursuit of Juliet Burke] and Kate Austen, they activated the sonic fence, and as he tried to penetrate the barrier, he was blocked as if there were a physical wall there, and flattened against it, before fleeing into the jungle howling. (Left Behind).
Banyan trees seem to repel The Man in Black while he in his Smoke Form. Instances of characters escaping The Monster include Kate hiding in a thicket after he killed the Oceanic Flight 815 pilot (Pilot - Part 1) and when Kate and Juliet eluded the Monster by hiding in a thicket of banyan. (Left Behind). Danielle Rousseau claimed that hiding in banyan thickets could provide protection from the Monster (Exodus - Part 1).
There are several events which imply that The Man in Black may not cross a threshold which is defined by ashes. The Temple was surrounded by a perimeter outlined in ash, and it prevented the Man in Black from entering the grounds. Similarly, Jacob's cabin was surrounded by a similar perimeter. After he is shown to be inside the cabin, it is pointed out that the ash barrier had been broken, which indicates that the ash barrier must be complete to prohibit his entry. (The Man Behind the Curtain)
The Man in Black can still cause harm to someone that is protected by an ash barrier. When Bram encloses himself within an ash circle in the Temple, The Man in Black causes part of the ceiling to fall on Bram, which knocked him out of the circle, and allowed the Man in Black to attack him directly. (LA X)
The Man in Black appears to dislike explosions, even if he's not directly vulnerable to them. As he attempted to drag John Locke into an underground cavern, Kate dropped a stick of dynamite which she threw at him. The Man in Black immediately released Locke and fled into the jungle. (Exodus - Part 2) Subsequence contact with explosives seemed to have little effect on him beyond annoyance, however.
The Man in Black appears to be bound by rules set by Jacob. More accurately, by the protector of the Island. In his youth, Mother had explained to him and his brother that she "Made it so you cannot harm each other." This seems to indicate that the protector of the Island has the ability to inhibit certain behaviors, even to the point of overriding the free will of others. The fact that the Man in Black is prohibited from leaving the Island even 2000 years after the death of Mother and his corporeal body reinforces this. Jacob appears to have the power to release The Man in Black from the Island, but refuses to do so. (Ab Aeterno)
The Man in Black is forbidden from killing Jacob, and he is also forbidden from harming Jacob's Candidates for succession, although he can cause a chain of events which results in Jacob and candidates' demise. He manipulated Ben into killing Jacob, and he set in motion the sequence of events which culminated in the explosion of Widmore's submarine which resulted in the deaths of Sayid Jarrah, Sun and Jin. (The Candidate)
As well as being his origin (Across the Sea), The Source (a.k.a. "The Heart of the Island") proved to be the Man in Black's downfall. After lowering Desmond Hume into the source, where he removed a stone plug from the pool in the center, the Man in Black, as well as Jack - the current protector of the Island - became vulnerable and both suffered mortal wounds while the plug was removed. (The End)
The entity known as The Man in Black does not have a confirmed name. The closest thing to an official name we have is "The Man in Black", which is what the entity is referred to on ABC.com and IMDB.com. He is also referred to by this designation in the enhanced episodes, and that designation has been endorsed by creators/writers/producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. In the initial casting call, the character was referred to as "Samuel" and this name has been used by many to designate this character, however, the name Samuel - although unofficially confirmed by E! correspondent Kristin Dos Santos - remains unconfirmed by the show's producers and/or writers and is not considered canonical.
Aliases in the Show
In the show, various groups call him by different names.
The Survivors of Flight 815 initially call him The Smoke Monster, or more simply, The Monster. Ben Linus adopts this name, but he probably does so only as a matter of convenience to communicate with the survivors, as he indicates later that he and The Others have no name for the creature. The Man in Black, however, does not like being called The Monster, as he reveals to Ben when Ben refers to him as such in his presence. (LA X)
The DHARMA Initiative refers to him as Cerberus. This is indicated on Radzinsky's map, where he refers to "Cerberus Activity" and "Cerberus Vents". (Lockdown) Cerberus is a reference to the entity in Greek Mythology which guards the river Styx to prevent the souls of the dead from returning to the land of the living. Cerberus is most often depicted as a vicious three-headed dog.
Danielle Rousseau referred to the entity as a Security System, which is how she introduced it to the survivors. She garnered this name from her lover Robert. He began to call it that after being dragged under the temple by the entity. (This Place is Death)
Sawyer, who is inclined to give everyone a nickname - has also referred him Smokey.
After the death of John Locke, and the Man in Black's adoption of his form, he is most often referred to as Locke, although they are quick to point out that it's not really John Locke, once they know his real identity. He was called John twice, with the character calling him that quickly corrected about his identity.
He is referred to as The Man in Black, or a variant of that, only two times in the series. Isabella calls him "The Man in Black" while talking to Hurley. Jacob refers to "a man dressed in black" when talking to Richard. In the episode credits, he is referred simply as "man in black" or "Locke", depending on which face he wore in the episode.
On fan boards and forums he has many nicknames. He was a major character throughout the series, particularly the last two seasons. Repeatedly typing "The Man in Black" would quickly become tiresome, therefore fans developed expedient ways to refer to the character, while still distinguishing him from the real John Locke.
He was often called by the following nicknames:
- Flocke (Fake Locke)
- Smock(e) (Smoke Locke))
- MiB - (Man in Black)
- Jacob's enemy
- Jacob's rival
- Jacob's nemesis
- Demon Locke - as called by Michael Emerson
- Esau - the twin brother of the biblical Jacob.
- The Man in Black never left the Island during his entire 2,000 year life.
- He is the only main character that has never been off The Island.
- This is the opposite of Penelope Hume - who is the only main character to never set foot on the Island in her life.
- Only Jacob and Richard Alpert have seen The Man in Black in his three primary forms: The Original, The Black Smoke and Locke.
- The distinctive rattling sounds he makes while in smoke form are sound effect which use a NYC taxi cab printer. In the first episode, Rose (from New York) remarks that the sound is familiar.
- Both Hurley and Paulo remark that The Man in Black could be a dinosaur. Hurley also indicates that he could just be a "pissed off giraffe".