The Smoke Monster is both the single greatest threat to the Island's inhabitants and the single greatest mystery on "Lost." Danielle Rousseau called it a security system, the Others have no name for it, and John Locke — like the rest of us — just wants to know what it is and how it does what it does.
As the final season looms, it's a sure bet that viewers will learn more about the Smoke Monster, especially if the popular theory that the Man in Black is the Monster is proven to be true. For now, we can at least focus upon what we've witnessed of the creature so far.
After the jump, we've got the rundown on eight facts we know about the Smoke Monster on "Lost." Stay tuned to MTV for the rest of this week and into the season premiere, as we'll be running a series of features pegged directly to the show's trademark number sequence:
4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. Needless to say, spoilers for season five and earlier lie ahead.
1. Smoke Signals: Originally heard but not seen, the visual revelation of the Monster's smoke-like appearance in "Exodus" and again in "The 23rd Psalm" killed initial speculation that the creature was something akin to a dinosaur or a similar beast. While we're not sure what the smoke is, one thing is clear — the Monster is far from your average bear.
2. Shifty Prospects: In taking upon the physical likeness of Mr. Eko's dead brother Yemi — not to mention a whole host of other ghosts, possibly including the late Christian Shephard — the Monster revealed its ability to imitate other people. Hey, isn't there currently some enigmatic person posing as a recently deceased bald guy on the Island? Kind of makes you wonder...
3. Judgment Day: In "The Cost of Living," the Monster judged Eko and deemed him worthy of death. In "Dead is Dead," Ben summoned its presence so he, too, could be judged. Whatever the Monster is, it certainly has an opinion or two about the Island's many inhabitants.
4. Taxi Cab Confessions: The Monster is known for its various intimidating noises, the most bizarre of which is its taxi cab clicking — in other words, the sound that a New York City cab makes when printing out a customer's receipt. Next time you're in Manhattan, give it a listen.
5. Noise Aversion: Speaking of curious sounds, the Smoke Monster has only shown one apparent vulnerability so far — the inability to penetrate the sonar fence surrounding the Barracks. It's currently unclear why the creature can't deal with the fence's effects, but sometimes it's best not to question a weakness when you know how to expose it.
6. Down in the Dumps: Where does the Smoke Monster live? There's compelling evidence that it resides underneath the fabled temple, but we're not entirely sure either way. What we do know is that the Monster can be summoned by way of Benjamin Linus' muddy toilet in his second secret room. Pretty gross.
7. Beckon Like Ben: I wouldn't exactly call them "friends," but Ben certainly has a way of calling upon the Monster's presence. He sicked the thing on Keamy and his pals in "The Shape of Things to Come" and tried to summon it again in the aforementioned "Dead is Dead," so there is certainly some purpose to the relationship between Linus and the Monster.
8. Locked Up: There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the Smoke Monster and Locke's imposter are one and the same, but there's currently no concrete proof. Regardless, the Monster clearly has the imposter's best interests at heart, as it takes on the form of Alex Rousseau and forcibly compels Ben to swear fealty to Locke. As a result of this new loyalty, Jacob ends up dead and Locke's imposter gets what he wants — so whether or not they're the same entity, these two forces are almost certainly on the same side.
Check back tomorrow for another edition of LOST IN NUMBERS, a series of daily features running until the final season premiere of "Lost" on February 2, 2010.