As promised, 23 observations about last night’s episode of Lost…
1. Wow. A very interesting episode. Despite a lot of people’s complaints about it, you had to admit that only a bold show and one confident of it’s powers who do an episode pretty much solely featuring two supporting characters (that were only really introduced a year before the end of the show) two episodes before the end of the show.
2. Jacob and The Man In Black are brothers! Twins! It’s all so biblical! And, you know, it kind of reminds me of this:
4. Allison Janney. She’s awesome. It’s nice to see her back on TV, and on TV that matters. She was great in The West Wing… Well, The West Wing up through the, what, fourth season? Then the show took a dive and took all the characters and the character actors with it. But Allison Janey as “the Mother” of Jacob and MIB? A perfect combination of a certain level of sweetness, and a cunning ruthlessness, and unmatched guile. Also, she effectively conveyed that she was also batshit fucking crazy.
6. But I loved the mom’s simple declaration to Claudia: “Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.” I think that this has basically become the meta comment of this season, the final season, the season in which you thought you were promised answers!
8. Well, no, let me clarify that: With “Across The Sea” I’ve realized what I think I’ve always potentially known: Some questions are better as questions. And Lost is a tapestry in which all the threads are merely questions interwoven with more. Some of the answers have proven fascinating, some easy to guess. Some have left us unfulfilled, like when a magician (or a really impressive prostitute) reveals how his tricks work to you.
Plus, on the show, nothing good has ever come from those who probe too deep at the inner workings of the Island. Last night “Mother” killed the village (Romans?) who wanted to dig down into the Island’s buried secrets and, well, you remember what happened to the DHARMA folk, don’t you?
I say this because, in all honesty, my truth is that the only real question I feel like I’ve wanted an answer to (occupying the #1 spot in my Top 5 Lost Questions list) throughout this show is “WTF is the Smoke Monster?” And that’s what we’ve been getting this season, isn’t it?
9. My #2 and #3 questions, in case you’re wondering, are “WTF is the deal with Walt?” and were “FOUR TOED STATUE!” But, that one was in the form of the question, and again, has been answered this season. Almost excessively answered, in fact. As for Walt, I think I’ve given up getting an answer to that. Oh, and my #4 was…
10. Adam and Eve. And I have to say that I was not expecting that answer. I mean, let’s run down what everyone’s thoughts on who the eternal skeletal resters were: Jack and Kate. Jack and Juliet. Sawyer and Kate. Sawyer and Juliet. Sun and Jin. Bernard and Rose. Penny and Desmond. Charlie and Claire. Charles Widmore and Mrs. Hawking. Daniel Faraday and Charlotte. Richard Alpert and Frank Lapidus (okay, I made that one up). And, my favorite crazy theory was: Aaron and Ji-Yeon. Basically, you get the theme being that it was all potential combinations of fan fiction pairings and “shipper fantasies.”
11. Naturally, just like people bitch about getting an episode like “Across The Sea” two episodes before the end, people are going to bitch about the intercut scenes from season 1 of Jack, Kate, and Locke discovering the remains and Locke naming them “Adam and Eve.” Some people are firmly in the camp of “This proves the writers knew what they were doing all along” and some are firmly siding with the idea of “Bullshit!” Personally, I just thought it was a clever intercut of footage. Good on you, writers of Lost.
12. A lot of people have complained about the continuity of the skeletons. They’re in different positions in different episodes. Jack’s claims about the deterioration of the clothes is off. Ehhhh, get over it. Things shift. This is a wacky, wild Island of polar bears and portals through time and space. Some tiny bits of continuity deserve just a wink and nod explanation, okay?
13. Unrelated to this episode specifically, but this is important news: Evangeline Lilly is writing a novel. Will it involve copious amounts of climbing trees!?
14. At first I was really annoyed about the lack of a name for The Man In Black. If nothing else, it’d give us something to refer to him as. But now, honestly, I think it’s genius. I’m sure he was given a name. I imagine that the 30+ years he spent on the island in his mortal form weren’t filled with people calling him only “Brother” and “Sweetie” and “Hey, you freaky looking salt and pepper motherfucker!” But, the lack of the name given to us is pure genius.
16. It’s like the answers that you so desperately seek to the show: You get out of it what you bring to it. There’s a blank canvas and you can paint on it with your imagination. You name him. You project onto him. Speaking of the, ahem, Devil, let’s move towards that ending…
17. Benjamin Light said: “I think there’s no more immortality-giving wine for Jack to drink. Also, I don’t think the Smoke Monster just claimed the man in black’s body, I think he IS the man in black, just in a different form.
Also, as neat an episode as it was, I missed our main characters. MOAR JACKFACE!!!”
18. The JACKFACE thing? Well, of course. My questions are summed up in my response though: Since Jacob’s touched people before and they haven’t ended up living forever (that we know of), despite what Richard Alpert says, you think it’s the wine (like Richard Alpert drank, and the Man In Black, and Jacob himself) that gave them their longevity?
And yeah, I think it’s pretty obvious that “The Man In Black,” whom we maybe never know the actual name of, died long ago with his adopted mother. The Smoke Monster clearly just absorbed his memories/personality, much like it did Locke’s. So when the Smoke Monster says things like “I remember being a man…” that’s true. He remembers it, but he himself/itself was never an actual man.
19. In case there’s any confusion there, I’ll try to clarify even more: The Smoke Monster was never a man as we were lead to believe. But he’s been imprinted with the memories of a dead man, the aforementioned “Man In Black” who was the brother of Jacob, and who died along with his mother after he committed matricide. Right now the Smoke Monster, who is sometimes referred to as “The Locke-ness Monster” in these pages has the borrowed face of John Locke and the borrowed memories of the Man In Black. And the same desires of that man (escape across the sea). And possibly of other deceased spirits, which allowed him to masquerade as them. And that’s probably why he’s also so perceptible to the other deceased spirits/whispers that wander about the Island, yes?
Also, in case you’re curious, if I remember correctly, that was the essential gist of Alan Moore’s (and Brian K. Vaughan’s) iteration of DC’s Swamp Thing character. You were always lead to believe that whatever that accident was, it turned scientist Alec Holland into the plant element and all around freaking looking “Swamp Thing,” but eventually it was revealed that Alec Holland actually died in that accident and Swamp Thing got a copy of his memories and personality and that became it’s identity.
20. A question about the Mother character: Could she have been not just a Guardian type figure for the Island and it’s “source” but also a Smoke Monster type figure herself? She clearly knew what was down in that cave, so much so that she could warn her children not to go down there.
21. Also, there’s a lovely parallel about her and the Goddess figure of that FOUR TOED STATUE, the Egyptian goddess Taweret, who was originally represented fertility and maternity and childbirth and then represented death. The very last thing you want to do is fuck with the Mama Bear.
Also, if you follow that train of thought: Jacob lived in that statue that could’ve represented his mother in some regards. Not in a weird returning to the womb kind of way, but beneath her feet. He was actually a sad mommy’s boy type.
23. The last thing I want to say about this episode, the thing I liked most about it, and the thing that I’ve kind of hinted at so far, is that like so many great episodes of Lost, it told you a little, but left you wanting so much more. There’s so many other incidents in the adventures of Jacob and Smokey The Monster that we’re curious about now. And, of course, the origins of the Mother and her abilities (or did she have supernatural abilities?) that Jacob may or may not have inherited from her in some fashion. It reminds me of how I’ve always wanted an episode where we saw more of Juliet’s training and indoctrination into the Others, but we never got it. (Oh, and another thing: MISS U, JULIET.) As with so many things with Lost, the transformation is left off screen. We get what we need and we create the back story ourselves. We’ve been given the thread and a little bit of the pattern but it’s up to us to do the heavy lifting and the weaving.
That said, as we crawl towards the ending (with only 11 days to go before Lost is gone forever), I imagine we’ll get a few more answers. We’ll find out the what and the why of the Sideways universe, but will we find out what exactly is the Smoke Monster? Probably, but who knows. Will we go into that cave and visit the Source? Again, probably, but who knows. But it’s all about the journey that you’re riding along with. I think we’re looking for the ride to come full circle, but more than that, we’re looking for a certain pattern to be broken. But first, of course, it all has to end in a way that just feels right. Take what you know and what you think know, and then mix that with what you want to know before it all goes away and what you’ll actually learn, and I think that the key word that it’ll all come back to in a lot of ways is simply: Integration.