That was, um … different. It was all about origin mythologies on tonight’s Lost.
Spoilers from tonight’s episode and various other stuff after the break.
Links and miscellanea:
- Jorge Garcia has some behind-the-scenes photos of the submarine set.
- TV Squad has a video interview with Garcia:
- Here’s an article in the New Yorker about the music of Lost. (The link is to a squib. New Yorker subscribers can read the full article.) I’ve often thought Michael Giacchino’s contributions to the show are frequently overlooked. According to the article, Giacchino usually writes about 30 minutes worth of music in just 2 or 3 days. Amazing.
- David Letterman spoke with Evangeline Lilly about the finale on Late Show:
- Here’s a Lost Slapdown featuring Muppets:
- Entertainment Weekly is putting out 10 collectible covers for its Lost finale edition.
- If you’re a fan of Bill Simmons (aka ESPN’s The Sports Guy), I highly recommend looking up the podcast he did with writer and pop-critic Chuck Klosterman a while back. About a half hour is spent discussing Lost. It’s a bit dated, but I just found it myself. Sorry.
- If you haven’t heard already, the finale has been expanded to two and a half hours. That sucker is going to take me forever to blog. (And it’s a school night!)
- Daniel Dae Kim discusses Jin and Sun’s deaths with the LA Times.
- This is
actually the final few minutes of Lost:
LOST: The Cast Says Goodnighthttp://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:hcx:content:atom.com:8f4af9d4-de1f-43e1-b9e7-e3301145a139
Observations and speculations:
- The episode title is likely a reference to The Chronicles of Narnia (Aslan, the talking Lion/Christ archetype, is referred to as coming from “across the sea”). Other C.S. Lewis references on the show include the character of Charlotte Staples Lewis and the mainland DHARMA station, The Lamp Post.
- As the episode opens, we have a woman, dressed as if coming from an ancient Roman or Greek civilization (Phoenician, perhaps?), washing up on the Island’s beach after a shipwreck. She is extremely pregnant—like even more than Claire was when she arrived.
- Stumbling through the jungle, she comes across a creepy older lady (as played by Allison Janney) who I will refer to hereafter as Mom. Mom speaks Latin, and so does baby mama, Claudia. (Claudia is a Roman name with a lot of different prominent namesakes.) You might recall that the Others all learned to speak Latin.
- I was a little bothered that the Latin turned suddenly into American English. But then, I couldn’t help but notice that Allison Janney’s accent seemed American even when she was speaking Latin. And we’d already seen Jacob and the Man-in-Black speak in American English to each other, so it’s at least consistent. Still, I kind of had come to expect more from Lost, where extended subtitles are not unusual.
- Mom tells Claudia that she arrived at the island “by accident.” That’s all we really know about Mom’s origin. “Every question I answer will simply lead to another question,” says Mom. Yeah, I guess we know that drill by now.
- Claudia names her firstborn Jacob. The biblical Jacob, son of Isaac, was actually the second-born twin, but bought his brother’s birthright for a lentil stew and then schemed with his mother and tricked his father into giving him the blessing of the first-born.
- I was resigned to the fact that we’re never going to learn the name of the Man-in-Black. Still, I groaned when Claudia said, “I only picked one name.” How convenient. Does he even have a name? Or has he lived these thousands of years simply as a pronoun?
- Those were some awfully big babies for twins. I’m just saying. Notice that the rough cloth used to swaddle the babies is already typing them—Jacob is wrapped in a light-colored burlap and Baby-in-Black in a dark-colored fabric.
- Mom is brutally effective at crushing heads with large stones.
- Next we see Boy-in-Black on the beach. He’s found a game that uses black and white stones. It’s not quite backgammon, but close enough. Young Jacob is, in fact, the same kid we saw in the jungle, who taunted Not-Locke about not being able to kill Sawyer, then appeared again with bloodied hands.
- On the game board, one of the squares has an ankh. Some of the other squares also appear to have hieroglyphs. The game appears to be Senet, an ancient version of backgammon played by the Egyptians. Mom later tells Boy-in-Black that she put the game there on the beach for him. Does Mom have ties to ancient Egypt? Perhaps. (Did the ancient Egyptians speak American English? Not likely.)
- Back in the Caves (yes, those caves), where Mom lives with Jacob and Boy-in-Black, Mom is weaving a tapestry. This reminded me of the tapestry in Jacob’s home beneath the statue. Jacob clearly learned weaving from his homicidal step-mom.
- Jacob doesn’t know how to lie, unlike his brother, who is skilled. In this episode, Jacob seems kind of simple.
- Mom tells Boy-in-Black that he is “special.” Special like Walt, I guess. Special is also one of those regularly-spoken words.
- Mom tells Boy-in-Black, “There is nowhere else. The island is all there is.” She also tells him that “dead” is something he will never have to worry about.
- Jacob and Boy-in-Black see men killing a boar, and the secret is out: other people live on the island.
- Mom tells the boys that unlike the men they saw, they are on the island for a reason. Boy-in-Black (the curious one of the two) insists on an explanation, so Mom takes them on a blindfolded walk to a mysterious glowing spring. This is the part of the part of the episode I liked least. It seemed really hokey and not all that informative. On the way to the glowing spring, Mom tells the boys that she’s “made it so you can never hurt each other.” Presumably, this means she has made them both immortal—or, at least, in capable of causing the others’ death.
- So the glowing light from the spring? Mom says you should never go into the “light.” It is the “warmest, brightest light you have ever felt.” It must be kept from people, who want it because it’s beautiful and a little bit of it is inside every man. So, uh, it’s lifeforce, i guess? Chi? “If the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere.” This seems tied to the repeated statements of various characters that if the wrong side wins the battle for the Island, then everyone will die. Mom’s purpose for being on the island is to protect the light, and one of the boys will have to protected it when she’s done.
- Boy-in-Black sees the image of his dead mother, Claudia. Jacob can’t see it (because he’s not special, I guess). Claudia is standing among the trees, with a light halo around her, much like the boy Jacob that Not-Locke saw.
- Claudia shows Boy-in-Black a camp consisting of the survivors from her shipwreck. They have thatched huts, fires and clay pots. Ghost Claudia tells Boy-in-Black about “across the sea” and that she’s his true mother. This prompts Boy-in-Black to run away, leading to an altercation with Jacob and a confrontation with Mom.
- Later on the beach, Mom confesses to killing the boys’ mother, but says she had to do it to prevent them from returning to the people, who are “bad, very bad.” This whole warped sense of “good” and “bad” that the Others have can apparently be traced back to Mom.
- If a parent tells her child “I love you in different ways,” you know it’s just not going to sound sincere.
- Later, in the caves, Jacob is weaving and interested in his mother’s approval. Mom is tired. She’s nearing the end of her story arc. Man-in-Black is living with the shipwreck people now and Jacob visits from time to time. The people are digging a well. Man-in-Black has a dim view of the people he lives among. “They’re greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy and selfish.” They are also “a means to an end,” the goal being to get off the island.
- Man-in-Black throws the metal dagger at the well as a demonstration of the island’s electromagnetic properties to Jacob. This is the same dagger that Dogen gives to Sayid to kill the Man-in-Black, and that the Man-in-Black gives to Richard to kill Jacob.
- Mom goes to visit the Man-in-Black and he’s down the well, with a proto-type donkey wheel that can be rigged to combine water with the light in such a way that he can leave the island. Mom uses a goodbye hug as an opportunity to knock the Man-in-Black out cold.
- Later, Mom takes Jacob back to the glowing spring. She has with her the same wine bottle that Jacob showed to Richard to explain the island. She chants some Latin over a glass of wine and gives it to Jacob, but he doubts he wants to accept the responsibility for defending the light. Eventually, he drinks it after being told by Mom, “you don’t really have a choice.”
- After Jacob drinks the wine, Man-in-Black wakes up from unconsiousness next to the well, which has been filled in. On the horizon he sees some foreboding and foreshadowing black smoke. It’s a very Luke Skywalker on Tatooine moment. Buildings and bodies are burned and scattered.
- Mom has an odd hair accessory that looks like a spider’s web. A reference to Arachne, perhaps? Arachne was also a weaver.
- Mom returns to the caves to see he things destroyed. Man-in-Black approaches from behind and plunges the dagger through her chest, killing her. Before she dies, she says “thank you.” It seems she had grown tired of her semi-immortality.
- Jacob returns and beats on the Man-in-Black. One of those weird time things happens, and the scene switches from the dark of night to daylight as Jacob is dragging the Man-in-Black through a bamboo jungle. Jacob takes the Man-in-Black to the glowing spring, then throws his brother in. the Man-in-Black floats face down into the light and gets sucked beneath. Probably without trying, Jacob has created the Smoke Monster.
- Later, Jacob finds his brother’s body and carries it back to the Caves. Now we know the identity of Adam and Eve—it’s Mom and the Man-in-Black. Just to be sure we understand this point, we get flashbacks to season one when Jack and Kate first found their bodies. The black and white stones are there as well, the playing pieces from the game. If you considered this a major mystery, this one can now be put to rest. We have all the answers we can possibly have about Adam and Eve.
I hate to say it, but I didn’t really care for this episode all that much. I suppose it was a story that needed to be told, but I didn’t find it all that compelling. Some big mysteries were answered (Adam and Eve, the origin of Jacob, how the Smoke Monster came about), but there was a lot we really didn’t learn. We still don’t know who built the statue, for example, or how long people have lived on the island. Most of all, I found it hard to be emotionally invested in this story. I just don’t really care about this ancient sibling rivalry all that much. And I don’t see much evidence that this squabble between brothers really has much of a connection to actual good and evil. Jacob isn’t all that admirable, really. Frankly, I haven’t really cared that much about this meta-story, and it felt odd when it suddenly became the show’s focus at the end of the fifth season. It still feels odd.
Feel free to disagree or convince me I’m wrong. It wasn’t terrible, I guess, but it wasn’t all that interesting or satisfying either.