LOST: “Across the Sea”

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:

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.

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53 thoughts on “LOST: “Across the Sea”

  1. I just love seeing how different people in different times have wondered about the island and not gotten clear answers. It just never gets old!

  2. Greg,

    Still, I kind of had come to expect more from Lost, where extended subtitles are not unusual.

    Well yeah, if it’s the original language of the actors, but who can claim Latin as an original language anymore? It’s a normal trick in film to switch to english simply for convenience sake.

    I’m glad we had this story, and I can see why they placed it at this point. It would have been nice if the writers had thought out the entire story before they began writing the first season so that when it came to this point, where the origins of the fight require explaining, you wouldn’t have to try and fit to everyone’s expectations.

    But I guess that’s to be expected of any archetypal story where we don’t know the real origin. We make up in our mind what we think happen, and when it is explained, we’re not happy because it doesn’t fit with what we thought it would be. I’m not saying the writers of Lost made a good origins story here. I think they got too tethered down by all the quirks they used over the past five seasons to keep people watching. This made this episode not as compelling because we’re instead looking for answers to key things that don’t make sense.

  3. This episode was okay for me, but I felt it needed to be a little more clear. There were some things that bothered me, such as the flashbacks to season 1. Unnecessary filler. I think most people remember this scene, and if they don’t, would those few scenes really make that much sense? Also, what they didn’t flashback was the lines Jack said about the decomposition of the clothes and such that the skeletons were about 40 or 50 years old. Why put that in to mislead us if they knew the bones were ancient?

    Another thing was about the origin of the smoke monster. Is this saying that MiB’s spirit was sucked out of him and turned to smoke? Why then was he in his original body when he had that scene on the beach with Jacob? Why did he still eat? (No thanks, I’ve already eaten). I expected a little more clarity in the exposition of the origins of the smoke monster.

    I guess over all I liked this episode, because I love LOST, but I came away feeling a little unsatisfied.

  4. Greg, I’m with you in that this is not really where I wanted this to go. In the early seasons, I was all about the idea that this island had special properties, and the notion that people had been coming to it for various reasons for millenia (exploitation, curiosity, metaphysically drawn to it, looking for utopia, escaping another life, etc). And that the Losties were perhaps the first group of people drawn there for individual reasons, but all at once.

    All the early clues fit in – the Black Rock, Danielle’s science team, the 70s era Dharma, the Others, Jughead, etc. Being in the Pacific, it made sense that the island could be mineral rich (we had hints that mining could have been a big thing – but it turned out to be wells dug to find light, sigh), and on ancient trade routes of Polynesians and Spaniards.

    On that note, it’s disappointing that the island was apparently never inhabited or visited by Pacific islanders and all their ancient stories and mythology (Mu, anyone?), and that instead it all had to tie to peoples on the other side of the planet.

    Two things stand out for me in this ep: Mom’s line about questions – because thanks for answering how Jacob and MIB got that way, BUT WHAT ABOUT MOM?

    The other was Adam and Eve. The producers have said that this is proof that the whole thing was laid out, and I don’t believe it. Until Ben first mentioned Jacob – whose mythology for a long time was centred around the cabin – there was zero clue about where this was going.

    As meems notes, the skeletons were originally supposed to originate in the current era – they might have had an idea who they’d be, but I don’t think it was MIB and Mom. Or, they threw it in as a Twin Peaks-like random oddity, without anticipating how fans would fixate on it.

    The thing I did like is that with all the speculation about Jack/Kate, Rose/Bernard, Sun/Jin, it turned out that it wasn’t a couple at all, but a mother and son. Good fakeout that I don’t think anyone out there thought of.

  5. I believe the writer’s told us they knew what the overall story was from the beginning and that we’d know it after last night episode is true. It’s not Adam & Eve, or the light & dark….

    It’s this:

    “Every question I answer will simply lead to another question”

    That’s the entire point of Lost, no answers, just more questions.

  6. Ok, so what I’m wondering is, when Jacob throws his brother into the water and he goes through the light, the light appears to go out. Has it absorbed into the newly created smoke monster? I assume that is why Jacob won’t let Smokie leave the island, because he is, or part of him now is, the light.

    And it looks to me like Jacob was able to kill his brother. If all it takes to get around this no killing each other thing is knocking him out and throwing him in the path of something that can kill him, that’s so lame. It totally contradicts all of Locke-smokies actions, making it seem like he really could have just thrown a real bomb in with the Losties and it would have gone off.

    This episode raised more questions than it answered and as such was rather frustrating. I hate that all we’re left with is that Mom made them immortal but we don’t have any idea how. She tells them never to go into the light but never explains why. And oh yeah, the light is all goodness but if you ever go into it, you’re worse than dead. Total weird contradiction without any explanation. It’s interesting to see that that is where smokie came from but still absolutely no explanation as of to why or how the creature came about from the light.

    I could write more frustrations out but I’ll stop there for now…

  7. This is what happens when we demand answers to questions. We get an episode devoted to nothing but answering questions, which just leads to more questions, and sacrifices the overall storyline.

    I had long given up trying to unravel Lost’s mysteries. The reason I’ve been hanging on this long is because I love the characters and the overall story.

    This was one of the more disappointing episodes and the timing of it made it all worse.

  8. The thing is, if this is supposed to be a story about people, centred around the main Losties, this didn’t really help. I get the metaphor of good and evil, and I get the point of attempting to explain a few things, but with so little time left … there is still much to be resolved in the plot and character development of our Losties.

    This would have been a great episode to open season 6, or even an earlier season. Get it out of the way, and move on to the main characters and storyline.

  9. This would have been a great episode to open season 6

    Exactly. I wish the writers would do a better job of setting things up rather than reveal a mystery and then backtrack to explain it.

  10. I found it hard to be emotionally invested in this story.

    I think the point was to get us emotionally invested in MiB’s plight—coming right on the heels of an episode when he tries to kill all the people we’ve grown to like. Thus, we love him and hate him (much like Ben, Sawyer, etc.).

    It worked for me, and so I completely disagree with pretty much all of the comments.

    In addition, I don’t think this is a metaphor about Good and Evil, which is what this episode shows: Jacob/Ben/Widmore and all the other fools who bought into whatever koolaid Mom gave them think it’s about good and evil, but they’re just as evil (or worse) than what they fight against. Ben, of course, realized that this season….

  11. – I don’t think MiB has a name. Didn’t Mom refer to him one time as “My Love” or something like that? It seems like he was never given a name

    – I think Mom lied to the boys about leaving the game there for them. It probably washed up on shore and she wanted to continue to hide the fact that there was somewhere other than the island. The only way to do that would be to have them believe that she put the game there for them to find.

    – Seems like Mom, Jacob, and brother pre-date the temples, statues, etc. The basement of the temple where Ben met the smoke monster and it showed him flasbacks of Alex, the carvings on the wall showed the smoke monster.

    – Seems like Mom’s explanation of the bright light was just a very simple way of explaining the electromagnetic pocket of energy. Either she didn’t fully understand it or wanted to explain it in a way that the boys could understand.

    – Maybe what happened to MiB was similar to what happened to that guy who got zapped by Whidmore’s machine

    – Is MiB really a bad guy? He was taken from his birth mother and his birth mother was killed by the woman who raised him. She constantly lied to him. He wanted to return to his people and go to his homeland which is off island. Interesting how they set up his motives for getting off the island. I’m a little more sympathetic to him now.

  12. Okay, how about the casting of Allison Janney? I mean, I love her in pretty much everything she does, but she might be the LAST person I would want for this role as the mom. Bizarre.

  13. JM says “Seems like Mom’s explanation of the bright light was just a very simple way of explaining the electromagnetic pocket of energy. Either she didn’t fully understand it or wanted to explain it in a way that the boys could understand.”

    I hope this is true. Because if that’s the writer’s actual explanation…I’ll be ticked. Magical light? I’m not a fan. But electromagnetic pockets of energy that allow people to time travel? Definitely.

    I love LOST but this episode was a huge disappointment for me. Mostly because I do not care where the smoke monster comes from or Jacob. I just want to accept they exist and move on. I would much rather have had a Widmore/Eloise flashback if we were going to have to have a flashback of non-main characters. .How on earth does Eloise know so much about the island? How come it took Widmore 20 years to find the island the first time and only like a week the second time? Those are the questions I want answered, not “where did the bodies come from.” Also I wanted the bodies to be Kate and whoever she ends up with, just so watching the first season where she is touching her own dead skeleton would be extra creepy.

  14. LAT, I’m with you re Eloise and Widmore. I can accept that Egyptians and who knows who else came to the island and don’t need their stories, but Widmore has been with us nearly from the beginning, and we know next to nothing about him.

    How did he get there? If he once held Ben’s position, how is it that he knows so much more about island lore than Ben did? Why did he really leave? Why did Eloise leave? What is their relationship now? And why does the island remain so important for both of them – to the point that their children’s – and other children’s – lives were completely shaped by it?

    I would have LOVED a Widmore and Eloise flashback.

  15. To tell you the truth, the characters I care most about are the original losties. I really don’t care about Widmore or Eloise any more than Jacob and MiB. I still love this show, but I love the first few seasons more than these last couple because they were so much more character-driven than about the lore of the island and getting so caught up in satiating everyone’s need to have answers.

  16. Ryan: worse than the Nikki and Paulo one? 😉

    I wonder if the hair accessory spider-web is what Cadsuane wears in the Wheel of Time books?

    (Oh, and I have the Sawyer EW cover, if anyone wants it. Just glad it wasn’t Ben staring up at me from the coffee table.)

  17. I liked it surprisingly a lot. It made not-Locke very sympathetic. It also tends to make not-Locke more Jacob-like than Jacob. It also sets up Mom/Jacob in terms of stealing kids, killing those who are judged “bad”, and being generally manipulative SOBs.

    Things I wanted to know but obviously didn’t expect to know – how not-Locke takes dead bodies. Was the wheel the same wheel Ben and Locke turned to get off the island? When did the rules between Jacob and not-Locke get started?

  18. I think I heard her say “mihi nomen Claudia est,” which means “My name is Claudia” in Latin.

    If anyone can transcribe the Latin chant over the wine, I’ll take a crack at translating it.

  19. Other thoughts.

    1. How did “mom” kill everyone. She seemed to know what would happen if someone went into that lighted cave. I think she was like the man in black.

    2. The age of the “bones.” Remember the island moves in time and space.

    3. Surprised folks didn’t like it. Compared to last week’s very weak episode I thought this was great. I wish the Egyptian statue was explained – but you can’t have everything.

  20. I thought Allison Janney was a bad casting choice, too (even though I really, really like her and I’m a fan of hers in almost everything else).

    Indeed this set up MiB as more sympathetic (in a way), but not much.

    Oh, I also wondered, as soon as evil mom killed Claudia (real mom), I yelled, “How are those babies going to eat?” Can babies live on – um – coconut milk?

    How is it that Smokie/Not-Locke is seeing a young-himself and Boy-Jacob run around the island? And how can Sawyer see them?

  21. I don’t think I would have minded it much had it been done in flashback-mode. Have a sort of present-day Jacob/MIB episode that moves the story forward while flashing back to their history to explain a few of the mysteries.

    It just seemed like the writers said, “let’s take a break and answer some questions…” It was done sort of clumsily and just didn’t work IMO. The dialogue was wretched too.

  22. Sawyer seeing them is something significant I’d not noticed.

    Tim, I agree it might have come off better in flashback mode. But I’m not sure how you could do that well. Typically flashbacks happen with the flashback character being focused in on in the main narrative. Still, having last week focus more on not-Locke and make it his flashback would have been great. That’d required a two hour special though.

  23. Tim J: again, I don’t think the point was to “answer some questions.” I think the point was to make MiB more sympathetic (and perhaps also to emphasize how big of an SOB Jacob has always been).

    LAT: Jacob/MiB are much more important characters than Widmore/Hawking. You could redo the whole series without Widmore/Hawking and it would still work; but take out Jacob/MiB? Nope. But I’m totally with you on how cool it would have been for Kate to be touching her own bones!

    meeems: MiB has been stuck on this island—betrayed by his “mother” and brother—for something like a few thousand years. I’m definitely more sympathetic to his plight.

    fwiw, I’ve always wanted to see MiB get off the island because a) I don’t think Jacob knows what he’s talking about (and hence, Widmore et al who prophesy total destruction, etc.), b) I wouldn’t trust Jacob even if he did, and c) I like to run experiments anyway. 🙂

    Clark: what do you mean by “the age of the bones”? What bones? Adam and Eve?

  24. Brian J, I disagree that you could have told this story without Widmore/Eloise, but not without Jacob/MIB.

    Much of the story was already told without Jacob. In fact, there was a time when fans questioned if he existed, and certainly Ben and Richard now believe it was pointless to follow him. All of Jacob’s followers could have just as easily been driven by a faceless, nameless god, or by the theatrics of any of the human leaders – Widmore, Ben, Richard, Dogen, etc.

    MIB could have remained a smoke monster messing things up from time to time, and honestly the Flocke role could have just as easily been a possessed version of Locke.

    Widmore and Eloise’s contributions are far more concrete – because of them, an array of other characters came into play, notably Desmond and Farraday. Widmore was the catalyst of major events with the introduction of the freighter. Ben’s rivalry with Widmore formed the basis of his character and much of the middle seasons. Eloise we could maybe replace, but not Widmore IMO.

    I’m open to argument on the point though 🙂

  25. Hmmm. I ended up with a different interpretation of last night’s episode; I’m surprised no one else mentioned it. I think the original MIB — the sympathetic one that was presented through much of the episode — is DEAD: died in the cave ‘o light. It was his death there that unleashed Smokie.

    Smokie then took the MIB’s form (as it later took Locke’s form). I recall Not-Locke stating that he required a dead body to assume that person’s form, and it’s clear that once he assumes the form, he gains access to that person’s memories and that even person’s psychological failings. (Remember Not-Locke yelling at the child Jacob “don’t tell me what I can’t do”?)

    Smokie is released, finds the freshly dead corpse of Jacob’s brother, and assumes his shape. But Smokie is also consumed by the MIB’s issues: sibling rivalry, leaving the Island, maternal hatred, etc. But now that it’s Smokie, and not the real MIB, the stakes are much higher should he successfully leave the island.

    So whether one is sympathetic to the original MIB or not, I think it doesn’t matter. Smokie ain’t him. Dead is dead.

    At least, that’s how I interpreted the episode. I could be wrong. But I’m still clinging (barely) to my “Smokie as Geni” theory…

  26. Yeah by bones I means “mom” and Not-Locke’s bodies.

    What I missed last night? A flash-sideways of Jacob and Not-Locke.

  27. Mudhead, do you think Jacob understood that? When I think back to their interactions on the beach, and then with the wine, I felt that Jacob was speaking to his brother, not some smoke monster than apparently can’t hurt him.

    Or maybe Jacob knows that Smokey absorbs a little bit of every body he inhabits, and thus Jacob felt he was talking to his brother’s spirit?

    I’m perplexed, although Flocke clearly has access to Locke’s dbase (if you will), there’s no question that Locke is no longer in that body. Therefore, all traces (other than a bit of memory bank) of MIB should be long gone.

    Or, is there a difference as MIB is the original Smokey, so whoever he subsequently inhabits, he’s still a version of MIB?

  28. I like Mudhead’s theory. Wouldn’t it be chilling to have another scene with MiB telling Jacob “You speak to me as if I was your brother”, a la Eko and his brother?

    I really enjoyed the episode and the change up from last week’s big downer. I wonder if part of the mixed reaction is due to such a long buildup of mysteries and so many of us have been pondering them for years, there is no way any answer can pay off our expectations.

    It’s been funny to see some of the disappointment over not knowing MiB’s name. What name would be satisfactory, Fred? Eugene? Maybe if it was Aaron or something else establishing another connection but I don’t think the writers are going there.

    I know these last few episodes are hard to watch with such high expectations. I probably won’t be able to really enjoy them until it’s all over and I can rewatch them again after its all soaked in.

  29. It seems to me that Jack and Sawyer are forming the same relationship as Jacob and Johnny (Cash); One is hellbent on getting off the island and the other is committed to staying. But that seems to simplistic to be meaningful.

  30. David, agree about the name. Kramer was never the same after we found out his first name was Cosmo.

    Another thought – it appears the wine brings immortality – mom gave it to Jacob, Jacob gave it to Richard, and MIB smashed the bottle when Jacob insulted him by offering it to a dead man.

    The wine therefore does not make you The One (otherwise Richard would now be The One, and there would be no need to search for new candidates).

    So is Jacob really in charge of the island? Or did mom just use a bit of wizardry to make him think it was his burden?

    And if that’s the case, what’s the point of being a candidate to take his place, when the role is essentially voluntary and without real power? Someone like Widmore, or Ben if he had figured it out earlier, should be able just to take over the job if they wanted to.

  31. I thought the episode was really interesting.

    Crazy “mom” made a point of saying that going into the light would be worse than death, so Jacob did not necessarily kill MIB. I think it put the brother into automatic purgatory, like some of the other ghosts on the island. It seems kind of coincidental, though, that this was the first we saw the smoke monster. Maybe because of MIB’s “special” abilities? Like how Desmond doesn’t die in the electromangnetic surge? That leads me to think that maybe the magnetic properties of the island and the life-force are one in the same (like what JM said). Every person has a “spark” that keeps their heart beating. It is neither good nor evil.

    The episode did answer how the donkey-wheel came to be and possibly why the temple was later built (on top of the light I would assume b/c of the pool). It shows why Jacob never told Richard what it was all about… he didn’t know. It answered my question on who the good guy is and the bad guy… neither are clearly either one. It explained the MIB’s motivation for leaving and gave clues to the great game that the brothers are playing with our characters as their pawns.

  32. Last night I had a dream that after this episode it was announced that this was actually the final episode of LOST. It was a real insult to injury moment.

  33. Jenny: My comment was meant strictly in regards to going into last night’s episode; i.e., the importance of various characters up until last night. Yes, if we went back a few seasons then Widmore’s character is ultra-important, but more recently he has been eclipsed by Flocke and Jacob. Thus, in the few remaining episodes we have left, I would much rather learn about them then Widmore/Hawking.

    Yes, one could rewrite the story to use, as per your example, a “Jacob” that does not really exist—“a faceless, nameless god.” But as of last week, that would be a major rewrite. Hawking’s character, on the other hand, serves no essential purpose whatsoever: we don’t really need an explanation for who was Faraday’s mom, or who exactly got the Oceanic 6 back to the island, etc. Don’t get me wrong: I really like the character (in a hate sort of way). Widmore, I agree, is more important, but mostly because of how he played against Ben (as you say).

    Another way of stating this is that it looks like all along this story has been about Flocke and Jacob and not about the Losties or the Others or Dharma or whatever. We didn’t realize this as audience members any more than the Losties realized it as captives of the whole game. But we’re beginning to understand that along with the Losties (and Ben and Richard too).

  34. Not revealing MIB’s name is yet another lame trick that Lost has employed the entire series. Hold something trivial back, everyone figures it mostly out anyways, then “*reveal* and awe at our awesomeness.”

  35. Can I just say that Cuse and Lindelof are Gods among Writers?

    Last night proves it. They answered more mysteries than ever before, in fascinating ways if you ask me, and people complain like crazy. If they were crappier storytellers, ladies and gentlemen, the whole season would have been like last night, but in their wisdom they’ve avoided that trap. They’re doing it their way–the way they’ve always done it. Probably the only way they know how.

    I can only say that like all genius performers, and at this point they truly are performing, they know better what the audience wants and needs than the audience itself.

    They’re guaranteeing the shows immortality by not sewing up everything in a nice tight package. People will be talking about Lost for decades.

  36. Jenny (29) – I think Jacob does know that Smokie is not his brother, even though he assumes his form and carries his memory. That could explain why in his later interactions with it (like on the beach at the end of Season 5, or this season with the wine bottle), Jacob was so cool and standoffish to the MIB. There was much more of a brotherly vibe between the two before Jacob tossed him down the cave.

    As for your other question, I’m not ready to believe that Locke is no longer “there” in the body Smokie is inhabiting. I think Smokie absorbed some of Locke’s personality, just as he picked up the MIB’s. When Fake Locke said “don’t tell me what I can’t do,” you can see traces of the real Locke on display.

  37. BTW – the “mom” is also obviously the witch, Sycorax, in The Tempest who is the mother of Caliban. I was actually surprised she stayed out of Lost for so long. BTW Caliban who is an influence for the smoke monster, has a great line relevant for Lost.

    Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
    Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
    Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
    Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
    That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
    Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
    The clouds methought would open, and show riches
    Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
    I cried to dream again.

    Interestingly Ariel is also an influence for the smoke monster. And Sycorax imprisons him in a tree. Ariel is then bound by Prospero (who is Jacob in Lost) to act as his eyes and ears. Note how Jacob discovers the transformed brother in a tree.

    Interestingly at the end of The Tempest Ariel is freed by Prospero.

    I’m a little more skeptical that the smoke monster isn’t really Jacob’s brother.

  38. I think Jacob does know that Smokie is not his brother. That could explain why in his later interactions with it, Jacob was so cool and standoffish to the MIB. There was much more of a brotherly vibe between the two before Jacob tossed him down the cave.

    Maybe after killing his own brother, Jacob has the good sense to not act all “pals-y” with him. Then again, I’ve never committed fratricide, so what do I know: maybe it normally brings siblings closer together? (Is there a Hallmark card for that? “Hey bro, about that time I drowned you….”)

  39. matt, I don’t think they’ll ever explain that one, but we might guess that MIB can’t leave the island because he’s dead. Perhaps also Smokey’s power originates on the island, so will diffuse the further away it gets, if it can generate at all.

    Jacob, OTOH, was an immortal, like Richard, and therefore could come and go as he pleased.

  40. Maybe Jacob decided to collect Others so that he could have time to do other things like leave the Island. At the very least I’d say that was one reason he let Richard stick around.

  41. I keep hearing talk about Jacob’s brother being dead. But I thought going into that cave with the light was supposed to be a fate “worse than death” … not actually death itself.

  42. “Because I’m special, MOTHER!!!” at least that’s what I think the MiB yelled. If so, mystery solved.

    MiB’s name is Buster.

  43. 1. How did “mom” kill everyone. She seemed to know what would happen if someone went into that lighted cave. I think she was like the man in black.

    I was thinking this, too. And how did she move all that dirt?

    MiB killed her, before she could speak, with the same dagger that Dogan later gave to Sayid to kill MiB/not-Locke. The “Thank you” seemed to imply that she was released from a long state of limbo.

    The only rub is that she had a body afterward.

    Had Sayid successfully killed MiB/not-Locke, would there have been a second Locke corpse on the island? Or a second MiB corpse? How would that work if you killed someone whose original body was already dead and who had taken the form of someone who had already died and left behind a corpse?

    My thinking is that MiB/not-Locke would simply fade away or disintegrate or vaporize, leaving nothing intact behind. But this didn’t happen to Mother. Either I’m wrong about what happens to smoke monsters when you kill them or she wasn’t a smoke monster.

  44. All the talk about Mother being a smoke monster has me wondering if Jacob is not actually looking to replace himself. If Mother was a smoke monster, MiB released her, then became her replacement. And Mother was grateful.

    Jacob might be trying to release his brother–maybe he’s not looking for his own replacement, but a replacement smoke monster. Maybe he wants to atone, and the only thing he can do is release MiB, but because of Mother’s voodoo about not harming each other, he has to manipulate the situation. Unlike Mother, though, MiB doesn’t want to be released; he wants off the island.

  45. I think one thing we’re forgetting is that while the smoke monster obviously has powers that would enable him to kill a bunch of people and burn a village, Jacob as the island protector also has powers which he presumably inherited from Mother when he took her place. If Mother killed off a village and filled the well, I don’t think we have to infer Mother is a smoke monster. Maybe she was using her island-protector powers to do it.

  46. Allison may be on to something. I had forgotten the second part about the dagger.

    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.

  47. [“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.”]

    Neither the MIB or Jacob was definitely good or evil. What’s wrong with that? All living beings are the combination of both good and evil. It’s only natural.

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