“Across the Sea”
May 11th, 2010
[For more discussion of the episode, check out my breakdown and analysis of critical responses to “Across the Sea.” Also, for a review of the series’ penultimate episode, What They Died For, click here]
Do metaphors count as answers?
It’s the question I found myself returning to throughout “Across the Sea,” a story which feels so designed to discover answers that it never quite achieves a narrative in its own right, although I don’t necessarily mean that as a slight to its effectiveness. However, while you could argue we get some facts and details that help us piece together previous events, there is very little of what one would call “clear” answers in the hour. What we get are extended metaphors meant to give meaning, rather than clarity, to that which has happened before and that which will happen in the future.
Considering the breadth of questions we as an audience have at this stage in the show’s run, there is no chance that the show will ever be able to make everything perfectly clear, and when tonight’s episode actually tried to provide “answers” it often felt unnatural, inorganic. Where the episode worked best is in using metaphors and abstract ideas to solidify human emotions and character motivations: this is the story of Jacob and his nameless twin brother (who we’ll call Esau for the sake of the Biblical connection, even if their mother’s name makes it less than perfect), but it both implicitly and explicitly gestures to what we’ve seen unfold on the island for six seasons, and in doing so gives greater meaning to that journey even if the “why” question remains unanswered.
I don’t think “Across the Sea” is by any means perfect, but I think it did a most admirable job at crafting a story which crystallizes the show’s journey thus far, worrying less about the big picture and more about establishing where the individual portraits the show has created fit into the mysteries of the island (which may remain unsolved).
To start with what I thought didn’t quite work, I do think that joining Allison Janney’s “Mother” character in media res was a bit of a bizarre decision: while the why/how of the situation can’t be the show’s priority, the complete lack of context for how she arrived on the island and how she was given this kind of power seems incredibly bizarre to me. I’m very glad to see a woman in a role of authority on the show, and I thought Janney was great throughout, but I still feel like this flashback episode needs another flashback episode. I don’t necessarily think this is the case, as I think the episode derives enough meaning from the island’s past to build momentum heading into the final three and a half hours, but I nonetheless felt like something was missing, a takeaway that I think Lindelof and Cuse could have avoided with some sort of context for her position. This is very clearly Jacob and Esau’s story, but I think Janney’s character’s existence gestures too closely to mysteries that it is clear the show has no intention of solving.
However, I’m fine with the decision because it is another reminder that it doesn’t particularly matter what started this process, or what it is which lies at the heart of the island: the show isn’t about the island itself but rather the people who are drawn to it as part of this massive game of sorts, so it makes sense that the show would focus on how the island changed Jacob and Esau’s relationship rather than how this entire situation came to be. The important thing is that Jacob and Esau were not always omniscient beings, and that they were once humans who were fighting over whether or not they should leave the island just as Jack and Locke would do centuries later. The two child actors were well cast, and Mark Pellegrino and especially Titus Welliver stepped up to the plate to humanize two characters who have always seemed a bit obtuse. This wasn’t quite as successful as “Ab Aeterno” at creating an emotional core to their characters, if only because it was so concerned with creating thematic meaning for the rest of the series at the same time, but I thought the actors really brought it to the table and managed to show us the origins of these two characters without it seeming like the show just connecting some dots. We better understand why it is that Esau would be so focused on leaving, just as we understand why Jacob would be so concerned with finding someone to replace him (as it was his task, bestowed to him by his mother before her death). All of that works pretty well, and I’m officially campaigning for Welliver to grab an Emmy nod for his work in this episode (Janney’s a lock based on her pedigree, one would think).
That was really only half of the episode, though. The other half is going to be a hell of a tough thing to write about, as the show was throwing out possible connections left and right. Not everything was quite as (overly) clear as the Adam/Eve mystery being officially solved; I don’t think the flashbacks were necessary, as any fan in their right mind was thinking “Adam and Eve!” as soon as Jacob carried Esau’s body back to the caves, but it was still nice to see the show actually come full circle, and to show that the black/white rocks were really there from the beginning (plus, you know, in the backgammon game). However, the rest of the episode was filled with moments that spoke to what we’ve seen before: the baby-snatching which “Mother” performs is akin to the drama surrounding both Alex and Aaron, while Claudia’s death is perhaps a portend for the problems with child birth on the island in later years. As Jacob and Esau are playing their game (which James Poniewozik discovered via Twitter was an Egyptian game called Senet), they discuss the idea that they’re making up their own rules, which plays into what we know about Widmore and Ben’s rules from their time on the island. Despite being a “flashback” for these two unrelated characters, a lot of what we’re seeing explains (or at least prescribes meaning to) things we’ve seen in the past, sort of like a refresher course of the show’s history tucked away within this well-acted narrative.
However, the big element of the episode is the introduction of “Light” as the term to describe the essence of the island’s power: from what we were told, it seems that “Mother” was protecting this power, and she took on the two sons as a way to pass on that responsibility to someone else. She explains that the light is beautiful, and something that is inside of everyone, but also something that inspires greed and malice; if they tried to abuse it, it could go out forever, and then the light would go out everywhere. At first this seemed a little bit far-fetched, but it was never intended to be literal: while there is an actual light that we see in that tiny little cave, the metaphor of light is meant to capture something larger, and we are inspired to make various connections not only to past discussions like that one (like Jacob explaining the whole Hellmouth-esque theory of the island to Richard) but also past events where “life, death and rebirth” (the three qualities the light represents) have played out on the island. We start to wonder whether the temple was built over this pool of water and whether that water is the same which Esau flowed into at episode’s end, and we start to realize why it is that the screen flashed to white after Jughead exploded rather than fading to black as we’ve come to expect. “Light” may not mean anything considered in the abstract, but as a metaphor for what we’ve seen it helps us piece together what it’s all meant.
Of course, some of the connections are more clear, and they create further mysteries: we still don’t understand how it is that Esau knew that his donkey wheel would somehow tap into the power of the light in order to transport him off of the island, or how the people within his community would eventually inspire the Dharma initiative. There are gaps to be found that perhaps Widmore and Ben can fill in, but there isn’t enough time to do flashbacks of every stage of the island’s development. I don’t know if these “new” mysteries were intended as mysteries or rather simply shortcuts to get us to the emotional stages in the episode, but I think that we are at the point where Lost viewers are intelligent enough to derive meaning from the events without getting entirely caught up in the “how/why” of things. What happens to Esau at episode’s end shows us how it is that he came to be the smoke monster, but rather than getting hung up on the metaphysical properties of the transformation I found myself wondering how that compares to what happened with Claire and Sayid, and whether the transformation was the result of the light’s general powers or the result of Jacob going against the letter (if not the law) of his Mother’s “rule” and allowing Esau to live on beyond his mortal death.
However, I’ve never been one to get caught up on “answers” when it comes to Lost – there’s a point where Janney’s character shushes Claudia and tells her that every question she asks about the island will only create more questions, and I felt like it was a less than subtle nod to the audience. These sort of meta moments, sprinkled throughout the episode as it starts to piece together certain things from the show’s past, kept the story of Jacob and Esau from forming its own entity, but that was the point of the episode. The point was that this wasn’t a new story so much as it was a story we’ve never heard before but seems awfully familiar. Lost loves to keep us on edge, and now that we’re all desperate for some sort of conclusion they gave us an episode which masqueraded as one thing (the backstory of Jacob and Esau) and ended up being a broad thematic investigation of the island and its meaning with a few pretty unsurprising “facts” about our favourite frateternal (invented word alert) twins.
I don’t really view this as a problem, but I’ll admit that it wasn’t what the show advertised it was going to do: the short cable blurb for the episode implied that we would understand “John Locke’s” motives, but all the episode did was give his very simple and straightforward desire to escape the island greater meaning. That meaning is largely philosophical: he lived a life where he didn’t understand death and had no clue what a ship was, and so when he learns that his “Mother” has been keeping him away from everything he wants to understand how the island works and use that to explore the world around him. He is the eternal philosopher, someone who believes in “Across the Sea” and who as Smokey is more trapped than he ever was before. Jacob, meanwhile, put his trust in his “Mother” and took on the responsibility of the island without really having a choice in the matter; it’s a situation which he recreates numerous times over, as none of the people who arrive on the island truly have a choice, whether it’s Dogen taking over the Temple watch or characters being unable to die until their true purpose has been served. What we’ve seen thus far on the island is an extension of what they live through here, and while it doesn’t go much further into the “how” and on occasion elides or looks past the “why,” it makes a meaningful connection between Jacob and Esau’s story and the rest of the series.
There are points in the episode where it all feels stretched a bit thin, and points which (as noted) raise mysteries and further questions that I’m not sure the show can elide as easily as it might like to (or as might be necessary); I’m also open to arguments that we needed this episode earlier in the season, or needed more time spent during earlier time periods in order to further contextualize what we saw tonight. However, I think “Across the Sea” was successful at emphasizing the meaning of the island to both these two characters and the rest of the show’s journey, and while it was ultimately light on clear answers it used metaphor to bring to life some of the mysteries of the past. Without knowing where the show goes from here, we can only really judge on how this episode speaks to what came before and how it stands as its own hour of entertainment: on those two fronts, some strong explicit and implicit connections with past episodes and some strong performances from the guest stars (who dominated the entire hour) are enough to make this episode meaningful.
We’ll see in the next two weeks whether or not it is as meaningful as it needed to be.
- Part of the problem with Lost’s plethora of mysteries is that we like to jump to conclusions: for example, I kept thinking that the whole Donkey Wheel scenario was concocted by a time-travelling Daniel Faraday, so if we get any other sort of answer I’m going to be eternally frustrated.
- Considering light’s importance to the episode, there was some great lighting: the show finally explained why it is that Esau (as Locke) has been seeing dead people (or earlier versions of dead people) bathed in a sort of light, and the shot of Janney standing in the light at the bottom of the well was some really great stuff.
- I know it’s been a while since we’ve been to the Caves set, but the way it was lit made it seem obnoxiously fake – I’m going to say budget cuts, as it’s a nice easy answer as to why it seemed so “off.”
- Liked the parallels between the child and adult struggles of Jacob and Esau, with Jacob attacking him in much the same way as an adult as he did when he was a child. It was a nice parallel, and interestingly depicts Jacob as the aggressor (when we’ve clearly, to this point, associated Esau with that role).
- I am struggling to understand how it is that “Mother” burned down and murdered an entire village, but I guess we’re just supposed to chalk that up to her using the island’s power in some way – same goes for filling in the well.
- The idea that no one ever stumbled across Jacob and Esau’s humble abode in the caves, or that Esau could never find the “Light Cave” on his own, implies that Jacob and his mother could both camouflage certain locations – perhaps this explains why it is that they weren’t able to see the Lighthouse or some other parts of the island at various stages of the series?
- I think this is officially the first time I was exciting to see someone looming on a television show, but I cheered a bit when we learned where Jacob got his odd hobby.
- My one big remaining question: the whole eternal life thing. We presume it has something to do with the light (which Jacob controls and which Esau embodies), but I can’t help but be curious.
65 responses to “Lost – “Across the Sea””
Great work, per usual. Maybe I missed something, but what is the reason why Esau can see dead people?
There was no explanation provided – he’s just “special.”
“I am struggling to understand how it is that “Mother” burned down and murdered an entire village, but I guess we’re just supposed to chalk that up to her using the island’s power in some way – same goes for filling in the well.”
Based on her reference to the light resulting in a fate worse than death, and her thanking MiB for killing her, I thought the implication here was that she was the monster, which is how she killed all those people.
That’s what I thought as well.
This seems logical, although I wonder if the implication is enough for it to be fact – the fact that we never see her take the form of the smoke monster makes me skeptical, although I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to see at least some sort of a connection between her death and Jacob’s death at the hands of Ben, so there’s something to consider.
I really think she’s mommy smokey. What is working for me right now is the idea that she was a normal person who found the light and went inside, turning into smokey momma. Maybe the light disembodies the soul and people’s essence somehow. Have you noticed how esau sees black smoke in the horizon after he sees all the destruction? And how he killed smokey momma stabbing her without letting her speak first? The thank you maybe was because she was trapped being a smokey creature who cant die…
My only beef with her being Momma Smokie is that Esau left his mortal body behind when he became Smokie, whereas Momma left a mortal body behind after Esau killed her in “Smokie” form. Wouldn’t Momma have already had left her body when she became a Smoke monster years earlier?
THIS. I believe that up until that point in the island’s history, it is possible that the smoke monster and the guardian are one in the same. That is why ‘mother’ was ‘crazy’ and so shocked to see twins – that the implication was that the responsibilities were to ‘split’ and a new dynamic was to begin. So, both boys were ‘chosen’ just which was going to do what was the question. Also, I think the whole ‘brother-fight-brother-kill-mother-kill-brother’ was a typical LOST scenario carefully orchestrated by mother from the beginning so she could finally make her own escape.
Love this theory. A few additions. If the whole thing was a long con orchestrated by Mother as the Smoke Monster, this would explain why she raised one son to believe he was different, a “liar” and not “good” like his brother. Also I’m pretty convinced Claudia was the Smoke Monster (whether or not the Smoke Monster and Mother were one in the same). If they were the same, her appearance to Boy in Black would make sense – it fueled his murderous anger towards Mother.
YESSS! I totally agree. Smokey Mother definitely turned into Claudia to enrage BIB and start the wheels in motion.
Also my thoughts. She seemed to just appear at the bottom of the well, and MIB reacted much the same way Sayid and others have reacted when Smokey appears out of nowhere. And ya, the death and carnage looked like the work of the black smoke.
I think this episode was a C at best. I thought the acting was pretty bad except for Titus Welliver. I know everyone gives Janney a pass, but she wasn’t really that good. Did you feel anything other than puzzlement for all the crazy shit she did? And did you feel anything when Smokey stabs her? Mark Pellegrino must have got a note that said, “Past Jacob is a little slow, act confused the entire episode.” And kid Jacob and Smokey were terrible, especially Jacob.
The motivations for Jacob and Smokey, that apparently have determined the game they play for eternity, are incredibly weak. Smokey: I’m not
from here so must do everything possible to leave. Jacob: Fake Mommy said I have to protect this for some reason. This completely neuters the Jacob/Smokey mythos without making it relatable enough to actual human motivations.
I would have been completely fine not knowing how Smokey was made, who Adam and Eve were, etc. if only the show could give us a reason why the Island and the people on it actually matter. And if you aren’t going to do that, at least make it entertaining like they did in Ab Aeterno.
I have really enjoyed this season so far but this episode felt unnecessary. I don’t see any reason for them placing this so near to the end of the season, especially since it completely ends the momentum built up by the crazy events of last week.
Felt the same way……The other episodes left me in awe, left me wanting to rewatch them, made me want more. This was like a christmas present you get, anticipating the gifts are only going to get better, to find its socks. This episode didn’t do a darned thing for me. I felt just like the Esau character…well I would understand if only you explained something.
I felt the same.
I didn’t need to know what the light was… but they keep saying “if Smokey leaves, the world dies” uh give us more here please!
And the acting was off (except Titus, like you said). Even JAcob, who previously is acted well.
I just hope that the remaining episodes will build on this one to help us out more.
Maybe the lack of feeling (on Janney’s murder) is due to the fact that it was so expected and foreseeable? Same with mom getting conked on the head at the beginning. Maybe I have been watching the show too long!
Jacob’s character is just not that deep–I don’t think it’s the actor. He’s just a drone. An obedient patsy.
I don’t like the non-explanation of “the source”, or whatever. Maybe they will fill in some details in final episodes.
Yeah, I don’t see how Jacob could just accept what his mother said. I think that she lied to him, even at the end, and smokey is really the protector of the island, and will be unable to leave. He will have Jack (or Hurley) kill him.
That “camouflage” idea is a really good one. But it’s yet in another of a long line of questions about the exact power of Jacob & his “Mother.”
Yet another great review Myles. You’re one of the best LOST recappers at this point.
“we still don’t understand how it is that Esau knew that his donkey wheel would somehow tap into the power of the light in order to transport him off of the island, or how the people within his community would eventually inspire the Dharma initiative”.
I’ve only watched it once, so maybe my memory is fuzzy, but didn’t he also know how to play the black & white rock game without being told, and have an instinctive knowledge that there were other people across the sea? Combined with his ability to see dead people, then I guessed that he was a “special child” in the same way that Walt was.
I think that Jacob was correct in that “Mother” wanted Esau to take over her place as the guardian of the light, and only turned to Jacob once that had no longer become feasible. Along those lines, I was disappointed that while Esau was gifted as a a child, we saw no indication that Jacob was also. Obviously he picked up some gifts once he drank the potion, but prior to that all of the signs were that he was normal.
Speaking of which, since Jacob wasn’t able to see dead people in the light before he took over as guardian, I wonder why at least some of the potential candidates to replace him are able to do that? Hurley has seen many dead people in the same way that Esau did, and I clearly remember Sawyer seeing dead Jacob in that way too. Imo, these signs seem to point to the idea that two of our candidates are meant to be chosen, one for Jacob’s role and one for Esau’s.
I very much agree with your comments on wanting to have seen more background info on “Mother” and am disappointed that we won’t get it.
After seeing this Episode then I’m reminded of the responsibility and burden of punching in the numbers in the hatch, and wonder if there are any parallels between that and Jacob’s guardianship of the light. Perhaps there aren’t any, I’m rather tired at the moment, but will give that some more thought tomorrow.
Thanks very much for the review Myles, definitely an enjoyable read.
I don’t need literal explanations for the island phenomena, which is good, because it looks like none are coming. What if that’s the point?
Does season 6 echo season 2 in this way? Locke was committed to pushing the button until he thought there was no point in it. His faith was shaken when he visited the Pearl and learned that Dharma conducted psychological experiments. We know how season 2 ended with a blaze of white light from the failsafe key. The driving force was Locke’s crisis of faith vs. reason.
What if Mother never revealed the answers to the “Why…” questions to either Jacob or Esau? Maybe she never knew. What if the only reason to keep the light on the island has been because Mother said so? Jacob believes her word and Esau doesn’t.
In the present day, we come full circle with Jack taking the role of Jacob the believer vs. Locke/Esau as the man of science.
Solid work as usual, but I have a question:
If Esau and “Mother” are Adam and Eve, I guess I don’t quite understand “what” the Smoke Monster really is. I thought it was implied that Jacob essentially turned his brother into the Smoke Monster by throwing him into the light in the cave water, but then he discovers the body nearby and lays Esau down next to his “Mother.” If that’s the case, when Jack and Kate discover Adam and Eve, how can Smokey be flying around the Island if he’s supposed to be, you know, lying there next to his mom?
That’s not truly Esau. Think Locke/Fake Locke. Esau IS dead, but Smokey assimilated his…spirit[?].
Also, I think that the smoke monster is just the Ying to the light’s Yang. It’s always been there. One can not exist w/out the other.
Pingback: Review of Lost, Across the Sea - Tuned In - TIME.com
Here’s a question, after doing more than half of an episode in Spanish (Ab Eterno), why switch the languages in this one for no explanation? I got the feeling they were speaking in Latin… should have continued! Or started out in English from the first and not make us think about the fact that that far back they’d be speaking something else. The language switch is jarring!
Great review Miles! I figured it would be a bit of a let down after last week’s adrenaline rush, but it was still nice to get some backstory filled in, and it serves as a nice breather before the END which is bound to be an intense several hours….
Why don’t you find some child actors that look like Jacob/MIB and try to teach them passable Latin in a few weeks. Get back to me when you do.
Even that small bit of Latin that was there felt awfully fake to me. Actors just don’t do a very good job of pretending to speak Latin, in my opinion. Something about the rhythm, emphasis, and inflection never sounds right to my ears. It’s understandable, since there are no native speakers of Latin to tell them how to talk, but I was very relieved when they switched to English.
I understand how hard it is to make the Latin sound passable, but the badness of it and the switch are so jarring it would have been better if they’d left it out completely!
I enjoyed that they spoke Latin, but the switch to English did seem out of place – like “why bother with the Latin? Are they supposed to be Romans?” If they are Romans, they are far away from home!
Pretty sure Doc Jensen reported that it was actually some kind of Swedish, or something, and not Latin. I think the switch was because the whole episode in subtitles, including the children, would’ve been impossible.
Why start it at all then? Good question.
@Jason – Doc J was just kidding about the Swedish thing. Everyone told him it was Latin when he asked so he replied “Northern Highlands Swedish, Got it.” or something like that. It’s definitely Latin. I couldn’t understand most of it (minus subtitles, of course) but Claudia very clearly says “Mihi nomen est Claudia.”
The Latin at the beginning was used to let the audience know the action was taking place long ago (Latin is a dead language after all). It also reminds the audience why the Others chose Latin as their language (probably instructed by Jacob). The switch to English came about right after a music cue.
I concluded that the Smoke Monster was unleashed when Jacob tossed Esau into the stream. Esau is dead (hence his Adam skeleton), while the Smoke Monster has taken Esau’s form (as it later took Locke’s). When MIB asked Jacob if he knew how much he wanted to kill him, I now interpret that as Jacob being the last line of defense keeping the Smoke Monster from reaching the outside world.
I didn’t care for Janney’s performance, but Welliver did a good job. I agree that “Across the Sea” tied into previous storylines with the metaphors, but the episode as a whole was largely underwhelming.
I like that… the Smoke Monster isn’t really Esau at all – just like he’s not really Locke.
Great article, Myles. It just dawned on me after reading your article and the comments, that it’s possible that we could have been shown “the sickness” in this episode by Mother’s behaviour, as well as the other island myths that you listed. I think it’s possible, as one of your commenters stated, that Mother was also a type of Smokey. Taken that into count, previously, she must have sojourned down the river into “the source.” She was somehow Smokey in the form of Mother (as Smokey is currently in the form of Locke). But that “evil” in her had a “bent” to murder and steal – likeable but able to kill suddenly (for instance, her killing Claudia and stealing her babies). It seemed very cruel and sudden in the episode, but that may have been the writers’ point. Later on, we were shown that Danielle’s French team got “infected” after they went underground into the Temple. As you conjectured, perhaps the Temple is set over the original river “source”. When French team came out they seemed very likeable at first but they had a murderous hunger or streak. Danielle, I believe, called that the sickness. Then, thinking of Ben and of Sayid, both of them died and where taken to the Temple and somehow came back from the dead, if I’m not mistaken. Both Ben and Sayid (more clearly in Sayid) seemed to have a “dark” soul after that. Is this all possibly what Danielle called “the sickness” – is that possibly what Mother had – after going into “the source” it changes you? I’m not sure if this theory is plausible but it seems to answer why Mother seemed so cruel so suddenly at times.
Pingback: Lost the Morning After: Going “Across the Sea” with Critics « Cultural Learnings
Pingback: Episode Review: Lost, "Across the Sea" - Metacritic
Pingback: Lost Across The Sea Full Episode - MeMiM
Allison Janney’s character totally ruined the episode. It’s really amazing that such a key figure in such a pivotal episode can be this unconvincing and out of place. They absolutely should have reshot the episode with another actor, but it seems that the producers are now just cashing in on the series and killing it off with minimum costs.
And Latin with that accent? Come on. She could have worn cowboy boots as well.
Pingback: The Postmortem: “Across The Sea” and response to answers « TV Surveillance
Pingback: Top Posts — WordPress.com
This sugar coating the truth is insanity! How could anyone like this episode? Unless you are into this show only for the character development and drama this was an amazing let down. In fact it runs risk of ruining the entire series.
There are two types of viewers, although many in between. There are those who like the character drama (e.g. learning all the dirty secrets of Kate) vs. those who are sci fi/fnatasy fans who are drawn in by the very compelling mysteries and mythology of this island, time travel, dharma, electromagnetism phenomina, the whispers, etc…. I think more are the latter (as I am). Now I never expected, and would not want, a lost “bible” to be presented, where every mystery is explained in detail. That would indeed ruin the story. Tolkein mentioned once, concerning his Tom Bombadill character in Lord Of The Rings, that some elements of a story should be secret even to the author. However, Lost took this concept to a perverse extreme.
I did expect to eventually find out what this island is. But I’m sorry , a “cork on evil”, or “the light of all living things” explanations just do not cut it . We really learned NOTHING new and important in this episode. Who really cared about the Adam and Eve skeletons? There’s skeletons all over the freaking island! That scene was a pathetic attempt to make it look like the producers had cleverly closed a loop between season 6 into the 1st season and I’m not buying it.
Did this episode really give us an explanation of the donkey wheel, the well and stuff we saw before as some critics claim? No. It did tell us who put them there, which could have probably guessed anyway, but we still have no clue what they are supposed to do and if they do work, how do they work.
Did we learn how or why Jacob and MiB got to the island? No, we are shown them growing up there, which we already guessed they did. We saw their real mother wash up on shore but where she came from and why she came there, the most interesting questions, are left without answer.
Did we learn what hidden secret they are guarding? No, we saw a lighted tunnel that contains “life, death, and resurrection” whatever the freak that means.
And we are bombarded with implausible plot elements like a woman on an island who raises 2 infants (um I don’t want to get into this but just how did she feed them????). We see a teenage boy who asks his “mother” what “dead” means. What the hell have they been eating up to that point? Or how about not noticing a village just over the hill for 13 years? Or a mother who claims all people are “bad.” Or how about how a single person manages to kill and burn an entire tribe AND bury their deep well in hours, all without firearms or power tools.
The only new thing I was able to gleen is that Jacob and MiB (and probably their fake mom) are patsies/pawns just like all who follow like Ben, Locke, Jack, Desmond, Richard, etc… They know nothing. As a matter of fact, they know nothing just as WE know nothing.
And I think that is where this is going. It is about the ill rewards one can expect for blind faith, as everyone on the island who exercises faith is eventually rewarded with loneliness and death. So like Desmond pressing a button every 108 minutes out of blind faith he is doing something “great”, we press the remote control button every week out of faith we will finally learn something more of this very compelling mystery. But just as MiB told Ben that Locke’s last living thought was “I don’t understand”, so will be our last thought be as the credits roll in the last episode. In otherwords, the joke has been on us! They hooked us for 6 years and we went for it.
This show has become a joke. Perhaps the best thing that could happen is it will end with Jacob and MiB on the beach playing their stupid black / white game and one of them will exclaim “Jumanji” and everything will go back to what it was.
That was awesome. I love what you wrote. I kept thinking we, the audience, have been blindly drinking the koolaid from Darlton just like Jacob and Mother.
Please tell me you posted this on ABC’s website.
BTW, didn’t they have ratings as high as 21 million a week? Now down to 9 million or less?
I guess if I were them, I would run and hide in “radio silence” on May 23rd, too.
You sound like a little whiney kid. Why do you need to know everything? Did x-files ever explain why Sulley’s hair is red? No because it just is. Quit trying to figure it out before you wind up in a chasm crying because you’re so lost on lost.
If you read what I wrote I would not expect nor want full explanations. That would indeed ruin the artistic element. I would like to know where this mysterious island came from. After all it has been the central mystery of the entire series. A tunnel of light or a “cork on evil” doesn’t really cut it.
Still 3.5 hours left…plenty of time to expand on what the island is.
sounds like you didn’t like the episode, but you can’t admit it to yourself. the writers have become completely hacky this season.
I think it is perfectly normal for viewers to expect to have the mystery cleared up about what the “light” inside the island really is, and how and why it affects humans in a spiritual, eternal sense, and how evil got bottled up on the island in the first place.
The show’s two writers reaped an avalanche of interest by using these things as the central amazing mystery behind the story they told. Now it’s time for them to deliver on the promise that our questions will be answered.
To cop out on that and say “We don’t really know” is a huge disappointment for people who trusted that the writers had the goods and would deliver a satisfying payoff for all this watching and waiting.
And it doesn’t have to take all that long. It can be done in dialog; it doesn’t have to be an hour of special effects work with new sets.
And even if the writers can;t solve the mystery of the universe for us, they can at least give us an answer with more detail.
I’ll make up an example, in the scene where Claudia asks the eventual ‘Mother’ character,Allison Janney about what’s going on:
Claudia: “And where did you come from?”
Mother: “I have been here a very, very long time. I arrived by accident, as you did. And there was someone here that helped me when I arrived. And all I know is that there was someone before them, and before them. I don’t know how far back it goes. That’s all I know. ”
I could accept THAT more than “you’ll just keep asking questions, so I am not going to tell you any more.” That implies a withholding of the truth from us, and is frustrating.
Or the scene where she tells the boys about the light as they look at the golden cave:
Jacob: “It’s beautiful! What is it? Where did it come from?”
Mother: “I don’t think it’s something we can understand, any more than we know what the stars are. But I know that when people are sick, getting close to it sometimes heals them. And I know that if they get too close to this light, if they go into the cave, they die. So you must never, never go into the cave!”
Boy in Black: “But why does that happen? How do you know it happens?”
Mother: ” I have seen it happen. You just have to believe me, and please, never go into that cave.”
Jacob: “But where did the light come from??”
Mother: “I think that light has been there as long as this island has been here. And I don’t know where this island came from. Maybe you can figure that out someday. Maybe you’ll find something on the island to give you that answer. But I don’t have the answer any more than you do.”
I think it’s when we feel that the writers are just holding out on us that we get angry.
I agree with this. I am fine taking these things on faith or with an “I don’t know” explanation. But it’s a slippery slope for the writers when they’ve asked so much of their audience over such a long period of time. In the end, LOST is a complete thing – like a novel or a movie. We’re not used to that type of narrative with a television series which could go on forever theoretically. So just as you supplied those answers in you examples, I suspect the writers are hoping/expecting that we as an audience are also doing that in our heads.
Well said! That is a great point. The writers have been attracting a lot of viewership by virtue of the mysterious phenomina concerning the island. I would not want full complete explanations, but a tunnel of light “that exists in all people” is woefully inadequate given the gravity this island had on the whole series.
Secondly, other critics pointed out how inappropriate, int he 3rd to last episode that they are introducing yet more mysterious characters with unclear motives. We have no idea of the mother’s motives. Is she insane? Were there others like her and now she is the only one left, hence had to steal two kids to be the next “candidates”? Why does she feel “people are bad”? How did she get there? (“by accident” does not explain it either). Etc…
The below is from wikipedia site and you will see that the actor portaying Jin also comments something similar. What it says to me is, expect the ending to not be clear. They both talk about the need to watch it multiple times, maybe re-watch the whole series, then it might make some sense.
Michael Emerson also commented on the ending, “I have received the finale by degrees. I read the script without the secret scenes, then I read the secret scenes, then I shot the script and each time I’m thinking about ‘what does this mean?’ When I first read it, the ending wasn’t clear to me – but since then it’s grown more clear and I have to say, grown more satisfying the more I think about it. I expect a mixture of satisfaction and consternation amongst the viewers when it airs. But once they rewatch it, rethink about it and possibly look at the saga again, gradually they will feel like they have just read a good novel — but you have to chew on it for a while.”
I’m not stupid, I don’t want to see the kind of convos that you wrote which look like they were written to make sure a 5 year old can understand the series. Infact they remind me a lot of the kind of convos people have on Heroes and FlashForward. Any reasonable adult should be able to get that out of the dialog in the episode itself. To clarify and re-clarify everything to the nth degree as it is in your dialog is redundant, boring and ultimately insulting to me as a viewer. I don’t want the writers to babysit me like that, I want them to have faith in me as the audience to watch the episode and arrive at the ideas they want without actually having them literally tell me that. Which is why the only bad part of this episode was the flashback to Season 1 where Adam & Eve were referenced.
The thing is they do not want us to “arrive” at any conclusions. Haven’t you read anything the writers and producers have mentioned in the last year? The two producer guys are going “off the grid” to avoid having to interpret the ending. They’ve all stated that they want this show to be ambiguous as they feel they will do a disservice to us by making us see it any one way. The net net meaning, other than trival details like adam and eve and how the statue got knocked over, we are not going to get ANY definitive answers. We will get vague and ambiguous explanations for all the mysteries we’ve been watching for the past 6 years.
It’s ruined the show for me once I came to that realization (the last show cementing that for me) but I can respect that some people will like to be able to theorize about it indefintely. I read a book or watch a long story arc like this because it has an ending where I can check my guesses.
Can newborn infants really survive on coconut milk? There was no one on the island that could have nursed them. No cows or goats. I just can’t see Allison Janney milking a wild boar. Even on Crazy Island there has to be SOME internal logic.
We have seen cows before previously on the island, a couple of times infact, in season 3 and season 4. I love when someone acts like they’ve just found something over the writers and yet foolishly falls on his face failing to check the facts
We should be neither Jack nor Locke. There is room for both Science and Faith. It is the extremes that bring about trouble. And when all is said and done, it’s about people. The Jacob mythology and even Richard Alpert’s story are allegories. They speak about the story and themes but do not explain it. Like Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, Jonah and the whale – we can take something away from the story but too literal a translation might be frustrating. Like the scientist who claim to have found Noah’s ark. What answers would come from that discovery? Is it proof of anything. Do we believe it as proof? Or does it just open up more questions? How boring it would be to over-explain everything. Just as midichlorians are not an explanation for the Force, knowing where Jacob’s Mother came from really won’t answer anything.
LOST is like a religion. I don’t think it mirrors or sets out to attack a specific religion. It represents the role of faith in our lives. We can and will debate about it for years to come. Writers will write about it. Future generation will re-discover it and apply it to the events of their time. I hope the Producers never come out and state their intentions to overtly. I think that will ultimately take away from the experience that is LOST. This touchy-feely, metaphorical, lucid approach to story-telling is exactly what makes LOST so appealing and engaging. I mean, come on – from the moment we saw a Smoke Monster you knew this was going to be unconventional storytelling. LOST is and should always be enigmatic.
Pingback: Every Answer Simply Leads to Another Question: The Latest Internet Lost Theories | Top Blogs News
They were reusing footage from season 1 and used a digital grading to change the lighting. That’s why it looks “weird.”
Just a thought on the mythology. I see the character of “Mother” as the goddess of the island. Did anyone notice how fast Esau put away his knife when she appeared in his cave, bathed in light? He knew, that unless he struck her at a vulnerable moment, he could do nothing to her, she was the goddess of the island.
The island always seems to kill mothers giving birth, but who actually killed the first mother?
Also, she didn’t give birth to them, that seems like a nod to the mixing and matching of mythology that Lost does so much of.
Please stop calling him Esau.
Well, we don’t really have anything else to call him, do we?
Not Esau, Samuel. Just as Mother’s name would be Sophia. It was an allegory for the Gnostic myth of Demiurge’s creation. We witnessed the birth of Satan.
I think that Esau was an innocent victim in this, just as Locke had been. Evil incarnate then and now poses as (ie, does not inhabit the body of) the victim. Smokey seems to absorb (ie, does not retain) a bit of the personality of each of these victims. We see this when MiB says to Jacob, “They come, they fight, etc” and when Flocke says “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” I hope that this is explained eventually. My point is, I don’t agree that Esau BECAME the Smoke Monster; I think that the Smoke Monster was somehow given access to the use of Esau’s image through Esau’s death.
My only beef with her being Momma Smokie is that Esau left his mortal body behind when he became Smokie, whereas Momma left a mortal body behind after Esau killed her in “Smokie” form. Wouldn’t Momma have already had left her body when she became a Smoke monster?
Pingback: Lost – “What They Died For” « Cultural Learnings
Pingback: Lost Finale Countdown: Some Light Pre-Finale Reading? « Cultural Learnings
This post offers clear idea for the new visitors of blogging, that actually how to do blogging and site-building.
Hello, I would like to subscribe for this blog to obtain hottest updates, therefore where can i do
it please help. about LED Outfitters
Excellent items from you, man. I have take into account
your stuff prior to and you are just too magnificent.
I really like what you’ve acquired right here, certainly like what you’re
saying and the way in which through which you are saying it.
You are making it entertaining and you continue to care for to
stay it sensible. I can’t wait to learn far more from you.
That is really a tremendous website.