Thursday, May 13, 2010
Lost 6x15: Across the Sea
In fact, the episode was something less than that, but still compelling (and, of course, thought provoking) in its own right. Mythic in scope, starting with the birth of Jacob and ending with the birth of Smokey, "Across the Sea" certainly filled in some blanks, establishing the relationship between Jacob and his brother, the Man in Black, their protection from each other bestowed by their mother, their proclivity for games and the rules governing them, the beginning of the Man in Black's yearning to leave the island, the creation of the (not so frozen) donkey wheel as an apparatus to that end, Jacob's ascension to stewardship of the island, and the revelation of the Adam and Eve skeletons' identity.
But, as Jacob's mother said in the episode's opening minutes, every question answered leads to another. And with only two episodes and three and half hours of Lost left, with the culmination of the Sideways plot, the battle against FLocke and the ascension of Jacob's replacement left to cover, it seems clear that "Across the Sea" will stand as the first and final word on the Jacob/Man in Black back story. In a vacuum (and, hopefully, with the benefit of hindsight) this episode was a captivating and intriguing tour de force; in the context of the Lost saga, however, it comes up a short, offering up yet more intrigue and supposition at a time when clarity and definition seem more needed.
Stuff Worth Mentioning
“Every question I answer will lead to another.” I'm pretty sure that was Darlton, looking us square in the eye, saying "we're not gonna answer everything you may want to know."
Jacob and his brother's "mother" was played by Alison Janney, of West Wing fame. I quite liked her performance.
The two women were speaking Latin at the beginning.
The game played by Jacob and his brother is Senet, an Egyptian game (more Egyptian stuff which predates Jacob and MiB) which predates backgammon. Apparently, no modern players are aware of the original rules.
The Boy in Black told Jacob, "One day you can make up your own game and everyone else will have to follow your rules". Presumably, this is a reference to the rules that are now protecting the candidates, as once Jacob became the protector of the island, he could make his own rules.
The Boy in Black was told he was special, just like Walt and Locke. He could see his dead birth mother, just like Hurley, Sawyer, Desmond, Ben and (presumably) Jack have seen dead people on the island. Apparently, there's a link between being special=seeing dead people=candidacy for the job of protector of the island.
The island dead seem to act on their own/within their own personalities: MiB's birth mother wanted him to know the truth about his origins, and presumably not because of any ulterior agenda.
Jacob and his brother choose sides, just like the Losties chose between the beach and the caves, or Locke and Jack, or Jacob and Smokey.
Mother told the boys "they come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt, and it always ends the same," which is what Man in Black told Jacob in "The Incident." He also shared her low opinions regarding the other tribe he lived with as a means to an end. Interesting that Man in Black adopted his mother's worldview while Jacob, observing from afar, didn't think they were so bad, sparking their philosophical debate over the nature of man, something Jacob has apparently also made part of his game.
The light=EM energy=the spark inside us all. Extinguish/tamper with the light, extinguish life. Basically, it seems like the Force, if there was a planet somewhere in the Star Wars galaxy that the Force came from.
I wonder if the temple was built around the light source, and the spa of rebirth is directly above it.
The dagger Man in Black had was the one Dogen gave Sayid and with which Richard attacked Jacob.
Mother seems to have purged the island of the Man in Black's people, just as the Others purged the island of Dharma (presumably when they got too close to the light, just as MiB's people did).
Every time we've seen the Man in Black prior to this episode, he was already Smokey, taking the form of his original body.
I like the idea that Smokey wants to go home to a place he's never actually been, just a place that's not the island.
When FLocke told Desmond about people digging the wells on the island, he was speaking from experience: he was with the people that did it.
Shannon sang the French version of "Across the Sea" in a season one episode.
Once upon a time, Darlton said that the revelation of the identity of Adam and Eve would prove they've had the main narrative planned from the start. Dr. Bitz and I agreed that, regardless of whether or not they had planned the whole thing out from the beginning, there was simply no revelation that could ever prove such a thing, and they were foolish for saying so. Now that we know who Adam and Eve were, it seems Dr. Bitz was right.
In many ways, this episode was microcosm of Lost itself, showcasing recurring themes and events: shipwrecks, island births, parental issues, playing games, choosing sides, outsider "Others", exploration spurned on by the island's unique properties, science vs. faith, murder spurned on by rage and a desire for vengeance.
This is the only episode of Lost to contain no flashbacks, no flashforwards, no flash sideways and no framing sequence of any kind.
Mrs. Teebore found the Man in Black to be quite palatable.
The island resides over energy that is the source of everything on the island, energy which resides, in small portions, within everyone. People are drawn to that energy, and in their desire to understand/control/manipulate it, they run the risk of extinguishing the light on the island, and thus everywhere, and ending existence. So a person is tasked with protecting the energy until they find a replacement and granted certain powers on the island to those ends.
Jacob was appointed protector of the island by the woman who raised him, who was the protector before him. Presumably her power and knowledge came from the person who preceded/appointed her, and so on.
When Locke said that he looked into the eye of the island and it was beautiful, most likely he saw the light of the island's energy.
The Man in Black is Jacob's twin brother.
The Man in Black did have a crazy mother, as he once told Kate.
The protection that prevents Jacob and his brother from killing each other (requiring Smokey to find a loophole to kill Jacob) was bestowed upon them by their mother while she was in charge of protecting the island.
Jacob is not a very good liar, which is, presumably, why he keeps to himself and offers up such little information.
Home, for the Man in Black, means nothing more than "off the island", somewhere across the sea.
The Man in Black became Smokey when Jacob sent him into the source of the island's energy.
The young boy taunting FLocke throughout the season was Jacob's ghost.
Man in Black and his people conceived of the frozen donkey wheel as a way to harness the island's energy and leave. Presumably, Smokey or people allied with him re-dug the well and completed construction of it after the Man in Black's transformation.
The Others speak Latin because it's Jacob's native tongue.
The Adam and Eve skeletons are the bodies of the Man in Black and his mother.
They probably won't get answered and we probably don't really need to know, but the questions are worth asking: where did Jacob's mother get her power/knowledge from? Who appointed her protector of the island? Was she a Smokey (she sure seemed to kill the hell out of that village)?
Did going into the light cave transform Man in Black into Smokey, or did Man in Black die before going into the cave, and upon entering it, he released Smokey, who took the form and memories of Man in Black? Personally, I'm leaning towards the former as it seems the simpler explanation, but there's something to be said for the second option, especially as it pertains to Jacob's role on the island (now he has to safeguard the energy, and the world from the evil his act of vengeance released).
So does the Dogen Dagger work because it killed Mother? And because she was killed without a word, that's why you can't speak before stabbing Jacob/MiB? Or did MiB just tell Richard that story because he wanted him to kill Jacob before Jacob could convince him otherwise, and Richard later passed the story and the dagger down to the Others?
Apparently, the script for this episode references the events as taking place two thousand years ago, and MiB's people seemed Roman enough. Were the Egyptian ruins in place yet? How about the statue? I assumed this would be the episode where we learned who built the ruins/temple/statute; did this story take place before that, or after that?
Next Week: Why They Died
Lost's final penultimate episode and, presumably, some forward motion on the whole Sideways reality thing.