Sorry this is so late today…a lot to cover.
I hate to say it, but I’m disappointed by last night’s episode, “Across the Sea.” Maybe my expectations were too high. Did I think they’d actually explain why there was a giant Egyptian goddess statue on the island, or who Jacob and the Man in Black really are? Or, dare I say it, offer up MIB’s name? I should know better. They won’t just drop answers left and right—it wouldn’t make for very compelling television. Instead, Lost is probably going to have an indie film ending: open-ended, up for interpretation, with a long, mournful fade-out of a poor schlub (probably Jack) sitting next to Locke on the beach, playing with stones. Ugh.
Here’s what we did learn:
Mystery #1: Who’s the little blond boy running around the island? Why, it’s 13-year-old Jacob! I’ll pat myself on the back for knowing that one, though I never expected him to have such a deceptively deep voice. The actor playing him must be, like, 26 years old. The all-history/mythology episode opens with a nice twist, though: Turns out Jacob had a twin brother. Yup, MIB. They’re brothers from the same mother, a lovely lady who’s unceremoniously clubbed to death by Allison Janney from West Wing. Since iMBD just calls Janney’s character “Woman,” so will I. Woman claims—in Latin—that everyone’s on the island “by accident,” be it shipwreck or divine placement, as far as I can tell. But then Woman drops the Latin and shifts to American English, which is right up there with Sun getting knocked out and waking up speaking Korean. Awkward. I understand Lost writers not wanting to craft an entire script in Latin, but what is that hint supposed to tell us? That the Woman is of Judeo-Christian origin? That this takes place when Latin was still alive? That could be any time from the dawn of ancient Rome to the 17th century! And so, the interpreting begins…
Mystery #2: Why does the Locke-ness Monster hate his mother? Young MIB, a mini Zac Efron who likes to run and play and hunt boar with his bro Jacob, sees a vision of his dead mother in the jungle. She tells him the truth about their birth and MIB immediately wants to seek out “his people”—the other survivors of the shipwreck. MIB is mad that Woman has been lying to him for 13 years, and understandably so. She’s also told him that he’s special; that people are bad (“They fight, destroy, corrupt”—sound familiar?); that he can never leave the island; that there’s nowhere to go beyond the island; and that he and his brother can’t hurt each other. All lies? Perhaps. He goes to live with the Original Others in their thatched-roof huts for 30 years, hell-bent on finding a way to leave. Woman doesn’t like that, and tries to kill MIB. Hence, he hates her and thinks she’s a crazed, murderous psychopath (as he tells Sawyer as the Locke-ness Monster earlier this season), and ends up killing her with his trusty dagger—much to the chagrin of sweet, loyal, somewhat dim Jacob. Woman comes between men (ha!), setting up a pretty pivotal scene by the golden cave. Wait, what golden cave?
Mystery #3: What are they protecting on the island? Woman shows her sons their reason for being: a cave that glows with golden light. “There’s a little bit of the same light in every man,” she says. “If it goes out here, it goes out everywhere.” So the answer to the most fundamental question on the show—what’s so special about the island?—is a glowing cave. Sigh. I mean, I guess I buy it, but only after I lend a couple theory to it: The light represents the apple in the Garden of Eden—i.e. life free of evil, of original sin. After all, the light is “life, death, rebirth, the source, the heart of the island.” And when Jacob shoves his brother into the cave, do they essentially take a bite of the apple, releasing Smokey evil? Cause it looks like Jacob killed his brother (yup, they can hurt each other), and all that’s left is a Smoke Monster who can take MIB’s body, and who’s infinitely more dangerous than the boy who just wanted to flee. You could also argue that Jacob is Cain, who killed his brother Abel, and lays him to rest next to his mother, Eve. (Nice touch: the season 1 tie-in, when Jack, Kate and Locke discover two bodies—“our own Adam and Eve,” Locke says—whom we now know to be Woman and MIB.)
But what if that’s not the answer? What if the Lost writers just made up their own creation myth, and the greatest explanation we’ll ever get is a bottom line? “Someone needs to protect the light, otherwise evil escapes.” Holy unsatisfying. At first, that someone is Jacob, a reluctant guardian who “had no choice” but to drank from the Wine Bottle of Youth and stay on the island. Then he passed along some responsibilities to Richard, who also drank from the bottle. Since MIB broke that bottle, does the new candidate/guardian have the potential to live forever? Will Richard bestow immortality on someone? Does any of this matter? Agggggh.
Final thoughts Weakest part of the episode was when MIB was talking about the really, really smart people who figured out a way to build a wheel to harness water and light and ultimately escape. Fancy engineering they’ve got there. Will Desmond turn the wheel in the next two episodes, and will that do anything to Smokey’s chances of escaping?
The one thing the cave allegory does do is help explain Widmore’s motivation a little…he must know about the cave, and the power of the light, and just be an Other who will fight, destroy, and corrupt to get anywhere near it.