“Every question I answer will simply lead to another question,” she says. You ain’t kiddin’, lady!
After I had expressed some mild disappointment that last week’s episode of ‘Lost’ didn’t address any of the show’s big mythological topics, this week’s episode gives us nothing but mythology. ‘Across the Sea’ is the long-rumored all-Jacob, all-Man in Black episode with (virtually) no appearances from any of the other regular cast. You wanted to know who these characters are and where they came from? Well, here are reams of brand new, never before revealed information about the island’s two most elusive and most important movers-and-shakers. And yet, true to the show’s form, the episode opens up countless new questions while answering very few of the ones we’ve been expecting. (Spoilers after the break.)
Here’s what we did learn:
My theory about Jacob and MiB being separate manifestations of the same person has been blown. They’re actually twin brothers, born on the island in some ancient time when their pregnant mother washed up on shore after a shipwreck. The mother, Claudia, speaks an unidentified foreign language. (Latin, perhaps? Somebody help me out with this.) After a few lines, the dialogue sneakily switches to English, ‘Hunt for Red October’-style. Shortly after arriving, Claudia runs into a mysterious older woman (Allison Janney from ‘The West Wing’) who tells her that she’s alone on the island. Then Claudia goes into labor. She wasn’t expecting twins, and only picked out a name for the first boy: Jacob, of course. The second child is born, and Janney clubs Claudia to death with a rock, then raises both boys as her own sons.
I don’t have enough time or space here to recap everything else that happened in the episode. I expect that anyone reading this is probably a fan of the show who’s already seen it anyway. So, I’ll just touch on some of the highlights:
It strikes me that Janney Momma acts an awfully lot like Rousseau, living alone like a crazy hermit in the jungle, pretending that she’s the only one on the island when she knows damn well that there are others about.
The Vikings/savages/whatever of course seem to be simply the earliest (that we’ve seen) manifestation of the various groups of “intruders” who visit the island trying to steal its secrets. Later on, the U.S. military, the Others (the early version led by young Widmore and Eloise), DHARMA, and now old Wildmore again will all try the same thing. Everything is cyclical.
The boy we’ve previously seen running around the jungle covered in blood, the one who told Man in Black that, “You can’t kill him,” whatever that meant, was young Jacob.
I find it interesting that Jacob and MiB have such profound mommy issues, when the show has previously always been dominated by characters with daddy issues. I don’t know what to make of that, but I find it interesting.
Momma sets the rule in place that Jacob and MiB cannot kill each other. This is just one of the island’s many mysterious rules. The rest are still only vaguely defined.
The cave with the light seems to be some sort of Fountain of Youth type thing, right? I have a feeling that will never be explained more than what we’ve seen. Momma claims that, “If the light goes out there, it goes out everywhere.” That sounds a lot like what Jacob claimed would happen if MiB ever got off the island. Would his getting off the island somehow cause the light in the cave to go out?
Momma passed on her responsibility as the island’s protector to Jacob by having him drink some special wine. Is that the same wine that Jacob had Richard drink? If so, why is Jacob still looking for Candidates to replace him?
MiB kills Momma with the same dagger that he will later give to Richard Alpert to kill Jacob, and that Dogan will give to Sayid to kill MiB. Critically, he stabs her with it before she can say a word. This seems also to be one of the island’s important rules. (Thanks to Beth for pointing this one out to me!)
Momma told Jacob that going in the cave is “much worse than dying.” When he throws MiB down there, MiB turns into the Smoke Monster. In his guise as Locke, MiB has insisted that he’s not dead. I suppose that means only metaphysically, because his body sure is. Is being physically dead what really prevents him from leaving the island?
Was Momma also a Smoke Monster? She sure wiped out all of those Viking-looking people pretty quickly.
Momma thanks MiB for killing her. She’s finally free of her responsibility to the island. Jacob wasn’t so happy about dying when Ben killed him. Is that only because he hadn’t found a suitable replacement yet? Again, what’s wrong with Richard?
Speaking of Ben killing Jacob, I seem to recall that Jacob talked to him a bit before Ben did the deed. Wouldn’t that contradict the above rule? Or does that rule only apply to Smoke Monster people who’ve been in the cave (which Jacob presumably hasn’t)? But that doesn’t really make sense either, because MiB told Richard that he had to kill Jacob before Jacob could speak.
MiB and his mother are the Adam and Eve skeletons that Jack and Kate discovered back in Season 1. Finally, one of the show’s earliest mysteries receives a definitive answer!
What wasn’t answered this week:
Man in Black’s real name!! How can we have an entire episode about the guy’s backstory and still not learn his damn name? As she was dying, his mother said something unintelligible to him. Did anyone catch that or have captions? I swear, it sounded to me like she said “Jose.” No offense to anyone out there named Jose, but I refuse to believe that’s the Man in Black’s name. I assume that whatever she said wasn’t a name. So, what did she say?
For that matter, what is the Mother’s name? Who is she? Where is she from? How does she know the island’s secrets? How did she establish these Rules that the boys must obey? What are the rest of the rules?
Why can Man in Black see a vision of his real mother’s ghost, but Jacob can’t?
How does Jacob manage to leave the island so regularly to recruit his Candidates?
Don’t get me wrong, this was a very good episode. In fact, if it had aired earlier, I may have called it a mind-blower. But coming so very late in the game, it really frustrates me that the show’s writers are so clearly still jerking us around. I don’t necessarily need all of the show’s big mysteries spelled out for me, but this just isn’t the time to be opening up Pandora’s Box all over again. Color me somewhat disappointed in what I assumed would be a more revelatory episode.