This post is going to be full of spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the Lost episode “Across the Sea” do not go any further!
Even after an episode that is supposed to reveal so much, I only have more questions. It’s as though Jacob and the MIB’s “Mother” (the one who raised them, not the biological one who was killed with a WHAMP to the head with a rock) was talking to the viewers when she said, “Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.” While I was poised to find out some real, concrete answer about the Lost island in this episode, I find I only have more. And I also feel that not many questions were even answered! How’s that fair? But I guess leaving room for interpretation is the artsy way of saying that tying loose ends into little bows is not what this show ever aimed to do.
Last night I feel like Lost was taking a stance on nature vs. nurture, although I’m not entirely sure what that stance was. It worked on two levels, for me. On one level, their “nature” was that they were born to a human mother they never knew, but that was their DNA. It was only when Jacob was older than he drank from a cup, and his “Mother” said he was now like her. The mystery of who this woman was is probably the biggest mystery of the entire show now. It goes back further than Jacob and the MIB.
Back to nature vs. nurture, it’s interesting to note the ways in which the twin brothers defined their personalities and became so different. It’s a good case for nurture. Who they became was greatly because of their Mother. It seems that Jacob was always governed by wanting to obey his Mother, be good, and stay loyal – while the MIB just wants to piss his mother off by finally getting off the island like he said he would. She lied to him and Jacob (about the outside world and their real mother), and that made him angry. I am a big believer in the psychology of how birth order affects personality, and it seems to be working here. First born’s are known leaders who are organized (with lists!) and second born’s tend to become exactly the opposite of whatever their first born sibling is like. I’d say this is pretty true with Jacob and the MIB. I doubt anyone consulted the knowledge of birth order when writing this, but it’s pretty unconsciously ingrained in us that people tend to get it right even when they don’t try.
Rather than being able to say the Mother was truly, and only, crazy (as the MIB told Locke earlier this season) – it’s not true. Despite her actions and intentions, there was something to her and her knowledge. That is, unless the light we saw was only a trick, and she made the entire thing up and the boys are simply enforcing the idea of rules! However, that wouldn’t explain how the boys couldn’t kill each other (unless they really never tried), why they live forever, how the MIB was able to see his dead mother and talk to her, or how the MIB became the smoke monster. That is some mystical stuff going on! The Mother was speaking a language I didn’t recognize, although she understood the Spanish Claudia was speaking. She seemed to be chanting at some point – a spell?
All of this really makes me wonder what the Mother was, who she was, and where she had come from. Because the secrets seem to have died with her. Even if Jacob and the MIB have some power and knowledge, they don’t know everything. As the MIB said, “I have no idea because you wouldn’t tell me, Mother.”
To go so far, to pull the curtain back that much – and to not give us an answer seems cruel. Because Jacob and the MIB were going to be normal boys until whatever this Mother did to them happened. That’s where the juicy secret lies.
The biggest mystery that was solved in “Across the Sea” was “Who were Adam and Eve?” and that turned out to be the Mother and the MIB. Which is VERY creepy if you were thinking it was two lovers. I thought it would have been cool if it had been Kate and Jack (which would have been possible with all of this time travel) so I felt slightly unsatisfied with this.
Despite the symbolism of so much black and white on Lost (i.e. the stones, the light and the smoke, the sun on the beach vs the shadows of the jungle) everything about the show seems to be in those oh-so-clever shades of gray. After this episode, it’s hard to believe that the MIB is truly evil, or that Jacob is only truly good. The MIB killed his mother, only after she first knocked him out and then murdered all of his friends in the village, setting it on fire, and making sure he couldn’t escape through his Donkey Wheel experiment. We can blame him for the murder, but he was probably shocked and outraged at the larger murder that had taken place because of him. Meanwhile, Jacob didn’t technically kill his brother, no. But he did try to, it’s just impossible for them to kill each other. And because Jacob knew he couldn’t kill his brother, he threw him into the pit of light/energy that his mother had told him to never go into because it was WORSE than death. Suddenly, Jacob is more of a villain than the MIB. While the MIB was pissed that their real Mother was killed by the “Mother”, Jacob lingered his grudge at his brother being loved more by their fake Mother. That’s – a lot to digest.
- Why were we not allowed to know the name of the MIB? It was artfully never revealed to us, and I wonder why they would bother trying to drive us nuts. Many have said his name is Esau. But is it possible he never had a name? As far as we know, the Mother had no name. The show has escaped using names before, “The Sickness”, “The Others”, “The Monster”…
- Is it just me, or is Lost boiling down to two main ideas: People lie, and people steal babies.
- Interesting that the Mother was explaining where the boys were from, saying they were from her, and she was from her Mother. (Virgin birth! But doubtful, even if she was always wearing that soft blue color so many Christian’s associate with Mary via every Nativity scene.) If we ever know more about this Mother, might we learn what sort of people she’s from, and why she was left there alone?
- My one hope is that when Jacob drank from the decanter, and the Mother said they were the same – that he automatically learned all of the secrets she knew.
- Why could the MIB see his dead mother, Claudia, but Jacob couldn’t?
- Why is it that some people on the island can talk to the dead (the MIB, Hurley) while others have psychic powers (Walt, Desmond)?
- What language was the Mother speaking? Egyptian? People are saying it was Latin but it did not seem like Latin to my ear. Of course, I am no expert in dead languages. I know my Latin from hearing it on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel!
- Continuity error: when we first saw Adam & Eve in “House of the Rising Sun” Jack (a smart doctor!) says the skeletons are only about 50 years old, and the bodies were not found together but apart. What explains this? Wind? Time Travel? Or just an error?
- Some say the flashback to explain we were seeing the Adam and Eve from season 2 was unnecessary and insulting to viewers. I assure you, there are a lot of Lost fans who would have had no clue without that flashback. Don’t be a Lost snob. And I liked the nostalgia.
- Is the Smoke Monster still the MIB/Jacob’s brother?
- While we hate the MIB after “The Candidate” for killing people – you have to pull back and realize that he’s been living this way for who knows how many years. To him, those people (that we cherish!) are more like ants or pawns than anything else. Remember, it was he who realized before Jacob that people truly were greedy and selfish and horrible – yet it was he who also took the most offense at seeing them killed. His heart has hardened over the years. And clearly, the MIB and Jacob are more like Gods ruling the island (or playing on the island) than humans, so it’s hard to expect that they would both care about humans the same way. It seems like Jacob just wants to make his brother believe that humans are good. I’m not sure that Jacob has proved this.
- So the MIB cannot leave the island, but Jacob can? We’ve seen Jacob off the island. What is THAT about?
- Man of Faith vs Man of Science. OR MEN OF FAITH VS MEN OF SCIENCE. It seems the pattern was established with Jacob (faith) vs. MIB (science) then moved onto Ben Linus (faith) vs. Charles Widmore (science). Now I’m guessing it’s Jack and Sawyer, but they both seem faith-based to me now. I guess if I had to pick, I’d say Sawyer is more about brass tacks, leaving the island (and how to do that) while Jack is concerned about the island and what leaving would do. Sawyer wants to know how, Jack wants to know why. And isn’t that kind of like Science (how) vs. Faith (why)? I’m a man of the Lost mythology more than the science of the island.
What are your Lost Series Finale theories?