Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Lost" recap: The mother of all sibling rivalries.

A thoughts of tonight's revelatory "Lost" after the break. Spoilers are below, so don't click through if you don't want to know.

I mean, whoa.
Tonight's episode of "Lost" was a literal mother lode of answers. We learned the relationship between Jacob and the Man in Black  (they're twin brothers). We learned the origin of the Frozen Donkey Wheel (the MIB designed it as a way to leave the island). We learned who Adam and Eve were (the MIB and his adopted "mom"). We learned the origins of the Smoke Monster. We learned what the chosen "candidate" would be protecting once he or she is selected (yes, "she." Though Sun is dead, many believe it's possible that neither she nor Jin are the "Kwon" mentioned on the cave wall, and that the true Kwon candidate is Ji Yeon). We learned so much about the roots of this island, including why Jacob feels responsible for the evil actions of the Man in Black. After all, he's the one who turned his restless -- but seemingly harmless -- brother into a soulless, shapeless monster.
Talk about a dysfunctional sibling relationship.
Of course, unless I missed it, there's one thing we didn't learn tonight: the MIB's name. Did he not have one? If he did have one, is it really realistic to expect that NO ONE would utter it? Actually, is it realistic for me to expect "Lost" to obey the laws of reality? I mean, there's a FREAKIN' SMOKE MONSTER! I guess not saying someone's name is kind of a minor suspension of disbelief.
But, overall, tonight's episode was a solid, and necessary, episode as we head into the home stretch of "Lost." True, it wasn't the emotional roller coaster of last week's "The Candidate," but it gave us a fairly thorough explanation of exactly what is at stake here. The island is, apparently, home not only to electromagnetic energy, but to a sort of spiritual energy. That's why strange things happen there. That, presumably, is the force that keeps drawing people into the island's orbit.
OK. I can buy that.
Anyway, here are some more thoughts on tonight's episode, "Across the Sea."
* First off, let's give it up for Allison Janney, making a memorable guest appearance as Jacob and MIB's adoptive mom. When I first heard Janney was guesting on the show, I actually didn't believe it. She seemed like too big name for the show to just plop in at the home stretch. But she was indeed on the episode. And really, who else could have played that role? Though she was barely recognizable in that scraggly wig and those rags, her inner grace and elegance shone through, making her ideal to play mom not just to Jacob and MIB, but to the entire island. Her character was complicated, creepy, yet weirdly compelling. Very "Lost," and very well-played by Janney.
* Um, does anybody else think the show is going a little overboard with the black/white imagery with the two brothers? I mean, we get it: one is perceived as a bringer of light, and the other is supposed to be the personification of darkness.  We aren't thick, "Lost!" We don't need you to keep hitting us over the head with things like color-coded outfits and baby blankets!
* So, I'm almost certain that the kid on the island is Jacob. I mean, the young Jacob we saw tonight sure looked like the young boy that Locke Mess keeps seeing on the island. So why does he appear like that to MIB? And why can Sawyer see him?
* On a related note, did MIB have the power to see the dead before he went all smoke-like? He can see his late bio-mom, and Jacob can't. How did he get that power? Did his adopted mother give it to him? Did he have it naturally?
* While we're on the topic, what was up with adopted mom? Was she a witch? A goddess? How did she have the power to make Jacob ageless, and to keep the brothers from killing each other? And why did that rule still apply after MIB was relieved of his body?
* Note adopted mom's description of the people on the island.:  "They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt." That's the exact exchange Jacob and MIB have in "The Incident."
* By the way, the game played by the two brothers is an ancient Egyptian game called Senet, believed by some to be the ancestor of backgammon.
* We also got some insight tonight into MIB's quest to go "home." In true, sad "Lost" fashion, MIB has never actually known his home. All he knows is the island. But he hasn't felt like he belongs there since he was 13 (and God knows how long ago THAT was). He feels betrayed by his adopted mom, even though she did truly love him. As an adult smoke monster, he denounces her as crazy, because of her obsession with protecting him from the world. But was she right? Would he be happy in the real world? Probably not. This is "Lost" after all. Happiness almost never comes. And when it does, it's fleeting.
* So what does this episode tell us about Jacob? Last week's episode pretty much proved to me that MIB is evil, what with him setting up the Lost-ies to die on the sub and all. But is Jacob really that good? I mean, he seems a little whiny and easily manipulated, does he not? I'm sure he matured over time, but this episode didn't firmly put me on Team Jacob.


Anonymous said...

Just a thought. There are alot of messages in Lost. The message that I received in tonights episode was that 1. "Love is Selfish" The adoptive mom loved Jacob and MIB so much that she wanted to keep them free of all evil and bad. She did not want MIB to leave her or the safety of the Island, so she would rather have him dead than to leave her. Then MIB was consumed with revenge because of what she did to him and he retaliated by killing her, with out first realizing her love for him. After she was dead he had deep regrets and wanted to explain to Jacob but then Jacob was consumed with hate for what MIB did. Seems that everyone has good and evil depending on how life is handed to them. That is why we are given choices, and we need to understand each others feelings. MIB and Jacob were both changed by circumstances in their life. Jacob believes that everyone can change no matter what life gives them, MIB believes that you are what you are. Just a thought to ponder.

Bill Scurry said...

Great wrap up -- and I believe that Titus Welliver is credited as "Man" in the listings. It's a delight to see him and Mark Pellegrino go after each other, great actors both. Trivial trivia -- Pellegrino is the guy who pees on Jeff Bridges's rug in "The Big Lebowski."

This seems like the perfect time for me to stop worrying about question-answering and just try to enjoy the narrative on screen. One solid block of 43 minute story was a refreshing change of pace from the conventional split sequence flash forward-back-sideways. I totally wish that as they get into the home stretch they could just stick with one era and give us full episodes. Last night's joint along with the Richard ep showed the power of the hour.

MsRaeNYC said...

First of all, I LOVED learning so much (relative term, here) about the island—and about Jacob and his nameless twin bro!!

I didn’t know that Janney was even going to star in this ep, but when I saw her, I thought “that crazy bitch can’t really be Allison Janney, can it?” After adjusting my eyes to her smudged appearance, I realized that it indeed was her amazing self. She played the role to perfection, IMO.

Like many viewers, before I thought it was clear (as clear as anything can be on this show) that yes, Jacob is good, and MIB is evil. And now, I think Jacob may have grown up mildly deluded, and I’m not so sure if MIB is completely evil…or if his so-called evil is completely unwarranted.

I’m grateful for the answers received, but again, I now have several more (why would I expect otherwise?).

Who is adopted mama? Why was she there? Just how long had she been on the island?!! What exactly is this source that so desperately needs to be protected from the outside world!!!! I MUST KNOW!!

Anyway, great ep, and great recap.

The Colonel said...

Count me in the column of liking this episode (it seems to have divided "Lost" nation). I wanted more answers, sure, but I think that's the Faustian point of the show: Relentless pursuit of knowledge and meaning will warp and possibly destroy you.

I'm a little disappointed that it lacked some of the narrative urgency we've seen in the past few weeks, but that's more about my mood and expectations than a knock against the show.

I imagine this episode's themes somehow tie in to that "Bad Twin" novel, supposedly written by the character who got sucked into the engine in the pilot episode, that was released around Season 1 or 2. Anybody read that?