12
May
10

615 – Across the Sea

Review:

In some ways we’ve been waiting for this episode since the Pilot.  We all wanted to see the flashback of the beginning.  Of course we were wrong, there was no beginning.  People have always been on the Island, evidently.  Or at least the beginning is too boring to talk about.  The point is that there is no grand genesis account.  The Island is Special, but not special enough to be defined.  As we already knew, it has some crazy energy on it.

We may have wanted an Island flashback of the very beginning for a long time, but we’ve only wanted a Jacob/Esau flashback for one season.  But it seems like we’ve been waiting forever.  So we got it, and it wasn’t that impressive.  Jacob and Esau weren’t Cabbage Patch Kids that sprang out of a plant on the Island.  They weren’t Egyptian gods.  They weren’t Cain and Abel (specifically, probably there are some references to Cain and Abel).  Neither of them are demons (well, probably not).  They were just humans with the same origin, but two diverging paths.  Jacob got to be the Island’s Guardian and Esau got to have a fate worse than death.  He couldn’t die, so now he’s a fancy cloud of smoke.

I can’t pretend that I wasn’t disappointed with this episode.  It was kinda like turning left at an intersection when you’re supposed to turn right.  But before you even get a chance to do a U-turn you realize it’s a cul-de-sac.  You follow the roundabout thinger, and then you’re kinda going in the right direction again.  Then you finally get to the intersection where you started and you realized you spend most of your time going nowhere.  If you had just turned right in the beginning it would have been a lot easier.  This episode made it looks like both Jacob and Esau were headed in strange directions, but then at the end they got back on the paths that we knew they were on.  This episode wasn’t a waste of time, but it certainly wasn’t a great use of it, especially when there’s so little time left.  4.0/10.0

Analysis

Jacob

-“Jacob doesn’t know how to lie.”  Did he grow out of that?  I hope not, I’d like to think that I could trust one character’s word without fail.

-Way back here Jacob didn’t seem to know how to get off the Island.  Strange.  He somehow finds a way later on.

Esau/Smokey

-The not naming thing reminds me of East of Eden (I’m reading it right now, don’t tell me what happens in the end).  What kind of parent doesn’t name their kid?  Even if you stole the child and quickly killed the mom, surely you’d give it a name.
Also the twin thing was the same, and of course the Cain and Abel allegory.  Guess who’s Cain… that’s a real question.  Both of them fit the bill at different times.

-Esau was quoting his mother when he gave his little speech back in the Season 5 finale: “They come.  They fight.  They destroy.   They corrupt.   It always ends the same.”

-In the end Esau turned out just like Mother.  He tried to hard to rebel, but that just made him more like her.  See below

-I’m going to stick with the name Esau for this guy.  I could switch to Adam, but it’s just so weird.  Having his Mother as Eve would just be gross.

Mother

-When this episode started I was like, “Allison Janney!!!”.  As it went on I was like, “Allison Janney?”  It was very clever casting, I love her as an actress.  But it got a little distracting after a while.  I’ve always liked the casting on Lost, they’re people who I recognize, but not too much.  The only two exceptions (beyond the main cast) were Nathan Fillion and Cheech Marin.  I’m not sure if having a recognizable actress was a great choice for this role.  Then again, I wouldn’t want a second-rate actress destroying this character.

-I wish I could give this lady a better name.  But I don’t want to call her Eve for the same reason I don’t want to call Esau Adam.

-Was the switch to English one of those magical switches where they’re still speaking Latin, but we can hear English?  It seemed like it, it was very sudden and there was a strange noise right before the switch.

-This woman cuts right to the chase with her guilt-trips.  “Do you love me Jacob?… Then tell me what happened”

Claudia

-This lady was extremely beautiful.  She looked very Greek, and her kids were very American-looking.

-How many people were predicting the birth of some black smoke.

-“I only picked one name.”  COME ON!

Flashes (what we know now):

Every Answered Question Leads to More Questions

That quote from Mother was directed at us, not Claudia.  The actual quote was, “Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.”  Don’t ask, ‘where did Mother come from?’  That will just lead to more questions.  While I do agree with this, and if I was one of the writers I would want to say this constantly on the show, it still bugs me.  People who don’t ask questions don’t watch this show.  It’s true that we’re very demanding of the Lost writers, but at what point do you stop trying to answer the questions?  It’s circular logic in a show filled with flashbacks.  Why have flashbacks except to answer questions.  So it’s a valid way to stop our questioning, but I think they’re broke their own rule with this episode and pretty much every other episode.

They shouldn’t have said that.  I would have said something along those lines in defense of this half-full glass of an episode anyways.

Special

Suddenly being Special doesn’t seem like a good thing.  Mother told Esau that he was Special, implying that Jacob wasn’t.  Also there’s that scene where Esau sees his dead mother and Jacob doesn’t.  Maybe being Special wasn’t the wonderful thing I always imagined it was.

Then again, Mother says she was wrong and then she makes Jacob the Guardian.  So perhaps he is Special.

The seeing dead people/Special thing remind me a bit of the Thestrals in Harry Potter.  It seems like it’s a good thing, but if you can see them you’re not really thrilled about it.

Donkey Wheel and the Wells

Hey look who built the Donkey Wheel…  See answers are boring.

So the Frozen Donkey Wheel channeled the water and the Light in order to escape the Island.  Esau didn’t seem to know that the Wheel would also affect space and time.  Or maybe he didn’t care.

I take it Jacob didn’t build the wells.  He wouldn’t have encouraged The Others to do it.  It must have been something that Esau did on his own.  Maybe him and that original group built all of them.  Then at one point the Frozen Donkey Wheel was completed.  There was no way it was built during this episode.

I guess this explains why Christian told Locke to turn it.  Jacob wouldn’t tell anyone to go screw with the Light.

“Locke”‘s Plan

I’m beginning to see what “Locke”‘s plan is.  In the last episode we learned that he didn’t want to leave the Island, or at least that wasn’t what he’s been trying to do.  He wants to kill the Candidates.  Once all the Candidates are gone there will be no one left to protect the Light.  Then he can destroy the Light and in turn kill everyone everywhere.  That’s about as evil as it can get.

I think it was alive Esau’s plan to leave the Island, I think dead Esau just wants to cause trouble, and rebel against Mother.

Rules

Esau tells Jacob that someday he can have his own game and make all the rules and everyone will have to follow them.  Throughout this episode Mother makes up some arbitrary rules of her own, things like Jacob and Esau can’t kill each other and Esau can’t leave.  I think that whoever is the Island’s guardian is allowed to make the rules of the Island.

So at one point Jacob made a Rule that the Candidates can only be killed by each other and they can’t kill themselves.  And probably there was a Rule saying that no one could come into the Foot unless Jacob invited them.  It seems like Richard’s long life could have just been a Rule made by Jacob.  Maybe Jacob even made Rules about what Smokey can and can’t do.

It’s a pretty simple concept.  The source of their power is probably from the power of the Island, the Light.

The Wine

I wasn’t thrilled to see that bottle again.

Back in Ab Aeterno Esau broke the bottle.  So there’s no wine left.  I hope that wasn’t the only way to get a new Island guardian.

Adam & Eve

I didn’t think the flashbacks to the first Adam & Eve scene were necessary.  But then a friend who I was watching the episode with was very surprised by the whole situation.

I’m a little disappointed that Rose and Bernard aren’t dead yet, but I’ll get over it.

Rebellion

Here’s is a funny thing that I’ve observed.  I’m sure a psychologist could explain better than me but I’ll try.  When children hate their parents, or their parents parenting, and they rebel they end up being very similar to them.  When kids grow up loving their parents unconditionally, blindly, they end up doing the opposite of their parents.  When I see this is mostly has to do with parenting.

Say you had very strict controlling parents, and you hated the way they treated you.  You’d rebel as a child, but when you have kids of your own you’d do the same thing.  Maybe you’d say that you’re trying to be different from them but in the end you’d be more like them than you would want to admit.

On the other hand, if you obeyed your parents too much, and agreed with everything they said, when you grow up you’d probably be too lax on your own kids.  You’d let them get away with things your parents would never allow.

It’s kinda like a spring-back effect.  Parents push their kids in one direction and when the parents finally let go the kids jump in the opposite direction.  The harder the parents push the farther their kids go.

I’m sure you’ve guessed that this is my theory about what happened with Jacob, Esau and Mother.  If you watched the first part of this episode on its own, knowing nothing about this show you might expect that Jacob would agree with his mother and turn into the ruler of the Island who hates intruders and kills them, and Esau would be the one who wants to fraternize with them and get to know them.  But it’s the opposite.  I think that spring-back effect is to blame.

Everything Dies

Esau tells Jacob that “everything dies”.  Is that foreshadowing?  Is everybody going to be dead by the end?

– izi

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25 Responses to “615 – Across the Sea”


  1. 1 Nicholas
    May 12, 2010 at 5:27 am

    I would have loved this episode if there were 2 more seasons left. However, there are only 2 more episodes… so yeah! Great recap though, you helped me understand a little more about what “it all” means.

  2. 2 lorenzo
    May 12, 2010 at 7:25 am

    This episode is in a tough spot because no matter what the writers did the mystery was always going to be better than the answer. Last night I realized mid-episode that although I very much want answers to as much as possible, in the end the lack of answers and presence of complex questions is what Lost is really about. Unfortunately, it seems that end of this series ig going to disappoint people either way. If you’re a fan of European-style suspense films you’ll love the show ending with a bunch of loose ends. If you’re a fan of the American style, where everything is tied up in a nice bow at the end, then last nights episode is one that leaves you wanting more.

    I have to disagree with your assessment that at the end of the episode we found ourselves at the same place we started. This episode showed me that the two island ‘puppet masters’ are not static gods but very complex and flawed people. We’ve been sold good v evil, white v black for so long that seeing that things aren’t really black and white just mucks things up. I came away realizing that Jacob isn’t good or bad, he’s just a very limited (perhaps naive), yet gifted, man trying to avenge his mother’s death.

    That said, I think the writing staff of Lost has been really good, for a long time, at extending the show’s mystery. It isn’t all that surprising that there they’re not at their best once they have to shift gears. Last night’s episode probably could have used another 20-30 minutes to show how the brotherhood between Jacob and Smokey played out once he took on Esau’s form.

  3. 3 Hi D
    May 12, 2010 at 7:37 am

    I was really surprised to read such negative reviews on one of the message boards this morning. I guess that people have over theorized so much that a “simple” explanation will never be enough.

    Two brothers, one favoured over the other turns out to the “special” one but turns his back on his destiny and ends up trapped. No wonder he’s angry and evil. The one chosen by default muddles thru making up arbitrary rules ruining people’s lives because he is miffed that his mother didn’t actually chose him.

    I’m still sorting it all out in my mind. much more coffee needed to fully form what I’m thinking, but bottom line…..I liked it…I felt sorry for old smokey. Other than killing his own mother what did he do that was so wrong? he just wanted to get out and see the world…

    yeah, more coffee. muchly needed.

  4. May 12, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Great review … and although I think I have many of the same opinions, my particular “take” on those views leads me to grade it more of a 8.5/10. I know a LOT of people are upset about this episode. I don’t share their feelings, but I understand where they’re coming from.

    Maybe Jacob can’t lie, but I get the feeling he has the Bene Gesserit/Aes Sedai sort of Oracular ability to weave truth into something that could pass for a lie. Also, I wonder how Jacob managed to leave the Island later on. Or does he merely “project” a part of himself into the “real” world, while his true self remains on the Island?

    I’m getting the feeling we’ll NEVER get Esau’s true name.

    I think the switch to English was just for the benefit of the audience, so we wouldn’t have to read through the whole episode. Also, probably easier on the actors not to have to speak and act and memorise phrases in Latin the whole time.

    As for the “Every question I answer will lead to another …” bit – yeah. I felt that was totally aimed at the audience more than Claudia.

    I’m guessing this all took place somewhere in the vicinity of 1,600-2,400 years ago. Big range, I know, but I don’t think they really WANT us pinning dates down here. Given that range, and that the Island appears to have been visited numerous times (often by people brought there by Jacob in his bid to prove Esau and their “mother” wrong), there has been plenty of time for Esau – and anyone else he could get to help him – to finish his digging projects and his installation of the wheel.

    I think you’re right about Esau’s original plan – leave the Island. But I think there’s is still a part of him alive in the smoke monster. This is his “worse than death” fate. I don’t think his goal is to end all life, so much as to end his own. The rest of us are just collateral damage.

    The Light is, I think, is the source of Life and Death, Good and Evil, Reason and Fear … all the yin/yang stuff we’ve all discussed before. I think it needs to be protected and balance maintained. That was done by one person, before, but now it’s protected by the duality of the twins. And if one isn’t there, the other can run amok. So, if Esau-Smokey manages to kill everyone who could replace Jacob, then he will be free to die himself. (And end all life on Earth – or maybe in the universe – in the process.) One can’t exist without the other – they’re two sides of the same coin.

    Just because Island Rose and Bernard aren’t “Adam & Eve” doesn’t mean they’re still alive. They could easily have been killed in the Jughead nuclear blast. We haven’t seen any evidence that they’re alive on the Island. (Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re dead, either … the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.)

    Everything dies … even “immortal” beings … all life and reason … even the Universe itself.

    I’m reminded of a statement by Isaac Asimov: “There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.”

    I’m thinking the converse is also true. To dim it anywhere is to dim it everywhere. And to extinguish it anywhere is to extinguish it everywhere.

    The people who were digging on the Island (I suspect they were brought in the same shipwreck that brought Claudia) were rationalists. They were thinkers and reasoners and they were trying to work out what the Light is and how to use its power.

    When Jacob pushed Esau into the Light, did he somehow split the yin/yang forces into a new duality? Did he create a new dimness that dimmed that little bit of the Light that exists in all of us? Are we looking at a “Fall of Man” situation? Or maybe an “Icarus flying too close to the Sun” kind of deal?

    Did the dimming of the Light in the world herald the beginning of the End of the Classical Age and the beginning of the Dark Ages?

    Too many questions. And, I suspect, we’ll be wondering and arguing over all of this long after LOST is off the air.

    ~Cheers!

    7

  5. 5 lorenzo
    May 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

    i don’t know about that, b/c Claudia obviously couldn’t uunderstand what Mother was saying to her until she said her name was beautiful.

    • 6 lorenzo
      May 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm

      Caludia spoke spanish not latin

  6. 7 Thom
    May 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I had mixed feelings about this episode. Yes, I know Janey’s answer was pointed directly at us, so that seemed a bit ham-handed.

    Also, I watched Romeo + Juliet for the first time this weekend. Not a bad movie and telling of that tale, but it did have me think about this episode. Shakespeare never goes into detail on why the Montagues and Capulets are sworn enemies. “Why” is not important, in fact it would have killed the momentum of the story to insert a backstory, even at the beginning.

    So in this episode I get the creation story of the two Island characters but I do not get an Island creation story. We get that others get shipwrecked onto the island. So, if the place of light always needed to be guarded then why does the Island allow for shipwrecks? “They always come, they always fight and they always die.” To me, the Others should have been killed off before Flight 815 ever made it there.

    The Game: the two boys look like they are playing an Egyptian game called Senet. No one in our modern lifetime really knows how it is played. But what we do know is that it is a game of chance. (like the game called Life?) Wikipedia says that Senet means “game of passing” and that it was believed a successful player was under the protection of the major gods because of chance. So we get the Latin/Egyptian time period for the two boys. It stands to reason that Island was located somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea at that time. If I remember correctly, the donkey wheel area looked like it had cuniform writing etched in the walls, so you now have elements of pre-roman empire, pre-unified Egypt, and late Sumerian.

    So we get all these little tidbits to confirm time, place, and birth. But did we really need it? We have one more episode then the finale. Maybe this episode fits into the rest of the tale, but to me it didn’t seem as important as the rest of the episodes so far.

  7. May 12, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    That’s what I meant. When I said magical I was being sarcastic.

  8. 9 Nater
    May 13, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Many interesting explanations during this episode, but what bothered me most was how they gave such a mundane origin and background for Jacob and ‘MIB’ yet gave such an oversimplified fantasy explanation for the Island’s power. I’d love to know all the possible ideas the writers had for this particular episode before they decided on what we saw…

  9. 10 Nicholas
    May 13, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Hey izikavazo, are you going to the Lost Fathom event? If so, can you post a revlysis for it?! That would be awesome.

    • May 13, 2010 at 8:36 am

      I might check it out after the fact, but I’ve really enjoyed this season without reading many interviews or listening to podcasts. Darlton started to annoy me during the hiatus.

      • 12 Nicholas
        May 13, 2010 at 9:26 am

        Yeah, I wasn’t doing the interview/podcast thing either, I really wanted to be all episodes this season with no possible spoilers. However, I don’t even know how I would go about checking it out afterwards. It’s supposed to be a one time event and I’m not really into the whole torrent/sketchy-looking-obviously-not-legit-streaming stuff. Which I presume is the only place the event would end up.

        Hey if your 100% sure that a legit video will come out I can always wait for you to post it on the blog later on! Right? Then I’ll save myself from possibly ruining the finale, which I hope Darlton wouldn’t do.

        • May 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm

          If it’s really important then I’ll try to find a transcript. I never really like watching videos of interviews or listening to them, I’d much rather read it. It’s just faster that way.

  10. 14 mins
    May 13, 2010 at 8:21 am

    The twins are normal humans! Imagine that. Jacob got to drink the magic wine and live long, and have some powers. They are not pure black and white opposites as we thought. They are as flawed as any human. Jacob was the dutiful,reserved son, content/resigned to the path chosen by Mother. Despite that, Mother liked Esau better b/c he was full of life and made her drab world a little interesting.Jacob and Esau had mother issues;Jacob had major sibling jealousy issues. Esau was curious,extroverted,free spirited,unwilling to be put in a box. I think that’s why he saw Claudia. Jacob wasn’t open to anything so he couldn’t see her.
    I was surprised how resigned Jacob was to know Mother killed Claudia. I guess his personality was ‘whatever happened, happened’ and move on.
    Claudia was either a real ghost like Isabella,Michael…or Smokey?
    Some people have theorized that Mother is smokey-doesn’t make sense. I think Mother can summon,control smokey to a degree, and that’s how the Others were killed and the donkey wheel well was filled. Similar to Ben who could summon Smokey. Jacob did something by throwing Esau into the tunnel. Maybe that released Smokey to roam as it pleased on the island. It manifested as MIB for a long time and now uses his memories. STILL doesn’t explain why Christian’s BODY is missing.
    What is MIB’s name? John..Jack…Christian…Bill? I was laughing everytime they said “brother”. the hype is getting old now especially since real MIB is dead. Perhaps the writers have one more major twist up their sleeves. Also, why can Jacob manifest as a child and an adult?
    The cave list and the lighthouse list and the discrepancy of Kate’s name has really been bugging me. Here goes a theory:
    Smokey can scan minds, we know. So, I think Jacob’s been doing a long con of his own. He doesn’t tell things openly b/c Smokey would find out. I think that’s why he has the cave list. I do believe the cave is Jacob’s.(I think Smokey has to play by some rules;and that he does tell some truths.) Smokey doesn’t know of the Lighthouse. Hurley told Jack something like “we never saw it b/c we weren’t looking for it”. I think Jacob deliberately crossed off Kate’s name so Smokey would be fooled. She’s not a candidate but was touched by Jacob so she’s important. Besides that, she IS the main female lead so of course she’ll be important!
    I still think even Claire will play a strong role in Smokey’s downfall. She and Kate seemed tied to each other, similar to Jack and Locke. I could be all wrong of course.
    Now, where is this light tunnel? How come the gang,or rousseau, or the Others, never stumbled on it before?

    • 15 Mint
      May 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      mins, That’s not how I saw it at all.

      You imply that MIB/Esau is just dead and Smokey is something else entirely.
      Did anyone else get that?

      I thought MIB was transformed into Smokey when thrown into the light and couldn’t return to his body or didn’t know how yet.

      Maybe there was another Smokey before him. Mother seemed to know what would happen if someone entered the light. So then the question would be did the MIB-Smokey replace an older Smokey or are there more than one?

      Overall, as many did, I disliked this episode. We needed to see our regulars and not just in some dumb flashback.
      I think they should have edited this origin down to it’s bare essentials and done an oldschool half island/half flashback (also on the island). Or even a half off island/half flashback would have been better than this.

      • May 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

        Hey, you’re two different people. When you first commented, Mint, I thought you were just Mins and you had a little typo.
        I think a lot of people see the Smokey Esau thing differently. I was talking to a friend of mine who regularly agrees with me and she said that she thinks Smokey is just using Esau’s body. That’s not how I see it at all. I think Jacob couldn’t kill Esau, and he didn’t. I think that he turned Esau into Smokey.
        I agree with your idea about the half flashback idea. Clearly this episode had a very hard time standing on it’s own. If it was inter-spliced into a regular episode it would have worked better.

        • 17 hi d
          May 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

          I believe that whatever happens in that golden cave (remember how the mother told Jacob that it is worse than death)….the essence/being/soul is sucked out of the body and discarded. in other words, smokey equals esau/man in black.

          remember when Un-Locke told Kate that his mother was crazy? that’s because he’s still esau.

          so in my opinion, smokey IS esau, or a big part of his essence. maybe there are multiple entities in there. the mother seemed to have first hand knowledge of how bad it was, so perhaps she is a smokey and that is not her original body. (I’m assuming she’s a smokey since she single handedly killed those people…..sure, there wasn’t that many to kill, but still….)

          so I guess I’m agreeing with you izi…….

          • May 13, 2010 at 2:04 pm

            But you’re way better than me at expressing yourself. Good points all around. I think the line about his mother is irrefutable proof that he’s still Esau. When he’s talking about Locke he speaks in the third person, but he talks about Esau in the first person. That’s good enough for me.

            • 19 hi d
              May 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm

              so do you think (as I do) that the previous jacob/esau episode (do you know how badly I want to kill you etc) was the time period prior to this week’s? as in before he became smokey?

              more than a few people are saying that that earlier episode actually happened after the events in this week’s epi. I don’t see how that’s possible. he couldn’t reinhabit his old body….

              my head hurts.

              • May 13, 2010 at 4:51 pm

                No I think Smokey can jump into any body on the Island. That was why the Others burned their bodies and sent them out to sea so that Smokey couldn’t use them. (A commenter told me that a while ago, and I thought it was genius). I’m sure that Smokey used the Esau body, if he didn’t then that last episode and Richard’s episode don’t make any sense.

                • 21 Mint
                  May 17, 2010 at 7:45 pm

                  Ha mins/Mint I noticed that too.
                  I agree with you izi and hi d but yeah who really knows?
                  Excellent point about the crazy mom line.

                  I like the theory that Mother is “a Smokey” as opposed to there being only one. Or maybe there can only be one at a time?

  11. 22 mins
    May 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    What is confusing me is that MIB’s body has now decayed. That’s why I think he’s dead but his spirit is alive in Smokey. Smokey takes any dead person’s form:Christian, Alex, Yemi…..(still confused about Christian as his body’s missing)
    I know I may be alone in thinking all this, and that Smokey is a separate entity. But that’s what makes this fun isn’t it? We get to hash out all ideas. I’ve no problem if I’m wrong!
    I’ll try thinking another way;how about this: Jacob’s need for revenge created smokey. His anger, bad side, went in there with MIB (knocked unconscious in the water). Jacob’s and MIB’s dark sides did something down there-the light went out and the new MIB came out(with all sorts of powers). Perhaps the gang have walked by this cave many times but the light no longer is there, so they don’t know it’s a special cave?

    • 23 Mint
      May 17, 2010 at 7:46 pm

      Locke’s body is decaying too. And Yemi was mostly bone! I don’t think it matters.

  12. May 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Cracking episode. You’d think if the Island Protector could just make up universal rules they would make up better ones yeah?

    Interesting parental pyschological analysis btw 🙂


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