Wednesday, May 12

Lost: Season 6, Episode 15 Discussion


Apologies for the lateness of this "Instareaction." After the show ended I was sort of stunned, in ways both good and bad. I had no idea how to begin writing about this episode. On the one hand, there was a lot to like - Titus Weliver proved to be another of Lost's smart casting decisions. His performance was worth the price of admission. I genuinely loved the sense of uncertainty that surrounded Alison Janneymom's character, and I think that continuing the theme of Island protectors who don't seem to truly understand what they're protecting, or why, is a fascinating one. Many of the individual scenes were captivating, and yet, at the same time, if I'm being honest, I'm sort of cool on it as a whole. Part of this is due to my own overinflated expectations. I was expecting a LOT of Across the Sea, and that's not the show's fault.

Most of the problems I have with the episode involve unanswered questions. Is the Smoke Monster actually Jacob's (still unnamed! What's up with that?) brother? Is what was released by The Man With No Name's body the embodiment of "pure evil"? If so, why can't Smokey hurt Jacob? Is Smokey "bonded" with the MiB? It has to be that the MiB's trip down the "rabbit hole" results in his being replaced/fused with something dark/evil by passing into the light. Otherwise, to be honest, I don't have much of a problem with the MiB leaving the Island. I mean, his mother was murdered, he was lied to, and when he tried to escape he got beaned in the back of the head with solid rock.

And what's with that claim anyway? Why can't they hurt each other? I assume "hurt" actually means "kill," since we see Jacob knock the snot out of his lil bro twice. Unnamed Alison Janneymom gave Jacob wine from the same bottle that Jacob used to give Richard wine. Does that mean the wine is responsible for immortality, and not Jacob's touch? I could go on, but then what would I write about for Friday? Unanswered questions are a problem I can deal with, and it makes the prospect of writing this week's column both exciting and very, very daunting.

I can't lie - some of my problems came from what seemed to be real problems in the story - how does "mom" manage to slaughter an entire village and burn it to the ground? Does she command Smokey? How did she cave the well in? Smokey? Did we really need to see heavy-handed flashbacks to Season 1 in order to figure out who Adam and Eve were? Why hasn't anyone else on the Island stumbled over the Big Glowing Hole In The Ground? For that matter, why couldn't the MiB find it again? Wait 'til dark, then walk around looking for the spot where eerie golden light is spilling from the ground. And was Alison Janney's essential Alison Janneyness distracting for anyone else? For as much as I loved seeing glimpses of the early civilization on the Island, I can't help feeling as though there were missed opportunities here, and that some aspects of the show (the look of it, the costuming, and the ham-handedness of some of the exposition) simply don't rise to the same level of realism and subtlety that Ab Aeterno did.

For all of that complaining and kvetching though, I didn't hate the episode. I'm just having an honestly-mixed reaction and, lucky you, you get to experience my reservations through the power of the internet. One of my much-appreciated Twitter peeps made the observation that this episode should have been the Season opener. I sort of agree in that I think I'd feel kinder to it if it had come, say, directly after The Substitute. In fact, in the future I think that's where I'll choose to re-slot this installment. It fits in perfectly there.

To sum up: I liked much about the episode's themes, it's ambition and it's seemingly-purposefully-veiled mythology. I had trouble with what felt like stilted acting in places, some clunky exposition, and the sense of ongoing confusion that resulted by episode's end. I'm looking forward to talking about this one tonight with some of you down at Professor Thom's (2nd Ave btwn 13th and 14th streets @ 7 pm), and to (drunkenly) rewatching it afterward, because I think there's a lot to chew on here and because I'm frankly hoping that it'll work better for me on the second go-round. This is without a doubt the single most divisive episode of Lost. I'm still on-board for the rest of the ride. Unlike some of my more hyperbolic colleagues, I didn't hate the episode and I don't think Lost has jumped the shark/sh*t the bed/pulled an "Episode 1"/whathaveyou - but for the first time this season since Recon I'm surprisingly underwhelmed.

Let's see what happens when I watch it again. Your thoughts?

Original Post:

"Somewhere, beyond the sea
Somewhere waitin’ for me...
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailin’.
Somewhere, beyond the sea
She's there watchin’ for me...
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms I’d go sailin’.
It's far beyond the stars
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon."

- Beyond The Sea, Charles Trenet/Jack Lawrence

Tonight brings to us "Across the Sea," the third-to-last episode of Lost. It's strange to type that.

The title of tonight's installment recalls the title of "Beyond the Sea," the timeless standard that's been interpreted by the likes of Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra, and which was featured (in French!) back in Season 1 of the show.

What can we expect? Well, for one, we can expect not to see much (if anything) of the show's regular cast. We can expect some of our questions about the Island, its history and its mysteries, to be highlighted. We can expect a very special, very surprising guest-star. And we can expect Titus Welliver and Mark Pelligrino to deliver on the acting front.

If you're clueless about the subject matter of this installment I'm not going to spoil things for you any more than that. All I'll say is that this is the episode I've been waiting all season for, . I'll be back here after the episode airs on the East Coast to give my InstaReaction, and I'll have, I think, plenty to say about it at that point. If you're in the NYC area tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 12th), come by Professor Thom's at 7 pm. I'll be there with my purple baseball cap on, sipping a beer and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one.


  1. I cannot believe it is Lost Day already. I just got over grieving the losses from last week!

    This should be the episode that starts closing up the series arc and setting up the finale, so I am really excited to see this tonight!

  2. Agreed Darth. The whole thing will be over in 12 days. Pretty shocking.

    MMorse your comparison of the episode's title to that song brings to mind a departed cast member with rudimentary French skills ("I'm so not moving to the rape caves.") Think there is any connection?

  3. I doubt she'll be popping up tonight (given what the focus is supposed to be).

    It's difficult to focus today. If nothing else, the end of Lost will mean more productivity on Tuesdays.

  4. More than ever, Morse, I'm convinced that your Second Snake theory is the right one. I was thinking about the deaths of Sun, Jin and Sayid last week and it still just feels...I don't know...wrong. The same way that having everyone wake up after Jughead felt kind of off. Or the way that this whole season (on Island) has felt strange (like your spot n complaints about Sayid and the Temple, Resurrection, Infection, etc).

    I think that Desmond's on Island go-with-the-flow demeanor may be the result of his knowing that what happens there doesn't ultimately matter; that they will all end up living the lives they should have if not for the damned Island. In other words, I think Juliet was right - it worked. It'll just take another 4 1/2 hours for us to find out how.

  5. @Miles - That's the first thing I thought of when I read that too - Shannon!

    @Christopher - I am starting to think that Jin is not dead, same with Frank. We didn't see bodies. I don't know, maybe I am just in denial. I am certainly going to need a Lost support group when this is all said and done.

  6. It's getting extremely difficult to put into words how I feel at this moment. It's such a bittersweet thing to watch something excellent come to an end. I'm unbelievably excited to get to the end of the narrative, but incredibly sad to say goodbye to these characters. One thing that I'm thankful for is that the show is ending on it's own terms, not the network's terms, or even the terms of the fans. I sincerely hope that Lost will have paved the way for excellent overarching serial narrative to continue on network television. We've seen some cheap copycats of the "Lost formula" such as FlashForward and V(even though V is a remake, it truly is Lost and BSG that paved the way for this turd). Hopefully, once the knee-jerk reactions are done, network studios will be brave enough to have excellent story and character driven television continue.

  7. MMorse, from what I know I have to agree with you. I was hoping you had some other insight into the narrative structure. I'm a Lost geek, because I'm totally curious if this is going to be an isolated episode with no present day/continuity book-ending. The nearest thing we've ever seen that I can think of is "The Other 48 Days" which eventually crashed right into current continuity and gave us about five more seconds of it.

    Just saw this on,,20313460_20368142,00.html
    It's not 100% and is missing some biggies, but it's a cool, stylistic retrospective of characters who have died (prior to last week).

  8. Also, My big hope/expectation for tonight is that we get some illumination on what was going on with Walt - though I expect we won't actually ever see Walt or hear his name. I'm ok with it if we don't, but if this is going to be addressed, this is probably the best chance...

  9. "I'm a Lost geek, because I'm totally curious if this is going to be an isolated episode with no present day/continuity book-ending."

    I'd expect that this will be more-or-less the case. I'll have plenty to say about the narrative once this puppy airs.

    "Also, My big hope/expectation for tonight is that we get some illumination on what was going on with Walt..."

    'til the show says differently, I'm sticking with my "Walt can manipulate electromagnetism" theory. If we're going to learn something about the origins of the Island, I'd imagine that there might be some juicy hints about Walt's "Special" status.

    That said, I don't expect to see Walt himself again.

  10. Yeah, I don't expect to see Walt again, either, but I sure would like to see or hear some sort of reference to him and his powers.

  11. Could the "Walt can manipulate electromagnetism" plot thread be why Desmond has had such a large influence in the show now? With the show being unable to show Walt because of his age, did Desmond take over as the premier "expert" on Island electromagnetism? This would make quite a bit of sense with how the show has turned out. It allows the show-runners to explain oddities about the island without having to use Walt's character. Unfortunately, this has led to his "Special" status only being hinted at, never shown or explained in canon. Even the webisode "Room 23" only showed a more extreme example of Walt being able to exert some kind of control over birds.

    Just a possible thought on why Walt has been less important to the show's mythology than we were led to believe in Seasons 1&2.

  12. I don't expect to see Walt either. I do hope there is mention of him though. It would be awesome if this episode is set up like "The Other 48 Days".

  13. I don't expect to see Walt or hear his name mentioned. But based on the very little I know, I'm hoping that we see a similarly gifted kid or kids take on special abilities, very similar to what we have seen of Walt in Seasons 1 & 2. That is the only way I can imagine this show answering lingering Walt questions. I don't expect to see Malcolm David Kelley on the show again.

    Aside from that, I agree with your conclusions MMorse. And I'll be fine if that is all we're able to surmise. But tonight's show seems like a great oppty to show, not tell, how a kid/person can take on/expand special abilities on the island.

  14. So, do you guys think MiB was a "special" kid like Walt? He mentioned that he had a crazy mother. Maybe's she's an Eloise Hawking-type who "used" him, thus warping him into what he is. Mostly, though, I'm dying to get some kind of an explanation for his, uh, "smokiness."


    (I've read Walt is going to make an appearance by the end of the season. I don't know in what context, but we should see the character by the finale)

  16. I'm not sure what i think about MIB being like Walt. I could easily see Walt as a Jacob parallel also. Or maybe they both exhibited traits like he did, suggesting he could have gone either way. Or maybe it's neither but another character?

    I could be way off on my hope that this is touched on tonight, which is fine. I'm on board for the story that D&C are telling. It's just fun for me to anticipate it and wonder. Much more fun than my P&L spreadsheet.

  17. "Every question I answer will only lead to another question" -Crazy Mother/baby stealer.
    Holeee shit, she wasn't kidding. For the first time in my entire history of watching this show (From Sept 22, 2004 till now) at the end of the show, I was actually speachless. My mind is whirling and I feel numb. This told us so much, but didn't tell us anything. At this point, the ways in which the Island resembles the actual Dark Tower in Stephen King's Dark Tower series are too great to ignore. It's the nexus of all possible worlds and creations. Mind. Blown.

  18. ... I feel like I just watched a show where Shmi Skywalker lived on an island with twins!

  19. This episode was really bad, yet so necessary I almost have to give it a free pass.

  20. The MiB: Yet another character who suffers because he longs for answers. He's a truly poignant character because I (and I'm sure many other Losties) can really identify!

  21. The MIB had yet to install the wheel in the well when his mom killed him. Afterwards, the well was caved in and the people on the island were killed. If the wheel was buried, then who dug it up and installed it?

  22. MIB 2.0 probably installed it himself, or had one of his dupes do it eventually. It's not like he didn't have the time to get it done.

    Also: I think this episode went a long way in explaining the "infection," Morse. It seems like more than normal exposure to the "light" may be responsible. The MiB appears to be an extreme example of this: He wasn't just infected, it looks like he was fully "replaced" by something worse than death, at least in the physical sense.

  23. Given how many times Jacob referred to his "Brother" without ever saying his actual name, I think Desmond "Brotha" Hume is probably the best candidate to take over for Jacob. (Yes, I know he is not a candidate... OR IS HE? L O S T.)

  24. I'm assuming throughout the ages, the monster had "Other" people continuing the work Jacob's brother started. The monster(disguised as Claudia) was the one supplying Jacob's brother with the info to find it in the first place.

  25. It seems like, except for Richard, the Others were being manipulated by the monster in doing his bidding(he was using Jacob's name because he/it had no name?)and constantly proving Jacob wrong.

    The original Crazy Lady had a hands off approach to the "Others" like Jacob and he followed suit until Ricardo came along and he decied to bend his own rules(like when his brother criticized him for breaking the rules of his "old school backgammon game")

    As time went by, he got more and more involved in the "chess pieces" and became more hands on resulting in the modern day situation. I know there's more to unpack, so I'll just leave it here for now.

  26. Ninja, I took the appearance of Claudia's ghost to young MIB to be further evidence that dead people did appear to loved ones prior to the creation of the Smoke Monster. Not that there was a pre-existing smoke monster. But I could easily have missed something.

    From what I saw, Smokey was birthed as the forewarned horrible life/death/rebirth output of MIB's soul entering the light cavity.

    There may have been a hint that the Mother was also a smoke monster - she did trash that camp of men of indeterminate origin - as well as caretaker. Except that she had a corporeal body that Jacob placed in the caves and rotted there ever since with the MIB's pre-smokey body. But even if she could have appeared as dead people, I don't know why she would appear to young MIB and spill the tale of her treachery and murder to him.

    I'm definitely curious to see other cases for or against this though.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. I'm one of the many people who were wrong and thought Adam and Eve were Rose and Bernard. They seem like a deliberate red herring (rose herring?) now. But since they aren't lying dead in the caves, does that mean that they popped forward to 2007 when Jughead went off? Or did they stay in retirement?

    Given sideways Bernard's spacy behavior (or wink-wink acting) last week, I'm wondering if he is dead, therefore enlightened in the sideways world, or if he and Rose are kicking it away from all the drama in current times.

  29. This episode was bittersweet for me. It's not that I didn't enjoy it. I did. But I feel like it reminded me of and even brought up new questions. Which would be fine if there was an Across the Sea 1, 2, 3, 25? but there's not. This was their only shot, that we know of, to provide answers relative to the origin of the Island, about how everything was made to be. And they answered some of these questions, and perhaps we aren't meant to know the answers to anything else, but still. I feel like there were plenty of wasted minutes in this episode that could've been used to expand on the information that the episode was meant to answer. For example, I'm a fairly smart guy, I don't need to be spoonfed, airplane noises and all, that Mother & Brother are Adam & Eve. Saw ya, put them up on the ledge, I got it, thanks!

    In the end, I trust the writers, I trust that they'll reveal what needs to be revealed and answer what needs to be answered. I just wish there had been a couple more episodes like this to elaborate on it all, cause with only an episode and a finale left, I'm just not sure how they can work in the answers in any other way.

  30. Actually the placement of this episode, I thought was brilliant. Just when you were convinced MIB was bad, you get this story. Beautiful, we can discuss till the end of time if he has been justified in his behavior.

    And that line about every answer being followed by another question, that is the story of LOST

    The episode really left me sad and conflicted... damn the writers!!!!!!!!!!


  31. @Erik = Hilarious! LMAO about the Shmi Skywalker reference and MiB - Monster is Brother!

    OK so, I was also very disappointed in the fact that they had dedicated one of the final hours to explain to us who Adam and Eve were, and create more questions then reveals. Point blank, they could have done so much more with this episode. There was a lot of wasted minutes that were not needed, and it kind of pissed me off that they showed us scenes from Season 1. That said, I am not hating this installment. There is a lot in between the lines. Mythology was never meant to have definitive answers, otherwise it would not be myth. I accept that.

    Smokey has been evil trapped on the island for ever, trying to manipulate the inhabitants into killing the island's protector. I believe Ol' Smokey was the vision of Claudia, and detroyed the camp, nudging the MiB to kill the island's mom. Jacob saying goodbye to his brother in the cave letting us know that the MiB we have known, really is not Jacob's brother.

    Wine = eternal life? This is the same wine Richard drank.

    Jacob has a dark side and was also not wanting the job as the island's protector. He was told he had "no choice". He was not as smart as his brother and also had questions that were not answered.

    Brother knew things without being told, how to play the game. He was the scientific one. to me, this means that he is responsible for most of the mystical technology on the island. Possibly the lighthouse, the numbers, the donkey wheel (obviously, but how did it end up in the wall? UGH!), magnets. Evil knows all that it consumes.

    Ok, sorry for the long post, and thank you for letting me vent.

  32. Vent away, D. This episode is divisive, which doesn't mean that it isn't worth discussing, but which also means that it's worth discussing what each of us thinks went "right" and "wrong" with it.

    It's honestly difficult to give this one a pass on the dramatic/storytelling level without some serious legwork. I do feel that putting this episode on after The Substitute will make it more palatable. There's nothing here that couldn't have been revealed at that point. And the less-than-earthshaking feel of the thing will be, I think, far less disappointing coming directly on the heels of the episode where Anti-Locke tells James that "it's just an Island."

    I'm hoping that the return of focus to the Castaways restores the sense of propulsion and awe that I've been feeling all season.

    What worked, specifically, for you guys? What didn't work? And why? I look forward to reading your thoughts and hearing some of them in person tonight.

  33. I have been racking my brain, trying to figure it out. But this close to the end, the last 5 minutes sequence dealing with Adam & Eve HAS to be more important then it seems. I mean, why just waste however long of valuable end of the story screentime on something like that that's not going to effect the end. And it wasn't even just seeing the bodies. They made sure to make a point in bringing Locke in too. I just can't for the life of me figure it out. I mean, look at the whispers issue, that was solved up in about 4 seconds.

    Hurley: "So the whispers are ghosts?"
    Michael: "Yes."

    That was it. But they set this up as a huge reveal. The only way that that makes sense is that somehow it's trying to connect them. Unless it is just to reinforce the similarities of Season 1 and Season 6 and give us hope that they weren't making it up as they went.

  34. Something that bothered me: anyone notice that Jacob kinda had a Lenny from Of Mice and Men thing goin' on? Sooooo soooooft

    I always thought he had this profound right-over-wrong persona about him and this episode ruined it for me.

    That said, maybe I'm just too forgiving of Lost, but at this point, I'll take what they give me and love it.

  35. why couldn't the MIB find the glowing spring? not a candidate

  36. Slam,

    I noticed that too. In a way, that's one of the things I really liked about this episode. Jacob remained a child even as an adult, retaining an "innocence" that the MiB lost when he joined civilization. It's accurate given how Jacob's been brought up, and it reflects nicely on some of Lost's themes.

    What I'd love to see, and will likely never see, is the arc that Jacob takes from naive man-child to "teenage" hardass in Ab Aeterno to resigned Weaver in The Incident.

  37. Some theories popped into my mind as a result of this episode.

    I get the impression the caretaker of the island can manipulate the island itself. Build structures (the temple/lighthouse/ruins), destroy structures (village/the well) and make it possible to visit places that otherwise could not be found. (Brother said he spent 30 years looking for the Rabbithole but never found it. Only Mother or Jacob could bring him there). They also make all the rules that must be obeyed.

    Second, Brother wasn't (and I think still isn't) necessarily an evil man. As he stated he just wants to leave the island. He's cold (as evidenced by his statement that though his people were corrupt and evil, they were just a 'means to an end') but I don't think he wants to destroy the world. The problem with him leaving the island is in regards to what he has become. I think when his body went down the hole it fell into that evil or darkness that Jacob said the island acts as a barrier for. His body fell through, but his soul remained in it and allowed the evil to escape to the surface of the island. But just being on the island still contains it. If he can leave the island the evil is free to spread and wipe out the world, regardless of whether Brother wants to or not. Kinda like he is a carrier for an infection.

  38. @Slamboni I completely agree! But I think that spending several centuries on an island with smokey will probably toughen you up and reenforce whatever good you believe in. This episode did wonders for the character arc and characterization of MiB and really helped us to understand and feel for him. But, it really went against what we know about Jacob. He's always seemed so strong. But that's why we really need like two more episodes like this to better understand how they became who they are.

    Oh lost...

  39. I'm genuinely surprised by the negative response to this episode. Jacob & MIB's backstories were more or less what I that the problem? That it wasn't more surprising? We would have rather had capital-t Twists?

    What does this say about us? That we don't really want the answers? That we don't want supernatural answers for supernatural (i.e. innately unanswerable) questions? (Q: Why is there a smoke monster? A: MIB was thrown by his brother into a ball of golden light and his soul was turned into sentient smoke.---THAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER.)

    The Adam & Eve reveal satisfies me in that this WAS the roots of the castaway's predicament, and that these bodies (minus Jacob) are responsible for all that came after. I would MUCH rather have this explanation than more "it was THESE castaways" time travel shenanigans.

    I even liked the child actors. Seriously, people. I've seen bad child actors, and they can ruin a movie. These kids were actually pretty solid.

    I think my only quibble is with the explicitness of the source/golden light, but is an answer. Another metaphysical one, but one that fits.

    Doc Jensen went off the reservation this year, but he had an excellent point in his instant recap: "Lost seems to be saying that the (sic) something like God actually exists — but anyone who claims to know who or what God is probably wrong, if not totally off their Jacob rocker."

    The people who claimed we weren't getting answers are now complaining about said answers. It just makes me baffled and sad. 11 more days of this, folks. Try to enjoy it.

  40. My largest complaint is how MiB explained "We're going to leave through a hole in the ground using this wheel, sticking it in the glowing-light-wall, oh, and use some water too."

    What evidence would we (or those characters) have for believing that _that_ Rube Goldberg idea leads to an exit, or, well, anything happening at all? I was dumbfounded and seriously disappointed. Maybe the wheel dislodges something? We've put things in the light and they re-appear elsewhere on the island, further away each time? What are the ideas behind the make-believe mechanisms at play?

    Or does the person-who-gets-to-make-up-the-rules-because-they-found-the-game-next just decide how reality works? (See mom's "I've seen to it you can't hurt each other").

    In fact, my largest fear going into tonight was that this idea of "I am the game master, so I get to make up the rules" would be used to explain everything: the smoke monster, fertility issues, eternal life, ghosts, numbers, lighthouses, ability to bring people to the island. I hope Jacob doesn't say, "You know, this island would be cooler with an Egyptian theme park motif". (thankfully the smoke monster appears to have some other explanation).

    (psuedo-science-technical note:
    I know a flux-capacitor has scant explanation behind it's workings ("I just hit my head and the idea came to me!"). But at least a scientist in the 20th century figured it out, and had some electronics to help out; I can make that leap.)

  41. So there's two twins .. one good, one bad. Or one light, one dark, whatever. Granted it's more complex than that, with different motivations etc, but as it stands present day, Jacob is apparently the good, noble protector and Smokey/MiB/Flocke/Adam/Goddamnitgivehimanamealready is apparently the kill anything that gets in his path to getting home kind of twin. Wasn't there a book about a Bad Twin published, and even mentioned on the show back in season 1? I never read it, but I'm kind of curious if it at all relates to how this story is playing out. I'm sure the settings and characters are different and all that, but are there any similarities able to be drawn?

    Other than that, I was a little bit underwhelmed by this episode too. And that really surprised me. I'm still not really sure how I feel about the reveals like the light. One the one hand, it doesn't really go against anything that's come before in the series, so it's not terribly offensive or annoying. On the other hand, it felt to me like she was saying the island, and therefor people, are run by the hugs and unicorns down in that cave.

    And the end confused me as well. Was That Smoke Thing always there? Was it created when he floated in? I liked the reveal that his brother was actually dead and what we've been seeing all season was I guess the thing inhabiting his body, or mixed with it, or whatever .. but still .. huh? Maybe the fact that Claudia appeared to him means it was there and up to the same tricks before, I don't know. This post is too long, apologies. Looking forward to your full article on friday.

  42. No apologies, Tooblekane. I'm loving the discussion this episode is stirring, and I'm grateful for the civil tone that everyone's using.

    I really, really like the idea that the MiB was "infected" at the source.

  43. JDR22 Here...

    I'm in an odd position right now. I still haven't seen the episode (and no, I haven't read any comments; only part of MMorse's InstaReaction). I had a graduation to go to last night, and I'm at work waiting for my lunch to watch it on iTunes.

    I have looked at the polls, and the consensus seems to be slight-to-extreme disappointment with Across the Sea. This is obviously disheartening. Yet I think it will help to set my expectations to the proper level.

    I'll check back later with my reaction...

  44. I think Smokey was always there, within the Island at least, and Jacob's act of fratricide unleashed it somewhat. His burden, i.e. having to deal with Smokey in addition to protecting the island, then becomes a sort of "mark of Cain."

    The light, or rabbit hole, reminds me of the tree of knowledge. MiB's fall is a result of his thirst to know things: where's he from, who is mother is, why he's here, the reason behind everything. And so he gets what he asks for, and he's consumed by it to the point where "he" doesn't exist anymore. But Jacob sacrifices his own innocence in order to give MiB what he wants ... argh!

    This episode was only disappointing to me in two ways: the narrative urgency wasn't there, and the "answers" were more frustrating than the questions. At least the writers gave themselves an out with Janney's (is she playing Taweret?) mini spiel about answers producing more questions. I think this is ultimately one of the points of the show, that it's impossible to know everything, and a desire to know all will warp and destroy you.

    See you guys tonight, by the way!

  45. Wow ... not that this is a realization, but it seems funny to me all of what we are saying. I think the joke is really on us as the viewer. The joke is the representation of 2 sides, Black and White, where the whole show has worked in shades of grey. Leaving our own interpretations as to what is what being the punch line. Or maybe reverse that. See?

    When this is all said and done, we are all going to be on our own side. No wonder Cuse and Lindelof are going into hiding for a while. They see that coming.

    I stand by my previous statement that Smokey was always there, manipulating man to serve his purpose. Evil works through influence, twisting half truths, and your fears. Good comes only from within ones being, trusting or having faith, in something that may not have an explanation.

    I am starting to think, with the exception of Richard, all that we have seen on the island has been the from works of Smokey. There are no ghosts, only Smoke(y) and mirrors.

  46. Also, I'd like to add this:

    What if Janneymom was playing a bit of a long con on both Jacob and MiB? Enraging MiB to the point of killing her, so Jacob could assume the burden of protecting the island and the light. But perhaps she didn't anticipate Jacob throwing MiB down the hole because she told them both that they couldn't "hurt" each other.

  47. Wanted to add (I know, I have a lot to say, sorry) that last night just showed us that everything works in cycles, and that the cycle was starting again with Jacob. Anyone notice that the mother did not age throughout the episode? I forgot to add the things that stick out to me as a wrench ... I just do not get how or why mommy 2 was able to murder mommy 1 and still consider herself good. Sounds like Ben to me. Also, I thought she made a rule that the twins could not hurt each other, yet Jacob sent his brother to his death. Is it because he was no longer a candidate and Jacob had already taken on the job of protecting the island? Since Jacob doesn't ever get involved, has he put his faith in Richard to do the right thing without giving him further advise?
    The list goes on....

  48. Did anyone catch what Janney was chanting over the wine before she had Jacob drink? Was it Latin (it sounded like it), and has anyone done a translation?

  49. I'm sorry to keep posting like this, but the thoughts keep rushing in.

    Nassim Talib is on CNBC right now, so naturally, the subject of "black swans" is on my mind. Could MiB be a "black swan," an unexpected, unpredicted, game-changing thing? He's "special" like Jacob, but in a different way, a darker way. It would go a long way in explaining Janney's look of grim astonishment and surprise when she delivered the second baby. It could be that she expected Jacob, but not the nameless one.

  50. Hey Darth,

    I have to respectfully disagree that the Smoke Monster was pre-existing. Everything that the MIB has ever said all season and last (when not impersonating Locke) has been consistent that Jacob turned him into this "thing."

    - MIB was once a man, now he is disembodied. Jacob "took his body" (which a lot of people at the time interpreted as meaning that Jacob literally assumed MIB's form). We saw Jacob throw his brother in the light cavity and then the smoke monster emerged and shot out MIB's lifeless body.

    - Although the MIB/Smoke Monster has impersonated many people, when speaking as himself, he's never shown any sign of being a split personality or having internal confusion, though he has echoed phrases of John Locke's it appears to be consistent with his own personality. He absorbs and learns but has remained focused.

    - If the smoke monster did pre-exist, he displaced the previous soul completely, or it didn't have one and he assumed it. But as a smoke monster origin story it makes more sense that the electromagnetic light core had unpredictable results (remember how it sent Desmond skipping back in Flashes Before Your Eyes?).

    - MIB/Smokey had a crazy mother.

    - MIB wanted to go "home" to where his people (the indeterminate men) came from. It's basically like an Englishman born in India, wanting to go "home" even though he's never been.

    - His whole life he has felt that if only he could leave, he would be happy.

    - When Jacob threw MIB into the well, his soul was ripped out and in a moment of life/death/rebirth somehow carved up as the smoke monster. His body was no longer part of the equation.

    - Because the MIB's dead body was on the island, at some point the MIB was able to assume his original form (though who knows how long it took him to learn he could do that).

    - Mother was not a smoke monster (though she could have been something else), because she died when stabbed (Fake Locke/Smokey did not) and her dead body remained when killed and has been in the cave for centuries. But she did know that going into the light was unpredictable and dangerous. And she clearly had a temper.

    - We know that Michael, Isabelle (to Hurley), Jacob (to Hurley, MIB, Sawyer and Desmond) have all appeared as ghosts - NOT Smokey apparitions. Michael also said there were other ghosts (the whispers) stuck on the island. This leaves out the off-island appearances of Ana Lucia, Christian, Charlie and Mr. Eko. But this is sufficient to tell us that there are real ghosts and spirits that appear to people on the island. Therefore it is clearly possible that it could have been the real ghost of Claudia who appeared to young MIB. She was a little cruel perhaps, but she was murdered after childbirth by the woman now raising her kids. it would be reasonable that her dying wish and afterlife aim would be to get her kids to rejoin her people and get away from the nutty murderess.

    Anyway, i lay all this out as i think through it. But I can't think of any evidence that the Smoke Monster existed before Jacob threw MIB in the light cavity and the MIB became the Smoke Monster. And I don't see any evidence that Claudia's ghost was not actually Claudia's. I'm open to being wrong though if someone has some counter evidence.

    Sorry to be disagreeable. :-)

  51. Totally agree that the smoke monster is the MIB's soul. I don't have any negative feelings for this episode like so many others. I do feel like it left us with more questions, for some reason, I'm okay with that.

    Oh, and for those of you who doubted Lapidus was dead:


  52. @Andy,



    One thing that occurred to me is that perhaps the smoke monster is an entirely separate entity, one that had no "identity" and was trapped in the light, needing a person to enter it to be released. Once released, it could have assumed MiB's identity so fully that it actually THINKS it IS the MiB. This would explain why it follows the rules against not killing Jacob. It thinks it has to, therefore it has to. As you said, the MiB/Smokey started taking on some of Locke's speaking habits. Maybe it absorbs too much of who it imitates, until it really thinks it is that person. Also, Jacob, when asked, did not refer to Smokey as "My Brother" but "An old friend."

    Or, it could be just as we're expected to think, that the MiB's soul was separated from his body and made into black smoke.

    Or maybe whatever happened in the Source took the most negative aspects of the MiB's personality (his manipulative nature and his ends-justify-the-means mentality) and made them manifest in the form of shape-shifting black smoke.

    The beauty of this episode is that I find all three of those theories equally valid and equally compelling.

    Other random thoughts. My wife noted that while the mother told MiB he could never leave the Island, Jacob seems to be able to leave whenever he wants. My answer to this (and I think it's kind of beautifully elegant in a Lost-kind-of-way) is that Jacob can leave the Island because he doesn't want to leave it.

  53. MMorse,

    Regarding timing of this episode: I agree that it lurched a good bit and I also was putting a lot of expectation on it - which I am going to try to dial down for the final two episodes.

    I agree that it would have been interesting after the Substitute and certainly feel less like it was running out the precious clock (when I want to connect to the main cast). And it was noteworthy to see how the show didn't feel right without that cast - as much as I like the Jacob and MIB characters and their respective actors. It felt a little like the first season of South Park when they showed a full-on Terrence and Philip episode on April Fools Day when they were supposed to have part 2 of a "Who is Cartman's Dad?" cliffhanger.

    But I'm pretty intrigued about what this episode means for the end game. After thinking about "Across the Sea" for too many hours last night and this morning, it's starting to really inform the big finish for me. And if i had this insight months ago, I might have assembled too much to enjoy the season's ride. Because when I start merging last night's show with what we already know, I get a lot of clarity. A lot. This is long so I had to split it into 2 entries. Sorry for the length and theoretical exposition. If anyone hasn't liked my logic before, you may want to stay away. ☺

  54. Part 2:

    I know no spoilers for the show at this point. So these are all observations in only some rough semblance of order. These factors are at play:

    - Souls trapped on the island for their misdeeds. Someone push the button and let them go. It's easily been 108 minutes!

    - a Well of light that is unpredictable, mystical and seemingly all-
    powerful but impossible to understand (very consistent MMorse with your awesome theory that the island is the inspiration for all of the magic tales in the world - religious or otherwise - Wonderland, Oz, Heaven, Hell, Valhalla, reincarnation, Shangri-la, Middle Earth, the Force, Atlantis, King Arthur's England, the Aztec Gold/Davy's Jones' Locker, Cybertron, and the suitcase in Pulp Fiction, etc).

    - This light (which will probably remain nameless and with maybe only the slightest further explanation) is responsible for all unexplainable phenomenon that we have seen on the show - directly and indirectly. It's been tapped by scientists, men of faith and the indifferent - both intentionally and accidentally. It birthed the smoke monster with his powers, enables ghosts to talk to the dead, enabled time travel both in mind and in body, enables physical movement of the island, enables long life, keeps the entire thing undetectable by almost all efforts of man and technology, taunts people with what they most desire and least need, and seems to have spawned or connected to an alternate reality.

    - Most characters who have touched this light or its tendrils/pockets (can we assume the Temple Pool was located in one?) seem to have developed some element of darkness (claiming, infection, splitting?) and become singularly focused on a selfish goal.

    - The light and related pockets are fused with electromagnetic energy.

    - Desmond has lived through surges of said energy several times and seems to have become immune to negative harm or at least resistant to it. Although his goal was potentially fused with selfishness - reuniting with Penny - he somehow came out on the light side of it. Perhaps by focusing on the good of the relationship and his generous love for Penny. Or perhaps through a fluke of the unexpected consequences (he got kicked back into his past consciousness and then could see the future on return). Or perhaps through the direct, Faraday's-diary-informed-actions of Eloise. Or perhaps because he conquered selfish bouts with free will (saving Charlie in "Catch-22" after leading him to a death trap) to assist others - even at the risk of losing of his own selfish goal.

    - MIB wants Desmond gone.

    - Widmore wants Desmond for a specific purpose relating to electromagnetic energy.

    - The MIB - the big villain of the show - also had a crappy upbringing and needs some release or resolution. Shades of Darth Vader, Gollum and most characters on Lost who have been on destructive feedback loops because they can't let go.

    - There is a sideways movement towards the island - but little apparent recognition of island towards the sideways save dying Juliet, Desmond, and maybe head-banger Sun.

    - The sideways world still appears to be connected to Jack and Juliet's actions in 1977, which occurred very near a massive pocket of electromagnetic energy (said magic light). Which appears to have again had unpredictable results.

    - The Adam and Eve resolution was sad and moving. As Andy said above, it ties into to the overall story much better than if they had been Rose and Bernard, or Sawyer and Juliet, or Jack and Kate or any other time travel theories (Also, thankfully neither Jacob or MIB are Aaron Littleton). The Adam and Even connection invests (for me anyway), some emotional desire to see MIB freed of his situation.

    SO... I don't know how it all fits together yet, but things with Desmond would have been a lot less mysterious to me in "Happily Ever After" if we had seen "Across the Sea" first.

    Sorry for the length. I kind of just kept typing for since my last post. The End. ☺

  55. Morse,

    I think it's interesting that you compared this episode unfavorably with Ab Aeterno, when that episode to me was a much weaker one, embodying some of the issues you had with Across the Sea.

    For me, Across the Sea was mythic where Ab Aeterno was overwrought and melodramatic. Across the Sea was well-paced where Ab Aeterno was rushed.

    Across the Sea was wonder-inducing where Ab Aeterno was dashed expectations and suspension of disbelief issues. Specific example, I was disappointed that Richard was only as old as the mid 1800's. After Ben and Others kept saying that Richard was "older than you could possibly imagine," I was expecting REALLY old. I don't know about you, but it's not really THAT hard to imagine someone who is, say, 180 years old. And I admit that I was hoping he would turn out to be Egyptian, given all the ruins.

    Meaning no disrespect to your analysis of either episode, but I just thought it was interesting the way that different episodes worked for different people.

    That said, I DID order the Ab Aeterno shirt you linked to yesterday, cause that was pretty cool.

    Looking forward to the recap, and I hope the second viewing works better for you.

  56. @Miles - No worries! Like I stated, we all have our sides and interpretations. I see what you are saying, and in the midst of processing all that was seen last night, I understand and partly agree with your position.

    There is really no way of knowing that certain elements weren't Smokey, like say Michael trying to talk Hurley out of blowing up the plane. It served Smokey's purpose. Smokey as Locke explaining to Kate the events we just witnessed evokes compassion which serves his purpose. Manipulation, influence through half truths. Claudia presence also served Smokeys purpose by setting the wheel in motion to remove the islands protection.

    Smokey pre-existing has more validity to me with the desruction of the camp than say, a single mother of 2.

    What you say makes sense "If the smoke monster did pre-exist, he displaced the previous soul completely, or it didn't have one and he assumed it." I believe to be true. This could precisely be why island mother said not to go into the light. Knowing that pure evil could take more shape, thus spreading the "infection".

    I digress, as I am not saying your thoughts do not carry weight with me, because they sure do. I am sure there are other forces at play, and Richards wife could actually be a spirit, but her body was not on the island. That may be the crux of this whole thing. I am just throwing another possibility out there.

    I am also in agreement that there has to be a reason why we were shown scenes from Season 1. The writers knew that Adam and Eve were a long time burning question to which we could have referenced ourselves. Plus, it would have been a lot better not seeing that, so when we watched Season 1 again ourselves, we would all then say "Wow, they had a plan from the beginning!" Rather them showing us that they did. It was kind of like they said "Ha! See?!?!" So I wonder why it was shown also.

  57. I get the feeling that this episode is going to be the point where a lot of people who were on the fence about the show completely bail out in frustration. Putting such a complete nothing of an episode on this close to the finale was a huge mis-step.

  58. Darth, thanks for those thoughts. I also agree with Greg's posts that really there is some variance and any of the scenarios could work.

    Right now, I'm leaning to the idea the Smoke Monster/MIB was an entirely new creation resulting from Jacob tossing his brother in the light. This is partly based on my follow up thoughts on the light being unpredictable.

    That said, it also would allow for Mother to have entered the light and become something else... also selfish... which would have the destructive power we saw evidence of, but follow different governing rules. After all, it seems every other contact with the light on the show has been unique with "results that are unpredictable and a measure of last resort."

    Maybe she could spit fire or whatnot. But she clearly was miserable and unhappy and nutty. She did thank the MIB for killing her.

  59. Yeah, i think the forced flashes to Season 1 were an attempt to connect the dots to casual viewers. But I think that the episode would have baffled and lost any casual viewer way earlier. I feel bad for any season 1 & 2 fan who tuned in for the first time since it was so close to the end and they gave into the ads for Answers.

    I'm going to shut up now for awhile at least, I've taken up too much space here today. :)

  60. Hey, folks. It's great to see such intelligent discussion on this episode. I've been jotting notes down for the column, and the more that I think through the episode the less I feel disappointed by it.

    I still think that, given what we learn and how we learn it, this episode should have come much earlier in the season but as usual I'm less focused on the negative and more on the positive. There's a lot to unpack here, on a lot of levels. I think we're looking at one of my longest columns yet.

  61. The longest column for arguably the shows worst episode? I'm curious how it will turn out.

    What I find so frustrating about the episode (among other things) is that we could easily have had it earlier on in the season. It's simply not remarkable enough to justify having it this late in the game. We still barely know anything about Jacob and the MIB, and there's barely any time left to flesh them out. I'm starting to think the shows mythology will just end up being a bust.

  62. JDR22 Here...


    I never thought I would be writing this, but I pretty much agree with most of the negative reactions to this episode (and I was expecting disappointment).

    Let me emphasize: it's not what we learned that bothered me, as much as how we learned it. I will attempt to put this into words, but Drew @ HitFix pretty much sums up my reaction:

    I think it was a mis-step to stop at this point in the season and give us an hour-long, linear back-story of Jacob and the MiB. For one, it stalls the momentum of the season, which had been building nicely up to this point. Second, it's information that could have been told more efficiently, especially with only ONE more episode before the finale.

    What I liked:
    - Allison Janey was very good, as was Titus Welliver.
    - The cinematography was good.
    - The child actors were (mostly) solid.
    - The score was good* (as always)
    *See below for an exception.

    What I didn't like:
    - Some of the dialogue was a bit too obvious.
    - The "light cave" scene was the point in the episode where I started to tune out. The combination of the effects and music made it seem very "Lord of the Rings" to me, with the emphasis too much on fantasy.
    - Mark Pellegrino didn't seem to match Titus Welliver. I didn't hate his performance, but he played Jacob as a big kid (which was probably intentional), and it was a little off for me.
    - I HATED the cuts to Season 1 footage during the "Adam and Eve" scene. Way too on the nose, and it took me right out of it. For a show that requires serial viewership, this was totally unnecessary. Not only that, it just wasn't executed very well.
    - It left too much unanswered. I love ambiguity, but sheesh...

    I hate to be ranting, but these are my initial thoughts after first viewing. I have been very into Season 6 so far, and this episode just It came down to the execution (read: script) and not the answers that were revealed.

    I need to re-watch the episode (and will do so tonight) before I give my final verdict, but this was a let-down for two reasons:

    1. This was an episode that should have been a revelation (both in viewer experience and answers). They needed to knock this one out-of-the-park, because essentially the core of the mythology hinges on this information.

    2. It was written by Darlton (which worries me slightly for the finale).

    I'm hoping that this was a fluke mis-step, and not an indication for what to expect in the following 3.5 hours. I didn't hate the episode, but at this point we need more than what we're getting.

    I still love you, LOST, I'm just a little worried right now.

  63. "The longest column for arguably the shows worst episode? I'm curious how it will turn out.

    What I find so frustrating about the episode (among other things) is that we could easily have had it earlier on in the season."

    I agree with this. I think that airing this episode at this point in the season feels like a misstep.

    And yes, it's going to be lengthy. Some of that has to do with the criticisms I have about the episode. Some of it has to do with the deceptively complicated scenario that's been set out between the brothers, and my genuine admiration for what they're attempting with that aspect of the show, regardless of how well it was dramatized last night. Some of it relates to the wealth of allusions and potential references in the episode, and some of it is a list of Catskills-style punchlines that I will choose to include for no reason whatsoever.*

    *One of these statements is not true.

  64. Just a guess, but maybe the "rabbit hole" is the spring/pool in the Temple? At some point the temple is built to protect it from Smokey?

  65. Morse,

    A lot of what I'm reading (elsewhere as well as here) seems to be focused on the lack of expectations being met. "I really thought Adam and Eve would be explained via time-travel paradox" or "I was holding out that the whole thing was going to be a big psychological experiment" were two instances in particular I came across.

    I wonder much of the instantly-negative reactions we are seeing from a lot of people are arising from the fact that as a show like Lost doles out the answers, it's naturally going to disappoint a good portion of the people who were expecting/hoping for something different.

  66. I think the bigger issue is the fact that while they keep "answering" questions, these are all tied into the bigger mystery of the nature of the island. So these answers don't matter. We already know MIB is the smoke monster. So to show how he is created doesn't matter if it doesn't explain what that energy is. Same with everything else in the episode. It doesn't matter who built the donkey wheel if we don't learn anything more about how it works. Cause that would tell us more about the energy. About what the islands phenomenon really stem from. At this point, it's a magic stream. And there is no way it can't feel like a giant cop out.

    Every answer seems to side step the big mystery. Like they are going out of their way to explain things without giving that big mystery up. And that is what this episode was supposed to do. It was gonna fill us in on why these people were really here. Why they have gone through what they have gone through. The one answer that really counts.

    I'd argue that everything new we learned wasn't enough. And if the demi-gods who have shaped the castaways destinies are as clueless as their pawns, then is there really any reason to keep going?

    I think from here on out we won't get any more answers. This is it. And we'll have to make up our own minds what happens. Even at the end. Hope I'm wrong about that.

  67. Nick, that was a well written summary. It describes my own feelings and frustrations.

  68. What ancient language was janneymom speaking at the beginning of the episode? a clue to how many centuries she has been on the island? Though her saying said language with a heavy american accent was a real cringe.

    I think that one of Lost's great offerings is that it uses the instinctual ways of thinking of the people watching it to create a picture of what they think is happening. All along there have been discussions as to which of the brothers is good and which evil, when perhaps each of us ( the watchers ) tend to create separation amongst the characters where none exists. Just as we all in our lives make separation between left and right, good and bad, 49ers vs Cowboys, my family vs. everyone else, and of course, what will be the death of us all, that 'I' am separate from the planet. This separation, aka duality, is, as all religions know in their deepest places, though buddhism speaks most easily about it, illusion. Just as each of the main characters are on a search for greater unity in their consciousness, Morse's oceanic, which is simultaneously the deepest adult consciousness and the consciousness in the womb, so the island, which we 'read' as a series of dualities and divisions is also one, unified.

    All questions about the meaning of life, be it spiritually or scientifically I think, end with an unknown. Ultimately we can understand everything about the universe and the big bang and how life started, but we'll never ever know what was there before the big bang.

    All the religious writers over the centuries end up talking about the unknown, and beyond that the unknowable. I'm fine that the show tells us that the light is the source of life, and that beyond that we don't know. It is probably easier to call the light 'God', then we know it's beyond our reason.

    However, this light also has physical properties, matter and anti-matter? Science now seems to know that, for there to be a galaxy, there also HAS to be a black hole...the two are indivisible.

    Psycho-janneymum says to Jacob never to go into the light because it is a fate worse than death, and that makes me think that MIB has now become something like anti-matter, that his existence belongs to the other side of the light in the black hole, and that for him to exist on this side of the plane, where he has no 'form', an imago/avatar of someone dead, ( someone who has already passed through the light ), is the only way for him to take shape. For him to be at peace I imagine he will have to pass back into the light. For him to escape, using the analogy I have, then the earth would be consumed in a black hole. The "light" is maybe a valve ( not so much a cork ) that allows the passage of 'souls' from this world to the next, but nothing is supposed to come back this way. Or perhaps it's not about death and the passage of souls, but it is the plug between the infinite parallel worlds. We've seen a couple of parallels, but such a concept only makes sense if there is an infinity of them, and there lies only chaos. What a show. The best art acts as a mirror to our souls and our life, and I think by any measure this has been very successful at that.

    Anyhoo, what I do want to know, and has always been the prevailing puzzle for me beyond the true nature of the island, is why being on the island turns certain people into psycho-killers....Jacobs mum now joins Ben and the others. The tension of the first two seasons was largely created by the sense of this looming threat of really primitive consciousness, not unlike the coldness of the creature from the 'alien' films. Is it being close to so much raw 'God" energy as the light that turns people wonky?......or is it that the island strips bare the fundamental duality within each of us? Jacob and the MIB could almost be avatars/mirrors for all the characters' duality..they certainly are for us watching!

    And of course, a big thanks to MMorse for making the trip more fun.

  69. Still disappointed and fully agree with morse that earlier would have been much better!
    we still have NO CLUE why the kid apparations of jacob and mib are appearing... but only mib and candidates can see them and des?
    earlier would have muddied the waters of mib's motives... most people seemed to have given some benefit of the doubt up until LAST episode but drowned rejected momma's boy or not, he is a murderous smoke cloud....

  70. Wow, there are a lot of comments here. I don't have time to read them all so I apologise if I repeat what anyone else has said, but from skimming a lot of the reactions here elsewhere it seems I am far from the only person to feel a little... cheated by the episode.

    Across The Sea was far from a bad hour of television, and I found plenty to enjoy. I was never bored, I was always invested in the action, and yet when the time was up I was left with the worrying feeling that there hadn't really been much point to what we had seen, and definately not at this late stage in the game - an episode such as this would probably have blown my mind a couple of seasons ago.

    I think the main problem was this: despite the fact that there are only three and a half hours of Lost remaining EVER, the entire story felt like a big tease - providing answers that weren't really answers (we know how MIB became the Smoke Monster, but we don't really know why it happened, or what the process was). I appreciate Darlton have always told their story in this way but somehow I'm less willing to be an apologist this time around -- it's been six years, enough with the foreplay!

    For the first time ever I feel a bit worried about the endgame: I have a horrible feeling that we will never really understand what the 'light' in the centre of the island actually is (beyond our own theories), and that feels like a bit of a cop-out, truth be told, so I hope I'm wrong.

    On the other side of the coin I'm determined to be positive, and like I said, other than the pointless flashback/forward/wherevers to Season 1 I did actually enjoy the storytelling, and appreciated the way in which the MIB has once again become an ambiguous character - and a much better rounded and more 'human' character than Jacob, at that. I don't like my bad guys to be pure evil, and Lost is better than that.

    In fact I also really like the fact that both Jacob and his nameless twin almost feel like (much) earlier iterations of our Losties: victims of circumstance and clueless pawns of some unseen power, destined to protect something they don't really understand (although it is entirely possible that Jacob learnt the mysteries of the island during the intervening couple of millenia). I got a really odd vibe off crazy-mom (another one!!), and I would love a backstory for where she came from/what her motivations are, although I appreciate we'll likely never know this. In my imagination she's some kind of manifestation of the island itself, driven crazy by the arrival of people carrying out experiments on her 'soul' and determined to prevent any more. Although would this mean the island is dead? Hmm...

    If anyone's actually bothered to read this rant then thanks; if not I don't blame you. It's allowed me to realise that this was actually a pretty good, albeit hugely frustrating, episode at any rate. Looking forward to the return of th candidates next week...

  71. I'm guessing that we've found out most of what we're going to find out about how the Island works, ie, what "the Source" and "the Light" are. Darlton have stated repeatedly that they are not going to bring midichlorians into this. In other words, they aren't going to explain away the magic.

    Some of what is going on is going to be left up to viewer interpretation. And that's ok with me. Darlton is acknowledging that they are unlikely to come up with something that means as much to each viewer as that viewer can dream up.

    This can seem like a copout, as Dave said above. I personally (and respectfully) disagree. I think they've given us enough information to come up with any number of valid theories. Art is, among other things, supposed to be meaningful to the person observing it. But it can be interpreted in different ways, and that's a good thing. If they spelled everything out in Lost, there would be very few happy people at the end of it. Everyone has some level of expectation of what it all means. Most, if not all of those people would be disappointed by a direct explanation of everything, because it wouldn't match up.

    My personal guess, based upon no information other than a gut feeling, is that Across the Sea was the last large-scale foray into Island mythos. I have no doubt some more questions will be answered, but probably only the ones that directly relate to the fate of the castaways. And at this point, if that is all we get, I'll be satisfied.

    I don't say this to get anyone riled up or angry or worried. But I think the best way to approach the ending of something like Lost is on its terms, not ours. If the show ends in a manner that is true to the spirit of the show and the characters, that should be good enough.

  72. Ok, what I was saying above, waaay too pretentiously (I blame the booze) is that if Cuse and Lindelof spelled out everything explicitly, you would be getting art that was meaningful to only two people (and whoever happened to share their specific viewpoint) and no one else.

    By keeping vagueness in the answers, we as viewers assign our own meaning, and the art that is Lost becomes more universal.

  73. Apologies if someone pointed this out before - but did anyone notice how MiB seemed to be greatly interested in technology? He was really into the wheel, and how the mechanics would work.

    This is greatly different from how post-golden-waterslide MiB viewed tech and "progress."

  74. Hey Greg, I agree with you up to a point - the "midiclorian" over-explanation thing would certainly kill the show's magic - but I am starting to worry that the show has become a bit too content to not really explain anything this season, allowing them to introduce slightly convenient (to me, at least) plot devices such as magic mirrors without having to justify them. I suppose I just need a little bit more explanation, but like you say art is a personal thing, and I'm happy for (and slightly jealous of) anyone who still enjoys this much ambiguity at this stage in the game.

    Ultimately though you're right, as long as the characters get the sendoff they deserve Lost will have for most part succeeded as far as I am concerned - I'll set aside any niggles and enjoy the ride from here on in (It's probably telling that I was completely on Jack's side in the science vs. faith debates way back in the olden days of series one).

    SamBalcomb - that's a really interesting point, I'll look out for that on rewatch. Seems to lend credence to the idea that Smokey may only have been released by the MIB rather than actually being him.

    Sorry again if someone has already said this, but my current theory is that MIB's death somehow freed the entity that was the smoke monster, but in doing so his memories became infused with the previously emotionless smoke. This would make the smoke monster largely just very confused: convinced it's a person that wants to leave, when in reality it is a supernatural a being that is somehow inextricably linked to the heart of the island itself.

    Just a thought.

  75. It's been great to read all of these responses. I just wanted to put in my two cent's worth before I explode from keeping it in. First off, with all of the symbolism here, I'm just going to go ahead and call the MiB, Esau. Damn you writers for not giving us a freaking name at this point. There is no logical reason for the MiB to not have a name at this point in time.

    I too, like most of you, liked this episode, but it also bugged the hell out of me. I loved learning that there are very valid reasons to why Esau is pissed off at Jacob. I really liked seeing the donkey wheel, and what it does. I absolutely loved seeing how Jacob "stole" Esau's body and how Smokey was born.

    I know that some of you are saying that Smokey had existed for long before Esau became the newest version, but I think the simplest way to explain it is the correct way at this stage of the game. The writers tell us through Janney that going into the light causes a fate worse than death. Esau has told us before that Jacob stole his body. So with all these clues, the logical conclusion is that the "energy pocket" stripped Esau from his body and the Smoke Monster was born. We were given absolutely no hint at all that Smokey had existed before that moment, so I believe that we witnessed the birth of Smokey at the end of this episode.

    What this episode really felt like to me was that they had 25 minutes of essential mythology to impart to the audience and then just filled the remainder 20 minutes. So I didn't hate this fact I absolutely loved about 2/3rds of it. But I can't excuse the mediocre bits, insulting the audience with the Season 1 flashbacks, and general plot holes at this stage in the game. Especially since the writers have done such a phenomenal job this season, for us to receive an episode that lands somewhere less than "great" but better than "meh" is, frankly, a disappointment. That being said, I did love most of the episode.

    Moments where I call "Shenanigins":
    So Janney, as a mortal woman who could be hurt, slaughters a whole village and fills up a well all by herself? I also thought that her performance was somewhat distracting throughout the episode.

    The insulting flashbacks to Season 1...seriously, that could have been handled with much more class and intelligence. Truthfully, it was unnecessary since Hurley had already brought it up this season.

  76. man, this might be a three-parter comment. hehe. here goes:

    i feel, more than anything else, that this episode suffered from just sheer anticipation. having seen how excellent the richard episode was, it seemed this episode would be destined for greatness. This anticipation, and not so much the episode itself, is what i think hurt it the most. I had built it up so much that i would be floored by this episode, and upon first watch, i simply wasn't. looking over the various blogs and boards i read, it seems most people genuinely disliked it, for varying reasons and i think it all boils down to the hype.

    don't get me wrong. i didn't hate the episode and having watched it again, i think its rather good. it just wasn't initially what i wanted out of it. i wanted to see why jacob can leave the island when MiB can't. i wanted to see Jacob make/use the mirrors however it is he does. the beginnings of MiB's cave with the writing and crossing off of names. maybe some of this is something we will somehow still see, but it doesn't seem likely with just one episode left and then the finale. that said, there was a lot to like in this episode:

    for starters, i thought alison janney did an excellent job and despite her overt american accent, had some very subtle nuances to her performance that lead me to believe she was both protector and the judge. she spoke of the light in the cave/tunnel as if she knew what it would do firsthand. as the last commenter pointed out, there is no way she could have dragged MiB up the well, destroyed it and the entire village without some serious smokezilla powers. she seemed to embody both sides of the game, and in delivering/snatching these two boys she could not only groom them to replace her, but i like to think that she wanted them to be able to have each other and never feel the loneliness that hundreds of thousands of years would bring. that does beg the question of her having a body, but as we have seen when the MiB takes on a form, it can handle and hold real objects, so who's to say that if it were to die in its human form, that it wouldn't stay that way? we'll probably never know for sure, but this is the answer that i like, so i am keeping it that way.

  77. part 2!:

    my other favorite aspect of this episode was seeing how throughout time, it really has always been the same events over and over, just different people, or "pieces". with MiB's people, the military, the dharma initiative, and as far as we knew before this season, Widmore; they all were in search of or exploiting the island for their own gains. seeing that the MiB is interested in this to a degree, i would definitely suggest that many of "the others" decrees of what "Jacob" wants were merely the MiB in some way making sure things got into place. its never been stated anywhere, but i am certain Widmore had something to do with Dharma forming and coming to the Island, which would lead to the orchid being built right where the MiB once tried to make his own traveling device. the others were building a runway, which would lead to the Ajira plane using three years later. all things that could aid the MiB getting what he wants. although i really hope that it takes more than pulling the donkey wheel now for him, since if he is to be believed that he was christian, he was totally right there with the wheel when john locke pulled it.

    i've seen people complaining about the kids in the episode, but i thought they were fine. and damn if the kid playing jacob isn't a dead ringer for him.

    i, like many of you, did loathe the flashback to season one, much for the same reasons. my initial reaction was "DUH!" not only do i pay attention to this show, but just a few episodes ago hurley and jack came across the caves and not so subtly hinted that we would find something out about the skeletons. earlier today, i read an interview with DL and CC stating their reasoning for it wasn't to be so obvious, but to show how these people's lives have changed so much since that initial encounter. we see Locke looking at these bodies, and in some weird meta-physical way, he will become one of them. after watching it again, the season one footage seems less abrasive and in this context a bit more meaningful, as this is what the show is about. even though these people we have cared about or hated over the past 6 years are nothing but pawns, they still matter. and as we have seen in this episode, even the chess masters are pawns, thrown into a game they never had a choice in being a part of. i will say, though, that it does make me laugh when it cuts to shirtless jack just hanging out in the caves.

  78. and part three: if you did,thanks for reading!

  79. HitFix has a very interesting interview with Darlton. They answer some of the complaints I had with the episode. Here's Damon in regard to putting the S1 flashbacks in:

    "The reason that we put it in certainly wasn't because we thought it was too obscure and we wanted to hit people over the heads with it. It was more a matter of, here's an episode where our characters don't appear in it at all, and we wanted to make it clear to the audience that this little family drama, this dysfunctional relationship between these three people is really responsible for everything that's happening to the passengers of Oceanic 815. We wanted to illustrate that by, at the very end of the show saying, "Oh, right, Jack and Kate and Locke are affected by the fact that Mother decided to raise her kids this way, and Jacob ended up bringing these people to the island." The idea was to say that this chapter of the series is significant to the story we've been telling you, and that the series is about the survivors of Oceanic 815. To have an episode that they did not appear in at all was never our intention."

    The full interview is here:

  80. Hey guys,

    Just a thanks from me as a fan of this site, and semi-frequent poster. I don't normally post on message boards because of the nastiness that springs up there so frequently. This is one of the few sites I do post on. I just wanted to thank everyone who posts here, especially after such a divisive episode, for keeping it clean and polite. Looking forward to discussing the end of the show with you all and reading your thoughts.

  81. I was just ruminating on the episode, and the more time that passes, the more I like "Beyond the Sea". And that's really just over a day or so. It really feels like my primary reaction was more of a knee-jerk to seeing a different episode than what I had imagined it would be. I do believe that this episode will age better, and will come into it's own. Part of the onus is mine for berating an episode for not fitting into my expectations.

    Morse, I'm really intrigued to see what your opinion of the episode will be when you do the re-watch before your article.

  82. I've got a theory concerning Walt and Aaron (after my previous theories went out the window with the last ep.):

    "Across the sea" has shown us that Lost is all about circles of life. One of those circles on the island seems to be that its guardian has to choose his successor. The Mother chose Jacob, Jacob/the island will choose the final candidate. People that are choosen have to be special. Both Walt and Aaron have been said to be special. Now my theory: After the end of the series, we will see an adult Walt and Aaron come to the island. They are the next candidates. The circle starts again.

  83. After pondering and reading everyone else's thoughts, I have a feeling that one day, when I decide to go back and watch all six seasons again, or perhaps as soon as I see the finale, this is going to be one of my favorite episodes. It really was quite well done, and though I didn't get the all of the answers I expected, I did get at least abbreviated answers. I feel like the reason why a lot of us didn't particularly care for the episode was because of how it made you feel. I know it made me feel nervous. Like, what if this is it. What if Jacob and MiB are never brought up or elaborated on again. What if THIS is it?! I spent the whole episode expecting this HUGE reveal, and there wasn't any. I mean there were a lot of things, but there was no climax, it was ENTIRELY build up. But, in the light of where they are in the series, isn't that what it should've been? If they had had placed the huge climax in this episode, we would be expecting an even bigger climax in the next two episodes.

    From all of my time on this site, I've never seen one weeks episode receive SOOOOOOO many comments. I think this is the 90th comment. Isn't that the point? We all interpreted this differently, we all picked up on different things. We focused on what was important to us and that's what we took from the episode.

    As I'm typing this, I'm enjoying the premise of this episode more and more. My fears of not being satisfied in 10 days, are subsiding. The finale is 2 1/2 hours! Even with commercials, that's a good solid full length movie. When we go and sit in movie theaters were not dreading the writers not filling out the flesh of the story. They can do it, they have plenty of time. Granted, they usually don't have 6 years of backstory to make up for, but still, a lot can happen in 2 hours of footage. I have a feeling that Darlton will leave us satisfied on the 23rd, maybe not give us every answer, but enough to make sense of it all and draw our own conclusions.

    Anyways, this is far too long. I just thought I'd share my progression through this episode. Perhaps, it'll help.

    Thanks everyone for your insights and thoughts. I have read everyone and appreciate each of your vantage points.

  84. Oh, and I completely agree with the positioning of this episode. For the last few months, I've found myself in a quandary. What if the writers are throwing traditional symbolism out the window, what if MiB/Smokey/Esau/Samuel, whatever, was inherently good, and it was Jacob who was inherently bad. What if they're reversing the roles of dark and light imagery? It would have been bold, but I wouldn't put anything past the Lost writers. If I had seen this episode before hand, I would have completely embraced this idea. This episode helped us make sense of the character of the MiB, and I would have begun to go against the followers of Jacob. But after last weeks episode, we were able to see the true motives of the MiB which allows us to understand and feel for his character more through this episode, perhaps even empathize, but in the end, we still know that he is all about his own selfish desires. Last week proved what we already thought to be true, for Lost to have reversed what we thought about him and Jacob, earlier, only to be like, no, no, you had it right the first time, would have been for lack of better words, idiotic and completely irresponsible. They would've killed the "trust" that they've built over the last six seasons.

    Again, just another blurb of my two cents.

  85. @ CitizenK - I think you are on to something there! I am on that side as well. As I stated in one of my many last comments, that this episode showed us that this was just another cycle. That there was always a protector, and there was always evil. The villiage was an ancient Dharmaville. I think that we are most likely going to see a new cycle start in "The End", as its meaning to be the end of this cycle involving our castaways.

    @ Conrad - I agree, this is the longest comment string I have seen on this site. And all of us are regulars here. I think it is the point of this episode. Had we got the definitive answers, we wouldn't be discussing it so much. Nor would the finale carry as much weight (wait?), as we wouldn't still be, um ... "Lost".

    I also think this episiode was designed more as a "set up" for the finale so I would have to respectively disagree with anyone about this episode's placement in the season. Agreed it slows the pace down, but I think it was needed so as the climax of the series is actually in the finale.

    I still think that Smokey was always there, there is no way a mother of 2, who could be injured, wiped out an entire villiage. When she told Jocob that going into the light would be a fate worse than death (agreed that she knows first hand) she may have been speaking about humanity itself. Giving the light human impurity and feeding the darkness that surrounds it, giving it the ability to take that human form. I have a feeling that MiB was dead already as he floated into the light. The body in which it evil could now occupy.

  86. I had been looking around for your insta-reaction, haha. :)

    I was really disappointed in the episode overall. I think you hit most of the points already, but I also don't like that it seems no one has any idea what they're doing. Jacob didn't seem very "englightened" regarding his job. The only one who seemed to have answers was the "mom," and I doubt we'll ever get them from her seeing as how she's dead. Also, I felt a little irritated by the Season 1 flashbacks about Adam and Eve, too, especially because Hurley and Jack stumbled upon them again in a previous episode this season. It seemed very "un-LOST" like to force an answer on us. I'm thinking MAYBE it was done just to tie in our regular characters somewhere in this episode?

    But I'm still confused about the "these bodies look about 50 years old" when obviously they're way older than that. o_o

    I'll probably get over it once we get back to the regular characters, but I guess so far as I'm concerned, I don't really care about Jacob, the MIB, and their story. I care about how it relates to the main characters that we've been following for 6 seasons.

  87. JDR22 Here...

    I re-watched Across the Sea with my wife last night, and it was better...but only a little.

    It's such a frustrating thing because there is a lot to like in it. Some scenes are really well done, and the pacing of the first half of the episode is quite good.

    My wife is a huge sci-fi fan. She loves all that stuff. She also loves LOST, but is a much more casual fan than I. Yet when the Magical Hobbit Hole scene was over she said, "That was cheesy, especially this late in the show." What a missed opportunity. If they had just made that as cool as the Frozen Donkey Wheel or the Swan Hatch, my feelings would be a lot different. Instead, it highlighted the fact that this was complete fantasy, and took me right out of the episode. Knowing that we probably won't learn any more about the mythology than this makes me sad and afraid. We learned some of the "how", but none of the "why".

    I specifically mention this scene, and it's only part of what bothered me, but at this point I need to try and remain positive. This being a stand-alone episode makes it easy to insert anywhere during a re-watch (if I feel the need to watch it again). What we learned was vital, but now that I've learned it, I don't feel compelled to watch it again.

    At this point what I really care about are our main Losties. I want to know what happens to Jack, Locke, Kate, Sawyer...

    I just hope we learn something in the next 3.5 hours that puts the mythology into a new light for me (pun intended). At this point it boils down to protecting a magic spring.

    I'm hoping we get more.

  88. Pardon me this moment of music geekery.

    When Janney's explaining the cave and its essence to her two boys, I couldn't help but think about this section of the lyrics from "Woodstock":

    We are stardust
    Billion year old carbon
    We are golden
    Caught in the devil's bargain
    And we've got to get ourselves
    Back to the garden

    And then, in the scene where Janney's trying to get Jacob to assume responsibility for the island, I kept expecting Jacob to break out into this:

    "Take this cup away from me, for I don't want to taste its poison ... "

  89. This is hilarious and thought I would share. It will answer all the questions we have from this past episode.

  90. JDR22 Here...

    @Darth - Okay...that was pretty funny!

    A bit cynical about the show, but most of the points have merit.

    I needed to laugh today.

  91. colonel: brilliant.....moved me to tears

    I raise you another Joni:

    We're only particles of change I know, I know
    Orbiting around the sun
    But how can I have that point of view
    When I'm always bound and tied to someone

    jacob is bound and tied to be 'good' to meet mother's approval, and so loses his way. Good and Evil are indivisible, but to be human is to be caught in the devils bargain:......self-reflective consciousness/awareness full of forgiveness and love in a murderous instinctual unconcious body. The drama within us between good and evil, forever projected out onto each 'other'...but the 'other' starts as the 'other' part of ourselves.

  92. Let's see if we can get this to 100 comments... :-)

  93. One thing I thought of, in regards to the possibility of a new cycle starting in the end, has anyone put the piece together about a child being called "special"? The unnammed brother was called "special" and turned into the smoke monster, Locke was also called "special", and now is the smoke monster. What does that say about the fate of poor Walt? Will he coms back to the island looking for his father? Then fall to the dark side once learning of his death? Am I grasping at staws to make myself feel better about this episode?

  94. @ JDR22
    You pretty summed up my feelings there. I watched the episode again last night and had a similar reaction: I enjoyed it more (and I had enjoyed it the first time) but I was still left feeling pretty underwhelmed. Like your wife I am a big sci-fi fan, but I think that was half the problem - last night didn't feel like sci-fi, it felt like full-blown fantasy (I love that too, but it feels out of place in Lost).

    I understand it's all supposed to be different interpretations of the same thing throughout the ages, but as you say the whole 'cave of light' thing felt pretty hokey, and I think that combined with a general lack of clarification on some basic points was what left me feeling slightly cheated. Still I trust Damon and Carlton, and I have blind Locke-esque faith that they will pull everything together satisfactorily in the next three and a half hours.

    @ Anonymous
    I accept that challenge! 100th commenter gets a prize (*prize not included)

  95. upon rewatch- still ticked...
    pain mitigated but really it was such a wasted hour... can't wait to have the healing salve of morse column

  96. @JDR22 - My pleaseure! I am all about the funny!

    I re-watched the episode, and without the high expectations that I had upon viewing it the first go around, it was better. There is a lot of information to be downloaded thats within the framework.

    Janeymoms face as MiB was being born was creepy. There must have been some "unknown to us" prophecy being fulfilled. My prospect of the "rules" that Janeymom outlined is that they are not actual rules at all. Telling the twins that they cannot harm each other with the hopes that they would not bother trying.

    I think boy MiB was making up the rules to the game as they sat on the beach. As Jacob was more the son of acceptance, whereas MiB created and/or needed definitive answers or rationale to everything. Janeymom telling him that she left the game for him so that he would not think of a world across the sea.

    The lighted cave, hidden and cannot be seen by anyone made me think back to what Jack asked upon seeing the lighthouse. Why after all this time did we not see it? Much like the island itself is hidden, you must be led to it to see.

  97. Oh and I almost forgot, after the re-watch, I am most certain that MiB was dead as he went into the "Rabbit Hole". This also makes perfect sense to me, that Smokey could occupy the form, like how he is with Locke. As Locke, he said to Jack he was able to take the form of Locke because the body was brought to him. Jacob made a point of saying goodbye to his brother, knowing that what awaits him is pure evil, and not his brother. So in a sense, the rule mommy set about "I made it so you cannot harm each other" is really out the window. I stand by my initial position that when Janeymom said to Jacob that if you went into the light would be "a fate worse than death" I believe she was referring to humanity.

  98. @Darth: I like where you're going with your line of thinking about the Rabbit Hole, but could you clarify what you mean about humanity being the "fate worse than death" in the light?

  99. @Colonel I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that Darth is stating that the fate worse than death was not necessarily in reference to what would happen to Jacob if he went in, but a fate worse than death for ALL of mankind/humanity.

  100. @Conrad: That makes sense. It also deepens my suspicions that much of what she told Jacob about the island and the need to protect it are predicated on lies, or at least half-truths, which would deepen the poignancy of our castaways'/candidates' predicament.

    By the way: We're over 100! Hurrah!

  101. @ Colonel, lucky number 100 commenter!

    When Jacob asked Janneymom what was inside the cave, she said it would be "a fate worse than death". At first, I thought this to mean a more literal sense, but upon the re-watch, I think she was referring in a much larger catastrophic sense for the world.

    If pure evil is allowed to take on the form of man, it gets closer to its reign, by infecting the purity of man. A man can easily follow another man's word, and we've all seen how. As Yoda said, the dark side is easier, more seductive. After infecting man, the evil can manipulate man into allowing it to leave, If pure evil leaves or breaks free, it tips the scales on a cataclysmic level by man's ultimate loss of faith in the light. Evil then rules the world.

    So this is the big picture of the "fate worse than death" statement. We saw that MiB was dead, Jacob buried him in the cave. So, this backs up my claim as MiB is really dead. The "fate worse than death" can be on a personal level for Jacob as well, as now he is tormented by an every day reminder of his sin.

  102. This comment has been removed by the author.

  103. @ myself -

    I just realized what I wrote at the end of my last post did not make sense grammatically. Sorry if you read that Hi Ho. :)

    "We saw that MiB was dead, Jacob buried him in the cave. So, this backs up my claim as MiB is really dead."

    I meant that since the MiB is really dead, then the "fate worse than death" claim holds no weight on an individual basis. It like a pre-Dharma mirror for "Push the button and save the world."

  104. I had another question about this episode. Let me know if someone else has brought it up. If so, forgive me for asking again.

    Since MiB smashed the bottle of "immortality wine," how will the guardian that succeeds Jacob get to live as long?

  105. @Darth: I have to disagree with you that MiB was dead going into the light. I still think that he was alive, unconscious maybe, but still alive. I can understand where you're coming from with the theory that Smokey already existed and just took the form of MiB, and this fits with what we know about Smokey, but I don't think they would be that murky with this episode. It seems like they are trying to illuminate why the MiB is acting like he is. If Smokey has always been there, why does he have a personal vendetta against Jacob? He wouldn't care that some random body got dumped into his cave. It seems more logical to me that what we saw was the origin of Smokey, which would explain the vendetta against Jacob, the hatred of being trapped on the island, and Janneymom's explanation of a fate worse than death. So I believe that the MiB is still "alive" in the fact that his body died, but the portion that was still "him", soul, smoke, glowing light, whatever you want to call it, lived on and manifested itself as a column of sentient black smoke. This portion still is the MiB, he just doesn't have a human body. Anyway, feel free to pick this theory apart, I just feel that it fits with what the writers are trying to show us.

    @Colonel, I have no idea what the "ceremony" will be for the new Jacob, but I'm sure it'll thematically work.

  106. @Hi-Ho, re: MiB being dead or not:

    I tend to agree with your reading on it. I remember a promo, I think before the one-week hiatus, making reference to the fact that MiB's "soul had gone mad." This would jibe, more or less with your interpretation.

    As a geek side note, I should mention that that line about his soul going mad reminds me of "Apocalypse Now," when Dennis Hopper's character is describing Brando's Kurtz to Martin Sheen's Willard. To paraphrase, he says Kurtz's mind is sane, but his soul is mad.

  107. @ Hi Ho - I believe this whole episode was murkey LOL. I think there is enough proof in the pudding that all of our theories could be correct. The diverse interpretations is what makes this show so successful.

    The only reason why I come to my conclusion is because of how this show works in cycles. We saw how Smokey took on some of Locke's personality "don't tell me what I can't do!" What we witness of that is only over a period of a few weeks. As the MiB, how would the effect be over a period of a couple millenia? I believe Smokey always wanted out of it's cage. Now with the body and persona of MiB, they shared the same goal. The vendetta in which you speak against Jacob is not a brotherly one, but more for the fact that Jacob is island protector. Jacob explained to Richard that the MiB was "as old friend".

    @ Colonel - I also waonder about the wine. I think it was more symbolistic than necessity. It is probably something to do with the light, fountain of youth, that brings immortality. The promo that featured Willy Wonka's Boat Ride may have been more about our insanity as we try to figure things out for ourselves. In the words of C3P0, "This is madness!"