Thoughts on Lost Season 6 Episode 15 Across the Sea

-by Amy Yen

Let me just tell you how intimidating it is to be in the stretch run of the final season of probably the most complicated mythology-based show in the history of television & to read a bunch of previews for tonight’s episode going like “Allison Janney is guest starring” & “you better study & dissect every word that comes out of her mouth because it’s all absolutely critical to your understanding of the meaning of the series as a whole.”

…Wow. It’s because of stuff like this that I’m glad I’m no longer attempting to live-blog Lost, since you know this would be one of those episodes where I’d miss a crucial piece of information because I was typing furiously & then I’d get nasty, unnecessary comments about how I’m a fraud of a fan. Because, OMG they weren’t exaggerating! Basically for this episode, they pulled Allison Janney away from the recurring guest role on In Plain Sight that is completely beneath her, put her in a horrible-looking wig & ugly clothes & gave her one hour of exposition to explain the entire underlying basis of the mythology of the show. Seriously, I kind of felt bad for her.

What I liked about the story of Jacob & the Man in Black is that the Man in Black’s motivation for his obsession for getting off the Island is deceivingly simple & believable. He’s brought up to believe there’s nothing beyond the Island & then one day finds out that there is & in fact, he’s from there. He wants to go home. Ironically, in his quest, he chooses to go live with people, which teaches him to look at people with disdain. To see them for who his Mother told him they were. Meanwhile, Jacob, who retains such blind faith in his mother throughout the first part of the story, wants to believes that men are innately good. “Easy for you to say. Looking down at us from above,” the Man in Black tells him.

Interestingly, in a show in which everyone has daddy issues, Jacob & the Man in Black have mommy issues. The Man in Black tells Kate his mother was insane…this is clear. But what I didn’t see coming was that the Man in Black was the favored son, the one who was always told he was special. Jacob was the second choice all along. Mark Pellegrino as Jacob has mostly been tremendously calm when we’ve seen him, but we see here that he is incredibly damaged. In the scene with Mother by the light, he is at once a grown man & a hurt little kid, so betrayed by the mother he loved so much, who he always defended & chose over the brother she always loved better.

“It was always supposed to be you. One day, you’ll see that too, but until then, you don’t really have a choice,” Mother tells him. Jacob said repeatedly, to everyone who will listen that they always have a choice. Fate versus free will & all that. But in that crucial moment, he didn’t, not really. I’m betting that when he finds his replacement, he’ll want it to be a choice too. But it probably won’t be.

Other thoughts on “Across the Sea”:

  • Of course the one Big Question that got a Definitive Answer in this episode was who Adam & Eve are. I actually liked this explanation since they missed the opportunity to make them some of the Losties during the time flash season. The final scene is lovely, Jacob joining their hands in death. Much later (which we’re hit over the head with because the writers or producers or likely ABC believes their audience to be morons who can’t remember a huge piece of mythology introduced five years ago), Jack & Kate find the black & white stones in the cave & John Locke is the one that gives them their names.
  • With all the explanations & answers in the episode, there are still some gaping holes. We now know how the Man in Black became the Smoke Monster, but we still don’t know why exactly getting sucked into the light does that. We know the Man in Black can’t leave the Island but we don’t know why Jacob can & how. We know how the frozen donkey wheel got into Charlotte’s well that eventually became the Orchid station, but we still don’t know why exactly the mechanism for getting off the Island with it apparently transports you across the globe to Tunisia. We now that Mother made it so Jacob and the Man in Black can’t hurt each other but we don’t know why it’s possible with that special dagger if you can get someone else to use it without letting the other guy speak.
  • Thinking about it, it’s sad how similar Jacob & Ben are. It really makes me feel like Jacob had to have wanted Ben to kill him in The Incident, because he never would have been so cold to Ben otherwise. “What about ME?” Jacob knows exactly how Ben feels.
  • How long ago did all this happen anyway? By the time we see Jacob & the Man in Black at the beginning of The Incident (presumably 1867 when the Black Rock crashed on the Island), Jacob seems like he’s totally accepted his role & is his usual, calm self. We still don’t know how long Jacob has been bringing people to the Island & looking for his replacement.
  • Did we all enjoy how both Mother & Claudia conveniently spoke perfect American English?
  • Allison Janney was as impressive as ever, if only because of the sheer amount of exposition her character was forced to spew in such a short amount of time. It really was exhausting listening to her.
  • “I only picked one name.” I find it both sad & poetic that Mother didn’t seem to choose a name for the second child either. Also, it’s striking to the point where it kind of hits us over the head that Jacob always wears light (like Mother) and the Man in Black always wears black.
  • Jacob drinks the wine & the Man in Black loses his human form at the ages we see them (aka as Mark Pellegrino & Titus Welliver), keeping them at this age indefinitely. Like Richard Alpert, frozen at the age he meets Jacob. We see that young Jacob is the kid that the Man in Black has seen in the jungle this season. Why do we first see this kid with blood on his arms? Also, he reminds the Man in Black of the “rules” (that he can’t kill Sawyer because he’s a Candidate). Are these rules ones Jacob makes up, like the Man in Black told him to do as a kid? (“One day you can make up your own game & everyone will have to follow your rules.”)
  • Jacob & the Man in Black play Senet, a game whose actual rules are a matter of debate.

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