5 4 3 2 Lost!: “Across the Sea”

Posted by Jesse May 12th, 2010 at 12:01pm In Lost

In a sense, even though it took a complete break from the typical format of the show in the style of the Richard episode and the Tailies episode from way back in season two, among others, “Across the Sea” is sort of a mission statement for what appears to be the Lost philosophy on answers. You’ll get answers, yes, but not necessarily explanations. As Alison Janney’s creepy mother character said, in a line that I’m assuming had to be spoken by a guest star to cut down on any involuntary winking directly into the camera, “every question I answer will only lead to another question.” No kidding, Lost, replied ten million people all at once.

This episode did answer questions, like: who is Jacob? Who was Fake Locke before he was Fake Locke? Where did the time-unsticking donkey wheel come from? And also: who are those skeletons in the caves from season one? But it didn’t necessarily explain any of that. We don’t know the exact nature of Creepy Mother’s power, or where she got it; we don’t know the specifics of her idea that the brothers can’t “hurt” each other, because they sure seemed able to punch each other in the face and draw blood, and whether their inability to kill each other was always there or only actually came to be once Jacob became the island’s guardian and Fake Locke became a swirling ball of electromagnetic smoke; and we don’t know exactly what happened to Jacob’s brother to turn him into the Smoke Monster Later Known as Fake Locke, or what percentage of the Smoke Monster contains Jacob’s brother’s soul (or whatever). Among other things.

I’m mostly fine with this approach, and mostly fine with the idea that the Lost finale will be more about what’s going to happen to our characters (and their various timelines), not revelations about what stuff means. I’m assuming that at this point, we’re pretty much done with “answers” except to the question: “so now what happens?” Given that, this Lost episode worked on its own terms as a weirdly personal bit of mythology, and lacking the straight melodrama that marred the beloved Richard episode for me (even though the Richard episode had a bit more emotion to it). I’m pleased that while Fake Locke has pretty much been established as evil, we’re allowed to see that he’s not inherently evil, or born of pure evil; that’s an area where the show’s nebulousness does a nice job of avoiding the titanic good-versus-evil-for-all-humanity pitfalls that I feared for most of this season. (Another fear: that the island’s energy would be emanating from a big orb. Upon closer inspection, it’s just some kind of underground source. I was extremely relieved that the patented J.J Abrams Plot Explainer Orb was not needed.)

I also feared turning Jacob into the benevolent Zen-master force for good that he always kinda sorta implied he was, so this episode was especially skilled in making Jacob look like a total fucking mama’s-boy wuss. We find out that it’s at least partially his fault that this Smoke Monster thing exists; that he was essentially manipulated into his post as island guardian, just as he has manipulated the other castaways under the guise of benevolence. It’s not that Jacob is evil, of course, but that the dichotomy — run wild like the Smoke Monster, or let Jacob guide you — looks increasingly false. I’m hoping that the remaining castaways are able to find a third, unexpected solution — although it also seems unlikely that they’ll be privy to any of this backstory, so they may have to go through the rest of the series unaware of what a fucking tool Jacob is. Sorry, I really don’t like that guy. Also, they answered one of my questions from last week: they told us who the damn skeletons were. They even did it in a way that makes it seem like it was logically planned out for several years, even though I’m not convinced that it was. Awesome! Now tell me what the hell Juliet was talking about from beyond the grave!

So we only have one regular episode of Lost left, followed by an epic two-and-a-half-hour feature-length conclusion. At this point, I know we’re long past the point of making requests. The show is going where it’s going, and it’s somewhere between the focused island drama of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley versus crazy godlike forces and the ensemble curtain call clearly awaiting us in sideways universe. But that doesn’t mean a nerd should stop dreaming of the following:

Farraday, Farraday, Farraday. Seriously, Farraday is one of my favorite Lost characters and one of my favorite TV characters of the past few years. I know the show is probably mostly or all-the-way done with him and we got our tantalizing glimpse in that awesome “Happily Ever After” episode a bunch of weeks ago, but I would love for him to twitch across the finale with substantial screentime.

Sayid emerges from the water with a knife in his teeth. A bit late for this, but I don’t know, we didn’t see the body last week. I’m not saying he needs to emerge and re-enter the story in a pivotal way. I know he’s pretty much dead. I just want Sayid with a knife in his teeth.

Lapidus, do something awesome! Again, no body, and not even a quick farewell, so I’m guessing he’s not dead, and I always liked this guy, even though he was kind of a latecomer, the kind that tends to be cannon fodder for Lost writers. The dude has survived this long; at this point he’s like the tiny guy in the martial arts movie who hasn’t done anything yet, but, as Homer Simpson explains, when he does something you know it’s gonna be awesome and you don’t want to miss it!

Don’t fucking let anything bad happen to Desmond and Penny, you assholes. For serious. I was sad when Sun and Jin died, but please, by all means, if one star-crossed couple has to go, let it be them. Leave Desmond and Penny alone. I want some badass Desmond emotional time-traveling and world-fixing and I’d rather it didn’t kill him.

I understand that probably none of these requests will be honored, but if I’m not going to get explanations, at least allow me my rooting interests.


  • 1. Marisa  |  May 12th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Lost has always built up mysterious people and then revealed that they are wusses. Ben was pure evil at first and the Others were super-scary, and then you see him complaining that he was kicked out of the book club while they were burning their muffins. But then you find out that Ben was just a tool of the even-more-mysterious Jacob, who turns out to be a loom-weaving mama’s boys (even his hobbies are lame). I bet in the finale, we’re going to find out that Jacob was only taking orders from some kind of immortal bedwetter.

    I’d like to know how Jacob was able to travel off the island to touch all those people. That seems especially cruel to the Man in Black. I don’t know if they’re going to work that out for us.

  • 2. Maggie  |  May 12th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Oh man, if anything happens to Penny or Desmond, I am going to go NUTS. LEAVE PENNY AND DESMOND ALONE!

    Did Jacob want to be killed, perhaps? Tired of the responsibility, like his mother? Where is that glowy lagoon — did he build the temple over it?

    I think they just kept Lapidus around to fool us into thinking that flying off the island could potentially happen. Now that it’s down to the wire they can get rid of him (poor Lapidus) because they don’t have to pretend that that’s in any way feasible.

  • 3. michelle  |  May 12th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    i liked the episode too, so this was nice to read (it seems like almost everyone else on the internet was disappointed/annoyed/exasperated).

    i appreciate the way it complicated the jacob/smokey story — i was worried that things were seeming a little too, uh, black and white, but i think what this ep establishes most of all is that ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY. and fake locke may be running around killing people, so he’s clearly a bad guy in this scenario, but there IS no actual good guy.

    i 110% agree about faraday, and desmond&penny.

    my other wishlist items include:
    -i could live without it, but i would really like a TINY bit more of an explanation/answer to “why does the island NEED a guardian”

  • 4. jesse  |  May 12th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Marisa, that’s a good question about Jacob going off-island, and Michelle, a good one about whether it’s all necessary anyway. If the damn island protector can come and go as he pleases, it seems like maybe this job is less necessary than he thinks… maybe even detrimental (after all, if no one goes to the island, there’s pretty much no way for Smokey to get out, is there?). It all seems kind of contradictory: his mom wanted to guard the island energy and protect it from blackhearted, greedy men. Yet Jacob doesn’t actually believe that man is completely fucked… that should put him out of a job.

    Maggie, that’s an interesting point about the temple, and would explain, you know, why there is a temple (and I wonder if it has anything to do with the reviving water being all murky and zombiefying). Although it’s tricky because, as someone else pointed out at our apt, there are lots of island locations that seem to appear when the island wants them to appear — NotLocke mentions walking all around, looking for where the glowy lagoon should be, and not being able to find it.

    Spoiler alert: the finale episode title is “It Was All a Dog’s Dream”… could they be referring to Vincent?!?


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