Lost producers have some serious balls to spend the entire third-to-last episode introducing new characters and new questions. And while some of the Island's lore was illuminated, many Lost fans walked away feeling like Comic Book Guy: Worst. Episode. Ever.
I really felt like I was watching some shitty TV movie on the SyFy channel. Still, though, as much belly-aching as I could do about last night's episode, I have to give it up to the show's producers Lindelof and Cuse for keeping to their promise that they knew how the show would end from the very beginning, and planted clues to it in season one (the theme of games, dark vs. light, science vs. faith, smoke monster, Adam and Eve, etc.). In a 2007 interview, they discussed the skeletons in the cave:
CUSE: The answer to that question goes to the nature of the timeline of the island…
LINDELOF: There were certain things we knew from the very beginning. Independent of ever knowing when the end was going to be, we knew what it was going to be, and we wanted to start setting it up as early as season 1, or else people would think that we were making it up as we were going along. So the skeletons are the living - or, I guess, slowly decomposing - proof of that. When all is said and done, people are going to point to the skeletons and say, ''That is proof that from the very beginning, they always knew that they were going to do this.''
Still, they said that an Easter egg in the episode "Not in Portland" would contain an anagram that would "shed some light on the skeletons and hint at a larger mythological mystery." Since that episode—from season three—contained DHARMA Room 23, everyone looked toward the flashing phrases and images on the Clockwork Orange-esque screen for the clue, and some geek somewhere realized that one of those phrases ("Only fools are enslaved by time and space") is an anagram for "Bones of Nadlers may lay deep in lost cave," leading many to believe that "Adam and Eve" were Bernard and Rose. However, the anagram to which the producers were referring was probably that of "Mittelos Bioscience," the research company purportedly headed by Richard Alpert that whisked Juliet away to the Island. Mittelos is an anagram for "Lost Time." So, yeah. Whatever. Onto last night's episode. Let's start at the end.
In season one, Jack discovered the cave by chasing what he thought was his father, but turned out to be an incarnation of MIB/Smokey. And that's where he found two skeletons that Locke dubbed "Adam and Eve."
Last night we learned that they were actually the bodies of MIB and his adoptive mother, laid to rest by Jacob. This was kind of a big deal. Interestingly, Jacob said, "Goodbye, brother," instead of "See you in another life, brother."
(Smokey told Jack that he led him to the cave because he needed to find water, but now that we know that MIB's good at lying, perhaps he was really leading Jack to the caves to reveal his grave.) And just like their adoptive mom told their biological mom, "Your questions will only lead to more questions," I have more questions. For example, if MIB is essentially no longer a living man—since his body has been decaying in the cave for centuries—why did he continue to use that form at least up until Richard Alpert arrived? And why did he stop using that form?
So we saw Jacob and his brother were brought to the Island via their pregnant mother, who, unfortunately for her, came upon Allison Janney in the jungle.
It should also be noted that the first glimpse we got of the crazy jungle priestess was a murky reflection.
And now for the biggest bone I have to pick: WTF is up with these characters' American accents? I was half hoping that it was going to be a situation like The Village in which we discover that crazy mom was not really all old time-y, but just pretending to be. But I don't think that's the case. According to Lostpedia, Claudia, the twins' birth mom, arrived on the Island somewhere between "450 BC and 900 AD." So why weren't those skeletons dust at that point? Maybe I'm just a woman of science rather than a woman of faith when it comes to acceptable answers.
Claudia goes into labor and, luckily, the cave woman knows somethin' 'bout birthin' babies. (The parallels between Claire and Kate are strong here—midwife raises what birth mom delivers—yet not rigid.)
Claudia gave birth to twin boys. The first baby is peaceful and happy, while the second is restless and crying. Claudia only managed to think up one name: Jacob, which went to the eldest baby. And thus, we are left with still not knowing MIB's name. Although the episode description on Hulu either accidentally revealed it, or was an assumption on the part the person who wrote it.
I'm thinking it was the latter. I'm still thinking that MIB's name—if it will ever be revealed—is John. So crazy cave lady murders Claudia, and raises the twins on her own.
While many fans have found parallels between the biblical story of Jacob and Esau and other Lost characters, ironically it wasn't very apparent with these twins. Actually, though it was mirrored in the story of Jacob and his brother, in that the situations were sort of reversed. In the original story, Jacob is younger, his mother's favorite, and ends up stealing Esau's birthright with the help of his mother. In last night's episode, Jacob is older, not his mother's favorite, and ends up getting Esau's birthright by default with the help of his mother. In both instances, though, Jacob was homebody, and a mama's boy, who even took up her same hobbies.
As time moves on, we learn that the crazy mom is a pessimist, a determinist, is willing to do bad things for the greater good, and apparently has magical witch-y powers that she can harness to give everlasting life and bindings (keeping the boys from being able to kill each other). She's also manipulative.
Around the age of 12, MIB (or Boy in Black) finds a game on the beach. It's a Senet, an ancient Egyptian board game. (More on that in a second.)
BIB instinctively knows how to play the game, and does so with Jacob, but asks him to not tell their mother, out of fear that she will take it away à la Joan Crawford. Jacob ends up pussying out and completely spilling the beans to his mom. She meets up with BIB on the beach and tells him that "Jacob doesn't know how to lie," unlike BIB. (BTW, I love that Jacob turned out to be a total rube.) She tells BIB that he's "special," and that he'll never have to worry about dying. But she also lies to him, and tells him that there is nothing else "across the sea." He's not really buying it. He wants to know where he came from, which is essentially the foundation of the field of science. So he's a man of science. Jacob, the rube, will believe anything anyone tells him, so he's a man of faith.
She explains that BIB is allowed to keep the game, because she left it there for him to find. I have a feeling that this was her way of testing the boys: Who would be willing to lie in order to protect a secret? She wanted to know who, of the two boys, was the best candidate for the job she would bequeath to them. And that's when we found out the "reason" of it all: The "heart" of the Island.
I'm left wondering if this is the site where the Temple was built or if it is still in its original, undiscovered state.
Apparently, it houses "life, death, and rebirth"—according to the crazy lady. So maybe it is something of a fountain of youth? Or like the senior citizens' pool in Cocoon? Or maybe it's the ultimate source of electromagnetic energy on the Island, from which all of the other pockets are derived, and this kook, not understanding science, thinks that it's magical or religious. Maybe she'd protect a wall socket if someone ever showed her a lamp. Or maybe it's a mixture of faith and science.
Later on, one day while the boys are out, BIB sees his birth mother. However, Jacob cannot see her. (Because he's not "special"?)
She says to him, "Will you come with me? I'd like to show you something. Where you came from."
And immediately I was like, "Your vagina?" I mean, their other mother already showed them one glory hole.
But no, she shows him a village.
And she tells him what's really up with humanity. Essentially, this mother is the "Eve," tempting him with knowledge that will ultimately cause his banishment from his family's little cave of Eden. But it's a self-inflicted banishment. He chose to leave. Free will!
Jacob is all torn up, mostly because he doesn't feel as special and loved as his brother. But his mom tells him, in her own kooky way, that she loves him in a different way, and asks him to stay with her. He says that he will "for a while."
And so begins their Grey Gardens cohabitation, in which Jacob is only given roots, not wings, and happily stays that way.
About 30 years later, (when the twins are about 42—numbers!) MIB is living among "the Others" and looking around the Island for those pockets of electromagnetic energy that he believes will transport him back to some other place. He and Jacob are still tight, though, and play their Senet game.
I think it should be noted that things the order of things—namely, their positions—have reversed since MIB became knowledgeable.
When they were younger, MIB instinctively knew the rules of the game, and taught them to Jacob. When Jacob tried to make a movie, MIB corrected him, and told him that one day, he can invent a game where he makes up all the rules, if he wants. Is that what we're currently experiencing on the Island?
Interestingly, since the game is so friggin' old, the rules of Senet are debatable. Two different historians made up two different sets of rules for the game. So maybe, in a larger sense, the twins are playing the same game with two different rules? Also of note: Senet games were often placed in graves for the "dangerous journey through the afterlife." It's known as "the game of passing." So these two guys, who were told they would never die, spend a hell of a lot of time playing the dead man's game.
So MIB reveals his donkey wheel plans to Jacob. It's down in the well he built. (Could this be the very same well that Mocke pushed Desmond into?) jacob naturally tells on him to mommy.
Then she goes to see MIB, who—as an act of defiance or rebellion—tells her all about the "system that channels the water and the light," he's gonna turn it, dammit!
Then she uses one of her head-trauma moves to knock him out, burn his village, and bury his hole. In the night, she brings Jacob back to the glory hole, and literally passes him the torch. And then he drinks the Kool Aid.
Jacob will be the protector of the Island now, although he doesn't want the job. His mother tells him, "You don't have a choice." They engage in some transubstantiation-type shit and now they are "the same."
When MIB wakes up and sees what his mother has done, he's pissed.
Mommie Dearest knows that MIB is coming to kill her. She sends Jacob off to go do some chore, and then MIB stabs her in the heart. She tells him she loves him and she thanks him. She really fucked him up, mentally. And then Jacob comes back, sees that his mom has been murdered, and fucks MIB up physically.
And then he sends him on a log flume ride. (Seriously, though, seeing as this is an ABC/Disney property, I really hope they create a Lost ride. I'd like to be a consultant on that project.)
And that's how Smokey came to be. Now here's my biggest question: So we obviously saw that MIB's body is decaying. So he's dead in a traditional sense, but lives on in mystic Island weirdness. But was the Smoke thing always down there? Was throwing MIB in there only a way to let Smokey out, to give it new life? Did Smokey merely embody MIB—absorbing his memories—as he did with Christian Shepherd and Locke? Is Jacob not really playing the game as much as he's being played? He is, after all, a rube. Is Jacob's Island reign sort of like what would happen had Fredo Corleone been made boss instead of Michael?
And lastly, I just want to end with some Weezer, as this episode shares a title with one of the band's songs, "Across the Sea," some of the lyrics, I think, are applicable to Jacob's lonely life:
You see mom, I'm a good little boy
It's all your fault, momma
It's all your fault
Goddamn, this business is really lame
I gotta live on an island to find the juice
So you send me
from all around the world
As if I could live on words and dreams and a million screams
oh, how I need a hand in mine to feel