What They Died For

We certainly got some answers last week in Across The Sea.  However, I don’t know that they were quite the answers that we wanted or needed… or that they were offered in the timeframe they needed to be in.

After a staggering episode two weeks ago (The Candidate) that set the stage for a climactic final few episodes, last week’s episode of Lost (“Across the Sea”),  felt like it squandered the taut momentum of the last few episodes, pushing aside the central characters for the backstory of the island’s dueling deities, Jacob  and his Nemesis, the Nameless One  and their mother (Allison Janney).

While Jacob and his Nemesis have provided much theorizing among Lost‘s devoted audience, I don’t think that they are the driving force behind the overarching narrative, at least not in an emotional context. We’ve come back week after week to follow the adventures of our beloved band of castaways, caught in a timeless battle between good and evil, but it’s been those characters–Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Hurley, Sun, and Jin (and the rest)–who have provided the emotional spine of the series.

Casting them aside this late in the game to focus on the mysterious past of two characters we know precious little about seemed doomed to failure, with so few episodes remaining in the series. For an episode that was intended to provide answers–and perhaps closure to some mysteries–it ultimately felt increasingly frustrating and obtuse. Were these stories that needed to be told? Or at least told in this fashion? With so few hours remaining in this grand tapestry, wasn’t it a bit of a waste of yarn at this point?

Here, we’re meant to see the beginnings of the grand rivalry, the endless push and pull between good and evil that exemplifies the balance of the island, but instead we got a domestic drama about a woman who steals children, lies to them about the nature of the world, and then sets them against one another after showing them the truth behind their island home: a glowy, watery cave that is the source of the light within every man.

Wait, say what? After six seasons and countless theories about the nature of the island and its energy source–which had been explored already through the Dharma Stations, the Orientation films, and the groovy 1970s sojourn–the war comes down to who controls this badly rendered special effect?

Back in Season One, John Locke claimed to have seen the heart of the island (or specifically the “eye of the island”) and that it was a beautiful and transcendent experience, made all the more so because we didn’t see it. Instead, we saw a bright shining light that was reflected in his face and an expression that was akin to divine communion. Here, that energy source–that ephemeral spirit that exists within all of us–is transformed into something tangible and therefore loses something in the translation. What’s unseen is typically more psychologically powerful to the viewer than what is seen and, by giving the Source a form, the writers have essentially removed its aura of mystery and therefore its narrative strength.

We learned just what the relationship was between Jacob and his Nemesis (as I predicted, they’re twin brothers!); we learned where they came from (their pregnant, Latin-speaking mother was shipwrecked on the island); we learned who raised them (a solemn woman prone to keeping secrets and weaving things into her hair); we learned who originally constructed the frozen donkey wheel (the Man in Black!); we learned who the skeletons in the cave belonged to (Mother and Man in Black!); and we learned how the Nameless One became the smoke monster (his unconscious body went into the Source and his soul was stripped from his body).

Does it all make sense. I guess. Kind of. The light of all man is on the island for some reason and it must be protected. First by mother and then Jacob and eventually….Jack? Sawyer? Desmond? Once the light goes out then, I dunno the world ends?

Hmm, I guess that’s all I have to say about that.

——————————————

Tonight the actions picks up from two weeks ago when Jin/Sun, Sayid and Lapidus died. There was a special screening of this episode over the weekend and word coming out is that LOST is once again firing on all cylinders. Tonight there will be more death, more anwers and I hear we will finally learn why Kate used to be a candidate but now is not.

Enjoy it folks. This is the last one hour weekly episode of LOST EVER!!! The last one before Sunday’s two-and-a half hour FINALE!!!

Sniffle, Sniffle.

 

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