Wednesday, May 12, 2010

lost . . . across the sea

The Island is older than Jacob and his no-name Smokey Brother, older than dirt. Apparently Mother is looking for candidates to be the new Island protector, and she's willing to kill to secure some pure, untainted souls—the twin baby boys—twins . . . Jacob and . . . what's yer name again? I knew that crazy Mother was going to kill the poor new mother. Some shades of Rousseau here . . .

Many years later, TeenSmoke, who everyone seems to only refer to as Brother, finds a game of Senet washed up on the shore. Delighted, he begins to play a game with Jacob, "How do you know how?" "I just know." "Show me how." "Promise not to tell Mother." Typical teenagers, right? Typical teenagers who have never seen anyone except their spooky old Mother. Do they even realize they are lacking in cute girls?

Back at the cave, Mother weaves a tapestry, Jacob helps. "Do you love me Jacob? Then tell me what happened." She knows what's going on, a la Smokey in the present timeline, but wants to hear things from the boys of their own free will. In Jacob/Esau, Osiris/Set fashion, Mother is definitely favoring Brother over Jacob, "Jacob doesn't know how to lie. He's not like you. You're special." But Brother, although flattered, has his eyes trained across the sea. He's not as bound to the Island as his twin.

Mother is alarmed when the boys finally run across some "Others," also Island inhabitants. "They're not like us. We are here for a reason. They come, fight, corrupt—it always ends the same." Sound familiar? Jacob, of course, has used these same turns of phrase, but Mother also talks A LOT like John Locke used to talk. Is it what's in the Island water? Fanaticism? She takes the boys to see the Island's heart, its source. She has seen the [golden] light, much like Locke did when he saw the hatch [at the time not realizing Desmond was just flipping a light switch.] Mother is convinced the Island must be protected. Is this something she actually knows, has been taught, or is the light of idolatry what motivates her actions, what has made her crazy? Is the light good, or evil, or just energy, power?

"I've made it so you can never hurt each other, This is the reason we're here [golden grotto]. If the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere." Well, maybe Jacob and his Brother (is that his name, Brother? Or should we call him brutha?) can't exactly hurt each other, but the Island can hurt them. The smoke monster, we will learn, is part of that pretty golden light.

"It's against the rules." Brother talks to dead people (uh oh Hurley!) He sees his real mother's ghost and she tells him that their people come from the village, and originally from across the sea. Not everyone can speak to the dead on the Island, apparently. Jacob couldn't. But Ben could. Jack probably can, because I think he did see his father Christian, not Smokey. Claire may have seen both her father and Smokey pretending to be him—we may never know for sure.

Brother tries to get Jacob to leave the Island and their lying "Mother," but Jacob wants to stay. Mother tells Brother he'll never be able to leave the Island, and that the people in the village are bad. Brother takes off, never to return. Jacob tells her that he will stay with her, "For a while." But he ends up staying a long time, long enough to grow into the actor we have known as Jacob through most of the series, long enough to learn how to weave a tapestry like a pro. But possibly not long enough to build a statue of Tawaret. Guess that was done by another set of shipwrecked souls . . .

Grown-up Jacob visits Brother in the village, they play Senet again. Brother has come to hate the village people, even though he chose to live with them. He is building the donkey wheel. Brother shouldn't sneer about the villagers, as they must have some crazy cool science, introducing him to fields of magnetic energy and time travel and all.

Mother doesn't even waste time trying to pump Jacob for intel, but heads off for a confrontation with Brother. She wants to know what he's discovered, how he's found a way off of the Island. At first I thought she was jealous and wanted off of the Island herself, but she takes her Island protector role seriously. Throughout their brief interview Brother is making "the" knife. Creepy Dogen-reminiscent implications, but she goes with what she knows and bops him on the head instead. She doesn't kill him—is she still holding out some hope that he might stay and change his mind? But no, she goes ahead with her "spare," and decides to initiate Jacob as the island protector. Once again she takes him to the golden grotto, "Life, death, rebirth, the source, heart of the Island. Promise you will never go down there—it would be much worse than dying." Jacob doesn't want to go down there, much less the job as protector, but she forces the wine ritual upon him. "You don't really have a choice—take the cup and drink. (Tree of knowledge?) Now you and I are the same." Temporarily, it seems, there can be more than one protector (unlike the Highlander.)

Meanwhile Brother wakes up in the middle of a burning village, bodies strewn about, his magnetic well filled in with dirt. Is Mother also a smoke monster or did she summon it? I doubt she could run around killing and pillaging all by herself. Or maybe she could . . . Brother grabs his knife, charges up to the cave and dispatches a grateful Mother, much like Ben will do to Jacob, who knows exactly how many years later. Jacob walks in on the death scene, freaks out, and drags, hurls, his twin into the stream (Styx?), the chaos that is the golden grotto. He was listening closely to the "much worse than dying" part of her warning speech, apparently. And it's pretty terrible. His brother is killed by the smoke monster (Cerberus?) and hurled out into a tree. How much of his brother's soul or essence is taken up by the smoke monster? Smokey does seem to absorb some of the personality of the bodies it tends to take over. But the answer to its existence seems to be utter chaos, with a possible malevolent intent, if so directed. By the way, the Egyptian god Set, Osiris's brother, is the god of chaos, just sayin'.

Once again going back to magnetic Desmond, maybe when he flipped on that light down in the Hatch he and Locke were symbolically tuning into the greater force of the Island. There might be a quite different result if Desmond were to take a trip down the golden grotto's Stygian river, which may be exactly why Widmore brought him back to the Island. Except Widmore wants to harness the power, something Mother wouldn't have approved of, and the power of Desmond may nullify it . . . I'm going round in circles. I still think Desmond's greatest power is L-O-V-E.

Jacob lovingly inters his Mother and Brother, and for the few viewers who haven't been paying attention, a Season One snippet confirms that Adam and Eve are not Rose and Bernard. Sorry, theorists. For all of the fan boys and girls out there that have been wanting answers, this episode was chock-full, but I suspect that they might still be disappointed that the answers aren't . . . something else. That's the problem with over-analyzing every phrase and scene and entertaining great expectations. You're bound to be disappointed. LOST is great storytelling. It may not always take you where you want to go, but it takes you along for quite a ride. There's not much left, just a few hours to view, but there will be plenty left to ponder and argue about, I'm sure. Like Jacob's tapestry, there are bound to be some threads left dangling.
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