Changing the Rules

12 05 2010

I’ve been saying for awhile now that the writers are holding something (or some things) back. I’ve been waiting for a game-changing reveal—something that will make us look at the whole drama differently. I even expected Jacob to be a part of it…

Except, I didn’t expect to see it until the finale.

So “Across the Sea” surprised me. To say the least.

On one hand, I loved it. On the other hand, it made me feel very unsettled. Lost has always been a show about redemption. And even though the writers frequently embrace the good vs. evil theme, they constantly toy with us, suggesting that our interpretation of “good” and “evil” can be, in many ways, a matter of perspective. The one exception has always been Jacob. Jacob, the man in white, has been undeniably good (so much so that it prompted many fans, familiar with the show’s tendency to twist plots and surprise viewers, to wonder if maybe Jacob’s Enemy (Locke Monster) will actually be the “good” guy in all this. I don’t think many people still believe Locke Monster is “good,” but I’m just saying, fans were ready to be surprised…

…and yet this episode still shocked me.

And of course, true to form, whenever the Lost writers lead us into uncharted waters, they do their best to muddy them for us in the process (well, except for the golden hue of the glowing water we saw in this episode…but we’ll get to that later).

“Across the Sea” probably set a new record with the number of questions it raised for me, so I better get to it.

The Birth of Jacob and…Brother
So Jacob’s Enemy is actually his twin brother (or used to be his twin brother, but we’ll get to that later, too). And we still haven’t learned his brother’s name (much to the consternation of my wife…and probably, much to the amusement of the writers).

Their mother’s ship wrecked and she was found by the woman whom the twins called “Mother” throughout the episode. (So that’s how I’ll be referring to her throughout this post.) Mother helped Claudia give birth to Jacob…and then another boy (“I only picked one name…” Ha!). And of course, Jacob was swaddled in a white cloth and Brother was swaddled in black.

Then Mother apologized to Claudia (the boys’ real mother) and bludgeoned her to death with a rock.

What we learned: Jacob and his brother were both born on the island, as mortals. Also, Jacob has not always been the island’s keeper.

Note: Since some people immediately called Jacob’s Enemy “Esau” after the season 5 finale, I assume that these people might be even more committed to that name now that we learned the two are twins. Assuming that is his name (I’m not convinced), it’s interesting that Jacob was born first (not Esau) and their mother favored the second-born (which, in this scenario, is not Jacob).

The Light Tunnel
We’ve seen island locations with abnormal electromagnetic properties, a healing spring, and other odd phenomena, and we’ve been asking, “Why? What makes this island different?”

Well, “Across the Sea” gave us the answer (or the closest thing we’ve had to an answer yet).

This island has a glowing light tunnel that leads into the heart of the island, and Mother tells her two 13-year-old boys, “This is the reason we’re here.”

Mother says that down that tunnel is “the brightest light you’ve ever seen or felt, and we need to make sure no one ever finds it.”

Jacob (or maybe it was Brother) said it was beautiful, and Mother replied, “Yes it is. And that’s why they want it. Because a little bit of this is inside every man, but they always want more.”

Mother assured them that they can’t “take it,” but it can be “put out.” And, she says, “if they put it out here, it goes out everywhere.”

As I was transcribing all this, I found myself writing this: “This all feels like cheeseball to me. But I think I can get on board with it.” (In retrospect, I think it was mostly the way Mother delivered her lines. I wasn’t a fan. But moving on…)

Mother: I’ve protected it, but I can’t protect it forever.
Brother: Then who will?
Mother: It will have to be one of you…

Why she can’t protect it forever, I don’t know—since she doesn’t seem to age. But she’s right, she can’t protect it forever because she’s going to be killed by Brother. I don’t think she knew this then, but she definitely knew it on the night it happened (after she destroyed Brother’s well and killed his human friends), because that night, before Brother came to kill her, she woke Jacob and took him to the light tunnel to anoint him as the new protector.

Jacob, the Reluctant Protector
Apparently only the island’s protector can find this light tunnel thing, because we learn that Brother has been trying to find it for 30 years, but he could never find the mouth of the tunnel. Instead, he had to find areas with unique magnetic properties, and then dig…

But Mother originally led both of them to the tunnel’s opening, and on the night she anointed Jacob as the new leader, she led him there again:

Mother: Do you remember this place? Do you remember what I showed you here?
Jacob: The light.
Mother: You’re going to protect it now.
Jacob: What’s down there?
Mother: Life. Death. Rebirth. It’s the source, the heart of the island. (NOTE: Two words stood out to me here: “source,” and perhaps most importantly, “rebirth.”)

Mother: Just promise me. No matter what you do, you will never go down there.
Jacob: Would I die?
Mother: It’d be worse than dying, Jacob. Much worse.

Mother pours some wine for Jacob, and she starts chanting something. But Jacob isn’t sure he wants to participate in this ritual:

Mother: Here, drink this.
Jacob: What happens if I do?
Mother: You accept the responsibility that you will protect this place as long as you can, and then you will find a replacement.
Jacob: I don’t want to protect this place.
Mother: Someone has to.
Jacob: I don’t care.
Mother: My time is over.
Jacob: Why? Why is your time over?
Mother: It has to be you, Jacob.
Jacob: No, it doesn’t. You wanted it to be him. But now I’m all you have.
Mother: It was always supposed to be you; I see that now. One day you’ll see that, too. Until then, you don’t really have a choice. Please, take the cup and drink.

Jacob, the loyal and dutiful son, does as his fake-mother wishes, and he drinks. And Mother says, “Now you and I are the same.”

What does that mean, exactly?

That he will stop aging? That he will live forever—until he’s killed?

That he can now make the rules? Hmmm, we’ll get to that a little later.

Let the Games Begin!
We saw Jacob and his brother at 13 years old…and then we saw them both again 30 years later. It’s the first portion of their lives that I found the most befuddling.

In one scene, Brother finds a game that’s washed ashore (although Mother claimed she put it there for him to find, so I don’t know), and he tells Jacob that he “just knows” how to play it. So they play…

How does he just “know”? Because he’s special? Or did he just make the rules up and pretend like he knew?

According to Lostpedia, the game they were playing is Senet, an ancient Egyptian game. And wikipedia has this to say about the game:

“By the time of the New Kingdom in Egypt (1567–1085 BC), it had become a kind of talisman for the journey of the dead. Because of the element of luck in the game and the Egyptian belief in determinism, it was believed that a successful player was under the protection of the major gods of the national pantheon: Ra, Thoth, and sometimes Osiris. Consequently, Senet boards were often placed in the grave alongside other useful objects for the dangerous journey through the afterlife.”

Interesting, huh? Especially since Brother returned this game, and Mother found it, just before he stabbed her. And Jacob, eventually, put two stones from this game in Mother’s pocket before laying them to rest.

Adam and Eve Revealed
A couple times this season, Lost has shown us a flashback in the midst of a new episode to sort of remind us: “Hey, we set this up.” Or at least, that’s how it felt to me when they cut back to season 1 when Jack and Kate (and then Locke) found “Adam and Eve” in the caves. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It was a powerful scene, so I guess it works. But I also feel like the writers lack faith in their viewers, like they’re worrying we won’t remember that scene.

Which is crazy, since people have been speculating for six seasons about the identities of those skeletons. I don’t think we needed the reminder.

Even with the unnecessary reminder, the scene was still shocking. As my wife said after the episode ended, “No one guessed that it was going to be a mother and a son.” That’s true. And certainly no one guessed that it would be a son and the woman who impersonated his mother after she assisted in his delivery and then bludgeoned the real mother to death.

The Mother
It’s interesting that Mother is the one who first told Jacob and Brother that “they come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt…it always ends the same way” (because we heard Jacob’s Enemy repeat this to Jacob in the season 5 finale, to which Jacob replied, “It only ends once; everything else is just progress”). Brother also has this exchange with Jacob:

Brother: Why do you watch us, Jacob?
Jacob: I don’t know. I watch because I want to know if Mother is right.
Brother: Right about what?
Jacob: Them.
Brother: You mean, my people? You want to know if they’re bad? The old woman might be insane, but she’s most definitely right about that.
Jacob: They don’t seem so bad to me.
Brother: That’s easy for you to say, looking down on us from above. But I’ve lived among them for 30 years, they’re greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy, and selfish.

Greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy, and selfish, huh? One could make a strong argument that their “mother” is all these things, as well.

Of course, we don’t know everything yet. So maybe she genuinely had no choice but to bludgeon Claudia, and to knock Brother out, fill in his well, and burn the village of humans to the ground…but even if she does have her sons’ (and the island’s) best interest in mind, I still didn’t trust her. Maybe it’s because she seems to be such an advocate of deception:

Brother: Jacob told you what I found.
Mother: Course he did. Jacob doesn’t know how to lie. He’s not like you.
Brother: Why, what am I like?
Mother: You’re…special.

This is one of the things that really bothered me in this episode. I don’t mean on a moral level, or anything like that. I mean I can’t make sense of it. This woman is protecting the island (supposedly) and she has to pick a replacement. She clearly favors Brother, and she seems to love him more because he’s capable of lying…or “special.”

I feel like that’s supposed to mean something, but I don’t know what.

There’s a lot we don’t know about Mother, and like Locke Monster, I don’t think we can always trust the things she tells us.

I don’t think we’ll get more information about her history (not much anyway), because there just isn’t time. She mentioned that she came from her mother (who is dead now), and she told Claudia, that they both arrived at the island the same way: by accident.

Maybe we’re supposed to assume that it wasn’t an accident, that it was “fate,” or the island’s doing… I don’t know. But I have a feeling we’re going to have to come to terms with that on our own, because I’m pretty sure the show isn’t going to revisit that history lesson.

The Brother
When we saw Jacob and his brother’s birth—with Jacob swaddled in white and Brother in black—I expected that, as we saw them grow up, Jacob would always be good, and Brother would be bad. Surely I’m not the only one who expected this, right?

Instead, I found myself drawn to Brother. I liked him. A lot. He wanted to run away from home when he found out that their Mother had killed their real mother. He wanted Jacob to come with him. He even packed for both of them (what a nice brother). But it was Jacob that refused, and it was Jacob who attacked Brother after Brother said that Mother (man, that’s getting annoying) wasn’t their real mother and she didn’t really love them.

But Brother didn’t hold it against Jacob. Because 30 years later, the two bros are still playing games together, talking like old friends. When Brother thinks he’s figured out a way to get off the island, he eagerly shares this news with Jacob. He even wants Jacob to come with him. But Jacob refuses.

Jacob: I don’t want to leave the island. This is my home.
Brother: Well, it’s not mine.

When Mother comes to visit Brother in the well (where a wheel is being constructed), he eagerly shares the news with her, as well.

Sure, there was that scene early on when we learned that, unlike Jacob, Brother knows how to lie…but he’s not evil. He’s…I don’t know, normal (and maybe special, too, if you believe Mother).

So if this were the first time we ever saw Jacob and Brother (and it would be, if we saw their story chronologically), I think most of us would feel more of a connection to Brother. He’s loving, but adventurous and strong-willed enough to leave home when he learns he really came from “across the sea,” whereas Jacob (loyal as a beaten puppy), agrees to stay with the Mother who murdered his real mother because she would have taken them to her own people “and those people are very bad. I couldn’t let you become one of them. I needed you to stay good.”

Sure, Brother killed Mother, but at that point, didn’t you kind of want to kill her, too? Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but it certainly seemed like she wanted to be killed. (Which is why she thanked him…another thing I don’t understand completely.)

And so when Jacob (loyal, loyal Jacob) returns with the firewood and discovers Brother standing over dead Mother, he loses it. Which, on many levels, is understandable…I suppose. Jacob has no qualms about pummeling Brother, but murdering Mother…that’s where he draws the line:

Brother: Jacob, don’t do this. She burned them. She burned them all. Don’t do this. You can’t kill me. She made it that way.
Jacob: Don’t worry, Brother. I’m not going to kill you.

Jacob drags him to the light tunnel…

Brother: She brought you back here? Why would she?
Jacob: Because I need to protect it now. You want to leave this place, Brother? Then go…

Then Jacob flushes him down into the light tunnel…and the smoke monster emerged.

I don’t understand how Jacob could say, “Don’t worry, Brother. I’m not going to kill you.” when Mother told him that going down there would be worse than dying. I know he was mad, but wow. That’s cold, Jacob. Cold.

Of course, once Jacob found his brother’s body (after the smoke monster had regurgitated it, I suppose), he carried it back to the cave and laid him to rest. And he held him and wept in that mushy “Oops, I guess I did just kill my brother” moment.

And yeah, that had to be a tragic moment for Jacob. To suddenly be all alone. All the humans on the island, killed by Mother. Mother, killed by Brother. His Brother, killed by…him, or the island’s essence, or whatever.

The Smoke Monster…and Was Brother Really Special?
The most surprising revelation in this episode (for me) wasn’t that Jacob and Brother are twins, nor was it the identities of Adam and Eve. The thing that shocked me was this: Brother died.

When Jacob flushed him down the light tunnel, and the smoke monster emerged, I thought that meant that he had been transformed into some kind of hybrid Man/Smoke Monster. But no, apparently, this either created or loosed the Smoke Monster, and it also killed Brother.

So when we saw Jacob and Brother sitting on the beach in the opening scene of the Season 5 finale, and Brother said, “Do you know how badly I want to kill you?” it wasn’t really his brother. It was Smoke Monster taking on the form of his brother. (Just like the Smoke Monster later appeared to Eko as his brother, Yemi, and just as it appeared to Jack and Claire (and Locke…and later, Sun and Frank) as Christian Shephard.) And now, that same smoke monster has donned the Locke disguise (only, according to Ilana, he’s stuck that way now…though I don’t know why).

And it’s ironic that Mother told Brother that he’s special. John Locke was told the same thing. And now both of them have been used as a Smoky Disguise.

Was Brother really special? I think so, maybe. Though maybe not in the way his Mother thought he was. Not because he knows how to lie. But because he saw his real mother’s ghost (Walt, who was also special, could see ghosts…as can Hurley):

Brother: Why can’t Jacob see you?
Claudia: Because I’m dead. Will you come with me? I’d like to show you something.

I wanted to punch Claudia when she said, “Because I’m dead.” That doesn’t explain why Brother can see dead people…and Jacob can’t!? And that baffles me.

I guess we can write it off as his “special” ability. Since we’ve seen others with their own special abilities. But still, I’d like a better explanation.

Making the Rules
For seasons now, we’ve heard references to “the rules.” These rules have always been ambiguous. What are they? Who made them? What’s the consequence for breaking them? Can they be broken?

Well, we got some answers to these questions in “Across the Sea,” I think.

First of all, the writers winked at us with this comment by Brother (spoken to Jacob), “Some day you can make up your own game, and then everybody will have to follow your rules.”

And I think that’s exactly what happened. We know Mother “made it” so that Jacob and Brother couldn’t kill each other. As the protector of the island, I suppose that was one of her rules. And when Jacob inherited the role, knowing there was a deadly smoke monster (“evil incarnate,” in the words of Dogen) on the loose, I think he made it a rule that the smoke monster can’t kill his candidates.

Of course, Jacob died before he could lead any of his candidates to the tunnel opening, chant the incantation, and offer them the Kool-Aid…but apparently, Jacob’s rules still govern the island. I think that’s why ghost-boy Jacob keeps appearing to Locke Monster, to remind him that he can’t kill the candidates (or Richard…or Desmond, for some reason), because those are the rules…

If all this is true, did Jacob make other rules for the island? Can his rules be changed? If so, by whom?

What Happened Next?
When “Across the Sea” ended, we believe Jacob was alone on the island. Alone except for the Smoke Monster, which, either retained the desires of Brother, because it wants to “go home,” or else, being “evil incarnate,” it just wants the cork to be popped so it can destroy the world.

Either way, Jacob is not only responsible for protecting the light tunnel, but he’s also preventing Smokey from leaving. And that’s why Smokey wants to kill Jacob.

The next time we see Jacob and Smokey is when Jacob is summoning the Black Rock. Smokey immediately kills all the passengers, except Richard. And then he tries to get Richard to kill Jacob. If he had been successful, then what? Then Smokey would be free? Just like that? (Then why wasn’t Smokey free after he convinced Ben to kill Jacob? Because candidates are on the island?) Or would he have become the island’s new protector? If so, would he have been free to change the rules?

Instead of killing Jacob, Richard is convinced to drink the special juice, and now he doesn’t age, either. But he’s not a full-fledged island protector. He just doesn’t age. (But is it because he drank the juice that Locke Monster can’t kill him later?)

Over time, the island experienced an influx of people. US Troops with Jughead. The Others/Temple People. Dharma. Survivors of Oceanic 815. Some of these people are meaningless (expendable “red shirts”), but others are vital: they are Jacob’s candidates to replace him as the island protector.

And that brings us to the present, where Jacob is dead and Locke Monster is trying desperately to off Jacob’s candidates and “pop the cork.” And meanwhile, Widmore is doing…who knows what? (Personally, I think he’s trying to find the light tunnel. And maybe he wants to drink the juice so he can live forever? I don’t know.)

But if Locke Monster manages to kill all the candidates, I wonder if he’ll be able to change the rules. (Remember that phrase: “Change the rules”? It’s what Ben said after Alex was killed: “He changed the rules.”)

Also, Faraday once told Desmond that “the rules don’t apply to you.” Whether these were the laws of physics, the rules governing time travel, or the island’s rules, I’m not sure.

I’ve started rambling, so I think I should start trying to wrap this up…

And What I Think Will Happen After This…
We will revisit the light tunnel. I’m certain of that.

Jacob’s ghost will lead Hurley to it. Richard probably knows where the Kool-Aid is, and one of the candidates will drink it. And then we’ll have a new protector.

But that’s not sensational enough…so how about this:

Someone will float down the light tunnel. Maybe someone living, like Desmond, since he’s the one who can withstand the electromagnetism. Or maybe one of the characters will die (willingly, perhaps?) and then float down the tunnel. Since it is the source of life, death, and rebirth! That “rebirth” word was in there for a reason, and it’s going to come into play. Count on that.

And what happens if someone “good” goes down the tunnel? We know Brother wasn’t “good,” or at least, I think that’s what we were supposed to infer when we learned that, unlike Jacob, he knows how to deceive. Was it because Brother wasn’t good that the smoke monster emerged?

I don’t know much (if you’ve read this far, then surely you’ve noticed that by now), but I think the final showdown will occur at this light tunnel. After all, it’s the “source,” the “reason we’re here.”

In other words, it’s the reason we’ve been watching for 6 seasons. And it’s going to be pivotal in the few hours that remain…

Snippets:

  • Well, there’s no doubt about the ghost boy being Jacob now…since it’s obviously the same actor playing both roles
  • Instead of calling them “Mother” and “Brother,” I suppose we could call them Adam and Eve now…but that might get confusing.
  • The island has a history of attracting pregnant women: Claudia, Rousseau, Claire…
  • We’re to believe that Mother, after knocking out Brother, carried him out of that well, filled it in herself, and then burned the entire village (killing all the inhabitants)…without any help? And all that before Brother came to? Forget killing all the people, just filling in that well would have taken days! It’s not like she has a backhoe in a shed somewhere on that island. Or does she? Dun dun dun… (No, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t.)
  • According to Lostpedia, Claudia is wearing a Roman stola, which “was the accepted dress for married civilian women from the 2nd century BC until the late 3rd century AD.” It also notes that Claudia is the name of the mother of the twins, Romulus and Remus. Interesting.
  • Remember when Locke Monster told Desmond about the people who dug the wells because they were looking for something? I liked realizing that he (or whatever part of Brother is still alive in him) was part of that digging crew…even though they didn’t find what they were looking for in that particular well.
  • Did you notice that Brother destroyed the tapestry that Jacob and Mother had been creating together for all those years? Do you remember that Jacob had created a new one inside the statue? As a tribute to Mother, I wonder?
  • Questions:

    1) So has Jacob been searching for candidates ever since Mother died? How did he find them?

    2) At the end of this episode, Jacob is still clueless about so many things. When did he learn (and how did he learn) about the island? He told Richard that the island is the cork containing the evil force that wants to destroy the world…but when did Jacob learn that?

    3) Why did Mother want to be killed? Is there any chance Jacob wanted to be killed? Is the role of “island protector” more of a curse?

    4) Did anyone else sense a biblical reference in this conversation between Jacob and Brother:

    Jacob: [People] don’t seem so bad to me.
    Brother: That’s easy for you to say, looking down on us from above. But I’ve lived among them for 30 years…

    Maybe it was just the “looking down on us from above” that stood out to me.

    5) What is Widmore’s plan? Is he going to try to take the light? Will that potentially extinguish it, not just on the island, but everywhere?

    6) Before Brother went down the light tunnel, did the Smoke Monster exist?

    7) How do the ashes play into this? Why can’t the Smoke Monster penetrate a ring of ash?

    8 ) Any chance Jacob’s ashes will get flushed down the light tunnel? (I don’t know why they would, so don’t make me explain. I’m just brainstorming here. Geez, get off my back.)

    9) When did Jacob learn how to leave the island (so he could appear to the various candidates), and how did he learn how to do it?

    10) When Jacob died, did someone become the protector of the island by default? Richard? Ben?

    11) A long time ago, Widmore asked Ben if he had come to kill him and Ben said, “We both know I can’t do that.” Is there any chance Widmore is a candidate? Or is he protected because he’s a former leader of the Others? Remember the Others had strict rules about killing each other (which is why Juliet was supposed to be killed for shooting Pickett, but Ben wrote the note saying “the rules” don’t apply to her). But are those Jacob’s rules? The island’s rules? The Other’s rules?

    12) Not that it matters (but maybe it does), but since Claudia came from off the island, is there a chance that the candidates (some or all of them) could be descendants of Jacob’s family?

    13) In the years between when “Across the Sea” ended and when we saw Jacob and Jacob’s Enemy watching the Black Rock come closer to the island, who came and built the statue that Jacob would eventually live inside? (I have a feeling this will be an era of island history we never learn anything about…)

    14) Now that we’ve seen yet another island birth, does this suggest that being born on the island is significant in some way?

    15) Mother said she wouldn’t let Brother leave the island because she loves him. Does this make sense? Or was she crazy (like Locke Monster later told Kate).

    16) Locke Monster also says that he used to be a man, so how much of his identity is connected to the man he used to be? Or is that man (Brother) completely gone forever

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    12 responses

    12 05 2010
    Ryan

    Well, I like the episode a lot more after reading your thoughts. Very insightful. My take on Smokey’s line, “do you know how much I want to kill you”, was that it was during one of Jacob’s visits with his brother. (So it happened before brother took a dive in the river of light.) I think the Smoke monster is still the brother, just without a body.

    13 05 2010
    tylercharles

    Ryan,

    You might be right about the Smoke monster still being the brother, but without a body. That’s actually what I hope is true, because it makes for a better drama, I think.

    But based on everything we’ve seen, I’m like 99% sure that exchange between Jacob and Brother (with the “Do you know how badly I want to kill you?” line) happened years after what we just saw in “Across the Sea.” Because we see the Black Rock on the horizon and Brother says something about Jacob bringing them here. Before Brother’s death, Jacob wasn’t associating with the humans, so I don’t think he would have been bringing any of them to the island. So if it happened after what we just watched, then Brother’s real body would have been turning into a skeleton in the caves. And the Brother talking to Jacob on the beach would have been…the Smoke Monster (though, hopefully, with at least part of Brother still alive in him).

    14 05 2010
    Todd Hertz

    Lots to process this week, huh? I have been mixed on this episode. I don’t mind the answers they gave us or didn’t give us but I worry that it’s all starting to get a little generic and silly (“It’s the light inside us all…”) They pulled out some Avatar on us. I was waiting for them to call the light source Ewya. 🙂

    But, the drama kept me into it and I like the episode. I like the stakes they’ve given us. The Jacob/Brother dynamic sets up for some ultra cool stuff. I think this stuff could lead to some cool places–and the ending resolve some of the things that seem contradictory/goofy.

    The big thing this week that you and I saw differently ( I think) is what happened to Brother. I saw it like this: Brother was penalized for going into the light (he was bad, he was judged) and his soul stripped from his body. And so now, his bodyless soul is forced to wander the island and only take physical form as dead bodies that are on the island. So, the smoke monster IS him. But without a permanent home. So this WAS the creation of the Smoke Monster. There was never a smoke monster before that moment. And there won’t be another. It is just how this dude is now trapped. This keeps with the times that Jacob has met with Brother since then–it is very much him with the same desires and history.

    Still, there is some funny stuff to think about. How did Mother do all those things she did if she wasn’t the Smoke Monster? And we know that when Smokey takes a form, it retains some of that person (I.e. Locke saying “Don’t tell me what I cannot do!”). Not sure how to resolve all that.

    And why did mother say “Nothing” and then “Thank You” after being killed? I don’t know about the first word…but I thought she said thanks because she was tired of being trapped on this bloody island protecting a glowing drainage pipe for eternity. In fact…I think this goes further back than just that moment. You asked, “Why did Mother want to be killed? Is there any chance Jacob wanted to be killed?” I say yes to both and in both cases it was part of the plan–but very different plans. When the Other Mother saw those babies, she got stoked because they were her ticket off that rock. And everything leading up to that was her plan: prep one boy to kill her and one to replace her. With Jacob, the plan is different, because I think Jacob has figured things out differently. I think he has set in motion a plan not just to get a replacement but end this all for good. After all, it only ends once. But how?

    As you said, I think the answer to that will be the finale…and is all about the light. I think for the last 2,000 years (I’ll get to the timeline later), Jacob has been doing a lot of learning about the island, the light and about mankind. I don’t have any idea where this is all leading but a few things I wonder (and some of these “theories” contradict each other but they are just bits I am pondering):

    1) You asked if the ashes will go into the light. I definitely think so. After all, Other Mother did mention “rebirth….”

    2) Desmond is going into that light. Or at least, that’s Widmore’s plan. That’s what he was testing him for in the big outhouse. Could he really survive the electromagnetism? Yes. So, what’s in there for Desmond to do?

    3) I think Jack’s going into the light. I have no idea why. Maybe Desmond doesn’t make it? But with all the talk of “Jack has to do something” I am expecting this. And I think this feeds into your question about what happens if someone “good” goes in. Jacob has been watching Jack, leading him down a path of redemption for this moment. To go into the light. Brother has maintained that men are all bad and can’t be redeemed (so he kills them if he can’t use them) but Jacob says, no…they can choose good…and if they do…how would that effect the light?

    4) You also mentioned what I’m talking about in points 2 and 3 by saying someone is going into the glowing culvert, but you know…i wonder if it won’t be in that little light steam that someone goes into but if they access the source elsewhere. After all, the light is reachable from other points (like wells). And…this is crazy and out of nowhere but could we see a trek into the volcano? In season 3, it was mentioned the island has a volcano … and Darlton said it would play a significant part… Who knows.

    5) How much of Other Mother’s stories were lies? Could it be that she had the light all wrong? What if Jacob now realizes that his mom was wrong–the light is not to be protected but shared? Could that be Jacob’s big endgame? To release the light?

    6) On the other hand, it could be that this IS the cork, or as one commenter said, the gates to hell. Since the cork episode, I thot that the island was like the Hellmouth in Buffy. This was literally the gates of hell–and what did they do in the finale? They destroyed the Hellmouth. Could we see the same here? Is this why the island is destroyed in the SW? This is not the route I WANT it to go. But…I am thinking outloud.

    7) We’ve seen that Jacob and Brother aren’t really white hat, black hat…so what if, the end is about reconciling them? About them being brought back together…about the redemption of Brother AND Jacob? This feeds into something you wrote: “Since some people immediately called Jacob’s Enemy “Esau” after the season 5 finale, I assume that these people might be even more committed to that name now that we learned the two are twins.” As I’ve said forever, I’d be sad if his name IS Esau. It’s just so…easy. Still, they are brothers (like I suspected) and twins (which I made me go, “Oh no, they are Jacob and Esau!”) but like you pointed out, there are key differences. However, I wonder if the Jacob and Esau allusions do point to one thing: A reconciliation. Hmmm.

    8) Did the light go out? Some have speculated on that. It may just be that Smokey came out and blurred out the light…but it almost looked like the cave went dark. Of course, we’ve seen the light when the wheel was turned so we know some light is still there…but it did make me wonder.

    Other notes:

    – You mention how the Boy in Black was called “Special” like Locke. Here’s what’s interesting about that: Think hard about WHO called Locke special. Who told us that Locke was Special? That’s right, it was Fake Locke. He told Richard that and Richard told Locke that (this was all last season before we knew Locke was actually Fake Locke). So, Brother was told he was special and then he told Locke he was special. The connection: Both were told that b/c they were being PLAYED. Other Mother wanted Brother to release her from Island Service and Brother in turn wanted Locke to be his loophole. Manipulation is the name of the game.

    – You wrote: “Richard probably knows where the Kool-Aid is, and one of the candidates will drink it.” The Kool Aid is gone, brother. MIB smashed it on a tree in the Richard episode…in a scene that may be more significant than we thought. If that is the Island Protector Juice, then now what? Well, I think it feeds into my thinking that the show DOES NOT end with a new protector. Jacob is changing the game. Either he stays protector or he changes things to where there needs to no longer BE a protector. Why do I think that? Because he LET his brother HAVE the juice.

    -Then again, maybe we are over stating the importance of that wine. Maybe that’s not what did it. Instead, it was the magic incantation that did it. Besides, one thing I was left wondering about after this ep is where Jacob got his powers. We’ve seen that his touch is important–but that wasn’t addressed here. Didn’t he touch Richard and let him not age? But yet, there was nothing special about touch in this episode. So that leaves us to wonder…was it the wine? What exactly are the powers Jacob has and how are they passed down?

    -There has been some confusion on the timeline. Here is what I have read. Based on the Roman influence of the ep and some interviews by the actor playing Jacob, it seems the episode took place around 50 A.D. The scene of Jacob and MIB we saw last year happened in thee 1860s as the Black Rock was approaching (this has been confirmed by the producers) and then the scene of them with the wine bottle occurred a few months after that. Now, you asked who came after this ep and built the Tawaret statue. I think it was already there…we just didn’t see it. I think the Egyptians were there before the Romans (and could explain Other Mother’s existence.) After all, the oldest Egyptian pyramids have been dated as early as 2630 BC to 2611 BC. So me thinks they were on our Fantasy Island waay before the Romans.

    12 05 2010
    Marc Buwalda

    Just another thought but did you feel any connection between the light tunnel and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Not sure why but I saw the tunnel as a sort of representation of that. the way that Mother described experiencing the tunnel as worse that death (loss of innocence or sinlessness perhaps?), and that it is something all men possess in a tiny amount, but cannot handle in its fullness. Also, that (like for Eve in Genesis) the small amount isn’t sufficient and as Mother said, men always want more.

    13 05 2010
    tylercharles

    Marc,

    I hadn’t made that connection, but I see it now. When she was speaking of the tunnel, Mother told Jacob, “You must never go down there.” Sort of like being told never to eat fruit from a tree.

    Instead of the “light tunnel,” I guess I should have referred to it as the Tunnel of Life, Death, and Rebirth.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    13 05 2010
    Todd Hertz

    Oh yah, this was clearly an allusion to the tree of knowledge…after all we were given the Adam and Eve clue.

    12 05 2010
    MamaK

    WOW. I’ve said that after many episodes, but this one was even more so! I wish more than ever that they did have time to develop more of the history and backstories, but instead, I think they will leave us with much to theorize and talk about even after the finale. I took your quick poll, and though it was all surprising, I also chose Brother’s death as the big shocker. Perhaps that is where the rule changing began.

    Instead of noting, as you did, that the island seems to draw pregnant women, I had commented that there seems to always be a lone, crazy woman on the island. (Mother, Rosseau, Claire) Maybe those two things are related? What if Mother also came as a pregnant woman, but lost her own child/son? Perhaps he wandered into the golden cavelight and became the smoke monster? But…I don’t think we’ll know any more about Mother after this episode, either, so that idea was just for the fun of it! A related question: when did the problems with childbirth on the island begin?

    They promoted this episode with the thought that “there are two sides to every story” so they showed us a likable side to….Brother Adam? (it is really very annoying to have no one name for this character! I’m with Barbie in that frustration!) I am not sure we should trust anything we learned from Mother, including her assessment of the twins’ characters. Brother seemed much more intuitive, and poor Jacob was “good” in a blindly loyal and somewhat dimwitted way. Jacob was beginning to see the light (had to get that pun in!) outside the cave with Mother when he confronted her with the knowledge that Brother had been the favored and chosen one–he was just the only choice she had left. She left Jacob very under-informed for his new job, and I think he started his on the job training very quickly when he found his brother dead– or reborn as the smoke monster. Perhaps we will learn that he was so lonely that even the smoke monster impersonating his brother was better company than no one at all. I hope we learn something about how Jacob grew into the role and gained abilities like leaving the island, as you pointed out. If he had to grow into the role, the chosen candidate may need to, also. (Your choice of Hurley is growing on me.) IF we can believe Mother about anything, we have more to learn about the Source of Life, Death and Rebirth… (Didn’t it seem in past episodes that the smoke monster “judged” goodness and so some lived and some died?)

    I know some of my questions have probably already been answered on the show, which is why some of us need the flashback scenes, like season 1 at the cave, to help us remember accurately! (Adam & Eve, discovered in season 1, with the black and white stones there, and in the backgammon game introduced the same season–it seems they really did have some of this planned from the beginning, doesn’t it?!)

    I also found the scene you referenced about Jacob looking down on the people to be implying something biblical or godlike. Also the scene with Mother urging Jacob to take the cup–drink it. He had to-to save the world.

    The only thing I am sure we learned from this episode is that the writers can still twist plots and amaze us! I am SO looking forward to where they take us next–but knowing it will be too short a trip!

    13 05 2010
    tylercharles

    Mama K,

    You wrote, “poor Jacob was “good” in a blindly loyal and somewhat dimwitted way.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Literally. Because that’s what I was trying to express a couple times, but I like the way you worded it much better.

    As for the smoke monster “judging goodness,” I think we were intentionally misled on that front. The smoke monster seems to have the ability to read through memories, or sense the pain people are harboring. But I don’t think it was ever judging goodness. Instead, it looks for people it can manipulate. That’s why it didn’t kill Richard. He saw in Richard a desperate man who could be used (to kill Jacob)…only, it didn’t work. When it scanned Eko, if you watch that scene in slow motion, in the smoke, it showed scenes of him killing people. And after that, Eko said, “I feel no guilt for what I’ve done” or something like that. So the Smoke Monster killed him (because he couldn’t manipulate him).

    Ben apparently believed the Smoke Monster was going to “judge” him, or else he was just trying to bluff Locke…and since Locke, at that time, was the smoke monster, he called Ben’s bluff. And the Smoke Monster turned into Alex to manipulate Ben, telling him to do whatever “Locke” tells him.

    As for the writers setting things up way back in Season 1, when they started this show, they didn’t know how many seasons they’d have. If ratings were bad, they might have only had 1 season. So I think the writers were trying to set things up right away in case they needed to shorten the story. For example, Locke is creepy in the Pilot. So if they needed to tell everything in one season, then maybe we would have learned that Locke was already possessed by Smokey (which might explain the inclusion of the backgammon scene). Also, they really emphasized Walt’s “special” attributes…and now Walt’s not even part of the plot. If they had to wrap things up sooner, I think Walt might have played a major role. Maybe similar to the role ghost-whispering Hurley is playing now.

    12 05 2010
    MamaK

    We enjoyed the research you did for points of information about Claudia, etc. (Speaking for Big Papa and myself!)

    13 05 2010
    Doug

    Tyler,
    I really like your idea that each Protector of the island gets to make (or at least add) his own rules. This episode was very confusing and frustrating to me. I expected we would get more answers about the statue and the history of the island. Now that I have had time to think about it some things that were bothering me I think I understand it better.

    Here goes my crazy theory and I hope it makes some sense (although it probably has its share of holes): The light cave is actually the entrance to the underworld. [Remember the hieroglyphs on the countdown timer in the hatch – the symbols were translated “underworld”]. This place must be guarded so that no one inadvertently goes there. In our parlance it is the “gateway to hell”. The ancient Egyptians had a similar idea about a river to the underworld.

    The guardian of the underworld is Smokey – he basically lives there but can take on human form if someone dies on the island, and in this case it was Brother aka the MIB. But before that Mother too died on the island.

    Smokey then takes on that person’s personality but the person’s soul or consciousness lives on. So in MIB’s case he still remembers wanting to leave the island. And in Mothers case she remembers going down the river and becoming Smokey – so that’s what she means as something “worse than death” will happen to you.

    She, the Mother part, wants to be free from Smokey, so she chooses Esau/Brother to be that replacement. She also wants someone to protect people from entering the light cave, so she picks Jacob for that job. That’s why the SmokeMom was able to kill all those men and fill in the well, because she had Smokey’s power. And that’s why she wanted to die because she wanted to be free from Smokey. She picked Esau because he was a good liar, and Jacob because of his loyalty.

    Remember what we heard in Jacob’s cabin – we heard “help me”. Could that be another soul trapped by Smokey try to escape? Thank you for the excellent recap and thoughts.

    14 05 2010
    tylercharles

    Doug,

    I’m glad you’ve started posting here. (But with only a couple weeks left, I just wish we had started sharing thoughts sooner.)

    Before I comment on your theory, let me say this: theorizing about LOST is hard, because there’s so much we have to keep straight. And every theory, like you said, has holes because, well, the writers intentionally keep things hidden. So we have no choice but to speculate. I just wanted to say that because what I’m about to write might sound like I’m trying to shoot your theory down. And that’s not my aim.

    I was just going to say that I didn’t follow you on the part about Mother being dead. You’re saying she died (thanks to Smokey), but she still pretends to be alive and retains part of her Mother-nature? Or something?

    But I don’t understand, if she’s already been killed how is she walking around the island? She’s reanimated by the Smoke Monster? The way Locke is now? Oh wait, okay, I’m tracking with you now…

    She’s the Smoke Monster, but she retains part of her old self. And that’s how she was able to kill all the villagers and fill in the well. Okay… and that might make sense because she was stabbed with Brother’s sword, which appears to be the same one Jacob’s Enemy later gave to Richard. And the same one Dogen gave to Sayid, with the instructions, “Don’t let him talk to you, or it will be too late…” and that’s what Brother did. He stabbed Mother without letting her talk to him.

    So you think the Smoke Monster lost its host form when Mother died? Until Jacob sent Brother down the tunnel…and then the Smoke Monster took on that form, but with a new desire: to leave the island and go “home”?

    The more I think about your theory, the more I like it. And as soon as I read what you wrote about the light cave being an entrance to the underworld, I was with you on that. And Smokey is like Cerberus. I like that.

    14 05 2010
    Doug

    Yes. Smokey is like Cerebus. Mother was already dead even before the episode started. What we saw the entire time on the show was Smokey in the guise of Mother. But part of Mother lived on in Smokey just like it did in Yemmi (who remembered things about his brother Eko) and Locke Monster (who remembered what Locke was thinking when he died).

    Yes, when she was stabbed by Brother Smokey returned to his underworld light cave to await his next victim, the MIB. The Mother part of her was glad that she was finally rid of Smokey, so she thanked Brother/Esau for killing her.

    Thanks for understanding my theory.

    [I wonder if this is how Hurley felt when Rousseau agreed with him that the Numbers were cursed and that Hurley wasn’t crazy].:)

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