Here at the end, the show doesn’t much lend itself to analysis anymore. Especially so last night’s ep, which explained a lot of the mythology and yet had no members of the regular cast. I think that was a ballsy and awesome storytelling choice, and if you disagree, you probably didn’t like the end of The Sopranos, either. So instead of some analysis, here’s just some observations:
1. I love how Claudia washes ashore, finds fresh water instantly, sees Fake Mom reflected in the stream, and is told by her that it’s pointless to ask questions because each one merely leads to another question. What an awesome from-us-to-you from the writers and producers! It’s not like they didn’t put the audience on notice what sort of episode this was going to be right away: just sit back and think of England, because you’re not watching an episode of CSI: Miami, bubala; you’re watching the third-to-last episode of Lost.
2. Speaking of Fake Mom, isn’t it awesome that she’s the Smoke Monster?
3. OK, hold on; I’ll lay it out for you. First, we know this is taking place roughly 2000 years ago because of the Latin and the Romans and all… but we also know the smoke monster predates all that because of the hieroglyphics that picture him. So he’s been around for at least a thousand years before that. Next, come on… she killed everyone in a Dharma-like purge and filled in the well herself in the span of one really busy evening? Smoke Monster. She knows what happens when you go into the heart of the Island; not because anyone told her, but because it happened to her. Plus, you know, she said “thank you” when MiB killed her. That there’s the last words of someone who’s had an ethereal smog shape for a while, it is.
This actually lends credence and some heft to EJ Feddes’ Smokey-can-be-in-two-places-at-once theory, if you ask me, since Fake Mom is Smoke Monster and Protector of the heart of the Island. This goes a way towards explaining Claudia getting a rock in the head before the placenta has a chance to come out, too, if you think about it. The second Fake Mom saw another kid coming out, you can imagine she thinks this is her ticket home. One kid to play protector and one kid to smoke it up, and there’s your balance brought to The Force, right there. Oh, sure, Real Mom is going to have to exeunt stage right, and quick, but, hey! We all have to make sacrifices. Then it’s just a matter of grooming ’em for the part. How hilariously ironic that the roles you ended up choosing for them ended up being reversed.
4. With all the Greek and Roman and Egyptian culture references, and the various religious representations rampant in the show, this one was particularly rife with Christian metaphor and allegory and straight-up reference. When Jacob and The Man in Black are playing that Egyptian proto-backgammon game, senet, MiB refers to Jacob as “looking down on us from above” and of having “lived among them for thirty years.” But the biggest one might be the time and place; the Lost wiki puts the thing at 23 AD. My pal Kevin over at the RPF says: “With the speaking of Latin and the assumed date of 23 AD the island would likely be in the Mediterranean Sea (or not very far into the Atlantic) at the time of the mother’s shipwreck. The mother would seem to be a Roman – or at least from the Roman Empire. Bizzarro thought, here, but some theological calculations put the birth of Christ around 10 BC and his death anywhere between 22 and 25 AD. Do you think the writers are leaving open a possible Mary Magdelene connection – she possibly fleeing a Roman occupied Jerusalem after the execution (say, on a cross) of the father of her unborn?” Which is just blasphemous enough to be entertaining.
Also, the magical understanding wine. Fake Mom does a suitably Biblical ritual incantation, and Jacob sips, and instantly becomes the Island’s protector, with all the knowledge of what’s going on. I mean, that has to have happened, or he’s just going to spend the next 2000 years being as clueless as Ben about what’s going on and why. Me, I’m more interested in Jacob giving Richard the Magical Understanding Wine a couple eps ago in “Ab Aeterno,” because, if they’re being internally consistent, Richard then became protector of the Island, while Jacob was still running through Candidates. I dunno, maybe it’s some sort of John Stewart/backup Green Lantern kinda plan? He just made Richard Acting Replacement? Hmmm.
5. My good pal Sean Maher sent this over: “I have a feeling this week’s Spectacularry will feature your ‘two kinds of stories’ theory at some point, but maybe that’s just wild, spoiler-free speculation.” First, sorry for damaging your brain, Sean, because I know now you can’t not see that every time you’re paying attention to a narrative. Sean’s talking about some dialogue for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in a comic book I wrote, The Black Diamond: “There’s only two kinds of plot: ‘Stranger comes to town,’ and ‘Just trying to get home.’ This one’s both.” And say what you want about the density of the story of Lost and, hey! pick your timeframe, too, because it seems like Strangers have been coming to town for a while, and, except for Jacob, they all are just trying to get home.
6. Just as Mister Eko threw Charlie’s belt to watch it magnetically stick to the side, so, too, does MiB throw his Roman shortsword to magnetically stick to the well wall. Of course this is the same sword that Fake Locke gives Ben to kill Jacob, and that Dogen gives to Sayid to stab Fake Locke. And, interestingly, Dogen warns Sayid not to let the Smoke Monster speak, or it’s all over. And guess who got a Roman short sword in the gut with first getting some words out? Fake Mom. Did I mention she’s the Smoke Monster? I think I did. Although she did leave a regular old corpse behind when she died, so there’s that. Hmmm.
7. One of the things I think that gets overlooked with all the overt father conflicts… “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues,” Locke and Anthony Cooper, Penny and Charles, etc., is that there are an equal amount of Mommy Issues in this show as well. Of course last night’s episode shows that the current, climatic battle of Good versus Evil, of Civilization versus Wild, of Technology versus Noble Savagery started 2000 years ago with a pregnant woman washing ashore and a Fake Mom trying to free herself from serving a glowing light cave that may be Goodness (or Evil) personified. Honestly, it almost doesn’t matter. It’s whatever’s in Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase.
The second you give Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name a name, he’s just like everyone else, and the mystery’s gone. The second you start calling Wolverine “Logan Howlett” he’s just another superhero. And don’t get me started on the guy who gives ultimate evil shit on his own starship: “He’s no good to me dead, Vader.” Who turns out to be the clone son of the guy who was the template for all the soldiers who… you see? Who gives a crap?
It’s a magical Island. That can move through space and time. By turning a wheel set into a wall. Worrying about it any more than that is just going to get you a rock in the face. Maybe when you have a hit show on a primetime network with a vast cult of rabid fans you can write your own rules, too.
Anyway, I already can’t wait for next week.