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.

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About the Author



Mark Herr 12 May 2010

What’s Mom’s name? CJ is not a valid answer. How weird would it be if she was a fan of the show and like the rest of us wondered who the skeletons would wind up being and in the end it winds up being her? Yes, this is how my brain works.

Ever since the beginning of the season, when Fake Locke walks out of the room to turn into Smokey to kill the invaders of the statue I have wondered if it is because of effects budget or if it is in fact not him.

I did love the comment about Jacob’s game playing from his brother and Mom’s “worse than death” comment about the glowing light. Oh and did you notice the nice red roses by the opening? Sure we had some yellow in the shots, but otherwise, red was our stand-out color.

Larry Young 12 May 2010

I can sort of see Fake Mom not having a name, because she’s just going to be “Mom.” But I don’t see MiB going 43 years answering to just “Brother,” and “My love,” and “Hey, you” and whatnot. They have to call him something. I just hope the audience never hears it. Same way I like Fake Locke leaving the room to put on his Smokey suit. I don’t *want* to see a fakey dissolve from actor to pixels.

I love THE LAST STARFIGHTER, but I can barely hold down my retch when the ship shots come on, and I can imagine in 2023 when I making Walker watch the whole thing with me straight through AGAIN that I’m going to be glad they did the switch offscreen. Because it won’t look like the BayScope CameronVision effects we’ll be so used to by then, I’m sure.

Matt for Hire 12 May 2010

See, I thought the Smoke Monster itself was what was in the Lit-Up Cave. Him sending MiB down the cave bonded the two, and freeing up that whole “pure evil” thing. Jacob screwed up, and, now, instead of having to protect that cave, he’s gotta keep what was in there from getting out. Because, y’know, once that thing shot out of there, the cave was noticeably…darker.

Sean Maher 12 May 2010

From an e-mail rant to Larry this morning:

You know what I think? I think the questions-and-answers, mysteries-and-reveals element of LOST is tied way closer to its knowledge-and-faith theme than we’ve had explictly explained to us until now. I don’t know why this didn’t make sense to me before, but in trying to dig my way through “Across The Sea” I keep coming back to Allison Janney’s line about how every answer will lead to another question, I keep thinking that the point is in how the characters respond to being (often baselessly) informed.

At what point in the explanation and investigation of our origins and experiences do we feel satisfied? What form does that satisfaction take and what does that tell us about who we are? Those aren’t questions with discrete, binary answers. Certainty isn’t a matter of fact; it’s a matter of scale. Each of the characters on Lost has a different starting point and velocity on that scale, and the mysteries through which they’ve been paced has developed those characteristics.

What’s cool about this, to me, is that it intertwines tightly with another of the show’s major themes: identity definition. So much of the show has also been about whether and when a our identity comes from without or within us, it’s cool to see the show holding that our own individual water level of faith has to do with the interaction between our own internal instincts to trust and believe in general (“Dark Side”) and what our relationship is to the person asking us to trust and believe (“Light Side”).

I dunno, I may be getting a little lost in the rabbit hole, but just now I like it down here. It’s dark and warm and kinda crazy and fun.

Betsy Warren 12 May 2010

All I know if I don’t want to land on that island as a pregnant woman! Anyone who arrives on the island pregnant seems to lose their kids to someone else!
Claire arrived via plane crash—-gave birth to Aaron — he’s raised by Kate
Danielle arrived through a ship wreck–gave birth to Alex — she’s raised by Ben
Claudia arrived via ship wreck/gave birth to Jacob and MIB –they are raised by Fake Mother
Did I miss anyone? Oh yeah, Jin and Sun, Sun got prego on the island, went back to the island and now her kid is being raised by her folks!
Am I missing anyone? what’s up with that?

Mark Herr 12 May 2010

Obviously the Man in Black’s name s Johnny Cash. But they’re just being coy.

They could never answer all the questions and what ones they do answer will not be to everyone’s satisfaction. That’s just human nature. I mean, I liked X-Files until they started explaining things.

John Ross 12 May 2010

Mark, I disagree mildly. I’m not one to get upset if the answers aren’t what I want them to be–this is THEIR story, after all. Lack of answers bother me more.

Mark Herr 12 May 2010

So who is making the column of “Lost questions that better be answered in the finale”?

Larry Young 12 May 2010

Betsy: Horace and Amy had Ethan on the Island in 1977. Dunno if that fits your theory or not, although you could probably makes a it-takes-a-village sort of case with raising Ethan. Espicially since Ben is shown to be such an influence on him.

Mark: re X-FILES. That’s pretty much how I feel, too. I don’t want everything explained. I want to argue with my friends about it for 30 years, like I do with THE PRISONER.

Mark Herr 12 May 2010

John, thanks for the link.

There ae some good questions in there. There are also some that I don’t feel are that important and some I think they have dealt with as much as they are going to.

Looking forward to seeing how this all wraps up.

Larry Young 12 May 2010

Most of those have already been answered:

Why did the monster kill the pilot of 815? — he wasn’t supposed to be there; Lapidus was.

What has happened to Christian – why wasn’t he in the coffin? — Dude: Plane crash. His shoe’s in the tree; his femur is probably over there.

Why all the fuss about Claire’s baby not being able to be raised by anyone else? — Look what happens when kids are raised by someone else.

Why/How is Walt special, and how was he able to appear on the island after he left? — They better answer that one.

Did Ben deliberately get caught in that net, and what happened to the real Henry Gale? — Who cares? Dude probably died when his balloon plummeted to earth, yo.

Who is dropping supplies on the island for Dharma? — Here’s a guess: Dharma?

What actually happened when the hatch exploded? — I assume he means the Swan Station. They better answer that one, too.

Why was Locke wet when he came back from the submarine after laying explosives inside? — Because he swam over to it. Who is this guy?

How did the polar bear get to Tunisia? — Same way Locke did.

What are the “rules” between Ben and Widmore? — The same between Jacob and MiB. I don’t think they’re going to come out with a list of rules, though. That’d be some boring dialogue.

How did Christian appear to Jack in the hospital, and to Michael on the freighter? — They better answer this one, too.

Who was shooting from the canoe? — I’m sure we’ll see that one.

How did Ben summon the smoke monster? — text message? Really? This is an important question? The Bat-phone.

What has happened to Rose and Bernard (and Vincent)? — They answered this already. They retired.

Why did Desmond run Locke over? — To make him see Dimension X.

So out of that whole list, there’s only two questions they haven’t answered or you can extrapolate. It’s as bad as the much longer SciFi list.

erin 12 May 2010


Just. Seriously. Seriously, dude. And people expect me to get into this now? Really?

erin 12 May 2010

(By which I mean I believe that boat has sailed. Sailed far off to some time-travelling island that had the hotass guy from LotR on it at some point with a smoke monster in the middle? A smoke monster? Maybe I should check this out…

So, any hotass guys from LotR still around?)

Larry Young 12 May 2010

Yeah, when you see it all written out like that, it does seem kind of ridiculous.

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