Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lost Season 6, Episode 15: Across the Sea: One more thing

Spoilers Alert. Also undercooked random thought alerts, though you don't normally announce that.

One aspect of Across the Sea I did not see discussed (though I did not look that hard: mostly AV Club and Slate) -- One aspect of Across the Sea kind of dawned on me in the last few days. Back when the Richard episode aired people said "Lost always does this. You always think 'the Desmond episode' or 'the Ben episode' or 'the Richard episode' or even 'the Dharma time travel years' will finally give us the answer, and each time the answer is the same -- the guy you thought had all the answers is as caught in this mystery as anyone else. Desmond does not know what is up with the hatch, Ben lied about being born on the island, Richard is just another castaway who happens to be immortal, the Dharma guys know nothing. The Jacob and Man in Black story was no different. You thought these were going to be like the "original guys" but they were just castaways, like Jack and Locke. Like the idea from early this season that the whole show is about finding a candidate to replace Jacob, people died on the way to Jacob being the candidate. Across the Sea really is just LOST in miniature. Even Alison Janney said (though she does tell lies) that she was got here like everyone else, by accident. Everyone is a castaway. There are no natives. Across the Sea just told the story of the most recent time in history a new candidate came forward to protect the island -- it just felt like more because it has not happened in a long time. Though I am a bit aggravated with some things, I really do like that Jacob and the Man in Black are castaways like everyone else, flawed people with dark pasts. It makes it easier to sympathize with them than if they were merely supernatural forces with all the answers. And maybe it muddies the waters of the finale to make the Man in Black so sympathetic, but it is also ALWAYS better to be able to sympathize with a character than not, always better to be able to say "you know, if I were that guy in that situation, I might have done the same thing." Satan in Paradise Lost being a great example. And it is perfectly Ok for Jacob to not be very sympathetic: he was punished by being killed at the end of season 5, and the whole thing is about replacing him anyway. His suckiness sets up part of the need for the new guy.


Matt Jacobson (formerly Ultimate Matt) said...

This is a cut and paste of an email I sent to my brother Tuesday night, after the episode. I thought a lot of the same things as you.

I think this episode would have been better as an Epilogue to the series, after the actual finale. Sort of a coda to the show; at that point, we wouldn;t really expect anything from it. But the entire episode seemed more like the writers just wanted to have some fun playing a little game with themselves of "can we fit EVERYTHING that's ever happned on the show into one episode", in order to show that all of this has happened before, and will happen again:

1) Science vs Faith (Jack vs locke, MIB vs Jacob)
2) Crazy mom in the jungle
3) going down a hole in the ground to do "something" to some weird power source
4) outsiders coming to the island to dig & experiment
5) wanting to leave vs "we have to stay"
6) finding a little village in the jungle when you thought you were alone
7) pregnant woman comes to island, gives birth to "special" baby
8) baby being taken from mother and raised by someone else who has good intentions
9) guardian of the island choosing their successor via arbitrary "mysterious" means
10) even little things like one person teaching another a game on the beach that involves light pieces vs dark pieces (Locke taught Walt backgammon on the beach in season one)

It really seems more and more like the writers just wanted to play a little writing experiment. This wouldn;t be so annoying if it was a coda to the series, sort of a cute little "it's all happened before!" when we weren't expecting any more answers, anyway. It was really just a super-compressed version of the whole series; lke Grant Morrison re-wrote the whole thing.

jennifer said...

i'm not sure why people are so obsessed with getting answers from LOST.
i think shows like LOST are better when they do not try to give specific answers.
the answers never seem to be as fun and interesting as the conjecture. and sometimes they just ruin everything.
the x-files should serve as a warning for all time on that matter.