Holy Origin Stories, Batman! Of course,
Well, we got what we have been asking for. The big question is whether we like the answers.
- Adam and Eve are really Jacob's family. Check. We knew it had to be something like this, but mother and son rather than husband and wife. Murderous mother and murderous son, that is. More on that below.
- Jacob and the still un-named Man in Black are brothers. Perhaps suspected, but still interesting.
- Jacob did not really steal MIB's form, although MIB can see it that way. He threw him into a golden pond and it killed him yet also transformed him.
- We see the origin of Smokey--Brother plus golden pond of energy equals black pillar of yuck.
- We see the origin of the donkey wheel. Of course, this raises the question--who built the one that worked for Ben and Locke? After all, Mom killed all the original diggers/builders? Did MIB/Smokey do it with the subsequent waves of men?
- Stones on Adam and Eve--just from the ancient backgammon game.
- Why Fake Locke talked so derisively of his mother. She was a super-bitch who created the evil that MIB became.
- Origins of the rules. But, of course, the question really becomes (excuse me for going all social sciency on y'all) whether these rules are intersubjective? That is, they exist because they are believed by the actors to exist. Jacob and MIB believe Mom, but who is to say that these rules are external to their beliefs? After all, Jacob does end up killing his brother.
- We see the origins of the knife that killed Jacob and that Dogen gave to Sayid to kill FLocke--it was the knife MIB used to kill Mom. Perhaps that original sin and/or her blood is what makes it useful for killing her "sons."
Mysteries not so resolved:
- Why do people get sucked to the Island? Boat after boat after plane, etc. Only the Black Rock's seems to have been explained.
- The semi-immortality is not really explained. Sure, Smokey is immortal because he is really un-dead (not a Zombie, not a Vampire, but another form of undead--Lich? I don't know), but what about Jacob? How old was StepMom before she died?
- What the hell is Jacob's brother's name? Never mentioned at all. "I only thought of one name!" Give me a break. Cuse and Lindelof are playing with us as this is the least important mystery.
- Of course, the big question is who is step-grandmother of Jacob and MIB if Allison Janney's character is the step-mother? Where did she come from?
- Still no answers about the Egyptians or how long Jacob has been there since the other boaters were not so distinguishable. They did look very much like how the Others dressed when they sought to fool our Oceanic survivors. Hmmm.
- What powers did Mom have? She murdered an entire village of folks. Perhaps, just perhaps, she was Smokey, too. Otherwise, how does she know what the golden pond would do? And it does seem to be the case that becoming Smokey is a curse. It provides great powers but is probably not a great way to live.
- Where does Jacob's powers come from? Proximity to the Golden Pond? From the duration of time on the magical island?
- Why can his brother see the dead and Jacob cannot?
- We do not really learn how or why Jacob/candidates can and do keep Smokey locked up on the Island. It may be one of the rules, but this episode leaves me less convinced about the binding force of the rules.
Ok, let's go through the highlights. First, the episode is perhaps the first one since the pilot that did not start with "what happened in previous episodes." Either that or the Canadian feed was messed up. I think the former, as there is no relevant previous events for this.
Best answer to the folks watching the show: "Every question and answer will lead to another question." Or as someone put it somewhere, it is turtles all the way down.
Jacob is the older brother, which is only appropriate. And with MIB's birth, sibling rivalry is born. Jacob always resented MIB as being more loved, even the forty year old version of him. I guess no public school means he is poorly socialized. Only interacts with mom and brother, and they were mighty flawed folks. MIB knows how to lie early. Jacob had to learn manipulation--in which he eventually gains great competence.
One thing to remember here--Jacob and MIB were born from a mortal, so that limits their immortality just a bit (or not at all, depending on how you look at Highlander). Step-mom kills the real mom. So, they may not be born via crime, but instead of circumcision and bad wine, their births are marked by the murder of their mothers. I guess I prefer the former. Well, sort of.
Next, we see the boys growing up with a control freak for a Mom. They play a game, and MIB tries to get Jacob to lie to Mom. He fails miserably but it matters not. She only lets MIB think he tricked her and then only briefly.
The boys see other folks, but before her lies become apparent, she diverts the kids by
What does protecting it mean? Seems like throwing one's brother into the pool is probably not protection at all. Anyhow, some big assertions from Mom that seem to govern the kids: you cannot leave, you cannot harm each other (they sure seem to do a great job of it--Jacob loves the first strike), etc.
MIB shares Mom's beliefs about the nature of man. Greedy, manipulative, selfish, etc. But seems to me they are both projecting. Even Jacob is jealous of Mom's love. So, they are not so different and probably actually worse then the humans who show up as they instigate nearly all of the bad stuff that happens. Claudia did no harm, but birth a few babies and then got killed. The other humans (villagers?) did nothing but dig some wells and put together a donkey wheel long before they came into fashion. The killing is all done by Mom and MIB. And Jacob.
Jacob and MIB seem to get along ok despite their separate lives, playing their games. Jacob is not going to stop MIB, but does rat him out to Mom.
She knows her time is up, after her bout of murder. She shows Jacob where the Golden Pond actually is. She makes him drink, but the story really here is back to the classic Lost themes of fate vs free will. She says he has to drink and then protect the Island (and eventually find a replacement). But he has to choose to drink. She has to persuade him. He chooses to do so. So, I see free will here even if he does what Mom wants.
And then she splits off, knowing that she is going to die soon. And then Jacob kills his brother. What a lovely family. Jacob created Smokey--so the sin lies with Jacob. Of course, he was punishing a murderer. Who punished a murderer. And then the murderer he punished killed him by proxy. So, eye for an eye really does leave everyone blind.
And it ends with flashforwards to Jack and Kate and Locke at the caves. It was pretty clear early on that Mom and the boys lived at the caves from the first season. That Adam and Eve were really MIB and Stepmom was not surprising once you see that this is the location. Who else could be Eve? Claudia's body was not here. MIB's death was a bit of a shock, but then we get Smokey's origins. And note, there will be no lesson about great power and great responsibility as he has no uncle. Too bad, he could really use an Uncle Ben.
Some semi-final random thoughts:
- Anybody else think that the smoke produced by the village burning was a call back to the black smoke that heralded an Others attack in season one?
- The rocks in the cave actually were not nearly as meaningful--just two pieces from the game. More meaningful were the later rocks--on the scale.
Instead, we found out a bunch of stuff that ties things together--the donkey wheel, the specialness of the Island (the golden pond), the Smoke Monster, the personalities in play, the rules (even if I still think they are sketchy), etc.
It is clear that while Cuse and Lindelof want to provide answers to the mysteries that matter in the development of the characters, they want to leave plenty of room for the Lost theorists to keep busy long after the show's finale. And they are right, it is turtles all the way down. So, we got heaps of answers, none that break the faith. I found the previous origin episode with Richard to be more entertaining--more of a thrilling ride, but this one was very interesting and complex. Lots of ways to read all of it.
And now we have only three and half hours left. One episode next week and then the finale the following Sunday.