Tuesday, May 11, 2010

LOST Running Diary: Across the Sea

I've been debating whether or not to live blog the epic finale next Sunday, and just in case I choose not to, I'm going to fire one up for tonight's "Crazy Episode 15," Across the Sea. I expect big things from this self-contained episode. In no particular order, I want to find out:

- Smokey's name (Esau? Wallace? Lindelof?)
- The identities of Adam and Eve in the caves
- The identities of the little brats that Smokey has been seeing in the jungle
- Is Smokey equal to Jacob?
- Did Jacob grant Smokey his power?
- Why does Jacob have a thing for numbers, especially the cursed numbers?

As usual, the rules of the Running Diary state that I get one shot at writing this. Nothing is edited after the fact, so don't get mad at me when I am 100% right.

8:59 - Let's roll...
9:00 - We start off with typical boat wreckage and an exotic dame arriving on the Island. Smokey's wife? His mommy? OOOOOO she's pregnant, so I'm thinking the latter. Wow, for a stressed, shocked, trauma patient, she knows enough to search for fresh water right away. I'm intrigued.... +1
9:01 - Allison Janney? She speaks Latin like any good Roman... and also English. +1
9:03 - Exotic dame (aka Claudia) is giving birth. Place your bets!!! Jacob or Smokey!! I'm saying Smokey cause she has the devil's black hair.... OOOOOOO JACOB!!!!!!!!!! +5
9:04 - ANOTHER BABY!!!!! WHOA!!!!!! Here comes the name!!! "I only picked one name" - Stupid exotic dame. Ten bucks says she dies right away like Ben's mom. +2
9:05 - Yikes!!! I'm half right. Whereas momma Linus died from birth complications, Exotic Dame gets her skull bashed in by Allison Janney. What a sweet opener. +5

First Commercial Thoughts - It seems so simple, why didn't any of us predict this before? THEY ARE TWIN BROTHERS!!! One wrapped in white cloth, the other swaddled in darkness, but how do they get their powers? Crazy Allison Janney has a mother Gaia vibe going for her, so she's probably responsible.

9:08 - First question answered. The two brats are kid Smokey and kid Jacob. "I JUST KNOW HOW TO PLAY BACKGAMMON, JACOB!! DON'T TELL MOM!!!" Lame. -5
9:10 - Jacob is a sucker and a momma's boy, while Smokey is a scheming liar, and "special" according to Mother Gaia. Smokey mentions something about "Across the Sea," but I missed its importance, which is good because I hate when episode titles are mentioned in the dialogue. -3
9:13 - The boys encounter THE OTHERS!!! The director goes out of his way to hide the chieftain's face. Are they Egyptian? Are they conquistadors? They look like Mongols, but who the hell knows. -4
9:15 - Okay, a lot just happened. Gaia just gave the same "Man is inherently evil" speech that Smokey tells Jacob at the beginning of Season 5. Then we find out the mom has made it so they can never hurt each other (how? beats me). And yes, there's a rainbow/pot of gold/fountain of youth magic cave. "The warmest, brightest light that you have ever seen or felt. And we must make sure that no one ever finds it." That means you, Widmore. +2
9:18 - Her primary goal is to protect this pocket of light so greedy men can never extinguish it, and that responsibility will be passed on. Obviously she'll choose Jacob, which is weird because she kinda favors Smokey. Eventually, JACK SHEPHARD will probably assume this role. +5

Commercial Break 2 - What the hell is happening? Cave of light? Someone took second-rate fantasy storytelling (Legend of the Seeker?) and wrapped it in a LOST exterior. They are chuckin a lot of this up to faith with vaguely straightforward explanations like "I'm responsible for this" and "this is our mission" and "It's like this because I said so." YOU'RE TALKING SHIT, WRITERS. EXPLAIN YOURSELVES!!

9:22 - "One day, you can make up your own game and everyone else will have to follow your rules." BLANTANT FORESHADOWING ALERT!!! +1
9:23 - OOOOO exotic birth mom is back and standing under a spotlight. Is she one of the whisperers? Someone else doing Smokey-like shapeshifting? +1
9:24 - Jesus H Christ, they've said "Across the Sea" 7 or 8 times. THAT BUGS ME!! Also, Smokey sees his people that crashed with the birth mom, and he also learns that Gaia is a lying bitch. These characters kinda suck ass. I miss grown up Jacob and Smokey... -8
9:29 - Smokey just left because he's the sympathetic rogue. Jacob stayed because he's a gutless momma's boy. The Mom is a crazy loon. We didn't really need 5 minutes to say all this, so whatever... -8

Commercial Break 3 - All the momentum from that awesome opening scene is gone. The first Act of this episode has worn out its welcome, and we need to get to the big conflict. Why does the Man in Black want to kill Smokey in their later years? What fatal mistake does Smokey make that causes the kids to haunt him (besides murdering Jacob, right)? Here's my prediction: Smokey gets in with his people and because of them, they hunt down and kill Gaia. Still no sign of any black smoke...

9:34 - YES! Grown-up Jacob, still kinda spineless, is back to dominating the rug-making business. And he still regularly plays board games with Smokey. Now we're cookin'. +7
9:35 - "I found a way off the Island."
"That's impossible! There is no way off the Island!"
And now we see the type of well that Desmond was thrown in. Woo hoo!!! +4
9:37 - For someone who presents herself as all-knowing, Gaia sure dropped the ball with this magnetic well stuff. I thought she was supposed to prevent men from tampering with the Cave light!?!?!? +2
9:39 - FROZEN DONKEY WHEEL!!!!!! I can't explain it fast enough, but the scene between Gaia and Smokey was the best of the episode so far; just all-around fantastic. +10
9:41 - WHOAAAA I wrote that last bit before Gaia SMASHED SMOKEYS HEAD INTO THE WALL. Rocks to the head seem to be her preferred method of murder. WOW. +10

Commercial Break 4 - How's that for a 180 from our last commercial break? Smokey has figured out how to leave the Island (using science... hmmm), and his mom punishes him with a good bashing. I kinda thought Smokey was going to kill her down there, so it completely caught me by surprise. Is he dead? I think not. It's interesting that he has characterized his people as greedy, manipulating, and selfish, which is exactly what he is. It's also interesting that the donkey wheel works in transporting people off the Island, but Smokey never leaves...

9:45 - "Jacob... it's time!" Bring on the crazy well. +5
9:46 - "Life, death, rebirth. It's the source, the heart, of the Island." "Promise me you will never go down there." This is another scene loaded with themes of temptation and faith. Oooo she breaks out the magic bottle (later broken by Smokey in Ab Aeterno). If Jacob drinks the magic wine, he accepts the role of Island Protector. Jacob correctly points out that Smokey was the chosen one, but after a little pissing and moaning, he drinks.... Great music, by the way. +12
9:50 - Smokey ain't dead, but he's plenty pissed that his Orchid well was filled in... AND THE CAMP WAS BURNED TO THE GROUND!!! Wow, we never would've thought that Jacob would be behind Island massacre. I guess this is the turning point that causes Smokey to hate Jacob's guts. +5

Commercial Break 5 - So Jacob wiped out the camp. Maybe he also wiped out the Ajira 316 survivors before he died. I'm not sure why he would do that, but now we see that Smokey isn't the only one capable of genocide. Since they are probably the only 2 left on the Island, we might see this episode ending like the Season 5 finale ended: with them chatting on the beach as the Black Rock appears. Right now this episode is sitting at a B-; let's hope the home stretch dominates.

9:55 - Okay, another thought. Perhaps the mom killed that camp and not Jacob... that makes more sense. I lose points for being stupid. -2
9:56 - DEATH BY FANCY KNIFE!!!! Not quite as cool-sounding as Sawyer's "Winner by knockout" comment to the Doc, but it works. +15
9:58 - Why didn't you let me go? Because I love you. Awesome stuff, and now Jacob is pissed. THROW HIM DOWN THE WELL!!!! THAT'S HOW HE BECOMES SMOKEY!!!! +10
9:59 - The light is extinguished, and it is now manifested into THE FUCKING SMOKE MONSTER!!!! +15
10:01 - YES!!!! Cut to Jack and Kate finding the bodies in the caves with the black and white stones!!!! ADAM AND EVE = SMOKEY AND GAIA. That's a much more satisfying explanation than Rose and Bernard or Sawyer and Juliet. I'm loving the season 1 throwback. Also, did you notice that season one Locke had way fewer wrinkles? +10
10:02 - "Goodbye, brother... goodbye" +10


Final Arbitrary Score: 98, right between "Lapidus' beard" and "Jack's sleeveless purple shirt" on the LOST Awesome Scale. And yes, there is a scale.

Final thoughts: LOST has succeeded in NEVER producing a likable child character. Walt was a huge, whiny loser. The kid versions of Locke, Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Charlotte all sucked. Aaron is a mental defect, and Ji Yeon is ugly. So it doesn't surprise me that I also hate the kid versions of Smokey and Jacob.

Of the questions I asked at the beginning of the episode, 4/6 of them were answered, and that's pretty damn good. Since Smokey technically died, is that why he can't leave the Island by using the donkey wheel? If that's the case, then what would it take to get him to leave? I feel like we should have enough information by now to answer this question, but I can't answer it. A lot of the show's mythology has been explained, and this was definitely a good standalone story, so I'll give it a B+.

1. Ab Aeterno
2. the Candidate
3. the Substitute
4. Lighthouse
5. Across the Sea
6. Everybody Loves Hugo
7. Happily Ever After
8. The Last Recruit
9. LAX
10. Dr. Linus
11. Sundown
12. the Package
13. Recon
14. What Kate Does


Andy said...

You should have come to me Herbert, being twins was predicted by me since "The Incident." Biblical Jacob and Esau were twins.

I agree with your review. I was really pumped for this episode but a little disappointed that it wasn't "better." I thought the kids and the whole tunnel of light reminded me of Jake Lloyd and midi-chlorians. The best scene was probably the flashback/flashforward to Season 1.

What's the timeline here? Jacob and MIB seemed like close friends before MIB's "death" but bitter rivals in scenes where we have seen them previously. Is MIB a ghost in "The Incident" and "Ab Aeterno?"

Herb said...

From everything I was reading, the best way to explain's MiB's raw hatred of Jacob is this: The Smoke Monster has been around long before MiB floated down the stream into the glowing grotto. MiB was pretty much a good guy (like Baby Ben). Once he was exposed to the light, he unleashed (and maybe was transformed into) the Smoke Monster, but they aren't the same person. Smokey was using his body like he's using Locke's body now. And just like Ben warped into an evil person (until Smokey was reborn as Locke), MiB is the evil person that hates Jacob by the time Richard comes along.

Andy said...