SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the episode airing May 11, don't read this.
We've always known there was a strong mythological component to Lost, but "Across the Sea" puts any doubt to rest. Our Losties (Jack, Kate, et.al.) were just normal people living normal(-ish) lives, and they somehow stumbled into this vast mythological world where things don't always follow expected paths.
It draws an interesting parallel, really, since we viewers are in the same boat: we were all living normal(-ish) lives too, and then we turned on a TV show that was (we thought) about a plane crash.
Live and learn, right?
I generally liked this episode (the high cheeseball factor notwithstanding), and understanding the magnitude of the mythology behind the story helps me release some of my need for firm answers. It does feel a little like the writers pulled a fast one on us, though--as if maybe the mystery got too deep, so they threw up their hands and said, "Oh, look! Magical mythology where anything goes--now we don't have to explain stuff!" I wish they had hinted at this more in earlier seasons (not just this last one), instead of letting us flounder around hoping for logical(-ish) answers to very specific mysteries.
On the other hand, one of the fundamental conflicts of the show has been Jack's journey as a man of science, who only at the end realizes that faith trumps science after all. In this way, our experience as viewers parallels the journey of the Losties. When I look at it that way, I stop being mad at the writers and think they're brilliant.
Bottom line: I'm still on the edge of my seat, trusting these writers to take us somewhere good.
Many things were established in this episode:
:: Jacob and Smokey (whose real name was never revealed, but my money is on "Esau") are twin brothers, adopted by a mother who is as nutty as a fruitcake (surprise! more twisted parent issues!) This explains why the relationship between Jacob and Esau is so complicated.
:: We learned that the source of all that is good about the island is its glowing, light-filled center (one of the stranger sentences I've ever typed). Esau makes an elementary explanation of this light's magnetic ability to make metal behave strangely.
:: We learned the identity of Adam and Eve (a bit of a let-down; I don't know why, but I had my hopes set on that revelation being the last scene of the series).
:: We learned that the mysterious boy who has appeared in the woods is actually the child version of Jacob, evidently appearing to remind Esau of the "rules".
:: There seems to be an underlying theme of characters replacing other characters. Jacob replaced his mother, and it appears Jack will replace Jacob, based on Sayid's comment last week.
:: We saw the birth of Smokey--one giant POOF! when Esau tumbled into the light.
To quote Jacob's mother, though, "Every question I answer will lead to another question." (When she said that line, Hubs laughed out loud.) Here are a few of the mysteries left hanging, and I think these really need to be answered:
:: Jacob's mother said she arranged it so the boys couldn't hurt each other. She arranged it with whom? The Light? The previous guardian? Yoda?
:: Why did Jacob bring so many people to the Island (all our Losties) when he only needed one replacement? For that matter, how did he get off the Island?
:: How did Esau's mother appear to him after she died? Is this some manifestation of evil, sent to tempt Esau? Or is it just the way of things on this island? People surely do have a habit of not staying dead.
:: If Jack is (at it appears), tapped to replace Jacob, will Esau need a replacement too? Could it be that it's Desmond? He does, after all, have a curious immunity to electromagnetism (as Esau probably does after the giant POOF! in the light cave). We know Desmond has some very real significance, but he's evidently not Jacob's replacement. What role will he play? They NEED to get back to Desmond in next week's episode. And they better not make him evil.
:: How does Widmore (and, for that matter, Ben) fit into this thing? Are they also just innocent "bystanders" who stumbled into this strange world, or are they fundamental players in the mythology? If it's the former, I'll be disappointed; the writers have been dangling Widmore out there as a significant player, and they need to address his part.
I'm really eager to hear your thoughts on this episode--did you think it was a satisfying explanation of the start of things? Did you think it was too cheesy? A cheap shot? Perfect? If you're blogging Lost at your place, feel free to leave a link below. This list will close to new links in a few days, to keep away the spammers.