LOST in Translation: Lost Boys

Season 6 / Episode 15
“Across the Sea”
written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse
directed by Tucker Gates

My initial gut reaction to last night’s mythos driven episode can be summed up in a single word: underwhelmed. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy “Across the Sea”, only that there were several factors that saw it fall somewhat short of my expectations. Granted, there were contributing factors, not the least of which was a house full of boys reenacting their own version of Lord of the Flies in my house. And speaking of boys, perhaps there was the problem. Child actors are asked to do a lot in Hollyweird, and the diminutive thespians  in last night’s teleplay were asked more than most, and they totally didn’t work for me. No depth. No passion. They looked the part but could not bear the weight of the mythology they were tasked to shoulder.

Beauty Has Her Way

“Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.
~Island Mother

We discover that Jacob and the Man in Black came to the Island in much the same manner as so many, presumably before and after. Their mother, heavy with child, was shipwrecked as both Rousseau and Claire would be in the far off future. She was discovered by a mysterious woman, obviously batshit from the onset, who nursed her to health and midwifed these Island Gods into the world. Doomed momma was shocked to learn she was carrying twins, having only chosen a single name for her baby to be — Jacob. No need to fret about naming number two, however, because crazy lady invokes the wrath of the rock and offers the boys’ mother up as a sacrifice to her own desired motherhood.

Island Mother instructs these foundlings in the ways of paranoia and a loathing of humanity. With a heavy hand she makes it quite clear that men “come to fight, destroy, corrupt, and it always end the same”. We’ve heard that line before.

It becomes clear that MIB is clearly more influenced by his Island Mother than is Jacob, who is a mousy mama’s boy, while MIB is a free-spirited rebel without a cause, at least until his ghost mother shows up and entices him to leave his faux mother in exchange for life with a community of castaways on the other side of the island…

Laying Down the Law

“…and that’s why they want it, because a little bit of this
very same light is inside of every man, but they always want more.”
~Island Mother

Before MIB’s exodus, Island Mother instructs the boys in the ways of the force, sharing with them the secret cave from which the heart of the island beats. She explains that it is the wellspring from which divinity shines and that a piece of it is in every living thing. Her job, and theirs, is to protect it from mankind because they are evil and corrupting.

Of course once MIB breaks ranks he becomes obsessed with discovering this wellspring and utilizing it to leave the island and return to the land of his mother, across the sea. He manipulates his newfound brethren into digging a well and gaining access to the mystical energy where he begins the construction of the frozen donkey wheel so he can harness the island’s power.

Crazy Island Mother can’t have this so she knocks MIB unconscious. When he wakes, the villagers are all dead and the well and his donkey wheel apparatus has been filled in with earth and stone.

How in the hell did she manage that one? I have a theory, which I’ll get to in a moment, but first…

Lost in the Shadows

“Don’t worry, brother, I’m not going to kill you.”

Enraged, the prodigal son returns to the caves and sneaks up behind Island Mother and stabs her through the heart. As she dies, she thanks him for releasing her. Jacob comes upon them and lies a beating on his brother, dragging him through the jungle to the mystical cave of eerie, golden light.

Their Island Mother warned them to never enter the cave, and for good reason it seems.

Jacob casts MIB into the Tunnel of Love and from hence the Smoke Monster is born. Jacob then takes his brother’s body and inters it in the cave beside their Mother… and thus the identities of “Adam and Eve” are revealed.

I Still Believe

What the — ??? Okay, not exactly what I envisioned, but it works on some level, I suppose. More answers were raised than were answered and I was left feeling like much of this story could have been interspersed with some Jack and Company action, but I guess the writers needed to get this out there, unfettered by the constraints of the current timeline. Unfortunately for me, it missed more than it hit, partly due to the vagueness of the script, but more so from acting that felt uninspired.

I can’t help but wonder if Island Mother was more Smoke Monster than Island Protector, that MIB and she were more alike than she and Jacob. MIB was the Chosen One, that much is clear. He was special and the Island spoke to him through his dead mother and through the inspired designs of the wheel.

Island Mother’s utter destruction of the survivor’s camp and the wheel well screams Smoke Monster to me. Surely she warned the boys away from entering the cave because she had made that mistake in the past and had become the very thing that MIB was destined to become as well.

Overall an underwhelming episode but one that will most likely play into events to come. My hope is that this episode will be strengthened by the final hours we have left and that in the overall context of the show its importance will be elevated.

Perhaps as I process this episode more my opinion will change.

Next Week on LOST:

“What They Died For” will see a return to the Island narrative that we are most invested in, with sideways jaunts that include guest spots by Rousseau and Alex, as well as a glimpse of Anna Lucia. This will be the final episode before the massive five and a half hour finale event on May 23. Three and a half hours remain and I am ready to see an end to the story. I have hope that everything will come together and this sneak peek from next week inspires confidence.


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