This episode was something of a mixed bag for me. There were elements that I thought were really cool; and there were probably an equal number of moments that were….well, hokey. (Light? That’s it? Seriously?) But hey, we only have 210 minutes of show left, so let’s roll with it. I just hope the final couple of episodes live up to my ridonkulous expectations. On to the breakdown…
Here’s what worked for me:
- Risk taking. I love the fact that the producers had the guts to bench the entire cast of regulars — with only three and a half hours of show remaining!! — to give us this essential piece of mythology. Whether you loved or hated this episode, you have to give Darlton props for going for it in a big way.
- The near-Biblical twin birth backstory. Fans have long conjectured that MIB and Jacob are two halves of a whole and this episode confirmed this notion. Now we finally understand the “Evil Twin” references from seasons gone by. I loved this motif — and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a father of twins myself. It gave the whole backstory an epic flavor for me.
- MIB. This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in the LOST canon. I know I’m not supposed to root for the bad guy and everything, but he’s just so much more interesting than Jacob. I wish we could’ve learned his real name, but I guess that’s nitpicking. Did you notice that he was told, at a young age, how “special” he was? This, of course, parallels the life of John Locke, who was told of his “special” qualities at an early age only to live a relatively normal existence prior to the crash of Oceanic 815. All of which makes Locke an easy target for manipulation, according to MIB.
- Allison Janney. Perfect casting. In fact, the role was literally written for Janney. I’m glad she had time in her schedule, because she was spot on as Jacob / MIB’s wacka-doodle surrogate Mommy. After all the Daddy issues this series has explored (seriously, practically every castaway has some kind of problem with their Dad), it was nice to balance that out with some crazy Mom shenanigans. I don’t know what that crazy incantation was that she spoke just before Jacob drank his little milkshake, but I’m guessing she bestowed some kind of gift of eternal life or something to him. And did you get the impression that she had the ability to be Smokey herself, judging by the way she apparently cleaned house over at Chez MIB? I’m wondering if MIB followed in Mama’s footsteps (smokesteps?) when he became a pillar of death. By stabbing her in the chest with the blade, I suppose we’re supposed to see the correlation between her death and Dogen’s instruction to Sayid on how to kill Smokey. And her dying words — “Thank you!” — seemed to indicate that he somehow freed her from her existence. I loved her line: “Every question I answer will just lead to more questions.” That’s a clear nod to the show’s long running critique by the fan base.
Here’s what didn’t work for me:
- Jacob. Am I the only one who thought Jacob came off as a boring little Mama’s boy in this episode? I guess he showed some backbone by whipping MIB a couple of times, but I don’t know…it just seemed like he was always trying too hard for his mother’s approval. That kind of behavior is a little unbecoming for a benevolent Island deity, don’t you think? And what’s the significance of the fact that MIB can see the dead but Jacob cannot?
- Light. I’m still not sure that Crazy Momma Lady knew what she was talking about with all the “light” mumbo-jumbo. But I honestly could’ve done without this strained, contrived dialogue. The producers have always encouraged us to embrace the mysterious over full-bodied explanations of said mysteries. And I get how they were trying to give us an answer that somehow made sense re: the nature of the Island without crossing over into a laborious Neo & the Architect conversation. I really get that. But this effort just didn’t work for me. Normally Dalton pulls this kind of thing off quite deftly; but I think this one fell flat, especially the whole thing about “this light is inside every man” or whatever. Not a terrible explanation, just a tad hokey, that’s all. Although, I sorta liked the global impact of what happens if the light goes out: “It goes out everywhere.”
- Adam and Eve. We were told a long time ago that the Adam & Eve corpses from Season 1 were very important. Check. But we were also told that the revelation of their identities would prove that the producers have known what they were doing all along. Huh? For the life of me, I can’t see how this is true. The fact that Adam & Eve = Smokey & Crazy Mama proves nothing. I guess from a certain point of view it proves that the producers knew that Smokey was the disembodied soul of Jacob’s brother all along. I guess. But I was expecting a lot more out of that reveal.
Some other thoughts:
- Apparently Smokey constructed the Frozen Donkey Wheel after “Jacob’s brother” died, presumably as a means to leave the Island. But obviously, he’s unable to use it.
- The kids we’ve seen running through the jungle. I’m still confused. We’ve seen two boys. Are they both Jacob? Or is the second one MIB? I’m inclined to think the second one was MIB, but I have no idea what that means.
- I’m struck with how many times we saw MIB and Jacob playing their “game”. Clearly we’re meant to draw the parallel to their little Island game with human pawns to demonstrate the nature of humanity.
- Did you catch the line of dialogue Crazy Mama spoke that becomes MIB’s mantra later on: “They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt…it all ends the same.” It seems that he adopts his mother’s worldview in light of her death.
- I noticed this when watching, but I didn’t know what to make of it. But one blogger wrote that the light looked much dimmer at night when Mama and Jacob went to see it; the speculation is that the light might be growing dim because the mother is tired and perhaps knows her fate.