The more I reflect on last week’s “Across the Sea”, the more it works for me. I still think the dialogue is pretty lame in the scene where Mother explains the light to Jacob and MIB; but otherwise, I think this was a solid entry to the LOST canon. As mythology episodes go, it was certainly jam-packed with reveals. Moreover, I agree with Doc Jensen when he says this episode was intended to spark our imaginations to think about the show’s big picture. I’ll have more to post about said big picture later in the week.
But for now, I wanted to reflect on “Mother” — the character played so aptly by Allison Janney, not the Danzig song. After watching the episode a second time, I think there are several clues that Mother is the Island’s earlier manifestation of the Smoke Monster.
- Remember earlier this season how Locke was going around extending his hand to everyone? When Mother meets Claudia, she extends a hand to help her — a gesture that eventually leads to Claudia’s doom.
- Mother warns Jacob of a fate worse than death for anyone who would journey into the cave near “the light”. Is she speaking from experience? I think so. Although I don’t know how to square that with her role as Island protector.
- I also believe the slaughter of MIB’s “people” is a nod to Mother’s Smokey-ness. I suppose it’s possible she could’ve wiped out an entire clan of seafaring and implement-wielding Romans with her bare hands; I mean, come on, she’s a seamstress! But honestly…I’m pretty sure she Smokey-ed them into oblivion. MIB clearly understands their deaths to be the work of his Mother. (Sidebar: My buddy, Dylan, linked to this interview in the comments, but I’m bringing it here to the main page in case you missed it. Among other things, Cuse and Lindelof tell this interviewer that there is a link between The Purge and Mother’s slaughter of MIB’s camp. This is part of the Island’s repetitious cycle of death and violence.)
- As several people have already pointed out, Mother dies in a manner that is consistent with Dogen’s instruction to Sayid on how to kill MIB. (Although we should also note that her death is also consistent with what MIB told Richard in “Ab Aeterno” re: how to kill Jacob.)
But the question we should ask ourselves is how Mother perhaps also functioned as the Island’s protector prior to Jacob. Could it be that — like Jacob in the years following her death — Mother has been bringing people to the Island, too? Could it be that Mother brought Claudia to the Island specifically because of the “special” children she would give birth to? When Jacob takes the drink Mother offers him, she makes the statement, “Now you’re just like me,” or something to that effect. How is Jacob — as we see him and know him — like Mother?
Also, this guy over at Cultural Learnings brings up an interesting point. He wonders if the Kate / Claire connection (Kate raises Claire’s son, Aaron) is meant to parallel the Mother / Claudia storyline. Not sure how that plays, but it’s something worth pondering.
The good news: even if you hated “Across the Sea”, the producers have been adamant that the show is more about character than mystery. So we’re due for a satisfying resolution to the storylines of our main characters.