LOST Season Six: Mother

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.

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10 Responses to LOST Season Six: Mother

  1. Dylan says:

    Perhaps the mother had been bringing in candidates to replace her just like Jacob was. Claudia’s kids could have been the final candidates.

    I hope people are prepared that Tuesday’s episode is basically just going to be the first hour of a 3.5 hour movie, so it will feel incomplete and like a set-up (just like “Follow the Leader”) last year or “There’s no Place Like Home Part 1” two years ago. So I hope they don’t have their hopes up for an amazing, satisfying episode. After 6 years of Lost, I’m finally getting the hang of the rhythm of the season. Too bad this is the last time we get to go through that rhythm. By the way, a week from today, Lost will be done forever.

    • Jason says:

      I had the same thought today after listening to the podcast. With such a strong reaction to “Across the Sea”, I fear that the rabid fan base might be setting some expectations that are going to be difficult to attain. I know I’ve vacillated on this earlier in the season, but I’m really okay with most of the answers we’ve been given so far. And the more I think about it, I’m even pretty cool with the “light” explanation that we received in “Across the Sea”. Knowing that the properties of light and water are sort of intermingled together to make the lifeblood of the Island…I don’t know, that sort of works for me. And there are so many connections you could make to the Island Light at the Source and the Bible’s declaration that all humanity bears the image of God — and I’m always a sucker for imago Dei theology. Anyway, I couldn’t agree with you more…I expect “What They Died For” to end on a semi-cliffhanger note or at the very least, it’ll probably fling our castaways out all over the Island in all kinds of peril with very little likelihood of survival and redemption. But we’ll still have two and a half hours of show in the finale, people! Just keep it together!

      We’ll miss you at the LOST finale viewing. It’ll be a break from tradition, man.

  2. tara says:

    I was thinking about this episode last night and it occured to me that all of the babies born on the island have been taken from their mothers and raised by someone else. MIB, Jacob, Aaron, and Russeau’s daughter Alex. And although Jin and Sun’s daughter was conceived on the island and born elsewhere, someone else will be raising her now that she is orphaned.

    • Jason says:

      That’s a good point, Tara. And the producers have said that this episode was intended to demonstrate some of the same themes we’ve already seen in the time our castaways have been on the Island. Such as…

      – The conflict between MIB (a man of science, searching the Island, plotting a way to manipulate the Island light and water in order to leave) and Jacob (a man of faith, believing Mother’s explanation re: their reason for being on the Island, believing that the Island is his home and that it needs protecting). Of course, this theme has been played out over the past six seasons through the characters of Jack and Locke.

      – The violence that comes to the Island’s residents: Mother’s destruction of MIB’s corrupt community; the Purge; the Incident; etc.

      – The thematic implications of being born on the Island. As you point out, inevitably, these children seem destined to be orphaned. But whether they’re raised by their “real” parents (like Jack, Ben, Sayid) or by foster parents (as were Locke, Aaron, Alex, Jacob, MIB), a major thematic element of the show demonstrates the impact of poor parenting on our characters.

      – Games & rules. The show has long referenced different games throughout its run: Jack and Sawyer playing poker; the golf tourney Hurley initiates; playing Risk at New Otherton; Miles and Hurley playing tic-tac-toe earlier in the season with tree leaves; the Mousetrap references from Locke’s flashback a few seasons ago. And of course, we’ve heard Ben and Widmore talking about “rules” in the aftermath of Alex’s death. This episode nods to all of that with MIB and Jacob playing Senet. Jacob balks at MIB’s “rules”, prompting MIB to say, “One day you can come up with your own set of rules.”

      – “Special” children. MIB is told by his Mother that he is “special”, a statement we’ve heard numerous times, mostly with regard to John Locke. But the show has also plumbed this theme with Walt and Aaron. Walt was deemed “special”, thus he was kidnapped by the Others in order for them to “test” him. (Remember the webisode where he brings all of those birds to the Hydra Island station where he was being held?); Aaron’s storyline is dominated by the question of who is supposed to raise him, supposedly because he is “special” as well.

      I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The more I think about it, the more I really liked this episode. It’s becoming grander and more epic in its sweep the more I think about it.

  3. Dylan says:

    The episode also showed the theme that attempting to subvert your destiny (MIB trying to leave the island) not only fails, but it leads to pain and suffering. This is clearly seen with Jack and the Oceanic 6 leaving the island, Locke losing faith in season 2 and crashing the Hatch computer, etc.

    • Jason says:

      The episode also hit on the theme of free will vs. determinism. I wonder how many individuals on the show have ever really been making their own decisions. It seems as if many (if not all of them) have been pawns in MIB & Jacob’s “game”.

      • Dylan says:

        Hmmmm. See I still think they had free will. I just think Jacob/MIB were able to predict what decisions they would make and manipulate events based on those decisions. It’s kind of mix of free will and destiny. But that’s a whole other discussion.

  4. Dylan says:

    And yeah, if an episode causes this much discussion and debate, eventually you have to say it was a success, whether or not you personally liked it. I sometimes think that’s what the writers want (and I have a feeling it will be the case for the finale). Last year a lot of people didn’t like “The Incident,” but it provided so much discussion and speculation that it really gave the show a lot of momentum. And “The Incident” is one of my favorite episodes now, even though I wasn’t initially thrilled about it. Sometimes these things grow on you. I have a feeling I’ll look back on “Across the Sea” and like it a lot. I watched it again on Sunday and I enjoyed it a lot more on the second viewing.

  5. Jason says:

    But we have to wonder how much free will they really had, what with Mother playing favorites with them and trying to manipulate them (as I think she was). And Jacob’s “touches” and the lighthouse mirrors call into question whether or not our castaways would’ve chosen certain paths if Jacob hadn’t divinely intervened. So there’s balance there for sure. As you say, another conversation for another day.

  6. Dylan says:

    Here’s a question no one has brought up. If Claudia and her people were Romans (or at least spoke Latin), why would she give her first son a HEBREW name? My theory: she was a Jewish slave taken after Titus’ conquest in A.D. 70.

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