On "Lost," Jacob first introduced the metaphor of the Island as a cork in a bottle of wine to a confused Richard Alpert in "Ab Aeterno." But it was last night's episode, "Across the Sea," that best represents the wine itself — like a bottle of wine, "Across the Sea" will live and die by how well it ages.
There's no doubt that the episode stands out as one of the most polarizing hours in the entirety of "Lost," with many fans divided on how to react to what they witnessed — was this a worthy payoff or an enormous letdown?
After several viewings of the episode, I remain greatly disappointed by "Across the Sea." It just did not work for me, and after the jump, I'll tell you some of the reasons why.
Rejecting The Light: Commenters on last night's "Across the Sea" recap definitely have a valid point — of course the light has been hinted at, and my previous statement to the contrary is absolutely false; in the immortal words of John Locke, "I was wrong."
But Movies Blog editor Adam Rosenberg summed up my problem with the light concept quite nicely on Twitter last night: "A light in a f---ing cave. I don't care what it stands for, it's still a LIGHT IN A F---ING CAVE." I'm not as taken aback by the "light in a cave" reveal as Adam seems to be, nor am I excited by the revelation. It's simply a "well, alrighty" type of reaction. I can forgive it, but I'm not blown away by it.
Now, if a crazy light monster comes bellowing out of there in the next few episodes — perhaps harkening back to the "bright light" Locke saw during "Walkabout" — I might whistle a different tune. For now, I feel rather "meh" on the whole revelation.
What's In A Name: Comic book creator Jonathan Rosenberg of "Goats" fame wasn't bothered that we didn't learn the Man in Black's name, saying: "I think the point regarding Smokey's name is that he never gets one; he is nameless, unwanted, the root of his jealousy of Jacob."
An interesting point, but wasn't it fairly explicit that MIB was deeply loved by the Anti-Mom? Even Jacob suspected that MIB was her favorite of the two boys. Just because MIB's real mom didn't survive long enough to name him doesn't mean Anti-Mom couldn't have come up with something.
Thus far, the writers have refused to give Smocke an actual name — every time that Jack, Hurley or anyone else refers to him as "Locke" just doesn't ring true, because this creature is the Anti-Locke in every conceivable way except physical resemblance. "Across the Sea" was a natural opportunity to give the audience a concrete name for the Monster, but it never came through. At this point, it probably never will.
Adam & Eve: Perhaps the most personally disappointing moment of "Across the Sea" was the revelation of Adam and Eve as the bodies of MIB and Anti-Mom, even putting aside the creepy oedipal implications of the mother-son duo going under the post-mortem monikers of Adam and Eve.
In "The White Rabbit," Jack hypothesized that these bodies had been dead for 40 - 50 years based on the deterioration of their clothing. It's a clue that led many "Lost" fans, myself included, to guess that Adam and Eve were main cast members, or at least, people we've known or heard about for quite some time.
But clearly, the real Adam and Eve have been simmering for a bit longer than 40 or 50 years. It's disappointing that this longstanding clue was ignored, especially in the awkwardly edited callback to "The White Rabbit."
The Pacing Problem: The aforementioned problems are personal gripes that I can ultimately let go of as the show sprints to the finish line. But there's one problem on "Lost" that's really starting to worry me — the pacing.
Pacing has always been an issue on "Lost," particularly in this final season. Very little actual time has passed from the beginning of the season to the point we're at now. Characters stayed in the temple for several episodes in a row with barely two days passing in actual time. After that, the cast was split into two camps and stayed there for another handful of episodes. There has been very little forward momentum on the island, with episodes like "Ab Aeterno" and "Happily Ever After," brilliant though they may be, slowing down the pace.
"The Candidate" is an excellent example of the season's pacing issues. Sayid could have easily and naturally died in the first episode of the season, but instead, his character was dragged out in mysterious but ultimately unimportant ways, only to explode on a submarine. Jin and Sun, too, essentially shuffled their feet all season long for one extremely hurried reunion and a prompt, admittedly tearful execution. These are moments that could have occurred throughout the season, rather than saving all the gut-punches for the final handful of episodes.
But like it or not, that's where we are — and then we get "Across the Sea," an episode that not only completely sidestepped the difficult losses of "The Candidate," but also offered very little about Jacob and MIB that we couldn't have learned in one or two scenes. The entirety of "Across the Sea" could have transpired in two scenes, with the remaining segments of the episode dedicated to how the feud between these two brothers escalated to the point where MIB put the hit out on Jacob. Instead, we got a ham-fisted callback to season one, a character we never really needed to meet and, as our esteemed editor so eloquently put it, a light in a f---ing cave.
"Across the Sea" would have been more palatable had it come earlier in the season, or even in the series. But this late in the game, with so much ground to cover with the characters we've grown attached to and so little time to mourn the people we've lost, it felt disruptive to the already rushed pace in these final episodes of "Lost."
Tell us what you liked and disliked about "Across the Sea" in the comments section and on Twitter!