LOST “Across the Sea” Recap: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Good: Making good on their promise to deliver actual answers this season, last night’s mythologically dense episode penned by none other than LOSTerminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse themselves, delivered. Big Time. By taking a page from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA’s final season playbook (See: “No Exit”) the episode, entitled “Across the Sea,” was a non-stop barrage of answers to some of the series’ most pressing questions. Including but not limited to: The origins story of Jacob and the Man in Black’s (MIB), the reason why MIB is so adamant about getting off the island, why Jacob and MIB can’t hurt each other, where the donkey wheel came from, the revelation of the island’s true power, and the identity of the two corpses Jack and Kate found way back in season one.

The Bad: Let’s start with those corpses shall we. For a show which prides itself on leaving it to its passionate fanbase to take it upon themselves to piece together the plethora of blink-and-you’ll-miss moments and easter eggs that are cleverly planted throughout each carefully constructed episode, we couldn’t help but find it curious that Lindelof and Cuse went out of their way via first season flashback to ensure that your average run-of-the-mill fan (read: us) made the connection between the skeletons in the cave and Jacob’s mother/brother. Curiouser still, the decision to cast THE WEST WING’s Allison Janney as what is arguably on of the most pivotal guest starring roles of the series thus far, that of Jacob and his brother’s adoptive mother. As much as it pains us to say this about one of our favorite actresses in the history of the medium — from the first day we were introduced to the relative unknown group of actors that made up the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 — the series has always been about story, over “Special Guest Star.” And having a crazy versions of C.J. Cregg show up on the island simply didn’t work, and what’s worse, completely removed us from what should have been one of the most riveting instalments of the series to date. Also taking us out of the story were young Jacob and MIB. Particularly how they managed to look as though they had just stepped out of a Tiger Beat Magazine cover shoot — Bieber Bob and all — while their Mom and those pesky “others,” with mud strewn across their faces and hair every which way looked as though they had actually been stranded on a mysterious island.

The Ugly: The continued realization that the story we’ve invested six years of our life may in fact have amounted to nothing more than the world’s longest squabble between two brothers who never grew up. Needless to say, the final 3.5 hours should be very interesting.

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  • jane

    Answers? I really feel like this episode created more questions that it did answers.

    I mean, was there any other answers to why Jacob & MIB can’t hurt each other or why MIB can’t leave the island besides the mother said so? I’m assuming you are calling the light the island’s true power, but it wasn’t explained, just shown and given some cryptic description.

    Having a brand new character show up in the last four hours and randomly say things with no reasons and explanations doesn’t provide the closure I’m looking for with this show.

  • stockwell

    Squabble between 2 brothers who never grew up!?! This is classic mythology. Thor vs. Loki; Cain vs. Abel (complete with a Garden of Eden), Darmok and Gelad at Tenagra. We talk about the “mythology” of these shows…that's exactly what Lindeloff and Cuse have given us here: a true mythological story. It's great.

    Plus, they are continuing the man of science vs. man of faith angle they have been playing out with Jack and Locke since the beginning.

  • Good point on the two brothers. I suppose it bugged me that Jacob was portrayed as this simple son who blindly followed his fake mother's orders without asking any question as to why. Also strange how the Man in Black was painted to be the villain of our story last week, while this week, after we get his side of the story we're forced to sympathize with him.

  • Dave

    This episode frustrated me so much. Yes there were answers but with only 3.5 hours to go there were way too many questions and confusions brought up. I would have rathered this episode be a little earlier in the season. I feel more confused about smokey and jacob now then I have all season.

  • Jane,
    I think if you're waiting for really specific answers you're going to be sorely disappointed come May 23. Especially since Lindelof and Cuse have gone on record as saying that many things (of which we have a feeling will include explanations for the magical light) are going to be left up to interpretation along the same lines as Star Wars midichlorians

  • It was an okay episode. We really didn't need the season 1 flashback, and i am saying that as another average run-of-the-mill fan.
    And it looks like NO ONE got the who's-skeletons-are-those question right.

  • Seth C.

    I don't know, I'm still confused about the episode. Did MIB turn into Smokey? or is it the other way around? We saw the wheel leaning against the wall, how did it get installed? We still don't know why MIB can't leave the island. More confusion!!

  • adfsad

    Unfortunately any of the answers the writers chose to highlight were really non-answers. They don't relate back to anything. Now we have “magic”. When did this show become about magic and not faith vs. science. It's a copout that doesn't then have to explain anything.

    Turning a wheel magically controls magic light. Drinking a magic potion magically makes you responsible for several thousand acres of real estate. Going down a magic river into a hole magically transforms you into magic smoke. Being on the island magically allows you to shipwreck ships, planes or see whatever in your magic lighthouse. You get the point? Utterly a waste. Don't even botter figuring it out – because it doesn't make any logical sense.

  • Seth,
    I'm under the impression that smokey and MIB are now one of the same, and that Smokey took MIB's personality/conscious after Jacob sent MIB into the cave!

  • Nick

    Dude, I'm glad YOU got all the “answers” you refer to in *The Good*…..so maybe you can explain them to me, because I certainly didn't get all of those answers, including:

    a) the reason why MIB is so adamant about getting off the island
    b) why Jacob and MIB can’t hurt each other
    c) where the donkey wheel came from (Okay, we know where, I guess…but WTF?)
    d) the revelation of the island’s true power

    If those were answers, then my definition is totally different.

  • Dave

    Yeah I feel we got vague non answers. Why can't they kill eachother? They just can't. Why do you want off the island? I just do. What special power does the island hold? Light.

    Sad thing is I think this is all were going to get when it comes to Jacob and MIB. I see the last couple hours of the show being more about the sideways and island worlds.

  • tennies

    I sympathize with MIB pre-Smoke Monster just as I did with Locke. The MIB doesn't seem evil, the Smokey version of him is evil like Smokey Locke.

  • crystalinad

    I think the whole experience changed Jacob. From what I have seen of him in past episodes he is much different than mommas boy Jacob. Also, I heard a theory that it was actually showing technology vs. nature more than good vs. evil, ect. Brother was more of the scientist, studying the island and wanting to know things where Jacob was more of the naturalist, following mother and wanting to take care of the island….

  • crystalinad

    Yep! We aren't going to get all the answers that we want, just the ones to tie up the story hopefully in a satisfying way.

  • crystalinad