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.