Monday, May 17, 2010

Somewhere, Beyond The Sea


Jacob is a momma's boy. The Man in Black is "special". Boar-hunting is a perennial past-time on the Island.

And this week's song?

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that's the best

When I lay me down to die

Goin' up to the spirit in the sky

Goin' up to the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest

Gonna go to the place that's the best

Prepare yourself you know it's a must

Gotta have a friend in Jesus
So you know that when you die

He's gonna recommend you To the spirit in the sky

Gonna recommend you
To the spirit in the sky
That's where you're gonna go when you die

When you die and they lay you to rest

You're gonna go to the place that's the best

Never been a sinner I never sinned
I got a friend in Jesus
So you know that when I die
He's gonna set me up with The spirit in the sky

No, I didn't just pick this tune because it was on the Soundtrack for Wayne's World 2.

Welcome to the 3rd-to-last blog ever on John Locke's Pants. It hurts to even say/type it, but it's true and we all need to start preparing ourselves to handle the cold-hard truth that the greatest show ever made by humans is drawing to a climatic end this month. Actually, as of the writing of this re-cap, we are less than one week away. Wow.

Now, I've already heard from some of my more cuter, brunette LOST-friends/readers that they did not care for this week's episode, Across the Sea. I respectfully disagree. Was it Richard-Alpert-Back-Story-Good? No. Few episodes are. I'll acknowledge that the child actors, who were necessary to tell this story, were less than stellar. Did it answer every question still burning in the hearts and minds of LOST fans everywhere? No. But we have been wondering who Jacob is for three seasons, and Flocke for more than one, and we were given some significant pieces of the puzzle to their mysteries.

Jacob and Flocke's mom was a Roman woman on a ship headed towards who-knows-where when it was "brought" the Island's shores "by accident". My guess is, like Jacob bringing the plane to the Island, the batty broad who became his mommy brought their real mother (the foxy Claudia) and her ship to our favorite tropical locale.

(Note: If you know of any God-fearing, conservative gals in their 20's who look like this chica to the left...and they are email is Use it.)

There was, of course, much symbolism for the way in which the two twin boys came into the world. Jacob was born first (the opposite of the Jacob-and-Esau story from the Bible) and came down the hatch (LOST-pun intended) a calm baby. His brother did not get a name because Claudia didn't even know she had twins inside of her. He was the mistake. The Island's priestess (we'll be calling her Mother for the rest of this blog) wrapped baby Jacob in white swaddling and nameless brother (Smoke Monster) in black.

Oh, and then Mother bashed Claudia's skull in with a big rock.

The boys were her possessions. She needed them. She had hoped for one replacement, and now had two to choose from. She could raise them however she saw fit. She could play favorites, and more importantly, continue to play goddess of the island. She held all of the secrets and did everything she could to keep her fake-sons in the dark. She told them there was nothing else out there, which was more than enough to satisfy the contented Jacob...but for the Kid in Black, the future Smoke Monster, the answers Mother gave were not satisfying for his burning curiosity.

Eventually the boys started to grow up and Kid in Black asked more and more questions. It didn't help that he found a foreign game-board on the beach, a clear-cut sign that life exists somewhere else (perhaps across the sea). Kid in Black told Jacob that he "just knew" the rules of the board game, Senet. He addded, "One day you will have a game that you can make up all the rules for." Huh. You don't say.

Now is as good of a time as any to delve into a discussion of "the rules". We had the rules that existed between Ben and Widmore (i.e. "Don't kill my daughter and I won't kill your daughter") and that were broken when Widmore's boat-people stormed Othersville and capped Alex in the cranium. Widmore also allegedly broke a rule when he routinely left the Island and had a family (and a daughter named Penny) with a woman back in the real world. For that he was banished by Ben.

Then there were "the rules" alluded to during the discussion Jacob and Man in Black had on the beach at the beginning of the season finale episode "The Incident" last year (i.e. "We cannot kill one another directly.") During last week's episode, on the way to show the boys the magic cave they needed to protect (more on the cave upcoming), Mother said "I've made it so that you two can never hurt one another." This is obviously the genesis of the rules as we know them. It seems that whoever is the protector of the Island can set some of the terms by which other people must live. Perhaps there are limits to the rules themselves, but Mother was able to grant eternal life to her sons (see: When Kid in Black asked "What is death?", she said "Something you won't ever have to experience"), thereby protecting them from death at the hand of the other. She wanted to avoid the Cain and Abel tragedy of mankind's first family.

We've now confirmed that the little blonde boy we've seen running around the jungle this season is a younger Jacob, tormenting his twin brother (Flocke) with the constant reminder that there are rules. But what are these new rules that Jacob has set up? I used to think that they involved protection for his "candidates", but some of them, like Sun and Jin, did die. And indirectly because of Flocke, no less. So are these rules able to be broken? Are they completely arbitrary, beholden to the whims of the island's protector?

Moving right along...after the boys find the game, Jacob goes back and tells on his brother having a board game because he is a regular Honest Abe. Mother goes to confront Kid in Black, but ends up telling what I believe to be a lie: "I left that game for you to find on the beach." Maybe Mother did leave it, or maybe it really did wash up on the shore. I say she is lying because it would fit with her whole "I'm going to lie, cheat, steal, and bash people over the head with a rock to keep my island and its secrets safe" attitude. She needs to keep her boys from inquiring too much about the outside world, so lying about the game, in her mind, helps to defuse the young boy's curiosity.

She also tells her son that he is "special." This is the same thing Locke was told throughout his time on the island to keep him going as part of the Smoke Monster's plan. So it is interesting to see that the thing the Man in Black used to lure Locke in was the same thing that his mother had told him when he was a pre-smokey youngster. More than almost anything else, what I took away from this episode, in regards to the character development of Jacob and Flocke, is that Flocke is nothing more than an angry little kid who never really grew up.

Things come to a head for the three's company when the boys see that there are people in the island with them (and they love boar meat as much as the next jungle-dweller). Mother's plan of slowly indoctrinating her boys, which reminded me of Ben's plan to get Jack to want to perform surgery on his tumor-ridden spine in Season Three, was no longer an option. She knew if she was going to keep them from leaving her, and this duty to protect the island that weighed so heavily on her, she would have to cough up some good explanations for her deceptive parenting.

The boys are led, blindfolded, to a cave with a stream running in, and a glowing yellow light streaming out of it. She tells them that the reason they need to stay away from other people is that they are greedy and deadly and selfish and wicked. Her exact words, "They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt and it always ends the same," are the ones used by Flocke last season during his conversation with Jacob on the beach as a new ship of potential candidates rolls in on the tide. So again, we hear in Flocke an echo of the teachings he learned from the mother he hated enough to eventually stab. He is a guilt-ridden Smoke Monster if I ever saw one.

Mother says that the thing that needs protecting on the Island is "The Source", a well-spring of "life, death, and re-birth." This reminded of the Star Trek movie The Search For Spock in which the crew of the Enterprise launch Spock's dead carcass to a planet that apparently is capable of re-generating life. Mother says that some the light in the cave of life is in each human being. She says that although humans cannot possess "the source", they try to find it and horde it for themselves. Tale as old as time. I know this explanation Mother gave her sons (and we viewers) as to hat "the source" is might not be all too satisfying, but I am the kind of person who doesn't need everything answered right away so I am content for now. I do like that the island has an unmistakably "spiritual" component to it. If they tried to make every answer a scientific one, I'd be furious. The fact that the writers did not get too specific as to what that spiritual power is does not bother me in the least. A television show doesn't need to try to answer life's deepest mysteries.

Mother tells the boys that one of them will succeed her, but then that begs the question, "Who came before you?" She told Kid in Black that she "came from my mother"...did she really have a mother that gave birth to her on the island? There are so many other questions I now have about the history of the island, but for a show that only will run six seasons, and is much more about the people/characters involved than all the mythological mysteries, I doubt we'll hear much more about the island's back-story. The fact is that even the protectors of the island are human beings, not mystical creatures. Flocke is slightly different, but that is because he (unwillingly) went into "the source" and came out separated from his mortal body and in the form of a black pillar of smoke.

Mother had told Jacob that to go into "the source" was a fate worse than death. I'm guessing she knew what the result would be. Man in Black found out. The hard way.

Okay, so the biggest thing that jumped out to me from this episode was this: after the boys are shown the source, their real mother, my girl Claudia, appears to Kid in Black (and only Kid in Black). Jacob can't see her. Why is this? When Mother told Kid in Black that he was "special", like Hurley heard from Ben when he could see the cabin and no one else could in Season Four, did she really mean it? More importantly: who is Claudia? Is it just her spirit stuck on the island like Michael is now? Or is it another competing force on the island? Is there someone above Mother that is REALLY controlling the show? Or did Mother have an arch-enemy on the island that was able to appear in spirit form?

Assuming that Claudia is really just Richard's wife was really just his wife when she spoke (via Hurley), presumably, Michael is really just Michael...then Jacob and Flocke are not the only ones on the island who have a say in what happens on it. I guess we already kind of knew this, but I think it is now confirmed. I think part of the writers' intent with this episode was to show us that much of what we thought was so important was really just the long-standing feud between two bitter brothers who never asked for any of this responsibility.

Claudia takes her "special" son to see the rest of the island, and after seeing what the villagers are up to, Kid in Black packs his belongings, tries unsuccessfully to convince his bro-bro Jacob to join him, and takes off for his new life with "his people." The villagers represent what DHARMA did: outsiders...people with greedy, selfish interests....people who come and fight and kill and ruin things for those charge with protecting the island. Kid in Black is drawn to them because he wants more for his life than what his fake-Mother picked.

Before leaving for good, Mother tells him "No matter what you are'll never be able to leave the island." This becomes the young man's obsession for the rest of time (and the rest of the show, as we've seen it for 5-plus seasons). Think about it: almost all of the events on the island during the last five seasons have been, in part, influenced, affected, or directed by Flocke's drive to leave the island. That is a HUGE piece of the puzzle in terms of motivation. It's been talked about before this week's episode, but again, we had solid confirmation and got to see the historical and emotional reasons why Flocke wants off the island so bad.

The next 30 years of his life, Man in Black works with his hands (and his head) to discover a way off the island. They dig and find another pocket of the source's incredible power/energy. They build a big donkey wheel to bend time. So at first he tried to be civil about leaving. He was going to peaceably leave with his new invention and go back to whatever it is he thought waited for him back in the real world. But then Mother found out...she knocked her estranged son out with (shocker!) a rock, and then proceeded to kill all of the villagers he was with and bury the hole they had dug. Now, throughout the entire show I've been wondering how it is that The Others were so super-humanly strong. They beat up people much bigger than themselves. They tread softly in the jungle. They were super-soldiers. Now Mother, this middle-age woman in bare feet and a burlap sack for a dress on knocked her son out, re-buried a massive hole in the ground, and then killed men and women and burned down their homes. Does that strike anyone else as fantastical in and of itself?

When Man in Black comes to, he goes on a rampage and murders his own mother. The last thing Mother says before she croaks is "I love you...thank you." Maybe being the island's protector isn't all that it is cracked up to be? Maybe the stress she was under from having murdered and lied and deceived for so long was to much to bear? Nothing excuses the actions we saw Mother take to "protect the island", because many of them were heinous, but it's not always easy being a leader (See: Jack). Maybe the only way island-protectors can leave their post is if they are killed...and she pushed the son she loved because she needed someone to kill her and knew that Jacob never would. Just throwing out some possible ideas. We might never even find out, but it's fun to speculate, no?

The end of the episode is Jacob burying his brother and mother in the caves...Adam and Eve...and we see that Jacob is also a hurting son with childhood issues. He is a perceptive guy who knew that the fake Mother he chose to stay with when his brother left still loved the prodigal son more. That hurt him, as well it should have. But he remained faithful. He was the Man of Faith vs. the Man in Black's Man of Science.

I had finals this past week so I am all typed-out for now...but there are 3.5 hours left of the show and I promise a big finish to the John Locke's Pants journey you've been on with me for 3 years. Tonight's new episode is entitled "What They Died For" and is a one-hour venture. Then we have the Series Finale this upcoming Sunday, May 23rd at 8pm. That will be 2.5 hours.

Random Thoughts/Theories:

-The water in The Temple that supposedly has healing powers is, I believe, some of the water from "the source". Remember the under-water cave that Jack, Sayid, Richard, and pregnant Eloise Hawking swam under to get the nuke from? I bet that was the tunnel we saw Man in Black get pushed down into by Jacob this past week. To explain why the water can turn dark and not work (as in the case of Sayid)...I think when Flocke was pushed by Jacob into "the source", it sullied the island's full effectiveness and gave Flocke a certain degree of power/control. The water was sometimes darker because the island was now darker with the presence of Smokey the Monster. It was a battle for the island between good and evil, and even the healing waters of the Temple were caught up in the cosmic struggle.

-If you want a fuller re-cap, with some crazy/bizarre cultural references that I didn't have the time to more adequately research myself, then please read Doc Jensen's re-cap here.


Flocke's Pants


Rick said...

good insights Robby! Tonight's ep "why they died" was beyond belief!!

Piter Johnson said...

Nice post:)

Especialy I liked the words of song:)


Andrew Zoldan said...

Your article is good. I like style of your writing. So I got pleasure reading it. Thanks a lot!