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Today has been a bit of a rollercoaster Lost day...I watched "Across the Sea" five hours ago, and since then I have experienced a number of emotional fluctuations that threaten to destroy the remnants of my sanity. I think we can all agree that this was a controversial episode to say the least. Divided fan opinion and poor reviews by critics have shown this. So let me tell you about the three stages of emotional extremes that this episode left me struggling with.
1. Ultimate Horror: My first watch of "Across the Sea" ended with a groan of what can only be described as pure, raw disappointment, so much so that a sudden plummet into a mild state of depression followed which ultimately weakened relations with family members (albeit temporarily). The source (geddit?) of my disappointment lay mainly with the depiction of Jacob as a very weak individual showing none of the omniscience that we have seen before, and the amount of new questions raised. Of course, these questions were only raised because of the ambiguity of the script, which left a number of incidents open to interpretation when I suspect that the legacy of these was aimed to be definitive and in some way connected to what is happening in 2007.
2. Desparation: Since I have only very rarely hated an episode of Lost, I scrambled across the Internet, aiming to find someone to shed some light on this chaos, someone to offer a theory (however wild) that could save what was a potentially devastating blow to my morale. I had always championed Season 6, those who will have read my blogs will have known that, but this was the first time I had a feeling that this wasn't going to end the way I hoped. So I stumbled across a number of exquisite literary takes on the episode, and I found solace in the fact that despite my misgivings, the metaphors, themes and artistic allusions were abundant in this episode more than any other, so I began to view "Across the Sea" more like an obscure work of art, a misunderstood masterpiece of sorts, but at this stage I was far from viewing it as a masterpiece since I was still entertaining theories that Mother was the Smoke Monster all along.
3. Acceptance: After a frantic Internet search that left me feeling slightly more at ease, but also bitter, I decided to risk further emotional turmoil and watch the episode again with an open mind. Things began to click, I applied Occam's Razor to the majority of incidents I found ambiguous and I began to see "Across the Sea" as the midunderstood masterpiece it really was. Without even considering the literary techniques used, this episode , rather than focusing entirely on the many mythological questions regarding Jacob and the Man in Black's existences, blended this focus with a very astute story, albeit with a few flaws.
After the second viewing, it became clearer as to what we were actually told during this episode. The identity of Adam and Eve was very satisfying, and very heartfelt in my opinion, as we see a lonely man forced to say goodbye to his family for the sake of the island. We've seen many of the original castways go through this similar experience, so it was touching that the supreme protector of the island also had to make sacrifices to protect "The source". One of the reasons I came to love this episode is that the context regarding the era was for the most part taken into account. I loved Mother's mystification of the electromagnetic energy beneath the island, as it was a perfectly rational viewpoint from someone living in ancient times. The origin of the smoke monster was one of the most disappointing things the first time around, and for some reason I struggled to make the connection between this event and what we have been told so far. I believe that MIB's fall into the light altered his physical form from human to billowing mass of black smoke. Of course, we would have to conclude that MIB is merely taking the form of his human self in the scenes in 1867. This is consistent with the statement that Jacob "took his body", which I only realised on the second viewing. While being relatively mild-mannered before, MIB vows revenge on Jacob, and continues his quest to go home.
One thing I am yet to understand, however, is why does MIB's potential departure off the island have such terrible implications for mankind. Widmore said that everyone will "cease to be", and I always took this to mean some sort of connection between MIB and the FST, and that MIB was fighting for the FST to replace the OT, but this does not appear to be the case. When Mother said that if the island light extinguishes, then the light goes out everywhere, I thought of some possible connection with MIB's potential departure. The question remains, however, how does MIB's depature put this light out. Could it be that as the smoke monster, whose origins are in that light source, he cannot be allowed to leave since that would qualify as "removing the light" somewhat.
Anyway please share if you went through a similar traumatic experience.