Archive for redemption

across the sea: inheritance and legacy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by eyeoftheisland

was it perfect? absolutely not. the winner of most satisfying mythology download episode of LOST goes to “ab aeterno” (and not just because of my raging crush on harlequin hero richard alpert). while viewers had high expectations for “ab aeterno”, the episode had a fairly defined area to cover; namely, the origin storgy of eternal consogliere richard alpert. what really brings “across the sea” down is that, effectively, the entire series (in the minds of the fan community) was resting on the promised reveals in this episode. but like bib (boy in black) and his mother before him, we were left unsatisfied; answering one question will only lead to another question.

[for an excellent summary of critical and fan reception to what may be the most polarizing episode in LOST history, i refer you to mysles mcnutt’s cultural learnings blog: http://cultural-learnings.com/2010/05/12/lost-the-morning-after-going-across-the-sea-with-critics/]

at first, this took a minute for me to digest. i have to admit that once this season started with a double whammy of an island storyline and a sideways universe storyline, i had given up on getting precise answers to certain mysteries. i had a sneaking suspicion that there was not going to be one be-all, end-all thing to tie together the dozens of mysteries this show has provided for us. in fact, the only thing that truly does tie the series together is that there are mysteries: some large, some small, some solvable and some we may never understand. and while we may seek out fictional stories to find some sort of truth, be they on tv, in a book through a console or in a song, ultimately fiction is our way of dealing with the unknown. to somehow define what the human experience is. in the end, despite how these stories may move us, we just have to shrug our shoulders and admit that we can’t be sure. that was the overarching lesson/theme/motif that i gathered from “across the sea.”

after all, is there much of life that we can be certain of? many LOST fans are complaining that the appearance of mother only led to more questions: who is she? how did she get to be in the position she’s in? and the people before that? etc. however, i saw her cryptic existence as being entirely fitting and strangely satisfying. throughout the series, we have been guided through a series of leaders, a hierarchy of supposed wisdom-keepers: did john locke have the knowledge? rousseau? ben? richard? jacob? mother? the answer is that no one really knows. nor can anyone know. and yet the sum of all human knowledge has been passed down to us by those who came before us. everything we know we learned from our parents and they from their parents, and so on. so what mother told bib and young j: she came from her mother and they came from her. that we can be positive about. our own personal light sources we protect — whether they be religion, morals, values, politics, history, all traditions — they come from our parents.

how they pass on this information intimately shapes us. this is another theme at the crux of LOST’s storytelling. we’ve been beaten over the head with parents and children and the various mommy/daddy issues that spring from them. in a recent interview with the nyt
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/arts/television/16weblost.html?ref=television, damon and carlton spoke of the path of redemption that the LOST characters keep going through: they are all victims of some sort when they crashed on the island, even jin and sun who were travelling together. but now, havin been through these experiences together, they are finding redemption for themselves both through and by helping others on their own redemption journeys. or, in short: live together, die alone. the only way for anyone to make sense of this mystery island known as life, we depend on the sympathy and compassion of others. our constants ground us to reality. and they help us shape the legacy that we might leave for those that come after us.

as a whole, the island gives those that land on it the opportunity to shrug off that burden of legacy. and yet, it is inescapable. jacob and the smokey form of the mib are still playing out the game they started as children: stay and obey the parent’s rule or rebel and escape the burden of inheritance. keep faith in what has always been or challenge the norm and step out into the abandon, across the sea.

enough of the philosophical. generally, the overarching themes and some key bits of writing in “across the sea” made it a success for me. it wouldn’t be LOST without asking questions as it was giving us answers. i did, however, have some issues with the execution, namely….

the glowing birth canal that lives in all of us.

i mean… really? are some fans of this show so dense that they need to see a literal glowing golden  gloryhole of global goodness? oh wait. yes. some people out there on the internets are moaning about not knowing exactly what it is and how it came to be. news flash: IT IS MADE UP. i think this calls for a

REALITY CHECK

dear nitpicky fans,
you will not get the answer to every question. we are not going to find out who was shooting at sawyer and co. on the outrigger next season. we may never learn mib’s name. why the whispers were whispering that thing back when shannon got shot: we’re not getting that. what happened with walt in room 23: prob not. at this point in the story we all just need to take a collective deep breath and accept that only what’s essential to the story of the survivors of 815 (and mayhaps ben… cause… he’s ben, i mean… COME ON!) will ultimately matter. at this point, we have to just relax and enjoy the ride. sometimes the best mysteries at all are those whose solutions are left up to our imaginations.

and when they’re not we’re left with a giant, glowing vagina of human life and rebirth.

love,
me.

other reflections:

— allision janney mom was both great and distracting. i could not stop staring at her hairnet thing. sometimes i was thinking about 10 things i hate about you. sometimes i just sat back and appreciated the mellow cadence of her voice.
— i am convinced that mother was smokey. she possessed within her both the light and belief of jacob and also the cunning and wilyness of young mibs. how else could she have filled out that well so fast and smoked (ha.ha.) all those villagers? my theory about her existence pre-across the sea is that she, like jacob would after her, had tried and failed many times to convert people into ideal candidates. however, once she saw the golden opportunity of two blank slates, she hopped on that (i.e. put a rock to mommy claudia’s noggin) and raised (as an OTHER) the babes as her own; two ideal, but distinct candidates. maybe it was her goal all along to have two protectors instead of one so that the burden was more evenly distributed.
— jacob could not be the man he is today without the ongoing influence of his smokey-brother. the jacob we saw in “across the sea” was childish and naive even in his adulthood; but the jacob we’ve seen so far in the series seems jaded and world-weary; maybe the game between himself and smoke-brother was the real training for him to be the proper protector
— however, there is a question of whether smokey is the soul of mib who is trapped forever on the island or, if by sending his brothers’ body down the well (a no-no by mother’s standards; you cannot go back up the birth canal!), jacob released the smoke monster into the world

there are so many other things we could get into in this episode… but it is late and i have thought too many complicated thoughts for a sunday evening. and i certainly have to save my brainpower for THE MOST EPIC WEEK IN LOST HISTORY. members of w.a.a.a.l.t. are finalizing their arrangements; i am going to my local theater to watch the live broadcast of the times talk discussion with damon and carlton on thursday AND THERE IS STILL A NEW EPISODE ON TUESDAY. i have to say that two out of every three of my thoughts has been about LOST lately. i can’t imagine that sickness will stop anytime soon.

hope you’re along for the ride on the crazy train, LOST friends. ONE. MORE. WEEK. AND. WE. WILL. KNOW. THE. ENDING.

GAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!