Fear Not: The Redemption of ‘Across The Sea’
Just 24 hours ago I went from rabid Lost enthusiast to feeling like the victim of an abusive relationship. I found myself trying to justify the horrendous creative direction in which the episode framed the show like a battered wife defending her alcoholic husband ‘but he’s so nice on Tuesdays!’.
And then just now I had a revelation which changed the entire episode enough for me to overlook Sesame Street-esque set-design, nonsensical vague answers, and odd dialog and unbalanced performances.
In fact, the revelation makes me think some of it was intentional. Not the cheesy cave of enlightenment of course, but the rest of it.
Alison Janney’s character(the duos murderous foster mother) was The Smoke Monster from the very beginning of the episode.
Rewatch it. Consider her methods. She kills, lies, divides and conquers two brothers.
Two babies. Two brothers. Corrupted, pit against one another by ‘evil incarnate’. I can hear the devil laughing ‘frak you God, your creation is worthless!'(and for the record I’m an atheist, but I dig the weight that comes along with religious connotation and supreme good vs evil). After all, wouldn’t it be UNACCEPTABLE if the smoke monster was deserving of pity? Why frame it so he’s justified? He’s not. He’s not a victim, he’s not trying to go home across the sea, he’s not Jacob’s brother. The Smoke Monster was just borrowing his ‘mission’ to garner empathy from the Losties. Tell Kate you have a crazy mom and she can’t help but relate to your situation.
No, Smokie was around wayyy before the Jacob Brothers. Jacob’s brother died when Jacob threw him into the cave.
Let’s review Janney’s techniques:
1. She kills their mother.
2. She lies for at least 13 years about the reality of the world, saying there are no others, there is nowhere else, there is ‘only the island’.
3. She molds one son to be confident, bold, even downright mischievous. Encourages him that lying is, in essence, ‘special’ and worthy of praise.
4. She molds the other son to feel inadequate, to be desperate to please Mommy, to defend her at all costs. Jacob points this out time and time again, that he got the short end of the love stick.
5. SHE GIVES THEM A GAME. Divide and conquer. No longer teammates, she teaches them to be adversaries. They are now separated, divided, pit against one another. LIVE TOGETHER DIE ALONE. It’s no different than Jack and Sawyer…if they’d just unite, they’d survive. It’s pretty sad if you think about these two brothers under attack since birth….they never stood a chance.
6. Thus, after years of yet another ‘long con’ perpetrated by Smokie, the Smoke Monster successfully corrupts these two most innocent, untarnished brothers. It takes away what Titus Welliver wants most(a chance to go home), knowing that Titus Welliver will retaliate by taking what Jacob loves most(Mommy). A faked death(Flocke doesn’t even flinch when Sayid stabs him with the dagger), and Jacob has now been manipulated into killing his own brother. They are both most likely candidates, and we know Smokie can’t kill candidates. But he can manipulate Candidates to kill each other. ‘He makes you think it’s your idea’. Yet another motif rearing it’s head.
The more you think about it, the better it gets. It fits as a companion peace with Ab Aeterno, where Alpert was under mental, physical, and spiritual attack by evil incarnate…this time however, it was two brothers against each other instead of one man against himself.
Most importantly, it would mean that EVERY LINE delivered by Janney is potentially a lie. She is the only source of information in the episode. That means her rules, her potions, her spells, her incomplete answers…..all go down the drain. They are merely misdirection meant to hold us over until the final episode concludes. We will be getting the correct answers soon enough.
How did she destroy an entire village and the well? Smokie could. How did she know what happens in the cave? Smokie is the one setting up this production, of course he’d know the outcome. Why has Jacob been inviting people to the island for 2000 years if his task is to keep the cave away from mankind? Because he has since realized that he was duped. This is why he refers to Smokie as ‘an old friend’ instead of his brother. It’s not his brother and never was. Smokie is merely using his brother’s mission of a homecoming as a cover story while manipulating the Losties.
THIS IS THE ONLY ANSWER THAT WORKS. Join me in prayer that I’m right. Rewatch the episode and you’ll find it more fulfilling in this light. For me, it went from downright cluttered and nonsensical to brilliant and clever.