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.

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Filmmaker and Lost fanatic(damn these writers)

41 thoughts on “Fear Not: The Redemption of ‘Across The Sea’

  1. Hey, I thought the same exact thing hours after being disappointed … I was like wait!

    great theory, you’ve put it so well. it makes me sad the real man in black is dead though thinking about it. can’t wait for the finale, I hope this turns out to be right!

  2. I wrote a theory very similar to this (The Source of Evil), but I like the way you wrote yours a bit better as you went into some good details. Interesting that EVERYTHING out of her mouth was a lie. Makes me want to watch it even again.

    I completely buy it. Maybe that’s why I really enjoyed this episode, when so few people did.

  3. chief you also like it cuz you hate jacob, and this made him seem not so goody two shoes-ey.

    the biggest thing that makes me think she was the smoke monster was: How else could she kill all of Adam’s people AND fill in the cave?? unless she has a secret crew of people with her she doesn’t tell anyone about.

    HOWEVER. Reasons the smoke monster IS Adam now and not just the smoke monster looking like adam for a while.

    1) Can’t kill jacob
    2) same goals as adam
    3) “jacob took my humanity”. we see his body laid to rest, but as locke said to jack in the airport during the FST: “They lost your father’s body jack, but they didn’t lose your father”. i see these as linked since we see jacob lying his brothers body in the cave.

    maybe they fused together, smokie with the soul of adam. or since he killed smokie, he becomes smokie. but there is a change in smokie between crazy mom and adam. I agree that the mom was probably smokie, but now it is adam…

  4. ekolocation – I’ll admit, it was nice to see Jacob bash his brother’s skull in a couple times to shut all the “Jacob = perfection = God = good” believers up for a second.

  5. Risebysin & Chief, so the mother appears to be the smoke monster…
    Are you guys saying that the mother is the one and only smoke monster and that it’s the mother inhabiting Locke at the moment? And that MIB died, as in REALLY died?

  6. but then where did the mother’s body (Eve) come from? Smokie has to take the form of a dead person whose body is on the island. For him to take on “mommy’s” form, there would have to be a dead “mommy.” After 13 years, this corpse would have decomposed, yet we see Jacob lay a fresh “mommy” corpse next to MIB – found later by Jack & Kate. If “mommy” was Smokie, where did the dead body come from?

  7. I can’t speak for risebysin – But personally, I have no frickin clue. I think maybe there can be more than one smokie at a time here. If you throw four bodies into the light, you get four smoke monsters. I hate assuming to this degree, but I’m trying to make sense of this like everyone else.

    I would venture to say that the light has an evil will of it’s own. That the smoke substance is like an extension of the light, or like a “doer” of the evil. I guess it all depends what you picture the “light” as. I think it’s evil incarnate. I think Dogen knows his stuff.

  8. i really do like this post, it makes me feel a lot better about the whole episode, but if she was the monster the whole time how was she so easily killed. Sayid used the same dagger on Flocke and nothing happened, and dont tell me its because he spoke first, the mother spoke with them for 30 years, but like all of the previous comments stated how did she kill all of the “others” by herself

  9. The monster wasn’t killed when evil mom got stabbed. It was a faked death.
    The monster is no more the actual woman than the monster is the actual john locke.
    It’s just the form of it’s latest victim.

  10. but do you believe the monster WAS actually Adam? thats a big difference.

    and perhaps it can die if the person it chooses to replace it kills it. maybe one of our losties (sawyer?) or perhaps widmore will become the new monster if they succeed in killing it.

  11. I believe that by someone else going in the cave it allowed the soul of smokie to change to Jose (MIB) and the mother’s “soul” was able to move on. Smokie even knows deep down that there has to be a good/evil. So smokie has Jacob become the good to it’s evil. I think the Mother was surprised there were 2 babies but also knew it meant her soul could free from the smoke if she played her cards right. The Smoke Monster could have been telling claire to keep Aaron off the Island because he did not want this innocent child to suffer the fate of being the next Smokie (Jose has a good soul but was manipulated by an eviler entity – Mother Smokie)…does this make any sense?

  12. I like the faked death idea though. Maybe smokie knew that to reach it’s ultimate goal (eliminating all the people holding it to the Island) it was time for a body switch…

  13. Interesting idea. One thing I believe we can assume pretty safely is that the information in “Across the Sea” is not going to all pan out in the end. Why would the writers give us all the back-story two episodes before the End? Unless they’re being honest and merely “setting up the pieces on the board” for us to see how it will end up, based on the information already provided.

    I do feel like there was a bit too much infodumping, like we’ve been guessing at some of these issues for years now and all of a sudden here are all the answers in 30 minutes or less. There’s got to be something else to this; Mother may not have been entirely honest about everything we heard from her.

    I don’t really think that Mother was the Smoke Monster I don’t know why but two points that make me think she may be:

    1) The destruction at the village and the cave-in at the well.. looks a lot like a Smokey massacre.

    2) She says “thank you” after Titus killed her.. making me think of Titus wanting to “leave the Island”/escape the Smoke Monster and be “free”. For her, the “rules” were different and instead of needing Candidates to die, she needed one of her “sons” to “kill” her?

  14. I don’t think that the mother was the smoke monster all along… I don’t think the monster existed before Jacob pushed his brother into the cave and I believe that the smoke monster we know now is actually Jacob’s brother. It doesn’t really fit if you look at the actions of the mother and the actions of Adam, compare the two then compare them to the actions of present-day Smokey. Adam’s desire is, and always has been, to leave the island. This is true before and after the smoke monster came out of the cave.

    If the mother was the smoke monster and it’s just the smoke monster who wants to leave the island then you’d think it’d be a little bit further along in it’s plans by now… given how long it’s been on the island…

  15. Well..from another point of view. After 6 seasons they finally give us the answer on how Smokey was created. Then it would be a bit weird if it’s actually not true wouldn’t it? So on that side…I’ll have to agree with highbrow..

  16. Highbrow, you make a pretty good point. I really hope they explain the whole smokie phenomenon a little better before it’s all over.

    I’ll be totally satisfied if “Adam” is the true, and only Smokie that ever existed. I just hope we get a clear cut answer on this. I know it’s not super important, but it would be REALLY nice to know.

  17. Yeah. Killin’ a whole town of people and filling in a ‘well’ seems a bit much for a kinda’ old lady, regardless of how crazy she is.

    She knew going into the nice warm light was bad.

    But, she WAS stabbed with the magic knife. Maybe she needed the two boys – one to replace her job as the protector and one to replace her job as Smokie.

    About Adam/Eve/Smokie/dead bodies – I was also wonderin’ if maybe Smokie can’t change forms if THAT body was seen by others.

    So, in the pilot we have Smokie. Then they find Adam/Eve, he can’t go back to his old body. He walks as Christian … until Locke.

    Also – in favor of Annonymous being Smokie, what IF he has a liking for crazy moms, and THAT’S why he didn’t kill Rousseau.

    Finally, “Friend.” Old friend. That’s not John, that’s my friend.

    Poor, nameless, MIB. He’s really not all that bad of a guy. Just wants to go home.

  18. I guess there’s some more evidence right there that present day smokey is actually The Nameless One, Jacob’s brother. Why else would he mention his crazy mother to someone who wouldn’t have any reason to know about his former self? If it’s just the smoke monster acting as Jacob’s brother then he could just forget about that guy all together now since Jacob is dead and nobody else on the island has a clue about Jacob’s brother.

    Or he could be referring to Locke’s mom but I’m not sure how much sense that would make because Locke didn’t really have much contact with his mom… not enough to mess him up the way Jacob and Adam’s mom messed Adam up…

  19. risebysin, to further some of your thoughts on this episode, I kept waiting to see if there was a ‘smoke monster’ on ‘the island’ with ‘mother’, initially.

    When Claudia’s ghost appeared to young Nemesis and not to Jacob, I knew this was an element of the ‘smoke monster’. If it really was Clauida’s ghost; as an enlightened soul, she would not want to lead one of her sons away from what was good and what was ultimately in his best interest. This has to point to ‘mother’.

    This specifically told me that it was a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy that we were viewing. The only one who has used similar methods is the ‘smoke monster’.

    I definitely have to re-watch this episode for further insights.

    Great thoughts on this one!

  20. The one thing I think I missing here is who was the Protector of the Island if the mom was Smokie?

    IF she was the monster the whole epsiode. No one was protecting the Island. So it could have left.

    I think the fact that she got Jacob to drink the wine and said “we are the same now” means she was the guardian.

    The village being destroyed, and the hole filled. Could be a few things. Maybe there is more then one monster. Maybe she had others with her. Maybe she has capabilites well beyond the norm for that time. Like a lighthouse that looks through worlds. If she could have that maybe she has a laser gun! Not really but hopefully my point is clear.

  21. I think it’s important to note that it would appear that both Protector and Smokie gain some powers from the water/light.

    So whos to say they dont share the same powers. Just have different methods or motives.

  22. Jacob inherited the powers of the island’s protector from his adoptive mother. This apparently includes the ability to grant a man eternal life without aging and to make that man immune to harm, at least lethal harm. I don’t see why the island protector might not have other powers that could be used to fill in the well and kill the villagers.

    I don’t really see all this conniving on the part of the mother. She seems to be someone with great responsibility who has been alone for a very long time. She knows she can’t trust people… she fears them. But here comes this pregnant woman. She can’t trust the woman but if she takes the kids she can raise them to be good (taking kids, sounds familiar) and then she won’t be alone anymore. At some point though she loses the trust of the one she favored. He can communicate with the deas (as we’ve seen other characters do, so it’s not a stretch) and his real mother appeared to him and told him the truth. I think that seems like a simpler explanation.

  23. the mother was fused with the smoke monster. she couldn’t let that evil leave the island because she was also the protector.

    now that smokie is fused with adam, it wants to leave the island because adam wants to. smokie doesnt care. but releasing smokie is bad for the world.


  24. Then what is the smoke monster’s purpose? If it’s purpose is to be the island’s security system, as has been speculated both on and off the show, then the smoke monster should actively NOT want to leave. So if Adam and the smoke monster are two separate things fused together then they should be having a serious crisis right now. Unless Adam is just that much stronger that he’s able to dictate his will to the monster at all times…

  25. i dont think it is a security system, i think its just evil.

    but if it is a security system. then it works that the mother was smokie.

    ahhh i dont know anymore.

  26. Hi,
    I definitely agree that the mum is the smoke monster in the first place. This also explains how he killed all of adams people and destroy the well. And she also told jacob that he shouldn’t go the light or it has worst consequences than dead. How does she now if she personally go down and see what happens? I believe smoke monster is symbiotic kind of creature just like the Venom in the spiderman. Whoever goes down the cave and see the light meets with the smoke monster and become new symbiotic partner of it. Maybe the sourceof the light is a kind of meteor and this black smoke comes with it I also believe that this symbiotic black smoke needs a body which has immune to electro magnetism for to survie safely in it. That why mother choose adam to replace her body because adam was special to magnetism just like desmond. he built wheel . he was so close to light but nothing happens to him. And I also believ that in the final our new black smoke will be DESMOND!!!

  27. Nice theory.
    However, if the mother was the smoke monster all along, why did she apologize to the mother before killing her? The impression I get of the smoke monster is “evil incarnate”, something without remorse or apology.

    Also, doesn’t Jose state the villagers were ‘burned’? Seems like a different sort of attack than what the smoke monster is capable of.

    Not trying to refute your points, I really like this thread, just throwing these thoughts out there to consider….

  28. no smoke monster is a security system ,just like the robocop suit but a far more advance version. It usss human soul instead of human brain. without a human soul it is useless.It has to driven by somebody. So if a propar good man don the black smoke it makes its duties for to protect the island. But if someone has bad intentions dn the smoke it serves his purposes. Jacob can’t know throwing his brother to that cave will translate him a super powered bio-robot creature!! He made it by mistake.

  29. and this also explains how he can’t kill the candiates and jacob diretly. Its bio-software doesn’t allow him. remember how robocop can’t kill or arrest OCP presedents because of his software. Trust me this is a man made creature coming from the future.Maybe from 2150 who knows.

  30. I oddly have to agree with highbrow on this one…

    I could however buy a twist on this…

    If Mother was protecting the island, whether she wanted to or not, she could pass it on to one of the children, as it is obvious on the show.
    So couldnt MIB be the one who is special because he is the one who took it from her buy killing her.
    This could explain how she was the smoke monster, and how I believe everything Highbrow says is correct.

    If the monster is the security system, than why couldnt MIB be the one to be passed the torch…Jacob believes its him, but Mother just put him in line to keep MIB on the island.

    I think Jacob and us as viewers see Jacob as the protector…but he isnt, the monster is…Jacob is either duped into playing this role, or this is his own game, tricking the monster into doing his work for him.

    I really believe that MIB is the monster.
    I cant help but feel that it would be almost storyline suicide to have the monster be a complete separate being.

    It takes away the whole concept of two sides, which is so strong on the show.

    I believe its really important for the sides to be equal, or balanced, and the monster being a separate being kind of takes that away.

    I cant say this is completely out of the question, nothing is anymore. I actually was saying this at work yesterday, and almost started to believe it.
    But the whole story of family and bloodlines, and sides makes a much more promising ending, in my opinion.

    I hardly say I would be disappointed, but it would really hurt a lot of what they already built…maybe too big a carpet to pull out.

    great selling points…at least I wont be surprised, or have to ask how or why if it happens.

    Good theory…

  31. Also…why the charades with Richard?

    Why tell Kate about his crazy mother, or especially mess with jacob with the rocks.

    Its so obvious that MIb becomes annoyed when handed the white stone by Richard…they are brother playing a game, which is why MIB/Locke is smug when entering the cave and throws out the white stone from the scale into the ocean…

    It just wouldnt make sense to throw the stone if he was the monster…

  32. I think one thing that people are overlooking here is, that one of the major themes in Lost is, duality, yin and yang, black and white and the order of chaos as it pertains to the Universe and the natural order that must exist.

    As mentioned above, I looked for separate representations of this, and there was only the representation of ‘mother’. Claudia’s apparition was not like the second apparition of Richard’s wife which was an honest portrayal of a spirit.

    This appeared to be more akin to that of the ‘smoke monster’s’ appearances. Therefore, the logical conclusion that I arrived at was, that ‘mother’ represented both aspects of black and white, yin and yang, etc., which explains her behaviour.

    Looking at the element of surprise on ‘mother’s face when a second child was born by Claudia, and watching her internal wheels spin, (also each child was wrapped in white and black cloth) was enough to indicate that she had found a way; her way of resolving the issue of who would play what role on ‘the island’.

    She carried the burden of encompassing both aspects of light and dark forces herself and set forth a plan of how the future would play out between the two brothers. I believe that she had the power of knowing this in advance, because she had already looked into the light. The ‘light’ being akin to the tree of knowledge.

    No wonder she was apologetic for killing and no wonder she was relieved in turn to be killed. She was relieved to be free of the burden.

    It was not her hands who transformed Nemesis into the ‘smoke monster; this was Jacob’s hands. I believe she knew exactly what she was responsible for setting in motion and left it up to each of ‘them’ to coexist.

    Just my take, jump in any time on your theory risebysin. lol

  33. I really like this idea…I hope it is because, to be honest, this episode could really do with the points…

    Also, consider how wonderful an actress Alison Janney is…I remember thinking how strangely she was acting when she spoke to Jacob and MIB’s mother at the beginning…she had a freaky look on her face but it was the way she spoke the words that got me…like a snake with a forked tongue…I will absolutely love it if she was the smoke monster!

  34. The Mother was the protecter of the Island. She played that roll for a long time… the game she gave “Adam” was from Egyptian times… the hieroglyphics in the place where Ben fell under the Temple had Smokie facing off against the statue Tawert, and I believe that statue represented the Mother. She has always been keeping Smokie at bay… The people that built the Temple/Statue, most likely worshiped her as the protector but then people started to find the Island and eventually conquered and destroyed this paradise with greed and power.

    The Mother grew tired over the years of protecting the light and yearned for a replacement – she states to Jacob to protect as long as he can and then pass it on… she makes him like her after he drinks from the cup, she bangs “Adam’s” head into a rock and knocks him out… why would Smokie do those things?.

    I believe (like Jacob did), she knew her fate. She knew that Smokie was using “Adam” as his loophole. Smokie lured “Adam” away from “Eve” with his real Mother dressed in red – like a big apple.. he fed his desire to leave the Island for 30 years… after she knocked him out down in the well, she knew it was time to make her next move and transfer her powers to the next canidate, her only choice… Jacob. Smokie killed the people in the village and filled up the whole knowing full well that “Adam” would lash out on “Eve”, sort of like how Ben lashed out on Jacob. She thanks “Adam” for releasing her because she knows that Jacob is now protecting the Island.

    I think Jacobs one mistake was his uncontrolled anger (sort of like Jack in the early Seasons). Smokie knew this too and played Jacob as well. Smokie knew Jacob knew that he couldn’t kill his brother… Smokie realized Jacob knew about the light and what happens to someone that goes in there is worse then death. By him sending his brother down stream – his brother being special and all, became the perfect loophole to allow Smokie to have a chance to get off the Island.

  35. Nice thoughts risebysin!

    Just because I like throwing in whacked out thoughts, I notice that we’ve all forgotten about how Christian falls into the whole scheme of things (eh sorry if he has been mentioned recently, I haven’t had time to read through updates on the site today).

    Weren’t people concerned that sometimes Christian was wearing black shoes, sometimes his white, sometimes he appeared to be helping things towards Jacob’s goals, sometimes he appeared to be helping things towards “MIB’s” goals.

    Maybe it is the fmother (fake/foster mother) that has been appearing as Christian?

    (Just a quick thought, haven’t had time to back that up with anything yet!)

  36. Oops I should have mentioned above that I said that assuming that “MIB” was lying about being Christian. Now that I’ve eaten dinner I’m thinking more clearly now lol I don’t know what I believe anymore, too many liars and fake people!!

  37. If I understand what Dabs is saying then I agree with her… it’s early though and I’m still working on my first cup of coffee…

    The mother did represent both sides of the equation. Light and dark, good and evil, chocolate and peanut butter. She has no faith in man, just as Adam has no faith in man. She has faith in the island, just as Jacob has faith in the island. She comes across this pregnant woman so conveniently separated from the rest of her people and sees providence. Two babies are born and she sees it again. A chance for these two to not only take over her responsibilities but to live a better life on the island than she did. She was alone and suffered all of the burden herself.

    Her plan is to pass on the dark side to Adam and the light side to Jacob. She screws up though. Because of the way she raised them they don’t feel balance between the two of them. Jacob feels like she loves Adam more and Adam maybe feels like she’s a little more open with Jacob.

    In the end though they still represent the light and dark and things are balanced except that Adam still wants to leave. Jacob has to trap him on the island. They’re supposed to be the island’s protector together but Adam isn’t playing along… Jacob is doing it all himself, protecting the balance by keeping the dark there by force. I’m rambling.

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