TV Fanatic Works Better with Prime Instant Video
40,000 other titles are available to watch now.

Lost Review: Answers, Lies and The Show's Central Message

by at . Comments

Isn't this ironic?

After years of Lost fans craving resolutions to a number of questions, the events that led to Oceanic 815 crashing on the island were, in many ways, tied to what happened centuries ago - when someone withheld important answers from those seeking them.

Whether you loved or hated "Across the Sea," it's hard to not smirk at Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof for creating a show that is such a reflection of its viewers.

You want answers, Allison Janney's spiritual, unbalanced, selfish (more on that below) fake mother essentially told us? That's fine. But "every question will simply lead to another question."

This, of course, has been the chief complaint fans have had about Lost from the outset. I don't believe the creators are just being cute; I believe this is the central message of the show:

There is a higher power at work. But it's impossible to know everything about it. So don't ask. Don't worry about it. Just have faith, live in the present and love your neighbor. That's all that matters in the end.

I like that message. I believe that message. It fits into the show's themes of religion and redemption, of living together and dying alone. But I don't like the way the message has been delivered; or, getting to this week's episode specifically: I don't like the messenger.

A Fake Family

More than any episode to date, "Across the Sea" heaped information on us. But its main source of that information was a character we just met.

Before the opening credits even rolled, we were treated to a speech about the magical island water and the need to protect it from mankind. Pretty heavy, huge, mythology-oozing stuff - and it all came from a woman we didn't even know existed until five minutes beforehand.

Does it speak to Lost's layered genius that it can introduce a new character that fits into its backstory and sheds new light on established individuals and events, with just three episodes remaining? Absolutely. But it's also frustrating in a way.

After almost six seasons of wondering what's going on, Allison Janney shows up, sits down and just explains it all in 90 seconds? I use the actress' name because the show never revealed the character's name - and because, as a West Wing fan, I was distracted by this casting decision. Janney may be one of the finest performers in TV history... but during this key Lost moment, all I could think about was how C.J. Cregg was probably needed at the White House for a press briefing.

Having this character reveal such a wealth of information, with so little time remaining until the finale, also caused me to wonder: What does she actually know and how does she know it?

Fake Locke was apparently telling the truth: he was raised by a crazy woman. And now this crazy woman isn't just our main source of knowledge regarding the island; she's also the main source of knowledge for her fake children.

Did she tell them the whole truth about the water and the light and the inherent evil of man? Did she actually believe that nothing exists "across the sea" because she was told the same thing by the previous island protector, or was that a lie to quell her son's curiosity? Did she raise her twins in order for one to take over her job and the other to kill her?

It certainly seemed that way when she thanked MIB for the latter act, which means this lady is everything MIB described the people he lived with as: selfish, untrustworthy and manipulative.

She was everything bad about man, yet she was supposedly the one charged with protecting the source of man's goodness? What are we to make of that?

What are we to make of Jacob? He's the only person in this little family that doesn't believe men "come, fight, destroy and corrupt." He embodies all we'd want someone in his position to embody, but his beliefs are seemingly based on utter ignorance. Why does he have such faith in humanity? Will we ever find out?

I appreciate this faith, but Jacob has lost a bit of mystique for me now. This isn't some island deity, not in the sense Lost had led us to believe. He's just a guy who was raised by a crappy parent, the same as many of the castaways.

Adam and Eve

This is both a cool and a troubling twist, depending on what you want out of the show. It's cool because the revelations about Jacob and MIB ground them as wounded human beings. Cuse and Lindelof have always said Lost is a show about characters, not answers, and the stories of these suffering individuals is what has always kept my attention and interest.

But if the series truly wanted viewers to focus on the redemptive arcs of its characters, it should have revealed more mythology at an earlier date. The longer questions about the nature and history of the island persisted, the more fans fixated on resolutions to these issues.

After taking so many guesses about the identity of Adam and Eve, for example, will people be happy or annoyed to learn that they are two characters no one even knew existed a year ago at this time?

The theme I took out of this hour is that nobody actually knows anything. Ben and The Others were also initially presented as omniscient, powerful beings; same for Richard. Jacob and MIB might not even have the answers we seek, as the source of their information wasn't all that reliable.

The show has broken down all these characters and left them searching for the same answers as Jack, Sawyer and company. Clearly, there is a connection here: all search for a truth that doesn't exist, or at least can't be proven... and the result can either be bitter selfishness or the kind of enlightenment modern-day Jacob has somehow found.

In every flash sideways of season six, characters have looked in a mirror and typically been confused or unhappy with what they've seen. Because viewers themselves will likely be left in the same position as the castaways (i.e. confused, focused on the past) when Lost comes to an end, we'll be the ones having to study ourselves and decide: Are we satisfied with how this show concluded? Will we keep striving for answers that will never come - or will be take comfort in the journey that got us here?

A few notes, questions and observations before I turn this analysis over to readers:

  • The rules between the brothers were established by their pretend mother. Are these the same rules Ben and Widmore have referenced? If so, how did killing Alex on season four "change" them, and how do Ben and Widmore fit into all this?
  • Desmond, who seemingly holds the key between the island world and the sideways world, has often been referred to as "special." And how does he refer to everyone else? As "BROTHER."
  • Has it been made clear just why MIB leaving the island is such a dangerous proposition? The magic cave separated his soul from his body, but did he also somehow absorb all the powers of the water? And if he takes that off the island, the world loses all its goodness? But MIB's fake mother made it impossible for him or Jacob to leave the island, long before the former was tossed into the glow. I need some help on this one.
  • The island itself is its own, powerful entity. It can create ghosts such as Claudia and it can punish actions such as the killing of a mother, by preventing child birth ever again on its grounds. But to what end? Does the island have its own purpose?
  • No wonder Jacob is all about free will. He was given his job of protector without being given a choice. He clearly wants his replacement to understand and desire that role.

There's more than ever to digest, so let the opinions and debate flow. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS EPISODE?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (128 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

Tags: ,
Avatar

I thought that their "mom" said she made it so they couldn't kill eachother? Didn't Jacob kill MIB?

Avatar

I guess it's a good think I never watched a single episode of the West Wing, then. Jortay, the show has NEVER implied that Jacob can travel in time...only that he can leave the island. aaa, you're asking for logical answers to supernatural questions. This has always been a sci-fi show. How many people watching BSG bitched about the writers not explaining the physics of the jump drive, etc? If you demand answers about The Force, you get midiclorians. No answer will be sufficient. "Yes, they did tell us who Adam and Eve were with a very unsatisfactory answer." Unsatisfactory? Why, just because you wanted it to be something else. That's nonsense. "They are two people who prior to last night, viewers of the show never knew even existed." Really? You didn't see the season 4 finale? or Ab Aeterno? It's freakin' EPIC that it's the body of the smoke monster lying there! "But, think about this, you introduce a character in the third to the last episode who is central to the entire story of the past six years?" Not central. Just background. There's an infinite regression of "well who came before them..." LOST is about the current set of candidates. It's about THOSE characters. Always has been. "Every question will simply lead to another question" That's was directed at YOU. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Avatar

I would love to know why MiB was never given a name or how & when Jacob learned he could travel in time to touch the candidates he had chosen.Maybe figure out how he learned to speak many languages Korean being one of them or even get money to buy the modern day clothing and shoes that he was wearing when he visited these candidates.It looks as if he truely believed he could not leave the island but we know thats not the case .I would love to know where the hell the foot came from that was his home for a while & when & why the temple was built.When was the house that has apeared & dissapeared built & why & what is its signifigance.What about the cave with all the names that Mib told Sawyer Jacob had written.What about the true origin of the #'s and when Jacob became so fascinated with #'s?What is so magical about that wine & why & when was the lighthouse built?And how was Jacob able to watch Jack from the time he was a boy from that lighthouse?And as for MIB he made a reference in an earlier episode this season about being locked away in chains almost by Richard & jacob .How did that happen and why could Mib only take lockes body and noone elses,I mean come on now ,so many people dead,why didnt he take possesion of their bodys long before.What about all the rules ,where did they come about & where does Eloise Hawkins fit into all of this .Charles Widmore has yet to be explained not even so much as a backstory on him or Eloise.???????????????????,"LOST","LOST""LOST""LOST""LOST",WTF man ,i guess every ? does lead to another ? and from the looks of it these writers have manipulated us into believing that they could eventually answer them all.They got us yall .Most of us anyways.Yall really could do better,I mean I was absolutely in love with this show before season 6 started & now I just seem to get more pissed off by the week as to many ?s look as if they are going to go unanswered & with less than 3 &1/2 hours remaining in this series remain unanswered.Hopefully the writers have saved the best for last & can save this show so that it can remain one of the best scripted series in my eyes as well as the eyes of many other viewers .Only time will tell.I'll definitely keep the faith until the end!:(

Avatar

Are there any characters with any socially redeeming qualities on this show? Think about it, just about everyone has murdered someone in cold-blood: Sayid - multiple, Locke - Naomi, Kate - her step-father, Sawyer - Anthony Cooper, Michael - Libby and Ana Lucia, Claire - the red shirt, etc. Is there anyone worth caring for? Jack is an alcoholic. Claire is crazy. Sawyer is a self-serving conman. Kate uses her sexuality to her own benefit. Sayid is a murderer. Ben is a manipulator who committed patricide. Charlie is a drug-addict and mugger - (remember him attacking Sun). Perhaps, Hurley is the only one worth caring about. The sins of all of these characters make one almost yearn for a return of Nikki and Paulo. They were no worse. They murdered and stole - same as Kate, Sawyer, Ben, Locke, and the rest. Rose and Bernard were right - steal the dog and get out.

Avatar

Unfortunately any of the answers the writers chose to highlight were really non-answers. They don't relate back to anything. Now we have "magic". When did this show become about magic and not faith vs. science. It's a copout that doesn't then have to explain anything. Turning a wheel magically controls magic light. Drinking a magic potion magically makes you responsible for several thousand acres of real estate. Going down a magic river into a hole magically transforms you into magic smoke. Being on the island magically allows you to shipwreck ships, planes or see whatever in your magic lighthouse. You get the point? Utterly a waste. Don't even bother figuring it out - because it doesn't make any logical sense. There is one definate answer to the question the writers have raised - who is going to watch what we write? For their next series? I'm not.

Avatar

Please explain to me why if the MIB is the one who is evil incarnate, he is the one who deigns to live among men and mourns their passing. Yes, he might indeed recognize that humanity kills and mistreats its own, but the "mother" and Jacob are any different. The "mother" cold-bloodedly killed the true mother shortly after she gave birth. Then she seemingly destroyed the settlement on the island where MIB was living. Jacob has such a cavalier attitude toward humanity. They are pawns in his "black and white" game. The "mother" and Jacob are the ones who remove themselves from human life. True humanity is to be found living in community. This is salvation - atonement! Hell is not other people, as Satre wrote. Actually, hell is yourself and you alone. There is no greater punishment than solitary confinement, every prison warden knows this. Hell is to live eternity as the god you desire to be - (that is the sin of the Garden of Eden - to be like God) - and the only way that is possible is to be completely and totally alone. (A classic definition of God is the one beside whom there is no other. There only way for this to be true for a human is to be alone!) Heaven is community! Living in relationship with God and with one another. Jacob and his "mother" are not interested in that. Lost is very, very bad theology!

Picazo

Ok so this one episode wasn’t the best of the season, I think some of you are over reacting this is LOST we are talking about for 6 year We have been satisfied with what the writers have had provided now most of you are acting like last night episode was the season finale. Calm down don’t give your hope up we still have two 3 hours left and 3 hours in Lost is enough to do what they need to do.

Avatar

i don't think this episode left things as unclear as you make it to be, I actually feel like it shoved it down our throats that the island is the garden of eden. The flashes to Jack, Kate, and Locke finding Adam & Eve were kind of like "DO YOU GET IT? THEY REALLY ARE ADAM & EVE. GET IT? DO YOU GET IT YET?" Another commenter made the parallel between the lightness and the tree of knowledge, and I think that's very accurate. ALSO I don't know if this is a revelation, but i think the lightness is what made the time travel happen?

Avatar

The message?! The producers goal was to make a TV series that was mysterious so as to keep viewers coming back, and make the series popular. The message is "Take the money and run!". It's yet another mystery series started without much (or any) thought to how the story was going to play out. It's only doing slightly better at telling a satisfying story than The Prisoner, X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica because they left themselves 2 and a half to 3 years of the series to tell a complete story, but even then continuity has not been their strong suit. They even told us point blank in an interview that not all the mysteries will be explained, by which I take it to mean that few of the mysteries will be explained. Explanation: Big glowing ball of omnipotent energy under an island. That's it. I would have at least liked to have known how much this island would have to have traveled during all this. Couldn't have been in the Pacific all that time. What language were they speaking at the beginning of the episode?

Avatar

Sorry, Brainstormer, Adam and Eve were not forbidden to eat of the Tree of Life in the Garden. Actually, the Bible speaks of two trees in the Garden of Eden. There was the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was the latter, not the former that they were forbidden to eat.

Lost Season 6 Episode 14 Quotes

Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.

Mother

MIB: So, do you want to play or don't you, Jacob?
Jacob: Yes. I want to play.

× Close Ad