From the time we were introduced to the warring duo of Jacob and the Man in Black in the Season Five finale, I always suspected they were brothers. What I didn’t expect to find out was that they were mortal, or at least they were at first. What this week’s episode gives us is the story of the two mysterious figures, giving us more information as to who they are and how they received their respective roles on the island. In true Lost fashion, however, the answers we received brought up a whole new batch of questions which will hopefully be at least expanded on by the series finale, which has now been expanded to two and a half hours.
“Across the Sea” touched on a lot of the recurring themes of the series, such as surrogate motherhood, sibling rivalry, and the clash between faith and the search for facts. We still don’t know the Man In Black’s real name, and if we haven’t been told by now, we probably never will. My biggest question that has yet to be touched on is why Jacob and MIB seem to have switched positions when it comes to outsiders coming to the island. If Jacob was raised to stay away from them, why then did he make it possible for Richard, The Others, Dharma, Desmond, and Oceanic 815 to come to the island? Perhaps what he told Richard in “Ab Aeterno” is true and that the Smoke Monster really does want to do something terrible to the rest of the world and Jacob is trying to stop him by finding someone worthy enough to convince him not to do it.
One thing that “Across the Sea” really succeeds in is that it successfully debunks many of the speculations about which side is “good” and which side is “evil.” As we’ve seen many times on the show, both sides have done some horrible things and neither one could be considered “good” in the purest sense. That’s a relief to me, because I was starting to get worried that such a complex show was going to devolve into a simple battle between good and evil. The big answer we got in this episode was the reveal of just who the “Adam and Eve” skeletons are, which makes us wonder just who the Smoke Monster is, then. We found out that Jacob’s nigh-immortality has something to do with the wine bottle he carried around, which was given to him by his mother (Allison Janney) before her death at the hands of his brother. The question from this episode that everyone will no doubt be asking is just what the glowing light is in the tunnel and the well. It still remains to be seen whether this will be revealed to us in the series finale or whether it will wind up being the biggest Macguffin in history. Regardless, the next two episodes should make for some memorable TV. Despite not being the revelatory episode I expected it to be, “Across The Sea” gets 4 out of 5 Stones To The Head for giving us at least a few big chunks of information.