Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LOST 055: Sippin' Origin & Juice

Another week, another patented LOST paradigm shift. Last week, the Nemesis was 100% bad, a died-in-the-wool killer bent on death and destruction for all we love. This week? Well, this week he's still that. But he's also the wronged and wounded party he claims to be. Furthermore, Jacob isn't as pure and good as we may have thought. There is more -- far more -- of the petulant anger he showed in giving the knife-weilding Ricardo a serious drubbing and ocean swirlie. And he's the one who made his brother into the Thing it now is.

And -- perhaps the biggest revelation of all -- these Entities are not Gods, or at least they weren't always Gods. Once they were little boys, playmates, brothers, and friends. This isn't just a story of their struggle, it's also their tragedy. The struggle of this island is something that was done to them.

This struggle is older than them. There is a higher authority at work. In their own way, they are every bit as clueless as the people they've made into their playthings.

I understand that this was a rough episode for many. For me it is probably the culmination. The more I think about it, the better it gets. The more I ponder, the more it unfolds, the more answers it imparts.


And the island is . . . the Garden of Eden.

I am going to say that this is definitively the case, since, after all, they aren't going to say it, because, after all, this is LOST. And they've given it their own spin, their own particular mythology. But that is essentially what they are drawing on, and then they finally connect the dots by referring back to Locke's "We have our own Adam and Eve" pronouncement; the first announcement of their intentions. What if an airplane crashed in the Garden of Eden?

That's my story anyway. You make your own story. LOST is certainly archtypical enough.

But check this out. We have The Light. Life force. Universal connective tissue. Whatever you like. Light. From it flows a river. It gives life. It must be protected from mankind.

The first thing God says in the Bible is "Let there be light."

And then there's this:

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. [. . .] 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Come on. Come on.

We saw the tree of Life, the Temple Fountain.

I think we just got to see the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

I think we may just have seen the magic box that Ben told Locke about.

I think we may just be looking at the way off the island.

I love how ambiguous it all is. For those of you who don't groove on ambiguity, I'm very very very sorry. I think the next couple weeks are going to be difficult.

The Nemesis is the Bad Guy, a willing abuser and corrupter of the life force housed on the island. The Nemesis is the Victim, a man who was lied to by a crazy person posing as his mother, and transformed into a monster by his dense and too-trusting elder twin brother.

The Woman is the true protector of the island. The Woman is an insane liar and murderer.

The Nemesis hates The Woman, and Jacob is her true heir as protector. But it is the Nemesis who embraces the woman's philosophies, while it is Jacob who rejects them.

We know so much. And, because this is LOST, we haven't quite figured out what we know yet. They don't deal in exposition, they deal in implication.

By implication, The Nemesis certainly showed ancients brought to the island how to build the wheel.

By implication, it is water from The Light that imparts eternal life, and it is wine, made from that same water, which makes Jacob immortal; which makes him "the same" as The Woman. And, later, it is the same wine from the same bottle (or at least it is strongly suggested to be the case) that Jacob gives to Ricardo to give him immortality.

By implication, the woman -- who knows that to go into the hole is "worse than death", and who is apparently powerful enough to kill an entire village and burn it to the ground, not to mention strong enough to fill in an enormous hole in the time it takes the Dark Twin to wake up from a concussion -- has gone into the hole. How does she know that to do so is worse than death? Where does she find her power? By implication, she is a Smoke Thing, too. By implication, she welcomes her death when it finds her.

By implication, The Nemesis, even after the death of his human body, has been actively involved throughout time with the humans who come to the island, and whom he hates, while Jacob, who loves them, remains aloof.

By implication, The Nemesis -- a curious Man of Science and willing exploiter of The Light -- was the driving force behind the Dharma Initiative.

By implication, he came to Ben Linus and Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking, and many many others, and told them many things.

By implication, he shared knowledge of the Wheel, and of the Light, and of the Wells, with certain people. Ben, certainly. Widmore, certainly. And others.

By implication, Jacob's game involves proving the Nemesis wrong about the mother who's task he takes on, and by implication, the playing of it is a form of penance on Jacob's part.

By implication, Jacob and his brother were Candidates to his mother, and his mother was once a Candidate, and before that another was a Candidate, in the role of protector. She passed this essence on to Jacob at the glory hole in her own form of hole-y communion.

By implication, their inability to kill each other is a Rule imposed by The Woman, and the authority she uses to invoke it is the power of The Light. By implication, Jacob now wields this authority, and has used it to bind them to other rules.

By implication, Jacob's method of choosing Candidates differs as significantly from that of his mother as does his worldview. He certainly has no problem --either logistically or morally -- with getting off the island. With interacting with people.

Now . . .

You don't have to buy all of this -- none of which we have specifically seen -- if you don't want to, but it is undeniable that these are logical implications of what we HAVE seen. You don't have to like it that this is how they choose to deliver their answers, but I simply love the fact that this TV show is committed to letting its audience do some of the heavy lifting. It's literary is what it is. We know about the wheels and the wells. We know what the Swan dig tapped into. We know so much more. There is still a lot we don't know, but look at how quickly they are able to tie up so much. I think we'll get the story we need by the end.

I actually don't have very many more questions. Here's the list:

* What are The Rules?
* What IS the island, and where is it situated in space/time?
* Seriously . . . Sideways World? Help, please.
* What did the bomb do?
* What is the Purple Sky Incident? What happened in the big reset?

Interesting side note: By the time Locke came upon Jack and Kate and the skeletons, he had already met the Nemesis. How much did he already know? It never ocurred to me, but Jack and Kate were essentially naked for that scene because (a) ratings! and (b) they had just been running from a big bee swarm. The "we have our own Adam and Eve" could have just as easily applied to them. Just a neat touch.

Interesting side note: There's little wonder, really, that the Nemesis would find a Man of Faith like John Locke to be a pathetic dupe, is there? Notice how the Smoke targeted the Men of Faith on the island, Locke and Eko. He read Eko and found him to not be pliant enough, not trusting enough, and he went with Locke. Eko he killed.

Interesting side note: The Nemesis, like Hurley, can see the ghosts. Jacob, protector of the island, can't, or at least couldn't. But then again, Sawyer and Sayid (and maybe others) has seen Glowing Island Boy, but they haven't to my knowledge seen ghosts. Also, most island ghosts don't glow like GIB did, or, perhaps significantly, like the dead Real Mother did to the Boy Nemesis, at the moment she caused him to lose his faith.

Interesting side note: Well, we now know exactly who that little glowing island boy is, and why his appearance -- and the ability of some of the Candidates to see him -- would be bothering the Nemesis. This whole cosmic struggle is really rendered poignant by the fact that they were once little boys and brothers, playmates on Craphole Friggin' Island. But is the GIB really Jacob . . . or is he The Light, taking on the form of the dead? For that matter, was DRM (Dead Real Mother) also The Light? Is that why they are the only glowy ghosts to date?

Interesting side note: I am tired of writing "The Nemesis." Can we name this dude, already? I am going to take it as written that, since they didn't name him with this episode, they're not going to. I think that's a little cute.

Final question.

We know that the essence of the Unnamed Twin is tied up now with the Light that is the heart of the island, the Essence of all Life, the Glowing Eternal Whatzit. "If it goes out here, it goes out everywhere." So what happens if a being, whose essence is tied to the heart of the island . . . leaves the island?


Thanks as always to Lostpedia for image grabs.


BLAARGH! said...

As a VFX professional, I'm a little sad that as well as this show is put together, shot/acted etc... they went with a simple particular (the name of a plugin for those of you not in the field) smoke effect. You get super psyched up with the great smoke sound effect, then BLAM! cheeseball stock FX.

They shoulda hired me... (not kidding)

And to Hoy if you read this - you are so TOTALLY off base with your reads of this season it's not even funny!

And to Goat (if he reads this) CONGRATUFUCKINGLATIONS on your TOC seat!!!!

I'm missing the mook right now to do more crap stock vfx...

Alceste said...

Congrats on the TOC seat.

Are we sure that the Nemesis is the brother, or is it something already bound to the cave/light that was released from the cave and took the form of the dead brother when he entered the cave?

(And I wonder if the Nemesis would have been released from the cave in any event had the brother successfully used the light to leave the island.)

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Blaargh -- eat it. Me and 5 million americans agree.

Anonymous said...

I like the Garden of Eden analogy, but I think the Island is actually meant as an allusion for something else that can be compared to more than 1 religion.

I've done some half assed internet research, and I think there is a significant link between what we saw in last night's episode and the scene in Season 4 when Locke hands Ben this book to read . . .

(I haven't actually read this book, but following this thread via online research has been quite interesting. . .)

ScurvyDog said...

Sorry man. I'm a huge Lost fan, defended it and proselytized it to countless people, but that was the Worst. Episode. Ever.

Terrible writing and even worse acting. Huge gaping holes in the plot. Totally phoned it in.

"They've got smart people. I'm going to connect the light to this donkey wheel. Plus, umm, the water. Yeah, the water. Then something will happen. Yeah. And I'll be off the island. Oh, who am I kidding. I love you Mother. Owwwww, my head..."

Worst. Episode. Ever.

Julius_Goat said...

@Annon -- I should be clear, I don't think that the island is ONLY the Garden of Eden, but rather that the island is meant to be read as the reality upon which the Garden of Eden archytype is based. I don't see the LOST writers ever just boiling it down to one mythological reduction. The G of E template is just the one I've been viewing it through for a long time, and it's fun to see it paid off.

@ScurvyDog -- I don't think I convinced you that this was a good episode. We may just have to both agree that LOST is a great show generally, and I'll take custody of this episode.

Anonymous said...

"They've got smart people. I'm going to connect the light to this donkey wheel. Plus, umm, the water. Yeah, the water. Then something will happen. Yeah. And I'll be off the island. Oh, who am I kidding. I love you Mother. Owwwww, my head..."

Worst. Episode. Ever."

LMAO, It was the best episode ever.

Anonymous said...

Hi, same anon from post #4 here. The code has been cracked. 100% confirmed that the fable that the Lost writers constructed for Across the Sea is derived from Valis (i.e. a book they showed Ben Linus reading in Season 4). Thank you internet.

Do a google search. Apparently, there are some arcane gnostic scribblings included in the book that has all this stuff about “the one”, and the light and the dark, a final ending where the light consumes the dark, the movement of time, how numerous religions interpret these things, blah blah blah. . . and then there’s a part about two primordial twins, a healthy twin and a deranged twin, and how their interaction creates our reality as a holographic universe intended as a teaching instrument, which feeds off emanations from each of their “hyperuniverses”, including corrupting influences from the bad twin hyperuniverse... the story about the primordial twins builds up to this quote (which might give us a clue about the function of sideways world and the ending of the show). . .

“ The original plan of the One can only be realized now by the division of hyperuniverse I into two healthy hyperuniverses, which will transform the hologramatic universe into the successful teaching machine it was designed to be. We will experience this as the "Kingdom of God."

Within time, hyperuniverse II remains alive: "The Empire never ended." But in eternity, where the hyperuniverses exist, she has been killed -- of necessity -- by the healthy twin of hyperuniverse I, who is our champion. The One grieves for this death, since the One loved both twins; therefore the information of the Mind consists of a tragic tale of the death of a woman, the undertones of which generate anguish into all the creatures of the hologramatic universe without their knowing why. This grief will depart when the healthy twin undergoes mitosis and the "Kingdom of God" arrives. The machinery for this transformation -- the procession within time from the Age of Iron to the Age of Gold -- is at work now; in eternity it is already accomplished.”

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anonymous from post #7.

Still LMAO but not as loudly or heartily. My chest is starting to hurt and my left arm is numb. I took a few nitros and my chest still hurts. It has to be from the LMAO, right? It still is the best episode ever! Oh, god, the pain is kind of sharp now. At least the crushing pain has subsided.

Redshirt said...

I agree with the "Great Episode" crowd, though I can certainly understand why some did not like it. It was a bit forced at times, and child actors are always hit or miss.

But I loved it, as this episode was pure mythology, and I love mythology.

Agreed that the Island is the template for the G of E or Atlantis or any other longstanding magical place. In fact, I'd like to see a twist at the end where it's implied most mythos came from the Island in one form or another.

The fall of MIB was pretty tragic, as his only real "flaw" if you want to call it a flaw was the strong desire for knowledge, and a rejection of appeals to authority, or, in other words, Faith.

And for this desire, he's been tormented for millennia. I can understand why he might develop some bad behaviors.

Ready for this final week - this is it!