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Lost – How to make a smoke monster

It was an episode of 'Lost' like no other. This installment gave us lots of answers and background.

- Season 6, Episode 15 - "Across the Sea"

You wanted answers? You got ‘em.

They may not be what you expected or wanted. You may not like what they mean or imply, but there were big, juicy answers in this episode of Lost. I have to admit that toward the beginning of this episode I thought things were heading a little into the “cheesy” territory. The mystical well of light, with the pretty little flowers and twinkling music? It made me nervous. I felt like the only thing that was missing were some wide-eyed cartoon forest creatures who would break into song. After watching the complete hour, though I am ready to jump on board.

We learned about the history of Smokey and Jacob — twins! We learned about that crazy mother (Allison Janney) that Smokey had talked to Kate about. We learned about the power of the island, the “energy” that lies beneath it. As in typical Lost fashion, much still remains a mystery, and I can’t imagine that we’re going to get straight answers about them all. Details about Jacob and Smokey’s “mother?” I’d be shocked if we got them, but at the end of the day, are they really important? Oh, and that kid running around the island, haunting “Locke?” It’s Jacob. After watching this episode, I’m wondering why it was ever a question, the kid playing young Jacob couldn’t look more like Mark Pellegrino.

I think we are all left to wonder about the nature of the smoke monster though. I mean, he certainly didn’t seem like evil incarnate before taking the nose dive into the heart of the island. Plus, his body was definitely recovered by Jacob. We’ve seen the skeleton (all the way back in season one, in fact). So … was the evil down in the well the whole time and the body set it free somehow? Was the smoke monster inhabiting Jacob’s brother’s body just as it is now inhabiting John Locke’s? We have seen that the smoke monster has some memories of Locke’s life (if you recall he talked to Ben about the last thing Locke thought about before Ben killed him). There is clearly some part of Locke left in there, but at the same time, it is not John Locke. Did the same thing happen with Jacob’s brother? I’m inclined to believe so, because otherwise, I’m not so sure why it would be so horrible for him to leave the island. Nothing in the Man in Black’s past would lead me to believe that he is evil. Clearly there is more information to be had.

Another possibility could be that the energy ripped Jacob’s brother’s “essence” from his body, and that is what flies around as an angry cloud of black smoke. His body, which Jacob found, was simply an empty, used husk, and through years of living on the island “stripped of his humanity,” the smoke monster is pissed and evil, looking to take some revenge on the world. We just don’t know yet.

What I really liked about this episode were all the parallels that were drawn to things we have seen earlier in the series. When Jacob’s brother ran off to join the other people on the island, it certainly reminded me of Ben fleeing the Dharma Initiative to join Richard and the “Others.” The moment between Jacob and his mother before he drank the magic wine recalled Ben’s attitude when he finally came face to face with Jacob. “What about me?!?” It makes me wonder if Ben is going to be the person who takes over the reigns on the island. After all, if Jacob’s mother was wrong about who would take over after her, why should we believe Jacob’s list?

How did you feel about the episode? Were you happy with the answers provided? Did you want more?

Photo Credit: ABC

Categories: | Episode Reviews | General | Lost | TV Shows |

26 Responses to “Lost – How to make a smoke monster”

May 11, 2010 at 11:08 PM

I really wouldn’t call what we got here “answers.” Just more questions. One simple one being: what in the frig is the man in black’s name? Can’t they just give us that ONE thing?

What’s the light in the island exactly? Now I’m convinced we’ll never know.

Why does the smoke sound like clanking gears on occasion, when it was made … like that?

What was that drink? Is that what allowed Jacob to live forever? Or is it just the island doing that?

Who was their mother? What’s her past? Probably will never learn that.

More questions, fewer episodes to answer them. At this point I’ve finally crossed fully over into the “just end it already so I can go on living” camp, because I’m pretty convinced they could not possibly end this show in a way that’ll be remotely satisfying to me.

May 11, 2010 at 11:52 PM

If they don’t explain the energy better then I’m gonig to be pissed.

However we don’t need to know the background of Jacob’s mother, there is no real need. Her destiny was to have the children on the island.

I think the whole reason MiB is pissed off is because he has no name, that would be annoying. :)

May 12, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Biblically, I guess his name is Esau. And, frankly, that would piss me off more than not having a name. As for me, I’m sure I’ll be pissed off every time I watch the show from now until it finally peters out.

May 12, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Well, now we know the story of Jacob and the MiB and there is nothing even remotely similar to the story from the Bible. The only thing they have in common is that there’s someone named Jacob and he has a twin brother. Not much.

May 11, 2010 at 11:47 PM

I agree with Keith so far as the notion that the episode created, or at least perpetuated, larger questions rather than giving real definitive answers (though that doesn’t bother me as much).

We do have an understanding now of where Jacob and the Man in Black came from (as well as the frozen donkey wheel introduced in season four). However, the main thing this all seemed to do was push the mythology further from our grasp. Rather than Jacob and the Man and Black being the key to understanding what everything is about, it seems that whatever has been going on with this island preceded even them. They may be just another dead end in having a clear understanding of the larger mystery of the island itself.

What this episode did leave me with is more curiosity about Desmond. He seemed to get a hefty dose of whatever it is that’s at the core of the island back when he blew the hatch. Maybe in that he might end up being even more of a key to everything than I thought.

May 12, 2010 at 12:32 AM

Yeah, I think the only actual question that was answered was who the skeletons were.

And I would swear Janney’s character thanked “Owen” (MiB) right as she died.

May 12, 2010 at 12:39 AM

I checked the closed captioning, and it just said she mumbled something incoherently. No idea if she said his name, though you’d think that since they’re keeping it a secret, the reveal will be significant? Because, if not, doesn’t that sorta piss people off that they’re still screwing with us with more mysteries at this point?

May 12, 2010 at 12:42 AM

In the grand scheme of things I don’t know about the universe that Lost lives in, I think I can live without learning his name if that means I get answer to, you know, real questions.

May 12, 2010 at 2:26 PM

This may be one of the worst episodes of Lost ever, and that it came so close to the series finale is doubly disappointing. Halfway through, I realized that with all of the questions going through my head (how is it their adopted mother can ensure that they can’t kill each other? what does it mean to be chosen? why is the actress playing the adopted mother so bad (unlike when she was in the west wing)?), at some point I just didn’t care. The death of any show is when you just stop caring about the characters.

There were very few answers, and the answers that were given (an explanation of the skeletons) didn’t in the least satisfy me. Instead, we were presented with a whole host of new questions that will never be answered.

May 12, 2010 at 1:45 AM

That was interesting, but what does it add to my understanding? Not much. I’m afraid this is going to be an under cooked meal. It won’t matter if it started out as the finest cuts of meat. We won’t be able to eat it and/or it might make us sick.

Starting to worry….

May 12, 2010 at 2:05 AM

It would be really trippy if somehow Kate gets zapped to the past and she is the crazy mother/guardian who raises Jacob and MIB. I would love an ending shocker.

May 12, 2010 at 8:21 AM

That’s for sure. It wouldn’t make a damn lick o’ sense, though.

May 12, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Oh I know it’s nuts right? But something about the helping to birth, then raising someone else’s kid stood out to me. Then the curly hair and distictly modern feel to the character. Top that off with fake Locke telling Kate about his mommy…..

Dunno. Like I said before, I’d really like to see something odd.

May 12, 2010 at 11:10 AM

And – Kate has to expiate for killing her stepfather, what better way than to be tasked to guard “the whatever it is” until she herself is killed by someone “special”. Come to think about it, Locke was “special” too. Hmmmmm……

May 12, 2010 at 8:19 AM

What I took away from this is that Jacob and the Man in Black are not the god-figures of the island we thought they were. The Man in Black was never even supernatural, and Jacob only became so because of drinking in whatever that light-infused water was. I do think the Smoke Monster now only took the form of Jacob’s unnamed brother – the same way he did with Locke more recently – and the show’s creators didn’t give the character a name precisely because he’s not as important as we thought he was. Whatever the case, it seems like Jacob murdering his brother (after he wasn’t supposed to be able to) was some kind of catalyst to free the evil force we know as Smokey. (His brother is certainly a tragic enough figure; raised by his mother’s murderer only to be killed by Jacob in turn.)

I didn’t care for this episode much. I would much rather have gone with a normal episode of Lost that answers things in flashbacks while still driving the action forward. And as others have said, it definitely seems like the only thing this episode established was the identity of Adam and Eve – and maybe more importantly, that Smokey is some kind of force from the island, not really a person (or ex-person) at all; everything he’s told just about everyone is a lie. We don’t know the nature of this being, or the immortality/supernatural power-giving golden light of the island (except that it’s some kind of electromagnetic charge). It makes sense, though, that it would indeed be disastrous for Smokey to leave the island (even though it should’ve been just fine for the original Man in Black to leave, and none of this crap would’ve happened if not for that crazy broad), if it is indeed some sort of personification of the powerful energy beneath the island.

May 12, 2010 at 9:43 AM

In typical “Lost” fashion instead of answers we get a new storyline which gives us a couple of answers to questions nobody really cared about and hands us new, insanely huge questions.

I think it’s pretty obvious why we always think that Darlton come up with this stuff as they go along. Because frankly it seems as if they simply tell story after story to keep us occupied while frantically seeking for answers for stuff they made up while storytelling.

As if they had those two in mind for the skeletons in Season One. Let’s open a poll – who here thinks they knew who these two were when they wrote that episode back six years ago? I bet nobody. I bet “Adam and Eve” was the closest thing they had as an explaination back then themselves. The first two people on the island. Did we get an answer now who these people were? I say no. We know how they looked before they were dead and we know their names… oh wait. We don’t even know that. We don’t know where they came from. We don’t know what makes the island special.

To be honest: we don’t know anything. This episode explained nothing. It gave us backstory to those two guys. It’s as if you ask the question “What is god” and as an “answer” you get an hour of that day god ate an apple and then played some sort scabble. As if that is an answer.

And then that sentence about the game. “How do you know the rules?” – “I just do”

Yeah great for you but we over here on the other side of the screen don’t know a f***ing thing about it and watching you play is as much fun as it is to see grass grow.

I’m fed up with it all to be honest. Just get it over with. All I can see here is two guys expertly telling a story about nothing and laughing all the way to the bank. Just one big magic trick – look over here – nothing. Look over here – a bunny.

May 12, 2010 at 1:31 PM

You made me laugh, and after watching this miserable show, that’s a good thing to come of it. I expect somewhere down the line of history, they will show this along with other experiments they have done to humans – the “how long will this person electrocute the other person just because I told them to do it” experiment, and next flash to us drones on couches watching and the websites, the speculation, people trying to figure out what posters mean when a character is on bended knee and the rest are standing, what do the numbers mean, why did they bring on those two awful Brazilian characters? They will show all of us being swept along in this mind numbing experiment and being stupid enough not to turn away, merely because we were told there would be an end.

May 12, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Worst episode ever. When we are just hours away from the ending of the series, I do not give a flying frak about some stupid energy cave or the frakkin twins. I might have found this interesting ALONG THE WAY, interjecting portions of the island’s lore at a time when I might have thought they really thought this through. To bring us five years with a group of characters who have been through hell and back (almost literally for those who returned to the island), spending this much time with history that has NOTHING to do with those characters….its pure BS. It proves they had NO IDEA what they were doing all this time. They made it up as they went along. I don’t want to see one more SECOND of Jacob or the man older than a woman who was an adult when he was born. Not one more second. I don’t care. We lose three prime players last week and return to that crap? Seriously? I can’t wait until its over so I can stop wasting my time and expecting something I won’t get. A good ending to a series that they supposedly planned in advance. One thing I do know, this wasn’t a character driven show as I had thought. This was some stupid allegory they wanted to tell and they gambled that we would like it. Surprise! I don’t like it. At all.

May 12, 2010 at 1:46 PM

“…or the man older than a woman who was an adult when he was born.”

– I think the idea was that she wasn’t aging because of her role as guardian of the island, similar to how we saw that Jacob hadn’t aged at all in over a century last season.

“One thing I do know, this wasn’t a character driven show as I had thought. This was some stupid allegory they wanted to tell and they gambled that we would like it.”

– Regardless of what you feel about the episode (and I voiced my own disappointment with it above), this has still been very much a character driven series. There’s a question as to how neatly or directly the show’s mysteries and mythology tie into that, but the character exploration and development have been and are still there in all the seasons and episodes that have led up to here. This episode didn’t change any of that.

May 12, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Jacob’s a douche. And was it just me, or did he seem like an actual simpleton? Seriously; this episode made Jacob look half a step above Forrest Gump. If I were Ben or Richard right now, I’d be pissed. Also, I am firmly on Team Man In Black. I hope he kills them all at this point.

May 12, 2010 at 2:36 PM

If I understand correctly, the Man in Black is not even the Man in Black. Do you mean you just want Smokey to kill everyone and get off the Isand and kill everyone?

May 12, 2010 at 4:30 PM

I have to agree with you here. The person we saw died (even though Jacob was told he couldn’t kill his brother he managed to do so and regretted it) and sending the rotten apple into the pure light made the evil come out of the corpse – and that evil, the corruption, is Smokey.

But since Jacob killed his brother, the same evil has to reside within him. Or had resided since he’s now dead as well. Smokey killed him. Begs the question what the kid then is – because Jacob simply burned and wasn’t sent into the light.

Yeah so many questions answered during this episode. Equals round about Zero in my book.

May 12, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Jacob is definitely a douche. I think any idea that he’s the good guy is going to be proven wrong.

May 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Nah it isn’t just you. Full ACK.

I mean honestly after watching this episode I’m rooting for themaninblackflockesmokeymanwithoutbeardwtflocke

All he wants is to leave the island because he was lied to and the only reason he was given is “You know, there’s this light, and I have to protect it, and to do so I have to kill every person who sets foot on the island except you. And your brother. But now you, because you want to leave…

Graaaaa… no this isn’t frustrating at all.

May 12, 2010 at 4:29 PM

While I do enjoy the show, I’ve had to tweak my understanding of what it’s about. We’re not going to get an ending full of answers. You have to realize the show’s real charm is making you ask more questions. My personal epitome came when they spent most of the first season investigating the friggin hatch.

Take the gameplay of Myst, the crew of the SS Minnow, put them on a magical Island, add in some literary and religious references, sprinkle with suspensful music and you’ve got LOST.

May 13, 2010 at 8:17 AM

So the interesting thing I noticed here is that while Jacob and Smokey were children, there was already *something* wandering around the island pretending to be dead people.

And Smokey’s taken the form of Jacob’s dead brother.

So … maybe Smokey isn’t actually Jacob’s brother, but rather something that was released when Jacob sent his brother’s body into “the light”.

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