A Means To An End

Before tonight’s episode began, I jotted down a few things that I was hoping to maybe learn a little more about. My notes included the island’s origin, Egyptians and Tawaret (statue), brothers and bad twin, rules of the game, Adam and Eve, and corruption versus goodness of humanity. Well, in true LOST fashion, they left a lot open for interpretation, gave us new questions that I don’t think will ever be answered, and only answered a couple of questions. Did I like it? Yes. Could it have been a hell of a lot better? I’m undecided right now. This show is more a sum of its parts to me and this episode was a means to an end.

BIB (Baby in Black)

The episode started pretty strong with a young pregnant woman named Claudia making her way to shore and into the jungle after a shipwreck. We’re not made aware of the year, but it feels like a VERY long time ago. A mysterious unnamed woman I’ll call “Mother” finds her and helps her to her camp to treat her wounds and tells her that she got to the island by accident just like Claudia did. Claudia then goes into labor and Jacob is born and swaddled in a white blanket. Moments later, she delivers a second child, but hadn’t selected a second name so didn’t know what to call him. I’ll call him Baby in Black (BIB) because he is conveniently swaddled in a black blanket. As Claudia is recovering, she asks to see the children and Mother takes a rock and kills her by crushing her skull. I have a feeling these kids are going to have quite the interesting life ahead of them.

KIB Finds A Game

For the record, KIB means Kid in Black. Why can’t they just give him a name? Frustrating! Anyway, KIB finds a game on the beach. The game is called Senet and it may be the oldest board game known to man. It dates back to ancient Egyptian times and due to the elements of luck combined with the Egyptian belief in determinism (fate), it was believed that a successful player was under the protection of the gods. As a result, Senet boards or game pieces were often placed in graves along with other objects for the dangerous journey through the afterlife. I thought this was pretty interesting seeing as how Jacob eventually buries the bodies of Mother and MIB along with the white and black pieces (stones) from the game, which Jack still has (as far as we know).

Bad Twin?

I have to admit that the MIB didn’t seem to be all that evil as a kid. Sure, he kept secrets from the woman he thought was his mother (finding the game) and he often dreamed that there was something more than what was on the island, but wasn’t his imagination being stifled by his mother and wasn’t she lying to him? Also, the ghost of his real mother appeared to him for a reason. She showed him the truth and helped him understand where he originally came from. He believed there was something “across the sea” and he was right. Shouldn’t he have been allowed to go if he wanted to? Perhaps if we had been given some solid or reasonable explanation by Mother, her actions would make more sense. She is as “evil” as the MIB is based on her actions in this episode.

If The Light Goes Out Here, It’ll Go Out Everywhere

We’ve all seen stories and real-life examples of how man’s quest for power (and winning) can destroy things as big as entire civilizations and as small as a “friendly” board game. The light in the cave of water symbolized power and when it is obtained for the wrong reasons, it can only create negativity. As we witnessed, MIB was killed in the light and darkness was unleashed in the form of the smoke monster that retained his form and his memories. Now the only thing keeping that darkness from leaving the Island and shutting out the light in the rest of the world is Jacob’s replacement.

Redemption or Revenge?

Mother attacks MIB in the well with the (unfrozen) donkey wheel after he explains to her how he’s going to leave the island with the assistance of the greedy, selfish, untrustworthy villagers. She deceives him, yet again, by embracing him and allowing him to cry on her shoulders as if they are resolving years of friction, and then she shoves him against the wall knocking him out. After that, she carries him out, buries the well beneath dirt and rocks, and somehow kills all the villagers while burning their town. So…when MIB wakes up and sees all of this, he becomes enraged, destroys her camp, and waits for her to return so he can sneak up behind her and stab her with the now infamous dagger. She killed his mother, lied to him all those years and now destroyed his dream of going across the sea, but he still wept while she lay there dying. All that and in her last words after he asks why she wouldn’t let him leave, she says, “Because I love you. Thank you.” It was almost as if she wanted him to kill her.

Even when Jacob sees him standing over Mother, MIB tries to explain his actions by saying that she was crazy and “burned them all”. He’s trying to rationalize and justify his actions and some of us viewers are left struggling with why what he did was so bad. When it looks like Jacob is going to kill MIB next, he makes a choice to not kill him and instead sends MIB into the glowing water cave and here’s Smokey! Mother had explained earlier when she passed her protector duties on to Jacob with a drink of wine that he should never go in there because it would be worse than death. Well MIBs body died, but now he is trapped on the Island forever, unless he can find a loophole.

Adam and Eve

I’m still wondering if Jack still has those stones. I have mentioned them in many previous blogs and I don’t think they’ll be brought to light again, but I’m satisfied with the identities of the skeletons, even though we don’t know what their friggin’ names are.

The Young Boy In The Jungle

We now know for sure that the boy we’ve seen a few times running around the jungle taunting unLocke is young Jacob. I have to say that I’m really not sure what to make of Jacob. He’s actually very simple-minded and naïve. It’s almost as if Mother’s manipulation of him as a child formed his lifelong beliefs of protecting the Island. He doesn’t share her belief in the corruption of humanity though. He believes that there is good in everyone and it was actually MIB who shared her belief that “They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.”

Why No Definitive Answers

I know I probably sound like I think I know it all or something, but I actually think I understand why the writers are portraying things the way they are and not answering everything definitively. We (as viewers) are in the same position as the characters on the island have always been. What do we believe? Can we really make our own choices or are we destined to some pre-determined fate? Can we blindly believe in something we don’t understand simply because we have faith that we’re doing it for the greater good? What if we’re wrong? The writers really can’t give us the answers anymore than Jacob can tell people what they should or shouldn’t do. If they end the series with a definitive answer to life’s basic question of fate versus free will, they would be accused of establishing a new cult or religion. I think they are going to leave that and other questions a bit open-ended while focusing on the changes within each individual character. Isn’t that really why most of us fell in love with this show in the first place? We, as fans, will have to demonstrate a bit of Negative Capability in order to fully embrace the conclusion of this brilliant series.

Next week’s episode is titled “What They Died For”. This title makes a lot more sense after the recent deaths of Sayid, Jin, and Sun. It’s the penultimate episode before LOST weekend begins.

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8 Responses to A Means To An End

  1. jbond says:

    I really have to digest this whole episode. I feel like I won’t even quite grasp it until I watch it again. One thing I did sense though was that I think what I heard was that KIB/MIB COULDN’T leave the island simply because his mother TOLD HIM he couldn’t and not because there were any physical constraints on him. This stems from the idea that both he and Jacob were just rubes that had to believe everything their mother told them because at their age and given their isolation, they just didn’t KNOW any better. That being said, I would imagine the inability to leave became a permanent one for MIB once he became smoke. That, subsequently, taking on the forms of dead bodies is fine on an island where ‘magical’ things can happen but it would be impossible for him to leave the island in any of those forms because duplications of dead bodies don’t exist in the real world. The only way I can see him being able to leave the island now is if someone LITERALLY ‘bottles’ him up and takes him ‘Across the Sea’.
    I do think their were a lot more questions answered than I could pick out in a single viewing. I’m sure they’re trying to hint that the donkey wheel was eventually set in place and created an exit for humans ..but not for Smokey. What caused the gold shiny areas to be turned to frozen areas have yet to be explained. Are there still gold shiny areas left anywhere on the island or are they all frozen over somehow.

    I’m going to stop now, haha, because I think I’m confusing myself even more. I’m going to rewatch it again tonight so that I can work on my own blog. I fear that I’ll have no idea what the hell I’m talking about either way.

    ok one more bit of nonsense before someone else says it…

    Is it possible that in a twist of time manipulation, MIB and his Fake Mama are actually named ‘ADAM…and Eve’?

  2. Bob Barletta says:

    Did anyone ever read “The sentinel”, or see the movie.
    This still sounds to as if it were the same basic
    concept. One person selected forever to guard the gates of hell until a new guard comes along. This was why MIB
    was happy when she died. The new senitnel, Jacob,
    was taking over. Once he drank the kool-aid, he became the new guard. Jacob unleashed evil from the light in the tunnel and had to keep it from destroying all mankind.

  3. jbond says:

    On second thought, I don’t even think ‘time manipulation’ is necessary for MIB and his ‘mom’ to actually be NAMED ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’. If MIB was never given a name…ever until John Locke said that he was the islands very own ‘Adam…’ than technically that’s the first time he ever got a name. Same goes for his mom. We don’t know enough about her back story, but it’s possible she was never given one ’til that day either.

  4. Patty says:

    I bet you always wanted to use the word “penultimate” 🙂

  5. CK says:

    I loved this episode in theory, but hated it in it’s execution. It felt sort of clunky and the effects (golden cave, Land of the Lost cave) killed me.

    Other than that, I think it served it’s purpose to move the story along, give some explanations, answer some questions, raise a lot more and as a means to The End.

    I think the song choice of “The End” is so fitting. Have always loved the song and lyrics. http://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/doors/the+end_20042686.html

  6. cjblost says:

    Funny, but for an episode that a LOT of people are ragging on, last night’s has become the most talked about (the day after) almost immediately.

    Seriously though, I understand the frustration and why some people feel that the writers copped out. There’s a big part of me that wanted to see the “creation story”, but did Star Wars ever explain midichlorians? Nope, and that’s why my link to the Wikipedia page for “Negative Capability” was included in my blog.

    I told my brother earlier today that the big question for me with this episodes is, “Was it even necessary?” I think yes because we got to find out who Adam and Eve are, how Smokey came to be, what the magnetic life force beneath the island represents, and how there is both good AND evil in MIB and Jacob. Would I also like to know who built the statue (probably the Egyptians), where this Mother person came from and how she has all these “powers”, how the island came to be in the first place, and what the damn harm would be in honestly explaining to people what the heck is going on so they don’t kill each other? Hell yeah, but I’m going to reserve judgment on why we were shown the details in this episode until the series is complete.

    I’ll go further and say that if this episode was broadcast 10 episodes ago, I think people would have liked it a lot more. Everyone’s looking at the date and realizing now that we’re not going to get some answers and some of us are freaking out. This is a series about human emotions first and foremost. The science fiction element and mythology are excellent as well, but my faith resides in solid conclusions to the character stories.

    @Bob – Never read The Sentinel, but sounds like a good read and VERY similar. I’ll have to check it out.

    @Patty – LMAO

    @CK – We just knew they would use this song before the series was through this year. AND I agree that the golden cave was a bit corny although I’m also thinking that Smokey seemed cheesy to me until I found out he was made from a human.

    @JBond – I love your debates with yourself. LOL Sure, call them Adam and Eve. They have now been named! Damn, that was easy and so darn obvious. And for the record, it has grown increasingly difficult to write these blogs immediately following the episodes. I would much prefer having some time to digest the material and watch it again these days. Only a couple more to go though and I was pretty impressed with myself when I found the name of the game (Senet) by doing a quick wikipedia search for “old egyptian board game”. Backgammon came up and when I scanned the page, there was a historical section that mentioned ancient Egypt and Senet. Cool stuff.

  7. Ryan says:

    So obviously we know that MIB can’t kill any candidates and that candidates can’t kill MIB. We learned that when Sayid stabbed MIB after being instructed by Dogen to do so and then nothing happened. That leaves Kate, Ben, Miles, and Alpert who re still available to kill him so I haven’t given up on the fact that he could be killed and evil will be ridden of even though Sayid failed to do so.

    Also tonight I’m hoping to see if the deaths of those who died two weeks ago are somehow related to timeline X. Do you think Sayid, Jin, and Sun could die in that too?

  8. cjblost says:

    I think that anyone can die in either timeline, so those three dying are not out of the question, but I doubt it. I’m more of the opinion that the timeline X folks will somehow fully remember their experiences on the island and that will be extremely important in their personal development. They needed those experiences to get where they are today.

    As far as killing MIB, I think the only way to get that done is to destroy the island.

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