Monday, May 17, 2010

Lost 6/15: Jacob

Okay, I'm back! What'd I miss? Ten episodes? And the show ends forever in a week? Aw crap. That plan of mine for illustrating an episode a week didn't really pan out did it. I must have driven myself a little batshit trying to do the first four of these, because I haven't had the stomach to attempt another for the last two months.

And speaking of batshit: by way of commentary on the most recent episode, "Across the Sea", I'd like to copy and paste verbatim what I posted on Nikki Stafford's "Lost" blog late last night. I don't pretend that it makes any rational goddamn sense whatsoever, I merely offer it as evidence that this show is melting my brain out my ears and really does need to come to an end as swiftly as possible:

The two brothers seem to be representative of duality. The simple read is that Jacob is good and Brother is bad. But I'm starting to sense a more complex thing going on: The simple white and black represents how Jacob sees things, while MiB's outlook is more... complicated. Jacob represents dualism--the tendency to classify phenomena into "good" and "bad". Exemplified by the frantic impulse in monotheistic religions to categorize everything in the world either as holy/good/Godlike, and unholy/evil/Demonic. MiB represents non-dualism, the idea found more often in Eastern religions that everything in the world exists on an axis between the sacred and the profane, but all originating from the same source. MiB sees everything in shades of grey. He chooses to be with his Roman people, but he's not blind to the flaws in their character. He believes his "mother" to be hopelessly insane, but when she's right, she's right. Mother appreciates the mix of light and dark that burns so strong in MiB; it makes him special. It makes him the ideal candidate to stand astride this twilight realm between heaven and hell, taking on the souls of those who can't let go of this life, adding them to his strength to protect the source of all life. Jacob--poor, simple Jacob--played his part because accepted and continues to accept his mother's cover story. He sees himself as the good one and MiB as the bad one because he is incapable of seeing complexity. I guess he plays his part still in some way, as he endlessly scours the human race for "good" candidates. Meanwhile MiB rages helplessly, just fucking stop it. He's enraged at Jacob and enraged at himself for having unwittingly played into his mother's scheme.

There, I defy you to make sense out of that.


daveed said...

Interesting thoughts, but I think she's rationalizing (I've been guilty of it, too). I'm now convinced the show's creators haven't thought anything through that critically.

Instead, they hock up some bits and pieces of other myths and legends, present them on a big whiteboard and go, "Here. Have fun with this. We won't be taking any questions at this time, thank you."

I think that it pleases the creators that fans have communicated extensively about possible deeper meanings to the show. They want fans to believe they sat around and mapped this complex, intertwined puzzle of lively characters and rich storylines. Because it 1) keeps people buzzing about the show (which, frankly is their #1 priority), and 2) lets people feel some kind of participatory satisfaction in trying to decipher what's going on.

It was a brilliant, brilliant business strategy -- disguised as a creative one -- on the part of the showrunners.

Now I feel like the curtain has been pulled back, revealing a small little man at the controls.

Kevie said...

FYI it's me doing the rationalizing. God forbid I let Nikki take the blame for my insane rambling. :)

I'm sure you're right, unfortunately. I'm going to choose to enjoy the fact that it's open-ended enough for us to pleasurably waste a lot of time trying to make sense of it.

At this point I'm just grateful that the rickety old contraption has stayed in the air long enough to land where and when it intends to, without having crashed and burned in mid-flight. I would have been grateful for X-Files to have ended this well.

daveed said...

Oops, I missed that part about it being your comment... :)

You make a great point about how pleasurable it has been trying to figure out stuff. I rewatched Season 3 a few months ago and was reminded how awesomely mind-blowing the show was.

I only wish the creators were also making the same explorations as their fans, instead of carelessly flirting w/ ideas that just seem cool. It's a missed opportunity, IMO.

I wonder if there was some added pressure -- from ABC/Disney perhaps -- to keep piling on mysteries without any rhyme or reason. Part of me thinks they came upon this Jacob/MiB dichotomy midway through the 4th Season and decided to hinge the whole series on it. It's as if they were desperately searching for a unified theory and in the process, left off some really meaty story ideas.

For instance, no one seems remotely concerned who the DeGroots were, what the Dharma Initiative was really doing, or what was the whole Season 1-2 deal about Walt.

Joan Crawford said...

This makes perfect sense.

Jacob--poor, simple Jacob

I never liked nor trusted Jacob. The Wiener. Stupid, stubborn and vengeful (he's done way worse than Smokey) - Jacob scares me and makes me feel oogy every time he speaks.