"Across the Sea" - probably the greatest lore flashback "Lost" has ever produced, took us back to tell the strikingly complex origin story of both Jacob and his twin brother that no one planned on; of course, it should be no surprise to anyone that the moment where we thought we could tie the MIB up in a nice little bow and label him "evil incarnate," in typical Lost fashion, we are presented with the other side. Not to say that the creature that emerged from the golden cave of wonders isn't the sum of all evil, but the nameless and "special" brother that creature would eventually take the guise of was far from evil. Tragically, his "Adam and Eve" fate was just another in what was probably an already long line of sinister betrayals and literal backstabbing that make up the core of the island's story. From god's to men, this place seems to bring out the worst.
- In the Claire vein of creepy, "Mother" (or "Eve") was the ancient soul that had been entrusted with the protection of not only the island, but more specifically the life/death/time-bending golden power that makes up it's core. Protecting this energy from man at large is so important that Mother's morality dictates it necessary to not only crash a ship (killing people), and isolate and murder a pregnant woman after taking her kids.
- The key question is why? This WHY is the center of most all conflict in Lost, and her two "sons" not only embody, but are the archetypal figures and thematic forebearers of every conflict that comes after. For Mother there are two apparent reasons - one quasi-noble and one selfish:
- The noble reason can be based in the John Stuart Mill school of Utilitarianism, which dictates that the the most morally correct action is an action that benefits that greatest amount of people. So, murdering a mother for her children may seem sinister and evil, but raising a successor to watch over a golden light that, if extinguished, would extinguish all the light in the world is deemed morally correct because raising that one future protector benefits billions of people.
- The selfish reason is that she simply wanted to orchestrate her own freedom from the island: death. Trapped for however many ages, the entity summons a pregnant mother in hopes to raise her child as her successor, while hoping to use either him or his brother a means to facilitate her own demise (since she presumably could not kill herself). After enraging the MIB enough, she thanks him upon receiving a knife in her back. This is the more sinister of the reasons, as Mother commits small-scale genocide (with a power left unseen- Smokey?), to further isolate and enrage the MIB enough so that she can die. These entities obviously don't value all lives as equal, as Jacob has clearly followed in his mother's footsteps in almost every way (crashing ships), including his own knifey escape from the land of the living.
- The answer to the why is that like Jacob and the MIB, it's probably a lot of both. You get the feeling that Mother wishes that Jacob and the MIB were that perfect mixture of each, most notably from the scene where she tells Jacob that she loves each boy for their own reasons (rather than equally) when Jacob calls her out for appearing to like the MIB more. Truthfully, she probably did, as Mother was more noticeably open and "human-like" around the MIB, as his traits probably reminded her of the humanity she had lost so long before. It also made the MIB vulnerable to be the instrument of Mother's demise, while Jacob was being groomed to care-take.
- The big shocker of the episode was that the MIB was Jacob's unlucky unplanned fraternal twin whom remained unnamed because his mother wasn't prepared. Yet, if you were expecting him to be dastardly evil from the get-go, you would be wrong, as actually he was a pretty likable kid and man.
- The MIB plays the ancestral role that would later be famously filled by Jack as the "Man of Science." Of course, science was just getting off the ground in the ancient island times, but the MIB was at the forefront. As a kid, he was the rationalist and empiricist of the two twins, constantly questioning his "Mother" and his duty to her and the island, and even what lies beyond. He is the only one of the twins that takes affront to Mother's actions, and won't be part of her schemes. I actually felt pretty bad for the guy, as (like Jack) he exhibited the legitimate frustration of not having a choice - not having free will over his own life or circumstances.
- We also come to find out that the MIB also originally had a gift that has shown up a lot in Lost lore: seeing dead people. Jacob isn't able to see their murdered mother, Claudia, but perhaps that is the point. Following the line of thought that the two boys were means to Mother's end, what if Mother took the guise of Claudia, but selectively revealed herself to only the MIB; knowing the child's character and his probable reaction, her revelation to the MIB sets off a series of events that would divide and isolate the two boys in their respective worlds, and eventually trick the MIB into killing her.
- The MIB proves himself to be an apt scientist, as he figures out the alternate route to the hidden golden power (it's starting to sound like the Tri-Force), by digging wells over pockets of unique energy. Not only that, but the MIB reasons out the properties of the energy and engineers the now-famous donkey wheel to shoot himself across the sea. Mother couldn't have her "special" son leaving the island (before he could kill her), so she goes to her "sorry, but I have to rage on you" place and smashes the MIB into unconsciousness. When he awakes, the well is destroyed and his own "means to an end" folk are slain. Big question: does he eventually re-dig the well and finish the wheel?
- Jacob was the A-twin that always felt like "Twin B." His mother didn't seem to relate to him and his pure faith-driven and goody-goody nature, even though he did everything that she seemed to preach and want (he learned how to weave for Eve's-sake). Ultimately, he was the chosen one because he was truly the only one blindly good enough for the job. Yet for all his positive qualities, Jacob still comes off like one of those sheltered home-schooled kids.
- Jacob, essentially, is the forebear for the original J-Locke; that is, he is purely faith and duty-driven to protecting the island. To me the development of Jack in the final season is sort of that perfect balance that has been absent from the island, and that the key to the endgame will be for the good doctor to reconcile these two conflicting Man of Science/Man of Faith shticks that were started by the two fraternal twins.
- Jacob also has quite the mean streak, lashing out at his twin brother after the MIB murdered Mother, and knowingly condemning him to a "fate worse than death."
- The biggest room for debate is how to interpret the birth of Smokey. Like Christian and John Locke, Smokey assumes the guise of the MIB after his corporeal body is destroyed. Are we then to believe that like Fake-Locke now, the MIB in "Ab Aeterno" is Fake-MIB. It could be that upon being unleashed, Smokey latches onto the freshly dead body of a chosen and downloads all his memories, thus also downloading some of the MIBs mannerisms as well (like the infamous, "Don't tell me what I can't do (ghostboy)!). Why would the non-evil body of the MIB spawn an evil entity? More precisely: why would the golden power create the smoke monster?
- Or, is Smokey the soul of the MIB that is ripped out of his corporeal body and solely bent on revenge against his Mother and the caretaker of her ideals, Jacob, for condemning him to a fate worse than death (literally unable to die EVER). When and why does Smokey lose his first MIB avatar?
A ton of noodle-cookers in this one. I really hope it turns out to be Jack donning a green hat and finding pieces of tri-force - it's been so long since I have had Zelda in my life.