4. Seasons 3, 4, and 5 feature another pull-back, this time in a more metaphysical or abstract scope. This section of the onion is the most difficult to describe, but it involves the time traveling, space traveling, consciousness traveling, Mrs. Hawking aspects to the show. The island is not simply a coveted piece of real estate. There are bigger things going on, things that point to the island as a focal point to essential parts of life and the way things work. When the survivors finally leave the island, these factors ultimately help to pull them back.
5. Allusions to Richard’s immortality and to Jacob in general were made in previous seasons, but the finale of Season 5, where we get a full dose fo Jacob, reveals another level to the structure. Not only is the island special, but it’s special on a godlike, mythological level. In Jacob, we seem to have an omniscient, all-powerful entity who holds court over the island and can influence all sorts of seemingly impossible things – bringing people to the island via touch, the granting of immortality, etc.
These distillations are obviously fragmentary and rudimentary (there is much more going on in each level), but I think most fans can see this overarching edifice within the show. It is useful to crudely break down the plot in this manner for discussing the impact of “Across the Sea.”
After the full extent of Jacob’s abilities/position (and further the Dark Man) were brought to reveal, I assume many viewers figured that echelon might be the completion of Lost’s scope. Although one can imagine a hierarchy to which Jacob might be party, or a lineage, the Jacob-as-deity/angel/spirit notion would be a logical conclusion to Lost’s structure. As we see in “Across the Sea”, there is a further curtain to pull back:
6. Jacob and the Dark Man were normal kids who shipwrecked on the island and transformed into powerful entities by a woman who raised them on the island. We see Jacob as weak child, the Dark Man as “special” troublemaker. Jacob is not an angel or a born emissary of God. He was as mortal as Jack, Locke, or our other characters.
“Across the Sea” is full of hardcore answers. We see the origin of Jacob. We see his relationship to the Dark Man. We see the island’s “power source”. We see Adam and Eve in the cave. For some people, these reveals powered a high-octane episode. For others, this sixth level of the onion was not something they could grok.
For some of this set, the answers we received were simply unlikable. They did not enjoy the fact that Jacob and the Dark Man are brothers. Or that they were mere mortals. These viewers wanted the all-powerful, flaming sword Jacob. These viewers were likely to be upset no matter what structure the last episodes followed. The other group, however, felt disappointment for a different reason.