Friday, May 14, 2010

LOST: Like crazy mother, like son... Monster.

Some rambling theorizing, riffing on revelations in "Across The Sea" in four parts: (1) Crazy Mother was a monster, (2) Crazy Mother is killed by Esau, (3) Given #2, who can kill Esau, and how?, and (4) Luchador Desmond!


Crazy Mother is a smoke monster. The Momster.

She is the Protector of the Island and its Heart, and when Claudia meets her, she's a monster. She never shows her smokey self to her adopted sons, but we certainly see the evidence of her monster-ous powers, in the filling of the well and the destruction of the settlement of XENA extras. She also speaks with authority about the outcome for anyone who enters the Heart of the Island—basically, a fate worse than death. Granted, it's easy to believe that that authority is built on delusion—Esau's story about his crazy mother is designed to tilt us that way—but let's take her at her word. How would she know? To my mind, there are two possibilities:

1. She entered the Heart herself and experienced the consequences herself.

2. She knew/observed someone else who entered the Heart and witnessed the consequences.

I believe that possibility 1 is what actually happened.

When a human being enters the Heart of the Island, his or her consciousness is forced out of its body and implanted in a smoke monster host body, somehow conjured or manufactured by the Heart. This process leaves behind the human's corpse. This is what happens when Jacob sends the unconscious Esau floating into the Heart.

Things we know about a smoke monster, courtesy of Esau's exploits and words.

1. A smoke monster can take the form and assimilate the experiences, memories, and personality of the life of any dead body present on the Island.

2. A smoke monster in either human or smoke form is impervious to conventional physical attacks.

3. A smoke monster can be blocked or contained by a line of special ash spread on the ground of the Island.

4. A smoke monster can be blocked or contained by powerful sonics as well.

5. A smoke monster can only manifest in its smokey form on solid ground, and not over water. (SAWYER: What do you need a boat for? Can't you just turn into smoke and fly your ass over the water?)

6. Contact with water may interfere with the ability of a monster in human form to change into its smoke form. (Jack shoves Locke-ness into the water on the dock and he doesn't go smokey on them. This could be because all was going to plan anyway, but I'm going to assume that Sawyer's gambit—he told Jack to get Locke-ness into the water—had the desired effect.)


Now, since the Momster is a monster herself, thru her story, we've learned that a monster can be killed. What made Esau's attack special...? I'm gonna try to identify significant factors.

1. Esau was born on the Island.

2. Esau may have died and been resuscitated by Infection. (Meaning that Crazy Mother's head-cracking move on Esau actually killed him.)

3. Esau used a steel/iron knife. (We saw his knife attracted by the electromagnetic field of the well and I'm assuming it's the same knife.)

4. Esau loved the Momster.

5. The Momster loved Esau.

6. The Momster WANTED to die. (She tells Esau, "Thank you.")

7. Esau catches the Momster by surprise. (While she is distracted by his game and game pieces, he stabs her in the back.)

7a. The Momster doesn't get to speak to Esau until after he delivers his killing blow. Of course, she's been speaking to him since he was born, but maybe the Rules reset the speaks-first counter every time a monster meets someone...? I feel it's worth mentioning because much has been made of individuals losing their advantage and/or nerve (Dogen tells Sayid to strike and kill Locke-ness before he says a word to him) and submitting to Esau's will as soon as they hear him speak to them (Claire explains to Jack that he's joined Locke-ness, even if he doesn't think he has, because he spoke to him).

I'm not saying all of the above factors are required to hurt or kill a monster, but I'm guessing that at least one of them is. Anyone got any more to add?


So, who of the remaining Losties on the Island in 2007 meets most if not all of the above qualifications...?

1. Born on the Island? It was DI policy in 1974 that mothers should give birth off-Island, but with Amy's successful delivery of Ethan, perhaps that changed by 1977, and Miles Straume could have been born on the Island.

2. Infected? Claire.

3. Steel/iron as a weapon? Shouldn't be too hard to manage. Where's that fancy old Roman dagger got to?

4/5. Love? If a loving relationship between Esau and his killer is necessary, well, that narrows it down considerably. A resurrected Jacob. A resurrected Crazy Mother. Perhaps Claire, at just the right moment.

What if being "stuck" for so long as Locke-ness is imprinting the original Locke's experiences and emotions upon Esau's consciousness in a completely new and different way, compared to Esau's usual doppelganging. Perhaps the original Locke's feelings of love might affect Esau as Locke-ness? If that's the case... and allowing for apparitions and resurrections as well as those drawing genuine breath, Locke might feel a strong connection to Jack, to Boone, to Aaron, to Helen, of course, and maybe Eko.

Yeah. I'm hoping that Love isn't a factor.

6. A deathwish? It's hard to see Esau getting himself into a situation where he would WANT to die, after all of his patience over the centuries, engineering his loophole, and now, apparently only a few steps away from his goal. Singleminded little monster brat, ain't he?

Still, maybe Esau dying will end up being part of the process of "leaving the Island." In which case, someone killing Esau will end up helping him reach his goal.

Maybe the writers can conjure up a scenario in which Esau would genuinely wish to sacrifice himself and wish for someone to kill him. Perhaps a vision of the Momster and BioMom together?

7. Surprise attack/no talking? Y'know what? I'm pretty sure that Miles is the only living Lostie on the Island in 2007 who hasn't had a conversation with Locke-ness. He was one of the returned time travellers. He escaped the Temple during Esau's massacre. He left with Richard instead of joining Hurley and Jack at Locke-ness's camp.

Wow. Miles! Miles the Monster killer! =)

Hrmm... I wonder if he would get a reading off of Esau in his presence...?


Of course, and I've said it before, killing Esau may not be the best way of dealing with him.

Consider the origin of Esau's life as a Monster—his visit to the Heart of the Island. The Heart is apparently the greatest concentration of exotic EM energy in or on the Island. The wells that the settlers dig seem to access secondary pools of the Heart's energized water. Two of the largest of these reservoirs end up being the focus of the DI Swan and Orchid stations.

What would happen if Esau were to be returned to the Heart? A human becomes a monster. What becomes of a monster?

The wheel chamber DOES eventually get built, and it does exactly what Esau's curious alchemists design it to do—sends an individual who turns the wheel off the Island. I'm unclear as to whether Esau and these wise men understood that the process would also move the Island. We know it works, tho. Esau must know as well. He was ready to turn the wheel when he was a living, breathing man, but since he's become a monster, he hasn't turned it. Given his desire to leave, that could only be the case because he CANNOT turn it. As a monster, he's unable to.

That tells me that concentrations of the Island's exotic energy are anethema to a monster. An extreme electromagnetic field or event is painful or destructive or deadly to a monster. Or, perhaps its fatally attractive or repelling? Maybe a monster would be unable to escape a massively potent EM field, or, on the other hand, its matter would be scattered to the winds if dragged to the center of one.

Now... Who do we know who could walk into the heart of an EM bonanza and get settle in with a good book, say, Charles Dickens, hrm? DESMOND!

Could the defeat of Esau lie in something as low-tech and down and dirty as Desmond putting Locke-ness in a headLocke and dragging him with him over the Heart's falls? Desmond's sacrifice?

I'd buy it, assuming the rassling would be just one of several theaters of the final war in both LOST realities.


Assuming that Crazy Mother is a Momster, it's interesting that her doppelganger body dies and decays just like a real human one. It's a *copy* of the original, but biologically, physically, it's a human body. Is it fair game for monster doppelganging? Could Esau wear Crazy Mother's form to mess with Jacob every once in a while? Was Momster "stuck" in that form for some reason, perhaps because she was a monster *and* Protector?

For a monster to take someone's form, must the original body of its dupe be in a particular condition?

Of course, if you're of a mind to reject the notion that Crazy M is a Momster, that she's just a crazy woman who believes she's in communion with the Island, then you'd probably view her apparently human remains as proof of that.

I'm gonna run with the Momster notion. It's way more fun.


Interesting how Esau adopts Momster's opinion of mankind while Jacob takes an opposing, hopeful, stance.
MOTHER: They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt... and it always ends the same.

ESAU: They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same.
JACOB: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.
Keep on keepin on~


Larry Kyrala said...

Re: the monster doesn't like EM fields: maybe it's just sound fields? He doesn't like the sonic fence, and after all, being a smoke monster, perhaps sound is a big (fatal?) disturbance to him?

The reason I say sound is because every time the wheel has been invoked or people go time jumping, we see a blinding light and everyone covers their ears during a sweeping high pitched deafening sound.

Maybe the smoke monster can't get off the island that way because of the sound?

cabinboy said...

Smokey definitely doesn't like sonics. Given that, it's kind of annoying that Widmore didn't bring a bunch of sonic bombs and bazookas with him. Would love to see a FORBIDDEN PLANET Id-monster siege, y'know? I've kind of wanted something like that since season 1.

We saw Mikhail get wracked when Locke shoved him into the fence field. I think it's that degree of sonics that works as a barrier to the smoke monster, and none of the time travelling or energy discharge events has caused any of the Losties to bleed out their eyes, so I'm thinking that while sound is definitely an aspect of these Island events, it wouldn't be enough to give the smoke monster a freak-out.

Extrapolating from comic book logic, I would wager that a monster's SMOKEY form is particularly/particulately vulnerable to sound, but his doppelganger form would have the same vulnerabilities as a regular human body.