Across the Sea (Lost)

"Across the Sea" is the 15th episode of sixth season of the serial drama television series Lost and 118th episode overall. The episode aired on May 11, 2010, on ABC in the United States.[2] The episode was written by Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof and directed by Tucker Gates. The episode is centered on Jacob and The Man in Black. This episode is the second in the season that does not feature a "flash-sideways."

"Across the Sea"
Lost episode
"Mother" (Allison Janney) shows young Jacob (Kenton Duty) and young Man in Black (Ryan Bradford) the "Heart of the Island."
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 15
Directed byTucker Gates
Written byCarlton Cuse
Damon Lindelof
Production code615
Original air dateMay 11, 2010 (2010-05-11)
Running time43 minutes[1]
Guest appearance(s)

Mark Pellegrino as Jacob
Allison Janney as Mother
Ryan Bradford as Young Man in Black
Lela Loren as Claudia
Titus Welliver as Man in Black
Kenton Duty as Young Jacob
Ivo Nandi as Hunter

The episode, unlike most Lost episodes, does not divide its time between two different time settings, but takes place entirely in the past, except for a brief scene at the end from the season one episode "House of the Rising Sun." It depicts the origins of the characters of Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) and his brother, The Man in Black (Titus Welliver), and how they came to be on the island. It also reveals the identities of the corpses discovered in the cave in "House of the Rising Sun." None of the series regulars appear in the episode, except in the flashback sequence, making it the only episode of the series in which this occurs.

This is the only episode where the Man in Black appears in his original, human form. In all of his other appearances, he is either in his smoke form or in the form of a dead person. Although he appears in his own form in "The Incident" and "Ab Aeterno", this was an imitation of his original form which by that point was dead.

This episode is notable for receiving a widely mixed opinion, with many commentators alternately considering one of the best or worst episodes of the series.


Washed ashore on the island, a pregnant woman named Claudia (Lela Loren) encounters an unnamed woman (Allison Janney); both of the women speak Latin. The woman helps Claudia give birth to her son, whom Claudia names Jacob (Kenton Duty). Then another boy is born (Ryan Bradford). The woman then kills Claudia with a blow to the head. The woman raises the twins as her own, and tries to keep them ignorant of a world beyond the island. She also convinces them to be distrustful of humanity, which she says she regards as corrupt and dangerous.

At age 13, Jacob's brother (the future Man in Black) finds a Senet game, containing polished black and white pieces. Jacob asks about the box and his brother tells him it's a game for which he "just knows" the rules. He asks Jacob to keep the box a secret from the woman, but Jacob reveals it to her as she appears to know there is a secret. The woman confronts Jacob's brother and claims that she left the box for him, musing to him that "Jacob doesn't know how to lie...he's not like you." She allays the accusation by telling the young Man in Black that he is "special." He suggests that the box came from somewhere else, across the sea. The woman responds, "There is nowhere else." When the young Man in Black persists in asking about his origins, the woman explains that she came from her own mother who is now dead. When he asks "What is dead?" the woman explains, "Something you'll never have to worry about."

After following a boar some distance from their camp, Jacob and his brother discover that other people are on the island. The woman warns the brothers that the other people "are not like us. We are here for a reason." Then she worriedly expresses out loud that "it's not time yet" and reluctantly decides to show the brothers a mysterious, hidden tunnel filled with light and an underground stream. She tells them that one of them will eventually be its caretaker, and that she "made it so you [the two boys] can never hurt each other." Upon seeing the light-filled tunnel, the woman explains that the light is "the warmest, brightest light you've ever felt. And we must make sure no one ever finds it." She goes on to explain that, "A little bit of this very same light is inside of every man, and they always want more." And then she finally warns, "If the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere."

Soon after, the brothers are playing the box game and Jacob is frustrated at his brother's selfish rules for the game. The young Man in Black explains, "One day you can make up your own game, and everyone else will have to follow your rules." Suddenly a vision of Claudia appears and asks the young Man in Black to follow her. Jacob can not see her, so his brother excuses himself and follows Claudia into the jungle. She reveals to the young Man in Black that she is his and Jacob's birth mother and that the other people came to the island with her, 13 years earlier. After his discussion with Claudia, the young Man in Black confronts the woman about Claudia's claims, and attempts to convince Jacob to join the other people on the island with him. However, Jacob refuses and stays with the woman.

Over the course of the next 30 years, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) visits his brother (Titus Welliver) at the camp he shares with the other people. The Man in Black, while he believes the people are corrupt, stays with them as a "means to an end," and when Jacob asks, "What end?", he replies "I'm leaving, Jacob." He reveals that together with other scientifically curious men, they have discovered a way to leave the island by harnessing its strange properties. This was accomplished by digging wells in spots where "metal behaves strangely." The Man in Black invites Jacob to leave with him, but Jacob refuses to leave the island or the woman.

When the woman hears of what the Man in Black is doing, she visits him and learns that he and the others have constructed a giant wheel down a well. He tells her that his people have dug into the light from other locations on the island, and that they plan to create a system that will allow them to tap into its energy, and use it to leave the island. Upon hearing this, she smashes the Man in Black's head, rendering him unconscious. Later, the Man in Black awakens outside the well site, and discovers that the people in the camp have been massacred; the well has been completely filled in with earth.

Meanwhile, the woman shows Jacob the tunnel of light again, explaining that it leads to "Life, death, rebirth; the source, the heart of the island," and that Jacob has "no choice" but to take care of it now. She also warns Jacob never to enter the tunnel, as doing so would cause a fate worse than death. Jacob reluctantly drinks a wine that the woman pours and then she proclaims, "Now you and I are the same."

Enraged by her actions, the Man in Black stabs the woman in her camp through the back and asks why she wouldn't let him leave the island. She replies, "Because I love you." Appearing relieved and calm with her fast approaching death, the woman says "Thank You" and dies. Jacob retaliates by beating his brother, and throwing him into the stream leading down the tunnel of light. The Man in Black is sucked into the tunnel and the smoke monster emerges in his place, disappearing into the treetops above. Jacob then finds the Man in Black's physical body and places it with the woman's in the cave where she had been living with Jacob, along with a pouch containing the black and white stones they used in the box game.

In a repeat of a scene from the first season now in a new context, the corpses and the stones are found centuries later by Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) and Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly), and dubbed Adam and Eve by John Locke (Terry O'Quinn).


"Across the Sea" is one of the most polarizing episodes of Lost. Writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse said on their podcast that even they were shocked by fans' reaction to the episode, stating they had received comments ranging from saying "This is one of the best episodes ever" to "You ruined Lost". The episode received mixed reviews from critics, and a divided reaction from fans. Review aggregator website Metacritic gave the episode a score of 58 out of 100, indicating "Mixed or Average Reviews". The score was down on the previous episode's score of 92 and is the lowest rated episode of the season.[3] Teresa Kiessling of NPD, said "Now we just need to learn the origin of their Mother," and indicated that the episode did little to satisfy viewer's curiosity surrounding the origins of Jacob and Man In Black. Noel Murray of The A.V. Club stated "I have only one real criticism of “Across The Sea,” and it's that when Lost deals directly with the transcendental—rather than just glancing at it—the show can get awfully gooey, and painfully blunt."[4] Emily VanDerWerff of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "One part of me, the TV critic part, the part that dissects these things and picks them apart and looks for things to dislike about them, mostly really liked the episode, aside from a few niggling points."[5] Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly stated "Across The Sea" was "an unconventional outing that deserves props for benching its stars to give us a story that felt absolutely necessary for establishing the Big Picture context for the final act that is at last upon us."[6] Chris Carabott of IGN gave the episode a score of 6.8, saying that he felt frustrated that at this point of the show, it isn't giving many answers.[7]

Some critics were very disappointed with the episode. James Poniewozik of Time stated "'Across the Sea' took a series that is deeply and richly psychological and character-based and moved it into the realm of the allegorical."[8] Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune stated "For a lot of reasons, this was not an episode that goes in the Win column. It was actually seriously disappointing, if not disheartening."[9]


  1. "Lost – Netflix". Netflix. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  2. Fordis, Jeff (May 6, 2010). "On Next Week's Lost on ABC". ABC Medianet. Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  3. Jason Dietz (May 12, 2010). "Episode Review: Lost, "Across the Sea"". Metacritic. Archived from the original on May 15, 2010. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  4. Noel Murray (May 12, 2010), "“Across The Sea” | Lost | TV Club | TV | The A.V. Club", The A.V. Club Retrieved on May 12, 2010.
  5. Emily VanDerWerff (May 12, 2010), "'Lost': Happy we'll be, across the sea | Show Tracker | Los Angeles Times", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on May 12, 2010.
  6. Jeff Jensen (May 12, 2010), "'Lost' instant reaction: What did you think of 'Across The Sea'? |", Entertainment Weekly Retrieved of May 12, 2010.
  7. Chris Carabott (May 12, 2010), "Lost: "Across the Sea" Review – TV Review at IGN" IGN Retrieved on May 12, 2010.
  8. James Poniewozik (May 12, 2010), "Review of Lost, Across the Sea – Tuned In –" Time Retrieved on May 12, 2010.
  9. Maureen Ryan (May 12, 2010), "Let's talk 'Lost': Mother load – The Watcher" Chicago Tribune Retrieved on May 12, 2010.
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