LOST Theories - DarkUFO

[This analysis is a sequel to, and an expansion upon, the earlier theory "All The Best Theories Have Daddy Issues."]

Smokey had a mom! And a crazy one at that! We might not have seen that coming (I didn't), but it appears to be an important development. This theory uses the new information from "Recon" to explore how issues of maternal illness might prove newly relevant to Lost, and how they might get fixed. And I'd like to propose that we might have already seen that crucial fix play out onscreen.

First, I'd like to revisit the "fatherhood" issues briefly. "Recon" provided ample further evidence that Smokey is playing dad, at least to his followers, along the lines discussed in "All The Best Theories Have Daddy Issues." It's an incongruous mix, this "tough love" of Flocke's. On the one hand, he takes the time to sit down with his followers, address their concerns, offer reassurance and praise, and even--so unusual for Lost--provide straight answers (only, as we've seen, the answers aren't always quite so straightforward). On the other hand, he didn't hesitate to show Claire the back of his hand for attacking Kate. Some viewers have interpreted his slapping Claire as a show of anger, but that's not what I saw. I saw a father who thought his daughter needed discipline, and who believed that the way to impose that discipline was to get physical.

[ADDENDUM: Please note that I don't in any way endorse this style of parenting. It is highly dysfunctional, in the same way that we have seen fathers acting terribly throughout the show. My sole intention is to suggest that Smokey believes this is the way to discipline a child. I happen to disagree very strongly.]

The contrast with Jacob's style of "fathering" remains stark. But Flocke's reference to an apparently new figure, his mother, and his revelation that this woman's insanity created personal issues that Flocke struggled to overcome, raises a host of questions. Did this mother have supernatural qualities like Smokey and Jacob, or was she just a woman? Was she also Jacob's mother? Is she still around, and if so, where? If she's dead, is it relevant how she died? Was she really crazy, or is that just Flocke's take on a more complex situation? How is that dynamic relevant to Smokey's worldview and his motives? And is there any deeper significance to the fact that Locke, the vessel whose shape Smokey has assumed, also had a mother who suffered from mental illness?

Part of me suspects that we've finally had a glimpse of a force that will turn out to have been influencing events all along, a "woman behind the curtain," if you will. Another part of me thinks that she will prove to be merely a symbol and a key to understanding Smokey's psyche, and will not appear except in memory or flashback. A little voice chimes in that maybe Smokey is "channeling" Locke's memories.

But the point is, whatever role this woman will end up playing, there's a darkness and dread to it. I mentioned that we've already seen plenty of examples of dysfunctional motherhood, and I really should have added two other important ones: Danielle Rousseau, who went off the deep end after her baby Alex was snatched, and Crazy Claire's squirrel baby. What's now less clear is whether we should view maternal craziness as a symptom of strife, or its cause--or maybe both, one giving rise to the other. In the case of Danielle and Claire, the craziness appears to be pretty clearly an effect of being separated from their babies. Perhaps the instability of Flocke's mother, whatever it may be, also traces back to having a child taken from her--and one wonders if perhaps the stolen child could have been Jacob. But there's a fairly pointed suggestion in "Recon" that maternal insanity is also a "cause" of problems. Flocke pointedly tells Kate how important it is for a child to ha! ve a sane mother. We may yet learn that the "issues" surrounding Flocke's mother have contributed to or caused the rivalries that are busily playing out on the present-day Island. Plenty of people have already pointed out the link to the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau, whose mother, Rebekha, played a pivotal role in a deception that resulted in Jacob stealing Esau's birthright. Rebekha wasn't crazy in the story, but she did have a troubled pregnancy, and I think it's fair to assume that this parable will continue to offer insight into the struggle between Jacob and Smokey.

I still stand by the thought that a balance between "functional" motherhood and "functional" fatherhood will play a crucial role in the end. Look, for example, at the story of Sideways Alex. In that world, Alex had a mother but not a father, the reverse of her lot on the Island. Ben stepped into the paternal role for Alex, and things seem to be turning out well for her. Better than on the Island, anyway; Island Alex eventually met Danielle Rousseau, but Danielle never got to play a meaningful role in Alex's upbringing before their deaths. Interestingly, Sideways Jack offers another example of a "divided but complementary" parenting effort. Jack's son David was essentially living with his mother (whoever that might turn out to be), but turned out to need Jack's fatherly support and encouragement in "Lighthouse." Maybe that offers a clue as to how the Island "powers" will end up resolving their issues, if they manage to do that.

I have to concede that the "Smokey's mother" revelation doesn't fit neatly into the "Holy Trinity" paradigm. My focus in the earlier theory was more on the idea of a "mother to mankind" symbol, a balance to the "father" figures of Jacob and Smokey rather than a new layer of parental intrigue. It's perhaps worth a passing mention that the Madonna has her own unique and strange duality, in that she is both the "bride" and the mother of the deity. But her situation is not typically portrayed as dysfunctional; to find that element, we need to turn to other examples, such as Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother. Yep, that'll cause some trauma, and more recent stories like "Chinatown" explore the same disturbing theme. But until there's a specific reason to suspect that the Lost writers have added incest to their list of relationship traumas, perhaps this one is best kept on the back burner. (I once thought the writers might have been going in that direction! with Kate's back story, but they seem to have shied away from it, unless there's a big reveal yet to come.)

Going back to Feral Claire, it's interesting how much the little hut in which she and Locke have apparently been living resembles a parody of domestic bliss. Mad mommy, demon daddy, and squirrel baby makes three! Complete with domestic violence. But this scene also recalls a Nightmare Nativity, and that's probably not a coincidence. Once again, not necessarily evidence of strict Christian allegory, but certainly providing an image of the "natural" order gone wrong. We will hopefully see a more wholesome counterpart to the Creche of Craziness towards the end.

To wrap up for now, Locke's mother has given us a specific, seminal figure of "broken" maternity. Whether the circumstances will turn out to be exactly as Locke has described, and whether she'll come onscreen to fill out the story, is hard to predict. But it seems reasonable to conclude that there will be an important attempt, perhaps a successful one, to "fix" the motherhood problem.

Let me suggest that we have already seen one such effort, and it may in fact turn out to be the one that worked. If you need to choose a figure destined to "fix" maternity, you couldn't pick a more appropriate example than Dr. Juliet Burke. She not only delivered plenty of babies back on the mainland, she took up highly-regarded research work in a fertility clinic apparently with the specific purpose of helping her barren sister to get pregnant--and she did it. She was tracked down and recruited by the Others, under Ben, specifically to fix the Island's "fertility problem." Although many Island mothers died under her hand, she had an important resolution in her character arc when she was finally able to safely deliver a child on the Island, little Ethan Goodspeed. But she did something else, and probably something much more important.

One can look at Juliet's fall into the construction pit at the Swan in several ways. Undoubtedly she was meant to recall Alice, falling down the hole into a somewhat less wonderful version of Wonderland. But borrowing a concept from Mr. Freud, and looking at the Island itself as a "mother figure," it's hard not to see this as Juliet literally diving into the Island's womb. Where she performed a very important operation, by detonating Jughead. And if Miles' psychic powers are to believed, "it worked." How, naturally, remains to be seen--unless we're seeing it already in the "sideways" timeline, and just don't know it yet.

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