This episode managed to be compelling despite having very little screen time for the island and lots of screen time for Jack. That’s quite an accomplishment.
Spoilers from tonight’s episode after the jump.
Links and Miscellanea:
- The geniuses at Ace of Cakes baked a killer confection to commerate Lost’s 100th episode and Jorge Garcia blogged about it.
- People who are fans of both Henry Ian Cusick (“Desmond”) and Byran Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls) might be interested in checking out the straight-to-DVD Dead Like Me movie.
- Jeremy Davies (“Faraday”) is the focus of this week’s official video podcast.
- In the official audio podcast, we were given the following tidbits: the “temple” we saw in last week’s episode should be thought of as the “outer wall” of the Temple, with the Temple itself a little farther off; Cuse and Lindelof confirm that the French team did return “a little wacky” from their trip beneath the Temple; “316” is a Cuse/Lindelof-penned episode, as is the next episode (“The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”) and these episodes can be watched in either order; Theresa Spenser, Faraday’s former research assistant, will be making another appearance on the show.
- NY Mag’s Vulture blog points out that Fox is going to try to kill off Lost by moving American Idol back to the late-prime-time slot. I’ve only ever made it through a single season of American Idol (the Carrie Underwood/Bo Bice season), so I could really care less. Doc Artz explained recently why ratings are not something Lost fans need to fret to much about. I could see ABC reacting by moving Lost to Thursdays, but cancellation is not a rational possibility at this point.
- I like this analysis of Christian/Not-Christian, even though I’m not ready to commit to any sort of theory yet.
- This USA Today article reviews the current state of Lost and 24 and calls them “the two best shows on TV.”
Observations and speculations:
- The title of the episode, “316,” is a reference to the Ajira flight number that will bring the Oceanic 5 (O6 minus Aaron) back to the island. Others have pointed out that it may also be a reference to John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse in Christianity. In some translations, such as the New Century Version, this verse translates to: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.” This verse also dovetails with the sacrifice theme that is dominating Locke’s plot line at the moment.
- In case you don’t remember (and it’s been over four years, so it’s understandable), the openning shots were a direct reference to the first ever scene from lost, where we see Jack’s eye openning and he’s laying in a bamboo forest, face-up, in a suit and tie. This motif of opening an episode with a tight shot of a character’s eye as it opens has been used repeatedly.
- Jack finds Hurley flailing about in a little jungle pool beneath a waterfall. This appears to be the same lagoon where Kate and Sawyer decided to go swimming during episode 1.12, “Whatever the Case May Be,” and found the suitcase full of guns and Kate’s personal effects.
- Hurley is clutching a guitar case, though we don’t know why. It is, of course, the same guitar case he brought with him on Ajira flight 316 and set down in the seat next to him, but we don’t know what is in it or what significance it has. Charlie brought a guitar case (and guitar) with him on the Oceanic flight, but we’ve never seen any evidence that Hurley plays the guitar.
- The first scene and the last scene play slightly differently. In the first seen, Kate asks, “Are we –?” and Jack replies, “Yeah, we’re back.” When the scene replays at the end of the episode, this dialog is missing. It may just be a continuity error, but it seems like a rather conspicuous one. Couldn’t the editor just replay the same video from earlier in the episode?
- The painting on display in Ms. Hawking’s church above the alter is “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas,” by the Italian painter Caravaggio. The painting dates to 1602 and is one of the most famous paintings of the baroque period. Thematically, the story of doubting Thomas (retold by Ben later in the episode) relates to Jack, the erstwhile man of science who will not believe until he has the empirical proof. In Locke’s “suicide note,” his only words to Jack are a message conveying his wish that Jack had believed. Ben tells Jack later that everyone believes sooner or later. Is Locke’s note a posthumous manipulation of Jack? It sort of has the smell of Ben’s modus operandi on it.
- Ms. Hawking leads Sun, Jack, Ben and Desmond down to a DHARMA station hidden beneath the church, called the lamppost. This is no doubt a reference to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the lamppost that lies in the forest just beyond the wardrobe that acts as the portal for the Pevensies children’s first entrances into Narnia. Likewise, the Lamppost Station acted as the DHARMA initiative’s first portal into the world of the show’s mysterious island.
- Ms. Hawking says that Ben’s “probably not” telling the truth when Ben denies knowing about the Lamppost Station. We really don’t know if he’s lying or not because when Ben visited her in episode 2.1 at the church, their meeting took place above ground, in the chapel. I agree with Eloise, though. He’s probably lying.
- Jack glances at an old black-and-white photo on the wall of the Lamppost Station that is captioned, “9/23/54 – U.S. ARMY – OP 264 – TOP SECRET – EYES ONLY.” This photograph dates to the era of the “Jughead” H-bomb and young Charles Widmore’s time on the island.
- Ms. Hawking mentions that the Lamppost Station was constructed over a pocked of electromagnetic energy connected to similar pockets all over the word. No doubt, one of these is in Tunisia, one off the coast of Madagascar, etc.
- The blue binder that Ms. Hawking is carrying during this scene says “FLIGHT PLAN” on it.
- Ms. Hawking tells Desmond that “the island isn’t done with you yet.” Desmond remembers Ms. Hawking, and he’s having none of it. Good for him. Of course, we know that the island has a way of gettign what it wants.
- The fact that we now know that the Oceanic 5 were on Ajira Airways opens up the possibility that it was Jack and company (or some of their fellow passengers) who were in the canoes that shot at the Left Behinders a few episodes back.
- All the stuff about “recreating as best you can the circumstances” of Oceanic 815 seems like superstitious hokum. As Faraday noted last episode, this is “where we leave science behind.” Actually, it’s way, way beyond that point.
- In Ms. Hawking’s office (or rectory, or whatever) there are several Virgin Mary statuettes. I think this image has appeared enough times (in Charlie’s dream, in the heroin-smuggling drug plane, in the Reyes’ house, and likely in Desmond’s monastery) that it can be considered a motif.
- Ms. Hawking tells Jack that “John is going to be a proxy” for Jack’s father. In the podcast, Cuse and Lindelof suggested that this is a key concept, and hinted that this may be a key to understanding the existence of the walking, talking dead. It’s certainly something to consider. Are Christian/Claire/Yemi et al. “proxies” for Jacob and/or the island?
- I really liked Ms. Hawking’s line, “Stop telling yourself how ridiculous it is!” That’s good advice right there from Lost’s writers to its viewers.
- Ben tells Jack (ominously) in the chapel that he “made a promise to an old friend” of his, “just a loose end that needs tying up.” And then the next time we see him, he’s bloodied and injured. My first thought was that Ben intended to make good on his promise to Charles Widmore that he would kill his daughter in revenge for Widmore murdering Alex. Having just seen Desmond, Ben no doubt knows that Penny must be near. We don’t find out whether he succeeded.
- When Jack visits his grandfather, Ray, in an assisted-living facility, he is watching a magic show, and the magician unveils a white rabbit. This is another motif. “White Rabbit” was the name of the episode in season one where Jack first sees a vision of Christian Sheppard on the island. Ben uses a white rabbit to play mind games with Sawyer at the Hydra Station in season 3, and a similar white rabbit shows up in the Orchid Station training film we were introduced to last season. The symbol for the Looking Glass station is a white rabbit and there are multiple references to Alice in Wonderland (and it’s white rabbit) in Lost.
- We now know why Christian Sheppard’s corpse was wearing a formal suit and white tennis shoes (i.e., because Jack didn’t think his father was worth buying a nice pair of dress shoes for when he went to Australia to retrieve his body). That’s a nice answer to a questing that was raised very early in the series.
- Kate breaks into Jack’s apartment to tell Jack that she’s going to return with him back to the island. We don’t know why, but we can infer it has something to do with Aaron and a bargain she’s struck. We do know that Kate does not want to tell Jack what has happened to Aaron. I’m guessing we’ll find out soon—maybe even next episode.
- Further evidence of my theory that Ben killed or attempted to kill Penny: when he calls Jack, after being “sidetracked,” it’s from a payphone at a marina. It’s probably the same marina where Desmond and Penny docked their boat. Ben is not a nice guy.
- The Indian-looking man who tells Jack, “my condolances,” and then is told to buckle up by Hurley later on the plane, seems like he’s going to be an important character. Keep your eyes out for him. He’s played on the show by Said Taghmaoui, a well known actor in France, and his character’s name is Caesar.
- You know, it doesn’t seem that Ben delivered on his promise for Ms. Hawking to show Sun evidence that Jin is still alive. I wonder if the whole thing was just a bluff.
- At the airport, Hurley is reading “Y: El Ultimo Hombre,” a Spanish-languish version of Brian K. Vaughan’s excellent comic “Y: The Last Man.” Vaughan is now a writer for Lost, and Cuse and Lindelof have mentioned that it was Vaughan’s “Y” and “Deus Ex Machina” (also the title of a Lost episode) that attracted them to his work. The back cover of the comic book is reminiscent of Desmond’s days in the hatch, when he would wear a hazmat suit whenever he went outside.
- I like the fact that Hurley bought all of the 78 open seats on the flight. A truly humanitarian thing to do, preventing innocent travelers from either death or condemnation to freaky island life.
- On the plane, there are interesting paralells to the original flight. Instead of Kate, it is Sayid that is being transported as a prisoner. (How was this managed? And why would a prisoner be on a flight to Guam—unless maybe it was a stopover and Sayid was being extradicted to some foreign country.) Hurley and his guitar case seem like they are a proxy for Charlie (who couldn’t make the flight due to death). Incidentally, Jack is seated in seat 8-C.
- I loved that Frank Lapidus was the pilot. Recall that Lapidus used to fly commercial for Oceanic Airlines and was a friend of the pilot on flight 815. Frank didn’t seem to be in on the expedition and was shocked to see the Oceanic 5 on the plane. He didn’t take long to figure out the implications, though. (As an aside, I liked him better with a beard.)
- On the plane, Ben is reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, which is a retelling of Homer’s epic about a hero who travels for years and overcomes obstacles to eventually return to his island home.
- Incidentally, Ben’s facetious response to Jack’s question, “How can you read?” is a lie. Ben’s mother, Emily Linus, did not teach him to read. She was killed in childbirth outside of Portland, Oregon.
- So what are we to make of Locke’s final words to Jack, “I wish you had believed me”? Kind of pithy, but not very deep.
- In the plane, there is a loud, magnetic humming and buzzing and everyting goes white. This appears to be an island-related electromagnetic “incident.” Unlike Oceanic flight 815, however, we do not see the plane break apart, nor do we see it crash. Jack, Hurely and Kate do not remember the crash, nor do they know anyting about any wreckage or what happened to the other passengers.
- I couldn’t identify the name of the song being played on the DHARMA bus’s radio. I wonder if it was Geronimo Jackson.
- It looks like Jin is now a DHARMA “workman.” Nice jumpsuit. I suppose we can infer from this that the Left Behinders are either still skipping through time, or they are stuck in the 1970s.
So, my hunch is that next week’s episode will go over many of the same events, only from different character’s perspectives (Locke, Kate, Hurley and Sayid). I’m kind of anxious to get back to the on-island adventures, but this episode did a good job of telling the story that needed to be told. Hopefully, next week will add new and interesting layers.
Anyone notice anything I missed? Have any thoughts to share?