Friday, February 20, 2009


LOST never stops surprising me. I never would have guessed that less than halfway through the season, the Oceanic Six (minus Aaron) would already have returned to the Island. But they did. The moment Jack opened his eyes on his back in the jungle recalls the opening scene of the pilot, and is also a nod to fan theories that when Jack awoke in the jungle that first time, he had time traveled there.

The title of this episode is a number, 316, which is the flight number they must take to get to the Island. Numbers are often significant in Lost, so chances are the writers didn't pick that one at random. I think 316 refers to a Bible reference, John 3:16. Themes of faith and belief are highlighted in this episode, as well as foreshadowing about "eternal life" in the form of John Locke. (I read on Lostpedia that 316 is also significant because the episode aired on February 18; on that day there are exactly 316 days left in the year. I like the Biblical interpretation better.)

When Jack, Sun, Ben and Desmond show up at Ms. Hawking's church, she greets them in front of a large print of Caravaggio's Doubting Thomas. Ben later tells Jack the story of the apostle Thomas. Although he was among the most devoted of Christ's followers, when the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples, Thomas refused to believe it was actually him until he had felt his wounds in his hands and side. Ben is pointing out the similarity between Thomas and Jack. As a scientist, Jack will only believe what can be measured empirically. Even when he sees things with his own eyes (e.g. the Island disappearing) he doesn't believe in things that don't make sense. Ben reminds Jack that like Thomas, "We're all convinced sooner or later." John Locke is the opposite side of the coin; he is far too willing to believe without question and instinctively acts purely by faith. Jack's struggle to act based on faith leads up to the pivotal scene where he puts his father's shoes on Locke. In the end I think he is going to end up believing in spite of himself.

The name Thomas has some history on the show too. Claire's boyfriend (and Aaron's father) is named Thomas. And when Christian Shephard travels to Australia just before his death, he uses a false name with Ana Lucia, telling her to call him Tom.

More name stuff: we learn that Locke's body is being kept at Simon's Butcher Shop. Simon is another disciple name, and may also imply a connection to Charlie Pace's father who was a butcher named Simon.

There were a few big answers in this episode. Ms. Hawking reveals that the Island is always moving, and that the only way to get there is to find a "window" - the right place and the right time to enter. It explains why they were never rescued, and why the Island seems to be so difficult for Charles Widmore and others to find. Ms. Hawking further reveals that the Dharma Initiative located the Island using a station called the Lamp Post, which is located over a pocket of electromagnetic energy and houses a Foucault pendulum. She says there are other similar locations all over the world - obviously the Island is one, and I'm betting another is in Tunisia. One of my favorite moments of the episode was when Jack asks Ms. Hawking if Ben was telling the truth about not knowing about the Lamp Post and she says "Probably not." (Second favorite: Jack asking Ben what will happen to all the other people on the plane and Ben saying "Who cares?")

Ms. Hawking goes on to explain to Jack that in order to enter the "window" they need to recreate the circumstances of the crash of flight 815 as closely as possible. Jack takes the leap of faith to put his father's shoes on Locke's body, and explains why his dad was wearing white tennis shoes in his casket. (I always thought it was just because he liked to be comfortable.)

When the group finally assembles to board the plane, Sayid and Hurley are inexplicably there, Sayid in handcuffs and Hurley carrying a guitar case. I don't have any ideas yet for how Sayid might have been arrested, but for Hurley I think he was convinced by Charlie that he needed to get on the flight. The returning castaways are representing others who were on the original flight - Hurley represents Charlie, Sayid represents Kate (on 815 she was also in handcuffs and being escorted by an air marshal), Ben represents Hurley (he ran in at the last moment and almost missed the flight) and of course, Locke's body represents Christian Shephard. An out there but cool theory - Kate might be pregnant after her night with Jack, and she would represent Claire and Aaron.

Jack reads Locke's suicide note ("I wish you had believed me" - recalling what Jesus said to the apostle Thomas: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.") Immediately after he finishes reading the plane starts to experience turbulence. Is this a coincidence, or did his reading of the note somehow help open the window for them to pass through? Ben keeps up his pathological lying when Jack asks him "How can you read?" and Ben quips "My mother taught me" - we know that his mother died in childbirth and he was raised by his loser dad. (The book he was reading was James Joyce's Ulysses, which I'm sure J. Wood will cover extensively on his blog. It has lots of parallels to Lost.) He also claims not to have known that Locke committed suicide, and I'm positive that's a lie too.

A big question we're left with is what happened to Aaron? In order to convince Kate to go back, he must have been taken away from her somehow. Maybe Claire's mother figured out what was going on after Jack's strange visit to her.

Another: why is Ben so beat up when he boards the plane? What was the promise he said he had to keep? The only thing that makes sense to me is that he must have been going after Penny. He promised Charles Widmore that he would kill her to avenge Alex's death. Killing Desmond's family would have the added bonus (in Ben's mind) of freeing Desmond to return to the Island. I'm guessing that Desmond was the one to inflict those wounds on Ben in an effort to protect Penny. If he wasn't able to protect her, we may see an interesting twist in the future where Desmond goes back in time to save her. Since we know that Desmond is "special" in that the rules of time travel don't apply to him, I think that could be a really cool story line.

I'm confused by the ending - Jin driving up in a Dharma van that looks brand new. That would imply that Jack, Hurley and Kate are in the 1980s. Since the Island stopped skipping through time when Locke turned the wheel, it looks like when it stopped the remaining Losties all got stuck at that time. That would explain Daniel being part of the Dharma Initiative and warning Charlotte as a child. But then how are they going to get back? And are Sun, Sayid and Ben in that same time or did they end up somewhere else? We've seen the remnants of an Ajira plane crash, which I'm assuming was flight 316, but Jack, Kate and Hurley don't remember a crash. Does anyone have any theories? If so please share and enlighten me! (Please don't tell me if you've read spoilers though. I like to be surprised.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

This Place is Death

This season of Lost just keeps getting better and better! I lost track of how many times I gasped out loud during this week's episode - it was revelation after revelation.

First off, my dream came true and we got to see more of Rousseau! We even got to see Montand losing his arm and Danielle shooting Robert. Grim scenes, but it was cool to see this mythology we've heard about since the beginning being played out as it happened. Time travel rules! I was surprised that the "sickness" Rousseau was always talking about seems to have been caused by exposure to the smoke monster rather than the "side effects" of traveling to and from the Island. Interesting, and really creepy.

One of the big questions for me in this one is about Charlotte. We finally heard her confirm was has been hinted at for a long time - that she was born on the Island and lived there as a child. So who are her parents? She says her mother left her father behind to get her away from the Island, so her father could be someone we've seen before. (Charles Widmore? Richard? Tom?) Charlotte telling Daniel she met him as a child was one of those gasp-inducing moments. Talk about a twist!

I loved the scene where Ben convinced Sun that Jin was still alive - and that we got an explanation for why Locke didn't tell Sun that slightly important information when he visited her. Ironic that Ben used Jin's ring to convince her that he was alive, when Jin gave the ring to Locke specifically to prove to her that he was dead so she wouldn't come back.

Which brings me to a central conflict of this season. There seem to be two distinct forces at play, one of which wants the castaways to return to the Island, and one that wants them to stay away. Locke is guided by Christian Shephard to get them to come back, and Ben and Ms. Hawking have the same goal. But every once in a while one of the characters gets a conflicting message. Kate has the dream where Claire tells her "don't you dare bring him [Aaron] back." Charlotte has an apparent vision that leads her to shout to Jin "don't let Sun come back here - this place is death." Something or someone doesn't want them to make it back. Ben claims that he's gone to extraordinary lengths just to keep the Oceanic 6 alive. Someone is willing to kill them in order to prevent them from getting back to the Island.

That conflict is played out further in Locke's decision to turn the wheel and leave the Island. From the start he has insisted that no one is supposed to leave, and that he never intends to go. It's a great irony that he is the one that has to leave in order to save everyone who is still there. Maybe it's precisely because he's the only one who doesn't want to leave that he has to be the one to do so. When Boone died, Locke said that it was a "sacrifice the Island demanded." Now he is the one who has to be sacrificed. Something that puzzled me was Christian Shephard refusing to help Locke stand up. Could it be because he doesn't have a physical body and is an apparition of some kind? Or was it simply that Locke had to move the wheel completely on his own, much as Ben wouldn't allow Locke to come with him when he turned the wheel? It was interesting too that both Locke and Ben fell and were injured before they turned the wheel.

Another interesting detail: the van that Ben is driving with Locke's body inside has the words "Canton-Rainier" painted on the side. Since anagrams are ubiquitous on Lost (remember Hoffs-Drawlar=Flash-Forward?) I took a closer look at those names, and what do you know - they're an anagram for REINCARNATION. There's little doubt in my mind now about what's going to happen when they get Locke's body back to the Island. I can picture it as a very dramatic season finale.

As always, I can't wait for next week. Like Ms. Hawking said: "Let's get started"!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Little Prince

(Once again, I'm several days late on getting my Lost post up. The problem is that when I don't get it done immediately after the episode I forget everything that happened, so then I have to go back and rewatch. Short term memory.)

I thought this was the best episode of the season so far. There was a nice balance of scenes on and off the Island, and some answers to questions that have been up in the air for a long time.

The episode is named after the classic French children's book "Le Petit Prince" (The Little Prince) which is one of my favorite books. Even though it's a children's book, it explores a lot of weighty subjects like trust, human nature, value, and responsibility. I highly recommended it if you've never read it before. J. Woods has already done a great job of exploring the connections to Lost, and also manages to tie in James Joyce, Chekov and Schweitzer.

Even though I find Jack really annoying at times (I think he wallows in self pity too much) I loved the Jack/Kate scenes. When she says "I've always been with you, Jack" I got chills. Yep, I'm a sucker for the Jate drama!

Charlotte's nosebleed-causing disease is getting worse, and it looks like she's not going to be the only one affected. Daniel reveals that the disease affects those who have been on the Island longest first. Since Charlotte was supposedly born on the Island, she's the first one to have symptoms. It seems Miles must have spent time there as a baby too (it's looking more and more like he is in fact Dr. Candle/Halliwax/Wickmund's child.) By this timeline it makes sense that Juliet was the next to get a nosebleed. Sawyer and Locke should be next, followed by Daniel - unless Daniel has some history on the Island we don't know about, which wouldn't surprise me.

I thought it was really cool that we saw Aaron being born again, from Sawyer's perspective, and the conversation between Sawyer and Juliet about how he felt seeing Kate again was very sweet. I wonder what would happen if the time travelers were to try to interact with the Losties in the past. I guess some course correction would take place to prevent them from changing anything? Or maybe the interaction has already happened but we didn't recognize it at the time, like the theory that when Jack wakes up at the beginning of the pilot episode, he has actually time traveled there.

The plot twist about Claire's mom totally threw me since I was convinced Ben was the client intimidating Kate through the lawyer. It turned out I was right after all, but that was a tense few minutes when Jack went to confront Carole Littleton and nearly said too much. I wonder if she'll become suspicious now? I feel so torn about Aaron; on one hand it's horrible that he was taken from Claire, but now that Kate has raised him for three years it's just as horrible to think that he could be taken away from her. I can't imagine how this could end happily for everyone involved.

The big revelation: Jin is alive! There were a lot of clues pointing in this direction (for one thing, I can't think of any other way Sun would ever go back to the Island) but it was still amazing to realize that was him on the raft. Of course it introduces even more questions - how in the heck did he survive that enormous explosion? Does he realize they're time traveling? And how did Ben know he was alive?

Another awesome moment was getting to see young Rousseau, proving once and for all that the Island does not have a Fountain of Youth. She hasn't aged very well. I guess she ran out of sunblock pretty quickly.

Since the Lost writers love to give us entire scenes in a different language without subtitles, here's a rough translation of what Rousseau's team was saying. I'm sure I didn't catch everything since it was pretty hard to understand them and my French is rusty but this is the closest I could get.

On the raft at night:
Robert: I told you! We shouldn't have followed those numbers.
Montand: It’s not my fault, Robert. Brennan(?) was working the sonar.
Brennan: I was watching, Montand! I already told you, the instruments malfunctioned.
Rousseau: Man overboard!
Man: What?
Man: But I thought all of us were here!
Man: We are all here. He isn't one of us. So, who is he?
Man: Paddle! Paddle! Go!
Rousseau: Point the flashlight at him. Now, help them paddle!
Man: Hurry up, we're drifting with the current.
Man: There's nothing but him. No boat, nothing! The waves will bring us to the coast.
Brennan: ? [Something about the wind I think]
Rousseau: In the name of God, Brennan, shut up!
Man: Come on, pull him into the raft.
Man: Help me, he's heavy.
Man: Listen, he’s still breathing!

On the beach, day:
Montand: Robert, the signal is coming from the Island.
Robert: Can you determine the source?
Montand: Definitely. Look.
Robert: Do you think the island is inhabited?
Montand: I don't know.

Rousseau: Are you OK? How are you feeling?

Robert: Who is he?
Montand: Who cares who he is. What's he doing here?
Rousseau: He said he came by boat.

Rousseau: Montand, leave him alone! He’s in shock. Do we have water to give him?
Robert: Yeah. Here.
Rousseau: Thank you, Robert.

I can't wait to see what happens next time! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more of Rousseau. A full episode about her and her team would be enough for me to die happy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I'm not doing a great job at keeping up with Lost posts this season. But I have a few hours until the new episode tonight, so I might as well do last week's post now!

I was excited that my prediction (OK, my random guess based on timing and his accent) about the young soldier being Charles Widmore was right! My next out-there prediction is that Ellie is actually the young version of Ms. Hawking. The timing fits - in 1954 Ellie appears about 20 years old, and in the present day Ms. Hawking looks to be in her 70s. Their accents are similar. And the clincher: the enhanced episode of "The Lie" stated that Ms. Hawking's first name is Eloise (also the name of Daniel's experimental rat in "The Constant.") Daniel tells Ellie, "You look just like her." I think he knows Ms. Hawking (maybe as his mother, maybe through his studies and associations with the future Charles Widmore) and sees the resemblance.

We learn that Charles Widmore, Ellie, and the rest of their companions are Others/Hostiles (and apparently all Others have to learn Latin) and that they have had some sort of interaction with the US military on the Island. Their uniforms and weapons fit the standard issue of the time - they probably took them from the dead soldiers Miles sensed when they walked over their graves. The soldiers were likely there to test the hydrogen bomb they called Jughead; this type of testing was common post WW2 on uninhabited islands in the South Pacific. The obvious question here is how did the US military locate the Island at all if it's so hard to find? Maybe the "cloaking" of the Island is something that occurs after 1954, like experimentation by the Dharma Initiative?

Daniel Faraday continues to be something of a mystery. I find him to be such a likable character, but it's clear that there is a lot he isn't sharing with anyone - about the Island, time travel, and the consequences for everyone involved. I'm excited to see what we'll learn from him in the future.

Speaking of time travel, I love that we're learning more about the Locke/Richard connection. Locke tells Richard Alpert he will be born in 1956 in Tustin, California, and invites him to come visit him. We saw this happen in "Cabin Fever" when Alpert shows up at the hospital when Locke is born and later visits him as a child.

That might also explain how Horace Goodspeed knew where to be when Ben was born, since Ben is also a time traveler. It's too bad he couldn't save his mother - although it makes sense given what we've been told about the rules of time travel.

This episode introduced a lot of names we've heard before. Desmond and Penny name their son Charlie - after either Charles Widmore or Charlie Pace. Since Charlie died in helping them find each other, I would vote for him over Widmore. The woman Desmond finds in an apparent time travel coma is named Theresa Spencer. Back in season one Locke has a dream about Boone being covered in blood and saying "Theresa goes up the stairs, Theresa goes down the stairs." Boone tells Locke it was the name of his nanny who died falling down a flight of stairs. It could also refer to this Theresa being caught between times and constantly going back and forth. Ana Lucia's mother was also named Teresa.

I think I've mentioned J. Wood's Lost blog before, but if you haven't read it, go check out his writeup on this episode. He makes an amazing connection about the possible origins of the smoke monster and Thomas More's Utopia.

Tonight's episode is called "The Little Prince" and looks like it will focus on Kate and Aaron. Make sure you watch the re-airing of "Jughead" beforehand - even though it's a repeat they've been revealing some pretty interesting clues during those enhanced episodes.