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.)


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