What a fantastic episode! It continued this season’s trend of making references to previous episodes, gave us some new information to digest, and left us with some mindblowing questions.
The Opening Scene
Lost has had more memorable opening scenes than any other show, and this episode’s opening sequence is now one of them. In a near exact recreation of the opening to the pilot episode, we entered the scene with a close up of Jack’s eye, and then the camera pans up to reveal that he is in the midst of a jungle. He’s wearing a suit, as he was in the pilot, he runs through the jungle, pauses, keeps going, etc. Even the music is very similar. Only this time, instead of coming to a clearing that reveals beach front plane wreckage, he finds himself at the top of a waterfall, and Hurley is calling for help from the water below. I loved this homage to the exhilarating sequence that started it all, and it was a great kick off to the rest of this intense and fascinating episode.
The rest of the episode recounts the previous 46 hours, revealing how Jack, Hurley, and Kate ended up in the middle of the jungle back on the island.
Mrs. Hawking and the Tale of the Lamppost
- The Lamppost, a Dharma station beneath a church, is the means by which the Dharma Initiative found the island.
- The room was constructed over a “unique pocket of electromagnetic energy” that connects to similar pockets all over the world, one of which is The Island.
- The Dharma Initiative gathered proof that such a place as The Island existed, but couldn’t locate it until a “very clever fellow” built a pendulum (the one that swings back and forth at this station) on the notion that “they should stop looking for where the island was supposed to be, and start looking for where it was going to be.” (Desmond wasn’t too keen on this idea). The clever fellow believed (correctly) that the island was always moving, which is one explanation for why the crash survivors were never rescued. By using a series of equations, clever guy was able to predict “where it’s going to be at a certain point in time.” (Any chance this smart guy could be Daniel?)
- So, if you know where The Island is going to be at a certain time, you have a “window” for getting back there. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay open for long, and this particular window will close in 36 hours. Their best shot at taking advantage of the window is to catch Flight 316, Ajira Airways, from L.A. to Guam. That flight will be passing right through the window.
- Desmond’s solo: Desmond delivers his message to Mrs. Hawking that Daniel and the others on the Island need her help. She says she is helping and that the Island isn’t done with him yet. Desmond doesn’t want anything to do with it. He tells Jack they are being used as pawns, and he says he’s “done with the Island” and storms out.
The Rest of the Story (Mrs. Hawking and Jack’s backroom conversation)
- Locke left a suicide note for Jack, and later in the episode, after Jack has failed in ridding himself of the unread note, we learn that it simply said, “I wish you had believed me.”
- John, in his deceased, coffin-dwelling state, is going to be a “proxy,” serving as a substitute for Jack’s father, who was in a coffin on the original flight. The purpose? These former Island dwellers need to recreate Flight 815 as closely as possible to try to mirror the conditions that led them to the Island in the first place. To that end, Mrs. Hawking tells Jack to give Locke something that belonged to his father. He ends up dressing him in a pair of his father’s shoes.
Ben’s Loose End
- “I made a promise to an old friend of mine. Just a loose end that needs tying up.” – I got a chill when Ben uttered these casual words. I knew he was referring to his vow to Charles Widmore that he would track down and kill Penny in revenge for Alex’s death. And after seeing Desmond at the Lamppost, Ben figures Penny is within his reach.
- The next time we see Ben, he’s standing at a pay phone, his face covered in blood, his clothes soaked with water, his voice frantic and out of breath, as he explains to Jack over the phone, “I’ve been… sidetracked” and tells him to pick up Locke’s body from Simon’s Butcher Shop.
- Worst case: this means that Ben succeeded in killing Penny. But I don’t believe that for a second.
- More likely: Ben found Penny, but Desmond was waiting for him and wasn’t about to let Ben mess with his true love! Driven by his powerful love for Penny, it’s likely that Desmond gave Ben a blow to the head and a broken arm before throwing him overboard.
- Whatever the case, I hope we get the full story on this “loose end” sooner than later.
- What in the world? For me, this was the most unsettling development of the episode. Jack hears noises from his bedroom, and when he investigates, he discovers a distraught Kate curled up and in tears on his bed.
- She tells Jack she’s going with him to the Island, but that if he wants her to go with him, he’ll never ask her about Aaron again.
- So where is Aaron?! My guess is that Kate is taking her vision of Claire seriously, when Claire pleaded with her, “Don’t you dare bring him back.”
- Best case, Kate took Aaron to Claire’s mother, explained that Aaron was actually Claire’s son, and left him in her care.
- Worst case, something horrible happened to Aaron. But I don’t think so. I think that Aaron will still play a vital role on the Island. Hopefully we’ll get some answers about this mystery soon.
- It was awkward watching Jack and Kate play house, like nothing unusual had happened, the next morning, when the big elephant of Aaron’s absence lingered in the room. At least Jack is keeping his promise not to bring it up.
Ajira Airways: Flight 316
- Two episodes ago, Sawyer discovered an Ajira Airways water bottle in a boat that was pulled up on the shore of the Island. We can now assume that he, Daniel, and the rest of them had jumped three years into the future, and that some of the other passengers from Flight 316 had found their way to shore.
- Jack, Kate, and Sun all show up at the airport as planned to catch their flight. Jack is surprised when he also sees Sayid and Hurley there.
- Sayid seems to be doing his part, whether or not he knows it, to recreate the conditions of Flight 815. He is acting as a stand-in for Kate’s previous condition, since he’s now a prisoner being transported by a government agent, just as Kate was on the original flight.
- Hurley seems in on the recreation game as well. He purchased 78 additional tickets to prevent other seats on the flight from being filled. I’m guessing there were 78 empty seats on Flight 815? I wonder how Hurley knew about the flight. Maybe Charlie told him, and told him to take a guitar with him. Interestingly, while waiting to board he is reading a Spanish comic book, “El Ultimo Hombre.” The caption on the back of the comic translates as “the last man on Earth.” The image of three men in safety suits on the back is reminiscent of the suits that Desmond and others wore on the Island when they thought it was contaminated.
- Just before the doors to the plane close, Ben scurries inside, his arm in a sling, and otherwise looking bruised and battered. Ben is no longer at the top of the food chain in Island hierarchy. I get the feeling that he is grasping at straws to return to the Island and try to reclaim his former glory. Ben was reading James Joyce’s Ulysses on the plane. I’ve never read that novel, and while it is apparently extremely complex, a general connection between it and the show is that it is about a man’s journey through the ups and downs of life. Ben’s life has certainly had its ups and downs.
- Frank Lapidus was the pilot of Flight 316! I was wondering if/when he was going to show up again. It seemed necessary for him to return to the Island as well.
- The similarities to Flight 815 seemed to end when the turbulence began. Instead of the plane splitting apart and crashing, there was a blinding flash of light, similar to the ones that have been occurring on the Island. So then, where is the plane? Did it disappear when its occupants were transferred to the Island? Did it land gently in the water? Or something else?
- Flight 316 is obviously a biblical reference to John 3:16, that most well known of Bible verses that speaks of how God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, and of the promise of eternal life to those who believe in Him. Locke is the obvious Christ figure, since he sacrificed his own life to save the lives of those on the Island. And his followers, aka the Oceanic Six, must believe in him and his plan, in order to return to their life on the Island (not an exact analogy to eternal life, but close enough). Based on the preview for next week, it looks like Locke will be resurrected.
- Another biblical reference in this episode was Ben’s explanation to Jack about Thomas the Apostle, and how he required physical proof of Jesus’ wounds to believe that he had been resurrected. Jack asks if Thomas was convinced, and Ben replied, “We’re all convinced sooner or later, Jack.” It seems like Ben is drawing an analogy between Thomas and Jack here, since Jack has always required proof before he would believe in the impossible. Yet, just as Thomas was willing to risk his own life to return to Judea with Jesus, Jack is now willing to return to the Island with Locke, not knowing the consequences.
The Next Island Adventure Begins
- While we will certainly still see glimpses of the events off the island (such as what happened to Locke after he turned the wheel – next week’s focus), it seems that the heart of the story is now recentered on the Island. Present day events will now be what is happening on the Island, and the off-Island adventures will once again be flashbacks, rather than flashforwards.
- But then there’s the question of what time period Flight 316 landed in on the Island. Jack, Hurley, and Kate hardly had time to get their bearings, before the blue Dharma van drove up – oldies music blaring from the radio, and out stepped Jin, dressed in a Dharma-issued uniform, holding a gun. In the season premiere, we saw Daniel wearing a similar uniform and hanging out in the Orchid station.
- Perhaps when John turned the wheel, Daniel, Jin, and the rest were sent back to the time of Dr. Marvin Candle – was that the 1980s? Maybe they are trying to pass as Dharma workers while they figure out how to blast back to the future. Whatever the case, it should be a wild ride.
I never wrote a post about last week’s episode. The new developments involved Locke’s encounter with Jack’s father, Christian Shepherd, who proceeded to “shepherd” him to the time wheel; Charlotte finally succumbing to the time flashes and dying; and the revelation that the smoke monster is a security system protecting the mysterious Temple. I’ll reserve extended thoughts on these developments until we get more information about them.