Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Wait a second, we're not going to Guam, are we?"

Another Wednesday, another wonderful episode of Lost. This is beginning to be a comforting expectation of quality, isn't it? When the producers said the O6 (or a close approximation) would get back to the island sooner than we expect, they weren't kidding, were they? "316" opened up on Jack's eye, reminiscent of the first episode of the show. But instead of confusion and panic, there was a look of relief washing over Jack. We know for sure Jack, Kate and Hurley are back on the island, but we're not sure what happened to the rest of the familiar (and new) faces aboard Ajira Air Flight 316.

The title, obviously, referred to the number of the flight that would bring the O6-1 back. But it also evokes the famous biblical verse, John 3:16, which suggests a few things. First, the literal name John, and as we all know, there was a John on the plane, too. Dead, and in a box, and wearing "Christian Shephard's" shoes. The verse also talks about belief, which was the topical entirety of John Locke's suicide note, written only for Jack: "I wish you had believed in me." There's also the matter of god giving his only son. Jack is the only son of Christian, but you could also infer that perhaps John Locke is also the "island's" only son, and made the ultimate sacrifice so that the others that "believe" in him (or the island) should live. Stretching that even further, do we know if Ray, Jack's grandfather, had any other children besides Christian? Did Ray sacrifice his only son to the island? (And we don't have enough information yet to get into other only sons, like Des and Penny's Charlie, or Claire's (and Kate's) Aaron, though we do know that Kate did something with Aaron in order to get back to the island). There's also the matter of "everlasting life," which also makes you think about a certain eyeliner-looking "Other." And pushing the "316" extrapolation further than it probably needs to go, think about this. The original flight was 815. 6 "escaped" from the island (1+5), and those remaining were stuck in an endless loop of time jumps. Would this jumping have gone on to "infinity" unless something happened to stop it? What's the symbol for infinity? An "8" viewed sideways. But now, what can we do with the numbers 316? Cut the "8" in half (graphically, not mathematically) and you have a "3." So did bringing the 6 (minus 1) back stop that loop from being closed? Okay, that's probably stretching it.

As good as "316" was, I was a little disappointed in the reappearance of Mrs. Hawking. Where before she had been mysterious, last night she seemed a little "schoolmarmish." At times it was funny, but at other times it was just annoying. Was it what she was saying, or was Fionnula Flannagan just having an off day with her line readings? I'd like to go back and watch the episode with her and Des, and see how her performance was calibrated then. Maybe that's just nitpicking. How easy could it be to walk around in a room with a giant swinging pendulum and blackboards and talk about time windows and such?

Other thoughts, comments, quotes and questions from "316:"

Can we now assume that some part of the crew on Ajira 316 were the ones following Sawyer and gang on the rafts? Wonder how they'll feel about that, once they all catch up and compare notes?

Jack's seat number was 8C. They left out of gate 15.

Speaking of numbers, the opening tease ended with "46 hours before." But Hawking said they only had "36 hours" to get back. Am I missing something with regard to the 10 hours?

Interesting parallels to the original passengers. Hurley brought the guitar case (reminiscent of Charlie). Jack put his Dad's shoes on Locke. Sayid apparently came aboard as a prisoner (a la Kate). Ben got there late (a la Hurely). Could Kate also have a bun in the oven (a la Claire, albeit one less further along) from her late night romp with Jack?

We know how Jack, Sun and Ben got there, since they all received the "briefing" from Hawking. What we don't know:
  • What convinced Kate to go? And what did she do with Aaron that she begged Jack never to ask about? Surely she thought this was a one way trip, and she was awfully attached to the little rugrat. Give him to Mrs. Littleton, since Kate knew she was in town from the previous visit to the rainy hotel room? She wouldn't have given her to her mother, would she, since Kate's mom was obviously in declining health? Who else off the island does she even know, or trust? Could a "ghostly" visit from Claire have given her some instructions? And doesn't Aaron play some larger role in the island happenings? Could he be "out of play" this easily?
  • How did Sayid get there? And why was he a prisoner? And what kind of crime could he have committed that would require a trip to Guam, of all places?
  • How did Hurley get there? Given the guitar case, are we thinking another visit from a ghostly Charlie? He obviously knew what was going down, as he used his wealth to buy as many seats (78) as possible to keep anyone else from suffering from the same "fate." (Nitpick: I know a lot of this rests on "fate," but what if he bought all the remaining tickets before Ben, Kate, Sun, etc. bought their tickets? For this to work as we saw, he would have had to find out about the trip back, and buy up all remaining tickets only after our "core group" - and only our core group - bought theirs. And this briefing from Mrs. Hawking only happened a day or so before the actual flight left. Are we to believe that the flight didn't have ANY passengers on it a couple of days before the meeting in the church?)
  • And why was Ben late, and beaten all to hell? He said “I made a promise to an old friend of mine." I think we all believe that was his promise to kill Widmore's daughter Penny. He did appear to be at a marina when he called to tell Jack to pick up Locke's body. (And of course Penny and Des were docked at a marina). Did he make an attempt, and get the shit kicked out of him by Des? Or, god forbid, did he actually succeed? (Noooooooo!)
While Hurley cared about the other potential passengers on Ajira Air 316, Ben wasn't quite so burdened: Jack: "And the other people on this plane, what's going to happen to them?" Ben: "Who cares?"

For me, the episode's best moment came when the pilot announced his name: Frank Lapidus! And the ep's best quote, from Frank to Jack: "Wait a second, we're not going to Guam, are we?"

“That’s why it’s called a leap of faith, Jack.” (Which Helen had said to Locke, and which Locke had said to Jack, among other past utterances of this particular phrase).

Was there more to Jack's grandfather Ray than meets the eye? Was this just a plot mechanism to get Christian's shoes on Locke (and perhaps explain why Christian was always wearing those dorky sneakers when he was roaming the island)? It was interesting that Jack got to the old folks home just when a magic show was going on. A magic show with bunnies (remind anyone of grainy videos in the hatch?).

I complained a bit about Hawking, but I did love her response to Jack, when he asked if Ben is telling the truth: "Probably not."

And good old Ben just can't help himself, can he? While he's on the plane reading James Joyce's "Ulysses" (which I tried to get through, unsuccessfully, in college), Jack asks Ben "how can you read?" "My mother taught me," Ben answers. While there's nothing inherently funny about mothers dying in childbirth, this did make me laugh, since we know that's exactly what happened to Ben's mom.

Another bit about Hawking. She didn't appear to react to Des's proclamation that he was sent by her son Daniel. Did she know he would be coming? Did she not care? Is Daniel not her son?

Inside joke: Hurley was reading a Spanish language comic, "Y: The Last Man," which was written by Brian K. Vaughn, a writer/producer for Lost.

“You tell me Jack—you're the one who got to stay after school with Ms. Hawking.”

The date on the photo Hawking had of a military operation on or near the island, which read 9/23/54 – U.S. ARMY – OP 264 – TOP SECRET – EYES ONLY, was almost 50 years to the day from when Oceanic 816 crashed. Or, EXACTLY 50 years, if you include the end date (according to Or 18,263 days. Or, 438,312 hours. Also, apparently, Jughead (the bomb) was tested as part of Operation Castle in March of 1954. Hmmmmm.

So, did the plane crash? Or did it land? If you'll recall, in the interminable time in S3 when Sawyer and Kate were having cage sex and eating fish biscuits, one of the "rock breaking" tasks the Others had them doing was building a.....runway. (But if they landed, how the hell did they get into the jungle? And what happens to a plane flying into the island's "time bubble" when a "flash" occurs?)

"We're on the same plane Jack. Doesn't make us together."

There are some screwy things going on with the timeline that I don't yet understand. For example, Jin has clearly caught up with Sawyer and crew. But in the episode's biggest WTF we see Jin drive up in a shiny new Dharma van, apparently a member of the Initiative, and surprise the newly returned Kate, Hurley and Jack. Have the rest of the crew left behind on the island just decided to go native and hook up with the Initiative? Or is it just Jin? (Remember, we also saw Daniel in a Dharma get up, back when they first discovered the frozen donkey wheel). And since they're apparently back in the 70s, is this when the "scary man" (Daniel) warns a young Charlotte about the island?

"Wherever you are, John, you must be laughing your ass off that I'm actually doing this."

I don't know if we'll see much "present day" off the island for a while, though I would hope that we would, since Desmond and Penny, Yi Jeon, Charles Widmore, Walt and perhaps Aaron are all there. We know that the Oceanic 6 were fairly high profile (and Kate even had restrictions on her "movements"), so wouldn't it be apparent and noticeable that they all vanish off the face of the earth, together?

"These people, they are just using us. They are playing some kind of game and we are just the pieces. Whatever she tells you to do, ignore it." You preach it, brotha.

Until next time, Namaste.


  1. Dude, I swear I did not read your recap before I posted mine...but I just came over here and some of our passages are eerily similar, especially the opening, the description of Ms. Hawking, and the description of how the passengers on the plane represent the passengers on 815. Weird. Great minds think alike, huh? But, if you read my recap you'll see that my mind also has something in common with Ben's, so I guess we're in pretty good (if also evil) company.

    Yeah, I noticed the 36 hour vs. 46 hour thing, the 10 "lost hours" similar to the 31 "lost minutes" in Daniel's experiment last season, maybe? And maybe the gap has widened due to the Island skipping around so much after Ben turned the FDW?

    As for Jin in the DI..."When in Rome" I guess. Maybe they (with Daniel's prodding, I'm sure) figured that if there was any way "back" it would probably come from the folks doing the scientific research?

    And I also talked in my recap about that whole scene with "grandad." Something is off there. That was a hell of a long way to go just to get to some dress shoes, you know? Wouldn't it have been simpler just to write that Jack's mom sent the box Christian's stuff to Jack? So, yeah, I think "Ray" has some other significance.

    Another great episode...can't wait to see what my boy Locke has been up to!

  2. That is SO funny. I read yours just before lunch, and thought it amusing how similar our takes were. Great minds indeed! Of course, I didn't find a way to work in a Bob Horner reference, so shame on me. :-) (Still one of the prettiest and most compact swings I've seen for a righty. Maybe his career is something on the island?)

    Perhaps the "10 hours" is similar to the time gap as evidenced by the Dan rocket test. They were just careful to point it out, so either that was their way of putting a dot on that "i," or it in fact will mean something else down the road.

    And we did think about similar theories of what became of Aaron, but you brought up one I didn't, and that could make sense: Cassidy. But would she be conveniently in LA, or close enough to get there in time for Kate to hope in the sack with Jack? (Or perhaps the Dagonstini law firm could have handled that for her?)

    One other point I didn't make, that I should. I usually knock Evangeline Lilly's acting as rather flat (especially compared to some of the other actors on the show), but her scene with Jack late night was just harrowing and heartbreaking. She was excellent there.

  3. Yeah, I only brought the Cassidy thing up because I think she's going to come up again somewhere. Or maybe I'm just hoping she is, because I really liked her character as well as the dynamic between her and and Kate...kindred spirits in a way, participants in a love triangle that they didn't even know they were part of, one that ends with Kate taking care of Sawyer's kid through Cassidy. So, I keep hoping she's going to pop up again in the story somewhere.

    Of course, right now she is yet another excellent player in the excellent Friday Night Lights cast, so I don't know how available she is..