Didn't the opening scene feel so familiar, yet so "off?" The very first scene of the very first episode of Lost was the close-up of Jack's eye, followed by the camera pulling back to reveal the neurosurgeon flat on his back in the jungle. We saw it again last night, but instantly I knew this was a different scenario. Still, the familiarity of this opening scene was like a warm, fluffy blanket. I was instantly cocooned and settled in for the journey.
Let's jump to the events that led to our gang's return to the island. When Mrs. Hawking mentioned the name of this off-island Dharma station, I didn't quite catch its significance at first. On my subsequent viewing, I realized the door she opened might as well have been a big ol' wardrobe door. As in a wardrobe door leading to Narnia. Because Hawking tells us we are entering "The Lamp Post." And I almost fell off my couch. I won't go into a review of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The With and The Wardrobe, except to mention that a lamp post features heavily in the world of Narnia, as a light in the middle of the forest, shining day and night. Thrown down by the White Witch from a lamp post in London, this particular light becomes a living thing in Narnia's first days of creation, fashioned by Aslan to burn continuously. Just as Narnia's lamp post is a beacon in its woods, it seems Dharma's Lamp Post is the "light" our Losties need to guide their return to the island.
Whoa. I know, right? I wish y'all could see me jumping up and down right now, because this truly makes me giddy. No one can ever say Lost's creators and writers are not true genuises. 'Cause they are. Yep.
We enter the Lamp Post and yes, she's Ellie-the-Gun-Toter, Eloise-the-Mother-of-I Rock The Skinny Tie, Mrs. Hawking-the-Pawn Shop-Princess. Hawking appears to be many things to many people. She had one of my favorite lines of the night. Jack asks Ben, "Did you know about this place?" to which Ben resolutely replies, "No." Posing the question to Mrs. Hawking, "Is he telling the truth?" "Probably not!" is Hawking's smug summation. As per usual, we viewers are unable to pin down if Benjamin Linus is forthcoming with his information. (Also--did you notice how intently Ben listened to Hawking's explanation of the island...its movements, how it can be located, that a "brilliant man" discovered a way to achieve all this information? It appeared our man Ben might have been learning some of this material right along with us.)
Meanwhile our beloved Desmond's incredulity is escalating by the minute, and rightfully so. He's earned this complete disdain, dangit. Eventually he's all, "I'm done with the island--PEACE OUT!" Oh, snap! Desmond, brotha...I so adore you. But I also fear for your future, as well as Penny's and Baby Charlie's. The island is not done with you, Des.
After Hawking tells Jack that John is going to be the island's "proxy," I became giddy all over again. Texted my brother-in-law and a few of you ladies, saying, "It's getting all 'religuous' up in here!" Proxy? Substitute? Suddenly the title of tonight's episode takes on a new meaning. Of course we later learn that 316 signifies the Ajira flight our gang must soon board, but it may also reference the one Bible verse most of the world recognizes: John 3:16. "For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Just as I didn't delve too deeply in the world of Narnia's lamp post, I won't start preaching here. But I will say that John's role as the substitutionary atonement for our islanders? That his "death" paves the way for the restoration of the lives on the island, as well as the lives of the Oceanic 6? Whoa. I...well...just...WHOA! Admittedly, I cannot fully grasp this concept or its meaning in the overall scheme of this story.
Continuing with the theme of religion and faith, Jack finds Ben praying (or was he plotting?) in the sanctuary of the church. Ben then recounts the story of the Apostle Thomas, and how he is not remembered in Biblical history for his bravery (John 11:16), but rather for his doubt of Christ's resurrection. Ben says that Thomas, "Couldn't wrap his mind around it. He had to touch Jesus to be convinced." Jack asks Ben, "Was he?" Ben replies, "We're all convinced sooner or later, Jack." Almost from the moment of their introduction, John Locke and Jack Shephard have been at odds due, in part, to their world views. Locke is our Man of Faith, of course, and we all know Jack is the poster child for Science. But oh, how Jack is quickly becoming a student of fealty and belief. Later in the episode he boards Ajira Flight 316, which is the ultimate act of faith for Jack...returning to the place he spilled blood, sweat, and tears to escape.
Oh, let's not forget that Ben's going to see an old friend, to "tie up some loose ends." Even before we see him bloody and battered the day of the flight to "Guam," I think it's safe to ascertain Mr. Linus was referring to his threat to kill Widmore's daughter. My mind, nor my heart, can go to that unhappy place right now. Discuss amongst yourselves, please.
Remember I said earlier that there was no "filler" scene in "316?" Do not think for one second that Papaw Ray is not going to figure prominently in the future. A former magician? Who wants to get away, where "they won't ever find me." Yes, sweet Ray, grandfather o' Jack, we will be seeing you again soon.
Our island's two leaders meet up once again. Kind of. Jack takes his father's shoes to place on Locke's feet. For a second I was waiting for Locke to rise up and shout, "SUCKA!" But no. He's still dead. Or whatever. But Heather has a brilliant take on the whole shoe scenario here, so I'm going to let her have at it in the comment section. Take it, Heather! (I warned you, at least!)
And then we have Kate's booty call. I refuse to waste breath and space on this, other than to say that Kate was horny and had to get one last bit of Jack-lovin' out of her system. Or, since she's apparently given Aaron over to his maternal grandmother (Claire's mom--that's my guess, at least), maybe now she wants a baby of her own, and Jack would be a good BabyDaddy. Or sperm donor. Whatever. I'm so over them, clearly. But I do wonder what made Kate change her mind? Who convinced her to leave Aaron behind and return to the island?
Later at the airport, Jack is amazed and relieved to learn that his peeps will be joining him on the flight to "Guam." Let's just call "Guam" what it really is: a window in time, whereby Jack and Co. will return to the island. Got that? Great. Moving on. We meet New Dude, who politely goes out of his way to offer condolences to Jack for the loss of his friend. Awwww, New Dude. We will most certainly see you on the island.
After boarding the flight the usual confusion and outrage ensues, because let's face facts...these are some messed up folks. Why is Sayid in handcuffs, chaperoned by a U.S. Marshall? (Shades of Kate, Oceanic Flight 815?) Who convinced Hurley to return to the island? (Charlie? Does this explain the prominently featured guitar case?) On a side note, do we love that Ben, Jack, Kate, Sayid, Hurley and Sun are seated in First Class? Of course we do. And...they're off!
My new favorite line from Ben occurs mid-flight, when Jack asks Ben what will happen to all the other people on this Flight of Destiny. "Who cares?" This, my friends, is why I love, love, love me some Benjamin Linus. And Michael Emerson, who deserves a room full of Emmys for his performance in this role. Who cares? Exactly, Ben. Rock on.
Also, I hate to bring her up again, but Kate's snarky comment to Jack was no aside. Jack's all high on faith and possibility, gushing about the Oceanic 6 (minus Aaron) being "together again." Kate puts on her game face and snaps, "We're on the same plane, Jack, but that doesn't make us together." Beyotch. Play on, playa. Yeah, I said that.
The return of my beloved Jeff Fahey was a highlight of this episode. Yes, I uttered an adult word when Lapidus was revealed as the flight's pilot...without his Kenny Rogers beard, as Sawyer cleverly bestowed upon Lapidus while on the island. I love that Lapidus is no fool. After seeing his plane's cargo he immediately realizes, "We're not going to Guam, are we?"
Why is Ben reading Ulysses? Oh, the headache this gives me. Thanks, writers of Lost, for throwing another clue our way. Everything happens for a reason. James Joyce, the author of Ulysses, is noted for revealing this about his ginormous novel: "I put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant." And we have now summed up the mysteries of Lost in one sentence. Amen.
Oh dear, this post is growing longer by the minute. Please forgive me. There was just so, so, so much to cover in this one hour of Lost greatness.
The plane clearly enters a flash and we find Jack, Hurley and Kate reunited in the water. Where are Sun, Ben, and Sayid? Where's New Dude? Sayid's Marshallette? And not only do I ask where, but also, when? That VW van (blaring Geronimo Jackson tunes--I will stake my life on this!) comes roaring up to the water's edge, all shiny, bright, and new. You know, as VW vans looked well over thirty years ago. Toto, we are not in the 21th century anymore.
Let the discussing and sussing commence! I'm grabbing an aspirin, some Scotch, and a pillow. Just kidding. I don't drink Scotch. It will be red, red wine. Good times.