First of all, how cool was the opening to this episode? At first, I got all excited because they were bringing the “eye opener” trope from the first season back, and then I realized it was the opening from the first season . . . until Lost‘s master scribes pulled the switcheroo on us, revealing a very different situation: Hurley, Jack and Kate crashing on the island for the second time in their lives. There were a lot of cool things about this episode, but by the end, I wish it had been a balanced story between the folks on the island and the O6ers returning. I never like episodes that are just about the O6 and I especially don’t like episodes that are so Jack-heavy. I realize he’s the hero, but, man, is Jack ever boring.
Mostly, we got a lot of answers about the nature of Eloise Hawking’s magical church science lab, as well as confirmation on several theories about which we denizens of the internet have been speculating. The O6ers, at least the ones we saw at the end of “This Place Is Death,” have sought out Miss Hawking’s lair, which, as it happens is an old Dharma station known as The Lamp Post, an off-island research station used to find electromagnetic hotspots – especially the giant electromagnetic hotspot that is our mysterious island. Doc Jensen’s column yesterday explored a number of Narnia references in the Lostverse, so I should note that the inclusion of The Lamp Post station is in fact a reference to the Narnia series, as a lamp post is the only thing that appears in all the books, lighting the way to Narnia as this station “lights the way” to the island. The revelation I’m most interested in from this encounter is Hawking’s admission that there are other places in the world like the island, which makes me wonder about the potential for other groups of people having experiences akin to those of the passengers on Oceanic flight 815. And, also, the potential for spin-offs of the show into other mediums, like graphic novels, for instance.
Which brings me to an interesting coincidence: later in this episode, Hurley is shown reading a Spanish-language issue of my favorite graphic novel Y: The Last Man, which just happens to be by producer and executive story editor of Lost, Brian K. Vaughn. The issue Hurley is reading, I believe, is Volume 3: “One Small Step,” but that’s just my guess from the coverart. The series is about a plague that kills all the men on the planet, except for Yorick Brown and his male capuchin monkey, Ampersand. In “One Small Step,” it’s revealed that astronauts orbiting space were not affected by the plague, so Yorick is not the sole survivor, but he and his companions must do what they can to protect these two other “last men” as they return to Earth. I’d like to be able to make a better connection between the actions in “One Small Step” and in “316,” but so far the only thing I can think of is that they both involve the return of vessels to a place that might not be terribly safe to return to. More interesting: I’m currently reading Volume 9: “Motherland” (which has a nice little rave from Time.com on the front, totally stating the obvious: “Rivals TV’s Lost as a smart, consistently entertaining work of popular art”), which posits the idea of morphic resonance, that there are kinds of biological electromagnetic fields through which organisms develop a collective consciousness. The example is that certain monkeys in one part of the world learned to clean sweet potatoes and then, somehow, other monkeys that had no contact with the original group learned the same behavior. This issue posits that a similar incident caused the man-plague: the moment a child was born through human cloning, the Y chromosome suddenly no longer had a purpose, killing all the men instantly. I’ll have to think longer about the functions of electromagnetic fields in both works, because I currently don’t see how morphic resonance related to Lost . . . unless it’s what caused the Dharma purge! Grasping at straws? Yes. But I’m fucking sticking to that.
(On second thought, morphic resonance, in further conjunction with Y: The Last Man, probably better explains why the ladies on the island have such a massive fertility problem. Something about the island prevents pregnancies from coming to term, and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with long-standing events involving morphic resonance and electromagnetism.)
So, Eloise tells the O6 that windows open up in these electromagnetic fields for limited periods of time, so if they intend to return to the island, they must do so on Ajira Airways flight 316 to Guam, explaining that the Ajira waterbottle we saw in the catamarans on the beach definitely came from the plane carrying the O6 and that, yes, the other canoe that fired at Sawyer’s rig was very likely the O6 . . . or other passengers from their flight. Eloise also tells them that they must do their best to recreate the conditions of their flight. Meaning, not only do they have to get as many people from the original flight as possible, but they also have to fulfill their circumstances. There must be a dead body, a guitar, some drugs and one passenger in chains – all of which confirm a theory I’ve been set on for a few episodes now. Eloise tells everyone present to meet at the airport, but Desmond refuses to go, stating that he’s done his job be delivering Farraday’s message to his dear old mum that only she can help them. Eloise replies that she is, indeed, helping her son by getting the O6 back to the island and tells Des that “the island isn’t done with [him] yet.” Enraged that this woman cost him three years with Penny, Desmond announces he’s done with the island and begs Jack not to follow Hawking’s suggestions. I’m sure Des will make it back to the island somehow. It’s definitely not done with him yet.
After Des storms out, Hawking takes Jack aside and gives him John Locke’s suicide note. Locke hanged himself (a reference to the rope he dangled on just before breaking his leg and turning the frozen donkey wheel to stop the time jumps?), knowing that he would have to substitute for Christian Shepard’s body on the flight back to the island. In order to make this as accurate as possible, Hawking tells Jack that he must take something of his father’s and give it to Locke. Oddly, Jack thinks this is the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard (and a smoke monster is somehow less ridiculous?) and is hesitating to do it, until a pair of Christian’s shoes turn up in his granddad’s nursing home. Jack takes that as a sign that he should have faith, per his earlier conversation with Ben about being a doubting Thomas. When Jack returns home, he finds Kate on his bed. She Aaron-less and doesn’t want to talk about where Aaron is (I hope he’s in Korea with Ji Yeon and Grandma Paik!), but she’s ready to go back to the island. So they do what Jack and Kate do when they’re in synchronicity. That is, make out and have lots of dirty island sex. The next morning, she sees Christian’s dress shoes and tells Jack that he should consider packing hiking boots instead. He then tells her that he’s bringing them because they belonged to his father, who didn’t have shoes on when Jack was bringing the body back from Australia. At his mother’s insistence, Jack gave Christian a pair of his tennies so that the good Dr. Shepard wouldn’t be buried without warm tootsies. And here I always thought Christian Shepard was just very Woody Allen in his insistence on wearing sneakers with suits . . .
Jack gets a call from a bloodied up Ben, who asks him to pick up Locke’s body from Jill the Butcher. She lends Jack the Reincarnation van, and Jack carefully places his father’s shoes on Jeremy Bentham’s feet. He also tucks Locke’s note to him inside the dead man’s jacket pocket. At the airport, Jack replays his experience with Oceanic when he checks in Locke’s body. He sees Sun there, and then Kate – as well as Sayid in the security line being escorted by New Amsterdam‘s Zuliekah Robinson (better luck on this show, honey) and then, in the boarding area, Hurley, reading the Brian K. Vaughn work I tried to provide an intertextual reading of above. Hurley has bought up 78 seats on the plane in an effort to prevent as many other people from coming on their fantastic voyage as possible, but, naturally, there are others. Once they board, they notice a shifty Latin man sitting in first class with them (I assume he’s got a backpack full of drugs, replacing Charlie Pace) and, of course, Zuliekah Robinson, escorting a cuffed Sayid (replacing Kate and the marshal), as well as several others sitting in coach. Hurley is ready to walk from the flight when Ben joins them, but Jack calms him down. Before takeoff, a stewardess hands Jack the suicide note addressed to him that they found in Locke’s coffin when they inspected the remains. He is hesitant to read it, and instead goes to sit down with Kate. He marvels at the fact that Hurley and Sayid made the plane without knowing about it, taking it as another sign that they were all meant to be together. Jack receives further divine confirmation when he hears the voice of the pilot: Frank J. Lapidus. Immediately, Jack rushes up to a flight attendant and begs her to let him speak to Frank, as they are old friends. Frank emerges from the cockpit, clean shaven and bright eyed and happy to see Jack, that is, until he notices the other members of the O6 scattered throughout first class.
“We’re not going to Guam, are we?” – Frank J. Lapidus
Jack spends most of the flight waiting for something to happen, while Ben sits around reading Ulysses, leading me to my other favorite line of the night:
Jack: How can you read?
Ben: My mother taught me.
Ben lays a major guilt trip on Jack about his relationship with Locke, which amazingly recreates Jack’s feelings about his father from the original flight to the island, finally convincing Jack to open up Locke’s suicide note which simply reads: “I wish you had believed.”The narrative then jumps back to the beginning of the episode, recreating the events from after the crash, only neither Hurley, Kate nor Jack remembers crashing and they have no idea where they other people from their flight are. And then that awesome VW Microbus rolls up and out pops Dharma Jin, ready to shoot them on site. It seems, then, that when Locke moved the island (which Hawking confirms is, in fact, always moving through time, which is why no one was ever able to rescue the passengers from flight 815), it settled its time jumps in the 70s at the height of the Dharma Initiative, which more than explains Farraday’s presence at the building of the Orchid station, but opens up so many new questions about the fate of the other castaways. Is Miles, then, not Pierre Chang’s baby, if he exists as an adult in Dharma time? And what of Juliet and Sawyer? That end revelation totally blew my mind, and provided a nice bit of openness to an episode that otherwise answered so many questions and confirmed so many theories so neatly. But this Dharma shit? I have no idea.
I’d love to touch the connections between Joyce’s Ulysses and Ben/the O6, but my brain is shot now, so I’ll leave that heavy lifting to other bloggers who are smarter than I am.
Anybody think that one of the other elements needed to recreate the Oceanic 815 crash was to have a pregnant woman on board, and so Jack and Kate bumping uglies pre-flight served a bigger purpose than just some emotional baggage? It might be a long shot, but it might also be awesome. An online commenter also posited that, while Charlotte S. Lewis said that she left the island with her mother, could Jack and Kate perhaps be her real parents? Lostpedia puts Charlotte’s birthdate in the year 1979, so this could very well be possible.
This possibility brings me, as a side note, to one of the greatest things Roger Ebert ever wrote. When fielding questions in his Movie Answer Man segment several years ago, one person brought up the plot holes in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film End Of Days, in which the devil (Gabriel Byrne) came to Earth in order to impregnate a woman (Robin Tunney) with the Antichrist. Ebert suggested, in response, that Schwarzenegger’s character, the hero, could have easily solved the problem and would have had the best one-liner in the history of the world: “I have to impregnate you before the devil does.”
Kate being impregnated with Aaron 2.0 for island-crashing purposes, while not quite the same, is kind of similar. Yes?
Just so we’re all clear, there was a flash of white light right as the Flight 316 started going down, right? Or am I making shit up/reading too far into things? That’s usually my wife’s job as far as this show is concerned. I need second viewings of episodes to really catch certain things. (Like an idiot, I didn’t even put two-and-two together as to why Hurley had a guitar. I blame watching American Idol before Lost in the mushing of my brain last night.)