For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. -- John 3:16
This seg of "Lost," titled "316," takes the heavy-duty Christian allegory and symbolism to new heights. I'm surprised that they seem to be going that direction -- not surprised as in dismayed, quite the contrary. I didn't expect it so it makes the ride all that much more intriguing and interesting. But bear with me, people, I'm a Unitarian, and only a recent one at that, so Biblical details, imagery, iconography et al are not my strong suit. (Great Lenny Bruce line: "I know my humor is outrageous when it makes the Unitarians so mad they burn a question mark on my front lawn.")
I really shouldn't be surprised that things are getting even more spiritual and mystical for our castaways. The seeds have been sown for going on five seasons, especially this year with Mrs. Hawking doing her thang in the bowels of a church (that doubled as a Dharma station, as we've just learned!). The central philosophical tenet of the show (and "Lost" is one of the few that can claim to have such a hifalutin thing) has been the question of faith vs. science, and how much of our lives, our fates and fortunes are dictated by our battles as humans between free will and the collective subconscious.
Going back to one of the central mysteries about deal ol' Jacob, this is a show that has presented us with ecclesiastical questions and concerns. And God love 'em for it, especially our spiritual leaders, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who wrote this seg. It was helmed by Stephen Williams, who has delivered many a fine "Lost" hour before. (And a shout-out is in order to the lighting crew. They were busy in this seg, creating mood after mood after mood.)
The path along the way has included Locke's visceral reaction to the island's higher powers and his battles with Jack, Mr. Eko and his desecration of the cloth worn by his brother, Rose's deep and abiding faith (by the way -- where the heck are Rose and Bernard?!? And Vincent??) regarding her cancer, going back to Ben's oft-repeated speech about how a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky just as he discovered he had a tumor and how "if that's not proof of God I don't know what is."
Ben demonstrates his knowledge of scripture in telling Jack the story behind the painting in Mrs. Hawking's church of Thomas the Apostle, and how he had to touch Jesus' wounds before he'd believe in the resurrection. "We're all convinced sooner or later, Jack," Ben taunts.
The John 3:16 thing didn't dawn on me until about 20 minutes in -- yes, I also thought about the rainbow wig guy who used to show up with the "John 3:16" sign at sporting events and such -- but it totally tracks with the plot that is unfolding at a gallop so far this season.
Think about it in the context of the "sacrifice" that Locke came to grips with last week, with the time travel business and the hints we've gotten about eternal life from folks like Richard Alpert, and Charles Widmore's burning motivation to find his way back to the island.
Now -- on to the granular details of this week's adventure. Once again, Jin leaves us gasping. Jin was a Dharma,or is this a time travel thing? And what happened to Aaron? Could it be that Claire paid Kate another visit and claimed him at long last?
As for Jin, this turn of events caught me completely by surprise. We know him to be the humble Korean fisherman's son, whose mother kept busy in the oldest profession. But there he was in the last few minutes of the seg, driving the new-looking Dharma van, cranking the tunes (I didn't recognize the music -- Geronimo Jackson, perhaps?) and wearing the trademark jumpsuit.
It has always been unclear whether the man Jin called his father (and later shunned after marrying Sun) was actually his biological father, but I don't recall any suggestion that he grew up anywhere but Korea. Of course there's the Dr. Marvin Candle/Pierre Chang/Edgar Halliwax connection to Dharma, but of course I've been thinking he had something to do with Miles rather than Jin. Just when you think you know something on this show...
The other question that came to mind in that scene, after we establish that at least Jack, Kate and Hurley have returned to the island (seemed like they landed in the deep water where Kate and Sawyer went swimming and found those two bodies belted into airplane seats several seasons ago), was how much do they really understand the time travel issue. Mrs. Hawking told them about the island being on the move -- "why do you think you were never rescued?" -- but did it really sink in? Will Jack et al be able to figure out why it is they've been transported back to the Me decade? And are they in the same time zone as Sawyer and Juliet? The mind reels...
Hawking at least clears up a little bit of the confusion about why they all have to come back -- to recreate as much as possible the conditions of when Flight 815 went kaboom. I suppose in that she also explains why Locke had to die, so that his body could be a "proxy" or "substitute," as she put it coldly to Jack, for Christian Shephard's mortal coil that was being transported on 815. And she hands him Locke's suicide note for good, measure after she insists that they all get on Ajira Airways (remember the the water bottle found in the canoe two episodes back?) Flight 316 to Guam to get themselves back to the island.
Overall, this was a good 46 hours for Jack. By the end of the seg, we saw a flicker of his old arrogant fire back. He had the single-most quotable line of the episode in the scene where he's putting his father's shoes on Locke's corpse, as he was instructed by Hawking (something old, something new, something borrowed...). The timing of Jack's line was perfect, because for him to not recognize the nuttiness of the situation would have been to render him a Stepford castaway and then perhaps we would be on the slippery slope to the Zombie Season (for all you podcast regulars out there.)
"Wherever you are, John, you must be laughing your ass off that I'm actually doing this," Jack said (you wonder if he didn't expect Locke to answer with something snide). "Because this -- this is even crazier than you are." Jack tucks the suicide note back into Locke's coat pocket, but I think we all knew it wasn't the last we'd see of it.
The opening scene of the seg was of course a call-out the "Lost" pilot (it should be classified as a narcotic, it's hooked so many people) with one-eyed Jack in the grass.
Then as we double back to where last week's seg left off with Mrs. Hawking ready to get down to business, we picked up the strains of a number of recent plot points, from her showing Jack a photograph of the island captioned "1954 U.S. Army Top Secret," to her discussing the electromagnetic vortex underneath her feet and its connection to other similarly souped-up spots on the globe (like the Orchid Station) to her talking about a smart man who figured out a way to find the island through the windows that periodically open up (what, no Macs?). She sounded like a proud mom, didn't she? I assumed she was talking about Faraday. At least we finally get explicit confirmation that she is his mother.
Loved how Desmond was not buying any of her spectral spooky talk, nor was he cowed by the huge pendulum, judging from the way he walked right in front of it a bunch of times. He calls her out for interfering in his life for years ago with the ring business and telling him to go to the island. He's not about to do it again, warning the others that "they're playing some kind of game with us..and we're just the pieces" before he storms out. (He'll be back, no doubt.)
You can't really blame Jack for turning to his old self-medicating ways after a day like this. The encounter with his "grandad" at an old folks home was the one thing that felt forced in this seg but it did facilitate Jack getting a hold of a pair of Christian's shoes. I wonder if we'll see grandad (who didn't really look old enough to be John Terry's father) again?
After all this, for Jack the weirdness really begins when he gets home to find a wildly-freaked out Kate in his bedroom with no explanation other than "don't ask" of Aaron's whereabouts.
"If you want me to go with you...you'll never ask me about Aaron," she instructs. They lock lips in a very distressed, angry sort of way -- nothing sexy or passionate about it. Even the next morning, Kate still looks shell shocked, though Jack looks a little more relaxed. I'm guessing Kate got an earful from Claire about Aaron before fled over to Jack's. (Or maybe it was Claire's mom. Have to admit I didn't think of that on Wednesday night but the theory's making the rounds and it sounds plausible. And maybe it wasn't forcible but voluntary, with Kate realizing that she needed to protect Aaron. And still another theory that's very intriguing: Kate gave Aaron to Cassidy, the mother of Sawyer's daughter, who we know palled around with Kate pre-815 crash?) That would be a mood killer. But at the same time, it's just like Kate to rev up the love triangle by bedding Jack for the first time in years just hours before she's potentially going to meet up with Sawyer again. (Other tantalizing theory making the rounds: Kate is now preggers, just as Claire was on 815.)
There's so much more to say but my inner electromagnetic force is running very low. A few points to think on:
** In addition to the Dharma van, the very special guest star in this seg were Fionnula Flanagan's eyes. How they can be so expressive can only be chalked up to her skill as a thesp. When Mrs. Hawking looks right at the camera at you, it's just chilling.
** What's up with the guy in line (pictured right) who gives his "condolences" to Jack. Nothing anyone says to anyone at any airport is incidental in this show.
** Ben clearly got on the wrong side of someone with a blunt object in between the time he left Jack at the church and the next morning. The suggestion seems to be that Sayid summoned his old torture training for a work-over on his nemesis.
** Seeing Sayid brought into custody in the airport with a law enforcement handler who looked at first blush a lot like Ana Lucia was interesting. It also replicated Kate's situation on the first flight. My question is, why did Sayid have disco duds on, and why would a cop be taking him to Guam?
** Loved the shot of Ben reading on the plane. I'm fairly certain it was James Joyce's "Ulysses," which makes perfect sense. But then after the scene passed I started to second-guess and wonder if it was Homer's "Odyssey"? Either one would fit with our long-strange-arduous-trip theme.
** Am I the only one who wonders what Hurley has in the guitar case? Did he have a guitar with him on the Flight 815? I don't recall one -- but of course Charlie did.
** "Who cares?" Ben's ruthlessness comes to the fore again when Jack asks him about all of the fate of the other people on the flight.
** I should've seen Frank Lapidus coming as the captain of the flight to Guam, but I admit I did not. He had the second-best line in the seg: "We're not going to Guam, are we?"
** "I wish you had believed me." Locke needles Jack from beyond the grave. Oh boy. Can't wait 'til next week.
Thursday morning update: Now that I've had a chance to sleep on it, obviously, two burning questions that remain are:
What was Ben's "loose end" that needed tying up? Whacking Penny?
And how the heck did Hurley get out of jail!?
Nice to see that viewership for last night's seg bounced back after a lackluster showing last week. "Lost" posted 11.3 million viewers and a strong 5.1 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, which was a huge leap from its lead-in, the "enhanced" repeat of last week's seg which pulled a 1.9/5 in 18-49.