Things I Noticed - 316
Alright, I'm going to say it. Many of you aren't going to like it, but some of you might be thinking it too. I want you all to know that it hurts me to say it, but I'm going to do it anyway. And here it is: This season, so far, is shaping up to be even better than S1. Blasphemy? Could be. But this episode was so different, so fast-flowing and cool that it knocked me on my ass. It felt like it flew by in half the time. It wasn't the best episode in the world, but it was so wildly different in tone and taste that it didn't seem to belong in the S5 lineup. And yet when it ended, it still managed to snap into the season like an irregularly-shaped puzzle piece. Things I Noticed:
Vozzek's Top Three After-Episode Chat Comments
I spent 10 minutes checking out the chat room after the episode ended. Very cool! Instantly I saw these gems, and knew that they had to be shared with everyone:
* did hurley eat all 78 meals on the plane?
* I think ben went to kill penny but before he got there his car hit a deer and he got bloody by cleaning it off in time to catch ajira flight 316
* the guitar case has 2 years of twinkies in it
Wasn't it corny when Hawking said that? After so many seasons of build-up toward this mystical moment, Hawking spent three minutes jamming fistfuls of answers down our throats. The way she did it, I felt like we were being force-fed. Funnily enough, the looks on the main character's faces reflected tired disinterest - I'm not sure much would shock or surprise them anymore. Desmond however, was the very animated exception (ironically enough) to the rule. He hasn't received enough off-island torture yet, and isn't ready to go back. His life is relatively peachy, and he's gonna need some spectral visitors, alcoholism, and/or fugitive drama to convince him.
Sci-fi is a cool genre, but I hate when it leans toward being overly technical. I have to say Hawking's lecture was a little too high in the midichlorian count for me. LOST has always been sci-fi peppered with the supernatural - and lots and lots (and lots) of unknowns. To talk about giant underground magnets, to lay the island's impending locations out in such a bare bones, matter-of-fact way like that... I'm not sure I liked it. But in the end the island turns out to be the tower from Krull, and Dharma gathered their best math-nerds, plus Alvar Hanso(?) to figure out where and when it would pop up next. We gotcha.
The Case of the Missing Giant-Headed Baby
Kate shows up babyless at Jack's place, and once again we play the all-too familiar game of "Where's Aaron?". I think the answer here is simple, with complex roots. Most likely, Kate's given the baby to Claire's mother, Carole. Aaron's grandmother sure would seem the most logical choice to raise him at this point. Then again, Kate's never been all that logical. So this also leaves the possibility that she sought out and hooked up with Cassidy, as Sawyer requested. She could've passed Aaron off to either of them for safekeeping before deciding to go back to the island. Whichever way it happened, giving up the baby is catastrophic for her - Kate loves Aaron and has fully been a mother to him.
Not so surprisingly, the reason behind the hand-off is once again Benjamin Linus. After pointedly telling Kate "You're not his mother" last week, those seeds must really have grown fast. Those words seem pretty hypocritical of Ben, considering the whole Alex debacle. Ben was never really Alex's father, and the whole situation ended badly because of his selfishness in wanting to raise her. I think in his own tactless and pretty harsh way, Ben was imparting this lesson upon Kate last episode. He was not-so-subtly letting her know that she shouldn't make the same mistake he did. No matter how much she loved him, no matter what she did, the island wasn't going to let her be his mother. A quick drive and some heavy thinking later, Kate resignedly admitted to herself that the island would never let go of her. Placing Aaron out of harm's way was the type of sacrifice only a true mother could make. And now without him, there's nothing to keep her from going back to the island. She's not even doing it for the island, she's doing to keep Aaron safe... Kate knows she couldn't exist in the real world without wanting Aaron back.
Jack Gets Help After Class... Or Detention, Depending Upon How You Look at it
As Ms. Hawking's new preferred student, Jack gets expert tutoring in the one subject he's always failed at: Faith. No better place for this than in a church, too. Five seasons and a ton of weird crazy shit later, Hawking knows Jack will still have problems with something as simple as swapping out a pair of shoes. With Locke gone, and Ben mistrusted by everyone, her purpose here is to make Jack believe. Jack's always been a tough nut to crack in that regard, but after everything that's happened to him, both on and off the island, I think we're starting to see the chinks in his armor.
It's not enough to just want to go back to the island - I think the island has to want you back as well. Jack's trans-Pacific flights always failed because he never had faith that they'd work in the first place. Hawking asks him to take this leap of faith, and for Jack that leap is to put his father's shoes on Locke's feet. For Hurley it was listening to those inner voices/visions, realizing that he's NOT crazy, and denying the big lie. For Sun it was believing that Jin is alive. For Kate it was giving up Aaron. And maybe for Ben, it's *not* knowing everything and letting someone else take the reins for once. He all but asks Jack what Eloise said to him in the church, but later on he leaves Jack in peace to read Locke's suicide note. Ben's always been omniscient, manipulative, controlling... but now he must let go and let things play out the way they're supposed to. That's his penance for returning to the island.
Hawking tells Jack they must recreate as many 'circumstances' as possible in parallel with the original flight. But in essence, it's not so much a physical scavenger hunt to scare up random objects that the island needs to get them back. Bringing these items is no more than a demonstration of faith; much the same way Locke had to show the island that he believed way, way back in S1. Remember when he didn't believe? The island took his legs. Yet every time he restored that faith Locke came back stronger and better than ever. Belief is everything in LOST. And belief seems to manifest itself into reality, time and time again, all throughout the show.
And speaking of Locke, his own act of faith was dying so that he could return to the island. Back in S2, Locke explains to Eko that Boone was "the sacrifice that the island demanded". Now he himself is this very sacrifice, acting as "proxy" (Hawking's word) in parallel to Christian Shephard's corpse from flight 815. What happens when Locke returns to the island is going to be very big and probably just as weird.
You Wanna Know How Kate Likes Her Coffee? With Sawyer.
Ahhh, poor Jack. We say that a lot, but he does set himself up for some really big falls. When Kate shows up in his bed, Jack's willing to forgo any questions about Aaron - or anything else - for the chance at rekindling her love (and loving). Jack and Kate are emotionally connected, and have a history of leaning on each other to get through many situations. This includes their relationship. But as I said before, Jack and Kate's off-island romance was never really meant to be. It was more of a crutch they both leaned on to get through hard times, each taking away something that they needed.
Jack remembering how Kate liked her coffee was a stark reminder to her of a life that she can never have again. Remembering her brief happiness with Jack and Aaron is something Kate doesn't want to do anymore. Ever. She's devastated by the loss of Aaron, and watching Jack inadvertently reflect happier times only serves to piss her off - not so much at Jack, but at circumstances in general. Kate storms off again, wearing out yet another pair of walking shoes. She won't even drive to the airport with Jack. It's a good bet last night was Jack's last time on Kate's playground, and once they return to the island she's going to realize that her true happy ending most likely involves Sawyer.
Tying up Loose Ends. Literally.
At long last, the white tennis shoes are explained. The fact they were planted there all the way back in the series pilot episode is some really great storytelling. As each little piece of the puzzle falls into place, Jack's faith is ever so slightly more solidified. His conversation with Locke as he tied those shoes on his feet was hilarious, but it was also necessary for him to hear his own words. For five seasons, everyone from Locke to Ben to Rose has been trying to convert Jack over to a man of faith. Now, it appears that Jack is even working on himself.
He's Got Lifeless Eyes. Black Eyes. Like a Doll's Eyes...
Well the rabbit really did. Like the black stone Jack found on the Adam and Eve skeletons in White Rabbit. Like the black eye of Locke, as shown in Claire's dream during Raised by Another. Funny how both those episode names pertain to plot points here in 316.
Another very cool aspect of the O6 return involves the role reversals of all the main characters. Some were overly obvious and some were open to interpretation, but the writers drew excellent parallels between the occupants of Oceanic Flight 815 and Ajira Airways flight 316.
Sayid is now Kate - Shackled, sullen, and accompanied by some type of law enforcement official. The male/female roles are reversed here, with Sayid's captor even looking somewhat like Ana Lucia. We don't know who has Sayid or why, if he's truly captured or just acting that way. But why the hell would anyone be shipping him to Guam, and with only a single woman to guard someone as dangerous as Sayid is? It's a straight-up recipe for a classic headbutt/escape.
Hurley is now Charlie - Based upon the real-life holes in our existing judicial system, it's (sadly) not too far of a stretch to say that Hurley got out with Ben's kickass lawyer and some sick bail money. I'm just glad we didn't have to watch a Hurley prison-break episode. As he shows up with the guitar case, it seems pretty obvious that Hugo probably had another sit-down with ghost Charlie. I'd even bet that the guitar actually belonged at one point to his late friend. Maybe Hurley met up with Liam, or maybe he bought it on Ebay. Either way, the guitar got beamed down to the river along with him... the island seems to be trying to put a band together.
Ben is now Hurley - Or at least he arrives that way. Ben is last to board the plane at the very last second, having just made the flight. It had me bemusedly wondering if Ben experienced the same S1 antics that Hurley ran into in his journey from the ticket counter to the gate. Remember that Hurley "wasn't supposed to" make the original flight. A few seasons later there was even more evidence of this, as Hurley stands on the beach, looks to the ocean and claims "I'm not supposed to be here". The actual context of that scene has Hurley 'secretly' talking to Sawyer, but I always suspected it had double meaning. Perhaps Ben is now the person who's not supposed to make the flight - after all, he's not one of the O6. Hurley even uses the words "He's not supposed to be here!" Ben's words to Hurley are interesting also: "Who told you to be here Hugo?" A knowing nod toward his probable brush with Charlie's ghost, but also something more.
Kate is now Claire - Broken, confused, and torn over a decision she just made regarding her child. It's not too far of a stretch here to assume Kate might even be pregnant, too. The plane needs a pregnant chick, and I'm pretty sure Sun hasn't had any hookups. Dunno about coach.
Jack is now Locke (or maybe Ben?) - Suddenly Jack is somewhat of a believer. When Hurley's outburst threatens to derail his position on the flight, Jack reins him in and keeps him calm. Jack's taken some measure of authority here. Okay, maybe I'm stretching it.
Sun is now Vincent - Hehehe... alright, I totally couldn't think of a parallel for Sun. Maybe she's Rose, who after the crash somehow 'knew' her husband to be alive. You guys come up with something. And hey, where the hell is Vincent anyway?
Vozzek, Why are you Saying O6? Only 5 of Them are Returning!
True, but are you gonna be the one to just blow off 2 whole years' worth of Ben = Aaron theories?!?!? Especially when Aaron's the only one of the Oceanic 6 *missing* from the plane, and Ben's the only ex-islander on the plane who's *not* one of the O6? With all the time-traveling crazyness, and with the branches of the LOST family tree twisting incestuously into every corner of the plotline... isn't it at least possible that Ben's backstory was intentionally and falsely fed to us? And if Ben is indeed Aaron, did Kate teach him how to read!?!? Hahahaha!!!
And While We're Out on a Twisted Limb...
Chew on this one: Flight 316 was the plane that crashed in the Indian Ocean... Lapidus was looking at a himself! Spooky? Crazy? An excerpt from 'Things I Noticed - Ji Yeon', last March:
There’s no way I believe that anyone - Widmore, Ben, Bill Gates, The Wizard of Oz, or Bob the Builder with a giant Australia-sized crane actually went through the trouble of painstakingly recreating that crash site. That IS the crash site, because the plane actually crashed.
On a final note, I’ll predict that when Frank Lapidus is looking at the decaying body of the ring-less pilot on the news, he’s really looking at a universally-course corrected version of himself in the cockpit of that plane.
Okay, so I was wrong about the plane being flight 815. But maybe I was right about everything else. How'd the plane get from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean? I'll bet it's lying smack dab on one of Hawking's pendulum points. Does this mean Flight 316 crashes? Looks that way. Does this mean Frank dies in the crash? Damn I hope not. I love his character, and I think we all want to see more of him on the island. My initial thoughts when watching last night were that the O6 (plus Frank) got individually time-flashed back to the island, and Ajira air never crashed at all. So maybe I'm wrong about everything in this whole section! But I had to mention it anyway, because the thought of Lapidus looking at a dead version of himself is so straight up punch-in-the-face Twilight-Zone spooky that I'm really in love with it.
In any case, Hawking mentioned there were several flights crossing the island's hotspot during that time period, but when she pointed out Ajira 316 she said "It must be this flight". I'm betting she knew Lapidus would be the pilot. Just as Widmore used him to find the island two seasons ago, Hawking knows he'll find it again. The good news pointing toward his survival is that Frank was definitely "supposed" to be on flight 815 the first time. The island wants him, and welcomes him. Lapidus also had the best line of the episode: "We're not going to Guam, are we?" Hehehe, gotta love Frank.
Ben's Secret Trip to the UFC Tryouts
Alright. After all the nice-guy things I've been saying about Ben, even I have to admit it looks 99% as if he went on a mission to hunt down and kill Penny. While most people are picking out a book for the flight, Ben's trying to squeeze in a quick assassination attempt. With Desmond back from nautical obscurity, it's best for Ben to strike now - he might not get another chance. His revenge will come with the killing of Widmore's daughter, and he heads to the dock with murder on his mind. Right?
Admittedly, it sure looks that way. But before we lynch him, I'll offer my obligatory 1% alternative explanation as to what happened. And then when I'm done, you guys can decide whether or not to put your torches down.
I think Ben went back to the dock for an entirely different reason: to convince Desmond that he needed to go back to the island. I'm pretty sure Ben knows at this point that Desmond is the game-changer; in the grand scheme of things, getting him back to the island would be like having his own secret weapon. So either Ben tried talking Desmond into returning, or Ben showed Desmond what would happen to him or his family if he didn't go back. And then Desmond proceeded to beat the living piss out of him.
Before you wonder why Ben and Hawking didn't chase Desmond out of the church and try to convince him to stay, keep this in mind: Desmond never arrived on the island by plane crash. Desmond came by boat. And handily enough, Desmond has a boat. And Ben just came out of a whole basement chock full of longitudes and latitudes and projected plot-points as to where they island will be in the future. If Desmond is to return to the island, his own leap of faith will be leaving his family behind. Ben went to sow more seeds, and to leave Desmond with the means to return to the island himself... the way he did the first time.
So the blood on Ben's hands (and face) was his own. And I could totally see Desmond beating the crap out of him for showing up there, too. He'd just stomped all over Hawking's cool floor map and given Jack a severe case of the spook-eye (go back and watch!). Desmond is not currently in the mood for this shit. But whatever Ben may have said to him, I'm sure those words will eventually come to fruition. This will lead Desmond to return much the same way Kate did, if only to protect his family. As Ben told Michael, and as Hawking tells Desmond this episode, the island is not finished with him yet.
You've Got to Lift it Up
One final bit of conjecture about Desmond: I'm starting to think his trip to the stadium where he met jack for the first time (Man of Science, Man of Faith) wasn't accidental or coincidental. I'm even thinking this is a future Desmond traveling back to the past where he knew Jack would be. After a bunch of small talk, out of nowhere Desmond suddenly tells Jack "You've got to lift it up". I've thought since the very beginning that this would pertain to something important much later on. Then someone last week, somewhere, posted a translation of one of the hieroglyphics to be "lift up". Not really sure I read it right, but if someone could find it I'd appreciate looking at it again.
I Wish You had Believed in Me
Locke's one-line suicide note was awesome. It served as a fantastic beyond-the-grave jab to Jack's now already shaken ideology. He doesn't even need to see the note, he's going back already. He pointedly tries to avoid it, but reading it alone like he did might've been the final push Jack needed. "We're all convinced sooner or later, Jack"... and Jack certainly wasn't convinced until later.
Jack's eye-opening jungle wake-up scene was a jarring clone of the opening of the series, yet I don't think any of us were shocked to see it at this point. We've been expecting it for a while now, and many people, including me, have even theorized that this could be how the series might end. Now that we've gotten it out of the way I feel almost a little bit relieved. It was still a very cool scene, and they did a great job of putting Jack back in a suit and tie for it and everything.
The most interesting part of Jack waking up with Locke's suicide note in his hand was the part of the torn note that he happened to have: I WISH. These two words are hauntingly reminiscent of Ben's "whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be" speech to Locke back in S3. Once again this all goes back to faith and belief: only through truly believing in something does the island seem to grant it. Disbelief, denial, defiance... these seem to be things the island really can't stand. Just ask Eko.
Locke's note serves to remind Jack that he himself must believe in (or wish) things in a manner consistent with total faith. Only by doing this can he become attuned to the island, and only then can they accomplish whatever goal or destiny they were all brought back there to fulfill.
Jin's Smirk Is Worth a Thousand Words
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING could've been a better ending to that episode than Jin in a Dharma jumpsuit, smirking knowingly at his friends' return to the island. We're going to see a Jin/Sun reunion... Dharma in its prime... maybe we're even going to see the underwater hatch get programmed by a musician. I think I had the same smirk Jin did.