Episode 6 – 316
So this episode consists mostly of our Oceanic 6 friends trying to make their way back to the island and, for the most part, succeeding. Somehow Kate loses Aaron (and adds an annoying refusal to talk to Jack about how. Ever. Seriously Jack, no. Kiss, kiss. They have sex. It’s all melodrama and full-on Jack and Kate annoyingness). The loss sends her back to the island. Sun, as we know, is already in because she wants to get to Jin. And Sayid and Hurley mysteriously show up at the airport (Hurley in true sweet Hurley form buys 78 seats on the plane to stop the standby passengers getting caught up in their danger). Eloise tells Jack that he needs to recreate as much as he can from the original flight and so somewhat incomprehensibly he needs to put his dad’s shoes on Locke’s feet.
This, to me, felt like the most this show has ever asked me to suspend disbelief. Seriously. I can handle time travel and all the rest, but Jack’s dad’s shoes on Locke’s feet are going to get them back to the island?! I struggled with that one. Regardless, the connection I mentioned in our last post between Jack/Claire’s dad and Locke is more deeply forged in this move as, perhaps, John is now to walk in the footsteps of Jack’s father, or something like that. Other allusions to the original flight: Hurley carries a guitar like Charley’s and he reads a Spanish comic book in the waiting area just as Walt did on the island in season 1, and Sayid is mysteriously in handcuffs, as was Kate in the first season.
But two mysteries remain – why is Ben all beat up? And who is that other guy – the creepy one who gave his condolences to Jack in line and then appeared as the only extra passenger in first class? He is surely going to appear again.
You were right – Ajira airlines (and their water bottle allusion from last episode) are already taking a more significant role in the show…but is there going to be more than this? Will the Oceanic 6 become the Ajira 12, or something??
Of course, we have the biblical allusion – or more so, the biblical pop culture allusion – with the title of the show and flight number of the plane: 316. John 3:16, so often held aloft on cards at baseball games, references the need to believe to be saved, just as Eloise instructs Jack that the most important thing he can do if he wants to return to the island – if he wants to go home – is believe. Belief is the passage between worlds in the New Testament and, it seems, in Lost too (Ok, so I gotta give props to my husband for making that connection – theologian that I am, I totally missed it! Thanks, Tyler!).
Oh, and did you notice the old black and white photograph from the US military on the island in 1954 in Eloise’s office…just how long has she been tracking this island? What other images lingered in her office that I didn’t even notice?
What fun to see Lapides again! Do you think he’s still flying the plane, or did he flash too? It’s hard to know. Who exactly made it to the island? We’ve got Hurley, Jack and Kate accounted for, but no Sayid, Sun, Sayid’s guard, that other guy or Ben (or Lapides). Did they all make it? Where are they?
And where, sorry – when – on earth are we now! How is Jin driving the old VW that Hurley fixed up and which we’ve seen various Dharma agents driving. Why is he in Dharma uniform and why is his hair so long? He seems to recognize his friends, but the recognition is not complete and, of course, he hasn’t seen Sun yet.
Oh my, am I becoming the hopeless romantic I usually resist being when I just can’t wait for Jin and Sun’s reunion? Perhaps it’s not a romantic heart that wants it but a curious one – how will their shifts and changes over the last few years impact their coming back together. Will Jin even recognize this harsh Sun?
Ok, I’ll leave it there for now!
Finally – enough of the prep, enough of the countdowns, the Oceanic 6 (minus Aaron) are back on the island. Or, as you point out, some of them are. What became of Sun and Sayid (much less Ben, Lapides, and the other passengers) is still a mystery. The bright white light and whoosing noise that overtook the plane in mid-crash suggested a time travel flash, but that would not explain why some of the island’s former inhabitants flashed and others did not.
But before we get to their return and reunion with the Dharma Initiative version of Jin, let’s go back to that weird church and the somewhat hooky plot with Jake’s dad’s shoes. Props to Tyler from me too – I did not catch the John 3:16 reference, but I definitely think it is there (so much for two theological minds aimed on the same subject…). What did catch my attention was the explicit bible lesson that Ben gives Jack in the church. Once again, we catch Ben in prayer and then watch him light a candle – what is up with that? And what kind of church creates a shrine out of Doubting Thomas (a church that houses a strange scientific lab in the basement, perhaps?)? Until this moment we have had virtually no direct references or discussion of Christianity – not since, so far as I remember, Mr. Echo was on the scene baptizing Aaron. Here we have Ben explaining the little known story about Thomas (his bravery and willingness to die with Jesus in Jerusalem) and the famous story about his need for empirical proof of the resurrection. When Jack asks if Thomas was ever convinced, Ben says of course he was and that we are all convinced eventually. As Jack meditates in the pew, we are, of course, supposed to think about his own difficult leap of faith – placing the shoes of his dead father on the body of a dead Locke with the hopes that this will get them back to the island. Of course we seem to know more than Jack: we know that Christian is not in fact dead, or is at least still living some intermediaries life on the island. This knowledge is, I think, supposed to help us make the connection between Doubting Thomas and Jack – if Locke is going to be a proxy for Jack’s dead father, there is a good chance that he will be resurrected too. Which means there is something more profound going on in this seemingly silly act of the shoe swap.
Whatever the deeper symbolism, the shoes seemed to do the trick. At least a few of them made it back to the island in one piece and they encounter the surprise of Jin wearing a DI get-up. I won’t even try to pretend to speculate, since I actually know what this is about. But it is a great ending and a totally mind-cuss to be explored more soon!
One last thought: what do you think was up with Ben reading Ulysses on the plane? This is traditionally the great modernist novel about the loss of faith and the pursuit of meaning in a new fractured urbanism – is it a clue that Ben, despite all his professions to the opposite, is not in fact the believer he claims to be?
Oh my. Let the games begin!