Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost - "316"

Welcome to what may be the shortest Blog entry since my hilariously brief Season One entries (which actually were just Emails I sent to my coworkers and friends). Why, you ask? Well, the combined episode title and description amount to a whopping twenty-two total words. I know that I’m pretty good at yapping on for hours about minor details, but to stretch twenty-two words into a normal-sized Blog post might even be beyond my powers.


In some ways, this is pretty exciting (and admittedly makes my life easier) – plus it should please those people afraid that my episode previews “spoil” the episodes for them. I wonder if as we get closer and closer to the end of Lost, we’ll begin to get less and less information before the episodes air, which would maximize the surprise factor and payoff to mysteries... or maybe this week is just an exception. We’ll see.


For now, here goes nothing…


Episode Title: “316”


Brian’s Deeper Meaning Guess: The traditional pre-episode Google of the episode title reveals that 316 is the area code for Wichita, Kansas… but with most of our characters in Los Angeles, I don’t see how that would be relevant to the story.


On the other hand, if you add a little colon to make the episode title “3:16”, all sorts of deeper meanings. John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible, and has been called the most famous Bible verse of all time (narrowly defeating John 3:4 – “Now he had to go through Samaria”). John 3:16 has also been called the "Gospel in a nutshell" because it is considered a summary of some of the most central doctrines of traditional Christianity:


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


The verse occurs in a narrative in the New Testament third chapter of John taking place in Jerusalem. Nicodemus, a member of the ruling council, comes to talk with Jesus, whom he calls Rabbi. Jesus' "miraculous signs" have convinced Nicodemus that Jesus is "from God". In reply, Jesus declares, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again". John 3:16 summarizes Jesus's lesson to Nicodemus: that belief in Jesus is the path to eternal life.


Hello, John Locke references galore!


Just like “The Little Prince”, it isn’t hard to see the themes of sacrifice, death, and resurrection relating directly to Locke’s current storyline. You could even stretch some of the “miracles” Locke believes to be happening on the Island to tie in with the “miraculous signs” that Nicodemus say from Jesus. In both cases, death was necessary to be born into eternal life. We all know that Locke dies, and we are all guessing that he’s going to somehow be “born again” when he returns to the Island.


So this must be what “316” is referring to, right?




Just like “The Little Prince”, it seems like we have an obvious explanation for the episode title – but just like “The Little Prince”, I don’t think we’re going to see any of these references in this week’s episode. With next week’s episode being titled “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”, it seems to be the episode that will finally show us exactly what happened from the point John Locke turned the FDW to the point where he died. I’m guessing the only Locke scenes we get this week involve him lying inside a coffin. Likewise, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t learn what happened to our Skipping Survivors this week either. Odds are, “316” will focus solely on the Oceanic Six and their return to the Island.


As I said before this season began, I think that from a storytelling perspective, the best way to “payoff” the two parallel storylines of the Oceanic Six and the Skipping Survivors is to have the Oceanic Six be the ones to discover what “terrible things” happened to the Skipping Survivors once they return to the Island (as opposed to having the audience know exactly what happened on the Island beforehand). We’ve only gotten half of their overall story thus far. We know that they are skipping through time, Charlotte died, and Locke turned the FDW and left the Island. But then what? How much time will have passed between that point in time until the Oceanic Six return to the Island? What year did the Skipping Survivors end up in once Locke fixed the FDW? Have they aged? Lived a 1000 lifetimes on the Island? Or conveniently ended up in 2008 where the Oceanic Six reside?


It’s also worth remembering that with Locke leaving the Island, anything he told the Oceanic Six could only contain information up until the point in the story we have already seen on the Island. So although he talked about “very bad things” happening there, he has no idea what happened when he turned the FDW. If the skipping did stop, are the remaining Survivors really in any danger? Why is it so critical that the Oceanic Six return to the Island? If the skipping continued, what in the world could they do to stop it anyways?


These are the big questions in the overall storyline right now – and the best way to answer them with the most impact is going to be through the eyes of the Oceanic Six themselves… so the sooner they get back to the Island, the better!


But if “316” isn’t referring to some Locke / Jesus symbolism, what does it refer to? I think there are two easy, pretty shallow options:

  1. The flight number that the Oceanic Six take to get back to the Island is Ajira Airways Flight 316. Assuming that Locke is onboard, it would be pretty appropriate that Flight 316 is the vessel that brings him back to the Island, back to some sort of “eternal life” just like in the Bible verse.
  2. 316 is the bearing that the Oceanic Six need to take in order to actually reach the Island after they find it. Let’s remember that thus far we’ve seen bearings of 325 and 305 used (for Michael leaving the Island and the Freightors coming to the Island, respectively) – so 316 seems like it would fit right in the middle as an option for the new bearing. Remember how Faraday told the Skipping Survivors that they couldn’t leave the Island until he calculated a new bearing? I’m guessing that the bearing is somehow related to the date / time – which would explain why it has changed over the course of the past few seasons.


If you want to get really crazy, maybe both options will be true. Ajira Airways Flight 316 flies on a bearing of 316 to enter the Island and bring Locke back to life, John 3:16 style!



Episode Description: The members of Oceanic 6 discover how to get back to the island, but not all of them want to return.


Guest Stars: Fionnula Flanagan as Eloise Hawking, Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus, Said Taghmaoui as Caesar, Zuleikha Robinson as Ilana, Mary Mara as Jill, Raymond J. Barry as Ray, Kavita Patil as Rupa Krishnavani, P. D. Mani as Nabil, Rebecca Hazlewood as Nalini, Patti Hastie as barfly, Glen Bailey as magician and Ned Van Zandt as Mr. Dorsey.


Guest Star Breakdown: Expect this week to pick up immediately where last week left off – with Eloise Hawking-Faraday leading Desmond, Ben, Sun, and Jack down to her wacky pendulum room. Our good friend Ms. Hawking is due for some big scenes this week, as she will be responsible for explaining how in the world the Oceanic Six are going to get back to the Island, how her wacky machine works, and how she knows so much information (this would be a good time to reveal that she is Ellie from “Jughead”). Just like Faraday was responsible for explaining what was going on to our Skipping Survivors, it looks like his mom is going to be responsible for explaining what is going on to the Oceanic Six. I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the “weirdo scientist” tree.


Mysterious butcher and body-keeper Jill is also back this week, probably delivering Locke’s body to the Oceanic Six to join them on the ride back to the Island. If I were Sun or Desmond, I’d be asking a LOT of questions once Jill showed up and told me to drag a dead body halfway around the world. Seriously, it’s not something normal people do.  


But for me, the most exciting news here is that Frank Lapidus is back. I was afraid that his throwaway scene in “The Lie” would be the last we saw of Frank, but his inclusion this week gives me hope that he will be the person that will fly the Oceanic Six back to the Island. How long he sticks around past that depends on one big question – is Frank simply a convenient pilot to hire, since he already knows about the existence of the Island, or is he destined to return to the Island with the Oceanic Six, seeing as he was supposed to be the pilot of Oceanic 815 in the first place?


The logical side of me thinks it’s probably simply the former, but the part of me that enjoys Frank’s pragmatic humor is hoping for the later.



Episode Breakdown: That brings us to the episode description - one simple sentence with not a lot of meat on its bones. It references Eloise Hawking providing an explanation of how to get back to the Island (which we were all counting on based on how last week ended), and that some of the Oceanic Six don’t want to go back (which we technically already saw last week when Sayid and Kate walked away). Not a lot to go on with the first part, but we’ll do our best with the second…


Fundamentally, would it be possible for only some members of the Oceanic Six to return to the Island, but not all of them? Based on the ending of last week’s episode, it made it sound like Ms. Hawking could “make do” without all six members. But if only some of the members of the Oceanic Six went back to the Island, what would happen to those left behind? It seems like it would effectively “write them out” of the show – at least for the foreseeable future. I suppose there is the chance for a second group of people to head to the Island that would include the Oceanic Six Holdouts (perhaps captured by Widmore and forced to go back to the Island) – but with as difficult as it seems to be to find the Island once – the chance of someone finding it a second time seems fairly unlikely.


With that in mind, is it possible that any members of the Oceanic Six stay behind, knowing that this would mean their storylines would be on the backburner for a good chunk of the rest of the season? Let’s look at them one by one:


Jack – pretty much the only character you can guarantee will be going back to the Island, he’s orchestrating this operation with Ben, and has more of a desire to go back than anyone else (besides Ben).


Sun – based on her going with Ben to see Ms. Hawking last week, it seems like she is committed to doing whatever it takes to reunite with Jin, even if it means going back to the Island and leaving her daughter behind.


Kate – although she stormed off with Aaron last week, I have to think that she returns to the Island, as she is a necessary part of the “love rhombus” storyline on the show between Jack, Kate, Juliet, and Sawyer. Chances are, when the Oceanic Six return to the Island, there’s going to be some “history” between Juliet and Sawyer in some fashion – and that is going to create serious jealousy and drama with Kate and Jack – who have had a lot of history themselves since they left the Island. You need all four of these characters back together so that you can shake them up and watch what happens, keeping the teenage girl audience happy. Count her in.



Aaron – so goes Kate, so goes Aaron. I suppose there is a chance she would leave him behind, heeding Claire’s warnings – but I don’t think she trusts anyone else with Aaron, and his return to the Island would provide the chance to see if he really is “special”, and find out the reason for Claire’s ghostly warnings.


Hurley – earlier this season, Hurley seemed to make his decision – siding with Sayid and not trusting Ben, no matter what anyone else said. If he sticks with his guns, there’s no way he would go back to the Island with Ben. On the other hand, if Hurley was going to stay behind, why not simply have the jail storyline stick, and have that provide the reason why Hurley doesn’t go back to the Island? By having him conveniently being released from prison in a matter of hours, it seems like the door is open for him to return to the Island. From a storyline perspective, he doesn’t have a ton of major connections to any of the Skipping Survivors, so you could argue that he could stay behind – although he does provide a lot of the “heart” on the show. The episode preview shows Jack talking with Hurley in a car, which may be the scene where he talks him into returning to the Island… but if not, I wouldn’t be surprised.


Sayid – much like Kate, Sayid ended last week’s episode by walking away from Ben and Jack – but he took it one step further, saying that he would kill them if he saw either of them again. I have to say, that doesn’t sound like the kind of thing he’s going to put behind him in the next day or so. Like Hurley, Sayid doesn’t have any major connections to our Skipping Survivors, meaning he could stay behind without sacrificing the story. Furthermore, he’s probably the one character that I could see having a relevant off-Island story as he continues to battle Widmore / The Economist – which I’m guessing is going to be the “big bad” and enemy of next season.


That gives us either 4 or 5 members of the Oceanic Six returning (plus Ben)… leaving just the Happy Hume Family.


With Desmond being “special” in the grand scheme of things, he seems like a lock to return to the Island, since he opens to the door to actually change the past, fix the future, and stop Faraday in case he starts messing around with the space-time continuum. Although Penny told him that she would go with him, I’m thinking Desmond realizes the danger involved in returning to the Island, and wisely decides that leaving his wife and child behind is the smart thing to do (plus, I’m pretty sure the actress who plays Penny isn’t signed on as a series regular from here on out).


The bad news is that I think it’s going to end badly for Desmond and Penny, no matter what happens. They are the only two characters on the show who have already received their “happy ending”, so there is no way to go but down. I have this sneaking fear that someone’s going to die, or someone’s going to end up stuck on an Island halfway around the world from the other. But having said that, I still think Desmond ends up back on the Island.


So that leaves us with Ben, Jack, Sun, Kate, Aaron, Hurley, and Desmond returning to the Island with Frank Lapidus behind the wheel of the plane… if my logic is correct.


…and that’s about it for this week. Even though we’re due for an Oceanic-Six-centric episode, I must say I’m pretty pumped for this week’s episode. Much like last week was “full speed ahead” in getting the storyline to the point where we knew it needed to go (Locke leaving the Island), this week will do the same for the other half of the storyline (getting people back to the Island). From here, who knows where the storyline is heading – but I can’t wait to find out.


Huh, turns out I wrote over 2700 words about those original 22 words. Disgusting.


Happy Losting!


(Alec - hook me up with a Message Board topic for me to link here!)


VictorC said...

Not disgusting my friend, but pure awesomeness (I know it's not a word, but I like using it).

I'm also loving your theory for what you think the 316 means.

Christine said...

It's interesting though, Ben said that everyone who LEFT had to go back, that would include Frank, Desmond and WALT - who I would really like to see more into why HE is special as well - and we know that Locke went to see him when he left the island. I think they'll all return, it's just more suspenseful this way. Much like how the ended last season - at the beginning of the finale all the people we knew got off the island could not be further apart. It sure has us all wondering HOW will he get them to go back!

Anonymous said...

I still can't shake the dialogue from Mrs. Hawkings related to ALL of the O6 returning to the Island (".....then g_d help us all"). I wonder how or even if the storytelling will reconcile how and why she readily accepts that ALL of the O6 are not present to return. Again Brian, exceptional job!

Smaelb said...

Remember what Hawking said at the end : "Well I suppose it will have to do... for now."
It means they are in a hurry, but it doesn't mean she's willing to send only 4 of the O6 back to the island.

Brian,(and anyone else) i'd like to have your opinion on a different topic. What do you think of this scene, with ben in the desert ?

When he's around the well, he sees another body lying on the ground. WTH does that mean ?

I know it's a deleted scene, but i think it's considered canon.

Nice work btw!

Anonymous said...

Good point christine. I was thinking the same thing about last years finale. I heard d&c mantion it in the commentary as well. I think its called something like juxopidition or something weird like that. Its where we already know that they all need to go back to the island, we just do know how its going to happen so they put everyone in a different situation and then they all end up going back to the island somehow.

Cant wait for this episode, or the one after that.

Anonymous said...

written by Damon and Carlton... its gonna be a very nice episode... like Flash before your eyes

Anonymous said...

Smaelb -- You may be aware that on the YouTube post where this clip is shown, it is widely speculated that the dead person is another Ben (ie; somehow he ran into himself there previously). To me, this is very doubtful that C&L would risk confusing the heck out of even their diehard audience with such a confoluated idea. Any other thoughts? What an amazing scene!!

VictorC said...

Smaelb, WHOA. That youtube you posted... the man on the ground is definitely Ben. Not dead, but from the scene we saw last season of him waking up in Tunisia, right after turning the FDW.

The implications of these scene are crazy though. Has Ben been time traveling so much that there's 2 of him running around? which Ben have we been watching??

Anyways, I don't even know if we should count this as "canon," since it wasn't used in the show.
I'm wondering how people got a hold of this clip.

BenHasAPlan said...

Wow, no speculation about Ceasar or Illana?? These 2 are apparently going to be "critical to the show's endgame." I think we're looking at the only 2 new real regulars for season 5, the season's "freighter folk," if you will. We don't have much to go on, though I do suspect they work for the "dark" side. And I definitely didn't expect them to show up this early until I saw the cast info. So unless this is the 1st you've heard of the names Ceasar and Illana, I'd like to hear your best guess as to what role these two will play.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sold on Farraday being the big evil. Nice theory, there might be some truth, it would explain the opening scene, but I'm not buying it.

Rebecca said...

I can't wait for tomorrow's epi! FINALLY get some answers about the island moving/70 hours/god help us all/etc. I want to know more about Walt too!

And now I'm watching deleted scenes on youtube!!!

Ben said...

Too Long: Didn't read, Just kidding, I'm giving you one last chance to not spoil me(cause I wanted to read anything I could short of blatant spoilers), if you called any parts of this episode correctly, i'm done with previews for the next two seasons.

Smaelb said...

This scene is from the Season 4 DVD, so i guess it's canon, but maybe it was too crazy and they deleted it?
If Ben really sees himself (Im not 100% convinced), my best guess is that's a side effect of the FDW turning. It could also mean that all this mess already happened before.Really crazy.

Hobbes said...

I'm not conviced the deleted scene is definitively Ben on the ground, perhaps Locke, but I really suspect it's just some dude Ben maybe took out so he could get to the secret hidden stash of cash and passports. I guess it's the sort of the thing that could be debated until they reveal it to us; chances are it will remain an unknown.

Although I did like musing the possibilty of Ben dancing around himself.

Anonymous said...

Who came up with the crazy idea that that was ben. It not only makes no sense, it doesn't even look like him.

No, it's obvious that it's Locke after he moved the wheel! Next scene he rushes over, gives him some money and helps him on his way.

Lost is too well written for this sort of thing... I could see heroes doing something like that, but NOT Lost.

It's a man who he took out.. plain and simple. Don't get hung up on the crazy stuff, lets talk about real theory, not garbage.

Smaelb said...

Hmmm, the man lying on the ground seems to be wearing a dharma polar suit... And Ben rides to another spot, so the men he took down would be far away. But maybe we're overanalysing, time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you're really overanylizing. Lets keep the discussion on topic.

Anonymous said...

Is BEN wearing a dharma suit? No, he switched clothes with the guy. I suppose you could argue why he would bother dressing the dead guy. If I were in the scenario, I would ditch my parka too.

P Gaughan said...

Austin 3:16 says I just kicked your ass!!! Man I miss late 90s wrestling.

Anonymous said...

in the scene aired on (US) TV, Ben shot the guy to take his horse and rifle. the man depicted in the deleted scene could simply be that guy. if it was never aired, very doubtful it depicts some "super reveal"....don't you all think?

Majkel said...

316 = Kansas = "We're not in Kansas anymore?"

Anonymous said...

''I felt just the same,'' said Edmund in a breathless voice. ''As if I were being dragged along. A most frightful pulling — ugh! It's beginning again!... All catch hands and keep together! This is magic — I can tell by the feeling. Quick!''
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have often cited The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis' beloved fantasy series, as a major creative touchstone for their own fantastical epic. (The proof: Charlotte Staples Lewis = Clive Staples Lewis). The above citation comes from Prince Caspian, Lewis' sequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in which the four Pevensie siblings return to the enchanted realm of Narnia...many, many years in the future, and via a mysterious island dotted with crumbling ruins, no less.
I'm not giving away too much when I say that tonight, some or all of the Oceanic 6 pull a Prince Caspian and officially start their journey back to the Island. Or, put another way, ''316'' is the dedication page to a whole new chapter in the veritable Chronicles of Lost. And if you go to your local bookstore today and buy HarperCollins' 2001 single-volume compendium of all seven Narnia novels, you know what you'll find on page 316? That's right: The dedication page to Prince Caspian. Go ahead. Take a look.

Alec said...

sorry for the wait:

RIP said...

Have I told you lately that you're a genius?

Eric said...

Seriously. You are so spot on with this one it is sick. Oh yeah, I also think Ben killed Penny.

Slick101 said...

Austin 3:16 says I just wooped your ass, how about this one ?:))