316 (S5, ep. 6)
Ms. Hawking: “This is how they found the Island.”
• Jack’s eye opens wide, and with that, we’re suddenly and inexplicably back on the Island, in a moment that directly mirrors the very beginning of the first episode of the series. Doc Shephard goes from Atheist to True Believer during Season 5, and Jack’s return to the Island here feels something like rebirth/reawakening, especially when you factor in the head-first dive (the head-first dive being Jack’s all-around favorite move in life, in general) as a literal and figurative ‘leap of faith.’
• By my reckoning, Jacob seems to give five “gifts” in the season finale. He gives Jack an Apollo bar after an argument with his father. He gives Kate the lunchbox she’ll later use as a time capsule. He gives Sawyer the pen that he’ll use to write his letter. He gives Jin and Sun a blessing. All of these are given prior to the crash of Oceanic 815. But Jacob also gives two “gifts” to people after the crash – he gives Sayid the gift of life, assuming that when he stops Sayid he’s preventing Sayid’s death, and not ensuring Nadia’s. Finally, he gives Hurley Charlie’s guitar case after Hurley is sprung from the clink. The case has travelled with him to the Island as we can see here. We haven’t seen the case opened, so anything could be in it.
• Tacked to the wall of The Lamppost is a photo of the Island taken by a US Army camera in 1954 – presumably the same crew that Hawking herself helped to kill.
• Hawking tells us that The Lamppost is constructed over “a unique pocket of electromagnetic energy,” echoing the description of the Swan Station. These pockets appear to be connected.
• The decision to place The Lamppost in the basement of a church is an intriguing one. It provides, in essence, a mirror image of the Temple on the Island and it raises the possibility that other ‘holy’ sites around the world (including, I assume, Ayers Rock/Uluru in Australia) are also resting atop these “unique pockets.”
• Are we to assume that the man who plotted the mathematical course to the Island back in the 70s was Daniel Faraday? That timing doesn’t add up – Dharma is active on the Island when Faraday arrives in the 70s – so I guess not.
Desmond: “Daniel Faraday – your son – sent me here. He wanted me to tell you that he and all the people on the Island need your help. He said that only you could help him. He didn’t say Jack, he didn’t say Sun, he didn’t say Ben; he said you.”
Hawking: “But I am helping, dear.”
• That’s three times in two episodes that a character has questioned the point of, or made a comment on the validity of, sending/bringing everyone back to the Island. In “This Place Is Death,” Jin demands that Locke tell him how bringing his wife back will help and Locke has no answer for him. Daniel comments to Charlotte that the notion of bringing people back to stop the flashes goes beyond the realm of science. Desmond asks the same question in a different way during this episode, pointing out that Daniel didn’t ask for Jack or Sun or Ben – he asked for Eloise Hawking. Rewatching this scene it’s hard not to notice Hawking’s weird demeanor. Is it simply the knowledge of what’s to come that has her seeming so suspect? Or is she hiding more than we know? We know that Hawking is already aware of her son’s fate and is willfully moving the right pieces into play. Is she doing this to ‘preserve the universe/timeline’? Or is this the equivalent of Anthony Cooper swindling a kidney from an easy mark?
• Hawking tells them that they need to recreate the circumstances of the original crash as closely as possible. I have to wonder why, as it sounds very much like the castaways will essentially be trying to ‘trick’ the Island into letting them back in by duplicating their accidental arrival. What makes all of this odder? Hawking’s insistence on giving Jack Locke’s suicide note in private, as well as telling him that he must put a pair of his father’s shoes on Locke’s feet. Why can’t Ben and Sun hear these things? Is it because Hawking and Widmore are working for Jacob, and are engineering some kind of backdoor defeat for the MiB at great personal cost? Or is it because they’re working to advance the MiB’s agenda, in return for something?
• And on that note – why exactly does Locke need to wear something of Jack’s father’s? After all, Locke was on Oceanic 815 originally so it isn’t as though the Island wouldn’t ‘recognize’ him. Why that specific detail? It’s talismanic the way it’s described, as if Jack’s being asked to hang an amulet around Locke’s neck, or somehow sanctify Locke for the journey. The show makes sure that neither Ben nor Jill the butcher/Other knows that Jack puts the shoes on Locke’s feet. Meaningful?
• Ben and Jack discuss Doubting Thomas, who refused to believe in the resurrection until he could touch Jesus’ wounds. I’ve discussed Thomas before, back in Season 2, and in the Too Much Information column on Gnosticism and Manichaeism.
• Grandpa Ray makes his first appearance on the show. He was first mentioned in “The Watch,” one of the ‘Mobisodes’ on the Season 4 DVD. It’s weird that they’d introduce him here, but it’s notable that he has the same sort of need for escape that all the Shephard men seem to share. I think it was Doc Jensen at EW who wondered if Ray was actually Jack, making Jack his own grandpa (and if the Rewatch thread commenters are right, Desmond may be his own grandpa as well – is ‘Charlie Hume’ actually a young Charles Widmore?). I hope this isn’t the case, and that Grandpa Ray is just Grandpa Ray.
Kate: “Why hold on to something that makes you feel sad?”
• Kate’s making Jack’s end-of-season argument here in miniature.
• Jack takes a leap of faith and places his father’s shoes on Locke’s feet. The episode lingers over this, watching Jack give up his stubborn realism to do something truly strange out of hope and belief. Jack’s residual stubborn-streak/dislike of Locke reasserts itself as he speaks to the dead man, but its clear that something is shifting inside of him.
• Caesar enters the show for the first time, offering his condolences to Jack in the Ajira check-in line. He’s played by Said Taghmaoui (of “Three Kings” and “G.I. Joe” fame). Mark Wahlberg is his main man.
• Ilyana also enters for the first time, shown escorting Sayid through a special security door. She flashes a badge before she walks him through. I don’t know that it’s made clear what Ilyana does for a living. She effectively works as a bounty hunter when she brings Sayid aboard the plane, but she flashes a badge to pass the airport security.
• I love that Hurley buys up a bunch of the plane seats, trying to keep people from having to go with them to the Island, and I love that Jack doesn’t think about this for a moment – which might explain the truly uneasy look Hurley’s worn around Jack since Season 4. Nice shout-out to Lost writer Brian K. Vaughn with the glimpse of the “Y: The Last Man” comic book that Hurley’s reading.
• Ben’s last minute arrival to the Ajira flight just might sum up much of his character arc on this show – the guy who’s always managing to scurry in on the action, to work the angles well enough to make a place for himself in destiny’s vessel.
• Jack finally bothers to ask what’ll happen to the other people on the plane when they enter their ‘event window,’ and Ben’s succinct “who cares” at least represents honesty on Ben’s part. We already know that Jack doesn’t care about the other passengers on the plane – he admitted as much at the end of Season 3.
• Frank J. Lapidus, the freighter pilot played by Jeff Fahey, is captaining the Ajira flight, which both recreates the original flight’s conditions (Lapidus was supposed to be 815’s pilot) and fails to do so (his buddy ends up piloting that flight). Supposedly, Lapidus continues to be important to the story in Season 6, and I’m looking forward to that as I think we can all agree that Fahey’s performance is terrific (and I say this as someone who has no affection whatsoever for Fahey as an actor). I’ll say this: he looks weird without a beard. I think I prefer Yosemite Sam Lapidus over Apple-Cheeked Lapidus.
Jack: “How can you read?”
Ben: “My mother taught me.”
• Even in casual conversation Ben lies like a rake. As he’s lying he’s reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, a book that’s had ties with Lost for a few seasons now, in a few different ways, but which has only been shown onscreen as of now.
First, the name Ulysses is the ‘latin-ized’ version of Odysseus, the hero of the Odyssey, whose quest to return home to his wife Penelope is mirrored in Desmond’s story on the show. Joyce’s novel is infamous for its multiple potential meanings, its depth of allusion and wordplay, and the way its narrative, like the narrative for The Little Prince, shifts and changes perspective. I’d never go so far as to say that Lost approaches the level of art that Ulysses achieves, but I’ll suggest that the similarities between Joyce’s work and the show are being purposefully highlighted. I suspect that Lost’s writers would also really just like to see more people reading Joyce.
• And with that, we’re in the 70’s, dancing to “Dharma Lady,” baking special brownies, and constructing secret facilities.
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