Commercial Interruption: It's gotta be the Christian Shephard shoes!
(Also, while this is a very lively and engaging discussion, this is not the "as promised Greatest Moment in Channel Surfing History." Sorry folks ... you'll have to be patient.)
Thomas: Good God, man! After last night's "316" -- "Lost" is getting very biblical these days -- my head feels like it's been through the Minkowski blender. Whew ... no nosebleeds, that's just red marker on my hand.
I mean, how fast and furious was that off-island action? For the first time while watching this show, I actually wanted it to slow down a bit; not only so I could process what was going on, but because I wanted to indulge in a bit more tension and emotion as everyone boarded the return flight to Destiny Island. I so badly wanted Jack to shake Sayid and scream, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE AND WHY ARE YOU IN HANDCUFFS?" Or slap that new Arab-looking guy (Sayid 2.0?) in seat 4B and yell, "WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME CONDOLENCES LIKE IT MEANS SOMETHING!" Or splash some cold water on Kate and bellow, "LOOK ALIVE, WOMAN! WE'RE GOING BACK TO CRAPHOLE ISLAND! BY THE WAY, THANKS FOR THE IMPROMPTU SEX LAST NIGHT. WHY AM I STILL SHOUTING?"
Instead, having whined about dragged-out, laborious plotlines in the past, I have to give a hearty kudos to "Lost" producers for racing through the Oceanic Six madness and shipping our reluctant heroes back to ... well, the last place any rational human being would probably want to return to. I thought for sure the opening sequence was a Jack fever dream once he went all Greg Louganis off a cliff. Nope. It was the real deal. I also thought the sequence with Hawking and Desmond (look out for that giant pendulum, brutha!) was far too subdued. I'd have asked about a billion questions about the physicist's (Faraday) blackboard, Desmond's warning, Ben's incessant lies ... man, I could go on and on and on.
But as foggy as the reasons may be for everyone so calmly agreeing to board that Ajira Airlines plane, how can you not be salivating at the prospect of learning the answers? It's not as if Ghost Charlie and Ghost Claire are anything new to Hurley and Kate. What could have possibly scared the bejeezus out of them (and Sayid) so that'd they buy a ticket, pack some light luggage (or perhaps a guitar case full of Twinkies) and return to the place they so desperately wanted to leave ... seemingly no questions asked? Most important, though, what's Ben's role in this? I had the feeling as he boarded the plane that it wasn't HIS doing that finally convinced everyone to head back to the island. He was too busy returning a favor and earning some battle wounds in his scuffle with ... gasp ... Penny Widmore?
Say it ain't so, Linus. Say it ain't so!
Adam: Any episode that introduces us to a new Dharma station is destined to be a classic. And the reveal that Mrs. Hawking's bad-ass pendulum of death actually resided in the Lamppost, our first off-island hatch (what, the Dharma Initiative never heard of just renting office space?), in which the island was first discovered, proves it.
Sure, the whole explanation that the island is constantly moving ("Why do you think you were never rescued?") seemed a leeeeetle too crazy, even for "Lost," but luckily our crew bought it without too much time-wasting questioning. Otherwise the whole hour could've been eaten up by Jack, arms crossed, brow furrowed, saying, "OK...run that by me one more time..."
Probably my biggest question is this: Just how old is Jack's grandpappy, anyway? You'd think, with Jack pushing 40, that Old Man Shephard would have to be in his 90s, at least. But damnit if he doesn't look that much worse for wear than his son, Christian. Sure, he's got some white hair, a few wrinkles, but he gets around pretty good, seems pretty alert and spry for such an old coot -- even trying to escape the nursing home multiple times. Hmm ... who else do we know that looks and acts younger than they're supposed to be... Something tells me we haven't seen the last of Grandpa Shephard.
Tom, what do you make of the two literary references in last night's episode? First Hurley reads the comic book "Y: The Last Man," about the last man on earth, and then Ben reads "Ulysses," a book which, supposedly, you can start at any page and it forms a never ending loop.
Thomas: Gramps Shephard ... yeah, that came out of the blue. A lot of focus on those shoes, too. Maybe if you click them together three times they magically transport you on and off the island. That way you avoid all the general messiness of you know, AN AIRPLANE CRASH.
By the way, can we even be certain that the plane actually crashed? The flash of light is a familiar device, but I doubt any wreckage will be found like the first time. And did everyone on the Ajira Plane of Destiny get sucked into the wormhole o' fun? Again ... I have more questions after this episode than probably any other I've watched. Or at least since "The Constant." A second viewing will be needed.
I also can't delve too deeply into the show's bookshelf since I've basically ignored all the other literary reference that came before. But your "Ulysses" take is quite interesting. Maybe I should crack that literary masterpiece open sometime and put my mind to good use instead of obsessing about, well, a TV show.
That said, I love how calm Ben seems to be during all of this -- scratched-up face and all. From next week's preview, it appears he is present when Locke tightens the noose. It also appears Locke visits Charles Widmore. This is all getting supremely incestuous. Next week's episode should be one of the all-time greats. At least I hope.
I will also pat myself on the back for being right about the coffin connection -- Locke's about to be reanimated, or at least turn into a Christian-like apparition? Hmmm. I have this sneaking suspicion he has a bigger link to Jacob than anyone truly knows. I'll stop the theorizing there, however. Also, after last week's resurrection reminder, the Jesus-Thomas connection made me smile quite wide.
You mentioned a few big mysteries, here are three more you need to size up for me: Where is Aaron? Did Kate sleep with Jack intentionally to somehow "replace" Claire's baby boy? And finally, Jin is Dharma? Please discuss.
Adam: My current favorite theory as to what happened to Ajira Flight 316 comes from, of course, Entertainment Weekly's Doc Jensen. In his weekly "Lost" recap, he recalls early Season 3, when captives Kate and Sawyer were being subjected to breaking rocks by the Others. They were told they were building a "runway" of some sort. Now, whether or not Team Darlton are THAT CRAZY they'd bring back such a seemingly throwaway line to explain why there's no wreckage, well, it's quite the Lockian leap of faith.
As for Aaron, Kate sure did seem upset about the whole thing, didn't she. Even more upset than you'd think she'd be if she merely gave him to Claire's mom, or dumped him at an orphanage. This was "There Will Be Blood," Daniel Day-Lewis "I've abandoned my child!" upset. Kate either gave Aaron up to Ghost Claire ... or she ate him. Only two options I see.
But how freaking cool was that final reveal -- Jin pulling up in Hurley's party van, toting a semi-automatic. The van and Jin's spiffy Dharma duds looked brand new, which can only mean one thing: Our heroes are back at the island, but now they need to get back to the future.
-- Thomas Rozwadowski, firstname.lastname@example.org and Adam Reinhard, email@example.com