Lost, television

Lost Forum: “316”

Summer TCA Tour ABC

“Have we told you that we write ‘Lost’? And that we’re pretty smart guys?”


First, a report from Tad Smith that last night’s episode and next week’s episode ( “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”) were originally supposed to show in reverse order. Meaning, whatever happened last night and whatever happens next week are mutually exclusive. Somehow, this knowledge — but more so the fact that “316” was co-written by Mr. Cuse and Mr. Lindelof themselves — had us pretty psyched.

Did this contribute to the fact we were pretty disappointed with the episode? Maybe. But it was also just a lackluster episode. Very talky. Lots of exposition. Lots of gaps (presumably these will be filled in). It felt a little bit like a “Lost” parody of itself. Eloise Hawking gives a science lesson for ten minutes to expound on all the theories the writers are juggling. (And aren’t those writers pretty smart?) Ben gives a homily on doubting Thomas and Jack is confronted once again with his skeptical unbelief. Kate shows up teary-eyed at Jack’s apartment and they get it on. It all felt clunky, heavy-handed and a little too self-aware.

There were a few bright spots. The beginning — Jack, in a suit, waking up in the jungle, hearing screams in the distance … have we gone back to the start? — and the reveal that at least three of the Oceanic Six have now returned to the island was well done. The literary references sprinkled throughout — The Lamppost station evoking Narnia once again, Ben reading Ulysses, Hurley reading a Spanish translation of Y: The Last Man — were enjoyable. And the reunion with Jin at the end raising the question of when exactly Ajira Flight 316 landed presents more perplexing but promising questions.

But what of our other questions: How exactly did everyone end up at the airport for the same flight in such short time? Who’s escorting Sayid on board? Who bloodied Ben? And what exactly is that disturbing commercial featuring the woman with flowing armpit hair riding a bicycle supposed to be advertising? We were too busy dry-heaving to notice.

Yes, last night’s episode surely laid the foundation for future episodes to flash back to and fill out, but it felt like it was written backwards, as if the writers said, “We know where all these characters will end up, so let’s write an episode that’s intentionally fragmented and opaque so we can juice you with some surprises down the road.” Maybe you go for this kind of thing. We found it too clever by half.

The one spiritual reference we liked last night was maybe the most subtle: “316” evoking John 3:16, a gesture toward Locke’s sacrificial death for Jack, the Oceanic Six, and the island itself. The lighter the touch with these things, the better.

Enough griping. We hope next week is a return to form.


7 thoughts on “Lost Forum: “316”

  1. Doc Jensen weighs in on last night’s episode. Among his more intriguing theories: Jack’s grandfather is actually Jack; Ben’s bloody errand was to kill Penny; and Ben’s snarky comment about his mother teaching him to read (we know his mother actually died in childbirth) could be the motivation for him to return to the island, i.e., he’s going back in time to rescue his mom. Jensen cites all kinds of parallels from Ulysses that might help explain this. We didn’t spend our entire senior year writing an honors thesis on Ulysses, but perhaps someone we know did and could shed some light on this…

  2. Question for you two…is there something you DO like? You guys don’t like recent seasons of The Office, don’t like Noble Beast, don’t like the last couple episodes of Lost. Why you harshing my mellow?

    I liked this episode. I think the return to the island is a good thing, insofar as maybe it will provide greater storyline continuity and less time jumps. Given the finite number of episodes left, how else would you recommend they accomplish that? I liked the weird “getting the band back together” feel at the airport, liked all the callbacks to the pilot episode, really liked the look on Lapidus’s face when he saw all the Oceanic 6 sitting in his plane.

    I also would like at some point to reopen the Noble Beast discussion. Even though I pre-ordered it, it only arrived at my house today. FOUR WEEKS LATER!

    I guess I’m saying — if there’s something wrong with the Vores that’s making you so grouchy, maybe a hug will help?

  3. Have we been grouchy? Maybe we do need a hug.

    Who is responsible for delivering Noble Beast to you four weeks late? THAT makes us grouchy.

    We’ll tell you one thing we love for sure: Doug Zipp’s pooping dogs.

  4. Oh, and the commercial you found so disturbing? Boost Mobile, a subsidiary of Sprint. Pretty awesome, huh?

    Fat Possum Records was to blame for the shipping fiasco, but they made up for it by shipping me every single Andrew Bird live album (four in all) for FREE. Yes!

  5. Fact: People have found our blog the past two days by Googling the words “armpit hair commercial,” “arm pit hair riding scooter,” “commercial featuring the woman with flowing armpit hair” and “lady riding bike who has long armpit hair.”

    Also, two people located us by Googling “chimp mauling.” (?)

    And — you’ll be happy to hear this — one person found it by Googling “Gary Sinise, Slumdog Millionaire.”

    Glad Fat Possum compensated you for its appalling lack of expediency.

    After several conversations we’ve come around a little on last night’s episode from a content standpoint. It’ll probably look a lot better by season’s end when things get filled out. But the feeling of dread has only increased that Penny’s blood is now on Ben’s hands.

  6. We just had a company-wide meeting during which the president of Boost had this to say about the armpit hair commercial:

    “It’s bold, it’s different, it’s polarizing. My wife saw it and she said, ‘Gross.'”

    Then he basically said that if you don’t like it, it’s probably because you are too old or aren’t hip enough, and you aren’t Boost’s target demographic anyway.

    Great Gary Sinise! That’s chimp-maulingly bold.

  7. Do you think the wife of Boost’s president has long armpit hair?

    Does Dan Hesse?

    The human body never just loses hair, my friend. It simply migrates south. The less of it on your head (though, blessedly, your body has not betrayed you in this manner at the ripe young age of 31), the more of it accumulates elsewhere.

    Bless those poor souls for whom it congregates in the armpit. We should be hugging them, not gagging at the sight of them.

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