I like math as much as the next person but could we ease up on all the numbers, Lost boys? The time-jumping has me frazzled. I figured I'd ask. So Carlton Cuse says no but he'll make it up to me with a Matthew Fox-centered episode? Well, OK, if he must.
Here's a look back at "316." Careful. Spoilers after the jump ...
Jack wakes up unconscious in the jungle, with a slip of paper in his hand that reads, "I wish ..." He hears Hurley screaming and runs to him. Thank God, Foxy is back in island hero mode. He just took a swan dive off of a 30-foot cliff to save Hugo, who's flailing in shallow water, holding a guitar case, without a care for his suit. Jack sees Kate lying unconscious on some rocks nearby and goes to her. She wakes up. And we're back, folks.
46 HOURS EARLIER - LOS ANGELES
Jack, Sun, Desmond, and Ben are at the church with Eloise Hawking (the deliciously evil Fionnula Flanagan). Eloise takes them down into that map room (i.e. the Lamppost) with the pendulum we saw a few episodes. She explains the gizmos all worked together to help the Dharma Initiative find the island way back when. They'd ID'd the island as particularly "special" among all the other hot pockets of electromagnetic power on the planet. The problem? That sneaky little island moves on a whim. So they came up with equations to figure out where it was headed.
Eloise — she is Daniel's mother after all — has done the math. The Oceanic 6 have a 36-hour window to get back. Desmond is like WTF (what the fragglerock)? You're going back? Des still delivers Daniel's message, that the islanders need her help. Then he says, I'm out. Daniel's mother is like, whatever, and lays this heavy line on Desmond. "The island isn't done with you yet." Des reminds her, loudly, that she was the one who told him to go to the island way back when. He's seriously hacked off knowing he wasted four years because of it. Desmond tries to appeal to Jack. He's no help. Jack stays. Eloise tells Sun, Jack and Ben the next flight to take them past their "window" is a flight to Guam — Ajira Airways No. 316. That's it? It sounds too easy, Foxy says. That's not all, not for you, Eloise says.
Eloise meets privately with Jack, giving him Locke's suicide note. It's addressed to Jack Shephard. (Foxy didn't know it was suicide by hanging.) Eloise tells him Locke will go along for the ride, serving as a substitute for Christian. (Remember Jack originally was taking Christian's body home on the flight from Sydney to L.A.) But Eloise tells Jack, in order to make the proxy kosher, he has to give Locke something that belonged to Christian. Creepy. Jack finally yells that this whole thing is ridiculous. (Jack is starting to act like himself.) Eloise gives him a line about needing to think, not about the ridiculosity of it all, but whether he believes enough to do it. (Why are people always giving Jack sermons on faith? He believes in the people he loves. Not stern white-haired women doing math in church basements or creepy scary dudes like Ben. Back off!)
Jack finds Ben praying in the church pews, or whatever it is Ben does in a house of worship. Ben's off to pick up Locke's body. Jack asks why Eloise is helping them. Ben gives a Sunday school lesson on Doubting Thomas. (More lessons about faith? Aarrggh!) Ben leaves to run an errand as Jack ponders things deeply in his heart.
Of course Jack's pondering usually requires alcohol. Knocking back a stiff one at a bar, Foxy gets a call from a senior home. Your granddad is trying to run away again. Granddad, a.k.a. Ray, a.k.a. Big Shep, thankfully, after just 30 seconds of airtime, already appears to be the sanest person on Lost next to Sayid. Ray happens to have a pair of shoes that used to belong to Christian. (How HAN-dy. But Christian was a doctor. You'd think he'd own spiffier shoes. Handmade Italian leather, perhaps?)
Jack goes back to his apartment, aching for a drink. (Man, shaving didn't help his drinking, did it?) He hears a noise and it turns out to be Kate, curled up on his bed. (Nice, girlfriend. Get straight to the point, I say.) Kate wants to know if Jack is going to the island. Kate will join him as long as he promises, "If you want me to go with you, you'll never ask me that question again. You'll never ask me about Aaron again." (Jack has his "I'll do anything you say, Kate" face on. No bueno.) Jack agrees. (Twenty bucks Kate left Aaron with Claire's mom. So he's safe with grandma. Why all the histrionics, Jungle Girl? Oh wait, maybe Aaron is starting to show signs of why that Australian psychic was so scared of him back in S1. Very interesting.) He is immediately rewarded as Kate leans in for a proper smooch. We should go now. They look like they want to be alone.
The next morning, Jack actually looks sane. (And relaxed. Hmmm, I wonder why?) He's smiling, offering Kate coffee and O.J., and sharing stories about Christian. He tells Kate how he buried his dad with ugly tennis shoes instead of nice dress shoes because he didn't care enough about his dad to care about his shoes. The phone rings and Kate leaves. It's Ben, bent and bloodied, calling from the marina to tell Jack to go pick up Locke's body from Jill the butcher.
The errand gives Jack a chance to swap Locke's shoes for Christian's. Back to acting kooky, Jack proceeds to talk to the dead guy. "Wherever you are John, you must be laughing your ass off that I'm actually doing this. This, this is even crazier than you are." (True that, Foxy.) He slips the letter back in Locke's suit, telling him he's heard enough. Rest in peace.
Jack is having a little deja vu at the airline counter answering questions about the body he's transporting. Jack sees Kate, with a Lara Croft Tomb Raider braid, arrive. He turns away and a dark, handsome guy (alas, he's short, too) behind him in line offers his condolences. (I know that actor — Saïd Taghmaoui. I like that actor. A lot. He interrogated Marky Mark in Three Kings, remember? I hope they let him beat someone up soon. Sayid could use a little help with island black ops. Or make a move on Juliet. Someone needs to distract her away from Jack. Sawyer is obviously useless there.)
Sun arrives in line, telling Jack she has to go with him if there's a chance Jin is alive. They turn and see Sayid, handcuffed, being escorted by a cop onto the plane. Shades of Kate's first trip to the island, me thinks. (Fifty bucks Ben tempted Sayid into beating the crap out of him so Sayid would be arrested and booted out of the country.) Hurley is waiting for the flight, having bought every seat possible to save anyone else from crashing. Awww. (That's my boy, Hugo! The cursed money sure came in handy this time around.)
Sayid sees Jack board and starts squirming. Jack says hey to Kate, who looks awful. Ben gets on at the last second wth one arm in a sling. Hurley goes crazy seeing Ben. No one told me he was going to be here! Hugo shouts. Who told you to be here? Ben retorts. That shuts Hugo up. The flight attendant then hands Locke's letter back to Jack. We found it during preflight inspection, she says. Gee thanks. Our hero Jack asks what will happen to the other passengers on the flight when it crashes. Our villain Ben replies, "Who cares?" (Ice, ice, baby.)
Jack goes to sit by Kate and chats her up, asking. "You don't think it means something that we're all here?" Kate says, "We're on the same airplane. It doesn't mean we're together." (Unnecessarily harsh?) The pilot comes over the PA to introduce himself. Oh come on, you know who it is. Don't act surprised. It's Frank Lapidus, 'cept Capt. Frank has no idea who is on the plane until he comes out of the cockpit to say hello to Jack. "We're not going to Guam, are we?"
During the flight, Jack looks nervous. Ben's reading Ulysses. Jack takes out Locke's letter and tells Ben he's been trying to get rid of it but it keeps following him. "It sounds crazy but I feel like John needs me to read it.
Jack finally opens it. "I wish you would have believed me." That's all it says. And wouldn't you know it ... Houston, we have a problem. ... shimmy, shake ...stuff flying out of the overhead ... white flash ... Down goes Frazier! ... back on the island.
Jack wakes up in the jungle on the island and hears Hurley screaming in the distance. Repeat what we've already seen. (What's in the guitar case, Hugo? I'm guessing ranch dressing.) Funny thing, though. No one remembers a plane crash and Sun and Sayid and Ben are nowhere to be found. Jack's putting together a plan to search the jungle for the rest of the crew when a Dharma van rolls up. A guy in a Dharma jumpsuit gets out and points a gun at them. Then Hurley calls out, "Jin?" (Yeah, Jin!)