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'Lost': Back to the island

February 19, 2009 |  7:36 am

Jack1 We've been building to this moment since the last scene of Season 3 -- in the episode titled "316," Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, Ben and Frank returned to the island. So why did it feel so anti-climactic?

I think it was because so much crucial action was left off-screen, presumably to be revealed in a future episode. How did Hurley get out of jail and become so willing to fly back to the island? How did Sayid end up in the custody of law enforcement? Who beat up Ben?

It's a shame we have to wait for those answers, because now that we know the Oceanic Six (three of them at least) made it back to the island, the questions of how they came to be there seem much less important. Somehow Hurley got out of jail, yes, but wouldn't you rather see the series spend more time dealing with Smokey the Smoke Monster instead of expanding on scenes we don't really need to see?

Meanwhile, a few lingering questions from earlier in the season were answered. The Ajira airlines wreckage Sawyer and Co. came across a few episodes ago surely came from Jack's flight. But which flight members were chasing the Losties? That remains to be seen. We also got final confirmation that Ms. Hawking is Daniel Faraday's mother, but to what purpose? Here was a woman who could explain the whole enchilada to Jack and friends, but instead of getting the full explanation, they just listened to her semi-elucidating answers. Yes, this is nothing new on the series, but come on. Just once, I'd like a confused, disoriented Lostie to cut the crap and ask exactly what the heck is going on here.

The flight that brings the escapees back to the island is numbered 316, which any astute "Lost" viewer and maybe Rainbowhead can tell you is a reference to the biblical passage John 3:16. The passage goes something like this:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

What's the significance of this passage? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'd wager it refers to John Locke, the only person on the whole show willing to sacrifice himself in the name of what he believes in. John said in his suicide note to Jack that he wished he would have believed him. Something tells me John isn't fully dead, only mostly dead. We'll see him alive again before this series is over.

The religious themes that always have bubbled under the surface on this series came to the fore in the early scenes of "316." There was Ben informing us of the story of St. Thomas (a.k.a. Doubting Thomas), who wouldn't believe in Jesus' resurrection until he had actually touched his wounds. This information was delivered in a church, where both Ben and Ms. Hawking were shown lighting votive candles to pray for loved ones. (The painting over the votive candles, by the way, is "The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" by Carravagio.)

A couple minor things: When Jack asks Ben on the plane how he can read, Ben says, "My mother taught me." Is this just a joke, or is Ben referring to a different mother? (His own died giving birth to him.) Since it appears Jack, Kate and Hurley have arrived on the island during the time of Dharma (see Jin's Dharma-issued jumpsuit), we're likely to learn the real answer to this question.

Secondly, did anyone notice the date of the U.S. Army photograph taken of the island in 1954? It was taken exactly 50 years before Oceanic 815 went down on Sept. 22, 2004. 1954 is also the year in which Sawyer, Faraday and the rest of the small group of Losties first encountered Widmore, Ms. Hawking (then called Eloise) and Alpert.

Next week, it appears we'll see what exactly happened to Locke after he got off the island. After that, I think I'll have all my outstanding questions answered about our principal players. Until they start telling me who Faraday's daddy is (I'm guessing Widmore) or where Alpert buys his eyeliner, I'll be finished with the flashbacks. Our remaining time with "Lost" is growing short, and to quote the 19th century English hymn, "Onward Christian soldiers!"

--Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: ABC