'Lost' Aftergasm: Viewer Just Pawn in Game of Life
'Lost' Aftergasm: Viewer Just Pawn in Game of Life
“They are playing some kind of game and we are just the pieces.”

That's how I feel sometimes while watching Lost, like the writers are just pulling a massive prank on us all, watching and laughing as we search for meaning in absolute nonsense.  The general consensus online is that last night's episode of Lost, “316,” was an instant classic.  I'm not going to disagree with that.  It must be said, however, that Lost has gone insane.  “316” was, on a number of levels, complete and utter nonsense.  As long as you can nod your head and agree that “Yes, that was absolute madness and that's just fine,” then we can continue to be friends.  It became apparent last season, but this is the season where Lost has outed itself as a fantasy/sci-fi story of the highest order, no longer masquerading itself as a show with any basis in reality.  Which, again, is fine.  I must admit that, yes, I occasionally struggle with this, but I actually think this internal struggle is actually a product of Lost's greatness.  It means that I care for the characters on Lost, as if they existed in the real world, a real world.  An episode like “316” only works because the characters are dear to us and we are invested in them. 

I sat on my couch, with one of my roommates, after Lost ended and said, “Well, here we go.”  “316” was confusing, sometimes infuriating, but oh so glorious.  One of the best episodes ever?  Maybe.  We'll see – this is the beauty of Lost.   What last night's episode did was open up all sorts of new story avenues, unleashed the mythology in myriad directions, threw characters into the storm, left the audience to ponder everything.  

Religious Overtones

Man of Faith, Man of Science indeed.  Never has Lost so overtly tapped into its Christian overtones, with Ben literally telling a Bible story.  I don't want to read much into it beyond a strictly surface level, the writers (I think) just wanting to use the Doubting Thomas story as an allusion to Jack's overall plight.  Jack is now a man of faith, right?  He's Thomas, now brave, fulfilling the destiny predetermined for him, better late than never.  

Christian's Shoes

This part of the episode struck me as a tad bit silly.  I understand the desire of the writers to make the obvious Locke-Christian parallels, especially given the whole “let's make this flight as close to Oceanic 815 as we can” plot line.  But, wouldn't the body in the casket been enough?  Though, I suspect the whole shoe thing was a device to get that suicide letter back to Jack, in which case I'm OK with it.  The scenes with Grandpa Shephard were strangely engrossing. 

Sayid in Custody, On His Way to Guam

How Sayid was put into custody, and why he was being transported to Guam is a story for another episode, an episode that should feature an exciting flashback.  Maybe Ben had something to do with it, maybe it was Ms. Hawking, maybe it was Sayid himself who got the ball rolling.   The most important point to make here is that we have no idea, though we have to assume the answer will given to us at some point this season. 

Hurley on the Plane

Like Sayid, we don't know the circumstance in which Hurley got on the Aljira flight.  Like Sayid, this is a story that will be told later on.  Hurley trying to keep everyone off the plane that he could was a great character touch, and it would leave us to believe that Hurley was getting on the plane somewhat against his will.  I don't know, again, and that's both the beauty and the curse of Lost – the answers are leading to more questions, with the answers sometimes being incredibly convenient. 

Ben's Injuries/Where is Aaron?

Two things that don't appear related, though I'm guessing they are.  Clearly, we have been led to believe that Ben's injuries came about as a result of him trying to exact revenge on Penny.  Could Ben have somehow combined his quest to kill Penny and his need to get Kate on that plane?   I'm not sure exactly how this would have worked out, but the only logical, safe place for Aaron to go, if he were taken from Kate, would be with Penny and Desmond, under their care.  I just have a feeling that little Charlie and Aaron are together now, for reasons as yet unknown.  Who else would Kate be at least somewhat comfortable with leaving Aaron?  Whatever transpired over that last night on the mainland, Ben did a lot of work. 

Jin/Where are they?

Jin is in a Dharma uniform.  How long has he been in that time?  Have all of our island time travelers taken up posts in Dharma?  Is this the same time line as the first scene of the season, when Daniel ran into Marvin Candle?  Has the island become stuck in time once more, this time back in the seventies?  Jin's wry smile that ended the episode makes me think that he was not only happy to see them, but expecting to see them.  Aside from that, your guess is as good as mine. 

The Greatness of the Episode

I'm having a difficult time collecting my thoughts about “316.”  In a lot of ways, Darlton rebooted the series tonight.  The rules have once again changed.  Besides learning about why and how the Oceanic 6's trip to the island went down (i.e. where Aaron went, why Sayid is being transported to Guam, why Ben is bloodied) and what Locke did on the mainland before hanging himself, we have no idea what comes next.  We don't know what the objectives are, we don't know what the obstacles will be, and we don't know why the Oceanic 6 had to get back to the island.  This uncertainty over pretty much everything might strike some fans as troublesome, but I find this uncertainty to be incredibly exciting.  I never expected the Oceanic 6 to get back to the island this soon into the season, and am continually in awe of the writers and their ability to surprise us at every turn.  What they did last night was expand their canvas exponentially, showing the audience that, even when one of the Big Questions is answered (how the Oceanic 6 got back), we're still completely in the dark.  As much as us fans pontificate and theorize and intelligently discuss Lost, we remain at the behest of the writers, pawns in their overall game, pieces of the big puzzle, left to to sit back and enjoy the ride they're so kindly taking us on. 

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)

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