Eloise explains that the Oceanic 6 have a very limited window to return to the island, and leaves Jack instructions to bring one of his father's items to John Locke.Eloise explains that the Oceanic 6 have a very limited window to return to the island, and leaves Jack instructions to bring one of his father's items to John Locke.Eloise explains that the Oceanic 6 have a very limited window to return to the island, and leaves Jack instructions to bring one of his father's items to John Locke.
"316" is notable for including only two, very short on-island scenes. This is easily the shortest amount of time spent on the island in any episode thus far and surprisingly, almost preposterously given its obvious importance to the show, the episode didn't really need the island to work. The island's presence is felt constantly through the episode, thematically and when literally referenced, so it never really feels like we're gone for too long. It helps that both scenes (and the latter is really the opening scene replayed with an added thirty seconds or so) are excellent, and it was really surprising to see the iconic first minute or so of "Pilot" play out again. Many were guessing we'd see that at the end of the series, but right now this show is unpredictable in the best way: you may guess the big reveals or guess the story, but you'll never guess how they will tell the story. Unless it's an Elizabeth Sarnoff episode, anyway. You could read all the spoilers available and still be surprised by an episode of "Lost". How great is that?
I think this is possibly Jack's best episode as a character. Not necessarily the best Jack-centric episode (although it is a contender), but the one I felt did most with his character. It was oddly touching to see him go through the little stuff, the awkward morning after with Kate, his visiting his grandfather, etc. It's probably Matthew Fox's best performance, just in how quiet and reserved and subtle it is. The scene with Locke's body in the butcher shop, and the scene where he finally reads Locke's suicide note were genuinely heartbreaking, but not in an over-dramatic way. Stunning, subtle, wonderful writing and acting.
The episode raises some mysteries which will be answered relatively soon (why was Ben so bloody? What happened to Aaron? Desmond? Penny? Sayid?! Who's the middle-eastern-looking guy? etc.), but none of them are annoyingly big ones to add to the many significant mysteries which haven't been answered yet. The whole episode had a creepy, foreboding air, and the near-complete sadness of Jack's existence over the hours in which the episode took place only added to it. Some really nice photography and direction here too. I was personally satisfied with how they got back (especially with the 'proxies', Sayid in Kate's cuffs, etc.) and the conclusion of the episode, though obviously we are still left with some big questions at the end. "316" and "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham", next week's episode, were written concurrently by the same writers ("Lost" auteurs Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse), and I have a feeling I'll appreciate this episode even more when its companion piece, which promises to be even greater, airs next week.
- Feb 18, 2009