Jack engages in a battle of wills against Ben with potentially dire consequences, while Charlie faces his destiny.

Written by Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof
Directed by Jack Bender

Flashforward

Using the obituary he pulled from the newspaper on his Oceanic flight, Jack tracked down Hoffs/Drawlar Funeral Parlor, where the body was being prepared for burial. Inside, he found the casket along with a room set up for a funeral service, but the funeral director informed him that Jack was the only person to show up. When asked if Jack was friend or family, Jack replied “neither.” Jack refused the director’s offer to open the coffin so he could see the body, but he paid his respects in private nonetheless.

Jack ran out of his Oxycodone and tried to refill them at a drug store, but his prescription had ended and he was forced to leave the store in frustration, his mental spiral downward accelerating.

Having failed at procuring his drugs by any other method, Jack broke into the hospital stores and stole Oxycodone there. He was soon confronted by Dr. Hamill, who knew Jack was under the influence. Hamill told him that the woman Jack saved from the wreck woke up in recovery and reported that she crashed because she was distracted by a man who was about to jump off the bridge. Hamill knew it was Jack, and asked how much alcohol Jack had today. In his stupor, Jack demanded that Hamill call Jack’s father, saying that if he is more drunk than his father is right now, that Hamill can fire him right now. He stormed off.

At his apartment, Jack had world maps scattered all over the floor, as if trying to find something. He called someone and begged to see them, despite “what you said,” presumably about Jack ever contacting this person again. Jack and his mystery friend made arrangements to meet just outside the airport, at the end of the runway.

In the dead of night, Jack arrived at the rendezvous location, while his friend pulled up behind him. Out of the other car stepped none other than Kate! But these two didn’t know each other in the past — so this can only mean this isn’t a flashback at all, it’s a flash forward! We’ve been watching Jack in the future, after he’s escaped from the island, all this time. Jack showed Kate the obituary, and then revealed that he’d been flying a lot, using a “golden pass” given to him by Oceanic Airlines to fly across the Pacific and back. She asked why he would do this, and he said he wanted the plane to crash back on the island. His life had fallen apart completely since they left the island, and he desperately wanted to get back. Kate said she had to go, because “he” would be wondering where she was. Jack told her they made a mistake and that they had to go back to the island.

Now

Danielle tells Jack that they have about an hour until they reach the radio tower. She then informs him that she’s happy to take him there, but she’s not leaving the island with the survivors, because she believes there’s no place for her in society anymore. The hiking survivors suddenly pull up short when the crest a rise and find Ben and Alex standing in their path. Ben informs Jack that they need to talk. Kate immediately takes off running into the surrounding woods, while Jack angrily and forcefully stares Ben down, considering whether or not to have this conversation Ben wants. Kate runs up from behind and says that she only found two sets of tracks: Ben’s and Alex’s, which means Ben is alone. Jack agrees to give Ben five minutes, but he takes the walkie-talkie out of Ben’s pants. When they reach a secluded spot, Ben claims that Jack is about to be responsible for the deaths of the survivors, because Naomi Dorrit is not who she appears to be. Ben says that Naomi represents some people who have been trying to find the island, and that these people do not have good intentions; he says that if Jack contacts the freighter, every single person on the island will be killed by the people on the boat. Ben wants the satellite phone, but Jack won’t hand it over. Ben asks for his walkie-talkie, and calls Tom at the beach. He tells Jack that Sayid, Jin, and Bernard are being held at gunpoint by the Others who weren’t killed by the explosions at the camp. He tells Tom to kill all three of the survivors unless he hears from Ben in one minute, and then he orders Jack to give him the phone. The time counts down, the rescue of all of the survivors at stake, and Jack refuses to hand over the phone. When the minute is up, three gunshots are heard over the walkie-talkie, and Jack flies into a blind rage. He tackles Ben and beats him mercilessly, nearly killing him. But he stops himself, picks up Ben’s walkie-talkie, and calls Tom. He tells Tom that he’s going to call the freighter to come rescue his people, and then he’s going to find Tom and kill him.

On Ben’s orders, Mikhail exits the communication room of the Looking Glass station and shoots Bonnie and Greta at point-blank range. Greta falls into the moon pool, but Bonnie’s wound is less immediate, and will take time to end her life. Mikhail stands over her and prepares to shoot her again, but Desmond steps out of his hiding place and shoots Mikhail in the chest with a spear gun. Desmond takes Bonnie’s gun and is about to kill her too until Charlie warns him that they need the code she has to turn off the jamming equipment. Desmond frees Charlie and Charlie asks Bonnie for the code. He talks her into giving up the code, but her answer is to mention the Beach Boys’ song, “Good Vibrations.” She says that the keypad represents the notes of the song, and that if he enters the melody to that song, it will turn off the jamming equipment. “It was programmed by a musician,” she explains, and then breathes her last. Charlie suddenly realizes why this was his destiny all along: he’s the only musician among the survivors, and he alone would be able to interpret the song as a code.

Jack drags Ben back to the survivors and tells them to tie Ben up and bring him along. Alex kneels to look at her father’s broken face, and Danielle steps forward to get a closer look at her daughter. “Alex, this is your mother,” Ben tiredly explains. Mother and daughter are reunited at long last. Meanwhile, Jack retreats to a private spot to collect himself, and Kate follows, wanting to know what happened. He finally breaks down and tells her that Ben had Sayid, Jin, and Bernard killed. He says that they can’t tell Sun or Rose yet, because he promised Sayid he would see this through. Kate asks why he didn’t just kill Ben, and Jack says that he wants Ben to see it when Jack successfully radios the freighter and that Jack beat him. Then, he says, he’ll kill Ben.

Back at the beach, Ryan and Tom argue about Ben’s viability as their leader, and how Ben’s questionable behavior lately made them hesitate; they didn’t kill Sayid, Jin, and Bernard after all — they merely shot the sand.

Sawyer and Juliet watch the beach camp from nearby and lament the fact that they’re outmatched by the Others and have no way of changing that. While they talk, they hear an engine approaching, and are stunned when Hurley appears in the blue Dharma van he got working weeks ago, and bursts into the camp, running down Ryan. Sawyer runs up, grabs Ryan’s gun, and is about to shoot the third man dead, when Sayid uses his legs — the only part of him not tied up — to knock the man down and break his neck. Only Tom is left, but Juliet gets his gun and holds him in place. Sawyer approaches and stares Tom down, the history between them boiling to the surface. Tom surrenders, but Sawyer shoots him in the heart anyway. “That’s for taking the kid off the raft,” he says.

As the survivors near the radio tower, Ben’s walkie-talkie suddenly goes off and it’s Hurley calling out to the Others with an announcement that he and his friends had defeated the Others at the beach. Jack replies to Hurley’s call and Hurley explains that everyone’s fine and well — including Sayid, Jin, and Bernard. The survivors celebrate the good news, but Claire grabs the radio and asks about Charlie’s status. Hurley tells her he hasn’t seen Charlie yet, but not to worry.

Down in the Looking Glass, Desmond locates some diving gear for escaping while Charlie goes to shut down the jamming equipment. Desmond notes that he’s had no new visions, and Charlie allows himself to hope that maybe they’d beaten destiny. In the room with the yellow blinking light, Charlie taps out “Good Vibrations” on the keypad and shuts off the jammer. The yellow light stops blinking and Charlie knows he’s succeeded, but immediately a transmission comes in. He answers the call and a video screen comes to life. It’s Penny! Charlie recognizes her and tells her who he is and that Desmond is alive and nearby. Penny’s overjoyed to learn that her man is okay, but has no idea what Charlie’s talking about when he asks if she’s calling from the freighter. Out in the main chamber, Desmond is startled to see that Mikhail’s body is no longer there, but there’s a blood trail that leads into the moon pool. Just then, there’s a knock from the window next to Charlie, and he turns to see Mikhail swimming out there, and holding a live grenade up to the window. As Desmond runs to help, Charlie grabs the hatch door to the communication room and slams it shut, sealing it off. Mikhail’s grenade explodes, the window bursts open, and water rushes in. Desmond tries to break the door open but it’s no good. Charlie quickly realizes that this is it, and writes the words “Not Penny’s Boat” on the palm of his hand. He shows Desmond the writing on his hand through the hatch window, and the two of them say a silent goodbye before Charlie floats off and succumbs to drowning.

Naomi gets a signal on her phone and reports that Charlie was successful. She turns on the phone and hears Danielle’s distress call, which is still blocking the signal. Danielle announces that they’ve arrived at the radio tower. They enter the tiny room adjacent to the tower and Danielle turns off the message she recorded sixteen years ago. Back outside, Naomi makes her call. Ben warns Jack that if they do this, it will be “the beginning of the end,” but Naomi gets a signal just then. As she’s about to answer the call, Locke appears, bloodied and injured, and throws a knife into Naomi’s back, apparently killing her. He pulls out his gun and orders Jack to step away from the. phone. Locke says he had to do this, for the island, but Jack grabs the phone anyway. A standoff ensues while the phone rings; Locke swears he’ll shoot if Jack doesn’t put the phone down, but Jack informs Locke that “you’re done keeping me on this island.” Jack calls Locke’s bluff and Locke drops his gun, but he wearily tells Jack that he’s “not supposed to do this.” The phone is answered on the other end by someone named Minkowski, and Jack verifies that he is talking to the freighter. Locke retreats as the rest of the survivors look on in excitement and hope. Jack explains who he is, and Minkowski says he can lock onto the phone’s signal and come rescue everyone. Jack feels the burden starting to lift from his shoulders from the promise he made to get everyone off the island, and the survivors embrace one another, rejoicing that rescue has come at last.

  • Who was the occupant of the coffin?
  • Why was Jack so deeply troubled and emotional by the death of the casket’s occupant?
  • Who are the “people who have been trying to find the island” that Naomi and her freighter represent?
  • Why are these people that Naomi works for such a threat to the island?
  • Who was the musician who programmed the jamming device’s code in the Looking Glass station?
  • How exactly did the survivors get off the island?
  • How many of the survivors escaped from the island?
  • Which of the survivors escaped the island?
  • What happened between Jack and Kate in the future that they wound up on such bad terms?
  • What happened to Jack to convince him that leaving the island was a mistake, and they had to go back?
  • Why did Jack end up taking drugs and drinking so heavily?
  • How long was Jack off the island before his rendezvous with Kate at the airport?
  • Who was the “he” that Kate said would be looking for her?

“Through the Looking Glass” is the eighth Jack-centric episode of the series.

With the death of Charlie Pace, the survivors’ numbers have fallen to 43.

Matthew Fox has never been my favorite actor on the show. I think he does a fine job, but his character is rather lacking in layers, on a show where most of the characters are defined by their many layers. But Fox’s performance in this two-parter was a revelation. His raw, broken intensity in the flash forwards and the brutal scene where he faces off against Ben back on the island both let Fox stretch his acting muscles in ways we’ve never seen before, and he hit the fences in both cases. Utterly gripping, amazing work.

I noticed a trend as Seasons 1-3 played out, and I’m curious if any of you picked up on it as well. The Others started out as a menacing group of island natives who eventually were revealed to be a more benevolent “family” type group — if still obsessively, dangerously protective of the island. As this shift from seemingly-evil to mostly-good occurred, the show slowly shed all of the Others that we’ve seen behaving cruelly. Big bad Ethan? Shot dead by Charlie. Goodwin the tailie spy? Killed by Ana-Lucia. Cold, conniving Bea Klugh? Killed by Mikhail to keep her secrets. Mean ol’ Danny Pickett? Killed by Juliet to help Kate and Sawyer escape. Mikhail Bakunin? Drowned/blown up by his own grenade. Ryan? Dead thanks to Hurley. Bonnie & Greta the Looking Glass gals? Dead. Even Tom, who was later shown to be not such a bad guy after all, was killed by Sawyer for kidnapping Walt. Slowly, these more vicious-flavored Others were replaced with a new, kindler/gentler variety. Folks like Richard Alpert, Alex Linus/Rousseau, Karl, Cindy the flight attendant, Juliet, and more.

And here we go: the flash forwards begin! What an insane shock this was, at the end of Part 2. It was shocking less because it happened to the survivors, and more because it happened to us, the viewers. It was the ultimate rug-pulling-out, and it was brilliantly executed. It’s so different to watch Jack’s “flashback” scenes now, knowing that they weren’t visions of the past at all, but of the future. They were already emotionally compelling, but peeling back this extra layer transforms them into entirely new scenes. Jack’s attempted suicide, for example, mirrors Michael’s Season 4 flashback attempt to do the same thing, when he was told that the island wouldn’t let him kill himself. The same went for Jack, here.

Until this episode, Lost was following a fairly rigid storytelling format, slowly unspooling mystery after mystery with the occasional answer. What’s most impressive to me about “Through the Looking Glass” is the way it changed all those rules. After this, the show kicked into overdrive, and every episode was loaded with so much happening, it became appointment television. And it made up new rules as it went along, introducing flash forwards and time flashes and who knows what else that’s still to come. Comparatively, Seasons 1 through 3 were crawling at a snail’s pace, following a simple formula, over and over. Seasons 4 and 5 (and presumably, 6) were bullet trains, taking bold, thrilling chances and barreling ahead with developments we never thought we see. This was the turning point.