Jack learns how to return to the island, but it involves exercising the one thing he’s never been good at: faith.

Written by Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse
Directed by Stephen Williams

Wearing a suit and tie, Jack Shephard opens his eyes, awakening in the jungle on the island. Beat-for-beat, it’s almost an exact replica of the very first scene in the first episode of the show. (It sounded to these ears like composer Michael Giacchino even used the same musical cues he used in that original scene, or at least similar ones.)

Jack retrieves a torn-up note from his inside jacket pocket. Scribbled on the note are the hand-written words “I wish…” but the paper is ripped beyond that point so we can’t read any further. A voice shouts in the distance, calling out for help. Jack runs to the edge of a waterfall, to find Hurley struggling to swim in the water far below. Jack dives into the water and rescues Hurley, but then spots an unconscious Kate laying on the rocks at the edge of the water. He wakes her up, and she asks if they’re back. Jack says yes, and she replies, “What happened?”

46 hours earlier, we are back at the church where Ben, Jack, Sun, and Desmond are meeting Eloise Hawking, right where the last episode left off. Hawking tells them it’s time to get started, and leads them through the church, beyond a closed door, down a spiral staircase, and into an underground tunnel. At the far end of the tunnel is a door with a Dharma logo on it! She opens the door and leads them inside: it’s the room with the giant swinging pendulum we last saw her in. There’s a wall filled with longitude and latitude numbers, automatically changing on their own. Jack also notices a black & white photograph of the island taped to a chalk board; its imprinted with the words “9/23/54 – U.S. Army – OP 264 – Top Secret – Eyes Only.”

She tells them this is the Lamppost, a Dharma station constructed to allow the Dharma Initiative to find the island. It’s how they found it in the first place. Hawking explains that this station was built years ago over “a unique pocket of electromagnetic energy” — energy which is connected to similar pockets all over the world. But the Dharma Initiative was only interested in one of these pockets: the island. Dharma had gathered proof that it existed, they knew it was out there somewhere, but they couldn’t find it. The pendulum was built here by “a very clever fellow” who figured out that finding the island was not a matter of figuring out where it was supposed to be, but where it was going to be.

Jack asks what she means by this, and she says that the island is always moving. “Why do you think you were never rescued?” she asks him. She says that while the movements of the island seem to be random, this man who built the pendulum and his team created a series of equations that predict where the island is going to be, at a certain point in time. She says that windows provide a route back, but they never stay open for very long. She hands Jack a binder that contains all of the information he’ll need to reach the coordinates he needs to be at, at the appropriate time, to return to the island. And she says that their window closes in thirty-six hours.

Desmond stops the proceedings, shocked that the others are all going back to the island willingly. He explains he was sent by Hawking’s son, Daniel Faraday, to find her and ask for her help for all of the people still on the island. Hawking seems to take this in stride, saying she is helping, by helping Jack and his friends get back. Desmond tells them they’re all crazy for wanting to go back, and storms out. But before he can leave, Hawking tells him that the island is not done with him yet. He says that he’s done with the island, and warns Jack not to do anything that Hawking tells him to, since he once listened to her and wasted four years of his life on the island pushing the button, at her behest. He says that all of them are being used as pawns in a game by more powerful people — people like Ben, Hawking, and Charles Widmore.

When Desmond is gone, Hawking opens Jack’s binder and shows him a list of coordinates of where the island will be in two days’ time. She explains that an airplane will be flying over those exact coordinates at the right time, and that they all need to be on it. The flight is Ajira Airways flight 316, L.A. to Guam. She says that they must recreate the circumstances that got them to the island the first time, with as many of the same people as possible. The less accurate they are in recreating those original circumstances, the more predictable the outcome will be.

Hawking then takes Jack aside, to another room in the church, where she hands him John Locke’s suicide note! She reveals that Locke hung himself, and he did it to help Jack get back to the island. Locke is to act as a proxy, a substitute on this new flight for Jack’s father, Christian Shephard, who traveled, dead, in a similar coffin back on Oceanic 815. It’s another way of helping the Oceanic 6 recreate the circumstances of their original trip to the island. What’s more, Jack needs to find something that belonged to his father, and give it to Locke, to further solidify Locke’s status as the proxy.

Jack balks at this, but Hawking scolds him and insists that he believe in this if he wants to get back to the island. It’s a leap of faith, and he has to take it, like it or not. Jack leaves and finds Ben waiting for him in the chapel. Sun has gone, but will meet them at the airport. Jack asks who Eloise Hawking really is, but Ben changes the subject, telling him the story of Thomas the Apostle, aka Doubting Thomas. Thomas had to touch Jesus’ wounds before he would be convinced that Jesus had truly risen from the dead. Jack asks if Thomas was convinced, to which Ben replies, “Of course he was. We’re all convinced sooner or later.” Ben leaves, saying he has one last thing to do before he goes to the airport. He has a promise to keep to an old friend, a loose end to tie up.

Jack finds his way to a bar to get a drink, contemplating whether or not he’s willing to believe in Hawking’s assertions. But his phone rings, and he leaves immediately after taking the call. He journeys to an elderly retirement home, where he visits his grandfather, Ray Shephard. Jack was called by the facility because his grandfather was caught trying to escape “again.” In Ray’s room, Jack finds a bag that Ray packed, hoping to take it with him when he escaped. He promises Jack that sooner or later, he’s going to succeed in making it out of there, because “any place is better than here.” In Ray’s bag, Jack finds a pair of his father’s shoes, and he asks if he can have them. Ray agrees. Jack explains that he may be “going away for a while,” and when Ray asks where he’s going, Jack replies, “some place better than here.”

Jack returns to his apartment, his father’s shoes in hand, where he finds a severely distraught Kate waiting for him. Something’s happened to her and Aaron, and she no longer has him. He asks what’s happened and where Aaron is. She replies that she’ll go back to the island with him if he never asks her about Aaron ever again. One needy and passionate kiss later, and the two of them descend to his bed.

The next morning, over breakfast, Jack tells Kate the story of his trip to Australia to pick up his father’s body. He says that he had to make all of the arrangements for the trip back to the states, and that he thought it was unimportant what his father was wearing when he died, so he put a pair of white tennis shoes on the body. Kate leaves in a hurry, promising to see him at the airport. Ben calls Jack, tells him he got sidetracked, and frantically asks Jack to pick up Locke’s body from Simon’s Butcher Shop. The scene shifts to Ben’s perspective at a pay phone at the pier, and we see that he’s injured and bloodied from some experience that happened to him between last night and this morning.

At the butcher shop, Ben’s friend Jill lets Jack in. Jack’s carrying a backpack, and Jill asks what’s inside. When Jack doesn’t answer, she apologizes for being nosy, and she takes him to the freezer, where Locke’s coffin is waiting. Jill exits to retrieve Ben’s van, leaving Jack alone. Jack opens the coffin and replaces Locke’s shoes with Christian’s. He tells Locke that wherever he is now, he must be laughing at what Jack’s doing, because he’s finally taking a leap of faith. But Jack puts the suicide note in Locke’s jacket pocket, telling him that he’s already heard everything Locke had to say, and that Locke is getting what he wanted — Jack is going back to the island.

At the airport, the check-in clerk asks a lot of questions about “Bentham’s body,” which Jack distractedly answers, taking responsibility for the body and all of the funeral arrangements when they reach Guam. Jack spots Kate at the back of the check-in line, and they exchange a smile. As Jack finishes his check-in, the next person in line — a man we’ve never seen before — tells him he’s sorry Jack lost his friend.

Sun shows up behind Jack at the security gate, and Jack is almost surprised to see her. She says that if there’s even a chance of finding Jin on the island, she has to take it. They spot a familiar and unexpected face being escorted past security by a female federal officer: Sayid is in custody and being taken on board the plane in handcuffs!

What’s more, Hurley is at the airport as well. Jack runs into him at the gate, but not before we find out that Hurley has purchased seventy-eight tickets for seats on this plane. He refuses to tell Jack how and why he’s there, and suggests that all that should matter to Jack is that he’s there. Jack boards the plane and finds there Kate, Sayid, and Sun. Kate is wearing sunglasses to hide puffy eyes, evidence of recent crying. Hurley boards right behind Jack, and just before the plane is ready to leave the gate, Ben runs in and makes it onto the flight as well. Hurley objects strongly to Ben’s presence, but Jack calms him down.

A flight attendant approaches Jack and hands him Locke’s suicide note, explaining that security found it and retrieved it for him. Jack returns to his seat to find Ben sitting across the aisle from him. He asks what’s going to happen to the couple dozen other passengers on the plane. Ben replies, “Who cares?”

The plane takes off as all six island-bound passengers watch and wait with trepidation. Jack wanders up to Kate’s seat after the captain turns off the fasten seatbelt light, and expresses his astonishment that all of them came. He asks her if she thinks it could mean something that they’re all together again. Kate replies that they may be on the same flight, but none of them are “together.” Just then, the captain comes over the speaker to announce himself and their flight details, and it turns out to be none other than Frank Lapidus!

Jack goes to the flight attendant and asks her to tell Frank that he’s on board. Frank wastes no time exiting the cockpit to see Jack, and explains he’s been working for Ajira for eight months. But he quickly spots the other members of the O6 in the main cabin, and realizes that this flight isn’t bound for the destination he thought it was.

Later, as the flight is flying over the Pacific Ocean at night, Jack is jittery, watching and waiting for something to happen. Will the plane crash? Will a magical portal open up and swallow them? His mind is racing and he’s watching every little tic of the plane for signs that it’s beginning. Ben, sitting across from him and reading Ulysses, criticizes Jack for not being able to relax. Jack asks if Ben knew that Locke killed himself. Ben says that he didn’t. Jack pulls out the suicide note and tells Ben he can’t seem to get rid of it, that it’s almost like Locke needs him to read it. Ben cuts to the heart of the issue, saying that Jack can’t read it because he’s afraid that it was his fault that Locke killed himself. Ben assures him that it wasn’t.

Finally, Jack opens the note and reads its single line: “Jack, I wish you had believed me. -J.L.”

The plane begins to shake with some very familiar-looking turbulence. The captain tells everyone to fasten their seatbelts, but the flight attendant is flung across the cabin as the turbulence becomes more violent. Kate takes an apprehensive look back, as if expecting the rear of the plane to tear itself free, just like what she experienced on Oceanic 815. But before the plane can crash or even take any damage, a bright white light envelopes the passengers…

And Jack wakes up in the jungle, just as we saw at the beginning of the episode. After rescuing Hurley and awakening Kate, the three of them theorize about what happened. None of them noticed the plane crash; one minute they were on the plane, then there was the bright light, and now they’re back on the island. Then they wonder where everyone else is — Sun, Sayid, Ben, etc.

Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of a blue Dharma van — a van identical to the one Ben’s father died in, and that Hurley hotwired years later. Only this van is in perfect condition, and shows no signs of age. Someone in a Dharma jumpsuit steps out of the van and aims a rifle at Jack, Kate, and Hurley. But they recognize this man.

It’s Jin!

  • The island is constantly drifting throughout the South Pacific.
    Question: Where are the survivors of Oceanic 815? Where is this island located, exactly? [1.01]
  • The island is unique in all the world, because it is always moving, making it very hard to locate. It also seems to be camouflaged from view somehow (perhaps due to the electromagnetic energy beneath the island?), including satellite imagery.
    Question: Michael’s question is a good one: how is it that an island so big has never been discovered by the rest of the world? [1.24]
  • Locke’s body is serving as a substitute on Ajira 316 for Jack’s father’s body on Oceanic 815. The circumstances of the original crash must be recreated in order for the Oceanic 6 to return to the island.
    Question: Why must Locke die to convince the Oceanic 6 to return? [5.01] & Why is the safety of Locke’s body so important to Ben’s plan to get everyone back to the island? [5.02]
  • Beneath the church is an off-island Dharma station called The Lamp Post. It was created and used by the Dharma Initiative as a means of finding the island. It works because the church sits atop a pocket of electromagnetic energy that’s connected to the pocket beneath the island.
    Question: What kind of facility was in the church’s basement? [5.02]
  • Ms. Hawking has determined that a window of opportunity for returning to the island will open for about 12 hours, after which it will close. It’s never made entirely clear why the Oceanic 6 can only return during this one particular window, but Ms. Hawking has insinuated that the results would be catastrophic if they miss it.
    Question: How does Ms. Hawking know that Ben has only seventy hours to get the Oceanic 6 back to the island? [5.02]
  • Jack had to have his father prepared in his coffin before he could put him on the Oceanic 815, and the only shoes he had available to dress him in were a pair of white tennis shoes. He figured it wouldn’t really matter since no one would see his father’s feet in the casket.
    Question: Why was [Christian Shephard] wearing a suit, and white shoes? [1.04]

  • Who is the “very clever fellow,” working for the Dharma Initiative, who figured out how to find the island?
  • Why wasn’t Eloise more concerned about her son Daniel when Desmond asked her to help him?
  • What did Eloise mean when she said the island “isn’t yet finished” with Desmond?
  • Ben’s “loose end” was him seemingly attempting to fulfill his promise to Widmore to kill Penny. Did he succeed in killing her?
  • What happened to Aaron? Why does Kate no longer have him?
  • Why did Kate change her mind and decide to go back to the island?
  • Why was Sayid in federal custody, and being escorted onto Ajira 316?
  • Who was the woman who captured Sayid?
  • Why did Hurley change his mind and decide to go back to the island?
  • Why was Hurley carrying a guitar case? Is there really a guitar inside?
  • What happened when Ajira 316 went through the bright light?
  • Where are Sun, Sayid, Ben, and Frank? Did they travel back in time as well?
  • What became of Ajira 316, and the rest of its passengers?
  • Why was Jin wearing a Dharma jumpsuit and driving a Dharma van? What’s happened to the survivors left behind on the island?

What a jarring way to begin the episode! We were expecting the Oceanic 6 to find out how to get back to the island — not get there so soon! But it appears that they’re back, or at least some of them are. Methinks all of them really are, but the writers are going to throw lots of obstacles in their way for the rest of the season to keep them from reuniting very easily with one another and the castaways who were left behind. Hawking warned Jack that the less precise they were about recreating the circumstances of their first trip to the island, the more predictable the outcome would be. And unpredictable it was!

The episode, with all of its juicy revelations and new mysteries, was nonetheless entirely Jack-centric, focusing on his longtime struggle between science and faith. Jack has always believed in what he knew or could prove to be true, but this entire journey requires him to take a leap of faith. This is something he was never able to do on the island, no matter how many times John Locke encouraged him to. Even now, with his decision to go back to the island at last, he still struggles to believe in the words of Eloise Hawking. But as the episode progresses, we see him slowly opening his mind to ideas like destiny and providence. He finds his father’s shoes at his grandfather’s place, right after being told he’d need something of his father’s to give to Locke; it’s as if the shoes were waiting on him. Jack wondering aloud to Kate if it could mean something that all of them managed to get back together in time for this flight, even though they shouldn’t have, points to this newfound faith. And Frank Lapidus appears at just that moment almost as if to confirm Jack’s newly spiritual suspicion. Plus there’s Locke’s suicide note, which he himself realizes seems to be stalking him. But what does poor Jack get in the end for finally making his leap of faith? A posthumous tongue-lashing from Locke: “I wish you’d believed me.” But no sooner do they get back to the island than Dr. Jack is out of mopey-dopey mode and back in life-saving-hero mode, diving into the water to save Hurley. Lickety-split, the doc’s got his mojo back, and all it took was a little faith to get him there. As Ben predicted earlier, sooner or later, this Doubting Thomas was convinced.

Before I go any further, I need to interject here that I am hereby obsessed with and captivated by Fionnula Flanagan, the actress portraying Eloise Hawking. In the scarce few scenes where we’ve seen Ms. Hawking over the years, she’s given us playful, menacing, studious, and now helpful. And she’s always portrayed tremendous intelligence and wisdom, despite being given little more to do than recite exposition. Every time she’s on the screen, the weight of the drama and intrigue kicks up about five notches. I want to know everything about Ms. Hawking — her entire life story. I hope we haven’t seen the last of her, even though this episode was clearly a culmination point for the character; there are still so many questions to be answered about her! They should make her a regular. Or give her her own spin-off: Ms. Hawking: The Living Flux Capacitor.

It is awfully convenient that the one place in all the world where the O6 could find out how to get back to the island just happened to be located in the same city where all of them found themselves at just the right time. But as a storyteller myself, I’m inclined to give the Lost writers the benefit of the doubt.

There’s so much to talk about regarding the Lamppost station… The fact that it was built over an electromagnetic energy source, when the island itself is known to be home to electromagnetic funkiness. The classified U.S. Army photograph taped to the wall, depicting surveillance video of the island. We know the Army has been to the island at least once before, as we saw in “Jughead,” when they tried to use it as a test site for detonating an atomic bomb. This photo was dated September 23, 1954, which would have been right around the same time as the Jughead incident. The photo would seem to indicate that the Army is aware of the island’s existence, and has been trying to find it for a very long time. One must ask: was the Army really interested in blowing up the island as a test site for atomic technology? Or were they trying to intentionally blow it up, because they know what it is?

Who is the “very clever fellow” who built the pendulum? Since it was almost certainly a member of the Dharma Initiative, that all but rules out Charles Widmore, Richard Alpert, or Jacob. That pretty much leaves only Pierre Chang as a possibility. But here’s another thought: what if it was Daniel Faraday, during his time traveling adventures? That would make Hawking’s description of him a bit of a wink, referring to her own son in that way. In any case, I hope to find out a lot more about this station, who built it, and that “series of equations” that Hawking referred to.

We’ve seen lots of people come to the island. Many of them, like the Oceanic 815 survivors, the French science team, Yemi’s beechcraft, the real Henry Gale, and probably the long-dead crew of the Black Rock, all arrived there by accident. But others have come and gone intentionally, at their will, primarily using the Others’ submarine but probably using other means of transportation as well. That would include people like Richard Alpert (who left the island several times to investigate young John Locke, and later to recruit Juliet), Juliet (who was brought to the island on the submarine), Tom (who left the island to convince Michael to work for Ben), and Ben himself (who we’ve seen evidence in the past of being able to come and go as he pleases). This begs the question: all of these Others who came to the island of their own choosing — did they make use of the Lamppost to facilitate their travels? If so, Ben was definitely lying when he said he didn’t know about the Lamppost’s existence. He would have had to, to get back to the island after leaving it. But then… there’s always the chance that use of the Lamppost is not a universal rule. The freighter made it to the island without using the Lamppost, though it found the island with great difficulty. I guess I’m trying to wrap my brain around why it was so crucial for the Oceanic 6 to use the Lamppost in this instance, since we know there are other ways of getting to the island. Not to mention why it was so important that they recreate the exact circumstances of their original trip to the island. There was also Hawking’s wording, that seemed to suggest that this particular “window” that Jack & Co. would use to get back, was specific to them in some way. Thoughts, anyone?

So Eloise Hawking, who was very likely once the Other named Ellie, knew all about the Lamppost station, even though she was not Dharma. Charles Widmore, also an Other, has been trying to find the island for most of his life. We know that Hawking and Widmore know each other. So does Widmore not know about the Lamppost? Hawking alone seems to have ownership or authority over the Lamppost. Is she denying him access to it somehow? Or does he legitimately just not know of its existence? He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to ignore such a useful tool when it’s so readily available.

Why was Hawking so cavalier about helping or not helping her son? Shouldn’t she have been more concerned about her son’s welfare? She didn’t seem all that worried, and kind of shrugged off Desmond’s exasperated pleas for help on behalf of Dan and the other survivors. Was it simply that she — who we’ve seen to be prescient before when it comes to matters of time — was unsurprised by this news? Or is there a dark side to her relationship with her son?

The island is not done with Desmond yet. Why? He wasn’t on Oceanic 815, so there was no need for him to be on Ajira 316. So what does the island want with him? And how will he get back, assuming the island’s needs for him require his return there. Maybe it needs him to do some stuff out in the rest of the world. And maybe most important of all… Just exactly how does Hawking know that the island isn’t done with Desmond yet? She seems to be an authority on all things related to the island, almost as if she’s in tune with how the island thinks. So why isn’t she on the island herself?

We know that Christian Shephard told Locke to go see Eloise Hawking when he got off the island. Clearly he did, because she was in possession of his suicide note.

We knew all this time that Locke died so the O6 could get back to the island, but until now, we didn’t know how or why. He wasn’t killed; he committed suicide. And he did it by hanging himself. And he did it to act as a proxy for Jack’s father, who was also dead on the original flight. Locke is very special to the island, and if it brought Christian Shephard back to life in some way or another (and I’m not saying it necessarily did exactly that), then surely it will do even more for Locke. I expect he’ll be brought back, but now he’ll be different from before. Transformed in some way. Elevated to a new state that will be of greater use to the island.

Ben almost seemed to be praying in the chapel when Jack found him after his private chat with Hawking. If he was praying, it was likely in regards to the “favor for an old friend” he was about to embark on. Who was this friend? And what happened there? His injury seemed to be unexpected, given his frantic call to Jack. So something clearly went wrong when he embarked on this favor for his old friend. Can’t wait to find out what.

Why did Ben tell Jack the story of Thomas the Apostle? I’m sure there was some significance to this, and the most likely explanation is that Ben is comparing Thomas to Jack — both men who were/are hesitant to take anything on faith. But I can’t help wondering why Ben told this story immediately after Jack asked him who Eloise Hawking really was. Was the story about her, somehow, too? Or as Ben’s final line suggested, was it about everyone?

Is there any significance to Jack’s grandfather in the overall story, and his need to escape from the retirement home? I tend to think there isn’t, that it was just a plot device to help Jack acquire his dad’s shoes. But this is Lost, so you never know…

Poor Aaron. Doesn’t look like he’ll ever make it back to the island to see his real mom again. Claire came to Kate in a dream and told her not to bring Aaron back, and Kate has complied. For reasons she kept to herself, she no longer had custody of Aaron, and she was suddenly ready to do an about-face on her feelings about going back to the island. The most likely and obvious answer is that for whatever reason, Kate gave Aaron up — very likely to his grandmother, Carole Littleton. But what prompted this move, why Kate seems to accept it so hopelessly, and why she’s suddenly ready to go back to the island, are questions that will be answered another day. Any wild and crazy theories?

Now we know why Christian Shephard is always wearing white shoes when we see him on the island. The real question is, what does that tell us about Christian and his status on the island? The fact that he can’t change his clothes could be significant in a ghostly sort of way, or it could just be that he doesn’t have access to any other clothes to wear. Something tells me it’s meant as a hint about his nature that will be further explained later.

Finally we know the significance of Ajira Airways. So what I want to know is, which one of the passengers was holding onto an Ajira water bottle? Remember the water bottle we saw two episodes ago, in a canoe that Sawyer and the other survivors found? It had to have come from Flight 316, which means that that particular time-jump was indeed a trip into the future (from the survivors’ perspective). So how did the water bottle wind up in a canoe, and who was shooting at the castaways from the other canoe after they got out on the ocean?

The man that Jack met at the airport check-in counter was a new character we will come to know as Caesar. The federal agent who escorted Sayid onto the plane was another new character named Ilana. I don’t know anything more about them than you do, but they’re both obviously worth keeping an eye on.

Sun made a bold move in choosing to return to the island in search of her long lost love. Why? Because of her daughter, Ji Yeon, of course. What will become of the little girl? Will her grandmother raise her? Or will Sun and Jin, once reunited on the island (and come on, you know they will be), seek once again to find a way off, so they can get back to their daughter and be a family together? If so, then the two of them are probably the only remaining major characters who would be interested in ever leaving the island.

What in the world did Sayid get himself into, and how did he just happen to find his way onto Ajira 316? Did he know of its true destination? A simple answer would be that, given he was in the custody of a federal officer, he was probably wanted for all those murders he’d committed and got himself caught somehow. Perhaps he was remorseful for all the killing he’d done, and turned himself in. Or maybe he was caught against his will. Either way, why on earth would a federal U.S. agent be transporting him to Guam? Hey, is that a flashback episode I see coming…? I loved Sayid’s thematic echo of Kate from the pilot episode, who was in handcuffs and in federal custody on Oceanic 815. Another recreation of their original circumstances? Perhaps.

Speaking of unexpected faces, what was Hurley doing at the airport? We know Ben was planning to get him out of jail, and had made arrangements to that effect. But Hurley had no desire to go back to the island, wouldn’t trust Ben or go with him, and he had no knowledge of Ajira 316. Who told him about it and convinced him to go? Did Ms. Hawking intervene and somehow persuade him to go? It clearly wasn’t Ben; even Ben was curious as to who told Hurley to come. My wife’s guess is probably the smartest one: somebody dead, like Charlie or Ana-Lucia, came to him and explained what he had to do. And Hurley’s learned by now not to ignore the advice of dead people.

Hurley’s purchase of seventy-eight tickets on Ajira 316 is pretty self-explanatory. Clearly he knew what was going to go down on the plane — or he suspected, at the very least — and wanted to spare as many people as possible the fate of ending up on the island like he knew he was going to (again). Ah Hurley, always with the big heart, always looking out for others.

Hurley was carrying a guitar case. Was this because Charlie carried one, and Hurley was doing his part to help recreate the circumstances of the Oceanic passengers? He also carried a Spanish-language comic book along (Y the Last Man by Lost writer Brian K. Vaughan, no less), just as he did on the original flight.

Oh, and Flight 316 left from Gate 15. You don’t really need me to tell you that 15 is one of the cursed numbers, do you? Or that Jack’s seat on the plane was in Row 8, another one of the numbers? No, of course you don’t.

How funny is it that nobody on the plane asked Ben what happened to him, or if he was okay?

So what happened to that Ajira plane, anyway? It didn’t appear to crash like Oceanic 815 did. It seemed to be enveloped by the same bright white light that has been overtaking the island of late, when time-jumping occurs. Did they go through a “window” or portal, as Hawking said they would? And if so, what happened to the rest of the passengers on the plane? Is Frank Lapidus back on the island as well?

The way that Kate, Hurley, and Sayid all found their way onto the flight and presumably back to the island, practically at the last minute, despite their many protestations that they’d never go back, would seem to indicate that the island intervened and changed their circumstances so that they would have to return. We know the island can prevent people from dying, so it’s not a stretch to guess that it can direct people’s destinies in this way as well.

There’s no getting around the fact that if Hawking was to be believed about the accuracy of recreating the travel circumstances the O6 experienced the first time around, then Aaron should have been with them. He may not have been born yet, but Claire was almost nine months pregnant when Oceanic 815 crashed. Aaron was born just a few weeks later, so he was definitely on the first flight. I want to know what will become of the little guy now that his birth mother and adoptive mother are both out of the picture. Kate giving him up in such a short period of time has to point towards some major, highly dramatic turn of events. I can’t accept that we’ve seen the last of him, so I suspect that the next time we encounter him… he won’t be a little boy anymore. He’ll probably be all grown up. (Hey, maybe he’s Jacob!)

Probably the biggest revelation to come from the episode, mythology-wise, is Eloise Hawking’s statement that the island is always moving. Okay, I need a minute to take a breath and digest this. No wait, I don’t think I can. The island is always moving?!?! You’re kidding me!! It’s a game-changing eye-opener, without a doubt, and makes me want to go back and rewatch every episode we’ve ever seen where someone came to or left the island. Indeed, this fact does explain why the Oceanic 815 crash survivors were never rescued and why the island is so hard to find (such as the lengths Widmore’s freighter had to go to, to locate it). But in true Lost fashion, it opens a whole new can of worms: Why is the island always moving? If it’s always moving, why did Jacob want Locke to move it recently? Was he asking Locke to move it through time? But then… we saw it disappear when Ben turned the wheel. It physically vanished from the place it was at. I can’t get my head around this one. More explanation needed, pronto!

When Jack asked Ben how he could read while they were waiting for something to happen on the plane, Ben replied, “My mother taught me.” Was this more than sarcasm? We know Ben’s mother died giving birth to him, so she couldn’t have taught him anything? Could she? He saw her once since then that we know of, on the island (though this was long after he was old enough to read). Has he conversed with her again, on other occasions? And if so, could she be a manifestation of the smoke monster (since we know smokey can take human form), and might that explain the link between Ben and smokey? The bond that allowed him to summon the smoke monster to destroy Keamy’s men?

This isn’t a theory or an unanswered question, just me wondering something: That lake where Jack rescued Hurley and woke Kate up — was that the same lagoon-with-a-waterfall where Kate and Sawyer once visited? I think it was in the episode where Kate was trying to retrieve that little toy airplane from the briefcase… Can anyone tell if it’s the same location on the island? Looks pretty similar.

In the end, there were enough unanswered questions about the people who returned for the producers to have set up a new pilot for the show:

  • What happened to Aaron? Did Kate give him up? If so, why?
  • What happened to Ben that got him so bloodied up?
  • How and why did Sayid end up in Federal custody, and on the plane?
  • How and why did Hurley end up on the plane? And why was he carrying a guitar case?
  • What happened to all the other people on the plane?
  • What happened to the plane itself? Did it crash?
  • Where are Sun, Sayid, and Ben? Where is Locke’s body?

Finally, what happened to the island survivors since the end of the last episode, and our encounter with Dharma Initiative Jin? How much time has passed there? It seems pretty clear that we’re in the 70s, probably around the time of the early days of the Dharma Initiative. And the fact that Jin has had time to join up with Dharma somehow — probably as a member of their security force — can only mean that the island has been settled at this point in time for quite a while, with no more time jumping. Is this 1970s setting where the island ended up after Locke pushed the frozen wheel back in place? Did the time-jumping stop altogether, leaving everyone stranded here in the 70s? And will the show take place in the 70s, from now until its end?