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lost 3.22 'through the looking glass' *spoilers*

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written by: show runners damon lindelof and carlton cuse.

directed by: jack bender, who is the 'lead director' of the show. he's directed many of the best eps, 19 in total, including every premiere and finale, save for j.j. abrams' pilot.

if you have not kept up with lost, if you've seen a handful of episodes here and there, if you want to experience the greatest long-form storytelling revelation we've yet seen in network television unspoiled, DO NOT READ ON.

it's taken me awhile to compile my thoughts on this episode. i feel like there's less of a time crunch, with what, 8 months until season 4, and also, i've needed to let it sit with me for a bit.

"through the looking glass" indeed, this was the greatest episode of lost in the show's history, and maybe the best season finale cliffhanger since star trek: the next generation's 'the best of both worlds, part 1.'

where to begin? let's start at the beginning.

so here's where my brain went during the 'flashback' scenes:
  • oh that's a cute opening. a little nod to jack's exchange with cindy in the pilot episode. i guess it's jack's habit to ask for more drinks.
  • the only place that this would fit the timeline is if it's jack coming home from thailand.
  • who is in the car crash? it must be someone important..
  • oh, ok the car crash person isn't important.
  • who is in the coffin? did his wife die? no, juliet tells us she's married and happy. did his mom die? no, we see her just before jack leaves for sydney. did achara the tattoo girl die? who cares!
  • hm. there's his wife, ex-wife i mean. yeah, this must be after thailand. he still has, like, 5 tattoos left to explain. maybe that's what this is all about. he looks wrecked enough to get another tattoo.
  • did they have razr phones before 2004? i guess they must have. the props department is very careful about that kind of stuff.
  • hoffs/drawlar funeral home looks like an anagram.
  • maps. he has maps laid out in his apartment? why would he have maa... holy fuck. no. no way. did they? what the fuck. no way. no way they did. it's not.. right? it's not. they wouldn't do that would they? there's that phone again. omg. the phone. there were no razr phones in 2004. it's the fucking future. holy shit it's the fucking future.
  • oh god, it's gonna be kate isn't it? kate. yep. there's kate. jesus. they're really doing this. holy crap.
basically this episode demanded that you watch it again immediately. it inverted the traditional structure, yet it still worked under the assumption that what we were seeing was a flashback.

the classic episode of lost gives us the flashbacks to provide an emotional backbone, resonance, and understanding of the character's 'current' actions on the island. and so we view this episode intuiting that the flashbacks are somehow informing jack's actions on the island - then the kicker comes, and you realize, in a cathartic moment, that what you have seen is the exact opposite. it is actually the island scenes that are informing the 'flashback.' a perfectly executed reversal.

but the emotional payoffs of the island story were so tight and satisfying, that even without the snake in the mailbox, this would have stood right alongside last year's very strong finale. the best acting happens in scenes where you can feel the delight of the actors at getting good material to play, and nearly everyone in the 5 plotlines seemed to be having a blast.

favorite moments from the island plot:
  • every line rose uttered. she was the voice of an audience fed up with jack. it was worth bringing her back just for that. bravo.
  • the kate/sawyer/jack/juliette squaredance. jack says he loves kate and then kisses juliette? dhr-ama!
  • the van. ok, i called it. i knew that van was going to be important! and it was perfectly set up with hurley being rejected twice because of his weight. a fantastic moment.
  • also loved hurley's 'hey other dudes!' on the
  • sawyer kills tom. i let out an uncontrolled 'YES!' after he said 'that's for taking the kid off the raft.' it was perfect. we needed to be reminded of the sins tom and the others had committed, and just how bad and unforgivable they were. tom certainly didn't deserve to die, but it was a great moment, laying the groundwork for who we might expect a purposeless sawyer to become in the remaining seasons.
  • locke throws a knife into naomi's back. i called this one too - locke was introduced into the show with a knife throw, and this served as an intro for the 'new' locke. i believe it's also going to set up a warring jack/locke saga to come.
  • charlie's death. yes. we said goodbye, and it was emotionally poignant. i wasn't bothered by questions of why he didn't swim out the window. he knew he needed to die. i recently re-watched 'the moth,' charlie's first flashback. the ring, his brother, all the themes come back around full circle. a lovely sendoff.
  • rousseau and alex finally meet. 'help me tie him up?' genius
so here's the big questions facing us as we head into year 4:
  1. is the format of the show forever changed, with these flash-forwards?
  2. where does the flash-forward fit into the timeline?
  3. we know some of them get rescued. at what cost? who is still on the island?
  4. who is 'he' that kate needs to get back to?
  5. who is in the casket?
  6. is jack's father somehow alive?
  7. who's naomi working for? who's on the ship?
1. i don't believe the format will drastically change until the final season of the show. we still have lots of backstory that needs filling in. i want to see more ben flashbacks. i want to see a rousseau flashback (which we have been promised next year). flashbacks are not going away. this revelation is very similar to last year's reveal when we learned that the outside world exists, and is aware of the island. after that revelation, we wondered if the show's format would now start featuring people off the island trying to find it.. nope.

the season 2 revelation that penny was looking for the island was allowed to hang in the background of this entire 3rd season - brought back into play only three times: during desmond's 2 flashback episodes, and the finale. i believe that jack's flash-forward will similarly hang throughout all of next year. probably we won't get another flash-forward until next year's finale - but from this point forward, all of the 'flashes' will hang in mystery - "forward or back?" we'll wonder, until enough information is given for us to place it.

2. the la times revealed that the specific page used for the newspaper came from the april 5, 2007 edition. but were fans intended to discover this? the dateline is never revealed on-screen, so i wonder if this date is canon. if this is the case, then i wonder how the flashforwards will play out. the island time happens sequentially, at a rate of one month per season. three remaining seasons isn't enough time to fill in all the events from january 2005 to april 2007.

my feeling is that we are being set up for a dual catharsis in the grand finale - one in which we will see the survivors being rescued (by which time we will know what happens to them once they reach the mainland), played simultaneously with jack's triumphant return to the island, back where he belongs, possibly reunited with juliet?

3. all we know at this point is that jack and kate get off the island. who else? what of juliet? clearly, jack has no one else in his life at this point. it will probably take a full season to be revealed, but whoever is on the other end of the satellite phone is not going to be brining good tidings.

4. here's the choices: sawyer. her son by sawyer. someone we haven't met yet. i don't think 'he's going to be wondering where i am' is something you say about a 2 year old baby.

5. here's the choices: aaron. ben. locke. sawyer. michael. walt. jin. desmond. sayid. jacob. someone we haven't met yet. all we know is that he's male, and jack doesn't consider him friend or family. stills of the newspaper article makes it look like a "j" name, and the casket sort of looks short, but it's debatable. this is one of the great 'new mysteries,' this season's four-toed statue - and again, there's not enough information to make a real prediction. any amount of story between now and the end could satisfyingly put any of those men into that casket.

but here's the other factor: this man's death drove jack to suicide. so, this man must have some knowledge of how to get back to the island. ben? michael? locke? desmond? the idea of it being michael is intriguing - we could look back at this episode and say that 'both michael and walt reappeared!' this requires that michael took a fake name, and that both jack and kate knew his fake name, and that for some reason jack hadn't yet tapped him for his island knowledge.

6. probably not. there is of course plenty of story-time to somehow bring him back, but it's not likely. if the producers -really- wanted to confuse us, they would have actually put christian shepard in the episode. it would have been a great way to 'lock' it in our minds as a flashback and then really fuck with our heads once kate appears. instead we have innuendo coming only from jack, and no acknowledgment from anyone else that his dad might be around.

7. i have a feeling it is the widmore corporation, operating behind penny's back, somehow. penny's dad has something to do with dharma - is he trying to find desmond in order to make amends with penny? is he trying to find desmond once and for all and destroy him? is there a dual motive? once the key turned, it was probably the first time that mainland operations realized that something was amiss on dharma island, so they sent a rescue team - but why would naomi claim to be hired by penny? and if she wasn't, how does she have that photo?
lots of holes to fill in..

so that's my thoughts, on this, the best serialized show on television ever. six feet under is still the greatest drama. battlestar galactica is the greatest sci-fi. let's not even talk about the hackneyed and lazy 'heroes' finale. an utter disappointment that lived up to only the lowest moments in that show's first season.

during the hiatus, i'll be re-watching all of 'lost' again, and may chime back in with some observations. if you read my recaps, agree, disagree, or just want to discuss the show, drop a comment or email.

i've taken some flack for turning this into a 'lost' blog.. so next year, i will create a separate spot for all of this.. until then!

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