By Jeff Jensen
Jeff Jensen, an EW senior writer, has been despondent since the cancellation of ''Twin Peaks''
''I felt just the same,'' said Edmund in a breathless voice. ''As if I were being dragged along. A most frightful pulling — ugh! It's beginning again!... All catch hands and keep together! This is magic — I can tell by the feeling. Quick!''
THE TEASE! Why the road back to the Island begins with ''316''Lost producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have often cited The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis' beloved fantasy series, as a major creative touchstone for their own fantastical epic. (The proof: Charlotte Staples Lewis = Clive Staples Lewis). The above citation comes from Prince Caspian, Lewis' sequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in which the four Pevensie siblings return to the enchanted realm of Narnia...many, many years in the future, and via a mysterious island dotted with crumbling ruins, no less. And while Edmund's terrified alarm conjures images of Smokey dragging Montand the Frenchie into the Temple's basement (Rip! Splooge! Awesome!), young Master Ed here is actually describing the sensation of being abruptly yanked back to fantasyland. In fact, his words evoke for me the sound effect of Lost's time flashes. Listen as you watch the following clip from ''The Little Prince'': Doesn't it sound like the castaways are literally being stretched from one point in time to another? (Feel free to zip to the 1:39 mark to get to the point.)
Tonight's Lost is entitled ''316.'' If you've seen the promos or read EW's recent cover story about the show, then maybe I'm not giving away too much when I say that tonight, some or all of the Oceanic 6 pull a Prince Caspian and officially start their journey back to the Island. Or, put another way, ''316'' is the dedication page to a whole new chapter in the veritable Chronicles of Lost. And if you go to your local bookstore today and buy HarperCollins' 2001 single-volume compendium of all seven Narnia novels, you know what you'll find on page 316? That's right: The dedication page to Prince Caspian. Go ahead. Take a look.
Yes, I know: PSYCHOPOMP!
LET HIM EAT PERFUMED CROW! Atoning for my Turkish Delight debacle Last week, in the TV Watch recap of ''This Place Is Death,'' I made the claim that Turkish Delight — the allegedly yummy treat that the White Witch uses to tempt Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe — is made of chocolate. But it turns out that I was, like, totally wrong! According to reader Kate Halleron of Newport, Ore.,: ''Turkish Delight contains no chocolate. Turkish Delight itself is made from sugar and rosewater. Tastes like perfume. Not too many people who didn't grow up with it are likely to acquire a taste for it. Kinda like Vegemite. Or turnip greens. Or lutefisk.'' I stand corrected — and nauseated! To make up for my gaffe, I am going to make sure that in a future episode of Totally Lost, we have a scene where we prepare a tray of Turkish Delight...and I make Dan eat it.
So, to atone for my Turkish Delight error, I'm going to give you three new provocative and timely Lost/Narnia connections — one of which serves as a BONUS TEASE for tonight's episode.
DEATHWATER ISLAND From the book Voyage of the Dawn Treader After successfully surviving a tempest-like storm, Edmund, Lucy, and King Caspian discover yet another mysterious Narnia island that's home to a dormant volcano and a once-glorious civilization that has fallen into ruin. The island seems to be imbued with great power — its waters can turn anything into gold. But Caspian gets greedy. He wants to exploit this alchemical magic to bolster his royal power. To that end, he demands that Edmund and Lucy keep the island a secret. Edmund refuses, but his motivations aren't wholly virtuous, either: He just resents Caspian trying to pull rank on him, ''one of the four ancient sovereigns of Narnia.'' Lucy gets pissy and tells them both to get over their bad selves — ''You're all such swaggering, bullying idiots!'' — when suddenly a deus ex machina vision of God-like Aslan spanks them into moral submission and wipes their memories of the episode. All that remains is the fuzzy recollection that the island should be avoided at all costs. ''This is a place with a curse on it,'' says the valiant rat Reepicheep. ''And if I might have the honour of naming this island, I should call it Deathwater.''
LINK TO LOST: A pact to keep the island a secret? Sounds like ''The Lie.'' ''The Man Behind The Curtain'' revealed that the Island on Lost is home to a dormant volcano. The same episode also revealed that Dharma was engaged in ''gemology,'' suggesting that the Island is rich with precious minerals. It also should be noted that in the episode ''The Other Woman'' we learn that the function of the Dharma station known as the Tempest was to manufacture cyanide gas. Cyanide is an essential ingredient in extracting gold from ore and refining other rocks and minerals into valuable gems. (''Chemical weapons facility'' my ass. I am utterly convinced that Dharma was there to rape the Island of all its natural riches.) ''The Shape of Things To Come'' depicted Ben and Charles Widmore as bullies and would-be Island sovereigns locked in a battle over control of the Island. ''This Place Is Death'' reminded us that the Island has its own ancient civilization, and it also had Charlotte — Lost's proverbial Lucy — pulling from a fuzzy memory that ''This place is death!''
LOST/NARNIA CONNECTIONS (cont.)THE YELLOW RINGSFrom the book The Magician's Nephew In this mythology-revealing installment, the book's child heroes find a pair of matching magical yellow rings in an ancient box from Atlantis. The kids think that the rings give them the power to transport themselves to Narnia — and they do. But the story reveals that the rings belong to Narnia, and because they do, they want to return there.
LINK TO LOST: Thematically, the off-Island castaways are like the rings, wanting/needing to be returned. In ''This Place Is Death,'' Sun received a gold band — Jin's wedding ring — which inspired/compelled her to return to the Island.
THE LAMP-POST From the books The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Magician's Nephew (SPOILER ALERT!) One of the most iconic landmarks in Lewis' Narnia saga, the lamp-post is an eternally lit street light located in the enchanted woods of the Lantern Wastes. After Lucy pushes her way through the wardrobe closet that leads into the Lantern Wastes, the lamp-post is the first marker she encounters. It literally lights her way into Narnia.
LINK TO LOST: As you will learn tonight — unless you've already had this spoiled for you in the teaser clip ABC has posted online — ''The Lamp-Post'' is the name of an off-Island Dharma station that the weird science enclave used to find the Island. It is certainly located in an unlikely place — you know it better as the computer lab underneath Ms. Hawking's church.
LOST MADE SIMPLE (HA!) Assuming John Locke's axle-fixing crank on the frozen donkey wheel actually worked, ''This Place Is Death'' brought to an end — for now, at least — the castaway time-flashing story. However, I can tell you it will take about two episodes to dramatize the fall-out (so to speak) of Locke's actions. Last week, I tried to sort through Lost's depiction of time travel, but my analysis didn't take into account the events of ''No Place Like Death.'' For a more up-to-date (and more learned) assessment, check out Popular Mechanics, which has started a fun and very accessible blog critiquing the science of Lost and other prominent sci-fi stories.
READER MAIL! ''You were remiss when you stated that C.S. Lewis' first Chronicles of Narnia book was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was actually a book called The Magician's Nephew. It tells of the creation of Narnia, the origin of the Witch, why the wardrobe is magical, the significance of the lamp post, etc. You should check it out it's an easy read and it may have ties to Lost that you can fish out.'' —Sean Ahern, Jacksonville, Fla.
Did I jump the Dharma shark on my Narnia references last week or what?! However, this mistake isn't as egregious as my Turkish Delight screw-up. The Magician's Nephew is indeed considered by Narniaphiles as the first installment in the Chronicles — but it was actually the sixth book published. Still, I know enough about Narnia to know that these matters are of weighty importance to... uh... those for whom these matters are weighty. To atone for THIS mistake, I offer all of you TWO MORE Narnia tidbits that overlap with tonight's episode.
1) Tonight's episode features a magician. 2) Tonight's episode also features Jill the Butcher, the off-Island Other who has been keeping Locke on ice for Ben. As it happens, there is a famous Jill in the Chronicles, too: Jill Pole is the headstrong heroine of The Silver Chair and The Last Battle. Like many of Lost's Others, Ms. Pole is very adept with a bow and arrow. More fun facts about Jill Pole that have intriguing Lost resonance: Jill attended a cruel, weird boarding school known as the Experiment House, whose name gives me a Dharma/Room 23 vibe. Also, just seconds before she was transported to Narnia for The Last Battle, Jill and her friend Eustace were traveling in a train when there was a ''jerk and a noise,'' and then — FLASH! — they were suddenly in Narnia. The big revelation at the end of The Last Battle — Spoiler Alert! — was that the ''jerk and a noise'' was actually a train derailment. Like the castaways of Lost, Jill had been brought back to Narnia via disaster.
''I think your theory that Faraday didn't remember Desmond until Desmond actually went and met him is correct. However, why did Charlotte remember Faraday telling her she would die on the island? The event had not yet happened for Faraday — but Charlotte still remembered it. Was she mistaken and it wasn't actually Faraday!?'' — Amanda in Austin
Amanda has definitely found a provocative flaw in my theory. And she may have also found a neat way to bail me out! But here's another caveat: Charlotte was ''recovering'' this memory amid special circumstances — her mind was madly shifting from one point in time to another due to the time travel disease — and so, perhaps, the normal rules don't apply.
''What is up with Locke getting things jabbed/stabbed/shot through his legs? Is this some Island blackmail? 'I gave you back your legs, now do what I say or I'll take them back! And here's a sharp stick through your knee just to remind you!' What do you think?'' —Danielle in Cincinnati (P.S. If I pretend my last name is Rousseau, will you answer me?)
First of all, I like your Island blackmail theory. Such a gangsta, this Island is. (Hey! Did John Locke do a Godfather impression in Lost's pilot? You know: the creepy orange peel smile?) But here's another thought that comes to mind, specific to what we saw in last week's episode and the theme of this week's column. Since we saw Locke turn the frozen donkey wheel, we now know that he will be leaving the Island. I am reminded that in most fantasy literature — specifically, The Chronicles of Narnia — you don't really get to keep what you gained in fantasyland, beyond memories or learning. The kids in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe all grew up and grew strong while they were in Narnia... but when they went back to ''the real world,'' they physically reverted back to being the kids that they were right before they left. Ergo, in ''This Place Is Death,'' because John had to go back to ''the real world,'' he had to surrender what he physically gained: His legs.
But your question was more about the recurring motif of Locke's legs being busted. It's interesting to note that Locke loses his legs whenever he gets put on a new path — and, perhaps, sometimes as a karmic scolding for deviating from the path he's supposed to be on. Locke succumbed to the temptation of chasing after his cruel, criminal father — and he got tossed out a window. Locke got caught up in the Hatch's weird drama — and he got his legs crushed under the Blast Door. What happened right before Alpert gave him his mission to bring the Oceanic 6 back to the Island? That's right: shot in the leg by Ethan. Every time Locke's hero's journey gets rebooted, he's delivered back to a square one: Busted legs. But then he takes the leap of faith, and he's healed anew.
In tomorrow's TV Watch recap of ''316,'' we will speak more about leaps of faith, restored destinies, and various signs and wonders to be interpreted. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1550612_20250233_20259645,00.html