Season 3 Episode 22

Through the Looking Glass (1)

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 23, 2007 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (115)

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  • Part one of my review, basically it's my "Stairway to Heaven".

    With the theme of The Others this season, it would've been likelier to have Ben or Juliet as the focus of the flashbacks, fleshing out unanswered questions we've had about The Others. Considering Jack's last flashback was the weakest episode of the season, it may be expected to go into this episode with some skepticism or confusion regarding their choice. However, weeks before this episode aired, Cuse and Lindelof made a deal with ABC to set a definitive end date for the series. This unusual move allows them to plan a proper end of the show rather than prolonging it as "The X-Files" did. With 48 episodes left, it was time to set up the next phase in the story, where things start to move towards the climax. Throwing in a major game changer like the final twist is such a dramatic gesture. It's appropriate that Jack, who for all intents and purposes is the main character, be the one explored at this pivotal time in the series.

    The twist's fitting because the way events played out, this almost could've been a series finale. The tensions between the castaways and The Others come to a head as three seasons worth of storylines and character development culminate in explosive battles and major resolutions. Considering the unanswered questions remaining, something had to change to keep the story fresh. If they didn't know how much longer they had to keep the show going, perhaps the new element wouldn't have been introduced, but instead held off for longer than it should. Just when we think we know where the show is going, they throw a major curve ball no one saw coming.

    Matthew Fox has a lot to work with in this episode. He plays everything from suicidal depression to victorious euphoria so well. Typically the acting praise glory goes to Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson, or an impressive newcomer like Elizabeth Mitchell (well deserved in all three cases). However, Fox steps up and delivers his best work on the show so far, and thankfully it's been recognized (not by the stupid Emmys though).

    Jack's defining characteristic is his messiah complex. He must suffer to save or to fix everyone he meets. It's what drives him to suicidal depression when he reads the mysterious clipping, as well as what snaps him out of it when the woman crashed her car with her son inside as well. Then it gets worse when he sees the extent of damage she suffered because, as he later learns, he distracted her. This comes in contrast to the present situation, where Jack is in control, leading his people, as Naomi points out, like Moses. His focus as leader has never been sharper as the goal couldn't be clearer With Karl's warning forcing the castaways to rework their plan on the beach, failure seemed inevitable for the survivors hoping to kill or capture The Others invading the beach. There are further hints of dooming the castaways, with Jin saying (in English) that they needed to go home, or the light hearted reminder Rose gave Bernard that he "is not Rambo". Ultimately this is proven true, although they do take seven down before getting captured. Of course the other castaways don't know that, and panic starts to arise. Jack manages to get everyone to stick with the original plan without saying "live together, die alone", which Rose awesomely warns warrants a punch in the face.

    I would've liked to seen more about Juliet's perspective on what happened. While she turned against The Others, she was still one of them for three years and had grown close to at least some of them. Because she turned, many of them are dead. Juliet's loyalties will be one to watch when the freighter arrives. She aligns herself with whoever can get her off the island to see her sister, or at least whoever can help her sister when she was sick. If many of the castaways side with the philosophy that the people on the freighter are bad, maybe she'll betray the castaways in favor of getting home.

    There are a few moments that twist the romantic quadrangle. Juliet and Jack have formed a romance, which is hardly a surprise. Why none of the castaways who've questioned his judgment have brought it up before is still unclear. Then he admits to Kate that he loves her. As he did in "I Do", Jack is willing to let Kate be with someone else who makes her happy (having someone himself makes that easier). One thing of note is that Jack's confession appears in the second part when it aired and on its downloadable counterpart, but was changed for the DVD (which stupidly split the episode in two unlike "Exodus II & III" and "Live Together, Die Alone").

    Sawyer's emotional state since killing the man he blamed for ruining his life wasn't explored coming in, but this episode fully delves into Sawyer's darkness. Revenge negated all the progress he made. Going back to the beach for Jin, Bernard and Sayid is more of a death wish than a heroic gesture, even mocking those who want to help. The two most obvious examples are Kate and Hurley. Sawyer's distancing Kate (ironically by not nicknaming her). Rejecting Hurley just adds to what happened in the last episode, only Sawyer did this to make Hurley feel as bad as he did. The exception is Juliet, who is the only person who could get Jack to allow them to go. Following up on the cliffhanger, the two women in The Looking Glass (Greta and Bonnie) are The Others helping Ben jam all signals coming from the island. One would imagine if they had more time they would've been further explored as tools in Ben's operation. There is something in the good cop (Greta) and bad cop (Bonnie) that would've been nice to see more of, especially since the two are played by recognizable guest TV actors.

    Believing his death imminent, Charlie faces them fearlessly, which clearly doesn't work for Bonnie. Considering all the upper hands The Others have had against the castaways, it's refreshing to see them frustrated. Charlie isn't afraid to die anymore, so The Others have no leverage.

    The Others' mission to "The Temple" sounds intriguing, but may be just a way to rewrite around real life conflicts. Nestor Carbonell, who plays Richard Alpert, took a job on another show. Since no other prominent Others are going with him, it's the best way to get him out of the story without killing him off, since his story is yet to be told. There's no way the fans would let them get away with revealing that Richard hasn't aged a day in at least a quarter century without an eventual answer. It'll be best to be patient to see how this ends.

    Ben offers some insight into the secretive nature of The Others' society. It makes sense that they are out to protect the island from most outsiders and that those on the freighter pose the greatest threat to the island. This explains a good amount of the antagonism they've had towards the castaways, their conflict with the Dharma Initiative and why Ben is deathly afraid of Naomi and the castaways making contact with the outside world. The castaways didn't have a choice in their arrival, so The Others took select ones and made what they could out of it. However, the freighter is a whole different beast in that they're actively looking for it. This island has many special things, but why The Others need, or feel the need, to "protect" it has yet to be explained.

    Ben's secrecy regarding many of his duplicitous activities shows his desire to assert his power, but actually the episode shows how he is losing power dramatically and is clinging to whatever he had left. This has been so since he found out he was sick. On an island that miraculously heals a person's paralysis, sterility or cancer, that the person who supposedly had a close communion with the island would be exempt is enough to get people wondering whether their leader is a false prophet.

    Since "The Man From Tallahassee", Locke has been challenging Ben's status as leader. Locke gained celebrity among the Others for his miraculous recovery from paralysis in contrast to Ben's sickness. Ben knew the threat was real when Jacob communicated with Locke, so he shot Locke and left him for dead. With Ben having lost his status and The Others' muscle decimated, it wouldn't be hard to imagine Jacob using Walt to help Locke protect the island from the threat of those preparing to arrive.

    Alternatively, the other major presence of visions on the island has been a by product of The Monster. This could mean several different things. The Monster could be operating with a different agenda than Jacob, or maybe they are the same entity, or The Monster is a "pet" of Jacob's. Jacob doesn't appear to be able to actively influence things, so he has people like Ben do his bidding or maybe will use The Monster as his muscle. If the Monster is really a security system as Rousseau describes it, then it should be interesting to see how it reacts to the freighter.

    Early in the season, Boone arrived in a vision to help Locke get back on track. As he contemplates ending his life, it makes sense for another vision to talk him off the ledge. It all goes back to the people he tried to connect to the island back in the first season. Malcolm David Kelly clearly is in the midst of puberty and that can't be hidden anymore no matter how they shoot it. Regardless of that, or the usability of a gun that has been exposed to a tropical environment for years, this scene effectively raises the stakes for the second part. With all that's going on, Locke is now another x factor.

    Having Walt appear again could be a sign of things to come. Producers made no attempt to hide the fact that Michael would be returning as a lead character in season four, (the producers of "24" did something similar with the promotional material for their seventh season). Perhaps Walt and Michael, after being shipped away in the second season finale, encountered the freighter, and may have told them of the island's existence. It's unlikely Kelly will be featured much because of his growth spurt, but the device at the end of the two parter could allow them to bring Walt back into the story, which is important considering how much they emphasized his role in the first two seasons.