This article is about the episode. For other uses, see 316 (disambiguation). For episode 3x16, see "One of Us".

"316" is the 6th episode in Season 5 of Lost and the 92nd produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on February 18, 2009. The way back to the Island is revealed to members of the Oceanic Six, but there is trouble ahead when not all of them wish to return.


Previously on Lost

On the Island (1977)

Jack, Kate and Hurley are back on the Island.

Jack's eye opens as he awakens in a bamboo grove, dressed in a suit; mimicking the first scene from the pilot episode. He looks around in amazement, then notices he's holding a torn piece of paper on which the words "I wish" are legible, a fragment from Locke's suicide letter to Jack. Jack hears Hurley crying for help, drops the note and runs through the jungle, along a stream, to the top of a waterfall, where he sees Hurley flailing in the lagoon below, struggling to hold on to a guitar case. Jack dives into the water and helps Hurley out of the deep part of the water. They notice Kate lying unconscious on the side of the pool, and hurry over where Jack awakens her and informs her that they’ve successfully returned to the Island.

Jin, in a DHARMA Initiative jumpsuit, lowers his carbine.

None of the three remember actually crashing and none have seen Ben, Sun, Sayid, any other survivors, or any wreckage of the plane. Jack suggests that they split up and search for survivors, but before they can do anything they hear music. The source of the music is a DHARMA van in what appears to be in new or very well maintained condition, which emerges from the jungle and pulls up next to the lagoon. A man in a DHARMA Initiative jumpsuit gets out and points a carbine at the three survivors. Hurley then recognizes him and the man lowers his weapon; it is an astonished Jin.

Off the Island (2007)

The interior of the Lamp Post station.

In Los Angeles, Eloise Hawking takes Jack, Sun, Ben, and Desmond into the basement of the church. There she opens a blast door, revealing a room containing a map, a pendulum-like mechanism resembling a Foucault pendulum, and various computers. She announces that this is a DHARMA Initiative station called the Lamp Post and it was through this station that they found the Island. Jack asks Ben if he knew this existed. Ben denies knowledge, but when Jack asks Eloise whether Ben is telling the truth, she says "probably not."

Desmond warns Jack about Eloise.

Eloise explains that the Lamp Post was created years ago over a pocket of electromagnetic energy, which is connected to similar pockets around the world. The people who built it knew the Island existed but not where it was. The Island is "always moving", which is why the survivors of Flight 815 were never rescued, Eloise claims. She explains that one of the men built the pendulum in order to predict where the Island would appear in the future. Using those calculations she has determined the position of a "window" to the Island which will close in thirty-six hours. As she is explaining this, Jack examines calculations on a chalkboard and a large photograph of the Island marked "9/23/54 - U.S. Army - OP 264- Top Secret - Eyes Only."

After hearing Eloise's talk, Desmond realizes that Jack intends to return to the Island. Desmond delivers Daniel Faraday's message to Eloise, warning her that Daniel and everyone on the Island need her help. Eloise tells Desmond the Island isn't done with him, but he angrily recounts how following her past instructions cost him 4 years of his life. Desmond tells Jack that they are being used and that he is "done with the Island" as he storms out of the room. Eloise hands Jack a binder containing lists of airline flights and their coordinates. Eloise then informs Jack that Ajira Airways Flight 316 to Guam will pass over the Island's location and that all of his friends must be on that flight.

Jack and Ben at Eloise's church.

Eloise asks to see Jack alone and takes him to another room of the church which appears to be her office. She gives Jack an envelope containing Locke's suicide note. She explains that Jack must recreate the crash of 815 as closely as possible. Locke will act as a proxy for Christian Shephard, and Jack needs to give Locke something belonging to his father. Jack is skeptical, but Eloise tells him "That's why it's called a leap of faith."

In the main hall of the church, Jack approaches Ben, who is kneeling in a forward pew with his hands together up to his nose as though praying, with his eyes open. Jack asks where Sun is; Ben says she left. Jack asks about Locke and his coffin, which Ben tells him he will pick up on his way to the airport. As Ben walks to the votive candles and lights one, both men ask each other about Eloise, but neither provides answers. Ben looks at the painting positioned above the candles: The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio. Ben tells Jack about Thomas the Apostle, noting Thomas’ claim to fame was not his bravery, but his doubt regarding the Resurrection of Christ. Jack asks if Thomas was ever convinced. Ben explains that Thomas needed to touch Christ's wounds to be convinced and then says, "We're all convinced sooner or later, Jack." Ben walks toward the doors, and Jack asks where he's going to which Ben replies, "Oh, I made a promise to an old friend of mine--just a loose end that needs tying up." Jack looks again at the Caravaggio.

Jack's grandfather, Ray, explains his failed attempt to escape.

Later, while sitting in a bar next to a girl with a seemingly untouched drink in front of him, Jack receives a phone call from an assisted living facility. There, an official tells Jack that the resident in question attempted to run away and that if it happens again they will have to transfer him to another facility. In a common room where a magician is performing, Jack greets an elderly man named Ray. Ray, revealed to be Jack's grandfather, had attempted to run away from his retirement home, going so far as to pack a suitcase. As Jack helps his grandfather unpack he notices a pair of black dress shoes. Ray explains that the shoes were among Christian’s belongings which Margo had sent to Ray following Christian's death. Jack asks to take the shoes, and Ray readily gives them to him.

Jack and Kate kiss.

Jack returns home and as he starts to pour himself a drink he hears a suspicious noise. Going into his bedroom he finds Kate in the darkness, lying on his bed in tears. She asks if he is still planning on returning to the Island and then offers to return with him. When Jack asks why she changed her mind and where Aaron is, she refuses to answer and makes him promise to never ask her that question again if he wants her to come with him. Jack agrees, and Kate then kisses Jack passionately.

The next morning, Jack prepares coffee and orange juice for Kate. She notices Christian's shoes, and Jack explains why he had put white tennis shoes on his father’s body back in Sydney. When the phone rings, Kate leaves, telling Jack that she will meet him at the airport.

After she leaves, Jack answers the phone. It is from a drenched and bloodied Ben, who is calling from a pay phone at Long Beach Marina. He claims that he has been "sidetracked" and that Jack should retrieve Locke's body from Simon’s Butcher Shop. Jack travels to the butcher shop where he is let in by Jill. In the freezer, Jack opens Locke's coffin and replaces Locke's shoes with his father's. He then places Locke's unopened suicide note in Locke's jacket, claiming that he's "heard everything you have to say" and closes the casket.

Jack books an Ajira ticket for Flight 316.

At the airport, Jack makes arrangements with the gate attendant for transporting Locke’s body. While doing so, he sees Kate arrive, apparently trying to look discreet in sunglasses and with her head down. As he heads towards the gate a man offers his condolences. He then runs into Sun, who says that if there is the slightest chance of Jin being alive she needs to return to the Island. As they head to gate 15 they see Sayid, apparently handcuffed, and being accompanied by a woman, apparently a federal marshall. At the gate, Hurley, appearing nervous or reluctant and carrying a guitar case, informs the Ajira employee that he has purchased all the remaining 78 available seats on the flight, but not why. It is implied that it is to save innocent people from any forthcoming crash. Jack goes up to Hurley, greets him and asks how did he know. Hurley nervously responds by saying "it doesn't matter. I'm here."

As the flight is about to close their doors, Ben comes running up at the last minute with his boarding pass. His face is battered and his arm is in a sling. Hurley becomes agitated at Ben’s presence, but Jack assures him that Ben is necessary. As Ben takes his seat, one of the flight attendants tells Jack that security had found something of his in the cargo hold and again hands him Locke's suicide note.

Lapidus meets Jack onboard Flight 316.

Once the plane reaches 30,000 feet, the captain turns off the "fasten seat belts" sign. Jack moves up a few rows and sits with Kate. He remarks how crazy all this is and how it's weird that they are all together again. Kate says "We're on the same plane, Jack. That doesn't make us 'together'." The captain makes an announcement: "Welcome to Ajira Air, this is is your Captain, Frank J. Lapidus." Jack and Kate look at each other, stunned. After a moment, Jack asks the flight attendant to tell Frank about his presence. A clean-shaven Frank comes out and happily greets Jack, saying he "picked up this gig about 8 months ago." However, he then sees Hurley, Sayid, Sun, Ben and Kate. Realization dawns and he asks "We're not going to Guam, are we?"

Jack reads Locke's suicide note.

It then turns to nighttime on the plane, and Ben is reading Ulysses. Jack asks him how he can read (i.e., in view of the tension), and Ben sarcastically answers "my mother taught me." (Just a phrase, since Ben has never met his mother.) He then answers honestly that he can read because it's better than what Jack is doing, "waiting for something to happen." Jack then mentions Locke's suicide note, which he feels is following him. Ben suggests he read it, and says he'll give Jack privacy to read the letter in peace and moves towards the front of the plane. Jack then opens and reads the note, which simply states: "Jack, I wish you had believed me. JL." When Jack finishes reading, the plane encounters turbulence. As everyone buckles up, the turbulence increases and eventually the plane is engulfed in a flash of white light identical to the flashes that accompany the abrupt changes in space/time on the Island.


  • This is the first of only two episodes of the series to lack a secondary storyline. The second was Season 6's "Across the Sea".
  • The episode's title refers to the flight number of the plane that returns the Oceanic Six to the Island.
    • This episode aired on February 18 in the United States. On this day (on a non-leap year) there are exactly 316 days left in the year.
  • Behind the passengers being screened for departure is a poster for Oceanic Airlines.
    • As the Ajira Airways plane takes off, an Oceanic Airlines jet is visible taxiing in the background.
  • This is the first time that the sixth episode of the season is not centric to a female.
  • This is the first Jack-centric episode (including multi-centric episodes) since "Through the Looking Glass, Part 1" that does not contain the word "Home".
  • A photo of the Island taken for the U.S. Army can be seen on the Lamp Post's board. It is labeled "9/23/54".
    • This is one day shy of fifty years before Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the Island. This was the Autumn Equinox in 1954 and Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the Autumn Equinox in 2004.
  • In Jack's dining room, the painting on the wall is of a figure in front of a pueblo type building outlined by the shape of the U.S. state of New Mexico, which is where Sawyer's daughter lives.
  • A Virgin Mary statue can briefly be seen in Eloise's office.
  • The coordinates on Ms. Hawking's printout (34°3' N, 118°14' W) correctly specify Los Angeles, California, as the departure point of Ajira Airways Flight 316.
  • Ajira Flight 316 is a Boeing 737 model aircraft. Winglets at the tips of the wings indicate it was a (dash)-700 series model, or later.
    • The distance from Los Angeles to Honolulu, then Honolulu to Guam, is a combined 5,500 Nautical Miles for the two legs of the flight.
    • The refueling stop in Hawaii, after the five to six hour flight from California, is within the range of most B-737 models. The seven to eight hour flight from Hawaii to Guam is within the safe flight range of most recent B-737 models, -700 or later.
    • A Boeing 737-800 contains two emergency exit doors positioned above the wing along the middle of the fuselage, while the plane in the show only features one, a trait marking it as identical to a Boeing 737-700.
  • In real life, a passenger flight flying from Los Angeles to Guam usually takes one stop at the Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan, rather than stopping in Honolulu.
  • The song Jin is listening to in the DHARMA van is "Dharma Lady," by Geronimo Jackson.
  • Sayid has shaven his beard sometime between leaving the marina in "This Place Is Death" and boarding the plane in this episode. This is the first time in the series he has appeared with just stubble.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-LV.

Production notes

DHARMA logo on Jin's jumpsuit.

  • Jeremy Davies (Daniel), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Ken Leung (Miles) and Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet) do not appear in this episode.
  • According to Jorge Garcia's personal blog, the scenes by the waterfall were filmed on November 4, 2008, which was the day of the presidential election.
  • This episode is the first to feature the "Wilhelm scream", a stock sound effect used in various popular film and television shows. It can be heard a few seconds before the "white flash" occurs on the plane.
  • This episode was originally intended to be the seventh of the season, but was later switched to air before "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham". Executive producer Damon Lindelof confirmed on the April 6, 2009 Official Lost Podcast that this is only the second time in the show's history that the order of the episodes had been switched after filming, having happened only in Season 1 with "Solitary" and "Raised by Another".
  • This episode marks the first on-Island flash-forward, though some fans interpret this episode as being one long flashback instead of having a brief opening flash-forward.
  • The DHARMA logo on Jin's jumpsuit is mostly obscured by his collar, but later in the series is revealed as a star of five points: the "sheriff star" logo of DHARMA Security.
  • This is the last episode to feature Desmond until "Dead Is Dead" and the last of the season to feature him in a significant part (in both "Dead Is Dead" and "The Variable" he only has brief appearances with one/two lines).
  • This is the first time Jack's apartment has been seen since "Through the Looking Glass, Part 2". He's cleaned it up considerably since then, despite only having returned home once to pack during "The Lie". This also seems to be the first time Jack has returned to his apartment (or slept) in the last two days.
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 5 DVD with the bonus disc.

Bloopers and continuity errors

Locke's new pillow and necktie.

  • When Jack leaves the church, it's night; he goes for a drink, gets a call to go and see his grandfather, Ray; when he arrives to see Ray, it's daytime. He then returns to his apartment, and it's night again.
  • The events of previous episode's cliffhanger clearly happen in a different order in the reprise.
  • When Jack wakes up, the reflection of a camera team and a sound boom can be clearly seen in his eye.
  • The electronic board in the Lamp Post with two columns of updating global coordinates is incorrectly labeled. "Longitude" appears above the column of latitudes, and "Latitude" appears above the column of longitudes.
  • The suicide note addressed to Jack is written slightly differently between the version he reads on the plane and the torn version after he arrives on the island.

A camera crew can be seen in Jack's eye.

  • Locke's head is resting on a different pillow and he is wearing a different necktie than in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2" (Original Image).
  • When Jack awakens Kate on the side of the pool, the piece of hair on Kate's cheek changes in the next scene as she wakes up.
  • When Jack arrives at the butcher shop to recover Locke's body, he asks, "Are you Jill? Ben sent me." However, in their phone conversation, Ben never mentions Jill's name.


The Season 5 soundtrack includes the following tracks from this episode:


Recurring themes

Cultural references

  • Y: The Last Man: Hurley is seen reading a Spanish translation of the trade paperback Y: The Last Man Vol. 3: One Small Step. This comic book series is about the sole survivor of a deadly plague that wiped out every male on the planet Earth. It is written by Brian K. Vaughan who is also a writer on Lost. (Literary works)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The DHARMA Initiative station, the Lamp Post is a reference to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and The Magician's Nephew, the first and sixth books published in the Narnia series. In the books, a lamp post marks the passage between Narnia and the real world. In the episode, the Lamp Post serves a similar function with regard to the Island. (Literary works)
  • Ulysses: Ben is seen reading Ulysses by James Joyce on Flight 316 before he leaves his seat. The novel is a story about the journey through Dublin on a single day (June 16, 1904) by its main character, Leopold Bloom. The story is considered a rewrite of Homer's Odyssey as a blend of reality with symbolism in a parable of the experience of life. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse told viewers to read this book on one of the Dharma Special Access videos. A quote from page 316 containing the word "Hurley" is also hidden in the source code of the Ajira Airways website. Fionnula Flanagan who plays Ms. Hawking portrayed Molly Bloom, a character in the book that parallels the Odyssey's Penelope, in 1985's "James Joyce's Women"[1] and 2004's "Joyce to the World",[2] and she also had a part in the book's 1967 film adaptation. (Literary works)
  • The Bible:
    • John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John Locke's suicide note states that Jack should have believed. Eloise told Jack to start believing. Ben told Jack that everyone believes sooner or later. Each of the Oceanic 6 that boards the plane ultimately believes that the flight will return them to the island and does not perish during the crash. This verse is also hidden in the source code of the Ajira Airways website. (Religion) (Literary works)
    • The Gospel of John: Ben tells Jack the story from The Gospel of John about Saint Thomas the Apostle, who is not remembered by the incredible bravery he modeled when he insisted that the disciples should follow Jesus to Judea, even if that meant their deaths (John 11:16), but rather he is remembered by his doubt concerning the bodily resurrection of Christ, a doubt only mitigated by putting his hands in Jesus's wounds (John 20:24-28). (Religion) (Literary works)
  • The Incredulity of Saint Thomas: Ben looks at this painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610). This painting illustrates the Biblical story of Thomas doubting Jesus' resurrection. "Doubting Thomas" is a phrase used to describe someone who is very skeptical about something. (Art)
  • Foucault's Pendulum: In addition to the pendulum in the Lamp Post being an example of Foucault's Pendulum, the scene further references the novel by the same name when Eloise Hawking describes the station as being built on a source of magnetic energy that connects to other sources around the world, including the Island. This same idea is often discussed in the novel and these connections are referred to as "telluric currents." Foucault's Pendulum was written by Umberto Eco, whose name is a homonym of Eko. (Literary works)
  • Fraidy Cat: The magician mentions his fraidy-cat rabbit. Fraidy Cat is a 1975 comical children's cartoon show about an unlucky and miserable cat who has used up eight of his lives, and is now on his ninth and last life. (Movies and TV)
  • "Excelsior Lady": This song by San Diego band The Donkeys is playing in the DHARMA van when Jin encounters Jack, Kate, and Hurley. A very similar version of this song by Geronimo Jackson was released on iTunes on March 17, 2009. It is called "Dharma Lady". (Music)

Literary techniques

  • Though the episode concerns the Oceanic Six's journey to return to the Island, it starts and ends with a flash forward of several of them on the Island. (Framing device)
  • Jack dives into and rises out of the pond. Writers have used this age-old literary device (i.e. baptism) to symbolize that someone has accepted another person's plea for forgiveness of their past transgressions and has granted them a chance at a new and better life. (Symbolism)
  • Sayid is seemingly under arrest on the flight, being watched by an officer similar to Kate and Edward Mars. (Juxtaposition)
  • Hugo is carrying a guitar case, seemingly in place of Charlie Pace. (Symbolism)
  • Ben arrives just in time and thanks the crew for not taking off without him, taking Hurley's place from the Oceanic 815 flight. (Juxtaposition)
  • At the bar Jack's face is split in half by blue and yellow light symbolizing his internal struggle to believe what Eloise has told him. He then gets a call from his grandfather's nursing home which eventually convinces him to do as Eloise instructed. (Symbolism)
  • Jack is still tempted by alcohol, in a parallel of Christian; however, he never drinks, symbolizing that he is making progress in his recovery, and is making different choices from his father. (Symbolism)  (Juxtaposition)
  • At the airport, Hurley tells Jack, "Let's do this." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • In the church, Eloise tells Jack: "That's why it's called a leap of faith." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • A DHARMA worker who pulls up in a new VW bus and pulls a gun on Jack, Kate and Hurley is shown to be Jin. (Plot twist)  (Cliffhanger)
  • On the plane Jack asks to Ben "How can you read?" and Ben answers "My mother taught me”, but that's not what Jack really asked, he's referring about the situation. As Ben's mother died giving birth to him, she obviously would have been unable to teach him how to read. (Irony)
  • There are two possible interpretations of the narrative of the episode. The scenes with Jack, Kate and Hurley on the Island could be a flash-forward or the rest of the episode from Jack's point of view could be a flashback. (Flashbacks)  (Flash-forwards)
  • The episode parallels, mirrored, the structure of Season 4: the characters are first seen getting to their destination, then we are shown how they managed to get there. (Juxtaposition)
    • In Season 4, the Oceanic Six depart from the Island to get home. In "316," they get back to the Island. (Juxtaposition)
    • In Season 4, the Oceanic Six include an infant, Aaron. In "316," they're bringing the corpse of John Locke with them. (Juxtaposition)
    • In Season 4, we get to know the exact composition of the Oceanic Six well before the actual departure, via the flash forwards. In "316," we get to know about Sun, Sayid and Lapidus only once they're on the plane at the end of the flashbacks. (Juxtaposition)
  • When Jack tells Kate about his father's shoes, she asks "why hold on to something that makes you feel sad?". This is precisely what Kate did with the toy airplane that belonged to Tom Brennan. (Irony)

Storyline analysis

Episode connections

Episode references

Episode allusions

  • The episode's opening is similar to the opening of the Pilot, where Jack's eye opens and he finds himself laying in the bamboo forest. ("Pilot, Part 1")
  • Sayid is escorted onto the plane handcuffed like Kate was. ("Pilot, Part 2")
  • Hurley and Kate land in the waterfall pond. ("Whatever the Case May Be")  ("Exposé")
  • Jack talks to a ticket agent at LAX about transporting Locke's coffin, just like he did with Christian's coffin at the Sydney Airport. ("White Rabbit")
  • Ben arrives on the plane late, just as Hurley did. ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • Hurley takes a Spanish comic book onto the plane. ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • Eloise talks about pockets of energy all around the world. Isaac of Uluru told Rose the same. ("S.O.S.")
  • When questioned about his relationship to Jeremy Bentham, Jack says that he is a friend. When he was at the funeral parlor, Jack said that he was neither friend nor family. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
  • Eloise takes the group downstairs to the pendulum room we saw her in previously. ("The Lie")
  • Jack sees a photo in the Lamp Post taken on the Island in 1954 by the US Army. ("Jughead")

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: 316/Theories
  • How did Eloise Hawking become the caretaker of the Lamp Post?
  • Who is the man that was able to predict the Island's movements?
  • Knowing they were likely going back to the Island, why did the Oceanic Six not dress more appropriately (outdoor clothing versus suits for example)?