To prepare for tonight's episode, ''316,'' Doc Jensen looks for inspiration -- and parallels -- in the work of C.S. Lewis. Plus: a new installment of ''Lost Untangled,'' and the Doc answers Reader Mail

By Jeff Jensen
Updated February 17, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: ABC

”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!”

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!

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