Season Three opens with a flashback. Mr. Howell is grunting and huffing as he tries to have sex with a woman whom is slowly reveled as Ginger Grant! The two had been having a torrid love affair for quite some time. Mrs. Howell had her affairs as well so it wasn’t divorce worthy and, besides, the wife knew the prenup would cut off most of the funds if they did part. No, she stayed and let him have his fun. Only by his death would she gain. Let him have his little adventures. Maybe the whore will screw him right into the grave. There was a thought… Thurston Howell made his money the old fashioned way: he screwed people over for it. Fuel, Media, Transportation. These were a few of the pies he stuck his feeble fingers in. A countless army of lawyers, politicians, judges, and lobbyists owed him all. He was the spider at the center of a fragile web and she knew how to pluck its strands like a fine harp.
Returning to the discovery of the mutilated body, the castaways go about burying the pilot and the other two strangers. This opens a whole round of questions. Who was where last night. No real accusations made but the tension is becoming noticeable. The Professor has a theory, which he seems to have a lot of, regarding the practices of fringe headhunter tribes known to have once existed in the region of the mainland’s geography. This also serves to give him some idea as to where they may actually be. If this tribe still exists and is on the island, why have they waited until now to attack? The Skipper suggests the castaways form an exploratory party and go in search of the headhunters. It’s decided that Gilligan, whose tendency towards mucking things up, should stay behind to “mind the girls” while the other men trek off. Some protest is given from Mary Ann but she is shouted down. The Skipper, The Professor, and Mr. Howell head off in search of signs of life from any other possible inhabitants on the island.
The search is futile. The jungle is too overgrown and the trio lack proper gear for any extensive searching. Mr. Howell sneaks back to the campsite and draws Ginger away. She assumes he is attempting to sneak a quickie and hesitates but then reconsiders. While undressing, Mr. Howell instead assaults her with a flurry of weak blows. He is angry beyond all measure. She is surprised by the attack and stumbles to the ground. Standing over her prone body, Thurston, red faced and wild-eyed, unleashes a verbal barrage revealing that the pilot had talked with him before he had talked to Ginger and exposed her secret under the threat of blackmail. Ginger Grant was once George Grayson, a two-time con artist and swindler. After a con went bad and people were killed, George went underground. So much so that he got gender-reassignment surgery and became Ginger. Getting into porn was an easy way to make money. She had no idea she would become so popular. News of this truth would ruin her career. News that Thurston Howell III, captain of industry and master of all he surveyed, has had relations with a transgender would destroy his connections in the Conservative community. The young girl was Ginger/George’s daughter. An innocent brought on board as a pawn for leverage
Thurston, fueled by hate and rage, pounces on Ginger and forces himself on her. The attempted rape is interrupted when she accidentally hits her head on a rock and is killed instantly. He panics and returns to the village ranting about headhunters taking Ginger away. Gilligan makes an overture towards going after them but is talked out of it by Mary Ann. She has developed real feelings for the lovable lout. The group waits and no headhunters appear. Instead, The Professor and The Skipper return grateful to see Mr. Howell. They insist on being taken to the last place Ginger was seen but Thurston claims he was “too frightened” to remember the exact location. The Professor suggests they all come to his cave workshop. It’s remote and easily defensible. Agreements abound and off they go.
Mary Ann reflects on recent events as she walks. Gilligan slows down to join her. The two take a break from the journey and sit to rest. It is in this quiet moment that Mary Ann kisses Gilligan. He is surprised but not repulsed. She admits to having lied to him about certain details regarding her past. We see through another flashback the escalation of abuse but this time it doesn’t end with her leaving. Instead, we see her seeking help only to have her husband drag her back. Small-town America lacks the facilities necessary to properly aid battered women. One night after having had her fill and with no other options, Mary Ann drove a knife hilt deep into her husband’s chest, rigged the stove to fill the house with gas, lights a candle, and walks away. She admits what she has done is beyond terrible and she will live with it for the end of her days. Gilligan comforts her. “You did what you had to.” he whispers and kisses her back.
The Professor’s cave is a scattered mess of miscellaneous bits and pieces of junk. Some salvaged from the wreckage of the Minnow. Some newer pieces from the plane. Most are trash gathered from the beach. He explains that his great work has taken some time but now he can show the others. A towering pile of scrap and non-functioning hardware. It is clear The Professor is quite insane. In his mind’s eye, the device is a marvel of science and technology. A transporter which will harness a storm’s lightning for power and “beam” the castaways back to the mainland by piggybacking on the radio signal following back to its source. It all makes sense. The reef acts a Faraday Cage but not for energy but matter. The island exists outside space/time. They have been transported to an alien world. The only way back is to turn into energy and slip past the reef. He flips a lever and an array of lights spring to life. His device is active and alive, pulsating with a rhythmic power. At it’s center, the processor glows with an unearthly aura. Wires run in a cascade waterfall from the device to the heart of the machine’s computation center… a glass jar filled with a blueish liquid and containing a single human brain.
Flashback: Molly informs Roy of her acceptance to Princeton. She is extremely grateful for all his help and insists on staying in touch. But he won’t let her leave. The great work still needs one crucial part and only she can provide it. She is frightened by this sudden turn. She apologizes for taking advantage of him, the old professor and his weird ideas. She used him to gain a grant through the Howell Fund for the Advancement of Developing Ideas. She played along as much as she could but now she was heading off to bigger and better things and she didn’t “need” him any longer. But he needed her. Or at least, her mind. She was the perfect subject. Intelligent. Intuitive. Creative. Expendable. As he doses a rag with ether, The Professor explains how he had made steps to “erase” Molly from the cruel system and free her for the greater good. The acceptance letter was a fake. He had composed it himself. The grant was redirected to a private account where its funds would be used to support the device’s construction. She was to be sacrificed for the good of Science and all mankind.