Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost, "The Substitute": Happy John

A review of tonight's "Lost" coming up just as soon as I describe myself as a people person...
"John Locke was a... believer. He was a man of faith. He was a much better man than I will ever be, and I'm very sorry I murdered him." -Ben
I saw a lot of fan anger after "What Kate Does" aired last week, in part because it was a Kate episode, but mainly because many people felt like it was "filler" at a point when people feel the show should be going pedal-to-the-metal towards a conclusion while providing as many answers as possible along the way. Some even went so far as to call it the worst episode since the one about Jack's tattoos.

Now, I didn't love "What Kate Does," but my issues had to do more with the Kate end of the equation than any notion of filler. I'm still not sure what the purpose of the flash-diagonals is - and still suspect those scenes will all play much better on a second viewing after they're explained to us - but I know I cared about what was happening in those scenes a hell of a lot more when it was John Locke at the center of things.

And if the alternate timeline (or whatever it is) accomplishes nothing else, it at least gave John Locke - or a John Locke - the relatively happy ending (for now) that he was so cruelly denied by Ben and the hand of fate in the version of reality we know. On the island, Locke is eulogized as both a good man (by Ben) and a scary scared one (by Sawyer); on the mainland, he's a guy who's had some tough breaks but is doing alright with the love of a good woman.

I know many of you want - and deserve - answers to many of the questions the writers have raised over the previous five seasons, but to me this final season of "Lost" needs to be at least as much about doing right by the surviving characters as it is about explaining what the Numbers are(*).

(*) And the cave ceiling at least tells us the Numbers came from (or were used by) Jacob, but still not what they mean.

Smokey has Locke's memories and some of his personality - witness the priceless moment where Smokey screams out Locke's "Don't tell me what I can't do!" catchphrase - and Terry O'Quinn is still gainfully employed, but the man we know and care about died (in at least one timeline) in a grubby motel room. And for one week, we got to see a version of Locke who was still alive, and happier than we'd seen at any point in the run of the series. This was a Locke who was occasionally frustrated by circumstances, but capable of maintaining a healthy relationship with Helen, of laughing off an indignity like the sprinklers going off in his face, of enjoying the small pleasures of being a substitute teacher. And Terry O'Quinn's typically wonderful performance captured every bit of pride and joy and frustration of this alternate version of the character we know and mourn, and to provide some closure for that version of him no matter what happens to the monster wearing his face on the island.

And speaking of Smokey-as-Locke, I guess I'm in a particularly Zen mood about the answers (or lack thereof) so far this season, because I was mostly amused by the idea that Smokey - who claims to want to explain the plot of the series to anyone willing to listen - spends most of the episode paired with Sawyer, the regular character who cares the absolute least about the mythology of the island. In fact, I found myself caring more about watching Josh Holloway blend the grief-stricken Sawyer of the season's first two episodes with the sarcastic, self-destructive guy he was for most of the previous seasons more than about whatever it was Smokey was going to tell Sawyer, or Richard, or whomever.

It can be fun to speculate about whether Jacob was the good guy or the bad guy (and it's not hard to envision a scenario where he's bad, based on what he put all our heroes through), to wonder if the blond boy who reminds Smokey of "the rules" is some kind of higher island power who kept Jacob and Esau trapped on the island over the centuries, about whether Jin or Sun is the "candidate" Jacob had in mind when he scratched "Kwon" into the cave ceiling (and what it means for characters like Kate who don't seem to be on the ceiling at all).

But the thing about the Jacob/Esau/Smokey/backgammon stuff is that it's made me oddly less interested in the mythology, not more. We know now (or seem to know) that the characters on the show are only game pieces to these two abstract, supernatural figures - that most of the key decisions made on and off the island by Jack, Sayid and the rest have been in service to Jacob's plan - and the controlled, predestined quality to it all leaves me a little cold. Like, the characters' actions are already dictated by a pair of omniscient beings in Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse - albeit omniscient beings who prefer to perform light comedy together rather than try to kill each other - without layering another pair in between.

In the early days of the show, Lindelof liked to say that when the time came for he and Cuse to start revealing the big answers, viewers would be invariably disappointed, either because the reality wasn't the same as what they'd imagined, or because it was too much like what they'd imagined (and therefore wasn't surprising). None of the Jacob material feels like Cuselof have played unfairly with their audience, but thus far, the more I learn about the mythology, the more I want to focus on the people, on the comedy, the action and the many other parts of "Lost" that don't have to do with answering questions and cosmic games of dice.

And so an episode like "The Substitute," which offered more mythology hints but also had two great beating hearts in Locke in the real world and Sawyer on the island, was damned satisfying, even if I still don't know why The Others couldn't have children or who The Economist is.

Some other thoughts:

• Loved the Smokey-eye-view tour of various island landmarks. Were we supposed to take that as Smokey taking a quick lap before untying Richard, or a bit of out-of-sequence storytelling (i.e., the New Otherton stuff was from later in the episode when Smokey goes to fetch Sawyer)? And is this how Smokey sees things even while in the form of Locke?

• Hands up, anybody who wouldn't watch a spin-off about Benjamin Linus, snotty European History teacher? Certainly, Michael Emerson's gift for making incredibly mundane things sound funny has rarely been used better than in the scene with alt-Ben bitching about the coffee pot.

• So far, Jeff Fahey hasn't gotten much more to do as a cast regular than when he was a recurring guest star in seasons 4 & 5, but he makes the most out of his small moments, like Lapidus' eye roll and exasperated "This is the weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to" after Ben's eulogy for Locke.

• I will never, never, ever object to some time spent with L. Scott Caldwell as Rose, who definitely gets a shorter end of the stick in the LA X timeline.

• We learned years ago that Hurley owns the box company where Locke worked, and now we finally get the sense that it's not a coincidence that both Hurley (at Mr. Cluck's) and Locke (at the box company) worked for Randy Nations, but rather that Hurley hired the guy (for whatever reason) to work at the box company after the meteorite destroyed Mr. Cluck's.

• Even more startling than the idea of Locke still being in a relationship with Helen was Helen's casual suggestion that they elope to Vegas with "my parents and your dad." Is Anthony Cooper a much less evil man in this timeline, or does alt-Locke somehow have a different daddy? And how did alt-Locke wind up in a wheelchair?

• The island activity in this episode takes place the day after the events of "What Kate Does," right? Now, it's been a while since I've really got my bender on, but Sawyer's undershirt and boxers managed to get awfully filthy in the space of a night, didn't they?

• The song playing on a loop at Sawyer's New Otherton bungalow was "Search and Destroy" by Iggy and the Stooges.

• I did a major forehead slap when Ilana told Sun that Jin must be at the temple. If these two keep crossing paths without finding each other for the bulk of the season, I'm going to be annoyed.

• "Of Mice and Men" was a big source of Sawyer/Ben discussion in season three's "Every Man for Himself," and comes up again here as Sawyer briefly threatens to shoot Smokey/Locke.

• We know from the season 2 finale that the four-toed foot is pretty far from the original Lostaways beach (Sayid and company had to sail to find it), yet Ilana and Ben carried Locke's corpse all the way from the foot to the Oceanic 815 graveyard where Libby, Nikki, Paolo and company are buried? That seems quite a haul.

• Because "Lost" so often paints in bright, archetypal colors, the dialogue can veer into corniness, but really good actors manage to sell it, anyway. Case in point: Katey Sagal (on a breather from her award-worthy work on FX's tremendous "Sons of Anarchy") making me not only not wince at Helen's "the only thing I was ever waiting for was you" line, but rather feel moved by it.

After reminding you once again about the commenting rules - specifically the No Spoilers portion (and the "no talking about the previews" sub-section) - let me ask, what did everybody else think?

178 comments:

Mac said...

I assumed that the kid is Jacob, but I realized that I didn't have any reason except that he's blonde.

Disappointed that Walt wasn't at the school, but I guess he's too old now.

Verification word "Naddia". Waiting for the Alt-Sayid episode.

Jick said...

Locke having a different dad in the alternate timeline could actually make sense for him - he could have been adopted and simply never met Anthony Cooper.

Of course, he would have been 21 when Jughead went off. Then again, Ben would have still be on the island, and would have perished, so I'm not so sure whatever happened to the Island happened in 1977 after all.

CoolSid said...

The island activity in this episode takes place the day after the events of "What Kate Does," right? Now, it's been a while since I've really got my bender on, but Locke's undershirt and boxers managed to get awfully filthy in the space of a night, didn't they?

Uh, you mean Sawyer, right?

Devin McCullen said...

I thought Sawyer said that Locke was always "scared" not "scary". But my hearing is notoriously unreliable, so I don't know.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Uh, you mean Sawyer, right?

Yup.

Greg said...

I took the opening scene to mean that first Smokey approached the cabin and then decided he needed a weapon (the knife).

I find myself getting really impatient with the 2004 scenes. Great, Locke gets a happier ending, but why does that matter when the Locke who was developed over all these years is dead? And all the characters bumping into each other just seems silly to me, at least for now. Hopefully it will develop that these scenes end up meaning more.

Jick said...

*Ben "would still have been on the Island," that is. Apologies for the improper proof-reading.

My main complaint with the Jacob / Esau cosmic puppeteers thing is that it fits a jokey theory I (and probably hundreds of other people) had, where "in the end, they all find out they're television characters." I just hope the reason the survivors' names are on the wall is more satisfying than "Because they lived to see the start of season six."

Also, Kate's name was on the wall, but she didn't have one of The Numbers affixed to it. I think it was 19, but I could be wrong. I think I also saw "Sullivan" crossed out; pretty sure he was a redshirt somewhere along the line but I can't remember when or how he died.

James said...

I must say I enjoyed the camera work in this episode. You've already pointed out the perspective of the Smokey. One great scene was how Sawyer held the gun pointed at Esau-Locke. Another was the Hurley-Lock interaction. Hurley was GIGANTIC while Locke's reality of being confined to a chair was nicely sent home by making him appear smaller. All in all very nicely filmed episode.

I also would say we don't learn too much more in this episode compared to Kates. We still know that they are at the hands of two competing rivals which more or less the factor since the introduction of the Others.

Though, the introduction of the child (who I too thought was Jacob) adds yet another question. Who set the rules? Why the rules? I don't need these answered but the thought is there.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Sawyer described Locke as being a scared man, not scary. Zombie Locke is most assuredly not a scared man, but Richard sure seems scared of him.

Skitch said...

I thought that this episode was, as a whole, better than the previous one (though that one wasn't as bad as everyone claims...I still hold the theory that Jack is being set up as leader of the others and maybe the whole tattoo meaning combined with his conversation with Dogen sends me down that path but so be it).

There are so many great touches, most of which you mentioned in your post. Locke and Helen...Fake Locke and Sawyer...and the smarmy Ben as teacher...the mythology matters, but by and large, the reason I've stuck around for almost six years is because of the characters and not the convoluted (yet extremely engaging) plot.

Was wondering if anyone else noticed that the "teenage boy" looks a lot like Claire. Could it be some incarnation of Aaron?

These are the things that bring me back week after week and that I'll miss terribly at 11pm on Sunday, May 23rd.

James said...

Yes, Sawyer did describe John Locke as being a scared man. That is to say John Lock was afraid. He lived in fear.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I initially thought "scared," as that makes more sense, but it sounds pretty clearly like "scary" (at least the second time).

Rob said...

Alan, they revealed that "the economist" was Widmore last season. and the numbers just seem to be coincidence based on Unlocke's line of "Jacob had a thing for numbers". it just so happens to be these numbers but it's just random that it could of been any number. Otherwise, i thought this episode was excellent, seeing a scared Richard and the hint of the past that lies between Richard and Smokey. And, the hint now that there is a third party that wants to do something to the island. its gonna be a great 12 more epiodes.

Josh M. said...

And remember, Helen is likely to die of a brain aneurysm in the days to come. So all will not stay well for off-island Locke.

Anonymous said...

So who of the Protectorate 6 would be the best Jacob 2.0?

I'm going with Hugo Reyes.

Puff

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, it sounds like "scared" the first time and "scary" the second time, and in neither case is entirely clear because of Holloway's accent. But "scared" makes much, much more sense, so I shall go with that.

Josh M. said...

If the blond boy is Aaron, could "Kwon" be Ji Yeon?

Tom Dickinson said...

For me the most interesting thing about the list of candidates isn't Kate's absence (although absent she is), but Smokey's assumption that Shephard refers to Jack. He's not the only Shephard on this island, and we all know it!

Anonymous said...

I'm intrigued by the kid. They way he reminds F-Locke of the rules, I'm wondering if Jacob hasn't been reincarnated.

Jonathan L said...

Now I'm not sure if I am imagining this, but for some reason I've been remembering an episode from season 2 or 3 that hinted at Ben and Locke being brothers.
It was when they were very young children, and someone came to see if Locked was "gifted".
Does anyone remember this? I have not gone back and watched any episodes, but for some reason I remember a younger brother there, a toddler, and for some reason I remember him being called Ben.

Patrick C said...

It sounded like Sawyer said "scared" not "scary" to me.

And do you think the numbers were in order? Like the lower the number the better "candidate" Jacob thought they would be?

4-Locke
8-Hurley
15-Sawyer
16-Sayid
23-Jack
42-Jin/Sun

Meaning Hurley would be the next choice to become Jacob?

fgmerchant said...

If I was one of the Losties stuck on the island and someone came to me with the promise that they would tell me everything about why I am on the Island, I would make them tell me right away, not make me go somewhere else before they tell me. And if somehow they made me go elsewhere and then didn't answer my questions properly, I would have to pistol-whip them!

/Internet Tough Guy

Ben said...

Yes, Sawyer said the original Locke was scared...

So Kate has no assigned number. If "Kwon" is Jin, then all the "candidates" are males...

Someone should create an award for most improved actor over the course of a series. Josh Holloway would win in a landslide...

I agree that it becoming harder to tell whether Jacob is good or bad, but that has been the case for many characters and it ties in with the black and white/good and evil theme. I think we are learning that everyone has both a good and dark side and various aspects of life (or butterfly wings flapping) can change it. In fact, maybe that is what the alternate timeline is about...Locke has lost his faith, but gained acceptance of his condition. Hurley views himself as lucky. Jack believes in miracles...these are all changes in our characters or more to the point, the flip side of the traits we all have known...

bjc5379 said...

Well I guess I better put some pants on.

Anonymous said...

with this whole concept of being chosen and elected---it makes me wonder if the creators of Lost weren't just aping The Magus (which i finally read over the summer)this whole time. (the entire book hinges on the main character discovering this new island off the coast of Greece and slowly becoming friendly with the weird old man who lives there and gets told again and again that he was chosen to be there...and no more i will say.)

Lockab said...

I'm convinced by Ben's appearance off the island that the bomb never exploded and Jack and company never changed anything by dropping it in a hole. They had always done the same thing. The incident always occurred just the way we saw it (as Myles was the only one to understand and Faraday forgot his own axiom of "whatever happened, happened"). If I'm wrong, then in what timeline did Jack ever go back to 1977 and not drop the bomb? What happened to this Jack and those that time-traveled with him? My belief is that no such Jack exists because nothing other than Jack dropping that bomb ever occurred.

It is in only one timeline that Oceanic 815 crashed, Jack left the island, Jack came back to the island in 1977 and dropped a bomb, and Jack time-traveled to 2007 where the site of the Swan still existed. This all happened in the same timeline on the same island! Meaning there's no diverging reality from the point in time when the bomb dropped because that's what always happened.

This means that the alternate/parallel universe is something other than a "what if" scenario as in "what if we drop a bomb down a hole and the Swan never gets built, etc." Perhaps it's some soft of afterlife/second chance with lingering memories/emotions from their previous lives on the island. Maybe the off-island world is one in which Jacob never touched any of the Oceanic 815ers and his influence over their lives was never felt.

James said...

The interesting about the 2004 characters is the lack of a particular identity trait that the current character have exhibited. The most obvious is John Locke a man who's greatest stereotype is a man of faith. In the 2004 line he does not appear to be one. The other obvious case is Jack, a man we know as stereotyped to be a man of science, reaching out to Locke through a very faith like gesture.

As for Jacob 2.0? I keep thinking about what Jacob said in Season 5 finale,

"There is only one end. Everything else is progress."

Also, we're assuming esau-locke's word that Jacob was looking for a replacement, a protector of the island.

Why should we?

It's pretty obvious he would have killed Sawyer if he did not say "yes."

Jacob said...

i can't believe that jacob wouldn't be good...why else would they go to all this trouble of having jacob give items and exchanges with the various cast members over the course of their lives.

maybe its not as simple as good and bad...but i would wager that jacob's gotto be more good then bad right? right?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else get a hardcore "Evil Dead" flashback during the Smokey POV sequence? I swear, I half expected to see Bruce Campbell slinging a chainsaw...

And while I've been enjoying the character work early in this season, I'm one of those mythology addicts who keeps screaming at the tv "What the hell is going on?!!"

Oh, and I could have sworn I heard "scared," too... which kind of makes more sense to me considering the context (that Sawyer could even see it through his early 'Alpha Hunter' bluster).

Brendan McCarthy said...

I guess the kid could be Aaron, but he's too old if this is 2007. Also, does it look like his arms are bleeding the first time we see him? I thought so but it could have been the lighting.

So, the names on the wall. Didn't unLocke say Locke was "fourth on the list," meaning "fourth in line?" If so, does that mean Sawyer is the 15th candidate, Jack the 23rd, and so on? If yes, a few predictions:

--Desmond will be on the list, and I think there's a strong possibility he is number one. Then again, if he's actually "the variable," as in the only one who can correct these two timelines (or, you know, something special), maybe he doesn't have a number at all.

--Ben's name is on it, and he's dead last. Or maybe he was crossed out twice.

Do the hundreds of names suggest any sort of time loop, or is it just really, really old? I miss the time loop theorizing. We're only three ("four") episodes in and time travel feels all but forgotten. But with Jacob dying, and a child looking strikingly similar to him suddenly appearing, these themes popped back into my head tonight. Does Jacob bring people to the island over and over by hitting some magic "rewind" button somewhere? The donkey wheel, anyone?

J said...

You shouldn't worrying about Fate and stuff in Season Six any more than people worried about Time Travel in Season Five. It's been part of the show since its inception, and it's just easy to look at the wiggle room between free will and fate as where all the drama lies (and I suspect it's what the world of Lost-X is meant to illuminate - but you're right, that part will probably be more fun in a second viewing). They're "candidates," not "chosen ones."

As long as it doesn't come to Smokey or Jacob Jr controlling characters through telekenesis, I'm fine with the idea of active, flawed forces toying with castaways.

J said...

(You shouldn't worry... Ugh with the proofreading. Sorry.)

James said...

Sawyer: Who are you? Because you sure ain't in hell John Locke.

Esau-JL:What makes you say that?

Sawyer: 'Cause Locke was scared even when he was pretending he wasn't. But you, you ain't scared.

= = =
Sawyer would have said "But you, you ain't scary" if he had used scary in the first place.
= = = =

What's Desmond role in this fiasco?

Seems like they've still got a lot of tying up to do.

Matt said...

Easily the best hour of LOST since Season 4. What a wonderful, beautiful, poignant episode. I'm still not sure how I feel about the idea of an Alternate Timeline, but if it gives Locke a happy, satisfying ending, it's all worth it.

Interesting how forthcoming Smokey is while Dogen is anything but. However, up against someone who can shape-shift and 'infect' people, I can understand why they'd play their cards close to their chest.

I was not wild about last season, and this episode really crystallized why; this episode managed to take the Fantastical and the Character stories and find a way to bridge them thematically and in an exciting way. Comparing James being told he has a choice and then seeing that Locke, Ben, Hurley, Rose, etc. are all tied to one another, destined to float through each others lives regardless of the circumstances, is so powerful and profound, I am even more confident that this story is going to come to a fantastical resolution.

J said...

One other thing: I loved how Locke's "Don't tell me what I can't do!" not only bled through to Faux-Locke, but was indirectly referenced by making Locke-X a gym teacher.

Because those who can't do, teach, and those who can't teach, teach gym.

Matt said...

I also thought the kid was Young Jacob in a Smokey-like vision... question is, who's creating it?

Lockab said...

Rob said:"they revealed that "the economist" was Widmore last season"

When and how was that explained? Widmore led a public life and was no problem for Ben to find and walk right in on him in bed. There would be no need for all the undercover/spy stuff in order to just find him. And Ben could always have just sent Sayid to kill him as well. Also, Ben told Sayid after the Russian hit that all of the people on their list had been killed. Would that not presumably include the Economist? Yet Widmore still lives.

Billiam said...

Any bets on who could become the new Jacob at the end? My money is on Hurley.

I'm very interested in how the bomb exploding affected things that happened before these flashes are taking place. The most obvious example is what happened with Locke's dad. And there was some appropriateness to the fact that alternative Ben is not a powerful leader, just a normal joe.

Anthony Foglia said...

Excellent episode. Like Alan, I'm more interested in the characters. But I've been expecting to be disappointed by the answers ever since season three.

It looks like Smokey's plan has nothing to do with attacking the temple. Instead he's going to focus on getting off the island, and like killing Jacob, he needs someone mortal/human/normal to do it for him.

I would like to know why he can't change forms anymore.

Scary vs. scared: I couldn't tell, but I agree with Alan, the second definitely sounded like "scary." Anyone have close captioning? (Not definitive, but a strong vote.)

Re: names on the ceiling. I think one of the crossed out names was "Troup" who was one of the passengers on Oceanic 815.

I'm also not sure how much influence Jacob had on Hurley and Sayid coming to the island. As far as we know, Jacob only touched them after they were rescued.

Rob wrote they revealed that "the economist" was Widmore last season.

No they didn't. We assume he worked with Widmore, but that's all we know.

Jonathan L wrote Now I'm not sure if I am imagining this, but for some reason I've been remembering an episode from season 2 or 3 that hinted at Ben and Locke being brothers.

Definitely not. We know Locke's parents and Ben's parents and they are not the same. (Besides Lostpedia has no mention of a "Ben" in John's orphanage/foster home.)

The shot of Locke getting ripe fits what I imagined a Locke episode to be. :-) The flashsideways have followed the original order so far. So, next week, who expects LA Jack to get his father's body from Oceanic? Likewise, I won't predict a Jin & Sun reunion till the week after.

(Those aren't spoilers, because I know no spoilers.)

Greg said...

Regarding which Kwon is the candidate: Sun wasn't set back in time - is that because she wasn't a candidate, or because she's more than just a candidate?

Stephen said...

In season 3 I believe Jack was discussed by two of the Others as not being on Jacob;s list. So the Shephard on the wall has to be Christian

James said...

Why could Sawyer see the boy but Richard could not?

Joe said...

When the little kid reminded SmokeyLocke "you can't kill him" did he mean S-Locke can't kill Sawyer because Sawyer is a candidate to replace Jacob?

Ileana(sp?) also said that Lapidus was a candidate last season.

Anthony Foglia said...

Jacob wrote, maybe its not as simple as good and bad...but i would wager that jacob's gotto be more good then bad right? right?

Am I the only one who keeps thinking of Babylon 5. We have two powerful sides, one distant and cold, the other friendly and helpful, but the former feels "good" and the latter feels "evil." (Surely it's a common sci-fi technique, but that's where I first remember seeing it.)

Lockab said...

Ilana said Smokey can't take any different forms. Since coming back to the island as Locke, he also appeared as Alex to Ben. Does that mean he can't change now that Jacob is dead?

Dave said...

I loved this episode. Not a ton by way of answers, but like you said, great stuff from Sawyer and Locke, and also from Smokey. I think they tipped their hand that Smokey really is the bad guy (despite their ambiguity and almost-hinting that Jacob is the bad guy). He's too arrogant, too smooth talking, but at the same time, he's also ignorant. Yes, he knows more than he tells (Jacob just had a thing for numbers), but I still get the sense that he's underestimating Jacob. His reaction to the kid showed that he isn't as omniscient as he'd like the Losties to believe.

I'm probably going to wait till Saturday to watch it again, so I can discuss and decompress, then go at it again to see what I catch.

I think the kid was Aaron. I liked that Smokey was surprised that Sawyer could see the kid.

Like a poster above said... is it wise to assume that Shepherd refers to Jack? Or couldn't it also refer to Christian, Claire, or Aaron?

Now, I really, really enjoyed seeing the 2004 stuff this episode. Seeing Locke happy and everything going on was a lot of fun to watch. But now as I think about it, I'm getting as ticked off as I was last week about the fake timeline. Yes, I know we should be patient; yes, I know S4 paid off despite the frustrating flashes; but it just seems like it's filler.

I really don't want to say this, but I have to. You know what the fake 2004 timeline reminds me of? The end of BSG as I was trying to wrap my head around what they were doing with the humans, the cylons, the supernatural elements. I couldn't imagine how they were going to resolve everything in a remotely satisfying way. (And they didn't, at least for me... but that's another discussion.)

Blake said...

I think it's pretty interesting that 23 was the number by "Shephard" since isn't the 23rd Psalm the one that starts "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want?"

Perhaps the 4th Psalm is "Hurley sees dead people, and loves chicken." I don't know, I haven't read my Bible, oh, ever.

Dave said...

Detail for above: Bram asked Ilana if Frank might be a candidate. IIRC nothing was confirmed or denied.

Blake said...

Or the 8th Psalm is Hurley sees dead
people and loves chicken. You know what I meant.

Isabel said...

"with this whole concept of being chosen and elected---it makes me wonder if the creators of Lost weren't just aping The Magus (which i finally read over the summer)this whole time. (the entire book hinges on the main character discovering this new island off the coast of Greece and slowly becoming friendly with the weird old man who lives there and gets told again and again that he was chosen to be there...and no more i will say.)"
Yes! I have always felt a connection between Lost and The Magus, but more in terms of tone and feel - the sense of constantly shifting reality, as if you know what's going on, sort of, and then it gets switched completely - but now I'm wondering if there is actual story stuff connecting them too. I wonder what this would say about the end of the show's story, as (Magus spoiler alert!!) the book winds up incredibly into this whole twisted scenario of a final judgement and then leaves off with the main character sort of kicked out of the magical-seeming world and chasing the girl he loved in the real world, before all the strange things happened to him on the island, with the final lines indicating that the possible reconnection of his love story with this girl is what is important. I don't know, but it seems interesting. I was wondering if anybody else had compared Lost and The Magus and found this post about the idea of the godgame in both: http://ralphriver.blogspot.com/2005/10/lost-as-godgame.html

Lockab said...

If anyone I managed ever took a vacation on the company dime and lied about it, I'd fire them too. Doesn't mean Randy Nations isn't a douche, but he was still justified in firing Locke. Flights to Australia ain't cheap.

Brendan McCarthy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brendan McCarthy said...

Billiam said...
Any bets on who could become the new Jacob at the end? My money is on Hurley.


The thought crossed my mind as well. He has assumed a weird leadership role. When Locke tells Rose, "Hugo Reyes sent me," it's reminiscent of characters on the island referring to Jacob, isn't it?

Let's see if he continues touching other characters in the weeks to come.

Fran said...

'maybe the boy is Aaron"
That's an interesting thought.
When locke first saw him he looked scared. Richard couldn't see him; Sawyer could see him. What was that about?
I think he's got to be either Jacob or a 3rd higher-type entity.

Yellowdog said...

While this episode wasn't as ridiculously written as the previous episode it still was infuriatingly amateurish at times. For example, for five years we've heard about these numbers then all we get is that "Jacob had a thing for numbers". Seriously? And why would a person with enough superhuman powers to not age for hundreds of years need to sneak off to a secret cave and write names in chalk? Am I the only one that finds things like this just silly?

It was frustrating because, like other episodes, it acts like it's giving you answers, but it's all bait and switch. Cuse and Lindelof are playing a fast one by continuing to put smoke and mirrors up and fool people into thinking something is actually happening.

What happened to the characters we used to have affection for? None of them are even liked anymore except for Hurley and we hardly see him. Ben and Richard are now weenies, Jack and Kate are insufferable, Sayid has become pointless, Sun and and Sawyer changes personalities more than Sybil. As for Sun and Jin by the time they reunite we may not even care anymore because we haven't spent enough time with them.

Then there are the countless characters. We started off with a dozen or so loved ones, but now every week there are more. And not only more, but we keep moving up the ladder. Ben was such a great character for years because he was in the know. Now he knows nothing and his character is a bore. Then there was Jacob who was the real guy in the know, but of course he was easily killed. The MIB must be the man then, right? No, now there is a little blond boy running around. What the hell?!?!

Bottom line, the creators have completely lost site of what they were doing, if in fact they ever knew what what they were doing. I think we are all going to be upset when the last episode ends and we don't get the payoff we always wanted. And I'm beginning to think that many of the viewers are way smarter and more creative than the producers of this show, and the result will be that we will all be bummed.

jasctt said...

One of the best episodes ever. God, I loved everything about it. I laughed as Locke's lift stuck and then laughed with him when the sprinklers started. god, I could watch Katey Segal in ANyTHING. Damn, she's sexy as hell.

We got some answers about the numbers. If the 815 survivors are all the candidates, I would've picked Locke to take Jacob's place, but sine he is dead, I don't know any of the rest who would want to do it, if given the choice as sawyer was given.

I was pissed that Locke might truly be dead after all. before this ep. Now, I am wistful about the man. Maybe he is happily married and loving his life somewhere else. brings a smile to this fan's face.

BigTed said...

I thought that Lindelof and Cuse were sort of thumbing their noses at the audience in that cave scene... They finally gave us a huge (partial) answer to what's going on, and for the millionth time the person Lostie who's there (in this case Sawyer) doesn't ask for any clarification about what it all means, even though in this case his life might well depend on it. If I weren't kind of over the whole idea of learning the answers at this point, it would have made me kind of mad.

dez said...

Did anyone else get a hardcore "Evil Dead" flashback during the Smokey POV sequence? I swear, I half expected to see Bruce Campbell slinging a chainsaw...


Heck, yes! I was waiting for MIB to say, "Listen up, you primitive screwheads! This is my BOOMSTICK!"

I loved this ep, but then again, I love everything to do with Locke, and Sawyer being on fire with his quips was a nice bonus. Plus, no Kate!

M.Chavez said...

Quick thought regurgitation:

- Why are we trusting everything Flocke says? "This island is not special"?? Uh, hello? For all we know, that's *his* cave, not Jacob's. Remember, Jacob was weaving a tapestry under the foot of the statue - "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" The fact that it's a dark(black/evil) lair lends itself to something Smokey would inhabit - imprisoned and plotting his revenge. "You have no idea what I had to go through" to find this loophole - e.g. machinations over millenia to discover what combination (of the people/numbers!) would be correct to get him his loophole.

- Sawyer, the ultimate con-man, is not going into this thing w/ Flocke blind. Could Flocke be getting played? Remember Sawyer much earlier said 'a tiger don't change his stripes' Also, Richard told him Flocke wants to kill not just him but *all* his friends. Sawyer is keeping an eye on him until he can figure out how to take this non-Locke chump out. With Juliet out of the picture, he is finally in a position where he can sacrifice himself and also he now has someone to focus his anger on - "YOU are the reason I'm here - and that my Juliet died!"

- Richard is also not stupid. "Jacob never told you anything?" Why trust that Richard isn't already working on some plan long hatched by Jacob on emergency procedures if and when Smokey does kill Jacob and is attempting to leave? Playing dumb could be part of that plan. After all we're basing Richard's naivete on his answer to Flocke that he *didn't* see the blond kid. Yet Sawyer did! So maybe Richard is lying to Flocke in order to mess with his head and further Jacob's plan to stop Flocke - or at least stall him while Jacob's plan to come back in mortal form is taking place!

- How cool would it be if eventually, now that real Locke is buried in the Island's earth, Jacob does come back possessing Locke's body? A chance to see Flocke-Jocke face off in some delicious Terry O'Quinn scenery chewing?

- Kate can't be on the wall uncrossed since Flocke goes over the remaining names one by one - he never mentions Kate. But since we did in fact see Jacob touch Kate, it's further proof that the wall is not Jacob's creation. It's Flocke's.

- Hurley really is the luckiest man alive - Locke's wheelchair ramp is just inches way from scratching his Hummer but 'glitches' and doesn't. :)

- Folks who seem confused by the constant re-connections between characters on the show, esp. in the sideways timeline, need to keep in mind Eloise's original declaration that the universe wants to course-correct. Oceanic 815's passengers may go on their merry way, due to the plane never having crashed, but the universe is still managing to get certain aspects of their lives to drift back into 'proper' synchronization. As Cuse/Lindelof said, the overarching thought as the season winds down is 'What is Destiny? What is Free Will? Do we have it? Can we change it?' Is Jacob the one that understands that no matter how hard Flocke may be trying to change things so he can be free, Jacob knows the Universe will never allow Flocke to get what he wants? "It's only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress."

M.Chavez said...

and lastly -

- Something that I think has been glossed over in all the discussions/blogs I've visited, is the *timing* of when Jacob touched who he touched. Kate and Sawyer are touched *as children*, yet Jack, Sun/Jin, Locke are touched *before* getting on the plane (saving Locke's life), and Sayid is touched a few months into his life as the Oceanic 6(saving his life as well), and finally Hurley is touched just a day before hopping on Ajira. Why do I feel that's significant? Why did Jacob not feel the need to interact with Hurley until 3 years after the events on the island? If he's the grand-manipulator that Flocke insinuates, apparently Hurley was a free agent that could've done anything he wanted during all the shenanigans that occurred on the island and even before that. Hmm.... An even earlier theory I had that I'm not sure can hold much water now is that we're not seeing Jacob in all those scenes w/ our gang, touching them - but instead some are of Smokey in the form of Jacob doing his own cross-scheming to counter whatever Jacob was trying to do. Like Backgammon, two sides moving their pieces along the board.

- Ah, what a great show, and what a great episode!

Lockab said...

Mattingly is one of the names on the wall that was crossed off. This was the name on the uniform of the Other in the 1950s who was going to chop off Juliet's hand but was instead killed by John Locke. This was the uniform of an American soldier presumably killed by the Others under orders from Alpert.

How long has Jacob been looking for a replacement and how deep is that cave? The highest number I saw was 313 next to a crossed-off Littleton. Interesting that Claire (assuming it's not Aaron) has her name crossed off but Sayid doesn't, since he's also been "claimed." Maybe it's because Jacob's dead and hasn't been back to cross the name off yet, as Locke's wasn't. But then why didn't Flocke cross it off as he did Locke?

Yellowdog said...

I think a lot of you people who thinks the show has been great lately are talking about the show as you see it in your head, not the way it really is. More proof that many of the fans are more creative than the actual producers.

Brandon said...

Gotta point out that both of the posters in the temp agency featured the word "Dream" prominently. In fact, it's the first thing I noticed, before my eyes even settled on Locke. I really hope that's a playful tease rather than a hint.

Also I still don't feel right calling either timeline the alternate one. Technically, they're both equally legitimate, assuming Juliet's ghost is right and the bomb really did set things right. And I'm not convinced calling it a "flash-anything" is accurate either, although I quite like the sound of a flash-diagonal.

Lockab said...

Other names on the wall I think I see:
Sullivan - the guy with the rash we haven't seen since the first season
Cunningham - an American soldier from the 50s who's uniform was being worn by an Other before being killed by young Widmore for talking too much
Lewis - as in Charlotte Staples

Anyone with a decent HD TV able to make out any of the others?

belinda said...

I am now even more sure than ever that last week's episode was problematic because it was about Kate rather than it wasn't mythology-centric, because I sure enjoyed the heck out of this episode. It's also pretty amazing to see how O'Quinn acts as alt-Locke and as notLocke.

I think the blond boy is Jacob/god, and that is why Richard couldn't see him and Sawyer could - only his candidates could, and Richard, even in the Ben years, seem to be more of an assistant to assist Jacob to his candidates rather than being a candidate himself. And not everyone can see Jacob, right?

Not sure if I'm loving the religious overtone to this now that it is even more blatant than ever with notLocke's speech about Jacob - that people do his bidding without understanding why, or that notLocke was betrayed by someone he loved, etc. I mean, they might as well name them God/Satan. I really hope it's not going this way, but this episode sure did push things along this way.

The name game - I too find it strange that only last names are used and it's really not that specific. Though with the Kwon thing - Korean women actually seldom take their husband's last names after marriage, so it seems more likely that the KWON in the cave means Jin and not Sun, whose last name is Paik (but if that's the case, in addition to the exclusion of Kate, not that I mind about this particular exclusion, why are all the candidates men? Hm.)

I thought the Smokeycam was hilarious, and provided notLocke with an easy access of the whole island since it's faster traveling as Smokey rather than notLocke. So I took the detour as to him heading to Richard, hears music and stops to see, goes to Richard and makes a point to go back to the houses to see Sawyer (and recruit him?).

I cannot agree more about Jin/Sun! The writers are totally messing with them (and us) on that.

J said...

http://losteastereggs.blogspot.com/2010/02/episode-6x04-substitute-candidates.html

you child said...

If it helps, I was in front of a TV with closed captioning on during the scary vs. scared scene, and I'm 98% positive it said "scared." (Had I realized it might be a question, I would've paid more attention to the captioning in that moment.)

While "scary" makes a certain sense, IMHO "scared" is much more poignant, when you think of all the moments when Locke acted like he was completely confident in the decisions he was making. If he actually wasn't positive he was doing the right thing, maybe he was braver than we realized at the time.

Plus, if Sawyer said "scared," it reminds us of his ability to read people (especially things they're trying to hide) and to keep his observations to himself until it benefits him to reveal them - a.k.a. his con man skills.

Due respect to Yellowdog, but I think Ben and Richard are still reeling from the fundamental changes to everything they believed about their island world. To us viewers, it's been weeks, but to Ben and Richard it's only been hours since Jacob was killed, Locke isn't Locke, etc. And Jack and Kate have always been insufferable, as far as I can tell. As for Sayid, Sun and Sawyer, I think we haven't seen yet what they're going to be all about this season. And if you haven't embraced the inherent bait and switch of Lost after all these years, well... it'll be over soon.

I agree with M.Chavez that we should be skeptical of anything Flocke (or Not-Locke) says. Thus far, we've been led to believe he's the bad guy. That's not so clear now - maybe Flocke/Smokey/Esau is the bad guy and maybe he isn't (or maybe there is no "bad guy") - but until we know more, we're probably better off being a little suspicious of everyone.

For now, I'm just waiting for someone more diligent than I to post screen caps of the cave so we can get a better look at all of those names (and numbers). Oh, there they are. Thanks, J!

Rick said...

With the rope ladder broken, isn't Sawyer trapped in the cave?

Kenrick said...

I was mostly bored by this episode. I'm going to have to agree with Yellowdog for now.

But I'm going to continue to watch, so Cuse and Lindelof win anyway.

Heather said...

All I can say is repetition (except I didn't have a problem with the Kate-centric episode). However, I would LOVE a Benjamin Linus- European History teacher spin off. It'd be like Teachers but better done.

Christina said...

by the way, I don't think I've seen anyone post this yet, but I'm pretty sure I saw the name "littleton" on the wall and it was crossed out - which is claire's last name. So what happened to her?

tribalism said...

One thing I’m a little puzzled by—something not unfamiliar to a Lost fan—is to what degree Smokey Locke is delineated from the John Locke we’ve known for so many years. I originally thought that Smokey Locke was an entity that simply possesses John Locke’s memories and physical likeness, but when he recited John’s patented “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” mantra, I realized that these two individuals are far more intertwined than I had assumed.

If that’s the case, then I find it far easier to reconcile watching a flash-sideways of L.A. Locke juxtaposed with the Island adventures of Smokey Locke. I had previously considered them to be two distinct characters—and in a way, they still are—but it seems now that Smokey Locke is really a coalescence of John and the Man in Black.

If anyone is interested, I go into more details about "The Substitute" in my blog, including what I think the characters need to do if they truly wish to attain free will. Click my username for the link.

Anonymous said...

I watched "Walkabout" again after seeing this episode and Jack mentions to Rose that he was in seat 23A. So I'm thinking that's more than just coincidence and as a previous poster posited: that Smokey Locke is not being completely honest or at least is as in the dark about the numbers as we are.

Anonymous said...

I think the last words of this episode have James Ford saying "Hell, yes". Is he saying yes to hell? Just wonderin'.

Scott J. said...

James said...

The interesting about the 2004 characters is the lack of a particular identity trait that the current character have exhibited. The most obvious is John Locke a man who's greatest stereotype is a man of faith. In the 2004 line he does not appear to be one. The other obvious case is Jack, a man we know as stereotyped to be a man of science, reaching out to Locke through a very faith like gesture.


Neither of them was ever simply a man of one or the other. Like you said, those are stereotypes. Locke always had doubts, as Sawyer reminds us in this episode. And Jack's determination that he could always fix things, whether as a surgeon or as a leader, was a certain kind of faith.

What we're seeing of them in the 2004 timeline doesn't contradict what we've always seen. The roles they took on the island were largely determined by their crashing there at that particular moment in their lives. Before that polarizing event, they were both more balanced (speaking of which, FLocke's hilarious "inside joke" reiterated a central theme of the series -- things on the Island have been thrown off-balance -- while effectively mitigating the obviousness of the symbolism with humor) men of faith tempered by reason.

Jack was telling Locke, have faith, because I can fix you. He's seen and performed medical miracles. Even with the H-bomb, he was trying to do the impossible using science, because he believed "nothing is irreversible".

And it doesn't show a lack of faith for Locke to accept that being an adventure hero is an unrealistic expectation. He can still have a special destiny, even if it isn't saving the world, per se. He can do great things, even while bound to a wheelchair!

What's sad is that Our Locke--Island Locke--Dead Locke--he never realized this. Island magic was a quick-fix of sorts, and it became the thing he had faith in, instead of his own damned self. That's the difference.

Anonymous said...

Re: Kwon

Maybe the candidate is their daughter.

compain87 said...

Great episode. I totally agree with you about Lost at this point Alan. The mythology is nice to understand but I constantly feel like it's going over my head until we have seen the whole series. I would rather enjoy the characters we only have for this last season.

I'm still irritated at the moments like tonight when Ilana tells Ben that the Esau Character(I was hoping we would get his name since half the episode was centered on him) can't change forms from Locke, and Ben doesn't even bother asking any follow up questions. I really want to know what they talk about on these hikes across the island because it is apparently more interesting to talk about those topics than what's going on in the Island. Wouldn't Ben Linus be more anxious for these answers than us? We have only watched the show 6 season, he has been on the island almost his ENTIRE life and knows practically same amount as us. It was like last week when Dogen refused to tell Jack anything because They did't have time, but he has time to spin a baseball?

@Anthony Foglia I've been looking at the order of episodes in relation to the centric characters and there is really no rhyme or reason to the order. All I really care is that we don't have to sit through another god awful Kate episode. SO BAD!

Anyone else missing Desmond? I am having "brotha" withdrawals. We haven't seen from him since he sat next to Jack.

Joe said... "When the little kid reminded SmokeyLocke "you can't kill him" did he mean Esua-Locke can't kill Sawyer because Sawyer is a candidate to replace Jacob?" I think that makes more sense than repeating the rule that we already learned last season that they can't kill each other

I just read Bill Simmons trade value column and he said "If they change the course of the 2004 baseball playoffs, I'm out. You hear me, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse? I'm out." CarltonCuse twitted to "@sportsguy33 Not to worry. No change to 2004 baseball outcome. As a huge Red Sox fan, some things are sacrosanct!" for me that's probably the best answer they've given us this whole season.

Jennifer Finney Boylan said...

Being strung along, always right on the verge of explaining things, never quite doing so, answering 10% of my questions, while increasing the number of mysteries as they go-- CLASSIC LOST.

Liked the tossing of the white stone into the sea. "Private joke." LIked seeing Real-world-Rose. And Ben Linus, European History teacher, kvetching about the coffee. And happy-to-solve-your-problems millionaire Hurley. I personally really like all these alt.characters-- I like them MORE because of what I know of their "true" characters-- it's like a kind of counterpoint I guess.

Lapidus' line about the funeral: best line in show.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the meteorite struck the Mr. Cluck's franchise in the revised 2004. I agree with the commenter above that Randy Nations was probably in the right; when we first see him in this episode, we are inclined to believe he is a jerk, but we later learn that he knew all along that Locke had lied about attending the conference on the company dime. That is most certainly an offense deserving termination. Remember, too, that in the early episode, Randy also disciplines Hugo for eating Mr. Cluck's chicken. Hugo lies and Randy busts him with surveillance footage. So is Randy really such a bad guy?

I am beginning to suspect that the flash sideways is not the result of the bomb but the result of the selection of the new Jacob. What we see as the 2007 is actually the present, and at some point near the end of the series, the new Jacob - probably Hugo - resets everything and what we are seeing as the new 2004 actually follows the last bit of the 2007 we are seeing, if that makes sense.

Chrissy said...

I'm still wondering if Helen will die on John. She specifically died from something unpredictable and difficult to stop - an aneurysm. Had she been mugged, or hit by a drunk driver, or any of a hundred other situational things, it would make sense that the change in her life would change that too. But she could still be on a course for death, which would be very sad.

David Thiel said...

I think M.Chavez is right on the money. Not only shouldn't we take anything Smokey says at face value, we know that he's lying about the island being nothing special.

I hadn't considered the possibility that Sawyer is already conning the con man, but that also feels right.

Unfortunately, I think Anthony Foglia also may be onto something with the "Babylon 5" comparison. (I say "unfortunately" because B5 was a show with a years-long mystery that paid off as a banal chaos-vs.-order contest.) Like the Vorlons and the Shadows, I have the impression that neither Jacob nor Smokey can accurately be described as good or evil. We're assuming that if Jacob isn't "good," then Smokey must be, but I think that there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

I go back to the backgammon example. In backgammon (or chess), white and black aren't good or evil. They're merely opponents.

Agreed with "Anonymous" that Randy was right. But in my own experience in the workplace, I've found that a supervisor can be right and still be a douche.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that "Austen" WAS on the ceiling; he just didn't mention her in his run-down, and she wasn't one of The Numbers.

OldDarth said...

Agree with your sentiments. Much more interested to see what happens to the characters than finding out about the island mythology.

The show is after all, character studies.

So whom will the new custodians be by the finale?

Jack and Sawyer

or

Hurley and Ben!

Anonymous said...

The touching Jacob scenes all occurred after 1977---except one. Sawyer's dad killed himself in 1976, as Sawyer relates in The Incident, and Jacob touched him at the funeral. I wonder if this has any significance.

I bring it up because it seems that Anthony Cooper would still have that history as a despicable con-man, so if he and Locke are on speaking terms in alt-2004, he must've completely reformed or something.

Sam Hobart said...

It was pointed out that 23A was Jack's seat number and Shephard was #23 on the wall. In old interviews about the numbers Lindelof stated that the specific numbers weren't chosen for any particular reason, except for 23 for its various mystical interpretatinos over the years. I suspect that this is all going to come down to Jack, which is maybe too obvious but works thematically given that he was the first character we ever saw.

LDP said...

Here's what I'd like to know: why does the smoke monster sound make a noise like a roller coaster headed uphill? It's a mechanical sound, but there's no machinery generating it -- not visibly, anyway.

Dave said...

In old interviews about the numbers Lindelof stated that the specific numbers weren't chosen for any particular reason, except for 23 for its various mystical interpretatinos over the years.

I could have sworn I read in an interview or podcast transcript somewhere that the first 5 numbers had significance, but they wanted to have a sixth number so the pulled 42 out of the air.

Ryan said...

there's a picture hanging in john's cubicle where he appears to be standing outside with a man wearing a beret, who i believe is anthony cooper.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the numbers next to the names I also thought that it might correlate to their seats on the Oceanic 815 flight . . . do we have any more evidence of this besides Jack being in Row 23? No idea what that would mean or why it would be that way however . . .

Magicmark said...

Question about timing of the 2004 timeline: Last week, Claire's ultrasound showed an October date, a month later than the original flight 815. Last night, Helen talked about an October wedding and Randy Douche told Locke that he thought he was going to use his vacation time in October. So did last night's episode take place in September (like original 815)? If it were October, wouldn't everyone have referred to the wedding as "next October"? The writers are too careful for these date references to be errors. Alan, anyone--explanations?

Anonymous said...

For those that are not up on sci-fi/fantasy cultural references:
23 is from the Illuminatus! trilogy, in which many important historical events are shown to have some relationship to that number.

42 is from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

I seriously doubt they ever said they pulled 42 out of the air, since that's the one reference most sci-fi fans would get. More likely they pulled 4, 8, 15, 16 out of the air, then used 23 and 42 as references.

Alan Sepinwall said...

there's a picture hanging in john's cubicle where he appears to be standing outside with a man wearing a beret, who i believe is anthony cooper.

You are correct. I checked ABC's press site for pictures from the episode, and there's one that's specifically a close-up of that photo. It's Locke when he had more hair, and Cooper with a beret, both smiling and standing in a field. Possibly from the first Cooper episode?

Anonymous said...

I think this new timeline is going to set up everyone dying. I feel like Rose's condition alluded to it.

But I could totally see Rose dying of cancer, Locke dying under Jack's knife, Jack stricken with grief and killing himself, Kate getting shot, Claire dying in labor, Sayid with something of his military past, Hugo overestimating his luck.

I think if you set up every character dying, it can give Jacob or Smokey motivation to veer them off course, bring them to the island, put them through hell, but a few of them still live. Totally crazy thought, but with how nice everything seems in this new timeline, I could see everything come crashing down all at once.

Steve said...

I LOVED this episode. It answered questions and we gut to see Terry O'Quinn play the two Locke impersonations wonderfully.

Also, I think Darlton handled the numbers thing wonderfully. We weren't going to get answers for everything, yet the numbers have been a crazy, interconnected part of the show since the pilot episode. Though not part of the show, one of the side projects said that the numbers were core values in the Valenzetti equation predicting Doomsday.

Dharma built the radio tower that broadcast the numbers because its entire mission was to try and change the numbers to save humanity and prevent the end of the world. Perhaps Jacob brought Dharma to the island to broadcast the numbers as a way of summonsing the candidates.

So they didn't explain why Locke was 4 or Sawyer 15, but they did explain that those 6 numbers have always been important. Jacob specifically brought these candidates to the island together and they align with the core values of the equation... the Numbers.

Most of all, I do not find it coincidental that these six values are in the equation to predict the end of the world, and Jacob said to MIB in the S5 finale that "it only ends once."

A few things that I haven't seen mentioned here yet:

1. I used to focus on the timing as to when Jacob touched the Oceanic 6 and Locke. However, that is only what Darlton has shown us. Perhaps Jacob touched everyone on the flight, and perhaps he encountered the O6 and Locke multiple times. He encountered them in passing moments so that it's not as if they would remember him from a prior meeting.

2. F-Locke told Sawyer that he was once a man just like Sawyer. Perhaps he is lying, but if that were truthful, then it puts an entirely new spin on who MIB is. Maybe he isn't the Devil or some cosmic being. Perhaps he was the original candidate to replace Jacob and he has no interest in doing so.

3. It is possible that Richard used to be tied to MIB, or perhaps they are old friends or are similar entities. The line by MIB to Richard "It's good to see you out of those chains" has been interpreted in two ways: literal chains from being a slave on the Black Rock, and metaphoric chains of bondage/service to Jacob. However, what if those "chains" are actually related to the chain-like sounds of the Smoke Monster. That mechanical, chain-like noise is unmistakable. We don't know the reason for the noise yet (if at all), but I wouldn't rule out that it is related to Richard's "chains"

endicottbee said...

Did anyone else get a BSG vibe when Ilana placed Jacob's ashes in the bag? Has his death/burning happened before (and will happen again) and thus is the source of the ashes used to circle the cabin and the Temple?

Skirkster said...

Alan,

According to one of Noel Murray's comments on his own review over at the A.V. Club, press photos showed a picture on Locke's desk at the box company of Anthony Cooper with his arm around Locke. So maybe they do have a good relationship?

http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-substitute,38301/#2165428

Laurel said...

Again, I didn't like the episode.

The little nuggets they are giving us about the characters in the alt timeline make me so wary. Locke's dad is still in his life apparently. So are we going to have to flash back (again) to find out why, and if he wasn't thrown out the window by his dad are we going to find out how he became paralyzed?? Too many questions when now is the time for answers.

To me, the numbers in the cave seemed like a lame attempt to include the numbers somehow in an effort to appease viewers. They were just there with no purpose. Jacob has a thing for numbers. It doesn't make sense. The numbers were being broadcast from the radiotower or something. What does that have to do with the cave???

I liked the interplay between Smoke Locke and the blonde kid. And I thought Richard was really great in this episode. He had been so calm and collected about everything previously and he was absolutely panicked when he spoke with Sawyer.

I liked the funeral. That to me embodies what I like about Lost and the characters. I like that Ben gave the strangest and yet most appropriate eulogy. This is why lost is a character drama. Because the characters act in such unusual ways and yet it makes perfect sense to us because of what we have seen them go through.

I think that is why I don't care about the characters off island. They aren't the same people that they were or had become on the island. To me they are entirely different people who I just don't really care about.

Anonymous said...

Smokey/Locke has said twice now that he simply wants to get off the island. If that's the case, why are the other Others so afraid of him? He doesn't seem to care a lick about the island saying it's just an island and doesn't need protecting.

I'm guessing the numbers next to the scrolled names on the cave are simply the numbers assigned to the list of potential replacements Jacob made. Once he had it narrowed down and saw the different numbers he probably manipulated their use as a way to get Hurley to the island since, according to Smokey/Locke Jacob had been manipulating them to get there. Question is, how did Jacob come up with his list? Why those folks?

I got the impression Smokey/Locke became mostly Locke as he was chasing the boy. When he fell down at his feet his actions were much more related to Locke. Obviously, Locke's line of "don't tell me what I can't do" but also the scared/confused expression on his face was much more Locke-like than Smokey-like. I wonder if there is a chance Locke could somehow reclaim his body at some point and eventually fill the Island protector role. Of all the people listed on the wall he is certainly the best candidate.

I like that Hurley is so successful and confident in the alt-reality. It's good to see him get a few wins after not being taken seriously by the Losties.

I loved that Sawyer could so easily recognize and accept that the man in his house wasn't John Locke. Unlike Jack, Sawyer understands to expect the unexpected on this island. Seems like Jack will never get it no matter how much abnormal stuff he sees.

As for Locke being a man of faith, I think most of that had to do with the miracle he experienced on the island (being able to walk again). In his flashback episodes I never got the impression he was such a big faith guy. Alt-Locke never experienced the miracle so doesn't have the faith.

It hasn't been mentioned here yet, but I think Ilana picking up Jacob's ashes will be significant in some way.

A lot of these posts mention a lot about not believing what a character says. I think it's too late for that. While there might be one or two things that are misleading I don't think there's enough time left in the season to create an intricate web of lies. I believe they really are trying to advance the story and build to a conclusion versus wasting time with red herrings.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice that Rose's underling at the temp agency was the psychic who pretended to remove Hurley's curse in Tricia Tanaka Is Dead?

Rory said...

So, at this point I'm just going to trust them to figure everything out and tell me, and you know what if they can't do it I'm not going to stop watching the last few episodes.

Did anyone else think Smokey looked a little satisfied as Sawyer almost fell?

Am I stretching things a little with Richard was on the Black Rock, smoke monster was the black rock in the scale? And did it not look like it was every so slightly in favour of black anyway?-I'm starting to doubt that and think it may have been the camera angle

Also if they are all the values in the Dharma equation does that mean that Desmond is still the variable?

The only thing that could disappoint me about the finale is if reincarnated Jacob as Sayid turned into a pillar of white smoke, in a pope reference having chosen his successor, and then we had twenty minutes of watching two clouds have a fight

Clifford said...

Regarding the character's fates and actions being pre-determined, I agree with J who points out that they are all candidates, not the chosen ones. While they have all been manipulated we have also seen repeatedly that they have free will and that their choices have consequences. I think this is illustrated really well with Sawyer in this episode. He is given a very explicit choice. As someone else has pointed out, Sawyer's apparent answer may be a long con on Esau.

Regarding Jin and Sun spending the season chasing after each other, I think this sets us up for a joyful reunion at the end of the season. They've been searching for so long, I'm happy to give the writers the satisfaction of paying that storyline off in the closing week.

Regarding scared vs scarey, I was pretty sure Sawyer said scared the first time and scarey the second time. I assumed he was using scarey as a synonym of scared, such as one might use to describe a jittery dog. My grandmother used to use scarey this way.

Obleeze said...

There has to be some reason to the numbers because there is a pattern built in to the sequence.

4 8 15 16 23 42

The difference inbetween the first five numbers adds up to the difference between the last two numbers.
4-8= {4}
8-15= {7}
15-16= {1}
16-23= {7}
23-42= {19}

4+7+1+7=19

Not sure what that means, but I'm guessing it was done on purpose.

Obleeze said...

Also, thought it's odd that no one has mentioned the ladder that Sawyer and Smokey took to the cave. It was supposedly Jacob's cave, i.e., Jacob's Ladder. Jacob's Ladder is a biblical reference to the ladder envisioned by Jacob to get to heaven to escape his brother Esau.

The fact that the ladder broke may be symbolic too.

With the intrigue of that aside, I still think this season along with last week episode have been a comical bore with poor dialogue and horrible story-telling. Yellowdog has the number on this...

Ben said...

Alan, you have written a few times about being annoyed when a show employs a brief flashback to an earlier scene because it doesn't trust its audience to remember some key detail--I think you cited the pilot episode of "The Wire" as an example (and wrote also that David Simon was forced to put such a shot in by HBO against his wishes). Did you get a similar vibe from the glimpses of Jacob interacting with the "candidates" as Not-Locke read off the names? I sure did.

debbie said...

LOVED the "Earl Grey...that's a gentleman's drink" line. So perfect for alt-Ben to say...kinda charming and nerdy at the same time.

My question is: do we know for sure that the flashsideways to 2004 is really to 2004? The reason why I ask is I'm trying to figure out the significance of the title of the first two episodes "LA X." Could it be the roman numeral for 10, meaning LA 2010?
Just curious if we think we are watching an alt past, but really it's an alt-future...which would make more sense why Ethan is a doctor. If he was born in '77, that'd make him a 32 year old doctor in 2010...seems more plausible than a 27 year old doctor. I know, nit-picky.

CesarGM said...

Re:Seat Numbers, Locke was one (or two) rows behind Jack (24/25) and if i'm not mistaken Hurley and Sawyer were seating close to each other (I'm sure of it in the sideways timeline, and I also seem to remember it at the end of season 1).

Personally, I don't think that the fact that Jack is sitting in row 23 to be a particularly important fact (or at least more important than the other number appearances in the series). It's probably just one more "coincidence" (emphasis on the ") apparently caused by Jacob's plan for these people.

I really liked this episode, both on and off island (I found the last one weak, but far from the worst ones, despite the similarities with the beginning of season 3), but I'm still waiting for this season to get on the right track.

Hopefully all characters are going to be reunited soon. (I really don't like having episodes alternate weekly between two stories... Last week, no UnLocke and 2007ers, this week, no temple and Claire)

James said...

He said scared. There's no other way around it. Go back for a third viewing with the volume up, rewind it, and watch it again. It's scared. Scary does not make much sense.

Roy, I too thought that Esau-Locke was almost satisfied to see Sawyer fall yet he saved them. So, while I thought it was a trick to eliminate Sawyer without actually killing him, Esau-Locke did not.


As an audience member f you've stuck through this long I don't see how you can complain about the recent episodes. They haven't been any worse than the worst of the show. Additionally, there hasn't been any major changes other than the introduction of an alternative timeline which has yet to be explained but isn't too hard to grasp. There's just some information I would recommend you giving up on an actual concrete answers such as the purpose of the numbers and the coincidences.

Matt said...

Jacob probably is bad, since in the Bible Jacob tricks his father into giving him the blessing traditionally bestowed upon the eldest son.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to weigh in on the scary/scared debate, but discovered on reading through the comments that Clifford already made pretty much my point a few comments up. I also think Sawyer said "scary" once, but thought he was using it as a synonym for "scared." I was assuming it was a Southern usage because I remember characters in To Kill a Mockingbird using it that way.

Anonymous said...

If Cooper didn't throw Locke out the window maybe his isn't a 'bad'guy so maybe he also didn't con Sawyer's parents and maybe that is why Sawyer isn't a miserable person b/c his dad never killed his mom? Maybe?

Robin said...

I've read through all the comments, and I didn't see this yet.

Did anyone else notice that Locke did not seem to "recognize" any of the other Lostaways in his sideways universe? Both Jack and Kate had moments of recognition in their episodes. You could argue that Rose may have on the plane. But Locke did not show any recognition to Ben, Hurley, or Rose. He also did not recognize Jack when they met in the lost luggage department. I wonder if that is significant, especially given that Locke is the only one who is dead on the 2007 island.

Superbad said...

Young kid = Jacob and not only because he's blonde but because of the chinky eyes and stuff. Arron has big eyes and I doubt they casted a kid that closely resembles Jacob more than Arron.

I agree with the poster saying the flashsideways is really FLASHFORWARD with a reset timeline. I'm guessing the bomb detonation really didn't do anything BUT time travel everyone back to 2007.

As for Juliet, I'm assuming she saw the future much like Desmond and I think Juliet would've had Desmond-like powers had she survived the blast.

Going back to my flashforward idea, I'm thinking something happens at the end of this season that ultimately resets everything. You can then think of it that we're seeing season 6 and 7 (off island, alt timestuff) at the same time ;)

Hannah Lee said...

He had been so calm and collected about everything previously and he was absolutely panicked when he spoke with Sawyer

Richard’s fear around Esau keeps reminding me of Firefly, when Jayne panics the first time the Reavers are mentioned. If Richard’s afraid of Esau, Esau's definitely someone to be afraid of. Regardless of what story he’s telling Sawyer, Esau’s not the victim or a good guy by any stretch of the imagination.

Interesting that Sawyer knew quickly that Esau wasn’t Locke, and could see the boy the same way Esau did. And that Esau seemed surprised by that.

Rae said...

@Robin: I noticed it as well but I'm not sure if it has to do with his being dead or him not being part of the group that goes back in time. Or, rather, the group present when the bomb goes off?

That might account for why neither Rose nor Hurley have had any moments of recognition either. We've seen enough of those two and they've had plenty of interaction with people who should spark a flash (as opposed to Sawyer, who we saw briefly but not long enough to know if he's had those moments too) that I think it does mean something.

Peter said...

Anonymous said:

I am beginning to suspect that the flash sideways is not the result of the bomb but the result of the selection of the new Jacob. What we see as the 2007 is actually the present, and at some point near the end of the series, the new Jacob - probably Hugo - resets everything and what we are seeing as the new 2004 actually follows the last bit of the 2007 we are seeing, if that makes sense.

Superbad said:

Going back to my flashforward idea, I'm thinking something happens at the end of this season that ultimately resets everything. You can then think of it that we're seeing season 6 and 7 (off island, alt timestuff) at the same time ;)


You guys hit the nail on the head. I'm guessing the 2004 stuff we are seeing is everyone's happy endings after the timeline is reset in 2007 once they defeat the smoke monster.

Anonymous said...

If Cooper didn't throw Locke out the window maybe his isn't a 'bad'guy so maybe he also didn't con Sawyer's parents and maybe that is why Sawyer isn't a miserable person b/c his dad never killed his mom? Maybe?

But if the timelines split in 1977, it's too late: Cooper conned Sawyer's parents in 1976, as established in The Incident.

Henry said...

Loved this episode, although I thought it failed to provide any concrete answers (Why are the numbers attached to the survivors?) and the Flash Sideways story of Locke, while at times amusing, seemed rather pointless. And why would Rose be canoodling with Bernard if her boss is on the same flight with her?! I thought the connection between Hurley and Rose strained credibility. But that's just me. Favorite line of the episode: "This is the strangest funeral I've ever been to." Lapidus is great.

Anonymous said...

As we consider who might be the new jacob - we need to consider who ISN'T on the plane in the alt-reality but who's name IS written on the ceiling:

Sayid.

Henry said...

Re: The funny cold open with the sprinklers dousing Locke in the face.

Anyone get reminded of the pilot episode where Locke embraced the sudden downpour that comes to the island? I mean, he smiled at that just as LA X Locke smiled and laughed at his predicament with the sprinklers.

Anonymous said...

One thought I had re: fake Locke's reference to once being a man that I haven't seen mentioned here. What if he's referring to memories he's retained from taking over Locke, versus actually having been a real person himself?


I don't think he's outright lying about anything, but maybe he's being selective in the "truths" that he reveals about the island and himself.

Anonymous said...

If I recall, Ilana and her crew used a boat to get Locke's body to the statue beach. I think the probably used the same boat to return the body to the far-away gravesite and we just didn't see it on the show.

Rich, Denver

Jillian said...

Debbie said: My question is: do we know for sure that the flashsideways to 2004 is really to 2004? The reason why I ask is I'm trying to figure out the significance of the title of the first two episodes "LA X." Could it be the roman numeral for 10, meaning LA 2010?

Magicmark said: Last week, Claire's ultrasound showed an October date, a month later than the original flight 815.

Did the ultrasound, (or any of the passport shots in the airport) show the year? If not, I think debbie is on to something . . .

Jobin said...

"As we consider who might be the new jacob - we need to consider who ISN'T on the plane in the alt-reality but who's name IS written on the ceiling:

Sayid."

Sayid was on the plane in the alt-reality. He kicked in the bathroom door for Jack, who then found Charlie choking on his drugs.

Jobin said...

I'm in the extreme minority, it seems, but I was very underwhelmed by this episode (although I liked the cave and I found Terry O'Quinn's performance to be brilliant).

I don't like that we go entire episodes without seeing a main character. No Jack/Kate/Sayid this week and no Richard/Ben last week? Not cool.

Henry said...

The seeming absence of Kate from the ceiling of names is yet another example of how poorly female characters have been treated on this show (if indeed, there's some significance to Kate's absence).

See Shannon, Claire (absent for a whole season), Libby, Ana Lucia, Nikki, Rachel, Nadia's death by speeding car, Helen by brain aneurysm, Juliet dying after setting off Jughead. Penny and so far, Ilana are the exceptions, it seems. Could this mean Sun is not meant for a long stay on the Island?

smussyolay said...

YAY -- this is the first place on the Internet where people refer to the other Locke as Esau!!! I've been saying that all over the place, telling the Bible story, and there never seems to be any response. Love to be validated.

I also like the L.A. 2010 thing -- I've been saying that to a friend since it aired, and been being brushed off. I'm wondering if that whole thing is an afterlife/reincarnation sort of thing. That the bomb is a reset sort of thing -- they end up back on the island and then will all have to die to end up back in 2010 for their next "life."

I've also maintained that I don't think that Esau is bad -- only for following the gist of the story from the Bible. I'm feeling good that this episode sort of is backing up that theory a bit.

Can't wait for next week!

kishkeking said...

This is what I took from last night:

Only a canidate can see the dead or certain dead. That's why Sawyer saw young Jacob and Richard did not. There have been numerous examples throughout the series of who we now know are candidates seeing the dead

Why should we assume Jacob is good and Esau bad? The people working throughout the show in Jacobs name or on his behalf have not exactly been good people.

Flocke answered all of Sawyer's questions truthfully when he could have lied to him at any point. So why trek all the way to the cave to show him lies? Sawyer is right to be skeptical but if I were Sawyer I would be believing more in Flocke than Richard right now. What good has Richard ever done for the Losties?

I hope there's another way out of the cave. Climbing back up that ladder is going to be a bitch

Anonymous said...

I was mostly bored by this episode. I'm going to have to agree with Yellowdog for now.

But I'm going to continue to watch, so Cuse and Lindelof win anyway.


This is exactly how I feel. Come May 23rd, LOST will probably be revealed as having been the longest con in the history of television, but I'll keep tuning in until then.

Adam said...

Any chance that the man in the poster behind Locke when he meets Rose is Desmond? It sure looks like him and the shot seemed oddly framed to give us a long glimpse at the poster.

PS This is most likely not Desmond and even if it is, I doubt it has anything to do with anything. Still, it caught my eye.

Steve said...

A friend of mine pointed this out to me

Interesting that we were told about the numbers this week, leaving room for more explanation given that next week is the

4 + 8 + 15 + 16 + 23 + 42 = 108th episode of the show.

I have a feeling that the way most shows do something big for their 100th episode, LOST will have something for its 108th hour.

John S said...

Hey Alan,

You didn't really comment on the implications this episode had for your prediction that the last scene of the series would be Jack/Locke re-enacting the Jacob/Smokey scenes with Locke and the new Jacob and Jack and Smokey. Is it possible they could switch roles? Particularly since the new 2004 Jack is, as plenty of others have pointed out, so willing to believe in miracles...

Frogurt said...

Could 'the rules' that the kid referred to have anything to do with the rules that Ben discussed with Widmore when Alex was killed and he threatened to attack Penny?

If not, will we ever learn the actual details of them? Or are we to assume they had some kind of no family pact?

Evamarie said...

Ok. we have 4,8,15,16,23,42 accounted for
Is anyone else asking who is #108? Desmond?

Oh and on the Easter Egg zoom-ins posted by J (thanks) on #17 you can see "Goodspeed" on the wall sort of off to the left of Reyes. Crossed out, of course.

I personally LOVED the episode, but I have an undying John Locke love.

One more thing - alternate or not is anyone else at least a little bit disturbed about Ben Linus molding the minds of the future?

~Eva

Anonymous said...

OK I'm going to get all fan fury about an insignificant point. But, why did Locke miss the conference?
In the S1 timeline, he was going to go on a walkabout for a week or two and when he was denied, he took the next flight back: Oceanic 815.
In the sideways timeline, he obviously planned to blow off the conference ("New Visions in Packaging 2004", I imagine) to take that walkabout since he packed his knives. But, if he was denied, why didn't he just suck it up and walkabout the conference. And if he jumped on Oceanic 815, howcum Helen and Randy weren't surprised to see him come home early.
What happened during that week?

End fan wankery screed.

Oh and there seems to be a lot of chatter on the Nets that Jughead never exploded. I guess the idea is that one final time shift occured at that exact second and threw them all to 2007. Ummm, did someone else turn that Frozen Donkey Wheel in 1977?

Puff

Word Verification: miash = Jacob's remains

7s Tim said...

I know Ben's a liar and probably would have been killed if he told the truth, but i'm thinking his lie to Ilana about Smokey Locke (smocke) killing jacob might come back to haunt him.

I agree with the various commenters that 2004 might be a way to show the epilogue to the series before the ending.

I don't know if I believe the blonde boy who had blood on his arms is Jacob. Unlikely to be Aaron, since he's living off island at the time and is years younger (although the same thought popped to mind when he was shown running away from Smocke). But why would he come back as a ghost, but do it as a young boy? Has he known the M.I.B. to have a weakness for them or something? (is the actor contracted out somewhere else?)

Also not sure who the "him" he can't kill was referencing. If the boy is the referee in Jacob & M.I.B.'s long tug of war (let's say), maybe he was chastising him? Or is Smocke being warned that he can't just bump off the candidates to ensure no new Jacob? Or is it a specific reference to Sawyer?

Maybe Smocke's retelling of Jacob's motives is really about himself? "I have this...friend... who needs a replacement for his job.... he's like, a protector of this island and stuff..." Wasn't the Smoke Monster called the security system? Maybe they both need proxies to fight their battles for them, and the real contest will be a game of backgammon, and we get to watch it for two hours as the finale?

And can't some people just accept that the numbers are a huge big weird thing, more of a way to shown when the Island or Jacob or the writers or whatever are having an influence in the events, less of mystery to unveil. Like, when Jacob gets a whole bunch of people to be on a plane to take over his job it will inevitably have 815 as its number. Or if he or God or whatever wants Hugo to be rich so he takes actions that position him to be on that flight, of course the winning ticket will have the Numbers on it.
Does it need to have a concrete answer? Can it have a concrete answer? "Those were the numbers of the building and apartment where my parents conceived me, so I picked them to be in everything I do." If Jacob says something like this about them (but you know, not exactly like), would it even make sense?
I like Ben Linus better before he kills Jacob than I like him after or even as a teacher.

christy said...

A coworker and I were throwing around the 2010 theory after the premiere (I posted about it here, but too late for many people to have seen it), but both Sayid's customs papers and Claire's ultrasound have 2004 pretty clearly.

On the other hand, Sayid's papers also list his birthday wrong, and Claire's ultrasound says October, which, first of all--why? And as others have pointed out, that doesn't jibe with all the "I thought you were going to take that vacation in October" talk from this episode, so...I'm officially confused about the dates in the new timeline.

Scott J. said...

I think the date on the ultrasound is most likely a prop error. It wouldn't be the first. That, or it's supposed to be her due date. Either way, I wouldn't build any theories on it.

christy said...

Ah yes actually due date would make much sense.

Kristen said...

Jobin said...

"As we consider who might be the new jacob - we need to consider who ISN'T on the plane in the alt-reality but who's name IS written on the ceiling:


The only person that could be is Christian. His corpse was on the plane originally, and was missing from alt-reality. Everyone else is accounted for, unless they throw in a new relative of someone's.

I really, really hope they aren't going with the end of the show being when they really reset the timeline, and the alt-universe being the "future." First of all, it's too obvious. And second of all, I spent six years watching this show. I don't want to be told that it all never happened at the end. (I mean, I know it never actually happened. But, I want it all to have happened in the Lost-universe).

Jeff W. said...

I also thought the numbers matched their seat numbers on the plane, but hopefully someone else will take the time to figure out if that could be true. For what it's worth, someone on another blog pointed out that in the alt-timeline, Jack is in seat (row?) 24 rather than 23.

M.Chavez said...

C/L have stated that "LA X" is a play on comic book convention of naming alternate realities with an 'X'. Like Earth-X. Folks have been using it to refer to the same characters in the alt timeline, like Hurley-x, Locke-x, etc.

Jim said...

@Jeff W. --

Well, right off, I know Locke isn't sitting in row 4. He's a few rows behind Jack's row 23. And Hurley is sitting in the same row as Sawyer (or at least much closer than 8 and 15), right?

dez said...

I thought the numbers might correspond to the number of seats (not the row number, but say if there are 300 seats on the plane, and Jack's in 23, whoever's in 1, etc.), but that didn't seem to work out.

Is there still anyone subscribing to the theory that Jacob and MIB = Ra and...um...Egyptian god of the underworld? I liked that theory because it accounted for neither of them being entirely good or entirely evil. I could be remembering that completely wrong, though.

JDSTL said...

Alan,

Why didn't you lead off your column with the opener (and I love your openers, BTW) "I'll post my review of this week's episode of Lost right after I put some pants on" ?

Now that would have been classic!!

Keep up the great work!

Gridlock said...

For me the most interesting thing about the list of candidates isn't Kate's absence (although absent she is), but Smokey's assumption that Shephard refers to Jack. He's not the only Shephard on this island, and we all know it!

Indeed, he's not the only Shepherd to arrive on the island on flight 815 either.

Sometimes you have to try and smash the 4th wall to get further along - so was Helen's t-shirt ("Peace and Karma" & "joy and tranquility" were the 2 lines I could make out) off the shelf or a production-office special?

It was certainly, umm, noticeable thanks to the contents.

canucklehead_ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
canucklehead_ken said...

I say Sayid is now Jacob.

1. Possession seems to have certain detectable symptoms and it makes sense that Dogen would think Sayid is infected by the smoke monster, when in reality, he's been "infected" by Jacob.

2. Jacob's ghost was the one who told Hurley that in order to save Sayid, he has to be taken to the temple.

3. Jacob sent Dogen a note indicating that if Sayid dies, they'd all be in trouble. Well, it makes sense that Jacob would want Sayid protected if Sayid was now Jacob.

Jimmy said...

I didn't think that they walked Locke's body to the 815 beach, I figured they buried him with all the other people who died on the Ajira flight.

drbristol said...

Henry, totally with you on Locke and the face full of sprinkling water.

Jobin - since when is Locke not a major character? Or Sawyer?

Sawyer absolutely said "scared" to the Lockness Monster, not "scary".

I'm torn about whether the kid is Aaron or Jacob, but when he started talking about the rules I didn't think Jacob/MIB - I thought about Ben and Widmore and Ben's shock (and statement that "he broke the rules") when his daughter was killed.

M.Chavez said...

The "Peace&Karma" shirt is off the shelf:

link here or just google 'peace karma shirt'

Jobin said...

drbristol, you completely misunderstood my point. What I was saying is that they went this entire episode without ever once showing SOME of the major characters, like Jack, Kate, and Sayid. And the week before, the went the entire episode without showing SOME of the major characters, like Ben and Richard.

Never once did I say that Sawyer and Locke weren't major characters.

Alan Sepinwall said...

What I was saying is that they went this entire episode without ever once showing SOME of the major characters, like Jack, Kate, and Sayid.

And that's been the show's MO going all the way back to season one. Some episodes feature everybody, and some focus only on a subset of characters.

Jobin said...

Well... ummm... I don't like it :-)

Laurel said...

I think the episodes alternating between one group of characters while leaving the other group out entirely is a little annoying as well. I know that groups have been left out of episodes from the beginning, but for some reason it seems more apparent for the last few eps than it had before.

In other seasons the different groups were less connected maybe. For example, last season during eps showing Jack and co off island I wasn't really concerned with what was going on in dharmaville simultansously. Whereas now, while Smoke Locke is traipsing through the jungle with Sawyer there must be stuff going on at the temple that directly affects the interaction between the temple people and Locke.

It is probably impossible to include each main group of characters in every episode, but I do agree that focussing on one or two groups while leaving another out entirely creates a little confusion on the sequence of events.

It also kind of ruins the momentum of the show. Last episode left on a huge cliffhanger with Claire showing up. And then she was nowhere to be seen in the next ep. It will be interesting to see where the next ep picks up. I will have to pay attention to the timing of things.

LockaB said...

Jimmy - the Ajira crashed on Hydra Island, so unless they took a boat trip back and managed to avoid seeing all the other Ajira survivors (wonder what they're up to by the way), I don't think that's where they went.

It's pretty obvious they went back to the original beach since we see the other graves for people like Shannon, Boone, Nicki & Paolo while we can also see Eko's half-built church in the background.

Matt said...

I think the episodes alternating between one group of characters while leaving the other group out entirely is a little annoying as well. [...]
It also kind of ruins the momentum of the show.


I can see where it's frustrating in the week to week (it's not to me), but they way they structure really works when watched back-to-back. On DVD, the show plays like a big epic novel, with a chapter following this group, the next following another, and everyone gradually coming together towards the end.

LockaB said...

I think it's pretty silly hearing people gripe that we don't get to see every main character in every episode. For every scene this week of Jack, etc, there would be one less scene of Sawyer & Flocke. If there was another scene of Jin & Claire, then there would be one less scene of Ben/Lapidus/Ilana/Sun. So we would get about 1 scene from each group plus the flash-sideways stuff meaning virtually no movement would be made for any of the groups. What you're really complaining about is that you want your answers NOW NOW NOW and can't wait. We've had many episode-ending cliffhangers in the past similar to Claire's capture of Jin where that storyline wasn't picked up again until a few episodes later.

LockaB said...

Here's a random thought/possibility - Jin & Sun will together become Jacob's (and MIB's) replacement and their original bodies will somehow become "Adam & Eve" with the black and white stones. Jacob did touch them both at the same time and the Kwon on the wall could refer to both of them together. Of course, that could mean poor Ji Yeon grows up an orphan. I also wonder if Hurley ever even bother to tell Jin that he has a daughter.

Anonymous said...

In Season 3, the cliffhanger on "The Man from Tallahassee" is the reveal of Anthony Cooper on the Island. They don't come back to that until "The Brig" 6 episodes later. That's a month and a half if there are no breaks!

G. said...

In Par Avion, Mikhail says to Kate ...."You are not on the list because you are flawed. 'Cause you are angry and weak and frightened...."
How does Mikhail know about the list and apparently Richard does not???

LockaB said...

Random thought - the scene where Sawyer and Flocke stood at the edge of the cliff reminded me a lot of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" (SPOILER ALERT for anyone who hasn't read it)... in the book, the JUDGE/murderer pushes his unsuspecting victim off the cliff (he had brought him out under the pretense that he needed to show him something). After murdering everyone else on the ISLAND, he kills himself (he had a terminal illness anyway), leaving no one alive and the investigators at a loss for who the real murderer is. Perhaps Smocke's end goal is to leave no one alive on the island and he will finally be able to die.

Karl said...

This was probably covered more after the finale last season, but I saw one or two touch on this. I think when looking at the biblical story of the twins Jacob and Esau, it provides a great parallel to this story and blurs the line of which one is good/bad.

After Issac learns that Jacob deceived him to receive the 1st born blessing, he tells Esau: "By your sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve; yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from upon your neck" (27:39-40).

It seems to me that Esau is being held against his will on the island when NotLocke says it's been so long that he can't remember what being free is like.

Plus, Locke has been always been associated with knives through the entire show. He always carries that one on his belt. He killed Naomi with a knife in the back and the luggage back from Australia was a box of knives. Even smoke monster stops to pick up his machete in this episode. Is it just me, but when Richard goes to visit him as a child to test his "candidacy", didn't he pick up the knife then too?

Anonymous said...

i'm pretty sure that the seat numbers don't correspond. locke was never in the 4th row.

moreover, i'm pretty sure that ana lucia was in the 42nd row (42F?), and we know neither jin nor sun was that far back in the plane or they would have been with the tailies

Rick said...

If the Others have been making lists all this time, and referring to them as "Jacob's lists" (a connection I still can't quite understand since we get confirmation that the Others were actually drafting the lists in Season 3), how is it that the Losties we know and love were only referenced on one such list at the start of this season, when we now know that Jacob has been keeping track of them all this time?

Did the "Candidate Six" need to experience life out on the Island for a time? Did Jacob only recently identify them?

More ominously, is the Man in Black just telling Sawyer a pack of lies while they are in the cave? Rather than candidates, do the markings on the wall instead show a kind of "Kill Bill" style hit list drafted by Smokey himself? We did see him cross off Locke's name in this one, and it's quite clear that we aren't supposed to take the Man in Black at face value (obviously the Island needs protecting from something, despite what he tells Sawyer).

Scott J. said...

In that scene from "Par Avion", Mikhail also seemed to imply that Sayid and Locke were not on the list, the way he looked at each of them as he enumerated the reasons they were not chosen. I imagine most of the Others were never allowed to see the list for themselves and were fed a lot of lies about who is and isn't on it by Ben. He could use it as a recruiting tool ("Jacob Wants You!") and to draw a distinct line between "us", Jacob's chosen people, and "them", the bad guys.

Pandyora said...

Random question - did I understand correctly that Esau is now permanently stuck in Locke form?

Because if so, I'll miss the ever reliable Titus Welliver. When he ain't lying, he's the most honorable character actor you'll ever meet.

mck said...

Sorry if this was already said, but 166 comments is a lot to catch up on.

"• Even more startling than the idea of Locke still being in a relationship with Helen was Helen's casual suggestion that they elope to Vegas with "my parents and your dad." Is Anthony Cooper a much less evil man in this timeline, or does alt-Locke somehow have a different daddy? And how did alt-Locke wind up in a wheelchair?"

I'm really excited about what this means for Sawyer. Did Cooper never become a con man? Are Sawyer's parents alive? And what does this mean for Sawyer's alt-character?

Tuesday can't come fast enough.

http://mcklowry.blogspot.com

Henry said...

mck -

Makes sense given Sawyer's pretty calm and debonair demeanor in the Lost X timeline. His parents could still be alive and Juliet might be waiting for him at home (which could explain her "going dutch" comment in the premiere).

Rick said...

I'm not as keen on the possibilities of the alternate time line as some of you. Mainly because the characters we are watching are clearly different from the ones we have been following for the five previous years. Let's look at the questions Locke's "flash" leaves us after this episode:

(1) What is Locke's relationship with his Dad?
(2) If his relationship with his Dad is good (as is implied by Helen's suggestion that Locke invite his dad to their wedding), what events have transpired in Locke's dad's past which causes him to not push his son from an apartment window?
(3) Did Locke's dad steal his kidney?
(4) If Locke's Dad didn't push him from a window, how was Locke paralyzed (and for how long has he been that way)?
(5) How did Locke meet Helen (remember they met in a support group related to Locke's abuse at the hands of his father the first time around)?
(6) If Locke wasn't pushed out a window, then was he ever in the hospital at the right time to have Abaddon tell him he needed to go on walkabout? If not, why did he decide to go on walkabout?
(7) What did Locke do for a week in Australia? (In the original timeline it was at least strongly implied that the ticket the walkabout company purchased for Locke was very soon to depart after he was rejected from participating in the tour.)
(8) If Locke's Dad is a nice guy now, what effect does that have on Sawyer's alternate story? Are Sawyer's parents alive?

I am sure there are hundreds more that could be asked about Locke or any of the other alternate versions of the castaways, but therein lies the problem. We don't know who alternate Locke is any better than we know, for instance, who Cindy the stewardess is. There's a hole in the narrative that makes it impossible to be certain what things actually happened in the story we are being told. I don't see any way around this for the show's producers and it's becoming more and more troublesome. At least to me.

drbristol said...

"drbristol, you completely misunderstood my point. What I was saying is that they went this entire episode without ever once showing SOME of the major characters..."

Sorry, Jobin! But what you wrote was (and I quote) "I don't like that we go entire episodes without seeing a main character."

If I misinterpreted your statement, it's only because I took it at face value (the word SOME changes that sentence completely.) Understand now.

So as to the cycling of stories, I don't mind - I'm used to it by now. But I definitely enjoy the eps based upon Locke, Ben and Sawyer more than the others, even though there's really not a character I don't like. (Some, like Claire, are less interesting to me than others, but after 6 years I'm pretty much invested in all of them).

Dave said...

I thought Jacob was in Sayid now???

N Pants said...

I don't know if anyone else said this yet, but I got the feeling the kid was Christian.

Julie said...
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Julie said...

Some points I don't see addressed above:

1. Jacob's body - F-Locke pushes the body into the fire, and we see it flare a bit. The next we see, the body is only ashes. It takes an extremely hot fire to entirely burn a body, so did Jacob's body disappear, Jedi-like, into ghost-dom?

2. Christian - Is he a ghost, such as Hurley sees, OR did Smokey borrow his body as he did with Eko's brother and with Locke? And if Christian is Smokey, what does that mean for all of the interactions that Christian has had with the Losties, right back to Christian showing Jack where there was fresh water? What does it mean for Claire who followed him?

3. How is Alt-Ben alive? Let's say the bomb went off in 1977. It makes sense that Ethan survives, because his mother took him on the sub. But 11-yr-old-Ben is relatively close, at the temple. How could he have survived?

In fact, the more I think about this, the more it falls apart. Because wouldn't Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore have been killed? So, Daniel Faraday wasn't born? And then who showed up in 1954 and told the others to bury the bomb? And who came up with the idea of using the bomb at the swan?

So, it seems to me that some other event resets the timeline, despite Juliette's statement that "it worked".

Julie said...

A thought on Jacob's ceiling: Jacob wrote alot of names, with numbers, on the ceiling. It seems that many of the crossed out ones are individuals who have died, making them unavailable as candidates. But not all - Littleton is one example.

Anyway, the "finalists" are all associated with our favorite numbers: 4,5,8, 15,16, 23 ,42. So, is the original broadcast of the numbers (as heard by Sam Toomey and Leonard) really just Jacob "calling his people"?

and is that linked to the Valenzetti equation?

Vi said...
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Vi said...
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Vi said...

and speaking of Sawyers underwear.....

I was thinking they looked mighty Bright White when he was swing from the cliff.

I'm not a perv Alan, lol! It's just that they were so DARN white it was hard not to notice. Inconsistent wardrobe malfunction?????

Unless they have super bleach at The Dharma Initiative , in which case I have to get me some of that!