Lost: The Substitute

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

Now we're getting somewhere. And it is somewhat fitting that Locke, whoever he is, is the one who stars in the episode where we finally see progress in this, the final season. As much as I didn't mind last week's episode, in hindsight we didn't really get anywhere. Perhaps inadvertently making up for this, tonight's episode was pretty great. Lots of that Lost intrigue, methinks.

The Substitute was a cool title, too, because it had more than one meaning. Locke is an actual substitute, eventually, in one flash. In the other, the Man in Black is kind of a substitute for Locke (who is dead), as he is using Locke's body. And we'd all miss Locke, wouldn't we? I would. He is the soul of the island to me.

Flash Sideways (alternate reality):

Opens HILARIOUSLY. But kinda sad. Locke's van pulls up to his house and the chair lift stalls. He tries to kind of jump off with his wheelchair, but face plants into the grass. Then...the sprinkler system goes on. LOL. Helen comes out and helps him...now...I'm not as dorky about Lost as my buddy Paul...so, perhaps he can tell me if Helen was mentioned previously in Locke's life. I THINK she was but I'm not totally positive. At any rate, she is really sweet. Very supportive of him, whether he's handicapped or not. This Flash Sideways is really about testing that unwavering faith we see in Locke all the time. Everything goes wrong for him here. He's fired from his job for lying about going to a conference when he was really on a walkabout...that he wasn't really on. In the parking lot after being fired he bumps into Hugo (who had parked too close to his fan so that he couldn't get in...and another little funny thing is that Locke was going to lower the ramp onto Hugo's car but it stalls again ha ha). Hugo says he owns the company that Locke was just fired from and tells Locke to visit a temp agency and he'll hook Locke up with a new job. Rose is the supe at the Temp Agency, and she drops some science on Locke about how he has to live his life as it is, the best he can, and stop trying to do things he can't. Rose, you see, has cancer in this reality...a cancer that was cured on the island. At home, Locke tries to call Jack for that consult, but hangs up. Then, he tells his wife he didn't go to the conference and tried to go on the walkabout, but was told he wouldn't be able to. He admits that he wouldn't, and seems like he's ready to give up. Then, this sweet lil' Helen tells him she loves him how he is. Awww.

The cool thing about this Flash was that it really contrasted Locke's faith. At the island, it was resolute. Here, it's tested again and again and he seems to give up that faith. Very interesting. At the end of the Flash, Locke is teaching a class as a substitute and bumps into BEN in the teacher's lounge. COOL. I don't know about you, but I LOVE BENJAMIN LINUS.

Island Flash:

Things were really cooking tonight on the island. We open with the smoke monster weaving around the island, checking out the old Others' camp, then stopping at a knife, where it picks it up as Locke. Locke cuts down Richard, who was tied up and hanging in a tree. He tells Richard that it's time to talk. We find out that Locke was a candidate and the Man in Black asks Richard to come with him, which Richard refuses to do. Richard might've been in trouble, but MIB (Locke) sees a young boy and it really rattles him. Back on the beach, the woman, the only one left of those strange dudes who were sent to protect Jacob, says that MIB is recruiting. For what? And who is the boy? A newly born Jacob maybe?

MIB goes to Sawyer and tells him that he can let him know why he is on the island. Sawyer, already at his lowest, probably sees no reason why he shouldn't go with this other Locke (he knows it's not really Locke). Back at the beach, the woman (who IS she?) gets everybody to head to the temple, convincing Sun by telling her that Jin might be there. So, the temple is going to be this big rallying place I suppose. Back to MIB, they're walking together (him and Sawyer) when the young boy is there again. This time, MIB chases after the young boy and falls, finding the young boy standing over him.

"You can't kill him," the boy says.

So, who is this boy? While MIB is dealing with this, Richard comes out of the bush to try and convince Sawyer to run away while he can. Sawyer refuses, but not before he is warned that this other Locke is going to kill him and everybody he loves. Of course, Juliet is dead, and that's who he loved (aside from Kate, perhaps). So that's why he decides to take his chances I suppose. And even when Sawyer holds a gun to MIB's head, MIB really plays on Sawyer's demons and manipulates him. This is interesting, because later MIB tells Sawyer that's what Jacob does. Back at the beach again, we find out from the all-knowing woman, who is dropping science all over the place, that the MIB is STUCK inside Locke's body. They bring Locke to the old place where that annoying young couple was buried. Ben gives a really touching little eulogy that is also very strange to everybody. It went something like: "Locke had unwavering faith, he was a better man than me, and I'm really sorry I murdered him." Once again it is solidified, I LOVE BENJAMIN LINUS. Everything he says is AWESOME.

Here is where we get BEEF. Or tofu if you're vegetarian. MIB leads Sawyer down a cliff, where Sawyer almost falls but is saved by MIB...building trust perhaps? They enter a cave in the side of the cliff, where MIB throws a white rock into the ocean, an "inside joke". Sawyer follows MIB further into the cave where light is cast against names in chalk, many that are crossed out. Here we go! The only names that aren't? I don't have a working remote, so I had to take very fast notes. Sawyer, Sayid, Hugo, Jack and Locke...oh, and Kwan (Jin or Sun?). Plus, there are numbers beside their names (Jacob loves numbers...are we going to learn what the heck THE NUMBERS are???)....Jack (23), Hugo (8), Sayid (16), Kwan (42), Locke (4), Sawyer (15). Now, here Locke is NOT crossed out and Sawyer is CROSSED OUT by MIB. Why? And guess what? THESE ARE THE NUMBERS!!!!!!!!! SO COOL. SO FREAKING COOL.

Now, Sawyer is given 3 options, because all the names scribbled on the cave's walls are candidates that are, according to MIB, in line to be the new Jacob and protect the island...but from NOTHING, says MIB. It doesn't need protecting it's JUST AN ISLAND. Sawyer might believe that, but I think we all know that's not true. We also get more insight into Jacob visiting them all at different times in their lives. Apparently he was just manipulating them...again, according to MIB. So, we obviously aren't going to trust him. We have what might begin to be answers. But I think the answers are on the wall, not coming ou of MIB's mouth. The 3 options?

  1. Do nothing and get crossed out (and he is crossed out).
  2. Be the new Jacob.
  3. Leave the island.

Sawyer says that he will leave the island with MIB. And I wonder, like a vampire who can't come in unless invited, can MIB NOT leave the island unless accompanied by a candidate?

Great episode. We got somewhere, like I said. And I cannot wait until next week. Your thoughts?

Tags: Lost, Terry O'Quinn, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Michael Emerson, Nestor Carbonell, Katey Sagal, numbers, smoke monster, mythology

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David A. Robertson is an award-winning Indigenous author and public speaker from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Robertson is a member of the Norway House Cree Nation. He has published over 25 books across a variety of genres.

Original Comments Posted (4)

metal2000 says...

Helen appeared twice in Season 2 (I knew she had appeared in multiple episodes before, and that she was mentioned last season when Abaddon told the returned-from-island Locke that she had died). She was his girlfriend pre-accident, but after his con-artist dad got Locke involved in criminal activity (after faking his own death), she left him. Right after he tried to propose.

I didn't remember ALL these details... thank goodness for Lostpedia (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/)! :)

Actually, I think the MiB did cross out Locke's name and not Sawyer's. Because Locke's now dead. And also, I think we just DID find out what the numbers were. They were either a) the universe's way of knowing these are the people come to the island as candidates for the protector role, or b) once Jacob had decided on who it would be, he used the numbers as a tool to guide his "choices" there. Either way, I consider that a fairly satisfactory explanation of the numbers (assuming we find nothing more).

LOVED the episode. Loved that things on the island mythology side are starting to come together. And really enjoying the flash sideways reality, too -- all the differences, yet these people are still coming together (Locke, Hurley, Rose, BEN!) and impacting each others' lives.

Feb 17, 2010 1:22am

Cameron McLeod says...

How did I never figure out that 6 people in the oceanic 6, and the fact that there are 6 numbers in the 'sequence' intertwined so well!?

Feb 17, 2010 1:27pm

artxsoul says...

We seem to get a glimpse of other things that are different in this reality. Locke and his dad may be on speaking terms... either that he hasn't old Helen about what happened. When she spoke of running away she suggested only inviting her family and his dad.

Also Kate alludes to possibly being innocent in this reality. Wouldn't it be cool if in this reality her mom killed the abusive stepdad and Kate just took the blame to cover for her? I think so.

Also... does anyone else think that the little kid is a young jacob? He looks a little like him, he knows the rules and most importantly... only dead people ever appear to anyone on the island. Well... dead people and children who were once on the island and escaped (like Walt).. so maybe it's... Aaron??

And here's something that might blow your mind. Notice Sawyer makes a point of looking at the name Shepard and asking "Jack?". And MIB responds in a non-commital way. Nicely played, writers. In Season 3, Episode 6, ("I Do" - i had to look that up) one of the others mentions that "Shepard wasn't on Jacob's list" and is obviously talking about Jack, whereas the name "Shepard" is clearly written in the cave. Could this mean, since only last names are given, that the name on the cave doesn't refer to Jack? It could refer to Claire... but I think it would've been crosed out when she was "claimed". It COULD be Aaron since he's from the same bloodline... and this would explain why the others were so focused on saving Claire's baby...and also why Claire would want him kept away from the Island...

Think about it...

Feb 17, 2010 10:24pm

metal2000 says...

It's possible that Jacob's list from Season 3 isn't the same as Jacob's list from the cave. I mean, he did "touch" Jack off the island (that sounds so dirty!).

I do think it's possible that the ghost kid on the island was Jacob, but after your Walt-appearing theory, I'm thinking that maybe it *is* Aaron.

And yeah, Helen definitely mentioned Locke's dad in Flash Sideways land. If Locke and his dad are buddies, though, then what caused his paralysis? Could be interesting if we find that out!

Feb 17, 2010 11:59pm

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