Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lost Rehash S6.4: The Substitute

Last week’s lackluster episode “What Kate Does” looks even shabbier when compared with last night’s “The Substitute.”  Of course, any episode featuring John Locke—and in this case, un-John Locke, too—then the episode’s bound to be great.  Terry O’Quinn is a superb actor, and his portrayals of both a despairing John Locke and an angry, mysterious Smoke Monster Man thing are top notch.

The_SubstituteFirst, the Flashsideways.  I’m struggling to hang on to the importance of the  Flashsideways.  I understand that the Losties all had miserable lives.  The only compelling thing about this reality is the subtle differences from Season 1.  Perhaps this is all just showing how life would be without the Island, but for now it’s failing to keep me excited.

I did like seeing John Locke with Helen again, and I was glad for their love.  The meeting between Hugo and Locke in the parking lot was endearing and funny.  Meeting Rose was nice, but not spectacular.  The best meeting by far was the substitute teacher meeting Benjamin Linus, the history teacher.  Juxtaposing that scene with the other timeline, with the fact that Linus killed Locke (and attempted to as well), was great.

Now, on to the meatier and more interesting aspects of “The Substitute.”  Seeing through the eyes of the Smoke Monster was cool and unexpected.  When unLocke cut down Richard from the tree, and after he refused to travel with him, I fully expected unLocke to kill the man.  I suppose he would have, had he not seen the Boy With Bloody Hands.  (This scene was beautifully shot.  The surrounding greenery of the Island, the concentrated light on the boy, the pale colors and the stark, red blood.  Great shot.)  Their talk of candidacy put more questions in our heads, and soon unLocke was with Sawyer, convincing him to travel with him.  Having nothing to lose, James agrees.

Lost Boy (Young Jacob) They both met the Boy Who Had Bloody Hands and Sawyer asked who that was.  Surprised that he could see him, unLocke chases him down and is reminded about the “rules” and that he can’t kill him.  Like the real John Locke, he responds with a defiant “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”  (This makes me wonder how much humanity and control the Man in Black has in this body, or does the deceased John Locke still possess some strength, too?)

After a few more interesting things (Sawyer being warned by Richard to flee from unLocke, the Of Mice and Men scene, unLocke saying how he is “trapped,” and a dangerous descent down a cliff-side), the duo arrives in a cave.  unLocke removes the white stone from the scale, giving the black side complete domination, and tosses it into the ocean.  Then he shows Sawyer why he, and all the other Losties, are on the Island.

The Numbers show up next to a list of scribbled names.  Most are crossed out.  Six are not.  4-LOCKE, 8-REYES, 15-FORD, 16-JARRAH, 23-SHEPHARD, 42-KWON.  Locke simply says Jacob had a thing for numbers, and that all of these names are candidates, candidates for Jacob’s job, to protect the Island.  He gives Sawyer three choices,

1.  Do nothing and see how it all plays out.
2.  Take up Jacob’s job and protect the Island “from nothing.”
3.  Get off the Island, but they do it together.

Of course, heart-broken and angry, twisted and misinformed, Sawyer chooses the third option.  Surely this is what the MiB wanted all along.

Dead John Locke The other POV party—Ben, Sun, Ilana, and Frank—all decide to head to the Temple, but first they choose (at Sun’s behest) to bury John’s body.  We’re taken back to the cemetery and Locke is laid to rest.  Ben gives a truthful and touching eulogy, commenting on Locke’s faith and lamenting the fact that he murdered him.

Thoughts and Opinions

  • The candidates were the most interesting thing from this episode.  What does it really mean?  Surely MiB is lying about things, but what?  Are the Numbers really unimportant and random or are they purposeful?
  • I’m guessing the Boy With Bloody Hands was a young Jacob?  Could Richard not see him because he denied unLocke, but Sawyer could because he accepted him?
  • Kate’s name was not listed as a candidate.  Yay!  But we knew from early on that she was not “on the list.”
  • In the Flashsideways, Helen says something about Locke and his father at the wedding.  In this timeline, are Locke and the Man from Tallahassee on good terms?  If so, then does that imply that “Sawyer” never existed and never wronged James Ford’s family?
  • Next week’s episode, “Lighthouse,” looks awesome, too. 


Ames said...

What I found interesting about the whole "Locke's father at the wedding" thing is how the heck could anyone be on good terms with someone that pushed them out of a window and paralyzed them?? Or is Locke's father not the reason for his paralysis in this time line? If not...what/who is?

Mattson Tomlin said...

ahhhhh! i'm still in last season so I'm barring myself from all lost-related posts but they're everywhere!!!

logankstewart said...

(These come from Facebook.)

Bilski: For some reason my comment doesnt seem to be here it is on Facebook!

I just watched it last night night....and WOW. I think this has been my favorite episode in the past two seasons. Then again, John Locke is my favorite character...dead or undead.

Does Helen know about John's father's betrayal? If not then her comment about him being at the wedding would be innocuous.... See More

Anyone else come to the conclusion that UnLocke is the one causing Jacob's list to be crossed out? OK, that was too easy, but still...what is it that's keeping UnLocke from leaving the island? Why does he really need Sawyer for that?

PS I like the color scheme today, Logan. I don't know if it's been this way a while but I just noticed the aqua well!

Logan: Strange stuff, Bill. I had someone else tell me the comments weren't working on the blog the other day, too, but I'm not really sure why. Everything seems to be in order over at Rememorandom. Maybe site maintenance?

Regardless, this was indeed an awesome episode. The bigger question is "is that cave really even Jacobs, or is it a lie unLocke has told?"

I think he needs Sawyer to get another "substitute" for his body, one that's young and strong. Or maybe he needs an offering?... See More

Yeah, the colors have been that way for a few weeks now. I changed from green to the aqua. Thanks. (I'll probably copy these comments and put them on the blog, by the way.)

logankstewart said...

@Ames: Definitely, but I'm thinking that in this timeline that Locke's father didn't cause the paralysis, at least not purposefully. Perhaps Locke's dad still needed a kidney, Locke decided to donate him one, and there were complications, resulting in his paralysis? But hopefully it's something more sinister than that...:)

@Mattson: No! Stay away from the interwebs and all things Lost until you get caught up.

Michael said...

In regards to John's back: Does the island still have a way of "course correcting" even though it's below sea?

logankstewart said...

@Mike: I wonder the same thing. Just because the Island is underwater, does that mean it's lost its power and influence? I don't think so.

Jonathan Francis said...

So much to say so I'm just going to try and narrow it down to three main points/questions.

1.) If MIB can't leave the island, then how in the world did Christian appear to Jack at the hospital in an episode last season? This seems to indicate that Christian is NOT a manifestation of MIB. However, back when Christian appeared to Jack, the smoke detector even went off, which seemed like a major hint at the time. Maybe MIB can only leave the island for brief periods???

2.) I'm still on Team Jacob, but man Terry O'Quinn was definitely convincing. He's a phenomenal actor and I can't wait to see how his roles continue to change in this final season.

3.) I know it seems like real/original John Locke is dead, but why in the world do they keep showing us his body every episode? They sure went out of their way to make sure we saw his burial, unless it was just to keep Ilana/Sun/Ben/Frank involved in the story.

logankstewart said...

@Jon: The whole manifestation thing is quite interesting. Perhaps both Jacob and MiB can appear as different people, but only as those that are dead? Or maybe the Island itself has a consciousness and takes form as these manifestations?

As far as MiB and Jacob, surely there's some grey area here.

I think the choice to view Locke's body was just a reminder of things that have happened, but also as a plot device with Ben, Ilana, etc.