Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lost: "The Substitute" recap

Lost repeated what amounts to a "filler" episode with one that is just purely fan service. "The Substitute" mirrors season 1's Locke-centric episode; not only does the Locke-centric episode fall chronologically in the same order, but also follows the same inherent struggle and dichotomy of what Locke can do on the island, and what he couldn't do off the island. Hell, we even got to fly around in smokey.

And you never tell Locke what he can't do, even if he actually a 10ft tall pillar of smoke...

The Substitute (off island)
  • The parallel world is still following the trend of giving the audience a clever reworking of our main, um, "candidates," past and present. In the case of this Locke, he is still dealing with the post-accident denial of what he is "able" to do.
  • Weirdly though, he seems to have managed to maintain his relationship with Helen to the point that they are engaged in this reality. Even crazier, Helen mentions that they should just have a small gathering for a wedding with Locke's father. I don't think you would want the father that pushed you out a window and crippled you at your wedding, so the audience can safely assume that he isn't the cause of Locke's paralysis. 
  • Another continuation we saw in this timeline is the highly coincidental fortuitous meetings with other candidate Losties. In this case, it's our festively plump (and no longer cursed) major mogul, Hurly. The way this guy wheel's and deals, you would think that he actually earned the money this time around and not won it thanks to the numbers. 
  • Hurly gives Locke a boost after Locke gets fired by that lovable office manager, Randy, by hooking him up with the temp agency that he owns, and more specifically Rose. Rose comiserates with Locke and pushes him to live in the moment, because hey, she has cancer and she has to. It'll be interesting to see whether or not peripheral characters, or "none-candidates," still wind up in similar fates. 
  • The temp agency hooks Locke up with probably the best fit he could ever have, teaching and mentoring children. Ironically, who does he run into but his on-island nemesis, Ben. Is it just me, or is it that all European history teachers bug-eyed creepy? Wonder if Locke and Ben will now fight it out for the chance at being tenured and for the favor of their principle, Mr. Jacob. 
The Substitute (on island)
  • On island life occurred sans team Jack,  but we got a heaping helping of team Darth Locke. There were several revelations, and almost an equal amount of questions raised in the process. The primary revelation is that the plane crashed because Jacob had once again chosen a select few to maybe become the caretaker of the island:
  1. 4 - Locke
  2. 8 - Hurly
  3. 15 - Sawyer 
  4. 16 - Sayid 
  5. 23  - Jack
  6. 42 - Sun or Jin
  • Granted, this could be a pile of rubbish that smokey tells Sawyer, but for the sake of half-truths, it's probably right. Very curiously (and noticeably absent) from the numbers is Kate, who also like Sawyer, had been touched by Jacob as a child (I'll never get over the way that sounds), and thus was implied to have been a "candidate." Unless there is a phantom number, there is definitely something amiss. It could be that double numbers  could actually be read as two people, yet that is debunked as there multiple repeating numbers (like 2 and 1). Jack is sporting air-Jordan's number, while Locke occurs in the lowest number value. Could it be that the closer to 1 Jacob identifies you, the more likely you are to be his successor (as Locke was clearly the most spiritually adept, followed by Hurly). Now that Locke is dead, Hurly could be the next in line (he has already been visited in spirit by Jacob), and has already proven his capability at being a caretaker of multiple companies (at least in his alternate life).
  • The downer-idea that smokey conveyed was that Jacob as an entity was willing to crash multiple ships and eventually planes, killing hundreds if not thousands of people over time, just for the sake of trying to get one person to take his place so that perhaps like smokey, he too could finally leave the island. Of course, this idea that Jacob is a collateral damage ignoring psycho is probably what smokey wants James and the audience to think, as it will probably turn out that most of the deaths and tragedies have been the work of smokey trying to counter everything that Jacob did. 
  • We also gathered, thanks to Illana, that smokey is now corporeally unable to take on a new avatar now. He is stuck looking, and sometimes acting like Locke. One wonders whether or not Darth Locke's outburst of real-Locke's signature line, "Don't tell me what I can't do" also implies that by taking on Locke's representation, smokey also takes one his memories and personality traits. Smokey being stuck also is a boon for the audience as now we do not have to question whether ghostly meetings or occurences are just projections and tricks by smokey, but the real deal. Which leads to...
  • Freaky (blood-covered?) child-Jacob ghost thing. It appears that not even smokey is immune to visions on the island. The kid tells him, "You know the rules, you can't kill him." So whether or not you thought smokey and Jacob were primary dueling entities, it appears that there is now something even greater than both of them at play here. Perhaps the child was the avatar of the all-powerful island itself, but clearly, Jacob and smokey answer to someone or something.  Interestingly, Sawyer sees the child too. I love Sawyer and Darth Locke's chemistry, and the no bullshit interplay between them. It's refreshing to have a character on the show that can see through the lies and the games (up to a point), and Sawyer calling out smokey (as well as smokey's reaction) was pretty badass. To think, that smokey has had thousands of years of training manipulating people, and one drunk dude can see through him instantly.
Wild stuff this week, definitely an upgrade from the week before. It will be interesting to find out what the numbers actually mean in reference to their "candidate" counterparts, and whether or not their equation is bogus now that 4 is dead; Locke  is the first of the "candidates" to actually die, and probably not the last.

Until next time...

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