Wednesday, February 17, 2010

LOST episode 6.4: "The Substitute" more thoughts

Ok, after a full night's sleep (kinda) I'm ready to write some more about last night's important episode.

Let's start at the beginning:

LOCKE'S WHEELCHAIR TROUBLES: Is there anything more depressing than Locke repeatedly falling out of his wheelchair? Maybe Rose's cancer. Locke finds himself face down in the grass while the sprinklers come on, and who should run out to rescue him but Peg Bundy, I mean Helen. And we quickly learn that in this timeline, they're planning a wedding–one which they plan to invite Locke's dad to. Weird. I still maintain these Flash Sideways are a glimpse at what would have happened if the island was never involved in these people's lives, so maybe the evil dad Anthony Cooper wasn't even Locke's real dad, but someone hired by Smokey to play the part in order to get Locke to the island? Or in this timeline is Anthony Cooper just a real nice guy? And if that's the case, how did Locke get in a wheelchair? Also, we know in the other time line that Helen died in 2006 of a brain aneurysm. Is that still her fate in this timeline?

SMOKEY CAM: Man, the sound effects in the Smokey Cam were pretty crazy. Also cool was seeing the reflection of the monster in Sawyer's window. And what was up with that knife he picked up? Was that a knife we've seen before? Maybe his smoke hands just can't carry knives around with him so he had to set it down for a bit while he zoomed around the island, but it would be cool if it turns out to be a knife we've seen before.

LOCKE GETS FIRED, HURLEY IS NICE: I wish Hurley was my boss. Also, Hurley's tremendous luck apparently kicked in again when Locke's wheelchair ramp jammed right before scratching Hurley's hummer.

RICHARD IN A BAG: Smokey uses the knife to chop Richard out of a tree. Poor Richard. Smokey tells Richard he wants him to "come with him" and that he used Locke's body to get close to Jacob because Locke was a candidate. Surprisingly, Richard doesn't know what a candidate is. Locke tries to make Richard feel used by Jacob by saying he would never have kept Richard in the dark. This, again, is the same approach the serpent took in the Garden of Eden, promising us the same knowledge that God has, so we can be like God, and not a "slave" to Him. Even though it will obviously result in a machete to the throat Richard responds, "I'm not going anywhere with you", and is, yet again, awesome. Smokey is clearly going to kill Richard when the blond boy with bloody arms shows up. More on him in a minute.

ILANA AND BEN GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER: Ilana is crying and Ben walks into the statue to see her. She asks what happened to her friends, Ben says she wouldn't believe him, and Ilana says, somewhat cheesily: "Try me." My wife and I groaned at that line. Just kinda cliché, and also maybe because she delivered it like she was in a Revlon commercial. Ben lies and says that Locke killed Jacob, then threw him in the fire, and Ilana collects his ashes. I'm assuming these are the same kind of ashes they were using before to protect themselves from Smokey? Some kind of time loop thing? Ben asks why Locke took Richard into the jungle and Ilana says, "he's recruiting". Is this the beginning of the "war" that's been said to be coming since season 3?

SAWYER LIKES IGGY POP: And drinking in his underwear. I don't want Sawyer to go bad again, but I guess that's where the death of Juliet and his involvement with Smokey is taking him. I liked how unimpressed Sawyer was with Locke's ability to come back from the dead. Sawyer instantly knows that Locke is not Locke, because he's not scared like Locke was. Smokey says he can answer why Sawyer is "on this island". Which is, of course, because Jacob brought him there.

ILANA KNOWS ABOUT JIN: Ilana tells Sun that Jin is probably in the temple. I'm assuming Ilana knows all about everyone brought to the island because of Jacob's list. Clearly she knows more than Richard, because she also knew about the whole "candidate" thing when she suggested to Bram that Frank might be one. I'm interested in getting her back story just because we would learn more about Jacob that way, I'm guessing.

THE BLOND KID: Locke and Sawyer are walking through the jungle when they come across the mysterious blonde kid, who's apparently had time to dress his wounds. Sawyer can see him, too, unlike Richard. Maybe because Sawyer's a candidate? The kid seems to have the upper hand on Smokey, and I'm not sure why Smokey doesn't chase after him as the smoke monster. The boy says: "You know the rules. You can't kill him." Fake Locke latches onto one of real Locke's catch phrases by yelling "Don't tell me what I can't do!" If that kid is not Jacob reborn, then I'll be surprised, because he looked and acted just like Jacob.

RICHARD POPS OUT OF THE WOODS: And tells Sawyer that he doesn't know what he's dealing with: that Smokey won't tell him anything and that he's going to kill Sawyer and everyone Sawyer cares about. Yikes. Apparently this talk does convince Sawyer somewhat, because in the next scene he pulls a gun on Smokey and asks him "what are you?" He answers that he is "trapped". And says before that, he was a man just like Sawyer, and that he's felt joy, pain, anger, fear, betrayal, and what it feels like to lose someone you love. And then he says "You're so close, James. It would be such a shame to turn back now". Seems like Smokey keeps playing on everyone's sense of destiny or desire to know what's going on, with the real goal of supporting his own needs. I'm assuming Smokey getting off the island would be the worst thing imaginable, and that it would cause lots of damage to the outside world? This would explain what's at stake in this show, at least a little bit.

"HE'S STUCK THIS WAY" Ben and Ilana carry Locke's body across the beach and Ben asks if Smokey can still take other forms, and Ilana replies that he's now "Stuck this way". Weird that she knows that, and also possibly untrue, because we saw Smokey in the form of Ben's daughter Alex last season. He was in Locke then, yet still appeared as Alex. Unless Jacob dying stuck him into this form? It's really unclear, but more and more it sounds like some kind of cosmic board game is taking place and we currently don't have a copy of the rules that Ilana has access to. Then they reach what I assume is the burial ground that our Losties were using all along, with Mr. Eko's frame of a church standing in the background. I'm surprised they were able to trek all the way from the statue to the survivor's camp so quickly, I was under the impression they were far away from each other. Ben delivers Locke's eulogy, claiming Locke was a "believer" and that he was "sorry that he murdered him". Juxtaposed with this tribute to "believer" Locke is Flash-Sideways Locke's discussion with Helen where he claims he does NOT believe in miracles, but she disagrees and says
she's just been waiting for him to come around and then rips up Jack Shepard's business card.

THE CAVE: This season we're seeing a lot of new parts of the island and doing a lot more exploring than we've done in the last few seasons, and I'm pretty happy about that because the exploration parts of Season 1 and 2 were among my favorite moments of Lost. I was really sad to see that angle go when the story line shifted to the Oceanic Six's departure and return. So here we have an entirely new setting: Jacob's cave. Upon entering, Locke tosses a white stone into the ocean as an "inside joke". I guess even though they didn't have Steinbeck in whatever time this dude is from, they still had inside jokes. (Side note: since Smokey retained Locke's memories, wouldn't he have known about Steinbeck that way?) And here's where we get to the interesting part... the writing on the cave walls. Here's everyone's assigned numbers, thanks to Lost Easter Eggs.

As predicted, there were a bunch of other interesting names on the wall, too, although I will say that the set designer did a GREAT job of writing names that were unreadable. Either that or Jacob has poor penmanship. Click here to read a comprehensive list of names written on Jacob's cave. A few to note: Littleton is written there (which is probably Claire) and, interestingly, her name was scratched out. I'm assuming because she's technically dead. Also, I saw that Goodspeed was written down (as in Dharma's Horace Goodspeed), and I guess that's confirmation that Jacob even had a hand in bringing Dharma to the island, which I wasn't sure about before.

FLASH SIDEWAYS BEN LINUS: teaches European History. I would have guessed science, but I could see history. My guess is that Ben and Locke will become friends, and then Ben's cancer will kick in and Locke will recommend Jack Shephard for the surgery. And Jack will remove Ben's cancer yet again.

LOCKE'S THREE CHOICES: Smokey offers Sawyer three options: 1) Do nothing, and eventually get your name scratched from the wall when you die. 2.) Become Jacob's replacement and protect the island. "From what?" "From nothing, that's the big joke. It's just a damn island." (I think there's a little more to the island than that, obviously. I mean, there's a crazy wheel of time, at the very least.) And choice number 3.) We just go, get off this island, and never look back. Together. Sawyer chooses option 3 and I'm afraid that means it won't go very well with him in the long run. Even though he's probably the best hero on the show.

Next week's episode is called "Lighthouse". Here's what was in the preview: Locke looks at the camera. Scary Claire looks over her shoulder. Jack sits on a cliff, looking out at the ocean. A voice says, "Someone's coming to the island." Maybe Lennon or Ben? The voice was hard to recognize. Jack looks at his reflection in a puddle or a fountain. Jacob looks up at someone and smiles. Scary Claire walks through the jungle. Jin wakes up and looks startled. Jack yells "What does he want from me?", then there's another flash of Jacob's face, then Jack smashes what looks like a Lighthouse beacon with an ax. Weird. I guess there's a real lighthouse somewhere. And who's coming to the island? Anyway, next Hurley looks at the camera. Kate pulls a gun. And Locke smiles.


Amber said...

Did anyone else think it was totally awesome that the names written in the cave had the lotto/darma hatch number in front of them? I think that was my favorite party. Don't know what it means, but I liked it.

Wes W. said...

I did think that was cool. I also feel like I don't really need any more explanation on the numbers than that, because I suspect if they keep trying to clear that up it start to sound a little ridiculous. But definitely a cool way to connect the dots without explaining it outright and ruining the mystery.

My friend Zach texted me the thought that this was maybe Smokey's cave, and not Jacob's, which is interesting. I think at this point they have to be a little more straightforward with us, though, since the show is coming to an end...

Anonymous said...

I think it could be Smokey/Man in Black's cave, too.
Jacob is "good" and lives in a "fancy" statue; Smokey is "bad" so he lives in this crappy, inaccessible cave. I Love the numbers, too. And maybe that's Smokey just playing along at home with Jacob's "candidates. Who knows.
I like this show.

Carrie Lilly said...

This episode was awesome!

Wes, your blog is great. You always do an excellent job of summarizing each episode and pointing out important details that I always seem to miss!

One thing I did notice, however, were the lyrics to the Iggy Pop song. Just as Fake Locke, or Smoky, entered Sawyer's house, we hear the lyrics "I'm a world's forgotten boy, the one who searches and destroys" from the record player. This reminds me of a scripture about Satan, John 10:10: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Foreshadowing? Is Fake Locke going to destroy Sawyer? It sure seems like it.

Between the Satan parallels, and the scary music, LOST is doing a great job at making Fake Locke seem really evil.

The cave scene was amazing - I am a little confused about why Kate's name wasn't on the wall...