Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lost episode recap – “The Substitute” S6E4 airdate 02/16/10)

I finally have a new DVR but – arrgh – I missed the very beginning of the show (or maybe it isn’t the DVR’s fault, but because Mr. Mouse was determined to eke out as much Olympics as he could before I kicked him off the television).

Anyway, in the world in which the plane did not crash, John Locke has fallen on his front lawn and is unable to get up when the sprinklers come on. Helen (Katey Segal) helps him up and inside the house. They’re planning their wedding, but he’s keeping secrets from her, not telling her the real reason he went to Australia - she thinks he was at a conference. But while she’s helping him unpack, she finds Jack’s card and encourages Locke to call for a consultation. “Maybe it’s destiny,” she says. “Maybe it is,” says Locke.

Island. POV of the Smoke Monster, cruising over hill and dale, snooping around the Dharma compound. Then the Smoke Monster goes back into the jungle and goes along until it finds a machete on the ground. It resumes the shape of Not-Locke, picks up the machete and hacks through a rope that’s holding a trap up in the air. When the netting hits the ground, a bloody and dazed Richard pokes his head out. “Okay, Richard,” says Not-Locke, “Let’s talk.”

Alterna-world. Locke wheels himself to his cubicle. He seems extremely dissatisfied to be there. His boss comes up and outs him for not attending the conference in Sydney – which the company paid for. Locke sort of apologizes but said what he did instead in Australia was personal. His boss fires him.

Island. Not-Locke apologizes for punching Richard in the throat and dragging him off. Richard is not interested in apologies and wants to know why he’s taken Locke’s form. “Because Locke was a candidate,” and posing as him could get Not-Locke close to Jacob. “Candidate for what?” asks Richard. Oh, poor Richard, says Not-Locke mock-pityingly, I never would have treated you like that – come with me and I’ll take care of you. Rickard refuses, saying he won’t go anywhere with Not-Locke. Richard looks bad, by the way – bruised and scared. Just then Not-Locke is distracted by a blonde boy with bloody hands who has appeared a little ways off in a clearing. When Richard turns to look, the boy is not there. Not-Locke takes off, leaving Richard behind.

Ben finds a sniveling Ilana in the room under the four-toed statue. She wants to know that happened. Ben says okay, but you won’t believe me. Try me, says Ilana. Ben lies, of course, telling her that Locke did it all himself: turned into the Smoke Monster and killed everyone, then killed Jacob and pushed him into the fire where he burned all up. He’s still so shaken that he doesn’t sound very convincing. But Ilana doesn’t challenge him on it, instead going to the fire and putting a handful of the ashes into a pouch. Ben asks her if she knows why Not-Locke would have taken Richard off into the jungle. “He’s recruiting,” she replies.

Not-Locke strides through the Dharma Compound, hearing some loud, punk-ish music coming from one of the cottages. He investigates and finds Sawyer, sitting in his underwear, getting schnockered on whiskey. “Hello, James,” says Not-Locke. Sawyer says blearily: “I thought you were dead.” “I am,” Not-Locke smiles.

After the break, Sawyer pours them both a drink. “Here’s to being dead,” toasts Sawyer. Not-Locke notes that Sawyer seems to be taking this revelation very well. Sawyer says that he doesn’t care if Locke is alive, dead or the ghost of Christmas Past. Then he cuts to the chase: who are you? He says that it’s obvious he’s not Locke, as Locke was scared even when he was being brave. Not-Locke says that perhaps he is the person who could answer the most important question in the world – and Sawyer just laughs, cutting him off. Not-Locke is insistent and suggests that Sawyer come with him for some real answers about this here Island.

Alterna-world. Post-firing, Locke is furious because a giant yellow Hummer is parked too close for him to get into his car since he doesn’t like to park in the handicapped spot. As he’s pitching a fit, the Hummer owner comes out and it’s Hurley, who now owns the company. Hurley is pretty suave and very kind to Locke. When it comes out that Locke just lost his job, Hurley gives him a phone number: he also owns a temp agency and he tells Locke that he’ll get him another job. For twice now, Locke does not bristle at the kindness of strangers.

Island. Frank Lapidus goes over to Locke’s dead body, Sun following. They cover him, Frank noting that Locke is getting a little ripe out here in the sun. Ilana comes up and asks them where everyone else went. When Sun tells her they went to the Temple, Ilana approves, saying that’s the safest place so let’s go. Sun’s like, I’m not going anywhere with you. Ilana says okay, but Jin is there. Sun immediately changes her mind, but insists that they bury Locke first. Sighing, Ilana acquiesces.

Not-Locke wants to know what Sawyer was doing back there in the cottage. “Drinkin’,” says Sawyer. Not-Locke next wants to know why Sawyer isn’t with the rest of the Losties but Sawyer says he’s done talking. Suddenly, the blond boy is there again. “Who the hell is that?” says Sawyer. Not-Locke is surprised: “You can see him?” “Hell yeah,” says Sawyer. The boy takes off running and Not-Locke chases after him. He trips and then the boy is right there in front of him. “You know the rules – you can’t kill him,” says the boy sternly. Then he turns and walks off into the jungle – I think he’s Jacob 2.0, don’t you? “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” screams Not-Locke.

Now Sawyer is wandering around the jungle, shouting for Locke. Richard comes out of the jungle to talk to him, all nervous and twitchy, and begs Sawyer to come with him to the Temple. I have never seen Richard like this. He says that Not-Locke will try to kill Sawyer and everyone else on the Island, and then, hearing Not-Locke’s approach, he disappears back into the undergrowth. Not-Locke shows up and wants to know who Sawyer was talking to. Nobody, says Sawyer.

Alterna-world. Locke’s job placement interview is not going that well and the supervisor gets involved. The supervisor is Rose – awwwww! – and, as expected, she is fabulous, not taking any shit from him when he tries to insist on a job for which he is just not suited, due to his wheelchair. When he gives her some attitude about it, all you don’t know my pain, she matter-of-factly tells him that she has terminal cancer, so yes, she might just know about physical pain and struggle. They reach an agreement to find a job for him that is more suitable. Rose is awesome, y’all.

Island. Sawyer asks Not-Locke if he reads – yes – and does he know Of Mice and Men. When Not-Locke says he is not familiar with the story, Sawyer tells him about the part where SPOILER Lenny gets tricked into walking into the field after something he’s always wanted, and then shot. And when Not-Locke turns around, Sawyer has a gun pointed at him, clearly not interested in being any sort of Lenny himself, and threatening to put a bullet in Not-Locke’s head. Sure, let’s see what happens, says Not-Locke, fearlessly. Nonplussed, Sawyer is all WTF? Not-Locke says he’s been trapped for a very long time, but before he was trapped he was a man. He knows what it was like to lose someone he loves – and he can sympathize with Sawyer. Then he really turns on the recruitment pitch, saying, Come on, James, you’re so close [to the answers] – don’t stop now. Sawyer sighs, annoyed, and puts down the gun.

Beach. Ilana and Ben carry Locke’s body. Ben is ranting about why she even brought Locke to the foot-temple. She replies that it was to give the Island folks a taste of what they were up against. She also tells him that now, for some reason, Not-Locke is stuck in Locke’s body. They bury Locke in the old Lostie graveyard with Nikki and Paolo and everyone else. No one really wants to say anything over the body, but Ben finally steps up, saying that John Locke was a believer, a man of faith, and a better man than he is: “I’m very sorry I murdered him.” Frank turns to get a shovel, muttering that this is the weirdest damn funeral he’s ever been to.

Alterna-world. Locke goes about the daily struggle of getting up and getting dressed, wrestling his useless legs into the wheelchair. Frustrated, he starts to call Jack’s office but ends up chickening out. Helen overhears and gets excited, then Locke bursts her bubble by telling her that he got fired. Eventually Locke ‘fesses up that he didn’t go to the conference when he was in Sydney, and tells her that he tried to go on a walkabout but they wouldn’t let him go because of his disability. He’s so frustrated and sad, and feeling sorry for himself, and he tells her that there is no hope that he’ll ever get out of the chair so if she’s waiting for that, she might as well give up. “There are miracles, John,” she tells him gently, but all she’s been waiting for is him. Then she tears up Jack’s card and planted a major kiss on him. Awwww.

Island. Not-Locke leads Sawyer to the edge of a cliff and starts climbing down a rickety wooden ladder. Sawyer is all, you have GOT to be kidding me. A little ways down, Not-Locke switches over to a rope ladder. Sawyer almost falls – and the stunt double messes up by wearing a wrong color shirt – and then Sawyer’s ladder does break. There’s much shouting and flailing and banging against the rocks, but Not-Locke grabs onto him and pulls him to safety. They make their way to a room carved out of the cliff. There’s a scale there, balanced with a white rock and a black rock. Not-Locke takes the white rock off and chucks it into the ocean (“An inside joke,” he explains to Sawyer who really doesn’t much care), then lights a torch and leads Sawyer further into the cave. “This is why you’re here – this is why you’re all here.” Sawyer takes the torch and stares at the ceiling of this cave, which is covered in chalk writing. Oooh – what is it?

Alterna-world. Locke’s new job seems to be as a substitute teacher (there’s the title). When he stops by the teachers’ lounge, Ben is here, ranting about no one refilling the coffee pot. Locke makes a gentle crack about just wanting some Earl Grey and Ben stops ranting (since tea is a civilized drink) and shakes Locke’s hand. He teaches European history here at this school. Locke gets a weird smile on his face – does he recognize Ben somehow or does he think he may have just made a friend?

Island. Sawyer reads the mysterious cave writing, incredulous to see all the Losties’ names. Not-Locke says Jacob wrote it all. Why are the names crossed out? Oh, not all of them: not Jack, or Hurley, or Sayid, “Kwon” (either Sun or Jin) or Sawyer. Sawyer bitches: “Why would he write my name on this wall [when] I never even met the guy?” Not-Locke says no, James, Jacob probably did meet you when you were young; he manipulated you and pushed you to this Island … because he thought you were a candidate to replace him as its protector. Sawyer: WTF? Not-Locke: you have three choices – do nothing and see what plays out; take the job and protect the Island (and when Sawyer asks “Protect it from what?”, Not-Locke replies that there’s nothing to protect it from – totally glossing over the fact that it’s HIM); or the third choice is to go home, leave the Island, Not-Locke and Sawyer together. Whaddya say, James, you want to get off this Island? Sawyer: “Hell yeah!”

Previously on Lost / next time on Lost


  1. you forgot to mention all the chalk names were accompanied by numbers - 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42....

  2. You're absolutely right but I've since erased the ep from my DVR ... does anyone recall which of Hurley's magic numbers went with which names?

  3. 4 - Locke; 8- Reyes; 15 - Ford; 16 - Jarrah; 23 - Shepard; 42 - Kwon

  4. Nice one, my sharp-eyed cousin! Next question: any theories on what the numbers might mean in connection with those individuals? Because I have never had any number theories and I can't start now.

  5. This episode was just weird to me. That's not to say I didn't like it, though. I saw the symbolic/myth stuff but much of it just kind of hovered out of my reach. I recognized it but nothing was clicking.
    I think the thing that got me the most was the little boy. Speculation is that it is Jacob reborn. Certainly he speaks like him, or, at least with his authority. Notice also that he said what he did intentionally out of listening distance from Sawyer. Jacob was looking for a replacement to protect the island. If you notice, the names on the rock are all last names. Kwon and Littleton can refer to two people each. Is it possible that Jacob's replacement is actually Aaron Littleton and not Claire? Perhaps the alternate timeline results in a future where Aaron comes back to the island when he's older? Grasping at straw here...grasping at straws.

  6. Ooh, I forgot that Claire's last name was Littleton. Maybe the boy in the jungle is Aaron? Everything's coming so quickly, my head is spinning.