Here lies John Locke, and in more ways than one. In fact, in last night’s Now the season has REALLY begun episode of Lost, ”The Substitute,” we were given three different John Lockes. (Maybe even four, if you believe my contention that Sawyer has become a surrogate Locke in the story. More on that later.) Officially, there was John Locke the Island adventurer, now a ripe, sun-bleached corpse buried six feet under on Boone Hill after Captain Frank Lapidus declared the impromptu graveside service ”the weirdest damn funeral” he’d ever been to. There was ”John Locke,” aka the Locke-ness Monster, the fearsome Island entity now wearing the Ben-murdered castaway’s visage, who oozed sincerity as he/it/whatever downloaded oodles of noodle-expanding mythology… although can we really trust him/it/whatever? And there was Sideways John Locke, a tough and tender man, so superior to his dead Island doppelganger in many ways, save possibly one. We met him as he fell flat on his face, yet another humiliation for a soul who seems to be destined to suffer a daily diet of humiliations no matter which ”island universe” he happens to reside upon. But this John Locke can laugh when the fates make fun of him. This John Locke has the self-awareness and strength to grow and change. And this John Locke is loved, and better, he knows it, and we were reminded last night how much we need that kind of love, both to flourish and survive. Especially if you have to spend long days at work enduring the prickly interoffice machinations — severe coffee making retinue — of Benjamin Linus. (Who would win in a sneer-off: Professor Snape or Professor Linus? Debate!)
Fittingly, ”The Substitute” came to us during Valentine’s Day week, and it played like a love letter to Locke. Allow me to give some love right back. Terry O’Quinn is the man, and big hugs to him and everyone who made ”The Substitute” the first truly great episode of the season, a moving mythapalooza that framed and galvanized the Island story line and proved that the Sideways storytelling device is capable of producing powerful, poignant yarns… even if we still have no freakin’ clue what the hell is going on over there in Otherworldland.
At the very least, it was totally better than last week’s episode.
The Other(s) World
A Serious Man, Part One: The Parable of the Parking Lot
”Can I share something with you? Because I too have had the feeling of losing track of Hashem, which is the problem here. I too have forgotten how to see Him in the world. And when that happens you think, well, if I can’t see Him, He isn’t there any more, He’s gone. But that’s not the case. You just need to remember how to see Him. Am I right? I mean, the parking lot here. Not much to see. It is a different angle on the same parking lot we saw from the Hebrew school window. But if you imagine yourself a visitor, somebody who isn’t familiar with these autos and such, somebody still with a capacity for wonder, someone with a fresh perspective? you can see Hashem, you know, reaching into the world.”
— Rabbi Scott, speaking to faith-challenged Larry about the existence of God/the divine (aka Hashem), A Serious Man
Who was the late John Locke? Who was he really? ”The Substitute” offered at least three opinions on the matter. One came from Sawyer, who drunkenly pissed on dead Locke’s memory: He remembered him as someone who was always scared even when he was pretending he wasn’t. (Personally, that sounds like a better description of? Sawyer himself. And, I suspect, this monstrous, little boy-spooked UnLocke thing.) Another interpretation came from his killer, Ben, who eulogized him with a speech that somehow mixed two unlikely sentiments: heartfelt appreciation and snarky glibness. ”John Locke was a believer, a man of faith, and a much better man than I will ever be,” Ben said adding, ”And I’m very sorry that I murdered him.” Classy, Ben. And a classic Lost moment.
A third point of view on John Locke came via the Sideways, and I would sum up the assessment by using a line from last night’s literary reference, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men: ”A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody.” Now, the Sideways story line didn’t actively portray its John Locke as destroyed by loneliness or abandonment. On the contrary: Sideways John Locke had self-confidence, self-awareness, and a genuine self. He also enjoyed the security of knowing he was loved by his soulmate, Helen. But I wonder if that’s part of the important point of these parallel world stories. Lost is creating the means for us to see these too-familiar people with fresh eyes. By presenting them as something profoundly different, as profoundly ”Other,” the castaways are revealed anew, or perhaps even for the first time, by the comparison.
”The Substitute” gave us one of the best cold opens of Lost ever. We saw Sideways John Locke pulling into the driveway of a house on a street that resembled one we saw in Season 2’s ”Lockdown,” when pre-wheelchair Locke was working as a house inspector and checking out a home in Irvine being purchased by Sayid’s lady love, Nadia. (Maybe Sideways Nadia is Sideways Locke’s neighbor. Might Sideways Sayid be on his way?) I loved the pensive look on Locke’s face as he rode the lift down from his van. Then the lift jammed, leaving Locke stuck. He fiddled with controls, then tried rolling off the platform, hoping to stick the landing like an Olympic ski jumper. Nope. Locke dropped from his place in the sky and belly-flopped onto his lawn — a mundane suburban analog to one of his several mythic Island falls, none more monumental than his plummet from the heavens in the pilot episode. Then, the insult to injury: the sprinkler system activated, dousing Locke in the face. Lost‘s perpetual Job figure responded by.. rending his hairshirt and cursing God? Nope. He laughed. This totally surprised me. I expected an explosion of ”Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” outrage. But this John Locke is a man who can roll with the joke when the cosmos decides to treat him like a punchline.
NEXT: Locke’s got love
My heart rejoiced when I saw Helen bound out the front door and rush to Locke’s side and laugh with him as she helped him to his figurative feet. I always liked their relationship, and I hated that Locke had squandered her love to chase after his bad dad’s affection, and I must admit I watched last night’s episode in a state of dread that this Locke was going to do something really stupid to scare this Helen away, too. We were told nothing about how this Locke and Helen met. But we were told they have an October wedding date, and given that it’s late September in the Sideways world, I’m predicting that their Big Day will serve as a key moment for the entire Sideways arc — perhaps the time and place when all the disparate story lines will converge. Does Sideways Locke have a better relationship with his father than Island Locke had? It’s possible. When Helen suggested they elope after a frustrating phone call with a caterer, she pitched him on the idea of bringing Papa Locke along for the ride. John didn’t respond to the mere mention of his existence by involuntarily punching her in the face, so I’m guessing Sideways Anthony Cooper had nothing to do with crippling his son. ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I’M THINKING? We know from season 1 that Boone Carlyle’s mother, Sabrina Carlyle, owned a massively successful wedding business, and that Boone served as the company’s chief operating officer. Methinks the Carlyle family biz will play a role in solving Helen’s catering crisis?.
I know a fair number of women who think John Locke is all kinds of hot, so I’m thinking they appreciated Locke’s bath, warmly flirting with Helen over color swatches, and then getting smooched on his bald head. Personally, I was more distracted by Locke’s reaction to Helen’s destiny talk. He told his fiancé that he encountered a certain spinal surgeon at the airport named Jack Shephard who offered him a free consult. Helen sparked to the story. ”What are the odds of you just running into a spinal surgeon?! Who knows? Maybe its destiny?” Locke was clearly intrigued by the prospect, but he didn’t seem all that dazzled by Helen’s semi-mystical mumbo jumbo. He parroted the word back to her with a hint of incredulity. He wasn’t rude about; I got the sense that part of being ”a sweet man” to Helen involves not crapping on her worldview, not to mention her curious ”Peace and Karma” shirts. But this was a clearly a Locke who didn’t believe in higher power-directed fate like his dead Island world counterpart. I thought it was interesting the way he described the walkabout later in the episode. He called it ”an adventure” about ”man versus nature.” By contrast, when Island Locke described the Walkabout in the classic season 1 episode of the same name, he called it ”a journey of spiritual renewal, where one derives strength from the earth and becomes inseparable from it.” Island Locke wanted to be feel connected to the world, to something bigger than himself; Sideways Locke wanted to feel his own strength, to feel whole again — to feel like a man.
How to account for the discrepancies between the two Lockes? There were a couple moments when I wondered if Sideways Locke had learned a thing or two from the experiences of his Island doppelganger via? quantum entanglement? Psychic connection? Past-life memories? (”When we’re puzzled we have all the stories that have been handed down from people who had the same problems.” — A Serious Man) Still, this matter of cross-universe connection was hard to say this week. For the third straight episode, the episode’s lead character was given a conspicuous moment in the bathroom, looking long and hard in the mirror. Where Jack saw an explicable (continuity) flaw on his skin and Kate watched herself flutter through the déjà vu blinky-blinkies, Locke struck a more conventional, contemplative pose, absent of any hint that he might be aware of his Island self. Which makes sense, given that Island Locke is, like, dead. But two simpler explanations for Locke’s apparent agnosticism/atheism are (1) It might be too painful for him to consider divine possibilities (If there really is a God or grand design to my life, why the hell did He/She/It cripple me?); or (2) this Locke is a product of different influences, none of which have produced a yearning for divine connection or eyes to see the divine in the world. Might his life be richer if he were to allow himself to reconsider his spiritual perspective? Or might his life become worse? Processing? processing?.
Like his Island alter-ego, Sideways Locke worked at a box company owned by Hurley. The pictures in Locke’s cubicle were interesting. There was a photo of Locke (with hair) with his father, Anthony Cooper; they looked to be hunting, as we saw them back in ”Deus Ex Macina.” There was also a photo of Locke with Helen in a tropical setting, presumably Hawaii. The curious thing about both photos: Locke appeared to be standing. When and how did Locke become dependent on a wheelchair for pedestrian perambulation? TBD. Island Locke didn’t get thrown out of that eighth-floor window by Bad Dad leaving him below-the-belt paralyzed until after Helen dumped his father-fixated ass. So it appears that Locke’s loss of lower legs was a trauma that he and his soul mate experienced together.
NEXT: Locke’s Hurley and Rose reunions
We were reintroduced to Locke’s jerk boss, Randy. He derisively called Locke ”colonel.” If that confused you, remember that Island Locke played a military strategy board game Axis and Allies during his lunch break with a friend/colleague (not seen last night) and liked to be called ”colonel.” In this world, Locke was supposed to have gone to Australia for a conference. According to Randy, Locke blew it off to attempt his walkabout. Oops. And Randy fired him with ice cold terseness. Locke’s face: priceless. Not just shock, but maybe? emasculation, too? That may sound heavy, but bear with me: I think it works with what followed.
We then got the very interesting scene in the parking lot. Locke rolled to his car and found his wheelchair-equipped van inaccessible because a very large hummer had parked much too close. Locke snapped. This time, the insult to injury was too painful to not ignore. He could have avoided the sitch had he parked in the handicapped stall, but as Locke would explain, he didn’t want to. Locke then had an encounter with Hurley, who in the Otherverse is large and in charge and not at all the fatalistic scaredy-cat Island dude we met in season 1. Was it just me, or did you get a Jacobesque vibe from Hurley, all empathetic benevolence as he responded to his ex-employee’s prickly anger with patience and grace and supreme knowingness and the hooked him up with a new job via his temp agency, another division of Hurley’s financial empire? Watching this scene, I couldn’t help but think about Helen’s earlier line about destiny. And I found myself flashing back to this scene later in the episode, when Helen challenged Locke’s incredulity about miracles. Was the Locke-Hurley crossing total coincidence, quantum synchronicity, or divinely orchestrated appointment? An elemental faith/reason debate worthy of old school Lost. But I am reminded of the old adage that our world is chockablock with everyday miracles — they just don’t look the way we expect them to. What we expect is something like, say, miraculous healing for crippled legs after falling from the sky. But a miracle could be other people, too — like meeting a guy who can give you a job after getting fired, and better than that, a guy who sets you upon your true destiny. But we’ll get to the school in a minute.
PS: Did you see what was in Locke’s box of stuff in his lap? Was that a polar bear figurine in there?
The Sideways scenes just rolled, one great scene after another. The moments in the temp agency hit me emotionally. It started funny-surreal, like a moment from a Coen brothers film, when Locke got processed by a decidedly quirky clerk who first tried to get into his mind and figure him out. But Sideways Locke is not a man who wants or needs to be cracked open and explained. But he did want a job, and he seemed to want something more than a good income from it, too. He wanted a job that made him feel strong again — that made him feel like a man. The posters on the wall bore slogans like ”Live your dream job!” The subtext: Your self-worth, your very identity, is measured by your profession, by what you produce….
And then Rose, beautiful Rose, the Island’s woman of faith, walked in and blew that bulls— up. Locke wanted a job as a construction site manager. He wanted be in charge. He wanted to build stuff. He wanted be a serious man, taken seriously. And Rose said: Really? Seriously? She said she’d be happy to give him the job but he’d only be back in her office looking for another job the next day. Why? Yes, because the wheelchair thing was going to be a problem. But after he pushed back on that, she told him about her cancer, a cancer that was killing her, and how she had to struggle to fight through her denial and embrace the brutal truth of her finitude — and how doing so had brought her peace. She encouraged him to do the same — to find meaning not in what he can or can’t do, but in who he is, and who he loves.
That last part was hammered home by Helen when Locke finally came clean with her about his Australian walkabout — or rather, his aborted Australian walkabout. Yep, he lied to Boone on the plane. Like his Island counterpart, Sideways Locke was denied his outback adventure. And like his Island counterpart, Sideways Locke raged in response: ”Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” But this John Locke is capable of reflecting upon moments and realizing: My god, I must have sounded like? a big douche! Interesting that in an episode that saw the Locke-ness Monster spout Locke’s famous catchphrase, Sideways Locke came to the same conclusion about his situation that Smokey articulated in the premiere. They were right to deny me the walkabout, because it’s true — there are things I simply can’t do. He told Helen he was sick of daydreaming about life outside his chair, tired of imagining himself walking her down the aisle on their wedding day. He wanted to move into the liberating grace of brutal truth about himself and move on with his life. He asked Helen to do the same: ”I don’t want you to spend your life waiting for miracles, Helen, because there is no such thing.”
NEXT: Cave theories
Helen was more than prepared to join him on that journey, but on one condition: She wasn’t buying into his worldview. ”There are miracles, John,” she said. ”And the only thing I was ever waiting for was you.” And then she kissed him. The moment between them seemed to suggest that for all his maturity, humility and strength, John Locke could learn a thing or two by becoming a man of faith. Their moment together reminded me of yet another exchange in A Serious Man:
Rabbi Scott: You can’t cut yourself off from the mystical or you’ll be-you’ll remain-completely lost. You have to see these things as expressions of God’s will. You don’t have to like it, of course.
Larry: The boss isn’t always right, but he’s always the boss.
Rabbi Scott: That’s right! Things aren’t so bad! Look at the parking lot, Larry. Just look at that parking lot.
For now, though, John Locke is a man of science. Literally. You caught that, right? He accepted a job as substitute teacher. Subject: Biology. First lesson: the human reproductive system. It also looked like he was either teaching physical education or coaching basketball. There were some deeply embedded ironies here. FLASHBACK WHOOSH TO? the season 4 episode ”Cabin Fever,” in which Teenage Locke was encouraged by a teacher to cultivate his natural talent for science by attending a summer camp run by Mittelos Biosciences, the Others’ company that recruited miracle-grow fertility doc Juliet Burke to The Island. But Locke didn’t want to hear that. He wanted to drive fast cars and play sports. When he was told his dreams were unrealistic, Young Locke bellowed, ”Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” What a difference a (Jughead-spawned?) parallel reality makes. Here in the Sideways world, Locke is teaching science, teaching sports, and looking very much like a man who just found his niche. Of course, there’s still ample time for his born again life to go horribly wrong. After all, he’s now working with Benjamin Linus?.
In the wake of the episode, we were left this to wonder about the Sideways story line: Was this the life Island Locke was always supposed to have? That seemed to be the implication of the Locke-ness Monster’s blockbuster allegation/revelation that Jacob had tampered with the lives and destinies of Locke and five other castaways, all in hopes of grooming one of them to replace him as protector his worthless little rock in the Pacific. Which brings us to?.
This Island Earth!
A Serious Man, Part Two: The Uncertainty Principal
”The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can’t ever really know… what’s going on. So it shouldn’t bother you, not being able to figure anything out–although you will be responsible for this on the mid-term.”
— Physics professor Larry Gopnik to his students, A Serious Man
What a gift this episode must have been for Terry O’Quinn. The Sideways story allowed him to play a complex human being shaded with nuance, while the Island world story line allowed him to play a deadly serious man, a force of nature superman, but not without his own complications and shadings. I loved the little moments when Smokey incarnate took time to enjoy being flesh and blood and muscle — picking up the machete and feeling the strength in his arms, licking the booze off his fingers. Behold! The Superman John Locke always yearned to be! But be he hero or be he totally bizarro? Still too soon to call, but last night left me leaning back toward bad guy.
I thought this was an interesting newsflash from Ilana: Smokey is losing his shapeshifting mojo. By choosing Locke has his avatar, he’s becoming stuck with it, and you really got the sense that this god-like entity was settling into his new skin, his new home. But I also wondered what else Smokey might lose as he becomes more human. Will he lose the ability to turn to smoke and snake and coil through the jungle? Too bad, because that effect was pretty damn neat. But did you wonder as I did if perhaps some vestige of John Locke that got absorbed by Smokey along the way might be ”infecting” him to ironically appropriate some Island parlance? I got that latter vibe from the moment when we heard Un-Locke bellow, ”Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”
I was equally impressed by Josh Holloway last night, too. It seemed to me that Sawyer has taken John Locke’s place in the Lost narrative, albeit a warped variation of what Locke represented. Enthralled by The Monster’s ”raw power” (to borrow the title of The Stooges record Sawyer was listening to); lured by the Monster’s promise of answers and revelation; given mission and purpose by the Monster — Sawyer became a dark knight of faith, a sinister ”substitute” for the deceased Locke. Or so I think the show made it seem….
The Fake Locke/Sawyer story line — in which the Monster led Sawyer to a remote cave which he promised would contain MUCHO MYTHOLOGICAL ILLUMINATION — echoed previous episodes of Lost. I’ll cite just two in particular. (1) ”The Brig,” in which the real John Locke led Sawyer across the Island to the Black Rock for a bloody date with Anthony Cooper; and (2) ”Every Man For Himself,” in which Ben snowed Sawyer into thinking he’d implanted a killer pacemaker in his chest, then hiked him up a hill to reveal he was no longer stuck on the Island, but actually trapped on another. It was in that episode that Sawyer first told us about the book that he cited again last night, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, though Ben trumped him with it. Explaining why he was able to successfully manipulate Sawyer, Ben cited the book in his answer: ”We did all this because the only way to gain a con man’s respect is to con him…. Funny thing is, us telling you about the pacemaker wasn’t what kept you in line. It was when I threatened [Kate.] You work so hard to make her think you don’t care, that you don’t need her, but, ?A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. It don’t make no difference who the guy is, long as he’s with you. I tell you, I tell you a guy gets too lonely and he gets sick.”’ I remind you of this for two reasons: (1) Sawyer may have told Kate last week that he was meant to be alone — but he’s not. And in fact, by isolating himself and insulating himself as he tried to do in Dharmaville, Sawyer may have made himself vulnerable to Smokey’s manipulations; (2) I think it’s very possible Locke-ness was pulling a con on Sawyer. That cave he claimed belonged to Jacob? All those names and numbers that he said Jacob scrawled on the ceiling? All of that could have been planted and fabricated by Un-Locke to paint Jacob as Sawyer’s newest Anthony Cooper-ish scapegoat for everything wrong in his life. Then again, Smokey could have been telling the truth, too. Either way, the effect was the same: He had hooked and reeled in Sawyer. We’ll see what Un-Locke does with that.
NEXT: What’s with scary ghost boys in the woods?
We learned several things about Un-Locke in this episode. For example:
UnLocke is old
He told Sawyer that he was a reader — but that Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, published in 1937, was after his time.
UnLocke used to be a man
”What I am is trapped,” Fake Locke told Sawyer at one point when James grew frustrated and pulled a gun on the Monster. (I was like, SHOOT HIM! Just see what happens!) ”I’ve been trapped for so long I don’t even remember what it feels like to be free. Maybe you understand that. But before I was trapped I was a man just like you. I know what its like to feel joy to feel pain, anger, fear, to experience betrayal. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love….” My gut is that hardcore Lost theorists will be pulling these lines apart, looking for clues they can research in hopes of ascertaining the Monster’s true identity. My guess is that we won’t find it in a book… but if we could, I’m betting that Un-Locke is either… Cain or Abel. I’ll explain why next week in my Doc Jensen column.
UnLocke and Richard have a special relationship
The Monster stated again that he wants to leave the Island and go home. He told Richard that he wanted him to come along. Richard adamantly refused. More than that, Richard was pretty damn confused by almost everything FLocke was telling him, most importantly the whole concept of ”candidates,” Jacob’s picks for replacing him as Island protector (again, provided we can trust Un-Locke). I loved how the Monster was again explosively apoplectic on behalf of anyone kept in the dark by his rival. ”Jaocb didn’t tell you? He never said why? I never would have done that to you! I never would have kept you in the dark! I would have treated you with respect!” Smokey appears to be anti-secrecy and pro-full disclosure; he’s the patron deity of frustrated Lost fans! Later, when Alpert encountered Sawyer in the jungle alone, he implored Ford to stay away from FLocke. He told him that Un-Locke would tell him nothing. He told him he was going to kill him and everyone he loves. He told him that the Monster was on a mission to ”search and destroy” (to use the specific Stooges song we heard), like, everything in its path… but before Alpert could expand, Un-Locke came back, Alpert had to flee. My theory? Richard Alpert is Smokey’s son. Somehow. I know! Crazy! Not sure how smoke monsters procreate, but they do, and they make little Richards. That’s where he gets the dark eyelashes.
UnLocke is haunted by a ghost
Smokey saw and was deeply ruffled by a vision of a sandy-haired boy with bloody hands wearing Others garb. He was also deeply bothered by the fact that Sawyer could see him, too. (If the boy is dead and appearing in spectral form, does that man that Sawyer has developed Hurley-like see dead people powers?) The boy later ventured close to Un-Locke, this time with no blood in his hands, and warned him that he could not kill him. THEORY: The boy functions as a referee in the Jacob-Man In Black skirmish. He got that honor because the boy represents the first person the Man In Black ever killed. ADDENDUM: Allow me to acknowledge some thoughts flying around this kid. I know some people are saying his eerie demeanor reminded them of Walt. (A lot of people are wondering if Lost was deliberately trying to evoke Walt in the flash-sideways scene when Locke stopped a young black man and asked for directions at the school.) I was more intrigued by his resemblance to both Jacob and Sawyer. More on why I think this was intentional and important in a minute.
Or in the words of The Stooges: Sawyer, your pretty face is going to hell!
Jacob’s cave reminded me of that seaside cavern in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Voldemort had allegedly hidden an shard that contained a fragment of his soul, a horcrux. And we got two ladders leading down to Jacob’s cave; starting from the top of the cliff, you descended to its termination halfway down the cliff face, then crossed over to the top of the other ladder and continued down. The parallel ladders could be a symbol for Jacob’s Ladder, which I invite you to investigate on your own this week, or it could be a metaphor for the show’s parallel worlds cosmology. Are we building a point to where characters will cross over from one timeline to the other? We shall see.
Question: Did you think Un-Locke rigged the ladder so Sawyer would fall? If so, do you think he was trying to kill Sawyer or save him to further draw him close?
Question: Did you find yourself wondering if I was going to spend 1000 words forging a connection between Jacob’s cave and Plato’s ”Allegory of The Cave,” and how the castaways are like the prisoners of the cave, shackled to their (mis)perceptions of reality ? Were you worried I was going to use it as a springboard to suggest that the supernatural, unchanging Island world is equivalent to the ideal world of Forms and that the Sideways world represents a corrupted, inferior realm made out of the pattern of the Forms — unless I’m getting it backwards, and the Island world is the corrupted world and the Sideways world the ideal one? Well, you needn’t worry, because I’m not going to be doing any of that! But what I do intend to do is go through some of what we saw and learned inside Jacob’s cave, PLUS venture a guess on the chances that Locke-ness was lying. Because even though it felt like a yummy, filling download of mythology, I remain most uncertain. (If you share that feeling, worry not: I have some news for you at the end of the column.)
The White and Black Rocks
What Smokey Said: Upon arriving in Jacob’s cave, Un-Locke spotted two large stones, one white and one black, sitting on a scale. He grabbed the white rock and threw it out into the sea. Sawyer asked: Huh? Un-Locke replied, ”Inside joke.”
Percentage Chance I Believe Smokey: 100% Or maybe 0%, because I got the sense from Smokey’s angry toss that this so-called ”inside joke” wasn’t all that funny for him. My guess is — obviously — that the white rock represented Jacob, and that tossing that rock was symbolic of Fake Locke’s (apparent) victory, and, perhaps, his rejection of the white/black categorization of his morality and his relationship with Jacob. My guess is also that whenever and whatever was decided between Jacob and his nemesis — the nature of their conflict/game; the roles they would play; the rules they would play by — it was all hashed out and settled in the cave, and the deal was sealed with some ceremonial putting-rocks-on-a-scale thing.
NEXT: What’s your number?
The Castaways Were Brought To The Island For A Reason
What Smokey Said: Jacob had picked six castaways — Locke, Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid, Jack, Jin or Sun — and meddled with their lives and subverted their destinies and free will in order to corral them to The Island and groom one of them as his replacement as Island protector.
PCIBS: 91% What I didn’t believe, though, was this:
The Island Is Meaningless
What Smokey Said: When Sawyer asked why the Island would need protection, Locke snapped: ”From nothing, James. That’s the joke. There’s nothing to protect it from. It’s just a damn island!”
PCIBS: 0% My rejoinders to Smokey would include the following: (1) The Temple’s magic healing spring. (2) Frozen donkey wheel time travel magic. (3) That Ghost Kid. (4) Oh, and uh? freakin’ YOU, Smokey! Bottom line: The Island is totally special, and my guess is that whatever makes it special will prove to be Jacob’s primary defense for playing god with castaway lives.
What Smokey Said: Lost fans, prepare to rethink your Valenzetti Equations. With a dramatic reveal of the cave’s ceiling, we learned that Jacob assigned each of his potential replacements a number. He wrote their digits next to their last names on the ceiling of his cave with chalk. Locke: 4; [Hurley] Reyes: 8; [James ”Sawyer”] Ford: 15; [Sayid] Jarrah: 16; [Jack] Shephard: 23; [Jin or Sun?] Kwon: 42. Why? Un-Locke shrugged. ”Jacob had a thing for numbers,” he said.
PCIBS: 49% It’s not that I think Jacob doesn’t have a thing for numbers — I just think that Jacob has good reason for assigning numbers to his candidates, and more, that Un-Locke knows what that reason is and isn’t telling Sawyer. DEBATE! Where’s Kate?
Sawyer’s Three Options
What Smokey Said: (1) Sawyer could do nothing, see how the drama plays out, and possibly get his name crossed off the list of candidates. (2) He could accept the job. (3) He could leave the Island with Smokey.
PCIBS: 100% I actually believe he’s 100% truthful about the three options, although I’m also 100% sure he didn’t tell Sawyer everything he needed to know about each of those options for him to make the most informed choice. Here’s what I think Smokey omitted. Option 1: The reason why the names get crossed off when that candidate dies? It’s probably because of Smokey’s conspiratorial machinations. Option 2: If Sawyer took the job, Smokey would move heaven and hell to find some way to kill him. Option 3: Leaving the Island will obliterate the entire Island world reality, or delete from the history of the world the specific lifelines of the castaways that lave, PLUS the lifelines of anyone inextricably intertwined with those lifelines. Whatever Smokey has up its butt, I think he has a (quantum) suicide wish.
Sawyer’s Response To Smokey’s Offer
What Was Said: ”So what do you say, James?” Smokey asked. ”Are you ready to go home?” Sawyer replied, ”Hell yes.”
Possible Chance I Believe Sawyer: 0% Because I believe as heartbroken and furious as Sawyer may be? he ain’t betraying the castaways to this monster. I think the minute Sawyer saw that ghost kid — that dead ringer for himself when he was a kid — and saw Un-Locke chase after him and then return without him, Sawyer made up his mind that this Fake Locke was one freakin’ scary creep and needed to be brought down. Why didn’t Sawyer put a bullet in him when had a chance? Because he needs to do what the Monster did to Locke: study him, observe him, figure out his weaknesses and how he can be mortally attacked, and then do so. In other words, Sawyer is doing what Sawyer does best: he’s pulling a long con, the riskiest con he’s ever pulled: fooling the devil into thinking he has an ally — and then stabbing him in the back with his own pitchfork. [Editor’s note: my ”Totally Lost” co-host Dan Snierson just informed me that my 0% assessment was ”crazy talk” and demanded I increase my percentage to a more plausible… 2.7%. DONE!]
And on that note, I sign off. I know there’s tons of stuff I forgot, from the Jacob ash that Ilana scooped up out the Four Toed fire pit to commenting on Sideways Locke’s alarm clock, which sounded just like the klaxon in the Hatch. See? I mentioned it! But perhaps we can talk about it some more on Twitter today around 12 PM PST/3 PM EST @ewdocjensen.
Until then: Namaste!