Similar to how “Walkabout” set the stage for the kind of show LOST would be (MINDBLOWING), “The Substitute” (another fantastic Locke story) sets the stage for how the show wants to end. It more than makes up for last week’s stinker episode, and really, who didn’t expect that? I’ll take Locke over Kate every single time… even Jacob knows enough to keep useless Kate off his candidate list. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve let this episode marinate in my head long enough… here’s a quick breakdown of 6.04:
- STILL LEFT GUESSING: After 5 seasons and change, you’d think we’d be able to better predict the actions of the main characters, but I’m not exactly sure what Sawyer will do with Smokey. He already tried to pull a fast one on him by drawing his gun, but he correctly assumed that this “thing” wouldn’t go down from a bullet. He could still be in “long con” mode, patiently waiting for whatever might bring Smokey down, but can we be so sure of that? Like he told Jack in the premiere, he “HAD A LIFE!!!” And since Juliet is gone, he might genuinely be in self-destruction mode. I don’t think Sawyer really cares about Jacob and the numbers and candidate talk, but I kinda believe that he does want the hell of the Island.
- SPEAKING of STILL GUESSING…. : An even bigger mystery is the debate over which person is good and which person is evil. Okay, we all saw Smokey through the white rock resembling Jacob into the ocean, but like Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, these labels aren’t so cut and dry. From the information we’ve received from both sides, Smokey is all about free will and choice. He wants everyone to see the truth, and wants them to make their own decisions. It’s probably because he wants to prove to Jacob that, when choices are left entirely to humans, they choose self-preservation over anything else (example: Kate always runs… probably why she’s not a candidate). Smokey isn’t afraid to steer people towards this path, because he’ll take on the visage of those most important to you (Yemi, Alex, Christian, a horse) to make you do what he wants. Think about Eko. The first time Eko meets Smokey, he is still torn with guilt over causing the death of his brother, Yemi. Smokey probably thinks he can use Eko by appearing as Yemi, just like he controlled Ben by being Alex. Sounds like a good plan right? BUT WAIT. In season 3, Eko sees Yemi and no longer feels guilty for what happened. Smokey’s response? Smashing Eko to bits. Oooooo, starting to make sense, right?
- AND WHAT ABOUT JACOB: Well, Jacob is the benevolent overseer of the Island, and I guess he wants to prove to Smokey that faith in humans will prevail. What rules do they play by? I think that Jacob is allowed to handpick those that he feels are worthy enough to run Smokey’s gauntlet. He selects Alpert from the Black Rock, Rousseau, Widmore, Ben, Juliet, Desmond, 815, and a whole bunch of other people, and he orchestrates their arrival to the Island. Once there, it’s up to Smokey to interfere, corrupt, and sometimes kill them. Since Smokey changed the rules by using a loophole to kill him, Jacob changes the rules by finally appearing on Island. To my knowledge, the first time he directly alters on-Island is events is when he tells Hurley to save one of his candidates, Sayid. Now that Smokey is seeing some little brat who says “You can’t kill him,” you can bet that shit is going to hit the fan. Jacob has some crazy miracle in his bag that we haven’t seen yet.
- FLASHSIDEWAYS: Honestly, the novelty is wearing off in bizarro world. I’m not a fan of “Ooooo look, Ethan’s a good guy! Locke and his dad are really friends! Rose finds Locke a job…. with European history teacher Ben Linus!!!” We get it, their lives intersect regardless of the universe, but there better be a big payoff here. That said, seeing Locke with Helen did sorta warm my heart, and it’s awesome seeing how different real-Locke is from Smokey-Locke. Terry O’Quinn is a locke (get it?) for his second Emmy. And finally, I was really hoping that Locke had hung up on Jack instead of his secretary.
- THE NUMBERS: I’m really hoping that this is how LOST answers mysteries this season. I’d hate for them to explain every single facet (again, the Midichlorian theory). If this is all we ever heard about the numbers, I’d be fine with that. Even though Hurley didn’t see them (which would’ve been better), we at least get to experience Jacob’s fabled “list” of people. If you believe Smokey, these people are candidates to take over Jacob’s role as Island protector. Another theory I’m thinking of right now? That’s Smokey’s cave, and he has the same knowledge of the candidates as Jacob. He wrote the list of people that he would have to take down in order to sink the Island and get out of there. Eagle-eyed viewers out there would have seen other familiar names on the wall like LEWIS (for Charlotte “Staples Center” Lewis). The sad thing is, that cave is not really accessible, so I doubt we’ll be visiting it again any time soon…
- WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE: Sheriff Jack is still holding down the fort at the Temple with Sayid, Hurley, and Miles. Since Kate is a weak, dependent woman, she’s going to do what she always does when she’s turned down by Sawyer… slink back to Jack. Claire is now prowling the Jungle with Jin, who’s still looking for Sun. And where else can Ilana, Sun, Lapidus (Mr. One-liner), and Ben go but the temple? Will anyone else join Locke and Sawyer? There’s a good bet that Claire is already on that team, so her and Jin might.
- WILL WE GET ANOTHER LOOK AT “SMOKEY-CAM?” – Let’s hope not…
Top 10 Wishlist for the Rest of the Season
10. Jin/Sun reunion
9. Lapidus and Ilana hooking up
8. The moment when Flash-sideways “déjà-vu” becomes full-blown “I remember the Island!?!?”
7. Finding out which regular castaway dies (easy money is on Kate)
6. Ben overthrowing Dogen as king of the Temple
5. Jack and Locke’s consult
4. THE WAR
3. Real Locke coming back to life
2. WHO WILL BE JACOB!?!?
1. A conversation between Jack and Smokey-Locke