Posted by: cousinbrandon | February 17, 2010

LOST – Season 6, Episode 4: “The Substitute”

I don’t know about you, but I thought “The Substitute” was, well, busy. That is, it felt like an onslaught of information and movement from storyline to storyline. Typically I feel like the writers handle that sort of progression pretty well, but for some reason I felt like the pacing of this episode was a bit accelerated. Sure, I take copious notes while watching, and it would stand to reason I’ll always miss a point or two in trying to multi-task (watching and writing). This episode was more difficult than usual. I felt like I was always playing catch-up. Don’t get me wrong; I liked the episode, including the title itself. But we’ll get to that. First, let’s begin with…

1. The Return of Peggy Bundy.

A van pulls into a driveway in a suburban neighborhood. The side door opens and a wheelchair ramp unfolds. Locke emerges from the van and rolls his wheelchair onto the ramp. As he lowers himself, the ramp gets stuck a few inches from the ground. In vain, Locke pushes the ramp’s button over and over again, attempting to lower himself. (And if this wasn’t a nod to Locke fruitlessly pushing the hatch button over and over again, I’d be stunned.) Exasperated, Locke rolls himself off the still-raised lift and is jettisoned from his chair onto the lawn, where, like any good slapstick, the sprinklers come on and rain over him, forcing a smile on his face. (Again, I couldn’t help but think this was a nod to the first episode, in which the rain hit the island and a suddenly-walking Locke stood, arms outstretched, embracing it, like a baptism.) The front door opens and out walks Helen, who shuts off the sprinklers. In this flash-sideways, Locke and Helen are to be married. While taking a bath, Locke tells Helen he met a spinal surgeon in the lost luggage area of the airport. “What are the odds of you just running into a spinal surgeon?” Helen asks. “Maybe it’s destiny.” This, again, is one of those not-so-subtle yet greatly appreciated moments in the flash-sideways technique, in which things aren’t quite parallel to the real timeline yet everything feels like déjà vu in a sense. Obviously interesting, too, is that in this timeline, Locke and Helen are still together and plan to marry. We then move to…

2. Smokey-Cam. The camera moves rapidly across the island from the vantage point of the Smoke Monster, and it’s really pretty cool. Smokey approaches Sawyer’s window in New Otherton before leaving for the middle of the jungle, where a machete lay on the ground. The movement stops as we see the hand of Fake Locke (FLocke) reach down and pick up the machete. FLocke cuts a rope which drops his “net” to the ground, containing one dehydrated Richard Alpert. “Alright, Richard,” says FLocke, “time to talk.” We return to…

3. Donald Trump, Jr. Locke arrives at his cubicle where he is met almost immediately by his boss (and former Mr. Clucker), Randy, who says, “Welcome back, Colonel.” Yes, in this timeline Randy is still a dick. Randy asks about the conference in Sydney, only to point out that Locke clearly didn’t register or attend the conference at all. Locke tries to explain that he had a good excuse, albeit personal. Randy fires Locke all the same. We go back (forward?) to…

4. FLocke and Richard. Locke gives Richard water and tries to convince Richard to come with him. Richard wants to know why Smokey looks like Locke, and FLocke explains it’s because Locke was a candidate. (Again, we still don’t understand the whole candidate thing at this point, but we will. Soon enough.) FLocke tries to manipulate Richard into coming with him, in much the same way he tried to convince Ben to want to kill Jacob. FLocke can’t believe Richard’s been following Jacob all this time without any explanation from Jacob as to why he was asked to do these things. Nevertheless, Richard refuses to join FLocke, when suddenly FLocke sees a vision – a young boy – in the jungle, who quickly disappears. Meanwhile, on a different part of the island…

5. What Lies Inside the Foot of the Statue. Ben enters the foot of the statue, where Ilana is crying amongst her dead associates. Ilana asks what happened. Ben explains that Locke turned into a pillar of black smoke, and it was Locke who killed Jacob (Liar!). Ben explains that Jacob’s body burned up in the fire. Hearing this, Ilana grabs a handful of ash from the fire pit and dumps it into a pouch. She explains that Locke took Richard with him because he is “recruiting.” Hmmm. We then traverse the island to…

6. New Otherton.

FLocke enters the barracks, specifically Sawyer and Juliet’s old house. A record is cranked on the turntable. (And by the way, I think it was “Search and Destroy” by Iggy Pop, but I might be mistaken.) FLocke enters the bedroom, where he finds Sawyer with a bottle of booze getting wasted. “I thought you were dead,” says Sawyer, to which FLocke responds, “I am.” Sawyer pours drinks for himself and FLocke. After studying him for a moment, Sawyer quite astutely asks, “Who are you? You sure as hell ain’t John Locke.” It was FLocke’s confidence – the fact that he wasn’t “scared” – that tipped Sawyer off. (Well, that and the booze, apparently, which has made him a thousand times smarter than Ben and the rest of the folks who followed FLocke to kill Jacob.) FLocke, in a well-delivered line by Terry O’Quinn, asks, “What if I told you I was the one person who could answer the most important question in the world?” That question, of course, is why Sawyer’s on the island. Sawyer is skeptical, but FLocke says he can prove why Sawyer’s there. In a nice moment of comic relief, Sawyer replies, “Well, I guess I better put some pants on.” Ah, my southern brethren. We then move to…

7. The Yellow Hummer. Locke wheels himself into the parking lot of his office building, cliché cardboard box of his belongings on his lap. He sees that a yellow Hummer is parked too close to his van, thus blocking the wheelchair ramp. Frustrated and angry over losing his job, Locke decides to put the ramp down anyway, inevitably smashing into the Hummer. The ramp, however, only lowers so far before it gets stuck, stopping before it hits the car. Locke tosses his car keys, when he is approached from behind by none other than Hurley, who apologizes about his Hummer. (Huh! The ramp stopped and wouldn’t scratch up Hurley’s car?! I guess he really is the luckiest guy in the world in this timeline.) Hurley explains that he owns the company. Locke explains that he was fired by Randy, who is described by Hurley as “a huge douche.” Feeling bad and clearly liking Locke, Hurley gives him the number of a temp agency he owns, telling Locke they’ll take care of him. We move forward to…

8. Whatever Happened to Baby Jin?

Oof. Maybe my worst movie pun yet. Anyway, Ilana wants to go to the temple, only Sun pipes up and wants to know why she would ever go anywhere with Ilana? Ilana explains that Jin will be at the temple, which is all the motivation Sun needs. Before they can leave, though, Sun points out that they need to bury Locke. Okay, a couple of problems with this scene, one plot-based and one character-based. First, considering the urgency with which they need to get the temple (according to Ilana), what with Smokey out and about and Jacob now dead, no goddamn way do they stop to bury Locke. Hell, Ilana’s crew all lay dead within the foot of the statue, yet no one pipe up about burying them! And considering the piss-poor burial they give Locke (I’ll get to that), no way do they wait to give him a proper send off. Second, in terms of character, what in the hell happened to Sun? Remember back in Season 4 when she was essentially re-cast as a badass in the flash-forward storyline? She’s become more annoying than Kate, frankly, in that she’s now practically irrelevant and is used only as a foil to progress dialogue and story. It’s as though the writers no longer considered her important. Seriously, when’s the last time she was relevant in an episode? Sorry, but this scene really bugged me. Anyway, we then move to…

9. The Talking Ghost. FLocke is leading Sawyer through the jungle when FLocke again spots the boy. Unlike Richard, Sawyer can see the boy, as well. FLocke takes off after the boy into the jungle before eventually tripping and falling (thus paralleling Locke and his leg issues, ironically). (And by the way, this is Smokey: why was he running after the boy as Locke when he could have gone all smoke pillar on him?) The “ghost” boy approaches the fallen FLocke and tells him, “You know the rules. You can’t kill him.” In an all too familiar line of Locke-ian dialogue, FLocke screams, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” Now, based on what we’ve seen, are we to assume this is a ghost/younger version of Jacob? Or, in a theory I’m suggesting out of nowhere, is this a grown-up Aaron? For some reason, I’m going to speculate that it’s the latter. At this point, we have no reason to think that Jacob would appear on the island as anyone but Jacob. Aaron, however, is still the figure who I believe is crucial to the series, yet he somehow slips under the radar. And seeing as how this boy is blonde, supernatural and perhaps all-knowing, I’m going with Aaron. Call it a hunch. Sawyer, meanwhile, wanders through the woods looking FLocke, when he is approached by a scared Richard, who wants Sawyer to come with him to the temple. Richard tells Sawyer not to trust FLocke, that he “wants everyone dead.” Richard takes his leave before FLocke returns. For now, Sawyer is sticking with FLocke. We move sideways to…

10. The Interview. Locke is interviewing at the temp agency. The woman conducting the interview asks, “What kind of animal would you describe yourself as?” which is a nice call-back to the episode in which Locke went on a vision quest. In this timeline, though, Locke thinks the woman’s a total flake and asks to speak to her supervisor, who is none other than Rose Nadler. (By the way, I don’t recall ever hearing her last name, though I must be mistaken. Still, I looked up the name “Rose Nadler,” and other than LOST links all I could come up with was this. Yes, the “N” stands for “Nadler.”) Rose informs Locke there’s an opening as a site supervisor on a construction job, but points out it wouldn’t work, clearly basing this on Locke’s physical impairments. Locke, of course, gets indignant, saying she wouldn’t understand what it’s like. Rose explains that she has terminal cancer and says, “How about we find you a job you can do?” This dialogue is rather suggestive, really, in that Locke essentially finds a “job” on the island, no? We move back/forward to…

11. Of Mice and Men.

Sawyer is still following FLocke through the jungle when he asks if FLocke ever read the Steinbeck classic. FLocke says he hasn’t, as it was “a little after my time.” Sawyer gives FLocke the CliffsNotes version, describing how George eventually walks Lenny into the field and shoots him in the back of the head. As he describes it, Sawyer pulls his gun on FLocke. Sawyer is prepared to shoot FLocke, and is even encouraged to do so. FLocke tells Sawyer that he was once a man just like Sawyer, and says, “What I am is trapped.” He convinces Sawyer to trust him, or at least not to shoot him and see where this little journey takes him. (For the record, if you’ve not read Of Mice and Men, I urge you to get on that. Not only is it an outstanding novel, but it’s absolutely filled with biblical allusions, particularly to the story of Jacob and Esau. Coincidence? Not a goddamn chance.) We move across the island to…

12. The Burial. Ilana, Sun, Frank and Ben walk the beach with the body of Locke in tow. When asked how they’ll know if someone is Smokey in disguise, Ilana explains that he can’t change his appearance anymore. (Is this because he took the form of John Locke at the time of Jacob’s death?) Ben and Frank dig a grave for Locke. Ilana asks if anyone wants to say anything, but is met with silence. At last, Ben pipes up and, in a heartfelt moments, says, “John Locke was a believer, a man of faith, a much better man than I will ever be – and I’m very sorry I murdered him.” Clearly the others are shaken by this admission, but rather than saying anything (natch), they begin to cover John’s body with dirt. Meanwhile, we jump back to…

13. The Admission. Locke pulls himself out of bed. We are blatantly shown the daily, ritualistic routine he must endure, in getting in his chair, dressing himself, etc. And just like Jack and Kate in the first two episodes of the season, we see Locke look into a mirror, only he doesn’t quite have the “moment of realization” the two of them had. Locke decides to use the card Jack gave him and calls his office, but hangs up before making an appointment. He tells Helen he’s decided not to see Jack and then informs her he was fired. At the moment, a courier arrives at the door with Locke’s lost piece of luggage. Locke explains to a confused Helen that he didn’t attend the conference. He asks her to open his case, where she is stunned to find nothing but knives inside. Locke explains that, while in Australia he attempted to go on a walkabout, only they wouldn’t let him. He tells Helen he’s sick of being in a wheelchair, and that for her to hold out for a miracle that he’ll walk one day is pointless, as there’s no such thing as miracles. Helen rips up Jack’s card, explaining that she was never waiting for John to walk; rather, she was just waiting for John. Kind of sweet, really. (Jesus, I’ve gone soft in my old age.) We then move to tonight’s big action sequence, otherwise knows as…

14. Indiana James and the Temple of Doom.

Sawyer and FLocke come to a ridge overlooking the ocean, where a ladder extends roughly half-way down the rock face. FLocke goes first, and after reaching the end of the ladder moves sideways onto a second rope ladder. Sawyer follows, but sure enough the wooden rungs crack. He falls, but manages to grab onto the rope ladder. Safe, right? Well, not exactly. The rope ladder pulls away from the rock face and Sawyer nearly falls to his death. Fortunately, FLocke extends his hand and pulls Sawyer to safety. (For some reason, I couldn’t help but think of that scene towards the end of Temple of Doom, where Indy is on the rope ladder and nearly has his heart “magically” ripped out.) FLocke and Sawyer safely enter a small cavern in the side of the rock face. Inside sits a scale in balance, with one side holding a black rock, the other a white one. FLocke picks up the white rock and chucks it into the ocean, saying it’s an “inside joke.” (Obviously it’s metaphorical; a physical manifestation of the Man in Black getting rid of Jacob, the Man in White.) FLocke lights a torch and takes Sawyer further into the cave, where he reveals a “room” with a multitude of names written on the cave walls, including the names of the Losties themselves. “That, James,” says FLocke, signaling to the names, “is why you’re all here.” We move back again to…

15. The Substitute. We find Locke in a gymnasium, monitoring/coaching girls doing wind sprints. He is then at a desk, teaching (of all thing, wink wink) reproduction in a middle school Health class. Locke is then seen rolling through the courtyard, trying to find the teachers’ lounge. (And by the way, when he stopped and asked the student where the lounge was, did anyone else suspect it was going to be Walt? What gives, writers? That was your chance!) Locke enters the teachers’ lounge when we hear the familiar voice of one Ben Linus, who is complaining about the daily minutiae, specifically the inability of his fellow teachers to make a fresh pot of coffee. Ben introduces himself as the European History teacher, to which Locke responds, “John Locke: Substitute.” Okay, nice job of getting back to the title, writers. Locke is a substitute on so many levels. Here, he is literally a substitute teacher. But this is also a nod to the fact that his body/form on the island is now a substitute for Smokey. Furthermore, everything we’re seeing this season is essentially a “substitute” reality. Again, I’m not saying this flash-sideways is a “What if…” type of thing; rather, it’s an alternate timeline. These events in the flash-sideways are actually happening, but just not in the main timeline we’ve come to accept as the primary story. Either way, it was but no means chilling to see Ben as, well, a nerdy teacher; it was actually funny, in fact. Finally, we end with…

16. The Candidate.

FLocke explains to Sawyer that it was Jacob who wrote all of the names on the cave wall, and that Jacob died just yesterday. Several of the names are already crossed out, while others are not. We see the names of our primary Losties, all with numbers in front of them: 8 – Reyes, 16 – Jarrah, 42 – Kwan (though FLocke points out he doesn’t know if that’s Jin or Sun), 4 – Locke, and 15 – Ford. (Shepherd, incidentally, was on the wall, as well, with the number 23, as seen in the image at the top.) [UPDATE: I can’t take credit for spotting this, but one of the names scratched out on the cave wall is “Troup,” which must be a reference to Gary Troup, the guy from the Lost Experience and author of Bad Twin. Pretty cool.] Sawyer wants to know about the numbers (as do the rest of us, dammit!), but FLocke simply explains that Jacob had a thing for numbers. FLocke assures Sawyer that he must have met Jacob at some point, during which we’re shown the cutaways from the season 5 finale in which Jacob interacted with the various Losties off-island. FLocke says that Jacob probably came to James in a moment of weakness or vulnerability, and manipulated him – pushed him – to the island. FLocke then explains that Sawyer is a candidate. For what? To protect the island. He also explains that Sawyer has three choices: 1) “You can do nothing”; 2) Accept the job and become the new Jacob; or 3) “We just go” and get off the island. Again, Sawyer is in a very dark and vulnerable place at this point, considering everything that’s happened with Juliet. Finally, FLocke, clearly manipulating Sawyer and taking advantage of his vulnerability, asks, “Are you ready to go home?” The camera cuts to Sawyer, who finally responds, “Hell yes.”

Well, there you have it. These recaps are getting bittersweet, in that every recap means we’re one step closer to the end of the series. [Tear.]

Until next time, have at it, you vultures!




  1. Bonjour CB. Im sure you’re quite surprised to see I responded.

    I said the exact same thing to my wife about them burying Locke when we watched it. I thought that was just plain stupid. If the whole point was for them to discover that Ben killed Locke or that he can’t change, well… it was a waste of a scene. They’re all in terrrribllle danger, but they have enough time to bury one guy, while all her Illana’s buddies that she was crying over can rot on the floor. Good job.

    Smokey can only inhabit candidates? So Yemi was a candidate, or was that not smokey (maybe Jacob?) if it wasn’t someone else… we only saw last names. Maybe it was Christian Shepard… #23 (as we’ve seen his ghost), or even Ji Yeon…. Kwon, not Sun or Jin.

    Actually, I also commented on why Flocke would run, rather than turn into smoke form. But then Sawyer threatened to shoot him, and he said something to the effect of, “go ahead, see what happens.” We saw him turn to the smoke monster the first time he was shot at. Maybe he’s something like the Hulk, where he can only become smoke form if provoked.

    Who was the child (first thing I thought was young Jacob… but Aaron is a damn good guess) talking about when he said you can’t kill him? Jacob was already dead… or is he? Two possibilites that I can think of: Jacob is still alive or he’s talking about The MiB and Smokey is someone different (I know you disagree, but it’s still a slim possibility.)

    Finally, am I reading too much into things, or was there hints that the ALT was a dream or fantasy? In the Temp agency, there were two posters with the word “Dream” in big letters, and Locke asks Rose, “What do you know about reality?!”

    • Thanks for the comment, MM. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who called bullshit on the whole burial scene. That really irked me.

      Nah, I don’t buy that on Smokey not being able to turn into Smokey. We don’t have any reason to think that he needs to be provoked.

      Smokey=MiB=FLocke. You can’t convince me otherwise.

  2. My first thought of the boy was of course Jacob, but that seems too easy. And too easy never seems right in the world of Lost. As I kept thinking about it I thought of Aaron too! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one.

    I was surprised we didn’t see Austen on the wall. She seems to be the only major player from flight 815 that wasn’t. Except for one of the Kwons, but like you said, Sun is pretty much irrelevant these days. Do you think people are crossed out because they die? Or are there other ways to lose candidacy?

    Thanks again Brandon!

    • I picked that up about Kate’s name not being on the wall, and I was also a bit confused. On one hand, perhaps she wasn’t a candidate because she was a woman? On the other hand, if Kwon could’ve been Jin OR Sun, not sure if that holds ups. Not sure if that’s why people are crossed out, but all of those people are still alive, obviously. I forget, did FLocke cross Locke’s name off last night? I don’t remember to be perfectly honest.

      Thanks for reading/commenting, Manderson.

  3. “I forget, did FLocke cross Locke’s name off last night? I don’t remember to be perfectly honest.”

    Flocke does indeed cross Locke’s name off the list. I too noticed that Kate’s name wasn’t there (nor did they show her flashback with Jacob off the island) and I figured Sawyer would have picked up on that but I guess not.

    Good call on the young kid being Aaron. Didn’t think of that. I went with the easy answer of a young jacob (sort of like Jacob being reborn onto the island) basing my thinking off of Achems Razor.

    As for the funeral scene, maybe it’s purpose is to just let the other people know that Ben killed Locke and somehow that info will be useful later on? Not really sure. I do disagree with them needing to rush to the temple though. I don’t think they’re in any real danger yet. If Flocke wanted to kill them, he would have done so by now.

    Also, something that I was thinking (that Jensen’s blog also hinted at) was that maybe Sawyer is just conning or playing along with Flocke to gain information and then will double cross him when the time comes. I know Sawyer is in a bad place at the moment but I mean, he still did suspect that Flocke was dragging him out into the woods to kill him and hence pulled a gun on him and threatened to kill him.

    Furthermore, Ilana seems to know a lot about what is happening on the island. How is it no one has asked her to spill her guts. Also, what was up with her taking the ash? Is she going to try to ressurect Jacob?

    • I read DJ’s recap about an hour ago, dochielomn, and I thought his notion of Sawyer playing “the long con” on FLocke was pretty interesting and astute. I mean, before seeing Sawyer give into his vulnerable side (Juliet), he was always a man unto himself — a life-long grifter. As much as he might want off the island at this point, I have a hard time believing he’ll simply give in to what FLocke’s proposing. I mean, the island clearly has magical properties despite what FLocke told him. Hell, Sawyer knows Locke is dead and yet there he is, speaking to him. What’s more, Sawyer has traveled through time, so clearly there ARE some type of magical properties on the island.

      And, yes, I understand about the whole information release during the funeral scene, but again, that whole thing felt like bullshit.

      Fruthermore, I agree with you that Frank, Sun and Ben STILL not having called out/questioned Ilana is ridiculous. Clearly she’s got some insight as to what in the hell is going on. C’mon, people.

  4. Regarding Smokey / FLocke’s ability to kill… Maybe he can’t kill anyone who is a candidate. Ben kills Jacob and Locke, and while the Smoke Monster has killed, it has only been “minor” characters, if I recall correctly. It specifically had a chance to kill Locke in an earlier season, and refused to do so.

    • You may be right, Steve G., but what makes, say, Sawyer a candidate as opposed to Eko?

      • From a literal perspective, I think Jacob meeting the person signifies that they’re a candidate. For example, Ben has never seen him and is not a candidate, while Jack and the others have, and are candidates.

        As far as what separates these people from the general population, I unfortunately don’t think we’re going to get a good, concrete example. These people are probably just “special”, as I can’t think of a unifying feature among Jin / Sun, Jack, Sawyer, Locke and the others, because of their diverse backgrounds.


  5. isn’t it strange that in the flash sideways Locke is meeting all of the people off of the island in his everyday life? kind of like jacob but he’s just running into them, not seeking them out.

  6. If Jacob wrote the list of candidates, and it’s meaningless, according to FLocke, why is he still crossing out the names? The answer (maybe) is, he’s lying!

    Jacob was probably lying too, however. Jacob must have his candidates, and Flocke has his own, and then there were some they shared. It would make sense that they both would need people to take their places. So, maybe Kate is a Jacob candidate.

    It’s interesting that FLocke basically said Jacob manipulated them like puppets, so they had no choice but to do what they do, and then gave Sawyer three options. It’s always been said Jacob was about free-will. Flocke disputed that, and said that they never made their own choices. If you think about it, he’s right. Everything Jacob wanted them to do, they’ve done. Everyone. Ben, the Others, Richard, the 815ers. He pretended they had an option, but they still did what he wanted them to do. FLocke, on the other hand, kept giving people choices, at least in this episode. He even gave Alpert a choice, and when Alpert didn’t do what he wanted, he let him be (for now.) Perhaps that was the source of the statement, “Im very dissappointed in all of you.” Because they didn’t display ANY free will.

    • MM, why is it a given that Jacob is manipulating the Losties? Because FLocke said he is? We don’t really know about his intentions at all. Maybe his influence allowed them to avoid mishaps – I’m not sure we can automatically assume some sort of malicious intent just because he interfered. Maybe something FLocke did in another form caused them to be knocked off some sort of path, and Jacob was only righting that injustice.

      • But from what we’ve seen, everything Jacob asked them to do has been done. Did he offer them a choice? Maybe. But is it really a choice when you always get your way eventually?

        We’ve only seen the FLocke in a limited amount of scenes, but he has not always gotten what he wanted, and seemed fine with it.

        We, as an audience, are very much like the Losties. We believe Jacob is good because that’s what everyone says. But how do we know? How do they know? They worship Jacob like a God… follow his orders, do his bidding. These things involve kidnapping, torture, murder, stealing, lying, etc. From people’s actions, we haven’t seen anything to indicate Jacob as the good guy. He’s brought all these people to the island and they’re miserable. Is it for a greater good? Perhaps. But he hasn’t offered much in a way of an explanation. And again, he “brings” people to the island. Which doesn’t imply they had much of a choice.

        I think they’re also playing on our stereotypes of white and black. White is supposed to represent the good guys… black the bad guys. But Lost is anything but conventional. Was it a coincidence that Helen had on black nail polish when being so loving and carressing Locke?

  7. I’m with you completely, MM, in that I’m not convinced Jacob is “good” and MiB is “bad.” Again, this is all goes back to philosophy and Utalitarianism. I wrote about this in previous post. Again, it’s the whole notion of the most good for the most people, in which the ends justify the means. John Locke was a proponent of this notion. So, who’s to say who is necessarily “good” in the case of Jacob vs. MiB. Sure, we’ve seen the smoke monster kill people, but what if, say, he killed Bram and crew because they were recruiting candidates to replace Jacob, thereby perpetuating the rolls of Jacob and Smokey on the island? In other words, even though “it only ends once” (according to Jacob), who says that ending is a “good” thing other than Jacob? I’ve tried to refrain from defining one or the other as good or bad because I just don’t think it’s clear at this point, and I think that sort of ambiguity is what has propelled our interest in the mythology of the show. Either way, I’m in. Completely.

  8. I don’t agree with this whole notion that Jacob never get them free will and just manipulated them into doing what he wanted. As far as we know, Jacob only appeared once to each lostie and yes it was at a a moment in their life where they needed some guidance but they still made their own choices. Jacob didn’t put a gun to their head and said “do what i want or die”. People are responsible for the choices that they make and that’s still free will. For Kate and Sawyer, jacob appeared to them when they were young and they still had plenty of time to make their own decisions and go down their own path. Even if Jacob is some sort of “god” he’s not high above holding the strings of the losties and making them dance. They still made their own choice. It would be like some mass murderer saying “my daddy never hugged me enough so that’s why I had to kill 22 people”. BS! The person still made their own choices and to blame someone else is just wrong.

    I will agree though that it’s quite possible that Flocke may be good and that Jacob is bad but my hunch is that we’re overanalyzing things and that Flocke will be shown as the bad guy and Jacob as the good guy.

    • So if I’m hearing you right, dochielomn, you’re saying that Jacob’s “influence” on the folks who came to the island is essentially a red herring? I have to disagree. The writers made a point of showing us Jacob appearing at different points in THESE SPECIFIC CHARACTER’S LIVES and physically touching them. What happens? These people end up on the island and would appear to be potential candidates to replace Jacob (or so it would seem). Sure, Jacob may have only lent them guidance verbally, but there’s no denying the fact that literally touched these people and here they are on the island. For instance, we didn’t see Jacob touch Nadia or Hurley’s cab driver or Kate’s little boyfriend or other wedding guests or anyone else for that matter. Clearly, being touched by Jacob and ending up on the island are directly related. Sure, you can say that they still chose to live as they lived, but there’s no denying they ended up on the island as a result of their being touched by Jacob.

      • I’m more or less saying that they still had the choice to choose a different path. The touching thing we can’t be sure about. We didn’t see Jacob eating off the island, does that mean he’s not allowed to eat off the island? So, I can’t say for sure what a physical touch actually does. Obviously, the writers aren’t going show us some side effect (like a glowing white light) when Jacob touched them so who knows exactly if there is anything special to that. I know for Sawyer, he helps encourage him to write down what he’s feeling but Sawyer still writes what he writes and keeps the letter. Jacob didn’t say “hang onto this and let it dominate your life”. I don’t quite remember what he said to Sun and Jin at their wedding but I thought it was just like “have a good healthy marriage”. I think he just calms Jack down and gives him a candy bar. For Kate, doesn’t he just help her out of a jam for her getting caught stealing something? He basically brings Locke back to life and tells him everything will be ok but after that Locke still goes about and makes his own choices. I think the only one he might have pushed to the island is Hurley when he bails him out of jail and mentions going back to the island to him or something like that.

        Overall, as far as we know, Jacob has only appeared once to the losties and perhaps he just provided a path that they could go down but they still chose to go down the path of their own free will.

        The problem is, we still don’t know enough about Jacob and what his “powers” are. We know the Island has magical powers and that people there revere Jacob in the highest regards and treat him as if he were a god there.

  9. Just a thought, but did anyone pay close attention to the flash-sideways scene with Locke and Hurley? The Hummer scene? I rewatched it and noticed that there was something about Hurley that seemed Jacob-esque. There is a calm about him. He speaks to Locke in the same manner Jacob spoke to the Losties. He offers Locke guidance. He tells him to “chin up.” Just making me wonder if it’s Hurley (calling himself “Hugo Reyes” in this scene, incidentally) who will utlimately replace Jacob, if that isn’t Jacob already.

  10. Also, the first time FLocke spots the boy in the jungle, his outstretched arms and hands are covered in blood. Not so the second time, when he actually chases him.

  11. Re: Dochielomn

    Again sorry for the contintuity errors on this reply, but from my cell, I can’t reply directly to a comment.

    The illusion of free will and free will are two different things. The names were on the wall. Jacob and/or the MiB wanted these people there. They never really had a choice. They were brought to the island.
    It’s like a fixed game, or, coincidentally, whatever happened, happens. No matter what you do during the course of that game, if the outcome is pre-determined, you can’t change it. They didn’t even have an option not to play!
    Take Michael. He was supposed to play a role in the game and wasn’t even allowed to kill himself. He tried to display some form of control over his life and was denied!

    CB: The kid did have bloody hands. White Rabbit blood? And why was Sawyer able to see him and Alpert not able to? I couldn’t tell if FLocke didn’t recognize him, or was just surprised that Sawyer could see him. If it’s like Hurley and his ability to see Jacob, and he’s meant to be the new Jacob, Is it that Sawyer is destined to be MiB’s subsititute because of his ability to see the brat?

    • Let me respond, MM, and say that I agree. You put it well in distinguishing between free will and the “illusion of free will.” Again, they didn’t choose to be shipwrecked on this island. I know you could argue that they made the decisions leading up to being on the island, but even that was essentially disproved by the notion of Jacob touching the Losties, thus eventually “pushing” them to the island.

      One thought as to why Sawyer could see the boy is because he was a candidate whereas Alpert was not. If memory serves, though, FLocke sees the boy looking over Alpert’s shoulder, so I don’t know that Alpert ever had a chance to see the boy.

  12. A few talking points I’d love to hear everyone’s opinion on.

    1. The significance of Sawyer being about to see “The Golden Boy” in the jungle when Richard didn’t. (Effect of Candidacy?)

    2. Also, Do you think their are two electoral parties taking shape? The Others in the temple were trying to kill Sayid because he was tainted like Claire. We know that Claire came into direct contact with Smokey, but Sayid as well? Is it possible they each want their own candidate to take over the island to run it as they see fit? Maybe they each have their own set of candidates.

    Illana taking the ash to use as a protection from Smokey? That seems to be the only real simple reason to me.

    Let me know what you all think.

    • Thanks for reading/commenting, Mike.

      1. I just spoke to your question in my response to Major Minority above.

      2. I’m not sure about this. Again, I haven’t figured out the significance of this story aspect yet.

      3. Not sure why Ilana would need to take ash to protect herself, considering she likely has ash with her already (just like Bram did). Because she’s headed to the temple, I think it’s got more to do with needing to somehow resurrect Jacob or bring it to Dogen.

  13. Sweet! One of the things I was hoping to find was a screencap or list of all the names in the cave. Well, hope no more…

  14. Ok, so a very nice point about Michael that I had forgotten about. In that case, Michael didn’t have a choice since he was choosing to kill himself only to somehow survive each time because the Island wouldn’t let him. If anything, I’m more of a believer that it was just the Losties destiny to end up on the island and that even when you try to change destiny, it still has a way to work out the way it was suppose to be.

    As for the names on the wall, we didn’t see Kate’s name and Jacob visited her, so I’m hesitant to believe that the wall is “the wall of fate”. If it was, there her name should have been up there only to be crossed out.

    Also, the boy did appear over Alpert’s shoulder however, Richard did turn aroun and tried to see what Flocke was looking at but didn’t see anything whereas Sawyer saw him instantly.

    • I don’t necessarily agree, dochielomn, as Kate’s name might have been absent simply because she was never a candidate. Now, why Jacob touched her, I can only assume at this point that he still needed her to come to the island. Perhaps he needed her there to convince Sawyer and Juliet not to get on the sub and leave, seeing as how both Sawyer and Juliet (trust me, Burke is on the wall) were candidates.

      Thanks for clarifying the scene with Alpert.

  15. Did you catch the bathtub scene where Helen said “maybe we should just get my parents and your dad and get married”?

    Does that mean that Locke’s paralysis in the flash sideways was not caused by his dad pushing him out the window?

    • Yeah, if Hurley can be the luckiest man alive in this sideways world then why can’t Locke have a decent relationship with his dad.

      • Absolutely right. Look, why should we assume that Locke has a flawed relationship with his father on this side of things? Furthermore, if you re-watch the episode, you’ll notice a picture of Locke and his father hanging in Locke’s cubicle.

  16. test – for some reason I’m not getting e-mail notifications of new posts….

    • Do you mean you’re not getting notifications of my new posts, or of new comments? Are you subscribing to my blog?

      • I wasn’t getting notifications of replies or posts to this thread. Turns out I never confirmed my subscription when the email was sent.

  17. Wow! I just noticed Photobucket removed my picture of Iggy Pop for violating their terms of use. So, a picture of a shirtless guy is a violation, eh? I had no idea Photobucket was run by Communists.

  18. Something been nagging at me ever since I re-watched “The Substitute.” After first watching it, I started wondering if Sawyer wasn’t, in fact, pulling a long con on FLocke. After watching it the second time, I started wondering about the cave where, according to FLocke, Jacob lived. Did anyone else think that was actually FLocke’s domecile? After all, it’s pretty clear that Jacob was connected to the (foot of the) statue. He fished near it, ate near it, wove tapestries in it, rocked in it. In the Season 5 finale, MiB joined Jacob on the beach (next to the statue). I’m really, REALLY thinking that the cave is actually FLocke’s living quarters, and this is all part of his ruse to convince Sawyer to help him get “home.”

  19. […] see a Sawyer-centric episode, particularly because we haven’t even seen the straggly gent since “The Substitute,” an episode focusing on sideways Locke. Again, sort of. Sawyer’s storyline was rather prominent, […]

  20. […] Ricardus hands over the white rock, the same white rock we saw FLocke chuck into the ocean in “The Substitute.” Realizing Ricardus is now with Jacob, he tells Ricardus that should he ever changes his mind, the […]

  21. […] associates but friends. In the background is a painting of a scale, which not only calls back to “The Substitute,” but is itself a recurring theme on the show (balance). We don’t cut away, but the next sequence […]

  22. […] I realize Locke is a substitute, but we’ve already seen at least two episodes this season – “The Substitute” and “Dr. Linus” – in which they spoke to one another in the sideways reality. At this point, […]

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