Next: “The Substitute”

“Inside joke.” A great line. A provocative line. A dangerous line. Through some uncharacteristically straightforward expository scenes, this episode pulls back enough to give us the best view yet of the chess board. The game is afoot, our survivors are pawns, and presumably, despite the Man In Black’s plan to quit the island, there’s another showdown brewing. Yet, is it just a game? A battle between two eternal rivals? On many levels, this makes sense. Since Season 1, we’ve envisioned the entire show as an epic, but simple, contest between two sides. But will it be enough? Jen’s worried it may not be. I’m expecting there’s much more to the story.

The Man in Black is trapped. He sees only futility. He says Jacob is wasting lives to protect an island that doesn’t need protecting. Yet as he says this, we think immediately of the sunken island we saw in the premiere. Perhaps the island is not so invincible. And could its destruction bring about a greater, even global, calamity? Possibly.

Do we want this Man In Black running amok in the real world, in any case? Probably not.

Meanwhile, as we piece together this conflict, it’s less obvious that either Jacob or the Man In Black is noble, or good, or right. Jacob has certainly destroyed many lives in the name of protecting the island. And when The Man In Black learns that Jacob never gave Richard the whole story, his sympathy seems real. Neither player seems innocent. The scale with the black and white stones was a nearly too literal illustration of the balance between both sides. A balance that the Man In Black has apparently disrupted. And a balance that I think will prove to be necessary. No matter how frustrated or flawed, whatever forces Jacob and the Man In Black represent, we probably need them both to stick around.

Who was the young boy who appeared in the jungle? My daughter, fixated on his blonde hair, says Aaron… apparently through yet another twist in the space-time continuum. Maybe he was an embodiment of Jacob, in his original or now recycled form. But the way he reminded the Man In Black of the rules, and the way the Man In Black protested with Locke’s signature line, made me think he may actually represent something bigger, or on a higher plane, than MIB and Jacob.

Or maybe he’s just “special” in the way Walt was, giving some hope that there might be some explanation as to what was going on with him throughout the first half of the series.

We also see “The Numbers.” As MIB said, Jacob has a thing for numbers, and each of our iconic numbers is assigned to one of our survivors, who are merely the latest batch of “candidates.” There are other names on the cave wall, with different numbers, all crossed out. Is this the extent of the explanation we’ll get for the numbers? As someone who thought “The Numbers” might just be a McGuffin, I’m fine with that. But I’m hoping there’s just a little more to them.

The dialogue and flashbacks suggest that “Shepherd” is Jack, though it’s fun to think it could mean Christian, or Claire, or even Ray. The stated ambiguity of Kwon (Sun or Jin) is an interesting twist. And if we’re willing to entertain the thought that the boy in the forest is Aaron, why not add Ji Yeon to the list of possible name interpretations. Not depicted in the cave wall roll call? Austen. I’m not sure if that means anything, though, since there were a lot of names we didn’t see, and there were a lot of people on Oceanic 815 that probably didn’t make the list.

And MIB crossed out Locke, his current — and apparently semi-permanent — human form. He explains to Richard that he took Locke’s form to get to Jacob… but I don’t think that was “the loophole,” since it was Ben who did the stabbing. I also figure this can’t be the first time MIB took the form of a “candidate.” I really like the theory a listener shared on our “LA X” podcast that “the loophole” meant Jacob could only be killed by someone carrying his essence (i.e. Ben, infused in the temple spring). I still think, however, it has something to do with who’s the “leader” at any given time. “Unlocke” was allowed inside Jacob’s lair because everyone thought he was the real Locke and thus the island’s current leader, but the highest ranking person was actually Ben, who was therefore capable of killing him.

What does it mean, though, that MIB is “stuck” looking like Locke? He did change into smoke monster form in the premiere, and apparently again tonight in the eerie island flyover. (They definitely cranked up the mechanical elements of the smoke monster’s sound.) If he just can’t look like another person, can he still become a horse? An inanimate object?

The interplay between Sawyer and “Unlocke” was great. As many predicted last week, Sawyer with nothing to lose is a dangerous thing indeed. Having him allied with MIB makes things much more interesting, and I suspect we’ll see more of our survivors choosing different sides. Yet, for all MIB says about Jacob manipulating people, he conned Sawyer pretty good himself. Tapping into his vulnerabilities, offering answers, and even saving his life. It seems clear that dramatic ladder sequence on the cliffside was orchestrated by MIB to earn his trust.

Notes and Notions:

  • It was nice to see Jacob’s off-island visits with our survivors pay off, but really, Jacob’s “master plan” to push all of them to the Island was only introduced in the Season 5 finale. I’m hoping the writers do a little more, and reach a bit further back, to illustrate that they knew where everything was going from the beginning. Until then… it’s still interesting to note that some of his visits were pre-crash, and some were after the Oceanic 6 returned. Why?
  • The off-island stuff is still surprisingly compelling. Locke living with Helen, but ready to give up miracles? A wedding where his father would be welcome? An alarm clock that sounds like the Swan hatch? Hurley slams Randy and offers Locke a lifeline. We see both Hurley’s psychic and Rose at the temp agency. And Benjamin Linus as a whiny European History teacher was spot on.
  • On the “miracles” question, we’re of two minds. On one hand, it seems like Locke’s life off the island is devoid of worth and meaning. Yet what Rose and Helen tell him aren’t exactly “give up.” The message seems more an argument for reason, practicality, comfort and peace. He rips up Jack’s card because he’s done resenting his disability and daydreaming, and ready to start living.
  • Jen asked if Locke somehow never saw Rose on Oceanic 815. It would’ve been great for there to be a glimmer of recognition in their scene together, which of course could be interpreted different ways.
  • The temp agency scene? That was filmed in my office. They took over our entire IT department. Take a look at all the detail work that went into setting up the cubicles shown briefly in the background… even though you didn’t see any of it on screen!
  • Other locations: Locke’s house with Helen is on Alelo Street in Waikele, literally across the street from the home Locke inspected for Nadia. The box company office where Randy fired Locke was in the Hawaiian Telcom building downtown. The parking lot where Locke met Hurley is behind the Gentry Pacific Design Center in Iwilei, across the street from my office. For details, check out my new site, LOST Locations.
  • Books & Music: It was great to hear Sawyer talk about “Of Mice and Men” again. And Jen was impressed in Sawyer’s punk rock playlist: “Search and Destroy,” by Iggy and the Stooges.

What did you think? Please share your thoughts on “The Substitute” (Episode 6×04)! Commenting below is the best way to have your say. You can also email us at lost@hawaiiup.com, or call the LOSTline at (815) 310-0808.

278 Responses to “Next: “The Substitute””

  1. Russell from California says:

    i think i figured out this puzzle of a show called LOST. this is long, so bear with me. and take an intermission if you want.

    part 1 – no-suicide clause

    last week, we found out that sayid might be “claimed” or “infected”. these buzzwords might seem to come out of nowhere, but i think we’ve seen others that have been claimed throughout the seasons. to be claimed by that darkness, i believe, means a remnant of the smoke monster now exists inside you. it’s not the main MIB, but one of his pawns.

    you still with me?

    so other than sayid, we now know that claire has been “claimed”. other characters that i believe have been claimed include locke and michael. i believe locke was first claimed when he saw that “white light.” he was not the full embodiment of MIB until his dead body came back to the island, but he was claimed early on. this explains why his behavior seemed so erratic. like chess, MIB “captured” jacob’s piece.

    michael was claimed some time between losing walt and his own death. it was obvious when he returned to the camp in season three that something was not right, and i think it was more than an obsession for finding his lost son. at some point in the jungle, he had an “interaction” much like locke.

    i believe part of the rules of being claimed states that you cannot kill yourself. michael tried to shoot himself in season four, but the gun failed. locke tried to kill himself by hanging, but ben talked him out of it. as pawns in a never-ending game, they can be killed, but they cannot kill themselves.

    dogen knows this. that’s why i believe he wanted sayid to willingly take the poison pill on his own. if sayid took the fatal pill and lived, that would prove that he was indeed claimed.

    part 2 – an agent on the inside

    why do we automatically assume that the jacob who visited hurley in the season six premiere was actually jacob? we know MIB can impersonate dead people. with jacob dead, he would be able to do the same to jacob, right?

    key giveaway: he told jin to go to the hole where montand lost his arm. how would he know that? jacob wasn’t there. but smokey was. i believe MIB manipulated hurley to bring sayid to the temple. he knew the water would be murky and that they would use it to try and heal him. however, MIB also knew the immersion would allow sayid to be “claimed” and with sayid, he would have an agent on the inside. (see what i did there?)

    part 3 – a game

    it’s all a game. jacob and MIB are the players, and the losties are the pieces. the characters on jacob’s list represent his white pieces. the characters that have been claimed represent MIB’s black pieces. but it’s less black and white than who’s good and who’s evil. jacob makes a move. MIB makes a countermove. and they’ve been playing this game with different generations of pieces for all eternity. in killing the opposing player, MIB thinks he won the game. but no game means no island which means no crash, which brings us to our LAX timeline, where miracles seem hard to come by and destiny is nowhere to be found.

  2. Russell from California says:

    also, this is random, but it hit me yesterday. remember when faraday was at home crying when he watched footage of the “fake” 815 plane?

    i don’t remember his reason for crying ever being fully explained, but what if this was a hint of the multiple timeline concept that we’re seeing in season six? what if, in another timeline, faraday was on board flight 815 and died in the crash? he doesn’t know why he’s sad, but his tears seem to suggest that he feels something familiar inside. a deja vu, perhaps, an emotional bleed over similar to what we’ve seen when kate picked up that stuffed whale in “what kate does.”

    or was his reason for crying fully explained and i missed it?

  3. Kyle from Orlando says:

    I think I’ve picked up on the trend for how each of their lives have changed in reality 2. It seems to me that whatever the inciting incident that led each person to the island never happened.

    Hurley won the lottery, but the numbers were lucky (if the island doesn’t exist, did he use the numbers?), so he never went to Australia to find the numbers’ origin. Locke has a good relationship with his dad (Helen talks about inviting him to the wedding), so he never gets his kidney stolen (therefore he never got thrown out the window, how did he get paralyzed?). Desmond gets married, so he never went on the boat race around the world (so he never met Jack at the stadium, but Jack recognized him). Also, if I remember right, the people who were going to adopt Claire’s baby never existed, but were fabricated to get her to go on the plane, yet in reality 2 they exist, so that could also fit in with the trend.

  4. Pink Lemonade says:

    You know I am trying my best to get on the Lost bandwagon again after its long hiatus. However, I can’t! I was forcing myself to ooh and aah like I used to all past season, but ever since Hiroyuki Sanadas introduction in the first episode, I was… lost. I am hoping to find my passion for the show again. Now I feel like I am forcing myself on it. I will still watch it till the end though.

  5. Yann From France says:

    @Russell: I think that Faraday journal (with the Tempest and the 2nd protocol) is a big clue. How could he know of such things? We know he was testing a device that let you see the future but had side effects. If he used it on himself he knows he is going to rescue the “flight 815” and what happened next… and that he will die by doing so. But if he knows how he is going to die why would he go there? And there you have “course correcting”/side effect that wiped his memory. Yet when he saw that Flight 815 was lost he cried because in a part of his brain he knew he would be part of the “rescue mission”.
    Later on his mother will be holding the journal and thus think that the universe “self correct”, written in big letter is “Desmond is my constant” and so she will keep an eye on him and tell him he can’t marry because he will go to the Island pressing the button…

  6. Yann From France says:

    Crackpot time (I did my best earlier so now I try new ideas):
    I was thinking about the rules, the dharma (which means rules), the scale:
    What if the rules is “there must be an equilibrium”. You can’t suicide because the scale would be changed, you can’t kill one of you own because the scale would be changed… You can kill those who are not “white” or “black”.
    Maybe Sawyer is now the new protector (he was during dharma time) as he saw Kiddo and as Kiddo told Unlocke not to kill him. He even said to Sawyer “2 you can protect this Island”. To keep the balance he needs to be with Sawyer when he leaves the Island.

  7. Tedman Cheung says:

    When I saw the scene of the black and white rocks on the scale, I automatically thought about the Black Rock ship. Since there is a vehicle named the Black Rock, perhaps there’s a vehicle that represents the “white rock” Could that be the airplane that the Losties came to the island on?

    And when I saw the name of Kwon on the rock wall, it could also be Sun and Jin’s kid. Just a thought. Love the show.

    – Tedman Cheung
    Los Angeles

  8. Yann From France says:

    Crackpot2: Shepard? Like… Christian?
    Crackpot3: The scale is unbalanced! Someone needs to fix this… Who could be “fixing”?
    Crackpot4: It’s Harry Potter! (I stole the idea from Geronimo’s JB)
    Jacob: Dumbeldore Snape: Ben Voldemort: MIB (incorporal smoke until he finds a shape) Harry: Jack Hermione: Kate Ron: Hurley Cho: Sun Cedric: Jin McGonagal: Hawkin Hagrid: Richard Wesleys’brothers: Sawyer and Miles Neville: Boon Moody: Widmore…
    Those lists are fun to make!

  9. Symbolism and metaphor: The first symbolism that jumped out at me, Sawyer was listening to Iggy Pop, who was from Ann Arbor, while he was wasting away in Dharmaville.

    The next one was that I finally got to see Jacob’s ladder. Jacob’s Ladder is a ladder to heaven, described in the Book of Genesis (28:11–19), which the biblical patriarch Jacob envisions during his flight from his brother Esau. As part of the story, souls climb the ladder to heaven and fall to their doom. Good thing Sawyer was able to hang on.

    The last symbolism that jumped out to me was one of the names that was crossed off the wall was Mattingly. This is an obvious shout out to Damien Lindelof, who seems to be an avid Yankee’s fan. The Red Sox and Yankee rivalry seems to be carried out with the writers of Lost.

  10. Steven in Bathurst says:

    I must be one of the few to dislike (relatively speaking) this episode. The alternate storyline around Locke was mildly interesting but didn’t appear to serve the story like last week’s episode did with Kate and Clare (despite the poor plotting of their particular alternate storyline). People seem to be getting a kick out of the big reveal of names with numbers on a wall. For me, meh. We knew Jacob brings people to the island. So six of them have our magic numbers. But what does that mean? It wasn’t explained and we’re all still confused about who is good, who is bad, why everything’s happening. This might have been okay had the story itself been compelling and meaty but it wasn’t. Sawyer follows MiB down a ladder (for said ‘big’ reveal), Locke gets buried and John becomes a teacher. Some interesting moments (Lapidus’s hilarious funeral line (was that his only line all episode?) and Ben being a teacher) but this episode was not compelling to me. I’m surprised it was so thoroughly enjoyed by so many.

    I don’t think the kid will be Aaron. I can’t see why it would be apart from the fact that we all know him as a character on the show. This child seems perhaps another step removed from Jacob and MiB, perhaps the next and final opening up of the show to the ultimate higher power. Walt perhaps might have been an interesting choice. There’s something going on about children here that will tie in MiB’s vision and the taking of children on the island. I’m sure it will make sense once it’s explained (fingers crossed on that and every other one).

    Speaking of Walt, why does Locke, in alternate reality, ask a kid where the teacher’s lounge is? In other words, why was it written? It serves no point to the narrative and means that the writers had to pay someone to speak that line. With this in mind, at first glance I thought perhaps he had grabbed Walt (as played by a new, younger actor), but if that’s the case, they didn’t find an actor with a great likeness. The hair is all wrong. But the whole scene felt pointless and we know everything happens for a reason (particularly this late in the game). It seems odd.

  11. Jen in Scotland says:

    @Steven: I agree with you to some extent about the episode, but did enjoy slowing down a bit for some Locke moments that we have not had in a long time. I thought that the names on the wall was a huge reveal and has been a wonderful source of the debate and theorizing that makes this show so much fun.

    I think that the purpose of the scene where he asks where the teachers’ lounge is was simply to emphasize the reveal of Ben as a teacher and Locke’s newness as a substitute. I highly doubt that the kid will ever come in to play again.

    Overall this episode got me very excited about what’s to come!

  12. Olympiakos says:

    Some points as made in the MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE lost episodes.

    1. http://img697.imageshack.us/i/lighthousek.jpg/
    This is a pic from the garbage of a church in LA. The next episode and especially the LIGHTHOUSE station has to do with eloise hawking.

    2. http://img9.imageshack.us/i/questionsi.jpg/
    Just remember what the employee in the temp agent kept asking Locke. These are the questions for the interview of joining the Dharma Initiative.

  13. Kira says:

    The numbers can’t be over though because they’ve been around for much longer than our losties (way before), so maybe the numbers are assigned randomly (?)..The guy in the Pacific who got them orginally (as far as we know) was in the 1940’s, someone said, and no one, save Christian maybe, was alive then. Hmm..Or once they decide who to bring, they’re given numbers for a reason I hope we’ll find out..
    Hurley did say on the plane that he still won the lottery but we don’t know that he used THE numbers. Oohhhh….

  14. Carol from Boston says:

    @Yann I like your first crackpot theory, makes a lot of sense. I also agree with the Sawyer idea, there is a noble person inside of him and he would sacrifice himself for his friends. He is in a “dark” place emotionally right now but he’ll do the right thing in the end. Not sure if he is with MIB or not, he is smart enough to bluff for now to see what MIB’s end game is and then make a decision.

    @ Steven- I thought the same thing about the scene with Locke and the kid. There is a lot that goes into a small scene like that, so why have it?

    @Brat – I noticed Mattingly as well. Carlton is a huge Red Sox Fan, did you see Yaz on there? lol

    Re: the Egyptian Gods, if they were once human, that explains MIB saying he wasa man once.

    When we saw smokey’s POV Tuesday, it was cool seeing the smokey reflection in Sawyer’s window, and if you looked closely you could see it was a light grey smoke not dark black. Two smokeys?

  15. Oliver says:

    I know most of you are excited about this episode, but:
    I was bored. Maybe because I am more interested in character episodes than in revealing or mysteries episodes.
    For example there were only a few, very few lines that I kept in mind. In other episodes there were a lot of text-lines that were so great, but in this: almost nothing.

    But I have to watch this episode a second, third time this weekend, perhaps my point of view changes.

  16. Harold CBD says:

    Steven in Bathurs-
    The unique thing about the Locke alt stories is that in the original reality, he is dead. How are they going to connect MIBLocke to Locke, or will they go so far as to attempt no further explicit connection? So, I’m not yet so disturbed as you that the two narratives seem to have no connection.

    I like your idea that Locke stopping that black kid for directions is a reference to Walt. You’re absolutely right, they could just as well have had Locke roll right into the teacher’s lounge. They’d then have had more time for something else. They’ve always emphasized how precious every second of screen time is to them.

    I think this is the end of the mystery of the numbers. Now we can identify the mystery that lies beneath it, that Jacob has the power to manipulate events as readily as we manipulate tools to effect mechanical events, as readily as you might put a tea bag in water to produce tea.

  17. Mattfromnd says:

    @brat

    mattingly was the name of us one of the us soilders that came to the island in the 50’s. We see someone wearing a uniform with that name.

  18. expectdelay says:

    Anyone else notice something flying behind hurley when he was introducing himself to locke in the flash sideways?

  19. Yann From France says:

    @Kira: Hugo numbers come from the (Radio) Transmission… It was after the 70s because it was aired by Dharma. It was the number they needed to change because they meant the end of the world… until Rousseau changed them with her distress call.
    One other comment that is wrong and comes many time in this podcast: season2 list was made by Ben to manipulate Jack into opperating him. We don’t know about Jacob until season3 and the very first thing we learn is that “how come Ben let Shepard opperates him… they were not on Jacob’s list!” (because he saved the real list postdeath to Hugo to give to Dagen, you know tapissery and how long it takes to finish it but that’s all it is about)
    Crackpot theory no6 (and it is not a number! it is a theory!): “Bossy” Ben must be a pain to all his collegue and now comes a “substitute” that will be much liked… Something tells me they are going to offer Ben’s job to him and Ben will bring him to the Dharma pit before shooing him (wonder if they are going to ask him to bring his father body before accepting him, job interviews are really weird in this show!)

  20. Lorne says:

    I was listening to the What Kate does podcast and there was a discussion about fate bringing people together, which clicked the idea of constants. Is it possible that Kate and Claire are constants, as are Locke and Jack? Is that why fate brings them together?

  21. Bill says:

    @russell from california – I like your logic.

    I believe the cave with the last names belongs to MiB and not Jacob. Jacob’s living quarters at the foot of the statue was neat, warm, well-lit, and adorned with his woven art. The cave was dark, chilly, etc. The names also gives me reason to believe Ben works for MiB (and he doesn’t even know it). In early Ben episodes, he always referred to characters by their LAST names. Examples: Austen, Shepard, Ford, Jarrah, etc.

    Not sure why Faraday was crying while watching images of the sunken Flight 815. Sunken aircraft — sunken (X flash sideways) island?

  22. Rich in Cleveland says:

    @Yann
    Dharma can best be translated as “duty.” The Bhagavad Gita says: “Perform every action as if you were worshipping God.” This applies equally whether you are a work man or a king. In other words, be happy in your work and satisfied with your lot in life. The spin AJ would put on this is that those who serve like this are actually prisoners of a cosmic caste system, slaves without any free will. What did Satan say in Paradise Lost–“Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”

    @Steven in Bath
    The off-island story line was all about character development reminiscent of season 1 and I thought it was the most effective yet at illustrating the deviation in the alternate timeline (Locke has given up his dreams OR Locke becomes an adult and begins to cope if you want to look at the other side of the coin.) I don’t think we’ve realized the full depth of the numbers yet. I’ll be mad if the arbitrary assignment to candidates’ names is all we get. Finally, the teacher’s lounge scene was meant to suggest Walt, but not be him. We’ve seen the repetition of many different character types (the Portugese guy in the arctic looked like Jack, the cameraman for the arrow orientation looked like Sawyer, Juliet was chosen because she looked like Sarah, etc) I can only guess at what this means. That there are imitations on the loose, but only one genuine article? That this is a near miss version of the one right way that things are supposed to happen?

    @Carol
    I’m not sure if it’s happened yet with just a declaration of support, but once Sawyer accepts Esau’s offering, there will be no turning back. Everyone loves Sawyer, but be prepared to have your hearts broken. Darlton are just that diabolical.

    STL-Serving the Light.

  23. Russell from California says:

    thoughts about the title.

    we know the LOST writers like to play with words. so i woke up thinking about the title of the latest episode: The Substitute.

    indeed, it speaks to off-island Locke’s new job at the school, but i think it also reflects the larger idea. think about it. a substitute teacher is someone who “fills in” when a teacher is missing. they take over the teaching responsibilities and maintain the order in the classroom. if a teacher is absent and there is no substitute, the students, in theory, would have no structure, no direction and be, dare i say, lost. this idea relates to the grander story on the island and this concept of a candidate, a substitute who must take over in jacob’s absence.

    literally, the “lost children” motif goes all the way back to season one. but i think this show is illustrating that all the losties (and mankind as a whole) are children in a sense, a group that needs guidance, a people who play games and have a hard time staying “inside the lines,” as locke said to hurley. with MIB convinced that the island doesn’t need protecting, the fact that he was haunted by a vision of a young boy, whoever it may be, underscores this theory that children need attention. especially the ones who are “special” such as walt and aaron.

  24. Russell from California says:

    @yann good points about faraday’s journal. i don’t know if the writers will have time to address that, so i’m preparing myself to accept that explanation.

    @bill yes, ben was definitely working for MIB, but he thought it was jacob. remember, he was going to the shack to get his orders, but jacob hadn’t been in the shack for a long time. interesting thoughts on the cave (Plato’s cave?) being MIB’s abode. i like the notion by @Sobaika and other posters who pointed out the connection to jacob’s ladder. as for the names, i still think of it like a game. jacob selected his pieces, and in his efforts to win, MIB would then try to “capture” those pieces. whenever he captured (killed) a piece, he crossed out the name.

    @rich in cleveland i agree with you that the boy locke grabbed was meant to represent — or more appropriately, be a “substitute” for — walt.

  25. Lindsay says:

    Awesome episode!!

    I’ve only read through about half the comments so far, so forgive me if any of my random thoughts to follow have been mentioned – as surely they have…

    My theory (and I don’t think it’s toooo crackpot, for once) is that Flocke, in his previous life as a human, was captain of the Black Rock. Richard was a slave as has been discussed based on the chain thing from the premiere.

    And it was cool to see the numbers again.

    Maybe I’m just getting sucked in to the dark side (mwahahaha) but I’m still not convinced that Flocke is evil. He could be an incredible liar and manipulator, and as dangerous as Alpert believes him to be, but on the other hand he seemed so vulnerable in this episode.

    Then again, I think Alpert must know a lot about Flocke’s beginnings, so maybe we can trust his take on things. Ugh, I don’t know. That’s LOST for ya πŸ™‚

    At any rate, that was some incredible acting by Nestor Carbonell (Alpert) – I thought he was fabulous in this episode.

    Someone mentioned Jacob’s ladder – brilliant!

    The boy in the jungle scene was weird – at first he was running for his life away from Flocke, then just stopped. I’m assuming there was an ash line that we didn’t see (at least I didn’t see it) but what else could have separated them like that? I like the idea that the kid is young Jacob. He seemed to have some kind of power/authority.

    @Bill and Russell – was Ben unknowingly working for MIB? I always thought he took Locke to the cabin because he knew Jacob wasn’t there but that something freaky would happen. Or did Ben not know about the statue foot lair? Interesting.

    Can’t wait for your podcast Ryan and Jen!

  26. Jen from NJ says:

    First of all, what a great episode!

    One thing I noticed that got me thinking – after the boy had told MIB that he couldnt kill “him”… whoever that is… MIB yelled out Lockes famous “dont tell me what I cant do!”. Now, this is classic Locke, it doesnt sound like MIB. Do you think that Locke is still in there somewhere? Up to now, MIB has said that he has just taken Johns body, and everything he has done has been very un-Locke like… until that line.

    It just got me thinking that maybe John isnt completely gone. Maybe he is in there somewhere fighting against this dark power and trying to get out. Maybe this is part of the good/evil thing going on, maybe John can take over from inside and kick MIB out of him?

    Sounds crazy, but just thought.

  27. Jen in Scotland says:

    @Jen

    That may certainly be plausible-nice thought!. Or it could be that it has always been Flocke’s catchphrase and Locke’s just been Flocke for longer than we ever thought. I doubt it goes back that far though. The writers did really seem to want to stress it though, with him repeating it a separate time. Interesting…

  28. Alex in MD says:

    I would not be surprised if this ended up wrong…but I think the point of the scene where Locke asked Sawyer who he was speaking with and Sawyer lied and said it was no one indicates that Sawyer does not trust Locke (and hasn’t “sided with him”). He even said it even more straightforward at the cliff edge, when he said he wouldn’t go down first.

    And even if he intends to leave his friends stranded on the island, that is still not as bad as having them killed. Man-in-Locke hasn’t actually asked Sawyer to kill anyone nor has he indicated that anyone would be killed if Sawyer helped him.

    A running theme of the show is the long-con and now two longest con-men of the show are together playing off each other. The other con men was Ben and Man-In-Locke already conned Ben. I doubt Sawyer will be so easy to con.

  29. Russell from California says:

    one another thing.

    since i’m from the school that believes no scene in a LOST episode is irrelevant, i started thinking about the brief moment where off-island locke is seen coaching the young girls basketball squad. as a basketball player myself, i am all-too familiar with the exhausting drills they were doing, where you run back and forth from baseline to baseline: they’re called suicides.

    coincidence? i think not.

  30. Candice says:

    First time poster, here…

    I know it’s tempting to think that the concept of Darkness and Light here is just a ruse (i.e., MIB is the good one/Jacob is the bad one)- but in this case, in light of all evidence yet presented, I believe it is to be taken at face value.

    Everything we know about about Smoky/MIB/Un-Locke clearly paints an, uh, individual (for lack of a better term, since we don’t know exactly what he is) who not only cloaks himself in darkness (dark clothes, dark smoke) but who also has a dark heart. Consider how brutal he is when he’s in smoke monster form – not just doing what he needs to do to kill whomever is being killed, but seeming to go out of his way to make it as horrific as possible. Also remember how mocking he was of (the real) John Locke’s last thoughts. These are not the thoughts and actions of “good”. In my observation, it is the MIB who is deceptive and manipulative and a pretender – though he credits Jacob with those traits. What he says – to anyone, at any time – must be taken with a huge grain of salt. He isn’t to be trusted.

    Jacob, on the other hand, again, based on the evidence we’ve been given so far, is an entity who is at least (at this point) neutral, and at best, good.

    Just my $.02. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out in the end.

  31. Emma in Oxford says:

    Hey guys, I’ve been listening to the podcast for a while but this is my first time writing in.
    I’m not really a fan of the ATL, but I like how the characters keep turning up in each others lives. Ben turning up as a teacher at the end there? So cool! Overall, I think it just demonstrates how much each person has grown BECAUSE of the plane crash. Even though they might have better lives in the ATL they seem like so much stronger people on the island.

    What I loved about this episode was when Flocke threw the white stone in the ocean. It illustrated how the island is no longer in balance- that darkness now has control. And I’m betting on that NOT being a good thing πŸ˜›

  32. Ian M. says:

    I think the fact that the others (Ethan & Ben) are showing up is to show how even if the plane had not crashed Jacob wanted these people here so bad he sent out the others to gather them & bring them to save the sunken island.

  33. Luis from Guatemala says:

    Hi Ryan and Jen..
    Remember Hurley’s lottery numbers? 4 8 15 16 23 42..
    if you take a look at Jacob’s candidates numbers, you’ll get this:
    4 – Locke
    8 – Reyes
    15 – Ford
    16 – Jarrah
    23 – Shephard
    42 – Kwon
    I don’t think this is a coincidence… I hope it’ll be explained…

    And another thing I noticed… I think they changed the “flashbacks sound”.. I don’t know if is just me, but I’m hearing it different.. maybe it has something to do with changing realities between the island and off the island. And the sound in previous seasons was different because the flashbacks were transitions in time…. I hope you guys talk about this in the podcast.

  34. Bill says:

    @Lindsay – I remember the look on Richard A’s face when Ben announced he was taking Locke to see Jacob. Remember that? Richard said, “hey, that ain’t how it’s done — Jacob summons YOU.” Richard may have suspected something then. And that may not have been Richard who talked to Ben as a kid. It was beyond the security fence and Richard was dressed wearing that shirt out of another era.

    All this time, I believe Ben “thought” he was doing Jacob’s work, but it was really the MiB’s. The way Ben always referred to character’s by their last names (just like on the cave ceiling) makes me think the lists and instructions came from MiB disguised as Jacob. The cave dwelling belongs to MiB — it is NOT characteristic of Jacob’s tastes.

  35. erickupers says:

    I noticed in re-watching the episode last night that the sounds of Locke’s wheelchair lift getting stuck in the flash sideways, sound very similar to smoke monster’s mechanical sounds. And they happened right after one another in this episode.

    Looking back on all the seasons now, it seems that Locke and the smoke monster have always had a complex web of connections to each other, different than all the other characters’ relationships with Smokey.

  36. Mirepoix in Mtl says:

    Great episode But more questions…

    Regarding the young boy
    Why couldnt Smocke change into smokey for chasing him ?
    Can we rule out a young Charly Hume ?

    Concerning the box company Locke worked for,
    anyone remember Locke discussing this with Hugo on Island ?

    I reviewed a few segments on HD super slowmo
    I dont believe that the poster behind the interviewer has Kate and Desmond on it. They look alike, but I doubt its them
    Ryan ? can you confirm
    I am pretty sure to have seen Kwon written in two places
    I think I saw Radzinsky crossed on there (but could not see a number)

    It struck me that the people outside the foot could have waited for Ilana and Ben to come back before heading to the temple (if they are so important)
    Speaking of Ilana Could it be that she was having a face (identity) change in Russia ? Who was she previously?

    It seems everyones life in LA in 2004 is much different from what it has been
    Has Ben been on the Island ?
    If Cooper is not a con man, could it be that Sawyers parents are ok and that he never became a con man himself ? Then his advice to Hurley on the plane was genuine.

    Somehow most of these people are crossing each others path
    some in more meaningful ways than others
    Could it be that we will realize that even if their lives are different they will wind up together (on island ?)

  37. Gwen's Dad says:

    First-time poster, but I’ve been reading the blog and listening to the podcast for a while now.

    A scene that I’ve kept thinking about since watching the episode is when Sawyer offers Man In Locke a drink. Man In Locke doesn’t drink it of course but he is obviously curious about the alcohol. He even goes so far as to taste the little bit off his finger when the shot glass spills.

    Now, whatever Man In Locke is, I’m guessing he doesn’t need food or drink to survive but we have seen him eat a mango on the beach….so that would suggest he can’t partake in alcoholic beverages or maybe he just didn’t want to drink out of fear of clouding his decision making during this recruiting visit…..or maybe it just wasn’t his brand.

    Anyway, I just thought the level of curiosity he had about the drink was interesting. Also, does Sawyer having a few shots of whiskey in him maybe contribute to him being able to see the kid a few scenes later.

    My crackpot theory of the week is: Adam and Eve equal Jacob and Man In Locke.
    They’ve been so deliberate in hiding Man In Locke’s name, and plenty of people have suggested that this deity or whatever it is can or has taken Claire’s form. What if the Man In Locke we saw in the series five finale was just another claimed body. Obviously, the writers want the name kept a secret for as long as possible, just what if, we not only end up being shocked by the name as well as the gender.

    I know in scenes from last week with Sawyer, Man In Locke says “I was a man, once.”but Jacob and Man In Locke don’t seem to be the type of people to differentiate much between male and female….they seem to see things in terms like good vs evil, mankind vs a higher power, etc. It simply could of meant he was part of mankind once and not necessarily male.

    Plus, if Jacob and Man In Locke equal Adam and Eve, the fact those two skeletons were found with stones makes a little more sense.

    This crackpot theory also plays along with my theory that the show is going to continue to portray our Losties being forced to choose sides. But in the end, they will all choose neither Jacob or Man In Locke. The group is just stubborn enough to realize that neither is as good or bad as they think they are, and each of the their idea’s about free will isn’t exactly free will.

    Of course, everything I’ve just said could be proven 100 percent wrong before the first commercial break of the next episode.

    But that’s the beauty of this show. The discussion and debate that this show generates is amazing. I will miss that aspect just as much as the hour spent watching the show, when it’s all over in May.

    Keep up the great work, Ryan and Jen and all of you great people who post such interesting, thought-provoking comments on this show week after week

  38. Paul from Texas says:

    Ryan and Jen – thanks for the terrific podcast and website. I’m a first time poster, and have been saving up until reasonably confident of my theories, so here goes:

    1) The greater context – I believe that Damon Lindlehoff and J.J. Abrams (Carleton Cuse joined after seaon 1 had already started) have set out to create their own mythological story. It has been their intention all along to create a unique story which has, as Tolkien described, “applicability”. Rather than being purely allegorical in structure, the story contains more broad, sweeping themes which can be found in a variety of culture, literature, religion and philosophy. Because of this intent, and the skill with which they have crafted their story, many people can “read into” (apply to) the story other themes with which they are familiar. This makes the story resonate with such a broad band of our culture.

    2) The grand theme – the story at it’s heart is a morality tale. Thus all the imagery of black/white, good/bad.

    3) Some specifics – the most important episode to date (up through episode 4 of season 6) has been the season 5 finale, “The Incident”. The conversation between Jacob and the Man in Black (Anti-Jacob/AJ) revealed immense amounts of information. It was after this episode that I became convinced that AJ was also the Smoke Monster, and was evil. Significant information – “You have no idea what I’ve gone through” – speaking to Jacob, in reference to finding a loophole to the rules which state that AJ could not kill Jacob.

    However, I believe Jacob is not only good, but also more powerful and wiser than AJ. He has the ability to leave the island when necessary. He has realized for a long time that he needed to bring certain people to the island to help him defeat AJ. Thus his encounters with a young Kate and a young Sawyer. These encounters correspond roughly in time with AJ’s first interaction with a young Ben Linus (appearing to him as his mother).

    AJ is a consumate liar and manipulator. I do not trust anything he says. The cave may or may not be Jacob’s. The identification of the 6 passengers may or may not be Jacob’s writing. AJ is attempting to convince someone else to help him so he can leave the island – my theory is that he cannot leave unless he is willingly accompanied/led by someone else.

    4) Ben Linus – he is the most tragic character in the story. For decades he has been manipulated by AJ (again, reference the “You have no idea what I’ve gone through” line). AJ found a young, impressionable boy and convinced him that he (AJ) was actually Jacob, or working for Jacob. I suspect that the cabin had been used to hold AJ, and Ben was manipulated by AJ’s manifestation as Ben’s mother to break the ash circle and set AJ free from his smal imprisonment.

    Ben will die an heroic death, significantly involved in the defeat of AJ (however that is portrayed – death, recapture). Even now we see that he is on the path of repentance, and he is already scheming to turn the tables on AJ. He will use his manipulative skills, which he has learned from AJ, to lead AJ to his own defeat. And we will be emotionally moved at Ben’s death. Think in terms of Darth Vader or Boromir from the Fellowship of the Ring (deceived, but finally repentant and redeemed to some degree by their final acts of valor).

    5) Jacob’s loophole – Kate haters are going to hate this, but I believe there is great significance in the fact that the name “Austen” was NOT written on the cave walls. Jacob has personally touched Kate – she will be his loophole against AJ, a character of which AJ has taken no notice.

    6) Aaron – AJ fears this boy. He tricked Claire into leaving him behind in the jungle. I believe it was he who conjured up Kate’s dream of Claire when she emphatically told Kate “Don’t you dare bring him back!” Is the young boy we saw on the island Aaron? I don’t know. But I do believe Aaron will come back to the island, and play an important role in the defeat of AJ.

    7) Richard Alpert – I don’t know what to make of him. He seems to be easily fooled, by both Ben and AJ (as Locke). Ben has been manipulating him for years, at AJ’s command.

    8) Story particulars – the numbers, who’s Sayid, was there a sickness, alternate timelines, etc. These are all fascinating story telling devices, and extremely clever. Kudos to the creative writing team led by Lindlehoff and Cuse. But these really aren’t as vastly important to the story as we believe; they’re just an interesting means of developing the morality tale.

    I’d have much more to say, but I really do have a life. Nevertheless, this is one of the most intelligently written TV series in history. Lindlehoff and Cuse have the type of notoriety that very few TV writers have ever achieved (Rod Serling is the only one who comes to mind in comparison).

  39. soko says:

    Why were the people in the temp agency working in the dark?

  40. John Fischer says:

    It just occurred to me. Why was Richard Alpert shown as one of the numbers?

  41. John Fischer says:

    I meant, why was Richard Alpert NOT shown as one of the numbers?

  42. HeyKir in NYC: Keepin' the Faith says:

    I’m sad to read that some folks don’t seem to be enjoying these last episodes as much as the rest of us are. But it really amuses me that these same folks have stated that they have rewatched the eps 2 or 3 times and have even taken the time out of their days to post on this blog! How many shows can boast that? πŸ™‚ I mean, I love 30 Rock, but I’ve never posted to their blog or rewatched. lol

  43. Coolpeace says:

    Wow, you guys were active – I’ll have to find the time to read all these comments. For now I just want to throw out some random thoughts :

    I have no doubt that Smock (MIB) is playing Sawyer. And I am also certain that Sawyer will not be an easy mark. After all you can’t con a con man.

    Also, as I mentioned above I am almost sure that the cave in which we saw the numbers and names was MIB’s. He couldn’t help himself from crossing out Locke’s name, since he will not be able to help him ‘go home’.

    Where or what is ‘home’ for MIB? The temple … maybe, maybe there is something yet to be revealed. He obviously needs the help of others. Ilana seems to know, she says he is recruiting. Does he need more than one? He couldn’t convince Alpert, so he went after Sawyer.

    Why did MIB seem taken aback when he saw the young boy? Did he not expect to be confronted by him? Is the boy the rulemaker? The score keeper? Is he above MIB and Jacob in the hierachy of the Island? Who did the boy mean when he told MIB that he could not kill him? Alpert, Sawyer or was he referring the Jacob?

    Also, if as we saw in conversation between Widmore and Ben in the hotel room… they also have rules – are they the same rules, are they in the same game?

    MIB saying to Sawyer that the Island is just an island that does not need protection – I think is part of his con. Clearly, something happens to the Island in the flash sideways, it is under water.

    Well, that it for now.

  44. John Harvey says:

    Faraday’s mother insists that Jack take back his father’s shoes on Locke so that he serves as a proxy. What role does she play then in all of this. What side is she on?…must be that of bad Locke then.

  45. Knives Monroe (MIB RECRUIT) says:

    Regarding the Surplus of Comment: >> HFC

    But really, I will come back and read all these comments.
    But this MUST be mentioned.
    One of the names in the cave is:

    “TROUPE”
    Plain to see.
    Name ring any bells?
    Gary Troupe? (‘Purgatory’ anagram)
    Gary Troupe was the poor bloke that unfortunately got sucked into the engine in the Pilot.
    Gary Troupe wrote a Screenplay (or a novel) that Sawyer and Hugo read (and almost finished on the island).
    The story was called The Bad Twin (easau anyone?)
    http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Bad_twin
    Well due to the list of names and numbers on the cave..Troupe was a candidate.
    Read that link i posted.
    If that doesn’t tell you that the writers have had this planned all along,nothing will.
    The book Troupe wrote mentions Widmore family, Paik, Jacob and Easau, The Hanso Foundation, Cindy Chandler (stewardess/other), the numbers, dozens of Lost’s literary references… SERIOUSLY!!!
    this novel/story/screenplay is the key of LOST
    I wouldnt say it if I didnt 100% believe this.
    In the story, you find out that the ‘bad twin’ wasn’t really bad at all…
    Anyone just think of a concise theory.
    Chew on this..

    **I apologize if this was mentioned above, and if it wasn’t…”I CALLED IT”…**

    -Knives from Texas!!

  46. soko says:

    I will believe that the writers have had this planned all along when I see young Walt in un aired scenes filmed in 2004, with a storyline in the (W)alternative universe. They would have had to shoot his LA X scenes in 2004 to avoid any aging problems. I’ve been looking forward to this for a few years even when they said that there would be no time travel.

  47. Yann From France says:

    @soko: that would be the best kept secret ever in a world of spoilers… seems quite unlikely!
    Just a thought I would like to add:
    I am sure you all think you saw something that was not written before and want to post the fastest possible to “claim” it (for what reason I don’t know). I can only encourage you to read all the post before posting one for two reasons: 1-it will prevent you from posting something already posted (and so the others won’t have to read 250posts before posting (which they won’t and lead to more and more posts)) 2-and the most important one: it might actually help you in building up your theories, clues etc… and by the time you read all the posts yours will be ten time more interesting building up with everyone else posts.
    Namaste

  48. arbitrary says:

    Ben conned Sawyer pretty good back in Season 3, the last time Of Mice and Men played a big role in some scenes. But – he also made a comment about conning a conman, so maybe this predicted how Sawyer will now play MiB.

  49. Yann From France says:

    @Rich: I thought I answered you but I didn’t. I was speaking buddhism when you are speaking hinduism… probably because as a man of science I like buddhism philosophy (no god) better than hinduism! :p
    Dharma means teaching/law/rules a mix of all that in both nether less.
    @everyone: sorry about last post I was harsh (please, thank you should have been added to this post) but I post it for the good of this blog (at least that was my purpose)
    Another thought (I should not post that much! I am a bad person): some of you likes to think that Locke saw a different “light monster” (the eye of the Island) (I still think it was MIB that conned him but who knows) and now we are introduced to this blond boy that scares MIB. Coincidence?

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