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Marc Oromaner’s Lost In Myth: Is The Last Recruit a Sucker?

By Marc Oromaner,

  Filed under: Lost In Myth
  Comments: 63

In Lost’s “The Last Recruit,” the Man In Black refers to John Locke as a “sucker” for believing in fate. As he points out, Locke pursued this belief until it got him killed so perhaps MIB has a point. Despite his compelling argument, Jack takes a leap of faith towards the exact same conclusion as his former nemesis. So does this make Jack—the last recruit himself—a sucker too? My short answer is yes, but, what if this isn’t necessarily a bad thing?

Fox Mulder, John Locke, and now Jack Shephard are characters that all just wanted to believe—believe in an intelligent life from a world beyond our own that is guiding our world or, perhaps even controlling it. The first question is why anyone would even want to believe this? Who wants to believe that free will is an illusion and that the course our lives have taken is beyond our control? Well, losers for one. For losers this is welcomed news because it means that their miserable lives were not their fault but in the hands of powerful beings pulling invisible strings.

In most stories, it is the loser who believes that he is meant for greater things. Greater than working in a box factory or living alone in a small cluttered apartment, or having to clean up a couple of droids on his uncle’s moisture farm.  These are the characters that long for better things. It’s not usually the popular jock or beautiful prom queen or rich and successful businessperson. They have no time or need for such frivolous beliefs. But what if that’s exactly the point? What if the losers were given these challenging lives so that they would be inspired to believe in something more, and then strive to get there? It is not the rich, fulfilled, and happy person who strives to make changes in his life and the world; it is the poor, miserable, and unfulfilled one. It’s that kind of person who will risk everything to make a difference because quite honestly, he doesn’t have much to lose.

Selling the destiny concept to those who have suffered doesn’t really take much. And as fans of a show that has focused on fate and destiny, many of us can relate to this archetype. Perhaps we too want to believe and that’s why we like the show. For this reason, maybe there is a little sucker in all of us. Or even a big one. But, is there anything wrong with that? Does only a fool believe?

So far, Lost seems to be giving us mixed messages. On the one hand, it has shown us countless times that fate does indeed exist. In “The Last Recruit” alone, weird connections and serendipitous events showed up continually throughout the episode. In the flash-sideways, even James picks up on it. “Don’t you think it’s weird?” he asks Kate. “Of all the cars in Los Angeles you smash into mine,” he says, parodying the classic line from Casablanca.  “Looks like someone’s trying to put us together.”

Flash-sideways Ilana also notes that having Claire walk into her office was “quite the coincidence” considering that she’d been looking for her as a recipient in Christian Shephard’s will. “Do you believe in fate?” Ilana later asks Jack as she is about to introduce him to the half-sister he never knew he had. If this version of Jack doesn’t believe in fate, he might change his tune after learning that he and Claire were also on the same flight from Australia, which wasn’t even noted by any of the characters. Also not noted were the chances of the adoption agency Claire was heading to being on the same floor as Jack’s attorney who was also Desmond’s friend and for their appointments to all coincide.

As the catalyst for all this, Desmond is at the center of more “coincidences” than anyone. But since he seems to be taking on the role of Jacob, we’ll just assume that he’s purposely setting up these arrangements because he has otherworldly (otherdimensional?) knowledge of the connections that need to be made. Is this how it actually works in our world? Are certain strangers that we meet really angels or course-correctors or time-travelers in disguise, guiding us to outcomes that are meant to happen…or that they want to happen? Or are the parallels not quite so direct? Maybe the guides are invisible or just worked into the code that runs the program of our world. Whatever the details, it does seem as though Lost’s message is that fate is real and that we are all here for a reason. That much is clear…except when it isn’t.

Getting back to the other hand, Lost has also given us plenty of reasons to doubt the validity of fate.  The biggest believer of fate on the show has been John Locke, and he’s dead in one timeline and a paraplegic substitute teacher who was just hit by a car in another. Then there’s original timeline Desmond who, seeing clearly to his destiny trusted the Man In Black and that trust caused him to be thrown down a well. Finally, there’s original timeline Jack who has taken over for where Locke left off in believing that the Losties were brought to the island for a reason. This belief led to him taking a leap of faith off of the Elizabeth and back towards the island, into the clutches of the Man In Black. It would appear then that all three of these characters are in fact suckers as Man In Black has claimed.

But hold on a minute! Isn’t the Man In Black, aka the Smoke Monster the entity that had been manipulating the Losties from the start? He admits to appearing as Jack’s dad so he could lead Jack to water. Isn’t that fate? Isn’t he the one that believes that man needs to be manipulated into making proper choices as opposed to Jacob who seems to be about allowing mortals to make their own choices? Wasn’t it after Locke looked into “the eye of the island” (the smoke monster?) that he began to solidify his belief (first born when he regained the use of his legs) that they had crashed on the island for a reason? And wasn’t it solidified even further when he met up with the smoke monster impersonating Jack’s dead father? So how can MIB blame Locke for being a believer when he himself was responsible for helping to create those beliefs?

A clue can be found in what Man In Black actually says. After Jack says, “John Locke was the only one of us that ever believed in this place. He did everything he could to keep us from leaving the island.” MIB replies, “John Locke was not a believer Jack, he was a sucker!” Looking back, we can see that in many ways, this is actually true. Locke’s actions were usually reactions to what was going on around him. When he regained the use of his legs and looked into the eye of the island, he believed. When he lost the use of his legs and Boone died, he didn’t. When he found out about the importance of pushing the button, he believed again, until Ben told him it was all a joke and then he didn’t. When he found out it wasn’t a joke, he believed again but then was manipulated by Ben further into destroying the sub.

So did Locke ever really believe? Or was he just easily manipulated into doing the bidding of others? Because of Locke’s crappy life, he desperately wanted to believe in his higher purpose. But even this mindset may have been instigated by Jacob who seems to have made Locke’s life crappy specifically so that he would have this belief. When Jacob apologizes to Locke for being pushed out of a building, wouldn’t it just have been easier for him to have prevented it in the first place? Or is letting Locke fall just like Desmond hitting Locke with his car and just like the really shitty stuff that’s happened in your life? It’s all designed to nudge you on your path—or shove you—depending on how traumatic the incident is.

In short, it seems that Locke was in fact a sucker for fate. But ironically, it seems to be fate that made him that way. Believing in something that’s true doesn’t make you any less of a sucker, especially when you arrive at your beliefs through manipulation. Being a sucker come from being gullible. And being gullible comes from being trusting. And being trusting comes from having a pure heart. Because when you have a pure heart, you look at the world through your own perspective and see the rest of the world as being pure too. Who else is a sucker? Well, children for one. Kids will believe anything and the reason is because they are pure of heart—not yet corrupted by the evils of our world. For the hero, this perspective is almost a requirement. Why? As Queen sings in the Flash Gordon theme, “no one but the pure at heart may find the Golden Grail.” It takes a pure heart to inspire the rest of the world. But can one be pure of heart without being a sucker?

Mythologically speaking, suckers are in good company. In nearly every Disney movie—from Pinocchio to The Lion King—the hero starts out as a sucker. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke is a sucker, and pays the price during his battle with Vader. In some ways, even Jesus can be seen as a sucker (even though he knew he’d be betrayed) for so believing in the goodness of mankind. But after paying the price for their trusting natures, all of these heroes eventually return stronger, wiser, and ready to defeat the enemy that fooled them. At some point, we almost have to be suckers. For if we begin our journey already wise to the challenges we will face, where’s the growth? Or if we aren’t necessarily wise to it, but just skeptical of the motivations of others, then we are not pure of heart. To be pure of heart, we must be trusting. And those who trust can easily be fooled.

Thankfully, our culture gives us many clues about it being totally acceptable to make that first mistake—that it makes us wiser. The Who tell us they “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Proverbs include, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” We are expected to make mistakes and learn from them. But we must learn, and that was perhaps Locke’s downfall.

Locke believed in the island but he didn’t believe in himself. He never transformed. He always did and believed as he was told, whether by others, The Others, or the island. There is a difference between listening to the clues and completely relying on them as a crutch. This could be what the Man In Locke meant when he said that Locke was not a believer. To be a true believer, you must have enough confidence in yourself to listen to the clues without becoming dependant on them. Far too many heroes in both real life and stories become overwhelmed by their own intuition and face the consequences. In A Beautiful Mind, John Nash has a gift for picking up the clues in the universe and using them to help develop his own equations. But when he begins to become too reliant on these messages, he begins to lose his mind.

In most myths, the hero starts out naïve, becomes wiser through challenges, and lives to overcome them. While this hasn’t happened for John Locke, I’m still hopeful that his full story is not yet complete and that he will be redeemed in the end. In mythology, those who believe are rarely terminally punished—even if they are naïve. I don’t think this will be the case for Desmond, Jack, or even Locke. All of them have believed in fate and Lost seems to be telling us that their beliefs will pay off. Of the three of them though, only Jack transformed his cynical nature to become a believer. Locke and Desmond were believers from the get go, and both were fooled. Jack however, needed to shed his skepticism and become a man of faith. In this way, he may be the best candidate to replace Jacob, because his faith was not innate, but learned. Becoming a man of faith went against Jack’s nature, and as I’ve written in prior columns including last week’s, “Everybody Loves Answers,” going against our usual habits is one of the biggest challenges we can achieve in order to grow.

So why does the Man In Black hate Locke so much? After all, it’s Lock who enabled him to have his loophole. MIB believes that man is inherently selfish and cannot be changed. However, if despite having every reason to bitter, Locke was willing to die (as Smokey Christian Shephard told him to do) in order to save others, this proves MIB wrong. And no one likes to be wrong, so MIB rationalizes Locke’s behavior simply by saying that he was a fool. A fool who believed in fate—even though Locke seems to have been right.

Fate is real on Lost and no one is immune to it—even the Man In Black. When Zoe paid him a visit to warn him that he’d have until nightfall to return what he took, her deadline was no accident. It was a karmic return for MIB’s threat to kill the Temple dwellers who didn’t join his side by sundown. While he seems immortal, Man In Black is not infallible. He is constantly reacting in anger to the boy who keeps appearing to him. His misjudgment of mankind blinds him to their capacity for love and selfishness. And his decisions are sometimes, well, short-sided.

For example, what would have been the benefit of killing Desmond? Doesn’t everyone who dies on the island without being buried come back to life anyway? If MIB decides who does and does not get zombized, why didn’t he just get Sayid to kill Desmond to begin with? Why? Because in some ways, MIB himself is a sucker, only in his case, he is fooled by his own ego. An ego that makes himself out to be infallible. But even if MIB is only fooling himself, he is still being fooled. So, perhaps he too has a bit of innocence still in him, and with that, his potential to be pure of heart. And like Hugo said to James, “you can always bring people back from the Dark Side.” This includes Sayid, Claire, and yes, even the Man In Black.

Speaking of James, I just need to sidetrack momentarily to bring up one scene from his flash-sideways. During the police station scene where he walks up to Kate, he offers her an apple. Since the apple often represents the forbidden fruit, I couldn’t help wondering if this made James the symbolic snake. A snake that, as I mentioned in “’Sundown’—Temptation of the Dark Side,” shares the same archetype as the Man In Black. And if Kate is being offered the apple, would this make her the metaphorical Eve? While I could definitely see James replacing MIB on the island and Kate winding up to be the Eve skeleton from the caves, I’ll stops short of saying that this was the intention of the scene. Perhaps it is just foreshadowing that Kate will be tempted in another way, and will resist that temptation.

Getting back to the theme of the episode, what’s the message for us? Are we suckers for believing in fate or a show that has left us longing for answers for six years? In a way, yeah, we are. Just as some people are suckers for romance or spirituality or a good story, in Lost, we have sort of been taken in by all of these. And in life, many of us are suckers for believing that we are here for a reason, even though most of us will never discover what that reason is. But what if the reason isn’t to fulfill our destiny but just to make the choice that we have one and live life accordingly? What if having the belief is even more important than seeing it through? After all, believing in something that cannot be proven takes a certain amount of guts as well as gullibility—of childlike innocence.

I think this sense of wonder is what really makes us human, and fallible, and capable of falling and getting back up again, stronger than before. Being cynical and pessimistic is easy because the world makes it so easy. Believing in myths takes guts and means you’ll be criticized, laughed at, and often disappointed. “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were,” John F. Kennedy had said. And while many might consider him a sucker who paid the ultimate price, his dreams fueled other people’s and resulted in us landing on the moon. Like John F. Kennedy, perhaps in death, John Locke will be able to achieve more than he could when he was alive. He inspired just one person—Jack, but it could make all the difference. In that way, John Locke might just be redeemed, and in doing so, will be redeeming all of us suckers who simply want to believe.

Marc Oromaner
is a New York City writer whose book, The Myth of Lost offers a simple solution to Lost and uncovers its hidden insight into the mysteries of life. He can be contacted in the discussion section of The Myth of Lost Facebook page.

The Myth of Lost is available on Amazon and

From TVFrenzy:

  • Ed-Mars

    Kate won’t be the Eve skeleton. It’s going to be the MiB and his mom. Why else do you think Flocke brought it up on the show?

    • Ugly Smitty

      MIB and his mom? That would be extremely anticlimactic, so I’m sure that’s not the answer.

    • GettingArztedWithIlana

      no way dude
      more likely, MIB’s and Jacob’s original bodies.
      I mean, just as Locke’s body lies buried, the bodies of 2 mysterious individuals who look like Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver (the actors impersonating jacob and MIB before Locke) must be somewhere, so..

      • Ugly Smitty

        Jack identified them as a man and a woman.

        • JohnnyC666

          Who said MIB wasn’t originally a woman? With all the talk of soulmates and such…the one person you can hate more than any other is the person you used to love…maybe that’s why they have never said “his” name. With all the stuff that has gone on this wouldn’t be the biggest shocker…Plus everyone knows women are inherently evil and once they have been wronged will seek their revenge till the end of time…and one thing I want to know is what the 1st conversation between Jin and Sun like? Did Jin just start yelling “You think you went through a lot to get to me? Woman I traveled through time! I was in the Dharma Initiative!”

    • Ed-Mars

      If we’re going by the assumption that the skeletons are not both dudes, then it can’t be both MiB & Jacob. Plus, Jacob can’t change form, as far as we know. So, when he burned up in “The Incident”, that was his one and only skeleton turned to dust. And it’s not going to be anticlimactic, because the reveal of who Adam & Eve are ties in with how the smoke monster came to be. We’re due a back-story episode of the MiB & Jacob, so that’s when all that will come together.

      P.S : I don’t read spoilers, this is just speculation.

      @ Ugly Smitty : who would you like it to be?

      • gusteaux

        What leads you to state that “Jacob can’t change form.” I don’t believe that that has been established at all.

        • Ed-Mars

          Well, every time we’ve seen him, Jacob has taken the form of Mark Pellegrino. Plus, if Jacob can change form too, it kind of takes away some of the mystery surrounding MiB. I’ll agree though that we haven’t seen any evidence that would suggest Jacob can’t appear as someone else. But it’s a bit too late in the game for the show to come out and throw this at us. We’ve known for a long time that MiB appeared as dead people, I would venture to say since the time of Eko’s death.

      • Ugly Smitty

        I think it’s pretty clear that Jacob CAN and DOES change form. Otherwise, Christian would never have been able to appear on the mainland, or on the freighter, nor would he have been able to take the form of Walt, who’s alive.

        • Handsome Smitty

          I believe The Darlton Jacob has only appeared as himself; this would insinuate he is not a shapeshifter like Smokey.

          • Ugly Smitty

            Well, if that turns out to be the case, then we have a number of inconsistencies. And having just finished rewatching seasons 1 to 5, I can tell you that they stand out like a sore thumb.

          • Handsome Smitty

            I am only going by what I “believe” The Darlton said in response to a question about Jacob – that He had never appeared before as anyone other than Jacob.

            Consistencies in LOST – you have GOT to be kidding!?!

        • Ament

          I’m getting a bigger pit in my stomach every episode that goes by without answering Walt’s specialness in S1. I mean Locke grabbed Walt’s arm and Walt freaked because he seen the events that were going to unfold after opening the Hatch with a simple line “Don’t do it! Don’t open it!” How can that not have an answer?

          • Ugly Smitty

            You and me both, bruthah. There are SO MANY mysteries they still haven’t addressed, and those they are addressing–the whispers, the identity of Christian–are unsatisfactory since they don’t really fit with what we know.

  • Jessica

    I love your take on the latest episode of Lost!

  • Alon

    I normally don’t read episode recaps, but this one was really insightful. As a Locke fan, it was a very interesting read. Cheers!

  • Great article. Really a great insight to the entire series.

    Good job.

  • B.A.Y.

    Great, fantastic review, Marc. As always, you mine the gold in an episode. I look forward to your words every week.

    Just a few thoughts of my own, which, really are in harmony with yours:

    –Lost seems to be saying that we have a destiny BUT can choose to ignore it. Our free will allows us to choose or deny what’s “right” for us. If we ignore our Dharma (our true path), however, as Jack did when he left the island, we will suffer rather than prosper. Maybe we suffer because our consciences nag at us. We explode or implode (as Jack did with the pills and alcohol).

    –As you said, Lost is giving us mixed messages. The writers seem to want us to CHOOSE for ourselves. Was Locke a sucker? Is faith an affliction rather than a virtue? Is Jacob good? Is MIB totally evil? What does coincidence mean? Is coincidence the manifestation of what was always meant to be (relationships, meet-ups, etc.) or can coincidence be shrugged off? In both timelines, the same people are drawn together. And sometimes, their connection, is mind blowing. Literally.

    –I think Lost is telling us that human beings have the capacity for great things, such as sacrifice. Was it the humanity of Jesus that drove him to sacrifice himself for the good of others? That’s a theological question, I’m not qualified to answer, but I do think about it. Anyway, to be human, in many cases, is to want to believe in destiny, that we can make a difference through love: romantic love, parent-child love, love of God/Goodness, love of country, etc. This is the part of man that MIB discounts, overlooks, even though I am pretty sure this will be his undoing. For better or worse, contributing to his extinction or his salvation, it will be his undoing.

    • Thanks B.A.Y., glad you like them.

      As for destiny vs freewill, I think I’ll have to wait for the series finale for the ultimate interpretation of the show’s perspective. For now, my feelings are that we have the freedom of choice to not go along with our destiny, but when we don’t, the universe/island course corrects to give us another chance…and another. It’s not really true freedom of choice, but does seem in line with how our world really works.

      Yes, the writers do seem to be leaving a lot of the choices up to us, but if they do this too much, we’ll end up with a Sopranos ending so I hope they will ultimately take a stand and let us decide for ourselves if we agree one way or the other.

      I think you are absolutely qualified to answer any theological question. We all have the answers within us. Theologians may be more learned in quotes and names and interpretations, but the answers that may be right for them, might not be right for you. Just as you are the most qualified to interpret your dreams as what they mean to you, you are the best qualified to interpret how the myths relate to you. My hope is that these columns will inspire readers to look deeper at LOST and other mythological themes and see how they might apply to their own life and interpret accordingly.

      I agree that MIB’s ego will filter his vision and blind him to the possibilities of man and womankind, and that this will lead to his downfall. He’s already discounted Kate which I think was a big mistake. She IS still a candidate, but MIB doesn’t know b/c the name was crossed off on the cave. But this was a trick. Her name was not crossed off at the lighthouse.


      • gusteaux

        Benjamin Linus said the same thing in five words during Season 4’s Cabin Fever: “Destiny is a fickle bitch.”

  • dksrox

    Nice re-cap/exposition, Marc. Any thoughts on why we haven’t seen the “ghost” of John Locke on the Island? Certainly he did some bad things before he died – Boone, getting Sawyer to kill his father, Eko – and it seems like the island is where he would have ended up…

    Totally believe MIB was lying about being Christian, btw…if for no other reason than the mobisode ‘go wake up my son, he’s got work to do’ comment, and showing up at Jack’s office in FF-land.

    • Perhaps John Locke hasn’t shown up b/c he was buried. Then again, Libby was buried an showed up for Michael so I”m not sure. The buried rule may only apply to zombies and not ghosts. Perhaps in taking Locke’s identity, MIB has sort of trapped Locke’s soul and it cannot even appear.

      Yeah, something is up with MIB’s story. I also wondered about Christian appearing off-island. He also said that Locke had to be dead before he could look like him. Well then what about Harper who showed up to Juliet? And what about Hugo’s imaginary friend Dave or Kate’s horse. Something is still not right. I still believe that there has to be a bigger picture!

      • Brent

        Harper was Harper this has been confirmed

      • tabletop1

        Do you think there’s a chance that the discrepancies you’ve just mentioned (Libby, Christian off-island, Harper, Dave, Kate’s horse) will not be addressed? I know the journey is the thing, I really do agree with you there, but if something like Kate’s horse is not addressed, it will suck in a very big way. Thoughts?

      • Ugly Smitty

        Well, Harper is alive–that comes from the producers–and she was actually there. But then…where is she now? And where is Isabel? And where are Amelia and the elderly Others from Juliet’s book club?

        As for Dave and Kate’s horse and backward-talking Walt and off-island Christian, I have a dread feeling they’re just going to ignore those plotholes.

  • Mr_Rob

    “Does only a fool believe?”
    I don’t know but is “Only fools are enslaved by time and space” have a deeper meaning?
    Like if you follow Jacob, you are stuck on the island. The Island seems to be hidden from time and space………

    • Ah, good point! But at the same time, fools fall in love, and love allows the flash-sideways gang to connect to the other reality! So perhaps it’s all just a matter of perspective of what a fool is.

      • dksrox

        Fools are the only ones who can speak truth to power…

    • Ament

      They are all fools trapped in time and space which is in essence the island. Isn’t odd that the only person, who isn’t a fool, on island that knows of the alt-universe is Desmond?

  • lostiscrack

    maybe just maybe the smoke monster is simply Fear..The show is about conquering fears..Thats why locke asked arent you scared.He also has always played on ones fears.Thats why hes confused by jack ,jack is not giving into his fears.once you are not giving into your fears you die !!!(on the island) We must contain fear if it escape to fill the world were doomed..maybe pushing the button and all that just represented releasing a little fear at a time and how disasters happen when we let fear control our lives…this is just one of many things i think maybe going on MIB real name may be Fearmonster he scans the memories to play on there fears…im still betting on locke to be jacob and jack the hero

    • Like it! It’s like “Monsters Inc!!” An alternate world that contains our fears. Wow, good parallel there! If I can compare Willy Wonka to Lost, I may have to do a Monsters Inc.

    • Uncle Beaver

      When Charlie asked Eko in “Psalm 23” why he didn’t run away from the Smoke Monster, Eko replied “Because I was not afraid”.

  • DRush76

    “Who wants to believe that free will is an illusion and that the course our lives have taken is beyond our control? Well, losers for one. For losers this is welcomed news because it means that their miserable lives were not their fault but in the hands of powerful beings pulling invisible strings.”

    Free will is not an illusion . . . sometimes. And sometimes, it is. It all depends upon the situation or the moment. There is no one answer for everything.

  • scribe

    As the last season of Lost unfolds, I keep thinking of the “when prophecy fails” phenomenon/syndrome. People have a profound belief that some event will happen on a specific day. They form a cult around it. When the day arrive & the prophecy fails, do people just say, “We were mistaken,” and disband the group. Au contraire. They become even more committed to their belief having formulated a rationalization. No, we won’t get fooled again. Lost has been my favorite tv show ever, and I am dumbfounded by what’s happened to it this season. I certainly have seen others online express a similar sentiment, but there are many who will lash out an anyone who dare criticize the show. There is a certain cultish quality that has developed.

    • I’ve been enjoying this season for the most part. But that’s mostly with the expectation that things are still not as they appear. If it turns out that the whispers are really just the voices of dead people, and Smokie formed Christian and Yemi, etc, and there’s no bigger picture going on, I’ll be disappointed in that part of the story. But regardless of the story, the mythology works for me no matter what. And in that way, I’m happy regardless of how it ends.

      I hope you are right about the prophesy fails syndrome b/c I’d like to write an update to “The Myth of Lost” and hope people will still be looking for answers next year and beyond.

      • scribe

        Over the past 5 seasons, the writers have crafted amazing re-framings or, as you say, things not as they appear. Each time, you could go back and re-view earlier episodes to get new meaning or context. I’ve never engaged in much guessing about what was going to happen, because I felt sure that there would be a hidden element that would affect the development — just as season 6 started by sidestepping any either/or outcome (reboot? no reboot?) I think the first 5 minutes of LA X was the last time chills went down my spine watching Lost. As a writer myself, I’m sensitive to the temptation of throwing something into a text for its glitter, and now I wonder if they’ve been doing that all along with no real sense of how they were going to wrap it or or unfold it. I don’t want answers to every thing, but the ones they have been supplying recently are almost like dialogue in a badly dubbed movie. Some of the explanations that viewers had come up with have been more satisfying. I appreciate the mythology and the cultural references, but I must admit the level of discourse will be lessened for me if it’s been all flash. I have been holding up hope that they would turn this season around & rise to the level that the show has always operated on. After The Last Recruit, it suddenly hit me that it isn’t going to happen.

        • Ugly Smitty

          I agree. This season is a HUGE letdown.

          • Matt

            That’s absurd. For what it actually is, it’s been brilliant.

          • Ugly Smitty

            It’s not absurd. You feel it’s brilliant. I feel it’s a letdown. Both are just opinions. I’m not shooting down your opinion, so please show me the same respect.

          • scribe

            Perhaps we’ve been watching very different “Lost”s, Matt. I’ve placed it up there with the best works of literature & film. So I suddenly can’t say “it is what it is.” I’m not preoccupied with getting answers to every single question or mystery that has been set up. While the flashback, flash forwards, and time travel were devices that were strands of a tapestry that were slowly woven together, I find sideways to be a bit gimmicky — the way we’re served different characters from the original narrative in new context. I find that it repels any emotional connection. Quite honestly, I don’t find the whole Candidate scenario to be very compelling for what all the seasons have been heading to. These are among the intellectual reasons I find this season wanting, but I’ve already indicated that I’ve had a visceral involvement with “Lost” that hasn’t been there since the “wow” of the first 5 minutes of “LA X.”

      • scribe

        Marc, this exchange has made me realize that the pleasure that I have derived from watching Lost comes from different experiences. There is the engagement with the shown when watching it, and then there is the post-viewing intellectual game of making connections and tapping into the massive cultural archive. I’ve had my own theories that have led to research into the Rosicrucians, Jacob Boehme, the Annunaki, etc. I now realize that there has also been a pleasure in watching a great creative enterprise, of watching the unfolding — whether planned or made up as they go along — of a masterful design. As you well know, it’s one thing to come up with a great hook or set-up. It’s another thing to create a coherent work of art at the end. I understand that you enjoy the opportunity to find profound mythological resonance, but one can find meaning in the telephone directory. The aesthetic experience resides within you.

  • mpress

    I think Lost is going to have to do better than give us ambiguous answers to the questions it so plainly posed in earlier seasons. After all, much of the tension between Locke and Jack has resided with this question – faith or science? All fate and predetermined, or all freewill and freewheeling? While there is no single correct answer in life, there had better be a clear answer in this story . . . otherwise, how will it move us if it just comes down to infinite shades of gray where we still do not know who is good (does Widmore just want power? or is he working for the greater good?) and who is bad?

    And if myths provide us with the maps of the territory that makes up our lives, this one will remain Lost if it fails to give us some answer. It may be very postmodern and hip to refuse to come down on any side, but that doesn’t work in a story. Darlton needs to be secure enough in themselves to become vulnerable, make a statement, speak out of the truths of their lives and their hearts.

    And if John Locke remains a sucker for his belief, for his dedication to the island, then Darlton are telling us that we too are suckers for going along on this ride.

    Thank you Marc for pointing out the purity that lives at the heart of the fool. The pure of heart can, Christian scripture tells us, see God. We need fools.

    And dksrox, you’re quit right . . . only fools can speak truth to power – even if it costs them their head!

  • Amy

    Benjamin Linus said the same thing in five words during Season 4’s Cabin Fever: “Destiny is a fickle bitch.”

    • gusteaux

      Amy, you just reposted my comment from further up word for word. ???

  • Beena

    The person who does not believe in anything greater than themselves is the true fool, the real sucker. It is an infantile perspective to think the universe revolves around oneself! And until a person can believe there is something greater, there is no growth and only a very skewed version of life. It is my strong suspicion that the MIB has just this very infantile perspective, and add to that; corruption, to his character. I winced when he saved Jack…as if it might be some lingering goodness still there from when Locke inhabited the body. But the more likely scenario, is that Jack just fits into MIB’s selfish, corrupt agenda.

    Jack did not really see any growth in his life until he was willing to believe. He was so self absorbed, and needed to be in control of everything. And a person can not be in control of everything. And it is only in relinquishing that illusion, that a person is finally free! A sucker no more!


  • The Black Rock

    Rarely have I seen such exhibits of self-indulgent over-analysis with such little resolution or payoff. You obviously like to hear yourself talk and have snookered a bunch of sycophantic “candidates” along the way. How ’bout succinctly clarifying arcs and themes instead of using a massive word assault which only serves to make suckers of everyone. I’m at the 108 minute mark with this flotsam. Namaste.

    • Ugly Smitty

      Wow…you really are needlessly negative, arrogant and self-righteous. Get over yourself. The writers here don’t owe you anything–feel free to change the channel, so to speak.

  • jamesepowell

    There is something odd about MIB’s denigration of John Locke. It’s a bit too mean-spirited, a bit too personal, and just too much. In the unfolding narrative of Lost it sticks out. MIB is covering something about himself, or John Locke, or both.

    Theory. There are people who suggest that the real John Locke’s soul, or being, or personality are somewhere there inside the form that holds the entity we call MIB or Smokey. These people are right. MIB feels the being that was John Locke inside him. His need to put Locke down to those who knew Locke reflects an effort by MIB to suppress either Locke’s actual being or Locke tendencies that will assert themselves if MIB does not suppress them. That MIB shouted “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” in a moment of high stress was similarly revealing.

    • B.A.Y.

      What you say rings true. I hadn’t thought of that. Yet, when I read what you just wrote, I thought “Yes!” MIB’s being stuck, so to speak, with Locke’s form is taking a toll on him.

      • adam118

        Yeah, MIB seems jealous of Locke or in denial that, possibly, somehow, MIB shares some bad traits with Locke.

  • Ament

    I read a lot of post being upset with the course of this season…I can see where your coming from but I say wait till the end. Perhaps that huge dip on the LOST rollercoaster is at the end instead of the beginning of this ride.

    The way they answered the numbers, was intelligent, unexpected, and made sense which was a satisyfing way to answer a question that sorely needed to be answered. The whispers was suggested and blogged so many times on how they were from people that died on the island, that when we heard it, it was unsatisfying…no surprise and was expected. Charlie telling us about the island universe and “showing” Des it existed was a treat for an answer on the 2 realities.

    Smokie taking the form of Jack’s father is still up in the air and it may be him misleading Jack because he also has Locke’s memories and he was with Jack in that very same episode looking for water. Example that he wasn’t Christian was mentioned already by someone, in the episode where Sun and Lapidus met Christian while Locke was on Hydra Beach with Ben at the same time. Thats too big of a continuity error to overlook.

    Now the mystery on the island is who the heck this kid is? If it’s announced as him being Jacob it would be a let down because we’re kind of figuring that it is him. So in my opinion, if he is introduced as something else, such as “The Island” and his child form represents “pure of heart” and clear-headed thinking which is what the island wants (John Locke), then it might be more appreciated because it would have a deeper meaning. John Locke was a child in a man’s body, he loved games, got along with kids easily, trusted everyone, and at times he was also scared and confused like a lost child.

  • giggity

    I think it is ironic that MIB is more or less scared of seeing children on the island and that humans cannot give birth on the island mysteriously (still).

  • Slimchicken

    Lost has been falling out of favor with me for some time now and has been in steady decline in my opinion since the introduction of time travel. But I held out hope that some of the answers to the show’s outstanding questions might be interesting and rejuvenate the show in its final season. Now I’m just holding out hope that an “answer” will at some point be revealed through action rather than just told to us by a character through expository dialogue. “Oh, yeah, Christian? That was me.” “Oh, cool. That had been bothering me, thanks. Want to go back to the group?”

    • Ament

      I know what you mean about the lame approach to the answers. It’s like how they answered whats with the Polar Bear on the island? They never came out and said yeah DHARMA brought them over for experiments and testing…instead they intoduced the polar bear cages on Hydra Island so it kind of answered itself.

  • greg dharma

    i didnt see this covered above–so excuse me if it was–but marc, i think you are missing an obvious interpretation of your own title: is the last recruit a sucker?

    smokey isnt the only one “recruiting.” since desmond has been playing jacob, he’s been recruiting in a sense too. who was his last recruit?

    you guessed it: john locke.

    although technically, des “recruited” claire after he hit-and-runned locke, he set in motion a chain of events which resulted in jack operating on locke as the episode drew to a close. (he also may have “recruited” sayid back to the “light side” in the island world).

    the significance of this is fairly easy to see. we know there are not only parallels between the island and the FS, but crossovers: Sun sees Flocke, not Locke at the hospital. meanwhile, Flocke has become less MiB-like and more Locke-like in his personality and mannerism. Des’ plan for course-correction could result in Locke regaining use of his legs, which could have consequences for Flocke on the island. Spinal surgery would seem to be a near-death experience–so would getting ploughed by a car–so one has to wonder what rush of memories will affect Flocke and Locke. FS Locke he already appeared to gain some knowledge of his past life–mentioning Helen’s name in the past tense–so it’s possible his awareness and possible return to mobility will suck some cosmic juice out of Flocke.

    The way i read Flocke’s line about Locke, it seemed full of hubris and possibly a bit premature. you write, “Because in some ways, MIB himself is a sucker, only in his case, he is fooled by his own ego. An ego that makes himself out to be infallible.”

    So it seems like Flocke thinks he’s talking about his doppelganger, but little does he know, maybe he’s really talking about himself. the karmic wheel isnt finished spinning.

    In your essay, you use the terms sucker and fool interchangeably. I posit they are not one and the same. John Locke wasnt a true believer because choices had already been made for him. Jack is not a sucker because he is making his own choices.

    In mythology, the “fool” refers to the number zero in the major arcana of the Tarot. that would be Desmond, the man who straddles both worlds. the Fool card represents a leap of faith into the unknown without fear. its also the first stage into a greater transformation–a juggler or magician, emperor, or perhaps a hermit. That would be what’s happening with Jack. In mathematical terms, he’s moving from 0 to 1, from Initiate (or recruit) to Adept.

    The joke’s really on Flocke because Jack in a sense has already been recruited. His moment of epiphany–the moment when he most symbolized the Fool–came after he was shown the Lighthouse; now he is on the path to enlightenment and realization of his true purpose. He is almost past the “fool” stage and on his way to becoming Horus, or the Hero realized, who will inevitably slay Set and restore the true order of things. In doing so, his free will and destiny become one and the same. He chooses his fate willingly, in other words–which Locke never did.

    And what of Locke, anyway? let’s see: manipulated, crippled, killed, his form and memories stolen. The perfect sucker. but how was he killed–by hanging. well actually by asphyxiation/strangling, but close enough. That makes him the Hanged Man, or major arcana #12. the hanged man represents sacrifice and martyrdom, but also resurrection. It also means suspending or reversing.

    Locke made a sacrifice (check), became a martyr(check)–well, a loophole, actually– and, Being dead on the island but alive in the FS, lies in a state of suspended reality (chiggy-check). But now that the two worlds are colliding with increased frequency–thanks to Des’ Willy Wonka-esque traveling between dimensions–will there be a reversal and just maybe a resurrection?

    In other words, will Flocke’s ultimate message from the cosmos amount to, in the immortal words of the Waitresses’ “I know What Boys Like”, “ha ha, sucker!”

    Mmmmyeeeee-aybe. What if Flocke is a sucker because he thinks he can manipulate and thus control fate, but in actuality is the one controlled by it? Already the island appears to have told him this on at least three occasions, via the little creepy kid. Maybe Jacob and Des arent the only ones course-correcting. Maybe the island, being a living entity, wont actually allow all that dark matter to escape, thus ending existence as we know it, possibly in both universes.

    just a thought…

    • Ament

      Great insight greg and I would have to agree the island is playing a, currently, silent role here. Ending existance might be it’s failsafe but perhaps it will decide to correct it’s own mistake and submerge itself during a critical moment that would redeem the live’s of the people the island messed with.

    • adam118

      That was awesome. Great stuff with the Tarot cards, never heard those in regard to Lost. Cheers.

  • Chelsy

    I wasn’t really surprised by MIB admitting that he was Christian Shephard. After all, the very first time you see MIB in Locke’s image, he is standing in the water the same way he did when Jack saw his Father. I don’t really see how there can be any linguering doubt that the two entities are the same person. I sort of disagree that it is water that keeps him trapped because he has been seen crossing the water in physical form, and he also appeared on the freighter for a split second as Christian. I think he was also Libby, and if he wasn’t her, it’s possible he controls the whispers, (or the dead that can never leave as we now know) as part of his power on the Island, and maybe why he always seems to be around when people die in a lot of cases. I think he is trapped by the electro-magnetic forces on the Island as well as the ‘rules’, similar to the way the fence keeps him out of the Barracks, and I think it’s him as opposed to Jacob that really hates technology for that reason, if either of them really do hate it. Anyway, I figured MIB had limited free reign to travel across the water for split instances before he was pulled back to his prison, and was able to do this while Jacob was alive. He also controls dreams and easily manipulated Locke, Eko, many of the characters in order to get what he wanted. He may have shown Jack to water, but Jack also nearly died in a cave in shortly after. Can’t be coincidence, can it? He was refered to as ‘Cerberus’ in the hatch which also counted down to ‘Underworld’, which to me implies that he can take on no more than three seperate forms at once, as evidenced by the cabin, Christian, and the MIB’s eye that Hurley saw shortly before he was manipulated into scratching out the ash when he fell. This falls in line with my theory that he controls those who died on the Island, and maybe even those that didn’t, like Ben’s Mother. The dead can try to fight against him though, but in the end, they are still trapped as well. I think MIB wanted the hatch to be destroyed all along because the energy there was being repressed, taking away his power. He was still trapped in the cabin then and could only venture out in the forms of the dead or in smoke and dreams. He seemed to become more powerful once the hatch was destroyed, able to make his true form visible to Locke and Hurley, and able to physically toss Ben to the wall. It seems strange to me that the MIB had Locke turn the wheel stopping the losties in the 70s where destroying the Swan hatch was part of the criteria yet again. I think the only way he can leave the Island is through destroying all the energy pockets, thus sinking the Island. But who knows, lol. I hope this makes sense, sorry if it seems a little rambling! 😉

  • maryanne

    Hello Marc, I love your recaps and I agree with your character analysis of Locke. It would be great to take an in-depth look at each of our Losties journeys from season 1 to where they are today. What’s your take on the scene where Jack looks in the mirror to see his reflection and John Locke’s? Are they mirrors of each other at this point? no longer a yin/yang balance?

  • Bakedbob

    A bit of general lostivity..:

    If Mib needed a loophole that means that he was in a loop..correct?
    A time loop..evil was prisoned in a time loop.So since “it” found the loophole,
    (Flocke telling Locke he would have to die) and finally killing Jacob through Ben,
    he is still not free

    –(because of the RULES)

    “Black” cannot kill “White”, it has to make white kill it self (wow)
    (manipulation of Locke and Ben).

    Mib has to recruit all candidates and…”Go Home”..
    Jacob has candidates—MIB has recruits… So Candidates VS Recruits seems fine.
    But until when? Will They “face off” and kill each other until only one remains of each side?
    And its Jacob VS MIb all over again? In a loop again?
    Thats strange because “it only ends once, everything else is just progress”.
    Jacob’s ultimate plan is-was to eternaly recreate the loop,
    so it never ended..Because “it only ends once.”
    MiB escaping (end of loop-end of existence) would only happen once.
    Everything else would have been just progress-to prison MIB in the loop.

    Also if MIb is “Evil Incarnate” as it has been said, then maybe it doesnt really have a name. Its all the evil accumulated into an entity. But has no personality.
    I know it said “I was a man once too… i loved etc etc” but thats just maybe one of the many personalities it has accumulated.
    Or maybe his name is simply John Locke as Desmond told him and Mib didn’t look too happy at his reply. ;p

    I’m enjoying the ride and dont have demanding requests from the Writers, they took as here so far,(and boy what a ride it has been)
    Its immature to complain about geting answers YOU want and that LOST is letting you down…wait thats not just immature…its fan-gay..
    And smockey would crunch you in a split sec for this blasphemy !!!

  • MrGrinch

    Great article though I do take umbrage with one point. You characterize Jesus as a sucker while pointing out that he was aware he was going to die. I think we may have different definitions of a sucker if you consider someone who knows how the actions they take will result and changes nothing. A sucker is someone who makes questionable choices not knowing how they’ll turn out and ends up getting taken advantage of. This does not characterize Jesus Christ in the Bible. Jesus knew he would eventually die on the cross at the hands of the same people he was helping. He also had to as it was God’s plan for him to die for our sins. No surprises were in store for Jesus. He knew he would be betrayed.

  • The same thing happened with me!!Thanks for the nice article.

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