DocArzt and Friends Logo

What Nikki Noticed: 6.04 “The Substitute”

By Nikki Stafford,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 75

Awesome episode… I love Locke eps. I don’t think there’s ever been a bad one (well, “Further Instructions” was never one of my faves, but Terry O’Quinn always makes up for any less-than-spectacular writing).

I’ve been discussing on my blog today who the little boy on the island is, and I think that’s the part of the ep that intrigued me a lot, because the answer to that question could lead to so much. So maybe we should look at the “candidates” for that position:

Jacob. He looked like Jacob, he was wearing the raggedy clothes of the Others, and his appearance seemed to make Not-Locke completely unhinged. He told Not-Locke that he couldn’t kill him, as if no matter how many times you try to kill the man, he will continue to be born on the island. Or perhaps Not-Locke knew Jacob as a boy (the way Widmore knew Ben as a boy) and he was reminded of the enormity of what he’d done. If he’s Jacob, there are a million different reasons he would appear to him as a boy, and only time will tell what that will mean.

Aaron. Aaron was the first child born on the island in almost 30 years, which is hugely significant, especially since this is a place where children can no longer be born. He is very important to the island, because he has more ties to it than anyone else: Claire is his mother; Jack is his uncle; Christian is his grandfather; Kate is his adoptive mother. He was injected by the Others and he was saved by the survivors. He is the only one of the Oceanic 6 who didn’t return, and perhaps the island needs him back… will he return as a preteen boy?

Sawyer. Some people suggested that the blond kid who could also be seen by Sawyer could be Sawyer himself. I’m not sure where you would go with this theory, but maybe it’s a suggestion that he really will be the next candidate.

Not-Locke himself. I suggested on my blog today a theory (and yes, I understand it’s a little out there) that what if Not-Locke and Jacob are one and the same person? What if a man (or boy?) who looked like Jacob came to the island, and the spirit of the island somehow separated the soul of Not-Locke from his body, and then took that body over? So now “Jacob” has assumed his body, and the Man in Black has to find other bodies to assume, when all he wants is to return to his own. He kills Jacob – essentially his own body – and kicks him into the fire, hoping that his sacrifice of finally losing his own body might result in killing the spirit that took it over, but it didn’t work, because he can’t kill that spirit. The appearance of himself as a boy reminded him that he simply can’t kill that island spirit, and will only continue to hurt himself if he keeps trying.

Not-Locke’s son. Someone else on my blog suggested that maybe he was seeing his own son. We heard that lovely soliloquy that he gave: “I know what it’s like to feel joy, to feel pain, anger, fear, to experience betrayal. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love.” What if that someone was his own son, killed by Jacob, turning Not-Locke into the angry darkness that appears as a pillar of smoke and moves through the island that way? It’s a great theory, and one that I like a lot.
Or maybe it’s someone new entirely? Who did you think it was?

Nikki Stafford is the author of the Finding Lost series of books, which offer episode-by-episode guides to each season. The guide to season 5 is now available at, and is currently working on the season 6 book. She posts regularly on her television blog, Nik at Nite.

Warning: fopen( failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.0 404 Not Found in /home/sociaboo/public_html/ on line 28

Warning: stream_get_contents() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /home/sociaboo/public_html/ on line 28
From TVFrenzy:

  • I don’t think it’s a young Sawyer because we’ve already seen young Sawyer (when Jacob touched him and in his ‘hiding under the bed’ flashback) and the blond boy did not look like him.

    • naultz

      plus i would think sawyer would be able to recognize himself.

  • Nick Stevens

    I can’t get behind the theory that he is Aaron. We’re on island in 2007 and thus from that perspective, Kate dropped him off with his grandmother only a few weeks ago. I find it doubtful that there is an older version of himself on the island that’s completely clued into the goings on.

    • WheresDesmond

      I’m kind of with you, Nick. I also want to mention that Aaron wasn’t the first baby born on-island in 30 years…it was only 16 or 17 years, ever since Alex was born.

    • Newbie

      and he was conceived off of the island

  • Delia Lavender

    I’m not sure anyone else noticed…but I experienced a moment of comic irony when substitute teacher Locke told his students they were about to have a lesson in “reproduction”. Two Lockes on the island…that’s a pretty good lesson in reproduction. Wonder if anybody tried to stay after class…

    • The Real Norrin Radd

      Doesn’t anyone get that Alt-Locke was the substitute teacher for Alt-Arzt’s class! Who cares about names in caves and ghost-boys, when Alt-Arzt is misssing! Ah well something in a beaker probably blew up in his face….lol.

      • Arzt was a science teacher, not a PE teacher.

        • Nick Stevens

          We see Locke taking more than just a PE class.

          • Scott

            I think it was a PE/Health class

  • Fox

    Hey Nikki, I think one of your theories has a mistake.

    You put Jacob as the possible identity and say: “He told Not-Locke that he couldn’t kill him, as if no matter how many times you try to kill the man, he will continue to be born on the island”.

    Well that’s not what he said. The kid said “You know the rules. You can’t kill HIM”. He was speaking in third person, so if he were to be a young Jacob he was definitely talking about somebody else. But I believe he wasn’t Jacob and that’s why he was using the third person (because he was indeed refering to the fact that MiB couldn’t kill Jacob).

    • Hipster Doofus

      I agree with this. I really don’t think that was young Jacob. But maybe I just misread it.

      I think its a 3rd entity entirely, but maybe I’m crazy.

      • HandsomeSmitty

        “Him” was Sawyer.

        Blind as bats.

        • no kidding. they’ve dealt with Lost so long they can no longer see the trees for the forrest.

        • Iwantmykidneyback

          Yeah I think it was pretty clear that it was jacob. The most logical solution just can’t be the right one since this is lost, right? Is that what people are going for? The comment about the “rules” is clearly a reference to the “loophole” conversation in the season 5 finale.

          • Mark

            Unless this is a reference to the rules that were broken when Keamy killed Alex…

        • He could have been talking about Sawyer or Richard. But I like the idea that he was talking about Jacob. Perhaps Jacob cannot really die.

      • Jason

        I believe the child/boy is Aaron. Somehow he’s on the island. The question now is how did he get there…?

        • Lebowski Achiever

          Didn’t Walt appear on the island to Locke even when he wasn’t on the island? Might be the same deal….or maybe in the alternate timeline Walt is white. Okay, that was a joke…sorry, it is Lost though so you never can tell.

    • Renteria

      couldn’t the boy have been referring to Sawyer when he said him, I mean, Jacob is dead, he said so himself, maybe since Sawyer is a candidate he can’t be killed by MIB

  • Jack’s Sidekick

    I just thought it was funny that that was the lesson to begin with he he.

  • jamesepowell

    The boy was Jacob. He reminded MIB that he cannot kill Sawyer. He cannot kill Sawyer because Sawyer is a candidate. (The pilot, apparently, was not a candidate.) MIB can manipulate some one else to kill candidates, but he cannot do it himself. Similarly, the Others cannot kill a candidate. That is why Ben and the Others could not kill Jack or Sawyer in the earlier seasons. It would have made many things easier for them, but they could not kill anyone on Jacob’s list.

    • naultz

      i wonder if the people that become infected might be controlled by smokie to kill canidates. the others are jacobs “pawns” with the canidate as their leader,and the infected are smokies pawns.

      • whateverhappenedhappened

        actually the others tried to kill sawyer in season 3. not kate, though. and they let hurley go in season 2 saying he wasnt on the list. and dave tried to make hurley jump off a cliff.

        • naultz

          actually “the Others” didn’t try to kill sawyer, they threatened him, tricked him into thinking he would die, and the tried to stop the other’s dude( i wish i could remember his name) that tried to execute sawyer because of his wife being murdered on the boat by sun. but I think that was an emotional reaction. I think the list in season 2 was from ben to get him a spinal surgeon (jack) someone to manipulate jack(kate) and someone to threaten to keep kate in line ( sawyer) and used hugo as a messenger to warn the losties not to come their again. Ben has admitted he never talked to jacob, so who’s to say that list was not made by ben.

          • lockster

            Well, Ben killed Locke, who was a candidate. He just did it off island.

  • Kevon

    When I first saw the ‘boy’ I was all about it being Jacob reborn, or something. Until he said, “You know the rules, you can’t kill him.”

    I think he is something above whatever is going on with Jacob and Flocke… Or belongs to whoever is in charge of the island. I think TPTB are going to drop another layer of mythos before it’s all over.

    • Kiekow

      Totally agree with this. While the little bod did remind me of Jacob at first….Jacob is dead and said so himself. So if he cannot be killed why would he tell Hurley he was dead? The little boy is someone new!

      • Great. Another mystery…someone give me a white jacket with long sleeves and lots of buckles!

  • Tom

    The little boy was Jacob. The reason he said “you know you cannot kill him” was not in reference to himself, but in reference to Sawyer. Richard warned Sawyer that Non-Locke would try to kill him, and little Jacob was reminding Non-Locke of this because Sawyer is a viable candidate.

  • Adam

    Does anyone else remember seeing the small smoke monster or monsters back in season 1 or 2. I know if you watch closely and freeze frame the pilot episode, the moment after the guy get’s sucked into the spining engine you see a small smoke monster swoop down onto the engine then up and away as it explodes. I think the other time was in the season 1 Finale when they’re either going to or coming back from the Black Rock Jack and Kate see a small smoke monster zipping through the trees. I always just thought maybe the smoke monster could make himeself smaller or something but now I assume It’s the Boy from last nights episodes.

    • HandsomeSmitty


    • Funback Joe

      Double oooo

    • Jeremy

      The black shadow which appears when Gary Troup is sucked into the engine has been confirmed to be a graphical error, not the smoke monster.

      • Handsome Smitty


        • Ed-Mars

          Dammit! This would have been awesome

          • adam118

            In the ep when Smokey kills Eko, Smokey clearly changes size from medium to x large

  • How could the boy possibly be Aaron? Can we get some logical guesses here? Aaron is three years old and is with his way to young looking Grandmother. Enough said on that.

    What if all is in the hands of a child? What if that boy is the game master and everyone in the show, including Jacob and the Man in Black are all pieces? Take a look at Jacob’s tapestry (
    If you look at the top, the people are looking up to the eye of the Sun, which I think represents the TRUE island God (possibly this boy). Look to the sides of the people; one person on the left and right of them, sitting in chairs looking prestigious. Jacob and the Man in Black, perhaps? Look at the people below this- could they represent the dead characters (One of which is playing a harp, so that could be Charlie)? The bottom of the tapestry shows an image of a raft leaving an island, which reminds me of something, can’t remember what 🙂

    I’m not much of a theorist; I enjoy LOST mostly just by watching it, not by trying to figure things out commercial break to commercial break. But after seeing this boy tonight, it makes me think that there is a stronger spiritual presence on the island.

    • That’s an interesting idea. Maybe because we’re so close to the end we don’t want to fathom that there’s another character with even more power than Jacob (whom we’ve been hearing about since season 3). Me, personally, I like the theory about the boy being the Nemesis’ son, but this idea is compelling, too.

  • Ament

    I understand that they mentioned MiB can’t change his appearance and is currently stuck as Locke, they don’t mention why. Maybe it ties into the rules because we’ve seen smokie change into many forms but so far it’s been no one that the monster physically killed.

    Also regarding the rules the young boy states “you know the rules, you can’t kill him”. The smoke monster can’t kill him? Even though it killed how many people, he can’t kill him. This one example stands out to me is Eko, smokie came to him as his brother disappeared out came smokie and killed him. I’m thinking the whole touched by Jacob is a selection process where being touched is being selected to be protected from directly being hurt by the monster but can still be manipulated.

    • longlivekingnick

      I agree… I think most fans kinda thought something along those lines. Being touched by Jacob, or having your life altered momentarily, by Jacob set a course for all the events that lead to you showing up on the island(Or coming back to the island). Some characters were visited by Jacob before their first visit (Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, Kwons), and others after they had already left the island the first time (Sayid, Hurley).

      The numbers were next to their names on the cave wall, probably each person being assigned a numerical value making them easier to keep track of (hence Jacobs “thing for lists”).

      As for the kid, I can only assume that its going to be someone we already know. I know one thing that people are really getting steamed about is the fact that the writers are still introducing new characters. I really hope this boy isn’t someone new, and all powerful. I would imagine that it may be an astral form of Jacob, or someone that the MIB knew before. I would imagine that if the MIB could change forms, than jacob probably can too.

      I don’t know… So far this season has been a big “where the hell are they going with this.” for me at least

    • Samuel

      Perhaps it has to do with the fact that they buried locke’s body. It seems like ilanna was in a rush to do it and we have seen the importance of burying bodies in past episodes smokey only takes the form of the unburied bodies on the island ie Christian, yemi etc this may also explain the importance of burying bodies at a certain depth

      • Samuel

        Sorry the above post is regarding why min is stuck in locke’s body

    • Locke’s body is now buried? Perhaps that’s what’s locking up UnLocke….

  • Ament

    What other young boy can we think of is also a mystery to the island, where only some people were able to see him, who also didn’t say much but we knew had an importance to the island? Are we getting an answer build-up to Walt? Not so much him but to why he was a special youth the others/temple people searched for?

    • Exactly – the mechanic was set in place by Walt, but AARON will prove to be the true Candidate or new Gameskeeper or whatever you’d like to call it.

      You folks have to stop thinking of time linearly – it’s not like the show creators haven’t been training us for the shift for 5 seasons =)

  • Playpause

    Wasn’t Alex born on the island too ? She was 20something whenshe was killed, so the theory on Aaron doesn’t work for me. I think the boy was an Other, maybe a powerful one and not just a regular kid.
    Or maybe, there is a referee persona that judges Jacob’s and MiB’s behavior in the game. Someone we aren’t aware of yet…

    • Handsome Smitty

      Oh great – another question to answer!!!

  • Ed-Mars

    If Jacob and Not-Locke are two separate personalities of the same entity, then we should just go ahead and name them Tyler Durden.

    • Lebowski Achiever

      Tyler Durden rules…I prefer to call Not-Locke the Locke-a-like.

  • Chart

    Did anyone notice he poster in the back when locke is talking to rose? I believe its paulo (and nikki?). Can anyone confirm this?

    • lostinnashville

      Nope. This was debunked in Lostpedia forum yesterday with screen caps that show they are no one we know. I thought they looked a little like Kate and Desmond.

  • brian

    I think the Not Lock theory could hold if the writers decided to go to the more spiritual aspect of the story. Could be a one in the same type such as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are three, but all the same. They all have different purposes, they exist in different “states”, but they are the same.

  • Dharma77

    I think it was Jacob, “you can’t kill him” he is talking about Sawyer. Thats my thoughts.

  • Dharma77

    I’ve yet to see this asked also, in S4 when Ben summons the Smoke Monster is that a seperate Smokey!? Because the Others do work for Jacob, so why would Smokey assist the Others? Unless there is some 3 way war going on, with the Others being played off by MIB and Jacob?

    • butwhatifitisnt

      Maybe they were able to control Smokey to some extent until Jacob died. That may have something to do with why he felt “trapped” … Remember when Ben summoned Smokey he said he couldn’t control what was coming out of the jungle.

  • jon locke

    Does anyone remember back when Juliet was punished for killing someone to help Kate and Sawyer escape the others? Remember she was marked? Now Lostpedia has established she was a name on the list. Kate was also not allowed to come with the others when they left Dharmavile and John was told why she couldnt come. Maybe the others cast aside ppl to be killed by the smoke monster and had them marked. idk just a million things goin around in my head lol

  • Handsome Smitty

    So we don’t have MIB’s name yet. What name would shock you the most?

    Esau? No, but if that’s his name it might explain why The Darlton won’t reveal that ’til the last minute.

    How about – Aaron!?! I’ve seen Jacob being suggested as Aaron, which makes no sense. I posited MIB@Aaron on the board during the show, and the question came up – how?

    Time travel, sillies.

    • Ament

      If anything I think his name will be announced in a Richard flashback when and if they show him get freed from his shackles.

  • What I thought you would notice Nikki but you didn’t is that Locke is systematically shaking the hands of the Losties he has had a personal interaction with. So far Locke has shaken the hand of Boone, Jack, Hurley, Rose and Ben.

  • Richard

    As for the blonde boy? It has been my theory that there are 3 entities which control / conflict over the island itself. Up to this point we have seen Jacob, the MIB/Locke, and we know that there is some sort of rules that govern the overall interactions of both of these characters to some degree or another. I believe that the blonde boy is the third entity that has laid down the rules that Jacob and the MIB play by. I am also guessing that the blonde boy was referring to Jacob when he told the MIB that “you know that you can not kill him”; we have seen the MIB by way of Ben kill Jacob’s body but Jacob’s sprit lives on as seen by Hurley. Perhaps the loophole the MIB thought he had was only able to complete half of what he really wanted?

    • Newbie

      the boy – is reminding him that he was not to kill Jacob and it was against the rules, and perhaps there is a consequence for breaking the rules?? Not-Locke said to the boy “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” . . . The boy is a messenger – like Walt was to Locke in the drama mass grave and Ben’s mother in the forest — but a messenger from who??

    • The game started when they were boys, maybe, or in another life Cain and Able, Jacob and Esau. Jacob as the boy was to remind MIB of how the game got started, maybe?

  • lostinnashville

    On the Truce document included in the Season 5 Dharma Orientation package DVDs, there is a clause that demands a “mediator” between the security teams of the “indigenous island inhabitants” and “DHARMA recruits and employees”. I am with @Richard in thinking we also will learn of a mediator between Jacob’s side and MIB/Flocke’s side.
    I also think there is something unusual about differentiating between recruits and employees, especially since in The Substitute we learn MIB is “recruiting”.

  • Kiekow

    Is it just me or did the little blond boy appear to be different from when MIB & Richard were together to when MIB & Sawyer were together? I guess I need to re-watch because I keep thinking the first time MIB saw him he was shorter and dirty & then the next time he was taller and clean and surrounded by light???

    • adam118

      First time the kid had blood on his arms.

      • Newbie

        I thought so too!

      • neoloki

        he did!

  • fran ryan

    Did anyone think it was eerie that fake Locke sounded and acted like real/dead Locke when he was yelling at the boy, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
    He was very weak at that moment after her fell. And why didn’t he just “float” after the boy. After all, he is the smoke monster.

  • jamesepowell

    With respect to the blond boy, did Smocke know who he was? Why did he run after him like that? If he knew it was an apparition of Jacob, he would have to know he wouldn’t be able to catch an apparition. And even if he could, what would he do then?

    I think Smocke chased the blond boy because, while he knew it was an apparition, he did not know who it was. He knew for sure only when the blond boy reminded him of the rules. Only Jacob would do that.

  • Justwokeup

    The kid was young Jacob. ANd he was reminding Flocke he couldn’t kill Sawyer. Anyone else percieve the kid getting taller and older progressively? I believe Jacob is regenerating. Flocke has a limited amount of time to leave before a fully restored Jacob will be able to thwart him, somehow. And i like the theory of Candidates vs. infected pawns being peices for each side of the chess board (Sayid died and Smokey swapped him for a Queen, lol.)

  • neoloki

    The boy is an Avatar of the Island acting as a game master. Games are a fundamental aspect of how Lost is laid out. So far, we have the pieces (losties, etc,..), we have the player’s (MIB,Jacob), now we need a game master (the boy).
    Also, I do not think you can explain all the ghosts we have seen throughout Lost as represented by MIB and we know Jacob has not taken another form (comment at Comic-Con by Darlton). For one Christian appears to Jack in the hospital in Something Nice Back Home and we just found out MIB can not travel off the Island. This leads me to believe Christian has always been the third entity on the Island, actually is an Avatar for the Island and has never been MIB.

  • jessea

    i just noticed something SO COOL in my rewatch of THE SUBSTITUTE and I have to share it somewhere…
    the crossed out names on the ceiling of the cave? one of them was TROUPE…as in Gary Troupe, the author of BAD TWIN (the manuscript Sawyer is reading in Season 1, that Jack takes from him and throws in the fire)… He was on 815 and died in the crash; he is also the boyfriend of CINDY the stewardess who is now in the Temple…

    I love Easter Eggs…

  • longlivekingnick

    what if the little boy was Kyle Reese… waiting for sarah conner to show up on the island! Think about it!