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Playing for Keeps – 6.04 “The Substitute”

By Fishbiscuit,

  Filed under: Lost Recaps
  Comments: 88

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
– Einstein

I’ve often wondered whether LOST is a game we are playing, or whether it’s a game that’s being played on us. Channeling the spirit of OtherJohn’s job placement counselor in this episode, maybe the question we should be asking is this: If LOST were a game, just what kind of game would it be?

Considering that this same job counselor has been seen before – as the psychic Hurley’s dad hired in Tricia Tanaka Is Dead – sometimes it seems like the game we’re playing on LOST is I Spy.

When I’m playing I Spy on LOST, sometimes I run into background clues that look like a kind of Pictionary. Like this one:

Which I believe works out to the phrase “Men tend to think with their … vas deferens.”

But mostly LOST feels to me like a board game, where the luck of the draw pushes the players around the board from space to space.

It’s Chutes and Ladders.

But there’s history and cultures and cults. Maybe it’s more like Settlers from Catan.

LOST can be a rush, but to really appreciate it, you do have to think, quite a lot actually. Maybe the game is Twenty Questions. Or Twenty Thousand Questions.

There’s strategy involved, and bluffing. It’s Truth or Dare.

Maybe it’s a game about a game, a meta-game like LoseTheGame, where the only way to win is to never think about The Game. Or, in this case, quite literally, the polar bear.

Do you see him?

But most of all, and always, LOST is a Puzzle.

The Riddle of the Numbers notched another kink in this episode. It was very cool. The numbers had been scratched all around the inside of a cliffside seacave. Lots of numbers. With each number was a name, and nearly every name had been crossed out.

Oh, the humanity. Just about every name that has passed through this story was written on that ceiling, including many that only flashed before our eyes.
There are dozens of questions you can ask about these names. Like why is Littleton crossed out, when we just saw Claire was very much alive? Or does Littleton mean … (gulp) … Aaron? Which Linus do they mean, which Goodspeed, which Kwon? And what’s up with all the unknowns with Spanish names – Domingo, Oralingo, Aguella, Aguila? Are they yet to come?
A lot of blogs have put together charts, to try and sort through this new information dump. I like the one at TVOvermind. It’s very complete. Just for reference, though, for anyone who wants a quick cheat sheet, here’s mine:

Six of the numbers have not been crossed out. It’s a stupid question to ask which six numbers of course. What other numbers are there? But which six lucky duckies got paired up with the famous LOSTian digits? That’s the fun part. Which six Losties can now also be known as Listies?

The first Listie was Locke, who of course is no longer a living Listie. His number was 4 – to the Japanese, the unluckiest number, the Death Number.

Jack, naturally, had number 23, the same number as his seat on Flight 815, the same number as the 23rd Psalm, the Psalm of David: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Kwon was number 42. That’s the hard one to figure out. I’m not really that curious to find out whether it means Jin or Sun (I’m guessing Jin), but I do want to know why the Kwons rated such an important number. The number 42 has lots of interesting properties, but most importantly it’s the Number with the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

The above diagram of very specific spheres represents The Answer. The game is to try and figure out The Question. It’s Doug Adams’s 42 Puzzle. It’s like a backwards version of LOST!

But, seriously, why is a Kwon at Number 42? Is it still possible that either one of them, or the two of them together, are more important than we think?

LOST fans have uncovered many fascinating theories and mathematical relationships between our beloved Numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42. It’s an impressive body of collective fan intellect and imagination. I guess we all have our favorite fascinating factoid about the Numbers. Mine is this one: All of them are numbers retired by the NY Yankees and all of them sit in Monument Park in the Bronx. Including even Jackie Robinson from Brooklyn, who was so great even his enemy honors him.

The game of baseball is like one of LOST’s secret hidden treasures. It’s my favorite kind of Easter Egg. It explains a lot about LOST when you consider that it originated in the mind of a Yankee fan who was also a hardcore Trekkie. It almost makes sense when you think about it.

According to NotJohnLocke, the numbers and the names in the cave represented Jacob’s List of all the people he’d brought to the Island. We can wait til later to discuss whether NotJohn has a whisker of credibility about anything he says, but whoever is responsible for those numbers and names, it’s clear that someone has been playing craps with the lives of these Listies. And that, I think, is where The Game really begins.

A game must have rules. We’re starting, finally, to learn the rules of this one. The Island is the playing board. There are two sides to the board. Nothing fancy, just your basic White and Black.

It seems that only one side – White – has the power to bring players in from the outside. But once brought onto the board, Black has the power to recruit them. Players may have different powers as they move through the levels of the game. And at the top level, for those who survive the game that far – they can become Candidates. It’s like the way the world chess federation used to select its final contestants by holding a Candidates Tournament.

NotJohn tells Sawyer that the Listies are Candidates – brought there by Jacob to replace him as guardian of the Island. In other words, they are all Candidates to become The Substitute. Ergo the name of this episode. If NotJohn wasn’t lying, then it would seem that selecting a Candidate is the Object of The Game. But I’m pretty sure that NotJohn was not telling the truth, so … basically, we are playing a Game where the Objective is unclear, and the Rules are being parceled out erratically, by rulemakers who all seem to be lying. Maybe the Objective of this Game is to figure out the Objective!

We’re not completely in the dark. Some things we do know (provided we adopt a very flexible definition for the word “know”): The temple seems to be a kind of safe haven for the players. Home base.

A circle of ash protects White from being destroyed by Black.

A player may be conquered, but under certain circumstances he may be brought back onto the board. Is this what the Temple bathtub is for? Is this what is known as being “claimed”? Or is claiming an unpredictable side effect that only happens to some players who are brought back? Was Ben claimed and is that what gave him the power to kill Jacob? Or did something different happen to Ben, maybe because the water wasn’t dirty? In any case, what special powers will Sayid have, now that he is claimed?

Along with bringing players to the board, it also seems like White is the only side that is allowed to travel to areas outside of the game board. But White is always White, wherever he goes in the world.

Black, on the other hand, is a changeling. He can transmogrify into the form of any of the bodies – Alex, Christian, Yemi, John – who were left to rot on Craphole Island.

He also has the option to morph into his black smoky essence at any time, in which form he can Evil Dead his way across the Island, chains clanking and gears growling like the Cyclone rattling down the wooden tracks at Coney Island. (That’s what it sounds like to me.)

He is capable of mass destruction. He has consciousness and can look into people’s minds, and into their windows.

Somewhere in this game there is a No Kill rule. The mechanics of this rule are still mysterious, but it’s one of the first rules we learned. Way back in The Shape of Things to Come, Ben Linus and Charles Widmore had a showdown in a London penthouse.

Ben had come to avenge his daughter’s death, a death that he believed Widmore was responsible for. In a classic scene filmed with a sharp dark/light split, the two men used much of the same dialogue that White Jacob and his Black Twin had used in their scene on the beach. Because Widmore had broken the rules, Ben wanted to kill him, but he could not … because of the rules. Direct murder mano a mano was prohibited between the two adversaries, but everyone near and dear to either of them was fair game. So the rules are old, they don’t apply only to Jacob and his Twin, and Ben, it would seem, understands them. At least one of them.

Strangely, it seems like Ilana does not know this rule. She knows about other things, about candidates and recruiting, but she doesn’t know that the Smoke Monster could not have killed Jacob. She accepts Ben’s lie about it. Clearly, Ilana’s education in Island protocol has been neglected. Unless of course she’s bluffing as well. But it didn’t look to me like she was.

At this point in the game, Black has killed White. He found his loophole, his Substitute, and the White God died at the hands of a mere mortal. But The Game continues. Jacob can’t be like the King in a chess game, because the King is dead but The Game goes on.

However, Jacob’s death has brought a new Rule into play. White has lost his power to bring new players onto the board, and probably as a result, Black has lost his power to change form. Black still gets to play, but he is now locked into one fixed position. From now on Black is locked into being Locke.

I’m still not sure what to call this creature, Mr. He Who Has No Name. I’ve seen some great nicknames out there. Esau, the twin to Jacob. Smoke + Locke = Smocke. Mock Locke = Mocke. Man in Black + Locke = BLocke. I’ve seen him called UnLocke, Dead Locke, DreadLocke. I like Doc Jensen’s nickname of the Locke-ness Monster. Get it? Locke’s like-ness? Good one … There’s no shortage of clever names for this dude, but I still wonder, why is he nameless?

Not knowing the Objective of the Game, all interpretations are up for grabs. Do we believe NotJohn when he says he wants to go home? Where is home? He says he is trapped. Are we wrong to assume that it is the Island that entraps him? Has he been Jacob’s prisoner all these years? And if so, WHY?

Being a prisoner in another man’s body is an experience all versions of Locke can understand. In this week’s installment of OtherLOST, we revisited the life and times of the very human version of John Locke, the way we first met him – a man trapped in a body he can’t use, and struggling to survive within the seventh circle of American lower mid-management.

OtherJohn’s existence is much the same as it was when we first met him in Walkabout. He keeps secrets, and he lies, escaping the shackles of his wheelchair by building a fantasy life of adventure in his head. His ordinary everyday life isn’t adventure enough for him.

Off the Island, Locke risks humiliation with every mundane task – even just getting out of and into his car. He feels fear and anger and shame. He refuses to use a handicapped parking space. Just like the original John Locke, he is raging against the reality of his fate. He does not accept the world as it is.

On the surface OtherLocke is as we remember him, but looking just a little bit closer, we can see that he’s really so, so much different. For one thing, this Locke manages to laugh at his adversity.

And this Locke has an actual Helen. She isn’t just a substitute he pays for from a sexline. She’s real, and she loves him.

She accepts him as he is – and she’s not the only one. Everyone he meets in OtherLOST is good to him. Except for Randy, of course, who’s a douche in any reality.

OtherLOST is a kinder, gentler place. Locke is rude to the company CEO Hugo Reyes, as he’s leaving the premises after being fired, but the jolly Hurley Claus stops and gives him a present anyway.

It’s not a big deal for Hurley to be so magnanimous. Life is good for him. When John tries to ram his wheelchair ramp into his car, the ramp refuses to so much as nick Hurley’s car. It stops a millimeter short. OtherHurley wasn’t kidding when he called himself the luckiest man alive.

We meet OtherRose as well, and she pulls a little tough love on John, but she’s only being cruel to be kind.

She helps open his eyes to reality. Rose still has cancer, but she reminds John that there is still life to be lived. It’s time to give up on miracles.

And live for the now.

OtherJohn and IslandJohn end up sharing the same fate. Both of them end up as Substitutes. We watch OtherJohn learn to embrace his destiny without bitterness. This version of John can’t walk, but he can enjoy the irony of a day spent surrounded by strong young legs.

He ends up making the same friends in OtherLOST. It’s much easier to warm up to his fated friend, when the little nerd doesn’t have any worries stronger than a wet coffee filter.

OtherJohn is blessed. He doesn’t need to look any further than his lover’s bosom to find the meaning of his life – literally.

Peace and Karma. Joy and Transcendent Love. OtherLOST is not just a variation on LOST as we knew it. It’s an entirely different world. A kind of window into normalcy. What would the lives of our characters be like if they were well adjusted and emotionally healthy? If they learned to cope with life’s adversities instead of being warped by them?

It’s the little changes in OtherLOST that make it so much more livable. For one thing, OtherJohn doesn’t seem to have the Bio-Dad from Hell, the way the original John Locke did. Helen mentions that they should invite John’s dad to their wedding, and we see a happy picture of the two in his cubicle cell. So, in OtherLOST, I guess we can assume that Anthony Cooper is not an outrageous dick, and we really have to assume, considering OtherJohn’s lack of animosity, however he came to be paralyzed, it wasn’t because his OtherDad pushed him out of a highrise window.

The circumstances in OtherLOST are similar, but they are definitely not the same. OtherJohn has been treated far more gently by the winds of chance.

He’s not as bitter because he has less to be bitter about … and yet, he’s still a paraplegic. I see a pattern developing. The OtherLosties get where they are going by different chains of cause and effect, and so far it seems that they are milder versions of the Losties we knew, but when it comes to the big bullet points – Rose’s cancer, Kate’s handcuffs, Locke’s wheelchair – nothing has changed. How they got there is different, how they cope with it is different, but where they are is the same.

The Locke we met in Walkabout was angry and prideful. Everyone remembers his motto: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” Back on the Island, the Monster within, inhabiting the clone he made of Locke’s body, uses that same phrase to shout down the ghost-boy he chases through the jungle.

That was odd. Does NotJohn retain a kind of inner Locke that now governs his emotions in this human shell? Does Locke live on in this beast who knew his dying thought?

He also shares Locke’s love of a good sharp edge. Has more than just John’s physical shell been stolen? Is Locke’s old embittered spirit trapped inside his borrowed form as well?

The NotJohn Monster remains an enigma. But one thing’s for sure – Richard is scared to death of him. He looks like a mouse that just spent an hour getting mauled by an alley cat.

Richard knows the history of this creature, and it’s obvious that his powers are fearsome. But who is the Monster? Is he meant to be the personification of Evil? Are we being asked, finally, to make that judgment? After all this time, is the story going to start to shrink into a simple, bold presentation of Good defeating Evil? Is Jacob Good and is this Monster Evil? Whatever happened to all the shades of gray?

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering where and when LOST is going to come down on this issue. It has always seemed to me that conventional morality is more or less irrelevant within the parameters of this absurdist Island. There isn’t a single character who can be described as simply good or simply evil. We’ve had the harsh duality of black and white repeatedly thrown in our faces, sometimes bluntly and crudely.
But I’ve always felt it was going to be synthesized in the end into something approaching the Eastern belief in the co-dependence of opposing forces, rather than in the Western idea that good and evil exist in constant competition.

Now I’m not so sure. It all goes back to the origin of the argument between our two sides. What is the beef between Black and White? The first boy that Locke sees in the jungle is young, and his arms are covered in blood, a gruesome apparition.

When he reappears moments later, he is years older and his hands are clean.

Is it the same boy at different ages? Or is it two different boys? Is this a story of two children, brothers maybe, who – judging by their dress – first lived on this Island in the distant past? Did some tragic event disturb their childhood idyll in paradise? Did some blood feud between them create this endless loop of conflict and gamesmanship in which both are now trapped?

And if so, is the Monster locked inside Locke the Bad Twin we’ve been looking for all these years?

When NotJohn takes the white stone and throws it into the ocean, it’s as if Satan feels he has finally conquered God and earned his dominion.

Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp.
– John Milton,
Paradise Lost

John Milton’s Paradise Lost is the poetic template for Western views of a segregated celestial hierarchy – where God and the Devil may contest one another, but the outcome is never seriously in doubt. God always wins. It’s interesting though that even an old style Puritan like Milton couldn’t help but feel some sympathy for the Devil.

Satan isn’t just a purely evil being. In the beginning, he’s God’s most perfect angel, but it ate him up that Heaven was so lacking in democracy. He was an early advocate for Majority Rules. He was also quite the outrageous egotist, who came to think so highly of his wonderful self that he could no longer bear the tyranny of “Heav’ns awful Monarch”.

He challenged God by taking it upon himself to undo the paradise that had been created for Adam and Eve. And the way he did it echoes loudly into this story that we’ve all been watching. God makes it plain that “necessity and chance /Approach me not and what I will is Fate.” In other words, there is no Free Will that can supersede the Will of God, of Fate. Yet, “free will”, or some mirage of it, is what God has given to Adam and Eve. And wouldn’t you know it? They use that free will to make the choice that loses everything for them. They are tempted by Satan to eat of the tree of knowledge, to know good and evil, and because they are as God made them, they choose freely and are expelled from paradise forever. Free Will, as given by God to man, and by Jacob to his Listies, is a total gyp.

The Monster explains to Sawyer that Jacob has manipulated all of them, Losties and Listies alike, to become stranded in this paradise. He has pretended that their own choices have brought them there, but is there any way that can be true? All of them are on the Island because of the Will of Jacob. He only lets them think they’re choosing. The Monster has a point. How can Jacob be Good if he has so abused the free will of all the people he has brought to the Island? In Milton’s moral universe, that wouldn’t be a sticking point. God’s Will is an absolute. Whether we approve of it or not is immaterial. So is Jacob the God of the Island? And if so, is God now dead?

Has Jacob trapped the Monster on this enchanted Island in order to keep his Evil force contained away from the world at large? Is Jacob a kind of Dr. Frankenstein who created a monster that turned around and made him his slave? Did Jacob have to then concoct a plan to bring a Saviour to the Island to somehow destroy the creature that he could not?

I’m sure the history of this family feud will unfold in the next few weeks. The mystery of the Ghost Boy(s) won’t be solved until the end of the tale. I’ve heard a few different guesses as to who the blond changeling might be, but the most likely guess seems to be that the older one at least is a young Jacob. But who is the younger one, the bloody one? I am picturing a story where the young Monster committed a murder. I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb, and guess that the person he killed was their father. Thus was begotten the Curse of the Daddy Issues and the all around general theme of patricide we’ve seen throughout the story. Deprived of any parents, the boys might have done what boys so like to do – invent Games, preferably Games with lots of arcane Rules. I can picture the two brothers locked in an eternal grudge match made magical by the Island’s spell, but I’m not understanding yet how it ever turned into the death-transcending Game that it has obviously become.

That’s not the only thing that can’t be understood yet. Why is it that Sawyer is able to see the ghost boy? And why can’t Richard see him? I guess the logical answer is that Sawyer can see magical things, the way he saw Kate’s black horse, because he’s a Candidate and Richard is not. The thing is, that doesn’t really explain much, given that we haven’t got the foggiest clue yet as to what makes Sawyer a Candidate. Why is there a Rule that Candidates can not be killed, at least not directly, by Black or White? Was Shannon a Candidate back when babbling Walt appeared to her in Abandoned?

One thing’s for certain. The Island is a palace of illusions, a hall of mirrors. For the third straight week, there is a prominent moment in OtherLOST where the featured character is caught in the reflection of a mirror.

Mirrors have always been an important motif on LOST. Season Six so far is mirroring Season One in the sequence and structure of the character centrics, with Kate coming first after the two hour premiere, and Locke’s episode following next. The Locke who saw the Monster in Walkabout has become the Locke who is the Monster in The Substitute.

The mirror is the way that Alice entered Wonderland, and a big part of LOST has always been about going Through the Looking Glass.

But the reflection in a mirror is an illusion. It doesn’t show us the truth, it shows us a phantom reversal of what we believe to be true. In this episode, as always, Sawyer is the one who cuts through the illusion most effortlessly and gets right to the heart of the matter.

When we last saw Sawyer, he was headed into hibernation in the house that he had shared with Juliet. It’s hard to tell how much time has passed until the next time we see him. Time seems very much scrambled in the ghost of Dharma Town. Presumably the house was last inhabited in 2004, well into the CD era, yet The Stooges are blasting from a dusty turntable that looks like it’s been sitting there untouched since 1977.

In any case, Sawyer seems to have been there for quite some time, sucking up the Dharma booze and pretty much wallowing in his own filth.

I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb
I am the world’s forgotten boy
– The Stooges,
Search and Destroy

Sawyer sees instantly through the facade of the Monster and knows immediately this creature isn’t who he looks like. But he agrees to go along with him anyway, because he’s promised the one thing no one ever gets on this Island: Answers.

The trip that Sawyer takes with NotJohnLocke is full of memories and echoes.

He follows him through the jungle the same way Sawyer followed Locke in Season Three’s The Brig., as he was being manipulated into one of the Island’s most dramatic patricides.

They stand on the cliff above the sea the same way Ben and Sawyer did in Every Man for Himself.

And Sawyer even brings up his own Official Book, Of Mice and Men, which Ben used to teach him something about himself back in Season Three. Sawyer may be hurting right now, big time, but he’s wrong to think he’s meant to be alone. In fact, the Monster is offering him a chance to be part of a team. Among the things this Monster can’t do for himself, is leave the Island. He needs another Substitute, and he’s offering Sawyer the job.

There is a moment, right after Locke returns from chasing the apparition of the boy, when it becomes clear that Sawyer has grokked onto the true nature of the beast he’s following. He lies to NotJohn that he was talking to no one, and NotJohn lies right back about the ghost boy they’ve both just seen. The long con is on, and both sides appear to be playing with admirable game face. It’s still hard to see how Sawyer can succeed in conning an ancient, evil, trapped Island Monster, but I’m pulling for him. Every game has to have a winner eventually.

In the Cave of Numbers, the story becomes unusually literal in its metaphor. Black and White are laid out cleanly on a scale of justice, like big honking symbols telling us what to think. It’s a beautiful scene between LOST’s two most powerful actors.

It’s a moment of clarity, where we get a glimpse for just a second of how high the stakes are in this game. it reminds me of that moment in The Seventh Seal where the knight, named Block (ha!), plays the White pieces against Death in a metaphysical chess match where the stakes are Life itself.

“Is it so cruelly inconceivable to grasp God with the senses? Why should he hide himself in a mist of half-spoken promises and unseen miracles?” – Antonious Block, The Seventh Seal

Whatever meaning we are intended to take from the stark duality, there is something ritualistic about the presentation of the objects in the cave. On the altar, there is a carpenter’s compass, a lyre, a mallet and a scale.

The scale could be a reference to the Tibetan Book of the Dead where, at the moment of death, “The Good Spirit, who was born simultaneously with you, will come now and count out your good deeds with the white pebbles, and the Evil Spirit, who was born simultaneously with you, will come and count out your evil deeds with the black pebbles.” But this isn’t Western style judgment. The soul after death begins a journey that returns it to the endless cycle of birth and death, to the infinite incarnations of illusion that make up human existence.

“Then the Lord of Death will say “I will consult the Mirror of Karma.” He will look in the Mirror, wherein every good and evil act is vividly reflected. Lying will be of no avail.” – Bardo Thodol Tibetan Book of the Dead

Lying continued to be the standard operating procedure for most of the characters in this episode. Sawyer lies to NotJohn about talking to Richard. NotJohn lies to Sawyer about seeing the boy. Ben lies to Ilana. OtherJohn lies to Randy. And at first he lies to Helen. But there was a moment of epiphany for OtherJohn when he breaks down and admits to Helen the truth. He had lied about going to Australia on business, because he had been lying to himself about being able to go on a walkabout adventure.

At the moment when John admits the truth, the doorbell rings, like an angel getting his wings. And at that moment, his “lost” property is returned to him. Together he and Helen tear up the spinal doctor’s card and resolve to accept life as it is. When John accepts the truth, it is his moment of enlightenment. He’s no longer lost; he’s been found.

“Seeing, hearing and feeling are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.” -Walt Whitman

Some have noted that the Cave of the Numbers might be an allusion to Plato’s Metaphor of The Cave. I can see that. It’s like it was screaming “metaphor” at us. Plato’s cave hypothesized a world where human beings were jailed in a prison of illusion, never seeing anything real, but only being shown the images or reflections of a truth that had been manufactured for them by a higher power. It’s a very deep topic, and I won’t offend anyone by mangling it, but suffice to say that with this metaphor, Plato had somehow predicted the modern American multiplex.

He had also, perhaps, imagined the situation as it exists on LOST Island. The reality the Island’s captives experience is the illusion that has been manufactured for them by Jacob. One by one, he’s brought prisoners to his home. Some thought they came of their own free will. Some, like Sawyer, realize they’ve always been the pawns of fate. But either way, they are powerless over their own lives at this point. They are all being forced to play their parts in Jacob’s game, but they can only experience its reality indirectly, because they are all still trapped, all still lost.

Like them, we still don’t understand most of what’s going on. We don’t know who to trust. Both Jacob and the Monster appear to be master manipulators, liars, bluffers and cheats. We don’t know for sure whose cave the Numbers have been written on or who exactly is ticking them off.

Do the Jacob’s Ladders lead to Jacob’s Cave, like the Monster says? Are the names those of the people Jacob wanted to bring to the Island? Or are they just the Monster’s list of each of Jacob’s players that he’s managed somehow to capture? I think it must be the Monster’s cave, because Juliet’s name is crossed out, and Jacob was quite dead before she finally kicked it. Or maybe it was until just recently a shared space, a free zone where both had equal rights.

Either way, one thing is obvious. One of the Candidates is no longer a Candidate. Locke is really and truly dead. For real this time.

And there’s one last question, one that I’m sure was on the mind of even the most virulent Kate hater: Where the hell was her name? Of all the major players in our story, only hers was missing. I am thinking back to Par Avion when Mikhail told Kate that she was not on The List because she was “flawed”. But he told Locke and Sayid they were not on The List at that same time, and we see now that this has since changed. Could it be that Kate was not on The List … yet? Maybe she wasn’t ready to be a Candidate then but now she is. Maybe just as Locke became less “angry” and Sayid less “weak and afraid”, Kate has become less flawed. Maybe she finally qualifies. Because it’s hard to miss that there’s a vacancy on The List at the moment.

Is it possible that Kate is The Substitute? If so, then the six Listies would be Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer, Jack and Jin (I’m guessing). These are the same six we just saw transported via A-Bomb from 1977. It’s probably not going to be a popular theory in a fandom where Kate always seems to be persona non grata, but I like it. I’m going to keep it for awhile, or at least until someone can prove it wrong.

After all, it’s not like any of us know much about the nature of The Game yet. It’s not easy to play a game when you only know some of the Rules. And you still can’t be sure what the Goal is. Or who’s playing. Or which side they’re on. But it’s not like any of us are going to quit now, right? And besides, how much more fun can this get? We can do this. We just have to think it through. I think the best tip on how to play this Game is this one:

“95% of this game is half mental” – Yogi Berra

From TVFrenzy:

  • Jennifer

    Thanks! You’re my favorite re-capper. Because the insights and images in your recap manage to entertain me and make me think as much as the show itself!

    • meems

      Yeah! Ditto!

      • erikire

        Hell Yeah!
        Fishbiscuit rules!

  • rero

    Great post DocArzt! My head is still spinning. I couldn’t help but notice at the premiere on the red carpet, the cast wore black and white and grey (some in blue?). For example, Michael Emerson (Ben) wore a black and white shirt. Yungin Kim (Sun) wore white top and black skirt. Ken Leung (Miles) wore grey sweater with a white shirt, Mathew Fox (Jack) wore black shirt, as well as Terry O’Quinn wore a black shirt. And Evangeline Lilly (Kate) wore a tan dress. Since she is not listed on the wall, could this be significant. Also, Nestor Carbonell (Richard) and Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond) both had blue shirts. Does the actors’ choice of color have any significance to their characters and the “black and white” theme of Lost? You are certainly one to hypothesize, and I would love to hear your take on this.

    • thetrunkmonkey

      This is actually Fishbiscuit, Doc just reposts for us all to enjoy :). The only thing I would add to what Fish said is that in this episode the smoke monster caught it’s own reflection in Sawyers window, just like Locke catches his reflection in the sideways world bathroom mirror. Perhaps this is why Mock Locke says “You can’t tell me what I can’t do!” . . .

    • LostTvFan

      Rero: You do realize this is Fishbiscuit’s usual re-cap right? She has been posting them here for a couple of years now.

      Fish: Absolutely wonderful job delving into an episode that had the feel of Season One. Richly acted – kudos to Terry and Josh – and amazingly complicated. This is the Lost I got hooked on six years ago! The characters are once again driving the story.

      I loved the catch on Locke’s box of office junk. I didn’t catch the polar bear the first time around and I had to study the picture (with my nose on the monitor) to finally spot it. Don’t know how you catch this stuff.

      Also great pick up on the idea of Kate possibly being ‘The Substitute’ for Lotto numbered player who falls by the wayside. Locke has already crossed off his own name and Sayid looks to be toast shortly. It would be a nice double play on the episode’s title, something we used to see more often.

    • rero

      Sorry…I’m new to the site and didn’t realize it was Fishbiscuit. Thanks to Fishbiscuit for post, and also to DocArzt for reposting.

  • dp2

    Very nice! Though I wouldn’t say Holloway is one of the two “most powerful actors” on the show. He has stepped up his game this season and could be a contender by the end, I’ll give him that.

  • dolce

    Excellent. Nice catch on the girl at the temp agency being the psychic hired by Hurley’s family.

  • “Maybe the game is Twenty Questions. Or Twenty Thousand Questions.”

    Nailed it.

  • Wow, what a post!!!

    Hurley’s former psychic and Locke’s current job counselor are the same actress. 2 things… I read in the Honolulu Advertiser (Hawaii’s newspaper) a year ago or so that they sometimes use the same actor because they just can not find another so it looks like a “puzzle” in eyes of the “Losties” as Hawaii does not have a lot of actors for day player parts. Or it could be part of the twist knowing that is the case… clever writers!

    The little blonde boy looks just like a young Jacob AND has the same face as Claire, great casting!

    Again, awesome post! Will prob re-read a few more times.

  • TM Lawrence

    Appreciate the detail, as always. Especially appreciate the Milton references, and I share with you the belief (hope?) that TPTB will not settle into a simplistic dualism: I have long held Jacob to be more consistent with Lucifer of gnostic faith. He is the bringer of light figuratively, advocate of free-will, and the adversary of an imperfect father/creator/demiurge that can’t be bothered with the pain and suffering of humanity. MIB/NotLocke
    fits nicely into this old-testament, judgmental deity role. Jacob’s pattern is to nudge mankind, but always allowing for freewill, not even flinching from the ultimate test at the point of Ben’s blade. NotLocke’s inner monster has always been quick to seal man’s fate and seems to see only black. Jacob’s scales in the seaside cave were balanced black and white, and his own actions are imbued with the same gray scale and ambiguity of the Losties.

    I look forward to seeing how this develops, but I suspect Jacob’s touches and words are as important in the LA X reality as they were in establishing the Jughead reset conditions. His visits to the Losties constitute a series of “Pay It Forward” touches (complete with a stabbing of the originator).

    Kate’s admonishment to not steal, is unheeded when she picks Jack’s pocket. Charlie nearly pays the ultimate price but Jack’s long fingers prevail. She reflects on herself and her actions in the garage and returns Claire’s luggage and is rewarded by avoiding capture and a shiny credit card.

    Hurley receives a blessing and certificate of sanity together with his touch (and guitar case) in the cab. Now even his Hummer has a shield of fortune and invincibility, and he is paying it forward.

    Less cynical Jack gives a little push of hope and a business card to one John Locke for whom it does appear “it’s going to be OK”

    How Sawyer and our favorite Korean couple’s pay it forward scenarios will work out remains to be seen.

    As does the entity that wil bring balance to the force as Jacob’s “substitute.”

  • Frogurt

    Great recap! I have a couple of questions though.

    Knowing how Smokey takes on identities of dead people, is that why Eloise insisted on Locke’s body going back to the island?

    And if Anthony Cooper isn’t such a jerk in the new timeline, what does that hold for this “Sawyer?” Or is it just James?

  • spacebender

    Brilliantly insightful and intriguing analysis, as always!!! One character I wonder about is “171 Straume”. Was he crossed off the list because he refused Bram’s offer to join Jacob’s team and signed up with the (more financially lucrative) Freighties? Also, I wonder if Jacob considered Lapidus a candidate but didn’t have an opportunity write his name on the wall. Also, I wonder who else can and cannot see the boy. So many questions remain, but the next episode is almost here!

    • meems

      Yes, I was wondering why Miles’ name was crossed off when he’s very much alive and still at the temple. Good thought that it might be because he refused Bram’s offer.

    • spacebender

      I was also thinking about those Yankees’ numbers. Locke’s “4” is shared by Lou Gehrig, who had ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). On a lighter note, Hurley’s “8” is shared by none other than Yogi Berra. 🙂

  • poop mcgee

    Does Anyone forget that Anthony Cooper is also the real Tom Sawyer that conned sawyers mom? Does this mean he never conned sawyers parents in the alternate/parallel universe?

    • glueyoureyelids

      I think it’s likely. We’ve seen very little of sideways!Sawyer so far, but he looked like less of a dark character than his original version. So perhaps he’s never gone through the traume of witnessing the death of his parents.

      • We don’t know that Sawyer’s letter in the Island timeline was completed because of Jacob’s pen. This is my theory:

        Without Jacob around, Sawyer’s pen gives out and the young boy stows the letter to complete later. This gives him time to stew over and over again about his loss, build hate and resentment in his heart. He completes the letter later and it becomes his persona, basically.

        In the alt-Jacob timeline Sawyer starts to complete his letter there on the steps and is caught in the act by his uncle, who makes a good guess about what the boy is doing. He basically converts young Sawyer to accept his loss and move on. He gets a second chance to mourn properly and perhaps change his attitude.

        How that changes Cooper I can’t say. But I believe that’s what happened to Sawyer, and I think we’ll see a different, more mellow fellow in him.

        • poop mcgee

          poop mcgee likes that

    • LostTvFan

      Sawyer’s parents were conned by Cooper and died in 1976 — one year BEFORE the 1977 incident that seems to have spilt the timelines. I can see the split affecting events in the characters’ lives after 1977 but I can’t understand how events prior to 1977 would change. Jacob also touched Sawyer at his parents’ funeral, so he is the only character Jacob touched BEFORE the incident, so that touch should remain part of Sawyer’s past even in the AU reality. If that is true, it puts Sawyer in a catagory of his own — in either timeline Jacob touched him. Perhaps that is what will either save him, allow him to affect the end game or make him the only valid candidate.

      • Ed-Mars

        OOOOO! I love your theory, but here’s the thing, if Locke is on good terms with Cooper, then perhaps Cooper never conned Sawyer’s mother and he never lost his parents that way.

        • Jalocke

          yea things actually get really wonky with this time travel business. If they stop flight 815 from ever crashing then that also stops them from ever going back in time and telling the others to bury jughead. And stops Locke from meeting Richard, which stops Richard from checking up on young Locke… well before any incident had happened. Also technically it should stop the traveling of the island through time. And Black Smoke should never have inhabited Locke because Locke’s self-fulfilling prophecy never would have happened.

          Argh head asplode.

  • Summertime

    Great recap, as always.
    Love the twin/Bad Twin stuff and the Buddhism connections.
    And Richard “looks like a mouse that just spent an hour getting mauled by an alley cat”. Perfect description! You made that scene even funnier for me!

  • Eural Joiner

    Absolute genius of a recap – and the Milton stuff is crazy good. Odd coincidence/serendipity: right after reading this I turned on the tv and caught the last bit of a Nine Inch Nails show with the very apropriate lines: “Head like a hole/black as your soul/I’d rather die than give you control.”

    And fear not – after 6 years of writing such a nuanced and fantastic story I don’t have any reason to believe the writers are going to take a nose-dive into a simple good vs. evil duality to wrap things up. I think we’ve seen enough this season to allay that fear. For context just remember Ben’s immortal words in the second (!) season: “Who are we? We’re the good guys, Jack.” Yes, the writers love to play with dualities but they’ve been anything but simple!

  • meems

    FIsh, are you sure that those visions of the boy are two different ages and actors? To me they look like the same Jacob/Claire-faced kid.

    Or, Maybe they represent sort of a Cain and Abel dichotomy? The bloodied armed kid being the killer?

    • Jennifer

      I agree; it looked like the same boy to me. Were two different actors hired for this episode? That would settle it, I guess.

    • Annie

      It was the same actor, but to me he looked strangely tall in the second scene.

      • LostTvFan

        I think we either have Young Jacob or Taller Ghost Aaron, I don’t believe we have both. Don’t forget that Taller Ghost Walt was off the island when he appeared to help Locke after Ben shot him. Aaron is currently off island as well and once again Locke is visited by a child — but maybe this child is not there to help Flocke. The interesting part is that Sawyer saw him but Richard didn’t. Then Flocke lies to Sawyer about his very existence.

        SAWYER: Nobody. You ever catch up to the kid?
        LOCKE: What kid?


        • Seabiscuit

          I believe Flocke was calling Sawyer’s bluff about talking to Richard.

  • Flockeness

    Well, that is a very well thought out recap. You caught the religious undertones perfectly. I’m also happy that there is not even a tiny mention of the triangle in your recap. That could very well be a first! And it works remarkably well.

    “Men tend to think with their … vas deferens.”
    Well you know what they say, two heads are better than one.

    I love your analogy to how mankind coud just be pawns to a grand “God Experiment” just like the ‘candidates’ are unwilling participants in all of this. The free will vs. fate debate is one which Lost does best, I believe.

    Regarding Kate, maybe she’s not on the list because of Aaron? Maybe she’s supposed to be the Lost equivalent of The Terminator’s Sarah Connor? And that rules her out as a candidate?

  • Mark

    “The Locke who saw the Monster in Walkabout has become the Locke who is the Monster in The Substitute” …love it.

  • Dharma77

    What another great read, I always wanted a way to describe the different sides and you nailed it. Yes, we don’t know the rules, but that’s not your fault! Keep it up.

  • fakepsychic

    Hi, just had to register to say a huge thanks to Fishbiscuit, reading this weekly article has become as big a part of my Lost viewing experience as the canon episode itself. Every week after watching I think I ‘got’ the episode, and then I read this and it’s amazing how much depth there is to each week, intended or not!

    I will defintiely be watching out for the character,s ‘moment in the mirror’ in otherlost next week

  • RodimusBen

    Great recap as usual FB. A theory I have about Kate’s name not being on the wall is… maybe it was. Maybe the monster just didn’t show it to James because he knew that it would make James antagonistic to his cause.

    • Gusteaux

      Great recap Fish! Ive read every recap you’ve done for the past three years and this may be the very best one yet! I do hope that your last theory is wrong though. If Kate ends up being the “savior/hero” of LOST it will be worse than a Soprano’s fade to black, St. Elsewhere snow globe vision and Newhart dream combined.

    • notsoshaggy

      A simpler answer might be that Jacob and the Locke-less Monster (that does rock) are somewhat sexist in their selection of candidates–assuming the “Kwon” is Jin.
      Since the most glaring difference we see between Kate and the Listies is, after all, her bajingo.

      • Ed-Mars

        LMFAO! bajingo?!? You’re forgetting the funbags. That makes three differences. Seriously though, the sexism issue is doubtful. There’s Rutherford, Littleton, Burke and Lewis (Shannon, Claire, Juliet and Charlotte) on the list. Even if they are crossed off, they were deemed worthy candidates at some point.

        • Bezmina

          Ah but you don’t know that Littleton isn’t Aaron, or that Lewis isn’t Charlotte’d dad, didn’t Shannon’s dad get killed in an accident with Jak’s ex wife Sarah? How do we know he’d never been on the island? Or Juliet’s dad? There have been generations of people on there presumably. My mind is boggling!

          • Ed-Mars

            To add to the above, Lostpedia has a more complete list of names from the cave,

            It seems Rousseau, Nikki and Rose are also listed on the walls.

            @ Bezmina : I agree but it makes more sense from the writers’ perspective and that of the storyline that the more familiar characters are the ones whose names are on those walls. Aaron is 3 years old in 2007, it’s unlikely his name would have been crossed out that early. The one reason I have for it to be Claire is because her name is crossed off. Because she has been claimed, she can’t be a candidate anymore.

      • Uh, perhaps the “list” is one made by UnLocke as he eliminates those people from the “game.”

  • GeorgeM4

    A couple things that I haven’t seen mentioned.

    1. The earliest time in the timeline of lost (possibly) is the time in which Locke fell into the well after time-shifting. We know that at that time the statue is there but not the well. However, Sawyer holding the rope meant that there is now a strange rope in the ground. What if the well was built and Dharma subsequently found the “source” of the Island’s power because of this rope? Wouldn’t you dig to find out what was in the ground?
    This has huge implications as the rope may be the starting point of Jacob’s story. Exploding the bomb, may have meant that there is no Jacob at all…

    2. A lot of people comment that Kate is not on the list, but what about Desmond? Nobody seems to have question his absence from the list although he seems to have been a very important player in the scheme of things. Maybe there is another “level” to candidate, something like facilitator.

    • LostTvFan

      I have a feeling that Desmond is a wildcard. He was not ‘brought’ to the island by anyone, i.e. Jacob or the MIB. He ended up there by sheer accident; or through the machinations of Mrs. Hawking. Hurley may fall into the wildcard catagory as well as I have always felt he wasn’t ‘meant’ to make that plane. He was the last person to board and only because he put a Herculean effort into catching that particular flight.

      • Tara

        I think with Desmond’s inter-connections with Penny and Widmore, it’s safe to say that it wasn’t “by sheer accident” that he ended up on the Island. Also, the fact that Libby gave him her “husband’s” boat, which enabled him to actually participate in the race, shows that he was given a little push. It’s a possibility that Libby is like Ilana, working for Jacob on the outside, when he needs to push someone in the right direction…She could have been watching out for Hurley in Santa Rosa, or investigating John Locke’s mother who was there at some point as well. I think the cave belongs to the MIB, and all those names crossed off are of the supposed candidates that he has negated somehow…whether by death or disqualification (those who are “infected”, perhaps). I.E….MIB using Dave to screw with Hurley and make him jump off the cliff…and remember it was Libby who stopped him, who convinced him to come down off the proverbial (and literal) ledge. I don’t think Desmond is a candidate, because I think his destiny is to end up with Penny, which may just be the romantic in me. Desmond’s purpose was to push…or not push the button, causing 815 to fall from the sky, bringing the end game candidates to their fate. Jacob said it happens only once, whatever comes before it was progress. Now that Jacob is dead, there is no way for “candidates” to be brought to the Island, and I think this is what the MIB was banking on. He needs to get rid of those who are left, the last of Jacob’s players. Once this is done, the game is over and he can go “home”. But to do this, he needs to play them against each other, because this is how he kills without killing. They come, they fight, they destroy.
        Although Eloise’s statement to Desmond is ominous…”the island isn’t done with you”. Perhaps it has something to do with he being the only one left in LA to bring Aaron back, or maybe even a playpen full of little Losties…Aaron, Clementine, Ji Yeon and even his own Charlie…all new candidates.

        Who knows.

    • Good one about the rope. Whoever founded Dharma (most likely a true scientist) may have made that original dig, discovered the source and worked to study it and in the act Dharma began.

      • GeorgeM4

        Actually, the implications are earlier. Whatever civilization built the statue finds the rope, digs and finds the energy pocket and installs the donkey wheel. Using it, they either collect future technology or become omnipotent/highly advanced. Jacob is one of them perhaps MIB too.

        With jughead exploding, nobody went back, the rope is not there, no Jacob, no Richard, no Black Rock, no others, no army (soldiers were brought there), no jughead. Dharma finds the island through scientific methods, arrives, and finds a pocket of energy drilling from within the Orchid, hits the pocket while drilling and destroys the island in the process. People we have seen on the island, (including Ben, Pierre Chang, Ethan, etc.) never got there since Jacob didn’t bring them, hence they exist in the alternate timeline as completely different people.

        • elginmiller

          In the time when the rope was sticking out of the ground and the statue was standing, wasn’t Locke underground in a cave turning the donkey wheel that was already there?

    • Zoriah

      For me the big reason why Kate stands out as a glaring omission (more than Desmond) is that she was shown in the finale of S5 as being visited by and touched by Jacob.

      She’s the only one of those touched who WASN’T featured prominently on Smoky’s list despite the fact that Smoky specifically points out the significance of Jacob’s visits/touch in referring to the other Listies. All the others have the special numbers and, with the exception of the now dead Locke, are still alive. We were even shown flashbacks of those visits during the ep to remind us.

      So…Kate being not considered a candidate by Smoky or Jacob (despite her own visitation) seems really really odd and possibly game changing.

      Or…as Damon joked to E!Online, maybe Jacob is just sexist. *wink*

  • Bezmina

    Nice one Fishbiscuit, great catches there. Got to love the Lockecentric, I hope John is fighting his way out of his corporeal form. I am also starting to get the feeling that realising he has really killed John has changed Ben, he might turn out to be the good guy afterall.

  • Derek

    “If so, then the six Listies would be Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer, Jack and Jin (I’m guessing). These are the same six we just saw transported via A-Bomb from 1977.”

    this would make sense if you consider the end of season 5, right after Ben stabs Jacob, Jacob says “they’re coming.” keep in mind this was happening simultaneously with the detonation of the H-bomb in 1977. Could he have meant the the Candidates are coming back from the past?

    • Derek

      And, wait a minute, but didn’t Ilana say that Frank was a Candidate in the season 5 finale as well?

      • Think she said, “He might be a candidate.”

        • Seabiscuit

          She did.

    • Lockab

      Why’s everyone so convinced the bomb actually exploded?

      • naultz

        i think in one reality it didn’t detonate. when the losties time traveled in S5 there is always a flash of white light, exactly how S5 ended. There jump to the present island timeline was caused by a flash of electromagnatism, not by the bomb detenation. The reset timeline was caused by the bomb going off.

        • LockaB

          Why would the bomb detonate in one timeline and not in another?

        • Wanda

          Unless the reset timeline was caused by the death and vanishing of Jacob. Or by the island sinking.

  • greg dharma

    great recap. very insightful. good catch on the boys possibly being different ages. i like the seventh seal reference. and its possible the Spanish names were black rock crewmen.

    hate to say it, but a prominent number was missing. 108 = the sum of the other six numbers. 4+8+15+16+23+42=108. it’s entirely possible that this is Kate’s assignment, which would, in effect, make her the heroine of the story. she redeemed herself in what kate does, so maybe now she’s eligible for candidate-hood (which would be interesting as her redemption happened off-island, in the other timeline). there’s speculation that she was purposely left off the list by jacob as a hole card.

    speaking of jacob, he’s Abel to MiB’s Cain, and maybe not as pure in his motives as we think. but how is he a liar? he just doesnt tell people the whole truth, but that’s not the same as lying.

    • Zoriah

      He lied when he said ‘What boy?’ to Sawyer. It seems as though he tells more of the whole truth than Jacob does though. Both seem manipulative to me in their different ways.

      • GeorgeM4

        He may have said “what boy?” for three reasons:
        1. Because Sawyer lied to him just before by denying he was talking to someone.
        2. He might have meant “I don’t wanna talk about it”. In fact his demeanor seems to indicate that.
        3. Perhaps is wasn’t really a boy we saw and he was just indicating that.

        In all 3 cases there was no further explanation because Sawyer seemed annoyed by that answer or didn’t push it because his meeting with Richard would have been revealed. It wasn’t necessarily a lie though.

  • Paulo

    Great recap! I remembered one thing when I saw Richard talking to Sawyer. A while back (S05E15) Richard told Sun that he remembered her friends because “he had watched them all die”.However, he didn’t seem at all surprised to find Sawyer skipping about in the jungle, all fine and dandy. Anyone have any thoughts on that? After all, he was mighty surprised when he met John on the beach.

    • Wanda

      That line has always been problematic. Because Sun asked Richard about Jin, but he’s not in the Namaste class of 77 photo. And Sawyer isn’t either. Only the new recruits are.

      It implies there’s a third (second?) timeline in which everyone in the Dharma initiative dies, after 1978 since there’s a photo for 78 on Christian’s orientation wall.

      This is the timeline where ghost Christian meets Sun and Frank, and perhaps where Sawyer is–in the abandoned Dharma barracks, which were never taken over by Ben and the others. Perhaps because Ben is teaching European history in LA X.

  • Kat

    “basically, we are playing a Game where the Objective is unclear, and the Rules are being parceled out erratically, by rulemakers who all seem to be lying. Maybe the Objective of this Game is to figure out the Objective!”

    Has anyone ever played Mau? It’s a card game in which the rules are not explained beforehand, you learn them as you go by trial and error. This seems to me a pretty close parallel as far as games go.

  • Lockab

    Perhaps the reason we’ve never been given Smokey’s real name is because he’s really a she.

  • briguyx

    On Kate’s absence, maybe she’s listed on the cave walls under a different name. I still have the idea that she’s Ben’s long-lost love Annie…

    More importantly, the recap gave me an idea. In painting the Otherworld as a brighter place in the recap, I got the idea that maybe that’s the world that MIB wants to go back to. Maybe Jacob has made the island world into a worse place for the sake of progress. But maybe MIB would destroy both worlds by crossing over, echoing the fear of the one bunny being two places in the same time and sharing the same space in the time travel experiment video…

  • Alain

    The life of all Losties so far seems to be better in the alternate reality. Actually, Jacob seems to have made them miserable by choosing them. Maybe he’s not the good guy at all.

  • ghmoonbeam

    Perhaps Kate cannot be a candidate because she already has a special role, that of mother — in this case as a “substitute” mother to Aaron. (Perhaps one of many possible substitutes referenced by the title of the episode?) We know that motherhood has significance to our story via the pregnancy storyline and the reference to Tawaret, and we saw Ben choose not to kill Rousseau and Penny when he came face-to-face with their children. And maybe the Littleton that is crossed off does refer to Claire, but she cannot be a candidate because she is a mother.

  • kaptan36

    Oh man, I love the show, but you could write a whole book about all the continuity errors and errors from dropped plotlines and such. Someone should put up a post of the top 20 mistakes/errors in Lost continuity history. The whole Michael off island stuff and Ethan’s timeline would def have to be at the top of the list.

    • LockaB

      How about answering the question of why it is that Sun wanted to kill Ben in Season 5? She blamed him for Jin’s death, but . . . why?

    • Wanda

      Or Daniel Farraday being 26 years old (born in or after 77, returns to the island having been a young PhD and professor and burned out by 04).

  • kaptan36

    Probably because Ben had Michael bring the bomb on the freighter which eventually blew up and “supposedly” killed Jin. Or how about how if the Black Rock just sailed to the island on a calm sunny day, how did it wind up miles inland? And if Dharma died in the 70’s or 80’s, who was sending people to the hatch to push the button? And who was making the food drops? The more you think about this stuff, none of it makes sense, unless they give us the answers this season, which I hope they do. Alvar Hanso? What happened to Dharma and Chang’s arm after the explosion? What happened to Goodwin’s wife?

    • Lockab

      But the Kahana blew up because of the explosives that Keamy and Omar set up, not the one that Michael had been sent by Ben. What was the point of the explosives Ben sent to Michael anyway? Just a big practical joke that ended with the little flag saying “not yet”? And how the hell did Ben get Michael a job on that boat anyway? You’d think if this was such an important mission for Widmore, it would be a bit more difficult to get a job on that boat. But then again, the Dharma Initiative made Sawyer the head of their security despite him not being able to in any way prove that he even existed off of the island. I know Sawyer can be a real charmer, but seriously!?!

      And if Peter Avellino really worked for Widmore like Ben claimed, then how is it possible that he didn’t even recognize Sayid before getting shot by Sayid on the golf course? Unless Ben was lying about who Avellino was, in which case everything that Sayid was doing for Ben off the island is still a big mystery. But something tells me that we’re never getting back to any of that. Was Ilana working for the same people who attacked Sayid at the safehouse and tried to take him? The guy at the hospital who was going to kidnap Sayid also had Kate’s address in his pocket. Was he going to kidnap her next? If so, to what end? Was Widmore trying to kidnap them to keep them OFF the island or to force them to go back or did he have nothing to do with it? Will any of that stuff ever make sense or was it just fun at the time and best to be forgotten?

    • dp2

      I didn’t figure the Black Rock story was finished. DHARMA didn’t die in the 70s or 80s. The Purge was in the 90s, and that just killed the people exposed to the gas, which I’m pretty sure didn’t reach Ann Arbor, MI. We know Radzinski was still alive into the 2000s. Ann Arbor was probably making the food drops. As for what happened to the named DHARMA people — maybe they’ll still tell us, maybe they won’t, but I don’t care.

  • kaptan36

    Where to begin…. 1.) Jack’s beard timeline in season 4-5: Minor, I know, but when Locke visits Jack off island in the hospital, Jack has roughly 2 weeks worth of facial hair. Locke is killed roughly a few days after this, and then his funeral must be within a few days after that. When Jack goes to the funeral parlor he has 6 months worth of beard if not more, not to mention that the week in between he some how manages to take quite a few flights hoping to crash, becomes addicted to pills and booze, loses his job, tries suicide, saves a crash victim, gets visited by his ex wife, etc., etc….. There is just way too much of a problem with this timeline for me to explain here, but if you go back and watch this, you will agree major timeline screw up.

    2.) ETHAN’s timeline. They reveal in season 5 Ethan was born in 1977. Flight 815 crashes in 2004. You mean to tell me that when he infiltrates the camp, that Ethan is only 27??? Really? C’mon man! And where did he get all of this medical experience if no one is allowed to leave the island? In a deleted scene, Ethan even tells Jack that he had a wife who died during childbirth; while this could’ve been a lie, I don’t think that was the intent, what with him working to cure the fertility problem and all. The only reasonable explanation for this would be some kind of off island accidental time travel and he aged when returned sorta thing, but that’s a huge stretch.

    3.) Michael & Walt’s off island adventures: The timeline between when they leave and when Michael returns is absolutely absurd, not to mention all the stuff that happens in between. So if you do the math, only 2 weeks, maybe 3, pass between when Michael & Walt leave and when Naomi parachutes onto the island from the freighter, which Michael is on. Now keep in mind that it probably would have taken a week for the freighter to even get to the vicinity of the island from California, where I am guessing they must have left from; not to mention the day of flying Michael would’ve had to do to get there, because I believe he lived in New York. Anyways… In that time frame, Michael & Walt steer their crappy little boat to rescue(which they never explain), or if you find it more plausible, let’s say in a day’s time they manage to hit another island. Okay, then how with no money or passports do they get home? They couldn’t have taken a flight or any legitimate means of travel without the red flag of flight 815 survivors going up. So you would assume that unless there was some help from the Others(which would be totally contrary to the story), then they would have probably had to have stowed away on a freighter or something just to get back to the states undetected. Which in itself is ironic, because the best way to have explained the whole thing would have been for them to have been picked up by Widmore’s freighter, Michael just simply tells them he’s a flight 815 survivor and about the island, they hold him against his will onboard to help them find the island and take Walt (via helicopter) off the freighter and to the nearest island (since the actor was now a teenager and couldn’t be on camera). Maybe even the boat Michael had taken off the island had instructions from Ben about the freighter and what he would have to do and say when they picked him up, and I’m sure the writers could have found some way Ben could’ve connived him into doing it. I am an amateur writer, and that is a way better explanation and would have also been easier and cheaper to film, but this is what we got; In 3 weeks Michael & Walt manage their implausible journey back to the states undetected. Michael drops Walt off with his mom, and manages to get a job, an apartment, and car, without accessing his own bank account(once again, red flag) and tries to kill himself a few times, and is visited by Mr. Friendly, who also if you do the math out, should have been killed at this point by Sawyer. There is no way, Mr. Friendly could have left the island, met up w/ Michael, and gotten back in time to be killed by Sawyer. Ugh… Man I’m getting exhausted just thinking of every angle in which this plotline was god awful. Once again if you wanted to see what I’m talking about watch seasons 3 & 4, do out the math of the days, and everything that happens and you’ll see what I mean.

    There are many other huge plotholes and problems with the continuity; some which are the faults of the writers (like the setup of Pierre Chang to be the Montand who is missing an arm Rousseau talks about in season 1, and he shows up w/ a prostetic arm in season 2, but never actually loses an arm and the 2 are never connected?!?!); and some which weren’t the fault of the writers, sorta(like most of the religious overtones and the church that never gets built, because at the height of his fame the actor who plays Eko, decides to leave the show to make and star in an autobiographical movie about his own life which then becomes a straight to dvd movie released only in select countries, mostly 3rd world. Way to go with the career choice there buddy).
    Now I know it sounds like I’m bashing the show and the writers, and maybe I’m bashing the writers a bit, but for a show that relies so heavy on continuity and purposely has the audience looking for little things that tie the story together, these things that I’ve mentioned are just major plotholes that could’ve been easily avoided if more care was taken. Having said that, I still love the show, and I will even go as far as saying I think it is the best sci-fi show and primetime drama of all time, with an amazing cast; but you take the good w/ the bad, and this is just me pointing out the bad.

    • Wanda

      I thought Dr Chang lost his arm in the incident.

      The question is what happens on the island after the Losties flash to 2007 (which speaking of timelines really should be 2008–the copter and freighter is roughly Christmas 2004, they’re not rescued until a few weeks later, and then three years pass. Aaron is speaking complete sentences by the time Kate leaves).

      • Sawyer is my constant

        I alos thought that was what they imply when chang gets his arm stuck between the beams in the incident…confirmed for me that that was how things orginally happened (at least hitting the pocket and all that stuff), still not sure about the dang Hbomb….

        Chang has a prostetic arm in only the videos filmed after the incident.

  • Gaurang

    Well composed article!

  • lostdoc

    everybody seems so excited by the revelation that the numbers are attached to our key players, but I find this a huge problem. that particular sequence of numbers had been around at least 16 years prior to our Losties coming to the island (the numbers are what lured Rousseau’s team). if Jacob, or the man-in-black, had been assigning people numbers to find a replacement, and if all the names listed are indeed viable replacements, why would he pull other potential candidates (e.g., Rousseau) with someone else’s numbers (our crew)? why would our Losties numbers be etched into the door of the hatch? if this is the actual explanation for the numbers, I will be extremely disappointed.

  • joe_bones

    i am pretty sure it was just one boy that locke saw twice, not two different boys.

    • LockaB

      agreed. I think it’s a real stretch to have the audience believe these were two different kids considering they’re wearing the same exact clothes and looks so completely similar.

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