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“The Last Recruit” Recap by Gatesy

By gatesy815,

  Filed under: Lost, Lost Recaps
  Comments: 26

All season there has been a theme of nostalgia as we’ve revisited people, places and scenarios we have seen before; drawing on previous seasons to evoke in us a fondness for the show’s history coupled with a sadness for it’s passing. This season has also been character driven; keeping the ‘centricity’ of individual characters for individual episodes. There was no space for either of those hallmarks in ‘The Last Recruit’. In fact, if we are to compare ‘The Last Recruit’ to previous episodes then it is most similar to the penultimate episodes of seasons 4 & 5; ‘There’s No Place Like Home – Part 1’ and ‘Follow the Leader’ – both of which were as equally concerned as this one with accelerating towards the season’s climax at the expense of character arcs and straight out mythology. They are necessary episodes in the pacing of the season – a counterweight to the slower episodes – but certainly not LOST at its imperious best. And considering we have to wait 14 days for another episode I thought we could have been left with a juicier cliffhanger. Never mind. A lot of things happened in ‘The Last Recruit’ yet I find myself wanting to talk about only a few them. Because of the sheer amount of all that took place, this episode cannot be considered ‘filler’. It was more like an episode in fast forward – all plot development and movement but few memorable moments – but at those moments there were we shall hit the pause button to stop and consider.

The man who coined ‘Live together, die alone” seems only too happy to have a one-to-one with the ‘evil incarnate’ Smoke Monster posing as Locke. And it is the form of Locke that most troubles Jack as he heads straight to the question we all want to know; who else has he appeared like? Locke confirms that he was the ‘Christian Shepherd’ that appeared in ‘White Rabbit’. I believed him – he knew about leading him to the water. Later in the episode we hear from Claire that she knows that Smokey was pretending to be Christian to her as well. This probably means that this is going to be the explanation for all the Christian Shepherd appearances – though that does not seem to be consistent with him appearing to Michael in season 4 (that was on the boat and Smokey apparently can’t cross water) and Sun & Lapidus last year (Ben was with Locke at the same time as Christian appeared to them). Perhaps there is still a question mark over these appearances, as there was with Ghost Michael’s last week, but I now think we are getting the explanations that are going to stick. And I’m cool with that.

Claire follows them into the jungle in order that they may have their Luke/Leia moment. Kind of weird. Then Claire repeats an idea that we first heard from Dogen regarding Locke (and from MIB regarding Jacob); once they are talking, they have you. These Saruman-esque powers are apparently irresistible – their very words containing a hypnotic quality that will subvert your own sense of reason.

In the Sideways the story line the most interesting thing this episode by far was Sun’s recognition of Locke and, seemingly, his identity as the Man in Black. How did the revelation come about? Is it linked to love? If so, then why has Jin had no similar revelation? It is more likely that the trauma of the gunshot brought her closer to the truth as did Charlie and Desmond’s near death experiences. Does this give traction to the idea that  Desmond running over John was simply to give him the trauma he needs to see the light? Well, Sun didn’t seem so sure this was John Locke at all.

“You can always bring people back from the dark side. I mean, Anakin…”

Back on the Island Zoe visits Locke’s camp in the least intimidating fashion possible. Locke doesn’t even blink at her requests. (As soon as she appeared I was longing for him to go into Smokey mode and smash her against the trees). The war has officially started, the first shots have been fired and Locke hands out the tasks – Sawyer to get the boat and Sayid to kill Desmond. Sawyer then informs Jack of his escape plan (later revealed to be as bad and ill thought out as we all thought it was). Sayid is reminded of the bargain he made with Locke and treks out to the well; ready to fulfil his evil instructions. The following conversation between Sayid and Desmond is one of the few in this episode that gripped me in the same way the rest of the season has. Desmond directly challenges Sayid’s “dark side” – is getting what you want worth killing me for? Sayid effectively says ‘yes’. Then Des counteracts with an intriguing possibility – in the act of killing him will he spoil the very thing he desires most, Nadia’s love? Time and again in the series we’ve seen Sayid regret many of the things he has done  – and boy, does he have some things to regret. In the Sideways timeline we see that these acts are the things that separate him from Nadia; he doesn’t deserve her – perhaps in the Island timeline, under a Karmic worldview, those evil deeds are what has separated him from Nadia his whole life. They were childhood friends who lost touch. Then when they next met he was an Iraqi Republican soldier, she was an insurgent. They spent a decade apart until the Oceanic 6 returned from the Island. Then they were together mere months before death separated them, seemingly forever. Killing Desmond will not bring Nadia closer to him, it will only drive a bigger cosmic wedge between him and his true love. It appears more likely that Karma, (or the Universe, or the Gods, or the Island) have ordained that he will never find love. Those he loves will die in his arms. And he will watch them die as he has watched so many of his victims perish.

So what did Sayid do? Did he kill Des as he claims to Locke? No way. For two clear reasons. Firstly, I cannot believe the writers would let Desmond die ‘off camera’. We are too invested in this character to just accept that he is dead and not even get to see him die. Secondly, Sayid would not ‘need a moment’ after killing him. Definitely not. Especially if he is totally emotionless and surrendered to the ‘dark side’. One other interesting thing to note is that Sayid was all set to kill Desmond until he let him speak. We keep seeing that Desmond’s actions in the Sideways world are very reminiscent of Jacob’s visits to the Losties in ‘The Incident’. A little nudge here. An encouragement there. Coincidental meetings and chance occurrences. Now it seems on the Island that Des’s words have the power to change minds too. His enlightened state helps him to see the truth; that perhaps there is good in Sayid. If we saw their conversation carry on, you can almost imagine Desmond telling Sayid that he “doesn’t have to do this” and that he “has a choice”. All very Jacob-like.

The final conversation that grabbed my attention was the confrontation between Jack and Sawyer on the boat. It was in season 4 when Jack was determined to leave the Island and Sawyer accused him of sounding like a ‘broken record’; repeating his promise to rescue everyone so often that he became increasingly frustrating to watch. Even though we knew he was one of the Oceanic 6 and would leave the Island we were desperate from him not to; desperate for him to listen to Locke. Last season we saw how much he had changed as he spoke to Locke’s corpse whilst putting his Father’s shoes on the body. At that point he was trying his hardest to believe. Today he does believe. It was so satisfying hearing him tell Sawyer:

“It doesn’t feel right… leaving the Island… I remember how I felt the last time I left. Like a part of me was missing…. We  were brought here because we were supposed to do something James”.

That felt great didn’t it? I loved the way Jack calls him ‘James’ as well; just as John Locke used to. And also it was good for him to apologise for Juliet’s death. He is now owning the things he can’t fix. His training as a Jedi is almost complete. There is just one more task. Without doubt the finale will be about the thing they’re ‘supposed to do’. Who will sign up for the last mission? Who will trek into the jungle one final time to do something that none of them quite understand? I think at some point Jack will have a choice to make – be the ‘Man of Faith’ and do the thing he is on the Island to do or stay and be the ‘Man of Science’. If I had to guess how that choice will be presented I would say that at some point, near the end Kate will be wounded, probably shot, and Jack can either stay and ‘fix’ her or let go and do what he is there to do; reverse the irreversible. But that is just my guess of course.

The long awaited reunion between Jin and Sun was sweet and precious. But like everything else in this episode it happened quickly. Who else thought they were going to be zapped by the sonic-weapon-pylons? Widmore is, unsurprisingly, not a man of his word. They all seem to have forgotten that Widmore was prepared to kill everyone on the Island, including all of them, just to get his hands on Ben Linus. Maybe Jack should be making the plans after all, eh Sawyer?

Next week’s (or the week after actually) episode looks set to centre around Jack and Locke. Perhaps it’s the last ‘centric’ episode we’ll ever get. Locke just saved Jack’s life and  in the Sideways Jack is going to attempt to repay the favour. It is all set for a classic episode exploring the complex friend/enemy – ally/adversary relationship they have. They have always represented the greatest opposites within our original characters. Faith and science. Free will and destiny. Black and white. I hope they can some how be reconciled in one world or the other. Or both. If not then it may well be ‘Live together, die alone’.

Soooo, who is most likely to die in the next episode. No-one died in ‘The Last Recruit’ (well maybe Desmond but I seriously doubt it) so after this installment who is looking likely to go next time round….

Zoe (I hope)

Claire (Does anyone actually want her to be reunited with Aaron now?)

Sayid (If he does turn from the dark side and redeems himself then his arc will be complete)

All comments appreciated (except spoilers and criticisms of my shocking grammar)  – you may well want to discuss why Sun has got her English back and whether or not it was Locke that took it in the first place… or what will happen when Sideways Claire and Sideways Jack finally get to listen to Christian’s will… or whether or not Ilana has any Island world knowledge in the Sideways… or not.

From TVFrenzy:

  • Liz79

    Great recap! Thank you. I must say though that I don’t think Sawyer’s plan has gone so drastically awry. I happen to agree with Jack – leaving the island isn’t what needs to be done and he gave a great explanation. But, let us look at what Sawyer’s plan actually was. He, without any prompting, offered Widmore a deal in which he would bring the MIB to Widmore’s doorstep thus giving Widmore the opportunity to kill the MIB. He tells Kate that in fact that is not his plan. His plan is to get them out of the way as the two sides fight it out. As they become occupied fighting each other the Losties will then sneak out and hijack the sub. Now, it’s clear that they are all conning each other. But it seems to me, even though I think leaving is a baaad idea, Sawyer’s plan is still in place. Sure, it’s a risk. But who would you rather be with? It’s a lesser of two evils really. And that’s how I saw that scene. I don’t think Widmore will kill the Losties. Otherwise why not just blast them all there as they got out of the boat? Which is not to say this can’t change, but I don’t find any big betrayal or disruption in Sawyer’s plan (just yet). Plus it was a great parallel to when the freighter came and Jack and Sawyer were on opposite sides to the should we stay or should we go debate.

  • rooky

    Like you’re recap, like always. I hate this stupid week break when we got promised no breaks this season. O well.

    I think that the next episode is gonna have a few deaths and most likly will end on a cliffhanger. I have a feeling that one of the following could end the next episode…

    1. MIB leaves the island
    2. Someone becomes a candidate
    3. The last episode ever set on the island.

    But this is just me guessing…

  • DeSelby

    Great recap. I have two comments though.

    1. I was unsatisfied by the MIB as Christian explanation, mainly because of the encounter with Frank and Sun you mentioned. But I went back and realized the timeline actually works fine. Frank and Sun left the Hydra island, with Sun knocking Ben out with the oar. Sun and Frank got to the main island, heard monster sounds in the trees, then spoke with Christian (MIB) at the barracks. We don’t see MIB as Locke until after Ben has been found by the Ajira survivors and taken to the ward.
    The whole 316 return was shown in almost random order and was confusing even for Lost, but it’s not a plot hole. Doesn’t explain the appearances to Michael and Jack, but those are smaller.

    2. You said no one died except possibly Desmond. I saw another possible death: Jack.
    Sayid died and was then brought back, at which point he was “infected” and recruited. Claire has been acting weird since her DHARMA house got blown up by a rocket launcher, and we now know she is infected and recruited. A lot of people have theorized the she died in that explosion.
    Just before MIB said to Jack, “You’re with me now,” Jack flew backward about thirty feet after a bomb went off right in front of him. Maybe we’re looking at zombie Jack now.

    • Bakedbob

      Interesting thoughts about Jack dying in the explosion but i dont think he really died.He just looked knocked out and dizzy. Most likely MiB said that because of what claire said.
      Since Jack let him talk to him- he is with “Him” now.
      That would make Jack the last recruit. But Jack doesnt look like he is recruited. We have to wait and see.
      I’m not really happy seeing Jack in MIB’s camp,
      but hey..i was not happy when John Locke died as well.
      Those two are of the strongest characters in the show.

      P.S. How the Flacke are we gonna wait for an extra week for the next epi(c)sode?….
      Holy Jackness.. Mindbending-Nosebleeding Lostness give me strength. lol

      • gatesy815

        Zombie Jack! Great thoughts… similar to how Claire ‘died’ in Keamy’s attack on Otherton

  • spacebender

    The scene where Sayid is about to kill Desmond recalled that it was Sayid who in Season 4 had patched together the communications line that enabled Desmond to be anchored to his Constant. In this scene it was Desmond who, through the questions he asked, was anchoring Sayid to a reality in which he would be capable of being truly reunited with his Constant.

    Thanks for the excellent recap!

    • adam118

      WOW! That’s a fantastic connection. How the hell didn’t anyone pick up on this?

  • spacebender

    I was also reflecting upon Illana, whom I was glad to see in the sideways world. In the original timeline, she is lying in pain in a hospital somewhere in Russia when Jacob visits her and requests her help in protecting the Candidates, beginning by ensuring that Sayid ends up on the Ajira flight. In the sideways timeline, Ilana Verdansky is an attorney who is assisting at least one of the Candidates. I wonder if she will encounter Sayid in this timeline, and what will happen when Claire goes back into labour and if Desmond will accompany her and encounter Ben, and . . . my head spins!

    A search in wikipedia turns up an Ukrainian name of slightly different spelling. Vladimir Ivanovich Verdansky, 1863-1945 was considered one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and of radiogeology, and the first President of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences who played an early advisory role in the Soviet atomic bomb project, urging the use of nuclear power. His son George Vernadsky 1887-1973, was a Russian-American historian who authored books including “A History of Russia” and contributed to the “Eurasian Theory” of Russian history emphasizing cultural connections to Asia. The only direct connection I could find was for the “Verdansky–Ukrainian Research Station, Antarctica” – land of polar bears and possibly a research station that in another universe contacted “Ms. Widmore” when the signal from an enormous electromagnetic event broke through.

    • love it

      there are no polar bears in Antarctica – they only live up North…

  • Aldo lover

    I enjoy your recaps. I used to really look forward to fishbiscuit’s recaps but her negativity has been a bit of a downer and she was MIA last week for some reason. Not looking forward to waiting an extra week for a new Lost episode.

  • lostinlost

    I was wondering why Sun spoke English to Jin when they were reunited. It was strange to me for two reasons; one that she suddenly could speak English again and two because she didn’t know Jin could speak English as well. What am I missing about this?

    • spacebender

      After the bump to the head that caused the aphasia, Jack explained to Sun that the condition was temporary, and would resolve by itself within a few days. The reunion with Jin would have been significant enough to presumably jump-start her speech center. She spoke to Jin in English because the last time she saw him was in the Island timeline after he’d been learning quite a lot of it in the company of the other Losties.

      • lostinlost

        Thanks that makes sense, I think. What do you think about the theory that John Locke’s paralysis is the key to defeating the Smoke Monster Locke. I have read that it was Jacob’s plan all along for him to take Locke’s form. The smoke monster does not know that Locke was in a wheelchair, because after the crash and he was on the island, he could walk. Do you think this holds any water? Will the real Locke somehow converge and meld with the Smoke Monster? Will that be part of Jack’s decision/mission, to not heal John in the sideways world.

        • spacebender

          The connection between Locke’s paralysis and the MIB’s influence isn’t entirely clear to me either, but I look at it in terms of the effects (backwards and forwards in time) upon Locke as a person. That is, in the original timeline, Locke had faith, but it was the faith of a desperate, broken soul in reaction to the betrayals and losses he’d suffered, including traumatic rejection by an utterly corrupt father. Though his faith seemed profound, it wasn’t really anchored in anything (he had no Constant), and that is why he was so susceptible to being manipulated. In the sideways world, Locke was still paralyzed, but he has the love of Helen and even some connection with his father. Though he suffered the loss of the use of his legs, he was not traumatized or diminished by that experience.

          This is powerful — not because the smoke monster is unaware of Locke’s history in a wheelchair, for the MIB seems to possess all of Locke’s memories, including from childhood and all the way up to the moment of death. It is powerful because the decisions the candidates are making in the sideways world appear to be leaking into their actions in the island timeline. The person Jack has become in relation to his son David appears to be mirrored in the awakening he is experiencing in regards to his purpose on the Island — no longer alternating between reactionary attempts to control and fearful avoidance of pain, yet present with those he cares for. Because Locke is actually dead in the Island timeline, the effects of his “awakening” in the sideways world are unpredictable, but it is possible that reality could “leak” in and either impact the host (the version of John Locke that the MIB inhabits) or the circumstance of that inhabitation. It will be very intriguing indeed to see how this plays out.

          • lostinlost

            I have not seen Ben lately. Isn’t he still with Hurley and Co., which would mean that he’s traveling with Locke’s group now? I think he would have noticed some of the losties missing from the group when they went to meet Sawyer. I strangley miss him on the Island. Has he lost all power? Will he do something really amazing in the end?

          • Zonker

            reply to “lostinlost”
            Ben went with Richard and Miles to destroy the Ajira plane so that the MIB could not use it. This happened right after Hurley blew up the Black Rock.

      • wnt2kno

        Could you also explain why Frank had a line in the middle of the reunion? It was almost as distracting as the run to the pylons.

        • spacebender

          LOL! That line was shockingly corny. But I did enjoy the expressions on everyone’s faces in response to Sun and Jin’s sweet embrace.

  • OtherJacob

    I agree that not all appearances of Christian Shepherd are MiB. The most obvious of all in my mind is his off-island appearance to Jack in Season 5’s “Something Nice Back Home”. How on earth could he have gotten off the island if Jacob wouldn’t let him, not to mention without causing “the end of everything”.

  • Rooky

    I’m staring to lean more toward the Jacob and the MIB are one and the same theory. Like a major case of split-personnality.

    In the words of Dogan…
    “For each man there is a scale. One side is light the other dark.”

  • lostinlost

    About the mirros/reflections, etc. Last season and maybe seasons before last, the Lost picture of the Island had a reflection of a city on the water instead of the island. What was the significance of that? Is the Island a “reflection” of another place? Maybe they are not really on an island at all. Maybe that’s just what they and we see. Is it all in their minds’? Is it like looking in a mirror, where we see what we want to see or expect to see? Is the Island under water because it has turned upside-down and is now the reverse image? What was up is now down. It make me think of when Charolette came to the island. Her parchute was caught on a tree and she was hanging. Things looked upside down and wierd somehow. I can’t remember exactly, but she made a comment at that time that struck me as a huge clue, but I couldn’t tell why. Farady, of course, made similar comments about time and light, etc. There are awful lot “Smoke” and “Mirrors”. Some huge magic trick?

  • Awesome thoughts. Very well written. Nostalgia. hmmpf.

    ‘There are those who believe.. that life here ….began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. That they may have been the architects of the great pyramids…. or the LOST civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis.

    Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now, fight to survive, somewhere beyond the heavens…’

    Most excellent assay.

  • Thanks that makes sense, I think. What do you think about the theory that John Locke’s paralysis is the key to defeating the Smoke Monster Locke. I have read that it was Jacob’s plan all along for him to take Locke’s form. The smoke monster does not know that Locke was in a wheelchair, because after the crash and he was on the island, he could walk. Do you think this holds any water? Will the real Locke somehow converge and meld with the Smoke Monster? Will that be part of Jack’s decision/mission, to not heal John in the sideways world.

  • The connection between Locke’s paralysis and the MIB’s influence isn’t entirely clear to me either, but I look at it in terms of the effects (backwards and forwards in time) upon Locke as a person. That is, in the original timeline, Locke had faith, but it was the faith of a desperate, broken soul in reaction to the betrayals and losses he’d suffered, including traumatic rejection by an utterly corrupt father. Though his faith seemed profound, it wasn’t really anchored in anything (he had no Constant), and that is why he was so susceptible to being manipulated. In the sideways world, Locke was still paralyzed, but he has the love of Helen and even some connection with his father. Though he suffered the loss of the use of his legs, he was not traumatized or diminished by that experience.

    This is powerful — not because the smoke monster is unaware of Locke’s history in a wheelchair, for the MIB seems to possess all of Locke’s memories, including from childhood and all the way up to the moment of death. It is powerful because the decisions the candidates are making in the sideways world appear to be leaking into their actions in the island timeline. The person Jack has become in relation to his son David appears to be mirrored in the awakening he is experiencing in regards to his purpose on the Island — no longer alternating between reactionary attempts to control and fearful avoidance of pain, yet present with those he cares for. Because Locke is actually dead in the Island timeline, the effects of his “awakening” in the sideways world are unpredictable, but it is possible that reality could “leak” in and either impact the host (the version of John Locke that the MIB inhabits) or the circumstance of that inhabitation. It will be very intriguing indeed to see how this plays out.

  • WOW! That’s a fantastic connection. How the hell didn’t anyone pick up on this?

  • DRush76

    [“Claire (Does anyone actually want her to be reunited with Aaron now?)”]

    Yes, I still do. I still want to see Claire reunited with Aaron . . . especially since she made the decision to follow Kate, Sawyer and the other Losties on the boat in order to get back to Aaron.

    I really don’t see it happening, but I would like to see it.