As I noted last week, Kate episodes tend toward mediocrity. But Locke episodes tend to be awesome, and tonight’s was no exception (even if, technically, it was only half Locke-centric).
Spoilers from tonight’s episode and more after the jump.
Links and miscellanea
- Michael Emerson did a guest spot on The Soup and it was hilarious. (To be fair, I generally think everything on The Soup is hilarious.
- TV Guide has an interview with Emilie de Ravin about Claire’s return to the show.
- Here’s a timely t-shirt I found at this Flickr pool, where there are also some great Lost-themed valentines.
- Apparently, Matthew Fox is not a big fan of Los Angeles.
- This Late Night with Jimmy Fallon parody takes a while to get going, but is pretty good:
- NY Mag’s Vulture has an interview with Jorge Garcia. Vulture also has a short interview with Terry O’Quinn about the changing nature of his role.
- Speaking of O’Quinn, it turns out that he, too, was in the dark about the character he was playing in Season 5.
- Doc Jensen wrote a primer on John Locke for tonight’s episode at EW’s PopWatch blog.
Observations and speculations
- The episode begins with Locke driving a van into a suburban SoCal neighborhood that looks an awful lot like the place where Locke once, as a house inspector, met Sayid’s long-lost love, Nadia.
- One of our first indications that Locke is different in the LA-X universe is that, when his wheelchair ramp fails, he falls onto the grass and the automatic sprinklers start, he doesn’t cry or lash out in frustration, but he laughs. This is a different from the one who needed anger management. (But if he didn’t need anger management, where would he have met Helen?)
- Recall that Helen (as played by Katey Segal) had previously been in a long-term relationship with Locke, but had left him (and refused his marriage proposal) because Locke could not end his obsession with his father, Anthony Cooper (the con man also known as Sawyer). In LA-X, Helen talks about running to Vegas with “my parents and your dad.” Obviously, the dynamic is very, very different in this universe if Helen and Locke are considering inviting Anthony Cooper to the wedding. But If Locke and Cooper are on friendly terms, how did Locke become paralyzed to begin with?
- Things aren’t perfect between Locke and Helen, however, as John lied to Helen about his reason for going to Australia.
- I liked the way that Locke referred to meeting Jack at “Lost Luggage” and said “he lost something too.” Even in LA-X, the characters are still somewhat “lost.”
- Helen suggests that meeting Jack was “Destiny.” She’s willing to push Locke toward the type of belief that he (would have) had on the Island. LA-X Locke, however, seems reluctant to believe.
- Smoke Monster POV-cam is pure awesomeness. Check out the smokey reflection in the window outside Sawyer’s bungalow in DHARMAville. That was a nice touch.
- Smokie/Not-Locke finds a machette in the jungle that looks familiar. Does anyone know where we’ve seen it before?
- Meanwhile, back in LA-X, John Locke is still working for a box manufacturer and his mid-level manager is Randy Nations, the same tool who used to manage Hurley at Mr. Clucks before the restaurant was hit by a meteor (before Hurley bought Mr. Clucks and the box manufacturer). Hurley’s observation that Randy is a “huge douche” is spot-on.
- Although it only flashes on the screen for a second, on Locke’s cubical wall are pinned two snapshots: one of Locke and Helen on vacation in Hawaii and another of a younger Locke with a beret-wearing Anthony Cooper, probably hunting—more evidence that in the LA-X universe Locke and Cooper are on good terms.
- Here’s an apology that you don’t hear every day: “I’m sorry I hit you in the throat and dragged you off the beach, but I had to do something.”
- It’s interesting that Richard apparently has been doing Jacob’s bidding and running errands without getting any real explanations. (No explanations for the obvious questions? That sounds familiar.)
- Not-Locke’s statement that “people seldom get a second chance” had an ominous sound to it.
- The first time that Not-Locke sees the blond-haired kid, his forearms and hands appear to be smeared with blood. Very creepy. When he sees him again later, there is no blood noticeable. Richard does not seem to see the kid. Maybe this is because Richard is not a candidate. It reminds me of how Locke (and Hurley) could see Jacob, but Ben never could (well, before he killed him, anyway)—Ben, after all, is not a candidate either. Sawyer is, and he can see the blond kid.
- Ben, being a lying liar who lies, tells yet another untruth about the way Jacob died. I can’t say I totally blame him, though. I don’t think telling Ilana that he killed Jacob would be healthy at this particular juncture.
- Ilana scoops up some of the Jacob ash from the fire and puts it into a satchel, the same sort of satchel that Bram had on him just before he killed, the one he used to make a protective ring around himself.
- Ilana tells Ben that Not-Locke carried Richard out into the jungle because “he’s recruiting.” And she seems to be right. Not-Locke did try to get Richard to align with him, just as he tries to get Sawyer to as well, with greater success.
- When Not-Locke goes to visit Sawyer in DHARMAville, sawyer is listening to the song “Search and Destroy” by Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the first track off of the Stooges’ 1973 album “Raw Power.” If Richard is correct in his assessment of Not-Locke, “Search and Destroy” is exactly what Not-Locke is up to. Sample lyrics:
I’m a street walking cheetah
with a heart full of napalm
I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb
I am a world’s forgotten boy
The one who searches and destroys
- Not-Locke finds Sawyer sitting on the floor in a wife-beater, drinking DHARMA whiskey from a bottle, looking completely wasted. Note that this is the first interaction that Sawyer and Locke have had since Locke disappeared down the well in a flash at the beginning of season 5.
- Sawyer is very intuitive, a skill that served him well during his conman past. Even drunk, he’s the only character to realize, and realize almost immediately, that Not-Locke is not Locke.
- Not-Locke seems to be overselling the Most Important Question in the World a bit. The most important? Really? My favorite Sawyer line of the episode: “Well, I guess I better put some pants on.” Josh Halloway owns this character, and has really grown as an actor. He holds his own with Terry O’Quinn remarkably well.
- Hugo “the luckiest man in the world” Reyes is a very easy going guy. Even though LA-X may not prove to be resilient, it’s nice to see Hurley so happy.
- The little sand crab on Locke’s corpse near the 3-toed statue was a nice touch.
- Ilana knows about the temple. Maybe she’s even been there. Ilana and her crew appear to be nothing much more than a subset of Others, though ones who were specifically tasked with protecting Jacob.
- Blond kid (who Sawyer can see) looks a lot like a youthful version of Jacob to me. I’m not sure if that’s the intent, or what to make of it, but that’s my observation.
- Blond kid tells Not-Locke: “You know the rules. You can’t kill him.” Of course, we don’t get any of the required antecedent to make sense of this statement. Here’s one theory: the Man in Black is trapped on the island as long as the island is protected. To make sure that it won’t be protected, he has taken it upon himself to hunt down and kill each of the people on Jacob’s list—each of the candidates—so that the island will go unprotected and he can free himself.
- Not-Locke responds in very Lockean style: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”
- Richard tries to get Sawyer to go to the Temple and tells Sawyer that Not-Locke will kill him and “everyone you care about&dmash;everyone you care about, and he won’t stop—” This fits nicely with the Candidate-Search-and-Destroy theory above.
- Back in LA-X, Locke is at the temp agency trying to get a job. After losing patience with the lower-level agent, Locke speaks with the office supervisor, who turns out to be Rose. It’s interesitng that even in the LA-X universe, all of the characters’ lives are still intertwined. And they follow basically the same trajectories as they did before, with really only slight variations.
- Rose has come to terms with her terminal cancer and is successful in getting Locke to accept his own limitations.
- Sawyer tells Not-Locke about the novel Of Mice and Men. The book has be referenced a couple of times before. Sawyer was reading it in prison in Arizona during a flashback in the third season, then Ben quotes a passage from the book to Sawyer while playing mind games with him on Hydra Island. Sawyer’s retelling to Not-Locke twists the story’s ending: George doesn’t kill Lenney because Lenny is slowing him down, but as a mercy killing to spare Lenny from the angry mob that is after him for accidentally killing the farmer’s daughter.
- Not-Locke: “What I am is trapped. … But before I was trapped, I was a man, just like you.”
- Ilana claims that the Man in Black can’t change his face anymore, that “he’s stuck this way” (in Locke’s image). This is interesting, but also curious. Last season, when Ben confronts the Smoke Monster, many of speculated that the Locke made himself scarce in Clark Kent-like fashion right before Ben’s visit, and the Smoke Monster took on the image of Alex in order to persuade Ben. If that’s the case, then Ilana’s statement doesn’t seem to make much sense. Unless this condition only becomes permanent after Jacob is killed.
- Ilana, Ben, Sun and Lapidus visit the beach graveyard to bury Locke’s body. Also buried there include Boone, Shannon, Ana Lucia, Libby, Nikki and Paolo.
- Ben’s eulogy was brilliant: “John Locke was a believer, he was a man of faith. He was a much better man than I will ever be. And I’m very sorry I murdered him.” I also liked Lapidus’ aside: “The weirdest damn funeral I’ve ever been to.”
- Back in LA-X, when Locke makes an aborted attempt to call Jack’s office, Helen confronts him about it. She’s wearing a t-shirt that says “Peace & Karma,” extending the theme earlier in the episode that she could be a catalyst for Locke’s belief in destiny.
- Locke admits that he didn’t go to the conference, but also was unable to go on his walkabout. In fact, it seems to have gone down pretty much the way it did prior to the crash of Oceanic 815.
- Anyone else think that Not-Locke was setting Sawyer up for a nasty spill down some seaside volcanic rock? I think that’s what we were meant to think. But instead, Not-Locke was guiding Sawyer to Jacob’s ocean-view cave.
- Wry and funny moment: when Not-Lock/The Man in Black removes the white rock from the scales and throws it out to sea, then refers to it as an “inside joke.” The black/white theme has been around since that original exposition of Locke’s to Walt on the game of backgammon. Recall also that Jack found two stones, one black and one white along with the remains of Adam and Eve in the Cave.
- Inside Jacob’s sea-cave is, apparently, the notorious “Jacob’s list.” And, interestingly, the Numbers correspond to Oceanic 815 survivors, as follows:
4 – (John) Locke
8 – (Hurley) Reyes
15 – (James) Ford (aka Sawyer)
16 – (Sayid) Jarrad
23 – (Jack – long odds on Christian) Shepard
42 – (Jin or Sun) Kwon
Not-Locke says that “Jacob had a thing for numbers.”
- In the final LA-X scene, Locke is seen working as a substitute teacher in an LA high school. There, he meets Ben Linus, a European History teacher. It’s a funny moment, but it’s also a head-scratcher. How does Ben Linus come to be teaching in LA, in this timeline? Think about it, young Ben seemed to be in the care fo the Others (where he was brought by Kate after being shot by Sayid) at the time of the Incident in 1977. How could he be off-island? I suppose there’s a small possibility that he was reintroduced to the DHARMA people in time to be sequestered on the sub with the last few evacuees, but it doesn’t seem likely.
- Back in Jacob’s cave, we get close-ups of Jacob’s list. Some of the crossed-out names are identifiable as well, including:
Littleton (Claire? Aaron’s also a possiblity. He could be crossed off because he’s gone off-island.)
Troup (presumably Gary, author of Bad Twin, sucked into the jet engine of Oceanic 815)
Goodspeed (Horace, Olivia and Ethan are all possibilities here)
Lewis (possibly Charlotte or one of her parents)
Jones (a soldier in the U.S. army, killed by the Others)
There were also some names that I didn’t recognize, including O’Toole, Dominguez,
- Not-Locke tells Sawyer that there’s really nothing to protect the island from and that “it will be perfectly fine without Jacob, or you, or any of the other people whose lives he wasted.” This could be part of the Man in Black’s deceit. Or it could be true. I’m confident that at some point, we will find out.
- Not-Locke also tells Sawyer that “together,” they can get the hell of the Island. It’s clear that the Man in Black can’t do it on his own, only with help. It’s not clear that what he wants is realy in the best interest of Sawyer, or anyone else.
- Just one last speculation: it makes sense that if the Losties are “candidates” that the Temple Others would feel compelled to protect them. Notably absent from the list is Kate, which means she’s in a perilous situation.
I thought this episode was excellent. Unlike last week’s episode, there was no question about the meaning of The Substitute. The title works on several levels. Locke becomes a substitute teacher, but six main characters are also listed as potential “substitutes” for Jacob. Not-Locke is a substitute for Locke.
What do you think? Was this enough new information to start to bring everything into focus? What did it leave you most curious about?