Musings and random observations from the latest episode of Lost. A stream of consciousness post. If you don’t want to be spoiled about Lost, please don’t read this post.

You’ve been warned (SPOILERS BELOW)

“The butterfly flapped hard.” That quote is from Memphish on The Lost Community regarding tonight’s episode. A reference to chaos theory and how a butterfly can flap its wings and cause a tornado halfway around the world. Small differences can produce large variations. In the flash-sideways timeline, I found it almost too convenient how Locke was crossing paths with the characters. Then again, you could say that happened because it’s destiny.

In the flash-sideways/ATL/X-verse timeline (Seriously, I’m already annoyed with all the monikers people ascribe to this secondary timeline. I’ll stick with flash-sideways.) we see Locke with Helen. Helen hasn’t left him. However, because of some obvious imagery, I think Helen is unknowingly pulling Locke into the dark. (Due to a catalyst conversation from Rose.) Which begs the question, in the original timeline was it better for John Locke to have lost Helen?

At the beginning of the episode, you think Helen will help push Locke into calling Jack. She doesn’t see it as coincidence that he met a spinal surgeon. That changed after Locke’s dream of doing the walkabout was dashed and he told Helen about it. Locke said he’s “sick of imagining” what life may be like outside the bonds of the wheelchair. Locke accepts who he think he should be, and Helen accepts and embraces this. And then we see the black fingernails.

Why do I think Helen is pulling Locke to the “dark side” in the flash-sideways timeline? The black fingernails were the kicker. (Never mind the “peace” and “karma” on the shirt she was wearing.) Black refers to evil, darkness, the wrong path…Man In Black. It was obvious in the scene, like a flashing light to the viewer. She (fate) has her fingers in Locke. She rips up Jack’s business card and wants John to be who he is. Now, she doesn’t want him to be who he wants to be.

Locke has always wrestled throughout this show with who he is. He’s not allowed anyone define who he is. In the flash-sideways timeline, he finally allows it. This started when Rose and Locke talked and she shared about her “fate”.  She’s accepted it so she could live life. This conversation is why he hung up when he called Jack’s office about getting a consultation on his spine. By the end of the episode, Locke apparently accepted fate in the flash-sideways timeline. At the beginning of the episode, he was teetering between accepting fate or choosing out of his own free will. (Locke, in the bathtub, deliberating between light and dark. Even the mug he was holding depicted black and white.)

Also, by the end of the episode, Locke was not wearing his light colored shirt when he was a substitute teacher. He then meets Ben Linus. Whereas in the premiere it looked like Jack and Locke might form some sort of bond, Locke resigns himself to his life and looks to be fascinated with Ben.

In the 2007 timeline, we have what I thought might occur after the premiere. An alliance between Man In Black and Sawyer. Will any more be recruited to Man In Black’s side? (And, recall Tyler Stout’s Lost ARG poster? It had Sawyer next to Locke.)

Remember the episode of Ben Linus as a kid in season three? He was running away and he saw his mother. Then, Richard, and a few others, came from nowhere and talked with Ben. Richard was encouraged that Ben could see and talk with his dead mother. A sign that he could be a candidate? (More on that later.)

Man In Black sees the kid. Richard does not. However, Sawyer also saw the kid, who I’m guessing is a young Jacob. A sign that Sawyer is a candidate, or has some quality about him which Man In Black wants to exploit.

The kid is obviously someone that instills trepidation into Man In Black. Why would he be concerned if Jacob is (allegedly) dead? Man In Black tells the kid, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” Yet, he had to find a loophole to kill Jacob. He wants to escape the island, yet he can’t. He says he is trapped.  He wants to be free, but he can’t. He can’t, unless he needs another loophole. Man In Black almost strikes me as Agent Smith in the second and third Matrix films. Trying to break the rules, be the anomaly, but yet balance will return. I say balance, because of Man In Black picking up the white rock, off the scale, and throwing it into the ocean. (Still haven’t thought this completely through.) Jacob sacrificed himself, just like Neo did, to his apparent balance.

Man In Black takes Sawyer to a cave, which appears to be a dwelling for Jacob, and then we have one of those legendary reveal scenes. (Seeing Locke in the wheelchair for the first time, the blast door map in the Swan Station, stare down between Smokey and Eko) Man In Black takes Sawyer deeper into the cave to reveal the names of all the characters written into the walls. The names have corresponding numbers, and of course the men that were touched by Jacob have THE numbers next to their names.

Why are the names there, and why are most of them scratched out? Because Jacob was apparently looking for a replacement candidate to protect the island. It was the ultimate list of names. According to Man In Black, Jacob thought he was the protector of the island.

Man In Black thinks the island has no need for protection, but now that balance has been thrown off is that the case? Maybe there is need for protection more than ever. Maybe that’s why there are a number of candidates to fill the spot. And, how does one accept the positions of protector? Man In Black is not telling Sawyer the whole story.

Man In Black talked about wanting to go home in the season premiere. In tonight’s episode, he recruits Sawyer because they want to leave the island. I don’t think Man In Black can leave the island on his own. He’s confined to the land. Now, why is this? How can he go home if Jacob is dead now? What home is his off the island? If he does have a home off the island, then one could surmise that in the flash-sideways timeline Jacob and Man In Black are somewhere else.

Some quick-hitters…

  • If Man In Black is Esau, does any of this have to do with Esau selling his birthright to Jacob?
  • Locke is apparently on good terms with his father. Helen mentions bringing him to their upcoming wedding, and Locke has a picture of him at his office desk.
  • Ben lies about who killed Jacob. That will come back to bite him.
  • Kate is not found by a number. As I read on The Lost Community, is it due to Kate disobeying Jacob when he encountered her as a kid?
  • Ilana gathers ash of Jacob’s body and puts in a bag. This bag is similar to Bram’s bag, which Bram pulled ash out of as a defense mechanism against Man In Black. Is the ash previous protector’s of the island? And, if the ash is a defense mechanism against Man In Black, why would he kick Jacob into the fire?
  • Ben’s eulogy was a nice confession. And Frank’s response to it was hilarious.
  • What’s in Man In Black’s backpack?
  • Why does Man In Black pursue the kid in the form of Locke and not as the smoke monster?
  • Why is Man In Black now stuck as Locke? Is it due to the loophole and/or Jacob being dead?
  • Can Man In Black not kill Sawyer because Jacob touched him and/or because he’s a possible candidate?
  • Is that really a picture with Desmond in the background at the office where Locke is applying for a job?
  • Oh yeah, this goes back to last week’s episode, but when Sawyer was at the dock we heard the sound of a bird real clearly. Made me wonder about the infamous Hurley bird and if that will come back into the story at some point.
  • The kid that told Locke where the teacher’s lounge is, was he a subtle reference to Locke?
  • Locke’s alarm clock sounding like the alarm in the Swan Station was great. The time was 6:15.
  • Man In Black talks about Jacob wasting people’s lives for Jacob’s purposes. I think this would be something the devil would say to people to stop following God. People want to be in control of their own fate.
  • Sawyer saying “Hell yes” was key. Put a period after both words and that’s the path Sawyer could be on now. “Hell. Yes.”
  • “I know what it’s like to lose someone you love.” Man In Black says this. Anything to do with God saying, “Jacob I loved, and Esau I hated.” A number of characters have daddy issues, does Man In Black have them as well? (Depends on if he’s Esau.)
Season six mirrors season one. Season started off with the premiere, then a Kate-centric episode and then a Locke-centric episode. The same this season. The next episode in season one was a Jack-centric episode. In that episode, Jack chases after his “white rabbit”, his father. I think next week’s episode will be a Jack-centric episode. The Locke-centric episode in season one is a pivotal one due to the scene at the end of the episode. This Locke-centric episode is also pivotal due to its scene at the end.
Some Lost fans are already calling this episode one of the best ever. I’m not ready to go there yet, but it was solid. It did make up for last week’s subpar episode.
As always, there’s so much more to discuss and mention, but I don’t have time. It’s after midnight. Thankfully, I already planned to take a vacation day tomorrow…today. Pardon any grammatical mistakes. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “"The Substitute" – Lost 6×04 Thoughts

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