LOST: The Substitute

So, this week’s episode was all about Locke, and what a great episode it was! Locke in the alternate universe and Locke as MiB on the island. First of all, I had to watch this episode twice to fully grasp all of the connections and first I want to point out that in the alt world, we see Locke in the wheel chair and his chair lift gets stuck on the van and he has to jump which is very similar to Sawyer falling off of the ladder on the island when he is trekking with MiB. Also, in the alt world, I love seeing him with Helen planning a wedding and she mentions his Dad in a way that they still get along. So far, this alt world is too good to be true. Could it just be a dream?

On the island, we truly see that MiB/Locke is actually the smoke monster as we see a reflection in the window of Ol’ Smokie and then he magically turns into Locke to cut down Alpert from a trap. It can not be an accident that the writers chose to have Locke turn into the Smoke Monster as there have been clues to their connection throughout the series. Two examples being when Locke first encountered the monster, he wasn’t harmed and almost enlightened by it, and the second being that when we saw a flashback of Locke at his desk job, the sound the monster makes is the exact sound that Locke’s calculator makes at work.

On the island, MiB is seeing a freaky little boy, who at first has bloody wrists, then he doesn’t. Who else thinks this is probably Jacob manifesting as his younger self? The boy appears again to Locke/MiB and this time Sawyer sees him too. Little Jacob says to Locke/MiB, “You know the rules, you can’t kill him.” I love that his response is exactly what Locke has said before, “You can’t tell me what I can’t do!” So, this must have meant that he is a candidate and Sawyer can’t be killed for a greater cause.

I knew from last week that Locke was going to recruit Sawyer first as he is truly lost right now and almost suicidal. I also knew that Sawyer would go with him, what else does he have to lose?

So, Locke gets fired in the alt world and Hugo is there to rescue him with another job at a temp agency. Hugo is just owning everything now, a chicken shack in Australia, the building that Locke just lost his job from and now the temp agency. He goes to the temp agency and meets Rose and he gets placed as a substitute in a school, where he meets Ben, who is now a history teacher. So, that generally explains the title of the episode, but it means so much more. Locke/MiB is also trying to find a substitute to replace him on the island, he wants to go home, where ever that may be.

MiB/Locke brings Sawyer to the cave in the cliff and immediately throws the white stone out while keeping the black rock on the scale claiming that it is an inside joke. Ha! So, this obviously means that he considers himself the winner of the ultimate game, or soon will be. This could also have some tie to the ship called The Black Rock on the island. Maybe he has ties to this somehow. He takes Sawyer into the cave and on the ceiling are hundreds of names crossed out, assumed dead, and six names remaining, Sawyer included as Ford. They all have a sequence of the numbers next to their name.

4- John Locke

8- Hugo Reyes

15- James Ford

16- Sayid Jarrah

23- Jack Shephard

42- Kwon Sun or Jin

It seems that there may be a reason that Kate’s name is missing from the wall. She was also touched by Jacob in the past and they failed to show that again this time. She will have something to do with this whole candidate process in the end, I’m sure. Locke/MiB gives Sawyer a choice: do nothing, take the job as the protector of the island, or go with him and get off of the island and never look back. Of course, Sawyer chooses this one, but Locke is not doing this for Sawyer. He wants off the island and perhaps this is his only way. If he goes with one of the candidates, then no one will harm him and he will safely get out of there.

There was a distinct feeling of MiB representing anti-religion with the statements of stay and protect the island, but protect it from nothing. It will be fine without you or me or Jacob. Where as Jacob has always preached to something even bigger than him is controlling all of this. He is also represented by white. Wearing white clothing and that white rock on the scale.

So, this episode started to answer a lot of the big questions. What do the numbers mean? What is the deal with Jacob and MiB? Why was John Locke so important? Is coming to the island fate? Even though the show isn’t really posing any new questions, they are still keeping us in the dark about the answers to the ultimate questions.

What does it mean that Ben is a teacher in the alt world? If the alt world is the result of the incident (bomb going off) then how did Ben go from being healed in the temple as a young boy to a teacher of history?

Did anyone else notice Helen’s t-shirt when she was talking to John said “Peace and Karma” and she also spoke about destiny; which is a another way of saying Dharma? I don’t know what that means, but I know the writers are up to something with that.

I give The Substitute 4.5 “Where the heck is Desmond?” out of 5

by Angela Davis

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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