Lost: "The Substitute"

    It’s hard not to like a Locke-centric episode.

    Ever since season one’s stellar “Walkabout,” Locke has been one of my favorite characters, so it’s nice to see him alive and well in the flash-sideways. Though I still think the flash-sideways are taking the plot nowhere, this episode cranks out a great storyline for Locke in the alternate timeline.

    In fact, seeing Locke happily engaged to Helen and interacting with Hurley, Rose and Ben was more entertaining than watching Flocke drag Sawyer to a cliff-side cave with the promise of answers, though that plotline wasn’t without some great scenes.

    For one thing, the Flocke/Sawyer scenes gave us Tonight’s Epic Quote, courtesy of Flocke: “What if I told you I was the person who could answer the most important question in the world? … Why are you on this island?”

    It’s what drives the mystery of the entire episode. Here’s what happened:

    On the Island Timeline:

    Flocke cuts down a badly beaten Richard; they discuss Jacob. Flocke goes to the Barracks and convinces Sawyer to accompany him to find out why he is on the Island. On the way, they both see a bloody boy, who tells Flocke to follow the rules.

    Richard warns Sawyer that Flocke will kill him. Sawyer, though suspicious, follows Flocke anyway. They the cliff-side cave, where Flocke shows Sawyer Jacob’s list. Sawyer is shocked and decides to join Flocke’s mission to leave the Island.

    Meanwhile, Sun, Frank, Ilana and Ben bury Locke’s body. Ilana mourns Jacob’s death, says that Flocke must be “recruiting,” and tells Sun that Jin is at the Temple. Ben also apologizes for murdering Locke.

    Flash-Sideways Timeline:

    Locke still works at a box company under Randy Nations and is still paralyzed from the waist-down. However, here he is also engaged to Helen, has went on a walkabout, gets fired by Randy for doing so, gets a job again through Hurley and Rose (!), and becomes a substitute teacher at a school where he encounters Ben (!), a European History teacher (!!). Oh, and he tears up Jack’s business card, refusing his help; this Locke apparently doesn’t believe in destiny.

    The Awesome:

    • Locke, Locke, Locke. The flash-sideways are brilliant; I’m a sucker for any appearance made by dead characters (i.e. Boone, Charlie).
    • Hurley in a suit, badmouthing Randy + Rose as a supervisor, talking about her illness + Ben as a teacher, bitching about a coffee pot = an entertaining flash-sideways.
    • The Smoke Monster perspective at the beginning of the episode was beyond cool.

    The Confusing:

    • Who is that bloody boy Flocke keeps running into?
    • Ilana says that Flocke is “recruiting.” Recruiting for what?
    • Why doesn’t Richard know everything about Jacob, yet blindly follows his orders?
    • Flocke says, “What I am is trapped.” What does that mean?
    • What’s with the numbers and names (4-Locke, 8- Reyes, 15- Ford, 16- Jarrah, 23- Shephard, 42- Kwon) written on the cave walls? Why isn’t Kate on the list, even though Jacob visited her before?
    • Are Jin and Sun the new Desmond and Penny? They haven’t been together for over a season.
    • How did Jacob protect the Island? Does the Island need protection?

    Few questions answered, a hundred new ones asked. Like Charlie once said: Terrific.


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