“Recon” Recap and Analysis …
I’m not sure if Chris Kirkman is putting the finishing touches on his “tyme masheen” or if these Sawyer episodes just hit too close to home for him, but whatever the case, Chris has asked me to help out with this week’s post. I’ll be providing the in-depth recap and a few quick bits of analysis, then Chris will come in at the end of the column with the expert analysis and insightful, coherent thoughts you’ve come to expect from Down the Hatch.
I realize that seeing my name and photo at the top of this post instead of Kirkman’s probably gives you the same reaction I get whenever I turn on PTI and see Dan Le Batard’s face, but I promise to do my best to not suck too badly. Anyway, without further ado …
Previously, on Lost: Well, they seem to have skipped the “Previously, on Lost” bit, at least on the ABC.com feed, but if you missed last week’s episode, Michael Emerson put on an acting clinic and managed to make us feel sorry for that smarmy bastard Ben Linus. Then, Charles Widmore showed up Bond villain style in his own submarine with what we can only assume are nefarious intentions.
This week, on Lost: The episode begins with Sawyer making two delicious cups of coffee and bringing one to Jin, who is just beginning to wake up. When Sawyer tells Jin that MIB and Claire are on their way back, Jin says they need to get out of there ASAP. Sawyer tells him not to worry, he’s with MIB and they are all going to leave the island together. Jin says he won’t leave without Sun and Sawyer, the old softie, promises to help find her. Then, MIB, Claire, Kate and the rest of Team Black Hat return from their slaughter at the Temple.
We shift to LA X, which offers us a familiar scene. Our favorite conman is in bed with a beautiful woman, who makes sure to do the old network TV trick where she conveniently covers up her naughty bits with a blanket so as not to offend parent groups and television censors. Sawyer breaks out the old “you weren’t exactly supposed to see” this unlatched suitcase full of cash routine, but his beautiful conquest isn’t buying it. She pulls a gun on him and tells him she’s married to a conman and she knows a pigeon drop when she sees one.
AlternaSawyer tells her that she’s got this all wrong. He’s a cop and this is a set up. This hotel room is bugged, the briefcase has a tracer that will lead them back to her husband and all Sawyer has to do is say the magic word and cops will swarm in and take her down. The lady isn’t buying it, so Sawyer says, “LaFleur,” causing AlternaMiles and a SWAT team to bust in and take her down.
“Detective James Ford is a wisecracking bad boy who plays by his own rules. His partner, Miles Straume, is a no-nonsense martial arts expert who can communicate with the dead. Together, they’re about to take down LA’s biggest fugitive, a cold-blooded home wrecker/parent killer known only as Freckles.”
Back on the island, Claire grabs some rope and a knife and checks on her creepy squirrel baby. Kate walks up and gets all judgey, asking Claire what the hell that thing is, to which Claire somberly replies: “It’s all I had.” Then MIB rallies the troops and says he knows everyone had a rough night, but he’s here to answer any questions they have. Cindy the stewardess asks what happened to the people at the Temple and MIB tells her that sadly the black smoke killed them. Then he flashes his trademark John Locke smile to quiet any remaining fears. Kate asks Sawyer why he’s with this guy, but Sawyer explains he’s not with anyone.
Not much of a looker, but at least he has his mother’s eyes.
Over in LA X, Detective James “Don’t call me Sawyer” Ford is cold calling Anthony Coopers to find out if they were in Alabama in 1976. His partner, Miles, asks him what he’s doing and Jim explains that Anthony Cooper is an old friend who has a pair of Lakers tickets. Miles asks Jim about his trip to Palm Springs, which Ford blanks on before remembering that Palm Springs was his cover story for his secret trip to Sydney. Miles goes on to tell Jim that he’s setting him up on a blind date with someone who works with his dad at the museum. (So apparently, Dr. Chang made it off the island and got a job working at a museum. I wonder if he still has both hands.)
On the island, MIB pulls Sawyer aside for a private chat. After admitting that he is “the smoke thing” and defending his decision to kill all those people back at the Temple, MIB tells Sawyer that he needs him to head over to Hydra Island to do some recon on the remaining survivors of the Ajira flight.
In LA X, Det. James Ford shows up to meet his blind date. Filling this week’s quota of surprise cameos from former cast members, James’ blind date is Charlotte. (I’m guessing he’s thankful it wasn’t Keamy, even if that guy can make some killer eggs.) Charlotte and Jim hit it off instantly. She compares her archeological work to Indiana Jones, which leads to a bawdy discussion on how they could best use her whip. Then James claims he became a cop because of the Steve McQueen flick Bullitt, but Charlotte isn’t buying it. She digs a little deeper and gets him to confess that he was at a crossroads in his life where he could either become a criminal or a cop and he chose cop. This honesty causes Charlotte to flash him the bedroom eyes and before you know it, they are back at James’ apartment playing “bury the artifact.”
AlternaCharlotte is not a fan of subtlety. This is a look that says: “It’s business time.”
Things go well until Charlotte goes looking for a t-shirt and accidentally discovers Det. Ford’s “Sawyer” file. He comes back in the room, finds her flipping through his secret folder and tells her to get the hell out of his apartment.
Back on the island, Kate starts up a conversation with Sayid, but his vacant, emotionless responses creep her out. Before she has time to process what is going on with Sayid, Claire tackles her from behind and pulls a knife on her. That’s right, kids, for the 24th time in this show, someone has managed to capture ol’ Freckles. At least Claire is spicing things up and using a knife instead of a gun. MIB makes the save, then he lectures Claire for her inappropriate behavior and he gives her a nice hard slap across the face to really drive his point home.
On Hydra Island, Sawyer finds Kate’s old dress in the bear cages and briefly gets nostalgic. Then, he makes his way to the Ajira plane and finds a pile of bodies nearby. He spots a woman running through the jungle and tackles her. She claims to be the last remaining survivor of the Ajira flight.
First Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was on Lost and now here’s Tina Fey.
In LA X, we are treated to another surprise cameo – it’s Liam, down at the police station hoping to get some information on Charlie, who we all remember was arrested during the season premiere. Det. Ford tells Liam that’s not his department. Miles grabs Jim and tells him that he’s a loose cannon, which is why he’s pulling him off the Mendoza case and suspending him indefinitely … wait no, Miles tells him that he knows all about the trip to Sydney and until Jim can be honest with him, they aren’t partners anymore.
Back on Hydra Island, the alleged Ajira survivor Zoey and Sawyer attempt to get information from each other. Finally, Sawyer tires of their little charade and he tells Zoey that he knows she’s lying; she wasn’t on that plane. Before Zoey can say “LaFluer,” her heavies pop out of the jungle with guns drawn on Sawyer. He drops his weapon and sarcastically demands that they take him to their leader.
Meanwhile, MIB and Kate have a heart-to-heart on the beach. First, he apologizes for Claire’s behavior, explaining that he gave her something to hate in order to keep her going after she lost Aaron and once Claire found out it was Kate, and not The Others, who took her baby, all of that hatred transferred over to her. Then, he explains that he wasn’t always a smoke monster. In fact, long ago he had a mother who was very disturbed, which caused certain growing pains and emotional problems. And now Aaron has a crazy mom too.
We cut back to Det. Ford, who is eating a depressing TV dinner and watching Little House on the Prairie (which is a nice nod to many, many seasons ago, when he admitted to Kate that he watched “Little House”). He decides to head over to Charlotte’s house to give her another chance, but his “sad sunflower and puppy dog eyes” aren’t enough to win over our fiery redhead. You blew it, she says. And somewhere, AlternaDaniel rejoices.
He leaves the sad sunflower, but holds on to the beer. Smart man.
We cut to the sub, where Sawyer comes face-to-face with Charles Widmore. Sawyer offers him a deal – he’ll tell MIB that the coast is clear and lead him right to Widmore, then Widmore can get the jump on MIB and kill him. In return, Charles must promise not to harm Sawyer or anyone else with MIB and he must provide them all with safe passage off the island. Widmore says they have a deal.
Sawyer then heads right back to the main island and tells MIB about his deal with Widmore. He warns MIB about the six armed guards, the sonic fence they are constructing and the secret locked room on the submarine. Sawyer suggest that MIB use this information to catch Widmore with his pants down. MIB thanks him for his loyalty. Heh.
In our alternate timeline, Det. Ford pulls Miles into his car and finally tells him all about his Sawyer file. He says that he’s been looking for Anthony Cooper ever since he graduated from the academy and once he finds that son of a bitch, he’s going to kill him. He didn’t tell Miles because he knew Miles would try to talk him out of it.
Before they have time to hug it out, a car crashes into the back of them and JESUS CHRIST IT’S KATE! You have got to be kidding me. That U.S. Marshal must have been awful at his job because Kate is the worst fugitive I’ve ever seen. She practically captures herself. With a minimal amount of effort, Det. Ford is able to nab Kate, bringing us to a nice even 25 captures. Upon seeing what a sultry fugitive he’s just nabbed, James delivers the sexiest “son of a bitch” we’ve ever heard.
Back on the island, Kate is cooking up some rabbit for dinner. She asks Sawyer why he is acting as MIB’s errand boy. Sawyer explains that he isn’t running errands for anyone, he’s pitting MIB and Widmore against each other so that while those two duke it out, he and Kate can get off this island. Kate reminds him that neither one of them can fly a plane. Not to worry, Sawyer explains, they’re taking the sub.
Cue the THONK!
BEST LAID PLANS
I hate to break it to Sawyer, but bringing the girl who always gets captured along as you attempt to allude both Charles Widmore and the Smoke Monster probably isn’t the best game plan. Besides, the last time these two were on a sub together, Kate talked him into heading back to the island, a decision which ultimately led to Juliet’s death. And the only reason Kate was on that sub in the first place is because she had just been captured by the Dharma Initiative. So yeah, take her along with you on your escape, Sawyer – what could possibly go wrong?
IT ONLY ENDS ONCE
A little bit later in this post, Kirkman is going to talk to you about the Quantum Leap theory we discussed on one of our podcasts (that’s right, I totally skipped ahead and read his stuff first). But there is another theory floating around that I’ve been tossing back and forth in my head. What if these flash-sideways aren’t really an alternative reality? What if they are actually the ultimate reality?
I keep thinking back to a line Jacob said at the beginning of “The Incident.” He tells MIB: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”
What if these flash-sideways are really, in a way, flash-fowards? What if they are showing us the ending of the show? A big part of this final season has to do with these characters choosing sides for a final showdown between good and evil. Maybe once the battle is over, they all get to return to their lives off the island. Perhaps LA X is really their epilogue.
We keep seeing characters get a shot at redemption in these flash-sideways. This week, Sawyer got to be a cop instead of a criminal and he has Miles around to presumably talk him out of going down another dark path by killing Anthony Cooper. Last week, Ben got a chance to choose Alex over his own ambition, setting right a horrible choice he made back in season four. Before that, we saw Jack become a loving father and Locke a loving husband to Helen. We also briefly saw that Hurley’s lottery winnings are a blessing, not a curse this time around. These lives could be their reward for choosing the right side in the final battle. Meanwhile, AlternaSayid is still a killer who must watch Nadia raise a family with his brother and Kate is still a fugitive (and a lousy one, at that). Perhaps they are being punished for choosing the wrong side in the battle.
Not sure if that is the case or not, but it’s at least worth considering. At this point, it makes as much sense as any other theories floating around about the significance of this alternate timeline.
Okay, enough of my ramblings. Thanks for indulging me this week, but it’s time to hand this thing back over to the master, Chris Kirkman …
So, AlterniSawyer gets to play LaFleur in real life. Huh. That’s a neat twist. I think that it only strengthens the quantum loop/string entanglement theme that I’ve been spouting off about forever. This turned out to be a really fun episode that took a look at what would happen if Sawyer had chosen to get his revenge through the side of good rather than outlandish selfishness.
Moving onto analysis, there’s not a ton of concrete theory to latch onto from this episode, but I have a few tidbits rolling around in the ol’ noggin. Let’s get to it, shall we?
MIB mentions to Sawyer that he had to do what a smoke monster has to do and killed the Temple Others because it’s kill or be killed, and that he doesn’t want to be killed. In the sub, Sawyer says that he could walk MIB right over to Widmore so he could kill him. They’re setting up sonic pulse beacons, like those in the jungle, that we know can damage Ol’ Smokey. And you can bet that whatever is behind those locked doors is something really special for MIB. All of this equals that MIB can be killed and Widmore has the know-how and the technology to do it. The question is – what’s the correct formula to take him down?
This all relates to the powers that MIB has in his different forms. Obviously, if he’s in human form he can do whatever Locke could do – fistfights, gunfights, etc. He’s also apparently impervious to harm from normal weaponry, if Sayid’s dagger is any indication. There has been speculation that hearing MIB’s voice before death makes it impossible for the bearer of a weapon to defeat him, but we don’t know that for certain. As Ol’ Smokey, he is very powerful, able to traverse great distances, toss people around like rag dolls and generally create a real mess. However, we also know that in his smoke form, MIB is susceptible to the soundwaves since we’ve seen him turned back by the sonic fence in season three. He’s also apparently susceptible to the special ash that Jacob’s followers tote around.
I’m still not fully convinced it was the sonic fence that sent Ol’ Smokey packing. It was probably just our beautiful, badass Juliet.
Light and dark. Good and bad. Bitter and sweet. Truth and lies. Complex. Regardless of which universe you happen to be observing, all these things are characteristics of one particular Oceanic survivor: our lovable rapscallion, Sawyer. Whether he’s conning the good guys out of money, or conning some bad guys out of, well, money, James Ford has continued ever toward his ultimate goal – vengeance. After a couple of this week’s drinks, your head will be seeking vengeance on the rest of your body.
- 1/2 jigger dark rum
- 1/2 jigger of Kahlua and Bailey’s mixed
Toss that dark rum into a tall shot glass and let it sit there, brooding, thinking about what it’s done. Don’t drink it, though, it’s much too strong for you right now. Mix the Kahlua (to add that little bit of caffeinated spark) and some Bailey’s (for a smooth sweetness) and pour that slowly over a spoon to layer on top. You should have a layered, light and dark, bitter and sweet, and overall marvelously complex shot.
The sonic fences are an interesting point to come back to, if only for the sole reason of comparing that with the theory that MIB’s voice has power of some sort to render his attackers powerless. Both forms of attack and defense have to do with sound. Ol’ Smokey is also particularly loud when he’s tear-assing around the jungles and temples, spreading that rickety cricket and battle horn whenever he’s about to attack. It will be interesting to see how the sonic fence comes into play with MIB. Can they harm him when he is in human form? Can anything really harm him when he’s in human form? Perhaps that’s part of the limitations he has as a humanoid – he gains near-invulnerability, but at the sake of true killing power. As Ol’ Smokey, he can kick the crap out of multiple hostiles, acting out his own Ali-like Rumble in the Jungle, but he can seemingly be trapped, wrangled and possibly destroyed by the power of the sonic beacons.
FROM DADDY ISSUES TO MOMMY ISSUES
So let’s talk about MIB’s sob story about his mother, as told to Kate. He seemed to get real choked up about his mommy, which is a very different theme than among the Oceanic set. Most of them have daddy issues, which leads me to believe that this generation of “candidates” drawn to the Island may have been drawn there because they would be susceptible to coercion by two powerful, fatherly figures. On the flip side of that, it’s interesting to note that no mother was able to bear a child on the Island after the Incident until Claire and Sun arrived. Sun and Kate could both be candidates and have become strong motherly figures in the list. Could this be a part of the cycle of the Island? We all know it needs balance, and for the Island to seek out mothers to take the place of the fathers so that the next generation could have mommy issues like MIB and, possibly, Jacob seems to make some sense.
Another aspect of MIB’s tale of motherly woe comes from some of the speculations as to his true origins. Last season, we talked a bit about the Egyptian mythology that goes hand in hand with the Statue and the hieroglyphs. I and many others have tied MIB with the Egyptian gods of Set and Anubis, both of which have some real heavy-duty mommy issues. In some myths, Set actually tore himself from his mother’s womb and was a general badass and pain ever since that day. Set pretty much cemented his reputation as a wild and crazy god throughout all his stories, even poking out his nemesis Horus’s eye because Horus ripped his balls off. Oh, and it just so happens that Set could turn into things, like a bull who tried to impregnate his sister-in-law. Those Egyptians had to be smoking something out in the desert, let me tell you. Total pun intended.
And then there’s Anubis. This guy’s parentage is so screwed up, most scholars and Egyptologists can’t even agree who his real mommy and daddy are. Chances are his mom was Nephthys who generally whored around quite a bit, pretending to be her sister and sleeping with her sibling’s man while she wasn’t looking. This resulted in the birth of the bastard Anubis, whom she never really claimed as her own. Now that would be enough to give anybody some mommy issues.
There are many tales of mommy dearests throughout history and mythology, but unfortunately I don’t have time to dissect 10,000 years of mythical accounts, so if any of you have an inside line to an ancient Joan Crawford, leave a message and we’ll all genuflect at your awesomeness and speculate endlessly for the next couple of weeks.
THE RANDOM BITS
Who really killed the remaining Ajira survivors? Was it MIB or was it Widmore and his goons? We may never know, but it’s obvious that the powers behind the show want us to keep guessing as to both adversaries’ intentions until the very end.
Is it just me, or would anyone else just go “aw shucks” at MIB’s charming grin and decide to take the short bus to Crazytown with Sayid and Claire? Terry O’Quinn is burning up the scenes, and he makes it so easy for us to like and, inevitably, trust him and his morally-ambiguous smoking man. This is the best Locke has been in quite awhile, and it’s not even Locke!
Sawyer makes one helluva good double agent. I’m eager to see on which side of the toast he’s placed his butter.
Lessee … Watership Down, A Wrinkle in Time, and Lancelot. Yep, that looks like Sawyer’s reading list, alright.
How in the world did Kate manage to run as long as she did before she got on that plane if she managed to get caught so much? I mean, she’s back in LA X running again, and she manages to get captured by Sawyer in the span of about two weeks. Wouldn’t she have gotten the heck out of Dodge while she still could? What’s in LA X that she would need to stick around for? It can’t be just for Claire – she’s hunting clues of some sort. Is AlterniKate really innocent and she’s acting out the Fugitive, looking for her one-armed man?
Why is AlterniSawyer such a bad liar? I mean, he can sniff out liars pretty well, but he’s caught almost immediately in a lie by Miles. Is it because he now has a conscience and can only take his lies and cons so far?
Hey, girl … you’re looking pretty good when you’re not bleeding from your eyeballs and muttering about your mum denying you chocolate before bedtime.
On Island Prime, Charlotte’s quest was to find the Island because she grew up there and had been looking for it ever since. Obviously, she’s still an archeologist and probably grew up on the Island, just as Ben did. Is she still looking for the Island? Does her search into AlterniSawyer’s past point toward a connection that may play out toward the end, drawing both of them toward the Island again? I feel as though many of the principles and quite a few of the secondary characters are still on paths that might lead them to a choice at the end of the series – something that was discussed at length in Hobo Radio 116: Going Ben Linus on Your Hatch – namely that the series might end similar to Quantum Leap, with everyone having a choice whether to choose to keep leaping or not. The circumstances and situation may differ than just boarding Oceanic 815 as in the Island Prime timeline, but there will still be choices that lead the characters inexorably toward a binding fate, a quantum entanglement with each other and with the Island itself.
And that about wraps it up for me this week. My apologies for having to rely on the main Hobo, Joel Murphy, to carry the brunt of this week’s article, but prior engagements – along with a pretty lady and some beer – just had to take precedence. I promise to be back next week with a full column’s worth of snarky ramblings that will make your eyes cross. Until then, keep thinking those good thoughts and if you have an epiphany, tell me something good.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at email@example.com.