“The Last Recruit” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Lost: Seriously, if you don’t know what’s been going on up until this point, you might as well just go watch American Idol.
This week, on Lost: Not a whole lot happens. Okay, so that’s not entirely true; Kate got kidnapped again (for the 26th and 27th time), the crew continued to blow the hell out of Hawaii and Desmond is starting to get a little creepy. But in a delightful way. Oh, what the heck, I’ll fill you in on the rest.
Hurley, Jack, Sun and Lapidus arrive via torchlight at Camp Black Hat and Locke/Ol’Smokey/MIB invites Jack out into the Jungle of Mystery for a little chit chat. Jack cops a squat and tells MIB he’s bothered because he doesn’t have any idea who the hell MIB really is. MIB tells Jack that he thinks Jack does know, all mysterious-like. Then Jack susses out that MIB took the form of John Locke because Locke was stupid enough to get himself killed and then Jack brought his body back so that MIB could assume Locke’s form – cuz Smokey can only look like dead people. Jack asks MIB straight up if he was masquerading as his daddy way back in season one, and MIB says yup, sure enough. Because he was trying to lead Jack to water. Just like that.
Sorry, I must interject for one moment: Kiss my ass, Lost. No, seriously. We go six seasons of everybody and their brother pussyfooting around important issues like they had explosives strapped to their gonads and the truth would set off the detonator, and now here MIB tells Jack to cop a squat and unveils that he was posing as Daddy Shephard so Jack could find water. That just ain’t right, people. I mean, we had to sit through a whole season and a half of the Others having a rice paddy refugee party, for cripes sake! We had two episodes on Tom Friendly’s beard. I go into this more later, so don’t go hating on me just yet.
Yeah, I’d say that one look sums it up for me too, Locke.
Anyway, I digress. MIB goes into his whole spiel about getting on a plane and jetting it to freedom, but they all have to do it together. Then Jack starts singing old Locke’s praises, about how he was the only one who believed in this place, and I can only sit in amazement that the man of science is exalting the man of faith. MIB cuts Jack of real quick, though, and tells him that John Locke was not a believer – he was a sucker.
Speaking of Locke, he’s having an awfully bad day over in LA X. He’s been run down by Desmond and is rushed to the hospital in an ambulance with Dr. Linus. Ben doesn’t have much information for the EMTs, other than John is a paraplegic – which the EMT somehow missed, despite the fact that he saw Locke’s wheelchair smashed to pieces. Ben doesn’t even know his emergency contact, but Locke manages to eke out Helen’s name, saying that he was gonna marry her. Ben tells him he still can, because he’s gonna live.
If Terry O’Quinn doesn’t win an Emmy for this season, there might very well be rioting in the streets.
Outside the ER, Sun is being rushed in on a gurney at the same time as Locke, and she has a little near-death vision, saying about Locke that “it’s him!” We can only assume that she’s seen Locke Prime’s true face.
Back on Island Prime, Jack and MIB wrap things up and Jack and Claire have a little brother-sister reunion. They catch up on old times and current news – like how their dad is really an ancient smoke monster from either hell or another dimension. You know, things like that. Claire says it’s good to have Jack on the team, and Jack says he hasn’t decided yet if he’s joining Team Black Hat. Claire says that Jack sure has decided – he made the decision the minute he let MIB talk to him. Then she gives him the ol’ creepy stare.
At dawn, everybody’s sitting around Camp Black Hat, drinking coffee, making “people to kill” lists, and pretty much just acting like it’s a boy scout jamboree. Sawyer fills in Hurley about the plan to steal Widmore’s sub, but Hurley wants to know why Sayid’s not invited. James informs Hurley that Sayid has gone over to the dark side, but Hurley says that people can always be brought back from the dark side – remember Anakin? Oh, Hurley, you rock in so many ways.
“So … Jack and Claire are brother and sister, right? And their dad turned out to be the smoke monster who’s, like, evil and stuff and on the Dark Side. Dude, that means Locke is like Darth Vader! Wow, I’m really glad we never caught Jack and Claire making out or anything …”
Claire comes over and she and Hurley hug it out while Sawyer makes faces.
Back in LA X, Officer Ford has AlternaFreckles in custody, and they do the usual flirty song and dance while James reads off her rap sheet. James thinks it’s awful weird that they keep bumping into each other, and Kate wants to know if he’s flirting with her and why he let her go at the airport. James just says all he saw was a pretty girl that needed a door held open for her. Kate calls him on his bullshit and says that he was in Sydney doing secret stuff that nobody needs to know about. James grins and tells Kate he likes her.
Miles interrupts and says they have a little situation. We all get a little taste of the buddy cop procedural that will spin off into its own show in the fall.
Back at Camp Black Hat, there’s a whole bunch of sitting around. Yawn. Pretty soon, Zoe from Widmore’s Geek Squad shows up and demands that MIB give back what he took from them. MIB plays dumb, so Zoe signals for the geeks to give him a little warning shot, and delivers an ultimatum.
It’s a good thing this is the last few episodes, because there’s not going to be much left of Hawaii to film on after this blast-happy crew wraps up.
Zoe hands him a radio and says he has until nightfall to return what he took, or they’re gonna blow him and his Others back to hell. MIB drops the radio on the ground and smashes it with his Jesus stick. “Oh well,” says he. “Here we go.”
Back in LA X, Desmond “just so happens” to run into Claire while she’s checking in at an adoption agency, and mentions that she probably shouldn’t go in without legal representation. Claire balks and Desmond presses further, even riding up with her to the 15th floor, and acting a little creepy. Not creepy enough for Claire, though, because she caves and agrees to visit the lawyer with Des. As they exit the elevator, it just so happens that the lawyer’s office is right down the hall from the adoption agency. They walk in and Ilana greets them both, telling Claire that it’s an amazing coincidence that she just showed up, because they’ve been looking all over for her. Cool beans.
On Island Prime, it’s time for Team Black Hat to move out, so MIB motivates everyone to head toward some bluffs so they can go over to Hydra Island, get on the Ajira plane and get the hell off the Island. MIB hands Sawyer a map that he drew in third grade that shows how to get to his secret stash of jelly beans – and also how to get to the anchored boat, off shore. He wants Sawyer to go fetch the boat, so he grabs Freckles, of course. In the meantime, MIB grabs Sayid and tells the Iraqi that he should go and take care of what they stole – he’s at the bottom of a well. While they’re talking, Sawyer takes Jack to the side and tells him to grab Sun, Hurley and Lapidus somewhere along the trail and sneak off to meet them at a dock – they’re going over to Hydra Island without Ol’ Smokey.
Goonies never say die.
I just have to stop here and point out that the music in this part sounds something like an ’80s stock light military mix straight out of Spies Like Us or Stripes. I keep expecting Bill Murray to pop out of the brush and start riffing with Sawyer. Is it just me? It may be just me.
Over at the well, Sayid finds Desmond down below and trains his pistol on him. Desmond asks Sayid what Ol’ Smokey offered him to turn the Iraqi into an unfeeling killing machine. Sayid explains that MIB promised to give him something back – someone that died. Desmond asks Sayid why he thinks MIB can deliver that, and Sayid tells the Scot that MIB brought Sayid back from the dead, so chances are he can do it for Nadia, too. Desmond thinks for a second and then asks Sayid what he’s going to tell her that he did in order to bring her back from the dead. Sayid doesn’t have an answer for that. Booyah, schooled.
“It puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.”
In LA X, Sayid returns to Nadia’s house and tells her he has to hightail it out of there because he did something bad, but that it’ll all be okay for her and her kids now. Nadia is perturbed, and there’s a knock at the door. It’s Miles. Nadia lets him in, but Sayid has disappeared – out the back, where Detective Ford trips him up with a garden hose and handcuffs him. Good work, James. But aren’t you getting too old for this shit?
On Island Prime, Sawyer and Freckles have made their way to a cove where the Elizabeth is anchored, just off shore. Damn, we haven’t seen that boat in three years. It’s also been three years since it was captured by the Others. Before that, it sat offshore for three years while Desmond was in the Hatch, never once capsizing from a bad storm or sinking from rot. That is a quality boat, my friends. Sawyer tells Kate his plan, and Kate’s not happy that they’re planning to leave Claire behind. Sawyer and Kate wade out into the water, and then start swimming.
Maybe it’s just me, but would have walked out on that little CGI peninsula before getting in the water. You know, less swimming and all.
Team Black Hat march along, and Jack talks to Claire, finally realizing that she’s gone around the bend and can’t be trusted because she trusts in MIB so much. MIB notices that Sayid is missing and falls back, asking Sun if she’s seen the Iraqi. She says nothing, and MIB asks if she’s giving him the silent treatment. She pulls out her pad and tells him that he did this to her. MIB has no idea what she’s talking about. MIB tells them all to keep going, and runs back to see if he can find Sayid. Jack sees the chance to make a break, wrangles Sun, Hurley and Lapidus, and they run off into the Jungle of Mystery to find Sawyer and his boat. Someone notices …
That is not a face you want to see. I hope they hid her axe.
MIB finds Sayid wandering around and wonders if the Iraqi took care of business. Of course he did, says Sayid. MIB looks him over, unsure, then tells him it’s time to go. Welcome back, Anakin.
Jack and Co. make it to the dock where Sawyer and Kate are waiting for them on the Elizabeth. Everyone climbs on board and starts cinching the hoists, and tightening the jib and polishing the flange vertex valves and other nautical things, until there’s the sound of a rifle being cocked and everyone goes “oh shit.” Turns out Claire has been channeling her inner Kate and has tracked them all down. She wants to know where they’re headed. After a lot of talking, Kate manages to convince the mad Aussie that she should come with them so that Kate can take her back to Aaron. Claire slowly lowers her rifle and says that they’d better hurry – if Ol’ Smokey knows that they’re missing, he’s gonna be pissed.
I just wanted to show Kate’s scrunchy face, again.
Back in LA X, AlternaJack and his son, David, show up at the lawyer’s office for the reading of Christian Shephard’s will. Ilana greets them, and says they have a surprise for them. They enter, and the surprise is Claire. Jack says that his dad had her in the will, and he wants to know why. Claire tells Jack that they appear to be brother and sister. Jack has a little bit of difficulty with this concept. They’re interrupted by an emergency phone call – Jack has to leave for the hospital, and they’re going to have to reschedule.
On Island Prime, aboard the Elizabeth, Sawyer and his salty dogs are sailing toward Hydra Island. Lapidus and the others head below deck to eat some canned grub, and Sawyer has a chat with Jack, who is doing some brooding on the bow. Jack tells Sawyer that it doesn’t feel right, leaving the Island – that Jack has the same feeling that he got the last time they left, like a part of him is missing. Then Jack does something spectacular – he turns into John Locke, saying that they’re there for a purpose and that MIB must be afraid of them. Sawyer tells Jack that he’s tired of hearing this brand of bullshit and wants him off the boat. Jack apologizes for getting Juliet killed, and then jumps into the drink.
In LA X, Sun wakes up after being treated from her gunshot wound and she and Jin have a little reunion wherein they profess their love for each other and Jin says that the baby is fine and that everything is going to be okay. There’s a lot of crying.
Down the hall, Jack walks his son down the hall and then preps for surgery. Jack takes a look at the x-rays of his emergency patient, saying the dural sac has been obliterated. Knowing that he’s all about the dural sacs, Jack says he’s got this and heads into surgery, a confident man. In the OR, Jack gets ready, takes his scalpel and then looks down to the mirror, reflecting the patient’s face. It’s John Locke, and Jack hesitates, mentioning to his assistants that he thinks he knows this guy. That you do, Jack. That you do.
On Island Prime, Jack has made his way back to shore from his little swim, backpack and all. MIB is waiting for him. “Nice day for a swim,” says MIB. He asks Jack if Sawyer took his boat. Yup, says Jack.
“All right, I’m on my knees. Which one of you is first?”
On Hydra Island, Sawyer and Co. swim ashore and are greeted by the Geek Squad, guns brandished. Whoa whoa whoa, says Sawyer. The Geeks lower their weapons and Zoe radios Widmore. In the meantime, Jin has come around the corner and Sun glances up, recognizing her long lost husband. She is overjoyed, and calls out to Jin, running to him. The two lovers embrace for the first time in three years, and Sun tells Jin that she loves him and that she never stopped looking for him. There’s lots of smiles all around, and a few tears, and to punctuate the already over-dramatic and sappy moment, Lapidus comments that “it looks like someone got their voice back.” Really, Chesty? Sun lost her voice just to emphasize this particular moment? Lame.
The moment is short-lived, however, as Zoe receives word from Widmore that the group is to be detained, so weapons are drawn once again, and they’re all told to get on their knees. Sawyer protests, but Zoe says to shut it. She radios another geek, asking if they have a sight-line on Locke. Fire when ready, says she.
Across the water on the other beach, Jack and Locke are still having a staring contest, until Jack hears the familiar whining whoosh of an incoming missile and tells everyone to get down right before he gets the ever-loving bejeezus blown out of him.
Jack does his best ragdoll impression. Also notice, if you missed it, that MIB never moves a muscle. He doesn’t even flinch.
MIB grabs Jack’s smoldering ass and hauls him off the beach, propping him up against a tree. Jack, still stunned, rolls his head around to look at Locke. What looks like a bit of drool drips from his mouth. Locke comforts him. “Everything’s going to okay, Jack,” says Locke. Then he adds with a touch of mischievous foreshadowing, “You’re with me, now.”
Cue the THONK!
All right. That was quite the … well, it was an episode anyway. I wasn’t overwhelmed by what went down, by any means, but some stuff went kablooey, the happenings in LA X are building to a nice head and, god help me, I’m starting to like Jack, so it wasn’t a total loss. Still, the whole episode seemed very disjointed and unfocused. It was a hodge podge of action and exposition, an obvious mid-season “checking in” episode that sets some things up for the final run toward the finale. There was no primary character that the writers centered on, which gave it a cluttered feel – although one could argue that it was about Jack and Claire if that whole bit about Sawyer, Kate and Sayid weren’t thrown in there.
At any rate, episodes like this allow me to have a little more fun with the recaps because I don’t have to worry about every little detail. I hope you all enjoyed the recap, because unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of analysis this week. I apologize for that, but this week and next are the final project presentations for the class I teach and time is at a premium.
AND NOW, A TINY RANT
Excuse me for a moment while I channel my inner Andy Rooney.
Now, I know that this show is all about mysteries, and there can’t just be a ton of intrigue and suspense and smoke monsters and four-toed statues and us not find out at least a little bit of something about something, but most of you can’t deny that revealing those small mysteries in such a hamhanded way is very disappointing. I don’t need Michael showing up out of nowhere and telling us that the whispers are he and some other lost souls trying to find the john in the middle of the night. Similarly, I don’t need one of the most fascinating and terrifying creature/characters in the history of television to sit me down in the middle of the jungle and explain that he took the form of a dead surgeon in order to lead his son to water. It’s just not right.
I’m not sure if any of you were Alias fans back in the day, but I sure was, and these last couple of episodes – while entertaining and mostly fun – are starting to take on that strange air of “we may not quite know what we’re doing” like the last four episodes of that wonderful series. It’s sort of like watching Game 6 of the 1986 World Series and seeing the Mets start to wage that sickening comeback against the Red Sox and then seeing that ball roll, in painful slow motion, through the legs of Bill Buckner and you get that feeling, deep in the pit of your stomach, that lets you know that you’ve just seen the wheels come off the wagon. And I swear to God if one Yankees fan says a word in the comments, I will make sure your name is burned in effigy in next week’s column.
So, yeah. That’s about all I have to say about that. I will wrap up by saying that, as disappointed as I have been by the way some of the Island’s mysteries have been revealed, I still have faith that everything will come together in the end and we’ll have one kickass series finale.
So, the big revelation this episode was that MIB has been showing up as Christian Shephard all along. The first time was way back in season one in “White Rabbit” when Jack saw his dad and went tear-assing through the jungle and almost died when he fell off a cliff. Later, Jack sees his dad again and follows the man to the caves, where he finds fresh water. This is the same water source that MIB claimed that he was leading Jack to. So now, for those keeping score, we have “almost dying from following Ol’ Smokey” – 1, “following Ol’ Smokey and finding needed water” – 1. The question is, was he really leading Jack to water to help, or did he have more nefarious motivation? Frankly, it makes sense that he may have been telling the truth about helping Jack. After all, why lead the good doctor to water in the first place? Yes, Jack almost died pursuing his father earlier, but if MIB had really wanted Jack dead, he could have simply turned to smoke and trashed his ass like he did the pilot and several others along the way (an act which still has some of us scratching our heads in confusion).
This week’s episode-inspired drink recipe is pretty straightforward, but fun nonetheless. In honor of Lost‘s most unlikely duo that are most likely to be turned into a spin-off, I thought it was only fitting to have some fun with Detectives Straume and Ford, the resident straight-lace and renegade cops, respectively.
GOOD COP, BAD COP
- 1/2 shot of Bailey’s
- 1/2 shot of espresso – strong as you can get it
- 1 shot of good ol’ Southern bourbon (I recommend Jim Beam 7 year)
Combine the Bailey’s and espresso into a single shot glass, and place it next to the shot glass full of bourbon. Pound the coffee mix, shake head vigorously as if avoiding strong questioning, then pound the bourbon, as taking a left jab. Repeat until you spill the beans (or your cookies).
This revelation opens up a ton of reflection since Christian Shephard has been a driving force on the Island throughout all the seasons. However, by this one truth alone we can now deduce that it was Ol’ Smokey in that creepy cabin in the woods and not Jacob. The ash surrounding the cabin was there to keep him in, and not to keep him out. The fact that the cabin has tended to blink in and out of existence from time to time seems to signify to me that it has come unstuck in time and space. He may have been imprisoned in that cabin in the future, and started manipulating Ben and then Locke and the survivors so that he could escape from the cabin and then later enact his escape from the Island.
Towards that plan of escape, the fact that MIB has been Christian Shephard now fully explains his motivation for guiding Locke down in the Great Wheel chamber. Ben seemingly messed things up by turning the wheel instead of Locke at the end of season four to move the Island, but MIB knew that all of this had already taken place and so urged Locke to turn the wheel once more in season five, which sent Locke back in time and space, off the Island, where he could subsequently be killed by Ben and his body shipped back to the Island so that MIB could assume his form. Got all that? When rolling all that around in your noggins, bear in mind that it was Christian/MIB who told Locke that he had to move the Island in the first place. I’d like to take a closer look at those particular temporal loops during that time period because it makes for fascinating contemplation. Maybe I’ll try to work up a flow chart this weekend for next week’s column.
MIB’s motivation for manipulating Claire as Christian Shephard are not quite as clear, at least not yet. In my mind, it must have something to do with Aaron – MIB needed Aaron to leave the Island with Kate, and not just so he could ensure the total breakdown and brainwashing of Claire.
Finally, MIB had one other manipulation as Christian that now makes a bit more sense. At the end of season four, Christian appeared to Michael aboard the Kahana and told him, essentially, that his mission was over. Then Michael asploded. The motivations behind all this seem to point toward MIB not wanting Widmore to get a foothold on the Island or capture Ben and remove him, since Ben was an integral part in MIB’s master plan to get off the Island for good.
Now the only question is – how did MIB appear as Christian aboard the Kahana when he told Sawyer this season that he couldn’t just float on over to Hydra Island? First person to give me a logical explanation for that wins a No Prize.
Also food for thought – any other appearances by Daddy Shephard that influenced happenstances on the Island that I may have missed. Let me know what you all are thinking.
THE RANDOM BITS
Yes, I know it’s early to start up with the little pieces, but I told you it was gonna be short this week.
See that apple there? Yeah, that’s what us literary types like to call symbolism
Oh, hey, speaking of Kate – this week’s episode marked the 26th and 27th occasions in which Kate has either been kidnapped or gotten the better of at gun/knife/bazooka-point. The lead hobo himself, Joel Murphy, has been keeping a spreadsheet of Kate’s comeuppances, and number 26 was Claire getting the drop on her at the docks, while number 27 was Widmore’s band of geeks popping out from behind the one piece of shrubbery on the beach with guns glinting in the sun. The lesson here folks: if you want to keep the upper hand in a situation, leave Kate off the A-Team.
Sun lost her voice just for her to get it back for the tear-jerking reunion between her and Jin? Wasn’t the moment poignant enough without resorting to such an overused literary technique? I just don’t get it. I figured that was going to happen, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Man, I’m getting grumpy and a tad cynical after 6 seasons.
Did anybody else notice that Jack and little Jack not only look similar, but have the exact same walk? They even walk in unison. Seriously, go back and watch, it’s freaky. Also, is it just me or did David hit puberty between the few episodes in which he appeared? It sounds like his voice has been dubbed in by Barry White in this episode.
No butterflies this episode. Sadness.
I find it fascinating that Desmond is the new Jacob for LA X. I would ask if Jacob had similar abilities to Desmond, but it’s clear from the Lighthouse that the Island provided those same abilities to Jacob. From his vantage point in the Lighthouse, Jacob was able to monitor the lives of several individuals whose strings were inexorably wound about that of the Island’s. Similarly, Desmond is able to see that interconnectivity and reconnect people whose lives were touched and entangled on an alternate path. The real question now is what is Desmond’s ultimate intention? If it’s simply to help people reconnect, then he wouldn’t have resorted to such brutal tactics with Locke, no matter what his alter ego has done over on Island Prime.
No, it’s clear that Desmond is bringing everyone together for a reason, and that reason will become more clear in the next couple of weeks and result in something huge in the finale. Will the two alternaverses somehow merge? Will one dimensional timeline simply cease to be, leaving the other as the fixed timeline to ensure continuity? I had hoped to delve deeper this week into the multiverse theories and how they may converge in the finale, but I simply don’t have the time. Again, this weekend I may be able to work up one of my special graphics to cover the different scenarios we may be seeing in the next few weeks.
So, Claire said that the minute Jack let MIB talk to him that Jack was on the team. Looking back, it’s true. Sayid and Claire both joined the team, and now it seems as though Jack may have, as well. At least for now. However, it doesn’t hold true for Sawyer, because he’s still trying to get the hell off the Island – unless that’s all a ruse for the sake of really fooling Widmore. Sawyer is, after all, a master grifter. He is also, at his core, a survivor, and I would imagine James would know full well he’s not gonna survive long if Ol’ Smokey gets his way.
Did MIB know that Sawyer would steal the Elizabeth? And, if so, what purpose would that serve in his long-range plan to escape the Island?
So, you remember that part about this show being an “action drama?” Yeah, um, not so much with Jack, lately.
That about wraps it up for me this week. Again, sorry for the truncated analysis, but I hope that some of what I’ve said here can spark some fascinating discussion down in the comments, just as it did last week. I hope to be back next week with an in-depth look at the multiverse and, perhaps, a return to my old-school roots with some classic time travel mechanics. Until then, keep thinking those thoughts and if you have an epiphany, tell me something good.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.