Mania Grade: A
Rate & Share:
- Starring: Josh Holloway ... James 'Sawyer' Ford
Matthew Fox ... Jack Shephard
Terry O'Quinn ... John Locke
Jorge Garcia ... Hugo 'Hurley' Reyes
Katey Sagal ... Helen
Yunjin Kim ... Sun Kwon
Michael Emerson ... Ben Linus
Nestor Carbonell ... Richard Alpert
Zuleikha Robinson ... Ilana
Jeff Fahey ... Frank Lapidus
L. Scott Caldwell ... Rose
Kenton Duty ... Teenage Boy
Billy Ray Gallion ... Randy
Lost: The Substitute
By Joe Oesterle
February 17, 2010
I know some of you have not been too terribly impressed with how this season has been proceeding, but wow was this week’s a good one or what? Then again, The Substitute was a Locke-centric show, with Sawyer supporting throughout, how can you miss?
“The Substitute cleverly doubles as both Locke’s profession, and the evil being now using Locke’s appearance.
One of the Last Temptations of Locke
I think I may have figured out what we were watching here. You know what I think we were watching here? The Last Temptation of Christ, that’s what I think we were watching here.
The Safe Landing Universe, (SLU) is the life Jesus would have lived if he, the man, refused to accept his place in history and avoided his fate at the crucifixion. In the movie (and in the novel for you smart book types) we are shown the life that Jesus would have lead if he chose not to turn his back on God’s word.
According to novelist, Nikos Kazantzakis, if Jesus were never nailed to the cross, he would have married Mary. The couple would have churned out a few tiny Christs, Mary would die, Jesus would be sad, but he’s get over it and marry a couple more Mary’s, who would pop out a few more Christs for him. Ultimately however, Kazantzakis’ Jesus knows his life was meant for some greater purpose.
Sure he was happy, but he was supposed to die for our sins. (Echoing Charlie’s sentiment, “I was supposed to die”)
If Locke can give up the love of a woman he loves dearly, and a job in which he’s finally fulfilled, for the betterment of others, that’s pretty damn Christ like.Standing by a nearby tree, Smlocke (Smoke Monster Locke) promises Alpert, a probable island dweller for hundreds if not thousands of years, he will grant him knowledge. (Sounds a little Adam and Evey) Richard immediately rejects Smlocke’s devilish offer to join his minions.
Ben Equals Misguided Good Guy
For some time now, I’ve been claiming Ben has always essentially been a good guy, and now I feel vindicated. Ben may have abused his power and Ben may have seemed petty now and then, but I maintain Ben always did what he believed was good for the island, and he did it for (mostly) unselfish reasons. Ben is aware of the good that island is capable of, and he isn’t about to let someone like Charles Widmore compromise or exploit the powers of the island.
Looking back, one of the most interesting things about Ben is he always believes he tells the truth, and I believe he believes he actually does tell the truth based on his actual view of what is and isn’t true. He quickly fesses up to Ilana that Locke became a pillar of smoke, and then Jacob has been killed… he just conveniently omits the simple unpleasant reality that Ben himself did the evil deed. Ben can rationalize the truth in his own mind to present as others as the absolute truth. Ben’s truth is often 90 real truth, and ten percent fashioned truth from Ben’s perception of the absolute truth.
This does not make Ben a bad guy; this makes Ben fallible. Maybe killing John Locke makes Ben a Judas, but I’ve never thought of Judas as a bad man. In the context of the biblical story of Jesus, I have always seen Judas as a man, created by God, to help facilitate the final days of Jesus in human form.
I am curious to know why Ilana is scooping Jacob’s ashes into a little bag though. Does she have some plan to (ashes to ashes) rebuild her leader?
The Forgotten Boy
So Smlocke is recruiting, and Sawyer seems like a likely candidate. As the evil doppelganger strolls through the filthy hallway of a formerly cozy little beach bungalow that was once occupied by Sawyer and his lady love, Juliet, Smlocke is confronted by the punk rawness of the Iggy Pop song, “Search and Destroy.” Check out these freaky prophetic lyrics.
I'm a street walking cheetah
with a heart full of napalm
I'm a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb
I am a world's forgotten boy
The one who searches and destroys
Honey gotta help me please
Somebody gotta save my soul
Baby detonates for me
Look out honey, 'cause I'm using technology !
No Shit Sherlock
So there’s Sawyer, tossing back Dharma Whiskey straight out of the bottle. Smlocke freely admits to Sawyer that Locke is dead, to which Sawyer barely bats an eye. Sawyer seems to be the only one of the 815ers to completely believe he’s on a magic life-fucking island.
Frighteningly, as this generation’s Han Solo pours Smlocke a tasty alcoholic beverage I spot something so foul, so incorrect, so way beyond what I was expecting from my man Sawyer, I must hit rewind on the TiVo button several times before my mind allows the image to register.
There he is. My favorite orphan/conman/murderer/charming rogue/effective leader/monogamous confidant/disillusioned ant-hero is walking down his filthy hallway, drunk off his ass, and apparently shitting right out of that drunk ass and directly into his own boxer shorts. Damn Sawyer, wipe your ass, man… and stop shitting in your pants while you’re at it… Do both of those things immediately, Sawyer. First stop shitting in your pants, and second, start wiping your asshole. Just doing one of those two isn’t enough. You can’t stop shitting your pants and still refuse to wipe your asshole, and for goodness sakes, you can’t commit to wiping your asshole, if you continue to willfully shit your pants. So just do them both Sawyer. I don’t like seeing you like that, man. Just because you live by yourself doesn’t mean you get to shit in your pants. It’s all kinds of wrong, Sawyer. Seriously man… it’s just wrong. So stop shitting and start wiping, and we’ll be cool again, yo, OK?
The Conman in His Element
Smlocke is surprised Sawyer’s taking it so well. Sawyer sees through his Locke façade which is the exact skill set James Ford needed to size up potential marks. Smlocke, a man who if not an immortal, certainly has been around the block a few thousand times, is surprised and impressed with Sawyer’s talent for reading him. Sawyer follows that up again with something else that takes the immortal off guard. Sawyer informs Smlocke, that he’s aware he isn’t the late John Locke. Sawyer then goes on to explain how this Locke-Alike doesn’t behave like the original Locke. John Locke was scared, Sawyer declares, even when he was pretending he wasn’t. This new guy isn’t scared. Ben never caught on to that.
Now I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that there were times that island Locke was in total control of his insecurities, but I also want to believe that Sawyer doesn’t shit his drawers when no one is around to watch, but that’s the cold hard truth of it. Locke, at his essence was never as fearless as he seemed to be, but to his credit, he always persevered in the face of tremendous odds. Often failing, always a little scared, but more importantly always trying, always believing. (Like when he Evel Kneiveled his wheelchair at the beginning of this very episode. BTW, I loved how even a wheelchair bound John Locke still loves the feel of water droplets splashing off his shiny dome.
If I know this audience, and I do, I know everyone was thrilled when Hurley came right out and called Randy a “huge douche.” The word, “douche” certainly has gotten a lot of primetime network airplay in the last couple years. It’s like someone in TV finally realized “douche” wasn’t on Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words routine, which has to make it safe for family viewing. I can’t believe those stupid douches at Standards and Practices left that loophole open.
TV’s Newest, Coolest Rich Guy.
After John Locke realized he just told off the owner of his former company, Hugo Reyes, the big man, offers Locke a sweet gig through his placement agency. Locke almost intentionally scratched the shit out of Hurley’s ride, and Hurley tells him he can hook him up with a job. Hurley’s is now the coolest rich guy ever.
Mr. Phillip Drummond, the wealthy white widower who adopted two inner city black youths, and moved them into a penthouse with his hot, troubled young white daughter Used to be the coolest Rich Guy on TV. Mr. Drummond was pretty cool, but Hurley just bumped him down to second place. Thurston Howell the Third has just been toppled out of the Top Ten.
Here’s Another Theory I’m Working On
So who’s the blonde haired boy with the bloody hands? Is it Aaron, or is it Jacob or, and here’s a mind-blower…. Is it Aaron and Jacob. We could split the difference and call him, “Aarob,” but somehow I feel that will offend.
How about this for a theory? I’ve never seen this one anywhere else, and as always I reserve the right to say, “Heh, I was just kidding around about that theory, I didn’t really mean it.” (Even though I did.)
Ok, here it is. Aaron is so important because for some crazy mathematical reason or something, the stars lined up perfectly and Jacob was able to re-enter this world the only way he can – through Claire’s hey-nanny-nanny. Coincidently it’s the opposite way the MIB entered Locke’s form. Instead of entering through the dead however, Jacob enters only through the miracle of childbirth. He must also enter on an island that is forbidden to allow babies born on it’s soil, so that makes things tougher.
What I love about this theory is it fits in with Ben and his boys, (like Dr. Goodspeed) were indeed good guys. Goodspeed wasn’t trying to kill Claire’s baby, he was trying to make sure it was born.
Now there is plenty of things I haven’t completely worked out in this theory, like how could a 12 year old (I’m guessing) “Aarob,” (I’m sorry if it’s offensive, but that name is catchy) simply show up in front of Smlocke? Just as importantly why did Sawyer see this kid when Richard could not? And really, what are these rules we’re always hearing about? And why does it seem like Smlocke is going to break one of those rule? And why do I get the feeling if Smlocke actually breaks a rule that will be a positive break for the good guys.
And now I’m assuming the good guys are pretty much anyone who isn’t Smlocke. So Ben’s a good guy, Jack’s a good guy, Lennon is a good guy, Richard is a good guy. The only bad guys are “Island-Walking Christian,” (who’s dead) and “Island-Walking Claire.” (Who is also dead – her name was crossed out in the cave – more to come on the cave later.)
So Locke chases after Aarob, and the towhead reminds Smlocke of “the rules.” Again with the rules. What the hell are these rules? Ironically Smlocke shares many of the same flaws Smlocke mocked Locke for possessing. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do,” screams Smlocke, echoing exactly what Locke has said much of his life.
SLU Locke at least eventually realized the walkabout guide was right. He does have limitations. He needs to be realistic, and once he accepts his destiny he will be rewarded.
Richard warns Sawyer to come with back to the safe grounds of the temple, and he strenuously implores Sawyer to come with him. Richard may have shit his pants, but at least that’s understandable. He’s shitting his pants out of fear for the devil, not because he’s having too much fun sitting on the bedroom floor drinking Dharma hooch straight from the container to bother taking a stroll over to the toilet bowl - not 30 feet away. Unfortunately for Sawyer, Smlocke headed back that way and Richard adhering to the strictest interpretation of the old saying about three being a crowd, quickly ran away.
Granny Does Your Dog Bite?
Sawyer lies to Locke about talking to Richard and Locke lies right back to Sawyer about chasing the kid. (Aarob) Sawyer knows when he’s being conned, but as slick as Sawyer is, he’s not going to grift the devil. Only one mortal ever done that before. His name was Johnny, and the way I heard it tell, he played a pretty mean fiddle.
The Best Laid Schemes
If any further hints were needed to prove this MIB/Smlocke fella is an old-timer, he referred to the 1937 work of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men to be “a little after my time.” So what are Smlocke’s plans? And will they gang aft agley? Why can’t kill Smlocke kill without being attacked or maybe he simply can’t kill James Ford, but he’s definitely not afraid of a bullet to the skull, and that unnerves Sawyer enough to not place a bullet in the back of Smlocke’s skull.
Meanwhile, Back at the Funeral…
As Sun, Frank, and Ilana carry the real Locke’s carcass along the rocky shore we get two answers, in rapid succession. This comes as quite a shock, because we rarely get one answer without encountering two more questions, but this time it was simply, here’s and answer. And here’s another. Enjoy.
They explained why Ilana and company needed to bring Locke’s dead body with them. (To show all the others the face of what we’re up against) AND we also found out the Man in Black was only able to do that trick once, and for some reason still unknown to the audience, he can only do it once. (He’s stuck this way.”)
Not to Be Insensitive, But
On this island, I’d rather bury a Christian than a Jew on this island. Think about it. After digging a six-foot hole under a scorching island sun, a cross is so simple to affix on top. Just break a big stick and tie the two pieces together with some hemp rope. Way easier than constructing a Star of David. I can’t even do the math on how many sticks you’d need for a Star of David, but I know you’d use a lot of hemp rope to tie that Star of David up with. What, you think hemp rope is just laying around on an island? It’s not. You gotta make that stuff.
I’d Like Ben to Kill Me, Just So He Would Say Some Kind Words About Me.
Ben delivers a touching eulogy, and in his grief and despair, he finally spills out the 100% truth. Ben called Locke a believer, a man of faith, a much better man than I will ever be. Then sincerely adds, “And I’m very sorry I murdered him.” The truth may have set Ben Linus free. I did love Lapidus’ line about this being the weirdest damn funeral he’d ever attended.
Mores Ape Visuals
I love a cave full of weird stuff right off the ocean. Very Planet of the Apes-ish. Smlocke takes the white (good) rock off of the scales and chucks it into the ocean. Smlocke loves a good inside joke.
Sawyer however doesn’t care for Smlocke’s insider humor and asks to see why he was really brought down here, to Jacob’s pad, (I’m supposing) which Smlocke is only too happy to do. He then reveals names scribbled on the walls of the inner cave - Many of the names strike Sawyer as familiar since they also shared that fateful crash with him all those years ago.
Among the living members, and candidates for Jacob’s job, for you lazy few who are waiting for me to do all the heavy lifting, are: Locke – 4, Hurley – 8, Ford – 15, Jarrah – 16, Shephard – 23 and Kwon – 42. (I’m assuming Sun not Jin, but who knows?)
I also notice Claire Littleton’s name was crossed out, meaning Claire did die during that explosion. Man, I’m on fire.
After years of mind-fucking, time-traveling, and seeing dead people, Sawyer’s buttons have been firmly pressed. Little does he realize he’s just been set up as a patsy in one of the longest cons in the history of ever.
And Just One More Ben is Good Point
SLU Locke is happy as a substitute and Ben Linus turns out to be an anal retentive nebbish whose ears perk up when the conversation turns to the refined pursuit of a leisurely cup of mid-day tea. Ben was one of the good guys. Villains don’t drink tea.
Until Next Week
So until next week, fire up your Hi-Def TV, (Imperative if you’re expecting to make out certain stains on the backside of certain people.) make sure you hit the record function on your TiVo, (For multiple viewings, and to make out certain stains on the backside of certain people.) keep your laptop nearby, (You’ll never know when you might need check out the lyrics to an angry punk ) load up that bong, (For some of us, LOST isn’t our only drug of choice.) and get ready to get LOST.
Joe Oesterle is an award-winning writer and illustrator, but what he often fails to mention is that many of those awards were won on a New Jersey boardwalk. Check out Joe’s humorous review of the 1974 classic, “The Towering Inferno.”