LOST Thoughts: Season 6, Episode 4

(If you don’t watch LOST, these posts will be torturous to you. I apologize in advance. Just skip them and come back on Wednesdays, where I will try to make it up to you.)

My brother Jordan and I are back to discuss a few things related to episode 4 of LOST’s final season, “The Substitute”. And I apologize if this doesn’t make any sense because I wasn’t feeling well at all when I put this together.

(Jordan’s thoughts will be the ones in blue)

And before we get into it, one clarification from last week: the 10-22-04 date on the ultrasound printout in last week’s episode has been identified by the writers as a prop error.  Flight 815 still came over on 9-22-04, which kind of makes more sense.


Season 6, Episode 4, “The Substitute”

“The Substitute” was a fantastic episode in my book for two reasons: tons of Locke and some answers.

Let’s start with the end. The cave wall is Jacob’s whiteboard where he’s been keeping track of who might be a candidate to replace him on the Island.  It seems only 6 names remain, and they are the 6 infamous numbers.

4 – Locke
8 – Reyes
15 – Ford
16 – Jarrah
23 – Shephard
42 – Kwon

As you could see, there were a lot of names and numbers on the wall. Some were former folks we’ve seen as a part of the Others. Some were other passengers on the plane. Some we don’t know about. And yeah, we never saw Kate’s name…but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

Remember last week when Aldo said about Jin, “He MAY be one of them”. Maybe he was referring to the fact that Jin MAY be a candidate. We don’t know if Kwon means Jin or Sun. Seems like everyone knows about this search for a candidate. I suspect the list in hurley’s guitar case was a list of the possible candidates, so the temple folk knew who was important and who weren’t. You can even go back to the Season 5 Finale when Ilana said to Bram about Pilot Frank “he may be a candidate”.

So is the cave wall where the “specialness” of the numbers originated from? I have no idea. But remember how these numbers were the key to the Valenzetti equation that predicted the end of the world? The DHARMA initiative (or was it the Hanso Foundation) was trying to change one of the numbers to save the world. What if it wasn’t really a number they were trying to change…what if it was a person (represented by a number?). What if it was a matter of changing one of the candidates into the new protector of the island?

Another thought I had regarding Jacob’s replacement…I wonder if Jacob knew who it was. Ben couldn’t believe that Jacob didn’t fight back when he stabbed him. Was it because Jacob knew that his replacement was on the island and ready to step up? To get biblical for a second,  Jesus gave up his life on the cross when he knew he had accomplished all that he was there to do. Yes, Satan manipulated Judas into turning Jesus in, but Jesus didn’t die until all was finished. Perhaps Jacob felt he had done that as well. Smokey manipulated Ben into killing Jacob, but he died only because his job was finished?

Later we see a boy appearing to Smokey that Sawyer can see but Richard can’t. Much speculation if it was Aaron, Jacob, or someone else. My guess is a young Jacob because this feud between the twins seems to go back a long time. Smokey himself said that the 1937 Of Mice and Men book was “after my time”. Why can’t Smokey kill Sawyer? Because he is a candidate? Locke was killed, but by Ben. And when you think about it that way, Ben did 2 killings for Smokey. He killed Locke, a potential candidate, and he killed Jacob himself.

Jordan: Yeah, I got the Jacob vibe from the boy too. Not sure what he was talking about though.

I’m also wondering if Smokey had anything to do with children not being born on the island. Was he preventing new candidates from being brought into the “game”? Or was it related to the pocket of energy they hit when the built the Swan station in 1977?

i don’t think smokey had anything to do with babies being born. it appears that smokey’s motive for everything is to get off the island, i don’t see how that would help him achieve his goal. i thought aaron was going to be important, but i thought the same thing about walt, now i’m not sure. not sure why aaron was even able to be born on the island, was it only if you conceived on island that the baby would die?

Yeah, good point about Smokey. He says he’s trapped on the Island and wants off. He continues to talk to Sawyer in manipulative tones, a la the serpent in the Garden of Eden. He undermines Jacob whenever he can, “Jacob didn’t tell you that? He doesn’t respect you like I do.” Is that really his end game? To leave the island? Seems like he’s trapped there against his own will.

Compare that to Jacob. What is his endgame? Is it just to find a candidate to replace him as protector of the island, or is it something more? Think back to that convo he had with black shirt smokey at the beginning of the Season 5 finale, when they saw the approaching ship on the horizon:

Black shirt: “You brought them here…Still trying to prove me wrong, aren’t you?”

Jacob: “You are wrong.”

Black Shirt: “Am I? They come, fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.”

Jacob: “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, is just progress.”

So what is Jacob trying to prove? That mankind isn’t inherently evil? That we can change and learn and grow and eventually get it right? Whatever it is, I think this is the “game” that we keep hearing about. Jacob trying to prove humanity’s worth and smokey, stuck on the island, doing his best to corrupt and destroy and continue to prove that humans suck.

It seems like in this game, the white side brings players in. Whether its bringing a ship to the shore of the island, or touching people’s lives and leading them onto Flight 815. Jacob brought them there. But white has a twin. A bad twin. And the bad twin, Black, has different tactics. Black judges. Black manipulates. Black claims players for his team. Black kills game pieces as well. And it seems like right now Black is winning.

Man in black mentioned that jacob thinks of himself as the protector of the island, and that he wants to find a new protector. but he also seemed to think that jacob was crazy and that the island didnt need protecting. i definitely don’t trust the man in black though, i feel like everything he says is just an attempt at manipulation.

Yeah, i don’t trust him either. And I still don’t know why we’re seeing a whole other world where the game has no impact. Where white never claimed players. It seems like in this other world (Timeline B), the people were better off anyway. Seems like in Timeline A, where Jacob intervened, everyone was worse off.

well, in timeline a james ford kills sawyer, locke gets revenge on his father, kate is no longer on the run, rose is cured from cancer, so i don’t know if everyone is better off in timeline b, but i see what you are getting at. but we both know that the writers are going somewhere with this. its not like timeline b is just going to play out uneventfully. i cant wait for more faraday action, although he is probably still crazy in this timeline.

And speaking of Timeline B, how did Locke hurt his back in Timeline B? Because I doubt his dad would be coming to the wedding if he had pushed his son out of the building.

Who knows, helen is still with locke in timeline b so who knows what locke’s relationship is with his father. he still wanted to go on the walkabout which was related to his dad taking him on hunts and such, i don’t think theres enough episodes left to really fill us in on everything thats different about timeline b.

Yeah, i guess the point is, it is different. But is it better? Which existence is better for Locke. One where he is able to walk again, and get his walkabout on an island where he meets his destiny? Or one where he finds love but relegates himself to being content with who he is. Helen basically says “you’re in this chair, and you’re not getting out of it, and that’s okay because I love you”. Old Locke might have said “Don’t tell me what I can’t do”, but Time line B Locke accepts it.

We still don’t know what the point of Timeline B is, but it seems clear that in this “other timeline” the characters we know and love are still running into each other, although a common theme is that they are helping each other out now. Last week it was Kate helping Claire, this week it was Hurley and Rose helping Locke. Where they are going with this remains to be seen, but again on their podcast this week the executive producers said, “you can not treat these two things as entirely separate entities. They are not alternate timelines.” Alrighty, then.

There were a couple Easter eggs in this episode. Locke’s alarm clock sounded like the Hatch alarm. Locke’s first job counselor was Hurley’s psychic in timeline A. The poster behind Locke at the job place has a picture of desmond in it.

One thing I will say is this: The closer we get to learning the mysteries of the island and the game, the less and less I care about the mysteries. I’m happy we are getting answers, but ultimately I find myself caring more about the characters, and I think that’s a good thing. The writers have always said they are more concerned with the fate of the characters than the mythology, and as I’m finding out that’s what I’m most concerned about too.

i realized some time in season 4 that i loved being Lost and not knowing what was happening in the show. seasons 1-3 i was all about theorizing and scouring the internet because i HAD to know what was going on. but the fun of the show is not knowing what is going on. the real answers, while creative and clever, are never as epic as the ones that we come up with while lying in bed after a great episode.

I’ve heard that Damon Lindelof said years ago, back when the show was just picking up steam, that the conclusion of the story would let most people down. Only because it would either be what they thought it was, or it would be completely different. Now, I don’t feel like I’m headed for a letdown at all, but I do feel like it’s going to be tough for the mythology answers to live up to the hype. I guess your right, entertaining a thousand possible explanations is usually more fun than knowing the only true explanation.

i know what you mean though about being let down by the ending. i for one won’t be let down unless the writers REALLY drop the ball, but i am already prepared for the backlash the show is going to receive after its finale. there is going to be a lot of people upset over how they tie things together, its just impossible to please everyone. i mean Lost was such a phenomenon, it felt like it was being written by angels from the future or something, it was almost too good to be true. there was no way for them to keep that up, especially when they had to start revealing things to us.

Yeah, i agree. There’s almost no good way to end something so good, but I trust that they’ll provide the best possible ending to this amazing story. I’ll continue to hypothesize and try to figure out where things are going, but mostly I’m just going to try and enjoy the rest of the ride.

this has been my philosophy for the past three seasons. i still have fun talking about the show, but i dont sit around and rack my brain trying to think of the right theory. i am happy to sit there and have the writers spoon feed me the plot. its like watching a flower bloom. you don’t just wanna skip to the end, you wanna watch it happen. or you know, maybe a better analogy.

Tonight…Episode 5, “Lighthouse” (just 15 14 hours of LOST left)