Friday, February 19

Lost Friday - "The Substitute."

Season 6 - Episode 4: "The Substitute."

Another Lost Friday is upon us. Unlike last week, we have much to discuss.

Like most of you, I've been spending the better part of seven days watching the Winter Olympics on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, NBC2, the Nashville Network and the Spice Channel. An admitted Olympics junkie, I had my TV schedules printed and my DVR scheduled weeks before the torch was awkwardly lit by a hypothermia-riddled Wayne Gretzky, and it has delivered in leaps and bounds, despite Vancouver having little-to-no snow and temperatures reaching the mid-50's. In 2014, I hope they have the foresight to crown a more Winter-friendly host city, like Tampa or Houston.

More so than any Olympic event, I've been enthralled by Curling the most. I'm the kind of guy that randomly memorizes topics on Wikipedia (an admitted risky venture; I thought Sinbad had been dead since 2005), and long ago tried to wrap my head around the mechanics, strategy and terminology of Canada's greatest export since Peter Jennings (who has been dead since 2005). However, I hadn't the chance to actually see it played live until this week. Like a kid on Christmas, I've been running through the door after work to turn on the television and sift through the six hours of hardcore Curling action I had DVR'd throughout the day.

I'm totally hooked, and I've got to get out there and try my hand at this thing. I like the pace, the cerebral nature of it, and the fact that I could do it drunk without killing myself. And just to prove that I'm not whistling Dixie, I will be attending the finals of the 2010 USA Curling Club National Championships on February 27.

I'm not kidding. If I see you there, the first pitcher is on me. Now let's KNOCK IT OUT!


Even in an Alternate Dimension, John Locke cannot catch a break. He's still paralyzed, he's still working for that douchebag Randy at the box company, he wasn't allowed to go on his walkabout (he lied to Boone on the plane), and just minutes ago, he haphazardly flung himself onto the lawn after his van's 'Cripple Catapult' malfunctioned. Add some peppy music and he's Stan Freaking Laurel.

But hey, it's not all bad. He's engaged to his darling Helen, they're in the midst of planning a wedding, and he's even on good terms with his father! No word on how that happened, or how he managed to get himself paralyzed, but there's no time now for questions; John's taking a bath. Nakedly.

Back at the box company, Randy outs Locke for lying about the walkabout (he was on the company dime in Sydney, after all) and promptly fires him. On his way out, Locke runs into Hurley (the new owner of the company), who throws him a bone and gets him in touch with his temp agency. Why Hurley found it necessary to become a mogul in three of the saddest and most mundane professions on Earth (Box Company, Temp Agency, Chicken Shack) is beyond me. Be bold; buy an Arena Football team or something.

On a semi-related note, it's really cool to see Hurley rich and happy at the same time. Also, not wearing a giant t-shirt that's ravaged with deep sweat stains.

At the temp agency, things are starting to frustrate Locke, who is demanding jobs that are a little too big for his crippled, flimsy britches. The supervisor comes out, who turns out to be Rose (who doesn't recognize Locke from the flight). They talk about denying their individual ailments (she still has that pesky cancer), which calms John down, and Rose sets him up with a sweet substitute teacher gig.

On a personal note, there's a deeply black humor in hiring a paralyzed guy to teach kids about sex and exercise. It's like hiring a Creationist to teach you Astronomy.

At the still-unnamed high school (I'm going to guess it's Widmore Tech), Locke is flourishing as a substitute, and strikes up a conversation with the European History teacher, Benjamin Linus. To anyone who went to my high school, this is a perfect fit, as my European History teacher was also the embodiment of all that was wrong and evil, and I'm pretty sure he strangled a guy with his bare hands once.

Finally, we see Locke and Helen at home, where John admits why he got fired. Helen urges Locke to call Jack based on the business card he gave him at the airport, but Locke doesn't believe in miracles (or irony, I guess) and wants Helen to love him for who he is. They rip up the business card and presumably engage in violent, awkward intercourse.


In the foot of the Statue, Ilana is looking at the remains of her team and questioning Ben as to what happened. He claims a monster did it (he's only partially lying), which prompts Ilana to place Jacob's ashes into an Ash Bag (patent pending). She tells Ben that the Man In Black is now 'recruiting,' which sounds scarier than the Armed Forces, but not nearly as much as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Ilana tells everyone to get to the Temple before Lockelganger brings the ruckus and the copies of Watchtower, but not before they finally bury an extremely ripe John Locke.

When Ben asks Ilana why Locke's body needs to be brought, she responds that the Others need to know what they are up against. When asked why the Man In Black wouldn't just change again, she claims that it is stuck in Locke's body. This is a rare sexual condition I've only heard about on message boards. Ben tries to ask another question and is shot in the mouth by Ilana.

They bury Locke. Ben apologizes for murdering him. This is the least-weird part of the episode.

We then get a (awesome) Monster's Eye View of the Dharma remnants, and I'd like to personally thank Smokey for strapping on a helmet cam for this particular scene (you can even see its reflection in the window of Sawyer's house!). If the Man In Black is truly stuck in Locke's body, then it's sort of proportionate to how much a chicken can fly. He can escape for brief traipses and murder spasms, but that's it. Lockelganer dumps Richard out of a trap suspended in a tree, and demands that he start talking.

Pay attention, because this is interesting.

Fake Locke wants Richard to come with him; join the winning team. Richard says no, and asks why he has assumed the form of Locke. Man In Black states that he took Locke's form because Jacob trusted Locke enough to allow him to get close to him, as he was a 'candidate' (it's a key word this week). Richard doesn't know what 'candidate' means, to which Fake Locke finds it funny that Richard had been taking orders from Jacob all this time without even knowing what the task at hand was. Things start to get tense, but Fake Locke suddenly sees a weird, blonde-haired kid (me?) and gets sidetracked.

Richard doesn't see the boy because he had eyeliner in his cornea.

Recruiting Richard is slow-going, so Fake Locke pays Sawyer a visit instead. He arrives to find Sawyer embarrassingly trashed and listening to Stooges records in his underwear, pinpointing the only moment in the entire run of Lost where Sawyer did something that I have also done on several occasions. Not only does Sawyer not care that he's talking to a zombie, but he also is well-aware that he's not even talking to the real Locke. Whiskey will do this to a man; I once had an entire conversation with a pool cue. We talked about The Avalanches; it had great taste in music. Sawyer agrees to accompany Fake Locke to an undisclosed location where he will tell him sweet secrets.

The weird-looking boy appears again, this time both Fake Locke and Sawyer can see him. Locke gives chase, where the boy reminds him "You know the rules; you can't kill him." This is similar to when Keamy, one of Widmore's jackbooted thugs, killed Ben Linus' daughter Alex, prompting Ben to exclaim, "He broke the rules!" Weirder still, this statement prompts Fake Locke to scream, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" which is something that the real Locke would say every eight seconds.

Richard tries to lure Sawyer away from Locke, but gets scared shitless and bounds away like a skittish rabbit. It's funny to see this guy so powerless all of a sudden.

Sawyer pulls a gun on Locke, who's not having any of it. Locke reminds Sawyer that he was "once a man," and is "trapped." These sound like the words of either a Smoke Monster or a pre-op transsexual.

Once Sawyer and the Man In Black make it to the Super Secret Cave of Etchings and Stones on Scales, Fake Locke drops a bombshell on Sawyer and everyone watching the show. He says, "This is why you're here," and points to the ceiling of the cave, where familiar names have been written down and scratched out, presumably by Jacob. Apparently, he's narrowing down the list of potential candidates to protect the Island. These people have all, at one point or another, been visited by Jacob in their lives, essentially wrecking their free will and inadvertently steering them to the Island.


We'll get back to the names, numbers, and that pee stain you just made in a second.

Of course, The Man In Black thinks this Protector nonsense is bunk, and the Island doesn't need to be protected. He tells Sawyer that he can either wait things out and see what happens- he then crosses out Locke's name as a reminder of what could happen-, he could take the role of protector and live a seemingly meaningless existence, or him and Fake Locke could jump ship and get the hell out of there.

Sawyer wants to leave. So they do. Smash cut; episode over.

The scene in the cave was on par with the Dharma Orientation film in Season 2; a huge plot point that explains so much, yet leaves so much more to be theorized. Who's really in charge here? What's so special about this place, anyway? What has everyone been eating since the barracks were destroyed?

Let's get into it, and BREAK IT DOWN!

4. In the six-year, vast expanses of the Lost Universe, things rarely kick more ass and take more names than a John Locke-centric episode. His story the deepest and most emotional, his character the most developed and beloved, and let's face it, he's played by the best actor on a show chock-full of geniuses.

In the Alternate Timeline, we see that Locke seems to be on good terms with his father, even displaying a photo of him in his cubicle at work. This suggests that Locke became paralyzed in a completely different way, but how?

8. It is revealed that several of the main survivors of Oceanic 815 correspond to one of the numbers, and they are all candidates to become the next Jacob:

4- Locke (John)
8- Reyes (Hurley)
15- Ford (Sawyer)
16-Jarrah (Sayid)
23-Shephard (Jack)
42-Kwon (presumably Jin)

During Fake Locke's monologue, he crosses out Locke's name, as he's dead. This raises a few questions about why Jacob had kept certain names crossed and un-crossed. For example, why are the names 'Littleton' and 'Straume' crossed out? Pertaining to Claire (Aaron too!) and Miles, neither of which are dead. Perhaps they failed some rite of passage at some point.

Perhaps Jacob is only keeping track of those that he 'touched' prior to the crash. If so, why are Kate and Ilana's names crossed out? Is Jacob looking specifically for a man?

Any theories? I'm sick of thinking about this.

15. In Locke's Flash-Sideways, we see that the temp agency worker was Hurley's tarot card reader in the Original Timeline. Those crazy writers with their totally insignificant Easter Eggs!

16. After Locke gets fired, he cannot enter his van's wheelchair ramp because Hurley had parked too close to it. However, the ramp shorts out and doesn't hit Hurley's Hummer when deployed. Maybe because Hurley is 'lucky' in the Alternate Timeline?

23. If Rose works for Hurley's temp agency, did they recognize each other on the flight? If I saw a co-worker on a flight back from Sydney, I'd have to at least say something.

42. If Hurley pulled his Hummer that close to Locke's van, how in the hell did Hurley exit his vehicle?

Enough for this week; thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your weekend, and kill some time by reading up on other Lost Fridays this year:

Season 6 - Episode 1/2.
Season 6 - Episode 3.
I'm On Twitter.
I'm On Facebook.

Just a quick note about the Rose/Hurley thing; it's very possible that Rose was middle management and hadn't met Hurley as the owner (knew his name but not his face).

I enjoyed a brief interactivity with LOST this week; when Locke was faced with a stuck chair lift at the beginning, I yelled out "JUMP IT!!!!" seconds before he attempted that very thing. I was highly amused, and tried it later on when Fake Locke was chasing the Island Boy. I yelled "why are you running?!? you're not human!!! change into smoke and GET HIM!!!"

It didn't work.
Lost lends itself to such outbursts. When Locke started rearing back to jump the lift, everyone in my living room knew exactly what was going to happen, which made us ghouls very excited.
First of all, I think curling is AWESOME. That's sweet that you're actually going to try it!

"Richard doesn't see the boy because he had eyeliner in his cornea." I'm pretty sure this is true.

I was also very confused as to how Hurley got out of his vehicle.
I'm guessing that Hurley scrambled over the seats and exited through the back doors on the van. It was probabl quite a sight to see.

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