by John Cloud
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t yet seen Tuesday night’s episode of Lost, “The Last Recruit,” then head over to the nearest Dharma station and watch it before reading this post.
Poniewozik has been drugged and stashed away in a padlocked room on the sub. So I’m your guest blogger for tonight’s frenetic episode…
If last week was all about explosive devices, this week was all about loose threads. So many were tied up this week that I’m a little dizzy.
I suppose I should begin where the episode started and finished: the fraught relationship between Jack and unLocke. UnLocke made clear tonight what Damon and Carlton have been hinting for a while on ABC’s official Lost podcast: for all his boar-skinning ability, John Locke was a pathetic man, “a sucker.“ As unLocke put it tonight, realLocke was “stupid enough to believe he was here for a reason.”
For any of you who still believe unLocke might be good, let me point out that in virtually all faiths, only the Satan figure believes we have no purpose on “this rock,” as Sawyer calls the island. Just as in Stephen King’s The Stand—which Damon and Carlton have cited as an influence, and which I am now rereading—it turns out there are only two sides, and you have to pick one.
Tonight we also learned that unLocke/Man-in-Black was pretending to be Jack’s father way back in season one. Or did we learn that? It was unLocke and Claire who revealed that unLocke had taken the form of Christian Shephard. But because unLocke is evil and Claire is nuts, the story about Christian could be an elaborate ruse.
Trying to puzzle all of this out, I feel a migraine coming on. And that’s my major complaint with this episode: all the exposition rushed forward so quickly that you needed to be on Lostpedia the whole time to keep up. I can’t imagine what casual fans got out of this episode, which was one of the weakest of this season.
A major plot point that the writers did accomplish tonight was corralling all the flash-sideways Losties into the same place: the hospital where Jack works. Sun, who was shot back in “The Package,” now finally gets to the hospital, and she arrives the same time as John Locke. Her fear upon seeing him is one of the few effective emotional moments of the episode.
Meantime, we see Tina Fey—I mean Zoe—acting badass, and we also get a flash-sideways version of Ilana looking moneyed and gorgeous.
And then, finally, one great Lost moment, one that reminded me of the early seasons: Kate convincing Claire not to be so nuts. Kate senses that the best way to appeal to Claire is to emphasize what they have shared: a son. “So please come with us,” Kate says. “Just come home.” Call me sentimental, but that line got to me.
And at long last, Sun and Jin got back together. The very act of it reinstated Sun’s ability to speak English. I could say more about their reunion, but it was so inevitable—and it took so frigging long—that I think it goes better unremarked upon.
With that …
Department of Awesome Lines, Part I:
Sawyer: “Who the hell is Annakin Anakin?”
Department of Awesome Lines, Part II:
Hurley to an unbathed, wild-eyed Claire: “You look great.”
Department of Awesome Lines, Part III:
Sawyer calling Lapidus “the pilot who looks like he stepped off the set of a Burt Reynolds movie.”
And finally, a light hail of bullets:
• Now that all the pieces are in place, will the black/white chess game finally begin in the next episode, or we will get more character exposition?
• Sayid is faking, right?
• It was suggested last year that Lapidus might be a candidate. That seems highly unlikely, but are the producers just keeping him around so he could possibly fly that plane off the island? I do think Jeff Fahey has done a remarkably wry job of playing the Lapidus character, but is he just around for laughs at this point?
• What will the final Jack-Locke confrontation look like? Who will initiate it? And does it result in Jack becoming a Jacob-like figure?
• What role will David, Aaron, and the other kids play in the finale?
• Will Claire ever get to wash her hair?
• Where are Ben and Miles and Richard?
• What does the finale setup look like? It seems clear that the flash-sideways Losties will all end up at the hospital, but why?