Lost: The Substitute

The Sideways Story is going to break my heart. I like everyone so much better in it! See the alive but still crippled John Locke start to find peace and acceptance in his body and in his life. I’m so happy to see Helen (which doesn’t mean she’s not going to die of a brain aneurysm down the line). See Hurley act like a benevolent Buddha. See Ben Linus as a history teacher bitching about the coffee in the teacher’s lounge!

Helen mentions John’s father as if he is still in his son’s life, as if he’s invited to the wedding. So why is John in a wheelchair? I wouldn’t think you’d invite the guy who shoved you out of a window and crippled you to your wedding, even if he is your dad.

It’s another glimpse (like Hurley’s comment in “LA X”: “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”) that not only are these characters’ futures changed, but their pasts have changed. John’s in a wheelchair, yes; Kate’s on the run, yes; Hurley’s won the lottery, yes; but the reasons for these things have shifted.

Because in the sideways timeline, the Island is under water. Jacob hasn’t touched them. Their lives have taken the track that they were supposed to have taken.

Maybe it did work.

Back on-Island, in the meantime, Smokey drifts around and decides to recruit Sawyer to his cause. Richard is terrified of him (the usually unflappable Richard has been seriously rocked by Not Locke’s appearance). A boy (the boy from Flight 815?) tells Not Locke that he can’t kill “him” — Sawyer or Richard? (I think Richard; Richard is somehow special.) Ben only lies once! Sawyer sees right through Not Locke, even with two-thirds of a bottle of whiskey in him (my favorite moment of last night’s episode).

And Not Locke takes him to that spooky cave.

I think the writers/producers of Lost are exploiting our assumptions about black and white, namely, that white is for the good guys and black is for the bad guys. I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

To me, the names all over the cave wall and ceiling are proof that Jacob is crazy. Insane crazy. Hell-bent on proving the Man in Black/Not Locke wrong — that there will be an ending; that the Island does need protecting; that some day someone else will take his (Jacob’s) place. At the same time, though, I think Jacob is setting up “the candidates” for failure. He manipulates people so they come to the Island, and then leaves them to their own devices. A terrible twist on the idea of free will.

And by doing so, by attempting to keep things in balance, Jacob keeps the Man in Black trapped.

That’s all over now, though.

Did you notice whose names were not on the cave wall? Kate, Claire, Rose and Bernard, Mr. Eko, Frank Lapidus (whom my husband insists on calling Frank the Penis), Ben, Juliet, Miles. Are they wild cards? Dispensable? Not candidates to do one of two things: protect the Island or help Not Locke escape his trap?

I know: it seems like a lot more questions. But I think the story is getting told, the mysteries are being revealed. They’ve got fourteen more hours.

I am loving it.