By Jeff Jensen Apr 21, 2010
Reunions never last long on Lost. Packs of people come together after protracted periods of being apart, and then immediately fracture into new pods and cliques. The mantra is ''Live Together, Die Alone,'' and yet our heroes have always kinda sucked at the community thing. Will the castaway clan ever learn to live as one big happy family of man? Is our ''You All Everybody'' idealism but a crock? I despair! And so it went on last night's episode that Fake Locke and his flock of flunkies absorbed the ''Let's give peace a chance'' Fab Four of Jack, Sun, Lapidus and Hurley. For a few fleeting moments, the Island super-group was back together. Then Smokey sent Sayid one way (to go kill Desmond), and then Sawyer sent Jack that way (to help him execute the submarine escape plan), and then Jack sent everyone into a tizzy by deciding to go solo. Feeling the pull of Island destiny on his soul and trusting his gut to go with it, Jack literally jumped ship, i.e. Desmond's yacht, the Elizabeth, the one he got from Libby for free. Consequently, Doc Shephard missed out on the story's most emotional reunion. At last! Jin and Sun! Their crazy-cosmic marital separation is finally over! But before the tears could even squeeze out of our eyes, Zoe, the enemy of love (and compelling line readings), announced the commencement of Charlie Widmore's War. The castaways were forced to assume the prisoner (or execution?) position and rockets were fired in the direction of The Monster. The explosions got us a cool Mission Impossible 3-ish f/x shot of Jack getting flung limbs akimbo at the camera. He was left dazed and confused in the care of Fake Locke, whom I shall heretofore refer to as Man-Thing for reasons I may or may not explain to you. ''Don't worry. It's going to be okay,'' Man-Thing said. ''You're with me now.'' We'll see how long their partnership lasts.
''The Last Recruit'' didn't blow me away. Some of it really bugged me, actually, but it was a necessary staging episode for the final act of the season (and the series!), and I won't judge it too harshly. But can I just say that the Lapidus quip ''Looks like someone got their voice back'' was maybe the most cornball line ever uttered on Lost? (Like I said: not too harshly.) Still, there were plenty of meaty things in this busybusybusy outing to chew and savor. Jack's torchlight chat with Man-Thing was dense with significance. (Mystery Resolution Alert! Christian Shephard has always been a Smokey apparition!) (But did you believe M-T's claim?) Sayid's wellside conversation with Desmond also captured my imagination (do you think Mr. Designated Assassin executed his kill order?), as did Sideways Sun's freak-out over seeing Sideways John Locke. And then there was the set-up for the next episode: Sideways Jack's scramble to save Sideways John's life. That passing reference to Locke's obliterated dural sac was a nod to the classic moment in the pilot when Jack recounted his most harrowing moment as a young doctor. It led me to wonder if Lost is about to come full circle and give Jack an encounter with mind-clouding fear in both worlds. Count to five, folks: I think things are about to get scary.
''Sometimes you have to lose yourself 'fore you can find anything.'' — Deliverance
I can only imagine what Jack Shephard was thinking as he found himself face to face with Man-Thing. Here was a creature that defied his scientific orientation, a supernatural entity that looked exactly like his dead frenemy John Locke but was clearly not John Locke at all. Jack was rattled. Man-Thing knew it. As we saw last week in his interaction with Desmond, Man-Thing can practically smell fear. When he can't, he says so. He said nothing of the sort about Jack. When Man-Thing asked Jack to join him for a chat, the confidence-challenged doc asked his new leader/rabbi, Hurley, for some advice. ''It's all you, dude,'' Hurley said. I couldn't tell if Hurley was giving Jack his blessing or telling him ''Beats me, man. Your call.'' Either way, I think Hurley's brief tenure as castaway hero officially ended, and the weight of glory-or-infamy shifted back onto Jack's shoulders. And it should. The story of Lost has always been chiefly about the project of his redemption and the final choice that will be born out of that work. And so Jack manned up and walked into the dark. His final (death?) march to destiny had begun.
[Note: My recap hinges on a reading of Lost that I've had since ''Ab Aeterno.'' In the climactic scene of the episode, the Man In Black vowed to kill Jacob and any of his replacements. It's been my stated theory since then that MIB has been lying to the castaway candidates about getting them off The Island alive. Instead, what he's been conspiring to do is get them killed by either trying to escape — or by trying to stop him from escaping. Man-Thing can't kill the candidates himself, per the implied rules expressed by the Ghost Boy that's been haunting him, so he needs to manipulate Widmore into slaying the castaways, or trick the castaways into killing each other. All this said, Man-Thing's homicidal ambitions may not be ''evil.'' I have previously speculated that the castaways have lived long past their natural expiration date and need to pass into the afterlife, which may or may not be represented by the Sideways world. Thus, killing the castaways isn't wrong, but rather the means to end their unnatural state of being. Among the flaws in my line of thinking: it does seem to be increasingly likely that the Sideways world is some manufactured reality that represents the pay-out of Man-Thing's happily-ever-after promises to the castaways. The following recap leans more on the latter perspective, though it doesn't quite square with my characterization of Man-Thing as a tough love angel/afterlife traffic cop. Indeed, with each passing week, it does truly seem that Man-Thing is as Satanic as we fear him to be. And with that, we return to Jack and Man-Thing in the jungle...]
Man-Thing drove his flaming torch into the ground. He sat on a rock. He was in charge. He was in control. He was in power. But Jack kept his wits about him. And by wits, I mean his reason. Last season, Jack learned to open his mind to faith. This season, he has learned humility. In ''The Last Recruit,'' he recognized that there was still a place within his recreated self for a rational mind. Indeed, contrary to Sawyer's ''leap of faith'' crack, I think Jack's decision to jump off the Elizabeth was a conclusion reached by logic, and his plunge into the water was a kind of baptism christening Jack the fully integrated hero... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
,'' Jack said, ''what bothers me is that I don't have any idea what the hell you are.'' Jack was conceding the uselessness of old-fashioned empiricism when it came to crunching the paradox of Man-Thing. But there are other means of rational truth seeking. And so he started asking questions. Why John Locke? Did Locke have to be dead before Man-Thing took his form? What were some of Man-Thing's previous disguises? Man-Thing didn't answer the last one. Instead, he huffily asked Jack to ask him the question he really wanted to ask. Yes, Man-Thing wanted Jack to cut to the chase. But I also wondered if Man-Thing was trying to derail Jack's philosophical investigation, lest he find himself dealing with questions he didn't want to deal with, including the ones that I really wanted answered, like ''What's your name?' and ''Where do you come from?'' and ''Who's your mom?''
Jack asked the ''White Rabbit'' question, the one that resurfaced a few episodes ago in ''Lighthouse.'' When Jack saw Ghost Christian and chased him through the jungle, was that really his father or was that Man-Thing? ''Yes, that was me,'' Man-thing replied. Jack felt a surge of anger, but bit back on exploding. ''Why?'' he asked. Man-Thing got impish. ''Because you needed to find water,'' he said. There was an implied ''Duh!'' in there, as well as some implied irony. Back in season 1, Ghost Christian was a storytelling device that revealed Jack's character and solved a castaway survival issue (finding water) — but did it mean anything more than that? Did the writers really know that Ghost Christian was a manifestation of The Monster, or was that something they decided after the fact? I know many of you are debating the question today, and my answer is that I don't really care because either way, I am satisfied with resolution of the Ghost Christian mystery.
Of course, we could and should wonder if Man-Thing was lying. Until I'm told otherwise, I'm going to accept his Ghost Christian story as the truth. But Man-Thing's answer made me wonder: Should we be skeptical about the legitimacy of Hurley's ability to see and converse with the dead? Ghosts have visited Hurley since ''The Beginning of The End,'' the season 4 premiere, when Charlie's specter visited him at the mental hospital in the flash-forward time frame and began wooing him to go back to The Island. That was also the episode where Hurley got lost in the jungle and stumbled upon Jacob's haunted shack and peeked in the window and saw Ghost Christian in a rocking chair. Then an eyeball popped into the frame and glared right back at him and scared the hell out of Hurley. Or maybe it scared the hell into Hurley. Assuming that Jacob's haunted shack didn't belong to Jacob at all, but was instead a prison for The Man In Black, I wonder if the dark man literally got into Hurley's head in that eyeball moment and has been messing with him ever since.
Consider Ghost Jacob. In the season premiere, he instructed Hurley to take Sayid to The Temple for healing. How did that turn out? Sayid came back to life and helped Man-Thing lay waste to The Island's spiritual epicenter. In ''Lighthouse,'' Ghost Jacob instructed Hurley to take Jack to the lighthouse by evoking his father's memory. (''You have what it takes.'') How did that turn out? The experience left Jack convinced that Jacob was a perverted voyeur who had been spying on him since childhood and further convinced him that The Island was not a place where he'd find healing for his brokenness. Putting Jack in such a place helps Man-Thing's cause because it sets Jack up for one of his Faustian bargains. What do you want most in the world, Jack? Reconciliation with someone you love? Your father, perhaps? Because I can do that. We haven't heard Man-Thing verbally make that pitch yet, but judging from what we've seen in the Sideways world, it looks like Sideways Jack lives in a world where his father issues have been resolved via an increasingly healthy relationship with his son. Should we be worried if Island Jack will ultimately succumb to Man-Thing's will?
. It concerns the Ghost Kid that's been stalking him. If Man-Thing has been able to haunt the castaways with fake ghosts, then who or what are these spooky entities haunting him? Last Friday in my Doc Jensen column, I speculated that the Ghost Kid is the real Ghost Jacob. That remains my primary theory... but last night's episode left me wondering if there's a new smoke monster somewhere on The Island, a new entity capable of conjuring illusions of dead people. His first target: Man-Thing himself. Could this new Smokey be Jacob's own disembodied consciousness? This is definitely a hazy piece of thinking — a theory in progress.
Two more things:
When Jack told Man-Thing he didn't have any idea what he was, the Not Locke offered a cryptic reply: ''Sure you do.'' Now before I go down the rabbit hole on this one, let me state the common sense view that I think Man-Thing was merely alluding to how he had previously appeared to Jack as his father. But in the moment, I found myself wondering if Man-Thing was talking about something else, that he was hinting at the secret to his true identity and nature, and that if Jack recognized him as he truly was, he would realize that he's known him quite well for a very long time. And with that, my mind immediately flashback-swooshed to Jack's ''count to five'' story about fear management in the pilot. I don't know why. Maybe it's because the whole idea of Man-Thing as an embodiment of fear — which is a very old and well-traveled Lost theory — has been creeping back into some of my theoretical musings about Man-Thing of late, thanks to these repeated references to Smokey as ''that 'thing.''' (See: Ilana, Richard, Widmore.) Of course, The Thing is a title belonging to two great science fiction films, the 1951 Howard Hawks original and the 1982 John Carpenter remake, about an alien life form marooned on Earth. Both were allegories about xenophobia and demonization.
The Thing is also a Marvel Comics character, a member of the Fantastic Four, a pilot whose flesh and blood turned into rock after getting bombarded with ''cosmic rays,'' or what Lost would call ''unique electromagnetic energy.'' Monstrous and full of self-loathing, The Thing yearned to find a way to be released from the prison of his body. And then there's Man-Thing, another Marvel character, a cousin to the DC Comics hero Swamp Thing. (I have cited many times before a classic Swamp Thing tale in which the earth elemental finds a group of souls who don't realize they're dead flying the skies in a ghostly airplane and guides them into the afterlife.) Man-Thing was a tragic anti-hero. He was a scientist who was transformed via violence, fire, and experimental drugs into a sentient mound of muck. Don't show fear around Man-Thing for ''whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing's touch.'' Man-Thing protected something called ''the nexus of realities.'' Basically, his swamp was a portal into parallel worlds. BOTTOM LINE? Jack knows Man-Thing because Man-Thing is the embodiment of the emotion that has ruled much of his life. And when Lost likens Fake Locke to a ''thing,'' it is winking at the Fear Incarnate theory. I think. Or else Lost is alluding to the philosophical subtext of season 6 itself: Immanuel Kant's concept of ''Thing-in-itself,'' found in his work Critique of Pure Reason and derived from the older concept of noumenon, which distinguishes an entity's underlying reality from its external appearance that can be gleaned with our senses. Kant says we can only know things by the phenomenon they produce; we can never know things as they ''really are,'' or as the thing itself. I think. But as always, I could be catastrophically incorrect about all this.
have surely been negatively impacted by their dead friend's scary need for The Island and his zealous belief in destiny, and so I don't think Jack could intellectually argue the point with Man-Thing. At the same time, did you get the sense that Jack was a little offended for John? I think Jack could and would say that Locke opened his eyes to the need for faith and helped him see that — to paraphrase Shakespeare — ''there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Jack, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.'' If Jack is capable of recognizing that he's been a pawn in a horrible game between morally dubious gods, he must also be able to see that Locke was used as a pawn, too — maybe more of a pawn than any of the other candidates and castaways. What I'm trying to say is that Jack's proper regard for his former Island rival should now be profound empathy — and maybe even a desire to seek justice on his behalf. ''Sucker''? I say, ''There's no need for name-calling, Mr. Monster.''
Not every scene in ''The Last Recruit'' had as much richness as the Jack/Man-Thing encounter. With a few exceptions, the episode was most filled with troop movements and restatements of motivations — putting characters where they need to be, reminding the audience what the characters are playing for. I'm going to trust you saw the episode and spare you the blow-by-blow. But some observations about some of the key Island world scenes and assorted bits that interested me.
THE JACK/CLAIRE REUNION
It was pretty creepy and unsentimental, as it should have been. Claire seemed to be expecting more out of the moment. She latched onto Jack, claimed him easily and heartily as her big brother — and also made it passive-aggressively clear that she didn't appreciate being abandoned and would be quite pissed if it happened again. (This tension and Claire's insecurity played out during the course of the episode, with Sawyer and Kate squabbling over whether to include Claire in the submarine escape plan. I won't be saying much more about the subplot beyond this parenthetical.)
Jack was more wary. Here's how I translated his tone and body language: ''This would be 10 times more Luke-and-Leia cool if you weren't an emotionally needy nutjob/survivalist psycho. Please, don't stand so close to me. You're making me feel uncomfortable, and you smell like wet squirrel.'' To be honest, I think the Jack-Claire twist hasn't panned out to be as cool as it first seemed to be. Making them related by blood nourished the important thematic idea of interconnection between characters that existed prior their Island meeting. It also ratcheted up Jack's angst over abandoning the castaways during his Oceanic days. Perhaps there's time to squeeze more out of it.
Zoe marched into Man-Thing's camp and asked for Desmond back, although she never mentioned him by name. (Man-Thing and Team Widmore may be enemies, but they share a desire to keep Desmond's presence on The Island secret from the castaways.) Man-Thing played dumb. Zoe gave Man-Thing an ultimatum and then offered a demonstration of her firepower. BOOM! went some trees, blown up by Hydra rockets. Man-Thing didn't flinch from the blast, but he acted rankled nonetheless. After all, as he told Sawyer in ''Recon'': ''It's either kill or be killed. And I don't wanna be killed.'' Then he took his Talking Spear — the one he was whittling last week; the one that was going to tell him what it was going to be, not vise versa — and stabbed Zoe's walkie-talkie. (''I know what I want to do when I grow up, Monster Daddy! I want to smash consumer electronics! Me Hulk Spear!'') ''Well, here we go,'' Man-Thing said. I wish to use this opportunity to acknowledge a school of thought that theorizes that Man-Thing's conflict with Team Widmore is a giant ruse, that The Monster and Charles Widmore are actually collaborators in a conspiracy to manipulate (and ultimately destroy) the castaways in order to achieve mutually advantageous goals. We know that Man-Thing wants to leave The Island. What might Widmore want in this scenario? Here's my thought: Charles Widmore wants to replace Man-Thing as the new monster. Before his not-quite-sure-I-believe-it-anymore turn toward righteousness this season, I believed Widmore was driven by a fear of death; becoming a black cloud of all-powerful disembodied consciousness is his ticket to eternal life. I find myself slipping back into that view. Then again, he hasn't been around lately to convince me different. Out of sight, out of mind — and back in the villain box.
NOTES FROM SUN'S UNDERGROUND
Sun wrote Man-Thing a text (via notepad; she kicks it old school) accusing him of shutting off her English. Man-Thing either played dumb or was genuinely baffled. For the record, I initially believed Sun's self-diagnosis. I thought Man-Thing had disabled her ability to communicate for tactical reasons. However, many fans believe that Island Sun and Sideways Sun became psychically linked in ''The Package'' and attribute Island Sun's English loss to the influence of Korean-speaking Sideways Sun. I never understood this theory. Island Sun already knew how to speak Korean and she didn't gain any of Sideways Sun's memories. So how exactly did her clone world counterpart influence her?
Still, last night's episode certainly proved that the reverse is true, that Sideways Sun has received at least a little bit of memory data from Island Sun, as Sideways Sun recognized Sideways Locke and got spooked. My explanation? Jack was correct when he said that Island Sun was suffering from aphasia. I think the emotional jolt of reuniting with Jin cured her of her condition; and I think that Sideways Sun recognized Locke because she's beginning to remember her Island self. More on this in a minute. The burning question: Did you believe Man-Thing when he said he wasn't responsible for her English loss? I kinda did. For anyone clinging to the view that Sideways connection caused her language scramble, and if that view is actually correct, then what are the implications of Man-Thing's cluelessness about Sun's condition? Here's one scenario: it's possible that he may actually have no knowledge of the Sideways world. I don't know if I buy this idea myself; I'm just recognizing it as a possibility.
LACK OF STAR WARS KNOWLEDGE... DISTURBING.
Sawyer looked at Hurley like he was speaking Korean when the ex-Dharma chef (and would-be rewriter of The Empire Strikes Back) invoked the name ''Anakin'' when he likened Sayid's potential for redemption to Darth Vader's character arc in the complete saga. Sawyer knew enough geek stuff to make a ''dark side'' reference, but not enough to know the significance of the name Anakin. Three thoughts: 1. Sawyer is most likely a prequel hater. 2. Sawyer is offering us a metaphor of Kant's Thing-in-itself. He knows Darth Vader only by appearance, but doesn't know the reality behind the mask. 3. Sawyer probably only ever saw Star Wars: A New Hope. Why is this a problem? Because it shows that Sawyer lacks reference points for the kind of redemption that the fallen souls of Lost need. Anakin went to the Dark Side because he stopped believing in distinctions between good and evil. In the process, Little Orphan Annie came to believe he could never been anything but ''evil'' until the day Luke came along and told him that good men who become bad men can become good men again if they only allowed themselves to believe in it. Redemption begins with believing in the idea of redemption. This is the psychological war that Sayid is currently fighting in his own head, and I worry it's one that looms for Sawyer. In other words: the church of Star Wars can solve all of our problems!
Since we're busy over-thinking the implications of Sawyer's cinematic literacy anyway, let's make much ado about the funny nothing of comparing Frank Lapidus to ''chesty'' Burt Reynolds. I'm sure Sawyer likes to think of himself as the Bandit in Smokey and the Bandit, the fun lovin' outlaw anti-hero stickin' it to buffoonishly corrupt authority. But the place where Anakin and Burt meet is Deliverance, and the idea of letting go of your bad self before you can move into the idea of a good self can be summed up in Reynolds' line: ''Sometimes you have to lose yourself 'fore you can find anything.'' (I would explore the possible application of Deliverance to Lost, but my metaphors would be tasteless. Let's just say that I worry that our up-a-creek-without-a-paddle castaways are about to get totally scr... errr, I mean, betrayed by an evil jungle hillbilly.) I look forward to your suggestions for Lost-relevant Burt Reynolds movies or TV shows. Did you know that Reynolds once had a small part in a classic episode of The Twilight Zone called ''The Bard''? It's the one where a hack TV writer uses black magic to make William Shakespeare write a script for him. Isn't that an interesting piece of trivia to know? You're welcome, by the way.
TURKEY SHOOTING: SAYID'S LAST TEMPTATION
It seems to me that Sideways Desmond and Man-Thing are two sides of the same coin. Both are manipulating castaways toward a specific end. Both resort to violence to get what they want. And both are hard to resist if you allow them to start talking to you. Let's hope Island Desmond shares his counterpart's gift for persuasion. Sayid went to the well. He pointed the gun at Desmond sitting in a pool of shallow water. It was an easy shot — a turkey shoot. Sayid wouldn't have missed. But before he could pull the trigger, Desmond spoke. ''So what'd he offer you? If you're going to shoot in cold blood, brother, I think I have the right to know.'' Sayid told him that Man-Thing offered to give him back something he lost — ''the woman I loved.'' (Nadia? Shannon? You will debate, I know you will. I vote Nadia.) Desmond asked him how he thought Man-Thing could make good on his promise given that his lover was dead. Sayid, who attributed his odd resurrection to Man-Thing's magic, said: ''I died. And he brought me back.''Ergo: Man-Thing can bring back his dead lover, too. Desmond shook his head. If we are to believe that Island Desmond shares a mind with Sideways Desmond, then clearly Island Desmond knows that Man-Thing's Faustian bargains won't quite play out the way that the castaways are expecting. (This assumes that the Sideways world is the payout for said bargains.) So why didn't Desmond just say so? Because Desmond can only help bring enlightenment through indirect means. Oh, and by running people over with a car. Fortunately, Desmond's brand of indirect can be pretty damn effective. ''This woman, when she asks you what you to be with her again — what will you tell her?''
FUN FACT! ''Turkey-shooting'' is also a term meaning to solve problems with an unconventional or non-logical approach. Did Desmond ''turkey shoot'' his way out of a ''turkey shoot'' death? Did his question pierce Sayid's zombie hide and make him feel alive again? I say: yes. Sayid didn't kill Desmond. Sayid embraced the ideas Desmond was presenting him — ideas that you can also find illustrated in the Tales of the Black Freighter portion of Watchmen, in which a castaway desperate to be reunited with his wife becomes so warped and twisted in the process that he becomes unrecognizable to himself and even loses the ability to recognize his lover once he's reunited with her. Sayid's biggest problem is that he allows other people to define him — and then buys into it. His father, his country, the United States, Ben, Dogen, and Man-Thing — they've all told Sayid that he's a killer, and he's accepted their judgment. Desmond's challenge to Sayid: Decide for yourself who you are and what you want to be, then believe in it and live it out. I like to think Sayid accepted Desmond's challenge and decided that who he is and what he wants to be is the man Nadia fell in love with — the man who chose not to be her killer; the man who sacrificed his own safety so that she could be free. He made a choice to be that man once. I want to believe that at the well, Sayid made the choice to be that man again.
And by the way, I think Man-Thing is good with that choice. I think Man-Thing wanted Sayid to make that choice. That's why Man-Thing didn't do the reasonable thing and check Sayid's work. What Man-Thing wants is for Sayid to move in the direction of escape/death — which is to say, Hydra Island. If Desmond rekindled Sayid's humanity and soul, and if that fire drives him into harm's way on Hydra Island, mission accomplished. Whatever it takes.
served as a metaphor for the state of ignorance in both the Island and Sideways world. The boat was named after one of their fallen comrades, but they didn't know that, not even Hurley. Desmond could have briefed them, of course. Oh, well.
On the boat, Sawyer tried to engage Jack in conversation, maybe try to work out some kind of peaceful coexistence in the wake of Jack's Juliet-killing Jughead gambit. Yet Sawyer couldn't resist taking a sly shot at Jack's crappy track record as a follower. The insult bounced off of Jack. But then Shephard shared his crisis of conscience, and it only played to Sawyer like a confirmation of Jack's Alpha Male arrogance. ''This doesn't feel right,'' Jack said of leaving The Island. It sounded like superstition, but it wasn't. It was intuition informed by reason — the Locke in him bolstered by the Jack. ''I remember how I felt the last time I left. Like a part of me was missing. We were brought here because we were supposed to do something, James. And if Locke — of that 'thing' — wants us to leave, then maybe it's afraid of what happens if we stay?'' In that line, it seemed to me that Jack was applying several lessons of his Island experience, including all the hard lessons Ben had taught him over the years about Island bad guys. Island bad guys figure out what you want most in life, then exploit it. Island bad guys always motivate you with fear and urgency and want you to act before you've taken the time to think things through. Island bad guys make it sound like you share common interests, but in most cases, whatever it is they want you to do is actually the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
Sawyer didn't want to hear any of this. And alas, his resistance to Jack's warnings was a textbook example of fear clouding judgment. Sawyer desperately wanted off The Island. He'd been put (manipulated) into a situation where he had to move ASAP to get what he wanted. And he didn't have time to consider all the ways he could have been bumbling into disaster. He got played by an Island bad guy. And it made me wonder if Sawyer is about to add his own Jughead to his hero/leader resume. Sawyer forced Jack to make a choice. Stay or go. Jack chose to trust his fully integrated faith/reason self — the ''different person'' he spoke of being to Kate — and jumped off Sawyer's ship of fools.
It was a succession of bitter pills for Sawyer from that point forward. On Hydra Island, Zoe and the Widmore science police greeted Sawyer, Kate, Sun, Hurley, Claire, and Lapidus at gunpoint. At first, the security measures seemed like a precautionary formality. As everyone relaxed, Jin stepped out from behind a tree. Sun spotted him. The reunion was on. Sun spoke of her unflagging journey to find Jin — and she did so in English. There was much hugging, touching, squeezing. Their friends beamed, except for Sawyer. The sight of the Jin/Sun restoration only reminded him of what he would never have with Juliet, and it tore him apart. And then Lapidus got corny. Maybe the show wanted me to laugh. Maybe someone somewhere at ABC was worried that the Lost audience doesn't watch the show close enough and would have forgotten what happened to Sun in ''The Package.'' Anyway, I groaned and was bummed to be taken out of a moment I had been looking forward to for a very long time. Then, more monkey wrenches. Zoe and co. raised their guns. There was no truce. Widmore's sub escape pact with Sawyer was a con. The castaways were made to eat sand. The rockets launched, and Jack found himself in the fearsome hands of the Man-Thing. What a burn.
were transpiring inside characters' heads during the course of their Island adventures. Similarly, the season 6 characters are not literally toggling between worlds. Nonetheless, the storytelling serves as a metaphor for the psychic anarchy that is happening or trying to happen. It's been building over the past couple weeks; I wonder where it goes from here.
Enlightenment-wrangler Desmond conveniently and fortuitously bumped into Claire and steered her in the direction of a lawyer to help her broker Aaron's adoption. The lawyer turned out to be… Ilana! And it turned out Ilana had been all but waiting for her. What a coincidence! Claire's father had died. Ilana's firm represented Christian Shephard's estate, and Claire happened to show up in her offices on the very same day that the brother she never knew she had was stopping by for the reading of Christian's will. So weird! Jack showed up with his son, David. He shook hands with Claire. She explained her relationship to Jack, and as she did, her eyes seemed to shift knowingly in their sockets and an excited smile seem to want to break out. Was she thrilled to discover she had a brother — or had the succession of psychic jolts experienced over the course of her L.A. journey jostled her Island mind to the forefront of her consciousness? I say the latter. But Sideways Jack remained Sideways Jack. And then a phone call summoned him away from the meeting. Claire was visibly disappointed. In general, the Sideways stories in ''The Last Recruit'' raised the question: Just what does it take to become ''enlightened''? Regardless, I wouldn't be too surprised if Jack is the ''last recruit'' to this cause, too.
At the police department, Sawyer waltzed to his desk biting into an apple. Symbol of the Tree of Knowledge, of course, but Sawyer failed to experience a rush of Island self-awareness from his metaphorically loaded lunch. Ditto his interrogation of Kate, which played more like a poor version of their flirty ''I never'' banter from the season 1 episode ''Outlaws.'' They lounged in their leather jackets and quizzed each other about their LAX encounter and their respective secrets. Did you believe Sideways Kate when she said she wasn't a murderer? I did. Did you find yourself wondering if Sideways Sawyer killed an innocent man during his secret mission to Australia? I did, too. But I don't think he did. Why? Because I think it makes for better drama when these Sideways innocents finally regain their Island world memory and have to deal with the realization of their past guilt. For now, I remain convinced that they haven't been Island activated, though the noticeable increase of Island Sawyer swagger in Sideways Sawyer's demeanor did make me wonder if enlightenment is slowly dawning, like gradual turns of a dimmer switch.
cold and hasty good-bye to Nadia as he packed his bags for a life on the lam, and her spooked reaction (''Did you hurt someone?'' And then, chilling: ''What did you do, Sayid?'') only confirmed what Island Desmond had said to Island Sayid about the cost of reunion. Sideways lovers Jin and Sun faired better — and I was irritated. The resolution to Sideways Sun's cliffhanger felt rushed and pat. For the record: Jin managed to call an ambulance despite his lack of English (off-screen) and the doctors managed to save her life and her pregnancy (also off-screen). Boooo! Were Sideways Jin and Sun ''Island enlightened''? I'm on the fence — but I say no, not yet. Or at least, not completely. Sun was wheeled into the hospital with Sideways Locke. She saw him and freaked. It wasn't total recall of all things Locke — he was only a ''him.'' And she seemed to react to him as if he was the Fake Locke — the Man-Thing. Did Sideways Sun momentarily port into Island Sun's head when The Monster was chasing her? Perhaps.
As for Sideways Locke, it was tempting to conclude that he had been ''Island enlightened'' as a result of getting run down by Desmond — but only because the actor and character were denied a chance to speak. I say: Inconclusive. But I liked his moment in the ambulance with Ben, which was intercut with the scene between Jack and Man-Thing on The Island. Ben was getting pestered with all the questions about Sideways John that I wanted asked of Man-Thing, especially the one about his name. During the ride, Sideways John mumbled the name of his fiancé, Helen. I suspect we shall be seeing her imminently, and the one-two punch of Sideways Jack rummaging around in his body with his magic hands and a kiss from Helen should do the trick of finally resurrecting Island Locke in Sideways John's battered, broken body. (Interesting that Sideways Jack recognized Sideways Locke via a mirror. I have no theories about that — yet.) But I expect the next episode to be life-or-death struggle, the Lost equivalent of the ER classic ''Love's Labor Lost,'' with Sideways Jack pushed to the limits of his medical skill and perhaps even his spiritual conviction to save Sideways Locke's life — especially if one or both of them suddenly become ''Island enlightened'' in the middle of the procedure. But I fear the implications of the dural sac…
But that's two weeks from now. No Lost next week. But there will be a Doc Jensen columns this Friday and a week from Friday that will address anything I've missed here. E-mail me at email@example.com. Also follow me on Twitter @EWDocJensen.