LOST Notes: The Substitute – Assessing The Candidates

Yes, I dug up a year-old meme, and I wasted a lot of time doing it.


James “Sawyer” Ford: Well, I guess I better put some pants on.  

This week: As always, Locke helps things get back on track, the “candidates” are revealed and Jacob should probably learn to keep a pen and piece of paper on him at all times.   


I. Locke – Plane Crash = Train Wreck  

A. Maybe instead of spending 2-3 years trying to convince Jack & co. to believe him by opening hatches and throwing knives at people, Locke should have used his alternate-reality Slingbox to show everyone how sh*tty his own life is without the Island.  “Look, I have everything I ever wanted – the love of the woman who left me and the respect of my father, whom we can assume did not paralyze me and thus is probably less estranged.  Except my job still sucks, I still can’t walk or own a motorized wheelchair, I still can’t explore the Australian Outback and now I’m actually kind of a dick because I tried to fleece my company for a free vacation, but don’t worry, I found a temp job as a biology teacher, yes, Jack, I get it, that does make me a man of science, you can stop laughing now.”  

B. On the other hand, Happy Hurley is currently the lone good thing to come out of the Not-LOST World, at least until we find out that he is aligned with the mob or has a bad drug habit or enjoys hunting human beings for sport just because he can.  Don’t let the mutton chops fool you; this is clearly not the Hurley we know.  A box company and a temp company are diversified assets from your chicken restaurant?  Real Hurley would own a movie studio, a multilingual comic shop, at least eight more restaurants and the Apollo candy bar factory.  

This was a metaphor for the fans during last week's episode.


C. If Locke didn’t get paralyzed by his dad, and Jacob visited him after he got paralyzed, does Jacob even visit him in the Not-LOST World?  What about Hurley and Sayid, who were both visited post-crash-that-didn’t-happen?  Hurley doesn’t seem bound for the nuthouse and who knows if Sayid meets Nadia, so maybe they are both getting the shaft on the Jacob front thanks to that bomb.  

D. Speaking of thanks to that bomb, how did evil teenage Ben float all the way to Tustin, California, after the Island sank?  And who else floated ashore?  Richard?  Widmore?  Either way, taking a bath in the innocence-removing Hot Tub Life Machine Sponsored By Cherry Coke Zero™ didn’t seem to do him much good this time around because European History high school teacher doesn’t offer the same upward mobility as Island’s Favorite Son.  

Cancer! Myopia! Dead-end jobs! Thanks for everything, Jack!


E. “Look, I know you just came back from an Australian vacation that you lied to me about and you just got fired for it and now you are a substitute girls basketball coach, one of the only available steps down from corporate office drone, and you also own a suitcase of knives, a sense of defiance over your condition but no drive to fix it so now I have to be on top in the bedroom for the entirety of our pending married life, but hey, you agreed with me on the fabric samples so I still love you, John.”  

II. It’s Like Election, And The Audience Is Matthew Broderick  

A. Hi, I’d like one Richard Alpert – to go, please, plastic is ok, but I’d prefer a canvas sack – but hold the wisdom and general sense of self-confidence. Yeah, no balls at all, thanks. Oh, and could I get some extra paranoia on top?  

B. At this point, I’m just begging for someone to be all-powerful.  Richard became a total spaz once his Undercover Boss showed up, Jacob seemed pretty cool about getting murdered and now The Man in The Black Locke (Blacke? Blocke?) is seeing crazy visions (the Great White Walt) in the jungle that make him turn into Real Locke for a moment or two.  Seriously, I’d like for someone to not be f*cked up.  You don’t have to give me answers (that’s reverse psychology, you totally do, god*mmit), just give me someone who absolutely knows what is going on at all times – a constant, if you will.   

You broke the rules and I'm telling Mom!


C. Clearly, Sawyer faked his grief over Juliet’s death to get Kate to leave because he saw the opportunity to get the bitchin’ bachelor pad he’s been dreaming of ever since the crash.  Plus he could always take another spin on the Kate Austen Express later; just wait about two weeks for her to cycle through the pity Jack -> love Jack -> leave Jack sequence, then show up at the Temple looking pained and needy.   

D. It’s pretty creepy of Illana to grab a handful of souvenir Jacob-ash on her way out of the temple.   

E. The Black Locke can make all this noise about choosing John because he was a candidate, but the truth is, he ended up that way for three reasons: 1) uh, only available dead body, duh; 2) he always wanted to say “don’t tell me what I can’t do!” to Jacob, even Baby Jacob; 3) his Evil Island Entity Mother always warned him not to make stupid Locke faces as a kid, but he did it anyway, and now he’s stuck that way.  

F. How does Richard know the big picture (“he wants everyone dead”) but not the little nuances like candidacy and shapeshifting? Also, a word to any recruiters out there: the easiest way to get someone to sign a letter of intent is to TELL THEM WHAT’S GOING ON.  Don’t sit on their couch and badmouth the other team.  That’s why The Black Locke is pulling in five-star kids like Sawyer; he’s delivering straight talk, or what passes for straight talk on the Island. “Here’s your name on a wall, you wanna come with me?”  

When your recruit pulls a gun on you, we call that a "red flag."


G. So The Others find out about the Black Locke situation and think, “holy f*ck, we gotta get to the Temple.”  Red Temple Squad finds out about the Black Locke situation and thinks, “holy f*ck, we gotta lock down the Temple, no pun intended.”  Ben, Ilana, Sun and Frank find out about the Black Locke situation and think, “holy f*ck, we gotta…walk all the way back across the Island to bury him in the cemetery.”  Could you not find an available patch of dirt?  Did you think burying him properly would negate the existence of a face-stealing potentially evil smoke cloud and let Locke’s soul be at peace?  Just throw him in the water, kids.  Let Ben tell his self-pitying murderer story walkin’.   

H. Look at Sun thinking any non-Jin person gives a sh*t about her. What makes them think she’s going with them to the Temple?  Besides the lack of options and her inability to make her own choices and stick to them?  No, please, go wander through the jungle by your lonesome to find your husband, because that arrangement has worked out swimmingly for the both of you over the past five years.  The only other person who would miss Sun is Lapidus, who would have to make his weekly voice-of-the-audience “WTF?” comment to himself.   

I. Also, not to jump ahead, but how many island people are crossing their fingers that “42- KWON” means Jin instead of Sun?  Could there be a bigger disparity in what you’re getting from an Island protector?  Maybe it’s the humble fisherman who grew exponentially as a person, who will do anything for the things he loves and who oh by the way CANNOT BE KILLED, or maybe it’s the self-interested, self-important rich girl who doesn’t care about the greater good so much as getting what she wants.   

J. The only way Sun could be a good Island protector is if she wed it against her father’s wishes (just because he said no, basically), endured a few years of loveless marriage, then plotted to leave it during a vacation only to crash on another island with it, realize she doesn’t have any other options for regular sex, get pregnant, escape the second island, deliver their new human-magical-Island hybrid baby and then go back demanding to know where her Island-husband is all the time.  

The most inconvenient grocery list ever.


K. More numbers talk: of course Jack (23) gets Michael Jordan’s number, because he’s pretty good at his job (where spinal surgery, not leader of castaways, is his job), but has a compulsive addiction that pretty much ruins his life, meanwhile he is convinced at all times that he’s the smartest and best guy around and all his choices are good ones.  It’s no surprise that Kate’s not among the available candidates, and not because she’s a woman, but because she hasn’t been able to protect or care for anything and because she will be looking for a way off the Island, like, immediately.   

L. Also, geez, someone get Jacob a piece of paper.  “Hey, I’m going to track the most important piece of information in the world in the most inconvenient way possible – haphazardly scrawled on the roof of a cave locatable only by me and my supposed nemesis.”  

M. Black Locke’s easy dismissal of option #2 requires Sawyer (or whichever candidate he’s trying to corrupt next) to completely disregard that his presence has made two previous Island authority figures (Ben and Alpert of the Undead) soil themselves.  Here’s an easier sell – any most-knowing (since nobody is all-knowing) Island deities and protectors have sh*tty living conditions.  Oh, you can choose between a run-down shack that moves around, a studio underneath statue ruins with a big hole in the roof, the catacombs underneath the Temple or this little bed and breakfast in the side of a cliff that requires no less than three ladders to get to it.  Just try moving a new mattress in there, buddy. 

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