Good Cop, Bad Cop

18 03 2010

Lost fans can be divided into many camps. There are those who follow the show for its mysteries, or the mind-beguiling sci-fi elements. There are those who watch it for the drama, or the action-packed episodes. There are those who really enjoy the romantic sub-plots. But no matter what initially drew you to the show, one thing is certain: you’ve grown attached to the characters.

The Lost characters are quite possibly the most-developed ensemble on television (with back stories, flash forward stories, and sideways reality stories, one could almost argue that the characters are “too developed”). Unlike shows with just a few main characters—with whom the audience will inevitably establish a bond—Lost offers many characters and allows the audience to choose its own loyalties—thus creating divided allegiances not only in the show but among the audience.

In the earlier seasons, it was either Locke or Jack. You couldn’t watch the show without siding with one of them more than the other. And at times, it’s been Sawyer vs. Jack. Kate or Juliet? And then there’s Ben, who people (like me) both love and hate (I mostly love him). And don’t forget Sayid. Charlie. Ana Lucia. Shannon. Michael. And Hurley (well, at least there’s always been one character on which everyone can agree).

Why do I bring this up now? Well, I never climbed aboard the Sawyer bandwagon. So I’m trying to write this post with the knowledge that many of you love him. I admit, I always enjoy his snarky nicknames. But even so, Sawyer has always hovered just outside my list of favorite Losties. And last night, I think I figured out why.

It’s no secret that I’ve always been a fan of Jack (even when he annoys me). The reason? I trust him. Jack tries to do the right thing. He screws up, sure. But I don’t have to question his motives. Sawyer, on the other hand, is unreliable. And in a show where each new revelation comes packaged with a half-dozen new mysteries, it’s nice to have a character we don’t have to question (i.e. Jack). Sawyer, historically, has cared about two people: 1) himself and 2) Juliet and/or Kate, depending on which season you’re watching.

That long-winded introduction was my way of saying that a Sawyer-centric episode is hard to analyze, because we can never be certain about Sawyer’s motives. Sawyer’s untrustworthy nature is, however, what makes Sawyer-centric episodes compelling. Because you’re never sure what he might do—or why he’s doing it. And so it was last night with “Recon,” an episode that set the stage for a major island showdown (or did it?) and one that revealed all kinds of connections in Sideways World.

Let’s start with the Sideways reality…

Detective Jimmy Ford
The Lost writers must have had fun writing this Sideways story. Not only did they add a new twist to Sawyer’s old con, revealing that Sawyer was actually a cop working undercover, but they also introduced us to his partner: Miles. (Does anyone else see a potential spin-off in the making?)

But who would play the good cop?

And that was just the beginning. Sawyer’s sideways story just kept intersecting with familiar faces and names (which I think will continue to be a trend in Sideways world). Here’s the list:

—Miles, his partner
—Lafleur, the code word he used during the police sting
—Charlotte, Miles’ friend and the Sawyer’s date for one ill-fated evening
—Liam, Charlie’s brother (looking for Charlie, who was arrested on drug charges at the airport)
—Anthony Cooper (the man he’s searching for—who is, presumably, Locke’s dad, and the man Sawyer murdered on the Black Rock)
—Kate (who is on the run…yet again)

Heck, even Laura Ingalls (and Pa) made an appearance in Sideways reality.

I won’t attempt to analyze all the events in Sideways World because I still can’t determine how much of it is relevant. But I feel like at least two things are worth pondering.

1 ) In Sideways Reality, Sawyer became a cop because he got to a point where he was either going to become a criminal or a cop, and he chose the latter. But he’s still hunting for Anthony Cooper, the man who conned his parents. So it looks like most of our characters are still carrying the same baggage they did in the other reality: Sawyer is still struggling with the loss of his parents, and he still wants to kill their con man. Sayid is dealing with “I’m a bad man” remorse. John Locke is dealing with his limitations and life in a wheelchair. Kate is a wanted criminal…on the run. In the little bit we’ve seen of Sun and Jin, they don’t seem to be experiencing “wedded bliss,” and Jin appears to be in some trouble because of the watch he was delivering for Mr. Paik in another reality. We haven’t seen enough of Jack to know where he stands, but he seems to be doing fairly well, although he is still dealing with his daddy issues (you know, that whole “you don’t have what it takes” thing). Rose still has terminal cancer. Claire is still pregnant with a baby she doesn’t want to raise. Boone still has issues with his sister, Shannon. But there is one exception: Hurley. The big guy is not only not crazy and cursed, but he considers himself the “luckiest guy in the world.” While some of our Losties have found better ways to cope with their issues in the Sideways Reality, Hurley’s situation is the only one that appears to be a major divergence from the original reality we saw. (Unless I’m forgetting someone…)

2 ) The episode ended with Sawyer (and Miles) apprehending Kate. For now, anyway. So we have 3 of our Losties together in Sideways reality. Which means, I think, that the pieces are starting to come together. Sayid’s Sideways story ended with him finding Jin. We know John Locke is getting married soon…and there’s a good chance his father (Anthony Cooper, no?) will show up at the ceremonies. Any chance Sawyer and Miles will end up there, too? Maybe with their new escaped con friend, Kate? Think Rose and Bernard and Hurley will get invites? Maybe even the kind spinal surgeon who Locke just might end up visiting during the next Jack-centric episode (it has to be coming soon, right?).

Meanwhile, Boone runs his mom’s wedding planning business (or at least he did in another reality). So maybe he’ll be there. And they need a band to play at the reception, right? Liam and Charlie are both in LA, so…why not Driveshaft? Can you think of a better way for Locke and Helen to celebrate their nuptials than with a rousing rendition of “You All Everybody”?

Okay, so maybe Driveshaft won’t be playing the Locke wedding, but everything is coming together. That much is certain.

And don’t think the writers introduced Charlotte, the archaeologist, for nothing. If this Sideways World is going to connect to the island eventually—and it must, eventually—then an archaeologist could come in quite handy, don’t you think?

It’s getting more interesting with each episode; that’s for sure.

Now on to the island…

Poor Kate!
So Kate sat down to strike up a conversation with Sayid (her old friend) and moments later, she was attacked from behind by Claire (her old friend). Kate screamed for Sayid’s help, but he just stared at her blank-faced. Then Locke Monster (who resembles an old friend) pulled Claire off of her, and then gave Claire a stern talking-to—and a smack across the face for good measure. And then it was Locke Monster, of all people, who showed concern for Kate.

No wonder Kate wandered off alone to weep in that grove of trees.

Oh, and don’t think for a second that Locke Monster has forgotten that Kate is the only one in his camp who didn’t choose to come with him. She followed her friends, but she didn’t choose his side.

Claire is Crazy, but Sayid is Scary
Speaking of Claire attacking Kate… Did anyone else notice the discrepancies between Claire and Sayid? Both of them are allegedly “infected,” right? While Sayid seems to be devoid of emotion, Claire is an emotional mess. Locke Monster claimed he lied to Claire about the Temple People because she needed to “hate” something (it was for her own good, apparently). Claire, with tears flowing freely, eventually apologized to Kate. She even thanked Kate for taking care of Aaron.

And then they hugged it out.

So the problem’s solved, right? I’m not so sure. I’d like to think that we’ve seen the beginning of Claire’s redemption process. But I think it’s just as likely that she’s still being manipulated by Locke Monster.

As for Sayid, his condition is even scarier. Apparently he no longer cares anything for his former friends. He’s ready to be reunited with Nadia (in whatever life that’s possible, I suppose).

I’m making quite an assumption, but that could be a very bad thing for anyone who opposes Locke Monster. Sawyer might have been Locke Monster’s reconnaissance man…but Sayid could very well be his secret weapon.

We shall see.

Speaking of Sawyer, the Reconnaissance Man
I understand why Sawyer wants to get off the island. And I get that Sawyer doesn’t trust Widmore (“the fella who sent a freighter full of guys to blow us all up”). Obviously Sawyer doesn’t have any affection for Locke Monster, either (and he shouldn’t, especially after Locke Monster revealed he is the “smoke thing”). So Sawyer’s plan (to have the two sides duke it out while he slips away in the sub—with Kate, apparently) makes perfect sense. Well, almost.

The problem: we don’t know that Widmore and Locke Monster are on opposite sides. Sawyer made this assumption, and he could be terribly mistaken. He based this on two things.

1) Sawyer’s conversation with Locke Monster.

What we know: Locke Monster wants to send Sawyer on a “recon” mission to Hydra Island. He also refers abstractly to people who want to harm him.

What we might have assumed: That Locke Monster was referring to Widmore’s team.

Support: Widmore’s team is erecting those sonic pylons (that keep out the “smoke thing”)

2) Sawyer’s conversation with Widmore

What we know: We know Widmore’s team is there for a reason. They’re armed and ready for…something.

What we might have assumed: That they’ve come to kill Locke Monster.

Support: Widmore smiled when Sawyer offered to bring Locke Monster over to him…to be killed. And then they shook on it. So Widmore agreed to this plan…which could suggest that this is exactly what Widmore came to do (if only we could trust that a Widmore handshake means something).

I had some real misgivings about all this. Sure, Sawyer is ready to screw both sides over. That’s great. Except, I don’t think it’s going to play out that way. And here’s why:

When Widmore brought Sawyer down into the sub, Sawyer didn’t ask what Widmore wanted. He just assumed…and then he offered his deal:

SAWYER: I think we both know the guy I’m talking about isn’t really Locke…so here’s the deal, chief. I’ll go back over there and tell him the coast is clear. I didn’t find anybody. And then I’ll bring the old man right to your doorstep. And then you can kill him.
WIDMORE (smiles): And what do you want in return, James?
SAWYER: 1. The people I come back with—the people on my boat—don’t get touched. Not even a hair on their head. And 2. You give us safe passage off the island.

Now what if Widmore wasn’t interested in Locke? What if he’s more interested in the people who are coming back on Sawyer’s boat? Well, Sawyer just offered to isolate them, didn’t he? Hmmmm…

Plus, when Sawyer paddled back across to the mainland, there was this exchange:

LOCKE: Well, what do you know, James?
SAWYER: I know there’s a man over there on that island that ain’t gonna let us get on that plane without a fight. He came over on a sub. His name’s Widmore.
LOCKE: Charles Widmore?
SAWYER: Well, I guess you guys know each other…

Now, if Locke Monster sent Sawyer over there to do some snooping around (and he did), then he obviously expected to find someone, right? But didn’t he sound a bit surprised to hear that Sawyer found Widmore (“Charles Widmore?”)…so I’m just wondering if, maybe, that wasn’t who Locke Monster expected to find over there… and again we see Sawyer making an assumption (that the “man…ain’t gonna let us get on that plane without a fight”). How does Sawyer know that Widmore cares about who gets on that plane? Maybe he doesn’t.

I’ve written before that I suspected Widmore was working with Locke Monster. I still suspect it. And I think Sawyer would be wise to suspect it, too.

After all, I’m not sure Sawyer is going to trick Locke Monster. He may have told Sawyer that he “appreciates his loyalty,” but he also said he was sending Sawyer because he was “the best liar I’ve ever seen.” So I think Locke Monster will be smart enough not to trust Sawyer’s loyalty farther than Frogurt could throw him.

Locke Monster has Mommy Issues?
This exchange between Locke Monster and Kate was the most intriguing for me:

LOCKE: …I know what you’re going through, Kate.
KATE: Now, how would you know that?
LOCKE: Because my mother was crazy. A long time ago..before I looked like this, I had a mother…just like everyone…and she was a crazy woman, and because of that I had some growing pains. Problems that I’m still trying to work my way through, problems that could have been avoided had things been different.
KATE: Why are you telling me this?
LOCKE: Because now…Aaron has a crazy mother, too.

I think there are two ways to take this. We could assume that Locke Monster’s mother was infected the way Claire is…or, she could have been a normal kind of crazy (make sense?). But actually, I took it a different way. Knowing that Locke Monster is “evil incarnate” (allegedly), his definition of “crazy” could be quite different than ours. And even though I’ve refused to call Locke Monster “Esau” (as some Lost fans did when his character was first revealed in the season 5 finale), I couldn’t help thinking that Esau might have thought that his mother was crazy. After all, it was his mother that encouraged Jacob to steal the birthright from their father. And if she hadn’t done such a “crazy” thing, well, Esau wouldn’t have experienced problems “that could have been avoided,” problems that took a long time for him to work through—problems that made him want to kill Jacob.

Now I still don’t think he’s Esau, and I don’t think this island power struggle would so closely mirror the biblical story of Jacob and Esau. But, I do suspect that maybe Locke Monster’s “crazy” mother did something that only seems crazy from his perspective.

I’m glad they hinted at Locke Monster’s origins, because I think that means they’ll give us more. Hopefully soon.

Sawyer’s Promises (and Jin’s Amazing Disappearing Act)
At the end of the episode, Sawyer says to Kate: “We ain’t taking the plane, Freckles. We’re taking the sub.”

One problem with that.

At the beginning of the episode, Sawyer said this to Jin (about Sun): “Fine. If she’s here. You’ve got my word: We’re not leaving without her.”

Since we know that Sun is in fact on the island, wanna bet that comes into play?

Of course, it would have been easy to forget that conversation between Sawyer and Jin, since Jin vanished for the rest of the episode. I know he’s gimpy right now, so I understand why he isn’t running around looking for Sun. But not even one conversation between Jin and Kate? (After all, it was the two of them who left the Temple together…before Kate left Jin in the jungle.) Since Jin had 2 good legs when she left him, wouldn’t you think Kate would at least ask him what happened?

Houdini's got nothin' on Jin.

I’m sure she would have…if she had seen him. But no, he was AWOL for the remainder of the episode. I think this is a major oversight by the writers since, if you remember back in Dharma days, Jin was going crazy trying to find the plane that brought Jack and the others (including Sun) to the island. And now Sawyer went to Hydra Island to find the plane…and there’s a pile of dead people from that flight. Shouldn’t they have at least included a scene where Sawyer assured Jin that Sun wasn’t one of those bodies?

I don’t know if Jin will be in the next episode or not. (Although I do think we’ll get a Jin-centric episode soon so they can show us how he wound up bound and gagged in a closet in Sideways World.) But whenever we do see him again, how much do you want to bet that his leg is almost completely recovered? (Credit the island’s healing properties, if you want. Or the writers’ need for him to be mobile enough to go looking for Sun. Either way.)

Dominant Theme

Trust

I think this week’s theme was best illustrated by a pair of refused handshakes. First, Locke offered Kate his hand…and she stood up without grabbing it. Then, over in the submarine, Widmore introduced himself and extended his hand…and Sawyer sat down without shaking it.

Also, Sawyer is playing games with the trust of both Widmore and Locke Monster. But do they really trust him?

Meanwhile in Sideways World, Miles and Sawyer are resolving their trust issues. Also, before their evening soured, Charlotte encouraged Sawyer to trust her—to answer her question genuinely, and not the way he answers it when every other woman asks it.

I think Kate was trying to figure out who she could trust. Sayid…no. Claire…no (although, maybe eventually). Locke Monster…not yet. (She could trust Jin if he weren’t inexplicably AWOL, but I’m going to let that go now.)

In the end, it appears Sawyer and Kate trust one another. Their present situation, if you think about it, really isn’t that different from the time when they were locked in those cages on Hydra Island, when they were surrounded by enemies and all they wanted to do was get away. (But is that what Kate wants? It’s hard to know…)

Snippets

—In Sideways World, I love that the woman called Sawyer “Dimples.” That was a nice touch.

—Sawyer’s misguided confidence cracked me up. He throws Charlotte out of his place at 3 in the morning (without the t-shirt for which she was looking), and not only does he have the gall to show up at her place and ask “Can I come in?” (which she was quick to call him on), but he also showed up with a sunflower and a six-pack of beer cans. Roses and a bottle of wine? Not for this casanova! Smooth, Sawyer. Smooth.

—How long before the writers start pushing the Sawyer/Kate love buttons again? If they’re going to have Kate keep bouncing around from guy to guy, they might as well give Hurley a turn. His one shot at island love ended with Libby getting shot through their blankets; so if you ask me, he deserves at least a little cuddle time.

—Was it just me, or does Zoey look like a cross between Kate and Tina Fey (with maybe a touch of Hillary Swank)?

—Did you notice that Watership Down was sitting on Sawyer’s dresser? And when Sawyer asked Kate what was for dinner, she said, “Rabbit. I think.” The rabbit/bunny connections just don’t stop…but what do they mean? Oh, probably nothing.

—I guess I’d sort of forgotten that the Ajira plane hadn’t been destroyed during its crash landing. Hmmm, I wonder if Lapidus will ever fly that thing outta there…

—Widmore has been trying to get back to this island for a long time, and yet, he’s still chilling on the submarine? I get that he’s a businessman now, and it’s hard to conduct business on a beach, but c’mon.

Questions:

1 ) So who murdered those people from Ajira 316? My first thought was that Locke Monster did it. But could it have been someone else? Something else?

2 ) Does Zoey matter at all? (I’m thinking no.)

3 ) So when Widmore came to LA to check on Desmond…and he talked to Eloise outside the hospital…was this plan already in the works? Eloise gets them on the Ajira 316 flight, and then Widmore sets off in his submarine to find the island? But if they had to intersect with the island in a “window of time,” how did Widmore land there? Did Eloise tell him another “window” when he could arrive?

4 ) So what’s in the locked door on the sub? Desmond?

5 ) I figure Locke Monster is going to try to offer Kate something to earn her allegiance. But what will she want? (So help me if it’s another toy airplane…)

6 ) Is redemption possible for Claire? Is she going to start turning back into her non-crazy self? Will this be the last time we have to see her dead rodent baby?

7 ) Why did Locke tell the former Temple People that they’d have to stay put for a couple of days? This was before he sent Sawyer to Hydra Island (before he knew about Widmore’s team), so what is he anticipating?

8 ) What if Locke Monster’s goal (and Widmore’s goal) is just to get all the candidates off the island? Could it be that the candidates are the only thing preventing Locke Monster from “going home”? Maybe Locke can’t kill them, but he needs them to choose to abandon the island to achieve his goals. If so, what’s his plan for Hurley? Promises of a life elsewhere with Libby? And what about Jack?

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3 responses

19 03 2010
MamaK

Where is Hurley to ask “Are you a Zombie” when you need him?! That is all I could think as we watched the new Sayid. I still really hope there’s some kind of redemption left for him, even if it is the Samson-like kill-yourself-in-the-process type redemption. If the island lets him, of course.

I did not trust Locke Monster’s mommy story, although the delivery was not his usual smooth line so perhaps it is true. He is an even better liar than Sawyer, I suspect. I wondered if his motive for the story was to keep Kate from trusting Claire and to keep Claire from ever reuniting with Aaron, for what purpose, I don’t know. Part of her story has always been about who SHOULD raise the child. And Locke Monster being comforting to the children just creeped me out! (was that even this week?) I don’t trust this gentler side (toward Kate and the children) of the smoke monster at all!

Zoey may not have future importance to the story, but I sure enjoyed this interaction:
“Is Zoey even your real name?”, “Is Sawyer?” ! I wonder if she knew it is not his real name?

I liked your focusing us on trust as the central theme to this episode, and that you pointed out the two handshaking refusals. Widmore remaining on the sub must be for tactical reasons, but is he calling the shots or taking orders?

Sawyer being revealed as an undercover (unintentional puns) cop made us laugh out loud, and watching the partnership with Miles was great fun. I was glad they allowed Miles’ dad to be alive, well and working at the museum with Charlotte, even though we didn’t get to see him! Maybe he is making teaching videos for them…

Your spin-off idea is a good one! Did you know “Jin” will be playing a cop in the remake of Hawaii Five-O? (not as Jin, though!)

And as for Jin being missing from most of this episode, I think they should have allowed themselves 2 hour episodes to finish this season thoroughly! Even with more revealed all the time, I think we will be left with questions!

I guess you know your Richard-centric episode is up next??! And that Hurley is to play a big part in it? (tv guide info) Sounds like your dream episode come true!

19 03 2010
Peggy

When I heard the Locke Monster talking about his crazy mom i couldn’t help but think about Locke’s crazy mom. I remember her saying that Locke was immaculately conceived. Could Locke have been chosen b/c he also had a crazy mom. I can’t think how that idea could possible have any affect on the outcome but it is just something that crossed my mind.

22 03 2010
Todd Hertz

Thoughts:

I am not so sure we’re collecting all the Sideways Losties together for some sort of connection or trip to the other reality. I think the sideways story lines are showing us that these people would have been connected somehow no matter the world they are in. Having characters like Miles’ dad or Charlotte tho could lead to exposition about what happened to this reality’s island.

Claire is definitely MiB’s play thing. He’s manipulating her and using her to manipulate others. That was so a con. He set up that attack so that he could be the hero, earn Kate’s trust and get to pull her in a little closer.

How do you know Jin and Kate didn’t chat and there just weren’t cameras there? 🙂 His absence in this ep didn’t bother me.

The Widmore stuff is too obscure for us to try to figure out yet. (Thanks to Sawyer for not asking any questions but just blurting crap out…) But I’m still saying: This is the Sideways Widmore! 🙂 And so, we even more so can’t tell what he wants.

Your questions:

1 ) I put one whole dollar on MIB.

2 ) Yes. Not more so than our established characters, but do you know what Zoe means in Greek? Life. I think she holds an important piece to the puzzle or has a part to play. She knows more than we think. Also…could her last name be…Wallace (number 108)?

3 ) Moot point because this is Sideways Widmore… Or at least I say it is.

4 ) That’s the most interesting question of this ep. It has to be Desmond or some key object we don’t know about yet, right? Other less likely options: Eloise? Sideways Faraday?

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