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LOMGST! Lost Recap - The Substitute

Lockesubstitute Previously on LOST: Bitter Sawyer is bitter. Bitter Sawyer is also guilty-feeling, self-flagellating Sawyer, and Kate is still all, "Look at me! I'M PRETTY TOO!" Faux Locke is creepy and (as Ben saw, up close and personal) the smoke monster, and God (and Jacob) only knows what else. Richard with the FABULOUS eyeliner recognizes Faux Locke as Jacob's nemesis, so Faux Locke promptly punches him in the throat and carries him off into the jungle, but not before admonishing everyone that he's VERY disappointed in all of them (Jeez, Dad, way to break up a party). Real Locke remains dead, though in Dimension #2 (D2) -- the one in which the plane never crashed -- he's very much alive, if still quite wheelchair-bound. But keep in mind that whatever you do, don't tell him what he can't... BOOM!

Arriving home from his non-plane-crashy trip to Sydney, Real Locke's van has a wheelchair lift malfunction in his driveway, which leads to Locke landing face-down on his lawn just in time for the in-ground sprinklers to go off. Luckily, Helen (remember her?) appears from the residence (which it seems they share) and turns off the water, helping Locke inside and into the bath, because apparently he wasn't moistened enough. Helen and Locke talk about plans for their upcoming nuptials, and Helen asks Locke about the conference he didn't attend in Sydney, as well as a card she finds in his discarded clothing for one Dr. Jack Shephard, purveyor of spinal magics. Helen encourages Locke to call this spinal surgeon guy, because maybe their meeting was DESTINY (oh we've heard THAT ONE before). Locke seems equal parts contemplative and dubious with regard to that idea.

Sideways Locke Helen

Meanwhile, back in the jungle, Faux Locke winds through the bush as the smoke monster, landing in his solid Faux Locke form and grabbing a machete, which he uses to deftly cut a sack chock full o' Eyeliner Richard down from a tree he'd strung him up in. He tells a very bruised and puffy-looking Richard that it's time to Talk, and if we know one thing by now it's that when people say they want to "talk" on this show bad stuff happens. Eyeliner Richard looks appropriately a-scared.

In D2, Real Locke arrives back at work just in time to be berated by Randy, his total douchebag of a boss, who discovered that Locke flew to Sydney on the company dime without actually going to the conference he was supposed to attend there. Randy unceremoniously fires Locke on the spot. D'OH!

Over on the island, Faux Locke has his "talk" with Richard, telling Richard he took the form of John Locke because Locke is (well, WAS, before he was all dead and stuff) a "candidate," whatever that is, and he knew that if he looked like Locke he could get in to see (and kill-by-proxy) Jacob. Richard's neatly-lined eyes pretty much bug out of his never-aging head at all this, and Faux Locke is all, Jacob didn't tell you shit did he, sucka? Faux Locke then does this whole spider-to-the-fly move, telling Richard that if he comes with him he'll tell him *everything*. Richard is all, LIKE HELL, BALDY. Just then a blonde-haired boy who looks suspiciously like a young Jacob materializes nearby in an appropriately ethereal shaft of light, freaking Faux Locke right the fuck out. He tells Richard (who appeared to be oblivious to Faux Locke's vision) that he'll see him soon, and bolts in the direction of the blonde kid.

Ben creeps into the House Of Jacob under The Giant Foot, finding that Ilana woman curled up and weepy. He tells her that both her comrades and Jacob were killed by Faux Locke, and he SO TOTALLY had nothing to do with it... And ZOMG, Faux Locke burned Jacob to ashes in the fire and did you know he's THE SMOKE MONSTER? SRLSY. Ilana rolls her eyes at Ben and collects some of the Jacob-ashes in a pouch. Ben asks her why she thinks Faux Locke abducted Richard and she tells him, somewhat ominously, that Faux Locke is "recruiting."

Speaking of recruiting! Faux Locke goes to visit Bitter Sawyer in the dilapidated Dharma Village to see if wants to be all he can be in the Smoke Monster Army. Sawyer is -- surprise! -- Bitter, and drinking himself into a stupor, and listening to a whole lot of Iggy and the Stooges. Faux Locke tells Bitter Sawyer he can answer the most important question in the world if Sawyer will come with him... No, not why anyone would ever find Kate attractive, but rather why they're on the island. Sawyer recognizes that Faux Locke isn't Real Locke, but nevertheless agrees to leave with him, whatever he is. It seems he's been drinking so much in mourning Juliet that he's incurred actual brain damage.

Back in D2, fired Real Locke runs into Hugo in the parking lot of his ex-place of employment. Turns out Hugo owns the company Locke worked for, as well as a temp agency, so in his typical super nice-guy fashion Hugo writes down the number for his temp agency, hands it to Locke, and says, Dude, call and tell them Hugo said to hook you up with a new job. Man, I love Hugo.


On the island, Ilana tells everyone to hustle back to The Temple or else. But before they do, they need to bury Dead Locke, who is starting to smell like... well, Dead Locke. Ben says a few words before they start shoveling dirt over the corpse: John Locke was a believer and a better man than me and oops sorry I killed him. That Ben's just an old softie, I tell ya.

In the jungle, Sawyer and Faux Locke stumble on the blonde kid. Interestingly (or not?), Sawyer can see the blonde kid, too. Faux Locke chases the kid until he falls flat on his face at the boy's feet. The kid -- who has a touch of Children Of The Corn about him -- tells Faux Locke that Faux Locke knows the rules, and that he can't kill him ("him" being... Jacob? Or Sawyer? Huh?). In a nice Real Locke-mimicking turn, Faux Locke yells at the kid: "Don't tell me what I can't do!" The kid shakes his head in something like disgust and strides off. Faux Locke seems a touch disturbed. Children Of The Corn will do that to ya.

Meanwhile, Richard appears out of nowhere to warn Sawyer that, dude, Faux Locke is some seriously BAD NEWS and that he so does not want to go there, before slipping back into the jungle just as Faux Locke returns from his freaky kid-chasing. Of course, Bitter Alcohol-Brain-Damaged Sawyer doesn't listen -- probably because of the bitterness and brain damage and whatnot -- and continues to trudge on after Faux Locke. Idiot.

Real Locke of D2 runs into the ever No Bullshit Rose at the temp agency -- Hugo's temp agency, you'll recall -- where she's the office manager. She shames Locke by telling him that she too has a cross to bear -- she has terminal cancer -- but that unlike him she has so totally gotten over herself and gone on with life. Locke is all, Don't tell me what I... oh alright, fine.

The Sawyer/Faux Locke Jungle Trail Of Tears just goes on and on. Sawyer finally pulls a gun on Faux Locke, asking him what he is. Faux Locke says he's trapped, but that like Sawyer he's a dude, and he's felt all the things a dude feels, and knows what it's like to lose someone, so maybe they should have a drum circle and eat meat that's been cooked over an open fire together and talk about their feeeeelings. Sawyer grumbles in a Sawyer-like way and puts away his gun. Have I mentioned the brain damage yet?

In D2 Real Locke puts a call in to Dr. Jack Shephard, but then pusses out when Jack's secretary answers. He finally tells Helen that he was fired, that he was in Sydney for a walkabout not a conference, and that he doesn't believe in miracles... so if she's waiting for him to get all unparalyzed or something, she's messed up. It's all pretty heavy. Helen tells Locke that miracles DO happen... but that the only thing she's ever been waiting for is him. Aww!

Sawyer and Faux Locke finally arrive at their destination: the cliff-lined sea coast. Faux Locke and Sawyer descend down the sheer rock face using a ladder that looks straight out of Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Ridiculous Safety Hazards, into a cave. Inside there's a scale bearing a white rock and a black rock. Faux Locke chucks the white rock over the cliff and into the sea, thereby indicating that the show's writers felt the need to underscore the simple concept of dualism presented back in the show's season one pilot. *Yawn.* Faux Locke then leads Sawyer deeper into the cave, pointing to a bunch of names and numbers scrawled on the cave's roof and walls, telling Sawyer that this, somehow, is why they're all on the island.


Back in D2, Real Locke is filling in as a substitute teacher, thus finally explaining this episode's title. In the teacher's lounge Locke meets... TA-DA! Benjamin Linus, European History teacher. And that was about the point where my head exploded.

Still in the cave, Faux Locke tells Sawyer that Jacob wrote the stuff scrawled all over the cave. But check this out: the names and numbers written there include: 6-Jarrah; 8-Reyes; 23-Shephard; 42-Kwon; 4-Locke; and 15-Ford (Sawyer). Yep. And you recognize those numbers. By way of non-explanation, Faux Locke tells Sawyer that Jacob "had a thing for numbers." He also tells Sawyer that though Sawyer doesn't remember, he's sure Jacob came to him when he was younger and more vulnerable, manipulating him like a puppet and making him do things he thought at the time were choices but actually weren't... all to get him to the island, because he's a candidate. See, Jacob was the island's protector and was looking for a replacement. But Faux Locke scoffs at the whole idea, saying the island doesn't need a protector. After all,  it's just a magical, time-traveling, space-time-continuum bending hunk of rock and nothing more, right? Nope, nothing special about that! PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN, SAWYER.

Faux Locke tells Sawyer they can leave the island together, forget all this nonsense, start that Sweat Lodge they'd been talking about and go on a vision quest together, like real men would. "So what do you say, James? Are you ready to go home?" Faux Locke asks. Bitter Sawyer's eyes narrow. "Hell yes," he replies, and Faux Locke, a grin spreading across his faux face, all but hisses Yesssss mah presshussss....


. . . . .
Sweetney is a writer, geek, and professional smartass from beautiful Baltimore, MD.

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SciFi Dad


Among the names crossed out: Littleton (Claire), Rutherford (Shannon), Linus (Ben or his dad), Burke (Juliet), Rousseau...


OK, what's the deal with the numbers? Where do I recognize them from?

cindy w

@divrchk - the numbers were the serial # on the hatch door, the numbers that Hurley won the lottery with, and the numbers that had to be entered in the computer inside the hatch every 108 minutes to keep the island from blowing up. Hurley thinks the numbers are cursed.

So, where was Kate's last name (Austen) in all of that? She isn't a "candidate"? Hmm...

Besides Locke being a literal substitute teacher, isn't "The Substitute" also referring to the fact that the evil smoke monster dude is using Locke's body as a substitute for his own? (Yes. Am nerd. Possibly prone to overthinking these things.)


I also noticed Kate's name was missing. Possibly related, did you notice that her life in D2 is still shitty? Hurley and Locke seem to have it pretty good compared to their "previous" lives.

I think Sawyer is totally playing Faux Locke. He knows he needs to take him down and he's just waiting for the perfect moment.


I also think "The Substitute" refers to the candidates being substitutes for Jacob.

And, I think young Jacob was telling Faux Locke that he cannot kill Richard.

Those're all my deep and meaningful theories. ;-)


Did anyone else catch that when Helen was talking about the wedding she said "Lets just get my Mom and your Dad and go to Vegas and do this all shotgun style"? So does that mean his Dad didn't push him out the window and he became paralyzed another way??

And is there a reason that Locke has had contact with so many of the Oceanic survivors or inhabitants? (Boone, Jack, Rose, Hurley, and Ben thus far?)


Didn't Helen leave Locke after she realised he'd never get over his daddy issues?


I believe Sayid is 16, not 6.

Tracy, this is not the same reality so we don't know what details of everyone's lives are the same as we previously learned them to be. If Locke is getting along with his Dad as Helen indicates, how did his back get broken in the first place?

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