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LOST 6x13: The Last Recruit, or Why Lost Is The Real Star Wars

Lost-logo Lost! I want to live forever! I want to learn to be smoke! LOST!
This week's episode picked up the pace like a horse being chased by a Horse-eating Wildebeest.  Meanwhile, characters appeared to be making decisions not solely based on the will of the Island, and we find out what Lost really is: Star Wars.  Spoilers past the pylons!
Lost is a strange show, permanently striving with itself to generate the kind of drama that viewers like to watch.  The flashback/forward/sideways format has resulted in a show in which each episode feels a bit like a standalone character drams, with the "A" story functioning as a weird techno-metaphysical puzzle piece.  The show runs best when the character dilemma feeds smoothly (but not too smoothly) into the clockwork machinations of the Island.
This episode threw all that out the window in favour of a fast-paced ensemble show with nearly every character getting their moment.  You get the sense that everyone is being moved into their final positions before the grand electromagnetic shebang.  While some may find the plot suddenly going a bit too fast for their liking, I prefer it to the agonizingly slow pace of episodes like "LAX," in which the characters stood around in a pit/exited an airport for two hours.
For such a plot-heavy episode, the writers did their best to devise scenes that answered the viewers' questions.  How?  By having characters ask them.  In the first scene, after Hurley passes his Baton of Leadership, Jack sits down for a good conversatin' with FauxLocke and asks him the question that we've been waiting for all this time.  After establishing that FauxLocke is only capable of assuming the shapes of dead people, a la The First Evil, Jack asks: Did you assume the form of my father back in season one?  Or to put it another way: Are you my weird new father?  FauxLocke says Yes. Yes Luke, I mean Jack, I am your father, I mean I was pretending to be him. Sorry about all that subtext.
I'm not sure what to make of this revelation.  I've always held on this notion of the Island as Prospero's domain, full of voices and figures that enchant and confuse but do not have much significance to the progress of the characters.  Instead, we've found out that the whispers are unquiet ghosts (last episode) and the figures are versions of the Man In Black.  The problem is, I don't know if these issues are being resolved because they're essential to the story or they're just loose bits that the writers are tucking into place.
I did say there was action in this episode, didn't I?  On the Island, Zoe and her gang approach Locke's camp and issue an ultimatum regarding Desmond: return him or we blow you all to pieces.  This is a pretty empty threat as far as Locke and the candidates are concerned, because they're unkillable (I think), but I guess it matters to the random extras whose job it is to march around the jungle with guns.  Locke decides that everyone should march to a point "past the bluff," but sends Sawyer off in a different direction to get the boat that will pick them up that will take them to Hydra Island that will get them on the plane that will liberate FauxLocke from the Island that will end the world. Got that?
So why does FauxLocke send Sawyer off, when he should know that he can't trust a professional confidence man?  It's like he expects Sawyer to screw him over.  Hmmm.
Which of course Sawyer will.  Sawyer wants to take his group (Kate, Sun, Jack, Hurley, Wild Man Fahey) to Widmore's submarine and then get the hell off the island.  But stupefyingly, Kate wants to take Claire, because she made a promise to her to reunite her with her son.  You heard me right: Kate wants to put herself inside a submarine with a crazy woman who nurtures a bone-and-button baby and has tried to kill Kate once already.  In my cramped moral universe, I consider a promise void once the creditor has tried to murder me. But I'm not cool like Kate, I guess.
The point of the promise, as absurd as it seems, is to contrast Kate with FauxLocke, whose promises are spiritual poison.  Kate's reiteration of her promise actually seems to turn Claire around a bit and bring her back to something approaching sanity.  But it's also a sign that the characters in Lost are more than just pawns in the chess game between the forces of good and evil.  It's a sign that the moral compass of the show isn't just flipping relentlessly between the poles, with the characters heading in one direction and then the other, over and over again.
Claire's moral turn is echoed by Sayid's storyline, in which FauxLocke asks him to kill Desmond.  We don't get to see what decision Sayid makes, but it's strongly implied that Sayid has disobeyed Locke and refused to shoot an Irishman Scot in a well (is there a joke in there somewhere?).  At any rate, Sayid appears to have changed by the end of the episode: instead of an unfeeling zombie, he seems to have gained some awareness of what kind of monster he is.  If I had to guess, he's probably realized that he is now profoundly unworthy of the prize that Locke has promised him.  As Hurley points out to Sawyer, "Anyone can be brought back from the dark side... you know, like Anakin".
Meanwhile, the Alterniverse continues to behave as if the population of Los Angeles were 500 people, all doomed to run into each other.  Sawyer arrests Kate.  Then he arrests Sayid.  Meanwhile, Claire and Desmond wander into a lawyer's office, only to discover that the lawyer (Ilana, all unexploded) is looking for Claire.  Because she's about to read out Doc Sheppard's will.  Then Jack walks in with his creepy, changeling son, meets Claire, but is called away for surgery.  On Locke.  While Sun and Jin hug each other in the room across the hall. Only Hurley is unaccounted for in this episode, and he's probably just coming up the driveway with a chicken bone lodged in his throat.
There were plenty of parallels between the two universes in this episode, but the most significant are the relationships between Jack and Locke.  In the Alterniverse, Jack is the surgeon attempting to heal Locke.  If I know Jack, he'll try to perform a miracle and reverse entropy, thread those connections back together and get Locke walking again.  In the Islandverse, he is "The Last Recruit," after Widmore blows up everyone else in FauxLocke's crew.  "It's okay," FauxLocke whispers, "You're with me now".  So is Jack supposed to 'heal' FauxLocke? And what would that entail, when your patient is an embodiment of the superego - literally, the dead father that will not die?  I used to think that Jack would be the new Jacob.  This episode suggests that he'll be the servant of the black smoke.  But given that we're seeing characters begin to make their own choices, maybe Jack will shrug off the role of disciple and bring about something new.  Maybe he's there to heal the Island itself.
BONUS: Sun and Jin finally reunited, and the way they shot it, you were totally convinced that one of them was going to fry or get shot.  But no!  They're together again.  That did my shrivelled heart some good.

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I feel like Sawyer's boat going to the other island is a lot like Jack's helicopter to the freighter.

Sawyer bailed when there was trouble and swan to shore. This time it was Jack.

So, the sub will get blowed up. Who gets left behind like Jin did with the freighter? I hope it's Claire.


Sun and Jin's reunion was so touching - and of *course* she got her English back!

Also Desmond = Scotsman. Fairly sure.


The whole time Jin and Sun were "reuniting", I was screaming at the TV for them to move a foot in either direction. I was sure that pylon was going to zap one or both of them.


@ Keli-- maybe it will be Kate who gets left behind, as some sort of cosmic payback for Aaron and Claire.


Tracy, I'm pretty sure Desmond is Irish...and I'm thinking...the new Jacob. Is his name in the cave? I can't remember. Anyone else?


Demond is Scottish - he was in the Royal Scots Regiment back in season 3 or 4 - whichever season had that "Constant" epidsode. Plus the accent.

Suzy Q

What the hell did Jack say to Sawyer before he jumped off the boat? Sometimes, the background music is just too fucking intrusive.

Jin + Sun = Yay!


SCOTTISH! OMG, he's so Scottish! The philosopher he's named for, David Hume, is Scottish too. That is definitely a Scottish accent.


I'm pretty sure that Desmond is running around engineering something. Bringing them all together, maybe? Because he clearly saw something in his magneto-blast or whatever.

Personally, I'm really tired of them answering questions I had already answered for myself four seasons ago and pretending like they're doing something USEFUL for me.

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