The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “The Last Recruit”

Your thoughts and discussion about the latest episode of Lost: "The Last Recruit."

Hmm.  Another “moving the pieces around” episode, I see.  Lost writers, you’re not making this easy for me.  What am I supposed to overthink here?  More Jesus-related symbolism, please!

In lieu of real overthinking, here are some questions designed to get our mental juices flowing:

First, let’s talk Sayid.  In Sideways-land, Alt-Sawyer said of Alt-Sayid, “That’s our bad guy.”  But as Hurley said, “You can always bring people back from the Dark Side.”  It seems clear to me that Sayid has started his ascent into “redemption paradise,” what with him not killing Desmond and all.  Well, not on-screen, anyway.  But as I always say about Lost, if you don’t see a body, they’re not dead.  (Actually, even if you do see a body, they’re probably not dead.)

Question 1: If Sayid didn’t kill Des, what did he do?  And what will he do next?  Is Sayid really our “Anakin,” and, if so, is he going to be the one to bring down Smokey in the end?

A lot of other things happened in Sideways-land this week: Claire met Des and Ilana, Jack met Claire, Kate’s in custody, Sun and baby are okay, Sayid’s in big trouble…

Question 2: It looks like we’re going to have a situation in Alt-World where half the characters are in the hospital (Jack, Locke, Sun, Jin, possibly Claire) and half are in the police station (James, Miles, Kate, Sayid).  Do you think this is symbolic in any way?  Perhaps one group wants to be healed and the other group wants to be punished?  And maybe those are the two sides of the Island: the Island that heals (represented by Jacob) and the Island that judges (represented by Smokey)?  Or am I reading too much into things?

Question 3: Speaking of the Alt-World, was Alt-Sun’s “It’s him!  It’s him!” proof that Alt-Locke is actually Smokey in disguise?  And, if so, what are the implications?

Back on the Island, a whole lot of stuff happened, but it actually seemed like nothing happened at all.  Sun and Jin finally got back together, and it wasn’t as heartwarming as the show wanted it to be.  Sun got her voice back out of nowhere, proving that this particular subplot was all for naught.   Jack got on a boat and then got off a boat, and Widmore for no apparent reason reneged on his deal with Sawyer–a deal he made like two episodes ago!  And they call women fickle…

Hey, Lost: You and me, we’re buds, right?  You know we tight.  But, to tell you the truth, I’m getting a little frustrated with you.  Remember how back in the middle of season five I was annoyed because I didn’t know what the characters’ goals were?  I’m kind of feeling like that now.  So let me ask you a question.

Question 4: This is the Big Question.  If Lost is a game of backgammon, what’s the goal of the game?  How do the Losties “win”?  Jack said it: the Losties were brought to the Island for a reason.  They were brought there to do something.  There are four episodes to go.  So, tell me: What is the reason? What did Jacob bring them there to do? And–hi–why don’t I know the answers to these questions four episodes before the finale?

Sorry if I seem a little grumbly, folks.  It’s because I am a little grumbly.  But don’t worry.  I’ll see you back here next week.  And I promise I’ll try to say nice things about you, Lost.  I can’t stay mad at you long.

16 Comments on “The Overthinking Lost Open Thread: “The Last Recruit””

  1. Christopher #

    Unfortunately it’s looking like it’ll actually be two weeks before Lost gives us more food for Overthought – they’re taking next week off, apparently, and showing Ab Aeterno again instead.

    I agree that it’s starting to get ridiculous that there are so few episodes left and we still have no solid grasp on the big picture – I’m starting to get worried we’re going to end up with a Matrix Revolutions scenario, in which we know what’s going to happen, but don’t expect for that to be _all_ that happens (i.e. there’s a war coming – but something _else_ must be coming, too, right?).

    I’m really beginning to hope that Lost doesn’t decide to let too much hang on whatever “big reveal” they have planned for the finale… if they even _do_ have one – at this point I almost wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t one and instead we got some kind of “the journey is more important than the ending” themes, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing at all, though I’m sure it would bitterly disappoint many, many people.

    It reminds me of the two iterations of anime series based on the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. Both tell essentially the same story (at least for the first 30-40 episodes or so) The original, which has completed its run, hinged its entire story on the reveal of the Big Bad in the final act, and I would say the story suffered from a lack of development of the “villains” and their goals. The revamped series, subtitled Brotherhood, again explores the same story and characters from their beginning, but does so in a much more intimate and intricate way, revealing the antagonists and their plans much earlier, allowing a much deeper understanding of and connection with many of the characters that was essentially impossible in the first, primarily plot-driven approach. Lost began with a character-driven narrative similar to Brotherhood, but has over the years arguably shifted greatly toward a plot-driven story. The question, then, is whether they will continue this trend to the very end, and leave us with some sort of major exposition infodump, or they will follow through on their efforts to echo the first season and delve back into the characters themselves for this final leg. And, thus far, I feel I have absolutely no idea which direction they will take.


  2. specialagentdalecooper #

    Hmm. All I can say is, “Lost” will continue to be “Lost” until it absolutely has to do something else. The characters will continue to not know things. Their motivations will continue to be a mix of survival, escape, and figuring stuff out. And they will continue to be caught in the crossfire of conflicts between ancillary characters who are menacing and mysterious, or noble and mysterious, and not fully understand the nature of those conflicts.

    That’s the show we’ve watched for 5.5 seasons and it isn’t in a hurry to change. But if you want to know when it’s finally going to change, minor to mid-level spoilers abound:

    (Seriously, here they come:)

    – The next episode is called “The Candidate” and according to a number of inside sources, is the best episode of the season (except possibly the finale, which wasn’t written at the time they were polled), and one of the best episodes of the entire show. If you want forward momentum and increasing clarity, I’d guess two weeks from now is when you’re really gonna start getting it.

    – The episode after that is called “Across the Sea” and focuses on Jacob and the MIB. If you want insight into the nature of “Lost”‘s central conflict, I think you’ll get it.

    – The episode after that is called “What They Died For.” No further comment necessary, I suppose.

    – And then the finale, which several cast members (including audience surrogate and “Lost” fan/podcaster Jorge Garcia) have already described, vaguely, as a very satisfying conclusion. It’s also been mentioned in the press that the finale has a secret last act which no one except its participants was allowed to see. So yeah, presumably “Lost” is withholding some whopper(s) until the 60th minute of the 12th hour (metaphorically speaking).


  3. Harold #

    So Smlock is taking care of Jack, and Alt-Jack is taking care of Alt Lock. Mirrors. If Jack heals Alt-Lock, will that be the same as freeing Smlock?


  4. Harold #

    Plus: Question 4, I think the reason the losties are there, is to replace Jacob. And the rest of the episodes are to see who replaces Jacob and if MIB can leave the island.


  5. Gab #

    1) I think I’ve said before I believe Sayid will die because he doesn’t have anything left outside the Island, but that his death will bring his salvation/redemption. So yeah. I don’t think he killed Des, and I totally loved the scene where he told Lockelganger to go check up on it. I am not sure what he *did* with Des- maybe let him out and hid him somewhere- but the only reason it’s an immediate concern is the lack of time left in the series. If this wasn’t the last season, I’d say, “Who cares?”

    2) I don’t see why you’d ask the question, “Or am I reading too much into things?” PISH-POSH! The website is called what, now? ;)

    In all seriousness, though, this *is* _Lost_, and something like that, the groupings in the two universes, those aren’t arbitrary or accidental- the writers just wouldn’t do that. I mean, okay, it won’t be a *GASP!* moment if Alt-Locke can walk after Jack messes with his spine, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be important and either reflect or completely divulge from the Island’s timeline. I mean, call me crazy, but I’d love a BIG contrast with it, to see Alt-Locke get up and walk to Helen in a scene before or after Jack (or someone on Jack’s side, at least) at least incapacitates him.

    The Jack/Locke thing is just one example.

    But you know what that made me think of? Bernard and Rose. Where the eff are THEY!??!!?

    3) I think if the whole, “It’s him!” thing goes with any theories, it’s the “timelines are going to merge” ones. Perhaps the Alties are seeing Losties in their heads more now, or perhaps she saw him in her head already and we’ll be told about it in a ret-con sort of way through a flashback within the Alt-Timeline itself.

    4) Like you, I DON’T KNOW!! It makes me quite flustered. My only attempt at an answer is to say Jacob’s goal seems to have only been replacement-finding, to the point where he’s careless with human life. But really, that isn’t much, and it’s dissatisfying.

    Here’s a bit of contrast, though. For some reason, I can’t picture Jacob picking up one of his immobile Candidates while life-threatening stuff is going on around them. And I feel like this isn’t the first time Lockelganget/Smokey/Whatever has demonstrated protection of the people he needs for his ends. Now, either way, both he and Jacob objectify the people involved in their schemes, I’m not denying this. *But*, I just keep thinking that maybe Smokey isn’t as Bad as Jacob and the people following him blindly claim he is. Perhaps that’s on purpose and I’m falling for Smokey’s crap like the characters themselves, but the idea that he’s PURE Evil is unsettling to me, especially when shown the “Good” of Jacob.

    ::end rant::


  6. Iver #

    Okay…I have to ask this…if anyone here watches Fringe…did you catch the Lost reference in last week’s Fringe episode (4/15)?? The Faraday Net…


  7. Boatman #

    Reference? I just figured it was a take on a Faraday cage.


  8. Kevin #

    Meh, meh, meh. Almost at the end now… and while I’ve always appreciated Lost’s “chess board” episodes of the past, at times I feel like they’re just treading water. Sounds like I’m not the only one.

    First, my big question: so apparently Smokey is lying about his abilities! Remember his appearance as Christian on board the freighter in the S4 finale. So either he lied to Sawyer when he said he can’t travel over water… or he’s lying to Jack and he either has NOT appeared as Christian, or has only appeared some of the time as Christian, not others. Which is it? (NOTE: I am leaving out what I fear is the most possible option, “Number Three” — the writers screwed up the rules and are making Smokey’s traits up as they go, even if they contradict what we’ve seen in the past)

    #1 – No, Sayid didn’t kill Des… but at the same time, I’m not sure how he could have gotten him out of the well without any supplies (i.e., rope) near by.

    What I’m really wondering, though, is what part Des is supposed to play in the last few episodes? It’s clear what he’s been up to in the Sideways world… but he doesn’t seem all that crucial on the Island. Hope I’m wrong.

    #2 – I can go either way. Realistically, though, there probably weren’t too many places the writers could conceivably reunite so many of the characters at once without it seeming cheesy. From a logistics standpoint, hospital and police station make the most rational sense… though I really like your take, mlawski.

    #3 – I think that yes, this is yet another example of the universes “bleeding” into one another, and that she “recognizes” him as Smokey, not as John Locke. (And while the “Sun can’t speak English” plot was carelessly handled… I think that’s another example of the bleed going in the opposite direction and affecting someone in the Island timeline. But it absolutely, definitely wasn’t “asphasia” or whatever Jack came up with on the beach.)

    #4 – I think part of the confusion — well, all of it, really — stems from there being two universes. I think the game in Jacob’s mind was simple: find a replacement. Nothing more. BUT… how does the alt-universe figure in to that? Because I don’t think Jacob, Smokey or Widmore have any idea there even IS an alternate timeline. So how does the one (alt) universe impact the other (Island) when all is said and done?


  9. dock #

    I didnt think the Sun speech thing was pointless at all. As she was dieing in alt-world, she merged a little with herself on the island, losing her ability to speak english. When she saw alt-Locke and screamed “It’s him!” it was another example of the two universes bleeding together. Just like in the alt-world where love is bringing all these people closer to their island selves, seeing Jin brought island sun back closer to her original island self, and further away from non-english-speaking-alt-world-sun. Its like the mirror opposite of whats happening in alt-world. Although I LOVE the idea that Evil Locke made it to Alt-world somehow, I just dont see it. I think Alt-Sun was close to death and that caused her to be at an middle point of sorts. When Alt-Locke wakes up, Im willing to be he will walk again, and remember all of regular Locke’s island stuff (including Ben killing him, which should be interesting) and will immediatly start effing with Jack. I expect Jack to have another classic freak-out which should be entertaining.

    As far as Jacob vs Smokey, the more I see the show the more I am leaning to a previous commenters idea that Lost is borrowing a lot from the game MYST. Both Jacob and MIB are self serving and care nothing for human life. Maybe one has better interpersonal skills than the other, but in the end they are both pretty shitty guys.

    I agree Sayyid didnt kill Des, and thats the begining of his Vader Redemption (which, if that is not an already coined term I officially coin as of now).

    I also wondered about how Smokey could appear as Christian in the hospital on the mainland to Jack in regular world. Maybe thats Jacob? I dunno, but there is definetly an inconsistency there. Unless Smokey is lieing and Christian has been appearing as himself the whole time and MIB doesnt want Jack/Claire to know. If thats the case I put my money on Christian Shepard to be the good guy (in the MYST analogy, the father of the two trapped within the books).

    Taking a week off at this point is BS!! I am also upset with the LOST people, Mlawski. We should Overthink inappropriate dramtic pauses next week in sarcastic honor of ABC being torturers.


  10. specialagentdalecooper #

    Kevin, in response to your big question, I will re-post something I posted elsewhere:

    How Smokey/Christian apparently appeared off island a couple times (to Jack in the hospital, and to Michael on the freighter – which was parked outside the island’s radius) is indeed a head-scratcher. But we have some possible clues. Jacob also appeared off-island; was he really traveling to meet those people, leaving Smokey to his own devices like a kid whose parents are out of town? It’s possible that both of them have the ability to appear in places they are not. Which, hey, kind of reminds one of… Walt. Astral projections all ’round? Perhaps. Wait and see. I bet they address it at least a little bit.


  11. specialagentdalecooper #

    I forgot the second half –

    Oh, and another thought about off-island Christian. He only appeared to people who had been on the island before. Of course it’s natural that would be the case since the show began with all our main characters crashing on the island, but the point is, maybe Smokey has a very far reach into the heads of anyone who has been inside his circle. He wouldn’t have to physically cross water or go anywhere, he just appears to them because he’s in their heads (like the lawnmower man! my friend Jamie would love that reference, even as you are scratching your heads about it).


  12. Iver #

    Well now I feel stupid…I had no idea there really was a Faraday Cage…ah well, at least I learned something.


  13. Christopher #

    @dock: Re: Myst – right? right?!? It was actually me that brought that up in the comments for one of the posts earlier this season, and I still totally stand by it. I think Myst should be a required experience for all Lost fans, for a ton of reasons.

    Also, speaking of required Lost-related experiences, I just _fiiiiinally_ finished the Dark Tower series last night (after somewhere in the range of 6-8 months of daily Metro reading), and all I can say is sweet time-traveling rabbit, that is a must read for any serious Lost fan. I’m not going to go into specifics because I live in constant fear of spoilers (*stern gaze at specialagentdalecooper*) – but I could see the ending of Lost echoing the end of the Dark Tower in certain ways, and if it’s done correctly it could be super, super sweet.

    P.S. @specialagentdalecooper – no worries, you gave adequate spoiler warning, but my tendency to fervently scroll and start reading at random has turned your post into a land mine I know I’m eventually going to stumble upon


  14. Christopher #

    …or, rather, a land mine upon which I know I’m eventually going to stumble.

    Damn you inner grammar Nazi! (and hanging prepositions!)


  15. Kevin #

    All this talk of unintentional spoiling reminds me of one of this season’s classic “30 Rock” moments, as ditzy Jenna is trying to win over the nerdy writers:

    “I met J.J. Abrams once, and I don’t know what this means, but he said that the island is just Hurley’s dream.”

    Their reaction was great as well…


  16. Genevieve #

    Late to the game, but in before the next ep, so…

    I am utterly convinced that Smokey has never appeared as Christian. Here are my reasons:

    1)The writers have explicitly said so. I’m not ruling out the possibility that they’ve effed a few things up over time, but I’m clinging to this one, for sure.

    2)Acting is imperfect, but Terry O’Quinn has not disappointed to date, and the moment when he tells Jack that he was, indeed, Christian read like a complete lie to me. There was a very calculating pause, where he seems to decide, “Yup, this is what he needs to hear” and “This will help convince him I’ve worked in his best interests” before he answers. Also, there was something about the phrasing Claire used, “Did he tell you he was appearing as our father?” or something. Utterly inconclusive and unconvincing.

    3)I can perhaps buy specialagentdalecooper’s argument that Smokey wouldn’t necessarily have to physically cross water in order to appear elsewhere. Not sure I agree, but it’s logically sound. HOWEVER, when Christian appears to Locke waaay back when, Locke asks him to hand him… what, the lantern?… and he says, “I can’t.” Lockelganger can and does handle physical objects, so if that was him, why couldn’t he? That was on-island, so he wasn’t astrally projecting.

    I thought I had other reasons, but it’s past my bedtime so I can’t remember them. I personally think Christian is a manifestation of the island *itself.* That theory isn’t too fully thought out, though.

    #1 – I don’t think Sayid killed Des. As for where he is, my bet is, still down the well. When Locke catches up w/ Sayid, he’s not headed back to the group, he’s headed towards that grove of trees with long, heavy vines. I think he was in the process of getting something with which to rescue Desmond from the well, but didn’t get to finish the task.


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