That Desmond sure is a fast driver. He gets around Los Angeles faster than Winston Wolf and Jack Bauer.

 

One minute he's running over poor John Locke in the parking lot of what appears to be a suburban school, and before Locke is even prepped for surgery at the hospital, Desmond has arrived at a downtown building, parked, and pulled his creepy-yet-charming stalker bit with Claire. And after that, after not only a hug but a kiss (?) from attorney-at-law Ilana Verdansky (she sure cleaned up well), he's disappeared again, surely to another location where several Losties are gathered (the police station for Sawyer, Kate, Miles, and Sayid, perhaps?).

 

I didn't love "The Last Recruit" as an episode. We got the Sun-and-Jin reunion but it felt rushed, not to mention interrupted by Lapidus's hackneyed line! We learned about the appearances of Christian Shephard, but - as I discussed in yesterday's mini-blog update and rehash below - I still have loads of question about that. What's more, back on Monday I noted on my Facebook page that "ABC lists next week's LOST episode with this tagline: 'Alliances are made and broken as the Locke and Jack camps merge.' That's it - that's the answer to the whole thing. LOST was one big episode of Survivor. Jeff Probst is going to emerge from a Dharma Station in the final episode and announce the winner." So then to have one scene - the one where Sawyer is whispering to Hugo and Kate is whispering to Sun - play exactly like an episode of Survivor? Eh.

 

Plus, this was the kind of episode that makes for too-easy a recap. It was mostly plot, pieces moving into place. You saw what I saw. So rather than go scene-by-scene or section-by-section, I thought we'd try a different approach this week, more of a Q&A style. Let's see how it goes.

 

What did Flocke mean when he told Jack "sure you do" in response to Jack's saying he had no idea what Flocke was?

 

I think the let's-not-think-too-deeply-here answer is that he was simply saying, "You've seen me before and you know it; you already suspect I was masquerading as your dead father and you're going to ask me that directly in 3, 2, 1…"

 

The more probing answer is to ponder whether he was speaking philosophically or religiously about being the embodiment of evil… or fear… or the devil… or some other concept with which Jack is certainly familiar, as we all are.

 

What did you think about Smokey, who once told Ben he admired Locke for being the only one of the castaways who realized his Island life was better than his off-Island life, changing his tune and telling Jack that Locke was "stupid… not a believer… a sucker… "?

 

On one hand I think he's right - Original Locke did display several characteristics of the dangers of faith that feed zealotry. On the other hand it makes me want to laugh. Here is a smoke monster in the guise of a dead man talking to a doctor who has seen so much crazy stuff that he's flipped from reason to faith, and the MiB has the gall to mock faith, belief in purpose, magic, destiny? Please. It's transparent. It's self-contradicting, just like the time you told James that there was "nothing special" about the Island, but the very fact you, looking like Dead Locke, in a creepy cave with names scrawled all over it, were the one saying that was its own refutation.

 

So the MiB admits that he was appearing as Christian Shephard. I'd still like to know how Smokey/Christian:

a) Appeared to Jack in the hospital lobby after the O6 returned

b) Appeared to Michael on the freighter

c) Appeared to Sun and Lapidus at the barracks when Flocke and Ben were still over on Hydra

 

Either these are oversights because they are exceptions to the "Smokey can't leave the island and Smokey can't cross the ocean except on a boat" rules, or in those instances some other entity was appearing as Christian (perhaps Jack and Michael were hallucinating, but Michael would have been hallucinating about a person he'd never seen before).

 

A related question I have is how Smokey knew to appear as Christian to Jack. That is, to know how to appear as Isabella to Richard, he had to do his little memory-flashy-electric-stare trick. I've thought ever since The Pilot episode that when Jack, Kate, and Charlie run from the Monster after it rips Seth Norris from the cockpit, that Jack answers his friends' questions evasively after they all join up again. They all deny they saw the monster, but they all seem to be hiding something. Jack says he dove into the bushes. I think perhaps Smokey stared him down and got the information he needed to show up as Dead Christian a day later. Another possibility that some fans have speculated on for a long time is that in the very first shot ever, where Jack wakes up in the jungle, it kinda-sorta looks like reflected in his eyes is a receding cloud of smoke...

 

Yet another question regards the time Hurley peeked into the cabin and saw Christian in the chair. But then, a scary eyeball appears in the window. If MiB was Christian-in-the-chair, then who is Cabin-Eye? One extremely sinister, creepy theory about this is that it's Jacob, and he and MiB have been scheming together against our whole group all along. Only problem is, that flies in the face of what we know of their past private conversations. So don't go there. My guess: We're never going to find out who Cabin-Eye is, and are going to be expected to somehow know it was the MiB, even though he was supposedly in the chair and not at the window.

 

And we still don't know where Christian's body went. All this time the reason for it being missing was apparently so we would just wonder if perhaps it had come back to life via Island Powers, or been possessed, or what have you. Now that we know the MiB was just assuming its form, will we get to learn where it went, both on the Island and in the Bizarro timeline where it seems to have taken its own journey around the world?

 

Do you believe Flocke when he tells Jack that all he's ever been interested in is helping Jack & Co. leave?

 

I'd like to, yes, because it makes things easy to sort. It makes it so that, going back over the course of the show, we can simplify events into whether they facilitated the Losties leaving - and call these MiB-influenced - or whether they facilitated the Losties staying, and call these Jacob-influenced events. The way Flocke explains to Jack that he helped him find water therefore comes to sound like a reluctant host, someone who has tolerated a weary band of travelers in his house, gave them some provisions, and sent them on their way again.

 

What I still don't know for certain is whether MiB really wishes to leave, or to just get rid of the candidates, or both. From his past conversations with Jacob we can cling to the fact he really does want to leave, but that to make that happen he also needs to put an end to all this candidate nonsense ("I'll kill them, too") by putting all of them in one place together and letting someone else kill them.

 

So what does this mean for Jack being "with him" at the end of the episode? Why would he save Jack at all if his goal is to get all the candidates killed? One could take that to assume he really does want to leave, and really does need the candidates alive to do so. But then that would beg the question of why he needs to be reminded by the Ghost Kid in the Jungle that he can't kill them, when it should be clear he doesn't want to. The logic continues to go in circles.

 

Also, when Flocke is running to help Jack on the beach, I yet again noticed how encumbered he is by carrying around that backpack, and yet again I ask, why does he carry it? He's a smoke monster for goodness sakes! What does he have in there which he truly needs or can't get some flunky to carry for him?

 

So it sounds like you believe Flocke gave Sawyer the project of taking the boat to the rendezvous point knowing that Sawyer would betray him?

 

Yes. He even let him choose a partner. Duh, he took Kate. And Flocke's answer to Sawyer's question of why don't we all head for the boat together was lame, lame lame - "we'll move faster in smaller groups." Horse hockey. This was either a test or a plan. Either way, it was not left to chance.

 

What's with Claire telling Jack that just listening to Locke means you have now been successfully recruited?

 

Yeah, that doesn't sit right with me at all. Since when does hearing a sales pitch equal buying, especially in a universe where free will is not just a nice sentiment, but a major rule of the game? Even Claire and Sayid, a.k.a. "the claimed," don't seem to be beyond making new choices. Sayid shows several times in this episode that even his unfeeling heart still has some connections to his brain. And Claire - who is a strange one anyway for the way she seems to alternate between crazy and lucid (kinda like Danielle did, I guess) - makes the choice to cast her lot with the promises of Kate and forego those of the MiB.

 

I think Claire's line to Jack of "like it or not, you're with him now" functions less as a comment on Jack's allegiance, and more as foreshadowing / prophecy for what happens at the end of the episode where Jack jumps overboard, swims back to the main island, and ends up, literally, "with" Flocke. But even then, even after Jack is rescued from the mortar shells by him, I simply don't believe our hero has been in any soulful way tainted or claimed.

 

I didn't dig that Jack-Claire reunion so much. Felt like it would have meant much more in a previous episode. Not sure it worked for me. And the fact that Claire keeps talking about how everyone else abandoned her really bugs.

 

Are we to believe that Adoptive Services is on the same floor of the same building as Ilana's law office, and that her law office also happens to be the one where Christian's will was on file?

 

Um, yes. What was it the show used to say about coincidence and fate and all that? And yes, I also caught how Desmond used the word "irreversible" when talking to Claire, and how Jack, in this season's first episode, told Locke, "nothing's irreversible."

 

If you read backwards, you can tell that Ilana's company's name is "Sweetzer & Verdansky" (she's Verdansky). A couple episodes ago Penny told Desmond to meet her at the coffee shop on the corner of Sweetzer and Melrose. Is that just coincidence - the word 'Sweetzer' popping up again - or does it mean something?

 

I want to think it's meaningful, and as such, I've tried several anagrams, but to no avail. I'm most intrigued by the possibility of the word "reset" coming out of the letters of that name, but haven't been able to make all the other letters fit, whether I try with Melrose or Verdansky.

 

Is there any significance to Jack's son not signing the visitor registry at the office building?

 

The sign said "Visitors must sign in." Claire signed in. Desmond signed in. Jack signed in. David… he didn't sign in. Does it possibly signify that he's a "resident" of this timeline rather than just a "visitor" to it as the other three might be? Even I think this is stretching it a bit if that tells you anything.

 

Why are they still keeping David's mother's identity a secret?

 

The less time we have left, the more this feels like a big reveal. As in, not Sarah, Jack's wife from the original timeline. Or, it could be completely pointless. My hope? It's Juliet. She and Jack could have met in medical school, but their careers drove them apart. And, being divorced now frees her up to still have that cup of coffee with Sawyer. Cut, print, make it happen.

 

What's going on when Sun, being gurneyed into the hospital alongside Locke, starts freaking out and yelling "it's him!"?

 

She's having a déjà vu, a recollection of her island life where she knows this guy is such bad news that she wouldn't even trust him to reunite her with her long-lost husband. Comparing / contrasting to other triggers we know about:

  • Charlie: Consciousness level - dying. Parallel Constant - heroin in the 815 bathroom.

  • Desmond: Consciousness level - near-drowning. Parallel Constant - Charlie's hand on a pane of glass underwater.

  • Libby: Consciousness level - perhaps on meds, mentions feeling "hit over the head" dazed. Parallel constants - being in Santa Rosa, seeing Hurley's commercial.

  • Hurley: Consciousness level - first-kiss bliss. Parallel constant - being with Libby.

  • Sun: Consciousness level - losing lots of blood, fading in and out. Parallel constant - Jin at her side, Locke on her other side.

So all I really think is going on is confirmation that death, dreams, sleep, unconsciousness, or black-out - or varying levels thereof - have something to do with the toggle between worlds, a theme we've suspected for quite a while, but that you also have to be near something or someone from that other world - a Constant - to set off the flash.

 

So… just like that, Sun is fine? Mikhail's gunshot hurt neither her nor her baby?

 

Rushed, right? I guess the budget for blood and an ER-type environment didn't make.

 

We got back to a mirror image being prevalent in this episode. It was unique in that it shifts from Jack's face to Locke's face at the operating table, and was itself a mirror image of the scene where Jack operated on Ben. Any thoughts on that?

 

Good to see life through the looking glass again. I think as Jack gets tired and/or challenged and/or fearful during this surgery, the Constants of Locke and the surgery he did on Ben are going to cause him to have some flashes of his own. Ultimately, though, I can't help but wonder if he's going to fix Locke to the point he'll be able to walk again. The whole "dural sac" line was a big clue to a parallel to Jack's first surgery, the one where he had to allow fear in for 5 seconds, the one after which Jacob touched him.

 

Did Sayid kill Desmond?

 

Even if I try to talk myself into answering yes, I can't. Cool cat Desmond asked Sayid all the right questions, Brotha, including the one that brought to mind the archetypes of all the great stories about pining for a lost love where, if the wish was granted for the return of the lost one, the results were either horrifying or tragically sad. Sayid is set to thinking about "honor," and how he would best honor Nadia's memory. He could never look her in the face and tell her what he did. And we get a clue about that when she reacts in horror in the Sideverse at knowing he has "hurt someone," even if his motives were to protect her husband and children.

 

The next question is whether or not Flocke knows or cares whether Sayid killed Desmond. This one is harder for me to figure. All he has to do is "read his mind," which makes me wonder if maybe Sayid shot Desmond with a non-lethal wound in case the Locke Monster did flash him and see if there was a shooting involved. I think, maybe, that when Sayid says, "Go and check if you like," and they stare each other down for a moment, that the MiB does his flashy thing there. Either way, I think the MiB has contingencies. If Desmond is dead, good. If not, well, he's still not anywhere Widmore's going to find him soon.

 

The biggest disappointment to me was the knowledge that Desmond's just sitting in a shallow well, as opposed to having fallen through to some icy cavern with strange minerals and electromagnetism and donkey wheels.

 

Why is Miles using the last name "Straume" in the Bizarro timeline (introduced himself to Nadia as "Detective Straume")? Why wouldn't he have kept the surname Chang?

 

Great question. I had been assuming all along that Detective Miles of the LAPD was, logically, Miles Chang, as he would have had little reason to change, considering he has a good enough relationship with his father to set up his partner with one of Pierre's colleagues. Chalk this up to another case of confusing identity, one of our running themes.

 

How did Sun get her voice back?

 

Well, she sure thought Flocke was the one who took it from her. I never did, so I tend to believe him when he says he didn't. For one thing, him "taking" things from knocked-out women goes against what we know about him and how he is forced to give people a choice.

 

She gets it back when she sees Jin. And Lapidus is on hand with a line that I swear sounded like it was handed down straight from a producer who assumes the rest of us pay as little attention as he or she does, "Looks like somebody got their voice back." Ew. I can taste the corn. Not happy you made my favorite character from the set of a Burt Reynolds movie say such a line.

 

The question is whether Dr. Jack was right, and Sun was merely suffering aphasia, or whether the Island somehow made her lose her English speaking abilities, or whether it was her unconscious mind (from getting knocked out at the tree) somehow reverting to the Bizarro timeline. The problem with the aphasia theory is: then what was the point in regards to the plot or mystery? The problem with the transfer-to-Bizarro-world theory is why she could still understand English.

 

For me, this whole Sun-lost-her-English gambit didn't seem to have much of a point, unless the writers realized they were already giving us an anti-climactic Sun-Jin reunion sequence during a time when there is much heavier stuff at stake, and wanted to ramp up the emotionality a tad by having Sun regain something she had "lost." Did it work for you? Not for me so much.

 

Why doesn't Sawyer know who Anakin is?

 

Another good question, especially given his fondness in earlier seasons for referring to Hurley as "Jabba." He should know him some Star Wars. The bigger key here is Hurley's reminder that "people can be brought back from the dark side."

 

What was the point of that Sawyer-Kate police station scene?

 

Hmmm… they're both dressed in black, just in case we forgot that was an important color. And he's eating a red apple, just in case we forgot that was also an important color / theme (to go with Sun's red tomato and Hurley's red flowers). But really, all they're trying to do is explain to us why Good Cop James would have assisted a fugitive in her escape. He didn't want anyone to know he had been in Australia, and capturing Kate would have let that cat out of the bag.

 

It's not the trip Down Under that James wants to keep hidden, it's his Sawyer revenge plan. He let his trusted partner Miles in on it, but he certainly can't let the LAPD in on it.

 

And, being in the station also lets us in on how James and Miles find out about the restaurant shootings and finger Sayid as the shooter ("That's our bad guy"). What's not clear is how they track Sayid so quickly to Nadia's house simply from a picture of him. Sawyer even knows his name when he arrests him! Wow! (Though I grant you this is way cool if somehow the reason Sawyer knows his name is from a déjà vu of sorts).

 

Still think Widmore is on the side of good?

 

Not really. Not sure if I ever did. Sometimes it seems he wants some of the same ends as Jacob would (keep the MiB from leaving), other times it seems he wants nothing but to fulfill his own agenda (which is what? Sell tickets to the island for its healing properties? Mine its minerals? Cheat death? All of the above?). And other times I even wonder if he and Smokey might just be on the same side and their whole war has been a ruse. It sure seems, though, like he is playing right into MiB's hands by having Zoe put our gang into execution posture.

 

What is certain is that he came with plenty of firepower. These mortar shells are apparently GPS-guided or something. What I can't figure out is why he's bothering to fire them at Flocke. Guy can't be killed that way. Heck, he's not even phased when Jack yells to everyone to "get down." Doesn't move. Is Widmore this ignorant of how to kill the Monster? Or, is there even a more sinister answer - does he know the shells won't kill Flocke but will kill those around him? Because that's just mean, even if it's smart to take out your enemy's foot soldiers. But Flocke doesn't care any more for his non-candidate followers than I do for the writers of Lapidus's lines.

 

Regardless of Widmore's allegiance, I remain convinced that he's who Jacob wanted to find the island again, and that Jacob has contingencies for his arrival and actions.

 

Why did Jack jump off the Elizabeth? Why did Sawyer tell him to?

 

First of all, I think we just got the answer to how the MiB has been getting between islands for three years. He views Desmond's old boat as "his" boat. He wanted Sawyer to go gather his candidate friends and get them all on this boat.

 

Why Sawyer can't just leave well enough alone and has to just go taunt Jack with how he never used to be good at taking orders I don't know. I can only assume he's still ticked over Juliet, because she was the reason he wanted to stay on the island, and now that she's gone, she's the reason he's blind to no other plan but leaving.

 

So suddenly Jack is in the place of Locke, but much wiser ("I remember how I felt last time we left, like a part of me was missing." This is a much better answer than, "You're just not supposed to leave" or "Yes you do believe in destiny, you just don't know it yet"). And Sawyer is in the place of Jack - the single-minded, wounded voice of what he thinks is reason, and can't be bothered with those who would stand in his way or tell him his purpose runs counter to his desire.

 

"If that Thing wants us to leave, then maybe it's afraid of what happens if we stay" is the best line of the entire episode. Jack is thinking, believing, weighing, strategizing. He's slowly working it out. This Jack Shephard is never going back to Los Angeles until his work is done.

 

And so he jumps, giving us a perfect mirror to Sawyer jumping from Frank's helicopter and swimming back to the main island. We also get Kate, instead of Jack, as the one yelling, "We have to go back!" But Sawyer is right. They're through going back. There's not enough time left. There can only be going forward now. And what Jack and Desmond share going forward is a deep conviction that anything goes because any path ends in destiny. This is truly faith with Jack. With Dez, it may be even more. He doesn't just believe; he seems to know. Call his conviction "assurance."