Lost recap: Could Sawyer become the new Man In Black?
But that odd duality has never been captured better on the show than in Tuesday's episode, "Recon," where we got to see what Josh Holloway's Sawyer would have become in another universe if he had listened a little more to his law-abiding side and become a cop instead of a confidence man.
This episode also proved the show's writers have hit their stride -- using Lost's two alternate universes to bring new depths to characters viewers already thought we knew well. In the "sideways" universe where our castaways never crashed on the island, Sawyer never takes the name of the con man who broke his dad's heart, leading to his parent's murder/suicide.
He is, however, still searching for the man and still bent on killing him; with the added bonus of having Ken Leung's complicated Miles Straume along as his pal and partner. The odd bond which surfaced between the two when they were trapped in the 1970s last season remains in the sideways world, a testament to both character's capacity for friendship and loyalty despite their damaged pasts.
This finale season also seems a sly explainer, allowing producers to highlight why each of our Losties may have been selected as a candidate to replace the island's powerful caretaker, Jacob. In Sawyer's case, we are reminded how his surprisingly strong personal values are backed by a certain ruthlessness in achieving his goals and a superior ability to manipulate through lies and misdirection.
Sounds a lot like Jacob and our badass villain, The Smoke Monster Known as Locke.
Speaking of Terry O'Quinn's continually magnetic work as Not Locke, we learned a few surprising things about him/it Tuesday -- most importantly, that he admits having a mother. Who was crazy and left him with "problems I'm still trying to work my way through." Not sure I want to see a mom so twisted that a guy who can turn into smoke and snuff out a temple full of people thinks she is the crazy one.
It's worth noting that Not-Locke doesn't call Sawyer by the con man's name, using only his first name.
Other stuff I liked:
-- Not-Locke uses his story about having a crazy mother to engage Evangeline Lilly's damaged heroine Kate, reminding her that Claire's baby, the child she spent so much time caring for last season, now has a crazy mom, too. Smokey always knows the right buttons to push.
-- As a master manipulator, Sawyer knows an incomplete truth is the best kind of lie. So he cuts a deal with wealthy mystery man Charles Widmore (Alan Dale), newly returned to the island in a sharp submarine, to deliver Smokey -- who he then promptly tells about the trap. That's a win-win scenario Sawyer-style; making sure that, regardless of who comes out on top, he wins, too.
-- I'm sure there's some significance beyond the obvious, but it was fun to see Sideways Sawyer watching a Little House on the Prairie rerun while chilling in his rundown apartment. The longing for family and a place to belong couldn't have been plainer if it was written on his forehead.
-- Am I reading in too much to note the episode's name "Recon," sounds suspiciously like a clever play on words? And am I an idiot for even wondering whether you can read too much into a show like this?
-- It's interesting to see how sharply Sawyer's intentions have turned so quickly. At the end of last season, he wanted to stay on the island in the 1970s, content with his new life as security chief for the Dharma Initiative. Now, fueled by guilt and anger over love Juliet's death, he again wants what he's spent most of the show fighting towards -- safe passage off the island.
Why do I have a feeling that is the one thing he'll never achieve?
My money -- if I was stupid enough to risk it predicting a show which takes such pride in fooling fans -- is on Sawyer taking over for Smokey as the island's enforcer/badass, with Matthew Fox's increasingly faith-filled hero Jack installed as the New Jacob.
As always with Lost, getting there, if that's where we're headed, will likely be one hell of a ride.