LOST Recap: Season 6, Episode 12: “The Last Recruit”

22 04 2010

Hey everyone, thanks for swinging by the blog today!  Alright, so here’s my theory on last night’s episode.  I believe that how much you liked it is inversely related to how bad you want immediate answers.  If you’re patient, and OK with the writers telling the story at their pace, then you probably enjoyed the show.  If you’re dying for answers, and wish that most of the mysteries were already solved, then you probably thought that this episode dragged.  Personally, I enjoyed the show.  I feel like I’d be beating a dead horse if I said the flash-sideways stuff is still not overly compelling (whoops, too late!), but I’m thoroughly enjoying everything happening on-island.  And let’s face it, even if this episode wasn’t your favorite, it’s still miles ahead of what awaits us in June.  (That’s no new LOST, ever.)  So let’s get right to the breakdown of the episode, shall we?

The Last Recruit

Interestingly, this was never really addressed in the episode.  Couple that with the fact that the episode appeared to be multi-centric, and it’s hard to understand what the title was really all about.  I’m thinking that it referred to Jack, in that he was the last candidate to be recruited by Smokey.  If any of you have anything different, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

“You were trapped on this island before you even got here.”

Smokey tells Jack that he took the form of Christian

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the entire episode happened in the first ten minutes, when Jack and Flocke share a little one-on-one time.  First of all, Smokey admits that he has been posing as Christian Shephard since the LOSTies’ third day on the island.  This opens a world of thoughts about things that have happened throughout the series.  I guess the first thought is, is MIB lying?  Based upon how he qualified his answer, specifically about leading Jack to water, leads me to believe that he is not.  So then the question becomes, is every instance of Christian Smokey?  In alot of cases, that makes perfect sense.  It would mean that the Christian that appeared to Claire and convinced her to abandon her baby was Smokey.  It would also mean that the Christian that appeared to Locke and encouraged him to move the island and turn the donkey wheel was indeed Smokey, trying to get him off the island so that he would get himself killed.  But then you have to ask, what about the Christian that appeared to Hurley?  Was that Smokey as well?  Can Hurley not tell the difference between an apparition and Smokey?  If not, is there any guarantee that the Michael he saw two episodes ago was indeed Michael?  Wouldn’t it be easy (and fit into Smokey’s plans) for Smokey to appear as Michael and tell him to destroy all of the dynamite?  And then to make a beeline for Smokey’s camp?  Aside from that, what about the Christian that appeared to Jack off-island?  That couldn’t be Smokey too, could it?  Isn’t Smokey trapped on-island?  While this paints a fuller picture, it’s still not the whole story.

As much as that portion of the conversation opens up multiple lines of thought, the fun doesn’t stop there. Next, Smokey gives us a line that might be a throw-away…or perhaps not.  The way I see it, Smokey’s very cognizant of the timeline of the island.  This is probably due to the fact that he’s been there so long.  But regardless of why, he clearly knows almost everything that’s happened on the island.  It was this knowledge that allowed him to foresee that Locke was eventually going to become the “leader” of the Others, and would allow Smokey to get access to Jacob’s abode once he took over Locke’s form.  In fact, if you consider that Christian appeared to Locke just as he fell down the well that housed the donkey wheel, then you might even go so far as to think that Smokey has some measure of ability to travel through time.  Regardless, he knows what’s going on.  Why did I go through all of the trouble to mention this?  Well, what if Smokey was not being figurative with his “trapped” comment?  What if Jack was literally trapped on the island, even before he got there?  Perhaps, just perhaps, this is our first clue that Jack himself is one of the “Adam & Eve” bodies in the caves.  Something to think about…

Finally, Smokey tells Jack that Locke was nothing more than a “sucker”.  Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but the whole thing is starting to smack of reverse psychology to me.  Seriously, are the writers going to have the legacy of John Locke be reduced to a man so lost that he failed to commit suicide, only to be murdered minutes later, and then be ridiculed for his faith?  I’m not buying it.  But I am afraid that they’ll try to give his character some resolution by granting him the ability to walk, and following through with his wedding to Helen, in the sideways timeline.  I can imagine that some LOST viewers out there are hoping for this.  That somehow, if everyone has a happy ending in the sideways timeline, then it makes up for the pain and suffering in the main timeline.  I can tell you that for me, this would come off as a supreme cop-out.  Anything that happens in the sideways timeline, no matter how well explained, cannot supercede the main timeline in my eyes.  I truly hope that the writers don’t use it as an “out”.  Regardless, I’d put money on Locke becoming more than what he is now, in either the sideways timeline, the main timeline, or both.

“It’s him!  It’s him!”

Sideways Locke tells Ben his first name

The interesting thing I’m taking from the initial sideways scene is that it’s clear that consciousness can move from the main timeline to the sideways timeline with some encouragement.  Desmond did it with help from a little EM pulse.  Sun did it with a bump on the head.  Perhaps others have done so as well.  My question is twofold: first, if consciousness can travel from the main timeline to the alternate timeline, is it far-fetched to think that the reverse is possible?  I believe that we haven’t seen it yet, but would it be any surprise if we did as early as next episode?  The other part of my question is this: could someone, say Locke, have already made the trip to the sideways universe?  Perhaps the Locke in the sideways timeline actually has the consciousness of the Locke in the main timeline?  Maybe he’s been keeping the secret all this time because he is enjoying his new and improved life?  I hope I’m not too far in left field with some of these thoughts, but I get the impression that there’s a major reveal of some sort on the horizon, and Locke’s story, at least in the flash-sideways, is clearly not complete.

“Sayid ain’t invited.  He’s gone over to the dark side.”

Finally, some action!  While alot of you out there might see this episode as moving the pieces in place for the grand shakedown at the end of the series (and I think there’s some truth to that), what’s seems more relevant is that the characters are moving, and putting plans in place.  The LOSTies are stealing, scheming, and taking chances.  And as a result, we’re sucked back in to rooting for them and judging their motivations.  I think that’s what made this episode feel more than just a “moving pieces” episode for me.

Desmond is off his sideways rocker

While I’m not inclined to over-analyze the sideways timeline (as usual), I will take the bait on a couple of things happening over there.  I’ll start by discussing Desmond’s behavior.  Was it me, or did he come off as just a bit creepy in this episode?  Tracking Claire down, following her through the building, and practically forcing her to visit his lawyer…it all seemed just a bit shady.  Of course, compared to running Locke down with his car, I guess it’s not that much of a stretch.  The question though, is why?  Last week’s actions made some sort of sense when set against the backdrop of what we know, but this week?  Desmond just comes off as plumb crazy.

One other quick thing I want to mention: Desmond warns Claire to not do anything that might make her situation “irreversible”.  A curious choice of words, as they harken back to Locke’s words to Jack in the season premiere.

Sayid and Desmond discuss the price of a life

Desmond chats with Sayid at gunpoint

There’s an interesting theory floating around the internet regarding Desmond being the actual replacement for Jacob.  I hadn’t really given it much thought until this episode.  However, after looking at what Desmond’s doing in the alternate timeline, as well as his conversational abilities with Sayid in the main timeline, I’m starting to consider it more as a possibility.  In the scene at the well, Desmond asks all of the right questions to have Sayid, despite the fact that he’s a zombie, reflect upon the reasons why he’s doing what he’s doing.  Despite what Sayid says to Smokey later in the episode, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than the idea that Sayid did not shoot and kill Desmond.

Strike one up for Mr. Giacchino

Most of the comments I make in this blog are with respect to the plot points and mysteries of the show.  On rare occasions, I’ll reference the level of acting and try to give credit to some of the more amazing performances.  One thing I don’t think I’ve ever done, is to comment on the score.  But I have to admit, especially in an episode like “The Last Recruit”, where showing characters moving from one location to the other is a large part of the on-screen action, the music really added to the overall enjoyment of the show.  It helped to create a measure of tension at the right moments, but also seemed to add weight to scenes that otherwise might seem somewhat rote in nature.  The score was particularly spot-on in this episode, so I thought I’d mention it specifically.

“You did this to me!”

I’m not sure just how much we’re supposed to read into Locke’s response to Sun’s written words above, but it struck me as interesting that he didn’t take any credit for Sun losing her voice, or more importantly, Sun’s consciousness migrating to the sideways timeline.  This would have been a perfect time to lead us in the direction that Smokey is responsible for the alternate timeline, and that what we’re seeing over there is a result of him granting everyone their wishes in return for helping him get off the island.  But no such luck.  Maybe the sideways timeline is something else entirely…

“I just shot an unarmed man…I needed a moment.”

Two big things caught my eye in the scene where Sayid claims to have done Smokey’s dirty work.  First, did you notice Sayid gazing up into the trees at the start of the scene?  It’s almost as if he was looking for a vine…perhaps one long enough to help Desmond out of the well?

The other thing that was fascinating was the disdain that Sayid seems to have for Smokey here.  He doesn’t outright confront him, but he clearly challenges him to check his work if he doesn’t think he completed it successfully.  It’ll be interesting to see if he takes that to the next level in subsequent episodes and perhaps challenges Smokey directly, especially if he didn’t kill Desmond, as most of us suspect.

“Get off my damn boat!”

Jack shares his faith, to Sawyer's displeasure

Not sure about the rest of you, but I really enjoyed the dialog here between Jack and Sawyer.  Both of these men have very strong convictions about where they’re headed, and they simply don’t mesh.  Sawyer is thoroughly finished with the island.  In fact, the only reason why he decided to go with Smokey in the first place was because he was promised a way off the rock.  Ever since he lost Juliet, he has no other objective except to find a way off.  So it’s not at all surprising that he wants nothing to do with Jack, and his talk that is infused with so much mysticism and blind faith.  After all, it was that same mentality that managed to convince everyone to attempt to detonate Jughead, and ultimately led to Juliet’s death.

Jack fully understands this, and even once again apologizes for his hand in Juliet’s death.  But he knows that no matter what he does to evade it or delay it, he’s got a task to perform.  And if trying to achieve that task puts a crimp in Smokey’s plans, well then, all the better.  Jack has come to grips with the idea that he’s got some sort of destiny to fulfill, and if it means jumping off the boat halfway to Hydra Island, so be it.  I just wonder whether or not he’s going to live through whatever the island has in store for him…

Sun and Jin get their reunion

Jin and Sun reunite

Although I hate to say it, it came off just a bit cheesy to me.  Especially so when Lapidus mentioned Sun getting her English back.  That was a “take you out of the moment” line for sure.  Of course, the reunion is short-lived, as Widmore backs out of his deal, and uses the opportunity to fire upon the Smoking Club on the other island.

Smokey gets Jack out of harm's way

But here’s the part I don’t understand.  I’ve been under the impression that Smokey can either get everyone together, get on a plane, and get off the island; OR, he can lead the candidiates to their death, even if he can’t carry out the task himself.  So why not leave Jack to be blown to bits by Widmore’s attack?  Why pull him out of the line of fire just to try to convince him to willingly follow him?  Perhaps I’m understanding the rules of the game incorrectly, but it definitely seemed odd that Smokey wouldn’t simply leave him to meet his fate on the shore.

Post-episode questions

1. Are the migrations of consciousness from the main timeline to the sideways timeline only a one-way street?  Is anyone going to go from the sideways timeline to the main timeline?

2. What is Desmond’s fate?  Did Sayid actually kill him?

3. Why did Widmore go back on his deal with Sawyer?  What’s his ultimate plan?

4. What does Smokey have in store for Jack?  Why did he save him instead of letting him die?

5. Can you believe that there’s no new LOST next week?  Can you wait 2 whole weeks for the next episode?

That’s all I have for this week, but I plan to have a few things to talk about next week, despite the fact that there’s no new episode.  I hope you come back by!

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3 responses

22 04 2010
DDay

Great recap, as always. I agree that Locke’s character is not finished and more than likely Locke is the young man we keep seeing. It’s either him, young Jacob or Aaron. It would make sense to be Locke- and that would explain Smokey’s disdain for him every time he sees him.

The writers are stringing out the questions to the end so we have to bear with them. If all of the “dead person sightings” are indeed Smokey- whether they be to Hurley or to someone else on or off island, the notion of “leaving the island” is more figurative than literal I think- but there’s not a whole lot of time left to ponder it. The thing about Jacob and Smokey is their relative malevolence- they both clearly are willing to see people die- poor Ilana, btw. Their complete, true motives are still inconclusive and apparently they are holding on to these until the bitter end.

Yep, Desmond looks like he could be Jacob’s replacement- the last recruit. Then again, it could be Jack. Then again, it could be Sayid who may have found some kind of reawakening. It could be Locke reincarnated. I think the idea behind the title is that in this episode something was done or said to identify the last man standing. I think that man is probably Locke. I think Jack may be “adam” laid to rest with Kate’s “eve”- then again- that could be Sun and Jin’s destiny. Sawyer? Hurley? Don’t know.

Which is what makes this show so damn good.

22 04 2010
hablodepablo

DDay! Welcome back, my friend! I had worried that perhaps you had moved on to other things. I’m glad you didn’t, as your feedback always gives me more things to roll around in my head.

I agree that the writers are very consciously trying to string things out to the end. I had the idea in my head that we might see answers staggered throughout the course of the final season, but it’s become apparent that we’re more likely to be hit with a major data dump in the finale.

I’m very curious about your comments regarding Smokey and the possibility of his leaving the island being more figurative. I hadn’t really thought about that, but it might make some sense. I’ll have to think about that some more and wrap my head around the consequences.

One thing appears to be very true, and that is that Jacob and Smokey don’t care about the collateral damage incurred in their battle. Jacob even said as much directly in “Ab Aeterno”, and we know what Smokey’s capable of. You can almost expect as much from Smokey, but coming from someone like Jacob, you have to wonder. I’m sure we’re going to get more on that in the very near future.

As far as who the actual replacement for Jacob might be? In my mind, it’s narrowed down to either Jack, Hurley, Locke, or Desmond. I think it would be too much of a stretch for it to be anyone else. Then again, I’m not convinced that the replacement will take his rightful place. I wouldn’t be surprised if LOST turned things on its ear at the end, and had Smokey “win”, and get off the island. I guess we’ll see…

Thanks again for stopping by and commenting, your feedback is always thought-provoking!

26 04 2010
DDay

Hey Pablo- No I’m still here- just had a few health hurdles lately keeping me busy. May need to find the island for its curative powers before its over… We’ve seen several great episodes in a row. We see the obvious linkages in the realities. A lot of fun- especially seeing Desmond four wheel over Locke. (I predicted to my son that there would be an attempt on alt reality Locke. When it happened, he looked at me in amazement. I credited Interlost.)

Did you know Jack once said “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”? It was in season one when he screamed it to Boone as he was trying to save someone. I forgot he said this as the thought is now more attributed to Locke- or Flocke. I wonder if there’s a story link there.

Getting back to the figurative “getting off the island” angle… My guess is that the off island communing with the dead has been something unique to Hurley and not a product of Smokey. If so, then Smokey is relegated to on-island reproductions of now dead former living things- Christian, Alex, Kate’s horse, etc. I think Hurley knows the difference- which may mean ghostly Michael’s admission that the whispers are of those in purgatory is true. Kind of like a grab bag of theories- they’re all true to an extent. Which is what the writers want to hold to the end.

In any event, it’s time to watch the end of this thing and enjoy it. I convinced my older brother to watch Lost for the first time. He was skeptical at first but as he has finished season one, he has been hooked- like the rest of us.

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