John Locke: Don’t Accept The Substitute

A few weeks ago, in Lost’s sixth season premiere, LA X, there was a scene between Ben and Fake Locke (henceforth referred to as FLocke) where FLocke said that the real John Locke was, quite basically, a loser.  At the time, I felt sorry for John Locke, and thought he was misrepresented, that sure, his off-Island life may not have been the best, but through his determination and will, he was able to overcome all of his obstacles.

Over the weekend, I watched some of Locke’s original flashback episodes (Walkabout and Deus Ex Machina) and I realized that FLocke was right about off-island Locke: he was pathetic.  Sure, he had a lot of bad luck and was repeatedly taken advantage of by his father.  But he allowed himself to be victimized and focused too much on the past rather than wheel on towards the future.  His only chance for redemption was the Island, which gave him what he wanted.  Too bad that he allowed himself, once again, to be taken advantage of.  And in tonight’s episode, The Substitute, we’ve seen Sideways Locke, and I’m not sure he has it any better in this other timeline…


Sure, he has Helen, and is seemingly on good terms with his father.  But he’s still not the person he wants to be.  And as the last sideways reality scene showed, someone very dangerous has entered his life: a teacher of European History.

I think that with this sideways timeline, the point is being hammered home that all these people are intertwined.  From the bit players like Hurley’s psychic and Randy to Hurley and Ben, Locke will encounter them all in his off-island life.  What function they serve, is still up in the air.  Not only is the future of this sideways timeline in question, but for some super nitpicky Lost fans, the past is too.  We’ve seen in previous seasons of Lost that Locke’s father stole his kidney and pushed him out of an eighth-story window, resulting in his paralysis.  Well, in this timeline, Helen suggests inviting Locke’s father to the wedding–hardly something you’d do to someone who tried to kill you.  So even though it wasn’t by his father’s hand, Locke still somehow ended up paralyzed.  Is it important how?  Will we find out?  Do they even have time to explore it?

One thing I’m glad about is it felt like they moved the on-Island action along tonight.  We skipped the adventures of Jack, Dogen and the other Others.  Rather, we focused on the beach party travelling across Island to the Temple and FLocke recruiting Sawyer.  FLocke first tried to get Richard to join his crusade, but Richard didn’t want any part of the being responsible for the death of his boss.  On the other hand, in a fall from grace echoing that of Anakin Skywalker, FLocke successfully turned the mourning and vulnerable Sawyer to his side.  Even though Sawyer threatened to kill FLocke, he was still turned with promises of answers.  Sawyer saw right through FLocke, but eventually gave in to the promises of answers.

There were two interesting parts of Sawyer and FLocke’s journey:

In the jungle, FLocke was spooked by the vision of a young boy (a white version of Walt, perhaps) who bared a striking resemblance to Jacob.  After being told “You know the rules, you can’t kill him,” FLocke retorted with one of the real Locke’s favorite rejoinders; “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”  This actually sounded more like the real Locke than anything we’ve seen FLocke say so far.

The journey reached its end in a cave at the bottom of some cliffs.  Inscribed in the cave roof, were a bunch of names with corresponding numbers.  Most of the names and numbers were crossed out.  But those that weren’t were highlighted by FLocke:

4: Locke
8: Reyes
15: Ford
16: Jarrah
23: Shephard
42: Kwon

(I think it’s interesting and I’m personally thrilled that Kate wasn’t one of the numbers.  Can we just kill her off now, please?)

FLocke said that this graffiti was the work of Jacob and all these people were candidates for being the protector of the Island.  Jacob manipulated the lives of these candidates, FLocke said, to get them to the Island.  As a candidate, FLocke gives Sawyer three choices, and Sawyer picks choosing FLocke.

Now, what FLocke told Sawyer probably is true, from a certain point of view.  But it doesn’t sound like he’s giving Sawyer all the information he’d need to make a truly free decision (which is one of the subjects of the big debate between FLocke and Jacob, right).  FLocke wouldn’t outright answer any of Sawyer’s questions, and the closest he came was when Sawyer asked “what are you?” was FLocke’s response of “What I am is trapped.”

Some other thoughts about this week:

-I think it’s great that one of the most literate characters in Lost is the one you’d least suspect. The Of Mice and Men conversation that Sawyer tried to start reminded me of his conversation with Ben all the way back in Season three.

-I was just as interested in the crossed-off names on the wall as I was in the names of the main characters.  I could only make out one, and it was a name we’ve seen on the show before: Mattingly.  No, not that Mattingly. Rather, the name was also on one of the U.S. Army uniforms the Others appropriated back in the ’50s.

-Ben’s eulogy: “John Locke was a believer…he was a man of faith.  He was a much better man than I will ever be- and I’m very sorry that I murdered him,” was probably the nicest thing Ben’s ever done.  And yes, Frank was right, it was the weirdest damn funeral ever.

-On the other hand, I’m fascinated with the potential for Ben’s off-island character.  Of course, we won’t see the adventures of THAT teacher, but the whole coffeepot freakout makes his character that much more awesome.

Must we wait another week for more LOST?

What did you think?

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3 thoughts on “John Locke: Don’t Accept The Substitute

  1. I think Fake Locke also told Sawyer he was “once a man,” which is all well and good, but it reminds me too much of Cobra Commander and Roadblock’s hike through the Himalayas.

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