Lost Review: "Recon"
For six weeks, Lost had treated us to an alternating theme of show titles that were either literal or figurative. The seventh installment of Lost’s final season entitled “Recon” continued that trend.
Take a look at the six previous episodes starting with the premiere:
- “LA X” – obvious dual meaning with the space between LA and X
- “What Kate Does” – literal translation: we learn what Kate does in the flash sideways
- “The Substitute” – literal with Locke’s flash sideways, but also figurative with Monster Locke
- “Lighthouse” – Jack effed up the lighthouse mirrors. Way to go, jerk.
- “Sundown” – Plenty of figurative meaning here. With Jin alone, is Sun “down”/dead in the flash sideways?
- “Dr. Linus” – Everyone’s favorite AP European teacher is a bit over qualified for the position.
Perhaps you’re looking at Recon and thinking “Mr. Probst, it’s fairly obvious that ‘Recon’ is literal – Monster Locke sent Sawyer on a reconnaissance mission.”
True, Sawyer did make a trip to Hydra Island and get all nostalgic while seeing the bear cages and Kate’s dress that is still somehow there and white after three years of nasty island weather.
However, what if we put a hyphen in our title? Re-con perhaps? Another con by everyone’s favorite survivor con artist? (We could argue who everyone’s favorite con artist – survivor, other, etc – is for days. Sawyer? Jacob? Linus? However, I think it’s safe that Sawyer is everyone’s favorite plane crash survivor con artist. No one likes Kate).
After all, in Sawyer’s flash sideways, we see him slip into the roll of the con artist quite easily. This time, however, he’s pulling a double con. In an effort to try and con the con artists wife into giving up her husband, Sawyer/James Ford tries to come off as a con man by using the same con trick he used back in Season 1. Get all of that?
Need more proof? How about Sawyer attempting to con both Monster Locke and Widmore into battling it out with each other so that he and Kate can slip off in a horse-drawn carriage…I mean the submarine and finally get off this stinking rock of an island(s). Old Sawyer was back at it, re-coning his way into getting what he needs. Apparently the calming effect Juliet once had on him only took a few days to wear off.
Much like with “The Substitute,” there was a literal portion to the episode title as well. Sawyer literally had a recon mission to Hydra Island with the objective to infiltrate whomever was there and gather intel about them. Certainly not a difficult task for the best liar Monster Locke has ever known, right?
(That could be quite a backhanded compliment, eh? If Monster Locke/smokey/man in black is as old as we think he is, he’s clearly met a lot of people in his life, a la Richard Alpert. It would also settle the debate over who’s a better liar, Sawyer, Jacob or Linus. Smokey’s met them all and Sawyer’s the best he’s ever met.)
It turns out that Sawyer is really good at doing that too. Or, at least better than Ethan and Goodwin who each had multiple weeks with the survivors and couldn’t get as much done as Sawyer did in about a half hour. And Sawyer didn’t end up dead (not yet at least).
Sawyer lands on the island, finds the plane, finds the mass grave of dead bodies, hears Zoe running around, chases her down, figures out she’s lying and strikes a deal with Widmore. All in a half-hour’s work for this rededicated con man.
Speaking of Widmore, his acceptance of Sawyer’s deal seemed way too easy. For a man that always has something to say, always has a plan and always seems in charge, for Sawyer to barge (ok, be forced) into Widmore’s office (cabin?) and just lay out his terms for Widmore to simply accept seemed unlikely.
My money is on Widmore expected all of this to happen and Sawyer is just playing right into the game he needs him to play. Remember two things about this interaction:
- Widmore knew exactly who Sawyer was, including his real name.
- Sawyer always appears in control, but everything falls apart in the end.
The first means that Widmore knew exactly what Sawyer was all about and would likely anticipate that Sawyer would try to weasel his way out of whatever predicament he got into. While the second is not something Widmore would know, it’s been a theme throughout the show and I doubt it’s about to change. For all the power that Widmore and Monster Locke seem to wield, it seems unlikely a peon like Sawyer would be able to manipulate them 100%.
“Recon” ends with an unpredictable and yet predictable scene with Sawyer and Kate. Who would have imagined that Miles’ attempt to talk Sawyer out of tracking down and killing Anthony Cooper would be interrupted by a car slamming into theirs? And yet, once it did happen, we knew exactly who was in the car – scene killer Kate Austen.
All the excitement that once existed in the flashbacks and flash forwards when characters showed up in each other’s lives is missing because of how predictable the flash forwards have become. At this point, it would be more surprising to have a flash sideways without another character showing up. How much more exciting would it have been if it was Jin underneath that hooded sweatshirt?!?
While that question is simply hypothetical and not worth evaluating, these are not and need further discussion:
- Is Sawyer playing with fire trying to pit Monster Locke against Widmore? Do those two already know what Sawyer is trying to do?
- What’s happened to Sayid? He didn’t even move when Claire tried to kill Kate.
- Is Lost trying to draw a parallel between Claire and Rousseau by making Claire bi-polar?
- Was Monster Locke's reference to his mother being crazy a hint that he was born on the island a la Alex/Rousseau and Aaron/Claire?
- Has there been a better scene than Monster Locke slapping Claire and then scolding her for "being inappropriate?"