The Last Recruit
Previously on Lost: Last week ended with alt-Desmond driving his car into alt-Locke and Hurley and with his group of original Losties (plus Lapidus) turning up in camp notLocke. notLocke is collecting the complete the set of original cast members because he needs them to escape. Confusing? Yes it is, that's why you shouldn't start watching Lost in season 6.
The episode starts in notLocke camp with notLocke and Jack walking out into the jungle for a private chat. Surprisingly this is the first time they have met. The conversation starts with Jack saying to notLocke “I don't have any idea what you are”. notLocke responds with “Sure you do”. Jack doesn't respond to this, so in classic Lost fashion, it sidesteps Jack actually pushing the question so we could find out more. Sure we are used to this cryptic treatment but this close to the end such slippery dialogue makes you a little anxious.
They go on to discuss the particulars of MIB/notLocke's presence on the island and which dead people MIB can look like. He confirms that he was the ghost of Jack's father way back in season 1 and that he did that so he could help them find water. This confirms he has been influencing their paths since the moment they arrived on the island. On their walk back Claire emerges from hiding in the Bushes and she says to Jack that she's happy he's coming with notLockes group. He says he hasn't decided if he's doing that yet, but she insists that he has, he decided (like everyone else) the moment he let notLocke speak to him. There have a been a fair few references this season to the importance of letting notLocke speak you. I don't think that he has a specific “power” in his first words, I think it's merely that he can generally influence or corrupt people with his words. This comes into play later in the episode.
In notLocke camp itself, Sawyer is cooking up his plan to get the hell out of there and reveals to Hurley that Widmore has a sub and they are going over there so they can take it by force. But they have to leave quickly and they are going to leave behind Sayid because “he's gone over to the dark side” Hurley's response to this that “you can always bring people back from the dark side”.
Zoe arrives in camp notLocke and, with the example of some mortar bombardment right near the camp, makes a threat to notLocke that if he doesn't return Desmond by night fall, she will not miss next time. NotLocke promptly destroys the radio she left for him to call her back, MiB doesn't like technology. This is the cue notLocke has been waiting for. He rallies the troops and gives Sawyer a map so that he can take Desmond's old sail boat around the island where they will rendezvous and all get on it to head over to the other island. I'm not sure why they had to split up as notLocke and the rest of the group don't end up going anywhere. Sawyer sees the boat as an opportunity to kick start his plan and asks Jack to get the other Losties together and part from notLocke before the rendezvous... so they can meet at a second rendezvous. Kate isn't happy that this plan doesn't involved taking Claire, but goes along for now and those two go off to get the boat.
Before leaving notLocke sends Sayid off to kill Desmond, who's still down the well, and injured accordingly, after notLocke threw him down there last week. Desmond tries to convince the zombie Sayid not to kill him by questioning what he'll have to tell Nadia about the actions he took to get her back... they leave Desmond's fate there for this week. Is he dead or not.. the theme of the week “anyone can come back from the dark side” seems to indicate that Sayid defected and that he's fine.
Now on the move by foot, Jack sees his opportunity to take off with Hurley, Sun and Lapidus (otherwise known as "That pilot that walked off the set of a Burt Reynolds movie"). But Claire catches them all when they make a run for it and decides to follow. They get to the boat and Claire confronts them with a gun. Kate talks her down and they decide to take her with them. It seems Hurley was right, the dark side isn't forever.
While on the boat over to the other island Jack declares to Sawyer he doesn't want to leave the island “it doesn't feel right” and he still thinks the island wants his to do something. Angered by this Sawyer tells Jack to get off the boat, much to Kate's distress, Jack jumps ship to swim back to shore.
The woven in 'alternate reality' part of the episode follows no one in particular this week. There was a brief recap at the start of the episode which covered the various threads left open off-Island. It's here we pick up straight after the previous Sun and Jin centric episode (6.10 – The Package). That was left with a pregnant Sun getting shot. This thread has been smushed chronologically together with John Locke's story, so Sun's ambulance arrives at Jack's hospital at precisely the same time as (after last week's episode) John Locke, who was just hit by Desmond's car. No doubt due to her near death experience, Sun knows who John Locke is on the bed next to her.
Also in “alt-world” Kate and Sawyer met up again with Kate arrested and Sawyer questioning her. Much to Sawyers amusement, Kate quickly sees through him and guesses why he didn't turn her in at the airport. Sawyer and Miles then find out that alt-Sayid is seen leaving the restaurant incident that got Sun shot and left Keamy dead.
Next in the alt-world catch up fest is Claire. She's off to the adoption agency, here Desmond bumps into her (what a coincidence). With some smoothery he ends up talking her to meet alt-Ilana who's an attorney and just so happens to be dealing with Jack's father's will. To cut a long story short they do the whole reveal to Jack that he has a sister. Jack then leaves the will reading to go save John Locke on the operating table. I found this part of the episode a bit tedious, whether or not they needed the scene with Claire in the alt-world I don't know. But there was plenty going on already so they could have skipped that and Jack and his son, so we wouldn't have had to sit through more Claire and Jack finding out he has a sister to show off his “acting”.... again.
Then we switch to alt-Sayid who's on the run from Sawyer and Miles. He gets Nadia to cover for him but is outwitted by the back exit. Then it switches to Jin and Sun in the hospital where her baby is fine. Again this feels kind of unnecessary on a character level. It seems like the experiences of the alt-characters are meant to mirror, or inform, the on-island versions, yet this never seems to line up correctly. In the first season they used much the same dynamic, but this time these aren't the same people we know. In some cases they have completely different back stories, so it just seems to waste our time. It's taking the viewer away from the people we do care about. This is a shame and, in my opinion, makes the alt-reality fall flat for most of the time.
Back on the island for the ending, the boat arrives on the little island and Widmore's gang aren't as pleased to see them as they hoped, they promptly get them to disarm. This is when Jin sees Sun for the first time since season 4 and, once the electro-pylons are switched off, they embrace on the beach. How nice, that's mostly likely their story all tied up, and Sun even got her voice back.
This just leaves Zoe's ultimatum to notLocke. Just as Jack gets ashore notLocke picks him up and Zoe launches her barrage to notLocke's coordinates. It comes down right on Jack, notLocke and some randoms. Of course notLocke doesn't get effected and quickly picks up passed out Jack and carries him off into the Jungle for safety. “You're with me now” notLocke says to Jack.
Overall I'm not quite as happy with this episode as the previous episode which centred on Hurley. It was far more transitional and the alt-universe sections were fairly uninteresting. However that's not to say I think it's a bad episode in the scheme of the season, in fact it possibly moved the plot forward more than Hurley's did. So the price for moving such a huge story forward is that it does not work on it's own. But that's fine, the season watched in bigger chunks on blu-ray or DVD, will hopefully flow a lot better.
There is a break next week so the show runs without interruption till the end, but the episode is called “The Candidate”.