Key Points from "Recon"
Season 6, Episode 8
Episode Air Date: 03/16/10
This felt like a moving-the-pieces episode. Widmore is here. Flocke is there. Sawyer is playing both sides. That kind of thing. There's always one or two of these in every season. That's not a bad thing -- not by any stretch -- but this type of "groundwork laying" always signals a season's final act. And this year, the ramp-up to the conclusion is bittersweet.
But enough of that! There was plenty of good stuff to chew on in this episode. So let's get to it.
Sawyer wants to sulk. He wants to be selfish. He really wants to squish a frog. But his days in Dharma and his relationship with Juliet and that do-gooder streak he desperately tries to hide keep conspiring against his bad habits. If you think about it, Sawyer is far more heroic than Jack. Who bailed from the helicopter? Who weaved the grand lie that kept Miles, Juliet and Jin safe for all those years? That's why, when early in this episode Sawyer tells Jin they won't leave the island without Sun, and later, when he assures Kate they'll both get off the island, I believe the guy. He's a killer and a con man, but he's also Mr. Clutch. I'd rather give him the ball with two seconds left than watch Jack chuck a low-percentage three from half-court.
But is our con man with a heart of gold the one who's actually being conned? That's the big question. Flocke sends him off to the Hydra island to spy on the remaining Ajirans. Or that's what he wants Sawyer to believe. Whether Flocke knows Charles Widmore has set up camp on the small island is up for debate. Flocke seemed surprised at Widmore's return. He also seemed pleased with Sawyer's honesty. But what does Flocke already know? If he shares Jacob's omniscience, all that "surprise" is just window dressing in his own long con. It's going to be a damn shame if Sawyer gets out-conned here.
There's also the possibility that Widmore and Flocke are on the same team. If that's the case, Sawyer is deeply, deeply screwed. Now, I know we clearly saw Widmore's science geeks setting up Sonic Fence 2.0, but that might be a misdirection. Who knows what that thing does? It might be some wacky electromagnetic atmospheric device dreamed up years ago by Faraday. Or maybe it's a beacon that'll guide Desmond, Penny, little Charlie and Mrs. Hawking to the Widmore Family Luau.
That covers the broad strokes, but there are a couple other aspects to these Sawyer/Flocke/Widmore scenes we need to explore:
-- Flocke is infinitely fascinating to me. He fibs a bit with Cindy, Emma and Zack, telling them that the Temple denizens were killed by the smoke monster, but failing to mention that he is said monster. Yet moments later he admits to Sawyer -- without much prompting, mind you -- that he and the smoke monster are one in the same. Is this a "candidate" thing? Does Flocke bend the truth with underlings but play it straight with Jacob's chosen ones? (Cindy's last name is Chandler, by the way. Did anyone see that name in Jacob's lighthouse or on the cave wall?)
Flocke also has two intriguing conversations with Kate. First, he tells Kate that he's the one who convinced Claire the Others took Aaron. His honesty is disarming and his reasoning, hard to believe, is actually quite sound: he gave Claire something to hate so she could survive. But then, in a bizarre second conversation, Flocke reveals that his own mother was a wackjob whose insanity caused him "problems that could have been avoided had things been different." What is that about? I know he draws a parallel between his mother and Claire -- I get that -- but the "had things been different" part is what really intrigues me. Is that an allusion to an alternate timeline? Does Flocke's flight to freedom involve rewriting his own history?
Speaking of flights ... as many smart commenters predicted last week, we learn in this episode that Flocke has designs on Ajira 316. The plane appears to be in reasonable shape, but who's going to fly that sucker? Either Flocke's supernatural abilities extend to jet piloting or he'll need to be very nice to Frank Lapidus. Or, it's entirely possible the airplane is one giant distraction and Flocke intends to kill everyone moments after he commandeers a cruise ship and sets off for Fiji.
-- Widmore's arrival ushers in a new batch of characters we'll need to monitor and/or watch die in the inevitable firefight to come. The only one we formally meet in this episode is Zoe, a bespectacled woman who initially claims to be the only remaining Ajira 316 survivor. But Sawyer doesn't buy it so she calls in a foursome of armed and chubby cohorts. En route to a meeting with Widmore on the submarine, Sawyer also notes a smattering of additional guards and science types.
-- Lingering shots on a padlocked door usually means something important resides behind that door. And Sawyer went out of his way to mention those locks and that door to Flocke. Any guesses as to what Widmore has stowed away on his sub?
-- I must be slipping because I completely forgot about the other Ajirans. You know, the ones not sent to 1977, or the ones who didn't paddle to the big island, or the ones who weren't sent to protect Jacob and the candidates. I'm referring to those other poor suckers who were actually traveling to Guam. Ah, but someone surely remembered them because now they're all dead. But who's to blame? Smokey? Widmore? Zombie Karl?
We've got a new variation in the alt timeline. Alt Sawyer exists in the gray area between the full-fledged redemption of Alt Jack and Alt Locke and the lost cause of Alt Sayid. It may be that Alt Sawyer -- and now that I think of it, Alt Kate, too -- represent ambiguity. Their alternate paths are certainly different than what we've seen from the originals, but they're still ethically dubious and/or motivated by base desires that transcend timelines. Put another way: Kate was always going to be a fugitive in one way or another and Sawyer was always going to be vengeful.
But I'm getting a little too deep. Sawyer's alt timeline is most notable for the following reasons:
- He's a cop, not a con man. He goes by Det. James Ford in the altverse.
- His LAPD partner is Miles.
- James' tragic backstory is still the same: a con man named Sawyer seduced and duped James' mother, which led to the same murder-suicide that defined the original James Ford. And in the alternate reality, James Ford continues to hunt for Sawyer / Anthony Cooper. One key difference: it doesn't appear that Alt James wrote a letter to Sawyer. Perhaps in the altverse, Jacob wasn't there to give little James that pen.
- James is single, which makes him an easy target for blind dates. Miles sets him up with a woman who works with Miles' father, and that woman turns out to be Charlotte. She and Sawyer get carnal (something to do with Indiana Jones and a whip ... I blocked most of that out). But their blossoming romance is sidetracked when Charlotte unwittingly looks through James' not-at-all-well-hidden "Sawyer" dossier. James' later attempt at reconciliation is denied by the cold-hearted Charlotte.
- Alt Kate literally runs into James, which makes it very easy for James the cop to catch her. You'll recall that James actually facilitated Alt Kate's escape from the airport in the season six opener, "LA X." He recognizes her in this latest run-in.
- Charlie's brother, Liam, briefly crosses paths with James at a police precinct. Liam is looking for Charlie, who's locked up while that "heroin overdose on an international flight" mishap gets ironed out by Driveshaft's legal team (or he gets a public defender).
First things first. This is the greatest prop in television history:
It's also a segue into the anti-climactic "battle" between Claire and Kate. Claire, true to her word, does try to kill Kate. But Kate fends her off just long enough for Flocke to swoop in and send Claire to a Time Out.
And then, literally hours later, Claire apologizes and she and Kate embrace. Whether this uneasy truce holds up remains to be seen, but for now it appears that Kate is no longer on Claire's "to kill" list.
And Sayid? Good lord, what did Flock do to this guy? He's a glazed donut.
A few closing questions and observations:
- Best Line: "Take me to your leader." -- Sawyer to Zoe.
- Second Best Line: "It's kill or be killed. And I don't want to be killed. " -- Flocke to Sawyer.
- Last week we learned from Ben and his father that Dharma and a non-sunken version of the island once existed in this alternate timeline. And this week, Miles offhandedly mentions that Charlotte works with his father at a museum. Was Alt Dr. Chang ever involved with Dharma? Did baby Miles spend any time on the island? Did young Charlotte? And, if so, why did they all leave?
That's all I've got!
"Ab Aeterno" -- Hmm ... a title that roughly translates to "from the eternal." Wonder who that could be about? Airs Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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