March 17, 2010, 10:40 am
Filed under: Episode Recaps | Tags: , , , , , , ,

recon re·con (rē’kŏn’)
n. reconnaissance
v. to con again

Doc Jensen:
It seemed to me that Fake Locke was pulling another con, too, one that may have revealed his true character. The episode was called ”Recon,” which itself was a con. We were clearly supposed to assume it was short for ”reconnaissance mission.” But ”Recon” was also a pun for ”Re-con” — as in ”a previously executed con, done again.” The story flicked at all of Sawyer’s classic con man stories, from ”Confidence Man” to ”LaFleur.” I think FrankenLocke picked one of those scams to repeat anew — and I think I’m pretty creeped out by the implications.

…like a certain red-headed archaeologist who found great booty while digging through James Ford’s sock drawer, I found much to treasure and ogle within ”Recon.” I was riveted by the return of Sawyer to the narrative mainstage and loved the trickster, long-con storytelling; every line seemed to be possessed with double meanings, every scene seemed to be pregnant with possibilities.

No ‘Previously on Lost’ this time… wonder why?

Sideways Timeline (2004)

Sawyer is in bed with Ava, a new character in the series, when he looks at the clock and sees it’s 8:42 (the numbers), he realizes he is late for a meeting. (8=Reyes and 42=Kwon, and as of last night’s episode, Hurley and the Kwons were the only Jacob candidates who have not gotten a Sideways episode yet.) He rushes to gather his things and drops his briefcase, where it falls open and Ava sees the stacks of cash. Sawyer says that she wasn’t supposed to see the money, and explains it’s for a ‘potential investment’.

…And right from the very beginning of the very first scene, we know this episode is meant to mirror the very first Sawyer-centric episode of Season 1, “Confidence Man“. In the first flashback scene of that episode, Sawyer is in bed with a young woman, Jessica. After he declares his love for her, she realizes he is late for a meeting. As he rushes to leave, his briefcase falls open, revealing thousands of dollars in cash that she apparently was not supposed to have seen. Sawyer tells her about a too-good-to-be-true oil deal, in which the government will triple his money if he puts $300,000 towards a share in a rig. The only problem is that he has a mere $140,000 and needs someone to put in the remaining $160,000. Jessica suggests she might be able to supply the remaining money. Let the conning begin! But, Sawyer abandoned the ruse, however, upon seeing Jessica’s son… who presumably reminded him of the murder-suicide of his own parents after his mother fell victim to Anthony Cooper’s con.

But Ava is no Jessica… She knows what Sawyer is up to, and pulls a gun on him. He says the whole situation is a set-up, that there is a van outside, the room is bugged and is surrounded by cops. He explains that the cops just want her husband. Ava calls his bluff and Sawyer says the code word “La Fleur” and the police (including his partner Miles) burst into the room.

So we find out a few things at this moment:

1. In the original timeline Sawyer is a criminal, whereas in the flash-sideways timeline he is a police officer (who is still planning to commit a criminal act — murdering the “real” Sawyer.) Although it seems that he is still a con man, he is actually a cop working undercover posing as con man.

2. The code word, “La Fleur”, directly points to the redemptive time Sawyer spent on the island as 1977 Dharma’s chief of security. In that position, he was a confident leader and did his job well, with one exception: when his friends arrived, he conned Dharma into thinking they came on the sub, then continued conning the other Dharma leaders until the truth was eventually revealed. He also conned his way into his position as Dharma’s head of security by using a false backstory and name. Which makes me think he cheated his way into this position as detective for the LAPD, and perhaps still has a criminal past. But the Sideways timeline allowed him redemption, just as the 1977 time-jumping timeline did.

3. Miles and LaFleur still end up working together, but in Sideways they struggle with being equal partners, while in 1977 Dharmaville, Miles was unquestionably submissive to his boss (Jim LaFleur).

4. “La Fleur” itself obviously means “the flower” in French…. I’m not sure what the significance is to Sawyer that he chooses this as his code word and fake name in both the original AND Sideways timelines… But I’m guessing that since in both timelines his parents were conned and died horrifically, it’s probably something symbolic that reminds him of his mother, such as her favorite perfume maybe? At any rate, both in the episode “La Fleur” and in last night’s episode, Sawyer brings a woman a flower. Last night it was a sunflower for Charlotte, and back then it was a yellow lily for Juliet. Both were yellow flowers (like Sayid’s bunch of yellow roses earlier this season)… Yellow flowers meaning friendship. Sawyer’s sunflower, however is meant to be an apology for Charlotte, and his lily was a congratulations for Juliet.

Speaking of Charlotte… She now works at “the museum” with Miles’ dad, Pierre Chang. WHICH IMPLIES that the island either wasn’t blown up in 1977 in the Sideways timeline, but is STILL at the bottom of the ocean….OR he safely evacuated like the Linus men, which was mentioned in  Ben’s sideways-flash with his father last week… They confirmed the island still existed in the not-too-distant-past, and they were able to leave it willingly at some point during Ben’s childhood. I personally don’t think the bomb was what set Sideways in motion… I think it’s an event that hasn’t happened yet… One put in motion by the upcoming war between the MIB and Widmore. The same one that gets MIB off the island and into Sideways Locke’s body!

But back to Charlotte… She is now a globe-trotting archaeologist, a la Indiana Jones, just like we saw of her in her original timeline backstory (uncovering the bones of a Dharma polar bear in Tunisia…the same polar bear that once resided in the cage Sawyer visits later). The show goes to great lengths to compare her to Indiana Jones, so I did a little digging around on the Indiana Jones wiki entry… Seems the Indy character was modeled, first and foremost, to be a REAL character, very relatable… Spielberg said there “was the willingness to allow our leading man to get hurt and to express his pain and to get his mad out and to take pratfalls and sometimes be the butt of his own jokes. I mean, Indiana Jones is not a perfect hero, and his imperfections, I think, make the audience feel that, with a little more exercise and a little more courage, they could be just like him.” Relevant to Charlotte? Maybe… But this part definitely is!

Indiana lacks a proper father figure because of his strained relationship with his father, Henry Senior. His own contained anger is misdirected at the likes of Professor Abner Ravenwood, his mentor at the University of Chicago, leading to a strained relationship with Marion Ravenwood.

Sounds like Charlotte’s Indiana Jones comparison is hitting pretty close to home for, not her (well maybe her) but also…Sawyer!

Psst… Charlotte has guiding-Candidates-in-the-right-direction-RED hair, and on the second day she’s wearing a red shirt. On a related note, the photo she finds of the Ford Family show Sawyer’s parents in protector-red and young Sawyer in Candidate-blue.

Were Sideways Charlotte and Miles born on the island? TBD. I’m betting they were, despite seeing Miles apparently isn’t using his island “gift”—talking to dead people—for personal gain anymore. But we’ll see!

Things get hot and heavy between Charlotte and Sawyer, and afterwards she asks for a T-shirt. She snoops around his dresser (typical archaeologist, always digging up the past, wink wink!)… But, is she merely a nosy girlfriend, or is she a con-artist as well? At any rate, she finds 3 books: “Watership Down” by Richard Adams, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, and “Lancelot” by Walker Percy. ALL THREE books have been seen in the show before, being read by Sawyer in the original timeline….

Shared theme: The book is about Lancelot Lamar, a lawyer who, when he discovers that he is not the father of his youngest daughter, kills his wife by blowing up their house. Kate also killed her stepfather by blowing up his house. He ends up in a mental institution with his memories, where reality and the past get blurred for him (Hurley?) Sawyer was seen reading it on the beach in Season 1:

Watership Down…
Common theme: The book is often seen as a social commentary done using a group of rabbits as the main characters. The rabbits find what they think is utopia, but discover that it is a farm with traps and snares. They find that they have to live together or die alone (Jack’s popular saying), while establishing new rules by which to live. In last night’s episode, Kate says she is eating rabbit at the very end of the episode. The book originally belonged to Boone, with his luggage. Kate finds the book by the beach with Sawyer’s belongings, and he tells her, “Hell of a book. It’s about bunnies.” This was all in the aforementioned Sawyer-centric episode, “Confidence Man”. He is seen actually reading the book in 2 subsequent episodes. And last night, Miles tells Sawyer that he doesn’t want to “die alone”.

A Wrinkle in Time…
Shared themes: The story is about two children, accompanied by a friend, who search through space and time for their father, who is a scientist being held prisoner on an alien planet dominated by a large dark cloud called “The Black Thing”. It involves an evil that is expanding through the universe, “tesseracts” and multiple dimensions, culminating in a happy ending. This is one of the novels that Sawyer reads on the Island.

Charlotte rummages in the top drawer and finds a folder marked “Sawyer”. A family photo slips out and while replacing it she sees an old newspaper cutting about a man killing himself and his wife and their nine year old boy surviving. The photo in the clipping is the same as the one Charlotte found. She puts 2 and 2 together, but Sawyer comes in and flips out.

The next day, Liam Pace comes to pick up Charlie at LAPD on a drug charge (doesn’t he live in London?) Sawyer, while under arrest in the original timeline, had passed by Boone, a brother inquiring about his sister in the Sydney police station. Sawyer, the cop, passes by Liam as he is inquiring about his brother Charlie in the L.A. police station.

Miles pulls Sawyer aside and asks if there’s anything he wants to tell him. Sawyer thinks he’s referring to his treatment of Charlotte, but he’s actually talking about Sawyer lying about going to Palm Springs and going to Australia instead (Miles specifically mentions Oceanic Flight 815, so we know the Sideways plane was indeed the same flight). Sawyer lies about his trip to Australia, just as Locke did in “The Substitute“. Sawyer refuses to fess up about why he went, Miles leaves in a huff, and Sawyer smashes a mirror, just as Jack smashed the Lighthouse mirrors. Mirrors have been a major theme this year, I think most predominantly to show how the Sideways world mirrors the original. There have been mirrors prominent in every Sideways-flash so far this season (Jack, Kate, Sayid…)

That evening James arrives home, and watches an old episode of “Little House on the Prairie”. An inspired, perfect choice for a guy who, like the tragic hero of his favorite novel, Of Mice and Men, dreams doomed dreams of home and hearth and living off the fat of the land with family and friends. Laura Ingalls tells her father, Charles, that she would be devastated if anything ever happened to him and her mother. Charles tells her that “if you live your life worrying about the future, life will be over before you know it. People aren’t really gone once they die, and that you hold on to their good memories until you see them again.” Sawyer told Kate back in season 1 that he watched Little House when he was a kid, in “Tricia Tanaka is Dead”.

After his failed apology to Charlotte, she tells him to get “lost”…

Doc Jensen:
This seemed to take him aback — or perhaps startle him awake. He had lost his partner. Now, he had lost his mojo with women. No more charmed life magic-word salvation. No more sexual escapism. No more ”La Fleur.”

Sawyer decides to let Miles in on his little secret. He tells him about the “Sawyer” folder (in Candidate BLUE), and how he has been hunting down Cooper ever since he left the Academy.

Doc Jensen:
Sawyer’s vendetta was not unlike the dream of vengeance Fake Locke gave Claire: it was something that held his world together, gave it meaning, gave him purpose. Also see: the long con that Sawyer pulled in ”The Long Con”: creating a false nemesis to rally a community to order.

The sound of a police siren approaches, and a car (also Candidate BLUE) slams into Sawyer’s car, and someone gets out and immediately starts running. He catches up with her and it’s… Kate! Somehow since her last episode she’s ditched the cab and gotten a hold of another car.

The exact same theme music that is used as Kate makes her escape from LAX in “LA X, Part 2” is playing moments before James catches Kate running out of the alley.

Doc Jensen:
Kate’s hoodie was conspicuous. In the episode ”The Long Con,” the big twist — SPOILER ALERT! — was that Charlie had assisted Sawyer in his fake-crisis, fear-cultivating, gun-grabbing power coup. Charlie, wearing a hoodie, revealed that the only reason why he partnered with Sawyer was to humiliate Locke, who had humiliated him episodes earlier. Fittingly, ”Recon” re-teamed redeemed outlaw lovers Sawyer and Kate (now playing the Charlie role) in a bid to subvert Fake Locke and Nautilus away from the Island. They better hurry. As it happens, I think there was another reading of Little House on The Prairie we were meant to find. Did you know that there was a two-part episode of Prairie called ”The Lost Ones”? In those episodes, two siblings watch their parents die in a horrible accident. Now orphans, they yearn to stay with Charles, but he can’t afford them. The kids wind up with a man who says he’ll protect them… but he winds up abusing them and using them as slaves.

The first words that James speaks in the original timeline and the last words he speaks in the flash-sideways timeline are: “Son of a bitch.”

Doc Jensen:
The first line of the episode came from Island Sawyer as he burned himself on a coffee pot: ”Son of a bitch!” Of course, those were Juliet’s final words before detonating Jughead. Juliet’s name was never spoken in the episode, but she haunted the proceedings via association, as did several other dead friends, including hobbity dope fiend Charlie Pace and especially fate-screwed whiz kid Daniel Faraday. In fact, I was reminded of Eloise Hawking and her snake-eating-its-tail ouroboros broach when Sideways James issued the last line of his L.A. Confidential arc as he pinned fugitive Hoodie Kate against a fence: ”Son of a bitch!” ”Recon” spiraled through space and time and passed through metaphorical realms of limbo and worse to tell a story about Sawyer choosing to let go of the hell in his heart and replacing it with a dream of heaven.

Island Timeline (2007)

Sawyer is making tea at an open fire outside Claire’s camp. He wakes Jin and says they’ll be back by sunrise. Sawyer knows it’s not Locke, but sticks by him so he can finally get off the island. Jin says he has to stay and keep looking for Sun, and Sawyer vows to help. MIB and his new team (20 in all) waltz into camp, and Kate and Sawyer are reunited. She asks if he’s with Locke now, to which he replies he’s not with anybody.

Kate sees Claire seemingly caring for a creepy makeshift skeleton baby in a cradle and asks “What is THAT?” Claire chillingly replies, “It’s all I had.”

Doc Jensen:
Faux Baby — skull, button eyes, stuffed animal fur — totally looked to me like the infant version of Frank the Apocalyptic Bunny Suit Monster from Donnie Darko. (Those who know Donnie Darko well have seen many Lost parallels in the movie, i.e. plane crash, time travel, and alt reality interpretations; we shall investigate at another time.)

Claire mysteriously takes Kate’s hand, and Kate reacts with uncertainty. (Dwelling on this and then dwelling on the handshake between Widmore and Sawyer later makes me think this was a clue…)

MIB gets to a coastal clearing and suggests they make camp for the night and to get enough water because they’ll be there for a couple days. Sawyer, agitated, wants to know when they’ll “get off this rock”. MIB, annoyed, sends him over to Widmore’s team on the Hydra island to do a little recon. Sawyer asks what to do if he finds people over there who want to harm him. The Man in Black tells him that he’s not worried, because Sawyer is the best liar he ever met. Which is kind of odd, because the MIB literally just met Sawyer… So was he speaking as Locke again in that moment? At any rate, MIB tells Sawyer that he’s the best liar he’s ever met, whereas in the flash-sideways timeline, James seems to be a rather lousy liar who is called on it by everyone he meets.

Kate sits down to talk to a distant Sayid. She asks him if he believes Locke can get them off the Island and Sayid says yes but not him. She asks if he is okay and he says that he is not. Claire suddenly attacks Kate from behind, trying to stab her in the throat with a large knife. Kate screams for Sayid to help her as she is overpowered, but he looks on disinterestedly. MIB roughly throws Claire off of Kate, saying that Kate did what she had to do by taking Aaron when she couldn’t find Claire. He slaps Claire full in the face and grasping her, says her behavior is completely inappropriate. Kate is distraught and when the MIB asks her if she’s alright she angrily yells that she is not. She looks on in disbelief.

Sawyer finds the plane. Since I’ve been eagle-eyed lately looking for the colors RED and BLUE, I noticed that the Ajira plane (which carried Bram + Ilana) is protector/guidance-RED, while Oceanic’s plane (which carried the Candidates) is Candidate-BLUE. Neat!

Doc Jensen:
The plane, slightly jackknifed off the make-shift runway, resembling a proud, gleaming Pegasus waiting to be mounted and flown away. (Frank Lapidus! Paging Frank Lapidus! Your purpose in the season 6 narrative just arrived!)

He checks its condition and then finds charcoal from a fire. Drag marks in the sand lead him to a pile of decaying bodies. Reminded me of the mass grave as a result of the Purge.

Sidenote: forgot about this, but when I was just reading about the Purge, it said that when inhaled the toxic gas resulted in violent spasms, bleeding from the nose, and death. Sounds a lot (well, exactly) like the castaways’ time-skipping experience, and what ultimately killed Charlotte.

Sawyer hears someone and finds Zoe (Greek for “life”), saying she was the only one left alive from the Ajira flight. She asks a ton of questions, but hesitates when Sawyer asks her why she was going to Guam. This tips him off and he pulls his gun, but she whistles and her team rushes to her aide, just as Sawyer’s police team did when he used the code word “LaFleur”.

Kate is sobbing in a grove apart from the others. MIB joins her and apologizes Claire’s attack, saying he has to take responsibility because he told Claire the Others had her baby. Kate asks why he would say that and he tells her that because Claire was devastated without Aaron, he gave her something to hate in order to keep her going. That sure was nice of MIB to divert Claire’s anger away from Kate! But why is he protecting her? Methinks the MIB wants to protect Locke’s old friends… (more on this in a second)

Doc Jensen:
Strategy? I think Smokey sent Sawyer to the Widmore Zooropa — in part — to get Kate’s guardian angel out of his no-hair so he could isolate her for a Claire attack, then save her from it, so he could get a chance to spin her under this thumb.

MIB explains he knows what she is feeling because his mother was crazy. He says that a long time ago, before he looked like he does now he had a mother who was very disturbed and as a result of that he had some “growing pains” and problems that he is still trying to work his way through, problems that could have avoided had things been different. Kate asks him why he told her this story, he replies: “because now Aaron has a crazy mother too”. This story also refers to Crazy Claire and Aaron, Crazy Rousseau and Alex, maybe even Crazy Mrs. Hawking and Daniel and/or Crazy Emily and Locke…

Which makes me think the MIB is speaking AS Locke most of the time (crazy mother = Emily, lost love = Helen, he knows Sawyer’s a good liar, and wants to protect his friend Kate).

Doc Jensen:
To me, it sounded like he wanted Kate to move off the dream of reuniting Claire and Aaron. To me, it sounded like he wanted Kate to think about saving Aaron from Claire. To me, it sounded like FLocke was… setting Kate up to murder Claire.

As Sawyer is taken to the submarine (Another dagger to the heart: the last time he boarded a submarine, he and Juliet were being deported by Dharma back to the United States to continue their happily ever after away from the Island), he notices workers installing pylons similar to those surrounding the barracks to keep the smoke monster out. They are preparing for the upcoming war. Sawyer then negotiates a ticket off the island if he tells the MIB the coast is clear for his arrival on Hydra. So we find out that Widmore is on Team Jacob, which begs the question: If Widmore and Ben were both following Jacob, then why are they engaged in a war of their own?

Doc Jensen says, of last week’s Elba reference in “Dr. Linus”:
[Sawyer] made the acquaintance of the smaller island’s new regent, exiled uber-Other Charles Widmore — a little Elba for the Island’s deposed Napoleon.

Sawyer relates the entire plan back to MIB upon his arrival back on the main island, to MIB’s delight. He thanks Sawyer for his loyalty, but “a deal’s a deal”… MIB needs to get Sawyer off the island.

After nightfall, Sawyer sits down next to Kate who is poking at a fire…. She says she’s having “rabbit, i think” (which I noted earlier was a nod to the book, Watership Down). Sawyer tells him his plan, when MIB and Widmore are fighting it out they’ll take the sub and get the hell off the island. Seems that dress he found earlier in the Hydra cage had quite an effect on him! He’s remembering their hot cage lovemaking, pushing her up against the bars… Just as the Sideways story ends with Sawyer pushing her up against a chainlink fence.

Doc Jensen:
Standing in his old cage, Sawyer recalled the moment everything began to change for him — the moment when he began to change, into a lover, a hero, and even if he never wore the ring, a husband. He remembered his redemption. He remembered a vision of heaven to guide him out of hell.

Next time, on LOST! “Ab Aeterno”… FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY we get a Richard back story!

Ab Aeterno (latin)

  1. Since the beginning of time.
  2. (figuratively) Since a very long time ago.

How appropriate!

Jen / desmondismyconstant



1 Comment so far
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Sayid is evil and must be put down. Personally, I would like to see Hugo Reyes do it. I wonder; is he dead the same way Locke is? Also, I doubt Widmore is coming to the island to kill Locke. I think they are league together. How does Sawyer plan to “drive” that sub?

Comment by John M. Solt

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