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Season 6, Episode 4 - "The Substitute"
Directed by: Tucker Gates
[Flash sideways - A large van navigates a suburban street bustling with activity. The van pulls into a driveway and the side door slides open.]
[A platform folds out and John Locke wheels himself on to it. He presses a lever that lowers the platform. The platform sputters as it grinds to a halt.]
JOHN: Oh, come on...
[John sighs, then musters his courage and attempts to roll off the platform and onto the lawn. He grunts as he falls face down, his wheelchair collapsing beside him. Then, the sprinklers come on.]
[Helen comes out the front door of the house and shuts off the sprinklers.]
HELEN: Are you okay?
[She runs to his side and kneels down next to him.]
JOHN: Yeah... I'm fine.
HELEN: Come on, let's... let's get you inside.
[Some time later, John sits in the bath tub.]
HELEN: Well how long will that take?
[Helen, off camera, is on the phone.]
HELEN: The wedding is in October. Look, I'm just gonna have to call you back. Yeah.
[Helen enters the washroom.]
HELEN: I am so sick of caterers... and bands and... picking fabrics for chair backs. What do you say we just get my parents and your dad and do it shotgun style in Vegas?
JOHN: No, you deserve better than that, Helen. We can do this. I know we can.
[John contemplates the fabric swatches he is holding.]
JOHN: I like... this one.
[He indicates a green swatch.]
HELEN: That one?
JOHN: I meant this one.
[He indicates a blue swatch.]
HELEN: You are a very sweet man.
JOHN: I know.
HELEN: So? How was the conference?
[Helen takes a card out of John's pocket.]
HELEN: Who's uh... who's Dr. Jack Shephard?
JOHN: Oh. I met him at lost luggage when I went to fill out the forms. He... he lost something too.
HELEN: He's a spinal surgeon?
JOHN: Yeah. Nice guy. He offered me a free consult.
HELEN: You should call him.
JOHN: Aw, he was just bein' polite, Helen.
HELEN: So what? I mean... what are the odds of you just running into a spinal surgeon? I mean, who knows? Maybe it's destiny.
JOHN: Maybe it is.
[On-Island - The sounds of the Monster are heard as the camera soars over treetops and slithers along creek beds. It pauses as it examines a house in the DHARMA Barracks from which breaking glass and rock music can be heard. Moving through the jungle once more, the form of John Locke emerges and picks up a discarded machete. He approaches what looks like a large bag suspended in midair by a rope. He severs the rope with the machete and lowers the bag to the ground. Richard Alpert crawls out.]
LOCKE: Alright, Richard. Time to talk.
[Flash sideways - John Locke exits the elevator and wheels across a crowded office and into his cubicle.]
RANDY: Welcome back, Colonel. Wow. You got a nice tan in Australia. Did you miss us?
JOHN: Sure I did, Randy.
RANDY: So? How was the conference, John?
JOHN: It was okay. I didn't really learn anything.
JOHN: But um... I made some good contacts, though.
RANDY: Really? That's interesting. See uh... Ken Fisher called and said you had to cancel your lunch with him.
JOHN: Right, right... I was a little under the weather that day. Probably jet lag.
RANDY: Really? 'Cause then the seminar people called and said you hadn't picked up your credentials. I did some checking... and it seems you didn't attend a single event. Since we sent you to Sydney on the company's dime... where the hell were you?
JOHN: Look, Randy... I'm really sorry. Why don't we just call it my vacation week?
RANDY: I thought you wanted that vacation week in October. You know, for your wedding.
JOHN: Please, Randy... look, I know I shouldn't have lied. But where I was... it's personal. And I... and I really don't want to talk about it.
RANDY: Okay, John. Hey... you're fired.
[Randy does a mocking salute and walks away.]
[On-Island - Locke kneels next to Richard and offers him a canteen.]
[Richard drinks deeply.]
LOCKE: Richard, I'm sorry I hit you in the throat and dragged you off the beach but I had to do something.
RICHARD: What do you want?
LOCKE: What I've always wanted. For you to come with me.
RICHARD: Why do you look like John Locke?
LOCKE: I knew he'd get me access to Jacob. Because John's a candidate. Or at least he was a candidate...
[They both stand.]
RICHARD: What do you mean? What do you mean a candidate?
LOCKE: Didn't Jacob tell you any of this?
RICHARD: Any of what?
LOCKE: Oh, Richard... I'm sorry. You mean, you've been doing everything he told you all this time and he never said why?
[Richard does not reply.]
LOCKE: I would never have done that to you. I would never have kept you in the dark.
RICHARD: And what would you have done?
LOCKE: I would have treated you with respect. Come with me... and I promise I will tell you everything.
LOCKE: Are you sure about that, Richard? Because people seldom get a second chance...
RICHARD: I'm not going anywhere with you.
LOCKE: Alright, I'll--
[Locke sees a blond boy with bloodied arms standing in the jungle. Richard cannot see him.]
LOCKE: I'll be seeing you, Richard. Sooner than you think.
[Locke walks into the jungle.]
[In the foot of the statue, Ben approaches Ilana, who is weeping near the bodies of her friends.]
BEN: Am I interrupting?
[Ilana wipes at her eyes.]
ILANA: Tell me what happened to them.
BEN: Alright. But there's a fairly reasonable chance that you won't believe me...
[Ilana stands and walks over to him.]
ILANA: Try me.
BEN: John Locke killed them.
ILANA: All by himself?
BEN: Yes. He turned into a pillar of black smoke and killed them right before my eyes.
ILANA: Did he kill Jacob as well?
ILANA: Then where's his body?
BEN: Locke kicked him into the fire and he burned away.
[Ilana approaches the fire pit and begins scooping the ashes into a pouch.]
BEN: Locke... do you know why he carried Richard into the jungle?
ILANA: He's recruiting.
[Locke marches through the DHARMA Barracks. He enters the house he had passed earlier, from which loud music continues to blare. The house is in shambles, he walks by the record player and finds Sawyer drinking on the floor in the bedroom.]
LOCKE: Hello, James.
SAWYER: I thought you were dead.
LOCKE: I am.
[Sawyer pours two large glasses of whiskey. he hands one to Locke as he enters the living room and sits on the couch.]
SAWYER: Here's to being dead.
[He drinks his whiskey.]
LOCKE: You're taking this extremely well.
SAWYER: Taking what extremely well?
LOCKE: That I'm here.
SAWYER: I don't give a damn if you're dead. Or time travellin' or... the ghost of Christmas past. All I care about is this whiskey. So bottoms up! Get the hell out of my house.
[Locke puts his whiskey down.]
LOCKE: This isn't your house, James.
SAWYER: The hell it ain't...
LOCKE: No. You just lived here for awhile. This was never your house.
SAWYER: Who are you? 'Cause you sure as hell ain't John Locke.
LOCKE: What makes you say that?
SAWYER: 'Cause Locke was scared. Even when he was pretendin' he wasn't. But you? You ain't scared.
LOCKE: What if I told you I was the person who could answer the most important question in the world?
SAWYER: And what question is that?
LOCKE: Why are you on this island?
SAWYER: I'm on this island because my plane crashed. Because my raft blew up. Because the helicopter I was on was ridin' one too heavy.
LOCKE: That's not why you're here. And if you come with me, I can prove it.
SAWYER: Well, I guess I better put some pants on.
[Flash sideways - John wheels towards his van in the parking lot with a box of his belongings in his lap. He finds a yellow Hummer parked next to him, preventing him from boarding his van via the platform.]
JOHN: Okay! Okay!
[He uses a remote to activate the platform, hoping to strike the Hummer with it, but it fails again.]
JOHN: Come on!
[The throws his remote to the ground and bangs on the Hummer until the alarm sounds. Hurley comes running and shuts it off.]
HURLEY: Dude! Dude! What are you doin'?
JOHN: What am I doin'? What the hell are you doin'? Did you ever park a car in your life? You're practically in my spot!
HURLEY: I'm sorry...
HURLEY: But... you know, there's a handicapped spot right over here.
[Hurley indicates a vacant handicapped spot right next to John's van.]
JOHN: Yeah? Yeah, okay... but I don't have to park there! I can park anywhere I want! You need to stay inside the lines!
HURLEY: I'm really sorry. They were supposed to reserve a spot for me, so... you know, I just... parked here.
JOHN: I haven't seen you before. Do you work here?
HURLEY: Actually, I own the company.
HURLEY: Hugo Reyes.
JOHN: John Locke.
[They shake hands.]
HURLEY: Cool. What do you do here, John?
JOHN: Actually... nothing. My boss just fired me.
HURLEY: Oh? Who's your boss?
JOHN: His name is Randy. But uh--
HURLEY: Randy Nations?
HURLEY: Yeah... that guy is a huge douche. Want me to talk to him for you?
JOHN: No. That's okay...
HURLEY: Tell you what, John. I own a temp agency too...
[Hurley takes a pen and paper from John's box and begins writing.]
HURLEY: Call this number and tell them that Hugo said to hook you up with a new job, pronto.
[He hands John the pen and paper.]
HURLEY: And chin up. Things are gonna work out.
[On-Island - On the beach, Frank covers Locke's body with a tarp.]
LAPIDUS: He's gettin' pretty ripe!
[Ilana exits the foot of the statue.]
ILANA: Where is everybody?
SUN: They left. They said they were going to the temple.
ILANA: Right now, that's the safest place on the island. We should go there too.
SUN: Are you alright?
ILANA: I'm fine. Come on, let's get out of here!
SUN: What makes you think that I'm going with you?
ILANA: Because... you want to find Jin.
SUN: What do you know about my husband?
ILANA: I know that if he's on the island... and if he's alive... then he'll be at the temple. Let's get moving!
[Ilana begins to walk away.]
SUN: What about John? We need to bury him.
[In the jungle, Sawyer follows Locke.]
LOCKE: What were you doing alone in that house, James?
LOCKE: Where are the rest of your friends?
SAWYER: Some temple somewhere...
LOCKE: Why aren't you with 'em?
SAWYER: You know what? How 'bout we just don't talk?
LOCKE: You got it.
[Sawyer sees the blond boy standing in the jungle. Locke sees him too.]
SAWYER: Who the hell's that?
LOCKE: You can see him?
SAWYER: The kid? Hell yeah I can see him.
[The boy begins to run.]
[Locke chases him but trips on a root and falls. The boy stands over him.]
BOY: You know the rules. You can't kill him.
LOCKE: Don't tell me what I can't do...
[The boy shakes his head and walks away.]
LOCKE: Don't tell me what I can't do!
[Sawyer stands alone in the jungle.]
SAWYER: Locke! Locke! Look, whoever you are, you got about twenty seconds and then I'm outta here!
[Richard walks out of the jungle.]
RICHARD: Where is he?
SAWYER: What the hell are you doin' here?
RICHARD: Where is he?
SAWYER: Locke? He ran off into the jungle after some kid.
RICHARD: We need to go! Now!
SAWYER: Go where?
RICHARD: To the temple! Let's go! Let's go!
SAWYER: You know what? I've been to the temple and I think I'm stickin' with Locke.
RICHARD: That man is not John Locke!
SAWYER: I know.
RICHARD: Then why are you with him?
SAWYER: Because he's got answers. He says he knows why I'm on this island. Unless you wanna tell me why I'm here, Richard...
RICHARD: Don't be naive! He's not gonna tell you anthing, he's gonna kill you!
SAWYER: If he wanted to kill me he could have done it a dozen times already...
RICHARD: You don't understand what you're dealing with! He doesn't just want you dead, he wants everyone dead! Everyone you care about! All of 'em! And he won't stop--
[Richard hears footsteps in the jungle and runs away. Locke enters the clearing.]
LOCKE: Who were you talking to?
SAWYER: Nobody. You ever catch up to the kid?
LOCKE: What kid?
SAWYER: Right... let's get on with it, shall we?
LOCKE: Yes, James. Let's get on with it.
[They move on.]
[Flash sideways - John Locke sits in front a desk across from a woman.]
WOMAN: What kind of animal would you describe yourself as?
JOHN: Excuse me?
WOMAN: What kind of animal would you describe yourself as?
JOHN: What uh... I don't know what that has to do with--
WOMAN: Just say whatever comes to mind.
[John does not reply.]
WOMAN: Would you describe yourself as a people person?
JOHN: May I speak to your supervisor?
WOMAN: Of course. I'll go get her.
[The woman walks away. Rose approaches John.]
ROSE: Good morning, mister... Locke?
ROSE: I'm Rose Nadler, the office supervisor. What can I do for you?
JOHN: Uh... what you can do, Mrs. Nadler, is spare me the questions about what kind of animal I am and hopefully place me in a job.
ROSE: Absolutely. What kind of placement are you looking for?
JOHN: Well, I see here that you have a listing for a site coordinator...
ROSE: Construction site coordinator. Uh... I'm not sure that's a good match.
JOHN: Well, if experience is the issue, I have--
ROSE: Experience isn't the issue.
JOHN: Look... Mr. Reyes told me if I came down here I would be taken care of.
ROSE: And Mr. Reyes is my boss, so if he said that, I can make it happen for you. If you want to work construction, you got it.
JOHN: Thank you.
ROSE: I'm not finished. I will send you down there tomorrow and then, the day after, you will be back in my office. Look, Mr. Locke... let's try to be a little more realistic.
JOHN: And what do you know about realistic?
ROSE: I have cancer. Terminal cancer.
JOHN: I'm sorry...
ROSE: When the doctors first told me, I had a hard time accepting it. But eventually... I got past the denial part. And I got back to living whatever life I've got left. So, how about we find you a job you can do?
[On-Island - Sawyer and Locke walk through the jungle.]
SAWYER: Do you read?
LOCKE: Excuse me?
SAWYER: Books. Do you read books?
LOCKE: Sure. Who doesn't?
SAWYER: My favorite's Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men. You know that one?
LOCKE: Nope. A little after my time...
SAWYER: It's about these two guys, George and Lennie. Lennie's kinda slow... causin' George problems... so George walks him into the woods and tells him to look out yonder and picture the pretty little house they're gonna live in some day. Then he shoots Lennie in the back of the head.
LOCKE: Well that doesn't sound like a happy ending.
SAWYER: It ain't.
[Sawyer points a gun at Locke.]
LOCKE: What's on your mind, James?
SAWYER: I'm wonderin' what would happen to you if I put a bullet in your head.
LOCKE: Why don't we find out?
SAWYER: What are you?
LOCKE: What I am is trapped. And I've been trapped for so long that I don't even remember what it feels like to be free. Maybe you can understand that. But before I was trapped, I was a man, James. Just like you.
SAWYER: I'm havin' a hard time believin' that...
LOCKE: You can believe whatever you want, that's the truth. I know what it's like to feel joy... to feel pain, anger, fear... to experience betrayal. I know what it's like to lose someone you love. So if you wanna shoot me, shoot me. But you're so close, James. It would be such a shame to turn back now.
[Locke walks deeper into the jungle. Sawyer sighs and follows.]
[Across the Island, Frank and Sun walk on ahead while Ben and Ilana carry Locke's corpse in a make-shift stretcher.]
BEN: Why did you have to bring him to the statue in the first place?
ILANA: Because the people there need to see the face of what they're up against.
BEN: And whats to stop what they're up against from changing his face?
ILANA: He can't; not anymore. Hes stuck this way.
[They arrive at the graveyard in the old beach camp.]
[Moments later, Ben and Frank are digging a grave while Ilana and Sun prepare Locke's corpse. They all lower Locke into his final resting place.]
ILANA: Does anyone want to say anything?
[No one responds initially.]
ILANA: Didn't any of you know him?
BEN: Alright, I knew him. John Locke was a...a believer, he was a man of faith, he was... a much better man than I will ever be. And I'm very sorry I murdered him.
LAPIDUS: Weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to.
[Frank and Ben then start to cover the body with dirt.]
[Flash sideways - John is already awake in bed when his alarm is ringing. He gets up and gets dressed. In his bathroom, after looking into a shaving mirror, he pushes it aside and looks at the contact card Jack gave him at the airport. He dials the number on his cell phone.]
WOMEN: Hello, Dr. Shephard's office?
[John takes the phone away from his ear, then puts it back.]
WOMAN: Hello? Can I help you?
JOHN: No, no you can't.
[As Helen is making the bed in the other room, he hangs up.]
HELEN: Who was that on the phone?
JOHN: No one.
HELEN: No one? John, I just heard you talking on the phone.
JOHN: I was uh, I was calling Dr. Shephard.
HELEN: Good for you. When are you going to see him?
JOHN: I'm not going to see him.
HELEN: Well, uh, I don't understand, why wouldn't you-
JOHN: I got fired, Helen.
[The doorbell rings.]
MAN: [off-camera at first] Ma'am, Oceanic courier. Delivering your lost luggage. Sign here to accept the delivery.
MAN: Okay, thanks.
[Helen closes the door and brings the case inside to the kitchen.]
HELEN: Okay, John. Talk to me. How did you get fired?
JOHN: I lied to Randy, I didn't go to the conferences in Sydney.
JOHN: Open the case, Helen.
[Helen opens the case to find it is filled with knifes.]
HELEN: What are these for?
JOHN: My walkabout.
HELEN: Your, your what?
JOHN: My walkabout. An adventure in the outback. Man against nature. But they wouldn't let me go. And I sat there yelling at them. Shouting at them that they couldn't tell me what I can't do. But they were right. I'm sick of imagining of what my life could be out of this chair, Helen. What it would be like to walk down the isle with you because its not gonna happen. So if you need me to see more doctors, have more consults, if you need me to get out of this chair, I don't blame you. But I don't want you to spend your life waiting for a miracle because there is no such thing.
[Helen approaches John and crouches down beside him.]
HELEN: There are miracles, John. And the only thing I was ever waiting for was you.
[She rips up Jack's card, then kisses John.]
[On-Island - Sawyer and Locke come to a bamboo ladder on the edge of a cliff.]
SAWYER: Nice view. Now what?
LOCKE: Now we go down.
SAWYER: Down where?
LOCKE: Down there.
[There is a shot of a very tall cliffside.]
SAWYER: No offense, but you already died. So this is great that this isn't a big deal for you. But if you think I'm climbing down there first, your off your damn mind.
LOCKE: It's no problem, I'll go first.
[Locke walks to the ladder and starts to descend it. Sawyer approaches it and looks down at Locke.]
LOCKE: Coming, James?!
[Sawyer starts to climb down it as Locke moves across to rope ladder. When Sawyer is nearing the bottom of his ladder, one of the rungs snaps and leaves him clinging on for his life. He recovers and moves over to the rope ladder. Locke is now on another rope ladder further down. Sawyer breathes a sigh of relief as he looks down. Then, the rope ladder comes detached from the wall, sending him flying down the cliffside and bouncing as the ladder snaps tight. He still hangs onto the ladder.]
[Locke starts to climb to help him.]
LOCKE: Hold on, come on. Come on, I got you, come on. Come on. Come on.
[Sawyer manages to swing across to the bamboo ladder that Locke is now on with his help. They both descend and reach the bottom of the cliff. Then they come across a cave entrance with a set of scales on a wooden table. One black rock and one white rock balance the scales evenly.]
SAWYER: What is this place?
[Locke takes the white rock from the scale and tosses it into the sea.]
SAWYER: What the hell's that all about?
LOCKE: Inside joke.
SAWYER: So this is what you wanted me to see? A hole in the cliff; with some rocks on a scale; that's why I'm here?
[Locke lights a torch.]
[Locke leads Sawyer inside the cave.]
LOCKE: That's why you're here.
[Sawyer takes the torch from Locke and examines the walls of the cave to find they are covered with hundreds of names, most of which are crossed out.]
LOCKE: That, James, is why you're all here.
[Flash sideways - Inside a school gym, dozens of students run back and forth across the court.]
JOHN: Alright, speed it up, all the way. No cheating, come on now. Come on, all the way, you can catch up. Bring it in, bring it in, all the way. Good job. Good job.
[Later, inside a class of students, John sits at the front desk. He opens a text book.]
JOHN: Alright, everyone, please open your textbooks to chapter four. Today, we are going to talk about... the Human reproductive system.
[Outside in the hall, the bell rings and students flood from the classrooms. John stops one of them.]
JOHN: Do you know where the- Excuse me, can you tell me where the teacher's lounge is?
KID: Yeah, its over there.
JOHN: Thank you.
[In the teacher's lounge, a man stands at the coffee machine with his back to the camera.]
MAN: Alright, I know I sound like a broken record, but how many times do we have to go over this? If you have the last cup of coffee, you remove the filter and throw it away. Fear not. I will make a fresh pot.
JOHN: Actually, I was just hoping for some Earl Grey.
[He turns around and we see it is Benjamin Linus.]
BEN: Tea? Now there's a gentleman drink. I don't believe we met.
[They shake hands.]
BEN: Ben Linus, European History.
JOHN: John Locke, Substitute.
BEN: Well, welcome.
[On-Island - Inside the cave.]
SAWYER: Who wrote all this?
LOCKE: His name was Jacob.
SAWYER: Was Jacob?
LOCKE: He died yesterday.
[We see Locke kick Jacob into the fire.]
SAWYER: You don't seem to upset about it?
LOCKE: I'm not.
SAWYER: Why are all the names crossed out?
LOCKE: There not all crossed out.
[Sawyer discovers "23-Sherhard" written on the wall.]
SAWYER: "Shephard". That Jack Shephard?
[We see Jack accepting the Apollo bar from Jacob.]
LOCKE: He's not the only one.
["8-Reyes" is on the wall.]
SAWYER: Reyes. That's Hugo, right?
[We see Jacob and Hurley in the taxi.]
SAWYER: What's the eight about?
LOCKE: Jacob had a thing for numbers. Sixteen, Jarrah.
["16-Jarrah" is on the wall. We see Jacob touch Sayid on the shoulder.]
LOCKE: Forty-Two, Kwon; I don't know if it's Sun or if it's Jin.
["42-Kwon" is on the wall. We see Jacob congratulate them at their wedding.]
LOCKE: Here, four, Locke. I think we both know him.
["4-Locke" is on the wall. We see Jacob touch Locke on the shoulder.]
LOCKE: Last but not least, number 15, Ford.
["15-Ford is on the wall.]
LOCKE: That would be you.
SAWYER: Why would he write my name on this wall? I never even met the guy.
LOCKE: Oh no, I'm sure you did meet Jacob.
[We see Jacob give young Sawyer a pen.]
LOCKE: At some point in your life, James, probably when you were young and miserable and vulnerable. He came to you, he manipulated you, pulled your strings like you were a puppet. And as a result, choices you thought were made, were never really choices at all. He was pushing you, James. Pushing you... to the Island.
SAWYER: Why the hell would he do that?
LOCKE: Because, you're a candidate.
SAWYER: Candidate for what?
LOCKE: He thought he was the protector of this place. And you, James, have been nominated to take that job.
SAWYER: And what does that mean?
LOCKE: It means you have three choices. First, you can do nothing and see how all this plays out. And possibly, your name will get crossed out.
[He crosses "4-Locke" out on the wall with chalk.]
LOCKE: Second option. You can accept the job. Become the new Jacob. And protect the Island.
SAWYER: Protect it from what?
LOCKE: From nothing, James. That's the joke, there is nothing to protect it from, its just a damn Island. And it will be perfectly fine without Jacob or you, or any of the other people; whose lives he wasted.
SAWYER: You said there were three choices?
LOCKE: The third choice, James, is that we just go. We just get the hell off this Island. We never look back.
SAWYER: How do we do that?
LOCKE: Together. So what do you say, James? Are you ready to go home?
[After a pause...]
SAWYER: Hell yes.