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Here's the rewatch blog for Episode 8 of Season 1, Confidence Man, Sawyer's first centric. This episode finally shed some light on Season 1's early antagonist, Sawyer, and gave some backstory on why Sawyer was the antagonistic and argumentative rogue of the survivors. These rewatch reviews will attempt to shed light on how dominant themes, issues, and plotlines were presented in the featured episodes, and how they would also feature into the rest of the series. I just want to give a shout out to the people who have been following these blogs so far, you give me the inspiration to keep writing these.
Sawyer's coming out of the water to Kate in the beginning of this episode was probably the inspiration for Sawyer ascending out of the water after jumping out of the helicopter in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 3." In both cases, Sawyer appeared to women in the nascent stages of a future relationship (Kate in this episode, Juliet in TNPLH). It's also a excuse to get Sawyer to take his shirt off, something one segment of the Lost fan population certainly enjoys. I don't have the exact numbers, but I'm guessing out of all the characters, Sawyer has had the most sex on the show. He had sex with Kate, Juliet, Ana Lucia, Charlotte and Ava ( the last two in the afterlife, but still) and Jessica and Cassidy in flashbacks. Sawyer is the love king of the show.
In Sawyer's first flashback, we are introduced to the briefcase con. Sawyer's con game is all about making his marks believe that the idea is theirs. Jessica believes she is helping Sawyer by providing capital for the oil-rig investment. Throughout Lost, characters have manipulated others by making the victims think that the conner's idea is really theirs. Ben Linus is the master of this. Ben wanted to manipulate Jack into wanting to operate on him. In "Cabin Fever," Ben commends Locke for making Hurley come with them to cabin by having Hurley think it was his idea. Throughout the show, Ben was a master manipulator. But with the introduction of the Man in Black, we saw an even more master manipulator. In "The Candidate," the survivors were tricked into boarding the submarine. They thought the submarine was all their idea, and that they were escaping the Man in Black by boarding it without him. But this was the Man in Black's plan all along, and they were duped, to the cost of Sayid, Sun and Jin's life. Manipulation has always been a dominant theme in Lost, and in this episode, it really gets a proper introduction.
Throughout Sawyer's story arc, he has always been a guy who never backs down, whether in a positive or negative light. Sawyer refuses to back down to Jack and Sayid, at the expense of painful bamboo under his fingernails. Even though he never had the inhaler (we'd finally learn what happened to that inhaler in Season 6's "Lighthouse) he couldn't bear backing down and looking like the lesser man. Early series Sawyer reveled in being hated. He wanted to appear tough and steely to hide the pain he still harbored from his troubled childhood, symbolized by the fact he always carried around the letter.
We now know that Sawyer continued to write his vengeful letter to Anthony Cooper because Jacob gave him a new pen at his parents' funeral. This is supposed to lead us to believe that Sawyer's life path, one of a con man, was manipulated into being that way by Jacob. If this is really true, it makes me think twice about Jacob's motives. Jacob claimed he brought everybody to the Island because they were flawed individuals, just like Jacob. But Jacob was the one who flawed Sawyer in the end, because he gave Sawyer the propulsion to search and destroy the man who destroyed his family. Is it a possibility that if Jacob hadn't intervened in Sawyer's life at such a young, impressionable age, Sawyer would've turned out differently? Sawyer continually searching for Anthony Cooper was the thing that landed him in Australia, and in turn, on the Island, so it certainly benefited Jacob in the end.
I noticed that it was interesting that in this episode Locke is basically trying to sell out Sawyer to Sayid. Locke doesn't want Sayid to be suspicious of him, so he makes Sayid think that it could be Sawyer. This is interesting considering the mutual respect for each other Sawyer and Locke gain, especially during their trying times in the time flashes.
This episode also has a lot of great quotes, such as...
Kate: Sawyer, what do you want?
Sawyer: Freckles, I have so many answers to that question I wouldn't even know where to start.
Sawyer: Baby, I am tied to a tree in a jungle of mystery. I just got tortured by a damn spinal surgeon and a gen-u-ine I-raqi. Of course I'm serious.
That's really about it. We see more Michael and Jin conflict in this episode, but this episode mostly focused on Sawyer's character development rather than moving the plot of the show. That's the way Season 1 often was, and I'm ok with that. Every character was still somewhat mysterious at this point in the series, and for me it was exhilarating learning about them. Thanks for reading and commenting as always. The next blog, for "Solitary" should be more detailed because it introduces a decent amount of mythology and mystery to the show. I'll see you in another life, brother.