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Thoughts and Speculation on "The Last Recruit"

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6x13 AllOnABoat

Getting the band back together

As soon as I finished watching this week’s episode, my initial take was that the fan reaction would be of two minds: Many would enjoy the action, frenetic pace, and the myriad characters. Others would be frustrated by the lack of primary plot advancement.

Whether that’s the case or not, I would be firmly in the former camp. I can appreciate the possible complaint that not much serious revelation took place, but there are a lot of “i’s” that need dotting and “t’s” that need crossing before we get to the end. “The Last Recruit” helped accomplish some of that. It was a straightforward episode that didn’t deal too much with the show’s mythology, but did push the story toward a point where we’ll get those answers.

I said last week that: “The FST . . . has to get a move on to get where it’s going. So, in the OT, I think we’ll get a lot of information the audience already knows, but the characters don’t, like Sawyer discussing his submarine strategy with Jack, or MiB explaining his bogus plan with the new arrivals to the camp. In the FST, however, we should get some good interaction as all of these characters are shepherded together by Desmond for reasons they don’t yet understand.”

This is more or less what’s happening. The conflict between Widmore and MiB has now begun. The coming together of the flash-sideways folks is moving right along as well.

There were, however, a few moments that did touch upon some of the big picture issues.

Christian and Aaron

At least one of the people in this picture is really the Man in Black.

One that comes to mind immediately is the Jack / MiB “Q&A session.” Like last week’s “whispers” revelation, this one was heavy-handed. Yet, I didn’t mind it here, because MiB’s confirmation that he did adopt the form of Christian, and that someone does have to be dead for him to adopt their form, is consistent with the observable facts about those topics. As I said last week, the “whispers” revelation, while certainly not implausible, seemed to ignore an important component of the mythology from the early seasons. Here, the answers we got were more like reassurance that we had been on the right track. The pieces fit nicely. I’m willing to look the other way on the whole “missing body” thing for now. Related sidebar question - does this mean that MiB, like Jacob, could also project himself off the island?

Like a couple of the lines between Desmond and MiB in “Everybody Loves Hugo,” there was an exchange between Jack and MiB this week that was one of those “this may mean a whole lot, or it may not” moments. Jack asks “What are you,” to which MiB replies, “You know what I am.” When Ben asked this question previously, the response was a semi-offended “I’m not a what, I’m a who.” When Sawyer asked, the response was "What I am, is trapped . . . but, before I was trapped, I was a man."

Taken at face value, this could simply mean, “I’m that smoke monster thing. Come on, Jack, you know that.” Or, if we’re reading more into it, it could mean, “Jack, you have specific knowledge from your life and experiences that should tell you exactly what I am,” or “Hey, have you noticed that Titus Welliver looks a little like an adult form of David, your FST son?” As usual, this is ambiguous at the moment - just like MiB’s perplexed question to Desmond last week of “Do you know who I am?” (Could be taken at face value, or could reflect suspicion that Desmond know’s what’s really going on), or MiB’s explanation to Kate that he had a “crazy mother” (Is that him saying it as Locke, or a reflection of his own mysterious past? Does it hint that he might be Aaron?). We’ll have to wait and see on all counts.

I speculated previously that the reunion of Sun and Jin would be of critical importance, simply because this is something that’s been over three years (in show time) in the making. While it was certainly dramatic and enjoyable, it didn’t have quite the plot significance that I thought it would. That said, I did find it interesting that Sun regained her ability to speak English after the reunion. This again seems to hint that love or “purpose” (or perhaps one’s “constant”) facilitates movement among or reconciliation within particular realities. So, a head injury in OT causes Sun to take on a FST trait (inability to speak English), while a reunion with Jin “brings her back” totally into the OT. On the flipside, a near-death experience in the FST evokes a vague memory from the OT, and meeting one’s previously-undiscovered love has a similar effect, if not more powerful.

6X13 Jack-lastrecruit

Still in once piece

I was actually surprised at the end that Jack’s “Saving Private Ryan”-like experience on the beach didn’t introduce any FST Jack elements into the mix until he got his bearings back. It was also nice that there was again the OT/FST symmetry like we saw last week: Desmond gets thrown into a well by MiB (posing as Locke), while FST Desmond drills FST Locke to close the show. This week, Jack is about to operate on a critically-injured Locke in FST, while, in the OT, Jack is carried from harm’s way by MiB. I think what all this is telling us is that death in the OT causes one to “merge” with the FST, whether that person knows it or not once the merger is complete. This is not a new idea. Juliet’s final message
6x01 GoodbyeJules

"It worked."

for Sawyer seems to mimic Charlie’s near-death experience in LA X, as explained to Desmond. That is, as she’s dying, she realizes the bigger picture. Similarly, a gravely-wounded Sun looks at Locke on the gurney next to her and reacts to him as if he’s the smoke monster.

This leads to a somewhat self-evident question: In order for the FST to merge, do all of these people have to die? If so, how does that happen? The obvious choices would be Desmond and Faraday doing something to trigger such an event, or, a better candidate, the FST MiB doing whatever it is he does to snuff out that reality.

6x01 Submerged

FST Island, now underwater

We haven’t seen the FST Man in Black yet - or, at least, we don’t think we have. The clues suggest that he probably exists. We know the island (and DHARMA, et al) existed in the FST. We know the island sank sometime after 1977. Either MiB somehow perished when that happened, or, more likely, this was an event akin to the symbolic breaking of the wine bottle. If the latter is the case, then he’s either made contact with the rest of the world already, or is about to do so. It seems entirely plausible that, whether by deliberate act or by inadvertent damaging of space-time, he’ll extinguish the FST. As I said a while back, I think the FST exists in part to show us what the stakes are for the OT vis a vis the Man in Black. That still may be the case.
Exoduspart2monster

Explosive precedent

I think that Widmore is panicking a bit. Not that he was trustworthy, anyway, but I think the deal with Sawyer is out the window in part because Desmond is gone. He’s having to resort to “Plan B,” which is to fire explosives at MiB in the hopes that it kills him. Widmore knows this is probably a longshot, but it’s worth noting that powerful explosives do seem to affect the Man in Black.

Lastly, I said in the Everybody Loves Hugo blog that: “I bring this up because it occurred to me that the island is a hub of sorts for these multiple realities. I was thinking this week that Jack's story about his first surgery may be a metaphor that helps to explain the island's role . . . While the metaphor isn't exact, I'm wondering if the island is a kind of "sac" that maintains the integrity of space-time, perhaps with the nerves as analogous to realities or different points in time, and the MiB is a threat to all of it - or at least the primary reality. Perhaps Jack will be called upon to do something on the island that would mirror what he did in that surgery in a way.” I thought it was interesting that Jack is now about to operate on someone with a dural sac that’s almost destroyed. “Nothing is irreversible,” however.


A few other odds and ends:

Aande stones

I'm convinced we'll see these stones again during the endgame.

1. I think that the bag Hurley looked into last week may have contained the “Adam and Eve” stones found with the skeletons way back when. The significance of those pieces is to be determined, of course.


2. Speaking of Adam and Eve, a friend pointed out that the eating of the apple was rather overt in that scene between Kate and Sawyer in FST. Just something worth mentioning, although I would be surprised if A&E wound up being the two of them.
6x13 AnApple?

Well, they DO know each other biblically.

Nothing’s out of the question, of course.

3. I actually am surprised that my master theory of someone in the mix being from the future hasn’t been shot to hell yet. We’ll see how that plays out in the next couple of episodes.

4. I liked the tease of Jack looking into the mirror, indicative of the FST moment we’ve seen in all the episodes, only to find it was a look of realization that he knew the patient.
6x13 IKnowHim

I know him.

5. Not that it wasn’t before, but I think it’s pretty clear now that Jack is going to be the candidate who takes Jacob’s place (or whatever the candidate is really supposed to do). I’m fascinated by his taking up of Locke’s mantle as resident “believer” that the island is important and that he has a purpose related to the island.

6. Before the episode, I assumed the title referred to Jin (in OT) and (probably) Jack in FST. After having watched it, it’s not entirely clear, but I believe “The Last Recruit” actually referred to Claire. She was brought on-board at the last minute in both realities.
6x13 ThereYouAre

So, after getting tangled up with an escaped convict she had never met, Claire's next move is to trust a stranger she bumped into in an airport about meeting with a lawyer she's also never met. Yikes.

7. Even with all the characters who showed up this week, we still didn’t have time to get a glimpse of what Miles, OT Linus, and Richard were up to.

8. Loved the Lapidus / Burt Reynolds movie line.

9. The old “free will” question popped up again this week. The idea that letting MiB talk to you seals your fate was floated by Claire, but, later, Claire herself is persuaded to switch sides when Kate appeals to her love for Aaron.

10. Yes, I think Desmond is still alive in the OT. If it wasn’t too late for Claire, then it wasn’t too late for Sayid. See #9 above.


No show next week (terrible timing), but we’re a month away from everything being revealed. Should be a fun ride to the end.

--Montecore's Revenge 22:17, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

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