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Like most Lost fans I thought "The Substitute" was an excellent episode. The list of the candidates is maybe the most intriguing part of the episode and I have a quick theory on how I think the candidates will get weeded down as the season goes along.
4 - Locke - dead, and presumably out of the running since MIB has taken over his form. Locke is an amazing character and I know a lot of you haven't given up hope that he'll be resurrected in some way, but going along with the show's rule that "Dead is dead" I can't join that club. If it happens cool, but until I see some evidence that someone can come back to life on the island I"m ruling Locke out.
8 - Reyes - I think Hurley will be somewhat easily manipulated by the MIB because of the numbers. He'll instantly recognize them and i thinnk the MIB will tell Hurley that Jacob used the numbers against him to get him to end up on the Island, and that now that Jacob is dead and Hurley is no longer a puppet of Jacob's that the curse of the numbers will leave Hurley if he just rejects the postion of Protector and goes home. Thus Hurley will follow with Sawyer.
15 - Sawyer - already on board with the MIB as seen in "The Substitute."
16 - Jarrah - if as Dogen said, Sayid is infected, then he'll turn to the side of the black and thus be out of the running for the role of Protector.
42 - Kwon - once Sun and Jin get back together they will both want to leave the island to return to Ji Yeon, the daughter Jin has never met. Convincing them to join his side so they can all "go home" will be easy enough for the MIB.
23 - Shepherd - this brings us to Jack (I'm assuming its not Christian for the sole reason that Christian is dead and like Locke in my theory that takes him out of the running.) Really does Jack have anything left except the Island? When he left the island his life went down the drain into a spiral of depression and drug and alcohol abuse. Kate was with him at first but then he lost her. He came back to the Island and thought that he could alter everything only to find out that all he did was get Juliet killed and send them back to the future (Jack knows nothing of the alt-timeline as of this point in the story.) And Jack has really always tried to be the Protector of the survivors. He was their leader, protected them against the Others, did everything he could to get them off of the Island, then came back distraught and tried to reverse time to Protect them from all of the pain and suffering that they had endured since the crash. And what if the healing powers of the Island lied in Jacob? He healed those he thought were candidates, like Locke and Rose, even though her name wasn't seen in the cave, just go along with it for now. He didn't heal Ben who had been healed by the waters in the temple which likely corrupted him and led to his manipulative and somewhat villainous ways (the same fate which may fall upon Sayid.) that ruled Ben out from ever being a Protector, also he was never touched by Jacob. If Jacob was the healing force then again Jack would fall into the category of being a healer, as he was a doctor and a skilled surgeon. Also I think Jack may be the only candidate left with any faith in the Island. He was the one who urged the Oceanic 6 to go back because he knew Locke was right. Now Jack has become the Man of Faith.
We still have a lot to learn about the Candidates and the Island's other mysteries, but as of right now thats the way I see the candidate thing playing out. The only question I have is why didn't we see Kate's name on the Cave wall? What's her role in the story? (BTW I'm not a big Kate fan but she seems to be the most important female character and she was the first person who Jacob touched in "The Incident" so I'm curious why we didn't see her name on the cave wall. There's something important to that.)
--ThatsMySon! 06:08, February 17, 2010 (UTC)