LOST SEASON 6, EPISODE 3 RECAP: The Substitute? Or The SMOKEstitute?


The following is a Recap of Lost Season 6, Episode 3 entitled “The Substitute”, originally airing February 16, 2010. If you haven’t seen the episode, or plan on renting the movie The Substitute with Tom Berenger, don’t read, on, cause this is full of spoilers of both. Mostly the latter.


This week’s tale opens on a still-paralyzed Locke who grows a little overconfident, falls on his lawn, gets nailed by sprinklers, and submits the tape to Lostmerica’s Funniest Home Videos (but loses to “Baby Plays The Spoon”). In this reality, with some encouragement from his wife-to-be Helen, Locke resumes his day job at the box factory, but is immediately confronted by his boss, Dr. Douchebag (he’s a doctor in Douchebag), who quickly gets him to admit that he didn’t spend any time in Australia on actual company business, and when Locke begs him to accept his apology without explanation, his boss fires him way too happily.

While pulling out of the parking lot, Locke confronts a van driver and yells at him “You’re a worse parker than the owner of this loser company!” but UHOH, it’s Hurley, who owns the company. The exceptionally sideburney Hurley laughs off Locke’s faux pas and recommends him to the Temp Agency he owns, which is managed by Rose for no damn reason. Rose then sets Locke up substitute teaching at a school, where he encounters Ben Frickin’ Linus, the teacher of such unpopular European history classes as:

- Charlemagne Is Coming To Kill Everyone On This Continent

- You’ll Just Have To Trust Me, Renaissance

- Now Your Ancient Greek Friends Are Safe

- Murder Class

Perhaps the budding teachers’ lounge friendship between Ben and Locke in some way impacts Ben’s later speech about Locke being “A man of faith… a better man than I’ll ever be… I shouldn’t have murdered him”? They could just be two separate destinies playing out in mirroring ways, but I’m throwing my money on a convergence here (Eventual Convergence Of The Two Realities is the current odds-on favorite in Las-t Vegas).

Eventually, Locke works up the courage to call Jack’s office for his free spinal miracle, but when the receptionist he totally has a crush on picks up, he hangs up really quickly. (A friend of mine imitated the receptionist saying “Hm.Guess it was someone who could walk.”) He explains to Helen that he’s been fired, and reveals his luggage bag that’s full of knives (You call those walkabout knives?? the Australians would have asked him), and admits that he argued and argued about trying to go on the walkabout, just as he argued with Rose at the temp agency, uttering a memorable Locke refrain about not wanting others to “tell me what I can’t do.” Put a bookmark in this one! We’ll come back to it. Literally stick one into your computer right here ——>

This reality’s Locke — unlike some other Lockes…COUGH…BAD MONSTER ONE– finally accepts his situation, and Helen obligingly rips up Jack’s business card. Locke then tells Helen, “I think I’ll start training for that Ironman now,” and Helen gives him a weird glare, then gets the joke and they laugh together. Freeze frame. Credits. LOST.

After The Jump, Pantsless Sawyer, Number-Lovin’ Jacob, and Locke’s Choose Your Own Adventure Game:


The Lost producers employed the Beetlejuice cam for the second time this season, giving us a first-person flyby view of the Smoke Monster’s trek across the island (carrying beat’d-up Richard), pausing briefly to listen to The Stooges’ “Search And Destroy” (which is kind of what the smoke monster does = !!) before finally dropping Richard to ask him some questions. SMOKE QUESTIONS. Locke tells Richard he’s surprised that Jacob never told him that Original Recipe Locke was a “candidate” — a term we’ll come back to later — and Richard is moderately shocked by the news:

New Locke’s train of thought is derailed when he happens to catch a creepy ghost child off in the distance who reeeeally looks like he’d pass a Jacob Maury paternity test. When the kid vanishes, Locke decides to return to the Dharma barracks to retrieve Sawyer, who’s so broken up over Juliet’s death, he’s getting drunk three rooms over from the record he’s playing on repeat (we’ve all been there). Sawyer seems remarkably unsurprised to see Locke, as he like the rest of us clearly can’t be shocked by anything this show does anymore, but Sawyer fails to kick Locke out of the house, because Locke reminds him it’s “not his house” (and while we’re at it, that’s the company’s computer, James — cool it on the Twitters website.)

Locke explains that he’s “recruiting,” and that if Sawyer comes with him, he’ll answer “the most important question in the [whole wide] world,” which ends up being “Who shot J.R.?” and pisses off everyone who’s still only on Season 2 of the Dallas DVDs. Actually the question is: “Why are you on this island?” To which Sawyer issues the weightiest, most important scene-ending line of the season: “Well I guess I better put some pants on.” Note that I didn’t need to change that into some lame joke, because it’s that.

Not long after recruiting Sawyer, however, Locke sees the Jacob-child a second time, as does Sawyer somehow (aye chihuahua! I’m trying to say this more often), and takes off after the kid, trying to get him off his dang lawn. The kid cryptically issues a reminder to Locke, “You know the rules – you can’t kill him.” to which Locke responds, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” (Did you bookmark the screen where I told you to?? If so, your monitor’s all kinds of broken.) Upon first hearing this kid-quote, I assumed he was referring to Jacob, because he really looks like Jacob and we already know that New Locke couldn’t physically stick the knife into Jacob himself (See: Season 5 Finale cold open). The statement makes a lot more sense if it’s referring to Sawyer, thus confirming Richard’s warning to Sawyer that New Locke wants “everyone dead”, but since he can’t “kill” them we can assume…

1) New Locke is trying to kill the remaining “candidates” by turning them against one another or using a proxy like Ben, AND/OR…

2) New Locke needs all of the candidates to be dead for him to be able to “go home.”

Again, I’m sticking to my assertion that New Locke isn’t some textbook, unambiguous villain, but those are two pretty shady numbers with one-sided parenthesis after them, if they’re indeed true. My Jacob-isn’t-auto-good theory found some support in Dark Locke’s later assertion that Jacob knowingly manipulated the Oceanics to get them to the island, which we already knew from his “Just a little push” vignettes from the Season 5 finale, but which we’ve never heard described with a connotation of deliberate selfishness or manipulation. The 24 “He was evil too!” twist is coming.


*Denotes topical, unpainful reference.

Locke and Sawyer repel down a series of broken Donkey Kong ladders to yet another hidden corner of the island, a secret cave featuring a balance scale and two rocks — a white and black one — tipped slightly towards the black side. New Locke picks up the white rock and whips it into the ocean. OH MAN did you notice that the white and black rocks are kind of like the white and black Jacob / Other Guy??? The producers originally wanted Locke to throw the white rock into the camera and for it to suddenly cut to 3-D and the rock to come out of the screen and say “REMEMBER IT’S LIKE JACOB” but they went with the subtler approach. The two pals then proceed into the Kave Of KandidatesTM.

Before we get to the cave, a quick story: Back before he followed the show, my friend Mike had a running joke where he’d tell Lost devotees the “rumor” he’d heard that in the upcoming season finale, the characters come across a temple with stone statues of all the plane survivors, and the statues of the characters who died on the island had crumbled to dust! Lost fans, immune to deeming any possible suggestion ludicrous, would inevitably reply “Wait, what? Where’d you hear that??” to which Mike would respond, “Nah, I’ve actually never seen an episode” and we’d all laugh at the genuinely dashed hopes of the Lostie in question.

So what was our big reveal this week? A cave featuring the names of all the Oceanic Survivors (and presumably all past islanders) scrawled into the rock, with the names of those who’d died crossed out. Basically, it was 3% less ridiculous than the joke prediction of my friend who’d never watched an episode.

The starting lineup for your 2010 Cavetown Nameroos:

16 – JARRAH42 – KWON
4 – LOCKE15 – FORD

The numbers are there because “Jacob likes numbers.” If that doesn’t get explained further, it’ll officially go down as the funniest lazy loose-end wrapup of the final season.

Locke explains to Sawyer that the names are “Candidates” to take over Jacob’s cushy job of Executive Consultant – Island Operations, and that Sawyer has three choices. He can…

1) Do nothing. The Kunu / Forgetting Sarah Marshall approach.

2) Accept the job and become the new Jacob. Sawyer would have to shorten and highlight his hair, improve his candy retrieving ability, and become the island’s “new protector”, from, as Locke not-unbitterly puts it, “Nothing! Cause it’s an island and who’s gonna destroy it, the Island Punchers?? Charles Widmore? I don’t even know who the Island Punchers or Charles Widmore are, so don’t pick number two unless you’re totally gay!” I though it was a childish comment too.

3) Just go. “We leave the island, and never look back, together.” Dark Locke is apparently offering Sawyer the opportunity to ride off into the sunset together, couple from Out Run style, and endure just one awkward plane ride in exchange for finally going home, which, as Locke said to Ben earlier, is precisely what he wants (which may or may not require the killing of everyone).

But is Sawyer ready to go home? “Hell yes.” LOST. Questions will be answered indeed! The question of “Is Sawyer hell yes ready to go home” just was.


Sun whining about Jin is totally the new Michael whining about “MY SON!”

— Speaking of those two, which “Kwon” is a candidate? Even Dark Locke doesn’t know. It’s usually a good sign when the supernatural, all-encompassing island beings aren’t even sure what’s going on with the show.

— Why was Kate not a candidate? Can she run as an independent? ON THE SEXY BALLOT! That’s a thing.

— I assume the episode title “The Substitute” has nothing to do with Locke’s substitute teaching profession standing as a metaphor for the once-human island entity’s embodiment of Locke’s body as well as the eventual human substitute for Jacob, but is actually a reference to the movie The Substitute, in which Tom Berenger beats the crap out of a dude with a Jai Alai helmet. Ben, I’m looking in your direction.

— Widmore, anyone? Desmond, anyone? Show?

— Basically, if this Jacob replacement candidate thing does end up being the crux of this final season, it means the entire show Lost has been about a group of tropical island castaways being filmed competing to win a title. It’s an awful lot like that popular, long-running CBS reality show, The Benefactor with Mark Cuban.

Episode thoughts? Theories? Favorite / Least Favorite Parts? Cave Explanations? Candidates? Recruiting? Goin’ Home? Please comment away.

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