Monday, February 13, 2006

S2Ep13 - The Long Con (Sawyer's third flashback) - 2/8/06

Hello my dear friends -

We're half-way through the season and the proverbial tide has turned - welcome to a much darker Lost. I was surprised to find that on the boards, fans were split down the middle on last week's episode (The Long Con) - people either loved it or hated it - there was no gray area this time whatsoever. Count me in the "loved it" camp for several reasons:

1) Some of the spoilers I had accidentally come across did not turn out to be true, which kept me on my toes and made it more enjoyable overall.

2) Though some things my peeps and I called from a mile away (Sawyer pulling the long con on Locke to get the guns for himself), there were enough twists and turns to make things interesting - especially when it came to guessing who exactly Sawyer was working with.

3) I love anything that is remotely Lord of the Flies-ish, because besides the fact that that book (and the old school movie - Piggy! The Conch Shell!) rocks, I am always fascinated by human nature in general, and by what people will do when put in a new situation - especially one that is threatening. I just quickly skimmed some Cliff Notes on The Lord of the Flies, and came across two interesting things - which most likely have no relevance to Lost, but I will mention them anyway:
- One of the leaders of the boys in the book is named Jack.
- "A stick sharpened at both ends" is referenced in the book as quite a threatening object - used by "the savages" for "impaling one end in the head and another in the ground." Sure hope there's no connection to Eko's Jesus Stick, which is also sharpened on both ends...

Geez, now I want to read the book again.

But before I run out to Borders... I will finish this post.

So as with The Lord of the Flies, this episode reminded us to beware of "the enemy within." Yeah, The Others are all freaky and whatnot, but at this point they could probably sit back and spend their free time trimming their hillbilly beards and cutting off more khakis, because I think our beloved Lostaways are on the verge of self-destructing without anyone else's help.


Jack and Locke's attempt to play nice at the beginning of the episode devolved into plotting against each other and caused them both to look like idiots at the end. A few things to note:

- Some people on the boards actually thought Locke was being serious when he told Jack that he could always use the heroin for therapeutic reasons. COME ON. Even I am not that blinded by the fabulousness that is Locke. If the statues are left unbroken, you have several characters who KNOW what is inside: Charlie, Locke, Jack, Sayid, Claire and Eko (off the top of my head). If Locke was really only concerned about saving the heroin for pain-killing purposes rather than for leverage or some other not-so-noble reason in the future, he would've kept all of the heroin together in some unmarked container. And as for this line: "YOU want to break seven statues of the Virgin Mary? I'm superstitious." No way. He may be reading too much into "signs that the island is sending him," but he is NOT religious or superstitious. He definitely wanted the statues to stay whole for a specific reason, we just don't know what that is yet.

- Some may argue that Locke broke the pact that he and Jack made to be sure to tell each other should either one of them ever want to take any guns out of the ammo room. I of course do not see it that way. While Locke probably believed Sawyer's warnings that Jack was coming for the guns a little too quickly, he had good reason. Anyone would agree that Jack has flown off of the handle several times in the past and could easily get all worked up again after Sun's attempted kidnapping and want to go teach Zeke and crew a lesson without thinking it through. Also, to anyone who thinks that Jack would've actually listened to or consulted Locke before taking the guns out, had Locke kept the guns where they were and had been in the hatch himself, I say: "Brotha/Sista, please." Jack had hardly ever listened to Locke's cool-headed reasoning in the past... he wasn't about to start then.


"Sawyer, you magnificent bastard!"

This phrase was uttered so many times on the boards that I would be remiss not to mention it.

But Sawyer retorts, per his last line in The Long Con:

"I'm not a good person."

I believe that statement is still debatable... but for now, it serves to once again illustrate one of the main themes of the show: what makes someone "good" or "bad"? Most of the time Sawyer does act completely in his own self-interest, but there have been glimmers of hope for him, including: telling Jack about the bar meeting with his dad, attempting to thwart the Others' kidnapping of Walt, threatening to beat down Seabilly Jim if he hurt Kate, giving Kate all the alcohol with no questions asked when Boone was dying, and so on. But masterminding the Sun kidnapping attempt, fooling Kate into suspecting Ana Lucia and thus setting off a series of events to plot Locke against Jack and achieve Sawyer's goal is quite dastardly.

On another topic, there was much discussion about Sawyer's other "long con" - the one he pulled on Cassandra in his flashback. First off, people now think that he was most likely talking about Cassandra -not Kate- when mumbling his "I love her" comment in the hatch to Jack a few episodes back.

On a similar note, people were split as to whether or not Sawyer would have gone through with the con on Cassandra, had she given him a different reaction at the end. This post explains it best:

- "She let him down in her response to the situation, and I think he decided it wasn't worth pursuing because he gave her the choice to say "the money doesn't matter, you're what counts," and she blew it. And I don't think Sawyer would let himself "love" someone until he had utter faith in them to say that."

Others thought he never intended to do anything but keep the money for himself:

- "One of the things I find interesting is that Locke has been presented as a character whose life has changed (or at least whose true nature was liberated) on the island, while Sawyer is presented as the torch boy for the other side of the argument, that people do not really change. I still believe that Sawyer wants to be good; he is just hopeless about his ability to do so, or at least it is easier to use the tiger/stripes argument as a crutch because change is hard, change takes work, change hurts."


Regarding Sawyer's coup d'etat - while everyone applauded the shake-up in the Lostaway's leadership and power structure, people were split as to whether or not Sawyer is the best person to now have control of the guns. Here is a sampling of posts:

- "Actually, I take the position that the one person Sawyer was NOT looking out for is number one. Sawyer is actually the one person I'd want in control of the guns right now. He has been the most pragmatic since day one -- every action, every decision. We know that Sawyer has feelings (deep ones), and this episode was no different. Unlike Jack and the rest, we also know that he is willing (and able) to set them all aside to do what needs to get done. Does he do bad things? Yes. Does he know exactly what he is doing? Yes. He is the *only* person on the island that is in complete control. Does that make him "likeable"? No. Does that make him interesting? Hell yes. I don't see this as a power play, as much as I see it as Sawyer trying to rein people in. Do we really think hauling off and building up an army to fight The Others on Jack's whim is a wise idea? Neither does Sawyer."

- "Actually Sawyer may or may not be the wisest person to have the guns right now. On one hand, he is neither Locke, nor Jack, and the two of them have entirely too many hidden agendas and mutual mistrust to be in charge of the weapons. On the other hand, who knows how bribable Sawyer might be. He keeps saying he has needs. If Kate, or Ana Lucia really want those guns, they probably could get them. Or maybe not. See... Sawyer as the sheriff is an unknown quantity, and that's what makes it interesting."

- "As much as I don't like the "you took my stuff" rationale, I do like the fact that there's a new dynamic in the Lostaway leadership. Light vs. dark, faith vs. science, was getting set up a little too neatly. A wild card is always good!"

- "Sociopathic tendencies aside, I consider Sawyer better to make judgments about the guns than Jack or Locke or especially Jack AND Locke. He's a happy medium when it comes to knowing what's going on and how to handle it. I'm glad they're under his control. Stakes went WAY up, and as someone said, it's a whole new ballgame, once Charlie attacked Sun. Like damn."

- "These people need to get on the same page. You think any of the Others ever give Zeke shit? Think Alex would've hid the torches before their big showdown in the clearing? Or somebody would speak intelligibly in the jungle, rather than whisper menacingly? No, they accept him as a leader, and they do as he says. In the meantime, the Lostaways are all pulling in opposite directions."

- "The balance of power has shifted, and though I love Jack, I am happy to see this happen, because I think it's realistic. In our society, what Charlie and Sawyer did was wrong. But isn't it amazing how the rules can change, and the con man and the junkie can be among the most savvy in a society in which there are no rules?"

Yes... the game has changed, my friends... The Game Has Changed.


Darth Hobbit
Darth Hoodie
Sith Lord Mini
Anakin Charlie

Those are just but a sampling of the brilliant nicknames Charlie earned himself on the boards for rockin' the black hoodie and lurking in the shadows all episode. The funny thing is, no one seems quite as annoyed with him anymore now that he just straight up did something really bad. And I find it fascinating that his hate for Locke trumps his drug habit as a reason to help out Sawyer. Here are a few more posts on this subject:

- "I don't think that either Sawyer or Charlie intended to hurt Sun. Sawyer had become almost friends with Jin, and I don't see him deliberately hurting Sun.. his cons are not about hurting people. And Charlie has that whole protector of the female race thing going on, so he wouldn't try to hurt her either. I think her head bump was an accident, which her account supports."

- "Interesting that Charlie turned down the Hell Marys. He's got something new to keep him interesting and off drugs. Revenge. Cool."


There was yet another book capturing the spotlight briefly on the show... Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Except, the thing is, it's not really a book, but rather a very, very short story.

I'm about to tell you what the story is about, so skip the rest of this paragraph if you don't want to know for some reason... The story seems to be about this guy escaping from his own hanging... until the end when it is revealed that everything that happened is simply what went through his mind during the split second in which he was hanged. This led some people to bring up the #)R$%#)%(&#$*&!!! purgatory theory again, and a few others to wonder if the show will turn out to be all the things that were going through one specific character's head during the crash, right before they died. I sincerely hope that's not the case... and it wouldn't really explain the flashbacks, unless the series was supposed to be showing what ALL crash victims were thinking right before they died. Pause. Hmmm... Naahhhh, they wouldn't.

If you would like to read the story (it will take all of 5 minutes), here it is:

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge


- The manuscript "Bad Twin" that Hurley found and was shown reading briefly is going to be the infamous "marketing tie-in" for the show. As in, they are actually going to sell that book at some point in the near future. The story goes that it is a manuscript that one of the not-so-lucky passengers had just tried to sell to an agent right before the crash. This unfortunate passenger (named Gary Troup) left a copy behind as well, and so said agent will attempt to make money off of the fact that the author was on the mysterious flight 815 that was never found, and will publish the book posthumously. Lame idea? Possibly. Or brilliant, "next generation marketing" idea? Possibly. Will I still buy it either way? Definitely. The Lost creators know millions of suckers when they see 'em!

- I loved the Ana Lucia and Kate staredown sequence.

- The ongoing Scott vs. Steve joke (nowAna Lucia is mentioning it???) is getting old. Enough already.

- Did anyone else laugh when Jin kept saying "Gun!" "Gun!" I don't think I was supposed to laugh, but he just sounded kind of goofy.

- I really thought in the final scene when Sawyer looked over to the driver's seat of the black car, that Locke's dad was going to be there. Because after all, that guy is the MASTER of the long con by getting Locke to give him a kidney?!?!? Anyway, he wasn't there, so oh, well. If *I* wrote the show, he would've been.

- Jack sucks and is now in my #1 Most Hated Character position. Good God, he annoys me. Kate is down to #3!

- Did you catch Hurley mentioning that Bernard was a dentist? I was thinking his back-story would be something more exciting than that. But regardless, I certainly hope that mention means that we will get a Bernard and/or Rose flashback some time in the near future. Where have those two been, by the way? Sure, it's only been like 4 days on the island since their reunion, but are they still cooped up in some tent cuddling somewhere and hiding from the rest of the freaks ... still?


How many of you noticed Kate's mom as Sawyer and Gordy's waitress?

You missed it? You need to go through my Lost-viewing-boot-camp! Fine, I'll indulge you - see it here, but be forewarned that this site is packed with spoilers:

Kate's Mom in Sawyer's Flashback


To refresh your memory before we all hail the nerds who investigated this:

HURLEY: Wait, what's that?!
SAYID: It's Rousseau's signal.
HURLEY: Oh, crap.
SAYID [changing the dial]: But this radio has a wider bandwidth.
HURLEY: Hold it, stop! Do you hear that!
RADIO [with spotty reception]: That was the... Duke Ellington... orchestra featuring... up next on WXO, the Glen Miller Orchestra with Moonlight Serenade.
[The song begins to play with good reception.]
HURLEY: Whoa, you hear how clear that is? It's got to be close, right?
SAYID: Radio waves at this frequency bounce off the ionosphere. They can travel thousands of miles. It could be coming from anywhere.
HURLEY: Or, any time... Just kidding, dude.

So first off, you KNOW I was freaking out when Hurley said the "or any time" line. Because yes, I fully admit that I want there to be a time warp or loop, just like a few episodes ago when I wanted there to be a force field. And if they threw in a dragon, a wizard, a few elves and then some robots for good measure, I would probably quit my job and just spend all day watching and re-watching episodes of Lost. Which leads to the question - did the writers give Hurley that line because they've always said he's supposed to "be the voice of the audience" and they know that everyone on the boards has been talking about this time warp/loop theory and therefore they knew everyone would go berzerker if Hurley alluded to it? Or in other words, did they put that line in just to screw with our heads? I will sadly admit this is a possibility.

HOWEVER, and I really mean this, so don't blow me off like I'm a crazy lunatic - even though I am: the nerds who researched the exchange above came up with some very interesting things that I really do not think should be ignored. All of the points below are posts from the boards, so you can read through them below and then decide for yourself if Hurley's line was just a throwaway comment:

- Glenn Miller is from the WW2 era.
- Did anyone make out the radio station's call letters? It was a W, which would make it east of the Mississippi.
- WXO which are letters 23, 24, and 15 of the alphabet and I'd like to thank the creators of Lost for making me look for the numbers anywhere and everywhere.
- Speaking of which... nice touch making the call letters of the station "WXO." Only the oldest radio stations carry a three-letter call sign. Fairly common in the 1930s and 40s, but not so common today. Just like the music being played. Maybe Hurley was right, after all. Come to think of it, how old were the bodies in the cave? Didn't Jack guesstimate that they'd been there since the 1940s? Hmm.
- On December 15, 1944, Glenn Miller was scheduled to fly from England to Paris to play for the soldiers who had recently liberated the city. His plane departed from Twinwoods Airfield, Clapham, a village near Bedford, but disappeared over the English Channel and was never found. Miller's disappearence remains a mystery; the fact that neither Miller's remains nor the wreckage of his plane (a single-engined Noorduyn Norseman UC-64, USAAF Tail Number 44-70285) were ever recovered from the Channel have led to many conspiracy theories over the years.
- Wait... does that mean that Glenn Miller is (*gasp*) – on the island?! Now that’s what I call a plot twist!! Maybe they’ll find his plane stuck in a tree somewhere, too? That would be wicked sweet. Who knows, maybe the radio in old Glenn's plane has been playing his damn song on a loop for 16 years.

OK, so now that you've read all that, you can decide if it was significant. One last thing on the time warp/loop stuff... before anyone emails me about all the recent chatter on the boards about "proof" of time travel - rest assured that I have read all of that and know that the writers are admitting to a few things they screwed up on. For example, in Jack's most recent flashback, the date on an X-ray says "Nov 2005." How can that be, if that was a flashback? There are several other similar things that I don't have the energy to write out that were just straight-up mistakes, and they all deal with time, and it's got fans worked into a fever pitch. However, I will end with this, which I believe I have said before: the writers have said, "We've never said WHEN this is all taking place."


The "Charlie reveal" at the end definitely surprised me. At first, I didn't even think "how did Sawyer find the statues if he stayed in the hatch?" Then I thought that Kate helped him, until she confronted him. Then thought it was Ana Lucia, and suspected her up until Darth Hoodie emerged. What I loved about this episode is that both Charlie and Sawyer did what they did for no other reason than just good ol' testosterone-fueled jealousy. Charlie wanted Locke to look like a fool and Sawyer doesn't like Jack and that's about all there was to their reasoning. And if they were willing to fake a kidnapping attempt with Sun of all people - basically for those lame reasons... what else will they be willing to do in the future?


- Sayid staring at the new radio: " fix...communications device!"
- Was Vincent in on the Long Con? If so: awesome!
- I think Jack and Locke need to breakdance fight for supreme leadership. While it would make about as much sense as any other "confrontation" they've had, it would more entertaining. Season 2: Electric Boogaloo?
- All I want is Jin to borrow Eko's Jesus stick and beat Sawyer and Charlie with it.
- On a lighter note, Vincent the shifty-eyed dog is getting fat. What the hell are they feeding that dog??!?
- Anyone else notice that the rain immediately followed Vincent's scene (and the weather had not indicated rain prior to that)? I'm still working on my rain theory. It *always* rains when someone gets hurt/killed/kidnapped. It *only* rains when someone gets hurt/killed/kidnapped. This time, though, the losties set up the kidnapping. It wasn't the "island". So, I'm not sure how it all fits.
- I hope Jack found a bottle of Xanax in Sawyer's stash. The man could totally stand to pop one of those bad boys. As Hurley might say, "Dudes, chill."
- Loved Charlie going all Emperor Palpatine at the end.


[Back on the beach, Sawyer is coming back to his tent from a swim and sees Charlie building a shelter nearby.]
SAWYER: Well, well, now look who had to relocate to the suburbs. [Charlie doesn't respond] Ain't that just like a woman? She keeps the house and you get the cheap-ass apartment. Man, I thought these people hated me, but I've got to hand it to you -- stealing a baby, trying to drown it -- now, that's a new low. You even made Locke take a swing at you. Hell, that's like getting Gandhi to beat his kids.

KATE: I heard Jack took your pain killers.
SAWYER: Well, I guess me and the Doc are on the outs. One less Christmas card I'll have to send this year.

HURLEY: Hey, man. You gonna put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both up? [Sayid doesn't respond] Lime in the coconut? The song?
SAYID: What do you want, Hurley?
HURLEY: So, I'm over at Rose and Bernard's tent -- did you know he's a dentist? Well, that's not all he's been holding out on us. The guy picked up Boone's signal from the Norwegian plane.
SAYID: Nigerian.

SAWYER: It's worth a look. Let me ask you something -- this whole scenario make sense to you?
KATE: What do you mean?
SAWYER: Think about it. First off, how'd she get away? The woman doesn't weigh 100 pounds soaking wet.
KATE: She was fighting for her life. People are capable of almost anything...
SAWYER: You couldn't get away. You versus Sun -- hot oil death match -- my money's on you, She-Ra.

KATE: Hey, what's going on?
SAWYER: It looks like the good folks of Island Town are about to form a posse -- get themselves armed up. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if Jack didn't find himself that horse of yours and start leading the charge in a big white hat.

SAWYER: Hate to interrupt whatever the hell it is you're doing. What are you doing?
[We see a bunch of books thrown on the ping-pong table that Locke has presumably already looked through.]
LOCKE: I'm alphabetizing.
SAWYER: Oh, sure. Sun gets attacked in the jungle and you figure it's a good time to start the damn Dewey decimal system. Good thinking.

SAWYER: Well, actually, John, I'm here to help you -- give you the heads-up.
LOCKE: Heads-up?
SAWYER: Seems Jack's on his way over here to open your little gun closet and take whatever he needs. You should know he's not alone. The whole camp's pretty shook up about what happened to Tokyo Rose. I'm guessing everybody's going to want to play Cowboys and Indians. And once those guns are out and about -- something tells me they ain't never going back in.

(Note: this next one makes it into the Best Lines of the Series echelon)

[We hear the sound of the timer alarm in the Hatch and see Sawyer open his eyes in front of the computer, apparently awakened. He inputs the numbers as Jack and Jin enter.]
JACK: What are you doing here?
SAWYER: One second, I'm like this close to the high score on Donkey Kong.


Do you really think the counter gets to zero? Do ya? Do ya?!?!?!?!!?

By the way, I may have lied in my last post (unintentionally, of course). It looks like there will not be an episode on 2/22 because of the Olympics (yes, they are on another network, but so was the World Series, and they delayed Lost because of that). Right now, they are showing a rerun of the original two-hour pilot episode on 2/22. If you can catch that, I highly recommend it - it's very cool to watch now that you know how things have unraveled. The schedule currently shows Maternity Leave airing on 3/1. I will put a short post up if I learn otherwise. This week's episode, One of Them, is still good to go.

The most recent ABC Lost podcast (done by the writers) supposedly had a lot of good info in it. I haven't listened to it yet, but found this brief write-up of some major points. I do not consider any of these spoilers, but if you literally want to know nothing about even general themes of what may happen, then read no further.

- The Long Con-writers were itching to get Sawyer back to his roots, Han Solo fashion. They've consciously reset characters back to where they were last season - we will see the results of those changes in the upcoming episodes.

- The necklace con actually happened to Carlton (one of the writers)!

- They will do more with characters lives intertwining in their pasts like with Sawyer and Kate's Mom.

- The Long Con launched the narrative focus for the next 5 episodes of the show.

- Sayid's flashbacks will be from an earlier point in time than all his previous flashbacks.

- They will soon deal with the question of why they didn't ask Zeke more questions about the Others when they had the chance. (Erika: Hallelujah!) We will get more answers about the Others this season.

- They attempted to explain past mysterious statements they've made about 'the numbers' never being explained. They did not mean we would not learn their significance and the purpose they serve, just that on some mystical level we may never understand why they pop up all the time.

- There are thematic similarities between Lost and Darron Aronofsky's movie "Pi" (Erika: This scares THE CRAP out of me because I HATED that movie!!!!! Aaaahhhhh!!!! Also, I believe Darron will direct a future episode, and I think I mentioned that before)

- They have reiterated that we will definitively learn why the plane crashed by the end of season 2.

That's all, folks!

Til next time,

- e


Anonymous said...

why no mention of your buddy locke pouring through those books for what will probably be yet another section of film? how about, how many sections are there anyway? how much is missing? as many as bases on the island? did they split them all up and hide different ones in different 'hatches'? nothing??

Proud Papa said...

The episode was great cuz Sawyer's lines are so good - Jin just can't spit it out like Sawyer can...

Nick said...

Re: The Long Con - A common theory, that I agree with:

Sawyer's mom was conned by Locke's "dad" (kidney transplant dude). That is how those 2 are connected. You heard it here last...

Anonymous said...

Nick is the best ever.

On a separate note, I know everyone already knows the following, but for those living in a cave:

Gary Troup

Anonymous said...


But, Sawyer is said to have taken the name of the man who conned his mom, and Locke's dad's name is
"Anthony Cooper." So, have I just blown a hole in your theory, or do you think that Locke's dad took on the alias of "Sawyer" when he was on the job? If so and if Locke knows that his father also used this name, it might explain why Locke was so curious about why James took on the alias of "Sawyer."

Erika (aka "e") said...

This is e... I do not think that Locke's dad was the real Sawyer and conned Sawyer's mom back in the day, thus causing his father to kill the mom and then himself. The reason is just because of timing - doesn't seem like that all fits - plus the fact that Locke's dad is nas-tay, and I figured that the "real" Sawyer would also be a very good-looking, young built guy. : )

Nick said...

Ya, I would have to assume that Locke's "dad" worked under an alias when conning people (maybe even while conning Locke).

Are we even sure that that was Locke's biological dad? I have to go back and watch that ep, but didn't his (crazy) mom just *tell* him it was his dad? What other proof was there? Can somebody call Montel or Maury?

My guess, which I will stick to for now - It was Locke's real dad, and he did con Sawyer's mom.

Erika (aka "e") said...

This is e again.... I was under the impression it definitely WAS Locke's real dad. The private eye guy was the one who found him and wasn't going to even tell Locke about him - Locke asked. Also, it makes sense that the "real" dad would want to find him now because he needed the kidney and knew the likelihood of a match was that much greater with a biological son.