WHAT THE FLOCKE!?
That was my exact reaction upon watching this episode yesterday. To be honest, I am not a fan of Elizabeth Sarnoff written episodes, and while I do enjoy the mythology, I was not keen on following around Fake Locke and continuously seeing the real John Locke being kicked around like a soccer ball.
Unfortunately, that is what we had to put up with in this episode. Since each episode contains so much I will simply focus on one character, but since Flocke is both Fake and Locke, guess that means two characters this time around.
The episode begins with an ALT-Flash and Locke driving up to his house in his handicap wheelchair. This is the beginning of an episode full of FML worthy events for John. The ramp doesn’t work, he’s just gotten back from Australia, he’s tired and cranky, and in an attempt to just let the chair fall off the ramp, he is flung from the chair into the grass where sprinklers proceed to attack him.
Not a good welcome home, in any case. Helen (!) runs out to help him, and next we see Terry O’Quinn playing ducky in the bathtub while Helen rambles on in the background about them getting married. Judging from what we saw last week of a potential marriage and what we know of Lost (Sayid and Nadia, anyone?) married couples don’t really end up well, engaged couples even less, and not!engaged couples (even after three years, heh heh) even worse.
Here is where we witness something interesting with this Alt-Locke. When Helen removes the card and tells him to call Dr. Jack Sheppard, she says “What are the odds? Maybe it’s destiny.” Maybe it is John. The old John Locke would have snatched up that card and called Jack immediately. This John is far more cynical, more man of science, if you will. He doesn’t think it’s possible to fix him.
Back on-island, Flocke is zooming himself around the Island using Smokey Metro, and is drawn to a house playing rock music and things smashing inside. Is it me or did anyone else imagine punk rock Sawyer in this moment? No, just me? Moving on.
After terrorizing Richard and seeing some kid who could have been an inspiration for Lord of the Flies, Flocke returns to the ugly yellow house where Suliet met its birth and demise. I thought it was a big strange that Richard couldn’t see the boy, but then again, it wouldn’t be the first time. Way back as far as “Man Behind the Curtain”, it seems if you see things on-island that are not there, you are very important.
Maybe you are a “candidate”?
In any case, Flocke enters Sawyer’s house which looks like Motley Crue was its last tenant. “Search and Destroy” plays on the record player, which seems to echo Flocke’s mission in life. Is he “searching” out Sawyer to “destroy” him? Sawyer is very important, if you talk to Dogen and Lennon back at the Temple. He’s on the list, Jacob touched him, and they definitely didn’t want Smokey boy to find him.
Oh dramatic irony, how we love you.
Sawyer is sitting in his dirty underwear, drinking, moaning about his long lost love. Okay, not really, but you can tell that that is what he was thinking. I am getting really sick and tired of how we are supposed to feel for Sawyer when we weren’t shown anything to feel sorry for, to be honest. I can’t buy a three-minute implied relationship as reason for his total decay as a human. Sorry, Lost writers, but you dropped the ball there.
In any case, his grief is enough for Flocke to have a field day, playing on it and saying that he can answer all his questions. Sawyer knows that he is not John Locke because John Locke was scared, even when he pretended not to be.
This is in contrast to the ALT, where John Locke isn’t scared. He is at peace with the fact that he is in a wheelchair and seems more pissed off at the world than scared by it and his place in it. Kind of like…well, kind of like Flocke is. A cynical, glass-half empty man. Just like Sawyer is now. Two peas in a pod.
Sawyer is drinking, and I’m half-expecting him to be walking around in a feathered boa and heels for all his diva-like tendencies in this scene. He says that the reason he’s on the Island isn’t for some greater purpose, as Flocke implies, but because a lot of bad stuff has happened to him, so that’s why.
Well, since he has nothing else to do and Flocke won’t leave his house (which isn’t his house, it’s just a place he lived in, according to Flocke) then Sawyer gets up and goes to put some pants on. Yes please, Sawyer dear, put some pants on. Change your underwear while you’re at it, please. Unless Juliet didn’t do the laundry that day.
They set off on their trek to parts unknown. In the ALT, Locke continues to have the Day from Hell when Randy (what a douche!) fires him for missing a conference in Sydney. He leaves the building with his little box of stuff and finds that his van is blocked off by a massive yellow Hummer. Where have we seen that Hummer before? Oh, I know, one Hugo Reyes. Sure enough, Hurley pops up when Locke can’t even get revenge on him by lowering the handicap ramp down onto the shiny yellow siding.
Since Hurley is such a happy go-lucky guy this time around, he’s more than willing to aide Locke and gives him the number for a temp agency. This scene didn’t really do much for me, but it is interesting to note that in the regular timeline, the “connections” that the Losties had, in this case, seem to be coming true. Hurley and Locke shared Randy as a common link, and now because of him, they meet. Will it be like this for everyone? I hope so, because there are some characters who have connections that I would love to see meet up in the ALT.
Back on-island, the kid shows up, and Sawyer sees him! Is he “special” in the words of Richard, back in season three? He saw someone on-island who might be dead. Flocke is surprised that Sawyer sees the kid, and he takes off. The kid leads him deep into the jungle and here’s where it gets interesting. The kid says “You know the rules. You can’t kill him.”
Who is the “him”? Sawyer? Jacob? Aaron? I think this kid is young Jacob. The Island, when it isn’t Smokey appearing as someone has manifested what appears to be a character’s conscience. Walt showing up to Shannon when she was feeling guilty for letting Vincent run off. The horse appearing to Kate when she was thinking of Wayne and her feelings for Sawyer. Even Ben’s mother ,when he needed and wanted her the most.
Flocke is responsible for killing Jacob, so maybe this is just another Island hallucination. In any case, the kid tells Flocke something he can’t do so I guess we all know what that means….yup. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” Flocke screams, echoing his current avatar’s favored catchphrase.
Personally, I think the “him” that the kid was talking about, is not Sawyer, but rather Jacob. You can’t kill Jacob’s spirit, but you can kill his body. He is still there in some form, on the Island, protecting it from the Man in Black/Flocke. Is this form Sayid? Or just in the form of all the Losties who were brought there to perhaps take over Jacob’s work? We’ll see.
Flocke returns to Sawyer, and plays the whole “I didn’t see anything” card, which Sawyer just shrugs off. Before Flocke shows up, Richard appears, in a rather comical scene as he is always so composed and know-it-all. Now he is terrified, telling Sawyer to get out, that all Flocke wants is to use him, and then he will kill him. Sawyer doesn’t really care.
For someone as smart as Sawyer is, he is awfully stupid here (at least on the surface, knowing this show, he's got a plan going on). He knows that Richard has all the answers, and he knows that Richard has been around a very long time through some strange force. So you would think he would put two and two together that if Richard is freaked out by this guy, then there is reason to worry. Or it would have at least crossed his mind that someone walking around in the body of John Locke might not have such a good goal in mind, and it might even involve killing Sawyer.
But Sawyer is so “consumed with grief” that he doesn’t care (on the surface, at least. He could be forming a plan). Although it was nice to see a bit of the old seasons’ past Sawyer with the “Of Mice and Men” reference and pulling the gun on Flocke. Only here, Flocke manipulates him again, bringing up (vaguely) the death of Juliet and manages to walk out unscathed, leading Sawyer away. Oh Sawyer.
In the ALT, we meet up with Rose, who is relatively the same as present-day Rose. She kicks Locke’s ass and says she will help him find a job that fits his needs. She echoes what Locke should probably be doing, by telling him that she got past the denial part of having cancer and is just living her life. Locke seems to take the words to heart.
Now if only they could apply to Sawyer and his grief… (I know, I know, I'm giving him such a hard time, sorry).
Back on-island, at a cliff, Flocke leads Sawyer down a rickety old ladder. “Jacob’s Ladder”, anyone? I thought of it briefly when seeing the episode but I don’t know what it really means here or if it applies in anything other than name alone. Sawyer has a bit of a Juliet-moment, almost falling to his death but unlike her, he grabs hold of Flocke and actually manages to hold on.
They get to the bottom of the cave, where the first thing we see is a set of scales with a black and white stone. Both are even right now, but Flocke takes the white stone and pitches it, claiming that it is an “inside joke.” Well we get it. The Man in Black won, evil beats Jacob. Moving on to more interesting things, Flocke belittles Jacob, and shows Sawyer a list of names all scratched into a wall with numbers (some including THE NUMBERS) and says that that is why he is here.
All the names are “candidates” for the position of Jacob, and include such notables as Reyes, Jarrah, Locke, Sheppard, Kwon, and number 15, Ford. Where are Austen and Littleton? Flocke doesn’t even know if it applies to Jin or Sun Kwon. Was Jacob sexist? Apparently.
Flocke said that the names are meaningless. That they are people Jacob has poked and prodded and manipulated to end up on the Island to protect it. Protect it from what? Well from nothing, says the Man in Black, the Smoke Monster, the black stone. Flocke is lying his ass off here (maybe), to get Sawyer to help him. He says that Jacob poked and prodded Sawyer here, probably at his most miserable moment, and all the choices he then made were what led him to the Island and are why he had such a terrible life.
Basically, Flocke is saying that Jacob represented destiny (I think). That the Losties had no free will here. This seems in contrary to the talk that MIB and Jacob had on the beach. Jacob seems to stand for Free Will. He gave Sawyer the pen, but Sawyer continued to write the letter. He gave Jack the little push of confidence, but Jack was the one that listened. The Losties all had free will, even after Jacob pulled the strings a little. Kate didn’t have to keep stealing and getting away with murder.
What I find incredibly ironic about this scene, is that Flocke is saying that Jacob gets people at their most vulnerable and miserable and then twists them so that all of their choices ultimately aren't even their choices. This is exactly what he is doing with Sawyer now. Sawyer is at his most vulnerable and miserable and Flocke is devouring him whole, getting him to make choices that are not even his choices. It's what Flocke is pushing him and manipulating him do. To join his team.
Flocke says he is trapped that he wants to go home. That Sawyer has three choices. He can do nothing like John Locke did (then he crosses out his name. I guess Locke is no longer a “candidate” as he is dead), accept the job and become the new Jacob (maybe your name gets circled? Or you get a gold star?), or the third option, which Sawyer seems keen on taking before he even hears it, or you can help Flocke get off the Island and go home.
Sawyer takes door number three, and “hell yes” he is going to go home. To a home where nothing awaits him. This moment for Sawyer reminds me of last week’s moment on the dock, when he said some people are meant to be alone. He’s just tempting fate. This sudden urge to go home even when he has admitted that there is nothing there for him, hopefully indicates that he will stay on the Island and not be alone. God knows he deserves a little bit of happiness in his life that is NOT associated with denial and moving on.
Flocke smiles, happy that he has a new recruit. He’s got what he wanted. He has one of Jacob’s Candidates on his side. Now he can begin his path of destruction. Does he need more people? Who else is he going to recruit? If we listen to Dogen, it sounds like he might already have two others on his side, Claire and Sayid, as they are being consumed by darkness, “claimed”, if you will.
Like his ALT counterpart, Flocke is riding the waves of cynicism and is satisfied with what he is creating and doing. Locke, in the ALT, accepts that he is in the wheelchair when he hangs up the phone on Jack’s assistant, and tells Helen that he will never get out of that chair, and she should accept that as well. He gets a job he likes, as a substitute (episode title!) and even looks to be making a new friend in the likes of Benjamin Linus, European History teacher who doesn’t like when people don’t change out the coffee filter (this was the best part of the whole episode).
Much like Locke is the substitute in the ALT, Flocke is nothing more than a substitute as well. Sawyer might even simply be substituting for someone else. Walking away from this episode, I get the feeling that Flocke is even more baddie than we think him to be, and that Sawyer better start watching his own back (even though he really has had little practice seeing as Juliet was always there doing it for him) because before he knows it, he might be getting his name crossed out as well.
Written by Magali