Recon (short for Reconnaissance) n. - An inspection or exploration of an area, especially one made to gather military information.
Sure, this is what the Nemesis meant when he told Sawyer to go over to Hydra Island and get the scoop on what's going on, but as the astute Damon Lindelof pointed out
on Twitter last night:
@DamonLindelof: Recon. Verb. To con again.
C'mon, this is a Sawyer episode. You don't send the best liar you know (Ben was pretty offended by that, by the way) to go scope out the scene and gather information. If that's what you need, go send Sayid. If you're going to send Sawyer, expect lies, sarcasm, more lies, and a guy who inexplicably has time for a haircut (Melissa pointed this out to me last night, have we just not seen Sawyer for so long we forgot what he looked like, or is his hair not shorter since we last saw him in the cave?). None of this reconnaissance crap. Sawyer's a con man the same way Sayid's a killer. There's no changing that.
I'm glad that Sawyer has finished his moping (Don't get me wrong, I thought Sawyer and Juliet were great together, but I like my Sawyer to be looking out for his own best interests, screwing over those we don't like, and taking charge and looking out for his friends), because this was a nice return to form for Sawyer. He has no loyalties to anyone (again, except to his friends), he's willing to do whatever it takes to get everyone off the island, but at the same time he's very aware of the dangerous people around him (namely the Nemesis and Widmore), so he's not operating with reckless abandon. One downside to this idea of trying to play both sides, is when you get found out, you tend to have a lot of people pissed off at you, and it's not exactly good for your health. Sawyer's generally pretty good at not getting in over his head, but messing with the Nemesis and Widmore is definitely playing with fire.
Speaking of Charles Widmore, let's discuss him for a little bit. I can't remember if I actually mentioned this last week or just talked about it with some of my friends (browsing last week's entry it looks like I did not mention it), but one of the first things I thought about when I saw Widmore was what side is he on? Everyone's got a side, you're either with Jacob, or your with the Nemesis. Some people may not care that much, but at the end of the day, you have two camps, the people that believe in Jacob (Ilana, Richard, Jack, Hurley), and the people that may not believe/care but are with that group anyways (Frank, Sun, Miles, Ben?). Then you have the people that are siding with the Nemesis (Claire, Sayid, the Others), and the people that maybe don't care as much, but are with that group anyways (Sawyer, Kate, Jin). Hope I didn't forget anyone. Well, now we have Charles Widmore and his band of merry men. My initial thought last week was that Widmore was going to be siding with Jacob. I had a couple reasons for thinking this:
-First, just from a logistical standpoint, the Nemesis has the upper hand right now. He killed everyone in the Temple, has any Others that weren't killed in the Temple with him, since he promised to get them off the island, they are almost his followers. He also has a pretty strong resistance to dying, as was evidenced a couple weeks ago by Sayid's failed stabbing. Oh, and he's also the smoke monster. Meanwhile, Jacob's camp has a group of people with some guns (that don't work against the Nemesis, by the way), and a dead Jacob that only Hurley can talk to. Seems pretty bleak. While Charles Widmore is just a regular person, he's a powerful person, and someone with a vast knowledge of the island (possibly even more vast than Richard?). Having him on Jacob's side would be some nice leverage for that camp.
-One of the underlying themes of this show (well, the
underlying theme) is good vs. evil. And that even takes place on an individual level. We've seen everyone have their own internal struggle with good vs. evil. No one character is fully good, and no one character is fully evil. Look at the people that appeared to have nothing redeeming about them when we first met them: Sawyer, Ana Lucia, Ben, even the Nemesis. Look at how we view Sawyer now. Once we learned more about him, we saw what a truly conflicted character he was. Same for Ana Lucia and Ben. Even the Nemesis, the more we learn about him this season, he's not an evil being just for the sake of being evil. There are two sides to that coin, just like everyone else. But what about Charles Widmore? Have we ever seen anything redeeming about him? He has always been a mean-spirited, angry, dangerous man, nothing else. I didn't believe that could last. Just like with anyone else on this show, there has to be another side to this man. So what better way to see his "good" side, than to have him show up to the island with the intent to fight for Jacob, and go against the Nemesis?
It certainly would appear that that's where we're headed, fortunately. We don't know for sure, but Widmore is clearly interested in the Nemesis, and given the supersonic fence he's setting up around his perimeter, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume he's not planning on making friends with it. The interesting thing to all of this was his relative indifference to the people on the beach. It could just be that he has his own plans and doesn't much care what anyone else on the island is doing. But I am a little surprised that he has no interest in recruiting Ilana to further his cause, as it wouldn't surprise me if he knew who she was and what her purpose is. That was the only thing that I thought really went against my initial thoughts.
Now, one other Widmore-related idea that I wanted to toss out there. I talked about getting the full spectrum of a character, being able to see the good and the bad, how we haven't seen that from Widmore yet. Well, what if we actually had seen it from Widmore already, but just didn't know it? I heard this suggestion from a podcast, and thought it would be good to expand upon.
Widmore didn't want Desmond to be with Penny, and didn't seem to think much of Desmond period. He called Desmond a coward. But what if this was all done on purpose? What if he knew who Desmond was, and what he was supposed to do? What if Desmond's entering Widmore's race around the world just to spite Widmore was what Charles wanted to happen? Is it any different than Eloise raising Daniel so that he would eventually go to the island? Now granted, it's not exactly the same situation, since Desmond never went back to the 1970s, but the idea of influencing others so that they end up on the island is not exactly unique (see: Jacob). If we look at it that way, then Charles behavior is still a bit cruel, but at least we have a purpose behind it. If he was doing it for the good of the island, suddenly it doesn't look so reprehensible, does it?
The conflict between Ben and Widmore was always interesting, because Ben was a "bad" guy, Charles was a "bad" guy, and yet they both didn't like each other. But let's look at Widmore's transgressions against Ben, most notably the freighter. The people on the freighter were there to get Benjamin Linus. Not to kill him, but to take him off the island. Now let's think about the most significant things that have happened so far to get the Nemesis to where he is right now. One was Locke's body coming back to the island so that the Nemesis could take its form, the other was Jacob dying. Well, who killed Locke? Who killed Jacob? What if Widmore had been able to take Ben off the island? Would those things have still played out? Maybe. But maybe not. What if Widmore was just acting in the best interest of Jacob and the island when he sent that freighter? It makes you think about him in a different light, doesn't it?
There are certainly arguments against this idea, the fact that Keamy killed Alex, the fact that he sent Keamy at all (although if he's trying to apprehend Ben, sending someone like Keamy's probably not a bad idea), the fact that when Locke moved the island, Widmore was there to get him, and encouraged him to go back to the island (although to be fair Widmore did say that he wanted Locke to stay alive). But I do think it's possible that perhaps Widmore has already shown us that he might not be quite the bad guy we make him out to be.
I have a random topic I wanted to discuss before I get into my quick hits. A friend of mine is currently watching the show for the first time (he's making good progress too, I think he's through the first 2 seasons in the last three weeks), and that, combined with me going through some old episodes, has caused me to think a lot about the path the show has taken, and what was planned, and what wasn't. I know Damon and Carlton like to tell us repeatedly that we would know by the end that they had this planned out from the beginning. While I think there is a certain degree of truth to that, I don't think it's quite as cut and dry as all of that.
Ultimately, I think this is a show about good and evil. And to the writers' credit, I think that's something that has been apparent since the beginning. The discussion around light and dark, good and evil, white and black, has always been around. One of the earliest episodes in the series contains the infamous backgammon conversation between Locke and Walt. When we first saw Adam & Eve, they had, in a bag by their bodies, a black stone and a white stone. I do think, from that perspective, yes, the writers have stayed true to their initial idea for the show. But I don't really think it goes much past that. When the pilot was created, I believe JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof had this idea, about survivors of a plane crash, on a mysterious island with unexplained events occurring on it. And there's the premise for the show. They didn't have this long and twisted story about what that all meant. But when they got the green light to expand further, this idea of good and evil was created, and some of the island's mysteries were fleshed out (the Others, the black smoke, the Black Rock, Rousseau, etc.). But at the same time, the show was looked at as a prime time broadcast drama, something that was there to captivate audiences on a weekly basis. I talked about this a bit in my Season 3 recaps, but it's very clear in Season 2 and the first part of Season 3, that the show didn't quite
have the whole plan in place quite yet. They didn't know how long the show was going to last, they didn't know exactly what ABC wanted to do with it, so they couldn't quite get all the pieces in place yet.
With the decision made during Season 3 to make the show six seasons, I think then we really started to see the writers operate with the full picture in mind. Maybe the writers didn't know the full picture, but at the very least Damon and Carlton did. The writers have done a fantastic job of trying to connect things from the first two seasons that may not have had meaning at the time, and making it so that they're now very significant. For example, in Season 2, when the Others were raiding the tail section, Ana Lucia killed one of them, and found and old US Army knife. She remarked to Goodwin that they hadn't even made one those knives in at least 20 years. An inconspicuous comment at the time, meant to be more mysterious than anything. And yet, three seasons later, we see the island moving through time, and where do we end up? In the 1950s, when a group of US Army soldiers had arrived to the island to do some hydrogen bomb testing. Or Dr. Chang, who we first see in the orientation film in the hatch. Fast forward to Season 5, and we're now in 1977, and who's the head honcho of the Dharma Initiative at the time? Dr. Chang, of course. Do I think that any of this was planned when Season 2 was written? Nope. Hell, Michael Emerson was originally hired on to do a 3-episode guest spot. Look at him now. But the show is written so well, that it all flows fairly seamlessly. There are certain awkward moments, like the fact that the Others at first were a group of people that seemingly lived out in the wilderness, walked around barefoot, wore dirty clothing, and stayed in huts. They tried to explain that one away when Kate found "disguises" in lockers in the medical station, implying it was all to fool the Oceanic survivors, but really I just don't think they knew what they wanted to do with the Others yet, and when they came up with the idea of the Dharma barracks, and the Others being a more enlightened and civil people, they had to backtrack a bit.
See, told you it was random. But I figured since I had you all so captivated I could get away with it. Let's get on to some quick hits:
-One of the inadvertent side effects to the island's healing properties is that it really helps the writers out. Now when people get these serious injuries, their recovery time is much greater. Remember when Naomi's lung was punctured when she crash landed? Not a problem. With Jin getting his leg stuck in that bear trap, it was looking pretty bad. But, because of the island, I have a feeling after a couple more days he should be right as rain. I mean, honestly it works out for everyone because now we don't have to sit there and watch Jin hobble around with a crutch for the rest of the season.
-I wonder if Claire took her squirrel baby with her. Does she have a stroller that the Nemesis maybe made for her so that she can take it for walks in the jungle?
-Creepy Sayid is creepy. I love Kate's look of helplessness as she sits around her "friends", and has Claire trying to kill her while Sayid just sort of sits there with little interest in what's going on. Way to pick the wrong group, Kate.
-Who knew they had portable sonic fences? I may have to go to IKEA and see if I can find one there to set up around my place. So easy to install, too.
-Real interesting stuff from the Nemesis when talking to Kate. He talked about his mother, talked about how she was 'crazy', but then compared her to 'crazy' Claire. So does that mean his mother was on the island at one point in time? Does that mean she was infected as well? And why bring up Aaron? Aaron has mostly been used as a prop this season as character motivation for Claire, so the fact that the Nemesis brought him up in a conversation with Kate was...surprising. Perhaps we're not yet done with him.
-Speaking of Aaron, my friend Joanne sent an interesting link
on the biblical character of Aaron (This show has the occasional religious undertone, in case you haven't noticed). Aaron was probably most famous for making the golden calf while his brother Moses received the ten commandments from God. Something to think about, especially if we're going to be seeing Aaron again this season.
-Any thoughts on what (or who) is in the locked room in the sub? I'm still waiting for Desmond/Eloise/Penny to show up, and I don't know that they would be coming back to the island willingly, so...
-So, the Nemesis killed the remaining plane survivors (Who I think have doubled in number, I feel like there were about 25 people on the plane when it took off), and he killed everyone else in the Temple. I'm sensing a recurring theme here, as in people on the island need to die for the Nemesis to accomplish his goal.
-We have an outrigger, and we have an aggressive group of people with guns. Now all we need is for the two to mix, find their way over to the direction of the beach, and we can finally answer the question of who was shooting at Juliet & co. in the other outrigger during the time flash last season. And more importantly, who Juliet actually shot. I think we're getting close to this one.
-Jack doesn't like what he sees in the mirrors in the light house, so he breaks them. Detective Ford doesn't like what he sees in the mirror, so he breaks it. That's a whole lotta bad karma going around, guys.
-So, how sweet is Ford's job? Go undercover, have sex with hot married woman, then arrest her. Rinse and repeat.
-It doesn't matter what universe or timeline we're in, Sawyer always knows how to put the moves on the ladies. That line about the whip was gold. (Speaking of which, Charlotte cleans up nice when she's not bleeding her brains out and is close to death)
-Was I the only one that thought Sawyer was taking the sun flower to Miles to apologize?
I think that's all I've got for this week. I'm giddy with anticipation of next week's episode, although ABC's promo for it made me feel like I was watching one of those Dos Equis commercials.
He's the most mysterious person on the island.
"You want to know a secret, something I've known a long time? All this, it's not what you think it is."
Now, his incredible story, will be revealed.
"I've seen things on this island, that you've never imagined."
He is...the most interesting man on the island.
"I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dharma beer. Stay thirsty my friends."