Previously on LOST is a weekly column recapping and analyzing each episode from the final season of Lost. (Warning: May contain spoilers!)
The Substitute is a great episode that revitalizes some of the defining elements of LOST that I thought had been missing from the first two episodes of the final season. More often than not, the quality of an episode boils down to which characters and actors are the focus.
The Substitute features Locke, Sawyer and Flocke (Fake Locke), and actors Terry O’Quinn and Josh Holloway both deliver exceptional performances with great chemistry together. The cliff-side scene was probably the strongest, and was constructed brilliantly. It started off stunning visually, progressed with superb dialogue, introduced a great mythology element and culminated with an awesome image of Locke’s name being crossed off.
Another spectacular component to this episode was the camera work. The cinematography was uncharacteristic for LOST, and had an almost B-movie feel to it. From the first person shots of the smoke monster, to the extreme close ups in the temp agency. It definitely created a different and refreshing tone for the episode without being indulgent or inconsistent with the series. This aspect alone kept me interested in from beginning to end.
The writing in this episode was also spot on. I thought that almost every scene had substance to it, rather than just plot progression. Most significantly, I thought The Substitute featured genuine comedic elements that you can usually count on from LOST. I can think of at least four lines out of this episode that I loved, and none of them felt forced. The only place I felt the writing was somewhat weak, was the self-referential lines. Locke saying, â€œDon’t tell me what I can’t doâ€ was interesting the first couple times it re-occurred, but after the sixth time hearing it, it sounds lazy.
I’m still not sold on all of the flash-sideways connections. Hurley had been established as the owner of the box company Locke worked at very early in the series so I didn’t mind that interaction. However, Locke running into Rose and Ben still seem to be there as bait for an easy viewer hook. I sarcastically thought to myself, â€œI bet Artz teaches at that school and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Friendly was the principalâ€. If the writers can justify these circumstances, then I will be extremely impressed. Unfortunately, I think the ultimate ‘explanation’ will be â€œthey’re all connectedâ€ or â€œit was destinyâ€. But the show has proven me wrong in the past, and I hope it does so again.
In the end, these are quibbles of what was an amazing episode. The Substitute has me entrenched in the show again. I want to look up screen caps of the rock, and read about theories and subtleties I may have missed. I want to spend as much time as possible analyzing this episode until the next one.
- Names and numbers on the rock: coincidence or source of the numbers?
- Who is the kid that Flocke and Sawyer saw on the island?