• We see that Widmore’s crew is setting up Pylons similar to the ones that surround Dharmaville. Are they meant to keep the Smoke Monster out, or pen it in?
Michael Landon: “’You can spend your whole life worrying about what’s going to happen. People aren’t really gone when they die, because they live in memories. Memories that sustain us until we see them again.”
I liked that Sawyer’s wordless Little House on the Prarie scene was a call-back to an earlier time, where we learned that Sawyer used to watch the show as a kid when he was sick. Still, in an episode that was unusually full of “on-the-nose” moments, this one took the cake for me. I don’t need Michael Landon to repeat for us (yet again) the idea that the dead remain with us. I wouldn’t have minded a brief snippet of this dialogue, but the whole thing runs weirdly long, and is yet-another instance of time being devoted to something questionably meaningful when there’s a heavily-laden banquet table full of story details to explore before this show ends.
• Sawyer shows up at Charlotte’s door, toting a “sad sunflower” and a six-pack. He brought a single sunflower to Juliet during Season 5.
• Widmore’s got something/someone locked away on his submarine. Survey says “Desmond.” I tend to agree. What/who else could it be? Eloise Hawking? A Smokey-containment device? A closet full of McCutcheon? The entirety of the ’86 Mets? A gimp?
• Widmore has established himself on Hydra Island, and he and his crew appear to be preparing for the arrival of the Smoke Monster. Again I ask: How did he return to the Island? Why has he remained on the sub? Can he physically not set foot on it again due to his “banishment”? Is he simply protecting himself from Sudden Smokey Attack?
And more importantly: Why is he there? He was instrumental in getting Locke to petition the Oceanic 6 to return to the Island, which led to Locke’s body returning, which lead to the Man in Black’s successful coup. But he also commissioned a team of men to extract Ben Linus from the Island. Had he been successful, Ben would not have been present to kill Jacob. Has Widmore been on Jacob’s side this entire time? Is he operating his own game – seeking the Island’s “immortality” in exchange for helping the Man in Black?
And on a related note – the last time around, Widmore sent trained mercenaries. This time around he sends…what looks like the office staff of an insurance company. What up with that?
• Learning that Widmore is hiding on Hydra Island potentially clears up something about Anti-Locke/the Man in Black: by telling Ben to meet him there, isn’t Anti-Locke essentially delivering Ben into Widmore’s hands and/or encouraging the two of them to take one another out? That strategy should sound familiar, since its more-or-less what Sawyer is attempting to pull off as well – setting two enemies against each other.
This was also pointed out by Chud commenter “Wadeisdead” (I love the internet), who also wrote the following: “So either way, Ben would have been killed, but for some reason UnLocke would rather it happen by Widmore’s hands than by Jacob’s servants.”
I’d like to suggest that I have a pretty good reason for Anti-Locke’s actions. Letting Ilana kill Ben arguably doesn’t do anything for Anti-Locke or his plans. Ben’s death removes a slippery wild card from the game table, but that’s it. However, sending Ben to Hydra Island potentially removes that wild card (because Widmore harbors a serious vendetta against the “boy” who supposedly stole the Island from him), and it also potentially removes Widmore from play as well. Two for the price of one. If we assume that Widmore’s goal is to stop the Man in Black from leaving the Island, then removing Widmore is an obvious step for the Man in Black to take before he can leave. More interestingly, if Widmore has actually been HELPING the Man in Black (remember: he’s the one who tells Locke in Season 5 that unless Locke returns to the Island, “the wrong side is going to win.”), then Anti-Locke’s motive in pitting the two men against each other becomes even darker. He’s eliminating everyone – ally or enemy – as he progresses to his “freedom.”
I’m completely baffled by Claire. Is she being controlled? Does this “infection” mean anything? It doesn’t seem to take away your free will, since Claire tearfully apologizes to Kate for, y’know, trying to murder her. So maybe all of this comes down to the idea that people like Claire and Sayid are giving in to the darker halves of their personalities thanks to Anti-Locke’s persuasive chit-chats, and not because they’re “zombies.”
Only, I’m not convinced that Claire is being honest in her apology and tears here. I’ll be happy to be wrong about this, but I’m waiting for the Other shoe to drop here.
• In the off-Island universe, Sawyer/James runs into Kate again, and this time it looks as though he’s set to arrest her. Some folks on the message board have asked why Sawyer didn’t stop Kate in the airport, now that we know he’s a cop. But, to my recollection, Sawyer didn’t have any idea that Kate was a fugitive when they first crossed paths. And note also that Kate is hooded in this episode, so Sawyer tackles and apprehends her without any idea of who she is.
Like “Sundown,” this episode’s “flashes” clearly indicate that there’s more story to be told here, and I’m looking forward to it. Near as I can tell, there’s nothing in “Recon” that contradicts my wacky Second Snake theory.
• When Sawyer reveals his actual plan to Kate – they’re going to let Widmore and Anti-Locke fight it out and slip off in the submarine while they’re busy trading punches – I couldn’t help but remember the title of the book we saw Sawyer reading in the off-Island reality: Watership Down. Water-Ship, Down, as in a submarine.
• Let’s talk about Sawyer’s long-con strategy here – his initial agreement with the MiB, his subsequent conning of Widmore (who doesn’t appear to have bought Sawyer’s patter, but it doesn’t seem to really matter), and his subsequent Re-conning of Anti-Locke (get it? Re-con? Recon? See what they did there?). Sawyer spends this episode telling Anti-Locke and Widmore what he thinks they want to hear – and he tells nothing but the truth in the process. The only lie he tells is one of omission: he’s not on anybody’s side but his own.
Interestingly, that’s pretty much been my perspective on the Man in Black’s approach this season – that he offers people the truth (or some of the truth), but not to help or enlighten them. He offers them the truth because it advances HIS agenda. I believe that the Man in Black has promised to keep these people safe, and that he intends to do so. But I don’t know that he has the ability to follow through on that promise (see: Claire’s freakout, and the possibility that his leaving the Island will be catastrophic for everyone on it).
While I had some serious problems with “Recon,” I was glad to find myself less critical of it on a second viewing. I’m sure I’ve missed any number of notable things, and that I’ve made mistakes in this column. I invite you to point this stuff out in the comments section below. Next week’s episode promises to obliterate any complaints like the ones I’m making here. If you haven’t seen the previews or heard the rumors I won’t spoil a thing for you. But I’ll leave you with this cryptic hint, which also doubles as the episode’s title:
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