Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LOST - Episode 6.8 - "Recon"

And with a shattered mirror, I think LOST finally gave us a real clue as to what the flash-sideways world means in the grand scheme of the show.

I just wish I could figure it out.

So far, every episode this season has featured the centric character seeing their reflection in one form or another, but there has been no real interaction with the reflection. Outside of Jack recognizing new wounds, no one has expressed anything significant. The imagery has been more symbolic than anything else. Yet, in “Recon,” which marks the halfway point of this confounding-yet-brilliant sixth season of LOST, the imagery is brought to the forefront and shattered by the troubled and angry Sawyer.

In many ways, this episode is all about shattered illusions. Sawyer’s belief that Evil Locke can deliver on his promise to help him leave the Island is shaken as he realizes this new incarnation of his fellow castaway is not as truthful as advertised. Kate’s belief that finding Claire will bring solve her problems is cut to shreds as Claire pins her to the ground with a knife to the throat. And our ideas that this was just going to be a two-sided battle was shot to shit with the addition of Charles Widmore’s team, whom we now realize is on no side other than his own.

We did not get much in the way of “answers” in this episode, except we learned that Sawyer was left in charge of Jin while Evil Locke went all smoky at the Temple and that everyone left on the Hydra Island after the Ajira crash was murdered. Of course, new questions arose. Here are the ones that are most interesting to me:

1. What is Widmore’s game? He wanted to come back to the Island, and has gone to some great – and expensive – lengths to do so. Now that he’s arrived, what is he after?

2. What is in the locked cabinet on the submarine? Is it a person? An object? I know some are thinking it is Desmond, but why would Widmore want to bring Desmond? He’s wanted to go back to the Island since the day he left, and that was before Desmond entered his life? Besides, he has never shown any sign that he views Desmond as special. I’m more inclined to believe that there is a secret weapon stashed in there. Something to deal with Smokey once and for all.

3. How were the leftovers of the Ajira flight killed? And why was the Liz Lemon/Tina Fey/Sarah Palin (thanks Nikki Stafford for this comparison) chick hovering nearby. She said she dragged their decaying asses into the pile. Should I doubt this? And if she did (with the help of Widmore’s other people), why?

Smash the Mirror

At this point in the flash-sideways arc, the stories have felt fairly innocent. As some other writers have pointed out, it’s as if each story is tackling a different genre (Sawyer’s adventure is like a buddy-cop show). For the most part, each story has been self-contained, and has served to mirror the character traits of the central character both on and off the Island.

Now, though, Sawyer has smashed the mirror, which in literature is often a symbol for lost innocence. Mirrors are often used to help us see what is godly within ourselves, so when a mirror is smashed, it is as if we have denied or destroyed the presence of god within our soul. Sawyer smashes the mirror, which may officially remove him for candidacy to replace Jacob as the Island’s protector.

But smashing the mirror may also serve as a symbol of self-recognition and awakening, too. For example, in the classic rock opera, Tommy, when Tommy’s mirror is smashed, the deaf-dumb-and-blind boy is awakened from his narcissistic slumber and made aware of his place in the world. This leads him into embracing his inner godliness. In the movie The Matrix, Neo is shown a mirror but discovers it is not a mirror at all, but a construct of the Matrix. He dips his finger into it and plays with the alternate reality he is learning about under the tutelage of Morpheus.

From here on out, I predict that the characters trapped – yes, I said “trapped” – in the sideways world will begin to see they are living in a lie. Things will begin to grow considerably darker for each of them until they have to fight to break free, as Sawyer is beginning to do.

These flash-sideways, I’m beginning to believe, are a part of the game being played between Jacob and the Man-in-Black. This “reality” is a construct. It is real for those living in it, though. Real enough to make them all forget the darker reality waiting for them on the Island.

Next week, Richard Alpert reveals what he knows about the Island! Finally he gets a back story!


  1. know some are thinking it is Desmond, but why would Widmore want to bring Desmond?

    I'm only thinking it because I really want Desmond to show up again, so I'm looking for any possible avenue for his return. :)

    As some other writers have pointed out, it’s as if each story is tackling a different genre

    I hadn't heard that before-I like it! I'm going to have to think about that a bit.

  2. I want Desmond to return, too, but I'd prefer it not be hidden in a locked room on a sub. Maybe something a bit more heroic.

  3. Yeah, that's a good point: it would be somewhat depressing to have Desmond show up again kicking and screaming and dragged back to the island.

    I'd much prefer some kind of heroic "I hate the island, but I realize I have to help" return.

  4. Absolutely! Reluctant heroes make the adventure story world go round!