It was bound to happen eventually. After a five-week run of episodes that delivered everything a Lost episode should, and more, they finally hit a duff note. And sadly, they did so in an episode that starred one of the show’s best characters, James “Sawyer” Ford.
But let’s start with the positives, of which there were a few. In the sideways-verse, Sawyer and Miles – both conmen in the Lost Prime timeline – are fully paid members of the local constabulary. That’s a spin-off show worth watching right there, even if neither Miles nor Sawyer were quite in the mood for wisecracks in this episode. The reveal was nicely pulled off, as we saw Sawyer apparently pulling one of his old grifting tricks, only to have him revealed as a cop (although to be fair, they kept us guessing right up to the last second).
Similarly, the chance for Sawyer to fall back into conman mode was particularly fun. He’s not the first character to get back to his roots this series, but it was good to see nonetheless. The way he smoked out Zoe’s deception was gratifying, if only because it’s a rare example of the characters in the show being as perceptive as the audience.
Unfortunately, there was a lot about the episode that didn’t really work. Charlotte’s reappearance was interesting in that it subverted the normal romantic subplot for this kind of storyline, and the moral lesson gleaned from Little House On The Prairie kind of suggested they were pushing things in the direction of ‘knowing post-modernism’, but ultimately, Charlotte’s role only existed so that she could deliver a punchline. Her character could have been any stock romantic interest and the episode wouldn’t have suffered in the slightest.
Still, despite the suggestion of a rather more realistic take on the romantic subplot, the rest of the sideways-verse was a bit of a mess, with scenes that never really developed before lurching in a different direction. Nowhere is this better shown than in the final one, where Sawyer’s confession to Miles is interrupted by a chance meeting with Kate. No resolution, no narrative climax, just another dodge. Not the strongest flash-sideways at all.
On the island, one of the major events concerned Claire’s reaction to learning the truth about Aaron. Back in the days when Lost wasn’t on a clock, this conflict would have had an entire episode to itself. Here, it’s resolved a little too quickly, if anything, even if it did lead to one of the episode’s more interesting moments between Kate and Smokey, with some oblique reference to Smokey’s human past, and the implication that there may be more to the island’s penchant for fostering a crazy mother who’s trying to get her child back.
Sawyer’s recon mission was another plot element that previously might’ve required a full 45 minutes (at least!) but, in this case, it’s a welcome change of pace to see him visit Hydra Island, speak to Widmore, and make it back in time for dinner (literally!).
Unfortunately, predictability was an issue, as it became clear early on that Sawyer was planning to simply pit Widmore and Smokey against one another. And if that wasn’t weak enough, whoever decided to end the episode on the wholly obvious “We’re taking the sub” line, as if it was some kind of big shocker needs to re-evaluate their writing skills. The audience expects better than that.
Although the episode had a fairly smart plot with some enjoyable twists, it never quite transcended itself the way most of this season’s episodes have. It was nice to see a bit more of the scheming, backstabbing Sawyer we all came to know and love. It’s just a shame he was starring in such a weak story. Still, there’s always next week.
Check out our review of episode 7 here.