Didja know Sawyer’s a con man? I swear, he is. And even though Lost seems to think you’ve forgotten, they are gonna spend another hour reintroducing you to James Ford: Con Man. Course, this time around they added a slight twist (he cons for the love of his daughter!), but if you’ve seen one episode about cons, you’ve kinda seen them all at this point. Luckily, the flashbacks are kept to a minimum as Sawyer meets his on-Island (or should I say off-Island) match this time around.
(Want to know what I thought about this episode when it aired? Glad ya asked!)
Every Man for Himself
4) In Short
"Shocked in the heart, and you’re to blame!"
8) On the Island
Long slow revolving shot around Desmond, still curiously quiet after Locke’s big speech. He’s staring intently at Claire and Aaron in their tent. He walks over and tells Claire there’s a problem with her roof, and she should move for the night while he fixes it. Charlie comes by and tells the Scotsman that there’s enough United Kingdom citizens in the tent already, thank you kindly.
In the Hydra Station, Jack is watching cartoons on the TV when Juliet comes in with his daily meal. Jack tries to suss out the power hierarchy amongst the Others, with Juliet’s poker face neither confirming nor denying any of his educated guesses. Further inquiry is stunted when Ben bursts in, telling Juliet the "sub" is back and there’s a problem. Did he say "sub?" Why yes, he did.
After a shot of the Others carrying Colleen through the jungle, we see Pickett wake up Sawyer and Kate for quarry duty. After the two taunt each other, a message comes over Pickett’s walkie. Soon, Juliet and Ben converge as Tom and his crew return with Colleen’s body laid out on a stretcher. Sawyer smiles, telling Kate they now have their ticket out of their cages.
Later on, Sawyer sets a trap inside of his cage, using the contraption to form a pool of water outside the cage in order to shock the next person who comes near his cage. Kate is impressed with Sawyer’s plan, until she realizes Jack doesn’t figure into his escape plan. "It’s every man for himself, Freckles," he tells her.
Ben comes over to the cage. He stands just outside the puddle, and asks Sawyer his height and weight. Bizarre, but hey, this is Ben. Sawyer lies about his age, with Ben quickly correcting him. Satisfied with the answers, Ben steps into the puddle. Sawyer seizes his chance, but finds the button no longer works. Ben reveals that he’s turned off the power, and proceeds to beat the holy hell out of Sawyer thanks to his telescopic baton: perfect for use both in the desert and outdated zoological facilities!
Sawyer wakes up to the sound of Tom telling Ben that since the sky tuned purple, all their coms are down. Eeenteresting. Ben orders two younger Others to get to work: one puts a stick in Sawyer’s mouth, the other prepares a syringe. Hysterically, Ben says how he hates needles. At that moment, the communications box in Jack’s room turns on, allowing him to hear what’s going on. One Other tells the other to jam the syringe through the sternum, "like in the movie," meaning those two have seen Pulp Fiction. Again, eenteresting.
On the beach, Desmond borrows a 5-iron from Paulo, but sadly doesn’t beat him to death with it. Paulo insists he take the 5-iron so when Des dies in the jungle doing something heroic, he won’t have to go looking for it. You stay classy, Paulo!
Post-injection, Sawyer wakes up with a bandaged wound over his chest. Ben puts a cage atop Sawyer’s chest. In said cage? A white rabbit with the number 8 on its back. Ben then shakes the cage while shouting at the bunny until it keels over. Ben informs Sawyer that the pacemaker that killed the bunny is now inside Sawyer: should his heart rate reach 140, he will die. Sawyer receives a watch that will tell him when his heart rate is within 15 beats per minute of his danger zone. Ben then tells Sawyer that should he inform Kate about anything that went on, he’ll put one in her as well.
Upon arriving back at the cage, it looks like Ben’s plan worked: Sawyer can barely look her in the eyes. He insists nothing happened. He spies her changing clothes (while he’s supposed to be looking away) which, you guessed it, causes his watch to start beeping. Ugh. Later on, Kate tells Sawyer that she thinks she can squeeze through the top of the cage. Sawyer’s suddenly not so hot to leave.
Juliet rushes into Jack’s cell, asking for his help in saving Colleen’s life. They take him outside, past Kate and Sawyer, but the loud blaring noise over the PA coupled with Jack’s headmask make it impossible for him to hear them. Ben freaks out upon seeing Juliet bring Jack in. While prepping for surgery, Jack spies spinal x-rays, almost as if they were left for him to see. Juliet confesses that she’s not a surgeon, but Jack insists she help him anyways while Tom, Pickett, and Ben look on. Unfortunately, they cannot save her, and Colleen dies on the table below them.
Pickett’s on the war path, and heads straight for Sawyer’s cage. Scared of his pacemaker, Sawyer doesn’t fight back. Pickett beats the hell out of Sawyer while screaming at Kate, "Do you love him?" After a few iterations, she admits that she does, just before Pickett would have sent Sawyer’s nose back into his brain. Brutal scene, with Pickett’s questioning/beating of Sawyer both hard-core and heartbreaking.
Later, as it rains, Kate crawls to the top of her cage and sneaks out. She knows he’s lying about what they did to him, and his fear scares her more than anything else that’s happened before. She wants to know why he didn’t fight back. Sawyer insists that if he really loved her, she’d run. She then tells him she only said that so Pickett would stop beating him. Harsh. And yet, what does she do? Crawls right back into her cage, countering Sawyer’s "every man for himself" with "live together, die alone." Ooh, bustin’ out Jack’s catchphrase. You just got catchphrase-blocked, Ford. Tom and Ben watch the scene from their observation room, with Ben’s focus divided between them and Jack still handcuffed inside the operating theatre.
Inside the theatre, Juliet betrays her grief over Colleen’s death. She tells Jack she’s a fertility doctor, and that she’s not used to death. (Well, pre-Island, anyways, unless you count bus maulings.) Jack tells her there was nothing more she could have done; Juliet wonders if the good doc is trying to make her feel better. He smiles, catches himself, and states he has no interest in making her feel any better. As she uncuffs him, he grabs her wrists: those x-rays belong to a 40-year old man with a large tumor on his spine, he says, and wants to know whom he is there to fix.
Back on the Island, Desmond’s turned into MacGyver, having erected a large lightning rod using a golf club, some branches, and just a pinch of Dharma mayo. Soon, a torrential rain falls. Charlie seeks to comfort Claire and Aaron, when a lightning bolt hits the rod, sending the charge harmlessly into the ground. Desmond has this, "I’m so winning the Dharma Science Fair" look on his face.
Early the next day, Ben comes to Sawyer in his cage. The two take a walk along with a few gun-totin’ Others. Turns out there’s something Ben wants Sawyer to see. That something? The Island. Confusing, I know. But we learn now that not only did they not put a pacemaker inside of Sawyer, but the Hydra Station isn’t even on the Island we’ve known and loathed: it’s on a nearby one. Nowhere to run to, baby. Nowhere to hide.
15) Off the Island
In prison, Sawyer beats up a fellow inmate inside a boxing ring. While talking to his sparring partner after, they come across a new prisoner: a man who ripped off $10 million from the government. Turns out this prisoner (named Munson) would be dead if the warden didn’t always break up the fights Munson inevitably gets into. The mention of the warden turns Sawyer’s stomach.
Later on, Sawyer warns Munson that the warden wants to make a play for his $10 million by turning Munson’s wife. Munson, naturally suspicious, wants to know what’s in it for Sawyer. Good ol’ James tells him the warden’s made his life hell for nine months, and wants revenge in any way he can. Just then, the warden comes over, breaking up the conversation. The warden threatens to extend Sawyer’s sentence if he steps out of line.
Who should visit Sawyer in jail but Cassidy, who put him in jail after he conned her. She shows him a picture of a baby girl: his daughter. Sawyer doesn’t believe it’s his, thinking it’s all a con. The girl’s name? Clementine.
Munson needs to talk to Sawyer: apparently his wife HAS turned on him. He wants Sawyer to move the money. Having learned the location, who does Sawyer go to but the warden. Turns out the two have been working together, in coordination with the federal government. For this work, Sawyer gets the last six years of his sentence commuted. He requests that his reward for his work be placed in a bank in Albuquerque for Clementine Phillips. Altogether now: awwww.
16) The Mythology
Ben’s tumor makes the first appearance in this episode. Now, this might seem more medicinal than mythological, but obviously the healing properties of this Island fall under the realm of the vaguely magical. And a great deal of Season 3 (and really, every Other/Lostaway interaction) stems from this tumor.
The Island can heal you, it can harm you. It can giveth tumors and taketh them away. It can keep you alive even in the face of imminent death, whether you fall from a building, crash your car, or even sit in a plane as it hurtles to the ground. So Ben reads his tumor as a sign of trouble: not simple health trouble, but Island trouble. The Island, and more to the point, Jacob, is upset with Ben something fierce. Rather than appeal for a commuting of his spinal sentence, Ben seeks to take advantage of his newly found spinal surgeon to circumvent Jacob’s judgment. And apparently he got a big ol’ frozen donkey wheel for his troubles.
Now, the previous paragraph obviously distills things a bit too simply, but the source of Ben’s tumor is a key to unlocking the mystery of the power struggle over the Island, the one lost by John Locke after the Oceanic 6 left the Island. We simply can’t KNOW that Jacob caused this tumor: we’ve only seen Ben visit Jacob once, and Jacob didn’t even speak to him. Ben might THINK Jacob caused the tumor, but then again, Locke simply THOUGHT Jacob wanted them to move the Island. We simply don’t have concrete proof of either of these things. I think there’s a strong argument to be made that removing Aaron and Ben from the Island was in the best interests of those forces sitting in opposition to Jacob for control over the Island.
Another appearance in this show? Bunnies! Cute, fuzzy, no-longer-time-travelling bunnies. Rescued from the Orchid, they now exist in the Hydra, perhaps to keep Ben company as they did as a child. Course, Ben has quite the history of treating his bunny pets in a less than pleasant manner. In fact, the Oceanic 6 should simply mention Ben’s treatment of bunnies to PETA: they’d find the Island by the weekend.
23) The Moment
Telescopic baton! Telescopic baton! Telescopic baton!
42) In Retrospect
- Juliet’s reaction to death makes sense now. At the time, many (including myself) thought of it as a ruse, a consciously deployed display of emotion made to soften Jack towards her. But given the events of "Not in Portland," it’s easy to see how another female death could give her such shockwaves of emotion.
- Given what happens next week, is there any doubt Juliet left those x-rays there for Jack’s perusal?
- Nice to see the Clementine storyline finally pay off in Season 4: I’m hoping we see either her or Cassidy in Season 5. (Although an Aaron/Cassidy playdate would be all sorts of odd.)
- Though it escaped my attention first time round, it was interesting to see Charlie’s appearance inside the tent mark the appearance of lightning. Is the Island upset that Charlie survived the implosion, or does another force want to stop Charlie from turning off the switch inside the Looking Glass?
- I’ll deal with the submarine come "Not in Portland," but I do love the "wait, did Ben just say SUB?" way in which the show imparted that little bit o’ knowledge.
108) In Summary
Watching the con man get conned was brutally satisfying, if only that it allowed for his true feelings for Kate to truly shine through. From openly rooting for Others’ death to risking his own life to spare Kate’s, we saw Sawyer run the whole gamut of emotions.
The death of Colleen ratcheted up the plot while the appearance of Ben’s tumor finally shone a light at the end of this arc’s tunnel. Both were good things, as people were already impatient by the glacial-like pace of Season 3.
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