Well, not every episode can be a homerun. "The Last Recruit" felt really rushed and superficial, as the “answer” to at least one outstanding question came too easily and didn’t jive with other things we’ve previously seen.
The Man in Black/Smoky Locke told Jack Shephard, in a matter of fact fashion, that he had used the body of Jack’s father Christian to run around the island after Oceanic 815 crashed. So Man in Black's a puppeteer who uses dead bodies at will to run around? What if there were no more bodies for him to inhabit?
Last week, Michael told Hurley that there were dead people who were “stuck” on the island, not counting the people whose bodies the Man in Black was using for fun. Where does that leave someone like Walt who was alive when he appeared to more than one person?
Why have people who did not die on the island appeared before our Losties? Like Ben's mother, who died while giving birth to him in the United States? Or Richard's wife who appeared to Hurley a few episodes ago but never set foot on the island when she was alive?
Aside from the questions about the appearances of the deceased, this warfare stuff, Widmore’s people sending bombs raining down on Man in Black and the people who are “with” him because they won’t give back “The Package” (Desmond who’s likely still alive because I don’t believe Sayid killed him), I'm not fond of this storyline. We've had plenty of wars with The Others and the Losties, with the freighter people and our Losties. It feels old.
The Jack-Sawyer face-off – where Jack got all wishy-washy about whether they should stay and Sawyer acted all keep-that-crazy-talk-to-yourself-or-get-the-hell-off-my-damn-boat – eh, it really did not move me either. Didn’t like this twist, even though it reminded me of the helicopter trip to the freighter where Sawyer jumped into the ocean as the copter was losing fuel, however Sawyer jumped to save the copter from crashing. Did Jack’s jumping from the boat also save our Losties in some way? Also, should we give any weight to Sawyer’s quip, “We’re done going back Kate?” (The Lost Untangled video below had a funny take on this.)
Things I did like from "The Last Recruit:"
Liked that there seems to be a reunion of sorts going on at the LA hospital in the sideways-flashing existence, with Jack being called away from the reading of his father’s will (where he learned Claire was his half-sister after Desmond manipulated her into going to his attorney Ilana's office which happened to be in the same building as the adoption agency) to operate on Locke’s back, while Sun was recovering from a gunshot wound (and her baby’s okay).
Was intrigued by the fact that Man in Black/Smoky Locke called the original John Locke “stupid” because he believed “he’d been brought here for a reason” and “pursued that belief until it got him killed.” “John Locke was not a believer Jack,” Smoky Locke said, “he was a sucker.”
But isn’t the reason why Jack abandoned the boat and returned to the island because Jack believed he’d been called back to the island for something, to finish something? Does that make Jack a sucker too?
The Sun-Jin reunion was sweet, brought tears to my eyes, but it was spoiled when the Widmore zombies raised their weapons a second time. (The whole bit with Sun losing her ability to speak English but suddenly regaining it when she saw Jin was unnecessary, messy madness. Again, I'm right on with what Dr. Chang says in Lost Untangled.)
Overall, I was seeking a little more depth to this episode coming on the heels of two really strong episodes. I wanted emotional resonance instead of the taking sides/“war”/”You’re with me now” thread which just seems like an excuse to have big explosions and gunfire.
The reason I was so drawn to the previous two episodes with Desmond and Hurley was because they seemed meaningful, touched on weighty issues like fate, destiny, free will and bonds between people. They'd started to draw larger issues and questions together as though they might've been slowly closing a larger loop. But then they dropped the string and went astray with the shallow “war” storyline between Widmore and Man in Black/Smoky Locke. If this is how we’re going to spend the last few hours of one of the most intriguing, maddening and clever television shows in history, I’m going to be peeved, I tell you that much.
What did you think of “The Last Recruit?”
Image credit: Mario Perez/ABC.