‘Lost’ in Thought: The Last Recruit

Since there’s no new episode of ‘Lost’ this week, I figured this would be as good a time as any to look back at last week’s episode, ‘The Last Recruit’. The past six years have been a long, crazy ride, haven’t they? I have to assume that anyone still watching at this point must be fully vested in the show’s convoluted plotting and complex mythology. I’m not even going to attempt to recap everything that’s happened this season, or explain the business with the “flash-sideways” or the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black. I’ll just assume that you’re already up to speed on that. Instead, let me point out some things that stood out to me in this most recent episode. A warning: If you’re not a die-hard fan of ‘Lost’, you’ll probably have no idea what I’m talking about. (Spoilers after the break.)

‘The Last Recruit’ was not an episode of major revelations. This was more of a pieces-falling-into-place episode. The producers seem to be lining things up for the inevitable gigantic mind-screw at the show’s end. Nonetheless, we did get a few interesting tidbits.

The biggest thing that I can’t wrap my brain around was Man in Black/Fake Locke claiming that he’d been the one parading around as Christian Shephard. This doesn’t make sense to me for a couple reasons. Man in Black allegedly can’t leave the island, and yet we’ve seen Dead Christian off the island on at least two occasions. He appeared to Jack at the hospital in L.A. during one of the flash-forwards in Season 4, and he appeared to Michael on the freighter just before the freighter blew up.

Either Man in Black was lying about being Christian Shephard (possible), all of his talk about wanting to “go home” wasn’t really referring to leaving the island, but rather to leaving the reality they’re in entirely and moving to the flash-sideways reality (possible, but dubious), or the writers just plain screwed up.

Further, I don’t think that Christian’s actions over the seasons have been entirely consistent with him being on Team Black. For example, we know that Michael had been “touched” by Jacob, and thus was not capable of killing himself or causing his own death (hence his failed attempts at suicide in New York). But that’s essentially what he was doing on the freighter, sitting there waiting for the bomb to go off. Just before it did, Christian showed up and told him that everything was all right, and that he could go now. Wouldn’t this have been Jacob “lifting” his gift/curse? Does Man in Black have the power to reverse Jacob’s blessing? And if he does, why would MiB want the freighter blown up? Isn’t that something Jacob wanted, in order to keep his “Candidates” on the island with him? Christian has also guided characters toward things that seemed to be in Jacob’s favor on other occasions as well. And yet, sometimes he does seem to be working for/with/as Man in Black, such as pushing Claire to follow Fake Locke. It’s been my feeling that Christian was a free agent on the island, working toward his own agenda. I really need this to be addressed before the end of the season.

Also confusing: Claire tells Jack that by talking to Fake Locke at all, that automatically secured him on Team Black. This seems to be consistent with what Dogan told Sayid. Paraphrasing here: “Don’t let him say a word, or it’ll be too late.” And that’s basically the same thing that Man in Black told Richard about Jacob during Richard’s flashback. The minute he says a word, he’s won you over. So, if that’s the case, why is Sawyer able and actively trying to break ranks? Shouldn’t he be drinking the MiB Kool Aid by now? Even Sayid seemed to be exercising free will again at the end. (You know he didn’t really kill Desmond, right?)

Don’t get me wrong, this was a good episode. We’re just in that stage where the writers are holding back from quite explaining everything, and I’m trying my best to figure it out. I’m sure there’s an explanation for all of this, but for now I’m… well… lost.

8 comments

  1. besch64

    If you guys are going to post Lost articles on The Bonus View, I guess I’m going to have to keep checking it out. Well done, HDD.

    Anyway, I completely agree with you on Christian. Either the writers have just done a serious (and poor) retcon, or MIB is lying. Fortunately, I think the latter is the case here.

    If you think about it, Jack seeing his father in the jungle all the way back in 1.04 was the first moment where Jack saw something that indicated that this was not just a normal island. Christian’s appearance kick-started Jack’s journey of enlightenment on the path to become a true “Man of Faith,” which finally culminated with Jack coming to terms with the idea that he has a true purpose on the island in 6.05 at Jacob’s lighthouse.

    Now, what better way to shatter Jack’s fragile spirit than by telling him that Christian’s appearance to him actually meant nothing? It’s the equivalent of Henry and Dr Wickmund telling Locke that the button does nothing. If MIB wants Jack on his side, he needs him to be a broken man again, not believing in the very real magic of the island and willing to get on the plane.

    Also, the way it was stated by MIB and Claire makes me doubtful. Terry O’Quinn is probably the best actor working on television right now (next to Michael Emerson), and the way he played that scene made me believe that MIB was holding something back. Then when Claire asked Jack about their conversation, she sounded like she had reservations about what MIB had claimed. Of course, I have no actual proof from the dialogue to back this up. It’s just the way I read the scenes.

    And that’s of course all in addition to factual discrepancies:

    -How did he appear to Michael on the Kahana if he can’t travel over water? (And why appear to him in the form of Christian?)

    -How was he simultaneously present with both Ben (as Locke) and Sun (as Christian) back in season 5, on separate islands to boot?

    I’m with you. I need the writers to address this ASAP. If they wrap the series without clearing these things up, I will be majorly disappointed. Darlton is so much better than this.

    • If MIB can’t mix with water, then it probably wasn’t him when Jack first saw Christian in the jungle in episode 1. Because before Jack saw Christian in the jungle, he saw Christian standing in the ocean.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      Terrific comment, besch64. I like your theory. There was definitely something odd about Locke’s delivery of the news, and Claire’s reaction too. Perhaps they are covering something up.

      You can definitely count on there being more Lost coverage in this blog. I just wish there were more episodes left!

  2. jazman

    nice read. Man in Black could’ve been lying. Or perhaps the writers screwed up. Or perhaps MIB and Jacob are one and the same?

  3. aj pestridge

    I love Lost, and plan on buying the 6 season boxset in the summer….I work in the field of Games design and Im just as lost as everyone else, some good ideas raised above though and possible solutions….I have non myself, only to say though, whatever the reason, I know for fact that it can not be-the writers just screwed up, there is a job on set of every episode, a person that talks with the writers and writes down everyaction of every character, also writing there intentions and thoughts sometimes, the document is called a Story Bible, we use it in games, it really makes things easy if a sequel is made so we can refer back to the original story, and make sure everything can fit in the world that was created properly….if the writers had made a mistake, it would be up to the person compiling the bible to point it out as a mistake, plus the producers of the show have also seen every episode, so the chances of everyone letting a mistake slip through are remote at best…therefore an explaination is due, and we will learn the truth when needed….

  4. Well recall with Richard’s wife we saw on island both MIB projecting himself as her and then we saw her ghost later on. So with Christian it could just be a matter of sometimes it was MIB, other times it was the ghost. I believe he was telling the truth about that he was Christian at that moment. Either that or he was spying on them.

    and maybe the “don’t let him speak” thing doesn’t work on candidates.

  5. El Bicho

    “Either Man in Black was lying about being Christian Shephard”

    He lies to people and tells them what they want to hear all the time. There’s many examples like telling Sayid he’s going to bring his dead wife back.

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