Lost Wednesdays: Sawyer Becomes Starsky

March 17, 2010
By | 4 Comments

With a name like “Recon,” we knew it was going to be Sawyer-centric, and we knew it would have moments where we didn’t know who was the conner and who was the conned. What we didn’t know is that it would feature the backdoor pilot for a Starsky & Hutch remake/spinoff starring Sawyer and Miles.

In a much retweeted comment last night, Todd VanDerWerff wrote “The Flash-Sideways really are starting to feel like the Simpsons Spinoff Showcase.” And while I won’t complain as that’s one of my favorite Simpsons episodes, it’s true that the sideways stories are playing out new possibilities with these characters that do feel like drastically different shows and genres – the heartwarming family drama, the high school drama, and now the cop show.

In “Recon,” the core idea was that when James Ford’s parents died, he needed to make a choice to avenge their death within the law or outside of it – in essence to become Sawyer or to become Batman. What’s uncertain and potentially significant is how much of his choice was made due to the moment in “The Incident” when Jacob gives him the pen to write his letter. It seems to be playing out that Jacob’s meddling made these characters into the flawed and tortured souls that we’ve come to love, and that perhaps the sideways represent an It’s a Wonderful Life version of the world if Jacob had never been born (or at least never got himself up in everyone’s business).

I’m on board with that idea, as long as it’s more than just a road not taken – these tales need to matter more than just mirror images in a lighthouse or comparable plot-generating device. And it helps when the alt-stories are as fun as in “Recon,” as the James/Miles chemistry is great – and Charlotte gets a chance to show a new side of herself in James’s bed. And with the dangling thread of Kate on the run (insert requisite “Son of a bitch!”), we know we’ll be returning to this tale.

Back on the island, Sawyer’s playing both sides with Widmore and Locke, but I’m guessing the key reveal is the locked door on the sub (is it Desmond? Penny? Aaron? a pallet of Apollo Bars?). And Claire finally snaps over Kate’s foster motherhood, with a quick return to sanity that felt a bit rushed. But my favorite moments were Locke’s conversations with Sawyer and Kate – based on what I’ve read (and heard on the excellent Geronimo Jacksbeard podcast), the actors have no idea what’s coming up for their characters beyond what is in each script, so Terry O’Quinn probably has no clue as to whether Locke is lying or not. Not surprisingly, I believe every word he says as he stumbles to speak as precisely as he can about his own past (and I can’t remember a lie he’s told this season), so I’m quite intrigued by what he reveals.

One of the knocks on the show has been the dominance of the daddy issue theme, serving as a stock motivation for every character’s tortured past. But might this be more than a theme? Might the way that Jacob manipulates his candidates and their associates be through paternal alienation? Might the bad daddies be a plot device as well as a theme? Might Locke end up being everyone’s good father? (Cue intertextual Stepfather reference now!) And might Smokey’s mother issues signal another dichotomy to line up allegiances? Regardless, the explicit connection between crazy mothers makes me think that Aaron’s going to matter quite a bit when all is said and done.

I’m at SCMS in LA this week, so I look forward to talking Lost with any of you at the conference!

Random favorite fanboy moment: Watching at the hotel, I didn’t have the option to pause and rewind, but if I had: Liam in the police station looking for Charlie? Hmmm…



4 Responses to “ Lost Wednesdays: Sawyer Becomes Starsky ”

  1. Sean C. Duncan on March 17, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    Yeah, really enjoying this season so far. The Sawyer/Miles buddy team was great, but one thing was unresolved — does Miles still have his superpower? Also, if Anthony Cooper is both the original Sawyer (er, only Sawyer, I guess) in the sideways timeline AND apparently has a happy relationship with sideways-Locke, does that mean that Cooper’s reformed? Does it mean sideways-Locke knows and has dealt with his father’s past? Curious to see if they bring back Kevin Tighe eventually. If they so far as to bring back Liam Pace, seems a safe bet.

    Last night’s ep also did nothing to defuse my current favorite theory — that Smokey is, somehow, Aaron from the prime universe, while Jacob is, somehow, Aaron from the sideways timeline. Smokey is quite literally Jacob’s “bad twin”; not really brothers, not really unrelated. Aaron seems primed to take on a big role in the end of the series, at least.

    I quite appreciate the Cavalcade of Guest Stars, actually. Perhaps it’s just nostalgia for a show I’m clearly a big fan of, but it hasn’t felt particularly cheap to get glimpses of sideways-Arzt, -Charlotte, -Ethan, -Keamy, etc. so far. I always felt like Lost was at its worst when it kept renewing focus on the “core” characters (killing off Tailies, then Others, then Freighties), and it’s nice to see them come back in some fashion.

  2. LostnLost on March 17, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Filler :-)! Last nights Episode felt like a Kate-centric episode. It was terrible, we didn’t learn much and for me only mildly entertaining.

    It just seems to me with only 8 episodes left and with so many questions to answer, why waste another episode that even if you liked it, seems to provide few clues, answers or even sets up the story for more answers later?

    I’m not a huge fan of the sideways world but I actually enjoyed Jack, Sayid & Ben’s sideway episodes. This one was Kate-like, in what is/was the point.

    Sawyer (like Sayid) appears to be the tortured, mis-understood Con-Man avenger of his parents death in all worlds. Both onisland and off, Smokey or the Cops are only useful to Sawyer as long as they can help him achieve his goals (getting off the island & killing Cooper).

    Random thoughts..

    -Smoke Slapping Claire was surprising, shocking and made my jaw drop. Claires creepy, gripping, possibly insane hugging apology to Kate was great (I was waiting for that knife or something).

    – Mile getting more lines Always Good. Miles and Sawyer good cop team.
    – The Tina Fey character was not believable after a few seconds and both poor writing and acting.
    – Sawyer focusing on what’s behind the locked sub door was to obvious and I felt cheated. We can’t get regular answers but the writers will dialoge and point and make sure we know this locked door as some big clue (Wow).
    – Who didn’t know it was Kate running down the alley? Again too predictable, might have nothing to do with the answers I would like and now boring in the sideways world.
    -Charlotte should be with Daniel so I was a bit skeptical watching her and Sawyer in new AU.

    And I know, the answers will come so I’ll try to stop whining. It’s just with so few episodes and so many story lines to tie up….

    Next Weeks, Richard-Centric episode looks Great. Now we should get many story mythology and Richard specific clues/answers.

    • Sean C. Duncan on March 18, 2010 at 2:53 PM

      We got a fair amount of development in the on-island story, though — we know Widmore is based out on Hydra island, we know that Sawyer is working both sides (something only hinted at before), we know that the plane’s apparently good to go, etc.

      This sets things up most clearly for there being a potentially four-way conflict at the end of the series — the Jacob crew (Jack, Hurley, Ilana, Ben, Sun), the Locke crew (Sayid, Claire, Cindy, Others), Sawyer’s crew (him, Kate), and Widmore’s people.

      So, sorry, didn’t seem like filler at all, felt like it was actual plot progression.

      • LostnLost on March 19, 2010 at 8:42 PM

        Ummm,glad you like it. For me, Widmore at Hydra and Sawyer working both sides didn’t remotely make me feel or think I really learned anything.

        That the Widmore came is setting up the sound blaster microwave thingies was mildly interesting. Are Widemore and Smokey really on the same team and both Widmore and Smokey are playing Swayer is a mildly interesting brain twist.

        Smokey admiting it is Kill or be killed and He does not want to die (which means he can be killed) again mildly interesting.

        The opening off Island scene when we find out AU Sawyer is a Cop was nice. But overall I was waiting and hoping for more.

        When Widmore told Sawyer something to the effect that he can’t believe Sawyer does not know more about the island, I thought that was a perfect time to Drop some Reveal Knowledge Bombs.

        Unfortunately, all I got was Widmore is at Hydra and has his own team, as if when we saw the submarine the week before we did not know he had a team and he would be mounting a base somewhere.

        A final thought, I still wonder if Widmore is the one Jacob was talking about when he said someone was coming or does this set up a possible Desmond return?

        So so many questions and this episode really did not answer any for me.

        However, I have read a few blogs and many people found this episode entertaining, so I hope you know I respect view point and was just querying to see what people saw that worked for them and either went over my head or I just did not view the same items in the same light as other.

        Here is something I bet we can both agree. Next Weeks Richard Alpert Episode Should Be AWESOME. And while I do not want to set expectations to high and I will just enjoy the episode as the writers present it, the previews have me charged.

        8 more Episodes. Lets hope they stay as creative and confusing as always!