In the middle of "The Substitute," my friend texted me in complete shock at the blasphemous blooper in continuity Lost had committed: in the Sideways dimension, it was warm weather in Australia when Oceanic took off, and it was warm in Los Angeles after the plane landed. What were they thinking!?
Okay, maybe that was not the most shocking part about this week's episode.
Kidding aside, "The Substitute" packed a serious punch. In the wake of "What Kate Does," which left fans fuming and wondering whether or not this show was going to answer any questions, this third episode has raised the stakes for the final season. Let's do a quick review with some predictions.
Sideways World: As I continue to make predictions on the going ons in the Hydrogen bomb blasted parallel dimension, I still have two major presuppositions I am working off of:
1. This timeline will inevitably somehow intersect with that of The Island, which is still 3 years in the future in 2007.
2. This timeline will somehow fulfill much of what happened on The Island through the first five seasons.
The best part of "What Kate Does" was that, at least based on my theorizing, it laid the foundation for Kate to somehow end up with Claire's baby. In "The Substitute," while nothing was outright foreshadowed, I have several theories.
For starters, I think the fact that Benjamin Linue, Locke's nemesis from The Island, is now in the same workplace as him does not bode for good things. The Sideways storyline has a purpose (I insist) and is not just for our curiosity and entertainment. Benjamin Linus was destined to make Locke's life miserable. What will the ramifications be? In some fashion, I think Ben will end up killing John all over again. I'm inclined to believe it will be a crime of passion because, when Locke initially returned from The Island, he found out that his soul mate Helen was dead. If she - and he - must both die in Sideways world, this seems to make the most sense.
Meanwhile, Hurley seems to have built a certain bizarro world for himself. The man we met was the most unlucky man in the world; now he is confident and successful, with a very distinguished air about him. Also, the job placement woman asking Locke inane questions before Rose ended all the BSing was, believe it or not, a returning character. She was originally the psychic who told Hurley the numbers were cursed. Her new job position has some odd similarities to her old one; it makes me wonder if this was just a little inside joke between the writers and the Lost viewers.
Most bothersome part of this storyline: Hugo told Locke to ask for the "new job." Why did Locke not ask for the "new job"?
The Smoke, The Sawyer, and The Cave: If ever there was proof that The Man in Black and Richard were, at one point, both loyal disciples of Jacob, their cryptic conversation at the onset of the episode was it. If the Man in Black was indeed Jacob's equal opposite, then he would not be so committed to trying to recruit Richard - who seems to have been left in the dark and has no valuable knowledge - for his cause. Richard, like Benjamin Linus for so many years though, remains committed to Jacob in light of the secrecy, at least for now.
Sawyer is a particularly interested pawn or player in this situation now. What happens to Sawyer is really dependent on how the writers interpret his character to this point. Because this is a show about redemption, and every character will presumably have their shot at earning redemption by the series' end, Sawyer is in either one of two scenarios:
1. He redeemed himself last season by emerging as a leader in Dharmaville and falling in love with Juliet.
2. Losing Juliet was not enough punishment for any of his previous wrongdoings and he will continue down a path with Smokie that will require him to redeem himself by show's end.
In the first scenario, Sawyer is the hero, staying true to what he does best by embarking on a long con with Smokie. While I really like this scenario, that would make Sawyer the ultimate hero on the show - and while I would love to see that, that is never what his character was intended to accomplish. Jack Shephard is the hero of this show because it is the destiny the writers have constructed for him for more than five seasons now. Which means...
Sawyer has been seduced amidst his bitter rage of fury by Smokie and will be working in cohoots with Jacob's nemesis for most of the season's duration. When his friends are about to meet their death, however, Sawyer will have a change of heart, sacrificing himself to save his beloved Kate and everyone else, too. He will be a hero, but not a pure one.
Meanwhile, although it can be argued that Smokie is a completely unreliable source for information, I beg to differ. Almost overwhelmingly, his impassioned speeches and explanations seem to make complete sense. I believe that he has been trapped for a long time and yearns to be human again. I believe that Jacob had a thing for numbers and was the reason that the Oceanic 815 passengers were brought to the Island. I believe that throwing the white rock into the water was much more than an inside joke.
What I do not believe is that the Island is being protected from nothing. If this is true, well, the end of the show will be very anti-climactic. The Island needs to be protected from people like Charles Widmore, who presumably want to wield power over such a special place and take advantage of all its healing and time traveling properties. There will be an ultimate conflict by season's end with two distinct sides: good and evil. While Jacob's actions will be questioned and doubted in the coming weeks of this show, I believe he must inevitably end up on the side of good because the Island is good. The Island, more than any human character on the show, is the most important entity on Lost.
Two Boldest Predictions: If I'm right on either of these, that would be awesome...
1. Sun is not only the Kwon specified in Jacob's cave - she is the person who was destined to succeed Jacob. That is why she did not flash to 1977 with the rest of the Oceanic 6. I have no other reasoning outside of that.
My second choice for Jacob's successor is Hurley. I'm thinking that Miles' quip about Hugo being in charge at The Temple could have been ironic foreshadowing.
2. The Sideways World will ultimately intersect with The Island through the Aijira Flight in 2007. This theory has plenty of holes in it - namely that the Island is at the bottom of the ocean. But assuming that can be rectified somehow, this makes a lot of sense.
If the Aijira Flight was a connecting plane from Guam to Sydney, I can envision a scenario where all of the Oceanic 6 were trying to get back to Sydney. It Kate ends up with Aaron, she may want to bring him back to Claire in Sydney. If Jack finds out his dad's body was found, he may head back, too. If Hurley and Sun are on business trips, hop on board. Sayid, who knows at this point. Sure it's a stretch, but that would be a neat way to convey each character's destiny in a way that connects everything together.
Most Awkard Funeral Ever: I hear Ilana will have a centric episode by series' end. Thank heavens, because she knows a whole bunch about what is going on.
Speaking of Ilana, queen of the Candidates, if we all remember Jacob's last words to Smokie - "They're coming" - it has to hold greater significance after last night's episode. He did not only mean that the Oceanic Six were coming. He meant that the Candidates were coming. No wonder Smokie was so angry that he emphatically pushed Jacob into the fire.
Jacob's ashes may come back into play...
And finally, the Six "Year Old" Million Dollar Question: Who was the bloody-handed boy in the woods, seen by Sawyer and feared by Smokie?
I honestly have no clue.