I have a feeling that some fans aren’t going to care a whole lot for this episode. After we watched it, I believe Sunny’s words for it were “hodge-podge”. “The Last Recruit” will probably be quickly labeled as a “set up” episode where all the major pieces are put in place for the episodes to come. But personally, I loved this episode. After slowly getting used to the Sideways world and the character-centric episodes that have carried the narrative thus far, it was nice to see all the divergent streams starting to come together. Plus, we finally got the Sun / Jin reunion I’ve been waiting for. So I rate this is a really good — but not great — episode.
Right out of the chute, we pick up where we left off in Locke’s camp. Jack and Locke step aside for a convo and we’re instantly given an answer to a mystery dating back to Season One: Christian’s identity. Locke confesses to taking on Christian’s form before trying to convince Jack of the importance of leaving the Island. But as we’re starting to see, Jack doesn’t have any intention of leaving. He believes his fate is linked to the Island somehow.
Jack and Claire’s reunion moment — though not as emotional as Sun and Jin’s — has been a long time coming. Claire got a lot more play in this episode than I would’ve liked, but she is shaping up to be pretty integral to the story, so it’s understandable. Claire reminded us, though, of the whole “Don’t let him speak first or else it’s all over” thing that’s permeated this season. Claire tells Jack that he’s “with” Locke now, based on this whole talking-thing. I don’t get it (nor do I understand why all of them MUST travel back together) but this is me rolling with it.
In the Sideways world, the paramedic says that Locke’s wheelchair saved his life, a fitting parallel to the Island reality, where Locke’s wheelchair actually keeps him from living as he was meant to live. And what was up with Sideways Sun flipping her lid when she saw Sideways Locke being ushered in the ER alongside her? “It’s him! It’s him!” Is she remembering him as John Locke or as MIB?
Some of the Sideways scenes didn’t really work for me. Sawyer’s interaction with Kate seemed REALLY forced; the dialogue was weak and the whole premise (the cop hitting on the inmate) was just too out there. I know, I know…it’s a sci-fi show about time travel and destiny and blowing up hydrogen bombs. But I also wasn’t a big fan of the Desmond / Claire exchange. Again, Sideways Claire was willing to get back in the cab with Kate, who had just kicked her out of the cab at gunpoint, so I guess it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Claire to accept the kindness of Desmond the super stalker.
The most maddening part about this episode for me is that we didn’t get another scene in the Desmond / Sayid showdown at the well. Did Sayid do the deed? (I seriously doubt it.) If not, then what happened? And if he didn’t, is this proof that redemption might still be possible for him? As Hurley said, you can always bring people back from the dark side.
The best part of the episode: Jack. He’s been a much-maligned protagonist, and yeah, there have been times when he’s been a bit spineless. But this is the most clear eyed Jack has been in quite some time. I love his depth of conviction that the Island wasn’t done with him, prompting him to jump ship in the sacrificial manner that paralleled Sawyer’s jump off the chopper in Season 4. But I also loved his humility; deferring to Hurley before talking privately with Locke; apologizing to Sawyer for Juliet’s death just before he jumped. As I’ve said before, he’s ready to finally realize his destiny on the Island and I’m excited to see the outcome.
- I’m thinking Jack’s line to Kate — “We’re all different now.” — is a crucial one.
- I have a feeling Locke knew that Sawyer would defect. I’m just not buying his “the larger the group, they slower they move” stuff.
- I loved the cool mirror moment at the end when Jack sees his own reflection and then the reflection of Locke.
- Was anybody else worried that Claire was going to shoot Kate on the dock of the boat?
- I wonder if MIB is telling the truth when he tells Sun that he didn’t do anything to take away her voice. Maybe that was a consequence of her own choice? I don’t have all of this figured out yet.