While not quite living up to the excellence of last week’s near-perfect episode, this week’s Lost provided another solid hour of quality television. In “The Substitute,” we learned that Jacob kept a list of the castaways in a cave, with many of the most prominent characters matched up with one of the famed numbers that have plagued Hurley since Season 1. We also found out that “Smoke Monster Locke” is recruiting the more disgruntled Losties, starting with Sawyer, in what looks to be an offensive front against Jacob’s followers, a la Randall Flagg in Stephen King’s The Stand. This week, the list and the numbers pop up in another unexpected place, and Jacob’s plan for the castaways takes a few unexpected turns.
The main story of “The Lighthouse” revolves around Jack, whom the not-quite-dead Jacob seems to have big plans for. At the beginning of the episode, Jacob appears to Hurley for the first time since they arrived at the Temple and tells him that he and Jack need to journey to an unseen-until-now lighthouse to try to signal some unknown guests to the island. At first, Jack refuses to go, but he quickly changes his tune when Hurley tells him that he “has what it takes.” When they reach the lighthouse, Jack and Hurley find another copy of the list on the wheel used to turn the mirrors that signal the boats, and when trying to turn the wheel to 108 degrees, Jack catches a glimpse of his childhood home when it lands on his name at the 23 degree mark. Instead of patiently waiting to find out what’s going on, the ever-cool-headed Jack decides to smash all of the mirrors and go sulk at the edge of a cliff. When Jacob reappears to Hurley, he doesn’t seem too upset about Jack’s antics, however, stating that Jack is destined for greatness but needs to find out how to get there himself.
This week’s “flash-sideways,” which take place in what I have dubbed “the Hunky-Dory-Verse,” we find out that Jack has a teenaged son that he’s trying in vain to connect with. In a surprisingly heartwarming turn, Jack seemingly exorcises his demons regarding his own father when he tells his own son that he “has what it takes” to do whatever he wants to do. He also runs into a ponytailed Dogen, who I’m guessing never made it to the island as well in this alternate reality. My “Groundhog Day” theory has still not been dashed, but we’ll see if it continues to hold water as this final season continues.
The other big story in this episode revolves around Claire, who has been living basically on her own in the jungle for the past three years while most of her fellow Losties were off gallivanting through time. Two weeks ago, she rescued Jin from a couple of the Others from the temple, and after she takes him back to her shelter to patch him up, she takes one of the Others captive and interrogates him, asking what they’ve done with Aaron, whom she thinks is still on the island. At first, Jin tells the obviously-deranged Claire that Kate took Aaron, but soon changes his story after Claire murders the Other with an axe. Hopefully we’ll see more of what Claire has been doing in the years since she disappeared after that attack on the Others compound back in Season 4 and possibly find out what she was doing hanging out with Christian in Jacob’s cabin as well.
The past five seasons of Lost have provided some of the most gripping moments of television I have ever watched. It’s still too early to determine whether this final season will provide a satisfactory conclusion to the saga, but producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, both of whom wrote this episode, are ensuring that the journey will be interesting up until the end. This issue was light on “Holy Crap” moments but kept the plot rolling and earns 4.5 out of 5 Creepy Fake Babies.