Lost: The Substitute

The part of last night’s Lost I have been pondering the most is the name of the episode: The Substitute.

With all of the Biblical references, John Locke has always seemed like the character most representative of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, Jesus was the substitute for all the people of the world. He was perfect and blameless, yet he took on the sins of the world and was crucified as a substitute so others could live. Three days later, Jesus was resurrected from the dead and appeared to his followers before ascending into Heaven.

So in the show, Locke was the “believer”. He was the only one who wanted to stay on the island, and yet he left believing he could save the island by bringing the Oceanic 6 back. He became a martyr, murdered by Ben Linus. And then he was seemingly resurrected.

The only problem is, he seems to be overtaken by evil, a force more representative of Satan. Why can’t the Lost writers make this simpler for me and stick to the script? Sigh.

Of course, the title also corresponds to his WHAT IF life, in which Locke is a substitute teacher. Oh how I love the Lost writers’ play on words.

The writers were leading viewers to assume that if the Oceanic flight had never crashed, the passengers would have gone on to lead their depressing, meaningless lives. And yet, the opposite seems to be true.

In their alternate existence, they all seem much happier than they would have been. Perhaps it’s because Jacob didn’t enter the picture and “pull” them toward the island, as the New Locke explained.

Locke is now in a seemingly healthy relationship with Helen. Before, he was sad and depressed, screaming into the phone, begging her to come with him to Australia.

He meets Hurley, who is the confident and secure owner of his company. On the plane, he actually told someone he always had “good luck”.

And he meets Rose, who still has terminal cancer, but has reconciled with her condition and also seems happy with her life.

Perhaps those that had been “touched” by Jacob in the parallel world weren’t affected by him in this existence. Except there’s one problem with that theory: Locke wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Jacob bringing him back from the dead after his fall from the office building.

I loved the part of the episode where the New Locke was zooming around the island in the shape of the Smoke Monster. And I’m wondering if he is the first of the characters to meet his alternate self on the island. He is the only character who is there in two forms, one dead and one alive, although inhabited by something else.

Of course, the big question from last night is about the names written on the roof of Jacob’s cave. How had he selected each of the “candidates” and why? Am I remembering correctly or did the numbers assigned to each of the remaining candidates correspond to Hurley’s lotto numbers and the numbers on the hatch?

And was Kate’s name missing from the cave? I know they showed flashbacks of Jacob’s encounter with Jack, John, Sayid, the Kwon’s, Sawyer and Hurley. But I don’t remember anything about Kate.

The New Locke specifically asks the question of which Kwon was being referred to on the cave wall, as if to draw attention to that question. But when Aldo was about to kill Jin, the other Other begs him not to because he apparently is a candidate.

It does seem like the show is starting to answer some questions, even if I don’t understand the answers yet.

Regardless, there were a few moments to love last night:

  • Seeing Ben’s alternate life if even HE had not been brought to the island. Now he is waging war against the other teachers in the teacher’s lounge over how to properly take care of the coffee pot.
  • His eulogy at Locke’s funeral. “He was a believer. He was a much better man than I will ever be, and I’m sorry I murdered him.”
  •  The New Locke/Esau guy reveals that he also is just a man brought to the island by Jacob. It seems that he was the most unhappy with this position as a candidate and the first to stand up to him, rather than going along with his manipulation of his life. But how did he become the Smoke Monster?

And finally, who was the little boy who was giving New Locke chills when he saw him? I was betting that he was a boy version of Jacob. When he told New Locke it was against the rules to kill him, was he referring to Sawyer? Or was he making a statement about how he killed Jacob?

What did you think? I would love to hear your theories. And for more Lost posts, check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Don’t miss a post. Subscribe in a reader!


  1. Actually I think you have to move even further back with Locke's back being broken, because Helen mentions his father, and it seems his father is alive and in relationship with the two of them, which means he never threw locke out of the window. So… Locke's back must've been broken another way, and perhaps that is another sign that whatever is going to happen will still happen, one way or another?

  2. I think that the little kid is Aaron……And, Jacob did touch Kate — in the store when she too was a little kid. Her and Sawyer were the only two young kids that Jacob visited. My post will be up soon!

Leave a Reply