The progression of the flash-sideways narratives during the past two “Lost” segs, tonight’s delightfully Sawyer-centric “Recon” and last week’s “Dr. Linus,” have got me thinking that these are the closing chapters for the characters we’ve come to love and obsess over for the past six seasons.
This is not an original thought on my part — as usual I got the insight from Alan Sepinwall’s “What’s Alan Watching?” blog in his recap of a recent ep, and as I’ve chewed it over it just makes so much sense. These flash-sideways are the epilogues that we crave for our favorite castaways.
I think the reset post-bomb timeline is how life is supposed to be for our characters, even the non-Oceanics like Ben Linus. But somehow there’s a parallel universe thing going on that seems to hinge on the role of the “protector” of the island. That person’s primary job, it seems to me, is keeping Smokey from leaving the island.
Think about it — all Flocke has been saying since the season began is how badly he wants to get off the island. He’s been plotting, recruiting and killing in the name of this goal. Perhaps if Flocke is allowed to flee the island, the Flight 815 crash time line takes over. But if he’s somehow contained, as Jacob seemed to do all those years, with a little help from his loyal soldiers, then the bomb-reset timeline kicks in, the island is literally submerged under water, and Flight 815 lands at LAX as expected and the stories for our characters unfolds as we’ve seen, perhaps with increasing and seemingly random encounters with one another. Like tonight’s glimpse of LAPD Det. James Ford — and his trusty partner Miles — chasing down suspect who happens to be ol’ Freckles. Or trusty partner Miles setting James up with cute red-headed anthropologist named Charlotte.
In the bomb-reset timeline, the people who are to be touched by Jacob as “candidate” to save the island have their struggles for sure but so far it does seem like their lives are better off. Yet there’s no doubt the post-crash island experience teaches all of our heroes a lot about themselves, about relationships, trust, survival etc. — it’s not all horrible. So perhaps part of being called up as a candidate is to submit unwittingly to a crazy kind of bifurcated on-island/off-island life, where the events in both influence who you are as a person. (I’m guessing you always feel a bit of jet lag too, just because it’s hard on a head to be in two places at once.)