by Ryland Walker Knight
—Don't be fooled; not a dungeon
Sawyer episodes are usually a lot of fun because he usually gets into a lot of mischief. This one proved no different. And, for once, I was totally into the sideways story where Sawyer's Jim, an LAPD detective working with Miles, for the simple fact that it played like a parody of the buddy cop genre. Sure, it was kind of cool to see Charlotte show up undamaged, and the final chase to throw Kate against a fence was lively, but mostly it was hilarious to see these two dudes play these roles. Only problem with it is that is that Ken Leung is a better actor than Josh Holloway and seems in on the joke a bit more. Not to say Holloway's no good, but he mostly scowls through the episode.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about acting on this show and we agreed that it's probably one of the easiest jobs around because the writers set you up with a certain trait or tic or single motivation and then all you have to do is make that believable; or, as was said, "do that shit to death." Holloway's been doing the charming thing for so long that his darker moments never seem quite that dark. (However, when he bust out of the temple and cried on the pier with Kate, he was pretty good.) Even in that mischief, he's seductive. He plays all angles to win over whomever happens to be his interlocutor, such as Dark Locke or Charles Widmore (or even Charlotte in 2004'). After all, Dark Locke said, Sawyer's the best liar he ever met.
Part of what makes him a good liar in this episode, on the island at least, is that he's largely telling the truth. Somehow, the truth about actions masks his motivations. Like a lot of the "Losties" of old, Sawyer's reverted to looking out for number one only. In a way, his aims echo Michael's in that they're of a single purpose (to leave) except Sawyer plays the game better. Which is to say that Sawyer is a better actor than Michael (though not necessarily Holloway over Harold Perrineau) because he (Sawyer) doesn't make the interactions about him or his motivations; these encounters are all about placating, or seducing, the mark Sawyer's made. So Sawyer tells Widmore he'll help him kill Dark Locke, and he tells Dark Locke what he told Widmore to help Dark Locke think he's helping Dark Locke kill Widmore. Then Sawyer tells Kate what he's done as a way to set up a clusterfuck he hopes to duck out of, and onto the sub. Makes sense to me.
Apart from the Sawyer stuff, there was a bit more on the Kate versus Claire front, including the risible rag doll moment when Dark Locke tore Claire off Kate and threw her aside. Dark Locke, then, seems to smooth things over by copping to the truth about where Aaron is and why Kate did what she did. Or, he got them both calm enough to tell Kate to kill Claire—because Claire's now a crazy mother, just like the one that gave this evil incarnate his "growing pains" as he says. Kate seems like she could do it, too, but I think we're lead to believe she won't after Claire apologizes with all kinds of tears, and a hug, later.
So if Sawyer's our bird on a wire, what does that make Kate? She's the one, after all, always aching to get free. Or maybe this means they'll really wind up together. In any case, there wasn't any Leonard Cohen on the soundtrack of the episode, or in the promos for next week. But the promo does have me excited to see more of Richard's story, and more of the things he's seen on the island. I'm sure there's other places on the internet full of theories about what he meant in the promo by "all of this isn't what you think it is" but I'm guessing that misdirection, a snippet in regards to something other than the broad topic of the island. I just hope they'll quit this back and forth thing soon where one episode we spend with Dark Locke and the next with the Ilana-led troupe of misfits. Seems like stalling. Also, I hope Sayid makes a few more bad choices. His little bit of screen time this week was the most mysterious, and compelling, and not just because it was opposite Kate. Because it seems like he's really on a slippery slope back towards dead.
[Please excuse the quick gloss of this recap; I'm sick and tired. Doin my best to follow Michael Landon's advice and live but one day at a time.]