Lost: Sawyer to the Rescue! Or not...

Let's just start with this: I would totally watch an ABC cop drama starring James "Sawyer" Ford and Miles Straume. The two were paired as partners in Sawyer's alt-flash during last night's episode of Lost, and it made me realize one thing that my stubborn mind hasn't been able to wrap its feeble little fingers around over the course of this season: These side-flashes can be fun, so let's just let them be fun.

This is where I state my mea culpa and all you readers get to watch me suffer: Lost is in a different gear, and I haven't been watching it correctly. I've expected way too much from the show, and as a result, have been disappointed simply because there could be no other possible result. I wouldn't allow it. But I'm off my tall steed, and vowed to watch "Recon" with an open mind and just enjoy it. And enjoy the hell out of it I did.

"Recon" (get it, re-CON?) was a Sawyer-centric episode, and thank God, because I've missed the heck out of Sawyer. And we're seeing the Sawyer of old start to emerge, a vindictive survivalist who will stop at nothing to help himself. But this Sawyer, a fusion of the jerk we first saw on the island and the transformed House-playing head of Dharma security, will use his con-artist tactics not only to save himself, but also his friends. It's full circle for Sawyer, and a lot of fun to watch. And because we've seen him settle down and take the good life (living with Juliet is real good!), believing that alt-Sawyer could use his tools for good in his sideways-flash was totally believable.

Which brings me to this: has Sawyer become the most interesting character on the show and its savior? Has he surpassed John Locke as my favorite Lostie? Given the magic he pulled out of his hat last night, I'd have to say so.

While there were no big answers revealed (fine by me), the season is now really taking shape as all the game pieces move into place for a gigantic showdown. And who is at the forefront right now? Not Widmore and Ben, but Widmore and Smocke, which makes for a tantalizing meal. And look who's at the heart of it all: Sawyer, who's orchestrating the whole thing.

Back in alterna-LA, things are starting to gel ever so slowly. I really wanted to hang on to my theory that we weren't just seeing one alternate timeline in the side-flashes, but seeing many—each character's existence in one of several timelines. That's looking less likely as Sawyer nabs a runaway Kate, who is either just a really bad driver or on the lam again. As the webs begin to overlap in this new timeline, I'm warming to the idea that these side-flashes are starting to have some importance and will mesh soon. And in this roller coaster of a season, I'm back on board with having faith in the producers and watching with an open mind.

Next: What did the five fingers say to the face? >>

As I've said before, I'm really digging the new Claire. I don't know if it's because what's become of her is so outrageous, or if I just have a thing for crazy chicks, but seeing feral Claire go nuts with her skele-baby and her auditions for the lumberjack games and her stabby-stabby freak-out on Kate has been a lot of fun (there's that word again). But you know what's even better?


The Locke Ness Monster's five-finger takedown of Claire jumped into the ranks of my favorite Lost moments, because really, aren't we all feeling for Smocke a little bit right now? He's just trying to get off the island, but here he is playing chaperone to a bunch of spoiled children with their stupid questions and stupid behavior. That slap was well deserved and well delivered. But is it Lost's best slap? Here are some of my favorites, some of them remixed for extra slap-tacularness.

Locke takes down Claire in "Recon" (remixed!)

Sun openhands Juliet in "Ji Yeon" (1:44)

Sawyer b-slaps Faraday in "Because You Left" (uber-remixed)

Sun drops a one-hit combo on Sawyer in "Expose" (1:09)

(One fun thing to do: pause all four above videos when each person's head is reeling back from the slap and look at them all in their frozen-frame glory.)

Although Sun is the undisputed queen of the slap, I've got to give Smocke the award for Best Slap of the series, simply because he did that Airplane! thing where he grabs her shoulders first, gives a shake, and tries to talk her into calming down before giving her the extreme reverse facepalm. Claire's face afterward is also priceless. There's just a hint of "Whoa, did that just happen?" You better believe it Claire, now get your head together and bow before your God.

Notes from the episode:

... Did you see Terry O'Quinn Baywatch stroll up to the kayak when Sawyer returned from Hydra island? And how he pulled the boat to shore like it was made out of balsa wood? Homeboy is in shape!

... Ken Leung once again proves himself to be a terrific actor. Josh Holloway towers over him, but when Miles confronted Sawyer in the cops' locker room, it was Sawyer we were afraid for.

... Rebecca Mader returned as Charlotte, and my oh my was she a sight for sore eyes.

User Contribution News

Wow, I'm skimming through the comments from last week's article, and I have to say: I'm impressed. I thought I would get killed for not liking the episode, but it does seem that even most of the folks who disagreed with me understand where I'm coming from. And there were some others who felt the same way I did. This is why I like talking with Lost fans: Even though we're all crazy, we still have civility and a level of intelligence that I just don't see with lots of other shows. +1 for all you out there.

Last week, we saw the transformation of Ben from bad guy to good guy, and I wasn't a fan. The word "Redemption" was thrown around a lot, and I can see that. My favorite counterpoint came from "KnowledgeBomber" (great name, by the way) who said: "You said that schoolteacher/island Ben was back where he started at the end of the episode, but ... Ultimately where Ben ended up was as a new man." Another good point, from "breather": "Ben has been broken, and that's interesting I think." More great comments from several others: nealemobile, pilouuuu2004, DarthFreeza, vstherevolution, Hungr_Homer111 (who gets the award for most posts) and more. And AlexanderLost, thanks for retracting your "I dislike you" comment.

Breather's comment especially resonates with me. What does this mean for Ben moving forward? He is headed on a collision course with being the show's unlikely hero, the guy who realized the wrongs in his ways and sacrifices himself for the greater good. And I guess that could work for me, but I'm still not 100% on board. I really like "bad" Ben, and most importantly, his persistence and steadfastness. This sudden turn is a bit shocking, and I prefer him the way he was. I understand this is character development (which many of you said I don't understand), but character development, to me, doesn't happen in one episode. And looking back I can see the argument that it's been happening for a while now, but Ben's been so background prior to "Dr. Linus" that it felt like they really drove home his change in one single episode. It was just too sudden for me. But I'm over it, accept it, and am ready to move forward. Enough of that. Great discussion, guys.

Next week is "Ab Aeterno," what we believe is a Richard Alpert episode. I think I speak for all of us when is say, "YESSSSSS!!!!" For those of you who didn't take Latin in high school, "Ab Aeterno" translates to "since the beginning of time."

The Lost Season 6 Episode Power Rankings

(I'll be keeping tabs on each episode, ranking them in terms of quality each week, right here. Your opinions will differ from mine.)

"Recon": This episode had a lot of things I liked: a character's journey in Sawyer island-hopping, a fun side-flash in the style of a TV cop show, and a devastating slap! There wasn't any eye-popping OMG moment, but that's fine as it delivered plenty of entertainment. Great episode, but not the season's best.

1. "The Substitute" Ep. 4
2. "Recon" Ep. 8
3. "LA X (2)" Ep. 2
4. "The Lighthouse" Ep. 5
5. "Sundown" Ep. 6
6. "LA X (1)" Ep. 1
7. "Dr. Linus Ep. 7
8. "What Kate Does" Ep. 3

Your Homework:

It looks like this may be the last week to get your Richard Alpert theories out there, so go ahead and write them in the comments below. We'll revisit them next week. Bonus points for creativity. See you next week.

Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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