Season 6 Episode 4

The Substitute

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 16, 2010 on ABC



  • Trivia

    • A photo seen on Locke's desk of Locke and Anthony Cooper is actually a still from "Deus Ex Machina".

    • Lynn Karnoffis the same person Hurley's father hired to convince Hurley that The Numbers weren't cursed in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead".

    • While substituting at the school Locke is teaching the students about human reproduction from Chapter 4 of the textbook. 4 is one of The Numbers.

    • Hurley's Hummer was parked too close to Locke's van, which would not have allowed Hurley enough room to exit his vehicle from the driver's side door.

    • Locke uses the same brand of alarm clock as Desmond in Flashes Before Your Eyes.

    • On the t-shirt Helen is wearing printed with Chinese text, the text on the left is "精神啟示" which means "revelation to/for spirit". The text on the right is "喚醒的靈魂" which means "awakening soul".

    • The box that held Locke's dead body is labeled with the numbers 823. 8 and 23 are two of The Numbers.

    • It is revealed that several of the main survivors of Oceanic 815 correspond to one of The Numbers: 4-Locke, 8-Reyes, 15-Ford, 16-Jarrah, 23-Shephard, 42-Kwon.

    • While Locke contemplates calling Jack's office for the free consult that was offered to him, different versions of Jack's business card are shown.

    • When Locke comes back to his office and takes a time to rest, his wristwatch stands still at 11:05:15.

    • Locke's wheelchair lift malfunctioned just prior to hitting Hurley's Hummer, as in the new timeline Hurley is lucky.

    • The title of this episode, "The Substitute", has multiple meanings. It refers to the choice the characters must make, to become a substitute for Jacob or not; John Locke becoming a substitute teacher; Locke's body on Ajira 316 substituting for Christian's on Oceanic 815; etc.

    • This episode follows the current pattern of copying season 1's centricities. The pilot and LA X were multi-centric, episode 3 of season 1 and 6 were Kate-centric, and the fourth episodes of season 1 and 6 are Locke-centric. If this is any indication for future episodes, the next one will be Jack-centric.

    • The two color swatches that Locke and Helen compare for their wedding chairs, two bluish/greyish shades, resemble the colors ABC uses in the advertising graphics for Lost.

    • In the teachers' lounge at the school where Locke works as a substitute, a wall banner in the background reads: "Live in the present, plan for the future".

    • Certain sounds in the flash-sideways sequence resemble sounds on the island throughout the series. Locke's wheelchair ramp breaking down resembled the clicking mechanical sounds of the Smoke Monster. His alarm clock resembled the beeping of the alarm at the Swan station.

  • Quotes

    • Lapidus: This is the weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to!

    • Sawyer: I don't give a damn if you're dead. Or time travellin' or... the ghost of Christmas past. All I care about is this whiskey. So bottoms up! Get the hell out of my house.

    • Ben: John Locke was a believer. He was a man of faith. He was...a much better man than I could ever hope to be. And I'm sorry I murdered him.

    • Locke: Hello, James.
      Sawyer: I thought you were dead.
      Locke: I am.

  • Notes

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Canada: February 16, 2010 on A
      United Kingdom: February 19, 2010 on Sky1
      Portugal: February 23, 2010 on Fox
      Spain: February 23, 2010 on FOX
      Latin America: March 2, 2010 on AXN
      New Zealand: March 3, 2010 on TV2
      Finland: March 11, 2010 on Nelonen
      Norway: March 24, 2010 on TVNorge
      Germany: April 7, 2010 on FOX
      Sweden: April 21, 2010 on TV4
      Czech Republic: April 26, 2010 on AXN

    • Music: "Search and Destroy" by The Stooges.

      James Ford is listening to The Stooges' "Search and Destroy." Which offers in the refrain the lyrics, "I am the world's forgotten boy; the one who searches, searches to destroy," plus reference to nuclear/hydrogen bombs. The lyrics also plead "Somebody better save my soul."

    • Katey Sagal (Helen) appears for the first time since the Season 2 episode "Lockdown".
      Suzanne Krull (Lynn Karnoff), appears for the first time since the Season 3 episode "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead".

    • Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Matthew Fox (Jack), and Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) only appear in archive footage from "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2".
      Also, Mark Pellegrino appears as Jacob in archive footage from "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2".

    • Although credited, Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Ken Leung (Miles) and Evangeline Lilly (Kate) do not appear in this episode.

    • The title "The Substitute" refers to Eloise telling Jack in "316" that John will be a "substitute".

    • This is a Locke-centric episode.

  • Allusions

    • The Dark Tower: In the final book of this series by Stephen King, several of the protagonists share a vision of a bleeding teenage boy symbolizing the damage being done by the antagonists.

    • A Christmas Carol: After the Man in Black confronts James, he claims that James is not so put off by him being there, to which James no longer cares if Locke (as The Man in Black) is dead or if he were the Ghost of Christmas Past.

    • Jacob's Ladder: Sawyer and Jacob's Nemesis "Jacob's Ladder" and arrive at a cave formerly inhabited by Jacob. A Jacob's Ladder has significance in both the Jewish and Christian religions, having many interpretations, among them that it is a bridge between heaven and earth. Saint John Climacus (also known as John of the Ladder) wrote a book called "Ladder of the Divine Ascent" which uses Jacob's Ladder as an analogy for the ascetic life. It is frequently read by Orthodox Christians during the Lent season before Easter. The episode "The Substitute" originally aired the night before the start of non-Orthodox Lent (Ash Wednesday) (which does not coincide with Orthodox Great Lent).

    • Plato's Allegory of the Cave: The cave that the Man in Black takes Sawyer to can be a reference to this philosophical concept attributed to Plato. The idea that people live their lives and form ideas that are not indicative of reality is mirrored in the Man in Black's view that Jacob manipulated everyone he brought to the Island into believing certain ideas.

    • Of Mice and Men: James wanted to kill the Man in Black the same way in which George killed Lennie in the novella, after pointing to Steinbeck as author of the books he most liked to read.

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