friends, Lost, television

Lost Forum: “The Substitute”


We were hanging out with friends Andrew and Emily Cashmere this past weekend discussing the final season of “Lost” when Mr. Cashmere made a proposition.

“I’ll be your really good friend and say nice things about you if you give me your kidney,” he said.

Ben turned to Erin and said, “How essential is the human kidney again?”

Then Mr. Cashmere made another proposition: That we gchat back and forth during last night’s episode, commentating in real time on the events as they unfolded with piercing analysis and witty, colorful repartee. “This could be great,” we said, “or it could fall flat on its face.” We’re about to find out which.

Two notes before we dive in: We have gone back and inserted [in brackets] any relevant action for clarification’s sake. Because the gchat was between Ben and Andrew, we have also added in brackets when [Emily] and [Erin] chime in. Enjoy.


me: You there?

8:55 PM

Andrew: I am here.

And excited.

me: Ditto.

So, word is we’re in for a Locke episode tonight. Which is good.

After last week’s crapfest, we need a strong showing. Terry O’Quinn rarely disappoints.

8:56 PM

Andrew: I feel the need to capitalize words and use punctuation.

Will this be uncut or will you be editing the content?

me: No need to capitalize or use punctuation. And I promise not to change a single word you say.

8:57 PM

Andrew: Awesome. You are the the most handsome man on the face of the earth and I would give anything to get in your pants.

me: Aw shucks. That was kind of you to say.

8:59 PM

[Last week’s episode is concluding. Mac, a k a “Aldo,” says to Jin, “Where’s that bitch?”]

Andrew: I am delighted. I think he forgot what show he was in for a minute there.

me: Hey, does Jack know that Claire is his sister?

He does, right?

9:00 PM

Andrew: I don’t think he does.

me: No? We’ll have to do some research.

Andrew: Emily is drinking a Hoegarden and I’m drinking a Dogfish 90 minute IPA

Just in case your readers were wondering.

me: They were! This is the exactly the kind of color commentary we need.

9:01 PM

[The episode begins with a van pulling into a suburban driveway. The side door opens and a lift lowers Locke from the vehicle. It stops before it reaches the ground. Locke rolls himself off but ends up doing a faceplant. The sprinklers come on. Helen appears at the front door. We cut to Locke sitting in the bathtub.]

9:03 PM

Andrew: Locke sitting in the bathtub reminds me of the scene in Gummo where the kid is eating spaghetti in the tub.

And Emily and I agree: Locke has beefy man boobs.

[Helen discovers Jack’s business card. She questions Locke about it, comments on the odds of running into a spinal surgeon who offers a free consult, saying, “Maybe it’s destiny.”]

me: I figured they’d bring that up. But this is sooner than I thought.

9:05 PM

“From that angle, his man boobs are super beefy” [Erin]

Andrew: Indeed.

[We jump back to the island where Man in Black/Locke — hereby referred to as Nemesis — is on the beach with Richard.]

“Will we finally get to know about Richard?” [Emily]

[P.O.V. changes to the smoke monster as we hear the trademark gurgling/clicking. We rove all over the island with a quick stop at the Barracks until we see a machete on the ground. Richard is hanging in a bag in mid-air. Nemesis says it’s time to talk. Commercial.]

me: So do you want to recap what you think just happened there?

9:08 PM

Andrew: I’m still trying to figure that out, but I do like seeing things from the Smoke Monster’s perspective.

me: And he just kinda turned into Locke again at the end. Hmmm.

Andrew: I was thinking about how it reminded me of when we see things from Jason or Michael Meyer’s perspective, and then he changed into Locke and picked up the machete.

me: Ooh. Good analogy.

Andrew: Yes! Point Cashmere.

9:08 PM

“Are you putting this in or are you just putting profound things in? Because if you’re just putting profound things in, nothing I say will get put in” [Emily]

me: So while it’s still a commercial break, do you want to give our readers a quick snapshot of how you two became “Lost” fans?

Andrew: Honestly, our “Lost” obsession is your fault. We were oblivious until you sucked us in.

Early on, Emily was partial to Sawyer and I was partial to Jack, but I think we have both moved toward some kind of middle ground now. Emily hates Kate with a passion.

This is Emily. I don’t like Kate. Although in the last season or so it’s been a little less of hate. I just get annoyed when she always proclaims, “I’m going with you.” Cut it out, you’re not Indiana Jones.

9:09 PM

[Commercial break over. We see Locke back at his old job. His boss, Randy, swings by his cubicle to ask how the conference in Australia was. He gets Locke to confess that he never attended the conference. He fires him.]

me: I think when they cast Randy the Boss’s role they just put, “Douchebag.”

9:11 PM

Andrew: Agreed.

Wanted: douchebag with terrible beard.

me: That was a shitty beard.

[Back on the island, Nemesis tells Richard that he took the appearance of Locke because Locke was one of Jacob’s “candidates.” Richard is confused. Nemesis tells him he wouldn’t have kept Richard in the dark and would have “treated you with respect.” He asks Richard to follow him. Richard refuses. Nemesis suddenly spots a creepy, blonde-haired child standing in the woods, staring at him. There is blood on the boy’s hands.]

Andrew: AHHH!

Who was that?

me: That’s what Erin just asked.

No idea.

This is turning into The Shining.

Andrew: No kidding.

9:13 PM

[We cut back to Ilana and Ben at the statue. Ben tells her that the Smoke Monster killed everyone, including Jacob, and that Jacob burned up in the fire. Ilana scoops up some ash and deposits it in her bag.]

me: “She’s got beefy boobs too. And she’s not exactly dressed for the jungle.” [Erin]

Andrew: Her beefy boobs are a poor replacement for Juliet’s supple bosom.

me: Wow. Bonus points for working “supple” into this gchat.

I don’t really think her character has served any purpose on this show.

Andrew: “I don’t like the way she swaggers.” [Emily]

9:14 PM

[Nemesis returns to the Barracks, where Sawyer is rocking out to The Stooges. He pours the undead some whiskey and tells Nemesis that he knows he’s not Locke. We cut to commercial.]

me: Are you watching an Old Spice commercial right now?

Or am I high?

That was freaky.

9:15 PM

Andrew: Okay, Locke/Smoke Monster is recruiting. For what? And is somebody going to recruit for the opposing side?

me: So do you think he recruits Sawyer?

Andrew: “You’re not doing a…nevermind.” [Emily]

I am being yelled at for my commentating.

9:17 PM

Emily and I think Sawyer will be heavily recruited (huge upside potential, wingspan), but don’t see him being bad.

Mostly because Emily wants to make out with him.

me: I’m curious … who are Emily’s TV crushes? We hear a lot about yours (Pam, Juliet, Lorelai, etc.). I think it’s her turn.

Andrew: Emily is thinking…


Jim from the first few seasons of The Office, not so much now.

9:19 PM

[Back at the Barracks, Nemesis and Locke share a drink. Sawyer says that he knows Nemesis isn’t Locke because “Locke was always scared, even when he pretended that he wasn’t.”]

“What’s up with Sawyer’s boxers? Did he have explosive diarrhea?” [Emily]

me: Sure looks like it. Does Emily find THAT attractive?

Andrew: Emily noticed that Sawyer doesn’t use allusions anymore.

It makes her sad.

She misses the nicknames.

9:20 PM

[Nemesis tells Sawyer he can answer the question Sawyer most wants answered: Why he’s on the island. Sawyer explains the logistics of how he got there, but Nemesis says those are the “how,” not the “why.” He promises Sawyer an answer if he will follow him.]

me: This is sort of like Satan’s temptations when Jesus is in the wilderness.

He keeps promising knowledge.

Andrew: I’ve been thinking the same thing.

[Alternate timeline Hurley parks his big-ass car next to just-canned Locke’s vehicle. Locke throws a hissy fit. Hurley appears. He tells Locke he’s the owner of the company and agrees that Randy the Boss is a douche.]

Ha! Hurley knows that Randy is a douche.

me: What do you think of alternate timeline Hurley?

I just have a hard time picturing him happy.

9:23 PM

Andrew: Same here, confident happy Hugo is odd.

me: Erin is concerned about Hurley’s weight. She thinks he needs to go on The Biggest Loser.

Andrew: Emily is wondering what Hugo’s role is supposed to be. Like the voice of reason in strange situations.

I was thinking that his ding dong probably disappears into his fatty pad.*

[On the island, Nemesis sees bloody-handed freak kid again. Andrew and Ben both type, “AHH!” Sawyer can see him too. Nemesis gives chase until he, like Locke ealrier, faceplants. “Lost” nation wonders, Why risk tripping when you could, you know, do your gurgle smoke monster thing? Freak kid — surely Jacob — says, “You know the rules. You can’t kill him.” Nemesis steals John Locke’s favorite line: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”]

9:25 PM

me: This is like Job. God = Jacob. Devil = Locke. Job = Sawyer. There were rules.

Andrew: Emily agrees, they have taken everything from Sawyer.

Including sweet Juliet.

It’s weird that Smoke Monster Locke yells the same thing as Handi-capable Locke [“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”].

9:30 PM

[Locke goes to Hurley’s temp agency for a job. A woman asks him what kind of animal he is. We recognize her as the fake psychic that Hurley’s dad hired. Locke wants none of her touchy feely nonsense and demands to see her manager. It is Rose. Rose still has cancer. Locke says he wants to work construction. Rose says he should do something more realistic.]

me: “I hate Rose” [Erin]

What kind of animal would you describe yourself as, Andrew?

Ask Emily too.

Andrew: Hmm.

9:31 PM

“I would say a lion or a tiger, because I like to be boss.” [Emily]

Emily says I would be a monkey.

Because I like to masturbate and throw poop. And lions eat monkeys.

[Sawyer and Nemesis continue on their walk. Emily thinks Sawyer looks good in purplish-blue. Sawyer pulls out his go-to book when making Important Literary Analogies — Of Mice and Men.]

9:32 PM

“Second time they have referenced Of Mice and Men in the series.” [Emily]

“I hope my students are watching.” [Emily]

9:34 PM

[Nemesis gives a killer speech in response to Sawyer’s question, “What are you?” “What I am … is trapped,” he says. “And I’ve been trapped for so long that I no longer know what it feels like to be free. Before I was trapped, I was a man, just like you. I know what it’s like to feel joy, to feel pain, anger, fear. To experience betrayal. I know what it’s like to lose someone you love. If you wanna shoot me, shoot me. But you’re so close, James. It would be a shame to turn back now.”]

me: Sympathy from the devil.

Andrew: Yes.

9:35 PM

me: Erin says she would be a lemur.

I would be a tree sloth.

Andrew: Emily thinks the original John was the Christ-like figure early on.

me: You mean … the ANTI-Christ-like figure? (da dah dunnnn!)

Andrew: I don’t know if I am a monkey.

me: We flipped over to the Winter Olympics. What’s your favorite sport?

The snowboard cross is kinda fun.

9:36 PM

But they don’t get to wear sequins.

Andrew: “These are really dumb (old spice) commercials.” [Emily]

I like the big ski jump.

And I’m strangely intrigued by curling.

Emily likes the speed skating.

And the 400m Husband Criticism.

me: Burn!

Andrew: I find the snowboarding women to be nice.

The seem like they would be nice.

9:39 PM

[Back to Ben and Ilana. Ben worries that Nemesis will keep shape-shifting now that he’s been outed. Ilana claims he can’t do that.]

Beefy man boobs (woman) seems to know a lot about what is going on.

me: As does Beefy man boobs (man). Is the name of this episode “The All-Knowing Beefy Man Boobs”?

Andrew: Just think if they were on the same team.

9:40 PM

[Ben, Ilana, Lapidus and Sun dig a grave for Locke. Ilana asks if anyone wants to say a few words. Awkward silence. “Didn’t anyone know him?” she asks. Ben says he did.]

me: This’ll be good.

Andrew: Ben Linus: “John Locke was…” “…a man with beefy man boobs.” [Emily]

[Ben says John Locke was “a believer, a man of faith, and a much better man than I will ever be,” adding, “I’m sorry I murdered him.” This concludes the most awkward funeral speech of all time. You can see Ilana thinking to herself, “I need new friends.”]

9:41 PM

[Locke wakes up to an alarm that sounds not unlike the one from the Hatch. He is in the doldrums.]

me: He’s callin’ Jack.

[Locke takes Jack’s card out and calls. He then hangs up. Helen asks who was on the phone. Locke tells the truth, and adds that he got fired. The doorbell rings and Locke’s luggage is delivered. “What’s in the case?” Ben says aloud, to which Erin answers, “Gwyneth’s Paltrow’s severed head.” Instead, it contains the knives from Locke’s failed walkabout. He tells Helen, “I’m sick of imagining what my life would be like out of this chair. What it would be like to walk down the aisle with you. Because it’s not gonna happen. So if you need me to see more doctors, to have more consults, to get out of this chair…I don’t blame you. But I don’t want you to spend your life waiting for a miracle, Helen. Because there’s no such thing.” Helen says she wasn’t waiting for a miracle, just Locke. They smooch.]

me: “Eww. I bet he tastes like mothballs” [Erin]

Andrew: This may be common sense, but John Locke (philosopher) was all about the mind as a blank slate, onto which shit is imprinted over time.

9:44 PM

Was John Locke (beefy man boobs) meant to be a blank slate for Smoke Monster to imprint onto?

“Does it mean something that his wife’s shirt says peace and karma?” [Emily]

9:46 PM

[On the island, Nemesis and Sawyer approach the edge of a cliff.]

Sawyer is getting pushed off.

me: He’s tempting Sawyer to kill him.

[Nemesis begins descending some incredibly rickety looking ladders Many meanings possible here. Jacob’s Ladder? Two ladders = parallel worlds?]

Andrew: Are they climbing into the Ewok village?

me: Sure looks like it!

9:47 PM

[Sawyer nearly falls to his death. Nemesis rescues him.]

Andrew: What a shitty ladder.

9:48 PM

[Nemesis leads Saywer into a crevice in the cliff wall. It opens up into a small cave. There is a scale with a black and white rock. Backgammon, anyone? Nemesis takes the white one and throws it into the sea. “Inside joke,” he says.]

“Hmm, black and white.” [Emily]

9:49 PM

[Nemesis lights a torch and holds it up to the cavern ceiling. There are names scrawled everywhere. Most are crossed out. We see Sawyer’s last name, Ford, with the number #15 next to it.]

me: The names have numbers next to them. I saw 15 and 16.

Andrew: We saw those also.

I think Hugo was 16

but wouldn’t bet money on it.

me: And Sawyer was 15? Or was that Jarrah (Sayid)?

9:50 PM

Andrew: Smokey/Beefy Locke presented that like it should have been mind blowing, but I found it more confusing than anything.

9:52 PM

me: Well I guess those are all the names of who’s left to recruit … most of them looked crossed off

So again, we’ve got a Job thing going on.

Doc Jensen is going to analyze the shit out of this episode.

And all the numbers must stand for the seven people Jacob touched?

9:53 PM

Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, Sayid, Hurley and … ?

Oh yeah, Sun and Jin.

But that’d be 8.

Although maybe we shouldn’t believe any of what Nemesis just told us.

Pretty strong unreliable narrator thing going on this whole episode.

Andrew: I want to rewind and look at the roof of the cave again.

9:55 PM

[John Locke is placed at his temp job as a substitute teacher. He gets a speech about changing the coffee filter from none other than … Benjamin Linus!]

me: “This is like the fakest school in the world” [Erin]

“And what teacher says, Let’s begin by opening your textbooks?” [Erin]

9:58 PM

[Back in the Numerology Cave, Nemesis explains to Sawyer the significance of the names and numbers. The few that are not crossed out are the ones Jacob touched. We see flashbacks of the touches, including Locke’s. Nemesis crosses Locke’s name off. We also see that Jacob touched Jin but not Sun.]

Andrew: “The didn’t mention Kate as one of the numbers.” [Emily]

me: Hmm. They didn’t.

But I’m almost positive Jacob touched her.

Andrew: He did.

[Sawyer doesn’t remember meeting Jacob, and we see the moment when Jacob handed young James Ford a pen. Nemesis explains that this means Sawyer is a “candidate” to guard the island in Jacob’s absence. Nemesis gives Sawyer three choices. 1) Do nothing and let the chips fall where they may. 2) Get busy guarding the island. Or 3) — ]

“The third choice is that you join me and we rule the galaxy as father and son.”

[ — go with Nemesis and leave the island. Sawyer chooses door #3. LOST flashes across the screen.]

“Damn it.” [Emily]

me: “I just want to watch the last episode, you know?” [Erin]

Andrew: Don’t we all.

me: So, Cashmeres, what does it all mean?

Break it down for us.

We’ll link to other recaps (Zap2It, Doc Jensen) as usual, but we know they won’t hold a candle to yours.

Andrew: Ok. Initial reaction: this episode kicked ass. It is pretty cool to think how far we have come in learning about the Smoke Monster. I think it was episode 1 where we first hear the monster and now we’re watching him openly recruit people.

Those Last Supper pictures. Here we think about Locke as the Devil tempting Sawyer, but in the pictures isn’t Locke sitting in the Jesus spot? Does this mean something or is it just coincidence?

I have a strong sense that things are starting to click and make sense, but I am not able to articulate how. This is frustrating. I remember when our daughter Eleanor started to understand what was going on around her, but could not articulate what she wanted or needed so she ended up hitting or biting. I might start doing that soon.

I’m now handing the computer to Emily.

[Andrew Cashmere hands computer to Emily Cashmere.]

I enjoyed it. I like it when I come away not totally confused.

I’m also intrigued by John and his “transformation.”

Although if you think back to the very first season he showed up on the island with a scar on one side and nothing on the other – pointing out something mysterious or a dichotomy of some sort.

The only reason I remember this is because I used it to teach Lord of the Flies to my 10th graders. Thanks to Erin’s suggestion.

Which, by the way, is how we started watching it. I was hooked after previewing it for my students.

[Emily Cashmere hands computer back to husband.]

One last thing. Make sure Voreblog readers know I want to pork Juliet.

“ANDY!!!” [Emily]

me: As long as Emily is ok with us printing that. I don’t want to get sued.

Do you still have ABC on? Does Christian Slater’s hairline freak you out too?

10:05 PM

Andrew: A little.

It’s interesting.

10:06 PM

me: Well, thank you sir. Whether it’s guest-blogging a Friday Recommends, killing a perfectly good Readers Forum or commentating on “Lost,” you’ve always been there for Voreblog readers. Tell Emily thanks too.

Andrew: I will

me: And that I hope she dreams of Sawyer.

Andrew: I hope she pretends I’m Sawyer.

me: Even better.


* = Proof that we did not edit everything. We couldn’t make that one up.

5 thoughts on “Lost Forum: “The Substitute”

  1. Something that plainly stands out now that it’s in print – Andrew Cashmere talks about sex and poop an awful lot. I’ve always known it, but now there’s proof in writing. A one hour conversation with him is quite revealing.

  2. I enjoyed the crap out of our Gchat. It was outstanding and the enjoy. My only complaint is that Beefy Man Boobs doesn’t have the same impact as our original choice of words.

    I can’t wait for the next episode.

  3. Wow! I’m pretty sure we just killed your blog post. You might want to rethink doing this again with us. Sorry, Voreblog.

  4. I think everyone is still trying to discern the meaning of, “I was thinking that his ding dong probably disappears into his fatty pad.”

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