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Lost

Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010

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Episode 13 - The Long Con

8 April 2017

Present: Jack and Locke lock the guns in the hatch. Jack takes medicine from Sawyer, though Sawyer argues that it was his before he left on the raft. Sun is attacked in her garden and Jin and Jack want to get guns and go looking for the Others. Kate thinks Ana might have done it in order to get recruits for her army. She warns Jack while Sawyer tells Locke to move the guns. As Locke and Jack argue Sawyer appears before the whole camp saying he conned them all to take the guns. Later it is revealed that it was Charlie who helped him do it, in order to humiliate Locke.

Flashback: Sawyer is attempting to pull the same con as he did in Confidence Man (108). But Cassidy is too smart for him and says she doesn’t have any money anyway. But she asks him to teach her how to con. He does and they fall in love. She wants to do a “long con” and reveals that she does have money after all. The man who put Sawyer onto her, Gordy, threatens to kill them both if Sawyer doesn’t come through. So Sawyer ignores his feelings and cons her anyway.

The Good: Sawyer is one of Lost’s best creations. A man who sets out to avenge his parents’ deaths ends up becoming the man he is hunting and so comes to hate himself. Although this story essentially makes that same point once more, it does explore the idea that Sawyer doesn’t believe he can change at all. Of course following his twisted logic, if he could change then so could the original Sawyer and he doesn’t want to think that. The fact that Sawyer is willing to hurt Kate shows his commitment to being hated. You can see that as with Cassidy, he decides that he doesn’t deserve the love and happiness that might come with getting closer to someone. And as he concludes I'm not a good person, Charlie. Never did a good thing in my life." That’s certainly what he would like to believe.

Both the Cassidy con and the con on the island are pretty clever. Neither is too surprising a twist but both have a pleasantly logical feel to them. Without Charlie’s anger (212) and Ana’s army (211), Sawyer’s plan would have failed, so the writers demonstrate a good control over their developing stories. It’s good to see Sawyer’s character succeed as well. A con man who was no good at it would be much less interesting.

Locke and Jack remain consistent in their roles. Jack has to “fix” this situation by racing off after Sun’s attacker. While Locke returns to being the voice of reason (after beating Charlie last episode) and calm. He makes the excellent point that Shannon was shot (206) because of an accident which could easily happen again if they start handing out guns.

There are a couple of other moments of pleasing logic throughout the episode. I have often complained of the survivors lack of urgency in their desire to be rescued or at least seek out ways of accomplishing that. So Hurley taking Bernard’s radio is exactly what should have happened. Similarly Sawyer walks in on Locke searching for more hidden items in the books in the hatch (as Desmond hid various things there, see 203). Of course you would scour the hatch for anything which could be useful. The loss of Sawyer’s custom made glasses on the raft is another nice touch, showing the writers paying attention. Sayid still looking mournful so many episodes after Shannon’s death is also very encouraging to see.

The Bad: Sawyer’s remarks about the survivors dividing up his property seem a bit rich. Having set off on the raft to try and get rescue the survivors naturally took his property and began using it. What else were they supposed to do? They would have assumed he would either find rescue or die, so they hardly needed to leave his tent unused. And of course he did exactly what they did to the property of all the dead people from the plane. So if he really was offended then he is being pretty short sighted.

Locke asks Jack very pointedly if he trusts him. But why exactly should Jack trust him? After suggesting that the island guided their actions and even demanded Boone’s life (125) it was clear Jack thought Locke was deranged. Locke then disobeyed Jack in front of the whole camp (201) by heading down into the hatch. Since then Locke angered him further over Michael’s rescue (211), so it seems odd that Locke would assume Jack should trust him. The fact that they end up shouting at each other by the episodes end makes that point rather well.

Charlie has become quite the selfish bastard hasn’t he? His bitterness at Locke leads him to attack Sun. That seems a bit extreme for his character. All his stories suggest he tries to do the right thing but fails. This however is deliberate premeditated behaviour purely to take revenge on someone.

The Unknown: Is there any significance to Sawyer meeting Kate’s mother in the diner?

What does Hurley mean by suggesting the radio transmission could be coming from another time? Is he pointing out that the radio waves might continue to travel long after they were broadcasting or is he making a joke about the island being supernatural? Are the producers of the show deliberately sending messages?

Best Moment: Sawyer in the hatch winding Jack up as much as he can. As he enters the numbers he says “I’m this close to the highest score on Donkey Kong.” When Jack asks where Locke is he replies “He said something about going down to the store to get a pack of smokes.” Then when Jack opens the gun room he shouts in mock alarm “Uh oh, looks like we’ve got a theft. Who’s gonna call the cops?”

The Bottom Line: Sawyer plays his role really well. His face and body language manage to convey his laid back arrogance and his inner torment very convincingly. The story is logical and is entertaining to watch while being far from the best Lost can offer.

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  • I love watching cons unfold so this episode really worked for me and I enjoyed it.

    I agree about Charlie, I think his character arc this season was one of the worst character arcs in the whole series, if not the worst.

    I liked the development at the end with Sawyer getting all the guns, but absolutely nothing was done about it, which is very disappointing. It felt like a big deal and yet it wasn't followed up on in any way at all, which is disappointing.

    That radio signal that Sayid picked up played a song from the 1940s. This, along with Hurley's comments of "any time" makes me believe that this foreshadowed the time travel in season 5.

    In the end, Jack's army and Charlie's anger was only actually used properly in this episode, which sets up a plot line that goes nowhere. Season 2 spun its wheels far too much for my liking, but at least it was usually entertaining, like this episode.

    Viewer score: 74 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 07/04/2017 4:54pm (8 months ago)

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