Sawyer is sent on a mission that’s vital to the Man in Black’s plans. The growing discord between Kate and Claire comes to a head.

Though it’s light on answers and heavy on putting-chess-pieces-into-place, “Recon” is nonetheless a solid hour of entertainment, packed with big developments and great performances.

Sawyer runs his very familiar “pigeon drop” con on a woman we’ve never seen before, but just after his briefcase full of cash “accidentally” falls open and he tries to explain, she pulls a gun on him. She explains that she’s married to a con man, so she knows a con when she sees one, and she intends to take Sawyer’s money and run. But Sawyer has a surprise for her: this entire scenario is a setup, and they’re surrounded by cops just outside. The cops aren’t interested in her, he says, they’re only interested in her husband, and planned to track her back to him via a tracer in the briefcase. She doesn’t believe him, but he counters that if he says the magic word, the cops will storm in. She prepares to fire, so Sawyer says his code word: “LaFleur.” Just as he promised, the cops burst in, including Detective Miles Straume, who tosses Sawyer a badge of his own. Sawyer addresses him as his partner, and his would-be shooter cries, “You’re a cop?!” “Surprise,” replies Sawyer with a smirk.

The next morning, Detective James Ford of the LAPD sits at his desk at the police station and makes telephone calls, running down a list of men named Anthony Cooper, and crossing off the names one by one as he goes. Miles enters and asks who Anthony Cooper is, but Sawyer makes up a lie on the spot. Miles nearly catches him lying again when he asks about Sawyer’s supposed trip to Palm Springs — a trip we know he actually took to Australia instead. Miles tells Sawyer that he’s set him up on a date tonight with a friend who works with his father at a local museum. Sawyer suggests that Miles go out with this girl himself, if she’s so great, but Miles replies that he already has a girlfriend. Again Miles is suspicious when Sawyer makes up an excuse for wanting to be alone, and Miles tells him that he’s available if Sawyer has anything he needs to talk about, but Sawyer shrugs him off.

That evening, Sawyer goes to a fancy restaurant to meet his blind date — who turns out to be Charlotte Lewis! The two of them spark almost instantly, because Charlotte is smarter than most of the women Sawyer dates, and she sees through his practiced lines. She jokes about the excitement of being an archaeologist, comparing herself to Indiana Jones. When she asks for the true reason he became a cop, he says that he got to a point in his life when he was either going to become a criminal or a police officer, and he chose to be a cop. She’s taken with his story and the two of them quickly retire to his home for an evening of passionate sex.

Afterwards, they talk about what might happen on their second date, and things are looking rather promising for them. Sawyer exits the bedroom to get something to drink, and Charlotte asks to borrow a t-shirt. She goes to his dresser and digs through it, looking for a proper shirt, but accidentally stumbles across an old photo of Sawyer as a young boy with his parents, as well as a thick blue file labeled “Sawyer.” Both objects were buried deep inside his dresser drawer, and when Sawyer reenters the room and finds her looking at the photo and documents, he’s outraged and hurt, and he throws her out of his house.

The next day, at the police station, Liam Pace — Charlie’s brother — waits at the front desk, trying to get information about Charlie’s arrest on the Oceanic flight. Sawyer emerges from the office area and Liam tries to get help from him as well, but Sawyer tells him it’s not his department. Sawyer greets Miles as he moves on, but Miles curtly tells him to come with him. Miles leads him to the locker room, where he shoves Sawyer up against a locker and asks if there’s something Sawyer wants to tell him. Sawyer thinks Miles is referring to his date with Charlotte, and says that “she opened the wrong drawer,” but Miles doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Instead, Miles asks what he was doing in Australia when he claimed to be in Palm Springs. Miles explains that he ran Sawyer’s credit card and found a charge for a round-trip flight to Sydney. Miles angrily reminds him that they’re partners, and are supposed to trust each other implicitly. He asks again what Sawyer was doing in Australia, but Sawyer says it’s none of Miles’ business. Miles declares on the spot that he’s not Sawyer’s partner anymore. After Miles has gone, Sawyer furiously rams his fist into a mirror, shattering it.

That night, Sawyer returns home and fixes himself a TV dinner, and eats it alone while watching Little House on the Prairie. Something about it touches him, and he goes to Charlotte’s condo, carrying a large sunflower and a six-pack of beer. It looks like he’s decided to spill his guts and tell her everything about his dead parents. But she’s still hurt by his actions from the previous night, and rebuffs him before he gets the chance, telling him that he “blew it.”

Sawyer asks Miles to get in his car outside the police station the next morning, and gives him the blue “Sawyer” file. He tells Miles everything: that the Sawyer in this file was a con man responsible for James’ father killing his mother and himself when he was just nine years old. He says he’s been hunting this con man down since the day he left the police academy, and that he went to Australia to follow a lead — a lead that gave him the name Anthony Cooper. He’s gathered a list of Anthony Coopers, and he vows that when he finds the right one, the man who destroyed his family, he’s going to kill him. Miles asks why Sawyer never told him this before, and Sawyer says he knew Miles would try to talk him out of it. Miles affirms that he certainly will, but just then a car slams into them — a car being chased by another police vehicle. The driver jumps out and runs, but Sawyer chases the driver with his own car. When he gets the drop, he discovers that it’s the woman he met and helped on Oceanic 815 — Kate!

Apparently acting on the Man in Black’s orders, Sawyer travels to Claire’s lean-to, and finds Jin sleeping inside alone. Jin wakes up and asks where Claire and MiB are, wanting to leave before they return, but Sawyer reveals that he’s joined up with MiB in order to get off the island. Jin won’t leave the island without Sun, so Sawyer promises not to depart until Sun has been found and brought along.

MiB and his group return from the massacre at the Temple, along with Sayid, Kate, and a few dozen former Others who’ve joined up. Kate’s surprised to see him there, and offers him a weary greeting, which he reciprocates.

Claire enters her lean-to and packs some supplies. She uncovers her grotesque “baby” in the crib, and looks at it fondly. Kate enters and asks if this is where Claire has been living. Claire affirms that it is. Kate’s eyes fall upon the bizarre creation Claire put together in the crib, and asks in disgust what the thing is. “It’s all I had,” Claire replies.

MiB congregates his group outside, telling them that it’s time to move on. He says that they’ve all been through a long, traumatic night, and that he is available to answer any questions they have. Cindy speaks up and asks what happened to the Others that refused to join up with him at the Temple. “The black smoke killed them,” MiB replies, without revealing that he himself is the black smoke. Zach and Emma are frightened by this, but MiB promises to take care of them. Curiously, Claire reaches out and takes Kate by the hand, holding onto her briefly in a gesture meant perhaps to imply that the friendship between them still holds, though Kate doesn’t seem to buy it, and Claire is clearly being deceptive.

Sawyer approaches Kate and asks if Jack and Hurley escaped the Temple. She says they did, so he asks about Miles, but she doesn’t know what happened to him. “You’re with Locke now?” she asks, incredulous. “I ain’t with anybody, Kate,” he replies.

As the group hikes through the jungle, MiB tells them to stop for the night and make camp, pointing out that they may need to stay there for a few days. Sawyer’s frustrated to hear this, asking why they aren’t leaving the island sooner. MiB suggests that they talk about it in private, and leads him away to the closest beach. Sawyer asks what really happened at the Temple, and how MiB knew to rescue his newfound followers from “that smoke thing.” MiB decides to tell him the truth: “I’m the smoke thing.” Sawyer takes issue with MiB having killed all of the Others at the Temple, but MiB argues that he gave them the chance to leave peacefully, and they didn’t take it. Sawyer asks why they didn’t leave in peace, and MiB explains that the Others were convinced that they were protecting the island from him, but he says this isn’t the truth, because all he really wants is to leave. “It’s either kill, or be killed,” he says. “And I don’t want to be killed.”

MiB leads him down to the shore, where an outrigger canoe waits. MiB asks Sawyer to go on a recon mission to Hydra Island, to find out if any of the survivors of Ajira 316 are still alive over there. MiB tells Sawyer that he has reason to believe that some of the other Ajira passengers intend to do him and his followers harm. So he wants Sawyer to scope things out and determine if they’re really a threat. Sawyer objects, asking what he’s supposed to do if the people over there attack him. MiB says he’s not worried, because Sawyer has a knack for survival, being the best liar MiB’s ever met. Sawyer asks why all this is necessary, and MiB explains that his plan for leaving the island is to repair the Ajira airplane and use it to fly away. So Sawyer sets off in the canoe.

When he reaches Hydra Island, he explores the familiar grounds, coming across the old cages where he and Kate were once held by Ben. The sun dress Kate wore at Ben’s insistence is still inside one of the cages.

Back at camp, Kate sits down next to Sayid and asks if he believes that “Locke” really can get them off the island. Sayid says that he does, but his countenance is distant and despondent, and Kate notices this and asks if he’s alright. He says that he’s not. Claire suddenly grabs Kate from behind and throws her to the ground, holding the tip of a knife up to her throat. Kate calls out to Sayid for help, but Sayid merely watches with dead eyes. MiB returns from his hike with Sawyer and grabs Claire. He tosses her aside, off of Kate, and asks Claire what she was doing. Irate, Claire cries that Kate took Aaron away from her. MiB calmly points out that Claire had disappeared, and Kate was merely doing what she thought was right for the baby. Claire argues with him, screaming in his face, until he slaps her, hard. He tells her how inappropriate her behavior is, and sends her away like a naughty child, promising to deal with her momentarily. Claire seems hurt and confused as she stumbles away. MiB turns to Kate and asks if she’s okay, but she’s in tears, filled with frustration and anger and confusion of her own, and replies that she most definitely is not okay.

On Hydra Island, Sawyer finds the Ajira airplane, which looks mostly intact, though there is some visible damage. Amid the debris and luggage strewn across the sand nearby, he notices a path leading away from the plane. The path leads him to a shady clearing, where a dozen or so dead bodies have been laid to rest, and are decomposing and attracting flies. Just as he’s inspecting the bodies, someone runs by on the path behind him, and he chases down the newcomer to discover a woman named Zoe, who claims to be the last of the Ajira survivors still alive.

Sawyer plays it cool in order to get Zoe’s story. She says she was out collecting wood when she heard screaming back at the Ajira survivors’ camp. She returned to the camp to find them all dead, and she didn’t think it was right to leave them out in the sun, so she’s spent the last two days dragging their bodies into the shade. He explains that he’s with a group of people on the main island, and offers to take her back with him.

Kate wanders off from the group to have a good cry, and MiB finds her there. He apologizes for Claire’s behavior, explaining that he was the one who lied to her and told her that the Others had her baby. Kate asks why he did that, and he says that hate can be a powerful motivator. When she was devastated at losing Aaron, he gave her something to hold onto, in the form of something she could hate. MiB says that when Kate told Claire the truth, that all of the anger Claire had been nursing for the last three years came roaring to the surface. Kate sarcastically complements MiB for his insightfulness, and notes that he’s not really the kind, genial John Locke that he’s pretending to come across as. He promises to keep her safe, just as he’s promised all of the others in this group. She asks where Sawyer went, and he offers to show her.

On Hydra Island, Sawyer leads Zoe back to the outrigger canoe, and she passes the time by asking him all sorts of questions about how long ago he crashed on the island, who else he’s encountered, how many guns they have access to, and so forth. Sawyer knows he’s being played, and turns his gun on her and asks who she really is. The jig is up and she whistles loudly, after which several heavily armed men pop up from the surrounding foliage and order Sawyer to drop his pistol. As the armed men approach and order him onto his knees, Sawyer just grins sardonically, and says, “Take me to your leader.”

MiB leads Kate to the beach and sits down, and she sits beside him. He points to Hydra Island, visible off the coast, and says that that’s where he sent Sawyer. She asks why he brought her all the way down here to tell her this, instead of just telling her back in the jungle. MiB replies that he wanted a chance to talk. He tells her a peculiar story about his mother, who he says was just as crazy as Claire is now. “A long time ago, before I looked like [John Locke], I had a mother, just like everyone,” he says. “She was a very disturbed woman. And as a result of that, I had some growing pains — problems that I’m still trying to work my way through. Problems that could have been avoided, had things been different.” She asks why he’s telling her this, and he says that now Aaron has a crazy mother, too.

Sawyer is led to a dockside camp on Hydra Island, where he notes sonic fence-style pylons are being erected on the perimeter. Docked at a small pier is Charles Widmore’s submarine, and Sawyer is ushered down inside. Down one hallway, he notes a door that’s heavily padlocked, and asks Zoe what’s inside. She says it’s none of his business, and takes him to see Widmore. Widmore introduces himself, asking if Sawyer knows who he is, and Sawyer replies that he’s the man who sent a freighter to the island “to kill us all.” Widmore says that Sawyer doesn’t actually know very much about the situation. Sawyer says he knows that Widmore and his people murdered the Ajira survivors and threw them in a ditch. Widmore counters that he didn’t kill those people, though he doesn’t expect Sawyer to believe him. Widmore asks what brought Sawyer over to Hydra Island, and Sawyer says the man appearing as John Locke sent him. Sawyer offers Widmore a deal: he’ll go back and tell MiB that the coast is clear on Hydra Island, so that Widmore and his people can get the drop on MiB and take him out. Widmore is intrigued, and asks what Sawyer wants in return. Sawyer states his demands: none of his friends are to be harmed in the conflict, and Widmore is to give all of them safe passage off the island. “Do we have an agreement?” asks Sawyer, extending his hand. Widmore rises to his feet and shakes on it.

On the main island, Kate returns to camp from the beach, but she’s met by Claire, who offers an emotional apology. Claire says she understands that Kate was just looking after Aaron in her absence, and thanks her for doing so. She embraces a startled Kate and sobs into her shoulder.

MiB meets Sawyer as he returns on the canoe, and asks what happened. Sawyer tells him the truth, that Widmore has come with a small army, and that he’s not likely to let MiB and his people leave the island on the Ajira plane without a fight. Surprisingly, Sawyer also reveals his deal with Widmore to lead MiB into a trap. MiB is pleased, but Sawyer says he’s just fulfilling his end of their deal to get off the island.

That night, Sawyer stops by a fire Kate has built alone, and he tells her his true plan: he’s playing both sides, and intends to “let them fight it out.” And while they’re preoccupied, he and Kate are going to steal the submarine and leave the island once and for all.

  • Who really killed the remaining Ajira survivors? Was it Widmore and his people? The smoke monster? Someone else?
  • Who was the Man in Black’s mother?
  • What “problems” were imparted on the Man in Black due to his mother’s disturbed state of mind, that he’s still trying to work through?
  • What’s inside the padlocked door on the sub?

I knew it! I knew Sideways Sawyer would be on the side of the law — even though deep down, he’s still the same old Sawyer, still trying to find the man who killed his parents. Yet once again, we’re presented with a new-and-more-mature-and-morally-upright version of one of our castaways. There can be no doubt now that we have a solid pattern here, and there must be a deeper meaning to it. Back to that in a bit…

I like cop-Sawyer, he’s cool, and it feels quite natural to find him in such a role. Reminds me a lot of Dharma Security Chief Sawyer, which I suppose is the idea. And just like in the episode “LaFleur,” I’m reminded of Sawyer’s Season 2 line: “There’s a new sheriff in town.” There is indeed.

As soon as the revelation of Sideways Sawyer’s loyalties was unveiled, I immediately wondered if this Sawyer had done the same thing that his counterpart did in Australia: killed a man in cold blood. Why else would he be going there, right? Especially after we found out he’d lied to his partner, Miles, about going to Sydney. Happily, assuming Sawyer was telling the truth (and I choose to believe he was), he was merely following a lead in his search for his parents’ killer.

And now it looks like Sideways Sawyer is on a collision course with the original Sawyer, Anthony Cooper, just as happened the first go round. Will we see this confrontation play out? Will this more morally upright Sawyer make a different choice when he meets Cooper, and not kill him? Frankly, I’m not sure there’s time left in the eight remaining episodes to address all of this, or if we’re meant to merely extrapolate what might happen to Sawyer down the road, based on what we’ve seen here. If this is the case, I think Sideways Sawyer will eventually do the right thing, by apprehending and arresting Cooper instead of murdering him.

How awesomely cool was it that Sawyer’s “magic word” was LaFleur? Couldn’t help but smile at that one. Just one of many inside jokes and winks in this episode… Did anybody else notice young Zach on the island carrying a very familiar teddy bear on a string? Or the stack of books that Sideways Sawyer had on his dresser — which were all books that Sawyer also read on the island?

No mention was made in the Sideways reality of Miles’ ability to communicate with the dead. Does he have this ability in the Sideways world? Why, or why not? And if he has it, does he use it to his advantage in his career as a cop? If he doesn’t, then does that mean that his exposure to the island as a baby had something to do with his having this ability, the first go round? And in the Sideways world, he wasn’t exposed to the island (or wasn’t exposed enough to gain his sixth sense)?

Speaking of Miles, did you catch that subtle reference to his father, Pierre Chang? “She works with my dad at the museum.” So Pierre escaped the island along with seemingly everyone else, and he’s still alive in the present. So is Ben’s dad, Roger. We have evidence here that points to the changes in this reality happening before the Incident. Let me put it another way. We’ve been assuming that the divergence between these two realities began at the Incident, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The changes go back much further than the Incident, don’t you think? What does this mean? What could have happened prior to the Incident to alter reality? What was the true point of the divergence?

Any guesses as to who Sideways Miles’ girlfriend is?

We’ve now seen more than one Sideways story where the castaways have bumped into each other, seemingly at random. Sayid rescued Jin from that freezer. And now Sawyer (and his partner Miles) has run into Kate. Both of these storylines were left open-ended, which tells me that the show plans on coming back to many of these storylines — if not all of them. I still think all of the Sideways characters are going to intersect somehow, their stories coming together into a single storyline, before the end of the season.

The return of Charlotte and her liaison with Sawyer was an unexpected twist, but wouldn’t we all rather see her with Daniel in the Sideways reality? Sorry, but the whole Charlotte subplot just felt like unneeded filler to me, as if once we’d learned that Sawyer’s a cop in the Sideways reality, the writers couldn’t think of anything all that compelling for Sawyer to do next. Or maybe they’re just biding their time until Juliet pops up in the Sideways reality and turns Sawyer’s head… I still firmly believe that her delirious comments from the season premiere about “going dutch” on a date sometime will come back around in the Sideways reality, as the two of them meet and start a relationship that we hope will lead to the happily ever after they never got on the island.

You don’t really need me to tell you that Liam Pace’s cameo is an indicator that the show will soon be revisiting the storyline of Sideways Charlie, do you? No, of course you don’t.

Mirrors seem to keep popping up in the Sideways reality, don’t they? Jack has notably stared into mirrors twice now, and in this episode, Sawyer stared into one too, before he broke it. Hmm. Motif, or something more?

I think the reason so many fans have trouble liking Kate’s character is that she often does things that stubbornly go against logic. So it was refreshing to see how smartly she was written in this episode, where she displayed real common sense, reacting with guarded skepticism every time Locke or Claire or anybody else presented her with a new brand of crazy. Her reactions and responses were exactly what we viewers were thinking and feeling, for a change, and it made her a much stronger, more relatable character, in my opinion.

The Man in Black’s story about his mother brought to mind a thought I had weeks ago when MiB confessed to once being human… Could we be getting clues to the true identity of both MiB and Jacob? Might they be mythological or historical figures whose identities we will recognize? And what do you make of the “crazy mother” revelation? Does it give us any new hints on who MiB might be?

I’m betting that plenty of fans (and critics) out there will jump to the conclusion that the Man in Black and Aaron, through the wonders of time travel, are one and the same. Meaning that MiB wasn’t telling Kate a story similar to Aaron’s — he was actually telling her Aaron’s own story, because he is Aaron. That’s a theory I predict will be spoken a lot, and we’re quite possibly meant to wonder if it could be true. But I don’t buy it. I mean, I suppose it’s possible that Jacob and MiB will end up being people we already know. That would fit within the kind of trademark twists that we’re used to on Lost. But it feels to me like the revelation of their identities needs to be bigger, grander, tying into earth history or mythology somehow. It’s always been implied that the island is important to the world, that its fate is tied to that of the world’s survival. So I want to believe that these two all-important figureheads who have lived for countless ages on the island have a significance that’s just as profound.

If, as I believe, there’s no real connection between Claire and MiB’s crazy mother, then I wonder what will happen to Aaron now? MiB seemed to be implying that Claire isn’t fit to be a proper mom to the little guy, so does he mean for Kate to escape the island and resume her role as Aaron’s surrogate mother? Or should Aaron’s grandmother keep him? Or what? I can’t imagine a win-win endgame to this storyline.

I also can’t help but wonder if this reference to a mother — aka, someone who pre-dates the Man in Black, and presumably Jacob as well, since we’re supposing that the two of them came to the island at the same time — might imply that Jacob and MiB are brothers. When he spoke to Hurley, Jacob referred to MiB as “an old friend who grew tired of my company,” but maybe he was concealing the truth that the two of them were actually related. Could it be?

Just as I predicted, Sawyer is indeed feigning loyalty to MiB. Instead, he’s playing both sides of the conflict in a bid to get himself and his friends off the island for good. I can’t imagine this will work out well for him, but I am excited to see what unfolds when MiB travels to Hydra Island and fights Widmore’s little army. That should be a rather explosive fight.

Widmore seems to have come to the island with the intention of taking on the Man in Black, but I doubt he’s doing it for anything as noble as fighting under Jacob’s banner. It’s more likely that he’s there to eliminate any competition in his bid for possession of the island — and right now, what’s standing in his way is MiB. Whoever wins in their conflict — MiB or Widmore — will then have to take on Jacob’s replacement (who will almost certainly be Jack).

MiB’s assertion that the Others wanted him dead appears to indicate that it is possible to kill him, despite the bullets that bounce off of him. So how does one go about killing a shape-shifting creature made up of black smoke? I’m guessing a certain someone on board a certain submarine might know how — and that whatever he has locked up on the sub is meant to help him do it.

One last thing… No one in island-Sawyer’s condition or frame of mind should have hair that looks that good. I’m just saying. Of all the crazy that goes down on Lost from week to week, Sawyer’s wavy tresses stretch credibility more than anything else. 😉

It seems at the moment that the Sideways world is going to end up being the one that lasts in the end. However that happens — if the original reality is erased in favor of this one, or some other explanation — the only way that the Sideways world will be as vital to the storyline as the writers claim, is for it to end as the dominant reality.

It’s funny how last summer, when the notion of there being a historical “reset” was first introduced, I (like most fans) was vehemently opposed to the idea. I felt it would be a betrayal of all that we’ve witnessed and all that these characters have been through. Yet the writers have very cleverly and carefully been stacking the deck in the Sideways reality all season, introducing us to new versions of our characters who are happier, wiser, and all around better people.

Given the dreary current states of people on the island like Sayid, Claire, Locke, and even Sawyer, it now appears that the one and only way any of them will get a happy ending is if the Sideways reality wins out in the end. This has become a much more palatable option now that we’ve seen how the castaways seem to have subconsciously incorporated the growth they experienced on the island into these new versions of themselves.

If this is how it all plays out — and right now, this is what my tingling Spidey sense is telling me will happen — then none of what’s happened on the show will turn out to have been in vain after all. It will lead to a happy, redemption-filled ending that doesn’t feel contrived or inappropriate to the story, because it will have been earned by these characters over the course of the last six seasons.

It might just be the only happy way to end the show.