What sort of substitute are we talking about here? A substitute teacher in the form of John Locke? A substitute for Jacob to act as protector of the Island? A substitute for MIB? A substitute timeline created by a schism in space-time itself? There are many possibilities here. There are many substitutes.

John Locke’s substitute is the (seemingly) nefarious MIB (Man in Black). So far as subs go, MIB is not doing the best job. Rather than becoming Locke and trying to ‘be’ him, MIB simply replaced him. He sort of relishes in the fact that people realize he is not John Locke. He doesn’t want to be John Locke. He simply wants to be free, and if wearing this man’s face will allow him to do it, then everything is cool with the MIB. So far, Richard, Ben, and Sawyer have met the substitute John Locke and immediately knew something was off. Sawyer said it best noting John’s tells. He commented “John was always afraid even when he pretended not to be.” John was afraid of being hurt again and losing his ability to walk. It very obviously haunted him throughout his time on the island. MIB’s choice of John Locke for the most complete identity theft in history is rather wonderful in its Ying Yang-ness. The real John Locke regained his mobility on the island. The substitute John revealed that he does not have the ability ‘to walk.’ He is immobile in that he is trapped on the island, and has been so for a verrrrrrrry long time.

Sweet & Low Vs. Sugar Vs. Splenda

This whole thing (multiple John Lockes) makes me recall the only episode of Roseanne that can be referenced in a Lost conversation. I speak obviously of the infamous 2 Becky’s episode. The whole thing was very metafiction-like. D.J. somehow became aware that at some point in the past, the actress that played his sister Becky was switched with another actress. He is the only person in the entire Roseanne Universe that realizes it. It’s pretty funny. Check it out.

In the Lost Sideways world, John Locke continues on his downtrodden journey. He loses his job, his self-respect, and his faith in miracles. He is content(?) with his position in the world. He doesn’t need Jack Shephard to tell him what he can’t do in a free consultation. He settles into a substitute teacher position at the local middle school, where he meets European History teacher Benjamin Linus???? over a cup of Earl Grey??? This substitute teacher is finding his place in the universe.

But, wait. Why is Ben in California? Is his life that different in this Lost Sideways universe? If Jughead was ground zero for the time schism in the universe, then I simply cannot accept that this Ben Linus has good intentions. This Benjamin Linus still lived on the island. He still liberated a time traveling Sayid from the Dharma Initiative, just to be shot in return. He is still the same man that was brought into the temple by Richard Alpert after ominously stating “I could save Ben, but at a cost: he would lose his innocence, never be the same again, forget the whole event, and always be one of us”. So Ben is without a doubt NOT a substitute. It might be a slightly different Ben, but I am confident that this Ben is just as manipulative, calculated and maniacal as the one we have already met in the prior five seasons. But, what does he want with Sideways John Locke? Is John still special? Does he have a greater destiny? I can’t wait to find out.

Both MIB and Ghost Jacob are recruiting. Are they seeking substitutes for themselves, or are they drawing a line in the sand as they escalate to an epic life or death battle with the Island, the pocket of energy, and the past, present and future as the prize? If they are just looking for replacements or substitutes, they better get on with it, because we only have a handful of episodes left.

Locke’s funeral was fantastic. Ben saying, “I’m sorry I murdered you.” made me laugh out loud! No, it wasn’t a laugh. I think I squeal/ scream/ laughed.

New Show Idea: "Ben says the Darndest Things"

“The Substitute” was the story equivalent of a sledgehammer. They hit me over the head with information and literal metaphors, like a set of scales holding light and dark stones. (Come on!) It felt a bit rushed. The writers forced the question of ‘which kwon is chosen?’ on us. Did we really need another mystery? I don’t even have any guesses as to how all of that will play out. The wall does suggest importance for Sawyer, Sayid, Jack, a Kwon, Hurley. But, what importance? Are they going to save the world, or destroy it? I for one cannot wait to find out.

Last Thought: Sawyer falling towards the ocean was one of the craziest stunts on this show ever. My stomach lurched.

Enjoy “Lighthouse” tonight!