This week's episode of Lost started with so much promise, didn't it? After an inexplicably long absence, Sawyer returns. Shirtless before the first commercial, mind you. The writers even pull a fast one on the viewers: In a flash-sideways scene that mirrors an old-school episode, he "accidentally" lets a bag filled with packets of cash fly open. But this Sawyer is no con man headed for a score; he's actually James Ford, one of the good guys. An L.A. cop, to be exact -- and Miles is his partner. Great. Bring it.
Then it all gets flushed down the hatch. In a way, it's fitting that Sawyer winds up on Hydra Island (by orders of fake-Locke, who sent him on an expedition to search the barren Ajira plane and its passengers). That interminable stretch of time in which he and Kate were held captive in those cages was easily the low point of the entire series; yet Sawyer looks at the scene -- especially Kate's floral dress -- with nostalgia. Fine, this is where he and Kate got it on for the first time. Still...Construction work. Those animal crackers. Loony Carl. Ben's tumor. Ugh.
Not that Sawyer has much time to walk down consummation lane. While holding his nose from the stench of dead bodies, he meets bespectacled Zoe. Because there haven't been enough new characters introduced in the final season. She says she's an Ajira survivor -- but wait, in a Lost twist not seen since five minutes ago, she's not telling the truth! And, whoa, what's this? She's not alone after all!
Seriously: How many times in this series must one or more of our beloved castaways suddenly be held at gunpoint by a group of strangers on the island? Where do they all come from? When do they have time to coordinate all the scary hiding-behind-the-bushes choreography? This faction belongs to Charles Widmore. The man spent decades and millions of dollars trying to get back to the place -- let his son be killed and put his daughter's life in jeopardy in the process -- and when his submarine finally reaches land, he merely conducts a reserved pow-wow with Sawyer, asking him to send over fake-Locke. Get on with it, Chuck. You're all talk. And don't forget about Ben and Jacob either.
There's also a molasses-moving subplot with Claire and Kate. The bat-winged mommy tries to slit Kate‚s throat because she took Aaron off the island. Fake-Locke puts a stop to it and later tries to sooth Kate with a story about his own off-her-rocker mom in an attempt to connect the dots to Aaron's troubled bloodline. But his lesson is a head-scratcher: Last I checked, Aaron is being raised by his perfectly sane and loving grandma in Australia. (Sidebar: I don‚t care what kind of fright-wig producers stick on Emilie de Ravin; frankly, she can't pull it off. At this point, she's just the porcelain-skinned actress who turned Robert Pattinson into box office poison.)
Meanwhile, poor flash-sideways Sawyer. He may be in law enforcement, but he's still hung up on finding Anthony Cooper -- i.e., the blood-curling con man who left him an orphan. (Can we still assume this is still Locke's dad?). Sawyer/James is so private about his mission, he doesn't even tell Miles about his secret trip to Australia to find him and throws his date out of his house when she stumbles upon some files in his T-shirt drawer. This being the flash-sideways world, said date is a familiar face; in this case, lively archaeologist Charlotte. But the two are not meant to be, for there's another familiar face in the mix -- on-the-run Kate, whom he chases down an alley. Hope Claire's credit card is OK!
Which leads to the anti-climatic final scene: Over a yummy dinner of rabbit, Sawyer tells Kate that he's not interested in the fake-Locke vs. Widmore showdown. He just wants to get off the island.
Kate: "Even if we get on that plane, who's going to fly it?"
Sawyer: "We ain't takin' the plane, freckles. We're takin' the sub."
Cut to black.
But why all the drama? Trusty pilot Lapidus can fly the plane. Sawyer should know this, but the connection would require all the castaways to actually interact with each other in one swoop. And, tragically, that hasn't happened in years.
-- By Mara Reinstein for UsMagazine.com