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Wednesday, 26 of February of 2020

Lost – “Recon”

It’s sad really, how little you actually know.”

My thoughts on “Recon” will be briefer than usual for a Lost review. It’s nothing against the episode, I did enjoy it, but there’s not a great deal to pick apart in this episode. This isn’t a bad thing. We, as an audience, need a breather every once in a while (especially for next week’s episode) and the writers need time to get things into place as we’re about to hit the halfway point of the season, and as long time watchers of the show know, the halfway point is where things to tend to pick up as the season hits the home stretch.

If there’s one thing I don’t like on my television shows it’s filler episodes. Episodes that go nowhere, that the show airs under the guise of “expanding the scope of the narrative world” or “network mandated stand-alone episode intended to draw in new viewers” or “writers couldn’t break a more important story in time, so wrote this to give themselves an extension.” We call it filler because it simply occupies a spot in the list of episodes, and it often occurs in the case of shows with heavy on-going plots. It denies the audience extreme forward momentum of a show’s arc which is why audiences hate filler so much.

“Recon” isn’t filler. If it were filler, there’d be no movement in the narrative of the show. As a show, Lost can’t afford to do filler episodes this late in the game. Audiences would mutiny and the writers wouldn’t get to provide the final climax to the show in a timely and exciting fashion. And, more importantly, the season doesn’t need filler to pad its episode count. It only has so many episodes this season, and everything has to work for a reason.

Instead, “Recon” is, as I said before the jump, a breather episode. This is different from filler because the breather episode allows an audience a chance to, well, breathe. The dramatic arc of the show, between Hurley and Jack’s visit to the lighthouse, Sayid’s descent into dispassionate madness (how startling is Sayid’s vacant stare, monotone voice, and complete lack of help for Kate?), and the emotional wringer that is “Dr. Linus,” has been running on high. Everyone, the audience and the narrative, needs a break from that: the show is a marathon, not a sprint.

The episode essentially gives the writers an opportunity to make sure all our characters, goals, and motivations, are in place for the show’s resolution. There is still narrative movement in this episode, it’s just not as much as many people wanted, or had come to expect from the show this season. Kate and Claire’s confrontation and resolution occurs a little too quickly (but I doubt that Claire would’ve been able to wait very long) and the episode establishes Widmore firmly on Hydra Island, and begins to set the stage for Widmore’s upcoming role in the season.

For Sawyer, the episode works as a very quiet character portrait. Indeed, his arc this season has been building to this episode. Between his grief at Juliet’s loss to his very clear desire to get off the Island, Sawyer has been in an emotional crucible this season. An episode that allows him to decompress and get his bearings back, such was wandering through Hydra Island, allows the character to move forward even if the plot doesn’t move forward as much as some would like.

That the episode is essentially a mash-up of “The Long Con” and “LaFleur” is perhaps another place where this accusation of filler comes in. But think about what these episodes did for Sawyer. “The Long Con” gives us Sawyer and his grifter best while “LaFleur” gave us a Sawyer who was happy and respected. In “Recon,” we have those dual Sawyers coming through again, but there’s an undercurrent of sadness to it all that isn’t in the other examples. Sawyer, like Jack, is broken, and is looking for a way to get away from the pain of Juliet’s death. Getting off the Island is that way.

His decision to play Widmore and Smocke against each other is a dangerous game that I can only assume ends in self-sacrifice, self-sacrifice which will result in Kate, Jin, Sun, and (hopefully) Miles getting off the Island. Sawyer’s developed beyond being the jackass con man who looks out for himself to being the jackass con man who looks out for others, even at his own expense.


  • I love that Josh Holloway manages to find all sorts of ways to say “Son of a bitch.” (Also: no “Well, well, well.” this week? Sad.)
  • Should I read anything into the fact that Charlotte can’t tell her left from her right? Or that she doesn’t know that jeans aren’t tee-shirts?
  • If the Miles and Sawyer cop show spin-off happens, can they have a crossover event with Terry O’Quinn’s show to about domestic hitman show starring him and Michael Emerson? Because I think I would probably die if that happened.
  • For longer, more in-depth stuff about the episode, check out Myles and Alan Sepinwall.

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