[quote-left]WHOOOSH to the grotto as Sawyer examines the names and numbers. He asks who wrote all this, and Locke says Jacob did. Sawyer asks why they're all scratched out. Locke indicates that not all of them are and points out Shephard's name next to the number 23. Sawyer is surprised. Shephard, as in Jack Shephard? Locke says yes, and he's not the only one. Then he shows Sawyer another name: Reyes, as in Hugo, number 8. Sawyer asks what's that about, and Locke says Jacob had a thing for numbers. Jarrah, number 16. Kwon, 42. Locke doesn't know if it's Sun or Jin. Locke, number 4. Ford, number 15. That would be Sawyer, but he's confused. He never even met Jacob, but Locke says at some point in his life he did. Probably when he was young and miserable and vulnerable. Jacob came to him and manipulated him. Pulled his puppet strings. So choices Sawyer thought he made weren't really choices at all. Jacob was pushing him to the island because Sawyer is a candidate. Jacob thought of himself as the "protector" of the island, and Sawyer is a candidate to take over. Locke says Sawyer has three choices: do nothing and see how that plays out. (Locke draws a line through his own name, the implication clear.) Or accept the job and protect the island. Sawyer asks from what, and Locke says that's the joke. It's just a damn island and it will be perfectly fine without Jacob or any of the other people's lives he wasted.
Finally, the third choice is that they just go. They leave the island and never look back. Sawyer's face hardens – he's been used with no say in his own fate. Locke asks if Sawyer's ready to go home, and Sawyer says hell yes. Locke smiles. And why wouldn't he? Sawyer's just been recruited.