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Ep604 The Substitute

02/15/10 Season 6 TV-14 V

On the island: Locke and Sawyer:
- Locke frees Richard and asks him to join him. Richard refuses.
- Locke goes to Sawyer in his old house at the barracks and says he can answer the most important question Sawyer has: Why is he on the island.
- Locke sees a young teenage boy in the jungle who reminds him of the rules.
- Locke and Sawyer climb down a cliff and go into a hidden grotto where the names of the potential candidates are written on the wall. Locke uses this to recruit Sawyer to his side: they're going to leave the island.

On the island: at the foot statue:
- Ben tells Ilana what happened to Jacob inside the foot statue.
- Sun won't leave Locke's body on the beach, so they carry him back to the grave area of the survivors' old beach camp
- Ilana explains that the person pretending to be Locke can't change his face anymore; he's stuck like that.
- They bury the real John Locke, and Ben says a short eulogy for him.

Flash sideways:
- Locke is living with Helen and they are going to get married.
- At his job at the box company, he lies to Randy about the Australian trip and is fired.
- Hurley helps Locke out by giving him contact info for a temp agency he owns; Rose works there and gets Locke a job as a substitute teacher.
- At the school, Locke meets fellow teacher Ben Linus, who teaches European history.

On a suburban street, a van pulls up and a side door slides open. John Locke maneuvers his wheelchair onto a mechanical ramp and begins the slow descent to the ground when the gears grind and stop. He fiddles with the controller but it won't budge. He decides to gun it and hopes the chair will hit the ground rolling – but he only tumbles over and hits the ground face first. To add insult to injury, the sprinklers turn on. Helen runs out, turns the sprinklers off and helps Locke inside. As Locke takes a bath, Helen complains about the details of their wedding and suggests they get married shotgun style in Vegas. Locke says no, she deserves better. As she goes through his wet clothes, she finds Jack's business card and asks about it. Locke says they met in baggage claim – the airline had lost something of his, too. He offered Locke a free consultation. Helen suggests Locke call him. Who knows? Maybe they were supposed to meet. Maybe it was destiny.

WHOOOSH to the island and the camera zips through the jungle moving at top speed. Then we hear the TIKKA-TIKKA-TIKKA sound and realize – this is the point of view of the smoke monster! It races up to a machete on the ground... and then a hand reaches into frame and picks it up. It's the hand of John Locke. He walks over to a large, dirty canvas bag hanging from a tree and cuts it down. Out pours Richard Alpert, groggy and disoriented. Locke tells him it's time to talk.

Richard asks what he wants, and Locke says what he's always wanted. For Richard to come with him. Richard says no, and asks why he looks like John Locke. Locke, or whomever the person is occupying Locke's body, says because John was a candidate and could get him access to Jacob. Richard asks what's a candidate, and Locke is surprised. Jacob didn't tell Richard any of this? After all this time doing what Jacob wanted and he never said why? Locke says he never would've kept Richard in the dark like that. He would've treated Richard with respect. If Richard would come with him, Locke'll tell him everything. People rarely get a second chance. Richard says no. But then Locke sees something over Richard's shoulder – a teenage boy. Richard turns around, and the boy is gone. Disturbed, Locke says good-bye and leaves.

At the beach, inside the foot statue, Ilana asks Ben what happened. Ben tells her there's a chance she won't believe him, but Ilana says try her. Ben explains that John Locke turned into a pillar of black smoke and killed Bram and his men. Ilana asks if the smoke also killed Jacob. Ben lies without hesitation and says yes. Ben points to the hearth and tells her Locke kicked Jacob's body into the fire and watched it burn away. Ilana becomes emotional when she hears this news. She bends down and scoops a handful of Jacob's ashes into a leather pouch. Ben asks why Locke carried Richard off into the jungle, and Ilana says he's recruiting.

WHOOOSH to Locke rolling through office and into his cubicle. Randy walks over and asks how the conference in Australia went. Locke says okay. He made some good contacts. Randy finds that interesting because the seminar people called and said Locke never picked up his credentials. He never attended a single event. So where was he? Locke says he shouldn't have lied but he doesn't want to talk about it. Randy fires him.

Locke leaves with his personal belongings in a box. But parked too close next to his van is a giant yellow Humvee. It's blocking the wheelchair ramp. Locke gets angry and punches the Humvee's rear bumper, causing the alarm to go off. A man walks over and clicks off the alarm – and it's Hurley! Locke berates him for parking so poorly, and Hurley points out that the handicap spot is over there. Locke yells that he can park where he wants. Hurley apologizes. He introduces himself and says he owns the company. What does Locke do here? Locke tells Hurley he was just fired. Hurley also owns a temp agency and gives Locke the info. He tells Locke to call them and say Hugo said to hook him up with a new job pronto. Hurley smiles and says everything's gonna work out.

WHOOOSH to the island as Locke walks into the barracks area and finds Sawyer drunk in his old house. Sawyer is shocked to see him and says he thought Locke was dead. Locke says he is. Sawyer pours another drink, toasts to Locke being dead and then tells Locke to get out of his house. But Locke says that he is the one person who can answer the most important question in the world for Sawyer – why he is on the island. Sawyer says he's on the island because his plane crashed, then his raft blew up, and then the helicopter was one too heavy. Locke says that's not why he's there. If Sawyer comes with him, he can prove it.

At the foot statue, Ilana discovers that all the Others have left. Sun tells her they went to the Temple, and Ilana agrees they should go there, too. It's the safest place on the island. But Sun doesn't want to leave Locke's body on the beach. She wants to bury him. Sun leads the way as Ilana and Ben carry the stretcher. Ben asks why Ilana brought Locke's body to the statue in the first place, and Ilana says everyone there needed to see the face of what they're up against. Ben asks what's stopping him from changing his face, and Ilana says he can't change anymore. He's stuck this way.

Locke and Sawyer trek through the jungle when Sawyer sees the teenage boy and asks who he is. Locke is surprised Sawyer can see him. The kid takes off, and Locke chases after him. Locke trips, and when he looks up, the boy is right there. The boy says Locke knows the rules. You can't kill him. Locke screams, "Don't tell me what I can't do!"

Sun leads Ilana, Ben and Lapidus to their old beach camp and to Boone hill where the other graves are. That's where she wants to bury Locke. Ben and Lapidus dig the grave and they lay Locke's body down in it. Ilana asks if anyone wants to say something, and Ben steps forward. He says John Locke was a believer, a man of faith. He was a much better man than Ben will ever be, and Ben is sorry he murdered him. Lapidus shakes his head. It's the weirdest damn funeral he's ever been to.

WHOOOSH to the temp agency where Locke meets Rose. He wants to be placed into something immediately and suggests a construction site coordinator. He has experience, but experience isn't the issue. If Hurley said they would take care of him, he is her boss and Rose will put Locke in the temp position. But they both know he'll be back in her office the next day. Rose tells Locke to be realistic. She reveals that she has cancer. She had a hard time dealing with it but eventually got over the denial and got back to living whatever life she's got left. So Rose suggests they Locke something he can do.

WHOOOSH to the jungle as Sawyer and Locke continue on. Sawyer tells Locke about "Of Mice and Men" and wonders if this might be a trap. He pulls a gun on Locke and asks what happens if he puts a bullet through Locke's head. Locke says why don't they find out. Sawyer asks what Locke is. Locke explains that he's been on the island for a very long time. He's trapped, and he's been trapped for so long he doesn't know what it feels like to be free. But before he was trapped, he was a man just like Sawyer. He knows what it's like to feel joy, fear, anger and betrayal. And he knows what it feels like to lose someone you love. If Sawyer wants to shoot him, then do it. But Sawyer is so close, it'd be a shame to turn back now.

WHOOOSH to Locke getting ready for his temp job. He calls Jack's office but realizes Jack can't help him and hangs up. Helen overhears this and asks about it. Locke explains he's not going to see Jack and tells her he got fired. Helen is surprised and asks how he got fired. Locke tells her he never went to the conference in Sydney. He has Helen open a suitcase full of knives and tells her they were for his walkabout in Australia but they wouldn't let him go. He was angry at them but they were right. He's sick of imagining what his life could be out of the wheelchair... what it would be like to walk down the aisle with her. That's never going to happen. If Helen wants him to see more doctors, get more consults... if she needs him to get out of the chair... She shouldn't spend her life waiting for a miracle because there's no such thing. Helen is moved by this and tells Locke there are miracles. But the only thing she was ever waiting for was him. Without hesitation, Helen rips Jack's business card in half and kisses Locke.

WHOOOSH to the island as Locke leads Sawyer to a steep ocean cliff. They climb down it to a hidden grotto. Inside they see old rusty tools on a table. In the middle is an ancient scale balanced on each side with a black stone and a white stone. Locke takes the white stone off its tray and chucks it out the opening and into the ocean below. Sawyer asks what that was about, and Locke says it's an inside joke. Locke lights a torch and leads Sawyer deeper into the grotto. He holds up the torch and reveals names and numbers written in chalk all over the cave walls and ceiling. Some are crossed out, chalked over or smudged away. He tells Sawyer this is why he's here.

WHOOOSH to high school and Locke coaches a girl's gym class. Cut to him in front of a classroom and instructing the class to open their books to chapter four. Then Locke wheels through the hallway looking for the teacher's lounge. He goes inside and finds Benjamin Linus at the coffee maker lecturing the other teachers about when to make a new pot of coffee. Ben introduces himself. He teaches European history. Locke says he's a substitute. A new friendship has formed.

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.

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