L.A. Reality: In our brave new world, James Ford isn't a con man; he's a cop playing a con man in order to nab the wife of an actual con man. In his off hours, he hunts down Anthony Cooper, because even in this reality, Ford's daddy executed the murder/suicide play, after Cooper bedded the Mrs. and made bank. Miles is James' partner, and he knows something's going on, but James won't come clean with him. He will, however, go on a date with Miles' father's cute ginger co-worker -- archaeologist (not anthropologist) Charlotte Staples Lewis. But when Charlotte stumbles across James' "Sawyer" folder, in search of a T-shirt to cover up her freckled nakedness, James bounces her out on her lily white derrière.
After watching a restorative episode of Little House on the Prairie, James stops by Charlotte's with a six pack and a sun flower, but sorry dude, she's just not that into you. He does manage, however, to make up with Miles, who broke up with him on account of his reticence to confess his entire life's story. Just before the boys seal their reunion with a kiss, the car they're in is rammed by some fugitive, who and flees down an alley, in an attempt to escape. James beats Miles and the other cops to the punch... and the criminal. He pushes the fugitive against the wall and rips of the fugitive's hood to reveal... KATE! "Son of a bitch." This was as surprising as a sunrise.
Island Reality: This is where the episode title, "Recon" really comes into play. Sure, it makes us think of a reconnaissance mission, but it's all about conning, and then conning again. Faucke sends Sawyer to the Hydra island on a mission that involves gaining the confidence of the Ajira Air crash victims, but really? He sends him there to get him out of the way, so he can work his smoke and mirrors on Kate, and lure her to his side.
Claire, all jacked up on three years of loathing the Others for stealing Aaron, has no problem transferring that hate to Kate, who already confessed to taking the tot back to the real world. So while Sayid watches with empty eyes, and Claire tries to stab Kate to death, Faucke gets to play the hero and pull Claire off Kate (and bitch slap Claire, which made my stomach flip-flop). And later, this gives him the opportunity to tell Kate about his crazy mother (which drives us all back to our mythology books and Bibles), and how Claire is now a crazy mother, and that Aaron deserves better, doesn't he? Bite the fruit, Eve. You surely won't die.
Over on Hydra Island, Sawyer finds Kate's sundress in the sex cages and gets all sniffly, even though Juliet's body is barely cold. He also finds all the Ajira passengers -- dead. He then runs into one of Widmore's crew from the sub, who pretends to be an Ajira survivor. Sawyer doesn't buy her line, but she's got armed reinforcements in the bush. When they driver Sawyer to his knees, he says, "Take me to your leader."
Their leader is, of course, Charles Widmore (who never exits the sub). Sawyer tells Widmore he'll deliver Faucke to him, by telling him everything is hunky-dory over on Hydra island, provided that Widmore promises safe passage to Sawyer and his passengers of choice. And then, back on Craphole, Sawyer tells Faucke everything he told Widmore. AND THEN, he tells Kate that he's going to let Faucke and Widmore fight it out, while he and Kate take the submarine off the island and back home, because surely, piloting a sub is no more complicated than riding a raft, or paddling an outrigger, and remember how well those excursions turned out?
This was, it seems, a foundational episode. It kept my attention at all times, but I felt a large disconnect with Sideways Sawyer -- and it was more notable to me than the disconnect I've felt with any of the other Sideways Lost-Aways. Although I love seeing Sawyer as Miles as cop-buddies (and I'd totally watch that show, ABC), the story didn't resonate with me the way Jack and David, Claire and Kate, Locke and Helen, Sayid and Nadia, and Ben and Alex did. Charlotte was somebody to me, but she was never really actually anyone except a dying young woman -- to Sawyer. Still, this episode didn't leave me feeling like we've stalled. It just left me waiting for the real end to begin.
I'm starting the full recap now, so until then, please join us in the forums, where post-partum violence is at an all time low.
Island Reality; Claire's Lair; Exterior; Day: Sawyer, after burning his hand and son-of-a-bitching about it, brings a cup of tea inside Claire's lair and shakes Jin awake. When he tells Jin that Faucke and Claire said they'd be back by sun-up (and it's past then, yeah?) Jin wants to flee before they return, but Sawyer's words stop him cold. "I'm with Locke."
Even though he spent three years in Dharmaville with Sawyer and Miles, no one ever taught Jin how to say you stupid shit, so he simply replies, "That is not Locke." Sawyer admits he knows that, but tells Jin that Faucke's offering a way off the island. Jin won't leave if there's a chance Sun is there (and, Show, you've already delayed their reunion about 7 episodes too long, so teasing it is doing you no favors). Sawyer understands. "If she's here, you've got my word, we ain't leaving without her." Right, because Sawyer never lies.
Faucke, Claire, Kate, Sayid, Cindy, the kids, and the rest of the refugee Templars return, cutting short our alone time with our handsome men. Ooh, there's Sayid. He looks so broken. There's Claire. Ditto. There's Kate -- weary and confused. She approaches Sawyer with a soft, "Hi." He replies, "Hi yourself," and looks away, as she wanders off.
L.A. Reality; Seedy Motel Room: James Ford and Ava (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe; Gretchen, Prison Break) are pantingly post-coital. She's squeezing his pec and calling him Jimmy. And now she's trying to board that ride again -- at least until she notices the time: 8:42 and reminds "Jimmy" he has an appointment at 9:00. He hops out of bed and puts on his pants, but no shirt, because as we'll soon learn, this scene is heavy on the gratuitous skin, and light on sense. He picks up his brief case and swings round toward the bed, and what do you know? That sucker just pops open, and all sorts of cold hard cash spills onto the still warm sheets, just like it did with Cassidy, back in "The Long Con."
At first, Ava plays along, asking what Jimmy is doing with all that money. As he gives her his con spiel about a potential investment and the other guy wanting to see the money up front, Ava hops out of bed, and puts on a shirt just enough to satisfy Standards and Practices, and not a smidgen more. Don't worry kids, she does not influence Jimmy to do the same. Still topless, he turns back to face Ava, and starts to tell her that once his meeting is over, they'll pick up right where they left off, but she's got other ideas -- that start and end with the gun she's pointing at nearly nekkid Jimmy Ford. She tells him to step away from the case. When he tells her to take it easy, she replies, "Here's the thing, Dimples..." (which Sawyer once called Cassidy) "I can spot a con man. I'm married to one, so I know all about the Pigeon Drop..." (which Sawyer tried to use on Cassidy and later pulled with her) "...Oh what, that case just accidentally flew open? How stupid do you think I am?"
Jimmy cocks his head to the side. "Pretty damn stupid, actually. [...] This is a set-up, lady. There's a van sitting right outside. The room is bugged. The place is surrounded by cops. So now you wanna put that gun down -- we'll work something out. They don't care about you. They want your husband. There's a tracer in the case. All you had to do was take it back to wherever your hubby is hiding out."
Ava doesn't believe Ford is working with the cops and wants to know -- if they've surrounded the place and are listening in -- why they didn't rush in and save him. Jimmy seems to take offense at the thought. "I don't need saving." He actually says the "g" sound at the end of that word. This new reality is strange and off-putting, sometimes. Anyhow, he tells her he knows she'll do the right thing and put down the gun, but if she doesn't, he just has to use his "magic word" and the cops will burst in and save the day. She tells him he's a lousy con man and cocks her gun. Jimmy incants: "LaFleur." (That must be his mom's maiden name or something, right? Right?)
As Ava asks, "La-what?" uniformed cops kick open the door. "Police! Drop the gun!" She drops her gun on the bed, and thank goodness she put on some panties when we weren't looking, because the bottom half of that shirt she's barely wearing flies open as she raises her hands in the air. As one of the officers cuffs Ava, the detective in charge of the case walks in and IT'S MILES! He chastises Jim. "Cutting it a little close, huh?" Jim says that's the only way to cut it. Miles throws him his badge necklace (what? what would you call it? Something with lanyard probably, well, feh) and says, "Put your damned clothes on, Jim." Jim says, "You've got it, partner." As the fandom yells, "TOGETHER THEY FIGHT CRIME!" Ava snarls, "You're a cop?!" While the uniforms lead her out, Jim cracks: "Surprise." He slips on his badge bling and we cut to commercial so that he doesn't get a chance to put on a shirt and ruin the moment for us.
Thoughts During the Break:
Okay, first... since there were so many mirror image references to Sawyer's time with Cassidy, why didn't they just use Kim Dickens in this role? Does this mean we can expect to see Cassidy later, or was Kim Dickens just not available?
Secondly... what? All right, so the point of Detective James Ford's undercover assignment was to... seduce a con man's wife into bringing a tracking device back to the con man's hideout? M'kay. So why -- when she pulled the gun on him -- did Detective James Ford not just give her the money, and let her do just that? For that matter, okay, Ava is married to a con man, so she knows the pigeon drop. How and why did Jim's attempted pigeon drop motivate her to pull a gun on him? If she knows she's married to a con man, she can't be all that offended at the thought that she just committed adultery with another. Why didn't Ava just call Jim on his crap -- that is, unless she was planning to take the briefcase, and here's where my brain starts going in circles, because that's what the cops' plan was...and yet Jim stopped it from happening. ARGH. Why did Jim go all Batman villain and tell Ava most of the cover story, once she did pull the gun on him? Please to be making the sense, Show.
Thirdly... again I say what? While on an official police sting, LAPD Detective James Ford had (what looks from the cool-down to have been) hot sex with a suspect's wife, in a room he knows to be bugged, when he knows all his LAPD buddies are listening in? Really? Hey, I like nearly nekkid Josh Holloway as much as the next person, but I'm neither that cheap nor desperate. This scene would have worked much better for me if... well, just about everything was different. I mean, if your plan includes seducing your suspect's wife -- and I suspect that you suspect your suspect of being a con man -- why would you ever think the suspected con's man's wife would fall for a con? Also, it seems that in your master plan, the suspect's (unfaithful, if your plan works) wife ends up with your case o' cash. Did you stop to consider that maybe the (unfaithful) wife wouldn't want to bring a case o' cash back to her con man husband? Maybe she'd want to keep it for herself? Or do you somehow know that she's romantically unfaithful, but financially, she's as true as the day is long? Oops, commercial over -- which is a good thing, because I'm getting dizzy.