Hurley takes pity on Live Locke when he learns he was fired and offers to intervene with Randy the "douche." Live Locke declines the offer, but does take a card for the temp agency Hurley owns. Hurley tells Live Locke to tell them Hugo Reyes said to hook him up. Back home, the chair ramp in Live Locke's van won't go all the way down, so he decides to make his chair jump off it. He lands flat on his face, like you knew he would, and then, the lawn sprinklers pick just that time to come on. But Helen is there to shut them off, help him up, and get him into a bath. They talk about their October wedding (which Locke's father will attend), and Helen finds the card Jack gave Live Locke at LAX and tries to instill some faith in him, but it's all for naught. Locke does visit Hurley's temp agency though, and when the recruiter assigned to him asks him what kind of animal he'd describe himself as, he asks to meet with a supervisor, instead. The supervisor is our very own Rose! Live Locke asks about the open position for a construction site coordinator. When Rose suggests he be a bit more realistic, Live Locke snaps, "What do you know about 'realistic'?" Rose tells him just what she knows: "I have cancer -- terminal cancer." Oh crap. Right now, I hate you, L.A. Reality. I hate your stinky, slimy, smoggy guts. Rose tries to talk him out of the denial phase and into acceptance. It works, perhaps too well, because later in the episode, Live Locke and Helen rip up Jack's card. Later still, Live Locke takes a substitute teacher position at a local school, where he meets the fuss-ass European History teacher -- Ben Linus!
Island Reality: Faux-Locke tries to get Richard to team up with him, but despite FL's promise to treat him with respect and tell him everything, Richard declines. Faux-Locke leaves Richard behind when he sees (but Richard doesn't) a blond boy (with, I think, bloody arms) standing in the brush. Later, we're treated to what the people in the forums have dubbed "Smokey Cam" as our favorite monster makes his way to Dharmaville.
Once there, he's Faux-Locke, again. He picks up Locke's knife and tempts Sawyer out of his now loveless shack. Sawyer knows Locke is dead, and that Faux-Locke is faux, but doesn't really care. Faux-Locke tries very hard to get Sawyer on his side, whatever that is. On their jungle trek, they're startled by the appearance of that young blond boy (could he be a young Jacob? SORAS Aaron? -- his arms aren't bloody, here). When Faux-Locke leaves Sawyer behind to chase after Blondie, Blondie tells him, "You know the rules. You can't kill him." Faux-Locke may need to take a meeting with Rose, because his only comeback is: "Don't tell me what I can't do!" Meanwhile, Richard tries to get Sawyer to come back to the Temple with him, but Sawyer says he's sticking with Faux-Locke, who might just give him answers. Richard says Faux-Locke wants Sawyer and everyone else dead. When he hears Faux-Locke returning, Richard scurries off. Sawyer deflects Faux-Locke's question about who he was talking to by asking if Faux-Locke caught up with the kid. Faux-Locke's all, "What kid?" Still think you're going to get answers from him, Sawyer?
Well, maybe. Faux-Locke leads Sawyer down the face of a cliff. Sawyer almost buys the farm in the process, but eventually, they make it into a cliff-side cave. Inside there's a scale, with a white rock sitting on one side and a black rock sitting on the other. Faux-Locke picks up the white rock and casts it into the sea. Further inside, Faux-Locke shows Sawyer all the writing on the cave and says, "That, James, is why you're all here." There are a ton of names, most of them crossed out. But certain, all too recognizable ones are not. Those all too recognizable names have all too recognizable numbers next to them. 4: Locke; 8: Reyes; 15: Ford; 16: Jarrah; 23: Shephard; 42: Kwon. Faux-Locke tells Sawyer that Jacob (who he says "died yesterday") wrote all the names, and "He had a thing about numbers." He tells Sawyer that at some point in his life, probably when he was young and miserable, he met Jacob, who influenced him such that choices he made were not choices at all. "He was pushing you, James. Pushing you -- to the island." Sawyer's all WHA? Faux-Locke says Jacob thought James was a candidate. "[Jacob] thought he was the protector of this place." FL then passes Sawyer the torch. "And you James, have been nominated to take over that job." He tells Sawyer he has three choices. The first is do nothing and see how everything plays out. He crosses out Locke's name as he says it's possible James' name will be crossed out. The second option is to accept the job, become the new Jacob and protect the island. Faux-Locke says the joke is there's nothing from which to protect it. The third choice: "We just go. We just get the hell off this island and we never look back." Sawyer asks how they do that. Faux-Locke says, "Together. So what do you say, James? Are you ready to go home?" Sawyer takes a moment and then: "Hell, yes."
What a great episode. At turns it is funny, suspenseful, and heart-breaking -- but not without hope. And it's a meaty one, too. I'm tempted to pull it apart here and now, but recaplets are supposed be bare-bones, and this already has some flesh on it.
Previously on Lost: Sobbing Sawyer tells Kate it's his fault Juliet died, because he didn't want to be alone. Also, Smokey takes out Bram and the Goonies and then Faux-Locke tells Ben he's sorry he had to see him "like that." Richard recognizes Faux-Locke's faux/foe nature, so Faux-Locke knocks out Richard and carries him off by the ever-ripening carcass of Dead Locke. But first, he wags his fingers at the Sun, Frank, Ilana and the rest of the Four-Toes Beach bums and scolds them like only a cranky old substitute teacher could. "I'm very disappointed in all of you." Meanwhile, over in the new reality, Live Locke lies to Boone about having been on a walkabout in Australia. The plane touches down. Locke is wheeled off by the crew.
L.A. Reality: Live Locke drives his van through a suburban neighborhood and pulls up to a home. The chair ramp in his van won't go all the way down, so he attempts a jump and lands flat on his face, like we knew he would. To let us know this is really Locke, the lawn sprinklers pick just that time to come on. Can the man have his dignity in any reality? Oh, wait I think he does. He's laughing at his situation! Could it be.. .does he have some perspective? Possibly -- and perspective may just have a name. HELEN! She comes out the front door, shuts off the sprinklers and gets Locke into a bath. Planning their October wedding has Helen on edge. She suggests getting her folks and LOCKE'S FATHER, and doing it "shotgun style" in Vegas. Locke wants her to have more than that. He offers his opinion on fabric colors and when he realizes he has chosen the wrong one, he immediately changes his mind to agree with his bride-to-be. That was almost a social skill. Helen then finds the card Jack gave Live Locke at LAX. Helen tries to talk Live Locke into scheduling consult -- even dangling the word destiny in front of him, but he doesn't seem as high on that word as original recipe Locke.
Island Reality: We're treated to a "Smokey Cam" view of the jungle as our favorite monster makes his way to Dharmaville. As it veers near the Loveless Shack -- its ticka ticka rattle clank quiets down enough so that we hear Iggy Pop and the Stooges' "Search and Destroy" blasting away, inside. I'm a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb. Subtle, Sawyer. The Smokey Cam pauses outside for a moment, then rushes to the edge of the jungle and hovers over an abandoned knife. Faux-Locke appears, picks up the knife and cuts down a hanging canvas trap. It lands with a thud to reveal Richard Alpert. Faux-Locke tells him it's time to talk. I tell Faux-Locke it's time to shorten his name. I've seen Flocke, Smocke (which I think is Mo Ryan's and is seriously awesome, but I feel cheap nicking it), Lockeness Monster, Lockeless Monster, but I'm feeling it should be something a bit more unseemly, so for today, I'm gonna go with Faucke. You can vote this change up or down in the "Question of the Moment" poll in the righthand sidebar.