Television Review: "Lost" Season Six, Episode Seven: "Recon"

3/17/2010 Posted by Admin

Television Review

"Lost" Season Six, Episode Seven: "Recon"

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Every so often an episode of "Lost" rolls around that has all the ingredients of a great episode--solid mythology, great character possibilities, intriguing plot elements--but things just don't quite work out. Last season is was "Jughead" and "The Variable"--the two episodes to focus on Daniel Faraday that completely fell flat--this season, it appears the first is "Recon." The first Sawyer-centric episode of the season and likely the last of the series, "Recon" follows our favorite con man as he heads over to Hydra island on the Man in Black's request to scope out the Ajira flight passengers left behind in season five. Meanwhile, Kate deals with the consequences of telling Claire that she's had Aaron for three years, and the flash-sideways follow Sawyer, who in this alternate timeline is none other than a detective for the LAPD.

Spoilers herein.

Sawyer has been absent for three full episodes now, so if there's anything refreshing about "Recon," it's his return. We see that he's been hanging out with Jin at Claire's crazy shack while Flocke has been tearing apart the temple, and as the big man returns with a newly recruited Sayid and Kate (as well as many of the other temple dwellers who chose to leave), he tells Sawyer he needs him to head over to the Hydra island to find out what's become of the Ajira passengers.

The not-so-subtle title of "Recon" is a nod to Sawyer being sent on reconnaissance and his conning in general. Most Sawyer-centric episodes tend to focus on him trying to trick people into giving him what he wants--here it's no different. As we saw in the previous episode, "Dr. Linus," Charles Widmore has returned to the island, along with plenty of armed men and some handy electric pylons to keep the smoke monster away. This suggests Widmore isn't on Smokey's side, which is quite different from what we've been led to believe.

Anyway, Widmore happens to be shacking up in his sub over on Hydra, and Sawyer runs into one of his people, Zoe, when he finds all of the Ajira passengers killed. By whom? We don't know--Widmore claims it wasn't him or his people, so it may have been the smoke monster, or it could be loose polar bears. Who knows? Either way, Sawyer tells Widmore that he can bring Flocke to him so that Widmore and his people can kill him. Little does Widmore know that Sawyer plans on preparing Flocke for the attack--the Man in Black thanks Sawyer for his loyalty, but it turns out Sawyer's ultimate plan is to let the two factions kill each other so he can escape on the sub. Not a bad plan, assuming Sawyer can operate a sub all by himself.

This whole plotline is pretty underwhelming overall, especially considering how much potential there is for great drama. Sawyer meeting Widmore for the first time? Could be great--results in very little. Some useless enigmatic dialogue and zero answers, and the new character, Zoe, hardly makes up for the supporting cast hole left by the death of Dogen and Lennon. Still, I imagine Widmore will be a lot more interesting in upcoming episodes. One of the best moments of the episode, however, comes when Sawyer finds the Ajira plane, realizes how intact it is, and then finds the pile of corpses, what's left of the Ajira passengers.

The best stuff in the episode surprisingly came from Kate's small plotline. Overwhelmed by witnessing the destruction of the temple and learning Claire has gone completely mad, she tries to comprehend the situation she's caught in, and she has a heart to heart with both Flocke and Claire in different parts of the episode. In one particular scene where Flocke explains to Kate where Sawyer has gone, he reveals he had a mother once, a completely insane one, and her madness is partially why he is what he is today. We don't get much more than that, but it was interesting nonetheless. One of the best scenes in the episode is between Kate and Claire. Claire has just attacked Kate for taking Aaron, and as she realizes Kate was only trying to help her she gives Kate a heartfelt and teary-eyed apology. It was a great moment for Emilie de Ravin.

Of course, this wouldn't be season six without the wacky flash-sideways, and while they had the most potential to be great of any of the plotlines in the episode, they don't quite deliver. In his alternate life, Sawyer is a cop, and, in a pleasant twist, Miles is his partner. This brings about obvious parallels to the episode "LaFleur," where Sawyer was the head of Dharma security and he worked with Miles. Sawyer was still orphaned at nine-years-old because of the con man Anthony Cooper, but this time he's chosen to be on the opposite side of crime. The flashes open with a scene mirroring the scene in "The Long Con" where Sawyer lets a briefcase of money fly open on a bed--this time, instead of instigating a con, he's attempting to arrest a con artist.

The entire flash-sideways here is pretty cheesy, culminating in one of the worst scenes of the season where Sawyer sits and watches a scene from "Little House on the Prairie" (a nod to his character saying he liked the show earlier in the series). It's really forced and sappy, and not at all in that good "Lost" way, especially when it doesn't really add much of anything to Sawyer's character. A couple good moments come when Sawyer and Miles bicker like old times, and we get a pleasant surprise when Charlotte shows up at a blind date, but otherwise the flashes accomplish little more than telling us what we already know: Sawyer is a con man with a heart of gold. It wasn't even like the other episodes where the flashes clearly showed the characters finding some sort of redemption in their alternate lives--the flashes here are just there, to, I don't know, be there.

It's a shame the last Sawyer-centric of the series had to be one of his worst, but it was by no means a bad episode. Like most episodes, it was entertaining throughout, and despite not revealing much or adding much at all to the story, it was fun to see Sawyer after three episodes absent, and surely he'll be given a lot more to do from now on.

One thing is for certain--next week is bound to be one of the best episodes of the season.  It's the episode where we'll finally be told Richard's backstory.

Grade: C+

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