Episode Title: "Recon"
Written By: Elizabeth Sarnoff & Jim Galasso
Story: When James Ford (Josh Holloway) rejoins the man posing as John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) and his most recent recruits from the Temple, he's asked to travel to Hydra Island in order to do reconnaissance on the remaining survivors of Ajira Flight 316 — but what Sawyer stumbles upon there is something far more resourceful and dangerous than a group of agitated plane crash survivors.
Meanwhile, Kate (Evangeline Lilly) learns that Claire (Emilie de Ravin) is anything but grateful for the former fugitive's three year stint as Aaron's mother. In the sideways universe, Sawyer walks along a different side of the law but his sights remain firmly set on finding the man responsible for his parents' deaths.
Cop Out: Everybody is walking down a somewhat different road in the sideways universe, and James Ford is no exception. But even as a police officer, humorously partnered with Miles (Ken Leung), Jim still has it out for the con man known as Sawyer. Since Sideways Locke and his dad seem to have reconciled their differences, it'll be very interesting to see James' encounter with a more benevolent Anthony Cooper, if and when that ever happens.
Still, I'm a little bit disappointed in this recent sideways plot. So far, everybody has tackled their biggest problems — Kate helps Claire, Locke deals with his handicap, Jack fixes his daddy issues, Sayid finds himself unworthy of Nadia, Ben saves Alex's future — but I don't believe that the Sawyer thing is James' number one dilemma these days. As nice as it was to see Charlotte (Rebecca Mader) back in action, I would have much preferred a brief return from Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet Burke, the clear and present embodiment of Sawyer's feelings of failure. Since Juliet's final words had something to do with coffee and a police officer, however, a sideways reunion might not be too far down the road.
The Best Liar I've Ever Met: On the Island, Smocke praises Sawyer's ability to lie to people, but his deviousness is nothing compared to the manipulations of Smocke himself. The Monster reassures young Zach and Emma that he's going to protect them from "the black smoke," then turns to Sawyer moments later and reveals that he is in fact "the smoke thing." Truthfully, Smocke is such a good liar that I'm not even sure what his real intentions are. Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) seems convinced that he's out to kill everybody on the Island, but there's something very believable about the Monster when he's speaking calmly to Kate, Claire and the others. Perhaps that's just a testament to how good of an actor Terry O'Quinn is, but there's something to be said about the fact that we can't definitively say where Smocke stands. Not yet, at least.
The Crazies: Claire and Sayid (Naveen Andrews), on the other hand, are pretty clear cut. These are two desperately damaged souls with a lot of kinks to work out. Sayid didn't even lift a finger when Claire was trying to kill Kate, exhibiting an uncharacteristic passiveness that we've never seen from the character before. Claire, meanwhile, is a "crazy" person, as described by Smocke — and when he's passing such a judgment, you know there's something wrong with you. It's very unsettling to see these two typically reliable characters in such dire straits.
Pylons And Widmore And Subs, Oh My: Sawyer and Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) made an arrangement that's leading to an inevitable confrontation between Widmore's sonar-equipped allies and the Smoke Monster. But I'm not convinced that Widmore actually wants to kill Smocke, even if that's what Sawyer promised the man — I think it's entirely possible that Widmore just wants to come back to the Island and take Jacob's place, thereby allowing Smocke to pack up and leave peacefully. Ben (Michael Emerson) and Widmore have vied for control over the Island for so long that such a power play strikes me as very in character for good old Chuck, but we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out. As for the locked door in the submarine, smart money says that Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) and Penny (Sonya Walger) are in there.
Best Quote: "This is completely inappropriate." — Smocke to Claire after she's tried to kill Kate.
The Shape of Things to Come: Next week's episode is called "Ab Aeterno," which is roughly translated as "since the beginning of time." It's a Richard Alpert episode, and it marks the first of the eight remaining episodes of "Lost." Good times.
Tell us what you thought of the recent episode of "Lost" in the comments and on Twitter