Episode Title: "The Last Recruit"
Written By: Paul Zbyszewski & Graham Roland
Story: Hurley (Jorge Garcia) has led Jack (Matthew Fox) and friends directly into the lion's den — better known as Smocke's (Terry O'Quinn) camp. The artist occasionally known as The Smoke Monster does his best to woo Jack over to the dark side with surprisingly honest revelations, but his hand is forced when Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) fires the first shots of war.
In the wake of an explosive incident, Smocke sets Sayid (Naveen Andrews) after Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) while Sawyer (Josh Holloway) hatches a plan of his own to get Kate (Evangline Lily) and the others off of the Island for good. Meanwhile, the players of the Sideways Universe continue to come together, with Jack's hospital seeming to serve as a central location.
An Action In Motion: The final season of "Lost" has had some excellent episodes that didn't feature a lot of on-Island action — "Ab Aeterno" and "Happily Ever After," to name two. This latest installment was the first episode in quite a while that I was beyond satisfied with the momentum of the Island plot. Sun (Yunjin Kim) and Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) were reunited, Kate was able to recruit Claire (Emilie De Ravin) against Sawyer's best wishes, Jack and Smocke finally collided and a ton of stuff blew up. There are still four episodes left to go, but "The Last Recruit" played out like a penultimate finale — which makes me think that the remainder of the season is going to move at an appropriate breakneck pace.
All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues: Last week, we found out what the whispers are. This week, Smocke confirmed another long-held theory that he was posing as Christian Shephard (John Terry) since the apparition's first appearance in "Walkabout." I guess that explains why we haven't seen the character lately, since he's now stuck with John Locke's likeness. I hope that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse can figure out a way to give Terry one last cameo — his performance as Christian was too great to ignore completely.
Also, the way that Smocke is playing on Jack with the father figure authority is just brilliant. It didn't even occur to me that the moment Smocke spoke to him, Jack was unwittingly converted to the dark side. I'm still not convinced that free will isn't a major factor here — I mean, come on, do you really think Sayid killed Desmond? — but for right now, it looks like Jack is willing to see how far Smocke can take him.
Widmore's Fancy Toys: On the other side of the game board is Charles Widmore and his access to massive firepower. What the heck is he even using to mess with these guys? I was thinking that it was the same rocket trick that Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) showed off back in "The Economist" during season four, but who knows. If he's dropping bombs from overhead, is it possible that Widmore is also responsible for the DHARMA Initiative supply drops first seen in season two? Just something to consider.
Well Played: You have to hand it to Desmond for getting at Sayid from a psychological angle. "Sure, you can have your loved one back," the time traveler essentially states, "but what are you going to tell her when she asks you how you pulled it off?" It's the same dilemma that Michael (Harold Perrineau) faced when he killed Ana-Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez) and Libby (Cynthia Watros) — he had to explain to his son that he killed two innocent people in order to rescue him, and now his spirit is stuck on the Island as punishment for his crimes. On some level, I believe Sayid must be conscious of the repercussions of crossing that line of killing an old friend, no matter the reward.
Sunrise: Wow, it took way too long for Sun and Jin to get back together. It's nice to see them locked in an embrace and all that, but the moment felt a little rushed, almost a bit of a letdown. Then again, given how long they've been apart — since the season four finale, really — I don't think anything could have lived up to their hype-worthy reunion. Still, I'm glad they're back on the same page.
The Parallel Multiverse: Things are moving right along in the Sideways Universe as Desmond pushes the remaining pieces into place, like positioning Claire on the same path as Jack. Most of the characters are either at the hospital with Jack or the police station with Sawyer, but I doubt it'll take long for everybody to gather under the same roof. And with Jack having knocked his head pretty hard at the end of this latest episode, it's a good bet that Sideways Jack is going to remember a thing or two at the outset of next episode.
Best Quote: "Well... here we go." — Smocke as he prepares to bring the war to Widmore's doorstep.
The Shape of Things to Come: The next new episode of "Lost" won't air for two weeks — but in that episode, titled "The Candidate," Smocke is going to come out swinging, while one of the six elusive candidates will potentially step up to fill out Jacob's (Mark Pellegrino) shoes.
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