The Substitute

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The Substitute
The Substitute
Season 6
Episode 4
Air Date February 16, 2010
Writer(s) Elizabeth Sarnoff
Melinda Hsu Taylor
Director Tucker Gates
Flash-Sideways John Locke

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Prev: What Kate Does
Next: Lighthouse

The entity masquerading as John Locke continues his mysterious strategy following the death of Jacob, and attempts to incorporate both Richard Alpert and Sawyer into his plans.



Following his safe return from Australia, John Locke arrives home, and is greeted by his apparent fiancé, Helen Norwood. As Locke unwinds from the stressful trip, Helen discovers a business card from Jack Shephard in Locke's luggage as the two discuss the details of his trip and their upcoming wedding. Locke states that he had met Jack in the lost luggage department of LAX, and that Jack, upon seeing Locke's condition, offered him a free consultation for spinal surgery. Helen suggests that Locke take Jack up on his offer, and that it might be destiny for Locke to have run into the one person who could possibly help his condition.

Locke then returns to work at the Tustin box company that had sponsored his trip to Australia, and is quickly met by Randy Nations, his supervisor. Randy inquires about the details of Locke's trip, to which Locke replies he didn't learn much new information, but did make a number of new contacts. However, after Randy confronts Locke with the fact that it was reported he never attended the conference for which he was sent, Locke admits to using the trip for personal reasons, and requests to use his accumulated vacation time for the trip. However, when Locke refuses to go into details about his whereabouts, Randy promptly fires him. Leaving the office, Locke finds that a large Hummer has parked too close to his van for access. Enraged by these continuing frustrations, Locke bangs on the Hummer, causing it's security alarm to set off. The owner of the Hummer, Hugo Reyes, arrives to discover the source of the commotion. Locke angrily derides Reyes for his parking, despite Hugo's attempts to calm the situation. Through this, Hugo announces that he is the owner of the box company, and reveals that he has unpleasant history with Randy himself. When Locke declines Hugo's offer of him speaking with Randy, Hugo then offers to use a temp company, which he also owns, to help Locke find work.

At the temp agency, Locke is subjected to an interview to determine his proper placement. However, frustrated at the seemingly irrelevant questions being asked to him, Locke demands to speak to the interviewer's manager. Acquiescing, the interviewer leaves, and the office supervisor, Rose Nadler, arrives to complete the interview. Impatiently, Locke asks Rose to help him find placement without the incessant and unnecessary questions. Rose agrees, and asks Locke which type of work he is looking for. When Locke requests a placement as a site supervisor of a construction operation, Rose suggests that the line of work may not be appropriate for Locke, despite his experience. Locke attempts to sway Rose's verdict by reminding her that Hugo had sent him with his blessing. Rose relents, and tells Locke that if he wants the construction position, then she will give it to him. However, he must first complete one day on the job before reporting back to her. When Rose suggests that Locke should be more realistic about his approach, Locke refuses to agree, suggesting Rose doesn't understand such thoughts. Rose then explains that she has terminal cancer, and has learned to live with the fact that her time left is short, and has taken the opportunity to live whatever life she has left to its fullest. She then offers to help Locke find employment that he is capable of.

Some time later, Locke awakens to his daily routine, only to face his own conflicted expression in the bathroom mirror. Reflecting on Jack's business card, and the offer it represented, Locke dials the phone number on the card. However, when Locke reaches the reception desk of Jack's office, he quickly informs the assistant on the other end that he cannot be helped and disconnects. When Helen arrives in the room, and learns that Locke had just called Jack, she expectantly asks Locke when he plans on meeting with the doctor. However, Locke informs Helen that he doesn't plan to visit Jack, and also that he had recently been fired from his job. Interrupted by the doorbell, Helen leaves the conversation to answer the door. Locke follows to discover that the caller at the door is an Oceanic courier who has arrived to deliver Locke's lost luggage. Returning, Helen asks Locke how he got fired, and Locke explains the situation involving his trip to Australia. Attempting to explain it easier, Locke instructs Helen to open his returned luggage. Inside, Helen finds Locke's knife collection, to which Locke explains would have been used on an Australian Outback walkabout. Locke explains that, although he had planned to take such an excursion, he was refused by the travel company, despite his vigorous protests. However, Locke has come to agree with what he was told, as he has come to accept the fact that he will always be limited by his handicap, and there were no miracles that could help him. Helen disagrees, and states that there are miracles, and the only one she was waiting for was him. She then proceeds to tear up Jack's business card.

Later, Locke is shown to be coaching a girl's volleyball practice in a school gymnasium. Following that, Locke heads a classroom full of students in a discussion about the human reproductive system. Locke then heads down the school grounds, and asks a student for the location of the faculty lounge. At the lounge, Locke overhears a tirade about the replacing and refilling of the communal coffee pot. Asking simply for tea, Locke meets the source of the commotion: Benjamin Linus, the European History instructor. Locke introduces himself as a substitute teacher, and Ben welcomes him to the school.


Following the murder of Jacob, and the abduction of Richard Alpert, the entity posing as John Locke is shown to travel through the jungle in its black smoke form. The smoke pauses briefly upon arriving at the barracks, as it overhears music and a series of crashes from inside one of the homes. Continuing on, the smoke arrives upon a machete, where it reverts to its form as Locke and uses the machete to cut down a parcel suspended in the trees. The parcel turns out to be Richard, who was kept captive inside the wrappings. Demanding that he and Richard speak, Locke apologizes for his violent capture of Richard. Richard asks what is wanted from him and Locke replies that he only wants Richard to come with him, as he has always wanted. Richard asks why the entity is appearing as Locke, which Locke answers because it would allow him access to Jacob, and because the real Locke was a "candidate". Confused, Richard asks what a candidate is. Locke acts surprised, as he expected Richard to be aware of Jacob's plans, as he had followed Jacob's orders for such a long time. Locke offers to tell Richard everything, as long as Richard follows him. Richard steadfastly refuses Locke's offer, but the two are then interrupted by the appearance of a small child, who appears to have blood on his hands. Locke notices the child, and appears startled by him, especially when the child is gone following a second look. Locke then quickly prepares to leave, but not before informing Richard that they will meet again very soon.

Back at the statue, Ben approaches Ilana, who is shown weeping over the recent events. Announcing his presence, Ben is asked for information on what happened inside the chamber. Ben explains that John Locke had killed all of Ilana's men on his own, by turning himself into a large pillar of black smoke. Ilana then asks if this same creature killed Jacob, to which Ben replies in the affirmative. Asking for Jacob's body, Ilana is explained to that Locke had kicked Jacob's body into the fire, and his body burnt away. Ilana moves to the fire pit, and collects a pouch of Jacob's ashes. Ben then asks why Locke had kidnapped Richard, which Ilana explains as an attempt at recruiting for an unknown cause.

Arriving back at the Barracks, Locke approaches the house that was the source of the commotion he heard earlier. Entering inside, Locke discovers Sawyer drinking in the bedroom of his former home. When Sawyer notices Locke, he questions the entity, as he had assumed Locke to be dead. Locke replies back that he is, in fact, dead. Pouring himself and Locke a new glass of whiskey, Sawyer mockingly salutes Locke's status. Locke then asks why Sawyer is so unconcerned about the fact that Locke is dead, to which Sawyer replies that he doesn't care about such strange phenomena anymore. Sawyer then questions the true identity of the entity, as he knew Locke to be a fearful man, while the man in front of him showed no fear at all. Locke then offered Sawyer the ability to explain why Sawyer was on the island in the first place, but would only do so if Sawyer came with him for proof.

At the base of statue, Frank Lapidus notes that the real Locke's corpse is wilting in the sun, and would need to be moved. Ilana arrives out from within the statue, and questions where the rest of the Others have gone. Sun explains that they left earlier for the Temple. Ilana identifies this location as the safest place on the island, and begins to lead the party there. However, Sun is hesitant, and does not commit to following Ilana. Ilana explains that, if Sun is searching for Jin, then the Temple is the best place to begin, as it is the location Jin is most likely to be found, if he is alive. Before heading to the Temple, Sun reminds the rest of the group about Locke's corpse, and suggests that he needs a burial.

Heading through the jungle, Locke inquires to Sawyer about why he was in the house at the barracks, and why none of his friends were with him. Sawyer explains that the rest of his group has remained at the temple, but bristles at any more questions in this area. Locke once again sees the small child from earlier, but is surprised to find out that Sawyer can see him as well. The child then attempts to flee through the woods, while Locke gives pursuit. Racing through the jungle, Locke falls when he trips over a hanging root, and is approached by the child. The child explains that Locke cannot kill "him", as there are rules. Locke defiantly shouts back at the child that he cannot be told what not to do. Sawyer then begins shouting for Locke, and grows impatient to his whereabouts. Suddenly, Richard approaches Sawyer, and explains that the man he is with is not John Locke. Sawyer informs Richard that he already knew this, and that he is with Locke for the answers he was promised. However, Richard states that Locke is not to be trusted, and that he will kill Sawyer and everyone he cares about. Before he can continue, Richard is forced to retreat back into the woods, as Locke returns from his chase. When questioned about who he was talking to, Sawyer feigns ignorance, while Locke does the same regarding the child. Further in the jungle, Sawyer asks Locke if he had ever read Of Mice and Men, to which Locke replies that the book was "after his time". Sawyer explains that the novel was about two men, George and Lenny. Lenny was slightly slow, and George felt it was holding him back. George went on to walk Lenny out into the woods and shoot him in the back of the head. When Locke states that this is an unfortunate ending, Sawyer pulls his gun and aims it at the back of Locke's head. Sawyer explains that he is curious to what effect that would have, and Locke suggests trying it. Locke goes on to explain that he is a being who is trapped, and as such doesn't even remember what it is like to be free. He also explains that he was a man once, just like Sawyer, and has felt all the emotions and pain that any human has. Locke suggests that Sawyer is very close to the answers he seeks, and it would be a shame for him to give up now, which causes Sawyer to lower his weapon and continue following.

Back at the beach, as the party head to bury the real John Locke, Ben asks Ilana why they had brought Locke's body to Jacob's chambers in the first place. Ilana explains that they needed to show everyone involved the type of adversary they were facing. When Ben asks why Locke simply couldn't change his form to another, Ilana notes that Locke is now trapped in that form, and cannot assume another. Arriving at the burial site, the four gathered begin to prepare Locke's grave. After the grave had been dug, Ilana asks if anyone wanted to say something about Locke. Ben steps forward, and announces Locke to be a man of faith, and one who never stopped believing. Ben also says that Locke is a better man than himself, and that he is truly sorry for having killed him. John Locke is then buried finally, alongside the other passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 who had died earlier.

Arriving at a cliff face facing the ocean, Locke explains to Sawyer that they must head down the sheer cliff to reach the answers Sawyer seeks. Revealing a large wooden ladder, Locke motions Sawyer to head down. Not trusting Locke, Sawyer demands that Locke be the first one down. Locke begins to climb down the ladder, and Sawyer hesitantly follows. While climbing the first set of steps, Sawyer is stumbled when a rung beneath him breaks. He is then forced to swing over to the adjacent rope ladder. However, the braces of the rope ladder give out, and the ladder breaks free from the cliff, along with Sawyer. Sawyer then swings wildly in a downward arc, and lands violently against the cliff face next to Locke. Locke then catches Sawyer, and helps him onto his ladder. The two then make it to the lower level, where Locke leads Sawyer into a cavern. Inside the cavern, there is a desk with a large scale on it, with two stones balancing each end. One stone is white, the other is black. Locke picks up the white stone, inspects it, and tosses it into the ocean. Curious, Sawyer asks what that meant, but Locke vaguely suggests its the end of an "inside joke". Sawyer asks if that's why he was brought here, to see these mysterious items, but Locke presses on. Deeper inside the cave, Locke reveals a large chamber with scribbled writing all over the cave walls. Locke explains that the writing represents why all the survivors on the island had arrived originally. Locke goes on to explain that the writings were names written by Jacob, and that the names all represent candidates to replace Jacob as the "protector" of the island. Many of the names were crossed out, while a few remained, attached to specific numbers: "4-Locke", "8-Reyes", "15-Ford", "16-Jarrah", "23-Shephard", "42-Kwon". Faced with his name on the wall, Sawyer incredulously asks how Jacob could know him when they hadn't even met. Locke explains that Sawyer likely did meet Jacob, likely when he was younger and easily manipulated. Locke explains that choices Sawyer had made were not really his choice at all, but really of Jacob's design, with the end result being Sawyer's arrival on the island. Locke explains that, as a candidate for the protector of the island, Sawyer has three choices to make. He could choose to do nothing, and remove himself from these events, essentially removing himself from candidacy. He could also accept the role as protector, and assume Jacob's place as the new island guardian. Sawyer could finally choose to simply leave the island and return home, but could only do so if he did it with Locke. Sawyer, considering the options presented, chooses to go along with Locke and leave the island.

Memorable QuotesEdit

"'Was Jacob'?"

- Sawyer

"He died yesterday."

- "Locke"

"You don't seem too upset about it..."

- Sawyer

"I'm not."

- "Locke"

Background InformationEdit

Dramatis PersonaeEdit

Guest StarringEdit


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