So compared to last week’s episode that infuriated so many fans, “The Substitute” should be a great way to bounce back. Chockful of little tidbits of information, this episode allowed us to get a clear image of what’s going on with the Island and the rest of the survivors. Whether or not it’s something that was worth waiting this long for is up for each viewer to decide themselves, but as for me, I’m intrigued. A little confused, of course, but intrigued nonetheless.
Locke episodes always tend to be some of the better episodes of Lost, if only because Locke is one of the better characters and one of the most mysterious characters on television period. He’s gone through more in his life than most fictional characters, and he’s been killed, reborn via a mysterious plume of black smoke and had his faith shattered more times than one. Watching Locke maneuver his way through life, on and off the Island, is endlessly entertaining. This episode was no exception. We got to see through the eyes of the Man in Black in smoke-form for the first time (and he’s been around for AWHILE, so this is a pretty big deal) and got to see the Man in Black slowly beginning to take shape in terms of motives and what he’s really like. Hearing his speech to Sawyer about he feels all the same human emotions as anybody else and has lost people he’s loved as well was a completely different side of him. This seems significant, especially because it feels as if we’re being pushed by the writers to believe this Man in Black is the villain, and when we see scenes like this, it’s difficult to know if he’s good or bad. It’s easy to see this Man in Black/Fake-Locke as being a villain, especially with Richard so terrified of him.