Category Archives: 6×04 The Substitute

Ben in the teacher’s lounge, and some thoughts about the Sideways world

In honor of the Ben-centric episode Dr. Linus coming up tonight, I wanted to take another look at this clip from The Substitute.

Starting at 0:52, we see Sideways Ben, wearing a sweater vest, in the teacher’s lounge, fussing over the coffeepot, saying:

How many times do we have to go over this. If you have the last cup of coffee, you remove the filter, and throw it away. Fear not, I will make a fresh pot

Sideways Ben in LOST 6x04 The Substitute

"If you have the last cup of coffee ... "

Every office, every workplace has someone like this. Here, in this sideways school, Ben is that guy. Michael Emerson’s inflection is perfect. I think everyone who has ever worked anywhere that had a communal coffeepot must feel at least a twinge of recognition.

What I love about this scene:

— It’s so real, such a part of everyday life, yet something that doesn’t often get portrayed in a drama, especially not a drama tackling such big issues as good versus evil, free will versus destiny, and faith versus reason.

— Michael Emerson is an acting god. To go from the terrifying Henry Gale of Season 2, to the prissy sweater-vest guy in this clip — and to make each one absolutely 100% convincing — is sheer genius.

— Sideways Ben and Sideways Locke seem to have an instant rapport, a mutual respect. Very interesting.

Sideways Ben and Locke in LOST 6x04 The Substitute

"Tea? Now there's a gentleman's drink."

I also wonder what this scene tells us about the sideways world.

We’ve seen some of the sideways characters get what they want or need: Locke gets Helen, a good future, a sense of humor about his plight, and a healthy sense of boundaries. Hurley gets good luck. Kate gets away. But the sideways world isn’t a Disnified land where all dreams come true. Sayid gets to be with Nadia, but only on the fringes of her life. And everyone still seems to be controlled by their character. Hurley is still warm-hearted, but Sayid is still violent.

What does it mean, then, that Ben, the larger-than-life arch-villain in the Island world, here seems so ordinary? What did Jacob do (if it was, in fact, Jacob who did it) to transform this Milquetoast into a cool killer?

Or is Ben not quite as ordinary as he seems here? That’s a possibility. Maybe we’ll find out more about that tonight, in Dr. Linus.

Official audio podcast — rehash of “The Substitute” and brief prehash of “Lighthouse”

Damon and Carlton

Damon and Carlton

Some highlights of the podcast:

They talk about how people are having a hard time deciding what to call Locke now. The Locke-ness Monster? Smocke? unLocke? They actually had a debate about this in the writers’ room — and they just call him Locke.

They say that the revelation in the last episode, about how the numbers correspond to some of the LOSTies, is a good example of how they hope to point out connections and have us understand a little about the significance of things, but that it would be impossible for them to explain the numbers completely. They won’t, for example, be able to say why they’re using these particular numbers. (Alas!) However, we will be seeing more about the numbers soon.

They talk about the way the characters are running into each other and sometimes helping each other in the flash sideways. They really liked the way Locke was helped by Hurley and Rose. As far as the significance of the flash sideway? That remains to be determined.

The title “Lighthouse” may have multiple meanings.

Carlton says that Claire is one of his favorite characters this season, and that she has “some cool stuff coming up.”

From the questions:

They confirmed that the date on Claire’s ultrasound (October 22, 2004, a month after Flight 815’s arrival) was actually a prop error.

You can hear the whole podcast on the ABC site or iTunes (it’s the one dated February 22).

Screencap of Damon and Carlton from the last video podcast

Official ABC LOST video podcast, featuring Terry O’Quinn

Terry O’Quinn talks about his character Locke and what he calls “the new embodiment of Locke.” He doesn’t call him “not” Locke or “fake” Locke, or anything like that. And he says that while his character is Smokie, he doesn’t know whether or not he is also the Man in Black. Interesting!

Then a fan asks Damon and Carlton what Damon calls a “new iteration” of the common fan question about whether the writers are making it up as they go along. This time, the question is about whether the backgammon scene in the Pilot, where Locke talked about dark and light, and good and evil, was intended to lead to where we are now. Darlton’s answer? Sort of yes, and sort of no.

Locke (the fake one) steals a line from Locke (the real one). Weird!

I thought the strangest moment in “The Substitute” was when fake Locke (aka Flocke, notLocke, unLocke, and the Locke-ness Monster) chases after the blond kid. Fake Locke falls (not unlike the way that Real Sideways Locke falls), and the kid stands over him, and says “You know the rules. You can’t kill him.”

"You know the rules. You can't kill him."

Then fake Locke says, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”

The kid shakes his head and walks away.

Then fake Locke points his finger and yells, loudly: “Dont tell me what I can’t do!”

"Don't tell me what I can't do!!"

So why does fake Locke sound exactly like real Locke here? Why is he repeating real Locke’s most famous signature line?

We’ve already seen leakage into the Sideways world. Could there also be leakage into the Island world?  Is that what we saw in this scene?

Or is something else going on?

I listed the possibilities that occurred to me in the poll below. What do you think? Do you have any other ideas?

Here’s the clip:

Screencaps from

LOST Untangled 6×04 “The Substitute”

This is a funny one:

New promo for LOST 6×04 “The Substitute”

It says “tonight” on it, so you know it’s fresh and tasty:

This promo promises that:

  • Questions will be answered
  • Mysteries unraveled
  • Destinies revealed

We shall see! 😉


LOST Schedule for February 16, 2010

Locke talking to Sawyer in LOST 6x04 The Substitute

Locke talking to Sawyer in 6x04 The Substitute

Here’s the schedule for Tuesday, February 16 (in the U.S.):

8:00 PM — Rerun of 6×03 What Kate Does. This is, presumably, going to be the enhanced version, with the pop-up hints.

9:00 PM — New episode: 6×04 The Substitute. From the sneak peeks (here: warning spoiler-ish, and here), this looks like it is going to be an amazing episode. Also, ABC hasn’t put an episode summary on their schedule, the way they usually do, so I think they may have some big surprises in store this week that they are trying to keep under wraps. So exciting!

(Show times, as always, will be an hour earlier in the Central Time zone.)

Screencap of Locke (or, more likely, notLocke) is from sneak peek #2.

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