Continuing the countdown to Lost’s final episode. Here’s my top 12 so far:
#12 – Two for the Road
#11 - Some Like It Hoth
#10 - The Shape of Things to Come
#9 - Ab Aeterno
#8 - The Candidate
and number #7 is……..
The Long Con
Two words describe this episode: Sawyer rules. He managed to outsmart the two island leaders (Locke and Jack) to carve out a little niche for himself. And he did it while looking like a total badass. That whole little speech about the new sheriff in town totally blew my mind.
At this point in season 2, there were two things that controlled the power struggle amongst the castaways: guns and fear. The two are a gut reaction of each other. The Others cause the fear, the guns equalize it. This was a simpler time in Lost when we were concerned more about survival on the island as opposed to time travel and Dharma stations.
At the beginning of the series, the writers painted Sawyer as another dumb, hot headed redneck. But as the season progressed and progressed, and the viewers saw Sawyers conman connections, we begin to realize Sawyer is not your cookie cutter hillbilly. He’s manipulative, cut throat, everyman for himself. He is the realist on the island. While Jack and Locke are playing cowboys and Indians, he’s playing the game of life.
Before this episode, you feel that Sawyer’s near death experience may have changed all this. He wants blood against the others, right? They wrecked his ship and left him for dead. Now he was all about playing Locke and Jack’s game to get some sweet revenge. Wrong. In the end it’s still about adaptation and advantage, something Sawyer does in his play to con the two of their power over the guns. It’s a quintessential bad ass moment for Sawyer, and I thoroughly enjoyed how the writers set up such a blind side. I was shocked when I learned Sawyer orchestrated the whole conspiracy, but I also realized it made complete sense.
Josh Holloway never gets credit for his acting abilities. Hell, all of season 5 was practically carried on his acting alone. The Long Con is the episode that establishes Josh’s ability to add layers to Sawyer. He’s not the redneck stereotype we think he is. Instead, he’s an intensely complicated man, more complicated than Jack or Locke. He’s half saint, half demon, and one of the most compelling Lost characters out there. And the Long Con is the one episode where Sawyer truly shines.