Lost: The Long Con
"A tiger can't change it's stripes."
After half a season of trying to soften Sawyer, Lost
takes him back to his con-man roots and the series is the better for it. I liked seeing Sawyer's loyalty to Jin and Michael when he was with the Others, but to see him sitting around, making nice with everyone and making googly eyes at Kate was becoming a bit old. Where is the old Sawyer, I wondered. The self-serving, jerk that we all came to know and love during season one.
The answer: He never really left.
Seems that Sawyer has been playing everyone all this time.
Now, I love episodes like this where a character's true colors are revealed or some truth is learned but yet, when you think about in the context of the series, it make a whole lot of sense. One of the best examples of this is the revelation mid-way through DS9
that Doctor Bashir is a genetically enhanced human....it's one of those revelations that explained a lot about the character and who he was in just about every epiosde up to that point and one that influenced the series and the character dynamics for the rest of the run.
The big difference is that here, we knew Sawyer was a con-man from the first time we saw his backstory. But deep down, it was easy to hope that behind that pain and gruff exterior there wa a heart of gold waiting to get out. And I'll give Lost
credit--it played that like a fiddle with this character. But now, we find out that pretty much all of what Sawyer has done is, typically, self-serving. He's conned everyone yet again. It just took a bit longer to set up this time. You get the feeling that he was just bidding his time, setting things up so that he could spring this trap on everyone and put himself into a position of power. He played Locke and Jack against each other, he's manipulated Kate and he's used Charlie. (I have to admit, I never saw that Charlie was helping him coming...I assumed until the end that it was Ana Lucia since they worked so hard to point the finger at her and then exonerate her). Sawyer has burned a lot of bridges now and as Kate points out, he wants to be hated.
Must be good for Charlie. Cause let's face it--right now, Sawyer may be the most hated man on the island.
The thing is--he's so good at the manipulation. In his backstory, you really believed he loved Cassidy. And to see him betray both her and his partner was a heck of a twist on the con. He conned them both. I will have to say that I didn't necessarily find the flashbacks much to write home about since it only reiforced what we already know about Sawyer. But it did help set-up his double-crossing everyone on the island and how he manipulates all those around him. The line about the woman being hurt and disappointed in his actions pretty much covered Cassidy and Kate. Of course, with Cassidy, Sawyer could just vanish into the night. With Kate, he still has to face her on the island.
I know we've had some examination of Sawyer's story and what made him what he is. But I found myself wondering as the story ended--what makes Sawyer so self-loathing that he has to sabotage every relationship he has--not just romantic but any friendship. I'd love to see the flashbacks address this--not that I think there is one reason or event that caused this to happen, but maybe we could see some stories that look into this. Heaven knows if we can get 17 flashbacks of Jack a year, surely we can work in one or two more about Sawyer.
I've theorized before that the island seems to give people what they want or need. If that's so, then Sawyer has a long way to go. If the island is about giving people a chance at redemption or atoning for previous sins, then Sawyer hasn't really made any progress in that department. If anything, he's more selfish and self-loathing than ever.
And that's just the way we like the character...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 2/09/2006 09:10:00 AM