The numbers and the people associated with them are as follows: 4 – Locke. 8 – Reyes, 15 – Ford, 16 – Jarrah, 23 – Shephard, 42 – Kwon (but is that Jin or Sun?).
This leaves us with one gigantic question: What about Kate? What’s her number? Did Locke/Smokey simply not show her to Sawyer? Why didn’t Sawyer ask about Freckles? See below for my theory.
Beyond the numbers, this was a fine Locke-centric episode, which confirmed that the…entity using Locke’s body is, indeed, the Smoke Monster/The Man in Black/Jacob’s Nemesis. And he is still bound by rules, as the mysterious Blond Boy reminded him, “You know the rules: You can’t kill him.” But he was not above torturing Richard for some unknown reason. And he decided to take Sawyer under his wing. “I don’t care if you’re dead or time-traveling,” Sawyer sighed, before recognizing that whoever the man was, he was not John Locke. Then came a classic insouciant Sawyer line: “I guess I better put some pants on.” Meanwhile, Sun insisted on burying Locke’s…er, real body. Ben eulogized him by calling John a man of faith and a better human being than he will ever be, adding, “I’m sorry I murdered him.”
But John is very much alive in the NoIsland Universe (even if he might be wishing otherwise). He is engaged to Helen (welcome back, Katey Sagal), still works at the box factory – well, at least he did until getting fired (despite the intervention of owner Hugo Reyes). When this John went to Australia, he was denied walkabout, and returned home disheartened and, for the first time, a truly broken man. The biggest difference is, in this universe, Locke is not a man of faith. He is a sad-sack hard-luck case who steadfastly refuses to make any leap of faith. Helen asked, “What are the odds of running into a spinal surgeon?” (I’d say, about as good as going to a temp agency run by Rose Nadler.) “Maybe it’s destiny,” Helen suggested. But John would have none of it. He was sick of trying to imagine life out of the chair: “There’s no such thing,” he snarled. “There are miracles, John,” she insisted. He settled for becoming a substitute teacher at the same school where Ben teaches European history.
Back on the island, Nemesis explained that Locke, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid, Jack and either Jin or Sun were candidates to become the new Jacob. Apparently, Kate was never in the running. But why? Sawyer and Sayid were not nice guys, either. The Man in Black suggests that Sawyer can become the new Jacob and protect the island – but there’s nothing left to protect it from. Or he can just go; “get the hell off the island.” Sawyer chose Door No. 3. Clearly, he learned his lesson about gettin’ while the gettin’s good…
This was a fantastic episode that paid off on promises from the-powers-that-be that answers are forthcoming. Sure, we do not yet have the entire context of the Numbers — such as why Sayid is 16 and not, say, 4, and why certain names were not crossed off – but we did get answers. And I loved seeing the Smoke Monster’s POV. Oh, and apropos of not much, I am almost as annoyed with Richard as The Man in Black, so let’s hope we find out what his deal is very soon.