Follow along! The episode guide for “The Long Con” is in Finding Lost, pp. 250-254.
Where the most recent Jack flashback was something I’d completely forgotten about, Sawyer’s flashback is one of the most important of his arc. We see how he not only pulled life-destroying cons on married women, but long cons on those who thought they could see right through him – namely, Cassidy. Later we’ll see Cassidy befriending Kate soon after Sawyer left her in the lurch, and then Kate reuniting with her after the rescue, and Cassidy’s child by Sawyer. We see the pain he’s in at the end of this episode, but that’s nothing compared to what he’s done to Cassidy. What seemed like a one-off flashback at the time that furthered the story of Sawyer taking the guns on the beach turned into something much bigger for the longer story of his character.
Fun things I noticed:
• This episode has always seemed a little odd to me. Coming on the heels of the practically useless “Fire + Water,” and also following the ominous:
Jack: You wanna form an army?
Ana Lucia: Count me in.
Jack: Let’s round ‘em up.
[Two weeks later] Ana Lucia: So, about that army… uh, I’ve been trying to round up people but the problem is…
Jack: What army? What are you talking about? I have patients to tend to.
Yeah, following THAT big cliffhanger that went nowhere, we have this one, where Sawyer pulls this long, elaborate con to declare himself Sheriff of Lostville… only for that storyline to kind of drop, and no one really treats him like a sheriff or cares about his guns or looks to him with any different eye than they did before.
• Sawyer’s banter at Charlie at the beginning of the episode is priceless: “Well, well, now look who had to relocate to the suburbs. Ain't that just like a woman? She keeps the house and you get the cheap-ass apartment. Man, I thought these people hated me, but I've got to hand it to you -- stealing a baby, trying to drown it -- now, that's a new low. You even made Locke take a swing at you. Hell, that's like getting Gandhi to beat his kids.”
• So, I was talking to these two women a few months ago (I think they may have been moms at my daughter’s gymnastics class or something) and they were talking about Sawyer and how he has really weird shoulders, and he should either work out more on his shoulders or he should stop appearing without a shirt. To which I replied: “He has shoulders?? I… didn’t notice. I must have been distracted by, uh…. *cough*” Do you think he has weird shoulders?
• When Sawyer goes outside and sits in the car, he counts to five, which is what Jack counted to when he was under stress and needed to let the fear in for five seconds.
Things that have new meaning:
• Gordy tells Sawyer, “You’re a con man. It’s not what you do, it’s what you are.” Again we have this moment where someone is told WHAT they are, and then they become that person. Just like Ben telling Sayid he’s a killer, here Sawyer is told he’s a con man, and it’s in his blood.
• Gordy orders a chicken salad sandwich, which is the sandwich Ben brings to Sayid the first time he comes to visit him in the jail cell. Probably no connection… it’s just me watching too much Lost.
• Sawyer says that a tiger doesn’t change his stripes, and he’s right. Even when he’s the big hero in S5, he’s still conning all of Dharmaville in the longest con of his life. The Cassidy con lasted a few months, but for over three years he convinces the people of Dharmaville that he’s someone he’s not.
• Hurley and Sayid sitting on the beach listening to the music – at the time, it was meant as a joke. But I’m sure now we’re supposed to watch that scene and assume an earlier timeline has accidentally cut in to Sayid’s short-wave radio signal, and we really are listening to a radio broadcast from the 1940s.