SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't yet seen this episode of Lost, you should avoid reading this article and the user comments, as they will discuss events that happened during the episode.
Season 6, Episode 4: "The Substitute"
Although at one point during the third week (technically, episode four) of "Lost's" final season an on-screen character promises us all of the answers, what we get instead from "The Substitute" is some graffiti in a cave. Still, any episode heavy on Locke, Ben and Sawyer -- and completely devoid of Jack and Kate -- is sure to please a number of "Lost" fans.
Below, we check in with the critics to see how much this episode pleased them. As always, the individual critic scores listed below should be considered approximate, since assigning scores to episode reviews -- which tend to be 99% recap and 1% opinion -- is far from an exact science. Recaps that do not express any opinion about the relative quality of the episode are omitted.
|100||Entertainment Weekly||Jeff Jensen|
|The first truly great episode of the season.|
|100||Television Without Pity||Cindy McLennan|
|100||TV Fanatic||M.L. House|
|We were treated to a dizzying number of answers and revelations that might make it difficult to sleep for days. [Grade: 5/5]|
|100||TV Overmind||Sam McPherson|
|By far the best episode of the season. [Grade: A+]|
|Impossibly good. ... I fear we've hit this season's "Jughead": Season 5's third episode that raised the bar so ridiculously high that I'm not sure anything else last season matched its mythological expanse and emotional richness. Not every episode has to merge both, but when it does, "Lost" transforms from merely a great show into a one-of-a-kind entertainment.|
|Early on it's clear that Lindelof and Cuse are determined to reinvigorate some of the strong character work the show was known for during the first couple of seasons.|
|91||The Onion A.V. Club||Noel Murray|
|That sense of The Man In Black as a real person with flaws and aches ... is another reason why I dug “The Substitute.” I know it’s late in the game for this show, but I like that these new characters—if Smokey counts as “new”—are being treated with the kind of care the writers have lavished on the people we’ve already gotten to know. [Grade: A-]|
|90||Los Angeles Times||Todd VanDerWerff|
|There may not have been enough answers for the hyper-mythological crowd (though we got a good deal of interesting conjecture), but it was a great showcase for the finest character "Lost" ever cooked up.|
|80||Cultural Learnings||Myles McNutt|
|It was an episode filled with plenty of rich subtexts, delivering some fun mythology stuff while also finding resonance in the story of various John Lockes. On a lesser show, such storytelling could be considered gimmicky, but O’Quinn could ground just about any story imaginable.|
|80||HitFix||(Monkeys as Critics)|
|Now that's more like it.|
|80||St. Petersburg Times||Eric Deggans|
|This was a particularly satisfying episode to experience after last week's running-in-place story.|
|I don't think answers were why this was a satisfying installment of Lost; I think that did have to do with the continued fine work of Terry O'Quinn and Josh Holloway.|
|80||What's Alan Watching||Alan Sepinwall|
|The thing about the Jacob/Esau/Smokey/backgammon stuff is that it's made me oddly less interested in the mythology, not more ... so an episode like "The Substitute," which offered more mythology hints but also had two great beating hearts in Locke in the real world and Sawyer on the island, was damned satisfying.|
|60||Chicago Tribune||Maureen Ryan|
|Even as a certified "Lost" fan, I was a little frustrated with the episode at times. I think the cumulative effect of not truly understanding many characters' motivations is starting to wear on me a bit.|
What did you think?
Did you enjoy this episode of Lost? Let us know in the comments section below. As a courtesy to other users, please do not include spoilers of any kind in your posts, although you are welcome to discuss all events shown in this particular episode of the show.