Episode Review: Last Night's "Lost"

  • Publish Date: February 17, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 2 user comments

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.

Episode Metascore
Episode 3: 64
Episode 1/2: 89

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.

Score Publication Reviewer
100 Entertainment Weekly Jeff Jensen
The first truly great episode of the season.
100 Television Without Pity Cindy McLennan
[Grade: A]
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+]
100 Zap2It Ryan McGee
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.
94 IGN Chris Carabott
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.
80 Time James Poniewozik
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.

Individual critic scores are assigned by Metacritic (on a scale of 0-bad to 100-great) based on the overall impression given by a review. The overall Metascore listed at the top of this page is a simple average of the individual scores.

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.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (2)

  • Waterland  

    I really hope Sawyer is running the ultimate long con. At this point, it is impossible to believe that he would sell his fellow castaways down the river, no matter how grieving and broken he is. And, as I've always said, Hurley is the one to watch---in a redemption story like Lost, he is the only innocent left (children excluded) without need of redemption. As for the numbers, everyone assumes that Shepherd means Jack. But just as there are 2 Kwons, there are also 2 Shepherds. Even if one of them is the walking dead!

  • Marc Doyle  

    Knowing what Sawyer knows (or thinks he knows about MIB), I can't believe that he's as enthusiastic as he seems to be to get off the island - potentially risking the lives of all the other survivors (as Richard Alpert predicted). Hopefully, Sawyer is playing a larger game.

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