The Art of the Grift

Job Weiss, aka perfesser camelsmoker

Lesson #1 - Con Game Basics
Lesson #2 - Portrait of a Grifter
Lesson #3 -Contrasting Short and Long Cons
Lesson #4 The Real Lookie-Loo Scam
Lesson #5 - Anatomy Of Sawyer's Island Con
notes

NB: this essay discusses events and characters in Lost through season 2, episode 13.

*clears throat*

Hello, and welcome to perfesser camelsmoker's Grift 101 class. Today we will look at Lost's resident grifter, Sawyer, and the different confidence games that we have seen in "The Long Con."

Lesson #1 – Con Game Basics.

Firstly, a con (also called swindle, hustle, scam, or grift) works by using the mark's (victim's) own greed to lure money or valuables away from him/her. There is a widely known maxim in the world of the grift that "You can't cheat an honest man."

A "short con" is an opportunistic scam to take the mark for all the money on his/her person. One of the most common forms of short cons is the "pigeon drop" (mentioned by Cassidy in episode 13).

The pigeon drop usually involves two grifters, working together. The first ("the catch") approaches the "pigeon", or mark, with a bag or other package containing a large amount of cash. The catch claims to have found it, and enlists the mark's help in deciding what to do with it. Upon inspection of the cash, there is almost always some indication that it is the product of illegal activity, thus unlikely to be claimed. At this stage the second grifter ("the shill"), will pretend to have overheard and offer assistance. The shill generally claims to know someone, usually an attorney, who will know what to do. A phone call is made, and the mark is told that they can split the money three ways, but cannot spend it for a certain period while the attorney attempts to find the rightful owner. The pigeon is asked to withdraw a sum of money as a show of "good faith," or of evidence of financial independence during the waiting period. The grifters appear to add equivalent sums to the package. The pigeon is then "dropped." There are a number of ways for the scammers to leave the mark with a bag full of newspaper scraps.

Another variation of the pigeon drop can be seen in the film The Sting, as described by Lost-tv forum poster The Central Scrutinizer:1

"The setup is quite simple. Johnny Hooker, his mentor Luther, and a third player (the Erie Kid) have set up a well-dressed man as their mark. Luther plays the victim of a "mugger" (Kid), who is running down the alley past the mark. Luther is yelling for help and limping behind.

The mugger runs towards Hooker, who is at the other end of the alley and comes to Luther's "rescue" by taking down the mugger and retreiving the wallet. Johnny and the mark convene around Luther, who claims he must deliver a large amount of slots money to a racket or he's history. (This satisfies the illegal income aspect of the Pigeon Drop--the mark silently notes that if this money disappeared, it wouldn't be reported as lost). Luther offers both men money to deliver his package, but Hooker refuses by reasoning that his personal safety is at stake. The mark volunteers after Luther offers him more money. Hooker then shows him how to package the money safely in a handkerchief, just in case the mugger is lying in wait. Courteously, Johnny recommends the mark put ALL of his money in one package and shows him how to 'crotch' the package by sticking it down the front of his own pants, because "No tough guy will frisk you there."

At that point he pulls a switch. When Johnny removes the package from his own pants and hands it to the mark, what he's handing him is a handkerchief full of tissue paper. The mark crotches the packages and makes tracks down the alley. He thinks he's just scammed the other two, because he heads in the opposite direction of where he promised."

The other short cons that Cassidy mentions are the "Lookie-Loo" (see lesson #4) and the "Tulsa Bag Scam" (more on this later), most likely a variation of the Pig In A Poke con.

The short con that Sawyer and Cassidy pull on the preppies at the service station is known as The Block Hustle, a variation on the famous Rocks In A Box scam. The Block Hustle is especially effective here because Cassidy, acting as the shill, convinces the prepsters that the necklaces are legit. It's amazing how many normal, law-abiding citizens will toss their morals in the trash if they think they are getting a good deal.

A "long con," sometimes known as a "big con," is a much more 'plannified,' complex con, intended to take the mark for a substantial portion of his/her net worth. It usually consists of a team of grifters working together and often involves elaborately rigged false decors ("The Big Store"). The most famous types of long con are The Wire, The Rag, and The Pay-Off.

Sawyer's long con on Cassidy is a type of love con, also known as a sweetheart scam; it is interesting in that he intentionally reveals to her from the very beginning that he is, in fact, a con man. This is extremely rare in the world of the grift, for obvious reasons. Sawyer leads her on, apparently teaches her the tricks of the trade, and then, at the very end, pulls a bait-and-switch manuever on Cassidy, sending her to Sioux City with a big bag full of nothing.

Lesson #2 - Portrait Of A Grifter.

*clears throat*

Grifters come in all shapes and sizes; their backgrounds are as varied as those of their potential marks. There is no common socio-economic factor, no religious belief or political stripe; not even sexual orientation distinguishes the grifter. No, the only common factor among all grifters is their natural ability to manipulate those around them. A grifter is, above all, a highly gifted liar.

Grifters are social creatures, but are in reality sociopaths. We have seen Sawyer at work in "Confidence Man," and though I am not a psychiatrist, it is clear to me that he suffers from antisocial personality disorder, a trait all grifters share. In that episode, Sawyer let himself be tortured, and in "The Long Con" he showed indifference to the consequences of his actions. I much prefer talking about the mechanics of Sawyer's cons than about his motives, so I'll leave that to the resident lost-tv shrinks.

Nota bene: Sawyer walked away from his High-Yield Investment scam after he saw the couple's young son. This indicates that he has a conscience, an anathema to any grifter who is serious about his/her craft.

A true grifter feels justified in taking a mark's money. The best grifters have marks literally thrusting their money at them, pleading with a grifter to take it. This is the adrenaline rush that the grifter craves. Grifters like Sawyer who work High-Yield Investment scams, or other financial scams such as Debenture Trading, or Boiler-Room Marketing are usually highly intelligent, have excellent memories, and may be self-educated (as would seem to be Sawyer's case).

Grifters will often refer to their scams as "games," because to a grifter the scam is exactly that - an amusing and challenging game. In "Confidence Man" there is a scene in which Sawyer is at a restaurant with his marks. When the husband shows reluctance to participate, Sawyer gets up to leave, saying something about having another investor lined up. This is known as "The Tear-Up," alluding to the often-used trick of tearing up the mark's check in front of him. When the husband says "Wait," we see Sawyer smile. That is the moment that Sawyer, like all grifters, lives for.

The game is afoot.

Lesson #3 - Contrasting Short and Long Cons

*clears throat*

Here's the rundown on the Change-Raising Scam, featured in the much-discussed Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens). I'm not going to analyze the scene direction or cinematography; I'll content myself with a description of the mechanics of this common short con.

N.B. I'm positive that Nueve Reinas writer/director Fabian Bielinsky swiped this con from Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon. Bielinsky also pays homage to other classic con flicks, notably The Sting and House Of Games.

There are numerous variations of the Change-Raising Scam, but the most common is known as the Short Count. Here's how it works:

The grifter goes into a convenience-type store, and buys a low-priced item, usually under a dollar. He gives the cashier a ten-dollar bill. When the cashier gives back the change, the grifter says something like "I don't really want all that change. You probably need it more than I do." He then offers the cashier ten one-dollar bills in exchange for the ten-dollar bill he originally paid with.

You with me so far? Good. Here's where it gets tricky, so pay attention.

The grifter now needs to get the cashier to give him the ten-dollar bill, while he simultaneously hands over the expected exchange bills. Instead of ten one-dollar bills, the grifter hands over nine one-dollar bills and a ten-dollar bill, for a total of nineteen dollars. Confused? Wait, it gets better.

When the cashier notices that the customer/grifter has made a mistake, the grifter will act surprised, and thank the cashier for catching the error. Or, conversely, the grifter brings it to the cashier's attention, saying, "I think I made a mistake. Could you please recount the money?"

As soon as the cashier is aware that he/she is holding $19 instead of $10, the grifter immediately says, "Here, I'll add another dollar to the $19 I gave you, and you can give me back a twenty-dollar bill." The grifter hands over a dollar; the cashier hands over a twenty, and the grifter walks away with a $9 score. (Remember, it's not $10 because the grifter bought an item for a dollar.)

What the grifter has done is gracefully mislead the cashier by carrying out several activities at once. Making a small purchase, asking for change, making an intentional mistake, "correcting" the mistake, and using patter, or small talk, to distract the cashier further.

This is the grift in its sweetest, simplest form.

Now, the Spanish Prisoner con is a simple, but highly lucrative long con. It is widely recognized as the oldest known long con, having originated in England in the late 16th century. In this, its original form, the mark is approached by the grifter with a convincing story about a wealthy compatriot held prisoner in Spain (hence the name).

The grifter maintains that he has been contacted to raise money to secure the release of the prisoner, through bribery, ransom, or rescue attempt. Obviously, the mark is told that those who contribute to the cause will be handsomely rewarded upon the repatriation of the prisoner. Often the promise of marriage to the prisoner's beautiful daughter is a further incentive. After the mark coughs up the requested sum, the grifter disappears, ostensibly to finalize the liberation; in reality the game has only just begun. Difficulties in securing the prisoner's release will inevitably arise, requiring additional funds, until the mark is finally brushed off. Hopefully this occurs before he recognizes the swindle.

An interesting (and more complex) variation is one in which the prisoner is a dethroned princess. The mark is told that the princess will gladly marry him if he will front the money to secure her release. Time passes, and just as the mark begins to suspect a swindle, the grifter will re-contact him with a letter from Her Majesty. She has been released and is in France. Now Her Majesty needs a few thousand dollars for her final passage by sea, and the mark gladly shells it out. Next, the princess might need money to bail out her mother and father, the ex-monarchs; then, she'll need to buy off a Spanish spy who has discovered her escape. The mark keeps paying as long as the grifter can keep him fooled. He shows the mark photographs of the beautiful princess (a shill in a ten-cent tiara). More extras are brought in to act out additional roles, each earning part of the take.

Finally, the mark is brushed off. One way to do this is for the princess to arrive, at last, on the mark's doorstep. The grifter is there too, but then the Spanish spy shows up and murders the grifter. This requires a con within a con known as a Cackle-Bladder (a faked murder - the term comes from the pouch filled with chicken's blood used to fake a gunshot or stab wound). The mark is terrified, and the princess runs to his side, kisses him tenderly, and tells him that she must go into exile or she endangers his life as well as her own. And so, the mark never sees the princess again, and the grifter, princess, and Spanish spy all split the take.

The Spanish Prisoner in this form reached the height of its notoriety in the 1920s. Recently, however, a new wave of Advanced Funds scams have hit, primarily through the media of the internet, and specifically through private e-mails. These include the Fake Lotto scams, Work-At-Home scams (also called Payment Processing), and the infamous Nigerian Letter scam, also known as the 419. Some of you may recognize these from your own e-mail inbox.

A little friendly advice: perfesser camelsmoker says, if it seems too good to be true... it invariably is.

Lesson #4 The Real Lookie-Loo Scam

*clears throat*

Well, ladies and germs, what can I say? Hollywood loves grifters. Unfortunately for Hollywood, most grifters wouldn't give a Hollywood producer the time of day, unless the former thought he could run a short game on him. What I'm trying to say is that Hollywood is sorely lacking in qualified consultants for the numerous grift-related projects that are churned out each year. There are a few exceptions, Ricky Jay among them. Jay consulted on David Mamet's House Of Games, and incidentally, features in most of Mamet's films.

Why, you ask, is the perfesser telling you this? Well, Skippy, the perfesser is trying to tell you that sometimes those Hollywood types will show you something that looks like the real deal, but which in reality is entirely fabricated. This is the case with the "Lookie-Loo."

That's not to say that the phrase "lookie-loo" is foreign to the grifter. Not at all. It comes from the old carnival, or carny grifters, and denotes someone who comes in, spending a lot of time, but never any money on the (rigged) carny games. Quite a few commonly used terms in the grifter's lingo come from the carny. "Mark" for example (the intended victim), comes from the chalk mark carnival grifters would surreptitiously place on the back or shoulder of someone known to be carrying a lot of cash.

I believe that the writers of "The Long Con," Steve Maeda and Leonard Dick, made the mistake of swiping this erroneous reference from the film Ocean's Twelve.

Linus: "Um, alright, let's go over the list again. Ah, Swinging Priest?"
Basher: "Not enough people."
Linus: "Crazy Larry?"
Turk: "Not enough people."
Linus: "Soft Shoulder?"
Basher: "Not enough people."
Linus: "Baker's Dozen?"
Basher: "No woman...and not enough people."
Turk: "Hell in a Handbasket?"
Linus: [sigh] "We can't train a cat that quickly and...not enough people."
...
Linus: "So we do a Lookie-Loo... it's actually a Lookie-Loo with a Bundle of Joy!"
Basher: "A Lookie-Loo... with Tess... and a Bundle of Joy?"
Linus: "Yeah!"
Basher: "You've gone right out of your tree, my son. He's mad. It's madness."

Must I say it? Yes, ladies and germs, all of these "cons" are fictional. Remember, they did it earlier in Ocean's Eleven (the Soderbergh remake, not the 1960 Rat Pack version).

Rusty: "You'd need at least a dozen guys doing a combination of cons."
Danny: "Like what, do you think?
Rusty: "Off the top of my head, I'd say you're looking at a Boeski, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks, not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever!"

Again, fiction. *sticks tongue against inside of cheek*

******************Spoiler****************
*****Ocean's Twelve plot details*****
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The so-called "lookie-loo" con used in Ocean's Twelve involves Julia Roberts's character, Tess, impersonating, um, Julia Roberts. The "Bundle Of Joy" presumably refers to the fact that Roberts was pregnant (with twins) while shooting the film. Silly, silly, silly.
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***************End Spoiler*************

*sighs*

If only they'd given me a call beforehand, I could have set them straight. I guess for John and Jane Q. Public, it doesn't much matter, but you folks in my Art Of The Grift class have the right to know.

Well, ladies and germs, I have been spieling, haven't I? I'll let you go with these words of wisdom: "We must never forget that we are human, and as humans we dream, and when we dream we dream of money."
--"George Lang" (Ricky Jay in The Spanish Prisoner)

Lesson #5 - Anatomy Of Sawyer's Island Con

*clears throat*

Examining Sawyer's play in detail was not a facile undertaking, and as meticulous as the perfesser aims to be, I won't claim to have a consummate understanding. Sawyer's a complicated guy, Freckles, and separating his actions from his motives, my initial endeavor, became too daunting; and so I succombed to my inner psychoanalyst. What results is as follows:
/disclaimer


In The Long Con, we are shown two distinct con scenarios. Sawyer's flashback is a relatively straightforward big con game, conforming to the steps described by David Maurer in his remarkable work of non-fiction The Big Con (see post #62). In fact, it fits so well that I wouldn't be surprised if the writers had used Maurer's work as a reference

To wit:

1. Locating and investigating a well-to-do victim. (Putting the mark up.) Gordie finds Cassidy. This is Gordie's only direct role in the con.

2. Gaining the victim's confidence. (Playing the con for him.) Unseen. Presumably, Sawyer wins his way into Cassidy's bed with his looks and charm. His usual modus operandi.

3. Steering him to meet the insideman. (Roping the mark.) Sawyer does the roping and steering, himself. He lets Cassidy "discover" that he is a con-man.

4. Permitting the insideman to show him how he can make a large amount of money dishonestly. (Telling him the tale.) Cassidy wants Sawyer to teach her "how to con people."

5. Allowing the victim to make a substantial profit. (Giving him the convincer.) Sawyer lets Cassidy take part in his grifts over a six-month period.

6. Determining exactly how much he will invest. (Giving him the breakdown.) Cassidy wants more; Sawyer tells her that money is neccesary for a long con.

7. Sending him home for this amount of money. (Putting him on the send.) Cassidy withdraws the $600,000 as the cap (capital) for their long con.

8. Playing him against a big store and fleecing him. (Taking off the touch.) Sawyer tells Cassidy that Gordie wants to kill them both; she has to take the money and run. Sawyer switches the bags.

9. Getting him out of the way as quietly as possible. (Blowing him off.) Cassidy flees to Sioux City. Sawyer returns and collects the money.

10. Forestalling action by the law. (Putting in the fix.) Unneccesary, as Cassidy is implicated in illegal acts, and unlikely to report the swindle.


Sawyer's island con, however, is a much sticker business.

Seeds Sewn


In my view, Sawyer's con begins long before The Long Con. Back in The 23rd Psalm there was a scene, subject to much ridicule on these boards, in which Kate cuts Sawyer's hair while fellow losties profess their delight that Sawyer has returned among them unscathed. Well... slightly scathed. This scene, to my mind, marks the beginning of a convoluted thought-process, whereby Sawyer resolves to do several things.

1. Alienate himself, once again, from the group. Primary goal.

2. Avenge his abused body and ego by finding and killing an "other." Secondary goal.

3. Regain the material advantage he enjoyed before his departure on the raft. Tertiary goal of lesser priority.

As I have previously posited in this thread and others, Sawyer has a compelling need to reinforce his "Sawyer persona" whenever he feels encroaching intimacy, as with Kate. I also conclude that TPTB are all but bashing us over the heads with the Kate/Cassidy juxtaposition, for this very reason. The only way it could have been more obvious, is if Sawyer had called Cassidy "Freckles." Oh wait, he called her "Dimples." Obvious.

So Sawyer needs to con Kate in order to achieve his three previously stated goals. This presents a challenge that Sawyer cannot resist. In The Hunting Party, Sawyer begins his day by flirting and dallying with Kate, but suddenly drops her when he is presented with an opportunity to achieve stated goal #2. This has two immediate consequences, namely:

1. It enhances Kate's willingness to disregard Jack's vehement insistance that she stay behind. Why should she, an accomplished tracker, stay behind while Sawyer, who has shown no aptitude for tracking, and is recovering from a gunshot wound, be allowed to go?
2. It distances Sawyer from Kate, helping create an illusion of ambiguity, i.e. Sawyer cares/doesn't care, when contrasted with earlier and later scenes. This is essential in Sawyer's set-up of Kate.

Sawyer's revenge is thwarted, and part of their arsenal is lost, through a perceived combination of Kate's meddling, Locke's pacifism and Jack's ineptitude. Additional seeds are planted in Sawyer's crooked mind. Upon their return to camp, he tells Kate, "Don't beat yourself up. I'd have done the same thing." Sawyer recognizes the wedge that has appeared between Kate and Jack, and will exploit it to achieve his goals.

In Fire + Water, Sawyer tells Kate that he's seen Jack and Ana-Lucia together quite often, adding, "What do you suppose they're doin' out there?" in his snide, insinuating way. Later he is seen playing cards with Hurley, and their short conversation before Libby arrives is foreshadowing of Sawyer's "Sawyer persona" returning.


HURLEY: Stick? I don't know, dude. Don't you need 21? I think you should hit.

SAWYER: But I've got a 6; I'm going to bust.

HURLEY: How do you know that?

SAWYER: Well, I don't, but you've got to assume that I'm going to bust.

HURLEY: Why?

In this seemingly innocuous conversation, Sawyer treats Hurley as a lop-eared mark, or a mark who is too stupid to be cheated, as he doesn't try to take advantage of Sawyer. This is our first unmistakable indication that Sawyer's "Sawyer persona" is priming for a reappearance.


Charlie ostracizing himself from the group gives Sawyer a convenient accomplice/patsy for his upcoming game, while Jack ransacking Sawyer's tent (and the confrontation that follows) is merely the catalyst for Sawyer to implement his coup. The seeds have already been sewn.

The Set-Up


Though Charlie is a willing participant, and has his own twisted motives, the con is all about Sawyer's desire to achieve the three things mentioned above: Alienation, revenge, and material comfort. A quaternary goal is also revealed - making a fool of the losties' self-appointed "leaders", Jack and Locke. And though Sawyer manipulates just about everyone during this game, his primary mark is Kate.


Sawyer again uses the wedge between Jack and Kate to his advantage, alluding to the fact that Jack and Ana-Lucia are playing together, and haven't invited Kate to the sandbox. It is Kate who is with Sawyer when Sun is snatched, giving Sawyer an alibi, and though this act galvanizes all of the losties, Kate is the only one who has seen the visceral image of Sun lying bound and bloody in the jungle (and of Sawyer heroically carrying Sun back to camp).


Sawyer has effectively gagued the reactions of our losties: Ana-Lucia wants to "take a look around -- with guns." Jack, predictably, wants to "do something about it." Locke counsels restraint, again, predictably. In this little beach-huddle, only Sawyer and Kate remain silent. Sawyer is most likely congratulating himself (silently) for the flawless execution of phase I.


In the jungle Sawyer sets the real trap for Kate. Like everyone else, she thinks that the "others" are responsible, until Sawyer convinces her that it must be someone from the group.


KATE: It's a hood, just like the one they put over my head.

SAWYER: No it's not. This one's black, different weave. It's all in the details -- and they're wrong.

KATE: Well, if it wasn't them, then who? [Sawyer doesn't respond] What are you saying, one of us did it? Who the hell would want to go after Sun?

SAWYER: Not much upside to scaring the crap out of 46 people -- unless you're trying to con them into joining an army.


All in the details, indeed, Mr. Sawyer. Kate has bitten the hook.


The Play


Kate goes to Jack, then Jack confronts Ana-Lucia, but this is all filler, unimportant to Sawyer's play. Kate already believes that Ana-Lucia is implicated in Sun's attack. When Jin starts yelling, "gun, gun!," Sawyer leads Kate even further into the trap.

KATE: Hey, what's going on?

SAWYER: It looks like the good folks of Island Town are about to form a posse -- get themselves armed up. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if Jack didn't find himself that horse of yours and start leading the charge in a big white hat.

[Ana and Kate stare intently at each other.]

KATE: The guns. This is all her play to get her hands on the guns. Locke -- you need to go and tell him that they're coming.

SAWYER: I need to tell him?

KATE: Sawyer, please.


Note that in two consecutive scenes with Kate, Sawyer has dialogue that is immediately echoed in flashback conversations with Cassidy. First, "It's all in the details.," and then the concept that a big con "works by getting someone to ask you to do something like it's their idea, but it's not their idea, it's your idea." Only Kate doesn't know it yet.


So Sawyer goes to the hatch, ostensibly at Kate's insistance, and finds our pacifistic pugilist John Locke. Again, there's more filler, verbal jousting, etc., but in the end Locke does exactly what Sawyer had expected him to do... panic. Moving the guns in a hurry was probably the dumbest thing to do at that moment, and Locke, who has been conned before, should have seen through Sawyer. "It'll piss off Jack" was the hook, and Locke bit.

And once again, the mark thinks it's his idea. Remember earlier when I told you about the Tear-Up? Well, our pal James did it to Locke. "You don't want to trust me? Lots of luck." It's a bit less subtle than getting up from the table in "Confidence Man," but it's basically the same concept.


When Jack shows up, Sawyer has a chance to throw the pills back in Jack's face, and gloat over how well he pitted Locke and Jack against one another. This is Sawyer's game. He's good at it because it's the only thing he loves, and he loves it because it's the only thing he's good at.

The Reveal


Dennis Marlock, author of "How To Become A Professional Con Artist," once stated that con artists confess more often than any other kind of criminal. They have to gloat, which drives defense attorneys crazy. Sawyer's reveal is more about achieving alienation than ridiculing Jack and Locke, but he gloats a little, too. For the sake of clarity, Sawyer does not want to be "the new sheriff in town," but saying that is a good way to antagonize people, which is what he wants.


The conversation between Kate and Sawyer is highly reminiscent of the converstion between Kate and Jack after Michael is poisoned in Born To Run. This time it is Kate who feels confused and hurt.

KATE: Did you have anything to do with Sun?

SAWYER: What kind of person do you think I am?

KATE: What kind of a person do I think you are? I don't think this has anything to do with guns, or with getting your stash back. I think you want people to hate you.

SAWYER: Good thing you don't hate me, Freckles.

Kate is only half correct; Sawyer does want the guns, as he needs access to them in order to carry out his revenge. Getting his stash back, as previously noted, is less a priority, but Sawyer is nothing if not an opportunist in the purest sense of the word.


The final scene with Charlie is the writers' "reveal"; i.e. Charlie and Sawyer planned and executed the coup together. What's most revealing about this reveal is that Sawyer, having achieved his goals, is aligned with outcast Charlie, whereas Kate–the other "misfit"–is accepted as an indispensable part of the group. Sawyer dismisses Charlie's concerns that Sun (and the others, especially Claire) will discover his collusion, but make no mistake; if Sawyer can use this information to his advantage, he will.

Conclusion


"You played me," Kate says, "You knew I'd go to Jack, and you knew I'd ask you to go to Locke." To which Sawyer replies, "Now how would I know all that?" The beautiful thing about Sawyer's con is that Kate didn't have to go to Jack, and Kate didn't have to ask Sawyer to go to Locke for it to work. Sure, it makes for good drama, but the con hinges on Sawyer getting Locke to move the guns, which he could have done without playing Kate at all. This merely proves that the "Sawyer persona" has taken over, and as we all know, ladies and germs, a tiger don't change it's stripes.


Epilogue


Although One Of Them largely ignores the events of The Long Con, the subplot with Sawyer and Hurley hunting the tree-frog does offer an interesting correlation. Sawyer blackmails Hurley into helping him, until Hurley calls his bluff. What's interesting is that Sawyer isn't above begging Hurley to get what he wants. This is just as manipulative as any of the cons Sawyer has pulled in the past. Sawyer killing the tree frog is in counterpoint to his change of heart when confronted with Mr. Boar back in Outlaws. Then, he was with Kate, who certainly didn't tell anyone about Sawyer's "weakness." This time he is with Hurley, essentially guaranteeing that all the losties will know of the frog crushing episode within hours. Sawyer is cementing his alienation in order to feed the flames of his self-loathing.

Respond to this essay here.

notes

Job Weiss teaches English as a foreign language, and is an amateur magician in Paris, France.

Respond to this essay here

1. Click here to read The Central Scrutinizer on The Sting back
2. In season 1, episode 10 "Raised By Another." back
3. In season 1, episode 8 "The Confidence Man." back
4. Shown in season 1, episode 14 "Special." back
5. In season 1, episode 22 "Born to Run." back
6. In season 1, episode 18 "Numbers." back
7. In season 1, episode 19 "Deus Ex Machina." back

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