I've been meaning to draw some studies of Sawyer (Josh Holloway) for awhile. Okay, let's just get this out of the way right up front: I could go on about the structure of his face or whatever, but the fact is that Sawyer's fun to draw because he's a sexy motherfucker. I'm not afraid to say that. It's an impartial observation, It's not like I want to have his children or anything. Since Lost also boasts the likes of Kate, Juliet, and Charlotte, it's never given me occasion to question myself. I'm pretty sure anyway.
This is the second in my series of character studies from Lost. I'm lucky that the episode from a couple weeks ago ("La Fleur") was Sawyer-centric, because he's an ideal subject with which to argue my theory of the show: that the true battle of good and evil is waged one's own psyche. Sawyer was the first character that caused me to make note of his heaving, manly pectorals... uh, I mean his true self/ false self division.
Remember the last scene of the "Long Con" episode? We've witnessed him being a perfect heartless bastard both on the island and in the flashbacks, yet it's impossible not to read the conflict in him. He explains his behavior with "I'm not a good person; never did a good thing in my life" , which sounds a little too insistent. This is not self-analysis, it's something he's trying to convince himself of. He's behaving in the way he thinks he has to.
Sawyer's life was ruined by a bad man when he was a kid. In a kid's logic, the way to not be hurt again is to become the bad person. Even on the island where survival depends on cooperation, he compulsively acts out that role. And that's the kicker: Most of us spend our adult lives desperately clinging to defense mechanisms that have outlived their usefulness. Sawyer evolves, but it's a slow, earned evolution, requiring him to get his nose rubbed in his own shit a time or two.
"La Fleur" is basically a showcase for his character having blossomed into who he really is. The self-centered jackass has been replaced by someone who constantly thinks of the good of the group. As I frame-stepped through the episode doing sketches, I noticed that there's barely a shot where Holloway doesn't look like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. His sweaty, often-shirtless shoulders... sorry, forgot where I was. Having finally jettisoned the past he develops naturally into a leader and caretaker. His selfishness was never who he actually was, it was something to mask pain, like any other addiction.
The centerpiece of the episode is the encounter at the park bench. Sawyer enters into the conversation fully intending to lie his head off, and that's the only moment where the old smirking con man emerges:
But by the time he opens his mouth he's realized that there's no percentage in lying and he owns his actions without apology. The other party is duly impressed. I'm of the opinion that the Others' ideas of "good" and "bad" are based less on moral behavior than on having an integrated personality. Someone like Juliet may not be terribly happy and may be capable of evil acts, but she knows who she is. The castaways were mostly walking basket cases and therefore unworthy, but the Sawyer that is encountered at the park bench is someone who might be readily welcomed into the Others' fold.