James “Sawyer” Ford – Sawyer emerged early in the first season as the most naturally multi-faceted character on the island (with the possible exception of Locke), and a surprisingly likeable guy. For while Kate and Jack struggled with the consequences of crimes of passion and a lifetime of overbearing parenting, Sawyer’s hurts were at once more painful and more complex and how can you not root for the kid whose parents murdered/suicide-d each other?
Sawyer’s first major episode, Confidence Man, ranks among my favorites in the entire series. From the very first episodes the writers spent a considerable amount of time building up the mysterious back-stories of characters like Kate, Jack, and Locke. Sawyer seemed like a central character but he also seemed far more one-dimensional compared to his fellow Losties; he was obviously a con-man through and through. So when Confidence Man revealed exactly how Sawyer found himself on that road the effect was both unexpected and powerful. Josh Holloway also deserves major props for making Sawyer a bonafide a-hole and cocky bastard and still effectively communicate a(n) (occasionally) tender heart hidden underneath the slick exterior. I suppose he’s also kind of hunky if you’re into grizzled sneers and a well-defined rectus abdominis.
Season 2 and 3 kept Sawyer playing mostly to his character strengths as the bad boy dealing in quips and behind-the-scenes manipulation. His fighting exhibition while captive by the Others was a nice reminder that he had some bite behind his bark. I don’t think he belongs with Kate (they’re both too self-absorbed), but they’re chemistry as prisoners in captivity was undeniable.
Since returning to the camp Sawyer has acted a bit too much like a cat that’s been de-clawed. He gets manipulated by Hurley into acting nice and he spends his days playing ping-pong. I like seeing his softer side, but with the exception of his murder of Locke’s father – the man who conned his parents into death – Sawyer has effectively receded into the background.
In the first episode of Season 4 we saw Sawyer join up with Locke. We also heard Hurley say that following Locke was a mistake. It’s pretty difficult to figure out the specifics of that statement at this point, but since Hurley made it off the island with Jack and Kate then conceivably Sawyer could also be part of the “Oceanic Six.”
Biggest Questions: Did Sawyer make it off the island? Will he keep “surviving?” Did he knock up Kate? Will he end up with her? Will we ever get to see a flashback to a time when Sawyer paid for sex?
[To be continued]