If you haven't seen this week's episode of 'Lost', but are planning to, please come back when you have - because we're about to name names......
In the latest episode of 'Lost', the "left-behinders" Sawyer, Jin, Juliet, Faraday, and Miles found themselves trapped in 1974 on the Island. The others looked to Sawyer as their leader because of his vaunted skills in talking himself out of a jam. He was a con man; it's what he did best.
And so Sawyer claimed that he was the skipper of a salvage vessel and the others were part of his crew, and that they got shipwrecked in the area while they were looking for the Black Rock slaver ship.
Oh, and that his name was Jim LaFleur (hence, the episode title).
He told the others later only that his choice of that name was Creole, but not why he chose it. Claiming it was Creole was probably a knee-jerk reaction to put some distance away from the real reason he chose the name.
I'm thinking that perhaps it was a reflexive reference to someone he once scammed in the past.
In 2004, attorney 'Kevin Hill' and his new law associate, Nicolette Raye, were forced to work together on the defense of the owner of a high-style dating service, who was being sued for making empty promises in regards to what his business could accomplish. (The title for this 'Kevin Hill' episode on UPN was "Making The Grade".)
The name of that client was Andrew LaFleur.
Since Oceanic Flight 815 "crashed at sea" in September of 2004, it's an easy assumption that Sawyer's scam happened before LaFleur needed the services of Grey & Associates.
But here's the kicker:
Andrew LaFleur was played by Josh Randall, who has his own connection to 'Lost'. In the episode "The Other 48 Days", Randall played Nathan, another survivor of Oceanic Flight 815.
Sawyer never met Nathan; he was murdered by Goodwin before Sawyer arrived with Michael, even before Jin was captured by them as well. But it could be that at some point (probably during a commercial break when we couldn't see it happen) Ana Lucia showed Sawyer Nathan's passport.
Sawyer's a great con man; he'd tell you so himself. And part of being a good con man is going with the flow, not letting anything throw your game. I'm thinking that when Sawyer got a good look at Nathan's picture, he must have had quite a start; he probably thought it was his former mark, Andrew LaFleur.
But we didn't see any such reaction because Sawyer was good at covering up his emotions. (I'm sure on the inside, he was thinking: "Son of a bitch!") Once he realized that Nathan wasn't Andrew LaFleur, Sawyer concentrated on the problem at hand - being stuck in a tiger trap as a prisoner of the "Tailies".
In this theory, I don't think Sawyer forgot about Andrew LaFleur in the next three months. Seeing ghosts wasn't uncommon on the Island, but his encounter with the memory of Nathan certainly put a new spin on everything. So when Horace Goodspeed wanted to know his name, Sawyer pulled out one that was already playing on his mind. (And of course he used the first name of Jim to protect himself... in case he got lax in his new identity. After all, who knew how long they'd be there?)
So that's my splainin. As always, it can't be proven, but that's all to the better!