Let me say it up front: this episode was an adrenaline rush for me. Several classic scenes make this my favorite episode of the season thus far.
No matter the reality, Sayid seems destined to a life of torture, murder and…wearing the same ratty black wife beater. (How about a wardrobe reboot for this guy?) But the one Sayid tortures the most is himself. Despite his heart’s yearning for Nadia, he won’t allow himself to believe that he’s worthy of love. Nadia is married to Sayid’s brother, who uses Sayid’s feelings for her as a ploy for help. It seems that Sayid’s brother has been involved in some shady financial arrangements. He asks Sayid to use his “skills” to help protect him and his family. Sayid initially refuses, but we can all see where this is going. Our Iraqi torturer is like Pacino in “The Godfather, Part III”; no matter how much he tries to get out, they keep pulling him back in.
Those of you longing for a Keamy flash-sideways can finally rest easy. He and his little sidekick guy try to strong arm Sayid. (I love the line, “I make great eggs!”) Keamy was one of the surprises of Season Four — especially when he took Alex’s life — so it’s no surprise that we find him living out his wicked impulses in the sideways world. We could see this coming for miles: Sayid caps the two henchmen before bringing Keamy to justice as well. But the twist came at the end of the sideways-story. Jin is tied up in the freezer. How he got there is a mystery. But it looks as if our characters stories are beginning to converge in the sideways world.
Back on the Island, Sayid barges in to Dogen’s secret reading room / horticulture suite and demands answers. Dogen has a line that I think is very important: “For every man, there is a scale. On one side of the scale there is good; on the other side, evil.” Unfortunately for Sayid, Dogen was also right about his scale: by episode’s end, Sayid has fully given in — I think for the first time — to the darker side of his temperament.
We still should be asking ourselves who or what raised Sayid from the dead. Miles tells Sayid it wasn’t the Temple-dwelling Others; they were just as surprised to see Sayid alive as anybody. Could it have been Jacob? I suppose, but then why would Jacob do such a thing if Sayid would end up “infected”? It’s worth noting here that Jacob can’t even seem to raise himself from the dead. It’s probably more plausible to assume that Smokey is responsible for Sayid’s resurrection. If not him, then maybe it was “The Island”. Regardless, Sayid’s reanimation has now proven disastrous for Team Jacob.
At the Temple, Dogen downloads some significant mythology. For years, MIB has been trapped. But now with Jacob out of the way, he is free and he’s trying to destroy everyone on the Island. In fact, Dogen says Smokey is “evil incarnate”. And all along I thought that title was reserved for Urban Meyer. Go figure.
We learn that Dogen is lying to Sayid: Smokey can’t be killed. But what else is he lying about? Is MIB really intent on killing everyone on the Island? It doesn’t appear that way. He actually lets a good many of the Temple-dwellers to defect, including Sayid and Kate. We’re left again to wonder who the good guys really are in this conflict.
Did anybody else worry that Sayid was going to stab Kate when he saw her? I guess he didn’t because he knew she hadn’t died (since Dogen said MIB would approach as someone who had already died). But I’ll admit, I was worried there for a second. Sayid made a pretty quick decision, though, when he saw FLocke. Did you notice that the dagger had no blood on it when FLocke returned it to Sayid? When Jacob died he was spitting blood all over the place. Why is it that MIB has no “blood”? Is MIB really human? Was he ever human, as he claimed in his conversation with Sawyer a few weeks ago.
The scene between MIB and Locke is one of my favorites of the season, maybe of the series. FLocke tells Sayid to deliver a message for him; in return, FLocke tells him he’ll give him anything he wants. Sayid’s response was heart-wrenching: “The only thing I ever wanted died in my arms. And now I’ll never see it again.” MIB is convincing when his eyes twinkle and he asks, “What if you could?” I don’t know if FLocke can deliver on these kinds of promises, but I can only imagine what fun Terry O’Quinn is having with this character.
The scene between Claire and Kate was epic, too. We find Claire in a pit, humming “Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket…”, the same tune Kate used to sing to Aaron. Did you see how quickly Emilie de Ravin turned her performance on a dime when Kate acknowledged that she took Aaron off the Island? Another great performance. I almost got chills with her dementedly evil line: “He’s coming, Kate. He’s coming and they can’t stop him.”
I’ve been wondering why that baseball was so important to Dogen. (I keep looking for a Willie Mays autograph.) But last week’s sideways story tipped us off: it belonged to his son in this iteration of reality. Dogen was responsible for his son’s injuries, but at the 11th hour, Jacob stepped in and offered to save the young man. In return, Dogen would come to the Island to work for Jacob, presumably to protect it from MIB. (How is it that Dogen was the only one keeping Smokey out of the Temple, as Lennon claimed?)
Sayid gives in to his dark impulses and all Hades breaks loose. Smokey comes through and completely obliterates everything and everybody. I really thought Miles was toast until Ilana busted down the door. Did you notice that she asked about Shepherd, Reyes, Ford, and Jarrah? (And she called Ben “Linus”. What’s with all the last names?) Thankfully she knows her way around the Temple of Doom and all of it’s secret hiding places.
Question: Why couldn’t Smokey just bust in the Temple on his own? He tells Claire, “If I could do it myself, I wouldn’t ask you.” Clearly the ash has something to do with it. But then again we never see the ash get “moved” or anything. And then there’s the whole matter of Sayid sending the sundown message — “get out or die!” Perhaps this is where the whole notion of “the rules” fits in. We’ve heard Ben & Widmore discuss the rules; random Island boy reminded Smokey of presumably the same rules a few weeks ago. I guess maybe the rules govern who Smokey can and cannot kill. Maybe if people are given some kind of warning in advance — as Sayid warns the Temple-dwellers — then all bets are off. But maybe the rules dictate that Smokey can’t pull a sneak attack / ambush.
Unless you’re the pilot of 815.
Or Mr. Eko.
Or Keamy’s crew.
Another great moment occurred at the end: the look on Ben’s face when he realized Sayid was “gone” was classic. Any reason to show Michael Emerson’s bugged out eyes works for me.
The closing scene — completely wordless — was incredible. FLocke, surrounded by followers, looking supremely satisfied after purging the Temple, marching off into the jungle to do who knows what.
Interesting little tidbit: Sunny noticed how often the time period of “two hours” occurred in this episode: Sayid was dead for 2 hours before coming back to life. Miles tells Kate that Claire had been back to the Temple 2 hours ago. Sayid tells Nadia he put the kids to bed 2 hours ago. I don’t know what it means, but hat tip to the ol’ wife. Nice job by you.
And where are Sawyer? And Jin? I’m guessing Sawyer stayed back to keep Jin company. Hopefully we’ll get to see some more of him next week.
All in all, I thought this was a great episode. What did you think?