So how many brains went “bloop” at the end of tonight’s episode? Show of hands? I won’t spoil the end up front, lest the casual eye lay upon the shocking conclusion, but needless to say that’s pretty much all anyone will be talking about after this episode. Now only was it by far the coolest part of the show, but the rest…really wasn’t all that great. A few cool bits here and there, but overall, a letdown in a generally stellar, trippy season of “Lost.”
4) In Short
Qu’est-ce que c’est?”
“Hit Ben with your best shot
Take your pick.
8 ) The Life and Times of Sayid
Tikrit, Iraq. Sayid’s father wants his oldest son to kill a rooster, in order to prove himself a man. The brother’s having none of it. The father puts a knife in his son’s hand and tells him to stay outside until it’s done. Sayid casually walks over, wordlessly enters the rooster pen, attracts an animal with some seed, and breaks Foghorn Leghorn’s neck effortlessly. Sayid’s a cold-hearted snake, look into his eyes. Sayid just went to last place in the PETA “Favorite ‘Lost’ Character” office pool, behind Frogurt, Arzt, and the abomination that was Bai Ling.
Moscow, Russia. Sayid hunts down one of Widmore’s associates, moving through his apartment like an Iraqi Terminator. Is it wrong to think Sayid looks sexy in that leather-and-silenced pistol combo? Probably. He meets Ben outside and asks for the next assignment. Quick aside? Props to the “Lost” crew for selling the hell out of Moscow. Damn, this looks amazing. Ben tells Sayid that this was the last man who posed a threat to his friends. Sayid’s confused, lost, upset…he’s like every member of ‘N’Sync when they learned Justin wanted to do a side project. Ben tells Sayid to live his life, then leaves.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ben shows up at Sayid’s workplace to inform him of John Locke’s death. “I think he was murdered,” says the man who would know. He posits that it’s retribution for the work the two of them did in crippling Widmore’s empire. He also mentions a few pertinent facts about the man outside Santa Rosa. Why did Ben come all this way? Well, cuz Sayid’s a stone cold killer, says Ben. Sayid denies the claim, stating he takes no delight in killing people. Ben leaves, and I roll my eyes.
Los Angeles, CA. We’re back to the scene at Slip 23 in “This Place is Death,” only for some reason the show alters Sayid’s dialogue to make his kiss-off line directly only at Ben. Originally, it was directed at both Ben and Jack. Weak sauce. Anyways, he heads to a hotel bar, where he orders glass after glass of Charles Widmore’s favorite Scotch. Ilana is also there, looking fine and ordered bloody rib-eyed steaks. Sayid wants to know if she’s a prostitute. Nope, she just likes sad men. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he replies. Heh. She figures that he’s sad because he’s no longer doing the one thing he’s good at, and yet people are always tempting him to do so. Lord, this is anvilicious. I’m not feeling this “Sayid is a killer and only a killer and ever a killer” take at ALL.
Later on, it’s business, it’s business tiiiiiiiiime. (How do I know? ‘Cuz it’s Wednesday.) Sayid and Ilana engage in $125/glass smoochies. Once on the bed, Ilana suggests Sayid take off her 8’ long boot, at which point she Jackie Chans the hell out of him and gets him at gunpoint. While she ain’t no ho, she is a bounty hunter. She tells him she works for the family of Peter Avellino, the man Sayid killed in “The Economist.” Next stop: Guam! With a slight potential detour on the way.
At the terminal, Sayid freaks out upon seeing Hurley, Jack, and Kate. He asks Ilana to wait one more plane before leaving, but she’s having none of it. After seeing Ben barely make the flight, he’s convinced Ilana works for Ben. She denies knowing anyone by that name.
15) The Island, 1977
Ben brings Sayid another sandwich: chicken salad sandwich. He tells Phil he’s there under orders from Horace. He hands Sayid the food and a book: Carlos Castaneda’s “A Separate Reality.” Hmm, wonder if that title will prove important by episode’s end. Ben gets to the point: did Richard send Sayid? He tells Sayid how four years ago, he first met Richard, and how he’s been patient ever since. And if Sayid’s a patient little Hostile, maybe Ben will help him too. OK, so Ben met Richard in 1973, and spent the following four years upping his creepiness quotient.
In come Horace and Radzinsky…sort of a “dorky cop, pale cop” situation. ‘Cuz that configuration is how the rolled in the DI. Horace undoes Sayid’s handcuffs, and wants to know their origin: did he have them on due to upsetting the Hostiles, or did he use them to infiltrate the DI? Horace, you need to learn how to say the word “infiltrate.” Sayid doesn’t buy his pronunciation, either, and stays silent. Horace gives him one hour to decide his fate, and at that point? He’s taking this to the next level. Ooooh, dance off?
At Château LaFleur, Juliet stares out her window at Jack and Kate, letting her bacon burn. She’s worried their time on the Island is over: either they will screw up, or Sayid will blurb something. Sawyer asserts that he has everything under control. Horace comes by, concerned about Sayid’s silence. He suggests letting “Oldham” do his thing on Sayid. Worried by mention of that “psychopath,” Sawyer offers to take a stab at interrogating the prisoner.
Sawyer busts into The Mayberry Station, ordering Phil to get lunch. When he asks Sayid how he’s doing, Sayid hysterically replies, “A 12-year old Ben Linus brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I am doing?” Heh. Sayid can’t believe Sawyer has lived with him all this time; Sawyer insists he had to, and doing so has led him into a position where he can help his old friend. That help takes the form in a sudden head butt: Sawyer wants the others to believe Sayid confessed the desire to defect after a brutal struggle. Sayid wants to leave entirely, but Sawyer’s unwilling to give up his awesome life. You know, with the lies and deceit and false names and all. Sayid refuses to go along with Sawyer’s plan.
The following morning, Hurley brings Jack and Kate their breakfast in the Dharma mess hall. Kate’s surprised to learn Jack knows nothing about Sayid’s state. Looks like Jack’s taking the “let things play out” vibe seriously. Kate offers to try and pump Juliet for information, at which point Captain Tact casually mentions how she and Sawyer are an item now. Not sure how Kate missed that upon arrival…after all, she’s living next to them. Sigh. Anyways.
Hey, Roger Work Man, good to see your drunk self un-Purged. He’s mopping up the floor outside Sayid’s cell, and decides it would be fun to call Sayid an idiot for being captured by the DI morons. Sayid casually notes that Roger mops up after said morons. Ooooh, burn. Just then, it’s sandwich time! It’s tuna on whole can of whup ass, as Roger flips out at seeing his son in the cell. Ben tries to pretend the food is for his father, but Roger ain’t buying it. He physically accosts his son, even slamming him into the prison bars. Ben is absolutely, positively terrified of his father. Sayid stands by silently, watching everything that transpires.
Later on, Sawyer enters with some of his fellow sheriffs. He tasers Sayid, and they take him out into the jungle to…a teepee? Playing jazz? Holy creepy, Batman. Horace calls out to Oldham, who is…well, he’s Timothy Leary, basically. When Sayid asks who that is, Sawyer replies, “He’s our you.” Oldham doses a small sugar cube and tries to force feed Sayid. When he refuses to ingest it, Phil and Radzinsky tie him up to some nearby trees already prepped with straps. They force the cube into his mouth, and Oldham tells him that not matter what, one thing’s for sure: Sayid WILL tell the truth. If Tom Cruise had used this technique in “A Few Good Men,” we would have lost one of the great movie quotes of all time.
Sayid is officially STONED. And here things get good: Sayid tells the truth about everything, and it freaks everyone the hell out. He admits coming on a plane, that he was once on the Island before, his intimate detail of stations not even built yet, and oh yea, how they are all gonna die. Oh baby. How does Sayid know all this? “Because I’m from the future,” he replies in all seriousness, a fact that almost relieves Horace’s mind. But not quite. Top notch scene.
Juliet gives Kate the tour of the mechanic’s station. Kate’s completely befuddled by the terminology. Juliet’s relieved to know that Kate already knows about her relationship with Sawyer; this way, she doesn’t have to explain in a way that sounds like she’s saying, “Back up off muh man!” (Direct Juliet quote, by the way.) The scene’s interrupted by Sayid’s return to the Barracks in the Dharma van. That night, Horace leads a group of people in discussion over Sayid’s fate. Radzinsky’s all for killing; Sawyer’s all for peace, love, and happiness. Radzinsky says, “You’ve got to call for a vote. Either we make a decision, or I call Ann Arbor. And they make it for us.”
Intriguingly, Amy breaks the stalemate by suggesting her husband put Sayid’s fate to vote instantly. She’s worried about the safety of little Ethan. Don’t worry, that kid’s going to be fine. But her concern sways Horace, who puts it to a vote. All but Sawyer side with Radzinsky’s solution. Horace looks over his shoulder, and gently suggests that a unanimous vote would play better. Sawyer reluctantly raises his hand.
Sawyer instantly heads to the jail cell in order to fake Sayid’s escape. But Sayid’s no longer about escape. See, when he arrived back on the Island, he thought there was no purpose to it. But now, he understands his purpose. Sawyer’s annoyed that Sayid’s so willing to die, but has no choice but to leave him be. More confused than ever, Sawyer heads directly to Kate’s bungalow, demanding why they all returned. She tells him she can’t speak for everyone, just herself. Course, we’re gonna have to wait a little while for a Kate-centric ep to learn what said reason is. Annoyance.
Just then, a special delivery comes on scene: a flaming Dharma van! It careens through the Barracks, eventually crashing into a nearby house. Sawyer gets everyone into action, using a water tower to power the seemingly 500 hoses in the Barracks. Naturally, all of this is a distraction so a hoodie-wearing Ben and his busted glasses can break Sayid out so Ben can finally join the Others. Will Sayid help? “Yes, Ben, I will. That’s why I’m here.”
They flee into the jungle, but are spotted by a nearby Dharma van. Inside? Jin. Sayid’s relieved to see his old friend, and tells him that Sawyer let him go. When Jin calls that in to confirm it, Sayid knocks him out. Cold. Ice cold. Ben sees their chance to escape, but Sayid’s plans are not about escape: he’s there to kill Ben. “You were right about me…I am a killer.” Oh well, since it didn’t happen, it can’t happen, so naturally the gun misfires and…wait. Holy sh$t. Sayid just killed Ben. Repeat: Sayid just killed Ben. That sound you heard were millions of jaws dropping.
16) The Moment
Um, like you have to ask?
23) The Mythology
Normally, I like to drop a few mythological tidbits, spending a paragraph on each, but clearly, the end of the show warrants its own discussion. Talk about the show heard round the world, at least in terms of “Lost” fans. Now, let’s state up front: there’s a slight chance that Ben survived a bullet through the heart. If you look closely, he appears to be barely breathing as Sayid runs away like an eight-year-old girl. This IS Ben, after all, that we’re talking about. But suppose Sayid DID kill Ben.
First up: we can finally put to rest any notion that we can use the words of Daniel Faraday as a Bible upon which we can swear. Sayid’s bullet is where theory met practice and ripped it to shreds as it passed through its heart. Once upon a time, Ben was a very patient boy that on one birthday killed his father while enabling/executing the Purge, but for some reason, that bit of history is gone, at least from the timeline in which Sayid and company now find themselves.
The biggest question? How can Ben have died in 1977 yet still be around in present day? Don’t know, and it’s not that I don’t care so much as I’m willing to let the show try and explain that little factoid. What’s important is this: the suggestion in last week’s episode that the Island upon which Lapidus crash lands Ajira 316 has a different history from 1977-2008 than it did before Ben Linus turned the donkey wheel.
Why? A lot of you smart readers pointed out that Eloise Hawking pretty much predicted something like this would happen. To wit, in “316,”:
JACK: And what if we can’t get anyone else to come with us? What if we’re it?
ELOISE: All I can tell you is the result would be… unpredictable.
Tonight’s ending definitely qualifies as “unpredictable.” The single act of Ben Linus dying would easily set off a series of events in which course correction could not totally overcome the effects of that one death. To wit: Ben never becomes the leader of the Others. So there’s no power struggle with Widmore. So Desmond never arrives on the scene. So Oceanic 815 never lands. So Jin can never go back in time to stop Danielle Rousseau from going into the Temple. So Danielle never, ever changes the signal from the radio tower, which explains why we heard The Numbers as Lapidus tries to land the plane on Hydra Island.
I can see this development creating a seismic rift in the “Lost” community, but I’m willing to ride this out a bit longer until I see where they are going with this. But I would suggest three things are now very, very important.
1) Hawking seemed pretty willing to let only a majority of those that had left the Island return, after insisting to Ben that everyone had to return. Couple that and her seemingly spiteful relationship with Ben, did she intend this?
2) Why wasn’t Aaron heading to Guam? The reasons for him not being on Ajira 316 are now of paramount importance, if it did indeed contribute to the unpredictable, now changeable past of the Island.
3) Charles Widmore told John Locke that a war was coming to the Island, and that if Locke didn’t return, the wrong side would win. Did we see the first shot fired in that war?
There’s obviously a lot more ground to cover here, and I’ll be doing so over at Zap2It’s Guide to Lost all next week. At least we can agree on this: no one can use the “Ben just didn’t remember meeting Sayid” argument anymore, right?42) Random Thoughts
- I pretty much hate any episode in which a character is reduced to a single trait. In this case, Sayid’s the scorpion, forever choosing to sting the turtle’s delicious belly. For the past five seasons, we’ve learned that no one on this show is as simple as that, so it’s annoying to watch them revert to this technique so late in the game.
- Is Ilana indirectly working for Widmore? I’d say so, although she probably doesn’t know it. Looking forward to learning Caesar’s alliance in the weeks ahead.
- Sorry, Michael: you no longer own the title of “Most Shocking Shooting in Show History.” Let out a WAAAAAAAAAALT if it makes you feel better.
- Loved the shout out to Ann Arbor. Are the Degroots managing things from there? Do they/did they ever exist?
- Every time Radzinsky opened his mouth up about Sayid seeing the model, I kept harkening back to George C. Scott in “Dr. Strangelove,” perpetually terrified that the Russian ambassador would see the “big board.”
- Thanks for giving me the heaven of Sawyer/Juliet in “LaFleur” only to show me what I’d be missing once the O6 arrived. I might miss their relationship more than they will.
108) In Summary
A classic example of “Lost” covering up a semi-decent episode with the air freshener of a stunning cliffhanger in the hopes of making us over inflate its overall quality. I didn’t dislike the episode, but it’s easily the weakest of the post-flashing episodes.
The cliffhanger’s a doozy, and might be one of their best. But again, while I wrote a lot about the potential implications of Lil’ Ben’s death, we cannot take it for granted that he’s dead. Not only is the dude a freakin’ cockroach, but the show itself might want to steer the Island’s history in a direction that features a shot-but-not-killed Ben. And if Lil’ Ben actually isn’t dead, well, not only is this episode even weaker than it currently stands, but Mr. Linus showed amazing restraint upon meeting the man who once shot him inside the Swan in 2004.
Did the rest of the episode hold your interest? Did Oldham entertain or bore? And how many damn hoses does the Barracks have? Most importantly: what did you make of the cliffhanger?