Like another famous cast away, I write to you one handed – having just had a wisdom tooth extracted with nary a coconut or sentient volleyball around to comfort me in recovery. Half-way through what should have been a very routine extraction, the oral surgeon offered me the bravery prize. When they start cracking wise like that, you know it’s not going 100% according to plan.
Anyway, I made it through without a tear shed knowing I had a night time of ice cream and Lost to look forward to. And as we hit episode 6, just two episodes away from the hump, it feels like the pieces are falling into place. The game board seems set and Lindelof & Cuse have everything in place as we rush head-on towards the end of this rare event – a densely mythological, heavily serialized show that’s allowed to lower the curtains on their own terms – at the best possible time.
Before we run through my doctor-prescribed medicated thoughts on last night’s episode, I wanted to drop two quick tidbits.
First, Entertainment Weekly reviewed Season 6 in their latest issue – giving it an A and keying in on something we talked about a few weeks ago – namely that Terry O’Quinn is teaching a master class in acting this season. I agree wholeheartedly and sincerely hope the Emmys finally notice this guy’s awesome body of work.
Secondly, at a recent Lost promo gig in L.A., Michael Emerson (Ben) let slip that he and O’Quinn(Locke) are being shopped around in tandem for a new mystery Fall series. I’d follow both guys anywhere their walkabout leads. During the same event, Nestor Carbonell (Richard) brought the house down when he voiced complaints that the worst thing about the Hawaiian rainy season is that it plays havoc with a dude’s guyliner.
All right – on that note – let’s get Lost.
1. As MiB Locke continued his recruitment drive, proving himself more successful than the legion of Jehovah Witnesses that flock to my door, we come to Sayid – who becomes the focus of this episode… and once again, the episode number matches the order of Season 1 flashbacks.
2. Off island, in that alternate universe, we see that Nadia is still alive and well – having made it to LA and at some point marrying Sayid’s brother. The two share domestic bliss in a quaint little stretch of Suburban utopia (reminiscent of Othersville) where Sayid comes a-callin’ with some freshly picked flowers. Quickly defusing an awkward moment with his bro who correctly intuits that Sayid harbors feelings for Nadia, the two settle down to a nice dinner pregnant with ill portents.
3. While this off-world Sayid is not the stone cold assassin that his stint on the island would drag out of him, his Iraqi torturer past is still in the cards – a fact that his bro takes advantage of when he needs someone to buy him out of the sticky bind he’s found himself in with a local loan shark.
4. And here we get the trifecta of off-world chance encounters. First, there was the blink-and-you-missed-it appearance of Dr. Jack in the hospital.
5. That led to Sayid’s confrontation with mobster Keamy – who in this alternate world is still packing heat, although now instead of being a gun-for-hire, he appears to be calling the shots. With Sayid quickly turning the tables on Keamy and his goons, capping all three, I’m wondering if a death in one universe impacts the other side. Of course, Keamy is already dead over there too so perhaps this is a “balance” of the scales – i.e. if you die in one, it’s inevitable you’ll find an early grave in the other. If that’s true, some of the walking, talking Losties in the alternate universe might need to watch their back (as in Boone whom I’m sure we’ll see again before the season is out now that Maggie Grace has confirmed she’s back on board).
6. Finally, we had the last minute appearance of Jin – who apparently broke free of his Customs detail in order to continue on with Mr. Paik’s nefarious deeds. That’s the interesting this about this alternate path. Some elements have changed (i.e. Jack and son) and others are right in line with the other (Jin was always on a mission for his father in law – in both timelines).
7. The off-island stuff essentially illustrated that the more things change, the more they stay the same. At least – that’s what I got from it.
8. By far, the more interesting developments occurred on the island. While I don’t think we learned anything that we didn’t already suspect, we certainly got ample evidence to support the running theories that we’ve been developing in this dialogue.
9. For starters, Dogen came out and said what I have been saying since Season 1. This is all about the balance of Good and Evil in this world. MiB is “Evil Incarnate”. He’s the Devil. The Trickster. Randall Flagg. Sauron. The Emperor. He’s everything that’s wrong in this world. Since Season 1, I’ve theorized that the island is the proverbial “Garden of Good and Evil”. The birth place of good and evil and desire. Noting the unique energies that emanate from the island, I believe that the island “influences” human behavior. As we all know – there is good and evil in all of us – and those scales aren’t always in balance. They tip. I believe Jacob and MiB are the symbolic manifestation of these forces. As long as the forces remain in balance – then the force of good and evil in the world remains in balance. Sure there are times when one side tips a little further than the other (hence war) but as long as one keeps the other checked in balance, the world continues. But eliminate “Pure Good” and “Pure Evil” is free to infest the world. Thus if MiB escapes, his infection spreads thus spelling the end of the world.
10. This battle for the safety of the world has been referenced several times before – most notably from Eloise Hawking who said similar words last season.
11. Anyway – the parallels to Stephen King’s The Stand continue to play out with MiB Locke coming to the freed Sayid with one of those devilish bargains that The Stand antagonist, Randall Flagg, offered to his new recruits. As long as Sayid delivered a message for him, MiB Locke promised to grant Sayid the thing he most desired – and death is no obstacle.
12. I mentioned last week that I really like Dogen and this episode cemented that – making me real sad to see him go. His backstory was illuminating in a number of ways. When the baseball was first revealed, it was interesting because it tied him to more contemporary times off island. This was no ageless stranger, like Richard. Dogen, it turns out, was just an Osaka business man who made a poor decision and is now paying for it with his life. After a drunken Dogen almost sent his beloved boy to an early grave, he was approached by a mysterious stranger (Jacob) in the hospital who offered up his son’s life for his servitude. Dogen’s son would be healed but Dogen would never be able to see him again. So he took the bait and found himself custodian to Jacob’s wishes. This deal is remarkably similar to the offer MiB Locke presents to Sayid – which only blurs our perception of Jacob further. Both men seem to employ manipulation to get what they need – and Dogen’s predicament lends credence to the theory that the island is also a form of “purgatory”… for some. It’s not “THE PURGATORY” but for Dogen, and perhaps others, it is “their Purgatory”.
13. Before that kick-ass beatdown that opened the episode, Dogen underscored my Good and Evil theory by telling Sayid exactly what his tests determine. Essentially they measure that balance of Good and Evil in a person. For Sayid, his balance had shifted. He had been claimed. And yet, there was something in him that was deceptive to Dogen. Something that left lingering doubt that kept him from killing him. Once again, Dogen chose to use another to kill him – sending Sayid to the jungle as his surrogate when MiB Locke requested a meeting.
14. This makes me think the ash that surrounds the temple is tied to Dogen in some way. At the beginning of the episode, MiB Locke couldn’t cross the line – sending Claire in as his first salvo. By the time the final “officials” had been dealt with, Smokey rushes the gates. While Dogen may have just been an average Joe in the real world, I believe Jacob entrusted him with “power” on the island. With Dogen and Lennon gone, all of Jacob’s trusted lieutenants have fallen by the wayside, granting MiB free reign over the place.
15. I was SHOCKED that Sayid turned – making me believe that some of these core characters will indeed follow this dark path. While I believe Sawyer is simply engaging his long con on MiB Locke – keeping himself alive long enough by following Locke’s footsteps – after Sayid’s actions in the temple, there is no redemption for him now. There’s no coming back from the cold blooded murder of a grieving Dad – not in the same episode when we learned of Dogen’s earthly origins.
16. As SHOCKED as I was by Sayid’s recruitment, I think Kate is simply following in Sawyer’s lead. She’s going where she needs to go for the moment. In fact, her involvement with Locke’s Army leads me to believe we will see Sawyer sacrifice himself to save everyone at some point. He’ll die to free Kate.
17. And the most SHOCKING moment of all – I actually cared for Kate for a change. Seriously, seeing her emerge into that courtyard of carnage, made me wish for her safety. It must be the juxtaposition of Creepy Claire whom I now despise more than Kate.. At least Kate still looks good in distress – my formerly beloved Claire is channeling the freaky French Woman a little too much for my comfort.
Well, that’s all I’ve got. See you next week for Episode 6.7 – ‘Dr. Linus’.