Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lost: "Sundown": Recap

Can he be redeemed?

Of all characters, Sayid is probably the most likeable quasi-villains any T.V. show has ever had; and yes, after tonight's viewing, I have to conclude that in his current "state(s)," Sayid's scale has tipped a little to far toward dark side. Ok lets get real, if his scale was a little off-balance at the beginning of the episode, by it's end there must have a big fat black rock weighing down on one side. From Republican Guard torturer-extraordinaire, to suave island-technology guru and lover to hot blond trust-fund asthmatics, to down and dirty assassin and kid-shooter - Sayid's whole journey has been tipping those scales all over the place. One moment his getting down and dirty with Shannon, the next his busting caps for hire on the back nine.

I still have my doubts though; Sayid's sudden shift seemed a little too arch-villainy for my liking. Then again, perhaps that is the point. As Dogen tells our doomed Lostie, once you hear "him" speak, it's already too late. Whatever Dogen and the other temple-dwellers feared was that thing that was lying dormant within Sayid - that thing that remained hidden next to his heart - has been activated by hearing the smooth-talking Smokey. It's sort of like having an Alien face-hugger implanting a chest-burster, but instead of flying chest particles you just turn evil  from the mere words of the entity that brought you back - the entity that implanted it there in the first place. Of course, that is also a common thread we have here with our suddenly evil cast of castaways: they were seemingly "dead."
  1.  Sayid was drowned and clammy for 2 hours before shooting awake. 
  2. Claire was a-sploded in New Otherton, only to turn up next to her spectral Daddy.
  3.  Locke was killed by Ben, but Smokey has been taking his form out for a test drive. 
It begs the question: is Sayid really alive? Zombies!

The Sundown: Off Island
  • Following the mold of the other alternate reality Losties' stories so far, this Sayid is a little smoother around the edges. He doesn't seem to have tortured past with Nadia (get it), he brings his niece and nephew sweet (dangerous) toys, and most importantly: he has his violence switch in check. 
  • His brother wants him to rough up his loan-shark? No thanks, says this Sayid (even though it probably would work out better for him if his douche brother were out of his way). At several critical points in this new-reality story, Sayid is given the opportunity to do violence as a means to an end, and he refuses. It is not until he himself, as well as Nadia and the kids, are threatened that he takes action in there defense rather than cold blood. 
  • Why did he push his bro to marry Nadia? Sayid self-righteously asserts that because of his sins, he does not deserve a life with her. Unlike in his former life where he tortured Nadia and tried to seek her for himself without fully taking a penance, this Sayid instead has spent his his years after the Republican Guard atoning for what he had done. Or has he? There was still a bit of ambiguity with his job, but perhaps for now we should take him at his word until proven otherwise that he is "translator."
  • What if, by choosing to not be with Nadia, Sayid has ultimately saved her life in this new reality? He had a bad string of luck with the ladies he has loved (Shannon/Nadia), and it's almost as if karma has been blue-balling Sayid; maybe the horrors he committed were just too awful. Hell, those tortures and his lovers' deaths were even BEFORE he became an assassin and shot a kid. In this new reality, Sayid seems to have hit that fork in the road and chosen "pacifism unless really F'd with," over wanton violence and kid shooting. Hey, maybe the only way for him to be with Nadia was to not be with her. The sill love each other though, which might be all the counts. 
  • The Keamy/Sayid death part deaux echoed an idea that I threw out there in the Locke episode a few weeks back when I wondered whether or not Rose and other peripheral characters would still have the same fate. Rose has terminal cancer in both realities, and Keamy dies by Sayid's hand in both realities; I wonder if Dr. Linus is going to push a cripple down the school steps?
  • Hey, actual cross-castaway story progression! Jin ended up in Keamy's freezer. Guess he fell for "Keamy's Kash 4 Gold" scam. 

The Sundown: On Island
  • Samurai vs. Assassin? Yes please! By far the best choreographed fight scene since Ben getting punched in the face (the twentieth time, of course), Sayid and Dogen busted out some sweet Matrix leg sweeps and gurney dives. Of course, just when I yell, "FINISH HIM," Dogen doesn't have the ball(s) to do it. Did remembering his son's death really make him beg off? Or was it the memory of Jacob's offer and the fact that Sayid still was a candidate?
  •  Sayid is once again led to do dirty work again. First, he is seemingly tricked by Dogen to maybe getting slain on purpose by Darth Locke. I for one do not think this was the case (more Smokey misdirection), as Dogen should have known if Sayid had "darkness" about to take over, Smokey was probably not going to keep him as a prized recruit rather than kill. To me, it's more probably that it was a last ditch effort to try something that was ultimately futile, as Jacob's magical swords have no effect once he is dead and the water has turned a nice poo-shade.
  • In terms of info on our favorite deities, the big news is that one side views smokey as the "evil incarnate" that will slay everyone on the island, while Smokey goes about offering seemingly impossible things for the sake of fealty, just like his nemesis Jacob did with Dogen. I was still sort of playing with the idea that like Republicans and Democracts, both sides were portraying the other as more extreme than they actually were: Jacob uses misdirection and is willing to kill a lot of people for a sake of a few to get what he wants, while Smokey just wants to kill EVERYTHING; after the wanton slaughter though, I am going to have to side with team Jacob. Does it make me a bad person that I loved the smokey storming the citadel scene so much though? I hope that one day the audience is treated with an actual transformation between the MIB's Smoke and Locke forms.
  • RIP Dogen and Lennon. In what seemed almost as nefariously comical as Anakin's nonsensical turn to Darth Vader in Episode III, Sayid went suddenly off the deep end with his own force-choke and neck-filet. I wonder if there was more to the conversation after Smokey promised him that he could have anything (clearly there was, as Sayid returns to the temple with a message for the masses and a raging vendetta). For such a well-liked character, it seems a pretty sad and sudden turn. Sayid, like Sawyer, was awesome for his ability to see through people's B.S.; unlike Saywer (who hasn't died and suddenly risen) one wonders whether Sayid really had a chance when coming face to face with Smokey. With Jacob dead, there was only one other entity that we know of that could have the power to raise the dead; perhaps with his promise and his magically forked tongue (think about that, ladies), Smokey has awoken that which he had implanted within Sayid, and thus consolidated his power over him until the moment of Smokey (or his) demise (re-demise?). Quick, someone get Shanon's inhaler and spray him in the face!
  • Claire = creepier? She was singing that song that Kate would sing to get Aaron to sleep. Other than that, girl needs some Selsun Blue. 
  • Out of seemingly nowhere, Team Sun appeared and escaped (via secret passageway - thanks Jacob!) with our remaining temple crew in tow sans-Kate. Were they with Locke outside? Won't he know they are nearby and fleeing? Speaking of which, apparently Kate lucked out: Smokey can only go is straight lines and not down when he is raging (sort of like that game snake on old cell-phones).

I know Lost loves Star Wars, so this episode wreaked of "Empire Strikes Back." You would think that after Sayid made one deal with the devil (Ben), that he would know better. Right now, my money is on that ultimately, Sayid would have no real say in the matter: his soul had already been claimed. Hopefully, it can still be saved by Jack.

Until next week...

Have you seen my sleeves?

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