Too much stinkin’ thinkin’?
By NICK GORINI
Hatred is an ugly thing. Like many ugly things, it can be powerful, overwhelming, unsettling. It can dictate lives, instigate change, and even alter the course of history.
Self-hatred is, if possible, even uglier. Unlike regular old hatred, it is self-contained. Un-influenced from any positive outside force. Warped, destructively narcissistic, it is nourished only on what serves its purpose: To destroy its source.
The rub? That self-hatred is such a strong, singular force, it is almost unstoppable. It’s aim is small, contained. But oh, the havoc it wreaks. The Horror. The Horror.
Folks, welcome to the mind of Sayid! We sure like visiting Sayid, by far the ass-kickin’est of the bunch. But we wouldn’t want to live there.
Where’s Stuart Smalley when you need him? Look in the mirror and repeat after me, Sayid: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
TIMELINES (I MEAN, ARE WE EVEN THINKING IN THESE TERMS ANYMORE?)…
WHAT HAPPENED TO HALF OF SAYID’S SOUL:
We see freshly-scrubbed but more jheri-curled Sayid reluctantly stepping out of a cab to meet the woman/unattained ideal he seeks known as Nadia. Before she opens the door, we see Sayid’s reflection, but instead of seeing himself (like Jack, Kate and Locke before him), he looks straight past any self-reflection to the eyes of what he seeks.
Nadia greets him warmly, but before we can get the gist of their new alt-relationship, two cute kids come tromping up the lawn to greet “Uncle Sayid!”.
His wimpy, can’t-kill-a-chicken-but-can-try-and-take-credit-for-it brother Omer pops up before things get too mushy. Hey, Jealousy!
Sayid is back from a boring business trip in Australia “Translating oil deals” (READ: Killing people, right? I think…). So, brother Omer ended up with Nadia, having kids, and running a dry-cleaning business. Even though we last saw Omer as a boy, we can see he’s still kind of an ass. He’s bossy and distant with Nadia, who clearly still wants a piece of Sayid, respectfully. Sayid’s got boomerangs for the kids, and Nadia wants to know why he never responded to her letters…
By-the-way, this is Locke’s neighborhood they live in – I’m sure of it.
Later, we see Sayid asleep on the couch. When his brother goes to wake him, half-asleep Sayid nearly snaps him in two, which is further confirmation that “Translating oil Deals” is code for ‘I eat Chuck Norris for breakfast’.
Omer is urgent. He borrowed money from b-a-d people and needs his little bro Sayid to lay some smackdown. Sayid offers his money, but Omer says he needs Sayid to be the “Man I know you are.” He guilt-trips Sayid by dangling the responsibility and accountability of his wife and kids to help. However, unlike the original Sayid, who is more than willing to put morals aside in order to help others (he really has been by far the most unappreciated core member for all the violence, killing and sacrifice he’s been through), this time Sayid tells his brother that if he won’t accept money, than it’s on him to solve the problem. Sayid’s out of the killing biz.
The next morning, we see Sayid walking his niece and nephew (and we know that he longs for these children to be his) to the school bus, but the serenity is interrupted by a teary-Nadia. Omer has been mugged and brutally beaten. To the hospital, which is of course, Jack’s hospital. I guess Sayid and Jack exchanged glances for two seconds, which I missed, because I was writing the very freaking notes you are now reading.
Omer has a punctured lung, a broken this, a fractured that, but he’ll pull through. Sayid gets that ‘Sayid Look’, but our dear Nadia (she’s dear because she’s sweet, and we’ve watched her die and get tortured numerous times, poor girl) stops Sayid and asks him to watch the children. Be good, Sayid! Not only do I need you, but I need you to be the good man I know you are! The scene ends, but it tugs: Nadia, if only you’d been on the island with Sayid. You could’ve been Sayid’s Stuart Smalley!
follow the jump!
Back at the house, Sayid is gluing a big Chinese vase together (while I am sure this has some symbolic significance, I can’t figure it out and the internet chatter, including Doc Jensen, seems to be grasping at straws). In the course of a conversation between Sayid and Nadia, we learn that he ran away from her, and as she pursued him and he continued to pine for her (her kids even found some well-worn photos of her in Uncle’s bag), he pushed her away and towards Omer because Sayid didn’t feel worthy. He told Nadia that after twelve years of being a terrible man, he just doesn’t feel like he deserves her love (READ: or anyone else’s, for that matter).
STOP! Think about Sayid for a minute. Let’s just assume (and correctly assume, I theorize), that regardless of the damn timelines, everything that’s happened to Sayid has happened to one soul only. In that case, think: Sayid has held a dying woman he loves in his arms THREE times (Nadia twice, Shannon once), he’s physically tortured people he loves, been tortured by people he trusts, killed on behalf of numerous folk demanding it, punished for trying to alter fate (even in a very ugly, shocking instance, by shooting pre-teen Ben), heck he even had to become a turncoat for the CIA, causing the death of a close friend. Oh yeah, and he died. How does Jacob/Smokey/God/Fate/Who Knows What repay him? By having his eternal beloved marry and procreate with his dead-beat brother while he wallows in a violent self-pity. Nice.
I digress. At some point, a group of bad men (including Omar, from the original timeline!) picks Sayid up to take him to an undisclosed location (remember how Dick Cheney used to hang out in an “undisclosed location?” It was Wyoming, people! His home state! Duh! Jacksonhole, to be exact.).
The undisclosed location turns out to be the same restaurant kitchen that Naomi recruited Miles at a few years back. The “Boss” is cooking eggs with his back to Sayid and offers him eggs, in a variety of choices (poached, scrambled, etc.). Again, the eggs must have a symbolic meaning, but the internet chatter is grasping at straws. Even Doc Jensen, usually lethally correct in his insight, can’t quite out-think his way of scrambled symbolic mess…
Anyway, when the boss turns around, we see it’s the awesome bad-ass Keamy! Keamy, the bastard mercenary who killed Ben’s daughter! Keamy, one of the best TV villains of the past five years, vaguely threatening Sayid with talk of debts, loans, violence and breakfast. Welcome back, Keamy! I look forward to you chewing the scenery for a few episodes! You are a concrete, classic bad guy in the old-school mode, and [BAM! WHAP!! POW! KAZAAM!!!!]
Sayid manages to kill the thugs with only Keamy standing – Sayid’s pointing a loaded gun at surrendering Keamy. Keamy calmly offers a clean slate, tells Sayid the debt is gone (which by the way, I get the feeling his brother lied about repaying the debt in full, because everyone who’s manipulated Sayid to kill LIED.). Sayid kills Keamy in cold blood. Damn! Goodbye, Keamy.
On the one hand, are they telling us Sayid’s heart is cold and ruthless? Maybe. But couldn’t Sayid have figured that this violent jerk would only come back bigger and badder for Nadia and the kids? On my end, the jury is still out. Sayid wants to be good, and yes he does have some choices. But nearly all the time, he is manipulated or forced into a situation where he has to become That Bad Man. The Horror.
Either way, before we can all sit down and debate the outcome, we hear beating inside the cooler at the restaurant. Sayid rushes in, and we find a beaten, bound and gagged…. Jin!!!! Nice surprise, writers! Nice! I guess when the thwarted smuggler Jin go
t arrested at the airport, he ended up not quite making it to the police station.
Sayid yanks the duct tape off his mouth, but there is a language barrier. They don’t understand each other, yet. The scene ends!
OUR ORIGINAL CREW, AND SAYID’S OTHER HALF, EXPERIENCE THIS:
Sayid busts in on Dogen, demanding answers about his torture and his dandy torture machines (again, this is further proof that isn’t our old Sayid. Old Sayid wouldn’t bother with this. He knows this world all too well.). Dogen tells him about the Good/Evil scale and that for Sayid, it tipped the wrong way. I like that Dogen flat out says, ‘Sayid, it really would be best if you were dead.’
In spite of Sayid telling Dogen that, ‘You don’t know me, I am a good man,’ they bust out in one kick-ass, kung-fu action scene that amazingly leaves most of the set intact. Maybe they intend to use it again? Again, 4-5 episodes ago, Sayid was telling everyone how bad he was, and that he was going to Hell. Now he thinks he’s a good man? This isn’t our Sayid…
Anyhow, Dogen gets the upper hand and is about to kill Sayid, but that damn baseball he and Jack paw at falls on the floor and rolls odd-like. Dogen stops, and tells Sayid to leave and never return. When Sayid ventures outside and talks to Miles, Miles reiterates that no one knows what brought Sayid back to life. ‘You were dead for 2 hours. Whatever brought you back, it wasn’t these people.’
Outside the temple, Smokey and Kate look at the temple, from just outside the line of ash. The ash! The ash! Tell us what the damn ash IS ALREADY!!!
Speaking of, it’s time for THE STUPID AWARD: Claire becomes our first two-time winner. Why? Your boss, Smokey, wants into the Temple. He can’t because of the damn stupid ash. You know, Claire, that line of ash at your feet? The ash you could kick a path through in about two seconds, allowing Smokey in? Stupid. I’d say stupid Smokey, but he’s got all sorts of weird rules to this game – maybe the include telling someone to kick damn dumb ash out of the way.
Anyhow, Smokey tells Claire to go in and get Dogen to come out. Claire seems almost like herself, unsure of why she has to do this, and if she should. But Smokey assures her that this is the only way to get her son back (Hmm… Smokey as Ben, Claire as Michael?). Claire asks if Smokey intends to hurt the people inside.
“Only the ones who don’t listen.” Nice. On the one hand, we want to say that he’s going to hurt the people who won’t follow his orders. But really, what’s being said, is that some people may die, but those aren’t necessarily the ones who will be “Hurt”. Sayid can’t listen to Nadia’s pleading to be a better man, and he can’t listen to his conscience, and he can’t listen to the good that’s inside of him. Who’s really hurting?
Claire saunters into the temple with her ultimatum, and gets tossed into a pit, while Dogen decides that he’s going to talk Sayid into heading out to the jungle with an old knife and kill Smokey (like the knife that Ben used on Jacob). Sayid is of course reluctant, having been nearly murdered by Dogen twice, but hey, what the hell, right? Dogen does what everyone does to Sayid – guilt-trip a good man into being a bad one. If any dude ever deserved a break on this show, it’s gotta be Sayid.
Kate wanders in, oblivious to all of this, and Miles lets her know that her hot, crazy blonde friend Claire is back. Miles also rubs it in Kate’s face that Sawer rejected her and sent her packing. Kate finds Claire (humming the tune Catch a Falling Star) in her pit and immediately fesses to taking Aaron. Kate tells a visibly pissed Claire that she came back to the island to reunite Claire with Aaron, to rescue her.
“I’m not the one needing rescuing,” Claire replies.
Meanwhile, in the jungle, Sayid encounters Smokey and with no hesitation plows the dagger deep into Smokey’s chest. Unlike Jacob, who bled to death, Smokey yanks the knife out of his unwounded ribcage and says, “Now why’d you go and do that?”
In his continued quest at appearing to be the great communicator, Smokey tells Sayid that Dogen knew this thing wouldn’t work – it was a suicide mission (aha! Just like all the suicided missions Ben sent Sayid on in hopes that he would die, and not go back in time and shoot him in the chest. Oh, the cyclical nature of this rich irony!). Rather than kill Sayid, Smokey tells him that he can give Sayid anything he wants (even when Sayid says the only thing he ever wanted died in his arms. Ahh!!!). Sayid buys it, and heads back to the Temple, ostensibly to follow his new leader’s marching orders.
Sayid heads back, and tells everyone at the temple that Jacob’s dead, the game’s over, and they can be free. Free to leave the temple at sundown, or be killed by Smokey. What a choice, huh?
Lennon runs around telling everyone to be calm, but most of the others, including hippy flight attendant doesn’t buy it, and motivates many people to leave, including those two kids no one cares about. Miles tells Sayid to get packing, but Sayid says he’s got to return something to Dogen. Uh-oh!
Dogen is lounging, muddy pool-side, looking at his baseball, when Sayid pops up. Sayid asks why he was sent on a suicide mission when Dogen had the murderous opportunity in his own hands. Dogen explains that he was business man in Tokyo who got drunk one night, picked up his son from baseball practice, and caused a horrific accident. He thought his son would die, but Jacob showed up at the hospital and offered to save Dogen’s sons’ life in return for a life of service on the island.
Dogen does seem tired of his service, and misses his son. Another difficult father-son relationship! I’m no Fred MacMurray, but I feel like flying to the island with a baseball mitt and playing catch with all these wounded, fatherless folks… If you build it, I will come! <— Classic TV show and Movie reference, in one sentence! Take that, Doc Jensen!
It’s sundown, and before Dogen and Sayid can hug it out like Ari Gold, Sayid violently drowns Dogen in the resurrection gravy (so wait, does this make Dogen really dead?). When Lennon comes in starts shouting at Sayid, his throat is slashed and the body is also dumped in the soup. So wait, does this also mean that both of these guys are really dead?
Before we can ponder, Smokey rushes into the temple and starts killing folk left and right. It’s a slaughterhouse for sure.
Kate reaches Claire in her pit, but has to hide there while Smokey shoots around chomping on Others appetizers. Miles tries to hold a pounding door shut, but Ilana, Ben, Sun and Lapidus bust through, demanding answers. As Smokey screams around the corner, the group enters a secret passage. Miles lets Sun know that Jin was at the temple earlier. Damn! I just missed him!
Ben tracks down Sayid and tells him they have to get going. Instead of killing Ben, which you would think Sayid would do, being on a roll and all, he just tells a terrified Ben that, ‘It’s too late for me’.
Finally, we see Smokey and his new crew of followers walking through a bloody battlefield, in slow-motion, with a off-key version of Catch a Falling Star (again) playing in the background. Rain starts to fall, with Krazy Claire and a creepy Sayid joining the crew. Kate follows them out and Smokey gives her one hell of a scary look. I think he knows she’s not one of his recruits. And she realizes that she accidentally hitched her ride to the wrong truck. Oops! What’s next?
THOUGHTS ON TOO MUCH INFORMATION, COMMENTS AND WHAT’S NEXT!
I swear I won’t back-pat myself too much, honest! But last week, I mentioned that Locke will be resurrected. This week, Doc Jensen announced it, in much the same manner that I did. We both mentioned Rebirth via Jack, and then threw a hammer down in a short paragraph (meant to illicit gasps and shocks, him from his 100,000 + readers, me from, well, you?) that Locke will be resurrected. You could read Doc Jensen this week, but I gotta admit, it wasn’t a very
strong one – it was the first time I felt he was forcing too many other books and literary references that weren’t of any necessity whatsoever. So, a call to arms:
Stop! Stop! Doc Jensen, and whomever. I don’t care how much you read! This is not six-degrees of separation! Please stick to what sticks! This week, your column told us to listen to The Supersuckers, read a random online essay about aboriginal boomerang mythology, write like David Foster Wallace, pay close attention to ‘Ode To A Grecian Urn’ (you know, Sayid fixing the Chinese vase), read up on Mayan egg-eating, watch Apocalypse Now (okay, I was on the same track, so let’s just count this one as a draw)… In the greatest stretch, you even threw down a dare to read Krzysztof Kieslowski! Dude, I love your stuff, but the reason a peacock is so beautiful is because it doesn’t ALWAYS flaunt its feathers. Ease up.
Next week is a lot about Ben. I am so excited, because I have always closely followed and aligned with what I considered the Lost Holy Trinity of most-complex characters: Jack, Locke, and Ben. If these three guys had their own Lost show, I wouldn’t stop watching. The promos hint that we will watch Ben’s demise – I hope that isn’t the case, because Ben always adds something special, even in his weakened state. But if he does go, Bon Voyage, my friend. You were one of the greatest characters ever brought to television. Yessir..
Ben as a teacher will make a Napoleon-in-exile analogy to his class, obviously meant to describe both himself and Smokey. Will we also see Ben make some sort of (big) sacrifice to make up for all misdeeds?
Also, next week, there should be a key exchange between Jack, Hurley and Alpert. It will pave the way for the Alpert-centric episode coming up, which I think will be pretty much awesome.
I really liked both exchanges between Sayid and Dogen. Two weary soldiers doing dirty work for causes too muddled and mysterious to identify. Much like the exchanges between Kurtz and Willard in Apocalypse Now. I like that they both agreed that Jacob drives a hard bargain. Hey, no one ever said that doing the right thing was easy! Is everyone on the island just another version of the Biblical Job?
Fall, but dont’ fall back! I fired a response to someone not too long ago, suggesting that they think of the show as falling inwards. Well, that’s what it’s doing, man! Symbolically, they’re tying so many loose ends together in each episode, it’s incredible. Example: Sayid’s killing of Dogen and Lennon was an exact mirror of Michael’s killing of Libby and Ana Lucia. Underground (Temple, Hatch), done to free a captive man (Ben, Smokey), as part of a bargain to see a loved one again (Walt, Nadia). Both done after what seems to be a bonding confession (Ana Lucia talks about how tired she is of the violence, while Dogen talks about how tired he is of the tough choices and missing his family), with an initially decent gesture (Michael offers to take the loaded gun from Ana Lucia, Sayid offers to stay at the Temple to help Dogen). Also, the first kills are cold and deliberate (Michael shoots Ana Lucia directly in the chest, and Sayid deliberately drowns Dogen), while the second killing seems almost incidental, as in being in the wrong place at the wrong time (Libby walks in on Michael killing, while Lennon walks in on Sayid killing).
We all saw the look Smokey gave to Kate. It wasn’t good. Kate, who I just KNOW is poised for something big, needs to get the hell out of there!
I sure hope Sun and Jin get a good episode. They’re always well done, moving, thoughtful and evocative. They’ve gotten the short-shift for some time now.
So, here’s a shocker theory I have for you: In this ‘other’ world, Locke’s dad is a nice guy. If this is REALLY the case, Locke’s dead was never a criminal, never a grifter. Never ruined Sawyer’s life. I repeat: NEVER RUINED SAWYER’S LIFE! Prediction: Sawyer is not a criminal. Oh yes, he’s still cool and a ladies’ man, but he’s not a criminal. And he’ll take Juliet out on a date (maybe pissing off who is maybe her maybe ex-husband and maybe father of her maybe son, Jack).
If you like redheads, then congratulations! Snowboarder Shaun White just killed at the Olympics. Also, congratulations! Charlotte will be back real soon.
Again, I tell you: evil is champagne (ever drank too much champagne? I rest my case.). Evil is champagne, and the island is the cork.
I’ve got other thoughts to impart, and I could go all Doc-Jensen-like, randomly picking books off my shelf and assigning Lost-related meaning to them, but you know what? We are a third of the way through the final season! One-third! Just as Jesse Ventura didn’t “Have time to bleed” in Predator (you know Michael WISHED he had directed that), we don’t have time to plow through someone else’s English-Lit-Student-Loan-Justifications.
This is it folks! Hold on, because plenty more characters are going to die, plenty more are coming back, and some crazy stuff is coming so, so soon.
Thanks for reading and watching