"I don't trust myself. How am I supposed to trust you? Let's see where trust gets us."

-- Jack Shephard to Dogen the game-playing, baseball-spinning Temple master

 

Yes, "let's see" indeed. So this episode clearly was heavy on the trust theme, which is interesting considering the timing and the fact that a lot of viewers are losing trust that LOST is going to get them the answers they want in the manner in which they want them delivered, and ironic considering the central character of the episode's title is simultaneously one of our most/least trustworthy. Kate Austen can't be trusted to stay in one place or tell the truth, yet also is fairly certain to return to the place from which she ran.

 

Let's get it out of the way early - no, I didn't much like this episode. But just as I don't like every episode in my wife's life, it doesn't much matter. I long ago pledged love, commitment, faith. To her and to this show. And I still believe neither will let me down in the end.

 

That said, there's not a lot of plot to sort through this week, so let's cover topics instead…

 

THE MEANINGLESS SCENE

 

First, a gripe. At the 56-minute mark of this episode, right as we're depending on conclusions, reveals, and answers, we get a scene that involves only this: Kate fills up a canteen from the spicket outside a barracks house. Sawyer slouches by, all bummed, walks into one of the barracks.

 

That's it.

 

Believe me, I rewound this scene about five times to make sure I wasn't missing anything - some clue in a corner of the screen, some Easter Egg, something hidden in plain sight that would explain why we're seeing this. If you saw something I didn't, please let me know. Because all I see is that with both this episode and the show's final season on the line, our storytellers, who are preaching trust even as ours wears thin, are showing us filler material?! Containing information we already knew (Sawyer's bummed his fiancé-to-be died! Really?) or wouldn't have questioned (hey, how'd Kate refill her canteen?).

 

We're trusting you guys here. Stop playing games. Oh, which brings us to…

 

THE GAME OF TRUST

 

It starts with Dogen submitting Sayid to torture, but torture unlike Sayid has ever known, because it doesn't involve getting information from him. Or at least, information he realizes he can provide. The "test" Sayid was put to involved:

  1. Ash. Was that ash being blown over his body?

  2. Electricity. Wires are hooked into Sayid's torso, and Dogen cranks up a charge.

  3. A Red Hot Poker. Was this placed at the spot of Sayid's healing bullet wound? At first I hoped this might just be a form of branding, of being marked as an Other, in the same sense that Richard once said if Ben underwent the baptism that he would forever be "one of us." But alas, no.

It did strike me that the items used in the test are some of the crude elements involved in ways life has been described throughout history. Ashes to ashes… the electrical life force (see Frankenstein)… pain ("Life is pain")… body (ash)-soul (power)-spirit (flame)… that sort of thing. Either way, I don't understand how Sayid failed to pass the test. He reacted to each of these things the way any normal living breathing human being would have - at least to my eyes and ears. Is that the point? Would someone freshly back from the dead who HASN'T been "claimed" react differently? How would we know? That's part of why this episode was so frustrating. At least Sayid realizes he didn't really pass the test… even though Lennon told him he did.