The baseball is all at once symbolic of 'the Game,' the black-and-white theme, and the fathers-and-sons connection. It is a game that has long been written about for the logic of its dimensions but the odd metaphysics of its soul and the cerebral way it plays out, sans a clock, with each team taking turns...

There are rules about killing candidates. Dogen & Lennon originally needed Sayid to choose to take the poison, therefore (side note: thinking religiously again and harkening back to what I asked a couple write-ups ago, I did finally think of one "poison" that can only be deadly if taken willingly, one that nobody can force a person to take - that being sin). Has the condition changed where Sayid has to choose to let himself be killed? I don't think so, which is why even though Dogen had Sayid at his mercy, he couldn't finish the job. He can not kill a candidate directly.

So... how about indirectly? I see the task Dogen appoints Sayid with as a win/win either way in Dogen's mind. Either a) Sayid stabs Flocke before Flocke can speak and Flocke dies (yay!), or b) Flocke kills Sayid for this insult and removes the threat of Sayid from the Temple (yay!). The only problem here is c) A cunning Flocke points out to Sayid that Dogen has twice now tried to have Sayid killed via someone else. Why didn't he do it himself? Wow, that Dogen must not be a nice guy, Sayid... Well, problem is, Flocke... he CAN'T do it himself. And neither can you! Jacob has reminded you of the rules - you can't kill candidates. You're making it seem like you're all merciful to Sayid, when really, you're just bound by the rules, and you could use another good soldier for your army.

So tricky for us to see scenes like the one where Dogen says, "prove there is still good in you..." by murdering someone! We've long talked about how morality and good/evil have been left to personal feelings, interpretations, and subjectivity in LOST. And lemme tell you, it has permeated the audience. Can't tell you how many discussions I've had where one person has decided someone is good, and someone else has decided the same person is evil. Oftentimes most of these people tend to believe the same things, too, about life, morality, the human condition, the state of our souls. So what are they basing their opinions upon? First, a need to know. Second, who knows? I have a pastor friend who is fond of asking, "Did you ever notice how God tends to hate the same things as you?" as a gentle way of slamming our tendencies to have God follow us instead of us just following God. This is one reason why Sovereignty works so well as a doctrinal concept. You don't have to look at circumstances or subjectivity at all to determine why things happened. It's just all God, and just all because he is God and we are not.

Miles tells Sayid he was definitely dead. The Others didn't revive him, as Jack had previously told him. "Whatever brought you back, it wasn't them." Hey, that sounds like an answer! Chalk up another one. Sayid was brought back just as Claire was - by Locke. Miles' confusion over the weirdness surrounding both of their deaths and post-death experiences, as mentioned early, are just too similar to ignore.

Miles did get to perform one more function in this episode - play yet another game for us. This time it was Solitaire. We see black, white, red... and the Ace of Spades sitting all by itself to the side closest to us... the symbolism around this infamous black-and-white card is so rich it could mean almost anything - success in war, good luck, death, change/metamorphosis, or several other possibilities...

Dogen describes Claire as "a confused girl under the influence of an angry man. For years he has been trapped. But now, Jacob is gone. He is free, and will kill every living thing on this island." These would appear to be Richard's strong beliefs as well. The word "confused" was interesting for me as applies to Claire, as Ben has already done us the favor of dissociating the state of confusion from Jacob. Oh, Jacob's followers may remain agnostic, but perhaps that's just different enough from confused, which carries a connotation of being lied to and kept in the dark for malicious purposes. Claire tells Dogen that "you know who" wants to see him, but Dogen says he's too smart for that. What he doesn't realize is Flocke has already prepared an angle for whether Dogen stays or comes to see him. Come out, get killed. Stay in, I'll just use two more moves to send someone in and kill you (by having Claire suggest you send someone out I won't - and perhaps better said that you know I can't - kill).