What this doesn't explain, though, is how Dogen was "the only thing" keeping Smokey out. What about all that ash? Why does it lose whatever power it has with the Temple master dead? Lennon knew that Dogen's presence meant Smokey could not harm them, which is why he tried to calm his people by calling Flocke's "bluff" (there's one of those gaming terms again). Dogen and Lennon have this knowledge, which is their very flaw - it is the reason they can't conceive of Smokey being able to harm them, because they are looking for the direct assault despite knowing it can't happen. But they are blind to the indirect one...

While Claire is being described as confused, what are her brother and Hurley off doing? Gaining clarity, from all appearances... 

OTHER ISLAND NOTES 

"For every man there is a scale. On one side good, the other, evil." -- Dogen to Sayid

The ash-electric needles-hot poker machine's purpose is to determine the scale's balance. What we must determine is what the ideal condition is. Is it balance? Is being tipped overly toward good undesirable too? Our only "given" is that Sayid is out of balance. With that, we can extend a theory that Sayid was NOT out-of-balance previously, as in, when he was alive, even though he fretted that he was overly bad.

Additionally, we need to contrast Sayid's words to Hurley back when he was dying aside the VW bus, when he was worried that he was beyond salvation, to those he now delivers to Dogen when he demands answers about the torture table: "You think you know me but you don't. I'm a good man!" Huh? How has he changed his tune so quickly? And what does he base these declarations about the morality of his soul upon anyway? A few days ago Sayid was convinced he was Hellbound. Now he's convinced of his own goodness. For a bit, I thought perhaps he HAD shifted to a goodness imbalance. And I suppose that's still possible. And if balance is what you want, then tipping to either side would be unacceptable and a tricky condition for those around you (kinda like, maybe, how Galadriel says the One Ring would make her so terrifyingly bright and beautiful that the world could do nothing but tremble and despair?). But for now let's go with Sayid being evil, since Dogen gives him a chance to "prove" you still have goodness in you. Take this knife and...

Flocke tells Claire he always does what he says. This isn't exactly the same semantically (twisted words are a big deal with devils throughout literatary history) as saying, "I always keep my promises," but for now it suffices. Sawyer wanted answers (hasn't exactly gotten a whole bunch of completely unbiased ones yet), Claire wants to see Aaron (hasn't yet), and Sayid wants to see Nadia (hasn't yet). But apparently Flocke keeps letting them believe he's going to deliver. Will he? Is he truly a man of his word? Will the results be some cruel twisted form of keeping the promises, like Claire seeing Aaron but not being able to touch him? Or Nadia only being a ghost? Or will they be legitimate? Or is he completely lying through his teeth to get people to do what he needs done?

Hmmm... twice now Sayid has made a "direct heart shot" on a 'monster'... and both times he came out impotent.  

"What are You?"

This is the third time this season Flocke has been asked this question. Here are his answers thus far:

  • "I'm not a what, I'm a who" -- to Ben
  • "I'm trapped" -- to Sawyer
  • "You seem to already have some idea about that," a.k.a. "you been listening to propaganda, man" -- to Sayid

Notice: No. Direct. Answers. Though he is the one who keeps promising answers. His reply to Sayid of, "I feel sorry for you," is likewise. Pity is not an answer. It's a ploy. MIB accuses Jacob of manipulating people by meeting them at vulnerable times. But, what is more manipulative than playing upon the ONE THING people want at times they are especially vulnerable and confused? Or, could the case be made this is kindness and mercy? Well, again, look at the motives... Evil is never going to seem evil to evil. It mades its choice for a reason that seems perfectly legitimate to itself.