You just let it in! -- Lennon's last words
I know. -- Creepy Dark Sayid's first words

Well, it was high time for a showdown. But it wasn't high noon, and it wasn't midnight. Nor was it dawn. It was "Sundown," the beginning of night, the time where it will be the longest until we again see the sun. Considering the strong Egyptian themes on the show, it's a powerful metaphor. Ra, the Creator-Sun god has disappeared. Ra's closest ally is Ma'at, the embodiment of order and truth, and the figure some believe the personification of Lady Wisdom in the biblical Book of Proverbs is based off of. Night vs. day, darkness vs. light... and order vs. chaos. This last bit is one I meant to get to last week in my comparison/contrast of the Ladder and the Lighhthouse. We do find the same candidate names in both places, but in one they are quite orderly, and in the other, chaotic. Doubtful that one mind is responsible for recording both groups of names.

And speaking of chaos and order, these concepts are important not only in all Creation myths, but in most of the world's good storytelling. It was hard to "love" this episode because of how it left me feeling - unsettled, unsure, sad, like our team is breaking up. E-vil is winning.

But of course, so many great stories must go this route. Conflict has to happen. If LOST were a movie, we wouldn't have to sit around a week feeling as we do; it would have been just a 10-15 minute segment of screen time that advanced on into the good guys winning, or, to put it in its better, proper literary phrasing, "order restored."

So sit tight. Order is coming. Be patient and move past...

THE DEMAND FOR ANSWERS

The first on-island shot of this episode involves Sayid marching into Dogen's chamber and, you got it, demanding answers. He gets some too, but... do they satisfy? Don't they bring up more questions? Can't the cycle just keep going forever?

It's enough to make one ask of himself whether he is watching the show for the joy in the journey and the richness of the tapestry, or merely to find what's hidden behind it. Remember, sometimes the Man Behind the Curtain just isn't all that amazing a truth. I mean, what's so great about all the answers? We can ask this question in terms of how the search for them has served the Losties (it kinda hasn't), how it has served the audience, and how it serves humanity, which could very well be one of the many points our beloved show has been making all along.

Sawyer wanted answers. They were promised (though not exactly delivered yet to our knowledge), but is he better off? Sayid demands answers. Is he better off knowing what he knows? Or would having died have been a better fate for him? It's worth asking. In fact, one frustration I've had with Kate (and continue to have) is how she can remain so focused on tangible, earthly, self-motivated tasks and self-preservation despite the many amazing and miraculous things she has witnessed since landing on this island back in 2004. Even in this episode, she hangs from a ladder as a VICIOUS SMOKE TRAIN races above her head, and later, there is only, okay, let's pick up a gun and follow these creepy people. Hers has never been a quest for answers. Which as I said, has frustrated me, but now I am thinking perhaps her attitude is serving as a clue or key. There's something to Kate's willful agnosticism and focused-on-what-she-can-know-and-control mind, and I can't help but think these qualities may yet help her play the heroine, the one who quite possibly rejects BOTH Smokey and Jacob, and sets all her compadres free from their little game... Oh, I wouldn't love the metaphorical religious lesson of such an happening, but I could see it going there.

For our own part, let me just encourage you: if you are frustrated because you are only in this to find out who Adam & Eve are, what the smoke monster is, and why Richard doesn't age... fine. You're GOING to get those answers, assuming you hang in there long enough to get them, having complained your way along, thus robbing yourself of richness on the way. But also, think back to some of the major mysteries of the show thus far:

  • What was in the Hatch?!
  • Where did the Others live?!
  • Who sent the freighter folk?!

Are the answers really all that mind-blowing in retrospect? Have they rocked your world? Haven't you simply accepted them as part of the lore now, where once you couldn't even conceive of what they could be? This is part of the point I think LOST is making. For our characters and for our audience, "all the answers" should never be the point. Either you aren't ready for them, or they themselves aren't "the answer" anyway. And we should beware the Devil who promises them...

CATCH A FALLING STAR AND PUT IT IN YOUR POCKET

Seemed like a weird time to bring back this well-worn refrain. This simple song is one Kate used to sing to Aaron, Christian used to sing to Claire, and Claire requested that prospective adoptive parents would sing to her child. In one of my previous season recaps I pondered the meaning of the lyrics and the show's use of the song. There just wasn't much to it.

Until now.

Consider the words on their own:

  • Catch - as in "catch a cold," or more appropriately, an infection?
  • Star - as in Lucifer the Morning Star?
  • Falling - as in, fallen star or fallen angel?

I'm not sure I even need to spend more time on this. And if I did still wonder, the creepy looks on the faces of Sayid and Claire would be enough. I'm just freshly concerned about this song and it's connection to Aaron, who Flocke has promised Claire she will see again...

Speaking of Claire, here's what I wrote about her back in this Season Four recap:

So here's the question about Claire - did she survive the bazooka blast AND being covered by rubble? Obviously, right? She's up and walking around and corporeal and everyone can see and talk to her. Then again...

  • Aaron - with Hurley - was calm before Claire's house was attacked; he's crying like crazy after
  • She thought she was with Charlie when Sawyer found her
  • When she shows back up she says she's, "a bit wobbly, but I'll live." To which Miles answers, "I wouldn't be too sure about that."
  • Miles starts staring at her funny, like Mr. Ghostbuster can't figure out what's going on with her
  • Claire says her head feels funny, "but at least I'm not seeing things anymore."
  • She doesn't much have a maternal instinct for Aaron anymore
  • She goes off with her Ghost Dad and the next time we'll see her is looking weird in the Cabin. And after that, we won't see her again until Season Six.

So, chalk up an "answered question," I say. Claire's situation parallels Sayid's strongly. They both died. They both were claimed. They both were visited by someone they knew who was dead. They both have made bargains, deals with the devil if you will. They both quite possibly would have been better off dead.

Claire even knows Flocke is going to hurt people. He says he'll only hurt "the ones who won't listen." How merciful of him. After all, he gives people a choice, right? But it's a Voldemortian choice, one where he will let you live, but only because SOMEONE has to stick around to serve and follow him.

  • The choice presented by Flocke / the archetypal evil can be boiled down to: Follow me, or die. Oh, and I'll give you the "one thing" you ever wanted.
  • The choice presented by Jacob / the archetypal good can be boild down to: You're already dead (conditonally-speaking), so follow me instead. Oh, and don't obsess over "one thing" you can't or don't have; that's how all this mess got started in the first place. But you will experience all aspects of life in abundance, I promise you that.

Which are you going with? Or are you a Kate, only following one as long as you need to in order to keep breathing, but really thinking both are messed up?

We Christian viewers surely also recognized some devilish dialogue in the Sideverse conversation in Keamy's kitchen about Omer's debt. Has it been paid, or hasn't it? Doesn't matter, I suppose. Omer made a deal with the wrong devil (this resonating with anyone the more we move along?). Keamy says Omer's story about being paid up is "a lie," and hey Sayid, SOMEONE is going to have to pay. What's that you say, Keamy? You require a SUBSTITUTE? As we already covered in the recap of the episode by that name, substitution involves the notion that someone has paid for us what is an "impossible debt," similar to the one Omer has gotten himself into. But when Sayid plays the heroic substitute and grabs the upper hand, a desperate Keamy loses his menace. "The debt's FORGIVEN," says Keamy. Let's just forget about all this. Well, no thanks says Sayid. Not gonna risk you coming back at us. Bye, Keamy. And with that, at least in this timeline, Sayid gets to be the Savior, triumphing over the e-vil one to save his brother and those he loves.

One last cool bit on the Lucifer thing -- check out this quote from Wikipedia about the Islamic (significant in a Sayid-centric episode) version of the Satan story:

"When Allah commanded all of the angels to bow down before Adam (the first Human), Iblis, full of hubris and jealousy, refused to obey God's command (he could do so because, as a jinn, he had free will), seeing Adam as being inferior in creation due to his being created from clay as compared to him (created of fire)."

Lots of significant stuff in there, particularly more about free will and another key name-meaning association with Jin (jinn, the same word from which we get "genie"). And speaking of Jin...

JIN RUMMY

Did you catch Claire's line to Flocke at the Circle o' Ash? "Why does it have to be me? You could send Sawyer or Jin." I'm reading between the lines (and the episodes) here. We know Sawyer has already signed up for Flocke's team. We can assume he wasn't left to rot in the caves, and Claire obviously knows he's with them, so we can safely assume that Sawyer was with Flocke when Flocke showed up at Claire's camp at the end of the previous episode. We also know Jin was there, being treated for a serious leg wound. I'm going with the idea that Flocke, Sawyer and Claire had a "come to not-Jesus" discussion with poor Mr. Kwon, and he is now one of them. Shoot, perhaps Flocke even healed Jin's leg, to where Claire could even suggest that Jin could be the one for the task of WALKING into the Temple. I don't like it, but I do think it: Jin's joined the dark side with Claire, Sayid, and Sawyer.

Another possible clue is this bit of dialogue:

Sun: Jin was here? He's alive?
Miles: Last I saw him, yeah.
Ew. That didn't sit well in a nasty foreshadowing type of way. No, Jin isn't dead. Not suggesting that at all. Not physically dead anyway.

Consider also who Ilana asks about when she enters the Temple and finds Miles (they've never previously met; it was Bram who told Miles not to work for Widmore, but we can assume Ilana knows who he is). Ilana wants to know where "Shepherd, Reyes, and Ford" are. They're all gone. She also asks about Jarrah. She does not ask about Austen (probably knows she's not on the candidate list). Neither does she ask about Kwon. Why not? Is it because she is pretty sure she already has the "right" Kwon - that being Sun - in her traveling party?

But we're still not done with Jin. He has to go and show up in a big crazy reveal in the Sayid-verse back in LA. How did he get from being questioned by LAX Customs agents to Keamy's veggie pantry? I did notice Keamy was wearing a rather nice gold watch... was he perhaps the intended recipient? Did Widmore perhaps have anything to do with it? I'm not sure, all I do know is this -- it was the first time this season that a character's side-verse flashes didn't leave me with a satisfied sense of resolution. With Kate, Locke, and Jack, I felt like we could have left them all where their stories ended and been okay. This one obviously left us with a cliffhanger. And we'll probably pick back up with ol' Sayid when we get around to telling what should be a great story about Jin.

THE NEW-815 SAYID-VERSE

Can I just start this segment by saying even though it's a tad confusing how the events of this new-815 alternate universe are occuring, I am so thankful for them. Can you imagine not being treated to this intriguing lighter fare right now, and only having to digest the big globs of growing darkness that is island life circa 2007-8?

Our opening shot is of a taxi outside Nadia's house. Several of our Sideverse stories have begun with a vehicle (Kate's cab, Locke's van, Jack's Jeep). Doubtful it means anything other than showing us how and where they went directly from LAX to their varied appointments.

Interesting shot as Sayid approaches Nadia's door: we get both a black-and-white motif with the door color and design, as well as the mirrored reflection theme. Here, Sayid's reflected face is split right down the middle between clear and blurred out. Kinda like how we just don't know what his good/evil pH-balance is right now, as we never were privy to the exact readings of Dogen's machine. The whole idea did make me laugh, though, as I remembered a Simpsons episode where a toy Krusty the clown doll was trying to kill Homer. When the company rep arrives, he takes the doll, points to a switch under the shirt and says, "Ah, here's your problem. Somebody set this doll to 'evil.'" If only it were that easy for us with our old friend Sayid, we'd just flip him straight to "good" and move on...

  • Timeline Similarities: Sayid still loves Nadia; Nadia still loves Sayid; Sayid is still a tortured torturer from the Republican Guard, trying to "earn" his redemption; he still has a brother (who still probably can't kill his own chickens); he and Jack cross paths in St. Sebastian's hospital (guess they had no time or reason to recognize each other from Sayid's save-Charlie assist on the plane the day before); he fights Keamy.
  • Timeline Differences: Sayid pushed Nadia towards Omer, they have kids who adore their "Uncle Sayid;" Sayid works for an oil company as a translator

What did Sayid give to the kids? Boomerangs, tokens of his work trip to Sydney. What do you think of when you think of boomerangs? Toys/games, or weapons? Things that "come back around," ala karma? You see the symbolism of any/all. In the episode, one of the boomerangs causes an accident. Sayid "fixes" what was "broken," a task more in the mold of one of our other favorite characters...

We learn that Sayid's next destination is Toronto. It sticks out a bit, but I can't find any significance, except possibly this: it's been noted on many sites that mentions of Canada are usually lies: Ethan lied about being from Ontario, as did Anthony Cooper. Kate lied about being from Canada. Ben has a fake Canadian passport, as does "Jeremy Bentham." The gals in the Looking Glass station were believed to be "on assignment in Canada" instead. Sawyer once claimed to have an investor in Toronto. So... is Sayid lying to his niece and nephew about where he's going next?

More "what kind of man is Sayid, really" stuff and more parallels with Jin stuff going on with Sayid when his brother wakes him up in the night to explain the loan sharks who are tormenting him. Omer pleads with Sayid to "convince" them to stop. I heard a distinct echo to the days where Jin was asked by Mr. Paik to "deliver a message," and then back directly to this episode's on-island sequences where Sayid is ALSO asked to "deliver a message." And just like it meant way back when in Jin's flashbacks, the not-so-subtle connonation is the same - kill for me, won'tcha? Sayid protests to Omer that "I am not that man anymore," but just like we've seen so many times, it only takes the tiniest push, the smallest prompting to get him back to that point. And, one could argue this is even a good thing. We all need protectors like this. Sayid quite possibly saved his entire family, so... is he a good person or a bad person? Discuss amongst yourselves. We'll come back to that in a bit. We're not through with that issue by a longshot.

Both Nadia and Omer effectively use the "If you care about me then..." gambit on Sayid. Nadia uses it to ask about his love. Omer uses it to tweak Sayid's love into a desired action. It's a tried-and-true method that the little kid in us learned long ago was a useful ploy. We still use it on God, do we not? To ask for something? To get the "one thing" we wanted (boy has that come up in how MIB suckers in his prey)? To get the answer to one paltry little question? "If you really cared about me..." In a show where we are all currently pondering who the real manipulators are, we have to start pointing some fingers at our Losties, at the children themselves. Sayid tries - he really does - to change the subject with Nadia, making the point not about what he wants or cares about, but what he deserves and whether/how he can be redeemed.

Finally, Sayid is picked up and delivered to Keamy's kitchen. What is it with kitchens on this show? Hurley asked Jacob about one in the Temple last episode. Miles was recruited by Naomi in one similar to this one. Keamy fries up some nice white eggs in a black skillet. He's very proud of his egg-making skills, a bad egg who makes good eggs - go figure. The eggs are so harped on they reminded me of more stuff to do with Alice in Wonderland, such as old Humpty Dumpty sitting on his wall. We all know what happens to poor Humpty. You can't unbreak an egg. And in war, as we're often reminded, you don't necessarily intend to. Gotta break some eggs to get the omelet. If there was one thing that stuck out about old Humpty it was his love of semantics and his attempt to master words, which brings us to...

SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE

There's a bit of a semantic argument at play regarding what Sayid was told to do, what Sayid actually did, and what Sayid tells Dogen he did.

Here's what he was told:

  1. Mr. "Evil Incarnate" will come as someone you know. (Yep, check)
  2. As someone who has died. (Yep, check again. I thought for a second MIB would be appearing as Nadia, but then I remembered what Ilana has told us about how he is currently stuck as Locke. Guess it's a good thing Sayid knew Locke, then).
  3. As soon as you see him, plunge this special knife deep into his chest.
  4. If you allow him to speak, it is already too late (couldn't help but not LotR parallels with these last two instructions, as there are special blades that are needed for certain tasks in the novel, and there is that scene in the Two Towers where Aragorn, Gimli, and Legloas sense the White Wizard approaching and decide to attack "before he can speak" to them).

Thing is, Sayid DIDN'T attack before Flocke spoke. Flocke got out, "Hello, Sayid," before Sayid plunged the knife in. Technicality? Sayid sure thinks so. He tells Dogen that he struck before he and Locke has a conversation. Pretty sure that's not what Dogen meant. Question is: would it have made any difference? If Sayid had stabbed before Flocke got out a single syllable, could he actually have been killed? I like to think yes, but I have no way to prove it either way. All we do know is that Flocke realizes what has happened here and flips it all right back around to paint Dogen as the manipulating (there's really LOST's only qualification for being thought of as a jerk) bad guy.

So in losing on this semantic technicality, which, if I'm even right, Sayid doesn't even realize, causes him to mistake Flocke's strategery for mercy, and his pointing finger for truth. Fallacies!

Dogen's banishment of Sayid was, in some ways, a mercy act. He had the chance to kill Sayid himself, one he didn't take (once he saw the baseball). Here's my take on how all that played out, starting with their fight scene:

Dogen has a sharp object to Sayid's throat. The baseball falls on the floor. This reminds Dogen of his deal with Jacob, which includes a vow to protect all those marked as candidates. This would still include Sayid, regardless of whether Dogen thinks "it would be best if you are dead."

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).

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.

Look at Flocke's line to Sayid: "What if I told you..." It's the same phrasing he used on Sawyer. Anything you want. In the world. Answers. Love. To find what you had lost. To not suffer anymore. At all. These are the things that appeal to children who are being children in insisting on their way. But again - has Flocke ever truly delivered? Once he did - to Ben. He did build in Ben a desire to get back at Jacob, and made it happen. And Ben now regrets it. 

Dogen's Story (good thing we learned his tale just before the sun set, I guess)

  • He was a banker
  • He got a promotion
  • He got drunk
  • He picked up his son from baseball practice (question: do we know anyone else on this show with a story involving fathers/sons, baseball, and alcoholism? Make you think of anyone to nominate as the next Temple master, perhaps?)
  • He survived; his son either died, was going to die, was in a coma, or a vegetative state
  • Jacob shows up with a hard bargain: I can save your son, but you will serve me in isolation and never see him again. We know what Dogen chose
  • We now know why he cherishes that baseball and gets nostalgic looking at it
  • "The man outside offered [Sayid] a similar bargain." Not identical, though. Sayid's choice at this point is pretty easy by comparison. "Deliver a message for me and you can have Nadia again" is hardly the same as "Come help me save the world but never see your son again though you will know he lives."

Will Dogen live again, having been drowned in the pool? I don't think so, for the same reason the pool didn't work as hoped to heal Sayid. The discoloration/loss of Jacob has caused it to lose those properties. 

Ilana leads Miles, Frank, and Sun out Hurley's passage just in time (puts them on the same path as Jack & Hurley, so we should be able to expect these groups to meet up shortly). While she is doing this, Ben goes to rescue his old foil Sayid, but quickly realizes with horror, you're not Sayid! Run away! Harkening back to when "time" was a major theme on LOST, I enjoyed this interplay:

Ben: There's still time.
Sayid: Not for me [creepy grin].
Could be our old friend now exists outside this boundary that restricts the rest of us.

Ben did tell Sayid he knew of another way out, so I'm not worried that he'll find his way out of the Temple, even if he is separated from everyone else.

"I'm not the one who needs to be rescued, Kate," says Claire. Who is the one? Kate herself? Would she have been killed by Smokey had she not dove for the ladder into Claire's pit? Is Claire going to make good on what she told Jin - that if she found out Kate had Aaron she'd mess her up? 


TWO OMARS?

If you were a bit confused on this one, don't worry. Yes, Keamy's top henchman and mercenary buddy is named Omar. Yes, Sayid's brother has a very similar name, Omer. Yes, they both appeared in this episode and are obviously different people.

TWO WITNESSES?

One last little biblical bone for those still holding fast to a "Flocke is the good-god, Jacob the bad" way of thinking... consider Revelation chapter 11. In which there are:

Two witnesses (Flocke sent two witnesses - Claire and Sayid - to the Temple to deliver messages)

These two witnesses get resurrected from the dead during the reign of the Antichrist (both Sayid and Claire probably died, but are no longer dead).

The Antichrist has been described as "evil incarnate" and as "a man," terms used to describe MIB/Smokey/Flocke.

However... the one who resurrects these two witnesses in the Bible, and who goes on to win and reign benevolently? The Messiah.

Keep your minds open to the potential plot twists, friends.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Question: Should Jack perhaps have killed Sayid when given the chance with the poison pill? Would Sayid be better off? Would everyone else? Compare that question with: Should Sawyer and Kate and Juliet have let Young Ben die when he was shot... by Sayid? Would Ben have been better off? Would everyone else? What do both situations have in common? Jack Shepherd - against his usual m.o. - opted not to act. He refused to operate on Young Ben, satisfied to see how Fate would play that one out. He refused to give Sayid the pill, again opting for "whatever may be may be." In both cases there are no easy answers, though it's certainly fine to argue for erring on the side of, "it's just wrong to kill a kid / let a friend die." But there are still consequences to everything...

Nadia made reference of having sent letters to Sayid. He was interrupted before getting a chance to respond about why he didn't write back. Is this storyline left open, or did he close it when he had his sit-down talk about not deserving her?

Why'd we get that close-up shot of the box Dogen's knife was in? The camera is sure to show us the lid, which to me didn not seem to have a meaningful or symbolic pattern; it was merely intricate. Dogen also took great care in handling it, and even used a brush to wipe off any dust from the lid before he even opened it. What's so special about that box?

Where was Richard? Wasn't he headed back to the Temple last we saw him? If he was there, he was in hiding. My guess is we're going to see that he observed all of this from a hidden location in the jungle or on the Temple grounds. 

Flocke's look at Kate - how did you interpret it? I took it as a, "Huh. That's interesting. Let's see where this goes," kind of thing. He doesn't need her, but he will tolerate her. Perhaps he also underestimates her...

Don't forget -- nothing that has happened thus far has been unanticipated by (and therefore unaccounted for by) Jacob. He knew what would happen at the Temple. He moved the pieces he needs to the right locations for the time being. His move now...

*****

Things Learned from Pop-Up LOST
Each week we look at what the production team did and did not want us to clue into from the previous episode by what they purposefully type onto the screen in the re-run...

The Others "believed Sayid died... but he didn't." Now that's a mean way to put it when in just the very next hour you are going to have Miles CONFIRM that Sayid DID die. Come on, guys...

"You're lucky i have to protect you or i would remove your head from your body and feed it to the boars." This is the translation from the Japanese we didn't get on first viewing of what Dogen muttered to Hurley. :-)

"Claire now mirrors Rousseau." Loved how they utilized the term "mirrors."

Had forgotten the complete significance of Shannon's inhaler -- that it was never found... until now.

Alice followed a rabbit down into Wonderland. Jack followed his father to the caves. Guys, they really want to make sure we don't miss the Alice in Wonderland connections...

They tell us that the red-hot poker was indeed stuck on Sayid's gunshot wound. Significant, then? So why did Claire get her poker mark on her left shoulder? Is that where the house collapsed on her that had killed her?

Faraday did indeed also play Fantaisie-Impromptu as a child, just like David Shephard.

No. 20 on the circle of candidates = Rousseau! Didn't catch that in any of my viewings last week. The only thing that's making me frown is how the French guys heard the 4-8-15-16-23-42 transmission. If one of their own had been a candidate with the number 20, shouldn't an iteration of THAT group of candidate's numbers been playing over the radio instead?

Buildings passed in the mirrors before Jack's house: Temple where the Kwons were married, church where Sawyer's parentes funeral was held. Religious buildings... was Jack's dad's house somehow a "holy" place as well?