That was, without a doubt, one of the best character turns I’ve ever seen on television. Scratch that, this was one of the best character turns I’ve seen in any medium. By and large, fiction asks us to sympathize with victims. Even where the villain is sympathetic it’s generally because they’ve suffered some injustice. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another instance in which a villainous turn has felt so tragic while also being so unforgiving. We’ve seen Sayid murder and torture his way through Lost, and yet he’s always remained sympathetic through his remorse and his efforts to be good. He could be seen as a good man driven to do evil. This episode was about stripping away the excuses. Sayid may think he’s a good man deep inside, and we may want to believe him, but the fact is that, even as he’s aspired to good, he’s consistently chosen evil. Here he murders dozens of innocent people, and there’s really no way to rationalize it. Our favourite Lost Badass is evil. And yet I still can’t brign myself to hate him.
The road to hell may be paved in good intentions, but Sayid can’t even claim that much. Dogen offers him a chance at redemption: all that’s necessary is stabbing a stranger in the heart. Huh? This is how you prove there’s still good in you? A man you have no reason to trust tells you another man who looks like your friend (but isn’t!) is evil incarnate and you can prove yourself if you kill him? It seems fairly obvious that the way to pass this test is to refuse, or at least to get a few more facts before you get all stabby. But then, this is Sayid, the man who’s tried to buy it all back by killing a ten year old. Now, as then, it doesn’t work and Smokie makes Sayid a counter-offer: Help me kill everyone at the temple and I’ll give you back Nadia. Once again Sayid accepts and once again the bodies start piling up, only this time there’s really no excuse. Even if Smokie keeps his promise and reunites Sayid with the symbol of all virtue it won’t matter. This is who he really is.
The flash sideways was superb in this episode, contrasting the groundbreaking events on the island with a rather standard Sayid story. The details are unimportant as it’s simply another case of him having some seemingly good reasons to do some very bad things and, in spite of his insistence that he’s “not that man anymore,” Sayid ultimately ends up behaving like a natural born killer. It’s all standard fare except that events on the island reveal what BS it is. Sayid does have a choice, in spite of everything that seems to be driving him. The alternative to killing three mobsters may be grim, but it’s the only way to attain the redemption he craves. He’s been making the wrong choices all along and the murder of Dogen, Lennon, and half the Others just drives that point home.
Whoa-Boy this got dark fast! The assault on the temple has been building for a while now and I’m satisfied with how decisive it was. The key players got out but there was enough carnage at the end to live up to the hype. The walk out of the ruins by out principals was just fantastic.
So, will the waters heal Dogen and Lennon? I doubt it.
The exchange between Kate and Claire was also great. Emilie De Ravin has really stepped it up this season with the sinister/crazy.
Is the LA X universe what Smokie is offering? Sayid did get an opportunity to be with Nadia there, although his sins kept them apart. Perhaps the offers he makes are in earnest, though they can’t change some essential elements of the Losties (Locke’s legs, Jack’s scars, Sayid’s sins). That could tie into why all the alterna-stories feel so hollow to me. If they’re a product of some deal with the devil then it makes sense that they should feel unearned. Speaking of the devil, Not-Locke emerging from the bushes this week immediately brought to mind the serpent in the garden, can’t say exactly why.
Is Sayid 2.0’s inability to stop killing a form of growth? In this timeline’s he’s accepted his role as a killer and there’s certainly nothing happening on the island to suggest he’s wrong.Sayid always gives us the most wonderful violence.
How awesome was the look between Ben and Sayid?