Hello my dear friends -
When I learned that the name of the series' 96th episode was "He's Our You," I got chills. Something about those three words just totally freaked me out. I immediately thought that the hour would revolve around parallels between two groups: the 815ers vs. the Others/Hostiles, the 815ers vs. Dharma, Ben's network of people vs. Widmore's, or some other combination of the aforementioned factions. I also figured that either Ben, Horace, Ageless Richard, Locke, Widmore or maybe even the elusive Jacob would be the character of focus.
What's embarrassing to admit is that although it was clear from the very first second of airtime that this episode was going to be Sayid-centric, it still didn't click to me that the title would be in reference to another interrogator/torturer. It wasn't until Sawyer actually said the line at Oldham's Teepee of Terror that the lightbulb went on in my head.
Since my brain is obviously not in tip-top shape this week (and since I have less time than usual to write this post), I'm especially thankful that there really wasn't that much to pick apart in this episode... except for The Ending, of course.
Let's start with the flashbacks (yay for the return of the old format!) and then finish up with the Island events.
ON THE DAY I WAS BORN
THE NURSES ALL GATHERED 'ROUND
AND THEY GAZED IN WIDE WONDER
AT THE JOY THEY HAD FOUND
THE HEAD NURSE SPOKE UP AND SHE SAID
"LEAVE THIS ONE ALONE"
SHE COULD TELL RIGHT AWAY
THAT I WAS BAD TO THE BONE
Over the course of Season Five we've seen countless parallels to past episodes. Characters are saying (sometimes word for word) and doing the same things that different characters said and did (in earlier seasons) more and more frequently. I usually don't mention things like this because, 1) there's just too many to call out, and 2) while I think they're neat, they typically don't advance the plot, provide clues, or serve any purpose other than enabling us to say something like, "Hey, that's exactly what Goodwin said to Ana Lucia in Season Two!"
But in light of Mr. Eko's fate, I feel that I should bring up the fact that the beginning of "He's Our You," which showed that Sayid has always been comfortable with taking lives, was extremely similar to the beginning of "The 23rd Psalm." In that Season Two episode we saw Young Eko kill a man to appease gang leaders who'd ordered his brother to do so.
Fast-forward to Eko's last day on the Island, where he was whipped all around and ultimately killed by Smokey, presumably for being unrepentant about his past. Is a comparable end in store for Sayid? I certainly hope not.
Anyway, the bulk of the flashbacks were obviously meant to bang into our heads -- as if we weren't already aware -- that Sayid is a killer. I was slightly annoyed that the whole question of The Economist's identity seemed to be brushed under the rug when Ben and Sayid met up in Moscow and Ben announced that all of Widmore's men had been successfully offed. That statement seemed to imply that either 1) The Economist was eventually found and killed after Sayid's fling with Elsa went awry, and that this man wasn't necessarily anyone of consequence, or that 2) The Economist is Widmore.
At the beginning of February I ranted on and on for 3.5 sections about why The Economist was probably an important character and why it didn't work for him to be Widmore (the main reason being that Widmore has never been particularly hard to find, whereas Sayid was going to great lengths to get face-time with The Economist). So I guess I'll just have to roll with explanation #1 unless anyone out there has a different idea they'd like to share (but before doing so, please first refresh your memory of my original arguments here).
Back to the flashback... After Sayid put a bullet in what turned out to be his last assignment for Ben, Ben's just like, "High five! I'm outta here to do vodka shots with the Ruskies -- have a nice life!" Once Sayid got over his jealousy of Ben's extremely sweet hat, he replied, "So that's it? What am I supposed to do now -- go build schools in Central America, or something equally as random?"
Many people were expecting a huge showdown between Ben and Sayid... you know, something that would explain Sayid's extreme distrust of Ben by the time the events of "Because You Left" rolled around. I for one was certainly assuming that we'd get to see some sort of falling out between the two men. Then the Santo Domingo scene started up and I thought, "Oh goody, now we'll get some answers..."
AS YOU ARE
AS YOU WERE
AS I WANT YOU TO BE
... or maybe not. Ben simply flew down to inform Sayid about Locke's death (though he of course neglected to mention that he was the murderer) and the guy staking out Hurley's mental institution. He was confident that was all he'd have to mention in order to motivate Sayid to fly to L.A. It turns out that Mr. Linus knew Sayid better than Sayid knew himself.
However, that doesn't solve the mystery of why Sayid would tell Hurley to do "the opposite" of anything that Ben says, or why he'd comment to Jack that "the only side Ben's on is his own." It's not like Ben said "Hey, those people you killed -- it was all for nothing, I just didn't like those dudes -- you weren't really protecting your friends." He didn't cop to being behind Nadia's murder or anything. He didn't trick Sayid in any way, actually (aside from not giving him the full information about Locke's demise).
At this point, though, I'm not so sure we're going to get any other clue as to why Sayid was so anti-Ben by the time he headed back (unwillingly) to the Island. Unless you count the little speech he gave Ilana before Ajira 316 took flight...
FOOL ME ONCE
DO ME AS BAD AS YOU CAN DO
SHAME ON YOU, SHAME ON YOU
FOOL ME TWICE
I'LL BE AS MAD AS I CAN BE
SHAME ON ME, SHAME ON ME
Ah, Sayid. You just don't learn. You really have to stop falling for mysterious babes. Your silky, glorious, wondrous mane will just be wasted on them. Ilana certainly paid no attention to it when she kicked you in the face with her dominatrix boots...
Let's just get to the heart of the matter with Ilana, shall we? Was she hired by Ben, Widmore, or somebody else?
- The argument for Ben: As mentioned earlier, Ben knows Sayid. He watched him fall for Elsa. He knew his weaknesses. He needed a Plan B in case Sayid wouldn't come to the Island on his own. Who else would know that Sayid killed that guy on the golf course? Ben definitely orchestrated Ilana's involvement in Sayid's capture... but whether she actually knows the identity of her ultimate boss is another story.
- The argument for Widmore: Um, did you notice the true look of shock on Ben's face when he saw Sayid on the plane? Ben definitely didn't hire Ilana, and it was obvious she would never knowingly work for "somebody like that." Besides, Sayid met Ilana shortly after (perhaps even less than an hour) he left Ben and the others at the marina. There's no way Ben could've pulled together a scheme like that -- at that point in time, he didn't even know what flight led back to the Island as they hadn't gotten that information from Hawking yet. However, Widmore could've been working to ensure Sayid returned... perhaps because he knew Sayid would attempt to kill Young Ben. Or maybe it was just because he had as much motivation as Ben did to get the O6 back to the Island.
- The argument for someone else: Who Ilana ultimately works for is unimportant... we'll probably never find out, or we're just going to have to take what she said at face value. In light of the ten bazillion other mysteries on the show, this one's not worth wasting any time on. And yes, this means that it was truly "fate" for Sayid to be on that specific flight.
I'm leaning toward the last theory... Ilana seemed pretty clueless about the Island once Ajira 316 landed. I'm not sure how big of a role she'll play in the overall story going forward. I mean, think about how many characters there are to keep track of already, right? (However, I do think fellow newbie Caesar is a character whose backstory will matter in the future.)
Besides getting Sayid on the fateful flight, Ilana served one other purpose in "He's Our You" -- namely, she lent an ear when Sayid needed to sum up why he hates Ben so much: "He's a liar. A manipulator. A man who allowed his own daughter to be murdered to save himself. A monster responsible for nothing short of genocide."
So how do you really feel about the man, Sayid?
THEY WON'T LET ME OUT
NO, THEY WON'T LET ME OUT
I'M LOCKED UP
Despite the fact that all of the flashbacks kept reinforcing Sayid's murderous nature and building a case as to why he'd want to do away with Ben, he sure seemed sympathetic to Lil' Linus at the beginning of his Dharma prison stay. Who wouldn't take Ben's side over Evil Roger's, though? It was tough to watch Young Ben get his face slammed into the cell bars by his father, wasn't it? However, I'm glad they included that scene, because it definitely went a long way toward helping me understand why Ben was so desperate to join the Hostiles. We knew his dad was mean and all, but Ben's previous flashback didn't really drive home the point as forcefully as "He's Our You" did.
Oh, and that book that Ben passed Sayid? A Separate Reality? I didn't even bother looking into what it was about, because it was clear to me from its title that the joke was on us crazy fans. I actually said out loud, "OK, now they're just messing with us." What have we been arguing about since this season began? Whether or not the Losties can change the past and thereby affect the future outcome of events. I took the book's presence in this episode as a little nod to all of that mayhem, and nothing more. As in, I don't think it's any sort of clue whatsoever.
Back to the captive Sayid...
Sawyer tried to get his old buddy to act like he's a rogue Hostile, but Sayid would have none of it. So before he could even shout "Don't tase me, bro!", Sayid got zapped and taken to Oldham. By the way all of the Dharmites were talking about him, I sincerely expected Oldham to be some menacing, ultra-violent freak straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. If this guy was Dharma's version of Sayid, then surely some nas-tay torture scenes were in the immediate future.
Or not. Oldham's "tools of interrogation" weren't pliers or screwdrivers or sharpened twigs... he just poured some truth serum on a sugar cube and shoved it into Sayid's mouth. The result was that Sayid could tell no lies... and took on the qualities of a bashful, giggling eight-year-old girl in the process. Seriously, what was up with that?
Anyway, it didn't matter that Sayid spilled his guts... no one could possibly believe someone who claimed to be from the future -- especially when Radzinsky kept interrupting him every two seconds (much to Sawyer's relief). Poor Oldham hung his head in shame and slunk back into his teepee. Sayid was then returned to his cell.
(And yes, you do know Oldham from somewhere. But no, I have no idea what the deal was with his old school phonograph. And no, I don't think he's Jacob.)
BURNIN' DOWN THE HOUSE
-- or --
THE ROOF, THE ROOF
THE ROOF IS ON FIRE!
-- or --
TONIGHT THERE'S GONNA BE A JAILBREAK
SOMEWHERE IN THE TOWN
TONIGHT THERE'S GONNA BE A JAILBREAK
SO DON'T YOU BE AROUND
Then a group of Dharmites called a meeting to discuss what to do about their captured Hostile. Radzinsky immediately suggested killing him (surprise, surprise), and when Evil Amy's head snapped to attention, I was like, "Yeeeah, see! She's a Hostile, too!" But a few minutes later when she took the reins from Radzinsky and led the argument for killing Sayid, then I had second thoughts. Until I realized that if she was truly a Hostile, she would know that Sayid wasn't, so therefore she'd be suspicious of him and want him dead or gone. You can't fool me, Evil Amy!
(Random comment about this scene -- is Horace throwing off Kevin Spacey vibes to anyone else? It's something about his eyes. Pay attention in the next episode and let me know if you see the resemblance. Horace Goodspeed is Keyser Söze, dammit!)
Sawyer had no choice but to go along with the vote... but then ran over to the jail and made a last-ditch attempt to convince Sayid to escape. Once again, Sayid was like, "N. O. P. E. What does it spell? NOPE." Frustrated, Mr. LaFleur stomped over to Kate's place and demanded to know why The Returnees came back. But just before we got to hear what motivated Kate to board Ajira 316, a flaming van crashed into a nearby house and all hell broke loose.
It seems as though Ben was able to mastermind elaborate schemes even as a pre-teen. And thank God that someone gave him the memo about wearing a hooded jacket if he wanted to seem more foreboding and mysterious.
He crept into the holding area, made Sayid promise that he'd let him tag along to Hostile Land, and then led Sayid to freedom.
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART
AND YOU'RE TO BLAME
And then came the climactic scene of the night. After knocking Jin unconscious in the jungle (did anyone else laugh at how impressed Little Ben was by Sayid's ninja moves?), Sayid did what I really didn't think he'd do, despite writing this in my last post: "there's a part of me that wonders if Sayid's not above bumping off Little Ben and thereby saving some other iteration of himself the frustration of dealing with ol' bug-eyes in the future."
Yep, he did it. Sayid shot Little Ben, and it looked like he got him right in the heart. After allowing himself a split-second to grapple with and mourn over his decision, He of the Black Tank Top ran off into the darkness.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I really, really, really hope that this act of revenge doesn't mean that it's curtains for Sayid. He's one of my favorite characters, and although it's definitely hard to swallow the attempted murder of a young boy, we know that Sayid thought he was doing the right thing. He thought he would be preventing the Purge. He thought Alex wouldn't be shot in the head by Keamy. Hell, he probably thought Keamy's team would never even come to the Island... they were after Ben, let's not forget.
But of course the real question is, could Sayid have actually killed Ben, or would that be impossible?
In the interest of not causing my head to explode, I'm just going to summarize the various outcomes we could potentially see in the next episode... or at least the major ones:
In the THE PAST CAN BE CHANGED camp:
1) Little Ben dies. And just like Marty McFly who starts disappearing on stage while playing "Earth Angel" in Back to the Future, Sayid is going to evaporate into thin air at any moment. Because how could Sayid have returned to the Island if Ben was never around as a grown man to order him to kill the guy on the golf course, which would then cause him to be arrested by Ilana? In fact, maybe all of the other Returnees will vanish, as they, too, would've never known about Ajira 316 without Ben's help.
2) Little Ben dies, and a new iteration of events will unfurl from that point forward. Meaning that there IS more than one "reality," so to speak. However, what happened up to that point for each of the characters is set in stone, so no Lostaways are going to disappear. I'm hoping this idea is self-explanatory, because it will just get more confusing if I say anything else. This theory may explain the seemingly different condition of the Barracks Frank and Sun visited in "Namaste."
In the YOU CAN'T CHANGE THE PAST camp:
3) The Island won't let Little Ben die. The Hostiles witness this, and that's how Ben is chosen to be their next leader. Everything plays out as it always did.
4) Jack or Juliet or some other doctor-type person in Dharma saves Ben. Everything plays out as it always did.
5) Little Ben is aware of all of the time-looping/traveling going on, and had a bulletproof vest under his hoodie. That's why there wasn't any blood. So he doesn't die, and everything plays out as it always did.
We don't have much longer to see what will become of Little Ben, so I'll refrain from writing out any more theories about how this situation could play out. Instead, I'll leave you with a few of my admittedly conflicting thoughts.
- Last week I was in the camp of "the Losties can change the past." But now that Ben's been shot and I've thought through the far-reaching ramifications of his death for this show, I'm realizing how tough it would be to wrap up all of the story lines in this series in just 1.5 more seasons if the future kept changing based on what the 815ers did in 1977.
- If absolutely NOTHING can be changed in the past, then really, what is the point of all of this? Why would Ben and Hawking be so freaked out about the O6 returning to the Island if "whatever happened, happened"? Why would Ben and Locke have uttered "this isn't what was supposed to happen" and other similar lines throughout the series? To me it seems obvious that something must have changed at some point, and that's why Ben, Hawking and others are desperately trying to make things right.
- Which brings me back to something I've been saying since the premiere: since "the rules" supposedly don't apply to Desmond, isn't it most likely something he did differently that had disastrous consequences? Like delaying Charlie's death, which enabled Charlie to unjam the communications to/from the Island, which led to the freighter team's arrival... which led to Ben moving the Island... etc., etc.
- And if it's something Desmond did that changed the way things were "supposed" to be, how can anything be righted if he's not back on the Island? Get the brotha back!
Alright folks, I gotta wrap this up or else it's never getting posted. I know I neglected a few scenes, but I think we all know how awesome Hurley's Dharma Chef logo was without me pointing it out, right?
BEST LINES OF THE EPISODE
SAYID: How did you find me?
BEN: I looked.
SAYID: You're going to be killed.
HORACE: How exactly would you know this Sayid?
SAYID: Because I am from the future.
OLDHAM: Maybe I should use half a dropper...? Oops.
SAYID: I appreciate the offer, but I am fine right here.
SAWYER: They're gonna kill you. They just took a vote. Even the new mom wants you dead.
SAWYER [to JACK]: Three years, no burning buses. Y'all are back one day...
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
Thanks to everyone who sent along birthday wishes for my Grandma. We had a great time celebrating her 85th. On the five-hour drive back from Michigan (during which I gave a shout-out to the DeGroots as I passed Ann Arbor), I was able to snap a picture of this highway sign, which I'm sure has caused many a Lost fan to swerve off of the road (especially those of the female persuasion). Sorry for the poor quality, it was torrentially raining. Alas, my husband wouldn't take the exit and help me investigate whether or not our favorite con man was anywhere in the area...
Until next time,