While we all know his gesture is doomed to failure (and if you don’t you have to stay after and clean the erasers), leave it to Sayid to be the one to fight the future…to try to put a bullet right through the heart of fate itself. And a young Ben Linus. Who else among the Lostaways has the brobdingnagian brass cojones to actually attempt to divert the stream of time itself?
Have I mentioned Sayid’s always been one of my very favorites since the pilot episode, along with Locke? ‘Cause he is.
All the more pity, then, that his self-assigned “purpose” will only bring about the exact fate he hopes to avoid, in the very best Greek Tragedy™ tradition, sealing the latest in a series of known Lost predestinstion loops. Or, to use a more recent example, like Bruce Willis’ character in Terry Gilliam’s amazing 12 Monkeys.
Unfortunately, this leaves your humble author in a bit of a bind. What to theorize about when the direct effects of this episode are completely obvious despite an inevitable attempt (and failure) to set up dramatic tension next episode about young Ben’s recovery from Sayid’s gunshot. He’s gonna live. Duh. Like the man said and like they also named next week’s episode: Whatever Happened, Happened.
Thankfully, that’s not all there was to “He’s Our You.”
One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small…
And I have to say that I was more than a little disappointed. I mean, yes, we got ourselves our umpteen-thousandth inversion on Lost and got to see Sayid suffer poetic justice for his time as an torturer (again). But really…when Sayid had Sawyer tied to a tree, we got some “bamboo shoots under the fingernails” action. All “psychopath” Oldham had was some light bondage enhanced with drugs.
In some of the circles I’ve been known to run in, this constitutes “a fun way to spend a weekend.” And the use of “truth serums”—particularly ones that will make a hardened ex-Republican Guard cackle with glee—hardly seems an inhumane form of interrogation.
I can only hope that we’ll see Oldham again, if only so that we can get some actual evidence of his allegedly psychopathic nature, ’cause so far, I’m just not buying it. If he hasn’t flayed anyone alive or performed an act of equivalent lunacy by the time we get to The Incident™, I’m going to feel severely let down. Though, that said, it’s always nice to see an old friend from Newhart getting work.
But I’m betting we’ll get more from DHARMA’s resident psychopath before we’re through. Keep reading.
In the meantime, Sayid got to play Cassandra and Chicken Little all rolled up into one, spilling the beans about his origin, Sawyer’s old handle, an intimate knowledge of DHARMA stations yet to come, and the mass murder of the Purge, only to be believed by nobody but his fellow time-traveler. Well, maybe by Radzinsky a little.
By the way, is it just me or are you also starting to feel less and less sad about the fact that Radzinsky ends up a splotch on the Swan station’s ceiling? Every time he opens his mouth, I like him less and less.
And he wore a hat, and he had a job, and he brought home the bacon so that no one knew…
But all the excitement and the “kiss kiss, bang bang” simply has got to result in the blowing of our time travelers’ cover. There really isn’t any other way this can go down. It may not happen next episode, or even the episode after that, but it will still be the release of Sayid and the shooting of young Ben that ends up being the root cause of Sawyer, Juliet, et al being found out.
Even if they manage to smooth over the actual release—play it off as a young boy entranced by one of the mysterious Hostiles to do his bidding—the Oceanic 815ers are going to somehow break character or otherwise act suspicious. And, despite Roger Linus’ opinion of the DHARMA Initiative, it’s not exactly full of dummies. Horace, Radzinsky, Chang…clearly big brains, all. Once they actually have reason to scrutinize all the mysterious arrivals in their midst, their shoddy cover stories will develop more holes than a centipede’s bowling ball.
Besides, we still haven’t seen Faraday kneel to fate and warn off young Charlotte yet or do his Radio Free DHARMA act with Pierre Chang, so we know that they’re going to be believed as being time travelers from the future before the season’s out at the very least.
You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this song is about you. Don’t you? Don’t you?
And speaking of time travelers with flimsy stories who attract chaos, I have to admit that it was with no small amount of schadenfreude that I saw Jack and Kate reduced to practically being spear-carriers in this episode, actually requiring Hurley to bring news from over at the cool kids’ table. If you’ve been reading my synopses and analyses here for any length of time, you may have developed the entirely correct opinion that I don’t care for either of these characters or actors very much.
I didn’t really have much else to say with regard to those two except to ask what the hell Sawyer was thinking going knocking on Kate’s door instead of Juliet’s before the burning bus rolled in and all hell broke loose. And, oh yeah, is it just me or is it completely obvious that sooper-surgeon Jack is somehow going to be required for the saving of young Ben, in yet another of Lost’s many mirrorings (going back to “I Do,” when he operated on an adult Ben)?
I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress. I REPEAT!
If there’s one thing this episode had in spades, it was mirrorings, echoes, and inversions. These are common in Lost, of course, but this episode was chock-a-block…see for yourself:
• Young Sayid kills to prevent his brother from having to, echoing Eko’s flashback in “The 23rd Psalm.”
• Ben “frees” Sayid from assassinations in the future in a perversion of his freeing of Sayid from captivity in the past within this single episode.
• Sayid is, yet again, tortured…though this one most closely resembles his torturing of Sawyer in “Confidence Man.”
• Illana flirts with a drunken Sayid in a bar, mirroring Ana-Lucia sitting next to both Jack and Christian Shephard at various points.
• Illana dupes Sayid with sex only to attack him, much like Ilsa in “The Economist.”
• Sayid knocks back glass after glass of extremely expensive MacCutcheon whisky, the same whisky denied Desmond by Widmore, then presented to Desmond by Charlie and Hurley (both in “Flashes Before Your Eyes“).
• Sayid sees an echo of his own hard-ass father in abusive Roger Linus…not that it stops him or anything.
• Young Ben’s repeated sandwich deliveries aimed at getting something from Sayid mirror Juliet’s plying of captive Jack with cheeseburgers on several occasions during early Season 3.
• Sayid’s lie that he was actually there to bring Ben back to the Others mirrors Ben’s later lie to Locke that he was the Lostaways’ captive for the same reason. (“Two For the Road” Thanks, Bundt! -SL)
• Sayid denies that he’s a killer by nature to Adult Ben on one tropical Island only to affirm it to Young Ben on another.
• The cyrillic writing over the door as Sayid leaves the building after killing Andropov reads “Oldham Pharmaceuticals” and later, Sayid will be interrogated by Oldham with pharmaceuticals.
• A be-hoodied Ben uses fire as a diversion to liberate Sayid much as a be-hoodied Charlie used a fire as a diversion to abduct Aaron in “Fire+Water.”
• Ben gives a book to captive Sayid like Locke will give books to a captive Ben on two separate occasions.
• Young Ben burns a vehicle, creating chaos, just like Walt burned a vehicle (the first raft), creating chaos. (“…In Translation“)
• Even Hurley, practically in a cameo, echoed his stint as Keeper of the Food in “Everybody Hates Hugo” by becoming a cook for the DHARMA Initiative.
Like I said, even by Lost standards, that’s a lot. In this case, I think it’s meant to drive home with all the subtlety of a jackhammer (but hey, sometimes subtle is overrated) that our characters—and particularly our centric character, Sayid—are trapped in the machine of this giant time-loop and cannot escape.
Whatever happened, happened. The record of everything our heroes did in the ’70s has already been written and nothing they do can be anything other than what they’ve already done. And even worse, some people know more about this than they do, what with living in 2004-2007 with a solid thirty years to review things.
Can there be any doubt now that Ben knew exactly what would happen when Sayid returned to the Island, that Sayid’s subjective future held the event Ben could hardly have forgotten from his subjective past? Or, for that matter, can there be any doubt that Ben remembers the entire Class of 2004 from his youth and has at least some foreknowledge extending beyond the crash of Ajira 316? Really, the only unsure question in this paragraph is this one: Did Ben know in advance that Locke would be resurrected upon his return to the Island? His dialogue in “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” inclines me to think he didn’t know, but it’s still going to be very interesting to see his face when confronted by the Island’s risen messiah.
Getting back to what I said at the beginning, though, you really have to admire Sayid’s moxie for being the one person to try to defy fate, even if it’s completely impossible.
Much like Sayid himself, if you think about it.