“Sundown” Recap and Analysis …
Previously, on Lost: In the past couple of weeks, Sayid’s been beaten up, shot, drug through the jungle of mystery, bled out, carried roughly through an ancient Temple, tossed in the dirt, thrown in a pool full of brown evil, drowned, seemingly killed, come back to life and almost poisoned. In other words, he’s akin to the Island’s Rasputin – one hard-to-kill son of a bitch, soon to be hell-bent on some undead evil.
“It’s time to prove to your friends that you’re worth a damn. Sometimes that means dying. Sometimes it means killing a whole lot of people.”
– Dwight, Sin City: The Big Fat Kill
This week, on Lost: We open, again, on LA X – on AlterniSayid, to be precise – as his cab pulls up to a house. He exits with flowers in his hands. Gee, I wonder who those are for? A knock on the front door produces the beautiful woman whom we all expect – Nadia, grinning and happy to see Sayid. They hug it out. Inside, he’s greeted by two bouncy moppets. His children? Nope, they call him Uncle Sayid, asking where he’s been. Sydney, on business, says he. It’s right about then that his brother, Omer, walks in and questions why he’s bringing his wife flowers. “They can be for you,” Sayid says quick-wittedly. So, AlterniSayid doesn’t get the girl, after all. Nadia has shacked up with Sayid’s brother. Looks like this alternate reality is about to get good.
To make a long flash-sideways short, Sayid still has the hots for his Iraqi sweetheart, and his brother pretty much knows it. That doesn’t prevent his brother from asking Sayid if he’ll help him out with a little problem. See, Omer borrowed some money to start a second business, and we all know where this is going. Omer needs Sayid to play a little chin-music on some wiseguys so they’ll leave him and his family alone. The only problem is that Sayid has put all that torture business behind him.
It’s not long before Omer’s been put in the hospital by a “mugging,” which is just loan shark/gangster-speak for “beating some fear into you with blunt objects.” Nadia and Sayid head to the hospital to see if – Oh, hi AlterniJack – Omer is okay. Sayid gets a little miffed, but Nadia calms him down and tells him not to go out looking for trouble. Just look after the munchkins, okay? Nadia pleads. He acquiesces. Later, he and Nadia share a little moment at the kitchen counter and they both get all googly-eyed for each other. Nadia wants answers as to why he didn’t want to be with her. It’s his past, of course. Torturers don’t deserve beautiful wives and children.
Later, Sayid’s headed out to pick up the kids when a black SUV shows up and two very serious-looking men are suddenly all up in Sayid’s grill. Unannounced black SUVs always seem to be packed to the brim with trouble. They urge Sayid to get in, and, knowing he has no choice, Sayid agrees.
Sayid is taken to a restaurant kitchen where an imposing man is cooking up some brunch. He asks Sayid if he’d like some eggs – he cooks good eggs – and we see that it’s that bastard Keamy from the freighter in season four. Keamy makes with the sarcastic chit chat, asking Sayid how his brother is and that he’s lucky that he’s okay after that mugging. Then he mentions Omer’s debt. Sayid tells Keamy that his brother has already paid in full, to which Keamy goes “nuh uh.”
It’s about this time that Sayid has just about had it with the Gatlin boys messing with him and his Becky, so he drops the three of them.
“He said ‘This one’s for Becky,’ as he watched the last one fall.”
When the smoke clears, and Sayid lowers his gun, he hears some banging over in the oversize fridge. Cautiously, Sayid opens the door, reaches in, and pulls the duct tape off someone’s mouth. There, tied in a chair, is our good friend Jin.
Meanwhile – or in the past, or the future, or Heaven, or Hell, or sideways, at any rate – on Island Prime, Sayid is really pissed off, so he storms into Dogen’s office for some answers. Sayid wants to know about the test – the machine that Dogen used when he was “torturing” Sayid. Dogen explains that every man has a scale, a balance between good and evil. The machine tells Dogen how Sayid’s scale is balanced, and Sayid’s tipped the wrong way. That’s why Dogen thinks it best if Sayid is dead. Sayid keeps talking, but Dogen is done flapping his lips, so he proceeds to karate chop the life out of Sayid’s stunt double.
“Everybody was Kung Fu fighting …” (okay, technically, since Dogen is Japanese it’d be karate fighting or ninjitsu or somesuch, but whatever, I didn’t write the song)
It’s all fun and games until Dogen’s baseball gets dirty. Little Dogen doesn’t feel much like playing after that, so he tells Sayid to get out of his sandbox and never come back.
Out in the jungle of mystery at the edge of the Temple, MIB and Claire are standing outside the ring of magical Jacob dust. MIB tells Claire that she needs to go inside and deliver a message, because he can’t cross the line and get his boots dirty. She wants assurances that she’ll get her son back, and MIB tells her that he always does what he says. Uh huh, sure thing, buddy. She does as she’s told.
Claire strolls into the Temple like she owns the place and demands to talk to Dogen. He comes out, wondering what blondie is doing there, and she tells him that you-know-who is outside and wants to have a little conversation. Dogen’s no fool, so he says nah, and Claire says that he should send someone else with some cojones to talk to MIB. He orders Claire to be thrown into the pit, and wants Lennon to find Jack and Hurley who have gone walkabout. In the meantime, he’d like to see Sayid in his office again. Sayid is understandably cautious, but he figures what the hell, for the sake of the plot he’ll tag along.
Inside, Dogen pulls an ornate box out of a planter filled with what looks like poison ivy – where do they get these things? – and reveals to Sayid an ornate dagger. He tells Sayid that Mr. Grumpy is waiting outside the Temple and he must be stopped, because he’s evil incarnate and since Jacob’s gone the way of the dodo, he’s now free to roam about and unleash havoc. He explains to Sayid that he’ll likely appear to him as someone Sayid knows, but that is now dead, and that he must plunge the dagger deep into the dude’s chest before he utters a word. You writing all this down, Iraqi? Yeah okay, whatever, says Sayid.
Sayid packs up his official “I survived Oceanic 815” napsack and heads off into the jungle of mystery, where he promptly runs into … Kate. Doing nothing besides stomping around, I guess. Maybe she was tracking somebody, who knows? Anyway, Sayid has no time for Freckles, so he sends her to the Temple to talk to Miles who will fill her in.
She does. Miles tells her that Claire’s back and, suddenly, Kate finally has something to do besides roam around and pop up in ridiculous cameos.
Out in the jungle of mystery, Sayid starts hearing some rustling noises and that tell-tale crickety noise that usually ends with a puff of smoke wrecking someone’s day. Suddenly, Locke pops out from the brush. “Hello, Sayid. How’s it hanging?” says MIB. Sayid’s like “holy carp” and plunges the dagger deep into the dead man’s chest. How rude.
“Pleased to meet you – hope you guessed my name.”
MIB offers the dagger, totally clear of blood, back to Sayid. Stunned, he takes it. “What are you?” asks Sayid. MIB tells Sayid that he must have a good idea about that since he stabbed him in the chest with a big ol’ knife without even saying hello. Sayid tells MIB that Dogen and the Others called MIB evil incarnate, which illicits a patented Lockeian grin. Obviously, says MIB, Dogen knew that Sayid would go out without any chance of being able to hurt MIB and end up getting himself pulverized. He pretty much calls Sayid out on his gullibility since Dogen’s already tried to kill Sayid several times.
Sayid just wants to know what he’s gotten himself into, to which MIB charges him with delivering a message – a message that will mean a lot more coming from the undead former torturer.
MIB stands and looks deeply at Sayid. “If you do this for me … well, what if I told you that you could have anything you wanted? What if I said you could have anything in the entire world?”
Sayid gets a tad weepy and tells Ol’ Scratch that the only thing he ever wanted died in his arms and he’ll never see it again.
MIB takes a few steps closer and simply whispers, “But what if you could?”
“In your eyes I see a fire that burns to free the you that’s wanting through …”
And, so, Sayid strolls back into the Temple, much to the consternation of Dogen, and promptly tells everyone there that they have until sundown to get the heck out of Dodge and join the Man in the Jungle – who is leaving the Island forever – or they will all die horrible, nasty, smokey deaths.
Meanwhile, Kate has convinced Lennon to allow him to see Claire by using her 95-pound frame to pin his 94-pound frame to a Temple wall. She is taken to the Pit, and peers down to see the crazy, dirty Aussie at the bottom. We half expect Kate to drop a basket down there and ask Claire to put the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.
“I’m coming down with a fever, I’m really out to sea, this kettle is boiling over …”
Out in the courtyard it’s chaos, with Others running to and fro, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria. Lennon’s agitated, telling everyone to calm down and that they’re safe in the Temple if they don’t panic. Miles stops Sayid and says he’s all for running like the proverbial Devil’s chasing them, but Sayid says he has to give Dogen back his knife first. Uh oh.
Dogen is sitting by the pool, staring at his baseball. Sayid drops the blade by Dogen and wonders why Dogen stopped at killing him. That’s when Dogen breaks one of the rules of the Island – never tell your backstory and make everyone suddenly stop thinking you’re a total asshole. You see, Dogen used to be a banker and he got a big promotion one day and had too much to drink. He drove, drunk, over to his son’s baseball practice to pick him up and then promptly had a terrible accident in which his son died. In the hospital, Dogen was approached by a man that told him that he could save his son’s life, but Dogen would have to come to the Island and never see his son again. That man’s name was, of course, Jacob.
Sayid sits down and says that Jacob drives a hard bargain. Dogen assumes that the Man outside the Temple offered Sayid a similar bargain. Sayid agrees. Dogen notices that it’s sundown, and asks Sayid if he chooses to stay, or go. Sayid remarks, sincerely, that he’d like to stay. Unfortunately for Dogen, Sayid decides instead that he’s gotta drown the ex-banker in the dirty Spring.
“Well, I love that dirty water … (have you heard about the Strangler?)”
Lennon comes tear-assing into the pool area, sees Dogen face down in the Spring, and flips out, telling Sayid that he’s just killed the only thing that was keeping it out and that he just let it in. Suddenly, in the distance, the sound of Ol’ Smokey’s horn-like bellow can be heard. And then Sayid slits Lennon’s neck with the dagger, tossing him back into the pool. “I know,” says Sayid with no remorse.
From that point on, it’s pretty much a smokey armageddon. And it is awesome.
Pandemonium. Bodies flying everywhere. Kate and Miles run for it, but Kate has to get Claire, first. Silly girl. Miles throws himself behind a closed door which is soon pushed open by Ilana, with Lapidus, Sun and Ben in tow. She asks about Shephard and Reyes, but Miles is the only one left. They make a break for it, with Ben peeling off to get Sayid, who Miles says is by the pool.
At the Pit, Kate kicks a rope ladder down and urges Claire to come with her. Nope, says the little madwoman, they’ll be much safer here. Kate, perplexed, looks over her shoulder and sees Ol’ Smokey barreling down the corridor toward her. Having no choice, she leaps into the Pit, grabbing the rope ladder and looking up at the puffy, black demon as it charges over her like a long, wispy freight train.
“And he took her money for the rent, and tried to drag her down in the big black smoke, oh the big black smoke …”
At the pool, despite the bodies bobbing around face down in the Spring, Ben urges Sayid to come with him. “There’s still time,” says Ben. “Not for me,” says Sayid, with a grin that screams all work and no play makes Jarrah a dull boy. Ben backs away slowly, possibly wetting his Dharma boxers in the process.
The screaming and killing continues. Ilana and her crew make their way down a Temple corridor, and Miles asks Sun where Jin is. Sun is shocked and elated to know that Jin is still alive. Ilana scours the Temple walls, looking for the right symbol and finds the one that Jacob told Hurley about. She presses it and Ilana, Lapidus, Sun and Miles slip into the passageway. It closes just before Cerberus tears through the corridor.
Cut to the Temple courtyard, destroyed. Bodies are strewn everywhere. It’s carnage. Sayid and Claire emerge from the Temple as a very creepy rendition of “Catch a Falling Star” as sung by our mad Aussie sends a shiver up our collective spines. Kate follows closely behind them, seemingly in shock, and winds her way about the strewn and bloody Others littering the ground. She bends and mindlessly picks up a rifle.
Outside the Temple, the Man in Black waits with his new followers. Claire and Sayid stride out from the ruined wall, and he smiles and nods to them both. Then he notices another figure slowly approaching behind them – Kate, who stops and stares in uncertain fear and disbelief. He pauses, regarding her for a moment, then turns and makes his way through the crowd, leading his new reservoir dogs in slow motion into the jungle of mystery.
“Out of sight in the night, out of sight in the day, looking back on the track, gonna do it my way.”
Cue the THONK!
Well, that was awesome. Chaos and death rained down exactly how I imagined after last week’s set up, and the engaging, character-driven flash-sideways was a welcome addition. I’ll admit, Sayid and his flashbacks/forwards were never one of my favorites, but seeing a man given choices, desperately trying to right what once went wrong, and then forcing him into a position to do, well, what a man sometimes has to do was some mighty fine writing.
So, with chaos aplenty, character development afoot, and another division of the survivors along this final path, there’s not a whole lot of analysis to dig into. What we can do, however, is take stock of where we are so far, who’s accounted for and the MIAs on the Island.
BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
Well, Ol’ Smokey is really rolling now, rounding out his collection of all-stars with two bonafide Candidates – Sayid and Sawyer. Sayid is clearly on board, having gotten down with the sickness after his dip in the kiddy pool and his subsequent murders of Dogen and Lennon, but Sawyer could still be a loose cannon. Sure, we saw him agree with MIB in “The Substitute,” but he was mysteriously absent during this side trip to the Temple. Where is he, and what mission does MIB have him on? Regardless of his acquiescence, we all know that Sawyer’s altruism can pop up at the darndest times, so we can’t count on him to follow MIB to the bitter end.
Kate’s name is on the Lighthouse wheel, but we don’t see it in the cave, which means we can’t be sure if she’s a real Candidate, or not. We also can’t be sure with which team she’ll eventually side since she seems to be a prisoner of war at the moment.
The last wild card in the bunch is Jin, also mysteriously absent. Perhaps he’s back at the rally point with Sawyer, or he could be tied up like his LA X counterpart before AlterniSayid rescued him from the meat locker. We’ll have to wait and see when he pops up again, but unless MIB can work some real black magic, I’m pretty sure Jin’s just going to be on the side of “I might have to do something sneaky just to get back to Sun.” That I want to see.
Last we saw of Jack and Hurley they were back at the Lighthouse staring at 28 years of bad luck. The real question is whether Team Common Sense will be able to rendezvous with them and fill them in on all the mayhem and mojo about. Even though Hurley can probably be depended upon to side with Jacob since he’s been following orders, Jack is still a man without a rudder and we all know how he likes to throw tantrums and do the opposite of common sense when he’s flustered. The real danger would lie in Team Black Hat getting to Team Looking Glass first and making Jack an offer he can’t refuse.
Always the consummate wildcard, Benjamin Linus is now a free agent, having survived the Temple attack without going along with Team Common Sense. That means he can roam the Island and throw all sorts of monkey wrenches into the works. My gut says that after seeing Sayid’s turn for the worse, Ben is going to try and sabotage what he can, believing that he may be the only one that can actually save the Island and redeem himself for killing Locke, his father, and most of the Dharma crew. If Ben had really been turned, as Sayid was by the pool, then I think he’d have just thrown himself at the mercy of MIB and tagged along.
Richard – well, he’s the one guy on the Island that actually knows MIB’s real identity and, possibly, any weaknesses he may have. At this point, MIB is going to be getting cocky, and he may just ignore Richard altogether. This may yet prove to be an act of hubris that could end up destroying MIB’s chances of going home.
I’m throwing Widmore, Penny and Desmond into this mix because I don’t think we’ve seen the last of these three. I also have a feeling that Widmore is a bit more altruistic than we’ve given him credit for – we’ll take a look at that next.
HE’S NOT HEAVY, HE’S MY BROTHER
This episode, more than any other so far, really highlights the similarities in the realities of LA X and Island Prime, despite the new and seemingly different paths we’ve seen for our survivors. It also showcases the quantum entanglement we’ve talked a bit about before – with the intertwining lives of the survivors in each reality, but also in the tangled strings between each survivor’s counterpart in that reality.
This week’s episode-inspired drink recipe, like this post and much of this season’s Lost, deals a bit with duality. Unlike the show, however, we’re not going to be dealing in light versus dark, or black versus white – we’re just going to pay honor and tribute to black and black. In particular …
The Man in Black
- 1 part Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
- 2 parts Kahlua
- 1 part Amaretto
- Cream soda (adjusted to the glass and how strong you can take it. Be a man, add just a splash)
- Crushed ice
You can hear the train a-coming, it’s rolling round the bend, so grab yourself a tall glass and fill it to the rim … oh, it killed a man named Jacob, just to watch him die. When they hear that whistle blowing, they’ll hang their head and cry.
For instance, in our glimpses of the two realities Sayid is forced to kill. This demonstrates similarity. However, In LA X, he has to kill because he ultimately has no choice – he can not allow Keamy and his thugs to continue to ruin his brother and Nadia’s lives. In Island Prime, however, Sayid has a choice, and ultimately he chooses to kill because of selfish desire, not out of duty or honor or love. What’s fascinating is that Sayid’s choice on Island Prime may very well have affected the outcome of his life in LA X because of his wish fulfillment from MIB. He made a “deal with the devil,” and if mythical and literary history teaches us one thing, it’s to be careful of what you wish for, particularly if that wish comes from Ol’ Scratch. His alterniself does, indeed, have Nadia alive in LA X, but because of his actions on Island Prime he is now not able to truly be with her because she is married to his brother.
In a similar vein, Jin is held prisoner by Keamy in the LA X reality, and he may well be held prisoner by MIB and Claire. We don’t know exactly where he is, but it’s very likely that MIB couldn’t fully trust Jin and so had to detain him. That is, of course, unless he’s made Jin one of his legendary bargains and Jin has accepted. At any rate, if we see that Jin is a prisoner, we’ll see even more positive and negative entanglement, as Sayid is a good guy in LA X and frees Jin, but is a very bad man on Island Prime and will not free Jin without MIB’s consent. Again, all of that remains to be seen. I’m just speculating for a point.
It’s interesting to see Keamy pop up in LA X, and that both of his alterniselves are pretty much dicks. His manner of death in the alternate realities is interesting. In LA X, he’s shot and killed by Sayid in order to protect his family. On Island Prime, Keamy dies at the hands of Ben (in “There’s No Place Like Home”), who is trying to avenge the death of his “daughter.” On paper, both of his deaths were warranted because of his actions in both realities, but the motives of his killers were opposite. Sayid’s motives in LA X were mostly for the good, to protect, but Ben’s bordered on the bad – he admits later to Locke before turning the wheel that the death of Alex clouded his judgment. On Island Prime, Keamy is also in the service of Charles Widmore whom we have felt, up to this point, had some vengeful or not-so-pleasant motives in finding the Island. As a final side note, let’s take a look at those motives for a moment.
Keamy’s real mission was to get Ben and bring him back to Widmore. Widmore may have known about what might happen to the Island if Ben was allowed to roam free, so he sent the freighter with Keamy and his thugs, so that they might succeed in tracking down Ben and bringing him back before he could be corralled and coerced by MIB – or make the mistake of turning the Island’s icy wheel himself instead of Locke doing so, an action that would have dire repercussions. In other words – although Widmore’s methods seem to be those of one evil bastard – by the context of “light” versus “dark” on the Island, Widmore seems to be in the light. For even more evidence of Widmore’s seeming altruism, he sent Faraday, Charlotte and Miles with the freighter so that their abilities might come in handy in sussing out any trouble that might occur.
You know, just something to roll around in the old noggin’.
I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET
And now, the random bits.
Did Dogen really know that Sayid’s attack would fail on MIB? This method of killing is exactly like how MIB got Ben to kill Jacob. It could be that since Jacob is gone and the balance has shifted, that MIB cannot be killed in the same way since his side is now fully in power. Or maybe Dogen actually believed that MIB would do the Smokey Shuffle on Sayid’s face and his problems would be solved.
Why did Lennon say that Dogen was the only thing keeping “it” out of the Temple? He may have said that because Dogen was the only one left there that would possibly know how to keep Ol’ Smokey at bay. As the guardian of the Temple, he could have corralled the remaining Others in putting up some sort of fight, and MIB wanted him out of the way. With the Others scattered and Dogen dead, MIB could run amok without interference. Another possibility is that, without Jacob and without a Candidate being named, Dogen could have been a proxy in Jacob’s absence. Again, this may relate to Dogen’s sole ability to keep MIB at bay.
I wonder if the Red Sox won the World Series in the LA X timeline? These are the things I think about.
As of this episode, the show is no longer adhering to the season structure that was present in season one. This episode should have featured Jin and Sun, and the title, “Sundown,” certainly made it seem that way. The next episode is titled “Dr. Linus,” so it appears that our favorite misguided free agent will have some action on the next go-round unless the powers-that-be are having some fun with red herrings.
Anyone else feel like the flash sideways could represent Heaven and Hell – or Purgatory? I mean, Jack and Locke get a pretty good life in LA X, and Kate learns to care about someone other than herself. Sayid, on the other hand, has to suffer even though is actions are good – Nadia is married to his brother and he can never really have her. I’m just talking out loud here.
“You all, everybody …”
I don’t know why I formulate these crazy plans sometimes, but I do, and I have to run with them. When I watched this episode and saw Sayid’s flash sideways play out, the old Kenny Rogers ballad that I reference in the very first picture caption came to mind. The more I thought about the show, the more musical themes and lyrics seemed to pop into my head, so I decided to weave that through this particular column. Every header and every picture caption has something to do with a particular song, usually well-paired in theme with that part of the episode. To make up for the lack of a huge analysis this week, I figured some of you might have some fun figuring out the song tie-ins. No matter what, it made for an awesome alternative soundtrack to this week’s episode in my head.
That about wraps it up for this week. I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve forgotten, or a part that some of you are wishing I had taken a closer look at, but that’s what comments are for. Until next time, keep thinking those good thoughts, and if you have an epiphany, tell me something good.
Chris Kirkman is a graphic designer/photographer/journalist/geek extraordinaire with way too many Bruce Campbell movies in his library. Michael Emerson, Lost’s Benjamin Linus, called Kirkman’s recaps “one of the smartest articles I’ve ever read about what goes on on our show.” Kirkman is still hoping that Lost will end when Bob Newhart wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette, complaining of a strange, strange dream. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.