Friday, March 12, 2010

Lost 6.06: "Sundown"

“You think you know me, but you don’t. I’m a good man.”


“Sundown” was clearly meant as a finale of sorts for this first story arc of the final season of “Lost.” Unfortunately, it was probably my least favorite episode of the season thus far. No worries, though. I’m looking forward to reviewing the fantastic “Dr. Linus” in a few days. I think what irked me about “Sundown” was that it shows how static the character of Sayid has been throughout the series. It seems like the writers are trying to tell us that Sayid has always been a killer and will never amount to anything more. This is especially disheartening when compared to “Dr. Linus,” but I’ll touch on that more when I blog about that episode.

The sideways-verse story this week was just as intriguing as past weeks, although it definitely didn’t feel as hopeful. Sayid pulls up to a modest house in suburban LA and arrives at the front door bearing flowers. As any loyal Lost viewer could have guessed, Nadia answers the door. There is, however, a pretty tragic twist. Two kids come running up behind her, shouting “Uncle Sayid!” Nadia is married to Sayid’s brother, Omar. Omar owns a dry cleaning business, and he’s doing so well that he just opened a second store.

All, however, is not as it seems. Sayid still very much has feelings for Nadia, and it’s a bit embarrassing when his niece and nephew find a picture of their mother in his bag. Omar, however, doesn’t really care. He’s got bigger problems. He took out a loan from a nasty loan shark to build his second store, and the loan shark wants interest payments even though Omar has already paid everything they agreed upon. Omar wants Sayid to rough the loan shark up a bit and get him off his back. Sayid refuses. He’s been spending a number of ears trying to atone for all the things he did while in the Republican Guard, and he’s not about to stop now.

Sayid quickly comes to regret his decision. Omar is “mugged” in front of his store, and Sayid and Nadia know it wasn’t just a random act of violence. It’s definitely related to the loan situation. Sayid wants to take care of the loan shark right then and there, but Nadia begs him to just go home and take care of the kids instead. Sayid relents- for now. The final straw comes later on, when Sayid is getting ready to pick the kids up from school. He is approached by the loan shark’s goons, who threaten the kids if Sayid doesn’t come with them.

My favorite moment of the sideways-verse part of the episode is when the identity of the loan shark is revealed. It’s none other than everyone’s favorite homicidal mercenary, Martin Keamy! The best part about it is that he’s gleefully cooking himself some eggs for breakfast. Keamy wants Sayid to start making Omar’s “interest” payments, but Sayid has other ideas. He shoots Keamy and his goons, turning his back on everything he had tried to make his life be about since his Republican Guard days. There’s one final little easter egg for those of us who like the random character connections in the sideways-verse. Sayid hears noise coming from a closet, and he opens the door to find Jin! I had been hoping it would be Desmond, but whatever.

Sayid’s journey on Island in this episode is very similar to his sideways-verse journey, but the stakes are much higher. Sayid confronts Dogen about Dogen’s attempt to poison Sayid. Dogen tells Sayid that Sayid is evil and better off dead. The two endup in a knock down drag out fight. Which is pretty fun, because it’s been a while since Sayid has been badass like he was in the season 3 finale when he killed that guy with his feet. When the baseball that sits on Dogen’s desk falls to the floor, Dogen calls off the fight, and he banishes Sayid from the Temple. The banishment doesn’t last long, though. Claire arrives with a message from Locke. Jacob is dead, and the smokemonster wants to talk to Dogen about it. Dogen knows better than to set foot outside the Temple with an angry smokemonster afoot, so he has another plan. He’ll get Sayid to do it.

Dogan tells Sayid that “evil incarnate” will be parading around the Island in the guise of someone he knows who he thought was dead. Dogen hands Sayid a weapon (nerd fail for me not being able to identify what exactly the weapon is…suffice it to say it’s very sharp) and tells him to plunge it into the being’s heart before he can say a word. Sayid does what he’s told because he wants a chance at redemption. As predicted, since Sayid doesn’t seem to be allowed a redemption, it doesn’t quite work out as he was told it would. Sayid instantly recognizes Locke as his target, and he stabs him, but Locke doesn’t die. Locke tells Sayid that Dogen’s instructions were yet another scheme to kill Sayid. Dogen anticipated that Locke would kill Sayid after being stabbed. Locke has an alternative proposal for Sayid. If Sayid goes back to the Temple and delivers a message from Locke, Locke will reunite him with Nadia.

Alerted by Sayid that Claire is at the Temple, that’s where Kate is headed, too. Miles is very surprised to see her. Kate doesn’t stay and chat for long, though- she heads straight for the pit where the Others are holding Claire. Claire is absently singing “Catch a Falling Star”- one of Emilie de Ravin’s creepier performances- as Kate approaches. Kate makes the big mistake of admitting that she’s been raising Aaron, and Claire’s demeanor changes from vague interest to menace. She doesn’t really seem to care that Kate wants to reunite her with Aaron. She’s relishing the fact that Locke as the smokemonster is soon going to tear through the Temple and kill everyone, including Kate.

Locke’s impending rampage is the message Sayid was to deliver. He also tells the Others that anyone who wants to join Locke in his quest to leave the Island will be spared. Most of the Others start scrambling and getting ready to join Locke. For as fanatic as some Others are, most of them are very fair weather Others. Sayid then has one final task. To return the weapon to Dogen. And yeah, this isn’t going to be a friendly encounter. Sayid ends up drowning Dogan in the formerly healing pool and then slitting Lennon’s throat after Lennon warns him that Dogan was the last line of defense against Locke entering the Temple.

As promised, Locke comes tearing through the Temple in smokemonster form right at sundown. Ilyana, Frank, Sun, and Ben picked a really bad time to arrive at the Temple. Luckily, thanks to Ilyana’s knowledge of the secret passage Jack and Hurley used in the previous episode, they all escape, bringing Miles with them. Ben pays a quick visit to Sayid before leaving and sees him sitting by the formerly healing pool, looking kind of vacant. Sayid basically tells Ben that he feels he is completely beyond redemption. Kate doesn’t escape with the group, but she manages to escape the destruction by hanging from a ladder in the pit where Claire is being kept.

At the end of the episode, all of Locke’s new followers gather around him. The still-living others are there, of course, as are Claire and Locke. Locke looks at the group, and he seems quite pleased. Then his expression changes to confusion when he sees that Kate is there, too. And she’s armed with a rifle, looking pretty confused herself.

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