Five episodes down (two-part premiere counts as one), eleven episodes to go. Ready for a stream of consciousness recap on the aptly titled episode “Sundown”? This was a tough recap to write in a way that flows well, since it deals with the tension between good and evil. Hopefully it is understood! (If it doesn’t make sense I’ll make the excuse of it being almost 2:00 AM when I finished this.)
If you don’t want to be spoiled about the latest episode of Lost, please don’t read this post. You’ve been warned. (SPOILERS AHEAD)
An interesting episode, especially when considering the promo for it. It wasn’t what I expected. The action ramped up toward the end of the episode, and I’m sure people will be talking about that. What I liked was the nuance surrounding Sayid and his dealing with the tension of good and evil. To try and tackle the tension of good and evil is not something I can encapsulate here, but I’ll do my best as it relates to the story.
What is good? What is right? In any given situation, what may be good to you may not truly be good. This has been the story of Sayid’s character throughout the history of Lost. He did evil for (alleged) greater good. However, he’s been haunted by his so-called good. He’s always tried to make amends for his actions during the Iraq War, and on the island. For example, in season one he left everyone after he tortured (and almost killed) Sawyer. He had broken his vow to never torture again. He left, and was subsequently captured and interrogated by Rousseau. It was in this episode where we first found out about the “sickness”. Rousseau told Sayid how it infected her team, and how she had to kill them. Why? Because what had infected them she couldn’t allow to leave the island. (How would Rousseau know this?)
An interesting thing Rousseau said to Sayid, in that season one episode, is The Others were the carriers of the sickness. Why is that interesting? Many reasons, but one that ties in with the good/evil theme of tonight’s episode. In more and more ways, we don’t know what is good and evil anymore.
Now, I still think Jacob is good, and the Man In Black is evil. However, you realize there are many shades of gray in between the black and white. This is the truth Man In Black has been manipulating to his advantage. Through his words, he twists truth for his own nefarious end. Remind you of anyone? Especially if he is suppose to be “evil incarnate”? (Invoking the Church Lady, “Could it be…SATAN”!)
In Genesis 3, what did the serpent do in the Garden of Eden? It twisted truth to manipulate Adam and Eve to bring about their demise. They were pawns, though, in a war between God and Satan.
When you have evil whispering into your ear, it’s hard to differentiate what is good. The best lies are 99% true. This is Sayid’s dilemma. What is good? In the flash-sideways timeline, his brother Omer has an idea of what good Sayid should do. His love Nadia has an idea of what good Sayid should do. And, Keamy has an idea of what good Sayid should do. None of them are the same. In fact, they are radically different. If Sayid were to choose any of these (alleged) good courses, something evil is going to happen. Sayid must make a decision on what good he must do. He chooses evil to bring about good by murdering Keamy and his henchmen. Is it evil, or good, what Sayid does? More importantly, what does it say about Sayid? (He tells Keamy he can’t forget about it before he shoots him. Does this mean he can’t forgive others? He can’t forgive himself.)
Going back to doing evil to bring about good, this is something Man In Black has used to manipulate people to his side. He does have a point when getting people to second guess Jacob’s motives. Think about Ben Linus, who had been a leader on the island. What did he do? He lied, schemed and played a key role in the purge that killed nearly everyone from the Dharma Initiative. And, he answered to Jacob. No wonder Man In Black could manipulate Ben to kill Jacob in the season five finale. What had all of Ben’s faithfulness (apparently) brought him?
Jacob is not always forthright in what he’s doing, and this can also be used by Man In Black against people. It’s something Man In Black has told characters this season, that he’d always be honest with them. This has swayed Sawyer, and now Sayid. Of course, what has also swayed them is the “faustian deal” that has been negotiated by Man In Black. He’s promised Sawyer a way off the island, Sayid a way to be with Nadia again, and Claire to be reunited with Aaron. What must they do in return? Align themselves with Man In Black. Like Robert Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, they partner with the devil to get what they want. In doing so, they lose their soul. Now, Man In Black has two of the candidates on his side in Sawyer and Sayid. A third candidate, Jin, is still being held by him.
Sayid’s life always seems to be like Odysseus when he encounters Scylla and Charybdis in The Odyssey. The lesser of two evils is what must be chosen. Granted, some would say that in a fallen world, a world with sin, there are some choices that have no right choice. And for Sayid, who is he to believe when stuck in that situation? In the current timeline, does he believe Dogen or Man In Black? In the flash-sideways timeline, does he believe Omer or Keamy?
Before Sayid left to confront Man In Black, he is told by Dogen to prove that his soul still has good. How is he suppose to prove himself? By killing. Prove you are good by doing evil. Who else had a hard time doing this? Locke. Ben told him to kill his father if he was to be the new leader of The Others. In that situation, Richard helped him find a loophole so his father would be killed…by Sawyer. (Of course, let’s not forget the Dharma Initiative called The Others the “Hostiles”.)
In some beliefs, it is thought there are certain people that have been called to salvation. And, the flipside is certain people have been damned before they were even born. Does Sayid consider himself in the latter? As Miles told him, it wasn’t The Others that brought him back to life. Despite Sayid countering what other people have inferred as what kind of man he is (“I’m sorry, I’m not that man anymore”), in the end he turns out to be exactly that man. In the current timeline, Sayid has given himself over to what he thinks is his incarnate nature, darkness. He considers himself a lost cause, and that is why he is able to do the deed of murder.
Sayid murders Dogen at the end of the episode. Dogen’s death allows Man In Black to bypass the ash circles. What this has to do with it, I have no idea. I could buy into Jacob’s ashes, and the ashes of his (maybe) predecessors, being what keeps evil in check. What Dogen’s death means I have no idea.
In the flash-sideways timeline, you see a shift in Sayid’s wardrobe choices. It started off light-colored, but then it went dark. Throughout the current timeline, Sayid is wearing black. All black. This would make sense if he has been “claimed” by darkness. Or, claimed by the Man In Black (one in the same).
Sayid cannot forgive himself of what he has done. In the flash-sideways timeline, because he cannot forgive himself, he chooses to not be with Nadia. In a sense, good cannot mesh with evil and still be good. Sayid thought the evil in him would stain Nadia. However, what if he would have married Nadia? Would her good help Sayid to forgive himself? (Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a lot of people who have a hard time accepting grace and forgiving themselves.)
In the past, on the Island, there has been a purge. Instigated by Ben, the Dharma Initiative was purged. As a young boy, Ben was shot by Sayid, and then recovered at the Temple. In this episode, there is a purge of The Others. It is instigated by Sayid. Sayid had been shot by Ben’s dad, and then resurrected at the Temple.
Who and what is good and evil? As some have speculated, perhaps the climactic moment will be the realization that Jacob is evil and Man In Black is good. I don’t believe that. However, it will not be easy to decipher who or what has been good until the show is all over. We’ve started to realize that Man In Black has been involved throughout the history of the show. Maybe it will all become clear in the last eleven episodes.
Some quick hitters.
- I’m guessing we aren’t going to find out Man In Black’s name till the finale.
- Anyone else make a connection to Apocalypse Now at the end of the episode?
- Dogen’s son was saved when he came to the island. Juliet’s sister is cured of cancer when Juliet agrees to stay on the island. Both individuals are allegedly cured by Jacob.
- In the flash-sideways timeline, Sayid has gone the path of Locke in seemingly accepting fate for who he is.
- If The Others are the carriers of the sickness, as Rousseau thinks, what does that say about them? Throughout the series, The Others have committed heinous acts. It is easy to see how one could doubt Jacob as being good if The Others, and Ben, have been getting their marching orders from Jacob. Then again, were they getting their orders from Jacob? Perhaps Man In Black had duped them. This seems to be the case with the cabin.
- Sayid at Nadia’s door and looking at his reflection in the glass. Two meanings. Who does Sayid see when he is reflected? And, the reflection is a reference to the book, and Lost episode, “Through The Looking Glass”.
- The camera angle on Nadia’s wedding band reminds me that there is no accident when it comes to these types of shots. It’s why I believe it was on purpose we saw Helen’s black fingernails two episodes ago.
- When Dogen tells Sayid about the scale, he uses his hand with the black glove to portray evil.
- The second Sayid-centric episode in Lost is titled “The Greater Good“. I think this reinforces how Sayid’s character chronicles the tension between right and wrong, good and evil. Will one do evil for the greater good? Can it be considered good if evil is a means to its end?
- Evil manipulating good for evil. I’ve seen people manipulate the good in people for evil purposes. It’s happening on the show.
- Sayid is told what kind of man he is. Jack and Locke have also been on the receiving end of this by family and friends.
- What did bring Sayid back from the dead?
- It amused me how both Dogen and Sayid barged through the door, at separate tiems, to enter Dogen’s room.
- You figured at some point the “Temple Master”, Dogen, would be in a fight.
- Dogen said, “If you allow him (Man In Black) to speak, then it is already to late”. What if Dogen wasn’t lying? Man In Black did say, “Hello Sayid,” before Sayid stabbed him.
- Man In Black has been trapped for many years. Is the island his purgatory? If he is evil incarnate, is this punishment for his fall? (Similar to Satan?)
- Dogen and Lennon didn’t even last as long as the infamous Nikki and Paulo.
Ten episodes left, and then the finale. I thought this episode would be a Jin/Sun-centric episode, but it wasn’t. I don’t mind. Who will be profiled? Well, next week’s episode appears to be a Ben-centric episode. After that? Without any idea to the order, I’ll guess Hurley, Jin/Sun, Ilana, Jacob/Man In Black, Claire, Richard and Desmond. I also believe there’ll be an additional episode for Jack and Locke. If the finale is going to be centered around anyone, it will be Jacob/Man In Black.
In case you missed it, I posted a follow-up recap on last week’s episode where I equate Locke to King Saul and Jack to King David.
I hope this makes some sense. I’m tired so it’s quite possible I’ll wake up in a few hours, read this post, and make massive edits. Thanks again for taking the time to read this!