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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lost 6x06: Sundown

The palpable sense of dread and foreboding that hung over the season premiere returned with a gusto in this episode, as Smokey made his move, decimating the temple as Sayid fully turned to the Dark Side (also, Claire? Still crazy as hell).  "Sundown" doesn't just refer to the time of Smokey's attack: it would seem the sun has gone down on the Other's dominance of the island.

The focus of "Sundown" was something of a bait-and-switch. With the sequence of character centric episodes this season thus far mirroring the season one sequence, and with that title, it was easy to expect a Sun/Jin outing this time around. Instead, the episode chronicled Sayid seemingly succumbing to darkness in two realities. It was interesting that Sideways Sayid is the first character that doesn't seem better off in the sideways reality: he still isn't with Nadia, and despite all his best efforts, he still can't escape his violent past. It's certainly no coincidence that the first Sideways character to be seen failing to overcome the demons of his island counterpart is the same character who, on the island, embraced the darkness within him. Perhaps the two realities are connected in more ways than just baby names and suspicious appendectomy scars; perhaps the infection that led Island Sayid to join Smokey is potent enough reach across realities and infect Sideways Sayid as well.   

With Dogen's death and the Temple Others either dead or on Smokey's side, it seems that act one of the final story is over. As such, the episode did more to move the season's story along than it did to develop or clarify the overarching mythology of the show. However, in an episode this well executed and exciting, that didn't seem to matter as much. 

Stuff Worth Mentioning
Dogen's discussion of the balance between light and dark/good and evil in each person called to mind the scales in the cliffside cave. According to Dogen, Sayid is now like that scale, after FLocke tossed the white rock into the ocean: all darkness.

Everyone left Miles, so, appropriately enough, he was playing solitaire. Also, the name of the of the first Sayid-centric episode was "Solitary".

Miles on Claire: "Still hot, though." Funny. And true. 

Dogen told Sayid that if FLocke spoke, it would be too late. FLocke said hello to Sayid before he got stabbed. Too late.

More Canadian references: Sideways Sayid is going to Toronto.

Dogen said that Smokey wants to kill "every living thing" on the island, with the same precise phrasing as Ben used in the season three finale when he told Jack that contacting the freighter would mean the death of "every living thing" on the island. Did Ben know (or had the foresight to see) that contacting the freighter would trigger the chain of events that led to this point?

It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again...

Just like in the flashbacks, apparently everyone who gets injured in Sideways LA ends up at Jack's hospital.

The hired goon who brought Sideways Sayid to the restaurant was Omar, one of the mercenaries in season four who worked with Keamy.

My thought process as Sayid approached the fridge, "maybe Desmond is in there. Maybe Widmore. Maybe Ben." Never "maybe it's Jin."

It was said that Jacob drives a hard bargain: he'd save Dogen's son, but in return, Dogen would work for Jacob on the island and never get to see his son again. It seems like most of his deals involve a fair amount of sacrifice (see also: Juliet's sister is cured of cancer, but Juliet never gets off the island to see her), especially compared to Smokey, whose deals seem a lot easier: one small task for a major reward (let me in the temple, and I'll give you your hearts desire). Jacob's bargains are hard, but they seem fair: large reward, large price. The relative imbalance between parties of Smokey's deals (he'll give you something big for little in return), while on the surface are seemingly much better than Jacob's, still strike me as being very devilish, and likely to backfire on the person striking the deal (as Homer Simpson would say, "The turkey's a little dry. THE TURKEY'S A LITTLE DRY!")

I loved Ben's reaction to Crazy Sayid. "Okay...backing away slowly sudden movements...."

While hanging out in the Silence of the Lambs pit, Claire was singing "Catch A Falling Star", the song sung to her by her father, which she intended to have sung to Aaron, and which Kate did sing to Aaron. A creepier variation of it was played at the end of the episode as Sayid, Claire and Kate moved through the destroyed temple.

Questions Answered
Just some minor stuff. The electrical table Dogen used to diagnose Sayid measured the balance of good and evil within him. We also learned that Jacob brought Dogen to the island in exchange for saving his son after Dogen endangered his life, and Dogen's baseball is a reminder of that exchange. 

It was also official established that Jacob was somehow keeping Smokey in check and, being dead, is unable to do so any longer (assuming we believe Dogen). 

Miles also confirmed that as far as he was concerned, Sayid was absolutely dead (and not just mostly dead) for two hours.

Questions Asked
What about the baseball, knowing it represents his deal with Jacob, caused Dogen to spare Sayid?

When Dogen sent Sayid out to slay Smokey, did he know Sayid would fail? Was he hoping Smokey would kill him, or did he honestly think Sayid had a chance? If he did think Sayid had a chance, what made the dagger special, such that Dogen thought it could kill Smokey?

Can Smokey not kill candidates (if Smokey can't, then Sayid's mission to kill him was genuine)? Is that one of the rules? Dogen said that with Jacob dead, Smokey was free, but presumably, he's still bound by some rules; how?

What about Dogen kept out Smokey? Did he empower the ash?

Speaking of the ash, why didn't Crazy Claire just sweep aside a bit of the ash line for Smokey? :)

If Smokey just wants to go home, why is he busy recruiting the Others and killing off the Jacob-loyalists?

Where were Sawyer and Jin?

Where'd Ben end up? Last we saw, he was leaving Sayid, but he didn't hide in the tunnel with Ilana and the others and didn't come out with Sayid, Claire and Kate.

What's Sideways Jin doing in that fridge? Where's Sideways Sun?

Next Week: Dr. Linus
Ben episodes are always fun, and they usually unpack some key mythology stuff, so here's hoping this one's a doozy!


  1. a theory we came up with was that dogen couldn't kill sayid because it would tip his own scale to evil. And extrapolating off that, if his scale was tipped, he could no longer keep smokey out.

    Though i'm sure there's something to do with the inability to kill candidates in there as well

  2. Oh, that's a good idea I hadn't thought of. For all of their dickishness, the Others generally are anti-killing (remember what a big deal it was when Juliet killed Pickett in season three)?

    Which isn't to say that the Others are against killing, obviously; they just want others to do it for them, possibly to maintain their own inner balances.

  3. I'm ever so pissed at Sayid killing Dogen.

    At least he gets to be with his son in sideays world

  4. Yeah, simply in terms "most likely to lead us to answers", I was trying to decide which frustrated me more: Jack smashing the mirrors or Sayid killing Dogen.

    I think I'm still leaning towards Jack cuz, you know, it's Jack.

  5. I'm with Falen and Anne on that theory that Dogen couldn't kill Sayid.

    Why are the characters still doubting that Flocke is evil? Don't they ever watch TV or movies or read?! Anyone who's anyone knows if an idea sounds too good to be true, IT IS!

    Jack breaking the mirrors is more irritating...especially watching it the second time. Argh!

  6. @Palindrome: I've come to accept that most fictional characters live in a world in which the fiction that would help inform their actions doesn't exist.

    This is why no one n fiction who, say, encounters a time traveler tasked to protect them ever says, "oh, you mean like in the Terminator movies?"

    No, instead, they're like "WHAAAT? That's impossible! Despite all the fiction I've consumed that should have at least made me aware of this idea."

    I'll tell you flat out: if someone ever approached me claiming to be me from the future or that reality is actually a fictional construct of oppressive machines, I'd at least be open to the possibility instead of scoffing at their "ludicrous" claims and calling them mad until proven otherwise.

  7. "Catch A Falling Star" was also the song that played from the mobile over the crib for Aaron that Ethan Rom was showing to a doped up Claire.

  8. Good catch. Also, it's kind of a creepy song now, thanks to Lost.


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