Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's No Happy Valentine's Day For Sayid

Last Valentine's Day brought one of LOST's most romantically charged episodes with Flashes Before Your Eyes, in which Desmond got a mysterious second chance to get things right with Penny but still wound up just as miserable before. With The Economist, it's Sayid's turn, but oddly enough, Nadia is not the object of his affections in this deeply disturbing flash forward. She's not mentioned at all, so we have no idea whether she and Sayid have even seen each other since his rescue. Sayid is one of the few people on the island who has someone he desperately wants to get back to, so it's rather disappointing for me to think that the two of them wouldn't end up together, especially since his devotion to her is what got his friend killed.

But even more distressing is Sayid's line of work. I've yet to see a flash-forward that hasn't depressed me. Jack's a drunken, drug-riddled basket-case. Hurley is paranoid and back in the loony bin. Sayid is... a professional assassin. Working for Ben. Ooookay. Of course, we know that he has a violent side to him, forged largely from his military experience. We've seen Sayid kill before. But I didn't want to see it again. I was especially troubled by his cold execution of his fellow golfer in the first flash-forward scene. At least when he kills Elsa, it's in self-defense, and he is really broken up about it. That seems much truer to his character. I can, unfortunately, buy Sayid as a killer, but not an unrepentant one.

What dastardly deeds could the people on this list possibly be up to that would be enough to convince Sayid to annihilate total strangers at Ben's word? What changed between them that this man Sayid tortured, tried to kill and always regarded with deepest distrust would now be able to give him orders? I don't know. I'm less bothered by their alliance than by Sayid's role in it. Actually, it was something of a relief to see Ben alive and well, though I can't place this episode on the flash-forward timeline, so maybe it could still be him in the casket. At least I know he's not going to wind up getting beaten to death by Sawyer, Jack or some other castaway. He still claims to be on their side even in the future, but his methods are as dubious as ever.

Speaking of dubious, it was downright crummy of John to use Hurley to trick Sayid and the gang. I liked how Hurley stood up to him in the beginning of the episode, objecting to any ill treatment of these strangers. He wanted to preserve his own life but not endanger anyone else's in the process. Big-hearted Hurley... That's why I love you. But John managed to manipulate him into being the bait for his unsuspecting friends, knowing that he was the last person they would suspect of foul play. Was it this incident in particular Hurley was apologizing to Jack for? I think it's likely. I also think that what he told them about John going off the deep end was a reflection of his feelings.

I liked Frank and Daniel even more this episode. They both come across as genuinely caring about Charlotte as well as each other. I don't know what Daniel is up to with those weirdo experiments, but he seems really worked up over something. Watching the enhanced version of Confirmed Dead cleared it up for me that Frank was definitely supposed to be the pilot of 815, which is very interesting. I think he's got my favorite line of the season so far with his exchange with Miles in that episode. (M: Where's the helicopter? F: I saw a cow!)

It looked to me like Elsa was wearing the same bracelet as Naomi. Were they tokens of some secret organization of which they were a part, or was it just a coincidence that reminded Sayid of Naomi? His relationship with Elsa was all very James Bond-ish. He even looked a bit like him, so suave and debonair, and apparently he and she were both spying on each other. I think he fell for her; it would appear that perhaps she didn't, though she sure covered it up well until the very end. Evidently Sayid lied about not understanding German because when he shot her, it seemed more a reaction to what she said than to the fact that she shot him. Of course, he was lying about all sorts of things, and the less Elsa knew about him, the better.

It's nice to see Sawyer getting his snark back. That stuff about Ben's little piggies was pretty funny, and he and Kate had some good back-and-forth. I really liked their conversation, and I agree that Sawyer doesn't have much to go back to, except of course for a daughter, but he doesn't seem to want anything to do with her. Besides, I would think somebody would have figured out by now that he killed Frank Duckett, so Kate wouldn't be the only one in chains upon her return. I'd think she would want to stick around too. How does she manage to avoid prison?

It was great to see Desmond bursting into the clearing and seeing that chopper. I think he's pretty desperate to get off that island any way he can, but more than that, he really wants some answers as to how Naomi knew about him. It seems that Daniel and Frank are hiding something on that score, though Frank doesn't seem to mind bringing Desmond along on the chopper. I got a kick out of seeing Des all suited up as the co-pilot. He looked quite at home in that position. If I were Frank, though, I wouldn't count on him being of much help on the way back, if he returns - Desmond can't seem to do anything all the way. I thought that Sayid's trick for getting on the helicopter was pretty clever, and I love that he and Desmond are going to be in cahoots now. They haven't spent much time together up to this point, but I think they could make a pretty good team.

Tomorrow we get another member of the Oceanic Six, which means another flash-forward, which will probably be depressing again. Woo hoo. But it will also no doubt be enlightening. And maybe Sun, Jin, Rose and Bernard will reappear on the island; I hate to see them so underused. Here's hoping!

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