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Lost

Lost is a drama about a group of plane crash survivors. They land on an unknown Pacific island and have to learn to live together. ABC 2004-2010

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Episode 10 - He's Our You

28 March 2012

Present: Ben visits Sayid and asks if he can take him to the Hostiles. Ben comes again later and Sayid sees him being abused by his father Roger. Sawyer tells Sayid to pretend he is a Hostile attempting to defect but he won’t. Horace takes Sayid to see Oldham who drugs him until he tells the truth. His future talk confuses Horace and the Dharma brain trust to give in to Radzinski’s desire to kill Sayid. Sawyer asks Sayid to hit him and escape but Sayid refuses. A flaming Dharma van crashes into a house causing the entire population of the Barracks to rush to put out the fire. Ben breaks Sayid out of prison and they make their escape. Jin finds them and Sayid knocks him out. He then takes Jin’s gun, shoots Ben and runs away.

Flashback: Child Sayid learns to kill chickens without remorse under the bruising guidance of his father. Oceanic Six Sayid kills another of Widmore’s men in Russia. Ben tells him that he was the last of the men who posed a threat to his friends. Later in Santo Domingo Ben comes to warn Sayid that Locke has been killed and men are after Hurley. He tells Sayid that he is a killer. Sayid refuses to follow Ben and Jack back to the island. He is then seduced by Ilana in a bar and confesses that it is difficult to change who you are. She arrests him on behalf of the Avellino family (403) and takes him on Flight 316.

The Good: The best thing about this episode is the sense that you have no idea where the story is going. Sayid has been through so much that he has no interest in joining the Dharma Initiative and so ignores Sawyer’s offers. It’s difficult to work out what he is planning on doing. Particularly as the alternative seems to be breaking out with Ben, who we know he despises. The tension is terrific as he is drugged and questioned because we have no clue as to what he will say and how the Dharma folk will react to hearing the truth. Finally, having accepted that he was brought to the island to pay for his sins, Sayid takes Ben’s offer and escapes. But being forced by Ben to betray and hurt a trusting Jin is the final straw for Sayid. He makes the decision which as a viewer you thought about all episode but never quite believed would happen. He shoots Ben in the chest. It’s a shock to see because it was the one thing we knew surely couldn’t happen.

The traditional flashback approach also made this episode really enjoyable. It functioned to (as ever) provide missing pieces of the puzzle while putting the viewer in Sayid’s mindset and providing explanations for his behaviour. Like Sawyer, we begin to get a real sense of what the past three years have been like for Sayid. With Nadia gone he threw himself into the work of killing because he felt he was doing what was right (403). But once the killing stopped Sayid tried to find something else, something more worthwhile to do with his life (507). Now we see Ben came calling once more telling him that his killing had caused Locke’s death and now put the Oceanic Six’s lives in danger. Sayid began to see that Ben’s manipulations were really engineered to benefit himself. Even though he returned to save Hurley and his friends he had no intention of returning to the island.

Sayid had grown sad that his greatest skills only brought more pain to him and those around him. Ben’s words “You’re a killer Sayid” haunted him because he had begun to suspect that that was all he was. When Ilana arrested him he seemed almost peaceful. Perhaps he was ready to pay for his crimes and saw that as justice. Then the island sucked him back in once more. Like all of our characters Sayid finally began to accept that he couldn’t escape the island and the destiny it had in store for him. Although he initially sees it again as the punishment he deserves (“I am a bad man.”) he changes his mind in the end. He decides that he is standing next to a vulnerable Ben and perhaps being a killer is why the island brought him here. So he kills Ben, perhaps he was destined to save the world from the suffering Ben would grow up to inflict on others?

Sayid’s story plays out pretty well. It’s easy to feel great sympathy for him when he is being strung up by the Dharma Initiative. Even though this is part of the payback for all the bad things he has done, we know he has been manipulated and used. We know he was coerced into torturing (214) and manipulated into killing (409). The theme of choice comes through loud and clear throughout the episode. Sawyer claims he has no choice but to live alongside young Ben. Older Ben suggests Sayid had no choice but to be a killer because that’s his nature. Finally Amy concludes that they have no choice but to kill Sayid to protect themselves. Well Sayid decides to take action into his own hands on all accounts.

It’s really nice to see that Sayid, unlike Jack (506), can see Flight 316 for what it so obviously was. And like any sensible person he tries to get off the flight. He even appeals to Ilana in case she is working for Ben and doesn’t realise what an evil person he is. That scene also functions as a handy reminder of all the things Ben has done which he needs to pay for. It’s very interesting that we get to see Ben being abused by his father as well (in front of Sayid). It reminds us of the reasons for Ben’s warped morality and perhaps is what stays Sayid’s hand for a little longer.

Once more the Dharma Initiative reminds us that they were essentially good people. They take a vote and are governed by the rule of law. Even Radzinski makes good points at their meeting about why their survival may depend on killing Sayid. That decision is taken only after exhausting all other options and Horace remains kind and reasonable throughout. Even their torture of Sayid is as gentle as they could be. It’s worth noting that when Radzinski threatens to call Ann Arbor he is referring to the University of Michigan where the De Groots work (see the Orientation film in 203 for more details on them and their connection to Dharma).

It’s good to see Sawyer ask the obvious question to Kate (why she came back). And it’s nice to see that he and Juliet gave them jobs which they would be capable of doing. Juliet makes Kate work for her, so that she can cover for her lack of knowledge and Hurley gets to be a chef. It’s interesting that we see Sawyer make a potentially foolish decision for the first time as LaFleur. When the house catches fire he calls all his security people to come fight the fire. But surely if someone is attacking the Barracks he should ask security to look out for Hostiles? It will be interesting to see if there is fallout from that.

The Bad: The problem with this episode is that it seems clear that Ben is not dead. Faraday made it clear that you can’t change the past (501, 508) and the producers of Lost have made it clear they aren’t in the business of creating multiple timelines and separate realities where events occur in different ways. Even without hearing that, a long-term viewer of the show can probably tell that that isn’t where the focus of the show is. The show is about characters and destiny, not about time travel. With the islands healing properties one can see Ben surviving the gun shot to the chest.

If all true then it immediately qualifies the shocking conclusion to the episode. Instead of the conclusion of the episode asking a hundred amazing questions it rather leads you to conclude that Ben will be ok and this isn’t the killer twist it came across as immediately.

Also there is a slight disconnect with Sayid’s behaviour at the beginning of the season and his flashbacks here. He tells Hurley not to trust anything which Ben says (501) and that was a big plot point because Hurley ran to the police (502) to avoid Ben. The implication of that was that Sayid had discovered some big lie or big manipulation or felt truly betrayed by Ben. But the flashback doesn’t really tell us that. Sayid seems angry at Ben for using him to kill and upset that Ben sees him as a born killer. But none of that quite fits with Sayid’s tone at the start of the season. And I don’t sense from this that there are any more Sayid-centric answers on their way.

The Unknown: Why is Oldham a “psychopath”? He seems pretty controlled. Though why is he living in a tent in jungle and what exactly does he do for them? Sayid of course confesses to being from the future and arriving on Oceanic Flight 815. We know Pierre Chang (501) is interested in experimenting with time. Could he possibly hear about this and have something to do with who gets on that flight? We already know that Matthew Abaddon led Locke down that path (411). Why is the Swann’s location such a secret? Could its location be outside the truce zone and therefore a potential cause of the truce being broken?

Did Ben have anything to do with putting Ilana onto Sayid and hence onto that flight? This episode makes me ask again why were Widmore’s people attacking Sayid and Hurley? (501,502). Were they Widmore’s people? Were they Ben’s?

It’s interesting that Sayid ends up lying and saying he was sent to take Ben to the Hostiles. It was Ben who was once locked in a prison lying his way out (214-220). He told Locke that he had come to take him back to the Others (220). We still don’t know if that was a lie or not. Perhaps recovering from the gunshot will be the way Ben proves to the Hostiles that he is worthy to become their leader? The same way that Locke’s recovery led him down that path.

Best Moment: Sayid’s torture scene. In a way it is such a seminal moment for the show because viewers longed to see Ben or Ethan strung up like this and forced to answer questions about the island. But it has never happened and here it’s ironically one of our survivors who is forced to tell the truth. Of course the truth sounds like lies to Horace and company as talk of the future understandably would. The scene is excellent on those levels as well as the sympathy drawn for Sayid for what he is going through. It also fits with the greatest strength of this episode which is that the viewer has no idea what Sayid is going to come out with next or how they will react to it.

Oldham’s reaction, understandably is to strengthen the dose because Sayid is clearly lying. But Sayid lets out hysterical laughter and says “You used exactly enough” and cackles on. There’s something so real about that moment. What I try to do with my reviews is peel back the insane plot developments and ask whether the characters you are watching are behaving as humans really would. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the story and forget that people have emotions and under great stress would show them. Think about how bizarre this experience is for the drugged out Sayid. All he can think about is how silly and funny it is that he is talking to dead men. He has travelled through time! Suddenly with his guard down and his mind wandering he sees through it all and laughs. Half funny and half crying he laughs at the insanity of explaining to dead men that they are going to die. It’s a wonderful little moment.

The Bottom Line: It’s pretty rare to keep viewers on the edge of their seats with no idea what is going to happen next. We all know the rules of television. We know certain characters aren’t going to die or suffer certain consequences. So the writers deserve huge credit for creating a story with so much suspense and no obvious direction. Sayid has always provided dramatic and action filled stories and this is another good one. There are one or two flaws preventing this from rising to classic status. But for a character piece focussing on Sayid’s depressed and confused state, it is superb.

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