SPOILER ALERT: If you have not watched last night’s Lost yet, order a comrade to shoot you before you read any further.
It is good when you get a Sayid episode, because when you get a Sayid episode, stuff happens. For as it is written in the Scripture:
If Jack is a man of science, and Locke is a man of faith, Sayid is portrayed as a man of many skills. The importance of his skills, primarily, comes from its role in the Storyline, in which it is often employed in revealing new secrets of the Island.
What they said. I would go further and add, Sayid is the Losties’ weapon: the one of them who can best understand, fight, and prise information from the Others, because he is most like them, or at least was. A former torturer, he can see through deceptions (partly from having perpetrated them himself); he knows how the lying and the truthful behave under duress, having been on both sides of the interrogation; and he understands the workings of secrecy and fear. (The fact that Naveen Andrews is one of the cast’s best actors helps sell the role too.) He may be better than that now–the cat staring him down at the end of the episode looked unconvinced–but thankfully he’s not too much better.
Anyway, a lot of data points from last night:
* So to our collection of philosopher character names–Hume, Locke, Rousseau, etc.–we get to add Mikhail Bakunin. Note to the producers: Jean Baudrillard’s available now if you want to get more current.
* Assuming we can believe the bulk of Bakunin’s story, we’ve got confirmation of the long-floating theory that the Others (or “Hostiles”) were actively at war with the Dharma Initiative, and were there before Dharma arrived (which would seem to work against the idea that they’re a Dharma splinter group).
* I like the fact that the producers, after the first season, did not make Locke into some kind of infallable mystic hunter-savior whose instincts were always right. His faith leads the Losties to remarkable breakthroughs (finding the original hatch and now The Flame) but also leads him to act alone, impetuously and sometimes disastrously. But I wonder if the writers have not swung the pendulum back too far the other way with him, making him the island’s designated bumbler–let’s give him something to do besides accidentally blowing things up.
* I have to admit, it was not until after the episode that I realized the Sayid-centric significance of the cat’s name, Nadia–the same as his lost love and Republican Guard victim. Nice touch.
* The ping-pong subplot was definitely a throwaway, and the no-nicknames bet a little too Brady Bunch-y. But they kept it suitably short, I did enjoy the moment of Sawyer standing in for the viewers, addressing the appeared-from-nowhere castaway Nikki: “Who the hell are you?”
* Finally, I can’t end this without saying farewell to my favorite enigmatic bit character. Namaste, Mrs. Klugh!