LostWatch: Thieves in the Temple

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SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, find the right stone to push at the temple and watch last night’s Lost.

I have stuffed James away in a dark hole where Claire is singing a creepy, off-key lullaby to him. So let’s get to “Sundown.”

When season six started a month ago, fans who had endured a long hiatus expected quick answers. It’s the last season, after all; the show ends just a few weeks from now, on May 23. But instead, during the first four weeks of this season, we got new characters like Dogen and Lennon, an elaborate new set at the temple, and SmokeLocke insisting to Sawyer during a long jungle trek that his questions (and, presumably, ours) would be answered if we just keep following. It was a little annoying: it’s way past teasing time.

Tonight, the teasing ended. Dogen and Lennon are dead. The temple is in ruins. But we may have landed, regrettably, in Zombieland.

For weeks, the fan community had buzzed about tonight’s episode, officially No. 6 of the season (assuming you count the two-hour premiere as episodes 1 and 2). Before it aired, tonight’s episode was rumored to contain a great deal of revelatory information. I don’t think so much was revealed — see the hail of bullets below — but “Sundown” did represent a big break from the windy, mysterious, season-one-like pacing of the previous hours of this season.

At the end of last week’s episode, if you recall, Jack smashed the mirrors in the lighthouse. Tonight, Damon and Carlton broke the mirroring trick they had employed in episodes 3, 4 and 5 of this season, which had matched closely to hours 3, 4 and 5 of season one. For instance, episode 3 of season one, “Tabula Rasa,” was about what Kate did back home; ep 3 this season was “What Kate Does.” Similarly, last week’s installment was a Jack episode that included some of the same lines and Alice-in-Wonderland images of the season one’s “White Rabbit.”

So tonight’s “Sundown” was supposed to match the Sun-and-Jin season-one epiode “House of the Rising Sun.” Fans on the excellent Transmission podcast had speculated that tonight we would find Sun and Jin ending up as the Adam and Eve skeletons first shown in “House of the Rising Sun.”

Instead, unexpectedly, we were served a Sayid episode in which Sun and Jin barely figured. We got Sayid’s flash-sideways story, which (like most of the flash-sideways stories) seems intentionally boring. In the new-2004 timeline, Sayid translates contracts for an oil company. He pines for Nadia, who is married to his brother. He’s sweet to his niece and nephew. (Is is just me, or is Lost obsessed with children this season?)

On the island in the other timeline, 2007, Sayid confronts Dogen, who convinces him to try to kill SmokeLocke. Dogen is careful to instruct Sayid not to let SmokeLocke speak before Sayid attempts the murder. But Sayid isn’t quick enough. He plunges a dagger deep into SmokeLocke’s chest, and although it leaves a hole in SmokeLocke’s sweaty T-shirt, it apparently does not puncture his livid heart.

There’s been much debate about whether Jacob might actually end up being the bad guy of Lost, but I’m not buying it — at least not if that means SmokeLocke is supposed to be good guy. Tonight SmokeLocke said to Sayid, “What if I told you that you could have anything you wanted? What if I said you could have anything in the entire world?” This is pretty standard Satan talk: only the devil promises everything. It also echoes the famous line that preternaturally wicked Ben Linus says to the real Locke in season three: “What if I told you that, somewhere on this island, there is a very large box and whatever you imagined, whatever you wanted to be in it when you opened that box, there it would be?”

Except we now have Ben possibly turning into a good guy. “Sundown” ends with the beach folks, led by Ilana and including Ben, finally arriving at the temple and saving, at least, Miles.

And that leaves Kate. Back in season three’s “Par Avion”, Mikhail told Kate that she was not on “the list” — presumably Jacob’s list. Tonight she ends up going back to the Silence of the Lambs hole to find Claire. Kate had come back to the island to find Claire, but Kate has always been her best on the run. Now that she’s returned to something, she seems doomed. At the end of tonight’s episode, she ends up with Claire, Sayid, SmokeLocke and the rest of the zombies.

OK so are they zombies? Sayid (or Zombie Sayid) said explicitly earlier this season that he was not a zombie — but isn’t that precisely what you would expect a zombie to say? Naveen Andrews, who plays Sayid, is a talented enough actor that I don’t think his vacant expression in the final frames is an accident. He looks and acts like a zombie, following SmokeLocke at will. SmokeLocke can’t be killed because he’s already dead — just like a zombie. (Hurley, where are you? At this point I need a funny line about zombies.)

With that, the hail of bullets:

Why did Claire tell Kate to jump into her Silence of the Lambs hole? If she truly hates Kate for taking Aaron, why not let Smokey kill her?

Did Ilana’s team stake out the temple? Did they just happen to arrive at the moment?

If SmokeLocke wants to leave the island so badly, why didn’t he leave with the very eager Sawyer? What has happened in the interim?

How does Dogen’s torture machine work? He says it balances good and evil, so does that mean a truly good person would enjoy being electrocuted?

Why was Dogen so important? And what does that baseball have to do with it?

Dogen seems pretty dead, and there aren’t too many episodes to revive him as a full character. But could he emerge at the end alive because he was drowned in what used to be Jacob’s healing waters?

Can the Lost makeup people ever get hair right? It was nice to see Keamy again, but that awful thing on his head is either a hairpiece or a huge wad of styling gel.

by John Cloud