"You're capable of things most people aren't. You're a killer, Sayid."
Talk about a crowd-pleasing episode! We got pretty much everything I predicted and an ending that was a literal knockout! Sayid is still alive, Ben is possibly dead, we filled in the blanks in Sayid's backstory and set up a rollicking plotline for the next few episodes.
The only thing I really didn't like was that Sayid's backstory didn't tell us much we didn't already know - the only new stuff was Ilana's motivation for capturing Sayid and the scene with her and him on the plane (which I'm sure will come back to haunt Ben later on). But Naveen Andrews had so many terrific scenes - Moscow and his flowing mane of hair, his interrogation and evil laugh and, of course, all his interactions with young Ben, including the awesome ending.
Gotta ask the questions, especially the big one:
1) Is Ben really dead?
I was thinking of calling this "Did Sayid just change the future?" but we really can't speculate on that until we confirm Ben is really and truly dead in 1977. Personally, given Ben's importance and the fact they're all on an Island that can protect people (like Michael and Jack, for example) and heal them really, really quickly, I think Ben is going to be just fine in a future episode. This also fits with Faraday's theory that they can't change things - i.e. in the normal, true unaltered timeline, Sayid was meant to go back in time and shoot Ben, which likely set off a whole other chain of events that were meant to happen, but Ben survives. Under this scenario, the future would be unaltered and, ironically, by attempting to kill him, Sayid just may have made Ben the bitter, evil, manipulative bastard we've come to know and love.
But let's say hypothetically that Ben really is dead - what would this do to the time stream? Theoretically on the show it would tear everything apart. Killing young Ben means no Purge, no "Henry Gale" in the Swan, no manipulation of Sayid in the future and no war with Widmore. But most importantly, it would likely change things to an extent where Flight 815 never crashes on the Island - if DHARMA's still around, perhaps the Swan is being managed properly and the button gets pushed on September 22nd, 2004. This would mean Sawyer and company never land on the Island and never go back in time (of course, Ben wouldn't be there to turn the wheel anyway). This would cause time to either split apart into an alternate timeline or simply cease to exist.
But since Sawyer and company are still around, it does suggest that things didn't change very much. And remember, according to Ben this episode, he's been on the Island for four years, meaning he was already there when Sawyer and company arrived.
Sawyer told Sayid he knew who young Ben was this episode, meaning he must have known for quite some time. Thus Sawyer, Jin and Juliet had three freakin' years to kill Ben if they wanted to, but didn't and you know Sawyer (or Juliet for that matter) would have at least taken a shot, but they didn't. Why? My guess is because Faraday told them it either wouldn't make any difference or it would be really, really bad. But since everyone's still there, I'm guessing the former.
So how did Ben survive? Deus ex machina is as good a guess as any.
2) Assuming Ben is still alive, did he always remember in the future that Sayid shot him when he was a kid?
Ben and Sayid have quite the future together. First, Sayid tortures Ben in the Swan station, then Ben uses Sayid to (presumably) eliminate all his enemies (they may have been truly working for Widmore, but you have to think that Ben didn't do it for the Losties at all).
So when Ben "met" Sayid in the Swan for the "first time," did he get a cold chill? After all, the first words out of Sayid's mouth were:
"My name is Sayid Jarrah, and I am a torturer."Did Ben suddenly think, like the petunias, "oh no, not again!" - this is the guy who shot me in my youth and he hasn't aged a day? Did he perhaps know he was going to meet Sayid there? Was part of the reason he was in the Swan because he knew this was his destiny? He certainly didn't seem to give any indications in past episodes that he knew that episode, but I'm willing to bet that part of the reason he made Sayid his personal killbot in the future was in revenge for Sayid shooting him in the past.
I'm really hoping for another scene in the future between older Ben and Sayid where Ben tells him something along the lines of:
Well, Sayid, now you know... you're the person who made me everything I am today.Oh, that would be just so delicious... :)
3) Assuming that Ben is still there in the future, will Ilana help Locke in kicking his ass?
So it seems that Ilana really had no idea about the Island or who Sayid was aside from an assassin. She also wasn't hired by Ben to get Sayid on the plane or even knew who Ben was. So the question now is, how much will Sayid's warning about Ben to her affect her? She certainly remembers the commotion when he came on board, along with Sayid's rant about him. Methinks this is going to bode very poorly for Ben when he wakes up.
I also wonder if Ilana was related to the guy Sayid shot at all? In other words, was it personal or strictly business?
4) Where does Sayid go now?
Personally I'm hoping he's driven straight into the hands of the Others so we can see what they're up to. Heck, even if he just got in a bit of 1977 Island exploration that would be cool. Maybe we could see the Swan being dug out or some of the other stations. So many possibilities here. Be nice to get some more Smokey action too.
5) So where is the season going from here?
Originally I had thought the season was going to end with the O6 getting back to the Island. Since this already happened like four episodes ago, the question now becomes what type of cliffhanger will the season end on? Obviously Sayid set off a chain of events this episode that could get the ball rolling towards the end of the season. Will the Losties remain in this time or be sent (or escape to) another? And what type of finale is the show building towards?
I'm really at a loss here, unless we finally see one of the big mysteries of the show like the Magic Box. Any suggestions?
* IMHO, this was the best Sayid episode (and best performance by Naveen Andrews) since "One of Them"
* Ben should be about 13-14 years old this episode.
* After the long-haired Sayid kicks some Russian ass, Em says he's "the hottest guy in the cast." Yeah, well...
* The book Ben gave to Sayid was "A Separate Reality" by Carlos Castaneda.
* William Sanderson's character was named "Oldham," according to the ABC press release. Now we just got to get his two brothers on the show. ;)
* The scene with Roger and Ben in Sayid's cell room was terrific too.
* Hurley "makin' waffles" and "brings out the ham" keeps getting all the best comedic lines this season. Love his little DHARMA symbol.
* I was very disappointed Sawyer voted to kill Sayid, even if he tried to make up for it later on.
* Ilana was after Sayid for killing Peter Avellino in "The Economist"
* Ben sent the flaming van into Building 15
* As Jack was wielding his fire hose, Em: "Aren't you supposed to point the hose at the base of the fire?" Dammit, he's a doctor not a fireman... :)
* Sawyer mentioned they hadn't had a flaming van for three years. Was Ben igniting them before and got called off by Richard?
* Horace mentioned calling "Ann Arbor," which is where Pierre Chang is from. Speaking of which, in light of what we know today, this video makes an awful lot of sense now and gives even more credence to the idea that they can't change the future at all.
This was old school Lost tonight! A tight, character-driven LOST episode with a fabulous ending. And it's soooooooo good to see the Sayid of old back! And to think, all he had to do to get his mojo back was to kill Ben. Kudos all round.
The only thing I can nitpick on was that most of the flackbacks were kinda redundant - really only the last two with Ilana told us something new. But it's a solid 4.5/5.0 and, once again, I can't WAIT for next week. :)