Sunday, July 24, 2011

LOST Redux: S3E11 Enter 77

(At the request of a reader, I will be reposting old editions of my LOST column as they no longer appear on the internet. I will not be making any edits to them, so please be aware that they represent a moment and time--my thoughts and analysis after watching an episode's initial airing.)

Ask and ye shall receive. For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing how there hasn’t been nearly enough Sayid this season. Last week, I even said we should have a Sayid episode this week. Well…let me put a couple disclaimers out there right now.

First, I don’t read spoilers or leaked information on the internet purposefully anymore. In the first season, I used to know which episode belonged to which character months away. I don’t like to know that much information ahead of time anymore. So no, when writing that we needed a Sayid episode this week, I wasn’t aware it was actually a Sayid episode this week. The reason I used the word “purposefully” as a qualifier is because of accidental moments. For instance, last night, I went to to see when the replay of the new South Park was airing (as LOST and South Park, my two favorite shows, now air at the same time) and saw a LOST headline that read “Someone else dies tonight.” Why they needed to hype the death of Mrs. Klugh is beyond me, but they did and knowing someone was going to die altered my perception of the episode before I viewed it in a way I didn’t want.

Second, I am no way trying to suggest that I actually influenced the writing of the show. Obviously, these episodes were written and filmed sometime in the fall. At the very least, what I am suggesting is that I am aware to the current of the show as the writers and producers are. Then again, saying Sayid was missing so far this season wasn’t exactly a difficult prediction. Even retarded four year old Dave Matthews on House could identify that the guy who looks like a dog when it rains was missing, with or without the right half of his brain removed.

To be honest, I’m not sure how much I have to say about this episode. Thinking about it, I anticipate this column being my shortest of the season thus far. If that disappoints you, I apologize. Otherwise, be a realist and enjoy that you’re getting something. Besides, would you rather me write six pages of bullshit or three pages of sustenance? That question is rhetorical.


I’m sort of surprised that in this flashback episode there was no mention of Shannon. Maybe my reaction has a bit to do with my problem with the Sayid and Shannon relationship from the beginning. LOST has been made out to be a deeply romantic show, engrained with the concept of soul mates. Sayid’s soul mate was made out to be Nadia. Then, he fell in love with Shannon. I’m not going to be stupid enough to say that in real life you can’t fall in love with people who aren’t your soul mate, but there is a difference between actual reality and fictional reality. Seeing as LOST is fictional reality, I have to wonder why they had Sayid seemingly fall so deeply in love with Shannon only have it to disappear a season later? Granted, you could argue that he got over it last season during his confrontation with Ana Lucia, but just last week Hurley was still shown mourning Libby. Why does that bond still endure, but Sayid seems to have returned to stable first season form? Maybe Shannon wasn’t Sayid’s soul mate, but Sayid was Shannon’s soul mate. How’s that possibility for a tragedy?

So, grief and mourning behind us, Sayid’s story delved back into the gripping international war drama it’s been from the beginning. While the action on the island was pretty good, I wasn’t a big fan of the flashbacks. Sayid’s flashbacks always tend to be slower and thoughtful, as that is the kind of character he is, but this story just didn’t seem to have the weight behind it that his others have. I don’t think it was a bad flashback by any means, but it wasn’t one of the best ever either. Oh, and the cat thing? That was just weird.

I do have one nitpick of this episode. How would Sayid not know that the guy was lying to him? Clearly, the story took place after Sayid was an interrogator in the Republican Guard. That fact was the entire point of the story. It has been firmly established that the reason Sayid can always tell if someone is lying is because of his interrogation training so, why, this time, did he not know the guy was lying? Did he simply trust the guy because he was also Iraqi? If he did, that doesn’t seem like a very Sayid thing to do. Of course, maybe that is a mistake he has since learned from. Maybe the reason he can always tell when someone is lying now is because his first instinct is now to make people earn trust rather than to grant it to them right away.

The scene where Sayid walked into the “restaurant” also reminded me of one of the earlier episodes of 24 this season. Taken prisoner by a Muslim terrorist, Jack Bauer is forced to be locked up in the home of a Muslim friend of the terrorist. The rooms looked very similar. Maybe it has something to do with the portrayal of Islamic culture on American television. Either way, maybe we can see a 24 crossover in one of Sayid’s future flashbacks.

I understand why Sayid didn’t tell the guy he was the one who tortured his wife. It was a lie of self defense. If he had told that guy he did it, the guy would have bashed his head in with that pipe Butterfly Effect style. Instead, Sayid gave himself the perfect cover story for the wife to allow him to escape.

While I’m on the subject of the wife, did she annoy the hell out of anyone else? First off, looking at her just made me want to punch. I’m not advocating violence against women (unless they max out your credit cards), but I am saying that I didn’t care that she was tortured. My only response was, “Get over it already.” Granted, I don’t know what it’s like to be in a box and have fire crackers thrown in there with me. Then again, if that cat was inside a box with firecrackers, how did it look so pristine in the episode? Shouldn’t it have been missing part of an ear, part of its tail, something?

And then that speech she gave at the end of the episode was maddening. She was better than Sayid and her other captors because she was letting him go? She wasn’t going to put him in a box with firecrackers because she was better than people who did such things? Oh yeah, lady, what about people who kidnap cooks, chain them up in a closet, make them drink water from a bowl, and allow their husband to beat them into a confession? What kind of people allow that series of events to unfold? Oh, I get it, all that stuff was the husband’s doing. She was the kind and forgiving one.

The character of the wife really makes me think of the manipulated moments theory. Her actions in the flashback are the reason Sayid didn’t kill the Russian at the end of the episode. It’s not like Rousseau was advocating an immoral position. The guy had already killed his own ally and shot Sayid (and the only reason he fixed Sayid was out of necessity to continue his ruse). Killing him was actually a rationale choice. I’m not saying I could’ve pulled the trigger myself, but you know Rousseau could have, very easily. So maybe the entire reason the wife acted the way she did was so Sayid wouldn’t kill the Russian.


You have to love how easily they wrote Rousseau out of the episode. It made complete sense within the realm of her character, but it was also hilarious when she was like, “I’ll meet you down by the river.” Is she even going to be useful when they find where The Good Guys (or Hostiles) live? She’ll probably just run and hide until the dust settles. Then, is Alex even going to want her around? If the girl is brainwashed, she’s definitely not going to believe a crazy wild woman is her mother. If she isn’t brainwashed, how is she going to react a crazy French chick showing up claiming to be her mother?

John Locke once again looked completely dimwitted. One of the most interesting parts of his character to me has always been how in his flashbacks he looks so weak and easy to manipulate, but on the island he is this iconic character that has this ridiculous knowledge base and somehow manipulates everyone else. In this episode, he was once again the dimwitted guy. Any halfway rationale person would have stayed with the gun pointed at the Russian, but he was so obsessed with the chess game. I’ll never understand why either. It was a stupid chess game. Also, anyone with half a brain had to figure that entering 77 if the Hostiles took over had to be some sort of self destruct sequence. He’s lucky he didn’t kill anyone in the process.

On the other side of the island, it’s interesting the way they’re building Hurley’s character. With all the leaders gone, he is becoming the center of the group. He’s even making an effort to reach out to Sawyer. They began building that relationship last season and this episode was a big step forward in it. Who ever thought Hurley would be the guy to console Sawyer over this entire Kate debacle?

And Kate, when did she become so weak that people had to worry about her being taken care of? Hurley had to reassure Sawyer that Kate would be ok because she was with Sayid and Locke? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought Kate was more adept at handling herself on the island than most of the guys. Then again, in the situation with the Russian, she seemed to be in over her head. For someone who lies as much as she does, she sure couldn’t figure out that he was lying very easily. Also, shouldn’t she have been able to take Mrs. Klugh pretty easily? I don’t know why that fight was so close. Are they watering down Kate’s character or is she just having a few off weeks?


We learned a few interesting details about the Dharma Initiative this week. The most important being how they communicated with the outside world. They used either a satellite or sonar. As I suspected though, the implosion of the Swan took away their communications abilities. I have to wonder how power is being supplied to the island now. Maybe there are a few backup generators here and there. Is it all going to last though?

Also, there’s a submarine. That piece of information is an interesting development. I wonder how it’ll be used in the future.

The most interesting point to me is this Dharma and Hostiles dichotomy. Obviously, from last night’s episode, we were led to believe that The Good Guys, led by Prince Ben, are the Hostiles. Mrs. Klugh was part of Prince Ben’s group and she was there with the Russian’s last night. However, a few things don’t add up. If they are the Hostiles and they were there long before Dharma, then why was Juliet (and Ethan) recruited in a manner befitting Dharma? Are there two mass conspiracies going on and one just happened to be on the island longer? Also, the Purge would have to have occurred sometime in the last three years, as Kelvin was still in the Swan with Desmond before then and mentioned nothing of a Purge. Finally, wouldn’t Rousseau have some type of recollection of a major island war?

To put that paragraph another way, the Russian’s entire story did not make sense. I’m not going to spend any more time analyzing it because it would be largely fruitless. We DO know there were Hostiles though from the computer in the Flame. It would be wrong, however, to assume that The Good Guys are the Hostiles and not what’s left of Dharma. There has to be something left of Dharma, why else would they keep dropping food and how else could Prince Ben be in contact with people off the island? At the very least, he has the power to get people off the island, or so Juliet believes.


I’m done. If you want more, too bad. Cue the catchphrase:

Shut up, you’re wrong.

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