Lost Season 6 Episode 6: Sundown
So far this season, they’ve been following the order of the S1 episodes, at least insofar as to who’s getting the flashback treatment. Last week’s episode just so happened to tie very closely to its S1 counterpart in themes and locations, but this week was largely independent of any S1 correlations. The corresponding episode in S1 (“House of the Rising Sun”) was Sun-centric (dealing with the at-the-time shocking reveal that she could speak English), and truth be told, we were a little wary last week when we found out the title of this episode was “Sundown,” since it implied a fairly ominous fate for her, but she was largely relegated to a bit part this week and the episode went off in a different direction.
We’re not gonna lie, we were a bit disappointed that it was Sayid-centric episode. Don’t get us wrong, we like Sayid, but we were never terribly captivated by his backstory. Lost has a fantastic track record for developing grand, melodramatic love stories where couples are separated from each other and must find their way back: Desmond and Penny, Rose and Bernard, Sun and Jin. Sayid and Nadia’s story followed the same themes, but it never really seemed as captivating as the other couples’ quests.
And as much as we’re intrigued by the B timeline, it loses us a bit every time it introduces brand new characters. Jack’s son last week was only marginally interesting because it fit with Jack’s whole “father and son” theme and because it was a shock to the viewer how far the B timeline deviates from the A timeline. Nadia marrying Sayid’s barely-mentioned-before-now brother? Can’t say it had us on the edge of our seats. Their love story should work on paper but to be honest, both Nadia and Sayid are played by actors who look pretty but don’t have much in the way of acting chops. And we didn’t care about Sayid’s brother in that flashback about not killing a chicken last season, so we care even less about his bad business decisions now.
Now that fight between Sayid and Dogen? AWESOME. Sayid’s so much more entertaining when he’s kicking ass and taking names. Probably the best fight scene they ever had on the series and that’s really saying something. An unusually intense and prolonged action sequence for network television, it was more like something you’d see in a feature film. Crouching Sayid, Hidden Dogen.
In fact, except for that fight scene in the beginning and the jaw-dropping final ten minutes or so, we found this episode to be a bit of slog to get through. Very little was revealed that we either hadn’t surmised or didn’t already know. Smokey is recruiting an army. Sayid is infected with something that will turn him to the dark side. Claire wants to kill Kate for taking Aaron away. Sure, there were little bits to tantalize us here and there, but for the most part, this was a “moving the pieces into position” episode and by the end, there were certainly some interesting teamups going on.
It’s interesting to note that the first 3 seasons of Lost were about expanding the character set as we found out there were more and more people on the island than we realized, until by Season 4 with the arrival of the Freighties, the island was populated with a rather large number of people. Then, it became all about reducing the island population. All of the 815 survivors are dead with the exception of a handful, the only Freighties still alive are Miles and Lapidus, and it seems to us that most of the Other population is dead now too. We’re back down to a relatively small collection of people now and those people are all breaking off into two factions. Charles Widmore told Locke last season that a war was coming and we largely assumed it would be a war between Widmore and Ben but clearly it’s going to be a war between Smokey and… who, exactly? Jacob is dead, Dogen and Lennon appear to be dead (but that fountain they died in is the same one that Sayid died in and then got better 2 hours later, so the jury’s still out on those two). So who is Smokey gathering his army to fight?
There’s an opposite team forming of Ilana, Ben, Sun, Miles, Lapidus and probably Jack and Hurley, but that’s an awfully small army in comparison to Smokey, who has everyone who defected from the Temple, plus Kate, Claire, Sayid, and probably Sawyer and Jin, since they were last seen in Smokey’s company. Claire, Sayid and Sawyer all seem pretty happy to be on Team Smokey, but we can’t imagine that Kate and Jin are gonna want to hang around with that crowd. And while we remain intrigued by the new status quo, the focus this episode was on Sayid and the tragic realization that, despite his protestations to the contrary, he’s not a good man.
But didn’t we know that already? Sure, he’s a “good guy” in the sense that he’s clearly meant to be a sympathetic character, but hasn’t the show already hammered the point home time and time again that he’s a killer and a torturer and that he can’t escape that? What did last night’s episode add that we don’t already know about him?
Don’t get us wrong, watching Keamy die a second time is always entertaining, but aside from B-Sayid meeting up with B-Jin, who we haven’t seen in that timeline since he was led away by Customs agents, there was little about the B timeline that interested us and only slightly more in the A timeline that interested us.
As for Smokey, we’re more convinced than ever of what we’ve been saying all along: There is a clear bad guy in this scenario and Smokey’s it. People have been trying to argue that Jacob’s not exactly an angel and that’s true, but with this episode the body count on Smokey’s side of the chart got upped considerably and seeing the smirking Claire and Sayid under his influence sure makes him look like exactly what Dogen said he was: evil incarnate. Obviously, we already knew that whatever Smokey is, he’s not human (at least not anymore) so it wasn’t exactly surprising that he not only survived a knife to the chest, but that when he pulled it out, it was completely clean. With his classic devil’s bargain offer to Sayid, “What if I told you you could have anything you ever wanted?” It’s going to take a lot to convince us that he’s anything other than what everyone has been saying about him all along.
Granted, Dogen told a story of Jacob that not only didn’t paint him in a good light either, it also raised some intriguing questions about the timeline. Dogen accidentally killed his son and Jacob offered to bring him back, but Dogen would never be able to see him again. What’s intriguing about that is we saw Dogen and his son in the B timeline. What if the B-timeline is where these bargains get fulfilled? Sayid told Smokey, “The only thing I ever wanted died in my arms,” and sure enough, there’s Nadia in the B timeline, alive and well – and in classic “be careful what you wish for” mode, married to Sayid’s brother. Of course, every woman Sayid ever slept with on this show died in his arms: Nadia, Shannon, and that German chick who tried to kill him. We think we can rule out that last one, but wouldn’t it be interesting if Sayid was instead referring to Shannon when he said that?
Sorry this post is so disjointed but to be honest, this seemed like a pretty disjointed episode to us. That’s not really a complaint, though. It’s not likely to go down as our favorite of the seasons, but Lost always has to do these setup episodes at least once or twice a season in order to move the story along and they haven’t disappointed us yet when it comes to payoffs. Let’s just wrap this up with some discussion points and observations.
* How fabulous was it when Miles recounted Kate’s encounter with Sawyer with total accuracy? Remember, Kate has spent a grand total of about 4 months of her life in the presence of Sawyer. She doesn’t know him nearly as well as Miles, who spent three years living with him in the ’70s. It was a nice touch for the writers to subtly point that out.
* “Still hot though.” Miles continues to make the best sidekick ever. Sure, we’d love to see him take a more active role (and he’ll probably get a moment at some point) but his real strength as a character is in his interactions with the main characters. Normally, we’d point out that the Asian sidekick is a bit of a sterotype, but considering this show has the most multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-national cast in the history of network television, they’ve bought some goodwill from the audience in that regard.
* “You gonna hurt them?” “Only the ones who don’t listen.” We’re loving the creepy relationship Claire and Smokey have going on. It’s casual and knowing, which makes sense since they too have probably been in contact for 3 years now. It kind of reminds us of that dream Claire had back in S1 of Locke, sitting at a table in the jungle with a Tarot deck, telling Claire she had to pay a price for giving up her baby and looking like this. Don’t tell us these writers haven’t had a master plan all along. They’ve been dropping consistent clues since the pilot episode.
*Which reminds us, did anyone else think there was some weird effect going on with Claire’s eyes? The pupils were huge in some shots.
* In case you didn’t make the connection, the song “Catch a Falling Star” has always been an ongoing thematic reference to Claire’s pregnancy. In flashback, she asked the pending adoptive parents to promise they’d sing it to her baby since she had memories of her father singing it to her, and it was a musical reference in the scenes when Claire was in the care of Ethan and his endless supply of needles before Rousseau helped her escape. The scene of Claire smiling as she stepped over dozens of dead bodies, the song playing in the background, was one of the creepiest and most ominous the show’s ever had.
* We’re starting to get a little frustrated with the constant near-misses happening regarding the long-delayed Sun and Jin reunion. Please, writers. Don’t drag that out all season. Throw us a bone here.
* We’re also kind of depressed at Ben Linus’ fall from grace. Watching him back away, then run away from the murderous Sayid made us long for the days when Ben always had a plan and wasn’t afraid of anything. We suspect he will also get a moment before all this is over, and frankly, that’s one moment we can’t wait to see.
[Pictures courtesy of ABC TV]