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Voodoo Economics: Sayid Makes Friends and Enemies on "Lost"

What. The. Hell?

Lost is back, baby, and it has sucked me into its twisted web of storytelling with a lure that no other series can approach. Last night's episode of Lost ("The Economist") was a single hour of bait-and-switches, double-crosses, and wha-huh? moments unlike anything else on television, as we learned the identity of another member of the vaunted Oceanic Six and came face to face with one of the most shocking, unexpected endings in the history of the series.

Where to begin? For one, I did not expect that Sayid would be one of the six castaways to make it off the island nor did I expect him to draw his gun and shoot the mysterious Mr. Avellino on the golf course. (Which is what makes Lost so fantastic: the fact that it always manages to surprise with every turn.) And while I knew logically that this was a flash-forward I was still nonetheless surprised to hear Sayid so casually (and yet precisely) mention his status as one of the Oceanic Six. Right before he killed his newfound golf buddy and, in a nifty visual, stalked off the course as the sprinklers came on around him. When we next find Sayid, he's trying to get close to his next target in Berlin and makes contact with Elsa (Sleeper Cell's Thekla Reuten), a beautiful German blonde (who clearly resembles the dead Shannon) who works for a mysterious employer, The Economist.

Sayid, we learn, is on a mission to exterminate a group of people on a List (and we all know who likes to make lists). Still, he's just as surprised when he confesses this to Elsa and she draws a gun and shoots him. Elsa is obviously aware of Sayid's loyalties and remarks to her employer (the Economist) that he paged her 30 minutes late. (Or was it 31 minutes, due to the island lost time issue? Could R.G. be on the island? Hmmm.) Sayid is forced to kill Elsa and touches her bracelet as he closes her eyes. So, Sayid's vendetta is clearly tied to (A) the arrival on the island of the four strangers and (B) that bracelet that Naomi was wearing.

Speaking of Naomi's taste in jewelery (her bracelet contained an inscribed message, "N, I'll always be with you. R.G."), it was clear as soon as I noticed Elsa's bracelet that whoever Sayid was after was Naomi and Elsa's mysterious employer. So just what did Elsa's bracelet say? We'll probably never know, but it's dead certain that it was a gift from the mysterious R.G., clearly the mastermind behind Matthew Abaddon's pet project. (As for the identity of R.G., my mind started to race last night. Could it be Ricky Gervais? Rebecca Gayheart? Roman Grant? Richard Gere? Rudy Guiliani? I kid, I kid.)

And on the subject of double-crosses, I loved that Sayid traded Miles for Charlotte, with Miles unaware the entire time that that was the plan from the start in order for Sayid to extract the hostage without bloodshed. That Sayid, such a strategist.

Last night's episode featured several twists to ongoing mysteries surrounding the island and introduced a few new ones. I was shocked as hell when Sayid discovered Ben's secret room, which in addition to racks of neatly-pressed clothes, also contained an entire drawer filled with various foreign currencies and another filled with foreign passports with Ben's photo. One such passport was in the name of Dean Moriarty. Moriarty was, of course, the unstoppable arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes; Dean Moriarty is also a character in Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." (FYI, Kerouac also wrote the tantalizing-titled "Dharma Bums.")

The existence of these objects points to one thing: Ben has been leaving the island secretly and for quite some time. In fact, it's a subtle clue that points to the end of the episode in such a tantalizing way: Ben is clearly not one of the Oceanic Six--he wasn't on the plane, after all--but isn't on the island anymore, either. So why is Sayid killing for him? That's a mystery for another time, but suffice it to say that maybe Ben's not totally wrong about these newcomers on the island. Or Sayid falls prey to Ben's machinations sometime after their discussions in the barracks. But what is clear is that Elsa is willing to kill Sayid in order to get him to give up the name of his employer... revealing that Ben and the mysterious R.G. are nemeses looking to stop one another using any means necessary.

So just what happened to Jacob's cabin? After playing peekaboo with Hurley two episodes ago, the damned thing seems to have disappeared. Which would be bad enough, except for the fact that Locke believes he needs to get there straightaway (in order to receive instructions?) and the cabin is not where it is meant to be, something that doesn't surprise Ben in the least. (Though Locke and Hurley seem a little freaked out by this development.) Does the cabin exist outside of space and time? And why can Locke now not travel the distance to get to this place?

Speaking of time, Daniel Faraday completes an experiment as he waits with Jack and Lepidus (who does reveal to Jack that the Red Sox really did win the World Series) that indicates that time is seriously out of joint on the island. Calling to Regina (Death Proof's Zoe Bell) on the freighter to send a payload, Faraday is astonished to learn that the rocket does not make its scheduled appearance, instead turning up 31 minutes after its ETA. So how is time off by 31 minutes on the island? And what does this mean about time in general on the island? It's Day 100 on the island but how much time has gone by for the rest of the world? Curious.

Why does Lepidus warn Daniel to hang up if Minkowski answers the phone?

And just what happened to the castaways that propelled Sayid to work for one of their most dangerous enemies? And why couldn't he pull the trigger at that critical junction? Intriguing...

Best line of the night: "Oh awesome, the ship sent us another Sawyer." - Hurley, re: Miles.

Another shocker: that Kate would choose to remain with Sawyer in Locke's camp rather than return with Sayid. So what does this mean in terms of Kate ending up back on the mainland in the future? And does Jack forcibly separate her from Sawyer, leading to their chilly relationship down the road? We'll have to wait to find out...

Next week on Lost ("Eggtown"), Kate attempts to pry information out of hostage Miles, a move which could jeopardize her standing with Locke and Sawyer. Plus, a flash-forward featuring Freckles herself, Kate, reveals her newfound celebrity status.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Ghost Whisperer (CBS); 1 vs. 100 (NBC); Friday Night SmackDown (CW; 8-10 pm); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); House

9 pm: Celine Dion: That's Just the Woman in Me (CBS); Las Vegas (NBC; 9-11 pm); Desperate Housewives (ABC);
House (FOX)

10 pm: NUMB3RS (CBS);
20/20 (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8-11 pm: BBC America.

If you happen to be staying in after a long work week, why not do it in true Anglophile style with back-to-back episodes of Coupling and new sketch comedy series That Mitchell and Webb Look, from the stars of Peep Show?


Anonymous said…
I believe the title of Kerouac's book is Dharma Bums.
These first three episodes have been beyond fantastic and have given me chills, not unlike when I watched the first season of this extraordinary show. I just feel bad for all of those poor, confused souls who gave up on the show. They are missing a great ride.
The CineManiac said…
Seriously amazing. And the ending, I was assuming it was Ben based on the voice, but it was still a shock to see Sayid working for him.
Another Amazing Episode!
Anonymous said…
I love the Sayid said something about how the day he trusted Ben would be the day he sold his soul. Looks like that day has come, my friend.
Anonymous said…
This ep was FULL of jaw dropping moments. I loved every second (I think my favorite part was when Sayid was lying in bed w/no shirt).

My friend, whom I watch with, called the Ben ending about halfway through. Good on her!

As far as RG - do we know for sure that RG is male? I ask because as soon as the ship person said, "It's Regina" - my friend and I said, "Regina! R!" We are nuts.

Also, my sister freeze-framed the books on the shelf blocking Ben's secret lair - on the shelf? A Narnia book. Dun dun DUN.

I am glad Sayid and his hot bod made it off the island safely, even if he has turned into a killing machine for Ben.
Anonymous said…
_(As for the identity of R.G., my mind started to race last night. Could it be Ricky Gervais? Rebecca Gayheart? Roman Grant? Richard Gere? Rudy Guiliani? I kid, I kid.)_

I don't know, Rudy Guiliani sounds about right to me.

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