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Lost recap: The Smoke Monster recruits Sayid to his A team

3

March

Lost-sayid2 Is the mystery behind Lost simple as God and the devil duking it out for good?

You got that feeling during Tuesday's episode "Sundown," which featured Naveen Andrews' mournful Sayid stepping up and living down to the worst expected of him since his mysterious resurrection.

By show's end, our resident villain, the Smoke Monster Shaped as Locke, had pushed Sayid into killing the Temple's guardian -- allowing him to invade the Temple where followers of his nemesis Jacob were sheltered and kill everyone who wouldn't switch allegiance to him. Except, of course, notable Lostie characters such as the bounty hunter Ilana, pilot Frank Lapidus and the always amusing guy who can talk to dead people, Miles Straume.

In typical Lost fashion, those characters found a back door exit from the Temple moments before Ol' Smokey took everyone else out. (No wonder the temple they were hiding in looked like a refugee from an Indiana Jones movie -- they're jacking plot twists from the same pulpy sources.)

It's a measure of how far Lost has traveled that even the most cursory plot descriptions sound like the ravings of a lunatic to anyone who doesn't know the show. 

Lost-lockeandclaire But for those of us keeping score, "Sundown" felt like another scene-setter, outlining how Not-Locke has recruited a band of supporters to stand by him on the island, including Sayid and feral mom Claire Littleton. With free will and choices standing as major themes, it's obvious Not-Locke needs these people to freely do something he can't in order to secure his departure from the island.

The only questions left are what exactly must they do, and what will happen to our characters -- and the wider world -- if he succeeds? 

Actually, that's not true. When it comes to Lost, there are never just a couple of questions left.

Unfortunately, we didn't see any major revelations adding to our tally of answers for questions the show MUST answer, so I'm hopeful next week's episode will deliver a treasure trove. We did finally see an episode where the action in one time line directly informed the understanding of choices made in another.

Watching Sayid show tenderness to his soulmate Nadia -- who is married to his brother in the timeline where our castaways didn't crash on the island -- viewers were slyly reminded of his feelings for her. So it made much more sense when Sayid decided to follow Not-Locke in the other timeline, amid hopes of getting back to his lost love, somehow.

And before my brain explodes from all the plot intricacies and time travel, I must ask a few new questions.

Lost-locke-knife Why is Sayid, a guy who worked for Saddam Hussein in Iraq, so gullible in this episode? One minute, he's running off to try killing Smokey -- because a guy who has tried to kill him once already suggested it -- and he next, he's killing that guy after a five minute talk with Not-Locke.

How does Sayid kill the guardian of the Temple, a martial arts expert named Dogen, in five minutes, when that guy had handily kicked his butt just a few hours earlier?

How wimpy is Miles, who couldn't keep bounty hunter Ilana from bursting through a door in the temple when they all were running from Ol' Smokey?

While this was yet another episode which felt like an elaborate set up for larger action to come, it was redeemed by its focus on Sayid, one of the show's most compelling and under-used characters.

And now that the tortured torturer is on the Smoke Monster's team, I'm expecting some serious action to come.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:06pm]

    

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