Riddle me this.
How is GB like a rocket?
Aside from the very obvious, he’s behind schedule.
So, here I am. Are you ready for my payload?Our story returns to the screen this week with a shot of Sayid kneeling with his eyes closed. I’d say he’s praying, but it seems more like meditation. While Jack, Juliet and Miles discuss the revelation that the rescue group is actually on the island in search of Ben, Sayid focuses on the corpse of Naomi across the clearing. After a few moments, Sayid strolls over to the body and tenderly closes the dead woman’s eyes and covers her gently with the blanket. He notices a bracelet on her wrist that has an interior engraving.
Lost fans everywhere wrack their brains for a character with the initials “R.C.” to no avail.
Kate has joined the conversation, which has turned from the group’s goal of locating Ben to their mutual problem of John Locke. It’s interesting that Miles calls Locke their “mutual problem” when in fact, since he’s out of the picture and it appears that the Jack Faction is poised for rescue, Locke is really only Miles’s problem. Miles manipulates Jack into his old pattern of opposing Locke simply to oppose Locke. He’s got prospective rescuers, a chopper, a telephone and a boat waiting to get them off the island. Realistically, he should leave Locke to his own devices and let Miles and his well equipped group do the rescuing. Of course, he doesn’t.
Sayid, as usual points out the obvious. After verifying the helicopter is still capable of flying, he practically orders Frank to take him to his ship. When Jack starts to interrupt, Sayid states it flatly.
“We did call these people to get us off this island, didn’t we?”
Frank assures him that the ‘copter will indeed fly. He can take three people with him on the return run to the ship. Miles reminds Frank of the flip side of their little expedition.
“In case you zoned out while you were tweezing your goatee, one of these yahoos took Charlotte prisoner.”
Sayid, as usual, has the solution. “I can bring her back. Safely.”
Instead of offering unhelpful advice or bursting into tears at being left out, Jack simply watches the exchange.
“And if I do, you’ll take me to the ship?”
Frank tells him, “Absolutely. You bring Charlotte back safe and I will take you off this island.”
On a course not built by Hurley, Sayid plays a solo round of golf. As he prepares for a fairway shot, a fellow golfer pulls up in a cart and offers him a ride to the next hole. Sayid declines and after a polite chat in which we learn that they are in the Seychelles (more islands!) the two men agree on a wager. Sayid will use his 7 iron, but the golfer he just met will use a 5. Sayid takes his shot and hits the green a respectable distance from the pin. As the unnamed gentleman lines up his shot, he asks what Sayid does. Sayid, it turns out, does nothing thanks to a large settlement from an airline crash he was in. When Sayid explains that he is one of the Oceanic Six, the man’s confidence vanishes and he seems quite fearful. He is still able to place his ball closer to the pin, however.
He waves off the wager, seemingly uncomfortable taking his winnings from one of the Oceanic Six. Sayid really wants to make sure he gets what’s coming to him, calling him by name. “I insist, Mr. Avellino.”
Before the gentleman can question how Sayid knows his name, out comes a gun and down goes Mr. Avellino.
(*Google obsessive sidenote: Nothing really interesting comes up about Avellino except that it is a town and a province in Italy. I found out that during casting the character was called “Dante” and Dante Avellino is an anagram for Naval Note Lied. Of course it’s also an anagram for Naval Deletion, Neonatal Devil, All One Deviant, Dilate No Navel and Anal Idol Event, among a thousand others. I really need to lay off the anagrams)
Sayid leaves Mr. Avellino dead on the fairway and casually strolls away as the fairway sprinklers turn on.
Now dressed in a casual suit, Sayid looks for an open seat in a cafe. He finds one with an attractive blond woman who is sitting alone and asks, in German, if he can join her. She motions him to the seat and the two quickly determine that they both speak English.
The woman directs him to his destination and introduces herself. Elsa asks Sayid what he does and he responds that he’s a headhunter. After the previous scene we get the sense that he is speaking rather more literally than he lets on. She works for an economist who works in emerging markets, but apparently she is only his personal shopper, at his beck and call by means of an antiquated looking pager. She leads a life of great leisure, since her employer only comes to Berlin once or twice a year, leaving her free to enjoy the luxury of long afternoon coffees when he is elsewhere. When she suggests that she recognizes Sayid, he agrees to tell her where she knows him from provided that they have dinner together. She circles a restaurant on his map, agrees to the date and leaves.
Walking down a snowy street, Sayid dials a not so antiquated looking phone, tells the voice on the other end that he’s made contact, hangs up and throws the phone in a nearby trash can. As he walks away, he grabs some snow and seems to be washing the hand that held the phone. It’s an odd enough thing to do that I’m certain we are meant to note it.
(*Cultural sidenote: Muslim culture dictates that a person eats with their right hand and wipes after an Anal Idol Event with their left, never the reverse. While it seems from this shot that Sayid is left handed, I wonder if perhaps the hand washing indicates some distaste for the voice on the other end of the phone and thus the symbolic use of his left hand.)
Back in the clearing, Sayid is rummaging through Naomi’s pack and finds the picture of Desmond and Penny. He shows it to Jack and Juliet, prompting Jack to ask how long it would take to run back to the beach and fetch Desmond. Kate seems ready to do Jack’s bidding but while he wasn’t looking at either her or Juliet when he spoke, he focuses on Juliet and asks her if she minds taking the assignment. Kate says nothing, but we all know she’s just aching for another round of foxy boxing with the blond. We just have to wait for some rain. Preferably in daylight this time.
That chore taken care of, Jack turns his attention to Sayid and what sort of plan the Iraqi has in mind. Sayid reminds him that the last time Jack confronted Locke, he pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger. To avoid further bloodshed, Sayid wants to handle this without Jack. He doesn’t seem to object when Miles demands to come along with him. Funny, he seemed to be suggesting he could take care of the rescue alone, but Miles joining him doesn’t faze him at all. Hmm…
While he doesn’t mind him coming along, Sayid ignores Miles’ demand to get his gun back.
Out in the jungle, Sawyer is wondering why they don’t blow Ben’s piggies off and get the information about who his man on the boat was that way, rather than dragging him all through the jungle as they are. Locke points out the obvious, that without piggies, they’d have to carry piggiless Ben. Probably by piggyback.
Of course, Locke suggests that the only thing keeping Ben alive is that information, so if Sawyer gets the name out of Ben by de-piggying him, one more bullet would solve the “Who’s carrying Ben?” problem.
After a while, Locke finds the line of ash or sand or whatever the hell it is that he found on his last visit to Jacob’s cabin. Only this time, no cabin. Hurley wonders if perhaps they got turned around in the jungle. Of course we know that Hurley encountered the wandering cabin in a different area in the jungle, so that makes his question reasonable, but Locke doesn’t know about Hurley’s encounter with the fleet footed shanty, so he insists that the cabin should be right where they are. When he realizes that no amount of protest will make the cabin appear where it should be, he covers by suggesting that it isn’t important after all.
Locke pushes the group onward, but before he can get them all moving, the subject of possibly giving Charlotte up to Jack’s group comes up. Hurley figures that it might be best to let her go as a sign of good faith rather than keeping her as a hostage, but Locke chooses to use this difference of opinion to assert his authority. He gets in Hurley’s face and reminds him that he is making the decisions now, not Hurley.
Back at Copter Clearing, Kate ribs Jack about how much it sucks being told not to come along, as she so often does.
“Does that mean I should wait twenty minutes and go anyway?”
Jack then surprises her by suggesting that she should go with Sayid and Miles.
“Don’t you trust Sayid?”
“I don’t trust Locke.”
When Kate wonders what would keep Locke from putting a knife in her back, Jack has her answer.
“Sawyer won’t let him.”
Kate joins the little posse, waving her gun above her head as she asks to go along. Miles really loves that.
“Oh, yeah. She gets a gun.”
Sayid reminds her that the gun is a last resort.
“You give Locke that same speech?”
As they leave, Frank asks Jack about Sayid and where he’s from. When he hears that Sayid is from Iraq, he asks if perhaps since Sayid is going to work everything out between the two groups had he been a diplomat before crashing on the island.
“No. No, he was a torturer.”
I hope Locke’s got piggy insurance.
As the little cadre treks through the jungle, Sayid questions Miles about his group. Aside from thinking that the rapidly cooling Naomi had once been hot and had a dig-able accent, the newcomer seems less than attached to his crew, leading Sayid to comment, “So much for camaraderie.”
“Gee, who’s the one going after one of their crash-buddies with guns?”
Miles asks Sayid just what it was that let Locke split the happy camp in half.
After a quick bit of eye-speak with Kate, Sayid gives him the sanitized version.
“There was a fundamental debate as to whether your group was coming to rescue us, or kill us.”
“And which side did you land on?”
“I’ll let you know when I decide.”
Sayid and his ridiculously coiffed hair show up at Elsa’s door to let her take them to the opera. I assume he brought an extra ticket for his do.
(*Unbelievably poofy hair sidenote: Has anyone out there ever owned a “troll doll”? You know, the little dolls with the blue hair? Have you ever brushed that hair until it all stops sticking straight up? If you then dyed your troll doll’s hair black, you would have the new “Flash Forward Sayid Action Figure”.)
Elsa decides that tonight is the night that she will leave the economists pager at home and go out with her man and truly relax. Sayid takes the pager and carries it for her, not wanting her to lose her job because of him. He can probably also rig the pager to shock his hair into submission if it gets out of hand.
Sayid comments that the pager is technologically out of date, but her boss is old fashioned and obviously not enamoured by new technology. She asks if Sayid has a boss.
“Everyone has a boss, Elsa.”
Now, who could possibly boss Sayid around?
She also wonders why Sayid is still in Berlin, long after his original date of departure has passed. He tells her that it’s because his job is proving more difficult than he anticipated. She had hoped that it was because of her.
Of course, he can’t tell her that she’s right.
Back in Copter Clearing, Faraday pulls some equipment from the copter and starts setting it up. He borrows Frank’s phone to call Regina on the boat to get her help with an experiment. As he hands him the phone, Frank admonishes him to hang up immediately if Minkowski gets on the phone.
Now, that’s just plain odd. Is there some sort of Locke/Jack schism on the boat? Maybe Frank has good reason not to trust Minkowski? The other way ’round?
Faraday sets the phone by the equipment after contacting Regina on the boat and after pressing a button or two, he tells her to “Fire the payload.”
Jack is naturally concerned, but Frank reassures him that the guy does this stuff on the boat all the time.
Regina counts down the distance to the beacon as Faraday watches the horizon for the incoming payload. He seems to be watching towards the nose of the helicopter (we’ll call that North for the purpose of this little experiment) but even after the payload is zero kilometers from the beacon, nothing appears from any direction.
“Regina? I don’t have it.”
“That is far more than weird.”
The little peace mission arrives at the Other’s Barracks, but it still seems deserted. The camera focuses longer than necessary on the swing sets and the incongruity of the play structures even catches Miles’ eye. “What’s with the swing set. These people had day care?”
“Had.” Not “Have,” but “Had.” It seems obvious that Miles is aware of some of what happened here and knows that this little place is abandoned.
The little band scout around until they hear a noise. They go all S.W.A.T. into the house and bust in the closet where the noise is coming from. It’s…Hurley!
Once they get the big guy out of the closet and onto the couch, he starts talking faster than my transcription can handle.
“Locke’s gone off the reservation, man. I mean he took this one chick hostage, he said Walt was the one that told him to kill this other chick…”
“Dude. Don’t ask. I was like, just trying to argue with him, so he would just like, you know, chill…”
Miles butts in. “How ’bout you stop babbling, just tell us what happened to them. Where are they?”
“Who are you?”
“Where the hell did they go, Tubby?”
“Oh, awesome. The ship sent us another Sawyer.”
After determining that Locke’s group tied Hurley up and left as a unit, Hurley reveals why they left in such a hurry.
“Locke said that the people on the ship were here to rescue Charlotte and then…kill us! So…are you?
Miles has a very Sayid-like response. “Not yet.”
They then learn that the group went by Ben’s house before leaving.
Back in Copter Clearing, Jack has a very serious question for Frank.
“Did the Red Sox really win the series?”
“Don’t get me started on that. All right? My Dad’s from the Bronx. I bleed Yankee Blue.”
“I can’t believe it’s been a hundred days since I’ve seen a game.”
As if to punctuate the fact that Jack might just be WAY off on his hundred day calculation, the payload chooses that moment to appear in the sky, from the (arbitrary for this situation only) South, surprising Faraday both by the time it took and apparently the direction it arrived from.
When he examines the rocket, the clock it carries is almost exactly 31 minutes ahead of the one he is carrying. Let the rampant time travel/time displacement/phase shifting speculation begin. As I see it, there are only three possible explanations for this difference aside from the obvious malfunctioning clock scenario.
1) Time Travel. The island is somehow 31 minutes behind “real time” and thus the clock is simply wrong on the island.
2) Time Displacement. Somehow, time runs slower on the island, so a 30 second rocket flight takes 31 minutes. A quick calculation tells me that if that’s the case (one second is approximately one minute in the outside world), then Jack’s 100 days is more like 16.43 YEARS.
3) Phase Shifting. Somehow it takes 31 minutes or so to travel through whatever portal links the island to the real world. I doubt this since it’s unlikely that rocket carried that much fuel.
We also don’t really know how long it’s been since the payload was supposed to arrive and this moment, so there may be some other factors in play.
Whatever the actual scenario, I can safely say that my season one “Island in a Bottle” idea is still in play. Perhaps not a real glass bottle, but one made of Time or Electro-Magnetism or even something more exotic is still a real probability.
(Theory sidenote:I made a bunch of predictions way back then and posted them on my blog for posterity. I don’t mind being wrong but I hate the idea of someone saying “you never said that” when I did. Now, Locke didn’t go native and join the Others like I predicted, but he’s come pretty close. If only we could learn that Rose and Bernard are the worst human beings on the island, 4 of my 5 theories would still be viable… (Theories are on my blog in the May 2006 archive – unaltered, honest.))
At that moment, Juliet returns with Desmond in tow.
Back in Othertown, Sayid’s little group enters Ben’s house in search of a clue where Locke might have gone. Kate heads for the bedroom (I love that about her) but finds nothing, despite a very dramatic closet opening. Sayid has more luck, finding grooves on the floor that indicate a book case gets moved on a pivot regularly.
He opens the secret passage (Is anyone at all surprised that Ben has a secret passage in his house?) which leads to what looks like an office. In the desk drawer, he finds wads of cash and a bunch of passports. One of the passports carries the name Dean Moriarty.
(*Literary sidenote: In Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” Dean Moriarty is a “holy con-man with the shining mind”. Meeting him is the catalyst for the protagonist’s adventures on the road. Yeah, that fits. Also, James Moriarty, the famous professor who was Sherlock Holmes’ main antagonist comes to mind. He was an evil genius, pulling the criminal strings of the web of London’s underworld, Holmes referred to him as “The Napoleon of Crime.” He was also an eminent and respected scientist in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmesian reality. )
In the bedroom, Kate is under the bed. She doesn’t find anything and is about to get up when a pair of boots walks into the room. It’s Sawyer. His hair’s more poofy than normal too. Despite his motion for silence, she yells for Sayid.
Sayid comes running, but winds up face to face with Locke and a gun. He assures him that Kate is safe and congratulates Hugo on a job well done.
Rousseau and Hurley take their prisoner to his holding area. On the way, Sayid, always the interrogator, asks where Locke is. Hurley tells him Locke is talking to “that angry Chinese guy.” When he notices how far back Hurley is walking, Sayid tries to reassure the big guy.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Hurley.”
“Yeah, I saw you snap that guy’s neck with that breakdancing thing you do with your legs. I think I’ll hang back here.”
I think after Lost goes off the air, they should spin off “Hugo, Miles and the Wacky Iraqi” as a sitcom.
They lock Sayid in with Ben. As usual, they forgot to gag him.
“I lost a dollar, you know.”
“How’d you manage that?”
“I bet John that you wouldn’t be stupid enough to fall for your friend as bait.”
“What do you know about friendship?”
“I know it’s no use having friends you can’t trust.”
That Ben. He’s been re-reading his copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” again. Dale Carnegie would be so proud.
Kate and Sawyer are alone in the bedroom. Oddly, their clothes are still on. Most people prefer champagne and strawberries, but apparently these two need bear crap and fish biscuits to set the mood.
Instead of ripping each others clothes off and putting Ben’s medical bed to a more creative use, Kate and Sawyer have a chat. It must not be sweeps week.
“So, what? I’m your prisoner?’
“If that sort of thing turns you on.”
Ok, I admit, I could have been wrong. Maybe it is sweeps week.
“What are you doin’ here with Locke?” Nope. Definitely not sweeps.
We learn that Sawyer isn’t interested in leaving the island. Ben seems to have gotten to him with last week’s “You’re a big fish on the small island but in the real world you’re just a slimy guppy” speech. He reminds Kate that a jail cell is waiting for her back in the real world too, but here on the island they have all they need to exist happily.
“How long, Sawyer? How long do you think we can play house?”
“Why don’t we find out?”
In the improvised prison, Locke brings Sayid some iced tea. He ignores Ben’s “I’m thirsty,” and offers the drink only to Sayid. He apologises for the ruse and he assures Sayid that they’re safe. Kate is with Sawyer and Miles is “somewhere else”. I’m betting he’s tied to that big old pillar that they tied Locke’s kidney stealing father to.
Sayid suggests that Locke let him take Charlotte back with him to complete his deal with Frank. That will let him get to the boat and try to find out who they are and what they really want. Locke reveals Ben’s claim that he has a spy on the boat, which is obviously why he staged this little chat in front of Ben in the first place.
“It’s a secret.”
“Forgive me, but the day I start trusting him is the day is the day I would have sold my soul.”
(*Awkward phrasing sidenote: A normal way of saying what he said wouldn’t have mixed tenses so oddly. Now, English isn’t his first language so it’s not out of the question that the writers chose this moment to show his trouble with the language, but more likely the awkward phrasing is a clue. I think he’s already made a deal with Ben here. Otherwise he would have said “The day I start trusting him is the day I sell my soul.” He’s already sold it.)
Sayid agrees with John that the so-called rescuers are lying and that more is going on than they know. He’s hoping John will let him have Charlotte so he can try to find out what really is going on.
“Why would I give you Charlotte for nothing?”
“Oh, I think you misunderstood me. I never expected you to give her to me for nothing.”
I think when he quits the torture game, Sayid has a promising career in diplomacy after all.
Speaking of promising futures, Sayid and Elsa are in an obviously well used bed. As new lovers often do, they take their time getting out of it, procrastinating as they bask in the afterglow. Elsa brings up his job and how little she knows about him. She uses the “L” word…no not that one. “Love.”
After a moment’s hesitation he says “No more secrets. What do you want to know?”
The antiquated pager naturally goes off just then, saving him from telling her the awkward truth that he manufactured their “accidental” meeting and probably a few other awkward truths as well.
She jumps out of bed and explains that she has to leave immediately.
As she dresses, Sayid seems to make a decision.
“Elsa? You have to leave Berlin.”
When she asks why he would suggest that, he tells her “People will be asking questions soon, about what happened to your employer.”
That stops her in her tracks.
“And you can’t be around to answer them.”
“My employer? This is about my boss?”
She puts together those awkward truths I mentioned and further deduces that Sayid is there to kill the economist.
The man you are working for is not an economist.”
As he says this, Elsa turns and shoots him in the shoulder. It seems that the player has been played. She gets on the phone and tells the voice on the other end “You were supposed to page me at 10:30.”
(*Subtitle sidenote: I love subtitles. So much easier to transcribe than the spoken word.)
“No, I didn’t kill him. He’s not going to give up the name now. Why should I keep him alive? No he had no idea.”
While this one sided conversation goes on, Sayid eyes his own weapon, just out of reach on the chair beside the bed. Obviously Elsa is unaware that he was packin’ heat.
“Alright, alright. I’ll bring him to you. Leave the hotel. I’ll meet you at the safe house.”
No Elsa, you won’t. Just like the other pretty blond in his life, Elsa dies from gunshot wounds to the stomach. Unlike Shannon, Sayid is directly responsible this time. He closes her eyes tenderly, much like his moment with Naomi and much like Naomi, Elsa sports a familiar looking bracelet.
Back in Copter Clearing, Desmond is pressing Frank for information about the picture of Des and Penny that Naomi was carrying. Frank professes not to be in the “Senior management” loop, but Desmond isn’t convinced.
“You look me right in the eye and tell me you’ve never heard of Penelope Widmore.”
Frank doesn’t. Instead he engages in some eye-speak with Faraday.
“Fine. You don’t want to tell me the truth? I’ll find someone who will. See, when that,” he points angrily to the ‘copter,”Takes off, I’m on it.”
Right then, Sayid traipses over the ridge, Charlotte in tow. No one else is with him.
Jack learns that Kate “Decided to stay.”
Frank is more concerned with his own team.
“What happened to Miles?”
“I traded him.”
“I promised you Charlotte and here she is.”
“Yes, you did. Lucky for you, that guy’s nuthin’ but a pain in my ass.”
Frank gathers his passengers for the return trip. Charlotte and Faraday both elect to stay on the island. Faraday warns Frank, strenuously, not to deviate at all from the bearing they took on their way in. No matter what.
Jack hands Sayid a rifle (wouldn’t a handgun be more useful and a bit…subtler?) and tells him to be careful.
“I don’t have to talk you out of coming?”
“As much as I like helicopter rides, I think you have this one under control.”
As he heads to the helicopter, he reminds Frank that he said he could take three. Along with himself and Desmond, he suggests that they take Naomi home. Frank agrees.
They load into the chopper and head for the boat. Pretty island. Nice music. Very “Last scene in Jurassic Park”.
At what looks like a Veterinarian’s office, Sayid and his bullet wound stumble in. A familiar (although I think that the powers that be didn’t want us to recognize it right away based on what sounds like an attempt by the actor to disguise it a bit) voice instructs him to remove his shirt. As he sits down to have his shoulder tended to, the voice asks a question.
“Is she dead?”
“Why didn’t she kill you?”
“She was trying to get information from me.”
“What sort of information?”
“She wanted to know who I worked for. She wanted to know about you.”
“Of course she did.”
It’s Ben! Ok, so we already recognized his voice, but I’ll give the producers the exclamation mark anyway. It was a good try. The last few seconds of the show stand nicely on their own with no further commentary from yours truly.
“Why are you crying? Because it hurts or because you were stupid enough to care for her? These people don’t deserve our sympathies.. Need I remind you what they did the last time you thought with your heart instead of your gun.”
“You used that to recruit me into killing for you.”
“Do you want to protect your friends or not, Sayid? I have another name for you.”
“But they know I’m after them now.”