Lost: Sundown

As always, this week’s post on Lost contains spoilers for the episode under discussion, which in this case is season six, episode six, “Sundown.” If you are not wanting to be spoiled, you can hop on over to today’s other post, “Before You Criticize the Food Choices of Others…” Anyway, everyone’s been warned, let’s get on with it.

We are officially a third of the way through the season, and we’re still being left with all sorts of questions and general confusion. I really hope that they are not going to try and pack a bunch of stuff into the last six episodes or something because that will feel terribly rushed and it will be extremely irritating. As it was, I felt like this episode moved some things along and left others hanging.

One of the things which this episode really left me pondering is that Lost is a bit of a black box; things thrash around inside it and pop out occasionally but I have no idea what’s going on inside. And perhaps the things which I think are critically important will seem less so, and loose ends will wrap up all by themselves. I think that some people are going to end Lost feeling really disappointed that there weren’t more answers to all of the niggling puzzles of the series, but I also think that perhaps some things have already been answered and we just don’t know it yet.

It’s also really interesting for me to contrast how different people are responding to the sideways timeline. I am still viewing it as something which is going slightly wrong and that view was cemented by this week’s episode, which also seemed to underscore the idea of determinism and a certain amount of, well, “whatever happened, happened.” The sideways timeline illustrates that there are some things which characters are just meant to do no matter where/when they are; Sayid, for example, inevitably is forced to return to violence even as he is trying to reform.

This episode, I have to say, it took me back. We got some old school Sayid, a little musical montage, and, of course, that scene at the very end which was so very evocative of “The Beginning of the End,” where the Losties are again split on the right choice to make and are divided into two groups (one of which was led by original Locke). Synchronicity; Lost reminds me more and more of a ouroboros. Although I personally would prefer more mysterious adventures and objects a la last week’s episode.

It’s clear that there is something seriously wrong with Sayid, given that he even managed to creep Ben out. And I think it’s interesting to contrast Sayid and Claire, who are both apparently “infected.” Claire is depicted, honestly, as a very troped characterization of mental illness, right down to Dogen patronizingly calling her “a confused girl.” Sayid, on the other hand, is just depicted as creepy and evil. This makes me feel rather uneasy, quite honestly. The “infection” already seems like something which brings up some problematic depictions of mental illness and I feel like those are kind of being reinforced by Claire’s characterization as she mutters to herself in holes and croons nursery rhymes.

And the nature of the infection is as yet unclear. Is Kate infected now? How, precisely, does one become infected? Just by joining the Entity? Was Sayid a little bit evil and then really evil once he decided to take the bargain offered? Also, way to kill off characters to make the cast more manageable, Lost producers.

In the sideways timeline, something which really irritated me was that Nadia felt washed out and rather pathetic in her marriage to Sayid’s brother. She cringes around the house and she doesn’t assert herself and she’s sort of, well, she’s depicted like a hapless girl who doesn’t know how the world works, which is a far cry from the Nadia I remember. The Nadia who was assertive and hotheaded and impetuous and ultimately very committed to her beliefs. I have a hard time believing that Nadia would have whimpered about cell phones at the table. Yet another strong female character ruined by the Lost writers; is it just that they can’t help themselves?

To see the strength of her convictions totally sapped away was sad, and to see Sayid again forced into violence to accomplish a goal was also sad. I felt like in this case, the sideways timeline seemed to suggest that Sayid was doomed to repeat himself and that no matter where he goes, he will eventually engage in violence. What’s being implied on the Island is that his scale comes up weighed heavily on the side of evil, but I don’t know how on-Island Sayid is connected to sideways Sayid right now. It seems kind of simplistic and awful to say that there’s no possibility of redemption for him, though.

What were Jack and Hurley doing through all of this? How did Jin end up in the walkin at the restaurant? Where did the refugees who hid in the Temple end up? Where is the Entity taking everyone? (Is the Entity taking anyone anywhere or just planning to kill them all?)