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Booom. There were some serious developments and implications about backbiters and syndicators in last night's episode, in the middle of a somewhat blah subplot about Sayid playing twinkle-toes with a woman whose features just never lined up right. Just when you thought she was hot, she'd unleash Austin Powers teeth. Let's call her Piccassa.
Let's get the big lumber out of the way first, shall we? The main issues and revelations, in ascending order of importance, as I perceive it:
Dead Girl Gets a Ride: Really? Sayid nominates The Corpse of Naomi for what may be the one and only trip off Death Island of Friggin' Mystery, and nobody else has something to say about this? Like, "hey, why not me?" What does it mean? I think it means that Sayid has a deeper reason for bringing Naomi back, and it's more than just respect for the dead (though that may be a factor; this episode reminded us he's a religious man).
The Moving Shack: Unless this is Howl's Moving Castle, I think Locke has some Jacob/Walt/Smokemonster problems. I also think it is likely that the cabin is the "Magic Box" that Ben told Locke about last season. What does it mean? I think it means either the cabin can't just be summoned like a tame lion, or Locke is on the outs once again with the island, or it really has moved it's physical location, or it just won't appear to so many people. I think that last one is closest. It's there when it wants to be there, and it's not when it doesn't. Either way, not good news for Locke. Great line from Ben: "He's looking for somebody who can tell him what to do next." Successful needler is successful. Locke, ya burnt. Also, quite the contrast from Sayid, who doesn't need anybody to tell him what to do next. More on this later.
The Bracelet: Who is R.G.? And is Elsa wearing a similar bracelet? I think the answers are "we have no idea" and "yes." I figure RG will become a major player (might be the 'economist' of the title, Sayid's target and Elsa's boss), but for now I have no speculation. As for the similarity of the bracelets, it simply means that Elsa is tied to Naomi. Same boss? Same organization? In any event, I'd warrant they are both affiliated with the same organization as the "rescue", and they are the likely targets of Sayid's killing spree.
The Ben Identity: Ben's got quite the stash in his forbidden closet of secrets, doesn't he? All that currency, all that money, all those passports . . . what does it mean? It means that Ben can come and go from the island as he pleases, I think, or at least he could until the 'purple sky event.' I'm guessing that stopped him for some reason, or he wouldn't have needed Jack to help him with his little tumor. We still are going to need a Ben-back or two to flesh this out.
I think it's pretty clear that Ben is the Oceanic Six's way back to the island.
The Deal: "Why would I give you Charlotte for nothing?" asked Locke, and Sayid demurred that he had no intention of offering nothing. Doooooooom! Commercials! When we get back, we discover that in fact Sayid has exchanged Miles for Charlotte, which is hilariously OK with Miles associates because he is such a hmmm, how to say it? He'd have gotten his chat banned, OK?
But I don't think that's what Sayid offered. Why?
1) Locke already had Miles. How is Sayid going to offer what he doesn't have?
2) Sayid is very suspicious by nature, and he's usually right. He's got to be hip by now that this 'rescue' is nothing of the kind, and the people involved are not to be trusted at all. This alligns him much more closely with Locke than with Jack.
What does that mean? I think Sayid's offer is to switch sides. I think he flipped, and when he returned, he returned on a different side.
I think it means that, as the helicopter flies out, Ben's not the only one with a man on the boat anymore. Sayid's going to scope out the situation, but not for the Jack-tion, or at least not entirely for them. He's going for Locke, too. He may not have come back to the island before he becomes known as one of the "Oceanic Six." It may be that his snooping led him all the way back to the mainland, where he's still trying to dig to the bottom of the situation . . .
Rockets & Clocks & Trajectories, Oh My: The clock is 30 minutes behind! The clock is 30 minutes behind! And our good little skeevy buddy Dan is really really flustered with mustard about it.
I've been saying for like forever that the question is, "When is the island?" Now I think we have our proof. That missile came from a boat that is of a different time than this island. I think that it is pretty obvious now that the island isn't just difficult to find geographically, but chronologically. Why else is Dan so adament that Grizzly McChopper take the exact same trajectory? I think if you don't, you find yourself in the wrong place and the wrong time.
What does it mean? My guess is that the island is a kind of chronological/dimensional hub. Different paths from it lead to different locations entirely . . . And maybe in some of them, Jack's dad is still alive? I'm telling you one last time, let's not make the mistake of thinking that the Oceanic Six actually got home just because they got off the island.
Matter of fact, this means the writers could do some fun things like . . .
Don't assume there is only one "Oceanic Six". There was certainly nothing to connect the Sayid timeline to the Jack/Hurley/Kate one.
Don't assume there is only one Ben.
Don't assume there is only one . . . well, anybody, really. Except, I now suspect, Walt. It all reminds me of The Talisman, a novella by Peter Straub and the oft-LOST-referenced Stephen King. It's about soft places in the dimensions, where everybody has a 'twinner' or a mirror self (through the looking glass, anybody), except for one boy who has to go on a quest to save his mother, and everything in both dimensions. That boy only lives in this world. His mirror died as an infant. As a result, he has the ability to pass between the worlds.
That boy's name? Jack Sawyer.
OooooooooooooooOOOOOoooooh . . ..
Sayid's Boss: Well, there it is. Sayid is working for Ben, who seems to be back to the cat-bird seat again. He's killing for the guy, and it's entirely unclear whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. For what it's worth, there's no way that Ben is one of the O6. But Desmond probably is.
That makes the likely lineup: Jack, Hurley, Kate, Sayid (for sure). Probably Sawyer and Desmond. Maybe Michael instead of one of those.
But there may be more than one O6. Let's not forget that.
Let's also take a moment to appreciate Sayid, probably the most under-rated character on the show. With all the back and forth for leadership between Jack and Locke, I've always wondered why the most resourceful, practical, and sensible person, not to mention the least easily distracted (that's Sayid) hasn't been in charge. This is the episode where I realized that he actually is in charge. He never asks permission for his actions, he always just does what he thinks needs to be done. Alone among the crash survivors, he's the only one who doesn't need leadership, and thus doesn't look for it. He's the guy you most want with you on a mission. He's the professor, and Jack and Locke are just arguing over who has the Gilligan hat and who has the Skipper hat. (Sawyer is Ginger, of course.) He's not the Economist of the title, but he always knows what the math is, and he almost always makes the right play.
His weakness, if it is one, is that he loves too quickly, which makes him vulnerable. If you followed the ending dialogue, it's how Ben gets his hooks into the guy.
Join us next time when we hear Sun say:
"Seriously. Am I still on this show?"
"Also: Read Michael Craig."
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