Mar 25 2009 11:51pm

Lost Round Table: “He’s Our You”

We continue with our round-table discussions of Lost. This week, we’re joined by Bridget McGovern and Theresa DeLucci. As always, spoilers abound, so stay away from this post if you haven’t watched the latest episode of Lost, “He’s Our You.”

Thresa: Oh, Sayid. Is there any hotter killer on television? 2007 Sayid has the best hair, even better than Jin’s shaggy 70’s cut. And even Sayid’s foreplay is badass. If he can get back to the present, I hope Sayid has a new love interest in Ilana. Anyway, I said it before, but if anyone has the balls to kill adorable Lil’ Ben, it’s Sayid. I’m glad they went that route. What will happen to the future? Where’s Desmond and Faraday when you need them? 

I enjoyed the flashbacks... to the future. (Yeah, it’s still weird saying that.) However, this episode felt like it was missing some weight for me. I was really looking forward to seeing Sayid’s meeting with Oldham. And that’s before we saw it was the fantastic William Sanderson, the fourth Deadwood alum to appear on Lost to date. (Others may remember him as J.F. Sebastian in Blade Runner. The truly disturbed will remember him from one of the most offensive exploitation movies ever, Fight For Your Life.) But the scene fell way flat for me. I was hoping to see something a bit more cat-and-mouse, a psychological compare-and-contrast between the two torturers. Instead, we get Naveen Andrews doing a poor job of acting high. Which is somewhat surprising given his past, public trouble with narcotics. A truth serum? Really? Lame. I much preferred the scenes between the Iraqi and Lafleur, who is still trying to keep his hold on his new responsibilities. I think the old Sawyer would never have cared about giving Horace his unanimous vote to kill Sayid.

But I think one of my favorite moments of the night was Hurley telling Kate that it was obvious Sawyer and Juliet were together, “you know, like you guys used to live together.” Ha! I still feel like some confrontation is brewing with this love quadrangle, but, for this week, we were spared. Juliet is so level-headed. I like her a lot. Kate’s all pout.

Bridget: Yeah, this was interesting, but problematic. There seemed to be a weird divide in this episode; on one hand, there’s the awareness of the ever-increasing absurdities piling up thanks to the overlapping of past, present, and future, generally presented in a more or less playful or humorous way. On the other, there also seemed to be a more serious undercurrent involving the darker aspects of human nature: the possibility of Sayid being a natural born killer, but also the “good,” mellow people of the Dharma Initiative’s willingness (even eagerness) to kill to preserve their status quo. The fact that Amy Goodspeed, “the new mom,” is the one who speaks out most strongly in favor of executing Sayid strongly seems to suggest that homicidal tendencies aren’t quite as rare, unusual, or specialized as Ben suggests during his little speech over at Habitat for Humanity headquarters. There were parts of this episode which seemed to be channeling the spirit of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery;” I thought it was a little heavy-handed, to be honest—especially with the addition of the all-too-familiar Bad Daddy issues—but the final moments of the episode more than made up for the clunkiness.

The zany time-travel wackiness, on the other hand, was absolutely brilliant. The fact that Lost manages to remain playful, and never takes itself too seriously, is one of the show’s greatest strengths, and Sayid’s deadpan “A twelve year old Ben Linus brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I feel?” was a perfect example of why this show continues to be absolutely brilliant. Young Ben himself strikes a perfect balance between creepy and heartbreaking (another reason why the climax of the show was so incredibly effective)... I have no idea what it means that he was reading Carlos Castaneda, but it seems somehow perfect. So, what happens now? Does the Island actually allow Ben to die, or are we in for a magical mystery tour through fate, destiny and general weirdness? If young Ben dies, does it wipe out his actions in the future entirely? And yeah!!! Who knew that William Sanderson was going to show up in a teepee at the edge of the Dharma compound, torturing people to the dulcet tones of Billie Holliday? I agree that it fell a little flat, but it did remind me of how much I miss Deadwood. Sigh. I am, as ever, confused but weirdly elated...and I could use a glass of McCutcheon.

Eugene Myers
1. ecmyers
I always associate William Sanderson with his stint on Batman the Animated Series, where he provided the voice of Rossum, a character much like his part in Blade Runner.

Yeah, Sayid's drug-induced stupor was a But as goofy as truth serums are, it's not like torture would work on him. I didn't get his comment about Ben committing "genocide," but it certainly cements the connection to the age-old question about the morality of killing Hitler as a child. I suspect the act will have no effect in the future we know, where John and Sun are, and will just spawn some kind of alternate reality. It will be frustrating waiting to see what will happen in the future though.

That kid is sure creepy though, pulling off a credible version of young Ben.
Bridget McGovern
2. BMcGovern
I assumed that the "genocide" comment had to do with the massacre of the Dharma folk. Defining genocide is never a simple or straightforward issue, but I'm voting "big pit full of bodies" as a decent indicator, at least in terms of Sayid's usage. And yeah, you think Naveen would be able to play fucked-up a little better than *that* pathetic display, especially for the kind of money he's pulling in (and apparently blowing entirely on hair product...)
Rajan Khanna
3. rajanyk
I agree that the episode seemed to lack a bit of something. I guess I wanted more punch to it. It was nice to see all the blanks in Sayid's post-island story filled in, though, and what brought him to meet up with Hurley and later end up on the island.

And yeah, Sayid's drug performance was sadly lacking.

I kept hoping that Sawyer would find a way to help Sayid out there, and I couldn't understand how he was just okay with what I expected would be more of a torture scene, but then I remembered that Sayid had tortured Sawyer back in Season One and I really liked that little connection and marker for how far the characters have come (some of them at least).

At the end I was waiting for the Others (or Hostiles, I guess) to come save Ben and maybe take Sayid hostage or something, so Ben getting shot actually came as a surprise.

My guess for next episode is that Ben is shot, but won't die. The island will save him or something will happen. According to what I understand about the time travel set up in the show, they can't actually change the past. Only Desmond potentially can, so Ben has to live. I suppose alternate reality is a possibility, but that seems to introduce a huge new factor into things.

I also wonder if there's really a reason they're all back. Locke fixed the skipping through time issue and the survivors, at least those that we follow, are okay. (Apparently no one cares about where Rose and Bernard et al. are). I was thinking last night that maybe it has nothing to do with what the island wants, and that they're all just pawns in this game that Ben and Widmore are playing.

And finally (these posts always seem longer than I intend), I know this is television, but I wanted Sawyer to just tell Juliet that everything was okay and that he loved her and that he wasn't into Kate anymore and to tell Kate that he was happy with Juliet and end that there. But that would be too easy. But what is Sawyer's plan really? Live out the rest of his days with Dharma? He knows the purge is coming and while it won't be for another, what, 15 years or so, that still is a hell of an expiration date.
Gabe Carr
4. Okorikuma
Is anyone else sort of waiting for some explanation about the Dharma Initiative itself? I mean, just what they're generally up to was sort of a big part of the overarching mystery of the first 2 seasons at least, and arguably somewhat in 3. So now we have a bunch of characters who are well and truly in with them, but beyond their daily operations and characterization, we really don't know much more now than we did then. I thought when the group from the future showed up, that would be a good excuse for some "oh, so you're in with Dharma? What's up with them?" style exposition, but no dice. I like the plotting going on, but that question is getting to be like an unscratched itch for me.

Also, appropos of nothing much, does anyone else remember the episode, I think in the last season, when Sun was giving birth? The whole setup of that episode was that Jin was in Korea (I think) at the same time, but unbeknownst to Sun, working as some company man, and apparently not known as an Oceanic survivor. Does this mean some of the 70s group are going to travel to the 2004-07 time frame after they've lived through the 70s time frame, or is it a step in a story direction they decided not to pursue, and are hoping everyone forgets about? Not that that's likely, but it seems so incongruous with everything else.
Rajan Khanna
5. rajanyk
Actually, that Jin flashback was in the past. Before Jin got to the island, when he was still working for Sun's father. They tried to fake us out by making it seem like it was in the present, but it wasn't.

As to Dharma, I think the understanding is that they're just studying the unusual effects of the island. Sayid mentioned as much when he talked about the stations. I think Dharma seemed more mysterious when it was coupled with the Others. Now that we know they're too distinct groups, I think they were simply a group of scientists (and support staff) investigating the island.
Theresa DeLucci
6. theresa_delucci
I wonder if we'll ever learn more about Widmore and the military on the Island, pre-Dharma. That one bomb episode can't be it, can it?
Rajan Khanna
7. rajanyk
I sure hope so. I have a feeling Jughead will reappear and maybe we'll get another glimpse into that past.
Mitchell Downs
8. Beamish
I can just imagine the writer's room as they sought to break out this episode:

Darlton: Okay. Let's focus on Sayid. Let's answer how he got in the handcuffs before boarding Ajira 316. Let's show him suffer a crisis of identity - is he really a ninja killer at heart? Then let's have him shoot and kill Harry Potter/Ben and slam cut to end the episode.

Another writer: Um...that is like 25 minutes of show.

Darlton: Well...let's make yet another long semi-interesting but mostly silly bar seduction scene like with Jack and Anna-Lisa...only this time we won't let the fans tell how much they hate this other woman before we have them try to shag only she turns into a Ninjette Bounty Hunter from Guam! They have Ninjette Bounty Hunters by the dozen over there.

Another writer: That still only give us about 35 minutes.

Darlton: Fine...Juliet can tell Kate to stay away from Sawyer but not mean it, we can have a wacky Dharma Torturer and the have the Dharma folks go Shirely Jackson on Sayid (that is a brilliant reference BTW)

Another Writer: Um...that might put us over the mark.

Darlton: Okay...the torturer can give him a sugar cube with a drop of something and we'll wrap that up in a two minutes. really was a good episode but fell flat compared some of the latest ones.
Gabe Carr
9. Okorikuma
@5: Thanks, that clears things up considerably. I still can't help feeling there should be more curiosity on the part of the new arrivals, that's just a matter of style, I suppose.
Sheila Ruth
10. SheilaRuth
I actually liked this episode, although I do agree that drugging Sayid was anticlimactic. The whole, "He's our you" thing and the creepy lead-up to it, led us to believe that something really bad was going to happen, and then after all that, it was a big let-down.

The flashback to Sayid as a child was perfect. It managed to show, in one scene, both Sayid's ruthlessness and his compassion. He was able to coldly break the chicken's neck with his bare hands, yet he did it to protect his older brother. And it certainly led into, "My father was a hard man, too."

I went into this episode expecting that Sayid would try to kill Ben, but the ending still caught me by surprise. First, the whole bad-daddy thing made me really feel sorry for Ben (again) and fooled me into thinking that Sayid was feeling some compassion for him, and maybe he'd changed his mind. Also, while I had thought that Sayid would try, I never thought he'd succeed because of the whole "we can't change the past."

But, since the space-time continuum doesn't seem to have imploded, and I don't think that the writers will go the alternate reality route, I have to assume that we're back to it happened because it was meant to happen. Either Ben isn't dead, or the island will bring him back, and then when Ben tells Sayid that he's a murderer in the future, he certainly would have good reason to know! What if Sayid shooting him is one of the factors that warps Ben into the twisted person we know? (Although certainly Daddy played a role there, too)

I, too, wanted "LaFleur" to tell Juliet that he still loved her. That he didn't - when it was clearly what she was looking for - is telling.

And where the heck is Faraday!?
Jason Henninger
11. jasonhenninger
Long-haired badass Sayid in leather gives me a special, if somewhat awkward, feeling.

Do we know for sure the shot killed wee Ben? If it did, it doesn't seem to have unravelled much of anything since the story didn't radically and instantly revise itself, ala Marty McFly going transparent at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.

Does anyone remember when Jack operated on Ben's heart if there was any mention of an old bullet wound or anything like that? I don't think there was.

I also agree that Sayid on drugs was poorly done. It was far more like Sayid on pixie dust.
Dave Thompson
12. DKT
It was kind of funny that the episode was called "He's Our You" yet that seemed to be...not really what the episode was about. Unless I'm missing something.

Again with the reversals. Season one, Sayid helped torture Sawyer. This ep., LaFleur allows Sayid to be tortured. It wasn't a let-down to me, exactly, although I was surprised it wasn't more horrible.

And I don't think the shot killed Ben. I'm really digging the possibility that the reason Ben is telling Habitat for Hummanity Sayid he's a killer is because Sayid tried to kill him when he was boy.
13. scifidavid
I was quite surprised that the island allowed Little Ben to be shot. I thought something would inexplicably prevent it, like when the island wouldn't let Michael kill himself. Of course, Little Ben being shot doesn't mean he is dead. But even if he lives, did this always happen? If this how Ben knew Sayid is a born killer?

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