Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Review: Lost 6.6: Sundown

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U k Sayid?
Lost - Season Six, Episode Six - Sundown
Written between 25th and 26th January 2013

Last year, in my review of Season Five's "He's Our You," I said that it was that episode that changed Sayid from being a man conflicted between his duty and his conscience into a tool for the writers to do random shit with. Even after being a torturer and a hit-man, there were enough sympathisable traits in the character that I was really quite shocked at the idea that he would ever try to kill a child. At the time, my single commenter Juanita (whom I hope to hear from again at some point in this series of reviews) asked me why I was so surprised at his behaviour when it's been part of Sayid's characterisation to get to a point of redemption and then slide back into his old ways.
     My problem then was the same as it is now, and, relating this to Sundown, it's more that Sayid's character is defined by regret and remorse. He helps Ben kill people on the Mainland because he's as angry at himself for not saving Nadia as he is at the man sent to kill her. He shoots Ben in the past because he's guilty for killing those people, and so on. What Sundown does is not, as I said before, ruin the character. What Sundown does is to remove and highlight that remorse component and show us a Sayid without it. The results mean quite a lot for the advancement of the series' plot, and we're really running on gas now.
     Sayid confronts Dogen, having learnt of his request to have him poisoned. Dogen is openly aggressive towards him, and they fight, with Dogen gaining the upper hand before restraining himself and banishing Sayid from the Temple. The Man In Black, recruiting followers, sends Claire into the Temple to send the message that those who decide to follow the Man In Black will be spared death in the upcoming massacre. Planning on getting him out of the way, Dogen calls Sayid back and asks him to stab the Man In Black with a ceremonial dagger. It does nothing to the immortal man, who instead persuades Sayid that he can bring Nadia back. Sayid goes back and kills Dogen, allowing The Man In Black to enter. In the aftermath, Kate joins MIB's camp to be with Sawyer and Clare, and Ilana's group stop by to pick up Miles, the other Candidates all having already left.
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Sayid's afterlife allows him to protect the woman he loves,
even if he can't be with her.
     I'd promised myself that I wouldn't really go into too much detail about the Flash-sideways timeline and its implications for our characters, and neither would I discuss the truth behind it. I realised recently that I've already sorta revealed that the Flash-Sideways is a kind of purgatory, and I think it's important for my assessment of Sayid that I explain what this episode's flash-sideways are about. In previous episodes, the Flash Sideways gave our characters the opportunity to do the things that they failed to do in life, like for Locke to marry Helen, or for Jack to raise a son. For Sayid, the results are very different - he is still apart from Nadia, feeling that he doesn't deserve her love, and is forced to intervene to protect her from his brother's dealings with the mob.
     This is probably the first hint that the flash-sideways is some kind of afterlife, as it shows a Sayid who is living out his chance to protect the woman he loves. In the main story we find a Sayid who has had his remorse completely removed, but one who is still driven by the slightest chance that he may see the love of his life again. While the portrayl of Sayid in this episode alone may cause many fans to dismiss him, as it did at the time, it's a lot more important than that in that it's a final confirmation that despite what our writers have done to the character, his core values are still being acted upon. And consistency like that is good to see in a show that's run this long.

Thanks.

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