I’m Not That Man Anymore

First of all, I apologize for this blog post being a bit later than usual. I didn’t watch ‘Sundown’ until midnight when I arrived home from a Muse concert. It was definitely worth it!

Anyway, this episode was clearly about the balance of good and evil and how everyone has potential for both within them. Making deals or bargains with others or being manipulated toward a decision that you inherently know is wrong, doesn’t always make you evil…at least not in your own mind.

It’s the ability to make those kinds of “difficult” choices that make us human. Take Dogen’s back story; his child dies due to an accident he caused due to a serious lapse of judgment (drinking/driving). A man (Jacob) offers to save his son, but tells Dogen that he will never see his son again (presumably to come to the island and become the protector of the temple). That doesn’t seem like an evil decision to me, but he does give up his freedom in return for something selfish.

Now take Sayid’s bargain with unLocke; he has the opportunity to be with the only thing he ever loved and wanted in his life, Nadia. Dogen has already “tortured” Sayid during the good/evil test, had Jack try to poison him, and sent him out believing that he’d be killed by unLocke. Now unLocke offers Sayid the chance to be with Nadia again if he kills Dogen. This seems a little more cut and dry when it comes to determining whether it’s an evil decision Sayid makes by following through and drowning Dogen before slitting the throat of Lennon, the interpreter. Not to mention that “something” brought Sayid back from the dead and he almost seems possessed ala Claire. Sayid is definitely, “not that man anymore.”

Who are we to believe? One minute Sayid is trying to prove that he is “good” by going to kill unLocke and the next minute he’s drowning Dogen after unLocke promises him Nadia. He acted like a manipulated puppet as much as anyone else I’ve seen on this show, which is somewhat unlike him. But who is good?

The battle of good versus evil resembles more of a battle to determine WHAT is good and WHAT is evil. I believe that free will and self-sacrifice are the keys to “good”, but who has displayed that characteristic on the show? Everyone has had their weak moments and it’ll come down to who can redeem themselves to determine which side everyone is really on.

By my count, the Man in Black has three (or four) of the final six candidates on his “side” right now…unLocke, Sayid and Ford. The fourth could be Jin who is currently Claire’s captive, but we don’t know which Kwon it is. Jack and Hurley are safe at the lighthouse, so that leaves Sun as the potential swing candidate. It seems to be boiling down to a showdown between Jack and unLocke, though we can’t forget this mysterious person that is still coming to the island.

My friend Caroline posted a great status on her Facebook page. It read, “Confusion Incarnate”. As much as I love this show, it really does take a lot of effort as a viewer to follow what is going on and it’s very tiring. I think they run the risk of alienating viewers who get frustrated and angry with all the questions and convolutions. With only ten episodes left before the series finale, this episode felt like it hit a turning point for me and I can’t help feeling like things are going to really start moving toward answers and conclusions now.

Miscellaneous Notes:

– Sayid’s flash-sideways was intriguing and the cliff-hanger when he finds Jin in the storage freezer was a nice twist. The scene with him and Nadia when he told her he didn’t deserve her was sad.

– Loved the appearance of Martin Keamy as the maker of “good eggs”. You just knew Sayid was going to kill all of them as soon as he was taken.

– The fight between Dogen and Sayid and all of the action sequences in this episode made it the most physically intense episode I’ve seen to date and I though the fights were excellent.

– I like that Miles concurs with my opinion of Claire still being “hot”.

– Claire looked like she was going to tear Kate in two when Kate told her that she raised Aaron and that he was beautiful. I think she should mention that he’s with Claire’s mom so she knows her mom is out of her coma and that Aaron is in capable hands.

– What will be the implications of Aaron being “raised by another”?

– I’m not sure what to think about the moment when Kate and unLocke saw each other. She was obviously surprised to see him “alive”, but his look toward her was very dismissive; almost like she didn’t matter at all. Perhaps she doesn’t.

– Sayid did not seem surprised to see Ben at all, but then again he seemed very numb to everything going on by the end of the episode. I couldn’t help thinking of Anakin Skywalker when watching Sayid’s “turn” to the dark side. Anakin’s first mission was to go to the Jedi temple and destroy all of the Jedi, even the kids.

– I find it very interesting that Cindy Chandler (stewardess) and the kids (Zach and Emma) are now following unLocke. It’s almost like the producers want to make sure that they know we haven’t forgotten about them.

– Where the hell is Desmond?

– Where was James Ford during this showdown at the temple?

– The “eerie” music Claire sang in the hole and that played at the end of the episode is “Catch a Falling Star”, which Claire first mentioned back in the Season One episode, “Raised By Another”. She had wanted to make sure that the family adopting Aaron would sing that to him.

– Curious about the Egyptian symbol that both Ilana and Hurley have now used to secretly leave the temple? Follow this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shen_ring.

Next week’s episode is called “Dr. Linus”.

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6 Responses to I’m Not That Man Anymore

  1. CK says:

    So much to talk about in this episode…Sayid said (paraphrasing) the one thing he ever wanted died in his arms. Did he mean a person or the love of a person? Shannon died in his arms on the island after he professed his love for her. Could he have meant Shannon and not Nadia?

    I read the book that Dogen was reading at the beginning of the episode – Deep River. Some of the messages in it are: there are no absolutes, we are all made up of good and evil acts and that’s how we are judged. The river washes the living and transports the dead to their new lives (rebirth/reincarnation). There is also a lot about Christianity- one of the characters, when talking about Jesus “Every one of the disciple had stayed alive by abandoning Jesus and running away” (like the Temple dwellers). Not that I think anyone is Jesus.

    Random observations:
    – Kate has no idea what she’s getting in to. She’s not infected/a zombie, but it tagging along for the ride. unLocke was probably dismissive, because she wasn’t on his “list”.

    – It can’t be good if Ben looked that terrified of Sayid in the Temple.

    – The view of the smoke monster from Kate’s perspective was cool – the bodies and the screaming…

    -One of unLocke’s new followers looks like Dave Grohl.

  2. CK says:

    One more thought – for now 🙂

    If we are all made up of good and evil – is it possible that MIB and Jacob are two sides of the same person/being?

  3. cjblost says:

    Yes. I think we might be seeing the two sides of one person in Jacob/MIB.

    Laughing about Dave Grohl.

    As for Sayid meaning Shannon and not Nadia, I’m not so sure about that, but I think that’s only because I personally didn’t like them together. That could be a curve ball they throw our way for sure.

    Interesting outtakes from the book.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I haven’t heard anyone else say this, but perhaps that is just because I haven’t read everything. When I think back to the Man in Black and Jacob looking out at the water at the “Black Rock” ship approaching and MIB telling Jacob that he wants to kill him….I can’t help but think of Randolph and Mortimer Duke in Trading Places (Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd) Do you remember their bet? $1 that you could take Billy Ray Valentine from the streets and provide him with the same opportunities as Winthorp (Akroyd) and he’d be just as successful. To me, the good and evil and fate/destiny v. free will/individual choice is that same kind of play. Jacob is experimenting by giving people a chance and a choice and seeing if they can right themselves. Some, like Mr. Eko, and it’s looking like Sayid turn to the dark side and do not reform. Others, like Jack, are “broken” but will be redeemed and be triumphant. Come on, there’s gotta be some triumph in the end of this show, right!? Anyway, just wanted to air that.

  5. cjblost says:

    I certainly remember Randolph and Mortimer in Trading Places as well as their cameo appearance in Coming To America. You’re too funny!

    As far as triumph at the end of the show goes, I don’t think that everyone will have a happy and/or redeeming ending. I do hope there’s some, but don’t forget that we may have already seen some of the “ending” in the form of these flash-sideways. Who knows?! I’m just really enjoying the ride this season.

  6. John Enright says:

    The best line of the season so far is when Hurley tells Locke the guy who fired him is a douche. I have to be honest dude, so far I am giving this season a C so far, more interested in what these people would be doing if they never landed on the island.

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