Written by Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Sayid has always been, in my mind, the most fascinating character of the original cast. Locke’s stories have been more emotional, and Kate’s have been more revealing, but Sayid’s work because of the contradictory parts of his nature— at once a very brutal and ruthless man (we see as much in the scene where he cold-bloodedly kills the last man on Ben’s list after the first commercial break), yet compassionate and loving at the same time. As we see as we finally learn the reasons why Sayid was on Ajira 316, that’s the part that got him into trouble.
In all his flashbacks, we’ve never gotten a clear picture about Sayid’s family. In ‘He’s Our You’ we get little more than a glimpse, but it’s enough to tell us everything. His father tried to force his brother to kill something to prove his manhood. Feeling compassion for him, he hugs his brother, and snaps the neck of a chicken. When his father praises his brother, he quickly credits Sayid, and his father says “At least one of you will be a man.”
Sayid is a torturer. He says that he doesn’t like hurting people, and what we know about his past, that’s true. But Ben has him pegged right, too — “he’s capable of doing things that other people can’t do,” and given what we saw him do ever since he got off the island, that’s also true. We have no idea how many people Sayid ended up killing for Ben — dozens, at least— but he seemed able to compartmentalize, even when the pain was deep. What finally caused him to hate Ben is very simple— after the killing, we see in this episode, Ben turns to him and simply says: “You’re done,” and has the gall to say “Get on with your life.” The fact is Ben used Sayid like he used so many other people, and then, after all the horrors he put him through, had the nerve to use a murder (which we now know he committed himself) to play the exact same trick on Sayid to get him involved in the first place.
Sayid no doubt left the rest of the Oceanic 6 planning never to see any of them again, but then he decided to get drunk (on McCutcheon’s, no less). Then he happened to meet Ilana, who basically played the same act on him that Elsa did in ‘The Economist’— run into him accidentally, run a short con, and then reveal that she was working for the enemy. In actuality, Ilana was not working for the law or for Ben, but she still had an idea when she took him on that plane that they were going to end up on the island.
The only member of the passengers who would have violently resisted getting on that plane, he no doubts doesn’t understand why he was supposed to come back Then he was served lunch by a young Ben Linus. Four years after he ran into the jungle and met with Richard (who really cleaned himself up in 1974, based on ‘The Man Behind the Curtain) he is still being very patient. Nevertheless, he seems to be a kind, compassionate child, who is being horribly abused by a brutal father. Maybe another character— Hurley or Kate, who have seen Ben’s sufferings and thought maybe he could be redeemed. Sayid doesn’t see it that way, and when you consider that this Ben had no problem lighting a Dharma bus on fire and driving it into the compound, with no concern for anyone else’s well being, he probably has a point. The Ben we know had no room in his heart for innocent bystanders, and this one doesn’t seem to either.
So now Sayid seems to have one purpose— the only reason he could have been sent to the past— is to kill Ben before he becomes the monster that we all know. Considering that this is basically the execution of a fourteen-year old boy, it’s amazing that the fanbase, never mind the censors, were okay with this. But then again, they know Ben the way we do. However, here’s the question that makes no sense: if Sayid really thought his purpose was to kill Ben, why didn’t he finish the job? Hell, he’s ex-military, he knows you always go for the head shot. Instead, he shot Ben in the chest, and as we know from past experience, that doesn’t necessarily kill. Was there some part of him that, in the end, blanched at killing an innocent child? Did the heart that got him into so much pain— with his brother, with Shannon, with Elsa— betray one more time? Given what we saw, sure looks that way.
We seem to be getting a better feeling of the Dharma Initiative with each episode, and this one reveals that they weren’t exactly noble themselves. They seemed more than willing to allow the exile of their own, and didn’t have much problem with enforced interrogation. (Which leads us to the weakest part of the episode: Oldham. While I’m glad to see William Sanderson in just about anything, for all the buildup we got— and considering how afraid of him everyone seems— I expected him to do more than just put a solution in a sugar cube and force it down Sayid’s throat. I mean, it worked, but still…) And in many ways, they seemed more of a democracy than the Others or the Oceanic bunch ever did— though it wasn’t much of one, with the weasel-like Radzinsky again stampeding the opinion that Sayid saw his precious Swan, and now he must die. And ‘LaFleur’ seems more than willing to let all this go on to protect the little patch of grass he’s currently maintaining with Juliet. Juliet, however, has clearly begun to think that her time with James is about to reach and it. James may think she’s worried about losing their home; he still doesn’t see much more than that.
After shooting Ben, Sayid has a noticeable grimace of pain before running off into the night. But the question is: running where? There’s no safety for him in the jungle, anymore than there was protection among the Dharma folk. But then, as we’ve come to realize the more we learn about him, Sayid has always been a prisoner, always been alone And he doesn’t believe redemption for him is possible, if he ever did. He thinks once again, that he’s done. But is he? Is it possible than once again he misunderstood his purpose? Ben’s last words to Sayid were: “You’re a killer,” as if he never forgot the last words Sayid spoke to him after shooting him. Was Sayid here to slay the dragon, or to make sure that it was born? And now that he has, will he stay around longer to find out?