“A 12-year-old Ben Linus just brought me a chicken salad sandwich. How do you think I’m doing?”
It seems like forever since we’ve had a Sayid-centric story, so I was really excited to discover that tonight’s episode was all about everyone’s favorite Iraqi torture specialist. Unfortunately, for as many great lines as there were, it actually ended up being one of the flatter episodes of the season. That probably had something to do with the strange collection of flashbacks and flash forwards that accompanied the present day (or new present, anyway) storyline, because with the exception of Sayid’s introduction to Ilana – who doesn’t appear to be a federal marshal at all, but rather some sort of bounty hunter – we didn’t really learn anything new about the time between his rescue and return.
Even the action on the island was pretty dull. Well, not dull so much as just really thin. I mean, how many different times did we really need to see Sawyer trying to convince Sayid to cooperate with the Dharminians? And why didn’t Sayid want to take the easy way out by telling them that he was just trying to escape from the Others? I brought this up last week because it didn’t make any sense for Sayid to want to remain silent, and now it makes just as much sense after declining Sawyer’s offer to become one of them. If all he cared about was killing young Ben Linus, wouldn’t it have been easier to do so from within that circle of trust?
Apparently not, because Sayid didn’t budge one bit, and as a result, Horace took him to go see Oldham (William Sanderson of “Deadwood” fame) in order to get some answers. It was pretty obvious that Oldham was Dharma’s torture specialist the moment his name was brought up, but Sayid asked Sawyer who Oldham was nonetheless, to which Sawyer replied “He’s our you.” Now, if that didn’t send chills down your back, I don’t know what will, because that has to be one of the best episode titles in the history of the series; and even more so because of the way it was worked into the story. I would have liked to have found just what it was that Oldham stuck in Sayid’s mouth, though, because while it seemed to initially operate as a truth serum, the later effects made me think it was some kind of psychedelic drug instead. Whatever it was, it worked, but while it looked like Sayid would blow Sawyer’s cover by spilling the beans, the moment he mentioned he was from the past, Horace seemed unconvinced that the drug had worked.
After Dharma’s council votes to kill him, however, Sayid’s Christ-like sacrifice (which he seems to believe will atone for all his sins) is interrupted when he’s sprung from jail while everyone else is trying to deal with a flaming Dharma van that has randomly rolled into camp. (Even during times of stress, Sawyer’s wit is spot on: “Three years, no burning buses. You’re all back for one day…”). Curiously enough, it’s young Ben who’s responsible for saving Sayid, who does so under the condition that he can join him on his way back to the Others’ camp. I don’t know if that’s where Sayid plans to go (it seems to be his only option at this point), but he definitely doesn’t intend on bringing Ben with him. Granted, I didn’t expect Sayid to kill a child in cold blood, but then again, who’s to say Ben is really dead? Faraday has already stated that the past can’t be changed, so it’s probably more likely that Ben will be saved/revived by the Others and eventually made their leader. After all, Ben’s spinal condition had to be a result of something, so why not an old gunshot wound that he received as a kid?