Sayid‘s life is on the line as the Dharma Initiative goes to great lengths to get the truth out of him.
|Written by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz
Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Many years ago, in Tikrit, Iraq, an overbearing father tries to get his son to behead a chicken, to prove he is a man. The son doesn’t want to, but the father forbids him from reentering their home until it’s done. Another, younger boy approaches with birdfeed in his hand, and uses it to entice a chicken. The chicken in hand, he breaks its neck, and places the dead bird in his brother’s hand. Their father returns just in time to see this, but the older boy confesses the truth that it was his brother that did the deed. The father commends the younger boy, calling him by name: Sayid.
Sometime probably in 2006 or 2007, grown-up Sayid is in Moscow, chasing down another of Ben’s list of Charles Widmore’s operatives. The man tries to flee into his home, where he retrieves a wad of cash, but Sayid is too fast for him and catches up quickly, aiming his pistol at the man. The man offers Sayid a bribe to spare his life, but Sayid’s reply is to pull the trigger.
Outside and down the street, Sayid encounters Ben and reports on how his latest assignment went. He asks who he’ll be killing next, but to his surprise, Ben says that this latest target was his finale. Ben claims that all of Widmore’s operatives who pose a threat to Sayid’s friends have been killed, and Sayid is finished. Sayid protests as Ben walks away casually, asking what he’s supposed to do now. Ben says that he’s free to go live his life.
Some time later, Sayid has taken up work for the humanitarian organization Build Our World, in the Dominican Republic. Not long after his visit from “Jeremy Bentham,” aka John Locke, Ben shows up to tell him that Locke is dead, and he believes it was a hit undertaken by Widmore as retribution for Ben and Sayid’s recent campaign against Widmore’s operatives. He warns Sayid that the people who killed Locke are probably looking for the two of them, and if Ben could find Sayid here, so could Widmore’s men. He also tells him that there’s a parked sedan outside of Hurley’s mental hospital, which has been there for more than a week, with a man inside watching Hurley’s movements. Sayid can’t believe Ben came all this way to suggest that Sayid go and kill this man who’s watching Hurley. Ben replies that Sayid is “capable of things most other men aren’t.” He says that Sayid is a killer, it’s in his nature. Sayid argues that Ben is wrong, that he doesn’t like killing. Ben apologizes for the intrusion, saying he was mistaken to come here.
Days later, we watch the familiar scene at the pier in Los Angeles, where the Oceanic 6 have reunited thanks to Ben’s meddling. Sun has a gun pointed at Ben and is threatening to kill him, while Kate is outraged that Jack brought her here as part of his scheme to get everyone back to the island. But this time, we watch the events from Sayid’s point of view, and after he threatens Ben and walks away, we immediately follow him to a bar, where he’s drinking very expensive alcohol. A woman we recognize as Ajira 316 survivor Ilana approaches him and begins to flirt slyly. He asks if she’s a professional, which she takes to mean “prostitute.” She replies that she’s not a professional anything. She moves closer, asking more about him, like what he does for a living. He says he’s between jobs, but that he used to do the “only thing I was ever good at.” She asks why he stopped, and he says because he’s trying to change.
Later, Sayid and Ilana burst into a hotel room, all over one another. They nearly have a night of passion, until Ilana handily takes Sayid down and pulls a gun on him. She says she lied before — that she is a professional, and she was hired to take him to Guam. He asks who hired her, and she says the family of Peter Avalino, the man he killed on the golf course. He asks if she’s a bounty hunter, but she neither confirms nor denies. She simply says he’s going to answer for what he’s done.
The next day, after being escorted through security, Ilana escorts Sayid to the gate for Ajira 316. Sayid spots Hurley standing at the counter, and asks Ilana, “Are you sure we’re going to Guam?” Ilana replies, “Where else would we be going?” Seeing that Jack and Kate are both here as well, he tries to convince her that they should take the next plane to Guam. She declines.
On the plane, before takeoff, Sayid sees Sun is there too. He appears despondent, as if he knows what’s happening and where the plane is really headed. Ben stumbles onto the plane at the last minute, and the two of them make eye contact. Sayid’s shocked expression at seeing Ben here is given new context, and he turns almost immediately to Ilana and asks point-blank if she’s working for Benjamin Linus. She claims to not know the name, and he explains that Ben is a manipulator, a monster responsible for nothing less than genocide. “Why would I work for somebody like that?” Ilana asks. “I did,” Sayid replies.
It’s the next morning after the events of “Namaste.” In the Dharma Security station, Sayid is still there with his hands bound together. Ben arrives with another sandwich for him, but Phil, who’s on watch, says Sayid isn’t eating anything, so it doesn’t matter. Ben says that Horace told him to bring the food, and he takes it to Sayid, along with a book — A Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda. Young Ben then gets right to the point of his visit, asking if Richard Alpert sent Sayid into the Dharma camp. Sayid hesitates to answer, looking pointedly up at the security camera watching them both, but Ben says that the camera doesn’t transmit audio, only imagery. Ben confesses to Sayid his jaunt into the jungle four years ago, where he met Richard in person, asked to join the Hostiles, and Richard told him to be patient. “I’ve been patient,” says young Ben. “And if you’re patient too, I think I can help you.”
Later, Horace visits Sayid and frees his hands. Horace asks what Sayid was doing in the jungle, but Radzinsky, who’s also there, interrupts and tells him to ask about “the model” — referring to his model of the Swan station we saw Radzinsky building in the last episode. When Sayid doesn’t answer any of Horace’s questions, Horace offers him one hour to change his mind. After that, he’ll have to take things to the next level.
At Sawyer and Juliet’s house, Juliet stares out a window, deeply lost in thought. Sawyer appears and sees that she has nearly let breakfast burn in her introspection. He asks her what’s wrong, and then follows her gaze to see Jack and Kate exiting their houses and going to work. She tells him her belief that it’s all over — “This. Us. Playing House.” — but he says that just because the others came back doesn’t mean anything’s changed. She asks him what if Sayid rats them all out by telling the truth about who they are? Horace comes knocking at the front door, and tells Sawyer there’s a problem with the prisoner, Sayid. They have to know why he violated the truce, so he wants to sick someone named “Oldham” on him. Sawyer calls Oldham a psychopath and asks Horace for a chance to speak with Sayid alone, first.
Sawyer storms into Security HQ, tells Phil to “take your lunch” — aka, get out — so he can speak to the prisoner alone. He goes to the cell and asks Sayid how he’s doing. “A twelve-year-old Ben Linus brought me a chicken salad sandwich,” Sayid replies. “How do you think I’m doing?” Sayid asks Sawyer how he can live here with Ben here, and Sawyer says he has no choice. Sawyer opens the cell door, apologizes, and then hits Sayid. He explains that he needs to make Dharma believe that he didn’t get an “easy confession” out of Sayid, in order to save him from Oldham. But Sayid counters that Sawyer should just let him go. Sawyer says he can’t do that, because the good life he’s made for himself and the others here will be destroyed if he lets Sayid go. He proposes that Sayid’s confession be that he came here to defect from the Others and that he wants to join the Dharma Initiative. That way, he can stay among his friends and be safe. But Sayid refuses this suggestion.
In the Dharma cafeteria, Hurley — whose Dharma assignment is apparently that of a cook — brings breakfast to Jack and Kate. They talk about Sayid, and Jack reports what happened when he went to Sawyer’s apartment last night, that Sawyer advised Jack to let him handle it, and that’s what Jack’s going to do. Hurley is surprised to learn this, but Kate says she’ll talk to Juliet about Sayid. Hurley argues that if Sawyer didn’t tell them anything, Juliet won’t either. He reveals to her that Sawyer and Juliet are in a relationship and are living together, which Kate did not know.
Roger Linus, Ben’s father, comes to clean Sayid’s cell. He’s not there long before he tells Sayid that he can’t figure out how Sayid, a Hostile and therefore one of the “kings of the jungle” managed to get caught “by these idiots” — referring to the Dharma Initiative. Sayid replies, “And yet, you’re the one who mops up after them.” Ben enters with another sandwich, but stops cold at the sight of his father. Ben claims the sandwich is for his dad, but Roger sees through the lie. He grabs young Ben roughly, accuses him of lying, and Ben admits that the sandwich is for Sayid. Roger sends his son home in tears, and then throws the sandwich against the wall.
Later, Sawyer, Phil, Radzinsky, and Horrace enter the cell, and Sawyer all but pleads with Sayid, offering him one last chance to give his confession. Sayid doesn’t cooperate, so Sawyer tazers him, and they take him to a blue Dharma van. They drive him out into the jungle to a teepee, where Oldham lives. When Oldham emerges from the tent, Sayid quietly asks Sawyer who this man is; Sawyer replies, “he’s our you,” meaning he’s Dharma’s resident torturer. Oldham drops a dose of something onto what looks like a sugar cube, and tries to get Sayid to eat it. When Sayid struggles, the men restrain him up against a tree. Oldham says the restraints are for Sayid’s protection, due to the side effects of what he’s being given. Oldham promises Sayid that whether or not he struggles, he will tell them the truth.
A short time later, Sayid is feeling the effects of the drug, and is in a childlike state. Via Oldham and Horace’s questions, Sayid reveals a number of things to them: he tells them his name; he says his hands were bound when they found him because he’s “a bad man”; he’s not really a Hostile; he came to the island on a plane, Ajira 316; he’s been to the island before, having crashed on Oceanic 815; he was here for one hundred days, then he left; and he knows all about Dharma stations, including the one that hasn’t been built yet — the Swan — and that it will be used to study electromagnetism, until “the Incident.” Radzinsky freaks out, his fears confirmed that Sayid is a spy sent by the Hostiles. Sayid tells them that they’re all going to die, referring to the Purge, and when Horace asks how he could even know a thing like that, Sayid tells them he’s from the future. Oldham speculates that he may have given Sayid too heavy a dose of the truth serum, but Sayid bursts into laughter, saying it was exactly the right amount.
At the Motor Pool, Juliet shows Kate around on her first official day of work. They share a laugh regarding Kate’s complete lack of knowledge about fixing cars, before Juliet asks if Jack told Kate “about us,” meaning her and Sawyer. Kate says no, but Hurley did. Juliet says that it’s a relief that she doesn’t have to do it, because she couldn’t think of a way to tell her without it sounding like “stay away.” Kate assures her it’s all good. Just then, the security van bearing Sayid drives up, and Kate and Juliet each in turn make eye contact with Sayid, and Sawyer.
That evening, there’s a meeting of Dharma leaders at Horace and Amy’s house. Horace leads a discussion about what to do with Sayid, having apparently decided that Oldham’s truth serum had no effect on Sayid, and he was spouting nonsense meant to confuse them. Radzinsky immediately chimes in with his opinion: “We kill him.” Horace reluctantly agrees, but Sawyer argues that they’re civilized and this isn’t right. Radzinsky presses the issue, again mentioning his fears about what Sayid saw of the Swan plans, and says they have to vote. “Either we make a decision, or I call Ann Arbor, and they make it for us.” Amy speaks up, agreeing with Radzinsky, saying that she doesn’t feel safe with Sayid here, and she doesn’t want him around baby Ethan or any of the other children. Her argument settles it for Horace, and he puts it to a vote. It’s unanimous all but for Sawyer, but Horace asks Sawyer to join in so that they can say that it was unanimous. Sawyer grudgingly raises his hand.
Later that night, Sawyer visits Sayid in his cell. He tells Sayid to hit him, because he wants to help Sayid escape, and he needs to fake a struggle as his cover story. Sayid appreciates the offer, but declines, even after Sawyer tells him that Horace and the others are planning to kill him. Sayid explains that when he woke up in the jungle, and realized that he was back on the island, he felt that there was a purpose to it. And now he knows why he’s here.
Confused, Sawyer heads home, but then diverts suddenly to Kate’s house. He asks her why they all came back, but she says she doesn’t know why the others came back, only why she did. Before she can explain further, a Dharma van crashes through the Barracks, and it’s on fire! It stops by plowing into a house, quickly catching the house on fire, too. Sawyer and Kate rush in to help — Sawyer organizes people to put out the fire, while Kate helps the house’s residents to evacuate. Jack runs up and asks what happened. Sawyer gripes that it’s probably happening because the four of them came back to the island. He calls in reinforcements from everywhere — including Security.
At Security HQ, when Phil has left to help put out the fire, there’s no one left there but Sayid. Ben — who we easily surmise is the culprit behind the burning van — sneaks inside to see Sayid. Sayid asks what happened to Ben’s glasses, which are broken. Ben says it was his dad. Sayid understands and sympathizes, admitting he had a difficult father too. Ben asks if he can come along, if he lets Sayid out. Sayid agrees, telling him that that’s why he’s here.
After Ben lets him out, they run through the jungle at night, trying to get away from the Dharma Initiative. Ben believes Sayid is taking him to be with the Hostiles, and he’s ecstatic to finally be free from his abusive father. A Dharma security van approaches, and Sayid tells Ben to hide. The van stops, and Jin hops out, rifle drawn. Sayid explains what happened, though he lies and says that it was Sawyer who freed him, in order to save him. Jin believes him, but wants to call Sawyer to find out what to do next. Sayid knocks Jin out, as Ben watches from his hiding spot.
Ben emerges from hiding, amazed at Sayid’s skills. He encourages Sayid to hurry before others come along, but Sayid slowly retrieves a pistol off of Jin’s unconscious form and remains crouched there, in deep turmoil. “You were right about me,” he whispers to a confused Ben. “I am a killer.” He raises the pistol and shoots Ben. Young Ben collapses, Sayid is reduced to tears at what he’s become and what he’s done, and he flees alone into the jungle.
- The exact date is unknown, but some time before Locke visited Sayid in the Dominican Republic, Sayid killed the final person on Ben’s supposed list of people posing a threat to Sayid and his Oceanic 6 friends. Once this was done, Ben dropped him from his employment, suggesting he go live his life and be done with revenge. Only then did Sayid realize he had been used by Ben.
Question: When did Sayid stop working for Ben, and why? [5.01]
- Sayid only appeared to be in federal custody. Ilana is not really a federal agent; she claims to actually be a bounty hunter sent to capture Sayid by the family of one of his victims.
Question: Why was Sayid in federal custody, and being escorted onto Ajira 316? [5.06]
- Her name is Ilana, but her true motives and mission remain a mystery.
Question: Who was the woman who captured Sayid? [5.06]
- Did Sayid change history by shooting Ben? Or was his attempted murder always what happened?
- If history wasn’t changed when Sayid shot Ben, then why doesn’t adult Ben seem to remember meeting any of the Oceanic survivors when he was a child?
- Who does Ilana really work for?
It’s not all that surprising that Sayid had a difficult father. It’s a recurring theme on the show. Can you think of a single Lost character who didn’t have a relationship with their dad that defines them as an adult?
Examining the endless literary connections Lost has with all of the books it shows us on screen isn’t really my thing. I’ll leave it to others, like Doc Jensen at EW.com, who I expect will have a heyday with young Ben’s gift of A Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda to Sayid. But if you’re interested in investigating the book on your own for links to Lost, here are a few sources of info.
So what in the world is the deal with Radzinsky and his anal obsession with the Swan model? Why is the Swan so doggone important if it’s only about studying electromagnetic fields, and why is Radzinsky so bent on keeping it a defcon-one secret? His antics and personality are already wearing thin on me, but his OCD about the Swan is cause for mondo curiosity. Is there more to the Swan than just study of electromagnetism? Could it be that the Swan is being built around the atomic bomb Jughead, and Dharma doesn’t want the Others to find out that they know where the Others buried that bomb?
Actor Michael Emerson, aka Ben Linus, remains the show’s driest line-reader. His delivery of “I looked” after Sayid asked how Ben found him in Santo Domingo, was priceless.
For all the hullabaloo about Oldham being a psychopathic torturer, his “torture” was not so much. He forced Sayid to ingest a truth serum, and that was about it.
I almost fell out of my seat when I realized who the actor playing Oldham was. Did you recognize him? It was William Sanderson, aka Larry from Newhart! As in, “Hi, I’m Larry. This is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” Whoa.
Did you catch the discrepancy in the repeated scene from “This Place Is Death” — the scene where Sayid left Sun, Jack, and Ben at the pier? In that episode, Sayid says, “I want no part of this,” then turns to Jack and Ben and says, “If I ever see you, or you, again, it will be very unpleasant for all of us.” In “He’s Our You,” the scene was replayed, but Sayid only threatened Ben, and not Jack. The phrase “or you” was excised from his last line on the pier. Was this a cut-for-time thing? A case of editing to put the focus on what was best for this episode? Or an intentional change for some reason?
If Ilana was telling the truth about not working for Ben — and that’s a big if — then how did she find him so easily after he met the others at the pier in L.A.? It’s not like he was following a regular, predictable routine. It would almost have to be that she was following him, and had been for some time. But she was dressed for her part at the restaurant/bar when she met him, and she knew enough about him to know exactly how to seduce him, with sophisticated conversation. Plus, if she’d been following him, wouldn’t she have seen what happened at the pier, and then recognized the participants of that little scene on Ajira 316 the next day? It was all of the exact same people, and these aren’t just ordinary people — they’re the world-famous Oceanic 6, after all. Nah, I think there’s a lot more to Ilana than meets the eye.
You may be wondering why Radzinsky threatened to “call Ann Arbor,” and what that meant. Ann Arbor, of course, is a real-world city in Michigan, and it’s been speculated by Lost fans that Ann Arbor could be the mainland home base of the Dharma Initiative, and/or the Hanso Foundation, Dharma’s benefactor. In last year’s Comic-Con video, where Pierre Chang appears to plead for the salvation of the Dharma Initiative, he identifies himself as “a professor of theoretical astrophysics from Ann Arbor, Michigan.” What’s more, the Swan orientation video identified the founders of the Dharma Initiative, the never-seen Gerald and Karen DeGroot, as students at the University of Michigan — which is, of course, located in Ann Arbor. Radzinsky’s comment in this episode seems to confirm these long-held suspicions that Dharma is indeed headquartered out of Michigan.
So many questions are raised by Sayid’s encounter with young Ben. If, as Daniel Faraday claims, it’s impossible to change the past, then did Ben remember Sayid and some of the other castaways from his childhood when he met them as an adult? Could this mean that Ben has been pulling all of their strings for a very long time — even before any of them first came to the island — to ensure that they would be there when history needed them to be?
Did Ben place the man outside of Hurley’s mental hospital for the express purpose of bringing Sayid to Los Angeles? Likely. Especially considering his so-called suspicions about Locke being murdered, since we know Ben himself was Locke’s murderer. And once again, Sayid slid easily into Ben’s enticing words, like a lonely sailor hearing to a siren call. Even when he argued against Ben’s observation that he’s nothing more than a killer, his voice and eyes were filled with doubt. Ben offered him a chance to do what he does best one more time, and even though some part of him had to have wondered if it was all another manipulation, in the end he seems to have decided he didn’t care. Killing, it seems, is almost like an addictive drug for Sayid, and when the temptation comes on, he relishes giving in to it.
And I still can’t help wondering if Ben was the one responsible for Nadia’s death, and not Widmore, because it so conveniently propelled Sayid into being Ben’s personal hitman. We’ve seen Ben manipulate people like this before; it seems not only possible, but probable. Besides, we have witnessed as yet no particular motivation for Widmore to have Nadia murdered. Then again, it appeared that Ben only learned of Nadia’s death after the fact — when he arrived in Tunisia via the frozen wheel and checked in at that desert hotel, where he saw Sayid’s funeral for Nadia on TV. Hmm.
“He’s Our You” ultimately revolved around pondering a single question, and it’s the one implied by Ben when he visits Sayid in Santo Domingo: Is Sayid nothing more than a killer? Is that really all that he’s capable of? The flashback to his youth we saw at the beginning of this episode was meant to hammer this point home, yet we know nothing else about his life up until he joined the Republican Guard as an adult. We’ve seen plenty of instances afterwards, when he’s tried to make amends for sins of the past, to live a better life — his many attempts to help the Oceanic 815 survivors find rescue, his low-profile work as a cook in Paris after the war, the time he helped U.S. authorities track down a terrorist cell, his reunion and marriage to Nadia, his work in the Dominican Republic, etc. Yet he seems destined to be a man who doles out pain and death, either as a torturer or an assassin. No matter how hard he tries to avoid the bad stuff and devote himself to good, he can’t ever seem to escape it.
Sayid has always been a very likeable, very sympathetic character. But there’s no getting around the fact that he’s done a lot of evil things in his time — much of which he’s sought out intentionally. And this is at the very heart of Ben’s shrewd (yet, as always, manipulative) observation about Sayid: when tempted to embrace his inner darkness, he always gives in to the temptation. He tortured Sawyer in Season 1, even though he later told Kate that inflicting torture was something he’d sworn he would never do again. In Season 2, when Ben Linus was captured by the castaways and held in the Swan, Sayid had an unmistakable glint of satisfaction in his eye when he told Ben, “My name is Sayid Jarrah. And I am a torturer.” When Nadia was killed, Ben all-too-easily utilized Sayid’s lust for vengeance to make him into an assassin. It was plain to see that Sayid took to that role as a way of numbing his pain over losing Nadia (it’s easier to undertake a mission than to deal with one’s own grief). When Ben told Sayid that Hurley was in danger at his mental hospital, Sayid dropped his good humanitarian work like a lead brick, got out the hair-straightener, and put on his Assassin Man persona again.
And now he’s shot Ben as a child, a mission he seemed to think was a divine one — either as a way of undoing all of the damage the two of them did together in the 21st Century, or simply as a singular opportunity to kill Ben in a much more vulnerable state (as a child). The job finished, he ran off into the night.
I think it’s safe to assume that young Ben isn’t dead. Either by way of all this already having happened in adult Ben’s past, or by way of history making a “course correction” to compensate for the castaways’ interference in the past, there’s no way he’s going to wind up dead. Hey, maybe even the island will intervene, making it impossible for him to die yet. It’s happened before (see: Michael, Jack, and Locke). Jin will soon awaken and find Ben bleeding in the middle of the road. The Dharma Initiative will perceive that one of their own was shot down by a “Hostile,” and that can’t spell good tidings for the truce between Dharma and the Hostiles…
The real question after tonight is, what will become of Sayid now? Where will he go? Will he track down Richard Alpert and sign up as an Other? Will he go find himself a secluded spot to try and live out his days alone? (Maybe that cabin Horace built is empty if Jacob hasn’t taken up residence there yet.) Hey, maybe he’ll run into Rose and Bernard. I’d sure love to know where they are.
Having completed this last mission, for one horrific moment I thought Sayid might turn the gun on himself. After all, what does he have left to live for? Is there any hope for him, even now, to ever find redemption and change his ways? Is killing in his nature, inescapable?