'Letters from the Flame': 'Lost' about 'Sundown'? I have your answers
After a recap, a "Course Corrections," and a podcast, there isn't that much more to say about "Sundown" at this moment. You could say I'm "Lost" for words, but naturally that isn't exactly true. Tomorrow, Rick Porter and I will be summing up the first third of the show's final season, but for today, let's answer a few more lingering questions from last week's episode.
So, where is Sawyer and did he become an active Smocker like Sayid and Claire or just a passive Smocker like the others from the temple?
Here's the tally of those with Smocke right now: Sayid and Claire, infected. Kate, confused. Sawyer and Jin, unclear. It's also unclear if the Others now following Smocke are infected or just trend followers.
("Smockers" isn't a bad name for the remaining Others at this point, but I think I prefer "Smothers" and "Flocke's Flock" at this point. By all means, keep suggesting names though!)
How much was Sayid influenced by the infection he had when succumbing to the temptations of Smocke? Did he really exercise free will?
Did he exercise free will? Yes. Did he have all the faculties that man generally possesses when exercising free will? No. The creepiness of the infection lies not in that fact that it's Smocke taking over people so much as hollowing them out. He's removing elements that mark Jacob's notion of progress (such as compassion, morality, etc) in order to prove that underneath it all, we're apes with
thumbs less hair.
Here's an interesting question though: what's the difference between him siding with Smocke and him siding with Ben after leaving the Island? Is the desire to rewrite reality in order to be with a lost love any better or worse than killing to avenge her demise? I'm not so sure, and that's why it'll be fascinating to listen to Smocke spin his tales and weave his words over the course of the season. If he didn't have a strong, compelling point of view, then Season 6 would fall apart. But his instincts aren't unfamiliar to us. Neither are Sayid's. Neither are Claire's.
Maybe Season 6 ends up not with someone doing something, but actually REFUSING to do something. They have to take that proverbial road not taken. And that will make all the difference.
I think the look that Smocke gave Kate at the end has to be discussed. Talk about creepy; it went from "What are you doing here, how did you survive and I'm going to kill you now" to "Hmmm, maybe you being here is something I can use in the future." I don't think things are going to go well for Kate next week if she sticks around, do you? Also, what about the fact that probably the 2 people Jack cares/trusts most on the island, Sayid and Kate, are now with Smocke? What will that mean for Jack?
Using Kate as Jack-bait will probably come into play at some point. Especially considering the fact that Jack tried to detonate an atomic bomb in order to maybe kinda sorta have a shot with her in a world without buttons that you have to press every 108 minutes, this is a scenario I can see coming into play.
However, as I wrote in "Course Corrections" last week, Kate's entrenchment in Smocke's camp, however inadvertent it is, nevertheless makes her one of the five most important people on the show right now. Smocke might see her as mere bait, but she's got a LOT more power than The Artist Formerly Known as The Man in Black can imagine. At this point, unlike Claire, Sayid, Sawyer, or Jin, there's NOTHING that Kate wants for herself at this point. She's essentially unable to be tempted. All she wants is to reunite Claire with Aaron, and that clarity of purpose will make her extremely dangerous to Smocke.
Could what's happening in the sideways timeline give us a clue as to which side the characters are on? Characters who become less selfish and less self-destructive --thinking in particular about Jack-- have had more satisfying resolutions in the sideways world. Sayid, on the other hand, has lost the woman he loves and shown himself to be violent to the core. Does that show us that Sayid has really gone over to the dark side?
It's not a bad theory, but it all depends on your feelings about actions in one life carrying over to the next. It's a pretty potent idea, which is where a lot of the epilogue theories in general have derived. The first few episodes showed us a rather comforting notion that the pain and suffering experienced by the Lostaways over the past few seasons would be "rewarded," for lack of a better word, with a happier outcome in the sideways timeline.
But I think Sayid's sideways story points out, more than ever, just how insidious such a scenario is actually playing out in the sideways "Lost" universe. If you get what you ostensibly want, but have forgotten the things you once had, is that a good thing? If you get what you want, but in a way that doesn't live up to promises/expectations, is THAT a good thing? I think the show wants us to answer questions such as this.
But this notion of the connection between the Island timeline and sideways timeline is also the topic of the last question this week, and in my answer to it, I delve into more of the moral implications of this new timeline's creation.
I get your whole MIB-created timeline theory, however my main challenge to that is, what about Locke? Locke was killed. So why would the MIB create a timeline/storyline/etc for a dead guy? Especially when he is evil incarnate. Seems awful nice, just isn't a seamless theory.
I definitely confused more than a few people with some potentially bad phrasing last week. Basically, I used a short-handed way to describe the manner in which the sideways timeline we've been watching all year could be simultaneously 1) the result of whatever's about to happen on the Island, making it a kind of epilogue, but also 2) a transitory timeline that could be prevented once experienced, thereby negating the existence of the timeline by negating Smocke's ultimate victory. In describing all this, I implied that in this scenario, The Man in Black has foreknowledge of the events in that timeline. And that's just not true.
So, in trying to clarify things, let me put it this way: the sideways timeline could have been created by the events soon to come on the Island, but Smocke is not the creator (nor Creator, depending on your religious preference) of that universe. I don't think he has a CLUE what's going to happen by leaving the Island, other than he'll be free. And that's all he cares about. If the man whose body he inhabits lives again, what does he care? He's free! If Jack gets the son he never had, what does he care? He's free! So on and so forth. The devil may be in the details, but as the closest thing to a Devil that "Lost" has, he's not really concerned about them. They are as harmless as Dogen's dagger as far as he's concerned.
In a weird way, Smocke is acting like Giles in the incredible episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" called "The Wish." In it, Cordelia makes a wish that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale to a demon named Anyanka. It's granted, and Cordelia wakes up to a world she doesn't recognize: without Buffy, it's literally Hell on Earth. By episode's end, Buffy's Watcher Giles realizes that he can smash Anyanka's amulet to erase that existence in favor of one he's never experienced. In essence, by smashing that amulet, he'll erase the only reality he knows. Before he does so, the demon screams at him.
Anyanka: You trusting fool! How do you know the other world is any better than this?That's Smocke's general outlook. He might have only a vague sense of what will happen if he leaves, but as far as he's concerned, it HAS to be better. But only for him. If Locke returns walking, in a wheelchair, or stuck watching Celine Dion's Vegas show for 40 years is irrelevant. He might be sincere in offering these recruits what they want, but he doesn't have authorship over those promises: just suppositions supported by his own thesis that leaving will reset things to a world without Jacob.
Giles: Because it has to be.
What Smocke cannot fathom is that such a world could be undone. That remnants of the Island timeline would remain. That a figure like Desmond could hop back and forth between the timelines. That anything at all can stand in his way now that his nemesis is gone. And that hubris will be his undoing.
How have your feelings/theories about the sideways timeline evolved since "LA X"? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
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Photo credit: ABC