Lost: “The Economist”

“The day I start trusting him is the day I will have sold my soul.” – Sayid

Maybe I should do that from now on: open each Lost recap with a meaningful, ominous or ironic quote from the episode as if Lost were The Wire.

(Spoilers after the jump)

So Future Soulless Sayid’s employer is none Other than Ben Linus, the same man Past Sayid refused to trust. I’m getting a “they signed a deal with the devil to get off the island” vibe from Sayid and the rest of the Oceanic Six. Ben gets Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid and the soon-to-be-revealed other two Oceanic 815 survivors off the island, and they each return the favor in some soul-selling way.

Jack and Hurley have to keep their mouths shut about how they left the island.

Kate marries Ben (that’s my theory, judging from the secretive nature of Kate’s meeting with Jack outside the airport runway at the end of “Through the Looking Glass”).

In Sayid’s case, he has to do legwork for Ben, i.e. killing the people on Ben’s list, including the episode’s unseen title character. It’s all beginning to make sense.

Or not. Nothing on Lost is ever what it seems. Trying to figure out this show is like trying to call the Clinton/Obama primary battle.

But that’s what makes Lost fun. That’s also what briefly made The X-Files fun, before it became clear that Chris Carter was going for the “throw ish at a wall and see what sticks” approach of building a mythology.

Judging from the last four eps of Lost, showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse aren’t as fond of ish-flinging. They’ve been advancing their mythology at an amazing speed this season.


Back on the island, Sayid, who’s anxious to see if the freighter people are legit, offers to go negotiate with Locke to release his prisoner, freightie Charlotte Lewis. The ex-Iraqi Republican Guard torturer vows to do so without any bloodshed. For once, Jack puts aside his stubborness and listens to Sayid’s suggestion that he shouldn’t be the negotiator because of how well his last meeting with Locke turned out. If Sayid is successful in retrieving Charlotte, Frank, the freighties’ copter pilot, promises to take Sayid off the island.

In “Confirmed Dead,” Sawyer expressed doubts about Locke’s sanity and his decision to keep Ben around as a prisoner. Now it’s Hurley’s turn to be the doubter. Locke’s hostage-taking bothers Hurley, who’s always been the conscience of the lostaways.

Sayid, Kate and Miles inspect the Others’ abandoned barracks and discover a tied-up-and-gagged Hurley inside a closet. Hurley says the Locke flock ejected him after he objected to Locke’s threats against Charlotte. But it turns out to be the Locke flock’s ruse, which Hurley was in on—despite his disagreement with Locke over kidnapping anyone—to help lure Sayid and Kate and take them prisoner.

As he promised, Sayid persuades Locke to release Charlotte without relying on torture. (Is Sayid’s turn towards more peaceful methods of persuasion a jab at the writing staff of 24?)

“Give me Charlotte,” Sayid says. “Allow me to do things my way, or a war is coming which we will both be powerless to stop.”

What Sayid and Locke ultimately agree to is a trade. Miles is now the Locke flock’s prisoner, while Sayid and Charlotte safely return to the freighties’ chopper—sans Kate. Sayid claims Kate has chosen to stay behind with the Locke flock, but we know better.

Though Frank didn’t intend for Miles’ imprisonment to be part of the deal, he doesn’t mind Miles’ absence at all (“That guy’s nothin’ but a pain in my ass”) and agrees to fly Sayid to the freighter. Charlotte and Daniel choose to stay on the island, even though Frank offers to take either of them back to the boat. Instead, their seats in the chopper are occupied by Desmond—who wants to ride along and find out why freightie leader Naomi carried a photo of him and his lost love, Penelope Widmore—and Naomi’s body.


Time to make like Damon and dash:

-The “enhanced” version of Lost‘s third-season finale did well ratings-wise, so each week, ABC has been airing an “enhanced” rerun of the previous week’s Lost episode right before the new ep. I was critical about the textual commentary during the season finale rerun because it scrolled Lost character factoids that weren’t exactly news to the show’s fans. The commentary has actually improved since then. The commentrak writers have started adding to the Lost Cliffs Notes some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits I wasn’t aware of, which is what a textual commentary—or any other kind of running commentary—should do. Here’s some behind-the-scenes trivia that I managed to glean from the commentrak before I quickly flipped back to The Daily Show: Lost producers have nicknamed the Others’ barracks “New Otherton,” and the “Confirmed Dead” scenes that took place in Inglewood were shot not in L.A., but in Oahu, Hawaii, like almost all other scenes on Lost.

-Sayid removes from Naomi’s corpse a wrist bracelet that reads: “N, I’ll always be with you. R.C.” Flash-forwards, care to drop some science about this R.C.?


From left to right: Rebecca Mader, Jeremy Davies and Elizabeth Mitchell, all later additions to the Lost cast who have stayed on the Oahu police’s good side. So far.


-The addition of the always dependable character actors Jeremy Davies, Ken Leung and Jeff Fahey to the cast—which luckily didn’t turn into a repeat of last season’s debacle with Nikki and Paulo, two new lostaway characters who never gelled—was favorably received by the blogosphere last week. It’s because unlike Nikki and Paulo, most of the freighties have a sense of humor, and with their outsider’s perspective, they serve as great foils to the lostaways and the Others (see Miles’ lines below). The jury’s still out on fourth freightie Rebecca Mader, a newcomer whose most memorable credit so far was as a hot nanny on the short-lived Love Monkey, although in “Confirmed Dead,” she had a nifty intro scene—Charlotte’s discovery of the polar bear skeleton. (In the credits, Fahey has been listed as a guest star instead of a regular, which indicates Frank the freightie might not last long on the island. Then again, Kiele “Nikki” Sanchez and Rodrigo “Paulo” Santoro were listed as regulars last year, and look how long they lasted.)

-Leung’s smartass delivery (“Oh, awesome. The ship sent us another Sawyer,” grumbles Hurley) is becoming a highlight of the season (which has been extended from eight eps to 12 or 13, thanks to the end of the writers’ strike). When Sayid asks Miles if Naomi’s death affected him, he says, “Sure, I’m affected. She was hot, and I dug her accent.” I also liked his reaction to the Others’ compound: “What’s with the swing set? Are these people at day care?”


“Miles Straume” must love puns. Look at the obviously fake name he made up for himself. He could teach Batman & Robin pun culprit Akiva Goldsman a thing or two about how to write lines that don’t make me want to put my fist through a wall.


-So that’s what unseen guest stars Fisher Stevens and Zoë Bell have been up to on the show. They’re the voices of the freighties we’ve heard on the satphone. In this ep, Stevens isn’t heard at all, but Bell’s recognizable Kiwi-accented voice is. She’s Regina, the Kiwi freightie who chats with Daniel to assist him with his rocket experiment. The outcome of that experiment—the rocket Regina sends towards Daniel’s beacon arrives 31 minutes later than it should have—is yet another sign that the space-time continuum on the island is completely effed. Time moves slower, while Walt ages faster than Lindsay “I am 21 going on 40″ Lohan.

-Before Kate and Sawyer “play house,” she asks the grifter why he doesn’t want to be rescued, and he says he doesn’t have anything that’s worth going home to. Their foreplay chat brings up a criticism that viewers like myself had about the lackadaisical half of Lost‘s third season: Do any of the lostaways even care about getting off the island anymore?

-The flash-forwards of Sayid shooting the Italian golfer (Armando Pucci) and then seducing and killing Elsa (Thekla Reuten), the Economist’s blonde operative, play like the darker vision of 007 that Eon Productions is promising to depict in Daniel Craig’s Bond movies. (Speaking of which, as someone who enjoyed how Casino Royale reenergized the waning Bond series and is particularly chuffed that Casino Royale has set up Craig’s run as 007 to be the first in the series’ history to contain an arc, I can’t wait for Quantum of Solace, even though it’s directed by much-maligned Monster’s Ball director Marc Forster.)

-Just who is the Economist? Is it Matthew Abaddon?

-Ben’s “spy on the boat” has to be Michael. What a way to reintroduce returning cast member Harold Perrineau, whose character will hopefully be given more to do this season than just constantly whine or scream about “Waaaaaaaaaaaalt!!!” Or as he’s now known on the show, “Taller Ghost Waaaaaaaaaaaalt!!!”

On a scale consisting of Lost‘s cursed numbers, 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 (4 being the lowest, 42 being the highest)…

“The Economist”: 23 42

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