So... Sawyer Knew
For the last couple of weeks we’ve been debating in the comments sections of my other episode blog posts on whether or not Sawyer would know Ben was in the camp. I’ve suggested there’s no way he couldn’t know, others have said maybe he only knows his first name or there are too many people and he’s just never put it together. But I didn’t buy it... and now it looks like he really did know. Why has he never done anything? I’m assuming he’s just genuinely bought into Dan’s assertion that you can’t change the past. He’s accepted Ben is there, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
Speaking of Ben...
... in this episode Sayid says Ben is 12 years old, which means he was born in 1965, making him 39 years old when the survivors first meet him. While I’ll grant Michael Emerson a tiny bit of leeway here and say I can accept that, that would mean that Ben in “Man Behind the Curtain” is only 8 years old, since we find out in this episode that the encounter with Alpert happened in 1973. I’m not sure I believe the kid was 8. He looked at least 10 or 12 in that episode, and he looks 14 or 15 here. Maybe Sayid was just throwing out the number in conversation, but didn’t really know how old he was for sure?
The connection between young Ben and young Sayid was really well done in this episode, however. We see Sayid’s father, a cold, hard man, pushing his son to murder in order to prove his masculinity. When Sayid first sees Ben with his father, he realizes his father is also a tyrant, belittling and abusing Ben for his own amusement. At first I thought Sayid would realize his mission is not to kill Ben, but to save him from growing up with this man, maybe thinking he’s the man who turned Ben into the monster Sayid thinks Ben has become. But in the end, Sayid sees that Ben is already beyond saving, just as Sayid was already beyond saving when he killed that chicken. And he kills Ben so Ben will never grow up to be... like Sayid.
• Hurley saying that anyone should have seen the relationship between Juliet and Sawyer.
• “Ask Sawyer.” “Who’s Sawyer?” “Who cares?” Ha! Radzinsky’s entire spaz throughout the interrogation is a highlight of the episode.
• “They just took a vote. Even the new mom wants you dead!”
Did You Notice?:
• This is the first time we see Sayid’s childhood. We’ve only had an enigmatic reference to Sayid’s father being a war hero in Iraq before, and that he was a very hard man. Now we see him, and how he helped turn Sayid into the murderer he is today.
• Sayid stepped in and helped his brother do a dirty deed he was being forced to do against his will, just like Eko had done when he was a child for his brother Yemi.
• Did that chicken deflate? He picks up a really fat chicken, breaks its neck, and it turns into the size of a drumstick.
• Ben hands Sayid a copy of Carlos Castaneda’s “A Separate Reality” (one more book to add to my reading list...) Here’s a quick synopsis from Wikipedia:
A Separate Reality is an allegedly non-fictional book written by anthropologist/author Carlos Castaneda in 1971 concerning the events that took place during an apprenticeship he claimed to have served with a self-proclaimed Yaqui Indian Sorcerer, Don Juan Matus, between 1968 and 1971. The authenticity of the book, along with the rest of Castaneda's series, has been a topic of debate since they were published.
In the book Castaneda continues his description of his apprenticeship under the tutelage of Don Juan, from which he had withdrawn in 1965. As in his previous book, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, Castaneda describes the experiences he has with Don Juan while under the influence of the psychotropic plants that Don Juan offered him, peyote (Lophophora williamsii) and a smokable mixture of what Castaneda believed to be, among other plants, dried mushroom of the genus Psilocybe. The main focus of the book centered around Don Juan's attempts at getting Carlos to See, a practice best described as, in Castaneda's own words, "perceiving energy directly as it flows through the universe".
The book contains an introduction, an epilogue and two separate parts. Part One, "The Preliminaries of 'Seeing'", describes his re-initiation into the apprenticeship from which he withdrew in late 1965, and also describes his introduction to another brujo (sorcerer) named Don Genaro. Part Two, "The Task of 'Seeing'", elaborates on the mental processes involved with Seeing, and begins with Castaneda realizing that the plants are a necessary tool to arrive at Seeing.
• Now we have a date for when Ben met Alpert, which is 1973 (he’s in 1977 now, and said he met Richard 4 years earlier).
• The scene where the man is frantically running into the house and down corridors, slamming the doors behind him, is all one cut, with one frantic cameraman running behind him.
• Juliet refers to her relationship with Sawyer as “playing house,” which is what Sawyer suggested to Kate that they do in New Otherton last season.
• Sawyer is tender to Juliet only when they’re inside the house. He never touches her or looks at her lovingly in the company of anyone outside of it.
• There were a LOT of ham references in this episode. The torturer is Oldham; Juliet is burning her bacon; Hurley brings breakfast over to Jack and Kate and tells them to try the dipping sauces, because they really bring out the ham.
• In the Dharmateria, there’s a Geronimo Jackson poster on the wall near the kitchen.
• When Ben comes to see Sayid in the Dominican, you can see two saws hanging on the wall behind Sayid. One has a light-coloured handle, the other black. Together they look oddly like the black and white glasses that Sayid fashioned for Sawyer.
• There were a lot of extreme close-ups in this episode. I’d never noticed Michael Emerson’s eyes were so blue. Or Naveen Andrews’ eyes were so brown (though something tells me redeem already knew that...) Or that Doug Hutchison’s (Horace’s) lips were so oddly shaped.
• The song playing in Oldham’s tent was “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Ella Fitzgerald did probably the best known version of the song, but the version of the song I know of her singing it is much slower and quieter. This version actually sounds more like Billie Holiday to me.
• If you look closely, when Oldham emerges from the tent, behind him you can see his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl.
• Sayid is drinking MacCutcheon, the whisky that Widmore deemed too good for Desmond.
• This requires much more than a bullet point, but I’ll just mention it quickly now and perhaps write more about it later... for those who believe that Ben is actually a kind of angel on the island, Ilana comes off as the devil, a snake tempting Sayid only to ensnare him. Notice she’s wearing all black and saying the opposite of what Ben said.
• When Horace says, “Hello there,” to Sayid to bring him out of his stupor, he says it exactly the same way he says it to Locke when Locke is hallucinating and sees him building the cabin in “Cabin Fever.”
• Fool Sayid once, shame on you. Fool Sayid twice, shame on him. In “The Economist,” Elsa tricked him into thinking she just happened to run into him at a cafe, got him stuck in a long con, and boom, pulled a gun on him and said she was working for someone else who wanted to know about his employer. Now Ilana meets him in a bar, gets him stuck in a very short con, pulls a gun on him and says she’s working for someone who wants to bring him back for justice. Sayid, Sayid... when will you learn?!
• Ben is impressed by Sayid’s kung fu skills, but his will be just as impressive some day, if not more so.
Ben says he ran away into the jungle 4 years ago. After Sayid shoots the man in the building, he steps out and you can see the address from the inside, which is 32. However, because we see it backwards it looks at first like 23. The house that is hit by the burning Dharma bus is Building 15.
So Many Questions...
• If the costume designers were going to dress Ben like a pimp this episode, why not complete the look with a feather in his hat?
• How did Roger Workman know about Oldham? You’d think that was intel that they wouldn’t have handed down to a janitor.
• Why is everyone so scared of Oldham? He doesn’t seem very scary to me. He puts some truth serum on a sugar cube and asks a bunch of questions... maybe they’ve seen what he does when he doesn’t administer the serum first.
• It looks like Sawyer really WAS planning on staying on the island for good. So what was his plan when it came to avoiding the Purge?
• When Amy tells Horace they have to think about Ethan, was anyone else half-expecting Sawyer to jump in and say, “Oh don’t worry about him... he won’t get shot until 2004. Er...”
• Kate says she knows why she came back... why?
• Did Sayid really kill Ben, or is it just a flesh wound? Why didn’t he unload the rest of the gun into him just to be safe?
• Does Ben have any memory of Sayid doing that to him as a kid (if he DID live), or would he only have a memory of Sayid doing that now (like Desmond only having the memory of Daniel after Daniel actually talked to him in the past)?