Just as others have done this season, Sayid sets out on a search for answers, but the answers he finds lead him to a shockingly drastic decision.

Defined more by big developments than big answers, “Sundown” is a major turning point, as Season 6 marches on toward the impending war that’s now closer than ever.

Sayid arrives at his destination after taking a cab from LAX: Nadia’s house. We assume that he’s there to finally reunite with her, just as he’d hoped to in the original reality, but when they greet one another, there’s no big reunion. Instead, Nadia merely welcomes him into her home with a warm smile, where it’s revealed that Nadia is married to Sayid’s older brother Omer, and they have two children together.

As Sayid sits down to catch up with his brother and Nadia, we learn that Sayid’s work takes him all over the world, where he translates contracts for oil companies. Nadia is proud of her husband for having just opened a new store, but when Omer receives a phone call, she’s displeased that he leaves the table to take it. While he’s away, she asks Sayid if he received her letters. He says yes. She asks why he never wrote back, but their conversation is interrupted by the kids. While searching Sayid’s bag for their travel gifts, they turned up a photograph of Nadia among his things. It’s not the same photo that the original Sayid carried with him on the island, but what it means to him clearly is the same.

Omer later awakens his brother in the middle of the night and confesses something terrible: he’s in trouble after borrowing money to open his new store — only he didn’t borrow money from a bank. He’s paid back everything he owes to the man he borrowed from, but the man now says he still owes interest to him every month that he owns his business. Sayid offers to give him money, but Omer isn’t interested in money. He wants his little brother to convince these people to leave Omer and his family alone. Sayid doesn’t want anything to do with that kind of life, which he’s left behind since the Gulf War, but Omer begs him to help, for Nadia’s sake. Still Sayid refuses, telling his brother that he’s just not that person anymore.

The next morning, Sayid walks his niece and nephew to the school bus. Right after they’re gone, Nadia comes running out of the house and informs him that Omer is in the hospital. They rush to the ER, where they’re told that Omer has a punctured lung and some severe bruising, and that they believe he was mugged. Revenge blazing in his eyes, Sayid tells Nadia to stay here with her husband and prepares to leave, but Nadia knows what he’s planning, and asks him to go home and wait for the kids to return from school and watch after them. She asks him to do this as a favor for her, and he agrees.

Nadia returns home late that night to find that Sayid put the kids to bed hours ago. She tells him that Omer is out of surgery and in recovery, but he will be fine. She asks if his brother told him about the loan, and Sayid again offers to give them money, but Nadia won’t have it. “This is Omer’s responsibility. He brought this on himself,” she says angrily, hinting at strife between husband and wife. Since she and Sayid are enjoying a private moment, she asks him why he pushed her away, towards his brother, when he obviously cares about her so deeply. He tells her that he’s spent the last twelve years trying to make up for the horrible things he did during the war, but it can never be enough. He can’t be with her, he says, because he doesn’t deserve her.

The next afternoon, Sayid is about to leave to pick up the kids at school, when a black SUV drives up and a familiar-looking man asks Sayid to get in. Sayid doesn’t budge until the man threatens the kids. They take Sayid to a restaurant, where he meets their boss — the man Omer borrowed money from — and it’s Martin Keamy! (Keamy was the mercenary who came to the island on the freighter in the original reality. His familiar-looking pal is Omar, his right hand man from the freighter.) Keamy pointedly asks how Omer is doing, and Sayid asks if it was Keamy who put his brother in the hospital. Keamy threatens him with a charming smile on his face, explaining that he’s still owed money by Omer, and someone has to pay it back. But Sayid suddenly springs into action, grabbing Omar and using him as a shield while another of Keamy’s thugs shoots. Omar’s down, and Sayid grabs his gun, shooting the second thug. Only Keamy is left, and Sayid draws his weapon to bear on him. Keamy, who’s unarmed, tries to talk Sayid down, saying that Omer’s debt is forgiven. He suggests that Sayid “just relax and forget about it.” But Sayid replies, “I can’t,” and shoots Keamy in the chest.

Once Keamy’s down too, Sayid hears banging sounds and muffled yelling coming from somewhere nearby. It’s the restaurant’s freezer, and when he goes inside, he finds Jin there, tied to a chair! He asks Jin who he is, but Jin can only reply, “no English.”

Sayid barges into Dogen’s office and demands answers, starting with why Dogen electrocuted him. Dogen explains that “for every man, there is a scale. On one side of the scale, there is good. On the other side, evil.” The machine tells him how the scale is balanced — and for Sayid, it tipped the wrong way. Sayid realizes this is why Dogen tried to poison him, and Dogen bluntly states that “it would be best if you were dead.” Sayid tries to tell Dogen that he’s a good man at heart, but Dogen responds by attacking him. The two engage in an extended fight, and Dogen ultimately gets the upper hand, but the baseball on his desk is knocked off during the fight, and when he sees it roll across the floor, Dogen lets Sayid go, instructing him to leave the Temple and never come back.

Outside the ash perimeter surrounding the Temple, the Man in Black stands with Claire, and asks if she’s ready. She asks why she has to do this, when he could send Sawyer or Jin, or go himself. MiB replies that he can’t do it himself, or he gladly would. Claire says that if she does this for him, she needs to know that he will fulfill his promise to get her son back to her. “I always do what I say,” he assures her. She asks if he’s “going to hurt them,” and he shoots back, “Only the ones that won’t listen.”

Sayid goes out to the courtyard, making preparations to leave, where he’s met by Miles. Miles asks what’s going on, and Sayid explains that he’s been banished for being evil. The Others want him dead, which surprises him since they were the ones who saved his life. But Miles sets him straight: it wasn’t the Others that brought Sayid back after his dunk in the Spring. He was dead for two hours, and the Others were just as surprised as his friends were when he woke up.

Claire suddenly enters the courtyard, her arms raised in surrender. Lennon comes out to meet her, along with Dogen, and she tells Dogen that “he” wants to see him. Dogen replies that Claire should tell MiB to come on in, but Claire counters that MiB wants Dogen to come out to him. Dogen says he knows that if he steps outside the Temple, MiB will kill him. “Then maybe you should send someone he won’t kill,” Claire says flippantly. She turns around to leave, but Dogen orders her put in “the hole” until things are resolved. He then tells Lennon to bring Jack and Hurley to him at once, but Lennon replies that Jack and Hurley have disappeared and no one can find them. When Claire is ushered away, Dogen asks Sayid to speak in private. Sayid is confused, pointing out that Dogen asked him to leave just moments ago. “Things have changed,” Dogen replies.

In his office, Dogen pulls an ancient wooden box out of one of his flower beds and cleans it off as he explains that Claire is “a confused girl under the influence of an angry man.” That man is the Man in Black, and Dogen explains that MiB has been trapped here for a long time. But now that Jacob is dead, the Man in Black is free, and he won’t stop until he’s destroyed every living thing on the island. Dogen describes MiB as “evil incarnate,” and asks Sayid to kill him, opening the wooden box and pulling out a very old, ornate silver dagger. Dogen explains that MiB will come to Sayid appearing as someone he knows — someone who’s dead — and that as soon as Sayid sees him, he should plunge the dagger deep into MiB’s chest. “If you allow him to speak, it’s already too late.” Sayid is incredulous that Dogen’s asking for his help, after all that Dogen has done to him. Dogen counters that if there really is any good left in Sayid’s soul, as he claims there is, then this is his chance to prove it.

On his way out into the jungle, Sayid encounters Kate, who’s on her way back to the Temple. He’s cagey in response to her questions, pointing her to Miles for answers about what she’s missed, and then he moves on. When she enters the Temple, Miles is surprised to see her, but he quickly realizes she’s back only because Sawyer must’ve sent her away. He tells her about Claire, and Kate is thrilled that her quest to find Claire has been so easily resolved. She asks where Claire is now, but Miles doesn’t know what the Others did with her.

In the jungle, Sayid carries the dagger given to him by Dogen, and he stops for a moment to take a drink of water. As he stands there, the trees and foliage all around him start to shake violently, and Sayid hears the sounds of the smoke monster. But the activity quickly subsides, and the Man in Black, appearing as John Locke, strides out into the open, greeting Sayid warmly. Not missing a beat, Sayid does exactly as he was told to do, and plunges the dagger straight into MiB’s chest. But to his horror, MiB is unmoved. He casually pulls out the dagger — which has no blood on it at all — and asks, “Now why’d you go and do that?”

MiB gives Sayid the dagger back, commenting on how Sayid stabbed him without even saying hello. He suggests that Dogen’s little mission was nothing but a trick to again try and kill Sayid, by provoking MiB. Sayid seems demoralized to realize that MiB is right, particularly when MiB correctly guesses that this wasn’t the first time that Dogen as tried to get someone else to kill Sayid for him. MiB is disappointed that Sayid could be talked into this scheme so easily, but Sayid counters that MiB must be trying to talk him into something, too, since he hasn’t killed him. MiB says that he wants Sayid to deliver a message for him. In exchange, MiB promises to give him anything he wants. Sayid says that the only thing he ever wanted (Nadia) died in his arms, and he’ll never see her again. “But what if you could?” MiB replies. And just like that, Sayid casts his lot in with MiB.

Sayid returns to the Temple, where he confronts Dogen and gives MiB’s message to the Others: he tells them that Jacob is dead, and because of this, the Others are now free. They don’t have to stay on the island anymore. MiB is leaving the island forever, and if anyone wants to go with him, they should leave the Temple and join MiB, now. Sayid says they have until sundown to decide. Cindy the flight attendant, who’s still there with Zach and Emma, asks what happens at sundown if they decide to stay. “You die,” Sayid replies.

Kate searches through the Temple, looking for Claire. She runs across Lennon, who’s surprised to see her, and wants to know when she got back. But Kate only cares about one thing, demanding to see Claire. Lennon takes her to a room with a huge pit, where Claire is being held captive at the bottom. Lennon says she has two minutes, and then leaves her alone. Claire’s happy to see her old friend, and asks if the Others captured Kate, too. Kate says no, and asks why they put Claire down there. Claire says that they have Aaron, but Kate tells her the truth: she took Aaron off the island. He’s safe in L.A., where Kate raised him until recently. Claire looks murderous while Kate explains that she came back to the island to rescue Claire, so she could be reunited with Aaron. But Claire says she’s not the one that needs to be rescued. Before Kate can ask what she means, Lennon returns with some goons and drags Kate away. “He’s coming, Kate!” shouts Claire. “He’s coming and they can’t stop him!”

Out in the courtyard, many of the Others are quickly packing and leaving to join MiB before sundown. Lennon tries to tell everyone to calm down, to not go. He appeals to Cindy, telling her that as long as they stay in the Temple, MiB can’t touch them. But she argues that he can’t know that for sure now that Jacob’s dead, and she’s not willing to take the chance. Lennon shouts to everyone that “he can’t come in,” that it’s all just a bluff, but the majority of Others aren’t listening, and instead head straight for the exit.

Miles runs up to Sayid and asks what’s going on, if they’re leaving. Sayid says not yet, and he pulls the dagger out of its scabbard. “I have to return this,” he says, and leaves Miles standing there alone.

Sayid finds Dogen sitting by the Spring, staring at his baseball. Their reunion is icy, as Dogen points out that Sayid obviously let MiB talk to him, and Sayid counters that he did precisely what Dogen said to do, stabbing MiB immediately, but it had no effect. Sayid asks why Dogen keeps trying to get others to kill Sayid for him, and why he didn’t do it himself when he had the chance. Dogen reveals his backstory, telling Sayid that he was once a banker living in Osaka, where he was very successful. When he received a promotion one day, he was taken out to celebrate by his co-workers, and after having too much to drink, he picked up his twelve-year-old son from baseball practice. The two of them were in a car accident caused by Dogen, and his son was gravely wounded. Dogen says that in the hospital, a man he’d never met came to him and told him he could save the boy’s life, but in exchange Dogen would have to take on a new job here on the island, and he could never see his son again. Sayid asks who that man was, and Dogen says that it was Jacob. “Jacob drives a hard bargain,” Sayid muses. Dogen asks if MiB offered Sayid a similar bargain, and Sayid affirms that he did. After pausing for a moment, Dogen notes that it’s sundown, and asks if Sayid is staying or leaving. Sayid says he’d like to stay, but then grabs Dogen and dives into the Spring. He holds Dogen under the water until he’s dead. Lennon runs in and sees what’s just happened. He’s outraged and terrified, and screams at Sayid that Dogen was the only thing keeping the smoke monster out of the Temple. “I know,” Sayid replies calmly as he cuts Lennon’s throat with the dagger, and Lennon falls dead into the water, too.

Out in the courtyard, Kate and Miles hear the familiar sound of the smoke monster approaching just as the few remaining Others are grabbed by the monster and killed, one by one. Kate and Miles make a run for it, but split up when Kate insists on going to Claire. Miles tries to barricade himself inside a room alone, but someone outside bangs on the door until he can’t hold it anymore. Thankfully, it’s not the smoke monster — it’s Ilana! Frank, Sun, and Ben are with her, too. She asks Miles about Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sayid. Miles quickly tells her that Jack and Hurley disappeared long before any of this began, he got separated from Kate, and Sayid is in the pool room. Ben volunteers to go get Sayid, while Ilana leads the remaining survivors away to safety.

Kate runs back to the pit and kicks a rope ladder down to Claire. She shouts that they have to go now, but Claire calmly refuses, saying that it’s safer down where she is. The monster blasts into the room at full bore, and Kate barely survives by grabbing the rope and jumping down inside the hole. She and Claire watch as the monster passes by directly overhead.

Ben finds Sayid holding his bloody dagger in the pool room, and asks him to come with him to safety. “There’s still time [to escape],” Ben says. Sayid smiles a creepy smile and replies, “Not for me.” Ben seems to realize that Sayid has changed drastically, and he backs away, leaving Sayid alone.

As they run, Miles asks Sun where Jin is. She’s stunned to hear confirmation that Jin was here mere hours ago, and he really is alive. Ilana leads them all to safety by accessing the same secret passage that Hurley and Jack used to leave the Temple.

Sayid emerges from the Temple to find the Others dead. Kate follows Claire out into the courtyard to see the same sight. Kate picks up a rifle from one of the dead Others and slings it over her shoulder. Without a word, Sayid and Claire exit the Temple and rendezvous with the Man in Black, who stands just outside, waiting with his group of converted Others. Kate walks out of the Temple soon after to stare in shock at the visage of her old friend John Locke. MiB checks her out before turning to lead his followers off into the jungle.

Kate follows along as well, though she’s still in shock and doesn’t know what to make of all this.

  • It would appear that the Temple’s main purpose is to serve as a refuge against the smoke monster/Man in Black.
    What is the purpose of the Temple? What happens there? Is it for worshipping something or someone? [3.22]
  • Dogen confirmed it: the smoke monster/Man in Black can only assume the form of someone who’s dead.
    How did the Man in Black take on Locke’s form? Can he assume the form of anyone he wants, or does it have to be a dead person? [5.17]
  • Dogen is master of the Temple because he was hand selected by Jacob to come to the island and take on this role. It was a deal that Jacob brokered, where he saved the life of Dogen’s son in exchange for Dogen’s service.
    Who is the Oriental man at the Temple? Why is he in a position of leadership there? [6.01]
  • Jacob was referring to the Man in Black.
    Who is the “someone bad” that’s coming to the Temple? The Man in Black? [6.05]

  • Does the Man in Black want to kill everyone on the island, as Dogen claimed? MiB says all he really wants is to leave the island. Does he have to kill everyone in order to do this? Or have the Others been misled regarding MiB’s intentions?
  • What has turned Sayid to the dark side? Was he always evil at his core, or did the infection change him?
  • Sideways Reality: Why was Jin being held captive by Martin Keamy?

I read recently where Damon and Carlton said that “Sundown” was the end of “Act 1” of Season 6’s three acts. Boy, they weren’t kidding. The last 10 minutes were season finale-style cuh-razy. Full-on Temple chainsaw massacre! Yow.

Was anyone else struck by the fact that the smoke monster killed everyone in the Temple — but took special care not to harm the Temple itself? If he wanted everyone dead, the simplest way to do it would have been to raze the Temple. Hmm.

The underlying theme of “Sundown” is summed up in three words: “Is Sayid evil?” Is he inherently honorable, usually (though certainly not always) well-intentioned, even though his actions are often bad? Or is he, in his heart of hearts, just a cut-and-dried bad person? Dogen’s findings that Sayid’s scale was tipped toward evil could have been because of the infection that has “claimed” Sayid, or maybe the machine was picking up on all of the dark deeds Sayid has committed in his past. This was the question I found myself pondering again and again as this episode played out. Was he already evil, or did MiB change him? Sayid’s final words to Ben that there’s no hope left for him seem to indicate that whatever good was left in Sayid has now been expunged — whether via the infection, or via the actions Sayid has chosen.

Jacob’s deal with Dogen is a tough pill to swallow. Saving the life of Dogen’s son in exchange for Dogen’s lifelong servitude? I mean, if you get right down to it, Dogen became Jacob’s slave. And the ultimate pricetag was that he would never again see his son, though his son would be healed, and survive. Easy to see why Dogen agreed, and maybe he didn’t look at it as slavery, but as serving a higher calling. But still… if Jacob is the good guy (and I am still very much on Team Jacob), why would he require such a steep payment from Dogen? Jacob’s already demonstrated the ability to see the future, so in all likelihood, he knew that such a deal made at Dogen’s lowest moment was the only way he could ever be talked into moving to the island. You could call it manipulative. Or you could guess that Jacob required Dogen to be separated from his son as a form of atonement for the sin that caused Dogen’s car accident in the first place. (Hey, nobody ever said sacrifice was easy.)

Until now, we’ve been led to believe that the only thing that keeps the smoke monster at bay is volcanic ash. But Lennon claimed that Dogen’s presence in the Temple was what kept the smoke monster from entering. I’m not making this one an unanswered question, because I think it’s fairly simple. Since Dogen was hand-picked by Jacob for the job of Temple Master, we can infer that Jacob bestowed on him some sort of protection or power or whatnot (probably not all that dissimilar to whatever he did to Richard), that would make the Temple a safe haven for as long as Dogen was there. This is the real reason Dogen could never see his son again — if he were to leave the Temple, the monster would be able to get in and kill everybody there.

I’m sad to see Dogen dead so soon after we met him. I understand how it was probably necessary to move the plot forward, but I was hoping to at least get a scene where he interacted with Ben. You just know the two of them would never get along, and I’d love to have seen that juicy little dynamic play out.

So Sayid murdered Dogen by… drowning him. In the same pool where Dogen drowned Sayid. (And how did that turn out, again?) Could a similar fate be in store for Dogen? And what about Lennon? His throat was slit and he was also tossed into the Spring for good measure. Will Zombie Dogen and Zombie Lennon be joining MiB’s army soon? My gut feeling is no. Their deaths had a sense of finality to me, so I’m thinking Sayid killed them there because it was convenient — and maybe a bit poetic. I’m not expecting either of them to return (except maybe in a Sideways cameo or two).

The fact that there was no blood on the dagger after MiB pulled it out of his chest could be an intentional little detail. If MiB is nothing but the smoke monster in human form, then perhaps that description is very literal: maybe in human form, he’s not made up of anything as solid as flesh and blood and bone. Maybe he’s simply all that smoke compacted into a human shape, so that he has no blood to bleed. That would explain why bullets bounce off of him, too. Is MiB unkillable? Hm, that’s the real question, isn’t it.

MiB has been getting what he wants out of people by making promises that he doesn’t seem too likely to keep. His promise to get Sawyer off the island isn’t so wild, but offering to reunite Sayid with his dead wife is pretty out there. He’s also promised to return Aaron to his mother Claire. Now my first instinct is to believe that he’s lying to everyone just to gain their help in his scheme to escape the island. But let’s say for a moment that MiB is telling the truth, and he really can deliver on all of these promises. One obvious way that springs to mind that he could fulfill all of these promises is by rewriting history — changing it into what we’re seeing in the Sideways reality. Could this possibly be MiB’s endgame? He claims to have once been a normal, human man, and he says that what he wants most of all is to escape the island… What if his means of doing this is to prevent himself from ever arriving there in the first place? A more likely scenario seems like, in the process of getting what he wants, MiB will have to kill everyone on the island — just like Dogen, Richard, and others have claimed.

Let’s take a quick tally of the two sides in this war. On MiB’s side, there’s Sawyer, Claire, Sayid, and all of the Others who are still alive, including Cindy, Zach, and Emma. On Jacob’s side, there’s Hurley, Richard, Ilana, Frank, Sun, Miles, and (one assumes) Jack and Kate. Ben is an open question; he seems to be on Team Jacob for now, but Ben’s priority is always Ben, so his loyalties will shift along with whichever way the wind blows (unless he’s undergone a more profound change of heart than it appears at first glance — which we should find out next week).

What about Jin? I’m assuming he’s not so easily swayed into signing on with MiB, although Claire’s comment at the episode’s start — where she mentioned Jin in the same breath as Sawyer as someone MiB could’ve sent to the Temple instead of her — certainly gives one pause. For now, I’m choosing to believe that Claire was just making an assumption based on Jin’s lie when he placated her by offering to help get Aaron back.

Sideways Jin-in-the-freezer was a nice little setup for the inevitable Sun/Jin episode that’s yet to come. Just like Ben the high school teacher was something to ponder while waiting on Ben’s episode (which comes right after this one). Jin’s presence in Keamy’s fridge will be explained, no doubt, though it’s easy to guess that it has something to do with the huge wad of cash he had at the airport. Was he on his way to deliver said money to Keamy on behalf of Sun’s father? And where’s Sun?

Ben and Sayid haven’t seen each other since the Ajira flight; their reunion in this episode was not what anybody expected, I think. If something scares Ben and creeps him out, then it’s got to be truly awful. And that’s just what Sayid did when the two of them saw each other again. Crazy times.

I’m dying to know more about Ilana. She’s definitely not your garden variety Other. She possesses knowledge of the island and its secrets on par with Jacob and the Man in Black. Yet she doesn’t seem to have any powers or abilities like they have. She’s almost certainly been to the island before, so… When was that? And why did she leave? Just who is Ilana, anyway? We’re due for some answers about her.

The surprises in the Sideways world just keep on coming — and they’re getting bigger and bigger as we go. Sayid wasn’t searching for Nadia, he was going to visit her — and her husband, Sayid’s brother. Whoa! And the reason the two of them never wound up together? Sayid pushed her away, towards his homebro, because he doesn’t “deserve her.” Like his compatriots, Sideways Sayid seems to be a much better, nobler man than his island counterpart.

What bothered me about this Sideways storyline is that there was no resolution to it. I kept expecting Sayid’s brother to die, and Sayid to get to swoop in and live happily ever after with Nadia. Or something. Some big, permanent change to wrap up this storyline. Instead, Sayid bursts into the fridge, finds Jin tied up in there, and — that’s it. We’re left dangling. It felt like the story was cut off before the denouement. We got the climax, in the form of Sayid’s confrontation with Keamy, but there was no conclusion afterwards. Did Nadia and Omer reconcile and live happily ever after? Or was this the final straw that showed them they weren’t meant to be — clearing the way for a Sayid/Nadia romance?

And the two of them not ending up together because Sayid was self aware enough to know that he doesn’t deserve her… It’s a graceful note and all, but come on. We all want Sayid to finally get a happy ending with the love of his life in the Sideways world, don’t we?

This can’t possibly be the end of the story for Sideways Sayid, just like we cant’ve seen the end of Kate’s Sideways story, or Claire’s or Jack’s. I’m thinking that the main characters are going to get their own individual Sideways episodes in this first part of the season, and then all of those scattered plots are going to converge toward the end. Somewhere in the second half of the season, I think there will no longer be individual Sideways episodes, but episodes where all of the Sideways characters are involved, overlapping with one another and affecting each others’ lives, building to some kind of grand finale that explains how this reality came to be and how it connects to the original reality.

Granted, it’s not my biggest, grandest theory ever. But as a storyteller, it’s the main thing that jumped out at me.

The floor is yours.