Lost season 3 episode 11: the cat is behind it all

Fluffy cats appear this week in Lost, a symbol that the feline army is the true mastermind behind events on the island.

The Flame Station goes up in flames, a.k.a. longest write-up ever
Kate, Locke, Sayid and Rouseau head into the forest on the bearing Locke took from Eko’s stick, and just as actually finding anything seems hopeless, they stumble upon a house in the middle of nowhere with a saddled horse tethered outside. Going in to investigate, Sayid manages to get himself shot in the shoulder by the one-eyed occupant (the eye patch man we saw on the monitor a few episodes back). Nonetheless, with a little persuasion and an armed Kate and Locke as backup (Rouseau refuses to get too involved), they are able to gain access to the man’s house, where he treats Sayid’s wound.

Introducing himself as Mikhail, the man claims he is the last survivor of the Dharma Initiative; eleven years ago he came to the island to work here at the Flame Station, maintaining contact with the mainland. Whilst Locke plays chess against the computer in the next room, Mikhail tells Kate and Sayid how the Dharma scientists came into conflict with people already living on the island- only by staying out of it and later promising not to stray too far from his home was Mikhail spared. Whilst he goes to get some iced tea, however, Sayid confides to Kate that he doesn’t believe in Mikhail- the horse outside indicates that there is a second person here, and that means Mikhail is probably an ally of the Others.

Upon his return, Mikhail and Sayid engage in some verbal fencing, but having realised that he has been found out, Mikhail decides to launch a pre-emptive strike by attacking Sayid, but it ends badly when Kate knocks him out and the group tie him up.

Having discovered a trapdoor set in the floor, Sayid and Kate go below to find the second person who must be nearby, whilst Locke is left to guard Mikhail. Despite this, he cannot take his mind off the computerised chess game, and so he goes back to have one more go at beating it. Upon winning the game, an automated Dharma Initiative video appears offering various options, from which John selects the one to contact the mainland. Unfortunately, both satellite and sonar are down, and as he is prompted to input whether there has been an incursion, the escaped Mikhail comes up from behind and holds him at knifepoint.

Having found the black woman who was present when Kate and the others were taken prisone, Sayid and Kate take their prisoner above ground, only to find Locke being held hostage by Mikhail. Mikhail wants an exchange of prisoners, but Locke is certain that he is no danger and tells Sayid not to comply. After a heated stand-off, the woman tells Mikhail to shoot her, and he reluctantly follows her orders. Afterwards, Mikhail is taken into custody, whilst the group goes over the house one last time to take away anything that might be of use to them.

Now a prisoner, Mikhail insists that he will never disclose anything, but Sayid tells him he already has what he needs- a map of cabling throughout the island has given away where the other hatches are. Having returned to the group, Rouseau tells Sayid to kill Mikhail before he escapes and becomes a danger to them, but Sayid refuses, driven by the demons of his past life as a torturer. Even as they talk, however, the flame station explodes- having returned to the computer before they left, Locke input the incursion code, causing the detonation of the C4 wired throughout the place (conveniently occurring after everyone was safely away from it). Unwilling to attract the attention of anyone who noticed the explosion, the team makes a quick getaway.

Sawyer wants his stuff
Annoyed that everyone has taken his stash, Sawyer decides to challenge the rest of the camp to a ping pong match; if he wins, he gets all his stuff back, and if he loses, he has to stop calling people nicknames for a week. Confident in skills, Sawyer agrees, and goes up against Hurley- only to get thoroughly trounced.

Flashback- Sayid in Paris
We return to a time when Sayid was living as ‘Najib’, a Syrian chef working in Paris. One day, he is approached by a fellow Iraqi who offers him a job in his restaurant, but when Sayid goes to see him, his is instead tied up and thrown into the basement. The man explains that Sayid was the man who once tortured his wife and forced her to confess to a crime she didn’t commit, and that now he must apologise for what he did or face having the same suffering inflicted on him.

Sayid remains adamant that he did not touch the woman in question, but when she comes down later to tell him her story, he admits that he was responsible and apologises. In return, she forgives Sayid and promises to tell her husband that they must let him go because they have the wrong man, for she has no desire to sink to the level of a torturer herself.

Observations and Speculation

  • A disappointingly predictable episode this time around; not in that I saw exactly how everything would pan out, but the general flow of events and the dialogue for certain scenes were pretty obvious- a far cry from the days when the twists were highly unexpected.
  • The Flame Station had communication to the mainland via both satellite and sonar, but by they have long since gone down- all that remains is some way to send message of an incursion. Is this via some sort of undersea cabling or perhaps a transmitter of a different type, and if so, why couldn’t that also be used as a method of communication? Maybe it doesn’t send word of an incursion to the mainland, but simply creates some kind of equipment lockdown.
  • According to Mikhail, there was a war between the Others and the Dharma scientists- if this is true, what were the Others doing on the island in the first place, why weren’t they noticed before the Dharma Initiative set up all its stations (unless they were vital to the experiment somehow), and how much of the Others’ equipment is non-Dharma? We also need to think about the timeline- Rouseau has been there for sixteen years, Mikhail claims to have been on the island for eleven years, whilst Juliet was brought there around two years ago.
  • The Flame Station was also responsible for requesting food drops- did Mikhail request a drop for the plane crash survivors? Where exactly do the food drops come from anyway?
  • We’ve now seen how easy it is for Sayid to lie convincingly even under threat of physical pain- something worth remembering for the future.
  • Mikhail’s cat is called Nadia- also the name of Sydney’s half-sister in Alias.
  • It would have been easier for Mikhail to drug the iced tea than initiate a fight, although perhaps he decided Kate and Sayid were too suspicious of him to even drink the tea.
  • Even though the blocks of C4 in the cellar have ‘C4’ written on them, Kate still has to ask what they are- didn’t she ever watch Alias?
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