''Lost'' recap: Sayid's fate
Lost is not kind to lovers, especially on Valentine's Day. For the second straight year, our beloved crypto-drama has aired an episode on February 14. And for the second straight year, Cupid was kicked in the nuts. Last year, in the trippy time-travel tale ''Flashes Before Your Eyes,'' Desmond toggled back to his breakup with Penelope, just to break up with her all over again. Last night, in ''The Economist,'' Flash-Forward Sayid fell for a woman he shouldn't have, and ultimately broke her heart with two bullets to the chest. (To be fair, the femme fatale shot him first.) These things happen when you play secret-agent assassin for Germany's most morally ambiguous veterinarian Benjamin Linus. Yes, you read that right. In his off-Island future as a member of the Oceanic 6, the former Iraqi torturer smokes European fat cats for über-Other Ben, who in his off-Island future has a croaky, low phone voice (All the better to delay the last-scene reveal of my true identity, my dear!), runs a pet hospital in Berlin, and manages a global conspiracy on the side. The Man With 1000 Passports has a whole list of bad people he wants dead, ''people [who] don't deserve our sympathies,'' as he told Sayid. Note to Ben's customers: Pay that doggy-grooming bill on time!
The episode's title, ''The Economist,'' was a reference to the job allegedly held by Sayid's current target, a powerful mystery man whose name went conspicuously unmentioned. It also suggested a key for reading the story. This was an episode about ''bosses'' and ''senior management'' and the minions who toil for them; about trade negotiations and merger proposals; about recession fears and hostile-takeover threats. It was a snapshot look at the information economy that shapes everything on Lost, one where secrets and inside information are valuable currencies, with hostages and guns running close behind. It was also an episode about the internal corruption that occurs when romantic idealists are forced to become cutthroat businessmen. (Literally.) As Daniel Plainview says in his other famous line from There Will Be Blood, ''I feel a competition in me.'' In his own damned way, I bet Sayid can relate.
Who's The Boss? Or where's the boss? That's what Locke was asking as he led his tribe of freighter fraidy cats to where Jacob's cabin should have been, only to discover that his house of sprits had disappeared from its circle of ash/salt/kitty litter. Abandoned by his Island god, Locke looked, yes, lost, and banged-up Ben was quick to jump all over that: ''He's looking for someone to tell him what to do next,'' the devilish Other told Locke's disgruntled flock. With Hurley showing signs of instigating a shareholder rebellion over the Charlotte-hostage issue, CEO Locke squelched the dissidence and shored up his office by playing the fear card, brow-beating Hurley with some tough talk about the cost of compromise. Did Flash-Forward Hurley's regret over choosing Locke over Jack begin here?
The Negotiating Committee Meanwhile, in Happy Helicopter Valley, the Jack Pack negotiated the terms of rescue with freighter fellas Daniel Faraday (twitchy physicist), Frank Lapidus (bushy-faced pilot), and Miles Straum (angry young ghost whisperer), who, of course, may not be there to rescue them at all. The shifty trio made it clear they weren't flying anywhere without C.S. Lewis (Charlotte edition), so Sayid stepped up and said he'd hike to the Dharma barracks and negotiate her release. Jack wanted to come, but given how the good doctor tried to shoot Locke in the face the last time they squared off, Sayid thought he should stay behind, lest the deal-making devolve into one of those protracted bargaining battles marked by phlegmatic rhetoric, heavy-handed tactics, and unreasonable demands over digital downloads.
Control Freak Jack got a proxy at the table, however, by sending Kate with Sayid and Miles. He felt her presence would give Sayid more leverage, as Locke wouldn't dare attempt any underhanded knife-in-back stuff, not with moony Sawyer there to play bodyguard. Yeah, you could say it was a contrived way to set up the possibility of more sex scenes between the old Hydra humpers. Still, it felt like classic Jack emotional dunderheadedness. You could tell Kate wasn't thrilled with Jack treating her like a pawn on a chessboard, and my hunch is that what we really saw in the moment was the beginning of her dawning realization that as much as she may dig Jack's cheese, he's got a lot more getting over himself to do before they can have a flash-forward future together, much less swap valentines and spit.
NEXT: Sawyer makes a play for Kate