Namaste. I am so glad you are here. I do hope you have been waiting for my "Lost" questions and answers post, because here it is. (Had to dash this off quickly, as as more thoughts occur to me, will add to this post...)
First, I know there's much teeth-gnashing over this episode - "Sundown." Much disappointment. Sayid as a zombie - Rob Zombie, maybe, or a Tor Johnson zombie in "Plan Nine from Outerspace." And Martin Keamy back, in his best Christopher Walken impersonation. He was not a zombie.
And the deaths of Samurai Dogen and "Lennon." They were so quick and merciless - just when we were getting to know this fun couple. That said...I thought this was a good episode. It moved the (base)ball forward. Pulled the Others out of the Temple and into the orbit of John/Man in Black, and gave us a sense of forward propulsion. "Sundown" was weak on mythology, but that's to be expected after a mytho-soaked "Tower" from last week.
Let's go to the bullets:
* "Sideways Sayid:" These sideways excursions have been a largely successful device, and last night was a good example. They're character explorations - another dimension on someone we knew or thought we know. Who is the real Sayid? The butcher of Baghdad or someone else? As Samarai said, his balance tipped the wrong way...
* Sundown: This episode was all about choices...you can pay the loan back to the loan shark, or you can suffer the consequences...you can leave at sundown, or you can suffer the consequences...you can deliver the message to Dogen , or, etc. etc. Wise choices or bad choices. A choice between good, or evil. Between life and death - though the distinction in "Lost" has become increasingly clouded. This plays right to the core of "Lost's" major theme - the choices we make, versus fate, or whether there is some over-arching force in life that nullifies the first and guides, shapes, molds or propels the second. Jacob is our man here - fate writ large - just as Man in Black is as well. They are the yin and yang of our island - follow whom you will follow and thereby reveal who you are in your very core. Sayid: He wasn't the man he was twelve years before, and of course, he was exactly the man he was twelve years before.
* Finally, Crazy Claire. She has emerged - improbably - as one of the most intriguing Losties this season, if only because we haven't seen her in so long, and the image we long held of her is in such dramatic contrast to the one we are not asked to absorb. Who is this wild-haired harpy with murder in her heart - another George Romero zombie, or some reduced version of her true essence (as described by Dogen's soul measuring machine.