Season 4 Episode 3

The Economist

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 14, 2008 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (69)

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  • Possibly the best Sayid episode yet!

    Only three episodes in, and already the conflict between the freighties, Team Jack and The Others 2.0 is escalating rapidly. In addition, the flash-forwards continue to be a valuable asset, introducing a new layer to the Oceanic Six saga. Again the confidence the writers have now permeates through. Knowing the end date really helps these reveals, as it feels like its building to something rather than keeping the balls in the air until the series is unprofitable.

    While Jack and Hurley were able to return to their lives, at least until their consciences caught up with them, Sayid turned into an international man of mystery gunning down people on Ben's list. This could've been a problem, as a high profile celebrity like one of the Oceanic Six would make a tough secret assassin, but it works thanks to Naveen Andrew's conflicted performance and the mysterious reasons for why he is doing this.

    The big reveal is worth of a lot of discussion and speculation. Sayid and Ben have had a tumultuous relationship since they first met in "One of Them" (also a Sayid episode). That events from the present on the island to the flash-forward would make Sayid "sell [his] soul" and side with Ben is unbelievable. It can be simply that the mutual enemy of the freighties' employer forges this alliance, but more has to be in store for this mystery.

    Then we have the foreshadowing with Ben's remark about the last time Sayid thought "with [his] heart rather than [his] gun". Although Sayid regrets his violent past, he's been willing to return to it for the sake of what he considers the greater good. This seems to hint at a moment where violence didn't seem necessary, but his non involvement resulted in grave consequences for the survivors.

    Sayid's character has been haunted by the actions he committed in the Republican Guard. Torturing Sawyer for ultimately no good reason early in season one made him temporarily vacate in self-imposed exile. In the flash forward he's cornered where his only option is to kill the people Ben selects. Naveen Andrews described Sayid in the future as cold, which is necessary for a hit man. That doesn't work when he meets and grows feelings for Elsa, the contact of the episode's namesake. It should be noted that Elsa is a similar physical type to Shannon, albeit not as bratty. Their courtship, and Sayid's killing of her, shows that duality is alive within Sayid.

    His friends, whether they're on island or not, are the hostages. Previous flash-forwards have shown that those who sent the freighties are now scrutinizing the Oceanic Six to make sure they don't reveal what really happened. However, Sayid and Ben have turned the tables on them. Now why Sayid's on the offensive to protect his friends while Jack and Hurley remain quiet still isn't clear, but it's a mouthwatering mystery that appears to be center to the season's story.

    Hurley's flash-forward took place before Jack's, but Sayid's has no clear point in the timeline. Presumably this is later, as those from the island are taking the conflict to a new level. It's possible that it'll never be completely clear, but it seems as if some time has passed since the "rescue". It'll be interesting to see how Jack tries to contact Sayid regarding returning to the island.

    In the parallel storylines, Sayid pays respect to deceased women and finds a bracelet on them. The bracelet both Naomi and Elsa have is a tell tale connection between the two, likely romantic or familial to one of the higher ranking people on the freighter, but is a classic element thrown in simply to get people talking before delving into it later.

    Ben's hidden closet shouldn't come as a big surprise. As he lied about living there his whole life, his drawers full of passports and various currencies show he's traveled around the world similar to Ethan and Richard. Some believe this adds credence to the theory that Ben is the one in the coffin, as one of his aliases could be on the news clipping Jack had. One interesting theory is that Jack's despondency was over losing that access back to the island. I doubt that, but it isn't too far fetched. Can Ben get back? If he can't, is that why he sent Sayid to dispatch those who made it be?

    Another possibly important reveal was the time difference between Daniel's on island clock and the one Regina sends in the payload. Time moving differently on the island has been theorized for some time. It could help explain various aspects from the current date on island (Christmas Eve 2004) and the present to how the writers will deal with Malcolm David Kelly's pubescence. Even Jack asking Frank about the Red Sox could add to the time discrepancy theory, since the Red Sox won another World Series last year.

    Then there is the subject of bearing. Daniel's emphasis on Frank maintaining a specific bearing recalls Ben's insistence that Michael, who is the front runner for who Ben's inside man is, keep the boat on a bearing of 325 degrees. This could be the only way off the island, but what is keeping the island "protected" and what happens if that bearing isn't followed?

    It's interesting that of the freighties, Miles is the only one interested in getting Ben. Otherwise they all have different motivations: Daniel wants to learn more about the anomalies of the island. Frank wants to learn about the survivors presumably. Charlotte must want to learn more about Dharma and the crash itself, plus the four toed statue would be a major find for her. None of the freighties have any idea what Naomi was doing with Desmond's photo, so the freighties on the freighter have an agenda those on island are unaware of.

    Team Locke experiences its second major problem when Jacob's cabin fails to appear. It's a similar disappointment to the one Locke felt early in season two when he didn't get the answers he expected from the hatch. Jacob's cabin not appearing could be simply punishment because Locke failed in his mission to prevent Jack from contacting the boat, or it may be another reason altogether. This compounds the weird feelings some of them felt when Locke said Walt was one of his guides for leadership. Ben of course jumps at the opportunity to pick at Locke's wounded pride and soon some dissent arises over what they should do with Charlotte.

    For now it seems like that was meant to mislead us into believing that Hurley was left behind so that the surprise ambush would be a shocking twist. Luckily for Hurley, he's earned so much goodwill among the viewers that tricking Kate and Sayid hardly dented his reputation, although it is telling as far as where relationships between Team Jack and The Others 2.0.

    Last episode Ben tried to rile Sawyer by remarking that Kate and he wouldn't have a chance in the real world since Jack is a more dignified choice. Now we see more of that psychology when Sawyer confronts Kate at Ben's home. Neither of these two have much to look forward to: Kate was being extradited to the US and at some point Sawyer became a high profile suspect in the murder of the man he believed was the real Sawyer.

    What was really interesting about their scenes was Sawyer's entry to the room with Kate hiding under the bed mirrored Sawyer's flashback in "Outlaws" where his father walked into the bed and shortly afterward killed himself. A lot has been made about the irony of Sawyer becoming the man he hated growing up, but setting up the shot that way may set up some of the more self destructive elements Sawyer's exhibited lately.

    The mystery established for what has happened between these flash forwards and current island time is as good as what the flashbacks originally did (and still does for newer characters). This episode introduces more elements to the mystery of the future, with a change in dynamics that should be interesting to see come into fruition.