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Choosing Sides: The Latest Theories on Lost

As action-packed and creeptastic as it may have been, this week’s episode of Lost didn’t thrill viewers who were hoping for answers to their burning questions. Instead, “Sundown” seemed only to raise more questions on the island while at the same time focusing on Sayid’s sideways world instead of Sun’s, which we really need to see more of. Still, as one recapper diligently pointed out, if we got the answers now, “why would we keep watching it for the next two-and-a-half months?” No matter what, it’s clear that the battle lines are drawn and act one of the final season has come to a thrilling if dark end, so let’s see what our favorite writers and commenters had to say about it.

• So what’s the big deal about sundown? This episode marked the first time we’ve seen nighttime on the island since the season premiere, and that has to mean something. It may have seemed like Flocke was issuing an arbitrary time deadline to the temple-dwellers, but it’s possible his powers grow stronger once the sun has set. [MTV Movies Blog]

• Doc Jensen notes that Flocke promises his recruits their heart's desire in exchange for their service and posits that what he's actually offering them is their flash-sideways. It looks like Claire might keep Aaron in Sidewaysland, and Nadia is at least alive in that timeline, too. He also wonders if Sayid's murder of Dogen was actually a mercy killing— was Sayid giving him a way to be reunited with his son? He reminds us what Nadia wrote on the back of the photo she gave Sayid: "You will find me in the next life, if not in this one." Still rather poignant all these seasons later. [Totally Lost/EW]

• This episode marked a big shift in the Sideways story lines, as Sayid was the first character who didn’t appear to get any sort of redemption out of his Oceanic-landing world (Kate helped Claire, Jack bonded with his son, Locke accepted his condition and stayed with Helen, Hurley brought good things to people). Sayid, on the other hand, can't seem to shake his violent nature in either timeline. Does his "infection" make it impossible to be redeemed in either world? [Lost Blog/Filmfodder]

• This blogger points out that psychic Richard Malkin's season-one prediction that terrible things would happen if another person raised Aaron is holding true, though not in the sense we expected. It appears that Claire was the one who would be damaged by their separation, as she's reached levels of insanity that Rousseau never even dreamed of. Bonus factoid: Sayid and Jack didn't have any flicker of recognition when they passed each other in the halls of the hospital. [It Happened Last Night]

• Jace finds it ironic that Ben and Sayid found themselves alone in the room with the hot tub time machine magic spring room. Sayid shooting boy Ben brought Ben here in the seventies, and Ben's dad shooting Sayid brought him here in the present. Much of Sayid's inner torment has come from playing Ben's off-island assassin. Did Ben, in that moment, recognize what had happened to Sayid? Is rescuing Sayid a chance for Ben to finally redeem himself? [Televisionary]

• The interaction between Sayid and Ben, unsatisfyingly brief as it was, poses even more questions. We’ve been led to believe that Ben would have no recollection of being shot by Sayid, but this was the first time they’ve seen each other since we saw that happen, and it almost seemed like there was a level of familiarity there. Maybe Ben had a memory upload somehow? [Inside Pulse TV]

• Tom and Lorenzo remind us that Widmore told us a war was coming. Something's definitely a-brewing, but with Jacob and Dogen dead, who exactly is Smokey's opponent in this war? [Tom and Lorenzo]

• One recapper wonders if, despite what Dogen told Jack, Claire has actually been consumed by the same darkness as Sayid. If anything, it just seems like she’s been emotionally manipulated by the Man in Black for way too long and gone a little kooky as a result. Plus, we never actually saw her die, which apparently is required for the darkness to be implanted. [TV Squad]

• On the other hand, this writer thinks that Claire and Sayid are both, for lack of a better word, zombies. Remember when Sayid said he wasn’t a zombie? What else would a zombie say?! But it’s the vacant expression on Sayid’s face in the final shots that’s the giveaway. With all good in him now banished, he mindlessly follows Flocke’s will. [Tuned In/Time]

• But don’t be silly, there are no zombies on this island! Sayid is more like a sleeper agent, turning evil only after talking to the big bad boss. It does seem like Dogen was right about when to kill Flocke, since he managed to say “hello” before he was stabbed by Sayid. [TV Club/Slate]

• The absence of Jack and Hurley is suspicious, which makes it seem like the show is setting them up to be the new leaders of the Others. Could Jack be the day-to-day leader and Hurley the Jacob replacement? [Magic Lamp]

• Just as we were falsely led to believe that this would be a Sun-centric episode (from the title and this season’s pattern of mirroring season one), Flocke has a surprise coming his way as well, only it won’t involve Sun. He may think he’s won the battle, but that perplexed look he gave Kate seems to point to her having a role in turning his new followers against him somehow, much like she once redirected the submarine back to the island. [DocArzt’s LOST Blog]

• Maureen Ryan wonders why Claire didn’t kill Kate as she promised to do last week. Maybe the smug smiles on the faces of Smocke, Sayid, and Claire suggest there are alternate plans for her? [Watcher/Chicago Tribune]

• If Jin is being held by Team Smokey and Sun is with Team Jacob, something bad is going to happen. Will Jin be used as bait to lure Sun to the dark side? Is Sun a security threat to her own team? [Mistaking Coincidence]

• It’s a good thing that Dogen shared the crucial intel that Smokey had been imprisoned for a number of years before breaking free. Let’s assume that means he was trapped inside Jacob’s cabin (or was it?), which would mean that the Man in Black is the guy Ben and Hurley saw there once. Clearly he was still able to operate in a limited capacity while he was trapped, but it seems like things on the island have gotten a lot crazier since that circle of ash was broken. [Dark UFO]

WaPo's normally dueling Lost bloggers agree this week that Sayid may be kicking the bucket sometime soon, as giving yourself over to the dark side never really seems to go well. They also wonder what the point was of having us get to know Dogen, only to off him so quickly. [Celebritology/WP]

• We may have only met Dogen recently, but we've heard almost his exact same story before — in the form of Juliet and her sister. Ben promised Juliet that if she stayed on the island he could have her sister's cancer cured, and he did. It's worth noting, however, that Jacob wasn't the one to strike this bargain with her. [Long Live Locke]

• Faustian bargains never work out as planned, and Sayid’s deal will be no different. He told Flocke about a lost love dying in his arms, whom the writers would have us think is Nadia. But she wasn’t the only one who went out in Sayid’s strong embrace, so don’t be surprised if Flocke holds up his end of the deal by bringing back Shannon instead. [MSNBC]

• Commenter Pennywise noticed that something was going on with Smokey as he passed over the hole with Claire and Kate in it. It looked like he was flashing, the way he does when he "downloads" information.

Tights_are_not_pants thinks it's clear that it is indeed Shannon that Smokey will bring back — why show her inhaler otherwise?

ThatBassHole reminds us that when Claire originally got on Oceanic 815 her mother was in a coma, yet she was miraculously alive and well at Christian's funeral all those months later. Did Claire make a deal with Smokey when she wandered off with Christian to heal her mom, similar to the deal Sayid just struck with him?

Henry_K_Duff doesn't think we've seen the last of Dogen, since the last action the magic spring got was when Jacob poured some mysterious powder into it in last week's episode. Did he know what was going to happen?

Photo: Mario Perez/ABC