Sawyer is wondering where Kate is, but is distracted by the discovery of the remains of the ping pong table that blew out of the exploding hatch. Sawyer has a ball for it, but will only give it up if someone will play him for it. The representative is Hurley, and Hurley smashes him. The cost for Sawyer: no nicknames for a week. Hurley shows him some mercy and gives Sawyer back some of his magazines.
Sayid is beginning to show doubts that Locke’s instincts about how to find the others are going to bear fruit. But while Sayid is off looking for real fruit, he sees a cow – and behind it, a lone house with a satellite dish, and a man with an eyepatch. Sayid walks around the place and says he is sure that it is completely isolated. Sayid approaches unarmed, and is promptly shot in the arm. Kate and Locke advance, guns drawn, and a truce is made, and they are taken inside. The man identifies himself as Mikhail, the last living member of the Dharma Initiative. He sews up Sayid’s arm as he tells that he refused to enter Dharma’s war against the ‘hostiles’, and, because of that, he has been allowed to live in this place – a Dharma station called the Flame. The purpose of the station is to communicate with the outside world – but the satellite dish and sonar systems are not working.
But Sayid tells Kate that he noticed that the stirrups on the horse are mounted for a much shorter person.
Meanwhile, Locke has wandered off and gotten obsessed with playing a computer chess game. While Locke is still in the other room, Mikhail tries to fight his way out, but Sayid and Kate are able to (barely) subdue him. He is tied up. Sayid and Locke now believe that Mikhail was sent to this place to restore the communications systems that probably stopped working when the hatch exploded. Sayid finds a trap door underneath the carpet leading to a basement. Kate and Sayid first find that the whole place is wired with explosives.
Locke wanders off when he should be guarding the unconscious Mikhail, summoned by the beep and ‘your move’ of the chess game. Locke is able to win, even though Mikhail had said it was impossible. Upon winning, he gets a video message from that Dharma scientist, telling him that manual override has been achieved, and to press 24 for pallet drop, 32 for station uplink, 38 for mainland communication. Locke presses 38, but receives a message that satellite communications are down. The next message is to press 56 for sonar access. Locke does: sonar is inoperable. The video says to enter 77 if there has been an incursion on this station by the hostiles. Locke is about to enter 77 when he is held at knifepoint by the revived Mikhail.
Meanwhile Kate is attacked by the black woman that was dealing with Michael. The ‘Other woman’ is subdued, and a standoff occurs outside. But the prisoner exchange goes awry when the black woman convinces Mikhail to shoot her dead. Mikhail is taken prisoner; his pleas to be put out of his misery are ignored. Sayid has found a map of underground communication lines that will lead them to the main barracks of the Others, and doesn’t need Mikhail anymore, but refuses to kill him.
Kate, Sayid, and Mikhail go outside and Sayid calls Danielle. Locke hangs back and stupidly presses 77. As they walk away, the house explodes.
Sayid’s backstory: He is working as a chef at a restaurant in Syria, and masquerading as a Syrian. He is approached by an Iraqi man who says he likes his cooking and wants him to switch to another restaurant. When Sayid visits the restaurant, however, it is a trick. The man’s wife is ‘Nadia’, and she identified Sayid as the man who tortured her in Iraq. Beaten to within an inch of his life, Nadia changes her mind and allows Sayid to go, stating that she will not go down to that level.
One interesting comment by Mikhail: he says the hostiles have been on the island for a long time (he infers that it may have been many generations).
Why has the show turned so nasty? Why did the black woman and the Russian man ask to be shot? Up to now, no one in the Others has seemed so fatalistic, suicidal, and kamikaze. In a way, Hurley and Charlie’s attitude in the last episode was a bit suicidal too – driving that vehicle downhill toward the rocks seemed particularly stupid.
This is the second episode in a row that the writers have worked a huge explosion into the script – I’m noticing the start of a possible trend here - to blow big things up.
The first part of this episode was excellent, until plot holes, character stupidity, and downright nastiness diminished it.
Since I am watching these episodes about a year after they originally aired, I am aware that the show’s rating have dropped in the latter half of season 3, and even more so in season 4. I’m interested in exploring why this happened, and I am noticing already that this episode’s rating on tv.com is ‘great’, which is below the usual episode rating of ‘superb’.
When Sayid initially said that he was sure that the eyepatch man was alone, I questioned this in my mind. The Others seem to have underground structures everywhere; why wouldn’t Sayid also assume this, or at least leave this open as a possibility?
I found it unbelievably stupid that Locke would stop guarding the prisoner in order to continue his chess game. When he wandered back to the game, I was really hoping nothing stupid would happen.
Sayid discovers explosives mounted at various locations in the basement. Kate asks him what they are for, and he says, "I don’t know." Uh…maybe they are for…blowing the place up? What other purpose could they serve?
And finally, why would Locke even consider entering the 77 code? Sure, it makes sense to enter the codes to check if the satellite dish or sonar is working – it would be to their advantage to gain this type of communication. But of what advantage would it be to get the reaction to an insurgency?
"I’m going to find some fruit – and then, John, we’re going to have a rational conversation regarding our next move."
Sawyer: Ooh! Looks like Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon got something good. Lay it on me.
Sun: No nicknames. If you lose, no nicknames for anyone for a week.
Kate: Where are you going?
Danielle: I have no interest in that man inside the house. I have survived on the island precisely by avoiding these types of encounters. I'll wait for you by the stream...For those of you who survive.
Sayid: What's wrong?
Kate: Doesn't make any sense. Why would they let him stay here, with all this stuff, all this equipment?
Sayid: Actually, it makes perfect sense.
Kate: What are you talking about?
Sayid: The reason they let him stay here is because he is not Dharma. He is one of them.
Kate: He shot you and you just let him-why are we still sitting here?
Sayid: We are sitting here, Kate, because I am certain he is not alone.