Greetings and Namaste, everyone. Where last week’s episode, Confidence Man, examined the volatile dynamics between island survivors, Solitary, focused upon Sayid Jarrah, does more of the same while exploring some of the unanswered questions concerning the island itself and the mysterious (solitary) French Woman, Danielle Rousseau.
Events: After Sayid banishes himself from the rest of the survivors and sets out alone, he stumbles across a cable partially submerged into the ocean that leads further into the jungle. He follows it and soon finds himself snared in a trap, evidently placed by the French Woman whose voice was on the recorded transmission (from the pilot episode). She tortures him, asking repeatedly “Where’s Alex?” in several different languages. Sayid tries to explain his situation to her but she refuses to listen and continues to view him with hostility.
Back at the caves, Hurley voices concern over the survivors’ stress levels; Jack explains his job is to simply keep everyone alive. When he finds a set of golf clubs among the wreckage, Hurley decides to create a recreational distraction and makes a golf course where Jack, Michael, and Charlie eventually compete in friendly tournament.
As Rousseau questions Sayid over the woman’s portrait he carries, his flashbacks show that he was indeed a skilled, confident interrogator in the Iraqi Republican Guard; Nadia was his childhood love whom he risked his own life to free from prison. Rousseau in turn explains how she came to be on the island, unaware that sixteen years had passed since she first recorded her distress signal. Sayid eventually escapes from Rousseau’s bunker but meets her in the jungle on his way out where she explains that Alex was her child, apparently taken from her by others.
Greater Meaning: While learning more about Sayid through his flashbacks, we also learn more about his fellow survivors simply by their actions and allegiances. For Sayid, Kate, and Sawyer, the solitary life is comfortable, or desired even, but for the rest of the group, most notably Jack and Hurley, solitude isn’t an option. Jack has spent his life healing and doctoring people; Hurley seems a pure and generally concerned sort of human being. Where Jack focuses on peoples’ immediate needs, food, shelter, and overall health, Hurley considers everyone’s comfort and emotional well-being, the doctor’s included. When Kate sees Jack playing golf she teases, “I almost didn’t recognize you; you’re smiling.” Both Jack and Hurley have concerns for the people in very different styles; both men take care of the people differently.
By banishing himself from the group (after the torture incident with Sawyer), Sayid may have been punishing himself, looking for futher answers, or simply reverting to the solitary lifestyle he prefers, but his interactions with Rousseau and what he learns about her seem to confirm that the group still needs him, and he it. He learns a little more about the island (the sickness, higher ground, The Black Rock, Alex?) but is obviously still full of questions just like the rest of us. Rousseau’s presence proves that she’s indeed survived on the island alone, perhaps costing her her sanity, but Sayid shares certain qualities with her (keen survival skills, intelligence, having lost a loved one, etc.)—will he be doomed to the solitary life as well?
1. What was that cord?
2. Is Rousseau crazy?
3. Where is Alex?
4. What “Others” are on The Island?
5. Has Rousseau met “the monster?”
6. What’s with the island polar bear population?