In two universes, Sayid (Naveen Andrews) struggled to come to grips with what kind of man was, who he is now, and what sort of person he aspires to be in the future. In the L.A. universe, Sayid is a merchant, while Nadia (Andrea Gabriel) is not only alive, she is married to Sayid’s brother, Omer (Cas Anvar), a dry-cleaner. Seems Omer borrowed money from the wrong folks and so he asked his brother to call upon his Republican Guard skills to go all Rambo on the loan sharks. But Sayid resisted — just as he resisted the temptation of Nadia, whom he clearly loves and who adores him. He even told her that he was a once a bad man and does not deserve her. Of course the mobsters tired of waiting for their money and brutalized Omer, which prompted Sayid to go all Rambo on their asses after all. How random was having Martin Keamy (Kevin Durand) show up as a gangster? From Kahana captain to mob lieutenant? Well, I guess they are both tough guys motivated by money.
Back on the island, Sayid was tired of being jerked around by Dogen (Hiroyuki Sanada), and so demanded and explanation for being “tested” by that Princess Bride-type machine. Dogen told him that the device allowed him to determine how a man’s scale of good and evil is balanced, and that Sayid’s scales were balanced the “wrong way.” But which way is that? From Dogen’s perspective, Sayid might have been too far on the side of the angels. (If concepts of “Good” and “Evil” still have any meaning on the Island…)
In fact, I’m thinking that Dogen was so obsessed with killing Sayid because he knew he was destined to die at the Iraqi’s hands. Sure, he came close to capping Sayid himself, but the baseball reminded him that the goofy “rules” of the Island/Jacob/Man in Black prevented him from directly interfering with his own fate. So he tried to get his minions to drown Sayid, then tried to convince Jack to poison him, then trick Sayid into angering MiB (Terry O’Quinn) into squashing him. But none of that worked.
Sayid ultimately took his fate into his own hands by cutting a deal with ol’ Smokey himself — presumably in return for the thing he wants most in the world. Sayid not only agreed to help MiB slaughter everyone in the temple, he personally drowned Dogen in the spring and slit toady Lennon’s throat. In this, we saw the return of Sayid the ruthless assassin. (Recall that he was once a hired gun for Ben while off the island.) My guess at the bargain: MiB proposed resurrecting Nadia and letting her live happily — provided Sayid stays on the Island, far away from her.
So were any of the choices Sayid appeared to make in this story (indeed, perhaps ever!) his own? Or has Jacob been pulling the strings all along, making Sayid dance? The nature of free will (and mankind itself) is a central question. Last week Jacob told Hugo that he cannot just tell Jack what he has to do. It appears plenty of
people entities are more than willing to tell Sayid what to do. The question is, Is he listening, or calling his own shots?