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Lost Reviews and News

Key Points from "The Greater Good"

Season 1, Episode 21
Episode Air Date: 05/04/05

Point 1
Sayid Now that we're hurtling toward the season finale, the backstories are being scaled back. Instead of the full-blown character development we saw earlier in the season, we're now getting wee bits of key information. For example, in the last episode we learned that Jack was married (yeah, remember that?). Now this week we see how Sayid came to be a passenger on Oceanic 815. Next week we'll discover that Shannon once had a really bad hangnail.

Okay, it's not that bad. The Sayid developments in this episode are actually quite significant. But before we get into them, let's do a little Sayid recap. Sayid's backstory was first revealed in "Solitary" and in that episode we learned that Sayid (then a member of Iraq's Republican Guard) let a prisoner escape. And why would he do such a thing? Because the "prisoner" was a woman he had feelings for. I bring this up because the woman in question -- her name is Nadia -- is the reason why Sayid eventually boards Oceanic 815. And here's how it happens ...

Sometime within the last year or so, Sayid is detained at London Heathrow airport by a CIA agent and an Australian government agent. The duo are hunting for a massive stash of stolen C4 explosive and they believe Sayid can lead them to the goods. So Sayid's a terrorist, right? WRONG. Sayid isn't a terrorist at all. In fact, he's just a regular guy who's been traveling the world looking for his long-lost Iraqi love (that would be Nadia). The CIA agent knows all about Sayid's yearning and, more importantly, the agent also knows where Nadia is now living. To find Nadia, all Sayid needs to do is lead the agent to Sayid's college roommate.


Yeah, it's a little convoluted. Here's the abridged version: Sayid's college roommate Essam -- who Sayid hasn't seen in years and years -- is a suspected member of a terrorist sleeper cell operating out of Sydney. The CIA agent and the Australian agent know Essam and his cronies are likely in possession of the stolen explosives, but what they don't know is how and when the sleeper cell will strike. That's where Sayid comes in. The agents offer Sayid a deal: If he can infiltrate the sleeper cell and find the explosives, the agents will tell him how to find Nadia. Sayid considers the situation: college roommate in this hand ... unrequited love interest in this hand ... "I'll take Door Number 2 thankyouverymuch!"

And so it's off to Sydney Sayid goes.

Sayid soon meets up with Essam at a mosque and the two quickly fall into their old chummy ways. Essam brings Sayid back to the apartment he shares with the other members of his sleeper cell. Yes, they all live together (it's a terrorist sitcom!). Moments after arriving at the apartment, Sayid ingratiates himself with the group by showing off some of his super-neato communications knowledge. He spots a suspicious smoke detector in the sleeper cell living room. He waves a lit cigarette in front of the detector and wouldn't you know it, the friggin thing doesn't go off. Sayid pops off the cover, rips out a bugging device and chucks it in a nearby glass of beer. The sleeper cell members are duly impressed -- so much so that they immediately determine that Sayid's "chance" encounter with Essam at the mosque must have been fate.

And so the weeks go by and Sayid is absorbed into the sleeper cell -- but there's a problem. Despite his best efforts, Sayid has yet to determine how or when the cell will attack. Worse still, Essam tells Sayid that the sleeper cell's leader has chosen Essam to be a martyr (aka suicide bomber). Essam isn't particularly keen on this development and he expresses his dismay to Sayid.

Sayid meets with the CIA agent and the Australian agent in a last-ditch effort to save Essam. Sayid tells the government bureaucrats that Essam is merely a patsy and he doesn't know anything about the explosives. Moreover, Sayid is ready to renege on the Nadia deal -- all this sleeper cell nonsense really isn't worth it. But the CIA agent is having none of that. She tells Sayid that if he abandons the plan, she'll have Nadia arrested as an enemy combatant (damn you Bush administration!).

Now that he's been firmly squished between a rock and a hard place, Sayid has no choice but to return to the sleeper cell. And on top of that, he needs to convince Essam to actually carry through with the attack because there's no other way for Sayid to uncover the explosives. Ultimately, Sayid quells Essam's fears by offering to accompany his college buddy on his fantastic voyage to martyrdom. This plan just keeps getting better!

Eventually, the big day comes and Sayid and Essam are scooped up by the sleeper cell's leader and driven to a warehouse where a moving truck full of explosives is being prepped for the mission. The leader offers a half-assed "you're both heroes" speech, then he hands a pistol to Essam and runs out of the building. Sayid and Essam load themselves into the truck's cab. The other sleeper cell members have all scampered off (free beer night at Outback!), so Sayid and Essam are alone. And this is when Sayid decides to spill the beans. He tells Essam he's working for the CIA, but before he blows the whole bombing plot to hell, he says he can give Essam 10 minutes to run off. Essam doesn't take this well, which is understandable since Sayid has spent the last few weeks convincing Essam to follow through on the mission. Essam shows his dismay by shoving the gun into Sayid's throat while making a Very Menacing Face. Sayid quivers (seriously, he quivers). Suddenly, Essam whips the gun under his own throat and pulls the trigger, killing himself on the spot.

Shortly thereafter, the CIA agent and the Australian agent arrive to clean up the mess. Technically, Sayid foiled the bombing plot, so the agents reward him with two parting gifts: Nadia's whereabouts (she's in Los Angeles) and a Oceanic airline ticket from Sydney to L.A. But hold on just a second there! Sayid asks the agents about Essam's body. They say he'll be cremated, but Sayid knows this simply won't do -- Muslim men are supposed to be buried. So Sayid says he'll claim the body so Essam can have a proper burial, but to do this he'll need to postpone his flight until the next day. The agents acquiesce and Sayid postpones his flight. Fate strikes again!

And so that's how Sayid ends up on Oceanic 815. Got it? Good. Let's move on to the present day.

Point 2




Poor Boone. His death is far more interesting than his life.

When we last saw the castaways, Boone had just shuffled off to the Great Island in the Sky and Jack was planning to confront Locke about Boone's mysterious injuries. All in all, Boone's death had created a giant emotional chasm, which is a hell of a lot more than Boone ever created on his own. Oh wait, I forgot about his wedding business ...

Anyway, this week picks up where the last episode left off. Jack tromps off into the woods looking for a pound of Locke's flesh. But there's a wee problem -- Jack's a doctor, not an explorer. He ends up walking around in circles. Fortunately, Kate follows him into the brush and convinces the delusional doctor to return to camp. For once, Kate is right. In addition to his fury, Jack is also suffering from dangerously low blood sugar and extreme exhaustion, both brought on by his failed attempt to save Boone's life. More importantly, the castaways are burying Boone and it would be nice if the de facto leader was present for this monumental occasion.

Later that day the whole crew assembles on the beach to pay final respects to Boone. Everyone is there -- even the semi-anonymous castaways who show up only when crowd scenes are being shot. Boone's body is hauled up to the top of a seaside hill and deposited in a large grave. Jack asks Shannon if she'd like to offer a few words, but Shannon's been working her face into a deep pout all day and she doesn't want to ruin it. So Sayid pipes up (looking for brownie points with Shannon) and says that while he didn't know Boone all that well, he admired Boone's courage. He also admired Boone's step-sister, but that's pretty much implied. As Sayid is finishing his eulogy, a voice from the back of the crowd pipes up.

"It was my fault."

The group turns and sees ... John Locke standing by the shore, his t-shirt stained with blood. Locke stammers an explanation, telling the assembled that he and Boone found a plane, but he wasn't able to investigate because of a leg injury, so Boone went into the plane. And then there was an accident.

Locke is clearly upset but his reticence and stammering don't mean much to the group, especially Jack. The angry doctor gets a full-on homicidal gleam in his eye as he looks at Locke. And then he charges, screaming: "Where the hell were you, you son of a bitch?!" Alas, Locke is unable to answer because Jack knocks him to the sand and clenches his throat. The castaways rush in to pull Jack off of Locke and each is sent to a separate part of camp for a much needed Time Out.

Kate accompanies Jack back to a beachside tent and she forces him to drink some sort of herbal concoction under the guise of getting his blood sugar up. But it's a trick! Jack is suddenly very sleepy. Kate tells him that her Mystery Drink included crushed up sleeping pills. Jack settles back and quickly falls asleep.

At the same time, Locke walks down the beach and finds Shannon staring out at the waves. He puts Boone's bag in front of her (he's giving it to her), then takes a seat by her side. Locke apologies and takes responsibility for what happened to Boone. Shannon sulks in response. Sensing the uselessness of speaking with a less intelligent creature, Locke asks for Shannon's forgiveness, then he quickly leaves.

But Shannon isn't as dumb as she seems. Moments later, she finds Sayid and -- playing him like a Stradavarius -- says: "John Locke killed my brother. Will you do something about that?"

And so Sayid does do something about that. He finds Locke in the cave camps and asks Locke to guide him to the Beechcraft airplane (the one that caused Boone's injuries). Locke agrees and so the two go walking off into the jungle. Sayid starts to question Locke: How did you find the plane? How did you injure your leg? What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? Locke quickly catches on, noting that Sayid's Republican Guard interrogation skills are as sharp as ever.

Moments later, Locke and Sayid come upon the Beechcraft airplane. It's lying on its roof on the forest floor and debris is scattered all around (including some of the heroin Boone initially discovered within the plane).

Quick observation: Locke is in absolutely no pain at this point. He's walking and his legs are functioning normally. Previously, when Locke approached the plane, he lost all use of his legs. Something has happened, but I have no clue as to what it is. Did Boone's death counter Locke's leg degradation? Did Locke's health return when the plane crashed? Is Locke's paralysis psychosomatic? Anyone?

Back to the action ...

Locke asks Sayid why he doesn't trust him. One reason, Sayid notes, is because Locke has been carrying a concealed gun and he hasn't told anyone (Sayid spotted it in Locke's cargo pants). Locke hands over the weapon ... and then something big happens.

Locke realizes that in order to gain Sayid's trust, he's going to have to reveal one of his island secrets. And so he asks Sayid to hark back weeks before when they first crashed onto the island. Sayid teamed with Sawyer and Kate to find the source of the mysterious French radio transmission. But just as he was about to zero in on the radio signal, an unseen attacker clocked Sayid over the head with a shovel and then destroyed his equipment. Locke looks Sayid dead in the eye. "That was me," Locke says. Hoo hoo!

Sayid responds by shoving the gun into Locke's throat, but Locke, wily as ever, says that he smacked Sayid because an early discovery of the French transmission would have caused panic. He's got a point -- if you remember, the transmission notes that "they're all dead," which isn't really what you want to hear upon crashing into a mysterious tropical island. Sayid pulls the gun back, but Locke is on a roll. "You were all so focused on getting off the island that you weren't seeing things clearly. It's like what's happening now with the raft!"

Whoa whoa whoa. What's that John?

"Did you burn the raft, John?" Sayid asks.

"No Sayid, I didn't," Locke calmly responds.

And Sayid believes him. But he's got one more little question.

"What is the hatch?" Sayid asks. "Boone mentioned it before he died." (Note: Jack told Sayid about Boone's deathbed hatch revelation.)

And without missing a beat, Locke feigns ignorance. Hatch? What hatch? This plane has hatches. Birds hatch out of eggs. You use a hatchet to cut down trees ...

Clearly, Locke isn't willing to give up that secret just yet. Locke's eyes soften, the tension is released and Sayid lowers the gun.

Later, back at the beach camp, Sayid tells Shannon that he believes Boone's death was an accident. Shannon asks why Locke lied, but Sayid doesn't have an answer. Shannon isn't pleased. She's not pleased at all. She storms off in a huff, leaving Sayid alone to regret his romantic decisions. "Crap. I should have gone for Kate."

At about the same time, Jack wakes up from his drug-induced slumber. Kate is by his side. Jack reaches for his necklace -- the one holding the key to the metal gun case -- but he's shocked to discover it's missing. He bolts up and prepares to rush off to check on the case, believing Locke has pilfered the key and has designs on arming himself. Sayid overhears Jack and immediately understands that Locke isn't the threat at all. In fact, Locke is the one who should be worried. Sayid rushes over to Jack and Kate. Just then, it starts to rain.

Nearby, Shannon unlocks the metal gun case and grabs one of the pistols. She cocks it into position and prepares to go a-huntin' for Locke.

The rain pelts down as Sayid, Jack and Kate run into the woods. Jack stumbles and Kate goes back to help. Sayid charges forward and runs into a clearing, where he finds ... Locke standing with his arms outstretched as Shannon aims the pistol at Locke's chest. Jack and Kate tear into the clearing moments later. Ladies and gentlemen, we've got ourselves a standoff.

Shannon means business. She's not in one of those "I'll point a gun at someone so my island boyfriend will pay attention to me" moods. The music builds. "What did you do to him!" Shannon screams at Locke. The music builds more. Sayid sees his opening and dives for the gun, but a shot rings out and Locke falls backwards. Shannon runs off and Sayid and Kate follow her. Jack looks down at Locke and Locke starts to move. He raises his head and brings his hand to his temple. The bullet grazed him, but it didn't cause serious damage. Jack looks at Locke in disgust, then turns and heads back to camp. And that's that! All the buildup from the commercials and the preview and it turns out to be nothing more than a wee little bullet scrape!

Later that night, Sayid finds Locke sitting alone near a fire (all "Lost" episodes seem to end with a fireside discussion). Locke thanks Sayid for saving him, but Sayid isn't ready to be Best Friends Forever just yet. He tells Locke he saved him because he knows Locke is important to their survival. Sayid still doesn't forgive him and he certainly doesn't trust him. Oh, and one more thing: "And now you're going to take me to the hatch," Sayid says. Locke slips into his liar persona and tries to again plead ignorance, but Sayid knows better. "John [dramatic pause ... dramatic pause] no more lies."

And with that, the episode ends.

Point 3



Claire's newborn has not revealed itself to be a full-fledged demon, but we all know that horns, wings and a tail are forthcoming (hence the new Bat Boy icon, below). While we wait for the inevitable transformation, I offer this week's Big Baby Development: the baby cries.

Yes. That's it. The baby cries. Charlie and Hurley do everything they can to stop the baby from crying. Eventually they discover that the baby likes the sound of Sawyer's voice, so Charlie enlists Sawyer to talk as much as possible. The episode concludes with Sawyer soothing the child by reading articles from a car magazine. Incidentally, this same "joke" was used in "Three Men and a Baby" -- if I remember correctly, Tom Selleck reads a boxing article to the newborn. Coming next week: special guest star Steve Guttenberg!

Point 4

The raft is now very, very close to completion. Meanwhile, Michael and Jin have developed their own form of communication. It involves a lot of aggressive hand signals and grunting.
Point 5
Boone Boone is still dead.
Point 6
Island Locke says they've been on the island for about a month. If this same timeline is used over the course of the series, it's likely the total elapsed time will be a year or less (I'm guessing "Lost" won't be on for 12 seasons -- but really, who knows?). This could present a problem in Year 10 when a 20-something actor is playing Walt as a 10 year old.

That's it for now. Be sure to drop by our "Lost" Forum for stimulating conversation and conjecture.

Next Episode:
"Born to Run" -- Michael falls ill just as the raft nears completion. Coincidence? Oh hell no. Meanwhile, another secret from Kate's past is revealed and Walt gives Locke a big warning about the hatch. Airs: Wednesday, May 11, 8 p.m., ABC.

Review by Mac Slocum. All photos and episode descriptions © ABC Inc.
Bat Boy photo © American Media, Inc.

Posted by Mac Slocum on May 5, 2005 10:41 AM |

Point 5 made me laugh at loud at work. You almost got me in trouble. Just kidding, good stuff.

#1. Posted by: Ben at May 5, 2005 3:14 PM

Thanks for the info, great! Well, thanks for telling all this, it helps!

#2. Posted by: Raymond at May 7, 2005 11:14 AM

Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more.
So please keep up the great work. Greetings.

#3. Posted by: Natural Male Enhancement at March 6, 2008 5:29 PM

  1. If your post contains spoilers -- or even hints at spoilers -- add ***** SPOILERS ***** to the top of your comment.
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  4. Do not post under multiple identities and then have inane conversations with yourself. This kind of nonsense will get you banned from the blog.
  5. Do not post in ALL CAPS FOR YOUR ENTIRE POST. In netiquette, all caps suggests you're screaming. In etiquette, it's lame. All-caps posts will be deleted.
  6. Please scan through previous posts to see if someone has already addressed your theory or comment.

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