Home > Lost, Reviews, TV > Lost, Season 1, Episode 8: Confidence Man

Lost, Season 1, Episode 8: Confidence Man

Welcome to the Lost Re-Re-Rewatch Project. In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. This is my fourth round-trip to the Island, but my first time attempting to chronicle my thoughts on the show on an episode-by-episode basis. The mission: A post per episode. Nothing so epic and theory-heavy as Doc Jensen’s great stuff at EW.com, which I highly suggest you read (the theory game is a bit moot at this point anyway), but hopefully it will help scratch both my writing itch and my Lost itch at the same time.

Episode 8:Confidence Man

Overall Episode Grade: B+

In the course of six seasons, Lost often dove into the pool of religion, spirituality and faith. In fact, Lost dove in and splashed around–some would go so far as to say Lost peed in that pool. With with the exception of the quasi-Commie Valhalla that was the Dharma Initiative, Lost largely stayed away from politics. But not with this episode.

“Confidence Man” is Sawyer’s season one coming out party, and in terms of castaway-on-castaway harm, the most violent in the show’s history. To this point Sawyer has established a reputation as a Bad Dude. He hordes items of importance. He gives people a hard time. But he’s also undeniably… Sexy? Charming? He certainly has Something, and for a program only eight episodes old, that’s saying… Something.

The conflict: Shannon has asthma. Sawyer has Boone’s book, which was in his carry-on, along with Shannon’s inhalers. Ergo, Sawyer must have Shannon’s inhalers. Boone gets his butt kicked going through Sawyer’s stuff. Jack is mad. End scene.

Sayid, recently recovered from a smack on the head, is convinced that Sawyer attacked him and broke the transceiver (again). Jack and Sayid, the ex-Iraqi Republican Guard interrogator–get medieval on Sawyer’s ass. They are convinced that torturing him–with a particularly nasty set of spikes under the fingernails–will convince him to give up the inhalers. The ploy doesn’t work. Only after conning Kate into a (rather hot) kiss, does Sawyer tell her he never had them. A fight ensues with Sayid, Sawyer is stabbed, Jack saves his life, but not before Sawyer tells Jack that, were the roles reversed, “I’d let you die.”


When looking back on this episode it’s important to remember when it aired. November 10, 2004. Merely days following George W. Bush’s re-election to the White House. Two wars were on, 9/11 was a fresh(er) wound, 24 was a hit show and the debate over torture as a weapon against the enemy was incredibly relevant. And make no mistake: By having an Iraqi and an American doctor torture a fellow member of their community for absolutely no gain (even Shannon was fine, thanks to Sun’s Magical Eucalyptus Paste), the producers were making a statement. Sawyer’s remorse at the end of the episode–he strolls down the beach to explore, perhaps never to return (until next week)–is all the upshot we need. Lostie-on-Lostie violence just won’t work–unless you’re fighting over Kate, natch.

That it was Sawyer on the receiving end is perhaps poetic. The man likes pain. In his flashbacks we see how he worked at conning a couple out of $160,000, only to pull the plug at the last minute when he discovers they have a son. Back on island, Kate finally reads his mysterious letter. It’s from a young Sawyer, to the Confidence Man who did just the same thing to his folks, a saga that ended badly. He tells the story. He looks gruff. Kate is sad. End episode. (Extra points for a musical ending that doesn’t include Hurley’s CD player.)

In between we get Charlie and Claire’s peanut butter scene, which is cute. Also features another Hurley fat joke and Kate’s best wardrobe choice by a country-mile: the Kelly green scallop-shoulder thingy.

Episode: “Confidence Man”
Director: Tucker Gates
Best Scene: The torture scene. Very well done. Jack looks disgusted, Sawyer sells it, and Sayid looks insane. The following scene between Kate and Sawyer is also good.
Best Line: Sawyer to Kate when she asks him if he’s serious if he wants a kiss in return for the inhalers: “Baby, I’m tied to a tree in a jungle of mystery. I just got myself tortured by a damn spinal surgeon and a gen-u-wine Iraqi. Of course I’m serious.”
Best Throwaway Moment: Sawyer’s skinny dipping scene pushed the balance of male-female eye candy (already tipping perilously far to the female side) into the abyss.
Worst Scene: The flashback opener, with Sawyer with Jessica in a hotel room. Who just offers up $160,000? But I guess that’s the point. Also: Does every woman on network TV wear a bra during sex? Just asking. A sheet provide the same modesty and be twice as believable.
Revelations: Sawyer’s letter isn’t to him, it’s written by him; Sayid actually does know how to inflict pain on people; Charlie and Claire will have A Thing; Sun upholds the stereotype of all Asians–even rich ones!–being wizards with herbs and homeopathic remedies.

Next Episode: “Solitary,” where we discover the Island’s most bat shit crazy occupant.

(All images and ep-title links are courtesy Lostpedia.com)

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV
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