Home > Lost, Reviews, TV > Lost, Season 1, Episode 21: The Greater Good

Lost, Season 1, Episode 21: The Greater Good

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 title: “The Greater Good”

Overall Episode Grade: B

Poor Sayid. Here he is, the only brown fellow in a group of people who just went through a plane crash in 2004. Yet, over time he lands a spot on the A-Team, taking part in dangerous missions and using his technical expertise to take the biggest active steps toward rescue via radio. Now he’s managed to score a night on a beach with the hottest (at least conventionally) woman on the Island. Life is good, right?

Nope. First Shannon holds back the nookie because of her weird relationship with her step-brother, so he agrees to wait. Then, when they get back to the beach, Boone is dead. Tough gig for a new boyfriend, and a bummer of a way to start a relationship.

“The Greater Good” is a worthy follow-up to “Do No Harm,” the emotional roller coaster that preceded it. It deals with everyone’s sadness about Boone and their rage at John Locke. At Boone’s funeral–following Sayid’s awkward if heartfelt eulogy, delivered in Shannon’s stead–Jack attacks Locke when he appears (oddly still in his blood-soaked shirt, perhaps in tribute to Boone’s “red-shirt” comment and sacrificial lamb status among the castaways). Locke tries to explain the situation, coming clean but leaving out the detail of the hatch, and explains that Boone died to save them. Doesn’t stop Jack from pummeling him, though.

Lost milestone: This is the first scene set at Boone Hill, the fan’s name for the Island cemetery. Presumably Scott … or was it Steve … was buried there too, but Boone was the first name-brand castaway, so his name goes on the gates.

After the funeral, Shannon snaps out of her doldrums long enough to ask Sayid to take care of Locke. Like I said, tough gig.

So it falls to the former Republican Guard interrogator to get the truth out of Baldy, and what follows is one of the better extended conversational sequences of the season, and Locke repeatedly lies to Sayid and Sayid sniffs him out. They’re headed for the plane, where Locke explains away Boone’s “hatch” comments by referring to the hatches on the fallen plane. His big secret is safe. Then Locke shares a little secret: Remember way back in the opening episodes of the season (“The Moth,” to be exact), when Sayid was smacked with a stick and the transceiver shattered? Yeah. Locke did that.

Sayid, pissed but somehow satisfied with the explanation that Locke was trying to keep everyone safe, as well as the Boone evidence, explains to Shannon that he believes Locke. And then the episode gets a little nutsy.

Jack has been overworked and overstressed, so Kate forces him to rest and slips him sleeping pills, allowing Shannon to sneak in and take the key to the Halliburton case where the guns are hidden. I am having trouble remembering when Shannon was ever made privy to the existence or contents of the suitcase.

We catch up to Shannon who has cornered Locke in the jungle. Naturally it’s raining, and Shannon’s in a white tank and no-run lip gloss, packing heat. She never looked so good. (Though can’t remember when she became trained with a firearm). The A-Team converges, and Sayid lunges. Shannon fires, grazing Locke’s head.

So, to recap: Shannon’s pissed at Locke and now an attempted murderer (though most aren’t going to hold that against her). Sayid is now estranged from the conventionally hottest girl on the island. Sayid knows about the plane and its cargo. There’s only one thing left for him to do.

Call Locke’s bluff.

In the final scene, he approaches Locke and tells him to take him to the hatch.

Locke: “But I told you…”

Sayid: “You’re going to take me to the hatch. No more lies.”


Episode:The Greater Good

“B-b-b-but… everyone LOVED The English Patient! I swear!”

What the Title Means: The title is explicitly referenced in Sayid’s flashback, which is pretty solid by Season 1 standards. In his first episode, “Solitary,” we learn that Sayid was a Republican Guard interrogator who helped the love of his life escape, and has been searching for her ever since. In “The Greater Good,” American and British agents offer to reunite them if he will help them infiltrate a terror cell headed by his former roommate. Where is this cell? Sydney, Australia. The flashback centers on Sayid winning his old friend’s trust, talking the kind, scared Muslim into taking the suicide assignment (even agreeing to do it with him) and then telling him to run at the last minute when he tells him he’s working for the CIA. But his skittish friend, destroyed that Sayid set him up for a woman, kills himself in front of Sayid. The CIA offers him an immediate ticket to  L.A., but Sayid stays to claim and bury his old friend… which puts him on Oceanic 815 the next day. Sayid mentions “The Greater Good” in discussing their impending martyrdom, though it could apply on the Island to the overall well-being of the castaways (which Sayid appears to have in mind) as opposed to the separate agendas of Locke, Shannon or even Jack.

Director: David Grossman

Best Scene: Two nominees:

1. Lost‘s “comic relief for the sake of comic relief” stage is thankfully nearing its end, but the funny diversion in “The Greater Good” is pretty humorous. Claire is badly in need of sleep, and Charlie is offering to watch the as-yet-unnamed baby boy (he calls him “Turnip Head” which is good for a laugh. Portions of the episode center on Charlie and Hurley trying to sing the baby to sleep, bickering over the words to “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” (apparently the British say “drowned the spider out”). Hurley resorts to singing James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” Terribly. The only thing that soothes the child? Sawyer’s smooth Tennessee drawl. The scene where Sawyer reads an auto magazine to keep the baby asleep is one of the biggest laughs of the season.

2. Any and every scene where Sayid and Locke try to feel one another out. Naveen Andrews and Terry O’Quinn are two fine actors who don’t get a lot of scenes together. These are some to relish.

Worst Scene: Not much to pick on in this lean episode. Boone’s funeral is awkward as all hell, but then again it would be, wouldn’t it?

Best Line: Sawyer on the squalling baby: “Baby Huey’s like nails on a chalkboard.” But then calling someone “Baby Huey” is ALWAYS funny.

Best Throwaway Moment: As Shannon is going through Boone’s effects, she comes across his checkbook, the same one that bailed her out of so many situations (including the one that brought him to Australia in the first place).

Revelations: Sayid was in Australia to infiltrate at terror cell; Shannon tries to kill Locke; Sayid knows about the hatch and tells Locke to take him there.

Next Episode: “Born to Run”

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

Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV
  1. Jason
    December 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Another revelation: We learned Locke was the one who hit Sayid while triangulating the signal

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