Lost: Season 1, Episode 21

The Greater Good (4 May 2005)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,779 users  
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After burying one of their own, tempers flare as the castaways' suspicions of each other grow -- and an unlikely survivor vows revenge. Meanwhile, Claire and Charlie struggle to calm her newborn.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Essam Tasir


After the death of Boone, tempers flare as the castaways' suspicions of each other grow, while an unlikely survivor (Shannon) vows revenge against Locke, unfairly blaming him for Boone's death leading her to steal the keys to the late marshal's briefcase containing the guns. Meanwhile, Claire and Charlie struggle to calm her newborn baby boy. Sayid meets with Locke in the jungle and learns of the existence of the mysterious hatch, leading to more of Sayid's background story about why he came to Australia and was blackmailed by the CIA to nab an old friend whom was a terrorist suspect. Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

revenge | terrorist | cia | hatch | australia | See more »


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Release Date:

4 May 2005 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode's original title was going to be "Sides". See more »


The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) is responsible for foreign intelligence gathering, and would never be directly involved in a domestic security operation as depicted in the episode. Domestic security is the responsibility of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). In addition, the acronym ASIS is normally pronounced 'Ay-sis', rather than spelled out. See more »


Locke: [to Sayid] Okay, I'll tell you something you *don't* know.
Sayid: Please do.
Locke: The first week after the crash, there was a cave-in. Jack was trapped. Do you remember that?
Sayid: Of course.
Locke: You, Kate and Sawyer went out into the jungle to triangulate a signal.
Sayid: [suddenly worried] Yes.
Locke: You were hit from behind, knocked unconscious. When you woke up, the transceiver, your equipment was destroyed.
[long pause as both men look at each other and Sayid realizes what Locke is telling him]
Locke: That was me.
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Features Half-Life (1998) See more »


Main Title
Written by J.J. Abrams
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User Reviews

Not really a thrill ride of an episode, but its inclusion was for, well, the greater good
8 April 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

"What if you are? Should we just accept what happened to Zahra? Do we just accept their deaths? Because if we do, it means that ultimately we can do nothing about them. I lost someone, too, Essam. I will never be whole again. There need to be consequences for those responsible. That's my duty. That is how I will honor her."

The flashbacks in Leonard K. Dick's script for "The Greater Good" are truly underrated. Here we see Sayid, arguably the most rational castaway so far in spite of a brief torture stint, speaking in an extremely hypocritical manner. He pretends he plans to commit a terrorist act to honour his lost love, when in truth he is trying to trick his friend into getting arrested in order to find out that lost love's whereabouts.

However, as is the case with most of the tragic backstories of Lost's characters, wrenches end up getting thrown into Sayid's plan, and nothing goes as he would have wanted. The guilt over Essam's suicide prompts Sayid to delay his flight a day to ensure a proper Muslim burial, an instance of one survivor actually making his own destiny, while some theorists would suggest that many of the others were deliberately put on flight 815. Sayid's moral dilemma is a strong one, and contrasts a little with Shannon asking him to "do something about" Locke, which could be for another greater good, in a way. The flashback also puts doubts to Sayid's earlier claim to Rousseau that Nadia is dead, and given how Sayid left Nadia in "Solitary", this makes sense.

The events on the island are not as much or a thrill ride nor as relevant to the story as the previous few episodes (Numbers, Deus Ex Machina and Do No Harm). Nonetheless, the conflict-driven plot between Sayid, Locke and Shannon is an intense one, and Naveen Andrews and Terry O'Quinn have their most significant scenes together so far, including the reveal of a mystery that lasted for over half of the season: who hit Sayid from behind when he was trying to triangulate the distress signal? Elsewhere on the island, Charlie, Claire, Sawyer and Hurley take part in a completely unnecessary and not particularly well-written but nonetheless amusing subplot, which if anything was likely put in to get viewers used to having a baby around. Kate drugs Jack, and this collides with the main plot in a climactic scene in which Sayid must intervene when Shannon is attempting to kill Locke.

So the story overall? It's far from a thrill ride. The execution? It's about as good as it could be. The acting is all top notch, Donnie Keshawarz is especially nice in a significant guest role as Essam. Leonard K. Dick's script works well as a follow-up to both "Do No Harm" and "Solitary," and is also generally impressive and true to the characters, especially Sayid, who finally becomes a full, multi-sided character. The theme of fate is brought back into the show in Sayid's flashback, and as Sayid tells Kate, "There's always a choice," which symbolizes his regret in both the flashback and the real time plots.

The Sayid/Locke dynamic is especially interesting, and is also one that will last well into the show's run. We don't get to see Locke respond to Sayid's closing demand "John, no more lies," but if he did agree to this, then his behaviour in the later seasons has been rather hypocritical. However, what is perhaps most striking is Sayid's response when Locke thanks him for saving him, which suggests that Sayid kept Locke alive strictly for his own greater good.

"I did it because I sense you might be our best hope of surviving here. But I don't forgive what you did. And I certainly don't trust you. And now, you're going to take me to the hatch."

Standout performances: Naveen Andrews, Donnie Keshawarz, Terry O'Quinn.

Standout scene: Sayid speaks at Boone's funeral, where Locke turns up.

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