Season 1 Episode 21

The Greater Good

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 04, 2005 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
1,311 votes

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Episode Summary

After another funeral, Shannon decides to take the law into her own hands and go after Locke, on whom she blames the tragedy. Flashbacks focus on Sayid's time in Australia and what he was doing there.

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  • The Greater Good

    Although Sayid's flashbacks outshine the uneventful main plot, the final events portray how distraught Shannon really is after her tragic loss.
  • Awesome.

    Locke arrives at Boone's funeral and is attacked by Jack. Locke asks for Shannon's forgiveness, to no avail; instead, Shannon steals the key to the gun case from a sleeping Jack, and confronts Locke in the jungle. Sayid tackles Shannon just as she fires the gun and the bullet grazes Locke's head. Sayid later tells Locke to take him to the hatch. In flashbacks, Sayid becomes an informant for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the CIA, which has asked him to infiltrate a terrorist cell of which his old friend Essam is a member. Sayid agrees to do it in return for Nadia's whereabouts and he betrays Essam, who kills himself. We learn more about Sayid, more boring than usual, still an awesome episode. Boone gets burried - so sad. Locke returns, Jack goes crazy trying to kill John, and then faints, Kate drugs Jack so he can get some rest - amazing scene. Charlie is so funn calling the baby "Turnip head", and just looking after him for an episode. The bebay can't stop crying Charlie tries to make him stop, then Hurley and then the good old Sawyer, who actually stops it by the sound of his voice, so funny when Charlie just keeps saying "keep going" - got to love Charlie! This is the episode where Jack and Locke start not getting along.moreless
  • Great episode, and a hell of a lot better than the previous...

    Let me start by just saying how awesome this show has become, even after twenty-one episodes, who will know what it'll be like in the long run.

    This episode took us through Sayid's second backstory - the events just before jumping on the doomed Oceanic Flight 815. Shannon decided to avenge Boone's death by not forgiving John Locke for something Locke didn't do, but then again he didn't mention out the location and existence of the hatch until the last minute.

    As for the flashbacks: Very nicely done and it was very significant. But Assam shooting himself dead probably wasn't the way to go... the you CIA! All that pressure for the Iraq people was shot because of Assam's death. The island events were tense as the raft is nearing completion, but John took Sayid out to the beach craft and actually (in one of my favorite scenes) told Sayid the truth about the attack earlier on.

    I do feel sorry for Shannon, her horrid life in the past was even more shattered when her step-brother Boone died, Teary. I knew Jack shouldn't have had ALL that rest, a bit maybe because of the mysterious arsonist - Shannon who stole the key to the gun's suitcase, when after John and almost killed him.

    Overall: Weighing up the great flashbacks and the island events of betrayal, it was a great episode, but not as great as many of the earlier shows of Lost.moreless
  • Nor Spectacular, but still great!!!!

    This episode continues to show the consequences about "Deus Ex Machina" Episode.

    Sayid is of course involved, since he is the actual shannon boyfriend. This make the perfect oportunity for the writers to bring more Sayid Flashbacks.

    Nothing spectacular, it was just Scenes to fill the episodes, with no importance and no connection to the island. The Flashback were good, but the conclusion feel like this was only a filler Flashback.

    Locke is now the center of attention, some hatred, and some people simple don´t trust him anymore. Jack, Shannon and Sayid are examples.

    The writers managed to build and to resolve the situation in a good way,to end this history for the time being. It would be difficult to build something fantastic or better than this and for this I give 8 instead of 7. This episode is a pure drama, since even the clifihanger was not the best, interesting, but not shocking or reveling.

    The Other situation on the island don´t bother anyonemoreless
  • Some major turning points for a couple of characters

    Up until now the majority of the castaways have viewed Locke as one of their greatest assets. He's he guy who keeps them fed, who got Charlie off heroin, saved Walt and Michael from a polar bear, and has generally been the strongest focus. But when he reappears in the first scenes of 'The Greater Good[', with Boone's blood soaking through his shirt, for the first time, everyone looks at him as if he were a pariah. It's not just because Jack, the other real leader, is infuriated at him (that's more part of his reflex against Locke, who he now holds responsible for Boone's demise) Maybe it's due to the fact that Locke's hasn't been coming through with the boar as unusual, and the people, already suspicious are now beginning to wonder about this man.

    Jack wants a piece of Locke, but Kate dopes him so that he can get some much needed sleep after his marathon attempt at saving Boone's life, so the man who confronts Locke is Sayid. Up until this point, the two men haven't interacted in awhile, and that's hardly a surprise, because the two men are working on opposite ends. Sayid is desperately trying to get everybody off the island, and Locke is trying to find out more about the islands secrets. This is the kind of thing Sayid would probably have done normally, but the other reason is that he wants to help ease Shannon's grief. The thing is, what exactly does Sayid see in Shannon? He's had a very long life, and as we find out in his flashback, he has never given up searching for Nadia (who we met in 'Solitary'). And it's clear that this particular love was deep enough to make him work with the CIA do help bring down a former friend to stop a terrorist attack. Indeed, what Sayid did was even more despicable than that, as he took a man who clearly had doubts about the terrorist mission that he was on, and turned him into a willing martyr, all so he could find out where this girl was. This has to be the motivation for working so hard to get everybody off the island. It's the reason he asked for Shannon's help in the first place. And now he's thrown over his childhood sweetheart for a rich blonde who on her best days is whiny, petulant and angry? There might well be more to Shannon than meets the eye, but the writers seem to be determined not to let us show it.

    We'll let that go, because the confrontation between the two men is a brilliant counterpoint. Their scenes together make up the better part of the episode. The return to the plane that we saw two episodes ago leads to some great drama in special ways, such as the moment Sayid casually tells Locke that he knows he's carrying a concealed weapon, and Locke's very casual deflection of what 'the hatch's. This leads to the biggest shock of the episode--- when Locke reveals that he was the one who knocked Sayid out and destroyed the transmitter way back in the moth. However, his explanation leads to another mystery. He tells Sayid that he didn't want them to find the radio signal, because of the Rousseau's message, which he believes leads to some kind of slow death. Problem is, he didn't know about that then. It is likely that while excavating Boone--- who did hear the message --- probably told it to Locke. But if that's the case, that leaves Locke without a reason to commit the assault.

    Is it possible that when Locke had his first confrontation with the monster that maybe it told him some kind of message--- something along the lines of "This island is special, and no one can ever leave it?" Did he do this for the island? Given several of the other incidents that will happen in later seasons, I am strongly inclined to believe this explanation-rather than consider it a fault of the writing.

    Locke's explanation seem to soothe Sayid, but it brings no release to Shannon, who steals the key to the gun cabinet, with every intention of finding Locke and killing him. Save for Sayid's intervention (which is believable; Sayid doesn't want Shannon to destroy herself). Locke would probably be dead. As we have learned this season, despite his background, Sayid is a compassionate man. Ironically, that very compassion helped put him on Flight Oceanic 815, as he traded for a later ticket to make sure that the man he helped kill got a proper funeral. But he has his own reason, as he finally forcing Locke to show him the hatch.

    The other main subplot is an amusing one as Claire, still exhausted from giving birth rests, Charlie (naturally) tries to take care of the baby--- who will not stop crying. He goes to Hurley, with pretty disastrous results, and Jin and Michael can't help him. For some reason, however, Sawyer's voice lulls the baby into a calm, which leads to a hysterical sequence where Sawyer reads a sports magazine like it was a bedtime story.

    Other relationships on the island are evolving. Michael and Jin, who were at each others throats when the first raft burned, now are working together to get it built. The language barrier is still present, but now it seems that they've found a way to work around it. Walt seems to be getting closer to his Dad, though his somewhat innocuous questions can be seen as double-edged when you remember he burnt the first raft (What happens if we die?, etc).

    Kate spends most of the episode making sure that Jack finally gets some rest. Again, there's a certain measure of compassion here. Kate has built up some capital by helping deliver Claire's baby, so when Jack finds the keys to the gun case is missing, he doesn't automatically suspect her. But this won't even last a day. (Hey, Jack has trust issues)

    Still, 'The Greater Good' essentially belongs to Naveen Andrews and Terry O'Quinn, two of the pillars of this series. Because of what happens, Syed will lose a lot of faith in Locke, and given what happens in later seasons, there's a real possibility that Sayed may regret that he didn't let Shannon kill him. Locke's presence may be for the good of the island, but for the rest of the castaways, this is where the first real doubt in this mysterious man comes in.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (15)

    • It's revealed that Sayid was on his way to see Nadia when the plane crashed. However, he told Rousseau that Nadia died and it was his fault. The only explanation is that he was trying to relate to Rousseau, who was asking about "Alex", whom Sayid presumed was her husband.

    • When Charlie is holding the baby and talking to Sawyer, he is standing so that the baby is in bright sunshine. But in the close-ups of the baby, he's in Charlie's shadow.

    • When Sayid is praying at the mosque, before the prayer is ended, he looks to his friend Essam directly. This will not happen normally, since the "Quibla" or direction of Mecca must be faced at all times during the prayer. Also, when the imam is seated after the sujud (head on the ground) we can hear "Allahu Akbar" wich is wrong, since this is the last part of the prayer and "Allahu Akbar" serves as a separation betwen two sections of the prayer.

    • It was revealed that Locke was the one who knocked Sayid out during the mission to triangulate Rousseau's signal in "The Moth".

    • The number 815 (like the plane's flight number) appears on the window of a building Sayid leaves. 8 and 15 are two of "The Numbers".

    • The phrase "the greater good" has been used once before in the series. In episode #11, "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues", Jack's father uses it in reference to his son's surgical profession.

    • Island events in this episode take place on November 2nd 2004.

    • Goof: (Errors in geography) Sayid and Essam are sitting in a plaza, and you can see newspaper boxes over their shoulders. Australia doesn't have newspaper boxes.

    • In Islam life is considered sacred. The fundamentals of Islam states that the fastest way to go to hell is by committing suicide. It is forbidden for a Muslim to take his own life by his own hands. However, it is also said that if you did something for the "greater good" you'd be presented with 72 virgins when you die.

    • Sayid was traveling from Sydney on CIA business to L.A. so he could find Nadia.

    • Sayid wound up on Oceanic Flight 815 because he insisted on staying an extra day in Sydney to claim Essam's body.

    • When Sayid exits the van type vehicle in Sydney the registration plates do not display in which Australian State the vehicle is registered. This would not be the case in real-life, but I suppose you had to assume that it was NSW, the state in which Sydney is located.

    • At the start of the episode, Sayid is being escorted through London's Heathrow Airport and there is a large sign displayed behind him which in real life would not appear at the airport. On a dark green background with white letters is displayed "Heathrow Express, The fastest way to Central London". BAA, which owns Heathrow, displays all of its directions in black on a yellow background. If the sign had been placed there by the private railway Heathrow Express, the Company would have displayed their logo on it as shown on their website (www.heathrowexpress.com). There are no other organizations that would place this type of notice at Heathrow.

    • Locke has far more blood on him when he returns for the funeral then the last time we saw him (when he was running out on Jack and Boone in the previous episode). Where'd the extra blood come from? He shows no sign of injury.

    • In the shooting scene, we first see Sayid with wet, dangling hair. In the next shot of him, it is neatly combed behind his right ear. Next shot, dangling again.

  • QUOTES (19)

    • (In the jungle Kate finds Jack, exhaustion in his blood-shot and tired eyes)
      Jack: Kate, what are you doing out here?
      Kate: Looking for you.
      Jack: Well, you found me.
      Kate: You're walking in circles. You need to come back.
      Jack: Not without Locke.
      Kate: You haven't slept. You gave Boone your own blood -
      Jack: Locke lied.
      Kate: Well, now you're -
      Jack: He lied, Kate! Boone did not fall off any cliff. His leg was crushed. And I based my medical treatment on his lie! (He turns around and heads out again)
      Kate: People are scared and upset. (Jack stops) They don't know what's going on. We need you to come back, Jack. Please?

    • Walt: What if a shark attacks?
      Michael: A shark's not getting anywhere near us, man.
      Walt: What if we die?
      Michael: We are not going to die.
      Walt: Boone died.

    • Locke: 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 try and triangulate a signal.
      Sayid: Yes.
      Locke: You were hit from behind... knocked unconscious? When you woke up your transceiver, your equipment was destroyed. That was me.

    • Sayid: Why would I interrogate you, John?
      Locke: Jack called me a liar in front of every man, woman and child I've come to know over the past month. Maybe there's a part of you that thinks maybe there isn't a plane out here at all.
      Sayid: I know when I'm being lied to. There's a plane.

    • Sayid: At the funeral you said your leg was injured.
      Locke: It was just a charlie-horse....a cramp.
      Sayid: I know what a charlie-horse is, John.

    • Sawyer: Hey, Chuckie, want to keep that kid quiet? Baby Huey's like nails on a chalkboard.
      Charlie: (the baby is quiet) You happy now? (the baby starts crying)
      Sawyer: I was. If you're going to play nursemaid, at least do the damn job. (the baby quiets at the sound of Sawyer's voice)
      Charlie: Hey, say something else. Just say something, say anything.
      Sawyer: Okay, fine. I liked that thing a lot better inside than I like it outside.

    • Sayid: What is the hatch?
      Locke: The hatch?
      Sayid: Boone mentioned it before he died.
      Locke: A hatch? Two hatches on a plane, Sayid, could be foreward or aft.

    • (We see Charlie walking the beach with the crying baby.)
      Hurley:What's the matter, man?
      Charlie: Well, I can't get the bloody thing to stop crying.
      Hurley: Maybe it's hungry?
      Charlie: Nope, Claire nursed him five times.
      Hurley: Any deposits? You know, diaper-wise?

    • (We see Shannon sitting alone on the beach. Locke enters and sets down Boone's stuff.)
      Locke: This was his. I didn't go through it.
      Shannon: Thank you.
      Locke: Welcome. Storm coming. I should have said no—the first time he offered to hunt with me I should have said no.
      Shannon: He would have gone anyway.
      Locke: Yeah, I suppose he would have. I know how confused and angry you must be right now. I can't say I understand what you're going through, but I know what it feels like when you lose family. I hope you can forgive me. I'm sorry.

    • Sayid: I didn't know Boone very well, and for that I am sorry. On our sixth day here a woman named Joanna died. She drowned. And Boone was the first one into the water. I didn't know him, but I remember his courage. And I know he will be missed.

    • Charlie (singing to Turniphead): The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the spout, down came the rain and drowned the spider out...
      Hurley: Dude, it's washed. . . washed the spider out. Unless it's some kind of British version?

    • Kate: Hey, brought you something to eat.
      Jack: What's in it, chloroform?

    • Locke: (about Boone's death) ...It happened because he was trying to help us. He was a hero.

    • Kate: You couldn't let her kill Locke. You had no choice.
      Sayid: There's always a choice.

    • Shannon: You asked if you could do anything for me.
      Sayid: Anything.
      Shannon: John Locke killed my brother. Would you do something about that?

    • Sayid: How's your head?
      Locke: It'll heal.
      Sayid: Another war wound.
      Locke: I know what it cost you to do what you did. Thank you.
      Sayid: 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.
      Locke: Hatch? I already showed you the ...
      Sayid: John, no more lies.

    • Charlie: You get some rest, and I'll take care of Turniphead.
      Claire: Turniphead?
      Charlie: Yeah, it's what I'm calling him until you name him. His head looks like a turnip.

    • Kate: I crushed up some sleeping pills and put them in your juice.
      Jack: Why would you...? You drugged me?
      Kate: Yeah.
      Jack: (taken aback but also amused) Okay.
      Kate: (watches over him as he slowly drowses off) Good night.

    • Hurley: (after singing "I Feel Good" to the baby) Dude, that's all I got.

  • NOTES (5)


    • The song Hurley sang to the baby was "I Feel Good" by James Brown.

    • The video game the terrorists are playing is Half-Life, the popular first-person shooter, presumably the Playstation 2 version, due to the fact they are playing it on a TV set. Contrary to what is stated, you can defeat the Vortigaunts with the crowbar....you just have to be really, really good.

    • Sawyer :Hey, Chuckie, want to keep that kid quiet? Baby Huey's like nails on a chalkboard.

      Baby Huey was a '70s soul singer who fronted the group Baby Huey & The Babysitters. The group is known to be influential to hip hop music. Baby Huey also happens to be a cartoon character from the 1950s. It was a giant, naive infant duckling.

    • Turnip Head is also the name of a character in the Japanese animation, "Howl's Moving Castle," in which Turnip Head is a scarecrow who has had a spell cast on him.