Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1.21 The Greater Good

Follow along! The episode guide for “The Greater Good” is in Finding Lost, pp. 132-135.

The second Sayid flashback is a sad one, and the one that shows us he didn’t originally have a ticket for Flight 815 – he’d had his ticket changed from September 21 to September 22, putting him on the ill-fated island. Jacob must've had a hand in things…

Fun things I noticed:
• I always find it amusing that when people are tracking others in the jungle, they find such OBVIOUS things. It’s not like a footprint or a cracked branch. It’s more like, “Oh look, his left shoe! I have found A CLUE…”
• Again, hats off to Terry O’Quinn. When Locke shows up at Shannon’s funeral, he does so because he doesn’t want to hide from everyone, yet notice how he fails to complete a single sentence: here is the transcript:
It was my fault. We found a plane, a Beechcraft, in the jungle. It was lodged in the canopy so -- I would have gone up, but I -- my leg was hurt so he -- there was a radio inside and he thought he could -- look, his weight must have made the plane shift and it fell -- and -- it happened because he was trying to help us. He was a hero.
• Nice way to help Shannon lay her brother to rest… first, the “killer” shows up trying to explain what happened, and then an exhausted and delirious Jack tackles him like a linebacker.
• I remember being a Mama Bear just like Claire right after my first baby was born… my first day home from the hospital (which was the day after I had my child), I had this weird anxiety that would wash over me when anyone else was holding her. I guess after nine months of carrying this child, the thought of being separated from her for even an instant was too much to take. Which brings me to Sun’s comment, that in the hospital the nurses take your baby and give you sleep. Not if the hospital subscribes to the attachment parenting concept, which mine did. In that case, the baby never leaves your side and the nurses do not take care of things for you. I remember the first night with my daughter, where I could barely move, and the nurse came in, looked at the baby and said, “Oh, her diaper needs changing,” and then walked out of the room. That was a bit of a downside, but the upside was, I was never separated from her for an instant. When I finally realized it was just too painful to keep getting out of the bed to get her, I simply grabbed her and pulled her into bed with me for the first of many, many nights. A nurse showed up an hour later and without saying anything, just smiling, tucked a pillow behind her just in case I fell asleep that way.
• I love O’Quinn, I love John Locke. But since the first time I saw this episode, I’ve always thought, Geez, John, couldn’t you have changed your shirt before talking to Shannon? Going and talking to the mourning sister while wearing a shirt covered in her brother’s blood is just kind of… tacky.
• My heart always breaks when Sayid convinces Essam to go ahead and do this. Wah. I loved that character.
• Sawyer on Aaron: “I liked that thing a lot better inside than I like it outside.” Ha!

Things that have new meaning:
• Sayid has always been a character who straddles that fate versus free will fence, and here Essam’s friend believes in fate, and Sayid smiles. But he knows that it’s not fate, and that he was set up to be there. Or… was it fate that the CIA found him and put him in this position?
• Speaking of which, I’ve always wondered how the CIA knew anything about Nadia. How did they know he loved her? He tortured her, and then convinced the Republican Guard that she shot him on the way out. Then he leaves the Guard a while later and starts looking for her, silently. How would anyone know?
• Locke says he knows what it’s like to lose family. What does he mean? Is he referring to losing his foster mother? The commune from “Further Instructions,” whom he says in that episode is closer to a real family than he’s ever had?
• Is it possible that Shannon never dropped her grudge against Locke and the island killed her to keep him safe?


Rebecca T. said...

@ Nikki: “Oh look, his left shoe! I have found A CLUE…”


I found it so bittersweet to think that Sayid and Nadia would be reunited finally only to have her die in such a tragic and terrible way :(

I don't know much about medicine and I think someone brought this up before, but would it really have made a difference if Jack had known about the leg being crushed? Would he not have set it or what? What would/could he have changed in his treatment?

Is Boone's funeral the first one that Jack has actually had a hand in? (I know he buried the marshal, but that wasn't a funeral.)

Hurley singing to Aaron = hahahaha!

Locke really, really wants Sayid on his "side". But I don't understand what he thought he would gain by telling Sayid that he was the one that knocked hiim out.

Okay, I never paid much attention to things like accents before. You people have corrupted me :) Essam's accent has a major meltdown in one scene going a bit Aussis/British/something.

I love Charlie chasing Sawyer around with the baby :)

Earlier I commented that death led so many of the Losties onto the plane and Sayid is another one. Essam's death led to him changing his flight.

Marebabe said...

When the woman CIA agent is talking to Sayid, she tells him that Nadia is working as a lab tech in a medical testing company. A lot of people have suggested that maybe her employer is Widmore Industries, which I think is a good guess. But I had another thought related to that. I instantly pictured the white bunnies that we've seen with Ben Linus and Pierre Chang, which were used in various Dharma studies. And I thought of Eloise the rat, Daniel's pet and test subject. I wonder if Nadia's work involves testing products/drugs on small critters. It may mean nothing at all, but I can't help it now. I've been conditioned to search for the smallest connections between the characters on Lost.

Hunter said...

Rewatching Locke getting shot, I'm still skeptical at how someone could get grazed by a bullet like that. That odds of that happening have to be astronomical...unless he had help. Did Jacob or the man in black alter the trajectory of the bullet to save Locke? Maybe the bullet just bounced right off his skull, which is why he flew back so far. I'd think if he was grazed it wouldn't have knocked him over. In season 4, Tom clearly thought it was possible for a bullet to bounce off of Michael's head. The island's force could've done the same thing here.

Benny said...

Locke hasn't changed clothes because he hasn't had time or access to his clothes yet. It all happened the previous day/night.

It all fits! I call error on Gregg Nations on that one. If it was meant to be different days, it certainly does not look that way from a storyline perspective.

Benny said...

Ooooh, forgot. a fall and broken leg disrupts the blood vessels/flow, differently than a crushed leg. It also affects the muscles more seriously.

That being said, one would think a doctor would have seen it from the get-go!

variabull said...

Apparently Sayid has been on the CIA radar since Kelvin Inman turned him into a torturer during Desert Storm. As for Nikki's question how could the CIA know that Sayid loved Nadia...wasn't she an anti-Saddam insurgent circa 1997...could she be or have been a CIA asset?

"Perhaps its not happenstance that you and Essam met at the mosque. Perhaps it is fate." Haddad. Perhaps it might also be a mistake for us to confuse the manipulations of the CIA, Dharma, and Jacob for destiny.

Even as he is manipulating poor Essam, Sayid himself is being manipulated by Agent Cole, and has or will be manipulated by Kelvin Inman, Locke, Nadia, and Ben.

"A Muslim man is supposed to be buried" Sayid.

Paithan1 said...

Does Aaron have some connection to Sawyer? Just thinking because Sawyer's voice was the only one that calmed Aaron. And what a hoot watching Charlie chase Sawyer around!

The Question Mark said...

@ Nikki: "Oh look, his left shoe! I have found A CLUE..."

Hahahahaha! So very true! All we need now is for Vincent to pop out of the trees, only he's completely blue, and he keeps handing them random items until they figure out the secrets of the Island.

@ Jennifer: regarding the Sawyer/Aaron connection, I was contemplating that myself. My theory is:
He promised to look after Claire & Aaron in Season 4, when the Keamy Bunch were stalking them through the jungle. So, maybe in the final season, Jack, Kate & Claire all end up dying (Claire could arguably already be dead, and Jack & Kate could die and become Adam & Eve). Since he made that promise to Claire, Sawyer would take it upon himself to become Aaron's new guardian, and take care of him for the rest of his life.
Sawyer never got to have the normal childhood a boy should have, and he has a soft spot for kids. the chance to raise Aaron and give him a normal life would probably be just what Sawyer needs to move on and be happy. as Mr. Ford himself would say, "it'd be damn near poetic".

JW said...

For those of you watching on DVD, you'll see that this week's menu screen shows the Nigerian plane lodeged in the canopy. If you watch the screen long enough, the plane falls down through the episode titles!

I enjoyed this episode, mostly because of Naveen. He gives another great performance here. It's also one of those episodes that's easy to forget everything was filmed in Hawaii. The crew did a really good job with the off island sets.

Rebecca T. said...

@The Question Mark: I love the idea of Sawyer ending up with Aaron. Don't know how that would all work out, but I love it :)

Susan said...

Kate gives Jack sleeping pills without his prior knowledge. No wonder he will suspect her of poisoning Michael's water in the next episode.

I have to admit the first time I saw this episode, I didn't even wonder how Shannon knew about the guns. One good thing about Expose is that it explains this little detail.

Fred said...

Minor point, but the picture Shannon pulls from Boone's wallet looked like her, but it wasn't her. It was like the girl Boone was with when Shannon phoned him, a look-alike. No wonder Shannon was jealous and angry--she is angry at Boone for substituting someone similar to her, but not her.

We also hear this a lot. Ben's infatuation with Juliet we are told is that she looks "like her". We are also told Juliet looks like Sarah, by Ben to Jack.

I liked how Walt asked if they'd die from a shark if they set out in the raft. Actually, on the raft they'd just be floating hors d'ouerves for the sharks. Can Michael say, party snack?

This episode questions the whole fate business. If you're not in the loop, like Essam, then odd things like Sayid showing up is a matter of fate. Notice that there are two people controling Sayid, sending him off to Essam. Everything in LOST works in pairs: two in the Swan, two on the beach, etc.

Marebabe said...

@The Question Mark: I like your Sawyer/Aaron theory. The good thing is that we won't have to wait long to find out how the story will wrap up. Time is flying! (Seriously, it's almost Back to School time?!) In spite of the suspense of having to wait till January for the start of the final season of Lost, before we know it, it'll be May, and it'll all be over. If Sawyer ends up as guardian, or better yet, adopting Aaron, I'll remember that you suggested that might happen clear back in August, 2009.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, how did the CIA agents know that Sayid was pining for Nadia? How did Locke know that Walt burned the raft? How did he know that Charlie was on heroin? How did Jack know that Sun poisoned the water? How did Sawyer know that there was a fake passport in Kate's backpack?

People on this show just KNOW things, and there's never an explanation for how or why they do.

The Shout said...

Nik + the rest of you guys have pretty muched covered my thoughts on this ep, so here's a general comment on the series so far:

One thing that bothered me watching the series the first time round was how no one seemed to tell each other about events on the Island, things they'd found out etc. and who knew what.

Watching it again,I don't think its really a problem. The writers do drop hints every so often that characters are having discussions off screen and many of the Losties are pretty closed books anyway - in Season 2 Ben (as Henry Gale) even makes a commment along the lines of 'you people really have trust issues'.

Nikki Stafford said...

@studiorose: Indeed, how did the CIA agents know that Sayid was pining for Nadia? How did Locke know that Walt burned the raft? How did he know that Charlie was on heroin? How did Jack know that Sun poisoned the water? How did Sawyer know that there was a fake passport in Kate's backpack?

See, the others make sense to me. Jack knew Sun poisoned the water because it was an herbal poison she used, and he knows she knows all about the plants and how to do that. We've seen Sawyer sneaking around looking at Kate, and I always assumed he saw her making the passport. Or, at the very least, he just assumed there'd be a hint in that bag and it was his lucky day when the passport was there. Locke knew Walt burned the raft the same way he knew he was special: he's always had an intuition about Walt, and this was just an extension of that. As for Charlie on heroin, he saw the signs of early withdrawal, and he caught him using on a couple of occasions and simply connected the dots.

But none of these explain how a large government organization put together that Sayid and Nadia were in love, unless they slipped up at some point and one of them told someone else. There are a million possible explanations for it, but I think, as some others have posited, they're probably complicated. I certainly don't see it as a nitpick or an error, I was just interested in theories others may have had about how they knew. I do like the idea that she worked for Widmore, though! :)

I'm also enjoying the Aaron/Sawyer comments. That scene of him reading the cars magazine to him is classic. :)

Kate said...

Hhaha! I've wondered the same thing about tracking Nikki--it's either they find, like, a bloodstained Jacket lying neatly on a tree branch (do people often strip as they're running through the jungle?) or else there's like a small indentation in the ground beside an overturned rock and Locke bends down and sniffs the air and somehow knows that Boone, distraught and feeling slightly ill after a bad mango is 24 minutes ahead of them at exactly ten degrees due east. *rolleyes* But oh well, we love them anyway.

**Okay, Javier Grillo-Marxach is my hero. That is basically the singularly awesomest name ever named! I always think that as I'm watching the credits and I always forget to mention it.

**It surprised me to see how on top of things and leader-like Sawyer was as Jack was going catatonic. He helped them break Jack away from Locke and when Jack collapsed he yells "Get some water!" For Sawyer, that's pretty big, especially since it was Jack.

**"Use the crowbar."
"That only works on zombies"

**Another mention of fate here--fate and "happenstance" (which by the way is one of the coolest words ever, who says that? Happenstance. That's so awesome...)

**We get to see the christening of Turnip Head in the episode! Ah, I loved Turnip Head...

**It makes me sad that Claire is slightly more annoying now that she's a mommy, she's still nice and stuff but, I guess the maternal instincts took a bit of that innocent sweetness away and replaced it with "THEY'RE TRYING TO TAKE MY BABY!!" Alas.

**Locke washing his shirt in the waterfall--um, ew. Isn't that the group's drinking water? :S

**Kate dragging her men is becoming a routine

**Those CIA peeps are EVIL!!!

**"I feel good! ...dude...that's all I've got." <3 Hurley <3 !!

**What is UP Shannon's butt? Seriously--she treats Sayid like an annoying uncle or something rather than someone she was making out with, oh, about yesterday.

**I'm surprised that Jack didn't suspect Kate immediately of taking the key--I mean she just slipped drugs into his juice a couple of hours ago...

Fred said...

Nikki, I have to disagree. How does anyone know anything on this island? If anything goes wrong, they immediately blame the last person they had an argument or a fight with. Michael initially blames Sawyer, and his mind is so set on Sawyer's guilt he won't listen to any other reason. No wonder Sawyer has to out Kate in front of everyone. The only one who seems useful information is Hurley. Hurley, in my books, is us, the viewers, trying to figure things out; he's our sounding board, and when he tries to figure things out or blurts out secret information, I sympathise with him--Hurley's our 'everyman'.

As for the government agents knowing about Nadia, you'd be surprised what is known about all of us. I guess this is the writers of LOST tells us that in this day and age of Facebook etc. that we're all exposed, and always (most sinsiterly) watched--like the tale of Jin in the airport bathroom. Our little secrets are known to someone, even if it is Hurley and Jack. Certainly fits the theme of Jeremey Bentham and his idea of a panopticon, which is what the Pearl is.

Joan Crawford said...

@ Katey: "What is UP Shannon's butt? Seriously--she treats Sayid like an annoying uncle or something rather than someone she was making out with, oh, about yesterday."

AHH HAhHAHahahahahahaha! This is my Annoying Uncle, Sayid.

Susan said...

Katey I don't think Jack suspected Kate because she really had no reason to take the guns, while the main thing on Jack's mind is John's odd behavior so he's quick to suspect John.

OK so I guess it's all right to beat up Jin for allegedly burning the raft, but not all right to beat up John for having a hand in Boone's death. That scene in Jin's episode still bugs me, that the others let Michael continue to pound Jin who couldn't even defend himself (verbally I mean).

tiasabita said...

Hi All!

This is my first official post! (Well, I did post earlier but unfortunately I was a week behind and didn't realize it!) I began a LOST re-watch on my own a few weeks ago and was thrilled to find this fabulous site! I am loving reading all your wonderful comments! I didn't start watching LOST till half way thru the third season, got majorly turned off by all the torture/violence in the bear cages and Otherville but watched the season finale and decided to catch up with seasons one and two during the break. I must have watched while asleep or intoxicated cuz I missed so much the first time around. So much is brand new to me, like this episode - I have almost no memory of it! I am having a blast watching and learning and feel I am now a junkie like all of you!

@Jennifer - I had the same thought about a future connection between Sawyer and Aaron. @The Question Mark - I, too, find your theory very interesting. It's impossible to not look for some kind of connection! Or maybe the writers just wanted to soften Sawyer a bit - they say kids and dogs know good people!

@Sonshine Music & Benny - Thought the same about Jack and Boone's injury. Even if Jack had known about the crush injury as opposed to just a break could he really have done that much differently? They're on a deserted island for heaven's sake! Maybe he just felt really pissed and disrespected that John had lied to him, the dude in charge?

I could very well have missed something along the way but do we know how Sun has so much knowledge of plants/herbs/medicine/nursing? A wealthy daddy's girl doesn't strike me as someone who would have studied things like this in college. Maybe we will find her learning these things from having lived on the island in another life or time?

I like comedy but not going to comedy shows, however, I would pay money to see the Hurley and Charlie show - they always make me lol! Turniphead! And Charlie singing '...and drowned the spider out' instead of 'washed the spider out' - prophetic?

I always find myself looking for Nikki and Paulo in the group gatherings on the beach! Have they ever been spotted before?

Laughed at Shannon sitting directly in the sand in those tiny little shorts - didn't she complain before of having sand fleas? She's got them all over now!

And I think Jack's makeup was good at the beginning of the episode cuz he did truly look like someone who had had a bad day on top of donating half his blood volume!

If I'm repeating things already written or just sound plain loca have mercy!!

Joan Crawford said...

Welcome! This forum is as addicting as Lost itself, so, I know we will see more of you around! You make a good point about Sun's knowledge of herbs - how does she know and why? Gah! Nikki and Pooplau! What a waste of time they were, eh? I wonder if the writers would have bothered inventing them if they had known when Lost was going end from the get go?

P.S. I didn't start on Lost until season 3 either! When everyone was like "It is awesome!" I was like "Yeah, maybe" and as soon as people stopped being as rabid about it - I was like "It IS awesome!".

Rebecca T. said...

@Katey: **Locke washing his shirt in the waterfall--um, ew. Isn't that the group's drinking water? :S

I thought the same thing - GROSS!

@Susan: That scene in Jin's episode still bugs me, that the others let Michael continue to pound Jin who couldn't even defend himself (verbally I mean).

I know, it really bothered me, too, when they're all like, oh this is between them. Jin can't explain anything! How is that even remotely fair/right!?

@tiasabita: I've often wondered that about Sun. She ends up being the medical assistant, but even Jin doesn't seem to know how she know all this information. Maybe she hung out with the gardeners on her daddy's estate or something. haha

Gamal said...

I never understood if the writers planned Sayid as a faithful muslim or a muslim by name. They always contradict themselves. In season 1 it looked as if he was faithful except for the Shannon part. But in season 2 he gets intimate with Shannon (!?), however, is shown praying Salat in the finale:

Faithful muslims:
- remove their armpit-hair (!)
- don't get intimate with unmarried women especially from shannon's kind
- don't drink

I also never came over the fact that an Iraqi is played by someone of Indian descent. He doesnt look Iraqi at all (Nadia does). And the long hair would never have been permissible in an army, nor does it fit in Iraqi custom.

Nikki Stafford said...

Gamal: Interesting post! I hope this isn't too forward to ask, but are you Muslim? I'm wondering if maybe the writers haven't quite done their research (and if they really have made mistakes with Sayid, they've exposed the audience's lack of knowledge about it in the way we don't nitpick it much). There's also a scene in season 4 where Sayid is praying in a clearing next to the helicopter. I've often wondered about his religion myself -- on the one hand he doesn't seem like a very religious person, but then we see him praying and it seems strange. I'd definitely be interested in any more insight on this if anyone has it.

Benny said...

The Sayid discussion is an interestng one, but I cna't say I was much intrigue by the vagueness of the situation.

It is not so rare for individuals with a religious upbringing to follow certain customs while not quite following other, more intricate, guidelines.

I have friends who don't eat specific meat because of religious reasons but also, they don't pray as required and do not follow the rules regarding sexual relationships.
And vice-versa, other of my friends and family pray regularly (maybe a habit hard to break for them) but are not strong on the other religious rules and beliefs.

That is how I had seen Sayid. As a muslim character of origin who adapted his lifestyle once he'd left Iraq. It is not hard to believe that the lack of knowledge on this issue would lead to such a character as well.

And that's just my take on him. It is interesting though that this hasn't been mentioned more on boards, as you said Nikki.

Nikki Stafford said...

I think you could be right, Benny. Sayid is probably more of a liberal Muslim and not an orthodox one, and prays and believes in certain customs (like a Muslim man not being cremated) but socially he follows a less religious path.

But then again, this is me once again showing my lack of knowledge in this area. I don't know what values would be held most sacred to a Muslim, orthodox or liberal, and I could be wrong about this.

Benny said...

Definitely, our individual lack of knowledge is certainly unfortunate. Hopefully the collective knowledge on this board can answer that question.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Sayid is like most people, in that he chooses what rules of his religion he feels like adhering to and ignores the rules that would inconvenience him. (Like, not hooking up with a single American woman. Naw, that's too hard! Sorry, Allah, can't resist...)

JennM said...

I'm late to the game this week! I usually like to get into the convo before Saturday, but it's been hectic. I just wanted to say for this one that I love Sayid. Most of you regulars have probably picked that up, but for me, this episode just further deepens the mystery that is Sayid. I think his story line is one of the most mysterious, and I think we still have a lot to learn about Sayid, and his importance a) on the island and as a member of the Oceanic 815 survivors, b) as a member of the Oceanic 6, and c) as a person. There are still sooooo many things we don't know about him, including his circumstances during his return to the island. I can't wait to see more of him and his story in S6!

Gamal said...


your explinations seem good to me.

Even if I personally think that the writers didn't plan that part out completely and accurately. It may fit if you think about it.

We saw in s5 that Sayid's father was a "hard man". Probably an orthodox Sunni muslim, which requires him to if necessary force his sons to pray Salat (5 times a day). So, Sayid does follow many religious practices regarding his strict upbringing and considering that he is a "broken" man from the beginnning neglects some. [I don't understand, though, his Shannon "thing" in s1 and s2 both because of his religion and his love for Nadia.] Since he is even more broken (Nadia's death) he seems to do even more so and is shown drinking and havig one night stands.


(But, why this awful armpit-hair? Removing armpit-hair is part of Middle Eastern body hygiene (not just since recent times) and done by nearly all no matter religion.)

The Rush Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Rush Blog said...

The idea of Sawyer raising Aaron does NOT strike me as ideal. Then again, I have never harbored a high opinion of him during the series' entire six year run.

It's interesting how Shannon became so murderous. And quite frankly, I don't blame her for trying to shoot Locke, considering his part in bringing about Boone's death.