Lost/The Greater Good

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The Greater Good
Season 1, Episode 21
Airdate May 4, 2005
Production Number 120
Written by Leonard Dick
Directed by David Grossman
← 1x20
Do No Harm
1x22 →
Born to Run
LostSeason One

The Greater Good is the twenty-first episode of the first season of Lost, and is the twenty-first episode overall.

One island crime is solved - the identity of the arsonist who destroyed Michael's raft. Shannon becomes convinced that Locke is responsible for Boone's death and asks Sayid for "a favor." Trekking into the jungle with Locke, Sayid becomes convinced that he is not responsible for the tragedy. But Shannon remains adamant and decides to take matters into her own hands.

Starring: Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Maggie Grace (Shannon), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Malcolm David Kelley (Walt), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Terry O'Quinn (Locke), Harold Perrineau, Jr. (Michael), Ian Somerhalder (Boone).

Guest Starring: Donnie Keshawarz (Essam Tazir), Jenny Gago (Alyssa Cole), Dariush Kashani (Haddad).

Co-Starring: David Patterson (Agent Robbie Hewitt), Ali Shaheed Amini (Yusef), Warren Kundis (Imam).


Plot Overview

The Island

  • Kate finds Jack wandering around the jungle in circles trying to find Locke. He's upset that Locke lied to him and he based Boone's medical treatment on his lie, but Kate tells him he needs to come back, that everyone is scared and upset, and they need him. At the beach, everyone gathers to bury Boone's body. Shannon refuses to say anything, but Sayid steps in and says a few words. As he finishes, Locke appears and tells everyone it was his fault - that Boone was a hero. Enraged by Locke's appearance at the funeral, Jack attacks him. He's pulled off Locke and restrained by Sawyer and Charlie, but collapses from fatigue. After he recovers, Jack mentions to Sayid that Locke told Boone not to tell anyone something about a hatch. On the beach, Kate gives Jack something to drink. Jack tries to get up to talk to Locke, but finds it difficult to get up. Kate tells him she crushed up some sleeping pills and put them in his juice. He lies back down and falls asleep. He eventually wakes up and Kate hands him some soup. He asks Kate if anyone was in here - the key around his neck to the gun case is missing.
  • Charlie tries to get Claire to let him take her baby so she can get some sleep. Sun agrees with him, but Claire remains adamant that she look after him herself. Eventually Charlie is able to coax Claire into giving him the baby so she can get some rest. He tries to calm the baby down, but it won't stop crying. Hurley offers Charlie to help and starts singing, but to no avail. Charlie wanders over to the raft and discovers that Sawyer's voice quiets the baby, and he begins following Sawyer around.
  • Locke approaches Shannon to give her Boone's bag. He tells her he should've told Boone no when he offered to come hunting with him, but Shannon tells him he would've gone anyway. Locke apologizes to Shannon about what happened, telling her he may not understand what she's going through, but he knows what it feels like to lose family. After he leaves, Shannon goes to Sayid and tells him that John Locke killed her brother and she wants him to do something about it. Sayid approaches Locke and asks him to take him to the plane and see if he can salvage some of its electronics for the raft transmitter he's building. As the two journey to the Beechcraft, Sayid questions Locke about the events leading up to Boone's death. They arrive at the wreck and Sayid continues questioning Locke about the circumstances - and why Locke is carrying a gun he's told no one about. Locke pulls it out and gives it to Sayid, telling him about finding it on the Nigerian smuggler in the jungle. He then tells Sayid that he was the one who smashed his transmitter when he tried to triangulate the source of the distress signal - that he did it because he didn't want him leading people to a place that kept saying "it killed them all" over and over. He waited all this time to tell Sayid because he wouldn't have engaged in reasonable debate back then, that everyone was so focused on getting off the island that they weren't seeing things clearly. Sayid returns to the beach and tells Shannon that he believes Locke, that it was an accident.
  • Believing Locke took the key to the gun case, Jack and Kate get Sayid, but Sayid tells him it wasn't Locke. The trio rush into the jungle and discover Shannon holding Locke at gunpoint. The group tries to talk Shannon down, but Shannon tells Jack that he said Locke was a liar. She fires at Locke as Sayid tackles her, and the bullet grazes Locke's head. That night, Kate tells Sayid that Shannon needs some time to sort things out. Sayid approaches Locke and Locke thanks him for what he did. Sayid tells him he did it because he thinks Locke may be their best hope of surviving on the island, but he doesn't forgive him for what he did and doesn't trust him. He tells Locke there's no more lying - that he's going to take him to the hatch.

The Flashback

  • Flashback: Sayid

Handcuffed by airport security at Heathrow, Sayid is led to a back room. Inside are two agents, Agent Melissa Cole from the Central Intelligence Agency and Agent Robbie Hewitt from the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and they require Sayid to do them a favor. Agent Hewitt tells Sayid that 300 pounds of C-4 explosives where stolen from an army base outside of Melbourne the previous week. The men responsible were members of a terrorist cell intent on disrupting the coalition presence in Iraq. The agents got Sayid because he knows one of the terrorists - Essam Tazir. He and Sayid were roommates at Cairo University. They tell Sayid he's going to help them because they know the whereabouts of Nadia.

Later, Sayid shows up at the same mosque as Essam. He notices Sayid and, after prayer, rushes over to him. Sayid tells him he's been traveling and Essam replies that he's a tree cutter in Sydney. Sayid inquires about a woman named Zahraa, but Essam tells him she died from a stray bomb. He invites Sayid to his apartment where Sayid meets Haddad and Yusef. As he talks to the group, Sayid takes notice of a smoke detector and disassembles it, revealing a listening device hidden inside. He drops the bug into a glass of water. Essam tells Haddad that Sayid was a member of the Republican Guard and knows things. Haddad suggests that it was fate that brought Sayid and Essam together at the mosque.

Several weeks later Sayid and Essam play soccer at a park. Sayid tells him he believes Haddad has selected a target as he's been asking him about explosives for the last two weeks. Essam only knows there's going to be an operation and a martyr. Haddad told Essam that morning that he was to be that martyr, but he tells Sayid he doesn't think he can do it. Later, Sayid meets with Agent Cole and Agent Hewitt at a dock. He tells them that he can get Essam to turn himself in and that he wants out, but he doesn't know where the C-4 is. Agent Cole tells him that Essam is worthless and the only way to find the C-4 is to wait for him to have a target to hit and that is why Sayid is going to convince him to go through with it. Sayid refuses, but Agent Cole reminds him about Nadia. If Sayid refuses, then they'll arrest her as an enemy combatant.

Later, Sayid and Essam take a walk in Sydney. Essam explains to Sayid that he's not sure he can go through with it. He isn't afraid to die, but is worried about all the innocent lives. In response, Sayid tells him that innocent lives will be lost but in service of a greater good. He tells Essam he shouldn't just accept what happened to Zahraa and that he lost someone too. There needs to be consequences for those responsible and that is how he will honor her. Essam asks Sayid if he'll do this with him, and Sayid agrees.

Haddad brings Sayid and Essam to a warehouse with an explosive-laden van inside. He tells the two what to do and, should they run into any problems, gives Essam a gun and leaves. Sayid and Essam get into the van, but Sayid tells him to stop, that he is working with the CIA. He'll give Essam ten minutes to get away before he calls them. Essam asks why Sayid would do this to him and Sayid tells him that they know where to find the woman he lost, Nadia. Essam is angered that Sayid used him to find a woman and pulls the gun on Sayid. He tells Sayid that he was his brother, that he said this was for the greater good. He tells Sayid that he hopes this woman that he loves will make him whole again - and he shoots himself in the head.

Once the authorities arrive, Agent Cole tells Sayid that Nadia is in Irvine, California and working as a lab technician for a medical testing company. She gives him an Oceanic plane ticket to L.A. that leaves in two hours and some spending money. Sayid inquires about Essam's body and Agent Hewitt tells him the body will be cremated as there's no one to claim the body. Sayid tells him that a Muslim man is supposed to be buried and that he'll claim the body. The two agents agree to change his flight on Oceanic to the next day.




  • Locke was the one who knocked Sayid unconscious and smashed his equipment. (1x07 - The Moth)
  • Nadia is alive and living in Irvine, California. (1x09 - Solitary)

Arc Advancement


  • Michael, Jin and Sawyer continue working on the raft.
  • Locke takes Sayid to the Beechcraft to salvage any electronics.


  • Charlie begins caring for Claire's baby so she can get some rest.
  • Sayid and Shannon's relationship is tested with Boone's death.



The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • Episode Title: The Greater Good was originally titled Sides.
  • Location, Location, Location: The Sydney mosque where Sayid meets Essam was filmed at the Laniakea YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) in Honolulu. The Sydney park where the two play soccer was filmed on the grounds of the Hawaii State Capitol Building in Honolulu.

Allusions and References

  • Half-Life: When Essam brings Sayid to his apartment, Haddad and Yusef are playing Half-Life on the TV. Half-Life is a first-person shooter developed by Valve Software and released in 1998. The two are playing a port of Half-Life for the PlayStation2 by Gearbox Software that was released in 2001. Half-Life is set in a remote area of New Mexico at the Black Mesa Research Facility where an experiment accidentally creates a dimensional rift that allow aliens from another world, the Xen, to invade the damaged facility. You play as Gordon Freeman, a theoretical physicist, who must battle his way through the Xen and the Hazardous Environment Combat Unit, escape from the ruined facility, and seal the dimensional rift to stop the Xen.
  • Sulu: In this episode, Sawyer refers to Jin as "Sulu." Lieutenant Sulu was a character on Star Trek: The Original Series and played by George Takei.

Memorable Moments

  • Hurley sings James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" to try to quiet Claire's baby.
  • Sawyer reading a car magazine to Claire's baby.


  • Yusef: Damn it. I'm out of ammo.
    Haddad: Use the crowbar.
    Yusef: That only works on the zombies. Not the big bugs.
    Haddad: Indeed.
  • Kate: No, you need to lie down.
    Jack: No, I don't.
    Kate: I strongly advise it.
    Jack: Advise? Advice? [tries to get up, but can't] What...? All right, what's going on now?
    Kate: Lie down. Okay? I crushed up some sleeping pills... put 'em in your juice.
    Jack: Why would you...? You drugged me?
    Kate: Yeah.
    Jack: Oh. Okay. [falls asleep]
    Kate: 'Night.
  • Sayid: How did you get that? [referring to a scar on Locke's back]
    Locke: War wound.
    Sayid: Looks more like a surgical scar.
    Locke: Like I said, war wound.
  • 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 triangulate a signal.
    Sayid: Yes.
    Locke: You were hit from behind, knocked unconscious. When you woke up, the transceiver, your equipment was destroyed. That was me.
    Sayid: This is one time you better not be telling the truth.
    Locke: I did what was in everyone's best interest.
    Sayid: You ruined my chance to find the source.
    Locke: The source of a distress call that kept saying "They're dead. It killed 'em all" over and over. Is that a place you really want to lead people to?
    Sayid: Why wait all this time? Why not tell me then?
    Locke: Because back then you wouldn't have engaged in a reasonable debate. And nobody else would have. You were all so focused on getting off the island that you weren't seeing things clearly. It's like what's happening now with the raft.
    Sayid: Did you burn the raft, John?
    Locke: No, Sayid, I didn't.
  • Kate: Hey. Brought you something to eat.
    Jack: What's in it? Chloroform?


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