"Confidence Man" is the eighth episode of Season 1 of Lost. Shannon begins to suffer badly from her asthma and requires her inhaler, which she lost during the crash. When the survivors ask Sawyer for it, he refuses, leading Jack and Sayid to contemplate using any means necessary to get it. Flashbacks in this episode focus on a smooth-talking Sawyer conning his lover Jessica and her family.


Previously on Lost[]

  • Jin orders Sun to button her collar when he sees her talking to Michael. ("Pilot, Part 2")
  • Later, Sun approaches Michael and reveals that she understands English. She asks him to help her resolve the situation with Jin, who is handcuffed on the beach after assaulting Michael. ("House of the Rising Sun")
  • Sayid attempts to triangulate the source of the French transmission with the help of Shannon and Sawyer. Before he can do so, he is attacked from behind and knocked unconscious. ("The Moth")



Jessica and Sawyer in bed.

Sawyer is in bed with a young woman, Jessica. After he declares his love for her, she realizes he is late for a meeting. As he rushes to leave, his briefcase falls open, revealing thousands of dollars in cash he says she was not supposed to have seen.

Sawyer tells her about a too-good-to-be-true oil deal, in which the government will triple his money if he puts $300,000 towards a share in an oil rig. The only problem is that he has a mere $140,000 and needs someone to put in the remaining $160,000. Jessica suggests she might be able to supply the remaining money.

1x08 sawyer

Sawyer sits with his mark.

Sawyer has lunch with Jessica and her husband David, and the three discuss the oil deal. To earn David's trust, Sawyer lends him the money for a day.

Later, a loan shark named Kilo asks Sawyer why the money, which belongs to Kilo, was left with David. Sawyer explains that husbands are not easily conned unless they think they are in control. He says the scam is almost completed, and Kilo demands his money, plus fifty percent, by the next day.

Sawyer goes to Jessica's house to finalize the deal, but reconsiders upon seeing a small boy emerge from another room. He suddenly calls off the con, drops his briefcase of money, and rushes out of their house.

On the Island[]

Day 9

1x08 kate sawyer

Sawyer emerges from the water.

Kate returns from collecting fruit to find Sawyer's clothes and the book Watership Down lying on the beach. He notices her and emerges from the water to exchange a few flirtatious words with her. Sawyer returns to his belongings and finds Boone rifling through them.

Back at the beach, as Jack attends to a wound on the back of Sayid's head, an injured Sayid explains that after he fired his flare in response to seeing Sawyer's signal, he was hit from behind by an unknown assailant, intent on stopping him from triangulating the distress signal.

1x08 boone

A wounded Boone tells Jack what happened to him.

Boone and Shannon return to the caves to find Jack. Boone has been beaten up by Sawyer. He is adamant that Sawyer has been stealing from the wreckage and has stolen Shannon's inhaler, among other items. Due to embarrassment, Shannon had not told anyone about her asthma.

Jack unsuccessfully demands the inhalers from Sawyer.After talking to Kate about it on the beach, he states he wants to kill Sawyer which provokes Kate to ask "why haven't you". Jack simply replies "We're not savages Kate. Not yet." Kate asks the apparent thief what he wants in return for the inhalers, to which he replies, "A kiss ought to do it."

S01E08-Sayid tortures Sawyer

Sayid torturing Sawyer.

She mentions Sawyer's delicate treatment of his letter as proof of his humanity, and out of anger of Kate knowing about it, he tells her to read the letter out loud. The letter is addressed to "Mr. Sawyer" and explains that Sawyer had sex with the letter writer's mother and stole all his father's money, resulting in the father killing his wife and himself. This is later shown to be not completely truthful. As Sayid tries to figure out who struck him, Locke says he was skinning a boar at the time of the attack. He then suggests that Sawyer is the culprit, since he is doing well for himself on the island, hoarding other people's possessions, and also seems to dislike Sayid.

Kate kiss Sawyer

Kate kissing Sawyer.

Meanwhile, Shannon is beginning to have trouble breathing, due to her lack of medication and panic resulting from this problem. Jack tries punching answers out of Sawyer, but he stops when he sees others' disapproval. Then with Jack's approval, Sayid ties Sawyer to a tree and tortures him for answers, revealing that he has tortured people many times before. Sawyer finally agrees to give up the inhalers, but only to Kate. He again says he will hand over the medication if she kisses him, which she reluctantly does, only to find that he does not have the medication after all. Kate slaps Sawyer, and an enraged Sayid attacks him, stabbing him in the arm and hitting an artery. Luckily, Jack is there to stop the bleeding and save Sawyer's life.

Day 10


Sawyer tells Kate about his past. (promotional still)

Sawyer wakes up on the beach with his arm bandaged up, while Kate looks on. She explains that she figured out from the bicentennial label on the envelope that the letter was not written to Sawyer, but by him to another man. He tells Kate that after a con man ruined his family, he ended up becoming a con man himself, so he took the name Sawyer as an alias.

Sun has created a plant remedy of crushed eucalyptus leaves retrieved by Michael, which improves Shannon's breathing. Meanwhile, Charlie convinces Claire to move to the caves by bringing her pretend peanut butter. Despite a plea from Kate, Sayid sets off alone to explore the Island's shoreline, disgusted with himself for breaking a vow never to torture anyone again. Before leaving, he kisses Kate's hand and says, "I hope we meet again."


  • This is the first episode in which a flashback did not directly involve how a person got onto the Island.
  • Just after Sayid kidnaps him, Sawyer says, "Well ain't you the brave one, jumping a guy while he's napping?" Three years later, Naveen Andrews appeared in a movie called The Brave One.
  • In the Season 6 episode "Lighthouse", Hurley and Jack find Shannon's inhaler outside the caves, an object which she discarded when she ran out of refills.
  • The letter Sawyer has in this episode is similar to a letter from Desperate Housewives that Martha Huber sends to Mary Alice Young, the letter from this show reads, "I know what you did. It makes me sick. I'm going to tell."
  • This episode is rated TV-14-V.

Production notes[]

Cut/altered material from original script[]


"Richard" is attacked by Sawyer.

  • Sawyer and Kate's opening conversation was scripted with additional lines, Kate more directly rejecting Sawyer and mocking his machismo. [1] The pair's next scene, in which Kate's arrival prevented an altercation between Sawyer and Jack, would have ended with more lines of banter as well.[2] Jack's eventual attack on Sawyer would have been sparked by Sawyer filling his water bottles at the cave stream.[3]
  • The first flashback would have begun with a few more seconds on Sawyer and Jessica, silhouetted "in the throes of passion."[4] In the follow-up scene, Sawyer would have led in more gradually to his plan. Among other things, he would have specified that New Orleans was funding the oil drilling operation.[5] David's scene delivered a few more lines at the end of his first scene to confirm the deal with Sawyer.[6]
  • In the original script, Boone's and Shannon's roles in the episode would have originally gone to two new characters, Richard, a man in his 50s, and his pretty wife, Marybeth. [7] Their lines remained largely unchanged when transferred to Boone and Shannon, but for Boone's explanation for why we hadn't seen mention of Shannon suffering from asthma earlier.[8] Jack's first scene with the wheezing asthma victim would have run longer, showing a more severe attack. Sun's interest in the situation would have been explained earlier through a conversation with Jin, in which she suggested offering help, but Jin counseled against it.[9] In the next asthma scene, Jack would have asked the victim to clutch his arm.[10]

Sawyer mentions Uncle Doug.

  • Locke would have originally called a cigarette-slow-fuse common knowledge to "anyone with basic military training" rather than anyone who watches TV.[11]
  • Sawyer's letter's would have read "you slept with my mother" instead of "you had sex with my mother."[12]
  • Kate's objection to the torture would have formed its own scene, and she would have accused Jack of lowering himself to Sawyer's level.[13] Immediately before the torture, Sawyer would have joked that he, Sayid and Jack should call two others and play poker. The scene would have later cut from Sawyer's screams to the camp's reaction, focusing particularly on Kate.[14] The scene with Sawyer and Kate's kiss would have started with Jack and Sayid present until Sawyer asked that they leave, and it would have included more dialog, such as Sawyer suggesting Kate read Watership Down.[15]
  • Kilo would have held a pool cue to Sawyer's throat in their scene. Sawyer would have laughed off the threat, calling the man an accountant and himself a genius. Kiley would have rejected Sawyer's claim to "like earning it as much as I like spending it," claiming instead that Sawyer wasn't in it for the money - he was in it to make people suffer.[16] In the final flashback, Sawyer would have explicitly left Kiley's money at Jessica's.[17]
  • Sayid, caught with blood on himself, would have apologized for Jack's absence from the caves, perhaps doubling as an apology for his own actions against Sawyer.[18]
  • James would have said he'd learned about the original Sawyer's con through his Uncle Doug at his mother's wake. Doug eventually appeared in season 5's "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" at the parents' funeral. James would have mentioned how he'd grown up after his parents' death and that he lived in several foster homes, suffering from "adjustment problems."[19]

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

  • Sawyer tells Jessica that he has $140,000 in the briefcase and he needs someone to go in with him and provide the other $160,000 for his "investment". Later on after Sawyer had left the money with Jessica and her husband David to count, he is talking with Kilo who asks him why he left $160,000 of his money in the care of "a civilian." It is possible Sawyer spent $20,000 of Kilo's money and upped the amount he was conning Jessica and David out of in order to compensate; this money could have been used toward a car and expensive wardrobe that would help Sawyer appear to be a successful auto salesman with a good income who could wine and dine Jessica, necessary for the con. Alternatively, Kilo states that Sawyer must provide him with his money plus 50% by tomorrow. It may be as that Kilo gave Sawyer $160,000 (50% of which is $80,000) that Sawyer only had $140,000 in the briefcase, so that at the completion of the con, he and Kilo will both split Jess and David's money equally (i.e. they both receive $80,000 in profit). Of course, he could have simply put the whole $160,000 in the briefcase and told Jess he needed $320,000, but that would have increased the amount of David's investment considerably and made him more suspicious than of a (nearly) 50-50 arrangment.
  • When Sawyer backs out of the deal at Jessica and David's house after spotting their young son, he is shown dropping a suitcase of cash twice and leaving emptyhanded. This would mean he not only left their money behind, but also left them with the $140,000 he borrowed from Kilo. This is clearly a continuity/editing error, as Sawyer, even feeling guilty, would have no reason to gift them with $140,000 he owed to someone ready to murder him over it.
  • When Charlie makes a deal with Claire that he can find her peanut butter, Claire's necklace changes position throughout the scene.
  • When Kate informs Sawyer that she knows he is the one who really wrote the letter as a child, she looks at the back of the letter's envelope and throws the note to the ground, putting both hands on the envelope. Later that scene she hands him back the envelope, and the letter is still on top of it.


Main article: Musical score
Main article: Musical themes

At the beginning of the episode, Michael and Walt's theme is used during a scene that involves neither of them; later, Sawyer's dark theme is introduced in the low register of the harp. Furthermore, the torture scenes contain the first statements of a secondary motif for Jack, often used throughout the show for scenes in which he does wild or controversial things. The other notable aspect of this episode's music is the only non-diegetic use of The Blind Boys of Alabama's "I Shall Not Walk Alone" over the final montage, one of only two such cases in the show in which a commercial song is heard without a source within the setting of the story.


Recurring themes[]

  • We discover that Sawyer was a con man before his time on the Island. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sawyer wasn't the con man to whom the letter was written; rather, he was the boy who wrote it. (Secrets)
  • Sayid decides to leave the group out of shame for what he did to Sawyer, hoping that he can atone for his sins. (Redemption)  (Isolation)
  • Locke tries to pin the blame on Sawyer for knocking out Sayid and destroying the transceiver. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sawyer stated that he would tell Kate where the inhalers were if she kissed him, but he later reveals that he has never had them. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sawyer decides not to con Jessica and her husband when he sees their little boy, which reminded him of the con that ultimately led to his parents' death when he was a small child. (Children)  (Redemption)
  • The book Sawyer finds, Watership Down, is referred to several times. (Literary works)
  • Sayid attacks Sawyer, fueled by revenge after suspecting it was he who attacked him in the jungle. (Revenge)
  • Sawyer's parents died when he was 8 years old. (Parent issues) (The Numbers)
  • Sawyer calls Sayid "Ali". (Nicknames)

Cultural references[]

Literary techniques[]

  • It is revealed that Sawyer's name is just an alias. (Plot twist)
  • The song at the end of the episode includes lyrics about Mother Mary, the source on the island for heroin. In "The Brig" it is revealed that Sawyer's mother is named Mary. (Foreshadowing)
  • The identity of the original Sawyer would become a major plot line in the series. (Foreshadowing)
  • Charlie asks Hurley if he's hoarding food. Though this offends Hurley, this is what he does with the food he finds in the Hatch. (Foreshadowing)

Storyline analysis[]

  • Jack goes after Sawyer for being selfish and hoarding supplies; Sawyer accuses him of running a "commie share-fest." (Economics)
  • Jack hits Sawyer twice; Sayid tortures Sawyer while Jack looks on. Sawyer seems to need the animosity with these two other men. (Rivalries)
  • Sayid walks the shore and maps the Island to understand the survivors' surroundings. (A-Missions)

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

  • Sayid and Jack discuss the unknown assailant who knocked out Sayid. ("The Moth")

Episode allusions[]

  • Just after Jack punches Sawyer in the caves, he holds his right shoulder in pain. This is as a result of it being dislocated the previous day. ("The Moth")

External links[]