"The Greater Good" is the twenty-first episode of Season 1 of Lost and the twenty-first produced hour of the series as a whole. With news of Boone's death sweeping the camp, Shannon decides to go after Locke, whom she blames for the tragedy. Flashbacks focus on Sayid's time in Australia.


Previously on Lost

  • Sayid, Kate, and Boone make a plan to triangulate the source of Rousseau's distress signal. Before he can finish, however, Sayid is attacked from behind and knocked unconscious. ("The Moth")
  • Boone uses a radio inside the crashed Beechcraft to send out a message, but the plane falls to the ground. Locke carries him back to the caves to be treated and disappears before Jack can ask him what happened. ("Deus Ex Machina")
  • Jack tries desperately to save Boone's life, but he dies, imparting to Jack something about a "Hatch" and the plane he found. Jack approaches Shannon after she returns from a picnic with Sayid and tells her the news. ("Do No Harm")
  • Jack tells Kate he is leaving to find Locke. ("Do No Harm")


Sayid and CIA Agent Alyssa Cole.

Sayid is led through Heathrow Airport, in handcuffs, to an interrogation room. Inside, he's introduced to CIA agent, Alyssa Cole and ASIS agent Robbie Hewitt. 300 pounds of C-4 explosives were stolen from an Army base outside of Melbourne by a terrorist cell. One of the members of this cell is Essam Tasir, with whom Sayid shared a room at Cairo University. If Sayid will infiltrate this cell through his friendship with Essam, the CIA will tell Sayid where he can find Nadia.

In Australia, Sayid is praying in a Mosque and watching Essam, who is praying a few rows in front of him. Towards the end of the prayer, Essam turns and recognizes Sayid. Sayid meets up with him outside the Mosque, and the two catch up on old times. Essam has been in Sydney for about a year, working as a lumberjack. Sayid inquires about Zahra, Essam's wife, and learns she was killed some time ago by a stray bomb while shopping. Sayid give his condolences, and Essam invites Sayid to come to his apartment.

Sayid and Essam at his apartment.

In Essam's apartment, his roommates Yusef and Haddad are playing a video game. Sayid is introduced, and during the course of small talk he notices an electronic surveillance device in the smoke detector. Sayid takes Haddad's cigarette, holds it up to the alarm and nothing happens. Sayid takes apart the alarm and finds a listening device. Essam explains to Haddad and Yusef that Sayid knows of such things because of his past in the Iraqi Republican Guard. Haddad suggests it may have been fate that brought Sayid to them.

Sayid and Essam are playing soccer in a park. The conversation turns towards the plans of the cell. Haddad has been asking Sayid technical questions about blast radius, and transport methods for explosives, but hasn't mentioned whether any have been acquired yet. Essam doesn't know, but he has been told his role in the mission. Essam is to martyr himself as a suicide bomber, but has doubts.

Sayid asks the agents for help.

Sayid relays this information to agents Cole and Hewitt, and pleads with them to help Essam get out. They refuse because if Essam disappears, the cell will become suspicious, scrap the mission, and the explosives will disappear again. The agents instruct Sayid to convince Essam to go ahead with the mission. Sayid refuses, and Agent Cole threatens to have the CIA arrest Nadia as an enemy combatant with a record of insurgency. If Sayid ever wants to see Nadia again, he will have to convince his friend Essam to blow himself up.

Sayid and Essam are walking through Sydney. Essam is terrified and wants to back out. Sayid tells him to do it for the greater good. When Essam doubts the goodness of a suicide attack, Sayid tells him to do it for Zahra. Someone must avenge her death. This solidifies Essam's will, he decides to do it and asks Sayid to go with him. For Essam, Haddad was right - they had been brought together by fate.

Essam learns of Sayid's true intentions.

A van pulls up to Sayid as he leaves the apartment. Haddad and Essam tell him the time has come and to get in. They drive to a warehouse and get into a truck full of explosives. Haddad gives them both last minute instructions and gives Essam a pistol in case of trouble, then he leaves. As Essam starts the truck, Sayid tells him to stop. He admits to working with the CIA, and offers Essam a ten minute head start before he calls the authorities. Essam is furious at Sayid's betrayal, and he holds a gun to Sayid's throat. Instead of killing him, however, he turns the gun on himself.

Outside the warehouse, Essam's covered body is being wheeled away. Agent Cole honors her end of the deal and tells Sayid that Nadia lives in Irvine, California. She gives him some money and a plane ticket for a flight to Los Angeles, which leaves in two hours. Sayid is curious what will happen to Essam's body, and is told unless someone claims the body, it will be cremated. This is in contravention to Muslim tradition, and Sayid demands his flight be pushed back so he may claim the body and make proper funeral arrangements. The agents agree, and he will be booked the next day...on Oceanic Flight 815.

On the Island

Shannon looks at Boone's dead body.

Sayid and Shannon sit with Boone's body. Sayid asks if there is anything he can do for Shannon. He says Boone was brave to the end. He wouldn't let Jack use up the antibiotics, and wouldn't let Jack take his leg.

Kate finds Jack, who is running erratically through the jungle looking for Locke. He's sleep deprived, low on blood, and furious because he based his medical treatment of Boone on Locke's story that he'd fallen off a cliff. Jack feels that if he'd been properly informed from the beginning, he might have been able to save Boone, and thus he sees Locke as a murderer for lying. Kate asks him to come back to camp, because the group needs leadership and because Jack's been running through the jungle in circles.

Hurley and Jack carry Boone's remains to the burial site for a funeral. The entire camp is present, and somber. Jack asks Shannon to say a few words about her brother, but she can't. After a pregnant pause, Sayid gives the following eulogy:

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.

Locke shows up at Boone's funeral.

As Sayid finishes, Locke arrives, still covered in Boone's blood. He takes the blame for Boone's death, and tries to explain the circumstances; the Beechcraft in the tree, his leg, the radio, the plane falling, almost everything. He calls Boone a hero. Jack has heard enough. He tackles Locke and starts to pummel him, screaming that Locke lied. Finally, Sawyer and Charlie manage to pull him off. Jack collapses from sheer exhaustion.

Some time later, Sayid, Kate, and Sun walk Jack back to his tent and try to calm him down. Jack insists Locke is lying. He tells them Boone's last words about the Hatch, and how Locke had told him not to tell. They convince him it's more important at the moment for the one doctor on the Island to be rested.

Jack isn't the only one in dire need of rest, as Charlie and Sun are trying to convince a haggard-looking Claire to sleep. She's afraid to, in case something should happen to the baby, and she's not at all re-assured when Charlie calls him Turnip-Head. Finally, Charlie convinces her by swearing he will personally guard the baby until she wakes up.

Down the beach, a grieving Shannon sits alone. Locke walks over tentatively and offers her Boone's belongings. They talk about how brave and how stubborn Boone was. Locke acknowledges Shannon's grief and anger, offers his condolences, and asks for forgiveness. As he leaves, Shannon watches him walk away, and she begins to cry.

Back at Sayid's tent, Shannon reminds Sayid he offered to help her. The only help she wants is revenge on John Locke.

At Jack's tent, Kate has Jack drinking juice out of a bowl. He tries to give it back to her, but she insists he finish it all. He needs to get his blood sugar back up. Jack tries to get up and find Locke again. Kate strongly advises that he lie down, because she crushed sleeping pills into the juice that she gave him. As Jack tries to process the fact that Kate just drugged him, he falls heavily into sleep.

Locke and Sayid at the Beechcraft.

At the caves, Locke is trying to wash the blood out of his shirt when Sayid approaches. Sayid asks Locke to take him out to the Beechcraft, under the pretext of retrieving any working parts from the radio.

As Sayid and Locke walk through the Jungle towards the plane, Sayid asks several questions of Locke, feeling him out as they go. Locke notices the interrogation, and suspects that it's because Jack called him a liar in front of everyone at the funeral. Sayid doesn't deny it. Finally they arrive at the downed craft.

Back at the beach, Charlie is having a hard time getting the baby to stop crying, and Hurley tries to help him out. They sing him a lullaby, check his diaper, and finally Hurley pulls out "the big guns": He sings "I Got You (I Feel Good)" at the top of his lungs, but to no avail.

"...that earns you adaptability."

At the Beechcraft, Sayid inspects the wreckage, including the bags of heroin. Locke asks why Sayid doesn't trust him, and Sayid says a part of it is the gun in Locke's pocket he's kept a secret. Locke hands over the weapon and tells Sayid where it came from, but that isn't trustworthiness according to Sayid, just adaptability. Locke admits that during the mission to triangulate Danielle's signal, it was Locke who knocked him out. Sayid grabs the gun in one hand, and Locke's throat in the other. Locke says he did it to protect the group, because the message said "it killed them, it killed them all," and it didn't seem like a good place to go. Sayid then asks about the Hatch. Locke sidesteps, and says the plane has a hatch at each end.

Later, back at the beach, Sayid asks Shannon to take a walk with him. He tells her he's spoken with Locke and believes Boone's death was honestly an accident. Shannon is not satisfied.

At the raft, Walt has questions about the safety of the raft, and Michael tries to reassure him. Charlie walks up with the crying baby, and Sawyer expresses his irritation at the sound of the crying. At the sound of Sawyer's voice, however, the baby immediately stops crying. Charlie understands quickly and starts following Sawyer around, because it's the only thing that's worked so far.

At Jack's tent, a groggy Jack wakes up as Kate watches over him. She's brought food, but he doesn't trust it. Suddenly he notices the key to the gun case is missing from his necklace. He starts looking around frantically. Sayid notices the commotion and walks over to see what's going on. Jack assumes that Locke took it and is after the guns, but Sayid believes that someone else may be responsible.

It starts pouring rain as Shannon pulls a gun from the case.

Shannon holds Locke at gunpoint.

Sayid, Jack, and Kate sprint through the jungle in the rain. Sayid breaks into the clearing first and finds Shannon with a gun pointed at Locke. They all try to talk her down, but she doesn't believe them. Sayid tackles her just as she fires, and Locke falls to the ground. Shannon is furious and runs away; Kate runs after her. Jack looks at Locke's grazed head and walks away disgusted, leaving Locke sitting in the mud.

Still later, Charlie sits in Sawyer's tent with the baby while Sawyer reads from an automotive magazine. The sound of his voice is still the only thing keeping the baby from crying, as they find out whenever Sawyer stops reading. Claire walks up curious, and sits down with them.

Sayid stares at a now subdued Shannon from a distance, and Kate tries to comfort him. Sayid wonders aloud if he didn't make a mistake; there's always a choice.

Locke sits at the fire, putting a salve on his head. Sayid approaches, and Locke thanks him for saving his life. Sayid explains that he did it because he senses that Locke will be their best hope for survival on the Island, but he doesn't forgive Locke, and he doesn't trust him. Sayid demands Locke take him to the Hatch. Locke tries to sidestep again, but Sayid won't hear any more lies.


  • An apparent continuity error arises when Shannon is shown to know the location and purpose of the Halliburton case key, when only Kate, Locke and Jack (around whose neck it was kept) had been shown to have this knowledge. It is not until Season 3's "Exposé" that we find out the reason - Kate had earlier let this information slip when defending the measures taken to secure the guns.
  • The Sydney Opera House is briefly seen in the background when Sayid and Essam are playing soccer.
  • This episode is rated TV-14-V.

Production notes

  • Ian Somerhalder is credited for playing Boone's corpse.
  • This episode was originally titled "Sides". The Season 1 Blu-ray release notes this on the menu screen with 'a.k.a. "Sides"' next to the title.

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • After they come across the crashed plane, Sayid has a pistol pointed at Locke. Sayid cocks the hammer on the pistol, despite the fact that the pistol -- which is likely a Glock -- does not have a hammer.
  • Sayid is seen in Heathrow Airport in London being escorted by two soldiers. Security at Heathrow would normally fall under the provision of the Metropolitan Police.
  • At the warehouse, Haddad gives both Sayid and Essam jackets to wear in order to appear convincing in the bomb vehicle. The nametag "Steve" on Sayid's jacket is originally pinned on upside down and remains so when he enters the van. Moments later it is corrected, with no interference from Sayid.


The episode introduces Boone and Shannon's theme, which appears on the Season 1 soundtrack as "Booneral". The soundtrack also includes "Shannonigans" from this episode, a variation on Locke's second theme.


Recurring themes

  • The number 815 appears on the window of a building Sayid leaves. (The Numbers)
  • Essam's roommates play the video game Half-Life. (Games)
  • Sayid plays soccer with Essam. (Games)
  • Haddad suggests that it is "not happenstance, but fate" that brought Sayid and Essam together, a thought echoed later by Essam. (Fate versus free will)
  • When Sayid inquires about Locke's kidney transplant scar, Locke tells him it is a war wound. (Secrets)  (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sayid is forced into deceiving Essam into becoming a martyr. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Kate crushed sleeping pills into a juice to force Jack to rest. (Deceptions and cons)
  • As Shannon pulls the gun from the case, and as she holds Locke at gunpoint, it is raining. (Rain)
  • Essam's wife, Zahra, was killed by a stray bomb. Later on in the episode, he commits suicide. (Life and death)  (Suicide)
  • Throughout the episode, Locke deceives Sayid: about the gun he is carrying and about the true nature of the Hatch. (Deceptions and cons)  (Secrets)
  • Charlie calls Aaron "Turnip-head." Sawyer calls Aaron "Baby Huey" and Charlie "Chucky." (Nicknames)
  • Sayid and Essam meet at a mosque. (Religion)
  • In response to Kate's statement that Sayid couldn't have simply let Shannon shoot Locke, he answers that "there's always a choice." (Fate versus free will)
  • As a gesture of sympathy and apology, Locke gives Boone's backpack to Shannon. (Redemption)
  • Shannon attempts to kill Locke, whom she blames for the death of Boone. (Revenge)
  • Sayid is arrested at Heathrow Airport and kept in a holding cell for 18 hours. (Imprisonment)

Cultural references

Literary techniques

  • On the Island, Sayid tried to prevent Shannon from murdering Locke, out of practical motives (i.e., not wanting to lose Locke); in Sydney, he tried to persuade Essam to go ahead with the suicide mission, which would kill hundreds of innocent people, for emotional reasons (i.e., believing he could find Nadia again). (Juxtaposition)
    • Both of his tasks are ostensibly all about The Greater Good: preventing the deaths of many in Sydney, and taking down a possible murderer (Locke). However, in both cases, the party that sets the work in motion are personally involved, and not really being objective about "the greater good" being served. (Irony)
  • Charlie is heard singing "Incey Wincey spider" in this episode. he sings "down came the rain and drowned the spider out." Hurley then picked up the lyrics are "washed" not "drowned." This is somewhat coincidental, as this is how Charlie would later die. (Foreshadowing)
  • In the past, Sayid chose the greater good over his friendship with Essam, causing the latter's suicide, which Sayid greatly regrets. On the Island, Sayid chose not to let Shannon kill Locke, and sacrificed his relationship with her (at least for now), in order to save the man who may be their savior. Sayid, however, comments that he may indeed come to regret his actions. (Juxtaposition)
  • After failing to convince Jack to rest, Kate spiked his juice to make him sleep. We find out in "I Do" that Kate also drugged her husband in this manner when she decided to leave him. (Foreshadowing)
  • While construction on the raft continues, Walt asks Michael a series of questions, such as: "What if someone dies?" referring to the recently deceased Boone. He also asks, "What if we get attacked by a shark?" In "Adrift" the survivors of the raft explosion get attacked by the DHARMA Shark. (Foreshadowing)

Episode connections

Episode references

  • Sayid speaks about Boone's brave attempt to save Joanna from drowning. ("White Rabbit")
  • Locke knocked Sayid out during the mission to triangulate Danielle's signal. ("The Moth")
  • Nadia's insurgency is mentioned. ("Solitary")
  • Sayid asks Locke if he burned the first raft. ("...In Translation")
  • Locke explains to Sayid how Boone climbed up to plane, and then fell back down with it. ("Deus Ex Machina")
  • Sayid notices Locke's scar on his back and asks how he got it. Locke simply replies "a war wound." ("Deus Ex Machina")
  • Jack explains that he is angry because he had based his medical treatment of Boone on Locke's lie. ("Deus Ex Machina")  ("Do No Harm")

Episode allusions