Hello, Losties. It’s high time we learned a bit more about our favorite former Republican Guard “communications officer,” isn’t it? Just when Sayid Jarrah seemed to be getting nice and cozy with Shannon on the island, Boone dies, Locke disappears, and Jack seemingly goes crazy over it all. Can Sayid keep the peace? For the greater good?
The Greater Good
Events: In flashbacks, we discover that Sayid had been detained in a London airport, innocent of any wrongdoing himself, but is eventually coerced by the CIA and Australian Intelligence to infiltrate a terrorism cell in Australia. Connected to the terrorists only by association (by his former roommate, Essam), Sayid agrees to appear sympathetic to their cause in order to gather information for the CIA, who have promised in turn to provide the whereabouts of his escaped love, Nadia (as explained in “Solitary.”) Sayid is conflicted about the mission when he learns that Essam really has no desire to die a martyr to the cell’s cause, but because of his love for Nadia, convinces Essam to carry out the plan to detonate C4 explosives in a public area. Just before the deed is to be done, Sayid reveals the truth about his involvement; Essam commits suicide.
On the island, Jack causes a stir by first attacking Locke when he returns, and later nearly passing out from exhaustion in front of everyone in attendance at Boone’s funeral. After Locke personally apologizes to Shannon for Boone’s death, she turns to Sayid for help; Sayid obliges her and forages into the jungle with Locke. With his interrogation skills still sharp, Sayid draws information from Locke on the journey, finds the Beechcraft, and eventually decides Locke can still be trusted. Unconvinced, Shannon reacts with hostility and tries to kill Locke herself; Sayid ultimately sacrifices his relationship with her when he intervenes to save Locke’s life.
Greater Meaning: Either Sayid has learned through his dealings with Essam that condemning an innocent man was not worth the price he paid, and therefore refuses to repeat his past mistakes (with Locke for Shannon), or he is the most forward-thinking utilitarian on the island. Once he realizes Locke was mostly telling the truth about Boone, he no longer wishes the man harm, even after Locke confesses his own involvement in the triangulation disaster. On the island, Locke matters more than Shannon, and Sayid knows it and acts on it; just as Locke earlier explained to Boone that they’d need Sayid for an ally, Sayid seems to realize that Locke is too valuable to throw away just for the sake of vengeance. The episode celebrates Sayid Jarrah as not only an honorable man, but one who can learn from his mistakes and make future decisions, difficult ones, exactly for the greater good of the rest of the survivors.
Jack, on the other hand, still struggles to let go. Angry at Locke for Boone’s death, he denounces him as a liar in front of the entire camp, and these words resonate with more weight than anyone else’s on the island. Afterwards, Walt stops socializing with Locke; Shannon eventually looks to Jack for support as she holds Locke at gunpoint, “You told me he was a liar, Jack!” Unlike Sayid, Jack does not hesitate or consider the bigger picture of his actions or how they affect people; in many ways he has not yet learned to lead them. The moment when Jack nearly collapses on the beach provides one of the most immediately anxious moments for the survivors to date–sure, they can hunt, fish, escape predators, and settle disputes among themselves, but what if something serious happened to Jack? What would they do without him?
True to form, it’s Kate that steps in as Jack’s replacement (for himself) when she forces him to sleep by crushing sedatives into his juice. In so doing, she exposes Jack’s weaknesses: he’s relentless in refusing to give up his anger and resentment toward Locke, he’s stubborn in that he can’t see that he might be wrong, and he is content to sacrifice his own health and well-being for what he believes is right. Will his inability to let go lead to his undoing?
1. Will Charlie find the heroin in the Beechcraft and relapse?
2. Will Walt eventually warm to Locke again?
3. Will Shannon forgive Sayid?
4. Does Locke have ulterior motives?
5. Did Sayid ever find Nadia?