Lost S1E21: The Greater Good

by thethreepennyguignol

Lost, for the most part, so far, has been about secrets.

Most of those secrets have been ones that we, the audience, are privy to through flashbacks, with characters only occasionally sharing the truth of their pasts with other characters (usually in the kind of painful clunk that I can hear from twenty years out, but anyway). But, now that we’re getting closer to the end of the series, some more serious secrets are coming to light – and it feels like the show is finally starting to show at least a bit of its hand. A thumb, perhaps A coke nail. A cheeky knuckle or two.

The person who’s been keeping the most secrets so far is John Locke, the recently de-bottomed top of my dreams, so it makes sense that a lot of this episode revolves around him – after Boone’s death, he scrambles to try and hold back the truth of his accident, and eventually, he has to come clean about their discovery of both the hatch and the plane. I don’t think I need to make it any more clear how much I love this character, but, like so many in this show, he’s always at his best when he’s up against it – and when he’s up against worthy opponents on the island for the first time, even better.

The first of those opponents is Jack, unable to accept that Boone died under his care and looking to shift the blame to Locke for hiding the circumstances of his accident from him. Matthex Fox, looking freshly resurrected, had a banger of an episode last week, and this is a nice coda to that storyline, before he is drugged by Kate (actually, though – for God’s sake, Kate, for your own safety, don’t let Sawyer know that sneaking sleeping pills into juice is that easy!) and passes out for most of the rest of the forty minutes.

Leaving Sayid to pick up the slack. The flashbacks this week follow Sayid coming to Sydney as part of a CIA sting to catch his old roommate in a terrorist plot – it’s solid, mostly because Naveen Andrews has chemistry with everyone, but it’s Locke and Sayid that I’d really interested in.

Both as actors and as characters, Naveen Andrews and Sayid, and Terry O’Quinn and Locke are great matches for each other. On the island, they’re both about as useful as one another, both pretty inexpendable to the crew as a whole – even though Shannon blames Locke for her brother’s death and asks Sayid to do something about it, Sayid recognizes Locke’s importance and won’t take him out in revenge. Much as I would like to see these two in some hardcore top-on-top action, it’s far more compelling to watch them trying to figure each other out, trying to expose one another’s secrets while they both shift to hold the upper hand.

The biggest secret spilled this week is that Locke was the one who took out Sayid’s transciever way back towards the start of the series. Which raises an interesting question regarding what the island has done for people: for some, like Walt, Locke, Sawyer, and Kate, the island has offered a fresh start and even a place to improve. For others, like Sayid, Michael, and Jack, staying is an impossible thought, a pause button on their real lives. Boone came to the island and found a strength he never knew he had – and paid for it with his life. Locke’s claim in believing that staying is the best thing for them is getting thinner and thinner in its connection to reality, but that conflict is surely going to be at the heart of the finale.

We have a three-part finale on the horizon – I haven’t yet decided yet if I’m going to do one mega-recap like I did back at the start of the season or break it up into parts, but I’ll see based on how much actual plot we get in the incoming episodes. I do just want to say thank you to everyone who’s followed along this far, though – I have actually really enjoyed my weekly ritual of watching Lost and writing these recaps, and reading your feedback and opinions and attempts to warn me off continuing for my own good. I’m looking forward to seeing what the finale has to bring, and looking forward even more to sharing that with you!

If you liked this recap, and want to see more stuff like it, please feel free to jump into some of my other recapping projects – the Fifty Shades of Grey book series, the first Harry Potter book, Doctor WhoGame of Thrones, and American Horror Story, to name a few. I also write about movies with my brilliant co-editor over at No But Listen. If you’d like to support my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or buying my books!

(header image via Fellowship of the Screen)