Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review: Lost 1.21: The Greater Good

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Essam is a little pissed when he discovers Sayid's lie.
Lost - Season One, Episode Twenty-One - The Greater Good
Written 10/6/13

The arc surrounding Boone's death forces Lost to become a show where actions have definite consequences. The Greater Good is the reverb of the events of last week, taking stock of the characters affected and how it impacts the deceptions that our characters hold. It is a new and exciting brand of storytelling that Lost is making great use of, tying multiple characters into a rich blend of tension, character development and anticipation of what's to come.
     Locke turns up at Boone's funeral and explains what happens, to varying levels of belief. Despite pouring his soul out to Shannon, she's still pissed off (more so than I think she really should be) and basically tells Sayid to do his thing. Sayid is more rational; he has Locke take him to the plane, where he confirms his story. In order to gain Sayid's trust, Locke confides that it was he that knocked him out all those weeks ago. Sayid returns and tells a resting Jack that he believes him, but Shannon still doesn't and she tries to kill Locke with a gun from the case, only to be stopped just in time by Sayid. As return for saving his life, he then asks Locke to take him to the Hatch.
     In the past, we find a rather dark sequence to explain Sayid's presence in Sydney. He's cornered at Heathrow by a CIA agent and her Aussie mate, who tell him that one of his old schoolmates, Essam, has become part of a terrorist cell in Sydney that has stolen 300 pounds of C4 explosive. They want to catch him in the act, and in return they will tell him where Nadia lives and prevent her from being deported to Iraq. He goes into the cell and gains Essam's trust, having to at length convince Essam to go through with his matyrdom. When Sayid reveals his plan and tells Essam to try to get away, Essam shoots himself. The CIA give him a plane ticket to LA, but he picks the next day's flight in order to have time to bury Assam, leading him to Flight 815.
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Locke has no idea about decent timing.
     I find Sayid and Locke's interactions in this episode to be really interesting, with Sayid the master interrogator and Locke the master deceiver. They work very well off of one another, and there's this dynamic level of trust and mistrust that runs through their relationship that makes everything wonderfully unpredictable. Of anyone to force Locke to reveal the secrets of the Hatch, Sayid really is the perfect candidate, especially as he has that cool demeanor to him and we can see from both he and Locke's development that they're fundamentally opposite. Sayid has a lot of things that he wants to make up for in his life, whereas Locke is all about taking back his life from his own misfortune. In this episode their roles are reversed, which is what charges their scenes.
     It's a real sign of Lost's confidence that a show already about an unexplained plane crash could go further and do a subplot about preparing to blow up innocent civilians in an era of history where 9/11 was stil particularly raw (although that period did last for a long time.) It's another sign thatr thais fits seamlessly into the themes of an episode that not only gives us fascinating character dynamics but that also pushes us on towards the finale in a way which maintains the tension in a remarkabley controlled manner. One more episode before the three-part finale, and I'm stoked.

Thanks.

NEXT: We see at least one of the things Kate is so guilty about in Born To Run.

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