Tuesday, April 28, 2020

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Episode 21, The Greater Good.

"I know when I'm being lied to,"
Events: Sayid tries to help Shannon in her grief over Boone's death but she is despondent. Jack, still sleep-deprived and enraged, looks for Locke in the jungle but returns to the beach for Boone's funeral. During the funeral, Locke returns, his clothes still stained with blood, and admits that the accident that caused Boone's death was his fault. Jack confronts and then attacks Locke but then collapses from exhaustion. In order to force Jack to rest, Kate puts crushed sleeping pills into his juice. While Jack is asleep, Sayid convinces Locke to bring him to the crashed airplane and Shannon steals the key to the gun case. While at the crashed plane site, Locke admits to Sayid he was the one who destroyed the radio when they first attempted to triangulate Rousseau's distress signal. While Locke honestly answers all of Sayid's questions, he falters when Sayid brings up the hatch, and Sayid catches it.

In flashbacks, Sayid remembers his friend, Essam Tazia, and the role the two of them played in an attempted terrorist attack in Sydney. Sayid was coerced into taking part by American and British intelligence officers after they promised to reunite him with his lost love, Nadia. Essam confesses that he doesn't want to go through with the attack and Sayid tries to convince the intelligence agents that Essam's superiors are the ones they should be targeting, but to no avail. Just before they are about to leave with explosives, Sayid tells Essam the truth; Essam dies moments later by suicide.

When Sayid realizes what Shannon has planned, he races with Jack and Kate to stop her from shooting Locke in the jungle. Shannon believes that Locke intentionally murdered Boone largely due to Jack's accusations, and attempts to kill him. Sayid tackles her; the bullet injures Locke but is not fatal. After everything calms down, Sayid demands that Locke bring him to the hatch.

Greater Meaning: Sayid's experiences manipulating Essam in order to reach Nadia seem to have made him cautious. He is not willing to simply eliminate Locke outright to please Shannon in her grief, but he does use his skills as an interrogator to attempt to learn the truth about what happened. Locke is honest about what happened, and although Sayid still doesn't trust Locke completely, he accepts that Boone's death was indeed an accident. Knowing it will damage his relationship with Shannon, Sayid does not kill Locke (as she requested) and attempts to stop her from killing him, basing his actions upon the greater good of the survivors and absolute terms of right and wrong (Locke committed no crime, so it would be wrong to kill him simply because Shannon requested it despite Sayid's feelings for her).

The greater good is also in question concerning Jack's actions in both this and the previous episode ("Do No Harm"). Jack was forced (directly by Boone and indirectly by Sun, Michael, and Hurley) to consider what was best for the entire group when his actions to save Boone became dangerous and reckless; he did not decide on his own to take the entire group's best interests into account. Sayid, a former soldier from a war-torn country, considers and applies this in a way a doctor should (but Jack does not). As Shannon attempted to kill Locke, she looked to Jack for validation, saying "You told me he was a liar!" Jack does not contradict her, and after Locke is shot, does not treat him or even check on him; he glares at him and walks away. Jack refuses to consider how his actions directly affect the group and doesn't seem to take any responsibility for any role he may have played in putting Shannon's attack on Locke into motion. Jack's focus always seems to be on the immediate, the personal, and the here-and-now, making him a unique but somewhat immature leader. Christian's previous words describing Jack, "You're just not good at letting go," ring true again and again with each situation both on and off the island, and seem to be important in understanding Jack's personal challenges and strengths. Why can't he let go?

Further Questions:
1. Will Shannon forgive Sayid?
2. Will Locke and Jack patch things up?
3. Is Nadia still in California?
4. Will Jack develop better awareness in his leadership?