Lost in Retrospect: The Greater Good

This episode continues the previous one’s tradition of being a very intense and emotional hour of television, but plot-wise its main function is to push towards the big finale.

For a refresh on this episode, I suggest you check out Lostpedia’s excellent Wiki page.

Going into this episode, I didn’t remember a single thing about it other than a few snippets of the flashback storyline. And after watching the episode, it seems completely understandable. Despite some moments that were very intense and emotional, the majority of the plot was the very structural, necessary gruntwork required to push the story forward to the finale. A large portion of the episode was devoted to Sayid and Locke’s trek through the jungle to the Beechcraft, but the net result of this was the two characters basically swapping notes, filling each other in on things that the audience already knows. Shannon’s revenge quest ultimately came to nothing. After all the drama with Locke, the end result is that everyone still doesn’t trust him. Jack sleeps for half the episode and then staggers through the jungle for a while.

Which is not to say there’s nothing of merit in this episode. Maggie Grace gives what’s probably her best performance of the entire first season as her grief turns to anger, and while I never felt like Locke was in danger, that scene of Shannon training a gun on him was great to watch. And the entirety of Boone’s funeral, stretching across the title card, was absolutely brilliant. Sayid basically lays out Boone as a character, but emphasises what made the character good: despite the fact that he usually failed, he was always the first to step into the breach and try and be the lifesaver/hero/awesome dude. And the image of Jack, looking like the picture of death, trying his damndest to reach Locke, covered in blood, and beat the living snot out of him… aside from Michael Giacchino’s score, the one constantly brilliant thing about this show is it’s visuals, from the way characters look in these dramatic scenes to the lush backdrop.

The flashbacks took a very long time to show us how Sayid ended up on Oceanic 815, they reminded us that Sayid wants to be a man of peace more than anything, and they show us that despite his wishes, Sayid constantly finds himself surrounded by violence and death. It’s that contradiction that helps make Sayid such a fascinating and cool character, but it seems like every story that’s focused on him keeps telling us this same bit of information. Every single time, until it feels like we’re almost being bashed over the head with it.

I don’t really have much to say about this episode. It’s very functional, telling us the things we need to know and setting up the characters in such a way that they’ll do what the finale requires. It’s not bad, not by a long shot, but it’s not strictly necessary for a rewatch except for the completionists.


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