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"Confidence Man"

10 November 2004
Running time
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Centric character(s)
Written by
Directed by
Special guest star(s)


Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

[[{{{audiotranscript}}}|Commentary transcript]]

"Confidence Man" is the eighth episode of Season 1 of Lost. Shannon begins to suffer badly from her asthma and requires her inhaler. When the survivors ask Sawyer for it, he refuses, leading Jack and Sayid to contemplate using any means necessary to get it. Flashbacks in this episode focus on a smooth-talking Sawyer conning his lover Jessica and her family.




Previously on Lost

  • Jin orders Sun to button her collar when he sees her talking to Michael. ("Pilot, Part 2")
  • Later, Sun approaches Michael and reveals that she understands English. She asks him to help her resolve the situation with Jin, who is handcuffed on the beach after assaulting Michael. ("House of the Rising Sun")
  • Sayid attempts to triangulate the source of the French transmission with the help of Shannon and Sawyer. Before he can do so, he is attacked from behind and knocked unconscious. ("The Moth")


Jessica and Sawyer in bed

Sawyer is in bed with a young woman, Jessica. After he declares his love for her, she realizes he is late for a meeting. As he rushes to leave, his briefcase falls open, revealing thousands of dollars in cash that she apparently was not supposed to have seen.

Sawyer tells her about a too-good-to-be-true oil deal, in which the government will triple his money if he puts $300,000 towards a share in a rig. The only problem is that he has a mere $140,000 and needs someone to put in the remaining $160,000. Jessica suggests she might be able to supply the remaining money.

Sawyer sits with his mark

Sawyer has lunch with Jessica and her husband David, and the three discuss the oil deal. To earn David's trust, Sawyer lends him the money for a day.

Later, a loan shark named Kilo asks Sawyer why the money, which belongs to Kilo, was left with David. Sawyer explains that husbands are not easily conned unless they think they are in control. He says the scam is almost completed, and Kilo demands his money, plus fifty percent, by the next day.

Sawyer goes to Jessica's house to finalize the deal, but reconsiders upon seeing a small boy emerge from another room. He unexpectedly calls off the deal, which was a con, drops his briefcase of money, and rushes out of their house.

On the Island

Sawyer emerges from the water
Kate returns from collecting fruit to find Sawyer's clothes and the book Watership Down lying on the beach. He notices her and emerges from the water to exchange a few flirtatious words with her. Sawyer returns to his belongings and finds Boone rifling through them.

Back at the beach, as Jack attends to a wound on the back of Sayid's head, the injured man explains that after he fired his flare in response to seeing Sawyer's signal, he was hit from behind by an unknown assailant intent on stopping him from triangulating the distress signal.

A wounded Boone tells Jack what happened to him
Boone and Shannon return to the caves to find Jack. Sawyer has beaten up Boone. He is adamant that Sawyer has been stealing from the wreckage and has stolen Shannon's inhaler, among other items. Due to embarrassment, Shannon has not told anyone about her asthma.

After Jack unsuccessfully demands the inhalers from Sawyer, Kate asks the apparent thief what he wants in return for the inhalers, to which he replies, "A kiss ought to do it." She mentions Sawyer's delicate treatment of his letter as proof of his humanity, and he tells her to read the letter out loud. The letter is addressed to "Mr. Sawyer" and explains that Sawyer had sex with the letter writer's mother and stole all his father's money, resulting in the father killing his wife and himself.

As Sayid tries to figure out who struck him, Locke says he was skinning a boar at the time of the attack. He then suggests that Sawyer is the culprit, since he is doing well for himself on the island, hoarding other people's possessions, and also seems to dislike Sayid.

Meanwhile, Shannon is beginning to have trouble breathing, due to her lack of medication and panic resulting from this problem. With Jack's approval, Sayid ties Sawyer to a tree and tortures him for answers, revealing that he has tortured people many times before. Sawyer finally agrees to give up the inhalers, but only to Kate. He again says he will hand over the medication if she kisses him, which she reluctantly does, only to find that he does not have it after all which triggers a slap from Kate to Sawyer. Sayid becomes enraged and attacks Sawyer, stabbing him in the arm and hitting an artery. Luckily, Jack is there to stop the bleeding and save Sawyer's life.

Sawyer tells Kate about his past (promotional still)

Sawyer wakes up on the beach with his arm bandaged up, while Kate looks on. She explains that she figured out from the bicentennial label on the envelope that the letter was not written to Sawyer, but by him to another man. He tells Kate that after a con man ruined his family, he ended up becoming a con man himself, so he took the name Sawyer as an alias.

Sayid tells Kate that he is leaving to map the Island

Sun has created a plant remedy of crushed eucalyptus leaves retrieved by Michael, which improves Shannon's breathing. Meanwhile, Charlie convinces Claire to move to the caves by bringing her pretend peanut butter; they seem to be striking up a close relationship. After all this, despite a plea from Kate, Sayid sets off alone to explore the Island's shoreline, disgusted with himself for breaking a vow never torture anyone again. Before leaving, he kisses Kate's hand and says, "I hope we meet again."



  • Just after Jack punches Sawyer in the caves, he holds his right shoulder in pain. This is as a result of it being dislocated the previous day in the episode, "The Moth".
  • This is the first episode in which a flashback did not directly involve how a person got onto the Island.
  • Just after Sayid kidnaps him, Sawyer says, "Well ain't you the brave one, jumping a guy while he's napping?" Three years later, Naveen Andrews appeared in a movie called "The Brave One."

Production notes

  • Walt does not appear in this episode.
    • This is the first episode in which Walt does not appear.
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 1 DVD.

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • Sawyer tells Jessica that he has $140,000 in the briefcase and he needs someone to go in with him and provide the other $160,000 for his "investment". Later on after Sawyer had left the money with Jessica and her husband David to count, he is talking with Kilo who asks him why he left $160,000 of his money in the care of a civilian. It is possible Sawyer spent $20,000 of Kilo's money and upped the amount he was conning Jessica and David out of in order to compensate. Alternatively, Kilo states that Sawyer must provide him with his money plus 50% by tomorrow. It may be as that Kilo gave Sawyer $160,000 (50% of which is $80,000) that Sawyer only had $140,000 in the briefcase, so that at the completion of the con, he and Kilo will both split Jess and David's money equally (i.e. they both receive $80,000 in profit). Of course he could have simply put the whole $160,000 in the briefcase and told Jess he needed $320,000.
  • Claire tells Charlie that she is the only Australian who likes peanut butter. Peanut Butter is commonly eaten in Australia and is a top selling breakfast condiment.
  • When Charlie makes a deal with Claire that he can find her peanut butter, Claires necklace changes position throughout the scene.

When Kate finds out that Sawyer really wrote the letter to the original sawyer she looks at the back of the letter's envelope and throws the note to the ground, putting both hands on the envelope. Later that scene she hands him back the envelope, and the letter is still on top of it.

Recurring themes

Recurring themes in Lost
Black and whiteCar accidentsCharacter connectionsDeceptions and consDreamsEyesFate versus free willGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLife and deathMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersParent issuesPregnanciesRainRebirthRedemptionRelationshipsRevengeSacrificeSecretsTime
  • We discover that Sawyer was a con man before his time on the Island. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Sawyer seems to cause hostility in Jack and Sayid with Jack hitting him twice and Sayid torturing him while Jack watches. (Relationships)
  • Sawyer wasn't the con man to whom the letter was written; rather, he was the boy who wrote it. (Secrets)
  • Sayid decides to leave the group out of shame for what he did to Sawyer, hoping that he can atone for his sins. (Redemption)  (Isolation)
  • Locke tries to blame Sawyer for knocking out Sayid and destroying the transceiver. (Deceptions and cons)

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 

Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost
  • Jack goes after Sawyer for being selfish and hoarding supplies; Sawyer accuses him of running a "commie share-fest". (Economics)
  • Jack hits Sawyer twice; Sayid tortures Sawyer while Jack looks on. Sawyer seems to need the animosity with these two other men. (Rivalries)
  • Sayid walks the shore and maps the Island to understand the survivors' surroundings. (A-Missions)


Main article: Musical score
Main article: Musical themes

At the beginning of the episode, Michael and Walt's theme is used during a scene that involves neither of them; later, Sawyer's dark theme is introduced in the low register of the harp. Furthermore, the torture scenes contain the first statements of a secondary motif for Jack, often used throughout the show for scenes in which he does wild or controversial things. The other notable aspect of this episode's music is the non-diagetic use of The Blind Boys of Alabama's "I Shall Not Walk Alone" over the final montage, one of only two such cases in the show in which a commercial song is heard without a source within the setting of the story.

This article uses material from the "Confidence Man" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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