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"Solitary"
Season
Episode

1
09
Airdate
17 November 2004
Running time
43:01
Production code
108
Flashback
Flashforward
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Flashsideways
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Centric character(s)
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Day(s)
Written by
Directed by
Special guest star(s)

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

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

"Solitary" is the ninth episode of Season 1 of Lost. Trekking around the Island, Sayid finds himself the prisoner of a mysterious woman who apparently lives on the Island. Elsewhere, Hurley builds a golf course to try to help the survivors unwind after their traumatic ordeal. Flashbacks in this episode focus around Sayid's choice between his career and his childhood love, Nadia.

Contents

Synopsis

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Flashback

Sayid notices a familiar face when talking to his commanding officer

Sayid tortures a man into admitting the truth about helping Shiite rebels in a terrorist attack. His superiors are so impressed by the way in which he works that they transfer him to the Intelligence division, much to Sayid’s delight. As his commanding officer and close friend talks with him, he notices a young woman being brought into the detention facility, and seems to recognize her.

Sayid is later ordered to torture the very same woman, whom his group believed was involved in a bombing plot. As Sayid introduces himself, Nadia remembers him from her childhood. The two talk about their past, and how Nadia became a traitor to her nation. Nadia refuses to cooperate, showing her wounds from past interrogations. She tells Sayid to do his work, completely indifferent about what will happen to her.

Nadia refuses Sayid's pleads to give up her associates

Sayid visits Nadia in her cell weeks later, giving her food. He wants her to talk without hurting her, giving her the opportunity to implicate others in order to save herself. Nadia says that cooperating would mean their visits would be cut short, and when Sayid says that their interactions weren't a game, she replies "yet you keep playing it ... pretending to be something I know you're not," as Sayid continues in his role as a torturer.

Sayid’s commanding officer tells him that Nadia is to be executed. After over a month of interrogation, she still hasn't talked, and an example has to be made. He goes to her cell, giving her a bag to put on her head.

Later, however, as he leads her out, he reveals that he has set up an escape route for her. Nadia pleads him to join her, but desertion will mean the death of his family. She quickly writes a message on a photograph of herself, but they are interrupted by Sayid's friend. To save his love, Sayid is forced to shoot him as he shouts for the guards, and then shoots himself in the leg to avoid suspicion. As Nadia runs, Sayid looks at the message written in Arabic on the back of the photo.

On the Island

At the main beach camp, Jack changes Sawyer’s bandages amongst a barrage of insults. The con man comments about Kate being interested in him, prompting Jack to leave. He goes to Kate, who worries about Sayid who has been gone for over two days. Jack reassures her that Sayid is a trained soldier, who is able to look after himself.

Hurley tells Jack that everyone needs to relax if they're going to be able to cope with living on the Island

At the caves, Jack treats Sullivan for a rash, dubbing him a hypochondriac. Hurley thinks that everyone is too tense, and needs something to help them unwind.

Locke returns to the caves with Ethan, another survivor, after hunting for food. They have found a variety of luggage items during their scout, and Hurley offers to look through them for anything useful. The commotion wakes up Walt, asking Locke if he can hunt. Michael overhears, and orders Walt back to bed, just as Hurley discovers something in the bags which puts a smile on his face.

Hurley reveals his golf course

At the caves, Michael and Jack plan splitting the drinking water to make a shower facility, but their discussion is interrupted by Charlie, who takes them to see Hurley. Hurley has built a golf course, in order to help everyone to have some fun in their life on the Island. Jack and Michael decide to give in to Hurley’s infectious enthusiasm, playing a round of golf. The survivor Jack previously treated arrives, forgetting all about his ailments with the prospect of playing the sport.

On the beach, news spreads of the golf course, and many are surprised to hear that the serious doctor is amongst the players. Sawyer jokes to Kate about it, and passes up the opportunity of accompanying her.

Kate and Jack chat on the golf course
Kate and Jack mildly flirt as they talk about how the golf course was making everyone feel safe. Walt arrives, noting that Michael has left him at the caves alone. Michael offers to let Walt have a go, but when it is his turn, he disregards his son.

Jack prepares to capitalize on Charlie’s failure and to win the game, as the other survivors begin to bet commodities. Sawyer arrives, offering some bounty of his own, causing everyone to be on edge. However, the group begins to accept him, meeting his bets. Meanwhile, in the jungle, Locke is practicing throwing knives, realizing that Walt is watching him. Walt asks to be taught how to do that, and Locke obliges.

Sayid's trip

Sayid sitting on the beach and reminiscing about Nadia
Sayid finds a partially buried cable

Further along the coastline than any other survivor has ever been, Sayid sits looking at his photograph of Nadia. However, he notices something out of the corner of his eye, and moving closer discovers that it is some kind of electrical cable. One end leads into the ocean, the other into the jungle. He decides to follow it into the jungle.

The cable that Sayid follows soon leads underground, but near it are a set of traps. Dodging the first one, Sayid is caught off-guard by another, which pulls him upside down by a rope. Trapped for hours, Sayid prays for help, but it is not until night that he hears some kind of response in the jungle. He is cut down by an unknown figure, and faints. Later, he begins to come round to hear a voice asking "where is Alex?" in a variety of different languages. The stranger who had cut him down is revealed as a woman, and she shocks Sayid with electric current, ordering him to reveal what he knows about Alex.

Sayid pleads that he doesn't know who Alex is, and explains about the crash. When he comments about the distress signal he picked up, and how it was 16 years old, the French woman stops, asking if it has really been that long. However, she still believes Sayid to be lying, saying she "knows what he is." The next morning, Sayid looks around to realize that he is in some sort of dugout tent, and sees a jacket with the name "Rousseau" on it, the French woman’s name. She talks about her distress signal, and how "they" now control it. She found his name on the envelope he carries with Nadia’s photo inside. She refuses to believe his story, asking why if there were so many, he would leave everyone for isolation. He says it is because of something he did, and when asked about Nadia, he says that she is dead. Rousseau believes him.

Rousseau shows Sayid a music box, a symbol of love and comfort to her from her love, Robert. However, the box has been broken for many years. Sayid says that he might be able to fix it if his hands are freed, but Rousseau seems to ignore him, sanding a rusted syringe. She then injects him.

Danielle Rousseau explains about how she came to the Island
Sayid regains consciousness, and Rousseau apologizes for using the sedative. She moved him in order for him to fix the music box. He agrees to work on it, in exchange for her name. Danielle tells Sayid about how her science team experienced malfunctions during a storm in the Pacific. Her ship was breached and crashed and her team made camp on the Island "temporarily." After two months, something occurred, causing Rousseau to make the distress signal which stated that "it had killed them all." Danielle explains that "the Others were the carriers," and that though she had never met them, they whisper in the jungle. Sayid doesn't believe her.

To Danielle’s delight, Sayid manages to fix the music box, but as soon as he asks if he may go the music stops. She tells him that she needs him, and that he is not safe. Just then, a roaring sound is heard outside. She heads out after it, despite Sayid’s warning that it might be the Monster. "There’s no such thing as monsters," adds Rousseau as she leaves. Sayid manages to break free from his chains, and after grabbing a gun as well as copies of maps and diagrams, makes his escape.

Sayid and Rousseau cross paths as Sayid is trying to escape. They point their guns at each other, and Sayid pulls the trigger. To his surprise, however, he finds that the firing pin has been removed. Danielle says that Robert never noticed it either, before she shot and killed him. Sayid can't believe that she would shoot someone she loved, but Rousseau claims, "he was sick," just like the rest of her group. She could not afford to let whatever hurt them escape the Island if rescue would come, and so seemingly killed everyone close to her. She tells Sayid that she can't let him leave; after years of solitude she doesn't want to be alone. Sayid decides to tell Rousseau what was written on the back of the photograph of Nadia, "you will find me in the next life, if not in this one". He knows what it was like to hold on to someone, but the more he held on, the more he isolated himself. He believes that the only way off the Island is with his friends' help, and so he needs to return to them. He asks if she wants to join him, but Danielle declines. Before she leaves, she advises Sayid to watch his people very closely. Sayid shouts after her, "who was Alex?" She answers that Alex was her child.

Sayid walking through the jungle
As Sayid treks back through the jungle, the wind shifts, the sound of the Monster is briefly heard, and he begins to hear whispers.


Trivia

General

  • According to a post made by Matt Ragghianti on the linear Fuselage board in November 2004, this episode had the production number 108, while the following episode, "Raised by Another", had the production number 107. It was later confirmed by the producers of the show on the Official Lost Podcast aired on April 6, 2009 that the episodes were written in that order and the ending scenes were re-edited when it was decided to switch their order. (Official Lost Podcast/April 6, 2009) In an interview, Jorge Garcia said the episodes were switched because it would be strange for the characters to start playing golf when Claire and Charlie were missing. [1]
  • During the scene where Jack treats Sullivan for his rash, Shannon can be heard in the background saying "Eww, get him out of there. He's drinking our water." This dialogue is from a deleted scene of this episode where Shannon comes across Vincent drinking from the main water supply. Shannon yells at Walt for letting the dog drink from the water and is then confronted by Michael for yelling at his son. Hurley tells Shannon that dogs mouths are in fact cleaner than humans. Shannon, defeated, storms off.
  • The name "The Others" is first used in this episode by Rousseau.
  • This was the first episode in which we hear whispering in the jungle. (Whispers)
  • Danielle asks Sayid where Alex is when he is semi-conscious. She speaks at least five different languages:
  • English: "Where is Alex?"
  • German: "Wo ist Alex?"
  • Spanish: "¿Dónde está Alex?"
  • Italian: "Dov'é Alex?"
  • French: "Où est Alex?"
  • David Fury revealed in an interview with Lostpedia that, in the first draft of the script, "there was an exchange (pitched by J.J. when he and I broke the story) in an early draft of “Solitary” when Rousseau tells Sayid she had been part of a research team. Sayid asks her what they were researching. She replies: “Time.” The network saw that draft and asked us to remove the line. They were very timid about anything that smacked of Sci-Fi during the first season." (LP Interview:David Fury)
  • A common misconception was that Alex was male until Danielle referenced her as "she" in the season 1 finale, "Exodus, Part 1". This was due to her previously being referred to as "he" by Sayid on three occasions in this episode. However it wasn't a blooper because Danielle only ever referred to her as "my child" at the end of the episode and never confirmed or denied Sayid's assumption. The Lost Chronicles: The Official Companion Book also incorrectly stated Alex to be male because of this. In certains dubbed and/or subtitled versions of the episode in others languages this was also stated.
  • The name of the company that makes the Chinese-lettering shirt Boone frequently wears can be read on his sleeve in this episode. It is from the Eighty Four Skate shop, a store of the Blue Hawaii Surf company, located in Honolulu. Their website can be found here: http://eightyfourskate.blogspot.com
  • On the backside of the Nadia's picture is written " If we cannot make to see each other in this life, We can see each other in another life" in Arabic.
  • When Rousseau is asking Sayid about Nadia, he tells her Nadia is dead. This is possibly Sayid's way of changing the subject of the conversation. It is revealed later, in "The Greater Good", that Nadia is alive in Los Angeles and this is why Sayid was going there.


Production notes


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
  • Rousseau's distress signal had been on a loop for 16 years. (The Numbers)
  • Rousseau headed outside after hearing roars. She commented that the sound could be one of the bears. (Animals)
  • Nadia was a prisoner of Sayid's in Iraq, and Sayid was a prisoner of Rousseau's on the Island. (Imprisonment)
  • The survivors played golf inland. (Games)
  • Sayid left the group out of guilt for what he did to Sawyer. (Isolation)
  • Sayid shoots himself and risks his life to help Nadia escape. (Sacrifice)
  • Nadia wrote on the back of her photo about seeing Sayid in the next life, if not in this one. (Rebirth)


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 
  • The survivors are not alone on the Island. (Plot twist).
  • The mysterious cable later plays a major part in "Greatest Hits". (Foreshadowing)
  • Rousseau asks Sayid where Alex is. (Foreshadowing)
  • Rousseau holds Sayid prisoner and tortures him, just as Sayid did to Nadia. (Juxtaposition)
  • Sayid helped Nadia to escape by killing Omar and injuring himself; on the Island, he repaired Rousseau's music box, even if he was in great danger. (Juxtaposition)
  • In the past, Sayid does not run away with Nadia, and holds on to her memory for many years, while withdrawing emotionally from everyone else. Now, on the Island, he realizes that he needs to work with the other Survivors to escape. (Juxtaposition)
  • The scene on the golf course is symbolic of Michael's poor parenting skills. When he hears about the tournament, Michael leaves Walt at the beach. He later asks Walt if he wants to try, but Walt feels guilty that others are waiting to have a turn. When Hurley tells Michael it is his turn, instead of offering his try to Walt, he accepts it, leaving Walt to walk back to the beach alone again. (Symbolism)
  • Rousseau's music box symbolizes Danielle's isolation. The box was initially broken, but having human contact with Sayid allows Rousseau and the box to be repaired. This comparison is supported by the fact that the box stops playing immediately after Sayid asks if he can go, i.e. ending the human contact. (Symbolism)


Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost
A-MissionsCrimesEconomicsLeadershipO-MissionsRelationshipsF-MissionsRivalries


Music

Main article: Musical score
Main article: Musical themes

At the start of this episode, Sayid's theme is heard for the first time with several of the notes slightly altered. The theme crops up numerous times throughout the episode, though none of these statements were on the season 1 soundtrack. (Another statement can be heard as "A New Trade" on the season 2 soundtrack, however.) Michael Giacchino also uses a frantic, new melody in the strings several times in this episode during scenes involving Rousseau, but this was not used in later episodes.

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Solitary/Theories

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

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