- This article is about the episode. For the character referenced in the episode, see Economist.
February 14, 2008
Special guest star(s)
"The Economist" is the third episode of Season 4 of Lost, and the seventy-fifth produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on February 14, 2008. Locke’s hostage may be the key to getting off the Island, so Sayid and Kate go in search of their fellow castaway in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful deal.
On the Island
is meditating near the helicopter
argue about what to do about Ben
. Miles wants to go retrieve them but Jack is more cautious. Sayid crosses to Naomi
's body and closes her eyes, covering her with a blanket. At the same time he removes a metal bracelet
from her wrist and reads an inscription from the inside: "N, I'll always be with you. R.G.
Sayid holding Naomi's bracelet
In the meantime, Locke and his group are trekking through the jungle. Sawyer suggests that they torture Ben to find out who Ben's man on the freighter is, but Locke thinks it would be pointless. When they arrive at the place where Jacob's cabin used to be, Locke finds the gray substance on the ground that was there on his first visit, but there is no trace of the cabin. When Locke is asked what they were looking for, Ben makes a smug remark that Locke was looking for someone to tell him what to do next. Hurley expresses his disagreement over Locke's plan to keep Charlotte as a hostage, but Locke admonishes him and makes it clear that he is making the decisions. They proceed towards the Barracks.
Back at the helicopter, Sayid offers to go and retrieve Charlotte from Locke. He believes that he can do it safely, while Jack will only cause violence. He gets Frank to promise that if he brings Charlotte back, Frank will take Sayid to the freighter. Miles and Sayid prepare to go retrieve Charlotte. Jack suggests that Kate should go with them, and the three set off to the Barracks with Sayid having taken Naomi's bracelet.
Daniel's clock showing 02:45:03
Freighter clock showing 03:16:23
Daniel takes the lull during Sayid's mission to perform an experiment. He sets up a tripod with a beacon and a clock on it. He then asks Frank for his phone so he can call Regina. Frank hands it over on the condition that if Minkowski answers, for him to hang up. Daniel agrees and phones the freighter, getting Regina. He asks her to send a payload (a small rocket) to the beacon set on the tripod. Regina does so and begins counting down the geographic arrival of the payload in rapid 5-kilometer-steps, starting with 40 km. But when she reaches zero (approximately 20 seconds later), the rocket has not reached the beacon. Regina claims that is "weird" while Daniel responds that it is "far more than weird". To Daniel's surprise, the rocket does finally arrive a while later. He compares the time on a digital clock from the rocket with the one from the tripod and sees that they are different by (00:31:18) 31 minutes and 18 seconds. Concerned, he says to himself "Oh no, this is not good!"
Hurley is found in the closet
When Sayid, Kate, and Miles reach the Barracks they find it apparently deserted. As they sneak around the settlement they hear thumping. Following the sound into a house they discover Hurley tied up in a closet. Hurley tells them that he was left behind by Locke. He says that Locke was threatening Charlotte and when Hurley tried to talk him out of it that Locke tied Hurley up in the closet. Hurley says that he doesn't know where the rest of Locke's group went, but that they were going to stop at Ben's house before they left.
Sayid, Miles, and Kate head to Ben's house and begin to search it. While Kate searches the bedroom, Sayid notices scratch marks in the floor at the base of a bookshelf in the living room. When he moves it, he finds a hidden walk-in closet. In the closet are numerous sets of nice clothing and several bureaus. Opening drawers, Sayid finds masses of cash from different countries. In another drawer he finds several passports from different countries. Opening one of them he sees that the passport is Ben's as, presumably, are the others. The Swiss passport Sayid opens lists the name as "Dean Moriarty".
One of Ben's fake passports
Desmond confronts Frank about the photo
In the bedroom, Kate is searching under Ben's bed when she sees a pair of feet enter the room. When she stands up she sees Sawyer. He motions for her to be quiet, but she immediately yells for Sayid. When Sayid runs out of the closet he finds Locke pointing a gun at him. In the kitchen, Rousseau has a gun pointed at Miles. As the three of them are herded together, Hurley appears and apologizes for lying to Sayid.
Locke offering Sayid iced tea
Locke takes Sayid to the Others' game room, where Kate had been imprisoned before. There Sayid finds Ben also imprisoned. Meanwhile, Kate and Sawyer talk about why they decided to go with Jack and Locke, respectively. When Kate indicates her belief that the freighter people can get them off the Island, Sawyer asks her why she's so anxious to go back. Sawyer tells Kate that she will probably be greeted in handcuffs when she goes back, that he has nothing to go back to and implies that they could live a better life together in the barracks. Kate responds by asking how long they would be able to "play house". Sawyer responds "why don't we find out?".
Locke comes to see Sayid. Locke apologizes for the ruse but he says they weren't sure whether or not the three of them were alone. Sayid indicates that he does not trust Miles and his people either. He tells Locke that if he brings Charlotte back then he will be able to gain access to the freighter and be better able to ascertain their motives. When Locke indicates that he is unwilling to turn over Charlotte for nothing, Sayid hints at some sort of deal.
Back at the helicopter, Desmond confronts Frank about the picture Naomi had of him and Penelope. Frank refuses to answer Desmond's questions. Desmond gets angry and demands that Frank take him to the freighter on the next flight. Frank agrees. As they finish talking, they see Sayid coming over a hill. A moment later, Charlotte appears next to him. Kate and Miles are nowhere to be seen. When Jack asks what happened to Kate, Sayid tells him that she decided to stay with Locke.
Sayid indicates that he had to trade Miles for Charlotte. Frank accuses Sayid of being dishonest about their deal, but agrees to take Sayid to the freighter because Miles was "nothin' but a pain in my ass". Frank offers to take a third person but both Charlotte and Daniel indicate that they wish to remain on the Island for now. Sayid insists that they take Naomi's body.
As Sayid and Desmond load Naomi into the chopper, Daniel tells Frank that no matter what happens, they must fly on the exact same bearing in which they entered. Frank agrees to do as Daniel says and lifts off, piloting the chopper off of the Island.
Sayid is seen playing golf in the Seychelles. Another man approaches on a golf cart and begins a conversation. Sayid seems reluctant to converse with him, saying that they paid a premium for privacy. The man recommends that Sayid use a five iron but he insists that his seven iron will be better. The other man suggests a bet of fifty Euros, to which Sayid replies, "Let's make it one hundred." The man asks Sayid what he does for a living. Sayid replies that he does nothing and lives off of a substantial settlement he received from Oceanic Airlines, revealing that he is one of the Oceanic 6. Upon hearing this, the man becomes visibly nervous. Despite having won the wager, he declares that Sayid doesn't need to pay him, and attempts to hastily leave. Sayid reaches down to his bag as if reaching for his wallet but comes up with a gun. Sayid says, "I insist, Mr. Avellino," and the man jerks his head in shock that Sayid knows his name. Sayid quickly shoots the man dead and calmly walks away from the scene.
decide on a location for their date.
At some other time, either before or after the shooting of Avellino, Sayid walks into a cafe in Berlin, Germany during the winter. The only empty seat appears to be at a table with a blonde woman. Sayid asks her for directions to Potsdamer Platz. She gives them to him in North American English and then introduces herself as Elsa. When Sayid asks her what she does, she indicates that she works as a personal assistant for an unnamed "economist". She carries a pager with which he alerts her when he's in Germany and needs her services. When she asks Sayid what he does, he tells her that he's a corporate headhunter and will only be in town for one week. She then indicates that Sayid seems familiar to her.
He offers to tell her where she knows him from over dinner that night. After leaving the cafe, Sayid calls someone on a cellphone, saying that he has "made contact", and then throws the phone in the trash. Elsa is apparently part of an assignment he is working on.
kiss as they get ready to leave for the opera.
On their fifth date, Sayid and Elsa get ready to leave her place to go to the opera; they seem very affectionate, and Elsa impulsively decides to leave her pager at home. She says that she doesn't care if her boss calls that night, she just wants to spend it with Sayid. After a moment's thought, Sayid offers to carry the pager for her, saying that he wouldn't want her to be fired because of him. When Elsa asks why he's still in Berlin, Sayid tells her that his job is taking longer than expected. She wistfully tells him that she wishes that she was the reason he was staying.
Some time later, Sayid and Elsa lie in bed, apparently having just had sex. Elsa tells Sayid that she's growing tired of not knowing anything about his job or background. She says that she loves him and that they shouldn't have secrets. Sayid agrees and says he will tell her, but then Elsa's pager goes off.
reveals to Elsa
that he knows her boss is not an economist.
She begins scrambling to get dressed and go to her boss. Sayid asks where she's going, and she tells him the name of a hotel. Suddenly, Sayid tells her that she must leave Berlin, and that people will be asking questions about what happened to her boss. At this point, Elsa begins to understand what Sayid's job is about. She accuses him of wanting to kill her boss. Sayid reveals to her that her boss is not really an economist. Apparently upset, she retreats into the bathroom. When Sayid tries to talk to her she turns to him with a gun and shoots him.
As Sayid lies bleeding on the bed, Elsa, still in the bathroom, calls someone on her cell phone, apparently "the economist". She indicates that Sayid still will not tell her the name of his employer. As she talks, Sayid grabs an object and throws it against the mirror of the bathroom door, from which Elsa was watching him. When she rushes out of bathroom, he lunges for his gun and shoots her. Sayid struggles over to Elsa's dead body and weeps over her. As he holds her, a bracelet similar to that on Naomi at her death is on her wrist.
is satisfied that "they" know Sayid
Later, Sayid stumbles into a dimly lit veterinarian's office, wounded from the shoot-out with Elsa. He proceeds into the operating room, where a voice tells him to take off his jacket. Sayid sits down, and the unseen person begins treating the wound and questioning him about what Elsa's objective had been. Sayid tells him that she had been trying to find out his identity and the identity of his employer. The camera cuts to reveal the impassive face of Benjamin Linus. When Sayid brokenly expresses remorse for having killed Elsa, Ben tells him, "These people don't deserve our sympathies," asking Sayid if he remembers what "they" did the "last time you followed your heart instead of your gun?" Sayid indicates that it was through this event that Ben recruited him. Ben reminds him that the work they are doing is to protect Sayid's "friends," presumably the Oceanic 6 or the losties. Ben tells Sayid that he has another name for Sayid's list. Sayid explains that "they" know he is coming now, to which Ben merely replies, "Good."
- The timers are off by approximately 31 minutes and 18 seconds (1878 seconds or 31.3 minutes).
- Elsa, Sayid's target, has several similarities with another woman in his life, Shannon. She is also tall, fair, with light blond hair, and she also dies from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
- On Sayid's map, Elsa circles the intersection of Planckstrasse and Georgenstrasse, in the section of Berlin known as Mitte. In this area, the two restaurants most likely to be the site of their first date would be either the Deponie No. 3, which serves traditional German fare, or the 12 Apostel Mitte ("The 12 Apostles"), a restaurant specializing in pizza.
- Among Ben's foreign banknotes is an original Series E £20 note issued by the Bank of England, withdrawn in 2001. The design incorporates the face of Michael Faraday.
- The New Zealand passport shown briefly from the drawer is a diplomatic passport. Standard issue New Zealand passports are blue, while the one shown in the episode was red.
- The passport that Sayid picked up to inspect was from Switzerland.
- The date of birth on this passport is March 3, 1962. It was issued on April 2, 2003 and expires on April 1, 2013.
- That would make Ben 42 years of age (1962-2004)
- It was speculated by many fans that the first flashforward scene in this episode on the golf course actually took place after the final scene with Ben and that the man Sayid killed, Mr. Avellino, was in fact the next person on the list. This was however debunked by the producers.
- As of The Incident, Parts 1 & 2, this is the last episode to feature present-day Desmond on the Island.
- Jin, Michael, and Sun do not appear in this episode.
- A podcast rehash for the episode was released on February 19th, 2008. (Official Lost Podcast/February 19, 2008)
- If "Pilot, Part 1" and "Pilot, Part 2" are considered to be a single episode, then this is the first time the third episode of a season has not been Locke-centric.
- The first scene around the helicopter was shot in Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu.
- The 375 yard, par 4, 17th hole on the Fazio Course at Oahu's Turtle Bay Resort is doubling as a Seychelles golf paradise.
- It was thought by fans that the bracelet that Elsa wears, bears a resemblance to Naomi's bracelet. This has since been refuted by the producers. 
- The equipment Daniel uses to create a beacon is actually just a Swann Night Hawk Wireless Outdoor Camera.
- A scene featuring Kate, Sayid and Miles at the security fence was cut out for time. 
Bloopers and continuity errors
The menu in the German
- Daniel asks for the lend of Frank's phone, which he gives to Daniel, so he can contact the Kahana. However, in the previous episode, it was shown that Frank's phone had been damaged when they landed on the island.
- When Sayid shoots Mr. Avellino in the golf course, objects around the area are casting shadows. At the next overhead shot, all the shadows are gone.
- The menu in the restaurant where Sayid meets Elsa features numerous spelling errors: "Tages Menu" ("menu of the day"; correct would be "Tageskarte". "Tagesmenü" would be a table d'hôte of the day); "Grilltes Huhnerfilet mit Gemüse" ("grilled chicken filet with vegetables"; correct would be "Gegrilltes Hühnerfilet mit Gemüse"); "Steak mit Knobloch Kartoffen" ("steak with garlic potatoes"; correct would be "Steak mit Knoblauchkartoffeln"); and "Gulash mit Bratkartoffen" ("goulash with roast potatoes"; correct would be "Gulasch mit Bratkartoffeln").
- The triangular traffic sign warning about pedestrians crossing the road is typically used on country roads rather than the city. The additional sign "Mo-Fr 16-24 h Sa u. So 9-24 h Bewohner mit Parkausweis für Zone 29 frei" limits the warning to the given times and excludes residents with "Zone 29" parking permit completely. Also, the sign is of a different design than German traffic signs and the text would have been split to two additional signs.
- There are no yellow stripes on sidewalks in Germany.
- Several odd store names: "Weinlese Teppich" translates as "grape harvest carpets", so unless the store owner goes by the highly unusual name "Weinlese", this appears to be a mistranslation of "vintage carpet". There is also a flower shop using the awfully generic name "Blumen Laden" ("flower shop"); although the correct German spelling would be as a single word ("Blumenladen"), this is a common error actually made by many German store owners these days.
- The green Brazilian passport found in Ben's drawer has three mistakes. An authentic Brazilian passport would read "Brasil" , "Passaporte" and "República" rather than the English "Brazil" , "Passport" and "Republica" that are seen in the episode. Similar mistakes were made on Paulo's passport in "Exposé"
- A shop seen in the episode, "Art und Weise" , is indeed real, but is not located on a street where a TV-tower is as visible as it is in the episode.
- The Numbers 16 and 23 appear on the rocket's digital clock that Daniel Faraday is holding during his experiment. (The Numbers)
- In the cafe where Sayid and Elsa met for the first time there´s a picture on the wall showing a beer commercial "1516 Rein". The German purity law for beer (Reinheitsgebot) was declared on 4/23/1516. (The Numbers)
- Elsa tells Sayid to meet her at the restaurant at 8:00. (The Numbers)
- Sayid is playing golf. (Games)
- Ben is waiting for Sayid at an animal shelter or vet's office. (Animals)
- Hurley tricks Sayid, Kate, and Miles into being captured by Locke by pretending to have been left behind. (Deceptions and cons)
- After leaving the Island, Sayid is working as an international hitman for Ben, killing Ben's alleged enemies. (Rebirth) (Redemption) (Life and death)
- Daniel's experiment shows an apparent inconsistency between time on the Island and off it. (Time)
- Sayid says he has to kill the economist because he is on a list. (Lists)
- Sayid promises Frank he will bring Charlotte back safe in exchange for a spot on the helicopter but he gives up Miles in order to get her. (Deceptions and cons)
- Sayid closes Naomi's eyes. (Eyes)
- Sayid closes Elsa's eyes after killing her. (Eyes)
- Sayid breaks a mirror in order to attract Elsa's attention and to make time to grab his gun. (Deceptions and cons)
- Elsa and Sayid have been dating, but both with ulterior, unrevealed intentions against each other. (Secrets) (Deceptions and cons)
- Elsa is killed. (Life and death)
- In his house, Ben keeps a hidden room filled with clothing, cash from around the world and many passports. (Secrets)
- While playing golf at the Seychelles, Sayid wore a white glove, while Mr. Avellino wore a black one. (Black and White)
- Hurley is called "Tubby" by Miles. (Nicknames)
- On The Road: Sayid finds a passport of Ben's with the alias Dean Moriarty, a central character in this novel by Jack Kerouac, who also wrote Dharma Bums. Kerouac's Moriarty is based on Neal Cassady, who is also depicted in The Electric Koolaid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, often repeatedly tossing a sledgehammer up in the air and catching it. (Literary works)
- Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty is also the name of Sherlock Holmes' arch-nemesis, often considered literature's first super-villain. (Literary works)
- Holy Qu'ran: A copy of the Holy Qur’an is on the bookshelf in front of Ben's hidden room. (Religion and ideologies) (Literary works)
- Break Dancing: Hugo refers to Sayid's lethal leg movement in "Through the Looking Glass" as such.
- Gremlins: Sawyer calls Ben "Gizmo", referring to his bug eyes. Gizmo is one of the main characters in the films Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. (Movies and TV)
- Berlin Wall: The café in which Sayid and Elsa meet is called "Die Mauer" (the wall), a reference to the Berlin Wall.
- Sudoku: Elsa is seen holding a book with "More Easy Sudoku Puzzles" written on the back. (Games)
- Baseball: Jack asks Frank if the Red Sox really did win the World Series, and comments that it has been 100 days since he has seen a game. (Games)
- "If You Stayed Over": This song by British musician Bonobo (featuring Fink) is playing in Elsa's room while she and Sayid are in bed together. (Music)
- Time dilation experiments: Daniel performed a time dilation experiment to see how the Island affects time. (Science)
- "Playing House": Playing 'house', a game in which children pretend to be a family (with at least a husband and wife, often children and pets), is a common childhood activity. Sawyer tells Kate they can stay at the Barracks comfortably, and that there is nothing left for them in the "real" world. Kate asks Sawyer how long they could play house for. (Games) (Isolation)
- Cast Away: the main character in this movie is stranded on an island in the South Pacific after a plane crash. He places a clock in a "payload" to see how long it takes to arrive at a specified destination. (Movies and TV)
- The original idea, which was later developed into Lost, was first pitched by ABC Chairman (at the time), Lloyd Braun, as 'Cast Away: The Series' (according to The Genesis of Lost featurette on the Lost: The Complete First Season (DVD)).
- Strauss: Sayid remarks “Let’s go, Strauss awaits.” This could be a reference to either Richard Strauss (1864-1949) or Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899). Both composers penned many operas that remain popular in Germany.
- Back To The Future: the scene when Daniel holds the two digital clocks side by side is reminiscent of the first film in the Back To The Future trilogy, when Doc Brown performs his "one-minute experience" with his dog, Einstein. The dog is sent to the future and, one minute later, Doc is seen on screen comparing side by side a stopwatch that time-traveled and one that stayed put.
- Sayid says "...the day I start trusting him [ Ben ] is the day I will have sold my soul" on the Island, but ends up working for Ben in the future. (Irony) (Foreshadowing)
- On the Island, Sayid is using diplomacy and trying to honor a dead woman's body. Off the Island, he becomes a pragmatic assassin. (Irony)
- When Sayid and Kate find Hurley in the closet, he says that he was "left behind" just as Juliet did. (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
- However, like Juliet, Hurley was not actually left behind. It was simply a decoy to allow him to infiltrate the "opposing" side. (Juxtaposition)
- Locke brings Sayid and Ben iced tea just as Mikhail brought Sayid and Kate iced tea. (Juxtaposition)
- Sayid finds items behind a bookcase, including hidden money, as did Miles in "Confirmed Dead". (Juxtaposition)
- The scene where Kate sees Sawyer's shoes walk through the door from under the bed is an iconic scene, mirroring Sawyer's backstory in Season 1 where a young Sawyer sees his father's shoes from under the bed, walking into his room after he shot Sawyer's mother, and sat on the bed to shoot himself. (Juxtaposition)
- Sayid says to Jack: "You're not the best candidate for this kind of mission." - just as Naomi told Abaddon that "These are the wrong people for a mission like this" in "Confirmed Dead". (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
- Charlotte says to Frank that she has "work to do". (Regularly Spoken Phrases)
- Sayid says the job he's on is proving harder than he first thought. Elsa suggests she thought he was staying in Berlin because of her, which in fact he is. (Plot twist) (Irony)
- The Economist names this episode, and the plot in the flash-forward revolves around him. However, we never get to see or know who he is. (Unseen character)
- Sayid tells Elsa he is a head-hunter as in a corporate recruiter, yet in reality he is killing specific people for Ben which makes him an actual head-hunter. (Foreshadowing)
- The delay between the freighter and the Island is 31 minutes. Elsa got paged by her boss an estimated "half-hour early". (Juxtaposition)
- "The Economist" indicates Sayid himself as well as his intended victim. He makes some extremely pragmatic cost/benefit-decisions, and barters Miles for Charlotte. (Economics)
- Locke says, "Right now, Hugo, I'm making the decisions". (Leadership)
- Sayid is intentionally in a fake relationship with the counter-spy he had to keep an eye on, and ends up killing her. (Relationships) (Rivalries)
- Sayid leads Miles and Kate to try and sort out the issue with Charlotte, leaving the regular leader behind. (Leadership) (Irony)
- Sayid, Miles and Kate go to retrieve Charlotte from Locke's group. (A-Mission)
- Kate sees only Sawyer's legs from under the bed as he enters the bedroom, the same view given when Sawyer saw his father's legs from under his childhood bed. ("Outlaws")
- Kate asks Sawyer why does he want to stay on the Island, and his answer is that there's nothing waiting for him out there. Kate had asked him why he wanted to leave in "Born to Run", when he answered because "there ain't anything on this island worth staying for".
- Sayid falls for another blonde who also happens to die the same way Shannon did. ("Abandoned")
- Jack makes a joke about Kate returning to rescue him from the Others after he told her not to. ("The Hunting Party") ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead") ("Enter 77") ("Par Avion")
- Daniel tells Frank to make certain that he follows the same exact bearing that they came in on. Ben told Michael to follow a bearing of 325 when Michael left in the boat with Walt. ("Live Together, Die Alone").
- Hurley is closed up in Juliet's house. ("A Tale of Two Cities").
- Jack asks Frank if the Boston Red Sox really did win the Series. ("The Glass Ballerina")
- Five iron is the club Paulo gives to Desmond for his lightning rod. ("Every Man for Himself")
- Locke offers Sayid iced tea, just as Mikhail had once offered to Kate and Sayid. ("Enter 77")
- Ben takes care of Sayid's bullet wound just as Mikhail did. ("Par Avion")
- Sayid and Kate got captured moments after arriving at the Barracks, just as they did the previous time. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
- Desmond asks Frank why Naomi had a picture of Penny and him. ("Catch-22")
- Sayid says, "We all have a boss," similar to Ben's remark in "The Man Behind the Curtain": "We all answer to someone, John." ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
- Hugo refers to Sayid snapping an Other's neck with his legs during the beach rescue. ("Through the Looking Glass")
- When Jack jokingly tells Kate "Does that mean I should wait twenty minutes and go anyway?" he was referring to the events of "The Hunting Party" when Kate did just that.
- Do not answer the questions here.
- Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Economist/Theories
- Who is the R.G. on Naomi's bracelet?
- Why does Elsa have a similar bracelet to Naomi?
- Why does Ben think it's "good" that the people on his list know Sayid is after them?
- Who is the Economist?
- ABC Primetime Grid
- ABC Press Release (PDF)