Locke‘s destiny comes into focus as he, Ben, and Hurley finally reach Jacob’s cabin. Back on the freighter, Keamy activates the “secondary protocol,” a deadly backup plan for capturing Ben.

Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff & Kyle Pennington
Directed by Paul A. Edwards

Flashback

Locke’s mother Emily was struck by a car when she was almost six months pregnant with him. The accident sent her into an early labor, causing Locke to be born prematurely.

A few months later, Emily visited her baby at the hospital alongside her mother, where they learned that baby John had fought off numerous infections and even pneumonia, and was doing very well. Emily was offered the chance to hold the baby for the first time, but she had an emotional meltdown and ran away crying that she couldn’t do it. Suddenly, Emily’s mother and the nurse noticed a man standing at the window looking in on the child — a man who turned out to be Richard Alpert!

When he was a boy, John Locke lived in a foster home, where he was visited one day again by Richard Alpert. Richard gave Locke a cover story about running a school for special children, and believing that Locke was one of them. Richard noticed hanging on the wall was a crayon drawing of what looked like a man being attacked by the smoke monster, and young Locke confirmed that he had drawn it. Richard tested Locke by laying out in front of him a number of seemingly random items: a baseball glove, an old book titled Book of Laws, a small vial containing some kind of sand, a compass, a Mystery Tales comic book, and a very old hunting knife. He asked Locke which of the items belonged to Locke already, and he picked the vial, the compass, and the knife. Richard was pleased with the first two choices, but became agitated when Locke chose the knife. He took back all six of the items, and abruptly left without an explanation.

As a teenager, Locke was the unpopular kid at school who was teased and beaten up by the other kids. His guidance counselor took him aside one day and told him that a company from Portland called Mittelos Laboratories exploring new fields of science. A “Dr. Alpert” had called and offered Locke a chance to go to Mittelos’ summer camp for bright young students, but Locke adamantly refused, arguing that an offer from a science camp was the very kind of thing that got him picked on all the time. His counselor advised him to be who he really was and not waste his time trying to become things he never could, but Locke’s reply was his famous phrase, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” He refused the Mittelos offer.

After his attempted murder, when he fell out of a high-rise window, Locke endured months of grueling rehabilitation at the hospital. At the end of his session one day, he was wheeled back to his room by an orderly that turned out to be Matthew Abaddon (the man we saw earlier in the season working for Charles Widmore to help assemble the crew of the freighter). Abaddon told him that the very fact that he survived the fall was a miracle, but Locke didn’t believe in miracles. Abaddon told him he should believe in miracles, because Abaddon had experienced one himself. It was Abaddon who told Locke about going on a walkabout, and what that is: a journey of self-discovery in the Australian Outback. Abaddon said he’d gone on a walkabout himself, convinced that he was one thing, but knowing he was something else when he got back.

Now

Locke, Ben, and Hurley are in the jungle at night, searching for Jacob’s cabin, hoping Jacob can help them defend the island against Keamy. But Hurley can’t remember where to find the cabin, so they make camp for the night. As he sleeps, Locke has a dream of Horace Goodspeed — the man from the Dharma Initiative who brought Ben and his father Roger to the island. In the dream, Horace is building the cabin that will eventually become Jacob’s home. Horace intends for the cabin to be a “little getaway” for himself and his wife. He instructs Locke to find him, Horace, and that will be the key to finding Jacob, who he says has been waiting for Locke “for a real long time.” Locke wakes up and tells Hurley and Ben that he knows where to go now, and Ben, noting that Locke had received his instructions from a dream, wistfully points out that he used to have dreams, too.

The helicopter returns to freighter, carrying Keamy and his men following their attack by the smoke monster. Keamy is irate and demands that Sayid tell him how many people are currently living on the island, but Sayid refuses. Keamy then turns to Captain Gault and threatens him, believing that Gault had given Ben information about him and his men. Gault says it wasn’t him, but he knows who did, and takes Keamy to see the guilty man: Michael. On the spot, Keamy tries to shoot him in the head, but his gun jams — as before, the island is somehow intervening, refusing to let Michael die.

As they trudge through the jungle, Hurley reveals a theory about why he, Locke, and Ben are the only people on the island who seem to be able to see Jacob’s cabin: it’s because they’re the craziest ones. Locke doesn’t care much for this theory, and changes the subject to the Dharma Initiative and how they all died. He points out that they’ve arrived at the pit where the bodies of the “hundred or so” members of the Dharma Initiative were all buried — the same pit where Ben shot him and left him for dead. Hurley’s appalled at the sight, and even more unnerved when Locke tells him that Ben is responsible for every one of them being dead.

Locke crawls down into the hole and begins searching the Dharma jumpsuits for one with Horace’s name on it. Hurley asks Ben about shooting Locke here, and Ben says that he should have realized that shooting Locke was pointless, but he “really wasn’t thinking clearly” at the time. Ben is offended when Hurley asks why he killed everyone in the Dharma Initiative, saying that it wasn’t his decision. It was the decision of the Others’ “leader” to carry out the massacre, not his, he says, insinuating that he became leader of the Others sometime after the massacre took place. Locke finds Horace’s body, and locates a folded-up schematic inside Horace’s pocket, which includes a small map that points out the location of the cabin.

On the boat, Keamy tells Frank to gas up the helicopter because he intends to go back to the island. Frank isn’t happy about it, but he crumbles under Keamy’s threats. Keamy then takes Gault’s key to the ship’s safe, and retrieves a red folder from inside detailing a “secondary protocol,” which explains where Keamy can next find Ben. Gault wonders how Widmore could possibly know Ben’s movements in advance, but Keamy points out that Widmore merely knows where Ben would go since he knows that Keamy intends to “torch the island.”

Captain Gault heads straight to the top deck, where he warns Sayid and Desmond to go hide below deck. Sayid argues that hiding is pointless; what they should be doing is getting the survivors off the island before Keamy and his men kill them all. He convinces Gault to let him use the ship’s small zodiac raft to ferry people to the freighter from the beach. Sayid gratefully takes the boat from Gault, but he’s surprised when Desmond doesn’t join him on it. Desmond explains that he’s been stuck on the island for three years, and he’s never setting foot on it again. Not now, because he knows Penny is out there, looking for him. Sayid understands, and departs, promising to be back soon with the first group of survivors.

As they near the cabin, Locke offers Hurley the chance to leave them and head back to the beach, but Hurley refuses, believing it wouldn’t be safe to travel alone. When Hurley moves on along their path toward the cabin, Ben quietly notes that Locke just pulled off an impressive move, convincing Hurley to stay by making him think it was his own idea. But Locke argues that his offer to Hurley was genuine; he was never trying to manipulate Hurley, because he’s nothing like Ben.

Frank goes down to the tiny room where Michael is being held and frees him to take him down to the engine room to help with repairs. But before they go, Michael warns Frank not to take Keamy back to the island, because Keamy will kill everyone there if he does. As they leave the room, they see Keamy down the hall being outfitted with some kind of electronic device attached to his upper arm, directly on his skin.

Desmond watches as Keamy’s men load up the helicopter with tons of heavy artillery. The ship’s doctor helps out by loading medical supplies as well. Frank arrives and refuses to take Keamy on a mission to massacre the inhabitants of the island. Keamy quickly realizes it’s pointless to threaten to kill Frank, as he’s the only pilot on the ship who can fly the chopper. So instead he grabs the doctor, slits his throat, and tosses him overboard. He threatens to do it again with someone else on the ship if Frank doesn’t cooperate, but Captain Gault arrives and levels a gun on Keamy, ordering him to stop. But Keamy gets the drop on him and shoots Gault instead. Gault drops to the deck, dead. In the face of so much death, Frank agrees to take Keamy and his men back to the island, but he grabs one of the satellite phones, turns on its GPS locator, and hides it in his bag when no one is looking. The helicopter lifts off and heads for the island.

At the beach, Juliet is frustrated to find Jack up and about, eating food in the kitchen tent. She warns him to go lay back down and rest, fearing he might tear his stitches. They hear the helicopter approaching, and run out to the beach to see it coming. The survivors are all happy and excited by the sight of it, but it flies right over them, not stopping. Frank’s bag is tossed out of the chopper and it lands in Claire’s tent, where Jack and the others retrieve it and find it blinking to indicate the chopper’s location.

Locke, Hurley, and Ben arrive at the cabin, right where Horace’s map indicated it would be. Locke suggests they all go in, but Ben refuses. He explains that the island meant for him to get sick (referring to the tumor that grew on his spine), just like it meant for Locke to get well (when he was healed from his paralysis). Ben says that his time as custodian of the island is over; it’s Locke’s time now. Hurley also decides to stay outside, because he’s afraid to go into the cabin. So Locke goes it alone.

Inside the cabin, Locke finds not Jacob, but Christian Shephard, Jack’s father. Christian says that he’s not Jacob, but he speaks on Jacob’s behalf. Christian asks if Locke knows why he’s here, and Locke says he’s here because he was chosen to be. Christian says that’s absolutely right. Locke hears a creak in the floor nearby and turns to see Claire sitting alone in a corner of the cabin. She looks quite serene and happy to be there, and when Locke expresses confusion at seeing here there, she calmly explains that she’s there because she’s with Christian. Christian warns Locke not to tell anyone he saw Claire in the cabin, but before Locke can argue, Christian gets back to the point of Locke’s visit. Locke asks how to save the island, and gets his answer.

Locke exits the cabin and reports to Ben and Hurley what he was told to do to protect everyone from their attackers. Jacob “wants us to move the island,” he explains.

  • The occupant of the rocking chair was Jack’s dead father, Christian Shephard.
    Question: Who did Hurley see in the rocking chair in Jacob’s cabin? [4.01]
  • He was killed by Keamy on the freighter and tossed overboard.
    Question: Why did the freighter’s doctor wash up on the island, dead? [4.09]
  • This apparent discrepancy can be chalked up to the difference between time on the island and time off of it.
    Question: How is the freighter’s doctor still alive on the boat if he’s washed up dead on the island? [4.09]
  • Based on what we saw in this episode, it looks like it’s been Locke’s destiny all his life to come to the island and become the leader of the Others. They’ve been waiting on him to seize that destiny.
    Question: Why have the Others been waiting for Locke? What exactly do they expect of him? [3.19]

  • What was Richard Alpert doing checking in on Locke so many times throughout his formative years? It appeared that he was trying to determine if Locke was destined to become the leader of the Others, but if that’s true, how did he know about Locke in the first place?
  • What was the meaning of Richard’s “item test” on Locke as a small boy? Why would Locke telling him which of the items “already belonged to him” help him determine Locke’s destiny?
  • Why did Richard decide that the test was a failure when Locke picked the knife?
  • If Ben was telling the truth about not being directly responsible for the Purge, then who was the leader of the Others at that time, who did make the decision?
  • What exactly does the “secondary protocol” say?
  • Where is the one place on the island Ben will now be going, according to the secondary protocol?
  • What’s the electronic device Keamy is wearing under his shirt?
  • What was the miracle Matthew Abaddon experienced?
  • Why is Claire with her father Christian in the cabin? He’s dead; is she dead too?
  • Why didn’t Christian want Locke to tell anybody he saw Claire at the cabin? Why does Claire’s status need to be kept a secret?
  • How does Jacob expect Locke to move the island?
  • How is moving the island even possible?

This is the first time I can remember ever hearing a number given to explain how many Dharma Initiative folks lived on the island. According to Locke’s best guess, there were around 100 of them.

So I believe the conclusion we’re meant to make, now that we know that Charles Widmore was the leader of the Others immediately before Ben took over, is that it was Widmore’s decision to enact the Purge and wipe out the Dharma Initiative. Assuming Ben was telling the truth, and he wasn’t primarily responsible for the Purge himself (and that’s a big if), then Ben’s hands are hardly clean regarding the matter. He had to have been involved somewhat; having been a member of the Initiative himself, perhaps it was Ben who told the Others about the Tempest station and its poison gasses. Taking this thought further, maybe the Others (or just Widmore) saw the very existence of the Tempest as a threat so serious that they felt the need to preemptively destroy Dharma to keep them from ever using it.

My theory: the reason Locke continually failed Richard’s tests and postponed his supposed destiny is that he never was meant to be the leader of the Others at all. It was all a scam on the part of Jacob’s nemesis, to get Locke to the island and use him against Jacob.

What?! “Move the island?!” I remember my mind being completely blown by that little phrase. If there was any doubt left in me that Lost was done carrying on with business as usual, this pretty much hammered home the fact that nothing was the same anymore. I knew immediately that this was something that was going to play out in the season finale, just as I suspected that its ramifications would take a lot longer than the season finale to play out. This was Season 5 setup, no doubt about it, and it was mind-boggling. The very idea that the island can be moved? I don’t think anyone saw that coming.