Lost season 4 episode 11: when effect precedes cause, you know something’s messed up

Locke, Ben and Hurley: quest for the cabin

While the others are sleeping, Locke wanders into a clearing, only to find a Dharma man chopping down a tree. The man tells him that he is making a getaway for himself and his wife, but when his actions keep looping, Locke realises that it is a dream. Not just any dream, however, but a prophetic piece of advice from the island.

Once the entire group is ready to go, Locke leads them to the place where Ben dumped the corpses of the Dharma Initiative members so long ago. Although they are now only skeletons, Locke is able to identify the man from the dream by the name on his uniform- and sure enough, he has a map in his possession, showing the way to the cabin.

Now that they have the map, Locke tells Hurley that he isn’t needed; instead of accompanying them, he should head back to the beach. Naturally, Hurley doesn’t think much of being dumped and asked to make his way through the jungle alone, instead choosing to stay and provoking Ben to remark that Locke has just pulled off a neat bit of reverse psychology. Locke denies this, and the party continues onward until finally the cabin is reached.

At the cabin, Hurley and Ben are happy to let Locke enter, but when he goes inside to see Jacob, he finds someone different- Christian Shephard. Christian claims that he speaks for Jacob, and even more bizarrely, he has Claire with him- albeit a Claire who seems entirely at ease with what is going on. It is a strange experience indeed, but once he has consulted with them, Locke knows exactly what he must do- if he is to protect the island, he must somehow move it from its present location.

On the boat: tensions run high

When Frank brings Martin and his commando team back to the boat, it is clear that the soldier has no intention of letting anyone stand in his way- not even the captain. He forces the captain to surrender his key to the safe so that they can look up Widmore’s instructions, and even goes in to torture the now imprisoned Michael, although the captain manages to save the saboteur by claiming (quite rightly) that he is the only one who can fix the engines.

Worried that Martin is suffering strange effects from the proximity of the island, the captain decides to take matters into his own hands by secretly handing over control of the lifeboat to Sayid and Desmond so that they can rescue the survivors on the beach. Nonetheless, Desmond has no intention of going back to the island that claimed several years of his life, leaving Sayid to act alone.

Meanwhile, Martin also wants to go back to the island that same evening, but Frank refuses to fly at night, claiming there is no way he can follow the right bearing under these conditions. Determined to have his way, Martin decides to take extreme action, slitting the doctor’s throat and tossing him overboard, and shooting the captain when he tries to intervene. With the lives of the others on the boat now at stake, Frank has no choice but to agree to fire up the chopper- a return trip to the island is imminent.

Flashback: Locke’s life

One rainy evening, a teenaged Miss Locke argues with her mother about her boyfriend- he may be older than her, but she loves him, and what’s more, she’s six months pregnant. Unfortunately, no sooner has she stormed out of the house than she gets hit by a lorry.

At the hospital, the baby is delivered safely, if prematurely, and given the name John, but when his mother sees him, she realises she can’t go through with looking after a child, leaving her own mother to arrange for adoption.

As a young boy, Locke is visited by a certain Richard Allpert, who believes he has the potential to attend a school for gifted children- if only he can identify which of a set of items should belong to him. All is going well until Locke picks out a knife, at which point Richard decides he isn’t ready and abruptly leaves.

Years later, and Locke is at high school, where he gets bullied and locked in a locker because his fellow students see him as a science geek. Locke’s teacher tells him that he should attend a special science camp, but Locke is adamant, insisting that he is no different from the other boys in liking sports and so forth. His teacher tries to persuade him that he might as well accept that he’ll be the geeky who works in the lab, because there’s no point trying to be Homecoming King, a quarterback or a superhero- those roles are made for other people. Naturally, an angry and rebellious Locke becomes ever more certain that he can be whatever he wants to be.

Just after his accident, Locke is in rehab, but the signs don’t look good. An oddlhy familiar orderly takes him to the elevator, but as they wait for it to arrive, he tells Locke that he should go on walkabout- only then will he find his true self.

Observations and Speculation

  • Okay, moving the island is just a tad ridiculous- I happened to hear a spoiler today that it’s man-made (unsurprisingly), but does it have a giant engine underneath or something? Wait- I’m sorry I asked.
  • It seems that Allpert has been keeping an eye on Locke since birth, raising questions as to who he really is, and how far back this whole island thing goes. Also, the picture that young Locke drew seemed to be the smoke monster grabbing someone; was Locke ‘chosen’ from the start?
  • Is Claire dead now or in that mysterious state between? Maybe everyone in the series really is dead anyway.
  • Also note how the fact that the people on the beach found the dead doctor before he was killed- yet more evidence for the time dilation effect surrounding the island.
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