Welcome back to LOST Observations. This week we’re looking back at the clues and easter eggs from the classic Locke-centric, episode 1.19 Deus Ex Machina. Remember when Locke told Walt his father wasn’t cool? We’re about to find out why. This post was actually an easy one to write because the episode is pretty straightforward. We all remember what happened to Locke. That doesn’t make the episode any less interesting; it’s filled with important events and it introduces very interesting new pieces of the large puzzle that is LOST.
Beware – major plot spoilers for Seasons 1-6 ahead.
“Everything breaks if you apply the right force.”
- Locke demonstrates how the game Mouse Trap works. It involves setting up a trap using various pieces from off the board. It’s a clear metaphor, not just for Anthony Cooper’s way of conning Locke in this episode, but for basically all the ”long cons” on the show. The Man In Black manipulating Locke throughout his entire life only to use his dead body as a vessel to kill his twin brother, for example! If Locke had known how his life would turn out, he probably would have laughed about the kidney situation.
- If we were to take it a bit more literally, the falling soldier that directly leads to the mouse’s demise could be Locke (or Ben), with the trapped mouse being Jacob. Jacob’s opponent found a loophole in the game’s rules and defeated him.
- Locke will later refer to himself and the other survivors as “rats in a maze with no cheese” (?).
- Emily Locke is observing her son from a distance. The first piece of the plan to trap poor John. When he approaches her, she asks him where the footballs are. John points her to aisle 8 and 15… which is quite a distance between two types of footballs, but a reference to the Numbers as well. But that’s not the strangest thing about this episode…
- John has his first strange dream on the island, in which Boone starts to doubt John’s plan and tests his faith… before all kinds of wacky stuff happens. The sign from the island he had been waiting for.
- In his dream, Locke sees a Beechcraft crash on the island. During one of the time-flashes in season 5, he will actually be on the island to witness the crash when it happens. Is this some kind of time-travel memory similar to the one Desmond had, or just another strange part of the dream? Probably option B, although the connection is interesting.
- Several sound effects from later in the episode can be heard in the dream. The sound of the Virgin Mary breaking apart, the squeaking of the moving Beechcraft, the static from the Beechcraft’s radio… Then there’s Boone repeating “Theresa falls up the stairs, Theresa falls down the stairs”… This later allows Locke to convince Boone that his dream was important.
- Theresa turns out to be Boone’s nanny, but two other Theresa’s have appeared on the show: Ana-Lucia’s mother and Daniel’s girlfriend.
- Locke has a nasty habit of injuring his legs. Is he really just that clumsy, or is there something else going on?
- Anthony Cooper pushes his son out of a window, breaking his back. As a result, Locke is paralyzed permanently, until…
- Locke crashes on the island, where he regains the use of his legs. For a brief moment after being attacked for a boar, it appears that he can’t feel his legs (Walkabout).
- Locke gets a large piece of trebuchet shrapnel in his leg. He later loses the function of his legs, which he just as suddenly gains back again (Deus Ex Machina).
- Locke gets his leg crushed by the blast door in Lockdown. He has to use crutches for a while, but not nearly as long as he actually should. His legs magically heal along with his faith near the end of season 2.
- Ben shoots Locke in The Man Behind the Curtain. When he regains consciousness, he notices that he can’t move his legs. That is, until Taller Ghost Walt tells him that he actually can. Like magic!
- Ethan shoots Locke in his leg in Because You Left. Richard finds him and heals his wound. A few confusing days later, he falls down the Orchid well and breaks his leg (This Place Is Death).
- In the flashsideways, Locke accidentally crashes a plane and ends up paralyzing himself and his father (The Candidate).
- It’s fair to assume the island is responsible for giving Locke the use of his legs and taking it away again. That, or Locke is just destined to damage his legs from time to time. Assuming it is the island, there are still various possible explanations for this…
- It’s possible that the island is trying to send Locke a message, like telling him “don’t forget what I did for you” or “don’t stray away from your path”. Maybe it’s simply trying to “course correct”. After all, Boone would never have climbed up to the Beechcraft if Locke’s legs had worked. It’s also possible that the island is trying to test Locke. Maybe it’s all of these things!
- In many cases, the strength of Locke’s legs seems to match that of his faith. Locke loses the ability to move his legs after many failed attempts at opening the hatch, then regains it when he sees the light at the end of this episode. He loses it again after practically living inside the Swan station – that place can wear you down! – then regains it when he decides to tell Eko to stop pushing the button. Locke is shot by Ben after he thinks he’s learned that Jacob doesn’t exist… Etcetera.