Welcome back to LOST Observations! This just might be the longest one so far. “The 23rd Psalm” is one of my personal favorites, as it does a fantastic job at showing who Mr. Eko really is. The revelation came as a surprise for many viewers, back in the day. But Eko’s past is not the only surprising revelation of the episode…
Remember, you can scroll over the pictures for extended fun.
Beware – major plot spoilers for Seasons 1-6 ahead.
“What kind of priest are you, anyway?”
A BORN KILLER
- We start the episode with the usual child-killing-elderly scene. It’s rough stuff, even for this show. Eko shoots the old man to protect his little brother. We learn in The Cost Of Living that Eko and Yemi’s relationship has always been that way: Eko makes the hard choices he has to make to take care of his younger brother. In the end, it’s Yemi who pays the price when he attempts to save Eko’s life. But we’re skipping ahead!
- One of the guerrilla members tells the others to “get the children”. Speaking of Others… Eko found himself in a similar situation on the island in The Other 48 Days, when the Others came to get the children. He ended up killing two of them with a stone to protect himself (and, presumably, the group) and made a vow of silence afterward.
- The Nigerian guerrilla leader gives Eko his nickname ”Mr. Eko”; a title he will come to embrace when he becomes a powerful warlord. He introduces himself by this name to Sawyer, but is never seen introducing himself to his fellow tail-section survivors.
- According to the thug leader, Eko is ”a born killer” (is he somehow related to Kate?!), leaving us to ponder if he really was born to be a killer or made into one. Would Eko have been able to become a priest if he’d wanted to, like he did on the island? All we know for sure is that, in the end, Eko had no regrets about the choices he had made in his life. In fact, he tells the Man In Black that he’s proud of his decision to kill the old man (The Cost Of Living).
Eko: ”I did not ask for the life that I was given, but it was given, nonetheless. And with it, I did my best.” (The Cost Of Living)
- Eko loses the cross he was wearing as a kid, but it will find its way back to him on the island (twice). He will eventually be buried with it.
- Another character wearing a significant cross on the show is Richard Alpert. He started wearing his wife’s cross around his neck after she passed away (Ab Aeterno)… And that’s where the similarities between those two characters end!
- The Man In Black will have a significant encounter with both cross necklaces. He returns Richard’s cross to him after the Black Rock crash, and holds Eko’s in his hand during Eko’s final ”confession”.
CABIN OF LOST SOULS
- Throughout the show, the shooting location of the cabin Eko uses for his business talk has doubled as Nigeria, Korea (D.O.C.) and the Dominican Republic (The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham, He’s Our You).
I’VE COME TO GIVE MY CONFESSION
- Eko returns to his brother three years after his last visit. Before he enters the church, he finds the Virgin Mary statues Charlie will come to know and love. The money Eko pays for them will be used to buy polio vaccin. See, the transport of heroin is a good thing. As Emeka would say, ”everybody happy”! Eko makes the same argument to Yemi.
- Interestingly, the heroin really will be used for good purposes. Jack gives some to Libby to relieve her pain after being shot by Michael. As far as we know, Charlie – or anyone else for that matter – never used the drugs for themselves!
- The conversations between Eko and Yemi inside the church are integral to Eko’s story arc. Every spoken line is relevant in some way. Let’s have a look at some of the most interesting quotes:
- “For confession to mean something, you must have a penitent heart” – Yemi says Eko feels no guilt for his actions, and it’s true. Eko tells his (dream) brother that he’s sorry for what happened to him in ?, but when he confronts the Man In Black in The Cost Of Living, he tells him he has never sinned. There’s nothing to confess to: all the crimes he’d committed were for the greater good.
- ”I’ve only done what I needed to do to survive” – Eko repeats this line in his final moments. It’s pretty self-explanatory: shooting the old man, killing the drug dealers, killing the Others, headbutting Locke when he disagreed with him… It was all just a matter of survival.
- “Is what I did that day a sin, or is it forgiven because it was you that was saved?” – While telling his brother he’s a hypocrite, Eko points out that he’s not just done bad things for his own good, but for others as well. While it’s true that many of Eko’s actions were in the benefit of people besides himself, Yemi’s argument that it was all about Eko’s greed should be taken into consideration as well. Eko doesn’t see it that way; before he tells Yemi about his plan, he says he has come to help him. Even Walter White was never that deluded!
- “I understand that you live in a world where righteousness and evil seem very far apart, but that is not the real world!” – It’s not all black and white. Is anything ever black and white on this show?
- “They will burn this church to the ground” – Fortunately for Yemi, this doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, what does happen is much worse: Eko kills three men inside the church (to protect himself, obviously), desecrating it.
- “You can never be a priest” – Never say never on this show, especially when you’re in a flashback scene. Eko will be a decent fake priest for a while, and declare himself real priest again on the island.