Welcome back to LOST Observations! This time, we have a look back at the awkwardly titled “?”! It’s the second Eko-centric episode of the show, and while the flashbacks don’t reveal much about his character personally, it does give us a clue that might tie into the show’s final season. On the island, Locke and Eko find another Dharma station that will change their views of life.
Beware – major plot spoilers for Seasons 1-6 ahead
“Careful observation is the only key to true and complete awareness.”
- This episode is all about dreams. Eko and Locke use them as their guides to find the question mark. The former refers to the dreams as “further instructions”. The title of the third season’s third episode, in which Locke follows a dream to find Eko, refers to this quote.
- Eko’s first dream involves Ana-Lucia andYemi, tellingEko to help John find the question mark. Ana appears on the beach, completely alone, as she felt when she was still alive.Eko interprets Ana’s appearance in the dream as the real Ana, and is convinced that she would rather haveEko and Locke look for the Pearl hatch than to find her killer. Somehow, it seems more important.
- Locke, for some reason, doesn’t believe in tracking blindly anymore. He used to when he “followed his gut” and stumbled upon the Swan hatch, back in All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues. Now, with a bum leg and half as much faith, he wants to head back once he realizes there are no tracks to follow.
- Eko tells Ana-Lucia that he thinks he was told to build his church in a dream. We learn in The Cost Of Living that it was Amina – a real, actually living woman from Eko’s past, who told him he owed it to Yemi to build a new church.
- There are some parallels between Eko’s dream and Locke’s in Deus Ex Machina: a fellow survivor appears to them, bleeding (foreshadowing their deaths!) and giving them a cryptic message in a distorted voice. In Locke’s case, it was Boone who appeared to him. But Ana-Lucia is no Boone to Eko…
- Yemi is. Eko’s brother died trying to protect him, but Eko blames himself for his death, much like Locke is “to blame” for Boone’s. Boone appears to Locke again in Further Instructions, and both Eko and Locke apologize to their respective “sacrifices” when they see them again.
- Flashes from Eko’s past are shown, along with the sound of the ticking of the Swan timer. The same editing technique is used for Desmond in the aptly titled Flashes Before Your Eyes. Also heard is the sound of a harp that used to accompany an appearance by Walt in Man Of Science, Man Of Faith and Abandoned.
- Eko’s string of flashes end with the Swan logo. Dharma is the key here…
- Yemi tells Eko “The work being done in [The Swan] is important” – a line Eko will repeat to Locke later in the episode.
- Yemi also tells Eko that the hatch is in danger. The doom of the Swan is further foreshadowed by the red and black images on the Swan clock, which were shown before in One Of Them. The hatch also starts to shake, and the magnetic humming sound of the failsafe discharge can be heard, foreshadowing that particular event.
- “What’s done is done”. Yemi’s ominous line hints that Eko is supposed to let go of his past, since he can’t change any of it. Life on the island is supposed to be a fresh start, after all! Eko will regret holding on to his dark past when he confronts the Man In Black in The Cost Of Living, telling him “I have only done what I needed to do to survive”.
- When Juliet asks Sawyer why he didn’t intervene when Kate helped Claire give birth to Aaron, he answers “What’s done is done” (The Little Prince). He repeats this line in The Incident, after a flashback revealed that his uncle said it to him before.
- “Whatever happened, happened” – a key line in the show’s fifth season – is an interesting variation on Yemi’s message. The time-travel plotline in season 5 will deal with another, more practical take on the survivors’ inability to change their past.
- Like the dream in Deus Ex Machina, this one leads Locke to the Nigerian Beechcraft. Yemi’s order to “bring the axe” comes in handy when Eko is instructed to climb the cliff above the airplane. No real need for it to open the Pearl hatch, since Nikki and Paulo had no trouble opening it 41 days before (Exposé)!
- Eko’s second dream turns out to be Locke’s dream. Much like this episode is connected to the Locke-centric Deus Ex Machina, Eko and Locke themselves are now connected and having dreams for each other. They both put faith in their dreams, and they both bring a less faithful man to the Nigerian airplane, where those men will suffer a terrible blow.
- Locke dreams that he, as Eko, climbs the cliffs above the Pearl hatch – which Eko obviously does right after hearing about it. In the dream, Eko loses his grip and falls, again bringing back memories of Boone and the day he climbed the cliffs and fell.
- In Locke’s dream, Eko has a limp – like Locke himself.
- Yemi appears at the top of the cliff in a wheelchair – a curious detail Locke leaves out of his description. The wheelchair represents Locke’s damaged, scared and helpless side; the side that no one would ever have faith in. Locke emerged as the mighty hunter after being able to walk, but the island has now taken back that gift.
- History repeats itself here: due to his leg injury, Locke was unable to climb the cliffs on the day Boone died, just as he’s unable to do it now. At the end of the episode, Locke will have come full circle and returned to the angry, bitter man he was before he found the island.