4,518 Pages

Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Deus Ex Machina
Season 1
Episode 19
Air Date March 30, 2005
Writer(s) Damon Lindelof
Carlton Cuse
Director Robert Mandel
Flashback John Locke

Gallery of ImagesTheoriesMain Discussion

Prev: Numbers
Next: Do No Harm

Locke begins to lose feeling in his legs, and sees visions of a Beechcraft crashing on the island. Boone and Locke set off to find it. Meanwhile, Sawyer suffers from headaches.


We open the show with a FLASHBACK—to Locke, with a head full of hair, working in a toy store. He seems genuinely happy as he demonstrates the game of Mousetrap to a young boy. That is until he notices a woman, standing off to the side, staring at him—it's disconcerting. Locke approaches, but the woman is evasive and only asks where she can find a football. Locke points her in the right direction and goes about his work. But there was something clearly odd about the encounter.

On the island, Locke and Boone put final touches on the trebuchet, which they have been building in order to crack open the hatch. Boone makes small talk, wondering about Locke's life back in the real world. Locke responds that Boone would find his story boring and proceeds to spring the trebuchet—which doesn't even dent the hatch and instead, collapses under the force. Boone notices that Locke has a piece of shrapnel embedded in his leg. Locke is oblivious to the pain and pulls the shard from his skin. That night, he bandages his wound and tests his reflexes, searing the bottom of his foot with a burning ember, but feels nothing. He stares down at his legs, wondering if his paralysis is returning.

The next day, Locke and Boone work to rebuild the trebuchet. But Boone has grown weary of the task and expresses doubt about what they're doing. Locke says that the island will tell them what to do. And for the first time, we can see that Boone is beginning to doubt Locke. We also see that Locke is having trouble walking.

FLASHBACK—to Locke, in the toy store parking lot, about to leave work for the day, when he spots the mysterious woman again. He gives chase when a car suddenly backs out of its spot with enough speed to knock Locke to the ground. For a moment, we wonder if this is how Locke ended up in a wheel chair—until he shakes it off, rises and continues to pursue the mystery lady. He finally catches up to her and grabs her by the arm, demanding to know why she's following him. She responds, "I'm your mother."

Locke and his mother sit at a diner over tea, where her eccentricities become evident. She tells him she thinks their meeting was a sign of great things and speaks about destiny. When Locke asks about his father, she tells him that he doesn't have a father; that he was "immaculately conceived." And off Locke, who clearly thinks this woman might be insane, we cut back to --

-- the island, where Sawyer asks Sun about which leaves to use in order to cure a headache. Kate overhears and approaches Sun once Sawyer departs. Sun explains that Sawyer has been having headaches and the aspirin in his stash haven't been working. Kate takes it upon herself to ask Jack to examine Sawyer. But Jack is understandably hesitant, knowing full well from previous encounters with Sawyer that his help will go unappreciated.

Out in the jungle, Boone finds Locke at the hatch and tells him that he's fed up with working everyday without results—he doesn't think they can open the hatch. But Locke insists that they were meant to find it and open it. "The island will send us a sign…" And just as Boone is about to write Locke off as a complete nutcase, a plane buzzes overhead. When Locke looks down, he finds Boone covered in blood, chanting the phrase, "Theresa falls up the stairs, Theresa falls down the stairs…" Confused, Locke turns back to see the woman who claimed to be his mother—here on the island! -- pointing off in the direction of the plane. Then Locke looks down to find himself paralyzed, back in his wheelchair. He calls out, terrified, begging the island not to take back his ability to walk. And just when we think things can't get any weirder, Locke bolts awake in a cold sweat—it was just a nightmare. He jumps up from the campfire and goes to wake Boone.

We FLASHBACK again to Locke, who meets with a private investigator in order to find out about the woman claiming to be his mother. The PI confirms that she is indeed who she says she is—Emily Annabeth Locke. The DNA was a positive match. He also tells Locke that she was institutionalized several times for schizophrenia. Locke presses the PI about his father, but the PI is hesitant to give out any information. "Your mother sought you out, so she's fair game. This guy may not even know you exist." But Locke wants to know and the PI reluctantly slides his father's dossier across the table.

Locke pulls up to a gated estate and asks the guard to see a Mr. Cooper—he's his son. The guard responds that Mr. Cooper doesn't have a son. Locke explains that he doesn't want anything and persuades the guard to call up to the house. Locke eyes the security camera as the guard hangs up, opens the gate and waves him through. Inside his father's den, Locke studies photographs, searching for some sort of resemblance. His father comes into the room and breaks the ice by offering him a scotch, which Locke happily accepts. Cooper tells Locke that, in fact, he didn't know he existed—that Emily told him she wasn't going to have the baby, but showed up later asking for money and claiming she put the baby up for adoption. Cooper also reveals that he ended up without any family. It's clear that he's trying to make a connection and asks Locke to go hunting with him the following weekend.

Back at the hatch, Locke relays his dream to Boone—he thinks that the plane is the sign they have been hoping for. But it was just a dream and now Boone really thinks Locke has lost his mind—perhaps even drinking that crazy paste that made him see his sister (back in episode #113). Locke counters with a question of his own that shocks Boone -- "Who is Theresa?" Boone clearly recognizes the name—it was his babysitter, who Boone used to torture by calling her up and down the stairs on the intercom. He explains that one day, Theresa took a bad step and fell. Is this something he mentioned to Locke one day while working on the hatch or does Locke's dream hold some sort of truth?

Meanwhile, Jack goes to check on the progress of the raft when he notices Sawyer, sitting off against a tree with a wet cloth over his head. He approaches and asks about the headaches. But Sawyer isn't happy that Kate told Jack and responds in his usual wise guy manner. Jack starts to leave, but Sawyer speaks up, genuinely concerned that he might have a brain tumor—a condition that killed his uncle. Jack tells Sawyer to come by the caves so he can run a couple of tests. Terrified to know the truth, Sawyer would rather remain in the dark and claims, "his insurance ran out."

Locke and Boone move through jungle, but Locke's legs fail him and he trips. Boone wonders what's wrong, but Locke claims he's fine. He looks up to spot a rosary, dangling from a branch, when suddenly, a decomposed body falls from the tree above them. They look over the body and conclude that he was a priest. But closer examination reveals a gun—and priests don't usually carry guns.

We FLASHBACK as Locke shows up to the estate again, following up on his father's invitation to go hunting. But he's early and when he enters the house, he finds his father being tended to by a nurse. His father explains that his kidney is failing and that while he's on a donor list, his age has put him at the very bottom. He didn't tell Locke because he didn't want to spoil their time together. And from Locke, watching his father being hooked up to a dialysis machine, we go --

-- back to the beach, where even the slightest noise is causing Sawyer's head to throb. Kate approaches and insists that he go see Jack, who asks him a series a questions that go from serious to ridiculous—all in front of Kate. Sawyer realizes that Jack is toying with him, gets up and leaves. Kate asks Jack if it was really necessary to have fun at Sawyer's expense. Jack laughs and tells Kate that Sawyer is fine—he just needs glasses.

Out in the jungle, Locke and Boone press on, figuring that the body may have been the pilot or a passenger and that the plane must be close by. But Locke is having trouble walking again. He blames the shrapnel wound, but Boone points out that that was his right leg—he's limping off his left leg now. Boone suggests they head back to see Jack, but Locke insists they push on until he collapses. Boone tries to persuade him to turn around again, but Locke refuses. He tells Boone that he used to be in a wheelchair, but the island made him whole and that while it might sound crazy, this is something they were meant to find. He holds out his hand and says, "Help me up, son" as we --

-- FLASHBACK to another father and son, moving through a field on a different sort of hunt. Locke raises his rifle and brings down his first dove. His father congratulates him and tells him that though his mother may have been crazy, she brought the two of them together—while he still has time—and for that, he's grateful.

Back on the island, Locke struggles along with his arm thrown over Boone's shoulder. They stop to rest when Locke looks up past Boone, who follows his gaze toward—a yellow Beechcraft, propped up in a tree canopy. Knowing his legs won't let him climb, Locke tells Boone he's going to have to go up and find out what's inside.

And we FLASHBACK to a hospital room to find Locke in a surgical bed next to his father, ready to donate his own kidney—something he feels was meant to be. His father says he'll see him on the other side and we go --

-- back to the beach, where Jack brings Sawyer a box of glasses and explains that he has hyperopia, probably as a result of all of the reading he's been doing since they crashed on the island. He tries several glasses on Sawyer in an attempt to find a pair that matches his condition. Sayid takes the two pairs that work the best, melts down the plastic frames and fuses two separate pieces together into one. They're not very flattering, but they do the job. Jack tells Sawyer it's not a fashion show and leaves him checking out his new look in a mirror.

Out in the jungle, Boone climbs the massive tree up to the Beechcraft as Locke looks on helplessly. Once inside, Boone finds a map and comes across another body. He jumps and causes the plane to lurch. Outside, Locke calls to Boone, seeing that the plane is clearly unstable. But Boone is too curious to leave and comes across several Virgin Mary statues. He throws one down to Locke, which lands at his feet and cracks open, revealing heroin inside. Angry, Boone calls down to Locke that this wasn't a sign after all—the plane was obviously a drug smuggling plane. Boone spots a radio on the dash. He runs to turn it on and actually hears some static. He makes frantic mayday calls and hears a muffled voice, but the chance of making contact is cut off when the plane lurches again. Locke calls to Boone and tells him to get out, but it's too late and the plane begins to slide through the canopy to the ground in a horrible, bone crushing crash. Locke scrambles toward the plane, legs starting to come back to him. He finds Boone wounded inside, pulls him out, slings his body over his own shoulder and powers back to camp.

At the caves, Kate thanks Jack for helping Sawyer when Locke comes barreling in with Boone. He tells Jack that it was an accident—that Boone fell off a cliff while hunting. Jack does a quick exam to see that Boone's wounds are life threatening and sends Kate for towels and water. Jack turns his back for some supplies, all the while trying to get details out of Locke. But when he turns back around, Locke is gone.

We FLASHBACK as Locke wakes up in the hospital recovery room, the bed next to him empty. A nurse tells him that his father checked out, which doesn't make much sense to Locke, who's still dazed and confused from the anesthesia. His mother appears in the doorway and is immediately apologetic. She tells him that she needed money and went to Cooper, who told her to find Locke. And as his mother continues her explanation, it begins to sink in that this was all a plan to trick Locke into donating his kidney to a father he never knew. In denial, Locke struggles from the bed and begins ripping tubes from his arms. He drives to the estate, but the once friendly guard is now completely cold and turns Locke away. Locke pulls himself out of the car and limps over to the gate. He stares into the security camera, completely shell-shocked. The guard tells him again that he has to go, so Locke gets into the car and drives away. But he only makes it a few blocks before he pulls over and breaks down in tears.

On the island, Locke kneels over the hatch, crying out in pain and betrayal: "I've done everything you wanted me to do, so WHY did you do this to me?!" And as he bangs on the hatch in frustration, a light suddenly comes on, leaving Locke and the audience wondering who or what's inside….

Memorable QuotesEdit

"It's called a trebuchet, Boone, because it's a trebuchet."

- John Locke

"I've done everything you wanted me to do, so WHY did you do this to me?!"

- John Locke

"Dude, looks like someone steam-rolled Harry Potter."

- Hurley

Background InformationEdit

  • As part of a recurring theme, "815" is mentioned by Emily when she asks Locke where the footballs are, he informs her they are in aisles 8 for regulation and 15 for Nerf.
  • Deus ex machina is latin for "god out of machine", referring to plot devices from ancient Greek plays that explain how characters survive an otherwise inescapable fate. They were literally mechanical representations of gods that would lower to the stage to magically "save the day" when a character could not solve a dilemma.

Dramatis PersonaeEdit

Guest StarringEdit