Season 1 Episode 19

Deus Ex Machina

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 30, 2005 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
1,442 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Locke thinks he's being sent a sign on how to get the hatch open, and he and Boone venture inland. Jack is reluctant to offer assistance when Sawyer begins to experience excruciating headaches and needs glasses. Flashbacks in this episode concentrate on Locke's first meeting with his biological mother and father.moreless

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  • Deus Ex Machina

    This episode's engaging mysteries drives its addicting plot to a shocking endpoint.
  • Awesome.

    Locke discovers that he is losing sensation in his legs. Locke and Boone find a Beechcraft 18 teetering on the edge of a cliff. Boone climbs up and, using the radio, sends out a distress call, "We are the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815," to which a man responds "We're the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815." The plane falls and Locke carries a critically injured Boone back to the camp. Locke arrives at the caves with Boone and lies about how Boone got hurt. Locke disappears into the jungle. Pounding on the hatch and screaming in anguish, the inside of the hatch suddenly becomes illuminated. In flashbacks, Locke meets his parents and his father cons him out of a kidney. I love this episode, I mean it's so amazing. I was scared when Locke had the dream, weird stuff. Everything was amazing in this episode. I love the storyline with Boone but i wish it wasn't him - he is such/was a awesome character!moreless
  • The Island Demands That you see This Episode!!!!

    Now I understand why this show name is Lost. it is not only because the survivors are lost , it is because the audience also feels "lost" with so many mysteries about the island.

    Since our survivors really don´t know what his happening and we follow their pont of view, there is no way you don´t feel "lost" with so many strange episodes.

    The hatch is another mystery that is supposed only to be solved in season 2, even if you know what is there, there will be some mystery added with it, that will remain a secret, until the producers feel the need to reveal something to you.

    This is a Locke centric episode. But what we need to know about Locke that we already know? It is all about his faith.

    Locke flashbacks can be considered normal, but like "Lost Style", not everything you see is real, there are always something more, and this episode is not an exception. The final Scenes in the flashbacks is so powerful, that even if you did not care or did not like the content, you will like it, and give you the sensation that this flashback was worth watching.

    This is the same sensation that Locke event in the Island gave you. Locke had a strange dream, like the Island tell him to do something and of course, the audience is curious to know what that dream meant. Even that answer is unclear, but maybe the Island demanded a sacrifice.

    Curiosity apart, that are 2/3 things in the End that make this episode even more worth watching. Another airplane full of drugs, Boone fall is unexpected, also locke was losing is ability to walk, like the island do that to save him and that allowed boone to get into the plane.

    More strange is the communication that boone made, out there they think that the people of the oceanic 815 are all dead, how this is possible, only time will time.

    But this episode does even more. There will be consequences for locke, since he lied. Also the ending was powerfull, with the final scenes of the flashback, with locke sad and frustated, the same thing in the island, then the Hatch.......moreless
  • A Locke-centric episode.

    Let me just start out by saying that up until now Locke has been my least favorite character on the show, and Locke still is my least favorite character, but after seeing this episode, I have to say that I do like the character Locke a little bit more now. Locke sure is a very interesting character, and he definite has a very interesting background story. Boone has a very interesting back story too. The flash backs of Locke's life before the plane crashed on the island were great. I also really liked Boone's involvement with Locke's story line. Sawyer's story line was also very interesting to me as well. In closing, as a whole, I thought that this was another very well written, well acted and well made episode of Lost, and I can't wait to continue watching my Lost: season one DVD set.moreless
  • The Twist for this one does come out of the heavens

    When this episode first aired, it was recognized as one of the strongest and most critical episodes of the season. Four years later, it is equally true that this episode was important probably in relationship to one character in particularly, and perhaps the series. Naturally, it involves the island's disciple Locke, and because of that I will be going over 'Deus ex Machina, with a fine-tooth comb.

    Locke has revealed in previous episodes that he was raised by foster families and that his father was not a good man. We have no idea how much he's understating that. The episode begins, however, with a flashback to when Locke met his mother Emily. We don't see much of her and she seems a bit spacey, which is why a lot of people probably dismissed her talk about his being part of a larger plan, and that he was immaculately conceived. Now we later learn she suffers from a form of schizophrenia, and has been in and out of institutions. However, considering the plane crash, and the fact that a huge amount of Locke's activities are critical to the island, I can't help but wonder if maybe there's something to it. Was the island guiding his mother even then?

    This later leads to Locke tracking down his birth father, Anthony Cooper. Let me raise the question, what proof to we have that Cooper was Locke's father? For one thing, there's the fact that in the life of the 'real' John Locke, there was a man named Anthony Cooper who Locke as a physician helped save his life. Since the writers of this show do not choose these names by chance, maybe they're trying to send the viewer a subtle message. By the time this episode's flashbacks are over, we learn that Cooper was a con man. Is it possible that he used Locke's mother as part of a larger con in believe that he was never his actual father at all, but merely played upon his desperation like he did on so many other people? (On pure casting choice, I have a problem with it as well. Kevin Tighe and Swoozie Kurtz are both incredible actor, but unless the flashbacks in Locke's life have gone back really far--- all right, I'll concede the hair---- neither is really old enough to be playing his parents. This might just be do the casting directors part as well, but I'm still opposed to it) Basically, he would have been a lot better off if he'd just followed the detectives advice and left him alone, but Locke is desperate for any kind of love That is why he worships Cooper so much, it's why he will never be truly able to get Cooper out of his head, and will eventually send him on the path to the island.

    There's also a critical point when Cooper asks Locke if he is a hunter. At the time of this episode, he's working at a toy store, and clearly doesn't seem as well textured as before. We get the feeling he only becomes a hunter because his father wants him to be. It will be several years before we learn that despite Locke's militarist behavior on the island, it was a while before he accepted that part of his nature.

    On the island, Locke has reached a critical point as well. For two weeks, he and Boone have been trying to get inside the hatch, but haven't been able to find a way in. Boone is starting to lose his faith, and it's pretty clear Locke is, too. To test his faith still more, the miracle made him the island disciple--- the restoration of his legs--- is beginning to disappear as well. He is beginning to make demands of the island, and the island sends him a sign.

    Oh, does he get one. After having a prophetic dream involving himself and Boone in which he sees a Beechcraft airplane fly through the sky, they walk through the woods to an increasingly stranger series of things. For starters, there is the skeleton of a priest, armed with a wad of cash--- which Locke identifies as Nigerian--- and a gun. Eventually, the body leads them to a crashed plane, perched precariously in a tree. Locke tells Boone to climb in, and search it, mainly because he can't walk, but also because he has some idea of what's going to come next.

    We still don't know how this plane got there, but next season we'll learn where it came from, and who was on it. Boone, however, finds out that the plane was carrying ceramic Virgin Mary's with heroin in them He is about to dismiss this entirely, when he finds that the radio is still working. He tries to send out a message and seems to reach someone. However, if we listen carefully to the transmission, when Boone says that they're the survivors of Flight Oceanic 815, the response is: "We're the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815" This has also sorts of implications, but before anyone can think of it, the plane does what you knew was going to happen, and plunges off the cliff--- leaving Boone horribly, perhaps mortally wounded.

    Locke does his part in getting Boone back to Jack, but he doesn't stay around . Instead, he heads back to the hatch, claiming that "I've done everything you asked! To the island. Then a light goes on in the hatch.

    This simple gesture has not yet been explained. Near the end of season 2, we will get one rather mundane explanation as to how it happened. However, did someone from inside the hatch simply flick a switch? Or was it the answer that Locke was looking for? When his faith is tested again, Locke will switch to the former possibility and he will have a good reason to do so, and there is the possibility that someone was watching him, toying with his head, and decided to do this for just that reason. The answers are still fuzzy, but this question will finally be answered this season (so says TV Guide).

    The writers recognize that this is crucial and devote the majority of the episode to Locke. However, simultaneously Sawyer is now suffering from increasingly worse headaches, which are making him even less likable (if such a thing were possible) Jack is probably reluctant to do anything to help him, and sure as hell enjoys toying with him (the questions he asks Sawyer and his reactions are hysterical) before finally telling him that he is far-sighted, which is exactly what he is. He is so focused on the future (when he can finally get revenge on the real Sawyer) that he is completely unable to enjoy life. Ironically, it is because of Locke and the island, he will get that chance, but even then his far-sightedness will not help him get past it.

    The end of the episode is so shocking that the writers don't start to play with it until the next one in sequence, but we already have a feeling that unless that there's a real deus ex machina, poor Boone's doomed. Locke will disappear for the majority of it, which Jack will not let him forget, and everything is about to change--- again.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (21)

    • Right before Locke finds the body of the priest, he takes out his compass. However, he had previously given his compass to Sayid saying that he didn't need it anymore.

    • Parent issues ("Lost"'s recurring theme):

      Locke was conned by his parents.

    • Locke says "Normally clothing would completely decompose within 2 years, but this is high quality polyester. Could be 2 years, could be 10". However, in "House of the Rising Sun", Jack says "It takes 40 or 50 years for clothing to degrade like this" when talking of Adam and Eve.

    • Episode title: The actual deus ex machina in this episode is Locke's dream of the crashed plane.

    • Numbers: 4

      Locke mentions that they have been on the island for 4 weeks.

    • Numbers: 16

      Boone says that the accident with his nanny happened when he was 6. Since he's now 22, the accident happened 16 years ago.

    • Island events in this episode take place on October 30th, October 31st and November 1st 2004.

    • Numbers: 8 and 15

      The footballs are placed in aisle 8 for regulation, aisle 15 for Nerf.

    • The California driver's license for Emily Annabeth Locke (Swossie Kurtz) has an expiration date of 20 March, 1994 (presumably within a year or two of the flashback sequences). She has a Los Angeles, CA address, is 5'5", 115lbs, and was born on 15 October, 1940.

    • Locke gets hit by a golden Pontiac in the parking lot at the beginning of this episode. This car is the same make and model of the car that hit Michael in the episode, "Special."

    • Locke's mother, Emily, was a former patient in Santa Rosa Mental Hospital. This is the same institution where Hurley and Libby stayed.

    • The drug that was being smuggled on the plane that Boone and Locke found is heroin. This is the same drug that Charlie was addicted to. Additionally, we later learn that the people who were flying this plane were acquaintances of Mr. Eko, a tail section survivor who appears in the second season.

    • In this episode, Sawyer is seen reading the book "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle.

    • In this episode, there is a scene in which Boone hears the words "We're the survivors of Oceanic flight 815!" over the beachcraft's radio. Later, in the episode "The Other 48 Days", we learn that the person saying this is Bernard Nadler, the husband of Rose and a tail section survivor. However, the voice we hear in "Deus ex Machina" is not the voice of Sam Anderson, the actor who plays Bernard, because he had not yet been cast.

    • John Locke, the 17th century English philosopher whom the character in the show is named after, was friends with the Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper. In the show, this is the name of Locke's father.

    • Locke gets a shard of metal from the broken machine in his right leg, but he was standing with his left side toward it when it shattered.

    • When Locke opens the door to the plane after it falls off the cliff, you can see an injured Boone with his eyes open, but after that he appears to be unconscious.

    • When Jack walks away from Sawyer the first time, his backpack changes between shots. At first, it's a normal, modern-looking backpack. When the shot changes, it shows Jack wearing an older one, made out of leather. The 'backpack switching' continues until he leaves.

    • When Boone throws the Virgin Mary statuette out of the plane, the torso and head are completely shattered. However, when Locke inspects it, the torso and head are intact and the feet are shattered.

    • As Boone is climbing up the cliff face on the vines/roots to the crashed plane you clearly see the climbing belt on the stunt man as he makes his way up the cliff face. When we have Boone in the shot there is no climbing gear to be seen.

    • Locke's mom says that Locke is the result of an immaculate conception because he has no father. The problem is that this is not what immaculate conception means. Many people believe that the immaculate conception is the birth of Jesus Christ by the Blessed Virgin Mary. This, however, is not the case. The Immaculate Conception is of Mary's birth and it is the dogma that Mary was born free from Original Sin.

  • QUOTES (19)

    • Kate: (about Sawyer) Thank you for helping him. I know it's probably the last thing you wanted to do.
      Jack: I didn't do it for him. (Jack turns to look at her and they share a moment)

    • Kate: That's it, get up.
      Sawyer: What?
      Kate: Get up. You're going to Jack.
      Sawyer: Do I get a lollipop?

    • (About Sawyer's new glasses)
      Hurley: Dude, it looks like someone steamrolled Harry Potter.

    • Boone: (in Locke's dream) Theresa falls up the stairs. Theresa falls down the stairs.

    • Jack: Have you ever had sex with a prostitute?
      Sawyer: What the hell has that got to do with anything?
      Jack: Is that a yes?
      Sawyer (reluctant): Yes
      Jack: And have you ever contracted a sexually transmitted disease? (No reply) I'll take that as another yes. When was the last outbreak?
      Sawyer: Go to hell, Doc.
      Kate: I know he deserved it, but -
      Jack: He needs glasses.

    • Boone: She was my nanny. Theresa, she was my nanny. My mother wasn't around much. I needed someone to take it out on. My bedroom was at the top of this huge flight of stairs and I would sit in bed all day calling her on the intercom. One day she took a bad step, broke her neck. I was six.

    • (Jack walks up to Sawyer while reading)
      Sawyer: If you're looking for a stool sample, you can forget it.
      Jack: You've been reading a lot since we came to the island.
      Sawyer: Okay, so what?
      Jack: (serious) You uh, you've uh, got hyperopia.
      Sawyer: (stunned) Hyperopia? That's uh, what is that?
      Jack: You're far-sighted.

    • Boone: What is a Nigerian priest doing on an island in the South Pacific?
      (Locke pulls a gun from the corpse's pocket)
      Locke: I'm not so sure he's a priest.

    • Jack: I hear you're having trouble with your head.
      Sawyer: What, now she got you making house calls?

    • (During Locke's dream)
      Locke: You're late.
      Boone: Late for what?
      Locke: Late for work.
      Boone: I think I'm done working, John.
      Locke: I'm sorry, what?
      Boone: This is useless. You can't open that thing up. You say you can but you can't.
      Locke: Don't tell me what I can't do.

    • Jack: (to Kate about Sawyer) Look, Kate, I'd like nothing more than to check the guy out and make sure he's okay, but we both know all I'm going to get for my trouble is a snappy one liner, and if I'm real lucky, a brand new nickname.

    • Locke: (Talking to the hatch) I've done everything you wanted me to do. So why did you do this to me!?

    • (about the examination during which Jack discovered that Sawyer needed glasses)
      Kate: So did you know before or after you asked him about his latest outbreak?
      Jack: Well, I'd answer that but, you know, doctor-patient confidentiality.

    • (Jack holds up a pair of glasses)
      Sawyer: Uh uh. No way.
      Jack: Sawyer, it's not a fashion show.

    • (about Sawyer's headaches)
      Jack: You're sensitive to the light too, huh?
      Sawyer: You know what? I'm sensitive to you.

    • Boone: (to Locke) Have you been using that wacky paste stuff that made me see my sister get eaten?

    • Emily: Well, he said that was the only way you would give it to him. It had to be your idea. He told me where to find you. He asked me to go see you. I wanted to see you.
      Locke: This can't be happening. This is a misunderstanding. This can't happen to me. He wouldn't do this to me. He wouldn't do this to me!

    • Jack: You picking up on a little Korean there, Michael?
      Michael: Yeah, I'm pretty sure I know how to say: faster and idiot.

    • Boone: Oh, we're supposed to. We're supposed to find this, right? We're supposed to open it, right? Then tell me something, John, if we're supposed to open it, then why the hell haven't we opened it yet?
      Locke: The island will send us a sign.

  • NOTES (5)

    • International Airdates:
      - Denmark: May 13, 2005 on Kanal 5
      - Greece: August 28, 2008 at 23.00 on ANT1

    • Although credited, Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Maggie Grace (Shannon), Malcolm David Kelley (Walt) and Dominic Monaghan (Charlie) didn't appear. For the first time, Dominic Monaghan didn't appear, and for the first and only time, Emilie de Ravin didn't appear, but still was credited. Plus, Naveen Andrews (Sayid) appeared, but had no lines.

    • Swoosie Kurtz (Emily) also worked with Naveen Andrews (Sayid) in the 1998 TV movie My Own Country, and, with Ian Somerhalder (Boone) in the 2002 film The Rules Of Attraction.

    • For a limited time, a recap video clip could be seen on the ABC website. Within the clip, the audio had been changed for the scene of Boone contacting outsiders with the Beechcraft radio. The Audio had gone from, "...there were no survivors of..." to, "No, we're the survivors of Oceanic flight 815!"

      The idea that "...there were no survivors.." was originally supposed to be said over the radio before it was changed can be explained by the fact that we now know the outside world believes there to be no survivors of flight 815 (up until a certain point in time anyway).

    • A Locke-centric episode.


    • Mousetrap:
      Continuing the show's fascination/obsession/allegory with games, we see Mousetrap, created by Milton Bradley more than 50 years ago.

    • Hurley: Dude, looks like someone steamrolled Harry Potter.

      Hurley's comment about Sawyer's glasses is a reference to the spectacled protagonist of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series of books.

    • Episode title: Deus Ex Machina

      The title stems from the Latin phrase deus ex machina (literally "god from the machine"). The saying, simply put, is defined as a person or event that provides a sudden and unexpected solution to a difficulty. It is a term from ancient Greek and Roman plays where one of the gods would suddenly provide a solution. The episode title is also the title of Chapter 48 of the book "Watership Down." (In a previous episode, Boone accused Sawyer of stealing this book from his luggage.)