Season 1 Episode 19

Deus Ex Machina

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Mar 30, 2005 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (46)

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  • "I've done everything you wanted me to do. So why did you do this to me?!"

    Without a doubt this is one of the best Lost episodes ever. The emotional content and mysterious reveals are almost impossible to top, and the flashbacks, the acting, the music, the direction, the writing, everything is done perfectly. This episode will endure possibly more than Walkabout, because of the added mystery elements, and the wounding of Boone, which will make the next episode so good.

    The events that happen on the island are terrific. For the first time, cracks appear in Locke’s seemingly unwavering faith. When the trebuchet bounces off the hatch window without even creating a scratch, Locke can’t take it. He becomes the man in the wheelchair from Walkabout, angry at everything-he yells at the hatch, the island, and snaps at Boone. Then, within hours, he finds that the feeling has left his legs. The island does not heal you without a price, it seems. As soon as Locke’s faith wavers, his legs waver as well. The dream that Locke has is also incredibly important, because virtually every aspect will give hints as to what is to come. Locke hears the plane going down and then a crash-obviously, the Beechcraft plane did go down and crash on the island. Then, we see Boone with the injuries that will be inflicted on him when the plane falls with him in it. He’s also muttering “Theresa falls up the stairs. Theresa falls down the stairs.” Theresa, his nanny, was accidentally killed by Boone. The injuries and the message of death also will become important later on. You also hear the sound of pottery breaking. The same sound effect is used when Boone throws the Virgin Mary statue out the plane’s window. Then, Emily Locke appears, points skyward, and a creaking sound accompanies her arm moving. The pointing shows where the plane is, the creak is the noise it makes when Boone shifts it, and the presence of Emily, who is mentally unstable, shows that the quest will not be a sane thing to do. Lastly, Locke is back in his wheelchair, showing the complete loss of his legs.

    Boone and Locke set out anyway, and as Locke’s faith wavers, he stumbles. They find a body in the jungle-the corpse of a Nigerian guy dressed as a priest, carrying a 9mm. Don’t even ask me how Locke can identify the Nigerian naira so quickly, because I don’t know. Anyway, they finally reach the plane, Locke’s own deus ex machina (God from the machine, or something that comes out of nowhere to set everything right and explain lots of mysteries). Then, the dream starts making itself a reality. Boone tells the Theresa story, and Locke’s legs shut down entirely. The Beechcraft is found perched in the tree canopy. Boone crawls inside, finds another body, and throws the heroin out the window, breaking the ceramics. Also, make sure to remember that it’s heroin in the statues. Could it be coincidence that the drug Charlie just gave up has been discovered in vast quantities on the island? I don’t think so. Anyway, Boone shifts the plane when he goes to the radio, making the creaking sound. Obviously, this was not a very sane mission to try and accomplish, and that’s when realization hits Locke. Every part of his dream has come true, except for Boone being covered in blood. I don’t think Locke is desperately yelling at Boone to leave the plane just because it’s shaking. I think he realized that Boone is going to look like his dream self, unless he gets out of the plane now. Of course, Boone makes one last discovery before the plummet. He gets a call out of the radio, but is left with the cryptic message, “No, we’re the survivors of Flight 815.” What that might mean is soon forgotten. The plane falls, and Boone’s injuries become reality. Locke regains power in his legs, and takes Boone to Jack, before disappearing into the forest.

    Now to the flashbacks. Locke says to Boone at the beginning of the episode, “My story would bore you.” Wrong! Locke’s story this episode is once again heartbreaking. Meeting Emily is weird, and the audience can tell she’s disturbed before Frainey tells us she was in a mental institution (the same mental institution Hurley was in, by the way). Anthony Cooper, however, seems like a nice guy, and it’s only natural for Locke to want to give him his kidney, in exchange for the love that Cooper has shown him. The writing for Cooper is terrific, because we never expect for an instant that he might be a bad guy. Unfortunately, neither does Locke. The last flashback is so incredibly sad, and yet infuriating at the same time. We feel Locke’s betrayal with him, and also his sadness at losing the one man he was close to. We realize that Frainey was right when he said this wasn’t meant to be. Locke thought it was, he even said as much right before the surgery. After Cooper’s betrayal, it’s surprising Locke trusts anybody again, as his terrible life has just continued, not improved. Once again, Michael Giacchino’s Locke theme doesn’t just tug at the heartstrings, it rips them out by force, and makes the scene even more emotional, if that were possible. The transition from flashbacks to island action is done spectacularly. Locke is the same man crouched over the hatch as he is driving erratically in his car. Broken and defeated by his circumstances once again. But, when the light comes on in the hatch, the circumstances seem to have changed for Locke, and when we next see him, he’ll have regained his faith. Terry O’Quinn is a marvel in this episode, and I think he delivers an Emmy worthy performance. It’s definitely the best performance of Season 1.

    On a side note, there’s a great piece of direction in the flashbacks-three times we think that we’re going to find out how Locke ended up in the wheelchair. When he gets hit by the car, when he wakes up after the surgery and the nurse seems oddly sympathetic, and when he flips out in his car. Each time, we think he’s about to be put in his wheelchair, but he isn’t. That will be revealed at a later date.

    The subplot of this episode provides some much needed humor to juxtapose against the high levels of drama in the other storyline. Josh Holloway is great here and the look on his face when Jack diagnoses Sawyer with hyperopia is utterly hilarious. Not as hilarious as Hurley’s line though: “Dude, looks like someone steamrolled Harry Potter.” The plot doesn’t really have an ultimate point, but it does what a subplot is supposed to-provides relief from the main plot. On a positive note, though, this is one of the funniest subplots there is.

    Deus is certainly one of the best episodes of Season 1. There’s really only the problem of the rather pointless subplot that prevents this episode from being absolutely perfect, but it is pretty much forgotten when you look back on the episode and all the good things. If you’re only going to watch three episodes from Season 1, make sure this is one of them.
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