Season 1 Episode 19

Deus Ex Machina

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

Episode Fan Reviews (47)

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  • "I've have done everything you asked so why did you do this me!" The final words of what is certainly one of the finest hours of television, per se!

    Like Jack and Sawyer, Locke joins the ranks of those who have consistently had brilliant flashback episodes. After the impressive Walkabout, this episode could have been a let down but it was other than that. In fact, I prefer this one to the former. Okay, it doesn't have a Hitchcockian twist at the end but it doesn't need it. The end is just as powerful without it. When writing this episode the creative team could have made the same mistake they made with Whatever the Case May Be following All the Best Cowboys have Daddy Issues. The momentum could have been lost but in this case they follow up the momentum of Numbers with this one, which manages to mix adventure, mystery and character drama all together. The Hatch returns in this episode and so do the unlikely team of Locke and Boone. After the murky Hearts and Minds this episode might have fallen flat on its face focusing on these two characters but the scenes they had together in Hearts and Minds were perhaps the best part of that episode and so you go into this episode with alot of confidence that they can carry an episode. And they certainly do. But it is Terry O'Quinn's Locke that steals the show.
    He delivers an award-winning performance in this episode that by the end you wonder why on earth had he not being used so much in TV or film before. He basically had bit parts and nothing that allowed him to stretch his creative juices. Thanks to Lost, Terry O`Quinn had found himself.
    Mythology wise this episode has plenty but it is less about the physical manifestations on the island, as reprsented by the Monster, the Polar Bear and Ethan Rom, and more about the metaphysical manifestations. Locke sees the island as a place for spiritual redemption and physical redemption, if Locke's miracle is anything to go by. But now the island is taking that miracle back for some reason. The events of this episode would imply that the island holds an unseen power which affects the fates of those who inhabit it. Locke believes the island will show them a sign with a way to open the Hatch. The sudden physical deterioration of Locke may be connected to this. He may be be punished by the island for trying to break into the Hatch, by his own ommission at least. The island will tell Locke when the Hatch can be opened.
    There's another interesting theory which is that Boone's fatal accident was the key to unlocking the Hatch. The island presumably gave Locke his dream so that he would see a encoded version of Boone's accident, which was the only way Locke could get into the Hatch.
    Before the accident happened we were made aware that Boone was questioning Locke's faith and at times mocking him. It is clear that Boone has very little faith in the island or the Hatch or even Locke. His attitude towards their attempts to open the Hatch was meant to make Locke give up. The island's conscience was probably aware of this sarcasm and therefore needed to punish Boone. Maybe the key to Locke unlocking the secrets that lay underneath the Hatch door was for the island to remove the one thing that really seems to be holding that eventuality up: Boone, as foretold in Locke's sign. Just like Charlie had to sacrifice drugs to the island to get his guitar back Locke has to sacrifice Boone to the death trap that was the Drug Smugglers Plane.
    The sacrifice theory makes sense, when put into context with Locke's sudden miracle breakdown. Had Locke been physically healthy when they found the plane, would Boone had investigated alone or at all? It seems the events of this episode were all part of a grand plan orchestrated by the metaphysical powers of the Island.
    The focus of this episode is mainly Locke and Boone, which is good as it allows you to get caught up in their adventures and in the mind of John Locke. But some of the other survivors get a nod, especially the love triangle of Jack, Kate & Sawyer. The Sawyer moments are humorous and, unlike Solitary, do not affect the rest of the story. They break up the Locke and Boone moments and like Solitary put the characters in a light-hearted relaxed state before the chaos of the following episode.
    The sight of Sawyer in those twisted glasses is funny and makes Sawyer for the first time appear quite charming, cute and sympathetic. Sawyer's moments add an extra juicy layer to the episode but the highlight is of course the moments which feature Locke. The crashing of the Beechcraft is terrifying and gripping. It also holds a mystery which wouldn't be referenced again until a little later. On first hearing it's not clear but listen carefully and you will hear that the voice on the the other end of the intercom tells Boone, "We're the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815". This means that there are other survivors from the tail end of the plane? That would mean that Rose was right!
    The flashbacks are very effective in this episode and it was brave for the writers to almost end on a flashback but it payed off. Following the tension of the Beechcraft crash the episode examines the pain and sorrow of Locke in a set of flashbacks. The music, which is the majestic, yet mournful Locke theme, swells up, adding to the emotion of what is happening. You feel the anguish he feels when he slams his hand on the car roof and then on the Island's hatch door in the final shot. That moment when he screams at the island sends shivers down my spine. It is perhaps the stand-out moment of Season 1 for me. A light comes on in the Hatch and you are left wondering through the credits who or what is down there? Is someone lurking down there or is it an automated security system? All to be revealed!
    This episode is an absolute gem.
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