Locke's flashbacks are terribly sad, the most emotionally touching so far this season. The way they relate to the main plot is also excellent. This whole episode is wonderful, and is definitely one of the best of the entire season.
The main plot is extremely interesting, and almost everything else is just a distraction when compared to it. The blast doors that Michael earlier found in the hatch come down and Locke is trapped, with no way to get to the computer. He has no choice but to unlock Henry from the armory and enlist his help to try and raise the doors. The blast doors are something new, and it's a great way to examine not only Locke, but Henry Gale as well. By the end of the story, when the doors go up and Henry is still there, the audience can't help but believe in him, especially after seeing the group find the balloon in the jungle. Both Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson do an amazing job in this episode, and I really feel that they are John Locke and Henry Gale. The final scene before Jack and Co. enter the hatch is great, as for the first time Locke thinks that he can actually trust someone, and that no matter what happens, that person won't leave him. Unfortunately, his wavering faith is about to take another massive hit.
My favorite part of the hatch sequence is the final four minutes on the button clock. The tension in these scenes, especially when Henry falls and is stunned for a couple minutes is great. When you actually step back and look at it, it's kind of funny. Locke is trapped on the floor with one of the spikes from the blast doors through his leg, and just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, the one person who can help falls unconscious. There's no room for laughs, though, because of how dire the situation is. The decision to not show Henry once he starts moving through the vents is another excellent one. The tension is ramped up even more-the alarm is still going, and the change in volume and speed tells us exactly how much time is left. We keep thinking that it'll stop any minute, but we're not fully sure. Henry could have gotten stuck, or he might have forgotten the code. When the noise of the hieroglyphics whirring occurs, the viewer thinks it's all over, that Henry didn't get there in time, and that it's all over. But we're wrong-the noise stops, and the clock can be heard winding back up. That's when the blast door map appears. The single most intriguing prop in show history, the map that appears on the blast door and can only be seen under black light, is so full of mystery and information there's no wonder that it wasn't shown in greater detail. You have to go online and find blown up images of it, but aside from the drawings of the hatches, there's mention of Cerberus and Cerberus vents (most likely referring to the smoke monster), Dharma projects shutting down, and a note that talks about the way that polar bears are adapting to the island climate. Yeah, weird. The shot of the map reflected in Locke's eye is amazing, and it's also quite apt-Locke is going to be reflecting on the map again and again after this.
The flashbacks, as I said, are incredibly moving, and their end is a classic Locke flashback ending. Anthony Cooper fakes his death, and enlists Locke to get some money out of the bank for him. At first it seems ridiculous that Locke would help the man that stole his kidney and told him he wasn't wanted, but by the end of the episode we understand-Locke wants to forgive his father, and he wants to move on with both Helen and Cooper. However, he lies to the heavies in his house and to Helen, all to keep Cooper's secret. Jimmy Bane is a great character and a classic gangster, which is just as much fun as seeing Nadia again (there's proof that the CIA wasn't lying to Sayid). The final flashback is the money one though. Locke doesn't say anything, but we can tell what he means-he got the money because he loves his dad. How sweet. Unfortunately, Helen doesn't love Cooper, and Locke going over her head to help him is too much. The scene by her car is almost too sad for words, as Locke could not be hurt more than having a proposal rejected. Helen getting in the car and driving away without saying anything speaks volumes, if you'll forgive the pun, and leaves Locke broken. To make matters worse, the only other person that Locke feels that he can trust and believe in leaves as well, that being Cooper. The image of Locke alone in the parking lot while the planes swoop overhead is a great one, but also an incredibly sad one, and the viewer can't even imagine what Locke will be like next time we see him in a flashback.
To provide some much needed relief from the incredibly tense main story, there's the poker game subplot. Once again, Sawyer is trying to teach Hurley how to play cards with little success, as the latter is losing again and again. Jack shows up though, and decides to play Sawyer for the medical supplies. The banter between the two is hilarious, and the plot is just plain fun to watch, especially when about half the camp stands a hundred feet away and watches. There's some more light thrown on Jack's past, when we find out that he's been to Phuket, Thailand, and that it may have something to do with his tattoos. The rest of the scene is played for laughs, especially Kate's great ruler comment. The only gripe I have with the scene is that it further renders The Long Con a pointless episode. Sawyer stole the guns and the medical supplies, and not only are people joking with him and playing cards, but the medical supplies are gained back. I don't care so much that the supplies were taken from him-it had to happen eventually. I just don't like how quickly it happened. I've been able to ignore Sawyer still being everyone's favorite on the island, but the fact that he now only has the guns and the heroin is a little irritating, especially when no one aside from Charlie has any interest in the statues at all, and Sawyer doesn't make any argument when Jack insinuates that he'll be coming for the guns in a couple days time. However, from a purely entertainment point of view, the subplot is fine.
There's also the rather important moment of the food drop. It's preceded by a typically soap opera-ish Jack/Kate scene, but that's quickly forgotten when we discover the pallet filled with Dharma Initiative food. No one knows where it came from, but I have a feeling that the food drop and the lockdown happening simultaneously is not a coincidence. This episode ends, like last episode, in a great scene with Henry Gale. However, instead of Henry Gale himself making the scene great, Sayid does it. He comes into the hatch and says that they found the balloon and the grave, just like Henry told them. However, upon digging up the grave, Sayid discovered the body of the real Henry Gale. It's a great way to end the episode-just when we thought that Henry might be able to be trusted, this happens, and now we know for sure-he's one of the Others.
Lockdown is an excellent episode. It's packed with excellent acting, great dramatic moments, and almost every scene is either incredibly tense or at least advances the story in some way. This is going to be the best episode for a while, though, as the last six episodes of the season are going to take a while to really get going.