In the Wheel chamber
Locke re-aligns the frozen wheel. Christian tells him to say hello to his son. Locke says, "Who's your son?" as the flash of light envelopes him.
Locke appears in the Tunisian desert three years after the Oceanic 6 left the island. He vomits upon arriving. He is lying in direct view of a surveillance camera. He repeatedly calls for help towards the camera to no avail. At night, he is recovered by a pickup truck full of men who roughly bring him to a poorly-equipped rural hospital, arriving in the daytime. The doctor there reduces his open fracture and sets his leg while Matthew Abaddon watches from across the room. Locke passes out from the pain. He is awakened by Charles Widmore who is sitting by his hospital bed. Widmore tells Locke that he had a specialist flown in to do a better job of setting the leg. Widmore relates how he was 17 when he first met Locke on the island. Intrigued by the fact that Locke looks no different now then when they originally met over 50 years ago (for Widmore), he asks Locke how long it has been since he walked into the camp to speak to Richard. Locke replies that it has only been four days. Locke confirms that the camera in the desert is Widmore's asking how Widmore knew the he would be there. Widmore replies "that's The Exit." Widmore explains that he was the leader of the Others before being exiled by Ben, hence Locke should trust Widmore as they have the same goals in mind for protecting the Island.
Widmore assumes aloud that Locke was exiled by Ben as well, but Locke corrects him, saying that he left voluntarily, to bring his friends back to the Island. Locke mentions that Ben left the island before he did. Locke questions why Widmore should want Locke and the others back on the island. Widmore says that there is a war coming and if Locke is not back, the "wrong side" is going to win.
Later, during the daytime, Widmore and Locke sit outside the hospital and Widmore tells Locke that he will help him find the Oceanic Six. Widmore gives him dossiers on their locations, as he has been keeping an extensive eye on them. He also offers Matthew Abaddon as a driver and introduces him to Locke. Widmore concludes their meeting by giving Locke a large amount of money, a mobile phone with which Widmore can be contacted by dialing 23 and finally a Canadian passport with the identity "Jeremy Bentham". Widmore explains that Bentham was a 19th century philosopher, and that Widmore chose the name to keep in theme with Locke's birth name. Locke is sceptical of Widmore's offers but accepts the help, and he and Abaddon drive off towards the airport to fly to Santo Domingo, to find Sayid.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Sayid is seen helping to construct a school as part of a charity called Build Our World. Locke approaches him and speaks with him, but Sayid refuses to return. He explains that Ben had manipulated him for two years into "protecting" the rest of the Oceanic Six, and it was only by leaving the Island that he got to finally marry Nadia, with whom he spent nine months, before her death. Sayid questions if the only reason that Locke wants to return to the Island is because he has nowhere else to go. Before leaving, Locke tells Sayid that he can be contacted under the name Jeremy Bentham, staying at the Westerfield Hotel in Los Angeles, just in case Sayid ever changes his mind. Sayid mentions that John can always come back to Santo Domingo to find him, just in case Locke ever wants to do any "real good" in the world.
New York, N.Y.
Locke and Abaddon stop opposite a school in uptown New York. While waiting, Locke asks Abaddon to locate Helen Norwood for him. Abaddon asks if she is an old girlfriend, a question to which Locke doesn't reply. As the school bell rings, Locke asks Abaddon to help him out of the car. A group of students leaves the school, and amongst them is Walt. Locke waves to Walt, who promptly leaves his friends and crosses the street to talk to Locke. Locke asks why Walt isn't surprised to see him, and Walt explains that he'd been having dreams of Locke in a suit on the Island, surrounded by people who wanted to hurt him. Locke says that it is good that they are just dreams, to which Walt gives him a nervous and confused look. Walt also asks about his father, whom he suspects of returning to the Island after dropping out of contact for three years. Locke says that the last he had heard of Michael, he was on the freighter, but has a pitying look on his face as he knows of Michael's true fate. After Walt leaves, Abaddon asks why John didn't try to convince Walt to return. John answers by saying that Walt had been through enough, and that he only needs to convince one of the Oceanic Six to return, and after that the rest will follow. As the pair return to the car, Ben is revealed to have been watching them from across the street.
Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, California.
When John first rolls up to Hurley in his wheelchair, Hurley is seen drawing a picture of an Egyptian sphinx. Hurley, completely nonchalant, asks Locke why he is in a wheelchair, to which Locke replies that he fell down a hole. Hurley asks him if this is how he died, assuming Locke is dead as he has been having regular conversations with dead people. However, Hurley asks a nurse if he is talking to a man in a wheelchair, and she confirms it, letting Hurley believe Locke is alive. He asks him how he got off the Island, and Locke attempts to persuade Hurley to return to the Island. The attempt fails when Hurley sees Matthew Abaddon and panics, refusing to have any more to do with either of them, insisting that "that guy is evil." Hurley recounts how Abaddon posed as an employee of Oceanic airlines at Santa Rosa Hospital.
After Locke returns to the car, he finally acknowledges that he recognizes Abaddon as the hospital orderly who originally told him to go on a walkabout. When Locke asks Abaddon what he really does for Widmore, Abaddon says his job is to "help people get to where they need to get to."
Los Angeles, California.
Locke is at Kate's house, who refuses to return in spite of the consequences to those still on the Island. Kate tells Locke that she believes the only reason he wanted to stay on the island was because he didn't love anybody. He disagrees, and talks about his relationship with Helen which, didn't work out because he was "angry and obsessed". Kate sarcastically replies "look how far you've come". Locke leaves the house and promptly asks Abaddon about his quest to find Helen. Abaddon states that he hasn't found her, that perhaps she moved away or changed her name. Angrily, Locke questions him about this, as Abaddon had no trouble located all of the Oceanic Six in locations across the world.
Santa Monica, California.
Locke and Abaddon are in a cemetery, before a stone memorializing Helen. Abaddon states that she died of a brain aneurysm. John laments that Helen loved him and if he had stayed, they would have been together. Abaddon states that it wouldn't change anything, she'd still be dead, but Locke seems unconvinced. Abaddon reasons that Helen is where she is supposed to be and that Locke is destined to end up on the island. Locke questions whether he believes that everything is predetermined and that he doesn't have a choice; Abaddon asks whether Richard Alpert's prediction that Locke must die is predetermined or whether it's a choice. Locke, confused, wonders aloud how it could possibly be his choice to die. As Abaddon is loading John's wheelchair into the car's trunk, he is shot three times by an unseen assailant. Locke climbs hurriedly into the driver's seat and escapes. Swerving dangerously down the street, Locke eventually crashes into two oncoming cars at an intersection and is knocked unconscious by the impact.
He wakes up in a hospital bed, with a disheveled Jack sitting next to him. Jack tells Locke that he was in a car accident and was brought to his hospital, but fails to see the event as anything more than a coincidence, much to Locke's dismay. Jack refuses to accept that it is their destiny to return and asks Locke to seriously question whether or not he is truly as "special" as he believes. Jack goes to leave but Locke stops him, telling him that his father says "Hi," having ruled Christian out as Sayid or Hurley's father. Jack states that Christian died three years ago in Australia. Locke implores Jack to come back with him, as he is the only one the others will follow. Jack angrily tells Locke to leave him and the other survivors alone and that none of them were ever "important."
Later (nearly a month later according to Jack in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2"), in his room at the Westerfield Hotel, Locke writes his suicide note, addressed to Jack, and places the envelope in his pocket. He takes a length of extension cord, ties a noose, and is about to hang himself when there is a knock at the door. He ignores it, but after a few knocks and yells, Ben forces open the door and enters the room. Ben begs him to stop, saying that he only wants to help John. Ben admits to shooting Matthew Abaddon, as according to Ben, he is very dangerous as an employee of Widmore and he would have killed Locke if Ben hadn't killed him first. Widmore, Ben claims, was using John to get back to the Island and is the reason that Ben moved it in the first place. Ben then unties the extension cord, telling Locke that he is important. Ben offers his help to a distraught Locke, who is convinced he is incapable of being a leader. Ben tells Locke that Jack booked a return ticket from LA to Sydney, which proves Jack's change of attitude.
As he helps Locke down, Ben tells Locke he has too much work to do to die and suggests contacting Sun. Locke says he promised Jin he wouldn't contact her, and shows Ben the wedding ring Jin gave him. Ben is surprised that Jin is alive. Locke states that he knows what he must do next - he must contact a woman who lives in Los Angeles named Eloise Hawking. At the mention of her name, Ben is visibly startled. Locke asks if Ben knows the woman, and Ben quietly confirms their acquaintance. Suddenly, Ben strangles Locke with the discarded cord, eventually killing him. He later hangs Locke in a staged suicide and cleans the hotel room of his own fingerprints. Before leaving, he sees Jin's ring and takes it with him. Standing in the doorway, Ben says aloud: "I'll miss you, John. I really will." He then leaves, apparently unaware of the suicide note in Locke's pocket.
At the Hydra Station island
Caesar is going through an office in the Hydra Station. Caesar sees a 1954 Life magazine with a cover story of a hydrogen bomb. He also finds a file that contains one of Danielle Rousseau's maps, one of the pages from Daniel Faraday's journal, and Daniel's map. Daniel's map has mysteriously been augmented to include hieroglyphs since the last time it was seen. Caesar comes across a loaded gun hidden under a desk that he quickly takes and hides in his bag. Ilana then comes in and asks him if he's found anything, and he says no. When she presses him, he takes a flashlight out of the sack and tosses it to her, not mentioning the gun. She tells him that there is a man on the beach in a suit who was not on the plane. On the way back to the Flight 316 survivors' camp Ilana and Caesar walk on a gravel path, the plane sits on the path at an angle, but is intact. When they arrive to the camp, they meet the man who is wearing an Ajira Airways blanket over his head like a hood. He introduces himself as John Locke.
A following day, Locke stands at the edge of the surf, gazing toward the main Island. Christian Shephard's shoes lie on the sand nearby. Ilana walks up to Locke and introduces herself, and offers him a mango, which he muses may be the best mango he has ever tasted. Locke inquires about two outrigger canoes which sit nearby on the shore. Ilana says that the canoes were already there, and that there had been a third one, but the pilot and "a woman" left in one of them during the night. Ilana then asks why Locke is dressed so nicely, and Locke surmises that he was to be buried in that suit. Locke says that he doesn't remember being on the plane, but he does remember dying. Ilana looks at him strangely and walks away.
Later, Locke visits Caesar in the office in The Hydra. He explains briefly about the DHARMA Initiative, whose logo appears on the document Caesar is reading. Caesar questions Locke's knowledge of this, and Locke replies that he has been on the Island before, for over 100 days. Caesar, confused but curious, asks Locke if he can explain what he witnessed on the plane, describing how he was sitting next to a heavyset man with curly hair who disappeared during the flash of light, and that other survivors of the crash also reported seeing passengers disappear. Realizing from his description that Caesar is talking about Hurley, Locke responds that he now has a better idea of how he came to be on the Island.
Locke asks whether everyone apart from the people who disappeared are accounted for. Caesar says that they are, other than those who were injured in the crash. He leads Locke to a makeshift infirmary where the injured passengers are resting. Locke moves between them, closely looking at each person. He seems disappointed, until he comes to the last of the injured, who is revealed to be Ben and who Locke identifies as "the man who killed me."