This article is about the episode. For the magazine issue, see Cabin Fever!. For the sickness, see Temporal displacement.

"Cabin Fever" is the eleventh episode of Season 4 of Lost, and the eighty-third produced hour of the series as a whole. It originally aired on May 8, 2008. Locke, Hurley, and Ben trek through the jungle in search of Jacob's cabin and answers, while tensions run high aboard the Kahana as Keamy prepares to return to the Island. Flashbacks reveal a lifelong connection between Locke's destiny and the Island.




4x11 NamwHimJohn

Emily Locke begs the nurse to name the baby John.

A young woman plays a record and jives in her room. She is applying lipstick in front of the mirror when her mother walks in angrily. They argue about her going out for the night. Her mother asks if she is going out with "him" and says that she does not approve. The young woman, Emily, says that she is in love with him. Emily runs out to meet "him," but is hit by a car. She wakes up in the hospital as she is being rushed on a gurney through a hall. She tells a nurse and doctor that she is almost six months pregnant. She gives birth to her child. The nurse tells her that it is a boy and rushes him away saying that he is too young to be held, despite Emily's pleas. Before being wheeled out, Emily asks the nurse to name him John.

4x11 OutlineOfAVisitor

Richard stands at the window, watching baby Locke.

Later, Emily and her mother are standing over John, who is in an incubator. The nurse comes in and tells them that John is the youngest premature baby to survive at the hospital. Emily's mother, Mrs. Locke, seems less than thrilled at this information. At the prospect of holding him for the first time, Emily becomes upset. She runs out of the room crying, saying that she can't do it. Mrs. Locke then casually asks who she should speak to about adoption. Before getting an answer, she sees a man at the viewing window. The nurse asks if he is the father of the baby but Mrs. Locke says she doesn't know who he is. The man is Richard Alpert.


4x11 IntroducingAlprt

Richard introduces himself to a young John.

Five-year-old John is playing backgammon in a living room when his foster sister Melissa rudely knocks the pieces off the board, taunting him. His foster mother Florence scolds her before telling John that there is a man there to see him and that he should be on his best behavior. Richard Alpert walks in the house and sits at the table across from him. He introduces himself as Richard and tells John that he runs a school for special children and has reason to believe that John is one of them. Richard asks if John minds if he shows him a couple of neat things. Richard notices a drawing on the wall of the room of a man lying on the ground while a mass of smoke hangs over him. Richard asks John if he drew the picture, and John nods his head. They go to another table and sit down.

4x11 ChooseTheKnife

John insists that the knife belongs to him.

Richard tells John that he wants him to look at a few objects, think about them, and tell him which of them are his. The boy thinks Richard means "to keep" but Alpert clarifies, "Which of these things belong to you already?" He lays out on the table a baseball glove, a book entitled "Book of Laws", a small container of island beach sand, a compass, a comic book entitled Mystery Tales, and a knife. John immediately claims the container of the granules and inspects and then claims the compass. John starts towards the "Book of Laws", at which point Richard looks hopeful. Instead, he picks up the knife. Richard is disappointed and angry. He asks John if he is sure, and after he nods, Richard snatches the knife from his hand and takes the other items away. He puts these back into his bag and stands up quickly. Florence enters the room and asks how John did. Richard responds sternly that John is not quite ready for his school and walks out of the house. Florence scolds John, asking what he did wrong, as he looks down dejectedly.


4x11 YoungAndFurious

A teenage Locke is offered a chance to be a scientist.

Sixteen-year-old Locke, now a high school student, bangs on the door from the inside of a locker. A teacher opens the door and John finds everyone laughing at him when he gets out. The teacher suggests that he come to the nurse's office with him because his lip is bleeding. Soon after, the two sit in an office where John says that he does not want to talk about what just happened. The teacher tells John that he got a call from Portland on behalf of Mittelos Laboratories who work with chemistry and new technologies. When he mentions speaking with a Dr. Alpert, John looks up. The teacher tells him that Mittelos is looking for bright young minds, and they want John to go to their summer camp. When Locke asks how they knew about him, the teacher suggests that they sent a representative to a science fair where John had presented a "display at Costa Mesa". John gets upset and tells the teacher that he is not a scientist, but the type of person who likes boxing and fishing and cars and sports. The teacher kindly tells him that even if he wants to be more like the popular boys at school, it is just not who he is. He says that John simply can't be a super-hero, to which he responds, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" He hands him back the pamphlet and walks out.


4x11 GoOnAWalkabout

Abaddon shares with Locke his past experience in a walkabout.

Locke struggles to walk while undergoing physical therapy at a rehabilitative center. The trainer praises Locke's good work and tells him it is enough for the day, waving an orderly to bring over a wheelchair. The orderly helps Locke into the chair and pushes him towards the elevator, talking with him. It is Matthew Abaddon. He tells John that surviving an 8-story fall was a miracle and suggests John take an Australian walkabout and learn who he truly is. Abaddon tells Locke that he's "much more than an orderly," and again urges him to go on the walkabout, saying purposefully that when they meet again Locke would "owe him one."

On the Kahana[]

4x11 JustShootMe

Michael looks down the barrel of Keamy's gun.

Keamy and his team arrive on the freighter. Sayid wakes Desmond and tells him the helicopters has returned. On deck, Keamy demands Sayid tell him the whereabouts of everyone on the Island, before noticing Captain Gault and asking who gave his name to Ben.

Captain Gault takes Keamy to the brig, where Michael is handcuffed to a pipe. Keamy kicks the legs out from the bunk so that it falls on Michael's leg, causing him to scream in pain. He asks Michael if he knows his name, and when Michael indicates that he does, Keamy asks if it was Michael who told Ben his name. When Michael says yes, Keamy pulls out his gun, holds it to Michael's head and, despite Gault's protests, pulls the trigger. The gun does not fire. He pulls again, and still nothing. Keamy checks the gun's magazine and sees that it is still loaded. The captain tells him that he mustn't kill Michael because Michael is the only one who can fix the engines, since he is the one who sabotaged them in the first place. Frustrated, Keamy punches Michael in the face.

4x11 ANewCaptain

Keamy takes charge and attacks Gault.

Shortly after this, Keamy goes to Captain Gault and asks for the key. Gault refuses but Keamy rips it from Gault's neck and goes to a filing cabinet and opens a safe. Gault asks what he is getting and Keamy responds by saying "Secondary protocol." He says it's how they are going to find Ben, indicating that Charles Widmore knew where Ben would be going and as he reads a document - so does he. The protocol has the DHARMA logo on the front page. Keamy pulls his gun threateningly but asks the captain to fix his gun.

4x11 OnABoat

Sayid returns to the Island with a warning.

Desmond notices that the mercenary team's wounds are not caused by gunshots and wonders what has happened. Sayid is sure they won't let it happen again. Captain Gault walks to Desmond and Sayid and tells Omar, who stands guard, that Keamy wants him in the armory. Omar says he isn't supposed to let them out of his sight, but the captain replies, "I'll watch them." Omar leaves, while grabbing his phone, after hearing sets of beeps come over it (Morse code). The Captain then tells Desmond and Sayid to hide in a pantry under the galley. Sayid asks if Michael is dead, the captain answers no, but not through lack of trying - and that is exactly the reason they have to hide. Doc Ray can be seen in the background. Sayid asks for the ship's Zodiac raft saying the only way to save their lives is to get their people off the Island and on to the boat.

4x11 BathroomBreak

Frank and Michael notice Keamy and Omar.

Michael is lying on the floor with a bloody lip. Frank helps him up, asking why Michael hadn't told him he was a survivor of Flight 815, pointing out that he was one of the few people who would have believed him. Michael tells Frank it was because his boss had staged the wreckage, which Frank dismisses as a conspiracy theory. He begs Frank not to bring Keamy back to the Island, saying "He's going to kill everyone...everyone." As Michael and Frank leave the room, they notice Keamy at the end of the hall, wearing a heart rate monitor transmitter around his chest and having a device attached to his arm by Omar. Keamy notices them, and Frank says he's taking Michael to fix the engines. Omar slams the door shut.


Keamy shows the device on his arm.

Gault meets Sayid and Desmond at the ship's tender, but Desmond tells Sayid that, after three years of being stranded, he will not set foot on that Island again. Sayid departs alone on the Zodiac raft, and Desmond remains in hiding on the Kahana.

Later, Keamy and the mercenaries board the helicopter. Omar tells Doc Ray that the Morse code message he received from the beach said that the Doc was dead with his throat cut, which confuses Ray. Frank refuses to take Keamy and his team to the Island. Keamy responds by slitting Doc Ray's throat and throwing him overboard. Keamy asks Frank again and he still refuses. A gunshot rings out and it's Gault, stating that he has "fixed" Keamy's gun. Gault tells Keamy to stand down or he will shoot. Keamy then shows Gault the device on his arm, and when Gault turns his head to ask what the device is, Keamy shoots him dead. Desmond has been watching and now scurries away from his hiding spot. Keamy asks Frank again and this time Frank concedes. As Keamy and his men prepare to board the copter Frank hastily adjusts his satellite phone, wraps it in clothing, and stows it in canvas bag.

On the Island[]

At the beach[]


Jack retrieves the sat phone.

At the beach camp, Jack is up and eating in the kitchen. Juliet scolds him for being out and walking around so soon after his surgery. Jack grins and says he's hungry. Juliet says lightheartedly that doctors are the worst patients. They hear a helicopter. The entire camp runs to the shore to watch the freighter's chopper pass directly overhead. As they watch, a package is dropped from the chopper as it flies over. Jack runs over, opens the bundle and finds a satellite phone, it appears to be tracking the helicopter. Jack states, "I think they want us to follow them."

In the jungle[]

4x11 DeadFor12Years

Horace appears in Locke's dream, with nose bleeding.

Hurley, Locke and Ben make camp in the jungle overnight after they realize that none of them knows where to find the cabin. Locke wakes to the sound of an axe. He follows the sound and finds a man in a DHARMA jumpsuit cutting down a tree. Locke asks him who he is, he answers that his name is Horace and that he is building a getaway for his wife, and that he needs a break from the DHARMA Initiative. Seeing the confused look on Locke's face, Horace asks if he makes sense, to which Locke replies that he does not. Smiling, Horace turns to Locke, bleeding from his nose, and replies that it is probably because he's been dead for twelve years. He tells John that he needs to find Horace in order to find Jacob. Strangely, Horace then finishes cutting down the exact same tree he just toppled over, which is in place again. Horace repeats several of his previous sentences, and then begins to cut down the tree for a third time. The last thing he says to John is "Godspeed." John wakes, Ben is awake and looking at him. Ben says only "I used to have dreams," before Locke orders camp to break.


Ben and Hurley discuss leadership while Locke searches for Horace's body.

Locke leads Hurley to the mass grave of the DHARMA Initiative where Ben had left him for dead. Locke starts to search the bodies. Hurley asks Ben about killing these people. Ben states that he didn't kill them and that it wasn't his decision - it was the decision of the Others' leader. Hurley says that he thought Ben was the Others' leader. Ben responds, "Not always." Locke rummages through the bodies, reading the names on the jumpsuits until he finds the corpse of Horace Goodspeed. He opens the pocket on the jumpsuit and finds blueprints to a cabin and a map. Locke offers Hurley a chance to return to the beach, though it would be at night and alone. Instead, Hurley remains with them and as he moves out of earshot, Ben commends Locke's ability to force Hurley's choice. Locke denies being manipulative, stating to Ben, "I'm not you." Ben sarcastically agrees.

Destiny is a fickle bitch

"...destiny, John, is a fickle bitch".

Though Ben is doubtful of their ability to locate the cabin, Hurley finds it. Locke lights a lamp and enters alone as neither Ben nor Hurley want to go in. Ben says that his time has passed and that Locke should go in. Inside Locke sees the shadowy figure of Christian Shephard seated in the corner, who introduces himself as Christian and says he can speak on behalf of Jacob. Locke tells Christian he is here because he was "chosen". Locke notices there is another person in the cabin and sees Claire sitting languidly. She says she is alright and she is with him, indicating Christian. Locke asks about Aaron but Christian says he is not meant to be here. He tells Locke not to worry about Claire. Christian says that the people from the freighter are returning and tells Locke to ask the one question that really matters. Locke asks how he can save the Island. Christian and Claire both smile in satisfaction.

4x11 OnHisBehalf

Christian introduces himself to Locke.

Hurley reluctantly shares an Apollo bar with Ben. Locke emerges from the cabin. Ben asks if he knows what they're supposed to do next, and Locke replies, "He wants us to move the Island."


Locker Poster

A Geronimo Jackson poster and photograph of Sir Richard Burton in teenage Locke's locker.

  • The satellite phone lands on Claire's tent.
  • This is the first episode since "D.O.C." (and the last in the show) to solely feature pre-crash flashbacks of an Oceanic 815 survivor. However it does not feature a singular narrative, but rather multiple events throughout Locke's life. It is the only episode of Season 4 to feature only pre-crash flashbacks from an Oceanic 815 survivor, as the other 815 survivors to receive flashbacks—Jin and Michael—either had only post-crash flashbacks (Michael) or shared the episode with a flash-forward (Jin).
  • A Geronimo Jackson poster and photograph of Sir Richard Burton, explorer are visible in teenage Locke's locker.
  • In Locke's dream, Horace Goodspeed mentions that he has been dead for 12 years. If accurate, this would place the date of the Purge on December 19, 1992 (December 19 being Ben's birthday).
  • Christian, who usually appears in a suit, wears clothes that look more like what the Others and Jacob might wear, as he did when he first appeared to Claire in "Something Nice Back Home".
  • The second protocol Keamy grabs from the safe has the same DHARMA symbol that Ben's parka had in "The Shape of Things to Come", which is the symbol of the Orchid station.
  • A solid black, centered DHARMA logo appears in this episode on a corpse in the pit.
  • Horace repeatedly chopping down the tree which continually reappears, as well as his repetition of his name and other phrases, are reminiscent of residual style hauntings, in which memories of events play themselves over and over in a specific place.
  • When Richard Alpert visits young Locke we can see pictures of birds on the living room wall. These appear to be the same birds that Walt saw in his book in the episode "Special".
  • When Richard Alpert visits young Locke, Richard points out a drawing showing black smoke and someone on the ground. This drawing resembles the smoke monster.

    Locke's drawing compared to Jacob.

  • Horace makes a reference to his own name when he says to Locke "I'm Horace. Godspeed, John."
  • As Locke walks into the cabin, Claire can be seen in the bottom left of the screen sitting in the shadows, a couple of minutes before she is revealed.
  • In the November 6, 2006 Official Lost Podcast, a forum user "Marvolo815" asked "...does the Island move? ..." Damon Lindelof responded with "I think that's a fascinating thought." Damon and Carlton went on to joke that "...if we were to reveal something so ginormous as if the Island were moving... They would fire us instantly. And also, it would be much cooler if they would reveal something like that on the show." Carlton Cuse added his sentiments: "Exactly."

A map found in Lapidus' bag

Production notes[]

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

  • The single of "Everyday" by Buddy Holly and the Crickets was recorded in May of 1957, and it was not released until September 1957, over one year after Locke's birthdate of May 30, 1956. It would be impossible for Emily to have been playing this record the night of John's birth.[1][2][3]
  • In flashbacks, Locke's mother Emily has dark-hazel eyes as a teenager (portrayed by Holland Roden). But previously, she was seen with light blue eyes as an older woman (portrayed by Swoosie Kurtz).
  • Right before Horace introduces himself for a second time, we see a close-up of John Locke but his trademark scar is on the wrong eye.
  • When Alpert is placing the items on the table for young Locke to choose ones which belong to him, the compass changes rotation.
    • When he puts the first item down, there's something resembling a white coaster on the table. When he presents the second item, the white coaster is suddenly gone.
  • When Locke's Grandmother goes to light up in the hospital you can see lipstick marks on both ends of cigarette, even though it is a completely unfiltered cigarette.
  • Right after Locke goes into the cabin, the shadow of Hurley's arm holding the torch appears on Ben's shirt. As the camera zooms in, Hurley moves his arm, perhaps to cover the fact that the light isn't coming from the torch itself. (The torch wouldn't cast a shadow if the fire atop it were creating the light.)
  • As Sayid leaves the Kahana to return to the Island, the captain tells him to be sure to follow the compass bearing of 305 degrees. This is incorrect. To go from the Island to the ship, one travels away from the Island heading northwest at 305. Traveling from the ship at 305 would continue to move northwest away from the Island. Instead, to go from the ship back to the Island, one must travel in the direction opposite of 305, namely 125 degrees.
  • As Frank releases Michael from where he is being held on the Kahana he has a bloody lip. However, when Michael walks out of the cabin with Frank his lip is no longer bloody.
  • Before Frank places the satellite phone in the bag, he wraps it in yellow cloth; when Jack pulls the phone out of the bag, he does so without unwrapping.


The Season 4 soundtrack includes the track "Locke-about" from this episode.


Recurring themes[]

  • Locke's eye is shown twice. (Eyes)
  • Keamy kills Captain Gault and Ray, and unsuccessfully attempts to kill Michael. (Death)
  • Horace appears alive to Locke, but says he's been dead for 12 years. (Life and death)
  • Keamy tries to kill Michael but the gun does not fire. (Fate versus free will)
  • Locke's mother gives birth prematurely. (Pregnancies)
  • Locke shows an aptitude for backgammon as a child. (Games)
  • Locke's mother has issues with her mother. (Parent issues)
  • It is raining when Emily rushes out of her house and is hit by a car as she crosses the street. (Rain)  (Car accidents)
  • Locke's life is endangered as a baby and he is put into an incubator. He later is dubbed a 'miracle baby' upon surviving many illnesses to emerge. (Life and death)  (Imprisonment)
  • It is raining when Richard comes to test young John. (Rain)
  • The men on the freighter hear the survivors' transmission informing them that they have found the doctor's corpse before he is killed on the ship. (Time)
  • Michael is being held in a room somewhere on the boat. (Imprisonment)  (Isolation)
  • Captain Gault says that he will tell Keamy that Sayid stole the boat. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Locke meets Goodspeed in a dream. (Dreams)
  • Ben tells Locke that he used to have dreams. (Dreams)
  • Richard Alpert watches John and makes contact with him at different stages of John's life. Even so, he does not appear to age. (Time)
  • Locke is closed up in his locker as a teenager. (Imprisonment)  (Isolation)
  • Ben tells John that destiny is a fickle bitch, and that the Island wanted him to get sick and it wanted John to get well. He thinks his time is over, and it's John's now. (Fate versus free will)
  • Christian Shephard tells John that Aaron is where he's supposed to be. (Fate versus free will)
  • Locke and Richard share a connection dating from Locke's birth and childhood. (Character connections)
  • Keamy won't reveal his true orders and intentions to Frank. (Secrets)
  • Emily is in a relationship with a man her family strongly disapproves -- it's presumably Anthony Cooper, who's Locke's father and a criminal. (Relationships)
  • Richard Alpert tried at least twice to draw Locke into what he was supposed to be in his early years, but was turned down both times by Locke stubbornly choosing a very different path, though not being aware of it. (Fate versus free will)

Cultural references[]

  • "Everyday": This song by Buddy Holly is playing at the beginning of this episode. (Music)
  • Tibetan Buddhism: The test given to young Locke by Richard Alpert strongly resembles the Tibetan Buddhist ritual used to confirm a reincarnated tulku (the Dalai Lama being the most widely known). (Religion and ideologies)
  • Mystery Tales: The comic book Richard Alpert shows young Locke is "Mystery Tales" issue #40, which was published in April of 1956 by Atlas Comics. The cover contains the text "What was the Secret of the Mysterious Hidden Land?" and "Does it Pay to Ignore the Voice of Warning?" (Literary works)
  • The X-Men: Richard Alpert's line, "I'm Richard, John. I run a school for kids who are... extremely special, and I have reason to believe that you might be one of them," is almost word for word a very common line spoken by Charles Xavier (Professor X) in the various incarnations of "X-Men" when recruiting young mutants. (Literary works)
  • Mallomars: Hurley dreams of these chocolate-coated marshmallow treats. (Pop culture)
  • Book of Laws: One of the objects that Richard Alpert places before young John Locke. (Literary works)

Literary techniques[]

  • Richard Alpert is present during Locke's infancy, and later attempts to recruit him into the Others. (Plot twist)
  • Locke says, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Locke chooses the knife, an instrument he will be good with in his future life. (Foreshadowing)
  • Locke was born 3 months early, and all of the women on the Island seem to die 3 months before they give birth. (Juxtaposition)
  • Both Ben and Locke become leaders of the Others; both had physiological problems with their spines, both have mothers named Emily whom they never really knew, both have issues with their fathers and both were born prematurely. (Juxtaposition)
  • Ben tells John that he thought he was special, but ended up with a tumor on his spine and his daughter's blood all over his hands. (Regularly spoken phrases)  (Irony)
  • It is suggested that Abaddon had some prior knowledge of Flight 815's eventual crash. (Plot twist)
  • Emily Locke and her mother discuss Emily's relationship with a man only referred to as "him." This may or may not be Anthony Cooper, given Emily is in her sixth month of pregnancy. (Unseen character)
  • Abaddon suggests that a crippled man should find himself in a walkabout. (Irony)
  • It is suggested that the Island can be moved, literally or figuratively, with no clue to a real answer. (Cliffhanger)
  • Locke is born on the night his mother listens to a song by a man (Buddy Holly) who died in a famous plane crash. (Foreshadowing)  (Irony)
  • Locke misses his chances of joining Richard in his childhood and adolescence by picking the "action man" path (knife, sports, popularity) as opposite to the "science man" path Richard lays in front of him. Later, following Abaddon's advice of being an action man despite physically not being fit to anymore, Locke is finally reunited with Richard and finds his destiny in the island. (Foreshadowing)  (Irony)
  • Young Locke protests, "I like boxing and fishing and cars!" Locke would later work for a box company. (Irony)  (Foreshadowing)
  • Hurley asks John if he found what he was "looking for." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Richard Alpert mysteriously knows when and where Locke is born. He was told by an adult Locke two years prior to his birth. (Foreshadowing)

Storyline analysis[]

  • Hurley says, "I thought you were the leader," to Ben, and Ben says, "Not always." (Leadership)
  • Keamy takes over as de facto leader of the Kahana when he shoots Captain Gault. (Leadership)
  • Keamy coldly executes the doctor in order to coerce Frank. (Crimes)
  • The mercenaries are back on the Island to finish their job. (F-missions)
  • Locke, Hurley and Ben travel to the cabin in order to find out how to "save the Island." (A-Missions)
  • Ben tells Locke his time is over, and it is now Locke's time. (Rivalries)

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]


The DHARMA logo on the handbook Keamy takes from the safe is the same one on the chest of the jacket Ben was wearing in Tunisia in "The Shape of Things to Come"

Episode allusions[]

External links[]