"Deus Ex Machina" is the nineteenth episode of Season 1 of Lost. After a mysterious dream, Locke sets out with Boone to find a crashed Beechcraft, in the hope that it will lead him further on his quest to open the hatch. Meanwhile, at the beach, Sawyer begins to suffer from severe headaches. Flashbacks in this episode concentrate on Locke's first meeting with his biological mother and father.


Previously on Lost[]


1x19 LockeIsSpecial

Locke's mother says he was immaculately conceived.

Years before the crash, Locke works in a discount superstore. He demonstrates the children's game, Mouse Trap, to a boy, saying it was his favorite game and he used to play it with his "brother." A mysterious older woman appears to be watching him in the store, although she only asks where the footballs are when Locke approaches her.

Later, Locke sees her in the parking lot, again watching him. He starts to chase her and is knocked over by a car. Unhurt, he resumes the chase and confronts her, at which point she reveals she is his birth mother, Emily Locke. Later, at lunch with her, John inquires about his natural father, but she tells him he has no father, and that he was "immaculately conceived."

1x19 MeetingDaddy

Locke introduces himself to his father.

Locke hires a private investigator, Frainey, to find information on his father and mother. The investigator tells him his mother has been admitted several times in the past to due to schizophrenia. When Locke asks about his father, Frainey is hesitant. He tells Locke that situations like his of children finding their parents rarely turn out well, and gives Locke a chance to back out. Locke says he wants to meet his father, and the private investigator gives him the information, including the address, of his father, Anthony Cooper. Locke goes to his father's home, where Cooper eagerly welcomes him. Cooper says he did not know he had a son because Emily told him she was not going to have the baby. Cooper claims to have found out about Locke a year later when Emily asked him for more money.

1x19 TwistOfFate

Locke is left lonely and heart-broken after the surgery.

Cooper takes him hunting birds several times, where they quickly bond. Arriving early for an outing one day, Locke sees his father is using a dialysis machine. Cooper says his kidneys are failing and is pessimistic about his chances on the donor list. Locke, however, volunteers to give his father one of his kidneys. Just before the operation, Locke says the transplant is "meant to be," and the two hold hands in preparation.

After the transplant, Locke wakes up in the hospital to find his father has gone. His mother comes to check on him and says his father conned Locke into giving one of his kidneys. Locke, anguished, leaves the hospital and drives to his father's home, where he is not admitted by security. Locke drives away from the residence, angered and betrayed, and screams in agony.

On the Island[]

At the beach[]

1x19 PainfulSawyer

Sawyer is suffering as the pain grows worse.

Sawyer is having increasingly painful headaches, which are not helped by Sun's herbal remedies or Aspirin. He refuses to tell Kate of his problem, so Sun tells her. Kate goes to Jack to ask for his advice, but he claims he will get nothing out of helping Sawyer except for "a snappy one-liner and, if I'm really lucky, a new nickname." Eventually, however, Kate convinces Jack to help, and Sawyer to accept his help.

1X19 SawyerGlasses

Sawyer wearing his new glasses.

Before seeing Sawyer, Jack talks to Michael, who says the burning of the raft was not a total loss because it saved him from trial and error. Michael tries without much success to communicate with Jin, who is also working on the raft.

After a brief examination, Jack asks Sawyer a series of embarrassing questions regarding his sexual past, such as his experiences with prostitutes, if he has ever contracted an STD, and when his last outbreak was. After needling Sawyer, Jack tells Sawyer he has hyperopia or farsightedness. Sayid melts together the halves of two pairs of glasses for him to wear.

In the jungle[]

1x19 Failure

Locke's trebuchet fails to open the Hatch's door.

Locke and Boone continue working on opening the Hatch. Boone points out that they have been going to the Hatch for two weeks with no progress, and that Locke never talks about himself. To this, Locke replies that his past would bore Boone. They attempt to break the glass on the metal door using a trebuchet they have built, but the attempt fails, and the trebuchet is destroyed.

Locke, angry it didn't work, is unaware that a broken shard of metal from the trebuchet has lodged itself in one of his legs until Boone points it out to him; at this, he discovers he has no feeling in his legs. Later that night, he confirms this by burning his feet with hot coals. The next day, Locke determines the trebuchet was not how they were meant to break open the Hatch. When Boone asks how they are going to break open the Hatch, Locke tells him the Island will send them a sign.

1X19 BooneVision

A bloody Boone in Locke's vision.

A few days later, Boone arrives late at their worksite, only to complain about their inability to open the Hatch. Locke reasserts the Island will send them a sign, and when Boone questions his statement, they both see a small aircraft crashing into the jungle. However, Locke notices Boone is suddenly covered in blood at the sight of this plane, and he begins to repeat the phrase "Theresa falls up the stairs, Theresa falls down the stairs". Locke sees an image of his mother pointing in the direction of the plane and finds himself in a wheelchair again. Locke wakes up, in shock, realizing it was a dream. The next morning, he wakes Boone up early, leading him off without an explanation.

1x19 AnOldFriend

Locke and Boone discover a dead body.

Later that day, Locke describes the vision he had, claiming it felt real. He tells Boone he knows where to go now, and what they'll find will allow them to open the hatch. Boone suspects Locke has taken the hallucinogen he gave Boone, as he makes no sense. Locke, however, asks Boone who Theresa is, and Boone, startled, doesn't understand how Locke could know about her. Locke says he himself doesn't know. Boone says he probably mentioned Theresa around Locke, to which Locke disagrees. Before they can continue, however, Locke suddenly falls, alarming Boone. Locke insists he is fine, but Boone feels to the contrary. Suddenly, they find a rosary hanging on a tree. Boone theorizes someone from camp hiked all the way to where they are, but Locke pulls on a vine of the same tree which causes a dead body to fall from the tree.

1x19 I'mOK

Locke loses the ability to walk, yet rejects Boone's offer to help.

Locke insists they have to locate the plane he saw. Boone and Locke investigate the corpse, which is wearing a priest's clothes, with a large amount of Nigerian currency and a golden tooth. Locke says it's probably been on the Island for two to ten years from the decay of its clothing. Boone wonders why a Nigerian priest would be on an Island in the South Pacific, but when Locke finds a gun on him, it becomes clear this is not a priest at all.

While trekking, Boone notices John's left leg, which is not the leg pierced by a metal shard, is so disabled he can barely support himself with it. Suddenly, Locke completely falls to the ground. He refuses to go to Jack, claiming Jack wouldn't understand his condition. Boone asks Locke if he's crazy, driving Locke to tell Boone he was in a wheelchair for 4 years before the crash. When asked about how he got into a wheelchair, Locke says it doesn't matter anymore, as the Island healed him. Now, however, the island is trying to take it back, but it wants Locke to follow what he saw. He says he believes whatever is in the plane will help them get into the hatch. Boone understands, and Locke asks him to help him up.

1x19 MakingContact

Boone makes contact with someone.

While they are resting, Boone reveals that Theresa was his nanny when he was a kid. Every day he would call her to his room over and over again, which was up a large flight of stairs. One day, however, she fell down the stairs and broke her neck. Locke starts to laugh at this, much to Boone's anger, but Locke points past Boone, at which Boone turns around. Behind him, he sees the plane from Locke's dream, stuck on top of a cliff. Locke can't even walk at this point, so he tells Boone he has to go up to the plane and find what is inside.

Boone climbs into the plane and discovers the plane contains Virgin Mary statues filled with heroin. He throws one of the statues down to Locke to prove to him the plane meant nothing. Boone does, however, find a radio which is still operational. He subsequently uses it to make contact with another, unidentified person. Boone calls for help and says they are the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. After a brief pause, the other person responds, saying, "We're survivors of Flight 815." Before Boone can respond, the plane falls off the cliff, its weight shifted by Boone and crashes to the ground. Locke rushes over and, barely able to walk, hoists a badly injured Boone on his shoulders and returns to the camp.

1X19 LockeHatch

Locke banging on the door of the Hatch when the light comes on.

Locke makes his way back to the caves with the badly injured Boone, claiming Boone fell from a cliff while they were hunting. Jack springs into action, but Locke disappears into the jungle before he can explain what happened to Jack. Returning to the Hatch, Locke yells and screams in anguish, feeling betrayed by the island. As he bangs his hands on the door, a light comes on inside the structure, turning Locke's pain into awe.


  • The events of this episode (excluding flashbacks) begin on Day 39 of being on the Island and run through Day 41 (when Boone dies and Aaron is born). Day 40 would be Halloween, 2004, to the survivors.
  • This episode is the second of three to be titled after a Latin phrase, the others being "Tabula Rasa" and "Ab Aeterno".
  • The Nurse who checked up on Locke after his operation is the same one who speaks to Jack in "Man of Science, Man of Faith".
  • Sawyer's farsightedness is revealed in this episode, however in the "I Do" audio commentary Carlton Cuse states that this is evident from the start of the series. In "Pilot, Part 2", Sawyer successfully kills a polar bear with his gun, but in "Tabula Rasa" he missed Edward Mars' chest, even though he was stationary and very close.
  • Anthony Cooper's license plate reads 4TRIO19, the same as the license plate on the hearse in Terminator 3 in which John Connor, Kate, and the Terminator escape Greenlawn Cemetery.
  • Locke says, "Normally clothing would completely decompose within 2 years, but this is high-quality polyester. Could be 2 years, could be 10." However, in "House of the Rising Sun", Jack says, "It takes 40 or 50 years for clothing to degrade like this" when talking of Adam and Eve.
  • The events of this episode are revisited from other perspectives in "The Other 48 Days", "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2", and "The Little Prince".
  • This episode is rated TV-14.

Production notes[]

  • This is the first time Emilie de Ravin did not appear but was still credited. For all of her previous absences, she was not credited.
  • Naveen Andrews (Sayid) appears in a short montage without speaking lines.
  • This is the first episode co-written by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
  • This episode features a higher-pitched voice in the Previously on Lost.
  • The voice heard on the radio transmission that Boone picks up, which is revealed in Season 2 to have been Bernard, is clearly not that of actor Sam Anderson. This is most likely because the part had not yet been cast.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Kevin Tighe (Anthony Cooper).
    • Additionally, the decomposed corpses of Yemi Tunde and Goldie appear for the first time in this episode.

Bloopers and continuity errors[]


Jack's ever-changing bag.

  • The term "Immaculate Conception" is incorrectly used refer to a virgin birth. The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary's own birth free from original sin.
  • The mousetrap sound loops over Locke's and Emily's conversation more than once. It takes about 10 seconds from when the bucket is kicked to the mouse being trapped. Their conversation lasted about 25 seconds, meaning the sound was looped about 2 ½ times.
  • Emily's driver's license says "Expires on birthday" and also says "Expires: 03-20-94." However, according to the same card, her date of birth is 10-15-40.
  • In the scene on the beach in which Jack talks to Sawyer about his headaches, Matthew Fox wears two different rucksacks. In some shots, he is wearing his usual pack, which has broad shoulder straps with a narrow, diagonal white stripe on each, and in others, he is wearing a totally different leather pack with much narrower shoulder straps.
  • The sweat on Jack's shirt around his neck and upper chest disappears and reappears to varying degrees throughout the scene.
  • While Boone is climbing up to the plane, you can clearly see the blurry places at his waist where the cables holding him up, have been removed.


The new statement of Locke's second theme that concludes the episode appears on the Season 1 soundtrack as "Locke'd Out Again". The episode also introduces a new mystery theme for Locke and two motifs that characterizes Locke and the Man in Black. The music that plays during Locke's dream later returns during a few other dream sequences.


Recurring themes[]

Cultural references[]

  • Deus Ex Machina: (pronounced "Deh-oos ecks mah-kee-nah") The title of this episode refers to a theatrical device which originated in ancient Greek theatre. This device consisted of a physical crane that lowered a character down onto the stage, the character representing a god. This god would help the characters with a sudden twist in plot. This term would come to mean any device within a plot that provided a sudden change, or solution, in plot.
  • Deus Ex Machina literally translates into "God from the machine" in Latin.
  • In script writing, the term Deus Ex Machina is often used to refer to a solution to the story, a means to an end that comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with the story, sometimes leaving the audience feeling cheated.
  • In the context of this episode, it is likely that the expression is to be taken more literally. There are two "gods" coming out of machines in this episode: first the Virgin Mary statues that Boone finds in the Beechcraft, and then the blinding beam of light that comes out of the hatch at the end.
  • Anthony Cooper, upon first meeting John Locke, makes a play on Emily's immaculate conception comment, arriving at the conclusion that he must be God. Later, we see Anthony hooked up to a dialysis machine. Thus, another literal "god of the machine".
  • The trebuchet that Locke and Boone build resembles the device used in Greek drama by which the god is lowered onto the stage.

Literary techniques[]

  • When Boone tells Locke that he should see Jack about his failing legs, Locke says, "Jack wouldn't know the first thing about what's wrong with [him]." As a spinal surgeon, Jack would in fact be the most qualified person on the island to understand Locke's back injury. (Irony)
  • Cooper drew Locke in so that he could steal his kidney and then dump him; Locke persuaded Boone to climb up into the Beechcraft, despite the obvious risks. (Juxtaposition)
  • At the point in his past when the flashbacks take place, Locke is robbed of all his faith by his father, and becomes an angry, obsessive man. On the Island, his anger and obsession return in trying to open the hatch, but his faith is renewed when the light comes on inside. (Juxtaposition)
  • At both the end of his flashbacks and at the end of the episode's on-island events, John is wearing a white shirt with blood on it. (Juxtaposition)
  • Locke says that Boone can't tell him what he can and cannot do. (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • At the beginning of the first flashback, Locke explains to the boy that when you play Mouse Trap, you are slowly building the trap piece by piece, and "if you set it up just right," you capture your opponents. He then goes to speak to his mother, the first piece in an elaborate "trap" to rob him of his kidney. (Symbolism)
  • Boone tells Locke about making Theresa run up stairs constantly, until she fell and broke her neck. This foreshadows Locke telling Boone to climb up the cliff to the Beechcraft, leading to him falling and being horribly wounded. (Foreshadowing)  (Irony)
  • While Locke is banging on the hatch door, a light comes on from inside. (Cliffhanger)  (Plot twist)

Storyline analysis[]

  • Locke and Boone try to find the Beechcraft, believing it to be a sign meant to help them. (A-Missions)
  • Jack tricks Sawyer into revealing his sexual past in front of Kate. (Rivalries)

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

Episode allusions[]

  • When Walt asked John Locke if his father was cool, John said, "no, he's not." In this episode, we find out why. ("...In Translation")
  • Sawyer had earlier expressed annoyance at the noise that Michael and Jin were making when building the raft. We find out that this is because of his headaches, caused by his farsightedness. ("Numbers")

Unanswered questions[]

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Deus Ex Machina/Theories
  • Why did Locke temporarily lose the ability to walk?