"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. When Locke approaches her, she asks him where the footballs are.

Later Locke sees her in the parking lot. He starts to chase her and is knocked over by a car. Locke gets back up, catches her, and confronts her. She reveals she is his birth mother, Emily Locke. John inquires about his natural father, but she tells him he has no father, and 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 investigators tell him his mother has been committed in the past due to schizophrenia. She was admitted several times to the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute. When Locke asks about his father, Frainey is hesitant. He says these things are not meant to be and gives Locke a choice: to find his father or not. Locke says he wants to meet his father, and the private investigator gives him the address of his father, Anthony Cooper. Locke goes to his father's home, where he is admitted and welcomed. Cooper says he did not know he had a son because Emily told him she was not going to have the baby. Cooper claims he 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 several times. Arriving early one day, Locke sees his father is on dialysis. Cooper says he will need a kidney transplant, but is pessimistic about his chances on the waiting list. Locke volunteers to give his father one of his kidneys. Just before the kidney transplant, Locke says, "This was meant to be," and Cooper tells his son he will see him after the operation.

After the transplant, Locke wakes up in the hospital to find his father has gone home for private care. His mother appears and says his father concocted a scheme to convince Locke to give up his kidney. Locke pulls himself out of the hospital bed and drives to his father's home, where the once-friendly guard is not allowed to let him inside. Locke drives away at the guard's pained insistence, and screams at the betrayal.

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 once learning he has to help Sawyer, he claims he will get nothing out of it except for a snappy one-liner and, if he's lucky, a new nickname. After convincing Jack to help, she also convinces Sawyer to accept Jack's medical assistance.

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 is just suffering from 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 complains that he knows nothing of the self-built trebuchet they have, they have been going to the Hatch for two weeks, and Locke never talks about himself. Locke replies that his past would bore Boone. They attempt to break the glass on the metal door using the trebuchet, but the attempt fails.

Locke, angry it didn't work, is unaware that a broken shard has lodged itself in one of his legs until Boone points it out to him; he discovers he has no feeling in his feet or legs. Locke says the trebuchet was not strong enough to break open the Hatch. When asked about how they will open the Hatch, he tells Boone the Island will send them a sign.

1X19 BooneVision
A bloody Boone in Locke's vision.

Boone starts to complain about Locke's obsessiveness on getting in the hatch. Locke says the Island will give them a sign, and when Boone questions his statement, they both see a small aircraft crashing into the jungle. Locke sees an image of his mother pointing in the same direction, and finds himself in a wheelchair again. It turns out to be a dream, which concludes with Boone, covered in blood, repeating the phrase, "Theresa falls up the stairs; Theresa falls down the stairs." Locke wakes up, waking Boone up too, saying they have to go.

1x19 AnOldFriend
Locke and Boone discover a dead body.

Later that day, Locke describes the vision he had, claiming it felt real. He claims he knows where to go now, and what they'll find will open the hatch. Boone suspects Locke has used the hallucinogen he gave Boone, but Locke 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 before, to which Locke disagrees. Locke suddenly falls, alarming Boone. Locke keeps saying he is fine, and suddenly finds a rosary on the ground. Boone theorizes someone from camp hiked all the way to where they are, but Locke pulls a vine which causes a dead body to fall from a 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, which is eventually found hanging in the trees. Boone and Locke investigate the corpse and discover it's from Nigeria, wearing a priest's clothes, with a large amount of money and a golden tooth. Locke says it's probably been on the Island for two to ten years. Boone wonders why a Nigerian priest would be on an Island in the South Pacific, when Locke finds a gun on him, he comes to the realization he wasn't a priest.

While trekking, Boone notices John's left leg, the one that wasn't hurt by the glass shard, can barely walk. Suddenly Locke completely falls. He refuses to go to Jack, claiming Jack wouldn't know what happened. 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, but now it's trying to take it back, and 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 resting, Boone says Theresa was his nanny, who he kept calling up to his room, which was on top of a high flight of stairs. He used to call her up and down for no reason, until one day she fell down and broke her neck when Boone was six. Locke starts to laugh, much to Boone's anger, but Locke sees the plane he saw in his dream, stuck in a tree. Locke tells Boone to go up there and find out what's inside the plane.

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 sees a radio, which surprisingly still works, and he subsequently makes contact with another person. Boone says they are the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. After a brief pause, the other person responds, saying, "We're survivors of Flight 815." Then, the plane falls out of the tree and crashes to the ground with Boone inside. Locke rushes over and 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 Boone, saying Boone fell from a cliff while they were hunting. Jack springs into action and Locke disappears into the jungle, returning to the Hatch. He yells and screams in anguish, asking the Island what else he has to do. As he bangs his hands on the door, a light comes on inside the structure, and then turns off.


  • 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".

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 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 plain, 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

Recurring themes
AnimalsBlack and whiteCharacter connectionsChildrenCoincidenceDeathDeceptions and consDreamsEconomicsElectromagnetismEyesFate versus free willGamesGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLeadershipLife and deathLiterary worksMirrorsMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersPairingsParapsychologyParent issuesPregnanciesPsychologyRainRedemptionRelationshipsReligionRevengeSalvationSecrets

Cultural references

Cultural references
(direct references only)
ArtAutomobilesGamesHistoryLiterary worksMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • 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

Literary techniques
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash sidewaysFraming deviceRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • 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

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?

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