- This article is about the episode. For the orchestral piece, see "Follow the Leader" (composition).
"Follow the Leader" is the fifteenth episode of Season 5 of Lost and the 101st produced hour of the series as a whole. After the death of Daniel in 1977, Jack and Sayid work with Eloise and Richard to follow through with Daniel's plan to detonate the hydrogen bomb. In present time, Locke finally takes his place as leader of the Others and begins his new mission, with Richard's help. It was originally broadcast on May 6, 2009.
Previously on Lost
- Ben murders Locke. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")
- Ben awakens to see Locke alive. ("Whatever Happened, Happened")
- Locke tells Sun he has some ideas of how to reunite her with Jin. ("Dead Is Dead")
- Ben tells Sun that "dead is dead," admitting he never really expected Locke to be resurrected. ("Dead Is Dead")
- Daniel tells Jack and Kate that the DHARMA Initiative are tapping into a massive pocket of energy, which will one day cause the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. His plan to negate that energy, so the plane never crashes, is to detonate a hydrogen bomb. ("The Variable")
Widmore holds a beaten Jack at gunpoint.
Jack and Kate discuss their options while hiding behind bushes at the Hostiles' camp. Suddenly, a gunshot is heard, and they watch Daniel collapse to the ground. As they are about to run away, two men charge them on galloping horses. One of them knocks out Jack with his rifle's butt, and the other one aims a rifle at Kate.
In the Hostiles camp, Eloise thumbs through the pages of Daniel's journal and looks at Daniel's corpse on the ground in front of her. She reaches the first page, and is confused by the dedication in it, which she appears to recognize as her own handwriting. Charles Widmore and a man arrive, holding Jack and Kate captive. Richard explains the situation to Widmore. Eloise asks Jack and Kate if they've come with Daniel, to which Jack replies "Yes." She orders that they be taken to her tent. Widmore inquires why the DHARMA Initiative would declare war on them, but Eloise tells him that the three intruders are not DHARMA people. In the tent, Jack reveals to Kate that he means to reset their lives, having the plane never crash and avoiding all the misery that's happened since.
Eloise questions Jack about her writings in Daniel's journal.
Kate adamantly states that it was not all misery, but does not elaborate. He responds that enough of it was. ♪ After entering the tent, Eloise assures Jack and Kate that she will believe whatever they say because she has just killed a man who claims to be her future son, the same man who told her to bury the bomb 23 years earlier before disappearing. Jack tells Ellie that by using the bomb, they can alter the future and undo what Ellie did to her future son. ♪
At the Barracks, Radzinsky takes Sawyer and Juliet to the security office where he interrogates a bound Sawyer about the location of Kate. Juliet, also bound, sits off to the side watching. Sawyer is brutally beaten by Radzinsky; when Horace tells him to stop, Radzinsky says that he is in charge now. Juliet begs them to stop and tells them that they aren't out to hurt them, pointing out that they have known each other for three years. She claims her and Sawyer are good people. Sawyer tells her not to talk and that whatever she says they won't believe. Radzinsky, Horace, and Phil draw the conclusion that Sawyer is not going to talk no matter how much they beat him, but Phil claims that he has a way to make Sawyer talk. He then hits Juliet across the face, angering Sawyer.
Radzinsky beats up Sawyer, demanding to know where Kate is.
Meanwhile, Hurley, Miles, and Jin escape the barracks, heading for the beach. Chang follows them and asks if they're really from the future. Hurley denies it. To determine the truth, Chang quizzes Hurley with questions relevant to 1977. Hurley struggles with the answers, being unsure of his birth year, the current president of the U.S., or whether the Korean War had even occured. Flustered, Hurley finally admits that he's from the future and Chang believes him. Chang then asks Miles if it is true that he is his father, and Miles reluctantly affirms that he is. Having confirmed his suspicions, Chang reveals that he now believes what Daniel told him about needing to evacuate the entire Island.
Miles, Jin, and Hurley face a suspicious Chang.
At the Hostiles camp, Widmore and Richard are standing over Daniel's body. Widmore asks Richard why Daniel looks so familiar to him. Before Richard can respond, Eloise emerges from the tent and orders Richard to untie Jack and Kate. Eloise gently covers Daniel's body with a blanket and closes his eyes. She then announces to Widmore that she is taking Jack and Kate to the bomb. Widmore protests and they appear to argue. Jack asks Richard who that man is and Richard tells him it's Charles Widmore. Richard implies that Eloise and Charles are romantically involved; but their relationship is complicated.
Chang returns to the Barracks and sees Horace, Radzinsky and the other men interrogating Juliet and a bloody and bruised Sawyer. He tells Horace, Radzinsky and the others to stop the drilling at the Swan and orders them to evacuate the Island. Radzinsky angrily insists on continuing the drilling and when Chang appeals to Horace, Radzinsky claims that he is in charge now. Sawyer agrees with Chang and proposes a deal to Radzinsky: if he and Juliet can leave the Island on the submarine, he will tell Radzinsky everything he wants to know. ♪ As a result, he demands that Sawyer draws a map of the Hostiles' location. Sawyer and Juliet are then taken away to the submarine.
Sayid kills an Other to protect Kate.
Eloise, Kate, Jack, Richard, and Erik come to the creek. As they stop to attempt to swim under the tunnels, Kate tells Jack she's going back. Erik threatens to shoot Kate if she tries to leave. A gunshot follows, leaving Kate shocked. She looks down, only to realize she has not been hit. Sayid emerges from cover as Erik goes down. Sayid points his gun at Eloise and Richard as they put up their hands. Jack tells Sayid about changing the future, but Sayid is convinced he has already done so by killing Ben, but Kate informs him that Ben is alive. Kate is allowed to leave the group and heads for the submarine. ♪
At the Barracks a message is heard over the loudspeakers that the sub will leave in 30 minutes. At the dock, people board the sub while Miles, Hurley, and Jin watch. They see Charlotte and her mom get out of a bus and head for the dock. Lara and baby Miles get out. Lara is arguing with Pierre, resulting in him angrily telling them to leave. Adult Miles realizes that his father had to be harsh to his mother in order to save her life. Miles sees Juliet and Sawyer, still handcuffed, brought in a jeep. Miles, confused, hands the binoculars to Hurley, who tells Miles that Sawyer probably has a plan.
The Galaga leaves the island with Sawyer, Juliet and Kate on board.
On the dock, Sawyer sarcastically quips that he'll buy Microsoft and bet on the Cowboys in the 1978 Superbowl. He apologizes to Juliet and says that she was right three years ago, that they should have gotten on the submarine. Juliet tells Sawyer she was glad that she stayed behind. ♪♪♪ Once on the submarine, Juliet and Sawyer are handcuffed to a table in the ship's gallery. Juliet asks Sawyer what they will do once they get to Ann Arbor. Sawyer replies that they aren't going to Ann Arbor, and that they'll be free in the "real world". Juliet chuckles, saying she doesn't even know what that means anymore. They hold hands and say that they love each other. ♪ Before the hatch door can close, Phil brings Kate to the submarine, where she is cuffed with Sawyer and Juliet. ♪ They give each other awkward looks as the submarine departs from the Island. ♪
Richard and Eloise uncover Jughead.
Richard, Jack, Eloise and Sayid swim down to the underground tunnels beneath the Barracks where the bomb is hidden. ♪ As they walk through the tunnels, Sayid whispers to Jack, "I'm sure it's occurred to you that this woman's motivation in helping us detonate the hydrogen bomb is only to annihilate the DHARMA Initiative." Jack responds that her motivation can be trusted because Eloise will be the one to tell them how to get back to the island 30 years from now, but Sayid is not convinced. They come to a room and Eloise uncovers the bomb. She looks at the other two and says "Now what?" while everyone looks confused. ♪♪
Richard greets Locke, after 3 years of absence.
At the Others' camp, Richard is sitting at a table building a ship in a bottle on the beach, an Other named Vanessa informs Richard that "he's here." Locke arrives with a boar, followed by Ben and Sun. ♪ Richard questions that it's been three years since he last saw him, wonders where he's been and comments that there is something different about Locke. Locke tells Richard that he has a new purpose, and needs Richard to come with him immediately. After Ben tells Sun that Richard has been around for "a very long time," Sun interrupts Locke and Richard with the 1977 DHARMA Recruits picture, asking Richard if he recognizes the people in it. Richard replies he recognizes them because he "watched them all die." ♪
Locke promises Sun he will do his best to find Jin.
Later in a private conversation with Sun, Locke implies he believes their time-traveling friends are not dead. Locke asks Richard if he still has the compass he gave him in 1954, Richard says he does. Locke asks Ben to join him and Richard on the journey. Ben wonders if Locke doesn't trust him around his former people, but Locke informs him that he isn't afraid of anything he can do anymore. Locke tells Sun to stay behind, and that he will be back in a few hours, and that she has his word that he will find a way for her and Jin to be reunited. Locke, Richard, and Ben then leave with the compass on into the jungle.
Ben and Locke watch Richard tend a time-traveling Locke.
During the trip Richard asks Locke where he has been the past three years, Locke is surprised he doesn't know. Locke tells him that they are going to the Beechcraft (where Locke flashed to during the Island's time movements), and after that they must find Jacob. When they have almost arrived, Locke tells Richard that he must treat a man's wound at the Beechcraft, and then tell him to bring everyone back to the Island, and to do this he has to die. Locke then tells Ben that the man is Locke himself.
While Richard tends to the time-traveling Locke, the other Locke tells Ben that he knows that Ben has never seen Jacob, which surprises Ben. ♪ Richard then tells Locke that he seems pretty convinced about what he made him do to his past-self, especially since he said to him that he was going to die. Locke tells Richard that he did die.
Locke reveals to the Others his intention of visiting Jacob.
The three then return to camp, where Locke makes a speech to all the Others present he is going to see Jacob, and he would like them all to come with him. The Others are excited by this, with the exception of Richard who admits his worry to Ben, that Locke may be a problem in the future. Ben responds by telling Richard that's why he tried to kill him. Sun questions Locke and is assured by him Jacob can help them bring Jin and the rest of their people back to the present, and that Richard has agreed to show them where they need to go.
The next morning, Locke and the Others leave to find Jacob. ♪ Ben then tells Locke of Richard's thoughts, that seeing Jacob makes him uncomfortable, but then reaffirms his allegiance to Locke's quest: to reunite with his friends who are in 1977. Locke lets Ben in on a secret; he's not interested in reuniting with his friends in 1977 and reveals his true intentions are, much to Ben's shock, to kill Jacob. ♪♪
- According to Nielsen Ratings, this episode is the lowest rated episode of Lost to date, with a mere 8.7 million viewers, 14.76 million less than "Man of Science, Man of Faith", the highest rated episode of Lost.
- In this episode the "Submarine logo" is introduced.
- The compass exists in a self-contained temporal paradox in that it is never created. Richard gives the compass to a time-shifting Locke, who then returns it to Richard in the 1950s. This was intentionally written into the story by the LOST producers. ("Because You Left") ("Jughead")
- The same compass has been previously seen by Locke in 1961 as a small child. ("Cabin Fever")
- Unbeknownst to Jack and Kate, a young Ben recovering from Sayid's shot is resting inside Richard's tent at the Others' camp. ("Dead Is Dead")
- In an easter egg on the Season 5 Blu-ray set, an outline of this episode is seen on a white board in the writers room. It contains a different final scene: After Juliet hits Jughead, the people at the Swan site were to be seen enveloped by white light. ("The Incident, Part 2") The episode would then cut to Richard watching the explosion of Jughead from a distance.  This unused scene seems to explain why Richard later said he had seen everyone present at the detonation die. (Building 23 & Beyond with Michael Emerson)
- Although he is still listed for the rest of the season, Jeremy Davies (Daniel) makes his final appearance as a main credited cast member until the series finale "The End".
- Naveen Andrews (Sayid) appears after being missing for 3 episodes.
- For the second episode in a row, a scene from the season premiere is shown in a different context.
- The scene in "Because You Left" where Richard encounters the injured Locke is repeated in this episode without any additions or modifications.
- This is the eighth episode to take place completely on the island.
- This episode has neither flashbacks nor flash-forwards, similar to "Because You Left" and "Namaste". Nonetheless, it is believed by many to be Richard-centric and some of the transitions between 1977 and 2007 are similar to the transitions used for flashbacks/flash-forwards. In other words, most of the transitions start with Richard in one time period, the "flashback sound" occurs, and the scene changes to the other time period where Richard is present.
- It is the fourth and last episode to have no flashes at all.
- A deleted scene from this episode features a cut opening scene of the episode with Locke, Sun and Ben going boar hunting and Locke shooting and killing the boar he carries into the Other's camp.
Bloopers and continuity errors
A hand of a horse trainer is visible for a fraction of a second.
- When Widmore gets off his horse, a hand of a horse trainer is clearly visible for a short time, and the sight and sound of a rope being thrown to control the horse is slightly apparent.
- When Widmore turns "Jack" around, a stunt double can be seen.
- In the scene where Jack swims through the underwater entrance into the Tunnels the very even and smooth bottom of the pool the set was built in can be seen.
- When the sub is at the dock there is land surrounding it, but when it takes off from the dock the land is gone and there's open water.
- When Jack climbs out of the pool into the tunnels, he is handed a bent torch. But when he is seen later his torch is straight.
- As seen in "The Variable", Richard had a blue cup while talking to Daniel. When Daniel was shot, Richard dropped it onto the ground. As can be seen in this episode, it isn't on the ground when Daniel is shot by Eloise, nor is it seen when Jack and Kate are taken into the camp. Minutes later the blue cup is back on the ground and not far from Daniel.
The Season 5 soundtrack includes the following tracks from this episode:
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- Widmore and a Hostile attack Jack and Kate on horseback. (Animals)
- Locke brings in a dead boar to the Others' camp. (Animals)
- Eloise puts Jack and Kate in her tent. (Imprisonment)
- The DHARMA Initiative interrogates Sawyer and Juliet in the surveillance room. (Imprisonment)
- Hurley tells Dr. Chang that he's from the future. (Time)
- Dr. Chang forces Miles and his mother to leave the island, to save them. (Salvation) (Parent issues)
- Sawyer, Juliet and Kate board the sub, bound for the "real world". (Salvation)
- Miles tells Dr. Chang that he's his son. (Relationships) (Redemption) (Parent issues)
- Sawyer calls Mitch, "Nemo". (Nicknames)
- Juliet tells Radzinsky that she and Sawyer are not bad people. (Good and bad people)
- Sayid has been living by himself since shooting Ben. (Isolation)
- Sayid kills Erik to keep him from killing Kate. (Life and death)
- Locke states that his reason for wanting to visit Jacob is to kill him. (Death)
- Jack tells Kate that it is their destiny to prevent the Swan Incident. (Fate versus free will)
- Richard tells Sun that he remembers seeing Jin, Kate and the others in 1977 because he watched them die. (Death)
- Eloise closes her son's eyes. (Eyes)
- Faraday died with eyes open. (Eyes) (Death)
- Widmore protests that Eloise shouldn't make the trip to the Jughead in her condition. (Pregnancies)
- Dr. Chang begins evacuation of the Island, just as he was supposed to. (Fate versus free will)
| Cultural references|
(direct references only)
|Art • Automobiles • Games • History • Literary works • Movies and TV • Music • Philosophy • Religion and ideologies • Science|
- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Sawyer calls one of the submarine crewmen "Nemo". Nemo is the captain of the submarine Nautilus in this book by Jules Verne. (Literary works)
- Korean War: Pierre Chang asks Hurley if he fought in the Korean War (1950–1953) and Hurley replies that there is no such thing. (History)
- Jimmy Carter: In 1977, Pierre asks Hurley who the president of the United States was. Jimmy Carter was president from 1977–1981. (History)
- Microsoft: Sawyer tells Juliet they're going to invest in Microsoft as they're walking to the submarine. (Science)
- Song of Susannah: This book by Stephen King is the sixth book in the Dark Tower Series. Just as Sawyer above, the characters in this book time-travel to 1977 and consider investing in Microsoft to amass a fortune. (Literary works)
- Dallas Cowboys: Sawyer tells Juliet they're going to bet on the Dallas Cowboys to win the 1978 Super Bowl as they're walking to the submarine. The Cowboys did in fact win Super Bowl XII on January 15, 1978, defeating the Denver Broncos 27-10. (Games)
- Out-of-body experience: While Richard helps time-traveling Locke, Ben says, he thinks, to Locke, "This must be quite the out-of-body experience." (Science)
|Comparative: Irony • Juxtaposition • Foreshadowing Plotting: Cliffhanger • Plot twist Stock characters: Archetype • Redshirt • Unseen character|
Story: Flashbacks • Flash-forwards • Flash sideways • Framing device • Regularly spoken phrases • Symbolism • Unreliable narrator
- Erik abuses Jack and Kate in Eloise's tent, then the next scene shows Radzinsky abusing Sawyer in the surveillance room. (Juxtaposition)
- Sawyer yells "son of a bitch" when Phil hits Juliet. (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Kate goes back to rescue her friends, but instead is captured. (Irony)
- Erik journeys into the jungle with the important characters, only to be shot at a crucial moment by Sayid. (Redshirt)
- The Others stored the hydrogen bomb in the tunnels and DHARMA built their barracks right on top of it. (Irony)
- Locke reveals to Ben that he intends to kill Jacob. (Plot twist) (Cliffhanger)
- Richard tells Sun that he remembers meeting Jack, Kate, and Hurley in 1977 because he "watched them all die." (Plot twist)
- Until Locke took Richard to the Beechcraft, it seemed likely that he had told Richard about being shot during their meeting in 1954 in "Jughead". (Plot twist)
- Jack wonders if this is their only chance to change things, seconds later Daniel is shot dead. (Irony)
- Jack believes setting off a hydrogen bomb will save the survivors of Oceanic 815. (Irony)
- Richard observes that there is "something different" about Locke. (Foreshadowing)
- When he joined the DHARMA Initiative, Hurley was worried that their cover would be blown because he didn't know who the president was in 1977. When questioned by Chang as to who the president is, he admits that he is from the future. (Irony)
- Ben remarks to Locke that seeing himself must be an "out-of-body experience." Unbeknownst to Ben, he is speaking to an entity which has no permanent physical form, and his original human body actually does still exist on the Island. (Irony)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- There are nine leaders exchanging roles in this episode:
- Locke returns to lead the Others, overseeing a journey with the intent to kill Jacob. (Leadership) (O-Missions) (Crimes)
- Sayid kills Erik. (Crimes)
- Richard leads Eloise, Jack and Sayid to detonate Jughead. (O-Missions)
- Sawyer tells Juliet that he loves her. (Relationships)
- Jack finally admits that he may have been wrong and Locke may have been right about destiny. (Rivalries)
- Jack vows to continue Daniel's plan after his death. (A-Missions)
- Richard says that "love can be complicated" when referring to Eloise and Widmore. (Relationships)
- Kate says that not all of the past three years of their lives have been misery, referring to her relationship with Jack, and mothering Aaron. (Relationships)
- Richard tells Locke that the rest of the Others are at the Temple, which is where they were ordered by Ben three years earlier. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
- Richard mentions the last time he saw Locke, three years earlier. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 3")
- The events at the Beechcraft are witnessed from a different perspective. ("Because You Left")
- Eloise refers to her first meeting with Daniel back in 1954. ("Jughead")
- Locke asks Richard for the compass he gave him. ("Jughead")
- Jack tells Sayid that Eloise Hawking will help them to find the Island in the future. ("316")
- Ben's murder of Locke is both alluded to and mentioned in the episode. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")
- Sawyer admits he should have listened to Juliet when she wanted to get on the sub 3 years ago. ("LaFleur")
- Dr. Chang asks Hurley questions similar to the ones he was concerned the DHARMA Initiative would ask him; namely, who the president was in 1977. ("Namaste")
- Mitch suspects Hurley to be involved with Jack and Kate because he was one of the last minute manifest add-ons. ("Namaste")
- Sun shows Richard the photo given to her by Christian Shephard. ("Namaste")
- Sayid believes that he has killed Ben. ("He's Our You")
- Radzinsky beats Sawyer in order to know the whereabouts of Kate, after watching them take Ben into the jungle. ("Whatever Happened, Happened")
- Pierre and Miles acknowledge their relationship as father and son. ("Some Like It Hoth")
- Pierre asks Miles, Hurley, and Jin whether or not Faraday was right about being from the future. ("The Variable")
- Jack and Kate's perspective of Daniel's death is shown. ("The Variable")
- Eloise reads over Daniel's journal, recognizing her own handwriting on the first page. ("The Variable")
- Radzinsky, Phil and Horace interrogate Sawyer and Juliet after discovering they were involved with Ben's disappearance. ("The Variable")
- Widmore describes Jack and Kate as rats, just as he will describe Ben in the future. ("The Shape of Things to Come")
- Eloise says "All right, let's get started" to her group. ("This Place Is Death")