This article is about the episode. For the orientation films, see DHARMA Initiative films.

"Orientation" is the third episode of Season 2 of Lost and the twenty-eighth produced hour of the series as a whole. Michael, Sawyer, and Jin find themselves prisoners after they encounter what they believe to be a group of Others. At the Hatch, the group learns more about their new surroundings, but are confused at Desmond's reaction when the strange computer equipment is broken.


Previously on Lost[]

  • Running a tour de stade in Los Angeles, Jack meets a man named Desmond, who is training for a race around the world. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Jack explores the hatch and comes across a bulkhead covered with cement, which magnetically attracts the marshal's key. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Desmond holds Locke at gunpoint and forces him to enter the numbers into a computer before a timer runs down. Kate escapes from her confinement and makes her way into an air duct. ("Adrift")
  • Desmond sends Locke out where Jack can see him and orders him to drop his gun. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Sawyer and Michael swim back to shore. They are greeted by Jin running out of the jungle yelling "Others" and see shadowy figures emerging onto the beach. ("Adrift")


2x03 LockeAndHelen

John and Helen at dinner.

Locke visits a support group, where a woman complains that her alcoholic mother stole $30 from her purse. Locke simply laughs at this. When the moderator asks why, he explains that $30 is nothing to get upset over, finally recounting the deception conducted by his father. After the meeting, he is approached by another member of the support group, Helen, who flirts with him and thanks him for saying in the meeting what she had always wanted to.

Later, Helen wakes up to find Locke putting on his clothes, claiming he is uncomfortable sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. That morning, he sits in his car outside the gates of his father's estate. His father opens the car door and gets in, saying he knows that Locke has been stalking him and wants it to stop, finally telling him, "Don't come back; you're not wanted." Locke does not stop, however, and at dinner during their six-month anniversary, Helen gives Locke a present: a key to her house, under the condition that he stops going to his father's house. Locke agrees, but is unable keep his word.

Helen eventually follows and sees Locke outside the gates. When she confronts him, she says he is afraid of the future, of moving past what his father has done, and of moving forward in his relationship with her. When he says he doesn't know what else to do, she tells him it is meant to be difficult, because what she is asking him for is a leap of faith. He seems to understand, and they embrace.

On the Island[]

Swan orientation

The opening to the Swan film.

At the Swan[]


Desmond trying to fix the computer.

At the underground compound, the standoff between Jack, Desmond, and Locke provides enough of a distraction for Kate to drop from the air ventilation system into the station's armory, where she finds and loads a shotgun. She makes her way behind Desmond and ends the standoff by striking him with the butt of the shotgun. Desmond fires a round from his gun as he falls, hitting and badly damaging the computer. When a frantic Desmond claims that everyone will die unless the computer is fixed, Kate suggests that Sayid could repair the machine, and Locke sends Kate to retrieve him.

At Jack's insistence, Desmond explains that, three years ago, he had been in a solo sailing race around the world when his boat crashed on the reef surrounding the Island. He was dragged off the beach by a man named Kelvin, who enlisted his help in his sole duty on the Island: inputting the Numbers into the compound's computer and pressing the Execute button every 108 minutes. Desmond says "the end of the world" would come if the button is not pressed, but without time to explain in detail, Desmond directs Jack and Locke to watch a film reel he's placed behind a copy of The Turn of the Screw.


Desmond says his goodbyes.

This film welcomes its viewers to the underground compound, calling it Facility 3, the Swan, as marked by a logo that is on almost everything inside the Hatch. It then goes on to describe a project called the DHARMA Initiative, apparently funded by the Hanso Foundation, an experimental psychology research group. The film ends by explaining that, due to an incident on the Island, the viewers must enter the code into the computer every 108 minutes for the next 540 days, after which a replacement team will take over. Jack and Locke take opposite responses to this film; Jack believes this is nothing more than a social experiment, while Locke believes the film should be taken at its word.


Desmond and Penelope in an unknown city.

Soon after, Desmond attempts to power up the computer, but it shorts out and blows a fuse in the compound. Desmond panics, packs his stuff — some food along with some of the medicine he has been injecting himself with, something from atop the book The Third Policeman, and a book with a cross on the outside — and hurriedly leaves the Swan. As Desmond rushes around, Jack notices a photograph of Desmond and a woman. Jack follows behind him, leaving Locke to attempt to fix the computer alone. Locke briefly suffers an emotional breakdown, but Kate, Sayid and Hurley arrive to help. Uninterested in the details of the situation, Sayid directs Kate and Hurley to restore power while he fixes the computer. Outside, Jack catches up to Desmond, holding him at gunpoint. Desmond tells Jack the code needed for the computer, but Jack's not interested. Instead, he asks where Desmond is running to, which reminds Desmond of his earlier conversation with Jack. When Desmond asks about Jack's patient, Jack stonewalls before eventually shouting that he married her. Desmond guesses from his reaction that they are no longer married. Jack lowers his gun as he begins to cry, and Desmond hastily leaves, saying, "See you in another life, yeah?"

Inside the Swan, Sayid successfully repairs the computer, leaving Locke to type in the Numbers. When Hurley hears them, he urges Locke not to use them, but stops protesting after seeing Locke enter 32 as the final number. Just as Locke is about to hit the "EXECUTE" button, Jack arrives and tells Locke the correct number: 42. Locke says Jack should be the one to hit the button, but Jack refuses. As the warning alarm sounds, the two argue; Locke asks Jack why it is so hard to believe, and Jack responds by asking why Locke finds it so easy. An upset Locke tells him, "It's never been easy!" and that Jack needs to make a leap of faith of his own. With one second left on the countdown timer, Jack presses the button. Locke, pleased, calmly says he will take the first shift at the computer.


Sayid is successful in fixing the computer.

Across the Island[]

On the beach, Michael and Sawyer discover Jin, arms bound, being chased by a group of five people he calls "Others." The three are attacked and quickly knocked unconscious by one of the group. The people, some dressed in contemporary clothing, drag the unconscious men in nets to a pit covered with bars made of bamboo.


Another "prisoner" of the so-called Others.

Sawyer, Michael and Jin evaluate their prison, and Sawyer attempts to get above the bars by having the others boost him. The man who bested them earlier intervenes, and another prisoner is dropped into the pit. When she awakens, she introduces herself as Ana Lucia, and they determine they were all on Oceanic Flight 815; Ana Lucia was in the rear section, which broke off the rest of the plane in mid-air and landed in a different area from the other survivors. She claims to have survived on her own all this time and that she was then taken prisoner like the three men. Sawyer shows her that he still has his gun, and that he plans to bait the guard and escape. Ana Lucia scoffs at the plan. As they debate, she manages to grab the gun and call for the guard, who lifts her out of the cell. The guard asks her what information she was able to gain, and the men realize she deceived them.


  • The chalkboard present at Locke's anger management group is titled TRANSFORMING ANGER and has the following sub sections:
  • This episode was originally intended to be the final appearance of Desmond, however, due to strong critical response to his character, he was brought back for the season finale, and subsequently became a regular for the following four seasons. (Official Lost Podcast/February 20, 2007)
  • This episode is rated TV-14-V.

Production notes[]

  • Bernard, Cindy, and Libby were portrayed by extras in the scene when attacking the raft survivors and in the following scene when they are being transported to the pit. This could have been done for budgetary reasons as to not pay the actors for a full episode or because they had not been cast yet in the case of Bernard and Libby.
  • The Swan Orientation film was shot on the APO set from seasons 4 and 5 of Alias in Burbank by the Alias crew.
  • The photograph of Desmond and Penelope originally had Henry Ian Cusick with a woman who was clearly not Sonya Walger. Sonya was not hired to portray the character of Penny until the season finale, "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1". This was corrected for subsequent airings of this episode and for the DVD release.
  • Teddy Wells, who portrays Ivan, is seen during Locke's flashback as one of the members in his anger management group. He can be seen when Locke begins to tell everyone that they "feel" too much.
  • This episode marks the first appearances of both future main cast member François Chau (Pierre Chang) and recurring guest star Katey Sagal (Helen Norwood).


The episode ends with the track "The Final Countdown", which combines motifs for Jack and Locke with the theme of the Swan.

Bloopers and Continuity Errors[]

  • When Desmond falls in the jungle, a crew member can be seen in the background.


Recurring themes[]

Cultural references[]

Literary techniques[]

  • On meeting, both the Losties (Sawyer, Jin and Michael) and the Tailies believe the other party to be the Others. (Irony)
  • The Swan Orientation film introduces the presence of the DHARMA Initiative on the Island. (Plot twist)
  • For the second time in his life, Desmond tells Jack: "See you in another life, yeah?" (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • As Desmond is trying to get up to fix the computer, Locke suggests that Jack let him up. He replies with "Don't tell me what to do!" (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Jack pushed the button even though he doesn't "believe in destiny." This confirms Locke's statement that Jack deep inside does "believe in destiny" but he doesn't know it yet; however, at the end of season 4, he will finally turn to be "such a believer" upon Jeremy Bentham's visit. (Foreshadowing)
  • Desmond tells Jack and Locke that Kelvin died. It would turn out that he died on the day of the crash. (Foreshadowing)
  • Jack asks Desmond where the food comes from. (Foreshadowing)
  • Jack expresses to Desmond his adamant belief that there is indeed no need to push the button. However, after traveling back in time Jack will directly cause the incident that renders the pushing of the button necessary. (Irony) (Foreshadowing)
  • Kate knocks Desmond in the head with the rifle after which a bullet is fired and hits the computer monitor. Jack has a gun trained on Desmond who looks at the damaged monitor and says, "We're all going to die!" (Regularly spoken phrases)

Storyline analysis[]

  • The button needs to be pushed before the countdown timer reaches zero. (A-Missions)
  • Jack and Locke are at odds many times in this episode as to the treatment of the button, and whether or not it should be pushed. (Rivalries)

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

Episode allusions[]

  • Hurley warns Locke not to push the button when he starts to type in the Numbers. ("Numbers")  ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • The girl who is pushed into the pit with the raft survivors is Ana Lucia, who Jack met at the airport before boarding Flight 815. ("Exodus, Part 2")