For the sacred poem, see Psalm 23.

"The 23rd Psalm" is the tenth episode of Season 2 of Lost and the 35th produced hour of the series as a whole. When Eko finds Charlie's Virgin Mary statue, he demands that he take him to where he found it at once. Elsewhere, Michael continues to communicate on the Swan computer without the other survivors knowing.


Previously on Lost[]

  • Immediately before the crash, Charlie enters the bathroom aboard Flight 815 to snort heroin. ("Pilot, Part 2")
  • On the Island, Charlie asks Locke for the last remaining bag of his heroin, which he then throws in the fire. ("The Moth")
  • Sayid tells Charlie about the downed beechcraft the drug smugglers used, breaking open a Virgin Mary statue to show that it is full of bags of heroin. ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • In the Swan, Michael notices a message on the computer. Typing back to the other person, he is stunned to learn it is Walt. ("What Kate Did")



The guerrillas taking Eko.

Nigerian guerrillas descend upon a small village. They grab a small boy, Yemi, and try to force him to shoot an old man. The boy hesitates, so his older brother takes the gun and shoots the man himself. The guerrillas are pleased with this, and ask him his name, to which he replies, "Eko." The leader says that "Mr." Eko is a "born killer," and takes him, leaving his brother and the other children behind. Eko's cross is torn from his neck by the leader, who says, "You won't need this anymore." Yemi picks up the cross as Eko rides away into the distance, facing life as a child soldier.

Many years later, Eko has become a powerful warlord in Nigeria. He meets with an Arabic-speaking drug dealer, Middle Eastern or North African, who is trying to get a large quantity of heroin out of the country. Eko offers to do him a "favor," buying the drugs at a ridiculously low price and spiriting them out of the country. Eko correctly deduces the man's quandary, in that he was stuck with a large supply of drugs in a country with no market for them, and no ability to smuggle the drugs to a richer country. The drug runner reluctantly agrees. Before he leaves, however, he tells Eko, "It's true what they say about you. You have no soul." Eko proceeds to slit the throat of the man and his assistant, but lets the man's son live, saying, "Tell all your friends that I let you live, that Mr. Eko let you live."


Mr. Eko "taking care of business."

Now a grown man, Eko visits the church in his hometown. A woman outside is trying to sell statues of the Virgin Mary to raise money for polio vaccines for the village. Eko's brother Yemi, who has become a priest, appears from the church and greets him. Eko asks him for a plane, because only foreign and missionary aircraft are allowed to fly out of Nigeria. He says he will fly the drugs out of Nigeria, away from their people, and give his brother the money for the polio vaccines. His brother tells Eko that he still loves him, but refuses to get involved with the scheme.

Eko later approaches his brother again, asking Yemi to sign papers that will make Mr. Eko and two other men priests so that they can fly a plane themselves. His brother refuses at first; Eko tells his brother that if he does not obey he will not hurt him, but his friends will burn the church to the ground. His brother reluctantly signs.


Eko putting his brother's body in the Beechcraft.

Eko and his two gangster friends are dressed as priests as they prepare to board a small plane at a landing strip near the village. They are interrupted by Yemi, who drives up to the plane and begs Eko not to leave. He insists Eko will die if he gets on the plane. Yemi is soon followed by the Nigerian military. Eko's two friends open fire at the soldiers, and one dies in the firefight. Eko's brother tells the soldiers to stop, but he gets shot himself. Eko carries his brother into the plane and tells his friend to get in. His friend does, but kicks Eko away from the plane before he can get in. As Eko watches the plane carrying his wounded brother fly away, the military approach and, mistaking Eko for a real priest, ask Eko, "Are you alright, Father?"

On the Island[]


Claire introducing herself to Eko.

Claire introduces herself to Eko and sees that he is carving scripture into the head of his club. She says he should talk to Charlie about religion, given the Virgin Mary statue he has been carrying. Eko is surprised that the statue was found on the island and demands to see it. Claire tells him it's "just a statue," but he breaks open the statue and shows Claire the heroin inside. Charlie denies he knew what was in the statue, but Claire doubts him. Eko demands that Charlie take him to the place where he found the statue. Charlie takes him to a tree and claims that he found the statue under the tree. Eko becomes upset and demands that Charlie take him "to the plane." Charlie also notices the scriptures on the stick Eko carries.


Michael aiming at a bottle of DHARMA ranch dressing.

Meanwhile, Locke teaches Michael how to use a gun. Michael asks Kate if he can have her shift at the computer; she agrees. Michael types a message to Walt, but the computer won't take any input. It comes on by itself, displaying "Dad?" It asks if Michael is alone, and finally claims Michael has to come for him. The person on the computer says that "they are coming back," but, before he can say anymore, Jack arrives. Jack talks to Michael, saying that everyone cares about Walt, and as soon as they can, they will go out to bring him back. When Jack walks behind Michael on his way out, the conversation has disappeared from the monitor.


Michael communicating with Walt on the Swan computer.

Charlie takes Eko further into the jungle, complaining that Eko ruined his relationship with Claire and Mr. Eko shouldn't judge him because it was his brother that got him addicted to heroin. Eko and Charlie find a parachute in a tree, which leads to the corpse of the Nigerian man dressed as a priest that Boone and Locke had found. He opens the man's shirt. The dead man wears no cross but instead has one gold tooth, which Eko touches. When he realizes it's not his brother, he says a prayer, telling Charlie that this man saved his life.

Charlie loses his way, and Mr. Eko tells him to climb a tree. Charlie reluctantly obliges. While he is in the tree, there are explosions in the jungle and the black smoke that Jack, Locke and Kate once saw arrives. Mr. Eko stands his ground, despite Charlie telling him to run. The black smoke approaches Eko. Eko stares fearlessly at the smoke for a few moments, and as the camera passes through the cloud, there is a chattering noise. There are dark images flashing inside the cloud, images which are from Eko's past: the man he shot, his mother, his brother, a church, and a crucifix. The black smoke pulls back and disappears.

Yemi's cross

The cross on Yemi's dead body.

Eko and Charlie find the plane. Eko finds another corpse inside, opens its shirt, finds the cross around the corpse's neck, and weeps. Eko tells Charlie that the man inside is his brother. He gives Charlie a Virgin Mary statue "for the one I broke."


The Beechcraft burning.

Charlie asks Eko if he is in fact, a priest himself. Eko pauses, then smiles softly and puts the cross around his neck. "Yes," he replies, "I am." He burns the plane, reciting Psalm 23 from the Old Testament. Charlie joins in the recitation.

At the Beach camp, several survivors lead their island life. Kate gives Sawyer a haircut, Jin introduces Sun to Ana Lucia and presents her with a fish, and Hurley helps Libby set up shelter, both glancing flirtatiously at each other. Finally, Charlie apologizes to Claire, but Claire tells him to leave her and Aaron alone. Charlie goes into the jungle and opens a hiding place to reveal that he has seven additional Virgin Mary statues. He places the one that Mr. Eko gave him with the other seven.


  • This episode ended nearly a year and half of speculation about the nature of the Monster when it finally made its first full appearance.
  • When Eko stares down the Monster many faces from his past are visible inside the smoke when freeze-framed.
  • When played very fast, one can hear someone saying "Wah Wah Wah" to generate the growling sound of the smoke cloud. [source needed]
  • The montage toward the end of the episode shows the first interaction between Hurley and Libby.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-LV.

Production notes[]

  • Yunjin Kim (Sun) and Cynthia Watros (Libby) appear without lines.
  • Michelle Rodriguez (Ana Lucia)'s speaking lines are inaudible. She can be seen verbally thanking Sun and Jin for gifting her fish.
    • Her dialogue occurs during Eko's Psalm 23 recital which dubs over a montage of the beach camp survivors interacting with one another.
  • All of Eko's African flashbacks are shot with a yellow tinted lens, to simulate the dusty environment of Nigeria.
  • An audio commentary by Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and Bryan Burk for this episode is available on the Season 2 DVD.
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 2 DVD.
  • The opening credits appear before the Lost title sequence, when they usually appear after.
    • The word "Starring" is missing from the credits, when usually they appear above the first main cast member's name.

Deleted scenes[]

  • A deleted scene from this episode shows an awkward conversation between Kate and Jack. Kate asks Jack for scissors and Jack tells her that if she sees Sawyer she needs to remind him that he has to get his bandages changed. Jack leaves while Kate looks on after him.
  • A deleted scene from this episode shows Claire walking over to a mourning Sayid on rocks at the shores edge. Claire asks Sayid if Charlie knew that the drugs were in the Virgin Mary statue before he "found it." Sayid asks why Claire is asking and Claire states that she has to know because Charlie is taking care of her baby and could be a danger.
  • A deleted scene from this episode shows Michael asking Locke whether he thinks the computer in the Hatch could be connected to other stations around the island or a main power source. Michael points out that the amount of machinery in the Hatch couldn't just be for the computer. Locke agrees to the possibility but reminds Michael that the computer is just for the button and not for communication.

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

  • Even though the line of the 23rd psalm that Eko recites with Charlie is supposed to be "the valley of the shadow of death," both clearly say, "the shadow of the valley of death." When the writers created this scene, they made that mistake, but upon reflection believed that the error was appropriate as Eko was never a proper priest. (Season 2 DVD commentary)
  • The DHARMA Ranch Composite shows the word "DHARAMA" on the label, instead of "DHARMA".
  • Eko's dangling earring switches ears before he enters Yemi's church. It starts on his right when he's talking to the woman selling the statues, and then moves to the left when Yemi greets him, though this could just be a reverse shot.
  • The military truck is missing the bullet hole in the windshield in a close shot. In the next shot, it returns.
  • During the opening scene the subtitle for the priest says, "Don't take anymore of the children." To be grammatically correct this should read, "Don't take any more of the children", with the word "anymore" separated into two words.
  • Sweat vanishes from Eko's neck between shots in the flashback of Eko tasting the drugs.
  • Yemi's corpse has a full head of hair though he had none while alive.
  • When Eko smashes the statue, no heroin remains on the table. In the next shot, a bag of heroin is on the table.
    • Previously on Lost for "Fire + Water" has an edit where the heroin does remain on the table when Eko smashes the statue.


This episode introduces a theme and a motif for Eko. The former closes the episode, appearing on the Season 2 soundtrack as "All's Forgiven... Except Charlie".


Recurring themes[]

  • The Nigerian guerrillas tell each other to "get the children." (Children)
  • In flashback, Mr. Eko killed two people, but released the child that was with them. (Life and death)  (Children)
  • Young Yemi is told to kill the old man, but young Eko runs and takes the gun and shoots the man for him. The Nigerian guerrilla told Eko he was a "born killer" and ripped off the cross around his neck. (Life and death)  (Religion)
  • Referring to the biblical "Aaron," Eko called him a "great man." (Good and bad people)  (Religion)
  • Charlie said it was his brother's fault he started heroin. He says of himself "I was a good person." (Good and bad people)
  • Yemi grew up to be a Priest and Eko disguises himself as one. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Charlie tried to convince Claire and Eko that he didn't know that heroin was inside of the statues. (Deceptions and cons)
  • The title of the episode is the 23rd Psalm. (The Numbers)
  • With addition of the one Mr. Eko gave him, Charlie has 8 Virgin Mary statues in his hiding spot. (The Numbers)
  • The kids in the flashbacks were playing soccer. (Games)
  • Sawyer calls Hurley "Pillsbury." (Nicknames)

Cultural references[]

Literary techniques[]

  • Michael begins target practice with Locke. He agrees that running off to find Walt would not be a wise plan, but still ends up doing it. (Irony)  (Foreshadowing)
  • The Beechcraft Locke and Boone found turned out to be carrying Eko's brother Yemi, and Eko himself was supposed to be in it instead. (Plot twist)
  • Charlie protests that it was his brother's fault that he started taking heroin. Similarly, we learn that Eko's induction into a life of crime was a direct consequence of his own brother's hesitation. (Juxtaposition)

Storyline analysis[]

  • Eko killed an old man when he was a child. (Crimes)
  • Claire tells Charlie she doesn't want him around any longer. (Relationships)
  • Eko kills two Moroccan drug dealers. (Crimes)

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

Episode allusions[]

  • Eko stands his ground against the Monster the same way Locke did. ("Walkabout")
  • The origin of the Beechcraft is revealed. ("Deus Ex Machina")
  • Michael continues to talk to Walt on the Swan computer. ("What Kate Did")