"The Hunting Party" is the eleventh episode of Season 2 of Lost and the 36th produced hour of the series as a whole. Jack faces tension as he wakes to find a gun-toting Michael, who leaves to find Walt. With the help of Locke and Sawyer, Jack heads out to bring Michael back before the Others kill him.


Previously on Lost


Jack and his father discuss their patient's prognosis.

Jack and Christian diagnose an elderly man with a spinal tumor and determine he's not a candidate for surgery. However, the man and his daughter reveal they specifically sought out Jack, whom they know helped his wife to walk after her spine was crushed in a car accident. They are looking for a miracle, and much to his father's dismay, Jack agrees to perform the surgery.

Jack and the man's daughter, Gabriela, form a connection - a dangerous one, according to Christian, who warns Jack to keep his distance. But Jack is spending nights and weekends at the hospital, working overtime, while Gabriela is there at her father's side through a series of tests and pre-surgical procedures. This is causing disharmony at home; Jack and Sarah's marriage is paying the price because Jack is considered a "miracle worker." She tells Jack that the pregnancy test she took was negative. He asks if she wants to talk about it, but she refuses. She gets up, says, "See ya later, Jack" and leaves the room.

Sarah leaving Jack.

After seven and a half hours of surgery, Jack loses his patient on the operating table. Christian blames the man's age and weakened heart, but Jack blames himself, frustrated at his inability to save him. Jack leaves the hospital and finds a distraught Gabriela in tears, waiting in the parking lot. In a moment of grief and weakness, they share a kiss. Jack pulls away and tells Gabriela that he can't. He returns home to Sarah and comes clean about the encounter. He vows that things will be different; he's going to put more effort into their marriage; he's going to fix it. But Sarah feels Jack will always need something to fix. Sarah tells Jack she is leaving him and she has been having an affair for some time. Jack lets her leave without much of a fight.

On the Island

Michael holds Jack at gunpoint.

Jack wakes up in the Swan to find an unconscious Locke lying on the floor in the armory. Behind him, Michael shows up with a gun, aiming at Jack. He tells Jack he is going on a journey after his son, because it is his right as a father. Jack offers to join him, but Michael says he has to do it alone; he locks both Jack and Locke in the armory.

When Locke finally wakes up, Jack tells him what happened. Locke confesses and says he gave Michael a gun for shooting practice. Back at the beach, Kate wakes Sawyer up so that Jack can change his bandages. They enter the Swan and discover Locke and Jack are locked up in the armory. While Kate enters the Numbers into the computer and pushes the button, Sawyer opens the armory door, finding Jack and Locke collecting guns for their mission to try and stop Michael. Sawyer decides to join them, claiming that he needs his doctor around him.

The hunting party in the armory.

Kate also wants to join, but Jack angrily refuses and orders her to stay behind to take care of the button. The hunting party leaves, without Kate.

On their way across the Island, Sawyer asks Jack why he did not let Kate join them. Jack responds with a sarcastic remark about going back to see if he hurt her feelings. Locke figures out that Michael is not going back to where the Tailies came from. Back at camp, Hurley tells Sun and Jin that Michael took off, stole some guns and "went all commando." Jin begins to pack, hoping to catch up with the hunting party, but Sun stops him. He tells her Michael is his friend, and Sun responds that she is his wife.

The hunting party. (promotional still)

Back on the trek, Jack and Locke debate whether they have the right to tell anyone what they can or can’t do; they also discuss what Jack will do once they catch up with Michael. The three of them climb a mountain in the jungle while Locke and Sawyer discuss the meaning of Sawyer's nickname. Locke says he knows his real name is James Ford, and asks who he got his nickname from. Sawyer says, "Who says I got it from anybody?" Seven gun shots are heard in the distance. They run towards the sounds. Locke finds a mark on a tree where a bullet grazed it. They also find three of Michael's shell casings. Sawyer encourages them to keep going, and Jack asks him if he is out here for Michael or for payback for getting shot. Sawyer asks Jack the same question, which he does not answer.

The man from the raft appears in the jungle.

At night, the three of them argue after Locke loses Michael's track. Their disagreement is interrupted by a familiar face in the middle of the jungle, who apparently knows their names. Sawyer recognizes him as "the son of a bitch that shot me on the raft" and tries to shoot him, but a bullet from the bushes grazes Sawyer's ear. Jack asks where Michael is; the man responds that Michael is not going to find them, and asks John to build them a fire.

Back at the Swan, Charlie and Hurley thumb through records and discover an old album by a band called "Geronimo Jackson." They discuss whether Claire misses Charlie, and whether Hurley has a chance pairing with Libby. Sayid shows up, asking where Jack and Locke are. Hurley and Charlie update him and tell him about Michael's quest, and that everyone went after him - Jack, Locke, Sawyer...and Kate.

Charlie and Hurley updating Sayid about Michael.

Back in the jungle, the bearded man says Walt is fine, and he's a very special boy. He chastises them for walking into someone's kitchen, eating food that is not theirs, opening doors to rooms they have no business opening. He also quotes "somebody a whole lot smarter than anybody here," saying, "From the dawn of our species, man's been blessed with curiosity." Jack says he doesn't believe him, and points out that Ethan was sent as a spy, and that Locke, Sawyer, and himself outnumber the Other. The man says that's an interesting theory, and shouts "Light 'em up!" A ring of torches lights up around them, and the hunting party members realize they are surrounded.

Kate is taken hostage. (promotional still)

The bearded man warns the three of them that right there, there is a line, and they are not allowed to cross it. If they do, they would go from "misunderstanding" to "something else." He also says that the Island is theirs, and the survivors still live on it because "they" let them live on it. He calls an Other named Alex to bring "her" out. A head-bagged and gagged Kate comes out with her hands tied tightly behind her back and her bare feet tied tightly together. Jack is enraged, and for a few seconds it seems he'd rather allow Kate to be murdered rather than hand over the guns. But he relents, and Kate is allowed to go free. The Others disappear, and the four castaways return to camp.

Jack and Ana Lucia talking about building an army.

On the trek home, Jack is still angry that Kate disobeyed his orders. She tries to apologize, but he shuts her down and gives her the cold shoulder. Sawyer offers a few encouraging words as the group leaves her at her tent. On the beach, Jack turns to Ana Lucia and says he heard she was a cop, and that she killed one of "them." When she confirms these facts, Jack asks her how long it would take to build an army.


  • Tom says, in reference to the island "Tell me, you go over a man's house for the first time, do you take off your shoes?" Locke did take his shoes off when he first got into the Swan, but Jack did not.
  • Tom also tells Jack, "Somebody a whole lot smarter than anyone here once said, 'Since the dawn of our species, Man has been blessed with curiosity.'" This is the first half of a quote from Alvar Hanso in his 1967 address to the United Nations Security Council as shown on the Hanso Foundation website. (Thehansofoundation.org)
  • Angelo and Gabriela both have strong American accents when they speak in Italian. See the transcript for translation.
  • Hurley finds a record from Geronimo Jackson. The producers claim that it is indeed a real, very obscure, band from the '70s. (Official Lost Podcast/May 15, 2006)
  • The events of this episode are revisited, from Michael's perspective, in "Three Minutes".
  • Matthew Fox (Jack) and Julie Bowen (Sarah) had worked together in the eleventh episode of a different show's second season. In the Party of Five episode "Unfair Advantage", Bowen played a waitress who rejected the advances of Fox's character.[1]

Production notes

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • In the flashbacks, Jack stares for a moment at the X-rays behind him. In the corner of the X-rays there is the date 16 Nov 2005. This is impossible, since the date of the plane crash was September 22nd 2004. It is likely that this was the date the prop was created.
  • When Kate is typing the numbers into the computer you can only hear roughly 6-8 clicks from her typing the numbers into the keyboard. It should take 16 clicks to type the numbers 4-8-15-16-23-42 in.
  • During the final scene, after Jack tells Ana Lucia "I see you made a new friend" and Ana replies "progress", the microphones record someone on the set quipping "Not really."
  • While Kate is being held by Tom Friendly as he presses a gun into Kate's neck, you hear the cocking sound of an external gun hammer by the thumb of the hand gripping the weapon. This is not possible as his gun is a German Luger P08 pistol and they do not have external hammers and as such require two hands to cock the slide.


Recurring themes

  • Angelo has a tumor at the base of his spine and needs Jack to operate on it. Benjamin Linus will require the exact same surgery a few years later.
  • Angelo dies on the operation table. (Life and death)
  • In the flashback, Jack tells Sarah that he kissed another woman. (Secrets)
  • Sun says she used to be told what to do for 4 years. (The Numbers)
  • When Jack, Locke and Sawyer are looking for Michael, they hear 7 shots fired in the jungle and only find 3 shell casings, meaning 4 are missing. (The Numbers)
  • Sawyer calls Tom "Zeke." He calls Locke "Mr. Clean" and "Daniel Boone." (Nicknames)
  • Kate is taken hostage by the Others. (Imprisonment)
  • Michael locks Jack and Locke in the hatch armory before taking off after Walt. (Imprisonment)
  • Sarah tells Jack she took a pregnancy test, but it was negative. (Pregnancies)
  • Jack questions Sawyer's motives for going on "the hunt". Sawyer's actions also imply he wasn't just going after Michael. (Revenge)

Cultural references

  • The Hunting Party: The title is a reference to the Western of the same name starring Oliver Reed and Gene Hackman. The two share little in common in terms of plot.
  • Daniel Boone: Sawyer calls Locke "Daniel Boone," after the American pioneer and hunter whose frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. (History)
  • Mr. Clean: Sawyer calls Locke "Mr. Clean." Mr. Clean is a mascot brand name of a popular cleaning product. He is a muscular, tanned, bald man who cleans things very well. (Movies and TV)
  • The Wizard of Oz: Sawyer calls Tom "Zeke", after the Kansas farmhand, who also represented the cowardly lion, in this movie. (Movies and TV)
  • "Fall on me": In the Swan, Hurley and Charlie listen to this song by the Pousette-Dart Band (PDB) (Music)
  • John F. Kennedy assassination: When Jack, Locke and Sawyer hear the gunfight ahead of them and then find the shell casings left behind, they find only three, yet claim to have heard seven shots fired. This is a reference to the Warren Commission of the John F. Kennedy assassination, which concluded that three shots were fired, and three shells were found in the Book Depository, even though more are audible of video evidence of the event. (History)
  • World War II: Tom is using a Luger P08 pistol which is notorious for it's usage by the Nazis during World War II. (History)
  • Curiosity killed the cat: "You know the other one about curiosity, don't you Jack?'", asks Tom. He was referring to this famous proverb, used to warn against being too inquisitive lest one comes to harm. The earliest printed reference to the origin of this proverb is attributed to English playwright Ben Jonson in his 1598 play, "Every Man in His Humour." (Literature)  (History)

Literary techniques

Storyline analysis

  • Jack, Locke and Sawyer track Michael across the Island. (A-Missions)
  • Jack tells Kate to stay behind, but she ignores his order and follows them. (Relationships)
  • The Others deliver a message to the Hunting Party, making them turn around. (O-Missions)
  • Jack and Locke disagree on whether or not they should try to find Michael. (Rivalries)

Episode connections

Episode references

  • Locke says he knows the name "Sawyer" wasn't on the manifest but that "James Ford" was. ("Raised by Another")
  • Jack tells Mr. Friendly that if the Others had any real strength they wouldn't have sent a spy. ("Raised by Another")  ("Homecoming")
  • Sawyer recognizes the bearded man from the boat that intercepted the raft. ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • Mr. Friendly says the survivors "open doors you got no business opening" in reference to opening the hatch. ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • Angelo and Gabriela reference Jack miraculously healing Sarah. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Locke asks Sawyer which side the beach was on when he walked across the Island back to their camp. ("...And Found")  ("Abandoned")
  • Sawyer mentions Cindy being taken. ("Abandoned")
  • Ana Lucia says she was a cop. ("Collision")
  • Jack refers back to hearing Sawyer mumble that he "loves her". ("What Kate Did")
  • Locke says Michael wanted a gun for shooting practice. ("The 23rd Psalm")

Episode allusions