m (The gas didn't cover the whole island, according to {{ep|3x20}}.)
Line 8: Line 8:
|combatants=[[The Hostiles]] vs. [[DHARMA Initiative]]
|combatants=[[The Hostiles]] vs. [[DHARMA Initiative]]
|outcome=[[Hostiles]] victory
|outcome=[[Hostiles]] victory
|fatalities=Over forty members of the DHARMA Initiative were killed, including [[Horace]], [[Amy Goodspeed|Amy]], and [[Roger]]
|fatalities=Over forty members of the DHARMA Initiative were killed, including [[Horace]], [[Amy Goodspeed|Amy]], [[Pierre Chang]], and [[Roger]]
Following an extended period of conflict between the [[Hostiles]] and the [[DHARMA Initiative]], the island's natives executed '''The Purge''', releasing poison gas and killing almost every Initiative member. After inhaling the gas, which originated from DHARMA's own [[Tempest]] station, the members suffered violent spasms, [[nosebleed|nosebeeds]] and eventually [[death]].
Following an extended period of conflict between the [[Hostiles]] and the [[DHARMA Initiative]], the island's natives executed '''The Purge''', releasing poison gas and killing almost every Initiative member. After inhaling the gas, which originated from DHARMA's own [[Tempest]] station, the members suffered violent spasms, [[nosebleed|nosebeeds]] and eventually [[death]].

Revision as of 02:33, October 24, 2010

Following an extended period of conflict between the Hostiles and the DHARMA Initiative, the island's natives executed The Purge, releasing poison gas and killing almost every Initiative member. After inhaling the gas, which originated from DHARMA's own Tempest station, the members suffered violent spasms, nosebeeds and eventually death.

Ongoing conflict

Sometime between its 1970 founding and 1973, by which time they established themselves on the Island, the DHARMA Initiative became aware of a defensive group if indigenous people. ("The Man Behind the Curtain") Mikhail claimed that the DHARMA Initiative "foolishly initiated a war against" his group and called it "the Purge". ("Enter 77") On the other hand the Others had previously exterminated other groups who came to the Island, like the US Army. ("Jughead")

DHARMA Initiative strategist Horace Goodspeed acknowledged that his group had been "having some skirmishes with the natives." While Benjamin Linus was still a schoolboy, his lessons were interrupted by skirmishes between the factions, involving a shoot out and explosions near the Barracks. The DHARMA Initiative installed a warning system to alert the community against incursions. The sonar fence built around the perimeter of the Barracks may have functioned to protect the community against attack.

DHARMA took further steps as the conflict escalated, including devoting one of their stations to developing new defensive strategies, installing of security cameras and other monitoring systems, stockpiling weapons (an unusual step for a utopian community) and even employing a professional interrogator. The conflict does not appear to have been helped by the appearance of the time shifting survivors in 1974-1977.

The conflict between the two groups may have spanned as long as 22 years.

Violation of the Truce by the DHARMA Initiative

Ben meets up with Richard, moments after the purge. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")

According to the Richard Alpert's addendums to the original Truce from August 1973 between him and Horace Goodspeed, the DHARMA Initiative was not allowed to

  • enter or violate any ruins on the island.
  • dig or drill any more than ten meters into the ground, even in their designated territory.
  • stay longer than fifteen years. At the end of this term all facilities and personnel are to leave the island.
  • exceed a maximum population of D.I. members of 216 at any one time on the island.

However, the DHARMA Initiative conducted digs under the houses of the barracks, performed drills at the Orchid and Swan Station and hadn't left the island by August 1988 in addition of developing counter-measures against "the Hostiles".

The Purge

After years of conflict, the Others reacted with extreme measures. At 4 P.M. Ben murdered his father, Roger Linus, with a canister of toxic gas, and when he returned to the Barracks, the bodies of DHARMA Initiative members lay strewn about on the ground. Horace Goodspeed, who brought Ben and his father to the Island, sat dead on a bench, and Ben closed Horace's eyes in a gesture of respect. As Ben and the Others removed their gas masks, Richard Alpert offered to retrieve Ben's father's body, an offer Ben declined. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")

It is unknown how many members of the DHARMA Initiative defected to the Others before the Purge, but Ben indicated he was not alone in doing so. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1") Other DHARMA Initiative members may have survived the Purge, protected from the gas attack by quarantine safety measures such as had been implemented at the Swan. Stuart Radzinsky and Kelvin Inman are known to have survived the Purge.

Exactly who ordered and planned the Purge remains unclear, although it appears Charles Widmore was the leader at the time. ("Dead Is Dead") Ben seemed to take responsibility ("Not so long ago, Jack. I made a decision, that took the lives of over forty people in a single day") ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1") but also stated that the Purge "wasn't (his) decision" because he answered to someone else, the Others' leaders. ("Cabin Fever")

The Tempest

Juliet approaches the Tempest. ("The Other Woman")
4x06 WarningTempest
Warning on the Tempest's computer. ("The Other Woman")

It has not yet been revealed how the gas attack was perpetrated on the DHARMA Initiative, although it is highly likely the Others seized control of the Tempest, a DHARMA station and chemical weapons development facility. ("The Other Woman") Ben's account of the Purge was supported by Charlotte Lewis's statement when she and Daniel Faraday were trying to neutralize the gas in the Tempest in order to prevent Ben from killing everyone on the Island:

CHARLOTTE: Juliet... look me in the eye and tell me you are certain that Benjamin Linus wouldn't use this gas to kill everyone on this island! We know he's used it before. ("The Other Woman")

The Lamp Post

An additional operation during the Purge may have taken place off the Island. The Lamp Post—a station used to find the Island—was originally constructed by the DHARMA Initiative, but later fell into the custody of Eloise Hawking. Eloise described the DHARMA Initiative in the third person, indicating she was not a member of the Initiative. In keeping with the Others' goal of protecting the Island, they would have a strong motivation to hide this station from the outside world and prevent its use. ("The Lie")  ("316")


C-4 in the basement of the Flame
What happens when you "Enter 77".

The DHARMA Initiative was apparently prepared for attacks by the Hostiles in the Flame, an outlying communications outpost. The Flame was rigged with explosives and in the event of an "incursion on the station", the operators of the station were instructed to enter the code 77 into the station's computer, triggering the detonation of the C-4 in the basement of the station. ("Enter 77") The DHARMA Initiative was also well armed, as indicated by the existence of armories at both the Swan and the Hydra stations. A number of firearms were also kept at the Barracks, and the sonar fence was equipped with an early warning system to report a perimeter breach. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")


Horace in Locke's dream ("Cabin Fever")

According to Locke's dream in "Cabin Fever", Horace died 12 years before 2004, in 1992. Other evidence supports this date for the Purge. Kelvin Inman, who served in the Gulf War (1990-1991), joined the Initiative, presumably before the Purge. ("Live Together, Die Alone") When Danielle arrived in 1988, the Others had apparently not yet moved to the Barracks. ("Dead Is Dead") This chronology, however, leaves unclear how Danielle entered the radio tower and replaced its message without DHARMA's intervention. The Lost Encyclopedia dates the Purge to 1987.



Gas grenade
Ben's gas grenade ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
  • In an article published on March 6, 2007, when asked for a 10-word teaser about "Enter 77", Damon Lindelof replied that only a one-word tease was required: "Purge."
  • The term "purge" in politics means to "remove people considered by the group in power to be 'undesirable' from a government, political party, a profession, or from community or society as a whole, often by violent means." The term is often associated with the totalitarian Stalinist and Maoist regimes.
  • The event of the Purge, especially where it took place, bears resemblance to the real-world event of Jonestown. The people of Jonestown sought a utopia just like the people of DHARMA Initiative; the Barracks look similar to the Jonestown Troolie Cottages; and they had a radio tower.

Production notes

  • Lost: The Complete Third Season (DVD) commentary revealed that the mechanism for the Purge at the Barracks was different from the mechanism Ben used in the van. The gas canister was added in post-production to give Ben a more active role in his father's death. The original plan was for something to happen more-or-less Island-wide to cause the Purge.
    • This mass purging, rather than a series of individual acts, was later confirmed by Charlotte's statements while neutralizing the Tempest. ("The Other Woman")

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: The Purge/Theories
  • Apart from Ben and Ethan, were there other defectors who joined the Hostiles?

See also

Community content is available under CC BY-NC-ND unless otherwise noted.