"This Place Is Death" is the fifth episode of Season 5 of Lost, and the ninety-first produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on February 11, 2009. After meeting the French science team, Jin reunites with the remaining Island survivors, who are experiencing trouble in coping with Charlotte's deteriorating health. Meanwhile, Sun holds Ben at gunpoint and stops his plans to return to the Island.


Previously on Lost[]

On the Island[]

17 November 1988[]

5x05 Montand monster

The Monster looms over Montand.

Jin, confused, asks Danielle her name and where she came from. Danielle responds that her group left Tahiti on 15 November 1988. Jin argues with the members of the science expedition about what to do next. He wants to return to the beach camp, while Robert and the others want to find the radio tower, which is the source of the transmission. The expedition members convince Jin to accompany them to the radio tower, as Jin does not know the way to his own camp from the current location.


The temple's hieroglyphs.

Danielle stops to rest as they trek into the jungle, and flirts with Robert about the gender and name of their baby. Robert offers her water, but does not have a canteen; they call to Nadine, who had been carrying their canteen, but she is missing. They look for her briefly, then Montand directs others to conduct searches. They hear a noise, which Jin identifies as the Monster. A few moments later, a tree is torn up and Nadine's dead body lands near them. Jin yells at the group to run as the smoke monster makes its way through the trees. The monster catches Montand and drags him through the jungle to a Cerberus vent near some old ruins.

5x05 Temple

A temple is found by Jin.

The group chases him and manages to grab his arm just before the monster can pull him down the hole. As they struggle with the monster, a tentacle of smoke wraps itself around Montand's shirt sleeve and arm, separating the arm from Montand and the sleeve from the shirt. Horrified, the group discards the severed arm. They then hear Montand calling from the hole, saying that he has been wounded and needs help. The members of the science expedition decide to enter the hole, despite Jin's warning not to. Lacombe, Brennan, and Robert enter the hole, but Jin manages to convince Danielle to remain behind for the sake of her baby. As they wait, Jin experiences a time flash.

January-February 1989[]

5x05 HisOldArm

Jin finds Montand's decayed arm.

This time flash places Jin two months into the future from the last time period, and he sees Montand's decayed arm on the ground, next to ruins covered with hieroglyphs. Traveling through the jungle, he sees a pillar of smoke. Returning to the beach, he finds a makeshift camp, including the (still playing) music box which Robert had given Danielle. Nearby he finds the dead bodies of Lacombe and Brennan lying side-by-side. Brennan has been shot in the chest, and Lacombe has been shot in the head. Moving closer, he hears voices in an argument. Approaching, he sees Danielle and Robert: both are armed with rifles.


Danielle holds her lover at gunpoint.

Danielle is accusing Robert of not being her husband, asserting that he has become infected by the monster. Robert tries to reassure her that he still loves her and has not changed. He insists that the smoke monster is not a "monster" but merely a security system for the temple that they discovered. Robert asks her to put down her gun. When she lowers her weapon Robert raises his towards her and pulls the trigger, but Danielle had already removed the firing pin and the gun fails to fire. Horrified, Danielle shoots Robert in the head. When Jin cries out in alarm she turns towards him, recognizing him from his disappearance. Insisting that he too is infected, and that he was "the carrier," she begins firing at him. Jin rushes into the jungle to hide and experiences another time flash.

First unknown time period[]


The group experiences one of many time flashes. (promotional still)

Before Jin can react, he hears a gun being cocked and someone ordering him to turn around. Obeying, he discovers that it is Sawyer, accompanied by Daniel, Charlotte, Miles, Locke, and Juliet. Sawyer and Jin happily embrace each other, but Jin is dismayed when he doesn't see Sun and asks about her. With Charlotte's help translating Korean, they communicate the situation to him. They resume traveling towards the Orchid Station.

Second unknown time period[]

While the party is walking single-file along a trail a flash takes them from daylight to darkness. They have virtually no time to recover from the flash.

Third unknown time period[]


Charlotte warns Jin of the Island's deathly attributes.

The next flash takes the party back to daylight. Both Sawyer and Juliet develop nosebleeds. Charlotte collapses, and she begins to speak incoherently, partly in Korean. She tells Jin, "Don't let them bring her back," and "This place is death." Charlotte begins suffering mental time slips, speaking as if she is experiencing events from her past. She asks, "Why can't Daddy come with us?" and makes two statements: "You know what my mother would say about me marrying an American," and "I know more about ancient Carthage than Hannibal himself."

Fourth unknown time period[]

As yet another time flash occurs, Daniel asks for help carrying Charlotte to the Orchid, but Locke refuses, asserting that she will only slow them down. Despite Charlotte's insistence that Daniel should leave her behind, he refuses to do so. Sawyer asks Locke what he wants to do if the Orchid Station is not there anymore. Charlotte tells them, "Look for the well - you'll find it at the well." Accordingly the rest of the group leaves them and continues on to the Orchid.

The group arrives at the ruins of the Orchid, placing them sometime much after the creation of the DHARMA Initiative in the 1970s. Juliet comments that they're lucky the station exists in the current time period.

Fifth unknown time period[]


The well that leads to the wheel.

The Orchid disappears. Something catches Locke's eye, and he heads through the jungle to a nearby stone well with a rope leading into it. Miles asks how Charlotte knew about the well. Meanwhile, Daniel tries to comfort Charlotte. Still suffering the effects of time flashes she tells Dan that she grew up on the Island and mentions the DHARMA Initiative. She describes moving to England with her mother, leaving behind her father, whom she never saw again. Though her mother tried to convince her she had merely imagined the place, Charlotte devoted her life to finding the Island. She also confides in Dan that she remembers a "crazy" man from her childhood who scared her. This man had told her that she must never come back to the Island or she would die.


Charlotte dies, mourned by Faraday.

She tells Dan that she now realizes that he is that man. She appears to lapse back into her childhood and utters she's not allowed to have chocolate before dinner. Moments later, Charlotte dies.

Back at the well, Locke attempts to climb down the rope, but Jin stops him, threatening to cut the rope unless Locke promises to not bring Sun back. Jin tells Locke to tell Sun that he has died; a lie to prevent her from returning to the island. Locke is to tell Sun that he buried Jin's body after it washed up on shore. When Locke is unsure how he will convince her of this, Jin gives Locke his wedding ring. After promising not to try to bring Sun, Locke says goodbye to them all and Sawyer helps him down the well. As Locke begin descending the shaft, the sky brightens and there is a light at the bottom of the well. As the flash occurs and the time period changes, the top part of the well becomes filled in, the rope is severed, and Locke falls.

1867 or earlier[]

5x05 AScoldingShephard

Christian scolds John.

Sawyer discovers the rope he is holding leads to solid dirt. The well is gone. Sawyer frantically tries to dig at the ground, but Juliet tells him to stop.

Locke has fallen into a cavern below the well that appears to be the frozen wheel room and has suffered a compound fracture to his shin. Christian Shephard appears and chides Locke for allowing Ben to turn the wheel, when Christian told Locke to do it. He tells Locke that he must find everyone who left the Island and take them to Eloise Hawking.


Locke fulfills his destiny and turns the frozen wheel.

When Locke asks about Richard's statement that he would have to die, Christian responds, "I suppose that's why they call it 'sacrifice'." He instructs Locke to fix the frozen wheel saying it's off its axis. After unsuccessfully asking Christian for assistance, Locke struggles around a corner, where he witnesses the wheel rocking back and forth and emitting flashes of green light. Hieroglyphs are visible in the background. Locke pulls the wheel back into alignment as Christian says to say "hello" to his son. Locke asks who his son is as the room is engulfed by light.

Off the Island[]


Sun learns that Jin is alive.

Sun talks on the phone with her mother and Ji-Yeon, who are back in Korea. Sun tells her daughter that she misses her and that she met a new friend back in America: Aaron. After finishing her conversation, Sun pulls out her gun and goes to threaten Ben. He tells Sun that Jin is alive, and he can prove it. Sun yells at Ben that she has spent the last 3 years believing Jin was dead. Kate takes Aaron back, putting him in her car. Ben explains that someone in Los Angeles has proof, he’ll take her and show her the truth, which is the same person that will show them how to get back to the Island.


Desmond reunites with the others.

Kate begins to argue with Jack, accusing him of pretending to care about Aaron and her just to get them to go back. Jack says he was never pretending, but Kate leaves with Aaron in her car. Sayid isn't bothering with it either, and leaves as well after warning Jack that he doesn't want to see him or Ben again. Ben, Sun, and Jack remain, and Sun tells Ben to take her to where he can find proof.

Ben drives the Canton-Rainier van to the church where Eloise Hawking is known to reside. Jack apologizes to Sun for leaving Jin behind, and that he should have waited for him. Sun asks why he’s telling her this now, if it's because he wants to stop her from killing Ben. Jack says after what he just did to Kate "if you don't do it Sun, I will." Ben pulls the car over and yells at them in frustration, claiming he's been trying to keep them safe.

After arriving at the church, Ben pulls out Jin's wedding ring, which he gives to Sun, saying he was sorry he had to hold it until now, and that it was given to him by Locke. Jack brings up that Ben said Locke never went to see him, and Ben says no, he went to see Locke.


"Let's get started".

Ben tells Jack and Sun that they need to help all those left on the island, and says the woman in the church can help them get back, and that time is running out. Sun looks at the ring in her hand, and agrees.

Desmond approaches the group and asks what they are doing there. He says "Are you looking for Faraday's mother, too?" A stunned Ben doesn't answer him and enters the church. The rest follow shortly and they find Eloise lighting votive candles. She asks Ben why only four of them are here. He replies, "This is all I could get on short notice." Ms. Hawking replies "Well I suppose it will have to do for now. All right, let's get started" and smiles.


  • This is the first episode of the entire series in which Ben and Desmond speak to each other. They had previously only been in one scene together, at the cockpit wreckage in "The Beginning of the End." It is also the first episode of the entire series to feature Ben and Sun speaking to each other, even though both were in the same locations during "The Beginning of the End". This episode is also only the second time Locke and Jin have spoken to each other in the entire series. They had previously only had a small exchange in "What Kate Did" after Locke cut the handcuff off Jin's wrist.
  • As of the end of this episode Sawyer, Jin and Claire are the last remaining members of the 14 originial main cast characters who are still on the island.
  • The title refers to a line Charlotte has in the episode.
  • Between time flashes, Charlotte says "Turn it up! I love Geronimo Jackson!".
  • There are a number of discrepancies between the revealed history of the science expedition and Danielle's account of the same as told sixteen years later to Sayid and Hurley. Likely this is the result of the trauma that occurred around the death of her team and her long isolation on the Island. ("Solitary")  ("Numbers")
  • The camera lingers momentarily on a lamp post outside the church. The station by the same name hidden beneath the church is revealed in "316".
  • This episode features the most number (8) of time shifts.
  • This episode is rated TV-14-V.

Production notes[]

  • This is the second episode to not feature any flashbacks or flash-forwards (not counting transitions between the different on-island and off-island time periods), the other one being "The Constant".
  • In this episode, the camera was moved in an erratic manner while the time flashes were occurring.
  • This is the second of only two episodes of Lost not to feature any new characters, the other one being "The Brig".
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 5 DVD with the bonus disc.

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

  • After Danielle shoots Robert, she spots Jin and attempts to shoot him as well. Drawing back the bolt of the rifle to extract the spent casing, she loads a fresh round and fires several rounds in quick succession. There was not enough time to reload the bolt-action weapon.
  • Jin seems to know where the radio tower is, although he has never been there.
  • We see that Robert takes the radio from Montand to try to ask Jin if there is a radio tower on the Island. However, when he crouches to draw a radio tower in the sand, we can see Montand with the same radio in his hand, which magically multiplied, because in the next scene, Robert is still holding the radio.
  • When Robert is drawing a radio tower in the sand, we see the leg of someone behind him, wearing shorts, however, no one is supposed to be there besides Jin, Rousseau, Montand, and Robert.
  • Due to an image reversal in post-production, John Locke's scar switches to the other side of his face when he grabs onto the well rope.
  • Sun says that she wants to kill Ben because she believes Ben is responsible for killing Jin. Yet she had no way of knowing that Ben killed Keamy, causing the destruction of the ship. From what she knows, Charles Widmore would be much more responsible for Jin's apparent death, but when she met him, she had no problem with him.


Recurring themes[]

  • The episode title is This Place is Death. (Death)
  • Ben drives a van with the name "Canton-Rainier." This is an anagram for "reincarnation." (Resurrection)  (Anagrams)
  • Ben previously told Jack the last time he saw Locke was three years ago on the Island; he has, however, seen him since then. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Danielle tells Jin that her team departed for their expedition on 15 November 1988. (The Numbers)
  • Montand's arm is ripped off. After the next flash, Jin sees the decayed arm. (Missing body parts)
  • Charlotte dies after suffering through the time jumps. (Death)
  • When Charlotte dies, her eyes remain open. (Eyes)
  • Charlotte lived on the Island when she was young due to her parents being members of DHARMA. After a few years, Charlotte left the Island with her mother and without her father. Charlotte's mother claimed that the Island never existed, causing Charlotte to make it her life's mission to find it again. (Secrets)  (Parent issues)
  • When Charlotte was a child, Daniel told her to leave the island and never come back. (Character connections)  (Fate versus free will)
  • Christian Shephard tells Locke that him dying is part of "sacrifice." (Sacrifice)
  • Jin gave Locke his wedding ring, and Ben took it from Locke. (Character connections)
  • Sun talks on the phone with her daughter. (Children)
  • The Numbers are again heard over the walkie-talkie. The voice is Jorge Garcia's (Hurley), but Gregg Nations claims this was an "easter egg" rather than a plot point. (The Numbers)
  • Robert and Danielle discuss their child's sex and name. (Pregnancies)  (Children)
  • Sawyer refers to Charlotte as "Red." (Nicknames)
  • When they gather at the Docks with Ben, a wide shot shows a yacht with the name "Illusion" broadly down its side. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Rousseau kills Robert and the rest of her team. (Death)
  • Robert persuades Danielle not to shoot him, only to then attempt to shoot her. (Deceptions and cons)
  • The woman who is helping Ben, and the woman who Desmond met prior to leaving Penny, is Daniel Faraday's mother. (Character connections)
  • Ben lied to Locke about Jacob wanting Ben to turn the wheel even if Christian had told Locke to do it himself. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Locke has to sacrifice his life in order for everybody on the Island to be saved. (Salvation)

Cultural references[]

  • Star Trek: Charlotte evades the question of what other languages she speaks by sarcastically saying that she also speaks Klingon, a reference to a fictional language in the Star Trek universe which was devised by actor James Doohan and designed by Marc Okrand. (Movies and TV)
  • Carthage: Charlotte remarks that she knows more about Carthage than Hannibal. Hannibal was a war general from Carthage from around 200 BC. He is considered to be one of the greatest military commanders and tacticians throughout the history. Carthage was located in what is modern-day Tunisia, where Charlotte was doing field work before being recruited to the Kahana's mission. Ironically, even though Hannibal is the most famous person associated with Carthage, he only spent one year of his adult life living there. He spent most of his life in Europe and modern day Turkey. (History)
  • Gunsmoke: Sawyer says "we gotta get out of Dodge now". This a reference to Dodge City, Kansas, which was a favorite location for westerns in the early to mid 20th century. The phrase was made famous by the TV show 'Gunsmoke' (1950-1975), in which villains were often commanded to "get out of Dodge." In the 1960s and 70s the phrase has been adopted in popular vocabulary, meaning 'to leave a dangerous situation'. (Movies and TV)

Literary techniques[]

  • Upon their arrival at the Orchid, Juliet states relief that they are in the same time period as the DHARMA station. Immediately after she says this, time shifts and the station is gone. (Irony)
  • John has repeatedly stated that Boone was "the sacrifice the island demanded", but in leaving the island and eventually dying to bring the others back John becomes a sacrifice to the island. (Irony)
  • Although Locke believed that no one was supposed to leave the island, it had been his responsibility all along to turn the wheel and move the island, which means his true destiny was to leave the island. (Irony)
  • Jin gives John his wedding ring to help him convince Sun that Jin is dead, and keep her off the island. Instead, Ben uses the ring to prove that Jin is alive and lure Sun back. (Irony)
  • Montand, complaining in disbelief about Jin's story, says, "first a boat, then a helicopter. Next thing you know he'll be talking about a submarine," and in fact there is a submarine on the Island, in possession of the DHARMA Initiative. (Irony)
  • Locke, who was crippled until he arrived on the island, leaves the island partially returned to that condition in that he suffers a severe leg fracture. (Symbolism)
  • Locke has left the island, but it is unknown where he has gone. (Cliffhanger)
  • The woman who is helping Ben, and the woman who Desmond met prior to leaving Penny, is Daniel Faraday's mother. (Plot twist)

Storyline analysis[]

Episode connections[]

Episode references[]

Episode allusions[]

  • The Monster's dragging of Montand through the jungle and the chase scene that ensues is very similar to what happened to Locke. ("Exodus, Part 1")
  • Locke uses a rope to descend a deep shaft with a source of light at the bottom. ("Adrift")
  • Charlotte dies from temporal displacement, just as Minkowski did. ("The Constant")
  • Upon arriving at the wheel, Locke falls and injures himself, much like Ben did. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 3")
  • A time shift prevents Locke from learning the identity of Christian's son, just like it prevented Desmond from learning the identity of Daniel's mother. ("Because You Left")