Key Points from "The 23rd Psalm"
Season 2, Episode 10
Episode Air Date: 01/11/06
After an eight month hiatus (it felt that long), "Lost" finally
returns with a new episode -- and oh my, was the wait ever worth it.
This week, it's all Eko, all the time. Remember how fantastic Eko has been? How his simple looks and simple phrases pummel the screen with gravitas and charisma? Well, take all that goodness and expand it over an hour.
So, to take a page from Eko's book, let me "begin at the beginning" ...
In an early scene, we see a teenaged Eko playing soccer in the dirt-covered streets of his Nigerian town. The townspeople are poor, but there's a vibrancy to the area -- children frolic, market goers engage in lively commerce, a small but welcoming church sits in the background ... exactly the kind of place where one act of violence could forever shatter the fragile utopia.
Unfortunately, that one act of violence soon descends. A pickup truck speeds into town carrying heavily armed men with malice on their minds. The men pour from the truck and round up the children for a blitzkrieg recruiting session: the boys are being drafted into a local warlord's makeshift army. An old priest runs from the church to protest, but a mercenary silences his opposition with a swift blow to the head. Yemi, Eko's younger brother -- a boy who is considerably smaller then his huge teenaged sibling -- clutches Eko's side.
The group's leader -- presumably a warlord of some sort -- sees Yemi's fear and decides it's time for a lesson. He unholsters his pistol and drags Yemi forward. The boy trembles as the warlord wraps Yemi's small hands around the gun's handle and forces him to aim the barrel at a man kneeling nearby. "Kill him," the man orders. Yemi quivers. The gun shakes. The warlord's displeasure starts to show. Eko, sensing that his brother's life is hanging in the balance, marches forward, grabs the gun, sets himself and pulls the trigger.
The warlord is shocked ... and duly impressed. He grabs the gun from Eko, then wraps his arm around the boy's shoulders and declares him "a natural born killer." Eko lower his head, inadvertently causing a cross hanging from his neck to dangle into view. The warlord grabs the cross and rips it free. "You won't need this anymore," he says as he chucks the cross to the ground. The warlord rounds up his platoon and guides Eko to the truck. The townspeople -- including Eko's brother and the other boys -- watch as Eko and his new posse ride out of town. Yemi gingerly picks the cross from the dirt and cradles it in his hands.
Ladies and gentlemen, we just witnessed a crossroads.
Now, there's plenty of fantastic Eko material in this episode, with much of it occurring during present day island events. But before we get to the juicy stuff -- including the most jaw-dropping monster moment in series history (how's that for build-up?) -- I'm going to run down the key points from Eko's backstory. Remember this stuff. It all connects to the island.
Eko's Wild Island Ride begins with a casual conversation between our reformed warlord and Claire. Eko sits alone on the beach, carving words into his Giant Stick (we briefly see that he's already carved the following: "Hateth," "Titus," "Revelations," "23 Psalm," "Driveshaft Rules").
"What are you writing?" Claire asks while rocking her baby (Aaron) in her arms.
"Things I need to remember," Eko says.
Claire takes a seat and the two engage in idle chit-chat for a while. Claire notes that Eko is religious, which leads her to suggest that he and Charlie would probably get along. "He [Charlie] doesn't want to admit he's religious, but he carries around a statue of the Virgin Mary," Claire says offhandedly.
Eko's face drops. He asks Claire if he can see the statue and Claire, who apparently has no problem rummaging through other people's belongings and showing important religious relics to people she hardly knows, cheerfully leads Eko back to her campsite and produces Charlie's statue. Eko, with steely determination, asks Claire where Charlie found the statue. Claire, who can see that Eko is getting pretty pissed, tells him all she knows: Charlie found the thing in the jungle. "It's just a statue," she says. With that, Eko plants the statue on a nearby table, then raises his Giant Jesus Stick and smashes the statue into a million tiny pieces. Amidst the Holy Rubble lies a clear plastic baggie with a sandy brown substance packed inside. Charlie = Busted.
Eko marches down the beach searching for Charlie. He finds him fishing with Jin (well, a better description would be, "he finds him bugging the living crap out of Jin while Jin tries to fish."). Eko approaches Charlie menacingly, which means he looks scary as hell. Eko lowers his voice and commands Charlie to take him to the spot in the jungle where he found the statue. Charlie offers half-hearted resistance, but he quickly takes stock of the ENORMOUS ANGRY MAN in front of him and immediately changes his tune. Charlie's only condition is that they stop by to see Claire on the way out.
And so Eko and Charlie make a pit-stop at Claire's camp. Claire is pissed. She shows Charlie the heroin and he immediately switches into Lying Drug Addict Mode. He's clearly an expert at drug deception, because he makes a relevant point: How could he know that drugs were inside a sealed statue? Claire is momentarily swayed. Charlie seizes the moment by opening the heroin baggies and dumping the contents. For the moment, Charlie appears to have dodged a bullet ... sort of.
Note: Claire doesn't realize it yet, but Charlie just lied to her. Back in "Exodus, Part 2," Sayid showed Charlie that the statues are filled with drugs.
With the domestic disturbance temporarily allayed, Charlie and Eko begin their quest to visit the site where Charlie found the statue. Now, at this point, Charlie hasn't mentioned that this particular site -- the one they're traveling toward -- is not your typical Virgin Mary Statue Garden. Oh no. The location is also marked by the dilapidated remains of a crashed Beechcraft airplane. This bit of unrevealed knowledge becomes very interesting indeed moments later. See, Charlie tries to extract himself from the journey by picking a random location in the jungle and telling Eko that this exact spot -- this completely random and not at all relevant spot -- is where he found the statue. Eko immediately knows he's lying. He pushes Charlie up against a tree and snarls, "Where is the plane?"
Eko knows about the plane, which means he also knows where the statues came from, where the drugs inside the statues came from and, most importantly, he knows the identities of the two dead Nigerian priests found during Season One. Yeah, remember them?
Speaking of those priests ... as Eko and Charlie continue their jungle journey, Eko spots a parachute dangling from a tree. It's the same parachute (and, I'm assuming, the same tree), that Boone and Locke found way back in "Deus Ex Machina." You'll recall, that Boone and Locke also found a withered corpse dressed like a priest. at the time, Locke determined that the priest was an impostor -- a fair conclusion since the corpse was also outfitted with a wad of Nigerian cash and a pistol. Now, weeks later, Eko stumbles upon the same parachute and the same tree and, moments later, the same corpse. He's overwhelmed at the sight. He kneels before the body and rips the corpse's shirt open, but all he finds are the husked and weathered remains of a long-dead man. Eko turns the man's head toward him, and that's when he sees a gold tooth protruding from the man's skull. This corpse -- this totally random dead Nigerian priest who popped up way back in Season One -- was Eko's henchman. He was the guy who booted Eko from the Beechcraft airplane!
"You know that guy?" Charlie asks with amazement.
"Yes," Eko calmly responds. "This man saved my life."
(I'm assuming that's a metaphorical statement. A more illustrative answer would have been "he saved my life by booting me from an airplane and leaving me to be captured, but the military thought I was a priest, so I became a priest, which saved my life -- both in the present and in the hereafter. Or something.")
So now we've uncovered the Virgin Mary statues and the guy with the gold tooth, so Eko is clearly in the midst of a Very Big, Very Revelatory Day. But before we can continue, we need to pause a moment to pay homage to one of the SINGLE COOLEST SCENES "Lost" has ever produced. This episode -- "The 23rd Psalm," write it down -- marks the first time we've seen the monster in all its shadowy glory. Previous to this episode, we only saw wisps of the beast (or the cloud -- whatever it is), with the most notable view coming when Locke was attacked by the "island's security system" in "Exodus, Part 2." At the time, a quick shot of a black vapor trail was an astounding revelation. But now, after the things we see in this episode, that previous shot looks like child's play.
So let me explain ...
At one point, Charlie becomes lost in the jungle and Eko instructs him to climb a nearby tree to see if he can spot the plane. As Charlie sits perched high above, the sounds of the jungle suddenly go silent. This, as we've learned, is never a good sign. Eko stares intently ahead, sensing that something is approaching. The tension mounts ... Eko stares ... and stares ... and he stares ... and when he's stared so much his eyes are about to bleed out of his head, a massive burst of dirt and trees and black vapor erupts in front of him. The monster is in the building.
Most people, when confronted by an ominous black vapor with exploding capabilities, would run away with great fervor. But not Eko. You see, this is a man who lived most of his life staring fear and death and assorted Bad Situations down. And so, when confronted by a freakish black cloud, he simply holds his ground. Seriously. He doesn't even flinch.
Eko's non-action gives us the opportunity to watch the monster/cloud in action. The monster expands and contracts in front of Eko. As Eko stares back at the beast, the camera pans up and around -- cutting through the cloud's vapor. And it's during this very brief moment that we hear a computerized processing noise from inside the cloud and we see obscured images flashing within the cloud. When this moment is watched frame-by-frame (God bless you, TiVo), the cloud images display a few things we've seen before, and a few things we haven't seen. From what I could gather, the following things are revealed:
Following this mind-blowing trip inside the monster, the beast whirs and snarls in front of Eko for a few additional seconds, then constricts and darts back into the jungle. Eko blinks and takes a breath.
So let's take stock of this moment:
With the monster safely back in its jungle lair, Charlie scampers from the tree and pesters Eko with questions and comments, the most notable being that Eko's reaction is the exact opposite of what most people do. "I was not afraid of it," Eko says calmly. He's completely unphased by what just happened. In fact, he's far more concerned with finding the Beechcraft. Eko just stared right into the monster's eye and had his brain scanned and he could give two craps about the whole thing. Amazing.
So, Eko is hellbent on finding this plane, which works out because Charlie spotted the aircraft from his tree perch. Shortly thereafter, the pair arrives at the crash site. Eko slowly surveys the plane. He sees the bloody marks he left inside the plane's door moments before his henchman kicked him to the runway. Walking further inside the plane, he looks over broken boxes and cracked Virgin Mary statues. And then he finds what he's really looking for: Toward the front of the plane, buried beneath debris, lies another weathered corpse dressed in priest clothing. Eko unbuttons the corpse's shirt and spreads it open, and there before him is a cross on a chain. It's the same cross the warlord ripped from Eko's neck years before, and it's the same cross Eko's brother retrieved. It's also the cross Yemi was wearing when he was shot on the runway. Seeing it here, on this body, on this plane, means that Eko has found his brother. The realization washes over Eko and he weeps as he cradles Yemi's body.
Sometime later, Eko emerges from the plane clutching a Virgin Mary statue. He hands the plaster relic to Charlie and tells him it's a replacement for the one he smashed back on the beach. Charlie sheepishly accepts it ("Score!").
Eko decides to burn the wreckage so his brother can be properly honored. As the flames consume the fuselage and Yemi's remains, Charlie asks: "So, are you a priest, or aren't you?"
Eko carefully lifts his brother's cross over his head and hangs it around his neck. Looking straight into the flames he says, "Yes. I am."
And with that, Eko recites the 23rd Psalm. Charlie joins him a few sentences in:
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his namesake. Yea, though I walk through the shadow of valley of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen."
There's trouble in paradise for Charlie and Claire. Mid-way through
the episode it appeared that Charlie had dodged a bit of a bullet with
Claire. After all, he made the chivalrous gesture of dumping out three
bags of heroin on the beach. But not so fast there, Chucky. When
Charlie returns from his jungle adventure at the end of the episode, he discovers that Claire has packed
up all his belongings. She knows he lied to her (I'm not sure how she
found out, but it wouldn't take a MENSA member to reach that
conclusion) and because of the lies and the deception and, oh yeah,
that nasty drug habit, Claire has decided that Charlie shouldn't be
around her or Aaron (go Claire!). Charlie doesn't protest. He knows
he's busted. So he picks up his belongings and trudges down the beach.
Later that night, in the final scene, Charlie walks into a secluded area past the tree line. He kneels beside a tree and pulls a handful of leaves and brush from a shallow hole. Cradling the Virgin Mary statue, he delicately settles it into the hole and as he positions it, the sound of plaster clacking against plaster rings out. The camera pans up, revealing a hole filled with Virgin Mary statues.
"Paging Dr. Locke ... Dr. Locke, you're needed for another intervention ..."
During the big cliff-hanger from "What Kate Did," we watched as
Michael used the hatch computer to communicate with Walt (or someone
pretending to be Walt). Their instant messaging session
occurred just as Locke and Eko watched the newly-edited Dharma film.
These concurrent events proved important because as Michael typed
away, the new footage in the Dharma flick offered a stern warning:
"The isolation that attends the duties associated with Station 3 may tempt you to try and utilize the computer for communication with the outside world. This is strictly forbidden. Attempting to use the computer in this manner will compromise the integrity of the project and, worse, could lead to another incident. I repeat. Do not use the computer for anything other than entering the code."
This dire new information never reached Michael or, more likely, he's decided to intentionally disregard the warning. Case in point: Michael goes out of his way to take over hatch duty when no one is around. This gives him plenty of time to fire up the Hatch Super Computer and reach out to his abducted son.
So, toward the end of this episode, Michael (screenname: SadDad) manages to re-establish contact with "Walt" (screenname: OtherTarget01). Their conversation is brief, but Michael learns that "Walt" is okay. Michael asks Walt where he's being held, but before Walt can fully respond, Jack waltzes into the control center. Michael freezes at the computer as Jack pulls up a chair. At this point, Jack can't see the screen, and he doesn't appear to be suspicious of Michael's activities (Jack's detective skills are sorely lacking). Rather, Jack has dropped in to assure Michael that as soon as they can, the group will develop a plan to find Walt. Michael manages a half-assed "don't-do-be-an-favors" smile. Jack, totally pleased with his leadership abilities, gets up to leave. As he rises, he takes a quick peek at the computer screen. It's completely blank. Michael's secret is safe ... for now.
Now, let's backtrack a moment to address the "find Walt" plan Jack mentioned. Michael's tepid reaction to Jack's comment stems from one very important point: Michael already has a plan.
Earlier in this episode, Michael visits the hatch armory with the intention of grabbing a gun or two in preparation for a solo Other attack. But there's a problem: Locke is sitting in the doorway to the armory, resetting the door's lock combination (the arrival of the Tailies motivated Locke to increase the hatch's security measures, which is a good idea since Ana-Lucia has shown a predilection toward popping castaways). The ever-perceptive Locke knows why Michael is milling around the armory: Michael wants to gear up for a mission.
Instead of trying to talk Michael out of his COMPLETELY INSANE plan, Locke opts to instruct Michael on the finder points of weaponry. The two go outside and Locke shows Michael how to pulverize a 2-gallon tub of ranch dressing (no joke -- Michael shoots a tub of ranch dressing). Michael nails the shot, which is unfortunate because Michael now equates ranch dressing proficiency with Other proficiency. Unless Walt is being held at Hidden Valley, I think Michael's gonna have a problem on his hands.
||Kate gives Sawyer a hair cut. Kate and Sawyer flirt. All that Wayne/black horse/daddy-not-my-daddy stuff from last episode appears to have been forgotten.|
||During the obligatory closing montage (are they contracted for these things?), there's a brief exchange between Sun, Jin and Ana-Lucia. Jin introduces Sun to Ana-Lucia (the two shake hands) and Jin then presents Ana-Lucia with a delicious bass. The ostracism of Ana-Lucia appears to be waning. Expect it to flare back up when she "accidentally" blows a hole in another castaway.|
The closing montage also reveals a possible love connection between Hurley and
Libby. Makes sense. She's a therapist. He's spent plenty of time in
therapy. And hell, if she likes him now, just wait till she sees his
That's it for now. Be sure to drop by our "Lost" Forum for stimulating conversation and conjecture.
"The Hunting Party" -- Michael embarks on an ill-advised rescue
mission. Jack, Locke and Sawyer go after him. Adventure ensues. Airs:
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 9 p.m., ABC.
Review by Mac Slocum. All photos and episode descriptions © ABC Inc.