Having survived the destruction of the Swan station, Locke is directed to rescue a fallen comrade when he attempts to reestablish communion with the island. Desmond emerges from the Swan’s destruction a changed man. (Includes My Big Theory about Desmond!)

Written by Carlton Cuse & Elizabeth Sarnoff
Directed by Stephen Williams

Flashback

Sometime after his father stole his kidney and caused his breakup with Helen, Locke found himself a surrogate family in a religious commune living on a farm, a group he claimed had helped him “stop being angry” about his past. While on his way back there from a supply run one day he picked up a young hitchhiker named Eddie and brought him back to the commune, and the young man joined up with the group. But it was all a lie, on both their parts: the commune was just a cover-up for illegal marijuana production, and Eddie was a sheriff’s deputy sent to infiltrate it. Locke suffered no consequences for his involvement, as he was specifically chosen by Eddie and the sheriff’s department because of his history, which meant they believed he would be easy to coerce. Once again, Locke was left shattered from this experience with evidence of his own endless gullibility.

Now

One day after the destruction of the Swan station, Locke wakes up alone in the jungle. He sees Desmond running nearby, naked and disoriented, but finds that he himself has been rendered unable to speak. Locke returns to the beach camp on a mission, tearing apart his tent and taking the pieces to Eko’s unfinished church. He asks for Charlie’s help after pantomiming that he needs to talk to the island, explaining that he’s building a sweat lodge to enable him to commune with the island. Charlie has little interest in helping Locke after their falling out (last season), but eventually agrees. Locke concocts a hallucinogen for himself (probably the same one he dosed Boone with in 1.13 “Hearts and Minds”) and warns Charlie not to enter the sweat lodge under any circumstances. He builds a fire inside and takes his homemade drug, and soon he experiences a vision.

In his vision, Boone appears to Locke. Locke apologizes for Boone’s death, but Boone tells him it’s okay, that he was a sacrifice demanded by the island, just as Locke always believed. The two of them wind up at an unnamed airport where many of the Oceanic 815 survivors can be seen in strange, alternate versions of themselves. Boone explains that one person in this airport is in danger and Locke is the only person who can save him. They spot Charlie, Claire, and Aaron, and Boone says it’s not them — “they’ll be fine… for a while.” Sun and Jin argue nearby, while Sayid seems to guide them forward, and Boone points out that Sayid’s on top of things there. Hurley appears as an attendant at the check-in desk for Oceanic Airlines, where he enters the Numbers into his computer terminal, but Boone says it’s not him. Desmond is an airline captain, who is followed by a group of flight attendants; Boone says not to concern himself with Desmond, who’s “helping himself.” Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are nearby, going through security, which is overseen by Ben. Boone assures him that there’s nothing he can do for those three yet, because he has to clean up his own mess first. Boone then appears at the top of an escalator, looking as bloodied and battered as he looked when he was mortally injured in the beech craft’s crash. Eko’s “Jesus stick” is beside him on the ground, and Boone indicates that Eko is the one who needs saving, saying that “they’ve got him, and you don’t have much time.”

When he emerges from the tent, Locke speaks for the first time, telling Charlie that he’s got to save Eko. Charlie joins him, and in the jungle they find the cross that Eko wears around his neck. Locke explains that a polar bear dragged Eko through here. When they find blood on the ground, Locke tells Charlie to go back to camp, because bad things tend to happen to people who hang around with him. Charlie ignores this advice, and soon the two of them come across the site where the Swan hatch had once stood. Only now, it’s an enormous hole in the ground, showing evidence of an implosion that’s destroyed the entire facility. Next they find evidence that a polar bear is nearby, and wind up being chased through the jungle by the bear. But soon Hurley emerges from the foliage, on his way back from the Pala Ferry and his run-in with the Others.

Hurley gives Locke and Charlie the message the Others told him to deliver, and points out that Ben appears to be the Others’ leader — a revelation that Locke takes great interest in. Locke tells Hurley to return to the beach and pass along his message while he and Charlie finish their mission to save Eko. The two of them continue on and come upon a cave, where they seem to make unspoken amends to each another for their recent differences. Locke does what he can to mask his own scent, believing the bears have Eko inside the cave, and he goes in alone.

As he nears the beach, Hurley stumbles across Desmond, who’s found his way back to the beach camp but still has no clothes. He tells Hurley he woke up in the jungle naked, and asks for something to wear. Hurley produces a t-shirt large enough to cover Desmond’s private parts. Later, while the two of them return to camp, Desmond explains to Hurley what happened at the Swan station. Desmond surmises that the failsafe must have “detonated the electromagnetic anomaly,” which caused the station to implode. But Hurley is confused about why Desmond wasn’t killed in the implosion, a fact Desmond himself can’t explain. When Hurley mentions his concern for Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, Desmond points out that Locke is going to go after them — “he said so in his speech.” But Hurley has no idea what Desmond’s talking about, as Locke hasn’t made any speeches to the group lately.

Inside the cave, Locke finds a toy dump truck. Further in, he finds human bones that still have scraps of Dharma Initiative clothing on them. Eko lays nearby, but polar bear grabs Eko and attempts to carry him away. Locke saves him, fending the bear off with fire, and the two make a hasty escape. Eko is injured but alive, and Locke and Charlie carry him through the jungle to safety. While stopping so Charlie can retrieve water from a creek, Locke apologizes to an unconscious Eko for doubting him and getting them into this mess. He feels responsible for the capture of Jack, Kate, and Sawyer as well, believing he could have saved them if he’d gone along. Eko wakes up, but appears to be in a trance-like state, telling Locke that he will find his friends and save them.

Locke and Charlie drag Eko back to camp, where everyone wants to know what happened. A girl named Nikki points out that they need Jack, but Hurley steps forward and tells them all that Jack’s not coming back, because the Others have him. When everyone starts to panic, Locke steps forward to make a reassuring speech — a speech in which he pledges to find everyone that’s missing from their ranks. The significance of this is not lost on Hurley, who takes a meaningful look at Desmond, standing on the shoreline nearby, throwing rocks into the water.

  • The Swan station appears to have imploded when the electromagnetic pocket of energy beneath it was detonated. Everyone inside the station managed to survive, though Desmond in particular seems to have undergone a transformation because of it.
    Question: What became of the Swan station itself, and those inside it? [2.24]

  • What was Boone referring to when he said that Charlie, Claire, and Aaron would be fine “for a while”? Is something going to happen to them?
  • What did Boone mean when he said that Desmond was “helping himself”?
  • Will Locke do something to help Jack, Kate, and Sawyer eventually, since Boone told him he couldn’t do anything for them yet?
  • Why didn’t Desmond die in the implosion of the Swan station?
  • How did Desmond wind up naked after the Swan station’s implosion? Did the blast disintegrate his clothes somehow?
  • Where did the dump truck come from that Locke found in the polar bear cave? Was it a leftover from the Dharma Initiative, like the bones that were also in there?


“Further Instructions” is the fifth Locke-centric episode of the series

This is the thirteenth episode of the series to begin with a close-up on a single eye opening. The eye belongs to John Locke.

This episode marks the introduction of the much-reviled Nikki and Paolo, who appear to be mere redshirts in the crowd of survivors, until Locke offhandedly addresses them by name.

The Boone that appeared in Locke’s hallucination knew too much about things to come to be a projection of Locke’s subconscious. So who or what was he? Following the revelations at the end of Season 5, many fans have theorized that Jacob’s nemesis could have been posing as various dead people amongst the survivors for some time, such as the strange appearances of Jack’s father, Christian Shephard. Could this Boone in Locke’s vision have been Jacob’s nemesis as well? This theory is lent credibility by the fact that Jacob’s nemesis has presumably been plotting to take on Locke’s form all along. Was this Boone just another part of the manipulations that have been pulling at Locke his entire life, directing him on the path toward becoming the man who would defeat Jacob?

I did not remember the Geronimo Jackson reference in this episode. Eddie’s shirt in Locke’s flashback depicted the infamous band, and Eddie explained that it was a shirt that once belonged to his father. Since this little-known group keeps sneaking its way into the show, have we ever learned exactly who it is on the writing staff that’s such a big GJ fan?

My Big Theory about Desmond: Desmond seemed to undergo some kind of mystical “rebirth” in this episode, miraculously surviving the implosion of the Swan station, and emerging from that event naked — the same way each of us enters the world for the first time — and possessing newfound abilities to see the future. Daniel Faraday would later (or earlier, depending on how you look at it) tell Desmond that he is “uniquely and miraculously special” because of this, and that the standard time travel rules about not being able to change the past don’t apply to him. We’re meant to infer from this that just like his ability to see the future, Desmond owes his “miraculously special” status to whatever happened to him when he was in close proximity to the electromagnetic anomaly as it detonated. So… could it be that (assuming my big theory about Season 6 is true, and all current evidence makes it look very likely) Desmond’s unique status will carry over to this new timeline, and make him the one person in the entire world who knows that history has been changed? What if Desmond can remember how things are supposed to be, and knows that they’ve been altered? This could make him the lynchpin of the entire “dual timelines” story arc, perhaps as the person attempting to convince Jack, Kate, and everyone else that they have to put things back the way they were. I still believe that Season 6 is going to ultimately lead our protagonists to a fateful choice they’ll have to make between which version of history they want: the original, or the new one they created. If history’s alteration means that Desmond and Penny were never reunited (and let’s not forget, actress Sonya Walger is on record recently stating that she has so far been absent from Season 6’s filming), which also would mean that their son Charlie was never born, then presto: Desmond now has the perfect motivation for becoming the one to convince the survivors to undo what they did and restore the timeline to the way it used to be.