Kate, Locke, and Sayid invade the Barracks in an attempt to rescue Jack, only to find that he’s not interested in being rescued. But when Kate and Sayid are captured, Locke diverts from the plan and goes rogue on a solo mission of his own.

Written by Drew Goddard & Jeff Pinkner
Directed by Jack Bender

Flashback

Long after his father stole his kidney, Locke decided to stop attending his therapy sessions, which caused his disability benefits to be suspended.

While in the depths of his depression, Locke was visited by a young man named Peter Talbot who asked for his help, believing his mother being swindled by Locke’s father. Locke found and confronted his father, Anthony Cooper, angrily warning him to end his con and leave Peter’s mother alone. He threatened to tell Peter’s mother everything about Anthony if he didn’t do as Locke ordered. With seemingly no alternative, Anthony bitterly agreed to Locke’s terms.

Locke was happy that he’d finally scored a victory against his father, preventing another victim from suffering at Anthony’s hands. But a day or two later, a pair of detectives visited Locke at his apartment and asked him questions about Peter Talbot, who they revealed to be dead. Locke immediately knew that his father, knowing Peter to be the reason for Locke’s intervention, had had Peter killed so he could continue his con.

Locke visited his father at Anthony’s high-rise apartment to confront him once again, this time about Peter’s death. But Anthony said he was a con man, not a murderer. Just when Locke was starting to buy his father’s story, Anthony got the drop on him and shoved him out of a plate-glass window, causing Locke to fall 8 stories. His back was broken from the impact, though the fact that he survived the drop was deemed a miracle. After the attack, Anthony fled the country, while Locke was left to endure a long and grueling rehabilitation.

Now

While Sayid, Kate, and Locke watch Jack play football in the Others’ Barracks with Tom and Juliet, Danielle leaves them without saying anything. As they continue watching in frustration, Ben wheels out of his house in a wheelchair and chats amicably with Jack, even shaking his hand.

The group retreats into the jungle, and Kate and Sayid argue about how to proceed, because from the looks of things, Jack may not want to be rescued. Sayid suggests caution, but Kate refuses to listen. Locke comments that he’s never known Jack to do anything without a good reason, so perhaps they just need to figure out what Jack is up to. He suggests they wait until dark and go find out if Jack wants to be rescued or not.

They follow Locke’s advice and make a plan to sneak into the small house Jack is living in alone. Kate enters first and finds Jack casually playing an upright piano. She tells him she came to rescue him, but he points out that there are video cameras all over the house and that they’re being watched right now. Others barge into the house and capture her, and Sayid is taken as well, but Locke is nowhere to be found.

Ben awakens in his home to the sound of someone in his house. Locke strides in and holds a gun to him, and asks where he can find the submarine. Alex hears them talking but Locke grabs her and pulls her into Ben’s closet while Tom and Richard Alpert enter the house, reporting that Kate and Sayid have found the Others and been captured. Ben orders that they separate Kate and Sayid and find out how they found the Barracks, but asks Richard privately to “bring me the man from Tallahassee.” When Richard leaves, Locke emerges from the closet and sends Alex to retrieve Sayid’s backpack for him. After she’s gone, Ben asks for his wheelchair, and Locke obliges. Ben asks how Locke intends to pilot the sub alone, but Locke doesn’t answer. So Ben drops the pretenses and explains that he knows Locke has no intention of taking the submarine anywhere. He’s figured out that Locke intends to use explosives from the Flame station to destroy it. Locke tries to deny that Ben could know him well enough to have figured that out, but Ben shocks him with intimate knowledge of Locke’s past — the same kind of detailed information that the Others have about Jack, and presumably, all of the castaways.

Kate is placed in some sort of rec room, where she’s visited by Jack. Kate is convinced that the Others must have done something to Jack to make him so amenable to their ways, but Jack denies it, explaining his deal with Ben to leave the island, which is scheduled to happen first thing in the morning. But he promises to return with help to rescue for her and everyone else. They share an emotional goodbye, after which Kate still can’t quite believe any of this is happening.

While they wait for Alex to return, Ben reveals that he’s desperately curious to know details about how Locke’s paralysis was healed when he arrived on the island. Locke realizes that Ben’s curiosity stems from the fact that he hasn’t recovered from his operation as fast as he hoped he would, and taunts him for this, asking how he ever managed to get sick in the first place in a place that’s known to heal injuries. The implication Locke makes is that the island doesn’t have the same affinity for Ben as it does for himself. Ben insinuates that Locke wants to destroy the submarine because if he were to ever leave the island, he might end up paralyzed again.

Sayid is chained up in a small playground near one of the Others’ houses. He’s found there by Alex, who takes his pack, but not before he comments that she looks like her mother. Alex claims that her mother is dead, but Sayid sadly replies, “I’m sure that’s what they told you.”

Locke asks Ben for something to eat, and Ben tells him to help himself to what’s in the refrigerator. While Locke eats, Ben tries to appeal to him not to blow up the submarine. Ben reveals that unlike most of his people, who were recruited, he was born here, on the island. He says that he needs the submarine to maintain the illusion that those who were recruited to join the Others can leave if they want to. In exchange for not destroying the sub, Ben offers to show Locke the secrets of the island. He tells Locke that somewhere on the island, there’s a very large box that can conjure up anything one desires. Locke retorts that he hopes the box is big enough for Ben to imagine himself up a new submarine. Ben asks why Locke is so angry, wanting to punish him and the Others, and Locke states his belief that the Others are cheating. They have electricity, technology, communication with the outside world, and can come and go from the island at will. He calls Ben a hypocrite who doesn’t deserve to be on the island, and says that if Ben really knew what the island was, he would know better than to “cheat” in this way. Ben asks how Locke could possibly know the island better than he does, when he’s lived here his entire life, and Locke says it’s because Ben is in a wheelchair and he’s not.

Alex returns to Ben’s house and Locke explains that Alex will take him to the submarine and once there, he’ll let her go. Ben tries to play his last card, divulging his deal with Jack to leave the island in less than an hour. And since the electromagnetic anomaly caused by the destruction of the Swan station destroyed the Others’ ability to communicate with the outside world, once the submarine leaves the island, it can never find its way back. So there was no point in destroying the sub, since no one will be able to find and come to the island either way. Locke decides he doesn’t care and leaves the house with Alex as planned.

On the way to the sub, Alex warned Locke that he was being manipulated, because her father excelled at getting people to do what he wanted by making them think it was their own idea. She takes him to a dock close to the Barracks, and he lets her go as promised. Nearby, Danielle watches with deep emotion, getting her first-ever look at her teenage daughter. But Alex goes unaware of her mother’s presence.

Jack and Juliet stop by Ben’s house on their way to the submarine, to say goodbye and ask for one last favor. Jack requests that his friends be released, and Ben, seeing no point in keeping them captive, agrees. Juliet thanks Ben for keeping his promise to let her leave the island, and she and Jack set off.

As Jack and Juliet are escorted to the submarine, they run square into Locke, who’s soaking wet. He apologizes to Jack just as his C4 detonates and the submarine is blown to smithereens. Jack watches the sub burn and then locks eyes with Locke, with a murderous expression on his face.

Locke is captured and taken by the Others to some sort of underground holding cell. Ben and Richard visit him there the next day, where Locke tells him to drop the charade. He knows that Ben wanted the submarine to be destroyed the entire time Locke was plotting to do it. Ben agrees, explaining that he needed a way to keep Jack from leaving the island that didn’t involve killing him, because either of those actions would indicate weakness on his part, and spell the end of his leadership over the Others. When a disgusted Locke says he hopes Ben isn’t going to start talking about the “Magic Box” again, Ben says that instead of talking, he’s going to show Locke what came out of the Box. He and Richard march Locke down the hall to another holding cell, where Ben says that Locke seems to have a special communion with the island, which makes him very, very important. Ben says he wants to help Locke, suggesting that the island has a destiny for Locke that Ben would like to help him fulfill. They open the door to the holding cell, and Locke is beyond stunned to see that inside is none other than his father, Anthony Cooper — the man responsible for every bad thing that’s ever happened to him, including his paralysis — bound and gagged and scared out of his wits.

  • Locke was nearly murdered when he was pushed through an 8th-story window by his treacherous, criminal father, Anthony Cooper.
    Question: How did Locke lose the use of his legs four years ago? [.04]
  • Locke certainly thought he was doing something to help his friends by removing their ability to leave the island. It remains to be seen if he was correct.
    Question: Will Locke do something to help Jack, Kate, and Sawyer eventually, since Boone told him he couldn’t do anything for them yet? [3.03]
  • When Locke learned from Mikhail Bakunin that the Others have their own submarine, allowing them to come and go from the island at will, he became angry that the Others were “cheating,” and believed that their reliance on modern conveniences made them unworthy of being here. So he decided to destroy the submarine, which he accomplished with a little manipulative help from Ben, who also wanted the sub destroyed for his own purposes.
    Question: What is Locke up to? Why did he steal C4 from the Flame station and bring it along to the Barracks? [3.12]

  • Where is the Magic Box that Ben told Locke about? Given that everything Ben said during that conversation was part of a ploy to manipulate him… was Ben telling the truth about the Box? Does it even exist?
  • Where is the underground holding cell that Locke is being held prisoner in?
  • How did Anthony Cooper wind up on the island? Was he magically brought there by the island, as Ben suggested?


“The Man from Tallahassee” is the sixth Locke-centric episode of the series.

I never noticed before, but the dinner tray Locke ate off of in his flashback has symbols around its outside — some of which look a little like hieroglyphs.

It’s so funny now to look back on this episode and see just how many lies Ben spun for Locke. He claimed to have been born on the island, and then there was the whole “magic box” thing. All of this was a ruse, as we would find out soon enough.

Okay, the whole thing about the electromagnetic pulse knocking out the island’s communications with the outside world is something that I didn’t entirely pick up on the significance of the first time around. It kept nagging me in Season 5 that the only way the Oceanic 6 could return to the island was to use the vaguely-supernatural assistance of whatever happened to them on Ajira 315, which they found out about at the Lamp Post. I kept wondering why they couldn’t just sail back to the island the way the submarine did for so many years — from the Dharma days right up until very recently. Of course there was an answer for this, but it was never mentioned again after Season 3, and I for one could have used a reminder.

How cool is it that Locke’s favorite phrase — “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” — was something he picked up from the physical therapist who helped him learn how to function in a wheelchair?

What a bravura performance from Terry O’Quinn. He got to play pretty much every side of Locke’s personality, and though most people remember his performance here for the heartbreaking scene in which the physical therapist places him in his wheelchair for the first time, I was equally moved by the emotionally-charged scenes where he confronted his father, barely able to hold back the rage and pain he felt at just being in this wretched man’s presence. This is the performance that O’Quinn won his Emmy for, and he earned it.