Friday, January 30, 2009

Locke: The Chosen One?

There's been a lot of talk about Widmore and Ellie and Mrs. Hawking and Daniel (see my DocArzt post for my wacky attempt at speculation... and for the record, YES I was joking...) but there's also been talk about Locke and the compass. He declares to Richard that he's already their leader, which is an odd way of putting it. But the way Richard visits Locke when Locke is five years old actually mirrors another way a leader is chosen: The Dalai Lama.

I'm going to post an excerpt from my episode guide for "Cabin Fever" (from my Finding Lost: Season 4 book) where I go into detail about Richard putting the artifacts in front of Locke (oh, and for the record, some people have been commenting that clearly Locke should have chosen the compass, but he did. He picked the compass, the vial of sand, and the knife; that last object was the one that got Richard's disapproval).

The “test” that Locke undergoes with Alpert is also similar to the ritual used to find the Dalai Lama. When a Dalai Lama dies, the High Lamas search for the reincarnated Dalai Lama, which can take up to a few years. Once the boy has been located, the High Lamas visit his home and lay several artifacts before him, some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama (and therefore, if the boy really is the reincarnated one, already belong to him). If the boy chooses the correct items, the High Lamas take that as a sign, and they confirm the boy’s authenticity with the Living Buddhas and the Government of Tibet. Richard, acting as a sort of High Lama, comes to Locke’s house thinking he’s found the Chosen One, and is clearly disappointed to discover he was wrong, though deep down he knows Locke is still special.

At the time I wrote this, of course, I had no idea HOW Richard thought Locke was special. Now we know.


poppedculture said...

Locke has always been my favourite character on Lost and I have long argued with another friend that he is the central character of the show, despite Jack being the "star."

I think people turned on him when he went out on his own and I love how the show is returning to him once more.

Thanks for the compass refresher.

Rebecca T. said...

It's funny, I never really saw Jack as the star of the show. He's definitely not really as interesting as Locke, Sawyer or even Hurley.
I think I just saw it as an ensemble cast, but Locke definitely has much more influence on the rest of the losties and on the direction of the show in general than Jack once you get past the first season

humanebean said...

I have wondered if the Others' fixation on children wasn't somehow related to their ongoing search for new leaders. The children they kidnapped from the beach, their abduction of Walt -even Ben's maniacal efforts to resolve their island pregnancy issues. We've always assumed that the inability to bring a pregnancy to term on the island fueled these actions. Now, I wonder if there isn't more to this.

Richard says that their leader selection process "starts at a very early age". They have always been looking for the "special" ones. Did Richard go through this process? Did Widmore at some point? Did his failure in the test lead to his bitterness at being rejected and his frustrated tangling with island authority? I'm going way out on the limb here ...

Does Widmore ultimately turn the wheel, believing that he is protecting the island, even against the wishes/orders of the Others' leadership? This could explain how he came to leave and his lengthy quest to find the island again. We may find that he had been behind the manipulation of many of our Lostaways over the years, pointing them towards their arrival on the island.

Was Ben 'chosen' because Locke proved that he wasn't ready? And, will the show wind up with Aaron selected as the next leader of the Others? Are all of the children we've seen born to the Lostaways candidates for future leadership? If Desmond is "uniquely and miraculously special", will young Charlie Hume be an heir to the island's throne?

Time to put the question mark down now, and slowly back away ....

TEZ said...

I liked Locke in Season 1 but then when he started acting stupid and blowing stuff up he kind of lost me. After seeing him do all that stuff I think he will always be tainted in my eyes as someone kind of bumbling their way through life. I don't think he is really the chosen one because of a lot of that stuff.

While I like Jack I don't think he's the "star." It is definitely an ensemble cast.

Anonymous said...

Yet, the knife is obviously Locke's. Of all the objects, it's the one that most defines his character on the Island.

So, why doesn't Richard pick him because of the knife?

Nikki Stafford said...

humanebean: That's an excellent point about Ben being chosen because Locke wasn't yet ready. Maybe Ben was never "special." Is it possible that the scene in Jacob's cabin was all an act? That he wasn't really listening to Jacob and was only pretending to hear him? Locke could see him in the chair, and Ben was shocked to hear that he did... maybe his shock comes from the fact that HE never believed in Jacob and simply played along, pretending to hear this guy? I've NEVER considered that possibility before, but now I'm wondering!!

Rebecca and TEZ: I think what Jeremy's referring to is the fact that in season 1 and 2, ABC billed Jack as the star of the show, and the show was clearly the Jack show. We open the pilot episode with Jack, he gets the most lines, the first season featured 3 Jack flashbacks (more than any other character) and the second season had 3 more. Every one of the first three seasons ended on a Jack flashback/forward. (Technically, season 4 was one, too, but he was there with others.) So in the beginning Matthew Fox was absolutely the star of the show, even if Jack wasn't the reason they were all there. I think the episode that changed Lost for me completely was "Walkabout." Until then it was an interesting series, but "Walkabout" (written by Buffy writer David Fury) had that crazy jaw-dropping twist ending with Locke in the wheelchair. Not only did Lost become a mindbendingly awesome show in that one hour, but Locke's character changed for me. From that moment on, I always thought he was the key to everything. In season 2 he was neutered a bit with Jack taking over in the hatch, but his long arguments with Jack over faith vs. science were rivetting, and the fact Locke was the reason the hatch blew up at the end was so important. Then in season 3 Locke went crazy, but again I think it's because he'd made such a colossal mistake and realized that he'd been right all along and should have stuck with it. Then in season 4 he went craziER, and became this dictator in New Otherton... but I STILL thought of him as the key. When we flashed back to him in Cabin Fever, it pretty much confirmed everything I'd ever thought of him.

So Jeremy: Right there with you. I've always thought Locke was the most important person on the island, and as every season goes by, I believe it more and more.

redeem: That's the one thing that's baffled me from that episode. I wonder if the knife is representative of the ways Locke has screwed up? As a child, he chose the knife because it was cool, but maybe he was never meant to. His life of knives and hunting and walkabouts was never supposed to happen, and because he chose that knife, he altered his destiny in a way that he'd be a gullible loser, there for everyone to take advantage of, and it's why he had such a crappy life after that. Only when he got to the island did he see the non-knife potential of his life... I just see it as the wrong choice, and because we know Locke as the guy with the knives, it seems he made the wrong choice that spurred on all the other VERY wrong choices in his life. But that's just my opinion.

Robbie said...

Is it just me or did Richard look like he had never seen the compass before?

If this were true it would create one WACKY paradox.

He thinks he originally got it from Locke, but Locke originally got it from him. Where did it come from?

Nikki Stafford said...

Robbie: Whoa. I think a little piece of my brain just came out of my ear. That's insane... I never thought of that! What if Locke handed it to Alpert and said "You're going to give this to me" and that was the first Alpert had seen it? Future Alpert gave it to Locke to go back in the past and give to Past Alpert, who never saw it before. Wouldn't that be like Future Daniel telling Des to go to Past Daniel and give him the numbers?


Robbie said...

Yeah that is similar. But instead of creating numbers out of thin air, its creating an object lol.

Brian Douglas said...

Nikki: At the time I wrote this, of course, I had no idea HOW Richard thought Locke was special. Now we know.

And knowing is half the battle

Voices_in_Your_Head said... ROCK!

Nikki Stafford said...


Hm... you know, that's fitting, since Ellie was definitely a GI Jane...

Voices: Why, thank you!! Good to have you here. :)

Anonymous said...

Robbie: "Yeah that is similar. But instead of creating numbers out of thin air, its creating an object lol."

The compass isn't created out of nowhere. It's a causality loop. This just appears to be a paradox because it's really hard to wrap your head around non-linear causality.

It's the same with Faraday telling Desmond the machine setting and then Desmond telling Faraday the setting in the past. You have to think of Lost's time travel in terms of a big loop.

filipe c said...

now listen... if it's a time traveling experience... why the island disappeared?

in that scene when faraday find out the wheel, i guess he moved it, right? well, i would.

alright, so elli = eloise hawking. despite of the fights of ellie and widmore, they had an affair, had a child named faraday or penny. if it's true, why they're working separeted now? and why aren't they in the island? was mrs. hawking the ben's connection to outside the island?

when locke gets hurt and richard helps him and gives him that object... he says to locke like he knows about time traveling... so, i guess between 1954 and that time when locke is hurt, richard tried that time traveling.

hugs from brazil!

Anonymous said...

"now listen... if it's a time traveling experience... why the island disappeared?"

The island is moving through space and the characters are moving through time. You can see on Ms Hawking's computer that the island is hopping around to different locations in space.

humanebean said...

More Locke lore ... interesting discrepancy or production error? Over at, reviewer Billie Doux makes this observation:
"Locke told Richard to go see him born in Tustin, California, May 30, 1956. And we know that was just what happened. But in "Further Instructions", Locke's gun registration listed his birth date as November 15, 1946."

Nikki: on your point about Ben & Locke in Jacob's cabin. Wow... I never looked at it that way! I wonder if Ben had seen/heard Jacob previously, but fell out of favor and communication somewhere along the line - and typically kept that a secret from Richard and the Others. So, by the time he brings Locke to the cabin, Ben doesn't really believe Locke is 'special', acts out the interaction with Jacob and is *shocked* that Locke actually hears Jacob. Especially since HE didn't!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know what happened to rose and bernard when the flaming arrow hit the beach. Why weren't they at the creek, they are too nice to die off screen!

Nikki Stafford said...

humanebean: The 1946 date was a production error, and one that was debunked not only immediately following the episode, but right IN the episode if you were looking closely enough.

In "Further Instructions," we see Locke's firearms registration (not license) and it says Locke was born in 1946. But, as I pointed out in my season 3 book, we saw Emily's birth certificate in "Deus Ex Machina," and it said she was born in 1940, which meant she would have been 6 when she had him. Not likely.

Sitting right next to the firearms registration was his driver's license, which said 1956. Most fans took that to be true, and then in Cabin Fever, we saw Emily was 15 (her mother says so), on the cusp of 16, and that's when she has Locke. So that's when everyone was certain it was the driver's license that was correct, and once again the 1946 can be chalked up to a prop error.

However, there's still a tiny mistake: right before being hit by the car, Emily's bopping around her room to the sounds of Buddy Holly's "Everyday"... which wouldn't be released until 1957.

Oh well. :)

humanebean said...


Ah, yes. Having READ the Season 3 book, you'd think I would have remembered that. I put it down to Shanghai jet lag.

On an unrelated note, over at, a contributor named Vozzek69 made an interesting point in his 'Jughead' recap: he noted that both the pilot of 815 and the attendants were wearing WWII-era aviators wings. They were in use for only a short period (perhaps into the early '50's). We see Kate find these wings in the jungle during the Pilot [Part 2] just before she looks up to discover the body in the trees above. Could this be the clue that Damon and Carlton have referred to as having been "missed" by viewers? And, if so, why were the crew wearing them on flight 815?

Anonymous said...

Hey Nikki, happy Sunday!! I read the acknowledgements in the Season 4 book and want to thank you for putting my name in there!! It's pretty neat to see my name in print in a book, even if it is only my first name. The one I ordered from Amazon beat the one I ordered from you. By the time I remembered to cancel the order, they had already sent it. Oh well. now I have two.
Anyway, the thing I wanted to ask is have we figured out what "time" it is that Ben has gone to visit Mrs. Hawking? As I mentioned in a previous post, her computer is very old, similar in style to the computer in the Hatch. I was wondering why she doesn't have a "modern" computer to help her find the island? And who is funding her attempt to find the island? Is it still Widmore? Because if it is, then she is working with both Ben and Widmore, which poses a whole other set of problems. Just wondering.
Karolyn (from RI)

filipe c said...

about charles widmore and elise hawking possible relationship... if they had a child, i guess they did it outside the island seeing that it's impossible to have a baby on the island. why they went off the island? maybe radiation or curse or whatever that cause abortion hadn't happened at that time (1950s). hugs!

Blam said...

I just had another funny thought:

The on-island group could experience a relative 10, 50, or 100 years before they jump and/or (if they end up permanently stuck in the past) live to the point in time where the off-island group returns.

If they end up jumping to that point soon-ish however, and before Locke leaves the island, you can imagine his shock at seeing himself in that coffin. That could even be what convinces him Richard was right. "I guess I do gotta die, huh?"

Benny said...


Ben goes to see Mrs Hawking just after losing Reyes to the police (note: "I just lost Reyes tonight"), so it would be circa 2007/2008.

Some have speculated that she was in an seldom mentioned off island DHARMA station. The age of the computers would match the age of DHARMA.

If fits with the following theory:
DHARMA is aware that the island has specific characteristics that make it invisible to the outside world and that in can be moved and requires extensive calculations to find. Which would be the purpose of this station. If you have seen the easter egg video with the new DHARMA symbol, I'd suggest "Lookout". That the computers have not been updated can simply be explained by proprietary programming and they can't be updated without DHARMA, which Ben/Hawking et. al. can't do.

Anonymous said...

At the beginning of the episode, you see Dr. Chang's baby. I am assuming that he had been on the island for quite some time, basing my assumption on the fact that he has a lot of authority, the way he talks to people and how he was the first one they went to with the problem at the Orchid station. So, maybe back then, you could have babies on the island. I think that maybe it is Ben's fault that people can't have babies on the island, because he doesnt want a new leader to be chosen. Ben said to Juliet in season 4 episode 6 "after all I've done to get you here, and to KEEP you here..." which makes me think that its from his efforts that people cannot have babies on the island.

Wow, I'm bad at explaining things! It made sence in my head. :P

Benny said...

Interesting theory, but I'm not ready to go as far as this.

Remember that Claire got pregnant off island and gave birth on island without complication (she was well into her term). Sun got pregnant on-island and was able to deliver successfully (as far as we know) since she got off early in her term.

Did you notice that they were just filming the orientation video for the Arrow (station 2), so Chang had not necessarily been on the island for many years. I would suggest that his wife was in a similar situation as Claire and hence was able to deliver successfully. It's possible that she delivered off island as well.

Again, this is just what I think can be deduced more appropriately at this point, since we have no information whatsoever on Chang and the DI from that period. It would be quite the significant character development if Ben had been preventing births, simultaneously killing women – just to keep Juliet there with him.

The Question Mark said...

I find it funny that even when he's young, Widmore's still a d**k.

I'm really looking forward to when Locke, Daniel et al finally time-hop over to when Rousseau and her people end up on the island.

I don't know if someone already mentioned this here, but my friend and I both think that Sawyer, Locke, and their pals will be the ones who attack DHARMA. In "The Man Behind the Curtain", when Ben & Annie are crouching beneath their schooldesks and someone is shooting outside, i think it's Locke and co. opening fire on some DHARMA Workmen.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I've got to o back and watch that bit. That is a great theory.

Austin Gorton said...

Of course, the whole discussion of the Dali Lama test just makes me think of my favorite King of the Hill episode, in which some monks come to Arlen believing the reincarnation of Lama Sanglug might be there.

Of course, Bobby is pegged as possibly being the reincarnation and must take a test similar to young Locke's.

I absolutely love the ending of that episode.

Benny said...

Right there with ya Teebore!

Nikki Stafford said...

Question Mark: I LOOOOOVE that theory!!! That's amazing. Just imagine so many things changing! What if all the mysterious events happening on the island were actually them causing it? Wow... the possibilities just became endless...

Anonymous said...

....and it will certainly do a lot for the sales of Lost DVDs! Clever clever Darlton.