Lost: John Locke

January 12, 2009

(Indulge me. As we near the Season 5 premiere of Lost, I’m going to run through the current crop of main characters. There are spoilers.)

He’s the hunter, the philosopher, the warrior and the leader. Despite having one of the best-fleshed-out life stories on Lost, John Locke has been an enigma since day one. Remember that? Sitting on the beach, in the aftermath of the crash, Locke grinned, an orange peel over his teeth.

Terry O’Quinn won an Emmy for this role in season 2, and it was well-deserved. This veteran character actor nailed the part, turning what could have been a macho caricature into a textured, multilayered role that continues to surprise, season after season.

Locke has had a long and complex journey, both on the island and off. And it has always been fascinating to watch. As Locke evolved from hunter to heretic, from hero to villain to … whatever he is, he faced it all with an open-minded optimism he rarely displayed when he lived in the real world and life was kicking him in the bag on a regular basis.

Our last glimpse of John Locke was a shocking one: he was Jeremy Bentham, lying in a coffin in California. But that’s three years after the events on the island, and as far as we know, he’s also there, assuming leadership of The Others. So there’s a lot of Locke’s story yet to tell.


  • Every single Locke flashback. What a life! It’s a miracle he’s able to even smile.
  • That first moment with the knife in Season 1: “We hunt.”
  • His excavation of the hatch and his faith in the button. No matter what happened, Locke stuck to his goal: solve the mystery, save the world.
  • Blowing up the submarine. Or did he? We never actually see that happen, and Locke is just the type to stash the sub somewhere else for later use.
  • His ability to walk is, of course, the biggest miracle in Locke’s life. And it has never been explained or even really addressed. Whatever happened to make this paraplegic whole again will likely form the crux of the explanation of what this island actually is.


  • Again, it’s the numbers. They were such a priority for so long, and they’ve been ignored for two seasons.
  • How did Locke end up outside and okay after the Swan station was destroyed?
  • He appears to have failed every test the island has given him, and yet he’s still given leadership?
  • With the limited time left for Lost, is it even possible to tie up all Locke’s dangling storyline threads?


  1. The “We Hunt” moment, and the whole “Walkabout” episode that establish Locke totally rock.

    • Oh, yeah … excellent moment. It’s so hard to just list a few great moments for some of these characters; I think I could write a book about John Locke. On the DVD extras for, I think, Season 3, you get to see Terry O’Quinn demonstrate his knife-throwing skills … which are formidable. No FX needed with that guy.

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