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John Locke
Terry O'Quinn as Locke
First appearance "Pilot, Part 1"
"Deus Ex Machina"
"Exodus, Part 2"
"Further Instructions"
"The Man from Tallahassee"
"The Brig"
"Cabin Fever"
"The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"
"The Substitute"
Name John Locke
Aliases Jeremy Bentham
Age 48/51
Tustin, California, USA
(Former) profession Box Company Office Worker
Portrayed by Terry O'Quinn,
Charles Henry Wyson (young),
Caleb Steinmeyer (teenager)

Johnathan "John" Locke is a fictional character played by Terry O'Quinn on the ABC television series Lost. In 2007, O'Quinn won the Emmy award for acting in a supporting role for his portrayal of Locke.[1]

In the first season of the show, Locke is introduced as a mysterious, intellectual and stoic character who is in touch with the earth, has a penchant for hunting and tracking and believes in mystical and spiritual explanations for why things happen in the world. His stoicism and mystical outlook dominate his character and are the basis for many of his relationships and interactions in the show.




Prior to the crash

John Locke is the son of Emily Locke, who gave birth to him when she was a teenager on May 30, 1956. As a child, Locke is placed in government care, where he finds himself in a multitude of foster homes. He is visited by Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) at one of these foster homes, who describes Locke as "extremely special".[2]

When he is older, Locke, who is working at a toy store, is visited by his mother who tells him he was immaculately conceived. Curious, Locke hires a private investigator to track down the location of his father, Anthony Cooper (Kevin Tighe). Cooper warmly welcomes Locke into his life, and the two bond over hunting trips. Cooper reveals he needs a kidney transplant, and Locke volunteers to donate one of his. Following the surgery, Cooper abandons Locke and refuses to see him.[3] Locke becomes very depressed and eventually seeks group therapy, where he meets his future girlfriend Helen (Katey Sagal).

Helen helps Locke overcome stalking his father, but when Cooper comes to Locke for assistance and he helps him, Helen leaves him. Locke retreats into a life of solitude, until he is visited one day by a man, Peter Talbot, asking for information about "Adam Seward", who intends to marry the man's wealthy mother. Locke realizes it is Cooper, meets with him, and orders him to not marry Peter's mother. Cooper kills Peter, and when Locke confronts him about the murder, Cooper pushes Locke out a window, sending him tumbling eight stories to the sidewalk below. Despite surviving the fall, Locke suffers a broken back, an injury that puts him in a wheelchair.[4].

While recovering in the hospital, a supposed orderly named Matthew Abaddon (Lance Reddick) visits Locke and tells him to go on a walkabout for a period of self-discovery.[2] Once out of the hospital, Locke starts working at a box company, where he gets constantly insulted by his boss, Randy (Billy Ray Gallion). Locke then flies to Australia, where he is denied admission on the walkabout because of his paraplegic state, so he is forced to board Oceanic Flight 815 to return home.[5]

After the crash

After crashing on the Island in the fuselage section, Locke miraculously regains the use of his legs. Locke visibly becomes the most spiritual toward the Island and has no intention of leaving it. It is then revealed that Locke is an expert at hunting and tracking. On a hunt he encounters the smoke monster, describing it as a "bright light".[5][6] When Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) is abducted, Locke helps Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder) to look for her. Whilst searching, he and Boone discover the hatch, which they then spend most of their time trying to open.[7] During this time, Boone becomes Locke's protégé and Locke tries to teach him the nature of the Island.[8] When Locke has a vision one night of a Beechcraft crashing, Locke and Boone then go looking for the plane and discover it lodged atop a cliff. Boone climbs up into the plane, but it falls while he is still inside. Locke carries him back to the caves, then sneaks away to the hatch, where he bangs furiously on the door, devastated by Boone's death. Just as Locke loses hope, a light shines from the hatch, and Locke sees it as a sign.[3] Locke returns to the beach in time for Boone's funeral, and reluctantly reveals the existence of the hatch. Due to Boone's death, Jack is no longer trusting of Locke and his motives.[9] In order to open the hatch, the survivors are led by Danielle Rousseau to the wreckage of a 19th-century sailing ship known as the Black Rock, which has been somehow deposited several miles inland, and find some dynamite. Once they return to the Hatch, Locke uses the dynamite to blow it open.[10]

Locke enters the hatch and discovers Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), who shows Locke and Jack an orientation film explaining that the hatch was once used for studying electromagnetism and specific numbers have to be entered within 108 minutes. Seeing that his replacements have arrived, Desmond leaves. While Jack is reluctant to enter the numbers, Locke convinces him otherwise. Locke then arranges a schedule for people to take shifts in entering the numbers into the computer.[11] When a man named "Henry Gale" (Michael Emerson), arrives in the jungle, Locke holds him prisoner in the empty armory.[12] The blast doors in the hatch all descend, and they end up falling on Locke's legs. Locke tasks Henry with entering the numbers in the computer. Locke notices a strange map drawn on one of the doors when the lights go out, which he manages to sketch after the blast doors rise again.[13] Locke and the other survivors soon find out that Henry was lying about his identity and he is a member of The Others, but he refuses to speak to anyone but Locke.[13] He taunts Locke by telling him that his people saw the hatch as a joke, and that he never entered the numbers in the computer, which results in Locke to start believing that the button is not real.[14] When Ben escapes, Locke and Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) enter the jungle to search him but find the "?" on Locke's map, where they discover the Pearl station, which explains that pushing the button is just to test the occupants of the hatch.[15] While Locke believes that the button is fake, Eko feels the opposite. Locke abandons pushing the button, and he and the recently-returned Desmond sneak into the hatch to allow the timer to reach zero, but when the electromagnetic force builds up, Locke realizes that he has been wrong all along. Desmond then turns the fail-safe key that causes the hatch to implode.[16]

Locke awakens in the jungle the next day and he builds a sweat lodge to induce a hallucination, in which Boone tells him to rescue Eko.[17] In order to communicate with the Others to help the captured Jack, Kate and Sawyer (Josh Holloway), he and some of the other survivors travel to the Pearl station, where they rewire the circuits in the monitors to view surveillance from another hatch. They leave the station and discover Eko dead in the jungle.[6] After burying him, Locke notices an inscription on Eko's prayer stick instructing him to go north.[18] After Kate returns, she, Locke, Sayid (Naveen Andrews), and Danielle Rousseau (Mira Furlan) go on a mission to rescue Jack from the Others.[19] When they arrive at the Others' village, the Barracks, Locke finds Henry (whose actual name is Ben and is the leader of the Others). Locke takes Ben hostage and forces him to show him the location of the Others' submarine. Locke then uses some C-4 to blow up a submarine that Jack was going to use to get off of the Island, due to his belief everyone should stay on it because of destiny. After this, Ben shows him his father, Anthony Cooper, whom they have captured, and tells Locke that he can join the Others if he kills his father.[4] Locke manipulates Sawyer into murdering Cooper for him, then carries the corpse to the Others' camp.[20] He is taken by Ben to see Jacob, but Locke is shown only an empty chair in the filthy cabin. Locke enters a rage because of Ben's lie, then suddenly objects began to fly around of its own accord. Ben and Locke walk off, and they next visit a pit full of long-deceased Dharma members, where Ben shoots Locke, because Locke was able to hear Jacob, which threatens his own leadership of the Others.[21] Locke is left for dead, but he wakes up days later. Locke contemplates suicide, but his faith is restored upon witnessing an apparition of Walt, who tells Locke that he 's got "work to do". He makes his way to where Jack has taken the survivors, and kills Naomi, a woman from the freighter, whom he believes has brought danger to the Island. He asks Jack not to communicate with the nearby freighter, but Jack ignores him and contacts it. Locke goes back to the beach camp, hoping to gain support from some of the other survivors.[22]

Jack then finds Locke, takes his gun, and pulls the trigger, discovering that it is unloaded. Because of this incident and Charlie Pace's (Dominic Monaghan) warning, the survivors split into two groups, with those believing the people from the freighter to be dangerous joining Locke. People in Locke's group include Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia), Sawyer, Claire, Ben, Rousseau, and Alex Rousseau (Tania Raymonde).[23] Locke attempts to carry out the work he was told to do by Walt. In order to do this he has to go to Jacob for advice, but is unable to find Jacob's cabin, so they proceed to the Barracks.[24] For the first few days there, Ben continually taunts Locke for not having a plan, but Ben eventually explains that Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) is the man who sent the freighter, and that he wants to exploit the Island.[25] After the village is ambushed by a group from the freighter and most of Locke's group is killed (including Rousseau and Alex), Locke leads Ben and Hurley to look for the cabin again, since Hurley claimed to see it.[26] Locke has a dream in which the Dharma Initiative member who built the cabin (Horace Goodspeed - Doug Hutchinson) tells him that Jacob is waiting for him. In the pit containing the bodies of the Dharma Initiative members, Locke finds a map to the cabin, which Locke, Ben, and Hurley follow. Inside the cabin, Locke does not meet Jacob, but rather Christian Shephard (John Terry) and Claire. He is told that the way to save the Island is to move it.[2] Ben leads Locke and Hurley to a Dharma station known as the Orchid that will be able to do this, but discovers the mercenaries from the freighter waiting for Ben there, so Ben turns himself over and instructs Locke how to get in the actual station. After failing to find it, Jack arrives and Locke tries to convince Jack not to leave. Unsuccessful, he tells Jack to lie about the Island and everything that has happened in order to protect it. Ben escapes and they enter the Orchid station together, only to discover that the mercenary leader, Martin Keamy (Kevin Durand) survived his encounter with Ben and followed him back. Keamy warns Ben that he has a dead man's trigger on him and that if he dies everyone on the freighter will also, but Ben kills him anyway to avenge his daughter's death, much to Locke's horror. Ben then apologizes for making Locke's life miserable and tells Locke that he is the new leader of the Others. Locke joins the Others as Ben moves the Island, causing him to leave it.[27][28]

Immediately after the Island is apparently moved, Locke finds himself along with the other island survivors traveling through time at random points indicated by a bright flash. Locke finds himself alone and sees the Beechcraft crash. Locke is then shot in the leg by Ethan and he interrogates him. Another flash takes Locke through time again. This time, he is found by Richard (Nestor Carbonell), who explains that he knew where to find him from Locke himself. He informs Locke that they will be strangers at their next meeting, and thus gives him a compass to get his younger self to trust Locke. He also tells Locke this is happening because of those that have left the Island. To get them to return, he will need to die.[29] Later, Locke saves Juliet and Sawyer from three Others back in 1954[30], one of them being a young Charles Widmore.[31] Locke convinces his group, consisting of Sawyer, Juliet, Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies), Miles Straume (Ken Leung), and Charlotte Lewis to go along with him to the Orchid station, hoping to stop the time flashes. After the group reunites with Jin (Daniel Dae Kim), they arrive at an ancient well which will lead to the Orchid station. Jin tells Locke to tell his wife Sun (Yunjin Kim) that he (Jin) died and to give her his wedding ring as proof.

After the Island

Locke leaves the Island at Christian's behest via the Orchid Station and emerges about 3 years in the future. Charles Widmore makes contact with Locke, provides him with the alias "Jeremy Bentham", and assigns Matthew Abaddon as his assistant to find the survivors that left the island, also known as the Oceanic Six. Locke visits Sayid, Walt Lloyd (Malcolm David Kelley), Hurley, Kate and Jack, and unsuccessfully tells them all (with the exception of Walt) that they must return to the Island. Ben visits the in-despair Locke and tells him that he will help reunite the Oceanic Six, only for Ben to subsequently murder him.[32] Jack is now convinced by Locke's visit to return to the island. He then attends Locke's wake.[22] Ben later approaches Jack and informs him the only way to return to the Island is to bring everyone back, including Locke's corpse.[27][28]

Locke's suicide note is given to Jack by Faraday's mother, Eloise Hawking. Locke's death was necessary so that his body would act as a proxy for Christian Shephard (whose body had been on the original flight) in order to as closely as possible recreate the conditions by which the Oceanic Six first found the Island. When Jack eventually brings himself to open the suicide note, it reads simply: "Jack, I wish that you had believed me. JL".[33] After flight 316 crashes on the Hydra island near the main island, Locke appears to the survivors of the crash, apparently resurrected.

Back on the Island

He and Ben later leave for the Island, where Ben is ordered by the smoke monster, under the guise of his dead daughter, to do everything Locke asks of him. Locke and Ben then locate the Others' camp, and are reunited with Richard. Locke demands a meeting with Jacob, which Richard agrees to arrange. Together with Sun and the rest of the Others, the group makes their way to the base of a giant statue. Ben and Locke confront Jacob in his chamber. Jacob identifies this "Locke" as his nemesis, and the rival has Ben stab Jacob. The rival then pushes the body into the fire. Outside the chamber, survivors from Flight 316 arrive at the campsite, where they present Richard Alpert with a box containing Locke's body, which was found in the plane's cargo hold. It is then revealed that Locke is in fact dead and the Smoke Monster has been impersonating him since his return to the island.

Locke is later buried near the original beach camp, and his eulogy is ironically given by Ben, who calls Locke a man of faith and a better man than he'll ever be. He also says that he is truly sorry for murdering him.

Alternate timeline

In the alternate timeline, Locke is still paralyzed. He flies back on Oceanic 815 and sits next to Boone, whom Locke convinces he went on a walkabout. Boone ironically claims that he will stick with Locke if the plane crashes, but in this alternate universe, the plane does not crash. Once the plane lands, Locke's suitcase of knives does not make it back with him and he meets Jack in the lost luggage department. Jack is in turmoil since the airline lost his father's coffin and tells Locke this story. Locke consoles Jack that they didn't lose his father, rather just the body. Grateful for these words of comfort, Jack asks Locke how he got in the wheelchair, but Locke, instead of revealing the reason, claims that his condition is irreversible, to which Jack respond "Nothing is irreversible". Jack then hands him a business card and tells him to call in order to receive a free consult to see if he can fix Locke's paralysis. The two introduce each other and part ways.

Locke had actually used a conference that his company had sent him to attend in Australia as his pretext to going to Australia in the first place. Instead of attending the conference, Locke went to go on his walkabout, but again is denied. His boss casually fires him for this misuse of company travel time. After clearing out his desk, he heads to the parking lot, only to find a huge Hummer blocking his van. He angrily slams on it, until Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, impeccably dressed, shows up. After an exchange, Hugo gives Locke the number to a temp agency that he also owns. Locke goes there and receives a work assignment, given by Rose Nadler, as a substitute teacher at a high school in Southern California. At the teacher's lounge, he meets a European history teacher in the form of Benjamin Linus.

One day, while eating lunch at the lounge, Locke suggests that Ben should apply for the position of the school's principal, because Ben is lamenting about the lack of care the current principal is showing for the school.

Helen, Locke's girlfriend, is alive and still with Locke. They are planning to tie the knot in October 2004, and she indicates, when she suggests having a small wedding with only Locke's father and her parents present, that Locke's father may not be the cruel con artist they know him as before. But Locke, losing faith and his belief in miracles, confesses to her one day that he lost his job at the box company and he wishes Helen deserve someone better. Helen, telling him he is all she ever wanted, tears up Jack's business card and affirms that she loves only him, the way he is.


Lost creator J. J. Abrams had worked with Terry O'Quinn previously on Alias. He was also the only actor who did not have to officially audition for a part of a main character.[34]

Both John Locke and his alias, Jeremy Bentham are the names of British philosophers.

The term Tabula Rasa, is used as the title of the third episode of the series. It refers to philosopher John Locke's tabula rasa thesis, an empirical conception, that states that all individuals are born with a blank slate and build their bank of knowledge and their identity solely from their experiences and perceptions.

In the episode "Cabin Fever", two actors play a younger Locke in flashbacks. Charles Wyson plays Locke at age five, while Caleb Steinmeyer plays Locke at age sixteen.


Response to O'Quinn's performance has been overwhelmingly positive. His role as John Locke won the actor an Emmy Award in 2007.[1] IGN named him as the #1 character from the first three seasons of Lost.[35] Also, he was #1 on Television Without Pity's list of the show's "10 Best Backstories” as well.[36]

The writing for Locke in "Through the Looking Glass" was criticized, and one IGN writer said that "it seems irrational that he would go and [stab Naomi] in the back without explaining himself."[37] Although not responding to the IGN comment, series co-creator, Damon Lindelof, has stated, "we might be willing to give [Locke] the benefit of the doubt for any action he took in response to [lying, gutshot, in a pit of Dharma corpses for two days and on the verge of taking his own life], even if considered slightly 'out of character'."[38]

See also


  1. ^ a b King, Susan, (September 16, 2007) "Emmys Live," The Los Angeles Times Envelope. Retrieved on September 16, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "Cabin Fever". Paul Edwards, Writ. Elizabeth Sarnoff & Kyle Pennington. Lost. ABC. 2008-05-08. No. 11, season 4.
  3. ^ a b "Deus Ex Machina". Robert Mandel, Writ. Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof. Lost. ABC. 2005-03-30. No. 19, season 1.
  4. ^ a b "The Man from Tallahassee". Jack Bender, Writ. Drew Goddard & Jeff Pinkner. Lost. ABC. 2007-03-21. No. 13, season 3.
  5. ^ a b "Walkabout". Jack Bender, Writ. David Fury. Lost. ABC. 2004-10-13. No. 4, season 1.
  6. ^ a b "The Cost of Living". Jack Bender, Writ. Alison Schapker & Monica Owusu-Breen. Lost. ABC. 2006-11-01. No. 5, season 3.
  7. ^ "All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues". Stephen Williams, Writ. Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Lost. ABC. 2004-12-08. No. 11, season 1.
  8. ^ "Hearts and Minds". Rod Holcomb, Writ. Carlton Cuse & Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Lost. ABC. 2005-01-12. No. 13, season 1.
  9. ^ "The Greater Good". David Grossman, Writ. Leonard Dick. Lost. ABC. 2005-05-04. No. 21, season 1.
  10. ^ "Exodus: Part 2". Jack Bender, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2005-05-25. No. 24, season 1.
  11. ^ "Orientation". Jack Bender, Writ. Javier Grillo-Marxuach & Craig Wright. Lost. ABC. 2005-10-05. No. 3, season 2.
  12. ^ "One of Them". Stephen Williams, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2006-02-15. No. 14, season 2.
  13. ^ a b "Lockdown". Stephen Williams, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2006-03-29. No. 17, season 2.
  14. ^ "Dave". Jack Bender, Writ. Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz. Lost. ABC. 2006-04-05. No. 18, season 2.
  15. ^ "?". Deran Sarafian, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2006-05-10. No. 21, season 2.
  16. ^ "Live Together, Die Alone". Jack Bender, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2006-05-24. No. 23, season 2.
  17. ^ "Further Instructions". Stephen Williams, Writ. Carlton Cuse & Elizabeth Sarnoff. Lost. ABC. 2006-10-18. No. 3, season 3.
  18. ^ "I Do". Tucker Gates, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2006-11-08. No. 6, season 3.
  19. ^ "Tricia Tanaka is Dead". Jack Bender, Eric Laneuville, Writ. Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz. Lost. ABC. 2007-02-28. No. 10, season 3.
  20. ^ "The Brig". Eric Laneuville, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2007-05-02. No. 19, season 3.
  21. ^ "The Man Behind the Curtain". Bobby Roth, Writ. Elizabeth Sarnoff & Drew Goddard. Lost. ABC. 2007-05-09. No. 20, season 3.
  22. ^ a b "Through the Looking Glass". Jack Bender, Writ. Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof. Lost. ABC. 2007-05-23. No. 22, season 3.
  23. ^ "The Beginning of the End". Jack Bender, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2008-01-31. No. 1, season 4.
  24. ^ "Confirmed Dead". Stephen Williams, Writ. Drew Goddard & Brian K. Vaughan. Lost. ABC. 2008-02-07. No. 2, season 4.
  25. ^ "The Other Woman". Eric Laneuville, Writ. Drew Goddard & Christina M. Kim. Lost. ABC. 2008-03-06. No. 6, season 4.
  26. ^ "The Shape of Things to Come". Jack Bender, Writ. Brian K. Vaughan & Drew Goddard. Lost. ABC. 2008-04-24. No. 9, season 4.
  27. ^ a b "There's No Place Like Home: Part 1". Stephen Williams, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2008-05-15. No. 12, season 4.
  28. ^ a b "There's No Place Like Home: Part 2". Jack Bender, Writ. Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof. Lost. ABC. 2008-05-29. No. 13/14, season 4.
  29. ^ "Because You Left". Stephen Williams, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2009-01-21. No. 1, season 5.
  30. ^ "The Lie". Jack Bender, Writ. Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz. Lost. ABC. 2009-01-21. No. 2, season 5.
  31. ^ "Jughead". Rod Holcomb, Writ. Elizabeth Sarnoff & Paul Zbyszewski. Lost. ABC. 2009-01-28. No. 3, season 5.
  32. ^ "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham". Jack Bender, Writ. Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof. Lost. ABC. 2009-02-25. No. 7, season 5.
  33. ^ "316". Stephen Williams, Writ. Damon Lindelof & Carlton Cuse. Lost. ABC. 2009-02-18. No. 6, season 5.
  34. ^ "Before They Were Lost". Lost: The Complete First Season, Buena Vista Home Entertainment. September 6, 2005. Featurette, disc 7.
  35. ^ Carabott, Chris & Goldman, Eric & Iverson, Dan & Moriarty, Colin & Zoromski, Brian, (February 9, 2007) "Top 10 Lost Characters," IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-19.
  36. ^ "10Best Backstories". Television Without Pity. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  37. ^ Haque, Ahsan, (May 25, 2007) "Idiot Box: The Lost Season 3 Finale", IGN. Retrieved on August 6, 2007.
  38. ^ Jensen, Jeff, (October 9, 2007) "Burning Question of the Month", Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on October 13, 2007.

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