Thursday, October 29, 2020

LOST: It Wasn't Purgatory, Season 2, Episode 10, The Twenty-Third Psalm

On-Island Events: Claire introduces Aaron to Eko, who speaks to her about Moses and his brother. When Claire inadvertently discloses that Charlie has been carrying a Virgin Mary statue around with him on the island and shows Eko, Eko breaks open the statue, revealing the heroin inside. Eko finds Charlie and demands he show him where he found the statue.

Michael shows interest in weapons; Locke takes him into the jungle for target practice. Later, Michael offers to take Kate's shift in the hatch and she agrees. 

On their way to the site where the Beechcraft airplane crashed, Eko sees the black smoke flicker through the jungle but pass them by. Charlie tries to explain his experiences with addiction to Eko, but for naught. They find a parachute and the skeleton of a priest in the jungle, whom Eko says he knows. Later, as Charlie climbs a tree to get a better view, the smoke monster creeps right up to Eko, hovers there, clicking and snapping, then flickers away back into the jungle. Charlie demands to know why Eko didn't run from the smoke; Eko states he was not afraid of it and continues on his way to the airplane.

In the hatch, Michael is again contacted by Walt on the computer. Walt assures Michael he's okay, he's alone, and that he can't talk for long as "they" were coming back soon. Jack interrupts the chat and offers Michael his sympathy, but soon leaves. 

Eko finds Yemi's body inside the Beechcraft and weeps for his brother. As the plane burns, Charlie asks Eko, "Are you a priest, or aren't you?" Eko answers he is, and recites The Lord's Prayer (Psalm 23), which Charlie joins.

Ana Lucia and Libby are greeted warmly by the beach camp; Claire kicks Charlie out of her tent. Charlie retreats to an area in the jungle where he has hidden several Virgin Mary statues of heroin.

Flashbacks: Opening the episode, a group of Nigerian boys play soccer near a village marketplace. When a truck of armed men pulls up and begins pulling children out of the group, a little boy clings to an older one. The leader of the armed men seizes the boy, puts a gun in his hand, and implores him to shoot an older gentleman. When the little boy refuses, the boy he earlier clung to, which turns out to be Eko, intervenes, shoots the man himself, and is taken by the truck of armed men. 

When Eko returns to the village as an adult, he oversees a drug deal with some men who speak in Arabic, one of which who tells Eko he has no soul. Eko ends up killing the men but spares the life of a child who witnesses the act. 

Eko returns to the village again and visits his brother Yemi, the boy who was left when Eko was taken. Yemi has become a priest, and Eko asks to use the church's protection to move the drugs out of Nigeria by plane; Yemi stresses that while he still loves Eko, he cannot be involved in drug-running. Eko comes back again, demanding that Yemi help, this time suggesting he sign papers ordaining Eko and his friend as priests so they can fly the drugs out of Nigeria. Yemi refuses at first, but then agrees when Eko threatens to burn down the church. 

As Eko and his crew load the Beechcraft, Yemi pleads with his brother to abandon the drug deal and to confess. Eko refuses, the military shows up, and Yemi is killed by their gunfire. Eko's partner takes Yemi's body into the plane, kicks Eko out of it, and departs. 

Greater Meaning: The easy connection to make in this episode is that Eko and Charlie's journeys are related through heroin, which is true. Both have been involved in drugs, Eko trafficking, Charlie using, and both have experienced severe and abrupt life changes due at least in part to the events that shaped or resulted from these involvements. Eko's life changed in two ways: he was made into a criminal when he was taken from his village, and he fashioned himself into a proper priest after Yemi's death (more on this in The Cost of Living, season 3). Charlie was forced into a sudden detoxification soon after crashing on the island and since then has been devoted to Claire and Aaron as a sort of father figure. Both men are religious, each in his own way, but where Eko seems to be heading toward salvation, Charlie, after this episode, seems to be heading in the opposite direction. Had Charlie been able to resist heroin, both off and on the island, things may well have gone very differently for him. 

Similarly, brotherhood factors strongly into Eko's and Charlie's actions; both tried to "save" a brother and failed (Yemi was killed; Liam continued to use heroin) but Eko, in his guilt, turned to God's work whereas Charlie simply joined Liam in his pain. Eko was shown to have been a ruthless warlord, but on the island is seen as a strong ally to Ana Lucia (a former cop!), a man of God, and a sort of silent leader. Charlie does not yet possess this kind of strength, but in their joint recitation of The Lord's Prayer, the two men are seen if not as equals, then at least kindred spirits. Perhaps Eko senses what lies ahead for Charlie or has some appreciation for the struggles he might be facing. 

Further Questions: 

1. Will Charlie start using heroin again?

2. What is Michael planning to do about Walt?

3. Will Ana Lucia be accepted by the rest of the group?

4. Where is Walt? Who has him?

5. Will Claire forgive Charlie?