DocArzt and Friends Logo

Lost – 4.11 – Prodigies, Prophets, and Predestination

By ErasedSlate,

  Filed under: Lost Recaps
  Comments: 21

s4ep11_06a.jpgLocke was identified at birth as a potential chosen one.  Later, the method that Alpert used is similar to the way the Tibetan monks choose the Dalai Lama.  After the Dalai Lama passes, a search ensues for his reincarnation.  When a potential is found, articles that belonged to the previous Dali Lama are mixed in with other items.  If the child is the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, then he would correctly identify the items that belong to him.  So it happened with the current Dalai Lama, who demanded the rosary from one of the monks that belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama.  The child also identified the servant by name correctly.


Locke can be identified as special by the drawing of a tornado or a black cloud that stood over a fallen body.  Locke chose items that tie him back to his later days on the island, sand, a compass and a knife.  Alpert was disappointed, but Locke chose the correct items for him.  He was special by the very fact that he was alive in the most difficult of circumstances.  A premature baby at that time with those illness should not have made it.  He should not have survived an 8 story fall, but he did.  We also see his precognition on the island.  The forcasting of the weather.  The natural connection that he seems to have for the island.  He was born for this.


Unlike the search for the Dalai Lama, the successor for island protector does not necessarily follow the death of the previous protector.  Is Ben on par with Locke?  Is Locke the true protector and Ben an interim?  It is obvious that the torch has been passed.  It was seen in the selfish motives of Ben that essentially brought danger to the island.  It is seen in the Jobian loss that Ben has suffered.  The failure of his health, even the loss of his child.  Ben has been rejected.  And, if the island is no longer protecting him, what does that mean for his future.  Is he as unable to find the island as Widmore or the rest of the Oceanic 6?


Prophets are rarely respected.  The Old Testament prophets routinely brought messages to the people that they simply did not want to hear.  Hurley told John that maybe the only reason they can see the cabin is “because they are the craziest.”  The prophets message was often mistaken for lunacy.  However, Locke has certain lucidity about the island that even escapes his own perception.  He was rejected by Jack.  Jack even called Locke crazy.  But Locke is the one that is trying to protect the island and its inhabitants just as the prophets were doing in their time.  They had communion with God.  They saw visions and could interpret dreams.  Ben told Locke that he had dreams once.  Prophets are castigated, ostracized and often put to death for their faith.  The path of the prophet is exceedingly difficult.


Which brings us to Ben’s conversation with Locke about destiny.  Ben was able to say that his losses were a requirement for destiny to be fulfilled.  What a difficult concept to wrestle to try and grasp.  When at a funeral of a loved one, someone will say, in an attempt to comfort, there is a reason, or God has a purpose.  What an awful thing to hear while in the middle of grief.  For some, it is comfort to know that there is a greater purpose.  For others, it is reminder that they have received back hand of destiny once again.  Locke has received a beat down from destiny his entire life.  When Ben said that there is a price to pay for being chosen, it seems like Locke has been paying that price from birth. 


Ben’s closing remarks before Locke enters the cabin are, “because, John, Destiny can be a ficle bitch.”  That is the attempt to marry suffering with predestination.  How can a loving God allow bad things to happen?  In the context of the show, it is so the right person will be ready when the time comes to step into destiny’s spotlight.

  • lgh

    It’s amazing how gullible LOST fans can be just like Locke. To jump to the conclusion that the invisible, more powerful hand, behind the events of the island and the characters is god is naive. To assume that Ben is defeated is naive. We have already seen Ben’s future and he is in control. teleporting and manipulating and threatening Widmore that he will not be able to find the island. John Locke is getting played just like you are.

  • Love the post. Great writing. But I agree it may be too soon to tell. Richard and Abbadon could both be jumping aroud in time and space and let’s not forget we don’t even know if anything zombie Christian has to say is really what Jacob, the Island or Ben wants. Plus we don’t know a nything about Jacob besides that he asked Locke to help him. It could all be a long con. Very cool one though!

  • Mike

    When jack had locke at gunpoint – the gun didn’t fire. Very similar to how guns won’t fire when pointed at Michael. I think the island is keeping those who are needed alive. Once someone has fulfilled their role for the island – it no longer protects them. e.g. – Ben gets cancer, Ben’s daughter gets iced, Michael is gonna get killed…

    The island is a user

  • downthehatch

    Great Post! That made a lot of sense to me. I think your observations regarding Locke’s specialness are spot on. I can see after all is said and done rewatching the series and Locke’s “What is it I am supposed to do?” will have greater gravity. I think that when he gets to the Island and can walk he realizes for the first time that he was destined to be there all along, but he was too stubborn to listen.

    I think your theory on the torch being passed on is correct as well. I don’t think Ben is an interim, as he is special himself and was also probably course corrected in going to the the Island (Horace?). I think he has another purpose now and John is the protector of the Island while Ben is away. I think Ben will ahve a hard time getting back to the Island once it gets moved…hence the conversation he has with Widmore.

  • gusteaux

    I completely agree with both ErasedSlate and downthehatch.

    Mike: When Jack had Locke at gunpoint, the gun didn’t fire because it was empty…same reason Locke didn’t shoot Jack to prevent him from completeing the call to the freighter after Locke had downed Naomi with the knife. This is unlike the two instances where a “loaded” gun wouldn’t fire to kill Michael.

  • Mark Buehner

    Ben’s reaction in this episode are curious. I agree he must be playacting (again) to some extent, but it occurs to me that his resentment towards the island/jacob may have some truth to them.

    When Ben said ‘he changed the rules’, maybe he WASNT talking about Widmore. Maybe Jacob changed the rules by not spinning fate to protect Ben’s interests anymore. If that is the case, it casts an entirely differently light on who’s interests Ben is pursuing post-Island. He may be off on his own revenge mission, possibly at odds with Jacob and/or the Island.

  • Good Post. I think it is very possible that Ben was an interim protector for the Island. John has always been the chosen one, but when rejected his destiny, and failed Alpert’s test, Ben was brought to the Island, and set on a path to protect it from Dhrama. After a while Ben came to think of the Island as his.

    The Island won’t let him die. Since his premature birth, he has been protected. He has survived when he shouldn’t have. Premature birth, an 8 story fall, the crash, being shot by Ben, and trying to commit suicide. John was chosen very early but continually rejected his destiny. As Mrs. Hawking said, “The Universe has a way of course correcting.” and as you said, “he was born for this.” Like it our not, he was coming to the Island. He still has work to do.

  • An Other

    I mean The Island will not let john die.

  • b

    Based on “The Shape of Things to Come”, it seems as if Ben reemerges as the leader, or at least with a great deal of the power he once had, after the freighter mercenaries are dealt with and the Oceanic 6 leave the island.

    That said, I don’t think that Locke’s rise to power is going to continue. It just doesn’t ad up with the character. John Locke has always been a tragic character and most of the tragedies in his life have been a result of trusting the wrong people too easily. The comment that Ben made about Hurley thinking that he decided on his own to continue to the cabin was a bit of foreshadowing. Since Locke saw the Widmore tape, Ben, the master manipulator, has been making Locke believe that he’s in total control.

    Locke: “I’m not you.”
    Ben: “No, you’re certainly not…”

    Another bit of foreshadowing there. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point during the finale, Locke can’t make a tough decision and it gives Ben the chance to regain his power. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Locke doesn’t make it to Season 5…

    Oh, and Mike – Locke’s gun didn’t fire when Jack pulled the trigger because it wasn’t loaded.

  • Eric Larson

    I can’t belive that John did not recognize Alpert. I know that he was pretty young, but I think that I would have rembered, but I do see how you could forget. If Claire is undead and Christian brought her to the cabin, when Jack got sick was that because the island was trying to get rid of Jack or because the island was trying to connect Jack with Christian? So many new questions. Last night’s episode melted my brain and then left me there with my jaw open for about thirty minutes afterwards. One of my friends recently started watching Lost and is currently on the first season and it got me to thinking of how different the show is from then to now, and it again melted my brain. This is the best show to ever air on network television. hands down. period. Another observation it seems as though Locke is the new Ben (the have so many similarites that they could be the same person), could Jack become the new Charles Widmore? It is pretty far out there, but Jack and Locke have been at odds since day one and we know that Jack is trying to get back to the island. Bottom line. I friggin’ love this show.

  • Zombie Constant

    I think that Ben has a LOT of knowledge of what is transpiring, but does no longer know “all”. I believe he now is on the outs with the Island and John is now the leader.
    That said, Ben is still going to be a major player in Future events – hence the traveling in time, recruiting Sayid and either changing the present events to eliminate Widmores take over, or future events by eliminating Widmore from ever finding the Island again.
    Widmore: Ben YOU changed the Rules!
    Ben: In accordance to how you changed them.
    Widmore: The Island no longer wants you; you have fullfilled your purpose.
    Ben: That is true, Charles; but the Island can no longer be had by you either.
    Widmore: [Bang] Shoots Ben dead. Dies.
    Ben is in the casket.

  • An Other

    On May 5th in SonyaLynn’s “Looking at the Little Things” post she said, “…look to Locke to somehow enter it (Ben and Charles’game) as a new challenger and manage to get the better of both Ben and Widmore. His purpose will be clear…to free the Island from both of the men who wish to possess rather than serve it.”

    Still, I like the idea of the Island using Locke to defeat Ben and Charles. Maybe that’s his destiny. To make sure no one gets the Island. He does have a tendency to blow things up.

  • wife_of_veux

    so no one realizes yet that they can see dead people, do you think locke and rose are also dead? since they were ‘healed’ once on the island. but jack and ben are still alive and ,therefore, open to injury and sickness.

  • ErasedSlate

    Is Ben in control when he leaves the island? There is no proof of it yet. We only see that he is launching a personal vendetta against the man responsible for his daughter’s murder. Ben may be just as helpless to return as Widmore.

    Here are some wild theories: In the finale, Ben leaves through the Orchid and shows up in Tunisia in Oct, 2005. Sayid, Kate, Aaron, Sun, Jack, and Hurley get on the helicopter and escape to the freighter. Locke sends the Island, via the orchid, somewhere else in position or time. The Oceanic 6 cannot return to the island to rescue the other castaways.

    This would mean that Michael and Desmond are also rescued from the island. Therefore, Ben and Michael are still possibilities for who is in the coffin.

  • Ben

    I dunno. I tend to post most weeks here, but I don’t think there’s a lot to tell.

    1. We are being told that Locke’s parentage is still a mystery – the whole “is that the father?” exchange leads us there.The con man of his past merely links him to Sawyer.

    2. Abbadon isn’t necessarily ageless – he appeared in a flashback from the last ten years only.

    3. Alpert is the leader of “the others”. Still don’t know who they are, but he can time travel, presumably using the orchid and the vortices. Not sure how time travel factors in to those, but I’m sure it will be revealed.

    4. Jacob = Aaron? possibly. I don’t buy all this “dead people are smokey” guff, either. Smokey is an electromagnetic guard system called Cerberus, developed by Dharma – see the blast door map for evidence.

    5. Why is no-one asking who the father to Claire’s baby is? have a look at his picture on the Lostpedia:

    Younger Ben, anyone?

  • heythereyourself

    What’s really weird is that when I was ten I recevied the same phamplet for Mittelos Science Camp that John did. Wrap your brain around that one.

  • chromaticblues

    I already wrote that on an other topic, but it fits here, too:
    “Here is what I was thinking: Alpert wanted Locke to be leader of the Others, that’s why he was at his birth and so on. But as he recognized, that Locke wasn’t ready for “his school”, he chose Ben instead. That is also why the island cured Locke and gave Ben the spine-tumour. Because Locke’s now on the island and ready to be its leader.”

  • chromaticblues

    @Ben: I like your fifth point. Thomas looks a lot like Ben. Maybe an unknown child from him and Annie?

  • heythereyourself

    Where do you people come up with this stuff? Seriously? Stop over-thinking. Do you think Claire looks like Jack, too?

  • spacebender

    ErasedSlate – Very intriguing reflections (and wonderfully written) on Locke’s destiny and the tortured path that comes with his being chosen. When I saw Richard’s disappointment in John’s selection of the knife, I wondered which object he wanted to see him choose. Based on his remarks about the game John was playing, one guess might be the “Book of Laws”.

  • spacebender

    In light of Merlbero Man’s “Breaking Lost 411” article and the link he provided to the article, , the book makes perfect sense.