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Cost of Living
Series: The Next Generation
Written by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: Winrich Kolbe
Production information
Episode no.: 5x20
Production no.: 220
First aired: 20 April 1992
Date: 45733.6 (2368)




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published order
Previous episode:
The First Duty
TNG episode produced Next episode:
The Perfect Mate
Previous episode:
The First Duty
TNG episode aired Next episode:
The Perfect Mate
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
The First Duty
Pocket Next Adventure:
Future Shock

This article uses material from the "Cost of Living" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 07, 2010
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From Lostpedia

"The Cost of Living"

November 1, 2006
Running time
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Centric character(s)
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Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

[[{{{audiotranscript}}}|Commentary transcript]]

"The Cost of Living" is the fifth episode of Season 3 of Lost, and the fifty-fourth produced hour of the series as a whole. A delirious Eko wrestles with demons from his past, while Locke and some of the other castaways head back to the Pearl, hoping to find a computer that they can use to locate Jack, Kate and Sawyer. Meanwhile, Jack doesn't know whom to trust when two of the Others seem at odds with one another. Eko's flashbacks in this episode unusually follow the format of occurring immediately after the flashbacks from one of his previous centric episodes, "The 23rd Psalm".





Young Eko and Yemi

As a boy, Eko is caught by a nun while breaking into a supply shed to steal food for himself and Yemi. When forced to confess at church, Eko refuses, insisting that stealing food for his starving brother was justified and therefore not a sin.

After the events depicted in "The 23rd Psalm", when Eko was left dumped on the runway as the Beechcraft flew away with Yemi's dead body, in a case of mistaken identity the Nigerian soldiers drive Eko back to Yemi's church. There, Eko meets the altar boy Daniel and his mother Amina, who asks about Yemi. Eko answers that Yemi has been called away and that Eko would be taking his place. When Amina also inquires about Yemi's upcoming trip to London, a surprised Eko states that he would take Yemi's place there, too.

Some time later, after Eko has become established in his new role as priest, he is confronted by militiamen who demanded to speak with Yemi. Amina intervenes and attempts to placate the leader, Emeka, by informing him that the vaccine shipment was late. Eko had been unaware of the arrangement, and Amina explains to him that 80% of the clinic's vaccines are given to Emeka for "protection." When Eko stands up to Emeka and refuses to participate in this extortion, Emeka shoots a blind woman as a warning to complete the deal, then drives away. Despite Amina's protests, Eko soon develops a plan to sell the vaccine on the black market before he leaves the country that coming weekend.

Eko is disturbed from his prayer when Emeka enters the church.

In Yemi's church, Emeka and two of his men arrive to punish Eko, as they have learned of his black market inquiries. However, they are obviously unaware of Eko's violent past. As Emeka is about to chop off Eko's hands with a machete, Eko suddenly surprises the militiamen by stealing the machete, quickly and efficiently killing the two henchmen. The leader then begs for mercy but before Eko says, "You don't know who I am" and kills him as well. Immediately afterward he walks out, covered in gore and holding a bloody machete and a gun, where he is seen by the terrified villagers, including Amina and Daniel.

Eko speaks to Amina.

As Eko prepares to leave Yemi's church for London, he is met by Daniel, who asks him whether his mother's opinion that Eko was a bad man was true. Eko replies, "Only God knows." Eko then notices that the church was being boarded up, and Amina, who had been taking delivery of a vaccine shipment, explains to him that the village can no longer use the church building as it had been desecrated. She also explains that she is not grateful for what Eko did, because the men will only be replaced by others. Further, she reveals that she had been aware that he was planning to sell the vaccine himself anyway. She advises him to repent and make his peace with God, and tells him that he "owes" Yemi one church.

On the Hydra Island

Colleen's body is sent out to the sea, as the Others watch.

In the Hydra, Ben gives Jack a white smock shirt and invites him to come for a walk. Jack asks about the symptoms of Ben's tumor, referring to the X-rays seen in "Every Man for Himself". Ben professes not to know what Jack is talking about, at which Jack smirks and drops the issue. They join the rest of the Others at the beach, all dressed in white smock shirts for Colleen's funeral. The corpse is floated out to sea on a burning raft accompanied by a lachrymose country-rock song, "I Wonder," played on the speakers while Pickett grieves. (This is a traditional Viking Funeral.) Privately, Ben asks Juliet why she showed his X-rays to Jack. Juliet replies that she never told Jack who's X-rays they were, and remarks that Ben must have inadvertently confirmed Jack's guess.

Juliet brings Jack a dome-style silver platter with a burger in it. The two seem relaxed and friendly until Ben interrupts wanting to speak to Jack. Juliet is reluctant to leave until Ben requests patient-doctor confidentiality. Ben has decided to 'come clean' and ask Jack to operate on him. Ben reveals the plans he had to break Jack - wearing him down until he believed the Others weren't his enemies. Ben elaborates on how he meant Jack to become 'invested' in the Others by exploiting the physical resemblance between Juliet and Jack's ex-wife Sarah. However, Ben admits that his plan was "shot to sunshine" once Jack saw the X-rays revealing that Ben had a tumor only he could operate on. As Ben leaves, he asks Jack if he believes in God; Jack answers by returning the question. Ben answers: "Two days after I found out I had a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky. And if that's not proof of God, I don't know what is."

Later, Juliet brings Jack a VHS video, saying "You'll like this one: To Kill a Mockingbird, it's a classic." Against Jack's express wishes, Juliet loads the video tape and moves the television close to the glass wall with the sound turned off. While Juliet entreats Jack to perform the surgery that will save Ben's life, the silent 'movie' shows her holding a series of written messages asking Jack to kill Ben on the operating table. The monitor is placed so that it is out of view of the video surveillance. While her speech praises Ben and describes how much he deserves to live, the flashcards on tape say that Ben is a dangerous liar, and that some of the Others want 'change'--they want Ben dead. But they need to make it look as though they tried to save Ben's life, so that it looks like an accident, so they want Jack to make a fatal "mistake" during surgery. While Juliet says that only Jack can save Ben and that she can be trusted, her written messages on the video say it's up to Jack to kill Ben and that she will protect him (Jack). The last cue card asks Jack to demand that she stop the movie; he plays along. Juliet takes the tape and leaves, pausing to request that Jack should think about what she said; Jack nods.

On the Island

Back on the Island, a delirious Eko has a vision of his brother Yemi holding a cigarette lighter. Eko is told that, if he is ready to confess, he knows where to find Yemi. That night, Eko's shelter catches fire. Charlie and Hurley rescue Eko and leave him propped up against a tree, while Eko mumbles something about "my brother". Locke arrives and asks Charlie if Eko's alright, but Eko has disappeared.

Yemi in Eko's tent

The next morning, Locke and Desmond ask Sayid to come to the Pearl to use the computer to communicate with the Others and figure out how to rescue Jack, Sawyer, and Kate. Charlie and Hurley inform the group that they cannot find any trace of Eko. Locke asks if Eko said anything to Charlie the previous night, and Charlie mentions Eko's rambling about his brother. Locke realizes that Eko is heading to the Beechcraft, just like when he previously had visions of his brother (this has apparently not occurred to Charlie, who first found out about Yemi when he led Eko to the Beechcraft in "The 23rd Psalm").

Locke tells Sayid and Desmond that they are heading for the same place as Eko, and offers an open invitation to anyone else who wants to come along. As remarked by Hurley, this is a significant change from previous excursions, when Jack would decide who ventured into the jungle. Locke emphasizes that he is not Jack. Nikki accepts the invitation eagerly and encourages Paulo to join in, remarking that he's always complaining about not being included. Desmond asks Locke what they are really doing, and notes the remarkable coincidence that the plane Eko is heading for is in the same place as the Pearl station. In reply, Locke quotes what Eko said when Locke queried the odds of Eko finding the missing segment of the Swan Orientation film: "Do not mistake coincidence for fate."

Eko is nearly hit by a machete.

Eko staggers through the jungle and collapses. The black smoke Monster is seen and heard darting through the background. A Nigerian man (Emeka) appears, and throws a machete at Eko. The machete lands in a tree next to Eko's head. Eko pulls the machete from the tree and turns to face three men: one with his throat cut, one with a severed arm and one (Emeka) who is cowering before Eko and begging for his life. Eko is about to plunge the machete into Emeka, but Emeka changes into Altar Boy (Daniel) who puts a finger to his lips ("Shhh", just like Walt to Shannon) and says, "Confess." Eko drops the machete and runs. He arrives at a river and drinks from it. Eko smears mud on the bandage over his chest wounds. He notices the reflection of the "Monster" towering over him. He turns to face the "Monster", but it retreats into the Jungle as Locke, Sayid, Desmond, Paulo and Nikki appear on the opposite river bank.

On the way to the the Pearl/Beechcraft Locke asks if Eko is looking for Yemi. Eko angrily pins Locke to a tree with a knife at his throat, telling Locke not to speak his brother's name again. Locke calmly asks what Eko is afraid of, but Eko doesn't reply. At the Beechcraft, Locke helps Eko to remove the boulders that cover the plane's door, while the others enter the Pearl. Locke asks Eko what he saw in the jungle, confiding that he once saw the "Monster" as a very bright light which was beautiful; but Eko replies, "That is not what I saw."

The Pearl station

Eko discovers that Yemi's body is not inside the Beechcraft. Eko decides to wait by the plane, contemplating a black and white photograph of himself and Yemi as boys. Before heading down into the Pearl, Locke gives Eko the cross that he found while tracking Eko during "Further Instructions".

Inside the Pearl, Nikki watches the Pearl Orientation video, Sayid, Desmond and Locke examine the electronic equipment behind the computer, while Paulo discovers and uses a working toilet. After watching the film, Nikki suggests some of the monitors could be viewing the other DHARMA stations. Sayid fiddles with the electronics until a live picture appears on one of the monitors. A man with an eyepatch is briefly shown before putting his hand over the camera and the live video is lost. Locke remarks, "I guess he'll be expecting us."

The survivors travel to the Pearl.

Sitting by the Beechcraft pondering the cross, Eko sees Yemi standing at the edge of the ? clearing. Looking as severe as the nun in Eko's flashback (see below), Yemi turns and vanishes into the jungle. Following, Eko demands to know why Yemi wants to hear his confession, and why now? Eko finds Yemi waiting expectantly in the middle of a 'garden' of brightly colored anthurium bushes. Yemi asks if Eko is ready to confess, to which Eko assents.

Eko shows his cross to Yemi, who reaches out and cradles it in his fingers. Eko says, "I ask for no forgiveness, Father, for I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive." Yemi lets go of the cross. Referring to Daniel asking if Eko was a bad man, Eko says that when he was a small boy he killed a man to save his brother's (Yemi's) life--and that he is not sorry for this, he is proud of it. Then Eko kneels before Yemi and extends his arms, palms upward in supplication. He appeals, and says to the Yemi-like figure: "I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given nonetheless. And with it, I did my best."

The Monster grabs Eko.

An angry-looking Yemi replies, "You speak to me as if I were your brother!"

Inferring that this apparition of Yemi isn't actually his brother, Eko asks, "Who are you?" But "Yemi" turns away and vanishes into the jungle. Eko follows, repeating, "Who are you?" The Monster darts in between the trees, distracting Eko with its sounds. Soon, Eko is confronted by a huge mass of black smoke.
Eko with Yemi
Backing away, Eko shows awareness (but little fear) of his imminent doom by reciting the 23rd Psalm. An arm of smoke reaches out, grabs Eko and smashes him against a tree.

In the Pearl, Locke and the others hear the groan and wail of the Monster and rush to investigate.

The Monster slams Eko against tree trunk after tree trunk, before finally lifting him high into the air and throwing him violently down to the ground. Locke finds an all but lifeless Eko, who breathes his dying words in Locke's ear. In the final moments before his death, we see a semi-flashback of the young Eko and Yemi, walking arm-in-arm and throwing a soccer ball. Together they walk in the low sun, and back in the present Eko passes. Sayid asks Locke what Eko said, and Locke replies, "He said we're next."



  • For a long period of time, it was rumored amongst fans that this episode was to be a Rose-centric episode, although in fact her first appearance for this season is episode 21 ("Greatest Hits"). [source needed]

Production notes

  • Claire, Jin, Kate, Sawyer, and Sun do not appear in this episode.
  • A deleted scene features Sawyer and Kate breaking rocks during their time on Hydra Island. Pickett comes to Sawyer and tells him that the only reason he is still alive is because Ben needs him alive.
  • The deleted scene also shows Danny Pickett revealing the construction site's real purpose is the Runway.
  • As with "The 23rd Psalm", all of Eko's flashbacks in this episode are shot using a yellow-tinted lens to give them a third world look.
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 3 DVD with the Wal-Mart Bonus DVD.

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • Jack tells Ben that he would be feeling tingling in his fingers as the result of his "L4 tumor". These symptoms, however, would be in his lower extremity, not upper.
  • During Eko's dreams, when he remembers the Nigerian soldier asking "Are you ok, Father?" the camera angle is reversed from when he was asked in The 23rd Psalm

Recurring themes

Recurring themes in Lost
Black and whiteCar accidentsCharacter connectionsDeceptions and consDreamsEyesFate versus free willGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLife and deathMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersParent issuesPregnanciesRainRebirthRedemptionRelationshipsRevengeSacrificeSecretsTime
  • The title of the episode is The Cost of Living. (Life and death)
  • The first on-Island scene starts with a closeup of Mr. Eko's closed right eye. (Eyes)
  • In Yemi's church in Nigeria, Eko kills three men with a machete. (Life and death)
  • A boy asked if Eko was a "bad man". (Good and bad)
  • We learn that Eko's act of building a church on the Island was self-imposed redemption for committing the sacrilege (murder) in Yemi's church. (Redemption)
  • The youth picture of Eko and Yemi was found in Isaiah chapter 4. (The Numbers)
  • While Eko saw the Monster as a black cloud, Locke saw the Monster as a white light. (Black and white)
  • Eko is saved from a white polar bear only to be killed by the black cloud. (Black and white)
  • Eko refused to feel guilty about his past life when a vision of Yemi asked him to confess. (Redemption)
  • Locke says "Don't mistake coincidence for fate." (Fate versus free will)
  • Eko says "I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given, nonetheless. And with it, I did my best." (Fate versus free will)
  • Eko is the second known person to be killed by the Monster; the first being the Flight 815 pilot. After Eko's death, the only member of the Tailies not killed or abducted is Bernard. (Life and death)
  • The body of Yemi is the second corpse to disappear, and then appear on the Island. Jack's father's corpse was the first. (Life and death)
  • Juliet is secretly communicating with Jack via cue cards on a videotape. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Juliet says to Jack, "You probably feel like you don't have a choice, but you do, Jack. Free will is all we've really got, right?" (Fate versus free will)

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • Lazarus: Eko and Locke remove the rocks blocking the plane door only to find that Yemi's body has disappeared. This is reminiscent of the stories of Lazarus' tomb, and/or Jesus Christ's resurrection, from the Christian Bible. In this case, the plane is likened to Yemi's "tomb", and this reference seems appropriate as Yemi was a priest. (Religion and ideologies)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Juliet offered to show Jack this movie. (Movies and TV)
  • "Subterranean Homesick Blues": Juliet's video, in which she holds up cue cards, is reminiscent of Bob Dylan's video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues." In the scene, both Jack and Juliet are subterranean. In later episodes, we learn that both were also homesick and "blue". This reference was confirmed in 11/06/06 podcast. (Music)
  • "I Wonder": The song played at Colleen's funeral is "I Wonder", performed by Brenda Lee. (Music)
  • Hindu funeral practices: The Others wear white robes to the funeral, which follows the traditions of Hindu funeral practices. In many Asian cultures, white is the funeral color. Adopting this characteristically Eastern practice would be in keeping with other motifs associated with the Others (e.g., the Dharma project name itself). (Religion and ideologies)
  • Psalm 23: Eko starts reciting the 23rd Psalm before the Monster attacks him. (Religion)
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: When Jack asks Ben if he wants him to save Ben's life, Ben says, "No, I want you to want to save my life." This concept is similar to that presented in George Orwell's 1984, where the main character, a dissident, is not killed, but brainwashed into supporting the government. (Books)
  • "Eko Lagos", preformed by Femi Kuti is playing on a radio during Eko's black market vaccine deal with the Trader at a bar in Nigeria. (Music)
    • Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, was formerly known as Eko.

Episode references

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
More details...
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Cost of Living/Theories
  • Why did the Monster kill Eko on their second meeting?
  • What did Eko mean when he said "You're next"?
  • What happened to Yemi's body?

This article uses material from the "The Cost of Living" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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