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This page is about the Season 2 episode "Orientation". For the orientation films, see DHARMA Initiative films.

5 October 2005
Running time
Production code
Centric character(s)
Directed by

Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

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

"Orientation" is the third episode of Season 2 of Lost and the 28th episode of the series as a whole. Michael, Sawyer and Jin find themselves prisoners after they encounter what they believe to be a group of Others. At the Hatch, the group learn more about their new surroundings, but are confused at Desmond's reaction when the strange computer equipment is broken.



Previously on Lost

  • Running a tour de stade in Los Angeles, Jack meets a man named Desmond, who is training for a race around the world. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Jack explores the hatch and comes across a bulkhead covered with cement, which magnetically attracts the marshal's key. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Desmond holds Locke at gunpoint and forces him to enter the numbers into a computer before a timer runs down. Kate escapes from her confinement and makes her way into an air duct. ("Adrift")
  • Desmond sends Locke out where Jack can see him and orders him to drop his gun. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Sawyer and Michael swim back to shore. They are greeted by Jin running out of the jungle yelling "Others" and see shadowy figures emerging onto the beach. ("Adrift")


John and Helen at dinner

John visits a support group, where a woman complains that her mother stole $30.00 from her purse. John simply laughs at this. When the moderator asks why, he explains that $30.00 is nothing to get upset over, finally recounting the deception perpetrated by his father. ("Deus Ex Machina") After the meeting, he is approached by another member of the support group, Helen, who flirts with him and thanks him for saying in the meeting what she had always wanted to.

Later, Helen wakes up to find John putting on his clothes, claiming he is uncomfortable sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. That morning, he sits in his car outside the gates of his father's estate. His father opens the car door and gets in, saying he knows that John has been stalking him and wants it to stop, finally telling him, "Don't come back; you're not wanted." Locke does not stop, however, and at dinner during their six-month anniversary, Helen gives John a present: a key to her house, under the condition that he stops going to his father's house. John agrees, but is unable keep his word.

Helen eventually follows and sees John outside the gates. When she confronts him, she explains that he is afraid of the future, of moving past what his father has done, and of moving forward in his relationship with her. When he says that he doesn't know what else to do, she tells him that it is meant to be difficult, because what she is asking him for is a leap of faith. He seems to understand, and they embrace.

On the Island

The opening to the Swan film

At the underground compound, the standoff between Jack, Desmond, and Locke provides enough of a distraction for Kate to drop from the air ventilation system into the station's armory, where she finds and loads a shotgun. She makes her way behind Desmond, and ends the standoff by striking him with the butt of the shotgun. Desmond fires a round from his gun as he falls, hitting and badly damaging the computer. When an upset Desmond claims that everyone will die unless the computer is fixed, Kate suggests that Sayid could repair the machine, and Locke sends Kate to retrieve him.

Desmond trying to fix the computer

At Jack's insistence, Desmond explains that, three years prior, he had been in a solo race around the world when his boat crashed on the reef surrounding the Island. He was dragged off the beach by a man named "Kelvin," who enlisted his help in his sole duty on the Island: inputting the Numbers into the compound's computer and pressing the execute button every 108 minutes. Desmond explains that "the end of the world" would come if the button was not pressed, but without time to explain in detail, Desmond directs Jack and Locke to watch a film reel he's placed behind a copy of The Turn of the Screw. This film welcomes its viewers to the underground compound, calling it Facility 3, the Swan, as marked by a logo that is on almost everything inside the Hatch. It then goes on to describe a project called the "DHARMA Initiative," apparently funded by experimental psychology research group the Hanso Foundation. The film ends by explaining that, due to an incident on the Island, the viewers must enter the code into the computer every 108 minutes for the next 540 days, after which a replacement team would take over. Jack and Locke take opposite responses to this film: Jack believes that this is nothing more than a social experiment, while Locke believes the film should be taken at its word.

Desmond says his goodbyes

Soon after, Desmond attempts to power up the computer, but it shorts out, blowing a fuse in the compound. Desmond panics, packs his stuff - some food along with some of the medicine he's been injecting himself with (we also get a short glimpse of the book The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien and a book with a cross on the outside that is presumably a Bible) - and hurriedly leaves the facility. Jack follows behind him, leaving Locke to attempt to fix the computer alone. Locke briefly suffers an emotional breakdown, but Kate, Sayid and Hurley arrive to help. Uninterested in the details of the situation, Sayid directs Kate and Hurley to restore power while he fixes the computer. Outside, Jack catches up to Desmond, holding him at gunpoint. Desmond tells Jack the code, but Jack's not interested. Instead, he asks where Desmond is running to, which reminds Desmond of his earlier conversation with Jack. When Desmond asks about Jack's patient, Jack stonewalls, before eventually replying that he married her. Desmond guesses from his reaction that they are no longer married. Jack lowers his gun as he begins to cry, and Desmond hastily leaves with the phrase, "See you in another life, yeah?."

Sayid is successful in fixing the computer

At the facility, Sayid successfully repairs the computer, leaving Locke to type in the Numbers. When Hurley hears them, he urges Locke not to use them, but stops protesting after seeing Locke enter a wrong number. Just as Locke is about to hit the "EXECUTE" button, Jack arrives and tells Locke the correct numbers. Locke tells Jack he should be the one to hit the button, but Jack refuses. As the alarm sounds, the two have another confrontation, Locke asking Jack why it is so hard to believe, and Jack responding by asking why Locke finds it so easy. An upset Locke tells him it was never easy, but Jack needs to make a leap of faith of his own. With a scant second left, Jack presses the button. Locke says that he will take the first shift at the computer.

Across the Island

"Others! Others!" (promotional still)

On the beach, Michael and Sawyer discover Jin, arms bound, being chased by a group of five people he calls "the Others". The three are attacked and quickly knocked unconscious by one of the group. The people, including some dressed in contemporary clothing, drag the unconscious men in nets to a pit covered with bars made of bamboo.

Another "prisoner" of the so-called Others

Sawyer, Michael and Jin evaluate their prison, with Sawyer attempting to get above the bars by having the others boost him. The man who bested them earlier intervenes, and another prisoner is dropped into the pit. When she awakens, she introduces herself as Ana Lucia, and they determine they were all on Oceanic Flight 815; Ana Lucia was in the rear section, which landed in a different area from the other survivors. She claims to have survived on her own all this time (she doesn't mention 40 days), and that she was then taken prisoner like the three men. Sawyer shows her that he still has his gun, and that he plans to bait the guard and escape. Ana Lucia scoffs at the plan. As they debate, she manages to grab the gun and call for the guard, who lifts her out of the cell. The guard asks her what information she was able to gain, and the men realize that she has deceived them.


Production notes

  • Bernard, Cindy, Libby and possibly Ana Lucia were portrayed by extras in the opening sequence when Eko attacks the raft survivors and in the following scene when they are being transported to the pit. This could have been done for budgetary reasons as to not pay the actors for a full episode or because they had not been cast yet in the case of Bernard and Libby.
  • Charlie, Claire, Shannon, and Sun do not appear.
  • The Swan Orientation film was shot on the APO set from seasons 4 and 5 of Alias in Burbank by the Alias crew.
  • The photograph of Desmond and Penelope originally had Henry Ian Cusick with a woman who was clearly not Sonya Walger. Sonya was not hired to portray the character of Penny until the season finale "Live Together, Die Alone". This was corrected for subsequent airings of this episode and for the DVD release.
  • Teddy Wells who portrays Ivan is seen during Locke's flashback as one of the members in his anger management group. The camera hits him for a flash when Locke begins to tell everyone that they "feel" too much.
  • This episode marks the first appearances of Pierre Chang and Helen Norwood.

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

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • Howdy Doody. When Sawyer is planning his escape from the pit, he mentions that Mr. Eko will get a surprising Howdy Doody when he comes back to check. Howdy Doody was a children's television program that aired from 1947 through 1960. Howdy Doody himself was a freckle-faced boy marionette. (Movies and TV)
  • Shaft. Sawyer refers to Mr. Eko as "Shaft", the main character from this movie. Used as a model for blaxploitation films, it has elements of film noir. It tells the story of a black private detective, John Shaft, a sort of African-American answer to James Bond. (Movies and TV)
  • The Hatch contains several mystery and undercover agent books. (Literary works)

Literary techniques

Literary techniques in Lost
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock Characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash-sidewaysRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • On meeting, both the Losties (Sawyer, Jin and Michael) and the Tailies believe the other party to be "The Others". (Irony)
  • The Swan Orientation Film introduces the presence of the DHARMA Initiative on the Island. (Plot twist)
  • Both in his past and on the Island, Locke has been forced to make a choice between something he knows (his father/anger/betrayal & rational thought) and something he must take on faith (Helen's love & pushing the button). In both cases, he chooses to make a leap of faith. (Juxtaposition)
    • In actual fact, the flashback shows us the first time Locke has made a leap of faith after his betrayal by his father, just as the Island events show us the outcome of Locke's leap of faith after the plane crash: to open the hatch, and whether or not to believe in the button. (Juxtaposition)
  • For the second time in his life, Desmond tells Jack: "See you in another life, yeah?" (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • As Desmond is trying to get up to fix the computer, Locke suggests that Jack let him up. He replies with "Don't tell me what to do!" (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Jack pushed the button even though he doesn't "believe in destiny". This confirms Locke's statement that Jack deep inside does "believe in destiny" but he doesn't know it yet. At the end of season 4, however, he will finally turn to be "such a believer" upon Jeremy Bentham's visit. (Foreshadowing)

Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis in Lost
  • Jack and Locke are at odds many times in this episode as to the treatment of the button, and whether or not it should be pushed. (Rivalries)

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

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