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"The 23rd Psalm"

11 January 2006
Running time
Production code
Centric character(s)
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Episode transcript
[[{{{transcript2}}}|Part Two]]

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

"The 23rd Psalm" is the tenth episode of Season 2 of Lost and the 35th episode of the series as a whole. When Eko finds a Virgin Mary statue, he demands that Charlie take him to where he found them at once. Elsewhere, Michael continues to communicate on the Swan computer without the other survivors knowing.



Previously on Lost

  • Immediately before the crash, Charlie enters the bathroom aboard Flight 815 to snort heroin. ("Pilot, Part 2")
  • On the Island, Charlie asks Locke for the last remaining bag of his heroin, which he then throws in the fire. ("The Moth")
  • Sayid tells Charlie about the downed beechcraft the drug smugglers used, breaking open a Virgin Mary statue to show that it is full of bags of heroin. ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • In the hatch, Michael notices a message on the computer. Typing back to the other person, he is stunned to learn it is Walt. ("What Kate Did")


The guerrillas taking Eko

Nigerian guerrillas descend upon a small village. They grab a small boy and try to force him to shoot an old man. The boy hesitates, so his older brother takes the gun and shoots the man himself. The guerrillas are pleased with this and ask him his name, to which he replies, "Eko." The leader says that "Mr." Eko is a "born killer," and takes him, leaving his brother, Yemi, and the other children behind. Eko's cross is torn from his neck by the leader, who says, "You won't need this anymore." Eko's younger brother picks up the cross as Eko rides away into the distance.

A few years later, Eko has become a powerful warlord of Nigeria. He meets with another drug dealer who is trying to get his heroin out of the country. Eko offers to do him a "favor" - buy the drugs at a ridiculously low price and spirit them out of the country. The drug runner reluctantly agrees. Before he leaves, however, he tells Eko, "It's true what they say about you. You have no soul." Eko proceeds to slit the throat of the man and his assistant, but lets the man's son live, saying, "Tell all your friends that I let you live, that Mr. Eko let you live".

Mr. Eko "taking care of business."

Now a grown man, Eko visits the church in the town that he was taken from. A woman outside is trying to sell statues of the Virgin Mary to raise money for polio vaccines for the village. Eko's brother Yemi, who has become a priest appears from the church and greets Eko. Eko asks him for a plane, because only foreign and missionary aircraft are allowed to fly out of Nigeria. He claims that he will fly the drugs out of Nigeria (and away from their people) and give his brother the money for the polio vaccine. His brother tells Eko that he loves him still, but refuses to help.

Eko later approaches his brother again, asking simply for his brother to sign papers that make Mr. Eko and two other men priests so that they can fly a plane themselves. His brother refuses at first, but Eko tells his brother that if he does not obey, Eko whispers that his two friends will burn the church to the ground. His brother reluctantly signs.

Eko putting his brother's body in the Beechcraft

Eko and his two friends, dressed as priests, prepare to board the plane a landing strip near the village. However, they are interrupted as Yemi drives up to the plane and tells Eko not to leave. He is soon followed by the Nigerian military. Eko's two friends open fire onto the military, and one dies when the military fires back. Eko's brother tells them to stop, but they shoot him. Eko carries his brother into the plane and tells his friend to get in. His friend does, but kicks Eko away from the plane before he can get in. As Eko watches the plane carrying his wounded brother fly away, the military approaches, asking "are you alright Father?", mistaking Eko for a priest.

On the Island

Claire introducing herself to Eko

Claire introduces herself to Eko, and sees that he is whittling scripture into the head of his club. Upon seeing this, she mentions to him that he should talk to Charlie about religion, given the Virgin Mary statue that he has been carrying. Eko becomes panicked, and immediately demands to see the statue. Though Claire tells Eko that it's "just a statue", he breaks open the statue and shows Claire the heroin inside. Believing Charlie to still be an addict, Claire begins to lose faith in him. Eko demands that Charlie take him to the place where he found the statue. Charlie takes him to a tree and claims that he found the statue under the tree, though Eko becomes upset and demands that Charlie take him "to the plane." Charlie also notices the scriptures on the stick Eko carries.

Michael aiming at a bottle of DHARMA ranch dressing

Meanwhile, Locke teaches Michael how to use a gun. Michael then asks Kate if he can have her shift at the computer, to which she agrees. Michael tries to get the computer to turn on. The computer then comes on by itself. Someone at the other end says "Dad?", then asks if Michael is alone, and finally claims Michael has to come for him. The person then says that "they are coming back," but, before he can say anymore, Jack appears. Jack talks to Michael, saying that everyone cares about Walt, and that as soon as they can, they will go out to "bring him back". When Jack walks behind Michael on his way out, the conversation has disappeared from the monitor.

Michael communicating with Walt on the Swan's computer

Charlie takes Eko further into the jungle, complaining that Eko ruined his relationship with Claire and that Mr. Eko shouldn't judge him because it was his brother that got him addicted to heroin. Eko and Charlie find a parachute in a tree, which leads to the corpse of the Nigerian man dressed as a priest that Boone and Locke found. He opens the man's shirt. The dead man wears no cross but instead has one gold tooth, which Eko touches. When he realizes it's not his brother, he says a prayer, telling Charlie that the man "saved his life". Charlie loses his way, and Mr. Eko tells him to climb a tree. Charlie reluctantly obliges. While he is in the tree, there are explosions in the jungle then the black smoke that Jack, Locke and Kate once saw arrives. Mr. Eko faces the black smoke as John Locke did, despite Charlie telling him to run. The black smoke approaches Eko, who stands his ground. Eko stares fearlessly at the cloud for a few moments, and as the camera passes through the cloud, there is a chattering noise. There are dark images flashing inside the cloud, images which are from Eko's past: the man he shot, his mother, his brother, a church, and a crucifix. Suddenly, the cloud pulls back and disappears.

The cross on Yemi's dead body

Eko and Charlie find the plane. Eko finds another corpse inside, opens the shirt, and finds the cross around the body's neck. Eko tells Charlie that the man inside is his brother. He gives Charlie a Virgin Mary statue "for the one he broke" and burns the plane, reciting Psalm 23 from the Old Testament.

Charlie asks Eko if he is, in fact, a priest himself. Eko pauses, then smiles softly and puts the cross around his neck. "Yes," he replies, "I am."

In a pre-closing scene, several survivors are shown progressing with island life. Kate gives Sawyer a haircut, Jin introduces Sun to Ana Lucia and presents her with a fish, and Hurley helps Libby set up shelter, both glancing flirtatiously at each other. Finally, Charlie apologizes to Claire, but Claire tells him to leave her and Aaron alone. The episode ends with Charlie in the jungle, opening a hiding place to reveal that he has seven additional Virgin Mary statues. He places the one that Mr. Eko gave him with the other seven.


Production notes

  • When Eko stares down The Monster many faces from his past are visible inside the smoke when freeze-framed.
  • A deleted scene from this episode shows an awkward conversation between Kate and Jack. Kate asks Jack for scissors and Jack tells her that if she sees Sawyer she needs to remind him that he has to get his bandages changed. Jack leaves while Kate looks on after him.
  • A deleted scene from this episode shows Claire walking over to a mourning Sayid on rocks at the shores edge. Claire asks Sayid if Charlie knew that the drugs were in the Virgin Mary statue before he "found it". Sayid asks why Claire is asking and Claire states that she has to know because Charlie is taking care of her baby and could be a danger.
  • A deleted scene from this episode shows Michael asking Locke whether he thinks the computer in the Hatch could be connected to other stations around the island or a main power source. Michael points out that the amount of machinery in the Hatch couldn't just be for the computer. Locke agrees to the possibility but reminds Michael that the computer is just for the button and not for communication.
  • Sayid does not appear.
  • All of Eko's African flashbacks are shot with a yellow tinted lens, to give an odd third-world look.
  • When played very fast, one can hear someone saying "Wah Wah Wah" to generate the growling sound of the smoke cloud. [source needed]
  • An audio commentary by Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and Bryan Burk for this episode is available on the Season 2 DVD.
  • A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 2 DVD.

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • Even though the line of the 23rd psalm that Eko recites with Charlie is supposed to be "the valley of the shadow of death," both clearly say, "the shadow of the valley of death." When the writers created this scene, they made that mistake, but upon reflection believed that the error was appropriate as Eko was never a proper priest. (Said by producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof on the commentary for this episode on the Season 2 DVD)
  • The DHARMA Ranch Composite shows the word "DHARAMA" on the label, instead of "DHARMA"
  • Eko's dangling earring switches ears before he enters Yemi's church. It starts on his right when he's talking to the woman selling the statues, and then moves to the left when Yemi greets him.
  • The military truck is missing the bullet hole in the windshield in a close shot. In the next shot, it's there again.
  • During the opening credits the word "STARRING" is missing from above Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
  • During the opening scene the subtitle for the priest says, "Don't take anymore of the children." To be grammatically correct this should read, "Don't take any more of the children", with the word "anymore" separated into two words.
  • In the flashback where Eko is tasting the drugs, one clip shows Eko's neck really sweaty but in the next clip it is not.

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
  • Boone found the plane which contained the body of Yemi, Eko's brother. (Character connections)
  • The Nigerian guerrillas tell each other to "get the children". (Children)
  • Young Yemi is told to kill the old man, but young Eko runs and takes the gun and shoots the man for him. The Nigerian guerrilla told Eko he was a "born killer" and ripped off the cross around his neck. (Life and death)  (Religion)
  • Referring to the biblical "Aaron", Eko called him a "great man". (Good and bad people)
  • In flashback, Mr. Eko killed two people, but released the child that was with them. (Life and death)  (Children)
  • Charlie tried to convince Claire and Eko that he didn't know that heroin was inside of the statues. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Charlie said it was his brother's fault he started heroin. He says of himself "I was a good person". (Good and bad people)
  • The title of the episode is the 23rd Psalm. (The Numbers)
  • Eko burns the beechcraft out of free will while it was fate for him to find Yemi's body. (Fate versus free will)
  • The kids in the flashbacks were playing soccer. (Games)

Cultural references

Cultural references in Lost
(direct references only)
ArtBooksCarsGamesMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience

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 23rd Psalm/Theories
  • What is the nature of the flashes of Eko's life seen in the Monster?

This article uses material from the "The 23rd Psalm" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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