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"The 23rd Psalm" is the tenth episode of the second season of Lost and the thirty-fifth episode overall. It was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for writers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. The episode was directed by Matt Earl Beesley. It first aired on January 11, 2006 on ABC. The character of Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) is featured in the episode's flashbacks.

Plot

Flashbacks

Nigerianmarker guerrillas are seen in a small village, where they grab a young boy from the crowd and try to force him to shoot an old man. The boy hesitates and his older brother, Eko, quickly takes the gun and shoots the man himself, thus saving his brother from the act. The guerrillas are pleased with this, and force him to join their group. Eko's Christian cross is torn from his neck by the leader, who says, "You won't need that anymore." Eko's younger brother picks up the cross as Eko rides away into the distance. Many years later, Eko has become a powerful warlord in Nigeria. He meets with a 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 spares a young boy, saying, "Tell your friends, I let you live. Tell them....Mr. Eko let you live". Later, Eko visits the church in the town that he was taken from. His brother has become a priest, and is trying to sell statues of the Virgin Mary to raise money for polio vaccines for the village. Eko asks him for a plane, because only United Nations relief and missionary aircraft are allowed to fly out of Nigeria. Eko 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. Later, Eko approaches his brother again, asking simply for his brother to sign ordination papers that make Eko and two associates priests so that they can arrange the flight themselves. His brother refuses at first, but Eko tells his brother that if he does not obey, his two friends will burn the church to the ground. His brother reluctantly signs. Dressed as a priest, Eko and two of his associates are loading drugs onto the plane, when Eko's brother drives up and tells him not to leave. The Nigerian military arrives shortly thereafter, and Eko's brother is shot during the resulting gunbattle. Eko loads his brother onto the plane, but the pilot, who has a gold tooth, prevents Eko from boarding and flies away with Eko's wounded brother. When the military men approach, they then confuse Eko for his brother, because he is dressed as a priest.

On the Island

On the island, Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) watches Eko whittling scripture into the head of his club. She mentions to him that he should talk to Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) about religion, given the Virgin Mary statue that he has been carrying. Eko immediately demands to see the statue, which he breaks open and shows Claire the heroin inside. Eko shows Charlie the broken plaster of the statue and after making excuses Charlie suggests speaking to Claire before he goes because he "Wouldn't want her to get the wrong idea". Assuming Charlie knew nothing of the Heroin, what need would there be to correct Claire about the wrong idea? Eko picks up on this and later challenges Charlie, asking "What is the wrong idea?". Eko demands that Charlie take him "to the plane." On the way, Eko and Charlie find a parachute in a tree, which leads to the corpse of a Nigerian man dressed as a priest that Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder) and John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) found in "Deus Ex Machina." Eko opens the man's shirt. The dead man wears no cross, but has a 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 appears to lose his way, and Eko tells him to climb a tree to get a better view. While Charlie is in the tree, there are explosions, and we see the black smoke. Charlie yells for Eko to run, but Eko fearlessly faces the black smoke and refuses to back down. For a few moments, the smoke swirls before him, and dim images seem to flash within it, before the cloud pulls back and disappears. When played in slow motion or freeze frame it is revealed the images inside of the smoke are flashes of Eko's flashbacks.

Eko and Charlie then find the plane, inside which Eko finds another corpse wearing the clothing of a priest. Opening the shirt, he finds the cross around the body's neck, and Eko tells Charlie that it is his brother. He gives Charlie a Virgin Mary statue "for the one [he] broke" and burns the plane, Eko and Charlie begin reciting Psalm 23 from the Old Testament. Charlie asks Eko if he is a priest himself. Eko pauses, then smiles softly and puts the cross around his neck. "Yes," he replies, "I am."

Meanwhile, Locke teaches Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) how to use a gun. Michael then asks Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) if he can have her shift at the computer, to which she agrees. After trying to get the computer to turn on, it comes on by itself. Over the computer, Michael then continues his conversation with Walt Lloyd (Malcolm David Kelley), which is interrupted by the arrival of Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), who remains unaware of it.

Charlie apologizes to Claire, but she tells him that she doesn't want him sleeping anywhere near her and Aaron. The episode ends with Charlie in the jungle, opening a hiding place to reveal that he has five additional Virgin Mary statues. He places the one that Mr. Eko gave him with them.

Production

Reception

20.56 million American viewers watched this episode when it was originally broadcast.

References




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