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Season 2, Episode 3
Airdate October 5, 2005
Production Number 203
Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach &
Craig Wright
Directed by Jack Bender
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LostSeason Two

Orientation is the third episode of the second season, and is the twenty-eight episode overall.

Jack, Locke and Kate learn more secrets about the hatch as they come across a mysterious film reel that is, for the most part, intact. Meanwhile, after being beaten and taken captive, Sawyer, Michael and Jin wonder if their captors are fellow survivors or the dreaded "Others." This episode marks a pivotal point in the series, as the events that occur in this episode set in motion a prominent, ongoing plotline regarding The DHARMA Initiative.

Starring: Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Matthew Fox (Jack), Jorge Garcia (Hurley), Maggie Grace (Shannon), Josh Holloway (Sawyer), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin), Yunjin Kim (Sun), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Terry O'Quinn (John), Harold Perrineau, Jr. (Michael), Michelle Rodriguez (Ana-Lucia).

Guest Starring: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko), Kevin Tighe (Anthony Cooper), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond Hume), Katey Sagal (Helen Norwood).

Co-Starring: Curtis Jackson (Security Guard), Michael Lanzo (Waiter), Jeanne Rogers (Moderator), Roxanne Sarhangi (Francine).


Plot Overview

The Island

  • Michael, Sawyer, and Jin are knocked unconscious, dragged into the jungle, and dumped in a pit. Soon after, Ana-Lucia, another survivor, is thrown in with them. When she regains consciousness, she learns they were also on Oceanic flight 815. Michael asks her who the group is that captured them and if she's seen a boy, but Ana-Lucia tells him she doesn't know who they are nor has she seen his son. Sawyer introduces the group to Ana-Lucia and, pulling out his gun, tells her they're going to get out of there. Ana-Lucia asks him how he got the gun on the plane and, after Sawyer questions her as to why she's so interested, she elbows him in the face and steals the gun. A man pulls Ana-Lucia out of the pit and asks her who they are.
  • Inside the bunker, Kate exits the ventilation ducts and finds herself in an armory. Taking a shotgun, she exits the armory and hits Desmond in the back with the butt of the shotgun. As Desmond is knocked down, he fires his weapon and a bullet strikes the computer. Realizing what just happened, Desmond tells the group they're all going to die. He points out the timer to Jack and tells him he's got to enter the code and push the button. As Desmond tries to fix the computer, Kate tells the group that Sayid can fix a computer and Locke tells her to go get Sayid. Desmond tells Kate how to exit the bunker through another entrance just down a corridor and she leaves. Jack stops Desmond and demands to know how he got there. Desmond tells him that, three years ago, he was on a solo race around the world and his boat crashed onto a reef. A man came running out of the jungle, Kelvin, and took Desmond down into the bunker and the two pushed the button together until Kelvin died. Jack doesn't believe him, but Desmond tells him there's a film on a bookcase and a projector in the pantry. Jack and Locke set up the projector and watch an orientation video. Desmond finishes his repairs on the computer and turns it on, but the power goes out. He tells Jack and Locke it's over, fills a pack with food from the pantry, takes some of the medicine bottles and the injector, and leaves the bunker with Jack going after him. Kate arrives at the bunker with Sayid and Hurley, and Sayid goes to work on the computer while Kate and Hurley look for the breaker box. Kate finds the box and the power is restored, but the timer has less than four minutes left and the alarm is sounding. Sayid manages to fix the computer and power it on, and Locke begins to enter the code but gets a number wrong. As Locke is about to hit execute, Jack returns and tells him the correct combination. Instead of hitting execute, Locke tells Jack that he needs to it and, after arguing with Locke, Jack pushes the button.
  • Out in the jungle, Desmond stumbles and falls allowing Jack to catch up to him. Desmond tells Jack that, if they're able to get the computer working again, they've got to enter the code: 4 8 15 16 23 42 and hit execute. Jack tells him that nothing is going to happen, that he doesn't even know what he's running from. At that point, Desmond recognizes Jack as the doctor her met in Los Angeles while he was training. He asks Jack what happened to the girl, but Jack refuses to answer and tells Desmond it doesn't matter. Asking him why it wouldn't matter, Jack tells Desmond that he married the girl. Desmond surmises that they're no longer married and leaves.
  • The Orientation film: The film is incomplete, full of splices and gaps, and is narrated by Dr. Marvin Candle and is for Station 3 of the DHARMA Initiative. Dr. Candle goes into a brief history of the DHARMA Initiative, which was created in 1970 and is the brainchild of Gerald and Karen DeGroot-two doctoral candidates at the University of Michigan. The DeGroots envisioned a large scale communal research compound where scientists and free-thinkers from around the world could pursue research in meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and something about "utopian". The film jumps to talking about Alvar Hanso, a Danish industrialist and munitions magnate whose financial backing made the DeGroots' dream of a multi-purpose social science research facility a reality. Station 3, or the Swan, is where the two individuals watching the film are located at and will be for 540 days. The station was originally constructed as a laboratory where scientists could work to better understand the unique electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from that sector of the island. However, Dr. Candle tells the viewers that an "incident" occurred not long after the experiments began. After the incident occurred, every 108 minutes a button must be pushed. From the moment the alarm sounds, the Swan personnel have four minutes to ender the code into the computer. Dr. Candle warns the personnel to not use the computer for anything, but the film is spliced and the information is missing. The doctor offers his thanks and wishes the viewers good luck. At the end of the film, the copyright information is for "The Hanso Foundation" and the year 1980.

The Flashback

  • Flashback: Locke

Locke is at a "Transforming Anger" group counseling session and has been going for about a month now. At the session, the triviality of other's minor problems in comparison to his lost kidney causes him to have an outburst. Outside, Locke tries to light a cigarette but throws it at the ground after he can't light it. A woman from the session approaches him and Locke apologizes to her if he ruined her meeting. The woman tells him he said everything she's always wanted to say in there. She flirts with Locke and tells him her name is Helen.

In bed with Helen, Locke quietly gets up and puts his shoes on. Helen wakes up and asks him where he's going, but Locke tells her he just has trouble sleeping in a strange bed and will call her later. He ends up in front of Cooper's house drinking coffee and Cooper gets into his car. Cooper knows that Locke has been driving through his neighborhood and has been parking outside his house, even after he moved, but he tells Locke it's getting annoying and asks Locke to tell him what he wants. Locke simply asks Cooper "why". Cooper tells him there is no why. Locke needed a father figure and Cooper needed a kidney, and that's what happened. Cooper tells Locke to get over it and to not come back as he's not wanted.

At a restaurant, Helen gives Locke a present for their six month anniversary-a key to her place. She tells Locke there's only one condition: when he stays over, he stays over. Needing to know where Locke sneaks off to in the middle of the night, Helen followed him to his father's house. She tells him she wasted 20 years of her life being angry, but needed help to get over it. She offers to help John get over his anger and asks him to promise her he'll never go to that place anymore. Locke agrees.

In bed with Helen, Locke breaks his promise and leaves for Cooper's house. Another car runs into the back of his and Helen gets out, taking the keys out of Locke's ignition and throwing the keys over Cooper's fence and onto his property. She tells Locke that Cooper isn't coming out of his house because he doesn't care, and that Locke is scared of moving forward and that is why he keeps coming to Cooper's house. She tells Locke he has to choose between Cooper and her. Locke tells her it's not that simple and he doesn't know how, but Helen tells him it's because he doesn't know what's going to happen and that's why it's called a leap of faith. Telling him he doesn't have to be alone, Locke accepts Helen's help.



  • Who was the group that captured Michael, Sawyer, and Jin?
  • Is the Helen in Locke's flashback the same Helen in Locke's flashback from Walkabout?
  • What is the DHARMA Initiative?
  • What was the warning about the computer?
  • What was the "incident" that was spoken about in the video?
  • What was cut from the video?
  • How did Kelvin die?
  • What happened to Kelvin's partner before Desmond stranded on the island?
  • What happens if the timer hits zero?
  • Where is Desmond now?


The Cursed Numbers

  • The Swan personnel were supposed to be in the hatch for 540 days. This is five times the sum of the numbers (108).


  • Some satellites would complete orbit around earth every 108 minutes as explained here. Could there be some kind of connection between DHARMA's "Swan Station 3" and a satellite as used for the Shadow a Swan project?


Arc Advancement



  • Desmond: Desmond has been in the hatch for three years after he crashed on one of the island's reefs during a solo race around the world. With his boat wrecked, Desmond was found by a man named Kelvin who brings him to the hatch and the two keep pushing the button. However, Kelvin died some time later leaving Desmond alone. Desmond flees after he accidentally shoots the computer when Kate hits him with the butt of a shotgun, taking with him some food, the injector and a number of vials. He gives Jack the numbers needed to reset the countdown and tells him that he'll see him in another life.


  • Deus Ex Machina: Because this is a Locke episode, there are several references to his father's theft of his kidney from the flashbacks in Deus Ex Machina.
  • Walkabout: We meet someone named Helen, who may be the same woman Locke was talking to on the phone in his first flashback episode.


The Show

  • Website Madness: TheHansoFoundation.org gives some vague clues to the purpose of the island and some of the mysteries. They have also posted the orientation video. The main research areas of the Hanso Foundation are said to be:
    • The Hanso Life-Extension Project
    • The Hanso Foundation Electromagnetic Research Initiative
    • The Hanso Quest for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
    • The Hanso Mathematical Forecasting Initiative
    • The Hanso Cryogenics Development Imperative
    • The Hanso Juxtapositional Eugenics Development Institute
    • The Hanso Accelerated Remote Viewing Training Facility

Behind the Scenes

  • Awards: For their roles as Desmond and Helen, respectively, in this episode, Henry Ian Cusick and Katey Sagal were each nominated for an IVy Award for the 2005-06 season for Best Guest Actor or Actress in a Drama Series.
  • Nielsen Ratings: On its original airing, this episode scored a 9.0/22 among adults 18-49 with a total of 22.04 million viewers. It was the highest rated show of the night.

Allusions and References

  • The Third Policeman: Desmond can be seen reading The Third Policeman, the second novel by Irish satirist Flann O'Brien. In the novel, an unnamed narrator has committed a robbery and murder while seeking a black box, believing that it contains money he can use to finance his mentor. The plot explains the narrator's vision of Hell and relies heavily on the illogical and unorthodox, particularly on the theories of the narrator's mentor. Many of the themes in the book could possibly be applied to Lost including Eternity, a vast underground chamber, and the idea of "black air." Wikipedia on the book
  • Shaft: Detective John Shaft was the star of the movie of the same name (Shaft) made in 1971. Starring Richard Roundtree, Shaft is a blaxploitation film that gives the detective genre of film a decidedly afrocentric twist. He represented the counterpoint to the all too often usage of black actors as gangsters, activists or junkies. What's most recognizable about the film is its theme by Isaac Hayes, which includes lines like "He's one bad mother-- (Shut your mouth). I'm just talking about Shaft (we can dig it)".
    Sawyer: Next time Shaft opens the cage, he's gonna get a surprising little howdy-doody.
  • B.F. Skinner: The orientation video mentions that the DHARMA Initiative's founders were "following in the footsteps of visionaries such as B.F. Skinner...." Skinner was a psychologist most famous for his research on and advocacy of behaviorism. He conducted research on conditioning the behavior of animals through positive and negative reinforcement, and believed that children should someday be conditioned in a similar manner for the benefit of society. Wikipedia on B.F. Skinner

Memorable Moments


  • Helen: I like bald men.
    Locke: But I’m not bald.
    Helen: I can wait.
  • Cooper: Morning.
    Locke: Morning.
    Cooper: John, I know you like to drive through my neighborhood and I know that every now and then you like to park outside my house. Now I thought it might all stop when I moved, but, uh, here you are. Now I admit, at first I thought it was funny. Now it's just annoying. So how about you tell me what the hell it is that you want?
    Locke: Why?
    Cooper: Excuse me?
    Locke: Why?
    Cooper: There is no "why". You think you're the first person I've ever got conned? You needed a father figure and I needed a kidney, and that's what happened. Get over it. And John, don't come back. You're not wanted.
  • Jack: Do you ever think that maybe they put you down here to push a button every 100 minutes just to see if you would? That all of this, the computer, the button, is just a mind game, an experiment.
    Desmond: Every. Single. Day.
  • Locke: We're gonna need to watch that again.