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"Meet Kevin Johnson"
408 Michael on the boat
Season
Episode

08
Airdate
March 20, 2008
Running time
41:45
Production code
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Flashback
Flash-forward
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Flash sideways
{{{flash-sideways}}}
Centric character(s)
{{{centric}}}
Day(s)
Directed by
Special guest star(s)

{{{specialguests}}}
Archive footage
{{{archive}}}

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

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

"Meet Kevin Johnson" is the eighth episode of Season 4 of Lost, and the eightieth produced hour of the series as a whole. It was originally broadcast on March 20, 2008. Sayid confronts Ben's spy on the freighter, and Ben urges his daughter Alex to flee to the Temple in order to survive an impending attack.

Synopsis

Previously on Lost

Flashback

4x08 GettingBetter
While listening to an uplifting song, Michael attempts suicide.

Late at night, Michael, very distraught, sits in a rundown Manhattan apartment scribbling furiously on a scrap of paper. He leaves the building, enters his car and pins the message he just wrote to his lapel. He turns on the radio and accelerates down the road, careening down a pier at high speed and crashing head on into a shipping container.

4x08 HelloLibby
Michael imagines a dead Libby as his nurse.

Michael wakes in a hospital room. A nurse enters and offers him an extra blanket, but when Michael looks at her, he recognizes her as Libby. Michael begins screaming, then wakes up and realizes his vision was not real. A nurse enters and explains that he was found badly hurt with no identification, only a letter addressed to someone named Walt. She asks if she should call Walt, and Michael shakes his head "no," too ashamed to make eye contact.

Later, Michael visits his mother's home and asks to see Walt, claiming that it is a "father's right." She refuses, saying that Michael gave up his rights as a father when he returned after two months missing and refused to explain where he and his son had been, returning with false names and leaving Walt in her care. She adds that Walt has nightmares every night. She fiercely decrees that until Michael is willing to answer for what he did to Walt to scar him so badly, he has forfeited his parenthood. Distraught, Michael leaves and sees Walt through a window. Walt returns his gaze with a mixture of complacency and contempt, and shuts the blinds.

Fake Walt
Walt looks at Michael from above.


Michael goes to a pawn shop and exchanges the Rolex watch Jin gave him for a gun and ammunition, and then stumbles into a back alley to commit suicide. Moments before he pulls the trigger, he is approached by a man asking for the time. Michael hides the gun from sight and begins to answer "no," but it is Tom Friendly who emerges from the shadows, Walt's kidnapper from the raft.

4x08 FightInNY
Tom stops Michael from attacking him.

Michael attacks him, and the fight ends in a stalemate as both draw guns. Michael begs Tom to shoot him but Tom scoffs. Tom has realized that Michael was driven to commit suicide because he lost his relationship with Walt after confiding in him about Libby and Ana's murders. Tom informs Michael that the Island won't let him kill himself, because Michael still has "work to do," and that he will be in the penthouse suite of the Hotel Earle when Michael is ready to talk.

A short while later in his apartment, Michael again tries to shoot himself, but the revolver misfires.

4x08 LookingAtTheGraves
Michael looks over images of the open graves.

As he raises the gun to try again, he is interrupted by a television news report concerning the discovery of the Oceanic 815 wreck, confirming all 324 passengers dead.

Confused, he goes to the penthouse suite where Tom is enjoying the company of Arturo.

4x08 MeetKevin
Michael meeting Kevin Johnson.

After asking Arturo to leave, Tom explains to Michael that the wreckage was fake, staged by "a man named Widmore" to keep others from looking in the right place where the real plane crashed: the Island. Widmore wants to keep the Island for himself and will kill everyone on it if he isn't stopped. With Michael's help, Widmore's freighter, the Kahana, will be stopped and Michaels co-survivors on the Island can be saved.

Michael asks for proof and Tom shows him a file with documents showing exhumed graves in Thailand and a purchase order from Widmore's company for an old Boeing 777 plane. Tom tells Michael he has a job on the freighter and his alias will be Kevin Johnson, then hands him a U.S passport. Michael questions why he should go back to work for "you people." Tom sells it as his only opportunity to redeem himself for what he did. He reassures Michael that he won't actually be going back to the Island. His mission will be to get on the boat and kill everyone on board.

4x08 KevinAndGeorge
Minkowski introduces himself to Michael.

While boarding the freighter at the Port of Suva, Fiji, Michael meets Minkowski and Naomi. Naomi tells him that he received a crate that would be delivered to his room. Michael/Kevin meets Miles, who says he "knows" that Kevin is not his real name. Michael begins to have second thoughts about killing everyone on board now that he has put some faces with names, but a phone call from Tom reminds him to follow through if he wants to save the remaining survivors living on the Island.

4x08 KevinAndFrank
Frank shares his theories with Michael.

When the ship is underway, Frank introduces himself to Michael. After Michael says he is looking for adventure, Frank shares his belief that the Oceanic 815 wreckage was a huge fake, similar to the way people believed the moon landing was faked "but real." Frank says that Charles Widmore is interested in finding the real wreckage and discovering what happened to the passengers, with the hope of rescuing them.

Days later, at sea, Michael hears guns being fired. He goes to the deck and sees Omar and Keamy, amongst others, laughing while target practicing with machine guns. Shocked to discover this, Michael says he thought this was supposed to be a rescue mission, but Keamy only brushes off the remark. Back in his room, Michael opens his crate and finds a case in it. He takes the case to the engine room and finds a bomb inside. Michael inputs the combination for the bomb, but hesitates to push the EXECUTE button to set off the bomb. Suddenly, he hears the same Mama Cass song he was listening to in the car when he tried to commit suicide. He sees another vision of Libby who tells him not to do it, and then disappears. Michael says, "I love you, Walt" and pushes the button. The bomb's 15-second timer expires, but the bomb doesn't explode. Instead, a flag pops up with a note around it which reads "NOT YET."

4x08 NotYet
The "NOT YET" note inside the "bomb".
4x08 TalkingToBen
Michael receives a phone call from Ben.

Later, Minkowski tells Michael he has a phone call from the mainland from a person named Walt. It turns out that "Walt" is actually Ben, phoning from his house at the Barracks. Ben informs Michael there are innocent people on the freighter, and that the plan was never to kill them all, because Ben isn't "that kind of person." He says he gave the fake bomb to Michael to show that unlike Widmore, he does not want to kill innocents. Ben then orders Michael to get him a list of everyone on board, report the list back to him, and then disable both the radio and engine so that the ship cannot get to the Island. Michael is obviously shaken up, but Ben tells him that he can now consider himself "one of the good guys."

On the freighter

Sayid and Desmond are awakened by a shrill alarm and run out on deck to find Captain Gault had stopped two of his men from getting on the tender by beating them up. The Captain tells the crew he didn't beat the men to scare everyone but to save everyone's lives. He says the crew should remember what happened to Brandon and Minkowski after they left the freighter.

4x08 GaultOrderingOrders
Gault does not allow anyone to leave the freighter.


After the fight, Gault instructs crew member "Johnson" to clean up the mess. Sayid approaches him to talk, and when Michael indicates it is not a good time, Sayid insists on learning why Michael was on the boat.

4x08 SayidIsGoingToExposeKevin
Sayid forces Michael to Gault's office.

Michael answers, "I'm here to die."

Later, Sayid and Desmond find Michael in the engine room and confront him about why he is on the boat. Michael tells his story about being Ben's tool. When he is finished, Sayid asks him if he is truly working for Benjamin Linus. Michael confirms this. Sayid grabs Michael and drags him into Captain Gault's room, revealing Michael's true identity as the saboteur, a spy, a traitor, and a survivor of Oceanic 815.

On the Island

4x08 TempleMap
Ben gives Alex a map to the Temple.

Locke holds a meeting with everyone at the Barracks to share information. Miles confirms the people from the freighter are after Ben. Sawyer suggests they just turn Ben over to the freighter people. Ben says the orders of the freighter people are to capture him, then kill everyone else on the Island; Miles does not deny it.

4x08 Battlefield
Alex crouches down behind a tree after Karl and Danielle have been shot.


Later, Ben persuades Alex to go to a location he calls "the Temple" with Karl and Danielle, and tells her the rest of the Others are already there. He provides them with a map. Ben tells Alex she is in danger because the people who are coming to the Island will use her to get to him.He assures her that her mother will protect them.

Some time into their journey, Danielle, Alex, and Karl take a break. Sudden gunfire erupts from the jungle and Karl is shot in the chest. Danielle and Alex hide behind a tree and quickly decide they need to make a run for it. They get to their feet, but Danielle is immediately hit by gunfire and falls to the ground. Alex stands up, puts her hands in the air and yells, "I'm Ben's daughter!"

Trivia

  • Michael's flashback is suggested to have taken place sometime between Days 68 (November 28, the day Michael and Walt leave the Island, as Michael is estranged from Walt since he revealed what he did on the Island) and Day 82 (December 12, the day Ben and his people leave the Barracks).
    • Likewise, Tom's appearances would seem to have been set between Day 74 (December 4) and Day 80 (December 10) as he was at the Hydra before Day 74 and at the barracks on Day 80.
    • The Christmas trees visible in Michael's flashback suggest this happened in or near the month of December.
  • The Korean inscriptions on back of the Rolex watch that Jin gave to Michael translate to "congratulations," "mutual cooperation," "business development," and "Mr. Paik."
  • Michael hears whispers and sees Libby just before he activates the bomb on the freighter. This is the first time the whispers are heard off the Island.
    • On the ABC Lost website, this scene is shown in the Lost: Revelations 408 clip. In this clip, the whispers are incoherent. However, in the actual aired episode, the whispers begin with the Mama Cass song that played on the car radio when Michael tried to kill himself the first time. The lyric heard says "it's getting better."
  • This episode's flashbacks featured four deceased characters: Libby, Minkowski, Naomi, and Tom.
  • Danielle calls Alex by her full name, Alexandra.
  • This is Alex's last appearance outside of a Ben-centric episode.
  • The title of this episode was spoken by Tom to Michael.
  • "Kevin Johnson" and "Dean Moriarty" share the same passport number: HNSO12153. ("The Economist")
    • The passport number: HNSO12153 references Hanso (HNSO) and two of the Numbers 4 and 8 (1+2+1=4 and 5+3=8).
  • The Lost: On Location feature for this episode shows that Libby's chest and stomach are bloodied in the scene where she appears as a nurse. However, as no such blood is present in the episode, it was likely removed.
  • According to Libby's badge, Michael is in (the fictitious) Manhattan Springs Hospital.
  • This is the first episode since her introduction in which Rousseau has a costume change, as she has been staying at the Barracks.
  • This episode is rated TV-14-V.

Production notes

Bloopers and continuity errors

  • In "Catch-22", Naomi's helicopter crashes in the water, but in the subsequent episodes the freighter crew still has a helicopter, which implies that they had two before Naomi crashed. However, only one helicopter is present on the pad in this episode during the scene where Naomi is arguing with Frank Lapidus and Frank's scene with Kevin.
  • On the freighter, when Tom hangs up the phone after he speaks with Michael, a dial tone is heard. Only landline telephones give dial tones.
  • At the end of the episode when Alex is ambushed, Tania Raymonde's left eye contact can be seen slipping out of place, showing her naturally brown eye underneath.
  • In the ambush scene at the end of the episode, character Karl's actor Blake Bashoff reacts to the first shot by turning his head towards the source of the sound at the same time the shot can be heard. The sound effects appear to be edited into the scene too late.
  • In the same scene, when Danielle is shot, you can clearly see the bullet hole on her body, before the shot is actually fired, in fact, she starts to fall down before the shot is fired.
  • Blake Bashoff's hearing protection is visible after Karl is shot.
  • Tania Raymonde's microphone can be seen hanging over her right ear as Alex and Danielle prepare to run after Karl's death.

Music

The Season 4 soundtrack includes the track "Michael's Right to Remain Wrong" from this episode.

Analysis

Recurring themes


Recurring themes
AnimalsBlack and whiteCharacter connectionsChildrenCoincidenceDeathDeceptions and consDreamsEconomicsElectromagnetismEyesFate versus free willGamesGood and bad peopleImprisonmentIsolationLeadershipLife and deathLiterary worksMirrorsMissing body partsNicknamesThe NumbersPairingsParapsychologyParent issuesPregnanciesPsychologyRainRedemptionRelationshipsReligionRevengeSalvationSecrets
  • Michael said that he's on the boat to die. (Death)
  • Michael tries to kill himself five times in the episode. (Suicide)  (Death)  (Car accidents)
  • A game show is on TV during Michael's suicide attempt in his apartment. (Games)
  • Ben told Michael that he can consider himself one of the good guys. (Good and bad people)
  • Michael is on the boat to redeem himself. (Redemption)
  • Michael is told to kill everyone on the boat to ensure everyone on the Island lives. (Life and death)
  • Sayid reveals Michael's status as a "traitor" to Captain Gault. (Deceptions and cons)  (Secrets)
  • Ben needs Michael to get him a list of the people on the boat. (Lists)
  • Karl and Danielle are attacked and left for dead by unknown assailants. (Death)
  • Michael "sees" Libby twice. (Dreams and visions)
  • Michael's mother is upset with Michael for his behavior toward his son, Walt. (Parent issues)
  • Walt won't talk to Michael over disappointment due to Michael's murders. (Parent issues)
  • There is a closeup of Michael's eye as he wakes up in the hospital. (Eyes)
  • Ben pretends to be Walt to get Michael on the phone on the freighter. (Deceptions and cons)
  • The bomb Michael is given via a care package is a fake. (Deceptions and cons)
  • Hinted at in "A Tale of Two Cities", it is revealed that Tom is gay. (Relationships) (Secrets)
  • Tom tells Michael, when trying to kill himself, "the Island won't let you." (Fate versus free will)
  • Miles guesses Michael's name isn't Kevin, and says that 80 percent of the crew is lying about something. (Secrets)
  • The bomb timer counts down from 15 seconds. (The Numbers)
  • The clock in the Barracks' house marks 8pm. (The Numbers)
  • Michael came back to civilization anonymously and with minimal contact with his family, living by himself in poor shape. (Isolation)


Cultural references

Cultural references
(direct references only)
ArtAutomobilesGamesHistoryLiterary worksMovies and TVMusicPhilosophyReligion and ideologiesScience
  • Kurt Vonnegut: The author of Slaughterhouse Five is mentioned as an answer on the game show Michael is watching. (Literary works)
  • The Shining: Minkowski remarks that Michael reminds him of the main character from this 1980 horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. His hair resembles Nicholson's character from that movie. (Movies and TV)
  • Star Wars: Before he is shot, Karl says, "I've got a bad feeling about this." This is a line that is spoken in every episode of Star Wars. (Movies and TV)
  • Cass Elliot: The song playing in the car when Michael tries to kill himself is "It's Getting Better" by Cass Elliot, who also recorded "Make Your Own Kind of Music." (Music)
  • The Hotel Earle: This is the former name of the Washington Square Hotel. [1] This is the name of a fictional hotel in the 1991 Coen Brothers film Barton Fink, and is a metaphysical manifestation of hell for an awkward, isolated New York City writer. (Movies and TV)
  • Hinduism: When we see Ben talk to Michael on the radio, at the beginning of the shot there is a statue of a Hindu deity in the foreground. (Religion and ideologies)
  • Kevin Johnson, Michael's alias is a former point guard for the NBA's Phoenix Suns and the current mayor of Sacramento, California (Sports) (Politics)

Literary techniques

Literary techniques
ComparativeIronyJuxtapositionForeshadowing PlottingCliffhangerPlot twist Stock characters:  ArchetypeRedshirtUnseen character
Story:  FlashbacksFlash-forwardsFlash sidewaysFraming deviceRegularly spoken phrasesSymbolismUnreliable narrator 
  • Michael trades Jin's Rolex watch for a handgun with which to kill himself. On the Island, Jin had tried to kill Michael over the same watch. (Irony)
    • Right after the trade, Tom shows up asking Michael about the time. (Irony)
  • Ben says that Charles Widmore is "without conscience" even though Ben killed, among other people, his own father. (Irony)
  • When Michael attempts his automotive suicide, an optimistic song is playing. (Juxtaposition)  (Irony)
  • Tom tells Michael, "You still have work to do." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Michael is seen attempting to fix the same engines that he agreed to sabotage. (Irony)
  • Ben calls Michael "one of the good guys." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • Sayid turns Michael in because he works for Ben. In the future (as seen in "The Economist"), Sayid himself works for Ben. (Irony)
  • Michael made terrible sacrifices to get Walt back from the Others, only to lose him again after telling him about killing Ana Lucia and Libby. (Irony)
  • Frank talks to Michael about the idea of finding 815 survivors alive, unaware that Michael himself is a survivor. (Irony)
  • The episode ends with Karl and Danielle seriously wounded by gunfire, but with their condition and the identity of the assailant(s) unknown. (Cliffhanger)
  • As he is about to kill himself in the car, Michael says "I'm sorry." (Regularly spoken phrases)
  • The episode employs an atypical "narrative bookends" style framing device in which Michael's flashback is revealed as if he were telling the story to Sayid and Desmond. (Flashbacks)
  • When Sayid and Michael talk to each other, after Captain Gault had beaten up the two deserters, Michael says he is on the Kahana to die, which he eventually does in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 3". (Foreshadowing)
  • Michael's statement that he came on the freighter "to die" mirrors the dialogue between him and Sawyer in "Exodus, Part 2", where he said that there was only two reasons why Sawyer would want to sail on Michael's raft: because he was a hero or because he wanted to die, to which Sawyer replies "I ain't no hero, Mike." Like Sawyer on the raft, Michael on the freighter ends up acting heroically despite initially having lesser motives. (Juxtaposition)  (Irony)
  • Ben tells Michael not to destroy the freighter because there are innocent people on board. Ben later destroys the freighter himself, killing the innocent people. (Irony)


Storyline analysis

Storyline analysis
A-MissionsCrimesEconomicsLeadershipO-MissionsRelationshipsF-MissionsRivalriesS-Missions
  • Michael attempts to detonate a bomb in the engine room of the Kahana with the goal of killing himself and everyone on board. (Crimes)
  • Micheal trades the Rolex watch for an gun. (Economics)


Episode connections

Episode references

Episode allusions

  • Michael pawns the watch that Jin gave him. ("House of the Rising Sun") ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • It is revealed that Michael and Walt are using false names off of the Island. Walt once said to Sawyer, "it's stupid to lie about your name." ("All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues")
  • Walt is living with Michael's mother. Before their plane took off, Michael called her to ask if she would take Walt. ("Exodus, Part 2")
  • The bomb Michael is given has a button labeled "EXECUTE," much like the computer in the Swan. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith")
  • Michael tells his mother that he wants to see Walt "because he's my son. That is my right," just as he told Jack. ("The Hunting Party")
  • Before attempting suicide, Michael says, "I'm sorry," just like he did immediately before shooting Ana Lucia. ("Two for the Road")
  • When Libby appears in Michael's vision, she is carrying blankets, just as she did when he shot her. ("Two for the Road")
  • Before pressing the "Execute" button on the fake bomb, Michael says, "I love you, Walt," echoing Desmond saying, "I love you, Penny," before he turned the fail-safe key in the Swan. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")
  • Ben calls Michael "one of the good guys." Before he left the Island, Michael asked him who they were and Ben responded "We're the good guys, Michael." ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")
  • Ben tells Michael to make a list of the people on the freighter, just as he once told Ethan and Goodwin to make lists of the survivors of Flight 815. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
  • Tom is revealed to be gay. This was alluded to in an earlier episode when Tom remarked that Kate wasn't his "type." ("A Tale of Two Cities")
  • Upon learning that Locke is not handing Ben over to the freighter people, Claire asks, "so he's one of us now?" ("One of Us")
  • Michael guesses that Naomi is from Manchester, England. Charlie, also from Manchester, guessed that fact as well. ("Greatest Hits")
  • Michael becomes depressed and suicidal upon leaving the Island and is unable to kill himself. Later, Jack becomes depressed and suicidal upon leaving the Island, but was interrupted when trying to kill himself on the bridge. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
  • Ben sends Alex, Karl and Danielle to the Temple. He previously sent Richard and the rest of the Others there. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")

Unanswered questions

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Meet Kevin Johnson/Theories
  • Who are the Others that can come and go to the Island?

References

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