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PandoraX is responsible for this transcription. The following is a special featurette seen on Disc 7 ("Phase 3") of the Lost: The Complete Second Season DVD box set. It is called the "Secrets From the Hatch", and discusses the conception and creation of the set for the Swan station, and some of the general planning and visualization for Season 2.
[Building of the hatch/Swan scenes, many close-ups of set, intercut with episode clip of Jack and Locke looking down into the hatch at the end of Season 1, and then of Hurley trying to stop the dynamite fuse.]
Carlton Cuse: We decided fairly early on that the opening of the hatch would be the cliffhanger for Season 1. We thought that's where the audience expected us to end. We were not really prepared for the fact that the audience would sort of cry foul and be like, “We wanted more! We wanted you to go in! We expected to go inside the hatch.” We tried to be responsive to that by making our plans for Season 2. [Scene intercut of Desmond’s perspective when the hatch was opened, then Kate descending]
Damon Lindelof: The show, it all starts with the story, a creative idea, and the hatch is something that we’ve been talking about for a very long time, you know. [Kate now descending into greenscreen version of hatch] Finding the hatch and discovering the hatch and going into the hatch are the very first things that J.J. talked about at the very first meeting that I sat down with him was that they could find the hatch. And I said “Oh, that’s incredibly compelling. What’s inside?” And he said “I don’t know. We’ll figure it out later.” But you know, eventually, later comes.”
[Screenshots of moving camera over script, says “A HATCH: Six feet across… rectangular and made of metal and buried… Trippy? Strange?... Why is it buried?”]
J.J. Abrams: So the hatch, from the beginning was part of the fabric of what I was excited about. And we debated First Season about when to reveal it. And originally, we were going to do it much earlier, and we decided to put it off, and then we put it off, and played with the timing of that. In terms of what’s inside the hatch, what’s so cool is that in the beginning, we theorized about what would be inside, and how it would look. But like anything, it evolves.
Damon Lindelof: Our hard and fast rule was—as soon as we found the hatch on the island, we had to have some idea of what was inside. If a light was going to go off inside, then we had to have an idea, at least physically, you know, what was causing that light to go on. And it started to feel to us that the most logical explanation was going to be that there was somebody inside there. So then the question became—who was it, how did they get there, what was there.
[Sketches and storyboards of man going into a cave-like structure shown]
Bryan Burk: Early on, when Jim Spencer was building the set and doing all the sketches, we did a walkthrough, and we had a big conversation about the geodome, for example, which was much whiter and cleaner.
Jack Bender: It went through a lot of changes, and it was more complicated and second-guessed than any of our other sets. Because I think people were so focused. [Detailed blueprints shown] You know, we’d suddenly hear after we’d gone a certain distance on designing it and everyone had signed off on the concept and the look; and then J.J. saw a picture on his cell phone and said “Ah! Looks like Star Trek.” And of course, it wasn’t finished.
Damon Lindelof: [Tomorrowland drawings shown, intercut with Swan Orientation film clip] We started with an idea that we kind of wanted it to be like Tomorrowland was, you know? In the 1960s, what the DHARMA Initiative’s vision of the future would be in 1980, as opposed to what the future actually was. And then, they came back with a sort of neat and clean idea, and we kind of said, we want to dirty it up a little more. It needs to be a little more industrial, a little more concrete.
Jack Bender: It was a process, but I think that the process of realizing the visual of that set spoke to the challenges of our island show going underground. [More storyboards and blueprints shown]
Jim Spencer: Conversations that I had with Carlton Cuse and Damon were sort of, at the very, very beginning of “What does this thing want to be?” ‘Til we started talking about architectural philosophies and the dome idea came from Jack Bender. [Dome shown] We’re starting to sort of come back to the 70s, so the dome was like a big deal. And so, it became like a great appendage.
Jack Bender: There is the computer there, and there are very large cables that lead from this computer down into the ground. [Computer close-ups] We don’t see where they lead or what they are connected to, but it is a force, it is powerful, and also, the challenge of it was that it had to be based on technology from the 70s. So it had to be state-of-the-art for the 70s when this hatch and series of hatches were created. [Technology shown] And it made a lot of sense that this geodesic dome be the shape of the dome that holds the computer room. And directorially, I love the idea of it being round. Because I knew that whoever was sitting at that computer, we were going to be able to be doing a lot of movement around them, and that was the central core of that set.
[Intercut scene from Man of Science, Man of Faith: Locke asking Desmond “What’s going to happen?”, and pushing the button for the first time]
Javier Grillo-Marxuach: For me, the great thing about the hatch is that we literally took something that was completely out of the realm of normal experience in every way whatsoever, and put it in there, and planted it and played it for so long and in such a way, that by the time you got in there, there could have been anything in there. And you would have probably accepted it as a reality of the show. And it took a long time to get in there, it wasn’t like the second hour of the season for our characters to get down there and have a look.
Jim Spencer: Through this opening right here in the wall, everybody came from the hatch. The hatch is at the 50 feet beyond this and 50 feet up, and they crawl through lava rock and enter the corridor from here. [Sketches and storyboards shown] Next to this hugely massive Styrofoam pipe that we made, and our painting team made it look very heavy and very old and very cool. [Pipe shown, then more blueprints] As with a set like this, there are inherent qualities that I design into it, that knowing that later on, there’s always going to be plug-ins, electrical conduit, there needs to be lights, there needs to be all kinds of different lights; there needs to be all this kind of stuff. And the mirrors were the precursor to any kind of video surveillance that they may have had in that day, so. [Mirrors and telescope shown] And the living space, which when we get to is a telescope that can tweak all these mirrors that can look at any aspect of this space at any given time. And down here, this is the control panel that is working, you know, monitoring anything that’s behind this wall, and you can see it’s in rather disrepair. Part of it’s working, part of it isn’t. There’s an electromagnetic field here if you have any metallic stuff on you, if you get too close, it will draw the metal to the door.
Jack Bender: When Jack is walking down there in the first episode, and he comes up next to this one door, this force pulls his key up against it. [Jack’s key scene intercut] And there is this magnetic force that’s ferocious behind this door.
Jim Spencer: Right through this window is solid concrete. So they obviously went to great lengths to seal off what was behind there. [Cement effects shown]
[Scene intercut, of Sayid saying to Jack, “The last time I heard of concrete being poured over everything in this way was Chernobyl.”]
Damon Lindelof: The function of the hatch, what it is built for, is because there was an accident here. [Quarantine sign on door of hatch shown] Basically, if you were to perceive the fact that the hatch, which is a structure that is essentially a big thumb, and that thumb is sticking in a dyke, and that dyke is holding back this massive magnetic anomaly, that is just sort of illustrated on the other side of this wall that makes Jack’s key rise. [Scene shown of Jack’s key getting pulled to wall] That’s what the design is. And it has to be there so that two guys can live down there comfortably, so there need to be certain creature comforts.
Jim Spencer: [Shows kitchen of Swan] This is a modern convenience of the 70s, it has an oven and a cooking top, where you blend all the comforts of home, all very boutique and wonderful. [Walks into living space area] We’re replete with turntable and music. [Goes to control panel] This puts on the emergency lighting system and sounds alarms, and turns on all the lights off as well. This is the main sort of control panel, given to us by the DHARMA Initiative.
Damon Lindelof: And there needs to be, you know, this geodome, this computer room, that needs to be designed in such a way that this one little computer, essentially the pushing of the button is in fact, saving the world, you know, every 108 minutes. [Shows computer greenscreen “monitor test”, then Desmond first scene of Season 2] But the people inside the hatch, it needs to be fairly routine for them.
Bryan Burk: [Countdown intercuts] In this season, when we were doing the countdown with the button, we knew that every 104 minutes, the alarm would go off, and we’d have to enter the code. So, we wanted to find a sound that we could make our own. Finally, we decided that we wanted the sound to be the sound of, at the market, when you scan your groceries and get the bar code, it always has that “beep, beep”. So, our sound guys went out in the middle of the night to half a dozen different markets in Los Angeles and recorded the beeping sound until we found the one we liked. So, if you listen to the show and you close your eyes, you’ll feel like you’re in a market every time it’s beeping. [Scene intercut of Kate waking Hurley while he is manning the hatch shift]
Javier Grillo-Marxuach: And that’s probably the thing I like best about the hatch is that it sort of speaks to the way that Lost manipulates reality and the way that Lost presents reality. In that we’re really able to take something that was completely far out there, but then because of the execution, and because of how the actors react to it, and because of the set design and everything, it sort of becomes the accepted reality.
Matthew Fox: [Intercuts of Jack exploring computer room] Just to see this man-made, and all these electronics, and this really intense thing coming at you, and knowing this sort of world that Lost has existed in at that point. And then running into this guy, and finding out that the guy is connected to Jack and his backstory, and how that’s all connected into this.... [Screenshot of Desmond shown] I thought it was an incredibly heady and intellectual, philosophical story.
Jim Spencer: Which leads us to Desmond’s beautiful mural. [Mural close-ups shown] And it shows a lot of pain, a lot of angst. He lives on the shore, so he’s got fish. The mural on the wall was done by Jack Bender, instigated by me, because I thought, here’s somebody who (Desmond, that we know now), but what does that one single person do down here if he’s given to painting? We talked about muralizing the whole place. And then it sort of came to be that, that may be a bit extravagant. So, I asked Jack, who’s a prolific modern artist to have his hand at it.
Jack Bender: So, one afternoon, I went in there. And knowing some of the story elements of where the season was going, I painted. I’ve been painting since I was 14. So, I painted this painting in about 4 hours. And it’s great, because it all has to do with the mythology according to all our internet fans. It all has to do with the Lost City of Atlantis, and the purple circle that’s surrounding the number 108, that’s next to the words “I M Sick”, which is an eyeball, and an M, and the word Sick, but it’s crossed out. So, it’s wonderful to see what people have done with that whole world down there.
Damon Lindelof: [Closeups of hatchmark wall] I can’t remember whose idea it was but it certainly wasn’t mine, but the hatchmarks. That there would be a scene in the second episode, where Desmond marched Kate and Locke, and Locke looked and he sees all these hatchmarks on the wall, and you get a sense of “Wow, how long has someone been down here?”
Jim Spencer: These may be the days, they may be the weeks. But there’s 9,000 hatchmarks here. They’re all very, very different. Some small, some larger, some broader, but you know, it makes for an interesting wall. Behind you is the DHARMA Swan symbol. [Camera pans over to symbol] Which is the hatch number two. Number one was the Arrow, which the Tailies found, and there may be more. [Scene intercut of Tailies and Arrow] And what is left of the pantry here, which Mr. Hurley, when put in charge of this, decided he was going to have a big banquet on the beach, so what’s left are just sort of the dregs. [Various DHARMA food props shown] And awaiting a new shipment. [Intercut of supply drop scene] And here is the small armory, which still has some of its weaponary, and ammo, and all of that good stuff. [Intercut of Desmond running to armory] Device that I spoke about earlier, and this pulls down from the ceiling, has these toggle switches which operate these mirrors back there. [Various angles of telescope device and mirror apparatus shown] And he can do this by remotes and sort of see everything.
Damon Lindelof: Again, the idea of the hatch is, there’s this very Jekyll-and-Hyde-like quality to it, that was very advertant on our part, which is... you are one person outside the hatch, but when you get inside the hatch, you are another person. It forces other aspects of your personality to manifest, just by virtue of what you have to do there. [Scene shown in background from “One of Them”] How does it affect Jack’s character, when Sayid is beating Henry up, is he willing to test fate and reason, by saying to Locke, “I’m going to let the button go unpushed, you know, because I believe that nothing will happen. I believe that so strongly I’m calling your bluff.” Basically, the hatch brings out the worst in you. The hatch sort of represents ‘the Devil has arrived on the island and is going to give you exactly what you want’. [Locke scene with him watching hieroglyphics] For Locke, he wants meaning in his life, he now has found meaning, but when you sign a deal with the Devil, there’s always this Faustian side of it, now you’ve got what you asked for, but it’s not at all what you thought it would be. And now you’ve got to deal with it.
Javier Grillo-Marxuach: And I think there was that very interesting thematic parallel to what Locke is going through. Not to mention that by the end of the season that Locke is basically a button-pusher in a cubicle, just like he was in his previous life. So the hatch is like this cosmic joke on a lot of levels. [Lockdown scene shown]
Jim Spencer: There are also blast doors, it’s sort of right here. [Shows how he can pull blast doors down by hand] And that comes down, sealing this off. And there’s going to be a like one in there and the other one as well.
Jack Bender: You know, we’ve had emergency lights go on, we’ve had black light go on, which reveals certain things that otherwise were hidden. [Blast door map shot shown] But we try to present this world as it really would be, but at the same time, how do we artify it, how do we lift it into filmmaking and make it look the way we want to look? [Blast door conceptualization shown in distance] We went through a lot of conversations about what the lighting would look like in there.
Damon Lindelof: In reality, Season 2 was about the hatch. And when you really think about the season looking back, the hatch has its own flashbacks. [Different rooms shown] When you think about how much story it provided… the armory, one room in the hatch alone, or the pantry, just that room, or the geodome, the computer room, or all the things that happened in the bunk bedroom, from Sawyer’s struggle with life-and-death, to Michael’s return, to Libby’s death, all these sort of momentous things sort of happen in the hatch. So, we really had to plot out the design of the hatch in a very, very practical way that always related back to story. [End screenshot of DHARMA Swan logo in Orientation film]