"The Cost of Living" is the fifth episode of Season 3 of Lost, and the fifty-fourth produced hour of the series as a whole. A delirious Eko wrestles with demons from his past, while Locke and some of the other castaways head back to the Pearl, hoping to find a computer that they can use to locate Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. Meanwhile, Jack doesn't know whom to trust when two of the Others seem at odds with one another. Eko's flashbacks in this episode unusually follow the format of occurring immediately after the flashbacks from one of his previous centric episodes, "The 23rd Psalm".
Young Eko watches Yemi eat.
As a boy, Eko is caught by a nun while breaking into a supply shed to steal food for himself and Yemi. When forced to confess at church, Eko refuses, insisting that stealing food for his starving brother was justified and therefore not a sin.
After the events depicted in "The 23rd Psalm", when Eko was left dumped on the runway as the Beechcraft flew away with Yemi's dead body, in a case of mistaken identity the Nigerian soldiers drive Eko back to Yemi's church. He finds Yemi's bible with a photograph of he and Yemi as children inside. ♪ Eko meets the altar boy Daniel and his mother Amina, who asks about Yemi. Eko answers that Yemi has been called away and that Eko would be taking his place. When Amina also inquires about Yemi's upcoming trip to London, a surprised Eko states that he would take Yemi's place there, too.
Eko is disturbed from his prayer when Emeka enters the church.
Some time later, after Eko has become established in his new role as priest, he is confronted by militiamen who demand to speak with Yemi. Amina intervenes and attempts to placate the leader, Emeka, by informing him that the vaccine shipment was late. Eko was unaware of the arrangement, and Amina explains to him that 80% of the clinic's vaccines are given to Emeka for "protection." When Eko tells Emeka that he is not afraid of him, Emeka shoots a blind woman as a warning that the deal must be completed then drives away. Eko soon develops a plan to sell the vaccine on the black market before he leaves the country that coming weekend. ♪
In Yemi's church, Emeka and two of his men arrive to punish Eko, as they have learned of his black market inquiries. As Emeka is about to chop off Eko's hands with a machete, Eko turns on the militiamen, grabs the machete and kills the two henchmen. Emeka begs for mercy but Eko says, "You don't know who I am" and kills him. He walks out of the church covered in gore holding the bloody machete and a gun, where he is seen by the terrified villagers, including Amina and Daniel.
Eko speaks to Amina.
As Eko prepares to leave for London, he is met by Daniel, who asks him whether his mother's opinion that Eko is a bad man is true. Eko replies, "Only God knows." Eko then notices that the church being boarded up, and Amina, who had been taking delivery of a vaccine shipment, explains to him that the village can no longer use the church building as it had been desecrated. She also explains that she is not grateful for what Eko did, because the men will only be replaced by others. Further, she reveals that she had been aware that he was planning to sell the vaccine himself anyway. She advises him to repent and make his peace with God, and tells him that he "owes" Yemi one church.
On Hydra Island
Colleen's body is sent out to the sea, as the Others watch. (promotional still)
In the Hydra, Ben gives Jack a white smock shirt and invites him to come for a walk. Jack asks about the symptoms of Ben's tumor, particularly pointing out that the tumor will kill him. Ben professes not to know what Jack is talking about. Jack smirks and drops the issue. ♪ They join the rest of the Others at the beach, all dressed in white smock shirts for Colleen's funeral. The corpse is floated out to sea on a burning raft accompanied by a lachrymose country-rock song played on the speakers while Pickett grieves. ♪ Privately, Ben asks Juliet why she showed his X-rays to Jack. Juliet replies that she never told Jack who's X-rays they were, and remarks that Ben must have inadvertently confirmed Jack's guess.
Juliet brings Jack a dome-style silver platter with a burger in it. Juliet is unusually friendly. Ben interrupts, wanting to speak to Jack. Juliet is reluctant to leave until Ben requests patient-doctor confidentiality. Ben reveals the plans he had to break Jack - wearing him down until he believed the Others weren't his enemies. Ben elaborates on how he meant Jack to become 'invested' in the Others by exploiting the physical resemblance between Juliet and Jack's ex-wife Sarah. However, Ben admits that his plan was "shot to sunshine" once Jack saw the X-rays revealing that Ben had a tumor and was dying. As Ben leaves, he asks Jack if he believes in God; Jack answers by returning the question. Ben says "Two days after I found out I had a fatal tumor on my spine, a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky. And if that's not proof of God, I don't know what is."
Juliet's first cue card
Later, Juliet brings Jack a VHS video, saying "You'll like this one: To Kill a Mockingbird, it's a classic." Against Jack's expressed wishes, Juliet loads the video tape and moves the television close to the glass wall with the sound off. While Juliet entreats Jack to perform the surgery that will save Ben's life, the silent 'movie' shows her holding a series of written messages asking Jack to kill Ben on the operating table. The monitor is placed so that it is out of view of the video surveillance. While her speech praises Ben and describes how much he deserves to live, the flashcards on tape say that Ben is a dangerous liar, and that some of the Others want 'change'--they want Ben dead. But they need to make it look as though they tried to save Ben's life, so that it looks like an accident, so they want Jack to make a fatal "mistake" during surgery. While Juliet says that only Jack can save Ben and that she can be trusted, her written messages on the video say it's up to Jack to kill Ben and that she will protect him (Jack). The last cue card asks Jack to demand that she stop the movie; he plays along. Juliet takes the tape and leaves, pausing to request that Jack should think about what she said; Jack nods.
On the Island
Back on the Island, a delirious Eko has a vision of his brother Yemi holding a cigarette lighter. Eko is told that, if he is ready to confess, he knows where to find Yemi. That night, Eko's shelter catches fire. Charlie and Hurley rescue Eko and leave him propped up against a tree, while Eko mumbles something about "my brother". Locke arrives and asks Charlie where Eko is, but Eko has disappeared. ♪
Yemi in Eko's tent
The next morning, Locke and Desmond ask Sayid to come to the Pearl to use the computer to communicate with the Others and figure out how to rescue Jack, Sawyer, and Kate. Charlie and Hurley inform the group that they cannot find any trace of Eko. Locke asks if Eko said anything to Charlie before he disappeared, and Charlie mentions Eko's rambling about his brother. Locke realizes that Eko is heading to the Beechcraft, where he previously had visions of his brother.
Locke tells Sayid and Desmond that they are heading for the same place as Eko, and offers an open invitation to anyone else who wants to come along. Hurley remarks that Jack used to decide who ventured into the jungle. Locke says that he is not Jack. Nikki accepts the invitation eagerly and encourages Paulo to join in, remarking that he's always complaining about not being included. Desmond asks Locke what they are really doing, and notes the coincidence that the plane Eko is heading for is in the same place as the Pearl station. In reply, Locke quotes Eko in reply "Do not mistake coincidence for fate."
Eko is nearly hit by a machete.
Eko staggers through the jungle and collapses. ♪ The black smoke Monster is seen and heard in the background. A Nigerian man (Emeka) appears, and throws a machete at Eko. The machete lands in a tree next to Eko's head. Eko pulls the machete from the tree and turns to face three men: one with his throat cut, one with a severed arm and one (Emeka) who is cowering before Eko and begging for his life. Eko is about to strike Emeka with the machete, but Emeka changes into the Altar Boy (Daniel) who puts a finger to his lips ("Shhh", just like Walt to Shannon) and says, "Confess." Eko drops the machete and runs. He arrives at a river and drinks from it. Eko smears mud on the bandage over his chest wounds. He notices the reflection of the "Monster" towering over him. He turns to face the "Monster", but it retreats into the Jungle as Locke, Sayid, Desmond, Paulo and Nikki appear on the opposite river bank.
On the way to the the Pearl/Beechcraft Locke asks if Eko is looking for Yemi. Eko angrily pins Locke to a tree with a knife at his throat, telling Locke not to speak his brother's name again. Locke asks what Eko is so afraid of. At the Beechcraft, Locke helps Eko to remove the boulders that cover the plane's door, while the others enter the Pearl. Locke asks Eko what exactly he saw in the jungle, confiding that he once saw something as a very bright light which was beautiful; but Eko replies, "That is not what I saw."
The Pearl station
Eko discovers that Yemi's body is not inside the Beechcraft. Eko decides to wait by the plane, contemplating the black and white photograph of himself and Yemi as boys. Before heading down into the Pearl, Locke gives Eko the cross that he found while tracking Eko during "Further Instructions".
Inside the Pearl, Nikki watches the Pearl Orientation video, Sayid, Desmond and Locke examine the electronics behind the computer, while Paulo discovers and uses a working toilet. After watching the film, Nikki suggests some of the monitors could be viewing the other DHARMA stations. Sayid fiddles with the electronics until a live picture appears on one of the monitors. A man with an eyepatch is briefly shown before putting his hand over the camera and the live video is lost. Locke remarks, "I guess he'll be expecting us."
The survivors travel to the Pearl.
Sitting by the Beechcraft pondering the cross, Eko sees Yemi standing at the edge of the Pearl exterior clearing. Yemi backs into the jungle. Following, Eko demands to know why Yemi wants to hear his confession, and why now? Eko finds Yemi waiting expectantly in the middle of a 'garden' of brightly colored anthurium bushes. Yemi asks if Eko is ready to confess. Eko says he is ready. Yemi looks at the cross that Eko holds.
Eko says, "I ask for no forgiveness, Father, for I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive." Yemi lets go of the cross. Eko says that when he was a small boy he killed a man to save his brother's life - and that he is not sorry for this, he is proud of it. Then Eko kneels before Yemi and extends his arms, palms upward in supplication. He appeals, and says: "I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given nonetheless. And with it, I did my best."
The Monster grabs Eko.
An angry-looking Yemi replies, "You speak to me as if I were your brother!"
As the apparition walks away Eko asks, "Who are you?" Eko follows, repeating, "Who are you?" The Black smoke darts in between the trees. Soon, Eko is confronted by a huge mass of black smoke.
Eko with Yemi
Backing away, Eko shows awareness (but little fear) of his imminent doom by reciting the 23rd Psalm. An arm of smoke reaches out, grabs Eko and smashes him against a tree.
In the Pearl, Locke and the others hear the groan and wail of the Monster and rush to investigate.
The Monster slams Eko against tree trunk after tree trunk, before finally lifting him high into the air and throwing him violently to the ground. Locke finds Eko dying, Eko breathes his dying words in Locke's ear. As he dies, Eko sees a flash of he and his brother, walking arm-in-arm into the sunset and throwing a soccer ball. Sayid asks Locke what Eko said, and Locke replies, "He said...'we're next.'" ♪
- Tania Raymonde, who plays Alex, also starred in an episode of CSI: NY , also titled The Cost of Living.
- Locke tells Eko he saw the Monster as bright light. ("Walkabout") ("White Rabbit") In the final clip show, Lost: The Final Journey, Terry O'Quinn revealed that Locke interpreted seeing the Monster as having a special relationship with the island.
- This is the first episode since "Do No Harm", 34 episodes previously, to feature the death of a male main character. Every main character killed since Boone has been female.
- This episode is rated TV-14-V.
- Although he is still listed for the next episode, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Eko) makes his final appearance as a main credited cast member in the series.
- As with "The 23rd Psalm", all of Eko's flashbacks in this episode are shot using a yellow-tinted lens to give them a third world look.
- A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 3 DVD with the Wal-Mart Bonus DVD.
- A deleted scene features Sawyer and Kate breaking rocks during their time on Hydra Island. Pickett comes to Sawyer and tells him that the only reason he is still alive is because Ben needs him alive.
- The deleted scene also shows Danny Pickett revealing the construction site's real purpose is the Runway.
Bloopers and continuity errors
- Jack tells Ben that he would be feeling tingling in his fingers as the result of his "L4 tumor". These symptoms, however, would be in his lower extremity, not upper.
- When Hurley, Sayid and Charlie are in the tent with Eko there is sunlight filtering through, making it the middle or during the day, yet in the next "island shot", they are walking away from the tent and it is now nighttime.
- The actor who plays young Eko has a lower voice than he did in "The 23rd Psalm", but this flashback takes place before that scene in which young Eko was taken away by the Nigerian guerrillas.
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- The title of the episode is The Cost of Living. (Life and death)
- The first on-Island scene starts with a closeup of Mr. Eko's closed right eye. (Eyes)
- In Yemi's church in Nigeria, Eko kills three men with a machete. (Death)
- Eko severs one man's arm in the church. (Missing body parts)
- A boy asked if Eko was a "bad man". (Good and bad people)
- We learn that Eko's act of building a church on the Island was self-imposed redemption for committing the sacrilege (murder) in Yemi's church. (Redemption)
- The youth picture of Eko and Yemi was found in Isaiah chapter 4. (The Numbers)
- While Eko saw the Monster as a black cloud, Locke saw the Monster as a white light. (Black and white)
- Eko is saved from a white polar bear only to be killed by the black cloud. (Black and white)
- Eko refused to feel guilty about his past life when a vision of Yemi asked him to confess. (Redemption)
- Locke says "Don't mistake coincidence for fate." (Fate versus free will)
- Eko says "I did not ask for the life I was given, but it was given, nonetheless. And with it, I did my best." (Fate versus free will)
- Eko is the second known person to be killed by the Monster; the first being the Flight 815 pilot. After Eko's death, the only member of the Tailies not killed or abducted is Bernard. (Death)
- The body of Yemi is the second corpse to disappear, and then appear on the Island. Jack's father's corpse was the first. (Resurrection)
- Juliet is secretly communicating with Jack via cue cards on a videotape. (Deceptions and cons)
- Juliet says to Jack, "You probably feel like you don't have a choice, but you do, Jack. Free will is all we've really got, right?" (Fate versus free will)
- Eko sees visions of the men he killed in the church, the alter boy, and his brother Yemi. (Dreams and visions)
- Ben asks Jack if he believes in God. (Religion)
- Eko takes Yemi's place as a priest after he is killed. (Deceptions and cons) (Religion)
| Cultural references|
(direct references only)
|Art • Automobiles • Games • History • Literary works • Movies and TV • Music • Philosophy • Religion and ideologies • Science|
- To Kill a Mockingbird: Juliet offered to show Jack this 1962 American drama film adaptation of Harper Lee's novel. (Movies and TV) (Literary works)
- "Subterranean Homesick Blues": Juliet's video, in which she holds up cue cards, is reminiscent of Bob Dylan's video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues." In the scene, both Jack and Juliet are subterranean. In later episodes, we learn that both were also homesick and "blue". This reference was confirmed in 11/06/06 podcast. (Music)
- "I Wonder": The song played at Colleen's funeral is "I Wonder", performed by Brenda Lee. (Music)
- Hindu funeral practices: The Others wear white robes to the funeral, which follows the traditions of Hindu funeral practices. In many Asian cultures, white is the funeral color. Adopting this characteristically Eastern practice would be in keeping with other motifs associated with the Others (e.g., the Dharma project name itself). (Religion and ideologies)
- Psalm 23: Eko starts reciting the 23rd Psalm before the Monster attacks him. (Religion)
- "Eko Lagos": this 2001 song performed by Femi Kuti is playing on a radio during Eko's black market vaccine deal with the Trader at a bar in Nigeria. (Music)
|Comparative: Irony • Juxtaposition • Foreshadowing Plotting: Cliffhanger • Plot twist Stock characters: Archetype • Redshirt • Unseen character|
Story: Flashbacks • Flash-forwards • Flash sideways • Framing device • Regularly spoken phrases • Symbolism • Unreliable narrator
- Locke, Sayid, Desmond, Paulo and Nikki see a man on a monitor in the Pearl. Locke says "I guess he'll be expecting us." (Foreshadowing)
- Locke tells Desmond "Don't mistake coincidence for fate." (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Ben wants Jack to save his life, but Juliet wants Jack to kill him. (Juxtaposition)
- Locke describes the monster as a "white light", whereas Eko sees a black cloud. (Juxtaposition)
- Eko is killed by the smoke monster, and his words are repeated by Locke as "we're next." (Plot twist) (Cliffhanger) (Foreshadowing)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- Locke, Sayid, Desmond, Paulo and Nikki journey to the Pearl station in an attempt to communicate with the other stations. (A-Missions)
- Eko kills Emeka and two other men in the church. (Crimes)
- Hurley reminds Locke how Jack ran things. Locke responds with "I'm not Jack." (Leadership) (Rivalries)
- Jack and Juliet flirt when she brings him food. (Relationships)
- Locke says he saw "a very bright light" when he saw the monster. ("Walkabout")
- Eko journeys to the Beechcraft in search of Yemi. ("The 23rd Psalm")
- The flashback continues from the events of one of Eko's previous flashbacks. ("The 23rd Psalm")
- Nikki notices something new regarding the Pearl Orientation video that Locke may have noticed had he listened to Eko and "watched it again." ("?")
- The survivors go into the Pearl station and discover something new. ("?")
- Ben refers to the day "a spinal surgeon fell out of the sky." ("A Tale of Two Cities")
- Locke gives back the cross to Eko he found when looking for him. ("Further Instructions")
- Jack figures out the x-rays belong to Ben. ("Every Man for Himself")
- The Others hold a funeral for Colleen following her death. ("Every Man for Himself")
- Locke tells Desmond "Don't mistake coincidence for fate." ("What Kate Did")
- Eko recites the 23rd Psalm while encountering the Monster. ("The 23rd Psalm")
- The blind woman who is shot in Eko's flashback was selling Virgin Mary statues. ("The 23rd Psalm")
- Eko was building a church on the Island because he owed it to Yemi. ("Dave") ("S.O.S.")
- Eko leaves for London. Eko told Michael about his time serving as a priest in London. ("Three Minutes")
- Paulo is reluctant to join the survivors' venture to the Pearl, reflecting on his sentiments from the previous episode where he showed contempt for the survivors' adventures, noting the fact that they often return injured or dead. ("Every Man for Himself")
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Cost of Living/Theories
- What did Eko mean when he said "You're next"?