Same Line, Different Character

Throughout the LOST series (both seasons), there have been certain, peculiar phrases that get repeated or mirrored back to one another. It’s very clear that this is intentional, and may go even beyond showing thematic interconnections between characters. A few examples:

“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” (Or very similar variations)
1) Locke to Randy (his boss at the box co.), Kate, and then the Walkabout agent (in “Walkabout”)
2) Locke to Boone (in “Deus ex Machina”)
3) Jack to Sun as he is about to amputate Boone’s leg (in “Do No Harm”)
4) Claire, when she wants to get kidnapped Aaron back (in “Exodus”)
5) Jack to Desmond (in “Man of Science, Man of Faith”)
6) Mr. Eko to Locke (in “?”)

“See you in the next life.” (Or very similar variations)
1) Nadia’s note to Sayid (read in “Solitary”)
2) Desmond to Jack in flashback (in “Man of Science, Man of Faith”)
3) Dave to Hurley, before jumping off cliff (in “Dave”)
4) Desmond to Locke, before turning fail-safe key (in “Live Together, Die Alone”)

“Live together, die alone.” (Or very similar variations)
1) First speech is by Jack and becomes a famous moment where he takes on the role of group leader (in “White Rabbit”)
2) Quoted by Sayid (in “Solitary”)
3) Quoted/mirrored back by Kate (in “Man of Science, Man of Faith”)
4) Repeated by Jack and also S2 finale name; also the gist of Penelope’s letter to Desmond (in “Live Together, Die Alone”)

“Are you him?”
1) Desmond to Locke (in “Man of Science, Man of Faith”)
2) Helen to Locke (in “Lockdown”)

“Very ‘special’ children” (Or very similar variations)
1) Emily of Locke (in “Deus ex Machina”)
2) Tom (‘Mr. Friendly’) of Walt (in “The Hunting Party”)
3) Megan Pace of her young son, Charlie (in “Fire + Water”)

“For someone who wants his son back so badly, you don’t seem to know much about him” (Or very similar varation)
1) Lizzy the Lawyer, to Michael (in “Abandoned”)
2) Ms. Klugh, to Michael (in “Three Minutes”)

“YOU.”
1) Jack, upon recognizing Desmond from years back (in “Man of Science, Man of Faith”)
2) Desmond, upon realizing that it was Jack who jumped on the boat (in “Live Together, Die Alone”)

Many more examples. What do you think of this idea of mirrored dialogue? Aside from just emphasizing themes, the actual wording is so close that it makes me believe that this is more support of the idea that this is a show about karma. Everything that goes around, comes around.

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14 Responses to Same Line, Different Character

  1. Tom says:

    I like Your site. Please add more articles on it.

  2. andy says:

    Eko saying to Locke “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” was a defining moment in the second season. As soon as he said that, I knew he had come under the spell of the button. For someone who had said, “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate,” just a few weeks earlier (in island time), this was a major shift. A couple of dreams about his brother and he’s embraced his mission to blindly push the button, even abandoning the building of his church. (Saying “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” also seems to precede the speaker doing something dangerous or stupid. Using dynamite in a small, enclosed space to try to blow open a blast door? Eko had never been that rash before.

    I for one am glad to see the button and the hatch destroyed. I hope Eko, Locke, and Desmond all survived, but I’m looking forward to exploring more of the island, after spending the entire season in that damn hatch. I hope Locke’s comment in the final episode that “I’ve saved us all” turns out to be true, and he’s really saved them from the button, and the dependence on Dharma brand snack food, and they can finally start to show some curiosity about the rest of the island!

  3. Cecilia says:

    Andy, what a great comment. I have often thought that the contrast between Eko & Locke was an interesting one–starting out as two men of faith, but getting their faith from two very different places. As Locke loses his faith in the button, Eko finds his, both from their interpretations of the same event (finding The Pearl). And yes, the exclamation \”Don\’t tell me what I can\’t do!\” does seem like it precedes stupidity, doesn\’t it… or not so much that, as a petulant stubborness to do things disregarding reason, based on emotion only. Pushing that button seemed almost like a drug addiction.

    I agree, S3 should be interesting without it.

  4. KillerR says:

    thanks for the reply on the “sun” blog, cecilia. and for doing this one on repeat phrases. pretty interesting stuff. the “are you him” line was one i thought of last night. i guess my next question would be; does the fact of all the duplicate phrases mean that this is in someones head? or that it isnt some how all completly real?

  5. Hammer says:

    [quote comment="4237"]thanks for the reply on the “sun” blog, cecilia. and for doing this one on repeat phrases. pretty interesting stuff. the “are you him” line was one i thought of last night. i guess my next question would be; does the fact of all the duplicate phrases mean that this is in someones head? or that it isnt some how all completly real?[/quote]

    Wasn’t there a theory at one time that this is all in Hugo’s head? He’s been in an asylum, has an imaginary friend, Libby was at the asylum, possibly one of the Portugese fellows was at the asylum, he won the lottery with the numbers and believes the numbers are cursed…the thing is, he’s isn’t around to see all the things that are happening so it would have to be a dream. Having said all this, I don’t beleive that this is where this is all going.

  6. Hammer says:

    Cecilia,

    Thanks for consolidating all these. I have been watching S1 again and pointing them out to my wife. But as usual all these type of catches are fun and and exciting to find…but don’t seem to help figure out where this is all going. I agree that karma is the over lying theme here, every character’s story is filled with karma.

    I noticed in the bonus features DVD that one of the writers mentioned that early on they new they had enough to take this thing to 5 or 6 seasons. I don’t beleive they will give us anything big to go on for a long time.

    By the way, the “Lost Experience” thing that you are working through…do you think that it’s helping you to find out what the island is all about just a spin off for ABC to keep riding the Lost phenomina? I’ve been watching your findings but haven’t been going through it on my own.

  7. Cecilia says:

    Hammer, you ask a very good question, and in reply, I’d say I think it is a little bit of both, but more the latter (commercialization… and they are clever about it, since we are hungry for clues, and nothing to do over the summer). We are also discussing it in the comments section of the most recent post, but your question is a great one, and I think I will address it in its own post, ok? :) Directed towards non-webmazers, mostly.

  8. Love's Labor's Lost says:

    Wasn’t there a theory at one time that this is all in Hugo’s head? He’s been in an asylum, has an imaginary friend, Libby was at the asylum, possibly one of the Portugese fellows was at the asylum, he won the lottery with the numbers and believes the numbers are cursed…the thing is, he’s isn’t around to see all the things that are happening so it would have to be a dream. Having said all this, I don’t believe that this is where this is all going.[/quote]

    I think that this has been addressed by producers as NOT being a plot possibility. The fact that at the end of S2, Penny and the arctic men were aware of the island was supposed to indicate that the island existed in the real world and in real time.

  9. Love's Labor's Lost says:

    Another repeated line of dialogue: Walt’s adoptive father told Michael that Walt was “different.” In season 1, when Locke is teaching Walt to throw a knife and Michael gets angry, Locke tells Michael that Walt is “different.”

  10. Cecilia says:

    killer: Oh, I missed your question before, also (though I think it was directed at anyone, too).

    I don’t think the repeated phrases *necessarily* reflects that the story is all in one person’s head. I could see it being used to support that idea, just like the weird appearance of the Numbers everywhere–I think this theory is that the Numbers have some real meaning to someone (Hurley, for instance) and that his subconscious mind renders them in his memories, though they may not have been there originally.

    I personally would like to think that the writers are making a point about this in a world that is ‘entirely real’… but just an extraordinary world where a lot of strange serendipitous things happen. But we all have our pet theories…

  11. KillerR says:

    Absolutly. i have about 20 theories, which ive had from season one. when my wife and i bought s1 on dvd we watched it atleast 10 times all the way through. im not sure what the ending of s2 finale means, but its probably just another wrinkle to throw off those that are close on their theories. my wife thinks its all in hugo’s head, but my #1 pet theory is that hanso has them all hooked up to something and are doing the phsycoanalysis thing. they are making them remember certain events in their past trying to make them “get over them”, so to speak and with all experiments they have certain “characters” in there as controls ie: the fake beard on “Tom”. but, that’s just one; i have like 19 more.

  12. Terry says:

    “Running like the Devil’s Chasing you” has also been repeated. This might lend support to the idea of collective consciousness, but mostly I think it is just a way for the writers to link events together to emphasize connectedness.

  13. Cecilia says:

    Terry–that is another good one, and I was considering it for inclusion, but got lazy. :) The two places I saw it was when Desmond and Jack have their conversation… and much later, when Locke makes a remark to Ana-Lucia, as she is jogging on the beach.

  14. Bob says:

    I’m pretty sure that the line “Are you him?” was asked by Kelvin to Desmond.

    Great Post!

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