25. Ethan Shoots Locke
Episode: Because You Left (5×01)
I’m a sucker for time travel plots, and the first episode of season 5 couldn’t help itself, sending the group through time on multiple occasions. Here, Locke finds himself back at the time when the Nigerian drug plane had recently crashed. I loved Ethan’s character and was delighted to see him back, as evil as ever. Locke’s desperate attempt to explain himself doesn’t work, and only another convenient travel through time saves him.
24. Locke Tells Richard to Save Locke
Episode: Follow the Leader (5×15)
Let me just get this out of the way now. The “big reveal” where we find out Jeremy Bentham is really John Locke, and that John Locke is dead, is not making the list. While most people don’t know that John Locke and Jeremy Bentham are the names of two real-life philosophers who were huge proponents of social contract theory, the surprise is ruined for the people who do. I knew exactly who was going to be in that coffin because of the name they gave him, and it pissed me off.
Here we get the payoff from the above scene. After getting shot by Ethan and traveling again, Locke is saved by Richard, who gives him a compass to give back to him. When Locke does find Richard again, he gives him the compass. And then he finds himself, and instructs Richard to save him. Beautiful mess-with-your-head paradoxical time travel stuff.
23. Ethan Abducts Claire and Charlie
Episode: Raised by Another (1×10)
This is the episode where Hurley decides he wants to be useful and starts interviewing everyone. To this point, Ethan had been a mildly interesting, mildly helpful side character who I thought might end up playing a more prominent role among the survivors. Hurley shatters all that when he cross-references the flight manifest with his list and realizes that Ethan wasn’t on the plane. One of the reasons I love season one so much is that we almost never know more than the castaways. This moment is a great example, as the “Oh, shit!” realization happens to both Hurley and the viewer at the same moment, as we put all the pieces together.
Of course, before Hurley can round up the troops, we cut to scene where Ethan looms over Claire and Charlie.
22. Charlie Kills Ethan
Episode: Homecoming (1×15)
Ethan had already put Charlie through the ringer, literally, by hanging him and leaving him for dead. Once Claire escapes, Ethan confronts Charlie and tells him that he’s going to kill one person every night until Claire is returned. He makes good on it by killing Steve…err, Scott. The tension is palpable. While Scott wasn’t a well-known character, the writers were pretty much telling the audience that nobody was safe. Also, the fact that Ethan could just kill someone, even though the castaways were preparing for it, revealed how dangerous The Others were and raised a million questions.
When Ethan was captured, I was excited. Perhaps Sayid would torture him and we’d get some answers about The Others we’ve been craving. Nope. The writers knew that’s what I’d want, so Charlie, in his desperate attempt to do anything to get Claire to fall in love with him, shot him before any answers could be given.