LOST 2.10 The 23rd Psalm (Eko)

The 23rd Psalm joins the company of Exodus and Numbers by sharing the episode title with books of the Bible.

This is the first we see of Eko’s backstory.  Eko is a very strong character (physically and mentally).  His philosophy is simple:  “I did what I had to do to survive”.  It’s an interesting contrast to compare him with his brother (Yemmi).  Eko saves Yemmi by taking his place in killing an elderly man (when forced to so by the drug lords).  Yemmi becomes a priest and saves many lost souls who come to his parish in search of forgiveness.  Yet Yemmi has not forgiven his brother for his reputation as a tough customer who uses threats of violence to progress his cause.

Eko as a priest

Eko as a priest

In this case his cause is to rid his country of drugs and the drug lords.  His method is more than a bit unorthodox.  He promises the drug lords safe passage for their merchandise on a plane that the Catholic church uses to move supplies and medicine to the people of Nigeria.  Once he secures the drugs he kills the drug lords after they say to him, paraphrasing,  “it’s true Eko has no soul”.

Now he needs to get the plane to take the drugs out.  He goes to Yemmi (interrupting a confession) and asks him for it.  But Yemmi does not trust his brothers motivations.  He assumes his brother has unholy motives.  And says to him that “putting on a priests outfit, does not make you a priest”.  Eko promises to buy the Virgin Mary statues with the drug money he got, and Yemmi finally agrees.

But he has second thoughts and Yemmi shows up at the airport (where Eko and his men are dressed like priests).  He tries to warn Eko that he has called the military police.  But gun fire breaks out and Yemmi is shot, then dragged into the plane and it takes off, leaving Eko on the tarmac.  Confusing Eko with his brother the priest, a soldier calls him Father.  Hence Eko has taken the place of Yemmi and become a defacto priest.  In an ironic twist, Eko has become a priest by wearing the uniform.

On the island, Claire tells Eko about the statues.  He breaks one open to confirm that the drugs are inside.  The very same drugs his men hid in the statues.  He gets Charlie to take him to the plane to find out what happened to Yemmi.  Charlie lies and pretends to not know the drugs were there, but Eko quickly uncovers it.  Eko finds a priest in the jungle, but it’s not Yemmi (it’s his associate with the gold tooth).

They then get to the plane, and Eko cries when he finds Yemmi dead.  He asks for forgiveness for getting his brother into this trouble in the first place.  He then breaks a fuel line and sets the plane and dead Yemmi ablaze.  (He does not bury him, which is a big mistake on this island).

Yemmis cross taken by Eko

Yemmi's cross taken by Eko

Eko puts on Yemmi’s cross and Charlie wonders if Eko is a true priest.  Eko says yes, he was called by God (for service to Him).  He then recites the 23rd Psalm (but not exactly, see the Thoughts section).

Just to round a couple more things out…  Charlie is kicked out by Claire for lying to her.  She accuses him of still being an addict and doesn’t want him near Aaron.  And Michael gets a note from Walt via the computer.  The same computer they were warned not to use, except for entering the Numbers.


Eko encounters the monster – Eko and Charlie hear the monster coming.  Eko gets Charlie to climb a tree (as if he knew what the monster could do to him; but it could also be to search for the drug plane).  Now we see something fascinating in the smoke when it “scans” Eko.  We see images of Eko’s past (and maybe even his future).  Rousseau said the monster was a security system.  Is it scanning Eko to see if he is a threat?  Was the security system put there to keep “bad” people off the island.  It scanned both Kate and especially Juliet and nothing happened to them, but Eko later meets a different fate.  Could Jacob be controlling the monster so it can search for Esau when he makes his appearance in a new bodily form?

I thought it was interesting that there was blood on the doorpost of the plane.  Another alusion to the story of Exodus?  And Charlie notes that Eko’s stick has dried blood on it as well.  It again emphasizes Eko as priest and a warrior.

The 23rd Psalm goes:

Yea, though I walk through “the valley of the shadow of death,”

But Eko says “the shadow of the valley of death.”

Lostpedia points out that at first the writers thought they had made a mistake, but later reconsidered since Eko was not a proper priest and made his own mistake in his recital of the verse.  This happens again in the upcoming and controversial Fire + Water episode.

It’s interesting that there are two statues on the island.  One is the god Taweret (where Jacob lives) and the other statue represents the Catholic faith.  Taweret is a goddess of fertility, whereas the virgin Mary  miraculously gave birth to the Lord.

This was an interesting episode and I still miss Eko on the show.  See our latest Friday poll to vote for who you miss the most.

2 Responses

  1. Is it coincidence that Mr Eko asked Charlie to climb the tree, or did he know the smoke monster was coming?

    The 23rd Psalm mentions the valley of the shadow of death. Could smokie be the ‘shadow of death’?

    Fish on a banana leaf must be very popular on the island. I think we see Jin eat it that way a couple of times, and also Jacob does the same.

    Is Michael seeing things, like the island does to people. Does he think he’s chatting to Walt, when it could be either Walt using telepathy to put thoughts into Michael’s head or the island playing tricks?

    Eko told Locke, “Do not mistake coincidence for fate”, it must be Eko’s fate to be lead to the resting place of his younger Brother, after many years of not knowing what happened to him. Locke says to Boone the plane has been there from 4 to 8 years.

  2. It is interesting how you put these
    thoughts together. It made me think
    of what I understood before.

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