John Locke was one of the middle section survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Before the crash his father conned him for one of his kidneys and later pushed him out of a window, breaking his back, causing him to have to be in wheelchair. After this he spent the next four years of his life paralyzed from the waist down and looking for his purpose in life. He was then told by Matthew Abaddon that he must attend an Australian Walkabout after which he found himself aboard Flight 815. His paralysis was immediately healed upon crashing on the Island, which ultimately led him to believe that he had some sort of special connection to the Island. John was very handy with tools and a good hunter of boar and other animals of the Island, which proved to be very helpful in the survival of the group. Seen as antithetical to Jack Shephard, he and Jack were philosophical opposites and used to share leadership among the survivors.
When Locke discovered a Hatch on the Island, he was determined to open it, insisting that everything happened for a reason. He opened it and took it upon himself to continue pushing the button, believing that this was his purpose. However, Locke soon lost his faith in the Island and stopped pushing the button which ultimately caused the discharge. After this, Locke looked for his purpose again and led the mission to rescue Jack from the Others. Locke eventually decided to stay with the Others and with Sawyer’s help, he passed the test of killing his father. However, his apparent ability to commune with Jacob made John a threat to Ben, who shot him and left him for dead in the DHARMA Grave.
An apparition of Walt (possibly the Man in Black or the Island itself) found Locke and told him that he still had work to do. (This phrase was previously spoken by the MiB as Christian, hinting that he was impersonating Walt.) After Jack called the freighter for rescue, John (convinced that the freighter had no intention of helping them) led a group of his supporters to the Barracks for safety, where they were attacked by mercenaries. After the Oceanic Six left and Ben moved the Island, John assumed leadership of the Others, but was immediately separated from them as a result of the Island skipping through time. Locke left the Island via the Orchid, in an attempt to stop the erratic flashes through time and bring back everyone who left. After trying and failing to reunite them, John attempted to take his own life, only to be stopped and then strangled by Ben. His death was used to convince the others to return to the Island. John’s corpse was placed upon Ajira 316 and crashed on Hydra Island along with the plane in 2007.
After the crash, Locke appeared to have been resurrected, rejoining the Others and embarking on a mission to assassinate Jacob. However, his body was discovered in the hold of Flight 316 some days later. John Locke had been dead all along and had been replaced by The Man in Black. After several days he was finally buried in the graveyard. Jack later carried on and fulfilled Locke’s goal of protecting the Island.
Post-Death: On the Island
6×01 – LA X, Part 1
Having succeeded at killing Jacob, the Man in Black instructed Ben to get Richard so that they could “talk.” Richard refused to speak with the imposter, showing Ben the real John’s body. (“LA X, Part 1”)
6×02 – LA X, Part 2
Ben now knowing of The Man in Black’s betrayal, unwillingly returned to the statue and witnessed the killings of Bram and his men. The impersonator then revealed to Ben that he was indeed “the monster.” He later informed Ben of how confused John had been at the moment of his death (His last thought apparently being “I don’t understand.”) and of how pathetic and broken John was before coming to the island, though he admitted that John’s wish to remain on the island was admirable. The great irony was that the Man in Black wanted what Locke didn’t: he wanted to go “home.” (“LA X, Part 2”)
6×04 – The Substitute
Before Ilana’s group left the statue, Sun said they needed to bury John.
While Ben, Ilana, Frank, and Sun brought Locke’s body to be buried at the survivors’ grave site, Ben asked Ilana why she brought John’s body to the statue. Ilana responded that she needed to show the others what they were up against. Ben then asked why the Man in Black wouldn’t just change forms again, and Ilana replied that the Man in Black was now stuck in Locke’s form.
At the survivors’ burial ground overlooking the sea, the group dug a grave and put Locke’s body in it. Ilana asked if anyone wanted to say anything, and Ben, with some reluctance, said that he knew John, that John was a “believer, a man of faith,” and that he was “a much better man than [he] will ever be”. He added that he was “very sorry [he] murdered him,” which took Sun and Ilana by surprise. (“The Substitute”)
6×13 – The Last Recruit
Some time later, the Man in Black explained to Jack that he had chosen the body of Locke, because Locke was stupid enough to think he was on the Island for a reason and that he pursued that idea until it got him killed. He added that John Locke was not a believer but a sucker. (“The Last Recruit”)
6×14 – The Candidate
Before going to the submarine the Man in Black asked Jack to reconsider his decision not to leave, explaining that whoever told him to stay had no idea what he was talking about. Jack said, “John Locke told me I needed to stay,” and pushed him off the dock and into the water. (“The Candidate”)
6×17 – The End
While lowering Desmond down to the Source, the Man in Black asked Jack if it reminded him of the time that the two had argued about pushing the button in the hatch. Jack accused the Man in Black of disrespecting the memory of John Locke by wearing his face and stated that the real Locke was right about almost everything, but the Man in Black still believed the real Locke was wrong and assumed Jack would realize that once the Island was destroyed.
When Desmond unplugged the Source, the Man in Black realized that he made himself mortal and was punished for underestimating Locke (as well as killing Sayid, Jin and Sun) when Kate shot him in the back and Jack kicked him off the cliff to his death. (“The End”)
In the flash sideways, John Locke was still paralyzed, although he, not his father, was responsible for this. At some point, Locke became engaged to Helen Norwood, and they were living together. Locke’s reason for traveling on Oceanic flight 815 did not change.
Flight 815 & LAX
6×01 – LA X, Part 1
On the flight, John read a safety brochure. Boone, sitting nearby, told him that the brochure would not be of any use if the plane went down. The two shared their reasons for flying: Boone was in Australia to get his sister out of a bad relationship, but she didn’t want to come back with him; Locke said he went on a walkabout for ten days in the Australian outback. Impressed, Boone said he would stick with Locke if the plane went down. (“LA X, Part 1”)
6×02 – LA X, Part 2
Upon arrival in Los Angeles, Locke discovered that Oceanic Airlines had misplaced his case of knives that had been checked in as baggage. While filling out paperwork for the lost luggage, he met Jack Shephard. Jack told Locke that Oceanic lost his father, meaning his coffin. Locke replied that Oceanic had lost Jack’s father’s body, but not his father. Jack inquired about Locke’s paralysis, and John told him that his condition was irreversible. Jack retorted that nothing was irreversible and offered Locke a free consultation, giving him his business card. (“LA X, Part 2”)
As a Substitute Teacher
6×04 – The Substitute
When Locke returned home, the wheelchair lift on his van malfunctioned. He tried to get down one his own and fell out of his wheelchair, triggering the lawn’s sprinklers. His fiance, Helen, brought him in and asked how about the conference he supposedly attended for work. Locke lied and told her it went well, then professed his love for her.
Later, at work, John’s boss Randy confronted him about what Locke actually did on his company-paid trip to Australia. Locke tried to lie to him but was caught. Randy fired him. At his car, Locke was blocked in by the person parked next to him; he was not in a handicapped spot. Enraged, he slammed the rear of the other car, which activated the alarm. Its owner, Hugo Reyes, came out of the building. After a minor argument, Locke told him that he had just been fired by Randy. Calling Randy a “huge douche”, Hugo gave him the number of a temp employment agency he owned.
At the temp agency, Locke refused to take a banal standard personality test. He met with the agency’s manager, and asked to be given a job as site operator for a construction company. The manager, Rose, suggested that this would be a poor fit for him, and asked John to “get real.” Locke asked what she knew about reality, at which point she revealed she had terminal cancer. Locke considered her words and ended up taking a job as a substitute teacher.
The next day, at Washington Tustin High School, Locke subbed for a physical education class and a health class, then went to the faculty lounge for lunch. There he met Ben Linus, a history teacher who made quick friends with John. (“The Substitute”)
Later, when he overheard a conversation between Ben and a fellow teacher, Locke suggested that Ben become the school principal. Ben asked, “Who’s going to listen to me?” Locke raised his hand and replied, “I’m listening.” (“Dr. Linus”)
6×12 – Everybody Loves Hugo
Sometime later Desmond Hume deliberately ran down John in his car while John was crossing the school’s parking lot in his wheelchair. Ben, who witnessed the incident, ran over to John and shouted for someone to call an ambulance. (“Everybody Loves Hugo”)
6×13 – The Last Recruit
Locke, accompanied by Ben, was brought to St. Sebastian Hospital. As Locke’s gurney was wheeled inside, he passed by a wounded Sun, who appeared to recognize Locke and be frightened of him.
Once inside, Locke was prepped for surgery, and Jack was called in to operate on him. (“The Last Recruit”)
6×14 – The Candidate
The surgery was a success, and Jack also took a look at the cause of Locke’s paralysis. After the surgery, Jack went to visit John in the post-surgical care unit, where John, still groggy from his surgery, muttered, “Push the button” and “I wish you had believed me.” Once Locke awakened, Jack informed him that he believed Locke was a candidate for a new surgery with minimum risk that could help cure his paralysis. However, Locke declined the surgery, and Helen arrived, relieved that he was okay.
As he was leaving the hospital, John passed Jin and was then approached by Jack, who wanted to say goodbye. Jack explained that he had visited Locke’s father, and Locke was not pleased. Locke admitted blaming himself for putting his father into a vegetative state. He told Jack that he had come to accept his paralysis as punishment for causing his father’s condition. Jack again tried to convince Locke to get the surgery, but Locke laughed lightly and said goodbye. Jack called after him, saying, “I wish you had believed me.” Locke paused briefly before leaving as if he recognized what Jack had just said. (“The Candidate”)
6×16 – What They Died For
Locke returned to the school and was welcomed back warmly by his co-workers. He wheeled into the teachers lounge and found a bloody-faced Ben, who had been in a fight with the same guy who ran Locke down. He told Locke that while he was being beaten he “saw” something. Ben told Locke that the man, Desmond, had told him that he was trying to get Locke to “let go,” not to hurt him, and that for some reason he believed Desmond. (“What They Died For”)
6×17 – The End
Later, John stopped by Jack’s office. He remarked that he and Jack were on the same flight from Sydney, how of “all the doctors in Los Angeles,” Jack happened to be the one to treat his injuries from being hit by a car. John went on to tell Jack that, earlier that day, the same man who had run him down in the car beat up one of John’s co-workers, and the co-worker said that he wasn’t there to hurt John, but to help him “let go.” He added that maybe this was all happening for a reason, and Jack was “supposed” to fix him. Jack suggested that John was “mistaking coincidence with fate.” John replied that whatever it was called, he was ready to get out of his wheelchair. Before the surgery, he says to Jack that, regarding the findings of his father’s coffin, he hopes it brings him peace. Jack replies that if he can fix Locke it will be all the peace he needs.
After the operation, Locke revealed to Jack that he could feel his legs again. Wiggling his toes, he is overcome with memories of his life on the Island. He asked Jack if he saw the same vision, but Jack just says that he needs to get to his son. Locke tells Jack that he has no son, and he hopes someone can do for Jack what Jack just did for him.
Awakening & Moving On
6×17 – The End
As John approached the church where everyone is gathering, he passes Ben sitting outside. Ben tells Locke that he isn’t ready to go inside yet. Ben tells Locke how deeply sorry he is for killing him, he wanted what John had. Locke asks “what did I have?” but says to Ben that he forgives him. Ben then tells Locke that he thinks he no longer needs to be in his chair. Locke warmly agrees and gets up, walking into the church after exchanging a goodbye with Ben.
When Jack arrived, Locke walked up to Jack, saying “we’ve all been waiting for you.” He sits in the pew adjacent to Jack and Kate at the front just before Christian Shephard allows the light to engulf the church allowing them to all move on. (“The End”)