Why was John Locke given a choice to select an object by Richard in Lost S04E11? What does it signify? I remember Locke (MIB in disguise) tells Richard to meet John because he will be their leader in last season, but why was this object given to him by Richard for some kind of test and what does his selected object prove?


1 Answer 1


The object were presented by Richard in Season 4, Episode 11 "Cabin Fever".

The presented object were (See this page in Lostpedia)

  • A brass compass
  • A baseball glove
  • An old book whose cover bore the title, "Book of Laws"
  • A vial of granules
  • A comic book, Mystery Tales issue 40 from April 1956
  • A wood-handled knife

Locke claims that the knife was his. However, this was not the right answer, which made Richard angry.

The right answer would have been the compass: In Season 5, Episode 3 "Jughead", Locke & Co visits Richard in 1954 (due to time travel) and Locke gives Richard this compass and told him that he will be born two years later in 1956. That is why Richard has this compass, and he visits Locke very often to see if Locke is really some kind of "chosen one" (all visits are shown in Season 4, Episode 11).

Due to the kind of time travel philosophy in LOST, 5 year old Locke cannot remember being on the island "before", so he would not choose the compass (expect randomly).

Please note: This has not directly influenced by the man in black! When Richard was sent by Locke (aka MiB) to talk to "real" Locke (who was performing a time travel to the future), the events that Locke believes he is some kind of "chosen one" are set in motion since Richard told him so and gave him "back" the compass. The whole theory is based on this particular lie (If one can argue about causes and reactions in time travel subjects). However, the visits of young Locke by Richard were only caused by Locke's actions back in 1954.

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    To add to this: these scenes almost certainly references one of the methods used by Tibetan Buddhist monks of recognizing the reincarnated Dalai Lama. The monks, when they have found a child who they believe is the reincarnated lama, will test the child by showing him objects that belonged to the former lama. This ties in with the "chosen one" aspect of Locke's character. Apr 13, 2016 at 20:20
  • Yes, but Locke's actions in 1954 are a result of the mission to move the island initiated by Christian/MiB. It seems to me he manipulated time travel in a very complicated fashion to enact the loophole. This includes trying to make Locke the leader of the others. Jun 21, 2016 at 16:18

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