Wow. So, I just finished watching last night's Lost episode and so many things are going through my head right now.
First off, I think that might be my favorite episode of television ever. I really love Eko as a character, so that helped. As any of you who have seen my camp labs know, I also really love when religion plays a significant role in pop culture, and clearly that is the case in this episode.
There are spoilers ahead, so if you aren't caught up, you probably shouldn't read on...
First off, I feel that this episode has answered more questions then any other. I think that much of what was confusing me is more clear. More on that later.
At the beginning of this episode, Eko sees his brother who tells him the time has come for him to face his sins and confess. This culminates in the tent in which Eko has been laid catching fire. Damnation awaits. Or so it would seem.
I have 30 minutes to finish this post. I hope that I can get all of my thoughts in during that time.
At the end of last season, John lost faith in the island. When he saw the tape at the Pearl Station, and saw Jack in the television screen, he felt that everything he had done and believed was in vain. Clearly, this station was the real deal, and the button was just a test. The people at Pearl Station were watching while people wrongly believed that they were doing something important. This is what John felt upon his and Eko's discovery.
We of course learned that the reports being filed from the Pearl Station were jettisoning out into an empty field, and the Pearl Station was the test site for psychological reasons. As John himself soon discovered, pushing the button was actually quite important.
My point is that Eko never lost faith in the island. In fact, when faced with evidence that should have lessened his faith (as it did John's) Eko became even more faithful, vowing to push the button even if John quit. John fought Eko on this and endangered Eko's life because of it. This horrendous event once again strengthened John's belief in the island. (As did his vision quest with Boone.)
So, the question becomes, why does Eko get tested when his faith was strong, while Locke does not?
Furthermore, why does the island have John go find and rescue Eko only to test him and ultimately kill him? It doesn't seem to make any sense at all.
Unless of course it makes perfect sense.
I won't get into to much detail here, but I see some comparisons with Job. Eko is the most faithful servant (as was Job) and is tested. He is told by his brother to confess his sins and is caused by the island to relive them. In the end, he rails out exclaiming that he will not admit to sins. He lived his life the only way that he could. He didn't ask for what befell him, but tried to survive it as best he could. He stops short of claiming to be a good man, but says that he did the things that he did in the interest of good.
It is at this point that the smoke monster, which if you will recall Eko has faced before, kills him.
At the end of Job, of course, Job regains all that was taken from him, twice as much as he had before, and lived a long and full life "being old and full of days" Job 42.17 (sorry for the bible lesson, but I want to point out that I think the episode was similar.)
I realize that Eko dies, but is that such a horrible thing? After all, he faced down his demons, and for the most part, I think, is at peace with them.
Benry Gale asks Dr. Jack if he believes there is a God. I'm pretty sure that Eko does. Eko's brother, or whoever that was, asks Eko if he's ready to meet God.
In order to do that, he must die. Boone got over his problems and was rewarded (I know it seems weird, but I think it fits) with death, as was his sister and Ana Lucia. All of them died after their main issues were resolved. We still aren't sure that it is possible to actually escape the island, so while this might not be a literal purgatory (as the show creators have assured us it is not) it could very well be a figurative one (which would explain why the book "Bad Twin" was written by Gary Troup, an anagram of purgatory).
Man made or somehow supernatural, you are tested on the island and set free through death. I believe that Eko passed his trials and tribulations, and left Locke and those with him with good news, "You will be next."
Until Next Time, I only have a couple minutes left, so I'll have to wait to another time to get into what's going on at the other island with Benry Gale and his tumor.