'Lost': Terry O'Quinn will take you behind the smoke and UnLocke a few secrets about his character

Hello??? Are you in there??? C’mon, it’s time to get out of the cave. I agree—it was fun and educational to spend a few minutes in another one of Jacob’s lairs, courtesy of UnLocke (Terry O’Quinn), but you’ve got to start preparing for Tuesday’s episode of Lost, titled “Lighthouse.” To get the scoop on what to expect in the show‘s final season, skedaddle over to your nearest newsstand and pick up the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly, which features stars Matthew Fox and Emilie de Ravin on the cover. Inside, Jeff Jensen and I whisk you to the show’s set in Hawaii and satisfy your thirst for knowledge with juicy quotes from the show’s stars and producers. And we don’t come to this post empty-handed: Here’s a bonus mini-Q&A with man-of-the-hour O’Quinn, who shares his thoughts about playing the Man in Black and the Smoke Monster. After you read it, use the space below to spill your thoughts—and theories—about UnLocke.

EW: Any hints you can provide about where we’re headed in the next chunk of episodes?

TO: My guy—Smokey, as I call him—has a plan and he has an objective, and he’s working toward it. The question is, ‘Is it for his own good or for the good of everyone?’ That’s still up for debate.

EW: The Man in Black/Locke/Smokey revelation was a major advancement of the Lost mythology. How did you feel about that twist?

TO: I thought it was one of the biggest leaps that people were going to have to take, in terms of suspension of disbelief. Like, “Okay. All right then.” But they’d already been set up because you knew Christian, Jack’s dad, was walking around and things like that. Somebody said, “Did Lost jump the shark?” and I said, “Either they always have or they didn’t.” You know? It’s just one more giant leap. People seem to have taken it in stride. I was afraid that it might be asking too much of an audience to accept that, but everybody seems to be dealing with it all right, so I’m real happy with that.

EW: Is it an honor to be the Smoke Monster?

TO: Oh, yeah. It’s fun to play. I mean, it’s just totally different from whatever John Locke was. Bad guys have better secrets. And if he’s a bad guy, he’s got a lot of secrets. And that’s what frustrates people. When [Sawyer] says, “What are you?” and Smokey says, “What I am is trapped,” okay—you don’t pursue that question. Everybody else will go, “Well, what the hell does that mean? Who are you? Come on, man!” But we’re going to have to wait until another week to find that out.

EW: How did you go about playing this new character? It seems like a tricky needle to thread—as you’ve said, it’s “hard not to load things up, become arch.”

TO: Well, it is. Not because of any instruction, I chose to…. In the scene, for example, right after I told Ben I was Smokey – “I’m sorry you saw me like that”— occasionally there’s residual Locke emotions or feelings that Smokey gets that may surprise him, may irritate him, that he can’t completely control, so he’ll be smug or make fun of John Locke. Or say he was a loser and he was pathetic and he was broken. But for my own edification, I keep a little spark of John Locke alive in this being, whatever he is… so that if for any reason, anybody wants to summon that spark, it’s there. And I think sometimes Smokey’s indifference is my choice. Smokey’s puzzled by it: What is this persona he’s inhabited? Maybe it’s stronger than he thought it was. But that just gives me things to play in the scene, gives a little bit of color to a scene. And I enjoy it. He was moved when he told Ben that John Locke’s last thought was, “I don’t understand.” And he was surprised to be moved.

EW: In last week’s episode, Ilana said that Smokey is “recruiting,” and we saw him go after Richard Alpert and Sawyer. Is his first order of business to recruit all of the castaways?

TO: There’s some recruiting that goes on. We’re doing an episode now called “The Last Recruit.” He has a purpose. As you know, all of a sudden, they’re establishing all these rules. “You can’t do this unless this…” It’s like a children’s game. We keep making up new rules [laughs]. So the recruiting has to do with fulfilling the rules.

EW: What feedback are you getting from fans?

TO: People tell me they like Bad Locke: “I like the new dark guy.” And I say, “Well, that’s good. I’m having fun playing him. I don’t know if you’re going to like him when it’s all over, but as long as you’re liking watching.” It’s amazing to me—what is this love affair we have with bad guys? With the bad boy in high school, with the anti-hero, et cetera, et cetera? Because I was always just a very nice boy. I didn’t get it.


Comments (203 total) Add your comment
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  • Francois

    love. this. guy.

    • hope

      why the heck do you call him UnLocke sounds weird to me and I’m a bit confused.

      • Mike

        well he’s not LOCKE anymore…and we don’t have a name for the Man in Black yet…so everyone has tried on different labels for the Artist formerly known as Locke. And they all seem to be plays on words. Man in Locke (not exactly accurate), Un-Locke, I have gone with Faux-Locke or Flocke. Sometimes people switch it up and call him Smokey or MIB too. Whatever mood you’re in! I think we’re all meant to be confused lol Hopefully we get a name one of these days. But it will hard not to call this guy some version of Locke!


      • iczorro

        because he looks like Locke, but he’s not Locke. Locke is dead.

      • Brian

        Hope, the show is called Lost and it airs Tuesday nights at 9pm Eastern.

      • Dave

        I always like FLocke (fake Locke) my self. UnLocke not so much.

      • Mr. Dark

        I like the Lockeness Monster myself.

      • MaryA

        Lockeness Monster is definitely my favorite too.

      • culdezack

        Man, UnLocke is the best. Puns, man!

      • TheTempest

        How about Locke-less Monster?

    • Moe

      “The Last Recruit” sounds like it’s going to be OFF THE HOOK!

      • matt

        My first assumption of the last recruit is Walt!

        Or maybe it’s just a hope!!

      • megan

        I agree!

      • wackyonensf

        I think the last recruit will be Desmond.

    • Mariah

      I second that emotion!

  • mario

    awesome interview!! can’t wait for my new issue of EW with a LOST cover comes in the mail

  • John Locke


  • Ali

    Damn, I haven’t been able to find a copy of EW anywhere!

    • Darin

      You should subscribe! I got a one-year subscription at Amazon for only $10 recently! I love getting it in the mail every Friday.

      • cg

        Thanks for posting. I’ve been subscribing through EW itself and you’ve got a much better deal. Will keep this in mind next time.

      • Kim

        I went to Amazon.com after someone else told me about the deal – it’s now $20.00. Still a great price for a weekly magazine though!

      • Mary Jo

        I just canceled my subscription (over $75 to renew for a year!) and got one in husband’s name on EW.com. $20 for 52 issues, plus a free t-shirt. I feel gypped as a 15 year subscriber that my loyalty was rewarded by charging me nearly FOUR TIMES that of new subscribers. The paper mag keeps getting smaller and smaller every week and the writing isn’t nearly as good as it used to be…not bad enough to stop reading, but disappointing for sure.

      • Mary Q. Contrary

        Mary Jo, I’m right there with you. I’ve had a subscription since I was 12, and I’m 25 now. The other day, a friend of mine said she got her subscription at Best Buy for chump change. What the hell. I’m a loyal reader and this is how they repay me. So I did the exact same thing. I got one in my husband’s name. Screw you, EW. Well, a little bit, anyway. I still love you, though.

  • Anne

    Terry is awesome. I hope he wins many, many awards for this last season. He deserves it! And i loved his explanation for the scene where “Smokey” describes Locke’s final thoughts. His performance is always so nuanced.

    • dave

      He’d know better than me, but I have to think he’s wrong about there being any “real” Locke in the smoke monster. It’s not like he possessed his body, he just looks like him. There’s no reason for any of Locke’s personality to be there.

      • irishjc

        But he has all of Locke’s memories, so why wouldn’t he have some of Locke’s emotions and personality too? I like the way O’Quinn’s playing it – I think it fits with how the writers are presenting this UnLocke character.

      • He’s Claimed

        My theory is…as they say Claire is claimed (by Danielle?), Sayid may be also (for some reason, my guess is Charlie), perhaps the MIB is not immune to this phenomenon (although Dogen seems to think MIB is the one doing the claiming) and maybe MIB in Locke’s form has been claimed by Locke himself…hence the yelling “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” at the kid…

        We need to know more about this process of being “claimed”

      • Brian

        “CLaimed” refers to a claim by the Man In Black/Smoke Monster. I doubt anyone is claimed by Rousseau or Charlie. Then again, maybe you’re on to something? I heart this show.

      • Zebediah

        Oh, there’s some Locke in there, somehow. Remember last week when he started shouting “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” Somehow, in taking Locke’s form, Smokey seems to have taken some of his personality as well.

      • neoloki

        Yeah, but do you know which is the “real” body?

      • Shaun

        The idea of Claire being claimed by Rousseau is really intriguing after watching tonight’s episode! Perhaps people are “claimed” by the spirits of people who died on the island? Maybe Sayid has been “claimed” by Boone…or Charlie…or who knows! Hmm…

  • annie

    It is so interesting to hear his insights to playing “smokey”. “Smokey’s puzzled by it: What is this persona he’s inhabited? Maybe it’s stronger than he thought it was.” Very cool indeed, Mr. O’Quinn. And the nuances he gives are appreciated. Thank you!

  • Ted

    Smokey = man of faith who has lost his faith

    • ABC

      Yes! I totally agree with that!

  • scorpio9094

    I’ll be very disappointed if Locke stays dead. His character needed to have a purpose and a destiny. Now he might never get that fulfillment.

    • Danny

      Locke is alive in the sideways story. That story may be the one that “continues” after the Island story is resolved, and thus Locke is not dead. Just my 2 cents of speculation.

      • Anonymous

        Unfortunately to die in service to the smoke monster was his destiny. He kept taking it on faith that his purpose was benevolent, nobody ever said it was.

  • fernando

    this season its a dissapointment brecause the lack of answers

    • Branr

      Yeah, they’ve already had three WHOLE episodes shown, and only 15 to go, why haven’t they answered EVERYTHING yet? *sigh*

      • The Vicster

        relax, idiot, they will start answering questions soon!!!!

      • culdezack

        Vicster: Really, man? Don’t call someone else an idiot when they’re clearly calling someone ELSE an idiot. Oy.

      • Addison

        LOL! You guys are hilarious. “Lost” message boards are the best! Always entertaining.

      • Michael


    • Nick B

      There have only been 3 episodes. And in the premiere, we got the answer to one of the biggest mysteries in the Lost universe: the identity of the Smoke Monster.

      • Joe

        FOUR episodes guys, cmon, learn to count. LA X 1&2, What Kate Does, The Substitute.

        Anyways. WKD was filler but seems Sub and Lighthouse are both destined to be classic.

      • Marc

        Of course, all they really did was tell us “The smoke monster is…..this guy!” Now we are all asking , “Well who is this guy then?” Not exactly a huge reveal.

      • Desmo

        @Marc compared to where we were at the beginning of the show I would say it is a pretty big reveal.

      • Addison

        @ Joe BTW… while it may have been filler, WKD wasn’t that bad. We got to see gangstaJack swallow the poison pill, and Dogan went all “kung fu” on his a$$, And Josh Holloway gave some of his best acting on this show’s entire run when he confessed that he was proposing to Juliet. Plus, I loved seeing how Kate Claire and Aaron’s lives are meant to intersect in any reality. I think it’s foreshadowing some huge moment that will occur later between the two of them. Plus wasn’t the Claire reveal at the end cool?

      • Brian

        All you people who are whining because you haven’t got enough “answers” yet are like the people who were disappointed in The Sopranos finale because it was ambiguous. People who appreciated The Sopranos liked the ending. Anyone who didn’t wasn’t so much a fan of the series as he was a fan of the mobster genre. The same thing is going on here: if you really appreciate what makes Lost a great television show, “answers” are secondary to just going along with the story. If you’re in it strictly for “answers” and mythological reveals, you’re missing out on what the show is about: character-driven storytelling. Stop your b*tching and moaning already. This season’s been pitch perfect so far.

      • Kristin

        Thank you Brian!

      • teresa

        Brian: Agree with you 100%. I have loved and appreciated every episode thus far this season. It’s the characters, people! It’s the characters who make this show. Every one of them has a compelling story-line that grabs you and keeps you intrigued. LOVE THIS SHOW.

    • Leah

      Oh, good grief. Just watch Idol then. The answer to that is America picks a winner in the end. Me, I don’t want answers to come as simply as that.

      • Leigh Fahringer

        ROFLMAO – that is the best reply every. Thanks for the laugh!!!

      • harley quinn

        What Leah said. Darlton have often compared this last season to opening up the wrapped Christmas gifts that were sitting under the treeand hoping we’ll like what they bought. So we’re all the impatient kids. Now some kids will rip through all of their presents in record time and then look at all the wrapping paper and say, is that it, and then spend the rest of Christmas day wishing Christmas morning had lasted a little longer. And some kids will take their time and savor each unveiling. I’m going with the second option.

      • Cas

        priceless answer – and so very true! if everything were answered at once, then what’s the point of watching?

      • Mary Jo

        @ harley quinn: I signed off the lostpedia forums for good yesterday and am gonna stop reading comments elsewhere now. The thought of a stray spoiler ruining the fun (like that jerk commenting in Doc’s column last season leaking the finale) would be such a letdown. It is too awesome to be shocked and awed as LOST unfolds itself!

      • Judy C

        I agree with Harley Quinn. Although I really, really want to know the answer to many questions, I’m just going to be patient. Then after the show is over, if I’m not satisfied, I’m going to send a black cloud to rain on Darlton.

    • annie

      So go watch NCIS:Los Angeles!!!!

    • Kaye

      I think wanting answers to every bleeding question goes completely against the very spirit of Lost. We get information and will continue to get information. But answers? Answers you have to find for yourself

      • jinq

        That’s one of the best comments I’ve ever read on this message board… I’m with you!

      • Leah

        Yes, Kaye. I think some of these people just need E-Z TV.

      • lauren

        Nice. Lost is basically a metaphor for existential angst. And nobody has ever quite answered those questions to everyone’s satisfaction.

      • Kenneth Kohlmann

        @Kaye I agree with you 100%. Hence the name of the series LOST.

      • Flocke

        The answers are there. You just aren’t looking hard enough. They are not going to spell it out for you.

      • Sandra

        Very true. Otherwise, they would call the show … … “Found.”

    • Desmo

      Right, what the smoke monster is, why the castaways were brought to the island, what happened when Jughead exploded, what the temple looks like, so many questions that haven’t been answered…

    • nadersoli

      I can’t agree more with this. There are tons of questions and they are still moving at typical LOST snail’s pace. It’s so annoying. I’m in therapy because of this show LOL.

      • Gabe

        Maybe they should have done a way with the story and just done a question and answer section. BTW most of this questions are dumb and/or unimportant.

      • Flocke

        Yes, That would rock! (Sarcasm)

      • Sandra

        Wait a minute … I thought the show WAS the therapy!

  • kat

    Scorpio, sadly i think Locke must stay dead. the one constant rule of lost is that the dead stay dead.

    • Joe

      Hoping Alt Locke somehow merges with the “real” Locke we all know and love, becoming a totally “new” Locke who confronts, and defeats, the Man in Black.

      • Mariah

        I’m not so convinced MIB is bad now.

    • dave

      Except for Sayid.

  • sfday

    TO is one of my favorites, such an amazing actor. So sad the show is ending, but so excited to see how it ends!

  • Austin

    I don’t think Locke is going to stay dead. No one’s really been talking about the spider that was on Dead Locke’s head as Ilana and co went to bury him, but to me, spiders on Lost scream NOT REALLY DEAD. It may not be that Locke is paralyzed, but I think that was a subtle clue that we haven’t seen the last of our man of faith.

    • eric

      If you’re referencing Nikki and Paulo’s demise, I’d be shocked if Team DARLTON would reference their one and only regret on the show. Locke is dead, at least in that reality. He is very much alive and engaged to be married in the Sideways reality. And since Locke and Juliet are my two fav characters, I’m hoping that’s the reality we’ll end with.

      • Cardsgal

        Yes, I want the Sideways world to continue its reality — Locke’s happy with Helen, at least until her aneurysm, and Sawyer will be having that cup of coffee with Juliet soon.

      • Amy Leigh

        God, no. As much as I like the Sideways reality for now, that is not the reality that I’ve come to know & love over the last 5 seasons. This entire story is about the Losties, the Island & their connection to the Island. I would be pissed if everything that happened on the Island was just so the Sideways reality could happen.

      • Mariah

        Wouldn’t it be crazy of the Nikki and Paolo incident was more important that previously thought? Yikes!

      • Mariah

        I think Sideways world will continue and end up how the “island” world would have ended up but better, sans the island. I.e. I think Sawyer and Juliet will end up together, i think Kate and JAck too, I think Helen may die but will be happy in her last days, I think Sayid won’t be a hit man, Hurley will have good fortune and do good, Charlie…well maybe he meets Claire and Aaron and turns his life around.

      • dave

        That wasn’t a spider on Locke’s head it was a crab.

    • David

      It wasn’t a spider…it was a sand crab.

      • Finally, someone who knows what is what

        THANK U!!!! For finally pointing that out!

      • typeg98

        I think the subtle clue was – “Hey, a crab is crawling on Locke’s head…. yup… he’s dead.”

      • dave

        Plus we saw Ben kill him. It’s not like his death was anything mysterious.

    • laurie

      That was crab wanting to feast on dead Locke’s body. Rather different from a poisonous spider.

    • Ben

      The spider is supposed to keep someone seeming dead for a few hours. It has been a lot longer than that. Also, as stated it was a crab.

    • WayneInNYC

      That wasn’t a spider. It was a common sand crab.

    • eric

      definitely not a spider. he was laying on a beach. clearly a crab and oh.. locke died off the island, not on it. hes 100% dead

    • The DI

      I’m hoping that he resurects somehow per the “last supper” pic that they released he is sittin in Jesus’ seat.

    • Gabe

      That was a crab

    • corivee

      That was a crab, not a spider.

      • watched17times

        How many people need to keep restating that the spider was not a spider but a sand crab? Hello? Is this just to help the slower people or what? YES he is dead. Dead is Dead. However, Darlton said that these two worlds somehow will converge..so we always have the sideways Locke.. and other dead people. LOL Guess the bomb was a way to bring the dead back after all. Jack and Faraday were probably right. Speaking of which.. we are supposed to be seeing Faraday this season.. where is he? Obviously in sideways world. Darlton also said that this season is supposed to teach a lesson to the Losties that you can’t just change time for yourselves and not even consider what effect it may have on others..

      • Flocke


  • Vivienne


    • Joe

      Didnt care about him before LOST, even went back and watched old films he was in (such as Old School), still dont care for his other works for the most part. But, DAMN, his portrayal of Locke is amazing and will go down as one of the best acted characters in history.

      • Mariah

        OH YEAH!!! He was Jack Bauer’s daughter’s father in Old School!

      • roger

        don’t forget the store owner in “young guns” ! wasn’t bad in that.

  • bob

    So… obviously Smokey is going to be a bad guy in the end, huh. He slips it out mid-way through and corrects himself. All the other slips after that he just lets fly.

    • The Vicster

      speak English much?

    • Amy Leigh

      Not necessarily. He’s could still be a good guy with a wonky moral compass who does things that we’re not going to like b/c it involves the Losties. There have been plenty of “good guys” (although I think Lost stays a little more in the gray areas more often than not) who do morally questionable things for the “greater good”.

      • dave

        I’d lump Ben in that group. I’ve never thought he was evil just ruthless in his pursuit of protection for the island.

    • Jeremy

      Why do you think he knows if Smokey’s good or not? He hasn’t shot the ending, and I doubt the writers are giving out secrets to the actors, just to avoid spoilers like the one you’re misdiagnosing.

      • Big Walt

        I agree. I think the interview they did with him and Emerson he even says he doesn’t want to know right now, he wants to be able to play it down the middle.

      • bob

        I guess you could argue that it’s not a big mystery as far as the show is concerned, and likely could have been a revelation they’ve shot so far. Why does that have to be revealed at the end?

        Read his interview again. If nothing else, Terry O’Quinn is under the impression that he is or is supposed to be “bad.”

      • watched17times

        Yes, Terry/Locke has stated in interviews that he doesn’t know if he is good or bad, so he doesn’t quite know how to play it..and is trying to stay somewhere in the middle. Makes sense!

  • Shawn

    I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if smokey is the good guy / balance. Since we can all agree that this is all turning out to be about duality / yin-yang / order vs. chaos, it isn’t a very big leap to see Jacob as chaos rather than order. Just saying…

    • Balance

      Okay, but what makes balance good and chaos bad?

    • Maybe

      Maybe. But I think it’s easier to see Smokey as chaos than Jacob.

    • Mariah

      I get that Jacob set all these characters’ lives (whether good or bad) in motion. In sideways world, my theory is they never got “touched”. Some are better for it, I think (Hugo, Locke, Sawyer).

      • Pat

        But Locke was touched by jacob, he basically resurrected him after the fall

      • watched17times

        @Pat…Mariah means they weren’t touched by Jacob in sideways world..been watching long?

    • lauren

      I think it’s the other way around. Smokey is an agent of chaos, Jacob is an agent of order/fate/destiny. Neither are really good or bad as they both balance each other out, and free will helps determine which way you lean in any given situation.

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