Tuesday, March 21, 2017

LOST S1 E4: Walkabout

"Don't ever tell me what I can't do, ever!
This is destiny...
This is my destiny."
-John Locke-

Lost, Season One, Episode 4, Walkabout. This is the episode that really sets the stage for John Locke as one of LOST's principals. He is a key player in the series and a critical component of the dramatically intriguing narrative thanks to both the writing and to the performance of Terry O'Quinn.

Already seemingly connected with the island, he is often seen pensive and reflective even getting his head around his island legs. He is appears at peace with acceptance as a potential island castaway. Locke is calm and connected to this place that may conceivably be his home for some time to come. This magical place, the island, is Locke's salvation from a world where he was at once frustrated and misunderstood.

With Walkabout we glean considerable information as to some of the why and who regarding John Locke.

We also see some of the underpinnings of John Locke the philosopher in these concepts of identity and individualism that guide LOST's own John Locke.

LOST, Season Two opener, Man Of Science, Man Of Faith would speak directly to the two sides of science and faith played in LOST through the characters of Jack Shephard and John Locke respectively.

It is here in Walkabout that we are presented with considerable information as to what might be informing Locke as a man guided by faith and individualism in his search for answers. He is the spiritual foil to Jack's grounded sense of science in approaching the island. As Locke suggested in Pilot (Part Two) there are "two sides." This dichotomy presents an ongoing duality in the series. Locke is the Fox Mulder to Shephard's Dana Scully in a sense.

Highlights: The reveal regarding John Locke's character in the final minutes of the episode is immaculately staged. It is a brilliant final reveal to an episode that explores a very strange but fascinating character in Locke. The episode's twist would make M. Night Shyamalan proud. And the revelation is made all the more stunning given no hint of it in the series prior. The episode's title offers a cleverly revealing double entendre.

Walkabout gives us an intriguing back story to one of LOST's major characters. The Locke character is essentially unlocked here, freed and reborn on the island following the crash and this episode offers us a glimpse into why the island is his savior. There is indeed a kind of mystical calm and acceptance to Locke's character as he explores his sense of self on the island.

But the juxtaposition of his present self against the backdrop of where he was is unsettling, riveting, offbeat and entirely sympathetic. As suggested by the blank slate idea of philosopher John Locke and the ideas of the previous episode Locke in effect is looking to recreate himself on the island and yet he remains an enigma.

Like any self-respecting and solid LOST episode there are questions surrounding how Locke came to this pass. More will be explored regarding Locke in Episode 19, Deus Ex Machina.

Another aspect of the episode that spoke directly to my inner geek, more in keeping with science fiction thrills, is when Locke sets his eyes up toward something mysterious. Is it the monster? It is never revealed, but once again the power of suggestion is nevertheless impressive in LOST based entirely upon Locke's reaction shot. The viewer is left entirely to plumb the imagination.

There is also Jack's own personal supernatural event on the island that sets things up for him in Episode 5, White Rabbit and later in Episode 11, All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues.

And recurring character Rose Nadler establishes things to come in Season Two when she talks of her missing husband and the people lost from the tail section of downed Oceanic Flight 815. "They're probably thinking the same thing about us," she professes refuting Jack's claim they are likely dead.

Walkabout illustrates and lends supporting evidence to the fact LOST, as a series, demonstrated significant potential quickly in alternating between character development and edge of your seat island mystery. These two variables speak to the major strengths of LOST following on from the already strong Episode 3, Tabula Rasa. Walkabout ranks among the very best of the season and in television. Writer David Fury and the flawless O'Quinn should have won awards.

Flashback: John Locke.

Writer: David Fury (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Fringe).
Director: Jack Bender.

No comments: