"I gave you an experience that was vital to your survival on this island."
-John Locke (not exactly portending things to come in Episode 20, Do No Harm)-
"Guy's a freak of nature. Highly disturbed. But if there was one person on this island I would put my absolute faith in to save us all, it would be John Locke."
LOST excels in the hearts and minds of viewers with its abundance of intimate and interesting character dynamics and exchanges thanks to an expertly chosen cast. And so Boone Carlyle and John Locke are two of the primaries that eat up the screen for LOST, Season One, Episode 13, Hearts And Minds.
The latest entry continues to peel back new corners of the mysterious island with the first true arrival of the hatch. Locke is certain the island will speak to him and guide him on what to do about opening this hatch once again demonstrating his utter faith in the island.
Boone references his sister as "smart, she's special in a lot of ways." This small comment speaks to the idea that the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 are all indeed special in some way even connected in small moments in flashbacks. That reference will be the title of LOST's next episode, Special.
In fact there are a couple of nifty moments surrounding the mysterious Locke throughout the episode despite being the first flashback episode to zero in on Boone and peripherally his step sister Shannon.
Together, for both characters, Locke and Boone, there is a sense of obsession that rules their hearts and minds. Each has their own mistress of sorts.
Highlight: Of course I'm always a sucker for anything even suggesting the Smoke Monster even in the slightest. The big bad Smoke Monster (still in no way named officially as such to date) rears its ugly voice or sound effect here creating terror in the hearts and minds of both Boone and Shannon (sort of).
The monster surprises on one occasion and will likely make you jump.
Uncannily there is moment where Locke, who seems to be eerily in tune with the island, suggests to Boone he needs to untie himself when he is "sufficiently motivated." This challenge to Boone is the result of Locke's intentional actions to challenge the young man through what is termed a vision quest. The visions including the employment of the Smoke Monster, almost seem to suggest Locke has some connection with the arrival of the monster. There is no direct connection, but there is a sense that Locke knew Boone would be visited by something from the island that would motivate him. Locke also uses Shannon to communicate to Boone fully aware there is a strange connection between the brother and step sister and that Boone will rise to any challenge concerning his sister as her keeper. And if you found their connection to be a little odd, obsessive or abnormal, Hearts And Minds will go a long way to clarify some things there. The revelations would be uneasy to some but certainly understandable. In the end, Boone's test is an exercise of the minds with all that transpires nothing more than a vision.
Most significant is the subtext to Locke's character which is that he is essentially difficult to peg. The audience is thrown a variety of behavioral curveballs throughout LOST regarding his character. This imbalance allows for the Locke character to be one of the most fascinating and intriguing throughout the series.
There's much in play in the entry and Hearts And Minds does an exceptional job of playing with both of the aforementioned by setting up viewers with a variety of mind games. Locke epitomizes the greatest puzzle piece given his uncanny connection to the island that is nevertheless still fairly intangible and vague at this point.
The general complexity of the writing, albeit arguably uneven, is at least engaging. Hearts And Minds would mark the arrival of the exceptional Carlton Cuse as a writer for the series.
A word about the solid direction here too. Journeyman director Rod Holcomb directed Bigfoot V (featuring Ted Cassidy) for The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978) and five episodes of the classic Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979) including The Lost Warrior episode. He had a big hand in launching both China Beach (1988-1991) and The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983). The man has been directing for a long time. Try and wrap your mind around that, because that's a director with some heart.
Writer: Cartlon Cuse (Colony, The Strain), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Helix, Dark Skies).
Director: Rod Holcomb (see above).