More than any episode, this is the one that I point to whenever I get asked (and I do get asked quite often), "What makes Lost so good?" I get that trying to enter the show at this point is a daunting task, but I do feel that if you can make it through the first four episodes of the show, you’ll know pretty well whether or not if it’s worth your time going forth. For me, this cemented the show as "Must See TV," and remains of of my favorite episodes of all time. Onto the recap!
4) In Short
"John Locke was made for walking, and that’s just what he’ll do. One of these days he’ll get up after a plane crash and walkabout over you."
8) On the Island
The campers are freaked out by noises coming from the fuselage. The monster? The Others? Kathy Griffin? Nope, boars. In response to the ravaging of the corpses, Jack proposes the burning of all the bodies. Such an act would not only fend off more boar attacks, but perhaps raise a fire high enough to be seen by rescue crews. (Spoiler alert: he’s way wrong about that point.)
The remaining survivors realize that they are all out of airplane food, prompting a minor freakout. Locke (previously known by the Losties as "Crazy Orange Mouth Guy") announces his presence on the Island by throwing a knife two feet from Sawyer’s head, freaking out millions of women who worried that their new TV boyfriend was about to die. Locke then organizes a hunting party to gather food, as Kate tags along in order to help Sayid triangulate the power source of the French woman’s signal.
Back on Operation: Razorback, the three are attacked by Mama Boar. All three are knocked down to the ground. Michael’s hurt, and Locke, for the second time in the episode, stares for a long time at his right foot. Hmmmmm. He goes off on his own for the boar, while Kate goes tree-climbing in order to boost the signal. And it looks like a third party wants in on the action: the monster! We see Locke from the monster’s POV, and he looks halfway between a man about to meet his maker and a nine-year old girl about to meet The Jonas Brothers.
As Locke, Michael, and Kate head out, other survivors interact. Shannon cons Charlie into fishing for her (and he eventually co-opts Hurley into the task as well), while Claire and Boone both seek out Jack’s help for a memorial service and cheering up Rose, respectively. Interestingly enough, given what happens later, Jack wants no real part of any leadership role, and all but pulls a James van der Beek, "I don’t want yer leadership position!" (That being said, the interaction between Rose and Jack is incredibly sweet, and goes a long way towards earning us sympathy for both characters through the following seasons.)
Michael and Kate return, sans Locke. Kate despondently tells Sayid she went all Butterfingers when the monster showed up, and therefore broke Sayid’s device. Jack’s largely distracted by a man in a blue suit that no one else can see. Upon chasing that man, he runs into Locke, very much not killed by the monster, and very much carrying a very large boar. Claire then leads the memorial service, flanked by Boone and Hurley. I’d type more, but it’s a little misty in New Butterton all of a sudden.
As the service goes on, Locke tells Michael he didn’t see the monster. He then flashes back to the moments after the crash, when he learned he could walk again. We, the audience, have a slightly harder time standing, as we are so shocked by this reveal.
15) Off the Island
A "Colonel Locke" answers a phone in an office. Turns out he’s not so much a Colonel as an office drone working for a box company. But he enjoys playing a Risk-like game on his lunch hour with a co-worker. What he enjoys less is his boss Randy giving him crap for both the "Colonel" moniker, and mocking his planned "walkabout" in the Australian outback which he has not yet told "Helen" about. Locke hints that this walkabout is his destiny, and for the first of approximately 3,766 times in the show, suggests that a person not tell him what he can’t do.
Later than night, Locke’s on the phone with the aforementioned "Helen," and mentions that he’s bought two tickets for the plane. She pauses, and oh snap, yea, she’s a phone sex operator, and this just got kinda awkward, and wow, these flashbacks sure are good at kicking the audience in the emotional gut.
In Australia, the walkabout guide is insisting that Locke cannot go on the trip as planned, citing his "condition." That condition? Well, it’s unclear at this point, except that it’s landed him in a wheelchair without the use of his legs. And if you run back every flashback, yup, they pulled this off, Sixth Sense style. And you think, "I might just like this show."
16) The Mythology
- With John Locke’s miraculous recovery, we learned this Island might have medicinal properties that go well beyond a couple of Aleve.
- The "monster" makes another appearance, although what it actually looks like this time wasn’t the same as the first (and in many ways, we still don’t know what Locke saw).
- With the appearance of the blue suited man, we went down the rabbit role into a place where the dead aren’t quite so dead, and almost never what they seem.
23) The Moment
If you saw the twist ending coming, more power to you. I didn’t, and millions didn’t, and it remains of of the show’s signature moments.
42) In Retrospect
- Given the "Drawing of the Three" scene in "Cabin Fever," Locke’s knife stash takes on a whole new significance.
- Anybody catch that the calculator in Locke’s office sounded very monster-ish?
- Knowing what we know about Sun now, it’s fun watching her pretend to not know English. Clearly she’s lied for so long that it’s not hard for her to do so now, but I get no small amount of joy watching it anyways.
- Given Jack’s absolute refusal to assume the mantle of Lostaway Leader, it makes one question BlueChristian’s appearance in this week’s episode. What’s the "work" that this version of Christian needs to do, and how does Jack’s action in Season 4 represent a betrayal of that?
- Love that we now know who put the idea of a walkabout into John’s head. And we all know now that his destiny lies not in Australia.
- Using his ex-girlfriend’s name a a moniker for his phone-sex buddy was both psychologically appropriate and yet intensely creepy.
- We know now the Island didn’t just heal Locke, but in addition to healing Rose, did it also give her insight into the Tailies? Or was this just hoping against hope? You decide!
108) In Summary
A jaw-dropper of an episode that focused less on mythology and more on character. In doing so, they demonstrated that the flashback device could not only provide valuable insight, but just as many narrative shocks as anything the mysterious Island itself could present. A five-star effort that set the bar so high that almost nothing that’s followed can match it as a stand alone episode.
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Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude.