Earlier in the week, I asked you to list your burning “Lost” mysteries. I didn’t care for the obvious ones; rather, I wanted to know the vital if not A-level conundrums that were splinters in your brain. And while reading through your suggestions, two figures kept popping out to me: Walt and Desmond. They are two people that have never actually crossed paths, but share one important characteristic: they have both been termed “special.” And folks? That’s one heckuva trait to share.
Let’s let Shirley Manson of Garbage sum up a prevailing thought when it comes to these two characters, courtesy of a song from their “Version 2.0” record:
Do you have an opinion
A mind of your own
I thought you were special
I thought you should know
But I’ve run out of patience
I couldn’t care less
And that pains me, people. Going into Season 5, Desmond was my single favorite character on the show. And Walt? I figured the clever flash forward techniques meant “Lost” could pay off his story in a believable way without hiding the fact that Malcolm David Kelley is now taller than Lebron James. But the treatment both characters received in Season 5 left me more than cold: it left me a bit angry.
Regarding Desmond: I think it was a mistake to unite him with Penny at the end of Season 4 while insisting he stay in the story. Theirs was a love story so epic it threatened to overshadow those of the nominally “major” players in the “Lost” universe, yet devolved into something almost pedestrian. Yes, naming their child “Charlie” was a beautiful touch, but is THIS how you foresaw their life after the emotional sweep of their story? Couple that with the first episode of Season 5 declaring him to be “uniquely special” only to have the show almost abandon him thereafter just reeked of poor planning.
As for Walt: he stood alone in the “Lost” universe during his time on the show, a child that not only existed on a unique island but was unique unto himself. “Raised by Another” introduced the notion that odd things were happening off-Island as well as on-Island, but “Special” took that a step further and suggested that Walt himself was potentially positioned as an important part of the show’s endgame. Flash ahead to Season 5, and he’s merely given a short scene with his former Island friend during which lies are exchanged, important information withheld, and Walt apparently leaves the story once and for all. (This article, sent to me by regular reader Shaggysteve, doesn’t exactly give one hope Walt will ever return, either to the Island or the show.)
So, um, yea, not too special then, huh?
Now, yes, I took a bit of a Debbie Downer approach in those last two paragraphs, but I did it to prove a point: I, like millions of others, LOVE these two characters and were tantalized to learn exactly what made them so special. Faraday had this to say about Desmond in “Because You Left”: “You’re the only person who can help us because, Desmond… the rules… the rules don’t apply to you. You’re special. You’re uniquely and miraculously special.” In the mobisode “Room 23,” Ben tells Juliet regarding Walt, “Jacob wanted him here. He’s important. He’s special.” They are apparently SO special that…they are either lying in a hospital bed or doing algebra homework. Neither are on the Island. Neither appear particularly special right now.
Season 6 should pay off their special natures. Make their status off-Island vital in the war between Jacob and The Man in Black. How?
1) Desmond: Make his unique nature the loophole by which Widmore returns to the Island. We all know he’s been trying to get back for decades: amassing funds, sending balloonists, organizing races around the world, and all it’s landed him are a series of ever-growing nightmares. If Desmond is indeed special, than perhaps he can bypass whatever rule that keeps Widmore away and land Ben’s arch-enemy back on familiar shores. Funny how Ben can unite enemies, eh? And hey, maybe Penny can see this crazy Island for herself. Bring the kids along. All of ’em: Charlie, Aaron, Ji Yeon, heck even Clementine for good measure. It’ll be fun!
2) Walt: He doesn’t have to return to the Island to have his presence felt on the Island. Either he can continue to use Vincent as a type of psychic proxy, or perhaps just come into his innate abilities with greater confidence and power as he ages. He could be the “Lost” version of Neo: singularly unique among his peers and meant to serve as the tipping point in a war with no possible winners. If Jacob truly did want Walt taken, then he’s got a part yet to play in the events to come.
Desmond and Walt are not the only people with major roles to play in Season 6. Everyone’s got something to do that will inform the show’s endgame, for good and bad. But “Lost” has gone out of its way to demonstrate that while many characters are ordinary people in extraordinary conditions, Desmond and Walt are extraordinary in and of themselves. I just hope Season 6 shows them as such.
Ryan invites you to join the hundreds already in Zap2It’s Guide to Lost Facebook group.