Home > Lost, Reviews, TV > Lost Season 1, Episode 4: Walkabout

Lost Season 1, Episode 4: Walkabout

Welcome to the Lost Re-Re-Rewatch Project. In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. This is my fourth round-trip to the Island, but my first time attempting to chronicle my thoughts on the show on an episode-by-episode basis. The mission: A post per episode. Nothing so epic and theory-heavy as Doc Jensen’s great stuff at EW.com, which I highly suggest you read (the theory game is a bit moot at this point anyway), but hopefully it will help scratch both my writing itch and my Lost itch at the same time.

Episode 4: Walkabout

Overall Episode Grade: A

And here we come to it. The best episode of Lost’s first season, and one of the finest (and most important) ever. More than an excellent hour of television, “Walkabout” did three very important things for this show. First, it proved that this series was going to be about more than just a weird island and character actors. Second, it featured some fine acting: In the premiere everyone was too disoriented, and the second episode featured Evangeline Lilly. Third, it provided the first “oh shit” moment of a series rich with them. And as they say, you never forget your first … “oh shit” moment on a primetime series.

The focus character is John Locke, who to this point has been spooky and quiet, sitting around playing Backgammon and sharing secrets with Walt like a masculine version of Jerry Sandusky (sorry). But still waters run deep, and early in the episode, when it becomes known that the food supply has run out, Locke plays his cards, kicking open a suitcase of knives that he had checked aboard the plane. He suggests a boar hunt, and we’re like, “Thank God.”

Kate and Michael tag along, and things go predictably amiss. Michael gets gored, leaving Locke to roam alone. He has a run-in with the Monster (we don’t know what he’s made of just yet), Lost cuts to commercial, and we think old man Locke has been nothing but a red herring. How wrong we are.

In the flashbacks, we see a man at work, mistreated by his boss (the porntastically named Randy Nations, who is such an ass he’d probably make a worse cellmate than Martin Keamy). We see a man at home, bearing his soul to a phone sex operator. We see a man in Australia, being denied a trip on a walkabout, which he’s been discussing the entire episode (see video below). Then, as the walkabout guide leaves him at his desk, his refusal final, Locke pushes back from his seat and we see for the first time that he’s… in a wheelchair. Jaws hit the floor. The episode cuts to the image we saw in the episode’s opening scene: Locke laying on the beach, wiggling his toes. (John and I wear the same gold-toe socks, by the way. I’m totally a candidate.) The moment is punctuated by Michael Giacchino’s first genuinely soaring score of the series. It is one of the best moments of some 121 hours of produced television and probably the moment most fans will point to as being their tipping point.

We get to know little else about Locke, other than the fact that he hasn’t always been disabled. We discern that he has a massive chip on his shoulder, yet he’s still a pushover (at least to his boss and his phone-sex girlfriend), and he knows someone named Helen, who he wakes up talking about after a near-miss with the boar. He has a mantra (“Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”) that will become a slogan of sorts for several characters in the show.

I should take a minute and make a fanboy’s case for Terry O’Quinn as one of the finest TV character actors of our generation. It’s possible that the role of John Locke was simply made for him, but I think it’s something less fleeting. No TV actor I can remember can better transition between ferocity and fatherly pleasantness than O’Quinn, a trait that has suited him at every step in his career (“The Stepfather,” and an extended presence on CBS’s reboot of Miami Vice more recently). He also has a way of playing off of other good actors (Fox and the yet-to-appear Michael Emerson, in particular, in this series) which makes him indispensable to a ensemble cast. He won one Emmy for Lost for Best Supporting Actor, and in a decade that hadn’t include some of the best dramas ever (not to mention Emerson) he probably would have won more. More personally, O’Quinn/Locke reminds me of my father-in-law, Dwight, in his intense silence and careful mannerisms that only adequately hide a Marine’s intensity. I just hope Dwight never asks me to go fetch something out of a crash-landed plane for him… but that’s for later this season.

The rest of the cast’s exploits are minor. I will summarize them in haiku.

Charlie and Hurly.
One thick, one thin. Do nada.
Mom’s gotta dig someone.

Rose is sad. Jack sits
staring at the beach sunset.
Her man ain’t dead. Suuuuuuure!

Boars eat dead in plane.
Time to burn the fuselage.
Weepy castaways.

If I need a eulogy,
Get Emilie De Ravin
to read. Pretty please?

Jack is seeing stuff.
Man in suit, like a mirage.
Wait another week.

Episode: “Walkabout”
Director: Jack Bender
Best Scene: The last one, one of the most lasting images from the entire show. The first “wham” moment. Honorable mention goes to the eulogy for the passengers who died and Locke revealing his badass suitcase full of knives.

Ah, here we are:

Best Line: “How come anytime there’s a hike into the Heart of Darkness, you sign up?”—Jack to Kate when she volunteers to go on the boar hunt.
Best Throwaway Moment:
In Locke’s first flashback scene, he’s operating a calculator that sounds an awful lot like a certain number-counter when it resets in a certain hatch in the not-too-distant future. Which, in turn, sounds a lot like the clicking sound one Smoke Monster makes as it does its thing. I wonder which castaway the Smoke Monster likes best?
Worst Moment:  Thankfully this ending was so solid there was no need for Hurley’s CD player. But the early scene where Hurley and Sawyer are fighting over food is pretty weak. What, the fat guy’s hungry? Go figure.
Revelations: Kate’s a vegetarian (though I think I remember her eating eggs in the previous episode); Rose is convinced that her lost husband is not dead; LOCKE WAS IN A FREAKING WHEELCHAIR UNTIL THE TIME OF THE CRASH! This is where the show goes from mysterious to supernatural, and (really) never looked back.

If you’re into spoilers, or have seen the whole show and just like funny stuff (as if there are more than 3 of you reading this). Check out the John Locke Rap.

Next Episode: “White Rabbit.”

(All images and ep-title links are courtesy Lostpedia.com)

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Categories: Lost, Reviews, TV

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