WARNING: The content of this blog is based entirely on Seasons 1-5 of ABC’s LOST. If you have not watched all 103 episodes and don’t want your fun spoiled,then please do not read this blog until you’ve caught up!
Right from the beginning of the series John Locke was one of my favorite characters. Maybe it’s because of this picture. I have the exact same black socks with gold colored toes. Or maybe it’s just because Locke was such an enigma right from the start. On the one hand smiling and helpful (think finding Vincent and making a cradle for Claire) on the other hand brooding and ominous. Boar hunting and breaking Charlie’s drug habit – I mean who is this guy anyway? Right from the get-go Locke seemed to march to a different drum. And perhaps in this episode we find out a clue to why. As a Lockie, there’s so many interesting things in this episode but I will try to keep to my 500-800 word limit.
But first . . . I need to explain a little theory of mine about Locke in light of Season 5
The Long-Con of John Locke
Throughout the series Locke is famous for being the “Man of Faith” in that he above all the other survivors believes that there is something special about the Island. He senses that the Island has a will and is exerting that will over the survivors and the other inhabitants of the Island. The seed of this belief is found right here in Episode 4 of Season 1 – John Locke appears to have been miraculously healed upon arrival on the Island. I mean think about it – if you had been stuck in a wheel chair without use of your legs for years (not sure of the exact timeline on that but seems reasonable to assume) wouldn’t you be completely beside yourself if you were able to miraculously walk upon arrival on the Island? It’s no wonder that Locke’s disposition towards the Island is more one of wonder and excitement rather than despair.
Over time Locke learns of Jacob, the mysterious but unseen overseer of the Island and the Others. Jacob apparently speaks to John asking for his help. John has visions (even before meeting Jacob) that enable him to do/find things on the Island (for example, finding the Beechcraft). Although challenged at times, John’s faith in the Island and his special relationship grows throughout the series. When Left for dead by Ben in the Dharma mass grave, it seems that John is once again miraculously healed and is encouraged by a vision of Walt that he has work to do. Eventually he is appointed as the new leader of the Others (apparently at the Island and Jacob’s bidding). He begins to see Christian Shephard who says he speaks on Jacob’s behalf.
When Ben Linus sends the Island skipping through time, John is rescued at one point by Richard Alpert who tells Locke that he has to bring everyone back to the Island and that he’ll have to die to do it. This message is echoed by Christian Shephard right before Locke turns the wheel and leaves the Island. In the end Locke does die and is brought back to the Island. He appears to be resurrected (like Christian Shephard before him who arrived on the Island dead in a casket too) but by the end of Season 5 it seems that this is a fake Locke that may be none other than Jacob’s ancient nemesis. It was at this fake Locke’s request that Richard gave time-jumping Locke the message that he would have to die.
Ok – I’ve gone on about this – but it’s important. In summary here’s what I think we can deduce from season 5.
- Jacob’s Nemesis is somehow connected with the Smoke Monster
- Jacob’s Nemesis is in someway responsible for the reanimation of Christian Shephard’s and John Locke’s dead bodies once they arrive on the island.
- Jacob’s Nemesis had been cultivating Locke’s belief in the Island and (misplaced) trust in Jacob all along in order to activate the loophole necessary for him to attack (and possibly kill) Jacob.
I haven’t outlined all the reason’s why I think this hear. But as the re-watch unfolds I’ll discuss more. Now on to Walkabout.
This is my term for flashbacs that have to do with the crash of Oceanic 815. The episode opens similarly to the Pilot, Part 1 with a close up on Locke’s eye – as opposed to Jack’s. As the 2nd eye close-up in the series perhaps this is a foreshadowing of Jack and Locke’s relationship and competition for leadership. On the beach and surrounded by debris, Locke looks at his feet, wiggles his toes, sits up and picks up his shoe which had come off but was laying nearby. The crashback is ended by Vincent’s barking and we transition to a scene at night by the fuselage.
As it turns out Vincent is barking because of a rustling noise in the fuselage. This ends up being wild animals that run off through the camp causing chaos. In the midst of it
Locke walks out with a strange grin and declares that they are boars. A day later when Hurley and Sawyer argue about a stash of peanuts, the last remaining food, Locke throws a knife with deadly accuracy striking a tree next to Sawyer’s head. He declares that they need to go boar hunting. After what will later become recognized as a very Locke-esque speech (this time on the facts of boars and hunting them) he reveals his case of rather sharp looking hunting knives. This leads Hurley to
ask, “Who is this guy?” If Hurley only knew how important this question would later become!
Rather than an extended section of prose, I’ll just list what we find out about Locke in the flashback:
- He’s a rather harried employee at a box company. Although we don’t find this out now, Hurley owns the box company (an investment made for him after his lotto jackpot). Locke’s Boss Randy also used to be Hurley’s boss at Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack. Hmmm – small world.
- Locke is a bit of a social outcast – he plays a risk-type war game at Lunch with another employee who calls him “Colonel>” He also has been having a telephone “relationship” with some sort of chat-line operator. He has bought a ticket for her to accompany him on an Australian walkabout – which she refuses.
- Despite his paralysis John is convinced that going on a walkabout is his destiny. Later in the series we discover that this notion was planted in Locke’s mind while in physical therapy by Widmore’s assistant Matthew Abbadon who is posing as an orderly.
- Locke’s classic line, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” is introduced – once when Randy is taunting him about the walkabout and again when the tour operator denies Locke’s application for the walkabout due to his paralysis.
- Oh yeah – it’s in that scene (at the tour operator’s office) that we first learn of Locke’s paralysis.
- Perhaps the most interesting thing – while Locke is in his cubicle using his calculator we again hear the same (or at least very similar) clicking noise that is associated with the Smoke Monster on the Island. Hmmmm . . . .
Boar Hunting Part 2
The unlikely trio of Kate, Michael, and Locke venture out to find the boars. When they do, Michael is charged and injured. Locke leaves Kate to deal with the wounded Michael and heads after the boar on his own. 2 things about Locke come out here – he’s not exactly a team player concerned for the welfare of others and when he’s on task he’s go a singular focus. Not long after the trip split up the monster show’s up (off-screen) thrashing through the trees and making all sorts of scary noises. Kate and Michael make it back to the camp, but she tells Jack she thinks that Locke is dead; that’s there is no way that Locke could have escaped the monster.
In the jungle we find a different set of circumstances. Locke is tracking the boar which disappears into a thicket. The monster shows up in the same thicket soing it’s usual Monsterish stuff. We assume it’s Locke’s early ticket off the Island, but our POV strangely changes to that of the Monster itself. It is peering down at Locke who looks up at the Monster without a trace of fear, but more what could be described as amazement.
Back on the beach while Jack is distracted by Kate’s news of Locke’s demise by a “vision” of his father Christian Shephard standing in the distance under a tree. Jack is visibly disturbed. Christian disappears for a moment but then reappears and enters a grove of trees. Jack runs after him, only to discover a somewhat dazed and bloodied Locke emerging with a dead boar. At this point we need to remember a couple of things:
- Upon first viewing we know nothing about Christian Shephard at this point in the series. I remember the first time I saw this episode thinking “what the heck was that?!”
- However after season 5 it’s reasonable to assume that this apparition is in fact being animated by Jacob’s Nemesis
Later that night as Claire reads off names of the deceased at the memorial service Michael congratulates a somewhat confused Locke:
[Shot of Michael next to Locke.]
MICHAEL: Nice work.
CLAIRE: Millicent Louise D’Agostino
MICHAEL: The boar. Nice work, you know, killing it.
CLAIRE: …Teaneck, NJ.
MICHAEL: Just thought I should say something. So that thing, the monster, whatever. She said it was headed right towards you. Did you see anything? Get any kind of look at it?
[Close up of Locke.]
Hmmmm . . . curiouser and curiouser Mr. Locke.
What exactly happened out there with Locke and Smokey? We know that the Monster has no problem with killing who it wants to (remember the Pilot in the pilot). But it spared Locke who stared it in the face and showed no fear. Strange. Why is John so non-reactive to Michael’s compliment on killing the boar? Could it be that Smokey killed it for him? And what about the bit about Christian Shephard disappearing into the same thicket Locke emerged from. Is it possible that the real Locke was already dead at this point? Perhaps not. BUt it seems more reasonable that the long-con is on and Jacob’s Nemesis used this encounter between Locke and Smokey to his full advantage, whatever that may be at this point.
This episode is one of my all time favorites and I’m excited to see/rewatch what happens to Locke as the series unfolds. BTW – the episode closes with another enigmatic close-up of Locke.
This post written while listening to:
Little Boxes & The Legionnaire’s Lament by The Decembrists
While enjoying some Triple Cherry in my Handcrafted Bjarne.