Written by Matt Baker
Wednesday, 13 October 2004 15:30
The twists keep on comin' in this episode. I'm worried that Abrams and his writers won't know when to stop. Too many turns and they'll start going in circles.

We learn a lot about Locke in this episode, and the way he is unraveled is interesting. The show opens with him reliving the first moments after the crash, lying in the sand and looking down at his shoeless feet, which he wiggles slightly. There is no confusion when Lost jumps around in its timeline. When you hear that unmistakable whine of the grounded but still running jet engine, you know when and where the characters are.

When, back in the present, scary animal sounds in the fuselage turn out to be a few wild boars, Locke suggests the survivors, being down to their last bags of peanuts, hunt the dirty little pigs. He makes this suggestion by thunking a knife into an airline seat and then displaying his John Rambo-like collection of hunting knives.

A ringing telephone signals a flashback and we see a close-up of Locke talking on the phone, using military jargon that George Patton would call heavy-handed. The person on the other end calls him "Colonel Locke." The camera pulls away and we see Locke in an office being badgered by his weasely boss about the TPS reports. Do these things actually exist outside of this show and Office Space?

So what is the nature of Locke's colonel-dom? That is answered when he and another employee play out military strategies with a map and some plastic army men on their lunch break. Locke's colleague mention's a Helen, and asks what she thinks of his upcoming trip to Australia. Intrigue about Locke's relationship with Helen only heightens when it turns out to be restricted to the telephone and costs him 89 cents a minute. Speaking of Office Space, Locke is starting to resemble Milton, perhaps after a few days at a weekend warrior camp. But he's still my favorite.

Locke, Kate and Michael go into the forest to hunt down some ham sandwiches. Now, put yourself in Michael's shoes for a moment. You are the sole guardian of Walt, your son. Do you insist that you, out of the forty-eight survivors, be one of the few to risk his life, and possibly leave Walt orphaned? Okay, Locke was going, which looks cool, and Walt already looks up to him more than he does to Michael, so I can see the motivation there. But tell me this: you need to find someone to watch your son while you go boar hunting. Who should it be? The pregnant woman? The doctor? No! The woman who doesn't speak a word of English, of course.

While hunting, a boar charges and all three hunters get thrown to the ground. Michael gets gored in the leg, but it's nothing that won't heal by next episode. Locke is unhurt but lies there unmoving for several seconds, transfixed by his feet, as in the opening segment of the episode. Must not be jellin'.

Kate brings Michael back to the beach while Locke goes it alone to bring back some bacon. While alone, the trees start to crash. The camera looms on the buckling trees and then zooms in on Locke, transfixed by something large, something close. He clearly sees whatever it is, and we are led to believe it is the same thing that killed the pilot. Locke and The Presence are eye to eye.

Back at the beach, we see Jack leading the scavenge hunt for wood—wood to create a funeral pyre for all the dead in the fuselage that the boar had been feasting on. Jack seems to not want to deal with the dead. Sayid sees the pyre as a quick, apathetic fix; he'd rather determine their religions, give them the burial or whatever sending-off they would want. This is of course impossible, but he still dislikes the fire.

Boone, meanwhile, is concerned about Rose. Rose is the woman Jack was sitting next to on the plane, the woman whose husband was in the bathroom when the plane went down. She is sitting catatonically on the beach, staring out at the waves. Boone is so concerned, he gets Jack to go see if she's okay. Jack, always the hero, does and gets Rose to eventually speak. She talks a little about stuff none of which is really important after the first twist is revealed: she thinks her husband is still alive. She believes that his section of the plane landed somewhere else, that those in it survived and believe, just as they do, that no one else survived the crash. Immediately after this, Jack sees a man, not one of their party, standing off in the distance. After a second look, he's gone.

Locke emerges from the forest, haggard and bloody—and dragging a dead boar. Whatever happened between he and The Presence remains unspoken. Michael asks if he saw anything when the trees started crashing and Locke says no.

We see one more flashback of Locke. He is in Australia, trying to go on a walkabout, which he explained earlier as a spiritual journey across the Outback. The guide refuses, saying walkabouts are arduous for the healthiest of individuals, and no matter how much he thinks he is ready for it, Locke is not in a condition to take the trek. Twist number two: before the plane crash, Locke was confined to a wheelchair. We see him rolling after the guide, demanding to be allowed to go. This is why he was so fascinated with his feet; he was stunned that he could feel them, and even more shocked that they worked, that he could use them to walk, to run. Somehow, the plane crash cured Locke of his paralysis.

The episode closes with the pyre burning and Claire leading a memorial service. She has little information on the dead strangers, so she recites what she can: this one traveled little, based on his passport; this one was an organ donor and wore corrective lenses, these two were just married and deeply in love, based on their wedding album. During all this, Jack sits on the beach, for whatever reason unable or unwilling to take part in the ceremony.

This is so far my favorite episode, probably because Josh Holloway had little to do. I'm concerned about where the two twists are headed. Haven't we got enough to deal with at the moment? But all in all this was a great episode.

- Matt Baker wiped with the wrong leaves while on a walkabout once and ended up with a rash down under.



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