The Lost world: “The Walkabout” sets a tone

Note: Over the next three days, I’m going to be releasing a series of blogs looking back on Lost. I’ve been watching TV shows for a solid 30 of my almost-35 years, and I can’t recall a show that has generated this level of discussion and debate. For the uninitiated, I say this: spoilers are ahead so continue reading at your own risk. Go immediately and start watching Season 1, then come back here in a few months.

For the rest of you, I hope you use this as a launching board to share your favorite Lost memories. Today, we’ll be tackling favorite episodes, with the favorite characters coming Thursday. Heading into the weekend, I have a look at how we watch Lost.

Thanks for sharing your memories in the comments section. After Sunday night, memories are all we have. Now, let’s go get Lost …

In late September 2004, I found my life beginning to significantly change. I started fully coming to terms with the word “divorced,” even to the point that a new relationship began to blossom, even without me being fully aware of it.

Actually, two relationships were forming, one with a woman, one with a TV show.

The TV show lasted significantly longer.

I watched the first three episodes of Lost with a distant fascination, thinking there was no way something this gloriously weird would be permitted to stay on network television, a medium that often celebrates the lowest common denominator. In a world that praises Two and a Half Men, I couldn’t see a mysterious show about even more mysterious people on a still even more mysterious island would last beyond a handful of episodes.

Then came “The Walkabout,” the fourth episode and the first to feature John Locke’s back story (more of Locke and actor Terry O’Quinn tomorrow). Written by David Fury and directed by Jack Bender, this episode gave us the foundation for what would become one of television’s greatest creations, the sad yet sometimes oddly heroic saga of John Locke, a man who continually found himself beaten down by society, fate, God and anything else you might throw at him.

Only we didn’t quite know it yet. The episode showed this menacing, bald man with expert skill with knives and a total flair for jungle survival as being completely in charge. In the flashbacks, however, layer after layer got peeled back, as we finally saw the obstacles this man face, which lead to his now classic line, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”

By the time the episode ended, we realized just how far this man had come and just how much more we had to learn about this island. John Locke sat on the beach, watching a wheelchair burn.

His wheelchair.

Even today, my skin gets cold chills as I recount this, which is an improvement over the bawling that accompanies them every time I watch the episode. With “The Walkabout,” Lost began its rich tradition of blending science fiction and supernatural phenomenon with old-fashioned story-telling and character development. As John Locke found his legs, so too did Lost.

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One thought on “The Lost world: “The Walkabout” sets a tone

  1. I love that ep. I was so glad to see the John Locke we all love return to us for a few brief moments this week and am actually excited (instead of sad) about the finale!

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