Lost S1E4: Walkabout

by thethreepennyguignol

The entry fee to this recap is: wash your hands. Go on, wash ’em. This post presents are garbled Zodiac-code nonsense unless you wash your hands for twenty seconds with soap and water first. You done? Good. Then let me begin.

You know, this is the first episode of Lost that I have actually enjoyed watching. Maybe that’s because things are so phenomenally batshit crazy out in the world right now that any hint of normalcy is something I’m going to grab hold of with both hands, but I don’t think it’s just me who has a soft spot for episode four, Walkabout.

There’s a lot of stuff that I’m been criticizing about Lost so far which this episode seems to address, and frankly, it’s giving me a little more patience for the show as a whole. Jack is no longer Captain I-Took-A-Class-In-That, instead frustrated and stressed by the weight being put on his shoulders by the other survivors; other characters are starting to interact less burdened with angst, like Charlie and Hurley goofing around as they try to catch fish. Sawyer is relentlessly bullied this week (first by Hurley jump-tackling him for peanuts, then by John Locke hurling a giant knife right next to his head), and the group begins to mourn its dead. Okay, so Ian Somerhalder and Maggie Grace still have some Horny-Ass Chemistry for people who are meant to be playing siblings, but some things never change, right?

Really, it feels like the show has hit its groove at this point, and that’s thanks in no small part to the fact that this episode centres on a brilliant actor: Terry O’Quinn is the centrepiece of Walkabout, along with his scandalously-named character John Locke. God, well, it’s better than Sawyer, am I right? Anyway.

I complained last week about the show not being ableto balance flashbacks with relevancy in the current plot of the episode, but this outing is basically an answer to that issue and a correction of course in the process. John Locke’s flashbacks are for sure the most interesting we’ve had to date – a wheelchair-bound wannabe-adventurer, he woke up on the island able to walk and finally presented with the opportunity to live out all his survivalist fantasies in real-time. It’s a compelling premise – what if someone had a happier life after a catastrophe like this one? – and the show presents it’s first truly powerful visual imagery, with Quinn watching his wheelchair burning in the remains of the plane and smiling as he watches his old life go up in flames. But more than that, it ties in to some of the themes and stories that this episode explores over on the island – finding the best in unthinkable struggle, living out new identities surrounded by people who’ve never known you as anything else – and creates a smooth and cohesive forty minutes of television.

You know what? No notes. I mean, I still I have some issues with the shaky-cam, which got so aggressive this week that the focal character vanished off screen and I became somewhat convinced that it had to be some sort of blooper, and Emilie De Ravin is having the skinniest late-term pregnancy I’ve ever seen before. But honestly, this is just a good episode to television: well-acted, well-written, and thematically cohesive in a really satisfying way. I think I might be starting to get this Lost thing, guys. Which helps, given that I’m going to be writing about every episode of this season, huh?

If you liked this recap, and want to see more stuff like it, please feel free to jump into some of my other recapping projects – the Fifty Shades of Grey book series, the first Harry Potter book,Doctor WhoGame of Thrones, and American Horror Story, to name a few. I also write about movies with my brilliant co-editor over at No But Listen. If you’d like to support my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon, or buying my books!

(header image via The Incomparable)