SEPTEMBER 24, 2010
AIRDATE: OCTOBER 13, 2004
Still name-checked as one of the series’ finest hours, “Walkabout” was also the one that introduced the notion of having a big twist in the flashback as opposed to on the island. The previous episode just filled in what we learned on the island (that Kate was a fugitive), but here, a rather typical island adventure was accentuated by the reveal that Locke was paralyzed, only to be miraculously healed by the island upon crashing there (I actually always chalked this up to two wrongs making a right, sort of like how Ruby Sue got kicked by a mule and her eyes went un-crossed, but OK, I’ll play along with the magic island theory).
And thus, it’s also the first episode that actually rewarded a repeat viewing, because you can go back and feel stupid for never noticing that Locke was never seen on his feet, even with the sharp contrast of him being so active on the island as he leads a group hunting for boar. It would take a while to learn how he got put in the wheelchair in the first place (the next couple Locke-isodes would show his life prior to the chair), but one thing was definitely cemented in this one – Locke was definitely not a villain of any sort. Weird, yes, but he was helping the group and being sympathetic (the next episode, where he saves Jack, would further cement this aspect of his character). Hurrah! 4 hrs in and they finally make up their mind on one of the main characters!
It’s also an important episode for other reasons, such as the first team-up of Charlie and Hurley, who would become one of the series’ most believable and enjoyable “duos”. (SERIES SPOILER AHEAD) I felt that a lot of character deaths were sort of glossed over, that people would get over the loss of someone close to them within a matter of 1-2 days (which could be weeks apart as they air, but more obvious when you’re watching them back to back), but Hurley’s reaction to Charlie’s death was one of the show’s all time biggest smacks to the gut. So it’s nice to go back and see them when they first started hanging out.
Also, it’s the first prominent appearance (I think) of my favorite “sock”, this guy (on the left):
One thing that always tickled me about the show is that they actually had a lot of the same extras from week to week, and I sort of felt bad for these guys. They probably weren’t making any more than a usual extra (which isn’t a hell of a lot, I’ve done it myself when I first moved to LA), and yet had to sort of become characters without ever having a name or a real line of dialogue. This guy always stuck out to me for some reason. I was bummed when he died, or at least when I realized he was probably dead just like all of the other anonymous survivors.
There’s also a hilarious moment in the opening scene, when they hear noises in the fuselage. First, Jack assumes it’s Sawyer, only for Sawyer to quickly correct him (“Right behind you, Jack-ass!”). Then Jack pulls out a little flashlight to go look, and then Sawyer pulls out, yes, a bigger flashlight. It’s a wonderfully sort-of-subtle sight gag that kills me every time.
It’s a stark contrast to the end of the show, where Claire leads a funeral service for all of the dead folks. There’s some very dry humor in her readings (since she doesn’t know anything about them, she uses their IDs – “He was an organ donor.”), but it’s a real bummer of a scene, only slightly marred by a dumb continuity error. Claire reads off a passenger as being in seat 23C, but that would have been Rose, since Jack was in 23A or 23B depending on the episode (either way, there were only 2 seats in his area, which would make the 3rd, or C, the one across the aisle).
But that’s the only “unsolved mystery” in this one, I think. Unless you want to count how Randy had such an odd career switch, but that’s the sort of thing I don’t really care about. I loved the idea that all of these folks had some sort of connection prior to September 22nd, and if that tie was a bit contrived (like a guy managing both a supply company AND a chicken place within a year or so), so be it.
Where are we?