OCTOBER 4, 2010
I’ve seen “Special” at least four times, and I still cringe at the shot of Michael getting hit by a car in one of his flashbacks. It’s easy to spot the edit where the stuntman replaced him, but still, THAT GUY got hit, right? And there’s no padding on the ground to cushion him. It’s a pretty epic hit. Puts that digital Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black to shame.
This occurs in one of the many flashbacks in this episode. In fact, I’d guess that this one has the closest flashback to island ratio of any season 1 episode, because there’s a lot of story to cover (plus two characters to focus on). Since we’ve learned so little about Michael on the island, it’s up to the flashbacks to reveal his desire to be a dad, the reason he wasn’t, and how he became one again. But we also have to learn that Walt is really special, which will play a major part in-
Oh wait, right. Walt’s abilities and “special”ness never really paid off, did it? The actor got too big and rather than recast him (something they only did with Claire’s mom, and obviously Aaron, throughout the show’s run, which is pretty impressive), they just wrote him out and left pretty much everything about him unresolved. Apparently he’s in the “New Man In Charge” thing that’s on the S6 DVD (I haven’t watched that yet – saving it for my sole “fresh look” review!), but it still leaves a lot of his backstory unanswered. He can make birds kill themselves and appear as a wet ghost – that’s about as much as we ever really learn.
Michael is one of the show’s more polarizing characters – on one hand, we see that he really does have Walt’s best interests at heart (lying to him about why he was taking him, for example), and you can’t help but feel for the guy when he realizes his ex never gave the kid any of his letters. But on the other hand, he’s always up in Locke’s face just for talking to the kid, and he’s a jaywalker. He gets more “villainous” next season, obviously, and I’m not sure his redemption was really full-fledged (since most of the other survivors didn’t even know he was on the boat), but until then it was fun sort of trying to gauge whether or not I liked the guy.
And hey, we get another polar bear attack! It’s a pretty sweet sequence, and the effects aren’t even that bad for a TV show. Plus it allows Michael and Locke to kind of call a truce, which is the sort of thing I always like. Not sure I liked Boone becoming a crazy “guard dog” for Locke though – last week (or, yesterday, in the show’s timeline) he wanted to kill the guy himself. I guess you build up an insanely high loyalty to a guy once he convinces you not to try to nail your sister anymore.
The inception of the raft is also here, though of course it would be the first one that gets destroyed by Walt (because he’s special!), not the real one they actually use. It’s kind of weird that it took almost a month for someone to think of making a goddamn raft while they were on an island, but I guess thinking of it in episode 14 is better than episode 15. And unlike Tom Hanks they didn’t have to wait for a porta-potty to get a move on. Just a shame they didn’t figure out how to open the hatch before they made it, Desmond probably had way better tools.
Where are we?