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Friday, May 21, 2010

And My Favorite Lost Episode Ever Is.....

I can't believe the dream is over.

Continuing the countdown to Lost’s final episode. Here’s my top 12 so far:
#12 – Two for the Road
#11 - Some Like It Hoth
#10 - The Shape of Things to Come
#9 - Ab Aeterno
#8 - The Candidate
#7 - The Long Con
#6 - Deus Ex Machina/Do No Harm
#5 - In Translation
#4 - Greatest Hits
#3 - Through the Looking Glass
#2 - The Constant
and the greatest Lost episode ever is....


Walkabout
Season: 1
Character-centric: Locke


This was the episode that started it all for me. I remember watching the Pilot and thinking, whoa, this show is intense, maybe I should start watching. Then I watched Tabula Rasa, and thought, that Kate chick is hot, but meh, this is kind of a downer from the Pilot. But then I saw this episode, and from then on, I knew, this show is special.

Before Lost was known for its plot twists, mystery, and high dramatic production, it told the story of John Locke. This was the story that would set the tone for all stories in the world of Lost. This was the story that let you know this isn’t just a serious version of Gilligan’s Island.

To truly appreciate this episode, you have to think back about watching it for the first time, before you knew the big secret that was revealed at the end. I remember watching it for the first time on warm October Wednesday. Before this episode, Locke seemed like just a bystander, a mysterious one. If the island was an allegory to Lord of the Flies, he was the Simon. There was something unsettling about him. In the chaos of the crash, everyone was stricken by panic and fear. Locke seemed to be missing these qualities.

Then cut to Walkabout. The survivors need food, and Sawyer starts bitching about where they’re going to get it. Then, BAM, knife to the chair, old man Locke has some blades. It’s boar hunting time, bitches. Sawyer, freaked out by the knife that was hurled in front of him, thinks what all of us are thinking. What the fuck, and who is this guy talking about boar with the utmost confidence. Is he a hunter? Is he a commando? Is he crazy?

Actually, we find out in his flashback, he’s just a very pathetic man. He role plays a secret life, plays board games with a geeky co worker during lunch, and gets taunted by his boss incessantly. On top of that, you kind of think he has some kind of mental illness due to his phone calls with “Helen.” He is delusional.

Cut back to the island, and we see a completely different man. This guy’s a hunter, this guy is a leader, this guy is nothing like is pre island counter part, this guy is – oh shit, what the fuck was that! A giant cloud of smoke. What?!?! I thought polar bears were a mind trip, but black smog. Uh, okay, now a new can of worms has been opened. Walkabout introduced us to the first visible showing of the smoke monster, the thing that would be Lost’s archetypical super villain. Looking back on it now, it’s crazy to think that the writers planned this stuff way back in the fourth episode of the series.

But back to Locke. After Kate and Michael screw things up during the boar hunt, and Locke is left only with the smoke monster, we are left to conclude he’s a goner. But then, like bad ass, he emerges from the jungle with the boar. Wow, this John Locke guy is the shit.

Cut back to the off island, loser Locke. He’s finally made his trip to Australia, and he’s ready to hunt and kill. Only one problem. The tour guide refuses to let him on, because of his ‘condition.’ That’s when I felt like I won. In my mind, I thought, ‘I knew it, he does have a mental illness!’ I thought I totally figured these Lost writers out. They’re not so clever after all. Then I watched the scene unfold. Locke states he never lied, but the tour guide tells him he omitted important information (like his schizophrenia, I thought to myself). But as the tour guide began to get up and go on his way, I found out the truth. The wheel chair. Wow. Congrats, Lost, you won.

Also, it makes you realize that Randy is a huge ass. He basically taunts the handicapped. Geez.

The next scene, it’s just pure brilliance. The music, the sights, the sounds. It focuses on Locke, regaining consciousness from the crash. You hear the people screaming, you see the fire burning, you can feel the chaos around you. But in the middle of all this craziness, you see Locke, regaining the ability to walk. First it starts with a wiggle of his toe, then his leg moves. Despite all the madness around him, you see a man who has just experienced a miracle. He is finally happy, he is finally free. And when Jack calls him to help him with some survivors, you see how the island has changed a man within a matter of seconds. Amazing, just like this episode.

As Lost comes to and end, I’m sad. Some people are glad that the series is over, afraid that it would drag on forever. But to me, I wouldn’t think this is so bad. There are so many secrets left to discover. Walt, alternate timelines, time jumps. So many questions, so little time to answer.

But not all is sad. As I’ve been watching old episodes in the past week, I’ve realized something. I am a writer. Writing is a tough craft, but the toughest thing about writing is to find inspiration. And every time I watch Lost, and realize how greatly written it is, it makes me strive to find that same excellence, that same brilliance.

Lost isn’t just about the island. It’s about people and the journeys that all of us take in life. In my own writing, I try to do the same. I try to paint a picture of a character and their own personal struggles. And it would be foolish of me to say that Lost hasn’t influenced my writing in someway. It’s not a bad thing, I think it’s a good thing. We are influenced everyday by the things we see and the things we hear. And when I say that Lost has provided a nice guideline to some of my own creativity, it is never in shame, but always with pride.

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