The Lost Blog

Key Points from "Special"

Season 1, Episode 14
Episode Air Date: 01/19/05

Point 1
Michael

Walt

Locke
I've been critical of the spate of backstories, but I'm now willing to amend my previous criticism. I don't hate all of the history lessons; I just hate the ones that have nothing to do with the island (Kate, I'm looking right at you). When it comes to backstories that have a direct connection to current events (Locke, Charlie, Sun/Jin), I'm all for 'em. Based on this criteria, I found a whole lotta worth in this week's Michael/Walt flashback.

Now that I've lulled you into a stupor with my thematic backstory analysis, here are the important Michael/Walt developments.

We begin with the present day. Walt continues to gravitate toward Locke, and while Locke is apprehensive about taking Walt under his wing, this apprehension doesn't prevent Locke from instructing Walt on the finer points of knife throwing. With Locke as his pitching coach, Walt is developing into a top-shelf knife hurler. Unfortunately, one of Walt's bullpen sessions is interrupted by Michael, who, upon seeing Walt's new hobby, gets a raging case of Parental Ire. See, Michael thinks Locke is a Bad Element and he believes that Walt's extended sessions in Locke's Playhouse and Knife Emporium could warp his young son's mind. There's also some not-so-subtle racial tension between Michael and Locke. Whether this emanates solely from Michael remains to be seen.

Michael lacks the verbal tact to explain his fears to Locke, so he resorts to idle threats and half-assed violence (knife waving, shouting, that sort of thing). Locke somehow resists the urge to plant a 6-inch blade in Michael's eye, but he does take a few shots at Michael's parenting skills. Locke believes Walt is "different" (in a good way) and he should be allowed to realize his potential. Michael sees things from an opposite perspective: Walt is a 10-year-old boy who needs protection. Moreover, Walt should have absolutely no contact with crazy-ass hunter-gathers who experience life-altering rehabilitations during plane crashes.

Alas, Michael and Locke are unable to find common ground, so each goes his separate way. Michael opts to turn his vitriol into productivity by concocting a preposterous island escape plan. He contends that a carefully developed mixture of plastic tubing, seat cushions, and bamboo is all he needs to build a seafaring raft. He shares his raft plan with a number of castaways and, remarkably, he is unswayed by their unanimous opinion that he's full of crap.

As Michael works on his raft scheme, Walt tries to keep boredom at bay by leafing through a Spanish-language comic book. It's the same comic book we saw earlier in the season -- the one featuring a full-page drawing of a snarling polar bear. Hmm. I wonder if that had any connection to the real polar bear that appeared soon thereafter. And I wonder if we're going to see another polar bear in this episode ...

Anyway, Michael tears Walt away from his comic book and forces him to help with this raft thing. Walt half-heartedly tosses a few cushions into a pile and then wanders off mumbling something about getting water. For some odd reason, Michael lets him go.

Walt trudges into the jungle with Vincent (his dog) and Vincent soon becomes real nervous -- with good reason. There's a giant polar bear bearing down on them. The snarling beast pounds through the brush. Vincent runs off (an excellent choice) and Walt seeks safety within a thicket of tree trunks and vines (not an excellent choice). The bear slashes and snarls through the vines. Walt's life is officially on the clock.

Eventually, Michael wonders why Walt hasn't returned (his Father of the Year candidacy rivals Howard Dean's presidential bid). Michael seeks out Locke and accuses him of luring Walt into his Lockian web, but Locke deftly notes that Walt is clearly not in his presence. Michael realizes that Walt might actually be in legitimate danger (not Locke danger -- there's a difference). Locke realizes the same thing. Bound by a common cause, the two adversaries join forces to find the wayward Walt.

They soon discover Walt pinned within the thicket. With a mix of moxy, knives and a makeshift rope, Locke and Michael circumvent the polar bear and successfully pluck Walt from the tree trunks. All at once, a moment of clarity descends upon the trio: Walt sees Michael in a new light; Michael sees Locke in a new light; and Locke sees the little fat people who float around his head.

So that's how things play out on the island. Amidst all this drama, we also get a look at Michael and Walt's pre-island existence. Here are the high points:

  • Walt's mother -- Susan -- used to date Michael. When Walt was conceived, both Susan and Michael were in transitionary periods. Susan was starting a law career while Michael was taking a break from his artistic pursuits to work in construction. Despite their professional chaos, the couple was excited to welcome Walt into their world.

  • And then it gets complicated. A job opportunity lures Susan to Amsterdam and she takes Walt with her. Michael is heartbroken. When he later learns that Susan has shacked up her boss, he becomes both heartbroken and very, very pissed. His rage causes him to blindly walk into a city street, where he's broken into bits by an oncoming sedan.

  • Two months later, Michael continues to recuperate in the hospital. Susan appears one day to deliver the news that she's going to marry her boss-boyfriend. Worse still, the boss-boyfriend wants to adopt Walt. Did I mention Michael is still recuperating? Yeah. Susan tells him all this stuff while he's sitting in a wheelchair.

  • Don't worry. Susan gets hers. Years later, while living with Walt and boss-boyfriend in Australia, she suddenly falls ill and dies.

  • In the wake of Susan's death, boss-boyfriend visits Michael in the U.S. and springs a couple of surprises on him: 1. Susan is dead (surprise!) and 2. Boss-boyfriend doesn't want to care for Walt (surprise again!). Michael isn't pleased. He hasn't seen Walt in nine years -- he hasn't been allowed to see Walt for nine years -- and now the guy who stole his girlfriend and adopted his son is asking him to step back into Walt's life. Yeah. That's rich.

  • Boss-boyfriend has another surprise: There's something "off" about Walt. When he's around "things happen." What things? Consider this: In a flashback sequence, we see Walt working on a school report about birds. He gets angry when his mother doesn't pay attention to him. His anger builds and builds and just as it reaches its peak, a bird smacks into a nearby window. Coincidence? Uh. No. The bird that cracked its head into the window is the same bird Walt was reading about. Walt = Beastmaster.

  • Despite Walt's supernatural freakiness -- and the royal screw-job Michael endured in the past -- Michael travels to Australia to bring Walt back to the states. You can probably figure out what happens next (hint: "Mayday! Mayday! We're going down on an uncharted tropical island teeming with monsters and crazy French castaways! Mayday!").
Point 2
Sayid

Shannon
Sayid is still trying to read the maps he stole from Crazy Danielle Rousseau. He's also continuing his flirtation with Shannon. He appears to be making progress on only one of these fronts -- the maps. He's concluded that the maps point toward a specific area on the island. But big questions remain: Where is this area? What's there? Why is he wasting his time with Shannon?
Point 3
Sawyer For the 30th episode in a row, Sawyer has something someone else wants. And once again, when they ask for it Sawyer busts their chops for a couple minutes and then relinquishes the precious item. This week, Charlie discovers that Claire's diary is missing. Sawyer has it. Charlie asks for it. Sawyer acts like an asshole. Charlie hits Sawyer. Sawyer hits Charlie. Charlie ends up with the diary. Stop me if you've heard this before.
Point 4
Charlie Not only does Charlie obtain Claire's diary, but he actually reads it. He learns three things:
  1. He has zero will power.

  2. Claire likes him. He makes her feel "safe." (This was presumably written before that whole kidnapping thing.)

  3. Claire chronicled her dreams, including a recent one involving a "black rock."
Charlie immediately makes a connection between Claire's "black rock" and the "black rock" from Sayid's run-in with Crazy Danielle Rousseau. He rushes off to tell Jack and Sayid about this new development. Sayid guesses that the "black rock" could correspond to the specific area noted in Rousseau's maps. Sayid is excited. Charlie is excited. The audience is excited. Yet Jack is oddly indifferent to these seemingly important developments. What's wrong, Jack? Did Kate lie to you again?
Point 5
Claire There's a doozy of a cliffhanger at the end of this episode ... and you've probably already guessed it has something to do with Claire. Big ups to you for that.

So here's what happens: Following Charlie's "black rock" revelation, the scene cuts to Boone and Locke walking through the jungle at night. Locke is using his Magic Pan Flute to summon Vincent the dog (remember, he ran off when the polar bear appeared). Nearby, the bushes rustle as something approaches. It comes closer ... and closer ... it's clearly too big to be a dog ... it's not big enough to be a polar bear ... the shot closes in on Locke ... his eyes grow wide ... the shot cuts to the trees ... and ... then ...

Claire walks out!

And that's when it ends! Damn you, "Lost" producers! Damn you and your twisty ways!

Now, this last shot of Claire is very dark, so it's impossible to see if she's still pregnant. She appears to be caked in mud and/or blood and she's wearing the same black shirt seen in other episodes. Beyond that, she's a big 'ol mystery. Where has she been? What happened to her? Where's the baby? Will the Patriots win another championship this year? NO ONE KNOWS!

That's it for now. Be sure to drop by our "Lost" Forum for stimulating conversation and conjecture.

Next Episode:
"Solitary" (repeat) -- The plot thickens as Sayid discovers the source of a 16-year-old distress signal. Meanwhile, Hurley organizes a golf tournament. Airs: Wednesday, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., ABC.


Review by Mac Slocum. All photos and episode descriptions © ABC Inc.


I enjoy your write-ups.... Do you ever give any thought that Locke has been "sent back by the island" to "guide" all of these people through their "issues"...

Just a thought

#1. Posted by: John at January 20, 2005 3:30 PM

I enjoy your write-ups.... Do you ever give any thought that Locke has been "sent back by the island" to "guide" all of these people through their "issues"...

Just a thought

#2. Posted by: John at January 20, 2005 3:31 PM

You skipped a minor plot point. Walt wanders off to get water and follows Locke and Boone again. Locke tells Walt to obey his father when Michael walks in and blows up at Locke again. Locke pretends he was just giving Walt a pencil to give to Michael. Michael sends Walt to a timeout. Hurley comes to Michael and tells him Walt left the camp.

#3. Posted by: green at January 20, 2005 4:33 PM

John: Glad you like 'em. I certainly enjoy doing them and it's always nice to know others derive some small amount of entertainment from the effort.

You raise an interesting point regarding Locke "returning." He's certainly taken on a wise sage aura, hasn't he? It's almost Jedi-like at times.

One of the most effective elements the producers have maintained is the good/bad dyanmic of Locke. So far, we've been led to believe that he's working for the good of everyone. But consider some of his actions: clocking Boone; keeping secrets; withholding food. Are these the marks of a benevolent soul? Maybe. Maybe not. The writers have positioned Locke as a wildcard -- a very important wildcard -- and because of that he's emerged as the most intriguing character for me.

So here's a question in return: If Locke has returned as a guide, who is he working for? The good guys? The bad guys?

#4. Posted by: Mac at January 21, 2005 3:53 PM

Green: Thanks for the heads-up. It's a minor point, but it's important because Walt *follows* Locke and Boone. He doesn't just take off.

#5. Posted by: Mac at January 21, 2005 3:56 PM

Locke is their shaman.

#6. Posted by: xenobia at January 21, 2005 9:07 PM

Love the write-ups, very well put together and witty. I shouldnt really be reading them as ive only seen the first two episodes but curiosity got the better of me...

#7. Posted by: Danski at April 11, 2005 12:12 AM

Glad you like 'em Danski. If you ever need a little help filling in gaps, feel free to drop in on the Filmfodder "Lost" forum.

#8. Posted by: Mac at April 11, 2005 1:02 AM

In response to your final question in the last paragraph about the Patriots: the answer is Hell yeah, baby!!

I'm really enjoying these write-ups! I can't find any for the pilot episode, though. Perhaps it was an oversight. I'll be back here on Sept. 21 for season 2's write-ups!

#9. Posted by: Marty at August 23, 2005 3:22 PM

going thru ep's 3rd time around.

why were Mike and Walt on that flight? they were given 1 round trip ticket and 1 direct Aus to NY. not LA.

#10. Posted by: anon lostie no 42 at July 18, 2006 5:48 AM

Best line: "Locke is using his Magic Pan Flute to summon Vincent the dog."

@anon: it's possible the plane was stopping in Los Angeles to drop passengers off/pick passengers up/refuel before continuing to New York. Last time I flew cross country from LA, we stopped in Nashville, TN although it was billed as a direct flight.

#11. Posted by: James at June 5, 2007 11:53 PM