“Walkabout” is one of the greatest episodes from the first season because there was quite the shock ending and it took some time to introduce to us one of television’s greatest…and saddest characters, John Locke.
Played by the brilliant Terry O’ Quinn, John Locke became one of the most important fixtures on the Island as of this episode. He was around the first three, but it wasn’t until “Walkabout” that we realized what level he was going to reach.
“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
The episode starts with Vincent barking up a storm, letting everybody know that the fuselage was being invaded by something mysterious. Turns out, there are wild boars on the Island and this gives John Locke an opportunity to step up. With food provisions dwindling and tempers flaring, John suggests that they hunt boar and he recruits Kate and Michael to help him get it done.
Meanwhile, we flashback to Locke’s life just prior to his trip to Australia. He is an office worker who enjoys games of strategy and war and he involves himself into them deeply. Others at his work find reasons to make fun of John and his hobby and we discover how lonely John is. He is calling sex lines and calling the woman on the other end “Helen.” We’ll know more about a specific Helen later.
John is preparing himself to go to the Australia outback and go on a mystical walkabout. Of course the company will not allow him to go on the walkabout because…. John Locke is in a wheelchair. That is the HUGE reveal in this episode… that John Locke had been paralyzed for four years prior to arriving on the Island…where he was paralyzed no more. John kept yelling that something or other was “his destiny” and he is now certain that he has found that destiny.
Knowing how that comes about really shows how sad John Locke is as a character and how tragic a life he lives. We’ll look more at the character of John Locke as the show progresses, but, while watching the first season knowing how it ends, there sure seems to be a bunch of foreshadowing going on. Certain sounds, images and dialogue which makes me believe that these writers had a pretty good idea of where the arc of John Locke would be going.
A major moment in “Walkabout” occurred when Locke came face to face with the “Monster” on the Island. At this point, we have no idea what happened, but we know he lies about it to the rest of the group.
Rose also gives us a piece of foreshadowing as she tells Jack, who is trying to comfort her and suggests that she says something about her husband at the memorial service the survivors were setting up for the bodies in the fuselage, that her husband, Bernard, was not dead. Of course, we know from season 2 that Rose is absolutely correct and that Bernard is alive and well and in the tail section of the plane.
This episode really solidified the mysteries of the Island and created such a wonder about what was actually going on. John Locke is one of my personal favorite characters in the entire series and Terry O’Quinn is unbelievably good as Locke. He is as complex of a character that has ever been on television and his pain and desire to be more than what he is can be felt by anybody.