Let’s talk about Walt.
“Special” refers to the young son of Michael (one of the bigger jerks on the series) named Walt. “Special” is actually quite a good episode as we focus on the father/son relationship and the tragic background of Michael and how he is prevented from being in his son’s life.
However, much like “Raised By Another,” this feels incomplete after seeing the whole seasons because there is a story that is set up involving Walt that never gets to be fully played out.
The reason was the actor who played Walt, Malcolm David Kelley, was written off the show in the early part of season two because of the fact that the actor was nearing puberty and would begin growing at a rate that would not work for the show. The show was not progressing as quickly in story time as it was in real time and Walt shouldn’t be growing as much as he would be.
Because of this, the psychic powers that Walt displays in this episode and some of the future ones (especially involving the Others) was underdeveloped, and, unfortunately, feels that way.
Damon Lindelof, LOST writer and executive producer, on the DVD of season one said “We sort of have ideas. ‘Gee, Walt’s reading a comic book about polar bears, and a polar bear shows up.’ Or, ‘Walt is reading a book about birds, and a bird flies into the window.’ I know what I mean by it, but I think when the audience starts getting disconnected is when you tell them what to think, which is: Walt is psychic.”
The episode did involve an intense scene involving a polar bear (special effects notwithstanding) trying to get to Walt with Michael and John Locke desperately trying to save him. Michael also becomes the first character to be struck by a vehicle (in flashback). There were many other examples of characters being struck by a vehicle (mostly a bus) as the show moved on.
Another standout point was the return of Claire from the world of the Others. She arrives back right at the end, being discovered by John and Boone.
Much of Michael’s behavior can be explained by the flashback in this episode. He had such a jealousy over Walt and Locke’s relationship because how Walt was taken away from him a a child and is raised by Brian, Susan’s new husband. I’m sure that was a tough thing to deal with, losing your son’s love and the place in his life to another and Michael is afraid of that happening again. Especially since Walt does not seem to be interested in anything Michael has to say.
Still, Michael is anything but patient with Walt and certainly shows his hot temper.
The raft is mentioned for the first time here as well.
I wish we could have explored the abilities of Walt in more detail as he is shown as someone that Brian was scared of and later the Others wanted no part of Walt. Walt’s story is not sufficiently handled, though there is not much you could do.