October 22, 2004
My favorite character on Lost is Mr. Locke
He's like an old bald Neo, and the island is his Matrix. (Image courtesy of Lost-TV.com.)
I also like Evangeline Lilly, which I mention again only for the purposes of my search-engine ranking.
Update: Interesting discussion in the comments, if I do say so myself.
Update 2: I apologize for letting my instinct for self-promotion lapse and failing to link to my review of The Matrix Reloaded. Which, come to think of it, also had the African-American gentleman from Lost. See how it all comes together...
Update 3: Checking Technorati for other blogs discussing Lost, I found the wonderfully named Television! You Black Emperor. Interesting take on the themes and symbolism and so forth. I like the Purgatory idea, although I've never been much of a reader myself.
Update 4: If you have no idea what I'm talking about, they're showing the
Posted by Jim Treacher at October 22, 2004 02:20 PM
pilot "Walkabout" episode again tonight (Sat.) on ABC. Jim Bob says check it out. Oh, like you have anything else to do tonight if you're reading this.
I will watch most anything to see Terry O'Quinn (I thought he was great in "Milennium" and a hoot in "Harsh Realm.")
I enjoyed Bruce Cambell's "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of B Movie Actor," and his lauding of the blue-collar, working Joes of Hollywood.
He's so strange... repellant and compelling at the same time.
Why is Mr Locke repellant? He might be a bit spooky and possibly dangerous, but it's a time and place where having the dangerous on your side is a good thing. So far he has been nothing but a "good guy" for our castaways. I thought Lost ep 4, the Locke-centric "Walkabout" was some of the most powerful and emotional TV I've seen in some time. Hope they keep it up.
Everything that made Locke so creepy at first has to be seen in a new light, now that we know what we know about him. The scene that I keep flashing back to was at the very end of, I think, the third episode? Where the black guy who used to be on OZ and his kid are playing with the dog, who Locke found for them, and Locke is sitting across the beach glaring at them? J.J. Abrams obviously wants us to find Locke menacing there. At first I figured he was some kind of serial killer or something, the way he was acting those first few episodes. But now... Why was he looking at those two like that? Does he see something about them nobody else is seeing? Does he think the boy is in danger from his father?
I second the nomination for "Walkabout." That was absolutely amazing. There were some things that didn't really make sense after you stopped and thought about them, but nitpicking aside. Damn. What a great show. Who would have thought that one of the best things on TV this year would be 1) Incredibly popular, and 2) On ABC?
The repellant part mostly comes from his phone-sex(?) neediness and that creepy, creepy vibe he still gives off. In his flashbacks, he seemed almost pathetic until you realized how much of a jerk his boss was. But still, he was obviously lacking in realisitc human contact. And he's still acting this way, though now it's tinged with an almost Messianic quality. He doesn't interact with people; he's on another plane of existence.
But he's compelling because his enthusiasm is catching. He could make me drink the poison Kool-Aid to visit Hale-Bopp.
"But still, he was obviously lacking in realisitc human contact."
Yeah, that's probably the part I identified with. Although he did have his little gamer buddy there, so he's one up on me.
Also, other than the phone-sex, you just described Neo perfectly. (And if you count how they used the phones to get in and out of the Matrix as a kind of sex, the old in-out in-out, then that too.) So I'm right again!
He reminds me of Jake Weber's character from the remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD--a guy who discovers he just so happens to be at his absolute best as a human being when everything goes completely to shit. But there's a creepy edge to Locke that Weber's character doesn't have, of course, due to the phone sex scene and what we can imagine to have been years of being a cross between Rambo and Carlos Castaneda in his head, which really isn't healthy even if it does happen to come in handy one day. And there's the fact that he got a clear look at a big giant monster that eats people and seems to have enjoyed this, don't let's forget. At any rate I think that it's this sort of uncategorizability that makes the characters, and the show, so interesting. (Which is not to say that there aren't cliches from time to time--the tough Southern asshole is really irritating, and Locke's boss (in the flashbacks) was really terribly written--over the top and unrealistic. Still and all, great effing TV, huh?)
See, I had a much different take on his shamanistic encounter with the "monster," and on his problems in his former life. But yeah, that's the thing, it's nice to have a show that gives you such rich characters and doesn't tell you what to think about them.
I agree about the southern guy. (Sawyer! Or Kid Rock's Older Brother Who Works Out, as I like to call him.) Although he's shown us some surprises too. He's not as bad as he wants everybody to think he is. And I mean "bad" as both "badass" and "evil."
The Dave Grohl-like boss was pretty dicky, but I liked the Office Space reference.
Another thing that just occurred to me: Maybe the boss seemed two-dimensional because we were seeing him through Locke's memories? Unreliable narrator and all that? (Boomtown did some good stuff with that technique, with the drunken DA guy.) We've all had bosses we hated, who made our lives miserable every day, and it's tough to remember anything good about them.
Did you catch how Locke was bragging about telling the guy off? Which helped him end up where he is now.
The thing that was so great about the phone-sex scene is that it did make him creepy at first. But seen in context at the end of the show, it flipped and had the total opposite effect (to me at least)-- making Locke even more sympathetic. Smart.
(He ruled in "The Stepfather" too.)
Okay, that WAS him! I need to check out his IMDb page...
Another thing that occurs to me, after watching this for the fifth time: I think focusing on the phone-sex thing is failing to see the forest for the boars. "Helen" just as well could have been an e-mail pal or, hell, even a frequent blog commenter. It just wouldn't have had the same dramatic impact, showing him typing stuff on a screen, as showing him talking to her on the phone did. The point wasn't that she was a phone-sex worker... it was that she was a confidante he'd never even met face-to-face but had projected all of his hopes and dreams on. In that world, he was a misfit. She was his lifeline, as pathetic as that is, and losing that connection is just another reason he doesn't miss his old life at all.
I suppose this is as good a time as any to mention that I have in fact hung out with Terry O'Quinn. During my brief career as a production assistant I worked on a still-unreleased independent film in which he was acting. We were all just sort of in awe of him.
Yeah, the "Office Space" reference was great, but still and all I thought that sequence was over-the-top. I don't really think "unreliable narrator" cuts any ice in this instance, either--for one thing, no one else's flashbacks have been THAT "unreliable," if that's what we're thinking is the reason for the boss's over-the-topness; for another, yes, I've had terrible bosses, but even as I sat around fantasizing about hitting them in the head with a baseball bat I never had myself convinced that they'd out and out tell me to my face what a loser I was. Now imagine if I was in a WHEELCHAIR--would ANYONE, no matter how much of a cocksucker, pick on a disabled guy in the way Locke's boss did?
Well, this nit is well and truly picked, I suppose. It's still a great show. I'm waiting for more info on Sayid at this point.
"I don't really think 'unreliable narrator' cuts any ice in this instance, either--for one thing, no one else's flashbacks have been THAT 'unreliable'..."
An interesting theory that has the added benefit of being unverifiable. Yeah, could be. Although I have had some bosses who would be asshole enough to make fun of [SPOILER AHEAD!] a guy in a wheelchair talking about going on walkabout. More in a joking way than our boy Randy Greaselocks, though, and maybe not right to his face. "Hey, maybe he can make a boomerang out of his spokes!" That kind of thing. Some people just aren't meant to be hospital administrators.
Oh, and I'm REALLY IMPRESSED that you got to hang out with O'Quinn. That might sound sarcastic, but it's just to cover up my envy.
I thought the office scenes were a bit over-the-top too. It immediately made me wonder if anyone in the writing team on this series had ever worked in an office before or even knew anyone who had. The smooth, fake-nice, backstabbing stuff that Office Space parodied so brilliantly is so much closer to the real thing than the in-your-face hostile behavior shown by the twenty-something bosslet. Having been a corporate flunky for most of my adult life I can tell you right now that anyone who had treated me the way Mini Boss treated Locke would have a) had me in Human Resources in jig time delivering the paint-blasting rant of my life, and b) had him dragged to his boss's office faster than you could say "pay cut." I'm just sayin'.
However, despite that, and the utterly bizarre it's-gross-to-burn-the-stinky-rotting-corpses argument (why don't they just let Sayid go off into a "Muslim Homey don't play that cremation thing" rant and get it over with?) the show has dragged me in. And no, it's not just because every time Dominic Monaghan puts up the hood of his sweatshirt I get LOTR flashbacks.
I thought that scene was to show how Jack was the only one who really understood the position they were in. They were still operating under the assumption that they'd be found soon, and somebody else would take care of the corpses before the boars came back. Whereas Jack is a pragmatist.
I didn't think Sayid's reaction was implausible, and it probably wouldn't have been realistic for him to just say nothing. He finally seemed to accept the need for it, so it's not like he's gonna start a Jack Jihad or anything.
I'll definitly agree, Lost is one of the best new shows on TV. Locke is definitly the oddest characters there. I'd heard some discussion about him that made me think he was supposed to be something more than we see on screen, and maybe he still is.
But there is another good site to look into for discussion on the show, http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show.cgi?show=136.
It's got a very active discussion board
I didn't like that they burned the fuselage with the bodies in it. Struck me as a very dumb idea. First several episodes, I just kept wondering, "why don't they bury the bodies before they start decomposing. That fuselage is excellent shelter." Then they burn the darn thing. All those seats with cloth and bits of metal that they could use as tool, not to
mention chairs. Lots of plastic bins and stuff, all useful things. Yeah, just burn it.
That's what they've been doing for the last week, right? Cleaning out the plane?
Coming to this discussion having watched a whole 35 seconds of the show, let me say this: that fat guy is gonna get eaten.
Another thing that occurs to me, after watching this for the fifth time: I think focusing on the phone-sex thing is failing to see the forest for the boars. "Helen" just as well could have been an e-mail pal or, hell, even a frequent blog commenter.
no way. she said something like, "locke, if we talk more you're going to have pay another $89.95 and you know you can't afford that." unless you have got some sort of special blog commenter policy going on that we don't know about.
Forest, boars, repeat... You're right, it's not a metaphor for how modern life increasingly isolates people. He's a creep because he fell in love with a woman he met on a phone-sex line.
I think it's really interesting that Locke is the one person who doesn't want to leave the island. Why would he? Seems like most of the characters are running from something, and some are very desperate to leave, whereas Locke has a fresh start. No more deadend job. No more belligerent boss. No more lack of respect from everyone from phone sex operators to walkabout wranglers. On the island, he not only can walk, he can provide for everyone by hunting boar.
I have no idea what he actually saw when Big Tall Monster came out of the woods, but I'm sure as hell going to keep watching to find out.
"I think it's really interesting that Locke is the one person who doesn't want to leave the island."
Exactly! It's the best thing that ever happened to him. No matter what happens, I think he's going to live out the rest of his life there. It became his new home the moment he stood up.
Moments that actually make you go "Wow!" on network TV are pretty much nonexistent, unless it's, say, the look on Ashlee Simpson's face when the computer plays the wrong "song" she's supposed to be "singing". But, when I saw Locke wiggling his toes just after the crash, I'm telling ya, I was feeling it.
That tvwithoutpity site mentioned above is pretty funny, although ABC's own forum has more entertaining stuff, possibly written by Capt. Americrack, like "Do U think there are in pergatori?"
Sorry for all the "quotes", Jim.
i read a theory somewhere that the show (and the island) is all about manifestations of the characters' mental states. or something. like, for example, this doesn't really make sense, but in the first or second episode, the little boy was reading a comic book that had an illustration of a polar bear crashing around in it. what should we make of that? HUH?
so if that were so, maybe that would explain why locke didn't die when he saw the monster in the jungle. it was probably some beautiful site to him, since he loves being on the island.
Qv "The Tempest," and its various remakes, like the classic "Forbidden Planet," and the horrible Chricton-turd, "Sphere."
I was thinking more of "Lord of the Flies." I worry about the fat guy.
Yes, this is an excellent show. I'm not looking forward to seeing selfish blonde's flashbacks, though.