”Lost”: Locke loses his faith in the island
At long last, Lost returned, and in the opening moments it answered a question that’s been burning since the beginning: Just what would Locke look like with hair?
The answer: creepy.
Or more expansively, like a creepy dude that might work in a toy store and play Mousetrap with little kids. Literally. Once upon a pre-plane crash, our sage jungle kookaburra with the Brando-Kurtz bare ‘do used to peddle action figures and Barbies to the tots. The choice of Mousetrap was deliberate, I’m sure, on many different levels, beginning with the flashback plot, in which we learned that during his off-island walking days (still no answers for how he wound up in a wheelchair), Locke was the victim of an elaborate plot — as convoluted and intricate (emotionally, at least) as a Rube Goldberg Mousetrap set-up. Locke was a foster child. Never knew his biological parents. One day at the toy store, he is talked up by Swoosie Kurtz, oozing nutjob and wearing a long matted fur coat. Slightly off himself, Locke found himself drawn to Lady Chewbacca — kinda unavoidable, anyway, since she was stalking him — and subsequently learned that Woozy Swoosie was his mother. Over coffee at a diner, Mommy dropped the real bomb: Boy, you have no pappy. You, my son, were ”immaculately conceived.”
Not even loony Locke could buy that one. Hiring the best PI a toy clerk can afford, Locke got the scoop on Woozy Swoosie (she’s schizoid and frequently takes vacations from her meds) and his real dad, who turned out to be your average, everyday Rich White Male who could really use a kidney transplant, ASAP. Locke decided to seek his father out, and they bonded over drinks and bashing kooky Mom. One bird-hunting trip later, Daddy-whipped Locke was ready to give up his kidney. Yeah, it’s a scam: Woozy Swoosie wasn’t nuts, just setting him up, and Rich White Male didn’t care about Locke, just one of his internal organs. But both were truly his parents, which in the end made the betrayal all the more sucky.
What we learned from all this was that Locke is a man filled with yearning — for meaning, particularly with someone or something that he can genuinely trust. Little wonder, then, that he has confused Twilight Zone Island for his own personal Jesus — though I suppose if this place miraculously healed my useless legs, I’d mistake the island for God, too. I might also mistake a mammoth septic tank buried in the dirt to be a portal to Heaven. This, of course, would be the mysterious hatch, and after the umpteenth time trying to bust it open with his Zoolander-looking disciple, Boone — a.k.a. Mr. If It’s My Step-Sister Then It Doesn’t Really Count As Incest, Right? Right? (that’s Mr. IIMSSTIDRCAIRR, for short) — Locke wound up gouging his leg. Thing is, it didn’t hurt. And after further tests — like burning the soles of his feet — Locke realized he couldn’t feel anything below the waist. (Insert your own inappropriate joke here.)
Now, not being able to feel your sole (get it?) is a scary thing. Hence: Locke in spiritual tumult. Suddenly, his whole belief system is in jeopardy — his clear and present god, now dangerously remote to him. Worse still, his healed legs were now not-so-healed. Increasingly cranky and codgerish, Locke needed a sign, if not a walker . . .
. . . and got one — a sign, that is — courtesy of one of those kind of dream sequences filled with convoluted imagery and intricate portents, a real mousetrap of a vision, you might say. A small plane crashing into trees like a wounded bird. Woozy Swoosie doing sinister herky-jerky movements. Boone covered in blood and muttering, ”The owls are not what they seem” — oops, sorry, I mean, ”Theresa falls up the stairs. Theresa falls down the stairs.” (I thought this was Twin Peaks here for a second.) Theresa, it turns out, was Boone’s former nanny or something, and Boone was indirectly responsible for her breaking her neck, which would seem to portend a future flashback episode for Boone . . .
. . . if not for the fact that Boone himself might not be around for it. Locke and Boone followed the clues of the vision through the jungle. First stop: dead priest in a tree, packing heat and Nigerian cash. Second stop: a small plane in a tree filled with Virgin Mary statues stuffed with heroin. (I called Guinness, and they confirmed it: Last night’s Lost broke the record for Most Symbols Suggesting That Religion Is Utter Hogwash in a Single Hour of TV.) Boone climbed up to the plane, threw a Mary out the window. Locke wept. Boone picked up the radio, and hey! Crackle-crackle — it worked! Moreover, he got someone on the line . . . but we couldn’t make out what the voice on the other end said, because suddenly, the plane lurched and dropped out of the tree. Boone fall down and go boom.
Locke took mangled and bloodied Boone to Jack, then fled to the Great and Mighty Septic Tank and tearfully demanded answers. Suddenly, the window in the hatch started glowing. Locke’s eyes went wide. Boom! Credits.
Is Boone a goner? Tune in next week.
Personally, I find it a little easy to be sarcastic about last night’s Lost, because despite a fine Terry O’Quinn performance, the kidney scam seemed too outlandish to set up the very simple and relatable notion that Locke is a seeker personality, and desperate enough for a meaningful, purpose-driven life to lack discernment. Thematically, the critique of zealot mentality, however well-meaning and well-intentioned, as a state of blindness was mirrored by the cutesy subplot involving Sawyer’s headaches, which Jack diagnosed as being caused by Sawyer’s failing eyesight. (The bit with Handyman Sayid welding together a pair from two different glasses from dead passengers was, well, cutesy.) Locke could use some corrective lenses, as well — the figurative kind that any of us could use to see in making our way through the spiritual life.
Was it just me, or did Boone hear the voice on the other end say something like ”We’re survivors of Oceanic flight 815, too?” ? In other words, did Boone actually make contact with other plane-crash survivors on the island?
How many of the survivors have been directly or indirectly responsible for another person’s death? Significant?
How many of the survivors have been involved directly or indirectly in a scam of some sort? Significant?
Finally: Locke: Bald Is Beautiful or Toupee Is Terrific? Debate.