On ''Lost,'' Michael's son, Walt, is attacked in the jungle by a polar bear that he may have created himself; plus, Claire comes back

By Kirthana Ramisetti
Updated January 19, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
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”Lost”: Michael and Walt’s secrets

At last — the return of two characters who’ve been missing from the Lost canvas for a while now. Welcome back, Claire! And, um, you too, polar bear.

But first, Michael and Walt. The series is best when it goes beyond the Jack and Kate Show and focuses on the other survivors. (How come there’s been no Hurley flashback yet, when we’ve had two each of the Smug Doctor and Freckles?) Take Locke’s episode: Sure it was memorable because of the wheelchair shocker, but that wouldn’t have made such an impact if we hadn’t seen that Locke the All-Knowing Island Guru was once a pathetic, Risk-playing box-company employee. There was real revelation and insight into his character. Unlike, say, the episode with weepy, head-butting Kate and her toy plane.

Anyway, this week’s back story was the best since Locke’s. It’s interesting that Walt is ”different” and has special powers, but mostly it was great to learn more about Michael. Before this, I wouldn’t exactly have called him a compelling character. His main job was to stand around and yell at Walt to stay close to him. But the episode showed him to be such a wonderfully decent guy, especially when he didn’t let on to Walt that Walt’s stepfather, Brian, didn’t want to take care of him after his mother’s death. One of my favorite scenes of the entire season — no, not the stepsibling incest — was Michael and Walt bonding over the letters and the drawing of the sunburned penguin. It was moving to see these two finally relating to each other as father and son after everything they’ve been through. I hope the same kind of treatment is in store for other peripheral characters. (Especially Jin — unlike Hurley, he’s already been flashbacked, but even the monster has had more screen time than him.)

As for Walt, it seems he can conjure up creatures out of thin air. After all, he had been reading the Spanish comic book with the polar bear before being attacked by the painfully fake CGI one. Same with the poor birdy who smashed into the window — it couldn’t be a coincidence that he was reading about the birds of Australia while feeling ignored by his soon-to-be-dead mom. Maybe Walt’s responsible for her mysterious blood ailment too? Yeah, it’s a stretch. But all I’m saying is that he didn’t seem too broken up about her death when Michael came to see him. And if Brian was as in love with Walt’s mother as he claimed, the kid must be really scary if Brian didn’t want to keep around the closest connection to his late wife.

Anyway, on to the other plot: How cute was Charlie trying his best not to read Claire’s diary? I know it’s a huge invasion of privacy, but I can understand there’s some solace to be had from reading her words. Don’t worry, Charlie, you’re not ”bloody scum” for reading it, since you’re the only one who seems to care about her. Everyone else is too busy either planting gardens, digging up dead bodies for Kate, or staging golf tournaments to see who gets the last sticks of deodorant.

When Claire shows up at the end of the episode, I wondered if it was because she got so fed up waiting to be saved that she found her way back on her own. And is it me, or does she no longer look pregnant? Maybe Creepy Ethan has her baby. Who knows, he might want Walt too, since both kids are special in some weird, potentially dangerous sort of way.

With Claire’s return and the discovery of the black rock on the crazy Frenchwoman’s map, we’re finally starting to get some answers to the island’s mysteries, which of course means there’s reruns for the next two weeks. Sigh. But in the meantime, there’s lots to ponder, like . . .

What’s up with Walt and his creepy powers? Do you think Claire is still pregnant, and if not, what do you think happened to her baby? And what’s been your favorite character back story so far?

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